Originally posted 2016-04-23 11:05:32.
The issue of ‘transgender’ access to female-specific spaces continues to boil up. So let’s look again at what is being said and why it is a problem.
While women-only toilets, restrooms and other spaces have come to be seen as a place of refuge, safe havens for women.
The woke Left has seized on this as an issue of ‘transgender rights’ and nothing else. This is wrong. There are two issues here. One is whether women have a right to safe spaces where they can perform private functions without interacting with men and the other is whether a person born male who ‘self-identifies’ as a woman, can simply overthrow any such right. In other words, does just saying he is a woman allow a person who is externally identifiable as a man to enter a space reserved for women who were born female?
The matter is whether men’s ‘right’, to call themselves anything they like and demand to be treated as such, over-rides women’s right to feel safe. In other words, it is about power and hierarchy. It is a question that demands that we answer what a woman is, and how we can establish that without causing equally severe offence to that person’s privacy. Is it all right to have security guards examining people’s genitalia, and if not, how could you identify the girl in the picture below?
Giving people born male who simply ‘self-identify’ as women permission to enter women-only spaces, just says that men’s rights matter and women’s don’t. That simple.
If identity or indeed gender counts, it is what we can be identified as by others, not by ourselves. Science progresses on the accurate observation, identification and classification of phenomena from an independent observer’s point of view. Unfortunately, philosophy and politics conspire to muddy issues which are scientifically clear. On this basis, how would you classify the women on this page?
Sex and gender are not the same thing. Sex is predetermined and innate, for almost all of us, excepting those few with specific intersex conditions. But we are not talking about them here. The rest of us are either born male or female.
Similarly, there are only two genders, feminine and masculine. Gender, like sex, is innate. However, there are conditions under which a person’s gender legitimately might not match their birth sex.
Most of the research that exists has been on Male to Feminine transition desire, or Gender Dysphoria, rather than Female to Masculine. The principal researcher on this has been Professor Ray Blanchard, an unsung hero of sexology.
Blanchard was responsible for determining whether patients arriving at his clinic, the Clarke Institute in Toronto, were eligible for surgery to change the appearance of their physical sex organs from male to female. This procedure has been called by many names, but Genital Reconstruction Surgery (GRS) is accurate and neutral. This group was the only one Blanchard studied, and his results have to be taken in that context.
He quickly confirmed that, as previous researchers had noted, there were two distinct profiles in this group. He was able, over years of methodical research, to categorise these into ‘homosexual’ and ‘non-homosexual’ cohorts.
The first, which he termed ‘HSTS’ were, if male, uniquely attracted to men from an early age, typically long before puberty. They may have thought themselves to be gay boys at some stage, but this was an unsatisfactory and uncomfortable role to play and they would transition into women, often in their teens and nearly always by the age of twenty-three. They were so naturally feminine in their looks and comportment that they would routinely be taken for women. Because HSTS are uniquely attracted to men, they pose no sexual threat to women at all.
Blanchard wondered if sex drive might also be the stimulus for the non-homosexual group. These had no sexual or romantic interest in men prior to transition, were typically much older, often married, and were not feminine in any way. They usually had great difficulty ‘passing’ as women, if they could at all.
He was able to show that they were heterosexual men with a condition called an Erotic Target Location Error or ETLE. Most of us are attracted to other people, but these individuals were attracted to themselves, as women. So their Erotic Target was wrongly located. They typically had a history of dressing up as women to masturbate and thus had been reinforcing their condition, often for decades of their lives. Thus autogynephilia is also a product of sex drive.
The most extreme forms of autogynephilia can be treated with GRS. This gives the subject a body that cosmetically conforms to the mental image that the artefact expects. The feelings of anxiety dissipate and the subject can lead a more comfortable, if hardly normal, life. Blanchard’s great contribution to the lives of autogynephiles was in giving a supported scientific justification for performing GRS on them. Little enough gratitude did he get.
Clearly, an autogynephile who has had GRS is not a rape threat to women, because his penis has been removed, or rather, inverted. However, not all autogynephiles want GRS and even amongst those who do, there is often a pre-operative period which may last for years. At the same time, all of them, while they are attracted to themselves as women, are also attracted to other women. So an intact one, who retains his penis, does remain a potential rape threat.
The problem is that HSTS, whether they are intact or not, are never a threat to women and indeed are themselves as much at risk of rape as those women. So who protects them?
Activists in the restroom wars
The problem has come about because autogynephilic activists reject the actual science that describes them in favour of the ‘feminine essence’ theory, which posits that gender is unrelated to sexuality. Because of this they have promoted the notion of ‘self-identification’. They basically say ‘only I know whether I am a woman or not, so only I am qualified to say.’
Today, this has become ‘a man is a woman if he says he is’. It doesn’t matter how he lives or how he presents, as long as he says he’s a woman, we have to go along with that. And thus a woman’s right to a safe private space is trumped by a man’s ‘right’ to say he is a woman. That is simple misogyny, but this is the cornerstone of the restroom/toilet/bathroom debate: is a man a woman just because he says so?
On the other hand, does an HSTS trans woman, who is a woman in every way except the accident of her birth, to be condemned, to be refused the basic courtesies we all have a right o enjoy? Is she somehow a second class citizen? Is it not a matter of what a person can be identified as, rather than what that person claims to be?
Gender is not a political football. It is real, innate and intrinsically linked to sexuality. We have heard years of lies denying this, but it’s the truth.