The issue of ‘transgender’ access to female-specific spaces continues to boil up. So let’s look again at what is being said and why it is a problem.
While women-only toilets and other similar spaces may have originally been invented out of misogyny and male entitlement (more intended to keep women out of male spaces than men out of women’s), the fact is that they have come to be seen as a place of refuge, safe havens for women who spend all their lives enduring the proprietorial gazes and more, of the men around them.
The United Sates of America, as we have noted here before, has an appalling track record of misogynistic as well as transphobic and homophobic violence. A woman’s rape, according to recent data, is reported once every six minutes there and the level of under-reporting may be as high as 80% or more. Women in patriarchal cultures are under constant threat of rape, and that is why the safe spaces issue has become important.
The regressive left, with typical stupidity, has seized on this as an issue of ‘transgender rights’ and nothing else. This is a lie. There are two issues here. One is whether women have a right to safe spaces where they can perform private functions without interacting with men, and the other is whether a person born male who ‘self-identifies’ as a woman, can simply overthrow any such right. In other words, does just saying he is a woman allow a person who is externally identifiable as a man to enter a space reserved for women who were born female? Continue reading Restroom rights again→
Almost all credible authorities, according to GIRES in the UK, now agree that the baseline minimum for gender non-conformity as ‘at least 1%’ and this has been borne out, again according to GIRES, by recent studies in New Zealand, The Netherlands and Belgium.
Now ‘gender non-conformity’ is a broad church and by no means all of these would identify as transgender. However, research carried out by Professor Lynn Conway and also by the Williams Institute for Law, part of the UCLA, suggests about half of these are, for a prevalence of around 1:200. This is supported by census results from Malaysia, which put the incidence there — a country that is officially very hostile towards transgender — at 1:170 of male-born individuals.
This should tell us two things: transgender is innate and appears in all populations at roughly the same rate; and that as such it is a part of normal human variation.
Of these transgender populations, the vast majority are what is called by science ‘Blanchard HSTS’, ‘Early Onset Androphile’ or ‘transkids.’ These are almost always, uniquely, attracted to men. They appear as transgender very young and frequently begin dressing as girls, wearing their hair long and, in recent decades, taking feminising hormones, in their early teens. They should not be confused with another, much less frequent type of MtF transgender, known as ‘autogynephiles’. These latter are fetishistic transvestite men, for whom dressing and pretending to be a woman is a sexual thrill: think Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner. (We will deal with these elsewhere; they are almost entirely restricted to white, middle-class Western men and globally are a tiny population.)
There is a difference between sex and gender; I am going to begin with sex (you’ll see why.) Sex refers to our physical, biological bodies. Usually, it’s how we are identified as babies, by the sex of our genitalia.
So are the sexes unequal? Yes, absolutely. Women are many many times more important than men. This is because the success, indeed the survival, of any population is dependent on the number, not of men, but of fertile mothers.
In China right now, a disaster is unfolding because of decades of legal restriction of family size to one, and a cultural misogyny which has seen female foetuses routinely aborted. This means that China simply doesn’t have enough women and it is facing financial — and possibly existential — collapse as its population ages. Doubtless the Chinese will soon be seeking net immigration on a huge scale; whether they’ll be able to persuade anyone is less sure.
One man can father hundreds or thousands of babies, but a woman can only carry perhaps 20 or so children in her lifetime and very few do that. Most women have far fewer children, which makes each individual mother more important. We explain how human society developed around core groups of women and children in Why Men Made God. Without children, humans cannot survive and the key to this is not men but women. This is why we developed a ‘two-group’ social structure, based around the mothers and children, with the men in a peripheral role. Continue reading Are the sexes unequal?→
When we did the research for Why Men Made God we spent a lot of time looking at how societies might have been structure before the development of agriculture. Clearly, we can’t directly study the human groups that existed outside Africa between 50,000 and 5,000 years ago, because they no longer exist. So also looked at relatives of humans, particularly our closest, bonobos, Pan paniscus.
Our ancestors left very little evidence. Although they did use stone and bone, a great deal of their artefacts were made of wood or leather and were perishable. The few that we do have are somewhat mysterious.
To try to shed light on this, we reviewed a wide range of anthropological literature. We especially concentrated on extant traditional societies, of which there are a surprising number, despite the attempts by the patriarchy, especially the Christian and Muslim ones, to eradicate them. (As a matter of fact, Islam has been less damaging to many traditional societies than Christianity, as we see from the number of traditional groups still living, and respected, in Indonesia.)
We reviewed the mythology that was recorded soon after the invention of writing, in Sumer in the 5th Millennium BCE. We then compared this to modern mythologies which form part of traditional cultures. We also looked at similar species, and that’s where bonobos came in.
The Goddess is a big deal in the Philippines and goddesses are out in strength there this week. The occasion is the closing rounds of the Universities Athletic Association of the Philippines (UAAP) women’s volleyball tournament, held at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City. Teams with names like De La Salle Lady Spikers and Ateneo de Manila Lady Eagles, the Tigresses, the Lady Warriors and the Lady Bulldogs battle it out in front of huge, enthusiastic and thoroughly partisan crowds. And these girls aren’t kidding; this is serious stuff.
The audience is mainly young – but everywhere in the Phils is mainly young. That’s only to be expected in a country where the population has increased by a factor of ten in fifty years. And there are as many men here as women. Filipinos are as passionate about volleyball as Scots are about football.
I’m sometimes asked if I don’t feel that I am missing out, by not believing in ‘something greater’. It’s a valid question and actually one that I think all atheists should ask themselves. But the answer, at least for me, might also be of interest to others.
Yes I am part of something greater, in a very real and immediate sense. It’s not so much a question of believing but of accepting the evidence in front of me. I am part of the Earth. The Earth is not just a core of molten iron covered in a crust of rock and water, with an outer gaseous atmosphere, though it is these things. It is a living system, an entity. And I am—we are all—part of that entity.
Ever wonder why French men watch the news? I did a piece a while ago about ‘Why Americans Go To Church’ which was stimulated by some or another piece of typical septic-tank arrogance but was really meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Kinda.
Anyway this is also meant to be a bit of fun. Did you ever wonder why it is that so many French men seem so very well versed in current affairs, news, and general what’s the buzz? It has nothing to do with the Bac de Philo or anything like that.
Apart from Manila itself, the conurbation of Metro Manila includes other cities that would themselves be enormous by any other measure: Makati, Pasig, Quezon, Cavite, and others. So transport is a major part of Manila life. But this is Asia, and unlike Europe, there is no organised public transport. There are no service buses, no trams or metro systems oganised by local government. Everything is run privately, and the sheer amount of private transport provision is staggering.
Given that I have not yet see anyone carrying a passenger on his shoulders, and horse-and-cart solutions are reserved for the tourist area of Intramuros, the old part of Manila, the most basic, though not always the cheapest, means of transport is the gloriously named ‘pedicab’. This is a bicycle with a side-car.
The main problem with this solution, leaving aside the thorny moral issue of whether it can be right for a 14-stone Scotsman and an admittedly much lighter Filipina to be push-biked around by a sweating 9-stone Pinoy, is the complete lack of suspension on these contraptions. Since the roads in Manila resemble the Somme after a barrage, this means a bone-jarring ride that risks lumbar impaction. Continue reading Manila: Skinny Cats, Transports of Delight and Beautiful Women→