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The Michael Shermer Show

A series of conversations between Dr. Michael Shermer and leading scientists, philosophers, historians, scholars, writers and thinkers about the most important issues of our time.

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EPISODE # 285

Helen Joyce — Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality

Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality (book cover)

Biological sex is no longer accepted as a basic fact of life. It is forbidden to admit that female people sometimes need protection and privacy from male ones. In an analysis that is at once expert, sympathetic and urgent, Helen Joyce offers an antidote to the chaos and cancelling.

Helen Joyce is a senior staff journalist at The Economist, where she has held several positions, including Britain editor, Finance editor and International editor. Before joining The Economist in 2005 she edited Plus, an online magazine about mathematics published by the University of Cambridge. She has a PhD in mathematics from University College London. On Twitter, she is @HJoyceGender.

Shermer and Joyce discuss:

  • What is a woman? What is a man?
  • conflicting rights: trans vs. women
  • sex and gender — biology and culture; primary and secondary sex characteristics
  • sex vs. gender; who you identify as vs. who you are attracted to
  • Is the rapid spike in trans self-ID a social contagion or a coming out of a formerly repressive culture?
  • In an evolved mammalian sexually-reproducing species can an organism change sex?
  • Androphilic males are often highly gender non-conforming in childhood, and may develop gender dysphoria and a cross-sex identification if their culture is insufficiently accommodating.
  • Trans: identity or sexuality?
  • Michael Bailey: The Man Who Would be Queen
  • TERF: Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminist: denying that identifying as a woman makes you one
  • gender affirming care and how it is harming more people than it helps
  • puberty blockers, testosterone, hormone treatment
  • separating facts about gender dysphoria from moralizing about it (everyone is entitled to universal human rights regardless of what the science says about them)
  • What percent of trans revert?
  • What happened to gays and lesbians?
  • Trans surgeries: top surgery, phalloplasty, vaginoplasty
  • parental acceptance or else (from cutting off all contact to suicide)
  • social contagion: witch crazes, mass hysterias, Satanic Panic, recovered memory, anorexia
  • preferred pronouns: compelled speech ≠ free speech
  • Trans sports
  • exclusive spaces: women’s bathrooms, changing rooms, prisons, and spas.

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This episode is sponsored by Wondrium:

Wondrium (sponsor)

This episode was released on July 5, 2022.

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