Debunking trans rhetoric 1: Rori Porter

Recently Rori Porter wrote a piece on Medium (https://roriporter.medium.com/some-anwers-for-the-terfs-at-ovarit-com-e7ca9c796334) complaining about the feminist website Ovarit’s supposedly hostile and ignorant attitude to trans people. Here is my response. His statements are enclosed in single quotation marks.

‘When transphobes lost their safe space on Reddit…’.

So we know what we’re in for, right from the start: according to Rori, it is transphobia, not gender-critical feminism, that characterizes us gender-critical feminists. But wait!

‘I understand that evolving may be confusing to a TERF since they opt for their grandma’s feminism…’.

The sort of feminism that didn’t centre men, in other words. As regards the low opinion we terven (I hope it’s OK with y’all if we use the proper word here) supposedly have of trans rationality, Rori says:

‘But hey, let me shirk your expectation…’.

I think he may have meant ‘disappoint’, but yes, in fact he does ‘shirk’ it, i.e. he deliberately avoids dealing with it.

Now Porter claims he is ‘a bisexual, trans woman’ as well, so at least he recognizes that sexual orientation comes in three flavors: opposite sex, same sex, and both sexes. This is something we can agree on. Here is a second point of agreement:

‘As a society, we are all still expected to adhere to the gender binary.’

We feminists are all for jettisoning gendered expectations. Where we differ from trans rights activists is that we know the sex binary will still be there, patiently waiting, rolling-pin in hand, when we’ve done so. We know how babies are made. As Rori recognizes the two basic sexual orientations, he may also accept that there are two sexes in all mammals, each of which contributes a different kind gamete to the reproductive process. Hence our question:

Us: “If not dysphoria about your sexed body, what is dysphoria?”

‘My own dysphoria isn’t binary, I’m still figuring out what I want to do about it…’.

When he does decide, will he opt to have hair follicles transplanted to his eye-brows so they look bushier and more manly? Will he shave his head to mimic male-pattern baldness? A bigger-nose job? Will he start taking steroids and doing circuit training plus 400 press-ups a day? Or will it involve ‘bigger tits’ (see below for Rori’s opinion about getting breast implants), a fake vagina, a tracheal shave? Answers on a postcard, please.

I’ll put the following three questions together, as they cover much the same ground:

Us: “But didn’t trans people create the ‘born in the wrong body’ narrative in the first place?”
Us: “So, if you weren’t born in the wrong body, do the taxpayers/other people sharing your insurance need to pay for the transition?”
Us: “You want to criticize cis people for thinking of you as born in the wrong body? That’s what you all were telling us before it became a damned trend.”

‘“Born in the wrong body” is a narrative that facilitates trans folks getting the medical care that we need. Whether or not we actually feel this way, we routinely have to use language like this to appeal to insurance companies…that narrative is easier than explaining that my gender isn’t cis and isn’t easily contained within the binary.’ ‘As I have addressed, trans people used the “born in the wrong body” language because we were forced to in order to receive trans-related medical attention.’ ‘I mention that I experience gender dysphoria in my post, which enables me to have certain gender-affirming procedures under the health insurance plan that I pay good money into.’

Move to Canada! They’ll pay for it there!

In the US, however, insurance companies are not known for being kind, so this must be a powerful ‘narrative’ to get trans people ‘the medical care that [they] need’; hence the constant peddling of the zombie “half of all trans people have attempted suicide” statistic, based on a sample of Brazilian prostitutes and an even smaller self-selected sample (23!) of TG people in a UK survey, which concerned suicidal ideation and didn’t ask when they had these suicidal thoughts or whether they had been diagnosed with other conditions (autism, ADHD, depression, anxiety, etc.) that might dispose them to feel suicidal.

Seriously, though, if his gender is what it is, why does it need affirming? Better still, why doesn’t he realize gender is a deeply unjust social game—one in which women always, always lose—and come out as a feminist ally?

‘I was a trans person born in a trans person’s body. Y’all are just trying to miss the point.’
‘I was born correctly into a trans body…’.

So, why the surgeries? Why is it necessary, as he says, ‘to heal my trans body’, if it’s already just fine? If he makes it into (a semblance of) a woman’s body, either it will still be trans (and, if so, why bother?) or it won’t (so what on earth is the point of all that pain, suffering, and expense, his own or the taxpayers’, depending?).

In short, how is this not having his hormonal cake and eating it too?

And selfish trans people can be very selfish about the sharing of finite medical resources. All sorts of people can’t get medical care for all sorts of conditions because their insurance companies won’t provide it. Lupus and ME/CFS, for example—conditions that affect far more women than men. Or PCOS, which of course affects only women. What’s more, “gender-affirming” surgeries continued right through the pandemic (see Exulansic’s videos for proof). There was a TikTok not long ago of a trans girl complaining that her mum, who had breast cancer, had got “top surgery” before she did. A fake? Probably. The point is… it’s hard to tell nowadays.

Nonetheless, after all these disclaimers, Rori asserts that:

‘…the fact that I think this language ought to be retired still stands.’

Why? He does not say, except that the trans ‘community’ is “evolving” thanks to what he calls ‘intersectionalism’ and general change in the world, which explains precisely nothing.

‘I will always seek to find a way to make sure that the body I was born in is the right one.’

Translation: “My body is just fine, always was… only it’s also in need of drastic body-morphing surgeries and whole-life wrong-sex hormones, just as I choose.”

Us: “But… what the hell else do you want us to say?!”

‘Nobody on Ovarit.com has to talk about me — they just choose to in their TERFy little echo chamber.’

Or maybe we want to try to engage with the other side’s arguments, if any, despite this sort of judgement on us:

‘Transphobes aren’t about to give any sort of well-rounded or informed opinion on dysphoria because they’ve never experienced it and have an explicit bias on the matter.’

Just as he has have never experienced being a woman, and has ‘an explicit bias’ in favour of thinking that he does. Rori wants us to play his little language game:

‘particularly when cis people are speaking about our bodies without us being present.’

Now obviously there can be no obligation to have a trans person always present when we talk about trans people. We all speak about lots of people without the people being present. But if we have to use certain language and not use certain other language about trans people in their absence, please show us why we have to meet this obligation when we do not share your ideology, which we regard as bogus and damaging. Without this justification, this sort of linguistic policing will remain both grandiose and pointless:

‘Basically, unless someone explicitly uses this language to describe their personal trans experience, I suggested that cis folks avoid saying this about us.’

In return, we would request trans folks not to call us “cis” when describing our personal “adult human female” experiences.

‘I can and do hold people accountable for talking about me or my body in ways I don’t personally approve of.’

So do we, buddy. So do we. Women are doing exactly this, more and more. We want out name back. We want our experiences to be recognized as lived, female lives, not feelings in men’s heads.

‘…calling transness a trend is hilarious, and TERFs would know that if they did even five minutes of research on the history of trans people.’

Yes, thank you, we did the research. It does only take five minutes, as being “trans” has been a thing only for about 15 years. It was John Money, that beacon of trans ideology, who invented the term ‘gender identity’. Before then there were simply transsexuals and transvestites.

Correction: there still are. Only the names have changed. And don’t think we haven’t noticed that history is getting re-written to make trans people into the saviours of mankind. As he himself says:

‘which is happening because trans/queerphobic colonizers have had the stage for most of the last 200 years’.

WTAF? The delusion here is world-class (the only thing about this article that is). I’d give him “homophobic”. No doubt many gays and lesbians have been written out of history. There were brothels catering to men who liked to tup men in dresses back in the reign of Queen Victoria. But they didn’t claim to be women. Which is not surprising, given that male privilege was even more of a Thing back then than it is now. And enough with the “colonizer” BS about gender. It’s the trans lobby that is colonizing pre-modern/pre-industrial cultures as part of their general project to make being trans look like something innate: if having “third genders” is all over the place, it must be innate, right?

But, first, third genders almost always accommodate feminine homosexual men; they have nothing to do with there being more than two sexes—in fact, they precisely reinforce the sex binary. And, second, this sort of argument fails because, clearly, three-gender societies aren’t universal. Finally, pushing the idea that kids can be trans to promote this same innatism is so dodgy, so close to paedophilia (since it requires the assumption that pre-pubescent children can think of themselves as sexed—how otherwise can they “decide” their gender doesn’t match their sexed body?) that I’d drop the whole thing if I were them. Really I would.

(Porter adds: ‘Same as how you can’t discover you’re queer unless… you’re queer.’ I shall leave it to gay men and lesbians to deal with the revival of a slur once used by real bigots in order to elevate in their own eyes a group of narcissistic straight people trying to make themselves look interesting.)

Us: “Telling the disabled they were born in the wrong body would be seen as unconscionable, so why did we let healthy people get away with saying it about themselves?”

‘Being trans is not a disability, so the things we choose to say about our bodies cannot be easily transferred to a disabled experience.’

First, being trans is not like being disabled in one way: reflecting on their own experiences, or getting the right medication, e.g. anti-depressants, can make some people realize they are not trans after all (witness the detransitioners), whereas, of course, the disabled cannot stop being disabled by reflecting on their own experiences, let alone identifying out of their disability.

Second, while a person who develops MS after living without it will feel very differently about their body and their condition from a person born blind, who has constructed a life that incorporates their blindness, and that both accommodates it and transcends its limitations, both MS and blindness are clearly both physical problems. There are certain definite things about the body that could, in principle, be fixed, or at least be made less serious and easier to live with. Similarly, being trans might seem to be something that can affect the physical body in certain definite ways, since many trans people choose to change their bodies.

And yet, curiously, there are people who say they are trans and are nonetheless quite happy in their male- (usually) or female-sexed body. (Women-with-penises are, sadly, real-in-some-people’s-heads.) So being trans is not like a disability. It is not the case that, all things being equal, a given condition causing blindness could, in principle, be remedied in this or that way in these people with that condition but not in those. Indeed, to preserve the comparision, it would have to turn out rather that the condition is not even there to be remedied. (NB I am talking “in principle” here, not as regards the medical cures or therapies actually available now.) For, as Rori says:

‘While many trans people absolutely do have dysphoria, it’s not the be-all-end-all of (and certainly isn’t synonymous with) the trans experience.’

So what is it about being trans that makes this possible? Why do some trans people have dysphoria and hate their bodies so much they threaten suicide if they don’t get medication and surgery, and others change their pronouns and that’s it? Why isn’t there some set of determinate, testable physical changes that would make everything right for every trans person, as everyone with MS would be well if their own immune system hadn’t attacked the myelin sheaths around their nerves? (MS is one of those far-more-prevalent-in-women conditions, one that was once diagnosed as “hysteria”, a condition that really, really isn’t there at all. Plus I have a family history of it, so forgive the repetition.)

It was medical researchers who discovered what was wrong in people with MS, and perhaps, one day soon, medical research will discover an effective therapy, and/or preventative care for those a genetic predisposition to developing MS. And it is doctors who carry out tests to determine whether someone has MS and thus whether that person should or should not receive the medications we do have to manage symptoms.

Now what Rori wants is evidently not like this. It is for trans people alone (even children?) to decide whether they “need” medical treatment. Here’s the tell:

‘For decades, doctors have been defining what the trans experience is and which of us deserves medical accommodation…’.

What is really going on here is Schroedinger’s Dysphoria: simultaneously a medical condition (that requires fixing by hormones and/or surgery, which in some countries must be paid for by the tax-payer) and also not a medical condition (because some people who are trans don’t want or “need” any of this). It is the patient who decides whether it exists, and decides also on the treatment they they must receive—unlike all other medical conditions, which are either there or not, in different degrees of severity, and which are treated by doctors on the basis of medical evidence.

There is one point in Rori’s earlier post where he candidly revealed his attitude to his body as not the one a medically-informed person would have:

‘I was not born in the wrong body at all. I was merely born in a body that needs redecorating in order to suit my needs. A fresh coat of paint here, a wall smashed down there…’.

IIt is striking that the metaphor he chooses is wholly inorganic, as if the human body were, like an artifact such as a house, something that comes in discrete, material parts, which can be fitted together or moved around or removed altogether. But the bodies of animals (and plants too) are amazingly complex, interlocking, interacting meta-systems of organs and systems. Changing even one part is not at all like subbing a bit of dry wall or painting a door.

Some trans people undergo expensive, protracted, painful, potentially life-threatening surgeries to refashion themselves into simulacra of the opposite sex. Some of the consequences are now well-known; some are still emerging. For example, a transwoman who wants a vagina (which is natural, muscular, and self-cleaning) ends up instead with an unnatural cavity that is fragile and prone both to infection and to closing up and scarring, so that it needs constant care and attention. (Jazz Jennings’ non-vagina is of this sort.) To make a fake penis for a transman, she must undergo a number of surgeries on her arms and/or legs, not just on her vulva and vagina. She risks early menopause if she has a hysterectomy. Vaginal atrophy, which is universal when testosterone is taken, is uncomfortable, sometimes painful, and increases the risk of UTIs and sexual dysfunction. A woman under the age of 45 who goes into menopause should be offered oestrogen, to offset the risk of osteoporosis, coronary heart disease and even perhaps dementia. Osteoporosis increases if a woman stops menstruating before she is 35, and this increases the risk of fractures later in life, which in turns increases risk of premature death. Not getting the right hormones, at the right time, in the right doses can wreak havoc on a developing body.

Are transmen dying early, compared to their non-trans cohorts? We don’t know, because changes in laws make it hard to tell what someone’s sex is, Information about gender is collected instead, even for rapists. Yes, we now have female rapists, even though raping is done with a penis. I am sure Porter will be happy to acknowledge that this is happening, all thanks to gender self-ID.

Anyway, back to gender dysphoria. It is weird that the same thing, gender dysphoria, should have this range of effects. I wonder if a doctor would think that there are at least two conditions here? Maybe one affecting young girls, one affecting older men? Just a suggestion!

Also, I hope they don’t knock down the wrong wall if and when Rori has surgery. Recently I saw a transwoman and a transman on YouTube complaining about fistulas as a result of botched surgeries. Fistulas are common in girls in developing countries who are married far too early and have children far too early, before their bodies are fully developed. That is how feminists know about them.

Us: “TIMs are fking over women and especially lesbians for no good reason?”

‘I’d sincerely be curious to hear how I, a bisexual, trans woman in a relationship with a pansexual trans man, is fucking over any lesbians.’

So, first, as regards trans harassment of lesbians, this is a deflection: a group is accused of doing X; member of said group says, ‘I don’t do X’, and we are meant to infer that the accusation is false. Members of the trans “community” are, however, certainly ‘fucking over lesbians’, as we know from, well, lesbians, who get constantly harassed online, kicked off dating forums because they won’t date TIMs, even raped, etc., all while Stonewall hired a man, Morgan Page, to tell transbians how to get through the “cotton ceiling”.

Second, as regards women generally, deflection #2: ‘I don’t do X, so the accusation is false about me, as a woman’. To begin with: No. No, he’s not. He’s a guy in a straight relationship with a woman who thinks she’s a man.

In any case, whatever he may do or not do, there are transwomen who most definitely are invading our spaces and taking selfies with their meat and two veg out in women’s restrooms; they’re appropriating women’s places in institutions (e.g. Edinburgh Rape Crisis, the UK Labour Party) and on shortlists; and the TRA ‘community’ is harassing, doxxing, and threatening women online and making them lose their jobs IRL (Stock, Phoenix, etc.). Their presence is forcing women to self-exclude from certain spaces (again, the Edinburgh Rape Crisis Centre, now headed by a man who lied about his sex to get the job and has said that women who want to be helped by other women are ‘bigots’).

Us: “WHAT ABOUT PENISES?!”

‘…what about penises, Kayleigh?’

Again with the ‘K’ names! Hilarious!

‘Why are TERFs so obsessed with our genitals? It’s fuckin’ weird, man.’

No, it’s not. Penises are what are used—and this is what the law says—to rape women. (Men too, actually.) Penises attached to transwomen have done the rapey bit, as well. Transwomen have filmed themselves masturbating in female toilets and changing-rooms. If Rori were a woman, he would know how disturbing that is, and not have to have it explained to him.

Us: “Could [they] have said cis one more time? I gave up counting. I hate that word.”

After childishly repeating the word ‘cis’ a few dozen times, he adds:

‘I’m sorry if you’re cis, though 🥺 That must be hard.’

Being a human female in a misogynistic, patriarchal culture is hard. You are not helping. Which is not a bug of trans privileges activism: it is a feature.

Us: “Why are we erasing women and ripping open our spaces if you aren’t a woman born in a man’s body?”

‘I am in no spaces that don’t welcome trans women.’

Again, that fallacy! ‘I don’t do X, so nobody in my group does X’.

‘Generally, trans women don’t want to be in spaces that are welcoming to TERFs…’.

Transbians love those spaces, though.

What’s more, there are female terven. Maybe all terven are female, depending on whether you think men can be feminists or only feminist-adjacent. But given that there are terven who are women, there will be terven in lots of female spaces—public restrooms and changing-rooms, rape crisis centres, DV refuges—where men are not welcome, so we are glad you will all avoid those spaces. Thank you.

And there are women who won’t risk entering gender-neutral restrooms or changing-rooms because there may be a man in there, and for personal or religious reasons they do not want to be alone with a man, even a man in a dress. Let alone a man with an erect penis taking a selfie.

Us: “Why can you compete in sports set aside for women/girls if you are correctly born into a man’s body?”

‘I have never competed in a sport in my life, Karen.’

If he uses that not-me-guv fallacy one more time I am going to… laugh again. Oh, and my name isn’t ‘Karen’, any more than your name is ‘woman’.

‘But if I did join a sportsball team? I’d hope to do so in a queer league. Open up a middle option, and we solve the little problem they’re so keen on creating.’

Oh wow! We never thought of that!! Thank you!!! It will be a walk around the park to persuade the IOC and other athletics organizations to fall into line. /s

‘The fact is, by virtue of existing, all trans people deserve accommodation.’

Does this apply to paedophiles? Sociopaths? Sex offenders?

‘I know that some TERF will most likely post this on Ovarit without reading the whole thing.’

Almost at the end now!

'The thing is, I also know a thing or two about self-care.'

As far as I can see, Porter knows the whole book from A to Z. Self-care is all he’s into. Certainly not caring about children’s welfare, since he is donating to Mermaids:

‘If you are here from Ovarit, thank you for helping a trans child in need.’

Thank you for helping to keep the gay and lesbian numbers low by transing another kid! Thank you for pouring money into the coffers of predatory doctors who are only in it for the money!! /s

We feminists really, really DO NOT appreciate this.

But what does Porter care? Leaving aside the woke wankery over female names beginning with the letter ‘K’, he is guilty of straightforward, 100% pure misogyny:

‘My body is not wrong; any more than a cis woman’s body is wrong just because she has breasts she’d rather have sized up.’

This is the sort of sexist bilge, both offensive and irrelevant, that only an reconstructed male could come up with. A man having his penis and testicles removed and his taint hollowed out into a vaginoid cavity is not at all like a woman having breast implants.

There is a connection, though. Women who do this to themselves are made to feel inadequate by men who fetishize certain undetached female body parts. Which, spookily, is rather like what any transwoman does by having surgery to make himself look a bit more like a woman—in his own eyes, that is. He is the most important audience before whom femininity is to be performed. Underneath the mask, there’s a man saying things like this:

‘Thanks for the affirmation that I’m doing it right, ladies. No progress can be had without some angry cis women spitting into the wind.’

Another unmistakeable sign that Rori is, and always wlll be, a man. This sort of misogyny is firm-wired into Rori’s brain. This too:

‘It’s just those whom the status quo benefits pushing back at marginalized people experiencing less discrimination.’

Yeah, women. Definitely not marginalized or discriminated against. Not in Canadian prisons, Californian prisons, Scottish rape-crisis centres, Texan abortion clinics, or anywhere in India or Pakistan or Somalia or Afghanistan. No sirree.

There’s no pay-gap between the sexes. A woman is not being murdered every 3 days in the UK, where rape prosecutions are at an all-time low as are successful ones, and where the Home Office in the UK isn’t going to make misogyny a hate crime because the resulting complaints would ‘swamp the police’. FGM is never practised anywhere in the world. Girls are not being sold as sex-slaves or into marriages with much older men in India and Pakistan. Women are not being trafficked in their millions into the sex trade. None of this is happening. Has never happened.

No, say TRAs. They constantly repeat the factoid that trans people are the most persecuted minority in the history of the world—even though trans people’s risk of being murdered is actually lower than that of the population at large in the UK, where a trans person hasn’t been murdered since 2017, and even though analysis of killings of trans persons in the US shows they are usually murdered by their partners or by pimps or johns, and never by mobs of pitchfork wielding feminists. But trans activists do regularly issue threats of physical harm, rape, or murder against feminists who criticize them online. They do doxx their opponents or harass them to the point of being hauled before the General Medical Council in the UK.

Believe their lies, if you can. Ignore all the evidence and rustle up your own. Live in your own little world. Just leave us women alone. Keep out of our spaces—physical, social, economic, political.

And finally, it is this comment that is, I think, the most telling line in the whole mishapen body of this flaccid, repetitive article:

‘…and they engage in a transphobic circle jerk that poses some common questions…’.

Because THIS IS NOT SOMETHING WOMEN DO.

Which Rori would know, if he were a woman.

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