Language used around transgender issues

I think the confusion and offence boat has sailed. Enough people will find any and all of those terms you’ve used either needlessly confusing, ambiguous or offensive.

Case in point, If someone found either of them offensive would you cease using them?

I actually don’t use it in that way. I use it to describe someone with a biologically female body when such detail is useful.

I wouldn’t use that term to describe a person when it wasn’t relevant, I simply wouldn’t care.

Yes? I mean, I’ve mostly stopped using African American since Black is becoming preferred. I stopped using Oriental. I guess not if someONE found it offensive, but if less offensive terms were becoming the norm, I’d use those.

See? I was already confused about how you use the term. You’re using the term in a certain way that not everyone agrees with, but you want your preferred term to be the standard.

I suspect it is a never-ending quest. There are enough people out there with dubious motives who are just waiting to set linguistic traps for the unwary, it is a power game for them.
Happily there are also lots of people want to try and move language to be more inclusive and less offensive for the most admirable of reasons and the same motives can also apply to others who strive for clarity and precision but sadly those two groups seemed doomed to clash as well.

But it is a usage with an established history in human biology. Sure, not everyone uses it in that way in colloquial speech but if we let perfect be enemy of good then we deprive ourselves of it’s usefulness as a neutral term for these sort of discussions. I don’t seek to police the usage of it everywhere but agreement of what it means in certain contexts should be possible and uncontroversial. Especially when it is clear that it is being used without malicious intent.

No doubt. Luckily, I can easily learn new words!

Give me a fucking break.

First, it’s not always clear it’s being used without malicious intent, even in this very thread (not your posts). Second, “female” has multiple meanings, and in a thread specifically about gender expression, it makes sense to err on the clarity side – trans-girls, assigned male at birth, etc. Just saying “female” is just not that illuminating in a thread like this one.

Anyway, this semantics discussion is pretty off-topic.

But that usage is pretty much unique to you, so it has spawned a great deal of confusion even in this thread. Especially since

It’s pretty commonly used to misgender trans boys and trans girls.

Exactly this. At the moment, trans girls and cis girls are well-defined and commonly used and accepted.

No doubt you interpreted that as only applying to one side of the argument?

Using male and female to denote biological sex is not a fringe usage, in no way is it unique to me.

Using it for that purpose and for many other purposes is common. Using to mean exactly and uniquely that is a fringe usage that creates confusion.

Also, I’m going to ask a gd mod if i can move all this chatter about language to its own thread. At any rate, it doesn’t belong here.

Thank you, we agree.

Which is not what I have tried to do.

I agree with Novelty Bobble’s position. Gender (man/woman) is at least somewhat flexible. Sex (male/female) is set in stone. Whatever sex you are, you can’t change it. You can’t change your chromosomes from XY to XX or vice versa.

It makes sense, in the context of these discussions, to reserve one set of words (man, woman, non-binary etc…) for the flexible thing and another set of words (male, female, intersex etc…) for the immutable thing. Anything else is pretty much guaranteed to lead to confusion.

You can’t change your chromosomes, but you can change your anatomy and your hormones, and those have a great deal of influence over your health and other biological functions.

Also, some people are born with biology that is neither completely male nor completely female. Many transgender people believe they are among those whose biology never neatly fit into one of the binary boxes, despite having been assigned to one of those at birth.

It’s going to be confusing anyway, since not everyone will be aware that when you say “female” you mean something (what?), but when someone new to the thread says “female”, they mean something else. Plus, the words sex and gender can be pretty interchangeable.

We have this conversation in every atheism thread – “atheist means you believe there is no god…” “no, it just means I lack belief in god…”, etc. But, at least in those threads, we’re not offending and diminishing a whole class of people, which often happens in transgender threads.

How about if you mean assigned male at birth, you just say “assigned male at birth” or AMAB? Same for AFAB. Couldn’t be more clear.

I went for a walk, and this occurred to me while I was out. Sorry for the double post.

Anyway, if Buck Angel robbed a convenience store and was on the run, according to your immutable definition, the police would refer to him as “be on the lookout for a white female, may be armed and dangerous”. Do I have that right?

Or, do those words differ depending on the context? Perhaps we can just be specific depending on the context – in the context of transgirls competing in high school sports, use cis-girls and trans-girls. In a medical context that is a story about menstruation, refer to “people who menstruate”. In the context of a thread where birth gender doesn’t matter at all, just say “men” or “women” or whatever.

Great example. My answer is no. “white female” would not be appropriate regardless of how accurately it describes their biological make-up.

Remember that I’ve been very clear that I’m not asking for “female” to be immutable. Just that it should be possible (and indeed helpful) to use it in reference to biological sex in circumstances where the traits of biological sex are relevant.

In your example you are asking people to look out for someone on the basis of outward appearance. A shorthand description of that appearance is useful if that is their overall presentation.

I’m talking about using male/female terminology in situations where it matters.

I wasn’t addressing you. I was addressing @WalterBishop, who does claim that “female” refers to an immutable characteristic.

You’re basically making my argument for me at this point.

I think I said this before but that isn’t actually that clear.
For one there is a problem with the word “assigned” and secondly, the word you are avoiding using is still included in the definition.

If you want to use “assigned male at birth” it means you still need to define the word you find problematic as well as the concept of “assigning” sex which is by no means uncontroversial or inoffensive.

I’m sorry you have trouble with the definition of “assigned male at birth”. Are others confused on the meaning of that?

Regardless of whether assigning sex at birth is controversial or offensive, it basically happens all the time. And, if you have an issue with the definition of “male” in “assigned male at birth”, how do you expect to use it without even the timing qualifier?

I don’t see how, I’m not responsible for how others choose to define their terms. If you are suggesting that confusion can arise from not agreeing on a definition in the first place, or with people using terms to mean multiple things then I think you’ll find that has been my point from the start.

What do you mean by “assigned” what do you mean by “male”?