That Starmer fella...

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  • Which a couple of pages ago we all agreed was a valid point and we were all concerned stuff would sneak in by the backdoor.

  • I hadn't understood the expressions 'off you pop' and 'row, row, row your boat the fuck away' were expressions of agreement. My bad.

  • Good to see you admitting your mistakes. 7/10 on the apology though.

  • To put it another way (paraphrasing Hitchens), to whom do you award the right to decide what speech/ideas are harmful or who is the harmful speaker. Can you think of anyone who you would entrust with deciding for you what you should and shouldn't be able to read and what ideas you should be exposed to? No? Then perhaps consider that it's a bit fucking tedious for you to constantly tell people to fuck off/jog on/row row row your boat the fuck away from here. This forum is well-moderated; hate speech and pointless edgelording gets people banned. Beyond that I think we can all cope with hearing things that we don't agree with.

    I think that when the argument contradicts the idea that everyone should be treated the same then it can be silenced. When the argument puts forward an underprivileged group's desire to see it's rights protected or enhanced then it should not be silenced.

    Don't think everyone would agree with everyone else on what statements fit into which category though.

  • I reckon just upload everyone's brains into a standard-issue robot then we'll never have to talk about racism, sexism, homophobia, trans-ism ever again. Can't come soon enough

    Edit: accessorising banned by law. No individuality at all. Utopia.

  • I have some thoughts on this but I'm not sure I can really articulate them.

    So - I'm cis (queer, not-white, female blah blah - we do exist on here). I'm not trans. But by chance most of my adult life my main friendship group has been disproportionately trans and gender-queer - so I get some of their viewpoints. People are starting to get the idea that a single voice is not representative of some kind of whole group. Trans people aren't a big coherent group. Viewpoints vary a lot. I'm cis-woman and my voice is in no way representative of cis-women. Here are some things I think about:

    My friends mostly fall into white, middle-class, geek-tastic professionals. They mostly have financially comfortable lives with supportive family, friends and co-workers, or at least mostly haven't been disowned. However, if there is a broad observation, it's that being trans is to live in fear for your life. However lovely your friends are, you never know when you're going to meet someone who thinks you should not exist - that you are an aberration, and that fear of erasure is always close at hand. Maybe not every minute, if you're lucky maybe not every day, but probably. That fear is of physical as well as psychological violence. Not all of them have experienced that violence first-hand, but they know - we all know - what the stats are like for murder and violence if you are trans. My friends live with this fear, despite being the 'privileged' ones - not in poverty, not in hostile communities, with decent relationships/family situations.

    That idea - of a close-at-hand existential fear - has been recently spread and understood by people who never 'got' it before about the everyday anxiety of being black and just existing. It's also in my understanding of Jewish communities - who some point at as exaggerating dangers - having a cultural shared fear of total erasure, informed heavily by collective trauma.

    Trans people and women in general share this everyday fear of violence, although the motives are slightly different. I would suggest that a lower proportion of cis women than trans people carry this close-at-hand fear on a day to day basis but that it's still significant - I have no facts to back this up. I know I don't live in fear. But I also hear about it frequently enough that I trust it's a lot. We also know the stats on murder and violence of women in general.

    Most trans people don't want to have these conversations. They just don't want to feel even less safe than they do now. They don't want to feel like the media is encouraging people who might want them dead, who think they're sub-human.

    Most trans people wish 'society' didn't think of them as trans at all. They don't want us to go on about it. They don't want us to treat them differently as the person they are. There's a bizarre idea in the media that you can just transition on a whim. It's really really hard, takes a huge amount of guts and bravery, and generally, several years (in some cases decades) of being pretty miserable before you get there.

    The sticky thing boils down to:
    (Most) trans people have a real and justified fear of violence from society in general (but mostly men).
    (Lots of) women have a real and justified fear of violence from mostly men.
    These people overlap: trans-women have a real and justified fear of violence.
    But also - some women have a real fear of violence from trans-women. How many? It doesn't seem to be common, but I would not dismiss it. Is the fear justifiable? Fear is real, even if not justifiable statistically - but what if these fears are being stoked by the media and by people who say trans-women are actually deviant men?

    There are a lot of people speaking up on behalf of other people in an angry and dismissive way.

    The toilets thing - I'm pretty sure that women really don't care. Public toilets are not the sacred 'safe spaces' the media make them out to be. I also think we're approaching the problem the wrong way. The problem is not the people - it's the gender-segregated shared toilets. Increasingly new builds and refurbs are swerving the problem completely by just having toilets. For anyone. You don't have to share. It's no-one's business what your gender is because you aren't sharing a space with them. The more this becomes the norm, the better. (I do realise all public toilets aren't going to transform overnight but it could help the way we think about it.)

    Most women-only other things are a distraction (sports etc).

    The difficult one is actual safe spaces - refuges and shelters. There are two reasons often given: that some women who need refuge (mostly, from men) will not feel safe in a space where there are people around who have not lived as women all their lives; and that some women have a pathological fear of people with 'male' traits which might remain in trans-women. I have no truck with the argument that trans-women are an actual predatory danger in these spaces, but I do think that fears are important. So what is the answer for this?

    Firstly, I think this should be recognised for what it is - a specific and difficult area where everybody who seeks space in a refuge is vulnerable and in need of care and protection. To me that means that general laws about gender recognition and equalities should not be argued on this situation but on the wider day-to-day society - which mostly should not and does not care.

    And then - is there a way of approaching it with it not being the people that are the problem? If all you talk about are 'women's shelters' like they're all the same thing, and the only thing available, then there is going to be an unsolvable problem - either you have women who can't access refuge when they need it because they fear the trans-women within, or you have women who can't access refuge when they need it because they have been excluded on grounds of being trans. Neither is acceptable. But there are already specialised shelters - for Muslim women, for example. Women with children. Women who don't want to be around children. Why can't this be solved the same way? Generally women's shelters for all women. Specialised shelters for cis-women only. Specialised shelters for trans-women only. More budgets for shelters is what we need. Oh, and less shittery and violence from society (mostly men).

    tl:dr whatevs.
    this isn't really about Starmer.

  • this was a very helpful and interesting post, thanks.

  • I have some thoughts on this but I'm not sure I can really articulate them.

    I think you did. Mic drop moment.

  • +Rep for that post.

  • For someone who isn't sure how to articulate thier thoughts,that is one of the most articulate posts on the forum.
    Thankyou for taking the time to post.
    As a cis straight white middle class male
    this is a helpful and thought provoking post

  • Absolutely the right length and with genuine insight and no political bias. Thank you.

    I am an ex-middle, now working class cis male, who had to look up 'cis' today. This is not because I am ignorant or uncaring, but because the phraseology has not become commonplace out here in the provinces. I believe that most people on here genuinely want to do the 'right' thing yet have different ways of approaching it. No, I am not blinkered, I have a lesbian bricklayer working with me who has been doing so for 14 years, she wouldn't be if she thought I am a bastard. I use 'lesbian' because that is how Mel refers to herself.

    It would be more helpful to listen to genuine insights than to scream insults at each other.

  • Thanks for sharing @hoefla - that was the clearest, most constructive thing I’ve read on this subject in a very long time.

  • First time I have ever bothered to read a post of that length on here. Thanks for taking the time to write it down. Shame there aren;t more women on the forum, and fewer shouty men.

  • That was an excellent and very well constructed post.

    I would add however that many women’s concerns relate to the problems inherent with self-ID, which is a very poorly understood concept by the public at large.

    There are also red flags being uncovered at the moment in relation to puberty blocking drugs in children, mass resignations at the Tavistock centre, the safeguarding of women’s sports as a level playing field (I wouldn’t call that a distraction I’d say it’s desperately important especially for girls at school just getting into sports), the inherent homophobia of many parents of ‘trans children’ in the States (not sure how far that has developed over here yet), and many other problematic questions that need a fair and honest hearing, to name but a few- whilst at all times of course recognising the need to uphold and protect the rights and dignity of trans people to live their lives as freely and happily as the rest of us.

    It’s a very delicate subject but debate mustn’t be stifled or shut down that’s for sure.

  • Awesome post
    Thanks.

  • Aww thanks guys. Not the reaction I expected. I'm sure there's plenty of holes in it too. There's holes I can see around the refuge issue but it's late now.

    @BobbyBriggs - oh god yeah the children :/

  • I echo every positive thing said about Hoefla's post.

    My mentioning of toilets as an example earlier was 100% about toilets being a simple metaphor and 0% about them being a significant practical issue.

    Trying to boil down the debate isn't the main issue now that some cis women, not least in academia, want to preserve a safe space to debate, and trans people fear that debate fuels genuine, on-the-ground serious negative impacts. Hoefla's post certainly focuses the mind on the latter, but a cis-white male dominated society shutting down a cis-female academic debate isn't a good look.

  • Superb post! Far too much of this discussion goes on without hearing that sort of detail about the experiences of trans people.

    Are you able to unpack "fear of erasure" as it's a term I've heard used a few times. You've used it in the context of violence, but I'd previously interpreted it as being about a fear of lack of recognition of gender identity. Does it have a specific meaning when used by trans people?

  • I think that when the argument contradicts the idea that everyone should be treated the same then it can be silenced.

    I'd agree, but "treated the same" how? Trans rights activists would argue that everyone should be treated the same in being able to be recognised as their self-perceived gender; opponents would say that they want everyone to be treated the same by being recognised only as their "chromosomal" (?) gender. If you can't split them on that basis then you have to get down to the real nitty gritty of what each of those approaches would mean for society; what they would require us to actually do.

    When the argument puts forward an underprivileged group's desire to see it's rights protected or enhanced then it should not be silenced.

    Again I'd agree, but who gets to decide whether the statement is of that type? Some people don't even buy into models of privilege and oppression so, as you say, you're not going to get everyone to agree.

    You do notice in these debates that it often very quickly gets framed in terms of rights. You'll see the "[insert group here] rights are human rights!" banners and hashtags. On its own that's just another annoying, meaningless slogan. I can never work out how to parse that sentence to actually make it mean anything, but the reason that it is couched in terms of rights is because something being a right is the ultimate legal trump card. Once something is established as a right, then the law and the government have to protect it and nothing can supercede it. By claiming something as a right you are effectively short-circuiting the public debate by getting directly to what we should actually do i.e., we (the law and government) must protect it. What's being skipped over is the discussion of what our rights should be and what new rights can be established (and/or old ones removed) to improve things for a specific group or just generally.

  • Thanks for such a thoughtful and well written post.

  • Really great posts from Hoefla and Bobby Briggs. I want to add a couple of points. First, I am female, I lurk on here occasionally, I signed up just to comment.

    On toilets, and other sex-segregated spaces: I can't speak for all women but in my view the issue here is not transwomen – it's the fact that, if you say anyone who claims to be female can have access (which is what self ID would make super-easy) then predators get a free pass. And it does happen, unfortunately – there have been some terrible cases in prisons. I want transwomen to feel safe too, and I don't have an answer to the problem, morally or practically. But women have been shouted down and threatened simply for raising the issue. 

    On 'transwomen are women': This is something that women have been pressured to believe in the last few years, and I think it has created much of the animosity. If we believe that transwomen are literally women, then what is a woman? A particular style of appearance, a feeling... or a physical reality? People find this point very difficult, because it seems unkind and exclusionary. But it does matter, hugely. Not all women have the same bodies and experiences, but having this kind of body, as opposed to a man's body, has all sorts of implications, in terms of health, personal safety, sport etc. It's tempting to claim that 'sex is a spectrum' but it's not. A body has the potential to produce small gametes (sperm) or large gametes (eggs) and there's no inbetween, or other type (even in intersex people, who are often a bit sick and tired of getting dragged into this). There are many trans people who point out that yes, we are biologically either male or female... and that's what makes them trans. Furthermore, women have lost their jobs for stating that this distinction is crucial. 

    On kids: Most people presenting at gender clinics used to be older transwomen. But in the last decade, the number of girls (trans boys) presenting has surged something like 5000%. This is staggering. Why is this the case? There are serious concerns that many of them are autistic and/or would grow up to be lesbians – but culture and society has led them to believe that their personalities, sexuality, outward presentation and interests mean they cannot be women and must change their bodies. In the current climate, questioning this is taboo. 

    There is more to say, but I am not as eloquent as some of the previous posters. I just wanted to explain a few things, because I have been aware of these issues for many years.

    And some context – ten years ago, this stuff really wasn't as contentious as it was now. I think, because, we weren't being asked to accept this bending of reality, in some cases. I really don't have the answers; this stuff is incredibly difficult. I want trans people to live freely, happily and safely. But women need to be able to speak openly about things that affect them.

  • this is some terf-y stuff here:

    1. Predators get a free pass!
    2. It's taboo to talk about this!
    3. Women are losing their jobs!
    4. Bending of reality!

    1 no 2 also no 3 everybody is losing their jobs 4 times change, maybe u should 2 hun

  • .... and folks wonder why Women feel "shouted down" for discussing this subject.

  • A classic of the genre

  • So, because they self-identified as a woman I should have let them say whatever they want? Must have read your comment wrong

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That Starmer fella...

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