Huh, this is turning into a thing. But while Will and Veronica are taking 201 and 301-level approaches, Thibeault is doing an expansive 101.
Race is a social construct. Gender is also a social construct. That does not make them “not real things”, in the same way that money is a social construct — as an abstraction and standardization of value and a symbol of resources available to a person. Nobody is rushing to say money doesn’t actually exist or have any importance in our capitalist society. They might want to abolish money, in the same way as a person might want to abolish gender. But that’s not to say they’re going to succeed without serious changes in society, changes that evidently can’t be envisioned happening by increments by the people proposing that abolishing the construct is a worthy goal. In the case of money, you’d have to have absolute abundance of all resources — free limitless energy and a replicator machine that could make whatever you want with that energy, for instance. In the case of gender, you’d have to have a society that accepted any performative aspect of self-identity without our innate desire to pigeonhole or label them in short-form for communications purposes.
He also weighs in on the confused interpretation that TERFs have.
When the binary suggests that men are always oppressors and women always victims, that presupposes that everyone must fit into one of those two categories and that gender — which is performative — isn’t actually impacted societally by those two camps. That you can take on any gender you want without having had that gender impacted by society socializing a person in a particular way. And yet, you will see the same people presupposing a sex dichotomy, railing against performative gender, demanding that only assigned-females-at-birth get any dominion over the gender category of “woman”, and that any trans woman must needs define themselves as “males with unusual gender performance”. TERFs‘ ideology is confused in this way — it argues both sides of each issue to arrive at a muddled and hairy conclusion that necessarily marginalizes identities whose very existence undercut their own. It is no wonder people like Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford petitioned to have trans identity stripped from UN protections — the existence of trans folk undercuts their own sense of self-identity.
If the other two articles left you scratching your head, give this one a shot.