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heresy 

@Ricci @forivall Thanks, Forivall, for your reply. I believe dysphoria is real. It is transgender as a solution to it that does not make sense to me. I have taken note of your testimony to it as a spiritual blessing. As you know, such personal testimonies have their own subjective value, and can have a powerful effect on someone who shares your views on gender. 1/2

heresy 

@Ricci @forivall For others, a lot more dialogue has to be established for the subject to get any traction, one way or another. I can shout from the rooftop about the beauty of my Catholic faith and what a blessing the Eucharist is to me, but I have to be realistic about the effect this will have on others. So, if I can ask, what in your view, what makes a woman a woman? Clearly not genitals or DNA, so is it hormones, a feeling, a state of mind,....something else? 2/2

heresy 

@RobertFrancis how did people decide what makes a woman before we understood dna, or simply without knowing one's karyotype? Without seeing someone's genitals? Without knowledge of someones endocrine system?

Surely, without all of those things, a woman can still be a woman. And furthermore, we can also discuss among ourselves what makes up womanhood, identify who is and who isn't a woman, so it's more than just a feeling / state of mind.

(1/2?)

heresy 

@RobertFrancis To me, it's an interplay between society and the individual - specifically the individual's body, mind and soul. It's a holistic definition. And it's a living definition.

transgender 

@forivall Hey thanks for the reply. I thought this conversation was forgotten. In asking questions about the transgender model, I do not question your dignity. You mentioned before your spiritual reality, and I affirm your connection to the divine. As a person of immense worth, your life is unique and important, regardless of how you or anyone else defines your gender. 1/

transgender 

@forivall I have no reason to think you are being dishonest when you say you see yourself as a woman. My questions pertain to what that means for biology, language use, and how we perceive reality. I know that asking these questions feels to some like an attack on who they are, but I believe that sitting in timid silence for fear of being called a transphobe is not in anyone's best interests. 2/

transgender 

@forivall You deserve not only to have your dignity respected but also for all the questions raised by your experience to be treated honestly. The transgender model is so very new and revolutionary to how culture and science have responded to dysphoria until about the last millisecond of human history, relatively speaking. 3/

transgender 

@forivall If political activism on behalf of your dignity has the effect of quashing all but one way of answering the questions, you will be denied the benefit of truly open inquiry from psychology, neuroscience, philosophy, etc, that other human traits & behavior are granted. Even if you believe there's only one acceptable way to understand the transgender model, there's the question of having it forced on society vs. letting society consider its merits and come to terms with it. 4/

transgender 

@forivall I know this state of affairs has you in a vulnerable position, however it is approached. Please do not let the flux of cultural beliefs or the contentiousness of the political fight drown you in their unpredictable currents. I believe your spiritual reality is key to braving it out. You bear the image of the eternal divine in your soul. 5/

transgender 

@forivall Now to your question. Of course, "what makes a woman (or man)" was historically defined by the fact that as a rule, males are biologically organized to donate genetic material, and females are biologically organized to receive genetic material, combine it with their own, and gestate any resulting offspring. Genitalia was the normal, visible indicator of which was which, for the overwhelming majority of cases. 6/

transgender 

@forivall Culture then layered on lots of other markers, which vary over time and place, but the unchanging foundation for the distinction was biology, until about the last millisecond of human history. 7/

transgender 

@forivall Given that ”woman" and "man" are terms that came about entirely based on biology, if this distinction was a mistake, then I wonder what reason there is to continue to use the terms at all? In other words, if I say "I don't feel like a man" but I also say "'man' is a category derived from a mistaken view of biologically determined identity," why should I perpetuate the mistake by keeping the category? 8/

transgender 

@forivall As an analogy, consider a white person saying "I believe that dividing people into races based on skin color is artificial and divisive, therefore I am a member of the black race." To me this conclusion is contradictory, whereas the logical thing to say would be "...therefore I am simply a member of the human race." For this reason, the logic of nonbinary is clearer to me than transgender. 9/

transgender 

@forivall I do not deny that you believe yourself to be a woman, but without reference to biology, I do not know how "woman" and "man" have any coherent meaning. I know you said it is complicated and difficult to explain. As you try to figure out how, it might help you to know that to me it sounds like "I feel at home with all the incidental things that culture happens to associate with the opposite sex right now". 10

transgender 

@forivall Which leaves me asking: If we thus regard "woman" and "man" as social constructs, why would we cling to them as if they are essential to our nature? 11/11

transgender 

@RobertFrancis I wouldn't say that we are trying to "cling" to the binary of the social construct - rather, in our liberatory struggle, we trans people recognize that the gender binary is a colonial construct. It's more effective to confront oppression by recognizing the struggles that play out through the current gender binary, and that we can't discard them until we have properly broken down the oppression that occurs between and around the traditional gender binary. (...)

transgender 

@RobertFrancis i think that although gender isn't a wholly biological phenomenon, it is something that naturally arises in humans due to how society is centered in our innate cognetive processes. If we were to abolish gender without first confronting the oppression that has arisen between genders (in the form of patriarchy), i would predict that those oppressive structures would just re-occur, and we're back to where we started.

Then again, i'm not a sociologist.

transgender 

@forivall hi there, just want to let you know I haven't disappeared. Still reflecting on this exchange and wanting to continue it, but haven't figured out yet what to say next. As I mentioned before, no person's dignity should be diminished because of their gender identity, but I have concerns about when societal accommodations are implemented without a basic cultural consensus. 1/

transgender 

@forivall Among other unintended consequences that will result from it in today's divided social climate (in the U.S. and other places), such an approach will almost certainly provoke a vigorous backlash, and I believe those who will be hurt the most are those struggling to resolve their own gender dysphoria. 2/

transgender 

@forivall At the same time, I understand that the mental health crisis needs immediate attention, including addressing the question of public accommodations, and I am not prepared or especially qualified to propose alternative solutions.

But none of this directly engages your last replies which I feel I need to process and integrate appropriately before I can get to the social accommodation question. 3/

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transgender 

@RobertFrancis I wouldn't say I feel at home with "all" of the incidental things, but that "feeling at home" is a very good descriptor. For me, as a binary trans women who embraces a lot of "masculine" traits (I prefer to call them "butch"), it's more important to talk about the emotional difference of having the correct hormones - that brings a sense of home more than all of the cultural things.

transgender 

@forivall Still working through your messages...you have given me much to think about. You have said some things I haven't heard before. I'll need to process them and respond later. Thank you for this opportunity to engage the issue on a level like I've never had before.

transgender 

@RobertFrancis to resolve this apparent paradox, we have to consider the nature of race vs the nature of gender. Put simply: in a family, the children's race will be the same as their parents. It's a purely historical lineage. Whereas, the children's gender is not limited. The categories don't share that same parallel such that all race is not accessible to all people, but all gender is.

transgender 

@RobertFrancis I'd say that we continue to use them and keep the categories around for the same reason as any other tradition. People have some kind of affinity for it. And that affinity is probably swayed by some biological practices. Future society might discard it, but I'm not a sociologist, so my prediction abilities are limited.

This is a really good question, and one that will take a lot of philosophical musings to even start to resolve.

transgender 

@RobertFrancis I wouldn't say that it was historically defined in that way, but that it was prehistorically defined / experienced in that way. Once we humans had a way to describe our history, we already had the cultural and social layers to make man, woman and all gender in general more complex than that base animal machinery.

transgender 

@RobertFrancis i think you've shown that these questions can be answered while showing dignity for trans people. The problem comes when people use their answers as a way of quashing trans people and our experiences. I accept quashing ideas that seek to quash people. The challenge should be for those who don't accept a fully affirming model to present their alternate model while still showing trans people dignity.

transgender 

@forivall I think everyone loses out by the polarized, political standoff that happens with this and other issues. It is so hard to even understand the "other side" because there is little common ground and even language is a barrier. I've realized how easily misunderstandings pile up and emotions escalate so I have to constantly watch my words and tone, as well as my assumptions and reactions. I abolutely agree that ANY model must uphold the dignity of trans people.

transgender 

@RobertFrancis I think it's also worthwhile to recognize how the vast majority of our day-to-day experiences are shaped by the last relativistic millisecond of human history: capitalism, democracy, the nuclear family, the concept of nation-states, vaccines and the rest of modern healthcare, clean water, and so much more (those are just what came to my mind first)

transgender 

@RobertFrancis I dont say "I see myself as a woman", I say "I am a woman".

Likewise, on Easter we say "Jesus is risen". We don't say "We believe Jesus is risen" even tho that is the truth from most perspectives. It's a subtle difference, but it's extremely important in correctly describing one's epistemological foundations.

I think we would both be insulted somewhat if an atheist misquoted a christian's beliefs incorrectly, even if the quote is true from both points of view.

transgender 

@forivall That makes sense. Thanks for pointing it out.

transgender 

@RobertFrancis it was forgotten, and then I scrolled through my notifications on this account.

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