Legal magic

Speaking of “Stonewall language” as opposed to BBC language or ordinary language or non-drunk language, here’s economist Frances Coppola using it in a blog post bashing Maya Forstater a couple of weeks ago:

Forstater and her supporters aggressively promote their beliefs on Twitter, hijacking threads to grandstand their agenda, forcing their opinions on people who have not invited them, misrepresenting what people have said then gaslighting them when they object, using emotionally-loaded language to short-circuit rational argument, resorting to ad hominem attacks and appeals to authority, insulting people who disagree with them, sealioning people who try to disengage. In short, behaving just like all the other cults that infest this increasingly toxic space. The effect of their behaviour is to prevent rational debate and silence dissenters. 

While I sympathise with their emotional intensity, reducing this complex and difficult subject to a simplistic binary definition solves nothing. All it does is arbitrarily exclude some of the most vulnerable people in our society from the rights and protections that others enjoy, at potential risk to their health and even their lives. 

See it? “the most vulnerable people in our society.”

Really? How? Why? In what sense? Who says?

No; no how; no reason; no sense; Stonewall says.

It’s bullshit. Vulnerable people are refugees, asylum seekers, religious minorities, peasants, exploited workers, trafficked women and girls, political prisoners, poor people, migrant workers, abused children, homeless people, people with severe mental health problems, people with chronic disabling medical conditions…and so on. I don’t think trans people are that kind of vulnerable unless they’re also trafficked or homeless or the like. Some are, but then their vulnerability is because of those circumstances and not so much because of their being trans.

I think the fervor and maudlin sympathy with which people recited the Stonewall “most vulnerable” creed is insulting to all the seriously vulnerable people out there and even insulting to trans people themselves.

There’s another odd thing about Coppola’s post and her comments in the discussion with Maya that followed it.

Currently, the law permits people who are born one sex to transition legally to another. Whether someone is a “woman” is no longer determined by their biological sex at birth.

It’s that. She says it again in the comments.

A person who has a GRC has gone through a process of gender reassignment that may or may not include surgery and/or medical treatment to make their physical characteristics resemble more closely the norms of the sex to which they have transitioned. They are thus legally female whether or not you or anyone else thinks they “look like women”. Whether someone is female or male is defined by the law, not your opinion, and the law says that someone who has a GRC is legally the sex to which they have transitioned.

The fundamental issue here is that you do not believe a man can ever become a woman, whatever the law says. Please don’t imagine that I haven’t noticed your weasel words. You “recognise the change of legal status”, but you don’t accept that the person has changed sex.

She thinks (or claims to think) that being legally declared a woman is being a woman. She thinks (or claims to think) that getting a Gender Recognition Certificate equals literally becoming a literal woman (or man) – that it’s not just a legal change it’s also an ontological change.

When Maya makes the distinction Coppola accuses her of “weasel words.”

The fundamental issue here is that you do not believe a man can ever become a woman, whatever the law says. Please don’t imagine that I haven’t noticed your weasel words. You “recognise the change of legal status”, but you don’t accept that the person has changed sex.

Well yes, because how could we? And why should we? Why do we have to agree that men literally turn into women the moment they receive the GRC? Why are we required to subscribe to fatuous, nonsensical beliefs?

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