we are still here


and I think Tanya Aldred makes a fair argument in this post about transgender in sports. The argument that most of the transgender are not winning in the women category is, in my view, a weak argument. Let them have their own category and the best of them can win in that category. Creating a category shouldn’t be so hard.

But maybe Brian is right. It is the validation they are looking for and this will dampened by creating a category for trans. The debate will have ended much quicker and who wants this anyway? Let’s muddy the waters. Have transwomen compete in women category.

I know this debate will be with us for a long time to come.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

22 thoughts on “we are still here

  1. ladysighs says:

    Like so many things …. there really shouldn’t be any debate at all.

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  2. renudepride says:

    I agree with your sentiment: this topic will be with us f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Unfortunately, very few (if any) will be satisfied with the outcome! Good choice! 🙂

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  3. Barry says:

    As the article says, people tend to conflate sex and gender. In the “West” it’s probably always been that way, but in the Pacific and parts of Asia, historically they have not not considered synonymous.

    As for having a separate category for transgendered, there simply isn’t enough of them to make it practical – less than 1 in 1000 people. While that might be a sufficient number at Olympic level to create a separate category, at a local level most transgendered folk would only have themselves to compete against.

    The article linked to mentions the advantages caused by male puberty, but as societal attitudes change, the age at which people identify as trans is becoming younger, often before puberty. In such cases, where puberty blockers are permitted, until the person can legally make a choice to transition, the male advantage will never happen. They will have absolutely no advantage over females. In those circumstances, be they trans men or trans women, what would be the objection to them competing in the male/female class they’ve transitioned to?

    To argue that there shouldn’t be a debate about it is nonsense in my view – no different than the debate about whether autism is a disorder or simply a neurological variation.

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    • makagutu says:

      You make many valid points.
      Generally not everyone is interested in sports. The few who are should compete at least on fair grounds that’s why they test people for performance enhancing drugs.
      I think if trans groups want to compete, we can have their teams or categories. That they are few should not be a reason to create an unfair rule.
      I would say, for lack of a better term, I am conflicted about puberty blockers for under 13s. What happens if in their 20s they discover they really did make a mistake?
      I am all for debate. Once we stop debate, we go either into repression or war.

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    • basenjibrian says:

      As always, Barry, you are a voice of calm rationality. Thank you for that! I do have a serious…concern…verging on objection…for the concept that a child….and a 12 year old who hates what is happening to his/her body, should be able to choose puberty blockers. Despite the protestations of their advocates (and the one doctor in the UK was paid thousands of pounds per year to be an advocate by the manufacturer), puberty blockers have serious, detrimental, and often unknowable effects. I am not sure they should be offered or promoted to minors. As a bookworm, not macho faggy little twerp at age 12, I can understand why some kids would feel out of sorts. But as with the terrible drugs associated with a sport (other than cycling) I dabble in (weight lifting) where this dysmorphia is prevalent, the solution is not drugs and especially not horribly invasive and often dangerous surgery. (For an example of dysmorphia, google the YouTube channel OE Fitness. He is a non-woke snarker, but the examples of guys who inject vegetable oils into their arms to promote “muscles” are just shocking).

      Liked by 1 person

      • Barry says:

        I don’t suggest that the use of puberty blockers be a choice made by a child, but in consultation with parents and health specialists and measuring up whether greater harm would be caused by their use or their non-use. At present that seems to be the best of a bad situation. At best it gives a young person the time to consider the reality of the effects of transitioning.

        As I see it, the “problem” is actually a societal one not a medical one. While there are certainly people who have gender dysphoria, I believe a greater number are adversely affected by the way our society expects people to behave based solely on their genitalia. If individuals were allowed to express themselves in a way that is comfortable for them, rather than what society demands, then I suspect there would be fewer people desiring to transition.

        The fact is that Western society accepts only two genders and anyone who fails to meet very specific criteria are “othered”: treated as freaks, outcasts, ostracised, discriminated against, treated with suspicion, and bullied – often with extreme violence. For those who are nonconforming, a path of less resistance might be to transition to a gender they are more comfortable with. But even that takes considerable courage to do. Many just live miserable lives pretending to be someone they aren’t.

        Like many autistics, I was unaware of the subtle social pressures to conform to a gender stereotype (somewhere between 20% and 40% of autistics are gender non-conforming according to one study). I learnt the hard way in my teens. It was only through the bullying and considerable violence that it slowly dawned on me that that I wasn’t allowed to be me. Instead, if I was going to survive I needed to act in very specific ways regardless of how uncomfortable or unpleasant it was for me.

        It’s part of the masking I undertake on a daily basis (not always successfully) to hide that fact that I am autistic. Even in this so called “enlightened age” it is necessary to hide that fact that I’m autistic if I don’t desire to be treated as sub human. That masking eventually lead to a health crisis and early retirement at the age of fifty.

        Perhaps, rather than starting the discussion at whether or not someone should compete in a sport based on their gender identity instead of biological differences, we should start at the beginning – how society treats those who don’t conform to social stereotype straight jackets.

        Liked by 1 person

        • basenjibrian says:

          Even the most gender critical among us would agree 100% with this:

          “I believe a greater number are adversely affected by the way our society expects people to behave based solely on their genitalia. If individuals were allowed to express themselves in a way that is comfortable for them, rather than what society demands, then I suspect there would be fewer people desiring to transition.”

          The problem I have is so many “trans activists” are not working to solve THIS problem. Look at Jenner. S/he deliberately chooses to present in the most gender stereotypical ways possible, just in opposition to biological reality. I don’t see rigidly conforming to gender stereotypes as very progressive at all, let alone “radical”. (Combine that with their reactionary pro-Trump politics and there are even more problems here)

          I remain skeptical that the answer is to claim that there multiple genders. Why do there have to be any “genders”? Why is it necessary to slot yourself in one or two or any of the “150 genders we do not even recognize yet”? I am skeptical of the very concept of “gender”. To me, the trans rights movement does not answer your problem at all (the need to “be me”).

          By conflating gender and biology, the trans rights movement also denies the reality of sexual violence 90% of the time inflicted by biological males (admittedly following the toxic masculinity gender roles) on women. I am sorry, a male convict in prison for sexual predation should not be housed with biological females, even if they believe they are the same thing as a woman. Biology trumps gender in certain fields, including women-only spaces, sports teams, etc.

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          • Barry says:

            I would categorise Jenner as a “radical trans activist”. She and her ilk are loudest and the most reported activists, but hardly representative. They are also the one of the best “tools” for those in the anti-trans and trans-exclusion movement, including some news outlets. They are heard because moderate trans-rights activists are simply ignored.
            I think you have failed to understand the issue when you state “I remain skeptical that the answer is to claim that there multiple genders.“. This is not what most trans people believe is the answer. Gender is a social construct. Most societies have a limited number of defined genders. In the West it is two (although in Aotearoa New Zealand one can legally identify as one of three genders). Polynesian societies have three, four, or more. Each gender has been assigned specific traits, mannerisms and roles that have been defined as either good or bad for each gender. And most societies expect everyone to fit into these neatly defined pigeonholes. However, every trait, mannerism and role covers a broad spectrum, and while most people are reasonably comfortable slotting into one of the genders defined by their society, many people do not. I include myself as one of those.
            The trans rights movement do not conflate gender and biology. They, more than anyone, understand the difference. Here you have been taken in by the extremists, both pro and anti trans who do conflate gender and sex. For a more nuanced understanding of the issue I can do no better than recommend you the blogs of Clare Flourish, Yenn Purkis Autism Page and NeuroDivergent Rebel. The links are to specific blog posts I feel might be relevant to the discussion, but I recommend you visit several other gender & trans related pages on these and similar blogs for a better understanding.
            When it comes to sports, I honestly do not know what the solution is. In the case of Laurel Hubbard, she has been competing in NZ women’s weightlifting for eight years. Think about that for a moment. It’s not something that has just popped out of the woodwork for these Olympic games. This country and the sporting body controlling weightlifting here have determined she’s eligible to compete with women in this country, and it is on that eligibility that she won selection to represent this nation. Is there controversy? Yes, a little, but not as much ruckus as there has been in social media and some news sources overseas. But then this nation was the first (and perhaps only nation) to have elected an openly trans woman and former sex worker as a mayor and then to Parliament.
            When it comes to women-only spaces, there certainly are spaces where the presence of trans women is inappropriate, but I don’t believe pubic toilets are one of those. Consider this: trans-women have been using women’s public toilets here for decades – it’s a non issue except for a few radical trans exclusionists. Far more people are placed in danger by requiring everyone to use public facilities according to the gender assigned at birth than allowing them to use the facilities of the gender they identify as. Given that trans women already face much higher levels of violence (by men) than cis-women, requiring them to use male only facilities places them in even greater danger.
            And may I ask how safe would a woman feel if a bearded trans-man with biceps twice the size of mine followed her into a women’s public toilets? Even though though trans-gendered people make up such a tiny proportion of the population compared to cis-gendered, you place far more people in harm’s way by requiring everyone to use public toilets according to their biological sex instead of their gender identity.
            The radical extremists, be they pro-trans activists or trans exclusionists are heard because of a reluctance of more reasonably minded people to enter into dialogue over the matter. We have a similar situation in this country where, at one end, we have radical Māori activists demanding that all non-Māori should be deported without compensation back to the homelands of their ancestors, and at the other end, there are some who demand that the Treaty of Waitangi (the founding document of this nation) should be scrapped, that Māori customary rights be extinguished, the process for settling historical grievances be halted and that any compensation already paid out should be returned, and of course, the removal of Maori language from public use. In the middle, most people remain silent for fears of offending the sensibilities of others. It’s not healthy to avoid discussion, be it ethnicity or gender.
            I feel I have a lot in common with trans folk. I am a biological male. In public most people assume I’m a man. I dress like a man, and in many ways act like a man, but that’s not because I consider myself one, and acting the role is uncomfortable, and at times unbearable. I act as a man because doing otherwise is dangerous. Perhaps not so much now as it was 50 years ago, but the saying “once bitten, twice shy” holds true in my situation. I consider myself agendered but still “in the closet” to the public at large. At this stage of my life (I’m 72), that’s how it will most likely remain.
            I also have a lot in common with many in the LGBTQI+ community in that society ostracises and pathologicalise us, and for the most part refuse to meet us part way so that we can become equal and fully functioning members of society.
            Here ends my rant.

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      • makagutu says:

        Who even came up with the idea of puberty blockers. Do they remain children forever or they transition to adulthood without the problems of puberty?

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        • Barry says:

          Who came up with the idea of puberty blockers? No idea. They are dangerous drugs that delay the onset of puberty and cannot be used for an indefinite period. At best they provide breathing room for a young person to decide if transitioning is really a good idea. If they do choose to transition (usually not permitted until they are legally adults) they can be treated so that they can go through the puberty process developing secondary sexual characteristics of their chosen gender instead of those of their biological sex. Perhaps if society was more tolerant of people who didn’t neatly fit gender stereotypes, there’d be less need for puberty blocker. At present they are are a poor solution to a bad situation. But the alternatives are often much worse – including suicide.

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          • makagutu says:

            When I was going through puberty, I only had a single problem, how to deal with acne.
            Society, I think, is generally tolerant. What most of us can’t wrap our heads around is the move from feeling one is in the wrong body to actually being the wrong body.

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            • Nan says:

              And from what tends to be the case, the “indecision” generally manifests during puberty … along with scores of other things common to this period of life. And since parents generally tend to be the “enemy” during this time, many decisions going forward are based on peer consults rather than common sense and/or medical consults.

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              • makagutu says:

                Of all the possible emotions, the one that didn’t cross my mind was the possibility I was born in the wrong body. But then again, I come from a village where one was either male or female with roles assigned accordingly though the roles could be fluid.

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            • Barry says:

              “Feeling” is a spectrum that can range from
              less than discomfort to beyond distress. But not everyone who is gender non-conforming suffers from gender dysphoria. There’s a clinical description at https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gender-dysphoria/symptoms-causes/syc-20475255

              The condition can be related to one’s body, one’s socialisation and/or legal status. If I have gender dysphoria, it would be at the very extreme low end and only occurs when I’m expected by others to behave in some specific “manly” manner, and then criticised or abused for failing to do so. It’s a relatively rare situation these days because I have learnt to fake it quite well, and at my age it seems one can get away with many forms of “misbehaviour” that one can’t when somewhat younger 🙂

              If you think that society is generally tolerant, it’s clear that you have never walked in the shoes of someone who is gender non-conforming. And according to Wikipedia’s LGBT rights in Kenya article, your country is less tolerant by a country mile, both legally and socially, than is mine. See also the Human Rights Watch article Kenya: Court Upholds Archaic Anti-Homosexuality Laws.

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              • makagutu says:

                that you have never walked in the shoes of someone who is gender non-conforming

                I would be lying if i said i had.
                What the courts do and what is the practice are actually totally different. If there are gay bars and all and no one has set them ablaze, I would think that’s tolerance.
                This is not to say there is still a lot of conservatism around the matter. There is. a lot.

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