Another problematic addition to the forums!
Personally, I find this a fascinating position for such incredibly woke people to take. A question immediately forms in my mind. That question was aptly articulated by Meghan Murphy in a recent article on this subject for her web site Feminist Current:
A sincere question, yet you've already declared any opposing viewpoint as mental gymnastics? Yeah, I'm doubting your sincerity here. And to be transparent, that kind of thing makes this seem the topic is made in bad faith.
As for the topic, there are a lot of differences. First off, we have a pretty good way to determine ethnic makeup (although I don't know if we necessarily should, but that's besides the point). Ethnicity is fairly easily determined, and we can pretty reliably determine where your ancestors were from based on your DNA. I am factually not Chinese. I can identify with asian culture (I was an honorary asian in high school) but that's quite different from actually being asian.
In comparison, we don't have a similarly reliable way to determine gender. We tend to identify sex by XY or XX, but that's not an accurate way to determine sex or gender.
For instance, some people have androgen insensitivity syndrome. This causes a genetically male (XY) person to develop fully functional female genitalia and secondary sex characteristics. The person themselves may have no idea they are not "genetically female". So, this goes to show that neither genitals nor chromosomes can be a reliable test for gender.
The issue of hormones in general makes the subject tricky. There is a wide variety in how much of certain hormones are produced, and how much the body reacts to them. Those with different hormone levels may feel more like one gender or another.
There are also differences in brain structure between cis-males and females (and obviously a large variety among those within the categories). Studies have shown that those who identify as trans tend to have brains that are more similar to the gender they identify with. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/05/180524112351.htm
Other studies have shown that trans people have brains that are distinct from either cis-males or cis-females.
And there are species where sex is determined by external factors. http://sitn.hms.harvard.edu/flash/2016/im-xy-know-sex-determination-systems-101/ Not saying this applies to human, but environment can maybe have an effect.
The TL:DR version is that we have a pretty clear understanding of ethnicity. Rachel Dolezal has no reason to genuinely believe she is black as we define it. A genetic test could pretty easily confirm whether or not she has any relatives that were from Africa in the past few hundred years or so. If she says she "feels" like she's black, that's ridiculous, because where her ancestors came from is a fact that is relatively easily justifiable. If she says she likes black culture, than whatever.
On the other hand, we cannot do the same for gender. Gender is not well defined, and if you have a foolproof way to determine gender, then share it. The characteristics we associate with biological sex (primary sex characteristics, secondary sex characteristics, hormones, brain structure) often do not all agree. Since I don't have a good way to identify gender, I'm going to take someone at their word, because as far as I can tell they genuinely feel that way, and there can be a physiological basis for that in their hormones/chromosomes/brain/genitals that I do not have access to. They are in a better position to determine their gender than I am, although they are not necessarily infallible either, so I'm going to follow their lead.
Even shorter version, I genuinely believe that most trans people are accurately conveying to me what they believe to be true. On the other hand, someone like Krug was knowingly lying. That's a pretty clear difference. No mental gymnastics required.Last edited by JWeinCom - on 13 September 2020