Tobold's Blog
Friday, June 17, 2022
 
How responsible are children?

I am a centrist. As this post of mine is based on common sense, it will most likely trigger both left wing and right wing cultural warriors. You have been warned!

The Federal Uniform Drinking Age Act of 1984 sets the age at which you can buy or publicly consume alcohol in the USA to 21 years. This is based on a broader legal principle, which is that children are less responsible than adults, and thus a) should not be allowed to do certain things and b) are punished less harshly if they do something wrong. Now every single legislation pertaining to age is somewhat arbitrary. The drinking age in the USA changed over the course of history. It is different in other countries. The minimum age of the US president is 35, which seems like a completely random number. But while any individual number could be endlessly discussed, most people do agree that some sort of age restriction makes sense; both for the protection of children themselves, and for the protection of others from irresponsible acts by children.

Now if you were to design a legal system from scratch, how would you design age restrictions? Probably you would list everything you wanted an age restriction on, and then sort them by relative impact or risk level. For example the minimum age to drive an electric scooter is lower than the minimum age to drive a car, because the average outcome of a scooter accident is less harmful than the average outcome of a car accident.

Unfortunately, not every legislation is based on common sense. The culture wars resulted in each side pushing their agenda to a point where they reject any restrictions on whatever they define as "freedom", even age restrictions. Thus the story of the Uvalde shooter, who went out on his 18th birthday to legally buy some automatic rifles. Or the discussions on lowering age limits for sex change medications and procedures, including "puberty blockers", which due to the low age at which puberty begins always target young children below the minimum age of consent.

I am taking no stance here on the availability of guns or sex change procedures to responsible adults, that is a different discussion. But what we are saying here is that somebody who can't be trusted with a bottle of beer is responsible enough to handle weapons designed for mass killings or to make irreversible life-changing medical decisions. Both sides are sacrificing their children on the altar of culture wars, with a huge potential for self-harm and harm to others. Shouldn't there be a more consistent system of how much responsibility a child can have?

Comments:
Culture and indeed legislation is a gestalt. The kind of factors you list accrete organically over time and erode the same way. Your postulate of a situation where it might be possible to begin from scratch and set all limits and rules simultaneously, harmoniously and rationally is about as far from a centrist position as its possible to get. It's an absolute extreme. It's also an absolute impossiblity outside of a totalitarian regime and it does indeed bring to mind Mao's Cultural Revolution or Pol Pot's Year Zero.
 
It is *because* we can’t have a do-over that we need to make sure that new legislation is consistent with the existing system. Laws change, one by one, over time. All I am asking for is that the current efforts to regulate many things from gun access to gender change take the existing age limit for having a beer into account.
 
Firearms should be restricted in general. Even adults shouldn't be able to casually walk into any random "gun shop" and go back home with an arsenal. I live in Italy and I am glad my country doesn't allow stuff like that. We're the mafia's motherland, letting people freely walk with a gun would result in a genocide.
 
I don't want to dip into the minefield of gun control but I do think there are valid grounds for increasing the age we consider someone is fully adult. We know that the human brain keeps growing and maturing well into the twenties. We also know that in many modern societies the age at which young people become fully independent has increased from the teens to the mid twenties. Twenty five is the new eighteen.


 
Also we've discovered that your brain doesn't finish development until around 25 year old.

If we're talking about poor judgement and permanent live-altering decisions, that seems important.
 
Puberty blockers are reversable, simply by no longer taking the medication. And even getting the medication is a very involved process:

* Show a long-lasting and intense pattern of gender nonconformity or gender dysphoria
* Have gender dysphoria that began or worsened at the start of puberty
* Address any psychological, medical or social problems that could interfere with treatment
* Have entered the early stage of puberty
* Provide informed consent
* Particularly when a child hasn't reached the age of medical consent, parents or other caretakers or guardians must consent to the treatment and support the adolescent through the treatment process.

Most hospitals require someone to be 18 or older for "gender affirming surgery," e.g. bottom surgery. And, again, it's not something that can be done on a whim like popping over to a local gun shop on your 18th birthday.

Both sides are sacrificing their children on the altar of culture wars [...]

Really? "Both sides are sacrificing their children?" One is a treatment for a documented medical condition, another is the purchase of a tool of war. Really looking forward to the freedom of my preschooler experiencing active shooter drills for the rest of his childhood. But, yes, bOtH sIdEs.
 
"Both sides are sacrificing their children?"

Strong, emotional and misleading words.
Here is one difference between the two cases - meddling with ones gender affects mostly themselves and somewhat their close relatives. On the other hand, allowing irresponsible persons to drive cars or to buy assault weapons can negatively affect anyone in the society, and thus has much bigger impact.
 
The search for symmetry between the left and right has really led you astray on this one.
 
The search for symmetry between the left and right has really led you astray on this one.

I'm not saying there is absolute symmetry. I'm saying both sides are pushing certain "freedoms" without thinking of sensible age restrictions. Which of this "freedoms" is perceived as "worse" is very much depending on the political leanings of the observer. I have a lot of left-leaning readers who are fundamentally incapable of admitting that any policy pushed by liberals could potentially ever be wrong; and who can't understand why a majority of Americans are actually more afraid of those liberal policies than they are afraid of the ongoing attacks on democracy by the right.

In professional risk assessment, you multiply the possible harm done with the probability of that harm occurring. By claiming gender change is less harmful than weapon sales, you only look at the worst case scenario, a school shooting or something. But a lot of people buy guns without murdering anyone, while there is no "no consequences" possible outcome for gender change medical intervention. According to latest data from the UK National Health Service, the effects of puberty blockers are *not* fully reversible. And the point of my post is that giving "gender affirming surgery" to somebody who you wouldn't trust with a bottle of beer is not a good idea.

a treatment for a documented medical condition

That is the most misleading statement frequently used in the discussion of trans issues. There is an extremely small number of people who have an actual medical condition that would benefit from gender change treatment. There is a far, far larger number of people who "self-identify" as trans. And it has been shown that this number goes up dramatically in social environments where cis heterosexual are being blamed as being the source of all evil, while being trans is "cool". No, the latest generation has not inexplicably been born with a much higher rate of gender dysphoria than previous generations. It is just that times have changed, and since not so long ago we live in a world in which for example some YouTubers have been denied sponsorships for the crime of being cis heterosexuals. Create socio-economic conditions in which being trans is an advantage, and suddenly you have a lot more trans people. *Especially* in more impressionable and less responsible age groups.
 
One of my favorites was left off the list. I think that voting age is another incongruity. IMO, if someone can't be trusted to drink responsibly then they shouldn't be voting either. Maybe upper age limits would be good too. My sister helped my step dad vote in the last election. I wouldn't help him register. I asked him who was the president (Trump). He didn't know. I asked who was the previous president (Obama). He didn't know. If someone doesn't know Obama vs Trump, then I don't think they should be voting.

 
Create socio-economic conditions in which being trans is an advantage, and suddenly you have a lot more trans people.

That we live in socio-economic conditions in which being trans is an advantage is one hell of a claim. It requires more evidence than 'some YouTuber was denied sponsorship'. For what it's worth, here's a review article suggesting the opposite.

As to the thesis of social contagion, the alternative explanation for rising rates is that people are now allowed to at least try to live their truth instead of suppressing it with no hope of acceptance. There's a rather elegant comparison to the "rising rates" of left-handedness that I sometimes see trotted out in support of this argument. Once children stopped being told that it's wrong and forcibly taught to write right-handed in school, etc., they grew up as left-handed adults, and the rates rose, despite the genetic component likely remaining steady.

And anyway, why should there be as few trans people as possible?
 
And the point of my post is that giving "gender affirming surgery" to somebody who you wouldn't trust with a bottle of beer is not a good idea.

And the point you continue to miss is that puberty blockers, hormones, and/or surgery are not just "given" to kids. Since you brought up the NHS, here are steps. In addition to the gauntlet of:

* clinical psychologist
* child psychotherapist
* child and adolescent psychiatrist
* family therapist
* social worker

...you also have the child themselves and their parents (or guardians). Even if we don't agree that a child is capable of consenting (to this or any procedure), guess what, parents make medical decisions on their children's behalf all the time. Vaccines, cancer treatments, and conservatives' favorite: circumcision. At least with puberty blockers, there are at least five more medical personnel involved to determine the costs/benefits.

By claiming gender change is less harmful than weapon sales, you only look at the worst case scenario, a school shooting or something.

Actually, it's best to look at the harms of rampant gun culture across the board. Like how much higher the suicide risk is for gun owners, accidental deaths (children or otherwise), how guns in the home make it more likely for a person to die to homicide by a partner, and so on. Unfortunately, federal research has been effectively outlawed for 20+ years so there is a lot of catch-up needed.

There is an extremely small number of people who have an actual medical condition that would benefit from gender change treatment.

Yes... and you are in favor of getting that treatment? Or no?

No, the latest generation has not inexplicably been born with a much higher rate of gender dysphoria than previous generations.

Maybe, maybe not. Perhaps we'll find out that the increase in autism, ADHD, and gender dysphoria is a function of microplastic poisoning. Or an increase in diagnostic capability. Or that people are more willing to "allow" these conditions to be a part of society, and thus people no longer have to hide.

[...] for example some YouTubers have been denied sponsorships for the crime of being cis heterosexuals.

If you have an example, perhaps you'd like to give it?
 
I'm not going to touch the whole gun side of the argument here. I don't think I want to unpick the... let's call it unique... relationship the US has with guns and gun violence, especially in the comment section of a blog.

So, then, the trans stuff.

> But what we are saying here is that somebody who can't be trusted with a bottle of beer is responsible enough [...] to make irreversible life-changing medical decisions.
Um, yes, yes we are indeed saying that. And, what's more, we, as a society, seem to have been saying that for quite a while already way before the whole focus on trans people came about. Let's talk about deaf children.
I assume you know what a cochlear implant is. And you may also know that there is a clear negative correlation between the age at the point of implantation and the effectiveness of the implant. Nowadays, it has become pretty commonplace for implantation to occur between the ages of 10 and 15 months, in which case parents obviously are the ones to consent to the procedure instead of the infant. But there are also still cases where the possibility doesn't get raised until later. And in the case of, say, a ten-year-old child, it would no longer just be parental consent that is needed. (By all means, correct me if this is handled differently where you live.)
Or, to consider a slightly more distressing example of medical decisions with long term effects being foisted on underage children, what if a fourteen-year-old suffers an unwanted pregnancy? I don't think you would want to make consent to an abortion impossible in such a case. Nor would you want to take all agency from the child by placing the decision entirely in the hands of the parents, I hope.
Obviously, I would not expect the child in either of these examples to face that decision completely alone. I fully expect the parents and the physicians to provide guidance and information, ideally without unduly injecting their own agenda, though realistically that probably cannot be fully avoided. But the decision will have to be made, and I don't think it could rightfully be made by anyone other than the child whose body is at stake here.

Now, for me, the thing that most sets both these examples apart from such things as being allowed to drink beer or drive a car or get a tattoo is the medical necessity. And, at least to my mind, the issues faced by possibly transgender children and youths provide a similar medical urgency. The worst downside I can imagine of being summarily denied the opportunity to get a tattoo, is not having a tattoo. The worst downside I can imagine of being summarily denied the possibility of temporarily taking puberty blockers, is a severe case of gender dysphoria, with all that can entail.

Now, does that mean that I wholeheartedly endorse the Dutch Protocol and decry any that oppose its universal adoption as child abusers? No, of course it doesn't. For one thing that would be just ridiculously confrontational, and for another, I am not a medical professional. I don't have the necessary body of knowledge to confidently make such a sweeping statement. But I will say that I find the notion of "if you cannot legally drink, then you should not be allowed to consent to a medically indicated procedure either" unconvincing.

(There is plenty more to be said here, but I have already become unfashionably verbose.)
 
And anyway, why should there be as few trans people as possible?

Ah, you slipped up there, @Esteban. You revealed your secret opinion that being trans is a voluntary lifestyle choice, and not a medical condition, while the argument for it being readily available to minors is that it is an illness. Nobody says "why should there be as few ill people as possible?".

Gender affirmative medical treatment is an imperfect solution to a medical condition, gender dysphoria. Imperfect, because at the end of the treatment you a still not biologically of the other sex. The best you can hope for is being socially accepted as being a different gender (and I am all for that social acceptance). But if for example you started out as biologically male and you self-identify as a woman to the point that you would like to be able to become pregnant and have children, there aren't any medical treatments that would allow this. There is a very unhealthy denial on the left that gender could have anything to do with sexuality and procreation, when in reality these things are connected. I don't support underage gender affirmative medical treatment, because I don't think that somebody could possibly grasp what it means to be a man or a woman before even going through puberty.

If you consider gender dysphoria as "clinically significant distress or impairment" (DSM-5), you should absolutely hope that there are as few people as possible suffering from this. You would also assume that as a random medical condition, the distribution of gender dysphoria over the world would be relatively homogeneous. Just as being left-handed is distributed relatively evenly over the world.

Do you know who are the most hated and online most attacked people by the trans community? It is the detransitioners, poor souls who *thought* they were trans, underwent gender affirmative medical treatment, and ended up regretting it. There is a political movement trying to deny that gender affirmative medical treatment could ever be wrong. Yes, my comparison with the right trying to deny that handing an 18-year old an automatic rifle could ever be wrong is imperfect, and the risks are very different. But the underlying denial of reality for political reasons is the same.
 
You revealed your secret opinion that being trans is a voluntary lifestyle choice, and not a medical condition, while the argument for it being readily available to minors is that it is an illness. Nobody says "why should there be as few ill people as possible?"

No, I voiced my overt opinion that being a trans person is not inherently a worse way of being a human than being a cis person. There's no need to minimise it by trying to reduce the availability of gender-affirming treatment. I have no secret opinions on this issue; I'm not playing games.

Being trans is not a medical condition. Gender dysphoria, the psychological effect of being forced to live as the wrong gender assigned to one at birth, is. Please reflect carefully on the difference.
 
Why would somebody who does not suffer from gender dysphoria need medical treatment to change his gender? And if we as society declare somebody not to be responsible enough to drink a beer, why would we think that this hypothetical person who does not have gender dysphoria should be free to decide to undergo unnecessary and irreversible medical treatments that might very well mess up his whole life?
 
I suppose you deciding to become a transmedicalist is a considerable improvement over being on Team TERF, so we're making good progress here.

But I'm afraid I have to reject the implication that gender incongruence has to rise to the level of dysphoria before we agree that someone is "really trans". And especially that this kind of gatekeeping be used to suppress the number of people seeking to live as the right gender for them, or as genderqueer for that matter. As if that were somehow a bad thing.

Like, someone dubbed a girl at birth grows up with the obvious inner sense of being a boy.

That kid is consistent about being a boy. "Her" ring fingers are curiously long. Whatever girl-coded stuff "her" society throws at "her", "she" detests, while the boy-coded stuff "she" laps up. Perhaps one day the kid sits down with mum and dad and says, quite seriously, that he's pretty sure he's actually a boy.

His parents are hostile to the idea. No reasonable path exists to "have a beer" without his parents' consent; perhaps in extremis one does exist but the kid's too timid to take it, defy them, and risk alienating them further. The kid doubts himself. The kid goes back to living as a girl.

Okay, the kid is sixteen now. He has gone through puberty and looks like a girl. The kid knows he's a man. But the entire social structure around him is built with the understanding that he's a woman. It's hard. He tries to convince himself that maybe he's a butch lesbian, instead. He muddles through to his twenties before trying for medical transition.

He lives in a European country, and so the public health service covers HRT and surgery, at least in theory. But boy, are there roadblocks. In his country, about 40% of applicants for surgery are approved, in contrast to 80% just across the border. The gauntlet of psychiatrists and counsellors is skeptical. He's interrogated as to whether he's suffering enough. He's asked if he's got suicidal thoughts. He lies and says yes. In the end, he's denied HRT because his BMI is beyond cutoff for hypothetical future surgery. (Yes, you read that right.)

He gives up on medical transition. He wears chest binders, eschews make-up, adjusts hair, clothes, does his best to present as a man. He does resent his voice and the sight of his naked body, but it's not enough to break him. He legally changes his gender, and his name to a unisex one, which makes him feel a little better. He endures the odd misgendering and estrangement from his family. He manages to keep his life together. Having failed to convince the medical establishment of "clinically significant distress or impairment", he goes forward and makes do. He's fortunate enough to find an accepting partner (who happens to be non-binary) with whom he falls in love.

The fact that he's not cripplingly dysphoric does not make him any less of a man. His "trans" isn't "cured", because that was never the disease. (That's not strictly true: we used to say it was the disease two DSMs ago, in DSM-III. But then, we used to say homosexuality was a disease in DSM-II.)

The trans kid in this story is lucky, after a fashion. But we had no way of knowing the outcome at the time of his puberty. His gender incongruence may well have spiralled into dysphoria resulting in "clinically significant distress and impairment", to put it very mildly, given that depression and suicide are common outcomes. And his life, in any case, would have been happier had he been allowed to transition medically.
 
I suppose you deciding to become a transmedicalist is a considerable improvement over being on Team TERF, so we're making good progress here.

I don't know why the two would exclude each other. A person with gender dysphoria might require gender affirming medical treatment, but that treatment cannot turn that person into a "real man" / "real woman", biologically speaking. It's like if I have lost a leg from an accident or medical conditions, I can get an artificial leg, but that will never be the same as a "real leg". As a society we should strive to be accepting to people who have medical conditions that have been partially fixed by medical treatments. That doesn't mean that we need to entertain the illusion of the man with the artificial leg that this is a real leg, and we can't exclude him from professions or activities that would require real legs.

But if you believe in your example that somebody can be trans without gender dysphoria, how do you make the difference between the person in your example who "knows" he is born in the wrong body, and the person who just feels the mix of conflicting emotions we all go through during puberty and who has falsely identified that as "being trans"? Do you not accept that a person could be wrong about that at the age of 16?

In the US between 2005 and 2015, revenue from tattoo removals surged 440 percent to $75.5 million, and was expected to hit $83.2 million in 2018. This is people who at a younger age "knew" who they were, and had an expression of that inked into their skin, only to later regret that decision enough to go through the expense and pain of partially removing that ink. And tattoo removal is a whole lot easier than detransitioning.
 
Woof, this sure escalated. And devolved into metaphysics. Again. Luckily metaphysics is my jam. So I'll just cherrypick a few things to comment on.

>But if for example you started out as biologically male and you self-identify as a woman to the point that you would like to be able to become pregnant and have children, there aren't any medical treatments that would allow this.
I have to say this statement smacks of the weird fantasy where the trans strawpeople are entirely ignorant of biology, and have never even heard of hormones and chromosomes. And I have to ask, do you actually know any trans people who are like this? Because I don't. The trans people I know are fully aware that they will never be biologically identical to cis people of their gender, and that is also not their goal. And most of them would argue that the ability to give birth is at best tangentially related to the social concept of womanhood. I would have to agree with this, because for one, the ability to give birth is not observable in most social interactions, and for two, nobody argues that infertile cis women aren't women.

>Do you know who are the most hated and online most attacked people by the trans community?
This is kinda technically incorrect while also not being really wrong at the heart of it, so I think it may deserve some clarification. Detransitioners aren't necessarily hated the most by (the loudest part of) the trans community, but they often feel the hostility more dearly, since they used to be (or even still consider themselves) a part of the trans community. Being branded as a traitor by those who you see as your friends or your people is pretty devastating. And yes, I find the treatment of detransitioners by the trans community distressing.
But, again, you have to put this communal hypervigilance into the context of wider social rejection that creates it. And this, coupled perhaps with the knowledge that (IIRC) a majority of detransitions are motivated by social pressure against transness, should perhaps give you pause in your call for more pressure against transness.

>A person with gender dysphoria might require gender affirming medical treatment, but that treatment cannot turn that person into a "real man" / "real woman", biologically speaking.
Quickly, for completeness: trans people do not claim to be biologically the same as cis people of their gender. Instead they posit that tying the membership in socially constructed groups to socially unobservable biological markers is silly and impractical. Just to get this out of the way.
>It's like if I have lost a leg from an accident or medical conditions, I can get an artificial leg, but that will never be the same as a "real leg".
Because this statement is fascinating to me. How is this hypothetical artificial leg "not real"? Can you not stand on it? Can you not use it to walk? Sure, it is absolutely not the same as a biological leg. Sure, you could list all the differences between a bio leg and an arti leg, you could make an argument that an arti leg is an "atypical" leg or a "non-standard" leg. But to say that your artificial leg is "not real," or saying that an artificial leg isn't a leg, that just seems weird to me. Both linguistically and metaphysically. Please explain.
 
A significant part of the recent TERF / J.K. Rowling / David Chapelle / trans controversy was that “team TERF” says that trans women are not real women, and should thus not enjoy certain advantages and accesses that feminists have spent decades to fight for. While the trans side of the argument said that trans women are real women, and claiming otherwise was transphobic.

As you wanted to come back to the example with the artificial leg, imagine that I with my artificial leg apply at the IOC for participation at the Olympics. The IOC will tell me that, sorry, no, I can’t participate in the regular Olympics because there is a practical difference between me and the other athletes. They did however create especially for people like me the Special Olympics, where I will be free to compete against other athletes with artificial legs. I find that complete fair, in no way discriminating against handicapped people, and a model I wished would also be applied to trans athletes. It has very little to do with the metaphysics of artificial legs, and very much with the physics of artificial vs. biological legs. That is independent of whether I have a super-cybernetic leg which is actually better than a biological one, or a simpler version which is worse. You just want every athlete in the race have the same model of legs.

I am also pretty certain that you could be excluded from serving in the military if you have an artificial leg. The UK military actually provides bionic legs to amputee veterans, but that doesn’t mean they can continue to serve.
 
>Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters
Okay, this is annoying. I am fully aware that I am too wordy, and there is probably a technical reason for this limit. But still getting the same error after editing the post down to less than 4000 characters (including whitespaces and tags) just seems petty on behalf of this website.

Technical difficulties, please stand by.
 
Well, if Blogger won't let me post longform, I will just have to switch to a more laconic style. Loses nuance and requires more from the reader, but remember, the website forced me into it.

>[H]ow do you make the difference between [the person] who "knows" [they are] born in the wrong body, and the person who just feels the mix of conflicting emotions we all go through during puberty and who has falsely identified that as "being trans"? Do you not accept that a person could be wrong about that at the age of 16?
Would love to answer this, actually share these concerns, totally disagree on your solution, though. Unfortunately can't talk about it yet, while we're still stuck in this rhetorical mousetrap. Digging upward:

Sidestep from you as to why "real" is the same as "biological," and associated practice of weaponizing language. You instead went with justification by example.
>The IOC will tell me that, sorry, no, [a person with an artificial leg] can’t participate in the regular Olympics because there is a practical difference between [them] and the other athletes.
Correct, trans participation in Olympics likewise technically reasonable avenue of discussion. Weirdly narrow example though, kind of irrelevant, most people aren't Olympians. Imagine instead prosthetic-wearing amputees driven from public changing rooms, because "seeing something like that is very upsetting to my young child." Doesn't usually happen, even though amputated limbs are probably more upsetting than penises. Put a pin in it. Let's look at the "real woman" debate:
>A significant part of the recent TERF / J.K. Rowling / David Chapelle / trans controversy was that “team TERF” says that trans women are not real women, and should thus not enjoy certain advantages and accesses that feminists have spent decades to fight for. While the trans side of the argument said that trans women are real women, and claiming otherwise was transphobic.
Roughly correct, if quite reductive. Nevermind the details, though. Instead let me ask: Why are the gender-criticals claiming that "trans women aren't 'real' women"? Used to assume that they actually just believe this. (Yes, very naive of me.) Doesn't hold up to scrutiny, though. Closer to how pro-lifers say "life begins at conception"; purely instrumental in use, belief professed as leverage to attain a political goal. ("Trans women are women" slogan actually kind of unfortunate in this context, implicitly validates hostile push towards intentional misdirection from the topic.)
Examine pin from earlier. Discrimination not levered against amputees because there is no reasonable expectation (nor intent, hopefully) to drive amputees out of open existence. Conversely, desire to drive trans people back into the closet motivates multiple avenues of attack, often framed as "concerns." Parallels to "concerns" about homosexuality scant decades ago very striking. Children often used as a driver for emotional intensity in bad faith arguments. (Insert "Won't Somebody Think of the Children?" meme.)

All this to say, when I see you reproducing these kinds of staple gender-critical arguments, I have to ask: Is it actually about the children for you? Did the motivation to make this post begin with a general concern for children and work forward from there, or did it start with concern about trans people and work backward from there? Because, depending on the answer, I need to talk about very different things.
 
My post started when I read that the Uvalde shooter legally bought 2 assault rifles at the age of 18. And realized the weirdness that he could do that, but not buy a beer. I was born in a country where I could buy a beer at 16, but there is basically no legal way for me to buy an assault rifle ever. While I was pondering that, I stumbled up other news about Texas declaring puberty blockers to be child abuse. While I didn't agree with that, it added another piece of the puzzle to my thoughts about age: Isn't the amount of responsibility needed just the other way around? Beer < Gun < Sex change? When what we are seeing here is Sex change first, then a gun, then a beer.

The problem you have, and you share that with pretty much every proponent of this kind of identity politics is that you *always* start with somebody needing to be a "victim" and "persecuted". Without the persecution, none of your politics make any sense. Thus in cases where there isn't any, you actually need to *invent* persecution. This is how we get from a comedian saying "trans women are not real women" to accusations that this comedian is in favor of violence against trans people.

Why are the gender-criticals claiming that "trans women aren't 'real' women"?

Imagine a completely theoretical future in which A) the reparations for slavery that you are demanding are finally being paid and B) we accept that black people will receive these reparations based on "self-identification as black" (because race is actually a social construct and can't be determined by biology). Would you be outraged by people who look white to you claiming reparation payments because they self-identify as black? This is exactly how some feminists feel right now. They fought for women's rights, and find themselves in situations where somebody they would consider to be a man can just self-identify as a woman to get around a quota for women. This isn't about feminists wanting to eliminate trans women from existence, it is about feminists wanting to keep the rights they fought for for themselves, and not share them with somebody else.

You'd be the first to be upset about cultural appropriation, so why can't you understand that people can be upset about gender appropriation?
 
Ah, so more of a confluence of inputs coalescing into a common topic. Makes sense. There's a few things to talk about, I'll just do these in order.

>[W]hat we are seeing here is Sex change first, then a gun, then a beer.
Equating puberty blockers with a "sex change" is at best misinformed, at worst inflammatory and misleading. Puberty blockers do not change anyone's sex, they merely delay the onset of puberty. The whole point of them is that they are a reversible treatment. A child that starts puberty blockers at age 13 because they had reason to believe themselves trans and comes to the realization that they were incorrect at age 18 can stop taking them and undergo a delayed puberty. By their early twenties they should then be a biotypical specimen of their birth gender. (As always, this is a lay understanding, I am not a medical professional.)

>The problem you have, and you share that with pretty much every proponent of this kind of identity politics is that you *always* start with somebody needing to be a "victim" and "persecuted".
I don't need there to be persecution. But as long as there is widespread, culturally ingrained, systemic oppression of trans people, I don't see any use in ignoring it. (You actually made me recite the Litany of Gendlin in my head, good job.)
You seem to offer the view that trans people are not oppressed, which could have a couple of different flavors. Do you just deny oppression altogether, claiming that trans liberation has been fully achieved and there is no longer widespread discrimination against trans people? Or are you denying the systemic nature of it, shunting all acts of discrimination on "flawed individuals," while those merely contributing to the cultural current that it is okay to discriminate against trans people should not be criticized unless they are overtly hateful? Or something else entirely?

>Imagine a completely theoretical future in which A) the reparations for slavery that you are demanding are finally being paid and B) we accept that black people will receive these reparations based on "self-identification as black" (because race is actually a social construct and can't be determined by biology). Would you be outraged by people who look white to you claiming reparation payments because they self-identify as black?
This is entirely beside the point, but no, I would instead be outraged at the idiots who designed this attempt at reparations. Especially since, if your goal were to decrease the wealth disparity between white and black individuals, you could just make it a simple wealth redistribution from rich to poor, by whatever process seems simplest, without bringing race into it at all. Again, looking to the outcome.
 
(At this point I am just about done trying to work with this stupid character limit and will simply split my posts into parts, if that is okay with you. If it is not okay with you, just delete these posts and I will try to be more concise the next time around.)

>This isn't about feminists wanting to eliminate trans women from existence, it is about feminists wanting to keep the rights they fought for for themselves, and not share them with somebody else.
First of all, the gender-criticals may be feminists, but describing them only as feminists in this context is kind of disingenuous. It insinuates that there are no pro-trans feminists.
Second, last I checked, the general push of feminism was aimed at equality, not some set of special rights. That any special rights were merely intended as a temporary and imperfect hold-over, or as a catalyst towards a more equal society where they would no longer be needed.
And also, this is again picking one specific narrow aspect from the gender-critical arsenal. Please square this claim about gender-criticals not wanting to eliminate trans people with statements that "trans women's bodies are a rape of the female form", the habit of referring to all gender affirmation surgeries as "mutilations", and, last but not least, the fact that they are campaigning not only against legal acceptance of the trans people's gender, but also all access to relevant medical procedures. Dehumanizing them and attempting to curtail their medical rights doesn't exactly scream: "We are fine with you as people, we just don't want you to legally count as women for technical reasons."

>You'd be the first to be upset about cultural appropriation, so why can't you understand that people can be upset about gender appropriation?
As I said the last time this comparison came up, I am not opposed to all cultural appropriation, I am opposed to harmful cultural appropriation. (Come to think of it, this point was ignored last time, as well.)
 
Or something else entirely?

I don't deny that persecution of minorities is going on. However, not *everything* that happens to a trans person is a form of persecution / transphobic / hate speech / etc.. It is an extreme form of blackmail: "Either you give me everything I want, or I accuse you of persecuting me!". It is the same chain of thought which leads to the people who are worried about how Palestinians are being treated in Gaza getting labeled as anti-Semite (which ignores the fact that Palestinians are Semite too).

The problem with wokeism in general is that woke people are extremely easily offended, and they believe there is something like a right to not be offended, and a right to punish people that offend them. That is extremely scary to the average person. You have a job in a restaurant, you make a honest mistake of "misgendering" a person, the person gets extremely offended, reports you to management, and you get fired.

And sorry, a comedian making a joke about your minority on Netflix is not persecution. It's called comedy.

Trump very obviously is an idiot, extremely vain, and a danger to democracy. The only way you can explain that a guy like this has a chance to get re-elected is by considering how scared people must be of the alternative. And that alternative is something that has been widely described in dystopian science-fiction literature, starting with novels like "1984". It is a future in which you can be punished not for the things you did, but for your thoughts. And these days, that is the face of the Democratic party. With every woke comment you write on the internet you increase the chance of Trump getting re-elected.
 
>I don't deny that persecution of minorities is going on. However, not *everything* that happens to a trans person is a form of persecution / transphobic / hate speech / etc.. It is an extreme form of blackmail: "Either you give me everything I want, or I accuse you of persecuting me!".
That is an interesting way of framing it. But it relies on the actions of the loudest, dumbest, tweetingest people being representative of a group as a whole. What if I told you that more often than not, in normal conversation, pointing out that a statement is a "microaggression" is not an attempt to censor you, but merely to point out to you that the statement has levels of meaning that may elude you. Not a "you can't say that," but a "are you even fully aware of what you are saying, and why you are saying it?" An invitation to think about a microcosm of cultural perceptions, common tropes and archetypes, language usage, et cetera. In a world where a lot of people base their ideas about trans women more on Norman Bates and Buffalo Bill than any actual trans people, talking about such things is kind of necessary.

>You have a job in a restaurant, you make a honest mistake of "misgendering" a person, the person gets extremely offended, reports you to management, and you get fired.
Again, do you actually know any trans people who are like this? Because the trans people I know would either be to embarrassed to even call out the mistake, or give one polite correction and leave it at that. The worst this waiter would have to fear from them is not getting a tip. I don't claim this anxiety about "being potentially fired for an honest mistake" doesn't exist, but I don't think it is based in actual fact. (Not to mention the whole dimension of at-will employment even making this possible, with no protection for the employed, which to my mind should be the greater issue here.)

>And sorry, a comedian making a joke about your minority on Netflix is not persecution. It's called comedy.
So, if there were a Netflix special where the comedian devoted ten minutes of the time to jokes about how black people are innately criminal, and how the USA would be better off building more prisons and putting all the black men into them, would you likewise come to the defense, since it is just comedy?
By the way, nobody is saying you can't make comedy about trans people. I have seen good comedy about trans people. Hell, even Dave Chappelle's routine had some jokes that I would consider decent comedy about trans people. It's just a shame they had to share the set with some bits that were both deeply thoughtless and torturously unfunny. (Which is the bigger problem to me, personally. A comedian being offensive I can accept, if it is in the service of being funny. But to be unfunny is just a failure, and to be unfunny while being offensive is an unnecessary waste.)
 
>"1984" [something, something, thoughtcrime]
So, it has come to this. Well... or "Orwell," I suppose. This is a bit of a personal bugbear, so if you will excuse me, I'll just vent a little bit. *takes a deep breath*
Yes, transgender activism is exactly like 1984. Don't you remember how in Orwell's Oceania you were always encouraged to really think about the dominant cultural and societal structures and how they influence your role, your self-identity, your persona, and all the interactions between these? And how you were continually invited to question the actions of the leadership, be they governmental or otherwise, in respect to their effect on your person, and feel free to object to actions on their part that you see as harmful or unjust? [beat] I'm just being handed a piece of paper, and it says I am wrong and that is pretty much the opposite of what happens in that book. Silly me. /rant
Honestly, the word "Orwellian" is fast approaching "fascist" in the way it is used by people to simply describe anything they oppose, completely without regard of its actual applicability. And the lack of self-reflection is sometimes staggering. Your argument of "if we don't cease all criticism of the status quo, the bad orange man will come back" is closer to Orwellian than trans activism. Not close enough that I would actually use that word to describe it, but still, way closer.
And also, your analysis is both wrong and makes no sense. If it were just about not electing the democrats because of their "Orwellian wokeness," then it would make no difference who the opposing candidate is, orange man or piece of milk toast. And if you listen to the people who actually voted for Trump, there is a lot of praise for the guy. It's "Trump says the left is bad, therefore it must be bad," rather than "the left did a specific bad thing, so we had to vote for Trump." This isn't fact driven, trans people ceasing all political activity would not change that.
 
Well, what is your explanation for Trump still having a majority or near-majority in US politics? The “lesser evil” theory is a whole lot more likely than “51% of Americans are idiots”.
 
Before I launch into a complete dissertation as to why the US electoral system is so bad that I would be hard pressed to invent a worse one, allow me to counter with my previous question: What is your explanation for the dominance of Trump within the Republican party, if you think his only appeal within his base is being better than the Democrats? Why do they go with the "obviously idiotic, extremely vain danger to democracy" when they could instead have a more sane old white man who is equally opposed to the Democrats?
 
The “lesser evil” theory is to explain why Trump gets more than the 40% of votes that are *his* base. He gets that base with populist talk, and yes, being outspokenly anti-woke and saying things others are afraid to say is part of his appeal. But that base shouldn’t be large enough to get him elected, if there wasn’t a failing of the other side to present a better alternative.
 
Except that there are simpler explanations for that discrepancy, like the fact that US politics are deeply partisan, with quite a few people voting for the party rather than the candidate. Not to mention that a 40% support in the populace can translate to quite a bit more at the polls if your base has a higher turnout rate, which isn't exactly difficult to achieve when typical voter turnout is often below 60%.

But even if I accept your premise, and believe that a considerable portion of otherwise reasonable people voted for Trump because they are scared of "Orwellian wokeness," "the communist socialist system of Islam" and/or "big-government anarchists." Do you think this fear is fact-driven? And again, say you get your wish, and all trans people decide in unison to stop fighting for their rights. What exactly do you expect to change then? How, specifically, would that stop the right from fear-mongering?
 
I'm happy to keep reading, because I think my participation nudges Tobold in the direction of collegiate debate as distinct from the joint search for truth, but yeah - trying to adjudicate the matter through haruspicy of the American political system is a strange choice. There are, let's say, numerous confounding variables.

If anything, I find the relevant disagreements over electoral tactics on what passes for their left - building a minority of coalitions vs purely class-based appeals - more interesting.
 
Er, sorry. Coalition of minorities, not minority of coalitions.
 
I’m not asking anybody to stop fighting for their rights. I am asking everybody to stop inventing new rights to fight for, like the right to not be offended. The left would look a lot less scary if we wouldn’t see every week a new mob with torches and pitchforks targetting some specific person and trying to get that person cancelled / fired / ruined for some thought crime. You aren’t fighting *for* some rights or ideas, you are fighting *against* people holding different ideas.
 
So... you're not asking anyone to stop doing what they are doing... you want them to stop doing a different thing you are worried about... which they aren't doing... but you want them to stop it anyway... ugh, my head hurts... and why is there straw all over the floor?

Seriously, please stop imagining what trans activists and "the left" are like based on the dumbest people you can find (or, more likely, have pointed out to you by the media) on Twitter. The idea that trans people are fighting for "the right not to be offended" is in your head. If Netflix put on a minstrel show, it would be offensive, and people would complain, but that wouldn't mean they would be complaining primarily about "being offended." You not wanting to see the nuance doesn't erase the nuance.

If you want to see people who fight for the right not to be offended, cast your eyes on the anti-"CRT" crowd who are busily writing laws prohibiting the teaching of anything that might make a child feel ashamed for their race. Want to talk about the triangle trade in history class? Well, you can't, because it might make the white children upset to know about it.

>The left would look a lot less scary if we wouldn’t see every week a new mob with torches and pitchforks targetting some specific person and trying to get that person cancelled / fired / ruined for some thought crime.
I could talk about attribution bias. I could talk about media skew. I could reiterate the influence of reactionary fear- and hate-mongering, and how this very attitude is contributing to it. But instead I will ask this: Can you point to a specific instance of this happening in the past two weeks? Twitter drama doesn't count.

>You aren’t fighting *for* some rights or ideas, you are fighting *against* people holding different ideas.
"Trans people aren't fighting for anything." Wow, that has to be the dumbest thing I've heard recently, and there is some stiff competition in this category. Though I suppose if you are told that trans people fight for trans liberation, and are so utterly disinterested and uninterested that you just assume that, since you don't know what that entails, it might as well be nothing, I can see how you could come to this belief. But that is really more a statement about you than about trans people.
And, as I had to explain to you before, no, I am not opposed to people having different beliefs. If you believed that all trans people are sex perverts and pedophiles, I would consider it worrying, and I might try to educate you, I might discuss this with you, but that's all. I would not hate you for it, nor fight against you, nor call for you to be institutionalized. If you however began to spread such misinformation or tried to sponsor legislation putting all trans people on the list of sex offenders because of this belief, then I might well fight you on those actions. Notably: actions, not ideas.


@Esteban
Good to hear from you, I was actually feeling kind of alone and on the spot here. Knowing that someone is there who can point out if I say something actually stupid is kind of reassuring.
 
Literally the first news coming up when Googling: Trans people staging a protest against a person saying that trans women aren't real women.

You have evaded A) the point of the original post, which is age limits and B) every direct question I asked to you and you have instead C) accused me of a list of things which I never said. I don't see how there is any further value in discussing with you.

And did you notice something? In my original post I definitively offended both right and left. Guess who showed up full of offended righteousness and attacks me.
 
>Literally the first news coming up when Googling: Trans people staging a protest against a person saying that trans women aren't real women.
If you read as much as the headline, you will notice that this is a counter-protest. These people are protesting another protest. A protest is not "a specific person." A counter-protest does not even target the protesters as a group people, but the protest as a action.
There is also no mention in the article of any actions taken by counter-protesters against the spokeswoman of the protest group, if that is what you are insinuating.

>You have evaded [...] the point of the original post, which is age limits
Actually, you did that. I asked if you wanted to talk primarily about children's rights and safety or trans people, and you immediately launched into how trans persecution is invented, and the whole thing displays a need for victimization.

>You have evaded [...] every direct question I asked to you
As far as I can tell, I have answered every direct question you have asked of me, usually with inline quotation of the question. It's one of the reason my posts run so long. The only edge case I can find would be "Well, what is your explanation for Trump still having a majority or near-majority in US politics?" in which case I merely implied, rather than outright stated, that the US electoral system is to blame for quite a lot of it. Please feel free to point out any direct questions you have posed to me that I have missed.
Also, I feel compelled to point out that you have ignored numerous questions of mine. So, at best, pot, kettle, black.

>You have [...] accused me of a list of things which I never said
Well, again, pot, kettle, etcetera. After you repeatedly that very thing to me, I may have slipped into that behavior. When in Rome, I suppose.

>I don't see how there is any further value in discussing with you.
Yeah, a discussion would have been nice. Unfortunately my impression is that you have treated this more as a debate from the word go.

>And did you notice something? In my original post I definitively offended both right and left. Guess who showed up full of offended righteousness and attacks me.
Cute. But for one thing, more reasonable gun laws have overwhelming bipartisan support in the US voter base, so suggesting that children having virtually unrestricted access to firearms is bit of a problem is hardly "offending the right." And for another, you might want to entertain the notion that disagreeing with you and pointing out mistakes in your arguments is not the same as attacking you. After all, you wouldn't want to give the impression that you need to be a "victim" or "persecuted."
 
@negentropic - likewise, but I hope that's not how my comment came across. Honestly, if you and I were to argue at all, I'm guessing it would be over the relative usefulness of continuing to harp on the metaphysics versus papering over that and instead trying to find areas of practical agreement.

You're fiendishly eloquent and adept at the latter, but until such a time as Tobold entertains the possibility that the socially-visible subset of sex markers point at gender as opposed to being gender, we'll probably all just keep talking past each other - he'll keep insisting that the moon cannot exist without an accompanying finger.

When he wrote "The best you can hope for is being socially accepted as being a different gender (and I am all for that social acceptance)" my heart leapt briefly because of course that's literally all that's being asked. But, alas, he seems to have actually meant sex.
 
that's literally all that's being asked

No, it isn't. The demand of trans people is that there is no legislation or other rules in place which makes any difference between a trans woman and a biological woman. Which is frankly inacceptable by biological women in several different circumstances. Thus, to avoid giving you another chance of putting words in my mouth about trans people being perverts, which I never said, let's take the example of the International Swimming Federation recently banning trans women who transitioned after the age of 12 from women's swimming competitions.

It is my opinion that this decision A) is right, and B) is *not* transphobic, but based on a honest concern about fairness in sports. You can be completely socially accepting of a trans person without having to be blind toward the obvious physiological differences.

When I was a kid at school, I learned that being gay was a crime and could get you thrown into prison, because that was actually the law of the land at that time. I am very proud how far society has come since then to accept LGBTQ+ persons. I am pretty certain that if you had asked a gay man at that time whether he would be okay with being socially accepted everywhere, except being banned from participating in a few sports events, he would have considered that to be beyond his wildest dreams of acceptance. There are and always will remain physiological differences between a trans and a cis person, and labeling any recognition of such differences as "transphobic hate speech" is the kind of scary woke culture I mentioned above.
 
>Thus, to avoid giving you another chance of putting words in my mouth about trans people being perverts, which I never said [...]
Wait, is that what you're mad about? The "If you believed that all trans people are sex perverts and pedophiles [...]"? That was a counterfactual hypothetical. That is why I used past subjunctive. It was not meant to insinuate you actually hold that belief, and I am genuinely sorry if it came across this way. It was meant to illustrate that, even if you held (again, past subjunctive) such an extreme belief, that would not in itself be enough for me to dislike or oppose you. Maybe I should have made that more clear. My apologies, I did not wish to offend you, and your terse reaction makes more sense now.

The swimming example is once again interesting, possibly worthy of discussion in it's own right, but extremely narrow, and absolutely not an example of the kind of things most trans people are actually concerned about. (Also, and I know this is a tangent, you're not being asked to turn a blind eye towards the physiology. Again, the point here is that these physiological differences are not material to the issue of gender as practiced by society.)
>I am pretty certain that if you had asked a gay man at that time whether he would be okay with being socially accepted everywhere, except being banned from participating in a few sports events, he would have considered that to be beyond his wildest dreams of acceptance.
Sure, but I would disagree that trans acceptance is anywhere near that level. Trans people are not "socially accepted everywhere [except sports]," legal protection of their rights is still spotty and piecemeal, legal recognition of their gender is a fraught topic, and they still have to fight for simple things like medical care.
Which is kind of on point, since your original post, if one wanted to read it this way, is in part about how you think that trans people below a certain age should be denied medical care. I don't much like putting it like that, because writing that actually feels like an attack, but I don't think it can be ignored at this stage. You are taking a pretty extreme stance against basic human rights for certain trans people. Which is why I though it prudent to question your motivation to do so.

>There are and always will remain physiological differences between a trans and a cis person, and labeling any recognition of such differences as "transphobic hate speech" is the kind of scary woke culture I mentioned above.
Yes, and I understand how that would be scary. But again, is that even actually happening? I don't know anyone who would consider "I can totally clock you" hate speech. Hate speech can draw on the physiological stuff, but not all mentions of the physiological stuff are hate speech. It's the same way that recognition of someone's skin color or racial phenotype does not automatically equate to racism.
For example, you questioning what the stance of trans women is on reproductive rights, since they cannot give birth, is not hate speech. Someone telling a trans woman that "you will never be able to give birth, if your goal is to become a woman you have failed at it and should just kill yourself" on the other hand I would consider hate speech. Both of these examples build on the inability of trans women to conceive, so clearly that alone is not what elevates a statement to hate speech.

>I am very proud how far society has come since then to accept LGBTQ+ persons.
See, that always trips me up. I cannot imagine how you could fail to see the parallels between gay liberation and trans liberation, and their respective backlashes. And yet you say you align yourself with "Team TERF," a group that is firmly on the side of the backlash, whose equivalent number in the case of gay liberation we now consider homophobic reactionaries. It baffles me. I want to understand.
 
I am not actually part of or in the inner circle of any feminist organization (I'm not sure they even accept men in their inner circles), so the demands that I hear from "Team TERF" are what I read in newspapers. For me a typical demand of Team TERF is that a trans woman should not have access to a shelter for abused women. To me that demand is not based on anything transphobic, but on the simple fact that a woman abused by a man would like to be in a shelter which is free of people *she* associates with being male, which can possibly include male-looking trans women.

I do not think it is possible to change the perception of trans women to be "modified men". A heterosexual man will be less likely to be attracted to a trans woman. A woman traumatized by men will perceive a trans woman as a potential threat. Women in a locker room are upset when they see a penis, regardless of the gender of the person with the penis. That is not a backlash or a wish to eliminate trans people.

you think that trans people below a certain age should be denied medical care

That is certainly a false statement, I would have absolutely no problem with trans people at any age receiving *necessary* medical treatment. I am asking at what age a person is responsible enough to make life-changing decisions. I have very mixed information regarding the reversibility of puberty blockers, and I have some definitive information about people who underwent surgical sex change at the age of 18 and bitterly regretted that decision later. I have statistical information which suggests that being trans is *not* a binary thing, but a belief being held on a scale from crippling gender dysphoria (which is very rare) to faint gender confusion (which is very common). Just like depression can range on a scale from crippling depression to faint sadness, and I wouldn't want every sad kid out there being prescribed heavy antidepressants without having tried milder cures.

You seem to believe that every child that says "I am trans", regardless of age, should receive medical treatment. For me, somebody saying "I am trans" is not yet a medical conditions, thus I would question the wisdom of medical treatment. Why not let that child wear different clothing and play with different toys for a while, and see how the child's feeling about his gender evolve, before starting a hormonal therapy which might have possible long-term consequences? Primum nil nocere.
 
>You seem to believe that every child that says "I am trans", regardless of age, should receive medical treatment. For me, somebody saying "I am trans" is not yet a medical conditions, thus I would question the wisdom of medical treatment. Why not let that child wear different clothing and play with different toys for a while, and see how the child's feeling about his gender evolve, before starting a hormonal therapy which might have possible long-term consequences?
I think where we diverge here is that you tacitly equate "medical treatment" with "puberty blocker," while for me things like psychotherapy would already count as medical treatment. Did you think I favor some sort of arrangement where any child that thinks they might be trans can just go to the pharmacy, buy some over-the-counter puberty blockers and take them entirely on their own recognizance? Because that seems low-key insulting.
The current approach, the British example of which Azuriel so kindly described way, way further up in the thread, does not start with puberty blockers. Counseling, therapy, all the milder cures one could suggest are already part of the process. All this is in service to giving the child a more complete understanding, to allow them to come to the realization that they are not actually trans, if they indeed aren't. This isn't all that far from what I would envision. (There are plenty squabbles to be had as to how strict or how relaxed the requirements at each step should be, but that is for the medical professionals to figure out.) Ideally, i would indeed favor creating an environment that helps and advises the child, allowing them to come to an informed decision over an appropriate period of time. And if they remain adamant, if with all the information and additional experience at their disposal the child still maintains they are actually trans, and if it is medically indicated, puberty blockers can then be issued, to which the child, obviously, would need to consent.
Remove the child's ability to consent, and that goes away. If there can be no consent, there can be no treatment. And, more likely than not, if the possibility of medical treatment is already denied, there might not be any counseling, any therapy, any help for the child to make better sense of their situation. That does not strike me as a better solution, even if the child is not actually trans. I see very little value in closing this avenue completely.
Again, this is based on my perspective, which is probably more than a little affected by the way such things are handled in my country. Here, a 14-year-old would be able to consent to medical procedure if the physician judges them suitably informed as well as sufficiently competent and mature enough to make such a decision. (Though, again, I am not suggesting the parents shouldn't be involved in this process.) Taking that right away from them for one specific treatment just seems wrongheaded to me.
But you said you don't mean to deny the possibility of treatment altogether. If you are merely wondering if the current requirements for informed consent are too lax, that might be a valid concern. But then you will perhaps agree that putting it the way you did, with the simple comparison between buying a beer, obtaining a gun and beginning a complex medical procedure was maybe a bit reductive. Buying a beer does not involve a three-day waiting period. Buying a gun does not require months or even years of counseling and therapy. (Yet.) Perhaps you can make room for the possibility that these mechanisms, intended to empower the child to make an informed decision about medical consent, could actually be effective.
 
>A heterosexual man will be less likely to be attracted to a trans woman. A woman traumatized by men will perceive a trans woman as a potential threat. Women in a locker room are upset when they see a penis, regardless of the gender of the person with the penis.
I think you are generalizing. Some heterosexual men will be less attracted to trans women, some traumatized women will innately associate trans women with cis men, some women will be upset by the sight of a woman's penis in a locker room. We will have to come to some understanding how to handle these situations. And I am not saying that in each of those cases the trans person's rights outweigh the issues you raise. But these issues also don't justify mistreatment of trans people as a group.
>That is not a backlash or a wish to eliminate trans people.
No, none of these things are. But they can be used as justification to advance a political agenda aimed at eliminating trans people. They can be used to stoke backlash, or even be themselves subconsciously motivated by widespread cultural backlash. That is what I am wary of, these problems being wielded as a weapon against an already hurting community. It doesn't mean we can't talk about it. It doesn't mean trans people cannot be criticized. But it does bear wondering why a given event is being brought up, by the media, by gender-critical feminists, by conservative politicians. It does bear putting things in perspective.

>I am not actually part of or in the inner circle of any feminist organization (I'm not sure they even accept men in their inner circles), so the demands that I hear from "Team TERF" are what I read in newspapers.
That might well explain the differences in our respective perception of that group. My perspective on them might be most efficiently summarized by an excerpt from a book. "The Transsexual Empire" by Janice Raymond is widely considered to be a somewhat foundational text for what is now known as gender-critical feminism. It is also the source of that lovely claim that "all transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact," which I referenced further above, somewhat mangled, from memory. But the part that I want to highlight here comes at the beginning of the appendix, entitled "Suggestions for Change":

"I have argued that the issue of transsexualism is an ethical issue that has profound poli­tical and moral ramifications; transsexualism itself is a deeply moral question rather than a medical-technical answer. I contend that the problem of transsexualism would best be served by morally mandating it out of existence.
Does a moral mandate, however, necessitate that trans­sexualism be legally mandated out of existence? What is the relationship between law and morality, in the realm of transsexualism? While there are many who feel that morality must be built into law, I believe that the elimina­tion of transsexualism is not best achieved by legislation prohibiting transsexual treatment and surgery but rather by legislation that limits it—and by other legislation that lessens the support given to sex-role stereotyping, which generated the problem to begin with."


When I look at that suggestion, when I take in the parallels between the solution she is proffering and the way some states in the US try to make abortion virtually impossible without it being fully illegal, when I see how the gender-critical ideology was expressed at a time when they didn't have to worry about accusations of transphobia... that leaves an impression. And it also puts a lot of their behavior into perspective, makes their political actions make more sense. That is how I see the core of "Team TERF," and perhaps that will go some little way to make you understand why it baffles me that anyone would willingly take their side. In a very real sense, they want to hurt people I care about, and I am not okay with that.
 
The people from "Team TERF" that have been most widely been attacked in the media, Rowlings and Chapelle, never said any of these things. Excuse me for mentioning "both sides" again, but "both sides" in US politics do have a tendency to take the most extreme examples, take them out of context, and pretend that is the general policy of the other side. Nothing Chapelle said rises to the level of "elimination of transsexualism". I do not believe that somebody should be punished for something which isn't hate speech, on the basis of it being a potentially slippery slope towards hate speech by others.

If you are merely wondering if the current requirements for informed consent are too lax, that might be a valid concern.

I am on this blog arguing with Esteban, who literally said that a medical condition gender dysphoria shouldn't be a necessary requirement for transition. I could see lax requirements *above* a certain age being a good idea. I don't believe that very lax requirements would be a good idea before the age of 18, as I think the potential harm outweighs the benefit.
 
I will be honest, this entire exchange has left me a bit raw and emotionally drained, so I am afraid I will have to bow out of this for at least a couple of days, assuming that the conversation will even still be active by then.

But since you just once more invoked the dread name of Rowling, perhaps you will allow me to again direct you towards someone who will make some excellent points far more eloquently (not to mention with far better production value) than I ever could, because Natalie Wynn has some things to say to and about Joanne. (Oh, and don't worry if you happen to bounce off this one, I will not hold it against you. Natalie can be a lot.)
 
Kind of proves my point that this is a protest movement based on personal attacks *against* people who think differently, not *for* a set of ideas. Karl Marx wrote the whole of Das Kapital without writing about what a horrible person the capitalist Bismark was even once.
 
> I am very proud how far society has come since then to accept LGBTQ+ persons.

Unless there is a reversal. In US, the conservative Supreme Court just removed the protection of women's right for abortion. One of the conservative justices, Clarence Thomas, is saying that protection of same sex marriages could be next to fall.
 
>Kind of proves my point that this is a protest movement based on personal attacks *against* people who think differently, not *for* a set of ideas. Karl Marx wrote the whole of Das Kapital without writing about what a horrible person the capitalist Bismark was even once.

Well, that certainly is a response. Though, first of all, comparing a 21st century Youtube video essay using the topic of a then current controversy surrounding a prominent writer as a hook to interrogate the anatomy of veiled or subconscious bigotry in our society to a 19th century philosophical treatise about economic and political theory aimed at deconstructing the biases underlying the capitalist method of production is a bit... I don't want to overuse the word "disingenuous"... let's say unmotivated and confusing. Also, just how certain are you that no proponent of socialism ever had anything to say about Bismarck? Because that is the standard you are setting here. There is no shortage of texts about trans issues that don't mention Joanne; you were the one who repeatedly brought her up, occasioning me to link this particular video essay that is in part about her.

And, second of all, you contrasting the video to the lack of Marx calling Bismarck "horrible" and once again making your claims about this being a protest movement based on attacks against people who believe differently, now that I cannot refer to as anything other than disingenuous. Not only does Natalie at no point call J.K.Rowling a horrible person, but a major thread of the essay is about how this sort of bigotry can arise from good and reasonable people, about how the preconception that to display bigotry requires a person to be horrible is incorrect and unhelpful.
 
The standard is not whether there is one person in a movement complaining about another person. The question is whether the *majority* of the protest movement is protesting against specific people instead of protesting *for* certain rights and ideas. All I see the trans protest movement doing is attacking people for expressing opinions, asking for them to be cancelled. It's not even that these people have actually done anything other than stating their beliefs.

Compare that to the women's movement for reproductive rights, all the signs are about those rights, instead of asking for the supreme court judges to be cancelled.
 
>The question is whether the *majority* of the protest movement is protesting against specific people instead of protesting *for* certain rights and ideas.
Yes, and I would ask what your evidentiary base is for assuming that the former is the case, rather than the latter. Because in this particular instance you seem to be treating a trans person specifically not protesting a person as evidence that the majority of trans people do this, somehow. Which is fascinating to say the least. Very Earl Warren.

>All I see the trans protest movement doing is attacking people for expressing opinions, asking for them to be cancelled.
Where do you see these people? When was the last pro-trans rally that you visited, where the protesters you talked to expressed this view. What was the last book by a transgender author you have read that espoused such ideas? Who was the last trans person you talked to in real life who stated support for such attacks?
 
Society reacts to any movement by what they can *see*, not the inner workings of that movement which are hidden. Just google "trans protest", and the large majority of news coming up will be protests against celebrities that dared to speak out a non-violent opinion or made a joke.
 
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