Specify the rights then

This question about rights again…

That SNP Students tweet –

At SNP students, we have one simple belief. Trans rights are human rights. No ifs, no buts.

It’s a simple belief, yes, so simple that we don’t even know what it means.

What, exactly, are trans rights? Specifically trans rights? SNP Students says human rights, but if that really is what they mean there’s no issue. The controversy isn’t because trans people want the same rights everybody else has, because no one questions their right to that. The controversy is because trans people want new rights special to trans people, that in fact, however loudly they deny it, conflict with the existing rights of non-trans people, especially women.

What are we talking about when we talk about rights? In the most general terms? We’re talking about foundational principles like

  • Xs are not inferior to Ys
  • Xs should not be subordinated by Ys
  • Xs should not be persecuted or ostracized by Ys
  • Xs should not face systematic disadvantages because they are Xs

But what are trans rights? Judging by the current dogma, the core right is to be “validated” as the alter-sex and to be “included” as such by all members of the alter-sex.

Is that a right like the rights we’re used to? Can you get to that right via the foundational principles? Did I omit any relevant foundational principles?

How about the right not to be ostracized by the dominant group? Can we get there via that route?

I don’t think so, because the ostracism in question is broad. People have a right not to be ostracized from the public square and from public goods and a shared public life. People don’t have a right to be welcomed into every single category and grouping there is in all circumstances and with no questions asked. White people don’t have a right to be welcomed into black activist groups, for instance; some groups may welcome them and others may not and everybody’s rights remain intact.

Is there a right to be taken at face value? A right to be believed without question no matter what you claim? A right to be embraced no matter how abrasive and domineering your behavior is?

I don’t think so.

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