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Men wearing dresses

Emily Lake

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Are you certain that there is no in-between or intersex?

Sex assignment at birth usually aligns with a child's anatomical sex and phenotype. The number of births where the baby is intersex has been reported to be as low as 0.018% or as high as roughly 1.7%, depending on which conditions are counted as intersex. The number of births with ambiguous genitals is in the range of 0.02% to 0.05%. Other intersex conditions involve atypical chromosomes, gonads, or hormones.

YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.
 

J842P

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YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.

I'm not sure it's impossible. Suffice it to say, that true hermaphroditism, where both types of sexual tissue are present, is quite rare. The successful production of both types of gametes has never been observed in such individuals, as far as I know.
 

Treedbear

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YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.

I'm not sure it's impossible. Suffice it to say, that true hermaphroditism, where both types of sexual tissue are present, is quite rare. The successful production of both types of gametes has never been observed in such individuals, as far as I know.

I'll accept that as true, since it's well beyond my ability to know for sure. Nevertheless, I still see the need for a third category pronoun. That is unless we decide to eliminate gender pronouns entirely. But that's not going to happen. (IanSYK's experiences in the North of England notwithstanding. What were they thinking =/ what was he thinking.)
 

Emily Lake

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YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.

I'm not sure it's impossible. Suffice it to say, that true hermaphroditism, where both types of sexual tissue are present, is quite rare. The successful production of both types of gametes has never been observed in such individuals, as far as I know.

Mmm... even in cases of true hermaphroditism, a person won't have two ovaries and two testes. They can't - ovaries and testes start out as the same tissue, and diverge during fetal development based on the chromosomal signals sent.

True hermaprhoditism is extremely rare - 0.0012%. Most commonly among that incredibly rare population are people who either have two ovotestes (a sterile tissue formation stalled halfway through differentiation) or they have one ovary and one ovotestis. These are female people (XX chromosomes, other internal reproductive organs are female) and they frequently have a malfunctioning SRY gene. This formation is somewhere around 3/4 of the cases. These female people are only fertile if they have one functioning ovary.

The remainder of the cases involve disorders that occur at conception: a single ovum ending up fertilized by two differently-sexed sperm, two ovum that fuse prior to being fertilized by a single male sperm, and vanishingly rare - two separate ovum, fertilized by two separate differently-sexed sperm that fuse after fertilization resulting in a true chimera.

In none of these cases will the individual produce both ova and sperm. In the majority of cases, they produce neither and are sterile. In no cases does a person have both a fully functional penis and a fully functional vagina. And in all cases, the person with the disorder is still only male or female.

One of the more common misunderstandings* is that "intersex" means the person is in between sexes, and thus that biological sex classifications in humans is a spectrum or is bimodally distributed rather than being binary. This occurs because people tend to conflate sexual characteristics with biological sex class.

As a reminder...

Biological sex class is based on gamete type, and is strictly binary. Disorders are possible that result in incompletely differentiated formation of the gametes, but they are vanishingly rare. In the very rare cases that it occurs, the person may have ambiguous external primary sexual characteristics, but don't have ambiguous internal primary sexual characteristics.

Primary sexual characteristics are based on reproductive anatomy, and are technically binary from before birth. This includes penis, testes, as deferens, and prostate in males. In females this includes ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vaginal canal, and pelvic bone in females. These structures are binarily different in males and females in normal formation. Medical disorders of sexual development can occur that interrupt or falsely trigger the sex-based differentiation process in utero in some very rare cases, resulting in external primary sexual characteristics that are ambiguous: formation of penis halted partway through development resulting in a structure that is either a very small penis (on a male) or a very large clitoris (on a female), or partial formation of scrotal sacks resulting in features that aren't standard formation labia or scrotum, or occasionally the urethral outlet doesn't transition into the penis and retains an secondary external opening near the base of the penis. Size and shape of these characteristics show variation among members of each sex, but there is no overlap between sexes, as the characteristics are sexually differentiated.

Secondary sexual characteristics are sex-linked features triggered by hormones that begin at puberty. These mark the transition from immature to sexually mature individuals. This includes the onset of menarche, growth of breasts, and widening of hips in females. In males, this includes the descent of the testes, elongation of the penis, growth of facial hair, virilization of the vocal chords and adams apple, and the accretion of dense muscle mass. These characteristics show considerable variation among members of each sex, but virtually no overlap between the sexes. Overlaps that do occur are invariably the result of a medical disorder, although not necessarily a DSD. For example, hirsutism in females isn't considered a DSD. It can result from a variety of conditions, including PCOS, adrenal tumors, and rare genetic disorders like congenital general hypertrichosis (I had to go look that one up :)).

Tertiary sexual characteristics are sexually dimorphic features. These are features that vary between males and females, but are not directly tied to either biological sex class or to hormonal triggers. These tend to be evolutionary developments, and there's reason to believe that they are largely the result of sexual selection. This includes things like height difference, size of hands and feet, shape of eye socket, shape of jaw, etc. These are genetically determined and inherited, but there's a large variation within members of the same sex and considerable overlap between the sexes. For example, while it's generally true that males are taller than females, it's not rare to find a male who is shorter than an average female, nor to find a female that is taller than an average male.
 

Emily Lake

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I'll accept that as true, since it's well beyond my ability to know for sure. Nevertheless, I still see the need for a third category pronoun. That is unless we decide to eliminate gender pronouns entirely. But that's not going to happen. (IanSYK's experiences in the North of England notwithstanding. What were they thinking =/ what was he thinking.)

Can you make an argument for why a third category of pronouns is necessary?
 

J842P

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YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.

I'm not sure it's impossible. Suffice it to say, that true hermaphroditism, where both types of sexual tissue are present, is quite rare. The successful production of both types of gametes has never been observed in such individuals, as far as I know.

Mmm... even in cases of true hermaphroditism, a person won't have two ovaries and two testes. They can't - ovaries and testes start out as the same tissue, and diverge during fetal development based on the chromosomal signals sent.

True hermaprhoditism is extremely rare - 0.0012%. Most commonly among that incredibly rare population are people who either have two ovotestes (a sterile tissue formation stalled halfway through differentiation) or they have one ovary and one ovotestis. These are female people (XX chromosomes, other internal reproductive organs are female) and they frequently have a malfunctioning SRY gene. This formation is somewhere around 3/4 of the cases. These female people are only fertile if they have one functioning ovary.

The remainder of the cases involve disorders that occur at conception: a single ovum ending up fertilized by two differently-sexed sperm, two ovum that fuse prior to being fertilized by a single male sperm, and vanishingly rare - two separate ovum, fertilized by two separate differently-sexed sperm that fuse after fertilization resulting in a true chimera.

In none of these cases will the individual produce both ova and sperm. In the majority of cases, they produce neither and are sterile. In no cases does a person have both a fully functional penis and a fully functional vagina. And in all cases, the person with the disorder is still only male or female.

One of the more common misunderstandings* is that "intersex" means the person is in between sexes, and thus that biological sex classifications in humans is a spectrum or is bimodally distributed rather than being binary. This occurs because people tend to conflate sexual characteristics with biological sex class.

As a reminder...

Biological sex class is based on gamete type, and is strictly binary. Disorders are possible that result in incompletely differentiated formation of the gametes, but they are vanishingly rare. In the very rare cases that it occurs, the person may have ambiguous external primary sexual characteristics, but don't have ambiguous internal primary sexual characteristics.

Primary sexual characteristics are based on reproductive anatomy, and are technically binary from before birth. This includes penis, testes, as deferens, and prostate in males. In females this includes ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vaginal canal, and pelvic bone in females. These structures are binarily different in males and females in normal formation. Medical disorders of sexual development can occur that interrupt or falsely trigger the sex-based differentiation process in utero in some very rare cases, resulting in external primary sexual characteristics that are ambiguous: formation of penis halted partway through development resulting in a structure that is either a very small penis (on a male) or a very large clitoris (on a female), or partial formation of scrotal sacks resulting in features that aren't standard formation labia or scrotum, or occasionally the urethral outlet doesn't transition into the penis and retains an secondary external opening near the base of the penis. Size and shape of these characteristics show variation among members of each sex, but there is no overlap between sexes, as the characteristics are sexually differentiated.

Secondary sexual characteristics are sex-linked features triggered by hormones that begin at puberty. These mark the transition from immature to sexually mature individuals. This includes the onset of menarche, growth of breasts, and widening of hips in females. In males, this includes the descent of the testes, elongation of the penis, growth of facial hair, virilization of the vocal chords and adams apple, and the accretion of dense muscle mass. These characteristics show considerable variation among members of each sex, but virtually no overlap between the sexes. Overlaps that do occur are invariably the result of a medical disorder, although not necessarily a DSD. For example, hirsutism in females isn't considered a DSD. It can result from a variety of conditions, including PCOS, adrenal tumors, and rare genetic disorders like congenital general hypertrichosis (I had to go look that one up :)).

Tertiary sexual characteristics are sexually dimorphic features. These are features that vary between males and females, but are not directly tied to either biological sex class or to hormonal triggers. These tend to be evolutionary developments, and there's reason to believe that they are largely the result of sexual selection. This includes things like height difference, size of hands and feet, shape of eye socket, shape of jaw, etc. These are genetically determined and inherited, but there's a large variation within members of the same sex and considerable overlap between the sexes. For example, while it's generally true that males are taller than females, it's not rare to find a male who is shorter than an average female, nor to find a female that is taller than an average male.

I know all this, and we've probably discussed it before, largely agreeing on the facts, if I recall correctly. My point is simply you should be very careful to declare something as "impossible" in biology.
 

Emily Lake

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I know all this, and we've probably discussed it before, largely agreeing on the facts, if I recall correctly. My point is simply you should be very careful to declare something as "impossible" in biology.

Except that it IS impossible for a single individual to produce both ova and sperm. It IS impossible for a single individual to be both sexes, or to be a third sex. It IS impossible for a single individual to have both a normally functioning penis and a normally functioning vagina.
 

J842P

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I know all this, and we've probably discussed it before, largely agreeing on the facts, if I recall correctly. My point is simply you should be very careful to declare something as "impossible" in biology.

Except that it IS impossible for a single individual to produce both ova and sperm. It IS impossible for a single individual to be both sexes, or to be a third sex. It IS impossible for a single individual to have both a normally functioning penis and a normally functioning vagina.

Ok, then we don't agree. None of those things is impossible, at least, we cannot make that claim. You can claim, correctly, that they are unobserved. But they are not impossible as in contradicting some fundamental aspect of reality. That a species could use echolocation was unobserved, until it wasn't, and claiming it was impossible would have been unjustified. This is the thing, with biology, you are working with systems whose properties are contingent. That might make things highly unlikely, but impossible is almost always too strong of a word, unless you mean something like the property of the biological system would contradict some fundamental physical law. Then it might make sense to say "it is impossible".

Until then, you do yourself a great disservice by saying "impossible" instead of "unobserved". That word by itself speaks volumes in the context of biology, especially human biology.

Take it as a piece of advice for how to make your arguments stronger. You don't require impossible, so why use it?
 

Treedbear

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I'll accept that as true, since it's well beyond my ability to know for sure. Nevertheless, I still see the need for a third category pronoun. That is unless we decide to eliminate gender pronouns entirely. But that's not going to happen. (IanSYK's experiences in the North of England notwithstanding. What were they thinking =/ what was he thinking.)

Can you make an argument for why a third category of pronouns is necessary?

Yeah I already did. Assuming we are going to keep using "him" and "her", and based on my explanation for why I believe singular "they" is improper grammar. But if wanted to we could eliminate him, her, and they and just refer to everyone as "the person" or "the persons".
 

Treedbear

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I know all this, and we've probably discussed it before, largely agreeing on the facts, if I recall correctly. My point is simply you should be very careful to declare something as "impossible" in biology.

Except that it IS impossible for a single individual to produce both ova and sperm. It IS impossible for a single individual to be both sexes, or to be a third sex. It IS impossible for a single individual to have both a normally functioning penis and a normally functioning vagina.

How about the possibility of having neither. Or having some degree of both that are non-functioning.
 

J842P

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I'll accept that as true, since it's well beyond my ability to know for sure. Nevertheless, I still see the need for a third category pronoun. That is unless we decide to eliminate gender pronouns entirely. But that's not going to happen. (IanSYK's experiences in the North of England notwithstanding. What were they thinking =/ what was he thinking.)

Can you make an argument for why a third category of pronouns is necessary?

Yeah I already did. Assuming we are going to keep using "him" and "her", and based on my explanation for why I believe singular "they" is improper grammar. But if wanted to we could eliminate him, her, and they and just refer to everyone as "the person" or "the persons".

They is here. People are already actively using it. I think it's a perfectly fine gender neutral pronoun. I've never confused the singluar vs plural usage in the "wild".
 

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YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.

I'm not sure it's impossible. Suffice it to say, that true hermaphroditism, where both types of sexual tissue are present, is quite rare. The successful production of both types of gametes has never been observed in such individuals, as far as I know.

Mmm... even in cases of true hermaphroditism, a person won't have two ovaries and two testes. They can't - ovaries and testes start out as the same tissue, and diverge during fetal development based on the chromosomal signals sent.

True hermaprhoditism is extremely rare - 0.0012%. Most commonly among that incredibly rare population are people who either have two ovotestes (a sterile tissue formation stalled halfway through differentiation) or they have one ovary and one ovotestis. These are female people (XX chromosomes, other internal reproductive organs are female) and they frequently have a malfunctioning SRY gene. This formation is somewhere around 3/4 of the cases. These female people are only fertile if they have one functioning ovary.

The remainder of the cases involve disorders that occur at conception: a single ovum ending up fertilized by two differently-sexed sperm, two ovum that fuse prior to being fertilized by a single male sperm, and vanishingly rare - two separate ovum, fertilized by two separate differently-sexed sperm that fuse after fertilization resulting in a true chimera.

In none of these cases will the individual produce both ova and sperm. In the majority of cases, they produce neither and are sterile. In no cases does a person have both a fully functional penis and a fully functional vagina. And in all cases, the person with the disorder is still only male or female.

One of the more common misunderstandings* is that "intersex" means the person is in between sexes, and thus that biological sex classifications in humans is a spectrum or is bimodally distributed rather than being binary. This occurs because people tend to conflate sexual characteristics with biological sex class.

As a reminder...

Biological sex class is based on gamete type, and is strictly binary. Disorders are possible that result in incompletely differentiated formation of the gametes, but they are vanishingly rare. In the very rare cases that it occurs, the person may have ambiguous external primary sexual characteristics, but don't have ambiguous internal primary sexual characteristics.

Primary sexual characteristics are based on reproductive anatomy, and are technically binary from before birth. This includes penis, testes, as deferens, and prostate in males. In females this includes ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vaginal canal, and pelvic bone in females. These structures are binarily different in males and females in normal formation. Medical disorders of sexual development can occur that interrupt or falsely trigger the sex-based differentiation process in utero in some very rare cases, resulting in external primary sexual characteristics that are ambiguous: formation of penis halted partway through development resulting in a structure that is either a very small penis (on a male) or a very large clitoris (on a female), or partial formation of scrotal sacks resulting in features that aren't standard formation labia or scrotum, or occasionally the urethral outlet doesn't transition into the penis and retains an secondary external opening near the base of the penis. Size and shape of these characteristics show variation among members of each sex, but there is no overlap between sexes, as the characteristics are sexually differentiated.

Secondary sexual characteristics are sex-linked features triggered by hormones that begin at puberty. These mark the transition from immature to sexually mature individuals. This includes the onset of menarche, growth of breasts, and widening of hips in females. In males, this includes the descent of the testes, elongation of the penis, growth of facial hair, virilization of the vocal chords and adams apple, and the accretion of dense muscle mass. These characteristics show considerable variation among members of each sex, but virtually no overlap between the sexes. Overlaps that do occur are invariably the result of a medical disorder, although not necessarily a DSD. For example, hirsutism in females isn't considered a DSD. It can result from a variety of conditions, including PCOS, adrenal tumors, and rare genetic disorders like congenital general hypertrichosis (I had to go look that one up :)).

Tertiary sexual characteristics are sexually dimorphic features. These are features that vary between males and females, but are not directly tied to either biological sex class or to hormonal triggers. These tend to be evolutionary developments, and there's reason to believe that they are largely the result of sexual selection. This includes things like height difference, size of hands and feet, shape of eye socket, shape of jaw, etc. These are genetically determined and inherited, but there's a large variation within members of the same sex and considerable overlap between the sexes. For example, while it's generally true that males are taller than females, it's not rare to find a male who is shorter than an average female, nor to find a female that is taller than an average male.

Can’t address all of this BUT: YES it IS possible to have both ovaries and testes or one of each. It’s extremely rare but possible and has been observed in at least 500 individuals.

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/ovotesticular-disorder-of-sex-development/#general-discussion
 

Treedbear

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Yeah I already did. Assuming we are going to keep using "him" and "her", and based on my explanation for why I believe singular "they" is improper grammar. But if wanted to we could eliminate him, her, and they and just refer to everyone as "the person" or "the persons".

They is here. People are already actively using it. I think it's a perfectly fine gender neutral pronoun. I've never confused the singluar vs plural usage in the "wild".

I've never seen or heard it used. Can you reference something for me?
 

Angry Floof

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If you're so confident about that give me an example instead of just repeatedly asserting it.
Sure. This is a pretty old meme, though "old" is a questionable term in regard to the internet.

View attachment 34125

People talk like this all the time. If you're an American, there is no way you could have been shielded your whole life from this usage of their. You may have dismissed it as slang or incorrect, but you have heard it nonetheless and there's no reason your brain can't adapt to not only having no information about a person's gender, but also not knowing if the reference is to a non-binary person or not. Unless you have that information, there is no difference between hypothetical usage and using it for non binary people. The only way it is different is when you know it is a non binary person. This cannot possibly interrupt your ability to use and understand language!

How is it possible that this isn't sinking in? "They" in the singular refers to a human PERSON regardless of you knowing whether they are non binary or sex/gender unknown. And knowing that a non binary person prefers this language doesn't suddenly change your ability to understand it.

The only times we truly do not understand what someone is saying is when they are speaking an entirely different language or almost entirely gibberish, and not just a word or two here and there. And on the occasion when a word or two is truly not understood in context, we ask or we look it up. Again, there is literally no problem understanding "they" in the singular.

If I read somewhere "Mary is going to the ballgame. They will be there around noon." it would be normal to assume that she is going with someone else.

So what? You're perfectly capable of figuring it out or just asking. Because now you know that there are people who prefer the pronoun "they," and whether you agree with it or not, you know it's also a possibility that it could be singular and if you didn't already know, it's possible that Mary is non binary, and if confused, you would just ask, as you already also know how to do without even thinking about it.


If instead it reads "She will be there around noon." then I wouldn't automatically assume that. There's a problem there. Also if I read "They is ..." I'd have to assume there's a typo. According to Merriam-Webster the definition of "is" is "present tense third-person singular of BE." Whereas "They are ..." would indicate the plural.

And your point is? How many times do you need someone to remind you that you are perfectly capable of navigating these not at all unfamiliar ways of speaking?

Anyway, I have yet to hear anyone using the pronoun "they" in the singular with "is" in that way, but even if some people do, again, you are as perfectly capable of adapting to that as you are the myriad other language changes you have adapted to throughout your life and continue to do. I don't even demand to see an example of someone using "they is" because I don't care if anyone uses it that way in regard to non-binary people. If you don't want to say "they is," then don't. Even if you had an example of someone demanding that you use "they is," which is doubtful but anything is possible I suppose, you still don't have to. You would just simply not do it. Whether you get into an argument with said hypothetical person making said hypothetical demand is also your choice that no one is actually infringing on.

There is zero cognitive or psychological problem with using a familiar, 400-year old form of "they" in the singular. Acceptance of this form has ebbed and flowed, but has existed for centuries and is commonplace today.

It's also acceptable to use "they" in the singular both in writing (most forms) and not just in casual language, which all of us use. It's very common and has been for centuries and certainly throughout your lifetime and mine. ...

I don't believe I have. If you're so confident about that give me some examples.

Just because it is largely considered informal language doesn't mean it's not used. The non binary use is not different enough to justify either your claim that you have trouble understanding it or that it is grammatically incorrect. How about you give some examples of the "proper rules" of grammar that can't be broken as you have asserted (in spite of having already been proved wrong)?

...
Please, you are no one’s authority but your own. No one's telling you what pronouns you should prefer.

So it's fine with you that I go ahead and call some individual him or her rather then they? Then what's the problem and why are you calling that attitude "sick"?

If you refuse purposely after they've let you know their preference, you're just being a dick. If you forget, and even if you keep forgetting but still try in good faith, you're not being a dick.

No one's forcing you to do or not do anything. If another human being is speaking directly to you and asking you to do otherwise, at the very least, it would be impolite not to. But you still have that choice. I don't think you'd actually be so rude when speaking with them face to face in reality, but you do have the choice. No one's arguing with your choice to do or not do anything. We're arguing with the lame justifications and lack of facts you put forth in reaction to non binary people saying they prefer the pronoun "they" in the singular.

... And yes, “they” does apply to that person if that’s what they want.

...

Again, something that doesn't seem to occur to most people - understandably, because in their world, it is never challenged - is that you are not inherently entitled to know anything personal about other people if they don't tell you just because you're used to automatically getting that information through words. Maybe that kind of makes you feel a bit confused and that’s not fair but that doesn't justify dictating to others what pronouns they prefer.

I'm not uncomfortable with calling a women "Ms" instead of "Mrs" or "Miss" if they want the same anonymity granted to men by using "Mr". Somehow that's liberating because it's what's acceptable for men, and men have more liberty so it must be good. Whatever! It doesn't bother me or confuse me to do so. But I think that therefore a real need exists for the non-gender community to come up with the same type of solution and invent a convenient pronoun that is suitably gender-neutral rather than bastardizing the use of "they".


Holy shit. No, marginalized people are not obligated to make life comfortable for you. They choose to "bastardize" the word "they" because that's what they want and it hurts no one to comply out of just ordinary human sensitivity and empathy and it is a very simple solution to a problem. Stamp your feet if you like, but it's just not a real problem for anyone to adjust to this usage.

I think that a real need exists for the cis hetero mainstream, middle of the road, never having to be exposed to people not like us community to come up with a solution for both their inability to adapt to changes that no one controls and their belief that their opinions about people whose perspectives and voices they don't bother to get to know are somehow the gold standard of thought about anything whether they know anything about it or not.

Either way, they will still be identifying themselves as non-gender.
Excellent step toward accepting things you can't control. Well done! Non binaries gonna non binary, am I right? *high five*

So I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish in terms of personal privacy.
You really think I'm trying to accomplish something in terms of personal privacy?? That's what you think I'm doing? I find that hard to believe, but I'll attempt to explain again.

Just because you are used to automatically getting certain information, such as sex/gender or marital status, without ever having to think about it, doesn't mean you can demand it when you don't. "They" in the singular for non binary people is not to hide or obfuscate anything from you. It's just, for some of them, the most fitting pronoun, both because it conveys nothing of sex/gender, and they have lived their entire lives being forced into one or the other, and it is already in use, so even in spite of conservative discomfort, it's quite easy for English speakers to get used to.

And also to note again that people all over the English speaking world are simply making that adjustment as a matter of habit.

I do audio transcription and the content of the files I transcribe covers anything you can imagine being recorded and involving speech. Over the years, and especially this past year or two, I'm noticing more businesses, government organizations, non-profits, and more are doing two things that are fairly new in formal settings: using "they/them" when talking about anyone, even someone whose sex/gender is known, and making a point of asking for and giving preferred pronouns in meetings, interviews, and legal proceedings. These are not obscure entities or organizations that are "activists." They're just ordinary organizations around the English speaking world that are adapting to a new awareness of inequality, prejudice, privilege, and of the perspectives of marginalized people.

I have also mentioned in various threads on this board that in Australia, media events from unknown Youtubers to business conferences to government meetings, often start off with a statement of respect for the original owners of the land. What a wonderful way to help establish in white minds that respect for the original owners of the land they live on.

This is just humans being human when they become aware of things they didn't know before because their experiences didn't inform them except maybe from a safe distance in periphery. But now in a highly connected technological world of information and social media, we're all experiencing more of the voices and perspectives of people not like us, and these companies and people have recognized how easy it is to allow prejudices to harden instead of making the conscious effort to understand people who are not white or male or Christian or cis-gender or heterosexual or any number of things that mainstream Wester world is used to perceiving as the norm.

But I'm perfectly fine with it if we need to recognize a third category.
That's good because that third category exists and is not at all difficult to adapt to. The only thing different is that you know the "third category" person referred to with the singular "they" is non binary.

You have no trouble understanding the singular "they" when you don't know the sex/gender. You've already said that. But you want me to believe that you knowing they are non binary and not just unknown sex/gender short circuits the many and deep neural pathways and layers of brain function that support your ability to use language. Right.

I'm not rigid and certainly not a conservative with regard to changing social conventions.
You do speak as if you are, though. If you don't want to be mistaken for a rigid conservative, why would you speak like one?

...

That's a pretty sick thing to do to someone, really, like the handmaids in The Handmaid's Tale being given their master's names with the explanation that this practice "honors them."

"I will decide what is dehumanizing to you or not and I will feign sadness when my made up premise is challenged by you saying you prefer the pronoun "they". I care a lot!"

...

No one’s forcing you to say “they” in the singular. Some people are just telling us it’s what they prefer, and in reality there is literally no problem with that outside of the reactions of conservative minds.
...

Then please stop calling my views sick and denigrating my sentiments.
If you sit here trying to say that you should decide what is dehumanizing to people who are fucking telling you what is dehumanizing to them, yes, I will call your views sick and I absolutely denigrate that entitled and oblivious mindset. Absolutely. Listen to people who are telling us about what is dehumanizing to them and what is not. Listen openly and generously. Spend the weekend seeking out the voices and stories and perspectives of non binary people. That's the least you can do before you have the nerve to say that what they are asking for to help humanize them, people who have been and still are dehumanized to a great extent, is dehumanizing.

"It's dehumanizing to me that my society needs to cram me into a binary choice. It's painful, and I'd like to do this one small thing that will help society stop dehumanizing me in this way."

"Well, I say it's dehumanizing to you to do the very small and easy thing you ask for to help society learn to humanize non binary people. Now you go on back to your closet and learn proper grammar!
"

I cannot refer to an individual as "they" simply because it conflicts with my understanding of the meaning of the word.
:rofl: You certainly can. You would not have the language skills to participate in this forum if you could not use this term in this way regardless of your previous understanding of the word! I mean, do you hear yourself?


I explained to you why using logic and reasoning that you haven't yet disputed.
You haven't explained anything about logic and reason, only rigidity and ignorance.

I find it dehumanizing to characterize another human being in that way and therefore degrading to my own humanity.

Well, isn't that convenient? It degrades your humanity to listen to the voices and perspectives of people who are not like you. Are you typing this shit with a straight face? It's not about you, and that is obvious bullshit anyway. You're in a corner in this conversation and don't have the humanity to do anything but double down on lame, made up nonsense.

Show that you give a shit about the people you're talking about before you cry about your imaginary "dehumanizing" of them!

Honestly, that is the lamest and most callous response I've heard on this entire topic.

It's not just a matter of what they might or might not want. It concerns my own status as a human being. And I as an individual cannot under any understanding of the word be a they.

Yeah, like Data can't use contractions. :rofl: Like right wingers think their inhumane and vile ideology is magically made humane by their pretense of caring about fetuses. Thank goodness you're so compassionate. No need to think about any of that other stuff. What a relief!
 

Emily Lake

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I know all this, and we've probably discussed it before, largely agreeing on the facts, if I recall correctly. My point is simply you should be very careful to declare something as "impossible" in biology.

Except that it IS impossible for a single individual to produce both ova and sperm. It IS impossible for a single individual to be both sexes, or to be a third sex. It IS impossible for a single individual to have both a normally functioning penis and a normally functioning vagina.

Ok, then we don't agree. None of those things is impossible, at least, we cannot make that claim. You can claim, correctly, that they are unobserved. But they are not impossible as in contradicting some fundamental aspect of reality. That a species could use echolocation was unobserved, until it wasn't, and claiming it was impossible would have been unjustified. This is the thing, with biology, you are working with systems whose properties are contingent. That might make things highly unlikely, but impossible is almost always too strong of a word, unless you mean something like the property of the biological system would contradict some fundamental physical law. Then it might make sense to say "it is impossible".

Until then, you do yourself a great disservice by saying "impossible" instead of "unobserved". That word by itself speaks volumes in the context of biology, especially human biology.

Take it as a piece of advice for how to make your arguments stronger. You don't require impossible, so why use it?

Please yourself, I guess.

I will stand by my position though. It is impossible for a feline to be a kitten and an adult cat at the same time. It is impossible for a nasal bulb to be a pituitary gland at the same time. It is impossible to walk uphill both ways.

A single human literally cannot produce both ova and sperm at the same time. The tissue that forms ovaries and testes is the same tissue prior to differentiation - there are not two sets of tissues. Differentiation is a result of a hormone wash at a particular stage - it can be an incomplete or unexpected hormone wash, but it cannot be both a full masculinizing wash and a complete lack of masculinizing wash at the same time. The production of gametes by reproductive organs is a result of pituitary governing signals and hormone production... and those hormones are produced by organs that start out as the same thing, and are differentiated in their development path during gestation.

A thing cannot be itself and not itself at the same time. You cannot use a lump of clay to make a cup and use that same lump of clay to make a plate. There is only one lump of clay - it can be made into either a cup or a plate, but it cannot simultaneously be both things at the same time. This actually *is* a result of fundamental physical laws.

For reference, also mildly entertaining:
Both Sets of Genitals . . . Not
All we humans started off, early in the womb, the same in terms of sex development. From there, most people’s bodies developed down one of two paths, either male-typical or female-typical. ...

Some people’s genitals develop in-between the male-typical and female-typical....

As these drawings show, the penis and the clitoris are the same organ developmentally. Thus you can only have a penis OR a clitoris OR one organ that is in-between.

Similarly, the labia majora and the scrotum are the same organ, developmentally. Thus you can only have a scrotum OR labia majora (OR one somewhat divided scrotum, OR one set of somewhat fused labia majora).

To have “both sets of genitals,” you’d have to have two bottoms. Because you’d have to have a bottom that had both a penis AND a clitoris, a bottom with a scrotum AND labia majora, a perineum with a vaginal opening AND a perineum with no vaginal opening.

This would be like saying you have both male-typical and female-typical breast development: it would require four breasts, and maybe two chests. Or it would be like saying you have both male-typical and female-typical Adam’s Apple development; you’d have to have two necks.
 

Emily Lake

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I'll accept that as true, since it's well beyond my ability to know for sure. Nevertheless, I still see the need for a third category pronoun. That is unless we decide to eliminate gender pronouns entirely. But that's not going to happen. (IanSYK's experiences in the North of England notwithstanding. What were they thinking =/ what was he thinking.)

Can you make an argument for why a third category of pronouns is necessary?

Yeah I already did. Assuming we are going to keep using "him" and "her", and based on my explanation for why I believe singular "they" is improper grammar. But if wanted to we could eliminate him, her, and they and just refer to everyone as "the person" or "the persons".

I think I missed it, can you link me to it please?
 

Emily Lake

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I know all this, and we've probably discussed it before, largely agreeing on the facts, if I recall correctly. My point is simply you should be very careful to declare something as "impossible" in biology.

Except that it IS impossible for a single individual to produce both ova and sperm. It IS impossible for a single individual to be both sexes, or to be a third sex. It IS impossible for a single individual to have both a normally functioning penis and a normally functioning vagina.

How about the possibility of having neither. Or having some degree of both that are non-functioning.

I suppose it's possible to have neither, in the same way it's possible to be born without arms or legs.

It's not possible to have some degree of both as separate organs. It's possible to have external genitalia that are in-between developmentally, as I said previously - a very small penis on a male that didn't fully differentiate from clitoral tissue during gestation, or semi-formed scrotal sacks that unexpectedly formed from the tissue that would normally for labia majora. But no single person can have both organs at the same time.
 

steve_bank

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In our modern mass marketing culture it is bi business and culture that shapes what we wear. One feeds the oter.

T shirts have become acceptable daily dress. When I was a kid men wore causal sport jackets.

Why do people pay 100s of dollars more for shoes that are no more functional than regular shoes.

Ask yourself, if you are honest with yourself, why you buy one piece of clothing out of all the options? Could it be how it coincides with a particular marketing image? Marketing is subliminal.

There s a Pacific island culture where men and women go bare chested without any sexual connotation.

There are Asian cultures where both men and women wear simple wrap around clothes.

Clothes beyond practicality are cultural.

The hard part is figuring out you are conditioned by culture and today marketing.

If amajor pro athlete started wearing kilts and doing commercials surrounded by women, what do you think would happen? Some people would start wearing them.
 

Emily Lake

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True hermaprhoditism is extremely rare - 0.0012%. Most commonly among that incredibly rare population are people who either have two ovotestes (a sterile tissue formation stalled halfway through differentiation) or they have one ovary and one ovotestis. These are female people (XX chromosomes, other internal reproductive organs are female) and they frequently have a malfunctioning SRY gene. This formation is somewhere around 3/4 of the cases. These female people are only fertile if they have one functioning ovary.

The remainder of the cases involve disorders that occur at conception: a single ovum ending up fertilized by two differently-sexed sperm, two ovum that fuse prior to being fertilized by a single male sperm, and vanishingly rare - two separate ovum, fertilized by two separate differently-sexed sperm that fuse after fertilization resulting in a true chimera.

In none of these cases will the individual produce both ova and sperm. In the majority of cases, they produce neither and are sterile. In no cases does a person have both a fully functional penis and a fully functional vagina. And in all cases, the person with the disorder is still only male or female.

Can’t address all of this BUT: YES it IS possible to have both ovaries and testes or one of each. It’s extremely rare but possible and has been observed in at least 500 individuals.

https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/ovotesticular-disorder-of-sex-development/#general-discussion

That's what I was addressing above. Those 500 people do not have two ovaries AND two testes. They may have one ovary and one testis, or more commonly they have one ovary and one ovotestis, a sterile organ that did not complete sex-based differentiation. Of those that develop one ovary and one testis, both cannot be functional at the same time - they cannot produce both ova and sperm.
 

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Yeah I already did. Assuming we are going to keep using "him" and "her", and based on my explanation for why I believe singular "they" is improper grammar. But if wanted to we could eliminate him, her, and they and just refer to everyone as "the person" or "the persons".

I think I missed it, can you link me to it please?

Back in post #14 I wrote:
I have no problem with the singular use of "they" when the context describes a situation when the gender is unknown. By default there is an uncertainty about the particulars of the person in question. Typically that means it might be a man or a women. So that means the context is some group that cannot be defined as him or her but includes both. The plural form is therefore appropriate and carries some meaning. But in the case where the context concerns one individual there is no rational basis to use the plural "they", or "their". So who it concerns is everyone who uses the English language and follows rules of proper diction. Using "they" to refer to an individual who neither identifies as male or female is dehumanizing simply because it doesn't acknowledge that person's individuality.
 

Angry Floof

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Here's the real problem. When something or someone unusual starts to become more common, people are afraid to discuss it. They are afraid they will be attacked.
True. People are becoming a lot more aware of things like systemic racism and the perspectives of marginalized people everywhere.

They are afraid that the insanity of overly zealous wokeness
Clearly you don't know that "woke" is a term coined by Black Americans that refers to becoming aware of systemic racism and choosing not to continue to be part of that programming. Lately, though, it seems some white people have decided it means anyone who challenges their opinions about people not like them and things they themselves rarely or never experience.

will inspire some to make insinuations about them, insinuations which usually aren't true.
I find this deeply hypocritical.

Btw, I am very fond of AF, even when I disagree with her, so this isn't meant to be a personal attack. I'm not implying that she is a victim of woke culture.
Yes, you are insinuating that, but there is no such thing as "woke culture" except in the minds of insecure white people who are not used to having their deeply held (because society made them deeply held) assumptions.

I'm just think that woke culture has made it more difficult for people to discuss subjects like this.
Well, that's convenient. ;) An imaginary enemy is making it so difficult to blurt out opinions without challenge!

That is exactly why I started this thread. I wanted to see if we could discuss this, and sometimes disagree without making assumptions about each other and without attacking each other.
You hoped that couching your ignorant views in a disingenuous plea for politeness would protect you from exposure.

This is not personal. I understand why you hold such views. But the views you have expressed as well as the arguments you've put forth as justification for them are based in ignorance.

I also understand why calling out the ignorant nature of your views on non binary people and their having a preference for pronouns that challenges paradigms you've held since childhood would make you feel personally attacked. No one enjoys having their views described as based in ignorance, but if that's true, that's what you should hear.

But, A Floof has made many generalizations about me.
No, I have commented on views and attitudes and level of ignorance you have expressed.

Just because I spent several hours exploring this issue
Nothing you've said on this topic suggests you've "explored" anything.

so I could learn more about it
There are definitely more ways to learn about non binary perspectives and stories and history besides using grade school grammar lessons as an argument and making assertions without evidence that you do indeed respect non binary people. For one thing, you haven't shown that you know anything about them, and for another, you haven't shown for a second that you're willing to spend some time bringing non binary stories and voices and perspectives into your life. Cis het Southern white lady, there is no way you have very many, if any at all, personal relationships with non binary people. And even if you did, that wouldn't count as deep an understanding as people think, much like the "I have black friends" argument against having to think about black people or subconscious biases about black people.

doesn't mean that I was comforted because some in the transgendered community feel that non binary people are being insincere or trying to be cool.
By comforted I meant that you were glad to use it as part of your argument supporting your callous view of non binary people. Trans people's opinions about non binary folks are their opinions. They're not justification for you holding inhumane views regarding non binary people.

I just thought that was interesting that people in a similar in-group are having difficulty understanding non binaries. It gave me no comfort. It just made things a little bit more confusing.
No, it didn't. You brought in other people's opinions thinking their "similar in-group" gave credence to your opinions. They don't. They're irrelevant to whether you are humane enough in your regard for non binary people to let them tell you what their experience is rather than you telling them or dismissing them as liars or children or attention seekers.

No, it isn't even that interesting that "some trans people" have expressed such views about non binary people except to maybe other trans people or non binary people. That's irrelevant to the thoughts you've expressed here, and I'm skeptical of the implication that you only mentioned it as a side note. But ok, we'll say you only meant it as an interesting side note and not something that might in some way support your views of non binary people.

I don't automatically accept anything without doing a bit of research, and some critical thinking. I was a bit amused by the frequent assumptions that a person who might have a problem with the term "they" being used to describe a single person, has a "conservative mind", whatever that's supposed to mean.
Well, "conservative" means a world view and a mentality that does not like change or challenge to traditional roles and beliefs, and in this case, in Western culture, that means cis het Christian white people. Introducing a new word usage to conservatives based on a person's desire to not be referred to as only one of two options for sex/gender, why, there's really not a lot that could potentially perturb a conservative more than that! It's sacrilege, it's un-American, it's anti-Christian, it's an abomination, they're either lying or there's something "wrong" with them, we should not cater to such blasphemy...

By contrast, a world view and mentality that we would call "liberal" is one that is more open to change, open to differences, doesn't need others to conform to be accepted, willing to change, willing to help, inclusive, etc.

So, yeah, in a very real and relevant sense, the ideas and opinions you have expressed about non binary people as well as the preference for "they" in the singular as the pronouns that best reflect their lived experience have been reflective of conservative thinking as well as conservative views themselves.

I am amused, in fact, that you take exception to your views being characterized as conservative when that is exactly what they are.

I don't think we have liberal or conservative minds.
To a great extent we do (see above) and to a greater extent such traits are expressed in our political and social stances.

But, since I don't think we have free will, if someone does have a conservative mind, that's they really can't help it, can they? ;) ( humor ) I try to be open minded when it comes to something that can't be demonstrated by scientific evidence and I like that evidence to be very obvious.
But not at all open hearted or cognizant of what needs to be proven by scientific evidence for you to be humane in your regard for non binary people. And no, you are not open minded at all. If you were, you'd go to the trouble of seeking out the voices and perspectives and stories of people who identify as non binary.

Even if were true that there is no scientific evidence to support someone's assertion that they are non binary, surely you're at least open to the possibility that they are not just attention seekers who will change their minds tomorrow or any of the two dimensional dismissive characterizations you've put forth or insinuated. Surely you'd be open to the possibility that they are fully complex humans and there is more to the story than those few headlines you've seen that support superficial two dimensional characterizations of non binary people, and be open to finding out.

They're not just going to show up on your doorstep ready to convince you of anything. You have to make the effort to find those stories if you really are the respectful person you claim to be and not for whatever reason just blabbing conservative attitudes and talking points.

And, even if I were to decide that the category non binary is just a made up cultural concept, I respect people who are different and I would defend their right to feel that way. I wasn't agreeing with those in the trans community who have been critical of them. I just found that interesting as well as confusing. There was no need to make the assumption that I was validated by them. I'm my own person, not easily swayed by others.

I'll go by the views you have actually expressed and your unwillingness to let go of them as much more telling than just you making assertions.

So far, there is no physiological evidence for a person having more than one gender or having no gender, at least not among humans. That is why at least for now, I tend to think it's a cultural thing. But if the evidence comes in to support that this type of gender identity is physiological, of course, I will accept that.
And you would have no idea where and how you might be wrong about that, and regardless, you would not find a way to get to know anything about non binary people beyond the superficial quips that conservatives think support their prejudices.

Yes, sometimes we use the plural when we are speaking of a person, but when we use that pronoun that way, it has nothing to do with being non binary.
But your knowing when it refers to a non binary person, as opposed to not simply not knowing sex/gender in the binary you expect, doesn't change anything. If someone says "they" in the singular in a way that makes you think the sex/gender is simply unknown but then you find out it refers to a person who is non binary, how do you then pretend you no longer understand it? Only some additional information was given, information added, and you are really going to claim that the additional information makes you not able to parse the language?

Are you really going to keep trying to make that claim?

In fact, when "they" is used that way, it's not always clear whether we are referring to one person or a group of people who are similar. So, when you say that "they" has always been used in a singular way, I don't think that's completely honest, as it's not being used to describe non binary individuals or even people suffering from multiple personality disorder for that matter. ( humor, ok )

You should try to be less passive aggressive in your digs. Have the courage of conviction to explain how someone is being completely dishonest in making a statement that you damn well know is true, and also how you think multiple personalities bear on this topic. But I think you're going to keep expecting us all to believe that your brain just forgets how to parse language because an unknown bit of information becomes known, and not the other way around.

And unless you know someone diagnosed with dissociative disorder who has asked that you refer to them as "they" in the singular, you're just being really insensitive under the pretense of a joke.

All I'm saying is when you insist on being referred to as "they", people are confused.
Who insisted? And no, it's not confusing. Literally millions of people do this without any trouble at all, and even more who do have trouble in the beginning because of habit don't have trouble trying in good faith until it becomes more habitual and natural for them. But no confusion.

All I'm saying is that other cultures have created new pronouns to describe a non binary person so why is that a problem?
It's not. We have created new words in the effort to recognize people outside of the cis het white Christian confines of reality, and also new forms of words, such as Mx. and xir and Latinx, which are also ridiculed and demonized and hailed as "unnecessary" among conservatives (because after all, who decides what is necessary or meaningful but cis het white Christians?).

As for "they" in the singular form, we already have that form. If you want to make up a new one, do it. No one's stopping you. But meanwhile, the one we are using to refer to non binary people who let us know that's what they want is "they" in the singular.

Of course, nobody needs to reveal that they are non binary.
As long as you don't feel the need to give them your opinion as to whether they should need to or not need to.

A non binary individual who was female sexed at birth, can use the non binary term when she wants or she can use the term she when she wants to hide her non binary identity.
OK... Or a non binary individual can prefer whatever pronouns they want in whatever situation they want.

The problem with "they" in the singular is that you can't put them in either box. It's only a matter of getting used to seeing and hearing and experiencing this reality.

Oh, that reminds me of another interesting side note about a huge influencer in helping cis het white Christian society used to seeing terms and people and check boxes and pronouns outside of their experience, the U.S. military. It was about 10-12 years ago, maybe longer, that some military systems began changing forms and database fields to something different from the strictly binary. Some databases, depending on the agency, no longer require anything for sex/gender. Others, such as medical databases, allow changes from M to F or vice versa in personnel records to accommodate transitioned individuals. That might have been expanded by now. It's been a long time since I worked for the DoD.

Another interesting note and speculation: the U.S. military still does not allow people with atypical sexual and reproductive parts, but I expect that will change soon enough.

If the non binary community wants to be taken seriously,
They are taken seriously, just not by you.

they might need to be open about their identities and choose a word that isn't confusing, imo.
Your opinion is actually not needed by non binary people on either of those points, and it isn't confusing at all. If you do indeed find it confusing, and I doubt that, then you are confused, because using "they" in the singular is not confusing to English speakers in general. Hell, it's not even that confusing to ESL speakers. At least, there is much more in our language to confuse them before that one.

( opinions aren't facts )
...

At the same time, anyone with a minority gender identity has the right to remain in the closet if they feel safer that way.
Of course they do. Why does that even need to be stated? Did someone suggest a "minority gender identity" does not have that right? That has literally not been said or implied once.

It's like atheists. Some of us are very open about our atheism while others are more comfortable in the closet. It's up to individuals to decide what's best for them.
I totally agree with this and I've said this exact thing for many years. Only I don't think of it so much as people "deciding what's comfortable for themselves," although that is indeed also true, but more as a matter of safety and security. People have been throwing away their atheist and gay or in whatever way non-conformist kids for a long time. Sometimes they abuse them before throwing them away. This is not fringe and it's not new. As long as right wing extremism in the U.S. continues unchecked, it is well within the realm of possibility that straight up murdering your infidel kids and filthy homosexual kids will become more and more common much like extremist Muslims engage in honor killings.

But I mean, if you like thinking of it in terms of them just deciding it's more comfortable, you wouldn't technically be wrong.

I would hope that we could discuss controversial things without making negative assumptions about each other. That to me is one of the problems in Western culture these days.
One of the problems I see is that the cis het white Christian mentality is deeply and truly convinced that it doesn't need to ever think about anything beyond preconceived beliefs. Much of that is subconscious, like with every human, but unlike everyone else, the cis het white Christian mentality has only recently been challenged in any real way due to technology and media. On the other hand, minorities and people not mainstream conformist in some way have always been challenged.

Black Americans and Black Australians and Black Canadians and Black British citizens have always been fully aware of mainstream opinions and perspective and way of life. LGBTQ+ people around the world have only intermittently enjoyed the acceptance of wider society, but mostly they have always been aware of mainstream perspective and way of life. Latinx, Native Americans, and other minority groups in the U.S. have always been fully aware of white society and stories and history and voices.

In the Western world, cis het white people are the only ones not forced into a society that doesn't see us or it oppresses, punishes, marginalizes us when it does. And for some reason, now that we're being challenged and we have access to millions of voices and perspectives and stories and histories that were denied us by our white education, we still arrogantly go on as if that's how it's supposed to be.

Now, I'm ashamed for spending so much time trying to explain my position.
I'm not. I put a lot of labor into these threads because it matters, and not just to me.

I obviously have no free will. :D

PS. I still love you Floof! :huggs: Can we lighten up now? It's almost 4:20.
Well, I love you, too, but I will not stop calling out the disrespectful, unresearched, and closed minded nature of your actual views no matter how much you try to sandwich them with claims of respect and research and open mindedness.

I may or may not respond again. These posts can be not only time consuming but mentally and emotionally taxing. When I do choose to do it because it's always worth it to call out inhumane views and challenge the falsehoods and after-the-fact shortcuts put forth to try to justify them. The attitudes and false or misleading nonsense put forth here has real consequences for real people as long as they are not challenged.
 

Toni

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Ok, then we don't agree. None of those things is impossible, at least, we cannot make that claim. You can claim, correctly, that they are unobserved. But they are not impossible as in contradicting some fundamental aspect of reality. That a species could use echolocation was unobserved, until it wasn't, and claiming it was impossible would have been unjustified. This is the thing, with biology, you are working with systems whose properties are contingent. That might make things highly unlikely, but impossible is almost always too strong of a word, unless you mean something like the property of the biological system would contradict some fundamental physical law. Then it might make sense to say "it is impossible".

Until then, you do yourself a great disservice by saying "impossible" instead of "unobserved". That word by itself speaks volumes in the context of biology, especially human biology.

Take it as a piece of advice for how to make your arguments stronger. You don't require impossible, so why use it?

Please yourself, I guess.

I will stand by my position though. It is impossible for a feline to be a kitten and an adult cat at the same time. It is impossible for a nasal bulb to be a pituitary gland at the same time. It is impossible to walk uphill both ways.

A single human literally cannot produce both ova and sperm at the same time. The tissue that forms ovaries and testes is the same tissue prior to differentiation - there are not two sets of tissues. Differentiation is a result of a hormone wash at a particular stage - it can be an incomplete or unexpected hormone wash, but it cannot be both a full masculinizing wash and a complete lack of masculinizing wash at the same time. The production of gametes by reproductive organs is a result of pituitary governing signals and hormone production... and those hormones are produced by organs that start out as the same thing, and are differentiated in their development path during gestation.

A thing cannot be itself and not itself at the same time. You cannot use a lump of clay to make a cup and use that same lump of clay to make a plate. There is only one lump of clay - it can be made into either a cup or a plate, but it cannot simultaneously be both things at the same time. This actually *is* a result of fundamental physical laws.

For reference, also mildly entertaining:
Both Sets of Genitals . . . Not
All we humans started off, early in the womb, the same in terms of sex development. From there, most people’s bodies developed down one of two paths, either male-typical or female-typical. ...

Some people’s genitals develop in-between the male-typical and female-typical....

As these drawings show, the penis and the clitoris are the same organ developmentally. Thus you can only have a penis OR a clitoris OR one organ that is in-between.

Similarly, the labia majora and the scrotum are the same organ, developmentally. Thus you can only have a scrotum OR labia majora (OR one somewhat divided scrotum, OR one set of somewhat fused labia majora).

To have “both sets of genitals,” you’d have to have two bottoms. Because you’d have to have a bottom that had both a penis AND a clitoris, a bottom with a scrotum AND labia majora, a perineum with a vaginal opening AND a perineum with no vaginal opening.

This would be like saying you have both male-typical and female-typical breast development: it would require four breasts, and maybe two chests. Or it would be like saying you have both male-typical and female-typical Adam’s Apple development; you’d have to have two necks.

I'm sorry but you are WRONG. A human being can have both testes and ovaries.

It is rare enough that it is not at all surprising that you are unware of the fact that indeed, humans can and rare individuals DO have ovaries and testes.
https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/ovotesticular-disorder-of-sex-development/#general-discussion
Ovotesticular DSD is characterized by the presence of both ovarian and testicular tissue in the same individual. An ovotestis is present in approximately 2/3 of affected individuals.

An abnormal vagina is often present and if a uterus is present it is usually underdeveloped (hypoplastic). If a penis is present, it may show an abnormality in which the canal (urethra) that carries urine from the bladder opens on the underside (hypospadias). When testes are present, they are usually undescended (cryptorchidism).

Upon reaching puberty, breast development, feminization and menstruation may occur. Most affected individuals are infertile but ovulation or spermatogenesis is possible.

Tumors of the ovaries or testes have been reported but are rare.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6737443/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23612643/

https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/10.1089/gyn.2020.0083
 

southernhybrid

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True. People are becoming a lot more aware of things like systemic racism and the perspectives of marginalized people everywhere.


Clearly you don't know that "woke" is a term coined by Black Americans that refers to becoming aware of systemic racism and choosing not to continue to be part of that programming. Lately, though, it seems some white people have decided it means anyone who challenges their opinions about people not like them and things they themselves rarely or never experience.

will inspire some to make insinuations about them, insinuations which usually aren't true.
I find this deeply hypocritical.

Btw, I am very fond of AF, even when I disagree with her, so this isn't meant to be a personal attack. I'm not implying that she is a victim of woke culture.
Yes, you are insinuating that, but there is no such thing as "woke culture" except in the minds of insecure white people who are not used to having their deeply held (because society made them deeply held) assumptions.

I'm just think that woke culture has made it more difficult for people to discuss subjects like this.
Well, that's convenient. ;) An imaginary enemy is making it so difficult to blurt out opinions without challenge!

That is exactly why I started this thread. I wanted to see if we could discuss this, and sometimes disagree without making assumptions about each other and without attacking each other.
You hoped that couching your ignorant views in a disingenuous plea for politeness would protect you from exposure.

This is not personal. I understand why you hold such views. But the views you have expressed as well as the arguments you've put forth as justification for them are based in ignorance.

I also understand why calling out the ignorant nature of your views on non binary people and their having a preference for pronouns that challenges paradigms you've held since childhood would make you feel personally attacked. No one enjoys having their views described as based in ignorance, but if that's true, that's what you should hear.

But, A Floof has made many generalizations about me.
No, I have commented on views and attitudes and level of ignorance you have expressed.

Just because I spent several hours exploring this issue
Nothing you've said on this topic suggests you've "explored" anything.

so I could learn more about it
There are definitely more ways to learn about non binary perspectives and stories and history besides using grade school grammar lessons as an argument and making assertions without evidence that you do indeed respect non binary people. For one thing, you haven't shown that you know anything about them, and for another, you haven't shown for a second that you're willing to spend some time bringing non binary stories and voices and perspectives into your life. Cis het Southern white lady, there is no way you have very many, if any at all, personal relationships with non binary people. And even if you did, that wouldn't count as deep an understanding as people think, much like the "I have black friends" argument against having to think about black people or subconscious biases about black people.

doesn't mean that I was comforted because some in the transgendered community feel that non binary people are being insincere or trying to be cool.
By comforted I meant that you were glad to use it as part of your argument supporting your callous view of non binary people. Trans people's opinions about non binary folks are their opinions. They're not justification for you holding inhumane views regarding non binary people.

I just thought that was interesting that people in a similar in-group are having difficulty understanding non binaries. It gave me no comfort. It just made things a little bit more confusing.
No, it didn't. You brought in other people's opinions thinking their "similar in-group" gave credence to your opinions. They don't. They're irrelevant to whether you are humane enough in your regard for non binary people to let them tell you what their experience is rather than you telling them or dismissing them as liars or children or attention seekers.

No, it isn't even that interesting that "some trans people" have expressed such views about non binary people except to maybe other trans people or non binary people. That's irrelevant to the thoughts you've expressed here, and I'm skeptical of the implication that you only mentioned it as a side note. But ok, we'll say you only meant it as an interesting side note and not something that might in some way support your views of non binary people.

I don't automatically accept anything without doing a bit of research, and some critical thinking. I was a bit amused by the frequent assumptions that a person who might have a problem with the term "they" being used to describe a single person, has a "conservative mind", whatever that's supposed to mean.
Well, "conservative" means a world view and a mentality that does not like change or challenge to traditional roles and beliefs, and in this case, in Western culture, that means cis het Christian white people. Introducing a new word usage to conservatives based on a person's desire to not be referred to as only one of two options for sex/gender, why, there's really not a lot that could potentially perturb a conservative more than that! It's sacrilege, it's un-American, it's anti-Christian, it's an abomination, they're either lying or there's something "wrong" with them, we should not cater to such blasphemy...

By contrast, a world view and mentality that we would call "liberal" is one that is more open to change, open to differences, doesn't need others to conform to be accepted, willing to change, willing to help, inclusive, etc.

So, yeah, in a very real and relevant sense, the ideas and opinions you have expressed about non binary people as well as the preference for "they" in the singular as the pronouns that best reflect their lived experience have been reflective of conservative thinking as well as conservative views themselves.

I am amused, in fact, that you take exception to your views being characterized as conservative when that is exactly what they are.

I don't think we have liberal or conservative minds.
To a great extent we do (see above) and to a greater extent such traits are expressed in our political and social stances.

But, since I don't think we have free will, if someone does have a conservative mind, that's they really can't help it, can they? ;) ( humor ) I try to be open minded when it comes to something that can't be demonstrated by scientific evidence and I like that evidence to be very obvious.
But not at all open hearted or cognizant of what needs to be proven by scientific evidence for you to be humane in your regard for non binary people. And no, you are not open minded at all. If you were, you'd go to the trouble of seeking out the voices and perspectives and stories of people who identify as non binary.

Even if were true that there is no scientific evidence to support someone's assertion that they are non binary, surely you're at least open to the possibility that they are not just attention seekers who will change their minds tomorrow or any of the two dimensional dismissive characterizations you've put forth or insinuated. Surely you'd be open to the possibility that they are fully complex humans and there is more to the story than those few headlines you've seen that support superficial two dimensional characterizations of non binary people, and be open to finding out.

They're not just going to show up on your doorstep ready to convince you of anything. You have to make the effort to find those stories if you really are the respectful person you claim to be and not for whatever reason just blabbing conservative attitudes and talking points.

And, even if I were to decide that the category non binary is just a made up cultural concept, I respect people who are different and I would defend their right to feel that way. I wasn't agreeing with those in the trans community who have been critical of them. I just found that interesting as well as confusing. There was no need to make the assumption that I was validated by them. I'm my own person, not easily swayed by others.

I'll go by the views you have actually expressed and your unwillingness to let go of them as much more telling than just you making assertions.

So far, there is no physiological evidence for a person having more than one gender or having no gender, at least not among humans. That is why at least for now, I tend to think it's a cultural thing. But if the evidence comes in to support that this type of gender identity is physiological, of course, I will accept that.
And you would have no idea where and how you might be wrong about that, and regardless, you would not find a way to get to know anything about non binary people beyond the superficial quips that conservatives think support their prejudices.

Yes, sometimes we use the plural when we are speaking of a person, but when we use that pronoun that way, it has nothing to do with being non binary.
But your knowing when it refers to a non binary person, as opposed to not simply not knowing sex/gender in the binary you expect, doesn't change anything. If someone says "they" in the singular in a way that makes you think the sex/gender is simply unknown but then you find out it refers to a person who is non binary, how do you then pretend you no longer understand it? Only some additional information was given, information added, and you are really going to claim that the additional information makes you not able to parse the language?

Are you really going to keep trying to make that claim?

In fact, when "they" is used that way, it's not always clear whether we are referring to one person or a group of people who are similar. So, when you say that "they" has always been used in a singular way, I don't think that's completely honest, as it's not being used to describe non binary individuals or even people suffering from multiple personality disorder for that matter. ( humor, ok )

You should try to be less passive aggressive in your digs. Have the courage of conviction to explain how someone is being completely dishonest in making a statement that you damn well know is true, and also how you think multiple personalities bear on this topic. But I think you're going to keep expecting us all to believe that your brain just forgets how to parse language because an unknown bit of information becomes known, and not the other way around.

And unless you know someone diagnosed with dissociative disorder who has asked that you refer to them as "they" in the singular, you're just being really insensitive under the pretense of a joke.

All I'm saying is when you insist on being referred to as "they", people are confused.
Who insisted? And no, it's not confusing. Literally millions of people do this without any trouble at all, and even more who do have trouble in the beginning because of habit don't have trouble trying in good faith until it becomes more habitual and natural for them. But no confusion.

All I'm saying is that other cultures have created new pronouns to describe a non binary person so why is that a problem?
It's not. We have created new words in the effort to recognize people outside of the cis het white Christian confines of reality, and also new forms of words, such as Mx. and xir and Latinx, which are also ridiculed and demonized and hailed as "unnecessary" among conservatives (because after all, who decides what is necessary or meaningful but cis het white Christians?).

As for "they" in the singular form, we already have that form. If you want to make up a new one, do it. No one's stopping you. But meanwhile, the one we are using to refer to non binary people who let us know that's what they want is "they" in the singular.

Of course, nobody needs to reveal that they are non binary.
As long as you don't feel the need to give them your opinion as to whether they should need to or not need to.

A non binary individual who was female sexed at birth, can use the non binary term when she wants or she can use the term she when she wants to hide her non binary identity.
OK... Or a non binary individual can prefer whatever pronouns they want in whatever situation they want.

The problem with "they" in the singular is that you can't put them in either box. It's only a matter of getting used to seeing and hearing and experiencing this reality.

Oh, that reminds me of another interesting side note about a huge influencer in helping cis het white Christian society used to seeing terms and people and check boxes and pronouns outside of their experience, the U.S. military. It was about 10-12 years ago, maybe longer, that some military systems began changing forms and database fields to something different from the strictly binary. Some databases, depending on the agency, no longer require anything for sex/gender. Others, such as medical databases, allow changes from M to F or vice versa in personnel records to accommodate transitioned individuals. That might have been expanded by now. It's been a long time since I worked for the DoD.

Another interesting note and speculation: the U.S. military still does not allow people with atypical sexual and reproductive parts, but I expect that will change soon enough.

If the non binary community wants to be taken seriously,
They are taken seriously, just not by you.

they might need to be open about their identities and choose a word that isn't confusing, imo.
Your opinion is actually not needed by non binary people on either of those points, and it isn't confusing at all. If you do indeed find it confusing, and I doubt that, then you are confused, because using "they" in the singular is not confusing to English speakers in general. Hell, it's not even that confusing to ESL speakers. At least, there is much more in our language to confuse them before that one.

( opinions aren't facts )
...

At the same time, anyone with a minority gender identity has the right to remain in the closet if they feel safer that way.
Of course they do. Why does that even need to be stated? Did someone suggest a "minority gender identity" does not have that right? That has literally not been said or implied once.

It's like atheists. Some of us are very open about our atheism while others are more comfortable in the closet. It's up to individuals to decide what's best for them.
I totally agree with this and I've said this exact thing for many years. Only I don't think of it so much as people "deciding what's comfortable for themselves," although that is indeed also true, but more as a matter of safety and security. People have been throwing away their atheist and gay or in whatever way non-conformist kids for a long time. Sometimes they abuse them before throwing them away. This is not fringe and it's not new. As long as right wing extremism in the U.S. continues unchecked, it is well within the realm of possibility that straight up murdering your infidel kids and filthy homosexual kids will become more and more common much like extremist Muslims engage in honor killings.

But I mean, if you like thinking of it in terms of them just deciding it's more comfortable, you wouldn't technically be wrong.

I would hope that we could discuss controversial things without making negative assumptions about each other. That to me is one of the problems in Western culture these days.
One of the problems I see is that the cis het white Christian mentality is deeply and truly convinced that it doesn't need to ever think about anything beyond preconceived beliefs. Much of that is subconscious, like with every human, but unlike everyone else, the cis het white Christian mentality has only recently been challenged in any real way due to technology and media. On the other hand, minorities and people not mainstream conformist in some way have always been challenged.

Black Americans and Black Australians and Black Canadians and Black British citizens have always been fully aware of mainstream opinions and perspective and way of life. LGBTQ+ people around the world have only intermittently enjoyed the acceptance of wider society, but mostly they have always been aware of mainstream perspective and way of life. Latinx, Native Americans, and other minority groups in the U.S. have always been fully aware of white society and stories and history and voices.

In the Western world, cis het white people are the only ones not forced into a society that doesn't see us or it oppresses, punishes, marginalizes us when it does. And for some reason, now that we're being challenged and we have access to millions of voices and perspectives and stories and histories that were denied us by our white education, we still arrogantly go on as if that's how it's supposed to be.

Now, I'm ashamed for spending so much time trying to explain my position.
I'm not. I put a lot of labor into these threads because it matters, and not just to me.

I obviously have no free will. :D

PS. I still love you Floof! :huggs: Can we lighten up now? It's almost 4:20.
Well, I love you, too, but I will not stop calling out the disrespectful, unresearched, and closed minded nature of your actual views no matter how much you try to sandwich them with claims of respect and research and open mindedness.

I may or may not respond again. These posts can be not only time consuming but mentally and emotionally taxing. When I do choose to do it because it's always worth it to call out inhumane views and challenge the falsehoods and after-the-fact shortcuts put forth to try to justify them. The attitudes and false or misleading nonsense put forth here has real consequences for real people as long as they are not challenged.

Okay. First, let me say that I am insulted that you thought you needed to explain to me what the slang term "woke" means. I am well aways of its original meaning. But, these days, it's been misused to a large extent and that is what I was referring to in that post. Obviously, it can be difficult trying to understand each other on a board like this one.

Look at your posts. You have made many unsubstantiated attacks on me. So many, that I'd have to go back to add them all up. Who have I attacked? I certainly do accept that there are people who literally believe that they are two genders. Is it biological or cultural? I have no idea and it's really not that important. I just sometimes like to read about concepts, people etc. that are outside the mainstream. That doesn't mean they are abnormal, but they are a minority. Nothing wrong with that. You mentioned that we've invented new words. Yeah, exactly, so let's have a new word for non binary folks instead of misusing a word that's been around for ages.

Enough already pretending that reading about trans folks criticizing non binary folks gave me any kind of lift. In fact, it surprised me. It made me wonder why so many times, we criticize people who are slightly different from ourselves, who suffer some of the same prejudices that we do, but because of our different perspectives or identities, we criticize them instead of embracing them. Most of what I read were testimonies from the non binary community, as well as some scientific articles. I have come to no conclusion, other than that the term "they" is confusing when used as a singular pronoun.

The reason I mentioned free will is because I don't believe that we have free will, or if we do, it's very limited. So, I try not to judge people, not even those who are extremely different from me. For, imo, we are all products of our genetics and environmental influences. So, people who voted for Trump are victims of lies and propaganda, among other things, I suspect. Sure, we can help people change their minds, as that would be an environmental influence, but attacking them rarely works. It's much better to try and understand why people perceive things how they do. Don't get me wrong. It's difficult not to be judgmental, but I do my best to try and understand all kinds of people, even sociopaths. And, I understand that some beliefs lead to violence and harm. I'm not sure what we do about that, but that has nothing to do with this discussion, so I'll leave it at that. We can talk about that in a different discussion.

My only concern in regards to non binary identification is using the term "they" to describe a single person. How many times do I have to say that? That doesn't show any disrespect, so your attacks on me sound very misguided. It's fine to disagree. It's not fine to attack a person just because they don't see things the same way that you do.

Yes, it's emotionally taxing to post on threads like this one. No matter how hard I try to explain that I'm not being prejudiced, that I'm open minded and like to read both sides of an issue, you keep coming back in attack mode. So, maybe it's better if we end it here. I was hoping this wouldn't happen in this thread. I was hoping that people who have mixed feelings or who don't understand minority gender identities could have a discussion without calling each other names or making assumptions about each other's characters. I see that's not working, which is sad. I tend to think that's why a lot of people here don't feel comfortable starting new threads on subjects that are rarely openly discussed. I can understand that. And yeah. There are far more important things going on in the country and the world other than how a group of people want to be identified.

Oh wait. I missed one of your insults. I'm not a Southern lady. My screen name is meant to be humorous or ironic. I'm a Jersey girl and as the saying goes, "You can take this girl out of New Jersey, but you can't take New Jersey out of this girl".Believe me I've tried. ;) Can you see that by labeling me as a white Southern lady, you've already judged white Southern ladies?

So, if you're going to insult me, at least call me a Jersey girl instead of a Southern lady. :D If I were a Southern lady, I would never have started this thread. :p.
 

Toni

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I'm just going to step in here to write that I am prejudiced about a lot of things. I hope that I am conscious of my various prejudices and that none of them are against any people. But I am certain that is not really the case.

Somewhat relevant to this discussion, it appears that now some federal documents call mothers 'birthing persons' which I find offensive and extremely upsetting.
Here's a link to an article, reprinted from the Chicago Tribune which only allows paid subscribers to read the column there: https://www.startribune.com/theres-...t-dear-old-birthing-person-of-mine/600068973/

I am happy to celebrate all individuals who help give rise to a human being by egg donation, gestation, or childbirth the word mother, and to add context where necessary for clarification: An egg donor is only the genetic mother. A gestational surrogate carried the child but is not usually genetically related to the child. Transmen who retain a uterus and choose to carry a child act as the child's mother during gestation, whatever they prefer to be called during the pregnancy or after. And if, after giving birth, they see themselves as the child's father or simply parent, no problem. But biologically, they are the mother, even if that is never mentioned again. Even if they are married to a woman who becomes the mother. Nonbinary persons who choose to carry a child are the child's mother during gestation, and often from conception onward, whatever they choose to call themselves. Those who give birth and then give the child up for adoption are still the birth mother, even if they never laid eyes on the child. Women who adopt children, be they cis or trans, are mother to the adopted child. Women who raise children, even temporarily in foster situations are nonetheless mother to those children, however fleetingly. It's more than possible to have two or more mothers! Ask any child raised in part or wholely by a stepmother or foster mother! Heck, when they were growing up, some of my kids' friends called me mom. So did some of the exchange students who lived with us. Frankly, some single fathers also act as mother to their children and that, too, should be honored just as women who act as both mother and father should be honored for assuming the paternal role.

THAT term: birthing person, has kind of broken me.

I also struggle with watching transmen who break into new public positions as the first trans woman being celebrated when so few, or no cis women have ever held that role. This is an individual who, no matter what her private struggles, benefited from all of society's benefits conferred on boys and men until she decided to act on her innermost understanding and awareness of herself and dress and present herself as the woman she is, or even have gender confirmation surgery. Ideologically, I have no problem with transgender women being as successful in their careers and lives as they can be. It just grates sometimes when a transwoman breaks a barrier that so few or no ciswomen have been able to break in a chosen career.

I fully acknowledge that I might be wrong, that it might be prejudice or even bigotry on my part.
 

southernhybrid

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I'm just going to step in here to write that I am prejudiced about a lot of things. I hope that I am conscious of my various prejudices and that none of them are against any people. But I am certain that is not really the case.

Somewhat relevant to this discussion, it appears that now some federal documents call mothers 'birthing persons' which I find offensive and extremely upsetting.
Here's a link to an article, reprinted from the Chicago Tribune which only allows paid subscribers to read the column there: https://www.startribune.com/theres-...t-dear-old-birthing-person-of-mine/600068973/

I am happy to celebrate all individuals who help give rise to a human being by egg donation, gestation, or childbirth the word mother, and to add context where necessary for clarification: An egg donor is only the genetic mother. A gestational surrogate carried the child but is not usually genetically related to the child. Transmen who retain a uterus and choose to carry a child act as the child's mother during gestation, whatever they prefer to be called during the pregnancy or after. And if, after giving birth, they see themselves as the child's father or simply parent, no problem. But biologically, they are the mother, even if that is never mentioned again. Even if they are married to a woman who becomes the mother. Nonbinary persons who choose to carry a child are the child's mother during gestation, and often from conception onward, whatever they choose to call themselves. Those who give birth and then give the child up for adoption are still the birth mother, even if they never laid eyes on the child. Women who adopt children, be they cis or trans, are mother to the adopted child. Women who raise children, even temporarily in foster situations are nonetheless mother to those children, however fleetingly. It's more than possible to have two or more mothers! Ask any child raised in part or wholely by a stepmother or foster mother! Heck, when they were growing up, some of my kids' friends called me mom. So did some of the exchange students who lived with us. Frankly, some single fathers also act as mother to their children and that, too, should be honored just as women who act as both mother and father should be honored for assuming the paternal role.

THAT term: birthing person, has kind of broken me.

I also struggle with watching transmen who break into new public positions as the first trans woman being celebrated when so few, or no cis women have ever held that role. This is an individual who, no matter what her private struggles, benefited from all of society's benefits conferred on boys and men until she decided to act on her innermost understanding and awareness of herself and dress and present herself as the woman she is, or even have gender confirmation surgery. Ideologically, I have no problem with transgender women being as successful in their careers and lives as they can be. It just grates sometimes when a transwoman breaks a barrier that so few or no ciswomen have been able to break in a chosen career.

I fully acknowledge that I might be wrong, that it might be prejudice or even bigotry on my part.

I think your concerns are legitimate. To me, it's not bigotry, as you're not condemning anyone or wishing harm on anyone. You're simply questioning the validity of some of the latest cultural terms and values.

I'm not going to say that the term "birthing person" has broken me, but I do agree the term is insulting to women and is totally incorrect. Only women birth children. It's a biological fact. I will admit that I am sometimes perplexed by some of the latest cultural trends when it comes to gender identification. That doesn't make me a bigot. It doesn't mean that I'm prejudiced towards people who hold minority identities. It means that I'm trying to navigate a changing world with an open mind. I'm trying to seek out information and learn more.

I just don't like it when other people judge and think they know exactly what's going on in someone else's mind. We can't control what goes on in our minds, and we don't really know what's going on in someone else's mind. All we can do is try to treat people equally and support their civil rights, regardless of any questions that may pop into our minds about how any group chooses to identify.

From reading your posts, I think that you are a kind, caring person who would never intentionally hurt anyone. To me, that's the most important thing. So, if you do have any minor prejudices, or resentments that just makes you human. That is why I had hoped we could discuss more controversial things without attacking each other. I guess that was wishful thinking on my part.
 

Loren Pechtel

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YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.

I don't think it's actually impossible--the key being your statement "a single individual". What if it isn't a single individual? What if the person is actually a chimera? One part is male, the other is testosterone-insensitive, could be either XX or XY. Get just the right blend and you could end up with two functional sets of anatomy downstairs.

Horrendously unlikely but I see no reason to think it's impossible. Chimeras certainly exist and I seriously doubt we even know how common it might be as most of them will not be detected. (I'm thinking of a woman arrested for welfare fraud because the DNA test came back saying the kid wasn't hers. Turns out her reproductive apparatus wasn't hers, either.)
 

Angry Floof

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Okay. First, let me say that I am insulted that you thought you needed to explain to me what the slang term "woke" means. I am well aways of its original meaning. But, these days, it's been misused to a large extent and that is what I was referring to in that post. Obviously, it can be difficult trying to understand each other on a board like this one.

The way you used the term "woke culture" does not reflect any understanding of it. It's not anything that could possible cause harm to anyone. People becoming aware of systemic racism and how we all contribute to it is not zealotry. Any discussion of systemic racism (and prejudice toward anyone who is not cis het Christian and white) is going to ruffle a lot of mainstream feathers.

What is it exactly about recognizing systemic racism that you think is zealotry or something you need to object to in some way? Do you not recognize systemic racism and how you contribute to it? Because if you don't, then I can see why you would try to diminish and demonize the thoughts and ideas of people who do.

Here's a primer:



It does not hurt us white, straight people one tiny bit to switch to just listening to POC and LGBTQ+ people and to sustain that posture of only listening. Listening to their voices doesn't hurt us in the least. They have a lot to teach us if we could stop whining about marginalized people now having voices that can't be ignored quite as easily as in the past.

Learning their histories doesn't hurt us in the least. Black history in the U.S. is almost invisible to white people, and also has been somewhat invisible to Black people because they also got their education here, which omits almost all of it and white washes the rest. It doesn't hurt us in the least to learn about all the things that the U.S. education system has deprived us of.

And yes, human history includes all the people traditionally marginalized or oppressed or enslaved or murdered or persecuted by the society around them. Everything you might find related to homosexuality or transexuality or gender identity or all manner of things that don't fit the mainstream norms of society, are found throughout history, though I'm sure much of that is lost to oppression. Some terms might be new, but the experiences and the realities of body and mind have existed as long as humans have existed.

Listen to Black people's perspectives on living in a white society. Listen to trans people talk about their experiences of life in the trump administration and how much of that hasn't changed since the election. Etc., etc.

That's all "woke" means, just noticing that people who are not white or not hetero or not cis gendered have to live 24/7 in a society that doesn't accept them and that often abuses them and often just ignores them when they call out for help and protection that they deserve from their society, white society.

And white cis hetero mainstream acceptable people in the U.S. and elsewhere have never, ever lived in a society that did not accept them.

White society is not immersed in Black or Latinx or Native American or Muslim or Asian or gay or non-cis or trans people's lives. But they are immersed in white/straight/cis society, white/straight/cis stories, white/straight/cis perspectives, white/straight/cis opinions, white/straight/cis media, and white/straight/cis history whether they like it or not.

They already know all about our opinions. Non binary people already know about your opinions. They can't escape your opinions. They are widely held by a white/straight/cis mainstream that doesn't have to see any of those people.

There's nothing in your white/straight/cis life that would compel you to face some non binary people and immerse yourself in their stories. It takes a lot more than a few hours or even a few days. But you have to put the effort to do it because very little else, if anything, is going to push you in that direction.

And that is privilege. That is the source of systemic racism, which applies to any non white/straight/cis mainstream identity or perspective or experience, and not just Black people. The U.S. has always been particularly violent and vicious to Black Americans, and much of white society was specifically built to favor white people. But the white majority is not affected by that, thus white privilege is invisible.

You are not a racist individual by any means. I don't believe that for a second. But as a white/straight/cis citizen of the U.S., unless you do something drastically different, you're just contributing without knowing it. Getting defensive about that is the epitome of privilege. Changing the meaning of "woke" to something derogatory is nothing more than ignoring all of those voices and pandering to mainly white men. They're the least used to being challenged and criticized and now they are left with diminished capacity for the power and weapons they've always had before to protect themselves from discomfort.

Some of the brightest minds of our time... well, that's arguable, I guess, but people like Sam Harris, Richard Dawkins, Steven Pinker have stepped a bit out of their lanes to spout some dumb opinions about people they only understand in some abstract way.

They feel like they need to defend themselves against *gas* "woke culture," because finding out that their opinions are not only NOT the gold standard of opinions but also NOT needed or requested or kind to the people they're talking about, and they are flummoxed that people they have not ever had to deal with or get to know to any extent now have a voice to criticize them and white guys can't silence them.

How do you get used to a world of billions of voices that you can't control? It's going to take humility, effort, self reflection and a lot of discomfort, and they're just not used to being uncomfortable or humble. So their choices are to die mad about it, use whatever power they have to beat down the voices (such as what law enforcement does for them already).

But when that doesn't work, just how violent are the Sam Harrises or Steven Pinkers or Joe Rogans of the world willing to be in order to continue feeling wronged and avoid admitting mistakes? Or are they cool with corrupt law enforcement doing it for them?

It's ok if you don't read all this, but I hope you do. It's relevant, although probably causing some discomfort. If you still then want to claim "woke culture" is ruining your shit or whatever, please make specific points about what that means and how it works from your perspective. I think you'll have a hard time doing that. You'll look for extremes or transpeople in bathrooms or something, but it's way bigger and more complex than that, so please go to the effort to explain how "woke culture" is doing anything other than challenging a status quo.




Look at your posts. You have made many unsubstantiated attacks on me. So many, that I'd have to go back to add them all up. Who have I attacked?

Attacking your comments is not attacking you. Your flippant, dismissive comments about non binary people are not just impolite, which is something I know is important to you, but based in either ignorance or callousness or both.

I challenge you to find someone who identifies as non binary who has indicated a preference for the pronoun "they" and say the things that you've said here to their face.

Tell them they'll change their mind tomorrow.
Tell them "non binary" is just a trend they've jumped on.
Tell them they're just attention seeking.


I'm sure they will feel very respected.

I certainly do accept that there are people who literally believe that they are two genders.
Well, if people are telling you that, then it's good that you accept what they tell you about their experience.

Is it biological or cultural?
Who cares? The way we feel is inextricably connected to our human, cultural experiences. So "both" would probably be the correct answer. But that question doesn't justify your flippant disregard for people who are telling us their experiences and your refusal to put any real effort into actually accepting them.

I have no idea and it's really not that important.
Agreed. The fact that they are human and not two dimensional cartoons with only a rudimentary understanding of their own experiences as humans is much more important.

I just sometimes like to read about concepts, people etc. that are outside the mainstream. That doesn't mean they are abnormal,
Very generous of you.

but they are a minority. Nothing wrong with that.
Of course there is nothing wrong with that. What are you even responding to here? No one has claimed that or claimed that you think that.

You mentioned that we've invented new words. Yeah, exactly, so let's have a new word for non binary folks instead of misusing a word that's been around for ages.
Why do you care? Neither of those options either is up to you to decide or bothers, confuses, burdens you in any way.

Say you're in a meeting and someone tells you their preferred pronouns are "they/them/their." Do you just refuse? Give them a lecture on why you think they shouldn't have that preference? Do you tell them to find a different word? Who are you to tell anyone that? Do you try to be polite and use those pronouns? You would only need them when talking about the person, not to them. Second person would just be "you/your." So if you happened to be talking about them for some reason, would you just try to remember to say "they/them/their" and not purposely be a dick to them regardless of your opinions? If you forgot and said "he" or "she" based on what their appearance or name indicated to you, would you then just say, "Sorry, forgot, still getting used to this. I meant 'they'"? I think you would.

If they were in front of you and engaged with you, I don't believe for a second you would act according to the opinions you've expressed here. I think you would act toward them as human beings. You might get a little bit flustered, and you would likely recall these conversations, but you're clearly not a fucking sociopath. You would not say those things to them and you would act as though their mentioning their preferred pronouns was not in the least bit objectionable to you.

Enough already pretending that reading about trans folks criticizing non binary folks gave me any kind of lift.
Enough already pretending it wasn't a tidbit that confirmed what you already believed. Funny how something that seemed to confirm your dismissal of non binary is "interesting," but nothing that contradicted it.

In fact, it surprised me. It made me wonder why so many times, we criticize people who are slightly different from ourselves, who suffer some of the same prejudices that we do, but because of our different perspectives or identities, we criticize them instead of embracing them. Most of what I read were testimonies from the non binary community, as well as some scientific articles. I have come to no conclusion, other than that the term "they" is confusing when used as a singular pronoun.
"They" in the singular is not at all confusing. Knowing that the "they" in question is a non binary person is not harder to understand than the "they" being of unknown sex/gender.

Again, "they" = sex/gender unknown, singular person. "They" also = sex/gender neither or both, singular person.

Knowing it's a non binary person who prefers the pronoun "they" doesn't change the meaning or usage of "they" in the singular. It just means you had a tad bit more info, just the info didn't tell you sex/gender in the binary form that you're used to. It didn't take anything away in terms of meaning or usage.

I can't believe you keep trying to forward this nonsense!

The reason I mentioned free will is because I don't believe that we have free will, or if we do, it's very limited. So, I try not to judge people, not even those who are extremely different from me.
Except you're judging. Or, again, you might say those things above to a non binary person's face. I'm sure they will not think you're judging them at all.

My only concern in regards to non binary identification is using the term "they" to describe a single person.

You have no need to have any concerns about it, unless you've got new, previously withheld concerns that you're now about to reveal and which can now be addressed.

How many times do I have to say that?
How many times do you have to have that debunked before you have the sense to be embarrassed by it, not only in terms of grammar and usage and your ability to use the word, but also the disregard for non binary people that you show by continuing to insist that you have a problem using the word.

That doesn't show any disrespect,
It absolutely does. But we can find out for sure when you contact some non binary people who have indicated that they prefer the pronoun "they" and say those things to them that you have said here.

so your attacks on me
I'm calling you out. I'm challenging the views you have expressed. No one is attacking you.

sound very misguided. It's fine to disagree. It's not fine to attack a person just because they don't see things the same way that you do.
Well, that's convenient. How about: Your views of non binary people sound very misguided. It's fine to disagree, but it's not fine to attack a person just because they say they prefer the pronoun "they."

Yes, it's emotionally taxing to post on threads like this one. No matter how hard I try to explain that I'm not being prejudiced, that I'm open minded and like to read both sides of an issue, you keep coming back in attack mode.

Try the challenge. Maybe that will help you to actually do the work to find out if prejudice is what is driving this irrational insistence that your ability to use language stops at non binary people using "they."

So, maybe it's better if we end it here. I was hoping this wouldn't happen in this thread. I was hoping that people who have mixed feelings or who don't understand minority gender identities could have a discussion without calling each other names or making assumptions about each other's characters. I see that's not working, which is sad. I tend to think that's why a lot of people here don't feel comfortable starting new threads on subjects that are rarely openly discussed. I can understand that. And yeah. There are far more important things going on in the country and the world other than how a group of people want to be identified.
Something "happened" in this thread? :rofl: I think you were hoping for agreement and for no one to challenge anything you say.

No one is doing anything of the sort. No one is attacking you or calling you names and no one is making assumptions on anything but the things you've actually posted here.

And people start threads on these topics all the time. You're the only one who is uncomfortable with anyone challenging your views.

Oh wait. I missed one of your insults. I'm not a Southern lady.
Talk about assumptions. That was not an insult.

My screen name is meant to be humorous or ironic. I'm a Jersey girl and as the saying goes, "You can take this girl out of New Jersey, but you can't take New Jersey out of this girl".Believe me I've tried. ;) Can you see that by labeling me as a white Southern lady, you've already judged white Southern ladies?

Oh for fuck's sake! YOU labeled yourself a Southern lady! If your screen name was Princess Mooseface, I would have called you that!

But I can see how making yourself into some kind of victim must feel good when you're feeling "attacked."

So, if you're going to insult me, at least call me a Jersey girl instead of a Southern lady. :D If I were a Southern lady, I would never have started this thread. :p.
OK, so that's what we're doing now, just repeating that I insulted you over and over. Well, Miss New Jersey, you go right ahead. It's not going to cover up your disrespectful and flippant attitude toward non binary people.

Also, once again, go say the things you've said here to the faces of some non binary people who prefer the pronoun "they."
 
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Ruth Harris

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My close and very large family (with several hundred people from the elders through to cousins) has several members who are gay, lesbian, bi, and asexual. It does not bother me in the slightest what their orientation is, nor do I consider them to be lesser people for it. I have lifelong friends who are gay, lesbian, bi, and asexual – and again, their orientation has no impact on our friendship. In all these cases we are perfectly comfortable with each other. There is no impact on our conversation relating to pronoun usage, of course.

But I do freely admit that to the best of my knowledge, I have never known anyone who considered themselves non binary. I also freely admit that I find it very uncomfortable to use a grammatically incorrect plural identifier in conversation when one person is the reference. I would not hesitate to tell someone who identifies as non binary that this is the case for me, being a lifelong grammar fiend. Of course I would try to respect their wishes but in all honesty this would be very painful for me. I realize that this may not be the case for all people, but it is true for me.

What I am hearing is that my pain in using incorrect grammar is less valid than their pain in hearing sexed identifiers. That is, to be blunt, nonsense. Yes, I should and I will do my best to not deliberately inflict emotional pain on someone who identifies as such – but that person should also respect the emotional pain inflicted on someone like me when using incorrect grammar. No one can unequivocally state that one pain is more valid than the other. That is why I think that a new pronoun for non binary people would be the reasonable solution.

I have no doubt that some will consider this just an excuse to invalidate the suffering of non binary individuals. So be it. That is more your problem than mine since it is untrue. Using unprovoked personal attacks to promote your viewpoint will never change anyone’s mind. If we can’t get to the point of being able to discuss this in a respectful manner on both sides, there will never be any chance of finding a solution that works.

Ruth
 

Toni

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My close and very large family (with several hundred people from the elders through to cousins) has several members who are gay, lesbian, bi, and asexual. It does not bother me in the slightest what their orientation is, nor do I consider them to be lesser people for it. I have lifelong friends who are gay, lesbian, bi, and asexual – and again, their orientation has no impact on our friendship. In all these cases we are perfectly comfortable with each other. There is no impact on our conversation relating to pronoun usage, of course.

But I do freely admit that to the best of my knowledge, I have never known anyone who considered themselves non binary. I also freely admit that I find it very uncomfortable to use a grammatically incorrect plural identifier in conversation when one person is the reference. I would not hesitate to tell someone who identifies as non binary that this is the case for me, being a lifelong grammar fiend. Of course I would try to respect their wishes but in all honesty this would be very painful for me. I realize that this may not be the case for all people, but it is true for me.

What I am hearing is that my pain in using incorrect grammar is less valid than their pain in hearing sexed identifiers. That is, to be blunt, nonsense. Yes, I should and I will do my best to not deliberately inflict emotional pain on someone who identifies as such – but that person should also respect the emotional pain inflicted on someone like me when using incorrect grammar. No one can unequivocally state that one pain is more valid than the other. That is why I think that a new pronoun for non binary people would be the reasonable solution.

I have no doubt that some will consider this just an excuse to invalidate the suffering of non binary individuals. So be it. That is more your problem than mine since it is untrue. Using unprovoked personal attacks to promote your viewpoint will never change anyone’s mind. If we can’t get to the point of being able to discuss this in a respectful manner on both sides, there will never be any chance of finding a solution that works.

Ruth

I hear what you are saying and I have a question: Is it painful for you that you might use incorrect grammar or is it difficult to know which grammar/words to correctly use for someone?

I strongly doubt that you would intentionally hurt someone's feelings. But if you say something that hurts someone else, whose pain is more important? Yours, because you are upset that you made a mistake? Or the person whose feelings you hurt?

I personally have zero problem with they/them but then I have used they/them whenever I was writing or speaking about someone whose gender I didn't know or was unknown or immaterial to whoever I was speaking to. Will I get it right always? Sometimes? when I find myself in that situation? Probably not and if I make a mistake, and it upsets the other person, I will also feel upset--because I hurt someone else. And their pain is more important than mine.

If I drop a rock on your toe and break your toe, and then feel really sorry about it, which pain is more important?: Your pain because of your broken toe which now must be x-rayed, buddy taped and will cause you to limp for weeks? Or mine because I feel bad that I accidentally broke your toe? Obviously, your pain with your broken toe is much more important. However bad I feel is on me 100%.
 

Ruth Harris

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I hear what you are saying and I have a question: Is it painful for you that you might use incorrect grammar or is it difficult to know which grammar/words to correctly use for someone?

I strongly doubt that you would intentionally hurt someone's feelings. But if you say something that hurts someone else, whose pain is more important? Yours, because you are upset that you made a mistake? Or the person whose feelings you hurt?

I personally have zero problem with they/them but then I have used they/them whenever I was writing or speaking about someone whose gender I didn't know or was unknown or immaterial to whoever I was speaking to. Will I get it right always? Sometimes? when I find myself in that situation? Probably not and if I make a mistake, and it upsets the other person, I will also feel upset--because I hurt someone else. And their pain is more important than mine.

If I drop a rock on your toe and break your toe, and then feel really sorry about it, which pain is more important?: Your pain because of your broken toe which now must be x-rayed, buddy taped and will cause you to limp for weeks? Or mine because I feel bad that I accidentally broke your toe? Obviously, your pain with your broken toe is much more important. However bad I feel is on me 100%.
It is painful for me to use incorrect grammar. I am completely mortified when it happens by accident. But if I understand correctly what non binary people usually request for pronouns, I don't think it is that difficult to know what to use (they, theirs, them).

I deliberately did not rank the emotional pain on either side. There is no way to know who suffers more emotionally as that is specific to each individual. I am simply stating that the pain on both sides is real, for the circumstances mentioned, and it is just plain wrong to say that one side's pain is valid and the other side's pain is not.

As far as the broken toe incident, I was not contemplating comparing physical pain to emotional pain. But I can tell you that if you accidentally broke my toe, I would feel very bad for you if I saw you suffering emotionally because of the consequences of the accident. This has actually happened in my life; a friend accidentally shut a car door on my finger and broke it, and seeing her suffer emotionally over that made me feel very bad for her. Both of us suffered emotionally for a few days over that.

Ruth
 

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Folks can express their SOGI any way they like,
What they can do is pressure or expect me to see them the way they see themselves.

You're Napoleon Bonaparte? You're a beautiful butterfly? You're a poached egg? Your name is Caitlyn? Cool story bro.
 

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Angry Floof

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But I do freely admit that to the best of my knowledge, I have never known anyone who considered themselves non binary. I also freely admit that I find it very uncomfortable to use a grammatically incorrect plural identifier in conversation when one person is the reference. I would not hesitate to tell someone who identifies as non binary that this is the case for me,
If you're not doing it purposely to disrespect them, then I doubt most people would care and would appreciate the honesty. They may or may not believe whatever you tell them about the reasoning or nature of your discomfort, though.

being a lifelong grammar fiend.
Not a grammar fiend myself, but well versed enough to spend 20+ years as a writer and editor. I have found that knowing the rules is a lot more important than actually following them. It's always a choice, often with consequences, and often the consequences are unjust and inhumane. Rules of grammar are like any other kind of rules. Rigid minds love rigid rules and open minds don't follow blindly or assume the rules are inherently good and right. Some of us think about the usefulness and fairness of rules and following authority is not in itself a worthy activity. If the rules make sense and hurt no one to follow them, then they're good rules. Until something changes and they no longer make sense or they hurt someone to follow them.

Most often, the biggest problem with rules is that authoritarians like to stick fast to rules and get very nervous and insecure when someone challenges the rules, causing those with the power to do so to force compliance without making a just and reasonable case for it.

That's the thing about rules, though. They're made up by humans. No rule is inherently good or bad, and any rule can be examined and discussed and changed when they don't well serve their original purpose.

The rules of grammar in practice change all the time, every day, everywhere, mostly slowly and mostly in ways you don't notice. No rigid set of rules can ever fully capture that, although the lexicography nerds among us make it their job to try.

So people like you are always going to be upset with people like me when I suggest that a rule isn't working for everyone.

That said, however, once again (*sigh*), we already use "they" in the singular without any problem whatsoever. Finding out that it might apply to a non binary person rather than an unknown person doesn't affect your ability to use "they" in the singular.

Of course I would try to respect their wishes but in all honesty this would be very painful for me. I realize that this may not be the case for all people, but it is true for me.
Honestly, I suspect you're exaggerating. It causes discomfort that you don't want to address, maybe. Maybe just the conversation makes you feel like someone's forcing you to do something you don't want to do. But I really doubt that using "they" in the singular as we commonly do and have done causes anyone actual pain. But I do appreciate that you're expressing essentially that you really, really don't want to do it.

What I am hearing is that my pain in using incorrect grammar is less valid than their pain in hearing sexed identifiers. That is, to be blunt, nonsense.
No, it isn't. It's embarrassingly nonsensical to claim that arbitrary rules are more important than how you treat your fellow human being.

This is just one reason I am a language fiend, or maybe more accurately, a communication fiend, and a language nerd. Actually fiend is word that I recognize you using as an exaggeration for emphasis because I'm sure you are not literally a demon or a wicked or cruel person. Your communication is clear and I like the undertone of humor in the exaggeration.

But for me, there's also a joy and a ove for language that I would like to express, so maybe I'm best described as an enthusiast, a lover of, a nerd.

Anyway, no one owns or controls language. The rules of grammar are useful and wonderful tools in many ways, but not as universal truths and or in every context. In terms of the value and meaning of language to human beings, more of a useful, even brilliant, afterthought, a tool created of happenstance that turned out to be a tool of self awareness and progress. That aspect of language alone is one that also thrills me to death to learn about and talk about.

But that is another topic entirely. The topic of using "they" in the singular to refer to non binary people is a topic of humanity and inclusiveness, and challenging a rigid status quo. And status quo means a majority of people are comfortable and see no reason to change anything for the sake of those who are not. I see a reason to challenge a status quo that marginalizes millions of people, some of whom, as you said, are friends and relatives of yours. They may not see a need for change, either, but they are still marginalized in numerous ways, and even face risks to their lives and liberty due to bigotry, now amplified after four years of trump dog whistling bigots.

So, you know, I just happen to be one of those comfortable people who chooses to make myself uncomfortable in challenging the status quo in my head, and uncomfortable in challenging other cis het white straight people to recognize people they're not used to including in their mental landscape of the world we all live in.

Yes, I should and I will do my best to not deliberately inflict emotional pain on someone who identifies as such – but that person should also respect the emotional pain inflicted on someone like me when using incorrect grammar.
Again, I'm not convinced that your pain is really pain at all, much less pain that equates to the pain of marginalization by the only society you know.

No one can unequivocally state that one pain is more valid than the other.
At the very least, you are here trying to unequivocally state that your pain is at least comparable to theirs, which I find a bit questionable, and yet you haven't said anything that reflects any understanding at all of marginalized people's pain to begin with, just that yours is equal or more.

That is why I think that a new pronoun for non binary people would be the reasonable solution.
Perhaps become more familiar with the people you are talking about before giving your comfortable, status quo derived opinion on the subject. Are you really that comfortable with offering your opinion to people who are well aware of cis het white opinions? Our society is swimming in your opinions. The people you're talking about, if you were actually talking to them or even one of them, would not be hearing anything new or innovative on this topic.

I have no doubt that some will consider this just an excuse to invalidate the suffering of non binary individuals. So be it.
I don't think it's invalidating so much as just ignoring and not really caring enough about to understand the depth and nature of whatever suffering non binary individuals experience in this cis het white society.

That is more your problem than mine since it is untrue. Using unprovoked personal attacks to promote your viewpoint will never change anyone’s mind.
I have yet to see any personal attacks in this thread unless it's one of those I haven't read yet. But I understand the defensiveness behind that claim. To be honest, I think the more you're willing to give your opinions a good socratic beating, the more you can see any previously unearthed biases and less others will be able to find them for you.

If we can’t get to the point of being able to discuss this in a respectful manner on both sides, there will never be any chance of finding a solution that works.

Ruth
Not being nice is never in and of itself a good reason to try to halt a discussion about things that matter a hell of a lot more than niceties. No one is forced to participate. You responded here for a reason. You read the thread and decided you should insert your opinion, which is your right. What were you feeling when you did that? Was it empathy for non binary people? Is it possible you responded because your inner status quo just said, "Oh, I don't fucking think so! That is ridiculous!" and not because your humanity decided that the perspectives of non binary human beings are worth bringing into your experience with the humble understanding that you don't automatically know anything about them?

Anyway, just some thoughts. As for finding a solution that works, you do not have the background or experience to contribute meaningfully to that conversation, and chances are good that you don't want to. I'm not bloody likely to change your mind, but this is for anyone else who might be reading who is not feeling attacked when having their opinions challenged.
 
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Ruth Harris

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I see no point in replying to your responses, as it is obvious to me that we will never agree. That is fine; I did not expect complete agreement from anyone. I will say, however, that you don’t know me and your opinion of what causes me true emotional pain is just that – your opinion.

But THIS statement gives me pause:
As for finding a solution that works, you do not have the background or experience to contribute meaningfully to that conversation, and chances are good that you don't want to.
I am seriously curious. Why do you flatly state that I cannot or do not want to contribute meaningfully to the conversation? In my opinion, this is a conversation that should include everyone as it will impact all of us. Do you think that only those who are non binary should have input on this?

Ruth
 

Rhea

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My children tell me, “why you gotta stand in the way of the evolution of language, mom? Do you think the language you consider correct did not evolve from something else to the squeals and cries of people like you?” (They say this with jest and love, of course, but truth as well.)

It is painful for me to use incorrect grammar. I am completely mortified when it happens by accident. But if I understand correctly what non binary people usually request for pronouns, I don't think it is that difficult to know what to use (they, theirs, them).

You should know that YOU are the one using painfully incorrect grammar.

A brief history of singular ‘they’

Singular they has become the pronoun of choice to replace he and she in cases where the gender of the antecedent – the word the pronoun refers to – is unknown, irrelevant, or nonbinary, or where gender needs to be concealed. It’s the word we use for sentences like Everyone loves his mother.

But that’s nothing new. The Oxford English Dictionary traces singular they back to 1375, where it appears in the medieval romance William and the Werewolf. Except for the old-style language of that poem, its use of singular they to refer to an unnamed person seems very modern. Here’s the Middle English version: ‘Hastely hiȝed eche . . . þei neyȝþed so neiȝh . . . þere william & his worþi lef were liand i-fere.’ In modern English, that’s: ‘Each man hurried . . . till they drew near . . . where William and his darling were lying together.’

Since forms may exist in speech long before they’re written down, it’s likely that singular they was common even before the late fourteenth century. That makes an old form even older.

In the eighteenth century, grammarians began warning that singular they was an error because a plural pronoun can’t take a singular antecedent. They clearly forgot that singular you was a plural pronoun that had become singular as well. You functioned as a polite singular for centuries, but in the seventeenth century singular you replaced thou, thee, and thy, except for some dialect use. That change met with some resistance. In 1660, George Fox, the founder of Quakerism, wrote a whole book labeling anyone who used singular you an idiot or a fool.

Just as those of us who are “she” object to the idea that the singular “he” is appropriate to use for any gender, such as in laws and court documents, and advocate that it is indeed BAD grammar to call shes he just because the writer or speaker is too lazy to acknowledge more than the male gender.

And yet, the “they”s have an even stronger case as “they” has long been a singular pronoun - dating back hundereds of years - and it was modern grammar insurrectionists who changed it.

And singular they is well on its way to being normal and unremarkable as well. Toward the end of the twentieth century, language authorities began to approve the form. The New Oxford Dictionary of English (1998) not only accepts singular they, they also use the form in their definitions. And the New Oxford American Dictionary (Third Edition, 2010), calls singular they ‘generally accepted’ with indefinites, and ‘now common but less widely accepted’ with definite nouns, especially in formal contexts.

I, for one, am all for it because of the myriad instances when it is no one’s business at all what my gender is!

Let your pain and mortification go because it is not bad grammar, any more than using “you” as a singular is bad grammar.
 

Rhea

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In my opinion, this is a conversation that should include everyone as it will impact all of us. Do you think that only those who are non binary should have input on this?

Ruth

I seem to recall that you are male, and use the user name Ruth. Am I mistaken in this?
 

Angry Floof

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I see no point in replying to your responses, as it is obvious to me that we will never agree. That is fine; I did not expect complete agreement from anyone. I will say, however, that you don’t know me and your opinion of what causes me true emotional pain is just that – your opinion.

But THIS statement gives me pause:
As for finding a solution that works, you do not have the background or experience to contribute meaningfully to that conversation, and chances are good that you don't want to.
I am seriously curious. Why do you flatly state that I cannot or do not want to contribute meaningfully to the conversation? In my opinion, this is a conversation that should include everyone as it will impact all of us. Do you think that only those who are non binary should have input on this?

Ruth

I suggest you take a deep look at that question yourself, especially the part about "include everyone," for several reasons but mostly because it does not impact most of us at all, unless you think hearing voices you're not used to hearing saying things you don't like or even suggesting you use "they" in the singular as you already know how to do equates to anything like impacting your life.

I think the opinions of non binary people are the most important to the conversation, which has been my whole point from the beginning though a lot of sub points inevitably come out of that when you're talking to people who have no interest in those non binary people's opinions beyond the most fleeting and superficial glance while asserting their own.

So I'll talk to you and others here all day long about these things, but I do not talk to non binary people about things that non binary people experience or give them my opinions beyond those things I do have a background in, such as language and grammar, and also empathy.

Humility is needed, but very few people who are not excluded from the status quo are going to be bothered with that. I mean, how dare they tell us we need to humble ourselves? Who do they think they are?

But you're on the right track if you do have the courage and humility to reflect honestly on that "included" thing, and maybe about how you're not really being excluded from anything that actually impacts your life by shutting up and listening first and foremost when it comes to the voices and perspectives of marginalized, historically excluded people.
 

steve_bank

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Long hair, airings, pierced noses and tongues. Men have came far. What is the big deal with dresses? Women wear pants and dresses, in the interest of social balance and fatness men should also wear both pants and dresses. Then of course men would be shaving their legs.

Is there a sarcasm emoji?
 

Ruth Harris

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In my opinion, this is a conversation that should include everyone as it will impact all of us. Do you think that only those who are non binary should have input on this?

Ruth

I seem to recall that you are male, and use the user name Ruth. Am I mistaken in this?
You are recalling incorrectly. I am female. I have made no secret of that but rarely point out my gender in conversations unless it is pertinent to the subject (like in this post).

I have been mistakenly called a male before, and typically I just find it amusing. Sometimes I will correct them if it seems important to the conversation and sometimes I just let it pass if it doesn’t matter. In this case, I answered because you asked a direct question of me about it.

Ruth
 

Ruth Harris

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I see no point in replying to your responses, as it is obvious to me that we will never agree. That is fine; I did not expect complete agreement from anyone. I will say, however, that you don’t know me and your opinion of what causes me true emotional pain is just that – your opinion.

But THIS statement gives me pause:
As for finding a solution that works, you do not have the background or experience to contribute meaningfully to that conversation, and chances are good that you don't want to.
I am seriously curious. Why do you flatly state that I cannot or do not want to contribute meaningfully to the conversation? In my opinion, this is a conversation that should include everyone as it will impact all of us. Do you think that only those who are non binary should have input on this?

Ruth

I suggest you take a deep look at that question yourself, especially the part about "include everyone," for several reasons but mostly because it does not impact most of us at all, unless you think hearing voices you're not used to hearing saying things you don't like or even suggesting you use "they" in the singular as you already know how to do equates to anything like impacting your life.

I think the opinions of non binary people are the most important to the conversation, which has been my whole point from the beginning though a lot of sub points inevitably come out of that when you're talking to people who have no interest in those non binary people's opinions beyond the most fleeting and superficial glance while asserting their own.

So I'll talk to you and others here all day long about these things, but I do not talk to non binary people about things that non binary people experience or give them my opinions beyond those things I do have a background in, such as language and grammar, and also empathy.

Humility is needed, but very few people who are not excluded from the status quo are going to be bothered with that. I mean, how dare they tell us we need to humble ourselves? Who do they think they are?

But you're on the right track if you do have the courage and humility to reflect honestly on that "included" thing, and maybe about how you're not really being excluded from anything that actually impacts your life by shutting up and listening first and foremost when it comes to the voices and perspectives of marginalized, historically excluded people.
I think we are coming at this from very different viewpoints. Maybe this will clarify how I came to my personal ideas on this subject.

Over much of my working life, I have held jobs that are historically considered to be the domain of males. I worked a few years in residential construction. When I was in the field working, I never saw another female in our area doing anything similar at that time.

After a period where I worked in construction offices doing management and accounting for firms, I changed careers again to the IT field. Once again, I didn’t know of another female in our area doing this when I started.

In both of those fields, I was often denigrated by men who made it very clear that they thought women had no business doing those jobs, and many of them did their best to make me feel unwelcome or incompetent. Yes, I found it very annoying and still do to this day when it happens. But it never had the slightest impact on my self worth; I firmly believe that the problem is theirs, not mine. I did not and do not spend time demanding that they change their point of view immediately simply because it affects me personally. I did not and do not demand that everyone take offense at their attitude simply because it affects me personally. As time passes, the attitude of society changes by simply being more familiar with that particular situation. There were many, many discussions over the years about this change, and those discussions included people who were not in any way involved in either field.

That is why I think that widespread conversation is essential. Yes, we should listen to those who are impacted personally – but the conversation itself must be society wide to effect change. Each of us should be willing to listen to the other side respectfully. If no one is willing to participate in discussions, the minority will be marginalized by default.

We also cannot expect societal change when the only opinion considered valid is that of the group asking for that change. There must be an understanding on all sides of how this change will impact all people, not just one side or the other. And the only way to get to that point is for all people to be willing and able to state their personal views respectfully without being ignored or invalidated by someone who does not agree.

Ruth
 

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I hear what you are saying and I have a question: Is it painful for you that you might use incorrect grammar or is it difficult to know which grammar/words to correctly use for someone?

I strongly doubt that you would intentionally hurt someone's feelings. But if you say something that hurts someone else, whose pain is more important? Yours, because you are upset that you made a mistake? Or the person whose feelings you hurt?

I personally have zero problem with they/them but then I have used they/them whenever I was writing or speaking about someone whose gender I didn't know or was unknown or immaterial to whoever I was speaking to. Will I get it right always? Sometimes? when I find myself in that situation? Probably not and if I make a mistake, and it upsets the other person, I will also feel upset--because I hurt someone else. And their pain is more important than mine.

If I drop a rock on your toe and break your toe, and then feel really sorry about it, which pain is more important?: Your pain because of your broken toe which now must be x-rayed, buddy taped and will cause you to limp for weeks? Or mine because I feel bad that I accidentally broke your toe? Obviously, your pain with your broken toe is much more important. However bad I feel is on me 100%.
It is painful for me to use incorrect grammar. I am completely mortified when it happens by accident. But if I understand correctly what non binary people usually request for pronouns, I don't think it is that difficult to know what to use (they, theirs, them).

I deliberately did not rank the emotional pain on either side. There is no way to know who suffers more emotionally as that is specific to each individual. I am simply stating that the pain on both sides is real, for the circumstances mentioned, and it is just plain wrong to say that one side's pain is valid and the other side's pain is not.

As far as the broken toe incident, I was not contemplating comparing physical pain to emotional pain. But I can tell you that if you accidentally broke my toe, I would feel very bad for you if I saw you suffering emotionally because of the consequences of the accident. This has actually happened in my life; a friend accidentally shut a car door on my finger and broke it, and seeing her suffer emotionally over that made me feel very bad for her. Both of us suffered emotionally for a few days over that.

Ruth
Fictional scenario:
Suppose you and I knew each other IRL for years. since I was a newlywed bride. I am recently divorced from a 20 year marriage which had become increasingly abusive--hence the divorce. We still belong to the same club/social group, whatever and still see each other and are on the same friendly terms as always. I have reverted to my own name after the divorce. You mistakenly refer to me by my former married name, which I find very painful, given the years of abuse and all that it took me to finally muster up the courage to divorce my abuser, and the risk to my personal safety prior to, during and since the divorce. My pain registers, you apologize and also feel empathy for me. But you continue to use my former married name. Not out of malice but out of habit: that's how we first knew each other. The first few times are easily a mistake. It can be difficult to remember a name change. But after a while, it seems as though you don't care very much about how much pain it gives me to be called by a name I prefer to put behind me, along with all of the abuse. I get that it's hard for you. Maybe it was your brother or cousin that I was married to and you have a hard time letting go a symbol of a family connection. I recognize that whatever loss has happened because of a change in legal status is painful for you, as well as your distress when you realize your mistake or it is pointed out to you. But that is in no way comparable to the pain I feel over the constant reminder of an abusive relationship and the role I was forced to assume in a very unhappy marriage. And after a while, with repeated accidents, it seems less like accident than like a statement of opinion: I’m the person that it was ok to abuse and who had to put on a public face to make others feel better. To protect my abuser. And it’s my fault for not being willing to keep up the charade, for insisting that I wanted to ve free to ve who and what I am, not someone’s punching bag. Whenever someone-/whenever you call me by that despised married name, it’s like you’re telling me that you know better than I do who and what I really am.

IRL, I can’t imagine you doing such a thing to a now divorced friend. But by refusing to use the pronouns someone prefers—because it makes them feel better—what you’re really saying is that your discomfort with unfamiliar language usage is more important than their feelings. And I don’t think that’s how you feel. I think that it is just hard adapt to new rules that better reflect the way other people understand themselves.

And I will note further: It really can be hard to remember to use a different name for someone when they've undergone a life changing event. But it is almost never hard to remember to call a newly married woman by her husband's name. Or at least in my observation.

I also love language and am interested in how language changes and evolves. Some newer usages really grate on me but I restrain myself when someone uses what I consider poor grammar but is simply the common usage today. One of the things I like about languages is that each language or dialect tells you something about the world view of the users. For myself, I'd prefer that my own language choices reveal that I care about people more than that I care about rules written by people long, long ago, that have changed over the years. And I especially prefer not to hurt people if I can help it.
 
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DrZoidberg

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This is relevant here:

View attachment 34142

So what? You are taking away all responsibility from the person who is affected more to regulate their emotions and think ahead, and not put themselves in these kinds of situations or understanding this about themselves and can take steps to manage their own emotions.

If we act on this and refrain from being fully honest when debating, because of the feelings of others, we're treating them as children who don't know better. How isn't that MORE insulting?

It's this kind of thinking which makes everybody hate Millennials.

It's just feelings. Getting ones feelings hurt isn't a disaster nor a big deal. In debates I think we should always gun for full honesty, no matter what.

And if we can't handle our own emotions in the conversation we can always bow out from the conversation. This is what sets children apart from adults. It's not that adults don't have feelings. They just have learned how to manage them.
 

Angry Floof

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So what? You are taking away all responsibility from the person who is affected more to regulate their emotions and think ahead, and not put themselves in these kinds of situations or understanding this about themselves and can take steps to manage their own emotions.

If we act on this and refrain from being fully honest when debating, because of the feelings of others, we're treating them as children who don't know better. How isn't that MORE insulting?

It's this kind of thinking which makes everybody hate Millennials.

It's just feelings. Getting ones feelings hurt isn't a disaster nor a big deal. In debates I think we should always gun for full honesty, no matter what.

And if we can't handle our own emotions in the conversation we can always bow out from the conversation. This is what sets children apart from adults. It's not that adults don't have feelings. They just have learned how to manage them.

No you haven't. Having the privilege to be unfeeling toward others without consequence isn't maturity.

At this point in history there is no one more childish and unable to manage their emotions than white men being told they are not as important as they have been led to believe.

Cry, bluster, stamp your feet, blame made up enemies like "millennials" and "cancel culture," but you are being challenged and called out for your hubris, immaturity, and callousness like it or not. Your opinions about people and experiences you know nothing about are not useful or required, and your lack of humanity is your responsibility to handle if you don't want it called out. Die mad about it.
 

Emily Lake

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Back in post #14 I wrote:
I have no problem with the singular use of "they" when the context describes a situation when the gender is unknown. By default there is an uncertainty about the particulars of the person in question. Typically that means it might be a man or a women. So that means the context is some group that cannot be defined as him or her but includes both. The plural form is therefore appropriate and carries some meaning. But in the case where the context concerns one individual there is no rational basis to use the plural "they", or "their". So who it concerns is everyone who uses the English language and follows rules of proper diction. Using "they" to refer to an individual who neither identifies as male or female is dehumanizing simply because it doesn't acknowledge that person's individuality.

Let me try to rephrase my question, since it seems that we're talking at cross-purposes.

Why do you think it's necessary to redefine pronouns from referring to a person's apparent sex (with a singular they when unknown), to referring to a person's self-perception of their internal identity?
 

Emily Lake

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I'm just going to step in here to write that I am prejudiced about a lot of things. I hope that I am conscious of my various prejudices and that none of them are against any people. But I am certain that is not really the case.

Somewhat relevant to this discussion, it appears that now some federal documents call mothers 'birthing persons' which I find offensive and extremely upsetting.
Here's a link to an article, reprinted from the Chicago Tribune which only allows paid subscribers to read the column there: https://www.startribune.com/theres-...t-dear-old-birthing-person-of-mine/600068973/

I am happy to celebrate all individuals who help give rise to a human being by egg donation, gestation, or childbirth the word mother, and to add context where necessary for clarification: An egg donor is only the genetic mother. A gestational surrogate carried the child but is not usually genetically related to the child. Transmen who retain a uterus and choose to carry a child act as the child's mother during gestation, whatever they prefer to be called during the pregnancy or after. And if, after giving birth, they see themselves as the child's father or simply parent, no problem. But biologically, they are the mother, even if that is never mentioned again. Even if they are married to a woman who becomes the mother. Nonbinary persons who choose to carry a child are the child's mother during gestation, and often from conception onward, whatever they choose to call themselves. Those who give birth and then give the child up for adoption are still the birth mother, even if they never laid eyes on the child. Women who adopt children, be they cis or trans, are mother to the adopted child. Women who raise children, even temporarily in foster situations are nonetheless mother to those children, however fleetingly. It's more than possible to have two or more mothers! Ask any child raised in part or wholely by a stepmother or foster mother! Heck, when they were growing up, some of my kids' friends called me mom. So did some of the exchange students who lived with us. Frankly, some single fathers also act as mother to their children and that, too, should be honored just as women who act as both mother and father should be honored for assuming the paternal role.

THAT term: birthing person, has kind of broken me.

I also struggle with watching transmen who break into new public positions as the first trans woman being celebrated when so few, or no cis women have ever held that role. This is an individual who, no matter what her private struggles, benefited from all of society's benefits conferred on boys and men until she decided to act on her innermost understanding and awareness of herself and dress and present herself as the woman she is, or even have gender confirmation surgery. Ideologically, I have no problem with transgender women being as successful in their careers and lives as they can be. It just grates sometimes when a transwoman breaks a barrier that so few or no ciswomen have been able to break in a chosen career.

I fully acknowledge that I might be wrong, that it might be prejudice or even bigotry on my part.

I think they're perfectly reasonable concerns and frustrations, and that you're not at all bigoted.

For the record, I no longer use Always pads, and I won't be using Midol in the future, because both of those companies have embraced this sort of language. Always got rid of the female symbol on their packaging... even though only females use their product. Midol released a whole series of internet ads referring to their customers as "menstruators". It's insulting and dehumanizing.
 

Emily Lake

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YEs, I am 100% certain. "Intersex" doesn't actually mean that they're in-between the sexes. They may have ambiguous genitalia, but each individual is still ONLY male or female. There is LITERALLY no alternative among humans - a single individual cannot produce both egg cells and sperm cells. It's not possible.

I don't think it's actually impossible--the key being your statement "a single individual". What if it isn't a single individual? What if the person is actually a chimera? One part is male, the other is testosterone-insensitive, could be either XX or XY. Get just the right blend and you could end up with two functional sets of anatomy downstairs.

Horrendously unlikely but I see no reason to think it's impossible. Chimeras certainly exist and I seriously doubt we even know how common it might be as most of them will not be detected. (I'm thinking of a woman arrested for welfare fraud because the DNA test came back saying the kid wasn't hers. Turns out her reproductive apparatus wasn't hers, either.)

A chimera is an amalgam of two gene sets, but is still a single individual. You'd have to have duplicate organs in order to produce both sperm and ova. You'd have to have duplicate organs in order to have both a penis and a vagina. You don't get duplication in chimerism. It's possible for a chimeric person to have some chromosomes that are male and some that are female - absolutely. But unless they are literally duplicating organs, they can't end up with two functional sets of anatomy - not as a chimera.

Maybe as conjoint twins?
 

Emily Lake

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Again, I'm not convinced that your pain is really pain at all, much less pain that equates to the pain of marginalization by the only society you know.

Wait, what? How do you square this? On what basis have you decided that you can dismiss Ruth's pain as invalid, but consider the pain of some other random stranger to be completely valid?
 
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