Donald Trump respects women

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody.” The word of such a prominent man should not simply be dismissed. In what does this respect consist?

Natasha Stoynoff alleged he had stuck his tongue down her throat. Mr Trump’s response was, Take a look. Look at her. Look at her words. And you tell me what you think. I don’t think so. So judging women on their looks is respect.

Note, though, that he does not expect to be believed: rather than simply denying the allegations as beneath contempt, which they would be were they untrue, he needs evidence to persuade you he is telling the truth: the alleged unattractiveness of the women. The dignified response would be simply to deny the allegations, but instead he abuses the accusers, as “horrible”, “sick”, and “phony”. This is his level of respect. He claims he has lied before: his boasts of kissing women without consent were “locker room talk”, he says, at least implying that they were not true. So his assault of Natasha Stoynoff is “respect”.

That boast- wanting the “respect” of a television presenter, wanting to appear to be more violent with women than he now claims he is, shows his pitiable situation: he wants to appear to others as something he imagines they would respect. He wants to seem, rather than to be, respectable, and his concept of respectable is wholly governed by context: he imagines Mr Bush would “respect” a man who grabs women between the legs, so he claims to do so. Later, with people he imagines would not admire him for assaulting women, he claims not to. He has no conception of what respect is. He has no belief in his ability to earn it, rather than frantically grasping after it with false boasts. Seeking respect he believes he is not entitled to becomes a constant battle.

His situation is pitiable. He does not see that the position of major party nominee, a notable achievement, is by itself worthy of respect, so referring to Mrs Clinton walking in front of him he said, “believe me I wasn’t impressed”. Not seeing the respect due to her means that he cannot see the respect that his position would entitle any other person to. Generally people treat others with the respect we have for ourselves.

His respect for women is also shown on the issue of abortion. He would let states regulate it. Mrs Clinton considers it should be a medical rather than legal issue, for the woman and her medical advisers. He does not respect women enough to let them make their own decisions. He prefers the decisions of elderly Republican men.

Mr Trump is the nominee of the Republican Party for the President of the US. Not every senator or congressman of that party has distanced themself from him. His name adorns tall buildings, indicating the respect the business community holds for him- for the point of calling a building “Trump” is to profit from the business good-will accruing to his name and brand, which he values at several billion dollars. He has been a television personality. The respect he is held in indicates the level of respect a wide swath of American society has for women.

“Nobody has more respect for women than I do. Nobody,” he asserts. There, he was not blustering, not showing any consciousness of not telling truth. He is in the right. Any woman who accuses him is in the wrong, many of them “crazy”. He can only lose the election if it is rigged. He has done one service: everyone has seen what “gaslighting” is.

Self respect IV

How to defeat a breathalyser.

Some gain self-respect from what they do- I met a man who ran his business into the ground, because it was his identity. I have not been paid to work for over four years. I gain self-respect from who I am. Right now I am feeling really, really good after one pleasant and one delightful encounter, so now is the time to do this.

I could feel bad about where I have got to in life- I have nothing. If this is because of my faults, I could find it crushing- and very few people have entirely easy life circumstances. Other people make something of their lives. I also like to feel I have agency- I am not just rushing down the rapids- because otherwise I could feel powerless. I have made choices, to come where I am.

I may have told this story before. I had three glasses of wine, and set off to drive home. The police officer stopped me on Broadway for bad driving, and breathalysed me. Then he arrested me and I went to the police station in the back of a windowless van. I was searched. I was dressed female, but not yet transitioned. He told me the trick to defeat the breathalyser: at rest, you breathe out only a small part of the air in your lungs, so the air left inside over several breaths gets suffused with alcohol. So, while the other officer set up the machine, I breathed out as fully as I could several times, to get nice clean air in my lungs.

That I could establish a relationship with the man who had arrested me, such that he would tell me this, is a huge gift. I am deeply empathetic.It increased my confidence that I could transition: there I was in thick make-up with beard stubble, and treated decently. I might find enough people to treat me well enough, transitioned.

I was chatting to someone by the bike racks. “Give me a lift, would you?” I explained why I could not- on the back, you would crush the chocolates in my panniers, on the front, I could not see. He used to cycle, but now could not because he might lose his foot- diabetes. “Charcot’s?” Yes. Then you can’t cycle. There are no taxis. He should have worn his cast. He could go and wait for the bus. He wanted to talk, I showed I would let him.

She trusts me, and I am delighted.

I have told that story. A legal argument which in almost all circumstances would fail, such that I thought of not opposing the motion and having the extra time in the office. Yet I found the arguments and evidence and pursued them remorselessly, and won the argument. I can be thrawn in pursuing what I feel is right.

On agency: I wanted to hide from the World. I always have, I have pursued various ways of doing this, and finally come to the one which works: staying in my house most of the time. I have actually achieved what I wanted, which gives me the space and time to heal and find what else I might want.

Good characteristics have bad side-effects. Continental drift produces earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes. It happens because the mantle is molten, because the core is hot: which creates the Earth’s magnetic field, without which cosmic rays would make life impossible on Earth. I can be happy with my gifts- not only because of what I have achieved with them, but because this creature, this animal, is complex, beautiful, worthy of respect, good in myself.

Though it helps to know others respect me, and particularly to feel good generally.

So many El Greco Annunciations! I particularly love her halo in this. You might think she would be fazed by the encounter, but apparently not, as she spoke back to him. “But how can this be, since I am a virgin?”

El Greco, Annunciation

Respect II

File:Mary Cassatt-Selfportrait.jpgI respect and trust myself and the World.

Moving on from “I am worthy of respect” this is what I want to say, truthfully. That is why I am grinding over this stuff repeatedly here, to find a way to make it true. Encouraging comments (thank you) help.

Also, here I confess, because if I am ashamed of something I block it out of consciousness and it might move me in destructive ways. Such is my experience: I work better if I accept myself. So. There is a psychological test: would you prefer £10 now, or £100 in six months’ time? Julian Baggini says research shows many teenagers would take the £10. They do not defer gratification- at least not as much as adults- either because they have not learned to do so, or not seen it is useful.

If asked, I would probably say take the £100- it is clearly the right answer to say- though there are arguments for taking the £10. If I choose the £100 I have to take it on trust for six months, at the end  of which the promise might  be broken-


and I will have to interact with the researcher again, rather than just take the £10 and leave.

And- if I look at what I actually do, as opposed to my rational cogitations, I heavily discount future rewards in favour of immediate desires. Well, the heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing, as pensé, and here I sit with that, perplexed.

It is a skill I might practise, and it is based on trust. My heart leads me to do what my head says is self-destructive. This is linked, for me, to my procrastination- this year, next year, some time, never-

So often I find my heart and head, or whichever parts of the brain they are, disagreeing or moving me in different directions. I thought the amygdala reptilian, now I read it is palaeomammalian, perhaps I should study it properly.

Actually, this is the behavioural activation Nicola introduced me to, and which I did not get.

OK. Go back to

I am worthy of respect.

Not, I am worthy of respect despite this dreadful wrong which I must excise, but simply “I am worthy of respect”. Then. I have this issue. I will learn to do better, because that is behovely.

Look at that self-portrait, so cold, so defensive. That is definitely self-protecting body-language, even though shows off the curve of her thigh. And then the mother and child, so warm and sweet.


I am worthy of respect


I am worthy of respect


I am worthy of respect

Respect has been in my discourse and thought of late

I am worthy of respect

Respect for the Worm, forsooth, a constant metaphor for the worthless, inconsequential, no-thing-

I am worthy of respect

I am a worm, and no man

I am worthy of respect!!!

Respect has been in my discourse and thought of late, respect for a worm, respect for-

I am -worthy of respect?

everything, actually, which includes-

I am worthy of-

Worms and trees crushed the slug against the flagstone, repeatedly scraping his foot over it to ensure it was quite dead.

This was an act of kindness. The slug had been stood on already, and parts of its insides were oozing out. It could still have some life in it, and he did not like to think of it dying slowly. If he sees worms on the path, he will pick them up and put them in the nearest soil: this is more difficult than you might think, as they can be slippery. His wife disapproves. She walks on ahead, as if she is not with him. It might be suffering, as the sun affects its skin, and it might dry out. What do you think?

Well, a worm could be eaten, though a bird used to looking for worm sign in earth might not notice a worm on the street; the worm is not designed for snaking, but for burrowing, so might have difficulty getting back to earth, and it does not know where to go. I do not think it suffers particularly, and I do not think it matters much, but then it is little effort to help it back onto the mud, so I might, depending on mood.

Why? What does “sentience” mean?
-You’re not going to get all Socratic on me, are you?

He does not get all Socratic, but listens, so I can clarify my own view. Sentience requires nervous tissue. All living creatures respond to stimuli, but flowers open and turn towards the sun because of heat causing reactions in capillaries, evolved randomly to do that. No, a tree is not sentient, even if it has the potential to parent other, even better fitting trees.

It is not sentience which matters to me, I suppose, so much as respect, and my own view of myself. I do not harm or damage or waste things without purpose. So even a rock, or a mountain- I would not damage it pointlessly, though I would be happy to walk up it, which causes erosion- I would be happy to use it. Mmm. Thank you. I had not formulated my response before, and it is good to get the chance. So- what do you think? Would you rescue a worm from a paved road, and why?

Oddly enough I had been thinking in Meeting of my own unity with Creation, including worms moles and amœbae in the earth, grass in the wind and in cows’ stomachs, standard issue Mystic stuff. I did not mention this to Terry.

I had been posting daily, with 571 posts since August 2011, and I have just stopped. As I said, I had quite a bad cold, but having explored myself and my world with words in this way I suddenly stopped being moved to write: Outside the M25 is a recitation I wrote in Autumn 2011, and delivered a few times- once to tumultuous applause, once to head-scratching (what was that? Is she finished?) and I just posted it because I had nothing else written. I was thinking on posting about blogging- it has been really good, I feel such gratitude especially for comments because responses have made it worthwhile and brought it to life for me, etc, but I am no longer moved, at least not to post daily, then I thought I might as well post about that conversation, because I had enjoyed it. I probably will post again, but I have no idea when: possibly tomorrow.

The blue pill

Using male pronouns to refer to me is as disrespectful, uncivilised, and wrong, as calling a black person a N*****.

This is who I am. To express myself female is what I wanted, against all common sense or rationality, against the evidence of my own senses, looking at my own body. Plunging into the nature of my being, that I am female is deeper than anything else, utterly impervious to change. Actually, the pill question: “If you could take a pill and be a normal male without these feelings, would you?”- well, I come out with the “right” answer, “No, because then I would not be me”, but sometimes it is a close run thing. Being transsexual has given me such intense pain that sometimes I do not know how I have borne it. I have been suicidal, just wanting to die, for months at a time, and twice I have undertaken preparatory acts, though not any actual self-harming physical act- I have formed the decision, then backed off.

To refer to me as “she” rather than “he” is a basic level of courtesy which I am entitled to, and fortunately receive from most people I meet. However, where I do not, I will not be sympathetic or understanding, and nor should you be, whoever you are. I so resent still having to work through these issues aged 45, ten years after getting the courage to express myself female at work.

It is the same for people with body integrity identity disorder. If someone is complaining about how difficult it is to get a wheelchair on a bus, “Well you could walk” is an answer just as disrespectful as using male pronouns for me.

It seems to me that humanity, now, is working through issues of otherness and respect, issues of living together, issues of accepting the full range of human diversity and the discomfort that currently engenders. I think we can get these things right, and that free, diverse humanity has far more access to blessing and gift than regulated, regimented humanity. For my own self-respect, I will assert my right to respect from others. I have been at the fulcrum of this issue, and have survived.

If I can assert my right without anger or fear, then I am giving an invitation, though one some people will be unable to hear: an invitation to see humanity in the full beauty and richness of our diversity, and to accept all those bits of yourself which you have falsely been told are unacceptable.


It really matters to me to see humanity as progressing. Things are not as I might wish, but I do think they are getting better. A little group of Quakers, frightened of Peak Oil, climate change, and the Global Financial Crisis had a conversation where I asserted this, and people brought forward the Bosnian war and the Rwandan genocide, child labour in India, even female genital mutilation, forsooth, as evidence against. I could play the game: I have a good level of articulacy and rhetorical skills. I am interested in current affairs and history- and Life, in all its fulness and variety, even if more as an observer than a participant, so far- so I can come up with apposite examples and elegant argument. Instead, I disengaged.

Heaven is Here. I see it. That anyone does not see it is not evidence against its existence. So, I do not need to win the argument and convince anyone, I am satisfied in my own mind.

I can say to anyone, look around yourself. See the abundance and the beauty and the wonder and the Blessing. Look, at this, or this, or this. And if they cannot take this in, I may give up on them.

Gosh, that is pretty mature of me. Saintly, even. Or, since I am doing teenage at the moment: the argument going against me, I went into a sulk. Words….


Am I boring you? Am I just repeating myself? I have been thinking about that last Pronouns conversation, three weeks ago. There are times when it is the other’s own stuff coming out, or they are just ignorant, and there are times when they want to push my buttons. Those two, they know, they have the intelligence, maturity and experience to understand completely. That particular time, it was deliberate. As if I have a big, red button, as big as my torso, and all you have to do is tap it gently and watch me implode.


Ah. Breathe it in. I am getting there.

I have nothing to be ashamed of.

You will not hurt me with this.


I visited Belfast in 1988. There were soldiers with guns, and armoured vans with low skirts on, so no-one could roll a grenade underneath, and barbed wire protecting the pubs. I was pushing my bicycle through the station. That army officer will not walk in front of me- so I hurried, walking in front of him, making him pause. And- I felt his Love reach out and envelop me. That is the only way I can put it.

Rather than suppressing it, I am feeling the intense pain of decades of feeling that I am an outsider, that I am less, and I see a way through this.

TED, in praise of vulnerability.