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To Escape the Body: A Review of Helen Joyce’s Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality, pt. 4 – How Transgenderism Took Over Institutions And How Some Women Are Fighting Back

Part 1 – The History of Transgenderism: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported,

Part 2 – the Causes and Rationalization of Transgenderism: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported,

Part 3 – How Transgenderism Harms Women And Children: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported,

Part 4 – How Transgenderism Took Over Institutions And How Some Women Are Fighting Back: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported,

Part 5 – Conclusion and Discussion: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported,

Last time, we discussed what harms Joyce thinks transgender people (especially trans women) cause to women and how GII harms kids as a whole.

This time, we’ll go over Joyce’s explanation of how transgenderism became so widespread as an idea, some more issues with the movement as a whole, and how some cis women are fighting back.

Cultural Trans…Marxism?

When Joyce opens a chapter with the title “Transactivism’s long march through the institutions”, one wonders how broadly she considers this phenomenon. But that’s for another time.

Anyways, Joyce takes on an idea that supposedly exists in the people she portrays as clueless. Namely, that the trans rights movement (TRM) is just like those that came before. She argues that the movement has claimed the original civil rights movement, the women’s vote movement, and same-sex marriage movement as its ancestors. However, the TRM is different from the others in some specific ways.

Firstly, Joyce claims that the TRM is asking for something very different. Whereas MLK or Susan B Anthony fought to extend rights previously held by a smaller group to more people, the TRM is asking people to change what defines gender and sex. That is, the TRM is about getting people to treat trans people as the sex they claim to be, not the sex they were at birth. This is not, Joyce argues, a human right, but a demand for everyone else to lose their rights to single-sex spaces, services, and activities, along with a requirement that you agree with their definition of what a man or woman is.

I’ll admit to not knowing enough history, but would you not have seen similar arguments about the others? For example, the CRM would have been cast as a demand for people to lose their rights to a single-race space or service. The women’s vote movement would have been a demand that men lose the right to make decisions for their families as was “natural”. Or same-sex marriage as a demand that straight people lose their right to an important and exclusive social technology.

Secondly, Joyce argues that unlike the other three, the TRM is not trying to win hearts and minds. Joyce characterizes the first three movements as follows.

the movements…had to be built from the ground up. Campaigners gave speeches and held rallies to raise awareness and win supporters. Solid majorities had to favour the social and legal shifts these groups demanded before politicians and judges implemented them.

In contrast, Joyce says, the TRM has often flown beneath notice and this is an explicitly known strategy. From the mouth of Masen Davis in 2013 speaking at the Transgender Law Center:

we have largely achieved our successes by flying under the radar…We do a lot really quietly. We have made some of our biggest gains that nobody has noticed. We are very quiet and thoughtful about what we do, because we want to make sure we have the win more than we want to have the publicity.

Which successes he’s talking about, or how widespread this practice is, Joyce doesn’t elaborate on or substantiate. It may be that only the TLC is doing this, but I think even a conservative guess would say they aren’t exceptions.

Joyce refers to polls done in the UK to illustrate how attitudes among the people differ greatly from what GII endorses. She cites a Populus poll from 2018 and notes that it found only 15% of British adults said you should be able to get a legal sex change without a doctor’s sign-off. That number did not change in 2020 when YouGov did a similar poll. There is, she writes, a widespread belief that trans people should be free to describe as they wish, but not to take it as correct for legal forms and documents without additional evidence.

Here, Joyce gets a bit conspiratorial. She starts by noting that movements with support from the wealthy can have much stronger impact compared to ones without that may have broader appeal, then name-drops three individuals she argues are responsible for providing resources and support to do lectures, education projects, studies, etc.

The first is Jennifer Pritzker, a trans woman billionaire. Her personal foundation has made millions of dollars in donations to left-wing and pro-trans movements.

The second is Jon Stryker, a billionaire who has funded LGBT campaign group IGLA and Transgender Europe, a different group that promotes national self-ID laws. His foundation has also given millions to queer-studies programs and American trans-rights groups.

The third is George Soros (come back, I promise you, it’s not what you think!). Soros is cited as giving millions to the ACLU and Planned Parenthood, but also funding via OSF (Open Society Foundations) a 2014 guide to campaigning for national self-Id laws.

You may be wondering what the problem is. Any movement or political group has wealthy backers. Joyce answers by noting what all three have in common – being rich, white American males. This, she says, explains the difference in rhetoric and difference in policies. The TRM talks about helping the poor homeless trans people who do sex work to survive, don’t get health care, and are harassed by the police. But they push for something only comfortable men would pursue with the focus on allowing self-ID as the arbiter of legal and social sex status.

Oh, and I would be remiss to not mention that she spends a few paragraphs talking about the danger of the transgender medical industry. In particular, there are tens of thousands of dollars to be made for each surgery performed, and this creates in aggregate a very powerful incentive to keep people undergoing surgeries and other treatments. I find this to be a bizarre case to make – Joyce is not interested in going the angle of “capitalists made transgenderism a thing to make money”, so why even bring this up?

The G-word

Why the focus on allowing children to gain access to hormones to undergo surgery earlier as well? After all, if this is about men wanting to transition, why do they care about children?

Joyce says they don’t and offers the following example as proof.

In the late 1960s, some European liberals thought that breaking down sexual taboos was a task that had to be started young. In German kindergartens run along radical left lines, teachers encouraged children to fondle them, view pornography and simulate sexual intercourse. Contemporaneous accounts show that parents often felt qualms, which they suppressed because of what they had been told about how children should naturally behave. What happened was child-abuse, though motivated by political conviction rather than sexual desire. But it did not take long before paedophiles saw their chance.

The leaders of the sexual revolution were men whose aims were to legalise homosexuality – and, in some cases, to smash the heterosexual family unit. Few if any wanted to endanger children; they simply did not give children enough thought.

This is a whole scandal in retrospect by itself, and Joyce details how from the 70s to the 90s, pedophiles and their advocacy groups were on good terms with left-wing parties in an “enemy of my enemy” situation. Their enemies were “Conservatives, Catholics, evangelicals and fascists” who had spoken up about opposing gay and pedophile activists. This made it nigh impossible to speak out about how strongly the pedophiles were within left-wing organization. It only changed once a woman named Eileen Fairweather published works uncovering pedophile rings in schools and children’s homes in Britain.

Now, let me be clear about this – Joyce is not arguing that trans activists and pedophiles are analogous, but that there were some gay and trans activists after the 1960s who were indifferent or just naïve about the need to keep pedophiles from children. And it is the same kind of indifference to child welfare that, according to her, leads the modern TRM to support child transition as well as ignore how its own movement can be hijacked by pedophiles.

Note: If you found the idea of politically motivated child abuse bizarre, check out this article. Also, check out this post for an explanation with some context from the book of a paleo-conservative.

The Successes of the TRM

Joyce at long last gives a list of how far the TRM has come in society, in her view at least. This won’t be new if you’re familiar enough with how far social progressive ideas have spread across Western ruling institutions.

  • The ACLU and Human Rights Council (HRC) are influential and notable organizations that support gender self-ID as a widespread standard and celebrate such victories as another notch in the fight for civil rights

  • Supposedly, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the Independent Press Standards Organization (UK’s journalism watchdog) have put out guidelines for journalists that discourage mentioning a trans person’s biological sex or pre-transition name

  • The Equal Treatment Bench Book (an important book for British judges) presents deadnaming as disrespectful and uses non-legal terminology like “gender assigned at birth”

  • The Corporate Equality Index (created by the HRC) encourages companies to advocate publicly for gender self-ID

The above is not comprehensive of her example, but it’s fair to say that Joyce would agree with a summarization along the lines of “TRM has put continuous pressure upon every family of institutions that have power over the public and found success by doing so and they will not stop any time soon”.

Gender Critic Harry Potter Vs. TRA Voldemort

The last chapter of Joyce’s book heaps praise upon British women who are said to be fighting back. You’ll recognize some names if you follow this particular culture war.

Joyce’s “protagonist” is Maya Forstater, a woman who lost her job at a think-tank because she believed that male/female were distinct and immutable categories and publicly declared this. She sued the think-tank in 2021 and argued in court that her views were a protected belief.

Forstater is portrayed as being the modern-day John Scopes, a teacher from a century ago who was charged with a misdemeanour for teaching evolutionary theory in Tennessee. Indeed, Joyce explicitly mocks some of the questions posed. Assuming they’re correct, my favorite is “Could [you] name any philosophers who agree with [you]?” She ultimately lost the case, the judge ruling that her belief was not worthy of respect in a democratic society.

Of course, you all know where I’m going with this. J. K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter series and its amazing lore where wizards historically shit their pants like degenerates, defended Forstater publicly after she was fired. She would later insist that the U.N was being silly when they used phrases like “people who menstruate” over “women”.

Quite frankly, more has been written about Rowling and her transgenderism-related controversies than anyone would want to read in a lifetime. If you want to read about this, I suggest reading the original Harry Potter series instead. It’s much more fun and you can join the massive fanfiction community afterwards.

The overall idea is that people like Rowling and Forstater are the public figures and “heads” of this rejection. The former is especially important because barring physical violence, no one can really prevent her from speaking. She has no economic woes and can easily finance websites, lectures, political action, etc. Indeed, Rowling has even gone as far as to open a crisis center for women under her definition of them.

In any case, the first real setback dealt to the TRAs came in 2018. Joyce characterizes the run-up to this year as beginning in 2015, when the Conservatives won. During the same year, there was a parliamentary inquiry into trans equality, where apparently any and all TRAs were invited, but no one who was skeptical or in outright denial of the idea.

The inquiry came back with some predictable recommendations. First was legal gender self-ID, but another was to remove an exception to the Equality Act that allowed providers to have different facilities for the sexes. This collected dust, but a few MPs kept pushing for self-ID. The whole thing came to the public in 2017 (keep in mind this is when Brexit was happening, which is why that dominated minds both in and out of the UK and this issue did not).

The backlash, however, was not as expected, nor the agitators. Women’s groups began admitting they had believed GII wouldn’t affect them or their single-sex spaces. They began to shout for the importance of sex-based definitions, particularly of women and the spaces they held. Pressure to cancel their events grew and there were even some intimidation tactics used. One woman was even assaulted by a trans person who was counter-protesting. Parents began to get worried as well, and one organization focused on protecting children convinced many school councils to change their guidance on what bathroom a trans child should use. In a notable case, there were even some gay people working to convince the pro-trans side to wind back their support for gender self-ID.

All of this ended in two things.

  1. The pro-trans side didn’t get what they wanted as Conservatives realized that gender self-ID was immensely unpopular.

  2. The LGB alliance was born, and the exclusion of T is both obvious and intentional.

At the time Joyce published her book, there were multiple challenges being made by women’s groups to oppose self-ID in various ways, such as attempting to prevent the census takers from redefining sex away from biology (this succeeded).

That’s it for this post. Next time, we’ll wrap up this series and talk about a few lingering topics, along with some stuff that I found too boring or out of place for any of these posts. I hope you enjoyed!

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Fascinating stuff, as always.

Forstater is portrayed as being the modern-day John Scopes, a teacher from a century ago who was charged with a misdemeanour for teaching evolutionary theory in Tennessee. Indeed, Joyce explicitly mocks some of the questions posed. Assuming they’re correct, my favorite is “Could [you] name any philosophers who agree with [you]?” She ultimately lost the case, the judge ruling that her belief was not worthy of respect in a democratic society.

She appealed against that judgement and ultimately won in 2021, establishing that her beliefs are protected and worthy of respect in a democratic society.

It's not binding on other tribunals.

"Although this was a highly anticipated decision, it is important to remember that, as an ET decision, it is not binding on other tribunals. This means that the extent to which we can extract general principles from the judgment is limited; certain issues are likely to be examined in more detail by higher courts. Nevertheless, it addresses interesting issues and raises difficult questions for employers."

and the answer they came up with was, "Abolish the age of consent!"

No. The answer they came up with was institutionalized buck breaking- consent had absolutely nothing to do with it.

And you know what? They definitely had a point- when you look at rape victims, especially when it's serial, you see avoidant, compliant, don't-hurt-me-again personalities with the occasional emergent nymphomania. And in terms of "make men completely unable to stick up for themselves"... well, the Residential School systems in North America (and their analogues in other New World countries, in addition to what the Chinese are doing in their western provinces, and topically for the 1960s, Holocaust survivors themselves) should be absolute proof that yes, that's exactly what happens. People who suffer this kind of thing just aren't all right after that, in the "no good for anything anymore" direction.

Needless to say, this is very different from what one would expect actual sexual liberation for boys to look like, being "what happens if a set of boys are granted non-committal sexual access at will to people (read: willing, hot, young, women) they'd ever actually want to do that stuff with?". However, to my knowledge, this has never been tried, mainly because it requires a large supply of the most valuable people in any/every society (women in their sexual prime) diminishing themselves for the benefit of the least valuable (objectively worthless/unusable men). They had the money to deliver boys to their captors; surely they had enough to hire some women to visit them instead.

And given a choice of "virtually inescapable caregiver who won't take no for an answer" and "hot girl who will just flat out let me touch her boobs (and maybe other stuff too)", even the most open-minded of academics should be able to figure out which one is extremely harmful and the other is the thing literally every boy and man fantasizes about.

I also think it's incredibly weird, troubling, and illustrative that in the context of modern sexual literature intended for children today- it's only that former case that's ever covered- which to me reinforces the notion that the same thing's going on here.

conflicts over sexual mores became “an important site for managing the memory of Nazism"

The woman said, "The man you put here with me--he gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it."

Secondly, Joyce argues that unlike the other three, the TRM is not trying to win hearts and minds.

What Joyce misses is that those original successes created the very system that no longer requires public buy-in.

But, of course, that army of unelected HR mandarins and apparatchiks that sprung up post Civil Rights Act tend to belong to her tribe* and - with this notable exception - serve interests that converge with hers, so it's in her interests to draw a sharp line

* Both ideologically and in terms of being disproportionately female.

I'm not sure what the publication date of the book was, but the Forstater case was overturned at appeal.

Which successes he’s talking about, or how widespread this practice is, Joyce doesn’t elaborate on or substantiate. It may be that only the TLC is doing this, but I think even a conservative guess would say they aren’t exceptions.

See also Denton's Document, which according to Debbie Hayton is an "instruction manual for lobbying groups who wanted to extend gender recognition to young people with or without their parents’ permission." Quoting from Hayton's article:

The tactics are detailed in full within the handbook, including the instruction to “avoid excessive press coverage and exposure.” And specific reference was made to Ireland where, “activists have directly lobbied individual politicians and tried to keep press coverage to a minimum.”... “In Ireland, Denmark and Norway, changes to the law on legal gender recognition were put through at the same time as other more popular reforms such as marriage equality legislation. This provided a veil of protection, particularly in Ireland, where marriage equality was strongly supported, but gender identity remained a more difficult issue to win public support for.”

Quoting directly from Denton's document:

Another technique which has been used to great effect is the limitation of press coverage and exposure. In certain countries, like the UK, information on legal gender recognition reforms has been misinterpreted in the mainstream media, and opposition has arisen as a result. ... Against this background, many believe that public campaigning has been detrimental to progress, as much of the general public is not well informed about trans issues, and therefore misinterpretation can arise. In Ireland, activists have directly lobbied individual politicians and tried to keep press coverage to a minimum in order to avoid this issue. Similarly, in Norway, campaigners developed strong ties with youth politicians, who then presented to the senior members of their parties on the changes that were needed. This technique was effective at persuading more senior politicians, as the changes were being suggested from within their own party rather than an external organisation. We also saw this technique in Denmark.