Several problems: “How ‘gender identity theory’ is harming children”

On 16 January 2023, Green Ideas on Substack published an article, “How ‘gender identity theory’ is harming children: one party member’s research journey,” by Marian Smedley.

The piece has several problems. Here are a few.


Contents

  1. outraged by … the use of social media …
  2. what I now know is called ‘gender identity theory’
  3. acknowledged by evolutionary biologists
  4. medicine and the law
  5. intersex … the numbers are tiny
  6. the existence of additional sexes
  7. other chromosomal variations … are not different sexes either
  8. GIT holds that babies are merely ‘assigned’ a biological sex
  9. if you feel uncomfortable with … stereotypes then you are in the wrong body
  10. lifelong dependence
  11. on high impact medication
  12. I have not yet seen
  13. humanities disciplines, not scientists
  14. When I was young, I too rebelled
  15. children are told by those who follow GIT
  16. children will … adopt a trans identity
  17. acceptance of this ideology
  18. leads to real world consequences which are harmful
  19. There are legitimate questions … this is a debate
  20. following a damning review” (emphasis mine)
  21. the exploration of other psychological problems
  22. rare conditions such as precocious puberty
  23. or to chemically castrate sex offenders
  24. The Cass Review expressed concerns
  25. recent research (catalogued here)
  26. They may … lead to health problems
  27. countries noted for their progressive attitude
  28. research into whether there is any benefit
  29. the risks are becoming clearer
  30. Here in Australia, however
  31. These … may lead to infertility
  32. surgery … is largely irreversible
  33. referrals for gender treatment increased by 45 times
  34. over the 8 years to 2021
  35. Some … are now concerned … about … ‘social contagion’
  36. the precautionary principle should be followed
  37. over 1,000 … claims against … GIDS
  38. a detransitioner against her psychiatrist
  39. This is not the case
  40. “those labelled ‘gender critical’” / “acceptance of … science”
  41. anyone who criticises GIT is improperly grouped with them
  42. important that we hear voices from the left
  43. I fully support anyone who has transitioned
  44. trans activists
  45. is it transphobic to … ?

#1

I was outraged by the public nature of these attacks and the use of social media to make them

Smedley (2023)

In a development which is paradoxically both shocking and completely unsurprising, Marian does not seem to be similarly concerned about Gale’s choice to publicly attack the Australian Greens Victoria in the pages of The Age concerning her short and not particularly legitimate service as the party’s convenor (Gale, 2022).

#2

These events launched me on a research journey about what I now know is called ‘gender identity theory’ (GIT), which is what party policy supports and promotes.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Interested to note that I cannot locate significant use of the term “gender identity theory” in modern academic literature. For example, Bentler (1976) uses “gender identity theory” to describe a form of what became better known as Ray Blanchard’s transsexualism typology, now long since discredited (Serano, 2010 & 2020; Bettcher, 2014).

Where the term “gender identity theory” appears in trans-neutral literature, it is often disconnected from its use here. For instance, Vantieghem et al. (2014), writing in Social Psychology of Education, assert the existence of a “gender identity theory,” but use the term to collect a number of different sociological theories and concepts related to gender; what Marian means by “gender identity theory,” i.e. the existence of gender identity, they accept as established fact (ibid., p. 363).

A place where I can find the term “gender identity theory” in abundance is modern trans-hostile popular writing, such as one letter writer to The Irish Times complaining that being transphobic (in her case, calling trans people’s genders “religious beliefs” on national radio) got her called transphobic (Colfer, 2022). I can think of at least two very good reasons for this distribution:

  1. “Gender identity theory,” not being an actual theory, is an empty signifier, a conceptual ghost: since it has no substance, it can’t be attacked. If an anti-trans activist sees an opportunity to combine concepts to open a line of attack on trans people, then, even if those concepts come from separate and mutually incompatible actual theories, “gender identity theory” can be used to link them together in the fashion of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia‘s famous wall. On the other hand, if a trans person quite correctly points out that the theories from which those concepts are drawn are mutually incompatible, the anti-trans attacker can simply loftily redefine “gender identity theory” as “having incorporated elements of both”.
  2. The name “gender identity theory” is a restatement of an old argument intimately familiar to anyone who’s had the misfortune to encounter creationists: “It’s just a theory!” This line of attack pivots on intentionally confusing the vernacular and scientific meanings of ‘theory’. In everyday speech, a theory is just a guess; in scientific usage, a theory is a scientific explanation for a broad range of observations which has been strongly supported by multiple lines of evidence and shown to have power to both explain observations that are available and to predict observations before they are made (Ghose, 2013; Understanding Science, 2022).

“It’s just a theory!” has no value in illustrating the strength of the evidence for gender identity as a scientific concept. It does, however, have considerable value in illustrating who anti-trans activists choose to hang out with.

#3

This is a scientific fact acknowledged by evolutionary biologists (see here and here)

Smedley (op. cit.)

The first ‘here’ is a citation to a Substack piece by Colin Wright (2021), who is indeed an evolutionary biologist. His Google Scholar profile notes two pieces on gender to which he has contributed: an opinion article in The Wall Street Journal (Wright & Hilton, 2020) and a letter to the editor of the Irish Journal of Medical Science (Hilton et al., 2021); neither are peer-reviewed.

Wright’s actual scientific output is concerned predominantly with the collective behaviour of insects (Wright et al., 2015; Wright et al., 2017; Wright et al., 2020; etc.), which I sincerely think is scientifically valuable, but the relevance of which in this context is not entirely clear. I suspect it’s probably more relevant that Wright is a contributing editor for Quillette (Quillette Pty Ltd, n.d.), a right-wing outlet best known for its consistent support of unambiguous scientific racism and eugenics (Minkowitz, 2019). In his capacity there, Wright has published a number of pieces sharing his colourful opinions on trans people (Wright, 2020a; Wright, 2020b; Wright, 2022). It’s not difficult to see how these could make him an attractive source if empirical truth and scientific rigour happened not to be a primary concern.

The second ‘here’ is a citation to the Paradox Institute, which appears to functionally consist entirely of the author of the cited article, Zachary Elliott (2022). Elliott isn’t an evolutionary biologist; according to his own website (Elliott, n.d.), he’s an architect. He does not, in fact, assert any relevant qualifications besides “an interest in understanding the complexity of the human condition”. The cited article is Elliott’s five-dollar-word-backed speculation in a field in which he has no relevant expertise whatsoever.

#4

medicine and the law

Smedley (op. cit.)

[citation needed]

#5

There are indeed some people born as intersex, but the numbers are tiny (0.018%)

Smedley (op. cit.)

The number could be 1 and our existence would still be fatal to the insistence that sex is a strict binary.

#6

and in any event do not give rise to the existence of additional sexes

Smedley (op. cit.)

To my knowledge, no one is asserting that we do. The assertion isn’t that there is a specific number of discrete sexes and it is greater than two; the assertion is that sex is a continuous variable, not two wholly separate bins.

#7

(There are also a number of other chromosomal variations which can result in medical conditions but these are not different sexes either.)

Smedley (op. cit.)

This is another strawman. No one is asserting that people with unusual numbers of autosomes (non-sex chromosomes), such as monosomy 15 (Angelman syndrome, Prader–Willi syndrome) or trisomy 23 (Down syndrome), actually have different sexes. The chromosomes which are relevant to sex are the sex chromosomes, that’s why they’re called that. However, since Marian and her fellow travellers can’t rebut the arguments that scientists and trans people are actually making, they have to rebut this one instead.

#8

GIT holds that babies are merely ‘assigned’ a biological sex at birth by their doctor or parents based on what their ‘observed’ genitals are.

Smedley (op. cit.)

This is literally what happens and is not in any meaningful dispute (Reiner, 2002; Witchel, 2018). The reason it’s not in any meaningful dispute is because attempting to claim that birth sex assignment is an objective “observation” would quickly become absurd.

For instance, one group of people with the intersex trait 5α-reductase deficiency are known to be assigned female at birth and to then start clinically visibly developing a penis and testes at around 12 years of age (Imperato-McGinley et al., 1974; Jong, 2003).

If biological sex is “observed” at birth then presumably these people must be biologically female. If on the other hand these people having a penis and testes makes them male — a proposition with which the original formulation of the prominent TERF thought-terminating cliché the “Staniland question” seems to agree (Gellman, 2021) — then clearly biological sex cannot be “observed” at birth; a best guess is made, and it is, would you look at that, assigned.

#9

GIT states that if you feel uncomfortable with aspects of traditional gender stereotypes then you are in the wrong body and need to ‘align’ your body with how you feel.

Smedley (op. cit.)

This is, as often happens throughout this piece, a happy byproduct of the luxury of arguing against a “gender identity theory” that exists entirely within one’s own head. Even other transphobes don’t believe this; TERFs have suggested many reasons I should give up and detransition “back to being a cis man”, but the fact that I’m not overfond of skirts isn’t one of them. If they actually thought that being trans was about “traditional gender stereotypes” then it would logically follow that they would consider that argument to be a slam dunk.

#10

lifelong dependence

Smedley (op. cit.)

Funnily enough, I never see the argument that “lifelong dependence” is inherently bad applied to any of the other medication I take. Lifelong “dependence” on oestrogen and progesterone? Bad, apparently. Lifelong dependence on candesartan (for blood pressure), salbutamol (for asthma), in the near future probably also ivabradine (for postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)? Apparently fine.

Shit, I don’t even hear this argument this often about the prescription amphetamines I take, which at doses far above the level used in medicine do actually induce dependence you didn’t previously have (Nestler, 2022) — as opposed to oestrogen, progesterone, and all the other medications on this list, which you become “dependent” on only in the sense that they treat a health condition that, if they were withdrawn or never prescribed, you would continue to have.

#11

on high impact medication

Smedley (op. cit.)

Much like “gender identity theory,” as far as I can determine this is not actually a real thing, although I am less certain of this one and will therefore stand corrected if evidence is shown to me. Either way, it sure does sound scary, which is presumably the reason it’s used here.

#12

I have not yet seen any scientific evidence to support GIT,

Smedley (op. cit.)

If I were going to make a statement this load-bearing about a topic x, I would make sure I could put it in the form “the balance of scientific evidence seems to be against x“. I would do that because one way to have “not yet seen any scientific evidence to support” x is to deliberately avoided it. What I should infer from Marian’s use of this wording here, I can only speculate.

#13

which has been developed by academics from the humanities disciplines, not scientists.

Smedley (op. cit.)

This argument doesn’t hold water even from the STEMbro perspective which is inherent to making it. Now, the linked article (Morgenroth & Ryan, 2018) doesn’t engage with “gender identity theory,” because that isn’t actually a real thing. It engages primarily with queer theory, which is.

The article specifically engages with Butler’s work in philosophy (which is one of the humanities — a humanity?) in the context of applying it to social psychology. Social psychology is a social science (Biswas-Diener, 2023). Social science is science — the proof is in the name. It’s also in the pudding, given the immense amount of social-scientific work — anthropology, communication science, linguistics, political science — which certainly went into devising and precisely formulating the trans-hostile canards that Marian now simply repeats.

N.B. STEM supremacy is a pretty sizeable, big, large fucking call coming from someone whose most advanced qualification is, to my knowledge, a Bachelor of Business in Management — which as a former undergraduate student in business I can confirm is, of all academic disciplines, objectively the least real.

#14

There is no problem with anyone expressing how they feel and behaving in ways that do not fit gender stereotypes. When I was young, I too rebelled against gender stereotypes.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Oh yeah, the old “they would have transed me too” line in its implicit form. Who’d you pick that up from, your mate Jo (Wakefield, 2020)?

#15

These days, I have discovered, many gender non-conforming children are told by those who follow GIT that they may not be the sex they were ‘assigned’ and that any distress they feel about their bodies may be explained by a trans identity.

Smedley (op. cit.)

“Those who follow GIT,” leading your three-year-olds into a life of unbiblical sin, depravity, and back-alley horse-needle hormone injections. Not any specific, identifiable people, of course, even though we want to avoid this sort of thing and even though naming the people being referred to would help us avoid it. But they’re definitely real. For sure.

Tangentially, I copped a version of this argument at 25, when I was told I’d been peer-pressured into transitioning — by the 15-to-18-year-old students I was teaching. That was wild. If nothing else, I will always remember it for the comedy value.

#16

In some cases, these children will indeed adopt a trans identity …

Smedley (op. cit.)

How are they going to “adopt a trans identity” when to the best of our knowledge, gender identity is fixed by age 3 (Bukatko & Daehler, 2004, p. 495) and “there do not seem to be external forces that genuinely cause individuals to change gender identity” (Endocrine Society & Pediatric Endocrine Society, 2020)?

#17

acceptance of this ideology

Smedley (op. cit.)

Are you critiquing a scientific theory or railing against a political ideology? You’ll need to make your mind up, Marian, you’re starting to sound a bit Catholic (Graff, 2016).

#18

leads to real world consequences which are harmful

Smedley (op. cit.)

Such as?

#19

There are legitimate questions around single-sex spaces for biological women being infringed upon and there is a debate to be had around this.

Smedley (op. cit.)

The usual — when people are focusing on claiming that “there are legitimate questions” or “there is a debate” rather than asking them or having it, it’s because they know there are no actual grounds to do so.

#20

A recent development is that the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) has decided to close the Tavistock Gender Identity Development Service (Tavistock GIDS) in London following a damning review of its practices by a leading paediatrician.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Post hoc ergo propter hoc, an old friend (Moreton, 2022a). As I have repeatedly had to point out in the past, “after” does not mean “because of”. To be blunt and crude, the Tavistock was shut down because it was, so to speak, “transing” fewer kids than needed it, not, as implied here, too many. This is not seriously disputed even at that crown jewel of British transphobia (Strudwick, 2020), The Guardian (Brooks, 2022).

#21

The affirmation model assumes the individual has ‘discovered their true gender identity’ and too often excludes the exploration of other psychological problems or factors that may have contributed to the child’s distress.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Ah yeah, so basically you want to do “gender exploratory therapy” (Ashley, 2022)? You know, that thing which commentators much more accomplished than me have pointed out is obvious conversion therapy, without even any extra bits stuck on (Reed, 2023)?

#22

These powerful drugs were previously only used to treat rare conditions such as precocious puberty

Smedley (op. cit.)

You’re telling me puberty blockers were used to prevent unwanted puberty? And they’re now being used to prevent unwanted puberty again? Personally I am shocked.

#23

or to chemically castrate sex offenders

Smedley (op. cit.)

Ah well, by the logic used here, I can show that managing your child’s precocious puberty will turn them into a sex offender. Also if you have bipolar disorder and take antipsychotics they’ll make you autistic (welcome to the club!). Pack it up, entire field of pharmacology, we’re done here.

#24

The Cass Review expressed concerns about the use of puberty blockers

Smedley (op. cit.)

By this point I assume whoever is reading this will be unsurprised to know that the Cass Review did not do that and indeed specifically refrained from doing it (Independent Review of Gender Identity Services for Children and Young People, 2022, p. 15). Amusingly, this is the most damning outcome that could be secured by a UK government so bent on eliminating trans people that, at date, it may just have destroyed the Union for it (Parker, 2023).

#25

recent research (catalogued here) indicates that they are not reversible

Smedley (op. cit.)

That’s not a catalogue of research, it’s a New York Times opinion piece (Twohey & Jewett, 2022). Easy mistake, I know, they look so alike.

Again, unsurprisingly, The New York Times does not — and, surprisingly, does not even claim to — show anything of the sort. It does contain several anecdotes, which I have no specific objection to but which apart from one parent’s vaguely similar passing remark also don’t even claim to show anything of the sort (even if they had: as we’ve just now seen, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data”).

#26

They may disrupt brain development and bone density growth, and lead to health problems like osteoporosis.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Yeah, that’ll happen when you keep kids on medications that block all hormones for way longer than recommended or safe because you don’t want to give them hormones.

#27

This treatment has now been suspended or paused in many countries — including Sweden and Finland, countries noted for their progressive attitude towards transgender people

Smedley (op. cit.)

Noted by who? Whom? Whomst?

#28

pending further research into whether there is any benefit to taking them.

Smedley (op. cit.)

The answer to that question is unambiguously yes (Rew et al., 2020; Turban et al., 2020), including in works published by NHS GIDS itself (Carmichael et al., 2021). Repeatedly re-asking the question won’t actually change that.

#29

Meanwhile, the risks are becoming clearer.

Smedley (op. cit.)

This cites Bernard Lane (2022), (lately?) of The Australian. Since Marian is a Greens member I would expect that she is fully apprised of the level of journalistic integrity which can be expected from The Oz — you really can’t miss it (Taylor & Collins, 2012; Simons, 2014; Buckell, 2015).

I get it, though: when you could be doing something fun like shitting on trans people with all your friends, little things like principles and existing knowledge have to be put aside.

#30

The NHS … is pausing the use of puberty blockers and recommending psychological assessment and care instead. … Here in Australia, however, puberty blockers are still being used by gender clinics like the Royal Children’s Hospital Gender Service

Smedley (op. cit.)

I see, so because our old best friend has released a draft proposal to jump off a cliff that means we are obliged to do so as well and at once. What was the Statute of Westminster Adoption Act 1942 (Cth) even for?

#31

These can also have lasting health effects and may lead to infertility.

Smedley (op. cit.)

The source cited relates specifically to the infertility claim and hey, guess what, yeah, some medical treatments cause infertility, most notably antipsychotics and chemotherapy (NHS England, 2020). In most such cases, we are able to acknowledge that it’s preferable to the alternative. When we have to service transphobes’ obsessive collective interest in whether kids can get pregnant, however, apparently our critical thinking goes out the window.

#32

The last stage is surgery which is largely irreversible.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Yeah that’ll be why the World Professional Association for Transgender Health’s Standards of care for the health of transgender and gender diverse people (WPATH SOC; Coleman et al., 2022) refer to it as irreversible 17 times. Sorry, was this supposed to be something the trannies were maliciously conspiring not to tell you about?

#33

In the UK, over the decade to 2018, referrals for gender treatment increased by 45 times for girls and 12.5 times for boys.

Smedley (op. cit.)

As the WPATH SOC (Coleman et al., op. cit., p. 26) patiently explains, the significant rise is accounted for by “sociopolitical advances … increased access to health care and to medical information, less pronounced cultural stigma, and other changes that have a differential impact across generations”. As John Oliver points out, we saw the same effect, for the same reasons, when society finally backed off a bit on punishing people for being left-handed (Last Week Tonight, 2022).

Meanwhile, the (assigned) gender differential is, as bioethicist Florence Ashley has exhaustively explained, less likely to reflect “a real change in ratios in the overall trans youth population” and more likely to reflect “sociocultural factors impacting referral patterns” (Ashley, 2019).

#34

In Australia, over the 8 years to 2021, children being treated in public adolescent gender clinics increased by 9.8 times.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Oh you mean since 2013? Yeah, that’ll probably be because “there were virtually no treatment facilities for children with gender dysphoria in Australia prior to 2014,” which, as you can see from the quote marks, are not my words — what they are is an admission by prominent Australian anti-trans activist Dianna Kenny (2019). Come on! Get your ducks in a row!

If anyone’s wondering why 2013, it’s because that was the year the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia decided Re Jamie [2013] FamCAFC 110, in which they established the binding precedent that court authorisation is not required for “stage one treatment” (puberty blockers). Before Re Jamie, there was no way for kids to access medical transition without going to court, and anyone who had the money to go to court had the money to go to a decent private endocrinologist, so they didn’t need a clinic.

#35

Some of those treating children wishing to transition are now concerned about the influence of social media and ‘social contagion’.

Smedley (op. cit.)

I imagine they are. I personally am very concerned that trans children are being put in the care of people who are able to maintain such concerns despite the overwhelming scientific consensus that they have no basis (see, e.g., Bauer et al., 2021; Turban et al., 2022; etc.).

#36

In my view, the precautionary principle should be followed.

Smedley (op. cit.)

The precautionary principle asks us “to pause and to review before leaping headling into innovations that might prove disastrous” (Read & O’Riordan, 2017). The current approach to trans kids is based on literally decades of evidence. Marian and her fellow travellers are demanding we leap into new innovations on the strength of no evidence at all, and ignore the considerable evidence against.

I guess what we’ve learned here is before you cite the precautionary principle, you should really take the time to know what it is, otherwise it’s really obvious you’re just repeating something you heard from a more confident friend.

#37

In the UK, there is speculation that there may be over 1,000 medical negligence claims against the Tavistock GIDS.

Smedley (op. cit.)

This claim is traceable back to Hayward (2022), a single-source story run by The Times as stealth advertising for a law firm who want to lead the case. As noted by a statement from GIDS reported by Duggan & Wood (2022), only about 1,000 patients have been referred to paediatric endocrine services — the first stage of any medical intervention at all — over the last decade.

For a class of 1,000 patients, literally everyone who went on puberty blockers over the last decade would have had to have regretted it. Even assuming GIDS had referred approximately the same number of patients to endocrinology in each of the two previous decades of its operation — which it very certainly didn’t; nowhere near (Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, 2019) — that would require a regret rate of greater than 30%.

In reality, the highest regret rate figure which has yet been generated came from the exceptionally conservative VUmc team in Amsterdam. Of the 4 co-authors of that study, Peggy Cohen-Kettenis and Tom Steensma later co-authored another study (Steensma et al., 2013) of trans kids’ rate of “desistance” (i.e., rate of allegedly ceasing to be trans) which in reporting the rate fairly overtly put its thumb on the scale to maximise it (Brooks, 2018). Meanwhile, Annelou de Vries has since written a commentary for Pediatrics (de Vries, 2020) in which she suggested kids who hadn’t been exceptionally vocal about being trans in childhood shouldn’t be allowed to transition.

The highest rate of regret this team of bold, fearless, heterodox, maverick, champions of unfettered science could generate was … 2% (de Vries et al., 2011). Not 100%, not 33%. 2%. Really makes you think.

#38

In Australia, a court case has been launched by a detransitioner against her psychiatrist alleging negligence in not assessing her case properly and rushing her into cross-sex hormones and surgery including a double mastectomy and the removal of her ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus. She is now unable to have children.

Smedley (op. cit.)

I’ve already taken apart the Jay Langadinos narrative elsewhere (Moreton, 2022b) and I have now been writing this piece for close to six consecutive hours (and these parentheses were added on my second pass, nine hours in) so with the consent of members present I’m just going to move right along.

#39

At present, any attempts to have such discussion are immediately shut down with cries of ‘transphobia’ or ‘bigotry’, and the plea that it is too upsetting for transgender members who feel their existence is being denied. This is not the case.

Smedley (op. cit.)

This is grammatically ambiguous. Is Marian asserting that it’s “not the case” that it’s “too upsetting for transgender members”? She is cis, and therefore not qualified to decide that.

On the other hand, is Marian asserting that the existence of trans members isn’t being denied? She’s spent this whole piece trying to deny it — implying trans kids’ medically necessary care is malpractice (which could not be the case if they are in fact trans), treating trans kids’ genders as something imposed on them by others, and even referring to gender identity, whose relation to assigned sex is what makes trans people a group distinct from cis people, as a “theory”.

It’s pretty clear that any assertion by Marian that trans members’ existence isn’t being denied is founded more in self-interest than actual fact.

#40

Language always matters, and it is important to understand that those labelled ‘gender critical’ and called transphobic and anti-trans are primarily stating their acceptance of the dimorphic nature of biological sex as supported by science.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Those “labelled” gender-critical? Are you serious? It’s literally a label you gave yourselves (Lawford-Smith, 2021; Rowling, 2022; Siddique, 2022), specifically because you had to start pretending you thought TERF was a slur (Compton, 2019), something you also don’t believe given that one of Australian TERFs’ attempts to make something that people are interested in is a YouTube series called TERF Talk Down Under.

Anyway, despite Marian’s remarkably inexpert attempt at sleight of hand here (clearly a beginner’s effort — sorry Maz, you’ll have to get a bit of practice!), it is obviously incorrect to state that transphobes are “primarily stating” any view on “biological sex” (this whole screed was about “gender identity theory”!), much less that science supports the views on sex they actually have.

#41

One of the most unfortunate aspects of this debate has been that most people reported as opposing GIT publicly have been from the right-wing or conservative side of politics. Some of those critics do use harmful and abusive language, and indeed some are bigots. But now anyone who criticises GIT is improperly grouped with them.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Here’s an analogy. I’m doubtful about broad access to assisted dying, because I think the world leader in that area, Canada, is using it to eliminate those of us who are in the “surplus population” and then blame us for it (Alexiou, 2022; Hopper, 2022). The Catholic Church is also famously doubtful about broad access to assisted dying because it considers euthanasia to be a “violation of the divine law, an offense against the dignity of the human person, a crime against life, and an attack on humanity” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, 1980).

I think this is the first time I’ve had to bring this up in at least a year of being vocal about my doubts online, because despite the fact that both I and the Church believe throwing access to assistance in dying completely open is not a good idea — positions even more materially identical than those purportedly held by “left-wing” TERFs and those held by their more honest openly fascist peers — people have not confused us.

This is because we have clearly different beliefs and arguments — unlike the Church, I actually think people should not be subjected to prolonged suffering, and I think that the use of assisted dying for institutional murder is a factor of material conditions which can be changed. Another factor is that, in contrast to TERFs’ complaints about trans people, if something like Canada’s MAiD program were implemented here, I can actually name and substantiate a material harm I would experience as a result.

The reason TERFs are being grouped with people who are actually willing to admit being fascists is because not only do you want the same material end, you want it for the same reasons. You barely change the words. If you want to not be called a right-winger, you can just stop being one.

#42

it is even more important that we hear voices from the left … who are prepared to raise the scientific facts around biological sex as a starting point to discussion

Smedley (op. cit.)

You’re already hearing those. Oh wait, those weren’t the facts you wanted? Sorry, regardless of what you might have been told, there’s not actually any such thing as alternative facts.

#43

I fully support anyone who has transitioned or any adult who wishes to do so.

Smedley (op. cit.)

I see (!)

#44

We can no longer accept statements from trans activists and certain members who hold public office that this issue is ‘not up for debate’, and that anyone who does not completely agree with them is a hateful, transphobic bigot.

Smedley (op. cit.)

Ah yes, “trans activists,” the thing TERFs call any trans person who does silly things like posting online or speaking out loud while being trans.

Look, the reason that people who “[do] not completely agree with” trans people and allies are often described as “hateful, transphobic bigots” is because trans people and allies are extremely used to being disagreed with and consequently have an extremely numbed perception of what constitutes disagreement.

For your lack of “complete[…] agree[ment]” to even register with trans people in general, you have to be really far off the beaten track of civil, evidence-based debate — far enough, in fact, that the “hateful, transphobic bigot” characterisation is invariably accurate beyond a reasonable doubt.

#45

First, is it transphobic to accept the scientific basis for two biological sexes? Secondly, is it transphobic to raise concerns about the medical care provided to children? I think that the answers are clearly ‘no’ and ‘no’.

Smedley (op. cit.)

No! But then neither of those things are what you did.


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References

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