Yes. But what can we say if told that we have testicles, so our sex is male, so we are men? It’s scientific, innit?
The word “man” has always had a different meaning from adult human with testicles. Rudyard Kipling: if you can show unswerving integrity, moral courage, and gentle acceptance of others’ inadequacies; if you never complain or show weakness, and
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’
You’ll be a Man, which may or may not be different from a “man”.
Well I tried my damnedest, and I couldn’t. Force anything that hard and it breaks.
Someone quoted George Orwell: Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Ah, they is a martyr for Truth, rather than a tedious, pedantic, unmannerly oaf, calling me a “man”. Actually, that quote supports me rather than them. They seeks to simplify, we multiply words to seek to express nuance- gender queer, gender fluid, non-binary, trans woman. They wants to appear so Clear, Definite and Right, and is angry and desperate.
Trying to answer with science- “I have a woman’s brain, look at this study of white matter”– is a good start. That argument sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t. Scientific analysis shows many variations on the genitals, in intersex conditions, and in the genes of those who appear to be cis. However, you are on the “man” side if you have or had working testicles and penis, and I share the feminist objection to asserting that innate gendered differences in brains cause men as a group to behave differently from all women. There is too great a range of behaviours in both genders for it to be so rigid. I feel the words “man” and “woman” have a use.
“Manliness”, “manhood” and “man” define an ideal, which is enforced in the culture. We don’t fit it. The answer is, change the culture, but that can’t be done quickly. Meanwhile, some people transition. We have been doing it for thousands of years, and the threat of death has not stopped us. I could not have accepted my feminine self without transition. As things stand, presenting male is just too difficult for me.
Then, this powerless group becomes a political football. EU human rights law has led to the Gender Recognition Act in Britain. The law says I am female. It makes my life easier. It is generally a working compromise. I dress female, use a female name, make some effort to lighten my voice, and mostly get by. Vulnerable people, for whom this is the most important thing in our lives mostly get tolerated. It takes all sorts to make a world. Me identifying as female is weird for some people, but then some people identify as Scottish first, or British, or Glaswegian, or European, and the relative importance differs for each person- and some of us get very steamed up about that. Anything human is rarely cut and dried. It is continually changing.
Some of the objection is transphobic. Ew. Men in women’s clothes! I want to be myself. I might look a bit odd. Greater acceptance of diversity benefits everyone, freeing us to benefit from each others’ gifts unrestricted by the strain of trying to appear normal. Everyone becomes aware of more possibilities, some of which they might try out. Everyone feels less need to conform, so as none of us fits stereotypes completely we are all more free.
It is possible that acceptance of a trans woman as a woman in some exceptional situations may harm other vulnerable people. That is certainly not true in every case, and the risk of someone being upset at seeing a trans woman in some random public loo is not a good reason for prohibiting all trans women from women’s loos. There might be particular circumstances where a trans woman should not use women’s space. I am open to persuasion. We should behave considerately in women’s space, but then, everyone should behave considerately in every public space.
That particular individual is incorrigible. Consider more of their drivellings: if we erase the notion of biological sex from the language, it would be impossible to walk into a wrong bathroom or discriminate against the opposite sex. But then we will live in the 1984 dystopia. What a martyr they is! I don’t want to erase the notion of biological sex, just permit the odd discrepancy, because human culture is complex, and changing it difficult, requiring bodges. Casting the issue in such apocalypic terms, they are surely justified in causing me such small discomfort as to instruct me what toilet to use. It is not an argument. There will be no meeting of minds. It is a power struggle.
Continued: Is a cis woman really a woman?