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JK Rowling and transphobia
#1
Rainbow 
These tweets seem pretty innocuous to me...

[Image: c9NiRKq.png]

What's wrong about this? The prominent belief that sex and gender are different concepts is accepted by both liberals and sociologists. We have two words to categorize women: transwomen and ciswomen. So why is it offensive to say that ciswomen have a different experience than transwomen? They're both women (gender) but have different anatomy (sex). ...and? So why is Rowling getting raked over the coals?

She expands on her beliefs in this essay: https://www.jkrowling.com/opinions/j-k-r...er-issues/

It's heartfelt, and most of it seems reasonable to me. The most objectionable parts seem to be:
  • Women deserve and are entitled their own spaces (i.e. it's okay to exclude transwomen in same cases)
  • We must not be too hasty to allow transwomen to enter female-designated bathrooms, dressing rooms, and other vulnerable spaces. Rowling laments that Scotland allows a person to simply declare they are a woman, to be considered one in the eyes of the law.
Rowling has a history of domestic abuse (she is traumatized by it to the point where sudden loud noises frighten her). This has instilled into her a latent fear of men, making her leery of cagey men who want to pose as transwomen, to enter safe spaces of women. Most of us liberals can agree that it's bigoted to conflate transwomen with men. This is a sticky scenario, though. Here we have a battered woman, who has a visceral reaction to a male body, and fears that a criminal cismale will potentially pose as a transwoman and invade women-only spaces and assault them.

Let's be clear: this is an incredibly rare occurrence. But it does happen: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018...der-prison

I have no figures to back this up, but my intuition is that it's less likely for a dangerous man to pose as a transwoman, than it is for a transwoman to be thrown into a group of men and be assaulted. So is this a utilitarian issue, where we have to weigh the options? As trans rights take hold, wouldn't it follow that criminals will exploit them for their own ends?

Why is it so controversial that a person's sex will inform their experience? The way I see it, if that was false, then transgenderism wouldn't exist to begin with. Isn't the central issue with being transgendered that the "gender" of your brain doesn't align with your bodily sex? So how could your biology NOT have an affect on your mentality?

As for Rowling, I'm not sure how I feel about this. I think her feelings are valid, and besides, as a man and supporter of feminism, I'm troubled by the idea of attacking a woman for her opinion. But, I can also see how her comments are problematic and transphobic. It's ironic to me that feminist activists would harass and threaten her. Surely there must be a middle-ground where feminists stand up for their transwomen members, and not outright attack another woman?
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#2
Her feelings are of course valid, but her fears and experience can't be used to justify exclusionary laws for trans people.  Exactly where are trans women supposed to go to the bathroom then?  If we look at raw statistics, trans people are far more likely to be assaulted in a men's bathroom than women by a trans person in a women's bathroom.

When it gets right down to it, you can't judge a whole population by a trait that has nothing to do with the behavior of a small subset.  That's all that matters.

Now, I can think of a very practical solution to the "bathroom issue", and it's simple if not exactly cheap to implement all at once.  Which bathroom does a trans person use in their own home?  Whatever one they want.  There are no gender restrictions on home bathrooms.  They're all unisex.  Why?  Aside from it being someone's own home, there's the practical matter that typically there's only one toilet in there.  I say we simply speed up the implementation of unisex bathrooms with actual walls and doors that reach ceiling to floor in new buildings as well as proper retrofitting.  The US is pretty strange when it comes to public bathroom design anyway.  From what I've been told by people overseas, they don't understand how such a supposedly repressed nation can have such incredibly "open" stalls in their bathrooms.  Even the gap between the door and the door frame is almost an inch in a lot of places I've been.  In schools, they've already done away entirely with doors blocking the entrance to the bathroom as a whole (for safety) and the inside is just all stalls.  I see a future where public bathrooms are a line of stalls everyone can see from the outside, BUT the stalls themselves are built ceiling to floor with a tight fitting door to them.  At that point there would be no need to have designated sexes for them anyway.  I guess urinals would have to be sacrificed, but I want an honest answer here.  Are there any guys that would actually miss urinals?  I ask because I've never seen a house with one and I figure if they were really all that valued we'd see them in homes too.

Sex and gender are largely synonyms which complicate using the two terms to designate these ideas.  I can't even say I fully undersand the mentality myself.  I'm a bit "off" from the norm in how I view sex and such which doesn't aid me there.  I'd rather say that gender has numerous definitions.  All of them are valid, but Rowling is conflating them purposefully or not.  That's the problem here.  The other issue is that all of those definitions of gender are rather fuzzy in the first place.  One can point to extremes at either end of each spectrum, but it's a sliding scale rather than a binary.  (Okay, if you go purely by chromosomes, they're closer to binary, but even there there are rooms for situations like XXY.)

Rowling's trauma shouldn't be dismissed, but her application of it is akin to someone who's nervous around all black people because they happened to be mugged by one of them.  At the moment, she's not aware of the damage she's causing by that and her best course of action, I have to say, is to be quiet and listen.  Don't say anything at all about trans issues for oh I don't know a year or two.  Right now, she's having her opinions reinformced and echoed by just the absolute worst sorts of people and she's repeating arguments used for decades to justify treating Trans people as subhuman.  Whether she means to or not, she's causing harm.  Personal trauma doesn't justify that.
"On two occasions, I have been asked [by members of Parliament], 'Pray, Mr. Babbage, if you put into the machine wrong figures, will the right answers come out?' I am not able to rightly apprehend the kind of confusion of ideas that could provoke such a question." ~ Charles Babbage (1791-1871)
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