A Clarification Of My Views on Trans Matters

As made clear here already, http://blog.talkingphilosophy.com/?p=6662#comment-1120793 , I do not believe, and have never believed, various unpleasant things that have been attributed to me.

First, and with regard to the tweet which started off this difficult chain of events, that tweet has been badly over-interpreted. I am not against the word “cis” – I employ it myself sometimes. And I certainly do not think it is OK, say, for cis-women to speak of themselves as “real women” or anything like that, because that would implicitly suggest, wrongly, that trans-women would not be. I understand that opinions on this terminological matter vary, however, and I am eliciting the advice of LGBT+ groups before making any further statements about this.

Secondly, I certainly and absolutely did not mean to make an offensive point about transitioning gender allegedly being a “choice.” I do not and never have believed that being a trans-woman is a “choice,” though I can see how some of my words failed to make that clear enough, and I apologise for that. What I was trying to get at was only the fact that some trans-people do have surgery or hormone treatment and others do not. What I am about to say has the potential to trigger unwanted thoughts and feelings, because of the painful fact that some trans-people are deprived of the choice of the surgery and treatment that they want – the final decision to have surgery etc. is a matter of choice (for those offered the option), just as any surgery requires the consent of the agent/patient. I did not mean to imply in any way that this is a decision made lightly, nor in any way try to downplay the discrimination and barriers faced by transgender people in our society. And that’s all that I meant by speaking about ‘choice’.

Thirdly, and closely connected to the second point, contrary to some reports, I do not and never have believed that being a trans-woman manifests an ‘opt-in’ idea of what it is to be a woman. My use in the philosophical article I wrote 2 years ago of that phrase – “opt-in” – was an unfortunate hostage to fortune, but in context it should be quite clear that it was intended only as a philosophical hypothetical. I never applied it to trans-women because I certainly do not believe it applies to trans-women, because, again, trans-women typically do not experience their gender-identity as a choice at all. I invented the phrase to discuss only a hypothetical philosophical position that I was arguing against. I apologise for the confusion this has resulted in and for the offence generated.

Fourthly, I do not and never have believed that trans-women are not real women, or are any less women. I regret any phrasing that may not have made this clear.

Unequivocally, I find all transphobia abhorrent. I absolutely do not see transgender women as “dangerous sex pests and predators”, as some people on Twitter have said or implied, though I can now understand why some of my previous comments misled some into thinking that I did.

One thought on “A Clarification Of My Views on Trans Matters”

  1. I’m disturbed by your use of ‘trans-people’ and ‘trans-women’. It does imply we’re maybe not really people, or not really women, although I’m sure you didn’t mean to. Do you also say ‘black-people’, ‘muslim-women’ I wonder?

    I’m a person who is trans, a trans person. I’m not a ‘trans-person’, an alien being.

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