1. 16

    Am I misunderstanding, or is this quote:

    unless you’re a doctor, or a neuroscience researcher, or a bigot (but I repeat myself).

    saying doctors and neuroscience researchers are bigots? Not commenting on the topic, but just double checking my reading comprehension.

    1. 7

      Trans people want to be able to determine their gender themselves, which contradicts the medical view that it is biologically given. Of course trans people hate doctors, and doctors are confused with how to deal with trans people.

      I consider the medical knowledge quite accurate in describing the things as they are, and i consider the view of transgender people as accurate in describing how they feel.

      1. 14

        I think this is a little bit too simplistic. The problem is really that trans people (in my experience) tend to be afraid that doctors will deny necessary medical treatment (hormone therapy, mostly) and the letters that many governments require to “prove” that someone is “really trans”, and that doctors tend to be dismissive of women and trans people regarding totally unrelated medical problems - especially pain. (Off the to of my head: The Atlantic reported on this.)

        I consider the medical knowledge quite accurate in describing the things as they are, and i consider the view of transgender people as accurate in describing how they feel.

        Whoof. I’d appreciate a clarification on this because I really want to engage with this in a useful way, but it sure does read as “Trans people think they’re X but doctors (and I) know they’re really Y.”

        1. 6

          [Update: I agree that dealing with the medical system is a PITA]

          What else is body dysphoria if not the discrepancy of what you observe yourself to be and what you feel you are?

          I intentionally mirrored the phrasing of both parts to show that they are equally valid, even if they are incompatible to some extent. Science is the tool, our well-being the means.

          1. 1

            Ah, that makes sense, I see. A deft prosaic move I entirely missed. Clearly I need some coffee :)

          2. 2

            Alternatively, why is it suddenly wrong for health care professionals to really evaluate people carefully before prescribing drugs? I really feel like we overprescribe things like anti-depressants and ADHD medication and that should really concern people.

            What is so wrong with simply offering the option of therapy to help someone be okay with their biological gender? They can also offer the option to transition, but both should be equal options. I realize some may equivocate that with “pray the gay away” type therapy for those not wishing to be homosexuals, but what if it’s not?

            Gender dysphoria is treated in radically different ways to other types of dysphoria. We don’t suggest people with Body Integrity Disorder amputate their arms and limbs as the first means of treatment. We don’t accept people with anorexia as being healthy in their view of the world/themselves. Both of these types of dysphoria deals with the metaphysical dissonance from one’s self reflective empirical view of the world to an outside classification based view of the world. Yet for gender dysphoria, why is it okay to offer treatment that helps an individual conform to the outwards portrayal of a given empirical classification?

            1. 11

              Actually, people suffering from ADHD are notoriously under prescribed due to this myth. I went 25 years without medication due to the ADHD medication panic. Do you know how many opportunities passed me by in those 25 years? These “careful evaluations” are mass hysteria nanny state garbage. Doctors and patients do not need an arbitrary set of hurdles set by an uninformed public for with diagnosing and treating individuals. Imagine if you needed to go through physical therapy before getting a cast for your broken arm. The doctor says, all modern research shows that it would actually be better for you to get the cast before physical therapy but some lawmaker decided that was illegal, so you’ll have to go to therapy. Good luck getting someone with ADHD to follow treatment instructions without medication.

              1. 4

                Anorexia and “gender dysphoria” are nothing alike.

                Try living close to two people who have or have had these conditions and you’d appreciate that.

                Both people have received treatment according to modern medical and scientific consensus, and luckily not from the op-ed pages of Quillette.

                1. 3

                  I mean, that’s anecdotal. I have actually had close friends in both of those camps and I think there are similarities, but my experience is also anecdotal (and by definition empirical).

                  Here’s an opinion from a woman who thinks there’s similarities who has anorexia:

                  https://thefederalist.com/2016/06/27/why-is-transgender-an-identity-but-anorexia-a-disorder/

                  I think her views are worth reading, but that’s not hard data. What this post is about is data science. To get hard data, you have to make classifications, and look at what you pull back, and see if there is a close enough R value to have a correlation, and even then you might not have causation. That’s a whole different level of introspection.

                  The trouble is it’s getting increasingly difficult to even do the research. If we can only identify someone by their self-identifcation of gender and not their biological sex because that’s bigoted, we don’t even get accurate data to show, “For thing x, there is no difference between a trans woman and a cis woman” or “For thing y, there is a huge difference between a trans woman and a cis woman.”

                  When people get so angry and just keep throwing up anecdotes and restrictions instead of larger data sets and controls, and research, we’re not going to be able to get real meaningful data. And as scientists and engineers, we should value that hard data, no matter what uncomfortable truths it might reveal.

                  1. 5

                    You’re comparing the current body of suggested treatment against anecdotal evidence, don’t you wonder if that’s not at least a little indicative of the frailty of your argument? For the record, anorexia kills when they embody their desired presentation, being trans does not. Anorexia inherently is incapable of being resolved through allowing them to present themselves the way they desire, because doing so kills them. You can’t meaningfully compare that to someone who can live a happy life after treatment. Furthermore, therapy isn’t going to do diddly for a lot of these issues in the same way that you probably would have a great deal of trouble convincing yourself tomorrow that you’re the opposite gender you are. If it’s surprisingly easy for you, congratulations you may be genderfluid, and that’s cool, but most people aren’t. Most people go through progressive rounds of trying things, seeing if that level of treatment works for them. They try HRT, which works for many. Then they try non-surgical cosmetic modifications. etc, etc.

                    1. 5

                      The Federalist has its own agenda when it comes to transgender issues: https://thefederalist.com/?s=transgender

                      The mystical doctrines of transgenderism exemplify modern self-worship, in which the human replaces the divine dictates of revealed religion as the source of meaning. source

                      It’s not a publication that’s a friend of science.

                      The trouble is it’s getting increasingly difficult to even do the research.

                      Citation most definitely needed. How can a (relatively) broader acceptance in Western society of LGBTQ+ people and issues cause less research to be performed?

            2. 4

              I stumbled over the same sentence, and had to re-read it a few times. I thought it was unnecessary and detracted from the piece, tbh

              1. 9

                A lot of trans people experience a lot of ignorance and discrimination from medical personnel, especially doctors. In my experience this tends to stem from doctors thinking that they know more about people’s own gender and self-image than those people, and using their position as gatekeepers of things like legal gender changes and hormones to force trans people to conform to their often narrow definitions of transgender.

                Obviously not all doctors are bigots, but they do have a… reputation.

                1. 10

                  not all doctors are bigots, but they do have a… reputation.

                  Of all people, I would think that trans women would be the least likely to engage in this kind of callous generalization. Why do you do that?

                  1. 10

                    Safety. The less I interact with new doctors, the less likely I am to have bad things happen to me regarding my prescriptions, etc. Same thing with therapists, and not just for trans people; lots of people, though mostly women, have the experience of having to search for a doctor or therapist who will take them seriously. It’s actually a pretty well documented phenomenon, and there have been several studies showing that marginalized people (women, trans people, people of color, and of course people at the intersections of those identities) are taken less seriously by medicine.

                    1. -1

                      Oh no, it makes sense. The biological model of gender is supported by massive amount of physical evidence which the doctors were educated in and see in their patients everyday. The new ideas of gender identity originated in far-left colleges with basically no hard evidence backing them: just psychological studies (“soft science”) of what trans people believe about themselves and tell them. There’s some neurological studies showing mixed results. Even they suggest their brain works differently while the rest of them is the biological gender.

                      So, it makes sense that most doctors trained on and seeing confirmation of the biological model of gender would reject trans identity claims in favor of biological model. That’s the scientific thing to do until there’s more evidence of the new claims than the old claims. Unlike at some universities, the P.C. folks can’t just shout down and eject the doctors. Not yet anyway.

                      1. 24

                        The new ideas of gender identity originated in far-left colleges

                        New compared to what? I mean, this stuff was considered radical and new in the 1920s (it’s literally what the Nazis used for their book-burnings).

                        As to mechanism - it is definitely not solved and I’m not even aware of any good evidence-based theories.

                        It is, however very well-established:

                        • That gender dysphoria (the distressing belief that your body is Wrong) is real
                        • Strongly correlated with suicide (41% of sufferers attempt it vs 1.6% of general pop - yeah, the study is from a gender studies school, but who else is going to look into it?)

                        It’s less strongly established (but there’s good evidence for):

                        • Suicide risk is markedly reduced among those who can ‘pass’
                        • Surgery makes it much, much easier to pass
                        • Obtaining surgery (or any other treatment) requires you to fit a set of diagnostic criteria. Evaluating these criteria takes 3+ years in many jurisdictions, with no guarantee of success.

                        Many - many - people with a plausible belief that treatment would help them get denied because they don’t meet the precise diagnostic criteria. Getting that news after 3 years of fighting for it is a pretty serious blow.

                        As a result, they are pretty angry, on the whole, at doctors who do not bend over backwards to fit them into the diagnostic criteria, because they believe (correctly, IMO) that the criteria are both too narrow and require excessive investigation (one year being seen as more reasonable than three).

                        1. 8

                          I want to add that queer activism is probably compensating/self-dealing behavior for people with gender dysphoria, and is probably not representative of transgender people in general.

                          Anecdotal: Asperger/Autism, depersonalisation and self-harm also seem quite common for trans people.

                          1. 10

                            Can I ask what you mean by “queer activism?” I mean… yeah, people who have gender dysphoria often want to alleviate that dysphoria, and in our current society that requires being an activist, at least in the small (advocating for yourself with your doctor, not going to stores/working at companies with transmisic policies, etc.)

                            1. 5

                              Some people are really obsessed with queer and identity politics, so much that their entire existence revolves around being trans, non-binary or ally. I call them activists.

                              And then there are people that just used to have a different gender at birth and are now living a life as the gender they wished for.

                              There is a clear line - the second category does not like to be called ‘trans’, they are ‘girls’ or ‘boys’. The non-activist queer person is the one who is just neither a ‘girl’ girl nor a ‘boy’ boy. They defeat the gender binary without defining themselves as queer.

                              1. 8

                                I see what you mean, but I think it’s a little more complicated than that, for a lot of people.

                                I’m a woman, definitively so, and I actually pass as cis most of the time, but I do like people to know that I’m trans sometimes, especially people like nickpsecurity, because it upends their idea of what a trans person is. I also have experiences that some women, mostly cis women but also trans women who were able to block their first puberty and start hormones at the socially appropriate time, don’t have, and identifying as “trans” is a nice way to get into groups with people who share and can understand my experiences.

                                In any case, I’m realizing that this whole thread is pretty far off topic. Thanks for humouring me and clarifying your posts!

                                1. 5

                                  I’ve been reading everything in what little time I had. I’m mostly holding off on replying to this thread until I have some sleep or not at all until I contemplate the highly-insightful replies I got. I should mention…

                                  “but I do like people to know that I’m trans sometimes, especially people like nickpsecurity, because it upends their idea of what a trans person is”

                                  …that I figured you were a trans woman after a few comments. @cadey, too. There’s a difference between how you all speak and write versus most of the thousands of biological women I’ve known. I’m not saying it’s in any way highly accurate. My intuition has almost exclusively been exposed to trans women who are tech geeks on Lobsters: the only place I run into trans people on the regular (that I know of). There’s definitely a difference that some part of my mind saw which captivated me further to read each of your posts. That’s on top of the fact that you were smart, thoughtful people whose comments demanded my attention regardless of source.

                                  That said, the quote is still correct in that I’m learning about you all. How I learn takes exposure and real conversations with people to get through all the biases and cultural BS. The South, maybe the world in general, is too hateful on trans people for me to do that. They react with instant withdrawing or combat likely assuming I’m like the worse folks they encounter. I do appreciate the replies from trans folks on Lobsters who have very much broadened my understanding of things. Also, quite a few have set a hell of an example for how to do this vs others I’ve met. @Irene especially comes to mind as she was one half of what set that in motion in my head.

                                  All I’ll say for now. Too sleepy from work to do much more than this off top of my sleepy head comment. Hope yall have a good night. :)

                                  1. 5

                                    How I learn takes exposure and real conversations with people to get through all the biases and cultural BS. The South, maybe the world in general, is too hateful on trans people for me to do that. They react with instant withdrawing or combat likely assuming I’m like the worse folks they encounter. I do appreciate the replies from trans folks on Lobsters who have very much broadened my understanding of things. Also, quite a few have set a hell of an example for how to do this vs others I’ve met. @Irene especially comes to mind as she was one half of what set that in motion in my head.

                                    Thank you for at least trying to learn and be open minded. As a fellow Southerner (I’m a Tarheel!), I definitely agree that there are some real cultural differences. Being trans pushed me towards overcoming a lot of those, but all we can ever do is be willing to learn.

                                    I’m sorry I judged you too quickly, and I hope we can learn more from each other in the future. I’m also always happy to talk privately about this stuff; especially keeping in mind your comments about cancel culture, it can be easier to learn without an audience.

                            2. 6

                              I see parallels between modern queer activism and Zionism - in that I can understand what motivates it (their lives are plausibly threatened), and I can’t blame its participants for the conclusions they’ve come to (I’ve not had to find out how far I’d go to protect myself), but I’m still deeply upset by what they are doing.

                              1. 17

                                I’m still deeply upset by what they are doing.

                                Like @NoraCodes said: What is the issue here? My queer activism is centered in things like:

                                • I should be able to see my partner in the hospital
                                • Everyone should have access to HIV prevention
                                • People should be called by the names and pronouns they like
                                • You should be able to get hormones, hair treatment, and surgery if it helps you live a fulfilling life
                                • I’d like folks to stop yelling “faggot” at me on the street, and I want to buy groceries without people threatening to kill me for being gay.
                                • It’d be cool if kids didn’t grow up feeling like they were fundamentally unlovable and worthless because they were queer
                                • Let’s… not murder people for their sexuality or gender, ok?
                                • You should be able to use the restroom without being assaulted because you didn’t seem masc or femme enough to be there

                                I hope these aren’t too upsetting for you.

                                1. 2

                                  Sorry, that was hastily written and needlessly inflammatory.

                                  I’m referring specifically to cancel culture, especially the outrage-porn-driven variety, and especially especially where it results in online vigilantism.

                                  One poorly-thought-out tweet gets screenshotted and cross-posted to a bunch of other networks. Within a week, the author is either publicly begging for forgiveness, or unemployed. They can’t use notifications on their phone anymore due to the volume of spam.

                                  Even in the case where this person genuinely held an offensive view, I don’t think that’s a good outcome.

                                  The people who are doing this hold a justified belief that lives are at risk, and hold that any amount of collateral damage is acceptable defending themselves.

                                  1. 3

                                    Understood; “cancel culture” is a totally different topic and truly completely irrelevant here. Nobody is being cancelled and nobody has threatened to do that. It is not unique to nor synonymous with queer people, activism, or even progressives.

                                    1. 2

                                      I’d argue it’s a subtype of ‘activism’ (though agree it’s not limited to progressives or queer peeps).

                                      Fair point that it’s a method largely orthogonal to the cause. However, it’s harder to argue that it’s not a popular method in queer activism (popular in part, IMO, because the stakes are high enough that the collateral damage is judged acceptable).

                                      1. 2

                                        Understood; “cancel culture” is a totally different topic and truly completely irrelevant here.

                                        I’ll note there was an entire meta dedicated to me after one of my run-ins with P.C. culture here. One person, with some upvotes, wanted my entire user tree banned. Seeing mob-like behavior, I stopped inviting folks to avoid reputational or other collateral damage for them. The metas always have people voting in large numbers in that direction or similar paths. We mostly downvote or filter, though, since our moderation strategy does it better than what much of that crowd wants.

                                        So, de-platforming is not irrelevant when there’s people actively trying to make it happen. It’s always worth remembering they’re here like they are in many places, esp colleges. I don’t worry about it since I know our admin and mods. I just keep an eye on it while representing the dissenting side who are not present or too worried to speak in as civil way as I can.

                                      2. 3

                                        A particularly egregious example of this is getting speakers no-platformed from university campuses.

                                        Universities are perhaps the only place where I really couldn’t support any form of no-platforming.

                                        They are - literally - a place set aside for sorting bad ideas from good ones.

                                    2. 12

                                      Why? Like, truly, what about me taking estradiol and changing my name is such a huge problem for you?

                                      1. 2

                                        At least by my book, that’s living, not activism (see also my response to /u/aphyr).

                                        1. 5

                                          I say this gently, but this is the most cis+heterosexual thing I have read all day.

                                          1. 1

                                            Fair point to the ‘living is activism’ crowd.

                                      2. 4

                                        What do you mean by the term “Zionism”? The original quasi-nationalist ideals of Theodor Herzl, or the modern semi-articulated ideology of the modern Israeli right?

                                        1. 3

                                          Specifically, I mean the combination of two ideas popular around the founding time of Israel (and key to the US fundraising which enabled their defense immediately post-foundation):

                                          • That a homeland was the only way to safeguard their lives, and
                                          • That any action is morally defensible when protecting your own life.
                                          1. 1

                                            Are there trans activists advocating (implied) violence in this way?

                                            1. 1

                                              I know several. Thankfully, none of them are any good at violence (presumably the main reason they stick to advocating it).

                                              1. 1

                                                Wow. That’s not part of the LGBTQ+ rhetoric here in Sweden at all.

                                    3. 1

                                      “New compared to what?”

                                      That is unclear looking back on it. I’m not talking about existence of trans people, gender dysphoria (well established), etc. Even Ben Shapiro of all people often cites gender dysphoria (“mental illness” in his words) and suicide risk in his arguments against accepting trans identity. They’re just facts that can be used to argue for or against many things.

                                      Let me try again. I’m talking about the new-ish rule that sex and gender are different. It appears that somewhere from half to a majority of the U.S. believe that your sex is your gender. This was prevalent belief for most of human history. Noting the biological differences was entire reason the gender words/pronouns were invented. These meanings got into lots of systems and institutions people later built.

                                      Then, the newer thing came along starting in universities that I can tell. Their studies and internal debates led them to redefine gender, male, female, etc to mean entirely different things. Those views started spreading to a lot of other places. Then those with those views wanted everyone, esp general public outside these universities and groups, to similarly redefine the existing words to match the newer meaning. Then, many are surprised and/or outraged that those people continued using the words for the popular beliefs they were actually designed for. They’ll have to convince those people the new meanings are true with evidence that outweighs all their experiences supporting that the biological definition is true. If that can happen, it requires different approach than whatever they did to preach to the choir.

                                      The other thing I noticed was an inconsistency. Certain words or symbols, esp that were associated with hate, are forever banned from being reused in new situations. The people that advocated that explained to me that the words had a lot of baggage, established meaning, widespread belief, history, etc that came with them. We can’t separate that from the word anymore. So, we have to come up with new words. Then, some of those same people were telling me that we’re redefining gender to mean something entirely different than what hundreds of millions of men and women think it means and how they’ve used it for over a thousand years. Seems inconsistent, even hopeless. So, I advocated new labels, pronouns, or just modifiers to indicate the difference to increase chance of adoption.

                                      “ because they don’t meet the precise diagnostic criteria”

                                      I haven’t researched much about the surgeries or their rules. I leave others to decide that stuff since I don’t have an informed opinion on it.

                                      1. 24

                                        Then, the newer thing came along starting in universities that I can tell. Their studies and internal debates led them to redefine gender, male, female, etc to mean entirely different things.

                                        This series of posts is a good example of why having classes on gender and sexuality can be helpful. Sex and gender have a complex history, and studying a bit of that history can give you an appreciation for your current cultural perspective. For instance, Navajo has at least four (perhaps five) genders, and pre-colonial gender systems throughout the Americas included cultural scripts & roles for people falling outside what you and I might describe as the male/female binary. Some associate healer or shamanic roles with third-gender persons. Some have specific ceremonies for gender transition. Pre-colonial Hawaiians revered gender-non-conforming people as sacred educators. India has a well-known role called “hijra”, for male or intersex people who dress in feminine clothing, as well as “sādhin”, who wear men’s clothing and short hair.

                                        Indeed, modern queer roles in the US (e.g. “a gay man”, “a transgender woman”, “a non-binary person”), just like normative roles (e.g. “a straight woman”) need to be understood not only as the product of innate identity, but also as a consequence of our culture, which inherited a rigid gender and sexual binary in part from Victorian England. Modern queer roles in the US are controlled by and also subvert that gender system. They’re a product of individual and collective experimentation, friendships, families, bars, media, and yes, liberal (and conservative!) universities, operating in the context of a mainly-heterosexual, mainly binary-gender culture. This is also nothing new: there’s thousands of years of precedent outside the gender and sexual system you’re thinking of as universal and eternal.

                                        There’s a lot of history I’m eliding here, and this comment is already too long–but hopefully this inspires you to read and learn a bit more!

                                        TL;DR: sexuality has never been simple.

                                        1. 3

                                          Preach 🙏

                                        2. 11

                                          Let me try again. I’m talking about the new-ish rule that sex and gender are different.

                                          Again, this is “new-ish” in the sense that it’s a product of anthropologists around the 1920s finding that gender in some societies (that were either newly contacted at that time, or being newly re-studied) didn’t work exactly the same as it did in European society. They wanted to keep sex as an etic category (seen from the outside) while using gender as the emic category (as seen from inside the society). So it’s new if your sense of novelty has a 100 year lag; though I suppose the distinction didn’t make it out of anthropology departments and into the rest of the university until maybe the 60s?

                                          1. 3

                                            Imagine if non-programmers talked about 100 year old discoveries in computer science as “new-ish”.

                                          2. 8

                                            This was prevalent belief for most of human history

                                            It appears that somewhere from half to a majority of the U.S. believe that your sex is your gender

                                            Historically, it’s more-or-less always been true that there’s a minority ‘queer fringe’, who live with varying degrees of acceptance alongside a society which doesn’t really understand them. There’s ~always been a majority belief that your sex is also your social role.

                                            The major conflict in the west (unfolding in public for at least 60+ years) is over access (by that minority) to mainstream society - in particular, access to jobs, housing and healthcare. EG Being openly gay used to get you fired and/or evicted, and the government deliberately suppressed info on AIDS treatment because it was a ‘gay person’ disease.

                                            The mainstream has accepted some of the larger segments of the queer community. However, the smaller populations (inc trans people) weren’t able to really fight effectively and didn’t win many rights/recognition at that time.

                                            Then, the newer thing came along starting in universities that I can tell

                                            That’s where it started getting pushed out into public life. I think it’s pretty unlikely that nobody had come up with this idea before - it’s immediately obvious to (for instance) a gay man that they do not fit the gender role assigned to their sex, because chasing women is so closely tied to that role.

                                            I think it’s more charitably viewed as ‘people on the sidelines got enough access to make themselves heard’.

                                            The other thing I noticed was an inconsistency. Certain words or symbols, esp that were associated with hate, are forever banned from being reused in new situations

                                            Agree it’s yuck and weird. That said, if you’re going to get hung up on ‘their side are inconsistent’, there hasn’t been a movement in history to meet your criteria.

                                            1. 8

                                              This is purely anecdotal, as it’s just my experience on the matter, but what ultimately convinced me to accept the redefinition of gender with respect to sex wasn’t evidence, it was decency. Fundamentally, there’s no particular reason I should take a position on how other people should identify - this goes beyond gender, but that’s a particularly prominent example of the general point. The most effect it has on me is in choosing pronouns, and in my experience most people will be fine with a genuine apology if you make a mistake - even if you make the mistake repeatedly over time, as long as you’re also clearly trying and being respectful.

                                              Obviously, a person’s sex is of practical importance in a lot of situations; medical treatment, shopping habits (does this person need access to tampons/menstrual pads?), etc., but most of those situations don’t involve me and I can’t think of a single one that can’t sensibly accommodate a decoupling of gender and sex.

                                              So ultimately, for me, it didn’t come down to an evidence-based, rational decision along the lines of “Well, I’ve been convinced this is how the world actually works”. Instead it came down to recognizing that “how the world actually works” is an absurd concept in a fundamentally subjective topic, so what I really ought to do is just accept that people work differently from one another. My only vehicle for understanding others has always been to trust their self-description, so what’s the harm in applying that here? I’ve got no special perspective that gives me authority over who is or is not appropriately described with certain words, so the decent thing to do is to back off and let people be who they are. And I’ve also got no reason to believe that such a perspective is even conceivably possible.

                                              1. 2

                                                Coming back to this later, I think I didn’t word it as well as I could’ve - it’s really easy to read this as saying that anyone who disagrees with me is not being decent (and I got a -1 troll vote that I hope was because of that instead of some other mistake I haven’t noticed).

                                                I used the word “decency” because it’s the best reflection of how I think about my own ethics, and that’s tangential as hell so I’m not going to waste more words talking about it here. The point I wanted to make was that my take on the subject turns out to be orthogonal to evidence-based reasoning - not that I think you have to agree with me to be a good person. You can have a different ethical code that doesn’t lead you to the same conclusions, and that code could be entirely sane.

                                          3. 11

                                            I want three things from a doctor: the same exact medical care as anyone else, an estradiol scrip, and a letter to change my gender on my passport. All of these things are pretty reasonable.

                                            We shouldn’t have gender on passports, because if it’s referring to biological sex it’s not useful for identifying people and if it’s not then it’s… still not really useful for identifying people. I mean, there’s a photo on there, right? Failing that, people shouldn’t demand to see other peoples’ identification before calling them what they ask to be called. I go by Nora in a lot of places, but my ID says “Leonora”. Nobody shits themselves over that, but for some reason when I had an ID that said “M” everybody was all in a tizzy.

                                            In any case, it seems pretty reasonable to get such letters so long as they’re needed for people to be respectful.

                                            Estradiol should be informed consent, and usually is these days. WPATH and other professional organizations recommend this, and doctors who don’t do it are not really doing a good job. It’s not even expensive; you take a blood test a couple times to make sure your kidney’s aren’t fucked up and then cheap pills that millions of cis women are on anyway. No real personal or social downsides to that one.

                                            Regular medical care should be provided to me regardless of my transgender status, but isn’t always (see: trans broken arm syndrome), in much the same way it’s not always provided to women in general, or fat people.

                                            The biological model of gender is supported by massive amount of physical evidence which the doctors were educated in and see in their patients everyday. The new ideas of gender identity originated in far-left colleges with basically no hard evidence backing them: just psychological studies (“soft science”) of what trans people believe about themselves and tell them.

                                            I’m curious what you mean here. What is the “biological model of gender”? Do you mean the idea that gender and sex are the same thing? Sure, that’s fine, but we still need a word for “the internal understanding of one’s body and the way it relates to society’s gender roles”. Let’s call it foo. I’m transfoo. Foo isn’t the same as sex. Etc.

                                            To put it another way: what evidence would convince you that gender is “really” different from sex? It’s an inherently mental, personal, subjective thing, because it (to a much greater degree than sex) is socially constructed. (Meaning, it’s basically just an agreement between a bunch of people about how people should act. You’re saying it should be based on your junk, I’m saying it shouldn’t, and that’s the only point on which we disagree on this topic.)

                                            1. 4

                                              You’re saying it should be based on your junk,

                                              Yes a lot of these people are acting like if they as a man woke up one morning in a woman’s body that they would just magically be okay with it, and wouldn’t even be upset. IIRC not being bothered by what gender you present means you’re gender fluid, and congrats to you people for being gender fluid, most people aren’t.

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                                                This is actually an extremely good point. I mean, come on, have these people never watched anime? :P

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                                              Exactly. If data scientists want to add a ‘self identified as’ field, they can get a new interesting subset. But they still want the rational physical world for measurements. Could you include people on hormone replacement therapy as a sub-group and look for differences? Absolutely. But it depends on your study and research.

                                              I wish it weren’t hateful to simply say, “Transgenderism is an ideology,” because it is. Some trans people are fine with being distinct: Like M2F who identifies as a man transitioning or transitioned to a women. But some want to be the other sex, anonymously without any biological distinction. They have to BE the other, in all ways legally and metaphysically. This is mostly fine and no one has a problem with it… except when it comes to unfairness where biological differences are present: like sports. It also applies to medication that might have different dosages based on male/female biological factors.

                                              It can get heated because it is an ideology and challenge to that is a challenge to orthodoxy. I don’t know what the solution is, but transgenderism is very similar to Catholic transubstantiation; a believe about the metaphysical nature of reality. We’ve never been in this boat in terms of equality and it will be interesting to see where people push this in the coming years.

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                                                transgenderism is very similar to Catholic transubstantiation; a believe about the metaphysical nature of reality.

                                                Oh you are on SUCH a good track here. I’d like to take this point a little further. Gender itself is a metaphysical belief. So is sex.

                                                Both sex and gender, as equivalence classes that allow you to categorize all people as one of, say, two types, are broken. They’re fuzzy categories at best, and once you start getting rigorous, you start seeing lots of exceptions. That’s not to say they’re not broadly useful concepts, and they do work for lots of people, but when we’re designing systems that work with sex and gender (for instance, in medicine, or sports!), we should think carefully about what those categories really mean, how they’ll be used, and how they’re going to work for people who don’t fit the boxes neatly.

                                                For instance, say you’re trying to code people as male or female based on the “rational physical world” of measurements. Do you take chromosomes? Sure. 46XY is male, 46XX is female. I guess we could call 45X female and 45Y male too. What are 47XXX, 47XYY, and 47XXY? 49XXXXY? Y generally induces testicular development, so maybe any copy of Y codes as male. But if you’ve got androgen insensitivity syndrome, some “standard male” 46XY people will have breasts and labia. And some of those 46XX folks with CAH might look outwardly like men. Which soccer team to do you force these people to play on? Who gets prompted for testicular screenings and pap smears?

                                                We haven’t even gotten into chimerism yet. You know some people have multiple genotypes, right?

                                                Okay. Let’s back off to genitals. We can measure those, right? If you have testes, you’re male. Unless you’ve had a hysterectomy, or orchiectomy, but you’d know if that happened to you. Well, unless it happened at birth. Turns out that in some cases a doctor guesses, based on some complicated rules and their best judgement, what kind of genitals would be best for you, a newborn infant. Maybe you’re genetically XY, but your penis was small at birth, so they surgically constructed a vagina, removed the testes, slapped an F on the birth certificate, and told your parents you should be raised female. Maybe you never knew about that until getting a gene test in middle age, and then you realized, holy shit, I’ve been male/intersex/trans/etc this whole time. Maybe you’ve got ambiguous genitalia. Maybe you’ve got a vagina, but no uterus, and internal testes instead.

                                                These things aren’t THAT rare. Roughly one in two hundred people don’t have a “standard” male/female body plan. Chances are you personally know someone like this! About one in a thousand people receive “normalizing” surgery. If you’re a primary care physician, you’ve likely got a couple patients who might need you to have a more nuanced understanding of what sex is. Maybe you need to ask your male patients if they’re considering pregnancy.

                                                Fine. Let’s decide based on someone’s body’s secondary sex characteristics. Adam’s apples? Facial hair? Voice? Musculature? Height? Breasts? Pelvic geometry? These are all over the place. Slender, wispy people covered in hair. Barrel-chested, high-voiced musclebears with no Adam’s apples. People who fall smack dab in the middle of your female and male coordinates on whatever measurement system you choose. Some of these characteristics are reshapable with surgery, hormones, and practice. Some change with age. But these secondary characteristics are also how we usually code people as male or female. For example, when was the last time you checked to see if everyone walking into the men’s bathroom had a penis?

                                                And this is just sex! Physical, biological stuff that’s measurable with rulers, blood tests, and CT scans. Gender’s even more spectacular.

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                                                  Possibly the best write-up of this particular flaw in the idea of “biological sex is binary” I’ve seen in a while. That’s going in my bookmarks for sure. Thanks :)

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                                                    For instance, say you’re trying to code people as male or female based on the “rational physical world” of measurements. Do you take chromosomes? Sure. 46XY is male, 46XX is female. I guess we could call 45X female and 45Y male too. What are 47XXX, 47XYY, and 47XXY? 49XXXXY?

                                                    99.9% of all humans have normal chromosome Karyotype. What you describe are outlies of less than 1% .. You make it sound like all these variations are common when they’re really not. And on top of all of that, almost all people with abnormal karyotypes are sterile. Very few of them can reproduce.

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                                                      It’s more like 99%, actually. There are almost a hundred million people out there with some kind of intersex condition - probably more intersex people in the world than desktop Linux and Mac OS X users combined :P

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                                                        99.9% of all humans have normal chromosome Karyotype. What you describe are outlies of less than 1%

                                                        Sure! XXY is ~1:1000 births. If we were doing research on something with broad interest, like a soda flavor, we might decide that the error we introduce by categorizing those people as male, or female, or removing them from the sample altogether, isn’t significant enough to affect our results, and go on with our lives. It’d be problematic if we needed everyone in a sample of tens of thousands of people to fit exactly one category. Unfortunately, that’s how a lot of our society is built.

                                                        XXY doesn’t shorten life expectancy much. That means in the US you’ve got ~327,000 people with XXY. A suburban high school with a population of 2000 students has a good chance of having at least one XXY person in their prospective student pool, and will need to decide whether those people are allowed admission (for an all-boys school), and what sports teams (if sex-segregated) they play on. A typical Wal-mart will see a handful a day, and expect them to choose the right bathroom. A suburb of 50,000 could (with sufficient motivation) field an all-XXY football team. A decent-sized airport like Miami International will see ~120 passengers every day whose sex indicated on their ID doesn’t match their karyotype. A major metro area could run a Kleinfelter Kickball league.

                                                        Let’s imagine you’re like me: a cis man who hasn’t been karyotyped. Maybe you took a 23andme test, and that came back XY, because they don’t report trisomies. There’s a nontrivial chance that you, who grew up believing you were male, who has always been treated like a man, might not be a “biological male”–at least by a strictly genotypic definition. Of course that’s ridiculous. You know you’re a man, and everyone else does too. You don’t get dirty looks for using the men’s room at work. You can hand over your ID at the bar or airport without fear. Nobody called the school board outraged that you were allowed to play on the men’s basketball team. You never had to worry about these things, and you still don’t. That’d be silly. Nobody’s going to find out unless you tell them, and even then, I’m sure they’d understand. Well, most people would. Except for people who believe that “male” means “XY”, and then, well. That’s a different story.

                                                        That story might involve your marriage being challenged in court–but a neighboring state used anatomy, rather than genetics, to determine sex, so you were able to remarry there and bypass the issue. You may have been asked to use the women’s room at work–only they don’t want you there either, so you wind up having to ask for a special bathroom. The only single-occupancy stall is on another floor, so you take the elevator every time you have to pee, and hope nobody’s using it. You might be stripped of your sports trophies, and banned from competition. You might wind up with a new ID that says F on it. You have to sigh and explain every time you show it, and hope that when you’re pulled over it doesn’t lead to arrest. You haven’t gotten the bank updated yet, and you’re dreading the bureaucratic nightmare that’s sure to follow. Every few weeks, you blunder into a conversation on the internet where someone insists that you aren’t a real man.

                                                        Think about how that might feel.

                                                        Now read your posts again.

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                                                          Klinefelter syndrome. XXY is a chromosome disorder in males. People with XXY chromosomes are classified as male, they present and physically are male, and .. they cannot reproduce. There has never been a recorded case of someone with Klinefelter reproducing.

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                                                            Okay. I recognize that it’s difficult to go from never having thought critically about sex or gender in your life to Oh Shit All These Things Are Happening??? If it helps, this is a journey we all have to go through. While you’re on it, consider:

                                                            XXY is a chromosome disorder in males. People with XXY chromosomes are classified as male,

                                                            You’ve recognized here that “male” and chromosomes are two different things, and that “male” is a category we, as humans, apply to people. It’s also true that people with XXY are usually classified as male, but that’s not always the case. Some people with XXY look completely masculine. Other people with XXY look physically female, with large breasts, soft skin, no beard, etc. Genotype is not always phenotype, which should be the first clue that “biologically male” is an ill-defined concept.

                                                            they present and physically are male

                                                            Presentation is a complex phenomenon involving body characteristics, movement, speech, dress, grooming, pronouns, location, cultural roles, etc. These things usually go together in patterns we think of as “male” or “female”, but they don’t have to. Most people with XXY present as men, but not all do! As it turns out, I have a friend with XX+XY (though she’s not sure if that’s via trisomy, a more exotic aneuploidy, mosaicism, etc) who presents in basically all respects as a woman. She’s hella cool. It’d be weird to declare her male.

                                                            Being “physically male” is a fuzzy concept for all the reasons I outlined above.

                                                            and .. they cannot reproduce. There has never been a recorded case of someone with Klinefelter reproducing.

                                                            I don’t think this is relevant, and I’m not sure why you’re bringing it up, but, uh… you know this isn’t true, right? People with Klinefelter do reproduce, both unassisted and with the help of technology. Low fertility is a common consequence of XXY, but it doesn’t render every person sterile.

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                                              That is not the full sentence, though. Since you mention reading comprehension, I would suggest interpretating any alarming sentence fragments not in isolation, but in the context of the full sentence (and the rest of the piece). The full sentence is this:

                                              There’s no test that you give someone to determine they’re “actually” trans, unless you’re a doctor, or a neuroscience researcher, or a bigot (but I repeat myself).

                                              Seeing the full sentence this reads like a syllogism: (people who administer) transness tests are bigoted, doctors & neuroscientists administer transness tests, therefore doctors and neuroscientists are bigots. Still an overgeneralisation, but a far cry from ‘doctors and neuroscientists are bigots’ on its own. So, ya, my guess is that probably you misunderstood the author’s intent?

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                                                Ohhh, the irony… It would be funny if it wasn’t so pathetically pervasive.

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                                                  It probably refers to how the medical discipline is policing trans bodies and not even trying to renounce its role as gender gatekeepers.

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                                                  Looks similar to magic wormhole: https://github.com/warner/magic-wormhole

                                                  It’s not clear to me what the differences are…

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                                                    The authors blog post mentions:

                                                    magic-wormhole has most everything (currently its missing capabilities for multiple file transfers and file resuming), but it requires installing lots of the Python ecosystem which is tricky for non-developers (and Windows users).

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                                                    I’m already wondering if WSL is admitted defeat or an EEE scheme, and if the latter, what the “extend” step is going to be.

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                                                      It’s long-game EEE. Corporations have discovered that by throwing a lot of developers to an open-source project they can control the ecosystem. Then gently but slowly push it towards their walled garden. Add features that make it more convenient to their cloud solution, then collect all of the data.

                                                      An example is Google Chrome. 1) throw a lot of engineers and make a better browser. 2) keep pushing the spec forward as fast as you can so that it takes a huge engineering effort to be able to compete. 3) add features like the google login that make it more convenient but also shares all your data. Chromium might be open source but also long as you use their google login they win, and there is no alternative available for shared user sessions.

                                                      For WSL the key is to get developers back onto the Windows platform. macOS was able to capture some of the Linux market because they added bash and other unixy tools that made Linux developers comfortable. As soon as those developers only start testing on WSL they start winning. Then add easy integrations to deploy to Azure. The same will happen to GitHub and VSCode.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        “EEE scheme” is a new term to me, and my googling is only returning taxing schemes. What does it stand for?

                                                          1. 1

                                                            Thank you

                                                          2. 3

                                                            EEE = Embrace, Extend, and Extinguish. What they did to LDAP and many other once open things.

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                                                              There’s also headless Firefox, and a phantomjs equivalent… in case you don’t want to perpetuate the chrome monopoly

                                                              https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/docs/Mozilla/Firefox/Headless_mode

                                                              https://github.com/laurentj/slimerjs

                                                              1. 1

                                                                Perfect – Interested to see how the various headless libraries compare. FF seems like a better option than Chrome; will find out.

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                                                            Is there any shop in europe that has the 4GB model in stock? I checked all approved resellers in Belgium, Poland, Czech Republich, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, but without any luck.

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                                                              I was looking at them on reichelt.de earlier today and the 4gb model is listed as available to ship on the 28th, so just a few days wait (assuming that’s accurate)

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                                                              Since they seem to be positioning this as a credible (lightweight) desktop machine, I wonder if they’ve done anything about the SD card speeds. Improving the graphics, cpu and memory but leaving it stuck at ~20 MB/s on it’s only internal storage device makes it seem… not so compelling to me.

                                                              1. 6

                                                                Booting from USB is supported since RPi3, I’m not sure I would bother with SD cards on RPi these days unless physical space is an issue.

                                                                Edit: This benchmark article (sorry it’s Medium) shows SD card performance has improved a little but USB 3.0 throughput is about an order of magnitude higher than SD card throughput on the RPi 4: https://medium.com/@ghalfacree/benchmarking-the-raspberry-pi-4-73e5afbcd54b

                                                                1. 1

                                                                  It’s good to see that SD perf has improved, even if not by all that much. (And the USB gains look great!)

                                                                  I think my issue is not only physical space, but also an aversion to the idea of having the boot drive able to be accidentally unplugged. But maybe that’s just me…

                                                                2. 3

                                                                  Is that a constraint of SD or the Pi?

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                                                                    I think it’s mostly a hardware limitation on the Pi, but I’m not an expert. Lots of people report similar boards having much better IO performance (e.g. Odroid), and also that the IO rates on SD cards are much better in an adapter on a laptop/desktop machine.

                                                                    From http://www.pidramble.com/wiki/benchmarks/microsd-cards:

                                                                    Note that most of the above benchmarks, when run on a USB 3.0 card reader on my MacBook Air, show 5, 10, or 15 times greater performance in that environment

                                                                    I guess I could actually run some benchmarks myself when I get home tonight…

                                                                    1. 1

                                                                      USB 3 SSD seems like a reasonable option

                                                                  2. 1

                                                                    Do you think that’s a hardware limitation on the computer side or simply a desire to support every SD card, not just the newer faster ones?

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                                                                    I’m not a golang hater and I like simple languages, but this seems borderline stockholm syndrome to me.

                                                                    It conveniently overlooks all the places in the stdlib where there are generic functions (make/append/len being the most prominent), and argues that it’s trivial to implement yourself. Sure, I can write my own min/max functions, but… really? Even Javascript with barely any stdlib to speak of gives you min and max.

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                                                                      Every language needs to make tradeoffs in many areas, and sometimes it’s not pretty. This is one area where a tradeoff was made in Go.

                                                                      I think this article is a good example of the “golang heuristic”: if an article uses “golang” (or some variant thereof, like “GoLang” here) instead of “Go” then it’s quite likely to be poorly informed. It’s not 100% foolproof (it’s a heuristic after all), but in my observation it’s often quite accurate.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        As someone who has spent too much time waiting on C++ compiles, I definitely appreciate Go’s speed and am happy to accept tradeoffs - they can just seem a bit idiosyncratic at times.

                                                                        I haven’t written a ton of Go code yet, so i’m still fairly new to the ecosystem. I’ll keep your “golang heuristic” in mind going forward, thanks!

                                                                    1. 2

                                                                      While Python continues to remain completely independent from the operating system, every install of Windows will include python and python3 commands that take you directly to the Python store page.

                                                                      For people that don’t like BS: cinst python; refreshenv; pip install virtualenv

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        Well, what do you do when you don’t have Chocolatey installed? The Store approach is completely valid, and applicable for many more users. It doesn’t preclude or impact anyone with a preference for Chocolatey, or other preferred method of installing Python.

                                                                        1. 2

                                                                          you do:

                                                                          iwr https://chocolatey.org/install.ps1 | iex; cinst python

                                                                          The store approach is useless for anything serious. You need to have serious package manager in the system.

                                                                          1. 2

                                                                            Maybe you need a serious package manager, but not everyone does. Beginners probably would prefer an easy way to get started, and what MS is providing seems much easier than what you’re suggesting with Chocolatey.

                                                                            Maybe you’ve just been at this too long to remember what being a beginner is like :)

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                                                                        I haven’t been following the NodeJS community, but there’s a few references in the transcript to NPM Inc. burning its community good-will in 2018; can anybody fill me in on the background to those comments? (my first guess was to check the Wikipedia article for a “controversy” section, but it doesn’t have one)

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                                                                          1. 3

                                                                            NPM took a new CEO on board who is well known to be brutish and rough to employees. They made a couple of firings that were questionable and currently in front of court because there’s the accusation of retaliation for attempting to form a union. The founders of NPM and other two C-levels have become surprisingly silent around the topic. They have ousted their CTO in a very cold manner.

                                                                            Now, all this would be “another day in the industry” if it weren’t that NPM based their entire public image and advertisement around being a diverse, friendly and cool company with awesome employees for which they care for. This goes up to izs and seldo tweeting pro-union statements and generally playing the workers game. The inconsistency currently flies into their face (rightfully, so, IMHO).

                                                                            Personally, I found those behaviours always a bit odd, being in the position of being a unionized Entrepreneur myself (I believe in collective bargaining being better for both sides). Still, there’s things an employee can consistently root for and things that is odd if you are in the power position. I try to emphasize with employees positions as much as possible, but performing as if you were in the position of an employee/worker is just inconsistent. Much like outlined in this talk, you have different goals and that shouldn’t be covered.