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 ?

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