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This past weekend, I visited the city where I went to graduate school and caught up with a good friend of mine from my PhD days, who still lives there. We talked about politics a little bit, and as the title suggests, I just couldn't resist the opportunity to ask about trans hoo-ha-- especially since it's more relevant now that Roe's been overturned, and we're seeing the division sown into feminism clear as day.

Luckily, he wasn't turned off by our conversation despite being very much indoctrinated into TRA talking points, which I, too, fell prey to for a minute while still in the academy. The cool thing is, I also got to see first-hand what TRA logic is from someone who's just trying to bE kInD (and not just the preddit screenshots here).

When I brought up Lia Thomas and how he took away scholarship opportunities for women (along with likely dozens of others, if not hundreds, of TIM athletes), he said that he heard ("but can't remember the source") that the statistics for trans athletes actually outperforming women are so scant as to be negligible. Nevertheless, I brought up this point: "But what about the women who ARE displaced? Too fucking bad and fuck your feelings?" He had nothing to say in response, but got kind of quiet and said, "Well, I'll have to think about that."

Another thing I brought up is how offensive I find the terms "bleeder," "uterus owner," etc, and how we can see the misogyny of this movement because men are not called "ejaculators" or "scrotum owners." I also said that iNcLuSiVe language surrounding pregnancy and abortion limits meaningful discussion about what's actually going on, because it's no longer understood as a WOMAN'S issue. He dug his heels in on this one, saying that trans men and non-binary people can get pregnant, but I didn't have a good logical response to that that he'd buy (because, to me, the obvious answer is THEY ARE WOMEN, but that's not going to work with someone who hasn't peaked yet). Any ideas for how to respond in a way that could get a TRA to bite?

I also brought up how it's wrong that women are being subjected to being around penises they did not consent to see in locker rooms, spas, etc, to which he said, "Well, I'm inclined to think of the trans women here, and their feelings as marginalized individuals," to which I said, "Whether or not they're truly marginalized is something we can talk about another time, but I think it's pretty clear that their feelings are placed above those of biological women. Not only is it misguided -- instead of socializing women that sOmE wOmEn HaVe pEnIsEs, we should be socializing MEN that not every dude is a GI Joe Alpha-type -- it recreates the age-old socialization of women: "Just be quiet, your feelings come last, and IF there's a chance after dealing with everyone else but you, we'll try our best." That stopped him in his tracks and said, "You're right... I'll have to think about that." Because the woke folk, you see, want to be good feminists too. That's how we can trap them... by LOGIC.

Because this is all LOGICAL, no?

Last: predictably, he didn't read what JK Rowling tweeted nor the essay that she wrote. I told him the response to her is what got me thinking this way, because the misogyny was so overwhelming (death + rape threats, but also the other age-old story: if a woman says something out of line, BURN THE WITCH).

It's not confirmed whether or not I peaked him, but I saw the wheels turning. And what I love about this guy is that he isn't cutting me out of his life for these views, lol.

LAST FOR REAL: I caught up with another PhD friend who's now a professor, and she said that while she and I USED to be considered lefty radical types, that she now feels "ancient" compared to the Gen Z students, lol. It was fascinating: not only are they so sensitive and easily "triggered" that even turning things in on-time or showing up to class is now essentially too much to ask of them, she and I vibed on the gender stuff. She's apparently peaked on her own, and I'm SO HAPPY because she's a Bay Area hippie who's been in the academic world for fifteen years... and she said she's really concerned about it.

PRAISE BE. We are not alone!

This past weekend, I visited the city where I went to graduate school and caught up with a good friend of mine from my PhD days, who still lives there. We talked about politics a little bit, and as the title suggests, I just couldn't resist the opportunity to ask about trans hoo-ha-- especially since it's more relevant now that Roe's been overturned, and we're seeing the division sown into feminism clear as day. Luckily, he wasn't turned off by our conversation despite being very much indoctrinated into TRA talking points, which I, too, fell prey to for a minute while still in the academy. The cool thing is, I also got to see first-hand what TRA logic is from someone who's just trying to bE kInD (and not just the preddit screenshots here). When I brought up Lia Thomas and how he took away scholarship opportunities for women (along with likely dozens of others, if not hundreds, of TIM athletes), he said that he heard ("but can't remember the source") that the statistics for trans athletes actually outperforming women are so scant as to be negligible. Nevertheless, I brought up this point: "But what about the women who ARE displaced? Too fucking bad and fuck your feelings?" He had nothing to say in response, but got kind of quiet and said, "Well, I'll have to think about that." Another thing I brought up is how offensive I find the terms "bleeder," "uterus owner," etc, and how we can see the misogyny of this movement because men are not called "ejaculators" or "scrotum owners." I also said that iNcLuSiVe language surrounding pregnancy and abortion limits meaningful discussion about what's actually going on, because it's no longer understood as a WOMAN'S issue. He dug his heels in on this one, saying that trans men and non-binary people can get pregnant, but I didn't have a good logical response to that that he'd buy (because, to me, the obvious answer is THEY ARE WOMEN, but that's not going to work with someone who hasn't peaked yet). Any ideas for how to respond in a way that could get a TRA to bite? I also brought up how it's wrong that women are being subjected to being around penises they did not consent to see in locker rooms, spas, etc, to which he said, "Well, I'm inclined to think of the trans women here, and their feelings as marginalized individuals," to which I said, "Whether or not they're truly marginalized is something we can talk about another time, but I think it's pretty clear that their feelings are placed above those of biological women. Not only is it misguided -- instead of socializing women that sOmE wOmEn HaVe pEnIsEs, we should be socializing MEN that not every dude is a GI Joe Alpha-type -- it recreates the age-old socialization of women: "Just be quiet, your feelings come last, and IF there's a chance after dealing with everyone else but you, we'll try our best." That stopped him in his tracks and said, "You're right... I'll have to think about that." Because the woke folk, you see, want to be good feminists too. That's how we can trap them... by LOGIC. Because this is all LOGICAL, no? Last: predictably, he didn't read what JK Rowling tweeted nor the essay that she wrote. I told him the response to her is what got me thinking this way, because the misogyny was so overwhelming (death + rape threats, but also the other age-old story: if a woman says something out of line, BURN THE WITCH). It's not confirmed whether or not I peaked him, but I saw the wheels turning. And what I love about this guy is that he isn't cutting me out of his life for these views, lol. LAST FOR REAL: I caught up with another PhD friend who's now a professor, and she said that while she and I USED to be considered lefty radical types, that she now feels "ancient" compared to the Gen Z students, lol. It was fascinating: not only are they so sensitive and easily "triggered" that even turning things in on-time or showing up to class is now essentially too much to ask of them, she and I vibed on the gender stuff. She's apparently peaked on her own, and I'm SO HAPPY because she's a Bay Area hippie who's been in the academic world for fifteen years... and she said she's really concerned about it. PRAISE BE. We are not alone!

27 comments

Good work. Re: abortion not being a womens issue because of nb and trans men, the best response is that if it were truly the case that we wanted to help these outliers, we’d be using language like women and trans men. But we’re not. We’re eliminating the word woman.

I still can't wrap my head around that one... not to be a stickler! I'm just trying to come up with something absolute and totally air-tight that anyone with a modicum of common sense couldn't refute-- intellectual checkmate. If I were a TRA (which I'm fucking NOT), I'd probably retort with something like "transmen invalidates the fact that they're MEN," or some other hoo-ha. (That's what I've heard a few times now from TRAs personally and in response to C. N. Adiche's very good point that "trans women are trans women, who benefited from male privilege and were socialized male up until the point of transition, and have very different experiences from those of us born as women." Anyway, I feel like we could make the logic here a little tighter. I just can't articulate it yet...