Bill C 16 What say you?

264 posts / 0 new
Last post
6079_Smith_W

Because that isn't how Human Rights Codes work, Magoo. Or most law, for that matter.

It isn't a case of limits so much as when recognizing rights becomes a potentially greater rights violation for someone else. In this case, women. There is no way you are going to anticipate every possible future conflict in order to put it down on paper, even if you tried. It all comes down to practical application.

But while I think women have some legitimate concerns (even if I don't think this amendment is going to have an impact on that), there are plenty of critics looking on this thinking about the threat to their own privilege, just like other rights struggles, and wondering about how to recognize some rights so long as they don't get too uppity.

That is why I think the notion of limits is a questionable one when we are talking about universal rights. If we are evaluating that in an honest way the only limit is when it impacts on others' universal rights, and that is a hard thing to weigh.

(edit)

I mentioned upthread a number of examples of laws which, if taken by the letter, would cause serious problems. That generally doesn't happen, and when it does happen, they often wind up being struck down. That is unlikely to happen in the case of recognizing a fundamental right like gender identity and expression, because it actually is very solid grounds for protection.

 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
If we are evaluating that in an honest way the only limit is when it impacts on others' universal rights, and that is a hard thing to weigh.

I would disagree.  I think that we most certainly can differentiate between materialist concerns (as a babbler from way back, Dr. Conway, used to say "does it pick your pocket or break your leg") and the rest.

Seems to me that would nicely "square the circle" as you put it, and afford legal protection for those things you've told us are the real issues -- employment, residence and access to services.  And safety, of course.  I can't imagine even the most radical of feminists disagreeing with trans-people being added to hate crime considerations.

But is there a need to ensure that other, non-material things won't ever be legally exempted?  If someone, one day, claims that someone else's definition of "woman" doesn't explicitly include them, do we need to believe that's also discrimination?  Or else why can't we rule that out in language?  Because we can't collectively decide that ahead of time; it can only be decided by one judge?

6079_Smith_W

The squaring I was talking about was how to afford those protections without using those controversial terms.

But as to your point, I don't think you can foresee every possible circumstance, and given that these protections are absolute except when the impact on others' rights, you can't just set arbitrary lines, like it applies except when you are riding public transit.

Because it isn't arbitrary; it IS about that impact. And it isn't hierarchical. Ideally matters of conscience don't have higher priority than sexual orientation (though there was a ruling in recent years which found that in a specific case) and matters of race discrimination don't automatically trump discrimination based on sex.

Again, we are talking about legislation with not that many words, and there is a good reason why it is that way.

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
But as to your point, I don't think you can foresee every possible circumstance, and given that these protections are absolute except when the impact on others' rights, you can't just set arbitrary lines, like it applies except when you are riding public transit.

My suggestion doesn't ask the law to set arbitrary lines, nor to foresee every possible circumstance.

I'm just suggesting that the law could differentiate between materialist concerns ("I can't rent an apartment", "I can't get a job") and non-materialist concerns ("this offendeded me deeply!", "that's not how *I* would define the sexes!")

Misfit Misfit's picture

The problem is that if say a radical feminist says that your sex is determined by your chromosomes, that can be considered hate speech. Radical feminists have had their guest lecturers banned from speaking at universities citing their ideas constitute hate speech. That group at the Vancouver Women's Library wanted certain books banned because they feel it constitutes hate speech. The whole aim of this is to silence and forcefully shut down radical feminist ideology completely and to be able to use the full extent of the law to force them into submission and silence. Can "hate speech" be taught in women's studies programs at universities? Some of them want to eliminate radical feminist ideology altogether.

6079_Smith_W

What some gang calls hate speech and what hate speech really is are two entirely different things.

Saying that trans people should be hunted down and killed might be considered hate speech, depending on where you said it. Saying that you do not consider them women is not. It's unlikely that it would even be considered actionable as discrimination because you are free to hold that opinion, something which is also protected in the charter.

Consider how many things are said about people publicly without the speaker getting fined for it. The new leader of the opposition repeated on national television last year that he does not believe in marriage equality, even though that is in opposition to the law, and means he thinks gay people should not have the same rights as everyone else. He has every right to hold that opinion.

Then consider the countless slurs against people based on identifiable features that you see every day in the media, without people being fined or prevented from saying it.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The problem is that if say a radical feminist says that your sex is determined by your chromosomes, that can be considered hate speech.

As I understand it, actual hate speech is pretty narrowly defined in Canada, and I don't think that such a claim would qualify.  Colloquially, "hate speech" seems to be a stand-in for "negative speech about an identifiable group".

On the other hand, "discrimination" -- particularly when it's essentially undefined -- is actionable.  The "action" may fail, but not before some "hater" gets dragged through the courts or the HRTs.  I suppose we'll need to wait and see; it seems the Bill only recently had its third reading in the Senate, so unsurprisingly there aren't any real world examples to discuss.

That said, I find it funny that concerns about negative or unintended outcomes from this Bill are characterized as some kind of needless "Chicken Little" panic, whereas (for example) fretting that Lockheed-Martin is going to use a hidden backdoor in the Census application to send your personal info to Donald Trump is just due diligence.  Strange that we didn't need to wait until such a thing actually happened before expressing concern.

6079_Smith_W

Sure, but as a whole this is not new legislation, and plenty of people are able to make discriminatory statements of belief publicly  - that they think women are not fit to hold positions men qualify for, that non-whites are of lower intelligence, or more likely to commit crimes, that religious people are all idiots.  And that gets a pass under freedom of conscience.

We also have formal organizations with the right to discriminate because of their freedom of association - churches, clubs, and, yes, Vancouver Rape Relief. And the battle they wound up fighting came before gender was part of the law, and they didn't win on the distinction between sex and gender.

For that matter,  the protection against discrimination based on sex has been on the books for ages, and no one has rung the alarm bells about that potentially allowing men into women's bathrooms. And really, that should be a greater threat to women-only spaces. Yet now that protection of gender identity and expression are on the table the assumption is that protection is going to fall.

Misfit Misfit's picture

Www.nationalibserver.com. Meghan Murphy, Oct 25, 2016, "Bill C-16 is Flawed in Ways most Canadians have not Considered". 

 

"After University of Toronto psychology professor complained about what he calls 'political correctness', having to use gender neutral pronouns in class, and Bill C-16, students and professors alike spoke out...,and over 250 faculty members signed a letter associating Peterson's comments with 'hate speech'. Just last week administrators ordered Peterson to 'stop making statements' that could be considered discriminatory under provincial human rights legislation."

Misfit Misfit's picture

The Globe and Mail. Meghan Murphy, March 28, 2015, "There's nothing 'safe' about silencing dissent"

"the Cambridge Union was asked to withdraw its speaking invitation to feminist icon Germaine Greer, who was accused of 'hate speech' because she said she wasn't sure if transphobia was a thing."

the entire article is worth reading.

6079_Smith_W

Let's hope this doesn't turn into yet another Jordan Peterson thread (because unlike those women's organizations which have concerns about this I don't think he has a leg to stand on). But here is what the university actually said to him in their two letters:

http://thevarsity.ca/2016/10/24/u-of-t-letter-asks-jordan-peterson-to-re...

If you had an employee in a very public position saying he was determined to break the law, even if he didn't have a clue what the law actually was, what would you do? In that, I don't think the U of T did too badly in underscoring their support for his academic freedom, but reminding him of his responsibilities.

6079_Smith_W

Cross posted with you, Misfit.

Here the speech by Germaine Greer that some demanded she not be allowed to deliver. As an aside, I like that she starts out with the story of how she unintentionally sent the world of pornography into overdrive, in what was supposed to be an attempt to shut it down.

I like it because although I think she is on the wrong side of the gender question, she has also been one who was not afraid to think outside the box in order to fight oppression (even if it didn't have the result she intended).

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEs3-Cyx4r8

Sineed

From Egale's website, where they tried to address fears around Bill C-16. They speak of the fears around freedom of speech (about which I am not so concerned for reasons other babblers have adequately expressed), and then there's this:

Misconception 3

"Bill C-16 will put women and girls in harm’s way."

                Proponents against Bill C-16 often suggest that protecting gender identity and gender expression will allow individuals to take advantage of human rights legislation to gain access to gender-segregated spaces like washrooms. They believe this will lead to an increase in violence and harassment against women and girls.

Reality

Bill C-16, and previous versions of the bill, were created in part as a response to the high rates of violence and harassment transgender and gender diverse people face in public.

                Fears around increasing rates of violence against women and girls due to human rights protections for transgender and gender diverse people stem from misconceptions around access to gender-segregated spaces like washrooms and change rooms.

Transgender and gender diverse people are at a higher risk of experiencing violence than the general population. An Ontario based study by TransPulse found that 20% of trans people “had been physically or sexually assaulted for being trans, and another 34% had been verbally threatened or harassed but not assaulted” (Bauer & Scheim, 2015). These risks of assault or harassment cause transgender and gender diverse people in Canada to avoid public spaces. In fact, “the majority (57%) of trans Ontarians had avoided public washrooms due to these safety fears” (Bauer & Scheim, 2015).

As you can see, the fears of women and girls are not addressed at all, instead diverting the discussion straight into, "Transgender and gender diverse people are at a higher risk of experiencing violence than the general population." As my previous post elaborates upon, this oft-repeated statement about transpeople experiencing higher rates of violence than the general population has not been proven, and some of the information out there has been deliberately falsified (eg, the "one in 12 transwomen are murdered," often quoted and demonstrably false). In point of fact, governments don't use gender identity as a parameter for stratifying statistics on violent crime. The Trans Pulse survey is just that: a survey. The information reported is not verified, nor is it comparable to actual statistics on actual violence against women, such as the missing and murdered aboriginal women, women assaulted and murdered by their partners, attacks on sex workers, and so forth.

The executive director of Egale has made it explicit that the rights of transgender people are about access to locker rooms and washrooms. From an article here on rabble (Bill C-279 was a previous transgender rights bill introduced in 2012 and similar to Bill C-16):

"The human rights of transgender people must be protected in all spaces including public bathrooms and locker rooms. The amendment to Bill C-279 fuels discrimination against transgender individuals by making it seem like people have something to fear by sharing a bathroom with a transgender person, which of course they don't."  

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2016/05/bill-c-16-introduces-transgender-pro...

I think it's safe to say that nobody on babble wants anybody to suffer discrimination for housing or employment on the basis of their appearance or how they identify. But the rhetoric of activists, as you can see above, is frequently focused on how getting people into opposite-sex spaces on the basis of how they identify is central to the protection of their rights. That is precisely how gender identity and gender expression supercede sex. 

 

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
But the rhetoric of activists, as you can see above, is frequently focused on how getting people into opposite-sex spaces on the basis of how they identify is central to the protection of their rights.

Yes.  I think it's entirely reasonable to wonder why, if the REAL problems are lack of access to jobs, lack of access to housing, or violence, GAG would even have the time to take their fight to a tiny library.

There aren't bigoted landlords to protest?  There aren't transphobic employers to protest?  Transpeople are now all safe, so on to the libraries to fight the power?

Sineed

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Yes.  I think it's entirely reasonable to wonder why, if the REAL problems are lack of access to jobs, lack of access to housing, or violence, GAG would even have the time to take their fight to a tiny library.

There aren't bigoted landlords to protest?  There aren't transphobic employers to protest?  Transpeople are now all safe, so on to the libraries to fight the power?

Right?? But the attack on the library is consistent with the activists' rather puzzling focus on radical feminists as their central enemies. After all, if they really are being attacked and killed in large numbers, it's not radical feminists who are killing them. 

6079_Smith_W

Can we maybe dispense with equating the action of a fringe group with all of us who support transgender rights? Like some of the other assumptions being made, it really doesn't help us work toward a reasoned discussion here.

I have a copy of the SCUM Manifesto on my shelves, but I would never hold up Valerie Solanis's attempted murder (and possibly actual murder, since Warhol died of complications resulting from the shooting) as an example of what feminists are capable of.

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Like some of the other assumptions being made, it really doesn't help us work toward a reasoned discussion here.

..i believe you're searching for a middle ground that will not exist unless you deal with the underlying issue of the encroachment on women's rights.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Can we maybe dispense with equating the action of a fringe group with all of us who support transgender rights?

I don't, for a moment, conflate you with GAG Vancouver, nor do I believe you support them in any way.

But they're the front lines of the battle.  They're where this is happening, even if you (or I, or others) think it should be happening somewhere else. 

6079_Smith_W

No. I am saying to not make false extrapolations based on the actions of a single small group, since I assume no one would appreciate moving this into a discussion about feminist murderers.

If you want to talk about potential encroachment, go back and read the multiple times I have already pointed out where I stand on it WRT shelters and bathrooms.

And how I have asked for any concrete examples of human rights legislation being the source of any encroachment. I am still waiting.

 

 

6079_Smith_W

Magoo. No they are not on the fucking front line of the battle any more than Valerie Solanis was. This is no different than trying to saddle any legitimate activist movements with an illegal or terrorist attack.

If I top someone or burn their house down does that automatically make me the leader of the movement? How does that make any sense?

 

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

If you want to talk about potential encroachment, go back and read the multiple times I have already pointed out where I stand on it WRT shelters and bathrooms.

..that doesn't address what quizz, misfit or sineed are saying. eta: and because your male i don't think you can.

6079_Smith_W

Because I am male I can't agree with them that women's shelters should have the right to control who gets in their space, you mean?

Because I do agree. And I am pointing out that the courts support that right too. I am not quite sure what you are saying there.

And I am talking with them, and quite aware that we don't all agree on all the points here. And again, not sure what you are saying.

 

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..you keep trying to shove the discussion to a middle ground. there is no middle ground. at least not yet. that is what i'm saying.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
Magoo. No they are not on the fucking front line of the battle any more than Valerie Solanis was.

Let me be clear.  I'm not ascribing ANY special validity to their, or Solanis' choice of actions.  I'm only suggesting that while you or I might say "this is what really matters", they're tranforming words into action.  I'm not saying we should endorse it, but if one fighting unit is tens of clicks ahead of the other fighting units, wouldn't we say "that's where the front is"?

Quote:
This is no different than trying to saddle any legitimate activist movements with an illegal or terrorist attack.

Except that I don't actually believe that some trans-person who just wants a job, an apartment and to not be assaulted is responsible for what the radicals do.  I completely agree that it's both legitimate and reasonable to want to hold a job, be able to rent a place to live, and not be assaulted.  But in that context I still have to wonder "why trash a wee library?"  I get that you don't agree GAG's choice to trash that wee library, but do you have any insight into why that was more important than all the things you keep telling us are what's important?

 

Sineed

6079_Smith_W wrote:
Can we maybe dispense with equating the action of a fringe group with all of us who support transgender rights?

Thing is, Winston, if you add up all the fringe groups, you end up with the main driving force of a social justice movement. 

From the executive director of Egale:

Quote:
"The human rights of transgender people must be protected in all spaces including public bathrooms and locker rooms.

They speak of human rights, but what motivates them is getting men into women-only spaces, and vice versa. When they are saying it themselves, I don't know how anybody can deny that is their motive.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I actually believe that trans peoples fears of violence in public washrooms is very real and it is a serious concern that needs to be addressed. I don't know what the best solution is like gender neutral washrooms. Or urinals in cubicals. 

I don't agree with Germaine Greer's statement that she doesn't know if transphobia is even a thing. I personally think it is very real.

i also think that my concerns that this hate speech provision will be used to further target radical feminist academics is very real and serious.

6079_Smith_W

And I actually agree with them when it comes to public bathrooms, so long as there is no third option. I would be in favour of solving that problem to everyone's satisfaction. And in fact, that is something that is already happening in a lot of places. Many public washrooms are now single use unisex.

And you are making a leap there from people who vandalize libraries to people who lobby for rights to use the bathroom. It is not the same thing. At all.

And there is a third leap to the assumption that this amendment to the federal Human Rights Code will have any bearing whatsoever on this issue. Provincial codes haven't played any role in this at all so far.

 

quizzical

6079_Smith_W wrote:

Can we maybe dispense with equating the action of a fringe group with all of us who support transgender rights?

can we maybe dispense with trying to frame this as if we don’t support transgender rights because we are standing for our own rights and attempts to destroy them? it’s not very reasoned.

Like some of the other assumptions being made, it really doesn't help us work toward a reasoned discussion here.

wow. trying to infer we’re not being reasonable. while you are. hint you’re not. if you were you would’ve never tried to insert Valerie Solanis into this discussion.

you’re doing so is equivalent emotionally to Varner outing Zeke on Survivor.

I have a copy of the SCUM Manifesto on my shelves, but I would never hold up Valerie Solanis's attempted murder (and possibly actual murder, since Warhol died of complications resulting from the shooting) as an example of what feminists are capable of.

way to equate mental illness with feminism. how about you walk away from this discussion. now.

and i say this as someone who didn’t even know who she was until you brought her into this discussion. i looked her up because your post kinda creeped me and i wondered why.

6079_Smith_W

Well it should creep you out; it creeps me out. And no, I am not equating feminists with murderers. But I am pointing out what it feels like to be equated with vandals, rapists and zealots who try and shut down discussion just because people support trans people's rights to go to the bathroom in safety.

I know we do not agree on all these points. And I have been pretty clear that I respect your right to hold positions even if I don't agree. I even acknowledge that some of these concerns are reasonable even if I don't think there is a valid connection to C-16.

But no, some of these implications about others are not reasonable or fair. They don't help this discussion at all.

(edit)

And @ Misfit. Yes, I agree it is a complicated issue on all sides. And on Greer, I think some of the concerns she raises on this issue are completely valid.

 

quizzical

smith i never said you were equating feminists with murderers i said with mental illness.

i stand by what i said above. stop. now.

6079_Smith_W

Except I wasn't doing that either.

Look at my comment which you quoted. I said that is something I would never do. But I feel something similar is being done here by associating vandalism and assault with people who are advocating for rights.
 

Misfit Misfit's picture

@Smith. I agree with you that some of her concerns are completely valid. my point is that if trans people live in fear for something as simple as going to a public washroom and if they face violence simply because of who they are, then that means that there is transphobia. Germain Greer, on an academic level, was perhaps referring to her being "no-platformed" because some transactivists consider her views to be "hate speech". From that context, then what she says about her questioning whether transphobia is a thing makes sense. Taken out of context, it can mean something entirely different. So I think it depends from what context she was making her statement and we don't have that background from the article I earlier cited.

i do believe that an amendment needs to be inserted in the Bill which protects feminists from expressing their concerns.

6079_Smith_W

I think it goes beyond her rightly calling out the no-platforming; her analysis of gender and its potential effect is valid, and her talk is well worth listening to. Thing is, it isn't absolute, doesn't apply to everyone, and some of the assumptions she makes about people based her analysis are false.

And I agree with you about protecting those concerns. The question is how.

For good or ill, and whether it was necessary or not (because it had not been used against women's groups), the Harperites repealed the hate speech section of the charter in 2013:

http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/hate-speech-n...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Human_Rights_Commission_free_spee...

And some of those protections already exist. In fact, they were the foundation of Vancouver Rape Relief's ultimate victory in the courts:

https://thetyee.ca/News/2007/02/03/Nixon/

As for the spin at the end of the article that this is all about who has the right to determine who and who is not a woman, I think that is no more helpful than trying to force that confrontational point into the legal arena from the other side. It isn't the decision the court made, despite the claim that it is:

Boyle disputes that reading of the case. "The legal issue wasn't how people are classified in terms of gender. I don't think the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has the right to decide what it means to women to be women -- that's a political issue. What all the courts have said is that Rape Relief is entitled to the protection of the Human Rights Code, just like anyone else."

Misfit Misfit's picture

The Peterson article at the U of T that Smith linked basically summed it up well. The U of T supports freedom of speech.  However, the U of T and any university is liable for the actions of their faculty if a faculty member engages in writing what some would call "hate speech". These radical feminists do not believe that what they write or say constitutes hate speech. However, the University administration departments don't care whether the claims are unfounded or not, they will silence radical feminist profs and "no-platform" radical feminist guest lecturers anyway because it is easier to silence the feminists than to risk a frivolous lawsuit that has no substance. And this is the reality. It is easier to censor a curriculum than for the iniversities to take on these lawsuits.

6079_Smith_W

I think there are groups on campuses which try to do that. Administrations have generally been more careful when it comes to undercutting academic freedom.

I think some campuses have been overzealous in shutting down debate for fear of violence. But this has almost exclusively happened in the case of right wing speakers. If there is a case of it happening WRT feminist gender analysis, I would appreciate hearing about it.

 

Misfit Misfit's picture

It happened at the U of R a few years back.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
As for the spin at the end of the article that this is all about who has the right to determine who and who is not a woman, I think that is no more helpful than trying to force that confrontational point into the legal arena from the other side. It isn't the decision the court made, despite the claim that it is

But doesn't C-16 -- effectively, if not explicitly -- address this with the authority of law?

Or what would it mean for the law to protect someone's "gender expression" that they're female while at the same time trying to remain agnostic about whether they're female?

Sineed

6079_Smith_W wrote:

I think some campuses have been overzealous in shutting down debate for fear of violence. But this has almost exclusively happened in the case of right wing speakers. If there is a case of it happening WRT feminist gender analysis, I would appreciate hearing about it.

Germaine Greer dis-invited from speaking at Cardiff University.

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/feminism/2015/10/what-row-over-bann...

Julie Bindel dis-invited from speaking at the University of Manchester.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/oct/09/no-platform-univer...

And here is an article that speaks to the no-platforming of radical feminists:

http://www.troubleandstrife.org/new-articles/you-are-killing-me/

The claim that certain forms of feminist speech should be silenced has recently become common currency. Notable instances include the ongoing NUS no-platforming of Julie Bindelthe cancellation of a performance by the comedian Kate Smurthwaite (which prompted a letter to the Observer), and, in the last month, the demand that a progressive Canadian website end its association with the feminist writer Meghan Murphy.

The basis of this claim is the assertion that a certain strand of feminist thought is hate speech. Versions of that assertion have circulated on social media for a number of years — complete with obligatory analogies between Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists (TERFs) and Nazis, the BNP or the Ku Klux Klan. But its effectiveness in excising speech from the public sphere was really brought home to me in August 2014, when the journalist and trans activist Paris Lees pulled out of a Newsnight debate with the gender-critical trans woman Miranda Yardley, saying she was ‘not prepared to enter into a fabricated debate about trans people’s right to exist.’

More recently, the claim that TERFs want to ‘debate trans people’s right to exist’ has morphed into the more-or-less explicit suggestion that TERFs are intent on extermination. Blogs defending feminist-silencing have argued that dialogue is impossible when “some at the table are…arguing for the elimination of others at the table,” or “one side is effectively being forced to argue for their entire existence against a group of people… who would like to see us dead.”

And here's an article on the topic archived here at rabble:

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/feminist-current/2015/06/no-platforming-...

Julie Bindel feels that the censorship of some feminists is not ultimately about transgender issues, but about fuelling a backlash against radical feminism. 

"There was me, Janis Raymond, Sheila Jeffreys, and maybe one other prominent radical feminist who were vilified and who had their employers written to and who had grant-givers written to, to say "withdraw that grant, because this person is contravening your equal opportunities policy." That happened to me all the time — every single grant or editor I've had… It still does happen.

But then some younger women — interestingly mainly heterosexual — just said, "F**k this with this gender nonsense — what's all this 'female brain' and 'male brain?' We're not having this. Of course we'll stand in front of any transperson who's been vilified and bullied and attacked, because that's oppression, cruelty, and bullying. But we don't have to buy into this 'brain sex' thing. We don't have to abandon socialist and radical feminist theory and principals — which is that gender is a social construction and is how patriarchy works."

6079_Smith_W

Thanks.

Greer did wind up giving that speech in Cardiff, despite the protest. though it doesn't erase the concern over those who stoop to that tactic.

And frankly, I'd say the objection on both sides of this has as much to do with the philosophical difference as it does with any perceived threat.

 

 

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

What I'm mystified by is the application of "radical". I don't think it's radical at all to not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water when we talk about gender. 

Nuance is not oppressive - it's the only way to have a conversation. Otherwise all we have is one side making an assertion and the other accepting it without critical thought. 

Sineed

Timebandit wrote:

What I'm mystified by is the application of "radical". I don't think it's radical at all to not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water when we talk about gender.

In the case of feminism, "radical" is the descriptor for a specific category of feminist rather than a general term implying extremism. The definition isn't set in stone, but in the main it's against porn and the legalization of sex work, and gender is posited as an heirarchical social construct that oppresses women. And the oppression of women is biologically based, because of our role in reproduction. I call myself a "non-radical radical feminist" because I agree with the tenets of radical feminism, but I'm not a radical person in general. 

Timebandit wrote:

Nuance is not oppressive - it's the only way to have a conversation. Otherwise all we have is one side making an assertion and the other accepting it without critical thought. 

A lot of trans activism expects slavish devotion to everything they say, and even the mildest digression is decried as "transphobic." Currently, there's  a group of lesbian activists who have been no-platformed by The Left Forum 2017, a conference of socialists. Their topic was the funding of the transgender movement by giant pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries, and how the corporately-controlled media is shutting down any discussion of alternatives to the mainstream narrative around gender non-conforming people. I think we can agree this has a whiff of conspiracy theory about it, eeevil Big Pharma and suchlike. But the Left Forum not only shut these women out of the forum, but issued a public apology for ever having listed it on their schedule in the first place.

Many women, including myself, have been accused of transphobia for stating that biology is real and questioning the current orthodoxy that medicalizes gender non-conforming people. As a pharmacist, I have been concerned about these fluffy articles in the media celebrating how children are realizing their "true selves" by transitioning, first blocking their puberty by taking Lupron, a hormone-blocking drug I use in my workplace to chemically castrate sex offenders. They follow up the Lupron with cross-sex hormones, and this process sterilizes them. And there's the surgeries, double mastectomies and sex reassignment surgeries, done on teens, when we know that the human brain continues to grow and develop, and people don't fully realize their personalities until they reach their mid to late twenties. But if you bring up how these practices are experimental at best, you are transphobic.

6079_Smith_W

Sineed wrote:

A lot of trans activism expects slavish devotion to everything they say, and even the mildest digression is decried as "transphobic."

But the same could be said about some people's interpretation of feminism. If someone believes in free gender expression they are de facto misogynist because they sell into a system which oppresses women and erases the reality of sex, and that oppressing women and attacking feminism is at the core of this.

"Nuance" is one word for it. I'd say it is also making the distinction between different worldviews around gender and sex, and how one treats those who see things differently. Not everyone on the different sides of this divide puts the focus on pinning other people down on whether they "deny" . Not everyone tries to prevent people from talking. Not everyone makes generalizations about the other side and crime, assault and coercion. Not everyone frames this as enemies and oppressors. Not everyone sees this as a situation where there has to be a compromise (which is impossible) rather than a situation where both realities are true for different people.

Yet some on both sides point at those who attack and try to silence as if they represent the entire community, even though they do not.

Why is it that I as a man could care less that a transperson considers himself a man. That I could care less if some people (men, women, and in between) express a form of masculinity I consider stereotypical and in some cases comic and insulting? That in some cases it has no relation whatsoever to what I see as being a man. In fact there are plenty of women and feminists who also do not have a problem with it (not saying this to discredit your position, but it does not strictly divide along sex or even feminist lines).

Clearly one big difference is that my spaces aren't under threat, and to the degree that gender stereotypes undermine the reality of sex,  it does a lot more damage to women than to men. But it does raise the question of whether it is gender itself which is the problem, or how it is enforced.

To take this back to the BC court ruling and its interpretation, it wasn't about who gets to decide who is a woman. If it had been a salon refusing service to a transwoman the outcome might have been quite different. The decision was about protecting women's right to those spaces.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Sineed, I know the definition, I just resent the living shit out of having the term applied. 

Smith, I'm talking about nuance in a different sense than you are. However, I do have to say that having a different worldview is fine, but asserting claims of a biological nature that are unsupported by science deserve to be scrutinized. 

 

6079_Smith_W

@ TB.

Yeah, know. I am coming at it as two separate ideas - worldview, and mutual tolerance. My guess is you are talking more specifically about the tolerance in order to communicate. An immediate and also very important part of this, when you consider the alternative of shutting down anything you disagree with.

And no, I don't think people should be prevented from examining this and asking those difficult questions, scientific or otherwise.

(edit)

... though we should bear in mind the role bias and prejudice might play, and that those questions are not always honest.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

I don't like the term "tolerance", I prefer acceptance. However, we need to acknowledge that there isn't any black and white here, that a nuanced approach can foster acceptance and acknowledge difference at the same time. Which, it seems to me, most people manage to do - but before any progress can be made, the activists need to give it a shot.

I know I'm getting old, but this "cis" and "TERF" and "radical" business is certainly not encouraging me to have any kind of patience with the whole discussion, either.

6079_Smith_W

I don't use the term "radical" here  because it doesn't have the same meaning as "radical feminism", which isn't that "radical" at all in the far-out sense. It is actually a measured way of looking at things, IMO. Here it is used in a negative way. Really, TERF is nothing but enemy language that doesn't help the discussion at all.

I have no problem with people using "cis" in a general sense, or in reference to themselves, just like I have no problem with people using "gender" in a negative sense, in context. Insisting that others use that same language and call themselves "cis" when they object to the term is another matter.

And yes, I think that is along the lines of my comment arguing for "detente" when compromise is seen as impossible.

Mobo2000

Really appreciating this thread.  

Personally I am not in favour of Bill C-16 -  "gender identity" and "gender expression" are so ambiguous and ill-defined and I can't see a practical postive benefit to transpeople.  

The contrasting views on the nature and origin of gender are significant, and if the law gets it wrong there are some pretty negative outcomes.   As mentioned above, some radical feminists assert  gender is purely a socialized fictional construct.  The Jordan Petersons of the world assert it has a strong basis in biology, that sex = gender = gender identity = gender expression for 99% of people.    Perhaps looking for a middle ground we might say that both play a factor (as well as individual personality, and "free will").   We all agree that it would be better for everyone if we had more acceptance of people who deviate from gender norms or don't fit within them at all.   

But if one believes that gender has a basis in biology, that there tends to be differences in interests and ability between men and women, than it follows that those difference would show up in society at large -- women clustered in jobs that are typically more interesting to women or that women have more aptitude for, and visa-versa for men.   And so for the Jordan Petersons of the world, diversity/affirmative action programs are a solution to a non-existant problem (or in effect unjustly providing advantages to people who don't need them).

The rad-fem position that gender is socially constructed, presumably by men, as a means to oppress women, leads to the conclusion that the path to the liberation of women is to reject gender and provide remedies to biological women in society to counteract this historical disadvantage (and current oppression).

I don't see how there can be a meeting in the middle of these two positions.   The neccesary conclusions that come from accepting either position as a total explanation of gender are fundamentally opposing.

It's distressing how politicized speech and research are in these areas.   But similar to violence against women statistics, stats on sexual assault, stats on the wage gap, there are vested interests on all sides, and they are all fundraising, which carries with it a logic of its own.

Separate but related -- It seems to me that bill C-16 will eventually require a way to test the sincerity of someone's expressed gender identity, and this might not be something anybody wants or needs.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

The science that exists appears to support that gender expression is primarily social. There may be some biological basis, but the idea that a person with an otherwise normal male biology possesses a brain that is somehow female is not supported by evidence at this point in time. And in fact, the evidence points out a massive amount of variation of both stereotypically male and female traits within each sex.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
I don't like the term "tolerance", I prefer acceptance. However, we need to acknowledge that there isn't any black and white here, that a nuanced approach can foster acceptance and acknowledge difference at the same time. Which, it seems to me, most people manage to do - but before any progress can be made, the activists need to give it a shot.

I do sometimes wonder whether trans-activists really expect that one day the world won't differentiate between a woman with a penis and a woman without one.

And then I recall that women (and men) are already differentiated by a whole lot of less significant characteristics -- "fat"women, "short" men, old, young, black, white, and literally dozens of others.  Legally, they should all enjoy the same protections by law, and in that regard they're all equal, but from a social point of view, blonde/thin/blue-eyed still enjoys a bit of a monopoly on the definition of beautiful, and tall/athletic/not-bald still has a lock on handsome.

As much as I'm also enjoying this thread, it does seem to want to keep circling around jobs, apartments and personal safety, even as trans-activists are worried about bookstores, music festivals, and "vagina" monologues.  It really doesn't seem to me that trans-activists demands are restricted to a job, a place to live, and not getting bashed -- things that I don't think any of us in this thread disagree with.

Misfit Misfit's picture

I also want to apologize. I think I made a mistake about the University of speech Regina.

 

www.cjme.com. June 10, 2011, Lisa Schiek. "Lecture series at University of Regina cancelled over controversial topic."

 

the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District along with the University of Regina  agreed to put on a lecture series in a park. Prof. Eaton was scheduled to give a lecture on Palestinian rights and BDS. Some members of the community expressed concerns about the subject matter so the RDBID no-platformed prof. Eaton. The U of R was angry about the censorship that they pulled out of the lecture series in support of prof Eaton's freedom of speech and against the  censorship.

Pages