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/

Follow

transgender 

@forivall In any case, I appreciate your patience as I try to get a grasp on things. Although I feel a bit stumped right now, I definitely consider it a good development. Better to see and be stumped by a thing than to continue on in confident unawareness. Thanks for helping me get to this point. 4/4

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