all 27 comments

[–]Penultimate_Penance 18 insightful - 2 fun18 insightful - 1 fun19 insightful - 2 fun -  (0 children)

Failing utterly & completely to engage with GC's arguments. They have a tendency to change the subject or bring up something so completely irrelevant to the discussion at hand that it boggles the mind. Like clown fish when we're talking about human sexual dimorphism. Failing to define their terms is a big one, because if one side refuses to be clear/honest about what they're talking about, it's pretty difficult to have a meaningful debate on anything.

[–]Omina_SentenziosaSarcastic Ovalord 17 insightful - 1 fun17 insightful - 0 fun18 insightful - 1 fun -  (4 children)

The strong point of QT ideology is also its biggest weakness as far as I am concerned: they appeal to feelings and use guilt and fear to "convince" people that they are right.

It works... until people actually start thinking or have had enough, and by then they realize what is being said makes zero sense whatsoever (and are unable to unsee it no matter how much they might try).

[–]wokuspokus 17 insightful - 1 fun17 insightful - 0 fun18 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

This absolutely. Most non- LGBT TRAs I know are women who have fallen for the emotional side of it. I think there’s a fair few GC people (particularly the younger GC peeps here) who either supported QT or just didn’t engage with either side because surely TWAW/TMAM and all that goes with it is just being kind. Then you peak- you see something that cannot be ignored (sports, the VRR incident, e.g) and you don’t care about being kind because the other side have zero interest about being kind to women. Then you start thinking logically, and then the QT you’ve built in your head crumbles.

[–]worried19 10 insightful - 2 fun10 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 2 fun -  (2 children)

Can I just say I love your user name?

[–]wokuspokus 9 insightful - 3 fun9 insightful - 2 fun10 insightful - 3 fun -  (1 child)

Thanks! Was my Twitter handle before I binned off that misogynistic hellsite.

[–]worried19 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Welcome to the sub! Saidit is much better than Twitter. We have some actual free speech here.

Hey, are you on Ovarit, too? Let me know if you'd like an invite code.

[–][deleted] 15 insightful - 4 fun15 insightful - 3 fun16 insightful - 4 fun -  (13 children)

What a great question! This should net some really insightful answers. Hopefully no one minds, but I thought I would share my thoughts about both sides. This is my take after four-ish months of exposure to this stuff:

Where and how do you feel the opposing position (GC or QT) has been most or least convincing?

QT is least convincing to me primarily because it doesn't rely on facts to make assertions or arguments. Instead of presenting facts, it seems like the strategy is mostly to try to discredit anyone else's facts or make one question them. I see arguments made in its name as 'anti fact'. The most convincing part of their arguments, though, is the encouragement for people to look at terms and words as being entirely changeable--nothing is static, anything can be anything, which is idealistically very attractive (it's what I like most about that perspective).

GC is fact-based, which appeases my rational side as everything they share and assert makes sense. QT people can be guilty of this too, but I don't like seeing when GC people get into name-calling and nastier insults, and that's probably what I see as hurting GC the most (but that's just my feeling about it, idk if that's really impactful or not). Both sides have bullies and people who can be a little mean to others, but since GC has strength in the ideology and beliefs, then I feel like this is what hurts GC the most.

Do you feel their style of argumentation is effective?

The QT style of argumentation is very ineffective and off-putting to me; it comes across as so authoritarian and cult-like, like 'it's this way because I say so'. That makes the arguments very weak to me, because everything is presented as though it is impossible to challenge it. Nothing about the argument really feels dynamic.

The GC style of argumentation is much more effective because it's fact-based and adaptive because of that. It's direct and with supporting evidence, so I don't know that I've really seen any GC people stumble when arguing in its favor. To me, the directness can be intimidating because of the confidence and assuredness, but that's also valuable too.

How about the integrity of the argument itself?

On the very surface, the QT argument seems really wholesome and well-intended, but it falters at any level of questioning, I feel. Part of what seems difficult for that perspective is that they are defending an ideal that is being asserted as fact but focusing only on really using subjective facts (like stating 'I am a woman because I say I am'). The argument feels really, really weak, in my opinion.

GC's arguments are supported and upheld with facts of all kinds used in all different scenarios. It's adaptive, which to me is the greatest indicator of its integrity as beliefs that stand up against almost anything.

The express or inferred intentions of the author or speaker?

I think most of the QT people I've seen (just like internet posters) have good and honest intentions. I think most really mean what they say, so I don't think they're hiding anything. But from experience, I am wary to take them at face value when they assert that they are inclusive of people like me since there've been countless times that as soon as I question something or mention something that might be construed as GC that those people who were trying to portray themselves as my friend and ally suddenly become hostile. This has happened often enough that I just don't trust QT posts or people claiming to be my friend or to care or any of that.

GC people tend to seem more blunt, which I appreciate. I'm not a blunt person at all, so I tend to really like that quality in others--I generally respect that kind of honesty and it's easier for me to trust people like that. The trade is (and this is why I have trouble with it myself) that it can be abrasive and feel hurtful, so sometimes I feel like the rather solid integrity of GC can be undermined by flippancy or self-righteousness of some followers, just because the facts maybe overshadow the human element sometimes. But, again, that's just how I see it from my perspective.

The consistency of position? The reliability of supporting data?

QT's consistency seems to rely on unquestioning obedience and repetition of its esoteric beliefs. Slogans like 'TWAW/TMAM' are the most consistent part of their beliefs, and there's really no way to argue any of it which is the only way to keep all of these beliefs consistent. I don't really see scientific data used in QT arguments very much, and it makes sense since QT seems to be more critical of science than accepting of it.

GC has the same conclusions no matter how they are reached. The beliefs are most exercised like thought experiments over and over in countless different ways and scenarios, so the conclusions and findings stand up to scrutiny. They're actively scrutinized by their own proponents. The scientific mentality behind GC gives me more confidence in the information that is presented in its favor than that of QT.

[–]Spikygrasspod 16 insightful - 1 fun16 insightful - 0 fun17 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

I don't like being blunt or hurtful, and tried to discuss things nicely with people at first. The problem, as I see it, is that we define as 'rude' and 'offensive' everything we don't want to hear. And we don't want to hear women telling the truth or defending their interests. Reading a little bit of feminist history has made me realise that women at the cutting edge of promoting women's liberation have frequently been very unpopular. That's not to say there aren't people who are unnecessarily nasty, as well. But when you're talking to people who have redefined clarity and truth as hate speech, you're never going to meet their standards for politeness. I had this problem when discussing the issues with a QT friend. I tried to hedge my bets and use language she would understand and accept, that wouldn't hurt her feelings, but she used the ambiguity in my choice of words to deliberately and repeatedly miss the point and answer straw men. Yet had I used the plain language necessary to prevent these misunderstandings and make a compelling argument she would have been devastated and thought me a villain.

[–][deleted] 9 insightful - 1 fun9 insightful - 0 fun10 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

I understand your frustration--I mean, I can see time and again what you're talking about, and I would probably feel the same way if I were you. QT is based more on ideas than facts, so how do you really argue anything if anything can be anything? Those conversations sometimes make me want to scream from second-hand exasperation.

I'm not sure what the solution would be. You understandably feel the way you feel, so no one really has the right to tell you what to say or how to say it. Having thick skin, an open mind, and being able to not take things personally seem like what QT or trans people might need to be able to really engage with you--I think what might be most helpful to GC people is having lots of patience (which it seems like you've exhausted a while ago). I wish I had something more helpful or useful to add, I'm sorry.

[–]Spikygrasspod 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I'm not sure that's what we need, to be honest. To take the friend I was talking about, I think what she needs is intellectual honesty and to stop treating women's interests as unimportant. I don't think the breakdown in communication was due to sensitivity, impatience or mistakes, I think it was due to her being emotionally and intellectually manipulative in order to rationalise her worldview and behaviour and make it appear less like what it is: prioritising her personal identity, and her affiliation with other transfeminist philosophers and activists, over women's collective interests and safety. She rejected the idea of third spaces, by the way, which made me think it's not really about safety for her. I think when faced with someone like that, patience is beside the point and women need to advocate for their interests more directly, with e.g. policymakers.

[–]MarkTwainiac 13 insightful - 1 fun13 insightful - 0 fun14 insightful - 1 fun -  (3 children)

Fleurista, hi! I agree that people on both sides can be hurtful and seem petty. I also think there are bullies & nasty people in both camps.

But do you think that when GC sometimes come across to you & others as blunt to the point of being "abrasive and hurtful," your perceptions might be colored by our sex and age? GC is widely seen as including a large number of female people who are middle-aged & older. Girls & women of all ages are expected to "be kind." But older women are expected to be motherly, soothing, placating, always trying to smooth ruffled feathers too.

I ask this as an older woman who has said things to you and some other posters here that have been interpreted as harsh and mean. My intent was never to be harsh and mean, but I know that's how my words have come across.

[–][deleted] 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Following this thought, can we admit that sometimes we're just weary of countering ill-informed nonsense? (Worse, ill-informed nonsense that's been routinely underscored by cancelling, doxxing, and death threats?)

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Oh Hi Mark! 😊 I'm sorry to take so long responding, but I wanted to digest this and think on it a bit because that's a really good question.

I can absolutely see why women like you may have even less patience for TRA, QT and gender ideology, and trying to put myself in your shoes I can totally get why older GC radical feminists would be super over it all (I mean, the GC radfem website is called Ovarit, so that level of frustration should be obvious). I'm sure you and other women like you are sick to death of repeating yourselves, particularly when you're constantly being met with hostility and closed-mindedness.

Personally, I began learning about GC at the same time I was communicating with GC people, and I really didn't have an idea of the kinds of people who are GC (other than mostly being women), so I was sort of expecting a not-so-warm welcome from all GC people--age never really came to mind. Maybe I'm wrong, but I believe I experience many of the same expectations of women, so I'm always aware of how women are supposed to act because I am expected to act the same way (at least in public, daily life). Maybe I was expecting less confrontation and less derision from GC women of all ages just because you are women? I'm still not really sure.

The most abrasive or hurtful thing, to me, is having my lived experiences flippantly dismissed as untrue or trivialized. I feel like maybe there is an assumption or expectation that trans or QT people wish to interact with GC in bad faith, which is how I feel like I was viewed (and maybe still am) when I first began interacting with GC people. I suppose I understand the suspicion, and I think I have my guard up a bit too now. But trans people aren't all the same and not all of us are products of this trans rights/gender ideology movement or 'trenders' or 'transbians' or fetishists. The regular GC people of this sub have been and are respectful towards me, generally, and I do really appreciate that as I can understand how fed up they are with trans people.

I don't feel like I can speak for other trans people beyond that, since we're all different and we experience this condition differently. Certainly take my views and opinions with a grain of salt if comparing to other trans peoples' 😅

I hope this isn't embarrassing, but I've noticed you changing the way you communicate, taking care to be respectful and rather warm. Or maybe it's just me! But I do appreciate that very, very much. You have every right in the world to call me a man, but you generally don't, which I notice and appreciate even if that's OK with me if you do. You're very conscientious, but based on our earlier interactions I wouldn't have expected us to ever be engaging in light, friendly and respectful ways--I've come to really enjoy talking to you. I never thought you or others would extend this level of kindness, but I'm so happy to be wrong!🙂

Obviously I went all over the place, but I hope (somehow) I answered your question!

[–]MarkTwainiac 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Thanks Fleurista for responding. You answered my question just fine. I'm listening and taking what you say to heart.

People are surprising, aren't we? Which is one of the reasons I can't stand the attitude that so many people adopt, the one that says, in effect, Not gonna bother talking to you since I already know what you'll say/how you will react. For every person I've known in life whose reactions I thought I could predict ahead of time, there's been another one who showed me that I am not clairvoyant after all.

It's interesting that you think my communication style has changed. That might be the case. Then again, it might not be - or might not be to the extent you think. Fact is, I am rather incorrigible. I've always been criticized - and rightly so - for being too blunt & abrasive, and for saying aloud things that most people keep in the privacy of their own heads. I'm not diplomatic. I'm also annoyingly pedantic. Many in my life consider me to be a major pain the ass. My kids regularly read me the riot act over my big mouth & have told me many times they would much prefer that I STFU.

The other side of our dynamic might be that in our time on saidit you have changed in the kinds of assertions you make. My impression is that you used to make many more claims to having a female essence & childhood experiences that could justify your sense that you & I are of the same sex. I have been very impressed by your willingness to take pushback on these matters. And I am sorry that my pushback has come across as harsh & mean and has been hard to hear.

Also, it seems that in a short space of time you have made a sea change in how you view women like me. Now we're "people" in your eyes, LOL.

Seriously now, I have come to admire you greatly & to feel fond of you. I see you as a very generous-minded, kind, intelligent, good-humored young person who is trying to figure out life and your place in it. You and some other posters here have helped me curb my unfair inclination to lump all trans-identified persons of your sex into an undifferentiated misogynistic mass.

I have very much enjoyed our exchanges. I hope you know that even as I will push back at claims you & others might make that I disagree with, I really wish you well.

I also love sharing music videos with you!

[–]worried19 12 insightful - 1 fun12 insightful - 0 fun13 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

Excellent comment. You broke it down really well.

If anything hurts the GC side, I think it's the tendency to emotionally vent in negative ways. We lose our upper hand when we engage in mean-spiritedness. And it's not because we're women not being nice. It's because no one likes a jerk. GC has to be better than that. TRAs still might hate us, but at least they wouldn't be able to find fault with our behavior.

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Thanks! I think you perfectly summed up the issues and observations, too.
GC can come across as 'punching down', I think. But I can totally understand why GC women would be as upset and passionate as they are, so I don't fault anyone for engaging with TRAs, trans people or QT in the way they do.

[–]worried19 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

My biggest worry about GC is that it creates a climate of fear around trans women, at least a little bit. There are so many stories of bad actors that sometimes you might start to think "maybe trans women are all like that." In particular with regards to the late transitioning female-attracted ones. But then of course I don't believe that's the case. I've had enough interactions with trans women online like you and peaking and Barbie to refute that.

I think it's just important to continue to evaluate people as individuals, not as representatives of their group. Whether it's trans status or anything else. Innocent people shouldn't be held accountable for the crimes of others.

[–][deleted] 9 insightful - 1 fun9 insightful - 0 fun10 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

Both sides have bullies and people who can be a little mean to others, but since GC has strength in the ideology and beliefs, then I feel like this is what hurts GC the most.

I'm really glad you brought this up. Before encountering the QT-GC debates, I had the dubious pleasure of meeting one person after another in academia (some students, some instructors) who habitually mistook the search for truth as ideological blood sport, and intellectual inquiry as a means of inflicting psychological blunt force trauma. They absolutely loved the concept of Socratic inquiry and completely ignored the intertwined concept of Socratic humility. The best instructors I ever had were fluent in both.

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

They absolutely loved the concept of Socratic inquiry and completely ignored the intertwined concept of Socratic humility

Ooo I think this is the crux of GC's situation, and the solution. It's tough, I think, because woman already are expected to be humble and demure and demonstrate humility, so a lot if not most GC feminists are understandably pushing back against that. It is the furthest thing from fair, but as you say, your best instructors practiced both methods mentioned.

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

You're right about GC in particular being over . . . well, it's a long list, isn't it? Being told to "be nice" is just one item on that list. And I think a lot of pure anger and frustration comes through, and sometimes it unfairly hurts even the GC-adjacent.

Socratic humility doesn't really mean meekness, though (I think a lot of its critics might think it does). It's more about humility before the unknown -- can we admit there's a point where we don't know something? Where we cannot logically advance a given argument? That there are limits to our understanding? Can we accept it when we're proven wrong? Totally not the way it's taught in high-powered law schools and our extraverted culture, but there it is. We can be super-passionate about a line of inquiry, and quick to dispel utter nonsense, but also humble enough to admit the limits of our knowledge. And to remember the human being on the other side of the debate. It's not an easy line to walk, but I don't think it was ever meant to be easy.

(clarity edits)

[–]worried19 11 insightful - 1 fun11 insightful - 0 fun12 insightful - 1 fun -  (2 children)

I'm not much of a philosopher, but for me the QT side seems heavy on pathos but lacking in logos.

[–]Spikygrasspod 14 insightful - 1 fun14 insightful - 0 fun15 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Agreed. The really effective tactics are 1. telling everyone that their critics are right wing bigots, thus isolating us and our ideas from our likeliest allies. 2. associating their movement with gay rights by analogy so that progressives will accept it without looking more closely 3. redefining language and demonstrating so much outrage when people disagree or use different language that many well intentioned people hesitate to say anything at all.

Logically the twaw position is incredibly weak, though, because at the core is equivocation between two terms: 1. woman (female person) and 2. woman (personal identification as a female person despite lacking the key qualification).

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

I agree. I'm holding off posting my own take, but if I had to pick only one quality, that would definitely be it -- it's the pattern I've seen most consistently across the board. (Which isn't to say I've never seen well-executed QT arguments -- the pathos/shaky-data angle just seems very common and persistent.)

[–]FlanJam 10 insightful - 1 fun10 insightful - 0 fun11 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Like other people said, QT relies on emotional appeal a lot and they're good at it. Not just trans stuff but all their talking points seem to revolve around personal freedom and validation which sounds really nice. But their arguments aren't logically rigorous imo. Even some of the more well spoken and reasonable QT will have holes in their ideology. Maybe I'm bias but I think some QT positions are simply untenable and they should just drop it and focus on things they can fight for.

GC is like the polar opposite in my eyes. Their arguments are logical, consistent, and even if I disagree in places I find myself agreeing with them most of the time. But they don't present their views in the most tactful ways. I get they don't wanna play nice and they wanna be unapologetic but when I see GC arguing they can come off was way too pedantic or aggressive.

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

My own take isn't anything that others haven't said better, but I wanted to give them a chance to chime in first.

Do you feel their style of argumentation is effective?

Everywhere I've seen them, QT arguments tend to be highly abstract and impractical (Queer Theory in academia) and stubbornly contrarian in a way that demands belief over evidence (QT elsewhere) -- while simultaneously appealing to the evidence-based fields of medicine and psychology to grant it validity and a set of procedures that humans can't (reliably) perform on themselves. It's a paradoxical position that's very hard to hold . . . to the point where advocates have begun to urge each other to drop the science-and-medicine part of the argument.

How about the integrity of the argument itself?

The only integrity of the argument I've seen is from transmeds tackling the GD issue and how best to navigate it. That they (along with detrans/desistors) are being shouted down and pressured into silence by self-ID activists is unconscionable.

The express or inferred intentions of the author or speaker?

Overwhelmingly suspect. Often eerily similar to narcissistic tantrums and adolescent meltdowns. Completely void when it deviates into harassment and silencing.

The consistency of position?

Nil. Constant evasiveness, fuzzy definitions and individualistic redefinition of terms, appeals to the mutability or instability of objective reality.

The reliability of supporting data?

Sketchy. Routine appeals to outdated research and denial of conflicting data regardless of quality.

QT strengths: Bringing serious questions about gender to the fore (what is it? what is it not? does it have value?) -- a missed golden opportunity as so many advocates insist on literalizing gender as a state of being or integral aspect of consciousness. And GD is a compelling question all of its own (what is it? what underpins it? does it correlate with psychological or physical trauma? how can we best provide patients good quality-of-life?).

(clarity edit)

[–]FlippyKingSadly this sub welcomes rape apologists and victim blaming. Bye! 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (1 child)

Which of these covers when they are being disingenuous? What made me give up hope for the "qt" crowd is when I saw so many people, or sock puppets, completely lie about or misrepresent "the science".

The only "effective" thing I've seen from the qt crowd is emotional manipulation and confusing the masses with ridiculous word salads a la Judith Butler (who beneath her word salads misrepresent people like Foucault)

[–][deleted] 8 insightful - 1 fun8 insightful - 0 fun9 insightful - 1 fun -  (0 children)

Ethos, probably . . . if the person (or group) is lying outright to advance their cause, that's an ethical issue.