Guest post: A difference which makes no difference is no difference

Originally a comment by Artymorty on We can’t tell.

Trans activists have insisted their goal is to remove all distinctions between transwomen and women, but they have an unspoken secondary objective: the removal of all distinctions between transwomen and men. And when your group is literally indistinguishable from men, you don’t get to simultaneously argue that your group is distinguishable from them. If these people insist they aren’t men, why the hell are they working so hard to dismantle every possible metric, every check and balance that could be used to separate “genuine” transwomen from ordinary men?

It’s trans activists who insisted on removing all material distinctions between transwomen and men, complaining that womanhood was being guarded by “gatekeepers.” Once, transwomen were distinguished from men by the degree of “meaningful” transition they made, which was overseen by psychiatrists and doctors. Thanks to trans activism: no longer. There’s no certification process, no need to have sex-reassignment surgery; trans activists no longer recognize the relevance of different degrees of transition. Any man who says he isn’t a man isn’t a man, period. Any attempt to put a measure in place to distinguish men from transwomen for the obvious sake of protecting women from men is furiously attacked by transactivists. When your movement explicitly works to dismantle the gatekeeping that protects women from men, you don’t get to complain when women become alarmed that your movement is dismantling the gatekeeping that protects women from men.

It’s trans activists who have insisted that people’s motives are irrelevant: anyone who wants to be taken as a woman anytime is “genuinely” trans, and to even privately wonder why someone wants you to act as though they’re a woman is a thoughtcrime. Once, the reason someone wanted to transition was the most important factor in their journey: clinicians worked with patients over a long time to examine the underlying “why,” to ensure they wouldn’t be harming themselves or others. Thanks to trans activism: no longer. Trans activists will never violate a person’s declared pronouns even when he is an obvious conman, troll or predator. When your movement explicitly bars anyone from even examining the possibility that some men are taking advantage of the open barriers to women’s spaces your movement has created, one has to wonder whether your movement’s alliance is exclusively to men’s interests and not women’s, and that perhaps on some deep level you still see yourselves as a subset of men, and not a subset of women.

The definition of trans has been systematically loosened and broadened; every step of the way trans activists have worked to bring trans-identifying males closer to women while simultaneously working to stay connected to their own manhood. Back in the days before we started calling transsexuals transgender, I might have been more sympathetic to the idea that trans women are women. Now that any Tom, Dick or Yaniv can be a woman whenever he wants, no questions asked, forget it.

Men do pose a danger to women. Of that there’s no question. And transwomen are men because, as William James said, a difference which makes no difference is no difference.

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