Gender and threats to "Normality" (spilit from "The challenges ahead")

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N.E. Brigand
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Gender and threats to "Normality" (spilit from "The challenges ahead")

Post by N.E. Brigand »

I split this off from the "Challenges Ahead" thread in Lasto because it was becoming more of a philosophical discussion then a political one.

Not sure what thread this belongs in, but today in Idaho a bunch of white nationalists were arrested after they were found in the back of a U-haul truck:

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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by RoseMorninStar »

Hard to say for certain due to the masks and some were wearing gloves, but they appear to be white males. They must be quite fragile to feel so threatened by anyone who doesn't fit that profile.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Sunsilver »

Rose, if you click on the article, they have a list of most of their names, plus their affiliation. Some are know Nazis, all are members of the white nationalist group Patriot Front. One of the Patriot Front leaders arrested on Saturday was also at Charlottesville.

This was highly organized - they are from 11 different states!
31 members of neofascist group Patriot Front arrested for conspiracy to riot in Couer d'Alene Idaho. They are residents of 11 states: Texas, Utah, Idaho, Colorado, S. Dakota, Illinois, Arkansas, Wyoming, Washington, Oregon, Virginia. Names not yet released. #PatriotFail
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Eldy »

They were just one of the far-right groups looking to disrupt Pride in Coeur d'Alene, and the least successful. Loads more photos and videos in this Twitter thread.



https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1535 ... 22528.html

The open carry types are the worst, in my opinion. I'm trying to imagine going to Pride and seeing a guy with a tactical vest, flex cuffs, and an AR-15 there to "protest" queer people, and I just ... can't. :neutral:
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Sunsilver »

I'm trying to imagine what it must feel like for you as a trans person reading THIS! :( (from the link you posted)

I'm so sorry!
fascists were just harassing a trans woman, the cops arrested her and left the fascists alone.

These guys are literal nazis. They’re currently engaged in a heated conversation with a group and saying fucking awful things that i will not repeat about trans people and Black folks.

They’re not even trying to hide their support for genocide and fascism. The guy on the left in the checkered shirt was just being super racist and said that fascism is good and that it’s fine queer and trans people are here because they’ll all be dead soon.
When did it become okay to threaten to kill someone just because they're different? :cry:
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Sunsilver wrote: Sun Jun 12, 2022 8:00 amWhen did it become okay to threaten to kill someone just because they're different? :cry:
For all of human history, sadly. We need to evolve beyond that.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by River »

Trump's fan base made all kinds of stuff feel safe coming out of the shadows.

I almost feel sorry for the open-carry types. Imagine feeling so insecure and frightened of the world you feel the need to broadcast it with a weapon that's marketed as a phallic symbol and do it in front of families no less. I once dated a guy who was insecure with his manhood and it was tedious af. In a way, it's actually rather nice of these open carry types to broadcast to all the straight women out there that a relationship with them is going to be absolutely miserable and full of utterly thankless emotional labor before, during, and after sex.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by RoseMorninStar »

Sadly River, I agree. That's what the shirt means by 'reclaim America'. :( I would imagine (the insecurity) being a huge stumbling block throughout any relationship.

The intent, if not to harm, was to at least threaten harm. This is not protest but a threat.

I believe the Pride parade in Milwaukee last weekend was peaceful.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Eldy »

I too would consider that a massive red flag, though my odds of ending up with an open carrier aren't high, given the political make-up of the population of straight men willing to even consider a relationship (as opposed to secretive, guilt-ridden hook-ups) with a woman like me. :P

Growing up online, and venturing beyond the comparatively civil confines of Tolkien fandom, means the sort of rhetoric Sunsilver highlighted is nothing new to me, though I'm very fortunate not to have personally encountered anyone spouting it in real life. (It helps to live in a blue state, and also not get out much. :smilespin:) Even reading it hits differently now, but I knew what I was getting into when I came out. I try to remind myself that the heightened backlash on trans issues is itself a sign of how much progress has been made, and hopefully will continue to be made. I see reason for optimism in my personal experience of finding support and acceptance in varying degrees from almost all of my friends, family, and former professors and coworkers to whom I've come out, though I've got it easier than many.

Those who want to push back on advances for all LGBT folks are the most worrying, but one of the stranger developments of the past year is the emergence of (or at least the start of me noticing) people who seem willing to grudgingly invite binary trans men and women like me—who identify as male or fame, just not what we were assigned at birth—into the big tent of respectability, so long as nonbinary people are left outside. For example, Sen. Cynthia Lummis' remarks in her University of Wyoming commencement speech last month were widely reported as transphobic, and they were, but I found it notable that her response to booing was, "I’m not making a comment on the fact that there are people who transition between sexes." I hope few of us will take the invitation, just as the majority of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people have declined the opportunity to throw trans people under the bus.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Sunsilver »

I see reason for optimism in my personal experience of finding support and acceptance in varying degrees from almost all of my friends, family, and former professors and coworkers to whom I've come out, though I've got it easier than many.
No doubt things have changed a lot for the better in the way we look at the sexes and sex discrimination. When one of my best friends attended law school in the 1970's it was perfectly okay for a professor to make disparaging comments about the (very few) female students in the class. Today, he'd get thrown out on his ear, PDQ!!
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by RoseMorninStar »

Sen. Lummis' questionable quote from her speech: “Even fundamental, scientific truths such as the existence of two sexes, male and female, are subject to challenge these days,” Lummis said during her speech at the University of Wyoming during graduation this past Saturday.

To which I'll quote something from Rebecca R Helm, biology professor:
Friendly neighborhood biologist here. I see a lot of people are talking about biological sexes and gender right now. Lots of folks make biological sex seem really simple. Well, since it’s so simple, let’s find the biological roots, shall we? Let’s talk about sex…

If you know a bit about biology you will probably say that biological sex is caused by chromosomes, XX and you’re female, XY and you’re male. This is “chromosomal sex” but is it “biological sex”? Well…

Turns out there is only ONE GENE on the Y chromosome that really matters to sex. It’s called the SRY gene. During human embryonic development the SRY protein turns on male-associated genes. Having an SRY gene makes you “genetically male”. But is this “biological sex”?

Sometimes that SRY gene pops off the Y chromosome and over to an X chromosome. Surprise! So now you’ve got an X with an SRY and a Y without an SRY. What does this mean?

A Y with no SRY means physically you’re female, chromosomal you’re male (XY) and genetically you’re female (no SRY). An X with an SRY means you’re physically male, chromosomally female (XX) and genetically male (SRY). But biological sex is simple! There must be another answer…

Sex-related genes ultimately turn on hormones in specific areas on the body, and reception of those hormones by cells throughout the body. Is this the root of “biological sex”??

“Hormonal male” means you produce ‘normal’ levels of male-associate hormones. Except some percentage of females will have higher levels of ‘male’ hormones than some percentage of males. Ditto ditto ‘female’ hormones. And…

…if you’re developing, your body may not produce enough hormones for your genetic sex. Leading you to be genetically male or female, chromosomal male or female, hormonally non-binary, and physically non-binary. Well, except cells have something to say about this…

Maybe cells are the right answer to “biological sex”?? Right?? Cells have receptors that “hear’ the signal from sex hormones. But sometimes those receptors don’t work. Like a mobile phone that’s on “do not disturb’. Call and call, they will not answer. 

What does this all mean?

It means that you may be genetically male or female, chromosomal male or female, hormonally male/female/non-binary, with cells that may or may not hear the male/female/non-binary call, and all this leading to a body that can be male/non-binary/female.
Try out some combinations for yourself. Notice how confusing it gets? Can you point to what the absolute cause of biological sex is? Is it fair to judge people by it? 

Of course you could try appealing to the numbers. “Most people are either male or female” you say. Except that as a biologist professor I will tell you…

The reason I don’t have my students look at their own chromosome in class is because people could learn that their chromosomal sex doesn’t match their physical sex, and learning that in the middle of a 10 point assignment is JUST NOT THE TIME.

Biological sex is complicated. Before you discriminate against someone on the basis of “biological sex” & identity, ask yourself: have you seen YOUR chromosomes? Do you know the genes of the people you love? The hormones of the people you work with? The state of their cells?

Since the answer will obviously be no, please be kind, respect people’s right to tell you who they are, and remember that you don’t have all the answers. Again: biology is complicated. Kindness and respect don’t have to be.

Rebecca R Helm 12/19/19
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by River »

She barely even got into what it means to be intersex or born with ambiguous genitalia. Nor did she touch on hermaphrodites.

As we say in the lab, it's biology. Anything can happen. Maybe it even already happened and died out. We are the children of the survivors.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by elengil »

I remember something like 20 years ago watching a documentary about intersexed children or children with ambiguous genitalia who were quite literally 'assigned' a sex at birth - too often with surgeries that even the parents may not have known about and was certainly concealed from the child - and it always struck me as so odd when the fight over SS marriage or transgender people came up and I thought back to that documentary thinking "but you don't even do a genetic test, you just wing it!" when people started yelling about biology and genetics.

And people who insist the unreachable barrier between M and F aren't any more correct than those doctors who insisted "just raise the child as X" as if their gender was entirely a matter of upbringing.

It is so irritating when people try to distill life down to simplistic preschool blocks.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by RoseMorninStar »

I think it comes down to (as it so often does) that there are 2 basic types of people in this world; those who view everything as black & white absolutes, and those who see everything as various shades of grey with very few absolutes.
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by River »

That's part of it. There're also people who really like rules. These types aren't necessarily inclined to seeing the world in the colors of my tuxedo cat but they like the structure of rules because it makes things easier. Less thinking to do when there's a rule to follow. These types aren't necessarily stupid or foolish either. They just like the comfort of rules. And with transgenderism, some very big rules our culture structured huge chunks of society around start breaking down (emphasis on our culture; other currently existing cultures have context and places for these people and therefore feel less need to parade around with AR-15s or equivalent).
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Eldy »

Yeah, gender is an extremely touchy issue for a lot of reasons. The idea that people can defy traditional gender roles (which of course vary from culture to culture) with impunity is deeply threatening to some worldviews. That's at the root of much homophobia: see, for example, the number of people who think it's not gay for a man to have sex with another man so long as he's the penetrative partner. This is an easy idea to mock, but I think it's important to realize that a lot of people are sincere in this belief. It's not the sex with men that bothers them, it's about a man assuming (voluntarily or not; see practically any discussion of prison rape) the "feminine" or "submissive" role in sex. The idea that someone can abandon their gender assigned at birth entirely is even more threatening. In the United States, where I live, pushback to that idea comes mostly from religious conservatives, but in the UK many of the strongest opponents are second-wave feminists who are deeply invested in the concept of biological sex as determinative. (Third-wave feminists and later tend to be much more accepting of trans people, sex workers, and others who were excluded from earlier iterations of the movement.) In some ways, these people have a deeply conservative view of the world, and sometimes they cooperate with religious conservatives for political ends, but they're coming from a different place and tend not to be homophobic.

Of course, plenty of opposition to trans visibility is not informed by a coherent set of political beliefs, but simply an instinctual sense of aversion, whether because it's "icky" or because it leads to questions people are uncomfortable asking of themselves. I've met a number of gender-nonconforming people, some of whom I consider friends or acquaintances, who get uncomfortable and defensive listening to trans people talk about not conforming to gender roles before coming out, because they feel like it's somehow a comment on their own gender identity. I don't really grok that, but I also don't want to dismiss the feelings of gender-nonconforming cis people, who don't always have it easy either. Unfortunately, such conversations are made more difficult by many trans people being bad at putting their experiences into words, because it's really hard to describe dysphoria to someone who hasn't gone through it themselves (or sometimes even to people who have; the feelings involved can vary significantly). I still can't really verbalize exactly why the idea of being, and particularly being seen as, male was so distressing to me, but I know it had very little to do with feeling trapped by societal expectations of gender roles, since I'm fortunate enough to have friends and family who mostly don't care about that. There was just a sense of wrongness and self-denial about it that eventually got so bad it overcame my fear of change and uncertainty. Fortunately, nobody has conditioned their support on me being able to put my experience into words clearly, so I'm not sure how many even know it's something I struggle to do. :P
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I really appreciate your willingness to speak about this, Eldy. I did want to note that the posts in this forum are publicly searchable, whereas the posts in Bag End (and other member-only forums) are not. If you would prefer, I would be happy to move this part of the discussion to Bag End to keep it a little more private (of course, I realize that nothing is truly private on the internet).
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Eldy »

I appreciate the offer, Voronwë, but I made a deliberate decision some time ago to speak openly about being trans, with as little self-consciousness as a pathologically self-conscious person like me can manage, in the hopes that doing so might in some small way contribute to making trans folks seem like a normal, comprehensible part of life to more people. So, towards that end, I am happy for my posts to remain in a more visible subforum. :)
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by elengil »

Having been given an exceptionally unfortunate haircut in middle school I got confused for a boy a lot until it grew out again. I don't know that I'd classify the experience as necessarily distressful but that's almost certainly because people accepted it when I corrected them. I clearly was uncomfortable enough with the confusion that I *did* correct them, though I can't say I remember much other than being irritated at having to do it.

I think no matter what, it's not pleasant to be confused as something you aren't, made worse when others refuse to be corrected on it. But I also couldn't explain exactly why it bothered me (especially since I was very much the stereotypical tomboy growing up). Just proves that the idea of a tomboy is *not* the same as being transmale like some people try to insist (or the reverse, why do you need to be trans, why can't you just be a 'tomboy' - like these are so not the same thing!!!)

There certainly is a sense of certain people feeling entitled to dictate other people's bodies - whether it's what they wear, what they put on them, what they put in them, what they remove from them... it likely is due to wanting others to fit into neat boxes, but it's so bizarre, especially from people who likewise would be absolutely outraged to have their own bodies dictated by others.
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"Does anyone ever think about Denethor, the guy driven to madness by staying up late into the night alone in the dark staring at a flickering device he believed revealed unvarnished truth about the outside word, but which in fact showed mostly manipulated media created by a hostile power committed to portraying nothing but bad news framed in the worst possible way in order to sap hope, courage, and the will to go on? Seems like he's someone we should think about." - Dave_LF
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Re: The challenges ahead (Biden's America)

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Eldy wrote: Tue Jun 14, 2022 5:02 pm I appreciate the offer, Voronwë, but I made a deliberate decision some time ago to speak openly about being trans, with as little self-consciousness as a pathologically self-conscious person like me can manage, in the hopes that doing so might in some small way contribute to making trans folks seem like a normal, comprehensible part of life to more people. So, towards that end, I am happy for my posts to remain in a more visible subforum. :)
I appreciate that.

If I had my way (which I won't), I would do away with the concept of "normal" altogether. It is a moving target which causes unneeded distress in so many different ways. But that, perhaps, is a topic for a different discussion.
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