[source]

6) are people who are only attracted to others of the same sex morally obligated to feel ashamed of this?

You are not actually morally obligated to feel ashamed of anything.

7a) if penises are female genitals, why do trans women experience physical dysphoria?

So there are two answers to this question.

First, many trans people experience physical dysphoria as the primary symptom of their transness. It’s not that they are upset about not being women; it is that they want a vagina and breasts and an estrogen-dominant hormone system, and it turns out if you try to obtain all those things while insisting you’re a man a bunch of people are going to look at you funny. You can come up with various theories for why this is, but we don’t really understand why people are trans.

Second, different people have different feelings about their body’s sexed characteristics. You can see this in cis people. Some cis women feel that pregnancy and giving birth is a definitively female thing, the miracle of creating life, a source of deep connection to all other birthing women throughout history and a beautiful affirmation of their body’s strength and power. Some cis women read that previous sentence and strongly considered a home hysterectomy with a rusty spoon.

More broadly, different cis women have different feelings about womanhood. Some women feel a sense of connection to admirable women of the past, like they’re all on the same team and in some sense share achievements. Some women enjoy chivalry or gendered flirtation. Some women are proud of specifically being a woman in math or science. Some women love being mothers specifically; their sense of womanhood is connected to having children. Some women’s experience of womanhood is suffering: sexual harassment, the fear of sexual violence, unfair divisions of labor, and entitled men. Some women like their clothes to make them feel cute and adorable; others, sexy and enticing; others, handsome and butch; still others would prefer their clothes not to send any gendered messages at all, thank you. And some women would prefer not to interact with gender at all and wish that it would just go away and people would stop assigning gendered meanings to skirts, raising kids, or being a mathematician.

You can say that this is bad and in a perfect feminist utopia that no women would have any feelings about their womanhood other than the Approved Feminist Feelings ™. Setting aside for a moment whether that would be either good or possible, it is clearly not true in the present day. You wouldn’t go around to all cis women and go “actually, it is wrong to be proud of being a woman in math, the Approved Feminist Feeling is that you are not allowed to care about this” or “actually, you need to appreciate the way your menstrual period connects you to the cycle of the moon, because it is the Approved Feminist Feeling”– at least I hope not. Can we assign the same standards to trans women that we do to cis women?

Trans women also have a range of different feelings about their body’s sexed characteristics. Some trans women are distressed by having a body part so closely associated with men. Some trans women like their penises and are happy to be women with dicks. Some trans women disliked their penises when they functioned in the typical fashion, but when they went on HRT they traded erections for multiple orgasms and now they’re okay with the situation. Some trans women dislike their dicks but have made peace with them. Some trans women don’t care about their dicks for themselves, but would like to have receptive PIV or date people who aren’t attracted to penises or otherwise do something that a vagina is helpful for.

Penises are typically male body parts. Any woman is going to have complicated feelings about having typically male body parts; just ask any cis woman who grows facial hair! We do not typically go up to cis women and go “some women grow facial hair, so why are you unhappy about having facial hair? You should be comfortable letting your mustache grow naturally and should stop waxing it.” So I think we should have similar attitudes towards trans women.

7b) why is sex reassignment surgery called ‘gender affirmation surgery’?

We live in a culture where penises are strongly associated with men and vaginas with women. One could imagine a culture in which that is not true (perhaps a transhumanist world with easy genderswapping?) but in this world it is.

For this reason, many women with penises will find it gender-affirming to no longer have a penis. Again, cis women have a variety of feelings about having sexed body parts typically associated with men; why wouldn’t trans women have a similar diversity of feelings?

7c) why do we encourage surgery rather than encouraging trans people to make peace with their bodies and overcome the cissexism they’ve internalized that tells them that their genitals don’t match their gender?

Let’s say for the sake of argument that I could make peace with my body and overcome my cissexism through a year of therapy. That would cost about $6500, an hour of my time every week for therapy plus transit time, and maybe twenty minutes a day of therapy homework.

Or I could get surgery and fix the problem. My top surgery cost about three thousand dollars, I had two days of sleeping a lot, five days of taking it easy, and I was completely back to my normal activities a week later. And then my top dysphoria went away permanently. 

One of these seems significantly less costly than the other. Like, more power to you if you want to try the therapy approach, but surgery’s great. I wish I could fix all my mental health problems this easily!

Some trans communities are toxic, but most communities I’m in don’t encourage or discourage surgery. They lay it out as one of many possible options for treating dysphoria. That’s what “some women have penises” is fundamentally about: not coercing people who don’t like dick into liking dick, but allowing people to make their own choices about whether the costs of surgery are right for them.

If you want to learn to accept your body as it is, without physical transition, most trans communities I know are fine with this. (Not all, of course! Some are awful. But most.) Conversely, in anti-trans circles I quite often see people say things along the lines of “I supported trans people until I found out some of them don’t even get the surgery” or “why are you identifying as trans if you’re not even making an effort” or “trans people who aren’t on hormones are fakers just doing it for the attention.” It is puzzling to me why a group of people would spend half its time talking about how transition medicine is disgusting and has many inevitable complications and will ruin your life, and the other half complaining that people don’t want to do it.

Also, it is painfully obvious to me that when you think “trans people” you think of trans women, because trans men are already doing the thing you want them to do.

Trans men have basically three options as regards genitalia: they can stick with their original equipment; they can get metoidoplasty, which leaves them with a micropenis which can’t ejaculate; or they can get phalloplasty, which leaves you with a penis that appears similar to the cis male penis but generally requires multiple surgeries, has a higher risk of complication, often reduces sensation, doesn’t allow for spontaneous erections, and still can’t ejaculate.

(Conversely, the state of the art for vaginoplasty is very good: a post-vaginoplasty vagina usually functions similarly to a natal vagina, except that you can’t get pregnant or have periods. And the second one most people are fine with anyway.)

So in practice whatever option trans men end up getting they have to come to terms with the fact that their genitals are very much different than cis men’s.

So we know what happens if you get a lot of trans people to try to accept their bodies as they are. 

You can come to terms with it and accept that your body works the way it does– just like we accept bad knees and back pain and weird moles and all the other pains and indignities that come with living with a human body. But accepting and making peace with something doesn’t mean you like it. For some trans men, their genitalia are a source of constant pain and dissociation; for others, it is something they can live with; still others learn to like them. In many cases, it takes quite a lot of effort compared to hypothetical surgery.  

8a) in a world without gender (ie. if everybody identified as agender), would gay people cease to exist? would gay culture cease to exist? if not, why not?

Presumably there would continue to be people who have preferences for certain sexed body types, but they would not identify themselves as “gay”, any more than people who have preferences for curly-haired people identify themselves as “curlysexual.” If sex and gender are not categories that society cares about, it would be really weird if one’s sexual preferences related to sex are a category people care about. For similar reasons, gay culture would certainly stop existing; there would be no reason for anyone to distinguish between gays and straights.

I expect that more people would be what we would call bisexual, perhaps more than half. Many people would have a preference for one body type or another, but occasionally have an interest of people in a different body type, without being particularly bothered or upset by this– as in our society, people who are usually attracted to curly-haired people are not particularly bothered or upset by being attracted to the odd person with straight hair.

8b) if so, would this be a favourable outcome?

I don’t know! There are a lot of considerations in many different directions. On one hand, our current system of gender harms many people: gender policing and stigma against the gender-non-conforming; gender roles which take away people’s basic human rights, such as the rights to eat, not to be raped, to choose who to marry, to make their own reproductive decisions, and to be educated; and the difficult-to-measure harm of gender itself. How many people are worse because we taught them that courage is a man’s virtue and kindness a woman’s? How many men flinch away from an innocent pleasure because it’s girly? How many women struggle with shame because they cannot live up to our culture’s impossible standards of womanhood?

Still, gender is something that brings many people joy. The chivalrous butch dyke in her suit, pulling out the chair for her ladyfriend, knows this as well as the most conservative of Christians. And I do feel a sense of loss at the idea that this agender future would have no comprehension of gay culture.

Would I press a button to go to this world? Sure, of course. No number of dapper butches is worth a young girl getting raped. But I remain hopeful that perhaps we can have the good parts of gender without the bad.

9a) are all women born without genital preferences? is an interest in penises a part of tabula rasa female existence?

As I discussed in the previous part, I don’t believe in tabula rasa female experience. When people are born, they presumably do not have any preferences about what genitals people they’re having sex with should have, because they are babies. Once a person is of an age to start having opinions on the subject, they have been raised in a culture, which has influenced them. In principle, you could describe how people with particular genes behave in any culture they could conceivably be raised in. But you could not answer what they would be like if they were not raised in a culture at all, because barring horrible neglect this is not a thing that happens to human beings.

(How are these hypothetical people raised without a culture supposed to even know what a penis is?)

This question is exactly as incoherent as “if women didn’t have genes, what would the culture influence them to do?” Nothing! They wouldn’t exist!

9b) if we examine the root of our repulsion towards penises and, indeed, all male sex characteristics, is the correct answer that deep down, we were attracted to them all along? is that the conclusion we are supposed to come to?

9c) if not, what is?

I mean, I don’t know what people on Twitter are up to these days, but my opinion is that you can’t force yourself to be attracted to anything. I feel that it is generally a good idea to stay open-minded in sex as in food or books. If you find yourself attracted to one particular male sex characteristic– not even on a trans girl, perhaps you get a crush on a cis girl with a mastectomy, who knows– then I think it’s better to go “oh, hey, cool” than to freak out about it. And I think it is best to avoid being prejudiced. But some people are not prejudiced and are perfectly open-minded and will still never find themselves attracted to anyone who has had a mastectomy. The cunt wants what it wants. Who cares.

If you are actually repulsed by all male sex characteristics possibly you should go see a therapist about that, I can’t imagine that it’s a good way to go through life feeling like you want to vomit every time you see a beard. But I suspect that this is probably an exaggeration.

10a) if the only way to eradicate genital preference in a woman was through exploration of gender theory and re-framing of her perceptions of what it means to be a man or woman, would this be an appropriate response?

uh, sure? if she wants to?

10b) if the only way to eradicate genital preference in a woman was through damaging her opportunities to access employment, housing, and social support networks as a response to non-compliance, would this be an appropriate response?

no!

10c) if the only way to eradicate genital preference in a woman was through re-education at a dedicated facility, would this be an appropriate response?

this seems like kind of overkill, honestly, but if it’s fully consensual and uncoerced, and she’s informed of success rates, then why not? People have a right to try to alter their sexualities if they want to.

10d) if the only way to eradicate genital preference in a woman was through aversion therapy — inducing, for example, intense self-loathing and worthlessness in response to undesirable feelings– would this be an appropriate response?

no!!!!!!

10e) if the only way to eradicate genital preference in a woman was through electroshock therapy, would this be an appropriate response?

NO!!!!!!!!!!

10f) if the only way to eradicate genital preference in a woman was through internment followed by six months of brothel work followed by murder, would this be an appropriate response?

WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU

10g) if not, why not?

uh I am not sure how to explain to you that murder is wrong