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Who Is a Woman for Purposes of Women’s Only Spaces?

It depends. [UPDATE: Sorry, accidentally posted it under my name, though it's of course Doriane Coleman's post. -EV]

I close out my visit this week with some thoughts on what we can learn from the analysis of sex in sport about who is a woman for purposes of different women's only spaces and opportunities; and whether these spaces and opportunities can continue to exist if they are not defined on the basis of sex.

Sex segregated spaces remain ubiquitous: bathrooms, locker rooms, dorm rooms, gyms, colleges, shelters, and prisons. Less obvious but still prevalent are sex-linked opportunities in education, employment, and medicine.

They exist as they do for a combination of reasons, some of which are just about tradition and dead or dormant stereotype; others, though, are about inherent differences and still-salient, actively operating stereotypes. Anti-discrimination law as applied to sex is designed to erode the former while retaining the latter. From RBG in VMI:

'Inherent differences' between men and women … remain a cause for celebration, but not for denigration of the members of either sex or for artificial constraints on an individual's opportunity.

Sex classifications may be used to compensate women 'for particular economic disabilities [they have] suffered,' to promot[e] equal employment opportunity,' [and] to advance full development of the talent and capacities of our Nation's people. But such classifications may not be used, as they once were, to create or perpetuate the legal, social, and economic inferiority of women.

Women's sport is an example of a sex classification that is based in inherent differences and that is used to promote equal opportunity and the full development of females' talents and capacities. Thus, from Sex in Sport, "It would be a mistake to assume that [sex] can be read out of elite sport policy without causing a lot of important harm because biology determines competitiveness in this institutional space which is precisely about competition."

So is a STEM-related employment or educational opportunity set aside for females as a way to make up for past subordinations and exclusions and to grow their numbers going forward. Because females were subordinated within and excluded from these fields on the basis of sex and of false stereotypes about the cognitive aptitudes and capacities of females compared to males, it would be a mistake to assume that sex can be read out of the definition of "woman" for these empowerment opportunities if they are to be successful vehicles toward their designated ends.

In contexts like this, where the classifications continue to be necessary or useful as designed, it is right that females are privileged as against transgender women, or that there is a rebuttable presumption that "woman" for purposes of these spaces and opportunities means females. In these contexts, it is not right that if you identify as a woman you are a woman case closed. The classification "women" is not a catch-all or code for male gender non-conforming people. (Deconstructing sex can take you there if you let it.)

Rebuttable presumptions are, by definition, rebuttable. And so transgender girls and women are girls and women for purposes of these spaces and opportunities when their inclusion can be obtained without defeating the classification or category.

The way elite sport currently regulates women's events is again illustrative. Instead of categorically excluding male-bodied athletes from female events, it conditions their inclusion—and thus their classification as "women"—on dropping their T levels into the female range. This levels the playing field precisely according to the single trait that justifies the classification. Elite development sport also approaches the definition of "girls" this way.

(Education-based competitive sport can do the same for pubertal and post-pubertal males who identify as girls and women. See, e.g., the NCAA's eligibility rule. It could also consider unconditional inclusion of transgirls—no physical transition requirement—with offsets that ensure that no otherwise eligible females are themselves excluded as a result. Examples of offsets could be adding a spot to an otherwise numerically restricted team or event that will include a transgirl; and awarding two championships if a transgirl beats a female for the highest prize.

I would agree with the argument that offsets could dilute or at least change the value of the position, lane, or medal somewhat for both athletes; but this effect doesn't go to the core of the institutional mission, and it seems right to me that we should value inclusion in the education space more highly than any incidental discomfort that could arise from this policy choice. This equation would come out differently in the elite sport space since the signaling and economic values associated with being the visible single winner are part of the mission and more than merely incidental.)

In contrast, where inherent differences are not factually relevant, or where the false stereotypes about females derived from those differences have been (at least mostly) vanquished, there is no compelling reason to privilege females over transwomen. For me, these include girls' and women's public restrooms, locker rooms, dormitories, gyms, and prisons.

Exclusions in these categories are primarily justified by tradition and related concerns about privacy and safety. Safety for females in relation to male-bodied people is no small matter, but without a sound evidentiary basis for concluding that trans girls and women are more likely to be problems than other females—for example, more than "the mean girls who have always used [restrooms and related settings] as their safe bullying space"—we can't justify reading them out.

In contrast, physical privacy is a legitimate concern because reasonable expectations are based in community norms and sex-segregated public restrooms and like spaces remain the norm. But this just means that the switch is not cost-free, not that it is cost prohibitive. Having to retrofit restrooms to provide individual spaces won't affect institutional ends.

I do question whether women's only spaces and opportunities can continue lawfully to exist under current doctrine if they are not defined directly or indirectly on the basis of female sex. For example, can they continue to exist if, as some argue, it's no longer acceptable even to speak about female body parts when we define "woman" because doing so is "inherently reductionist and exclusive"? Can they continue to exist if, as the Obama Administration recommended, sex is erased from sex discrimination law and replaced by identity, defined as "[a]n individual's internal [but not necessarily biologically-based] sense of gender"?

I've heard the legal argument derived from these positions, that sex discrimination jurisprudence has evolved away from any (even indirect) focus on inherent differences; that it is now primarily focused on the mutable aspects of gender and the individual's autonomy related to their gender identity. That's not how I read the cases, in no small part because it would require conceiving of VMI as relic.

I'll end with this. If VMI were relic, if there were nothing left to sex in law, I'm not sure that identity—"which may be male, female, neither, or a combination of male and female, and which may be different from an individual's sex assigned at birth"—could automatically take its place, at least not as a protected class. Imagine the Olympic podium with three male-bodied athletes in the three medal positions in a women's event. If I'm right, set asides for "women" untethered from female biology would be difficult if not impossible to justify.

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  • Robert Beckman||

    Eugene - this is Dorianne's post, right?

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Yeah, what's with men always trying to take credit for women's labor?

  • Chest Rockwell||

    Clearly anyone who believes they are female should be allowed. Feelings are at stake here.

  • Bored Lawyer||

    Feelings. Nothing more than feelings.

  • Robert Beckman||

    So the offsets aren't too crazy, but that seems like a solution ("we're women too") in search of a problem (fair competition).

    I used to be competitive at thee-gun (locally competitive only), and we had three classes: open, women, wounded. Before I had to enter the wound d category for the first time, no one thought poorly of it, since it's mostly filled with veterans with missing limbs, in wheelchairs, or permanently on crutches (me). While I used to be competitive in Open, there was no stigma about entering the Wounded category (except that I went from competitive to terrible). In fact, the only change was that the guys I used to beat helped me find something I can compete in again - open class rail gun, of course.

  • OpenBordersLiberal-tarian||

    It's disappointing we're still having this conversation. It's 2019!

    A woman is any adult human who says "I identify as female." It really is that simple. We mustn't lend legitimacy to right-wing science-deniers by pretending there are two sides to this issue. Just like with climate change, the science of gender is settled.

  • Chest Rockwell||

    Legit laughed out loud. What science is settled?

  • James Pollock||

    There's more than two genders, and they exist in the brain and not in the reproductive plumbing. The polices that flow from those facts aren't settled, but the science is.

  • swood1000||

    The polices that flow from those facts aren't settled, but the science is.

    Do you have a reference to any of this science?

  • James Pollock||

    Any science textbook should do.

  • swood1000||

    Any science textbook should do.

    Well, you know that's not true. How about just one study?

  • Fancylad||

    Not sure if serious...
    The wall between parody and woke thought is impalpable nowadays.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    Shockingly, the science is nowhere near settled about what sex differences, if any, exist in the brain.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    The "if any" part is pretty firmly settled.

  • James Pollock||

    Shockingly, you reveal your lack of knowledge about science.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Yup, never should have made human biology my second major in college, it's left me permanently ignorant about 'woke' science. Trying to keep up with the field only aggravated the problem. (Though I'm mostly interested in mitochondria, frankly. Fascinating topic with a lot of implications for interventive gerontology, which I'm getting more interested in as I age for some reason.)

    Two minds; The cognitive differences between men and women

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "Shockingly, you reveal your lack of knowledge about science."

    And the number of genders is not a scientific question. Sounds like you don't even understand what science is.

  • Krayt||

    This works both ways.

    It's sad people need "born that way" as justification to be free. This stuff is not severed from the politics. The science should be academic.

  • A nerdy Fred||

    Automatically true, since science is always open to revising itself in the face of new evidence.

    For anyone who cares to do the work to be informed, here's a bibliography. It's from the site of someone who is an activist but whose intellectual self discipline I have learned to respect.

    http://aebrain.blogspot.com/p/.....ntity.html

    For people with other time commitments, here is a survey article:
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25667367

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    Thanks for the links.

  • Yogis_dad||

    There are three genders: masculine, feminine, and neuter. These are grammatical attributes. There are two sexes: male and female. All else is folly in the leftist imagination. Judges and Congress may rule as they see fit, but the author of creation made them male and female.

  • Ben of Houston||

    I'll comment that there are people who are genuinely neither male nor female due to a variety of conditions. A simple "Neutral/Other" category will suffice to properly categorize everyone.

  • Lee Moore||

    there are people who are genuinely neither male nor female due to a variety of conditions

    There are such people, but very few indeed. It typically requires some kind of mosaic development. In such cases a person may acquire a mixture of ovarian and testicular tissue, and in very rare cases there are functional gonads of one sex or the other. But there are, as yet, no known cases of a person with functioning gonads of both types. But maybe one will be found in time...

    Even so, possesing both ovarian and testicular tissue does make you genuinely neither female nor male. But the vast majority of people with disorders of sexual development are, in fact, unambiguously male or female. The disorders come later in develoment than the creation of the sex specific gonads, which are conclusively determinative of the biological sex.

  • swood1000||

    Legit laughed out loud. What science is settled?

    If you doubt this see this clip where Prof. Nicholas Matte, who teaches trans-studies, explains that "It's not correct that there is such a things a biological sex. …That's a popular misconception." He's an historian of medicine. Game, set, match.

  • Ben of Houston||

    He is a professor yet he says something a a toddler can see is not true.

    I am an scientist. I can confirm that we often get embroiled in our studies and not seeing the forest for the trees is the rule not the exception. This is just a particularly egregious case.

  • Longtobefree||

    You have to read who is posting - - - - - -

  • A nerdy Fred||

    Not anyone who says it, anyone who says it and means it.

  • A nerdy Fred||

    Not anyone who says it, anyone who says it and means it.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Just like with climate change, the science of gender is settled.

    Precisely how many educated, accomplished, modern Americans do you guys figure to be interested in science pointers from Republicans and conservatives who embraced birtherism, believe fairy tales to be true, perceive evolution as a hoax launched from a pit of fire miles under the earth's surface, and turn every college or university they get their hands on into a fourth-tier goober factory with sketchy accreditation and a science-disdaining censorship fetish?

  • James Pollock||

    There's no such thing as a "women's only space".

    Buildings that have them hire staff to clean them, and maintain them. These staff are not required to be women.

    Many years ago, I lived in a single-sex dorm on campus, because freshmen were required to live on campus as the dorms were sex-segregated. At night, on weekends, it was not surprising to find female persons in the bathrooms, because the only designated bathroom for women was on the ground floor, and they didn't want to go down and up all those steps. A similar situation manifested in the women's dorm across the lawn.

    "Potty purity" laws are a waste of time and effort. If a dude goes into a ladies' room to peep, arrest him for peeping. If he goes in to pee, leave him alone. And if he prefers to be called she, who cares?

  • swood1000||

    If he goes in to pee, leave him alone.

    If there are women who don't want him in there then why do they have to give way?

  • A nerdy Fred||

    The alternative, right now, is that trans people are avoiding going out in public, or holding it to the point of medical problems when they do, or dashing out in fear without washing their hands. If we look at the greatest good of the greatest number, one population gets to meet a fundamental biological need, balanced against the others who obsess about how the person in the next stall has her bladder hooked up.

  • Yogis_dad||

    "Trans people" belong in mental health care, not general society.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    A nerdy Fred: "against the others who obsess about how the person in the next stall has her bladder hooked up."

    And this is what transpires, that discussion is marred -- even derailed -- by the ever-present need to disparage and dismiss the opposition and it's position. This comes from the other side too. And the division into warring camps is complete.

  • Krayt||

    or dashing out in fear without washing their hands

    Men do that all the time and it has nothing to do with fear because they are pigs. Grab that exit handle that 53 men before you grabbed after peeing, a buildup of funk and wee wee on their fingers.

    Can't say for women.

  • Kevin Smith||

    One could ask that about any situation. If I go to grocery store and there are people I don't want in the store, why should I have to give way?

  • A nerdy Fred||

    I just realized I hadn't directly answered your question.

    They don't have to give way.

    There should be room in life for an adult to tell an adult "That makes me uncomfortable, can you please wait until I'm done?" instead of summoning the coercive power of the state.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    A nerdy Fred: " instead of summoning the coercive power of the state."

    Which is happening the other way now.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    And if a woman shoves her dick into her cellmate, the cellmate can take comfort in knowing that it's a biologically female dick.

    And what woman wouldn't want to share a room in a battered woman's shelter with this lovely young lady?

  • James Pollock||

    "If there are women who don't want him in there then why do they have to give way?"

    Because of the simple fact that you get to decide what you do, and you don't get to decide what other people do. If you don't want to be in a room with someone else, you get to choose to get up and walk out. Or don't go in in the first place. These are your choices.

  • swood1000||

    Because of the simple fact that you get to decide what you do, and you don't get to decide what other people do.

    So if a person wants to walk around in public naked, or a couple wants to copulate openly in a public park, or the trans-woman wants to openly masturbate in the women's restroom you claim that nobody should have a right to object to this?

  • awildseaking||

    You just went full retard. You're violating the NAP as a defense of the NAP.

  • A nerdy Fred||

    A related collection of anecdotal evidence came from a community meeting I went to where a trans man was working to demystify bathroom laws.

    He asked the women in the audience for a show of hands on "Have you ever ducked into the men's room in an emergency?"

    You have probably guessed what happened. So many hands went up it might have been all of them.

  • wreckinball||

    Guys don't care if girls are in their bathroom. Girls do care about h the reverse.

  • Brett Bellmore||

    I've been in both, though never the women's bathroom when it wasn't vacant; Prostate surgery doesn't give you a lot of options, especially in the early months. You take what you can get, and wear black pants just in case.

    But, if memory serves, teen boys would care if girls were in their bathroom; Taking care of business can get pretty awkward if that reflex sets in.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    Shocking that the essence of the RBG quote is: "any classification that helps women is good; any classification that hurts women is bad".

  • Sarcastr0||

    It's like you know nothing of her litigation history.

  • Bored Lawyer||

    How about her judging history? That seems more pertinent. And when you review that. SLaR's summary is not off. More accurately, discrimination is bad, unless I decide it's good, then it's allowed.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    More accurately, discrimination is bad, unless I decide it's good, then it's allowed.

    Jabs about discrimination from right-wing bigots tend to miss the mark.

  • Bored Lawyer||

    Another day, another trite, empty ad hominem attack from the Reverend.

  • jubulent||

    And everything of her jurisprudence.

  • Smooth Like a Rhapsody||

    Even more shocking that Sarcastro leaps to Ruthie's defense.
    "Don't judge her jurisprudence by what she actually wrote--judge it by the guy she represented 50 years ago: and, also, by how much NPR loves her!"

  • E Blackadder||

    I agree. It seems like the underlying theory appears, "I'll be damned if I'm going to lose my women's preference to a jerk with a penis who claims to identify as female." Apparently, equality for the gender fluid only goes so far.

  • JimmyLamothe||

    "Helps" = good.
    "Hurts" = bad.

    This doesn't seem shocking, does it?

    I'm assuming that your unspoken assumption is that what "helps" women must necessarily "hurt" another group? Otherwise I can't fathom what your point is.

  • Bored Lawyer||

    If you have 20 slots to fill, and men are barred from 5 slots, then men are hurt by that. Why is that hard to understand?

  • James Pollock||

    Men are hurt by having access to 15 of 20 slots? Then men are also hurt by there only being 20 slots, total, in the first place. Whom do I sue?

  • Bored Lawyer||

    Are you utterly daft? If 100 men are competing for the slots, then, yes, restricting certain slots to only women (or only blacks) hurts the men. Men have to compete for 15 slots, while women have 20 slots they might achieve.

    Your second sentence is inane. That there are only limited slots, and one has to compete for them, makes it harder for the applicants' lives. But that is not discrimination, that is simply the fact of limited resources.

  • D-Pizzle||

    He's a leftist. He doesn't understand the concept of limited resources/scarcity.

  • Lee Moore||

    JimmyL : I'm assuming that your unspoken assumption is that what "helps" women must necessarily "hurt" another group?

    No, it's the "any" in "any classification."

    "any classification that helps women is good; any classification that hurts women is bad"

    Which would include (a) classifications that help women and help men, (b) classifications which help women and have no effect on men, and (c) classifications which help women and hurt men.

    If you're in for "any" you're in for (c) s as well as (a)s and (b)s.

    Otherwise I can't fathom what your point is.

    Your fathoming skills need some honing.

  • Lee Moore||

    Of course in practice, a typical classicification which is advertised to "help women" will help some women and hurt other women. Generally the helped will be the well educated career minded ones, and the hindered will be the rest. It's mostly a tax relief for opera thing.

  • Yogis_dad||

    Claude Rains in Casablanca: I am shocked, shocked to find there is gambling in this restaurant.

  • MarkW201||

    "Your winnings, sir."

  • Toranth||

    "Your affirmative action, sir."

  • Iation||

    Too many writings, including this one, commit the fundamental error of presupposing that there is some objective truth and all they need to do is find it.

    I think whoever invests resources into creating a "space" should decide who should be considered a "woman" and who should not. Nothing wrong with the choice that any person who wishes to be referred to as a woman shall be accepted as a woman, and nothing wrong with other different choices. We need a variety of events with many different rules, not just one type of event with one type of rules.

  • swood1000||

    Too many writings, including this one, commit the fundamental error of presupposing that there is some objective truth and all they need to do is find it.

    Do you assert that your comment has any objective meaning? If I say that your meaning is that only biological women should be accepted as women would you claim that this is objectively false? If so, you are contradicting yourself, if such a thing can be objectively true.

  • Iation||

    Congratulations, you have rediscovered the essence of Russel's Paradox.

  • swood1000||

    Congratulations, you have rediscovered the essence of Russel's Paradox.

    You seem to believe that self-contradictory statements have some merit or are not to be avoided.

  • A nerdy Fred||

    Here we are, intellectual heirs to John Stuart Mill, so we can go straight to making decisions about who goes where on a utilitarian basis.

  • Longtobefree||

    All 'spaces' designated for ANY particular group is by definition bigoted. Period.
    Do we want bigots defining what can be done where, and by whom?
    I do not.

  • ||

    Within the walls of our church, bought and paid for by our members, we follow practices and only allow language and rhetoric compatible with the doctrines of our faith, certainly none aggressively antithetical to it.

    Someone not following those rules will be trespassed. Heretofore that has been legal. I have done it. Notice the church rules are not racial based, they are not sex based, they are not particularly anti-gay as our best music leader was in the closet for decades and everyone knew it. The skepticism about gay rights in our religious ranks only gets intense when the LGTBQ folks become a socio-political force who want to control others. We have backed off from that,

    So, first amendment and property rights can over lap. How about a gun club that owns a rural shooting range but doesn't want either any unknown Islamic group or political fringe group to use it? Does the club itself get to do the vetting, or the government? Note this is like doing a background check for a firearms purchase, only for groups. If some bureaucracy decides, you call during the Obama administration and are told Tea Partiers shouldn't be at the range.

  • ||

    Another tricky little gun issue is expedited impromptu concealed weapons permits for women who have been granted a protection order because of severe threat. We all know protection orders don't protect. They punish the violator afterwards. A woman walking out of a courthouse in late afternoon needs to survive the night. May I lend her a .38 special even though she's had no background check and is not a relative?

  • James Pollock||

    "So, first amendment and property rights can over lap. How about a gun club that owns a rural shooting range but doesn't want either any unknown Islamic group or political fringe group to use it?"

    Public accommodations law requires that policies that limit use of the property by reason of sex, religion, national origin, or race are prohibited. So if the want to limit use, they shouldn't open to the public, which gets them clear of public accommodation law. If they want to be open to the public, they'll have to find some reason to limit use that isn't one of the prohibited policies, or a proxy for one of the prohibited policies.

    The people who defend "potty purity" laws tend to do so by trotting out a bunch of things that are already illegal, that might happen in a bathroom. If a dude is a peeper, you can arrest him for peeping without caring that he's a dude in a ladies' room. The peeping is the problem, and there's a law against it, already.

  • Yogis_dad||

    Public accommodation laws are a travesty on the Constitution, achieved by stretching an intent phrase and the power of Congress to prevent one state from taxing the goods of another. Life would be for more pleasant if the federal government stuck to its 18 enumerated powers and the courts actually paid attention to the ninth and 10th amendments.

  • Lee Moore||

    So if the want to limit use, they shouldn't open to the public, which gets them clear of public accommodation law. If they want to be open to the public, they'll have to find some reason to limit use that isn't one of the prohibited policies, or a proxy for one of the prohibited policies.

    We've done this a thousand times, and you keep on coming back with the same old crap.

    If they want to be open to the public

    They don't. They don't claim they're open to the public. This is a pretence asserted by folk like you. But they haven't - nor does the law pretend this. The law simply requires anyone who makes what the law describes as "public accommodations" to sell to certain specified classes of customer, whether or not the retailer wishes to do so.

    Retailers do not "volunteer" for publc accommodation laws. They do not offer their goods to all comers. They are required by law to sell to certain favored classes of people.

    So if the want to limit use, they shouldn't open to the public

    No. they can't open at all. There's no limiting use. There's opening for business at all. Or not. That's the choice. You can put a sign on your door and say "for the avoidance of doubt, we do NOT undertake to sell to all comers. We reserve the right to choose our customers." And its value as a defense against public accommodation laws is zip.

  • Yogis_dad||

    Owners have the right to manage the use of their property. You beg a question by presupposing the validity of your assumption that designating a space for particular use is bigotry. I invite you to share the downrange space for weapons testing any time you choose.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    All 'spaces' designated for ANY particular group is by definition bigoted. Period.
    Do we want bigots defining what can be done where, and by whom?
    I do not.

    What is your opinion of the assertions of campus Christian clubs that they can exclude (those they label as) infidels?

    What about women-only locker rooms?

    Male-only high schools?

    The priesthood?

  • mad_kalak||

    Usually, Prof, Volokh is a model of clarity of writing, even for difficult topics like 1st Amendment jurisprudence. This post is a mis-mash, like a late night dorm room conversation expressed on writing. I bet if he took the time to read it out loud to him self, say next week, with a clearer head, he'd regret hitting the "submit" button.

  • mad_kalak||

    Ah, I get it. This was that guest commentator's writing published by Volokh. Now I wish *I* could take back by comment....but the point still applies just as well to Dorianne.

  • JimmyLamothe||

    I'm curious why the author makes a distinction between women and transgender women in STEM fields. As far as I'm aware, the stereotypes and discrimination faced by both groups are similar, so it seems natural for any program meant to combat this situation be available to both groups. Are there advantages that trans folks have that I'm not aware of?

  • James Pollock||

    " As far as I'm aware, the stereotypes and discrimination faced by both groups are similar,"

    There's some overlap, but nowhere near 100%.

  • wreckinball||

    What? I work in STEM. The on;y discrimination is that if the very few women who get the right degree come for an interview the job is basically theirs because they are female.

    Never seen a Tranny in a STEM field.

    I mean with all the Tranny craze there just are not too many of them. But no shit they may get discriminated against. I mean you are interviewing Kilnger and your supposed to take this seriously

  • Brett Bellmore||

    Klinger was just a cross-dresser, they're not nearly as nuts as trannies, they know they're whatever, and just like wearing the opposite sex clothing.

  • wreckinball||

    If you are a guy pretending to be a women its not going to help your chances in STEM which tends to be very "un-Woke" since you have to actually know what you are doing. For other jobs possibly "Woke Inc." it may be a plus.

  • Yogis_dad||

    Reminds me of the PFC who spent all his time pickup up papers and saying, "That's not it." Finally the Army issued a Section 8 discharge and he picked it up and said, "That's it."

  • Krayt||

    Klinger wasn't really a cross dresser, in the way Ed Wood was. He was trying to get his Section 8.

  • Sarcastr0||

    Klinger got into it, though.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    I mean you are interviewing Kilnger and your supposed to take this seriously

    I decline to take seriously conservative bigots who can't distinguish "your" and "you're," mishandle capitalization, and seem generally unfamiliar with standard English.

  • TwelveInchPianist||

    "I mean you are interviewing Kilnger and your supposed to take this seriously..."

    Hey, if I'm interviewing you and you convince me that you can help me ship my crap on time, idgaf how many or what combination of nuts, dicks, or tits you got, or if you're purple with polka-dots, etc.

  • perlchpr||

    I know a fair number of transfolk in computer science, actually.

  • Mesoman||

    Good point, but a real problem with the post is the assumption that aptitudes for STEM jobs do not differ (statistically) between the sexes. If that were true, it would be one heck of a coincidence, that someone, in spite of significant differences, including in brain structure, both sexes would have identical aptitudes.

    I have long worked in STEM. I see a substantial difference in average aptitudes, where women are better in some roles, and men in others. There is little reason to believe the PC assumption that those differences result from much other than inherent physiological differences.

  • awildseaking||

    The problem remains that people can't separate biology from their sociological preconceptions, so a women's sport league is considered common sense, but not promoting women in engineering or men in nursing is seen as discriminatory as opposed to yet another biological reality. Far too many people have been duped into believing tabula rasa and they don't understand how biological sex shapes our self in both mind and body.

  • CE||

    Women get promoted faster in engineering than men.

  • Jimmy the Dane||

    So let me get this straight. In order to stoke the sensibilities of liberals and maintain common sense gender separations we are all going to have to undergo genital exams and get blood tests done to measure our testosterone levels? All of this because .01% of the population has a mental disease which makes them think they are the wrong sex? Ok, right. Perhaps we do need to bring back state mental institutions because if that is what the "equality" movement thinks is bettering society then they ARE all mentally ill.

  • A nerdy Fred||

    I'd like to follow up on just two of Professor Volokh's many fascinating points.

    Retrofitting gym showers and the like for improved privacy has an additional benefit that is seldom mentioned. It opens those facilities up to people from any of several conservative religious traditions which command modesty even in same-sex environments. I could be wrong, but I seem to remember there are sects of Judaism with that stricture.

    In the context of attempts to redress past discrimination, it's relevant that trans women will have come from a history of being mistreated as women. Quietly listening to trans people, I found quite a few believe from their experience that hatred of trans women is rooted in misogyny.

  • PoxOnBothYourHouses||

    "I found quite a few believe from their experience that hatred of trans women is rooted in misogyny."

    They may believe it, but is it accurate? What of "hatred" by cis-women? Rooted in misogyny? I'd think it's doubtful.

  • Lee Moore||

    What of "hatred" by cis-women? Rooted in misogyny? I'd think it's doubtful.

    Which is why the tumbrils will not spare you. Of course some women are misogynists. They have been conditioned by the patriarchy to absorb misogynist values sprayed on them from birth by the oppressing classes.

  • Lee Moore||

    Retrofitting gym showers and the like for improved privacy has an additional benefit

    No doubt. Are there any costs ? And who should pay them ?

    In the context of attempts to redress past discrimination, it's relevant that trans women will have come from a history of being mistreated as women. Quietly listening to trans people, I found quite a few believe from their experience that hatred of trans women is rooted in misogyny.

    Since those who "hate" (aka do not choose to go along with the imaginations of) trans women don't think trans women are women, it seems unlikely that the "hatred" is rooted in misogyny. If some trans women do so believe, perhaps it is merely further evidence that some parts of their brains are not reporting to them accurately about the fabric of reality.

  • wreckinball||

    Wow, we seem to be able to twist this issue all over the place like its somehow a mystery. Trannies are guys pretending to be women. They are mentally ill but somehow they hitched themselves to the Gay alliance and all things Gay are now absolutely sacred. Even being gay is also unnatural.

    i don't care either way your choice. But once you start claiming you are actually a women (please spare me the gender vs sex thing its stupid and irrelevant), i.e. compete in their sports and use their locker rooms etc. then I have to tell you no.

    You can still pretend but we are not going to allow you in those "women" spaces

  • wreckinball||

    Let me really go taboo and say that if you really espouse to the "you are what you identify as" why the hell was everyone so outraged and disrespectful of Rachel the fake black chick.

    We should have celebrated her "transition" even though it consisted of dreads and spray on tanning. But that somehow was oh so different and wrong because?

    Who the fuck knows ?

  • CE||

    Cultural appropriation bad. Gender appropriation no big deal.

  • Jmaie||

    "why the hell was everyone so outraged and disrespectful of Rachel the fake black chick"

    Maybe (probably) not a serious question, but I'll respond anyways.

    Transgender rights (TR) is all the rage these days, having come from nowhere in the blink of an eye. IMHO, most who do care about TR do so out of general solidarity with marginalized groups rather than a deep commitment to that particular group. And a lot more folks are actually hostile but figure that saying so isn't worth the potential backlash.

    Whereas most blacks care deeply about their racial dignity and find the concept of caucasians "identifying" as black to be ridiculous and offensive.

  • ||

    I find anti-discrimination law has fatal problems.

    Compensation: what's this supposed to do? Compensate women as a group for what past generations of women, possibly including cavewomen, supposedly had in disadvantages? This ignores trade-offs throughout history. It's riddled with uncertainty and incommensurability. And doing this at the group level sits uneasily as a theory of rights, while adding another layer of obscurity.
    Side note, heterosexual relationships, romantic and parental, lead to massive equalizing. That's a mechanism you don't find regarding race and inter-race relationships. Anti-discrimination law regarding women would have to be massively smaller in scope and degree than that regarding race. It isn't. That's fairly suspicious.

    Spheres: The circle of what matters for compensation and equality looks arbitrary and incoherent, a pretty childish drawing. It's extended into the personal (social norms and expectations, roles and preferences), rather than just framing the public. That distinction itself is dubious.Related to that are the problems in determing what are bona fide occupation requirements/qualifications and - implicitly- what are bona fide occupations.

  • ||

    Identity and Sex Differences, again: This raises the matter of what the sexes want, and what they may legitimately want. An airline with all-female flight attendants? Illegitimate. The Wing, an all-female workspace? Legitimate, somehow, hilariously. Similarly for all the women in tech etc. groups, missions, and mentors. Similar with making "spaces" more female friendly. Anti-discrimination is thoroughly about identity, certainly in the sense of personality and sex differences. It's more than just sex. And it can be entertaining, such as when anti-discrimination is used as pretext for discrimination, self-segregation in single-sex spaces, institutions, agencies, and activist groups. Feminism is about identity. Feminist entities are. The legal is political. The political is personal.

  • wreckinball||

    Well you need to be allowed to discriminate against crazy people. I frown on hiring nut jobs.

    Lets face it trannies are bonkers nuts.

  • Rev. Arthur L. Kirkland||

    Well you need to be allowed to discriminate against crazy people. I frown on hiring nut jobs.

    What is your opinion of ostensible adults who believe, or at least claim to believe, that fairy tales are true?

    Should any school hire any teacher who rejects reality and science for fantasy and superstition?

  • newshutz||

    Great idea, lets start with those that believe the socialist fairy tale, or deny economics.

  • Toranth||

    "... it conditions their inclusion—and thus their classification as "women"—on dropping their T levels into the female range. This levels the playing field precisely according to the single trait that justifies the classification."

    The problem here is that this statement is flat-out wrong. This idea permeates all her arguments about trans athletes, and it is a shame to see here repeatedly say something so incorrect, even after it has been brought up in the comments.

    Someone that grows up for years with high levels of testosterone will physically outperform and equivalent someone that grew up without those same high-levels, even if the immediate (and one-year) levels of testosterone are equal. The additional bone and muscle growth enjoyed by the first athlete doesn't magically disappear when testosterone levels drop... and neither do the advantages that come with them.

  • Lee Moore||

    I think Coleman understands this. She has a tendency to flip between describing how Big Sport actually makes its discriminations (current T levels) , the legal justifications for doing so and using the tests they use; and what she personally thinks is important - which includes the skeletal and muscular consequences of previous high T levels. And all along the way, though she is plainly sane, she is trying very hard not to offend crazies.

    The result is that she can be a bit obscure in her writing.

  • CE||

    We never had these kinds of problems when I was a kid.

  • Eddy||

    Tammy Wynette was wrong, not just about standing by your man but about it being hard to be a woman.

    Sounds like, at the very least, *becoming* a woman is easy.

  • Lee Moore||

    "an individual's sex assigned at birth"

    Sex is not "assigned" at birth, that is a term chosen by political activists, and eagerly adopted by the genderish PC, to imply that when the doctor identifies the sex of the baby at birth, and writes it down on the form, (s)he is making an arbitrary decision, like eenie meenie miney moe.

    There's nothing even slightly arbitrary about the doctor's identification, it's based on the usual visible markers of sex. Which is not to deny that occasionally a doctor may get it wrong, particularly in very rare cases where visible signs of sex at birth like genitals do not align with the gonads. Or where the doctor is in a rush and fails to pay attention. But that is not "assignment." It's just mistaken identification. The fact that a place kicker sometimes misses doesn't mean he's aiming arbitrarily. He's aiming between the uprights. He's just imperfect in his execution.

    It would only be assignment if the doctor said "Hmm, time for a boy, I think. The next one's going down as a boy whatever it looks like."

  • A B||

    The claim that dropping one's testosterone level to the average woman's testosterone level makes the person equivalent to a woman is incorrect - blatantly incorrect. Will it undo decades of gains in size, musculature, and bones that are the result of the high testosterone levels that flood the average male? Will it undo the basic differences in hip bone structure? Of course not. To simply talk about testosterone as the only differentiator is not science - it is handwaving on the part of activists.

    Furthermore, saying that women like to be around actual women is simply "tradition" - that also seems handwaving. Was there some magical time before tradition where women and men never had separate spaces that Ms. Coleman can point to? Is it simply hoary tradition that undressed women don't like to be around undressed men whom they don't have a deep relationship with? Nothing deeper than that? Is Ms. Coleman sure?

    Call someone Ma'am in the office if she or he prefers it. That's simple courtesy. Once the clothes come off, biological men stay out of biological women's spaces. That is also courtesy. It goes both ways.

  • Stanisław||

    Clearly time for a women-only Selective Service registration campaign, paternal-focused custody in divorce and an end to a separate WNBA. Also, women at Wimbledon should have to play 5 sets, not 3.

    The "death professions" such as logging, fishing, roofing and steelworking all should be required to employ and deploy female workers to the same extent of males to close the workplace death gap that men have enjoyed over women for so long.

    Equality.

  • para_dimz||

    I don't see this as a gender, sex or fairness issue. I see it as equal rights on the other foot. Women demanded this and got it. They just didn't see far enough down the cultural rot well to realize there might be a time it came back to bite them. As a further goad to whomever is bothered by this, why, if a girl can compete in boys' sports, military combat with adjusted PT standards, make declarations and demands that women can and should have equal representation at elected office and so on and so forth shouldn't boys and men be able to compete in heretofore exclusive women's sports or female dominated areas of employment?
    To me the nub of the rub is that women want equal when it's advantageous and fair when it's not. I'm not going to accept that without some concessions.

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