William M. Briggs

Statistician to the Stars!

Is Laverne Cox Still A Man? Or, The Coming Transgender Wars

Time-Magazine-Transgender-Tipping-Point-Laverne-Cox

Meet Bob. Bob is 38 and possess an X and Y chromosome. He has been married to Cindy for almost 10 years and has with her sired two children.

But Bob is unhappy. Upon reading Time magazine he came up with a brilliant idea to cheer himself.

First thing he did was to say goodbye to the kids, divorce Cindy, and move out of the house to his own place. Is Bob still a man? Yes, he is.

Bob next took to wearing lipstick. Is Bob still a man? Yes, he is. However, he didn’t think painting his lips provided the fullness he desired, so he had silicone injected into them, which produced, said Bob, a charming effect. Is Bob still a man? Yes, he is.

Pants were exchanged for skirts, high-heeled for low-heeled shows, and a bra and other accoutrements were added. Is Bob still a man? Yes, he is.

He thought his voice too deep, so he had a fellow give him chemicals which, if taken regularly, would soften it. The same fellow gave him other chemicals which removed Bob’s beard and made his facial skin smoother. Is Bob still a man? Yes, he is.

Bob changed his name to Bobbi. Is Bobbi still a man? Yes, he is.

Bobbi managed to find a person with a knife who promised Bobbi he would not have to live with those extensions of Bobbi’s which were a torment to him, and who said that those parts could be shaped into objects which would surely please Bobbi. Is Bobbi still a man? Yes, he is.

Still more chemicals were added to the regime and Bobbi took to checking “Female” on applications which asked for “gender.” Is Bobbi still a man? Yes, he is.

One day Bobbi ventured into a business whose owner refused to call him a female. He explained to this stranger that he was a woman, but the stranger would not acquiesce. “Are you not still a man?” the stranger asked. “Yes, you are.”

So Bobbi went to his congressional representative and asked that the law be changed to force people to call him the “gender” he wanted to be. The representative introduced a bill which made calling somebody other than the “gender” he wished to be called a crime. The bill said refusing was hate speech and discrimination and that a person’s “gender” status could not be the basis of any decision anybody would make of him.

The law was passed. Is Bobbi still a man? Yes, he is.

Bobbi returned to the stranger and showed him the law. “You now have to call me a woman,” said Bobbi. “But you are a man,” said the stranger. “So I refuse.”

This was intolerable to Bobbi, who went straight to the authorities and to the press. The authorities instituted a fine on the stranger’s business and informed the stranger that as long as he refused to comply with the law, he must continue paying the fine.

Is Bobbi still a man? Yes, he is.

The press hated the stranger and told the world that the stranger was a bigot and full of hate. The people took up this cry and vowed to ruin the stranger and his business by any and all means necessary. The press quoted the stranger as saying, “I cannot call a man a woman. I must only tell the truth. Science is on my side. Besides, the man is obviously insane.”

The stranger received threats of death, his business failed, and he had to go into hiding. But he was summoned before a judge to explain why he had stopped paying the fine. “Judge,” the stranger began, “why are you discriminating against my beliefs? Why are the bigots who caused my ruin not called to answer for themselves? I didn’t pay the fine because I lost my business and am now unemployed.”

The judge said, “We celebrate diversity of thought in this court and in this land. Hateful views like yours are not welcome. Competent medical authorities confirm that it is your sanity which is in question, not Bobbi’s. Since you no longer have a business, you may go, but let what happened to you be a lesson for all.”

Yet is Bobbi still a man? Yes, he is.

Update It didn’t take long, but arguing that Bobbi is still a man is now “hate speech” and “transphobic”. As predicted. Prediction number two is that the non-mentally ill will be forced to go along with Bobbi’s fantasy or face fines, etc. One year?

From this, in answer to the rhetorical “What’s wrong with that?” and “Why not just go along?”:

I often use the analogy of an alcoholic. If one truly loves or respects a person who is an alcoholic, one would not suggest to him that we celebrate together his alcoholism in an Alcoholic Pride Day and then invite him to a bar for some drinks. That would be a form of condescension to an alcoholic. It would be a sign of disrespect.

Update

74 Comments

  1. Yes, he is.

    People who claim tolerance are generally the most intolerant of all. Hatred of all that is scientific, religious and any other radical idea that says the world has objective reality (which doesn’t it follow that if I think the world is getting colder and lack of fossil fuels is the reason why? No—wrong side of the politics). Only the side with the most judges and lawyers can determine which beliefs are acceptable. The only wrong ones are those who disagree, and that, just as Bobbi still being a man, is the whole crux—there is still right and wrong, it’s just the God of law and politics (he looks kind of like Zeus, I think) determines it and no one is allowed to say anything to the contrary. No one is allowed to point out that there is still right and wrong or biology or anything Zeus did not make holy. Makes ancient churches look positively reasonable. Sad part, Zeus is winning.

  2. Sander van der Wal

    June 2, 2014 at 8:46 am

    One could always ask the opinion of a lesbian woman or a gay male on Bobbi’s gender, I suppose.

  3. The LBGT covers that—the T. As far as they are concerned, you are whatever you want to be. And everyone else will agree and smile and go along. Or else we take your business and make an example of you. Because we’re so tolerant.

  4. Briggs

    June 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    Sander,

    One could, of course. And if they retained any connection to reality, their answer would be, “Yes, he is.”

  5. C.S. Lewis argued presciently 71 years ago (http://lewisiana.nl/abolsum/index.htm) that Bobbi no longer is a “man.”

  6. Briggs

    June 2, 2014 at 9:42 am

    Gary,

    You have me there!

  7. Not sure what it says when cutting off a guy’s genitals and forcing 300 million people to accept it is considered a compassionate act. They have all these chemicals to change behavior and grow facial hair and there’s no chemical that could just simply make the person feel more like a man in the first place? If nothing else, it has to be a cheaper option.

  8. I would argue that the stranger, like Briggs, is talking about Bobbi’s sex, while Bobbi is talking about her gender, and all were right. Whether the distinction is valid is another question, but it does exist. The same goes for righting a wrong with another wrong…

  9. If the Emporer’s New Clothes were written today, the child would be beaten and placed in the loving arms of Baal

  10. Briggs

    June 2, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    David,

    Gender and sex have swapped places a few times in grammar, to mean biological sex or declension of a word.

    However, here they are one and the same. Bobbi is a man and not a woman, neither in sex nor in gender. He can only pretend to be a woman but never be one. His actions cannot make him female. What’s before us is whether society should be forced to pretend with Bobbi, i.e. embrace his illness, or else.

    Simulating something does not make you that thing. So that a child in a school play dressed as a carrot does not become a carrot in any sense, merely a child in an orange suit. To continue the analogy, soon there would be laws forcing people to call the child a carrot simply because the child wanted to be called a carrot.

    To see this, I challenge you (or anybody) to define precisely gender. If the definition is a statement of behavior, and only of behavior, then (in Bobbi’s case) you’re forced to define exactly which behaviors make a “woman.” Can you do so?

  11. Briggs,

    sorry for my earlier inexactness. I was, of course, referring to Bobbi’s genotype as his sex and to her gender identity/gender role as her gender. I would agree with you that the latter is something that can probably not be objectively defined, unless the origin of of the underlying condition were genetic in nature.

    The other question is whether, if Bobbi’s self identification as a woman is a psychological condition, calling it a disease is quite accurate, since to would imply some sort of impairment of normal function, which, except for maybe his/her reproductive function, isn’t the case here. But that is arguing semantics again.

    Either way, unlike the child turning into a carrot and thus leaving the animal kingdom completely, Bobbi’s was simply attempting a shift of much smaller magnitude, and it is kind of hard to see the harm in acknowledging that he/she did a formidable job in that, essentially making this world a kinder place.

    All that being said, I wholeheartedly agree with the other point you were making. As I see it the stranger was well within his right to call it as he saw it. Unfortunately, living in this society of victims, your basic rights might just be trumped by the rights of the offended minorities. Time to dig some trenches.

  12. Some guy wants to be female, and dresses the part & more. So what?

    If one truly espouses a free society, one must accept that that freedom allows others to be eccentric — or to sin (a point conservative economist Milton Friedman noted).

    And it’s not all bad — such social “coming out” will preclude some bad things now all too common such as sham marriages wed under the pretense of appearances (due to a society that opposes such behavior) … leading to families later devastated when one spouse/parent abandons the family for another of the same gender.

  13. I really enjoyed your funny article, which I stumbled upon while googling Laverne Cox stories. I am responding to your challenge because, although you are wrong about gender, you are wrong for the right reason 🙂 Gender is hard to understand because it is so insane but, put simply, it is a legal weapon.

    Kind regards

    Daniel

    http://gentlemind.blogspot.co.uk/2014/05/what-is-gender-mankind-as-legal-entity_18.html?m=1

  14. define exactly which behaviors make a “woman.”

    Interesting concept. What would the differences be between your set of behaviors and those listed by the Blond Bombshell, for example?

  15. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    Briggs:

    Simulating something does not make you that thing. So that a child in a school play dressed as a carrot does not become a carrot in any sense, merely a child in an orange suit. To continue the analogy, soon there would be laws forcing people to call the child a carrot simply because the child wanted to be called a carrot.

    Careful you don’t grease that slope yourself and claim “we” are the ones doing it. Stick out your hand, palm down. [takes out the ruler]

    To see this, I challenge you (or anybody) to define precisely gender. If the definition is a statement of behavior, and only of behavior, then (in Bobbi’s case) you’re forced to define exactly which behaviors make a “woman.” Can you do so?

    There is no gender in the sense that it is being treated here. None. Zip. It is not something that can be globally defined. Karyotypes do not do it. Phenotypes do not do it.

    For the record, phenotypically transgendered people … well … creep me out personally. See, liberals do have disgust, at least this one does. And right now the room I’m sitting in does not smell unpleasant.

    This is not the only issue of gender and sexuality where I have similarly unsettled feelings. Whether that comes from my upbringing and the general social environment of where I spent my formative years and/or genetics I cannot say. I do know what I feel.

    My politics on such matters often run exactly contrary to my “natural” reaction.

  16. I would bake a cake for the gorgeous Laverne Cox anytime!

    Isn’t it rude to ask a stranger for their gender identity?

    A stranger’s gender identity is not my business. Though I want the world to know that I am peach gendered. Not carrot. Yes, I was disappointed that Facebook didn’t offer such choice. Just for me.

  17. Ken “Some guy wants to be female, and dresses the part & more. So what?
    If one truly espouses a free society, one must accept that that freedom allows others to be eccentric — or to sin (a point conservative economist Milton Friedman noted). ”

    Ken, I agree with you, but the same Freedom and choice was not allowed to the other guy.
    In fact, because the female had her feelings hurt, the other guy lost his business and income. The next time you tell a client you are not available to do something, beware, they might construe it as some form of evilness and take everything away from you.

    When does it stop? I did not get hired by a major contracting firm because, on my interview where they asked me if I thought I was beautiful, I refuse to answer. Apparently that one question weighs heavy on identification of self absorbed super beautiful people that they wanted.
    I could tell them I am beautiful, they may disagree and I should shut them down?

  18. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    JH:

    Isn’t it rude to ask a stranger for their gender identity?

    Depends on the context. In an adversarial discussion, it’s right out. In a trustful conversational scenario, not necessarily. I myself find it best to leave it unasked in most situations. See the pop music references of Lola and Funky Cold Medina for amusingly politically incorrect commentaries as possible exceptions.

    A stranger’s gender identity is not my business.

    Re: above exceptions aside, pretty much not. I look at it differently when I’m feeling non-combative: it’s none of my concern. Strangers of all sorts are potential threats, the gender identity bucket has little if any bearing on it. I attempt, not always successfully, to look at other behaviors which are completely silent on race, creed, sex, sexual attraction, gender appearance, political alignment … you name it. All of those things are poorer predictors than the specific words, actions, body language, facial expressions of specific individuals.

    Society, especially the state, needs to be completely blind to these sorts of arbitrary and/or stereotypical classifying buckets if it is to call itself a free society. Any state founded on the premise of personal liberties which also guarnatees protection of minority interests, beliefs, attitudes and practices from the majority risks self-irrelevance if either or both of those core principles are frequently violated. Self-desctruction is all but inevitable if they are violated in wholesale.

    It’s a terrible irony when secure majorities forget or disregard from whence those securities were achieved. When irrational majority fears of an opposing minority view or practice compels its members to advocate, vote, legislate, litigate and/or adjudicate against the same, it undermines their very own liberties and guaranteed protections against the wrongful intrusions of others — especially the state itself — into their own private affairs.

  19. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    JH:

    Though I want the world to know that I am peach gendered. Not carrot. Yes, I was disappointed that Facebook didn’t offer such choice. Just for me.

    Forgot to remember the levity. Quite well played. Quite well indeed. 🙂

  20. Empiresentry – REGARDING: “…the same Freedom and choice was not allowed to the other guy. In fact, because the female had her feelings hurt, the other guy lost his business and income.”

    NOT TRUE. The guy (actually the link is to a story about bakery that refused to do business with certain citizens) was in trouble by making a choice that violated law. Briggs’ essay applied a bit of editorial license, substituting a bit about not using the guy-as-girl by the self-chosen name. The guy made a choice, willfully, to violate law and kept it up.

    Buy why is that (either using the other person’s chosen name, or, doing business with local citizens who comport themselves lawfully) an issue? As a member of a society it is a citizen’s duty to go along with that society’s rules. And just calling a person by a name they’d like, so what…what’s in a name?? (a rose by any name is still a rose…” For that & similar is an issue worth a self-sacrificing fuss that only succeeds in injuring the one doing the fussing!

    That it is an issue highlights a certain religious hypocrisy (given the oft-mentioned references to authorities & those with unmistakable and a particularly consistent set of religious values) – here, the ability to be highly selective by ignoring the following explicit directives:

    Romans 13:1–2: Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

    1 Peter 2:13–14: Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him….

    When one espouses a particular value system based on a particular foundation, that particular foundation must be accepted in total; partial acceptance & partial rejection makes it something else entirely.

  21. Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

    June 2, 2014 at 5:00 pm

    In the context of the full précis given above I would argue that Bobbi is not a man. Just as Bob was not a man. A man accepts responsibility for the personal and professional obligations he has assumed and puts them ahead of his personal desires. Bob/Bobbi is in contrast a petulent and spoiled child, who has figured out how to manipulate a valueless system to cater to his whims, regardless of how much damage it does to others.

    In the past, it was only royal personages whose every infantile fancy had to be satisfied. But now we have ceeded power to an entire horde of petty tyrants who amass more power by forcing the rest of us to cater to spoiled children like Bob/Bobbi.

    “If you’re too open minded, your brains all fall out” is a fitting epitaph for our age.

  22. Ken: Blaming the victim here? Was the law actually in effect before the occurrence, or was this another case of “making an example of someone” to make a point? If the law was not clear, then the violation may not have been intentional and the actions of the plaintiff was purely punitive.

    I am guessing from your further statements that if someone wishes to be called “Mr. President” or “your highness” or “&^%$$^*&((*(*)” you’re way okay with that. After all, it’s only a name. How about naming your child a word considered profanity? Should we go to the Supreme Court and see if there’s anything wrong with profanity? How about you name the kid something that is insulting to gays or transgenders? Same thing. But I’m willing to bet you can’t name your kid “—–hater” but you can name him “f***”. Want to take the bet? It’s not about freedom in any way whatsoever. It’s about complete and utter control.

    The amusing part comes when the liberals who were so enthralled with this find out that the only way this system works is to always have an enemy and they are now on the list. And it will happen. Those who thought it was so open minded to embrace all sexual orientations except one will find that suddenly their beliefs on social justice become just as vilified as those that were vilified by them. We all need someone to hate while bragging about how open-minded we are. It’s just a matter of time before those cheered forcing people to sell sports teams, close bakeries, etc become the ones being shut down.

  23. Hey! Getta load of this:

    Peter Kreeft, one of those modern living religious philosophers Briggs fawns over, appears to disagree with Briggs about sex reassignment! Noting that souls are neither entirely male or female but mixes of both (Kreeft’s insights go well beyond chromosomes & genetics) Kreeft extrapolates to a God-given sex-change to set things right, if needed, in the body assigned at the Resurrection (unsaid, but unavoidable, is that God made a mistake the first soul-body assignment go-round).

    Philosopher Kreeft’s own words:

    “The inevitable conclusion … is that sexuality is innate, natural, and pervasive to the whole person, soul as well as body.

    “The first reason would be a reaction against what is wrongly seen as monosexual soul-stereotyping. A wholly male soul, whatever maleness means, or a wholly female soul, sounds unreal and oversimplified. But that is not what sexual souls implies. Rather, in every soul there is—to use Jungian terms—anima and animus, femaleness and maleness; just as in the body, one predominates but the other is also present. IF THE DOMINANT SEX OF SOUL IS NOT THE SAME AS THAT OF THE BODY, WE HAVE A SEXUAL MISFIT, A CANDIDATE FOR A SEX CHANGE OPERATION OF BODY or of soul, EARTHLY or Heavenly. Perhaps Heaven supplies such changes just as it supplies all other needed forms of healing. In any case, the resurrection body perfectly expresses its soul, and since souls are innately sexual, that body will perfectly express its soul’s true sexual identity.”

    For the whole essay see: http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/sex-in-heaven.htm (to verify the quoting of the quote keyword search Kreeft’s essay with “anima” and one will “land” in the middle of the relevant paragraph).

  24. Briggs

    June 2, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Ken,

    I am encouraged by your reading, as I am by your new found love of the soul, as well as of the resurrected body, where the healing (caused by sin and not God) Kreeft mentions will take place.

    Or did you mean to imply that if you like one thing a person says you are automatically committed to believing everything that person says? No. Surely you wouldn’t make an error that crass.

    gentlemind, David,

    Thanks.

  25. Briggs

    June 2, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    All,

    Apropos (from this):

    Today, those who uphold real marriage are stigmatized as “haters.” This is because people who are ruled by their passions cannot imagine any opposition to the exercise of their passions as coming from anything other than another passion—in this case, hatred. It no longer occurs to them that the objections to homosexual behavior are made on the basis of reason from an apprehension of what truly contributes to human flourishing.

  26. Ken: “unsaid, but unavoidable, is that God made a mistake the first soul-body assignment go-round” No, not unavoidable. Many people don’t like their height, eye color etc. That is a reflection on the individual, not on God. God didn’t promise you’d love your body or you could change it out for a new one. Or at least I missed that lesson if it’s there. The fault lies with the person, not God.

    Briggs: I was told by a Unification minister that the church there objects to homosexuality because it robs people from experiencing the full humanity God endowed us with. Not because it was a “sin” or not.

  27. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Sheri:

    Blaming the victim here?

    Are you trying to make me go completely grey-haired here? 🙂

    Briggs, quoting your quote:

    Today, those who uphold real marriage are stigmatized as “haters.”

    I say this with a smile: stop whining.

    I’ve seen countless threads on this topic with traditional marriage advocates being anything but charitable toward gays and lesbians. The hate speech is there. Not everyone opposed to same sex marriage engages in hate speech by my definition. For example, you yourself. You don’t do hate speech. You don’t like same sex marriage, it conflicts with your views, and you express them. That’s fine.

    I’ve never seen you say that gays and lesbians are inherently evil. That’s hate speech. You don’t do it. Some people on the other side of your views know the difference.

    This is because people who are ruled by their passions cannot imagine any opposition to the exercise of their passions as coming from anything other than another passion—in this case, hatred.

    Reminder about not presuming to know the mind of another. Further caution against putting words in others’ mouths. Further further caution against extending the views of a very loud-mouthed and misbehaved minority of a minority to the whole population.

    It no longer occurs to them that the objections to homosexual behavior are made on the basis of reason from an apprehension of what truly contributes to human flourishing.

    Let’s slide down the other side of that slippery slope together and ask ourselves:

    1) What if a heterosexual couple wants to get married but one or the other is sterile?

    2) What if a fertile heterosexual couple gets married, and does not have children after X number of years? What if they tell a Judge, upon being hauled in for violations against Nature that they intend never to have children?

  28. Brandon Gates

    June 2, 2014 at 11:38 pm

    To underline the point I just made that there does exist a call for tolerance by SSM supporters, please peruse the following links:

    http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2014/04/24/an-impressive-stand-on-behalf-of-liberal-ideals-by-gay-marriage-advocates/

    This statement comes in the aftermath of the forced resignation of the CEO of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, because of a donation he made in 2008 on behalf of California’s Proposition 8, which would have upheld the traditional definition of marriage. The statement points out that there is no evidence that Mr. Eich believed in or practiced any form of discrimination against Mozilla’s LGBT employees. No matter; he was still forced out.

    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/04/22/freedom_to_marry_freedom_to_dissent_why_we_must_have_both_122376.html

    The last few years have brought an astonishing moral and political transformation in the American debate over same-sex marriage and gay equality. This has been a triumph not only for LGBT Americans but for the American idea. But the breakthrough has brought with it rapidly rising expectations among some supporters of gay marriage that the debate should now be over. As one advocate recently put it, “It would be enough for me if those people who are so ignorant or intransigent as to still be anti-gay in 2014 would simply shut up.”

    The signatories of this statement are grateful to our friends and allies for their enthusiasm. But we are concerned that recent events, including the resignation of the CEO of Mozilla under pressure because of an anti-same-sex- marriage donation he made in 2008, signal an eagerness by some supporters of same-sex marriage to punish rather than to criticize or to persuade those who disagree. We reject that deeply illiberal impulse, which is both wrong in principle and poor as politics.

    The words in bold are not uncommon. I’ve thought them myself, on any number of different issues including this one, and probably even said them. Which I regret. It’s wrong. Understandable, but wrong.

    There are inflamed passions on both sides here, how could there not? At some point though, we all need to simmer down and act like adults again, including me. On a variety of contentious issues facing our nation.

    Where exactly has all the partisan bickering, to put it over-mildly, gotten us except upset, afraid, out of work and increasingly in debt? It needs to stop. Temper tantrums aren’t going to do it.

    More:

    Disagreement Should Not Be Punished

    We prefer debate that is respectful, but we cannot enforce good manners. We must have the strength to accept that some people think misguidedly and harmfully about us. But we must also acknowledge that disagreement is not, itself, harm or hate.

    As a viewpoint, opposition to gay marriage is not a punishable offense. It can be expressed hatefully, but it can also be expressed respectfully. We strongly believe that opposition to same-sex marriage is wrong, but the consequence of holding a wrong opinion should not be the loss of a job. Inflicting such consequences on others is sadly ironic in light of our movement’s hard-won victory over a social order in which LGBT people were fired, harassed, and socially marginalized for holding unorthodox opinions.

    The words above in bold have an edge to them don’t they? A sting. The people who wrote that are hurting. It’s a terrible thing to be misunderstood, shunned, demonized and belittled, especially if how you see yourself is anything but deserving of that sort of judgement.

    I know Briggs understands this because he writes such things all the time. Here’s one from just yesterday:

    Modern intellectuals particularly avoid learning about or discussing God. The subject embarrasses them. At best, they might eagerly accept a weak counter-argument for God’s existence, glad to be shot of the obligation to investigate further, shoot opinions off the cuff, or quote a supposed witticism by some untutored New Atheist. Shameful behavior, really, on such an important question.

    I’m a “modern intellectual”. Albeit an “amateur” one, in the sense that I have no formal training in philosophy or other “authoratative” credentials of “intellectualism” — whatever that would mean or look like. But I do have a brain, and I do like to think. And I don’t hold to any particular school of thought, but I do live in modern times. That’s a modern intellectual.

    That quote above hacked me off. But I understand where Briggs is coming from. The amount of outrage against Christianity in general from non-theist quarters is intense. My reply to him belied the full force of my offense because his angst is reasonable and completely warranted given the polarized religious and political climate we share in the US. It needs to stop.

    Last quote:

    Enforcing Orthodoxy Hurts Everyone

    LGBT Americans can and do demand to be treated fairly. But we also recognize that absolute agreement on any issue does not exist. Franklin Kameny, one of America’s earliest and greatest gay-rights proponents, lost his job in 1957 because he was gay. Just as some now celebrate Eich’s departure as simply reflecting market demands, the government justified the firing of gay people because of “the possible embarrassment to, and loss of public confidence in . . . the Federal civil service.” Kameny devoted his life to fighting back. He was both tireless and confrontational in his advocacy of equality, but he never tried to silence or punish his adversaries.

    Now that we are entering a new season in the debate that Frank Kameny helped to open, it is important to live up to the standard he set. Like him, we place our confidence in persuasion, not punishment. We believe it is the only truly secure path to equal rights.

    Can we please dispense with the myths that all religious conservatives are knuckle-dragging mouth-breathing cretins, and that all liberals are hate-spewing venegeful power-mongering job-killers?

    We are, all of us, at one time or another selfish creatures acting in poor faith. At the same time, we are, all of us, composed of a much better nature.

    Why not admit that the first one will never go away, ever, so long as we are mortal imperfect beings, and instead focus on helping each other bring out the latter?

    We’re never all going to “just get along” as Sheri reminded me yesterday. Of course not. But I’d like to see us work on learning to disagree a lot more agreeably with each other.

  29. I think the doctors have a lot to answer for here, and should not be performing so-called sex change operations. It is not yet possible to go in and change the genetic make-up that determines sex/gender, and so there can be no such thing as a sex-change operation. However, there are clearly people whose genetic make-up is ambiguous, or they have some other reason for feeling in the wrong type of body. These people clearly need and deserve help, but conning them into believing that a sex-change operation will do the trick seems quite wrong.

  30. Meet Josh. Josh was born with a X and Y chromosomes so Josh is a man. Josh grew up and did manly things like wander in the desert and muck about with boats. Josh got into trouble with the law and was crucified. Was Josh still a man? Yes he was. Some people though insisted that Josh was really the Son of God, no longer a man, and killed anyone who said he wasn’t. End of story.

  31. ad,
    Josh, himself, said he was the Son of God. Some people took him at his Word. Because he demonstrated his trustworthiness. Those other people who killed people who didn’t agree, didn’t really care about Josh, or what he said, or did, or asked of his followers. They cared about themselves; otherwise they would not have killed people. Josh told them that wasn’t a good think to do. But they ignored what Josh said because it was convenient for them. They liked to appropriate his authority, though. It was convenient for them. Evens so, Josh still would welcome them back as friends if they would stop being so selfish. The story continues.

  32. I happen to know someone who was (and still is) married to a woman, became very unhappy in his mid 50s, and underwent gender reassignment. A person willing to undergo gender reassignment is in a bad place, emotionally. The risk of suicide is very high for these individuals.

    To anyone new, this person looks and acts like an “average” woman in “her” 50s. The mannerisms, voice, and looks are all there. The only give away is his/her indepth knowledge of motorcycles, deck building, and cars. As his friends, we were happy that these parts didn’t change.

    We call him a “she” because it makes her comfortable. I’m not aware of it ever being a problem. If it makes “her” happy to be treated like a she, what’s the big deal?

    Is “she” a woman? No. “She” is a man who feels much more comfortable participating in society playing the role of a woman. If she tried to get a job somewhere but looked like a 55 year old man in drag, I think the would-be employer has every right to refuse employment on the grounds of poor presentation. If he looks and acts exactly like a woman though, who would know? Who cares?

  33. Briggs

    June 3, 2014 at 8:14 am

    ad,

    If you cannot contribute positively to any discussion—this is not your first offense—please do not comment at all. This site is for adults.

  34. Mr. Gates,

    Sometimes, there is a fine line between rude and bullying. One can never know how a person would respond. The stranger in this post doesn’t expect Bob to stay silent, does he?

    (This is not to say that the government should shut down the stranger’s business.)

    Right speech brings peace.

    Is Bobbi a man? Evidently, Bobbi still claims to be transgender like L. Cox who proudly says so in the Time magazine. Cox makes no attempt to deceive people. More power to them.

    It just happened that I did read the article in Time magazine while waiting at the dentist office yesterday morning. It presents sympathetic views of the feeling and issued faced by transgender people. Very informative and considerate. After reading this post, Mr. Briggs view came as no surprise. I did wonder for a few seconds as to how people think the way they do.

  35. Isn’t it interesting that we medicate children who can’t sit still, but cheer adults who change sex?

  36. Briggs

    June 3, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Sheri,

    One correction. Adults cannot “change sex.” The can mutilate their genitals, of course, but they sex is immutable.

    The preferred euphemism is “gender reassignment surgery”, which should rather be called “voluntary genital mutilation.”

    Which reminds me. I read of a group of mentally ill patients who have “doctors” cut off various limbs (arms, legs). The patients claim they are happier without them.

  37. Sheri,

    “Isn’t it interesting that we medicate children who can’t sit still, but cheer adults who change sex?

    You mean YOU mediate children who can’t sit still but cheer adults who change sex? Why is it interesting? What is the link between medicating children who can’t sit still and adults who change sex?

  38. Adults cannot change their biological sex—they still have the same chromosmes they were born with. I guess now we have the PC “gender reassignment surgery” instead of sex change operation. I’m obviously behind on my terminology! I suppose the changing of “sex” to “gender” was designed to get around that nasty little chromosome problem, right?

    I like your last statement. People will do the most insane things in search of happiness or contentment or whatever one calls it.

  39. JH: I mean “we” as a society. Sorry—lapsing back into my former speech habits (pronouns figured prominently). No, I do not medicate children.

    Link: Children who can’t sit still are being forced to adhere to a societal norm that they are not biologically built for. We are forcing a behaviour that is not their choice and is damaging to their little psyches. We let them choose their “gender” but we demand they conform to a specific activity level. That’s not accepting them for who they really are.

  40. I would like to see someone respond to Brandon Gates, please. His comments come across to me as reasonable, thoughtful and truly open-minded (rare to find these days, and what I personally strive to be). However nobody appears to be paying attention to his words – is it simply because he is a liberal and in the minority here?

  41. Briggs

    June 3, 2014 at 10:13 am

    JY,

    I think it is because Brandon is too prolix. Perhaps if his arguments were more focused they would find more readers.

    Maybe you can summarize what you think are the finer points?

  42. I no longer answer Brandon because he tap dances around things he doesn’t want to answer (or, to avoid making Brandon upset with me—things I percieve him as not wanting to answer. I cannot read his mind. ). Plus, Briggs is correct. The longer and more wandering the comment, the less likely one is to answer. One point at a time is much better. We’re all guilty of this at times, yes, and we should expect to be ignored when too many points are presented at once.

  43. Sheri,

    No, that’s not accepting them for who they really are. One of the main points of the article in Time magazine is that transgender people want to be accepted and don’t want to be stereotyped, ridiculed and bullied. They are taking actions toward their goals. To them, the time is ripe.

    How does it feel to be seen as mentally ill because they don’t fit the idea of normal people? Some of them may truly feel that there is something wrong with them. How does it feel to be subject to the unnecessary harassment by the stranger in this post? What is the right way for them or us to accept who they really are?

    I don’t know. I do think that being condescending about them is not the right way.

  44. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 11:28 am

    JH:

    Sometimes, there is a fine line between rude and bullying. One can never know how a person would respond. The stranger in this post doesn’t expect Bob to stay silent, does he?

    Yes, a fine line. Varies from person to person I ‘spect.

    Your guestion is an interesting one I have never seen or asked myself. You have given me something to ponder.

    (This is not to say that the government should shut down the stranger’s business.)

    I don’t know the details of this case (didn’t follow the link, better things to do). In general I’d agree with you, however.

    Right speech brings peace.

    Hear hear. However, I share the stereotypically conservative view that political correctness is to be frowned upon, and in cases, ruthlessly mocked and derided. There are scenarios, albeit very few of them, where I as a white male can use the n-word among my black brothers, sparingly, and not ruffle anyone’s feelings. White liberal language police would be expected to string me up for such an offence. My black friends would be the ones cutting me down from the gallows.

    Context, tone, intent and trust separate hateful speech from edgy commentary, and “true ‘dat my man” conversations. The words themselves, in isolation, cannot be legislated against simply because they have been used by some in a hateful manner. We’d have no words left if that concept were taken to the extreme.

    Is Bobbi a man? Evidently, Bobbi still claims to be transgender like L. Cox who proudly says so in the Time magazine. Cox makes no attempt to deceive people. More power to them.

    It just happened that I did read the article in Time magazine while waiting at the dentist office yesterday morning. It presents sympathetic views of the feeling and issued faced by transgender people. Very informative and considerate. After reading this post, Mr. Briggs view came as no surprise. I did wonder for a few seconds as to how people think the way they do.

    I’ll speak for myself. I grew up in a conservative town where “gay bashing” wasn’t considered bashing. “Dude, don’t be gay” was a figure of speech in contexts where one would get into politically correct trouble for likening another boy/man to female genitalia. If one of my Midwestern buddies tried that crap out here on the left coast, it would be more than the just the liberal thought police stringing them up from the south tower of the Golden Gate bridge.

    OTOH, when I say such things, sparingly, around my gay brothers and sisters, they appreciate my irony. They understand the spirit in which I show my support for their fight against being so constantly stigmatized by increasingly diminishing, but still very loud, derisive and hurtful rhetoric from those who just can’t get past their queerness for whatever reasons — understandable though they may be.

    Nothing is so funny and heart warming as conversing with an openly gay man or woman in a trustful non-adversarial setting and sharing mutual stories of intolerance, bullying, hate and spite. I because I was a spindly geeky white kid, a minority in a mostly black elementary school. And they because they wanted to make out with people of their own sex.

    Conversations with a black gay friend of mine are doubly hilarious in this respect. Gay is an apt appellation, a positive stereotype for generally kind and loving class of people who MUST have a good sense of humour to live among the pervasive fear, revulsion and hatred they face on a daily basis.

    Some people never do learn the difference between rude and bullying. I’d say the reasons for that vary. But the end result is that those kinds of folks don’t learn how to complain and critique properly either. From the outside looking in, all appearances are that they simply don’t care. But who knows.

    I have no transgendered friends, and can’t say I’ve ever met one. I said earlier they give me the creeps. Face to face with one, I would do my very best to swallow my discomfort. I don’t think it would be that hard. And I’d probably come away from the experience less revulsed and better overall for it. I do live in the correct part of the country to have that chance someday, and I don’t dread it.

  45. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 11:40 am

    Briggs:

    I think it is because Brandon is too prolix. Perhaps if his arguments were more focused they would find more readers.

    Feedback noted and appreciated. I will redouble my efforts to focus and be succinct. Hard for me to do, I have much to say. As do we all.

  46. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 11:43 am

    JY: I do get responses here, and have had good conversations. I don’t like it about myself that recognition and validation is overly-important to me, but I do appreciate your compliments re: my open mind and thoughtfulness. Both are difficult for me, as you surely know since you strive to be the same. Adieu.

  47. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 11:49 am

    Sheri: where do you think I have tapped recently?

  48. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    Sheri: belay that last. I just read the post where you specified.

  49. JH: These persons are biologically male or female based on their chromosomes. It is who they ARE, but it may not be what they want to be. If one is short and one wishes to be tall because one believes they are really tall and nature made a mistake, it is ethical to say, surgically keep “stretching” their legs until they are as tall as they “should” be?
    Yes, this was called “mental illness” because it was a refusal to accept reality, and it still is. The reality is these persons are born male and female and no amount of surgery changes that. The new definition of mental illness seems to be: none. Everything is just a person’s attempt to work around reality and it’s encouraged. It’s quite disturbing.

  50. Sherri,

    What is reality? Whose reality? (I know I shouldn’t have asked these questions, especially I am not willing to spend time on the topic of “reality.” Sorry.) Sometimes, before people can take actions, they need to accept the reality first. For instance, coming out of the closet. Is it possible that transgender people such as L. Cox have actually accepted their reality and want to change to make their lives better? Yes, I see that their actions disturb you.

  51. Mr. Gates,

    I appreciate and enjoy reading your comments. And I think I get you points whenever I read them.

    For some reason, I am reminded of the following. One day, many years ago, munching on some after-school snacks, my younger daughter complained that Sister Josine said her answer to a question was incorrect in her 2nd grade religion class. I asked if she knew the reasons that her answer was wrong.

    (I forgot what the question was. Unlike everything else, my ability to forget details seems to become better as I age. )

    She insisted that her answer was not wrong. It was wrong only because it wasn’t what Sister Josine wanted to hear.

  52. “What is reality?” Time to leave the discussion. The only answers to that question leads to complete nonsense and a waste of time. The question is a punt hoping to throw people off balance. (Of course that 50 mph wind that is tearing my shingles off as type is not real so I have no concerns……My brother told me his kids could run into the street and if they did not believe a car was real, it wouldn’t hurt them. This is dangerous.)

    No, “their” actions don’t disturb me. The actions of their supporters do.

  53. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    JH:

    I don’t expect to win popularity contests here. However, I do like to be popular, too much so for my own liking. I am smarting right now, but I’m walking it off like a big boy — with the recognition that I’ve been given some very good advice above.

    Your compliment does go far for me, and you have my thanks.

    She insisted that her answer was not wrong. It was wrong only because it wasn’t what Sister Josine wanted to hear.

    My standard admonition against mind-reading is temporarily suspended: spot on.

  54. Brandon Gates

    June 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    PS:

    I forgot what the question was. Unlike everything else, my ability to forget details seems to become better as I age.

    Thanks for that bit of levity. Same boat here, same creek, without a paddle.

  55. Briggs

    June 3, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    All,

    Apropos:

    Transgender Man Sues New York City For Kicking Him Out Of A Men’s Locker Room

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/03/bryan-ellicott-transgender-lawsuit_n_5439192.html?&ir=Politics&ncid=tweetlnkushpmg00000016

    That source is aghast at the “bigotry”, of course.

  56. Is the young man not a transvestite? He must have been persuaded to be castrated etc but he could have lived as a transvestite without this expensive option.
    These doctors or surgeons must be making a lot of money. In these cases I always think “Follow the money.” I expect he will give TV and Radio interviews and write magazine articles or even write a book.
    He does not need to be hated but neither does someone of differing viewpoint. Free Speech and Thought were supposed to be part of your the American Way of Life but not so in this case or with a certain web browser, I name no name,which used to have a good reputation. The thought police will make what they will of that, no doubt.

  57. Briggs,

    Kindness.

    Trans genders are excluding themselves from physical love from others. (Who is seeking people like them?)

    You have what they can’t have…

  58. PS:

    Brandon, the same admonition to you, too…

  59. jake-the-rake

    June 4, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Gender is not chosen, just as ones place and date of birth aren’t.

    It takes too much education to think otherwise. A million words, plenty of them too difficult for a tavern, 5 barrels of sociology, and wagons of philosophy.

    Even Mr. Briggs felt obliged to blog the obvious.”Bobbi is a man, still a man I tell you!”

    I’m not prejudiced except towards the simple truth. Which used to run like this (more or less):

    Mama (female) howls.
    She is swollen from the seed of Papa (Male).
    Baby is delivered.
    Perfunctory check-up (meaning a quick look). There’s a Dingaling…

    “Signora mamma, I’m happy to announce that you have a baby BOY.

    Dingaling lives and dies (we’ll get back to that later).

    Fast forward 10,000 years. The creature born with the dingaling is dug up for some reason (the heirs are still fighting over the inheritance).

    An easy DNA check.

    Well, who’s to say that these paltry remains really were old Dingaling?

    “In any case, these scattered fragments tell us that the subject under examination was definitely a male. See the X and Y?”

    So birth… immediate and effortless rush to judgment.
    Exhumation… immediate and effortless rush to judgment.

    So… it turns out it was just for a short span of Dingaling’s life that lots of fancy words, sociology and philosophy proved to be necessary…

    In Dingaling’s case, this “I’m a woman” stuff happened and lasted around the last third of his mortal existence.

    It seems that around the age of 46, after 44 days and 7 nights of snarling at his wife (female) Labia, something clicked (or snapped)… and Dingaling, decided to go transgender.

    One morning he looked at himself in the mirror and reckoned (rightfully) that shaving was a drag. He could’ve grown a beard, but instead resolved to become a woman. And that thing between his legs, the dingaling, had to go (despite certain undeniable advantages for mincturating on camping trips).

    In America, general revulsion over such matters (men who cut off their weenies are seriously f__ed up), turned, in a matter of a short few years, to unquestioning acceptance (verging on enthusiasm).

    It became the law of the land. Books, Movies, Plays, Parades, Treatises, Conventions, and if lined up, enough screen pixels to reach Pluto and back. Even comic book heroes first went gay, and then went trannnie. Spiderman became Spiderwoman after the third episode. (And the teenagers thought it was awesome).

    There was a flourishing of intellectual jabber, some of it even pretty damn fancy and convincing.

    But… at birth Dingaling was a boy (unquestioningly) and for as long as there is a trace of his corpse he will be a male (unquestioningly)…

    Now America is telling us that in life, gender is a matter of freedom. So I guess there’s a problem with FREEDOM… beautiful word… magnificent concept, but it too like pasta, requires Orthodoxy. Pasta is simple… The sauce can be anything, but the pasta itself must be made of durum winter wheat, boiled in abundant salted water and strained al dente. Kill that and you hurt pastadom, turning it into mush… and in the long run that will hurt the inventiveness (and life) of the condiments.

    Pasta is Italian and therefore crazy and religious. But gender is so easy that even atheists once had an easy handle on it.

    It was a given, a no-brainer, something that we could all agree on, because, because… summer is warmer than winter, rocks can skip over the water, but then sink… a baby with a dingaling is male.

    Someone convinced, even intimately convinced, that summer is colder than winter, to the point of wearing a snow goose in July would be a weirdo. And also weird would be a guy who spends every wakeful hour skipping rocks across a pond, convinced that rocks float.

    I was born in New Jersey in the year 1952, and that was it. No arguments. Because it was a fact. A hard and inescapable fact. Like saying London was born with the Thames and Paris with the Seine.

    If a tourist waiting on line to see the Sistine Chapel, tells his tour guide that later, after their alotted 13 minutes of absorbing culture from the ceiling, he wants to go to a cafe along the Danube for a cappuccino, the guide’s answer could be 100% correct… a rare opportunity, to be so right, so fast, that even the geographically-challenged tourist would HAVE to agree…

    “Sorry, you’re in Rome and Rome got stuck with the Tiber!”…

    But… but now, thanks to the cultural clout of America, Lady Gagaland on steroids, that tourist can insist.

    “No! The water flowing under old Ponte Milvio is the Danube! Rivers are an opinion and a social construct. And I feel trapped in Rome, so as far as I’m concerned this is Vienna!”

    The Tourist Guide would smile and accept the fact that the world has an inescapable share of weirdos.

    But now, the weirdos have banded, an so in the name of freedom, new guide books are printed in which Rome is presented as Vienna. Trastevere becomes Favoriten.

    It sounds like fun. It’s harmless. An alternative tour book never hurt anyone.

    There’s no harm in it.

    “So kids, some of you might’ve been tagged as being a boy or a girl, but remember it’s what you feel that makes you!”

    No harm in thatThis is good? Proper? Sane?

  60. Brandon Gates

    June 4, 2014 at 3:57 am

    Jim Zuccaro:

    Brandon, the same admonition to you, too…

    It’s possible one or both of us are reading each other wrong here.

  61. Sheri,

    No, “their” actions don’t disturb me.

    Good, I consider this a step forward. Also, we all know that there are differences between encouragement and support.

    Just because a fig tree cannot behave the way you want it to, doesn’t mean it deserves to be condemned, cursed and killed. Live and let live.

    (I don’t think the scientific fact (truth?) about chromosomes can solve our moral dilemma here! )

    Mr. Gates, ^_^ !

  62. Brandon Gates

    June 4, 2014 at 10:35 am

    Observations. And no they can’t. You can have 47 XXY, 45 X. First one looks like a boy when born but sometimes develops breasts. Second one is born looking like a girl but has incomplete reproductive organs.

  63. BRIGGS, RE:

    “I am encouraged by your reading, as I am by your new found

    [You’ve jumped to a conclusion–assuming that a viewpoint expressed is one actually held vs one presented to stir up discussion–I’ll leave it as a puzzle as to which is which…but can’t help but note that unless one tries, really truly tries, to express “the other side’s” position one doesn’t truly comprehend it much like one truly learns most not so much in class but when teaching a subject]

    love of the soul, as well as of the resurrected body, where the healing (caused by sin and not God) Kreeft mentions will take place.

    Or did you mean to imply that if you like one thing a person says you are automatically committed to believing everything that person says?

    [No about committed to believing all a person says if one believes some of the things said; my indirect point was/is, again, that philosophy is a very poor technique for assessing anything when objective facts* are available because it lends itself to unconscious manipulation–one readily “proves” whatever one wants. If philosophy as applied by you on this subject and Kreeft on this subject were both logically applied, given the incompatibility of the conclusions reached, its not the logical application its philosophy itself that is flawed].

    * About Objective Facts — The occasional references to chromosomes & genes is done extraordinarily simplistically, which is to say so poorly as to NOT be reflective of the conclusions you like to reach. Consider the overlap of environmental influences on the expression, or not, of genes:

    Phelylketonuria (PKU) is a well-established 100 percent genetic disorder, lack of the gene for the enzyme to metabolize phenylalanine to tyrosine results in a toxic metabolism situation. The disease ONLY develops in the presence of phenylalanine in the diet. Thus, it is both 100 percent heritable (based on genes) AND 100 percent environmental (develops only when certain environmental triggers are encountered).

    MANY behavioral traits are associated with such genetic-coupled-with-environmental factors; for example, attention deficit disorder (ADD) appears something like 80 percent heritable and 20 percent environmental — based on twin studies.

    Funny thing, nobody disputes the data on biology vs. environment in twin studies regarding ADD….but….will when other twin studies show similar patterns associated with gender identity, etc. (where religious values appear to come in direct conflict).

    Much of this would be surprisingly easy to test–take newborns & subject them to particular patterns of hostile environments (e.g. domineering self-centered mothers) & see how many develop to be gay…but that’s so unethical it cannot happen…so inferior anecdotal studies (easily nitpicked) are all that’s left.

    For gender identity (people appearing normal except for their expressed assertion that they are in the wrong gender-type body) have some considerable anecdotal evidence indicating a significant release of stress hormones by the mother during the first trimester of pregnancy induces this particular condition (this was first observed as a pattern when children born to mothers living in Berlin during their first trimester experienced Allied bombing — that group of adults manifested significantly greater proportions of gender/body conflict than the norm).

    There’s similar patterns [becoming increasingly apparent] for gays (though this seems more induced by psychological stresses imposed by a toxic/dysfunctional primary caregiver). Neither the religious nor the pro-gay groups want to concede this, though for different reasons .

    The day is rapidly approaching where such genetic/biological/environmental influences on identity will become impossible to pretend don’t exist & no amount of philosophizing or deferral to religious doctrine will be able to deny it.

    But, to simplemindedly assert that mere chromosome ratios are determinative to behavior is factually wrong. And to then link that to a philosophically-based argument is, at best, naïve.

  64. Brandon Gates

    June 4, 2014 at 3:59 pm

    Ken, finding the “gay gene” was a popular media hype as as far back as the early ’90s … ah yes, Hamer et. al 1993. Journalists confused a bitty piece of the X chromosome with a gene.

    How quickly transgenderism slid into sexual orientation in this post was whiplash-inducing, though understandable. Still, that’s meat before the milk. Sex (not gender) ambiguity is easily observed at the chromosomal level. If the horse won’t drink from that pond, dragging it to the next watering hole will likely be an exercise in futility.

  65. Brandon Gates

    June 4, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Briggs:

    Update It didn’t take long, but arguing that Bobbi is still a man is now “hate speech” and “transphobic”. As predicted.

    Seems those fisticuffs were sparked by an Op-Ed in the Chicago Sun-Times:

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/otherviews/27774705-452/laverne-cox-is-not-a-woman.html#.U4ve1JSxNpU

    which link is now dead.

    Prediction number two is that the non-mentally ill will be forced to go along with Bobbi’s fantasy or face fines, etc. One year?

    No bet. As your lawyer; plead insanity.

  66. “Sex (not gender) ambiguity is easily observed at the chromosomal level”

    Is it? Other than those born with too many (or too few) X and Y chromosomes, which number very few, it seems that this is a very simple counting exercise. Unless by “sex” you mean something different than “sex” – you know, male and female, the two categories required for sexual reproduction, where the term comes from.

    As for the article, I’m reminded of GK Chesterton: “The act of defending any of the cardinal virtues has today all the exhilaration of a vice.” Only today, one need not even defend a virtue; merely stating the obvious is exhilarating! That there are males and females who have social roles built upon their natures, for instance, wouldn’t have been worth yawning to in other eras of history, but today may earn you a fine and an article dedicated to besmirching your character!

  67. Brandon Gates

    June 5, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    Josh:

    IOther than those born with too many (or too few) X and Y chromosomes, which number very few, it seems that this is a very simple counting exercise.

    Relatively infrequent yes, but not so rare as to be considered flukes; especially not in terms of chromosomal aberrations. Counting chromosomes is a good place to start, but are not the only observations to consider.

    That said, starting with sexual ambiguities observed at the chromosome level is sufficient to be reasonably sceptical of this statment: “That there are males and females who have social roles built upon their natures …”

    That there are males and females who have social roles built upon their natures, for instance, wouldn’t have been worth yawning to in other eras of history, but today may earn you a fine and an article dedicated to besmirching your character!

    These are my general observations and statements of principle:

    1) Besmirching someone’s reputation because they express an unpopular belief or opinion is wrong. Especially the besmirchment is in the form(s) of slander, libel, demonization, villfication or dehumanization. (Not an exhaustive list.)

    2) Legal action to suppress unpopular opinions or beliefs not taking the forms in (1) is wrong.

    3) Both (1) and (2) are qualitative and risk being arbitrarily defined, therefore subject to bias.

    Appeals to past social attitudes are not a compelling argument against current legal questions. You need to argue from present circumstances using pertient specifics to make a case.

  68. “Relatively infrequent yes, but not so rare as to be considered flukes; especially not in terms of chromosomal aberrations. Counting chromosomes is a good place to start, but are not the only observations to consider.”

    You don’t consider the horrible degenerative diseases that an incorrect chromosome count produces are “flukes”? Regardless, counting chromosomes is the biological way to determine whether someone is a male or female.

    ===
    “That said, starting with sexual ambiguities observed at the chromosome level is sufficient to be reasonably sceptical of this statment: “That there are males and females who have social roles built upon their natures …””

    Is it? Should general guiding rules for society be based on biological problems that cause all manner of diseases or on common cases that we typically call “healthy”? I’m leaning towards the latter. It doesn’t rule out exceptions, it just doesn’t create society-wide rules based on them. Hence “normative”. Hence “normal”.

    ===
    “1) Besmirching someone’s reputation because they express an unpopular belief or opinion is wrong. Especially the besmirchment is in the form(s) of slander, libel, demonization, villfication or dehumanization. (Not an exhaustive list.)”

    Indeed. But it happens. Such is the nature of the modern populist.

    ===
    “2) Legal action to suppress unpopular opinions or beliefs not taking the forms in (1) is wrong.”

    Indeed. But it happens. Such is the nature of the modern populist.

    ===
    “Appeals to past social attitudes are not a compelling argument against current legal questions. You need to argue from present circumstances using pertient specifics to make a case.”

    Did I argue from past social attitudes that my position was correct, or that my position was thrilling?

    I fully believe my position, and I don’t believe it because it is ancient. Just as I think it is fallacious to believe that something is true because it is new (like “sexual orientation” or “transgenderism”). However, I also believe in a Democracy of the Dead. I give widely held beliefs the benefit of the doubt before dismissing them. That is not a popular sentiment. Ironically, it often gets its adherents accused of “always needing to be right” or “getting to decide who is right” when they are more inclined than anyone else to defer judgement.

    Such is the nature of the modern populist.

  69. Brandon Gates

    June 5, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Briggs:

    “Left-Wing Media Rages at Column Calling Transgender Actor ‘Not a Woman'”

    And they need to knock it the hell off.

    Semi-OT, but interesting. I don’t normally read the harpies over at HuffPo, but I surfed across this yesterday:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/05/28/orrin-hatch-gay-marriage_n_5406931.html

    Orrin Hatch: Gay Marriage Will Become Law Of The Land

    “Let’s face it: anybody who does not believe that gay marriage is going to be the law of the land just hasn’t been observing what’s going on.”

    “How do you blame the judge for deciding a case in accordance with what the Supreme Court has already articulated?”

    “Sooner or later gay marriage is probably going to be approved by the Supreme Court of the United States, and certainly as the people in this country move toward it, especially young people. I don’t think that’s the right way to go, on the other hand, I do accept whatever the courts have to say.”

    In essence, “I don’t believe in this decision, it’s against my beliefs, but I’m not going to throw any judges under the bus over it.” I call that proper statesmanship, and a welcome tone from any politician of any party on any divisive issue.

  70. Brandon Gates

    June 5, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    Josh:

    You don’t consider the horrible degenerative diseases that an incorrect chromosome count produces are “flukes”?

    fluke:
    n. A lucky or improbable occurrence, with the implication that the occurrence could not be repeated.
    v. To obtain a successful outcome by pure chance.

    So in a word: No.

    Regardless, counting chromosomes is the biological way to determine whether someone is a male or female.

    Except when it isn’t. See again 47, XXY and 45, X karyotypes. Results are phenotypically ambiguous sexually, and often sterile.

    Should general guiding rules for society be based on biological problems that cause all manner of diseases or on common cases that we typically call “healthy”?

    Gender identity is not society’s business. In a putatively free society, individual definitions generally take priority of societal ones. That’s the thing that makes it free.

    Did I argue from past social attitudes that my position was correct, or that my position was thrilling?

    Thrilling, but with the implication that it was societally relevant. Did I err?

    I fully believe my position, and I don’t believe it because it is ancient.

    Before the comma is perfect. You don’t need any further justification for a belief. If you express a belief, which I’m glad we’re able to do in this country, you don’t need to justify it either. Say whatever you wish.

    If the question is a legal one, re: fines for speech, it becomes another matter entirely. And that’s the argument you’re not supporting. It’s the one argument that really matters here.

    Just as I think it is fallacious to believe that something is true because it is new (like “sexual orientation” or “transgenderism”).

    Agree with you up to the parentheses. After that, no. You may opine that those things are not true. That’s fine. But it’s not your place to decide someone else’s truth for them even if it were possible to do so. I doubt very much that you’re a mind-reader.

    However, I also believe in a Democracy of the Dead. I give widely held beliefs the benefit of the doubt before dismissing them. That is not a popular sentiment.

    The second sentence is problematic. It reads like opinion masquerading as empirical observation.

    First sentence I can run with as far as majority opinions often do deserve a benefit of the doubt. But not taken solely on that basis alone else you potentially run afoul of another fallacy.

    Ironically, it often gets its adherents accused of “always needing to be right” or “getting to decide who is right” when they are more inclined than anyone else to defer judgement.

    “… there are males and females who have social roles built upon their natures …”

    Is that not saying, “I’m right”? Or, “my definition is correct”?

    Such is the nature of the modern populist.

    Revisit, “I give widely held beliefs the benefit of the doubt … ” above and help me reconcile the two. They appear at odds with each other.

  71. Brandon Gates

    June 5, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Josh, errata in my last: “Except when it isn’t. See again 47, XXY and 45, X karyotypes. Results are phenotypically ambiguous sexually, and often sterile.”

    47, XXY “males” exhibit some “female” secondary sexual characteristics. The main point is that both are often sterile. Such cases are effectively sexless from a reproductive standpoint. For me, this is the first of several conditions that lead to a reasonable cause to be sceptical of defining gender based on reproductive capability.

  72. I want to be a Jedi Knight. I even bought a plastic light saber. I must be Luke Skywalker, right?

  73. Two things the author is missing:
    1. People don’t kill themselves because they can’t deal with not being allowed to be a carrot.
    2. The business guy has the right to believe whatever he wants about the guy’s gender, but his rights to act on those beliefs are secondary to the individuals civil rights – just like the person who’s religion states that a race is inferior. He has the right to believe it and say it in America, but the law protects the individual from actions of this racist belief.

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