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Talking to a transphobe is not recommended for many reasons. Prolonged exposure to that level of stupid can have a detrimental effect on your will to live. Toxic transphobia can also cause you to lose your hair, your friends, and, in some circumstances, your marriage.
If you continue to talk to them, the transphobe may mistake you for an ally and invite you to join them in the Labyrinth of Reasonable Concerns.
This infernal maze is where transphobes spend most of their leisure time, wandering the dark corridors, muttering angrily to themselves about Mermaids and trying to shut out the screams of logic being tortured.
At the entrance to the Labyrinth is a sign that simply reads ‘What is a woman? Find out inside!’ Of course, the joke is that you won’t find anything of the sort, just endless twisting sewers full of lost souls.
The irony of this place is that the transphobes built it themselves. It was supposed to be the ultimate trap for trans people. “Can you define a woman? Ha! Then how can you be one? Riddle me that, trans woman.”
Instead, when confronted with the ‘What is a Woman?’ question, trans women shrugged and carried on with their day. So, sooner or later, the transphobe grows weary of being ignored, decides to march into the Labyrinth, Theseus-style, and immediately gets lost.
There is an easy way out of the maze: just accept that trans people exist and that concepts like ‘sex’ and ‘woman’ are nuanced. It’s a straightforward exit and most people have no problem finding it.
Transphobes can’t do that, however, because they want to turn the idea of ‘sex’ — a very useful concept that serves us well most of the time — into an exclusive rule, so they can ‘justify’ their transphobia. But to use ‘sex’ in this way they need a cast iron definition, which doesn’t exist.
The only coherent (but still wrong) way for them to do this is to fall back on the idea of ‘design’ but since most of them claim to be materialists, they can’t plausibly turn to religion to prop up their discrimination.
‘Adult human female’ doesn’t work either because ‘female’ poses the same problems as ‘woman’. It’s fine as a rule of thumb or a general category and a very useful concept, but if you want to use it to exclude trans people, you need to come up with a clear definition.
Even if you find a definition that includes 99.99% of the people you want to include, you still need to account for why you argue that the 0.01% are still women. If you say ‘exception’ then you have to explain why trans people can’t be an exception and you’re back where you started.
Still, while the Labyrinth of Reasonable Concerns is an eyesore and a blot on society, it does at least have one redeeming feature. Lost in their world of crowdfunders, doomed legal action and terrible memes, the transphobes are kept busy, allowing the rest of us to get on with our lives.
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