The Difficulty of Gender Issues 323

It should go without saying that an important part of the approach to this debate should be not to hate anybody, on any side of the argument. Looking through the comments below I am very surprised that several people seem unable to do this.

I write as somebody who has spent virtually his whole life doing things other than think deeply about the rights of transgender people. The subject has however inserted itself centrally into Scottish political debate and particularly preoccupies sections of the leadership of the Independence movement. With the banning of the twitter account of Wings Over Scotland for what are judged by Twitter to be “transphobic” tweets, and the same day publication of the new Gender Recognition Reform Bill by the Scottish Government – and the coincidence of those two happenings worries me – I need to set down rather more coherent thoughts on the subject than I have previously.

To start from first principles, I believe that people should be treated as they wish to be treated. If somebody wishes to be treated as female I will treat them as female. That seems to me good manners. It seems the height of bad manners to do otherwise. If I meet someone who tells me they are a woman, I would not dream of querying them or demanding evidence. I would treat them as female. In my life so far, that is how I have always in practice dealt with people I have met whom I suspected might be transgender or transvestite. I treat them as the gender they present themselves as. (I do not care in the slightest for the latest fashion in politically correct jargon for these things). The same also obviously applies to people who wish to be treated as male.

I therefore support the principle of self-declaration that appears to be the basis of the Scottish government’s new bill. People should be what they wish to be, not what a doctor or psychiatrist tells them they are. Please note possession of genitalia does not factor in my thinking at all, in normal social situations.

We then come to the difficult bits. It appears to me plainly daft for a man simply to be able to declare themselves a woman and then to compete in elite sport in women only events. Men have natural competitive advantages from the effects on physique of testosterone. That is simply true, although I do find it rather ironic that feminists are now so insistent upon the fact, as it is precisely to adopt the arguments of Bobby Riggs against those of Billie Jean King. In non-elite, mixed ability sport – which is 99% of all sport that actually happens – I can see no reason why people cannot participate as the gender of their choice, and indeed I do not know why non-elite sport is gender specific at all. I am yet to play the woman who cannot beat me at squash. I suspect our cat could beat me at squash.

The attitudes towards these things change over time. When I went to primary school we had a segregated playground. There are still plenty of old Victorian schools around Edinburgh where the marking for boys’ and girls’ entrances survive in the brickwork. Though while talking of schools, I would add that I think gender re- assignment of children under 16 should almost never be allowed, as they are over-susceptible to adult influence.

Having lived so much of my life abroad, I have never quite understood the British obsession with gender segregated toilets anyway.

When it comes to prison, I have no doubt that Chelsea Manning should be in a female prison and treated as a female. Equally, there was a case highlighted on Wings over Scotland some months ago of a man convicted of sexual offences who had obtained admittance to a women’s prison after claiming female gender, who proceeded to carry out sexual assaults there. Plainly a convicted male sexual assailant ought not to be put in a women’s prison, even if they now claim gender re-identity.

So I quite accept that the right of self-declaration cannot be absolute and there are situations – highly unusual situations like prisons for violent offenders – where authorities should decide on its applicability in gender segregated areas. There are two things to say here. The first is that the entire debate so far elevates dogma on both sides above commonsense. The second is that to make law from extreme examples is foolish. We don’t make building codes for the general population on the basis of specifying the banning of the methods of Fred and Rosemary West.

Personally, I quite accept the view that a woman who arrives at a beauty salon ought to be able to refuse to have her intimate parts waxed by somebody she does not feel comfortable is the same sex as her, without being accused of “hate crime”. Others might not object at all and trans people ought not to be banned from working in beauty salons. These problems seem to me best solved by societal interaction and minimal intrusion of the state.

I realise that both sides of a currently heated debate will find my folksy take on this, based on empathy and tolerance not on rigid application of first principles, to be entirely wrong. Some will object to my lack of the latest PC jargon. One side will insist that being male or female is a simple physical thing and choice does not come into it. Some argue that men are violent, dangerous creatures from whom women need loads of safe spaces into which they can securely retreat, without fear of infiltration by “pretend women”. Others argue that identity is an entirely personal matter that nobody else can decide, and that the law should compel society to accept self-declared identity in every circumstance, and to do otherwise is a hate crime.

My own view is that, irrespective of whether gender is a binary divide, the question of how we treat trans people ought not to be a binary divide. It is a question of complex social interactions at a time of changing mores, and different factors are crucial in different situations. The safety of women is a crucial factor in the case of the male sex offender declaring themselves into a women’s prison. But the safety of women is not in imminent danger in the large majority of social interactions. The large majority of people, including the large majority of trans people, are decent and kind. Let us order relations on that basis, with safeguards in place for the unusual.

For what it is worth, in general the Scottish Government’s proposals do not seem to me a bad stab at these difficult questions. Self declaration should be the basic rule, and then there should be specified rules to cover unusual situations where problems might arise from aberrant behaviour, which may be exhibited by either party.

Finally, less than one per cent of the population have prosthetic limbs. If I were writing about the subject I would not feel the need to refer to everyone who does not have a prosthetic limb as “organics” or some such antonym. The idea we have to refer to everyone who is not trans as cis deserves to be ridiculed. The truly pathetic intellectual level of what passes for academic or expert led debate on these questions is a matter of some concern. I blame deconstructionism as the root of much trivial thought.

This whole issue is one of those subjects where I am aware that I need to duck for cover after writing.


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323 thoughts on “The Difficulty of Gender Issues

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  • Richard Ian Crawford

    It’s a diversion matter. The politicians have a symbiotic relationship with the media, and are desperate to give us moral bread and circuses rather than talk about nything relevant, like wages, rents and such vulgarities. I have known transvestites all my life and at 18 lived next door to a gay bar. I have gay friends.

    Big deal.

    I wonder if Tommy Robinson has a position on this.

    • joel

      It is one of those vital issues by which liberals are able to differentiate themselves from Tories. With huge sound and fury.

  • Mrs Pau!

    It seems to me there are several issues muddled up here. Biological males who self identify as female, being able to compete in women’s sport is one issue. Eroding women’s safe spaces by making toilets multi sex is another. These are but two issues related to self identification of one’s sex. Why are the authorities allowing a small minority of transgender activists to make all the running here? Activists caused a lecture on gender identity at Essex to be cancelled recently by threats of disruption. There is a link below.

    Apologies for it being in the Daily Mail. I could not find any coverage in the Guardian to link to. Maybe someone else can?

    • Tatyana

      If public toilets were a line of separate booths with a door and a lock on each of them, then I would feel quite safe using such a toilet. And I would not care what icon is drawn on the sign and who is occupying the next one. We have such booths everywhere in the streets, no problem at all.

      • John Goss

        Tatyana, when I was last in Russia the toilets were overseen by a woman (Dezhenaya) both male, and I suspect female, toilets alike, who was paid a small sum for providing essentials. I never saw any male attendants (though there may have been some). Admittedly it was almost 40 years ago. Are there still attendants providing this service?

        We could do with something similar in Birmingham. There used to be public toilets under the ramp going up to New Street station but they, latterly, were always locked to keep out drug addicts and the homeless I suspect. Anyway it was most annoying when you came out of a pub into the cold air with a full bladder and nowhere to relieve yourself especially if the bus was late.

        • Tatyana

          Yes, John, they are still there 🙂 female attendants, they receive money, do cleaning and I think you’ll hardly find a male attendant in a public toilet. A woman is believed to be the best choice for this job for many reasons, the first is that noone visitor would be embarassed. Also subconsciously they are perceived as nurses or babushkas, so no shame to ask for help.

        • Merkin Scot

          John, I lived in eastern Europe for many years and the situation that Tatyana describes is still most common.
          As I write this, I am sitting in a library with two unisex toilets and there is no great queue of rapists waiting to pounce – even though there is no attendant. So, it can be done.
          However, it is obvious that the SNP is under attack from within by woke activists who are using the issue as rather a hefty stick to cause confusion. Currently, they are succeeding in doing the Government’s work.
          Of course, Cummings is laughing all the way to the bank.

          • Tatyana

            Unisex toilets are no attractive for rapists, I think 🙂
            In a unisex wc there’s a big chance to run into a brutal man instead of a vulnerable woman, and in this case it depends and again it depends, who is having sex and if it is consensual 🙂

    • deschutes

      You sound like a TERF: i.e. a trans exclusionary radical feminist. A post like this one usually brings them out by the thousandfold. You parrot their favorite argument: ‘male transgenders only became self-identified women so they can sneak into the women’s loo and rape CIS women’. Utterly pathetic, not to mention hate consumed.

    • AJ

      Why is it people always refer to woman only spaces as being a refuge when this topic comes up. Men only spaces play a role too. Since this issue has become a thing, the changing rooms at my sports club have been invaded so many tines in a way that makes me feel really uncomfortable.

    • Magic Robot

      Agreed. Sowing division wherever they can, to weaken the public’s cohesion and cause diversion. It’s a non-issue – don’t know why Mr. Murray wrote the article…

      • deschutes

        That’s right. The primary aim of people who identify as the opposite sex is to sow division! Maybe the CIA is in on this, eh? Heck–maybe Bradley aka Chelsea Manning is a CIA government psyop aiming to create more chaos and the need for more homeland security defense spending? To keep CIS women safe in the women’s toilets from evil transvestite rapists. Sure, ya betcha 🙁

        • Magic Robot

          Your comment is hysteria.
          You can call yourself whatever you want, despite all biological evidence to the contrary, including that of your chromosomes, I really don’t care.
          Just remember, ‘no mind is free to reject the truth’. You can figure out yourself what the alternative would be called, I’m sure.
          It’s still a non-issue.

  • John McLeod

    Craig has titled his article “the difficulty of gender issues”. In making sense of these difficulties, it is important to understand the emotional (and sometimes physical) pain, humiliation and exclusion experienced by those who (for whatever reason), do not experience themselves as fitting into the sex that they were assigned at birth. Ever since psychotherapy became culturally established, there have been individuals who have used this arena to try to find a satisfactory solution for themselves. In recent years, these struggles have entered into the public sphere, in the form of support groups and activist organisations. These individuals and groups have been fighting for recognition of their needs in the face of deeply entrenched cultural assumptions about sex and gender. Strong emotions on all sides. Although “Galileo’s Middle Finger: Heretics, Activists, and One Scholar’s Search for Justice”, by Alice Dreger, is a difficult read, it offers an invaluable perspective on “the difficulty of gender issues”. Alice Dreger is a historian of science who became interested in the vicious personal attacks that characterised debate around scientific evidence regarding gender identity. Her book tells the story of her involvement in this field, and the tremendous cost to her own personal life and her career. It throws important light on why it is that these issues mean so much to some people.

    • John McLeod

      Just wanted to add. The current Scottish Government consultation on the Gender Recognition Reform Bill is a real test of the democratic process. Whoever its running this consultation needs to take account not only of commonsense pragmatic points of view, such as those articulated by Craig Murray, but also the experiences of those who have a deep personal interest in the topic, and the eventual legislative outcome.

      • Rod

        Yes important point. The common sense view can never get to the heart of complex issues (and is further undermined by often being a breeding ground for prejudice – though not in this case).

    • deschutes

      Very well said, thank you. You are one of the few people who actually objectively looked at what’s going on. Kudos! 🙂

  • A.C.Doyle

    The difficulties of gender issues, as the article is entitled, cannot be seen in isolation and, that we have to consider them at all, is simply a further symptom of the degeneration of our society.
    We still have the relics of a value system which once upheld a moral/ethical code and promoted qualities like forgiveness, reciprocity (do unto others … ) etc. etc. but these are hardly maintained. Those charged with maintaining these values, which may be recognised as Christian values, have shown themselves to be their worst corruptors. The consequence is that issues from the moral/ethical domain have now been abandoned to the democratic decision making process. That is WE decide (or define) on a majority vote what is morally/ethically right and what is morally/ethically wrong. Here a powerful driving principle is “if it feels good, do it”, and if that is not currently acceptable, vote for a politician who will promote it. Hence the big mess we are in.
    How would the issue of transgender sports competitors have been dealt with 50 years ago ? The issue simply would not even have arisen. Assuming our society lasts the next 50 years what could be an issue then, which we would currently regard as abhorrent ? Maybe inter-species intermarriage. Who knows ? If a rapid change occurs in our society, i.e. it breaks down catastrophically, what emerges may not support the current “liberal” values leaving those who have adopted lifestyles dependent on tolerance of these liberal values may be in a very difficult position.

  • PhilW

    Feminists, particularly in academia, worked hard in the 60s and 70s to distinguish sex from gender.

    Sex is biological – there are a few indeterminate (intersex) cases, but the vast majority of all animals are either male or female.
    Gender was distinguished as being a social construct – in any society ‘men’ are expected to indicate their maleness by behaving in certain ways, wearing certain clothes, etc while ‘women’ are expected to behave in different ones. These norms can change drastically from place to place and over time, but whilst in operation everyone is driven to conform.

    Part of the liberation of the 60s was the rejection of gender roles, especially by feminists. Men in the west started to wear their hair long, wear loose colourful clothes etc. This was seen as a threat to society (yes really) and provoked outrage in the Mail and Express. Women wearing cropped hair and dungarees and refusing to depilate body hair caused a similar reaction. This movement was a rejection of gender stereotypes – everyone could look and behave as they wished without worrying about conforming to some norm. It is also meant much greater fluidity in sexuality – if you fancied someone then you fancied them, without worrying if they were male or female. If this movement had succeeded, then gender would have disappeared as an issue, and angst about sexuality.

    Transvestites, however, were and are heavily into stereotype gender roles. Transactivists today take this one stage further making gender some mystical essence, such that one can be ‘really’ female but ‘born in the wrong body’. This started as metaphor, as it is how some people feel (transexuals such as Jan Morris), but is now put forward as a literal truth, which is absurd. We are our bodies first and foremost, all we think and feel originates in our bodies and is shaped by our experience. There is no gender ‘essence’ which is ‘who we really are’.

    So in effect, if not by design, transactivism aligns with the most conservative, oppressive trends in society which wish to reinforce gender roles. Transactivists assert the right to choose your role, but this presupposes defined roles to choose from, and links them to a mystical ‘essence’.

    As with the current ‘anti-semitism’ wars, the people under attack are often those most likely to come to the defence of a transgender person who is actually being attacked or discriminated against in real life. The so-called ‘TERFS’ are mostly very liberal, and not at all transphobic. They merely wish to ensure that safe spaces for women are not compromised, especially by men pretending to be transgender, or men claiming to be transgender in order to appropriate the few protections that women have.

    Transphobia must be fought wherever it rears its head. Gender neutral spaces should be provided – obviously a transgender woman is not going to feel safe or comfortable going into a male toilet or changing room. But opening up all womens safe spaces to any biological male who claims to be female cannot be the answer. Nor is trying to convince confused children who are unhappy about their bodies (which is all children, especially teenagers, at some point) that a sex change will solve their problems.

    • Rod

      It is impossible to cover everything in a post so I am pleased that you covered two important areas that I missed.
      1. The point about transactivism aligning ‘with the most conservative, oppressive trends in society which wish to reinforce gender roles’.
      2. The comparison with the ‘anti-semetism wars’ where we find ourselves in a world where ‘the good guys’ are attacked for the behaviour of ‘the bad guys’. I suppose a kind of knowing projection (or perhaps also unconscious).

    • Andyoldlabour

      Thanks Phil, a superb post, where you quite rightly distinguish between sex and gender. You are also quite correct about women – human female – being very concerned about male bodied people being present in women’s previously safe spaces.
      There has already been attacks on women in prison by males claiming to be women, so unlike Craig, I would say a person born male should never be incarcerated in a women’s prison.
      I also do not have a problem with how someone views themself, but I think a line is crossed when the actions of that person negatively impact the majority.
      The following link shows the type of thing which women have to put up with from trans activists – typical aggressive male behaviour.

      Karen White a sel ID’d female prisoner.

      Then of course we have Jonathan/Jessica Yaniv, an online male child groomer, who tried to get Asian women to wax his balls, and then took them to court when they refused.

      • Spencer Eagle

        That whole Jessica Yaniv case was utterly shameful, both Yanix’s behaviour and the states willingness to run with it. He (I’m using the biological description of this entity) actually managed to get a couple of waxing salons closed down resulting in people out of work, simply because women refused to wax his hairy bollocks.

    • Mrs Pau!

      PHiW – Very interesting points. Could not agree more with all you say.

      I was a feminist in the 70s and my then (male) partner was a well known sociologist who felt very strongly about breaking down prejudice against gay people (as they then described themselves.) His university’s gay society bravely organised a “Glad to be Gay” ball and we went along. I was very surprised at the number of males present who were dressed and made up, rather badly, to conform to some stereotype of a woman as envisaged by a Sun reader of the time. I said to my partner at the time that deliberately setting out to look like a 3rd rate drag queen after a night on the tiles seemed was unattractive and unappealing and seemed to me to miss the point of what being a woman was about.

      I was genuinely puzzled by this. They did not look at all attractive but that was not their aim which seemed to me to present themselves as some sort of exaggerated version of what was considered attractive in a woman. This is of course is not the same as drag. Ru Paul recently came under fire for rejecting a “transitioning”, woman as a candidate for his TV show. He said that the whole point of drag is that it is someone, usually a man, dressed up as the opposite sex and we should all be in on the deception.

      I have a number of gay friends. Indeed my sister in law is married to a a other woman. They do not feel the need to present themselves in the hysterical way some of the more extreme transexual activists have adopted. Early active feminists like myself fought not just for the right to be members of both biological sexes to be openly gay, but also to make society safer and fairer for women. The aggressive transgender activists currently shown so much deference by the authorities are undermining this. I find this very depressing and a backward step.

      • Andyoldlabour

        Mrs Pau!

        Excellent post IMHO.
        Your point about drag queens is very interesting, because I believe, particularly at the current time, it contradicts something called “appropriation” which seems to me to be one of the most serious “social crimes” you can commit at the moment.
        Surely men dressing up in a way which almost mocks women – a caricature – is the ultimate form of appropriation?

        • Mrs Pau!

          I am afraid I have little time for cultural appropriation. Is the Mikado appropriation? Or the Rolling Stones starting their career by singing blues music from the American mississippi delta? I imagine the answer is probably yes. Personally I have no problem with artists and performers using, reinterpreting and reinventing elements of other cultures, freely acknowledged I am proud to be unwoke and intend to stay that way. I wonder which academic or professional grievance monger first thought up the concept.

    • deschutes

      Nope. You are totally wrong. What’s more you are a closet TERF, and you are beneath contempt for that. You falsely claim that transvestites are conservative, oppressive trend followers!? What utter nonsense. I’ve known many transvestites over decades. None of them reflect your nonsense claim. I doubt you know a single transvestite from your post. You’re a closet TERF, only here to put down male trannies. I hate TERFS like you 🙁 You are the worst of humanity with your hatred and intolerance.

      • Waitwhatwho?

        You are hateful, full of hatred, that’s why I hate you, I hate everyone like you. Your hatred should be stopped.

        Perhaps delete everything you are thinking and try again

  • John Goss

    I have been surprised by the content of comments thus far. Others have concerns about self-declaration, especially at an early age, and it is a subject little discussed and probably little understood. Whatever enlightened debate transpires I suspect that those who promote a cross-identity anti-family agenda will continue to dominate western society.

  • Rod

    It is indeed a dangerous area to get involved in. My own involvement began when I became aware of the bullying nature of the trans activists*. Working back it became clear that there was a very narrow ideological belief that was driving them. It further became clear that there was a lot of money funding this ideology.
    There’s no space here to write a cogent argument, but in this era of fake news, I would suggest it requires considerable research to get to a clear view on the issue. Unfortunately such research is very difficult because so many people are frightened to speak out for fear of being labelled transphobic. Back to my starting point. One example of this relates to how difficult it now is to conduct academic research within this field: James Caspian, with whom I am acquainted has been barred from studying the phenomenon of detransitioning by Bath Spar University ‘for fear of a reaction on social media’ (bullying).
    In fact it does not take much research to arrive at one likely reason for the spike in the numbers of people transitioning: social contagion. If this is the case then it is clearly not something to encourage.
    While your view could be considered a liberal, non-dogmatic one, which is OK as far as it goes, I feel that be making an equivalence between the basis of beliefs on either side very dangerous: ‘the entire debate so far elevates dogma on both sides above common sense’. In my experience, the elevation of dogma over common sense comes from the trans activists and is the reason they resort to bullying and their, so far successful, attempt to shut down debate – they have no real arguments.
    * Trans activists are not necessarily transgender themselves and certainly do not speak for the whole of the transgender community, just some of the transgender community.

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Social contagion as a naturally occurring phenomenon, but supercharged by social media and the X factor culture (look at me, I’m special).
      A naturally occurring phenomenon, weaponised as Psy-op by the Oligarch class as a distraction from class politics (’cause identity politics is the enemy of class politics).
      Twitter supports Transactivism and the culturally conservative MSM takes an opposing position to generate the maximum distraction from class politics.

    • Twirlip

      Craig’s post is indeed liberal (in what seems to be an almost forgotten sense of that word) and non-dogmatic, and it displays a sadly rare common sense, and common decency. (What ought to be common is in fact rare.) He is right to say “the entire debate so far elevates dogma on both sides above common sense”; and I’m surprised to see you go out of your way to deny what seems so obvious. (Don’t you see dogma in what “A.C.Doyle” wrote above, for example?)

      I’m trans myself – sort of, too complicated to explain, won’t bore you with the details of an extremely long and extremely painful story – and I used to spend a lot of time on Internet trans forums, where there were at least as many different opinions (sometimes, it seemed, as many genders) as there were people.

      I just don’t understand what’s going on at the moment. I was recently very shocked, and suffered a sleepless night, when I encountered the way in which the Stack Exchange network (I spend a lot of time on their mathematics website) is dealing with gender issues. (If you can stand a taste of the horror, I imagine that googling the name of Monica Cellio will tell you all that you want to know – and more.)

      You’re right to say that it’s a dangerous area, and that bullying is going on. (That there are also few things more dangerous than being trans, and that trans people have been bullied mercilessly by this mad “Christian” society, should go without saying, but apparently it does still need saying to a lot of people.)

      You are especially right to say that some people are being driven by a very narrow ideological belief. I find their dogma unrecognisable (from my own experience, and my dealings with other trans people over the Internet – I don’t have much to do with people in real life!). It is sinister, simplistic, and often nonsensical. It make things worse for those it claims to help. As another commenter here has pointed out (PhilW, above – I don’t agree with everything else in that post, mind!), it “aligns with the most conservative, oppressive trends in society”.

      I suspect you are also right to say that there “a lot of money funding this ideology”. I wish I knew where this recent push is coming from. Some of it is just the long-overdue recognition of the complexity and variety of gender, and the way in which its expression has been narrowly and ruthlessly channelled; but that doesn’t account for the strangeness and nastiness of what is going on at the moment.

      Someone (Johny Conspiranoid, above) wrote “Psy-op”. (The same belief has often been voiced on The Lifeboat News.) I do wonder.

      • Twirlip

        I suppose one could say that whatever is going on at the moment is just a new way in which gender expression is being “narrowly and ruthlessly channelled”. It seems to be designed to cause conflict. I may be paranoid, but I can almost see someone sitting in a room somewhere (perhaps not a million miles from Langley, Virginia), maybe a whole committee of people (chaired by a chain-smoking man), designing this. Talking of design, where can I go to be fitted for a tinfoil hat with matching accessories?

      • Rod Webb

        Thank you for your thoughtful reply. (I notice further down the thread that you were getting fed up with not being listened to.) I received the link below today from a woman deeply involved with this issue on the feminist side – a wonderful person and a dear friend. The link might not explain where the push has come from exactly but it does show how such an issue has gained traction without most people understanding anything about what is going on. My view is that this is a part of a male pushback against women. I have come to this conclusion in the absence of any other theory that makes sense to me and would not defend it if other more compelling arguments came my way.
        Regarding dogma, I don’t feel that A. C. Doyle was being dogmatic, only pointing out that in the absence of a moral code that everything was now up for the vote – which I agree is not an appropriate position to be in. I don’t think he was standing up for any particular moral code.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Rod, another excellent post, particularly the point about “social contagion”. There are huge amounts of money being thrown at this ideology, george Soros and the like. He tried to set up a university in Hungary which specialised in gender studies, but Orban put paid to that little venture.

  • Richard Gadsden

    Finally, less than one per cent of the population have prosthetic limbs. If I were writing about the subject I would not feel the need to refer to everyone who does not have a prosthetic limb as “organics” or some such antonym. The idea we have to refer to everyone who is not trans as cis deserves to be ridiculed.

    Yet, if you were talking about disability, you’d talk about “able-bodied”, or (because that’s unwieldy) “abled” people just as a contrast with disabled people.

    The purpose of referring to people who are not trans as cis is the same as referring to people who are not gay as straight – it’s to provide a neutral alternative to “normal” or “natural”.

    That doesn’t mean that every reference to “men” or “women” has to be qualified as “cis”, nor that every time we refer to someone as a man or as a woman we need to specify “cis” or “trans”. Rather, that in the context where we would specify trans we should equally specify “cis”, and that, when we need a contrast, we talk about cis and trans. One of the things that really (and rightly) annoys trans people is when people write about “women and trans women” or “women and trans people” – trying to exclude trans women from the general category of “women”.

    I’m a white, cis, bisexual, man. I almost never specify all of those things – but I use “cis” about myself when I’m talking about gender in the same way that I use “white” about myself when I’m talking about race. The idea that there should be a marked category and an unmarked one is not a good thing.

    • Ali

      Yes – this. “Neurotypical” was another that came to mind when I was reading this. The othering of members of minorities fundamentally underpins a lack of equality. Always the minority is OK – the others are “not OK”.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Richard Gadsden

      I am not “Cis”, and nobody I know would describe themselves thus. I am a male, my wife is a female, the secret is in the chromosomes.

  • Ali

    On the consideration of the danger of pretend trans women we should consider how many people are victims of this when compared to, say, millionaire lottery winners or people who have been killed by lightning. Both the latter are significantly more likely. Or we could even compare it to how many people have been victims of assault by women, including men, which is much higher again. There are dangerous people with and without penises. The whole conversation has been skewed by the citing of very abnormal situations, Some people are doing the equivalent of demanding non-muslim planes because once they heard about a muslim who had a bomb on a plane.

  • Robert

    I agree. It’s one of those situations where it’s better not to have an explicit rule, just courtesy. I know well someone F (female) who got really worked up about privacy in changing rooms (I’m not having a man in my changing room). But we also have a mutual acquaitance A who is transgender, and F and I treat A as female. F admitted she wouldn’t in the least worry about A being in her changing room – to do otherwise would seem wrong.

    I don’t care at all for me – but I am aware that feelings are not symmettrical between men and women. No-ne’s up in arms about women dressed as men.

    If courtesy fails, rights need to be balanced – so one person’s right to be recognised in a particular gender needs to be balanced against another’s right to safety.

  • remember kronstadt

    I note that ‘discomfort’ is a recurring theme of some contributions which I shouldn’t feel discomforted by. White folks felt very uncomfortable sharing space, restaurants, schools, transport etc, with black folks in the deep south which was the natural order. Men made the dominant culture, religious, legal and social in its image along with other whacky desires and it will take us quite a while for us to adjust. An old friend used to say ‘I’ll call you Jumbo but don’t expect me to bring you hay’.

  • NotARobot

    Do a majority of English Bibles (accurately) translate “helper” in Genesis 2:18?
    Underevaluation of the human female may have been the norm somewhere in the ancient Middle East, which was then passed to the Jews, then to the Christians, then to the Muslims.
    To say the least. Because things don’t look any better in India or China.
    Time to stand up and say it loud: “I don’t agree!”.
    I mean, if you are a Believer.
    Abraham himself “negotiated” at times.
    To the non-believers: mind you, the human male features galactophore channels too. Along with a few other intriguing similarities, it just makes cultural and religious sex-related concerns just unacceptable.
    Enter the erogenous zones, and basically anybody should feel comfortable with partnering with same or different sex persons, once in a while or more predominantly, under whatever appearance they feel free to adopt.
    When it comes to cutting small or larger pieces of the genitals, there is indeed a problem.
    Love you all, any of you.

  • Dom Currie

    Leaving aside some rather stereotypical views on feminism…

    I know from experience that schools are now giving parents the choice of identifying their kids as Trans aged 4.
    One would hope parents aren’t making this call the week before so we can assume these kids have been labeled by parents aged 3 or under.
    As I understand it, most doctors do not go along with the pseudo science of the Trans community so this is really being pushed by parents and schools.
    Anybody who’e ever spent time with kids under the age of 6 knows they barely know they’re alive let alone have an instinctive sense of their own gender.
    I think its highly likely in the next 10 to 15 years we will start to see cases of parents being taken to court by their own children claiming they were forced to identify as the opposite sex. I hope those journalists and teachers that turned a blind eye to this obvious form of child abuse also face charges of some kind.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Dom Currie

      I think this is being driven in schools by Mermaids and Stonewall, who are unwisely being allowed to overly influence educational policy.

  • cimarrón

    Some years ago I was riding round the Netherlands. I stopped off in the seaside town of Scheveningen to go for a swim in the lovely swimming baths there. The changing area was mixed and just seemed to typify the sensible, civilised, attitude of the Dutch.

    Here’s another example of that attitude – and, of course, coffeeshops is another –
    The Dutch prison rate has halved since 2004

  • Alasdair Macdonald

    Thank you.

    I agree closely with what you have written here, Mr Murray.

    There are other places where self identification is permitted and there is evidence from there. Almost allow law provides for specific exceptions.

    I tend to side with Richard Ian Crawford that this is a ‘diversion’ issue. We need a sense of perspective. The numbers concerned are very small, but the media and some politicians, for their own narrow reasons, inflate it out of proportion and use it to undermine groups such as the supporters of Scottish independence or trade unions.

    IN the last GE, the Conservatives avoided any media ‘interrogation’ while Labour was beset by allegations of antisemitism, leadership etc, which prevented any debate on its manifesto.

  • Stuart MacKay

    There’s a simple solution to all this – just ask women what they want. As the section of the population most affected by this then they should have the greatest say. If that opinion is considered “conservative” then sorry, but you’re out of luck. Instead come up with a proposal and the money that addresses their concerns.

    • craig Post author

      That is based on the notion either that all women want the same thing, or that the minority in social matters must always conform to majority behaviour. Neither position stands up to much serious thought.

      • Stuart MacKay

        But the problem here is that there are a single set of services being provided to a specific section of the population. You can’t simply discount the views of a group of people who use those services, and perhaps do not have an alternative, because it’s not being inclusive. Here in Portugual there is self ID but there are also mixed changing rooms and toilets – people get to choose the facilities they are most comfortable with. Men, in whatever form, are not tolerated in women only areas by social norms. Clearly self ID carries a financial cost with it’s implementation. Decreeing spaces that are women-only now are now free to anyone is simply not on. If the this is an issue about creating a fairer society then open the cheque book and starting writing so gender neutral spaces can be created. Don’t make women pay the price for government stupidity.

    • Twirlip

      Actually, “the section of the population most affected by this” is trans people. That’s not rocket science, surely.

    • Andyoldlabour

      Well said Stuart, the majority of people being affected should be allowed to choose, not the vocal tiny minority.

  • Blair Paterson

    I quit the SNP when they backed same sex weddings the SNP had held a consultation on it beforehand and 64 per cent were against it and 36Per cent for it,the SNP backed the minority against the majority I phoned up and resigned after being a member for over 15 years and donating hundreds of pounds to them I told them that to back a minority against a majority was not democracy but dictatorship the very thing that they were founded for to end England’s dictatorship over Scotland I fully admit I am what they now call homophobic but what I call normal these so called trans gender people are freaks of nature men who think they are women and women who think they are,men they are a very small minority but given more notice than the normal majority as usual we the normal majority are castigated and vilified as if our opinions do not matter

    • Paul S

      Well, I suppose it’s at least relatively novel to have somebody proudly proclaiming they are homophobic, and expressing a range of views unusual even in (most) Mail comments. The degree to which I disagree with you on almost everything you say cannot be exaggerated. Fortunately I’m pretty certain you’re a minority in modern Scotland, and hopefully, in time, extinct. Have a nice day now.

    • stewartb

      Since when did a public consultation morph into a plebiscite?

      The published results on the same sex marriage consultation in Scotland clearly reveal not only a substantial number of responses from outside of Scotland but also a substantial number of responses in the form of standardised cards and other text submissions prepared by special interest groups for supporters of their position to use. All legitimate means of responding to an open consultation but hardly an evidential basis for any claim that the subsequent passage of legislation – scrutinised and then approved by the Scottish Parliament – was a denial of a ‘majority’ view.

    • Magic Robot

      Blair Paterson
      December 18, 2019 at 11:43
      You had courage and did the right thing. Something like that is not worth being part of – it’s gone badly wrong. Watch the snarks come after you, however; sad state of affairs.
      It’s a ‘partnership’ of sorts (and the imagination can decide who might be the ‘giver’ or the ‘receiver’ if you can stand that) but it can never be marriage. Pass the snark a dictionary, someone.

  • John A

    Non gender specific WCs are clearly an issue when not originally designed as such. I was at a theatre in Stockholm with only one large WC for all. There was a whole row of cubicles, wash basins, but no urinals. That worked perfectly well, as each person simply used a cubicle.
    However in London, many theatres have simple rebadged WCs as universal, or a ‘with urinals and cubicles’ or ‘cubicles only’. The latter is the case at the Royal Court Theatre. What actually happens is a man or woman goes to the WCs, stops to read the signs, and then the men go to the ‘with urinals’ and the women to the ‘cubicles only’. At another theatre where the WCs have simply been rebadged as universal. When my female partner and I visited, we each went separately to a different WC. She came out expressing disgust as it had urinals etc., whereas mine was cubicles only and much cleaner.
    I understand the longstanding issue in theatres where there is always a long queue for the womens but straight in and out for men. But how big an issue is transgender WC visits in reality? It all seems much ado about very little. I also agree that a lifelong need for hormone replacement therapy is a boon for big pharma and there might well be intensive behind the scenes lobbying.

  • PP

    I dont think you can look at this subject in isolation.

    While agreeing with the general tone this has to be seen in context.

    There is quite obviously a deliberate push to change language and undermine accepted societal norms. So yes I would normally accept that polite compliance is a ‘good’ thing in regard to someones wishes the militant threat of hate crime and wrong think has to be factored in. For those who wish to use the trans issue to push these ‘crimes’ they should be met with absolute resistance in their efforts to undermine society and our concepts of ourselves and others also.

    The fact that plastering the Oxford dictionary definition of ‘Woman’ is now considered a hate crime the perpetrators of such outrage should be met with nothing but ridicule and contempt. There is a cultural war taking place that seeks to destroy what most people hold dear if they just stand idly by.

  • Hatuey

    I refuse to discuss this trivial crap. I’m disappointed that Wings lowered himself to It. But to hell with him: if he can’t distinguish between the meaningful and the irrelevant then he’s as well going into the wilderness.

    It’s time for independence. You’re all being taking for mugs with this distraction.

    Where is the formal letter requesting a section 30? I don’t want to see an argument for it printed in The National, I want confirmation that the formal request was made, as promised. So where is it?

    • Mary

      Agree Hatuey. A distraction from the important issues. That’s why there is so much coverage on the state broadcasting channel of the transgenger issue, same sex marriage and stories of children wanting to be of a different sex. They also like to publicize the celebrities involved, Daley the diver, McGovern the BBC reporter, etc

      • Twirlip

        Trans rights themselves are not a distraction; and minority rights in general are an important issue.

        If a shadowy agency somewhere is pushing trans rights in an irrational way that seems designed to distract and divide people, then that, too, is an important issue (just as the “Labour antisemitism” campaign is an important issue – just not in the way that it pretends to be).

        The current simplistic trans ideology doesn’t seem to me to have emerged from any grassroots movement (not than I’m an expert). I think it’s worth investigating who is pushing this. Perhaps you’ve already managed to dig something up on them?

        To dismiss the whole thing as a distraction is at best confused, at worst oppressive and deceitful. It dismisses the concerns of trans people, and the motives and actions of those who may be trying to exploit those concerns for their own purposes.

          • Twirlip

            Thank you – that is an extremely informative article, and just the kind of information I am looking for.

            I do have a few reservations, however.

            Its tone is unsympathetic and alienating. It does not engage with trans people in any way. Indeed, in its own way, it treats us merely as a kind of material, much as do those it describes as seeking to profit financially from us, and from the idea that one can literally change one’s sex (an idea which to me, as to many others, is obviously insane).

            I particularly take issue with this sentence:

            “We have to look at why this is framed as a civil rights issue when the main issues seem to be capital and social engineering.”

            In a way, she is absolutely and completely right: we do have to look at that. She is (or rather, she should be, although I suspect her motives) trying to restore a balance, because it is certainly wrong and naive (or cynical and dishonest) to frame transgenderism only as a civil rights issue. But that does not justify going to the opposite extreme, by claiming that the “main issues” are capital and social engineering. Transgenderism a civil rights issue. But it is also those other things. There is not, or there should not be, an either/or here. (‘Twas ever thus, was it not?)

            That brings me to a further criticism, although it’s a less serious one.

            Her article is mainly about capital – and very valuable it is, too. (No pun intended.) She has less to say about the social engineering side of things (which is what puzzles, disturbs and amazes me most about the current craze to promote trans issues). Insofar as she takes a position, it seems to be that the social engineering is a mere tactical device in the service of capital.

            No doubt it is that, sure! One of the best features of her article is how well she makes the point that transgenderism is a great profit opportunity for medical corporations. (I’m not quite sure how “great”, though, in view of the smallness of the fraction of the population that is TG – a point that she revisits several times herself, from another direction.) And of course they’re going to sell the idea, create a need, create a market.

            I’m only too familiar with the fact that “mental illness” has long also been seen as such a profit opportunity (and a far greater one, surely). And if some fraction of that “illness” is redesignated as an expression of “identity”, as a form of “liberation” – why then, that’s fine and dandy, so long as the customers remain attached to the medical corporations’ umbilical cord. She makes that point, too, very well.

            But (like many others here, I think) I suspect that something even larger and more sinister, something more strategic, is going on. It may in the end still come down to Capital (I don’t know, I’m no political theorist, I’m barely even “left wing”, I still have too much to learn about how the world is really run – although I suspect it’s mainly run by gangsters), but I’m almost sure it is about more than merely the narrow interest of the medical companies, however large, and however ruthless.

            The article only deals glancingly with questions about transhumanism (as opposed to, but possibly also connected with, transgenderism), the connection with the body (and biological sex), and what it means to be human. (OK, that’s rather a lot to ask of one relatively short article!) But I don’t think I’m the only one to feel that the political system under which we live (however it may be named or defined) is trying in some way to undermine the population’s sense of its own humanity, for the simple enough reason that this will make it less resistant to control by inhuman systems. I don’t think this can all be laid at the door of medical corporations, or even “rich white men”.

            But medical corporations and rich white men are definitely a good choice of culprits to focus on (for reasons I’m half-aware of, but won’t try to go into, because this is already a very long reply).

    • Andyoldlabour

      “I refuse to discuss this trivial crap.”

      Then why did you feel the need to post Hatuey? Are you now the censor who decides what goes and doesn’t go? Why not post in a more relevant topic?

      • Sams Son

        I always find it interesting when such “Identity Politics” issues are used to divide a movement that appears to be about to do something of which the Oligarchs would disapprove.

      • Hatuey

        andydeadlabour, it wasn’t a feeling or a need. I willed my comment into existence. My opinion that this subject is an irrelevant distraction is relevant to the conversation.

        No suggestion of censoring was contained within that comment. You seems to be trying to censor me and my opinion that the subject is a pile of crap.

        And I do “dismisses the concerns of trans people”. I’m under no obligation to care about them, and I don’t.

        That’s a neutral position. I’m also neutral about Canadian cabbage growers and people who dance naked to electronica in graveyards. If you were discussing those people, I’d be equally neutral and equally dismissive.

        • Twirlip

          That’s disingenuous. Canadian cabbage growers and naked graveyard dancers – well, OK, I’ll give you the latter! – are not subject to systematic repression and demonisation. Your position is not “neutral”, it is one of callous and hateful denial and dehumanisation. But I won’t waste too much time arguing with you about it. This thread has already been an almighty distraction for me today (although I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how civilised the discussion has been on the whole – with a few exceptions, which I’ve mostly chosen to ignore, treating them with the contempt they richly deserve), and I can almost hear a voice saying “Leave it, Twirl, ‘e’s not worth it!” I’ll just try this once to make you admit what you actually feel. Whether you do or not, don’t imagine for a second that I or any other trans person is under any illusion as to what is meant by such a dismissal of our concerns as a “pile of crap”. That you have the brass nerve, on top of that, to preen yourself as being “neutral” is ridiculous! At least have the guts not to be so hypocritical about your bigotry.

          • Hatuey

            Go demand attention somewhere else, Twirl.. I really could not care less about your precious fucking sexuality.

          • Twirlip

            That’s more like it – honesty at last.

            By the way, I hope the moderators don’t delete what you wrote. In general, it is good to delete personal attacks, but I very literally asked for this one (although not in the sense you’re probably thinking), and I don’t at all object to it being left exactly where it is. (As it was aimed precisely at me, I can’t see any reason why anyone else should object to it, either.)

  • Sams Son

    On this side of the pond, the hate groups like to go on and on about “unisex” toilets. My usual reply is that pretty much everyone has lived with unisex toilets. Perhaps Oligarchs have 20 toilets in their many homes and can put up signs that some are for boys and men and others are for girls and ladies. But, for those of us who aren’t Oligarchs, we’ve all grown up in homes that have 1, 2 maybe 3 toilets, and that they are all ‘unisex.’ Comedians couldn’t make jokes about leaving the toilet seat up if that was not true. Thanks to the Ambassador for pointing out that this may be yet another nasty English obsession that has made it across the pond.

    “elevates dogma on both sides above commonsense.” Well, Welcome to the 13th Century, uh, excuse me, I meant 21st Century. Sorry, this child of Aquarius gets the two confused.

    • Willie

      Too right Sam’s Son. Of course toilets are unisex. Like everyone else they have a hole. However, and this is for the species without two holes, toilets could be better designed for species who often miss the pan when having a Jimmy Riddle.

      And that is where the standard of this discussion should be going – down a hole. There are much more important things than that the gender warriors bang on about.

      And no, not everyone today was brought up in a house with one, two or three toilets. There will be millions alive today brought up in the Victorian slums in Glasgow, Belfast, Cardiff, and London where their houses didn’t have an inside toilet.

  • Dungroanin

    I blame the never ending efforts to divide and rule.

    The whole post-modern identity politics is about fragmentation so that the people are made to fight between themselves and so don’t ‘punch-up’ and revolt against their ancient masters.

    The media owned and controlled by the overlords feed that – by promoting more and more such ‘identities’ with the one hand and the ‘outrage’ with the other.

    I put XR in the same camp.

    We have just seen last week what it does to peoples sensibilities that they vote against their better interests because they have been made to believe ad-hominems and crass identity labels.

    The happenings in Scotland look to me like the first salvos in the battle against its imminent post-hard brexit, independence campaign – playing the masters game is dangerous; ignoring it is equally dangerous; perhaps only a fierce and instant attack to KO it is appropriate as Caitlin Johnstone has identified in dealing with made up attacks.

    Good luck Scotland.

    • Marmite

      As I have seen things for the past decade or more, the problem with debates about gender in Europe and America is that they tend to be very middle class. Talking about gender has become a way for people to pretend that they are progressive, without really having to engage with much greater urgencies, like starving children at Xmas or dead bodies on the shoreline.

      There have been moments when debating gender issues has contributed to solidarity with the oppressed, but mostly the pseudo-feminism of today’s pseudo-feminists (at least in arenas like the British media) is just there to take our attention off of the atrocities committed under the banner of neoliberalism, or sew division within well-meaning organisations.

      It won’t go away though, this trouble with gender. If anything, and given all the mysoginists that we all adore and keep electing, it will probably now become more important, and leave the middle-class arena of bourgeois talk shows and knitting clubs, so that it might take to the streets.

      From India to Britain, the USA to Hungary, Australia to Brazil, a global culture of hate sponsored by right-wing governments is likely to make those identifying as female or LGBTQ+ a lot more vulnerable. Perhaps, then, it is time to recuperate feminism, wrenching it away from the machine of capitalism that has found it to be such a useful and distracting tool?

  • Willie

    Forget all the intellectual nonsense. For the most part the animal kingdom makes males and females. The males and the females interact sexually and in due course more animals arrive.

    That’s the majority way. But others like to do things a different way. Fair play to them. If they are consenting why not.

    But let’s cut out all this crap about turning society upside down to suit a predilections of a few. Who cares if someone is bent, straight, queer, or whatever pejorative term used to be applied. Do as you wish but don’t interrupt me, interfere with me and dictate.

    I for one am truly heart and soul sick of hearing these gender warriors drone on an on. Time they stuck a sock in in it and let others get on with their own lives.

  • Giyane

    I will never forget the Scottish lady shrink who wrote on my medical notes that I had not accepted my sexuality, by which she probably meant homosexuality. It’s probably still there on the GP notes in spite of the fact that I have been married twice.
    Never, ever listen to shrinks. They’re nuts.

    We are all receptors and recorders of Male and female mannerisms in addition to being receptors of culture, accent language faith and every thing else. Why shouldn’t I play with my theosocial repertoire on a political blog any more than Kenny Everett played with his female repertoire raising and crossing his legs all on the best of possible taste???

    Because it’s annoying. Well sorry I spoke.

    It would be annoying if someone using the half skirted half trousers toilet shower rooms assaulted a fellow user, but not more annoying than if someone who was that way inclined assaulted me in a Male bog. ( not my capitals. Ask Google about that ).

    My 3 year old nephew has a predilection for girly things and is gently encouraged to behave like a boy. Nobody gets their knickers in a twist about that except some nutters in Birmingham near me who have taken court action to enforce the teaching of transgender issues to six year olds. FFS.

    This little darling also took great exception to being visited by a Hindu family. Good thing the bloody mods are not on his case.
    If I want to Express my faith on CM blog I don’t expect to be evicted for it. But I do understand that last week and the next five years of BBC and zBoJo bollocks are going to stretch all of our patiences to the limit.

  • Wolsto

    “…might be transgender or what we used to call transvestite.”

    My understanding of this subject is limited to reading it about, but as far as I’m aware those two words mean different things. A transvestite is somebody who likes to wear clothes traditionally worn by the opposite sex. Transgender refers to somebody who has the overwhelming feeling of being born in the wrong body.

    I’ve browsed through the comments on this article and they are, in the main, pretty depressing. This is a topic that is taken up with much enthusiasm by trashy newspapers and press who delight in sensationalising out of context stories and presenting a complex and painful issue for those involved as some kind of threat to the moral fabric of society and/or a source of punching down humour. Self harm and suicide rates are astonishingly high among people who suffer from body dysmorphia (unlike, say, among amputees). For this condition to be open to discussion, understanding and acceptance in the public realm can only be a positive thing.

    • Mrs Pau!

      The interesting thing is that some transvestites and some transgender people, should assume that femininity is expressed in adopting some absurd travesty of how a mainstream woman looks and dresses. It is as if their ideal woman is epitomised by one of the Kardashian sisters.

      • Twirlip

        Some transvestites and some transgender people. To single them out, as if they were representative of the whole, is not at all “interesting”, on the contrary it is merely rehashing one of the most common prejudices. Having said that – I do look really awful in drag. 🙂

        (God, dealing with this thread looks like becoming a full-time job! Still, I appreciated Craig’s post, and most of the comments, too. By the way, I’m not at all representative of any class, or tribe, or movement, and I wish that some other and perhaps more “normal” tranny type would come along and take some of the pressure off. I don’t think I’ve ever posted so much before, and someone is bound to be thinking that I’m doing it as part of the tranny conspiracy to oppress the working class, or invade Iran, or something.)

      • Borncynical

        I agree. I recall a TV documentary series a couple of years ago following several transgender people through their transformation, male to female and vice versa. They were offered guidance on the NHS about hair, make up and fashion. In the case of male to female It wasn’t simply a case of going for a ‘natural daytime look’, it was very much aiming for the ‘Dick Emery “oh you are awful, but I like you” look. And this was being encouraged by the supervising consultants. You know, high heels, short skirts, bouffant hair, neon eye shadow, false eyelashes and bright red lipstick; a strange look on anyone whatever their birth gender.

        But, even worse, those transitioning (in either direction) were being recommended by consulting surgeons to have substantial plastic surgery to give them ‘correct’ male or female features. In the case of female to male this was mainly a squarer jawline and fuller cheeks. For male to female transitions it was enlarged eyes, higher cheekbones, fuller lips and chiselled chin. You get the picture. I was appalled at this butchery with the aim of transforming these vulnerable people into a caricature of, what is deemed by some who wield influence to be, an ‘attractive’ man or woman. By these standards it could have made me, as a female viewer, feel inadequate and far from a desirable physical specimen of my own identified gender; in fact I realised that in their eyes I would readily pass for a male, or a female who would ‘do well to improve her appearance’!

        It appalled me that many vulnerable people who opt for a change of gender are clearly being exploited, and to the detriment of anyone identifying as female in particular. I should add that I am just as appalled that this trend to achieve ‘perfection’ (whatever that is) through being mutilated is prevalent nowadays throughout society in general. But there are of course vast amounts of money changing hands for every one of these procedures.

    • craig Post author


      Yes I meant them as two different things. Transgender or transvestite. The what we used to call bit was to indicate that I don’t know what transvestites are called nowadays

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