Welcome Back to the Fray, Alice

Yesterday, Alice Dreger who (literally) wrote the book on “gender” issues, took a break from her local journalism-publishing day-job to post a thread. Earlier, I’d tagged her into a thread where Helen Joyce had quoted her in her own article. More on that later, but first Alice’s thread:

True to form, Alice’s “hopeful” focus is on care & respect for the individual and on therapeutic support & interventions for them. Would that more people approached the topic this way. However, in terms of the current “TERF Wars” there are some additional points to note, which are also addressed thoroughly in her book.

Firstly the topic here is autogynephilia but not necessarily other dysphoria or intersex conditions. Secondly, and more important here, is the politics. In her book, the bad actors are involved in personally motivated actions against the academic careers (and worse) of other individuals and institutions.

In terms of her thread, Self-ID is indeed the best starting point for all issues of identity politics, so we “honour everyone’s gender self-identification“. But the key is in the final tweet “consensual” and “at peace“. Definitely not at war.

It is absolutely central that the original “Self-ID” basis, and responses to it, are genuine, not deluded and in good faith. Hence Alice’s focus, and that of any competent GIDS clinic, on the well-being of the individual. However, once those individual freedoms and needs are cast as a “rights” in a public social context, beyond the privacy of consensual sex (#TooMuchInformation) the uglier ideological and opportunist motivations arise in the  war-like politics of identity.

The therapeutic, individual-care aspects absolutely must be considered distinct from the public politics, and these political aspects then need to recognise more issues. We may not be able to “choose what turns us on” – but that does evolve and develop with exposure and experience. The private-public balance must consider appropriateness and safeguarding in what could and should be considered consensual, the rights and well-being of others beyond the individual subject. Where rights conflict, every bit as much care is needed to resolve.


Relevant reading:

    • Book – Galileo’s Middle Finger – Alice Dreger
    • Book – Trans, Where Ideology Meets Reality – Helen Joyce
    • Article – The Truth about Autogynephilia – Helen Joyce
    • Book – The Man Who Would Be Queen – Michael Bailey


Good Faith vs Bad Faith?

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