No, the survey’s question is not inclusive of “should everyone be allowed to?” That’s pure semantic waffle that requires us to remove the question from the context of the article, that is about this horrible bureaucratic nightmare, can you even imagine the ridiculousness of a womb-bearing motherly female woman with babies not being recognized as female despite her uterus.
Is there reason beyond spite to deny anyone else?
And if we have a situation where thousands of people are being denied something out of spite, what is so special about her that she should be freed from this? Rescuing one person out of thousands from the vagaries of spite doesn’t make the situation less spiteful and more fair, but less so.
I don’t know which of my posts on the subject you saw, but in the first one where I mentioned this stance, I also made it clear that I have nothing against her being allowed to change it and if the question was put to me as “world magistrate of gender” (in other words, I actually had the power to do something about people who needed their birth assignment records changed) it would be different, but for the purposes of a newspaper survey with no power to affect anyone’s actual situation, she can go to the back of the line because the only circumstance in which she should be able to change her recorded birth assignment is when everyone can.
The actual reason for saying things like “No special rights for cis people!” in situations like this is to get people to stop and thinkabout the implications of these things, something you clearly haven’t done if you can rattle off a phrase like “meets minimum criteria”, as if there is some natural, obvious, and easy-agreed upon meaning for what that criteria would be.
To a lot of the cis people who read the Mirror, I’m sure the minimum requirements would result in a situation where only she and people in a similar situation could have their assignment record changed.
To a few more, certain intersex people could probably have it changed, under certain conditions.
You probably think it’s obvious that “minimum criteria” would cover some trans people, but the fact that you’re talking about minimum criteria suggests that there would still be limiting factors. This would be true for many people, although they wouldn’t agree. For some, it would be “The Surgery”. For others, it would be some combination of “undergoing hormone treatment”, or “lived as ____ for ____ years”., or ”has a diagnosis”.
I’d agree that there should be minimum requirements for having your birth assignment record changed, yeah. You should have to fill out a form or direct someone to fill out a form on your behalf, certifying your identity and your desire to correct the record. If we didn’t have some kind of gatekeeping to make sure the person who is changing the recordis the person the record belongs to, hooligans would just go down to the hall of records and change everybody’s birth assignment, and then where would be?
But my idea of a minimum criterion is probably exactly what you were trying to imply there shouldn’t be when you said “meets minimum criteria”, which just goes to show you how meaningless and empty a phrase it is. Phrases like that assume that all people—or all reasonable people, all people who meet the “minimum criteria” for having a valid opinion. You’re laying out an assumption that anyone who converses with you is going to have a baseline level of agreement with you on the very premises on which the question is founded.
I cannot imagine it. It is much too far beyond my experience with ridiculous horribleness, extensive as I might sometimes consider it. And it is precisely that fact that causes me to question the motive behind anyone who would (even in an online news poll) deny someone a simple remedy to that experience.
I’m not aware of any good reasons to deny anyone a similar correction to official records. A spiteful ‘we can’t, so you can’t’ does not seem any better than the misinformation, malinformation, and resultant misplaced fear and hatred that prevent the trans community from accessing such minimal acceptance.
Rescuing one person from spite, out of thousands experiencing similar illogical, ridiculous treatment does nothing to make the situation less spiteful for those other thousands. But it makes one hell of a difference in the spite experienced by that one individual.
My intention with the use of the term ‘minimum requirements’ was that those requirements should be minimal. A signed personal attestation (accompanied by a verification of identity of the signatory, etc) would fit that description quite well. I probably could have phrased that more clearly, but I was running afoul of a character limit in that ask, and that was the succinct version that first came to me.
I’m not particularly familiar with the system the UK has in place for correcting official records with respect to gender, but from what I have read of it in the last hour or so, they do seem to have one. Though, I also get the feeling from what I have read that those in the trans community in the UK find the system unsatisfactory. Perhaps the appropriate response to this woman’s problem would be to direct her to that system (I find it difficult to believe that she would be denied that avenue, should she pursue it, though again, I lack previous exposure to it) while attempting to enlist her in addressing it’s shortcomings. Though, the calculating bastard portion of myself points out, if she were to pursue that avenue, and were subsequently denied, that could potentially prove even more useful to attempts to restructure the system than her active support.
Ultimately, I think, my confusion stems from not understanding a sentiment of ‘so long as I suffer, so must you’. Any reduction in suffering is good. The less suffering there is in the world, the better the world is. That doesn’t make the remaining suffering acceptable, or forgive those who maintain it, but there is no ethical reasoning I can imagine either to add to it or to resist its reduction, regardless of any ‘fairness’ of who is affected. Maybe I missed a path by which extending this woman’s suffering can be compellingly shown to result in a net decrease of suffering in the world at large?
Wow, you are a hideously spiteful human being, to reduce my cogent explanation to “so long as I suffer, so must you”. I cannot fathom a human being so choked with barely repressed hatred as you.
Hey, histrionically reducing your opponents to monsters is fun! I can see why you do it. But I don’t see how it advances the conversation. So, I’ll take back what I just said, you can take back what you said, and then if you have a cogent objection to my stance, I will be happy to entertain it.
You ask what is so special about this woman that she should be ‘rescued’ from her suffering.
I posit that there exists no such need, and that all are deserving of precisely as much.
What would you suggest is so special about this woman that she should not be ‘rescued’?
To be clear, though, I had no intent to ‘reduce you to a monster’. That is why I began by asking what reason you had for your position that was not mere spite. Because, while I did not want to believe that you held it solely out of such a monstrous trait, I could not see any other motivator that would create that position. The closing question of my most recent response attempts a similar inquiry more directly.
If I failed to convey these things adequately, I apologize.
"All are deserving of precisely as much."
But one woman has asked for—and before all is said and done, will very likely receive—a special exemption that basically circumvents the rule of law to receive it.
(After admittedly having her life fall apart, having her family scattered, and spending a small fortune, mind you. Hey, this story sounds more and more familiar.)
In the case, when we say “why should or shouldn’t she get this different treatment?”
What we really kind of mean is, “Why will she get this treatment, when other people who need their gender markers changed won’t?”
See, you’re putting this as basically “Isn’t it better to rescue one person than leave everyone to rot?” But it’s not one person, it’s this person in this specific situation, and that is not a thing that is just neutral at worst for the rest of us.
If you asked me to push a button that only works once but would allow one random person anywhere in the world who needs to change their gender assignment to do so, I would push that button without thinking. I wouldn’t even be hoping that it would be me, because the odds are so far against it as to be worth thinking about. Whoever received it would likely be some trans or intersex person, and with a simple push of a button one of their problems would be solved while.
"Fixing one person’s problem" is a good thing. It’s not as good as fixing everyone’s problem, but it’s better than fixing no one’s. But singling out one person for special treatment on the basis of something that excludes everyone else is not a good thing. It’s not neutral with regards to those left behind.
And you can say your desire to see her helped is not because of anything particular to her, but that’s the situation that even opens the possibility that she will receive this help.
Let me give you a parallel example that might help clear it up.
New York has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of marijuana, though it’s still prosecuted to openly display it in public. Cops take advantage of this to arrest people of color (primarily young Black men) by stopping them, directing them to turn out their pockets, and then arresting them if this results in the public display of pot.
This is a problem, right?
If a cop sees a white preppie looking kid walking by who smells like pot and stops him, but decides after talking to him for a few seconds not to make him turn out his pockets because he’s probably a good kid and he doesn’t need the hassle in his life, that doesn’t actually improve the problem.
The underlying cause of the problem is racism, and the racist assumptions that underlie it have been reinforced by this one person being spared the hassle.
The best solution would be to remove the terrible law and its terrible enforcement practices, but there’s less incentive to do that when it can be applied selectively in a way that doesn’t unduly inconvenience “the right sort of people”.
When a law exists to control or keep in place a certain population of people, “rescuing” someone it was never meant to inconvenience from that law is a patch to protect the law’s true purpose, not a crack in its structure.
Similarly, the reason that this one person will probably ultimately be given her exception is because she’s cis, because there is a baseline presumption that when doctors recorded her assignment as male they were making a mistake, but when they recorded mine as male they were making a correct assessment.
If she ended up being allowed to change her records because coincidentally at the same time a new law allowed everyone to do that, that new law would be a huge step forward for trans rights… but her being allowed to do it because of the presumption that it is clearly obvious that a person born with her organ configuration and raised while perceived as a girl should not be a woman just reinforces the notion that our gender assignments are correct and it should require a strong case as to why we should be allowed to change them in defiance of the clear and obvious evidence.
I’m not saying that when she inevitably does get her special treatment, it will set trans rights back a decade, just that it will maintain the status quo.
But at the end of the day, that’s got very little to do with why I voted no.
You’re espousing the view that whatever increases human happiness the most while doing the least harm is the best thing to do, yes? Her nightmare situation being fixed doesn’t measurably impact anyone else’s nightmare situation, but still makes her life better, so it’s better for the world that she gets her rescue. That’s your thinking, right?
Well, clicking no made me feel better about the fact that I will likely never be able to correct my own records for 0.3 seconds, and it did nothing to worsen her situation.
By the utilitarian logic that the highest good is the thing which does the most to improve the most people’s lives, I did the proper thing in the situation and made the world a better place.
You’re welcome. Don’t call me a hero, though. I just did what needed doing.