IQ2 Debate: Society Must Recognise Trans People’s Gender Identities

April 9, 2016

57 Responses to “IQ2 Debate: Society Must Recognise Trans People’s Gender Identities”

  1. LC Says:

    Bronwyn Winter was amazing in that, and the only one worth listening to. Just flawless. The philosophy professor was rather boring, and it was hard to pick out what his points were.

    Andrea James… I’m not sure I’ve ever heard him speak before, but there was something very repellent about the whole act. Like a sleazy con artist or corrupt politician, punctuated with that awful smirk. I’ve also rarely seen an MtT that came across as so male, though it’s hard to explain why. I sometimes have trouble with pronouns going just on the visual cues, but describing the debate to someone, I didn’t even have to think about it with him. The woman was unremarkable in presenting the pro-trans side, but she seemed like a decent person.

    • GallusMag Says:

      I thought John Haldane (the boring philosopher) did a pretty good job laying out basic philosophical objections to enforced state and social recognition of subjective internal feelings/identities. He did it by skirting around the issue of the sex-based oppression of women by using examples of race and class instead. These are examples of hierarchies that disadvantage people of consequence: men, and are therefore more readily seen as unjust by male misogynists who are incapable of experiencing humans who are reproductively female as anything other than terf upon which men trod, or build, or plot out ownership of via negotiations with other men.

      Whether he did so out of his own misogyny or as a calculated strategy to make visible the oppression of women to a misogynist audience is not clear.

      Peter Hyndal (the transman) invoked the power of various male authority structures- the power of the state, the courts, the tax board, medical authorities. She tried to undercut the basis of all classes of oppressed persons (except, notably, transgender people) by stating that there is no universal experience of race, or class, or sex. And she equally tried to undercut the concept of mammalian reproductive dimorphism by invoking the very exceptions that prove the rule, namely, outliers and disorders of sexual development. She did acknowledge issues with men who claim to be women negatively impacting the rights of women to sex-based services and spaces, but then said she wouldn’t negotiate unless women submit to pretending they believe she is not a woman.

      Andrea James (the transwoman) seemed to be selling Amway Products door to door. Or possibly at a local convention. He either failed to grasp the feminist critique of gender entirely or chose a tactic of arguing against a strawman of his own design in order to avoid direct debate and/or to sow confusion. I’m going to go with the radical idea that he has both never engaged with feminism AND also chose a dishonest avoidance tactic, glossed over with his weird stilted inspirational sales pitch. Pure emotional appeal from an individual who comes off as cold and manipulative and unsympathetic. Also unfortunately for Andrea, Bronwyn Winter (the lesbian feminist) was quick to disabuse some of his falsehoods, and the boring philosopher was quick to follow-up with gently mocking those who substitute emotional appeals for rational engagement. Also, ProTip: people don’t like being talked down to, especially the sort of people who take a break from Mardi Gras to attend an hour long university debate.

      As for Bronwyn Winter, with the tiny caveat that I am increasingly wary of analysis that touches even inadvertently on the concept of HBS or “true trans” adherents (as she did by mentioning the Gender Apostates men) I thought she was FANTASTIC and LOVELY and was absolutely delighted with her portion of the program. She covered a remarkable array of the issues clearly and succinctly, and in an engaging way. And her spontaneous rebuttal to Andrea James’ bullshit was a real kick to the nuts. WOW! Put this woman on every station and show immediately!
      Plus, she won over 50% of the undecided, and even converted around, what, 15% of the hardcore pro-trans crew?
      KICK ASS!!!!!!!!!

      • LC Says:

        My problem with Haldane is that I think there would be a more concise and straightforward way to do it, and I don’t think he made it clear the difference between what kinds of identities society should respect and which ones they shouldn’t (I assume he believes that some people are black and are recognized as such by society- why?) My own response would have touched on more the physical reality of some identities vs others, and that words have both an objective and social meaning. That, and his choice in structuring the argument was much harder to follow than Bronwyn’s, imo.

        Hyndal- yeah, I remember now the comment about demanding recognition for identity, that was pretty bad. I remember that particular argument from a reddit thread, and it’s absurd. There is no other debate that demands the opponent agree with the opposing side before a discussion can be started.

        Agree with everything you said about Andrea James. I don’t trust anyone who argues based on emotional appeals, even if there wasn’t reason already to distrust him.

        I didn’t think of that when Bronwyn mentioned the Gender Apostates. I thought what she was getting at was just criticism of the popular narrative and pointing out other voices that aren’t being heard, not just radical feminists. I’ll go back and watch again later. Thanks for responding, btw, I watched it late last night and didn’t have much of a chance to think over everything. 🙂

      • Susan Nunes Says:

        Yep. Bronwyn Winter was great. She presented the real issue in a clear, articulate manner. I fully expect her to be censored from now on.

    • Bob Doublin Says:

      LC, I so agree about the smirk and the attitude. Thank you for the phrase “sleazy con artist” .yeah they know they are putting something over on us and they are so proud of that handiwork.

  2. sarineal Says:

    That was a fascinating debate. I’d disagree the professor is dry or boring. There are cogent points made about the reification of identity we see, and that the mere fact of asserting an identity does not, of itself confirm identity. It would have been very interesting if along side the example of Rachel Dolezal and people claiming identity in a class they are not if they’d shoved a pig in a wig on the stage and asked people if they really thought that person was a woman because as was pointed out, this is really directed at women. The woman, that identified as a man, on the stage is not a threat to men, nor changes everything for men as does men imposing themselves on women. There isn’t the same pressure the other way to force men to adopt the idea of identity and conform to it.

    Very noticeable that the feminist and philosopher were well prepared, with well researched arguments and thoughts about the subject and were very clear what the broader implications of all of this are. On the other hand, you’ve got one appealing to their humanity and the other one appealing to, well, that everyone is meanie for denying their wonderfulness and it was rather like a sales pitch in that respect.

  3. donesoverydone Says:

    Reblogged this on things I've read or intend to and commented:
    “GallusMag5h ago
    I thought John Haldane (the boring philosopher) did a pretty good job laying out basic philosophical objections to enforced state and social recognition of subjective internal feelings/identities. He did it by….

  4. Zemskull Says:

    The problem I have with this debate is the wording of the premise: “Society Must Recognise Trans People’s Gender Identities.” A high number of people, as seen with the survey results at the end, will agree with that manipulatively basic statement. I don’t have a problem with recognizing some people identify with the opposite gender, just as I recognize that, in my city, there is a homeless man downtown who identifies as Jesus Christ. What I question with transgenders is not how they identify, but what I’m obligated to do to cater to their self-identifications: Medicaid and health insurance funding of facial cosmetic surgeries, convicted rapists showing their penises in women’s locker rooms and shelters, MTTs taking women’s Olympic sports spots, etc.

    • Zemskull Says:

      PS: I think we’d be getting a dramatically different reply if the question had been, “Should MTTs who have erect penises and rape conviction records be allowed to stay in women’s domestic violence and homeless shelters?”

      • Sally Says:

        exactly. you can phrase questions a different way and they still mean the same thing, and get entirely different results. the original question was clearly stated in a way that was biased toward the transgender side, so of course people were going to vote in that direction because they felt obligated and emotionally manipulated into doing so.

    • Lilian Says:

      The premise of the debate was changed after a campaign in the media here late last year to get it cancelled completely.

      The original premise was: A Trans Wo/Man Can Never Be Fe/Male.

      Even with the retitled debate there were still complaints from trans activists who were accusing the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras of vilifying them because the debate was on the official program for the event.

  5. Medi Says:

    I was very impressed with the feminist professor, she really had clear arguments and she mentioned how male to trans demand sexual access to lesbians — she mentioned the infamous Julia Serrano and Cotton Ceiling. The boring philosopher had a strategy of avoiding feminism, and bringing it home to race and class, because I don’t think he has the feminist education. But his boring manner was useful. Trans are all about gendered brains and emotionalism. The key victory was the undecideds went with the anti-trans team, so this proves that when the trans have to debate in an objective environment they will not always be supported.

    I reposted this video and hope it spreads widely. Especially with Brucie ( why is it men named Bruce are such sexist idiots–Spingsteen this time)?

    • Zemskull Says:

      Don’t bring me down, Bruce. As if Springsteen has used a public bathroom in the past several decades. He’s likely on Depends by now.

      • Oceans Says:

        Well, let’s not be ageist about this. Bruce is as super-rich and disconnected as Bruce Jenner. He has no skin in the game and is at no risk from dudes in the ladies room. What grates on me is that he’s happily played shows in states with other, more repressive laws impacting women and didn’t give a shit.

    • Cassandra Says:

      Yeah, I was super disappointed in Bruce for that. I still haven’t decided if lefty men like him truly don’t understand the implications for girls and women or if they do understand and just don’t give a shit/prioritize males. It’s amazing that so many people see trans as something progressive when it’s just the opposite.

      Thanks for posting this, GallusMag.

      • amazondream Says:

        I think these otherwise well-intentioned people have knee-jerk responses to the deliberately crafted claims of transjactivists. Of course they want to be on the right side of things and they fully expect that what they’re hearing is the fair & balanced narrative of events & people, heros & villians as presented by the grieving side. They don’t know that they are being manipulated & used. It’s the same as when Laverne Cocks was used to promote that vile murderer, Synthia Blast. I’m sure Cocks expected to be fronting for some acceptable sort of prisoner and not a despicable scumbag.

        Bruce’s problem is going to be all of the fans who are going to feel unfairly blamed and punished for something that never happened. What he did was a thoughtless knee-jerk reaction that unfairly targeted innocent folks. I hope he ends up apologising to those folks.

      • Susan Nunes Says:

        I think it is partly not giving a shit, just as they don’t about the horrors of prostitution and porn, or else they are trying to prove how “tolerant” they are. The “tolerance” card has really done a number on otherwise sane people. Nobody cares whether somebody crossdresses and even masturbates wear opposite sex clothes in the privacy in one’s own home. The rub, so to speak, is when these fetishists want to practice their kinks outside of their homes. They demand the rest of us support their fetishes and even insult people they are the opposite sex. Then they step on the rights of other people, especially women because these fetishists, like little kids, want to see how far they can get away with things.

    • Just a Melissa Says:

      News has come out that the tickets weren’t selling all that well to begin with … one suspects that is the real reason for the cancellation Springsteen’s show is *extremely* expensive to put on, so depending on his contract with the venue, this might actually be a financial win. Even if his fee was secure, he might just plain not like playing to half-empty venues.

      If that’s so, jumping on the “you’re all bigots” bandwagon might just seem like an inarguable excuse. After all, nobody ever questions pro-trans people. Now he’s a good, virtuous guy instead of a performer who can’t sell as many tickets as he used to.

      Now I’m wondering if PayPal and the other companies actually made their decisions for purely financial reasons and are just saying this stuff to grab some free trans cred. That would be grimly funny.

  6. M. Says:

    Along with Julia Long who spoke SO well in a different venue/forum, Bronwyn Winter has my utmost respect and admiration. She she said SO much, so clearly and concisely, with articulate and accessible arguments–so impressive and the changed percentages of the people’s minds at the end exemplify all of this. This audience was stacked with trans supporters, and Winter was the absolute star!

  7. Bev Jo Says:

    This was posted in our Radical Feminist Coffee House and I saw it as an attempt to try again to legitimize then entire trans cult issue.

    There is no other fantasy issue taken so seriously and my concern is that everything like this (although this site is a great place to discuss it) ends up convincing people to believe it’s real. It ends up being that enormous amounts of energy are expended debated what is illusion. I don’t see that happening anywhere else except perhaps at science fiction conventions.

    Almost no one dares say that there are no trans/transgender. No males can be females, no females can be males. It’s all about female hating, women betraying women, and men demanding access to Lesbians and other women, and then women supporting men against women.

    Most are not only too terrified to say this, but to even think it, which is why we have to.

    What would they do if everyone just said, this is a fantasy and joke?

    Just keep saying no to the trans cult in every form it takes. Don’t be draw into debating what is not real to begin with.

    • Sally Says:

      I partially agree with you, but when people are being told “this is real” day-in-day-out it really is important to have these debates, and the results of this debate proved that. a large section of the audience was moved by the radfem arguments and thats a good thing, otherwise who knows if the people who changed their minds at the end would have just gone on in their daily lives just accepting the transgender narrative whole-sale without even thinking much of it and concluded everyone else is “bigots”.

      That said, I do think that there are a lot of other fantastical things that are debated in our society on the same level as this, for instance the war on terror or whether or not poor people “deserve” to be poor and other such nonsense that any rational person in the actual situation could see straight through. its a matter of perspective, and transgender ideology, although believed by an extreme minority, has taken hold of the media. we need to combat this form of ignorance and keep giving our evidence-based perspective. i mean its easy to dismiss people who don’t believe in climate change as “crazy” and delusional, but at the end of the day, we still need to keep educating people on climate change and global warming because its important and affects everyone.

    • It seems to me like the trans activists that tried to get the debate canceled and control the choice of speakers are saying the same thing, that disagreement legitimizes the position of the people arguing. I haven’t seen any strong evidence that any idea goes away because people ignore it (or ridicule it, or call it immoral). If medical quackery, the paranormal, and religion are any example then it becomes obvious that the same ideas ebb and flow over time but rarely disappear. Having a lot of viewpoints available for interested people to find is optimal. The only real problem I have seen is when media restricts the range of acceptable questioning to a very small range and then makes it look like its the entire spectrum of opinion, it gives people the false impression that they have been informed.

  8. The two pro-trans speakers delivered nothing but arguments based on emotion, to the point where I thought the mtt was gonna start crying towards the end of their over acted, straw-man filled speech. The Scottish prof. delivered a very wishy-washy, dispassionate talk which he obviously thought was more impactful than it actually was.
    The only one that made any sense, stayed on topic, and argued about the real (as opposed to ideological) dangers of embracing this nutty ideology was the Lady in Green.

    She had the right level of passion for the topic of discussion, brought up many relevant points about how the gender cult is causing major harm to women and children (cudos to her for mentioning lesbians specifically by bringing up the cotton ceiling), and appealed to logic and reason as opposed to emotion.

    Though I agree with the Scottish professor that it is dangerous to force a belief onto people, I think it is even more important to stress how badly women are suffering, and how the suffering will only get worse, because of this push by the trans cult to erase the reality of female oppression and redefine what it is to be a woman. Not to mention all the harm being done to gender non-conforming children.

  9. rebel13 Says:

    Why on earth would a reputable institution give Andrea James a platform like this? According to Alice Dreger’s book Andrea was instrumental in posting obscenities about J. Michael Bailey’s young children on the internet. I don’t understand why Andrea has any credibility left anywhere.

    • GallusMag Says:

      A reliable source informs me that IQ2 initially sought well-known radical feminists for this debate but they were all no-platformed by trans activists. The only way IQ2 was able to put this together was by booking a female participant with no public history of speaking or writing on the gender identity issue. They deliberately excluded debate from known radical feminists in hope of using an unknown woman whom they assumed was more likely to present a weak or lukewarm feminist analysis of gender identity. The trans debaters participated on that basis, as they feared actual undistilled feminist participation. They were quite shocked that Bronwyn Winter presented a clear and informed gender critical feminist analysis, as they assumed she had been included as a “ringer” who would stand in for radical feminists as an imposter and a booster for gender identity. They believed the debate had been “fixed” in advance and were quite shocked at the feminist truth-telling that took place.

      Expect to see more of this in trans vs. feminist debates to come: avoidance and no-platforming of known gender-critical speakers and writers and the seeking of individuals assumed to be “ringers” or less informed on the issues to participate in these debates. Sure didn’t work for them in this case. LOL. Bronwyn Winter was completely informed and a brilliant communicator.

      Feminists could use the same tactic, limiting public debates against trans individuals to those who have no history of public speech or writings, (which could be dramatic! LOL! Picture Sheila Jeffreys vs. Stefonknee! lolololol!!!!!!!!! ) but why would they? Feminist analysis of gender stands on its own and requires no dishonesty or spin or manipulation or tactic.

      • No-name Nonny Says:

        Speaking of dishonesty, spin, and manipulation, the moderator got it wrong re: the winners of the debate. While more people believed the “for” side than the “against” side were on the right track, the speakers against the motion won the debate.

        In other IQ2 and IQ2US debates I’ve watched or listened to, the winner is always the side that has the greater positive percentage change or the lesser negative percentage change in votes. They’re believed to have swayed more voters, at least for the night.

        By not acknowledging and explaining to the audience the difference between the two ways of winning, it seems to me as if the moderator were working against IQ2’s mission and insulting the audience’s intelligence

      • No-name Nonny, That is a really good point about the way they portrayed the debate winner. They acted like the pro-trans side won, when in reality, the winner is normally the side that gets the most people to change their mind, which was the trans-critical side. It’s almost like the host didn’t want to tell the trans folks their arguments weren’t as persuasive as the arguments for reality.

  10. Cee Says:

    I enjoyed the debate and especially appreciated the philosophical argument against the problem of claimed identities. It is possible that this single argument may have won over some people who were on the fence. There is no way that I, with my Slovakian and French heritage, could paint my face black and assert to African Americans that I’m black without severe and deserved blowback. Yet men can paint their faces with lipstick and mascara and put on dresses and that makes them females?

    In this debate, I wish the rights and privacy of all women and girls regardless of sexual orientation had been more a priority, as the MTF agenda targets all women equally. But I am grateful that the audience at least heard the perspective from a woman who understands the brutal online bullying directed at lesbians who have been the leading vanguard in the fight against this insanity. In Washington state, it is mostly ordinary women of all stripes who are taking up the fight against the new rule that allows any male who feels he is a female access to women’s only locker rooms, showers, restrooms, saunas, spas, dressing rooms, homeless shelters, etc. I hope in the future that more and more women will have the courage of this single professor who took the stage knowing that she will be targeted for speaking out so forcefully on this issue. One of the reason that so many are silent, men and women both, about speaking against this is for fear of bullying by the trans “females,” who appear to be casebook studies of sociopathy in that they have zero regard for the rights of other people to privacy and safety in the public sphere.

    Yet, I can say from wide reading of a wide variety of online news and blogs that public sentiment is growing very rapidly against the invasion of women’s public facilities by men. I am actually looking forward to seeing how this plays out in the legal arena. If it is ruled that one’s feelings determine one’s gender, then what is to stop the law from so many other feelings that one may adopt? For example, I would like to say I am 67 so I may retire. Would that be possible, to claim a different age because I feel I am older? What would be the rationale, if trans identities are determined real, for claiming all kinds of other false identities?

    • Just a Melissa Says:

      Hmm, sorry, I don’t think you’ll get free early retirement that way. The “trans age” thing is exactly what shows that even they don’t believe their claims. If darling little Stephonknee Wolscht is really six years old, why does he drive? He shouldn’t, if even he actually believes his own claims … but we all know that the trans crowd would have a very public fit if Ontario informed him that he’s too young to drive and belongs in school with the other children.

      He doesn’t even really *want* to be six, much less actually think he is six. He wants to live an impossible *fantasy* of being a petted princess. Canopy bed? Sure! Has to ride a bike because he’s too young to drive? Nah, that would be mildly inconvenient, so we’ll just ignore that part.

      As the idiocy gets more extreme, regular women (and men) are feeling a little freer to say, “Hey, wait a minute . . . .” The trouble is that nobody’s listening. I keep hearing well-meaning people saying that “it’s only a matter of time” until a cross-dresser attacks someone in a bathroom–these are people who actually *do* care about women’s safety, yet they’re completely unaware that such attacks have already happened and continue to happen.

      If only the word got out about that, all the arguments about identity and biology and all the rest would blow away in the wind. Without that, I expect the reign of terror will continue a while.

  11. Vajra Ma Says:

    Does anyone know if there is a transcript of this debate? Could not find one at the Ethics Centre website.

  12. brandi1986 Says:

    Is it just me or is it obvious that Andrea James is intentionally trying to make his voice sound more feminine? I’ve never heard of a real female speak so softly. It’s just weird and so fake.

    I had to laugh when the silly transman said she was a man with ovaries, yeah right. Is anyone really buying that crap? Well, not me.

    • brandi1986 Says:

      Oh, and the transman said that when people saw her they accepted her as a man. Well, that just proves why being a man or woman should be based on biological sex and not physical appearance alone.

    • anywoman2 Says:

      His act is pukey at best. trying to sound ‘harmless’ . LOL

      Andrea James is the same guy that got kicked off of wikipedia for trying to write in the pedophile entry as pedo apologizing, and pedo friendly- Andrea- the dude tried to make it sound like pedo is a normal sexual orientation.

      Thank-you everyone on wikipedia for getting that pedo porn wiped from wikipedia and banning ‘joketress’ andrea james pedo profile.

    • Newbie Says:

      The voice and the wide-held eyes and the syrupy Marilyn Monroe schtick… ugh. Too bad for him he’s a giant with a man-brow and would never pass, even if his drag act was convincing and not just a caricature.

      • Magdalena Z. Says:

        Yes! I expected him to start singing “happy birthday Mr. Preh-zident….” you read my mind:) Also his weird twitchy eyes, he must’ve used the same butcher, I mean renown Beverly Hills plastic surgeon as old Bruce.

    • juno Says:

      Soft, high pitched, breathy and very ‘non-threatening’? Marilyn Monroe 101. It turns them on so they think it’s sexy and disarming when they use it.

    • Susan Nunes Says:

      He must have gotten a voice coach, but the voice he is apeing sounds like a woman in her twenties. The guy doesn’t remotely pass. He is huge with a giant neck.

  13. Woman = adult female
    Man = adult male

    As to Andrea James, he repeated the special trans term “tyranny of the binary” several times. Any critical analysis of gender identity is caused by “tyranny of the binary” and mean old rad fem terfs. I could sense that James wanted to go off on rad fems like he went after Bailey and Alice Dreger, but he managed to get through his phony sounding canned speech without a major incident. I just love it when they use those special words that people are supposed to accept as if it’s actually something based on reality. He sounds like one of those women on Home Shopping Networks that are trying to sell us something. It’s like over the top hyper-feminine aren’t I adorable act. It’s so phony that it’s creepy.

    Thanks gendertrender for giving us some background on James E. Mead/Andrea James. This is what James E. Mead looked like before he spent hella boat load of $$ on “facial feminization”. In order to be his, I mean “her”, genuine authentic self and fight the “tyranny of the binary”, it was necessary to spend a boat load of money on “facial feminization”. Shave down the masculine jaw line to have a “feminine” face. I’m sure he got special feminine voice lessons too, and probably a nose job.

    Isn’t “facial feminization” an interesting term? It’s not as exciting and awesome sounding as “tyranny of the binary”, but it’s an interesting term. “Womanhood” is achieved through surgically “feminizing” the faces of biological males. People who say that womanhood is based on a female body, pregnancy, ovaries, uterus, lactation, menstruation, menopause, XX chromosomes, mitochondrial DNA, etc.have it all wrong. It’s all the plastic surgery and fashion that counts.

    What James E. Mead/Andrea James did to Michael Bailey and his family shows us how his mind works. His reaction was typical male socialization in that no woman that I know would do go after the children of someone to get back at someone’s research they don’t agree with. Would a woman do what James did? I don’t think so. They buy the stereotypical version of “femininity”, but the way that their minds work is as ruthless as any male.

    “Those who follow trends in gender, and even some casual readers will be well familiar with transgender activist Andrea James. A graduate of men’s-only Wabash College (which describes it’s mission as teaching males “The Gentleman’s Rule”), James E. Mead rode to fame in the genderist community in 1996 after undergoing and championing a series of radical facial cosmetic surgical procedures in an ongoing plastic surgery diary called TS Roadmap. James was the first autosexual genderist man to promote the surgical ideal of inserting a female-looking face on a male skull and body. He helped popularize these surgeries – now known as “facial feminization surgery”- among gendersexual/autogynephillic men. James helped spur the gendersexual trend away from genital surgeries and toward facial surgeries: which help the men who derive stimulation from imagining themselves inhabiting an approximation of a sexualized female body to achieve a “face passing as female” socially (at least on first glance). He paved the way for men to claim facial cosmetic surgery as a form of “sex-reassignment” surgery.”

    Andrea James is perhaps best known for posting photos of a nine year old girl stolen from a social networking site and captioning the child a “cock-starved exhibitionist”. In response to public outcry James deleted the posts before he was arrested yet later claimed the child “deserved it” because James was angry at the child’s father, sexologist Michael Bailey. You can read about this in the NewYorkTimes article exposing James here:

    “The site also included a link to the Web page of another critic of Dr. Bailey’s book, Andrea James, a Los Angeles-based transgender advocate and consultant. Ms. James downloaded images from Dr. Bailey’s Web site of his children, taken when they were in middle and elementary school, and posted them on her own site, with sexually explicit captions that she provided.”

    James didn’t just go after Bailey, he was determined to intimidate anyone associated with Bailey, or even speaks about Bailey’s work. This is from Alice Dreger’s blog,

    “A few days ago I was dismayed to discover that transgender activist Andrea James has been invited to speak at Northwestern University, where I work. Although Ms. James and I appear to be on the same page in terms of believing in the rights of transgender children and adults, her methods are repulsive to me.

    Ms. James was one of many transgender women who were deeply offended by Michael Bailey’s 2003 book, The Man Who Would Be Queen. But Ms. James was notable for the way she decided to go after Bailey’s children to extract revenge. She posted on the internet photographs of Bailey’s daughter and labeled her a “cock-starved exhibitionist.” James also claimed in her online publications that there “are two types of children in the Bailey household,” namely “those who have been sodomized by their father [and] those who have not.”

    Even though Ms. James’s actions were not directed at me, as a scholar who works on sex and politics, I found myself deeply intimidated by Ms. James’s actions. Because of Ms. James’s behavior, I became afraid of the ways in which I might be putting my own family at risk by the work I do advocating for intersex rights.”

    A follow-up on my encounter with Andrea James

    June 7, 2006

    I write to report what I’ve learned from my encounter with transgender activist Andrea James which began about a month ago with my objecting to her being invited to speak at my university. I’ll focus here particularly on what I’ve learned about censorship, self-censorship, and autogynephilia.

    On May 13, I posted a blog on my personal website objecting to the invitation of Ms. James to Northwestern University, where I work. (See above.) My major objection to Ms. James being invited concerned her abuse of Michael Bailey’s children in her campaign against his work. In response to my blog, I heard from many transgender people and sex/gender scholars some of whom are also transgender.

    I also heard from Ms. James herself who unfortunately lived down to my expectations by sending me obnoxious emails including threats. Some people have asked me whether these were really threats. Let me say they were threatening enough that I sent the mail on to my dean, who sent it on to university counsel, who asked me to let the police know about our concerns. I am not bothering to post what she wrote since I see no point in spreading what amounts to rhetorical toxins. Let me just say that her choice of the admonition “Bad move, mommy” suggested she is still interested in dragging people’s children (including now my own) into her intimidation tactics. Her further reference to my five-year-old son as my “precious womb turd” also suggested that she is astonishingly juvenile.”

    Maybe James is just a mentally unstable, abusive man who has spent a lot of money on “facial feminization”. To him, womanhood is a fetishized set of sex stereotypes and consumer products. He is not a woman.

    “Sex is biological and gender is ideological”. True statement by Brownwyn Winter.

    Brownwyn Winter briefly talked about transitioning children. People need to be reminded that sterilizing children via GnRH agonists and/or cross gender hormones is a human rights abuse. How can sterilizing healthy children not be a human rights abuse?

    This is my favorite sentence in Winter’s speech.

    “Medical attempts to make our sexed bodies fit prescriptive gender ideology is not new.”

    True, and it has been going on for decades. She gives one example of DES that was given to girls to stunt their growth because tall girls don’t fit culturally based gender stereotypes. I often wonder how future historians will view the transitioning and sterilization of children, “facial feminization” on biological males, and FTM “top surgery” (elective mastectomies with the surgical trimming down of areolas and nipples).

    I don’t know what sounds more Orwellian crazy. Would it be constantly repeating the special trans term “tyranny of the binary”, or saying,”I’m a man with two ovaries and a uterus”.


    “PS: I think we’d be getting a dramatically different reply if the question had been, “Should MTTs who have erect penises and rape conviction records be allowed to stay in women’s domestic violence and homeless shelters?”

    True, and Bronwyn Winter only scratched the surface in listing the ways that “gender identity” harms women. The sheer volume of intimidation and bullying tactics targeted against women is shocking.

    I don’t care if people identify as transgender, but no one will ever convince me that males are women, or men have ovaries and a uterus. I refuse to call James E. Mead/Andrea James a woman. No one will ever convince me that penis in the women’s restroom is some kind of civil right because the male “identifies as a woman”. They really want us to believe that penis is a female organ. No one believes in this insanity, but we are forced to pander to their delusions. No one will ever convince me that Stefonknee Wolscht or Carlotta Sklodowska are woman. “Gender identity” just keeps getting crazier all the time, and they don’t care how it harms women.

    If a male said to me, “I’m transgender, but I know I’m not a woman, and I respect women’s spaces”, I would have some respect for him. Men who still have their penis, fathered six or seven kids, demands to be called a woman, and expects access to women’s restrooms and locker rooms are simply wrong. I don’t have to tolerate them. They are violating my human rights.

    Must society recognize the culturally based ideological theory of “gender identity”? The answer is no. Deep in our hearts, we know that “gender identity” is evolving into an Orwellian curse upon the female sex. It is not compatible with feminism on multiple levels. It’s offensive on its face to say that womanhood is nothing more than plastic surgery and pretty frilly dresses. “Gender identity” reinforces sex stereotypes. In an attempt to convince people that he is a “woman”, the only thing a male claiming “gender identity” can do is evoke traditional sex stereotypes. That is, he is a woman because his appearance and mannerisms are based on what society says is “feminine”.

    • Zemskull Says:

      I don’t care how much this James Mead spends to achieve “facial feminization,” he won’t be female. Just as how Michael Jackson could spend $$$ to look white, but he was still black.

      • rheapdx1 Says:

        There is also the issue of no surgery taking away the look or cult-absorbtion stare, let alone replacing the atrophied brain cells. And this is being kind…..

        Secondly….if this Mead person was a part of any other group and did with children’s pics as the creep did….they would be in jail. Period. No passing go… getting $200. Then again, if charges were pressed, the ACLU or GLAAD would defend this waste of biological material, due to the ‘possible oppression’ of the cretin.

      • Zemskull Says:

        And oddly enough, Jacko also had a “problem” with children. Hmmmm…

  14. Elle Says:

    Rheapdx1’s comment about “the cult-absorption stare” made me think of one MtT trait that always creeps me out: the endlessly darting eyes. They are constantly scanning their surroundings to determine if and how they are being noticed by others. And no, it’s not fear on their faces; it’s smugness.

  15. Peter Hyndal Says:

    It’s taken me a while to even catch up with the comments about this debate… and ordinarily, I wouldn’t consider posting a comment on a site that seems to be intended for women only. But given that everyone who has made reference to me in these comments has maintained that I am a woman… I’m figuring that means I have some legitimate space to have input in this forum.

    I think there are some really important debates to be had about the way we construct the notion of gender. I was a feminist (and a lesbian) long before I ever became a man. The process of becoming a man made me even more of a feminist than I ever was before. It also gave me a myriad of concrete examples upon which to base these beliefs. Examples that came from my inclusion in “male only” conversations. Examples that came from my having to ‘relearn’ how to be in the world.

    My sense of the power that gender has over all of us has been amplified many times over by my experience of being trans.

    To me, these experiences speak volumes for continuing feminist discourse and analysis.

    Now, as a man… I know that my capacity to engage in these discussions is more fraught than it was when I chose to present as a woman. But surely we can find a respectful way for us to have these very important conversations?

    I feel a need to clarify my comments about ‘demanding recognition’. What I was trying to say was simply that I do believe that there are legitimate debates for us to be having about trans inclusion in women’s (or men’s) only spaces.

    But it would be great if we could have those conversations in a way that didn’t hold people’s identity to ransom.

    For example, a “women’s reproductive health service” could legitimately exclude post menopausal women from their clientele – but in this case, they would exclude those women, not on the basis that they ‘weren’t women’, but rather on the basis that they didn’t require reproductive health services.

    That is all I was trying to say – that in order for us to engage in a respectful way, surely we must start from a mutual respect for each others identities? I can respect your identity as a feminist, as a woman, as a lesbian, as appropriate. I can respect that, simply on the basis that you say that is who you are. I don’t require ‘proof’, I don’t set my own ‘evidence tests’ around that. I simply respect your identity, because it’s who you say you are.

    If I failed to do that, would you really feel inclined to engage with me?

    There have been a number of people who have commented about the ‘no platforming’ approach taken by some trans activists. And on this point, I agree with you all. I don’t think that no-platforming serves anyone well. These are important debates that we need to be having.

    There have been other people who have posted in a way that implies they have some kind of ‘inside information’ about the politics that went on in the planning for this debate. As a participant in the debate, I can say that I had no sense of any kind of ‘no-platforming’ issue with regard to any more well-known feminist speakers being part of the debate. In fact, I personally and actively suggested that both Sheila Jeffries and Germaine Greer (and/or any others) should be approached to be part of it.

    Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long post.

    I look forward to some thoughtful and engaged responses.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Of course you are welcome to comment. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    • GallusMag Says:

      I don’t really care what you believe about yourself, Peter. You can believe you’re a man, an enby, a circumgender, or peter-fucking-pan for all I care. That is your right. It is really no one’s business but yours. And I give even less of a shit what you think about my “identities” and whether you think they are “valid” or not.

      That being said, I think women like you who carry water for men in ways that harm other women and girls really have a lot to answer for. Even your lecturing other women that we ought to pretend to “respect the identitay” of these guys or these guys and call them “women” based on the most disgusting sex stereotyping and misogyny to ever crawl out of the sewer is quite offensive. And all so, what? So you can try to minimize your cognitive dissonance about pretending you are a man?

      It brings to mind the comments made by one of your “bros”, Mel Wymore, another testosterone-injecting woman, in a news article today. The article had to do with a girls swim team in Manhattan, 18 girls from ages 7 on up, who were forced out of the women’s locker room because a creepy man wanted to use it and Gender Identity laws said he could. They are forced to change in a tiny room now that won’t fit them all so they have to stand there shivering and wet before getting changed and they can’t shower anymore. The FTM carrying water for the man told the little girls she has never before heard of a single male human being who “identifies as a woman” who would ever do anything to make women or girls uncomfortable, not even the “transwomen” who are convicted rapists and murderers. Her solution to the girls was that they should be “patient” with the man until new locker rooms exist where they can lock themselves away from the man but he can still think he is using a female facility. Respect theh identitay. WHAT THE FUCK.
      ( )

      Now the whole reason your FTM bro was included in the story was to put a kindly FEMALE face on the whole clusterfuck. And that is what you women do every time you use your own personal identity issues -which are solely your own personal problem, mind- to carry water for these men as women and to try to force, guilt trip, manipulate, or coerce other women and girls to “respect their identitay” as pretend females. It’s really not cool, bro. It’s really not okay.

      So I’m glad you are getting on board the feminist train. Or at least waving at the train as it goes by the station platform where you stand. Because you FTMs are really the ones making all this happen. We don’t need to be nicer to men to get them to stop harming us, as you propose. There will be no negotiating with the men. They’ve had the span of human history for that and I’ve never seen any evidence of it. But we do need women like you to stop carrying water for them and telling women and girls absurdities like “just give the men whatever they want and they will negotiate with you”. Just lie back and think of England ladies! For fucks sake. Keep sweet, girls!!!

      Holy shit you FTMs should listen to yourselves.

    • red Says:

      For example, a “women’s reproductive health service” could legitimately exclude post menopausal women from their clientele – but in this case, they would exclude those women, not on the basis that they ‘weren’t women’, but rather on the basis that they didn’t require reproductive health services.

      NO it couldn’t. Menopause is a part of a biological woman’s life cycle. I can’t believe the lack of knowledge you people exhibit. Things happen in our bodies that can ONLY happen in biological woman’s body, even if she’s been castrated by some Mengele wanna be.

      It is SO boring reading such stupidity in an adult. I just have to go away and throw up.

  16. M.L. Block Says:

    Hi Peter,
    You write: “The process of becoming a man made me even more of a feminist than I ever was before.”

    I don’t understand this. I would understand if you had said: “The process of trying to become a man and finally realizing that it was impossible to do so, made me even more of a feminist than I ever was before.”

    So, could you elaborate on your statement?

    In the video, @ 7:45, you say you agree with Germaine Greer. But you’ve actually misunderstood her. Greer maintains that what makes a woman *is* determined by “biologic physicality”. She would say the same about what makes a man a man. She would, if I’m not mistaken, see you as a woman, in spite of your claimed identity as a man.

    You say you “present as” a man, but in watching and listening to you, I think you present as a woman who has tried, through modern technology, to pass as a man. On first glance, you look like a man, but people are becoming more perceptive in seeing the effects of cross-sex hormones and cosmetic surgeries on a person. Certain features and anatomical ratios can’t be altered.

    I say all this as a man who agrees with the type of feminism presented on this blog and who therefore thinks it’s impossible for a woman to become a man and vice versa. Out of politeness I probably wouldn’t challenge your self-perception in an encounter with you, but all the while I’d be seeing you as a woman and studying the effects testosterone has had on you. I’d also be examining how you were trying to “act like a man”. I of course would go through the same thought processes when looking at someone like Andrea James as well.

    And I’m sure I’m just doing what most other people (“cis” and “trans”) do when encountering trans people.

    • kesher Says:

      “On first glance, you look like a man, but people are becoming more perceptive in seeing the effects of cross-sex hormones and cosmetic surgeries on a person.”

      This makes me think of the various ways older women have their faces mutilated to try to look younger, but all that’s really happened is that overinflated lips, exaggerated cheekbones, and perpetually surprised eyebrows now read 50- to 60-something woman. No one is under any illusions about how old Madonna is, for example.

    • GallusMag Says:

      Looking forward to some thoughtful and engaged responses from Peter. ..

  17. silverside Says:

    I found the basic premise of Peter’s argument so nonsensical I had to comment. I don’t know of any “Women’s Reproductive Health Service” that excludes post-menopausal women. Just because we no longer menstruate doesn’t mean our reproductive systems no longer need medical attention. This is total bullsh**. I remember an ignorant republican politician recently saying something similar not too long ago, and it pissed me off then too. Just a variation on older women becoming invisible (to men) because they’re not “hot” (to them) anymore, can’t make (or fail to make) babies for them, and so therefore no longer of any tangible use.

    • kesher Says:

      I think Peter’s probably referring to something like egg harvesting, although considering that post-menopausal women can gestate and give birth using donated eggs, she’s still wrong.

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