MNHQ are going to decide what constitutes transphobia on MN. What advice / guidelines would you give them?

(1000 Posts)
kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 19:33:22

After a few heated debates on FWR, MNHQ are going to give guidlines about what constitutes transphobia. There's a thread in Site Stuff but I was interested in what people on Chat think.

So how would you define transphobia?
What do you think transphobia would look like?

LastTango Mon 30-Jun-14 19:35:02

I don't even know what it is let alone what it 'would look like' !!

LastTango Mon 30-Jun-14 19:37:09

Right, have looked it up.

I don't care what anyone 'is' as long as it doesn't do harm to anyone else.

cardibach Mon 30-Jun-14 19:37:13

ALl that bloody stupid he/she hedging especially when it gets to being out and out 'whatever it si I am supposed to say'. Say he, or say she depending on how the individual concerned identifies and stop being so daft.

So, hang on. A person who identifies themselves as trans sees themselves, and would like the rest of the world to see them, as being of the gender less commonly associated with the sex organs with which they were born.

Is that right? Is that the trans under discussion here? Or have I got the wrong end of the stick?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 19:45:51

MNHQ are going to issue guidelines as to what constitutes transphobia on MN.

Yes psammead - that trans.

What's FWR?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 19:48:21

Feminism and woman's rights.

Thanks, just spent ages looking through all the chat topics for a clue!

shakethetree Mon 30-Jun-14 19:49:55

I'm confused already - sorry Kim147, this is way over my head.

Ok. Now to your questions

1. I would define transphobia as someone being openly hostile to or even refusing to awknowledge the whole idea of being trans. Also, I would define it as someone treating a trans person differently (badly) to a non-trans person soley based on the fact that they are trans.

2. What do I think it would look like? Hmm. On mumsnet? Someone being picked on for being trans, I suppose. Being ridiculed. I am not aware of any common language or phrases which are derogitory towards trans people, such as 'that's so gay' is for gay people, although there might well be some. If there is, then that. In 'real life' I suppose general ridicule, being made to feel odd, silly, wrong, perverse. Afraid to freely 'admit' to it for fear of people's reactions. Being made to feel afraid for your personal safety.

HTH (non sarcastic)

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 19:58:44

More precisely, would anyone here say transwomen are women in exactly the same way that we (born female) are women?

And then would you say it is transphobic to say that transwomen are "real" women?

Apparently those are transphobia guidelines for another website.

shakethetree Mon 30-Jun-14 20:01:50

No, I would say you're only a real woman if you were born a woman. Is it wrong to say that?

FloraFox Mon 30-Jun-14 20:04:12

To put this in some context, this is the transphobia policy published by the F-Word which is a mainstream feminist website.

We reject as transphobic:

Any assertion that trans women are not “real" women, or that trans men are not “real" men, and any assertions that we consider, to the best of our judgement, to stem from this belief.
Any assertion that trans women are men, or that trans men are women, and any assertions that we consider, to the best of our judgement, to stem from this belief.
Any assertion that trans women should be excluded from women-only spaces, or from accessing services that are designed for women.
Any assertion that trans people are mentally ill. This is also disablist.
Any assertion that trans people have no place in feminism.

Transphobic comments, or those which engage in trans-misogyny, as defined above, will not be published. However, the content of these comments may be shared between bloggers or contributors and then addressed in articles (without naming the commenter), or directly in an e-mail to the commenter, in an effort to tackle transphobic attitudes and behaviour.

Policies like these have led some people to claim that the following statements are transphobic.

"women menstruate"

"women are adult human females"

"abortion is a women's rights issue"

"a penis is a primary male sex organ"

Interested in people's views.

Morethanalittlebitconfused Mon 30-Jun-14 20:07:34

Surely if someone identifies as 'she' they are 'she' regardless of their genitalia and vice versa?

So based on that transphobic people are those who identify people's gender by the bits between their legs and refuses to accept gender and sex and sexuality are all very different

Morethanalittlebitconfused Mon 30-Jun-14 20:10:33

One thing that has always puzzled me about trans issues and one that is so far off tangent for this thread and so morbid I almost dare not post it but I will because I'm curious

Say a trans person goes missing, they sadly die and aren't found until they are skeletal. They identified as one gender and changed their birth certificate to reflect this etc what happens about the forensic tests they run that show them as being female/male based on skeletal structure and chromosomal tests. Will they be able to still identify that person or will they be a john/jane doe?

FloraFox Mon 30-Jun-14 20:11:25

I'm copying this post I posted on the Site Stuff thread about the current law on gender recognition:

I hope when MNHQ make their decision, they take account of the current legal position in the UK as well as the dictionary definitions for female and male, woman and man.

The Gender Recognition Act unsatisfactorily uses the words "gender" and "sex" interchangably. It starts by talking about "a person of either gender" and provides that they can get a gender recognition certificate on the basis of "living in the other gender".

In order to get a certificate, a person must:

- have gender dysphoria
- have lived in the acquired gender for at least two years
- intend to live in the acquired gender until death.

“gender dysphoria” is defined as "the disorder variously referred to as gender dysphoria, gender identity disorder and transsexualism".

Although there is no requirement to have genital surgery or to take hormones, the form to be filled in by the doctors requires them to provide details of any surgery, hormones etc and Kim has told us before that it is extremely difficult to get a certificate without having had surgery.

If a certificate is issued "the person’s gender becomes for all purposes the acquired gender (so that, if the acquired gender is the male gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a man and, if it is the female gender, the person’s sex becomes that of a woman)". However, there are some exceptions e.g. for sports, succession and for gender-specific offences. The person is not treated as the acquired gender for every purpose.

According to the F-Word, this is all transphobic because:

- it recognises that there are two sexes and that people are either male or female
- it requires a certificate to be issued before a transperson will be treated as the acquired gender
- it describes gender dysphoria as a disorder
- it does not fully treat the transperson as the acquired gender for every purpose
- it does not recognise that the person was the acquired gender from birth
- it requires surgical or hormonal intervention and a medical report to acquire a certificate

I'm not saying that the GRA is the final authority as to what is transphobia. Transactivists and gender critics alike should be entitled to discuss and lobby for change to the legislation. However policies like the F-Word make any support of the GRA as it currently stands as transphobic. I would hope that MNHQ continue their current policy of allowing these discussions and do not go down the bizarre route of saying that stating support for a piece of enacted legislation, the law of the the land, is not permitted on this site. If MNHQ plans to produce a list of words that are not allowed (I'd prefer they didn't), I would like "TERF" and "cis" added to that list. Both terms are highly offensive.

Pastperfect Mon 30-Jun-14 20:14:15

As someone who had no idea about any of this stuff my concern would be that a born male who identifies as a female could be intimidating/threatening/frightening to a female when in a female space.

So I have no issue with anyone identifying as whatever they wish, but recognize that may impact negatively on people of the "born" gender and feel there needs to be a balance.

Apologies for the clumsy wording/terminology

Pastperfect Mon 30-Jun-14 20:15:19

And I wouldn't want expressing that concern to be views as transphobic.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 20:19:33

"Surely if someone identifies as 'she' they are 'she' regardless of their genitalia and vice versa?"

Sure, if someone wants to be called 'she', that's what I will call her - that is the only polite thing to do.

But is an adult human male with a functional penis a woman (or a "real woman", whatever that means) because she feels like a woman?

And if so, is a little 5-year-old girl to be called a woman if she says she feels like a woman? Will it be ageist to say "No, you are not a woman, because you are only 5"? confused

StandsOnGoldenSands Mon 30-Jun-14 20:24:31

I feel very confused about this. I've read a couple of threads on it recently.

I totally accept that there are some people who do not feel they are their physical gender and they are entitled to do whatever they can to change that and they deserve understanding and support to live the life they feel is right for them.

On the other hand the physical attributes of being a 'born' woman can't be ignored and it is easy to see how it can be hard to reach mutual understanding on that with men who have adopted female gender (even though for perfectly justified reasons). (Or do I mean sex? Sorry. Confusing.)

I would be physically intimidated by having someone who was physically a man in a women only space like a changing room. I have heard that assaults have happened and it would worry me. I apologise if that is the wrong thing to say. I am someone who thinks women only spaces have a value.

In summmary I agree with pastperfect I think.

TiggyD Mon 30-Jun-14 20:25:25

My advice to them would be to find a good definition on some other site and nick it. I'd go with that feminist site, the F-Word.

Pastperfect Mon 30-Jun-14 20:26:39

cote I'm not sure whether I'm agreeing or disagreeing with you (and I realise you weren't addressing me directly but I'm finding this thought provoking..)

I would have no issue with anyone labeling or being labeled as they wish but I guess my issue is where "rights/opinions/feelings" conflict - what happens?

E.g. You have a female counseling group, for abuse survivors and someone born male, who feels female wants to join. I'm bit sure I'm comfortable with that. Is that discomfort transphobia? The earlier posts suggest it might well be.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 20:29:31

I don't know any feminist opinions or whatever but I have an opinion on transphobia.

I would define transphobia as treating someone differently because they are transgender in the same way treating a gay man or woman in a different way is homophobic. I view a person who was born with male genitals but identifies as a woman as a woman and vice versa.

Transphobia online would look like accusations of not really being a woman (or man), using "he" instead of she (or vice versa) or personal attacks focusing on the being transgender.

These things always descend into the same debate though about women who were born with vaginas needing a "safe space" from women born with penises or in the process of transitioning.

StandsOnGoldenSands Mon 30-Jun-14 20:30:24

Btw I just went to look for the thread on Site Stuff to educate myself by reading the main debate but couldn't see anything immediately obvious.
Can someone direct me please ?

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 20:31:13

It's the most recent one with about 500 posts - about emailing MNHQ

If someone identifies as 'she', it's rude to call them anything else.
If someone identifies as 'he', it's rude to call them anything else.
If someone identifies as 'them', 'it', whatever they want to identify by, it would be rude to identify them by anything else.

Insisting on calling someone the pronoun they've made it clear they don't want to be called is, in my opinion, transphobic.

Things like changing rooms, etc... I think trans women should be able to access groups intended for women. And trans men should be able to access groups intended for men. There is nothing to stop a woman sexually assaulting another woman, or a man sexually assaulting another man, so I don't understand the issue with the woman in the group having previously identified as (and possibly still have the genitals of) a man? If someone could explain that to me, I'd be really grateful. I've probably worded that clumsily, I apologise in advance.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 20:39:51

I'm sure on a long deleted transphobic thread people equated a woman who hasn't had the operation to remove her penis with someone wandering around with an in built "rape stick". I think that was a problem quite a few of them had which boggles my mind tbh.

StandsOnGoldenSands Mon 30-Jun-14 20:43:10

Oh that! I thought you meant MN had posted a neutral thread to canvass views, not that this arises from one side of a big bunfight.

I will go and read though.

If MNHQ really want people's opinions perhaps they could start a new neutral thread ?

I think the issue of being a 'real' woman or a 'real' man is more complicated than just the word 'real'.

There's two different things, biological sex and gender. The trick is to treat the two things with equality, and to 'label' the person according to their own wishes.

If you have a penis, you are biologically a man. If you are trans, you identify as being female. And those are both fine and can co-exist.

I don't see anything wrong with separating biological and mental issues with sex and gender, so long as they are given equal respect.

I think it would be much easier if we all just identified as ourselves. I mean, I am a woman and I am not entirely sure if I consciously identify myself as female, rather than just as 'me'. And of course, I can have no idea of how others think of themselves in reference to their gender/sex.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 20:44:36

stands

This is meant to be a neutral thread.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 20:47:47

"Transphobia online would look like accusations of not really being a woman (or man)"

Looking at this armed only with (1) a dictionary and (2) a basic biology textbook:

The definition of the word "woman" is "adult human female".

Female of a species is those with XX chromosomes, who can produce young or lay eggs.

It is not possible to be a woman without being female. And it is not possible to be female with XY chromosomes, a functional penis, and testicles that produce sperm.

Therefore, transwomen are not women. They are transwomen.

If you feel that there is an error in my logic, please point it out.

Otherwise, I'm puzzled by the claim that it is transphobic to say transwomen are not really women. I would say it is O-Level Biology.

fledermaus Mon 30-Jun-14 20:52:41

This is a difficult one.

On one hand I completely defend the right of anyone to "be" whoever they want to me, and dress, act, call themselves whatever they like so long as it doesn't harm anyone else. It's rude to call someone "he" if they have asked to be "she" and transpeople shouldn't be ridiculed or attacked.

On the other hand, transwomen are not women, and I don't think women's only spaces should be compelled to accept men who feel they are women. That isn't to say those feelings aren't valid, but wanting to be a woman doesn't make you a woman.

fledermaus Mon 30-Jun-14 20:53:04

I don't think it has anything to do with rape or sexual assault either.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 20:53:39

"wanting to be a woman doesn't make you a woman"

^ This.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 20:53:56

I'm just sharing my opinion on the whole thing, not gearing up to enter a scientific debate. Someone may not be biologically a female human but they can still be a woman. Perhaps definitions need to change in order to match changing society.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 20:54:37

"Someone may not be biologically a female human but they can still be a woman"

How? confused

HerrenaHarridan Mon 30-Jun-14 20:54:46

Hmmm, this is all such a complex discussion.

I don't think it is acceptable to silence the view of people who feel intimidated at the prospect of finding themselves sharing a changing room with a person with a fully functioning penis who identifies as a woman (but isn't going to or hasn't yet had surgery) this needs to be worked through and discussed.
It is not transphobia (IMO)and may (or may not) stem from the individual's own past abuse.

I also don't think that phrases like 'women menstrate' cane be deemed transphobic on its own (although there definitely are contexts you could use it in that would make it so)
Many women assigned as women at birth do not menstrate but that does not mean they aren't women.

The term using the term 'real' to describe someone who's gender was correctly defined at birth is absolutely transphobic.

This discussion is still ongoing. I am wary of censorship that forbids people working these issues out BUT I also think it's very important that guidelines are in place so that hq can review each accusation of transphobia in context.

fledermaus Mon 30-Jun-14 20:56:40

IMO, guidelines about transphobia should focus on treating people with respect and without insults/ridicule/abuse.

However, it shouldn't include trying to force people to accept someone else's worldview, or shut down debate about something contested.

IfYouCouldSeeMeNow Mon 30-Jun-14 20:57:20

Meaning no offence whatsoever, but what if the presence of a biological male causes upset to the biological females? That regardless of what they identify as, it's the physical aspect that is upsetting?

I'm with the person above who said that they identify as 'me', and aren't sure if that is male or female.

I also studied biology and human biology and share Cotes confusion.

It's a minefield, and I'm not sure that banning people for transphobia, if unintended, will help.

IfYouCouldSeeMeNow Mon 30-Jun-14 20:58:26

And then of course you have the issue that if you say "I'm really offended", who is at fault?

The person who offended you, or yourself for being offended?

I think it was Stephen Fry who said that the correct answer should be, "so?". It's an interesting point.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 20:58:55

How? If they identify as a woman and want to live their life in accordance with their gender identity, they are a woman. If someone identifies as a man and wants to live their life in accordance with their gender identity, they are a man. I don't think the genitals you are born with dictates your gender identity and sometimes people are born with genitals that don't match up with who they are.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 20:59:21

Question for everyone: Is there such a thing as a 'woman', objectively? Or a 'woman' just anyone who feels like a woman?

Teeb Mon 30-Jun-14 21:00:34

I can understand why this is a feminist issue, when what a lot of feminists want is recognition that men and women are entirely equal other than in a biological sense.

I'd be interested to know from someone who does identify as trans, What is it that you associate with the other gender? If biologically your birth sex is not the gender you relate to, what makes you feel that the feeling/belief you do have is that you're female/male? I'm not sure if I'm being clear. On a personal level, I don't believe I have a female brain, simply a human brain. My thoughts, beliefs, abilities etc have no basis in gender. My DNA and perhaps my experiences are what I have that is backed up by gender.

Gosh, these thoughts are all a bit scrambled! and maybe this isn't the thread for it, but I think quite often in threads it's a lack of understanding and coming at a topic from a whole new angle which comes across, not hatred or a phobia.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 21:00:43

I think it's vitally important not to close down the possibility of discussion on the nature of gender by saying 'you mustn't ever say transwomen are men.'
To do that is basically to turn one view on the nature of gender into law. It's really problematic.
I don't think it's acceptable to use your view of what sex someone is to hurt or bully them. And I don't want laughing at transwomen and calling them trannies to be acceptable on here. But there has to be space for discussion.
And particularly, I am really uncomfortable with the idea that women must use a female pronoun for any man that demands it. I'm not talking about the people who have lived as women for years and are clearly serious about it, but the young privileged men who adopt a 'genderqueer' identity and enjoy using it to attack feminists. There are people like this, they don't post on here, but I don't want a rule that is so strict that if they came up in discussion we'd get deleted for calling them men.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 21:01:53

Fledermaus - exactly.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:02:57

"If they identify as a woman and want to live their life in accordance with their gender identity, they are a woman."

If someone identifies as a feline and wants to live like a cat, is he a cat?

If tomorrow I say I identify as a man and want to live as a man, am I a man?

A woman is an adult human female. That is how I know the word.

Do you have a different definition for what a woman is?

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 21:04:48

Look, you aren't going to convince me and I'm not going to convince you. It's like talking with a racist or a homophobe. But for what it's worth, that's the kind of post that would fit under the label of transphobic for me.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 30-Jun-14 21:05:07

Cotes
Not all women can have children whether you choose to include trans woman or not.

Teeb Mon 30-Jun-14 21:06:20

smelsa what would you consider a woman/man as an identity? It's a contentious issue, but it feels as if the women's rights movement of the past 100+ years has been about challenging what a gender role identity. Does a trans woman have any more right to their identity of a woman as a misogynistic man does of his identity of what a woman is? I.e someone who cleans, cooks, provides children and sex?

My feeling is presently on fwr the whole topic is being taken over by this one area. I am interested, ish. I do care, ish. I'm a bit fed up of it tbh.

Would Trans like their own area? Where in depth feeling can be explored? And where I can then choose to investigate as I do with every other board (or not) as I want? Or as strikes me as interesting on Active?

I'm sorry. I don't mean offense, although I expect disappointment by my feeling. But you did ask how I might feel....

fledermaus Mon 30-Jun-14 21:07:24

Do we need specific guidelines on what "transphobia" is, beyond no personal insults/treating people with respect?

Mumsnet can't exactly turn a belief into a fact can it?

Something that may be helpful to this discussion is the WHO definitions of sex and gender. Some people (including I think lots of FWR posters) are working with these definitions. Some other people (including I think lots of trans activists) are working to different definitions ...

From here

What do we mean by "sex" and "gender"?

Sometimes it is hard to understand exactly what is meant by the term "gender", and how it differs from the closely related term "sex".

"Sex" refers to the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women.

"Gender" refers to the socially constructed roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

To put it another way:

"Male" and "female" are sex categories, while "masculine" and "feminine" are gender categories.

Aspects of sex will not vary substantially between different human societies, while aspects of gender may vary greatly.

Some examples of sex characteristics :

Women menstruate while men do not
Men have testicles while women do not
Women have developed breasts that are usually capable of lactating, while men have not
Men generally have more massive bones than women

Some examples of gender characteristics :

In the United States (and most other countries), women earn significantly less money than men for similar work
In Viet Nam, many more men than women smoke, as female smoking has not traditionally been considered appropriate
In Saudi Arabia men are allowed to drive cars while women are not
In most of the world, women do more housework than men

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:10:07

"Not all women can have children"

I am aware of that.

The definition of a woman is not "a female who can have an offspring". It is an adult human female.

The only way you can include a transwoman into the definition of a woman is if you define it as whoever says they feel like a woman.

Cote - at the risk of channelling Shania Twain, do you feel like a woman?

I don't, really. Any more than I consciously feel like a human being, or a mammal, or a biped. It's not something I think about much. And even if I did go about feeling female, I cannot know that others who were going about feeling female feel female in the same way as I do. It's very abstract, and personal.

Genetalia cannot be denied. A man is not a woman. But can he be female? Even more female than me, a biological woman? Possibly.

What problems does that present? Apart from use of loos and changing rooms, which are problems that can be solved. Genuine question.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 21:12:13

teeb, I don't think there is a universal identity for each gender. Everyone will have a different idea of what gender identity is. I just choose to respect someone who says they identify as a woman or man because whatever they see as a woman or man is what they identify with. I'm talking in terms of person gender identity not the idea of identity we use to label people. It doesn't matter what other people think a woman is if that person identifies as a woman, they are one. A misogynistic man doesn't have a gender identity of a woman because he presumably identifies as a man. He has an idea of what he thinks women should be but it's distant from his own identity if that makes sense.

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 21:12:22

Moominkoala, I would refuse to use the pronoun 'it' to describe somebody. I just couldn't bring myself to agree to their request. It would feel very dehumanising.

almond I'd really struggle, but I believe that if that's what they want, I don't want to cause offence to them by going against their wishes.

SolomanDaisy Mon 30-Jun-14 21:13:31

I don't have any real knowledge on this subject, but I have learnt a lot from reading different opinions on MN. I hope MN doesn't do something like accept the F Word definition of transphobia. It seems to me that that definition closes debate on some issues which are still very much contested.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:14:00

Thanks for that, Smelsa hmm

I wasn't trying to convince you of anything. We are trying to figure out what MNHQ transphobia guidelines might be, together.

quietbatperson Mon 30-Jun-14 21:14:42

what if the presence of a biological male causes upset to the biological females? That regardless of what they identify as, it's the physical aspect that is upsetting?

Are you talking about things such as changing rooms in shops and at leisure centres? People who are trans should be able to use those changing rooms, the fact that they are often prevented from doing so by staff Policing the door means that transpeople are prevented from accessing services other people freely have access to, which when you consider that most of these facilities have separate cubicles within them makes the preventing of accessing the desired changing room even more ridiculous.

A former colleague of mine volunteers with a local trans support group, and the transwomen really struggle to buy clothes without being prevented from using the changing room, and will sometimes get abused by the staff in the shop.

Changing the mindset on MN would be a drop in the ocean, but it would be a start.

I think I agree with Cotes here - there are men, there are women, there are transwomen and there are transmen. Surely that's factual and not indicative of prejudice? A transperson is not of less value nor deserving of less respect than a non trans - and surely that's the definition of prejudice and transphobia - acknowledgement of a difference doesn't imply transphobia, does it, just a recognition of a fact?

Apologies if I've got any terminology wrong, this is a new area of discussion for me (had to look up cis stuff!).

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:16:29

Psammead - re "do you feel like a woman?"

I don't think so. I feel like a person.

I am a woman, though.

"Genetalia cannot be denied. A man is not a woman. But can he be female? Even more female than me, a biological woman?"

No. A man can't be a female, since a man is an adult human male. He can be feminine, though.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:17:58

"A transperson is not of less value nor deserving of less respect than a non trans - and surely that's the definition of prejudice and transphobia - acknowledgement of a difference doesn't imply transphobia, does it, just a recognition of a fact?"

My thoughts exactly.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 30-Jun-14 21:19:18

Ok so very quickly we have perfect examples of transphobia to analyse.

Using the word female to define woman is not really taking a step forward.

What is the problem with using she or he to describe anyone who prefers it?

I can understand discomfort around issues like changing rooms and survivors groups. These are places where people are vulnerable and systems need to be worked out so that everyone can access these things in a safe manner.

The cat example is ludicrous. It does not translate.
It is sometimes the case that a trans persons DNA says that they are not the gender assigned at birth.

This isn't just about want to wear dresses and liking pink.
There is so much more going on biologically

"Intersex, in humans and other animals, is a variation in sex characteristics including chromosomes, gonads, or genitals that do not allow an individual to be distinctly identified as male or female. Such variation may involve genital ambiguity, and combinations of chromosomal genotype and sexual phenotype other than XY-male and XX-female.[1][2]"

en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intersex

fledermaus Mon 30-Jun-14 21:19:41

I agree with Furry.

Saying "transpeople are (something insulting/ridiculing)" is offensive
Saying "transwomen are not women" is surely at least as valid a belief as "if you feel like/want to be a woman, you are one".

You need to be very careful with your definition. You need to avoid privileging some very vocal and extreme activists who hate women and think lesbians are 'trans phobic' by definition, because they happen, oddly enough, not to feel sexual desire for penises.

Sounds barking mad but I've seen trans activists vehemently assert this point of view. There is no excuse for silencing women, whatever your gende

sorry, gender identity.

So for you, sex and gender is a matter of genetalia, and the thoughts and feelings surrounding identity are unhelpful and irrelevant?

So, sex exists, but there is not really any such thing as gender? Because it's so nebulous.

I sort of see that.

Honestly, if I were to decide to identify myself as a man, I am not really sure how I would do that. What does that even mean?

Teeb Mon 30-Jun-14 21:22:43

Agreeing with furry and cote, particularly furry's definition of transphobia.

herrena could you explain why the cat analogy seems so ludicrous to you?

TiggyD Mon 30-Jun-14 21:23:02

Finding toilets is pretty hard for transwomen. If they can't use women's for fear of upsetting people, and can't use the men's because they're registered as women and they might get attacked for it, and they can't bring themselves to think of themselves as disabled and use those loos, where can they go?

Next time you're out see if you can go a whole day not using a gendered toilet.

Sorry, should have been more specific, that was to cote.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:23:51

"It is sometimes the case that a trans persons DNA says that they are not the gender assigned at birth"

What do you mean?

In that case, surely you would say that their gender was assigned incorrectly at birth, not that they are transsexual - as in, an XX hermaphrodite assigned male sex at birth by mistake and raised as a boy, before DNA testing became commonplace for such situations.

flappityfanjos Mon 30-Jun-14 21:25:22

Er, are the dictionary and a basic biology textbook the ultimate arbiters of who we are? The textbook also says my uterus is for growing babies in. Am I allowed to be something other than my fundamental biology?

Trans people plainly exist. Trans people are not so common in the general population that the women's movement is likely to be secretly overrun by stealth dick. Trans people generally experience great unhappiness while living as their birth-assigned gender. Trans people often experience distress when misgendered after transition, so doing it to prove a point strikes me as cruel and unnecessary. Trans people are also heavily discriminated against, openly mocked in places where many other forms of oppression are at least nominally frowned upon, and are at increased risk of both assault and murder. Do we really think people sign up for all that, plus a gruelling regime of hormone treatment and perhaps major surgery, for any reason other than a deep and absolute inner need? Do we really think that, in the overall balance, trans women are more privileged than we are and need to be taken down a peg? That we need to be so on our guard as to automatically treat them with suspicion and worse?

When did feminism get to be about biological essentialism?

Yes. Anything that suggests trans women are not real women, and trans men are not real men, is transphobic. There's a perfectly good distinction if you feel the need to make one. I am a cis woman. The tag does not diminish me.

ChunkyPickle Mon 30-Jun-14 21:26:12

I think what I find really hard, like others here, is this whole 'lives life as a woman' thing, because, again like others here, despite being biologically female, I identify as 'me' rather than 'woman' or 'man'

In fact, if you took a step back and looked at the non-biological aspects of my life, you might guess I was a man - I always wear trousers, I work in a technical job, I generally do the driving the family and the DIY, I'm not interested in fashion etc. All stereotypical male behaviours.

I don't feel any need to swap my sexual organs though, so I almost feel that that might be the most important part of being transexual - the body dysmorphia. Otherwise, you're just being you - you have a title you prefer, a mode of dress, and your gender doesn't matter at all.

From that point of view - which I think some would label transphobic - I think the guidelines don't actually need to have new rules, we just need to stick with 'be excellent to each other'

HerrenaHarridan Mon 30-Jun-14 21:26:28

Exactly, all of these things come under the umbrella of trans.

Some people are medically, biologically not exclusively and obviously 'male' or 'female'

No one is biologically part cat

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 21:26:31

You're missing the major point that you don't just up and decide to identify as a man. It's there inside you. You don't snap your fingers and think "hey I think I want to identify as a man now. Where do I start?".

Or am I missing the point and all these women and men decided to go through such a tough process on a whim?

NotAgainTrevor Mon 30-Jun-14 21:27:43

My biggest objection is the move on many sites that anyone who says they are a woman is a woman and they are all real women. This definition does not require hormones, surgery or even presenting like a woman, anyone who says that they are a woman is and it is transphobic to disagree. It is this train of thought that suggests areas such as menstruation, FGM are not womens issues, it also says that lesbians are bigots if they don't want to have sex with a woman's penis hmm and rape victims should get over their penis bigotry as it is so unfair. It utterly destroys any sense of what a woman is and denies us our biological differences which are the root of our oppression.

I'm not saying that all transwomen think like this, in fact there is an especially nasty word for trans folk that disagree and they get the same threats of dying in a fire and being raped by the lady penis. But those that do think like this are verbally attacking and threatening women and succeeding in getting the world twisted to their view. It is not transphobic to challenge this.

I don't want this to become one of the bathroom threads but as it is already being mentioned I will give my view. I was seriously sexually assaulted on a night out in a woman's bathroom by a man in a dress. Was he a transwoman or a faker trying to get in a space with vulnerable women I have no idea, what matters to me is I cannot tell. So removing women's space and opening it to anyone who feels like it would limit my life as I would have to change my behaviour. I also think it would greatly limit the lives of women from cultures where it is considered shameful to be looked on by other men, if we turn it into a free for all do you think they will be allowed to go to "women" only events such as swimming any more? For me that is the crux of the issue, I think transwomen are real people with real thoughts and feelings and should be treated as such, however, when it comes to restricting the rights of women born women to meet the needs of very few then I say it is unacceptable and that is where the line has to be drawn.

fledermaus Mon 30-Jun-14 21:28:34

Has anyone said that transpeople don't exist or that they don't genuinely feel the way they do?

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:29:18

"Using the word female to define woman is not really taking a step forward."

That is the definition of a woman. Look it up.

A woman is an adult human female.

"Woman" certainly doesn't mean "whoever feels feminine".

Beachcomber Mon 30-Jun-14 21:30:03

I'm glad this thread is canvassing opinions of women, especially those of women who maybe aren't aware of the conflict between certain feminist movements and certain transgender movements.

I think it is very liberal and very accommodating of women to say that they would accept a transwoman (MTF trans person) as a woman.

How would you feel though in the following contexts;

- as a rape victim being medically examined or counselled who expressed a desire to only be seen by women due to being traumatized.

- as a female student in a college voting for a woman to represent your views and needs as a female in a male dominated environment.

- as a lesbian voting for a female representative for lesbian visibility and rights.

- as a woman voting for a female only list for a fellowship/representative/voice for women's issues such as abortion, lesbianism, feminism.

I think it is easy to accommodate transwomen as female when it doesn't really affect us/matter to women. But it is a different story in certain contexts which resonate with us as being worthy of prioritizing the experience of born females.

msrisotto Mon 30-Jun-14 21:30:31

Let the world health organisation, and sensible common decency guide you. There is a difference between sex and gender, furthermore, gender is a construct which has and does oppress women. To stop us talking about that and contesting that (gender) would be heinous.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 21:31:09

Herrena, you seem to be eliding trans and intersex.
Intersex people tend not to be very happy about that - have a look at this link, for instance, which explains why they're not the same.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:32:58

"you don't just up and decide to identify as a man. It's there inside you"

Yes, body dysmorphia is apparently a very distressing place to be.

I'm not saying transwomen don't really feel like women. I'm sure they do.

I'm saying that feeling like women doesn't make them women.

AnyaKnowIt Mon 30-Jun-14 21:33:04

I am a woman, not a ciswoman

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:34:50

"The textbook also says my uterus is for growing babies in"

And it's correct.

Have you been using your uterus for another purpose?

Teeb Mon 30-Jun-14 21:35:42

I think where I'm coming from is not understanding what a man/woman's identity is. I have my identity, a trans woman has her identity, Beyoncé has an identity and an altar ego too. Most peoples identity is a construct of the society that they grew up in, the only part of my brain that I can identify as female are personal experiences I've had, experiences where I've been treated differently to my brother because I'm a girl, of being given gender specific toys like a kitchen set or dolls, my first period etc etc. but now gender identities and constructs are changing. Personality traits or preferences and our persuasions don't have an influence on gender to me, because being kind and gentle isn't a female gendered role much like being methodical or aggressive are male gender traits.

msrisotto Mon 30-Jun-14 21:36:22

In a professional capacity, I know of a man who committed a serious and deadly crime and shortly before sentencing, decided to become a woman. This person is now in a women's prison, has a prison 'wife' and presents as a man and is known as her 'husband'. This was not the result of years of struggle and torment. This was a decision on which prison they wanted to go to.

Smelsa - why would you think that anyone would decide to be transgender on a whim? I am just not sure exactly how anyone thinks of themselves as being male or female. My thoughts and actions are not particularly womanly. So how do I know that I identify as a woman? How does anyone, when they have no experience of the alternative? Obviously I am not arguing that trans does not exist, it certainly does given that there are people who are trans, but rather that the idea of gender itself is so nebulous that the polar-opposite terms of male and female in regards to anything other than biology is pointless.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:38:37

"Some people are medically, biologically not exclusively and obviously 'male' or 'female'"

Who?

Are you talking about medical anomalies like XXY or XYY people (very rare and overwhelmingly not transsexual)?

Or are you talking about hermaphrodites? (Again, very rare and most transsexuals are not hermaphrodites, afaik).

Anything that suggests trans women are not real women, and trans men are not real men, is transphobic.

But that sentence, in itself, does exactly that. It differentiates between trans women and women, by using the qualifier 'trans', which indicates that the person in question has transitioned from one gender to another - an experience which those without the qualifier have not had. The use of 'real' is meaningless and superfluous here. A transperson is a transperson - which does not imply that they should be treated in any way differently than a person who has kept the gender they were born with.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 21:39:56

Smelsa - I don't think anyone goes through that on a whim but the trans umbrella is so broad now that it's encompassing people who don't go through either medical treatment or trying in any sustained way to live as a woman.
I very much hope any rules MNHQ comes up with will take this into account.

flappityfanjos Mon 30-Jun-14 21:41:32

I don't think it does that at all. It simply describes the route a given woman took to reach her female identity. It's just extra information.

flappityfanjos Mon 30-Jun-14 21:42:50

(Apologies to anyone responding to my posts, I'm hiding the thread now as I find this topic quite painful.)

* It simply describes the route a given woman took to reach her female identity.*

Replace the word 'woman' with 'person' and I think I agree with you.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 21:45:36

I think that the use of 'cis' can help to diffuse tensions where people otherwise talk about 'real' women and trans women. However it isn't widely used terminology and it will take time to become widely used (if it ever is). So it seems a bit harsh to me to jump on posters who get the terminology wrong. Gently informing them seems more appropriate.

However there is also the issue of the tone of posts. There is a world of difference between "how can I support DH's best friend who is now a trans woman as I only have experience of real women?" And "I want to cut X out of my life for changing gender, he'll never be a real woman". People get the terminology wrong because they don't know any better, but aren't inherently transphobic, or are using it as a way to be transphobic.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:45:36

" the route a given woman took to reach her female identity"

Surely the transwoman already had her female identity before she started taking the hormones and underwent castration. Which is why she was given the hormones and her male genitalia were cut off as per her wishes.

StandsOnGoldenSands Mon 30-Jun-14 21:45:40

I use my uterus for growing cabbages in.

Sorry to be flippant, I am only part way through the thread which this is TAAT for, and I paused to catch up with this thread.

Tbh I now feel much more intimidated in saying what I think because I will clearly be labelled as a bigot. I had no idea the wider world had changed so much since my younger days of feminist activism. I feel a little disenfranchised. The whole notion of the societal privilege of being raised as a male seems to have come to naught, and yet biology is nowhere either. Where, if one has a class analysis of feminism, does that leave things?

Off to finish reading the other thread.

EatingMyWords Mon 30-Jun-14 21:47:36

I agree with flappityfanjos previous post on page 3.

Surely a definition of transphobia has to come from the trans people on MN. You don't ask white people to decide what constitutes racism!

TheBogQueen Mon 30-Jun-14 21:47:57

Therefore, transwomen are not women. They are transwomen.

I agree with Cote

There is biological difference between the two and also environmental differences in growing up as a woman and becoming a transwoman.

HerrenaHarridan Mon 30-Jun-14 21:48:05

Intersex is dealt with under the umbrella of trans.

Trans issues are about much more than some men choosing to wear dresses.

Much discussion is needed to work though the various sociological issues at stake.

Especially the excellent point made above. In a one off situation how do you differentiate between a predator in a dress and a trans woman?

Or any of the women's representation issues. All of these points advance to discussion on trans.

Female is another word for woman and does not further explain or define the term.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 21:48:46

I was referring to this:

Honestly, if I were to decide to identify myself as a man, I am not really sure how I would do that. What does that even mean?

I wasn't aware that it was an active decision people make to begin to identify as a certain gender was the point I was trying to make. People have their own ideas of what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man. Some people identify with their idea of a woman, some with their idea of a man. Maybe you don't identify with a particular gender. It isn't an either or situation.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 21:49:44

'Cis' diffuse tensions? shock

I'd say the opposite - it's really problematic, particularly for feminists.

I agree with you about the tone of the posts being important.

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 21:51:55

I would ask MN to have as part of their guidelines that the only people who get called cis or trans are people who state that as their identity.

Most people have claimed to be neither.

No you are perfectly correct, it is not an active decision, any more than it is an active decision to be gay, straight, whatever. It is how you are. However I used the pronoun I referring to myself. I am not trans. If I identified myself as a man, it would be a conscious decision.

You are right, people have their own ideas. The more I think about it, the more I feel that gender is a useless idea. This is why I asked 'what does that even mean?' to identify as a male?

Fram Mon 30-Jun-14 21:56:28

edam I just don't understadn that PoV.

I don't see my sexuality, who I'm attracted to, as anything whatsoever to do with how I treat other people- hetero, LGBT,asexual whatever. Why would people conflate the two?

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 21:58:01

"Female is another word for woman and does not further explain or define the term"

'Female' is not another word for 'woman'.

A girl is female but she is not a woman.

A she-dog is female but she is not a woman.

A woman is an adult human female.

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 22:00:52

Herrera, you're right that some people consider intersex to come under the trans umbrella, but the activists I know all make the distinction out of respect for intersex people who don't self-identify as trans and feel their condition has been appropriated by another group.

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 22:01:34

Intersex is not dealt with under the umbrella of trans.

MN should set up guidelines for discussing intersex too.

fridgepants Mon 30-Jun-14 22:03:40

I am cis, and identify as a feminist. It has always irritated me that issues such as abortion, FGM are seen as 'women's issues'. They are not. They are human rights issues. While I understand the need for safe spaces for women, I feel that making feminist causes into women o ly causes both suggests to men they don't need to take an interest, and denies those who are not women (by whichever definition) a right to be heard.

Also, if we are being biologically essentialist about this, where does it leave those who consider themselves agender?

MrsMaturin Mon 30-Jun-14 22:04:45

I do not accept that trans women have a right to access all women only spaces. As a radical feminist the issue of trans women is a challenging one. However my primary loyalty is for women who are born women.

msrisotto Mon 30-Jun-14 22:07:20

If mn took an f-word stance to this, I would leave.

WhentheRed Mon 30-Jun-14 22:07:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chibi Mon 30-Jun-14 22:08:10

abortion will be human rights issue on which everyone can weigh in when people with penises and testes find themselves pregnant and don't want to be

hmm

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 22:08:28

"Also, if we are being biologically essentialist about this, where does it leave those who consider themselves a gender?"

What on earth is "being biologically essentialist"?

Do you define "woman" as "whoever thinks they are a woman"?

What is that, then? An abstract concept of femininity?

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 22:09:29

"abortion will be human rights issue on which everyone can weigh in when people with penises and testes find themselves pregnant and don't want to be"

^ This. Exactly.

MrsMaturin Mon 30-Jun-14 22:10:09

I agree absolutely about abortion.

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 22:10:25

Fridgepants, I am agender. You can call me a woman, a femalè and use the pronoun she to describe me.

Because that is my biological sex.

VashtaNerada Mon 30-Jun-14 22:13:26

I'm finding the use of 'real' in the context of "transwomen are not real women" uncomfortable as it sounds harsher than it's perhaps intended. I wonder if those making that point have many trans friends - I honestly do see transwomen as 'real' women and transmen as 'real' men when I know them personally because that's just who they are - this isn't about a bloke who's put on a dress on his stag do for a laugh.

Fram Mon 30-Jun-14 22:13:40

shock I have just looked up 'cis'.
OMG I thought it meant something else entirely.
<gulp>

Why the fuck are people trying to define people that are not something as a thing?

And intersex certainly does not come under trans, it has nothing to do with trans.

ExitPursuedByAKoalaBear Mon 30-Jun-14 22:18:05

You know, there comes a point in our lives when we might decide that either we have outgrown the world, or the world has moved on whilst we were doing something else. confused

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 22:25:22

How does "cis" imply a privilege? I think that there is an inherent privilege in not having to go through the process of changing gender, as that looks pretty hard. Is that the type of privilege you mean?

fridgepants Mon 30-Jun-14 22:27:33

I have had an abortion, for medical reasons. It was as affecting for my male partner as it was for me. I would have found it much harder if, like the boyfriend of my friend who HD an unexpected mc, he felt it was my thing to cope with, much like period pains.

fridgepants Mon 30-Jun-14 22:29:17

I think people are hmm about 'cis' the way some were in the past about 'straight'. It's weird to have a label for something which feels to straight/cis people like the default setting.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 22:30:41

Part of the problem with this discussion is that you have "experts" who have significant experience of trans people and the debates that surround transphobia and "non-experts". The guidelines will need to be simple enough for "non-experts" to be able to ask reasonable, non-transphobic questions on MN without being tripped up by guidelines shaped by "experts".

fridgepants Mon 30-Jun-14 22:31:56

OK, I follow a lot of SJW types on Twitter, but I think the privilege thing is because it's pretty easy for cis people to go about being the gender they were born with. Nobody will question their right to use changing rooms, particular bathrooms, or snigger at them for not 'passing'.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 22:33:18

Cis makes sense to me because it is the alternative to trans in organic chemistry, but I guess that not everyone starts from that point in thinking about terminology.

WhentheRed Mon 30-Jun-14 22:33:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

chibi Mon 30-Jun-14 22:34:25

fair enough. i on the other hand don't want anyone with penis/testes/xy ever making decisions on women's reproductive freedom

i don't care if they feel deeply about it, they are not the center here.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 22:34:34

"I honestly do see transwomen as 'real' women and transmen as 'real' men when I know them personally because that's just who they are"

And what would happen to "who they really are" if one day they weren't prescribed any more hormones?

TheBogQueen Mon 30-Jun-14 22:34:49

I think perhaps mumsnet should step back and remember what it is for

Surely the talk guidelines cover this - why should there be separate rules for trans and intersex people?

Why is this even an issue?

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 22:35:16

But that privilege doesn't come from calling those people 'cis', it is is far deeper than that.

NunsArePeopleTooDougal Mon 30-Jun-14 22:35:47

I agree, abortion and FGM are feminist issues, because women are the ones directly affected by them.

FyreFly Mon 30-Jun-14 22:36:46

Can't we just agree that as long as someone isn't being nasty / offensive / deliberately obtuse / namecalling then it's probably OK? Healthy debate is fine (whichever side you come down on) but insults are not.

This is probably a fairly good cover-all for most issues!

chibi Mon 30-Jun-14 22:37:19

no one will ever snigger at them for not passing?

are you serious, or are you completely oblivious to the ways in which women's bodies are policed and shamed, publicly?

let me guess- it's never happened to you? hmm

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 22:37:43

If 'cis' just meant 'not trans' that would be fine, but it's slightly more than that - it implies an internal gender identity (ie your internal gender identity is on the 'same side' , hence the Latin prefix cis, as your body).
If you don't believe in special brains for girls that tell you you're a girl, cis is a really bad description of yourself.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 22:38:44

"If you don't believe in special brains for girls that tell you you're a girl"

Is there any proof for this, or is it just a theory?

TunipTheUnconquerable Mon 30-Jun-14 22:42:46

It's just a theory, Cote.

'Delusions of Gender' by Cordelia Fine is very good on all the girl brain/boy brain stuff.

It's entirely possible that those trans people who have dysphoria have some kind of wrong mapping in their brain (in the same way that an amputee's brain still thinks the missing bit is there) and I wouldn't be at all surprised if one day they discovered that was the case, but firstly, not all trans people report having any kind of dysphoria, and secondly, there is not as yet any actual evidence.

All the broader stuff girls and boys being born with brains which cause them to behave differently is bollocks.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 22:44:36

I don't really get that meaning from cis. It seems to me to mean that both my gender identity and body are on the "woman side". Which is the case.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 22:45:57

Where I get confused about this is here:

In the whole world, when a baby is born, people look at it's genitals and say "it's a boy!" or "it's a girl!". And because of that pronouncement, a whole load of stuff happens. (For a few children genitals are ambiguous but this is not common and a different situation so put that to one side for the moment).

So "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" and thus there are modes of address, clothing, preferred toys, schooling or not, different types of work, different life expectancies (if you are a girl in you might not make it out of the womb in the first place, or be abandoned as a baby or not given the same share of the food as the males and live a short life), street harassment, not being allowed to own property, etc etc etc ad infinitum.

So we are looking at a situation where male and female is not defined by the "it's a boy" or "it's a girl" at birth but by how a person feels. Unfortunately most of the world doesn't work like that. A person with girl genitals in various parts of the world can feel like a male as much as she likes but she's still going to get married off to a much older bloke at 12, get acid thrown in her face for bringing "shame", not be allowed to drive or vote etc etc etc

But if we say that whatever is decided at birth has nothing to do with anything, that a person's sex is the same as their gender and theri gender is how they feel, then you can't identify the people to help, you can't identify the root causes. Because girls and women might well have penises and men and boys might not.

So logically a statement like "Please donate money to help girls who are forced into marriage and made to carry children when their bodies are not developed" is statement that is transphobic.

I just have a bit of a logical fail with all of this, I think.

Of course people should be able (and are able in the UK) to identify how they wish, albeit our society is not terribly accepting of difference even now, but we are getting there I hope. A person should be addressed how they wish, and treated respectfully, that is just courtesy.

However if in a world where women and girls are still routinely hugely oppressed purely on the basis that "it's a girl" when they are born, I think the erosion of the idea that people who have had that are female, is going to be a massive step backwards.

How can you target, say, sex specific abortion, as a bad thing and think why is it done and how can we change it so we don't have Xmillion missing girls going forward, when actually the problem doesn't exist because you can't say they are girls in the first place.

I don't know if that makes sense.

And that's before you get onto the whole thing of gender being massively problematical in enforcing and reinforcing restrictive roles upon everyone in our society.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 22:46:19

I wouldn't be surprised, either.

Upandatem Mon 30-Jun-14 22:46:44

I wonder if an equivalent would be issuing guidelines around discussing sexuality and whether it's homophobic to do so.

U2TheEdge Mon 30-Jun-14 22:47:02

*Surely the talk guidelines cover this - why should there be separate rules for trans and intersex people?

Why is this even an issue?*

I completely agree. I have a very good friend who is transgendered and I know the hell she has been through. I still don't see why we need guidelines on this. And as Fyre said, as long as no one is throwing around insults on purpose then what is the actual problem?

I must be missing something.

Wellthen Mon 30-Jun-14 22:47:23

I don't see why language can't evolve. The dictionary may say 'woman' is 'adult human female' but why can't the word also be used to mean 'or those who identify as such'

I agree that there is a biological definition for female or Xx or whatever but that isn't really the issue. I think we all agree that you can't change that. But people use that fact to be flippant and sometimes offensive towards or about trans people. I think what we're talking about here is similar to the stonewall campaigns against the word gay used as an insult. Mmsnet clearly isn't directly tackling active discrimination against trans people. But their policy might hope to combat casual transphobia that is still seen as socially acceptable. Imho, saying things like 'sorry, youre not a woman' is rude because it suggests that you have more right than that individual to define them or decide how they live their life. In that one statement you reject their identity as a person. You may not mean to, but that isn't the point.

The issue of bathrooms and so on is a different one and I think is one for both the trans community and survivor groups to hash out. Only they can truly represent both sides of the argument. But that is separate from the way in which we choose to talk about trans people. Separating 'women' and 'transwomen' by using the prefix 'trans' may seem harmless but to me it smacks of the same but different. If you are happy to refer as a transwoman as she, her etc then why call her a transwoman? What difference does it make? It is a tiny tool for making a clear separation. In the same way, people liked civil partnerships because they were almost the same as marriage but somehow different. Homophobes could say things like ''you're not really married'

Saying things like 'if I identify as a cat, am I one?' is the same as comparisons like 'men can marry men, why dont I marry my dog/sister/table/child?' It is patronising and offensive. They are not the same. Identifying as a different gender and 'identifying as a different species who does not have the ability to 'identify' are obviously different and to compare them is to ridicule transsexuality.

It is an incredibly complex issue and I don't know where I stand on the bathrooms issue. But I see a lot of mirroring with gay rights issues and, as part of the lgbt community, feel I have to speak up.

U2TheEdge Mon 30-Jun-14 22:48:33

Oh and as adults I find it quite insulting that I need guidelines on discussing this issue.

U2TheEdge Mon 30-Jun-14 22:49:29

as an adult*

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 22:50:38

We need guidelines because people don't know how to act. On a thread talking about women who are in the process of transitioning and still have a penis, when some of the people, who didn't agree with the idea of a woman with a penis using the same changing room as them, got angry with a woman who was either in the process of or who transitioned and began purposefully using the terms "him" and "he" to describe her. Guidelines are needed to cover people like that so that MNHQ doesn't just let it slide.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 22:51:09

Had transitioned*

WhentheRed Mon 30-Jun-14 22:51:26

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 22:53:18

My gender identity isn't female I don't think.

I like "man things"
I have a male dominated job
When I did a "what sex is your brain" quiz (!) on the BBC I came out male (DH was neutral)
I am deeply uncomfortable with gender roles as proscribed in our society

So by the arguments about "you are what you feel" I am a man?

You see I feel totally happy if someone says they feel like a woman and want to be a woman and dress and be addressed accordingly really no problem.

What I do have a problem with is the erasing of the real life experiences globally of being born a girl which are just different than being born a boy whichever way you look at it (for better or worse) + erasing the real life experiences of growing up female and all that entails + denying that some problems are experienced by people born girls and not boys and vice versa.

U2TheEdge Mon 30-Jun-14 22:55:14

Ok, I must have missed that Smelsa.

Thank you for explaining it better to me smile I agree that kind of stuff shouldn't be allowed to slide as well.

I remember going to a pub with my friend and she wanted to use the toilet. One of the staff told her she wasn't allowed in the female toilets and all hell broke loose.

She did get a formal apology in the end. The abuse she gets walking down the street is brutal at times.

AskBasil Mon 30-Jun-14 22:55:58

My advice to MNHQ is that unless they totally capitulate to the men's rights trans demands, they will be considered transphobic themselves.

So if we recognise this man as a man and don't accept that he's a male lesbian because he says he is, we are all transphobes.

Enjoy the emperor's new clothes. hmm

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 22:56:33

So by the arguments about "you are what you feel" I am a man?

Only if you personally identify as one. Liking things that are stereotypically linked to men doesn't make you one unless you feel you are one. I like a mix of stereotypical man things and stereotypical male things. It doesn't affect my gender identity and make me half man half woman because I don't define gender based on those things. Some people may do though. Everyone's different.

What is 'identifying as a woman' though? I mean, I'm biologically a woman but I don't think about that very often...I'm just a person. I don't think of any of the qualities pertaining to myself as 'woman' things...the fact that I'm a SAHP, that I prefer to love, have sex and raise a family (biologically in our case...convenient! wink ) with one exclusive male, that I like colourful, sparkly things, that I like to cook, that I enjoy running, that I wear makeup...none of those are the domain of the female gender in 2014. ANYONE (whatever gender) can do whatever they like nowadays...how is transphobia a 'thing' even? What's to 'phobe' about? I don't understand gender as a construct, I guess. Just personhood. Either you like and respect a person or you don't. Who cares what their sexual/aesthetic/physical/comfort preferences are? We're all different and as long as you are not doing harm to others and trying your hardest to be a good person....

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 22:57:51

It was a while ago I think U2 and done with the intention to belittle. Quite horrible to read! And that sounds horrible for your friend sad

AnyaKnowIt Mon 30-Jun-14 22:57:53

A male lesbian? Oh ffs

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:01:02

"Saying things like 'if I identify as a cat, am I one?' is the same as comparisons like 'men can marry men, why dont I marry my dog/sister/table/child?'"

Err not at all.

"If I think I am a cat, am I a cat?" is asked to make the distinction between what someone thinks and what they actually are.

If a 5-year-old female thinks she is a woman, is she a woman? No, she is a girl.

If an anorexic girl who weighs 40 kgs and has bones jutting out at every angle thinks she is fat, is she fat? No, she is very thin and underweight, the opposite of fat.

And if an XY-chromosomed male with a functional penis and sperm in his testes thinks he is a woman, is he a woman? Of course not. And if he wants to be called "she", has his genitals cut off, takes hormones to modify his body? She is a transwoman, not a woman.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:02:21

But I thought the whole point was that if a person who was born a man feels like a woman then he is a woman.

Many people don't feel like anything. Therefore they are not male or female, is that right?

How does that assist with problems like young forced marriage and problems caused by carrying children too young, or prolific street harassment, or not being educated?

You can't look at a country and say "90% of the girls are not educated, only 5% of the boys aren't. We need to get more girls educated" as this is a statement that makes an assumption about a person's sex on the classification that was applied when they were born based on their genitals. All you can say is "45% of children are educated" and there, identifying a fundamental problem is lost.

fridgepants Mon 30-Jun-14 23:02:48

I have absolutely been shamed public ally, particularly as a woman who dares to not be thin. However, nobody has ever threatened to beat me up because they think I'm a pervert or a man in a dress.

BeCool Mon 30-Jun-14 23:02:56

I feel that a genetic man who identifies as a woman, is part of the broad spectrum of "men" (and the same for genetic women who identify as men - they are still "women" even if they are different from many other women.).

I will call/address anyone in accordance with how they personally identify themselves.

I can understand, with what I have read, the feminist concern that being forced to accept Trans men (sorry I'm not really up with all the correct terminology) as women, in women only spaces etc, is yet another way for the rights of men taking precedence over women's rights.

I think the way forward is to continually challenge, broaden and push society's ideas of what being a man or woman is. It must be broad enough to accommodate and include all members of that gender.

I accept and support everyone's right to live the life they want to, as long as they aren't depriving other people of their own rights to do the same.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:04:29

WhentheRed - that was my point, that being called 'cis' doesn't create the 'privileges', they come from society, well before the label is given.

I see what you mean about the list of privileges, that some aren't actually great for women. But I do think that there is a privilege (or perhaps many) in not struggling with gender identity, not having to go through a transition and then not continuing to be defined by those around you as a trans person, rather than just a man or woman. Life is easier if you aren't trans.

TheBogQueen Mon 30-Jun-14 23:06:10

I don't need guidelines to tell me 'how to act' FGS. I am a 40 year old mother of three.

Frankly one of the most refreshing things about mumsnet in the last was that it treated women like they were grown ups and not lobotomised baby machines.

And the idea of keeping the rules 'simple' fur the 'non experts' ffs ...I can't believe some if you call yourselves feminists.

I actually feel quite angry that women are being talked down to in thus way.

MyrtleDove Mon 30-Jun-14 23:06:57

Tr**ny is a massive slur - it's basically the trans equivalent of n***er or re***d. Should definitely be considered hate speech.

For MNHQ and anyone else, GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Association Against Defamation) have a very handy guide to transgender people and transphobia here - pretty much covers it all.

fridgepants Mon 30-Jun-14 23:07:14

I've never heard the shoe thing. I have massive feet - when I sold shoes on eBay many of them were bought by men.

BeCool Mon 30-Jun-14 23:07:32

To add I rarely read guidelines.

MyrtleDove Mon 30-Jun-14 23:07:45

Oh and it's trans people or transgender people - please don't say 'transgenders' or 'transgendered people'. Also things like 'shemale' are incredibly offensive.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 23:09:49

If they don't identify with a particular gender, it only means they aren't a man or a woman if they identify as someone who isn't a man or a woman. I don't think I have a particularly female gender identity or male identity. I present as female though because I don't feel strongly either way so just go with the flow of what my body already has built in. I'm lazy like that. I can't speak for how other people in a similar position feel though. Some change how they present on a daily basis.

I don't really know what you expect in terms of an opinion on the use of gender in statistics. You can see from this thread alone that it's a common opinion that gender is determined solely from what genitals you have so why would you be surprised that statistic use the same method too?

MyrtleDove Mon 30-Jun-14 23:10:05

BeCool a trans man is a man who was assigned female at birth. A trans woman is a woman who was assigned male at birth.

If someone has a Gender Recognition certificate, it means they have a birth certificate in the gender they identify as and it is a legal requirement to recognise them as that gender.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:10:15

"I don't see why language can't evolve. The dictionary may say 'woman' is 'adult human female' but why can't the word also be used to mean 'or those who identify as such'"

Nouns have literal, objective meanings. A turtle is a turtle, not someone who calls himself a turtle. A baby is a human between 0-12 months of age, not anyone who identifies as a baby. And a man is an adult human male, not anyone who calls himself a man.

If one day what you say comes true and words start to mean "those who identify as ...", then language will lose meaning and we just won't be able to understand each other.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:10:42

"So by the arguments about "you are what you feel" I am a man?

Only if you personally identify as one. Liking things that are stereotypically linked to men doesn't make you one unless you feel you are one. I like a mix of stereotypical man things and stereotypical male things. It doesn't affect my gender identity and make me half man half woman because I don't define gender based on those things. Some people may do though. Everyone's different."

So lots of people don't feel much of anything. I don't. It didn't stop men shouting stuff at me on the street when I was a teenager though. I couldn't go up to them and say "Ah, but I don't feel particularly female, nor male. Please can you go and find someone who identifies as female and harass them instead please".

You can't pretend that societies globally don't treat people born male and people born female differently, you just can't. Otherwise bang goes feminism and the charities that specifically want to help women and girls in dire situations everywhere.

I suppose then all the money and effort could go on helping men and boys which would put us back where we started <sigh>

MyrtleDove Mon 30-Jun-14 23:12:10

Also - trans women are women. Accepting them into women's spaces is part of being a feminist and supporting the rights of all women, whether they were assigned female at birth or not. Transphobia cannot be part of real feminism.

BeCool Mon 30-Jun-14 23:12:52

Thanks myrtl.

What does "assigned at birth mean" please?

WhentheRed Mon 30-Jun-14 23:14:31

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:14:33

"I present as female though because I don't feel strongly either way so just go with the flow of what my body already has built in."

Presenting as a female in our society has nothing to do with what is "built in" and everything to do with hairstyles and fashion and so on.

I mean, are you serious?

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:14:36

"a trans man is a man who was assigned female at birth"

What does "assigned" mean in this context?

That everyone could see when they were stark-naked newborns that they had fanjos and they tested XX if DNA tests were done?

Upandatem Mon 30-Jun-14 23:15:31

What kind of guidelines are anticipated or considered needed? What are the perceived problems? Is it language and terminology or guidelines around debating the fundamentals of gender and sex and identity?

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:16:12

"trans women are women. Accepting them into women's spaces is part of being a feminist"

No it's not.

Who gave you the right to talk for all feminists? hmm

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:17:38

" if I agree to use the pronouns "she" and "her" for a trans*woman (regardless of the level of body alteration either by chemicals or surgery), then I have acknowledged the trans*woman as a woman"

Not at all.

kim wants to be referred to as "she" so I call her "she". If she wanted to be called "it", I'd call her "it".

Anything else would be rude and presumably hurtful and I don't see the point of that.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 23:18:44

""I present as female though because I don't feel strongly either way so just go with the flow of what my body already has built in."

Presenting as a female in our society has nothing to do with what is "built in" and everything to do with hairstyles and fashion and so on.

I mean, are you serious?""

Of course I'm serious. My boobs make it pretty clear that I have a female body.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:19:45

TheBogQueen - I think it is reasonable to keep guidelines simple. That isn't talking down to women, but recognising that you have a diverse group on posters on MN, some with no experience of trans people. Why trip those people up with complex guidelines (that they probably won't read) when you can either use existing guidelines to cover apparently transphobic posts or some fairly basic guidelines that almost everyone can agree on?

The two things that seem to be agreed on (I think) so far is that if someone identifies as a woman, they should be referred to as 'she' etc and the term 'real woman' is offensive in the context of trans people. Beyond that, there doesn't seem to be a consensus and it really is down to people posting reasonably and addressing the minority of posters who don't (by reporting them).

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:20:13

Not everybody's boobs are that prominent, or even visible under clothes.

I think MNHQ may regret saying they will come up with guidelines as there are none that will be sufficient to stop complaints. You can't even ask a question without using terms (like he or she) that are deemed abusive.

All laws are about balancing rights. My right to play music is limited because my neighbours have a right to sleep at night. I can't have total freedom of movement because that would mean I could sit in your living room or park my car in the aisle of your church.

Every now and then some group demands total rights and doesn't get them and feels persecuted. (they may well be persecuted some of the time, but not because their rights have to take other people into consideration)

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 23:22:15

Cote, if somebody asked me to call them something that was widely accepted as a slur by almost everyone, I would not do it, because it would be upsetting to lots of other people who had that slur used against them.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 23:22:26

Oh for crying out loud. I was talking about me, myself and I. That much is pretty clear. I present as female because even in male clothes it is obvious I have big boobs and a woman's body unless I were to go to the effort of binding. Thus the point of me going with the flow of what I already have with the least effort.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:23:24

confused

Lots of women don't have big breasts.

If that is how you are identifying who is male and who is female, you are a bit weird.

Bizarre to deny that men and women are enormously differentiated in our society according to what they wear/how they adorn themselves etc. And most societies probably.

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 23:24:39

Cote, but lots of people's breasts are. It does mark some out as female and there is very little they can do about it.

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:24:50

Don't cry Smelsa. I haven't said anything remotely comparable to you calling me something like a homophone or a racist.

I am more than happy to offer trans people every respect, as I think I do to all people. But I will say that the day it is considered transphobic to speak about women's issues like childbirth, sexual harassment, menstruation, systematic oppression etc etc without adding some disclaimer that I understand that not all women have vaginas/can give birth and that I include trans women in my viewpoint is the day I leave MN. Because even if you're only considering women born women, there will still be those falling under that general umbrella who, along with trans women, can't give birth, have never been sexually harassed etc.

I realise it's a small proportion of trans people who do this, but sadly they can be quite vocal, shutting down feminist discussion and class analysis with cries of transphobia and cis privilege, just for not making sure that transwomen are specifically mentioned in every discussion instead of it just being assumed that they are included.

Realistically, if we had to define everyone who we include and exclude when we use the term "woman" , depending on the topic of discussion, such as transwomen, women of colour, women with fertility issues, lesbians, women who wear high heels, women who actively choose not to have children, sex workers and cancer survivors who have undergone mastectomies, then rational discussion becomes impossible.

So I fail to see what these transactivists hope to achieve by attempting to regulate feminist (or any other discussion) in this way.

I hope that made sense.

AnyaKnowIt Mon 30-Jun-14 23:25:37

Transwomen aren't women are they

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:26:37

I think in some way, Smelsa is expressing what it is like to be non-transgendered. You don't go through a big internal struggle to work out your identity as a woman, it's just there. You don't give it much thought as it is how you have always been it matches how society sees and treats you. It isn't a decision, or at least not a conscious one. It just is and you go with it without a second thought.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 23:26:44

Oh, lawd. Please try and follow the basics of what I've said.

I don't identify strongly either way.
I'm lazy so just go with what I've got when choosing how to present myself.
I have boobs that are noticeable which means people tend to assume I am a woman. (Note: not me deciding other people's gender, other people deciding mine based on boobs).
I dress as a woman because I might as well if that's what people will think I am since I don't particularly care and it's easier for my child that way.

I'm not talking about anybody else or how I judge people. I think that is clear to anyone who isn't deliberately trying to misunderstand.

BeCool Mon 30-Jun-14 23:27:09

annie it made perfect sense.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 23:28:27

Yes, I think that's kind of what it's like pico. It's not something I worry about because I don't feel strongly towards the opposite gender to my body so I just go with what's there.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:28:31

But if someone says "present as a woman in the UK" then you're looking at the trappings of femininity and don't pretend you don't know what they are.

It's got nothing to do with tits.

Although interestingly the tits are what will be of interest to men who like to shout stuff and won't give a monkeys whether the owner of the tits identifies as male, female, or nothing in particular. The tits mean they get the shit, and the boy doesn't as he doesn't have tits. Which is why we need feminism, because women and girls are subject globally to certain things because they are born and grow up with female bodies. Which is exactly the differentiator that the more extreme ideas about what constitutes transphobia will get rid of.

Schoolgirls getting leered at because they have tits will not be allowed to be identified as a problem because it equates female (girl) with female body and birth, which is transphobic, as girls might have male bodies.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:28:53

Annie - does that only happen in FWR on MN?

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 23:30:19

It is ridiculous. I am not Madam Bovary. I did not tight lace for most of pregnancy, undertake a period of confinement and then hire a wet nurse.

I was obviously female for ten years to anyone with eyes. Other people can make clothing choices and not reveal their sex, but it is not true for many, many women.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:30:26

But this

"I think in some way, Smelsa is expressing what it is like to be non-transgendered. You don't go through a big internal struggle to work out your identity as a woman, it's just there. You don't give it much thought as it is how you have always been it matches how society sees and treats you. It isn't a decision, or at least not a conscious one. It just is and you go with it without a second thought."

NO because a lot of girls and women hate the way they are treated because of how society sees them, and think about it a lot. Those people generally end up being called "feminists".

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:31:03

pico

I don't think I've seen any vocal trans activists trying to shut down debate on FWR by saying it's transphobic.

but it does happen elsewhere on the internet and also in RL at conferences.

In my opinion, however, it is as absolutely transphobic to say that transwomen aren't women as it is racist to say that black people aren't people.

WhentheRed Mon 30-Jun-14 23:33:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:34:36

Seven, those girls and women may hate how society treats them, but they don't think about changing gender, do they? Becoming a feminist is a completely different path to becoming a trans man. It's not like girls who hate the sexism and misogyny in society stand at a crossroads, looking down the path to feminism and the path to becoming a trans man then flip a coin to decide which path to take.

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 23:34:54

I honestly don't even know where you're going with this anymore seven. I don't know what trappings of femininity I'm succumbing to or what I'm pretending not to know about. Are you assuming I dress like a fashion model with layers of make up and coiffed hair? Are you assuming I make an effort in presenting as a woman? Are you assuming by presenting as female I mean I have my tits hanging out to signify this? I don't. I just don't make an effort to present as a man (eg binding, specifically "male" clothes, short hair).

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:34:59

But it isn't racist to say black people aren't white. That is just biological reality.

Just like it isn't transphobic to say transwomen aren't women. That is biological reality, too.

It would be transphobic to say "Transwomen aren't people with full human rights, and can't have equal opportunity, employment rights etc".

Pico2, Kim has kindly answered but since you addressed me; I haven't seen much of it on FMR here on MN, as we don't have a large trans population (as far as I'm aware), but it happens lot on other feminist forums, along with trans women insisting that feminists stop paying attention to their feminist issue and start fighting for trans causes instead. Which I suspect stems from the unconcious position of male privelege that these trans women absorbed from living as men before they transitioned. Because funnily enough, cis men also like to tell feminists what they should be concerned about, and it doesn't usually include the issues faced by cis women.

lettertoherms Mon 30-Jun-14 23:37:46

There should not be specific talk guidelines about trans discussions or gender, besides the basic guidelines as to not personally attacking someone or being goady. Calling someone by their non-preferred pronoun intentionally to anger them would fall under that.

I don't have the same beliefs about gender as very person posting on this website. To be told I would have to post within a certain set of guidelines as to what gender is would be ridiculous, yet that seems to be what some posters want. It would be like being told I have to post within a certain set of religious beliefs, that I had to avoid all mentions of atheism and acknowledge the existence of a Christian God at all times. It'd be shutting down any real discussion of different viewpoints.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:38:45

Your definition of a non trans person is one who conforms to and is comfortable with the gender role proscribed to them in their society based on their sex at birth.

That is what you said. I am pointing out that untold millions of women and girls globally are deeply dissatisfied with the gender role proscribed to them. That does not make them trans people. It makes them women and girls who are fucked off. Because stuff is happening to them based on the sex they were identified with at birth.

Bring on the new order and untold millions of women and girls will still have all sorts of shit done to them because when they were born it was "it's a girl" but the problem will not be able to be identified as they will not be able to be referred to as women and girls.

AnyaKnowIt Mon 30-Jun-14 23:38:50

But a black person is a person

A man. with a penis is not a woman

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Mon 30-Jun-14 23:39:06

kim wants to be referred to as "she" so I call her "she". If she wanted to be called "it", I'd call her "it".

This would be an example of what I would call trans prejudice. And I mean no offence to you cote

Who refers to themselves as 'it'?
As far as guidelines for MNHQ go, I would say that the hostile / sceptical questioning of how someone identifies themselves is prejudiced.

MrsMaturin Mon 30-Jun-14 23:40:24

'trans women are women. Accepting them into women's spaces is part of being a feminist and supporting the rights of all women, whether they were assigned female at birth or not. Transphobia cannot be part of real feminism'

No I absolutely disagree. Being compelled to offer transwomen access to all women only spaces is NOT part of being feminist. Trans women are not subject to the same political and social pressures as women who are identified as female at birth. I think there is unfortunately an agenda amongst many trans women to infiltrate feminist campaigns and feminist issues and it's not appropriate. I absolutely resent that my position on this leads to accusations of phobia.

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:41:53

Would people say it is transphobic to call a transwoman a man with a penis?

CoteDAzur Mon 30-Jun-14 23:43:07

NotTheKitchen - What "trans prejudice"? I don't think kim is an "it". I'm only saying I would always refer to a person by how they want to be referred, he or she, and wouldn't even mind "it" if that is what they want.

Your post is what I would call "Cote prejudice" smile

kim147 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:43:29

Is that an insult or someone who merely believes transwomen are really men with penises or castrated men who have had their penises inverted to fake vaginas?

Smelsa Mon 30-Jun-14 23:44:31

Erm, no. If you read back you will see that I said pico's description of a non trans person was "kind of what it's like" for me.

But anyway, I don't see how that is relevant to women who don't like being women not being trans. I don't think I've written anything to do with that so not sure why it seems this is being aimed at me. I can't understand most of what you've typed anyway because I think you're losing it a bit now.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:47:58

People should be addressed how they wish and treated with courtesy and respect, on here and IRL.

I have no problem with calling people whichever pronoun they prefer.

What I object to is being told that I can't refer to "women" or "girls" and talk about the problems that they have globally based on the fact of "it's a girl" when they are born and growing up biologically female, because actually to say those problems only apply to women/girls is transphobic. As boys/men might have them (who were born female) and girls/women might not (who were born male).

If this is the accepted way to proceed then it simply disguises the reality of the world (which is not changing fast and won't change if no-one can identify it as a problem).

NotCitrus Mon 30-Jun-14 23:48:16

Ive only skimmed this thread, but two points: while I understand women feeling vulnerable in changing rooms etc if someone they perceive as 'male' is there, I've been in a women's group where it was voted that only post-op trans women would be permitted, which led to witch hunts with people spreading rumours that various outspoken women were in fact trans and should be kicked out (including me) All very unpleasant and the group folded. I don't see a way to avoid such witch hunts unless it is taken as read that people will not be quizzed on their genetalia. Enforce strict codes of behaviour instead of staring at chin shape and possible hairiness.

Policies requiring trans women to have had surgery canalso be seen as homophobic because certainly 20 years ago and to an extent now, if a trans woman admitted to being bisexual or gay, she wouldn't be permitted surgery on the NHS, meaning there are a number of trans women who have lived as women for over 20 years, been forced to come to terms with their bodies, and being told the last 20 years doesn't count is most upsetting.

Second point - can someone point me to these trans activists that are allegedly claiming its always trsnsphobic to say women menstruate, or demanding that a any man should be able to claim they are woman that day and use women-only facilities. I know a fair about about breaking down gender boundaries and never come across this bunch of 'entitled' trans activists, and the stories I read about them on FWR threads sound like scare stories to me.

SevenZarkSeven Mon 30-Jun-14 23:49:19

That's not very nice, Smelsa confused

Losing it a bit? Are you questioning my mental health? That is rather disablist, surely. And potentially very tactless.

No, a man with a penis is not a woman. But a woman with a penis is a woman.

And it's not about Kim "wanting to be referred to as she". Kim is "she".

I do absolutely get what Seven is saying. We must reserve the right to engage in class analysis discussion about "women" (however the are defined) without accusations of transphobia, because as soon as we lose the ability to dicuss "women as a class" and "men as a class" feminism has lost and the patriarchy will retain their position of happily pissing over women, be they trans or cis.

Personally, I have no issue with transwomen accessing women-only spaces as long as they do so respectfully, willing to let cis women discuss their own issues without demands of whataboutthetranswomen.

Upandatem Mon 30-Jun-14 23:50:38

What problems have been seen? What has prompted the need for guidelines? I need some scenarios in order to work out what needs to change, if anything.

BTW I was furious back in the day that MN wouldn't act on what I perceived to be some homophobic stuff but I think they were prob right.

Some of it would be captured under the goady/ trolling umbrella now but I should have just ignored or hidden some of it. It's such an extremely minority position on here that is not worth giving the satisfaction of responses.

Not sure what might be proposed here though so I don't know what to say. I would not make the guidelines any more specific than they already are I don't think, they seem to cover most things well.

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Mon 30-Jun-14 23:53:55

Yes. I would consider it trans phobic or prejudiced to assert that a trans woman with a penis is a man.

Pico2 Mon 30-Jun-14 23:55:56

Seven - my point is that non-trans girls don't wonder whether they are 'in the wrong body' and go through the angst that trans people do in that respect. They might well not like the way that society treats women, but they still identify with that gender and without thinking 'maybe I was meant to be born a boy, I've always felt like a boy' or whatever the thought process is like for people who are transgendered.

By far the majority of non-transgendered people have not given any thought to whether or not they might be transgendered. That is completely different to thoughts about sexism. I like to think that the majority of women have considered the inequalities in society and have some level of feminist viewpoint. I don't know how realistic that is.

Why is it not transphobic to refer to someone who considers themselves a man, as 'she'? On what planet is that not rude and transphobic?

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 23:57:03

I don't know why Smelsa is being given such a hard time.

She seems to be saying that she does not dress like a man because the size of her breasts make it obvious she is a woman, and her life and her child's life will be easier if she sticks to the 'rules.'

What on earth is wrong with that.

Kitchen, some people do use 'it' as their preferred pronoun.

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Mon 30-Jun-14 23:58:49

I didn't realise Almond.

almondcakes Mon 30-Jun-14 23:58:53

Pico, 40% of people who are not trans have dysphoria about their sexed body.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 01-Jul-14 00:02:04

What does "female gendered" mean to you, pico? In the sense of "they still identify with that gender".

Because I genuinely don't feel that I identify with any gender strongly. And I know that lots of other people don't either. I would probably say male, if pushed.

Personally I hate the concept of gender - it is an external idea of how a person should be based on their biological sex. Women like shoes and gossiping and can't park. Men like football and beer and are good at maths. All that stuff, that we all know what it is, which things are deemed "masculine" and which "feminine", which little boys and little girls are encouraged to do.

I would say that many many women and girls have a deep abiding dislike for their gender, insofar as it is a set of cultural expectations that is imposed on them, but no problem with their sex, which just "is".

So if you say that sex = gender and gender = how you feel, that leaves a whole bunch of people high and dry really.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 01-Jul-14 00:03:04

Actually, I think issues around "word-policing" when discussing menstruation, don't come from actual trans people, but from self-proclaimed allies, engaging in a form of one-upmanship.

The social justice internetland, whether relating to feminism, race, class or other issues, has a big problem with people being "more right-on then thou" for it's own sake, which gives rise to some rather peculiar statements, it's from this sort of mentality that the example in my first paragraph comes, rather then from trans people as a group.

As for guidelines, I don't think being transgender should be a matter for debate here, anymore then being gay is.

I am also sick of seeing the same youtube video being posted showing one individual and this being used to smear trans people as a class. You wouldn't do that about a racial, or sexual minority (I hope), so why do it about trans people?

Pico2 Tue 01-Jul-14 00:04:44

Almondcakes - I don't think that is related to gender identity though in the majority of cases. It isn't like being 'transgendered-lite' I don't think. It certainly can be a feminist issue.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 00:12:23

I stopped posting on FWR some months ago because of this issue.

I don't want to see anyone discriminated against for being man, woman, trans, whatever but the quick labelling of real life issues as transphobic mean that it simply is no longer a place where it is comfortable to discuss "women's rights" because there is apparently no such thing.

I am transphobic as I believe that transwomen are entitled to go about their lives as women but I restrict my definition of transwomen to those who have had GRS which is a transphobic view. I fundamentally disagree that passing as a woman for a couple of years is sufficient to either consider oneself a woman or to be legally defined as one. But the legal position is exactly that.

The reality of my life means that it is important to me, on occasion, whether someone possesses a penis or not. It is unfathomable to me that when asking for a doctor who is a woman to carry out an examination, that I now need to ask for a doctor without a penis. And that such a request is transphobic.

I don't think transwomen, at any stage of their lives or journey, deserve to suffer discrimination or violence or ridicule but the uncomfortable fact is that the needs of pre operative transwomen clash, in certain instances, with those of biological women. Instead of addressing that fact by putting appropriate facilities in place and by preaching tolerance, biological women are treated again as lesser and expected to put up and shut up. So yet again, the rights of a minority of people who require special consideration are just told to slot in as women and any objectors will be vilified for hate speech. Because it's easier for a patriarchal society to simply shove transwomen in with women rather than deal with their rejection of their male bodies as a unique and difficult situation that requires sensitivity and a change to the way we structure society. No need to upset the status quo of a male favoured society by addressing the way we build prisons or changing rooms or toilet facilities. Much easier to just lump all females together and let them fight it out amongst themselves.

Instead of recognising that the biggest issue that transwomen face at any stage of transition is violence and hatred from men, we avoid it all by telling biological women that it's their issue now.

And yet it's me who is transphobic.

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Tue 01-Jul-14 00:16:33

Almond, I still think that the pronoun 'it' is generally deemed derogatory when applies to actual people surely? Me specially in reference to someone else.

Anyway, I digress. This thread has moved on from the original post.
I am a cis woman. It does not bother me to call myself that. I acknowledge that there are women who are not cis and that they are still women.
I would say as far as MNHQ talk guidelines are concerned, referring to a trans person as 'it' or questioning how someone's gender identity should constitute prejudice.

Pico2 Tue 01-Jul-14 00:17:51

I think I see female gender as a wide spectrum of behaviours and cultural identifiers. Perhaps I am more at ease with it because I don't feel any compulsion to be at the "feminine" end of that spectrum. I don't conform to many of the social pressures associated with being female - no make up, DH does more housework than me, I have a degree in a 'more male subject', I come out fairly even on "brain-sex" tests, I'm good at maths, I'm crap in heels. So I can effectively take the bits of "female" that I like and stick with them. I think I get an easier time in being able to work PT than DH would, buy virtue of being a mother, rather than a father. I like having my toenails painted, society might not look as favourably on DH if he had painted nails.

I recognise that I am lucky to be able to pick and choose which elements of femininity to internalise and adopt, that certainly isn't the experience of the majority of women. I have never though 'perhaps I am I the wrong body and would prefer to be a transgendered man'.

NotTheKitchenAgainPlease Tue 01-Jul-14 00:20:26

Too many autocorrects to rectify.

Fram Tue 01-Jul-14 00:26:12

I do not wish to be labelled as 'cis'. It seems to be defining me as something I am not, as if I should be known as a 'not male' or a 'not white', rather than the things that I am.

almondcakes Tue 01-Jul-14 00:41:49

Pico, you seem to be saying that you have never experienced feeling like you were in the wrong body or had any feelings that you were anything other than a woman in terms of gender, and can fit in within a spectrum.

This is not true of most people. I would suggest that asyou are in the minority, you don't have much experience from which to generalise about what gendermeans to people.

Kitchen, 'it' is the preferred pronoun of some individuals.

diggerdigsdogs Tue 01-Jul-14 00:42:30

I agree with cote.

I don't think that this needs specifically addressing with new guidelines.

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 07:21:30

I don't want to be called cis but I absolutely use the descriptive term a transperson wants. We really could work the rest out amicably within existing guidelines I think.

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 07:48:03

Excellent post Blistory.

U2TheEdge Tue 01-Jul-14 08:00:58

Oh and it's trans people or transgender people - please don't say 'transponders' or 'transgendered people

My friend says she is transgendered. I am not sure why that is wrong.

TheCunkOfPhilomena Tue 01-Jul-14 08:02:06

Kim could you please state here what you believe to be transphobic and address the issue of trans*women entering women's spaces? How do you see that working?

I understand that trans* people have to face a lot of prejudice and would never want to add to that.

I also acknowledge the prejudice against women (I really don't like identifying as a cis woman) and would never add to that.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:06:04

Not for me to say - I am not going to be the spokesperson for trans issues on here as I know what will happen. I'll just get lots of hassle from other people.

AskBasil Tue 01-Jul-14 08:06:29

"No, a man with a penis is not a woman. But a woman with a penis is a woman."

LOL

So is Justin Gregory (the man I linked to) a woman?

He says he is. He identifies as a woman.

But confusingly, he also says he's a male lesbian. So he's a male woman.

Teach me, a confused little XX chromosomed person, how to do this Newthink, would you?

Because everybody except trans-activists, their handmaidens and a few mischievous trouble-makers who just want another stick with which to beat radical feminists, know that this whole thing is a load of crap.

Mumsnet you can never give trans-activists enough. If you define transphobia for MN purposes in such a way that we are no longer allowed to refer to reality, transactivists won't stop there. They will insist that you accept any madness, any gaslighting they choose to invent. When we discuss transwomen who turn out to be rapists, they will insist that those men were men all along and we're transphobes for not ignoring the fact that they pretended to be women. We're not allowed to ask the question "what if these other men are pretending to be gender-confused in order to get access to women so they can rape them, like this man did?" You will be accused of transphobia for even asking the question.

The mental contortions you will have to go through, to comply with this nonsense, are something you should do a bit of research about, because most of the sensible feminists who originally started off wanting to pander to transactivists, eventually realised they simply couldn't go beyond a certain point. Laurie Penny is one of the transactivist handmaidens and yet she still gets abuse from transactivists because she clearly hasn't bent over far enough. You can never placate these people enough, unless you are willing to let go of all integrity and common sense.

Pico2 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:18:48

Almondcakes - I really think that the majority of people haven't had doubts about their gender in terms of whether they were born with the right gendered body. Why do you think that it is a majority experience to doubt that you are in the right gendered body?

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 08:18:57

I feel strongly about some aspects of the trans movement.

I have no issue calling people what they wish to be called, male or female.

I do have issues with the NHS funding expensive castration and the drugs that go along with that.

I do not see why biological females with body dysmorphia are pushed aside while if a man says 'I want to be woman' he is given vast amounts of treatment and surgery to become a she.

I absolutely dislike the notion that the lack of a penis is the only qualifying factor in being a female.

I do not understand the notion of 'thinking' like a female, I don't like the over sexed imagery that I see some transpeople emulating and I don't like the things I have read about transpeople wanting to be sexually harassed on the way to work because it 'proves' they are a woman.

I hope Mumsnet continues to be a place where I can deal with things in my life that affect me, shock me, make me want to discuss without shutting that down because it has become transphobic to discuss anything.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 08:21:11

pico hating your body is normal in woman, feeling like you should have had larger breasts or a smaller nose or so on, the fact is that the only body dysmorphia our nhs recognises and supports is that of gender dysmorphia which is more often than not a man removing their penis (at great costs) in order to 'become' a woman.

If that is not a feminist issue then what is?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:24:47

icanhearyou

But does not having larger breasts lead to suicide?

And of course - transmen also have surgery - so it's not just "men" involved. It's women as well.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 01-Jul-14 08:25:49

sex , pico, the body you are born with reflects your sex. gender is different, it is the social constructs around your sex eg female sex people in swat being denied education, female sex people in Afghanistan being raped legally by their husbands.

For examples of females who are comfortable with their sex but not with their gender you could look at our top uk female footballer who pretended to be a boy in order to play, or the girls in Afghanistan who pretend to be boys to go to school

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 08:29:19

Yes kim and self harm and a whole host of other mental health problems when a little girl realises she doesn't not quite fit into that thin perception of beauty that our society creates.

I know more woman who I can count on my hand who have been unhappy enough with their body to cut themselves and attempt suicide, yet they have been pushed aside by our nhs when seeking medical help.

Yet the men I know with body dysmorphia have 'become' a woman by having their penis removed.

You have done it again 'ah but it's different because our body dysmorphia is more important and more extreme'

I disagree strongly with that pigeon holing, either we react equally to all body dysmorphias or we don't react at all, it has become a feminist issue because once again (82% of the time) men and their feelings have taken priority over women.

TheCunkOfPhilomena Tue 01-Jul-14 08:31:46

But Kim, I am not asking you to speak on behalf of all trans* people; I am asking for your opinion just as you are asking for other people's.

I would really like to know what you class as transphobia, I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings. Also, the idea of trans* women entering women's spaces is a very tricky problem to tackle and it'd be great to know what you would like in an ideal world.

Feminists have always been proactive about issues they want to see addressed and clarified their aims. Trans* people need to do the same so that we can enter into a debate knowing what each other want.

By keeping quiet and saying you do not want to voice your objectives you are not allowing a fair debate. Does that make sense?

MorrisZapp Tue 01-Jul-14 08:32:04

How many people are trans? As a percentage of the population? I'm well educated but I've never heard most of the issues or words used on this thread.

I would bet my life that architects planning toilet provision haven't either.

I don't feel comfortable with MN or anybody else telling me how to use the word 'woman'.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:33:57

So the NHS doesn't do cosmetic surgery for women who have body issues and MN issues?

Remind me who that person the DM is currently having a go at?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:35:50

cunk

No - I am staying out of this. I get attacked personally and get asked lots of questions and face lots of hassle. Also - it's just me on here who is trans as far as I am aware.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 08:37:57

You are not "staying out of this". You started this thread and you are in every single MN thread on this subject.

All too happy to ask everyone questions but not willing to answer a single question yourself.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 08:38:23

If you really believe that surgery and treatment for body dysmorphia is readily available for people then you are not clear on the facts of the very think you are fighting for kim

Cosmetic surgery is almost impossible to get hold of on the nhs, unless you are a man 'becoming' a woman or, less commonly a woman becoming a man.

I also cannot abide the perception that a woman is a man without a penis, I think such perceptions are the basis for the downgrading of women to something lesser than a man.

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 08:39:17

Hang on - if you want to stay out of this why did you start the thread? confused It draws attention to your own situation.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 08:39:59

"So he's a male woman"

What the flipping heck is a 'male woman'? Can someone try to define what that might be? confused

I certainly hope that MNHQ will not make it a deletable offence to point out that glaringly obvious biological contradiction.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:42:06

I started the thread because MNHQ are going to issue guidelines on what they think is a transphobic thread.

The posts on Site Stuff were dominated by a few FWR posters. So I wanted to open the debate to the wider crowd on Chat to reflect more of what most MNErs thought rather than the selective FWR crowd.

The views on here are more varied than you hear on FWR.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 08:42:41

And of course that means you are "staying out of this" hmm

TheCunkOfPhilomena Tue 01-Jul-14 08:43:33

I wish there were more trans people on here Kim as maybe you would feel more comfortable airing your views. I accept it must be incredibly hard for you so shall not push it any further.

I spent most of Friday night reading the FWR threads and watching/ reading the links provided. I am still unsure as to what my opinion is. I have always supported equal rights for all, and still do. However, if women (cis women) feel their safety is compromised by trans* women entering women spaces then I cannot help but to defend them.

I don't know what the answer is. I would hope that all of us on here would know not to make assumptions based upon a poster's sex, age, sexuality or race and would always use the correct pronoun when addressing someone (if they make their preference known).

I think MNHQ is going to have a tough time deciding this tbh.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:44:14

If I say what I think is transphobic - I will get attacked and asked to explain myself and criticised. And accused of making it about me - it will divert from what other posters think.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 08:45:26

"Challenged" doesn't mean "attacked".

We all get challenged on stuff we say on here, and not on FWR issues.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:46:48

But as cunk says - I am the only trans person on here as far as I am aware. So please stop hassling me.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 08:50:06

But you are happy to pick other people's views and experiences apart kim.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:53:27

I've only put 4 posts on this board - and TBH, I am more interested to see what people would consider transphobic or not. I could debate more on what you said - but that's not the real point of the OP.

The OP is to ask what people consider transphobic or not.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 08:56:54

"Hassling" you? shock

How exactly have I been hassling you, Kim? Please tell us. I would really like to know.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:58:29

Repeatedly asking me what I think - despite me telling you the reasons why I don't want to.

Pico2 Tue 01-Jul-14 08:59:16

Of course body dysmorphia is a feminist issue, but I do think that being transgendered is sufficiently different to be considered separately and is not experienced by most people.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 09:00:41

So for once - I'd really like to see what other people think without having to explain myself, explain why I 'm trans, explain how things feel, justify having surgery and talk about my life and experiences.

I constantly have to justify being trans to some people. Just for once, I want to see what people think transphobia is without me getting involved.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 09:01:04

Please show where I have repeatedly asked you what you think, or insisted that you answer something you didn't want to.

I just looked through all my posts on this thread and I haven't asked you anything at all!

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 09:05:48

But you are happy to pick other people's views and experiences apart kim.

Challenged" doesn't mean "attacked".

We all get challenged on stuff we say on here, and not on FWR issues.

And of course that means you are "staying out of this" hmm

All too happy to ask everyone questions but not willing to answer a single question yourself.

If that's not hassling, despite me saying I don't want to post, then I don't know what is.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 09:10:55

That 1st sentence isn't mine.

And these are statement of facts, not asking you repeatedly to answer anything:

- Challenged" doesn't mean "attacked". We all get challenged on stuff we say on here, and not on FWR issues. >> Fact.

- And of course that (starting this thread) means you are "staying out of this" >> Fact. You are involved in this discussion wherever it takes place on MN, and you start threads on it. Ergo, you are not staying out of it. Quite the contrary.

- All too happy to ask everyone questions but not willing to answer a single question yourself >> Fact.

"If that's not hassling, despite me saying I don't want to post, then I don't know what is."

Well, then you really don't know what hassling is, I suppose.

Don't post if you don't want to, but don't give laughable excuses for it like "I'm being attacked" while what you mean is people challenge what you say (as people challenge what everyone else says, too) or that you're staying out if it while starting threads, asking everyone questions, etc.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 09:13:45

I've asked a few simple questions.

Do you have to justify being female? Do you have to explain on the internet what it's like to be female? To explain your feelings. No.

That's what happens to me.

MNHQ are looking at transphobia. So it's interesting to see what people think transphobia is.

Cote, why are you bullying Kim?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 09:27:16

As I've just said on Site Stuff, I'm not too bothered what people say. People are entitled to their opinions and to air them. I know people have different views on trans people and it's not my right to tell them they're wrong.

I've only reported a few posts. I have been attacked on here using transphobic slurs aimed at me. The people doing it knew they were being offensive and highly personal - so they broke chat guidelines.

I don't want people to not be allowed to say what they think - as you can see, people's opinions vary.

I think we all know attacks when we see them.

MmeLindor Tue 01-Jul-14 09:29:18

It was a good idea to open this debate to those who don't frequent the FWR board, as it shows that this issue is still not 'mainstream'.

If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site.

I am happy for abusive comments to be deleted, and users banned for repeated abuse, but not for the shutting down of debate, or for the labeling of those who disagree as 'transphobic'.

eg 'He's a tranny' or deliberately misgendering is abusive.

'Transwomen are biologically male' is not. It is based on current scientific evidence.

We must be able to talk about biology, sex and gender without fear of being deleted. We must be able to talk about issues affecting women and girls without being told that we are being transphobic.

I have an issue with allowing transwomen to access women only spaces such as safe-houses and counselling groups for survivors of rape or sexual assault.

I don't believe that transwomen are all dastardly men, who think that dressing up as a woman would give them access to places where they can abuse women - why would any man go to that length, when in our society, he's very likely to get away with rape anyway?

At the same time, women who have been victims of sexual abuse need to feel safe and comfortable when discussing their experiences. This is why they are often seen by WPCs rather than their male counterparts.

Instead of all this infighting, I would love to see feminists and transactivists come together to campaign for neutral spaces eg changing rooms and toilets, to enable transwomen to live their lives normally. I would like to see us campaign together to fund safe houses for transwomen and men who have been abused.

I would also like to see an end of the abuse on both sides - both from transactivists and from radfems.

I don't think stopping the debate is the answer. Allowing debate to take place is the way forward.

This issue seems to be soooo over complicated. So many different terms and labels and phrases to get tangled in, and it seems impossible to define anything without pissing someone or other off for genuine reasons.

Can't we just have a blanket guideline, as someone suggested upthread, of 'be excellent to each other (or fuck off)' and leave it at that? And then leave it up to mnhq to judge on individual cases, which is all they will do anyway even if we re-write the Geneva convention.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 09:34:46

Why is it different? Because it is not as extreme? Because it doesn't cost as much? Or because it is not a area mostly dominated by males?

I don't want to get into most this (excuse me for that). I'm fine with 'she' and 'he' for whoever wants, etc., and not keen on, basically, making people feel shit for the same of it (which I honestly think is as concrete a definition as HQ are ever going to get of any kind of 'ism'). There is one thing I'd like to know that hasn't been covered - how should we talk about 'gender' itself?

I believe gender is a social construct, a system that is harmful, and which ultimately we should get rid of. I would assume that this would help out pretty much everyone who isn't a straight man (and it'd help plenty of straight men, too). Is it ok to say that? I'm not questioning that gender has very real significance and affects how we feel and how we live our lives. Can I say that?

almondcakes Tue 01-Jul-14 09:47:20

Pico, here:

www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/19419899.2013.830640

This is not about people feeling 'feminine' and wearing nail varnish or people feeling their nose is too big or they are too fat. This is about whether people feel they are a man or a woman in terms of gender, and whether they want to be in a different body. 63.7% sometimes wish to be the other gender, 36.6% feel they are the other gender and 41.9% were sometimes discontent with their sexed body.

Their feelings on average were not milder than those of trans identified individuals undergoing the same study. They were just less common - discontent with sexed body was experienced by 80% of trans people and 41.9% of gender normative individuals.

A man not feeling he is a man (or a woman not feeling she is a woman), a man wishing he was a woman or both a man and a woman, a man not being happy that he has a male body and so on - these are all very common experiences.

I don't think it is advancing trans rights at all to pretend that everyone else does have a stable binary gender identity that they are happy with. This is not the same thing at all as saying that women like the female gender identity and match up with it, they just don't like sexism. That is your experience, but it isn't the most common experience that exists.

Trans is to some extent a gender role in itself. There are ways that various people - doctors, the general public, other trans people who wish to have SRS, gender queer people think being trans should and should not be performed. Somebody saying that they do not wish to become trans is rejecting the particular ways people can be trans in our society. It doesn't say anything at all about whether or not they have a more or less conventional feelings about their own gender identity than someone who does not identify as trans.

Perhaps the MN guidelines should be about posters not making assumptions about what gender identity feels like or is for any poster other than themselves.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 09:50:34

That's at the root of it , LRD. The two as theories don't neatly match but collide over the idea of gender.

I don't even know what the correct term is or whether transsexual and transgender are used interchangeably but it seems to me that what a transgender person seeks to achive is what I, as a feminist, seek to abolish.

How on earth do we reconcile that ?

Sollers Tue 01-Jul-14 09:52:44

If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site.

this

I believe that gender is a social construct that does great harm to everybody - women, men, girls and boys. I believe that we would all be better off if we did away with gender as a construct altogether. I believe that men should be able to paint their toenails and work part-time or whatever to look after their children without anyone raising an eyebrow.

It bothers me that transgender people so wholly embrace the concept of gender identity. Put simply, I think they're wrong to believe what they do, even if I can understand it. I don't think that someone who "feels like a woman" is a woman when their biological sex is male, but I can understand why someone would want to insist that is the case.

Obviously, this puts me into direct conflict with many typical transgender beliefs and I will probably be labelled a transphobe.
However, I don't see why transgender beliefs about "gender identity" should trump my belief that "gender is a social construct".

I think that as long as can remain polite and mutually tolerant, we can both continue with our differing beliefs and still continue with our fight for a more tolerant world in general.

Sollers Tue 01-Jul-14 09:55:00

Oh x-posts with LRD and Blistory. That'll teach me to be long-winded.

They shouldn't need to though, blis.

When I say I want to abolish gender, it doesn't mean I don't recognise people's lived experience of gender as real. That would be absurd (and, IMO, anti-feminist as well).

I think it's like the way people will say 'how come you feminists believe that men and women aren't different, yet you insist violence is gendered? You're saying men and women are different.'

It's to do with timescale. In history, gender has been a real lived experience. I'm not convinced it would always have to be. I don't want it to be. But me hoping the future will be better doesn't mean I don't recognize the current reality.

BeCool Tue 01-Jul-14 10:04:33

SOllers I struggle with this too. How can a man feel like a woman? Or a woman feel like a man? How do they know this is what they are feeling or identifying with?

Beyond identifying with physical attributes or stereotypes of gender, how can a trans person actually know they feel like a person of the other sex?

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 10:12:39

I think what a lot of it comes down to is a fundamental disagreement as to what gender is.

Some people think it is an identity and others think it is a repressive construct.

Same for how people see sex (sometimes as a result of how gender is defined); some people think it is "the property or quality by which organisms are classified as female or male on the basis of their reproductive organs and functions" (from dictionary) and some people think it is a identity that one can choose or reject.

almondcakes Tue 01-Jul-14 10:15:13

Kitchen, Dan Savage's response to the petition started against him for his alleged transphobia. The trans person who experienced the transphobia has the preferred pronoun 'it.'

slog.thestranger.com/slog/archives/2014/06/07/about-that-hate-crime-i-committed-at-university-of-chicago

TheCunkOfPhilomena Tue 01-Jul-14 10:19:14

I think the reason this is such a difficult topic is because it brings into play what we think of as 'woman'.

Sex wise, a woman is born with certain genitalia, menstruate, breasts, the possibility to have children (in most cases), a lower centre of gravity and wider hips than men (usually) but that is as far as it goes.

Gender wise, what is it that trans* sexual women wish to be?

I have tried to think of ways in which women differ from men in a positive way and I cannot think of any. The way things are in society, women are disadvantaged in so many areas. I do not understand the appeal of wanting to be lower paid, expected to conform to certain 'feminine' ideals and all the aspects of misogyny faced by women every day.

I do understand body dysmorphia and acknowledge that is extremely serious. However, trans* women that have undergone surgery still have the same rates of suicide as those that don't (please correct me if this is wrong, it was mentioned on the other thread),

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 01-Jul-14 10:24:56

sollers "However, I don't see why transgender beliefs about "gender identity" should trump my belief that "gender is a social construct".

I completely agree with this. it was interesting to read about trans people feeling their body is the wrong sex. I don't particularly think of my body as a woman's body - its my body. my arms, my legs are my arms, my legs not 'a woman's'.

the only time I am aware of having a woman's body is when other people treat it as such and generally this involves patriarchal assumptions about women.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 10:27:05

Annie - I hope that was irony. If you think I'm bullying someone, report me to MNHQ.

Tricycletops Tue 01-Jul-14 10:27:35

If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site.

This.

I have stopped reading a number of feminist sites (The F-Word among them) because this debate appears to have taken over completely, to the detriment of any reasoned discussion of the problems facing women. Nothing we as feminists do or offer ever seems to be enough for the transactivists, and meanwhile women looking for support with the issues affecting them in the real world are marginalised. Many (?most) of the ways in which women are disadvantaged by being women stem from their sex organs. I have failed to get jobs because I am a woman of child-bearing age - is that no longer a women's issue because some women (transwomen and others) don't have uteruses?

The other issue is that this kind of in-fighting, couched in language that makes anybody not absorbed in the radfem movement go "eh... WTF?", is a huge part of the reason why many women are reluctant to identify as feminists. I am absolutely not comfortable with dismissing a huge proportion of those whom feminism ought to be helping for the sake of the concerns of a very vocal (and frankly unsatisfiable) minority.

Cote - No, not irony, and I have reported you.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 10:34:01

Good luck with that, Annie hmm

MyLatest Tue 01-Jul-14 10:34:07

Haven't read the whole thread but to be blunt I do feel like this is a very niche area of interest. I read some of the FWR threads and have noticed some very heated exchanges on transphobia but I agree that there's a difference between being born a woman and choosing to embrace a female identity (and body where possible).

Having a separate trans area might stop FWR getting hijacked by this discussion. I agree that there is a very vocal and extreme trans minority who seem to think that their rights trump the rights of 'ordinary' women.

It is interesting though so thanks for raising it as a thread. Certainly making us think grin

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 10:36:27

I asked this question before but nobody answered:

Is "a woman" now to be defined as "whoever calls himself a woman"?

Is "a mother" also now to be defined as "whoever calls himself/herself a mother", even without having ever birthed or cared for a baby/child?

Are we expected to redefine all nouns as not by their objective meanings but by "whoever says they are _ "?

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 01-Jul-14 10:37:20

I (think) I've read all the relevant threads now. What I've learned has shocked and saddened me.

I see no need for MNHQ to change the current posting rules.

If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site.

Me too. And I am not a 'cis' anything. I would find it offensive to be referred to as such.

I don't see that it matters whether or not anyone can understand what it's like to have/not to have a gender identity. Someone on FWR ages ago used the phrase 'gender agnostic' to describe how she feels she's not sure. I think it's a good parallel. I have religious faith - I can't really explain why and I am well aware that organized religion tends to be oppressive and misogynistic. I would guess that, in a better world, I would still have this feeling of faith, but it doesn't require the system of religion to feel that. I think it might be the same with gender.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 01-Jul-14 10:39:26

I'll answer you Cote

No.
No.
No.

Hazchem Tue 01-Jul-14 10:39:41

Do you have to justify being female? Do you have to explain on the internet what it's like to be female? To explain your feelings.

All the time Kim all the time I have to justify my existence because I am female, I am part of "the other" class. Yes I have to explain what being a female means because otherwise things happen in the default way which is male. I have to explain that my feelings are actually how I feel rather then being led by my irrational female hormones.

MyLatest Tue 01-Jul-14 10:41:50

And I agree with what Tricycletops said! Much more articulately than me.

MyLatest Tue 01-Jul-14 10:43:17

Yeah what is that 'cis' thing? I saw it on one of the FWR threads before but it was all getting a bit scary so I didn't ask what it meant blush

BeCool Tue 01-Jul-14 10:44:37

I'm finding the discussions on this subject very enlightening, if not rather confusing. And forgive me if I use wrong words or terminology - I'm trying to participate and engage with this but I'm not sure of all the correct terminology.

I keep coming back to our ideas about gender. Isn't a massive part of this is we (as a society as a whole) have fairly rigid ideas about what it is to be a man or a woman. And certain men and women feel excluded from their gender because of these rigid ideas? Wouldn't it be more helpful and realistic to see "woman" or "man" as a full circle of possibilities, rather than a line drawn we must stand on either side of?

For example, I could never understand why people stereo-typically saw gay men as feminine - when surely two men in a relationship was an extremely masculine thing by it's very existence?

Because of these stereotypes, if someones feels to be different from most of "their gender", they are perhaps drawn to identify with the other gender, without being able to know what that gender feels like. On the surface I don't have a problem with that, but as Blistory and others have so eloquently pointed out, there are genuine issues that are problematic.

And I don't actually believe there is a single identifier that makes me a "woman" beyond my biology.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 01-Jul-14 10:45:22

It's how non-trans women are supposed to refer to themselves, apparently.

'Cis' is a Latin word, originally used geographically, to mean 'on this side' as opposed to 'on that side'. It relies, slightly ironically, on physical reality for its meaning, in that context. It's come to mean 'the opposite of trans', so, someone who has always felt they really are the gender everyone has always assumed they are.

BeCool Tue 01-Jul-14 10:47:24

the only time I am aware of having a woman's body is when other people treat it as such and generally this involves patriarchal assumptions about women.
I also feel this way - it is simply my body.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 01-Jul-14 10:54:40

The trans threads in FWR are not started by trans people and there is AFAIK only one trans person who posts on them.

So it's not feminists being forced to discuss trans people, posters on FWR are choosing to raise the topic themselves.

It's also fair to say that the threads tend to be very critical of transgenderism and trans people as a class, so I'm surprised that people that a pressure to not be trans phobic has stopped them posting there.

There are also many, many rad fem blogs that discuss transgenderism. The interest definitely seems to be a two way street, as it were.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 01-Jul-14 10:55:16

Do you have to justify being female?

because I am a women, I have to justify many things to be taken as a full adult

MyLatest Tue 01-Jul-14 10:58:08

Thanks LRD.

Just read the Dan Savage piece and found it really troubling. I suspect the petition creators will look back and cringe, if they have any insight at all. Link here for those who missed it.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 10:58:58

Bore - Thank you.

People avoid answering questions like those, possibly because they don't want to face what "anyone who calls himself/herself a woman is a woman" leads to.

SnakeyMcBadass Tue 01-Jul-14 11:08:54

I love you a bit, Cote. You've said everything I'd like to say, this saving me from phone typing hell.

Pico2 Tue 01-Jul-14 11:11:28

Almondcakes - I'm not convinced that study indicates that those huge numbers of people really experience much of what it is like to feel like the wrong gender. I don't think that discontent with your sexed body is necessarily related to a desire to be transgendered. For example I dislike aspects of my female body, particularly having stupidly large breasts. I just want a better female body, not a male one. Similarly, I might well have wishes to be a man in the last year, because it can be easier to be a man. Again, this has nothing to do with wanting a male body. Also from that study, if I was born again, I would like to be a man, primarily because I haven't tried that yet and I can see real advantages in being a man in our society. That doesn't mean that I have any desire to be a transgendered man now.

I think part of the reason that I see a distinction between body dysphoria experienced by huge numbers of women (and men) and transgender body dysphoria is partly that there are significant societal pressures which almost certainly contribute to the first, but there aren't societal pressures pushing people to become transgendered. In fact the pressure is to stay with your birth assigned gender. Obviously once someone has decided to follow their instinct to change gender there are societal pressures on them to get their body to conform to ideals of that gender, but that comes after the decision to go against societal norms by switching gender.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 11:14:53

Another point I raised before and nobody wanted to tackle: Would anyone like to define what a "male woman" might be?

There is no use trying to debate a subject if we can't even define its most basic terms like 'male' and 'woman'.

Is a 'male' anyone who says they are male? Or is that level of subjective fuzziness now reserved only to the word 'woman'.

allhailqueenmab Tue 01-Jul-14 11:22:45

"The trans threads in FWR are not started by trans people and there is AFAIK only one trans person who posts on them. "

Actually this misrepresents my experience. there have only been one or two threads explicitly relating to trans issues, in my memory, but trans stuff keeps getting involved and then when it does becomes so personal that it bogs everything else down in that.

frankly I am sick of trans discussion. I have hidden threads on it that I was involved in. I am exhausted with it. the next time I see a thread get into trans I am going to hide that one too.

WRT to trans stuff I am tired of

endless TAATs;
disingenuous "it's all about me when I want it to be but not about me when I don't want it to be" posting
(or in other words attempts to close down debate by making everything personal but not actually getting personal enough to be valuable to the poster concerned or anyone else)
double think

Is MNHQ really writing a trans policy or has kim just decided that they should?

the cat metaphor reminds me of otherkins

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otherkin

This has turned into a very interesting discussion with lots of interesting ideas on gender being presented. I'm in the camp of believing that our strict binary definitions of gender are harmful to everyone, particularly trans people. And that a lots of people would be happier and more comfortable if we didn't have so many societal expectations of people from clothing to behaviours and employment based on external genitalia. I have to wonder if so many people would still identify as trans if there were no behaviours, clothing trends or appearance traits seen as being intrinsically "male" or "female".

Back to the topic at hand, which is what constitutes transphobia - IMO deliberately insulting trans people, belittling their experiences and refusing to accept a person can genuinely identify with the gender other than the one they were born with. What does NOT constitute transphobia is discussing women's issues as faced by those born women. Trans people, as with all people, need to accept that not every conversation needs to be about them.

BoreOfWhabylon Tue 01-Jul-14 11:25:36

Can't help you with that one I'm afraid, Cote.

It's all a bit Orwellian Newspeak for me. Which is uncomfortably close to Thoughtcrime.

SabrinaMulhollandJjones Tue 01-Jul-14 11:31:07

If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site.

Same here.

almondcakes Tue 01-Jul-14 11:35:02

Pico, all you are doing in your posts is saying that:

a. You feel a certain way about your body, your life.
b. All non trans people feel like you.
c. All trans people don't feel like you.

You have no basis for that assumption at all. It is about what you want other people to be feeling in their heads, not what they are reporting.

Your line of reasoning is the same as saying -People who identify as kind are the kindest; everyone else is unkind. People who identify as clever are the cleverest; everybody else is stupid. People who identify as trans have sex dysphoria or a non binary identity and this is real; everyone else is just experiencing sexism and their feelings are not real.

If you want to take part in the study, and get an understanding of how what you are saying is not the same as what Joel is defining as gender identity, Daphna Joel is running the same research but for English speakers, so you could take part in the online survey part of the study here:

socsci.tau.ac.il/psy-eng/index.php/staff/faculty/22-daphna-joel

BriarRainbowshimmer Tue 01-Jul-14 11:35:48

If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site.

Same here. However, I expect of Mumsnet that it will continue to be a place where women can talk about our bodies & reality.

I reject the idea that non-trans women are "cis" and that we are privileged for being female and not trans.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 11:35:49

I don't see an issue with discussing transgender/transexuality on FWR. As women we are being asked to amend our thinking and activism to include trans issues so it's entirely appropriate that it's discussed.

What I don't like is that so many explorations of the theory or the practical issues that arise are capable of being deemed transphobic. And that the discussion always comes back to discussing an actual transperson instead of transpeople, male or female as a class.

I don't commit transphobics acts, I don't harm transpeople but in an effort to understand, I am automatically transphobic. I have an issue with defining pre operative transsexuals as the biological sex that they wish to be and have serious concerns about the legal impact of this on the real lives of women. Yet my concerns about biological women can be dismissed as un-inclusive and transphobic.

What I see on FWR are discussions that are sensitive to the real feelings of those concerned by and large but those discussions are quickly shut down by accusations of transphobia so much so that it's just too uncomfortable to post on these threads.

I have no wish to make anyone feel uncomfortable or somehow less of a human being but the term transphobic has become so all encompassing that it shuts down discussion by women and that is something that I won't be part of.

chibi Tue 01-Jul-14 11:38:36

will mumsnet be dropping campaigns about better miscarriage care for women as it could be construed as transphobic? the women affected by poor miscarriage care have cis privilege anyway, as do all the women around the world who have shitty things happen to them, up to and including torture and murder , because they are women

can we still talk about them?

allhailqueenmab Tue 01-Jul-14 11:38:49

I actually think it is really unfair in all aspects of life that born females are expected to compete with people socialised as men. I am happy for my chance to do so - I am not going to throw the towel in because only by taking my place alongside men can I earn a living etc. but it is really unfair that, for a thousand reasons, every joule of energy that I put in yields so much less £ than it does for a man. I wrote about this on the feminist chat thread.

for me I am quite happy to completely shelve any discussion about what a woman is and just say, if you were raised as a boy, there are certain places I don't want to be with you, and certain conversations I don't want to have with you on my own time. In work and other public spaces I respect all humans and do my best to get along with them. In my own time, I am sick to death of the reflexive instrumental way that people socialised as males treat women - as things emotionally, conversationally, and physically available to them. I am tired of being expected to pick up after them, to be a vessel, to keep throwing my labour into their well being for free. I don't expect people socalised as male to even know they are doing it, and when it is pointed out they get very angry. So sod'em, my private time is better spent with others

BeCool Tue 01-Jul-14 11:41:44

As women we are being asked to amend our thinking and activism to include trans issues
Are men/men's groups/MRA also being asked this?

I believe gender is a social construct, a system that is harmful, and which ultimately we should get rid of.

YY LRD

See, I cannot imagine that most people, whatever their views on these issues, whether they're trans or not, would want anyone to drop a miscarriage campaign.

I believe it feels awful if you'd like to be physically capable of having a baby and your body won't do that. That's going to be both an experience some MtoF transwomen have, and lots of non-trans women. I think hitting out against miscarriage campaigns would be roughly as daft as the people who claim (and they exist, promise, and they reckon they're feminists) that you shouldn't be sad if you can't have children because having children is pandering to the patriarchy.

EatingMyWords Tue 01-Jul-14 12:07:24

Of course gender is a social construct that we are better off without, who would argue with that? Trans women and men have to conform in a stereotyped way to the gender norms in order to get GRS. They often don't want to but have no choice.

To say we should get rid of the concept of gender then we would all be happy is the same kind of idealistic concept as saying race doesn't exist. It denies the systematic oppression people suffer under the current system.

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 12:07:46

I agree with 'If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site. '

allhailqueenmab Tue 01-Jul-14 12:11:37

'If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site. '

me too

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 12:12:30

Can someone explain to me how a trans woman feels like a women? How are they qualified to make that statement?

Because as a woman, I don't know what a man feels like so how could I possibly decide that by behaving a certain way or acting a certain way would make me feel like a man?

To say we should get rid of the concept of gender then we would all be happy is the same kind of idealistic concept as saying race doesn't exist. It denies the systematic oppression people suffer under the current system.

Given I said the first bit of this upthread, I'm assuming you're replying to me? If not, excuse me. But the second bit is that's exactly the opposite of what I'm saying. I'm making the point that we should get rid of gender and we should acknowledge that people currently suffer systematic oppression.

Morethanalittlebitconfused Tue 01-Jul-14 12:19:38

I have to say that as a female and a vague feminist I am worried that the more vocal amongst the feminist movement will get their way over issues that really don't need challenging. Feminism feels to me like the female equivalent of measuring penis length and isn't about equal rights any more but getting one over on men. Most civil rights movements feel a bit like this now a days tbh, or they feel like it to me.

Morethanalittlebitconfused - I'm afraid your experience of feminism is vague indeed if you think it has anything at all to do with "getting one over on men". We still have a long way to go before we even achieve equality, never mind dominance (which is not in any way a feminist aim, BTW)

(I would ask what issues feminists are tackling that you think don't need challenging, but this thread is not the place nor the time. If you're ever over on FWR I'd like to hear your views, though)

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 12:33:38

By vocal, do you mean radical ?

I do think there's a tendency to assume that feminism is all about radical feminism and obviously it's the more extreme theories of radical feminism that are the headline news.

I really despair about this concept that radical feminism is a cancer that feminism needs to rid itself of. I am a liberal feminist as that more accurately reflects the majority of my beliefs but I see the value that radical feminism brings to feminism as a theory and really dislike that the term radfem is used as a stick to beat women who are wonderfully questioning and passionate and unafraid to challenge the status quo.

Bigotry is nothing to do with being a radical feminist or a vocal one - it's to do with being a bigot. Certain extreme elements in transactivism would have us believe that radical feminism = bigot. All of which detracts from the real harm being done to all.

FairPhyllis Tue 01-Jul-14 12:39:45

I think MNHQ may live to regret promising a transphobia policy, because anything less than a total capitulation to the view that gender is innate, people can change their biological sex, and that wanting to discuss the oppression of human females as a class is thoughtcrime will be viewed as transphobic itself by some.

In fact the only sites I've seen which have transphobia policies are those which wholeheartedly swallow the transgenderism line on gender as above. Having a transphobia policy at all seems to imply acceptance of the view that gender is an innate feeling - not that it is a socially imposed hierarchy used to police human females' behaviour, which is a classical feminist view shared by many on here.

You do realise MNHQ that campaigns like Let Toys Be Toys are potentially "transphobic" for working on the assumption that gender is a harmful social construct which has seeped into toy marketing in the form of designating girls' and boys' toys by colour and sex-stereotype?

You do realise that the very interesting thread currently going in FWR on women and sanitation in developing countries is potentially "transphobic," because it makes reference to how women-as-a-class's biology (menstruation, pregnancy) coupled with social attitudes means that they generally suffer more extreme consequences from poor sanitation than men do?

I would not support a policy like the F Word's, and would leave MN if a policy like it were introduced.

*I would like to be able to discuss human females as a class and how they globally and historically share life-long lived experiences of oppression which are unique to them as a class.
*I would like to be able to discuss the impact of legislation relating to trans people on born-women as a class.
*I do not want to be identified as 'cis' - it is a meaningless identity to me as I don't have any sense of having a lady brain that matches my body.
*I would like to be able to discuss the role patriarchy may play in creating or contributing to trans people's sense of sex dysphoria.
*I would like to be able to continue to critique gender as a collection of culture-specific sex-stereotypes that born-men use to control born-women's behaviour.
*I would like to be able to discuss male violence in class terms - i.e. as violence that is overwhelmingly perpetrated by born-men-as-a-class against born-women-as-a-class.
*I would like lesbians to be able to assert their right to autonomy in their choice of sexual partners.
*I would like born-women to be able to assert their right to freely associate with born-women exclusively as and when they wish.

I feel that attempts to shut down these kinds of discussions operate as part of a patriarchal dynamic intent on destroying born-women's means to analyse their own experiences of oppression and develop their feminism.

I would however support a policy which bans personal attacks on or harassment of trans posters, using derogatory words like "tranny", being insulting about trans people in general, using "trans" as an insult, or being insulting or dismissive about trans posters' life experiences and personal experiences of sex dysphoria. This is because I acknowledge that sex dysphoria is something that is genuinely experienced by trans people.

AnyaKnowIt Tue 01-Jul-14 12:40:58

So if I said that I don't believe that a man can dress as a woman and everyone should bend over backwards does that make me a bigot, or can I be offended as there is more to being a woman then by how someone dresses ?

EatingMyWords Tue 01-Jul-14 12:45:26

That was my point LRD that feminists and trans women have the same aim.

I don't really understand the 'born women' thing. Surely the whole point is that trans women are born women?

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 12:46:46

I think part of the reason that I see a distinction between body dysphoria experienced by huge numbers of women (and men) and transgender body dysphoria is partly that there are significant societal pressures which almost certainly contribute to the first, but there aren't societal pressures pushing people to become transgendered. In fact the pressure is to stay with your birth assigned gender.

I would disagree with that. There is increasing pressure on lesbians to become transmen because of lesbophobia and society's unwillingness to accept non gender compliant women as women. Misogynistic society will take a transman over a butch dyke any day. If you don't act feminine, and you have sex with women, you must be a man.

Same goes for non gender compliant children. If you don't play with dolls and pink glittery things, you must be a boy.

Increasingly sexist and rigid gender roles are applying huge amounts of pressure on people whose existence defy gender stereotypes and ideology.

traininthedistance Tue 01-Jul-14 12:47:05

*If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site.

I am happy for abusive comments to be deleted, and users banned for repeated abuse, but not for the shutting down of debate, or for the labeling of those who disagree as 'transphobic'.

eg 'He's a tranny' or deliberately misgendering is abusive.

'Transwomen are biologically male' is not. It is based on current scientific evidence.

We must be able to talk about biology, sex and gender without fear of being deleted. We must be able to talk about issues affecting women and girls without being told that we are being transphobic.*

Completely agree with this ^^. There is a big difference between hate speech and abuse on the one hand; and discussion of the complex theoretical issues underlying gender, sex and transgender positions. These are not agreed positions, and have a long history of debate across several disciplines from medicine and psychology to gender studies and critical theory.

An analogy would be the difference between homophobic discourse and abuse directed at gay people, and discussion of the complex social, sexual and gender issues underlying various cultural ideas of and about homosexuality. The first is unacceptable; the second must surely be allowed, since these ideas have changed and do change radically over time.

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 12:48:49

I am trying to think of equivalents that resonate, one is where people state that lesbians shouldn't have children. I used to think that kind of sentiment should not be tolerated on here, and it wasn't by 99% of posters, but I wanted it banned. I felt it was out of place on a parenting forum. I was wrong I think. Anyway, I learned to stop being so annoyed about it and get on with my life with the 99% of posters on here who are perfectly reasonable.

I really think MN should just stick to the personal attack/ goading guidelines, which would cover deliberately referring to someone as a sex or gender they have asked you not to, and let the rest be. Discussions about what causes sexuality or gender identity should be able to continue within these usual guidelines.

mupperoon Tue 01-Jul-14 12:49:02

Very interesting thread. If Mumsnet are going to define what constitutes "transphobia" then perhaps they should look at other mis- or over-used terms such as "racism" as well.

Or perhaps we could all just abide by the existing Talk Guidelines which seem to work pretty well.

Using a pronoun of choice to avoid giving offence is one thing. Redefining words such as "woman" or "man" so that their meaning becomes a fluid legal or "identity" matter seems very problematic to me. I am completely with CoteDAzur on that.

Promoting the importance of apparently infinitely divisible gender identities seems like a retrograde step too, especially since on the basis of this thread the potential for offence-taking and jargon-related hectoring seems so great. LRD's posts sum up my views on gender. I don't see why I should be labelled as "cis woman" when I am a woman, full stop. almondcakes, I have never had any doubts about being a woman, which I now understand puts me in a minority - excuse me if I am sceptical about the research you quote, particularly the online survey which is surely likely to attract people who are interested in gender studies for whatever reason?

I agreed entirely with Blistory's post at 00:12 too.

I also agree with Annie - "What does NOT constitute transphobia is discussing women's issues as faced by those born women. Trans people, as with all people, need to accept that not every conversation needs to be about them". However I am not sure how it is possible to outlaw "a refusal to accept that a person can genuinely identify with the gender other than the one they were born with". That's close to thought crime. I am not sure what in my "identity" makes me a woman by gender as opposed to a man by gender, even though I am a woman by sex. So it's not clear to me what it means to "genuinely" identify with the female gender, or how a trans*woman can be sure that she is. I reserve the right to be sceptical and to say so.

Apologies if I have misrepresented anyone's views or cross-posted points already made, I intend no offence and am not an expert on feminist or trans issues. I do however believe in freedom of speech and would feel very uncomfortable with the definition of transphobia from The F-Word, or any similar definition which has the side effect of chilling that freedom. I don't believe anyone has an automatic right to freedom from offence. It seems that Mumsnet has a pretty good balance already between allowing people to speak their mind and keeping the peace by preventing unnecessary provocation, discrimination and rudeness, without having to resort to new definitions.

WhosLookingAfterCourtney Tue 01-Jul-14 12:50:16

I think mnhq should approach this much like religious discussion on here.

So be polite, pronouns all round (including rejecting 'cis') no personal attacks, but we are not required to believe in the trans version of the world.

I too would leave the site if f-word style guidelines were adopted.

almondcakes Tue 01-Jul-14 13:02:15

Mupperoon, belief in the kind of theory covered on gender studies causes (queer theory) is one of the questions, so they should be able to distnguish between those influenced by it and those not, to some extent.

My personal feelings about my own gender (don't know what it means to feel like a woman or a man, but I have a female body) are similar to yours. My experience is that lots of very ordinary seeming people feel otherwise.

Pico2 Tue 01-Jul-14 13:02:54

Almondcakes - that isn't the case at all. My point is firstly that it isn't accurate to conclude from that study that many, many people have the feelings that transgendered people have about their gender identity based on the questions asked in that study. It is a flawed conclusion. You can't conclude that they don't have those feelings, but you can't conclude that they do because of the way that they interpret the questions and think about identity. I illustrated this with my own experiences, which might well cause someone to conclude that I have thoughts about changing gender, but are very distinct from having any desire or urge to change.

I also still think that there is a significant difference between being transgendered and body dysphoria which doesn't include any interest in changing gender. Of course you get an overlap for some, but the societal pressures of each are very distinct.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 13:03:55

"a refusal to accept that a person can genuinely identify with the gender other than the one they were born with"

I accept that, wholeheartedly. I have no reason whatsoever to believe that transwomen who feel they are women are lying about that feeling.

My problem is with being forced to equate that feeling with reality. An XY male with a functional penis between his legs and sperm in his testicles who feels like a woman is still a man. If he were unconscious and paramedics came to the scene, he would be reported as "A man found unconscious". There are objective realities that do not bend according to what we feel like.

If said man wants to be called "she", takes external hormones for body modification, and is castrated, she is a transwoman. Not a woman.

There is an objective reality associated with the word "woman". It can't be defined as "anyone who says they are a woman".

If my 8-year-old DD says she is a woman because she feels like a woman, I would tell her "No darling, you are too young to be a woman. You are a girl."

Why on earth would I not accept DD's feeling but would have to accept an XY man's feeling re being a woman to mean that he/she is indeed a woman? Is that because men's feelings matter more than girls? hmm

deadwitchproject Tue 01-Jul-14 13:16:57

'If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site. '

If MNHQ did adopt this policy it would be a major coup for the trans activists. I suspect a majority of posters on this site will fall foul of such a policy very quickly. What happens then? Will we all be banned?

almondcakes Tue 01-Jul-14 13:20:08

Pico you can't assume a trans person doesn't feel the same way you do either.

People decide not to change gender for a range of reasons. It does not mean they don't want to be the other gender.

As others have said, I think the social pressures are the same - homophobia and misogyny.

AvonCallingBarksdale Tue 01-Jul-14 13:33:54

The feminist-ethos agency where I work only employs women who were born women and they are allowed to do that. I agree with that, especially considering the client group we see. Would that be considered to be transphobic?
I would like to think I would behave towards someone based on their individualism.

If said man wants to be called "she", takes external hormones for body modification, and is castrated, she is a transwoman. Not a woman

^ This pretty much sums up my feelings.

KleineDracheKokosnuss Tue 01-Jul-14 13:41:48

There should not be specific talk guidelines about trans discussions or gender, besides the basic guidelines as to not personally attacking someone or being goady. Calling someone by their non-preferred pronoun intentionally to anger them would fall under that.

^

This. We do not need a specific policy. The basic guidelines are enough. Anything else is likely to shut down debate, which will (1) irritate people and consequently (2) spark more anti-(whatever term we are using because I have now lost track because I've seen about seven different options so far and I don't even really understand the 'cis' option) feelings.

If we can't discuss things like the adults we are supposed to be, using reasoned argument to try and put forward points, then its a sad day for society.

Beeyump Tue 01-Jul-14 13:45:50

Totally agree with Cote.

LegoSuperstar Tue 01-Jul-14 13:59:10

'if MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Words, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site' yes, this.

There's no reason to change MN guidelines or create any separate policy, tolerance and no hate speech rules are already built in. If you prefer the F-word, go post there.

Another one who rejects the idea that non trans women are 'cis', too.

YouAreMyFavouriteWasteOfTime Tue 01-Jul-14 14:03:22

I support referring to others in the way they wish to be address whether its she/he or Ms/Mrs etc.

but I expect this to apply to me also. ideally i would like to be considered just as a person but the second option is woman.

I don't want to be referred to as a cis woman.

AvonCallingBarksdale Tue 01-Jul-14 14:06:31

I would probably refuse to acknowledge someone who was referring to me as "cis" tbh, having just read up on it. I am me, and that me happens to be a woman.

NormaStanleyFletcher Tue 01-Jul-14 14:14:43

I can't keep up with this thread (I am at work and can only check in every so often)

But

If MNHQ were to adopt a policy similar to the F-Word's, I would no longer feel comfortable posting on this site

This^^ from me too.

I think the current rules on being generally supportive and no personal attacks covers it for me.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 14:20:48

I'm only on page 2, but I liked how fledermaus put it:

IMO, guidelines about transphobia should focus on treating people with respect and without insults/ridicule/abuse.

However, it shouldn't include trying to force people to accept someone else's worldview, or shut down debate about something contested.

I absolutely would not advocate accepting the F-word guidelines, because one of the most contested points is whether non-op and pre-op trans women should have access to women only space. If we can't talk about that, then we might as well all go home.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 14:24:42

I would say, also, that whatever MNHQ decide, it should include a ban on people calling gender-critical feminists (plenty of whom are lesbians) as "just like homophobes" or "just like racists". They aren't, and it pisses me off mightily that trans activist are appropriating other issues as yet another way to bash lesbians.

allhailqueenmab Tue 01-Jul-14 14:33:02

I would happily use whatever pronouns a person asked me to, this is basic politeness like getting their name and title right (right being, of course, whatever they prefer to be called by).

However what bothers me about trans issues is that it seems part of the instrumental view of women; women as instruments for what people want to use them for, rather than as people qua people. Here I think what is going on, a lot of the time, is that the body of women - I mean the collective body, the class of women, but I use the word "body" as it is traditional for patriarchy to assert itself upon the actual physical bodies of women and to use them for that purpose - is being used by transwomen in order for them to assert their identity. So our own purpose, as ourselves, our own being, is being elided into becoming things-which-exist-for-the-purpose-of-helping-to-define-someone-else's-identity. that is not what I am, or my friends, or my actual sisters, or my sisters all over the world. we don't exist to make other people feel better. that is what we are usually treated as, yes, but that is not what we are.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 14:36:48

Yeah, I agree with that ArcheryAnnie. It's an offensive way to say 'I don't agree with you'.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 14:37:26

I'm still working my way through the thread, but this struck me, something kim posted:

Do you have to justify being female? Do you have to explain on the internet what it's like to be female? To explain your feelings. No.

No indeed. Elsewhere on the internet I'm not asked what it's like to be female. I'm constantly told my experiences don't matter. I'm told that my feelings about what it's like to be female is utterly irrelevant, and I must shut up, listen to and unquestioningly accept these new definitions of female, and to do anything else is transphobic.

I don't want that to happen here on MN.

SlowlorisIncognito Tue 01-Jul-14 14:48:24

I do think deliberate misgendering (e.g. calling someone he when they identify as a she) and obvious slurs should be treated severely. Unlike a lot of posters on the thread I am happy with "cis" to mean the opposite of trans where such a word is necessary, and I do think the use of "real women" is transphobic in that context. In some ways, I think shoving the biological definition of sex in a transperson's face is offensive and might also be offensive to other people who aren't trans but may be genderqueer or intersex or not totally match up with the biological expectations of their gender in some ways (e.g. women who have never had children).

I also do think that some femenist theory on gender is pretty incompatible with the idea of "trans" and that in itself is not problematic or transphobic and discussion of gender theory should be allowed- provided it's not used to shut down the experiences of transpeople entirely. So, imo it's ok to say "gender is a societal construct and if it didn't exist then trans people might feel less need to transition" but it's not ok to say "gender is a societal construct and therefore transpeople shouldn't exist" or whatever.

However, I do think there are a lot of assumptions made in some places on the internet by m2f transpeople about the experiences of women. I actually really hate that list of "cisgender privilege" because as a ciswoman, a lot of the things on that list have happened to me.

Ultimately, one of the greatest threats to both ciswomen and transwomen is violence from men, and surely that's what people should be combating, rather than somewhat silly infighting?

DoctorTwo Tue 01-Jul-14 14:51:17

I would however support a policy which bans personal attacks on or harassment of trans posters, using derogatory words like "tranny", being insulting about trans people in general, using "trans" as an insult, or being insulting or dismissive about trans posters' life experiences and personal experiences of sex dysphoria. This is because I acknowledge that sex dysphoria is something that is genuinely experienced by trans people.

Same here FairPhyllis. I try to treat people equally as well as each other, except those MRAs who try to exert their privilege.

Adopting the rules used by the F-Word would shut down debate and silence people and ruin MN.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 01-Jul-14 15:50:58

Archery Anne if gender-critical feminists didn't use the exact same tactics as homophobes or racists, the comparison wouldn't be so apt.

By tactics, I mean declaring the very existence of a group of people is harmful, that they are mentally ill, that their very existence poses a threat, using examples of particular individuals to demonize a group of people (just as someone has already done on thus thread).

Those are the tactics racists and homophobes use and those are the tactics people have used on MN and elsewhere, to critise trans people.

I don't think MN would tolerate thread after thread where the majority opinion was that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are mentally ill and that recognition of their existence is just demanding that society panders to them, yet this is what trans threads on here are generally like.

allhailqueenmab Tue 01-Jul-14 15:59:10

Here's where I'm at.

I think we need, as feminists, to draw a distinction between:

transphobia which is hatred of trans people. this means disrespect, wrong use of pronouns, hate speech, etc. this is a transphobia which means violation of that person in some social or emotional way

transphobia which is a refusal to make ourselves necessarily available, as women, to those who have a purpose (emotional, social, physical, whatever) in mind for us, for their own ends.

to me that second thing is at the heart of my feminism. I, and my sisters, do not exist to be available to perform physical labour for you, emotional labour, or to be things or categories against which, or among which, you define your gender identity. we are just women, qua women. Our availability cannot be required of us.

this is at the heart of my feminism because this is what the patriarchy sees us as and uses us as. I recognised it when I was tiny when I saw that my time was available for free for housework when my brother's was not. i have recognised it through casual habitual low level sexual assault, and by learning of systemic severe sexual assault of other women throughout the world. there are small and large ways in which we are all being taken advantage of as being there as instruments, available, things whose permission need not be asked. I REJECT THIS. I reject this formally, although I do not practically have the power to change the world. I reject it.

Hear hear Queen.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 16:23:21

I believe someone who chooses to mutilate their bodies in order to 'become' female is mentally ill though.

I can understand wanting to dress in your own way and act in your own way and be called your own name but I cannot understand massive physical mutilation because of an (I think) very false assumption that 'a woman' is simply 'a man' without a penis

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 01-Jul-14 16:36:40

So trans people cannot win.

If you don't have surgery, you are just playing dress-up and are a danger to women.

If you do have surgery, you are mentally ill and have mutilated yourself.

So what should trans people do? Should they pretend not to exist?

Should they not exist at all, then?

This is absolutely recycling the sort of rhetoric that has been used against GBL people.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 16:36:45

GoshAnneGorilla, I don't recognise your characterisation of the threads about trans issues here at all. I do see MN as one of the few places on the internet where gender-critical feminists (including trans gender-critical feminists) aren't repeatedly told to die in a fire, told they are shit in bed, told to make themselves sexually accessible to anyone who wants them, and threatened with violence in many other ways utterly reminiscent of MRA tactics. I assume you spend as much time and energy speaking out against that, yes?

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 16:38:52

"Illness" suggests transgender people could and should get better. I would go with "condition".

Is it transphobic to say it is a condition?

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 16:41:22

"Better" in quotation marks, rather. As in, "change and be normal".

TheBogQueen Tue 01-Jul-14 16:43:01

or to be things or categories against which, or among which, you define your gender identity. we are just women,

Yes

Thus is what I wanted to say but couldn't 't find the words. I don't like to be to how to express myself especially when it comes to such a fundamental part of my identity. I don't want to be told what I can and can't say when I am speaking about myself and my experiences and talking about experiences of women in general.

I feel women have few opportunities fir open discourse about their experiences as it is. We are not supposed to be articulate about 'grown up' subjects, especially once we have had children.

It feels like this is yet one more thing I have to do...consult guidelines on how to talk about being a woman, because I need guidelines on hiw to define my own fucking existence.

We are all grown ups. We know when someone is trolling and upsetting a poster - I would utterly defend any transwoman who was being treated badly - but surely thus is just talk guidelines stuff?

Does you opinion on people "mutilating" themselves being mentally ill extend to the huge swathes of people who get entirely voluntary and medically unnecessary cosmetic surgery from breast enhancements to tummy tucks to liposuction to botox, ICanHearYou?

Or can you accept that both the strict binary of our society's definitions of gender and unattainable standards of beauty drive otherwise mentally healthy people to undergo extreme measures in order to fit into those stereotypes in the way they feel best for them?

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 16:49:27

I absolutely agree with that annie

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 16:50:29

It is not an and/or situation though, both of the statements you made are true

Hullygully Tue 01-Jul-14 16:51:41

What queen said. And jolly well said too.

I don't think anyone should express hatred of others because they are trans (or indeed anything else).

I don't think trans should demand women be defined or behave in a way that suits them BECAUSE they are trans.

I don't know what the answer is.

Hullygully Tue 01-Jul-14 16:52:36

To be clear, I am agreeing with allhailqueenmab

as there are a few queens on mn...

msrisotto Tue 01-Jul-14 16:54:31

using examples of particular individuals to demonize a group of people (just as someone has already done on thus thread).

I suppose you are referring to me and my example of a prisoner. This was in the context of safe female spaces where someone said that trans people don't transition on a whim, just to threaten women. So as not to generalise, I provided a specific example as part of discussion about how this is not always true. If generalisations aren't appropriate and neither are specific examples, I suppose we had all pretend it doesn't happen and never mention it.

Hullygully Tue 01-Jul-14 16:54:39

And I also agree that the talk guidelines should cut the mustard. Or basic good manners. Be polite and try not to hurt people's feelings unnecessarily.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 16:59:06

I don't think MN would tolerate thread after thread where the majority opinion was that gay, lesbian and bisexual people are mentally ill and that recognition of their existence is just demanding that society panders to them, yet this is what trans threads on here are generally like.

GoshAnneGorilla are you advocating that MN adopts the increasingly-demanded position that if someone identifies as a woman, their body is a woman's body even if it includes a penis, and that a lesbian who does not accept the possibility of having a relationship with someone who posessess a penis is a transphobe, a bigot, a prude, shit in bed and a creep unhealthily obsessed by genitals? Because I have seen all these things put forward and agreed with in mainstream places.

If you are pushing for a particular kind of trans activism, and yet are not prepared to speak out against this kind of nonsense, then you aren't only using tactics akin to that of a homophobe, you are a homophobe.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 17:34:22

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 01-Jul-14 15:50:58
Archery Anne if gender-critical feminists didn't use the exact same tactics as homophobes or racists, the comparison wouldn't be so apt.

By tactics, I mean declaring the very existence of a group of people is harmful, that they are mentally ill, that their very existence poses a threat, using examples of particular individuals to demonize a group of people (just as someone has already done on thus thread).

Those are the tactics racists and homophobes use and those are the tactics people have used on MN and elsewhere, to critise trans people.

Strong words GoshAnneGorilla.

I find your use of the word 'tactics' really unpleasant. A tactic is generally understood to be "an action or method that is planned and used to achieve a particular goal".

You really think that MNers discussing gender politics on a parenting forum have a plan of action with an end goal in mind? And what might that end goal be?

I am one of the people you are comparing to racists and homophobes and I can assure you I don't have any tactics. I just want to be able to discuss a really important aspect of sexual politics which has wide reaching ramifications for me and other women. Gender and sexual politics do not belong to transgender people.

Do know why the comparison with racists and homophobes is as dishonest as it is offensive? Because it places women, who are oppressed minority with second class status, in the same category as oppressors for clinging on to the minimal rights we have managed to eke out for ourselves. It is gaslighting. It is attacking women for defending their hard fought for and incomplete human rights. And it co-opts the struggle of people of colour, lesbians and homosexuals in order to do so.

The transgender movement is the first social justice movement I have ever heard of that seeks to erode the rights of a globally oppressed and subjugated group.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 17:40:05

Well said, beachcomber.

FairPhyllis Tue 01-Jul-14 17:40:51

The points about women's labour really struck a chord with me.

What the most vocal kind of transactivists are actually demanding is that women (and I have never seen men being asked to do this) perform constant social, emotional and physical labour for transwomen in particular.

We are asked to constantly validate transwomen's feelings about themselves by allowing them into our (hard-won) spaces, to modify our feminism so that it is acceptable to them (and thus lose part of the power of our political analyses), to take up trans causes (thereby depleting our time and energy), to give them access to our bodies if we are lesbians, and to allow ourselves to be used as objects by which they define themselves.

Of course this is nothing new - women are expected to perform labour for others without question all the time.

And not only that, but that we also willingly and wholeheartedly buy into a view of gender which doesn't match up with our lived experiences as women or be called bigots. It feels like being gaslighted. It's not enough that we merely submit to yet another form of oppression - we are expected to believe in and agree with the ideology our own oppression.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 17:41:07

I can understand why people consider GRS as mutilation. It's not within the day to day experience of most people. Cutting off healthy body parts is extreme and brutal whether it's GRS or cosmetic surgery. Surely it's better that they ask why it isn't mutilation and understand ? Of course it needs to be done sensitively but calling them transphobic and accusing them of hate speech is only going to inflame the situation.

There is a way to educate and a way to alienate as feminists know only too well. Given that trans issues are rarely mainstream, it's only natural that there is a period of adjustment for society while it reconfigures itself to be more accepting. No one needs to tolerate transphobia but if you're going to broaden the definition of transphobia, such that it becomes nonsensical, people are just going to become entrenched in their positions and we end up with a lot of emotional rhetoric and very little progress.

FairPhyllis Tue 01-Jul-14 17:41:32

the ideology of our own oppression.

Hullygully Tue 01-Jul-14 17:47:18

hear hear fairphyllis

WhentheRed Tue 01-Jul-14 17:47:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 17:50:36

I too agree with what allhailqueenmab says about the exploitation of women's energy and labour. And with what FairPhyllis says above.

And not matter what we give (whilst humbly apologizing for our cissexism and our cisprivilege) it is never enough.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 17:54:16

People of colour and gays and lesbians do not require any medical intervention.

This.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:08:01

I agree with Fledermaus that there is no need for any additional guideline beyond the existing Talk Guidelines.

I also see on FWR the insistence of transactivists that they are women and that their pov should be protected, and I feel that those feminists or other posters who question this would be coerced by the encoding of a MN anti-transphobic rule into accepting one particular pov on the matter.

That pov goes beyond what the law says and what WHO says on the subject of definition of transsexuals and on the subject of hate speech. It is a political pov, one among many, and of course as a political pov among many it deserves airspace, but so do those respectfully articulated opinions that do not concur.

As long as all opinions are expressed in a civil fashion in accordance with MN Talk Guidelines, imo all should be welcome to chip in. But to label those who have philosophical disagreements or disagreements based on their own personal experience as women with another particular pov as transphobic and to try to have their opinions branded as phobic is absurd, and uncivil.

I think Queenmab's post is spot on:
I think we need, as feminists, to draw a distinction between:

transphobia which is hatred of trans people. this means disrespect, wrong use of pronouns, hate speech, etc. this is a transphobia which means violation of that person in some social or emotional way.

transphobia which is a refusal to make ourselves necessarily available, as women, to those who have a purpose (emotional, social, physical, whatever) in mind for us, for their own ends.

...I, and my sisters, do not exist to be available to perform physical labour for you, emotional labour, or to be things or categories against which, or among which, you define your gender identity. we are just women, qua women. Our availability cannot be required of us.

Yes indeed. We are being asked as women to perform a certain function for others. Not as 'names on a forum' or 'gender neutral individuals', but as 'women'.

and I think TheBogQueen's is too:
I don't like to be told how to express myself especially when it comes to such a fundamental part of my identity. I don't want to be told what I can and can't say when I am speaking about myself and my experiences and talking about experiences of women in general.

I feel women have few opportunities fir open discourse about their experiences as it is. We are not supposed to be articulate about 'grown up' subjects, especially once we have had children.

It feels like this is yet one more thing I have to do...consult guidelines on how to talk about being a woman, because I need guidelines on how to define my own fucking existence.

It is my opinion that the transactivists are actually asking for a privilege for their particular pov.
I think this is (among other things) ironic on a good few levels.

What we could conceivably end up with is someone being reprimanded for taking umbrage at being referred to as 'cis'.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 18:08:21

See I cannot see how my views are transphobic as I would feel the same about any person mutilating themselves regardless of biological or perceived gender.

I have transgender friends and get on fine with them however I have my own views about invasive surgery and the assumption that a woman is a man without a penis (something I take extreme exception to and seems to be the basis of many transgender wishes for surgery) just like I have my own views about circumcision and FGM and other mutilations of sexualised body part to fit in with, or succumb to a sociological ideal or norm.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:10:27

Are there many transactivists on FWR, Math?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:11:25

And does the only transperson who posts on there insist she's a woman?

SybilRamkin Tue 01-Jul-14 18:15:07

For me, the changing room issue is a big one - of course transgender women shouldn't have to use the male changing rooms, but if they haven't had gender reassignment surgery then a penis on display in a female changing room creates its own problems. If a sexual assault victim were to see a naked penis in what is an exclusively feminine space it could act as a trigger. However, I'm not sure what the solution is - clearly it's not lawful to say that a transgender woman can use female changing rooms but only if she covers her genitalia at all times, and that's quite impractical too.

There's no right answer that avoids hurting anyone sad

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 18:16:20

Kim, not everything revolves around you. This is an open forum, where people can join as they please. The rules set by MN will not only affect those of us who are talking about it now, but those who wish to talk about it in the future.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 18:16:21

I think all changing rooms should be unisex with private areas for those who feel they need them.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 18:17:13

Kim I am confused why you continue to ask questions but refuse to answer any.

Double standards.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:17:51

archery

Did I say everything revolves around me?
No - Math said there's a lot of transactivists on FWR. Which is untrue.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:19:16

As it happens I canheryou - if you read upthread, I said what I thought about transphobia.

ICanHearYou Tue 01-Jul-14 18:20:31

I didn't ask what you thought about transphobia, I asked why you are continuing to ask questions when you have refused to answer any.

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 18:21:42

'And not only that, but that we also willingly and wholeheartedly buy into a view of gender which doesn't match up with our lived experiences as women or be called bigots. It feels like being gaslighted. It's not enough that we merely submit to yet another form of oppression - we are expected to believe in and agree with the ideology our own oppression.'

That's a very striking summary.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 01-Jul-14 18:22:05

Does anyone know if this type of conversation is happening on any mainstream popular websites that are predominantly used by men?

I suspect the answer is no, and the reasons for that might bear consideration.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:22:35

MyrtleDove
Also - trans women are women. Accepting them into women's spaces is part of being a feminist and supporting the rights of all women, whether they were assigned female at birth or not. Transphobia cannot be part of real feminism.

Here we have definitions of transwomen (and by implication all women) and feminism. Plus instructions on how women need to put aside our quibbles about the essence of who we are and get behind the work of 'real feminism' that needs doing.

There is a lot of irony in distinguishing by implication between 'real feminism' (and some other sort of feminism?) and asserting what real feminists should be doing on behalf of people who are offended by the opinion that they are not 'real women'.

There is a lot that is objectionable in the transformation of 'women's work' into 'feminism work'.

Reposting FairPhylis' post here in light of MyrtleDove's assertions:
The points about women's labour really struck a chord with me.

What the most vocal kind of transactivists are actually demanding is that women (and I have never seen men being asked to do this) perform constant social, emotional and physical labour for transwomen in particular.

We are asked to constantly validate transwomen's feelings about themselves by allowing them into our (hard-won) spaces, to modify our feminism so that it is acceptable to them (and thus lose part of the power of our political analyses), to take up trans causes (thereby depleting our time and energy), to give them access to our bodies if we are lesbians, and to allow ourselves to be used as objects by which they define themselves.

Of course this is nothing new - women are expected to perform labour for others without question all the time.

And not only that, but that we also willingly and wholeheartedly buy into a view of gender which doesn't match up with our lived experiences as women or be called bigots. It feels like being gaslighted. It's not enough that we merely submit to yet another form of oppression - we are expected to believe in and agree with the ideology our own oppression.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 18:24:20

Kim, I read Math's post differently from you. I didn't read it that there are a lot of transactivists posting on FWR but that it was somewhere she had come across their views which I tend to agree with in the sense that there are a lot of blogs, websites, quotes etc referencing their views.

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 18:26:30

This thread must be disappointing to you though Kim - given that the tenor of it is overwhelming NOT to over-regulate or define? If that makes you uncomfortable being here and I concede it may do unfortunately then perhaps it's time to post elsewhere. I don't think you've been clear at all on this thread about what you think and you've done that under the guise of 'being neutral'. Given that aspiration I have to ask - why not namechange and post the same question?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:26:30

I'll tell you what I really feel.

Sometimes it feels like people aren't being transphobic. But many of the threads - and especially on FWR - become one sided and lead to more and more people talking about examples (are they extreme examples?) of what some trans people have done and said - rare examples of transwomen in women's space attacking women keep getting repeated, videos such as have been posted on here get shown and it seems to be a a slow slow drip drip demonisation of trans people. It's rare to hear voices from the other side of the debate so these things go unchallenged.

That's sometimes what it feels like. Yes - there's genuine discussion of gender identity, women's spaces etc - which are very important and necessary. But it does sometimes feel like only one side is being heard and the other side is demonising transpeople.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:27:27

I did not say that Kim.

This is the only statement I posted about transactivists on FWR:
I also see on FWR the insistence of transactivists that they are women and that their pov should be protected, and I feel that those feminists or other posters who question this would be coerced by the encoding of a MN anti-transphobic rule into accepting one particular pov on the matter.

Please be so kind as to acknowledge that I did not say that there are a lot of transactivists on FWR.

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 18:27:42

I would have said in the past about opinions that I didn't like around lesbianism that I wanted the posts deleted and the posters banned. I think I was perpetuating some of it and that it was unnecessary to be so indignant on here because no-one else agreed with those opinions anyway.

I felt I had to stop the tide turning or try and keep it flowing in the right direction but I didn't need to on here at least. I am secure in my identity and the law is on my side, it's enough.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:27:57

mrsmaturin

Did you read what I said upthread?

I said that generally this is fine. People know what is offensive. I don't want feminists to be told what they can and can't say. I said that upthread - I don't want feminists to be silenced.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:29:08

math

That's how I read it. I can see that you meant you've read on FWR that transactivists say stuff.

Sorry for misinterpreting it.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:29:45

@Kim:

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 18:24:20

Kim, I read Math's post differently from you. I didn't read it that there are a lot of transactivists posting on FWR but that it was somewhere she had come across their views which I tend to agree with in the sense that there are a lot of blogs, websites, quotes etc referencing their views.

And Blistory has correctly read what I said.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:30:12

x-post

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 18:30:41

But FWR is an ideological debating ground, it's inevitable that politics will get heated. I agree the extremes don't help but then I also think radfem conferences shouldn't be shut down for excluding some.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:31:44

And I agree with that. upandatem

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:35:39

That's how I read it. I can see that you meant you've read on FWR that transactivists say stuff.

That is not what I said.

In my opinion that post of yours paraphrasing what I posted was dismissive, sarcastic and uncivil.

I will now repeat what I said:
This is the only statement I posted about transactivists on FWR:
I also see on FWR the insistence of transactivists that they are women and that their pov should be protected, and I feel that those feminists or other posters who question this would be coerced by the encoding of a MN anti-transphobic rule into accepting one particular pov on the matter.

And I will repeat my request that you:
Please be so kind as to acknowledge that I did not say that there are a lot of transactivists on FWR.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:36:26

I also ask that you acknowledge that I did not mean you've read on FWR that transactivists say stuff.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:38:26

And I would like to take this opportunity to refer you to the MN Talk Guidelines.

They are there to guarantee a modicum of civility.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:39:27

What have you done then?

What have you seen on FWR?
I thought I acknowledged that you've seen posts on FWR where feminists have talked about and posted links to things transactivists have said?

Which is what Blistory said confused

"I didn't read it that there are a lot of transactivists posting on FWR but that it was somewhere she had come across their views which I tend to agree with in the sense that there are a lot of blogs, websites, quotes etc referencing their views."

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 18:41:50

<<wonders how much of this is about personalities and not politics>>

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:42:01

And I even said sorry as well.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 18:42:29

(are they extreme examples?)

No kim, they aren't. You do this repeatedly, asking "questions" which aren't questions at all, but thinly-veiled statements meant to imply that we are all making a fuss about a few fringe activists. We aren't - although these are extreme views, they are increasingly getting uncritical mainstream attention, which you would know if you actually paid attention to what women have posted here.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:42:43

No acknowledgement of your uncivil, dismissive and sarcastic paraphrasing?

No acknowlegement that I did not say what you alleged I said in my post?

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:43:40

If not, then sorry is premature.

gertiegusset Tue 01-Jul-14 18:44:14

Kim has said sorry already Math for misinterpreting your post.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:44:24

What is it with the personal attacks?
Do you know what I do?
See - this is what fucking happens when I post. People assume they know about me and what I think.

Then they just make digs - I've not made a single fucking personal dig about anyone on here but I've had fucking loads made on me.

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 18:44:33

Kim - yes I've read this thread including all your posts. I honestly couldn't tell you what your position is as your posting isn't coherent enough for me to discern it. Which makes me very uncomfortable about your motivation in starting this thread to be honest.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:45:09

The heck she has Gertie.

QueenStromba Tue 01-Jul-14 18:45:17

Kim, would you expect people on a discussion that was specifically about islamic extremists to constantly repeat that they are not talking about all muslims? Would you find it a bit tiring if a muslim poster kept interrupting every discussion about Isis or Al Qaeda to point out that all muslim people aren't like that? Would you think it a bit silly if people were afraid of discussion the actions of Isis because they don't want to offend the one muslim poster?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:46:01

No apology - because what I said is what Blistory said you said. You have read posts on FWR where feminists have posted what transactivists have said. I apologised for misinterpreting initially.

Have you read posts on FWR about things transactivists have done?

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 01-Jul-14 18:46:27

Kim has apologised - can't we move on?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:46:55

And that's why I'm not going to post. I made my position clear upthread and also on site stuff.

ArcheryAnnie Tue 01-Jul-14 18:47:41

Kim, what personal attacks? If you say unsupportable stuff on a message thread, expect to be called out on it. I have seen nobody insulting you, just paying attention to what you say and pointing out when it is nonsense.

If you are so keen on stopping personal attacks, where were you when GoshAnneGorilla was calling women as akin to homophobes and racists?

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 18:48:38

I think it's pretty extreme that a pre op trans person can legally change their sex. Seems like there wasn't a lot of thought about the practicalities of that one and the issues it would cause both trans and non trans people.

It would be less offensive to simply stop asking people their sex or gender on forms and applications where it simply isn't relevant. It would be less offensive to legislate for the provision of appropriate changing or toilet facilities for all. It would be less offensive to give transpeople their own space in the world instead of insisting that they have mine.

allhailqueenmab Tue 01-Jul-14 18:49:51

"But many of the threads - and especially on FWR - become one sided and lead to more and more people talking about examples (are they extreme examples?) of what some trans people have done and said - rare examples of transwomen in women's space attacking women keep getting repeated, videos such as have been posted on here get shown and it seems to be a a slow slow drip drip demonisation of trans people."

this isn't what I am seeing.
what I am seeing is that trans issues keep being brought up, as if they have the right to dominate any current discussion, and then where there is resistance to this, it is interpreted as cruelty or lack of sympathy for kim as an individual. In other words, FWR threads are constantly under threat of derailment not just into being about trans issues, which is one thing, and boring enough, but into being support threads for kim personally, or we are mean and cruel. what happens is she refers to abuse that she has suffered and uses this to argue that we should put all other issues aside because she has been attacked and wounded.

I am sorry about that abuse but the FWR section could be about other things, perhaps. sometimes. maybe.

Kim I think you generally struggle to put women qua women at the heart of your thinking. I have noticed that while you usually derail to talk about yourself and trans issues, you have often derailed in other ways, like bringing up the "how people treat you when you are old" video when others were talking about "how people treat women vs men in public space". It was meant as just an interesting note I am sure but in FWR there is a continual nudge, nudge, nudge to putting other things in the forefront as if it can't be borne that sometimes, some places, it is all just about women, girls, and feminism.

I also think you have a mental hierarchy of victimhood at which you are an apex that somehow trumps all mere just women's issues and you think that this gives you rights over all discussions that are concerned with social justice.

I am so bored of it all and I am going to hide this thread now along with all the others.

Kim, if you started a support thread, I would be lovely to you on it, honestly I would, but does have to be all the time, everywhere, all about you?

Selendra Tue 01-Jul-14 18:50:19

I've not yet the thread yet but I recommend they take advice from Trans
Media Watch
www.transmediawatch.org/Documents/Media%20Style%20Guide.pdf. And this page is good: tranarchism.com/2010/11/26/not-your-moms-trans-101/

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 18:50:53

Your position is NOT clear Kim and the thread in Site Stuff is not that easy to find is it? The subject matter is not apparent from the title.

It seems to me that a lot of sensible, politically thoughtful posters have taken the time to respond to you but you yourself aren't prepared to be upfront about your own agenda.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:54:35

I haven't got an agenda. I said quite clearly - but I'll repeat it again. I do not want feminists to be silenced. Everyone has an opinion and should be free to express it.

People have said on here what they think transphobia is - such as misgendering. I agree.

Is that clear enough?

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 18:56:07

"Kim, if you started a support thread, I would be lovely to you on it, honestly I would, but does have to be all the time, everywhere, all about you?"

That's why I didn't post - so it wouldn't be about me. And I don't want it to be.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 18:59:07

Kim, you are welcome to PM an apology to me for your misrepresentation of my post where I made reference to transactivists on FWR and your sarcastic, dismissive and uncivil statement ' I can see that you meant you've read on FWR that transactivists say stuff. Sorry for misinterpreting it.'

PM me (separate from the apology) if you want to discuss the idea that feminists on FWR see a transactivist argument and respond with 'transactivists say stuff'. Or start another thread if you think transactivists are dismissed in this lazy way by posters on FWR or elsewhere.

ifyourehoppyandyouknowit Tue 01-Jul-14 19:00:21

The posts made about women's labour and the use of women's bodies as a tool to identify against are really interesting, and a perspective I hadn't considered before.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 01-Jul-14 19:02:17

There's so much in that Tranarchism link I disagree with I don't know where to start. Guess I'd better polish up my 'bigot' badge....

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 19:05:22

No that's not clear enough tbh. I see what your view is on misgendering but what about the F word description included early in the thread? I've told you, as have many others, what they think about those terms of reference. What do you think?

As far as feminists being silenced though I don't think you need to worry. There's no chance of that.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 19:07:34

Do you think that labelling certain opinions as transphobic effectively means those opinions are silenced?

EatingMyWords Tue 01-Jul-14 19:09:12

I've seen a number of threads about trans issues where Kim posts as the only (AFAIK) trans person on MN and then gets shouted down, accused of 'making it all about her' and inevitably results in some form of abuse or transphobia.

As a feminist I support all women and would therefore be very wary of posting on FWR where anyone supporting trans women or sex workers gets piled on.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 19:13:03

How can one single poster be said to be 'supporting trans women'? Have they all been canvassed? Have they elected Kim to speak on their behalf?

How can objection to one person's pov (or her style of posting) be translated into transphobia, which is hatred of a class of people.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 01-Jul-14 19:13:59

Well I clicked on the second link Selendra and I agree with much of what the author says in the final part around oppression. I disagree vehemently with most of what comes before it, however.

The problem I have is this.

The author of that piece says that biological sex, the sex a person is deemed as being at birth, is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what a person "identifies" as when they grow up.

That does not assist however with the FACT that globally all people are put into a "male" or "female" box at birth and that that categorisation (and for many people the impact of their actual biology) has an absolute and fundamental impact on their lives (for better or worse) from that point on.

For instance, a child born as "it's a girl" might grow up and later on identify as a man and thus from that point and retrospectively they are a man. Unfortunately, that particular individual never gets to be born or grow up as when they were in the womb they were identified as of the female sex and thus destroyed.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 19:16:44

math

I honestly have no idea what you are on about.

Initially I thought you said that there were a lot of transactivists on FWR. I was wrong about that.

So I thought, after rereading it, that you had read posts by feminists posters on FWR where they talked about things transactivists had said.

And then I apologised for my initial misinterpretation.

I'm not sure what you think I meant by "I can see that you meant you've read on FWR that transactivists say stuff. "

I meant that feminists have written about the stuff transactivists have said. Which they have.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 19:16:48

There's more than one transperson on MN.

I'm a feminist but I don't see why that means I need to support all women as individuals. Women are as capable of anyone else of being sexist, bigoted idiots. I support the idea of women's liberation from oppression but if another woman, trans or otherwise, performs an act that is oppressive of women in general, then they don't have my support.

I don't think that conflicts with my stance as a feminist.

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 19:17:02

Trans women and sex workers are two separate, completely separate, discussions. confused Not sure why you feel the need to put it together like that.

Regarding 'piling in' - come on, pull yourself together. Feminism is a radical political movement. It is through discussion and debate that political thought evolves. These are not easy discussions to have. If you can't hack being disagreed with then by all means avoid the debate.
It will ALWAYS be heated when women only spaces are in question though. My view is that trans women do not have a need or a right to access all such spaces. That's my view as a feminist.

kim147 Tue 01-Jul-14 19:18:31

mrsmaturin

Have you read any of my posts elsewhere in the past? Some of the things I have said would be transphobic according to the F word guidelines. I think they are extreme and would silence feminists on here.

Clear enough?

EatingMyWords Tue 01-Jul-14 19:19:05

That's why I said abuse or transphobia. It's transphobia if it also applies to other trans people not just one.

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 19:20:04

I really do think that misgendering can be covered under existing guidelines, it is goading, namecalling essentially to insist on referring to someone who identifies as she as he, I wouldn't support that at all.

So, that's one thing, is it enough? Is there anything else?

allhailqueenmab Tue 01-Jul-14 19:20:36

If I were MNHQ I would be backpeddling and fillbustering like a bastard on this supposed forthcoming policy. I think there are probably some key people about to be going on some long holidays this summer. Then, you know how it is, so hard to coordinate everyone once the term time begins and then - before you know it's holiday season again for Christmas... what a pity some things just keep sliding down the list.

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 19:21:18

Glad you agree on the radfem conferences kim. The vast majority of us would all do the right thing I'm sure and respect each other's preferences.

EatingMyWords Tue 01-Jul-14 19:23:04

I only lurk on FWR so I picked the two debates I've seen where there seems to be a pretty uniform view and anyone disagreeing gets piled on, there may be others.

My view as a feminist is if it's a women only space it must include trans women because they are women.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 19:24:08

You really can't jump from saying only one person posts as trans on MN and gets shouted down to implying that anyone posting on FWR with an opinion supporting trans women on FWR gets piled in on.

If you post an opinion that turns out to be a minority one then you have to acknowledge the reality that your opinion turned out to be the minority opinion.

Getting 'piled in on' is (1) in the eyes of the beholder, and (2) an occupational hazard of a discussion board. Nobody is obliged to agree with anyone else's opinion, and gender of any particular kind or none doesn't render your opinion special in any way or confer any particular privilege. I would have thought that a clear understanding of this reality was an essential prerequisite to participation in a discussion forum.

This is not to say that every discussion thread can be an uncivil free for all. That is what the Guidelines are for.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 19:25:15

(That was responding to EatingMyWords)

EatingMyWords Tue 01-Jul-14 19:27:21

That's why I don't participate on FWR.

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 19:29:18

I dare say I have read your posts before Kim as I've been here for ages. Can't say I've memorised them for reference though hmm Yes, your response on the F word description is clear enough. Thanks for that clarity.

ItsNotUnusualToBe Tue 01-Jul-14 19:30:25

MNHQ are going to decide what constitutes transphobia on MN. What advice / guidelines would you give them?

The thread title and OP reads like a missive from MNHQ but they haven't commented on the thread.

I'm not as articulate as many posters on this thread but if there was a 'like' button then Beachcomber, math anxiety and Blistory would be getting my clicks.
For me, the former FWR regular, Dittany always nailed the explanations of her position on this.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 01-Jul-14 19:31:34

Just reading the comments on the link and there is this:

"Multigender people which includes, but is not limited to: bigender, trigender, quadgender, pangender all of which (except pangender which includes all) can include various genders. Ex. Bigender can mean male and female, male and androgyne, female and androgyne, male and neutrois, female and neutrois, androgyne and neutrois, male and genderqueer, female and genderqueer, androgyne and genderqueer, neutrois and genderqueer, and so on."

You see my perspective is, why do people have to be defined to the nth degree. Why can't we fight to get rid of gender and then people will just be able to get on with being whatever they are and what makes them feel comfortable and we'll all live happily ever after.

But getting rid of gender is diametrically opposed to the approach in the piece which is that gender is all that matters. These two perspectives cannot be reconciled, can they.

LegoSuperstar Tue 01-Jul-14 19:32:37

'MNHQ are going to decide what constitutes transphobia on MN'

where have they said this?

MrsMaturin Tue 01-Jul-14 19:35:30

On the thread is site stuff here Iona says 'Hi everyone.

Thanks for all your comments on this thread, and the reports drawing it to our attention again.

We have been watching the thread, and the thread it references, and have tried to let the conversation on both flow as much as possible, because it seemed to be a really interesting discussion and one into which lots of posters had put a great deal of time and thought.

As the thread has now gone on all week, we think we need to sit down at MNHQ next week and see if we can come up with a definition of transphobia that explains what it is, how it may be manifested and exactly what Mumsnet's policy is on transphobia on the talk boards.

It goes without saying that we are against all forms of prejudice but it seems clear from the posts here that Mumsnetters would like more input from us on what that means with regards to transphobia specifically. It's something we take seriously and can be difficult to define in absolutes, so we want to get it right.

Please do remember we are not experts in the subject, and moderate daily across a wide range of topics. Sometimes it's inevitable that we'll make a call that offends or upsets some people, and sometimes we do miss things. So apologies if that's been the case. Please bear with us while we come up with a definition we think will help.

We'll meet next week and update you at the earliest opportunity.'

Tbh I'm not sure that means quite what Kim thinks it does.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 19:37:57

To prioritise trans women over women is not something that I, as feminist, can agree with.

I have no issue with someone who has undergone GRS accessing women only spaces - whether they are a woman or not is of little consequence to me at that point and by all means, access women only spaces if that's what keeps them safe.

But what about my needs to feel safe ? Why does keeping transpeople safe have to take priority over my need to be safe ? Why can't we accommodate both ? Both the transwoman and biological woman are scared of the same thing - the threat from persons with biological male bodies. Are we really not allowed to say the obvious out loud ?

And what about sharing my life experiences with other women who have been brought up and treated as women ? I have no desire or need to ban or call out trans people if they wish to discuss trans issues that solely affect them - how can they possibly be offended if my experience of being a woman excludes them simply because it involves matters particular to my body which is that of a biological woman ? That's not offensive or transphobic but simple biological fact.

I as a biological women experience A, someone as a transwoman experiences B - what is offensive about that ?

ediblewoman Tue 01-Jul-14 19:38:50

Selendra; the links you posted are interesting. The first (largely) seems to provide an acceptable template, although some issues are likely to crop up for those without fluency in the terms of the debate. The second link though, well, hmmmm....

I especially struggled with the section;

“Cisgender” is the term for people who have no issue with the gender that they were assigned at birth. For whatever reason, they are able to live somewhat comfortably within the gender in which they have been cast. No one really knows why so many people are capable of fitting into such arbitrary categories.

Transgender people cannot accept our assigned genders. We know ourselves to be something different than what we were told to be. We do not see the random gender scripts we were given by society as relevant to us. We know that there is a different way, a way of autonomy, self-creation, and self-definition, and that this is the way we must follow, because we can never be happy with the parameters that have been mandated for our behavior and our bodies.'

Hello really; as a feminist I object hugely to the idea that I, by virtue of not defining as trans or queergender, accept the oppressive and unhelpful gender definitions of patriarchy. And the second paragraph if read through a feminist lens could pretty much sum up a lot of feminist theory. It comes across like a lot of typical patriarchal co-opting of female space literally and figuratively.

CrotchMaven Tue 01-Jul-14 19:39:14

In terms of the OP, I think misgendering is pretty much my limit. Because it's rude and probably goady. And already covered by the Talk Guidelines, I reckon.

As for anything else, I have written plenty about this before but not even been received a courtesy of a heated response. I'm sure my text must appear in white on many threads. In a nutshell, I object strongly to the distortion of current feminist discourse that results from whataboutthetranz. Just like I object to the failure to get past feminism101 when the whataboutthemenz starts.

My frustration lies with those who partake in the derailments, understandable though it is and I am sure I am guilty of it myself at times. But my anger rests at the arrogance of those who appropriate the lived experience of women, whilst contributing approximately nothing to further the liberation of women and girls from the oppression that lies in the simple fact of their particular reproductive ability. And being unwilling to fight for remedies to issues that affect them without taking away hard fought gains for which many women (born as women) dedicated their entire adult lives. And actively creating a situation where that oppression is not only undiscussed, but is negated. It seems to me much like the appropriation, negation and manipulation of womens' lived experience by the patriarchy.

That this is unacknowledged, and often not even considered, enrages me. And I know that society doesn't really know what to do with the anger of women.

So, yes, ask us to be polite. But allow discussion on the politics of gender. Otherwise, your daughters and sons will feel a backlash that will make the 90s one seem like a mere hiccup.

QueenStromba Tue 01-Jul-14 19:39:26

EatingMyWords - if you're talking about the TERF threads my interpretation of the threads was that a lot of posters are fed up with Kim and TiggyD trying to railroad every discussion on the topic.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 19:41:10

I think it is interesting that both Kim and GoshAnneGorilla have mentioned the citing of certain examples of individual trans people's behaviors, and that they take issue with it because they think it is used to generalize about/discriminate against trans people.

I see something rather different happening.

I see women being told things like 'but girls and women sharing private space with transwomen don't need to worry about their safety'. So a woman will answer by saying 'but look, this transwoman behaved in a predatory manner'.

Or, 'but no one would put themselves through the transition process just to access women in confined spaces'. So a woman will answer by saying 'but look this man who is in prison for rape and assault/murder of woman transitioned so that he could demand being in a female prison'.

Or 'transwomen are women/lesbians because they identify as women/lesbians'. So a woman will say 'really, even this person who is clearly male in their youtube video and who is creepy and scary. I have to call this person a woman, why?'

And so on. What else are we expected to do? Agree demurely?

And anyway, regardless, we have a right to discuss predatory behavior that affects girls and women. We don't just do it about transwomen, there are posts and threads all the time about men doing it (and we get a similar reply of 'not all men').

There is really quite a lot of questionable behavior by some transwomen, and many of us can see a pattern to it and we should be able to talk about that without being painted as akin to racists, neo-Nazis and homophobes. I'm talking about the harassment of various feminists including Greer, Jeffreys, Bindel, etc. The extraordinary accusations made against thinkers like Daly (comparing her to Hitler and child rapists for the sin of writing books. Saying she has killed hundreds of transwomen with her words), the taking over of Dyke Marches, the insistence that trans issues be at the forefront of previously feminist discussion spaces, the campaigning against RadFem conferences, the protest camp outside Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, trying to prevent feminist books being published by petitioning academic publishers (Jeffreys' latest book Gender Hurts), the protesting against the Day of Remembrance for the women murdered during the 1989 L’Ecole Polytechnique Massacre, the taking rape crisis centers to court...I could go on.

Women are familiar with this sort of behavior, we know what it is. And we know why it is important that we discuss it.

Telling us we are akin to racists and homophobes for discussing the above, and examining its impact on women, is misogynistic.

AskBasil Tue 01-Jul-14 19:42:13

I posted the video of Justin Gregory to disabuse people of the notion that transactivism is just a bunch of men who have had reassignment surgery and are living as women (whatever that means) going about their business and wanting acceptance, which tbh I don't think most reasonable people would have a problem with.

But it isn't is it? It's people with penises who say they are women, or female males or male women or whatever head-fuck they've thought of today. And we are supposed to meekly accept whatever definition they have chosen for themselves while also accepting the definition they've chosen for us. And when we point out the reality of what this uncritical acceptance leads to, we are accused of choosing extremes in order to demonise transwomen.

I don't want to demonise transwomen. I want people to understand what they're buying into, when they attempt to define transphobia because any reasonable definition which most people on here would accept, would be considered transphobic by many transactivists and I suspect that MN don't quite realise just what they're dealing with.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 01-Jul-14 19:44:14

Anne - that is exactly what I see on FWR. I am not talking about other sites, so I have not mentioned them. There are also plenty of rad fems outing and threatening trans people.

Also, are you really using needing medical treatment as an argument for trans people not to have the same level of acceptance as gay people.

Beach - Just because women are an oppressed class, does not mean that women can not be oppressors or oppressive. For example, Women can be racist, disabilist and bigoted too, even if they are feminists.

The dynamic I see on the trans threads is the demonisation of a section of society.

Upandatem Tue 01-Jul-14 19:50:47

I think it would be a huge mistake for MN to define transphobia outside of the existing guidelines of not allowing personal attacks and goading. It would be like saying the origins of lesbianism are genetic/ innate or choice, fact. Clearly there is room for debate on this, as long as you aren't calling me a dyke we can discuss it and I will say what I think and how I feel. Other lesbians may think and feel differently. And everyone else will have an opinion on their sexuality and thoughts on minorities too and that's ok.

stooshe Tue 01-Jul-14 19:51:07

If this site becomes less robust and by default a slightly more intelligent, but vanilla version of Netmums so that a tiny number of women don't get their corn toes mashed, I'm off.
Surely robust reasoning shouldn't be discouraged? General politeness should be a given. Using of the "she" her" pronouns is polite and a non obtuse person will agree if for the very fact that arguments will have to be furthered and not hindered by whinging over those three letter words. However CONTENT of arguments should in no way be stopped or pussyfooted around to suit those of a disposition of a dying swan.
I'm not down for the one step forwards six steps backwards fuckery , as a grown assed woman, born female who has had to roll with the punches just for being born with a vagina. I can't go past the point of politeness and listening to the points of view of trans women (let's admit that the anti "cis" women arguments are coming from the "who shouts the loudest," goalpost switching, misogynistic transwomen activists and those who rep their stance (oh alright, I'll throw Stephen Beatty in the mix as a token).
As a black woman , I find it hard to do the "Mammy" dance for men. My patience only goes so far for female lack of self awareness and tolerance of abuse (before I feel compelled to speak my mind). I can't lie on myself that I think that some trans women are straight up narcissistic, because the same kinds of demands are not being made of ( I hate the fucking word) "cis" women by trans men. Because of that, I am straight up suspicious of misogynistic trans women activists. I do sometimes wonder if they are misogynistic because even thought they were always "mentally" women (whatever that means), most of them were BORN male "biologically".
For that alone, until everything about trans comes out of the wash, I'm going to wish trans people love, but watch what comes out of the trans camp (especially the trans women camp) with a my wary, stank seen it all eyes. Sorry that's all I can and will do. And I'll do it with respect , but with self respect first.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 19:57:46

Beach - Just because women are an oppressed class, does not mean that women can not be oppressors or oppressive. For example, Women can be racist, disabilist and bigoted too, even if they are feminists.

In reply to this I think I shall just quote the section of my post that you are responding to and bold the bits you seem to have missed/ignored.

HTH.

"Because it places women, who are oppressed minority with second class status, in the same category as oppressors for clinging on to the minimal rights we have managed to eke out for ourselves. It is gaslighting. It is attacking women for defending their hard fought for and incomplete human rights. And it co-opts the struggle of people of colour, lesbians and homosexuals in order to do so.

The transgender movement is the first social justice movement I have ever heard of that seeks to erode the rights of a globally oppressed and subjugated group."

SevenZarkSeven Tue 01-Jul-14 19:58:28

Looking at a list of "cis privileges" just now, I think they apply to men, don't they? Cismen, if you will.

Because most of those privileges sure as fuck don't apply to me, and I live in the UK. Look at a woman in a country with a very oppressive regime and you'd be lucky to find one or 2.

So really "cis privilege" is actually male privilege. It all comes back to that doesn't it. So why is everyone having a go at women? I'm guessing, because it's easier.

Upthread I asked if any popular UK chat sites which are predominantly used by men are having these conversations. I bet they're not. And why not, is the question.

GoshAnneGorilla Tue 01-Jul-14 20:06:09

Beach - so there are no trans people of colour, or no trans people who are gay? Or have you decided for them that being trans means they aren't subject to racism or homophobia anymore?

As to the rest of your argument, I don't find trans people a threat to me, or my rights and I don't think they threaten rights of women. I just think they're being used as a bogeyman.

CoteDAzur Tue 01-Jul-14 20:13:38

"Cisgender is the term for people who have no issue with the gender that they were assigned at birth. For whatever reason, they are able to live somewhat comfortably within the gender in which they have been cast. No one really knows why so many people are capable of fitting into such arbitrary categories. Transgender people cannot accept our assigned genders."

Assigned? Arbitrary? hmm

You make it sound like some one is randomly allocating each baby a pink or a blue ribbon.

Nobody is "assigning" anything. The vast majority of babies (those without a chromosomal abnormality) are born either XX or XY - i.e. female or male, respectively - with the genitals of their sex. According to their genes, their bodies then start to pump the appropriate hormones which in time develop their bodies according to their sex.

I'm not going to pretend I know what goes on in the brain of a transgender person, but what is widely recognised as a disorder presents as gender dysmorphia and body dysmorphia.

It is not reasonable to generalise from the experience of a small minority of people with a disorder to the entire human population, not just now but through history, and talk about how some people are happy with the "gender they were assigned at birth" and others just aren't.

The link posted above is interesting; about transgender people knowing themselves to be different to what they are told to be.

Doesn't that apply to a lot of people, though? There's still such a widely held belief that girls should wear pink and be home-makers and never use tools in case they break one of their pretty nails. Equally there's people who say that in order to defend 'the sisterhood', all women should never wear pink, and always go out to work, and use tools even more than men.

I don't fit into either of those categories, I am different to what I am told to be, but I am not transgender.

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but is the big problem with trans activists, that they are suggesting that anyone born with a penis has a male gender of blue and trucks and power tools, and anyone born without a penis has a female gender of pink and make-up and fashion, and transgender people are the only ones of their biological sex, who don't meet their socially constructed gender expectations?

But, on the other hand, are transpeople, particularly transactivists, doing anything to harm others? I saw a post earlier about them harming feminism and pushing the cause back, what are they doing?

(This is genuine curiosity, by the way, as I've never come across the feminists vs. transpeople argument before)

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 20:17:36

Gosh, can I ask you to clarify something ?

You say that you don't find transpeople a threat. But there seems to be an argument by transwomen that they require access to women only spaces as the alternative would put them at harm. Essentially there is a perception that transwomen are at harm from biological men.

Why is that view anymore valid than the perception that women are at harm from biological men and therefore deserve the protection of women only spaces ?

The perception may be entirely wrong in both cases but the reality is that both women and transwomen perceive there to be a risk from biological men. Is it really so difficult to sympathise with the view that a transwoman can be a biological man and thus be perceived as a threat in women only spaces ?

A transwoman who wants protection from biological men for her own safety but then denies it to other women is surely lacking in self awareness ?

Hullygully Tue 01-Jul-14 20:18:27

Identifying with or as something isn't enough. Saying I Am A Tree doesn't make you a tree.

It's a shame, but there you are.

Trans people can call themselves what they like, but they can't make themselves born-women or men, even after GRS.

Demanding that they are seen as such is er, silly and not going to get them anywhere.

Everyone needs to find a modus operandi that allows every kind of person to live alongside in some kind of peace.

TiggyD Tue 01-Jul-14 20:23:43

EatingMyWords - if you're talking about the TERF threads my interpretation of the threads was that a lot of posters are fed up with Kim and TiggyD trying to railroad every discussion on the topic.

Posts on this trans thread by Tiggy D: 2

Posts on this trans thread by CoteDAzur: 47

I'm sure Nigel Farrage gets annoyed at his agenda constantly being derailed by accusations of sexism and racism. Maybe his party should stop being sexist and racist?

If people want to stop other posters accusing them of transphobia...

Anyhow, I don't want to add to my post count on this thread so be excellent to each other. And I agree, as ever, with the feminists over at the F-Word.

dementedma Tue 01-Jul-14 20:24:55

What hully said. Call yourself what you damn well like and I'll leave you be. I don't need another "ism" or "ist" or "phobia" monitoring muy every comment.

SevenZarkSeven Tue 01-Jul-14 20:25:13

What do transmen have to say on all of this, does anyone know?

I was just thinking that a lot of the things are being said by trans women who say they know how women born and raised women feel as they are and have always been women and thus know what it's like and so are in a position to state things like - women who aren't trans are entirely comfortable with their gender role as defined in the society in which they live. And people born and raised women come along and say bollocks that's not right, and are told, well you must be an exception then because I am a woman and so are my friends and this is how it is.

Transmen however were born and raised women and so have the experience of being in that position. Are they supportive of the more extreme angles - the suing of rape crisis centres and threats of violence and all the rest of it - or do they err more on the side of, well actually people born women and girls have a load of shit all over the world so stop having a go at them please.

I have no idea, tbh, would be good if anyone has any links or anything.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 20:25:31

So really "cis privilege" is actually male privilege. It all comes back to that doesn't it. So why is everyone having a go at women? I'm guessing, because it's easier.

Yes.

The real threat to transpeople is male violence and male anger at non gender compliance.

Applying the concept of cisprivilege to women and men equally is misogynistic. And egocentric. It disappears how women are subjugated by the hierarchy of gender. Girls and women don't have sex and gender privilege (of which cisprivilege is a form). Girls and women are oppressed by sex and gender. Gender was invented to oppress us FFS. That is why girl babies are drowned in buckets on birth in India and rape culture exists and wifework exists and all the fucking rest of it.

GoshAnneGorilla your responses to my posts aren't responses to what I am actually saying. You are putting words in my mouth and then asking me to justify the words you have put in my mouth. You have already started a thread about me in site stuff and compared me to Nazis, racists, homophobes and bigots in general. I'm running out of patience with you.

TiggyD Tue 01-Jul-14 20:25:55

Oops, the quote was from HM Queen Stromba, not Eatingmyword.

Sorry, bad copy/pasting.

Blistory Tue 01-Jul-14 20:26:09

How lovely to be patronised by someone so politely.

GarlicJulyKit Tue 01-Jul-14 20:28:28

the arrogance of those who appropriate the lived experience of women, whilst contributing approximately nothing to further the liberation of women and girls from the oppression that lies in the simple fact of their particular reproductive ability

This is brilliant, Maven. In fact the whole paragraph. I'll also thank Beach and others who, on the FWR thread, who helped crystallise why I feel very uncomfortable about transactivism in its current form.

Lacking in theory & appropriate vocabulary, as I am, I sometimes think of it this way: I'm white. Many black people, in various contexts, have told me I'm "black inside". I actually know what they mean and take it as the compliment it is. This quality of feeling does not entitle me to start calling myself black. Were I to try it, I wouldn't be entitled to cry 'oppression' when people observed my physical characteristics. No matter how successfully I enacted a middle-aged female version of Ali G (grin) I'd not be welcome or entitled to tell black activists how they may define their issues.

This probably looks ridiculous to a transwoman: I fully accept that I don't know what it's like to be the 'wrong gender', and my race comparison is far from perfect. But I'd like transwomen to accept, in return, that they don't know what it's like to be a 'right gender' woman. Painful as it must be to accept, the experience of being transsexual is not the experience of being a female-gendered woman ... or of being a male-gendered man. It's the experience of being transsexual. As such, they have every right to fight bigotry against trans* people and to carve suitable niches in society. But transwomen have no more right to tell feminists what being a woman's about than I have to tell black people about race.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 20:30:03

I don't find trans people a threat to me, or my rights and I don't think they threaten rights of women.

Good for you. I know this may come as a blow but not all women feel the same as you.

And what you say above does not give you the right to compare us to neo-Nazis, racists and homophobes.

TunipTheUnconquerable Tue 01-Jul-14 20:31:24

There was a brilliant blogpost a few weeks ago that got into the political problems with the concept of cis privilege and how it enables transactivism to claim it is 'punching up' at the oppressors when really it's attacking an easier target.

Can't remember where it was though - does anyone else have a link?

GarlicJulyKit Tue 01-Jul-14 20:34:25

Heh, beach has just done it again for me grin

"The real threat to transpeople is male violence and male anger at non gender compliance."

It is also the threat to feminists. But patriarchal oppression happens in myriad ways, only some of which apply equally to trans and 'cis' women.

Some of transactivist attacks against feminism look very patriarchal in nature. Perhaps that reflects having experienced patriarchal privilege? I don't know.

CrystalSkulls Tue 01-Jul-14 20:35:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mathanxiety Tue 01-Jul-14 20:37:20

I agree with your conclusions there AskBasil.

I think it's possible many trans people have also had their names taken in vain so to speak, and are not aware that they have been co-opted onto a certain juggernaut. Is naivete of this magnitude acceptable in a world where one out of four girls are going to be raped as children, and where abuse by an intimate partner affects women in enormously disproportionate numbers compared to abuse inflicted by men, and where poverty among mothers is a given?

Being accepted in women's places is an important part of affirmation of womanhood for trans women, and to me as a feminist, even with the best will in the world on the part of the trans woman in the women's changing room at the pool (for example), that comes across as crashing or intruding, on a physical level and on the level of challenging my perception of the essence of myself as a woman, which includes for me, as a feminist, a consciousness of where I have come from as a woman and where all of my female ancestors came from and where billions of my fellow women remain.

Women have for aeons been defined by their physical bodies -- always as 'less than' or 'different from' -- excluded from certain physical activities because we bear children, demonised because some of us bleed monthly, told we couldn't be doctors or physicists or mathematicians, excluded from universities because we have female brains, derided as unfeminine for using those brains, denied the right to vote or hold elected office because our physical limitations (that is to say, *every single aspect of our physical beings that made us different physically from men, even, allegedly, our brains*) made us inferior to men. Women are sexually objectified, pornified in the media and raped in pub carparks all because we happen to have a certain set of bodily orifices, breasts, more fat than muscle in our body mass and less dense bones.

When therefore a trans individual who looks exactly like a man but identifies as a woman says to me that being a woman has nothing whatsoever to do with one's physical, flesh and blood body, I am inclined to think that that individual actually has no idea whatsoever what it means to be a woman.

If only it was a metaphysical state. SO many problems that we have been made to suffer would never have come up.

Mogz Tue 01-Jul-14 20:37:29

Perhaps it's because I have no experience of being a transphobic/homophobic/racist arsehole but I cannot understand those who won't accept others as they are.

Beachcomber Tue 01-Jul-14 20:38:01

Cote if you think 'assigned' is bad you should know that 'coercively assigned' is the latest trend.