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T.e.r.f.s

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by DreamerBoy17, Apr 14, 2017.

  1. DreamerBoy17

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    Lately on tumblr I've seen lots of very disheartening posts by TERFs. For anyone who doesn't know what they are, it stands for trans exclusionary radical feminists. Usually they're really shitty about trans women, but they don't like trans people in general. It's just... when I read posts by them I want to shrink up and not exist. Except sometimes I worry that they're right and I'm wrong and I'm deluding myself somehow.

    Anyone else troubled by these people? :frowning2:
     
  2. WeDreamOfPeace

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    Man, these people are annoying. Surely if you supported women you'd support women of all sorts, trans and cis?

    Hey, don't worry about it. I used to get majorly upset by right-wing religious groups attacking me and my identity. Now, I care a whole lot less because I see these people are just deluded. If anything, feel sorry for them.

    Don't worry when the crazy people say crazy things :slight_smile:
     
  3. Ronin

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    I think being upset by hate comments about a group of people you're a part of is pretty normal.

    They aren't actually trying to support and help other people or promote scientific evidence - they're just bullying, plain and simple. If it wasn't trans people, it'd be some other minority. Furthermore, they are not experts in any sort of related field - if any field at all. Just your typical, playground bullies.
     
  4. Daydreamer1

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    That accursed name. Fucking TERFs, I hate them too.
     
  5. Rachyl

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    Yes, DreamerBoy17, I've had a run in or two with these women, and it never ended well. My anxiety and depression were affected severely, and it took a few therapy sessions to work through their interference in my transition. My advice is to stay away from those Tumblr accounts and block them. They actually have no right to speak on behalf of trans individuals.
     
  6. MichealStrider

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    People like that are just basically bigots, They have no right to judge people. I mean Feminist? Psssshhhht
    I don't see why anyone would be a feminist. Have you seen the memes?
    Stay calm and cheer up bud, Everything is okay :slight_smile:
     
  7. Just Jess

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    I think they're useful. TERFs are out there to teach us that the opinions of other people aren't why we're going through all this. We're not trans because we want to open their minds or change the way they think. We're trans because we needed to make room in our own lives to be us. Every step we take, we take it for us, not other people.

    As far as who is right? Rather than pointing out how inconsistent their platform is I'll just ask "right about what". Right about you taking stock of your life, looking at what you need to do to make it work, and then making those things happen? You're definitely right about that. Right about actually being a boy, girl, some degree of neither or both, or it changing over time for you?

    Well let me ask this. What does "actually a boy or a girl mean" ? Not just to you. To everyone. Different things right? Some people are going to draw the line at chromosomes, or at genitals, or at you saying you are this or that, or other places. So at the very least we're forced to confront the reality that we aren't talking about reality, we're talking about something subjective. Even in situations where we are definitely talking about reality, context is still important. An anthropologist looking at a skeleton is going to see how exposure to sex hormones over a long time has affected someone. An intersex woman going to the gynecologist is going to be a woman in this context even though her gonads are going to be masculine in other contexts.

    So when we talk about TERFS their way of drawing a line is really simple : if you have a past as a male, you have a future as a male. If you have a past as a female, you have a future as a female. And if you're intersex, you're male.

    They may couch it in different language. They may try to find the barrier that they don't think can be crossed du jour, and say things that demonstrate their lack of understanding when it comes to genetics because they think it'll give them more legitimacy. But if we take everything they've said over time and look at it, I think you'll agree the line I outlined is the one they use.

    Now. We can come back to your question. Is their definition right? Not, in my opinion, in any kind of useful context, at all, ever.

    So here's my definition. I prefer the terms "androus" and "estrous" to "male" and "female", and this seems to jive well with the definition most people use. Bear in mind I'm only talking about physical sex, I am not talking about gender here. "Androus" means "typical of having responded to androgens" and estrous is its counterpart. Buck Angel, for instance, is very androus, and most people consider him a damn fine example of a physical male. I think this definition plays much better with reality, and it has the added bonus of working across the board with other animals. My definition, for instance, is going to work with chickens who have a ZW sex determining system, as well with other animals with an XY system and even ones with an XO system. A TERF's definition won't.

    On that note, the problem with using chromosomes to define sex is that doing so creates a circular definition. So this is definitely false and easily shown to be so. You see "X and Y chromosomes" themselves are "the chromosomes in a sexually reproducing species where the male determines sex". Chickens, with a ZW chromosome system, are a species where the female gamete has the sex determining chromosome. I should mention that X and Y chromosomes share very little in the way of actual DNA between every species that uses the same system. So you see, because chromosome systems are defined this way - "the y chromosome tends to produce males" we need an external definition of what "male" and "female" are. We are wrong if we then say "males are what the y chromosome produces"; this creates a circular definition where both male and y chromosome are left undefined. We could, if we were defining sex this way, because neither term has any meaning once we add that part, say "male chickens lay eggs and female chickens fertilize them, and chickens should use the XY system". That isn't the way we do things. It's easier if these terms actually mean things, and for these terms to have any meaning at all, "Y chromosome" can't take its definition from the sex it tends to produce.

    The definition biologists use for male and female in a sexually reproducing creature with haploid cells is "which species has ova". In a species like fish where both sexes send genetic material outside themselves and sex happens that way, we have to make some decisions about which one is the ova and which one is the sperm (fortunately with fish the ova are already more round, and are put out there first, with the sperm arriving second, so this is easy here).

    But if we expand off that definition, a barren woman is still a woman. A woman in menopause still gets to use the woman's bathroom. A man who has testicular cancer and has an orchiectomy is still a man. And this is why I prefer the definitions "androus" and "estrous" . Most people, just about every part of them people typically care about with regard to physical sex fits one of those two profiles. But absolutely no one fits either completely. There are those of us that have gotten rid of sex characteristics, and those of us that have both sex characteristics in more or less equal degrees. And so my definition has the benefit of working with the same spectrum that reality seems to have.

    So. You be the judge whether my definition or theirs is more right.

    In the mean time though, this isn't really about being right or wrong. You living your life in a way that makes sense to you is all this was ever about. Not you proving your gender to the world or getting their approval or agreement. Screw them. If they want to fight you at this level, if they want to control your life to this degree, if they want to torture you just so that they can be happier and more comfortable?

    Yes. They're definitely wrong.
     
    #7 Just Jess, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  8. Creativemind

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    I'm cis, but I was friends with another cis lesbian who turned out to be a TERF in the end. I was so disgusted by her hatred and negative opinions (that she obsessed over in every conversation), I just had to end it with her. I couldn't imagine how worse I would have felt if I were trans myself.
     
  9. Chip

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    My immediate response is... why waste your time on Tumblr at all.

    It's filled with some of the most ridiculous crap on the Internet, and very little meaningful value (unless you like porn, which it seems to be overloaded with.)

    Honestly, I wouldn't give the slightest consideration to anything anyone has to say on Tumblr. I certainly wouldn't give any credence to anything I read there.
     
  10. Cailan

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    Thank you. This. So much this. Not even every transgender person sees it the same way. I myself do not believe we can ever become a man or a woman unless we were born with the DNA and body of that sex, but we do become something very like it. As close as possible. But not the same. This is why I believe the idea of multiple genders in non-Western, non Judeo-Christian-Muslim cultures is a much healthier way of looking at transgender identity.

    I personally feel that transgender people who claim to be a man or a woman, same as cis man or woman, at the end of their transition are essentially "appropriating" something that isn't theirs and sets up the battle between cis women and trans women. This is my personal feelings, my personal opinion, and I don't force my opinion on others. I only try to keep transgender minds as open to other ideas and ways to do things as we insist cis people keep their minds open.

    As a trained (college degree) anthropologist and 10 years' field experience, this sentence is flat out wrong. When an anthropologist looks at a skeleton they will NOT see any evidence of sex hormones. Only birth gender, UNLESS the person started transitioning as a child. And then they'll get the DNA and see only the XX/XY gender. A passing transgender woman will be seen, in their bones, purely as a man.The soft tissue is affected by hormones, not the bone structure, which remains intact. All hormonal changes, from hip width to shape of the face, are entirely created from changes in soft tissue surrounding the bone. Bones don't change much after puberty.
     
    #10 Cailan, Apr 15, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2017
  11. Reciprocal

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    Terfs aren't something I've experienced first hand but I've heard of them. Honestly, like most "radical" opinions I'd try to steer clear of them.
     
  12. AlexTheGrey

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    I think you misread what Jess is talking about. I read the post as talking about the sex hormones produced by the body that cause sex differentiation both in the womb and during puberty. Especially if you consider XX males and those with more prominent androgen insensitivity, it demonstrates the rather large impact of sex hormones during these rather important periods of development. At least when it comes to the outward characteristics of one's sex.

    I don't think you two actually are disagreeing much here.

    Yes. I've definitely felt that. Honestly, it's one of the things that's kept me from coming out to family, as my mother swings rather close to TERF territory herself at times.
     
    #12 AlexTheGrey, Apr 16, 2017
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2017