And then a row began

It’s the turn of the NY Times to run a think piece by a trans woman full of empty slogans and bereft of argument.

A contentious row began last month, when the Labour Campaign for Trans Rights announced itself with 12 pledges, which ranged from recognizing trans people’s oppression — at risk of hate crime and denied equal access to public services, health care, housing and employment — to supporting the expulsion of members who express transphobic views.

Some people had the gall to object, especially to the threat to expel members who commit a crime with no definition or examples offered.

To many, the sight of a center-left party failing to support trans rights without equivocation must be baffling — not least to American Democrats, whose party, divided in many ways, is firmly united in its support for trans and nonbinary people. But really, it’s no surprise. Transphobia, constantly amplified by the country’s mainstream media, is a respectable bigotry in Britain, shared by parts of the left as well as the right.

But, again, what are “trans rights”? What is “support for trans and nonbinary people”? What is “transphobia”?

Jacques does make a tiny stab at defining, so props for that.

There are two main types of British transphobia. One, employed most frequently but not exclusively by right-wing men, rejects outright the idea that gender might not be determined only by biological traits identifiable at birth.

Not a good definition though. The point is that sex is determined “by biological traits identifiable at birth.” Calling it “gender” confuses the issue. Of course it’s not determined at birth whether little Miracle will wear jeans or skirts, but that’s not where the disagreement lies.

The other type, from a so-called radical feminist tradition, argues that trans women’s requests for gender recognition are incompatible with cis women’s rights to single-sex spaces. At its core, such an argument is not at odds with the first type — both rely on the conceit that trans and nonbinary people should not determine their own gender identities — but it is this second strain that is often expressed on the British left, from the communist Morning Star to the liberal New Statesman and The Guardian.

It’s not a “conceit” that people can’t determine their own sex, it’s just a fact. People can’t determine their own ____ identities in a great many cases. It’s far more a conceit – in the sense of frivolous ornament – to insist that they can.

There follows a lot of complaining that Labour hasn’t been quite fanatical enough on the “trans rights” side of things, and telling Keir Starmer he has to pick a side. Remember, kids, trans people must always get what they want.

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