The trans league comment was a mildly sarcastic comment on the basis of if (still waiting for a link to a peer-reviewed article) trans women on HRT are actually somehow weaker than natal women, then by that logic they too ought not compete against people with who have an unfair advantage over them.

Who knows the future of sporting leagues, it may be the case that they will allow steroid use in the future, in that case perhaps trans men would be able to fairly compete against natal women on steroids. Trans men's opportunities to compete at a professional level in men's sports are otherwise in practice non-existent. They can be included on the basis of gender, but they will be precluded from qualifying due to the realities of sex. That's equality but not equity.

I don't think the kids you mentor should be in a separate league, and in fact don't see the point of sex-segregated sports for small children at all.

If there were enough participants, what is the issue with a trans league for adults (who didn't receive HRT before puberty)? Trans women are happy to be in a separate league to cis men, why is sex-segregation which has nothing to do with gender affirmation such a point of contention? Being trans is about gender not sex, right? That is the logic I thought: that you can be a different gender to your biological sex?

My concern is not sports for pre-pubescent children, they can be mixed regardless of gender-identity or sex. It's more high level sports, and in that case only trans women who have an unfair advantage would be excluded on the basis of fairness and safety due to physiological differences. (Could such women safely compete against bio men?) Their sex-based exclusion from the group they feel they ought to be part of on the basis of gender-identity is unfortunate, but doesn't trump the safety or opportunity of a much large group of also disadvantage people. Unequal opportunities due to a physiological advantage is hardly fair.

I'm not sure why an ideology is moving to erase the distinction at between "transgender folk from cisgender folk", the distinction exists as a physical reality. One that occasionally requires acknowledgement in matters of public policy.

I'm not imagining huge muscle bound trans women (after all, not all bio men are such), but you ought to recognise even a man above the bottom 10% in strength is stronger than all but the top 10% of women. People seem to have this idea that a small man is equivalent to a similarly sized woman, that is not the case (muscle mass/composition, skeletal structure, bone mass/density, heart-size and lung capacity differences, huge differences). If this doesn't apply to HRT kids as adults, then of course they can compete in women's sports if they'd like. It's only about fairness and safety, after all.

I was literally quoting the wikipedia article on the Gender Act 2004 referring to a legal change of gender as "acquired gender". (Dana asked if I support the right of trans people to be recognised as their gender as per the Act and presumably its limitations--Yes.) The whole sentence was entirely a cut-and-paste, apologies for the offence :)

I must say, I do not "feel like" a woman nor have met any other cis woman who does, rather it's my biological reality, it's just what I am, in a way that's easily verifiable and was observed at birth. I was encouraged to be meek, neat, wear dresses, keep my hair long, but none of this was innate to me, fashion is fairly arbitrary, for example. Innate preferences do not require indoctrination, in contrast my gender expression was the result of a process of socialisation which amplified biological differences between the sexes (heavy penalties for not being empathetic, for example). It was probably also about fitting in with other members of my sex, and meeting male expectation as conveyed by the media.

Apart from dysphoria, I am not sure what trans people are feeling--an affinity with a specific set of stereotypes? How can one presume to know what a certain group of people feels enough to presume to share in these feelings, and ask for group-membership where that has been based up until now on sex? I would appreciate you explaining what gender-identity means to you, if you're in the mood.

(I of course believe you should express gender any way you feel fit, without being pigeon-holed. I just don't understand how gender-identity can arise without a biological correlate or socialisation. But then, I think gender expression is just the enactment of bunch of stereotypes society was moving away from until recently, and feel the whole thing is restrictive.)

I'm interested on your views on HRT for young children also, there are those who ultimately grow out of wanting to or regret transitioning. By no means every child, but enough that I would take a conservative attitude to surgeries or puberty blockers/HRT. Furthermore, other bodily dysphoria is usually treated with therapy and not through medical intervention. (I used to think it'd be great if every child got HRT ASAP so they could immediately start living in the sort of body they'd like, I am no longer as sure.)

I'm relieved a change in sex (as a way of affirming gender) on legal documents wouldn't compromise health care, even in emergency care situations where you cannot communicate your needs to a healthcare professional.

Just as you support trans women being separate from cis men on the basis of gender, I support the separation of trans and cis people where relevant (prisons, sports etc.), and ONLY where relevant, on the basis of sex, as is current policy in most places. It might not be validating, but I've made it clear I don't believe validating a small group of people by pretending their gender-identity erases sex is more important than the safety/loss of opportunity entirely of other people (billions of cis women can't go and compete elsewhere, can they, all they have is women's sports).

Rape crisis centres, sports competitions, prisons, hospital/mental health wards--I can't really think of any other places impacted, and all but one you'd hope to avoid. Must these few sex-segregated places also be available to every biological male, as long as they self-identify as a woman? With no consideration of other factors? Or the impact on the majority of people in such spaces?

So many brands of feminism! To me feminism is the liberation of women from structures that disadvantage them based on sex, not gender. Femininity is disparaged only on the grounds of its association with sex. Feminine men are also disparaged, regardless of orientation or gender-identity--they are not included in feminism, right?

To me the exclusion of people without female bodies in defining the feminist movement and its priorities makes sense axiomatically. I don't understand why it's thought such a movement is more relevant to trans women than trans men--it advocates for the latter's health care and bodily integrity, after all.

Therefore, although I support trans rights (in a separate capacity to being a feminist) I'm not sure why such a movement ought to be part of feminism, apart from the desire to attach oneself to a larger group for lobbying purposes. I've also heard that some forums are being censored so that women cannot discuss women's issues (pregnancy etc.) because this "excludes" trans women. I hope that's not actually the case.

The commonality between biological men with male socialisation and biological women with female socialisation are so slim that in order to not discuss anything exclusionary, feminism would need to centre entirely around trans issues. The gap closes as a trans person presents as their gender and have the lived experiences of girls/women to the degree that they "pass" and are subjected its "joys" such as being catcalled, but only somewhat. (Anyway, that's the basis of my reasoning for why the two movements are different beasts, dealing with different groups.)

Similarly, parts of trans ideology seem to directly conflict with gay and lesbian rights i.e. the recognition that their same sex attraction is a legitimate, biological reality which precludes attraction to people with an opposite sex body regardless of their gender-identity, or even emulative surgery. (Bisexual people are obviously a different matter.)

Thank you for taking the time to write me. As is often the case, I feel we agree on most points and only assume that the other has more extreme views than they do (such as you perceiving that I think all trans women should be excluded from women's sports, or thinking I want to discriminate against pre-pubescent children for no discernible reason at all).

I do get a sense you prioritise the rights of trans women above all other groups, however. That is not how I operate, it is not fair or empathetic, and feels a mite entitled. I believe you need to balance everyone's rights, and consideration for trans rights is not the same as putting their feelings/rights above the rights of other people regardless of consequence.

I am open minded, Lindsay. Being open minded is not the opposite of evaluating evidence critically, quite the opposite. But... there's always room to learn more evidence, so appreciate talking with you, and Dana!

Glutting myself on all that life has to offer and writing about it. Art, language, science, humour, and whatever else takes my fancy…

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store