What Does Chelsea Manning’s Gender Have to Do With You?

There's no good reason to be upset about people's efforts to control their sense of identity

A picture of then-Bradley Manning dressed as a woman used as evidence during trial.Source: U.S. ArmyAfter being sentenced to 35 years at Fort Leavenworth for leaking hundreds of thousands of classified documents to WikiLeaks, Pfc. Bradley Manning quickly announced a deeply personal decision that moved the debate away from whether the soldier was a hero or a traitor. Manning now wanted to go by the name Chelsea, to be referred to with female pronouns, and to make the transition to living life as a woman.

For those who followed Manning’s story closely, the request may not have come as much of a surprise. Manning spoke about her gender identity issues in conversations with a counselor and a supervisor at around the same time she was downloading the information she would end up passing along to WikiLeaks.

Discussions of sex and gender issues seem to turn people into armchair psychologists and biology experts. Researchers aren’t exactly sure what causes homosexuality, but that doesn't stop others from being confident they know. Ask somebody at the supermarket and they may answer with the certainty of a solution to a simple math problem.

Manning’s announcement caused some immediate disbelief. Rod Dreher weighed in at The American Conservative:

I presume Bradley Manning still has a penis and male chromosomes. He is not a female simply because he says he is. Though I very much doubt that the military will give him the female hormones he has requested for his prison stay, Manning may have the operation one day, but for now, he is still a he. I don’t see why feeling pity for Manning’s psychological suffering requires us to play along with his hallucination.

At the National Review Online, Kevin D. Williamson was similarly blunt:

Dennis Avner [popularly known as "Cat Man"] was not a tiger, and Bradley Manning is not a woman. Mr. Manning, who upon his sentencing for his role in the WikiLeaks case announced that he desires to live out his days as a woman called Chelsea, is what he is, and no amount of pronoun play, psychotherapeutic doublespeak, or wishful thinking can make it otherwise.

Case closed!

The simplicity of the statement illuminates the intent of critics to wash their hands of the whole thing. They're interested in resolving the complex issue of gender in as simple a manner as sexual orientation was once discussed. People of the same sex cannot reproduce; therefore it’s unnatural. Similarly, either God or genetics (or both) grants us a sex. This is an immutable component of our physiology. The end.

But as we learn more about the world around us, we know that this isn’t true. Homosexuality is rife in the animal kingdom, documented in the book Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity. There was a time – just a decade or two ago – that many people thought there were no homosexual animals, and therefore human homosexuality was a form of deviance. They were wrong. Now we all know about the gay penguins.

The animal kingdom is also rife with gender-bending. It’s actually in the DNA of some species. For any social conservative worried about exposing children to transgendered behavior, be grateful Finding Nemo wasn’t scientifically accurate. Clownfish change from male to female in order to breed. Simply the existence of human hermaphrodites should at least give folks pause when declaring Manning is obviously a man even if she goes by Chelsea now. Why is Dreher presuming the content of Manning’s chromosomes? How would he know?

The bigger question is “Why should it matter to any of us if Bradley Manning becomes Chelsea Manning?” Why should there be resistance to referring to Chelsea as a woman? What does it mean to any of us at all if Manning puts on a blond wig and starts taking hormones? A letter from a reader that Dreher quotes gives some insight:

Forget the sex side of this; what about the journalism angle? What else am I allowed to dictate? If Al Gore wants to come on and be referred to as “President Gore,” do they comply with that? If Anthony Weiner insists on being called, “the entirely wholesome and family positive Anthony Weiner,” do they do that?

I mean, these are all statements that color how people view these people. You can check and see if Gore was ever president. Even if you disagree with the Supreme Court case giving the presidency to Bush, Gore was never president. Maybe that’s unfair, but it’s still not true that he was ever president.

Seriously. Let’s say that I am arrested for sneaking into a women’s restroom and ogling women. This gets reported in the news. I tell the reporter that I don’t understand this charge because I am a woman. The reporter agrees to do this. Well, the news no longer makes sense. It’s, “Woman arrested for using women’s restroom.”

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  • Gabriel Hanna||

    What's it to you if I don't call him Chelsea? So why assume that my not accepting Manning for who he says he is would have an impact on anybody other than me and those who are closest to me?

    As free citizens, haven't we the natural right to judge such matters for ourselves and express ourselves on them, regardless on whether Reason contributors think we should? If we work for National Review and identify as conservative, how does that change anything?

  • thom||

    What's it to you if I don't call him Chelsea?

    It's impolite of you, for starters.

    I just call people whatever they want to be called.

    Insisting on calling people some other name is impolite and creates unnecessary confusion.

  • SugarFree||

    Damn straight, tom!

  • John Galt||

    Damn it, NutraSweet, he wants to be called Thumb. How rude of you.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    It's impolite of you, for starters.

    When does Reason and Hit'N'Run care about politeness.

  • Zeb||

    Some of us behave a bit differently in the real world than on mostly anonymous internet comment sections. Not being a dick to everyone all the time does have some advantages.

  • Tony||

    There's never an excuse for rudeness.

  • Sidd Finch||

    fuck you

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    eatadickanddie

  • John Galt||

    "There's never an excuse for rudeness."

    So what you're saying is there's no excuse for you.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    That's change we can hope for.

  • grey||

    Lot's of excuses for rudeness. Some of them good excuses. "Ooops, I'm sorry I held up my fake bloody hands at your war monger meeting. It's so rude of me, but hey, I have a good excuse, this meeting is filled with statist, thieving, control freaks." = Good Excuse.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    When people end questions with questions marks.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    How is calling a man a woman reducing confusion?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Yep. In my neighborhood, there are thousands of gay/lesbian/trans/queer/etc. If some chick wants to be called Larry, we call her Larry. If some dude wants to be called Marjorie, we call him Marjorie. People are allowed to self-identify and that, in turn, is how I will identify them. It takes a little getting used to, but after 5 years here it's no big deal.

  • tarran||

    What if Stan says he not only wants to be called Loretta, but that he wants to have babies?

    Do you oppress him then?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    What? How would anything I do oppress Loretta?

  • tarran||

    Well, for example if you were to say "You can't have a baby; you don't have a womb!"

  • ||

    Jesus bro, that is so offensive. Check your privilege! What does someone else's harmless delusion hurt you, huh?!

  • UCrawford||

    "Where's the fetus going to gestate!?! You going to keep it in a box!?!"

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    I say good luck to him and leave it at that.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Her? I need more information. But a friendly "Good luck" is all the situation requires.

  • mgd||

  • Zeb||

    I'm certainly willing to grant him the right to have babies. In the negative rights sense, of course.

  • Malvolio||

    "Polite" is how I treat non-criminals. There are several thousand people in the US with gender-identity issues and on the list of treating people politely, Manning's at the bottom.

  • Gene Callahan||

    "It's impolite of you, for starters."

    Who are you to say Gabriel can't be impolite? Why are you imposing your "politeness agenda" on him?

    "I just call people whatever they want to be called."

    Okay, I would like you to refer to me as "Emperor Eugene, Lord and Master of Thom."

  • Cyto||

    I'd say "Princess Consuela Banana-Hammock" would be more appropriate.

  • thom||

    That's quite a mouthful. I'm just going to call you Eelmot.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    The question is who gets to push what on whom. Is it rude to show up at someone's house in drag and demand the host call you by the sex you aren't. Whose prerogative gets priority?

  • Vincent Milburn||

    If good manners means making others comfortable, then going around in drag is definitely not good manners in most contexts.

    The question is: whose sensibilities take precedence and why?

  • TucsonTwit||

    I think you should ask yourself why the mere sight of someone in drag makes you feel uncomfortable.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    I wasn't thinking of it as much for me, but for others, especially children. I tend to not get too frazzled by that stuff. I understand that people outside my circle exist who I definitely do not agree with.

  • ||

    Children tend to have a far, far easier time accepting things for what they are than adults. They have the advantage of not having had our artificial gender roles rigidly hammered into them for quite as long yet, the world is new to them and new information is a lot easier to process because they haven't yet internalised loads of "no this is ridiculous this is impossible" crap yet.

  • Brandon||

    No one is saying you don't have the right to be a judgemental asshole about it, but that also doesn't nullify the right of others to tell you when you are being a judgemental asshole.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Or call him Chelsea but also call him him.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    I would recommend that regular Reasonoids save themselves some time and not read the below comments, as they are infested with SoConsa, AND, even more horrifying, Tony is making sense.

  • MWG||

    "Tony is making sense."

    This, I gotta see.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    That's like telling me there's a unicorn in my backyard but it's not worth checking out.

  • setTHEline||

    I think I'll take your word for it, and save myself the ten minutes of wasted time. Thanks!

  • wanfuforever||

    What it means is that you are ignorant of gender identity and once again nature intercedes regardless of how we think the world works. And while I know you're getting hung up on "ignorant" as a backhanded insult, query this: how many transgender individuals do you know? How many have you talked to, even in passing? After this article did you research the concept on your computer? Have you ever researched the topic? No? Well, you're ignorant- we all are about something. Now here's the next question: are you willing to learn about the topic? Are you willing to learn where the topic might threaten belief? Either you are, or not. Gender identity means losing everything, which is why so many come out late; but this is no passing fancy. Your gender is mental, not physical- the physical is secondary. Your hypothalamus is what makes the difference, and a transwoman's looks just like a regular woman's. Now, how would you like to go through life with the equipment of a man when your brain is sending out that you are female? Pretty miserable, right? Well that's what a transwoman goes through but we're not slicing open people skulls to see what is ticking in their brain so we just go to our lowest common denominator to explain what is, in western civilization, a taboo. So please talk to one, read up on the subject, and be more informed than what you are now; it matters.

  • John Rohan||

    Well, I've researched this topic, and here's the problem.

    Not only has Manning not made any legal or physical changes toward becoming female, as far as I can tell he also hasn't been diagnosed with gender identity disorder by any physician.

    And if you always insist on calling someone what they want to be called, what if Manning wants to be called "colonel" or "general" instead of private? Well, you might say that rank is different because it's a specific designation by the Army. Well, so is sex. Manning joined the Army as a male, it says "male" on his official records, he was wearing a male Army service uniform at his trial, and he's being held in a male prison.

    But he's female? OK.

    One irony here is I guess he can't claim to be a homosexual any more? If he's a female but attracted to males, wouldn't that make Manning a heterosexual now?

  • ||

    And here's the problem with your reply

    Getting records changed to reflect your updated gender identity is a bloody nightmare. Being transgender is not a disorder, and modern medicine is moving away from calling it one. Insisting on referring to it as a disorder will, ten years down the line, make you look like the folks who we now laugh at for thinking that being gay was a mental disorder.

    Also, official records are not a more accurate reflection of a person's gender identity than their own description of their gender identity, so your points don't have any real weight.

    And the "what if somebody wants to be called x thing not relating to gender identity?" argument you and many others have been touting is fallacious, it's a faulty comparison. Gender identity and job title aren't in the same ball park or even the same sport.

    Onto an analogy which isn't false, your insistent use of male pronouns for a person who has specified that she wishes to be addressed with female pronouns is akin to insistently asking a male friend if he has a girlfriend yet even after he has specified that he is gay.

    If you had done the research you claim to have done, you surely would not still be insistently using male pronouns and using fallacies that are addressed by most trans* resources. Either that or you're just disrespectful to people's self-identity. I don't think you know Chelsea better than Chelsea knows herself.

  • ||

    What's it to you if I don't call you Gabriel? As a free citizen, haven't I the natural right to judge what I think you should be called for myself?

  • blighter||

    Excellent article w/ many excellent points.

    Scott is absolutely correct that whatever gender, etc. someone chooses to self-identify as, the correct response for right-thinking people is to treat them the way they have requested to be treated. It is, after all, nothing to us what they choose to be and only fevered, paranoid thinking of them as 'deviants' trying to 'get away with something' could possibly lead anyone to believe they should perhaps be pitied and treated compassionately as suffering from a debilitating mental illness instead. The kind of blind bigotry that believes in 'objective reality' that 'continues to exist even when you fervently wish it didn't to the point of doing yourself material harm' must be stamped out if we are ever to become a truly just society.

    As Ms. McCloskey sagely points out, the depth of transgendered feelings, the lengths such folk are willing to go to realize them, the trials and tribulations they are willing to face to live as the people they see themselves to be are all testament to how real their tragic plight is and serve as all the argument that is needed that we must ease their ability to comfortably live as the people they know themselves to be.
    (1/2)

  • blighter||

    But, of course, effectuating such treatment for the transgendered is really only the first step. What of those poor souls who feel they are handicapped but are trapped in able bodies? Surely we owe it to them to treat them as handicapped. If they are willing to go so far as to cut off perfectly intact limbs to ratify their perceived status, far from being a mark that they are afflicted with some sort of 'mental disorder', that is instead a sure sign that their feelings are powerful and must be acknowledged. After all, it is common in nature for foxes to chew off their own legs to escape from traps, thus -- as Scott would surely argue -- it is completely natural and should be acceptable for humans to cut off limbs they decide they don't want.

    So, too, with people who believe they are animals or inanimate objects or, really, anything else. The reactionary folk forever denying basic human rights would view someone who is so desperately convinced that he is a table that he is willing to lose his marriage, children, job and everything else as someone to be abjectly pitied and treated with serious psychiatric intervention. But that is wrong. If someone so desperately believes she is a table, we must all treat her as she wishes to be treated and perhaps come up with a nice still-life arrangement to set upon her. (2/3)

  • ||

    Slippery slope fallacy bro.

  • ||

    Also trans* people have been around literally forever.

  • blighter||

    So, too, with those who believe they are president or emperor or the like even if 'objective reality' suggests they are deluded. Scott blithely elided giving his view of the correct reaction to such a person by attacking the 'bathroom argument' but such a person should, of course -- if he believes he is president strongly enough -- be entitled to be treated as president. To do any less would be the rankest kind of bigotry, akin to accepting slavery -- specifically, slavery to the obsolete notion of 'reality'. (3/3)

  • Homple||

    I agree with Blighter and Scott.
    (signed)
    Jesus H. Christ

  • WTF||

    tl;dr

  • Almanian!||

    Cool story, bro

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Quiet you, Emperor Norton I was the greatest leader this country has ever had!

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    someone who is so desperately convinced that he is a table


    Is this a Metallica reference?

  • Loki||

    Obviously.

  • Mint Berry Crunch||

    Then I approve, and I look forward to more posts from blighter in the future!

  • Sidd Finch||

    Where's your stomping ground these days? I LOL'd at quite a few of your comments on McArdle's old Atlantic blog.

  • wwhorton||

    And, if you start letting gays marry, well, hell, next thing you know people will want to marry dogs, and armchairs, and who knows what else! It'll be chaos!!

  • Loki||

    "He'll get up gay married, she'll get up gay married, we'll all get up gay married! It'll be anarchy!"

  • Azathoth!!||

    Stopped reading at 'right-thinking'.

  • Sidd Finch||

    it's parody

  • ||

    I've missed you blighter. I couldn't follow McArdle to that one site and I haven't bothered to look up her latest abode.

  • Gene Callahan||

    Good work, blighter. That Scott childishly pretends all these issues don't exist is quite a condemnation of this shallow article.

  • Irish||

    Absolutely right, Scott. I don't understand the obsession some people have with another person's life.

  • WTF||

    Sorry, but I refuse to call someone Fido just because he insists he's really a dog. I am under no obligation to indulge someone's ridiculous illusions.

    It's a man, baby!

  • Brandon||

    You didn't read the article, did you?

  • WTF||

    You didn't read the article, did you?
    Fuck no. The whole damn thing is silly.

  • ||

    "I refuse to change my behaviour and respect people's identities because I refuse to even regard the slightest bit of information on gender identities because I believe I already know everything worth knowing on the subject, having done no research whatsoever. I am persistent and wilful in my ignorance and will continue to be a horrible person and dismiss people as ridiculous when really I could just be nice to them and they'd be happy and they'd be facing that little bit less oppression and the world would be a slightly nicer place."

    Grow up!!!!

  • Calidissident||

    What if his name actually is Fido? If a guy changed his name from John to George, would you insist on calling him John?

  • Knarf Yenrab (prev. An0nB0t)||

    Yes. This inexplicably long thread is like a debate over whether you should call out a known philanderer at the next Lion's Club meeting. You shouldn't, even if you disagree with him, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has ever tried to sell anything at any time.

    The NAP isn't being violated, so recognizing the non-cis gender or gender change or affiliation with a Gaia cult is just a question of whether you're an asshole who's willing to alienate people who, on the whole, produce useful goods and services. Not that anyone isn't free to be an asshole, but being an asshole rarely facilitates trade or anything other than propping up a fragile ego.

  • ||

    This inexplicably long thread is like a debate over whether you should call out a known philanderer at the next Lion's Club meeting.

    To complete the analogy, you need the sense of indignation though. If the philanderer has thrown a press conference announcing his receiving the lifetime achievement award for faithfulness to his wife, and insists on being called "Most Faithful Man of the Year", your knowledge of the reality of the situation would naturally cause some degree of cognitive dissonance when faced with the prospect of addressing someone you know to be an inveterate skirt chaser as something he clearly is not.

  • David Emami||

    "His mamma call him Clay, imma call him Clay."

  • Hyperion||

    I don't understand the obsession some people have with another person's life

    The real problem lies in the fact that a lot of those people go into politics.

  • Zeb||

    Which people?

  • Hyperion||

    The people who have an obsession with other peoples lives.

  • Zeb||

    That's what I thought it was just slightly ambiguous.

  • RBS||

    Those people...

  • ||

    I don't understand the obsession some people have with another person's life.

    This might be a good time to point out that nobody outside of a very narrow range of people would know or care how Bradley/Chelsea Manning identifies in terms of gender if he/she hadn't thrown a press conference to purvey his/her grievance to the world.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    So when Obama says that bombing Syria is not a war should we oblige him?

  • Hyperion||

    If you don't, you're a racist. If it was Booshpig that wanted this, everyone here would support it.

  • Brandon||

    No, moron. Chelsea Manning's gender preference does not affect you or anyone else in any way. Obama bombing another country does. This is not even that difficult a concept, even someone with a public school education should be able to grasp it.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Being told I should adopt a politically charged meaning of a word in order to make the language even more convoluted doesn't effect me?

    And muddling up the language won't make it easier to claim that things don't affect you or not.

  • Mencken Sense||

    This.

    I don't give a damn how people dress or what they do with their genitals. But 2+2=4. A is A.

    "For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?"

  • Tony||

    2+2=4. A is A.

    Both of these are pure tautologies.

  • Mencken Sense||

    And?

  • Tony||

    Not that tautologies can't contain higher meaning, but these are totally empty. They cannot be used in the service of the claim that penis=male pronouns, when that's the very matter at issue.

  • Duke||

    Being told I should adopt a politically charged meaning of a word in order to make the language even more convoluted doesn't effect me? And muddling up the language won't make it easier to claim that things don't affect you or not.

    This times two X chromosomes.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    They're being deliberately obtuse.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    They're being deliberately obtuse.

    And going on about sex, gender, etc. will reduce obtuseness?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Not in you. You're hopeless.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    You're insisting that certain definitions have no real meaning except when it suits you. You are claiming that Manning's gender is subjective yet objectively that this doesn't effect me.

  • Brandon||

    The reading comprehension is pretty low among the people disagreeing with Scott.

  • Homple||

    Why not be Marie of Rumania while she's at it?

  • Hyperion||

    I want to be called Sir Rumplefuckingstiltskin of Fuckingshire, the 36th and a halfist.

    I am going to start demanding at work tomorrow that everyone call me that.

    I wonder how that will go?

  • SugarFree||

    About as well as my campaign to rename myself LORD DOOMCOCK!

  • WTF||

    I thought Warty actually had the Thorny Cock of Doom.

  • SugarFree||

    They aren't really thorns, per se. Like the narwhal, it's a single deformed tooth.

  • Sudden||

    Those aren't thorns. You might wanna get tested soon.

  • db||

    "DOOM COCK.
    DOOM COCK.
    DOOM COCK."

  • SugarFree||

    I was a pretty sharp hat.

  • SugarFree||

    *it was* The 4pm typing bug has struck again.

  • WTF||

    Hey, I'm actually happy to call someone any name they wish to go by. I just won't go along with pretending they're something that they actually aren't.

  • Hyperion||

    The Otherkins not like you!

  • Zeb||

    Who is pretending to be something they really aren't? If you ask the sad sack formerly known as Bradley Manning what he is, I don't think he will deny that he is a biologically male person who feels better and more authentic living as a woman.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Yet you referred to that person with male pronouns when Manning wants to be referred to by female pronouns.

  • Zeb||

    You are right, I did that.

  • Loki||

    HATER!!!!!

  • db||

    The real relevant question here is, of course:

    "Chelsea Manning: John or sarcasmic?"

  • SugarFree||

    It'll be a few more years and a few more failed marriages before sarcasmic embraces the truth about vimself.

  • Finchster||

    Kevin Williamson responds:

    Scott Shackford at Reason.com makes the classic content-free "what's it to ya" argument about Bradley Manning. Regarding Mr. Shackford’s considerable insights into the biological inaccuracies of Finding Nemo, I can reply only that in the course of arguing that Bradley Manning is not a woman I did not have sufficient space to argue that he also is not a clownfish. It seemed too obvious to require attention at the time, but I seem to have been mistaken. I regret this oversight and would like to note that Mr. Manning also is not a flying squirrel, an emu, a giant geode, or an alternative proof of Fermat’s last theorem.
  • Brandon||

    And Williamson's projection-laden content-free response is at about the same level as the negative comments here. Kevin Williamson is pretty much just a troll.

  • FYTW||

    While I often disagree with Williamson, he's pretty much the opposite of a troll. Rather, he's responding to Shackford's sub-moronic screed with all the seriousness that it deserves.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Not at all. If you cannot seriously engage the substance of the argument, maybe you should just kill yourself now. That goes for you and Williamson.

    I mean, this is second-grade level manners here, and you're still too dumb to get it. I hope you haven't bred.

  • Finchster||

    Williamson's original NR piece is perfectly serious and I agree with it entirely. It's linked to Shackford's piece.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    No, it is not serious.

    Here, I'll make you a deal: you can be as rude as you want, and you can fuck off somewhere and be a trog away from me. Does that work for you?

  • ||

    Neoliberal Kochtopus will henceforth be known as Grand Arbiter of the Seriousness of all Things Serious, Seriously. If you don't like it, fuck off and stop being such a rude cunt.

  • FYTW||

    What substance? Shackford's entire point, as Williamson notes, is, "So what if Manning wants to be treated as a woman? It's no skin off your nose."

    What apparently escapes Shackford, and you, and Brandon, and all the other various fuckwits who think Shackford has the better of this argument, is that Manning is not actually a fucking woman. Period. Full stop. No amount of wishful thinking or chemical or surgical alteration will magically turn him into one. He's a guy. He can cut off his junk and he'll still be a guy. He can grow tits and he'll still be a guy. He can call himself Chelsea and wear a dress until the cows come home and he'll still be a guy. Humoring him in the name of "manners" and "politeness" does violence to the language as a tool for describing reality.

    It's impossible for me to believe you're really too retarded to appreciate that fact, so right back atcha on the "I hope you haven't bred" bit.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Like I said, your tired fealty to Platonism has rendered your thought process faulty.

  • FYTW||

    My fealty is to observable reality as revealed by modern genetic and medical science, not Platonism, you dope.

  • John Jay.||

    That Williamson considers "what's it to ya" to be a content-free argument tells me everything I need to know about him.

  • AlmightyJB||

    huh?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    California recently passed a law allowing transgendered school students to participate in activities and use facilities based on their declared gender...

    I foresee this being a liability nightmare.

    I probably won't be referring to Manning with the female pronoun for a while at least. The private has been in the news and a topic of discussion for so long that it will take a while to even consider it. But while not understanding it, I have little doubt that gender dysphoria is an actual thing (and a terrible thing at that). I probably wouldn't call it a choice. The choice is doing something about it.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    So has Manning legally changed his name to Chelsea?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Does the State wipe your ass for you too?

  • Bam!||

    No, just inspect the quality of my wipe while imposing taxes if I do in a manner that contradicts the governments supreme wisdom.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Does the State still have its stick up your ass? I was asking an honest question. Manning call himself whatever he wants and I call that person him whatever I want whatever the state says his name is.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    "an honest question" with no relevance. I don't let the State dictate its terms to me. I don't let Manning's "legal" status influence whether I am going to be polite or not.

    Apparently you do. I'll call Obama to give you your bottle now.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Where did I say that Manning's legal name had any relevance as to what name I will use?

  • RBS||

    Where else did this get posted? Who are all these other commenters?

  • Brandon||

    Scott is trolling the National Review pearl-clutchers.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    As a matter of basic politeness, it is perfectly appropriate to refer to an individual however they want to be called. OTOH, I see no need to do so outside that context: perhaps Manning aspires to be a woman or feels that fate dealt him the wrong set of cards. Ok. It is still the case that (AFAIK) he is still biologically male. It is Orwellian abuse of language to insist that he is not -- even in conversation with others who are entirely unrelated to Manning -- to satisfy a non-existent need for tolerance.

    Manning should not be abused for his choices, all would agree. Most would agree to not make a big deal out of his choices, for the sake of comity. I don't see how any of this requires us to establish elaborate fantasies to tell one another about people when neither freedom nor decency are threatened.

  • Tony||

    It's appropriate behavior to use the gender pronouns people prefer and it costs you nothing to do so.

  • Finchster||

    It requires me to lie, which injuries me by violating my conscience. I am not required to play along with other people's delusions.

  • Brandon||

    Goddammit, you dumb fucks are forcing me to agree with Tony! Stop it!

  • ||

    This.

    Agreement with Tony is nearly untenable.

  • Tak Kak||

    Appropriate for whom?

  • Eric||

    We're getting into some Kafkaesque shit when we have to deliberately ignore that which is real, in order to satisfy someone's sense of that which they wish was real.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Whatever you say, Broomhilda.

    Wait, is that not your name?

  • Tak Kak||

    That sounds fine as long as it's harmless, this may not be so harmless.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Do you do assess every change in circumstances in the same way? If not, why not?

    It seems to me that you don't assess whether something is "harmful" in other avenues of life, so why this one?

  • Tak Kak||

    Because there's a lot research has been done in this one.

  • Tak Kak||

    *that* has been done.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    You mean lots of research both ways, right? Because otherwise you would be lying, and heaven forfend.

  • Tak Kak||

    I've never heard of two-way research before.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Do we know it is not real? Do you know so much that you can say that there is no aspect of Manning's self-perception that is not real? How much of gender is mental? I don't know. How much of what we call fixed reality actually depends on consensus?

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    Do we know it is not real? Do you know so much that you can say that there is no aspect of Manning's self-perception that is not real? How much of gender is mental? I don't know. How much of what we call fixed reality actually depends on consensus?

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    See? I think that I clicked once but the squirrels saw it differently.

  • Auric Demonocles||

    Only if you have no moral objection to lying.

  • Brandon||

    I have no moral objection to lying if it causes absolutely no harm. Nor does anyone who has developed a moral code more sophisticated than a kindergartener's.

  • Tony||

    It's lying to refer to people as they wish to be referred? I'm not sure it has anything to do with truth telling or lying.

  • Tak Kak||

    Yes, I refer to my cousin as "princess", it's definitely lying.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    It costs me a well-defined meaning of a common word in favor of a hazy, ill-defined, and politically-charged one.

  • Tony||

    I don't see how one pronoun is less well defined or more politically charged than the other.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    XY chromosome = male; XX = female

    Well defined.

    Alternate definition:

    penis = male; vag = female

    Also well-defined.

    Your definition:

    male; female = "Eh, whatever the hell people want to be! It's all socially prescribed, anyways!"

    Poorly defined and carries only the slightest trace of useful information for the person using that definition.

  • Tony||

    It is not the job of the world to be as simple as you need it to be so that you're not confused.

  • Sudden||

    It is not the job of the world to be as simple as you need it to be so that you're not confused

    You can't be this stupid.

    He literally demosntrated exactly how the world IS so goddamned simple in this regard.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    The world is that simple, Tony. We employ terms to meaningfully describe the world, not to cater to your sense of outrage. My potential confusion is precisely relevant to the usefulness of a word's definition in a way that your feelings about it are not: language is meant to convey meaning, not make people feel better about themselves.

  • Tony||

    What could be simpler than using the pronouns people identify with? Making people feel better about themselves may not be the role of language, but it is the role of manners.

    You're never going to win this one. Surely you do realize that.

  • entropy||

    Making people feel better about themselves may not be the role of language, but it is the role of manners.

    Then why are you even arguing with The Immaculate Trouser? Shouldn't you be trying to make him feel better about himself?

    Even if he's wrong and you're right, pointing out he's wrong doesn't make him feel better about himself. That shit is rude. You should just agree with whatever he says when you're around him for politeness sake.

  • Hyperion||

    Don't forget about female libertarians who have the rare XYX chromosome.

  • Sudden||

    And the genetic anomolies of XXY, XYY etc are so rare they dont even merit mention.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    So what about people who have XY chromsomes, but no penis due to androgen-insensitivty?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Male under the first definition I provided, female under the second.

    This categorization can be done practically instantly in almost every case.

    Now you tell me: how do you categorize someone who is confused about their gender, struggling with it, or who chooses not to identify with either gender? The third definition that I provided helps you not at all with that situation, and I would posit that the fact that you will revert to one of the two definitions I gave above to refer to such an individual reinforces the validity and meaningfulness of well-defined words.

  • SIV||

    Everything isn't always about you, Stormy.

  • ||

    How is

    self-proclaimed male = male; self-proclaimed female = female

    poorly defined?

    Define useful? If the self-proclaimed female dresses like a female, acts like a female, grooms like a female, is it not useful to refer to that person as a she? How is it in any way useful to refer to that person as a man because of the presence of a penis?

  • WorBlux||

    The standard of "acting female" is vauge, first because what it might mean varies by geography and time, and second that there are few activities necessarily exclusive to females.

    "How is it in any way useful to refer to that person as a man because of the presence of a penis?"

    Because it keeps the meaning of the word. It doesn't signify a set of behaviours or the contents of a wardrobe. It signifies something biological.

    There is a whole cluster of of connotations, judgements and expectation built up around this biological dimorphism, and it does a lot of harm to a lot of people. Would there be a personal gender-neutral English pronoun I would tend to use that as an alternative, but there's not so there isn't a particular good answer to the trans issue.

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    "XY chromosome = male; XX = female

    Well defined."

    Not well defined.

  • Hyperion||

    I think I can state my view like this.

    If one of my male co-workers, say his name is Tom, came in one daying wearing a dress and makeup and told us all that he's now to be known as Rebecca, I would think it was pretty weird.

    Would I call him, sorry, her, Rebecca? Sure, but I would still feel weird doing it.

    Would I treat this person any different than I treated her when she was John? Absolutely not. I would consider the choice to be none of my business.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Same. If someone I loved started calling themselves Napoleon I might go along with it in that person's presence out of love or respect for the person, but I won't angrily insist that, say, all correspondence to that person be addressed to His Imperial Majesty the Emperor of the French.

  • Hyperion||

    I think the toughest part of the scenario that I described above would be to control bursting out laughing hysterically the first day Rebecca arrived, and probably thinking it was a joke.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    John became Tom? How did that work?

  • Tak Kak||

    Sure there's a good reason:

    The person may have a serious mental disorder and enabling them could make things much worse.

    Perhaps ironically, people who refuse to alter their personal pronouns could say they are doing so out of concern.

  • Ballz||

    When Bill Clinton lived in Harlem, he was a black female.

  • Hyperion||

    She must of been one ugly beeatch!

  • Nazdrakke||

    I have no problem calling Manning by the name of Chelsea if that is what he prefers. However, he currently possesses the sex characteristics of the male of the human species. That is what male and female refer to. Not if you wear a dress, or lipstick, or what gender you prefer your sexual relations with, or any other thing. The doctor doesn't ask the baby or the baby's parents what gender it is, the doctor uses agreed upon language (English in this case) to describe what they are holding. If Chelsea Manning goes whole hog and goes through a sex-change operation then fine, at that point, for me, he would become she. By insisting that I refer to Manning as a she or somehow I am some kind of big meanie is bullshit, and forces me to concede an argument that gender is a social construct, rather than a descriptor of observable fact, which is also bullshit.

  • Brandon||

    How would you refer to a hermaphrodite?

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Sexy?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    WINNER!

  • Loki||

    Heshe?

  • Azathoth!!||

    I'd toss a couple bucks into the can next to its' pen and move along to see the dog-faced boy, the lobsterman, and Gatoro, the Human Crocodile.

  • Tony||

    Usage police: "gender" is explicitly a social construct. You mean "sex."

    That aside, not honoring transgendered people's wishes in this matter is just to be a dick for no reason.

  • Tak Kak||

    So it's simple; whenever I appear to be a dick, really I'm just referencing sex not gender.

  • wwhorton||

    I don't think that's pedantic at all, actually, I think it's an important distinction. Sex is genetic, and, thus far at least, immutable. No amount of surgery or therapy will change an XX to an XY. But gender is indeed a social construct. In traditional Western society, the two are one in the same, but that's not the case everywhere, and it hasn't always been the case in the West.

    My personal mental shorthand is that there are men, women, and men and women who are sort of in a third category, where they're sort of neither fish nor fowl, so to speak. I went to school with a girl who is now a guy. I call her him, and use his new name. I know very well that he is not a man in the same sense as I am, I just don't really worry about it too much.

  • Zeb||

    And sex isn't entirely clear cut either. There are lots of intersex genetic and developmental conditions which leave plenty of ambiguity.

  • Robert||

    OMG, I actually agree with Tony on the gender-sex distinction!

    Anyway, I have trouble enough calling people I've known by their maiden name by their married name.

  • Tak Kak||

    Manning would just be a mutilated male after the procedure, no?

  • wwhorton||

    Ok, so is it the twigs-and-berries, or the chromosomes? Because, post op Manning is still genetically male. A eunuch lacks genitalia, but is also genetically male. So what's the determiner?

    Not trolling, honest question. I'm not sure I could give a solid, works-in-every-case answer myself.

  • Tony||

    Their own preference is what determines it. Not that difficult.

  • Sudden||

    Their own preference is what determines it. Not that difficult.

    If I went around saying I was emperor because some moistened bink lobbed a scimitar at me, they'd put me away!

  • Tony||

    Transgenderism is not considered a form of insanity.

  • Sudden||

    Maybe not to you.

  • Tony||

    So should insane people be ostracized and ridiculed? That's not their fault either.

  • Tak Kak||

    No it isn't. That doesn't imply the revers - that they should be enabled - in any way though.

  • Calidissident||

    Your comparison isn't valid. Transgender people (at least the vast majority) don't think they're actually biologically the opposite sex. They realize they're not biologically female (if they're MTF) or biologically male (if they're FTM). That's not the same thing as a guy suffering from delusions who seriously think he's Emperor Napoleon or Jesus Christ.

  • ||

    The more relevant comparison would be to other dysmorphia disorders. Which are treated in the medical and psychological communities as mental disorders. I pointed this out the last time we had this discussion. This is the one form of dysmorphia where surgical intervention to match up the mental perception to the biology is considered a valid form of treatment.

  • Hyperion||

    My workplace is so full of PC bullshit, that I sometimes consider being an Otherkin and going to work in a bear suit.

    Then I will refuse to say anything in meetings, only wave one of my paws and say 'grrrrr', everytime someone asks me a question.

    If they fire me, they are discriminating against bears, because I'm now a bear.

  • Loki||

    My workplace is so full of PC bullshit, that I sometimes consider being an Otherkin and going to work in a bear suit.

    Carefull, someone with a furry fetish might mistake you for one and try to rape you in the break room.

  • Zeb||

    I don't think bears are a protected class.

  • Sudden||

    In a gay context, I believe it is.

  • Hyperion||

    And you would be wrong. Try shooting one.

  • Zeb||

    It's bear season year round where I live. I don't really want to shoot one, though.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    I'll shoot it for you.

  • Sudden||

    This is the kind of stuff that occassionally peeves me with my fellow travelers in the libertarian movement. Sure, I have no problem with a guy wanting to change himself into a chick (providing such an elective surgery is not paid for by the state). Its a free country. But that doesn't mean I have any responsibility to embrace it. I think its stupid (keep in mind gender is a social construct, not a biological one). I will continue to think its stupid. I will be all judgey about it too. I don't care if its animated by some deep seated strand within a person's genome: so are a lot of things that are equally unhealthy or unproductive like schizophrenia. I think its ridiculous and I will continue to say it is until my dying breath. Simply because I accept that a person should have the freedom to do something doesnt mean I have to embrace it. I think you should have the freedom to smoke crack, but if you smoke crack, I'm still gonna think you're an idiot.

  • wwhorton||

    Freedom to do what you want doesn't come with a guarantee that nobody will make fun of you for it.

  • Hyperion||

    I don't think being libertarian involves you embracing any behavior of other people. Only that you tolerate it if it's not causing you any harm, or infringing on your own rights.

    IOW, if I'm libertarian and I see a gay couple kissing in public, I don't need to like it, but I can't go smack them upside the head and tell them to stop it.

  • Tony||

    You shouldn't do that no matter your political persuasion. Refraining from assaulting people who are different like a grunting baboon does not make you enlightened.

  • Hyperion||

    I'm not against slapping people in the head who are not doing anything to hurt me, because I'm a Libertarian, I'm Libertarian because those and other views that I already hold make me a Libertarian.

    You have a serious case of reading comprehension. Go away.

  • Tony||

    Yeah but not assaulting people is hardly a position unique to libertarians.

    Sometimes I really get the impression that this middle school nonagression principle ethical hors d'oeuvre is the only thing keeping libertarians from acting like meat-headed thugs. Like the Christians who imply that they would be murdering, thieving, raping psychopaths without the fear of God.

    My confusion is that you could embrace maximum liberty but still hold unenlightened opinions on things as long-settled as whether being gay is OK. So you're not going to bash gays in the head. Congratulations. But are you really prepared for a society of maximum liberty if you're hanging onto prejudices, even if you don't act on them because of your cute little ethic? Tolerance and open-mindedness just seem to be preconditions for people who advocate maximum liberty.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Fuck off sockpuppet.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Tolerance and open-mindedness beyond what is necessary to prevent violence is in no way a pre-requisite to maximum liberty. At this country's inception, most Protestants believed that Papists were servants to an institution controlled directly by Satan. Yet, Catholics up until about the Progressive Era were far freer in how to educate their children and run their own institutions in ways that are illegal today.

  • Tony||

    I'm pretty sure it's that libertarians want the world pretty much exactly as it is, certainly without any more hardship on them whatsoever up to and including having to be more open-minded than they are, except they don't want to pay taxes.

  • Calidissident||

    "I'm pretty sure it's that libertarians want the world pretty much exactly as it is"

    Because the world is Libertopia? Really?

    "certainly without any more hardship on them whatsoever up to and including having to be more open-minded than they are, except they don't want to pay taxes."

    Could you write this again in English please?

  • ||

    Yeah but not assaulting people is hardly a position unique to libertarians.

    Using you as a guide, I'd say you're incorrect. You fully support assaulting people for doing things you don't like that nevertheless do no actual harm to others. Like refusing the business of a potential client. Maximum liberty means the liberty to hold unpopular opinions, conduct yourself in unpopular ways, and potentially alienate other people who will treat you accordingly. You steadfastly believe this principle when you are in the minority, but you steadfastly despise this principle when you are in the majority. You are a thug who is only concerned for maximizing the particular liberties that matter to you.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    "Tolerance and open-mindedness just seem to be preconditions for people who advocate maximum liberty."

    That's because you are presuming that everyone wants to use the government to push their values on others. It seems like you can't picture people disliking something without pursuing a law against it.

  • WorBlux||

    "being gay is OK" Really? Define OK. Sure society has more or less come to terms that it is some inherent component to same-sex sexual attraction and that it would be fundamentally unfair to treat persons with it as inferior. However homosexuality is nonetheless an intrinsically disordered state. Just as if someone is born without a left foot, we should take all reasonable precautions to avoid discriminating against them on that basis. This is not to say it wouldn't be better had they been born with the foot.

    Now two thought experiments to further the analogy.

    Imagine there was a button that would turn everyone instantly and permanently gay. Would any lover of humanity push that button? I think not.

    Now Imagine there is a discovery a year from now that come up with some procedure or treatment that could tune a person's sexuality to any given level of homosexuality without regard to their starting point, but only once. Now in terms of achieving and pursuing basic human goods, would your more likely counsel be to straight men to become gay, or gay men to become straight?

    From reason comes tolerance, but tolerance is not an end on it's own, and will cloud reason if pursued as such.

  • WorBlux||

    The ZAP in libertarian creed is the acid test, not something that is taken up for it's own sake. Ask a hundred libertarians "why is it so important not to agress again others" and you'll get many different answers describing different spiritual, rational, utilitarian, and personal reasons. One such reason is that it helps create an reinforce the space where dialogue, understanding, and recipricality can be driving forces.

    Yes in the U.S. it is often associated with some contrary dogma, but that's largely do the fault that classical liberal ideas were so successful in the early history of the country that they become ingrained into reactionary factions, and not due to some sort of shallowness of the libertarian philosophy as a whole.

  • Sudden||

    This article is less about tolerating it and more about coalescing to its contrafactual absurdity.

    And yes, while I don't have the right to initiate violence against someone for doing something I personally disapprove of, I am completely within my rights to shame them or shun them should I so choose. I wouldn't beat up a tranny, but if I'm walking around with my 8 year old nephew and he asks why that man is dressed as a chick (assuming its not halloween or a rocky horror picture show screening) I'm going to be completely honest with him and say "because he's dumb as shit."

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    That's because you're a retard.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    Don't you think all carnivore animals should be put in solitary confinement or something?

  • Zeb||

    But is it really contrafactual? Manning isn't claiming to actually be a woman in every way. Just that she'd rather live as a woman and be called Chelsea. The fact is that there are people in the world who feel that their physical sex and psychological gender don't line up.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    Manning isn't claiming to actually be a woman in every way. Just that she'd rather live as a woman and be called Chelsea

    I thought Manning is going to undergo a sex change eventually? Once it is done will Chelsea Manning not be a "woman in every way"? What would your definition of a "woman in every way" be?

  • Sudden||

    No, he still wouldn't be. Even if you could give him estrogen levels commensurate with a woman, a fully functioning uterus that could carry a child to term, he would still have an X chromosome and a Y chromosome.

  • Zeb||

    What if he had Kleinfelter's syndrome?

  • Sudden||

    That would be one of the few arenas where I would fully recognize the need for someone to have a sex-determining procedure.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    So if a woman gets a hysterectomy due to cysts or something like that, they're no longer a woman because they lack a fully functioning uterus?

  • Zeb||

    XX genetics would probably be a requirement. But I don't spend a lot of time worrying about it.

  • Les||

    Nephew: How do you know he's dumb?

    Sudden: Because he's doing something I wouldn't do!

    Nephew: So, people who do things you wouldn't do are dumb?

    Sudden: Pretty much.

    Nephew: Can we go home, now? I need raise my level of intellectual stimulation with an episode of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.

  • Sudden||

    Perhaps he's less dumb than simply pathetic for being so uncomfortable with the reality into which he was born. You're right that I shouldn't characterize his overall IQ based on his "gender preferences." He may be extremely intelligent in many facets. However, he is still fundamentally at war with reality, a war you cannot win.

    It strikes me as odd that people who reinforce this sort of psychosis think they're helping the tranny "accept himself" when the reality is that someone who cannot come to terms with what they organically are is not "accepting himself" when he tries to live as a different gender though either social cues or to completely change his sex through medical procedures.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's really cool how you can write so many words when "I'm assuming the argument and begging the question" would have sufficed.

  • Tony||

    he is still fundamentally at war with reality, a war you cannot win.

    This sort of mirrors how many transgendered people refer to living in their natural bodies. Now I'm a gay male but I absolutely cannot internalize the feeling that they express, as I very much like being male. But as a grown-up, I'll take them at their word. They seem to suffer severe mental distress at being in the body opposite to their sex identity.

    In the end, nothing about their experience harms you in any way, and the only person being defective in his reaction to reality would seem to be you.

  • ||

    They seem to suffer severe mental distress at being in the body opposite to their sex identity.

    Suffering and distress is insufficient to establish the supremacy of their perception though. The vast majority of people with mental disorders of any kind, and all of the people with dysmorphia disorders, suffer severe distress because their perceptions do not match up to reality. It doesn't necessarily legitimize their perceptions.

    Giving gastric bypass surgery to an anorexic to help them lose weight because they legitimately perceive that their body is too large and suffer severe mental anguish due to their inability to make it smaller would be considered lunacy. I wouldn't oppose some unethical scumbag performing the surgery for the patient on an elective basis if that is what they want. But it doesn't make their perception any more valid. Suffering mental anguish by itself means nothing.

  • Zeb||

    "because he's dumb as shit."

    And you really can't come up with any other explanations? What about "because he wants to"?

  • Zeb||

    I'd say that Schizophrenia is a lot more unhealthy and damaging that transgenderism. And you still have to deal with both of those people (well you don't necessarily, but someone will). You can call the transgender guy "she" and whatever name she wants and it hurts no one and probably makes that person's life better. You tell a schizophrenic that the government really did install robot spy-bugs in his brain and you really aren't going to make his life or anyone elses any better.

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    Dunno about that. Trans-people who go so far as to mutilate their own genitalia are clearly causing observable harm to themselves in a way that is obvious to anyone not blinded by PC nonsense. I would not provide that opinion to a stranger or anyone who didn't seek my counsel, but it is not substantially different from anorexia in that regard.

  • Zeb||

    Sure, but I think cases like that are a pretty small minority among those who identify as transgender.

  • ||

    Technically, doesn't "transsexual" refer to the medical change of sex organs while "transgender" refers more generically to living as a different gender than your sex organs would otherwise indicate?

  • Tak Kak||

    "You can call the transgender guy "she" and whatever name she wants and it hurts no one and probably makes that person's life better."

    That's pretty disputed, at least in the long-run.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Where did you get your psychiatry license, Sears?

  • Goldwin Smith||

    I thought psychiatry was a lie?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The cake is a lie. As well as your sex life.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    I thought libertarians disapproved of ad hom.

  • Zeb||

    No, that was your mom.

  • Zeb||

    And that wasn't argument ad hominem, it was just a plain insult. Had he said "Goldwin Smith has no sex life, therefore we should not believe anything he says about transgendered people" that woudl be ad hom.

  • Goldwin Smith||

    it was just a plain insult

    I don't want to contribute to the drinking game...

  • Tak Kak||

    If you're implying that not to be so, I'd have to ask about your credentials as well.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I'm not saying either way, and neither should you. oh hey look at that.

  • Tak Kak||

    Why shouldn't we exactly?

  • Loki||

    You tell a schizophrenic that the government really did install robot spy-bugs in his brain and you really aren't going to make his life or anyone elses any better.

    The comedic potential, on the other hand, might make it worth it.

  • Calidissident||

    If someone, for whatever reason, feels more comfortable identifying with and living as a member of the sex other than the one they were born as, I don't see how it's more unhealthy to do that than repress those feelings and desires. I can't really comprehend what it would feel like, but I can understand that if someone actually felt that way, then it seems like suppressing it would be far more unhealthy than living the way you want to.

  • Tak Kak||

    It's possible the way one wants to live is simply impossible and mutilating oneself in an attempt to reach it may make one much worse off than before.

  • Calidissident||

    "It's possible the way one wants to live is simply impossible"

    How is it impossible? I mean, obviously it's impossible for a biological male to become a biological female, have children, etc. or vice versa. The vast majority of transgender people are well aware of that. I'm not really seeing how it's otherwise impossible for someone to socially live as a woman or a man, even if they weren't born one biologically. In fact, there are other cultures throughout time and place where such practice is accepted or even fairly common.

  • Tak Kak||

    Because social lives are completely separated from biology?

    There's a large amount of derivation.

    A third-sex, has been far more common than one person becoming another historically.

  • Calidissident||

    "Because social lives are completely separated from biology?"

    In general, no. For a specific individual, I fail to see how it's impossible to live out the social gender associated with the opposite biological sex

  • XM||

    Can someone tell me why it's ok for someone to reinvent themselves as the opposite gender, but Michael Jackson was vilified for "turning white"? You telling me I have the freedom to change my name to "Isabelle" and use the women's bathroom in CA (thanks, Jerry) but if I acted white by joining the tea party or the Ron Paul movement, that's a form of treachery?

  • RBS||

    Some grievances are more equal than others.

  • Zeb||

    That double standard is not OK. If some black dude wants to bleach his skin and identify as white it's no skin off my nose. And black people who rag on other black people for "acting white" are racist assholes.

    We should just get rid of separate sex bathrooms anyway. Maybe then women wouldn't spend so much fucking time in there.

  • RBS||

    We should just get rid of separate sex bathrooms anyway

    No. I spent some time as night time janitor and the women's bathrooms were almost always a lot more disgusting than the men's.

  • Tony||

    Despite the understandable difficulty it takes people to get their head around transgender issues, it's really pretty simple, and this thread illustrates the two possible ways of dealing with it: Either be an open-minded adult and acquiesce to people's gender identity and the ways they like to be addressed (simple manners), or stomp your feet and demand that the world (and specifically sexuality) be as simple as you grew up erroneously thinking it was.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    oh lord. I agree with dumbass up here.

  • Hyperion||

    No you don't. The dumbass wants it's masters to force you to agree and accept at the point of a gun.

    Libertarians are tolerant because they're naturally tolerant.

    Proglodytes on the other hand, want to force you to tolerate things, because they think you are like them, and they are the most intolerant people on the planet. They tolerate what they like and want to force you to also. Everything else that they don't like, the don't tolerate and want to eliminate in anyway possible, usually by violence.

  • Tony||

    Libertarians are one community college semester removed from being shit-kicking under-the-breath white supremacists. Give me a fucking break. No liberal wants to force you to think anything at the point of a gun. That's just how you characterize it when liberals grow into a new form of enlightenment and you can't get your little head around it yet.

  • Loki||

    "Im sooper dooper smart and intellekshuall 'cause my mommie told mee so. any1 hoo disagreez wit me iz a dumass 'cuz i sez so." - Tony the super smart "intellectual"

  • Mencken Sense||

    "No liberal wants to force you to think anything at the point of a gun."

    No, they just want to you to bake cakes/take wedding pictures.

  • Calidissident||

    Yeah, that's why American is so beloved on this website, right?

  • Loki||

    That and proglodytes also conflate "tolerance" with "acceptance". You can tolerate something while simultaneously finding it weird or fucked up. And you can think people that make certain choices are fucked in the head, but hey, it's their life and as long as they're not hurting anyone else who gives a shit.

    That's tolerance. What progs want is forced accaptance with a heaping side of free shit.

  • Tony||

    It would just seem to be prudent to learn to be accepting if you're going to live in a society of maximum individual liberty. Don't you think?

    It's bizarre how often I hear libertarians say "I think X [usually some group that is perfectly well tolerated in civilized society] is weird and gross, but I don't want government shooting them, so I'm enlightened!" Yeah, no.

  • Calidissident||

    In terms of personal beliefs and thought outside the political realm, libertarians are a pretty diverse group. Moreso than liberals and conservatives. Some libertarians are pretty socially conservative personally, and thus likely to disapprove of gays and transgender people, even though they don't support government action against those groups. Others are more personally accepting of such groups. You make it sound like everyone but you on this page is hating on transgender people, and that's obviously not true.

  • ||

    A great example here is drugs. Outside of Reason.com, there a lot of libertarians who support completely unrestricted access to recreational and therapeutic drugs, but don't necessarily condone shooting up heroin before your shift as a school bus driver, and have nothing but disdain for drug addicts. It's possible to tolerate recreational drug abusers without condoning their lifestyle or liking them.

    Perhaps a better example would be religious tolerance. Even though most of the Reason commentariat is as stridently opposed to religion as you are, not a single one of them supports forcing the religious to perform contrary to their convictions under any circumstance.

    It's bizarre how often I hear libertarians say "I think X [usually some group that is perfectly well tolerated in civilized society] is weird and gross, but I don't want government shooting them, so I'm enlightened!" Yeah, no.

    It's even more bizarre that you embrace the inverse of that statement - "I think X[usually something that involves human beings exercising their freedom in ways you find objectionable] is weird and gross, and I want government shooting them if they don't straighten up and fly right" - and call it "enlightenment"

  • Sudden||

    Either be an openabsent-minded adult and acquiesce to people's gender identity and the ways they like to be addressed (simple manners) stomp your feet and demand that the world (and specifically sexuality) NOTbe as simple as you grew up erroneously thinking it really is, or acquiesce to people's gender identitypsychosis and the ways they like to be addressed.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Question: how do you know the "psychosis" (wrong word, by the way) doesn't manifest itself in his "maleness", and therefore the expression of his "femaleness" is a return to normalcy?

    That's right...you don't.

  • Zeb||

    Biological sex may be as simple as you think it is (though even that is probably a little more complicated), but sexuality sure as fuck isn't.

  • Sudden||

    Fair enough, but the central argument of the article here is that we ought to call someone something he's not because it gives him teh good feelies. I realize sexuality is a complex thing, but sex itself is fairly cut and dry outside of extremely genetically rare circumnstances.

  • Tony||

    What possible reason do you have to be rude to people by calling them what they specifically don't want to be called?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    we ought to call someone something he's not because it gives him teh good feelies.

    So if I just called you "bitch" all day instead of by your name, you'd be cool with that?

  • The Immaculate Trouser||

    If it's accurate and relevant... why not? I can't imagine why it would be, so let's use a different word -- bastard. It has both a pejorative use and a descriptive one; if you were born out of wedlock then you are a bastard. To the extent that this needs to be conveyed, the word is useful even if it may be offensive. I would not call someone a bastard if I could help it out of politeness, but neither would it be in poor taste to refer to someone's bastardry if it is relevant (say, if you were talking about what a certain person could expect from their father's estate when he passes away).

  • Eric||

    I think that most on this site would have no problem playing along with a tranny's gender identification request. But we all know that the next steps are going to be legislative. And once the gubmt tells me that I'm violating my tranny coworker's civil rights when I break out laughing at "her" adams apple and size 12 pumps, then that's when it will go too far. And we all know that this will be the next step.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Hello Mr. Slippery Slope.

    Do you know what the Standard Libertarian Disclaimer is?

  • Eric||

    Is it: ***Please ignore me, I suffer from an Autism Spectrum disorder and can't help being the way that I am***?

    JK. What is it?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    If anyone is being autistic here, it's Team GOTTA HAVE A DICK

    Anyway, the Standard Libertarian Disclaimer is that as libertarians, we're free to opine on social or economic issues without ever advocating for the use of government force. So, if a libertarian, for example, wants to talk about the superiority of organic produce, they can say, "I think organic produce is healthier and tastes better. SLD applies, of course."

  • Sudden||

    And that's why we're fellow travellers here. I agree with you on matters of policy, although I may be a bit less culturally pussified than you. I dont give a shit if I offend a man who wants to be a woman or his enablers and apologists.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I don't understand why you think it's "macho" to be an asshole.

  • Sudden||

    I think you got it right the first time through.

  • Paul R||

    In libertopia, you see, they wouldn't do that.

    So because it wouldn't happen in libertopia, we shouldn't worry about it happening in real life.

  • Mencken Sense||

    Cool. I'm a woman.

    Can I have my minority set-aside now, please?

  • Zeb||

    Seems to me that women are the majority in the US.

  • Mencken Sense||

    And Asians are a pretty small minority.

    Funny what happens when you politicize language...

  • Zeb||

    Yeah, funny. My favorite is when an individual calls himself "a minority". No shit, you are the smallest minority of all.

  • FYTW||

    The understandable difficulty is with people insisting there is such a thing as "transgender issues," when in reality there are merely men and women who imagine themselves to be something other than what genetics and physiology make them, and chemically and surgically mutilate their bodies in furtherance of their delusions.

    I am unaware of any definition of "simple manners" that requires me to embrace their delusions, any more than "simple manners" would require me to humor you if, one day, you announced you were actually a talking turtle. Some things really are just that simple: either it's day or it's night; either water is wet or it's not; and a human being is, as a matter of genetics and physiology, either male or female. No amount of smoke-filled faculty lounge bullshit renders this any more complex than it really is.

    If Bradley Manning wants to legally change his name to Chelsea, whatever. But I refuse to perpetrate a crime against the language by referring to him as her, to he as she.

  • Mencken Sense||

    "We control matter because we control the mind. Reality is inside the skull. You will learn by degrees, Winston. There is nothing that we could not do. Invisibility, levitation -- anything.

    I could float off this floor like a soap bubble if I wish to. I do not wish to, because the Party does not wish it. You must get rid of those nineteenth-century ideas about the laws of Nature. We make the laws of Nature."

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The problem here is actually Team Trog's (that's you) irrational fealty to Platonism.

  • FYTW||

    Yes. My quaint belief in the observable reality of human sexual dimorphism is the Real Problem(tm), here.

    Go jump in a fucking woodchipper, you tard.

  • Zeb||

    What about the observable reality of gender dysphoria? Or do you think that all of those people are making it up to annoy you?

  • FYTW||

    I think those people are delusional and that they deserve compassion, but not to the extent of pretending that they're something other than they actually are.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Delusional based on what? How do their beliefs about themselves not correspond to reality?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    No, it's your quaint belief in Forms that is the real problem.

    When you say that Manning is "really" a guy, what does that mean to you? You claim that your viewpoint adheres to reality and that his does not, but you offer no standards. Instead, you cling to some ideal form of Maleness that exists outside of the Cave. Kant really fucked up a lot of us, didn't he.

  • FYTW||

    You claim that your viewpoint adheres to reality and that his does not, but you offer no standards.

    The fact that you can't carry on a threaded discussion doesn't mean that I've offered no standards, dipshit. In my above post I made specific reference to genetics and physiology.

    Does Manning have a Y chromasome? Yes? End of discussion. That's not Kant; that's Mendel.

  • Calidissident||

    Sex and gender are not the same thing

  • FYTW||

    ...claim the smoke-filled faculty lounge bullshit artists.

  • Sidd Finch||

    stomp your feet and demand that the world (and specifically sexuality) be as simple as you grew up erroneously thinking it was.

    Sounds like Deirdre McCloskey's witch hunt of J Michael Bailey.

  • Bam!||

    So, who's hotter: Chelsea Manning or Chelsea Clinton?

  • Hyperion||

    neither

  • R C Dean||

    Simple politeness. If someone prefers to be addressed as "Mr.", "Ms.", "Mrs." or even "Miss", I do that. If they want to be called by their first name, I do that.

    If this Manning person wants to be addressed as "Chelsea", sure, just to be polite. Why wouldn't I be?

  • Tony||

    It's certainly not as painful as calling a non-physician academic "Doctor" is.

  • Sudden||

    Haha, touche Tony. I like that we can agree on some things.

  • ||

    Ironically enough though, "doctor" as a title first came into use over a thousand years ago in the academic setting where it referred to a license to teach in the university. So the term was actually co-opted by physicians, who do not teach, as a professional title. MDs are the real usurpers of the word.

  • Azathoth!!||

    Oh for fucks sake.

    The only reason ANYONE is commenting on Manning's sexuality is because, for some reason, right after being sentenced, someone announced it. Like it was some kind of important proclamation.

    Here's the truth--even the most uptight assholes posting about how it's a lie and blah blah blah will, in most cases--maybe a little hesitantly--refer to someone as the gender they're presenting. In person, people are usually polite.

    So can we just put this idiocy away?

  • Sidd Finch||

    So can we just put this idiocy away?

    Why? It's not like there's anything of national importance going on.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, there is, but that's not for us little peasants to worry about.

    Our betters in DC are taking care of that for us, we just don't need to worry our little brains about it. That's why they ignore us, it's for our own good.

  • Paul R||

    "The only reason ANYONE is commenting on Manning's sexuality is because, for some reason, right after being sentenced, someone announced it. Like it was some kind of important proclamation."

    "Someone" announced it? Manning announced it.

  • Loki||

    Why is it still apparently OK to mock bronies, otherkin, and furries for their choices but not trannies? Don't get me wrong, I don't give a shit what other people choose to do to their bodies or how other people choose to see themselves, but why is it I can still find those other groups I mentioned to be weirdos, but if I make one comment or tasteless joke about a heshe suddenly I'm worse than Hitler? Is it because bronies, otherkin, and furries don't have any activist/ pressure groups to lobby for them or [fill in the blank here] studies departments at major universities?

  • Zeb||

    Well, that's a good question. Personally it is because the only furries I have any sort of personal experience with are creepy dog fuckers, bronies are just another dorky cartoon related subculture and I am convinced that otherkin are just a joke and don't really exist. The transgendered people that I know, on the other hand, all seem to just want to find a comfortable place in life where they can feel like they are not having to pretend to be something they are not. Also, gender dysphoria is a lot more plausible as a psychological condition than actually believing that you are some cartoon animal or something. I think it is pretty clear that male and female brains are different in many ways and that small developmental differences can disrupt things like that. I got no problem with non-dog fuckers who want to dress up in plush costumes and bang each other, but it is going to take a lot more convincing before I believe that it is some deep psychological condition and not some weird kink they picked up somewhere.

  • ||

    Wow. Lol. IOW, you can't imagine taking something like that seriously, so clearly it's not a thing anybody takes seriously.

    I'm not saying I disagree with you, but you do realize that it completely undermines the entirety of your argument that anyone who won't refer to Manning with his preferred language is a closed-minded, heartless, rude, inconsiderate cunt, right? Basically you're saying the DSM and the popularity of the viewpoint is the primary determinant in whether or not you respect and indulge the peculiarities with which an individual self-identifies. Like I said, I don't have a problem with that, but it makes you the worst kind of hypocrite.

  • Death Rock and Skull||

    "What Does Chelsea Manning’s Gender Have to Do With You?"

    Physics.

  • Robert||

    I'll tell you one drawback: Back when Deirdre was Don McCloskey, he used to write about economics in Reason. Now that Don is Deirdre, all we hear from her is about her sexuality. Doctors, give us back our economics columnist!

  • Tak Kak||

    Are you sure? As I'd much rather have that hermeneutics-offspring be left in the past.

  • Loki||

    Now that Don is Deirdre, all we hear from her is about her sexuality.

    What, you expect her to just to go back to doing her old job as if nothing has changed but her name and genitalia? That's not how this works.

    What's the point if she can't constantly remind everyone that she used to be a he and fuck you if you think that's wierd, you bigot!

  • Tak Kak||

    "What, you expect her to just to go back to doing her old job as if nothing has changed but her name and genitalia? That's not how this works."

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/n.....pBdmZklrtM

    Poor... guy, maybe?

  • Arthur45||

    This writer sure doesn't know much about genetics and evolution.
    Or inborn behavior. Any "homo" gene in an animal in which sexual behavior is inborn, would quickly get wiped out of the population by evoution, since a genetic homo could not pass the gene on to the next generation. More likely those who exhibit abnormal and ineffective sexual behavior have had their sexual gene damaged, since its obvious that their sexual behavior makes no biological sense. The entire purpose of sexual behavior is for reproduction, not simply personal satisfaction, which is simply the means by which it works.
    In Humans, very few behaviors are inborn, aside from breathing, heartbeat, etc. No male can ever actually become a biological female,
    so what happens if "Chesea Manning" decides to be a lesbian? It just gets dumber and dumber, doesn't it?

  • Cascadian Ephor Xenocles||

    -A homosexual gene might be recessive, and thus capable of being carried without expressing.

    -It might not even be a gene at all but a combination of genes that only expresses as homosexuality when the full sequence is present in one person.

    -The gene(s) involved might require epigenetic factors to result in an expression of homosexuality.

    -A homosexual person might also hide his or her sexuality and pass for a heterosexual (hint: this happens a lot), passing his or her genes on.

  • Person||

    This still implies that the gene sequence is abnormal.

  • Zeb||

    You are just making shit up.

  • Tony||

    The entire purpose of sexual behavior is for reproduction

    Simply false. Sexuality also plays a huge role in the human social impulse. The vast majority of sexual encounters do not result in reproduction nor are they intended to.

    And there are plenty of theories as to how homosexuality persists despite seeming to be maladaptive. The fact that it does suggests by itself that it is not maladaptive.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Most of those theories (gay uncle, etc.) are obviously wrong.

    The fact that it does suggests by itself that it is not maladaptive.

    Like how the existence of falciparum malaria suggests by itself that it is not maladaptive.

    Homosexuality obviously significantly reduces fitness. Always has. How the fuck is this hard to understand?

  • Tony||

    Most of those theories (gay uncle, etc.) are obviously wrong.

    Gonna need a cite on that.

    Homosexuality obviously significantly reduces fitness. Always has. How the fuck is this hard to understand?

    Except that can't be the case since it has persisted despite seeming to be a huge target for selection, far more fundamental than the presence of malaria. And not just in the human species. Almost all gay people had straight parents, so clearly it's not the result of the simple genetic formula you're assuming. It's a stretch to claim that a seemingly stable proportion of homosexuality in hundreds of different species is the result of random genetic damage.

    Even if this were the case--that homosexuality is maladaptive (say, not associated with genes that increase fecundity and thus increase genetic success on balance, as one hypothesis goes), that it is an abnormality destined, any day now, to simply get selected out of existence, I don't see what that is supposed to imply. Some humans are homosexual and are perfectly happy and sane being that way, so why can't you just let them be?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Name two instances in the entire history of humanity of a gay uncle doing enough housework to double his number of nieces and nephews.

    far more fundamental than the presence of malaria. nonsensical

    And not just in the human species.

    Yes, also in domesticated rams and nothing else. (a clue?)

    so clearly it's not the result of the simple genetic formula you're assuming.

    That's the polar opposite of what I'm assuming.

    It's a stretch to claim that a seemingly stable proportion of homosexuality in hundreds of different species

    Homosexual behavior is not homosexuality. The former is not a mystery. The latter --4% of men eschewing sex with women -- is.

    the result of random genetic damage.

    too common to be random mutations or developmental insults

    say, not associated with genes that increase fecundity and thus increase genetic success on balance, as one hypothesis goes),

    Like the gay uncle theory, this doesn't survive the slightest bit of historical or mathematical scrutiny.

    any day now, to simply get selected out of existence,

    That's clearly not happening. Thus ... mystery.

    Some humans are homosexual and are perfectly happy and sane being that way, so why can't you just let them be?

    Huh? I'm for gay marriage and all that. I'm interested in 1) what causes homosexuality and 2) why almost everbody ignores the usual explanation for a condition that affects 4% of the population and causes an 80% loss of fitness.

  • Azathoth!!||

    This is interesting.

    The pattern of genetic information that allows for homosexuality must come in very early since there are quite a number of species that have it.

    Perhaps the answer is the clownfish, in a matter of speaking.

    Let's say that the animal that successfully transitioned to land had the unstable sexuality of the clownfish, that, perhaps, the ability to move to land is, in some way, attached to that.

    This would put an inoperable sexual state--the transitional form--into the operable sexual mix.

    I've got to work this out.....

  • Stormy Dragon||

    If being a homosexual increased the liklihood of close relatives (who probably have many of the same genes) successfully reproducing, it could still prove an evolutionary advantageous gene even if the homosexual individual has no offspring themselves.

  • Sidd Finch||

    a copy a what I just replied to Tony:

    Name two instances in the entire history of humanity of a gay uncle doing enough housework to double his number of nieces and nephews.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It may not be that. Suppose there were a gene that if you have one copy increased your fertility rate by 20%, but if you have two makes you gay.

    If this gene is rare it's adavantage. If only 1% of society has it, the will be (1 - .01) * 1.2 = 1.18 times as fertile as people without the gene, gradually increasing their representation in society.

    If the gene becomes too common, it becomes a disadvantage because you're too likely to mate with someone else who has the gene. If half of society has it, they will be (1 - .05) * 1.2 = .60 times as fertile as people without the gene, gradually losing representation in society.

    Asymptotically, you end up with a stable population of about 10 percent of people in society having the gene and roughly one percent of the population ending up gay.

  • Sidd Finch||

    Everything is kosher until your final sentence. Approximately 4% of American males are gay. In order to make your toy model work the fitness advantage would have to be absurdly high.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    It's probably not as simple as one gene since you generally you don't get families where all the children are gay. My point was just that if you have genes that have both positive and negative benefits, you end up with it being present in society at the level where the positives and negatives cancel out, leading to a seemingly unlikely long term stable population of a trait that reduces evolutionary fitness.

  • Sidd Finch||

    My point was just that if you have genes that have both positive and negative benefits, you end up with it being present in society at the level where the positives and negatives cancel out

    Right, but what else is 4%? I'm not aware of anywhere in the world where even sickle-cell anemia is that common. And you'd think 'penis in vagina' is a much easier evolutionary puzzle than a co-evolving deadly virus.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Right, but what else is 4%

    Gingers?

  • Sidd Finch||

    Don't you talk bad about ... uhmm ... good point.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Also, the "abusrdly high" fitness advantage in my toy model is a 25% increas in fertility. At that point you end up asymptotically with 20% of the popuation having the gene and 4% of people being gay.

  • Sidd Finch||

    I thought 0.2 was absurdly high as that's strong enough to be casually observable.

  • B.P.||

    Not to weigh too deeply into this spat, but I think it's a bit rich that Shackford offers up the following:

    "Discussions of sex and gender issues seem to turn people into armchair psychologists and biology experts."

    ...and later he rolls seamlessly into several paragraphs of armchair psychologizing about why naysayers hold the positions that they do.

  • John Galt||

    Just a tad hypocritical..

  • Scott S.||

    I never claimed immunity.

  • John Galt||

    Well...I met her in a prison down in old Soho
    Where you drink champagne and it tastes just like cherry-cola...

  • Paul R||

    "What exactly is there to ogle in a women’s restroom anyway?"

    Are you a homosexual or something?

    " If a person is peeping into a stall trying to catch a look, it’s a crime irrespective of the gender of the perpetrator."

    Yes, but a lesbian can't rape someone. A human being with a penis can.

  • Gweskoyen||

    ...Are you completely retarded? OF COURSE can lesbians rape someone. You don't need a penis for that. They can use fingers or dildos or something else. You are really, really naive.

  • Paul R||

    When these men who think they are women don't want to use the men's bathroom, and want to use the women's bathroom, it is perfectly normal. When women don't want men in their bathroom, it's bigotry. The mind of a cultural marxist.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Now we all know about the gay penguins."

    Yes, we know that the gay penguins are not gay. Homosexual behavior in penguins is situational. A penguin will pair up with another penguin of the same sex if there is not an opposite sex partner available, when there is an opposite sex option a "gay" penguin will revert to heterosexual behavior. It is not an innate characteristic as human homosexuals claim, so it is bizarre to suggest it proves something.

  • Calidissident||

    Do you think human homosexuals choose to be attracted to members of their own sex?

  • Mickey Rat||

    I am saying that the existence of homosexual behavior in penguins is not proof that homosexual orientation is innate in humans because it appears to be situational in penguins.

    In other words, don't put words in my mouth.

  • Calidissident||

    I didn't put words in your mouth. I asked a question, which you refused to answer. In fact, you're the one who put words in my mouth by assuming that I was accusing you of believing that homosexuality in humans is a choice.

  • ||

    It could easily have been confused for a rhetorical question, in all fairness. In fact, it is more or less a default rhetorical question in any internet discussion of homosexuality.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Your question was an attempt to change the subject from one of the numerable fallacies of logic that made up Shackford's article.

  • Paul R||

    "Discussions of sex and gender issues seem to turn people into armchair psychologists and biology experts."

    You don't need to be a biology expert to notice the difference between a dog and a cat. You don't need to be a psychologist to notice the difference between a man and a woman. Sex has always refereed to actual biological sex, people noticed the weird cross-dressers before, but only with cultural Marxism does anyone entertain the possibility that what people think in their minds is how "sex" is defined.

  • Tony||

    Furthermore, get off your lawn.

  • Federale||

    First of all, it is a lie. Bradley Manning is a man. Castration of a man does not make that man a woman. Sex is genetic. It is something you cannot change. You can cross-dress, but that does not change your sex.

    Another reason why libertarians are not serious. You cannot go against mother fucking science. Sex is science. Gender is a social construct, or, more accurately, a mental illness in the case of those who self-mutilate, cross dress, or think they are Napoleon.

  • tarran||

    May I be the first to offer you a juice box and a cookie? Because you look like you could use a cookie.... and a hug.

  • Calidissident||

    So what? The libertarian position should be to make it illegal to cross dress (government regulation of what clothing you wear? How wonderful), change your name, regulate your usage of personal pronouns, and outlaw sex changes?

  • ||

    The libertarian position should be to make it illegal to cross dress...?

    I think that's a pretty huge leap of logic from what was posted. Not that's it's necessarily untrue, it just doesn't follow from the available information.

  • Arthur45||

    Another piece of fallicious logic is the argument used here that if a behavior is found in many species and many places it must be "natural"
    or normal. The fallacy is that normal (or healthy) is claimed to also be "natural"
    Murder is found most everywhere one might look, but no one would call such behavior "normal." Natural, yes, but oviously not norml. We execute people who engage in such behaviors. Same for thievery, assault, etc.
    The problem with people who accept homosexual behavior is that they cannot see the harm, since it's not obvious until one thinks about how such behavior distorts societies by providing an example of fraudulent romance. It's simply not psychologically possible for a man to fall in love with another man. Or a woman with another woman. Falling in love is hard enough beween those of opposite genders. Between those of the same gender, impossible. Anyone who claims otherwise is either confused or lying.

  • Tony||

    It's simply not psychologically possible for a man to fall in love with another man.

    If only that were so. High school would have been so much less traumatic.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "California recently passed a law allowing transgendered school students to participate in activities and use facilities based on their declared gender, not necessarily based on whether they have an innie or an outie:"

    Human males are generally larger, stronger and faster than females. Sports are segregated because of actual biological differences between the sexes, differences that do not disappear because one person thinks they are in the wrong skin. There are areas where treating someone like Manning as they does cause an imposition on others.

  • Cloudbuster||

    The IOC is still not on board with self-proclaimed gender identity, as far as I know. The day they bow to that will be the end of women's Olympic sports (and I expect they will eventually bow to it as they are part of an internationalist elite culture that worships fashionable ideas like this).

  • Vincent Milburn||

    I agree with your assessment. Until transgendered men can play in women's sports or transgendered women are forced to try out for men's teams, it's an implicit admission of a ruse. They can't have it both ways.

  • KRoyall||

    So the standard is whatever people claim to be we should just accept at face value? Uh, no. We are free to judge anything and everything on our own terms. Others can agree or disagree.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Who's upset? Bradley can call himself whatever he want, but he has no claim on my buy-in. I don't have to pretend I believe he's a woman named Chelsea than I have to believe a crazy homeless guy is really Elvis just because he tells me so. I'm not upset at either Manning or the homeless guy, but I'm not going to play-act along with their delusions.

  • Tony||

    It's not a delusion, it's an informed and fully conscious realization and preference.

  • Reverendcaptain||

    It seems you're confusing sexual identification with homosexuality. They are two separate issues. Apparently Manning believes him/herself to be a straight woman.

    I don't have a problem with any of that but Manning came out with this little doozy right at the moment that Manning was attempting to generate the greatest amount of sympathy and it doesn't take a gender specialist to realize that there could be less than pure motives involved.

    And sure enough we have silly articles that berate those that haven't immediately changed their reference to Manning to indicate his/her announcement of gender preference. So apparently if Manning announces next week that she is now a he, the author will oblige and then the next week will again honor Manning's new announcement and so on and so on.

    I'm not offended by any of this but more amused by those who are so clearly falling for this manipulation and at the same time trying to claim others have somehow done something wrong.

  • lap83||

    I think that's an interesting point. I never thought it might be manipulation, but the timing is odd.

    Personally, if someone asks me to call them something other than their given name or even if they try to force a nickname (aka "Alexander the Great" or "Jojo") I tend to comply but with a great sense of internal resistance. I just get annoyed by others who aggressively try to manipulate how other's view them.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    So is lap83 your real name, or should we all have a great sense of interal resistance to your attempt to manipulate how we view you by asking us to call you something other than your given name?

  • Mickey Rat||

    "As long as we’re not on the hook for what she needs for her treatment (and she’s said she’ll pay for it herself)"

    It's nice that Manning said that,...but with what money? Manning does not seem to be in a position to earn that kind of scratch in the foreseeable future

  • ||

    "One of the biggest moral bombshells handed to Billy by the Tralfamadorians, incidentally, had to do with sex on Earth. They said their flying-saucer crews had identified no fewer than seven sexes on Earth, each essential to reproduction. Again: Billy couldn't possibly imagine what five of those seven sexes had to do with the making of a baby, since they were sexually active only in the fourth dimension.
    The Tralfamadorians tried to give Billy clues that would help him imagine sex in the invisible dimension. They told him that there could be no Earthling babies without male homosexuals. There could be babies without female homosexuals. There couldn't be babies without women over sixty-five. There could be babies without men over sixty-five. There couldn't be babies without other babies who had lived an hour or less after birth. And so on.
    It was gibberish to Billy.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    What's that from?

  • ||

    Slaughterhouse-Five

  • ||

    there could be babies without open-ended italics tags. And so on.

  • crux||

    The key thing the Commentariat seem to be not understanding is that gender is a social construct, removed from sex. So while yes, it is true that Manning is biologically male, that does not make her a man.

  • crux||

    So it's not fair to compare the transgender to people who identify as tables.

  • Mickey Rat||

    The key thing is not that many in the Commentariat do not understand that, it is that they think it is nonsense on stilts.

  • crux||

    That belief is oft based on an archaic and simplistic worldview of sexual identity. If the libertarian movement is going to go anywhere, then they must embrace not only liberty of body but liberty of mind as well. Recognizing the rights of LGBT is a necessary step to the creation of free society.

  • ||

    Recognizing the rights of LGBT

    Rights to what?

  • crux||

    To not be harassed or oppressed simply because they're LGBT. A transgendered woman should not be coerced in to being a man simply because society says so. The state is not the only agent capable of oppression/coercion. This isn't to say that there should be laws to enforce anti-bigotry, but simply that libertarians should be welcoming of LGBT. Right wing orthodoxy is antithetical to personal liberty.

  • ||

    The state is not the only agent capable of oppression/coercion.

    Yes it is; only the state has a monopoly on "legal" violence.

    "The libertarian creed rests upon one central axiom: that no man or group of men may aggress against the person or property of anyone else. This may be called the “nonaggression axiom.” “Aggression” is defined as the initia-
    tion of the use or threat of physical violence against the person or property of anyone else. Aggression is therefore synonymous with invasion.

    If no man may aggress against another; if, in short, everyone has the absolute right to be “free” from aggression, then
    this at once implies that the libertarian stands foursquare for what are generally known as “civil liberties”: the freedom to speak, publish, assemble, and to engage in such “victimless crimes” as pornography, sexual deviation, and prostitution (which the libertarian does not regard as “crimes” at all, since he defines a “crime” as violent invasion of someone else’s person or property)."

    Murray Rothbard in For a New Liberty -- The Libertarian Manifesto

  • crux||

    So the abusive husband is not being an oppresor? The mafia boss running a protection racket is not coercing any funds? That's a silly notion. Even then, the NAP is not a great axiom to base all of libertarianism on.

  • Tony||

    And as soon as people stop being aggressive to each other without needing government to mediate, we can have libertopia.

  • ||

    To not be harassed or oppressed simply because they're LGBT

    Under what Orwellian definition of harassment or oppression does failing to be called by the gender pronoun you prefer meet the criteria? You're not entitled to have the entire world agree with you. That's what "liberty of mind" actually means.

  • crux||

    Nobody is saying you don't have the right to be a bigoted shit head, but until we stop acting like bigoted shit heads, nobody is going to take libertarianism seriously.

  • ||

    Concern troll is concerned.

    Fuck off slaver.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Libertarians being "bigoted shitheads?" I could be wrong, aren't libertarians more liberal on this issue than society as a whole? If this issue is at all hurting libertarian credibility, and I'm not saying it is, it would seems to be from the conservative side.

  • Mickey Rat||

    How does liberty of mind demand that when Manning says to the world "I am a woman" nobody can reply "No, you are not"?

    You are not talking about rights here in any normal sense of the word.

  • Tony||

    You can reply that, but you would be a dick in doing so.

  • Mickey Rat||

    It may be dickish, but it would not be incorrect.

  • Mickey Rat||

    From Williamson's original article:

    "The Aggressive Research Intelligence Facility, which advises the NHS on the effectiveness of treatments, conducted a broad review of the research literature and “found no robust scientific evidence that gender reassignment surgery is clinically effective,” according to the Guardian, the liberal newspaper that commissioned the review."

    Your characterization as "archaic and simplistic" is propaganda assuming premises that are not in evidence or at least heavily disputed.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    315 comments, and the first commenter made my main point for me. Maybe I have some inner psychic compulsion which causes me to refer to people with dicks as "he." Maybe this belief on my part is so strong that I simply have to act on it. It's just my nature; it's who I am. On what grounds will the trans people going to criticize me?

    But the only reason that this affects more than just *Bradley* and a few of *his* friends and associates is that *he* has been given an unjust prison sentence. So the Bureau of Prisons has to take a position on what sex *he* is. Why not be neutral on the issue of whether to send him to men's or women's prison - by releasing *him* from prison altogether?

  • ||

    But the only reason that this affects more than just *Bradley* and a few of *his* friends and associates is that *he* has been given an unjust prison sentence. So the Bureau of Prisons has to take a position on what sex *he* is.

    Not entirely true. His prison sentence just guarantees that prison staff get to join that small cadre of people. The real reason we, the broader public, have even heard about this to bother discussing it is because Bradley/Chelsea decided to issue a press release to the entire world and make it into an event. Then if anyone dare to be insufficiently reverent of the attention-whoring, he is a bigoted asshole.

    When I legally changed my name I managed to pull it off without all this kerfuffle. Of course I wasn't changing the gender affiliation of the name. But here again, if a tree falls in the forest... The reason nobody gave a shit is because nobody knew any better.

  • Kelldog||

    I'd prefer to be called Doctor. Though I am not one, I more closely identify with the prestige and respect the title carries. I'd also like any future writings or pronouncements referring to me to be preceded by "Academy Award Winner". Though I have not actually won the award, I identify more closely with those more talented folks who have. Lastly, I'd also like to be called Genius Horsecock. Although in reality my IQ and penis are both slightly less than average, I more closely identify with extremely smart porn stars. So, henceforth, Academy Award Winner, Dr. Genius Horsecock. I've asked to be called this, and the Articles of Politeness require that it be done. Although just Kevin would be acceptable as well.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I'm not so demanding. So long as you blow a trumpet before I enter a room, you can call me plain Mr. van Haalen.

  • Rin||

    Why do I have to care? If he wants to change his name to Chelsea then more power to him and I'll call him Chelsea. If he believes that he's a woman, he can. I don't have to believe it, but as a human I should be as kind as possible. I don't need to say what I think. I can govern my reaction which is to think its tragically sad.

    As an individualist I just don't believe that I am a male or female on the inside. I am me on the inside. My organs only define what I can do with my body, not who I am. I am a creature of infinite possibilities and potential.

    However, my organs do define what limits my body my possess and the manner in which I can procreate during that period of my life--if at all.

    Too much is made of trying to make our insides and outsides match or believing them must. I am a female, but I couldn't tell you what that feels like on the inside because on the inside I am me.

    I personally feel transgenderism is a disorder because individuals feel so strongly that they can "feel" their gender within them and I think that gender is just a construct, so how can you feel it?

  • ||

    Although Manning had asked to be referred to by female pronouns, the soldier signed the pardon request "Bradley Manning" and Coombs' letter referred to Manning as "Bradley" and used male pronouns.

    Coombs said in a blog post last week that "Bradley Manning" and male pronouns would still be used in some cases. They include references to the trial, legal documents, communication with the government, the petition to the White House and the soldier's mail.

  • Long Range Boredom||

    Pretty much all I got out of this incredibly stupid thread is:

    Goddamn I wish English pronouns were gender-neutral.

  • ||

    what fun would they be then?

  • Kelldog||

    I honestly have no issue at all with calling a person whatever they like to be called. I've even been known to call people things they don't want to be called. The issue I have is the whole gender association/identity thing in general. If you are born a man or a woman, that is what you are; that IS your gender. The government has no business interpreting how you "feel" about yourself or if you are confused. If you were born a man or woman, in the eyes of government that is what you will remain to the day you die. By any other standard, if a white person more closely identifies with black folks are they then, for instance, able to claim some form of minority status? They were, after all, born one way but simply feel another. I also find it odd that people who proselytize homosexuality as genetic and simply cannot be changed, say the opposite when it comes to this gender issue. On one hand they say "I am gay, it's genetics, I cannot change who I am, accept it". Yet on the this topic, it is completely acceptable to go ahead and change the results of those same genetics. It just seems to me that, based on that argument, they would be more staunch defenders of just accepting the genetic hand you were dealt.

  • Almanian!||

    Wow. Glad I missed most of this thread. Hope everyone enjoyed the clusterfuck!

  • Vincent Milburn||

    So boys identifying as girls can use the women's room? Can they shower in the girl's locker room, too?

    Society can only avoid picking sides in the culture war so far.

  • Mark22||

    I have no problem with him being transgendered and calling himself whatever he likes.

    However, I do have my doubts that it is anybody's responsibility to pay for his surgery, or to let him undergo it while in prison. The physical shape of his body may not be to his liking, and that may even be theoretically fixable by extensive surgery, but in that he is no different from many Americans. Not liking your body is not a disease.

  • ||

    Not liking your body is not a disease.

    Depends to the extent you don't like it. To the extent not liking your body, or some aspect of it, interferes with your ability to function it becomes a disorder and is treated as such nearly universally by medical professionals and psychologists. Gender identity is the sole exception where surgical intervention to change the biology to fit the perception is considered an acceptable treatment.

  • Mickey Rat||

    "Not liking your body is not a disease."

    Anorexia and bulimia cannot be described as diseases? And if it is not a disease, why can it be corrected by surgery?

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Everyone is allowed to create their own reality, until it includes God.

  • ||

    never in my pretty cool life have i been more pleased to be a cisgender...whatever the silly hell that even means

  • Tejicano||

    I highly doubt I will ever meet Manning so his/her preference on this issue means next to nothing to me.

    I have known a few trans-gendered people before and always addressed them by their prefered identity. It doesn't mean anything to me since we weren't going to be intimate anyway.

    In Japanese there are pronouns but they are not often used colloquially - the Japanese word for "she" is most often used to mean "girlfriend" rather than "she". Japanese entertainment is strewn with numerous transgendered people who, more often than not, look exactly like a guy in drag. I have even seen them giving women advice on how to better fit their role in society from a woman's point of view. I have never heard any Japanese person express skepticism about a trans-gendered person's validity as the gender they represent.

    I can't imagine why somebody else's sexual identity would be an issue for me to put more than a couple second's thought to.

  • Acosmist||

    So there's also a libertarian War on Science. Holy shit, does anybody actually care about science anymore?!

  • Vincent Milburn||

    So true!

  • UCrawford||

    I don't care what he does or what he calls himself as long as taxpayers don't have to foot the bill.

    He can pay out of his own pocket to have his dick cut off. And if he can't afford it, then he can go fuck himself and stay miserable in prison.

  • Harvard||

    I'm thinking the best response to Bradley Manning should be the same as the best response when Jesse Jackson rises to speak, Shelia Jackson Lee is referred to as "congresswoman", and Barack Obama is termed an expert in Constitutional law.

    Peals of laughter.

  • Harvard||

    Damn. All my examples are black. I'm a racist.

    Hang on, all are stupid and inane too.

    The truth will set you free.

  • Menacing||

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....y_syndrome

    Some people with this condition have a set of XY chromosomes but outwardly appear to be a woman. They cannot reproduce because they do not have a cervix or uterus. So I ask you, people who like to say its as simple as calling a spade a spade, Man or Woman?

  • Mickey Rat||

    Does Manning have such a genetic or physiological abnormality?

    If no, then why is bringing those cases up relevant?

  • Menacing||

    The point is, if you call such a person a woman, you're saying that that identity is based on what their physical attributes are and how they present themselves. If Manning were to have surgery and hormone therapy, this is where she would end up.

    If you'd call such a person a man, what you're saying is that someone who could have been raised a woman, have all the outward appearances of being a woman, and might not have even known they have this condition until they tried to reproduce is, in fact, a man and should then henceforth be called a man and he no matter what they believe they are.

    I know that personally, the first option seems the most humane and logical.

  • Cbalducc||

    Apparently common sense is sometimes put on the back burner in Reason's promotion of individual freedom. "If Manning looks like a man and talks like a man..."

  • Bean Counter||

    Because there are already enough butt-ugly women in the world.

  • Vincent Milburn||

    Even if we concede that gender and sex are not the same thing, it's obvious that men's and women's bathrooms where designed to separate people by their physical qualities and not their psychological makeup so that's a moot point.

  • Clyng||

    Reminds me of this song about gender identity! http://mumfordsmusic.bandcamp.com/track/caster

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