Sam Smith and They

Clippings from news sources involving fashion freedom and other gender equality issues.

Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Fred in Skirts » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:52 pm

pelmut wrote:You know you are a man in a skirt but if someone misguidedly thinks you look to them like a woman, homosexual, transgender or a drag queen, are they right to call you any of those things?


As I have said before they can call me what they want, but just don't call me late for dinner!!!! :lol:
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Stu » Thu Sep 26, 2019 5:50 am

I didn't cite statistics, but I seem to recall reading somewhere that about 1.7% of UK births involve a child with some degree of intersexuality. That's a tiny minority. Of those, the most common conditions include such as Kleinfelters, where the individual is unquestionably male, but has an extra X chromosome. Other conditions involve females who will have masculine characteristics and are infertile. Conditions such as true hermaphrodiism where it is impossible to assign the individual to either sex as they have the physical attributes of both are vanishingly rare.

I don't see the analogy with men wearing skirts. We are firmly in the category of "men" - we are just extending our fashion options and challenging a sartorial convention.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby pelmut » Thu Sep 26, 2019 9:18 am

Stu wrote:[...]Conditions such as true hermaphrodiism where it is impossible to assign the individual to either sex as they have the physical attributes of both are vanishingly rare.

Why do we need to assign them to a binary system at all?  We now know the system isn't binary, so why do we try to perpetuate this myth with legal documentation, religious assertions and by restricting our language.  English is perfectly able to cope with non-assigned people by means of the singular 'they', which has been in use for centuries, what is wrong with using it where appropriate?

Whether the individual in question is using 'they' in an appropriate way is another matter - but I am amazed at how many members of this forum claim to have unequivocal knowledge of this person's sex.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Stu » Thu Sep 26, 2019 3:29 pm

Biological sex is binary. There are males and there are females. That's how our species, along with virtually all other animal species, reproduce and reproduction is as much a human imperative as eating and sleeping. Those who do not fall into either male or female physiological categories are genetic anomalies and comprise a minuscule minority. But Sam Smith is not such an anomaly. He is a man with a psychological issue and such individuals have no right to demand that our language is changed to accommodate their preferences or feelings.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby pelmut » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:14 pm

Stu wrote:Biological sex is binary. There are males and there are females. That's how our species, along with virtually all other animal species, reproduce and reproduction is as much a human imperative as eating and sleeping.

Asexual reproduction occurs in about half the known animal species and some species can switch from sexual to asexual reproduction or from male to female or vice-versa.

Those who do not fall into either male or female physiological categories are genetic anomalies and comprise a minuscule minority.

1.7% (or thereabouts) of humans -- far more [in western countries] than the number of men who wear skirts.

But Sam Smith is not such an anomaly.

I shall have to take your word for that as I have not been sexually involved with them.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby crfriend » Thu Sep 26, 2019 10:33 pm

pelmut wrote:I shall have to take your word for that as I have not been sexually involved with them.

Meaning no offence, here we have a classic application of Newspeak that had me scratching my head (figuratively) for several seconds until I realised that the "singular 'they'" was being invoked, the initial reaction being, "How many of them do you have to be sexually involved with?" (which introduces problems in and of itself).

The "singular 'they'" smacks of Sybil of schizophrenia/multiple-personality-disorder fame (later debunked).
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby pelmut » Fri Sep 27, 2019 8:35 am

crfriend wrote:
pelmut wrote:I shall have to take your word for that as I have not been sexually involved with them.

Meaning no offence, here we have a classic application of Newspeak that had me scratching my head (figuratively) for several seconds until I realised that the "singular 'they'" was being invoked, the initial reaction being, "How many of them do you have to be sexually involved with?" (which introduces problems in and of itself)...

This highlights a minor inadequacy of the English language as it is at present: The words "They" and "Them" are ambiguous because they could be either singular or plural; the plural is much more common, so there is confusion when we first come across the singular.  

One way around this would be to invent a new word, but people are generally opposed to new words when there is an existing word that (albeit in a flawed way) already serves the purpose.  Another way around this would be to take an existing word and extend its useage to include the singular "They".  A suitable word already exists: "It", but this has other connotations that make it unacceptable when describing people.

A less acceptable strategy is to force someone who is neither "He" nor "She" to choose one of those incorrect alternatives in order to appease supporters of a flawed language system.

The least acceptable strategy is to impose language, appearance and behaviour on someone, based on what others perceive their sex to be.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Stu » Fri Sep 27, 2019 12:56 pm

pelmut wrote:Asexual reproduction occurs in about half the known animal species and some species can switch from sexual to asexual reproduction or from male to female or vice-versa


I don't know whether that's accurate or not, but I'll take your word for it. However, that doesn't apply to mammals - which we are.

pelmut wrote:1.7% (or thereabouts) of humans -- far more [in western countries] than the number of men who wear skirts.


I am not sure how that is relevant. Skirt-wearing has, in my view, nothing to do with gender - which is why we are advocating for men to have the option.

pelmut wrote: (But Sam Smith is not such an anomaly.) I shall have to take your word for that as I have not been sexually involved with them.


You don't need to be "sexually involved" with someone to be able to make a reasonable judgment as to whether the individual is male or female. While it is true that the visual and other signifiers are not absolutely foolproof, they are so often correct that we can take them as being reliable. If this man wants to inform us that he is biologically intersex to such a degree that it would be scientifically difficult to ascertain with any degree of reliability whether he is a male or a female, e.g. he has both testes and ovaries, then I will accept he may be a special case. Otherwise, he's a guy even if that fact doesn't accord with his feelings.

Our language is fine. It reflects the fact that human beings are a sexually dimorphous species, which means that all but a minuscule minority can be accurately and objectively categorised as a "he" or a "she". I am not unreasonable and if someone has such powerful feelings that their body does not accurately reflect their gender category, and they therefore make every effort to live and present themselves to others as a member of the opposite sex, then I recognise that they are coping with gender identity disorder and the last thing they need is for someone to imply that they are imposters. That does not, however, extend to re-engineering the grammar of my own language to accommodate how someone "feels" and to create another semantic category on that basis. The language works perfectly well, and the "they" and "them" pronouns in modern English are plurals and should only be used for the singular where there is a genuine absence of knowledge as to the sex of a referent. Unlike names, which are personal and can be chosen by the individual, these are function words and their entire purpose is grammatical. Furthermore, as they are third person pronouns, they are not modes of address but referring expressions. In other words, if I am using them, I am talking about someone and not to them and, as such, I get to decide which terms I believe are appropriate and not the person about whom I am speaking.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Ray » Fri Sep 27, 2019 5:32 pm

A gentle reminder to the grammar combatants. Sam Smith has asked to be referred to as they. Not demanded. Not insisted. Asked. Politely.

Rather too many high horses around here for me.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Stu » Fri Sep 27, 2019 6:30 pm

That's absolutely fine, Ray. So long as he requests how he wants to be referred to, but allows others to decide for themselves, I have no quarrel with him. I certainly don't suggest others should disregard his preferences - quite the reverse - it is the speaker's decision.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Dust » Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:25 pm

Lots to say here. Much of the following is in response to other posts above, but I won't try to quote everything, as it should be obvious or stands on its own.

As I understand, asexual reproduction is primarily found in simpler animals, mostly or maybe even exclusively invertebrates (but even many of them are sexually differentiated). I'm definitely not aware of any examples of this among mammals. Even the sex switching is more of an amphibian thing and fairly rare (specific types of frogs, I think), I don't believe any mammals or even birds do this. There may be exceptions, just as some plants are sexually differentiated while most are not, but this has almost nothing to do with humans.

Most intersex conditions are not things where a person is impossible to categorize as male or female, but rather, are minor developmental defects of sexual organs, hormones, or other secondary differentiating characteristics. They can also be chromosomal issues, like an extra sex chromosome, such as a person with an XXY genome. These people may never even know they have the condition themselves in many cases.

As far as the percentage of the population who have one of the many intersex conditions, I have no idea how "correct" the statistics cited here are, but I'm told that 43% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Seriously though, I'm not sure such a statistic could ever reliably be attained, and would depend greatly on what conditions got counted as "intersex."

Like someone else stated, skirt wearing should have nothing to do with gender, but we have a long way to go to break that link. That's why we are here.

The fact that we are able to take a reasonably good guess at most people's biological sex at a glance, is part of the reason all this transgender stuff gets all the pushback it does. That guess is part of how we determine how we will proceed when it comes to interacting with someone. This is most important with potential romantic (i.e. potentially sexual/reproductive) relationships, but also colors our interactions with all members of the opposite sex (and therefore even our own sex) on some level, no matter how egalitarian and enlightened we may think we have become.

The whole push to make feelings more important than objective reality is problematic from far more perspectives than just this gender thing. Relativism in morals was bad enough, now we have it wiping out the hard sciences like biology, too.

Stu is spot on about the linguistic problems, and said it far better than I ever could. The other issue with forcing people to use a set of pronouns that doesn't match reality is that you are forcing them to lie. It goes back to a moral issue of compelled speech (which is far worse than a simple lack of free speech). And to those who say "no one is being forced," or that it's a request and the speaker can still choose, people are being kicked off of platforms like Twitter for "dead-naming" and "mis-gendering" trans people. By the laws in many places (like Canada and the UK from what I've read) it could land you in court. The simple, factual statement "Bruce Jenner is a man," will get you removed from many platforms, and might even run afoul of the rules here.

We should, as charitably and lovingly as possible, let people headed down this path of transgenderism know that what they are doing is not in their (or society's) best interest, and encourage them to stop. Just because someone consents to something, doesn't mean it isn't harmful to them. We should work to stop our friends (and strangers, and even our enemies) from harming themselves. I don't see how disrupting a person's hormones and removing healthy tissue (and in most cases rendering them sterile) can be seen as anything but harm.

I don't care if a woman gets a buzz cut and wears stereotypically masculine clothing, has a job in a male dominated field, etc. or if a man wears dresses and makeup and works in a typically female job. They should be able to do that, while being honest about their biology, and language is a big part of that. You can (and should be allowed to) change your clothes, your haircut, your grooming habits, your job, etc. You cannot change the biological reality of your sex, as much as some wish they could do just that.

I honestly believe that if we here are successful in breaking down the barriers of what men can and cannot wear (as well as do), it will reduce the incidence of transgenderism as more men will feel comfortable as men (because they won't be trying to shoehorn themselves into a role and generally negative stereotype that they simply don't fit in). Considering the tragic consequences that both forcing someone into the wrong role and transgenderism can each have, I see this as a good thing.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby pelmut » Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:47 pm

Dust wrote:[2]   I honestly believe that if we here are successful in breaking down the barriers of what men can and cannot wear (as well as do), it will reduce the incidence of transgenderism as more men will feel comfortable as men (because they won't be trying to shoehorn themselves into a role and generally negative stereotype that they simply don't fit in). Considering the tragic consequences that both forcing someone into the wrong role and transgenderism can each have, I see this as a good thing

Dust wrote:[1]   We should, as charitably and lovingly as possible, let people headed down this path of transgenderism know that what they are doing is not in their (or society's) best interest, and encourage them to stop.

I have reversed the order of your two paragraphs quoted above in the hope that you will see the connection between them more clearly.

One of the major reasons why being transgender has tragic consequences is because people who don't understand the condition think they can be encouraged to stop.  Trying to stop someone being trangender is forcing them into the wrong role, exactly the cause of the tragic consequences you wish to avoid. A recent study of over 27,000 transgender people has found that
...trans survivors of conversion therapy “have more than double the odds of attempting suicide compared with those who have never experienced efforts by professionals to convert their gender identity.”

Transgender people who underwent conversion therapy before the age of 10 are four times more likely to attempt suicide than the general trans population.

You are entitled to your opinion but I hope you will change it in the light of a bit more knowledge.  I do not claim to speak for all transgender people, but the ones I know would fight tooth and nail against being 'helped' to do something "in society's best interest" that they know they can never do.

[ P.S. In the U.K. and a growing number of U.S. states, "conversion therapy" is illegal ]
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby weeladdie18 » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:44 pm

crfriend wrote:
moonshadow wrote:I always liked "ze".

That'd work, because there is no proper non-gendered pronoun in English save for "it", which would be viewed by the terminally sensitive as highly offensive.
I thought I'd have a hard time getting used to "they", but I seemed to have adjusted.

Playing the Proper English card here, "I seemed to have adjusted..." is just plain wrong. "I seem to have adjusted..." is syntactically and grammatically correct. Also syntactically and grammatically correct could be, "I was adjusted..." as if by an outside force compelling you to acquiesce to the "new normal". I suspect the latter is actually what happened because of creeping PC.

When I first heard of the use of "them"/"they" I immediately rejected the notion out-of-hand because we can be only one thing at a time, and "they/them" state otherwise. Taking this to the next level, if someone isn't sure what he/she/it is how can that individual possibly know who they are -- and that lands it square in the realm of the psychologists and the philosophers. A monarch is allowed the use of the plural in referring to him/herself in the plural (the "Royal We"); commoners are not, full stop. And in any event, the Royal We is an entirely different construct used for a completely different purpose.


We must remember that as far as I am aware we are discussing are discussing a domestic statement as recorded in the Press . I do not consider
such statements are worthy of any consideration . The originator of the press statement has a right of free speech under English Law .
In this case I see no reason to comment on the relevant statement published in one of the more accurate British Newspapers
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby Dust » Sun Sep 29, 2019 7:30 pm

pelmut wrote:One of the major reasons why being transgender has tragic consequences is because people who don't understand the condition think they can be encouraged to stop. Trying to stop someone being trangender is forcing them into the wrong role, exactly the cause of the tragic consequences you wish to avoid. A recent study of over 27,000 transgender people has found that
...trans survivors of conversion therapy “have more than double the odds of attempting suicide compared with those who have never experienced efforts by professionals to convert their gender identity.”

Transgender people who underwent conversion therapy before the age of 10 are four times more likely to attempt suicide than the general trans population.

You are entitled to your opinion but I hope you will change it in the light of a bit more knowledge. I do not claim to speak for all transgender people, but the ones I know would fight tooth and nail against being 'helped' to do something "in society's best interest" that they know they can never do.

[ P.S. In the U.K. and a growing number of U.S. states, "conversion therapy" is illegal ]

Okay, I read your link. Biased source (they all are, one way or another, with a topic this divisive), but interesting info. Thanks for the link, I'll be looking into the study some more, as I don't know a lot about the therapy. The article was clear that what the therapy entails varies wildly. What the study clearly didn't do, is look to see outcomes for anyone who experienced gender dysphoria, but is no longer claiming a trans identity, therapy or no. But that is not the point, because you seemed to have read into what I wrote, something that simply wasn't there.

First, I was not advocating for any therapy at all. Bad therapy is worse than none at all, but blanket bans will stop some from getting the help they need.* Many shrinks are quacks and I can only imagine that this stuff has attracted some of the quackiest...**

What I'm saying is, if society wasn't so screwed up about how it treats the sexes, and men in particular, some of these people wouldn't even need therapy, transgender treatments, or anything. They would be fine on their own.

Second, I realize I didn't make my point clear about this, but I'm NOT saying that opening society up to more variations of what being a man can look like will eliminate transgenderism completely. I am saying it would be a bit rarer than it is today. I see that as a good thing, no matter the percentage, because the suffering that comes with gender dysphoria, no matter how it gets treated or resolved (or doesn't), or how much support they receive, is something I would not wish on anyone, not even my worst enemy.

I believe that a lot of perfectly normal kids, and even some adults, are being told that they must be trans-something because they don't fit the tiny little box of what they are supposed to be, as male or female. For females, feminism has expanded that box to be rather large, and we at least for a time had "tom-boys" and that was accepted by most. Now I fear they are going to be pushed down a transgender route that they don't fit in. Boys never had any category like that, and therefore are more susceptible to being pushed into things like transgenderism unnecessarily.***

The point has been made elsewhere, that every kid experiments with gender related stuff, because that is the only way we learn the seemingly arbitrary rules of our society on this stuff. Yet that kind of experimentation is now seen as evidence that a person has always been trans. Most kids (the vast majority, like ~98%) who start identifying across gender grow out of it as they pass through puberty, if allowed to do so. Instead we stop puberty and get them on cross-sex hormones, making an issue that most likely would go away on its own, become permanent.

Let's be honest here: transgender treatments in the form of drugs and surgery (and even the therapy) are quite lucrative. There will always be unscrupulous people willing to take advantage of the outcasts of society who are looking for a "fix." Add in social politics, advocacy groups with huge budgets, and bad science, and you have a recipe for disaster.


*But if therapy to deal with trans type issues by resolving them and getting people to be more comfortable the way they are is banned, then all the docs can offer is the trans affirming stuff.

**Meanwhile reputable doctors distanced themselves from the hormone and surgery treatments decades ago. Johns Hopkins (one of THE most respected hospitals in the US) shut down their program and stopped the surgeries because of the actual empirical data on patient outcomes. People reported being "satisfied," but showed no actual improvement to their mental health.

***The data (for a while at least, not sure what the latest numbers are) showed about 3x as many MtF as FtM transexuals. This also reflects roughly the ratio of male to female suicides in the general population in Western countries.
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Re: Sam Smith and They

Postby pelmut » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:46 am

Dust wrote:What I'm saying is, if society wasn't so screwed up about how it treats the sexes, and men in particular, some of these people wouldn't even need therapy, transgender treatments, or anything. They would be fine on their own.

Spot on.  Being transgender isn't an illness and doesn't need treatment.  The illnesses that go with being trangender are caused by the way society treats transgender people.

Boys never had any category like that, and therefore are more susceptible to being pushed into things like transgenderism unnecessarily.

The critical word here is 'transgenderism', not 'transgender.  Nobody can be made or unmade transgender but they might be convinced they are transgender when they are not.  Medical professionals (at least in the U.K.) are well aware of this and refuse to give treatment until they are absolutely certain the person really is transgender.

Reading the stories told by parents of transgender children and by trangender adults recalling their childhood, there is no doubt whatsoever when some children are transgender.  Their scenarios are completely different from a girl going through a tomboy phase or the boy who wants to see what it is like to wear a party frock.
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