[Marxism] Another response on transgender issues from anonymous subscriber

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Sun Dec 22 09:45:27 MST 2019

MM wrote:
"When people ostensibly on the left start insisting that others simply 
accede to their terminology in order to be taken seriously, it’s time to 
accept that they’re not interested in good-faith dialogue. They’re 

Actually it's people who use social media to post "Kill the TERF" or " 
I'll give the TERF a platform" (accompanied by a picture of a gibbet) 
who are "insisting that others simply accede to their terminology in 
order to be taken seriously . . . "shouting" and "not interested in 
good-faith dialogue". People who claim it is "hate speech" to use the 
wrong pronoun neologism, or to "dead name" Caitlyn Jenner by referring 
to her previous name in reference to winning a men's medal in a sporting 
event are "not interested in good-faith dialogue". They are pronouncing 
a new dogma, with clear litmus tests which must be passed to avoid 
becoming a "hater", a transphobe and be declared persona non grata, like 
Cindy Sheehan, disgracefully "deplatformed" from a peace event for the 
mildest of "transgressions" against trans activist orthodoxy.

To be honest, it isn't really "good-faith dialogue" to refer to anyone 
who disagrees with someone on this issue as only "ostensibly on the left".

"Actually, it starts to sound a lot like Jordan Peterson or Ben Shapiro 
(which may not be coincidental)."

Suggesting that people who don't accept that trans women are women means 
that that "ostensibly" left wing person is actually a closet (or not so 
closet) right winger is uncomradely in the extreme, but unfortunately it 
is becoming all to common. Some of the same people who accuse the 
"gender critical" of being in league with or actually fascists also 
claim lesbians who won't date trans women with penises are transphobic. 
We must be able to have this discussion on the left, rather than treat 
it as already done and dusted, with any doubters being deemed heretics.

It is not comparable to disputing racism. Anti-racism involves 
eliminating the privilege white people gain through institutions of the 
state and the functioning of capitalism. Ditto sexism. The trans rights 
campaign (in the form in which we are discussing it here) claims that 
women as a category does not exist in an objective sense ("your vagina 
doesn't make you a woman", "not only women" can be pregnant, have 
abortions etc) so comes directly into conflict with long held and 
hard-fought-for rights for women, such as refuges. White people 
complaining that anti-racist progress conflicts with their (the most 
privileged race on the planet) rights is not the same as women claiming 
that trans women claiming that their feeling that they are actually 
women (even if they still have a penis) is a threat to the rights of 
women (the least privileged sex on the planet).

There has been an assumption on the left that to discuss this is, as MM 
states, like supporting racism. The left can ill afford to treat this 
issue in such a simplistic manner. The left in the West has precious few 
enough women anyway. Telling women to just accept without discussion the 
renegotiation of any gains second wave feminism made, loss of women only 
bathrooms, to have what it means to be a woman changed by people born 
male, is a sure fire way to stay irrelevant for another generation. Bear 
in mind too that this particular litmus test, that trans women are women 
and trans men are men, is not accepted by all trans people. A 
significant number utterly reject that notion, stating that their 
experience is different to that of natal women and that to make genuine 
progress, conflating these experiences is counterproductive.

The trans rights movement is nothing like "Black Lives Matter", It has 
extremely wealthy backing from pharmaceutical companies to politicians. 
There are politicians in both the Republican and Democratic Parties in 
the US who take their cue from the trans activist campaigners on this 
issue. In Britain every major political party supports gender self ID.

Deciding that there are two choices - to either ignore the debate or 
call it "shit" and "odious nonsense" is not conducive of the type of 
debate that needs to be had on the left.

I write this anonymously as, despite having the endorsement of the Pride 
group where I work and the specific support of trans people there, I 
have been the subject of a campaign by trans activists to have me fired 
from my job. Mind you, from the above statement it appears MM would 
approve of my boss firing me because I'm the equivalent of "people who 
dispute the reality of structural racism outside of work hours".

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