Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Trans children in Denmark

This is my translation of a recent FB post by the mother of a trans child in Denmark, heartbreaking...

“My 6 year old daughter goes to a school where there are at present swimming lessons here in the nursery class .
Which of course should be a good thing , however, we have learned that the swimming pool has informed the school that my daughter can not attend with her girlfriends. Because she has gender identity disorder, she is biologically a boy but lives like and identifies as a girl.
It would be incredibly demeaning to have to change with the boys and it would probably also be a breeding ground for bullying.
Basically I do not understand the requirement that one should follow one's biological sex changing rooms but if that is the requirement , there should also be an option for those for whom using these changing rooms it is not possible.
I simply can not understand that it is not possible to provide a changing facility for her, like a disabled changing room.
All I see is unnecessary discrimination of a little girl who does not understand why she cannot go to swimming with her friends.”

As we can see the problems for trans children are largely caused by adults and their ignorance. It is likely that these problems for her are caused indirectly by the attitudes or percieved attitudes of the parents of other children. I have met this little girl and her mother, and she is just a normal little child who loves everything little girls love. She was wearing a princesses outfit and enjoying the warmth of her mother's hugs and there was absolutely nothing masculine or boyish about her. It is heartbreakig to see this happen and we need to ensure that the attitudes of bigoted and narrow-minded adults stop harming other people's children.

Monday, 28 October 2013

TERFism in crisis.

“TERF” is the acronym for transphobes who hide behind bogus feminist discourse to harass and abuse trans people, previously referred to “Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminists.” However it has now become apparent that neither the “Exclusionary” nor the “Radical Feminist” parts of this descriptor are accurate. There seems to be a new consensus forming around “Trans Erasing Reactionary Fakefeminists” as a more appropriate reading. Of course this new descriptor has the advantage that it still uses the acronym “TERF” but that is entirely intentional.

Back in the dark days of TERFism, in the 1970s and 80s when TERFs were unopposed by trans people in such large numbers and their declared aim was to see us “morally mandated out of existence” they were quite clear that their main aim was erasure or extermination. Despite the huge numbers of deaths caused by TERF collaboration with the Republican Party to deny trans people in the US access to healthcare, this was not a very effective strategy. It is estimated that the number of openly trans people and stealth trans people in existence has increased by at least 10,000% since Janice Raymond wrote the TERF bible “The Transsexual Empire.”
Even before trans people had become organised to counter their lies and fight back at their policy of placing trans people into situations where they face violence and murder, the failure of TERF policy was manifest. To the horror of the TERFs trans people simply refused to be mandated out of existence. What the TERFs failed to realise was that trans people had nowhere else to go. We could either be ourselves or die one way or another. 

TERFism was in a mess, it had failed and now trans people were starting to become organised via the internet and were opposing TERF ideology wherever we could. Their stream of ever more ridiculous unsupported assertions were being revealed for the lies, half-truths and fabrications that they were. The publication of Sandy Stone’s paper, “The Empire Strikes Back.” effectively discredited Raymond’s core assertion, revealing it as a fantasy fabrication. The discrediting of Raymond through simple arguing back unnerved the TERFs and panic set in producing the subsequent TERF declaration that healthcare for trans people should be made into a human rights violation, something which set off the current dribble of ever more ridiculous statements about trans people. First-dribble TERFism was over, second-dribble TERFism had begun.

However second-dribble TERFism started to suffer, to an even greater extent than first-dribble TERFism, from trans people pointing out the glaring inconsistencies in their “arguments”. TERF ideology, having been forced by the enfeeblement of first-dribble TERFism, to become ever more extreme and ever more farfetched, layed it open to critique by trans people and their allies in a way that can only be described as beyond ridicule. TERFs reeled from humiliation after humiliation heaped on their “arguments” by ordinary trans people on blogs, forums, Twitter and Facebook and even in mainstream media. Having had mainstream media to themselves this was too much to deal with. TERFs became the laughing stock, their credibility, already at a low level, evaporated.

The problem for TERFs is that they suffer from a defective ideology. We all create theories of how the world works and test those theories out against reality periodically. In most cases those theories are altered or replaced by a process of creative thought characterised, by psychologists, as “constructive alternativism.” The problem for TERFs was that they had invested so much, as a group, in TERFism that they could not break out of this ideology and could not risk losing their own self-individualities and social identities that would come with admitting what they all realise deep down is reality; that they are wrong and that their entire belief-system cannot deal with the simple, plain, clear criticism of it put forward by trans people and their allies.

This left them only one alternative, and it is the one we see today; to use their superior socio-economic position to try and silence trans people and prevent trans people from repeating their observations about TERFism which undermine their own sense of selfhood as TERFs and expose them to acute humiliation.  The only problem with this is that, since their own ideology cannot stand up to even the most elementary criticism, they have to rely on the standard method of TERFism; to provoke trans people into a reaction and then turn around to everyone else and say, “look we told you trans people are [insert whatever allegation here]”. So they had to both provoke and silence at the same time. Difficult but possible, hence the introduction of multiple legal threats to silence trans people and allies. These, along with threats to employers, are becoming standard practice now for TERFs. The problem is that provocation is becoming ever harder since trans people are much wiser now, and to be honest most of us ignore TERFs most of the time, there is simply no point in engaging in any discourse with them.

Hence the outing of the trans girl in Colorado by the TERF community. A child who has been threatened with violence and murder by the TERFs' friends on the Tea Party far right. The child in question is now on suicide watch. A sickening, revolting and contemptible act of bullying and cowardice by any standards – except obviously by those of the TERFs. The problem is that such evil acts are the only way TERFs are going to get any kind of attention from any sensible trans people. So this sort of thing is not going to go away. The provocation/silencing method will need to continue or TERFs will simply be unable to exist discursively, their worldview completely shattered.  This is the equivalent of putting your fingers in your ears and singing loudly in the hope that you don’t hear what people around you are saying while kicking anyone nearby who is smaller than you.

Desperate measures of course, but TERFism is now in a struggle for existence, it cannot continue in the current discursive climate where pretty much any trans person can discredit TERF discourse. There will be no third-dribble TERFism this time it is the TERFs who have nowhere to go. This time the very existence of TERFism is under threat. No ideology can ever exist in a world where it is repeatedly discursively undermined and ridiculed by large numbers of people. As the TERFs diminish to an ever more isolated rump of extremists the only other possibility they have is to pretend to be Radical Feminists and gain access an unsuspecting audience before they have had time to hear the alternative point of view.

In effect TERFism is on course towards ever more vicious and violent acts of cowardice and hatred and lies, they will need to use ever more harmful means to provoke trans people. This will not end until their violence by proxy is exposed. In the meantime it is likely that trans people will be harmed as a direct result of TERF action.

Friday, 18 October 2013

TERF silencing/harassment

As we have seen in recent months trans people who criticise or expose TERF actions are generally subjected to online harrassment by the TERF community. After being left alone by TERFs for a long time (a very good thing IMO), after publishing a blog post criticising TERFs for deleting their own material on the internet and then telling everyone that trans people are "silencing" them, I suddenly get a tweet from a TERF organisation linking to an abusive and defamatory page about me.

Other trans campaigners, such as Dana have had worse, including TERFs contacting their employers. The TERF community is now exhibiting how profoundy hyprcritical it is. The only reason for this harassment is to threaten us into silence, in the same way some TERFs have been threatening some of us into silence by sending solicitors' letters to trans people who criticise them.

It seems that whilst being "trans-critical" (the TERF euphemism for 'transphobia' or 'trans-hatred') is OK, exposing the activities of the TERF community is not. They simply cannot tolerate us exposing their "arguments", activities, obsessive hatred and unintelligent belligerance. They say they want to "debate" about trans people, yet there has never been any debate on their side, only aggressive harassment and abuse.

What a pathetic group of people.

No Debate. TERFs: Hating, Harming and Harassing Trans People.

TERFs have harmed and harassed trans people for more than 40 years. Their actions demonstrate that they are not interested, as they would have everyone else believe, in 'legitimate debate' about trans people...

The 1980s' TERF Republican alliance against trans people continues...
The battle to withdraw Californias AB 1266 ordinance, which allows trans kids to use the bathroom appropriate to their gender, has been joined by the TERFs. The TERF community has decisively taken the side of the Tea Party, right-wing Christian organisations and anti-gay and lesbian groups like the Pacific Justice Institute to try and prevent trans children in Californias schools from using the bathroom facilities appropriate to their gender.

Make no mistake the consequences for Californias young trans people if this ordinance were to be withdrawn would be catastrophic and deadly. Children would be forced to use inappropriate bathrooms, children would be beaten up at school and most trans children would probably start school refusing in large numbers. Every trans child would be outed every day and constantly spotlighted as different. Effectively denied access to education, most young trans people would be left with no alternative but to exist on societys margins rather than have careers and jobs like everyone else. Many would inevitably end up in sex work and in jail (the wrong jail at that), these people would effectively be placed in situations where they are vulnerable to assault and murder, which is inherent in sex work, especially if you are trans. If this protection is withdrawn young trans people will die.

The TERF community appears to have thrown its weight behind promoting a completely inaccurate, unsubstantiated, and entirely fabricated report of a Trans child supposedly "assaulting" girls in bathrooms in a school in Colorado. The Pacific Justice Institute has admitted that this storywas a lie but employed the classic TERF argument that a trans girl entering the girls bathroom constituted violence against girls per se. There has clearly been contact between TERFs and the PJI on this issue as the PJI are resorting to the old TERF canard that trans people harm women simply by their existence.

The involvement of the TERF community at the highest level in this miserable and sordid mendacity draws on an alliance between TERFs and the Republicans which was established in the 1980s, when they colluded with the Right-wing Republican administration to have healthcare provision for trans people made unavailable. A direct result of this was that trans people, and especially ethnic minority trans people, were forced into sex work, not only to fund their own medical treatment but to keep body and soul together.

Until now TERFs across the board have denied this, although they almost certainly realise that government papers released to historians and archivists will, at some point in the future, reveal hard evidence of this connivance. Yet despite TERFs being the only group campaigning against trans people in the 1980s they have repeatedly, if unconvincingly, tried to deny links with the Republicans and right-wing groups. Today their denials will be viewed as no more than cowardice.

Yet now the main consequence of the TERF collaboration with Republicans and anti-LGBT right-wing religious groups and their deliberate lies is that documentary evidence of the TERF-Republican alliance against trans people in the 1980s is no longer required. By their actions today they have demonstrated that this alliance, to target one of the most vulnerable and powerless groups in American society, is very much alive. They have effectively confirmed their ongoing association with Republicans to harm trans people established 30 years ago and that this behind-the-scenes collaboration is continuing apace.

Doubtless the TERF community will deny this. Of course TERF desperation to avoid taking responsibility for their own actions in inflicting violence and murder by proxy on the trans community is understandable if pathetic. However the consequences of this alliance in terms of their own credibility are even more devastating. The Tea Party, the Republicans in general, right-wing Christian groups, and assorted extremist bigot groups of the right-wing fringe are not merely anti-gay and anti-lesbian, they are anti-feminist. They oppose womens right to choose on abortion and a whole host of other measures that effectively amount to state control over womens bodies.

Actions speak Louder than words
What these TERF actions say about them is volumes more than the totality of misleading, mendacious and malicious words uttered by them. By siding with the enemies of women, the enemies of feminism and the enemies of lesbian, gay and bisexual people they have shown that they can no longer be regarded as feminists. Just as many trans people, and other feminists, have long suspected their "feminism" is nothing more than a cover for obsessive hatred. These people are not and have never been feminists. Feminists do not work with the Republican Tea Party; the enemies of everything feminism stands for.

Their determination to harm and bully trans children by proxy, to fight for discriminatory legislation with the deliberate intention of placing young trans people in California in positions where they are particularly vulnerable to violence and murder demonstrates the depth of their hatred. Make no mistake this is TERF violence against trans people pure and simple. The fact that they are prepared to inflict this violence by proxy onto some of the youngest and most vulnerable trans people reveals more about the REAL intentions of the TERF community. The controller of the pilotless drone in his bunker in Nevada is still responsible for the death and destruction caused; just because the TERF community has decided to campaign to place trans people in situations where they are vulnerable to violence does not make them any less guilty of the resulting violence, just more cowardly.

In recent months a number of TERF writers have protested that trans people have been 'silencing' legitimate TERF debate about trans people.The actions of the TERF community in this affair have demonstrated that this is not the case. The TERFs are not at all interested in legitimate debate about trans people, nor have they ever been. They are only interested in hating, harassing and harming trans people, usually by proxy. The sordid affair of these TERF/extreme-right-wing lies about this trans child has exposed, not merely their ongoing collaboration with the enemies of feminism and LGB equality but the untruth in the assertions of these TERF writers that TERFs just want legitimate debate. They have clearly demonstrated by their actions that they are not interested in debate, they are interested only in harming trans people.

Postscript on "TERF".
The only remaining issue for trans people to consider is what to do with the descriptor TERF. Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist was originally designed as a factual descriptor (although TERFs would have us believe that it was intended as a deliberate insult, but they would wouldnt they?). My suggestion is that we keep the acronym TERF but alter the meaning slightly, because these people are clearly not feminists and there is nothing radical about hatred, but replace the Radical with Right-wing and Feminist with Fanatic; Trans Exclusionary Right-wing Fanatics still gives us the TERF acronym and is a much more accurate descriptor of this group of haters.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Cummings, Gove and intelligence

The outburst of hysteria by education un-expert Dominic Cummings about how genetics are the only determinant of intelligence is itself so ignorant that it beggars belief that this man got a degree at a respectable university himself. The senior management team at Durham must be wondering how they can counter the negative publicity of being associated with such an unintelligent and uninformed diatribe.  It is scary that Cummings, who appears not to believe in education, should have been employed by Gove at the Department for Education.

Cummings completely ignored recent research which clearly demonstrates how exposure to stress inhibits many important mental functions, I suspect this is something we will find out more about as more research is carried out in this area. However this research drives a coach and horses through his genetic determination of intelligence theory, and that is just for starters.

He also, unintelligently, argues that there are very few excellent teachers in the UK. In effect this is just an unsupported assertion, because he bases this idea on absolutely no data whatsoever. Again this is neither intelligent nor educated. Any fool can say something like that, but until he does so in a convincing way, with reference to actual hard data, he might as well be making caveman “ug” noises for all the validity his utterances have. Either the PGCE course on which I teach produces pretty much all the excellent teachers in the UK or he has based his figures on pure guesswork. Again, not a very bright thing to do.

But his doctrinaire and extreme right-wing educational obsessions pose a serious problem for Gove. Gove and his department have, over the last 18 months been engaged in what has amounted to a crusade to impose performance-related pay on teachers. But if one of his main advisers is telling him that teaching, in effect does not matter, that children’s intelligence is determined by genetics, then that seriously undermines Gove’s case for performance-related pay for teachers. If any given child’s educational performance is pre-determined from birth then teachers can do very little to change this, their performance has no bearing on educational outcomes. If this is the case then performance-related-pay is never going to deliver any improvements in education at all, ever.

The fact that Gove has not repudiated Cummings’ views suggests that he does not disagree with them, so we have to ask why, in that case, has he introduced PRP, when it cannot work?
There are two possible answers to this; firstly that PRP is not designed to improve educational standards for children, as we have been told; it has some other purpose (such as divide and rule, cutting the amount teachers are paid, giving heads a tool with which to control and manipulate teachers, etc). The second is that Gove is, apparently like his adviser, ignorant of the contradictions within his own ideology.