Response

-On Wilfrid Laurier: this is actually not a dead issue on two counts: (1) the use of C-16 to justify constraining free speech on a college campus and (2) this case resulted in a current lawsuit. The former point is relevant to this discussion because the contours of the terms employed are by no means clear. It is very much relevant, has gotten lots of international press, and reveals some of the deep-seeded problems with the interpretation of the bill.

-On the bill itself: you have quoted the bill and show a clear understanding of the language of that particular bill as well as the stated intentions behind it. At the root of the controversy between those who support and oppose the bill is interpretation of what is meant by gender identity and gender expression (how loosely can those terms be interpreted). Moreover, much of the current discourse on sex, gender, gender identity, and gender expression are based on ideas which at the very least verge on pseudo-scientific (I would argue that much of it is pseudo-scientific). Again, the relation between biological sex and gender is not addressed. The above terms are not independent of each other (to the extent that they are accurately defined). Moreover, the whole discourse is being shaped by the theoretical needs of a tiny fraction of the population. There is a massive difference between tolerance and redefining key elements around biological sex and gender to suit what can easily be conceived of as a social constructivist perspective. You fail to address my claim that your position is pseudo-scientific which strongly suggests an inability to do so. The fact that sex is a bimodal distribution is not irrelevant, quite the contrary. This is not to deny equal rights for individuals who do not conform, but they should not be the ones defining the landscape either intellectually or politically.

-On selective interpretation: Perhaps I should have been a little more specific here. Peterson brought up this concern when he was before the Canadian Senate last year (specifically, his conversation with Senator Ratna Omidvar). Omidvar lists a number of psychological associations she and other legislators have consulted regarding the law. When Peterson asked for clarification on what specifically the people in those organizations were saying, she clarified that they gave statements opposing discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression but nothing on the specifics of the legislation. Peterson voiced his concern about the potential for compelled speech under the (then under-consideration) legislation. Specifically, he cited lack of clarity on the part of the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s policies[1]. As an experienced psychologist well-versed in the relevant literature, Peterson took issue with the conflicting notions present in the policies (biological bases vs. social constructivism in reference to the sex and gender definitions).[2][3] Additionally, Peterson expressed concern over the vast number of non-standard pronouns and how they will impact basic communication between people.[4]

Other Perspectives on C-16:

-Evolutionary behavioral scientist Gad Saad[5]: Specifically, Gad Saad voiced concern over how the legislation could lead to constraints on the material he teaches (evolutionary psychology and the behavioral sciences). He emphasized the importance of sexual reproduction and sexual dimorphism as clear and foundational norms while acknowledging that there are a small number of exceptions who should be treated with respect. He cites a college organization which criticizes biological essentialism as ‘transphobic.’ Additionally, he expressed concern over how often a person’s gender identity could change.

-Feminist Megan Murphy[6]: She expressed concern over amending the law based on an understanding of gender as either internal or a personal choice. She argued from a radical feminist perspective and used many terms I find objectionable, if not downright conspiratorial (such as ‘patriarchy’). But she is an example of a leftist opposing the bill. Additionally, she argued that terms such as ‘gender expression’ and ‘gender identity’ communicate a message that women can change their outward appearance and claim a different identity to ‘escape oppression under patriarchy.’ Again, I find her views ludicrous in general but opposition to C-16 is not only opposition by conservatives and moderates. She does make a compelling point about whether male-to-female transgender individuals can apply for grants created to help women.

-Trans woman and cultural commentator Theryn Meyer[7]: She expressed concern that C-16 would threaten free and open discourse and would have a deleterious effect on individualism. Given that trans rights are protected by law outside Bill C-16, Meyer cites the minister of justice and attorney-general of Canada (and sponsor of the bill) arguing that the real purpose of the bill was to send a clear message.

-On social constructivism: I do have to ask: how do you feel about male-to-female athletes participating in women’s sporting events? If they are allowed, then they will have a natural advantage due to increased amounts of testosterone that their bodies are naturally producing.

-On Peterson any bullying: Peterson has not bullied anyone. He stated his opposition to nonstandard pronouns, especially if the state were to get involved. Your making a Himalayans-size mountain out of a theoretical molehill.

-On fines: There is not a fine for misgendering specifically, but there is are fines related to discrimination and the definitions of ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ are far from clear.

-On transgender children: would refusing surgical intervention to children constitute discrimination? I do have to look more into this point as I have not had the time to do much research on this specifically.

-On what constitutes an offense: how broadly is discrimination to be applied here. The inchoate terminology and various laws at the federal and provincial levels in Canada are also far from clear. Take another look at my example — could those two actions be considered discrimination and grounds for being fined?

-I keep providing evidence. If this is wasting your time, you are free to do something else. Your arguments take into account only the wording of the bill and not how it could play out given similar legislation at the provincial level (including actions of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal). I have provided quite a bit of evidence in every one of my posts attached to an article we are no longer even talking about. In addition to Jordan Peterson and Jared Brown, I have the statements of several other people listed above. You have not successfully countered Peterson’s concerns about interpretations of the law which could result in compelled speech. You have not addressed the pseudo-scientific social constructivist theories behind the legislation nor that the foundational biological relation between sex and gender, and you have equated theoretical and outlandish pronouns with transgender rights in an attempt to dismiss Peterson as intolerant. His concerns, whether or not you agree with them, are not based in ignorance. That is factually wrong. You can and have argued that he is wrong in his interpretation of how C-16 and the surrounding legislation might play out but he has done extensive research which was demonstrated when he appeared before the Canadian Senate. He does not have formal legal training but he did appear with an experienced lawyer Jared Brown. His decades of experience as both a clinical psychological and university professor are relevant here because he is an expert in psychology whether or not you agree with his political opinions. As stated above in the section about Peterson in the Senate, the senator he spoke with mentioned consultations she and others had with psychological associations. Legal experts needed to consult experts in the field of psychology before voting on and passing the bill as legislators are generally not trained psychologists. In short, Peterson’s professional experience and opinions are relevant and should be considered. Whether you accept or reject them is another issue. (For example, I stand in opposition to people like Andreas Malm and Karl Marx but still consider their views when necessary and do not just write them off as ignorant.)

-On civil rights: I do not argue against civil rights. I argue against group privileges which do more to undermine the ideals proponents claim. Moreover, I subscribe to the public choice theory which argues, in part, that political behavior is motivated by self-interest. Politicians are interested in gaining or maintaining office and must, therefore, put that concern as central to their career. Their official political positions are general crafted to appeal to the greatest number of likely voters. While they do sometimes deviate from this, I am generally skeptical of any view which posits government officials as Enlightened legislators driving the country toward some ideal.

-On nonstandard pronouns and transgender rights: You have yet to provide a single example of a real person demanding use of any non-standard pronoun from ‘zhe’ to ‘wormself.’ As of now, this portion of the argument is till theoretical. Even if it were not, you would have to come up with some rational argument as to why the state should intervene on behalf of a tiny fraction of a tiny fraction of the population to encourage people to use specific words which were invented only in the past few years. You also both mischaracterize my stance on the rights of transgender individuals and bolster this claim by arguing that subjective experience of a group entitles that group to make arguments which others in society should not be allowed to make. On the former point: I support the rights of all transgender individuals to live as they wish. I do not support government intervention on behalf of a group to promote group privileges. Jordan Peterson has expressed concerns about C-16 and surrounding legislation because of the potential interpretations which could curtail free speech (the Wilfrid Laurier case is relevant here and should not be brushed off as C-16 was explicitly cited). On the latter point: Arguing for increasing individual rights tends to work best if we base argument on the individual — the smallest unit of any society. Focusing on group rights and giving their arguments greater weight because of lived experience is not consistent with a free and individualistic legal system such as those which developed out of the English Common Law tradition. Yes, their experiences are valuable and should be considered. However, they should not be given greater weight because they happen to be victims.

-On the percentages: I think they served their purpose. Moreover, there is only so much data out there about LGBT demographics (specifically transgender demographics). I am working with what is available. In any event, this does not bolster support for your argument as the nonstandard pronoun issue is still theoretical.

******You have not ‘torn down strawman arguments’. You have merely rejected several analyses, have me spending time providing more evidence while you engage in defending pseudoscience and conflating transgender issues with theoretical nonstandard pronoun issues. You have provided little real evidence for your position. I am aware that you have read the language of C-16 but have shown little knowledge of context or political reality. You resign interpretation of the law wholly to the judiciary. It is sensible to recognize the judiciary as the ultimate arbiter of justice (as they are) and to cite their legal expertise. However, it is hardly sensibly to dismiss a lawyer (Jared Brown) and argue about the validity of a law when it suits you then turn around and say that potential abuses would simply be handled by the judges. Look at the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal and the Ontario Human Rights Commission (a couple of the links are provided in the footnotes here), specifically the relevant definitions for the legislation. The issue of compelled speech as it relates to C-16 in particular and Canadian federal and provincial law in general is in the interpretation of these laws and the terminology they employ (and how they relate to legal understandings of discrimination).

[1] A couple relevant pages: http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/questions-and-answers-about-gender-identity-and-pronouns and http://www.ohrc.on.ca/en/policy-preventing-discrimination-because-gender-identity-and-gender-expression/3-gender-identity-and-gender-expression

[2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEfgf2GRk3Q (short clip)

[3] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnIAAkSNtqo (entire video)

[4] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x6I7ZM07qGY (from about 5:50–7:50)

[5] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=10UIGs7y8oc

[6] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EgOLs_cEKi0

[7] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEePqTbL5fs

By the way, Venezuela is a socialist country and the people are poor and starving due to socialist policies.

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Artist | Content Creator | Pantheist | Bohemian | Philosopher | Juggler | Anti-Authoritarian, Pro-Decentralization/Localism| http://www.instagram.com/kevinshau/

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