Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

I go for hours at a time, even days, without reminding myself that I'm male. It falls well below being gay, and not even that would be in the ten words I'd choose to describe myself. Which makes me really wonder why some people feel obliged to bring up their "gender identity" every ten or fifteen seconds.

All this talk of societal gender expectations also makes me wonder ... if a few tens of millions of people just emerged from suspended animation; it seems to me that they're like those stranded Japanese soldiers who thought the war was still on decades after it ended. The whole "Ward and June Cleaver" gender role thing seems to have faded out decades ago. I mean, find a picture of Benazir Bhutto when she was living in America, wearing jeans even as she met the requirements of Muslim modesty. Wanna talk about oppressive societal expectations? Behold her elegance while meeting them.

It hit me reading your article above ... what is this really about? Those societal impositions are largely imaginary. Women can stay at home and do the Küche-Kinder-Kirche thing if they want to or they can drive trucks or terrorize an office. Men can wear makeup, and many do. So let's stop honoring these claims of oppressive social expectation, they are bullshit.

Pronouns? Forget about "they," not gonna happen, full stop. But ... when we are in the presence of anyone of whatever gender or pretense of gender, there is only one pronoun, and that is "you." We don't even have thou/thee anymore, more's the pity. I live my life in Vietnamese which doesn't even have pronouns but need to choose from among dozens of substitutes when I talk to someone, though at my age I can safely use "em" with just about everyone.

But the whole controversy is over the third person, how we refer to people *when they aren't even around to hear it*! JFC! And then it hit me that what is really underlying all this gender fad horseshit is not some social revelation or liberation, it's just plain self-consciousness. Anyone in the "trans" camp who isn't actually gender dysphoric is piggybacking to feel important, to get special attention. While most reviled minorities just want to be left alone, these minorities have long lists of demands for the rest of us to follow: "cis," "they," just for starters. They do NOT want to be left alone, they want each of us to be deeply involved with and attentive to each of them. Let me give the briefest and most succinct possible answer:


Genuinely dysphoric people deserve our respect and understanding, at least the attempt. Non-dysphorics claiming the same don't deserve those, and "non-binary" is just an insult to our intelligence. Kicking a door that isn't locked. Don't want to conform to societal pressures (that don't really exist anymore)? Then don't. But anyone who mentions "my gender identity" several times per minute is going to find himself talking to air.

Would you want to work with this girl? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFjUjSJplfs&t=2s Getting harangued every day? Exploding in rage and tears?

I've never met a "nonbinary" person face to face, the fad began after I left and Vietnamese don't do that stuff. But nearly every one I have encountered online or heard about sounds like a total pain in the ass.

Goths and hippies didn't turn every conversation around to being goths and hippies.

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"I go for hours at a time, even days, without reminding myself that I'm male"

Haha, right?! One notable feature of trans and non-binary people is the sheer amount of headspace they devote to whether they're being perceived in the "right" way. It's actually kind of sad to watch. I see kids on YouTube consumed by whether they have enough facial hair or whether their behaviour "masculine" enough. Spending hours on their makeup and obsessing about their weight or their breasts.

In any other circumstances, we'd have no problem recognising this insecure, unhealthy behaviour for what it is. But when it's a trans person, we're supposed to believe all that insecurity is #stunningandbrave.

Have to disagree with you about goths and hippies turning conversations to being goths and hippies though. I consistently find people who build themselves around an "identity" to be pretty insufferable. Mainly because they end up building these echo chambers around themselves because everybody they interact with shares that "identity." I've never known a goth whose friends weren't 95% goths, for example.

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Well I was a late hippie but I remember talking about politics and music all the time and never talking about how hippie I was. Goth and punk came after I had tuned out of youth movement and I was listening to classical and ambient. I know a lot of ex-punk and ex-goths and they seem to have come out intact. I was psychedelia, which was about finding meaning (we read books); punk was the opposite, "life is stupid." I could not be part of it and the music didn't do anything for me.

This, on the other hand, seems to be the quintessential "trans": https://medium.com/prismnpen/trans-reality-this-will-piss-you-off-5e45cad585ad

Can you believe Medium publishes stuff like that?

Yeah people like to hang out with their self-affirming enclaves and one reason I feel to be such an ill fit in this world is that I never liked that. Gay culture got old immediately, hippie was already on its way out by the time I adopted it and though I kept the long hair a few years the culture was gone. When I came out of the marijuana haze the kids were all going for MBAs.

But I have never seen one as compulsively conformist as "trans." It's like you have to check in every day to keep up with what words and phrases to use and which are now anathema. And they're wearing out "transphobic" really fast.

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"One notable feature of trans and non-binary people is the sheer amount of headspace they devote to whether they're being perceived in the 'right' way. It's actually kind of sad to watch."

>>> I hadn't thought about it in this way. *Everybody* seeks approval about themselves, right? But to make a whole career outta it? Yeah, that really *is* pretty sad.

>>> And I can see what You mean about people forming group identities like that. I might-a been like that myself, but that I was a something of a misfit and never happened on one.

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There's one place where I would like to see pronouns go away completely: French! and I'll bet students of other Romance languages feel the same, because most of them have genderized nouns and adhere to the rule that if it's mixed company you use the male plural form. Gendered nouns are a *huge pain in the ass* to deal with, because not only do you have to remember the gender of everything, but adjectives are also genderized as are any form of past tense utilizing etre (to be) rather than avoir (to have). Adjectives and etre past tense also has to reflect plural or singluar forms of the verb which the avoir versions do not. De-genderizing French wouldn't eliminate the pluralizing problem but it would go a long way in making it easier to not sound like an idiot when speaking the language because you forgot or had to guess what the gender is of a noun you've never used before.

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Oh, you would LOVE Russian. First foreign language I learned sp I could write to my grandmother .. six cases, nouns are masc/fem/neut/plural, yup plural in the singular like "pants." I love systematic shit and I read ahead in the book and at 13 I could *speak Russian* ... wish I had kept it up.

Vietnamese doesn't even have plurals, pronouns, or adverbs and grammar is all SVO, totally inverted from European languages. [You] want eat what? [I] want eat noodle. You can tell it's a really really old language, stripped down almost as bare as Chinese.

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I've considered once I'm done with French, which should be in about 70,000 years at the rate I'm going, I'll try a new language, and for kicks & giggles I'm thinking about Arabic. Not because I have any particular need for it, but because studying a language way different from yours supposedly helps to stave off Alzheimers et all. It won't matter if I can speak it well or not, whereas I want to get better at French seeing as I live in Canada, even if on the English side.

If I learned Russian I could become one of the most hated people in my 'hood. My little town on the west end of Toronto is home to one of the biggest Ukrainian ex-pat communities...

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My brother from a different mother and father used learning languages for his mind. I'm what my daughter calls a serial hobbyist wanting to learn about nearly anything new to me (I'm still a little kid). Continuing to use your brain is a big deal.

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Thai people speaking English often sound like they are speaking Pidgeon (non-essential words are dropped), a sentence can (often does) have more than one verb, adjectives come after nouns.

Personal pronouns are chosen by the relationship to the person you are speaking to (someone younger than me would call me pee, of possibly uncle lueng) and referring to themself they might use their nickname.

Particles are nearly always tacked onto the end of a sentence (polite standard: krap for a male speaker, ka for a female speaker) but others can be used to change the "feel" without a need to rephrase the sentence. This is where gendering comes in, and it is always biology based unless things have really changed.

I mention that because grammar checkers constantly tell me to add unnecessary (in my opinion) words. But then you probably notice that I stick (clarifiers) into my writing and tend to run on sentences to create a coherent thought in a sentence.

I am in awe of people who are multilingual with good grammar. On one of my trips to Japan at a hotel "American night" cocktails and finger food event there were two stunningly beautiful hostesses. I asked one how long she had lived in America. She said she had never been outside of Japan. I remarked, "You speak perfect midwestern American English without accent. Where did you learn?" Her reply, "Oh, you flatter me. I learned entirely in a university." I just don't have the knack for that.

With my damaged hearing I am hopeless with tonal languages like Thai or Chinese. I said that. No, you didn't. Changing the tone of a syllable can turn something polite into an insult.

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Steve this is probably my favorite conversation I've read on here about trans/gender ideology. Kudos! Kudos to both of you actually, although I didn't agree much with Laurel. I think I just appreciated the genuine quality of the debate. This is what debates should look like. Laurel thanking you for being kind was also rather heartbreaking... it made me consider what they must face regularly when trying to have these sorts of conversations.


Laurel: "Since humans are creatures that find comfort in conformity and categorization, the most logical solution to the problem of unfortunate gender roles is to allow fluidity in gender identity."

This basically sums up my beef with this movement. It ignores literally decades of feminist and gay rights activism that led to, in my own jaded Gen-X estimation, the beginning of something good when it came to gender roles: the 90s. At long last it felt like it was okay for women and men to consider themselves women and men while still flouting stereotypes about what women and men were supposed to be like. So many supposed "feminine" men expanding the idea of how men were supposed to be. Kurt Cobain. So many supposed "masculine" women expanding the idea of how women were supposed to be. All those Riot Grrrls. Maybe I'm just locked in the past or something, but back then it was incredibly freeing to be a man and call myself a man and still personally reject what was supposed to be manly behavior. And the same thing went for the women in my life. And we also had trans people in our lives, but I'm almost afraid to sound too old-school here, because these trans friends were people who literally wanted to (and often did) change their gender because they felt they were in the wrong body. Not because "trans" meant fighting against gender stereotypes, which is where me and non-trans friends were coming from.

The changes in the past decade when it comes to gender and gender stereotypes are both frustrating and mind-boggling to me because it appears to ignore all of the work done previously that sought (successfully, I once thought) to upend gender stereotypes.

I realize that this is a typical anti-woke argument when it comes to the new gender essentialism that appears to be a part of the non-binary movement( and no doubt I'm literally repeating what I've said in past posts), but reading this conversation brought it all back.

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“It ignores literally decades of feminist and gay rights activism”

Yep, this is one of many maddening aspects for me. In fact, there are significant pockets of trans activism that are actively hostile to both gay rights and feminism. And don’t even get me started on the intersection of those two groups; lesbians.

The fact that so-called progressives turn a blind eye to this blatant misogyny and homophobia (never mind the experimental surgery on children) is endlessly astonishing to me.

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I think the woke have worn out their welcome. They're too extreme to not be repellent and in urging young girls to get surgery they've shown themselves to be criminally irresponsible. They want to swell their ranks and don't care how much damage they do.

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Aug 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

Fascinating. I was also intrigued by her phrase:

“For trans people, it takes enormous amounts of energy to pretend to identify with their assigned gender at birth. So, the extra energy it takes to transition and push others to respect our pronouns is usually worth it. Especially the latter when we are surrounded by people who don’t require any convincing.”

It seems to me that it must surely take more effort to endless lecture people on what your pronouns are, be offended every time someone sees you as what you visibly are and spend an inordinate amount of time responding to threads online justifying the minutiae of you specific take on being non-binary (which is apparently different to everyone else’s, so has to be explained individual by individual), rather than simply being yourself and not caring what people think of you. Is this a Gen X vs. Gen Z thing I wonder?

The irony , of course, is that she talks about only really feeling accepted enough to be herself around other non-binary people who accept her pronouns and identity, which implies that if she didn’t have those pronouns and that identity (which function as a kind of barrier) and was simply herself from the start, she might be able to be accepted by a much wider group of people. I’m thinking out loud…

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Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022Author

Yep, the whole thing is so weird to me. When she says "pretend to identify with," the only way I can make it make sense is if she means "conform to the stereotypes of." But it's as if she just can't understand that she doesn't have to. Or that the vast majority of people don't "identify" with their "assigned gender."

Yes, rejecting societal expectations will inevitably generate some friction. But as you say, endlessly lecturing people about your personal interpretation of gender roles and your place within them seems like it must generate so much more!

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Stereotypes generally come from observation. The question is how much of observed gender stereotypes comes from biological tendencies and how much is from conformance to expectation. As with my views on most things, there is some ratio.

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I suspect there is also a power dynamic ingredient, rooted in historical and biological legacies. The ‘dominant’ will exude certain qualities to maintain its position, whilst the ‘submissive’ will exude others that reinforce their lack of threat to the ‘dominant’. It plays out sexually in really obvious ways but I think it’s coded into so much more too.

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Some of that too, but I think that the idea of power is given more sway that it deserves.

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I think You've got the right of it. Would be interested to know if this is a Boomer/Gen X vs. Gen Z thingie.

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Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022

Feels like the logical conclusion to Gen Z’s obsession with Intersectionality. Victims are bestowed the most social capital and therefore victim-status is incentivised. If you’re a middle-class, white girl, for example. What hope have you got unless you create a victim-status for yourself? In this context it works kinda like a reverse Maslow hierarchy of needs, with the most privileged in society becoming the most needy. For some reason, I’m always reminded of my first-aid training: in the aftermath of an accident, don’t to the person screaming first, go to the one making no noise.

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Very good. TY for Your reply, T. Blood.

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Aug 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

I love this part:

But many women choose not to do any of these things. I'm sure this requires energy sometimes. Society undoubtedly puts pressure on them to conform. But they're not trans. They're women. Just women who say, "I will do what I want, thank you."

I've never heard a satisfactory explanation of what "binary" is in terms of gender, which is why "non binary" doesn't make a lot of sense to me. you've written about it, and I see it as not conforming to stereotypical traits. but hasn't part of our evolution as society been to move past these stereotypes? when I was a kid, a girl who liked sports was a "tomboy". then it became pretty accepted that there was no reason why a girl shouldn't like sports just as much as boys. now, the pendulum has swung further back the other way to the point that when a girl is into sports, people wonder if she's non-conforming, or trans! and the same thing is happening with race relations - so-called progressives are now championing forms of segregation!

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“I've never heard a satisfactory explanation of what "binary" is in terms of gender,”

And I don’t think you ever will😅 The whole concept is completely incoherent, as evidenced by countless conversations with non-binary people. They just don’t like the stereotypes (which is understandable) and don’t realise that they’re at least 100 years to late for “subverting” them be a revolutionary act.

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Non-binary is simply the open refusal to claim a gender. The rub as Steve points out is that few claim a gender in the first place. Most people just simply are themselves.

To me, it just comes down the gendered language. Generally people who claim to be non-binary are mostly interested in forcing others to specifically use language which is shaped around that identity (i.e. the rejection of s/he pronouns). Thus, the non-binary are deeply wedded to the concept of identity groups and want everyone around them to stroke their ego and reinforce their chosen group membership (the group that rejects gender stereotypes).

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Exactly. I have been trying to understand what a non-binary person is for a long time. I’ve read pages and pages and still have zero understanding. We know that sex is determined in utero (xx, xy). We can describe and know what constitutes sexual orientation. We can describe and understand sex-based stereotypes and how soundly they have been rejected by both men and women. But what is non-binary? I read Laurels thousands of words in her attempt to help me get to understanding but I remain as baffled as ever. Is it a philosophical statement? A social statement? A political statement? Or is it based on attributes with a definition? The problem for me is here in Oregon, the state asks on your drivers license application to check male, female or non-binary. If it is essentially meaningless, then anyone can check that box and if we all can, then why are we asking for sex/gender in the first place? The point, is that gender identity ideology has moved so rapidly into the mainstream (can’t get more mainstream than getting a drivers license) while it is still in the cultural and society testing out phase to see whether this helps society and individuals in any concrete way or it’s just a phase and reality will win out.

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Aug 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

I saw hippies, punks and goths mentioned and it reminded me of a question I can’t get out of my head:

Why is this the first youth-movement that isn’t attached - in any meaningful way - to either a music-scene and/or type of drug?

This feels significant to me. And completely alien. It’s a totally artless movement. It’s only hedonism is expressed through exaggerated online tales of victimhood, rather than fond retellings of drunken mishaps or unforgettable gigs. Instead it turns inward to the individual and it’s wallowing. I remember quite vividly writing band names on my pencil case at school, they were like badges of honour. That’s been replaced by pronouns and intersectional profile-points.

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"Why is this the first youth-movement that isn’t attached - in any meaningful way - to either a music-scene and/or type of drug?"

I think the social contagion arm of the trans movement is more accurately compared to the social contagion of anorexia a decade or so ago. Anorexics didn't take drugs either generally speaking. It was about mental illness and bodily control.

Although if you consider the way some of these kids talk about cross-sex hormones and "gender euphoria," there's definitely a "drug-like" aspect to the phenomenon too.

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Hey Steve,

I didn’t think about the cross-sex hormones as being a kind of recreational drug, like LSD for hippies, or Speed for Punks, but it kind of makes sense. I think you’re on to something.

I also get what you mean about the anorexia contagion, but it feels bigger to me. There’s a strong fashion element too. An aesthetic. But no music.

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Aug 27, 2022Liked by Steve QJ

"I could expend what seems to be an enormous amount of energy trying to force people to refer to me in specific ways that are tailor made for me, or I can be myself and let people figure our what that is. I can stop trying so hard to control people's perception of me with labels and let my actions speak for themselves. If I meet somebody who is incapable of seeing beyond their prejudices about my skin or my sex or anything else, I'm fine not being friends with that person."

Wonderful!! Thank you!

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>>> TYTY. Sorry this will probably be too long, but I found this conversation very interesting, Steve. My responses to the quotes preceded by ">>>".

"We are just tired of being controlled by expectations"

>>> Isn't everyone? Isn't that one-a Your points, Steve?

"Womanhood and manhood can be defined by whoever feels represented by those terms."

Yeah, i think that's pretty much what everyone agrees on. I think problems begin when people try to redefine man and woman, as if biological gender doesn't exist. That's delusional, right?

But that said, I do understand that the experience is different for women. Women face a whole range of expectations and pressures that men don't.

>>> True. Converse true also. Womanhood and manhood are ideas that vary over the ages. Even over the lifetime of individuals, right? I dunno that perfect understanding of the opposite gender will ever be accomplished. In fact, I know it won't be. And it won't come about by the two (biological) genders acting like there the same either, right?

The key point is, I don’t care.

>>> Haha. Yeah.

"I could expend what seems to be an enormous amount of energy trying to force people to refer to me in specific ways that are tailor made for me, or I can be myself and let people figure our what that is."

>>> Yeah again.

"And, of course, what 'seeing you as a woman' even means will vary wildly from person to person. But I try my best to see everybody as an individual and react to them based on their actions and attitudes."

>>> Sorry to nitpick, Steve. But I believe this contradicts the previous two sentences about it not being possible for You to control Your views about this. Mebbe I read You wrong.

Society undoubtedly puts pressure on them to conform. But they're not trans. They're women. Just women who say, "I will do what I want, thank you."

>>> And isn't this the problem everybody of both genders face? One decides, moment by moment whether You conform or You go Your own Way. We're communally attached, and individually separated, pretty much at the same time, right?

>>> We say "I will do what I want, and sometimes I want to just go along to get along. Sometimes I don't"

>>> Thank You again, Steve. Enjoyed it.

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Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022Author

"True. Converse true also"

Yep, it's also true for men. But it's hard to argue that the expectations and pressures placed on women aren't more restrictive in general. That's not to say that women can't still choose to ignore them, just that they have more to ignore. And yes, there are definitely pressures and expectations on men too. They just aren't as limiting in most cases.

"I believe this contradicts the previous two sentences about it not being possible for You to control Your views about this"

Yeah, that should have been: "I try my best to *treat* everybody as an individual." Not *see* everybody as an individual. I see how that was confusing.😅

I just meant that if I look at a woman, it's impossible for me not to see a woman. I can't make myself see a man or a "them" just because they tell me what their pronouns are. But as much as possible, I try not to let that influence how I think of or treat that person. I certainly can't do this perfectly, there are a thousand little bits of unconscious bias and social programming that affect my behaviour. But I do what I can as far as conscious behaviour goes.

The key flaw with the concept of "non-binary" is the idea that biases are based on how you "identify" instead of how you're perceived. It's the same mistake people make when they say they're "assigned" a sex at birth, rather than having their sex observed. You are what you are. You can't "identify" your way out of that. But you can choose your behaviour.

I think Laurel and I would agree that there should be as little pressure for men and women to behave in certain ways as possible. We'd all be happier without those pressures and expectations. I just don't see how changing our pronouns gets us there.

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"But it's hard to argue that the expectations and pressures placed on women aren't more restrictive in general."

A woman can wear pants a lot more easily than a man can wear a dress.

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Aug 27, 2022·edited Aug 27, 2022Author

"A woman can wear pants a lot more easily than a man can wear a dress."

Haha, true. But I'm thinking beynd fashion options.

Men can apply for pretty much any job (with the exeption of nursing or being a nanny I guess), particularly well paying jobs, and be taken seriously. Nobody will think it's novel or weird or some kind of "feminist" statement that he's applying.

There's infinitely less pressure on men to consider their looks. Not that being good-looking is irrelevant for men, but it accounts for so much less of our "worth." It's not normalised that I should paint my face every single day to be considered acceptable for public consumption. I can wear pretty much whatever clothing I want (dresses aside) without being told I'm "flaunting" my body. I don't have to think about "covering up," or being considered (and treated like) a slut if I *don't* cover up.

Boys are almost universally given more freedom by their parents when they're growing up (which is a significant factor in developing confidence). No stereotypically over-protective dads threatening to pulverise any girl who touches his son. No lectures about maintaining his "virtue." At least for heterosexual men, there's no issue with expressing our sexuality at all really.

Even seemingly little things, like being treated as if you're too weak or fragile to handle yourself, must be endlessly frustrating when multiplied by a million different interactions.

As a man myself, I'm well aware that being a man isn't all toxic masculinity and patriarchy parties. I think the pressures men face are enormously under-recognised and under-empathised with by society today. Nor am I blind to the enormous advantages that come from being an attractive woman (although, again, that attractiveness brings downsides). But I think that for the average person, in many of the most important, material aspects of life, it's easier to move around as a man.

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A tall and good-looking man will be hired despite being much less qualified, though I suppose there is an analogy for women. And *smile*

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I was gonna say earlier, but decided not to:

A woman is less restricted emotionally than a man is, IMO.

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I just think they're restricted in different ways. Women are "allowed" more access to the softer side of the emotinal range. Men, more access to the more dominant, aggressive side. this suits some men and doesn't suit others. The same for women.

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Yeah. OTOH, when men express emotions of dominance and aggressiveness, they're *castigated* because-a it. "Toxic masculinity." You ever heard-a "toxic femininity?" I haven't.

And the caring emotions women are famous for are sometimes DISrespected in a man. But not always, tho, so there is that.

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Actual metrics in double-blind and peer-reviewed studies show that women are every bit as aggressive as men on average, and men are every bit as social as women. I didn't believe it either but the methods were open for stringent review.

One observation most consistent across decades in debates both F2F and in print: women seem much more inclined to treat disagreement, however polite, as attack.

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I think it must be exhausting for teenage boys and men to constantly be subjected to 'gay policing': Having to watch everything you say, do, wear, or consume [media] because it/YOU might be 'gay'. Michael Kimmel describes it in his book Guyland. I know one of the reasons why we see vaginas in non-porn movies but very rarely dicks is because male viewers will be highly discomfited if they see a dick in a non-porn movie) and worry that they're gay, that someone saw them watching the scene and suspect the watcher might be gay. Seriously? You don't know what's coming, you see a sex scene with a dick in it, even just a flaccid one, and you think you're gay for watching it? Or that the guy next to you might be gay because he didn't immediately look away like women do at the Braveheart evisceration scene?

Then there's all the emotional stuffing and burying that has to be done to not be 'unmanly' (i.e., 'womanly'), i.e., don't you DARE try to talk about it with your friends, because they're all too busy pretending everything's fine, nothing matters, nothing ever hurts you. So men bury their pain with drugs and alcohol and toxic masculinity, because they're no more allowed to be their true selves than women. Or non-binary whatevers.

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"I think it must be exhausting for teenage boys and men to constantly be subjected to 'gay policing': Having to watch everything you say, do, wear, or consume [media] because it/YOU might be 'gay'."

Hmm, I imporant to distinguish between gendered expectations and just blatant homophobia though. Yes, men are less "free" to express emption and affection with each other, that's a gender thing. But if you're "worried" that you're gay because you saw a penis in a non-porn context, a) you're a homophobe and b) you're probably gay.

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My observation is most are a), but I've not taken a poll or anything :)

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I use “M.” like the French do, for Monsieur but ALSO for Madam and Mademoiselle EQUALLY. That’s just me.

TY for Your reply, M. Chardenet.

I'm afraid You have the right of it.

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Merci beaucoup, M. T! :)

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"The key flaw with the concept of "non-binary" is the idea that biases are based on how you "identify" instead of how you're perceived."

Disagree. The flaws are twofold.

1) male and female are not social constructs, they are fundamental to the higher phyla of both plant and animal kingdoms, deeply embedded in language and culture. They *are* binary, and intermediate sex is a fantasy.

2) the term itself is a deliberate insult to the majority who correctly see male and female as binary, implying that we are in some way simpleminded, incapable of nuance and obedient to a society that strives to fit people into little boxes.

And the desperation to believe; calling out the few viable developmental defects as other genders, never mind how rare they are.

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"They *are* binary, and intermediate gender is a fantasy."

Say it with me Chris; "Male and female" refer to sex, not gender. Yes, there is no intermediate *sex* I'm not even sure how many non-binary people are claiming that there is. They're just redefining "man" and "woman" to be exclusively about gender expression, and saying that they aren't either because they don't "identify"with the gender stereotypes related to men and women.

Don't get me wrong, I think this is nonsensical on any number of levels, but we should represent their position accurately.

As for non binary being a "deliberate insult," I don't think I'll ever understand why you find this concept quite as offensive as you do or seem to feel so personally implicated by it. If we hadn't arrived at the ridiculous position where I might actually face some kind of legal or disciplinary action for refusing to call somebody "they," I wouldn't care even a little bit if they did so amongst themselves or if they shunned me because I refused to play along.

In fact, I'd be quite happy to be shunned by people who are so deeply confused and utterly self-absorbed.

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I forgot, sorry; all my life I have used "psychological/biological gender" for the distinction you named and "sex" for the horizontal hokey-pokey and only rarely used "sex" for biological gender. And you are the first, and so far the only one, to correct me on that. But I'm not looking for an argument nor is this the hill I want to die on, so, "okay."

But for the record, I have seen claims that a man who put on a dress fifteen minutes ago and sniffs "I'm a woman now" really is one and only by pressing really hard can you get the one making the claim to concede that he doesn't have a uterus.

But you answered your own puzzlement. I find the concept as offensive as I do precisely because people can be fired for using correct English, counselors can be fired for telling a teenage girl that she isn't "trans" even if it's the fashion right now, teachers being fired ... well. And then there is "they" and all the people telling me garbage about how it's been around since the 17th, the 14th, even the 11th century. And then there is the fact that gender roles (in your preferred sense) are so variable even within families to say nothing of across millennia and continents.

Yes I find it offensive af and, to condense all the above, because it is absurd, and such an enthusiastically embraced absurdity.

Not to mention, the NB people are the nastiest and most vicious people I have ever run into, and that includes right wing trolls.

Glad to end on an agreement, as in your last paragraph. Back on Medium, I spent an hour seeking and blocking everyone who might tempt me to write anything about this nonsense.

I am a programmer but I do technical writing in almost every job since most programmers can't write at all, and I have dreaded being asked to rewrite to gender neutrality. I would find ways to circumvent the generic he, which I have no problem with, but if ordered to use "they" I would have to quit.

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"all my life I have used "psychological/biological gender" for the distinction you named and "sex" for the horizontal hokey-pokey and only rarely used "sex" for biological gender."

To be fair, I think this is one of the many problems with conversations about this stuff. You're far from alone in having grown up treating sex and gender as synonyms. And the fact that they're not rarely mattered because we didn't spend so much time talking to people who nitpicked the concepts to validate their neuroses.

I push for precision not out of pedantry, but beacuse this innacuracy allows disingenuous people to more easily twist your words or claim "you just don't get it."

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It's part of using language as weapon. To distinguish biological and psychological notions of gender is to insist that there is a need to do so. Just as with using "cis" when the topic is nowhere near "gender identity," the intention is to promote the false notion that humanity is bifurcated into the gender-congruent and incongruent. In real life of course gender dysphoria, itself a pretense that the old term, ending with "disorder," was inaccurate, is very rare, one out of tens of thousands of births, but as with immediate transitioning. the goal is to swell the ranks.

You don't even need to be dysphoric; just make the claim. Unhappy at home or school? Maybe you're "trans." Doesn't solve a thing but now https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rr63Bexo8z8.

There's a lot of this going on, not just in "trans," but the activists are making the most strident demands, requiring us to pay special attention to them and memorize their myriad gender classifications and their damned pronouns.

GW Bush would use the word "believe" to lie on the podium; he could claim to believe the most implausible ideas but the word removed him from dishonesty.

The study of manipulation of language to regulate thought predates Orwell and Newspeak; the study of this relationship is called the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/psychology/sapir-whorf-hypothesis

But among the "trans" activists this is a power play. By changing the terms they can claim to speak for millions of people when in reality there are probably fewer than 10,000 gender dysphoric people in America; not enough to change the language over, and they aren't the ones demanding that.

Because unlike the activists, they just want to be left alone.

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In the aviation industry, English is the mandatory language for technical manuals, change bulletins, etc. The fallout was 𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 English where some words were not used because they could lead to a technical misunderstanding. Fortunately, technical writing in that industry is about things, rather than people where personal pronouns have no place so I wouldn't think it will become an issue.

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Even in Japan, where people tend to be very insular about everything Japanese, almost all professionals read English; technicians, scientists, doctors. They recognize that their own language is ill-suited for discussion of logical topics, more suited to matters of deference (how low should I bow) than science.

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On point one, a matter of biological fact: Intersex is rare in humans but not unknown, and a lot less rare than you might want to think. Because attitudes are changing, it may become less rare in years to come. In the past, medical staff worked hard to assign intersex babies to the "correct" gender and now they don't worry so much.

You can dismiss this as a "developmental defect" but it's rather too frequently viable for that to be scientifically accepted. Intersex in other species is also not as unusual as you seem to believe. Many plant species - some of them very much part of the "higher phyla" - have individual plants that are both male & female; in fact the majority of plants are like this.

Fungi are a whole different game: I learned about a slime mould (which may or may not be fungi, depending on who you believe!) that lived in a hay field I managed that had, I'm told, 16 different sexual forms & could only reproduce if all 16 were represented in a single host. Now that's a complicated sex life... And fungi constitute a huge proportion of the living creatures on earth.

On point 2: It's becoming more common for people to honestly not give a flying f where anyone else puts themselves on the continuum between male & female, or why. That really annoys the militant trans folk - I recommend it as an attitude for that reason if no other. Personally I see it as none of my business, and I'm supremely uninterested.

The wish to impose clear binary distinctions as absolute truth is a sad one, when applied to the real world. They are rare enough in philosophy and almost never useful in reality except as approximate generalisations. There are always exceptions and counterexamples.

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"It's becoming more common for people to honestly not give a flying f where anyone else puts themselves on the continuum between male & female, or why. That really annoys the militant trans folk - I recommend it as an attitude for that reason if no other. Personally I see it as none of my business, and I'm supremely uninterested."

Total agreement.

Sorry if I skipped over the complexity of plant uh sexes but I didn't want to get into the weeds ... of pistillate and staminate. Of course I know that some angiosperms can bear flowers of both sexes and others like marijuana have distinctly sexed plants.

But intersex has pretty much no intersection with the "non-binary" movement except in the more dishonest arguments about it.

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I think a lotta people are aware of intersex people. So, no, I don't agree that people wanna impose clear binary distinctions as absolute truth.

The problem comes when people don't wanna impose clear binary distinctions at all.

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But if those clear binary distinctions aren't true, why would you want to impose them?

Generalisations are OK until you stumble across an exception. Isn't that the whole point of this discussion?

Real life is just complicated. Enjoy it. Play with it. Roll it about. It's what makes life fun.

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I gave You a "like" because I agree:

"Real life is just complicated. Enjoy it. Play with it. Roll it about. It's what makes life fun."

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Because the exception proves the rule. *Perfectly* clear binary distinctions aren't true. Clear binary distinctions exist.

Otherwise, a woman becomes incapable of defining what a women even is, right?

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Anyone who has done anything electrical, plumbing, mechanical, etc., has used the word gender and gender changer for the binary physical attributes of connectors. Yes, they are things, but a human/animal sex attribute is understood even by children. This is probably why there is resistance to the separation of gender and sex which has a universal, world-wide understanding.

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"You are what you are. You can't "identify" your way out of that."

>>> I thought that was put pretty funny.

"But you can choose your behaviour. I think Laurel and I would agree..."

>>> Yup, and I think You both *would* agree.

"We'd all be happier without those pressures and expectations."

>>> Weeeel, I find that's a tough one. I was just raised with pressures and expectations. Just generally to "do good." Treating people. Grades. Jobs. Marriage. Yeah, there's been times when that's been a bit overly uncomfortable. To minimize it: Sometimes *absolutely crushed* by the pressures and expectations. But it also made me resilient in times when I needed to be, so there is that.

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"I was just raised with pressures and expectations. Just generally to "do good." Treating people. Grades. Jobs. Marriage."

Sure, but pretty much everybody deals with these pressures. These aren't gendered pressures in 2022. I'm not saying that we should live without *any kind* of pressure, that's impossible. And as you say, it builds strength and resilience.

But some pressures, particularly those placed on women, actually make it harder to build that strength and resiilience, because it makes it harder to fully explore and express your autonomy.

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It depends on how You're raised, AFAIK, a lot more than what Your gender is.

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"But that said, I do understand that the experience is different for women. Women face a whole range of expectations and pressures that men don't."

So does everybody. Men face a lot of pressures women don't. I'm tired of the Victimhood Olympics, as I expect many of us are. Be a maverick, and don't conform! Dare to REALLY be yourself, rather than a biological gender you aren't and never will be. Better luck *next* incarnation (where they'll probably long to be the gender they were the last time around :) )

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“ So does everybody. Men face a lot of pressures women don't. I'm tired of the Victimhood Olympics, as I expect many of us are.”

Haha, yep, agreed. There’s nothing I find more boring than the oppression olympics. But I think it’s important to understand the ways in which people’s lives and challenges are different.

For example, the fact that teenage girls and teenage boys have very different experiences during puberty goes a long way to explaining why there’s been a ~4000% increase in FtM transitions. If we don’t recognise the former, it’s very difficult to understand the latter.

We can acknowledge that we face different challenges without defining each other by those challenges.

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They do seem to put an enormous amount of energy in trying to change society to conform to them, and I can't imagine it requires equivalent or more energy to just be who they are. I think the genuinely GD are as fairly uncommon as they always were, and a lot of people are faking themselves out and not addressing the real reasons why they're unhappy.

Sometimes I think these people are reinventing the boomer wheel on gender-bending, as they called it back in the day. They're putting an awful lot of energy into issues that were debated generations ago, in huge denial to a sexually dimorphic world in which our bodies are designed for reproduction. It doesn't mean we must slavishly follow that, but there's no reason to believe that if you're unhappy as your birth sex, you'll be any happier as the other - and many clearly aren't, and some studies indicate the suicide risk *increases*. I wonder, how many are committing suicide because they're living inauthentically, and that's what I think most of these people are doing, whether they realize it or not?

I like what you said about how you're okay with people identifying you as male or black and it's like 'whatever'. If they make ugly assumptions about you based on your biological characteristics, that's on them, not you, and just ignore or stay away from those people. I feel the same way as a person universally perceived as a woman and white - two labels I don't reject because clearly they're true. When I run into asshole men with a bug up their ass about women, I ignore them or give them a wide berth - same as if I run into whitey-haters - whether they're black or Regressive Left white.

While younger feminists piss and moan about how 'exhausting' it is to live with 'patriarchy' (I challenged them a lot on Medium) I wonder whether they don't have anything better to do with their lives than invent microaggressions and then suffer from them. I have probably been subjected to about as much patriarchy, misogyny, and 'microaggressions' as any other woman today but I could probably only name a handful out of my nearly 60 years on this planet. Mostly because they were memorable or stuck in my craw in some way (probably because I let them get away with some shit, LOL). But by and large I don't remember this stuff, because I've got more important things to do and think about, and probably many I haven't even noticed.

This was an interesting conversation but it highlights once again how self-absorbed these people are, and how privileged, thinking they suffer mightily over pronouns when their brethren (non-bineren? :) ) in other countries are getting lynched or defenestrated. The gender identity movement is where *everyone* is highly privileged, no matter who they are, who they *think* they are, or what they look like.

Your point about why they spend so much effort trying to get the rest of society to conform to them is just spot-on, Steve!

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It's such an easy shot to complain about being victimized by patriarchal attitudes. There's no measure for them, so those who love to feel oppressed can claim indefinitely that nothing is getting any better.

This shit gets old.

When early feminism was about tangibles like wage equality, and wages converged a little, people could point to progress and my guess is that the rage dropped a little because suddenly we weren't hearing about wages anymore. Did lecture fees drop, maybe?

Complaining about oppression when there is no way to show it's lessening is a gift that keeps on giving.

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I'm reminded of Freddie DeBoer's recent post re: multiplicity horror, one of which consequences he describes as the intelligibility urge, "the deep desire to be made in some sense easily and consistently comprehensible to others in a way that provides comfort to yourself."

"When confronted with the innumerable personas that populate the internet, we’re faced with several different kinds of terror. The first is that we might be just one more face among all of them. The second is that they might perceive us in a way different than we perceive ourselves. And so the intelligibility urge is the desire to be easily digestible to others, to have clear boundaries and associations that enable others to clock us quickly and assign us to a tribe. Dogmom. Wine aficionado. ACAB. Funkopop enthusiast. Hufflepuff. Proudboy. 6’2. Hopeless romantic. Pronouns in bio. Whatever the current trappings of “irony” are."

I was somewhat disturbed to read "A lot of times, the new stereotypes around new pronouns are actually beneficial." I get their primary point was to say they found value in the label insofar as it allowed them to find their 'tribe', but it was almost like saying being assigned a stereotype isn't the problem, it's being assigned the WRONG stereotype.

Sure, stereotypes exist because they're useful heuristics, and people are social and want community and that's why lost teens have desperately sought labels since time immemorial, but labels and stereotypes are different things serving different purposes. Stereotypes shouldn't be used for self-identification because they're ultimately a trap: they always end up boxing in people eventually. It rankles me to hear them being described as "beneficial".

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“Behavior is truth.” —Andrew Vachss

“Everything else is bullshit.” —Lightwing

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The times that I think about my maleness - digital prostate exams, when choosing doors at public restrooms, and loosely when having a Jimmy Carter moment. Other than that, it may be running as a background process, but not in the foreground.

Benjamin Cain recently wrote an article "Why We’re Ashamed to Admit the Flaws of our Religion

And why secularists are in the same boat" https://tinyurl.com/3rpt4tkf where he speaks about entertaining an absurd idea as a shibboleth. The "radical trans" 𝘳𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘰𝘶𝘴 absurdity is the objection to the statement "only women can have babies" being met with "trans-men can have babies." Did the offending statement have a prefix?

Perhaps the fact that I am not gender dysphoric enables me to not have a thought of my maleness as a foreground process. I suppose a non-passing transexual would think about it when they are 𝘮𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥.

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