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“Gender Critical” Redditors find a silver lining in the coronavirus: it might make trans women sad

By David Futrelle

So I’ve done it: I’ve found the weirdest and most delusional take on the Coronavirus yet, and it comes not from the incels or the MGTOWs or the Trump administration but rather from the “Gender Critical” subreddit, the main hangout of Reddit’s TERFs.

You may need a stiff drink to get through the whole post.

“With so many people forced to work from home,” someone called itsnotaboutewe began.

we should spare a thought for all the TIMs who are now unable to receive outside validation for their delusions.

Just remember that “TIM,” in TERF-speak, means “Trans-Identified Male,” i.e. what the rest of us know as a trans woman.

What happens to the man who calls himself a woman and who usually wears makeup, heels, and a smart pencil skirt to work when he no longer has an audience for his performance?

I’m going to go out on a limb and say “nothing.” Nothing happens to trans women that doesn’t happen to anyone else forced to work at home.

Does he sit in front of his home computer in pyjama bottoms without his wig and cry into his coffee because he hasn’t been told by co-workers how lovely he looks this morning?

If there’s any crying into coffee going on it might have to do with the fact that we’re in the midst of a horrifying and surreal global pandemic that could easily kill as many as 1.7 million Americans and millions more across the world, not to mention leaving billions in precarious financial situations. That all makes me a bit sad.

How will they cope without the constant validation they need to function as mentally ill misogynistic men in a society that no longer prioritises them?

Yes, the people who have to fight for the right to use the correct public bathrooms are truly the “prioritized” ones in contemporary society.

Does the fact that way more males than females are dying from covid-19 plunge their self identification into turmoil?

I”m going to say no.

Due to the different death rates between the sexes, and the fact that this virus doesn’t give a shit about how you self-identify, I think coronavirus has feminist leanings and is more than a bit terfy.

Yes, that’s right, a TERF has just declared that the coronavirus is also a TERF, because it kills more men than women and makes trans women sad.

Again, I’m not saying this; a TERF is saying this.

Itsnotaboutewe’s post got some 800 upvotes on the so-called Gender Critical subreddit, and inspired more than a hundred comments, many of which are as unlovely and nonsensical as the original post:

According to Artemis_Jade,

The OP’s question is very valid. Trans comes down to “I want to be TREATED as if I were the opposite sex.” So then, is it possible to be trans if you are alone on a desert island?

c1ar3 joked

If a trans falls in a forest and no one is around to hear xer, does xe make a sound?

tervacious made the same joke:

This gave me the giggles. If a tree falls in the ladies toilets, does it make a trans sound?

jennywhistle agreed

This is what I hate about transgenderism. They can’t deny it wouldn’t exist in a vacuum. All that matters is how everyone else sees you.

soundsfromoutside sounded more than a little like an incel or a MGTOW hungering for the apocalypse because they think it will return society back to its “normal” gender roles:

This pandemic and economic crash is going to wake a lot of people up to reality. We had too much time on our hands, we were comfortable, we were spoiled-all of us. We worried about shit that didn’t matter, fought over things that led up to nothing.

Now, we are right back to our primitive roots: survival. Food, medicine, our families, our safety. We are going to see a rise in deaths, a rise a crime. We aren’t going to be worried about who is wearing what when our parents and grandparents are in the hospital. Pronouns, names, clothing, these are all nonproblems now (undoubtedly, some people will still try to make this about them).

This gleeful celebration of other people’s (imagined) misery is not really a good look, Gender Crits — especially when you’re trying to pretend to be a progressive civil rights movement, much as the Men’s Rights Activists do.

I found only one comment in the thread that took serious issue with the OP. Someone called 54321_Sun wrote:

This is rude and bullying, and beneath gender critical thought, I hope.

I come to this sub to feel validated, but when I see things like this, I start to get sick to my stomach, because I know that these type of posts can be used against us, rightfully so.

Naturally, the other Gender Crits voted this comment down below zero, because that’s what happens in a hate subreddit when anyone expresses similar concerns.

Bigoted assholes don’t like to be told not to be bigoted assholes, I guess.

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epitome of incomprehensibility

We worried about shit that didn’t matter, fought over things that led up to nothing.

YOU ARE DOING THAT RIGHT NOW. AND WORSE. STOP IT. (That’s at the TERFs, by the way, not people here.)

@WWTH –

And he hasn’t even gotten to the eco-fascists yet!

Eco-fascists?? o_O …Ugh.

Quirks and Quarks, the CBC science show, was talking about the upsides of the responses to COVID-19 – how the social isolation measures have reduced pollution and how this could be a model for people in dealing with the climate crisis. But it seems gross to frame that as an upside of the pandemic itself.

Oh, here’s the link to this week’s radio podcast if anyone’s interested.

Raven
Raven
2 years ago

autistic trans* people can’t really understand our own genders

Erm… What?! What… the… fuck?! Seriously? I’d really like to see the “argumentation” for that one.
Would be new to me, that I don’t know or “understand” my own gender.
So, following this weird “logic” I can’t be a cis woman because I don’t “understand” my own gender and that means… I SHOULD have to transition? Although I don’t identify as trans? Or what? I’m confused, I’m so confused! Bullshit overkill!
Please, oh ye wise TERFs, come and explain to me who exactly I am! /s

Nicholas Kiddle
Nicholas Kiddle
2 years ago

Also, I get the impression (please correct me, if necessary) that trans people generally seek explicit validation not from coworkers but from friends and political allies, if anyone – and this is typically done in online communities regardless of circumstances. Workplace community (incl. customers) is actually more likely to provide the invalidation.

Can’t speak for all trans people but that’s certainly how it works for me. Obviously it’s nice when a coworker or random interaction is clearly gendering me correctly, but if I have to ask, I’m asking trusted friends on twitter. And yes, a big reason I have to ask for support is random interactions guessing wrong.

FlyByKiwi
FlyByKiwi
2 years ago

@Valentin I had no idea about the reptilian anti-Semite roots. I had just heard the silly stuff like (e.g) the Queen is a giant alien lizard etc. I just had no idea the depths of such bigotry. I thought I knew but this is eye-opening. I thought I had all the white nationalist dog-whistles on lock too until March 15 last year. The grotesqueries just keep coming.

NZ has moved to what we’re calling Alert Level 2. Some cases now community transmission cannot be ruled out.

I am extremely disappointed at the reactions of young well people. And panic buyers. And loads of people generally really. Can none of them think about others? I try to think of other humans as generally good and I am finding it harder and harder to do so.

Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

@ flybykiwi

Jon Ronson has written a fair bit about all this; and how the various conspiracy theorists cross fertilise each other.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2001/apr/07/society

He also did a documentary series where he followed Ike around for quite some time. Whilst some of his followers were definitely just using Lizards as a euphemism; the jury seemed to be out on whether Ike actually meant Lizards.

Valentin
Valentin
2 years ago

David Ike is a holocaust denier and he believes jewish people played for Hitler. He wrote it in his book

Dalillama
Dalillama
2 years ago

As Valentin notes, the while Lizard People thing is from David Icke, a man who considers The Protocols of the Elders of Zion an accurate historical document. Not just the Reptilians, but pretty much every conspiracy theory in the Christian* and Muslim* worlds is rooted in antisemitism at bottom.

*including persons who are not specifically of these faiths but embedded in a cultural matrix with them.

Alan Robertshaw
2 years ago

@ dali

pretty much every conspiracy theory

I was wondering if Apollo might be an exception; but then I remembered the Kubrick theories.

Naglfar
Naglfar
2 years ago

@Dalillama
And plenty of old antisemitic conspiracy theories still exist very similar to how they used to. For example, blood libel still exists in claims of a conspiracy to harvest aborted fetuses or adrenochrome, or the well-poisoning conspiracy theory became blaming the Jews for COVID-19.
David Icke is a particularly awful person, but most conservatives believe at least some of what he says.

@Alan Robertshaw
In addition to the Kubrick stuff, there’s the persistent allegation that all Jews were secret Soviet spies giving away space program secrets.

Masse_Mysteria
Masse_Mysteria
2 years ago

@Naglfar

So they’re angry at bigots for being bigoted against the wrong people?

As far as I understand, it’s not so much wrong people as it is too few people. It was like they were saying, “sure, everyone knows trans* women are horrible, but I think you’re letting trans* men off too easy”. Seriously not nice folks.

Ben Smith
Ben Smith
2 years ago

These people have no empathy.

epitome of incomprehensibility

Re conspiracy theories: what’s weird is the idea that ALL or at least most of a loosely defined group is “in” on a plan.

Like, how do “the Jews” collectively decide to, e.g., spy for the Soviets?

And it isn’t just the antisemitic theories. As a teenager I heard a few people hint that “the Muslims” as a whole planned the 9/11 attacks.

And now trans* people are apparently plotting together to ruin the concept of biological sex and the very fabric of reality!

All I have to say is, great coordination!!

…OK, seriously, what it suggests is people dehumanizing “the other” into a sort of faceless blob. But that goes without saying, perhaps.

Edit: if there’s one religious group that’s plotting something, it’s the Presbyterians. They’re always having meetings. My dad’s like, “[epitome], I need the Internet, the church is having a meeting to plan our upcoming meetings.” 🙂

Snowberry
Snowberry
2 years ago

@Ben Smith: Not generally true. The problem is that when you live in a tight little box, all which exists outside the box is chaos and madness. Your empathy is going to be focused on keeping people inside that box, and maybe occasionally “rescue” someone outside of it, because only evil people would let someone fall prey to the devouring void.

What they lack, generally, is the ability to understand things outside the box they’ve fallen into… or were forced into. Of course, there are cases where people fall into a box precisely because they lack empathy (see: most incels) in which case keeping people there is more about narcissistic validation.

That being said, the best thing you can do for dangerously misguided people is to not let them have their way, even if it hurts them in the short term. Things tend to go badly for them and the people around them when they get their way.

Naglfar
Naglfar
2 years ago

@Raven

So, following this weird “logic” I can’t be a cis woman because I don’t “understand” my own gender and that means… I SHOULD have to transition? Although I don’t identify as trans? Or what? I’m confused, I’m so confused! Bullshit overkill!

I’ve mostly seen TERFs use that particular argument against AMAB non-binary people and trans* women (though I’m sure they could twist it for use against AFAB autistic trans* people as well). It seems to stem from Simon Baron-Cohen’s “extreme male brain” BS (which also implicitly denies the existence of autistic cis women). TERFs have also pushed a claim that autistic children are more susceptible to “gender ideology” (which has the added feature of infantilizing autistic adults). So TERFs just suck all around, basically.

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago

@Raven

The argument (such as it is) is basically that being autistic is a guy thing™ — you know because autistic people lack empathy and thus are not considered capable of being nice to others so that individuals in the spectrum who can avoid the attention (a lot of them identifying with caring andor feminine genders or being coerced to do so) go by unnoticed until they decide to be nonconforming out of their own free will. Then people generally loose their shit as it where because the suddenly-free spirits used to be such nice and well behaved conformists until they decided not too for a change. Also a lot of them suddenly find it a good idea to express a gender they feel comfortable with — You can find a good primer on that phenomenon here: rationalwiki but a lot of this is also hype about a neuro-sexist hype that hasn’t quite died down yet.

I’m not a hundred percent sure if I am part of this group or just a similar one but some of my friend have a diagnosis for basically doing the whole girlhoodthing way to good and suffering for it. I also met some of the odd lovely gender traitors who wisely decide that their gender is their choice and sometimes shatter binaries to get there.

All of this is well..quite a burden for people who where raised by a different set of game rules where there was a some sort of understanding that sexism was a thing everyone simultaneously joked about and took serious and whose memories of that time have maybe become a little foggy by the brain slowly getting more optimistic about the past.

I hope some of that helps.

Naglfar
Naglfar
2 years ago

@Lisa

you know because autistic people lack empathy and thus are not considered capable of being nice to others so that individuals in the spectrum who can avoid the attention (a lot of them identifying with caring andor feminine genders or being coerced to do so)

Just to be clear, autistic people are not incapable of empathy. I feel much empathy for many people. And I’m definitely capable of being polite and try to do so as much as possible. Some autistic people have some difficulty reading emotions and regulation tone and body language, so this may come across as lacking empathy or being intentionally rude even though it isn’t.

Allandrel
Allandrel
2 years ago

The “autistic people lack empathy” myth enrages me to no end, as it is not just false but also a form of demonization, as they compare us to psychopaths. In truth, we’re the opposite.

Now, it is true that many autistic people have difficulties with cognitive empathy: the ability to recognize other people’s emotions. What we usually do not have trouble with is affective empathy: the ability to feel what other are feeling.

So we may have great difficulty knowing what you are feeling, but we absolutely care. This is why so many of us have social anxiety. We are always afraid of upsetting people because we cannot tell if we are unless they tell us.

We’re also often so bad at emotional regulation that we can’t turn our empathy off. My job in pharmacy benefits gave me a breakdown because I couldn’t not care when our profit-driven plans meant someone could not get the medication they needed.

Psychopaths, to whom we are often likened (THANKS, Dr. Asperger) are often the opposite. They have little to no affective empathy, leaving them completely unaffected by how others feel, but their functioning cognitive empathy allows them to fake it. (See the psychology text The Mask of Sanity.)

Paireon
Paireon
2 years ago

@Allandrel – Huh, thanks for that bit about empathy – clarifies things about my own experiences. Also explains why while I felt that I didn’t possess empathy originally, I was able to develop it so well (didn’t know the difference between cognitive and affective empathy). In any case, what helped a lot in my case is that I approached empathy analytically an “rationally” – as in, “How would I feel if I was in this person’s place? What characteristics do I have that could make me respond differently from them?” – etc., etc. Made it a lot easier since I’m quite good at cogitating if I do say so myself.

Also, yeah, fuck TERFs. Really, if this is their response to a health crisis threatening millions then they’re the same kind of rancid trash as the manosphere, whose responses we’ve already seen here.

Also also, yeah, David Icke is an assclown, although with his utter lack of self-awareness and grip on reality I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t even notice at first that his reptilians theory cribbed from old antisemitic canards. Of course this absolves him of nothing, especially since even after being made to notice he keeps the same company; methinks the Holocaust denial is them rubbing off on him, because AFAIK it wasn’t part of his original screeds. Then again you can never be too sure with cranks of that level.

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago

@Naglfar

You are right of course. I always feel horrible when I feel I have to quote those theories and manage to screw up the necessary contextualization leading to me feeling guilty/ weirdly happy for trying to do good again and being a brat while doying it — but I guess that’s part of the role…

Valentin
Valentin
2 years ago

Paireon- it’s not an accident. He specifically said he likes the book protocols of the elders of Zion and in his own book he wrote things about jewish conspiracy and that the holocaust didnt happen in the way everyone says it happened.

I think it is dangerous to say that he is “just” someone silly or even abelist things like other people say that he is “crazy” or “insane”. He’s not. He is a very creative anti semitic who realises he can get attention with his unusual ideas.

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago

Also I hate smart software on blogs. I really should get an improved virtual emacs in my setup *sigh*
Sorry everyone.

Naglfar
Naglfar
2 years ago

@Lisa

Asperger might have been part of the Nazi party and talked the talk (and surely helped to do triage on the likes of me -it’s anyones guess how that would have turned out) but some of the science — especially science done to honor his work..is still sound. You can’t just disagree with facts just because someone who found them used to be on the wrong side of a genocide at the time — if you cannot indeed prove bias. Considering we are in a pandemic right now, this is very important to keep in mind.

He also sent children to be euthanized and much of his work has been criticized in the years following. There does seem to have been a bias seeing as he worked for a eugenics program, part of which included attempting to eradicate the very people he was studying.

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago

@Naglfar

True enough but a huge part of the suffering of people like me is due to the artificial #TrueAutistic / autistic spectrum / neurodiverse / neurorebel / ………… shizms due to this very conflict. Yes a mass murderer is biased and needs to be examined closely but…Americas claim to be the eternal good guys is sort of fragile at the moment and critics of ABA or similar programs have been very vocal about this for years. It appears that I sound like pro-nazi girl at the moment and this feels horrible. I’m strictly anti-fascist, anti-imperalist, pro-left and stuff.. *sigh*.

Lisa
Lisa
2 years ago

Still…in the interrest of a fairer two-sided perspective: What do you think would have happened to him if he had not done the unspeakable and told himself that it was triage? If he hadn’t divided them into usable savants and unusable automata? The very thing that a lot of psychologists now imitate in a hypercapitalist system? Yes he probably lied to himself to justify it, to profit from his hypocrisy and his violation of the oath/code (if he ever swore it) but … he was also a victim and his story needs to be heard. After a certain point in a far-right fascist org you are part of them and you know exactly what happens to traitors. That’s when people finally come to terms with the coward choices they have made … and often fail to do the honorable thing: to plant bombs inside the system. Instead they adapt and continue rationalization into deep despair. Still, I think that some of the science is sound and we owe it to the victims to look at it — lest we have to replicate the study some way or another.

Allandrel
Allandrel
2 years ago

@Lisa

I’m reminded of the long-running debate about the ethics of using the scientific data from the Nazis human experiments on unwilling subjects. Lots of “maybe we can make some good out of this tragedy” versus “there is no moral way to use data obtained through immoral methods.”

The thing that strikes me as odd is that no one ever seems to bring up a very important question: Why do they think that the data is any good? The Nazis were infamously corrupt and their scientists were under constant pressure to back up the ideology rather than be scientifically sound (consider their rejection of “Jewish physics”).

“Oh, Nazi scientists may have been monsters who performed horrific, fatal, and often pointless experiments on unwilling captives, many of them children, but they would never have fudged the data to get the results that their superiors wanted. That would have been unethical!”

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