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Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality

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Gender identity ideology is about more than twitter storms and using the right pronouns. In just ten years, laws, company policies, school and university curricula, sport, medical protocols, and the media have been reshaped to privilege self-declared gender identity over biological sex. People are being shamed and silenced for attempting to understand the consequences of r Gender identity ideology is about more than twitter storms and using the right pronouns. In just ten years, laws, company policies, school and university curricula, sport, medical protocols, and the media have been reshaped to privilege self-declared gender identity over biological sex. People are being shamed and silenced for attempting to understand the consequences of redefining ‘man’ and ‘woman’. While compassion for transgender lives is well-intentioned, it is stifling much-needed inquiry into the significance of our bodies.


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Gender identity ideology is about more than twitter storms and using the right pronouns. In just ten years, laws, company policies, school and university curricula, sport, medical protocols, and the media have been reshaped to privilege self-declared gender identity over biological sex. People are being shamed and silenced for attempting to understand the consequences of r Gender identity ideology is about more than twitter storms and using the right pronouns. In just ten years, laws, company policies, school and university curricula, sport, medical protocols, and the media have been reshaped to privilege self-declared gender identity over biological sex. People are being shamed and silenced for attempting to understand the consequences of redefining ‘man’ and ‘woman’. While compassion for transgender lives is well-intentioned, it is stifling much-needed inquiry into the significance of our bodies.

30 review for Trans: When Ideology Meets Reality

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jo Kneale

    *Material reality matters. *Women need female spaces. *A lot of people will hate this book without reading it. *Trans people need good access to treatment and medicine, safe spaces and protection in law regarding employment, housing and every other human right. *The UK is not the US and the issues in one country cannot automatically be transferred across without admitting that and altering the approach. *The book will make you think about recent events. *If your kneejerk reaction to the book or this r *Material reality matters. *Women need female spaces. *A lot of people will hate this book without reading it. *Trans people need good access to treatment and medicine, safe spaces and protection in law regarding employment, housing and every other human right. *The UK is not the US and the issues in one country cannot automatically be transferred across without admitting that and altering the approach. *The book will make you think about recent events. *If your kneejerk reaction to the book or this review is to namecall, then you need to think why.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kyra Bea

    The book says (quite antisemitic-ly) that 3 Jewish Billionaires are are the leaders of the "global trans movement" and there is only a vague source mention of Jennifer Bilek. Bilek's source for this is a LITERAL NEONAZI. Other (not jewish) billionaires (Gates, Branson to name just 2) also give to LGBTQ charities, but that didn't fit the books narrative. Y'all I wish being trans paid well, or at the very least meant you could be paid for interviews for books like this, but these books never actua The book says (quite antisemitic-ly) that 3 Jewish Billionaires are are the leaders of the "global trans movement" and there is only a vague source mention of Jennifer Bilek. Bilek's source for this is a LITERAL NEONAZI. Other (not jewish) billionaires (Gates, Branson to name just 2) also give to LGBTQ charities, but that didn't fit the books narrative. Y'all I wish being trans paid well, or at the very least meant you could be paid for interviews for books like this, but these books never actually interact with trans people. The book is just an exercise in "making up a guy to get mad at". Edit: also, this book doesn't even stand up to basic fact checking. She claims George Soros gave to Human Rights Campaign in 2010 ( even if she was right, then it was mostly a marriage equality group, not Trans rights), but actually he gave to Human Rights Watch, a general human rights abuse watchdog. She also claims that the ACLU is a trans rights org, but all funds received were actually earmarked for ending mass incarceration. Planned parenthood similarly spends 1% of its budget on trans Healthcare. Similarly, many of the orgs directly mentioned received minimal funding, around $10k. Which is not what I'd call "bankrolling an international movement". Others received nothing, like Mermaids UK. She really didn't do that absolute basics for fact checking and shes threatening to SLAPP people for calling her out? 🙄 Edit 2: We're back for another round of things Joyce got wrong! Joyce claims that Charles Darwin believed that human sex is immutable and fixed, and that sexual reproduction (sperm and eggs specifically) are the backbone of evolution. (Uncited in book). She immediately uses this claim to say sex is immutable at conception (incorrect and hey, who put this 'life begins at conception' in here!) And say that Hirschfeld (famously attacked/exiled by The Literal Nazis) and transgender people are stupid for not understanding evolution and then uses the wrong name for Lili Elbe (literally why, people only know Lili as lili). Then pages later directly quotes Darwin: "every man and woman is a hermaphrodite." Darwin understood that sexual reproduction and secual dimorphism was not such a rigid category. Although he was reluctant to editorialize it, he presented evidence of mixed sex individuals and same sex animal pairings. Darwin: "in every female all the secondary male characters, and in every male all the secondary female characters, apparently exist in a latent state, ready to be evolved under certain conditions."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Bee

    People! Leave your GI-goggles aside and read the book before you give a 1-star review. Everybody should read this book, everybody. Thanks, Helen. I loved the tone, the calm and the matterof factliness of the narrative.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heresy

    TRANS is a superlative book. I've read a bit on this issue. TRANS is the only text I finished reading and immediately recommended to other people in my life who want to understand what is going on, but don't know where to start. The main subject in Helen Joyce's story is what she terms "gender ideology" which refers to set of ideas: roughly, that biological sex does not matter, rather it is the words people use to describe their own and others unverifiable belief of inner sense of self, that has TRANS is a superlative book. I've read a bit on this issue. TRANS is the only text I finished reading and immediately recommended to other people in my life who want to understand what is going on, but don't know where to start. The main subject in Helen Joyce's story is what she terms "gender ideology" which refers to set of ideas: roughly, that biological sex does not matter, rather it is the words people use to describe their own and others unverifiable belief of inner sense of self, that has value. The book is aimed at trying to explain what this means and its logical implications to a mass audience. It's written by a journalist. It is not an explicitly feminist or academic book, so it doesn't come with a lot of complicated academic theory, or citations and a full reference list (though I am sure the author could produce sources for her claims). The book does a wonderful job of selecting compelling narratives, presenting these in a way that sticks with the reader. TRANS fulfils the brief of journalism, by explaining something important and complicated to the public in an understandable way. I marvelled at the quality of the writing, how the narrative is so well-structured. TRANS is for all readers curious about this subject, even if you feel you know a bit already. It's an entertaining read while being comprehensive and clear: brilliant in its storytelling and how it articulates key points. I've also read Material Girls by Kathleen Stock, which is likely to also interest readers, but because of its different approach it took me a bit longer to finish, and in some segments left me a bit confused. If someone is looking specifically for a recent radical feminist overview on this subject, I'd suggest Transgender Body Politics by Heather Brunskell-Evans (her book also mentions earlier radical feminist thinking including work by Janice Raymond, Sheila Jeffreys and others who are somewhat infamous names on this topic now). In the future, I would be very interested in possibly reading more up-to-date accounts from feminists including commentary on the gender critical movement: what women said, what happened to them as a result, how they see the current landscape, etc. I have seen a critique of TRANS that it's not sufficiently calm in tone or solution-oriented enough. In fact, it is a very measured account of the frankly unbelievable situation we find ourselves in as a society. Respected institutions are pretending obvious biological facts are untrue. School children may be encouraged to identify themselves somewhere on a "spectrum of gender" between GI Joe and Barbie, might start to feel alienated from their sexed bodies and then put on a medicalised pathway that ends in loss of sexual function and fertility. A middle-aged male is competing in women's weightlifting at the Olympics. Women are being incarcerated with male rapists in their prisons. Knowing all of this, it's a surprise that any author is composed enough to write a book beyond utterances of angry disbelief (in all caps), let alone produce a text as thoughtful as TRANS. Furthermore, it is not for any individual woman to dictate one way forward. To some extent, I find it absurd that this is even being asked of the writers who are bravely explaining why gender identity ideology is illogical and activism based on incoherence poses problems. These women are not the architects of the situation we are in. All such authors can do is offer their informed opinion suggesting where to next, but it really is for readers to get engaged in the conversations, too. One of the most powerful things that needs to be articulated to the general public right now is that this is not just an argument between feminists, or something strange that a handful of people are yelling about online, or an issue that only affects a small group of people. Human sexual reproduction, biological sex, is how each human being on this planet came into existence. What we mean by these words, these concepts, goes to the very core of humanity. This is an every single person issue. The more people read and talk about these different ideas, of what gender ideology is, of when sex matters, the better. It's so important we comprehend what is going on in these debates. In attempting to achieve that objective, TRANS is magnificent.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Borders Are Global Apartheid

    If you liked Janice Raymond's conspiracy theories about evil doctors creating Frankensteinian trans women as some sort of plot to usurp womanhood, you'll love Helen Joyce's new development: evil rich Jews spreading Orwellian trans ideology as some sort of plot to usurp women's rights. TERFs — trans-exclusionary radical feminists — have been forging political allyship with the right for decades to build a coalition against trans people, and their work has really come to fruition lately. The new ge If you liked Janice Raymond's conspiracy theories about evil doctors creating Frankensteinian trans women as some sort of plot to usurp womanhood, you'll love Helen Joyce's new development: evil rich Jews spreading Orwellian trans ideology as some sort of plot to usurp women's rights. TERFs — trans-exclusionary radical feminists — have been forging political allyship with the right for decades to build a coalition against trans people, and their work has really come to fruition lately. The new generation of so-called "TERFs" or "gender criticals" generally don't even pay lip service to radical feminism, or seem to realize that trans people — and bigots inexplicably obsessed with eradicating them — existed prior to the 21st century. This next generation — let's called them TERDs, or trans-eliminationist reactionary dumbasses — have nosedived into an alternate reality constructed by the far-right where the ground is fertile for anti-trans ideology. The Nazi-era antisemitic paranoia exemplified by The Protocols of the Elders of Zion has been warmed over, rebranded as QAnon, and had every other conspiracy theory imaginable stirred in. Unsurprisingly, anti-transness has floated to the top of this foul stew. Joyce and the TERDs are not only retreading the steps of the TERFs, but also the steps of the Nazis before them, whose antisemitic conspiracy theorizing leaned heavily on fantasies about the dangers of "degenerate" sexual ideology. The Nazis burned the LGBT research library, the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for Sexology) in the streets, dealing a devastating blow to then-nascent research into and advocacy for the rights of trans people. Modern technology and constitutional speech protections have made literal book-burning impractical, so instead we get propaganda like Trans and attempts to legally exclude trans people from public life, deprive them of healthcare, and bully them into suicide. This is an extremely dangerous situation. Let's please learn from history and stop this process of repeating it. (view spoiler)[ (hide spoiler)] See also: • More on Joyce's anti-trans, antisemitic propaganda • How Trans lies about George Soros and nonprofit donations • How Trans lies about Richard Green's conversion therapy • JK Rowling, “Gender Ideology” and Antisemitism • Christa Peterson on antisemitism in the TERD movement • Transphobic feminism and far-right activism rapidly converging • Wikipedia entry on the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft • Donate to Mermaids or Gendered Intelligence, organizations that support trans youth in the UK

  6. 4 out of 5

    Signme Uplease

    Helen Joyce writes with a clarity and a passion about a subject she is deeply familiar with and about whom she obviously holds profound compassion - both trans people and of course women who make up 50% of the population. Few knew how extreme that battle would become between women's rights and trans rights, but it could have been predicted long ago with just a brief overview of what trans ideology expects women to concede: safe spaces, fair sports competition, access to a level competitive playi Helen Joyce writes with a clarity and a passion about a subject she is deeply familiar with and about whom she obviously holds profound compassion - both trans people and of course women who make up 50% of the population. Few knew how extreme that battle would become between women's rights and trans rights, but it could have been predicted long ago with just a brief overview of what trans ideology expects women to concede: safe spaces, fair sports competition, access to a level competitive playing field in law, education and the workplace and the very biological language which defines women's reality as mothers and more importantly as female human beings with complex biological needs and concerns. Even the word women is now expected to include male-bodied human beings as they claimed the term for themselves and slapped the label 'cis' on actual women to define them as a subset of their own biological class. Thus patriarchy and capitalism conspired to erase the very language used to describe our lived experience as female human beings. The ultimate cruelty of an extremely misogynist society. The true marvel about all of these developments is that all women aren't rising up in righteous rage around the world at this ultimate travesty against the female sex. But then, it is a testament to the effectiveness of women's indoctrination under patriarchy that we've become handmaidens to the final colonization of our species - the colonization of the female body as males claim the very existence of female irrelevant and immaterial. Something that can be worn like clothing or makeup rather than something encoded into every cell of a woman's body. Something tells me that Mother Nature will soon have her way with our species as we sterilize, mutilate and otherwise wreak havoc through drugs on the young bodies of both men and women rendering them traumatized and unmoored from reality's tethers. I'm frankly terrified for future generations if we continue down this trajectory. A trajectory financed by pharmaceutical billionaires who are profiting handsomely by the trans ideology which seeks to render womanhood, but interestingly not manhood nothing but a commodity - one which can be worn and discarded at will by the men whose deep porn-addled and misogynist inclinations are revealing themselves more and more every day. Meanwhile, every day actual dysphoric people are taught to hate their own bodies so that they can love themselves instead of loving their bodies as they are and recognizing that gender stereotypes are the real problem. We may never return to sanity again and for this traumatized and confused future generations will come to hate us as their ancestors. It could have all been so very different. Feminism was destined to create a more humane, compassionate and liberating understanding of gender, freeing all from the rigid limitations imposed by patriarchy. Patriarchy has won this battle, but nature will inevitably win the war because biology is immutable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Diana Peek

    Thoughtful intelligent dissection of a difficult and divisive topic. Done extremely well without recourse to the ideological mantras. Joyce’s work as a journalist over decades shines out in her first book. It’s a dissecting book of trans ideology, not what it means to be transgender and worth a read with an open mind because of it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    S.C. Gordon

    This book was “preaching to the converted” with me, as I have been staunchly gender critical for decades. However, I’m so pleased that it’s out there, so that more people can become aware of the toxicity of trans rights activism (NOT trans people, I might add) - a dogma that is currently blighting the progress made by gay rights and women’s rights. Joyce concludes the book by stating that it is her contribution to “open enquiry and robust debate”, and it is an excellent contribution. To see the f This book was “preaching to the converted” with me, as I have been staunchly gender critical for decades. However, I’m so pleased that it’s out there, so that more people can become aware of the toxicity of trans rights activism (NOT trans people, I might add) - a dogma that is currently blighting the progress made by gay rights and women’s rights. Joyce concludes the book by stating that it is her contribution to “open enquiry and robust debate”, and it is an excellent contribution. To see the facts and timelines laid out so plainly is informative and helpful. (Side note - to all the one-star reviewers accusing Joyce of being an anti-Semite - it’s funny how cries of anti-Semitism only come when you’re condemning a “TERF”, i.e. when it suits you! I highly doubt you care a jot about Jewish people when you’re not using us as a pawn in your flimsy arguments)

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ruth Lavery

    Trans ideology is to destroy women's rights This is an excellent book which fully lays out how the tra ideology is set on destroying women's rights and spaces. Trans ideology is to destroy women's rights This is an excellent book which fully lays out how the tra ideology is set on destroying women's rights and spaces.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Charles

    This is a pile of antisemitic and homophobic garbage masquerading as a book. Holy crap. This is the most poorly researched, gaslighting book ever. It reminds me of "100 Authors Against Relativity" put out by fascists in 1931. It's meant to bridge together feminists and far right fascist ideology without telling you that is what it's doing. Much of it is poorly researched, obviously, but sounds good to...a certain sort, I guess? If anything this terrifies me at how close we are to reverting to th This is a pile of antisemitic and homophobic garbage masquerading as a book. Holy crap. This is the most poorly researched, gaslighting book ever. It reminds me of "100 Authors Against Relativity" put out by fascists in 1931. It's meant to bridge together feminists and far right fascist ideology without telling you that is what it's doing. Much of it is poorly researched, obviously, but sounds good to...a certain sort, I guess? If anything this terrifies me at how close we are to reverting to the ways of the past. A dangerous glimpse into the deranged mind of someone who literally wants to eradicate whole groups of people and make it sound as appealing as possible. Your first clues should be her insisting the book isn't about trans people. By the time you get to the blatant propegenda and shadowy insinuations about cabals of billionaires...well, this is a pretty dang low quality book unless you are a "certain sort of person". One star for "an example of human garbage in literary form".

  11. 5 out of 5

    Chris Boutté

    When I first started this new book from Helen Joyce, I’ll be honest and say that I was very unimpressed by the first few chapters and thought it was just going to be another “anti-woke” cash grab. With that being said, once the book got past the initial biological stuff and into the conversations around ideology, ethical inquiry, and other topics, it got much better. Personally, I think Joyce did an incredible job discussing topics such as children struggling with these issues, the nuanced conve When I first started this new book from Helen Joyce, I’ll be honest and say that I was very unimpressed by the first few chapters and thought it was just going to be another “anti-woke” cash grab. With that being said, once the book got past the initial biological stuff and into the conversations around ideology, ethical inquiry, and other topics, it got much better. Personally, I think Joyce did an incredible job discussing topics such as children struggling with these issues, the nuanced conversation around sports, and how people are getting fired or “cancelled” for simply wanting to have a conversation or express their opinions. I saw plenty of people labeling this book transphobic from the second it was released, and the reality from my experience is that people so quick to slap a label like that on a book are the least likely to read the said book cover to cover. By the time I finished the book, I walked away not thinking Helen Joyce is transphobic or bigoted in any way. It sounds like she respects transgendered people but finds it important that we have some of these difficult conversations. That being said, I don’t agree with all of Joyce’s opinions, such as the panic over sexual predators, but that’s alright. We don’t have to agree with 100% of what someone says in order to have a conversation with them or listen to their opinions. This is a good book, and I hope people read it in order to further the conversations around this subject rather than using it as a way to argue for “their side”.

  12. 4 out of 5

    TK

    How many essays/articles/thinkpieces/comments/books blaming Jewish people for the continued existence of trans people are terfs going to have to write before they realize whose opinions they're being used as a mouthpiece for? How many essays/articles/thinkpieces/comments/books blaming Jewish people for the continued existence of trans people are terfs going to have to write before they realize whose opinions they're being used as a mouthpiece for?

  13. 5 out of 5

    Domhnall

    ”This book is about an idea, one that seems simple but has far reaching consequences. The idea is that people should count as men or women according to how they feel and what they declare, instead of their biology.” [p1] Helen Joyce’s skill as a journalist is to find excellent ways to articulate difficult matters. Her book has rightly been welcomed by a huge number of readers because it captures their current concerns about gender ideology and will enable readers to get up to speed with the “ge ”This book is about an idea, one that seems simple but has far reaching consequences. The idea is that people should count as men or women according to how they feel and what they declare, instead of their biology.” [p1] Helen Joyce’s skill as a journalist is to find excellent ways to articulate difficult matters. Her book has rightly been welcomed by a huge number of readers because it captures their current concerns about gender ideology and will enable readers to get up to speed with the “gender critical” perspective. It has also been greeted with howls of outrage from those activists who reject any such criticism on principle, and also with some sharp complaints by people who resent the way Helen Joyce has presented her material. There is a risk of losing sight of the book’s merits in addressing these protests from friend and foe but it is best not to ignore them. The book is not primarily about the experiences or lives of transgender people, but rather about a set of ideas which the general population as a whole are being asked to accept, and the radical impact this has on the lives of people who are not transgender in any way. ”The other belief systems accommodated in modern democracies are, by and large, held privately. You can subscribe to the doctrine of reincarnation or resurrection alongside other believers, or on your own. Gender self-identification, however, is a demand for validation by others.” [p4] Once the irrational premise that “transwomen are women” is transformed into a legal principle, extraordinary consequences follow. ”Men who raped and murdered women are gaining transfers to women’s prisons. Women have lost their jobs for saying that male and female are objective, socially significant categories. I think it is deeply unkind to force female athletes to compete against males, and a scandal to sterilize children….” [p8] ”Ideas have consequences.” [p10] Joyce gives a history of sex reassignment surgery and medicine from the start of the 20th Century, and of early attempts to accommodate the resulting changes legally in the US and the UK. She then turns to a landmark study in the US by Richard Green, who studied the development of a group of boys considered very feminine and a control group of more masculine seeming boys. In this and a number of other studies, every “sissy” boy outgrew their dysphoria and most turned out to be gay as adults. She considered also research by Paul Vasey comparing gender nonconforming boys in Samoa, Mexico and Canada, concluding that children classed as transgender in Canada were clearly accepted as and identified with their biological sex in other countries and cultures without any support for the concept of a third sex. She looks at length into the work of Ray Blanchard in Canada, including his classification of male transsexuals as autogynephilic or as gay men, and she discusses some of the conflict around this work. Joyce uses The Matrix as a model to explain the main claims of gender ideology which she identifies as follows: that binary sex is an artefact of western colonialism, that clownfish demonstrate the possibility of switching from one sex to the other, that people with intersex conditions prove sex is not binary and that sex – not gender – is socially constructed. The last idea is associated especially with the writing of Judith Butler. None of these claims survive critical scrutiny. Joyce looks at the fairly recent innovation of treating children as transgender, and discusses the spurious evidence deployed to justify the increasingly early use of puberty blockers and cross sex hormones. She makes particular note of the quite weird arguments used by Diane Ehrenshaft, at the University of California, to promote transing children as young as 3 years old. Her next chapter examines the evidence of social contagion driving teenage girls to transition in growing numbers. She then reviews the way gender ideology is packaged for education and media aimed at children. This is a complete inversion of equal opportunities teaching in the past, when children were encouraged to widen their understanding of what girls or boys may do and think, since it entails convincing children that they must select a gender identity from a set of rigid sex stereotypes, in which there is a defined way that boys think and a way that girls think. Gender ideology is also acting to destroy all of the safeguarding built up over many years to protect children from predatory males. “The history of institutional child-abuse has shown how predators can ‘groom’ people and organisations to accept behaviour that should have raised red flags.” [p127] In her next chapter, Joyce points out that this leads to dire consequences for feminism. “They define womanhood as stereotypes enacted by people of different body types, rather than a body type that need not in any way limit the behaviour of the people who possess it.” [p135] The ideology acts to erase the very category of woman; it also erases the basis for same sex attraction and homosexuality, with especially serious consequences for lesbians exposed to harassment and intimidation. Historically, when women have been excluded from male spaces and the opportunities associated with them, whether schools, jobs, sports, or political institutions, there has been no difficulty discriminating between men and women. Today there is a widespread attempt to deny sex differences as men who identify as women demand and are granted access to women’s spaces and Joyce pays particular attention to the increasing admission of males, including violent sex offenders, to women’s prisons, before devoting a whole chapter to the issue of men competing in women’s sports. A long discussion of so called “bathroom wars” in the United States describes a decade of legal and political battles which Americans have interpreted in party political terms, with the incongruous result of establishing Obama and the Left as enemies of women’s rights and Donald Trump as their defender. “Many of the country’s culture wars have become ‘frozen conflicts’ where the combatants have dug in and a peace deal seems out of reach.” [p221] In other countries, though, the pattern is more typically one of progress by stealthy lobbying and backdoor influence, with major legal changes affecting the entire population introduced and implemented with a complete absence of public consultation or debate and a total refusal to balance the demands of trans activists against the rights of other parts of society, especially of women. Joyce makes an especially powerful comparison of the huge public debate through which abortion rights and gay marriage were introduced in Ireland, with immense popular support as a result, with the secretive methods used to pass and implement radical gender recognition legislation whose effects are only slowly becoming apparent and starting to be reported. She also refers to the behind the scenes influence used to insert important language into Britain’s Gender Recognition Act without proper scrutiny. There has been no attempt to win hearts and minds in support of these changes, only silencing of debate and attacks on critics. No less striking has been the adoption of trans ideology by non governmental organisations. “…it has led organisations right across civil society not only to abandon their core principles but to actively work against them. This is further evidence – if any were needed – that the campaign for self-ID is the opposite of a civil rights movement.” [p248] This is the difficult context to the emergence in the UK of an effective and growing gender critical movement, including the birth of new feminist groupings, parents organisations and of the LGB Alliance. Joyce described some of the factors that worked in their favour in a critical period of time and predicts that they will succeed in challenging the transgender lobbies, exposing their tactics and forcing this debate into the open, which is where any authentic civil rights movement belongs in a democracy. This book covers a lot of ground but it is not an academic book and does not offer footnotes or identify sources for most of its comments. Perhaps Joyce was rushing to get the book published. Perhaps (pure speculation) she assumes a general readership would find such academic diligence tedious; I can’t say as I’m not a general. This annoyed me as a reader – I find original sources comforting - but for the most part (with exceptions) it would not be terribly difficult to track down the original from the information given and most of the material is already well known. Her task is not original research but popular presentation of the issues. There is also a strong suggestion online that it annoys people whose work Joyce relies on without giving proper credit; of course careful acknowledgement of other’s work is a standard practice which Joyce and her publisher are surely aware of. I can only speculate that Joyce does not think she ever claims credit for other people’s work – it is pretty obvious that she is summarising material from many different sources. Maybe, too, she is trying to keep away from controversies that are not about her and not worth the energy of joining. That won’t work in this environment. Already at least one Goodreads review pronounces that Joyce is a fascist on the grounds that a page or two in her 300 page book relies on information which is likely to originate from the work of Jennifer Bilek, an extremely credible feminist who has researched this topic extensively and who, in the course of active public engagement over many years, did, on one occasion, retweet a link to a YouTube video made by someone whom all agree is indeed a fascist. For added virtue, accusations of antisemitism can be made on the specious grounds that the book refers to some billionaires who happen to be Jewish. It is a short step from this to allegations of genocidal intent. If you find that kind of guilt by tenuous association convincing, then you can become a social justice warrior and have many internet friends. Since the problems cannot be avoided, and activists will transform the slightest hint of a disparaging red herring into the basis for an all-out attack, maybe it would have been better if the book was a bit more loyal towards others working in this area who have been vilified. Apart from Bilek, who was offended by omission, I was struck by the inclusion of a sideswipe at Graham Linehan on page 254 that was gratuitous and undeserved; saying he became “a target for mass reporting (assisted, it must be said, by the ease with which he could be goaded).” This implies he was partly responsible for his own harassment. We really will need another writer to give a proper account of the personal sacrifices made by people willing to take a stand against gender ideology, but also of the clever ways they found to bring this issue to wider attention. Examples include the PR genius of Posey Parker (she is mentioned) and the cross party political work of Emma Nicholson in Parliament (she is not mentioned). But I’m not sure how Joyce might have fitted this into her already lengthy book. There is always room for more writing and more research in this topic. I don’t agree with the more excited commentators who see this as the full and definitive statement of the gender critical position regarding gender ideology but I do agree that it is a successful book in its own terms; it announces its intentions on page one and it achieves what it set out to do. This is a terrific introduction to the topic and it will surely will help to force the gender ideology lobbies into a public explanation and testing of their demands for such a radical legal and social transformation.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kellie

    Despite the fact that I only have about five active friends on this site, I was genuinely nervous about logging this book on my ‘currently reading’ list, which definitely says something about what cancel culture has done to me. I wanted to read this book because in recent months, I’ve been re-examining my views and opinions on transgender issues, and whether those views and opinions were actually my own or if I was just parroting what people on the internet said. More specifically, I looked more Despite the fact that I only have about five active friends on this site, I was genuinely nervous about logging this book on my ‘currently reading’ list, which definitely says something about what cancel culture has done to me. I wanted to read this book because in recent months, I’ve been re-examining my views and opinions on transgender issues, and whether those views and opinions were actually my own or if I was just parroting what people on the internet said. More specifically, I looked more into why JK Rowling had been cancelled, was surprised to find that I didn’t disagree with anything she said, and started to think about why her fans turned on her so quickly and viciously. I consider myself an ally to the LGBT community, and that includes trans people. But this book is a great resource that expanded on the worries I’ve always had in the back of my mind about the dangers of eradicating sex-based rights. I especially appreciated that in the last chapter, Helen Joyce suggests ways that trans rights can be integrated into our society without getting rid of the rights that our suffragette ancestors fought hard for, such as sex-segregated bathrooms.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Steven

    This is Mein Kampf for white supremacist feminists. Some fun details: Apparently Jennifer Bilek, another transphobic antisemite, is heaping mad because Helen Joyce incorporated some of her research without credit or thanks. https://twitter.com/truesolicitor/sta... Jennifer Bilek is known for citing avowed Neo-Nazi Keith Woods, lending credence to his theory that rich Jews invented the "trans gender ideology" to enslave humanity to a transhumanist agenda. https://twitter.com/christapeterso/st... A li This is Mein Kampf for white supremacist feminists. Some fun details: Apparently Jennifer Bilek, another transphobic antisemite, is heaping mad because Helen Joyce incorporated some of her research without credit or thanks. https://twitter.com/truesolicitor/sta... Jennifer Bilek is known for citing avowed Neo-Nazi Keith Woods, lending credence to his theory that rich Jews invented the "trans gender ideology" to enslave humanity to a transhumanist agenda. https://twitter.com/christapeterso/st... A link to Keith Woods Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGe8...

  16. 5 out of 5

    neil mackie

    Excellent book based on evidence This books fill a huge gap in the UK created by outlets like the Guardian and the BBC failing to represent the other side of the debate. It reminds me of a slogan in one of Dennis Potter's last plays "Reality or Nothing! RON" Excellent book based on evidence This books fill a huge gap in the UK created by outlets like the Guardian and the BBC failing to represent the other side of the debate. It reminds me of a slogan in one of Dennis Potter's last plays "Reality or Nothing! RON"

  17. 4 out of 5

    Lucinda Harding

    Comprehensive, well researched and well written. A balanced exploration of the lack of discussion and implications around this ideology. I recommend to anyone who wants to explore and understand thsee issues

  18. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

    Thoughtful and well-argued. Thoroughly recommended for anyone interested in the debate. I found her final chapter particularly persuasive.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Charlene Kuyrkendall

    Excellent, well-researched, many salient points on how ideology met reality This is a book I would recommend everyone to read if they want to know how gender ideology affects our lives, from politics to sports, how it affect children as well as adults, particularly women. The emphasis is squarely on the transactivism and the roles it assumed in pushing forth the gender ideology and the consequences in real-life and likely future scenarios are discussed with references listed at end of the book, ch Excellent, well-researched, many salient points on how ideology met reality This is a book I would recommend everyone to read if they want to know how gender ideology affects our lives, from politics to sports, how it affect children as well as adults, particularly women. The emphasis is squarely on the transactivism and the roles it assumed in pushing forth the gender ideology and the consequences in real-life and likely future scenarios are discussed with references listed at end of the book, chapter by chapter.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Sanger

    Fantastic calm and logical taking down of transgenderism and its nonsensical basis.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sam Worby

    Read this book if you are curious why some left wing / liberal women in the UK believe there is a conflict between women’s rights and a belief that gender identity is innate and should override sex in all circumstances. I won’t say trans rights in this context as I think most people agree that trans people are entitled to the same human rights protections from discrimination and violence etc as everyone else - that is not what is in question in this book. The book is written in an accessible, jou Read this book if you are curious why some left wing / liberal women in the UK believe there is a conflict between women’s rights and a belief that gender identity is innate and should override sex in all circumstances. I won’t say trans rights in this context as I think most people agree that trans people are entitled to the same human rights protections from discrimination and violence etc as everyone else - that is not what is in question in this book. The book is written in an accessible, journalistic style. It summarises the ‘gender critical’ position across several areas: evolution and the reality of sexual dimorphism in humans, impact on children, sex discrimination (usually in a UK legal context), prisons and single sex spaces where women are vulnerable, sports, silencing women and objections to compelled speech.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jaclynn

    Extremely well-researched and accessible. Not surprisingly, a lot of negative reviews stating things not even mentioned in the book. Cult members stick to what they know. As a PhD student in the field of women's studies and history, I appreciate this book very much. It's nuanced, well-articulated, provides an overview of how we got to this muddled, illogical place today where the immaterial is now material and our sexed bodies are deemed irreverent. Highly recommended for anyone with even the fai Extremely well-researched and accessible. Not surprisingly, a lot of negative reviews stating things not even mentioned in the book. Cult members stick to what they know. As a PhD student in the field of women's studies and history, I appreciate this book very much. It's nuanced, well-articulated, provides an overview of how we got to this muddled, illogical place today where the immaterial is now material and our sexed bodies are deemed irreverent. Highly recommended for anyone with even the faintest interest in women's rights...women, meaning adult human females.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. This book is utterly appalling. Imagine being the kind of person who writes a book about trans people, claims it's NOT about trans people, and fails to consult any trans people about it, whatsoever. This book makes a ridiculous amount of unfounded claims from poorly researched sources, implies that trans women are merely men with a bunch of fetishes, designed to invade women's spaces, further claims that gender identity clinics are grooming children to their own agenda, makes some really, really This book is utterly appalling. Imagine being the kind of person who writes a book about trans people, claims it's NOT about trans people, and fails to consult any trans people about it, whatsoever. This book makes a ridiculous amount of unfounded claims from poorly researched sources, implies that trans women are merely men with a bunch of fetishes, designed to invade women's spaces, further claims that gender identity clinics are grooming children to their own agenda, makes some really, really offensive statements about chattel slavery, compares the struggles of Black people and how women's struggles should be compared to theirs in totally inappropriate contexts, completely denies that non binary and other people outside the gender binary are even valid, and a whole mess of other complete crap. In one moment she claims non binary identities are a a novel idea (they're not), and in another, she uses sources of non binary people from non western cultures in a historical context, whilst still somehow claiming we aren't real. It's an absolute mess. Someone else has touched on the anti Semitic aspects of the book in another review, so please be sure to read the other low star ones.

  24. 5 out of 5

    J Thomson

    A very concise and fascinating history of the rise of gender ideology: clear, compassionate and comprehensive. It’s written from a viewpoint which is critical of gender ideology - a gender critical perspective (that sex is immutable and gender is a social construct of stereotypes which are damaging). At times the tone is angry, but Joyce is never cruel. If you have a very fixed idea that people can literally change sex and that any dissenting view is ‘transphobic’ then this will not be the book A very concise and fascinating history of the rise of gender ideology: clear, compassionate and comprehensive. It’s written from a viewpoint which is critical of gender ideology - a gender critical perspective (that sex is immutable and gender is a social construct of stereotypes which are damaging). At times the tone is angry, but Joyce is never cruel. If you have a very fixed idea that people can literally change sex and that any dissenting view is ‘transphobic’ then this will not be the book for you! If, however, you would like to know more about this issue and how it affects women and children, this book is an excellent overview of a prickly, emotive topic. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, though I do feel anxious and depressed about a world which seems to be becoming increasingly more hostile towards women and their rights, where language is being erased and debate is not tolerated. Really quite scary stuff - I believe when people tell you to ‘educate yourself’ on this topic, this is an excellent place to start.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Conrad

    It's alarming to read a staff journalist at The Economist make such embarrassing and unforced errors in a supposedly rigorous book. Perhaps most seriously Joyce misrepresents the work and stated intentions of sexologist Richard Green, though her misapprehension of the history of sexuality and gender research extends all the way back to Darwin. Readers familiar with the history of biology will know that the great taxonomic effort to classify and categorize all life on Earth has had several paradi It's alarming to read a staff journalist at The Economist make such embarrassing and unforced errors in a supposedly rigorous book. Perhaps most seriously Joyce misrepresents the work and stated intentions of sexologist Richard Green, though her misapprehension of the history of sexuality and gender research extends all the way back to Darwin. Readers familiar with the history of biology will know that the great taxonomic effort to classify and categorize all life on Earth has had several paradigm shifts- one may have begun the moment Darwin laid eyes on a majestic platypus while the Beagle was docked in Australia. If mammals definitionally give live birth, as Joyce alleges, where does the egg-laying platypus belong? If such a foundational classification as "mammal" is complicated, could more intriguing complications lie ahead? Joyce simply says no, and has since explicitly dismissed the existence of the platypus as a problem for her taxonomic thought. She either does not understand taxonomy as a field, or is fine discarding rigorous scientific inquiry in the service of sloppy polemic. Other problems appear innocuous at first glance, such as confusing donations to Human Rights Watch with the Human Rights Campaign. Sadly, this typographic error widens to reveal a deep rot: a narrative is presented in which a small group of Jewish billionaires are engineering a global trans movement with the ultimate goal of achieving trans-human immortality, by sacrificing children's lives. Sure sounds like blood libel to me! (Joyce has publicly threatened to sue others making this observation, so I look forward to hearing her explain in court how Soros' Open Society Foundation donations to Planned Parenthood and the ACLU are trans-specific activism.) Judging by Joyce's previous exhortations for followers to read the work of Jennifer Bilek, a vile anti-Semite, I assume she dredged this dreck from Bilek's blog. The error are many and varied. To briefly list a few more: Joyce asserts that the computational theory of mind is wrong (having been conclusively disproven by a magazine article?), declares ​that legal systems which have for decades allowed gender self-identification "were understood as legal and bureaucratic fictions" (I would pay to watch her explain this line of thought to a judge), and denies the history of chattel slavery on British soil (horrifyingly ahistorical). I have to wonder what Joyce's fact-checking colleagues think of this book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Factually Fictitious

    It's a rather controversial book, given her bias against trans people and her utilization of antisemitic sources. I looked past that and gave it a chance. The dismal quality of this "book" is deeply offensive to me. This book isn't for the general public, it's Kool-Aid for people who have already drunk the gender critical Kool-Aid. In terms of quality, it resembles a rough draft of a college essay. Anyone submitting a paper writen like this joke would be laughed out of their professor's office. It's a rather controversial book, given her bias against trans people and her utilization of antisemitic sources. I looked past that and gave it a chance. The dismal quality of this "book" is deeply offensive to me. This book isn't for the general public, it's Kool-Aid for people who have already drunk the gender critical Kool-Aid. In terms of quality, it resembles a rough draft of a college essay. Anyone submitting a paper writen like this joke would be laughed out of their professor's office. As someone who spent hours working on essays in university, I'm offended that a so-called "author of book," as Joyce's twitter bio calls her, would put this out there. I'm offended that a publisher would tarnish their name with this sloppy work. The author is clearly coming from a place of bias, the sources used are either unprofessional or misrepresented, and she engages in outright plagiarism. I do give Joyce credit for using endnotes instead of footnotes. When making so many bold and wholly fictitious claims, it's wiser to cite them at the back of the book rather than the bottom of the page so that people will forget to bother with checking. Frankly, its insulting to one star books that I've even rated it as such. I've read plenty of books I disagreed with and did not personally enjoyed that still had some merit. The only use for this trash is to foment hatred against a marginalized community. I couldn't stop reading it, though. You see, I've never before experienced what it was like watching a vacuous mockery of journalistic integrity dig herself and her career into a deeper hole.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    It’s astonishing that a book can be published based on factual misunderstandings of science & what can only be called pseudo-history. The publisher needs to review its practices so that this level of factual & scientific error is not repeated. There are a number of references to Ireland that are particularly inaccurate. There are also references to AIDS/HIV that are both factually inaccurate as well as gross misunderstanding to the point of homophobia regarding the fight for human rights for LGB It’s astonishing that a book can be published based on factual misunderstandings of science & what can only be called pseudo-history. The publisher needs to review its practices so that this level of factual & scientific error is not repeated. There are a number of references to Ireland that are particularly inaccurate. There are also references to AIDS/HIV that are both factually inaccurate as well as gross misunderstanding to the point of homophobia regarding the fight for human rights for LGBTQI people. It’s clear (especially from one of the shortest bibliographies I’ve ever seen - 4 pages!) that the author has no expertise or knowledge of science, history or the lives & struggles of LGBTQI people. It’s clear from reviewing the book that it is excessively misleading & Transphobic. The linkage between Transphobia (so-called Gender Critical or TERF) & Fascism is also clear in the author claiming three Jewish people as funding a global conspiracy. I’m disappointed that Simon & Schuster published a hatefest of second rate writing, pseudoscience & pseudo history not to mention Transphobia & Anti-Semitism. Avoid.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Katie Roche

    This book examines transgenderism in society from a gender-critical feminist perspective. Based on interviews with experts on transgenderism, Joyce analyses the negative impacts of transgenderism on women. She argues well-intentioned people who don’t see the harms of what they advocate have driven transgenderism. Joyce also highlights the regressive nature of transgenderism in its focus on gender stereotypes. Something that most feminists are against. This is an excellent book. Joyce has successf This book examines transgenderism in society from a gender-critical feminist perspective. Based on interviews with experts on transgenderism, Joyce analyses the negative impacts of transgenderism on women. She argues well-intentioned people who don’t see the harms of what they advocate have driven transgenderism. Joyce also highlights the regressive nature of transgenderism in its focus on gender stereotypes. Something that most feminists are against. This is an excellent book. Joyce has successfully brought this issue to the fore. The book is very fair-minded and nuanced. She is sympathetic toward those with Gender Dysphoria who’ve undergone sex reassignment surgery. Even condemning laws such as the North Carolina bathroom bill for its impact on those individuals. It’s clear that Joyce’s chief concern is with the rights of women, rather than a hatred of transgender people. She gets some impressive names. Including Ray Blanchard, who identified autogynephilic and androphilic transgender subtypes. I'd also like to address the accusations of anti-semitism. The section in question is found in chapter 11. Joyce writes briefly about the funding behind the transgender movement. She focuses on three people: George Soros, Jennifer Pritzker and Jon Stryker. She describes them as white biological males. On Twitter, many people are claiming Joyce uses the trope of rich Jews quietly funding the downfall of society. This argument is flawed for several reasons. First, Joyce hasn’t arbitrarily chosen to analyse these people. Joyce has written about the three biggest named donors to transgender causes in the USA. According to Funders for LGBTQ Issues", a pro-trans charity, the biggest donors to transgender rights groups between 2011-2013 (the most recent data), were the Open Rights Foundation (founded by George Soros), the Arcus Foundation (founded by Jon Stryker), anonymous donors and the TAWANI Foundation, (founded by Jennifer Pritzker). This is old, but it’s the newest data available on donations specifically to transgender causes. As well, these organizations were the only ones who gave more than $1 million to trans causes during the period. Which is probably why she wrote about these three. Two of them happen to be Jewish. Pritzker is transgender, which explains her interest in the cause (many critics omit this detail). Admittedly, Joyce herself hasn’t helped matters. She could have explained this and provided more sources to explain why she was focusing on these three individuals. But it proves that she hasn’t arbitrarily picked two Jews to criticize. Second, Jon Stryker isn’t Jewish. There is little information on Stryker’s religious beliefs and ethnic background. But he appears to be from a Christian family. His grandfather’s funeral was held in a church (his grandfather, Homer Stryker, founded the company). He also donates heavily to charities promoting LGBT acceptance in the church. This information is easy to find. But why let the truth get in the way of a good story? Joyce picking on three Jewish people sounds much more compelling than the reality. The assumption that Stryker must be Jewish because he is a billionaire says more about Joyce’s critics than it does about Joyce. It’s also interesting that most of these accusations are coming from transgender rights activists who aren’t Jewish. Furthermore, Joyce isn’t saying that they have malevolent intentions. Rather, she is examining why this former niche cause has suddenly attracted so much attention. As well, being biological males, they don’t understand the implications of transgenderism for women. As far as they are concerned, they are doing a good thing by helping this downtrodden minority. Being affluent, their donations are concentrated in the west and on issues most pertinent to middle-class transgender people. Nontheless, this is a must-read book of the summer. I’m glad to see it’s selling so well. It deserves all the praise it gets. Hopefully, it will play a role in helping many more people reach peak trans.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ken MacIntyre

    An Eloquent No-Nonsense Demolition This excellent book is a brisk, eloquent, no-nonsense and well researched demolition of the gender identity ideology which has captured public and private institutions across the English speaking world, eroding women’s spaces and sex-based protections. Biological sex is confused with gender identity – a vague concept that relies on innate feelings, where a woman is anyone who feels like one; to put it bluntly, flapdoodle. Joyce traces its origins in the twentiet An Eloquent No-Nonsense Demolition This excellent book is a brisk, eloquent, no-nonsense and well researched demolition of the gender identity ideology which has captured public and private institutions across the English speaking world, eroding women’s spaces and sex-based protections. Biological sex is confused with gender identity – a vague concept that relies on innate feelings, where a woman is anyone who feels like one; to put it bluntly, flapdoodle. Joyce traces its origins in the twentieth century via French postmodern philosophy to its emergence in American universities,  as ’queer theory’ where there is no objective reality and all social relations are based on power which must be ‘problematised’. Sexual boundaries of male and female, and same and opposite sex attraction are dissolved, to the detriment of women and girls and, Joyce perceptively adds, the family. Not only that, but, in a shrewd insight, she shows how it also damages gays, lesbians and trans people themselves. And there is much wider damage to political debate in the authoritarian insistence that to question the ideology is 'hate', and in a cynical reversal characteristic of abusers, dissenters face foul abuse and even loss of their livelihoods and education. But the resistance has begun. As with the struggle for suffrage or against the Contagious Diseases Acts, women, abandoned by the Left, may have to do this on their own. They are certainly capable, as Helen Joyce shows.              

  30. 5 out of 5

    Eloise

    Badly researched book - one section contains fundamental errors - which does little to further any kind of "debate" but simply pushes conspiracy theory level nonsense. Badly researched book - one section contains fundamental errors - which does little to further any kind of "debate" but simply pushes conspiracy theory level nonsense.

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