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/

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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.

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