Posts

Introducing Trans Realist

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  I know for a fact that many trans people are actually frustrated about where the loudest activist voices are taking our community and our priorities right now. At a time when many members of our community are still struggling with the basics of life, when many of us live in fear of the building resentment and backlash to current trans activism and what real life effects that is translating into, the activist establishment is basically refusing to even listen to our concerns with an open mind. Which leads me to the next question: is all visibility good? Drawing on experiences from gay rights movements, particularly marriage equality, it has been concluded that visibility is important for acceptance. However, the experience of trans visibility in the past decade has painted a very different picture. When I came out in 2006, we were at least left alone by most people, unfortunately I don't think we can say the same today. The fact is, all visibility is not equal. Some forms of visib

The Trans Case Against Queer Theory

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The Trans Case Against Queer Theory (New Book) In recent years, the influence of queer theory and adjacent ideas rooted in postmodernism and critical theory has distorted the discussion around trans issues. This has led to confusion about why trans people transition, and the decentering of the actual experience of trans lives in the public trans discourse. In turn, these developments have likely contributed to a slow down in trans acceptance and even backlash in some segments of society.   Why Queer Theory is Bad For Trans People The fundamental reason why queer theory is bad for LGBT people is because it is ideological, i.e. it is rooted in certain philosophical commitments rather than empirical reality or the actual lived experience of LGBT people.   The Many Ways Queer Theory Hinders Trans Acceptance Queer theory’s refusal to accept at least some level of essential meaning for ‘male’ and ‘female’ hampers both trans people’s formation of a stable identity in themselves, as

Best of 2021: Trans Philosophy

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Trans Talk: Let’s Not Get Distracted By Philosophical Questions Firstly, you can’t make the whole world agree with you anyway. It’s authoritarian to do so. Adding Empiricism To The Trans Conversation So what is trans empiricism? Basically, it’s taking an empirical approach to the phenomenon of trans. To be empirical is simply to be committed to the objective truth, and base our claims on observable evidence. In the empirical approach, observable evidence is taken to be the best representation of the truth. Empiricism is useful because it grounds our thinking in objective reality, and arguably protects us from sophistry. The Philosophy Wars Over Trans Lives and Truth What may surprise many people is that, the gender criticalists and the postmodernists actually share a fundamental worldview, that is, gender is a social construct created by the patriarchy to oppress women. In turn, this is a particular expression of the general critical theory worldview: that the ideas held

Best of 2021: Trans Conversation

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The Pointless, Dishonest Alliance of the Transphobic On one hand, if the gender critical feminists win, there will be social changes much more radical than the longest and wildest trans rights wishlist. On the other hand, if the reactionary Right wins, they will turn the clock back so far for women that trans people would be the least of any feminist’s worry. In other words, gender critical feminists and the reactionary Right are essentially willing to enter a de-facto alliance with their worst enemies, the people who would destroy everything they hold dear, just to oppose 0.3% of the population! Dave Chappelle and Free Speech: A Trans Woman’s View Anyway, what I found most important about this episode is that, once again, some people are out to pit free speech and trans people against each other. It really feels like last year’s Harper’s Free Speech letter drama is being replayed all over again. It appears that, the people behind the cause of ‘cancel culture’ are findin

Best of 2021: Rethinking Sociology & Philosophy

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The Real Problem with Repressive Tolerance by Herbert Marcuse The conflation of liberation from oppression with liberation from Freudian repression in the work of Marcuse and others have had a long standing effect on the Theory Left, with the effect of wrongly assuming whatever is ‘repressive’, that is whatever requires emotional restraint, to be oppressive. However, this view is not only wrong, it is actually harmful to the cause of social justice. The Antidote to Critical Theory: Consensus Theory and Empiricism While conflict theory has dominated Western academic sociology in the past few decades, consensus theory was in fact the more dominant force before the 1960s. I think it’s time we revived the practice of consensus theory. I don’t mean to say that conflict theory has nothing to offer us. But what we have in Western sociology right now is a heavy imbalance, a very heavy tilt towards conflict theory, and this is making society sick. To cure society, we need to restor

Best of 2021: On Free Speech

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How to Defeat Cancel Culture and Save Free Speech This is where elements of the free speech movement are basically kicking own goals all the time. They think they should ally with everyone who wants free speech for whatever reason, so they can get the biggest movement going. The fact that they aren’t selective about which people they consider allies, means that people who are dismissive of racism, or actively homophobic, for example, are welcomed into the tent. This, in turn, means that the free speech movement is discredited in the eyes of those who want social change. Drawing The Line On Free Speech? Going forward, I think we should stick to what has worked so far, and continue to use free speech and the free market of ideas to advance social justice. There is no need to re-draw the time honored classical liberal line on free speech. We never needed to do so to achieve the positive changes we have so far, and there is clearly no case to justify doing so going forward. C

Best of 2021: On Challenging Problematic Theories

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A Justice Critique of Postmodernism, from a Psychological Perspective Back in the 1950s, the psychologist Julian B. Rotter developed the idea that people could be placed on a spectrum of having an internal locus of control on one end, vs an external locus of control on the other end . People with an internal locus of control believed that they were in control of, and responsible for, the successes or failures in their lives, and Rotter observed that they had high achievement motivation. This, of course, is an essential ingredient for success in life, as well as a key factor in psychological health. This is why, if we want to be successful, we should aim to orientate ourselves to have an internal locus of control.   However, postmodern critical theories teach women and various minorities, including ethnic minorities and LGBT people alike, that their fate is being determined by an oppressive system that won’t let them succeed. How the Theory Left Drove People to the Reaction