This is the first article in a short series I'm writing regarding the transgender debate. I encourage everyone to read it, but i figured i'd do my best to compress it into a twitter thread, too, so people can RT the parts they like 👇 (1/56)…
Issues like the athletic performance disparity between sexes, for example, are very important, but I feel like enough attention isn’t paid to getting TRAs to say what the terms man, woman, male, and female mean to them, which is where the disagreement fundamentally lies. (2/56)
TRAs need to define what these terms mean to them, because either: A) we’re using the same definitions and they have literally no ground to stand on, or B) we’re using different definitions, and we’ve all been talking past each other. (3/56)
If we’re using different definitions, TRAs need to: A) rationally explain why the standard definitions for these terms are inadequate & B) offer alternative, falsifiable definitions for them, and explain why those are more appropriate. So far, I’ve seen them do neither. (4/56)
Their arguments for why the standard definitions are inadequate either conflate sex characteristics with sex itself or attribute more to these terms than biology & the only definitions I’ve seen them give for these terms don’t stand up to scrutiny. (5/56)
I’ll get into the TRA definitions, but first I should explain what the standard definitions are. I also want to thank @FondOfBeetles, @zaelefty, & @SwipeWright, since I only understand what little I do about sexual development because of them. Follow them, @everyone. (6/56)
We'll start with sexual reproduction, which is when two gametes — 2 sex cells — fuse to create a new organism. There's two types: isogamy & anisogamy. Isogamous species = gametes are the same size & anisogamous species = gametes are different sizes. Humans are anisogamous. (7/56)
In anisogamous species, there's also hermaphroditic & gonochoric species. Hermaphroditic species are either both sexes or they can change sex after birth, whereas gonochoric species are 1 sex, since their sexual development is mutually antagonistic. Humans are gonochoric. (8/56)
After a sperm cell fertilizes an ovum, humans start off as an undifferentiated zygote. About eight weeks after conception, sexual differentiation occurs and either the mullerian (female) or wolffian (male) ducts develop, since development of one inhibits that of the other. (9/56)
While a human’s karyotype — their set of chromosomes — is typical of their sex the vast majority of the time, karyotype doesn’t determine sex, it’s ultimately determined by which developmental pathway you went down after sexual differentiation. (10/56)
Even if someone never produces gametes, they still developed down one of these two pathways. Intersex people are often brought up in rebuttal to this fact, but using that gambit shows a fundamental misunderstanding of what intersex means. (11/56)
Intersex isn’t a third sex or a group of different sexes between male and female, it’s a term referring to 40 or more conditions caused by atypical development of males and females. Most intersex conditions — or DSDs, differences in sexual development — are sex-specific. (12/56)
Sex is usually observed at birth because most people are born unambiguously male or female. Sex is ambiguous for less than 0.018% of people born, which is where the term “assigned sex at birth” comes from, but even they're still male or female. (13/56)
The statistic you hear about 1.7% of people being intersex was made up by Anne Fausto-Sterling in her essay 'The Five Sexes,' which she's admitted on this platform multiple times was a joke, in the same vein as Jonathan Swift's 'A Modest Proposal'. (14/56)
Intersex conditions may cause abnormal sex characteristics, but sex characteristics don’t determine sex; it’s actually sex that determines sex characteristics, since those evolve based on which developmental pathway you went down. (15/56)
With those facts understood, we can now understand why every major English-speaking dictionary defines a male as roughly ‘an organism of the sex that produces small gametes’ and a female as roughly ‘an organism of the sex that produces large gametes.’ (16/56)
Again: “of the sex that produces,” not just “produces,” because, obviously, not all males and females produce gametes — for various reasons — but they’d still be a member of one of the two sexes regardless, since there’s only two developmental pathways to go down. (17/56)
Every anisogamous species, including humans, currently has only males and females, and we have names to distinguish between many species by sex and even maturity within the sexes. (18/56)
A young male chicken is called a cockerel, an adult male chicken is called a rooster, a young female chicken is called a pullet, and an adult female chicken is called a hen. (19/56)
Every major English-speaking dictionary defines a man and a woman as roughly ‘an adult human male’ and ‘an adult human female,’ respectively. These definitions have never changed, they’ve only been refined as we’ve learned more about sexual development. (20/56)
To call citing this as evidence an appeal to definition shows a misunderstanding of when using a dictionary to support an argument becomes fallacious, because — as I’ll show later — there haven't been other falsifiable definitions of these words given in the first place. (21/56)
A resolution has to explicitly acknowledge these facts. Talk of sex being a spectrum or a colonial social construct needs to be treated the same as flat earth theory & young earth creationism for being completely unscientific & ahistorical. (22/56)
Accepting this, then, even if you want to change the meaning of the word woman, you’d still need a word for adult human females. TRAs say using woman for TIFs & "cis" women reduces them to their genitals, but terms they've suggested have done that. (23/56)
Also, bathrooms, sports, etc. have always been sex-segregated, so regardless of what you’d redefine woman to mean, the spaces' names would change anyway, unless we'd start making them "gender-identity" segregated, which would be as dumb as making them politics-segregated. (24/56)
This brings us to the fact that TRAs don't say TIMs are women based on their sex, but based on their ‘gender identity.’ But, before we can touch on the meaning of gender identity, we need to define gender itself. (25/56)
RadFems mainly use gender to refer to the social roles imposed on each sex. TRAs use the term gender in two senses: the first is synonymous with RadFems’ main definition, which TRAs also call “gender expression,” and the second sense is to refer to gender identity. (26/56)
There are two important things to know here. Firstly, the term gender identity was coined by John Money — a documented pedophile whose first gender patient, as well as that patient’s twin brother less than two years earlier, committed suicide. (27/56)…
Secondly, TRAs say gender expression & pronouns don’t always match up with gender identity, so they refer to preoperative, masculine, he/him TIMs attracted to women as “butch transbians,” (trans lesbians) since they still consider them to be women. (28/56)
This brings us back to the question of what ‘woman’ could possibly mean to them — which we’ll cover further down — but first we’d need to know what they mean by gender identity.

I’ve only gotten two definitions for the term gender identity before. (29/56)
The first is roughly “someone’s gender-related identity,” which is the definition a Victoria, Australia bill and the US Equality Act use. This definition's so circular it’s sad, aside from it being completely unfalsifiable. It’s remarkably dumb. (30/56)
The second definition I’ve gotten is roughly “someone’s internal sense of self,” which is also completely unfalsifiable and seems like a roundabout way of describing a personality or a soul. (31/56)
Many people have taken the second definition's inherent infalsifiability a step further and decided that your gender identity can literally be anything, leading to people self-identifying as things like a fish, a deer, a dragon, a tree, and more. (32/56)…
To be fair, many transgender people don’t consider xenogenders to be "valid," but I’ve never heard a rational explanation why. (33/56)
Anyway, neither of those definitions make the slightest bit of sense, so the first hurdle we need to cross before we can even have a good faith discussion of what man and woman means is getting queer theorists to define gender identity in a non-circular, falsifiable way. (34/56)
I can’t stress enough that, without doing that first, their argument’s already built on sand, so we’d only be talking past each other and running in circles. (35/56)
I’ve been looking for a sound answer to this question from TRAs for years & those are the only definitions I’ve ever gotten, so it seems like the emperor has no clothes & their argument’s based on faith in something they can’t falsifiably define or prove the existence of. (36/56)
Keep that fact firmly in mind as we examine TRA definitions of the terms man and woman: their premise is already built on one layer of sand, and I'm about to show you the second. (37/56)
The most common definition I’ve seen TRAs give by far is that a woman or man is anyone who feels like a woman or man, identifies as a woman or man, or says they’re a woman or man. It doesn’t take a genius to see that these are completely circular. (38/56)
None of them provide any information and the first two are equivalent to the third, since we currently have no falsifiable way to determine someone’s feelings or inner identity aside from their word. (39/56)
Obviously, anyone can say anything, but that doesn’t make it true; we can’t determine if a statement’s true or not without there being falsifiable information to examine — information that’s verifiable independently of someone’s word. (40/56)
The 2nd answer I’ve seen TRAs give, and by far the most ridiculous, is that the terms man and woman don’t have or need an objective definition, but one that’s merely subjective, or that they need neither objective nor subjective definitions at all. (41/56)
Five minutes with an infant will show anyone that without objective definitions, communication would be impossible. Aside from that, if the terms man & woman were objectively & subjectively meaningless, then the phrase “trans women are women” would be meaningless, too. (42/56)
Conveniently, I’ve never seen anyone who argues this say no words have any meaning, just these words specifically — a clear case of special pleading. Honestly, I think people only resort to this answer when they can’t think of a definition & are desperate to justify that. (43/56)
The third answer I’ve seen TRAs give, which shows the astronomical levels of cognitive dissonance among some of them, is their equivocation of “feminine” social stereotypes with womanhood & “masculine” social stereotypes with manhood. (44/56)
Rather than recognizing, as RadFems do, that men & women can be "masculine" or "feminine" & gendered stereotypes are sexist & regressive, TRAs think boys who play with Barbies or girls who play with G.I. Joes could've been born in the wrong body. (45/56)
It should be obvious how dangerous this idea is — especially for children — and that, since gender stereotypes can be fluid, the same person could, by this logic, be considered a man or a woman in different time periods or even in the same time period in different places. (46/56)
Their fourth answer I’ve heard is the belief either in gendered souls or the idea that male and female brains are fundamentally different and that transgender people’s brains more so resemble that of the opposite sex. (47/56)
I think the gendered souls theory is an unconscious assumption when giving the first three answers in a lot of cases, but obviously we have no proof souls exist in the first place, let alone gendered souls. (48/56)
Gendered brains sound plausible but data's still debated, with some arguing the average brain's a mosaic of masculine & feminine traits & others that brains are shaped by nurture & studies show no consistent difference between male & female brains. (49/56)…
Even if that were the case though, you’d think they’d advocate for some type of brain scan to verify that someone’s transgender, but I’ve never seen a single solitary person do that — I’ve literally seen some TRAs argue against doing it. (50/56)
Across the board, they all advocate for self-identification which eliminates absolutely all safeguards against predators, who could easily just lie and say they’re transgender, which forces us to ask what qualifies someone as transgender in the first place. (51/56)
Most importantly, though, even if we were to have proof that TIMs have brain patterns typical of females, their bodies would still be male. This is crucial: the absolute best argument they have, literally their steelman, is completely irrelevant to the rest of their body. (52/56)
In conclusion, I just want to be clear that I don’t care if a guy decides to wear a dress — that’s none of my business. But, if that guy decides to call himself a woman for doing so, then calls me a bigot for not considering him a woman, too, he just made it my business. (53/56)
Again, to have a productive conversation regarding transgender people, I’d need a non-circular, falsifiable definition of gender identity, as well as alternative non-circular, falsifiable definitions for the words man & woman. So far, I’ve come across none of these. (54/56)
I’d love to be proven wrong, so if you’d like to rebut this, hit me up. But, I do have one question, just to make sure you’re trying to discuss this in good faith: if I identify as an able-bodied white woman, which of those things, if any, would be true & why or why not? (55/56)
Thanks to everyone for reading, even if you were seething the whole time. I’ve got a couple of other obligations to knock out before I can organize part two, but I’ll get that done as soon as possible. In the meantime, go bully Biden and tell him I sent you! 💪 (56/56)

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with Jordan Levi 🚩

Jordan Levi 🚩 Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @SwamiNetero

3 Mar 20
@ProlUnit so i think we might have different definitions on what lead means, but to me a leader implys followers. the only person you should be leading in any sense of the word, in my eyes, is yourself, because all other forms of leadership are incompatible with direct democracy. having
@ProlUnit classes of superiors and subordinates is inherently undemocratic, because in a true direct democracy all citizens of age would be equals. authority would still need to exist where absolutely necessary, as well as respect, and some degree of social prestige, but none of those
@ProlUnit necessitate leadership. we dont need gods or masters, all we need is reason and cooperation between ourselves. just like you may not have been a socialist at one point and were able to be reasoned with to become one, i think every human is able to be reasoned with as long as your
Read 14 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!