The Façade of Reason

Gender Criticals have invented their own definition of Gender Identity to get angry about.

This house of cards has more substance and structure than a Gender Critical argument

As I write this, today has seen the biggest attended trans rights protest, this time outside the British Broadcasting Corporation’s headquarters at Broadcasting House in London.

The BBC is no stranger to attacking trans people, and using the veneer of “reasonable argument” to do so. The complaints system is, at least when it comes to complaining about transphobic articles, more than useless. The standard response is to send the same boiler-plate reply to everyone who has complained. When, inevitably, we all demand a personal response, we are told that no, it wasn’t transphobic, it met all editorial standards for criticising an entire demographic of people.

I Identify As A Legitimate Organisation

The most pervasive “joke” that gets about in Gender Critical circles is the “I identify as…” line. Usually, the unimaginative will say “I identify as an attack helicopter!”. Serial horror Piers Morgan even pushed it on Good Morning Britain as “I identify as a two-spirit penguin!”, and a fantastic display of not only transphobia, but also racism in mocking cultures that embrace two-spirit understanding.

The irony here, is that there are in fact a number of organisations that are purely anti-trans in their nature, but use other more legitimate sounding purposes to disguise it.

For example, the LGB Alliance identifies as an LGB Rights group, but hardly ever takes any action on anything to do with LGB rights. Instead, their entire output is focused on attacking trans people, notably in 3 main areas:

  • Claiming (without evidence) that gay men are being ‘forced’ to have sex with trans men, and that lesbians are being ‘forced’ to have sex with trans women.

On the last point, I’m not even sure what “Sex not gender” is supposed to mean, since in the majority of cases the terms are interchangeable, or at least used interchangeably. Further, since the majority of transitioned trans people have in fact changed sex, the statement makes even less sense. The point here is to try and define that same-sex attraction is based purely on genetic sex, an idea which is farcical because none of us have psychic chromosome detectors.

Similarly, groups such as Fair Play for Women and Women’s Place UK identify as Women’s Rights groups, but again they are nothing more than anti-trans groups. The former of which in 2021 spent £100,000 of crowdfunder money to get the UK government to change guidance on the census form for what to put for “sex”. Not to change any requirements, but just the guidance text of what you should put if you weren’t sure. If it were me, I’d be incensed that my money was used this way, instead of actually fighting for women’s equality, and an end to toxic masculinity.

The reason I mention all this, is because the façade of reason is omni-present, as reflect in the recent Women and Equalities Select Committee report on reforming the Gender Recognition Act, which while overwhelmingly positive, incorrectly referred to such groups as “women’s groups”.

Assume Makes an Ass out of UK Media and Me.

The big problem that is the starting point for the false discussion around trans rights and the Gender Recognition Act, is that the UK Media assumes that the Gender Criticals actually know what they are talking about.

Whenever a Gender Critical transphobe is invited into UK media to discuss their “view”, it is presumed that they actually know what GRA reform would involve, and thus they are given free reign to peddle what amount to conspiracy theories.

We are forever being told that GRA reform would result in “predatory men identifying their way into women’s spaces”. I’ve written before about how this doesn’t stand up, because the GRA is about birth certificates, and no single-sex space in the UK requires a birth certificate to gain entry (or any ID that would be obtained by producing a birth certificate). Similarly, the Equality Act, which DOES control access to single-sex spaces, doesn’t mention Gender Recognition Certificates or Birth Certificates anywhere.

Nonetheless, this doesn’t stop the UK media just assuming that Gender Criticals know what they’re talking about and are making “reasonable concerns”. The fact that these concerns were debated over a decade ago, and the debate was settled with the passing of the Equality Act, doesn’t seem to factor in the platforming of transphobes.

The Kathleen Stock Effect

Kathleen Stock will probably be best known in the LGBTQIA+ community for the fantastic scam she pulled on the UK media, by convincing them that our problem with her was that she believes you can’t change your sex (factually wrong, but you’re entitled to your beliefs).

In reality, we couldn’t give two fetid dingo’s kidneys what she believes. But in case anyone in the media actually feels like being honest for a change, here’s her actual rap sheet:

  • Said that women (cis or trans) that don’t meet western standards of femininity, and are forcibly removed from women’s spaces are a “regrettable cost” in the fight against trans women:
  • Lied to the Women and Equalities Select Committee (Q.38 and Q.39, follow up clarification), claiming that trans women “retain male pattern violence” (a variation on “boys will be boys”, a distinctly anti-feminist position) on the basis of “The Swedish Study” — who’s author has repeatedly stated that such conclusions are invalid, and requested Gender Critical transphobes to stop making such unfounded claims.
  • One of the founders said that gay teachers shouldn’t be allowed in schools because they might rape the kids.
  • One of the founders accused trans activists of trying to murder her dog, as well as saying that trans boys shouldn’t get top surgery because “they’ve never felt a lover’s caress” — truly creepy stuff.

In fact, Kathleen Stock has more history than this, as Christa Peterson shows. But of course, the UK media aren’t interested in this, as these are valid criticisms of Stock’s anti-trans activism, and that doesn’t play into the “nasty trans” narrative. Even media organisations that seek a “balanced view”, still proceed from the assumption that Gender Criticals know what they’re talking about, and aren’t just making stuff up in the hope you won’t look too deeply.

Gender Criticals Are Fighting a Concept They Invented

One of the central tenets of the Gender Critical movement, is the continual dismissal of Gender Identity as a concept. The problem is, they’ve invented their own definition to get angry at, and no matter how much time you spend trying to correct them, they won’t have it.

To Gender Criticals, Gender Identity is the idea that you are a specific gender if you conform to social stereotypes about that gender. Or as one of them put it, “the one who wears the lipstick and the dress is the woman”.

The problem with this definition is that it doesn’t match reality. There are plenty of trans women that don’t wear lipstick or dresses or either. I rarely use any make up, and I tend to save dresses for a special occasion.

Gender Identity is in fact the innate knowledge of your sex, even if that knowledge might appear incongruous with genetic or physical sex. That’s it. It’s as simple as that.

When faced with this definition, Gender Criticals simply ignore it, or dismiss it as impossible. They would rather go with their incorrect definition, because it fits the idea of fighting trans women being a feminist issue: if they can convince themselves being trans is just “man in a dress”, then they summarise as “a man”, and call “a man in a woman’s space” an attack on women, and thus a feminist issue.

If they went along with the actual definition of Gender Identity, they’d be forced to admit that fighting against trans women can never be a feminist issue.

And so, the Façade of Reason comes around again: the argument is put forth in a way that sounds reasonable if you say it with enough conviction, and sadly there aren’t enough people willing to say to their faces: what you just said is complete bollocks.

Logical Fallacies are a Gender Critical’s Best Friend

Gender Criticals love a good logical fallacy. They embrace them with such regularity there should be courses taught on it in the field of philosophy. They could even invite Kathleen Stock as a prime example of a philosopher that can’t avoid logical fallacies.

Here are some examples:

Inflation Fallacy

This is a special case of false cause, where an explanation for an occurrence is assumed true, and a logical leap is made on it. In the inflation fallacy, an increase in something (in this case, the number of young people presenting as trans) is assumed to be for negative reasons, and thus is concluded it must be stopped. In reality, more people are presenting as trans because we gained widespread acceptance. The people who push this fallacy tend it ignore the fact that the same “inflation” occurred for gay people.

Expectation Fallacy

Or “A is similar to B, therefore we expect B to experience the same as A”. This is predicated on the idea of two things being similar, but different, but the difference not being accounted for. There are two areas that Gender Criticals indulge this fallacy:

  1. Trans women in women’s sports. They presume that trans women must have the same athletic performance as cis men, therefore it is unfair to cis women. In truth, trans women have, and always have had similar athletic performances to their cis women counterparts. The fact that Laurel Hubbard, after years of Gender Criticals claiming she’d “dominate sports”, failed to place is a prime example here.

Salient Exemplars

“A sample of X was horrific, therefore all of X is horrific”. Gender Criticals keep stashes of photos of Karen White, Katie Dolatowski, and more handy to rub into trans women’s faces. There are literally over 300,000 trans women estimated in the UK, and they think 70-odd of them having questionable histories (sometimes even made up histories — Gender Criticals never afraid to just make things up) somehow means that trans women are all likely rapists.

It is a recycling of 1990s and 2000s homophobia, that tried to claim that all gay men were paedophiles. It didn’t work then, and it shouldn’t work now.

Salient Exemplars is a topic that can go in all sorts of directions, and I would advise the excellent CritFacts video to learn in more detail.

False Population

This is an interesting one, this is a combination of Argument from Population combined with some self-delusion. It is the province of all conspiracy theories, and essentially comes down to “everyone agrees with me”. The problem is that they don’t. The YouGov poll shows that for the most part, women agree with trans rights:

What is interesting about this poll, is that it shows the Gender Critical position is a conservative one, and even then conservatives lean towards most trans rights. The negative aspects surround ideas that are not well understood and amount to fearmongering: most people don’t even know that in order to obtain gender reassignment surgery, you have to live “in role” for two years, which includes using facilities of the opposite sex.

If action were to be taken on the disagreement of “had not had surgery”, then no trans person would ever be eligible for surgery. A cunning point that the Gender Criticals always shy away from disclosing.

What is also interesting about the poll, is that it shows that most people are ignorant of the Equality Act. They are commenting on whether we should or should not have access, when we already have that access in law.

Conclusion

As I discussed in The Perception of Power, Gender Criticals obtain their leverage by appearing to represent women’s rights, and by controlling the narrative. A lot of the Gender Critical energy feeds off of the legitimate MeToo movement, which seeks to hold powerful men, especially those who use sex to control women’s career progress, to account. By redefining trans women into the “men using sex” category, they hope to channel some of that energy into a scepticism of trans women, our rights and our existence.

The problem is that the UK media plays the game. While Gender Criticals hope you don’t fact check them, bring up evidence, and show how they are wrong, the UK media just presumes that because it sounds reasonable, it must be reasonable.

Part of the problem also comes from another source: Donald Trump and Q-Anon. Such has been the fervent rantings of people who claim that “Black Lives Matter is a racist organisation”, so it is that when trans people try to call out I Identify As a Women’s Group as actually being anti-trans, the UK Media plays the game of “Really? You’re attacking a women’s group?”

The problem is that the UK media has a natural bias towards seeing trans people negatively, and just presumes that any disquiet on our part is not to be trusted — and presumes that if a group says they’re about women’s rights, then they actually are.

We are routinely shut out of discussions regarding our rights, and presented as if “well yes, trans people, but then again — women shouldn’t have to give up rights for that, and after all, trans people ARE lesser….”

I am hopeful that the massive turnout at the BBC Transphobia Protest today means that the BBC at least, being mandated by the UK government to be paid for by the people, will realise they are being played by con artists, and start actually scrutinising Gender Critical articles, and looking to see if so-called “women’s groups” actually are fighting for women, or just claiming to be fighting for women by attacking trans people, and using lies and false data to do so.

Hope springs eternal.

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A nerd, software engineer and trans woman, fed up with the lies pushed by the so-called Gender Critical movement. Also on Mastodon: @GellmanRebecca@home.social

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Rebecca Gellman

A nerd, software engineer and trans woman, fed up with the lies pushed by the so-called Gender Critical movement. Also on Mastodon: @GellmanRebecca@home.social