I don't want to argue. And I'm really not arguing for
the 'gender-critical' position, just acknowledging that it exists and floating the idea that for some women it might be more than simple bigotry and hate. You obviously disagree. I feel that, to you, even the suggestion that some accusations of transphobia might be more complicated is in itself
an instance of transphobia, and therefore not worth engaging with. So by claiming the discussion isn't 'worth having', even though you started it, you put me in a Catch 22 and kind of label me as transphobic for even thinking
about this. I could be wrong but it feels a bit like that. Maybe it's the word 'hate' that you seem to use so much that grates on me a bit. I don't think it's always helpful, or conducive to change, to dismiss any position you strongly disagree with as 'hate' and then use that as a justification for closing down communication. I get 'don't engage in public debate with fascists'. But that can then become 'don't engage with Christians/conservatives/feminists you disagree with/people who might suggest that any area for discussion exists', or, apparently, a fair percentage of ordinary women.
We seem to live in a world, which has flowered online, where just the words
'debate' and 'free-speech' are sometimes looked on with suspicion and have even become weirdly synonymous with right-wing politics. This is really baffling to someone like me, who has always had a natural (and no doubt exasperating) tendency to want to share every contradictory thought in their head, without worrying about whether it might be the correct one. I did it in pubs and around tables for 20 years before I got the internet in 2009 aged 37 (I was a late adopter). I don't naturally view the world through a left/right political lens, I just instinctively vote Labour every election and try to be my own version of a decent person. Fwiw I really have no issue with transwomen being classed as 'real' women, whatever that might mean, philosophically or otherwise. But I am honest (or foolish) enough to admit that it does feel somewhat counterintuitive to me that a person with male genitalia who has lived most of their life, however uncomfortably, as a man is in fact a woman in exactly the same way
as someone who was born, and whose whole lived experience has been, biologically female. But then I shrug and go about my day. I do know that my thought process as I consider this still-relatively-new idea contains nothing even vaguely resembling 'hate' as I understand it. I'm quite fascinated by what it might mean to feel like one is in the wrong body. I try to understand it, but can't quite grasp it. I understand same-sex attraction because I've experienced that, but 'feeling like a woman' is ungraspable to me, mainly because I have no real sense of what 'feeling like a man' means, beyond the way that other people treat me and the obvious reality of my body and genitalia. But I don't doubt for a second the absolute sincerity and subjective reality of the transgender experience. Still, your definition of 'hate' may be different to mine, and having read (most of) the blog you linked to, I think it is. I feel like my default as I go through life is to be filled with kindness and empathy, as I particularly try to be with the few gender non-conforming students (boys and girls) that I teach. Because adolescence is hard enough, and I can only imagine what extra pressures those students have to deal with. And they all happen to be really nice. But
, I can also understand the discomfort felt by some (non trans) feminists and some women more generally. To them, to take a somewhat farcical example, Caitlyn Jenner winning 'Woman of the Year' could have felt like something akin to the ultimate insulting act of cultural appropriation. The link above provides more distressingly mundane examples — women who have been abused by men, stating that they might feel uncomfortable with the presence of 'male bodied' transgender women in women's refuge centres for example. Women who feel this way might very well be 'wrong' to feel like this, in the sense that history will not be on their side. I hope they are wrong, because what a utopia it would be if the future was a place where a person's skin colour, race, religious belief or lack therof, sex, sexual preference and gender orientation were of little significance as the colour of their eyes. But right now the world isn't like this and I don't think it's helpful to dismiss, for example, women who feel like the above as simply filled with, or purveyers of, 'hate'.
I apologise for being able to see more than one point of view. It's an unfashionable fault of mine.
The 'First Things' article is different. It does feel bigoted, it's slimily manipulative and it is filled, literally, with bad faith.
I also understand that the position of the Trump administration and the right in America in general might make this feel different over there. But eventually, hopefully very soon, Trump will be gone. And then we will all have to carry on living with each other. And that has to mean communicating, because ultimately that's what makes us human.
Again. Peace to all. I know you mean well, Aaron and I respect that. Done now.
Edit: I'm only getting involved in this because I can't write at the moment. I can't even crit. It's depressing ha..