Author Topic: internal self-definition: transgender and race  (Read 291 times)  Share 

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Offline kevin

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internal self-definition: transgender and race
« on: April 05, 2017, 11:46:55 PM »
i'm curious.

the gender that people identify with has always been closely associated with their physical makeup, but not completely so. i don't have difficulties with that, because people are weird, and there isn't any 100-percent reason to expect mental characteristics to parallel physical ones. for me it's always been a non-issue.

but legal difficulties are interesting. take the current bathroom controversy. perhaps somebody who is physically female is mentally male, and wants to use male bathrooms. sure, fine. but remove the clothing and there is no way to tell which gender the person is-- it's all a function of what the person says he is. currently we let those people use the bathroom that they believe corresponds to their internal gender, and nobody can question that.

but suppose i decide that i am a black male, internally. it seems to me that race is a physical characteristic like sex, and therefore follows the same legal rules, or should.

if i decide that i am really a black man trapped in white man's body, and i modify my lifestyle to conform to that internally-determined race somehow, can i apply for minority business loans? am i eligible for membership in the congressional black caucus? are those things any different from being legally permitted to use the alternate bathroom?

gender identity and racial identity would seem to be subject to the same sorts of legal constraints. are they?

what about if i self-identify as a russian citizen? do i need a russian passport? will they give me one? or if i self-identify as a tiger. can i live within city limits?

how do we evaluate self-identification of a person as something that nobody else can immediately detect?

this is interesting too



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Offline kevin

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2017, 03:29:51 PM »
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW-What a Ride!'" ---yellow dog racing

Offline davdi

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2017, 10:54:59 PM »
Why not just accept what they say! 
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Offline kevin

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2017, 01:40:42 AM »
davdi, maybe i self-identify as you.

why not just accept what i say? can i withdraw from your bank account?

i believe this new phenomenom--legal recognition of externally undetectable udentity-- needs more work.
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW-What a Ride!'" ---yellow dog racing

Offline davdi

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2017, 04:39:49 PM »
You wouldn't find much there, but that's not the issue. 

When I first got a driver's license I had no birth certificate.  I just accepted what my mother told me is my name and birth date.   She absolutely had every right to know.  But why would someone in the US believe what I say.  They did.  If you declared yourself to be me and got ID based on that idea and went to draw money from my account you might have a very difficult time because there is far too much you don't know. 

I got a call, a number of years ago, from a police officer in New Jersey.  He had gotten my name from a group of documents taken into custody there from a person they suspected of stealing my identity.   I gave him permission to include me in asking for the highest judgment handed dow by the court. 

We do have safe guards! 
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Offline kevin

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2017, 05:09:00 PM »
three of my kids never had birth certificates until last year.

my 18 year old daughter-- with a legal california birth cetificate-- now wants a passport. to get one she has to supply:

her birth certificate
my birth certificate
her mother's birth certificate
her older brother's birth certificate
my marriage license
my college transcripts
my high school transcripts
my elementary school transcripts
tax records

it's been almost six months. no passport yet. it would be easier to get a fake passport with the correct information and just use that.

https://www.buypassportidcards.com/
"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming 'WOW-What a Ride!'" ---yellow dog racing

Offline davdi

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and racey
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2017, 05:55:15 PM »
This is post 9-11! 

I used to have a passport, for my last journey to the US.  Before that age I got by on dad's passport.  I remember going fo a passport photo with my whole family in Darjeeling in the early 50's! 

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Offline Mooby the Golden Sock

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2017, 06:09:57 PM »
Quote
but suppose i decide that i am a black male, internally. it seems to me that race is a physical characteristic like sex, and therefore follows the same legal rules, or should.
You only have half the puzzle here.

Race and sex are both appear, on the surface, to be collections of physical characteristics.  However, race is actually a social construct and the characteristics that are used to separate people into races vary from culture to culture and even historically within one culture.  Meanwhile, even without considering gender identity there is a difference between the various possible sex genotypes and phenotypic characteristics.  In short, sex is a strange conglomeration of the actual genes, primary sex characteristics, secondary sex characteristics, gender identity, and societal gender roles.

The big difference between the two is that the human brain has an innate sense of maleness or femaleness that is more than just determined by social constructs.  A person with male genitalia and a female brain will see herself as a female because she has a female brain.  Whereas race is completely constructed: there is no known innate sense of whiteness, blackness, Japaneseness, etc.  The delimiters on race are thus products of those same social constructs and cultural differences.

A person using a bathroom corresponding with their gender identity is doing so because their brain is literally programmed as "male" or "female," and the person is using the bathroom that appropriately expresses their masculinity or femininity.  Society using its constructs to deny that identification puts an unnecessary psychological burden on that person.  Whereas things such as scholarships for black students are based off the consequences of historically harmful social constructs.  Even if you identify as "black," you have not been affected by the same historical racism or institutional discrimination that black people have, and thus you should not be the beneficiary of responses to those cultural issues.

Likewise, citizenship is completely a social construct that has no physical characteristics at all associated with it.  There is no such thing as being born with a Russian brain because Russia is not a thing that actually exists in nature; it's something that humans made up.  So no, believing you are Russian has no impact on whether you are currently a US citizen, because the citizenship rules are completely based on external forces and not at all on your own biology.

As for thinking you're a tiger, there is no current evidence of a species identity in the brain, nor is there even a plausible neurophysiological explanation for how an alternate species identification would develop.  As such, with current knowledge, those identifying as another species are mentally humans who have some sort of psychological reason for thinking they're animals, which puts it in a completely different ballpark.  Indeed, if your brain literally developed as a tiger's brain, you would not be able to tell us "I am a tiger" because tigers can't talk and type.  Legally, you should still be recognized as a human and thus not barred from entering cities, and still held culpable if you decided to, say, maul your coworkers.  Whereas if you truly acted like a tiger you would probably be declared incompetent to stand trial (since you'd be effectively mentally disabled compared to the standard human) and likely would become a ward of the state since no one could affirm that you are, in fact, a tiger.
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Offline Inertialmass

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2017, 06:50:25 PM »
However, race is actually a social construct and the characteristics that are used to separate people into races vary from culture to culture...

Thank you for succinctly pointing out something that really should be obvious to all by now.  +1

Back in his "Intelligence is Race Based" thread, Kevin declined to consider the simple instance of a Barack Obama.  What "physical" race is he?  What physical determinates do we use to identify most Brazilians, who for a long long time have been blending into a really interesting and beautiful mix of African, European, Native American and even a little Asian ancestral backgrounds?

Offline davdi

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #9 on: April 09, 2017, 08:02:35 PM »
Not what you had in mind, but I think this is fascinating.

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Offline bad actor

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internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2017, 12:57:37 AM »
Good read Mooby...You haz the smart...lol ||wink||
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Offline kevin

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2017, 01:17:04 PM »
Quote
but suppose i decide that i am a black male, internally. it seems to me that race is a physical characteristic like sex, and therefore follows the same legal rules, or should.
You only have half the puzzle here.

Race and sex are both appear, on the surface, to be collections of physical characteristics.  However, race is actually a social construct and the characteristics that are used to separate people into races vary from culture to culture and even historically within one culture.  Meanwhile, even without considering gender identity there is a difference between the various possible sex genotypes and phenotypic characteristics.  In short, sex is a strange conglomeration of the actual genes, primary sex characteristics, secondary sex characteristics, gender identity, and societal gender roles.

The big difference between the two is that the human brain has an innate sense of maleness or femaleness that is more than just determined by social constructs.  A person with male genitalia and a female brain will see herself as a female because she has a female brain.  Whereas race is completely constructed: there is no known innate sense of whiteness, blackness, Japaneseness, etc.  The delimiters on race are thus products of those same social constructs and cultural differences.

good points, mooby. excellent summary of a biological approach. i don't think it addresses the whole question, though, because in the case of recognition of transgender people, the issue is a legal one, not a biological one. legal decisions historically ignore biological reality, from denying black people full human status to the very question we are discussing here, which is legal recognition of transgender people as being of a gender different from their bodies. i'm thinking the question can can be more addressed by exploring the race parallel.

Quote from: mooby
Society using its constructs to deny that identification puts an unnecessary psychological burden on that person.  Whereas things such as scholarships for black students are based off the consequences of historically harmful social constructs.  Even if you identify as "black," you have not been affected by the same historical racism or institutional discrimination that black people have, and thus you should not be the beneficiary of responses to those cultural issues.

being black doesn't mean that i have been affected by the historically harmful social constructs of say, america. a black american citizen born and raised to adulthood in kenya will still be eligible for minority loans when he relocates to the united states. he has suffered none of the historical racism or insitutional discrimination that locally-raised blacks may have encountered. his eligibility is based totally on a physical characteristic. gender was formerly based totally on a physical characteristics, but now is not, and yet he would be considered an appropriate beneficiary for programs designed to correct imbalances he has never experienced. i don't see a clear difference yet between the two situations.

if a transgender woman can legally use a women's restroom, is she also eligible for assistance to women from the small business administration? see here:  https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/women-owned-small-businesses. this situation seems reasonably seems parallel to the relocating black man, to me.

one more point.

Quote from: mooby
Whereas race is completely constructed: there is no known innate sense of whiteness, blackness, Japaneseness, etc.  The delimiters on race are thus products of those same social constructs and cultural differences.
.

interesting you used the japanese as an example.

my ex brother in law was a korean. north korean, actually. he had been born in japan, brought up there, and was culturally and socially japanese in every way. as far as i remember, he didn't speak korean and had never been there.

but legally, the japanese considered him racially a korean -- he had to register with the police every time he changed address, and was restricted in his social benefits and education. whether or not he had a biological sense of being korean, or any korean experience in his background was irrelevant. legally he was treated as if his race was korean and not japanese, and he considered himself a korean citizen. note that race, ethnicity, and citizenship are considered identical in many countries, including japan.

so that was a case where legal constructs of race are devised based not on biology--his genetics and environment, but on what people think they are. there may not be an innate sense of being "japanese," or being "north korean," but it legally, it doesn't matter.

what prevents me from using the same argument in america with respect to changing my race from white to black?

« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 01:30:19 PM by kevin »
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Offline Mooby the Golden Sock

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2017, 09:04:18 PM »
good points, mooby. excellent summary of a biological approach. i don't think it addresses the whole question, though, because in the case of recognition of transgender people, the issue is a legal one, not a biological one. legal decisions historically ignore biological reality, from denying black people full human status to the very question we are discussing here, which is legal recognition of transgender people as being of a gender different from their bodies. i'm thinking the question can can be more addressed by exploring the race parallel.
Legal definitions are not historically beholden to any specific reality, which is why they vary from legal system to legal system, culture to culture, and era to era.  But when we have discussions on whether something should be legal or not, we are talking about changing a law based on some sort of shared reality, which is where anchor points like scientific data come into play.

Quote
Quote from: mooby
Society using its constructs to deny that identification puts an unnecessary psychological burden on that person.  Whereas things such as scholarships for black students are based off the consequences of historically harmful social constructs.  Even if you identify as "black," you have not been affected by the same historical racism or institutional discrimination that black people have, and thus you should not be the beneficiary of responses to those cultural issues.
being black doesn't mean that i have been affected by the historically harmful social constructs of say, america.
True, but it does mean you are affected by the consequences of the historically harmful social constructs as long as you reside in America, which is the institutional racism that is a product of historical racism, as described in the paragraph you quoted.

Quote
a black american citizen born and raised to adulthood in kenya will still be eligible for minority loans when he relocates to the united states. he has suffered none of the historical racism or insitutional discrimination that locally-raised blacks may have encountered. his eligibility is based totally on a physical characteristic.
That citizen is relocating to a country where people with a similar skin tone are underrepresented in leadership positions and higher education, and those loans and scholarships aim to correct this by trying to accelerate the growth of the minority student population.  So he is still being affected by the institution that set it up such that the white ruling class holds the highest concentration of power, and continues to hold this by cultural fiat. 

Quote
if a transgender woman can legally use a women's restroom, is she also eligible for assistance to women from the small business administration? see here:  https://www.sba.gov/contracting/government-contracting-programs/women-owned-small-businesses. this situation seems reasonably seems parallel to the relocating black man, to me.
Yes, she should be eligible.  A transgender woman is entering a gender situation where, again, women are underrepresented in business and positions of power.  She will be affected by this institutional bias, especially once she is fully living as a woman.

Quote
so that was a case where legal constructs of race are devised based not on biology--his genetics and environment, but on what people think they are. there may not be an innate sense of being "japanese," or being "north korean," but it legally, it doesn't matter.
And legally, that's a crappy law that should be changed on the basis that it's institutionalized racism, discriminatory, and not based on any true, measurable biological property.

Quote
what prevents me from using the same argument in america with respect to changing my race from white to black?
You're dancing between simply describing laws as-is vs. arguing what they should be.  If you're wanting to argue them as-is (such as the Japanese/Korean example above), then what prevents you are the laws as they currently are, end of story.  If you're wanting to argue based on what they should be, see my previous post on why it's not a good argument for changing the laws in that way.
History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man.--BÖC

Offline davdi

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Re: internal self-definition: transgender and race
« Reply #13 on: April 19, 2017, 12:35:01 AM »
Moody the Golden Sock, under what is being effected by modern standards I would have the right to claim to am a minority by nature of the fact that I was born in India.  Underneath the guise of being what everyone beleives upon meeting me, I very easily pass for someone born in this country, raised as any normal American child, and therefore part of the white male privileged class.   But I'm not. 

While it is true I am a naturalized American, the truth of my reality is hidden.   Not quite what Kevin had in mind.   Not really fitting in that I don't look Indian.  But here most people cannot tell the difference betweeen Koreans, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese.   

A friend of mine who is black, tried to trace his ancestors and he kept running into dead ends at the border.  He couldn't go back any further.   So, is he really African-American?   
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