justpassingthrough wrote:This is really the crux of the issue, the cause of all of the controversy, legal and societal persecution of Trans and Intersexed people. Do the words "Man" and "Woman" have any meaning? I think they do. Do they apply to every human? No, they manifestly don't. How do we tell if someone is a "Man" or a "Woman" when they don't conform completely to either stereotype in every way? I think you just ask them. How do we reliably separate the objective metric "sex" from the subjective quality "gender"? Well, even the most butch lesbian is a woman, we manage that separation pretty well. Well, now we do. That wasn't always true.This is where we’re never going to agree. I think it’s illogical, if not preposterous, to conclude that a man who has mostly feminine-coded personality traits is therefore a woman, barring body dysphoria, which is a medical condition that can only be alleviated through the reconstruction of sex organs. Which is again, not enough to qualify as a full on metamorphosis from one sex to another.But is it illogical that a person who has mostly feminine-coded personality traits is therefore a woman?
You’re begging the question when you say a priori that this person is “a man”. You’ve already assumed your conclusion, so of course you say it’s preposterous.
It really comes down to how you define “male” and “female”. For the extremes, and 59 people out of 60 are at those extremes, it’s simple, easy, obvious. But for some human beings, not so much.
Does being brought up as female make you a woman? David Reimer’s case would argue against that.
What about chromosomes, as the current policy of the Roman Catholic Church says? If you have 2 X chromosomes, you’re a woman (at least, that’s what the Indonesian Catholic Bishops have ruled). Even if you’re 47XXY, identify as male, and have fathered children. The disadvantages of this are obvious.
What about genitalia at birth? Apart from those with ambiguous genitalia, there are those like the Guevedoces whose genitalia changes from female-at-birth to male-after-puberty. Again, we sometimes end up with “women” who have fathered children, and identify as male.
Then there are those few whose transition is the other way.. but again, only the male form isn’t always sterile. It is in some syndromes, merely infertile in others. (Not quite true – one unique case being studied by the Mayo clinic is infertile in both, but he has male neurology).
What about the neuro-anatomically defined “feminine-coded personality traits”, as is the legal definition in Australia and Spain (for example)? Well, as you said, “mostly” applies here too, the brain is no more strictly binary than any other part of the anatomy. And again, in some trans women who are unable to access treatment when young, a few have fathered children. Once they’re post-op, this is impossible of course, and in some jurisdictions, all trans people must be sterilised by law to be recognised.
In Sweden for example. Or Western Australia. Not Germany though, there was a recent court case overturning this requirement as being far too reminiscent of their horrific past.
Then there’s other effects that are correlated with the “female feelings” caused by a female neuro-anatomy. Those traits can cause progressive physiological and biochemical dysfunction due to female-pattern braincells immersed in a male-pattern hormonal environment. You’ve also mentioned the “body map” issue, but even when not present, the requirement for hormone replacement in doses that will visibly change the body can exist.
The humane definition is that if someone thinks, feels, and above all identifies as female due to their neuro-anatomy, then they’re female. But that one’s unsatisfying to many people, perhaps most, especially cis-sexual women. Where do their rights to arrogantly define other people as female or not, or in extreme cases as human or not, end?
See Woods vs C.G Studios, where it was held obita dicta that as a person had had sex reassignment at age 3 months, they were neither male, female, nor child, thus did not fall within the definition of “human” in the legal dictionary used by the court.
Saturday, 12 February 2011
A post I wrote on another site.