On Bil's post Transgender Woman Severely Beaten at Baltimore McDonalds While Employees Watch, which garnered over 400 comments, many of which expressed sympathy for the victim and outrage against the assailants (illuminating a high level of racism), but there was also a strong discussion of whether transwomen are, in fact, women, and whether the victim was correctly identified as a woman, or a transgender woman, or a transsexual woman, or none of the above. Some commenters said yes, some said no, some said it depends on one's surgical status and some said you have to ask the person to find out. Some (now deleted) comments said that she is really a man, and so her presence in the women's bathroom was wrong.
This discussion is, of course, merely a side point to the belief that we all share that trans women have a right to use the bathroom of their new sex. (Do we share that belief? Is "new sex" making an inappropriate assumption? If it's wrong, what is the right terminology?) Projector Carol, however, noted that to most people, a trans woman is not a woman.
Projector Joann Prinzivalli, who is not only a lawyer, but also a plaintiff in the lawsuit over New York City's refusal to correct the birth certificates of transwomen, gave a fascinating analogy in response:
Up until the late 18th century, most people believed whales were fish. That did not make them fish.
In 1818, there was a celebrated court decision, in the matter of Samuel v. Judd, which involved the taxation of fish oil by the State of New York. Mr. Judd had three casks of whale oil, and Mr. Samuel, the tax inspector, called for him to pay the tax of $25 per cask. The case pitted the testimony of whaling captains and preachers up against the leading natural scientist of the day - and the jury decided that the whale was indeed a fish!
The appeal was mooted by the state legislature recognizing whales as mammals the following year.
In the case of trans people, the views of an ignorant and uneducated majority don't actually change the underlying facts of our existence.
In the rest of her comment, after the jump, she defends the idea that transwomen are never a member of their initially-assigned sex.
What say you, Projectors?