Some thoughts on ‘assigned’ and ‘identified’, plus commenting freely

Biological sex is a natural phenomenon

Unless a baby has ambiguous genitalia, as with intersex babies, they are not “assigned” a sex at birth; their sex is “identified.”

When we discover a new planet we do not “assign” it a spectral class or type. We “identify” it by its natural phenomenon. Sex is a natural phenomenon.

Repeat after me: Biological sex is a natural phenomenon.

tagged as #see also: stop using intersex people as pawns #and stealing their fucking language

From Next Years Girl and Pizza-rolls-not-gender-rolls.

I have only seen this argument in the last few months. I have always used ‘female assigned at birth’ as it covered both biological females and intersex individuals assigned female at birth, and therefore raised the same as other girls (it also gave us the brilliant acronym ‘FAB’!), and I know I’m not the only one to use this terminology.

The above argument is a good one, although there is a risk with using the word ‘identify’ because it is used in identity politics to say anyone is whatever they identify as (whether it’s a member of the opposite sex, another race, or an imaginary animal).

However, even acknowledging that risk, I will from now on be using ‘female assigned/identified at birth’ (the less satisfying ‘FAIB’ – but at least not FIB!).

This has come up now because the Guardian has published a piece on the so-called ‘terf wars’, and, amazingly, so far, my gender critical comments have been allowed to stay up (only one has been deleted, and that’s really odd because it’s the same comment I made many times on that thread, asking how bullying lesbians is progressive). My first comment (time wise) even has the most ‘recommended’ votes (of those comments visible on the front page) as of writing this. We’ll have to see how it goes.

I do often wonder how many people actually read comments sections (I’ve always been of the opinion that if you can’t get your comment on the first page, don’t bother). I (perhaps unwisely) linked to this blog in one of my comments, and I’ve had eleven click-throughs from the Guardian so far today.

4 responses

  1. So, I had all of 28 visits from the Guardian yesterday.

    I will go back and see how many of my comments remain up later in the week, when the article will be closed to comments, I have things to do today!

  2. […] I have sent this email to the Guardian, expressing my concern over the use of the word ‘TERF’ in the article they published last Saturday. […]

  3. I finally had time to go back and look at the comment thread. My main comment is still up, and has 111 recommendations, still the highest number visible on the first page.

    They removed my quote from Gia Milinovich (http://giaqualia.wordpress.com/2014/06/13/dear-laurie-penny/), I’ve no idea why, plus a minor thread did not just have comments deleted, but excised in a really odd way that leaves it substantially different to how it started (it wasn’t really very interesting, some dudebro claimed rejecting transwomen was ‘misandry’, for all I know it was his comment that caused the excision).

  4. Compare the original thread, to how it looks after the moderators have snipped most of the comments out, it would be more honest to just remove the whole thread.

    The original:

    Original 01

    Original 02

    Original 03

    Original 04

    Original 05

    Original 06

    Original 07

    And after ‘moderation’:

    Excised 01

    Excised 02

    Excised 03

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