Transgender family squabbles? Lexie’s rules of engagement

rules of engagementLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — Two opposite sides within the transgender community going at each other with flamethrowers on social media with a differing point of view — how is one to choose a side? The most “authoritative?” The one with most friends? The one “winning” the current flame war? No, nope and no way.

Here are two simple rules to remember (aka Lexie’s Rules of Engagement):

1) Any idea, claim, or proposal that requires checking inside one’s pants (or up one’s skirt, for that matter) is inherently flawed. We certainly don’t want cis people (ie: “bathroom cops”) doing this to us — nor should we be doing it among ourselves (ie: “post-SRS are the only true trans people”).

2) There is no such thing as a true authority (argument from authority fallacy). A layman with evidence is more factually correct than an authority without evidence (even if they are post-SRS with a PhD). There is virtually no point in quibbling over who is (or what makes one) an authority.  What only matters if they have evidence that supports their claims.

Whether it’s a statement by a widely recognized and respected leader of our community or someone who has stated a seemingly bizarro opinion, all we need to ask of either is for evidence that supports their claims. Once provided, we can make up our own minds based only on the evidence given (or lack of). We need not further respond to either party.

Engaging in an ad hominem (attack the person) flame war is destructive to the side with strongest evidence — a neutral observer isn’t going to care who is right or wrong here — hence the losing side “wins”. Instead, take the evidence (or lack of) to people that are in a position to actually make a difference (media, legislators, community leaders, lawyers, et. al.).

We’re never going to rid the trans community of family squabbles, after all, we’re a reflection of society as a whole, but the wise among us recognize that time spent in a squabble is better spent elsewhere making actual progress.


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Categories: Transgender, Transsexual, Trans

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24 replies

  1. Well said. I’d guess you’ve had a little formal training in debate and syllogistic logic. One of the things I always ask myself whenever I witness a flame war (I try to avoid them) is: what has either side to gain by doing this? The answer usually is: prestige, especially–as you noted, Lexie–if it’s someone with no data and a college degree. (Note to fellow academics: you know better!) Which in turn begs the question: why are these people so bloody insecure?

    As for the issue of what’s underneath: egad, must we play the cis-gender game of Hide the Weenie? That’s for the straights, the muggles, the cis-gender lunkheads whose sense of identity begins and ends with their genitalia. As a group, as a so-called “community,” we’re supposed to be BETTER than that. After all, this is the way THEY define us and if we fall into that idiotic, socially-constructed trap, we’re no better than the outside world who would love to reduce us to one of the four stereotypes: the Whore, the Psycho, the Clown and the Victim.

    Speaking for myself and only for myself, I do not propose to allow myself to become a cardboard cut-out for some male sexist fantasy or a media caricature for the amusement of the boys in the editing room. In short, we all become the butt of a really stupid joke if any of us allow that simply by acting the way they expect us to act.

    To hell with that. We’re BETTER than that!

    • Sadly, Michelle, most academics DON’T know better. Or at least it depends on their field of study. Logic, argumentation and debate are rarely taught.

      • Tawny and Michelle Rose, agreed, Logic, argumentation and debate are rarely taught and we all succumb to the argument from authority fallacy. While obviously highly educated people have a better chance of being right, if we don’t ask for evidence, we may find out they’ve been guessing.

    • Michelle, you leave out a 5th stereotype. The beautiful,sexy, woman who has it all. It’s not the others people’s fault, that they are not blessed with your intelligence and beauty. Please, do not judge them so harshly.
      Perhaps you are setting a new standard that others were not aware existed? You are to be commended, Sweetheart!
      I am rather curious? How do “they” excpect you act? Who are “they”? And what exactly do they expect?
      Do you mean a guy trying to act like a girl? Do you mean a girl trying to act like a guy?
      Do you mean a beautiful person, that is content with themselves, living the way that they
      believe they should live? It almost sounds like you have pent up anger. Maybe because you
      have not found a soulmate that accepts you. You are obviously intelligent.
      You are not confused. You know who and what you are. A “tweener”, if you will. If you find the right person,
      you will find peace. And your anger may subside. It’s all good, Michelle. I get it, we ALL get it.
      You are a real person with real emotions and real feelings. It’s ALL good.
      P.S. You aren’t reading your g-mail, lol. or at least you aren’t responding.

  2. ” . . . the wise among us recognize that time spent in a squabble is better spent elsewhere making actual progress.” Or, in my case, making more model rockets. (grin)

  3. Thank you, Lexie for a calm, rational,well reasoned post. The Flame-Thrower or Ad Hominem attack seems to be the weapon of choice in our Community. I was unprepared for that; I thought we would all be bathed in Rainbows & Butterflies and singing Cumbayah!! An issue that you didn’t address; that I think comes into play here, is that Trans people-individually, and collectively as a Community are attacked, marginalized, denied our humanity in so many ways, on so many levels; that it makes it easy and reflexive to come out Blazing/take no prisoners in even the most basic, innocuous interchange-even with a Trans Sister or Brother. Hopefully; as more of us like you call for reason & calm; we can circle the wagons and come together as a Community to defend against those outside our Community who would deny our basic Humanity!!

    • Great point, Liz. The reflexive response is something I have felt, and try to guard against. Thanks!

    • I agree! We should be fighting with the people outside our community who want to dehumanize us and take away our basic rights and freedoms.

      • Disagree. We should not be fighting anyone. We should, however, be engaging our detractors in meaningful dialogue and education. I dont believe we are faced with inherently “us against them” situation. I believe that most people, given proper evidence-based and anecdotal information, sufficient time to process that information, and healthy discussion with one or more people in the community is far more effective than coming to the table with demands. We have to be our own best advocates and when we start making demands of the cis world, we immediately set ourselves up for failure because we lose any semblance of respect. We have to earn that to be taken seriously. And now the world sees us fighting amongst ourselves and that does nothing but cast doubt that we even now what we are talking about.

  4. Thank you for trying to keep the discussions civilized. I am probably not alone in finding the flame wars, ad hominen attacks so distasteful that I won’t read the post or try to put in additional thoughts that might advance the conversation. This is bad for the community because we do not want to get involved if we think we will be attacked.

    Therefore, I respectfully suggest that you make the first rule be: No ad hominen attacks (and if the reader does not know what that means then look it up on wikipedia), and any violation of this rule would mean the post would be removed.

    It seems to me that enforcing this rule (if that is possible) would go a long way towards improving the quality of discourse.

    • time spent in a squabble is better spent elsewhere making actual progress.
      To say we are squabble. This is say you are arguing over a a a trivial matter.
      When many of us. Do not see this as a a trivial matter are silly at all.
      And there are medical experts. I do not want a man even if he’s a transvestite man going into my restroom.Are at school boy going into my niece’s shower Room . not beforehand so medical records that they are being treated being Transgender
      0r at school boy going into my niece’s shower Restrooms. not be for Showing medical records that they are being treated for being transgender. PS Beginning to think that schools should have transgender facilities for Transgender children.Should be proud of being transgender. Been thinking about this somewhat not sure how this will play out in my mind.Maybe something like India registers transgender as a third sex. Like to hear other opinions on the subject

      • Could you explain that again, please? Especially the part where you said: “I do not want a man even if he’s a transvestite man going into my restroom.” I would like some clarification regarding that sentence, please.

        • Michelle Rose a transvestite man has normal male sex desire.But loves to wear women’s fashion .And there are medical experts on transgender. at two in afternoon I’d say I am male. At 3 PM I think I’m a girl. There is getting ridiculous.

          • What you’re trying to say is murky given your bad grammar, but no transsexual flip flops like that!

            • ou know damn well what I was saying even with my bad grammar.
              That is so cowardly you have no argument nothing you can stand on but my bad grammar. I feel sorry for you. I am Over 73 years old . Left school when I was 14. But I have lived all over the world. When the world was not so kind to us. I find: you cowardly and disgusting.

  5. I think the biggest problem that the binary gender world simply don’t understand us. Because we don’t fit into their idea of a perfect world, we get our basic human rights denied, become the target of their hatred, and expunged by the majority of those who profess to be Judea-Christian Bible or Koran based religions. It’s all about discrimination. That’s why it’s necessary for us to agree to agree on what our priorities are in fighting for our freedom. The proven tactic that is detrimental to our freedom is that we allow ourselves to be divided on many issues, therefor shooting ourselves in the foot. Flame throwers, please extinguish your flames.

  6. Michelle Rose This maybe a bit off and maybe not. How are your title to basic human rights?
    By the fairy godmother. How is there such a thing is basic human rights?
    What are the rights just a bit curious.

  7. Basic human rights include the right to exist and be treated fairly as a person involving housing, jobs, as a normal person in stores, on the street in public, in the medical field, and respected by police and other civil servants. To be treated fairly by your employer. No discrimination. THESE ARE BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS.

    • tgbrendaj How are these human rights ? Who is to say what rights they are being given by some God? Are they given by the state. What would stop the state taking away what it gives . What is being treated like a HUMAN . There crucifying Christians IN
      Iraq hanging homosexual Execute women having sex out of marriage in Iran. Our they not human

  8. Thank you for allowing me, not only access to this wonderful site, with uniquely intelligent people, but to give my opinion. We all must experience hatred because of our dysphoria, however, the world is a far different place today than it was, even 5 years ago. The person representing the group usually becomes the judged as far as a group goes. I started a new Facebook page as I wanted intelligent, open minded people on this page who could further pass knowledge of our plight along so that we may fit into a broader world. So far it has worked accordingly. As I am in the process of writing a book, educational tidbits are interjected, and daily I post an excerpt from my manuscript, that I will get questions on from our cisgender segment. “WE” have become an educators paradise for the questioning, and I am all too eager to answer those questions. We don’t have to tell anyone anything, it really is none of their business, but as being who we are, we love explaining! Even the most backwoods moral majority, right wing conservative Christians can not help but to love someone who espouses love to them. And the smarter you are, the more noticeable you are. And positive visibility is what we all should be striving for. I used to love going into settings and being the most uniquely different person in a crowd, because I was, am, and still not afraid of anyone. I spent nearly 11 years of a life sentence in prison because of hatred from a backwoods southern sheriff so fear is something I left at the door. However being a transwoman is an undertaking that even gays cannot fathom, so to be who we are in an intelligent, quiet, sophisticated, and positive way is a beautiful sight. We are so unique (a word I have come to love) even my straight friends call me snowflake, and I am finding the curious are now asking educated questions. Educating them in a light which portrays us in a positive light can only help us and give others the desire to truly seek answers…while witnessing how positively UNIQUE we are!

  9. Thanks for the comments everyone (and the one or two questionable opinions)!

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