How charming

On International Women’s Day, both men and women around the world talked about women’s status in society and how to end the problems we still face, such as the wage gap and male violence against women. Danielle Muscato, a fully intact male who identifies as a “woman,” Tweeted the following message in honor of his fellow women:

“Some women have penises. If you’re bothered by this, you can suck my dick.”

Yeah, that’s totally the sort of uplifting, pro-woman message that women contribute for a day dedicated to the advancement of our status in society, and totally not what the average caveman MRA would say.

That totally proves you have a Laydee brain, rather than just a normal, everyday misogynist male brain.

Way to go, dude!

Transwomen: proving that transwomen are men every day!*

*I do not believe for a second that Muscato is actually a transwoman. He’s just a guy who likes to get attention by trolling. However, according to popular trans dogma, there is no difference between an narcissistic troll and an actual MtF transsexual—everyone who identifies as a transwoman is a transwoman! #peaktrans

What do I consider to be sexism?

This post is a continuation of this conversation.

Some definitions of sexism:

  • Discrimination based on sex, especially discrimination against women.
  • Attitudes, conditions, or behaviors that promote stereotyping of social roles based on sex.
  • The belief that people of one sex are inherently superior to people of the other sex.
  • Disadvantage or unequal opportunity arising from the cultural dominance of one sex over the other.
  • Promotion or expectation or assumption of people to behave in accordance with a gender role.

There is a long history of discrimination against women as a result of our lower status in patriarchy; this has been documented and fought against by feminists for more than a hundred years. Men have invented reasons to discriminate against women based on our reproductive sex. Because we are the sex that can give birth to children, men have traditionally believed that women are necessarily and universally nurturing and emotional and must be kept in the home as wives and mothers. They have believed that because of our nature as women, we are not fit to do things like vote, own property, drive, make household decisions, work outside the home, play sports, get an education, work in the professions, and self-direct our own lives.

In some locations, sexism as noted in the above examples still exists; in other locations, women can at least vote, own property, drive, and earn our own money, thanks to the feminist movement, although we still don’t earn quite as much money as men—there is still a wage gap. Women are still expected to perform the socially constructed social role of femininity whether it personally suits us or not, and it often doesn’t. We are expected to look “pretty”, be “nice,” do a lot of unpaid care work, and accommodate men’s needs in every area. It is still socially acceptable for men to sexually harass, sexually abuse, and rape women, since the men who do these things are rarely ever punished by law or even by social disapproval. In fact, an extremely sexist man can still be elected President of the United States even in this day and age.

I was asked why I consider some things sexism and not others. For example, why is it sexist when women are denied job opportunities but not when women are denied the right to use the men’s washroom? Why is it sexist to say that “blue is for boys” but not sexist to say that “he/him pronouns are for boys”?

There are two parts to my answer. The first part is that discrimination against a person on the basis of her sex occurs when something that a person reasonably needs or should have access to is withheld for no reason other than subjective and unfounded bias against people of her sex. The second part is that it’s sexism to withhold something with the intention or effect of enforcing sex stereotypes. However, it’s not sexism when someone reasonably withholds something that a person doesn’t need or can’t reasonable have.

Let’s look at some examples using children’s toys, since the “blue balloon” example has already come up. When you tell a girl child that she cannot have a blue balloon because blue is “for boys”, that is sexism because it’s reinforcing sex stereotypes. Obviously she can live without a balloon, but this is teaching her that certain things are “for boys” and other things are “for girls,” which is a harmful message. This sex-stereotyping is rooted in the social roles that are enforced on girls and boys, femininity and masculinity, and these social roles are coming from a system of discrimination against women. The reason certain toys, games, activities, mannerisms, speech patterns, behaviours, and appearances are “for girls” is because they work together to enforce the fact that girls are supposed to be quiet, pleasant, nice, nurturing, soft, emotional, and frivolous, and the reason patriarchy wants us this way is because it keeps us subservient to men. Teaching kids that only boys are good at certain things/can be interested in certain things and only girls are good at certain things/are interested in certain things is intended to lead to them becoming adults who discriminate on the basis of sex. On a systemic level, that sex discrimination favors men and disadvantages women.

However, if a girl wants 100 new toys for her birthday, and a parent says no, that’s not sexism, because it’s not related to sex stereotypes or discrimination in any way, it’s just setting a reasonable limit. The parent would presumably do the same thing for a child of either sex. If a boy says he wants to jump off a cliff to see if he can fly, and a parent says no, that’s not sexism, because it’s not related to sex stereotypes or sex discrimination, it’s just setting a reasonable limit that would be necessary for any child.
Sexism isn’t just any instance of telling a person “no” for any reason, sexism is when someone is being unreasonably limited in their life opportunities because of their sex or when an arbitrary rule is set just to enforce harmful sex stereotypes on people in order to enforce sex inequality.

I have been asked “isn’t it sexism to tell girls/women they cannot use he/him pronouns just because they’re women?”

For heaven’s sake, no! In order to prove that it’s sexist to tell women they can’t call themselves he/him, you’d have to first prove that calling oneself he/him is a life opportunity that women should reasonably have, or that calling a woman she/her enforces sex stereotypes on women. Neither of these premises is true. The reason girls/women are referred to by female pronouns is not to enforce standards of femininity on women and limit their role in society, it’s to communicate clearly. The use of grammatically correct, coherent language when speaking is not an issue of sex stereotyping or sex discrimination. There is no harm to anyone in clear communication. Girls and women do not need an opportunity to describe themselves inaccurately; this is not some sort of life experience we are being denied. Girls and women are called girls and women because that’s what we are, and we don’t need opportunities to call ourselves boys or men any more than we need opportunities to call ourselves giraffes or toasters.

I can already hear the question being asked, “But what about dysphoria? Don’t you think people should be able to manage their dysphoria the way they think is best?” The simple answer is yes, people can do whatever the hell they want. This is where I have to bring up again the difference between neoliberal politics and radical politics. Neoliberals believe in the agency and free choice of the individual, and their analysis basically stops there. Radicals believe in class analysis and material changes to benefit large groups of oppressed people. While there may be some women who feel they benefit from pretending to be men, that’s not a “right” that women as a class need access to, it’s just a coping mechanism that a few people engage in. Radical feminists are not a cheerleading section to validate every choice every woman makes, we are a group of women dedicated to liberating the entire female sex class from oppression, and we consider what is best for women as a group, not for specific individuals in specific situations. There are plenty of coping mechanisms women engage in that they probably feel are helpful to them that I would not support. I wouldn’t support an anorexic woman’s choice to starve herself, or a traumatized woman’s choice to cut herself, or a small-breasted woman’s choice to get breast implants. I reserve the right to disagree with individual people’s choices if they appear unhealthy to me, and that includes cutting off healthy body parts, injecting artificial hormones for a lifetime, and incorrectly calling herself a man. I am not going to stop anyone from getting cosmetic surgery and calling themselves anything they want, because I am not about policing people’s choices, but I have a right to disagree and to state the reasons for my disagreement. I also have a point to make about the way it affects women as a class when gender nonconforming women call themselves something other than women. This reinforces the harmful construct of femininity on women because it implies that women who aren’t feminine aren’t women. This harms women as a class, even if a few individuals may find it to be a helpful coping mechanism.

Then there’s the issue of sex segregation in certain spaces, such as washrooms, locker rooms, and Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts. Is it sex discrimination to deny a person access to a facility meant for one sex?

In order to decide whether it’s discrimination, you have to look at what the facility is for and why the sexes are being segregated. Traditionally women have been denied entry to institutions such as colleges, sports teams, and certain fields of employment, by men who hold discriminatory ideas about women, and we still face some discrimination such as this in some places. Men’s rights activists like to complain about the rare women-only institutions that exist and that this is unfair to them, because they deliberately ignore the fact that these spaces were set up to correct an imbalance due to the historical discrimination against women by men. When women are denied entry to entire professions such as law or medicine on the basis that men believe women are “unfit” for roles other than mother/housewife, that is sex discrimination.

However, sex-segregated washrooms are there in order to allow women’s participation in public life, not to prevent it. In order to use public facilities such as gyms for example, women need a space where there are no men in order to change, shower and pee. This is because we do not feel safe or comfortable undressing in the presence of men, who have a tendency to see us as sexual prey and to harass and assault us.

Similarly, if kids are going to a sleep-away camp or staying in cabins or bunks, sex-segregated facilities are required for activities that involve undressing. Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts could do lots of the same camp activities, and could intermingle in many situations, but they require separate sleeping and bathing facilities for safety and privacy.

I don’t believe that men and boys are particularly keen on having women and girls in their washrooms or locker rooms either. Although they generally aren’t in physical danger from women, they may not feel comfortable undressing in front of them, and that’s okay, they don’t have to. Men and boys also have the right to privacy when undressing.

The reason there are separate facilities for men and women for activities that involve undressing is to allow both sexes to comfortably and safely use facilities, therefore this is the opposite of sex discrimination.

People who are masculine women or feminine men may fear public washrooms due to people’s negative, discriminatory, or violent behavior toward them; this is a legitimate problem that should be taken seriously. One remedy is to increase the use of gender neutral facilities alongside men’s and women’s facilities, or to construct singer-user, fully-enclosed unisex toilets. It would also be helpful to eliminate sex stereotypes and homophobia, because usually when someone is harassed in a washroom it’s because they are perceived as not looking the way a man or woman “should” look or because they appear to be homosexual. It is not acceptable, however, to completely desegregate shared facilities so that there is no safety and privacy for women anywhere; this is in fact discrimination against women, because it effectively prevents us from accessing facilities. I would support trans activists in the fight for gender neutral facilities if they were going about their activism in a way that recognizes women’s needs as well as their own, but sadly, they don’t give a shit about women.

If I were in charge, I’d create municipal laws saying that any new public building being built and any existing public building doing renovations must ensure there are three separate washroom/changeroom facilities for both men, women, and gender neutral, so that we can move toward accommodating everyone. This three-washroom setup is designed so that only biological women may use the women’s facility and men who identify as women must use the gender neutral facility. This allows everyone safety and privacy in the washroom. Transwomen need to understand that, while they have the right to access public facilities, they do not have the right to impose upon biological women in women-only spaces or have their identities validated by same.

Getting back to what I said above, it’s not sexism when someone reasonably withholds something that a person doesn’t need or can’t reasonably have. Men don’t need access to women’s washrooms, nor do women need access to men’s washrooms. As long as both sexes are provided with washrooms, neither sex is being deprived of anything. Neither men nor women need opportunities to lie about themselves and pretend they are the opposite sex either. This is something people do because they have an illness,(or in some cases a sexual fetish or a desire to be special), and I disagree that denying reality and depriving women of safety and privacy is the correct way to deal with an illness or indulge in a fetish.

Since transgenderists reinforce traditional sex stereotypes about women and men, (liking pink and sparkly things makes you a girl!) and attempt to deprive women of participation in public life by eliminating our safe use of facilities, they are in fact sexist. Although I am in favor of reasonable, reality-based accommodations for people with gender dysphoria, I am going to push back against the sexism that is being directed at women by the trans community, because as a feminist, I primarily care about women.

The conversation continues about the “gender quest”

This post continues the conversation about a “Gender Quest Workbook” that I criticized here. You’ll need to read that post in order to understand this one.

Skepto said: “I read the definitions of gender you quoted somewhat differently.
Their explicit definitions, which you agreed with, didn’t say that masculinity and femininity were genders, but that gender was “how your identity, or sense of self, relates to masculinity and femininity”, and that’s not a binary concept. For example, if we measure “relating” on a single 10-point scale (from 1 = “don’t relate at all”, to 10 = “relate completely”), it’s possible to relate to masculinity at 4 and femininity at 9, to masculinity at 3 and femininity at 2, to masculinity at 8 and femininity at 7, and so on. A 10-point-scale alone would yield a hundred different gender identities.
And the reality gets much more complicated, because we don’t have single 10-point-scale for relating: it’s e.g. possible to relate to one element of femininity very strongly and to another not at all, and it’s possible to have ambivalent feelings about various elements, and those feelings are likely to shift over time, and everyone’s conceptualization of femininity and masculinity are somewhat different (depending on culture, subculture, individual experiences, role models, etc.), and the relations might shift over time in recognizable patterns (they’re likely to shift overall, along with the concepts of femininity and masculinity, but not necessarily in patterns).
So saying that there are as many genders as people doesn’t contradict the notion of gender as how one relates to (the binary concepts) femininity and masculinity – it just means there are as many different ways to relate to them as there are people. It’s not necessary to make a separate concept of -inity for every gender to recognize there are more genders than we have concepts for. (As an analogy: we also don’t have names for every possible wavelength of light, but that doesn’t mean there are only as many wavelengths as we have color names for.)”

After reading this, it looks to me like you are defining gender as personality. I don’t think you’re saying gender and personality are exactly the same thing, but that gender is one part of the personality—the part that relates to masculinity and femininity. I agree that all people relate to masculinity and femininity in individual ways, and we either identify with or feel uncomfortable with different aspects of each. I also agree that the way we relate to masculinity and femininity can be an inborn personality trait that one cannot change. I have a couple of points to make about that:

  1. If every person identifies with or feels uncomfortable with different aspects of masculinity and femininity, then why is this a significant thing? Like, if every person experiences this, then it’s just a part of human nature, so it doesn’t warrant being specially recognized. Why do some people need to go around saying they have a “gender” if “gender” is just an element of personality that we all have? It looks to me like this is just people going around unnecessarily announcing their personalities to people. I could go around asking people to identify me as an introvert and bookworm but why would I do that? If people get to know me they’ll recognize my personality. If they don’t know me, then it doesn’t concern them what my personality type is. If gender is an element of personality then I don’t see why it’s more important than any other aspect of personality or why it needs to be made into a big huge deal. I can identify the ways that I relate to masculinity and femininity too, and I could label it with a gender label, but why? Anyone who interacts with me will be able to tell how I like to present myself, what sorts of things I’m interested in, what colours I like, what mannerisms I have, etc, and this will be obvious even in the absence of a “gender” label that I may attach to it. I suppose you are going to say that we need to know people’s gender so that we can know their pronouns, or something? But we refer to people based on their sex, not their gender, and people of either sex can have any relationship to masculinity and femininity and that doesn’t affect their biological sex.
  2. If every person has their own unique relationship to masculinity and femininity, then I don’t think there can possibly be a dichotomy between “cis” and “trans.” If everyone has their own unique gender, then these categories are pretty useless.
  3. If gender is an aspect of personality, then why does anyone need to modify their body in order to express it? Can’t anyone express their personality in the body they already have? The whole point of transgenderism is to align the body with the “gender.” As long as people are defining gender as personality, then it’s clear to me that transgenderists believe that certain personalities go with certain bodies, and that bodies that don’t match the personality must be changed. I find this outrageous and also sexist. Anyone, male or female, can have any personality, and to suggest otherwise is to limit what people can do on the basis of their sex. Usually the reason someone perceives that their body doesn’t match their personality is because they are female-bodied and masculine or male-bodied and feminine. The fact that this is viewed as a problem that needs to be fixed means they hold the sexist belief that women must be feminine and men must be masculine. The social roles of masculinity and femininity exist to keep men and women in a hierarchy and uphold patriarchy.
  4. I don’t think you usually define gender as personality. I think you normally define gender as something along the lines of a person’s lived role as man or woman, or perhaps the “social category” they live in. The reason I think so is that you consider your gender to be “man” although you are not biologically male, so the gender “man” is the social category or lived role that you experience. So do you think that gender is both a social category and the way we relate to masculinity/femininity? Some interesting questions emerge when we consider that “gender” could mean both the “social category of man or woman” and “the way we relate to masculinity and femininity.” It seems to me that if the way we relate to masculinity and femininity is the same thing as our social role, then our social role is in fact determined by the way we relate to masc/fem. I think what this boils down to is that someone who identifies with masculinity is necessarily in the social category of “man” regardless of their biology and that someone who identifies with femininity is in the social category of “woman,” regardless of their biology. It seems really fishy to me that there would be any connection at all between someone’s identification with masc/fem and someone’s lived social category as man/woman. If there is any connection between these two things, then what this is all about is enforcing masculinity on men and femininity on women by asserting that anyone masculine must live in the social category “man” and vice versa. If this isn’t about making sure everyone in the category “man” is masculine and everyone in the category “woman” is feminine, then why are people being encouraged to identify how they relate to masc/fem and then change their bodies to match? And if you don’t think that gender is both a social category and the way we relate to masculinity/femininity, then you must either disagree with the definition offered by this book or with the definition often in use by transgenderists.
  5. From what I understand, you didn’t decide you were a trans man because you felt you were masculine, but because you felt you were male. You were born with a brain that clicks with maleness, and this isn’t about identifying with the social construct of masculinity. You can correct me if I’m wrong. If this is the way you understand transsexualism, then why would masculinity and femininity have anything to do with it at all? If an FtM transsexual is born with a brain that identifies with maleness, rather than masculinity, then why would it be useful at all to explore how you relate to masculinity and femininity when determining your “gender” (lived social category as man or woman). Why didn’t this book, (and trans people in general,) talk about identifying how you relate to maleness or femaleness rather than how you relate to masculinity and femininity? No matter which way it’s explained, it seems to me that transgenderists are equating masculinity with maleness and femininity with femaleness. If transsexualism was just about the brain “clicking with” the biological aspects of male and female and NOT about the brain clicking with the social constructs of masculinity and femininity then the way this gender book was written, and the way trans people often talk, would be completely different. I maintain that it’s okay for men to be feminine and for women to be masculine, and this is not a problem and doesn’t need to be fixed. When feminine men and masculine women experience discomfort it’s due to sexism coming from society, and the correct way to go about fixing this is to eradicate sexism.

Skepto said: “And I’m continually fascinated/confused by what you do and don’t consider sexism. Why do you count being forbidden from participating in the Boy Scouts as sexism, but wouldn’t count being forbidden from other sex-/gender-specific settings (from sports to bathrooms to certain events, e.g. a lesbian party)? I mean, sure, those are just for women, but the Boy Scouts are for boys (like the name says) – why wouldn’t that argument count for you? When is sex segregation justified in your eyes and when isn’t it? (I imagine the answer might be protection, but surely you’re aware that the same argument has been and is still being made to prohibit women from lots of activities and spaces – just think of women in combat, and segregation in Saudi Arabia.)”

I’m working on a post regarding ‘what I consider to be sexism.’ Because it’s another 2000 word essay I’m going to publish it separately, hopefully tomorrow. [Update: sexism post here.]

Skepto said: “I have the same question about pronouns and clothing. You’ve said pronouns are there to communicate etc., but can’t clothing and balloon colors and toys also communicate one’s sex? Especially children do typically get read based on those factors, since there are hardly any physical differences in (pre-pubescent) children.
(Incidentally, one of the earliest stories about me relating to gender is one in which I was upset at being addressed with female-gendered language, specifically, being referred to as [female astronaut] rather than [male astronaut]. I don’t get why “blue balloons are for boys” is sexist, but “this word is just for boys and you can’t use it for yourself” is not.)”

I’m partially responding to this here (below) and partially in my other post about sexism.

Skepto said: “It might also be worth noting that playing around with one’s gender expression and exploring one’s gender identity certainly doesn’t have to involve hormones or body modifications of any kind. Thinking about gendered physical aspects (that is, aspects considered masculine or feminine) and what attributes one would like to have can be valuable in getting a clearer idea of how one relates to femininity and masculinity, but no gender identity requires making changes.”

I’m surprised to see the phrase “no gender identity requires making changes.” Then why do so many trans people consider it imperative that they be given hormones and surgeries and make it sound like they will die if they don’t get it? Then why is the DSM-5 section on gender dysphoria specifically formulated to offer a diagnosis so that people can get transgender-related body modifications covered by their insurance? I would actually agree that no gender identity requires making changes—you can relate to masculinity and femininity any way you want without changing anything about yourself. But the point of trans activism seems to be to convince everyone that making physical changes is imperative.

I said, in the first gender quest post: “So I really gotta ask, if transgenderism is simply about correcting an inborn neurological disorder and is not about trying to fit into social ideas of masculinity/femininity, why have a group of three gender experts, at least one of whom is actually trans, written a book in which they guide young people to discover their gender by considering their degree of masculinity/femininity, their personality, and sexism, if transgenderism is not about these things? If transgenderism is about correcting a neurological disorder, why isn’t that what they talk about here?”

Skepto said: “I’m not sure how to parse this. I mean, I might differ from what you consider transgenderists in the extent to which I think being trans is innate. But a trait being innate and relating to social ideas is not mutually exclusive: there are certainly social ideas about e.g. being introverted vs. extroverted, but that doesn’t mean introversion and extroversion don’t have genetical/innate components. I believe it’s much the same with maleness/femaleness: there may be an innate component to how one’s brain relates to certain physical features that happen to be connected to social ideas of masculinity/femininity. (And there’s a feedback loop going on here as well, where being able to get closer to other things considered masculine/feminine helps with the disconnect from these physical features, hence the lessening of dysphoria with gender-appropriate pronouns.)”

Fair enough, but I have a chicken/egg question here: does the person identify with the social aspects of masculinity because their brain connects with maleness or does their brain connect with maleness because they identify with social aspects of masculinity? Transmasculine folks always say that they hated wearing a dress, would cry and scream when they were made to wear a dress, wanted to play with the boys, etc. Their parents (and everyone else for that matter) kept telling them “you can’t do that because you’re a girl” and so they grew up hating being a girl and had repeated thoughts about how everything would be better if they were male. Then over time, I believe what happens is the brain learns to keep going back to that feeling of wanting a male body until it feels like just an automatic/innate feeling rather than a conscious thought, and she believes she was just born inherently needing to be male.

From what I understand from this comment, and from your position in general, a person’s brain innately relates to physical features of being male or female, so for example, someone’s brain might innately relate to having either breasts or a flat chest. If transgenderism is about relating to maleness or femaleness, rather than relating to the social construct of masculinity and femininity, then wouldn’t a better prompt for getting people to think about this be a prompt where learners are guided to think about what body parts they identify with, rather than what cultural stereotypes (blue/pink balloons) they identify with?

Your example about the astronauts is really handy. I don’t know any more about the situation than what you said, but to illustrate a point, let’s say that you were told that both men and women could be astronauts, and you still felt that “male astronaut” felt like a better fit for you. This is at least closer to being an indication of an innate gender identity than the balloon example, because the balloon example is just straight-up stupid sexism. However, I still can’t rule out sexism from the astronaut example because maybe you had an underlying belief that male astronauts were better or more valid than female astronauts, because you had previously learned sexist ideas in other contexts? Sometimes these underlying attitudes are buried deep and you’re not even aware of them. So while there is no proof of sexism here, we also can’t rule it out.

This reminds me of a story I heard from a transwoman whose presentation I attended a few years ago. She talked about being in first grade and the boys and girls in her class had to line up in separate lines for the girls’ and boys’ bathrooms. She kept getting into the girls’ line and the teacher kept telling her to get back into the boys’ line. She said she felt confused because she assumed she belonged in the girls’ line and didn’t know why people kept telling her to get into the boys’ line. This is the sort of story where gender dysphoria is obvious, but sexism isn’t explicitly obvious. Since the boys and girls are being treated the same, both being allowed to line up for the bathroom at the same time, and both having access to a similar facility, there is nothing sexist going on, but the person still felt she should be in the girls’ line. However, even though there is no explicit sexism in this story, the question remains as to why this little boy felt so strongly he was a girl. A lot of transwomen say things like they liked pink and sparkly things and wanted to wear girls’ clothes. Did this little boy conclude he was a girl because he liked pink and sparkly things, and because he was taught that only girls like pink and sparkly things? Because if so, then what he has isn’t an innate female gender identity but a reaction to the sexism being directed at him.

So getting back to the examples in the gender book, why didn’t they use prompts such as your astronaut story or this lining up for the bathroom story that make gender dysphoria obvious but that don’t explicitly point to sexism? If I were trying to promote transgenderism as an innate gender identity that isn’t just a reaction to sexism, then I would make sure my examples, questions and prompts contained no obvious signs of sexism and that they only pointed to examples of dysphoria that could not be easily connected to sexism or any social factors. If I am to take them seriously as academics and as writers and activists, then I’m going to assume they deliberately chose these examples because they are good indicators of gender dysphoria. If being uncomfortable when you are told you can’t have a blue balloon because they are “for boys” is a good indicator of gender dysphoria, then gender dysphoria is when an individual responds with discomfort to the sexism people are directing at them. The cure for this is not to change the body, it’s to challenge sexism.

If gender dysphoria is an innate condition that has nothing to do with social causes such as sexism and homophobia, then the prompt to get someone thinking about their early experiences recognizing their gender dysphoria would look more like this:

“Can you remember the first time you strongly and inexplicably felt that the physical aspects of your body were the wrong ones and that you should have the physical aspects of the opposite sex?”

This sort of question would lead only people with gender dysphoria to think of an example and most people would not have one. (Well, they might if they have some sort of other body dysmorphic disorder.)

I’m not trying to imply that you do know or that you should know the thought process or motivations of the authors of this particular book, or that you are responsible for what they wrote. I’m only trying to point out that when trans people discuss why they believe they are trans or what a gender identity is, they often implicate sexism and homophobia in what they say. I’ve given many examples of this happening over the last few months, in various posts, and this is just one of them. I am always interested in hearing from people who believe they have an innate gender identity and who debate in good faith to see if they agree or disagree with comments of transgenderists who implicate sexism and homophobia in the reasons they are trans.

So far, the evidence I’m seeing is overwhelming that the reasons women (or people AFAB as you might call them) transition is due to being uncomfortable with being female because of the sexism and homophobia directed at them. I disagree with transition as a strategy because it leaves the system of patriarchy intact and what we should be doing instead is ending sexism, misogyny, and homophobia by ending patriarchal oppression of women.

I would expect that if there is anyone out there AFAB who merely has a neurological disorder or a brain that innately clicks with maleness and if this condition is clearly not rooted in social causes such as sexism or homophobia, then she would probably not agree with the majority of assertions made by the trans community—because they are implicating sexism and homophobia constantly as the reasons for being trans, and they are constantly perpetrating sexism and homophobia in their activism. I would expect that someone with such a neurological disorder, who is against sexism and homophobia, would probably be completely horrified with the current state of trans activism since it’s so harmful to women and her views would probably be very similar to mine.

Women kicked out of women’s shelter for objecting to the presence of a man

From Global News, Concerns over transgender client at Okanagan shelter by Klaudia Van Emmerik.

“Two women are raising concerns about the latest person to move into a Kelowna homeless shelter for women.“He wants to become a woman, I mean that is his choice but when a man comes into a women’s shelter who still has a penis and genitals he has more rights than we do.” Tracey said. Tracey is upset that she was made to share a room with a transgender individual, a man transitioning to become a woman. “They told me, sorry if a person identifies themselves with female, then we have to go with that.” Tracey said. Another client named Blaine was also staying at the shelter. She recently fled from an abusive relationship and says she’s uncomfortable with a transgender person staying at women’s only facility. “Some women have had bad experiences with men so they are fleeing men and now we have a man living there,” Blaine said.

The shelter is run by the NOW Canada Society. While the organization declined an interview on the matter, it did issue the following statement to Global News. “NOW Canada cannot speak to specific cases. It is against the law to discriminate against transgender individuals. NOW Canada and other shelters in Kelowna welcome people without regard to age, race, religion and gender identity.”

On Thursday morning, both Blaine and Tracey were asked to leave the shelter for good after speaking to the media and breaking the confidentiality agreement designed to protect the safety of all the clients. But now they say their safety has been compromised after being tossed out on the street. “Hopefully we will stay safe,” Blaine said. Despite being kicked out of the shelter, they don’t regret speaking out and fighting for their rights. But they say more needs to be done to help the transgender population too. “We need to make a fine line between the distinction of male, female and transgender. I think it’s all three different groups,” Blaine said. “I feel bad for this person, they are transitioning but they need to be in a place where they can associate with other people like them.” While everyone is just looking for a safe place to stay, it’s not as easy as it sounds. NOW Canada says its shelters don’t have enough space to allow transgender clients to have their own room and there are no shelters in the Okanagan designated specifically for transgender people. It all means there are no quick or easy solutions in sight.”

Gender identity legislation means that any male who declares himself a woman will be able to access women-only facilities such as washrooms, locker rooms, and shelters, without even having transgender surgery. This effectively means that fully-intact males can now enter spaces that are supposed to be designated women-only. Women are not comfortable sharing bedrooms, showers, and washrooms with strange men and we shouldn’t have to be. Women fleeing male violence should not be subjected to being forced to share intimate spaces with men. It is pure misogyny to attempt to force women to disregard their own boundaries and their sense of safety in order to accommodate men who mistakenly call themselves women. Men are not women, and we all know this. All women have good reason not to support transgender ideology—it’s not because we’re “bigots,” it’s because we are allowed to recognize our own needs and fight for our own rights as women.

Book Review: Tomboy Survival Guide

Last weekend I went to the library to browse through the queer books and I came across Tomboy Survival Guide by Ivan Coyote. I’ve heard other people say this book is good so I thought I should check it out. Coyote is an accomplished writer and speaker and a queer Canadian icon. Tomboy Survival Guide is their latest book, published in 2016.

Coyote is a talented storyteller who writes in a vulnerable way, heart exposed, and I was drawn in immediately. By the second chapter I already had tears running down my cheeks. The title suggests that this book is a guide for tomboys, but what it actually is is a memoir that is as much about family as it is about gender. The stories are about growing up as a tomboy, being a butch lesbian, and being a trans person, and they are also about being from a loving family from Whitehorse, Yukon—a family that remains important and valuable throughout the author’s life. Western Canada provides a beautiful backdrop for Coyote’s stories, whether it’s the Yukon or British Columbia.

I have been enjoying the book immensely over the past week while simultaneously struggling with the question of how I can review a book by someone who I support on some levels but who has very different political beliefs from me. Coyote is pro-trans, and is against my kind of feminism. Reading through their twitter account recently told me that Coyote calls women “TERFs.”  I cannot discuss this book without addressing this political divide and I can’t get very far into a discussion of their work without making a decision about pronoun use.

Coyote’s pronouns are “they/them” but I do not agree that a butch lesbian should be called ‘they.’ Calling a female human ‘they’ is supposed to imply that she is not female, but is instead somewhere in between, and it disappears the difference between gender and sex. A butch lesbian is biologically female and has a masculine gender. I don’t believe it’s right to imply that a non-feminine woman is not a woman at all—that reinforces the idea that all women must be feminine or else they aren’t women. The idea that all women must be feminine or else they aren’t women is one of the things that harms all of us. I think that when you agree that a masculine woman isn’t a woman, you are agreeing with the bullies who think she’s not okay the way she is.

I believe with all my heart that the way to support a butch lesbian is to respect her masculine gender and her femaleness, and to appreciate them both as integral parts of her that are both significant in making her who she is, and to maintain that being female and masculine isn’t a contradiction that needs to be resolved but something to honour and respect as it is. I think that calling her “they” to erase her femaleness does the same thing that straight women do when they tell her she doesn’t belong in the women’s washroom: it’s kicking her out of womanhood because she doesn’t fit the feminine standard.

With all that in mind, I know that if I were to support Coyote by calling her “she” it would be taken as me not supporting her because she uses “they.” Therefore I am going to use a mix of pronouns to acknowledge both my position and hers. It is my intention here to promote their work and their voice without letting go of my own perspective.

Whenever I read a book written by a butch, I see my own partner among the pages. Coyote’s book really hit home for me because she is a Canadian lesbian and so are my partner and I. In fact, I know that we have mutual acquaintances and some of my friends have seen her perform.

One of the first stories Coyote told of her tomboy nature was being in swimming lessons as a kid and wearing only the bottom half of her bathing suit and allowing everyone to think she was a boy. My partner did the exact same thing when she was a kid, wearing swim trunks to the community pool because that’s what she felt comfortable in, and she kept doing that until the boys were harassing her and the lifeguard told her she had to put a top on. She was not happy about this.

Near the opening of the book Coyote wrote a wonderful description of being a tomboy. It’s not about consciously rejecting the feminine and trying to be masculine, it’s about having something different about you that exists in your personality and in your very bones that you would not be able to change even if you dressed in women’s clothes.

“I didn’t not want to be a girl because I had been told that they were weaker or somehow lesser than boys. It was never that simple. I didn’t even really actively not want to be like the other girls. I just knew. I just knew that I wasn’t. I couldn’t. I would never be. (p14)”

Later on when they described attending college to learn Electricity and Industrial Electronics I saw my partner in the pages again. One of the only two women among hundreds of men, they endured harassment from their classmates despite being excellent in the program.

It can be a minefield navigating the world as a masculine woman because you never know how people are going to interpret you or treat you. Coyote wrote about times when she was “one of the guys” and times when she was “one of the girls.” Although some of their college classmates harassed them horribly, they recalled a positive memory of one classmate asking their advice on how to do something nice for his wife. In that moment, Coyote was not a failure of a woman but an expert on womanhood.

Although it wasn’t the least bit funny for her at the time, I laughed when she recalled the time when a guy managing a tourist destination, hot springs in a cave, made her wear a women’s swimsuit while calling her “sir.” Sometimes people get hilariously mixed up when they encounter an ambiguous-looking person.

Four years before writing this book, and already in their forties, Coyote had top surgery. They called this decision “the healthy, happy thing for me to do,” (p170) even though it caused them to completely lose feeling in their nipples. They describes the numbness in a very poignant paragraph:

“They are beyond numb. They feel nothing. Sometimes I think I can feel the flesh underneath them, maybe I can feel pressure there, maybe. But I can’t feel her fingertips or her tongue, or her teeth. I can’t feel the cold lake or the warm sun either.” (p151)

Is it really a fair trade, to get the chest you want but lose feeling in your nipples?

It’s interesting that Coyote says the following:

“But my day-to-day struggles are not so much between me and my body. I am not trapped in the wrong body. I am trapped in a world that makes very little space for bodies like mine. (p170–171)”

I fully agree with this. No one is trapped in the wrong body. It’s not their bodies that need to change, it’s the way they are being treated that needs to change. It’s important to locate the problem correctly. Don’t blame something on your body when it’s not your body’s fault.

Throughout much of the book, Coyote doesn’t mention being trans, because in her childhood and young adulthood she didn’t have a trans identity yet. Near the end of the book, the trans issue starts to come up. She wrote about getting hate mail from both conservatives and radical feminists regarding her writing on transgender bathroom use. She reports both groups of people saying the same thing in their hate mail, which is:

“No offense, but, if I had to share a woman’s washroom with someone who looks like you, I would feel…uncomfortable.

And…

“Why don’t you just use the men’s room? (p224)”

Although I am a radical feminist, this quote does not represent my position at all. It’s not what anyone in my own circle of feminists says, either. We don’t want to see butch women kicked out of the women’s washroom, we think all women belong there. We aren’t uncomfortable around butch women. Some of us, like me, love butch women. We also think that single-occupant washrooms are a good idea in order to accommodate gender nonconforming people, or anyone who wants to pee alone. We don’t think that trans people should be kicked out of all the bathrooms. We don’t think women should be forced into the men’s room. I don’t know who emailed her, but they didn’t say anything close to what I would have said. My position is that everyone should be accommodated in washrooms, without forgetting that allowing the entire world into the women’s washroom does not properly accommodate women. Overly-broad gender identity laws that are based on self-declaration and no objective criteria allows anyone to announce they’re a woman and enter the washroom. This is not good policy.

There is another part of the book where Coyote’s pro-trans position bothers me. She printed a letter from a mother whose teenage daughter is transitioning to male. The teen first identified as a lesbian and then identified as trans. Coyote wrote a response to the mother which spoke of her daughter as if she were truly her son and would grow up to be a man. She didn’t leave any room for the fact that this teen could actually be a lesbian. That’s what you do when you believe in transgender politics, is immediately affirm someone’s trans identity and ignore the fact that the person is actually homosexual. Only a so-called “trans exclusive radical feminist” like me can see what is really happening here. An adult lesbian is refusing to call herself a lesbian, preferring to label herself as something other than a woman, and is affirming a younger lesbian who is doing the same. This is absolutely tragic. This is not what I want for the lesbian community. I want lesbians to be able to proudly declare their lesbian identity without falling prey to the ancient homophobic idea that lesbians are really men or that we’re failed women. I want us to carve out space for all different kinds of women to be ourselves without shame, and to show the world that women are diverse and beautiful in our differences. If it were me giving advice, I would have left the door open to this young woman actually being a lesbian and validated what she is probably feeling without jumping right onto the trans train.

For the most part, I loved Tomboy Survival Guide, and I would definitely recommend it. I was very moved by her stories and I thought the book was exquisitely written. I always appreciate hearing about what life is like for little tomboys who grow up to be butch. My criticism is that because of her pro-trans position, her writing is not as lesbian-positive as it could be. What I always hope to see in any book written by a lesbian is a positive lesbian identity and a pro-woman stance.

I went on a ‘gender quest’

I read the first two chapters of the Gender Quest Workbook—A guide for teens & young adults exploring gender identity. It was written by Rylan Testa, PhD, Deborah Coolhart, PhD and Jayme Peta, MA. They haven’t specifically named their gender identities, but judging from their appearance in their photos and the use of pronouns, Testa appears to be a trans man and Peta appears to be a woman who identifies as something other than a woman (I say that because pronouns are entirely avoided for her) and Coolhart appears to be a regular woman with no apparent transgender identity.

I have identified three different ways that The Gender Quest Workbook defines gender.

They explicitly define it on page 5:

“Gender is (1) how you express masculinity, femininity, or for most people, some mix of the two and (2) how your identity, or sense of self, relates to masculinity and femininity.”

I entirely agree with this definition. This is pretty much the same definition of gender that John Money wrote and since he coined the term, his definition can be considered the correct one. I will also add here that I agree with this concept—people do have a natural degree of masculinity or femininity as part of their personalities. Of course, if gender roles were abolished we would no longer describe people’s personalities as masculine or feminine. Personality traits would still exist but we wouldn’t refer to them in terms of these social constructs.

Only a few sentences down, they define gender again, although I’m not sure if they were aware that they were defining it again.

“In our view, there are about as many different gender identities as there are people. The options are infinite.”

What they’ve done here is equated the word gender with personality. The thing that is unique to each individual and exists in infinite possibilities is personality.

If gender is masculinity and femininity, then there are only two genders, which exist along a continuum, with people falling somewhere in between. These points along the continuum are not something altogether different from masculinity and femininity, they are just levels of more masculine or more feminine. If there were actually more than two recognized genders, then they would be listed alongside masculinity and femininty, you know, like:

Masculinity, femininity, zorkulinity, sambalinity, etc.

But no. The reason there are two genders is because there are two sexes, and masculinity and femininity are the social behaviors that we perform to signify to people whether we are male or female, according to cultural beliefs about how males and females look and behave.

Defining gender as masculinity and femininity means acknowledging that there are only two genders, and then going on to say that there are infinite genders contradicts that.

Then they define gender a third time, therefore contradicting themselves even more. This third one was quite unintentional on their part but it remains obvious. On page 20, there is a list of questions that invite readers to explore their gender. The first question goes like this:

“What are some of your earliest memories related to gender? (For example, I remember my dad saying, “Are you sure you don’t want a blue balloon? Blue is for boys.” Or, I remember wanting to be in Boy Scouts like my brother, but my parents said I couldn’t because I was a girl.”

In both of these examples, what is being expressed is sexism. In the first example, a color is being arbitrarily restricted to one sex due to beliefs that the sexes must behave in different ways (having different color preferences). In the second example, a girl is being limited in her opportunities because of her sex. These questions related to sexism are the prompts that invite readers to think back about their experiences of “gender.” Because examples of sexism are being used as a prompt to get people thinking about “gender,” the authors have implicitly defined gender as sexism.

Therefore gender has three definitions so far:

(a) masculinity and femininity
(b) personality
(c) sexism

It seems to me that two PhDs and one MA should have been able to recognize all three of the definitions they have used for gender and seen the contradictions between them and how their text becomes confusing and incoherent because of these contradictory definitions. But they are in the trans cult and one thing about the trans cult is they eschew clear communication and instead embrace ambiguity and confusion.

When I try to answer the above question, my first reaction is “How can I recall an early memory of ‘gender’ if you can’t define gender”? My second reaction is, “According to the prompt, gender clearly means sexism, so I will answer that.”

One memory of sexism that stands out for me is when I was in a grocery store and I saw a woman and her daughter at the check-out. The little girl was playing and rolling around on the floor, and the mother didn’t like that. She snatched her daughter up vigorously by the arm and scolded her “Girls don’t act like that.” I was filled with outrage from head to toe when I heard that. Partially due to the sexism and partially due to the lying. This mother told her daughter a lie. Here was this girl, playing and rolling around on the floor, and the mother said that girls don’t act like that, but clearly they do, because here is a girl acting like that right now! Her words did not reflect reality, they reflected her belief and her wish. I thought that was a poor attitude to have toward girls and I boiled with rage. And that’s my first example of sexism that I remember.

(Disclaimer: Of course it’s a good idea not to let your kid roll around on the floor in a grocery store because the kid could get dirty or stepped on. But this mother didn’t say “Get up before you get dirty or stepped on,” she said “Girls don’t act that way.”)

My answer to this question might change if gender meant masculinity/femininity or personality, but I have answered it the way the prompt suggests to.

The next question in the list is this:

“Were you ever told you looked or acted like a boy? Like a girl? How did you feel when his happened?”

No, people didn’t talk this way around me, because luckily I wasn’t surrounded by people who were overtly sexist. There was plenty of subtle sexism, but nobody said such stupid things as “You do X like a girl/like a boy” around me. I do remember watching a sexist film called The Sandlot (I was a kid in the 90s) and there was a scene where one boy insults another by saying that he plays like a girl. This is after a long list of insults, and the dialogue makes it clear that “You play ball like a girl” is the absolute most insulting thing a boy could ever be told. This scene makes me boil with rage because of the sexism. “You do X like a girl” used as an insult toward a boy is a manifestation of the hatred of women and girls. All girls are likely to feel uncomfortable with this, since it’s harmful to us. Boys whose personalities are more feminine may feel uncomfortable with this sexism too, since they cannot meet the standards of masculinity being set for them.

Once again, a question on “gender” has prompted a response about sexism.

The next question is “How would it or does it feel when people see you as a boy or man.”(p21) This question is followed by a disclaimer about the fear people might feel when thinking about this question.

I only experienced being mistaken for a man once. I was standing in a line and when it was my turn to go to the ticket window the person behind me said “Sir” to indicate for me to move up. I thought this was kinda funny and I was amused that I was now a part of the phenomenon of “misgendering.” I’m not sure why this would be upsetting, if a person accidentally gets it wrong it’s no big deal. There has been no other time when anyone has made this mistake because I look like a typical woman.

I understand that if I was not a typical-looking woman then I would get mistaken for a man more often and it might feel annoying or uncomfortable and it might cause emotional problems (stress, anxiety) over time.

The next question is the opposite situation, “How would it or does it feel when people see you as a girl or woman?”

Well, there is nothing to be amused or annoyed about when people see me as a woman, because I am one.

The next question is a fun one: “How would it or does it feel when people see you as a gender other than girl/woman or boy/man, for example, as androgynous or two-spirit”

First of all, girl/woman and boy/man are not genders, they are sexes. Girl/woman is a human female, and boy/man is a human male. Male and female are biological realities and they are not genders according to any definition used here. I am aware that the transgender community defines “man” and “woman” as social categories, which cannot be defined in any way but which nevertheless people can strongly identify with and live in, and that these social categories are considered by them to be “genders.” However, gender has not been defined as a social category in this book yet. I guess this is their way of introducing another implicit definition of gender? “Gender experts” are surprisingly confusing about gender.

So moving right along to the question, the only way that anyone sees anyone as neither male nor female is if they are going around expecting people to be intersex. I don’t think most people are going around expecting people to be intersex, because the vast majority of people have typical sex characteristics, and even intersex people often look like one or the other, so, I’m gonna have to call bullshit on that.

However, androgynous is a gender. There are two genders, masculinity and femininity, and androgynous is the point in the middle of those. Both males and females can appear androgynous by combining masculinity and femininity in relatively equal portions. Their sex is still apparent.

I wish white transgenderists would stop appropriating Native culture to try to prop up their gender cult. Two spirit identity is not the gender nonsense that modern day transgenderists are promoting.

I am happy when people recognize my level of androgyny. On any given day I might range between moderately feminine and androgynous in presentation. I am never at the extreme end of femininity and I’m never very masculine either. When people understand that I don’t want to go shop for cosmetics or shoes with them because I’m not into that sort of thing, that’s great. When people assume that I am into that, it’s just because they don’t know me well and I can simply explain I’m not into that feminine stuff. Mildly annoying, but not a big deal.

“Who are your gender role models? In other words, if you could be like anyone in terms of gender, who would you be like? (p22)”

In this question, gender could mean either degree of masculinity/femininity or personality, I assume. So, whose personality do I want to emulate, in terms of how masculine or feminine they are?

Well, the first person who comes to mind is Joan of Arc. Let’s see who else comes to mind. Hermione Granger, Xena: Warrior Princess, Dana Scully, the femme characters in Stone Butch Blues (especially Theresa), all the characters from the new Ghostbusters film, especially Kate McKinnon’s character, Melissa McCarthy’s character in the film The Heat…okay I guess I’m just making a list of Strong Female Characters from film and TV shows that I like. When I generalize about all these characters I guess what I come up with is “strong woman.” These women are somewhat feminine but also smart, strong, and tough. I could name my gender “strong woman,” or maybe “fierce femme.” Okay, this exercise was actually really fun lol. Regardless of what my personality or degree of femininity is though, my sex is still female.

The following chapter talks about gender expression, and I have some observations to make about this section. The book makes it sound like it’s a really big deal to change your gender expression. Changing your gender expression simply means wearing a different style of clothing or changing your hairstyle or makeup, but the book asks you to plan how/where/with whom you can safely try out your new expression, and mentions personal safety multiple times. This makes me wonder why people find it to be such a big deal for people to change their outfit or haircut. I’ve changed my style of clothing many times, and no one has ever given a shit. In grade nine I wore nothing but baggy jeans and my dad’s old t-shirts that I found in storage, with a sports bra underneath. In late high school I dyed my hair with blond highlights and wore dresses. In university I wore the same jeans every day again, this time with a blue hooded sweatshirt. These days I generally wear women’s blouses and dress pants to work, and comfortable androgynous clothes at home. I’ve worn a bit of men’s clothing sometimes too just for fun. My hair has been long, short, long, short, etc, and is currently short. At no point has anyone cared what I was wearing or whether it was different from what I wore before. No one has ever been like, “Hey, that outfit is totally different from what you wore yesterday, I’m gonna harass you now!”

When I read this book I begin to wonder if I have just been lucky and if there are all sorts of people out there in the world who are super serious about making other people’s clothing and hairstyles their business? If there are, those are really shallow and superficial people with really small lives. If they have nothing better to do than to have an issue with someone’s new haircut, they should be told to fuck off and they definitely should not be taken seriously. Get a hobby, people!

If people are seriously frightened that they might be unsafe because they’re wearing a certain outfit, that is an indication that they are surrounded by assholes. Instead of putting people on hormones, maybe we should be educating people to stop losing their shit over a simple article of clothing? It’s the bullies that need to change, not the victims of the bullying.

If you analyze specific instances of people being harassed for what clothes they’re wearing, I’m telling you right now that what you’re going to find is sexism and homophobia. The reason a teen boy can’t just show up at school with makeup on is because people will police his masculinity (sexism) and people will direct homophobic harassment at him because they will perceive, either rightly or wrongly, that he is gay. The solution is not to put the boy on hormones and call him a girl so that he can wear makeup without getting bullied, the solution is to punish the bullies so that the boy will be safe wearing makeup. Putting the boy on hormones and calling him a girl is letting the bullies win and it’s punishing the victim and it’s reinforcing the harmful rules of gender. It’s reinforcing the idea that only girls can wear makeup, therefore if you wear makeup, you must become a “girl.” This ideology harms women primarily, because we are the ones having to wear most of the makeup, but it harms men too since it limits their expression.

At the end of this section, I have come to the conclusion that there is an epidemic of people being so shallow, superficial, and sexist that they are seriously harming the people around them, and we need a widespread movement to combat sexism.

Luckily, there is already a widespread movement to combat sexism underway. It’s called feminism. Transgenderism reinforces sexism, making it an ideology that harms the very people it purports to help.

These first two chapters really do confirm what I always say about transgenderism—that people are modifying their bodies in order to match their bodies to their degree of masculininity/femininity or their personalities, and that there is sexism underlying this whole thing. I always maintain that anyone, male or female, can have any personality or degree of masculinity/femininity and that this is okay and doesn’t need to be fixed. Because anyone can have any personality, there is no such thing as a personality not matching one’s body.

There are transgender people who comment here who tell me that transgenderism is not about matching your body to your degree of masculinity/femininity, and that it’s more along the lines of correcting an inborn neurological disorder. It’s not that they are trying to fix a mismatch between their body and their social gender role, is what they explain, it’s that they have an inborn gender identity that persists no matter what and isn’t rooted in social causes like notions of masculinity/femininity or sexism. So I really gotta ask, if transgenderism is simply about correcting an inborn neurological disorder and is not about trying to fit into social ideas of masculinity/femininity, why have a group of three gender experts, at least one of whom is actually trans, written a book in which they guide young people to discover their gender by considering their degree of masculinity/femininity, their personality, and sexism, if transgenderism is not about these things? If transgenderism is about correcting a neurological disorder, why isn’t that what they talk about here?

When you listen carefully to what gender experts and transgender activists actually say about transition, the majority of them make it quite obvious that this is about “fixing” people who are gender nonconforming so that they fit better into social ideas of what men and women are, by turning feminine men into “women” and by turning masculine women into “men.” The reason I keep believing this is because they keep saying it. And what I’m going to keep saying, until forever and ever, is that “fixing” feminine men and masculine women is sexism and homophobia.