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SFreeman89Vision

Gender as an anti-concept

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Intellectual ammo, if the male is the penetrator and the female the penetrated, then you've settled the issue of gender reassignment in favor of your opponents.

SapereAude likes this

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Thank you. I also would consider it trespassing or something. Regardless, they can be escorted off property, not allowed on the property, expelled from college like the girl on the right

Tough shit. Now since you were expelled from college over it, maybe you can be a janitor. Then you can be in the men's restrooms as much as you want... to clean them that is. Then you can come home after work, to your lovely spouse there, and tell him all about your day.

Again, you've gone into the legal realm and not the moral realm. I will never argue that it is wrong for a proprietor of an establishment to discriminate his customers as he sees fit.

To me, no matter what culture, no matter in civilized society or out in the wilderness, one thing will remain the same throughout - man's nature and sex roles - the male is 'the penetrator' and woman 'the penetrated'. This is human sexual reproduction. Something is wrong if the male thinks he's a woman, or thinks he has a 'male birth defect' which either indicates that perhaps he does have such a defect, or that there is something wrong inside, that persons mind.

Whether they have a choice or not, is not my concern, only saying something is wrong there, regardless.

I'm a man and have absolutely no problem playing with dolls:

http://aidoll.4woods.jp/

http://www.realdoll.com/

http://sinthetics.co...icia/alicia-1h/

My suggestion for them is to be grammacally correct when speaking about themselves, regardless of what they think they are inside or not, if they are biolgoical male, then use the proper pronouns. My other suggestion is finding out what's wrong - why you think the way you do about yourself when men are supposed to think that they are men inside and outside. I don't care to discuss what is feminine or masculine (gender roles) as that is often a hell of a lot more a cultural thing. If you are a biological male, you are supposed to be a boy and become a man and all the while think you are a male and not a woman. Doctors/psychologists I would suggest for those that do not at any point think they are a male, boy, man.

I cannot help but think you are equivocating 'male.' If a person is born a man, they continue to be a man biologically their entire life regardless of plastic surgery. The pronoun 'his' or 'her' is part of a social convention, language. Language is essentially a means of communicating to other people, and the pronouns his or her are not for strict scientific identification of sex, they are social constructs, just as much as masculinity is a social construct.

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Intellectual ammo, if the male is the penetrator and the female the penetrated, then you've settled the issue of gender reassignment in favor of your opponents.

Not in the least. A surgically created 'man vagina', or whatever the hell you would call such a thing, regardless, he is supposed to penetrate a woman. If he doesn't want to, feel like he was born with a hideous 'male birth defect' and wants to 'correct' it with surgery, what is created is:

1. not a vagina, but something that is created to resemble one

2. does not make him a woman

3. is still a penetrator that is trying to be the penetrated, regardless.

I cannot help but think you are equivocating 'male.' If a person is born a man, they continue to be a man biologically their entire life regardless of plastic surgery

Right.

The pronoun 'his' or 'her' is part of a social convention, language. Language is essentially a means of communicating to other people, and the pronouns his or her are not for strict scientific identification of sex, they are social constructs, just as much as masculinity is a social construct.

Language is identification. Pronouns are for identification and have definitions. A man that thinks he is a woman is a man that thinks he is a woman, not a 'she', not a 'woman', not a 'her'. Only He, him, man, I. They may feel at liberty to steal the former pronouns and such, but it's a grammatical crime to, so to speak, they can't get away with it, not even with poetic/artistic liscensure.

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Not in the least. A surgically created 'man vagina', or whatever the hell you would call such a thing, regardless, he is supposed to penetrate a woman. If he doesn't want to, feel like he was born with a hideous 'male birth defect' and wants to 'correct' it with surgery, what is created is:

1. not a vagina, but something that is created to resemble one

2. does not make him a woman

3. is still a penetrator that is trying to be the penetrated, regardless.

Thanks for clearing that up. Next time you convey the point in question, I'd suggest saying something like, "The man should penetrate and the woman should receive." That gets your point across better. Anyway, the notion that there is an objective moral perscription for such specific sexual acts is hooey. Morality dictates you share sexual experiences with people who share your chosen values and that you do so in a way that is consistent with your values; it stops there. You should persue a person with a body that turns you on, but beyond that body morphology has absolutely nothing to do with a proper sex life. For a normal healthy male to experience all his sexual organs have to offer, he must have his prostate massaged by something penitrating his anus. While plenty of guys don't like things in their butts, the rest are actually pursuing a course of sexual activity more consistent with their biology - by receiving penetration.

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For a normal healthy male to experience all his sexual organs have to offer, he must have his prostate massaged by something penitrating his anus. While plenty of guys don't like things in their butts, the rest are actually pursuing a course of sexual activity more consistent with their biology - by receiving penetration.

Plenty of guys enjoy anal play, without being homosexuals. They enjoy the penetration, stimulation of it. There are plenty that enjoy oral performed on their dicks, too. They may enjoy the mouth of a woman, another man's mouth, performing it. They might like penetrating a vagina, may enjoy penetrating the male or female poop chute. Use toys, love dolls, masturbate... This does not make them 'the penetrated'. Poop chutes are made for pooping, that's their function, a mouth for eating. We can use them for those other things, or use thing on them, but it still does not change their primary functions. In regards to what you said, to me, being more consistent with biology would be, not what you said, but - man penetrating woman in her vagina and orgasming.

Any of the creampies man puts into woman, bakes in her oven, until one is ready to come out of the oven. And when it does, you have human reproduction - a human baby.

Edited by intellectualammo

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stuff

Hoping that my post right at the end of page 1 doesn't get lost, you don't seem to be discussing any conceptual basis. I would much rather talk about how the concept gender is treated than reason with what looks an awful lot like postmodern jargon on sexuality that is more about word use than objective meaning. All I see is naturalistic fallacy.

Edited by Eiuol

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Plenty of guys enjoy anal play, without being homosexuals. They enjoy the penetration, stimulation of it. There are plenty that enjoy oral performed on their dicks, too. They may enjoy the mouth of a woman, another man's mouth, performing it. They might like penetrating a vagina, may enjoy penetrating the male or female poop chute. Use toys, love dolls, masturbate... This does not make them 'the penetrated'. Poop chutes are made for pooping, that's their function, a mouth for eating. We can use them for those other things, or use thing on them, but it still does not change their primary functions.

Perhaps your sentence is just worded wrong, but as is, I would not say any man's primary function is penetration nor any woman's being penetrated.

I don't think it's a good idea to define 'oughts' by biological function or morphology. A penis is a reproductive organ, but reproduction isn't an essential to being human. Defining masculinity and femininity based on 'penetrator' and 'penetratee' divorces the concepts from reason.

I guess my point to you is, yes if a man gets surgery to be a woman he will be a man forever. It changes nothing about him metaphysically, and I never argued it did. I'm saying it's not 100% wrong and irrational in every case, and that deliberately berating TGs based on that one choice is obnoxious.

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IntellectualAmmo, it's time to spend some energy defining terms and clarifying concepts. You mentioned "primary functions." I think everyone is on the same page regarding what that means; the "evolutionary" role of the different body parts (e.g., waste disposal for butts and baby making for sex organs). I seem to have left room for confusion in my last post when I wrote, "for a normal healthy male to experience all his sexual organs have to offer..." I wasn't talking about the primary/evolutionary functions of his sex organs; I was talking about the pleasurable sensory potential of the organs. Where evolution is concerned, the proximity of the prostate to the anus is an accident and serves almost no purpose. Romantically speaking, this proximity is a happy accident that offers another of many ways to get the job done.

If you have a valid point that I understand, it is this: during anal play, even though penetration is necessary, it isn't the goal; stimulation of the prostate is. This makes "penetration" a secondary consequence of pegging and the like. But this kind of reiterates the point I was trying to make - the specific acts people perform to reach orgasm with their partner don't matter one iota, and if the acts don't matter morphology is of no moral consequence.

Edited by FeatherFall
grammar

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For the same reason the late abortion ( over 12 weeks) is also morally wrong in Objectivism.

No it's not. Where do you get that from?

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Gender roles aren't what I've seen to be determining if one has a female or male gender identity. At least in Western culture, no one is going to say a female who wants to be a car mechanic has a male gender role. I've never heard such a thing.

That's because in modern Western culture, being a car mechanic is not what defines masculinity as gender. The fact that both men and women can be car mechanics and still be widely accepted as belonging to their gender doesn't prove that there is no relevance to the concept.

If men (as sex) could go around speaking in a high pitched voices, wearing dresses, stockings, high heels, etc. and generally exhibiting female (as gender) behavior, and women (as sex) could walk around in men's suits, shoes, ties talking in a low voice, and generally exhibiting typically male (as gender) behavior, and the average person wouldn't even recognize that as something that's odd and out of place (in other words, he wouldn't know that there's such a thing as typically female clothing and behavior, and typically male clothing and behavior) then I would agree that the concept of gender is irrelevant.

Until then, it is very relevant. In Western culture, it doesn't refer to one's occupation (for the most part), but there are plenty of very obvious things that it does refer to, most of it impossible to attribute to one's biological sex. The reason why, for instance, both biological females and males who wish to appear as females in gender will wear a dress on occasion, but no biological males who don't wish to be seen as females in gender wear them, cannot possibly be explained using the concept of biological sex. The reason for that is gender, not sex.

[edit] mentioning voice pitch as gender rather than sex related was silly, but I'm not going to edit the whole post now...just ignore that part

Edited by Nicky

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That's because in modern Western culture, being a car mechanic is not what defines masculinity as gender. The fact that both men and women can be car mechanics and still be widely accepted as belonging to their gender doesn't prove that there is no relevance to the concept.

If men (as sex) could go around speaking in a high pitched voices, wearing dresses, stockings, high heels, etc. and generally exhibiting female (as gender) behavior, and women (as sex) could walk around in men's suits, shoes, ties talking in a low voice, and generally exhibiting typically male (as gender) behavior, and the average person wouldn't even recognize that as something that's odd and out of place (in other words, he wouldn't know that there's such a thing as typically female clothing and behavior, and typically male clothing and behavior) then I would agree that the concept of gender is irrelevant.

Until then, it is very relevant. In Western culture, it doesn't refer to one's occupation (for the most part), but there are plenty of very obvious things that it does refer to, most of it impossible to attribute to one's biological sex. The reason why, for instance, both biological females and males who wish to appear as females in gender will wear a dress on occasion, but no biological males who don't wish to be seen as females in gender wear them, cannot possibly be explained using the concept of biological sex. The reason for that is gender, not sex.

[edit] mentioning voice pitch as gender rather than sex related was silly, but I'm not going to edit the whole post now...just ignore that part

See my comments. I agree things can be 'masculine' or 'feminine' e.g. dresses = feminine and ties = masculine because these things tend to be found in people of the corresponding sex. These things contribute to one's femininity/masculinity. But as you say, neither necessarily makes a person 'female' or 'male' gendered. How do you determine if someone's gender is male or female? Is it when someone has more traits/habbits that are masculine/feminine than they have traits/habbits of the opposite gender? But how do you count them all? What about traits/habbits that some people think fall into one camp and others the opposite, or that some people think are gendered and others neutral (e.g. body hair - is it masculine to have body hair because biological females tend to remove theirs, or is it gender-neutral since biological females have body hair naturally)? Aren't some more important (count or 'weigh' more) than others? Does intensity matter e.g. it's not whether you like pink but how much you like it? How can we really pin down traits/habbits that are gendered e.g. we might assume a great interest in clothes is feminine but what greater archetype of masculinity is there than the very sartorial James Bond? How can you objectively answer all of these questions and construct a gender definition of 'male' and 'female'? Rand says the definition of a concept (in this case 'male' and 'female' in the sense of gender) must have an essential defining characteristic. What is this?

Edited by SFreeman89Vision

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Until then, it is very relevant. In Western culture, it doesn't refer to one's occupation (for the most part), but there are plenty of very obvious things that it does refer to, most of it impossible to attribute to one's biological sex. The reason why, for instance, both biological females and males who wish to appear as females in gender will wear a dress on occasion, but no biological males who don't wish to be seen as females in gender wear them, cannot possibly be explained using the concept of biological sex.

It can to some extent. Look at bras and panties. Bras are specifically designed for female titties. Panties, have gussets there for a reason. For a man to wear either is absolutely ridiculous and so funny it's not.

Also, I see no difference between 'sex' and 'gender'. I thought they were interchangeable. Sex roles/gender roles - humans are born with a certain identity(sex/gender) (male/female) with accompanying roles - 'penetrator'/'penetrated'. Either can be a hunter or gatherer, pants wearing, etc. How a man can 'identify' as a female/woman is way beyond me, when he is already identified biologically as a male, as a man (sex/gender) with a specific sex/gender/biological role. Sometimes we associate certain things with men and women, like fragrances, etc. that are used to express their femaleness and maness, which can be a social construct, that still will not change the latter any.

Edited by intellectualammo

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Also, I see no difference between 'sex' and 'gender'. I thought they were interchangeable. Sex roles/gender roles - humans are born with a certain identity(sex/gender) (male/female) with accompanying roles - 'penetrator'/'penetrated'. Either can be a hunter or gatherer, pants wearing, etc. How a man can 'identify' as a female/woman is way beyond me, when he is already identified biologically as a male, as a man (sex/gender) with a specific sex/gender/biological role. Sometimes we associate certain things with men and women, like fragrances, etc. that are used to express their femaleness and maness, which can be a social construct, that still will not change the latter any.

Sex and gender are not (as a matter of dictionary definition/common usage) the same thing. Webster defines sex as:

either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as male or female

(and if you follow through to 'male' and 'female' you get a definition based on biology i.e. the production of sperm/eggs) It defines gender as:

the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

So it is possible to have all of the traits associated with one sex, while actually being of the other. My issue is that while it is possible to talk generally about masculinity and femininity (e.g. "That man seems very feminine," or "My wife can be quite masculine sometimes,"), I can't see any meaningful way to say (or determine that) "Person X is of the female gender," or "Person Y is of the male gender," (or even to claim "I am of the male gender,") since this ideas of a 'male gender' and 'female gender' have no essential distinguishing characteristics, which makes these virtual nonsense terms (and combined with their use in academia and elsewhere to obliterate 'sex' as a concept, an anti-concept).

Now the girl I was debating with, from my original post, believed that biological sex, as from Webster, is not a valid (or perhaps not a useful) concept at least for non-medical use so either we should never talk about sex outside of a medical setting, or when we say 'sex' in everyday life we should mean gender, which is to do with the mind.

Another part of her argument which doesn't exactly link up with the above but I'll discuss anyway, was a difference between brains. She said that people with penises who identify as women actually are biologically female because they have a female brain.

My response to this last idea is:

  • I'm not a biologist but from some quick research the theory of two clearly distinguishable kinds of brain is controversial so this is not certain (alternatively, brains may differ on average, in the same way that men are, on average, taller than women, but you can't tell if someone is male or female for sure by their height, so it is not a defining characteristic of sex)

  • Even if there were two clearly distinguishable kinds of brain, one of which is found almost exclusively in people with vaginae and the other almost exclusively in people with penises, can or should this be incorporated into the definitions of the male and female sexes? Breasts, for example, are found almost exclusively in females but there are people cases of people with penises who develop breasts. We do not say they are female, or even male and female

  • Even if brain-sex were were included in a definition of 'male' and 'female', then someone with male genitals but a female brain would beboth male and female

Having said that however, it might be more useful in everyday speech to refer to people as the sex that corresponds with their brain, but it would not be incorrect to refer to them as the sex that corresponds with their genitals. None the less, given the second point, I don't think her argument (even if her empirical claims are correct) can stand up.

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She said that people with penises who identify as women actually are biologically female because they have a female brain.

I don't buy that one at all. I've heard this before. Brain size does not primarily determine who is biologically/physiologically a woman, nor does who they think they thnk they are inside that very brain, does. A vagina, ovaries, eggs, capacity to bear young, cervix, etc. does. One can look that up in the dictionary. Absolutely no where in the defintion will brain size come up. right now. I wonder how much brain size varies between people to begin with and whether ones with the same size brain as a womens, are male that don't think they are female, etc.

As far as the difference between 'gender' and 'sex'. Why that girl thinks 'sex' is an invalid concept?? because of that brain size thing? Whatever.

Edited by intellectualammo

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I don't buy that one at all. I've heard this before. Brain size does not primarily determine who is biologically/physiologically a woman, nor does who they think they thnk they are inside that very brain, does. A vagina, ovaries, eggs, capacity to bear young, cervix, etc. does. One can look that up in the dictionary. Absolutely no where in the defintion will brain size come up. right now. I wonder how much brain size varies between people to begin with and whether ones with the same size brain as a womens, are male that don't think they are female, etc.

As far as the difference between 'gender' and 'sex'. Why that girl thinks 'sex' is an invalid concept?? because of that brain size thing? Whatever.

As you can read above, I don't buy the brain thing either. We could certainly invent some new word to describe people with male/female brains (which presumably could be identified by scans), or indeed for people who have breasts and people who don't, people who naturally have dense facial hair, and so on. In principle the former might be more ever day conversation since we're more interested in people's traits than what's in their pants, and we might assume that 'female traits' will more reliably match those with female brains than those with female genitalia.

But since not everyone has a scan at birth to determine their 'brain sex' (assuming such distinguishable brain types exist) we'd never know who is what. She implicitly assumes/claims that one's brain sex will correspond 1:1 with who 'identifies as male/female' by which she means someone telling others "I'm male/female," or "Call me he/she," but if we buy her initial brain sex argument it can't be true because people don't tell us they're the 'wrong' sex right away. Some people don't decide they have a 'gender mismatch' until late in life. Obviously their brain doesn't magically change when they say "I'm female," - if they have a female brain then they have always had one and merely failed to identify this. In the same way it is quite possible someone with a 'male brain' would misidentify themselves as female. She would say that they 'know themselves better than we do' so should be trusted to make that judgement, but if they can fail to identify their brain sex for years, why should their alleged identification be trusted? Similarly, people frequently think they have mental illnesses and have to be told by doctors that they do not (or vice versa).

So we can't actually scan everyone to know their brain sex, and we can't rely on people to know their own brain sex without a scan (we can tolerably rely on people to report what is in their pants correctly). It then comes back to the idea of being female gendered in terms of traits and habits e.g. "I'm female because I like pink." But as I've discussed, I don't think this kind of definition of genders can work.

As to why she thinks sex is an invalid concept. I'm not sure whether she does or not, from what she says here are two possible positions she may take:

  1. Sex is properly defined by whether someone has a male or female brain, genitals don't matter in determining sex, so someone's gender and someone's sex are synonymous, and correspond to how they identify
  2. The sex of the brain is called gender, the sex of the genitals is irrelevant so should never be used -. it doesn't matter whether I have a penis, it matters how I think of myself

An additional problem with her position, re: what I wrote above, is that she does not in fact think that 'how one thinks of themselves' i.e. male or female will correspond to anything in particular. As I say, if it weren't for the problems above this idea (if true) might actually be useful because people of that sex/gender will have certain known traits. If I know someone has a female brain I could expect certain things about them, but she doesn't think that 'identifying as female' means liking knitting or the colour pink or any such thing. All that 'identifying as female' consists of is believing "I'm female." It seems one could conform strongly to the masculine archetype with very little in the way of femininity, and yet believe they were female and thus make it so.

I should say that, on the one hand I don't want to necessarily take her too seriously because we probably all agree she's talking complete nonsense. But then I do think that there's a significant number of people who agree with her completely or at least broadly in her conclusions, perhaps using more finesse in their arguments, so these kinds of ideas should be strongly refuted (the debate was on Facebook, and her comments got multiple 'likes' and mine none so certainly this girl's friends agree with the girl!). I don't think just saying "sex = genitals, end of" is very convincing because after all, definitions can be changed when found lacking, or gain additional meanings. Not that she was at all convinced by my explanation that her position is meaningless (if to be female it to identify as female then it creates a circular definition that tells us nothing), but I do think that's more convincing than mere linguistic conservatism.

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SFreeman, I would bet your friend is mainly taking a stance that mind trumps body, as a type of mind body dichotomy. When people make a distinction between sex and gender, it typically is physical traits versus psychological character traits, respectively. Whether or not these distinctions are important with regards to masculinity or femininity is the topic of discussion, basically. Your friend seems to be just taking something related to the mind and implicitly suggesting that a mind is somehow more powerful. So, it is sufficient for her to say "if someone says they're female, they are!" In this sense, gender is already working like an anti-concept, and destroying the concept of sex in the process. I'm not saying alteration is wrong, only that there isn't even an attempt at objective definition on your friend's side.

A "brain sex' does not seem any different than expanded definition of male or female. At the least, your brain does not necessarily lead to any particular character trait. I do not know the science on brain differences between the sexes, but I can't tell you what traits must follow at a statistically higher rate due to any brain differences. If there are at least a couple well-established causal relationships, then that is likely to be your basis of a better conception of gender.

That's because in modern Western culture, being a car mechanic is not what defines masculinity as gender. The fact that both men and women can be car mechanics and still be widely accepted as belonging to their gender doesn't prove that there is no relevance to the concept.

I'm quite sure working with cars is traditionally seen to be a "masculine" job. For Western culture as far as I've seen, it does matter. Still, my point is that a gender role is not what defines masculinity or feminity, and you seemed to agree. If a man did all those things in public, sure, if we go by cultural standards, he is being feminine. As I was saying earlier, I don't think a concept of gender *in this manner* is playing a helpful role as all concepts should. The distinctions cover too much ground. Perhaps this means gender is a valid concept like altruism is a valid concept, but keeping it as wholly distinct from one's sex rather than an interchangeable word is harmful and even collectivistic. Presuming a rational culture, I would bet that distinctions between masculine and feminine would lose meaning to the degree that people think for themselves. A concept of sex would matter, but masculine/femine would be useless beyond application to types of clothing made for male or female body types.

Nowadays, gender works pretty fluidly anyway. People don't fit into hard categories of masculine or feminine; it's more like a continuum that is correlated with how the average male or female of a culture thinks, whether or not that's good.

ttime likes this

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Heya OP. Is the friend you're debating with a male-to-female transgender or friends with one? Stuff like this tells me that the person in question just wants to have their irrational wish (in this case to be the opposite sex/gender that they already are) and they're willing to obliterate legitimate concepts that show them their contradiction. Though I suppose that doesn't have to be the case. This message that gender identification has nothing to do with genitals is being spread with an air of moral righteousness by people who think that love is pure and spiritual and physical sex involving genitals and pleasure is dirty and lowly. Or at least this is influenced by those people. I think. It makes sense that these people or people influenced by these ideas would want to detach their gender roles from their bodies. They would posture indignantly about how barbaric you are for thinking (correctly) that their genitals are an important part of their identity when it comes to considering them as relationship material.

Take everything I've said with a grain of salt though. I've just said what makes intuitive sense to me. I'm not sure if what I've said has merit. I'm still thinking about this and it's hard to be certain of any one position on this topic.

I like the things that intellectual ammo has been saying though. But part of me thinks it sounds a lot like the Christian idea that we are created by God to procreate with each other, and thus sex is only allowed if you're married and you're only allowed to do it missionary position with the man on top and the woman on the bottom.

But there is something to this. It doesn't matter how much a male-to-female transgender mutilates themselves and fills their bodies with hormones. They'll always be a male to me, deep inside. No amount of alteration, no matter how convincing, will make me forget that they're a man. Or were a man. Or whatever. And if I were romantically interested in a "woman" who turned out to have once been a man, it would be an issue that would forever haunt me for as long as I tried to maintain any sort of a romantic relationship with that person. Whatever this "woman" has done to "her"self, she's still a man. I'm still trying to figure out what defining characteristic makes this so though. Maybe it's just that our gender is essential to our identity as a person. Essential to our character in some way. And a person who changes their gender will always be someone who was once said gender and is now the other. (I use sex and gender interchangeably. While I think I see how gender can refer more to the spiritual aspect of gender than the physical, I just can't understand how this word can be used apart from the person's physical identity. How someone can be physically a man and spiritually a woman.)

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They'll always be a male to me, deep inside.

How would you know whether or not one is male "deep inside"?

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I don't feel I know enough about the issues involved in transgenderism to have a strong opinion. Also, I've never known anyone affected by it (that I'm aware of), so it hasn't been something I've devoted time to thinking about.

But in keeping up with these conversations, I've started to wonder...

If a man, by nature, has blue eyes -- but he alters them (through lenses or perhaps even some kind of surgery) to be brown... then wouldn't we say that "he has brown eyes"? We wouldn't insist that he was "really" somehow blue-eyed, on the basis of his genetic makeup, would we?

So, granting that every person is born with some sex (ignoring cases like hermaphrodites for the moment), we recognize that sex in some fashion, just as how we recognize eye color in some fashion. So I wonder: what specific changes would a person have to make to become the other sex?

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But in keeping up with these conversations, I've started to wonder...

If a man, by nature, has blue eyes -- but he alters them (through lenses or perhaps even some kind of surgery) to be brown... then wouldn't we say that "he has brown eyes"? We wouldn't insist that he was "really" somehow blue-eyed, on the basis of his genetic makeup, would we?

Or a woman dying her hair a different color (I hate it when their eyebrows don't match their dyed hair color) one can mistake it for her natural color. Doesn't change the fact that she dyes it, or that it is not her natural color. The color and style may look fucking awesome on her though. May appear to be her natural color. Does that matter if it isn't? Not much to me at least. Now if you change the eye color somehow surgically/permanently or whatever, for identification purposes, like on ID, then you must change that color on there as well, or it would be false information or whatever. But when do we consider a male to be a female on ID's? That would have to do with laws. To me, no matter what the law says, he's still a man, trying to be a woman. If he is considered, by law, to be a woman, then he is by law, but biologically, no he isn't. Just a guy that takes hormones, has surgeries to try to be a woman.

Edited by intellectualammo

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The original topic focused on men/women who 'identify as' or 'wish to live as' or 'prefer to be referred to as' the sex opposite to that indicated by their genitalia. Post-operative sex change patients who have had the genitalia they were born with surgically altered to resemble the other kind of genitalia are a different matter because as well as the identity and trait issues, they have also undergone physical change. Now of course one thing can become another thing. When a tree becomes paper it is then paper, not a tree. But is this what happens with sex-change patients? Certainly not right now, going by the dictionary definition of male and female. There is no surgical procedure that will make a female produce spermatozoa or a male ovulate. Hypothetically, if there were such a procedure, what then? By the dictionary definition, post-operative patients would indeed have literally changed their sex since they now conform to one definition and not the other. Presumably they would retain their original genes (XX/XY) but again, hypothetically some kind of gene reassignment therapy could change even that. If every last vestige of their original sex is obliterated and they then have every defining and essential characteristic of the opposite sex then surely that must be their actual sex. No such procedures exist, of course, and sex-changes today are analogous to imitation bacon made from tofu: It may look like bacon, it may even taste and smell like bacon, but it is just tofu made to resemble bacon, not actual bacon.

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If a man, by nature, has blue eyes -- but he alters them (through lenses or perhaps even some kind of surgery) to be brown... then wouldn't we say that "he has brown eyes"? We wouldn't insist that he was "really" somehow blue-eyed, on the basis of his genetic makeup, would we?

A better analogy is what could indicate if someone is "really" black-haired when they dye it blond? You could look at their genes, but we're not biologists walking around taking DNA samples. There are no character traits that go with black-hair any more than certain traits go with tall people. I would treat someone's sex the same way. How can you know if someone is "really" male? You can look at their chromosomes, but who even cares except a biologist or doctor? There are no character traits that go with males or females, except for high frequencies of characteristics observed in a culture. As an emic concept, gender can make sense to the extent that gender roles/norms even apply to a culture. And if you want to alter your sex, although it's more complicated, it's not really all that different than dying your hair. There isn't some inherent "maleness" or "femaleness" or "black-hairedness" to deny if you alter your body. I also say there is no such thing as "maleness" anyway in terms of character.

Edited by Eiuol

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By the dictionary definition, post-operative patients would indeed have literally changed their sex since they now conform to one definition and not the other.

If I surgically alter a cat to have the appearance and biological functions of a dog, is it now a dog? I don't think so. It's a cat altered to seem like a dog.

The meaning of a concept is its referents, not its definition. The definition is there to tell you what is being referred to by telling you the genus and differentia of the referents.

How would you know whether or not one is male "deep inside"?

I should probably rephrase. Deep down inside, I'll always know they were a male.

I've only ever had long distance relationships or dated over the internet. Not that that's relevant here. I just don't like to give false impressions of myself, like that I've dated a transgender in "real life". I tried to make it work (online) with a male-to-female transgender once. But I was living a lie. It required me to evade the knowledge that the "woman" I was dating is a man. I'm straight. I'm not attracted to guys. I'm not interested in guys romantically. It's just too awkward and gross for me. And a transgender, pre-op or post-op, in my eyes, is just a guy trying to pass off as a woman. Probably to fulfill some fantasy of theirs of being one. They can do whatever they want to themselves. But I'm not going to to pretend that they're the gender I find physically and spiritually attractive when they're not. If one fools me into thinking they're a woman and I find out later, that's even worse. Because at that point, it's a man who falsely lead me to believe he's a woman in order to trick me into taking a romantic interest in him. It's always deeply disappointing when you're really into someone and you find out something about them that renders them unattractive to you. Finding out that a woman I'm interested in was once a man would render her kind of repulsive to me, and thus be heartbreaking to me.

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But I was living a lie. It required me to evade the knowledge that the "woman" I was dating is a man. I'm straight. I'm not attracted to guys. I'm not interested in guys romantically. It's just too awkward and gross for me.

This is an idea that seems to be at the root of this issue for me. Even if, through some feat of genetic engineering, they could change a man into a woman, from the chromosomes up, I couldn't get myself on board with having a relationship with one. In some more fundamental way, they would still not be a woman to me. I wouldn't try to argue formally that he is not a she since all evidence would imply otherwise, but on a psycho-epistomomological level I could never alter it in my mind once I knew.

My only introspective guess as to why I feel that way, is that I see being a woman as more than a set of XX's. A large part of being a woman is that she grew up as a little girl. All of the truly formative years of her self concept were spent being, and being reacted to, as a girl and a woman. That life and those experiences are, by and large, completely different from the the life of a little boy turning into a man. Even a troubled little boy without a strong sense of his masculinity and any number of more typically female experiences, cannot be thought to have experienced and developed his sense of life as a woman would have.

To me, they are what they are, which is a man who had a surgical procedure so that he might be more womanlike, but he is not a woman. Sex isn't a perfect dichotomy so exceptional cases in the middle get their own names, like hermaphrodite, or transgendered.

Psychologically speaking, them identifying with another sex and taking surgical steps to identify further does not obligate me to identify them as the other sex so that they might feel better about themselves. And anyways, it would never work since accepting the sum total of who they are, an individual who wants to be fundamentally different than what they are, is the only way to close that kind of book. I wouldn't go as far as Peikoff and suggest that they are immoral, but I think that a reasonable assumption is that being so fundamentally opposed to your own identity usually comes out of an unhealthy place.

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My only introspective guess as to why I feel that way, is that I see being a woman as more than a set of XX's. A large part of being a woman is that she grew up as a little girl. All of the truly formative years of her self concept were spent being, and being reacted to, as a girl and a woman.

Isn't this an intriguing topic? It's provoked some very interesting discussion.

So, check it out. When you speak of this "self concept," isn't that the very thing that the transgendered are typically seeking to address in taking the actions that they are? That is: they've decided that their appearance, and how they are subsequently received in society, doesn't match with their "self concept"?

But if a man identifies himself as a woman, in terms of "self concept"... and if he changes every vestige of physical presentation (were that medically possible) to that of a woman... you still wouldn't recognize him as a her, would you? :)

Makes me wonder where this "gender" creature really lies...

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