Friday, February 7, 2020

Today I learned that J.K. Rowling and Richard K. Morgan are TERF's. Neat.

"TERF" is an acronym for transgender exclusionary radical feminist. These are people who believe that sex is binary and assigned at birth and that surgeries and/or inner identity have nothing to do with any of that. Here's the tweet that earned her this interesting acronym (which I had to look up by the way):

The "Maya" in the tweet refers to Maya Forstater, who tweeted such things as "men cannot change into women," and "it's unfair and unsafe for trans women to compete in women's sports."

Richard K. Morgan, the author of Netflix's Altered Carbon series had similar things to say, when he wrote the following:
“I also hold these truths to be self-evident – facts are stubborn things; human sex is binary, you are either born a man or a woman, and neither sex can change into the other. The much vaunted phrase “Trans women are women” or “trans men are men” is a semantic nonsense; it is quite simply objectively untrue.”
I am a little disappointed, but I've come to expect it from the modern era where we know a lot about the people whom we look up to. I enjoy reading Richard K. Morgan quite a bit, and I don't see myself not liking his writing because of his somewhat "tone deaf" response to transgenderism. I guess I am a little shocked because his stories lend themselves so well to transgender identity. The whole conceit of Altered Carbon is that a physical body is just a sleeve and consciousness can be downloaded into any sleeve effectively making a person immortal.

I guess the only thing I really can say to this is, "Neat." The word says nothing, only maybe it's a little better than a sigh in that it's an acknowledgement that I didn't ignore what was said. I guess I support a person's ability to express what they believe? I dunno. It's weird. We live in an age where strong opinions can just be shouted out into the online world, and I wonder if people who hold these strong opinions even realize that some of these things are hurtful to others who are really struggling. I guess the outrage machine burns on and on, and at the end of the day, the world is exactly how George R.R. Martin saw it in Game of Thrones. We all know nothing, just like Jon Snow, and there is no such thing as good or evil. Only shades of gray, entirely dependent on what you believe and what you fight for.


  1. Don't tell my readers that or I'll never sell any books.

    1. Yeah, but you don't actually believe that men can't become women and vice-versa, right? You always seemed to have an open mind whenever I spoke with you.

    2. On a biological level someone who gets a sex change wouldn't be the same as someone born as that gender. I mean we can't create a working uterus or sperm or whatnot. It's pretty much just changing appearances to align with someone's mental image of him/herself.

      That's why in my books we have to use magic or fuzzy science to make the change happen.

  2. This is such a loaded topic that I hesitate to throw in my two cents worth, but I respect you so much, Mike my dear, that I'll give it a try.

    When I saw the news report about J.K. Rowling's tweet, I generally found myself agreeing with her, and that's because the male/female biological markers for gender/sex (sorry, but I'm fuzzy on the difference in those terms) are real and ingrained at a cellular level and too on a skeletal level (in the hips). Therefore I think (which isn't the same as being 100% certain) that a person can switch in part from male to female or vice versa via surgery, but on a cellular level the sex isn't going to change. So therefore perhaps it's correct to think state a person really hasn't changed his or her sex.

    However, this biologic fact in no way justifies any kind of discrimination. For me, if a person undergoes transgender surgery etc., that's fine and good luck to him or her, and afterwards I'll call them by the male or female pronouns of their new sexual identity. After all, we each of us have not just a body but a consciousness, and if an individual has an overpowering identity with the opposite sex (which may in fact also have some biologic, physically real causes), then he or she has the right to do what is necessary with one's body to be at peace with it.

    I'm not familiar with Richard K. Morgan, but I would correct him by pointing out there are, albeit rarely, hermanphrodites, which means both sexual organ sets are present. Which raises an interesting question: what are herms at a cellular level?

    Anyway, this can be a massive subject, and in the end I believe that while we have to be scientifically correct while discussing one angle of it, we also have to bear in mind that our science changes all the time, and that an individual's consciousness, heart, soul, and mind are together more important than his or her body.

    1. Well said, Helena. Thank you for such a thoughtful response.

  3. I was saddened when I saw the Rowling tweet when that went through the zeitgeist...

    A couple years ago, a student came into class so mad. "Why would someone cut off his..." To which I replied, "No one is asking you to do it." I wonder if many of the issues against being transgender is just a fear of it happening to oneself.

    (I have a theory about abortion that's similar. One either associates themself with the mother or the fetus. If the fetus, then they're very against, as they worry that they'd be terminated. If the mother...)

    I've never gotten the whole "you must conform to this" mindset. I'm cisgender, so I don't understand the psychic pain that one who is transgender must go through. But I have empathy, so I can understand that if someone says they don't feel right in their body, they know what they're talking about. It's not for me to say what they should or should not be.