Another lesbian feels like a guy

A reader sent me this video and asked for a post about it. It’s a short documentary-style video about a lesbian who identifies as a man and has no plans to transition. Here’s the video:

She says the same thing I’ve heard 100,000 times now from women who identify as men: “Ever since I was small, I always identified more with boys, I always kind of felt more like a boy.”

As is very common in stories of women who identify as men, they turn out to be attracted to women. Gender dysphoria doesn’t just randomly strike random women. A large majority of the women who “feel like a boy” are lesbian or bisexual. This makes it really freakin’ obvious that gender dysphoria in women is often related to the difficulties of being a same-sex-attracted woman in a sexist and heteronormative society.

This particular lesbian who identifies as a man doesn’t plan to transition. This means what she is experiencing is not discomfort with her female body, it’s discomfort with the feminine gender role. She’s okay with being female, she just “isn’t a woman.”

Dear readers, please raise your hand if you feel discomfort regarding the feminine gender role.

When dressing as a woman, Lauren feels like she is in drag and like she is putting on a character. She feels this way as an actress, but she seems to be implying that that’s the way she feels about being a woman all the time. This is also a comment I’ve heard before. Some people think that “being a woman” is an act that has to be performed, involving specific dress, appearance, mannerisms, speech patterns, and behaviors. This is not true. A woman is an adult human female, and the only way to be a woman is to be born female and to grow into an adult. Anyone who is existing in a female body is “being a woman.” It turns out that women can have any kind of mannerisms, appearance, and behavior. We can have any kind of personality and thoughts and feelings. Everyone with a female body is a woman, no matter how she feels or what she wears. There is no acting involved at all.

In the video, Lauren is shown on a bus “manspreading” across her seat. This is probably supposed to display her masculine mannerisms, although she looks like a typical woman and no one would mistake her for a man.

So why does Lauren “feel like a man”? I can tell you right now. Lesbians often grow up feeling different from other women. We are often baffled at straight women’s behavior, and we often identify with the cultural stereotypes assigned to men. These days there is no on-the-ground lesbian community, so there is no way for lesbians to share their feelings with other lesbians and find out that we have similar feelings. Instead there is a “queer” community that is all too eager to label women who aren’t feminine and who vaguely and subjectively “feel different” as not-women. They can be nonbinary, or trans men, or genderqueer, or any other bloody thing. The message is clear: real women are feminine, therefore unfeminine women aren’t women. It’s the same old-school sexism that caused the last two waves of feminism, repackaged as “progressive.”

Here’s the thing: a lesbian is a female homosexual. If you are female, and you are exclusively attracted to females, you are a lesbian. Whatever feelings you have toward yourself are lesbian feelings. If you feel like hot stuff, you walk with a swagger, you like looking at the ladies, you want women to think you’re a stud, you like wearing comfortable clothes, you don’t fit into the same culture as straight women, but identify with men, you’ve always felt “different,” and you don’t meet the dominant cultural idea about what women are, then congratulations! You are a perfectly normal dyke. Your membership card’s in the mail. Welcome to the club.

Question: What does it mean to be trans?

You may recall I ordered several books at once and that I’m reading “all of them first.” Two of them are by Leslie Feinberg. I’m not going to review them each separately because to be honest I have indeed been reading both of them at the same time, (along with Hannah Hart’s book, and some more books I just signed out of the library yesterday because apparently I need to be reading like six books at the same time because I’m a nutcase.) I’m just going to tell you my thoughts as they come to me, and these thoughts might be inspired by either book.

Reading Leslie Feinberg has been setting off lots of fireworks in my brain, and by fireworks, I mean thoughts, questions, and realizations. One of these questions brings me back to the very basics of the issue, which is what does it mean to be trans?
Feinberg offers two definitions of trans in her book Transgender Warriors, (page x of the preface):

  1. Everyone who challenges the boundaries of sex and gender; and
  2. Those who reassign the sex they were labelled at birth

The definition #1 is fascinating to me because it’s so broad and vague that it could include almost anyone. To even begin to understand this definition, we’d have to agree on the definition of ‘gender’ (a word which has many meanings) and then once we’ve agreed on a definition of gender we’d have to agree on what it means to challenge gender.

John Money, who coined the term gender, defined it as: “the overall degree of masculinity and/or femininity that is privately experienced and publicly manifested in infancy, childhood, and adulthood, and that usually though not invariably correlates with the anatomy of the organs of procreation.”

Knowing that gender corresponds to how masculine or feminine a person is, and knowing that the concepts of masculinity and femininity are largely based on stereotypes about what men and women are like, feminists have taken “gender” to mean a set of culturally-constructed sex stereotypes. As we feminists note on a regular basis, the culturally-constructed sex stereotypes limit both sexes but primarily harm women, who are at the bottom of the sex hierarchy.

The feminist movement is, in part, a movement to abolish the feminine gender role—to abolish the limitation of women to the role of wives and mothers whose job is to stay in the kitchen, to abolish the sexist beauty standards that reward women for wearing uncomfortable clothes and makeup, and to give us the freedom to express ourselves as we see fit. (Of course, the feminist movement is also about ending male violence, which is related to changing the masculine gender role and restructuring society so that men and women have equal power.)

So, from a certain standpoint, feminists as a group can be lumped into the category of “trans” on the basis that we challenge the concept of gender. So many times I’ve read some writing by a human female who says she doesn’t identify as a woman because she doesn’t want people looking at her breasts instead of treating her like a person, and I’m like “DUH. That doesn’t mean you aren’t a woman, that means you’re a feminist.”

This isn’t usually what transgenderists mean when they talk about challenging gender. They aren’t usually talking about abolishing stereotypes. Usually their focus is on treating ‘gender’ as a social category of ‘man’ or ‘woman’ or other categories, that are divorced from biological sex, where ‘challenging gender’ means challenging the idea that there are only two possible ‘gender categories’ for people to identify into. Transgenderists are a wide variety of people, and some of them do want to abolish sex stereotypes while others want to reinforce them because that’s what props up their identities.

With a definition of trans that is so wide open as to include anyone who challenges gender, which is itself a wide open concept, you can argue that radical feminists are inherently trans. It’s a hilarious thought, I know.

Magdalen Berns has an excellent video where she explains some of what the issue is with the definition of trans being so wide open. I’m throwing this in here because I like the video and it’s related to this topic.

Feinberg offers a list of the possible people who could be included under the trans umbrella:

Transsexuals, transgenders, transvestites, transgenderists, bigenders, drag queens, drag kings, cross-dressers, masculine women, feminine men, intersexuals, androgynes, cross-genders, shape-shifters, passing women, passing men, gender-benders, gender-blenders, bearded women, and women bodybuilders. (Transgender Warriors, preface, page x).

This is a really varied group. I have the same problem with this group as I have with lumping Lesbians, Gays and Bisexuals under the same umbrella. We have different interests and different needs, sometimes our ideas conflict with each other, and we cannot speak with one voice. For example, gay men will sometimes adopt babies via surrogacy, and lesbians don’t require the “right” to purchase children birthed by other women. In fact, lots of us are against surrogacy on the grounds that it exploits women’s bodies. Gay men and lesbians can’t be said to always have the same interests or even that our interests are always compatible with each other. In addition, bisexuals often accuse lesbians of “biphobia” and the reverse happens too; lesbians feel that bisexuals are homophobic for some of the things they say. I don’t see how all these groups can be under the same umbrella when we often find ourselves against each other. We can all work together on broad issues such as same-sex marriage, but we don’t often have much in common.

I believe the interests of transsexuals and cross-dressers are very different and often contradictory, to the point where they cannot be under the same umbrella. A transsexual wants to change his or her body and permanently live as the opposite sex. A cross-dresser isn’t trying to change his or her body but just likes dressing up. Whereas transsexuals want the right to modify their bodies, cross-dressers want the right to cross-dress without modifying their bodies. How to accommodate transsexuals and cross-dressers in washrooms is very, very different. Whether or not “being trans is a choice” or whether it should be a protected category of people is a very different conversation whether you’re talking about transsexuals or cross-dressers.

How many times does a person have to cross-dress in order to be considered “trans”? I have worn men’s clothes before, so am I trans? My partner often wears men’s clothes so is she “trans”? Am I a TERF with a trans partner then?

Also, I wrote a fairy tale with a cross-dressing character. My character Noble is someone who “challenges the boundaries of sex and gender,” and I celebrated this character as a hero. Am I a TERF who celebrates trans people in fiction in addition to having a ‘trans’ partner?

Another thing. One of the groups listed in the umbrella up there is “masculine women.” I’m attracted to masculine women, so am I ‘exclusionary’ of the people I’m attracted to?

When you leave the definition of trans wide open like that, all sorts of interesting interpretations are possible. This really sheds light on both the need to define trans in a coherent way, and the meaninglessness of the idea of “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist.” If my partner and my friends and my fictional characters and maybe even me, can fall under the umbrella of ‘trans,’ then how can I be trans-exclusionary?

A trans blogger once wrote a hit piece about me arguing that I am indeed trans-exclusionary, despite the fact that I listen to trans people (watch their videos, read their books), have a partner who is a gender-bender, interact politely with trans people in real life, and have never actually banned a trans person from anything. His argument was that I am exclusionary because I exclude transwomen from the definition of woman. I don’t think this is accurate, because it’s not me personally excluding transwomen from the definition of woman, it’s the definition itself. A woman is an adult human female, and a transwoman is a human male. Males aren’t females. All males are excluded from the definition of female for the same reason that cats are excluded from the definition of fish. They are two different things, so naturally they don’t fall under the same definition. This has nothing to do with me or my personal prejudices, it’s how language works.

I regularly celebrate people who challenge the limitations placed on us because of our sex; in fact, I even wrote a Manifesto for such people (with the help of a few friends, thank you!) so I am actually doing some of the work that Leslie Feinberg considered to be liberation for trans people. People on the Internet like to frame issues in very black-and-white terms with no room for nuance, they like to ignore what people are actually saying and argue against straw men, and they like to misrepresent their alleged enemies in order to make a big show out of hating them. Far from being bigoted and hateful toward those who are gender nonconforming; we feminists have many of the same goals as they do.

I find it very frustrating and disappointing when people prefer to argue against straw men rather than engaging with what someone actually said, and when people claim to disagree with someone whose position they have not even read or understood.

The question of “what does it mean to be trans” has not been settled. There is no answer; the trans community leaves this wide open on purpose. I think this is a bad strategy, because there are people who don’t have gender dysphoria and don’t make body modifications calling themselves trans and speaking for trans people and this is wrong.

Very much related to the question of ‘what does it mean to be trans’ is the question of ‘what is trans liberation, exactly’? Is trans liberation the liberation of people with gender dysphoria in order that they may treat their dysphoria the way they see fit, or is it the liberation of cross-dressers who wish to cross-dress in public? These two things are not the same at all. These are two different movements. One is a medical movement about how to treat people with an illness and the other is a movement to change social rules about appropriate dress and behavior in public.

I enjoy reading Leslie Feinberg. She writes from experience, and unlike the college students who claim that cupcakes are transphobic, she has experienced actual violence for living in a body that people can’t easily recognize as male or female. I value her perspective and I agree with her on a lot of things. For example, I don’t think that people with ambiguous gender presentations are ‘freaks’ nor should they be denied basic rights such as housing, employment, and health care because of people’s prejudices toward them.

I’m going to explore my next question, ‘what is trans liberation, exactly?’ in another post, since as usual it’s going to get long-winded.

Video: Man explains to other men how to have “lesbian sex”

It’s Riley J. Menace again! In this video entitled “Having sex as a trans lesbian,” the heterosexual male YouTuber delivers his usual brand of preposterous nonsense and homophobia disguised as “progressive” politics.

He is addressing male-bodied people who identify as “lesbian” or “nonbinary” and who want to have sex with women. He starts off by saying there are no sex ed resources for these types of “queer trans” people. Ironically, since he is addressing male-bodied people who want to have sex with women, he is actually talking about hetero sex, the most-talked-about type in the world! And unlike most sex ed programs about hetero sex, Riley doesn’t say anything at all about birth control, making this information less useful than most regular sex ed! There are so many complete reversals of reality in queer/trans “logic” it makes my head spin.

People think that lesbian sex only happens between two “cis” women, Riley explains, but lesbian sex can also occur between two trans women or a nonbinary person and a woman, even if they have penises!

In order to respond to that, I will need to use this “fail” button.

The reality-denying queer/trans community likes to pretend that “lesbian” is an abstract concept that anyone can define for themselves and a free-floating identity label that anyone can try on like a hat. Well, it’s not just “anyone” because, in the queer/trans cult, only men can define what a lesbian is, and any actual lesbians who attempt to define “lesbian” are bigoted TERFs.

Sexual orientation is what sex you are attracted to, not what gender. Lesbians are female homosexuals, that is, humans of the female sex who are attracted to humans of the female sex. By definition, anyone who is male cannot be a female homosexual, since he is not a female anything. Men who believe they are “transwomen” or “nonbinary” are not lesbians.

The first thing Riley explains to the male “lesbians” he is addressing in this video is that sex doesn’t always mean penis-in-vagina sex (PIV.) This is just golden, because the only people in the world who think that sex=PIV are MEN. You would never have to explain to an actual lesbian (female homosexual) that sex isn’t always PIV, because for us, sex never involves a penis. We do not think about penises at all when we think about sex!

Men who identify as transwomen like to claim to have female brains, but they demonstrate at every turn that their brains are just as male as the next douchebag’s. If a man actually did “think like a woman,” it might occur to him that penises aren’t the center of the universe, without anyone having to explain it to him.

One of the bits of advice he gives is for men who are worried about going on hormones because they enjoy PIV and they aren’t sure how hormones will affect that.

It’s hard to even find adequate words to convey how incredibly homophobic and offensive it is to suggest that men who like using their penises to penetrate women and who haven’t even taken any hormones can possibly be regarded as “women” or “lesbians,” or that the heterosexual intercourse they’re having can be regarded as “lesbian sex.” A man who hasn’t taken any steps to medically transition and likes using his penis to penetrate women isn’t even a transwoman, so even if transwomen could be called “lesbians,” (and they can’t), he still wouldn’t make the cut. He’s just a regular straight man!

In 2017, in liberal circles, it actually needs to be explained that lesbian sex never involves a penis. It never involves a man of any kind. Lesbian sex, by definition, can only occur between women who are attracted to women.

Riley explains that sex doesn’t always have to include penetration, it can also involve touching your partner’s genitals with your hands! There’s another thing that all women already know, and the only people who haven’t gotten that memo are men! Men are the ones who define sex as “when I put my penis in a thing.” Women, however, define sex as when we engage in pleasurable activities that lead to orgasm. Women’s bodies respond to manual and oral stimulation and we all know that without being told!

His next bit of advice is to use sex toys, and then he reveals that this video is being sponsored by a sex toy company, Adam and Eve, who has provided him with sex toys to demonstrate! Wow. This isn’t the first time a sex toy company sponsored a video by a trans-identified person so that they could give “advice” on products to buy. As I said last time, if your liberation movement has corporate sponsors eager to sponsor you, it isn’t a liberation movement! So what products does the company Adam and Eve think that male “lesbians” need to buy in order to have “lesbian” sex?

Firstly, a large massager with a very powerful vibration, that, personally, I would never use because intense vibration like that makes me numb, that also has an add-on attachment for a penis! So a guy can have “lesbian” sex by putting his penis in a vibrating massager! And this is better than a regular sex toy for men because it’s more “feminine” and seems like something a “cis woman” would use. Pardon me while I laugh my ass off!

The next one is a strap-on, because if you put a strap-on over your penis you can feel like you’re having real “lesbian” sex! And just so that you feel really girly while using something so phallic, it’s pink and has a frilly-looking pink strap! (However, the dildo itself is still penis-shaped, which is weird. They make dildos that are smooth and not penis-shaped, so if you were dysphoric while wearing a dildo, wouldn’t you want the smooth kind?) I wouldn’t use a silly, pink frilly strap. Real lesbians use leather, dude!

The next sex toy from our lovely sponsor is one that stimulates the prostate. News flash: zero lesbians have prostates!

After he puts the sex toys away, Riley explains to the dudes who aspire to be “lesbians” that sex is a whole-body thing, you can focus on parts other than genitals, and lots of foreplay is good. Again, all women know this by instinct. It is only men who think that there is “foreplay” and then “sex.” That’s because for men, “foreplay” is just an annoying thing you have to do to get your lady interested in being penetrated. Sex between women is naturally a whole-body experience because we don’t define sex as ‘when I put my penis in a thing.’ Even those of us who enjoy penetration know you don’t start by immediately jamming things into her, you start by getting her aroused!

Then Riley finishes his autogynephile sex ed talk by suggesting BDSM. It never fails–the queer/trans cult is totally into the idea that if you are already dissociating from your body, the solution is to dissociate more. Riley suggests a paddle and some bondage equipment helpfully provided by his corporate sponsor. He mentions PIV again here, I don’t know why. It’s almost like he has PIV on his mind? Because he’s a straight man?

Riley is always offensive, but this video really tops them all. A man purporting to explain to other men how to have “lesbian sex” is just the height of male entitlement to appropriate lesbian identity and erasure of actual lesbians. I know that tons of people on various social media platforms have already told him how homophobic he is, and he just doesn’t care. Actual females, including actual lesbians, are not as real to these men as their fantasies are.

Pink News wants you to worry about TERFs

It’s a lovely Easter Sunday, the weather is beautiful, I’ve had a lovely day and eaten lovely food. Hopefully, whether you celebrate Easter or not, you are having a lovely day too.

Having finished all my festivities for the day, I started browsing through social media. I found this article, published today on Pink News, What is a TERF and why should you be worried? Apparently, the publication staff at Pink News thought that what people really needed on this lovely Sunday was a badly-written article about why we should hate feminists. Way to go, Pink News! <sarcasm>

The photo that goes with the article is a boot stepping on a rainbow flag, which I think is supposed to symbolize evil TERFs metaphorically stepping on the LBGT community. That’s a curious thing to imply, since a lot of femininsts who understand biology TERFs actually are lesbians and bisexual women, so are we stepping on ourselves? Also, although feminists as a group have nothing against people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or gender nonconforming, and many of us are some of these things, there are lots of trans people who hate lesbians, and there’s even one trans person who thought the rainbow flag was so offensive that he burned one in protest. So I feel like, in reality, the boot stepping on the rainbow flag is more likely to be a trans person’s boot.

The author of the article, Meka Beresford, defines a TERF as a “transphobic bigot.” She believes that “Trans-exclusionary Radical Feminism is a collective with a simple message of hate.” This is exactly what anti-feminists want you to think, but it isn’t true. Radical feminism is a well-developed political position based on an analysis of sex-based oppression and a call to action to end male supremacy and male violence. Radical feminists exist all over the world today, and we are working to protect existing rights for women and continuing to fight against male violence in many forms. What Beresford says here is deliberately oversimplified and misleading.

Radical feminists only “exclude” transwomen from female-only spaces on the basis that “gender identity” is a vague concept that allows any male to “identify as a woman,” without even taking any steps to transition, and in a world characterized by rampant male violence against women, it is not safe for us to include every male who claims to have a “gender identity” in spaces where women are vulnerable. It is prudent, not bigoted, to prevent harm to women.

Radical feminists as a group do not wish harm upon anyone who identifies as transgender, and although we annoy trans people on a regular basis by disagreeing with their ideology, we are not the ones perpetrating violence against them. The people who beat and murder trans people are men, and they’re not doing it because of radical feminist analysis, they’re doing is because of toxic masculinity, something that feminists are actually against. We are in favor of separate unisex washrooms to accommodate people who don’t feel they can use male or female washrooms, because we do want to accommodate trans people, just not in ways that can harm women.

“Some TERF’s, more radical than Murray or Adichie, entirely deny trans womanhood and label trans women as “self loathing gay men”. This is problematic at best, and at worst it is dangerous.”

That’s another curious statement. A small number of transwomen are feminine gay men, and if they hate their male bodies then they can logically be called “self-hating,” but if you ask any radfem who’s been following this trans thing closely, she’ll tell you that most transwomen are straight men with a fetish for cross-dressing (autogynephiles). This author, of course, didn’t do any research to find out what we are actually saying because she doesn’t care– the purpose of her article is to slander us and spread rumors about us, not to engage with our arguments in a sincere or productive way.

“Just like being gay, being transgender is not a choice – it is a reality, and it is very real.”

This statement isn’t meaningful unless we can agree on what “being transgender” means. Does it mean having gender dysphoria? Does it mean medically transitioning? Does it mean being born in a body that looks ambiguous? Does it mean feeling that you have a personal relationship to the concepts of masculinity and femininity? Because whether or not being trans is a “choice” is different in each of these situations. Not all people who identify as trans have gender dysphoria, and not all people with gender dysphoria will ever medically transition. Gender dysphoria can be dealt with in ways other than medical transition, and medical transition is a choice. You could probably argue that having gender dysphoria isn’t a choice, and you could make a really good case for that, although there are some people who are formally trans-identified but no longer dysphoric after finding ways to heal from their pain, and having gender dysphoria doesn’t automatically mean taking on a transgender identity.

Everyone has a personal relationship to masculinity and femininity– we all either relate to or reject different aspects of these social constructs, so if that’s what a “gender identity” is, then we all have a gender identity, so all of us are free to identify as trans if we want to. If trans is something we can all identify into, then how would we accommodate people who are trans? Accommodate everybody? Six million separate washrooms in every building to validate every possible gender identity in the world?

“TERF’s claim that trans women are rapists waiting to happen, that they have mental health issues and that fundamentally they are not women. This level of dehumanisation is morally wrong, and all too similar to the persecution that other minorities such as LGB people have faced in the past.”

This argument fails to consider how vague the concepts of gender identity and transgender are. I don’t think that all transwomen are rapists. There have been some transwomen convicted of rape though. I do think that all male humans are potential rapists because they have penises and benefit from male supremacy. Men are rarely convicted for rape, and so those who wish to rape are usually free to do so, and it’s impossible to predict ahead of time which men will rape. A lot of men who identify as transwomen these days behave exactly like MRAs in their entitlement to women’s love and attention and their belief that lesbians should be interested in dating them. You could argue that these sorts “aren’t really transwomen,” but with vague gender identity laws that are based on self-declaration, these MRA types are free to identify as transwomen and legally live ‘as women’ despite their hatred for actual human females.

The idea that it’s “dehumanising” to male humans to point out that they are statistically likely to be rapists is an MRA idea. It’s a statement that tells women to shut up about what we’ve learned about male violence against women through listening to survivors and through the anti-violence work we do, and instead cater to men’s desire to never be presented in a negative light.

“anybody can be a feminist but being exclusionary denies you that right.”

Actually no, feminism isn’t a movement to “include” everybody into everything, it’s a movement to end the sex-based oppression that female humans experience in a patriarchy. That’s why feminists have an interest in maintaining the ability to recognize biological sex as a way to identify humans. Feminism is exclusionary, it is about human females and it doesn’t include human males. Claiming that feminism needs to include men is like saying that the labor movement should include bosses and business owners.

“Trans women are women, so stop denying their existence. Trans women are women.”

What? Who’s denying their existence? Of course transwomen exist. No one is saying they don’t.

Hey, Pink News, why are you publishing poorly-researched, poorly-argued, feminist-bashing, disingenuous garbage? Is that because you’re a shitty publication with an anti-feminist agenda? Cool!

Introduction to Introduction to Marx

It’s a beautiful day and I have the day off from work! Hurrah! I have already gone for a long walk and enjoyed the sunshine, so now it’s time to tell you about the book I’ve been reading.

I started on “Marx for Beginners.” It’s a graphic (comic book) style book, which is nice. The author spends a long time at the beginning talking about the philosophers who came before Marx and who set the stage for his theories. In fact, it appears that about half the book is about the history of philosophy. The author obviously believes that Marx can only be understood by situating him in a historical context and by explaining how the field of philosophy developed into Marx’s dialectical materialism. (I still have zero comprehension of what this term means.)

So I have been reading about the history of philosophy. I’ll share with you some of the interesting things I’ve learned so far.

The author, Rius, says that all revolutions have a Marxist origin, (Cuba, Chile, Mexico, Vietnam, Korea, etc) and that Marx is indirectly responsible for such things as social security, pensions, paid holidays, unions, and scholarships. (I am enjoying a paid holiday right now. Thank you Marx!) Rius calls the publication of the Communist Manifesto one of the most important events in human history.

Marx worked as a writer but barely earned any money and mostly lived in poverty. Some of his children died in childhood. The entire focus of his life was writing about philosophy and politics. He spent the last 25 years of his life writing Das Kapital and died at his desk at age 65.

When humans first started trying to explain natural phenomena, they invented gods and magic. Some people started “using all kinds of cheap tricks” to “pass themselves off as special delegates of the gods with fantastic powers” (p38) and those people were magicians and sorcerers. “This is the way gradually an ‘upper class’ was formed, or a ruling class and a lower, or ruled class, those who let themselves be exploited and those who led fools by the nose.” (p38)

That really got me thinking. Is that how class society really formed, from people claiming to be delegates of gods and fooling others into believing it, which led to them gaining power over others? I feel like this is probably hundreds of years of history condensed into a single sentence, but this is an interesting concept. If I had more time on my hands, maybe I’d research this, but honestly this book is all the information I need at the moment.

Even modern capitalism is the same sort of deal as this. Some people come up with an idea that they can use to earn a profit, and they put it into motion, and they earn a profit through a combination of taking natural resources from the Earth and claiming ownership over them, turning them into a “product” that sells for more than the price of production, (using other people’s labor), and using advertising to convince people they should purchase the product. Just like the magicians and sorcerers from long ago, they come up with an idea that will bring them some sort of gain and implement it, and even if it is unkind toward others they feel justified in doing so. Simply being clever enough to come up with the plan and implement it is enough to justify it. If others didn’t have the idea, too bad for them.

This is where I see the conflict is between left and right. The right feels that it is acceptable and natural that those who can profit from the exploitation of the earth and other people should do so. They feel that everyone should have the freedom to do this, and if some people don’t come up with a business idea that makes millions, that’s their problem, their poverty is their own fault and it’s not up to the rich to share anything. The left feels that the land and its resources belong equally to all of us, and no matter what idea anyone has, the fruits of human labor should be shared among us and we should produce for the greater good of the community rather than for some people’s personal gain.

I don’t think this conflict is a matter of someone being right or wrong in the sense that someone’s argument can be considered logically “correct.” It’s a matter of values. Some people value personal accomplishment and personal gain and some people value equality and sharing. I often get the impression that values are a personality trait—I think we’re born with them. I had no idea if I was “right” or “left” until I was old enough to vote, and that was the first time I even started thinking about politics. As soon as I found out what they meant I knew I was on the left. Obviously what’s important is solidifying social programs and eliminating poverty. What human endeavor could be more important than that?

Okay, another thing from the book I found interesting. There has always been a dichotomy in philosophy between “religion” and “science” or in other words “idealist” and “materialist.” As Rius explains, “idealism starts by assuming the existence of super-natural and divine forces.” and “materialism considers that there is nothing beyond natural things.” (p67).

For example, as author Rius explains, Plato believed that “True knowledge of things comes neither through perception nor reason, or that is, man cannot know truth by means of science but only through “inspiration” arriving from beyond. Man cannot know things on his own, but only by the ideas God gives him of things.” (p48)

Whereas Democritus, for example, explained reality like this: “Cosmic substance is made up of an infinite number of elements or particles physically invisible, indestructible and infinite, which vary in size and shape, and are in eternal motion.” (p49)

When you think of reality as physical objects and reject spiritual inspiration as a source of truth, that eliminates the divine right of kings. That, of course, shook up the world quite a bit.

I have just now gotten to the part of the book where it’s going to be all about Marx rather than the history of philosophy. I’ve learned that understanding Marx’s work is a lifelong process. I believe you could continue to get deeper into understanding it forever. Those lefty dudes who like to yell at each other on the Internet probably don’t understand this stuff as well as they think they do.

Now that I’ve digested this portion of the book, I’m closer to being able to articulate why transgenderism is not aligned with the left, even though people keep saying it is.

The right is aligned with the old idea of “divine right of kings.” The right still believe that those with money and power, however unethically they may have gotten it, have the right to rule over/exploit others. They believe in individual freedom and rights and don’t believe in the welfare state. The right is also traditionally religious—basing their view of reality on faith and the teachings of “God.”

The left is more aligned with atheism and materialism. The left believes in human rights and the greater good. We are against the ability of the rich and powerful to exploit the less powerful. We don’t think morals should come from religion.

Transgenderism is a belief system that takes the position that one’s inner identity is more real than the physical body. This philosophical position is aligned with the religious view that we get our knowledge of things from an inspiration from beyond, rather than from the material world. Transgender politics also promotes an individual’s right to do what is best for them, other people be damned. That’s why a single man who wants to identify as a woman can make a washroom gender-neutral, and too bad for all the women who wanted that washroom—they can just deal.

I don’t believe that a person’s inner identity replaces the physical aspects of their body, because I believe we get our knowledge of reality from our senses and from study of the physical world.

When I was debating a few trans people last year I very much felt like I was debating the nature of reality. We, in fact, were. We were engaging in a thousands-of-years-old debate about where human knowledge comes from—mystical inspiration or the study of the physical world.

I remain convinced that human knowledge comes from our five senses and from study of the physical world. There is no God, and I don’t “believe in” anything I can’t see with my own eyes. Any atheist should feel the same way. To be an atheist and to believe in the politics of transgenderism is a contradiction. What I’ve demonstrated above is that transgenderism is much more aligned with the right than the left, from a philosophical standpoint. When people call transgenderism “the far left” it sounds like nails scraping on a chalkboard to me.

So next I will be reading more about Marx himself, now that I’ve had a 60-page comic-book-style summary of thousands of years of philosophy. I’m looking forward to it!

Video: My Transgender Summer Camp

This is a documentary about an American summer camp for trans kids organized by a group of their parents. Three families that go to camp are interviewed, and some of the camp activities are shown. The kids are all boys who want to be girls. What I found very notable was the constant sex stereotypes on display. “Girls” are apparently anybody who likes pink and sparkly things.

In this post I will use whatever name is used most often for the child in the film and the pronouns that correspond to their biological sex.

The first parents who are interviewed are Sabrina and Chris. They have a son named Ryan who wants to be a girl. Sabrina, says:

“Around 2 years old, we started noticing that Ryan liked pink and sparkles, and we thought that was sort of strange.” Husband Chris is then quoted saying “After a few months, realizing this isn’t some phase, my wife started researching it online and discovered this whole community of parents with children that identified as transgender even at an early age.”

The film’s narrator says “At the age of 3, Ryan’s parents finally accepted that their child is transgender.”

Ryan says: “My family didn’t understand me, because one time my grandma got me a Spiderman and Batman shirt, and I’m like, I don’t want it, and she’s like “you like them,” I’m like “no I don’t.”

After this interview, I was shocked at the fact that these parents openly admitted to finding it strange that a boy would like pink and sparkles, and that they had decided to believe their male child was a “girl” when he was only 3. What an outrageous decision to make for a toddler! A child who has a vocabulary of 200 words cannot possibly “identify as transgender.” Such a young person cannot even understand the concept.

The scene changes to the family getting ready for camp. The film’s narrator says, “Unlike many boys their age, the transgender children attending camp like dressing up as princesses and getting makeovers.”

The family is shown in a store buying supplies for camp: glitter paint, princess tiaras, and feather boas.

Sabrina says, “We have half the families coming who are new, and half who are veteran. And they walk in and they see this table full of things that they feel comfortable with, that speaks to them.”

Sabrina is shown in the store again, buying “beads and fairy dust.”

Apparently, the things that “speak to” transgender MtF children are glitter, tiaras, boas, and beads. Those particular dollar store consumer products are what make them feel comfortable as human beings. I used to go to camp when I was a little girl, and strangely, I didn’t require any of these items.

When the next family is interviewed, an 11-year-old child with long hair is displaying his makeup collection. He says: “So this is my dressing table. This is all my makeup which I use on a daily basis. Just mascara, a small amount of eyeliner and a little bit of blush sometimes.”

He is then shown in a mirror brushing his hair. The narrator explains that he “began living as a girl at the age of 2.” This boy, named “Maxi,” apparently had a visible “alternative gender identity” according to his mom, right from a young age. Mom says that Maxi was distressed when he went to school because everything was separated by “gender” and he went to sleep at night praying to become a girl.

The family is shown eating breakfast, and the other kids in the family discuss how they deal with having a brother who is pretending to be a girl. His younger sister tells lies about him having a twin, and his older brother worries about bullying and rumours.

Maxi is interviewed in his bedroom, surrounded by stereotypical girls’ toys and wearing a dress with see-through black mesh in the middle. Between the revealing dress and the makeup at age 11 I’m shocked at the over-sexualization. It’s not appropriate for an 11-year-old girl to dress like that, so I’m not sure why a boy needs to either.

And what on Earth does it mean to be “living as a girl” at age 2? Does this mean his parents wrapped him in a pink blanket? A two-year-old can’t possibly “live as” anything other than a 2-year-old child. The only thing to change about a two-year-old’s life to make him a “girl” is to buy pink consumer products for him instead of blue ones. Apparently a child’s sex is determined by which marketing campaign most appeals to him.

The documentary moves to camp, and talks about how these young boys can “finally feel free.” The narrator says “At camp, the transgender children and their families can play as they wish. But it often seems to revolve around one thing—lipstick….” Cut to pictures of little boys putting on lipstick. The narrator continues, “The camp’s activities include swimming, dressing up, and arts and crafts, all building up to the big event at the end of the week, the fashion show.”

Another child is interviewed, 8-year-old “Lindsay,” who has made his own dress. Lindsay says “It might represent Katy Perry pretending to be Pocahontas because it’s unique.” Lindsay talks about loving to sing and perform. Video footage is shown of Lindsay as a toddler, announcing that he’s a girl. He obviously has feminine mannerisms as a part of his personality. The way he moves is what I would call “flamboyant.” I completely support the idea that human beings are born with a personality that includes a certain degree of masculinity or femininity, but this does not somehow erase or cancel out a person’s sex, and there is no such thing as your degree of femininity being wrong for your body. Anyone can have any personality.

The parents have an opportunity to talk among themselves while their kids are doing camp activities. They are shown sitting in a circle and discussing their fears about their kids. The health effects of medical transition, future sterility, and their kids’ suicidal thoughts are on their minds. They seem to want what’s best for their kids.

Maxi is on puberty blockers already. His family is paying $1000 per shot for them. His mom is shown injecting him and she seems upset about it, but she doesn’t feel like she has any choice. She says “At the end of the day I have a happy child.” Right after injecting him, Maxi says: “I have this dream of my husband like taking care of me and he’s like kissing me every second.”

Then his mother talks about his femininity “It’s not always about being fabulous and beautiful and sparkly and terrific for you, it’s about being nurturing and having that kind of receptive feminine energy.”

Maxi says “Yeah, if I only cared about being extremely girly and being sparkly and outfits and everything, then I would be a gay man. But there’s this feeling inside you that you can really tell for sure, saying like “girl, girl, girl, girl, this is you who are” you know?”

This is another interview that leaves me absolutely shocked. It’s clear that both Maxi and his mother know that he is gay. He openly admits that a boy who likes being girly will grow up to be a gay man. He has fantasies about his future husband. His very flimsy excuse for why he is not gay is because he has a “feeling inside” that he is a “girl.” He has internalized homophobia around being a feminine gay boy. His mother seems so well-intentioned but she is failing to help her son get over his internalized homophobia and instead is injecting him with extremely expensive puberty blockers so that he will grow up to be a feminized, sterilized gay man with underdeveloped genitals, rather than a regular, normally-developed man. She is doing this because her child insists upon it. Apparently, a preteen with internalized homophobia is more qualified to make major medical decisions that will have an effect on his whole life than a responsible adult who has done research about the likely outcomes. I used to make flimsy excuses for why I wasn’t gay, too. Don’t we all do that when we’re scared kids?

Maxi’s dad makes the incredibly ironic comment that it’s easier to come out as gay than to come out as trans. It’s obviously not easy to come out as gay, LOOK AT WHAT IS HAPPENING TO YOUR GAY KID.

The most popular event of camp is the fashion show. They do their makeup and nails, put on fancy dresses, perform flamboyant poses on stage, and blow kisses to the crowd, while upbeat pop music plays. They are an adorable group of baby drag queens.

Even though the parents discuss their concerns about their kids’ future, and question whether they are doing the right thing, at no point is it ever mentioned that most kids with childhood gender dysphoria will desist and will turn out to be gay. There is a big, gay elephant in the room that is being erased from this picture. The parents seem concerned about their kids’ future fertility and their safety, (which they should be), but they never mention any concern about whether their kids might be happier as adults being regular gay men rather than surgically modified “women.” Is this because they are just not concerned about such a possibility or are they completely unaware of it because no gender specialist nor information package about transgenderism has ever told them? Either possibility is horrifying. There is a complete lack of concern about the possibility of children who will likely grow up to be happy gay adults being mistakenly puberty-blocked, sterilized, and permanently medically altered while they are still minors, just because it is popular these days to label a girly boy a “trans girl” and it’s forbidden to doubt this diagnosis.

I remember hearing an acquaintance remark that she knew her child was gay at age 3, and this seemed funny to me because how could a three-year-old possibly have any sexual attraction? But I think I know what she meant. Kids already have observable, unique personalities right from a young age, and their mannerisms are apparent even as toddlers. You can observe a boy’s feminine mannerisms at age 3 and guess that they indicate he will grow up to be gay. You won’t necessarily be correct, because it’s possible for someone straight or bisexual to have feminine mannerisms too. But my point is that parents used to look at their little girly boys and realize they were probably gay, and now they observe the same thing about their sons but instead label them “trans girls.” I have a suspicion that a lot of these parents actually know their sons are gay.

What I learned from watching this documentary is that the definition of a “girl” is “any child who likes pink and sparkly things, wears dresses, likes to put on lipstick, and wants to sing like Katy Perry while dancing with a feather boa.” Oh, and they have “receptive feminine energy.” (Could that comment possibly have been any more creepy coming from a mom?)

By this definition of “girl,” of course, a lot of actual females aren’t “girls.”

I also learned that today’s parents are so ridiculously, ludicrously, nauseatingly sexist that they think if their little boy likes pink and sparkly things, they need to drastically alter the course of his life because they cannot fathom that these are things that boys can like. For these sexist parents, it’s so unthinkable that their boy could put on a dress and sing a song as a boy, that they have to drive across the country to attend a special camp where everyone will pretend he’s a girl, to make it okay for him to wear a dress and sing a song.

I have a much better idea than all this. And my idea is so bloody simple that I can’t fathom why these parents can’t come up with it, too. My idea is: accept your son as he is. You have a little girly-boy baby drag queen, who will probably grow up to be gay, and that’s okay. When he likes pink and sparkly things, it’s no big deal. It’s fine. Let him dance and sing to Katy Perry. Let him dream about his future husband. Tell him it’s okay to be gay. When he says he’s a girl, tell him no, boys aren’t girls, but you can be any kind of boy you want to be. You can be a boy who likes princess tiaras and sewing your own dresses. We love you no matter what. Taking him to a camp to meet other girly boys is a fabulous idea, but don’t tell the kids they are really girls. Tell them it’s okay to be a boy like that, and that they’re not alone. Let them make friends with other boys who are like them. Help them grow into happy gay adults. Right in the goddamn DSM that’s what it says is the most likely outcome for these kids. (As long as they survive childhood without being sterilized, of course.)

An idiotic non-binary person misgenders their coworker

This amusing anecdote has been making the rounds. A site called “Ask A Manager” offers advice on how to deal with workplace issues. In one article, a non-binary person asks a question about how to deal with a person who has an issue with being called by gender neutral pronouns.

“I’m non-binary, and I have come out in both my work and my personal life. I started a full-time job after I finished college around the same time I began coming out. Everyone at work has been cool except for one person.

“Since I came out, I have been addressing people as gender-neutral [ze, hir, mx.] I do this because there are others who are non-binary like me, but they may not be out yet and I want to be respectful and make them feel safe. The one person from my work who is not cool with me being non-binary told me to address her using female pronouns. I’m not misgendering this person, I’m using gender-neutral pronouns, not incorrect ones. However, this person corrects me every time. No one else has corrected me or said anything. This person says they respect my pronouns (true) and I need to respect theirs. I thought this person was transgender and I didn’t want to offend or upset if this was the case, but when I asked they said are not, they are cisgendered.

I went to my team lead about this, but my team lead said this person is not doing anything wrong and just because they want to be addressed with female pronouns does not make them against non-binary people. I’m thinking of talking to my manager or going to HR if that doesn’t work. This person makes me uncomfortable. What should I say? When I talk to my manager, should I bring up the fact that others may also feel uncomfortable or should I only focus my own discomfort?”

*headdesk*

Has anyone else noticed that the same people who shout “MISGENDERING IS LITERAL VIOLENCE” seem to take no issue at all with misgendering people who aren’t trans? They have no problem with calling woman-identified masculine lesbians “closeted trans men” and they have no problem calling all sorts of women “cis” even though we don’t identify with the feminine gender role that was assigned to us. But call a trans person by the correct pronouns for their sex and you are “LITERALLY KILLING” them.

This non-binary person is calling a woman by gender neutral pronouns even though she identifies as a woman and uses female pronouns. Why isn’t this “misgendering”? WTF.

Apparently, this isn’t a matter of a nonbinary person trying to punish a coworker for being a “TERF,” because this woman respects the nonbinary person’s pronouns. It’s the nonbinary person not respecting her pronouns. And the nonbinary person wants to go to human resources to get someone else in trouble for what THEY are doing.

It’s time for another Liz Lemon over-the-top eye roll.