Caleb Hannan and the question of ethical journalism

joe dokes

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EvilEmpire said:
Setting aside the article for a moment, do people think Hannan would have been wrong if he had ignored the transgender stuff completely and just let McCord and investors he interviewed know that she had fabricated her scientific credentials?

I'm trying to understand where the line is.

Edit: spelling
 
 
I think that *is* the line. And if they dont think the story is worthwhile that way -- that is you can't run it/make it interesting *without* including information that will likely hurt someone in a way that has little to do with the actual story -- then you dont run it. Its a fucking golf club. I know that millions and millions of dollars are spent on golf clubs, but how much money/fraud are we talking here?  What was the total laid out by the  investors?  This isn't national security, or comparable to someone like Madoff, his used his status as a Jew to rip people off for hundreds of millions.  If Dr V had targeted the transgender community for investment, that would be a different issue.
 
Was the story about Paul Newman's alibi important enough for Sally Field to publish the details about the abortion?
 

Montana Fan

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Delonte James Jr, as someone who has never knowingly met or spoken to a transgender person, I enjoyed reading your post. Enlightening. Also, love the screen name.
 

Van Everyman

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The more you see of how intertwined the "magic" of the putter was with the credentials of its creator, the more you realize that it was only a matter of time before Dr. V was outed as a fraud. And the more you realize that, the less likely it seemed she would be able to protect her privacy.

This isn't to absolve Hannen and Grantland of responsibility. But even if her gender identify and professional credentials weren't otherwise related, they were very much each matters of biography, which ultimately Dr. V was responsible for promoting.

In short, her only hope for her fender identity not getting out was trusting that the media would be able to distinguish her professional transition (which was a deception) from her personal one.

Personally, I would expect a publication such as Grantland to know the difference. But in this era of write-first-ask-questions-later, I'm not sure we could have expected as much from other publications. This was going to get out sooner or later.

To me, it seems the only way of disentangling the two narratives would have been for Grantland to decide not to run the story – in which case they would have been obligated to do something like telling Dr. V that they wouldn't run the piece if she agreed to come clean on her own terms to her various stakeholders about her professional fraud.

That's the only way I can imagine they would have been able to fulfill their professional obligations to expose the fraud but protect her privacy – tho I have no idea how a media organization would even pull off something like that.

Ultimately this whole situation seems to have been clear as a bell morally...but was extremely complicated from a logistical perspective. I'm pretty sure Grantland got it wrong but am less sure how they would've gotten it right.
 

Freddy Linn

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joe dokes said:
I know that millions and millions of dollars are spent on golf clubs, but how much money/fraud are we talking here?
 
Try billions and billions. With so many smaller market participants chasing the crumbs, there is a both a huge need for capital for R&D and marketing and an insatiable desire to gain traction by winning over players, coaches, and club pros. The Karsten Solheim/Ping story is maybe the best example of what engineering-based success can look like.
 

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Aww, thanks you guys, really appreciate it, SJH, mauf, Montana, TSoYRRR. It means a lot to me. You all affirmed I made the right choice to reveal that about myself. :)
 
But to clarify my point about something, major my bad: I did not read the article as well as I should have, and that's pathetic on my end. Reason being, and it's no excuse, because I was so offended by the article's content, primarily. If she didn't have the qualifications she mentioned (i.e. Harvard education), then no, that is my bad, I don't condone lying. That itself is deception in order to further your product and is never okay. Her hand might be a hard one, sure, but you have to make do with what you have in life. Sometimes, even often, that sucks, given circumstances, but in a Belichickian way, it is what it is. Make do. 
 
I'm in finance, so yeah, due diligence should be happening at minimum on behalf of the investor, but I can't blame that only on him. I might be mostly of Hobbes' belief about men (in the literary sense of the word), but you do believe some things about people, on a basic psychological level. All parties fouled this up--but I'd without question put more blame on Dr. V here. One who deceives is much worse than one who falls for the deception, in general, and I think this case as well. After all, all the investor did was believe faulty claims, while that's lazy, it doesn't make him blameworthy, other than not doing his job, which is not remotely on the level of the fraud Dr. V committed. 
 
---
 
I also think, even beyond the personal (transsexual) scope of the article, it was unethical, and hopefully would receive similar outcry, even if such as section was removed. The suicide mentions go beyond what is necessary to the article, and adds really zero substance. I mean, does it help to mention, in an article about golf putters, that the creator was suicidal? I don't see how it impacted her product, good, service, or her business, remotely. The only way I see it relevant is a case like Donnie Moore, given his 1986 ALCS, and his cut from the Royals in 1989 (according to his daughter Demetria). This certainly isn't one of those cases--it only stands to add, in my belief, a false air of drama to the article, only for the personal benefit of Hannan, not his subject.
 

yep

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EvilEmpire said:
Setting aside the article for a moment, do people think Hannan would have been wrong if he had ignored the transgender stuff completely and just let McCord and investors he interviewed know that she had fabricated her scientific credentials?
I'm trying to understand where the line is.
Edit: spelling
My feeling is that Hannan either has a valid journalistic reason to break the agreement and investigate Dr V's personal background, or he doesn't. I kinda feel like it's impractical and uneasonable to impose on a journalist that they can look in drawers that contain socks, but not in drawers that contain underwear, because you can't know what's in a a drawer until you open it. And Dr V is either public/noteworthy enough to justify digging into her past, or not.

There is a case to be made that the nobler thing would have been to leave out the sexual stuff and only focus on the credentials. And that's probably true, but I think it's a kind of moral extra credit. This person might be a saint, but that doesn't make the other a sinner. When it comes to the personal lives of private citizens, I think the most important ethical obligations of a journalist happen before they decide whether to look up your skirt without permission, not what they do with their findings.
 

PBDWake

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yep said:
My feeling is that Hannan either has a valid journalistic reason to break the agreement and investigate Dr V's personal background, or he doesn't. I kinda feel like it's impractical and uneasonable to impose on a journalist that they can look in drawers that contain socks, but not in drawers that contain underwear, because you can't know what's in a a drawer until you open it. And Dr V is either public/noteworthy enough to justify digging into her past, or not.

There is a case to be made that the nobler thing would have been to leave out the sexual stuff and only focus on the credentials. And that's probably true, but I think it's a kind of moral extra credit. This person might be a saint, but that doesn't make the other a sinner. When it comes to the personal lives of private citizens, I think the most important ethical obligations of a journalist happen before they decide whether to look up your skirt without permission, not what they do with their findings.
 
Yes. He did. It's called verifying information. The story was written. Then he did what every single reporter ever does. He went to cross the Ts and dot the Is. From the story.
I was ready to proclaim her an unknown genius with an idea that could revolutionize golf. All that was left to do was make sure the stories about engineering accolades and top-secret defense projects were legit. It was, I thought, just a formality.
Once again, he had written a story about the putter and the science on it. And those accolades he's verifying were the ones she volunteered to him, a writer, for national publication and interest about a product that she was selling. He just needed to make sure that the person telling him all of it wasn't full of shit. There's no implication at this point that any of it is going into the story, and that the story will be about the science and not the scientist. And when he couldn't confirm one single level of that person's stated expertise, the story changed. The valid journalistic reason for breaking their promise? She broke it first. For him to agree to a story about the science and not the scientist, the implication is that that's a promise given in exchange for you honestly answering his questions. So why should he be the only one held to that standard? She didn't need to give that interview, nor did she need to volunteer those "facts" to a reporter. And for the last goddamn time, he did not [go looking up her skirt. He led no investigation into the sexuality or gender of Dr. V. He was trying to find out what her level of expertise really was, and a lawyer volunteered that information to him while he was asking about something completely unrelated. You repeatedly treat Hannan, who still deserves a mountain of criticism, mind you, as though he set out to make this an issue about her being trans from the start. 
 

EvilEmpire

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yep said:
When it comes to the personal lives of private citizens, I think the most important ethical obligations of a journalist happen before they decide whether to look up your skirt without permission, not what they do with their findings.
I think a big ethical obligation for a journalist is to tell the truth. As PDBWake says, verifying V's credentials is just due diligence for the story.

How much worse would modern journalism be if fact-checking went completely out the window?

Edit: phrasing
 

jose melendez

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DJJ,
 
Thanks for your contriubtion to this conversation. 
 
I've realized in the last couple of years that although I've know a few trans folks over the years (I had one as a next door neighbor), I don't really know much about issues of gender identity.  I haven't really known any trans folks well enough to ask about the politics, language and rhetoric of gender identity.  If you're willing to answer a question I have, I would be grateful. I'm kind of ignorant and would like to be more educated. I do this with the understanding that you speak for yourself, rather than an entire community.   
 
So here's my question (issue?):  in the last few months, I've read a few articles about femenist "eating their own" and one of the issues that comes up repeatedly is the use of genital organs as the key identifier of gender.  The specific instance I'm thinking of is a recent controversy about an abortion rights fundraiser in Texas called "The Night of a Thousand Vaginas."  I guess the issue is tht the funder talked about how "every woman has one," and this was viewed by at least some folks as transphobic and exclusionary.
 
So here's where I get into trouble--I get the notion of a distinction between sex and gender--but I struggle mightily with the issue of thinking of someone who has not gone through a physical transition as having the same sex as what the identify their gender as.   Post-operation, I get it fine, but for someone who hasn't done a physical transition, it confuses me.  Do the physical parts have objective meaning in identifying someone's sex? 
 
Your comment about how much it would hurt you if someone referred to you as having been born a man resonnated with me--the pain in your writing was really clear.  But I guess I don't completely understand how a trans person views one's birth body...  I'm not even sure I know how to talk about it.
 
Anyway, I'm babbling horribly (as I said, I don't even have the vocabulary to talk intelligently), but if I've made any sense, I'd really like some insight.
 

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Thanks, jose, appreciate the kind words. You actually make a lot of sense, so you're doing a good thing here, don't underestimate yourself. The only bad question, as I like to say, is the one not asked. Here are the keys to my game. 
 
My opinions, as jose says, represent me, not everyone--and are actually rather unpopular with most going through what I do. So while I'll give you my take, I'll also give the common take, with each specified. 
 
The use of genitalia as a definer of sex:
 
Commonly held belief of those undergoing my process: The penis is no less female if the woman transitioning, the breasts no less male, etc. if the person believes that, and choses to do so. She is a woman if she feels that way, regardless of genitals.
 
My beliefs: I don't agree. I probably would believe what most of you do, that penis=male, vagina=female. That part of me is the part of me that is still male (which is what I alluded to in my first post in the thread, if you wish to reread it), given its structures, and thus, I hate it, until I get surgery where it's (I'd spoiler this shit, but can't find where it is; can this be edited to do so?) contrary to popular belief, not cut off, but inverted to make a 
vagina, and clitoris. Unless you plan on having that surgery, or have had it, I don't see you as female, of those going through what I do. 
 
Of gender, both the majority and I both believe gender itself (or gender identity) is determined what you believe you are, regardless of genitals. The simple way to remember it is that gender is between the ears (brain), and sex is between the legs (penis or vagina). 
 
How do I view my birth body? Well, there's two facets to this:
 
Before I started estrogen last November, fairly simple. A shameful rejection of what I expected to see back in the mirror, that it should have been simply female. I don't wish to equate it with this, but for instance, let's say you are blind. If you're blind, you eventually realize, at some point in your life, that the body and the eyes were mean to see. This is relatable in the sense that both parties acknowledge something is not fully functional, or up to what it should be.
 
However, since I started estrogen, I feel more complete (if not totally so, due to that dang genital region), and I feel happy to see myself back in the mirror. I know nothing about cars, but it's like putting regular fuel in a truck. It just wouldn't run well, right? Well, that was testosterone for me. Put in the right fuel, the diesel, the estrogen in my case, and then the body, the truck runs much more smoothly. 
 
Post-operation, I don't have a good analogy because I'm not there yet, but my prevailing thoughts is that I will be complete, full, and totally at ease with myself. There still might be some issues on my end, like not being able to carry/being infertile, but it won't impact how I self-perceive myself. I'll just be another infertile woman out there in the world. Different reasons, but ultimately the same problem. As it is, as of 1/31/14, I hate that bit of my body. It just hurts, it makes me crawl in a ball and cry many nights, because I don't have that self-peace, and I feel it holds me back from a relationship (and I've sadly never dated, at 21, because of this birth defect, the penis, specifically). To specify the relationship bit...I need a vagina to be mentally sound in a relationship, and as everyone knows, you guys like sex (though I'm sure I'm a 2/10, would not bang in your books, hehe). A lot. Nothing wrong with that, I've sadly felt the drive testosterone gives you in the libido sense, as much as I loathed, not truly a strong enough word, it, it's only natural. I feel I owe him not only sex if we both want it, at any given time, but that lack of stability within myself over this would only hurt both of us and/or the relationship short and long term.
 
Hope that about covers it! If you want anything else, from jose, to anyone, just post here, or shoot me a PM. I'm an open book!
 

Andy Merchant

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Delonte James Jr. said:
Hope that about covers it! If you want anything else, from jose, to anyone, just post here, or shoot me a PM. I'm an open book!
I'd also like to thank you for your contribution here DJJ. One thing that I've learned from what you (and Christina Kahrl) have shared is that I've never had a frame of reference when it comes to a transgender point of view and wouldn't even know what questions to ask (let alone weighing in on the topic!).

In my opinion it takes an incredible amount of courage to change your physical gender to match your gender identity and I'm not sure I would have the guts to walk the path you're on if I were you. I wish you every success in finding the self peace that you seek.
 

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Thanks, Andy--yeah. I mean, it's a hard subject for all of us, mostly because it's unknown for most of you, and the pain of my story. But hey, the only way we learn is to read, ask, those of any experience, field, etc. Kahrl has been a great inspiration for me through this, since hey, not many of us are MTF and into sabermetric analysis. As for being brave, also thank you--for me it was life or death, but yeah, this isn't for the faint of heart, you will realize it fast. I mean, I don't think any of the male posters in this thread would do too well with decreased erections, breasts, etc., for example.
 
RRA, heh, exactly on 2/10. My goal is to be self-deprecatory in that part of the post, as to not make me appear stodgy, or humorless; with a subject like this, you need laughs, in my experience. I'm also subtly referencing another part of my life: I'm just another woman out there in the world. How I got there might be different, no question, but I could be your classmate, or your potential future coworker, just as anyone could be. Hell, if I wasn't a brokeass college student, I'd pony up the money for a subscription, so I could comment in those areas more, and, more to the point of the discussion, give you some (SFW) photos, as a frame of reference, like a before and after, and it would also be hidden from the masses. 
 

jose melendez

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Thanks for the perspetive, DJJ and good luck with the transition.
 
Transgender issues seem to lead into some real linguistic minefields.  For example, even if one grasps the difference between gender and sex, grappling with how to use them vocabulary of gender still seems tricky.  The word "woman," for example  seems to be a signifier for both people who possess the gender identify of woman and people who possess the anatomy. I guess this would mean that someon can be a women (gender sense) but not be a woman yet or ever in the sex sense.
 
I guess this is why I find the night of a thousand vaginas outrage perplexing--it seems to me that having the anatomy is a critical element of being a woman--if it weren't people wouldn't go through the surgery would they?  On the other hand, some people don't go through surgery but still identify...    On the other hand, is a guy who gets his genitals blown off in an accident less of a man?  If we define sex chromosomally, then that would seem to live no room for happiness for trangendered people.
 
I guess I just feel like there should be someway to be kind and inclusive to trans people while at the same time not having to anhiliate some really fundamental aspects of sexual identity--after all, the parts do matter-- men and women aren't identicial just with different pluming--if they were transgender wouldn't exist.
 

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Add my compliments and appreciation to the list, DJJ.

As for the investigation of Dr. V's scientific credentials, I agree with PBDW. I think it would be a professional failure NOT to investigate and report on the fraud. I do think, however, that as an editorial decision, not only should the trans issue not have been included in the story, I probably would have killed the story altogether after Dr. V's death.
 

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jose melendez said:
Transgender issues seem to lead into some real linguistic minefields.  For example, even if one grasps the difference between gender and sex, grappling with how to use them vocabulary of gender still seems tricky.  The word "woman," for example  seems to be a signifier for both people who possess the gender identify of woman and people who possess the anatomy. I guess this would mean that someon can be a women (gender sense) but not be a woman yet or ever in the sex sense.
The less-than-tolerant upbringing I had also raises the risk of unintentionally saying something ignorant or offensive (I still cringe at some of the things my mom and dad say about race/sexual orientation/etc). Getting to know some people who were different than me after I graduated from college was very eye opening.
 

jose melendez

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My upbringing was very tolerant, but there's still lots to learn.
 
My dad was an opponent of gay marriage, and then switched maybe 5 years ago.  His explaination was "I was ignorant, and I got educated."  I try really hard to bring that mindset to things.
 

Drocca

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/25/opinion/when-long-form-is-bad-form.html

This is a good piece on the fetishizing of long form journalism, specifically as it relates to this story. I agreed with a lot of
the article and have felt, for a while, that long form journalism becoming fashionable is just going to create more shitty long
features. But this quote was spot on in my opinion:
 
"How many of those people who initially praised “Dr. V’s Magical Putter,” I wonder, even made it down to those final few paragraphs before taking to Twitter to associate themselves with this great journalistic achievement?"
 
This is precisely how I felt upon reading the positive comments (at the time I posted my initial question here there were about 50 some odd facebook comments (not one of them was negative and a few remarked that this was either the best story they had read, the best story of the year or the roadmap for what journalism should become) both here at SoSH and on facebook and twitter. People saw the story, skimmed it a little, saw the person died, that it was long, that there were some sensational details and immediately
declared it a great piece of journalism. But they didn't read it. In those first few hours the positivity stemmed from the story
being long and reading something long is a sign of just really interesting sophistication. When someone finally read it to them,
or a website was able to publish a paragraph primer, people changed their tune.
 

deconstruction

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jose melendez said:
Thanks for the perspetive, DJJ and good luck with the transition.
 
Transgender issues seem to lead into some real linguistic minefields.  For example, even if one grasps the difference between gender and sex, grappling with how to use them vocabulary of gender still seems tricky.  The word "woman," for example  seems to be a signifier for both people who possess the gender identify of woman and people who possess the anatomy. I guess this would mean that someon can be a women (gender sense) but not be a woman yet or ever in the sex sense.
 
I guess this is why I find the night of a thousand vaginas outrage perplexing--it seems to me that having the anatomy is a critical element of being a woman--if it weren't people wouldn't go through the surgery would they?  On the other hand, some people don't go through surgery but still identify...    On the other hand, is a guy who gets his genitals blown off in an accident less of a man?  If we define sex chromosomally, then that would seem to live no room for happiness for trangendered people.
 
I guess I just feel like there should be someway to be kind and inclusive to trans people while at the same time not having to anhiliate some really fundamental aspects of sexual identity--after all, the parts do matter-- men and women aren't identicial just with different pluming--if they were transgender wouldn't exist.
 
Jose, thanks for raising these questions. I'm caught up in the gender/sex semantic nexus, as well, but I wonder if we should try to think of "sex" in a more performative and less biological way. So, why do we need to attribute sex to genitalia anyway? At birth, of course, we are compelled to do so (and this starts the cascade). But when those of age want to present themselves to the world as a man or a woman, regardless of their genitalia, then can we simply accommodate that sexual identity? If someone wants to present himself as a masculine woman (but has a penis), then we should accept that and his s​ex is "female" and gender is "more masculine." This seems convoluted, but it requires a sensitivity to one person's distinction between their sense of themselves as a woman or man and the kind of masculine or feminine qualities they want to present to the world. Can and should we make that distinction? 
 
I think the "fundamental aspect of sexual identity" is the crux. Why do we desire to "know" the "real" (i.e., genital) sex of a person? When we see a feminine person, we still (try to)  discern if that person is a "man" or "woman." But perhaps their fundamental sexual identity is something we cannot (and should refrain from attempting to actually) infer? It is an individual, sometimes complicated, choice. I haven't sorted this all out in my head but I'm wondering what it would take for this understanding to be realized (at least on a small scale).
 

jose melendez

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deconstruction, 
 
All of what you say makes perfect sense.  Where I get confused/frustrated is when it means that what I think of as normal use of language becomes bigoted etc.  For example, Trilicek's Whip mentioned elsewhere that Joss Wheedon had said something nasty about trans people.  When I looked it up it was this.

 
Apparently some portion of the trans community is really upsed and offended by this.  I sort of see this in the catergory of the "Night of a 1,000 vaginas" world.
 
What I wonder is whether this is really an issue of some elements of a community looking for trouble, or is there bigotry so engrained in our language that I'm just rolling with it.
 
Basically, as we learned in the racist yoga thread, I'm looking to make this all about me...  But more seriously, it's less about how I talk and about individual people--it's obvious to me that if someone wants to be identified as she, one should honor her wishes, but more how I talk about categories of people?  Generalization is all kinds of trouble, I know, but it's also useful sometimes.
 

Prodigal Sox

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deconstruction said:


 
Jose, thanks for raising these questions. I'm caught up in the gender/sex semantic nexus, as well, but I wonder if we should try to think of "sex" in a more performative and less biological way. So, why do we need to attribute sex to genitalia anyway? At birth, of course, we are compelled to do so (and this starts the cascade). But when those of age want to present themselves to the world as a man or a woman, regardless of their genitalia, then can we simply accommodate that sexual identity? If someone wants to present himself as a masculine woman (but has a penis), then we should accept that and his s​ex is "female" and gender is "more masculine." This seems convoluted, but it requires a sensitivity to one person's distinction between their sense of themselves as a woman or man and the kind of masculine or feminine qualities they want to present to the world. Can and should we make that distinction? 
 
 
I have been trying to look at it this way for several years now since my daughter took a gender and sexuality class in college and we had a discussion aout it.  Our society tends to combine gender and sexuality into one role.  Some cultures, including earlier Navajo, had five or more gender/sexuality roles.
 
It's why, I think, you can have a MtoF (gender identification) that is attracted to females (sexual identification) even after reassignment or vice versa.
 

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jose melendez said:
deconstruction, 
 
All of what you say makes perfect sense.  Where I get confused/frustrated is when it means that what I think of as normal use of language becomes bigoted etc.  For example, Trilicek's Whip mentioned elsewhere that Joss Wheedon had said something nasty about trans people.  When I looked it up it was this.

 
Apparently some portion of the trans community is really upsed and offended by this.  I sort of see this in the catergory of the "Night of a 1,000 vaginas" world.
 
What I wonder is whether this is really an issue of some elements of a community looking for trouble, or is there bigotry so engrained in our language that I'm just rolling with it.
 
Basically, as we learned in the racist yoga thread, I'm looking to make this all about me...  But more seriously, it's less about how I talk and about individual people--it's obvious to me that if someone wants to be identified as she, one should honor her wishes, but more how I talk about categories of people?  Generalization is all kinds of trouble, I know, but it's also useful sometimes.
 
This is pure and simple misgendering.
 
This is going to meander. Ever since the Dr. V piece was released, I've been working on it in my mind and wanting to formulate my opinions. And I'm not going to get it all down here but I want to start somewhere.
 
Everyone's level of offense varies and I am loathe to post here too much about trans issues because 1) it can turn into "Political Correctness/Thought Police!!1" outrage or crosstalk, which I don't want, and 2) my own identification is complicated because it's vastly different from (to cite this thread) Dr. V's, or Delonte James Jr. (who I thank for being so honest and forthcoming).
 
My own identification is complicated because how I identify isn't always how I present to the outside world. And I don't love the choice of terms I have, though "genderqueer" probably comes closest. 
 
Most of the time (99% of my living and working life) I present as male to the outside world. I also present as female, on average 2-3 times a month. On the terminology tree (which again, I don't love because it doesn't quite encapsulate my own experience), this would make me a crossdresser. But even within the community itself I'm often taken to task for my "trans-ness," so to speak. I'm either not enough to some, or too much to others. And it's all based on how I look at any given time. That's human nature: the visual, the first impression, the smell test or eye test. 
 
At work (presenting as male) I'll often have painted nails. And my eyebrows are definitely well-kept, thinner, and tweezed. And it sometimes attracts looks or double-takes. But nothing really severe. I've been assumed to be gay because I'm wearing nail polish. When it's black, incidentally I don't get as much pushback or questions as when it's any other color. Because I guess black nails on a man is "acceptable," but red or gold or pink isn't.
 
The lines that get drawn are, taken abstractly, absurd. But often someone sees me and in the eye test or smell test needs to classify me. And usually the classification is "man or woman?" Challenging that binary isn't something most people are forced to do. Or that they ever want to do. So "oh you have a niece that did your nails" or "it was a prank/joke/lost a bet" or "you're gay" is what one may say (and has said) to wrap their minds around it and move on. 
 
[Ten years ago or so "metrosexual" was the buzzword, and it's a terrible marketing idea and trope. Because it still subscribes to a male/female only binary. As in "men don't usually pay so much attention to their skin or grooming unless they are a little gay, but I'm not gay so metrosexual is okay." It's #nohomo-adjacent, a qualifier that reinforces ones preconceived notions or bias.] 
 
As for the 1% of the time I present as Tiffany: for eight years I've hosted monthly parties at a bar/club. While they're open to everyone they are primarily geared towards the TG community.
 
Even in that space, which averages 70-80+ people identifying as TG each month, the conversations I have when I am out/presenting as Tiffany often funnel quickly or immediately into my physical attributes. Basically they are the cookie-cutter equivalent of what Katie Couric did to two of her TG guests on a recent segment of her show and for which she was rightly excoriated. As Carmen Carrera herself said to Couric, interviews "always focus on either the transition or the genitalia" and "there's more to trans people than just that." Focusing only on the body parts and transition from M2F or F2M dehumanizes and objectifies human beings. 
 
There are better ways to ask questions and seek information, as this thread has demonstrated. 
 
So back to Joss. His flip remark presumes and assumes only two types of gender: men have penises and testicles and women do not. Because Joss makes it clear it's not just penises. It's "peeny and balls," which differentiates and draws the line darker and thicker. It obfuscates an entire community's worth of experience that isn't merely either/or. It perpetuates the fixation on body parts, when Whedon (like Hannan and Grantland and Simmons and Couric) had an wide and broad audience that wasn't educated on these issues at all. So to reduce it back to genitals is a missed opportunity before a huge stage.
 
It may not be his job to be the mouthpiece but he has the floor, and the influence, and even simply not making the same tired jokes would have been a better impulse. His reference was with an "amirite?" assumption. That his audience would respond with ingrained, knowing nods or shrugging indifference. Misinformation perpetuates.
 
I get it. He said it off the cuff. He didn't think about it. He's quiptastic. He's one of America's beloved nerds that writes strong female characters (another argument, perhaps, but that is the perception and there is a track record with some of his work).
 
But as a white straight male who's not exposed to trans issues daily, or moment to moment as some are (like DDJ has eloquently put forth in conveying her mindset as she transitions), it's certainly easier for him to toss it out there, unthinking of the ripples in the Twitter ocean. [With, I might add, a huge swath of the community also fans of his work and likely fellow nerds.]
 
In a way one's worldview is like a kind of autocorrect. But for someone with his background and relative privilege to this issue, he (and all the other straight white cis-personalities I referenced above) has to understand (or try to understand) that his experience and how he identifies in the world does not automatically mirror that of everyone else's. 
 
And his doubling down reaction on being called out doesn't help. Because even if he disagrees he should acknowledge that people are having real feelings about what he says. [This short item summarizes his tweet, his response to the community's responses, and references a clumsy metaphor he made at 2013 Comic Con that sort of comes off as sneery towards anyone he may offend].
 
And at this point even the mea culpas and "teachable moments" after the fact are hollow. Because the Dr. V article, as a teachable moment on Grantland (and the revenue it continues to generate), is a painful reminder that for some, every moment of every day is a potential wave of judgment or rash of "Your, your, your private parts are different now, aren’t they?” as Couric so eloquently put it. Or worse. So the news cycles die down but the "two steps back" feelings of it remain.  
 

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TW,
 
Thanks for engaging on this.  I really appreciate the dialogue, though I'm still struggling mightily to wrap my head around a lot of this.
 
I understand completely that there are a lot of different spaces in the gender identity world, and that there aren't neccessarily words for every space and that maybe there doesn't even need to be, and I get because there are lots of folks in the spaces above, a binary view of sex and/or gender is insufficient.  But if we accept that there are infinite number between 0 and 1, does that mean that 0 and 1 don't exist?  Can it be the case that there is such a thing as a "woman" and a "man" without nullifying the identity, expereience and so on of folks who do not fit into the binary?  And if so (heck or if not) what does it mean to be a woman or a man?
 
Wheedon didn't reall do that in his comment, but what's vaguely more interesting to me is that he defined women negatively--in terms of what they don't have rather than what they do have.  Would his comment have been more or less offensive if he'd said "no y-chromsome" instead of referring to genitals?  I'd imagine that's more exclusive since, as best I know, the chromosomes are truly immutable.
 
I should add that I'm approaching this having lately read a bunch of stuff on radical orthodoxy in feminism--weird wars among feminists some of whom are attempting to fit themselves into the most victimized, marginalized space possible, thereby giving themselves greater credibility as the authentic voice of... something.  So, I am, at the same time, trying to battle the thought police while remaining open to the real possibility that my perspective is wrong and/or hurtful.
 

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jose melendez said:
TW,
 
Thanks for engaging on this.  I really appreciate the dialogue, though I'm still struggling mightily to wrap my head around a lot of this.
 
I understand completely that there are a lot of different spaces in the gender identity world, and that there aren't neccessarily words for every space and that maybe there doesn't even need to be, and I get because there are lots of folks in the spaces above, a binary view of sex and/or gender is insufficient.  But if we accept that there are infinite number between 0 and 1, does that mean that 0 and 1 don't exist?  Can it be the case that there is such a thing as a "woman" and a "man" without nullifying the identity, expereience and so on of folks who do not fit into the binary?  And if so (heck or if not) what does it mean to be a woman or a man?
 
I'm not speaking for anyone else, and I'm not sure if TW would agree with me here, but one kind of radical gender politics would assert that 0 and 1 only exist in the presentation. They should be without any other ground on which to fall back and say, "See, that's a REAL man...and that's not." No, there is no foundation other than the momentary presentation and taking up of a particular space on that "continuum." On one end might be outrageous masculinity and the other end outrageous femininity, but that's all there is. We should not look for more to satisfy our normative need for consistency and truth. We would not be nullifying "man" and "woman," but we would be removing the anatomical requirements for their intelligibility. I think. Again, this is all not very well formed and I have bits of Judith Butler's prose emerging as I write. 
 
I sympathize with wanting a foundation, though. Being vegan, I don't want "vegan" to simply signify a momentary taking up of a position. I want it to be grounded in an intention, a consistency, and a validity. The performativity of gender, however, I don't believe should have this ground, because (a) interrogating that foundation is dehumanizing and (b) the binary is so perversive that being intelligible matters.
 

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deconstruction said:
So who wants to start a radical gender book club?
 
I gotcha, friend.
 
Here's where to start: John Stoltenberg's Refusing to be a man: essays on sex and justice.
 
I recommend starting with "How Men Have (A) Sex" which is the second chapter in part 1. It's a really, really accessible high level analysis of how the problem of categories really is a problem. He has great discussion of how our categories harm regular good old fashioned traditional straight men as well and not just groups often associated with oppression due to gender roles, which he then uses to lead the reader out of the traps of gender categories--it does a fairly amazing job of helping the reader move beyond precisely the stuff you and JM are talking about. His work's strength is in finding ways to communicate to people who aren't dealing with the issues--or think they aren't--how to see how these structures work.
 
The piece I'm recommending is basically like the Morpheus of gender stuff.
 
Also, want to thank JDJ and TW, as I did before with GraviStar (I think some of you late to the party may have missed her post earlier in the thread) for sharing and doing so in such fashion that, well, is awesome, in that it manages to contain what would be understandable rage in the interests of furthering understanding, which is obviously not easy. It's really not any different from how those who finally managed to make progress in racial issues had to dress up nice, purify themselves and play nice no matter how awful that which came at them; it's vital to progress, but it's so, so hard.
 
This message board is awesome. And proof that we are morally superior to Yankee fans.
 

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jose melendez said:
Wheedon didn't reall do that in his comment, but what's vaguely more interesting to me is that he defined women negatively--in terms of what they don't have rather than what they do have.  Would his comment have been more or less offensive if he'd said "no y-chromsome" instead of referring to genitals?  I'd imagine that's more exclusive since, as best I know, the chromosomes are truly immutable.
 
I think you'll love the piece I just linked too, as it really speaks to this. But I think the better way to think about a lot of this stuff is to see it as fluid; there is a strong tendency to reduce things to the biological, but the experience of people as themselves is something different and, for some, can be diminished by such reductionism (even if it becomes necessary in certain medical settings).
 
One of the best examples I've ever seen on this issue came from, I believe Alison Bechdel (who is a fucking rockstar, by the way) (I could be wrong about who wrote about this--is phrenile in the house? Little help?) who showed that many cartoons like Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck are basically just mutant versions of their male counterparts with girl parts attached. Run a google image search thinking about that and it's really, really jarring.
 
I mean, nobody wants to be considered in terms of how far deviant they are from some idea of normal, especially when the ground rules start with it's really far and weird and we're all just discussing how far. Think Revenge of the Nerds and magnify the issue by like a zillion.
 

deconstruction

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Reverend said:
I gotcha, friend.
 
Here's where to start: John Stoltenberg's Refusing to be a man: essays on sex and justice.
 
I recommend starting with "How Men Have (A) Sex" which is the second chapter in part 1. It's a really, really accessible high level analysis of how the problem of categories really is a problem. He has great discussion of how our categories harm regular good old fashioned traditional straight men as well and not just groups often associated with oppression due to gender roles, which he then uses to lead the reader out of the traps of gender categories--it does a fairly amazing job of helping the reader move beyond precisely the stuff you and JM are talking about. His work's strength is in finding ways to communicate to people who aren't dealing with the issues--or think they aren't--how to see how these structures work.
 
The piece I'm recommending is basically like the Morpheus of gender stuff.
 
Thanks for the rec. My first (i.e., abandoned) dissertation idea was to study gender and elementary school teaching from the perspective that it's so deeply considered "women's work" that when men enter the field, a variety of interesting discourses emerge that extol the male figure, pervert the male presence, and undermine the actual work that women do because it's considered an extension of their natural tendencies. So in this one school with a couple of male teachers, my proposal was to study how gender was relevant to their work--in their interactions with each other, with parents, with students--and how, as a progressive school, they mediated gender-related issues with their students. For example, there was a first-grader at this school who, while being known as a male, began to demand to go by "she." She wore heels, some makeup, a bow, and skirts. Her parents supported her. The school did, as well. Looking back at my fieldnotes, she actually kind of identified with the male teacher because he had long hair and wasn't a "manly man." The teachers talked about really checking their language and being more cognizant of their gendered communicated. I noticed moments when the male teacher complimented her shoes called her "sweetheart"--clearly reinforcing his choices. 
 
One slightly older male student took her transgender acts pretty personally and began to berate her not because he wanted to ridicule or humiliate her, but because he believed that a boy needed to be a boy. It was just plain wrong. Not surprisingly, his dad purported these beliefs, as well, an  actually contacted the school to complain about the inappropriateness of her gender acts. So the 1st grade teachers gathered all the kids and talked to them in general about being ok with each other's individuality and choices. They never once mentioned the specific reason they were there. The orbiting of the issue was fascinating. So even though it was a play for ethics, the specific, gendered, masculine hegemony went unaddressed. I wish I'd never abandoned that study.
 
Anyway, re: the chapter you suggested, I'm not a big fan, honestly. And I'm just speaking off the cuff, but I don't felt like he addressed the core issues that at least I have with gender dualism and the attributions of our speech and body acts to some hidden anatomical specter. I realize that his argument sounds like he's speaking directly in line with this concern--there are no grounds for "male" and "female," just penises and prostrates; there is just "sex," no a sex; we're trying to live up to a fiction, etc.--but my read is that he attributes our sexual identities to our socially constructed sexual desires and therefore the "way out" of this "fiction" is to reprogram these desires to live more in truth with what we really want and feel. I guess I'm not convoked that this is the problem I'm really working on. And that's fine. I think his project to open men up to being traitors to their programed being is one way to go about undermining gender binaries. But he's unapologetic in injecting this fundamentalism about real sex, real equality, real desire--when you stop worrying about being a "real man" and are open to our biological multitude. This kind of "ideology hiding the truth" moralizing just doesn't sit well with me. Some other time I'll work on explaining why.  
 
And, further, I guess that's not the problem I'm interested in. I guess I want to salvage some of what he wants to toss, but reimagine those gender acts that in ways that allow us to see them in a totally different context rather than currently fixing them to harm. And I don't want to salvage real, harmful, sexual violence--of course not. Halberstam's Female Masculinity takes on these issues from one angle by trying to reframe masculine acts that women engage in as de-signified from historical masculine acts of men (which Stoltenberg might vilify). To not just think of them as "women being (masculine) men," but of "women being masculine...something else." So 
 
Anyway, I'm completely rambling but am happy to engage more on this over the weekend.
 

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More directly on topic: Caleb Hannan has not yet released a statement since the article went live. His last Twitter activity was on January 17:

Caleb Hannan ‏@calebhannan  Jan 17
For what it's worth, I haven't blocked anyone today. I'm reading all of this. I'm totally overwhelmed, but I'm reading.
 
After the wave of criticism and especially after Grantland's official rebuttal (Kahrl) and response (Simmons), as well as ESPN ombudsman Robert Lipsyte's statement, I gather it's difficult to write something that doesn't already go over the same ground. Also the tone of Simmons' official statement was such that he was protecting Hannan ("we failed him"), so it gives Hannan less latitude, unless it's via Hannan's & Simmons' grim-faced, contrite nods to each other from across the room.
 
It's also likely smart he keeps quiet in the event that Essay Anne Vanderbilt's family decides to take this further in court. Case or no case, his keeping quiet is prudent. 
 
In all the fallout after the piece went to press, this news item was reported but not necessarily emphasized here (I don't think). Hannan was a freelance editor for an article in the Seattle Weekly that took author Ann Rule to task for her "sloppy storytelling" in her book "Heart Full of Lies." He didn't write the article, but he's named in a civil suit filed last July 2013 for "failing to do any due diligence at all on the story.” 
 
Such as disclosing that the journalist that wrote the article, Rick Swart, was tied into the article in more than an investigative manner:
 
Heart Full of Lies (the novel) and “Ann Rule’s Sloppy Storytelling” (article) – the latter of which is over 7,000 words... both agree Lisya and Chris Northron appeared to be the perfect couple. They also both acknowledge that Lisya fired the fatal shot that killed her husband, and that she plead guilty to first-degree manslaughter.
 
The plot lines diverge from there. Heart Full of Lies generally portrays Lisya as a manipulative sociopath who carefully orchestrated the murder. Seattle Weekly’s article paints her in a more favorable light, framing her side of the story that she was the victim of overzealous prosecution, ineffective legal counsel, and her late husband’s repeated substance and spousal abuse.
 
What Swart’s Seattle Weekly article failed to disclose, however, was that he was in love with Lisya, who was then still incarcerated, and the couple was engaged.
 
Hannan added an update above the story once this was "discovered" by them, after the article had gone to press:
 
This morning I contacted Swart by phone to ask him why he didn’t tell me about the enormous conflict of interest. This is how he explained his decision to withhold that information from us: “It’s a freelance piece first of all. I’m selling you a product. So it’s not like you’re my boss and you need to know my personal life. My background is in community newspapers where we write about people we know, people we have relationships with, all the time. We don’t have the luxury of big staffs. So we’re not as able to have those arms-lengths relationships I guess…I’m willing to have all this fall squarely on my shoulder.” It should go without saying that this is not a satisfactory response. If you’re writing about your fiancee, or anyone with whom you have a relationship, you tell the reader. Community newspaper, national newspaper, alt-weekly. It doesn’t matter.
 
Hannan & Co. were further taken to task for not retracting the story, instead tacking on multiple updates. Obviously in the age of Gawkerism and page views above all it's more common that an article, hell or high water, remains posted regardless of how egregious the errors or omissions are.
 
Like, say, Grantland's decision to keep the Dr. V article online.
 
I heard about this law suit a few days after the Dr. V. article hit and after Simmons apology ran on Grantland. For me it reinforces that as a journalist or editor Hannan's instincts are mediocre. 
 
It also conjures "what did Simmons know and when did he know it?" questions regarding Hannan's Dr. V. timeline. Hannan was being sued while he was researching and writing the Dr. V piece. That must have landed somewhere adjacent to the Grantland masthead last summer, right? For me it's reasonable to believe that they wanted this piece to run regardless. So, I guess, the McCord fraud and Vanderbilt's false professional credentials was enough to keep going?
 
With this prior information about their writer at hand, doesn't (or shouldn't) that figure into "it's not a story yet" decisions? Along the lines of "he's not a writer yet?" decisions as well?
 

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deconstruction said:
Anyway, re: the chapter you suggested, I'm not a big fan, honestly. 
 
No worries. I was thinking more in terms of a gateway 101 type piece for people interested in and new to these issues--the interest in this thread is quite heartening, I think--and I think that one does a good job prying people away from the notion of fixed categories, which is where the understanding begins. You, er, appear to have advanced a little bit further down the road in your thinking on the issue, shall we say.
 
That also sounds like an awesome research project, by the way.
 

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jose, WBV, Trilly (your pics look amazing-I'm jelly!).
 
I think a core difference for me (possibly anyone?) is that, in my book, transgender means not having surgery, transsexual means planning on having surgery. Someone who has had that operation (SRS) is simply female, none of those above labels, at that point, but that's me.
 
I personally find it extremely fascinating, regarding TW vs. my experience. I'm 99% of the time seen as female in my transition, and people just see me as another female, and don't think twice about it. People really don't think about it that much, and for me, that is preferable. Although, you live your life 99% of the time as a guy...so that throws an interesting twist on it. But what you say is really sadly a fear of what I had before I did any of this, that people would see me as a gay guy (worse yet, a lost dare), and not female. The issue with that is the guy part, on my end, so that's clear.
 
Really, really, appreciate the kind comments both here and PM. If I received a PM from you, you will get one back, if you haven't; I've just had a weekend I needed to relax on.
 

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deconstruction said:
 
I'm not speaking for anyone else, and I'm not sure if TW would agree with me here, but one kind of radical gender politics would assert that 0 and 1 only exist in the presentation. They should be without any other ground on which to fall back and say, "See, that's a REAL man...and that's not." No, there is no foundation other than the momentary presentation and taking up of a particular space on that "continuum." On one end might be outrageous masculinity and the other end outrageous femininity, but that's all there is. We should not look for more to satisfy our normative need for consistency and truth. We would not be nullifying "man" and "woman," but we would be removing the anatomical requirements for their intelligibility. I think. Again, this is all not very well formed and I have bits of Judith Butler's prose emerging as I write
 
I could see you circling the word "performative" as you wrote that :)
 
I agree with "performative" though regarding her theories on gender. It's all perceived notions and it's all based on what one looks like. What one wears. How one sounds. All those things are based on how you were conditioned to think of gender. And of course, most are conditioned to think "blue = boy & pink = girl" and it's difficult to think past the idea of either/or and wrap one's mind around more options than two. Or an absence of "options" altogether.
 
Like I mentioned above it's increasingly absurd and arbitrary on its face once you diagram a sentence. And signifiers (or "tells" in a way) are all superficial, and inadequate to encompass how one feels or what one wishes to express. "Man" hands or big feet. Height. Broad shoulders and wider rib cages. Deeper voices. Body hair. By themselves they can be attributed to a female bodybuilder or a male one, for example. But they end up creating a conspiracy that creates bias towards one or the other. 
 

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Delonte James Jr. said:
jose, WBV, Trilly (your pics look amazing-I'm jelly!).
 
I think a core difference for me (possibly anyone?) is that, in my book, transgender means not having surgery, transsexual means planning on having surgery. Someone who has had that operation (SRS) is simply female, none of those above labels, at that point, but that's me.
 
I personally find it extremely fascinating, regarding TW vs. my experience. I'm 99% of the time seen as female in my transition, and people just see me as another female, and don't think twice about it. People really don't think about it that much, and for me, that is preferable. Although, you live your life 99% of the time as a guy...so that throws an interesting twist on it. But what you say is really sadly a fear of what I had before I did any of this, that people would see me as a gay guy (worse yet, a lost dare), and not female. The issue with that is the guy part, on my end, so that's clear.
 
In my experience the two worst things you can say or do to someone who identifies as trans is 1) call them a "man" (to use DDJ's example, and what would be mine) and the subset of this which is what Hannan did - out them or threaten to out them. 
 
I've hosted 80 parties for TG since 2005. Conservative estimates on total attendance over that span of those identifying as TG (this isn't unique individuals, just total aggregate overall): 8,000-10,000 people. 
 
My insight is anecdotal. No actual data to support. Some characteristics of my sample size (again, sooooo not scientific but definitely trends):
 
Mostly white
Mostly older - I'd say 45-55 years old
99.9% M2F 
Mostly identifying as part-time crossdressers
Most are or were married to cis females
 
Most are in the closet and are hiding their gender identity when not at my events. Many of them have children, jobs, and lives that are from all outward appearances cis-seeming. The threat and fear of being discovered after an entire lifetime of living and presenting in as solely cis can cause enormous stress and fear and anxiety. It can literally ruin entire lives with the turmoil. 
 
In my personal experience I knew as early as 3-4 that I was trans. And even then, at 3-4 years old, during my first exploratory times rifling my mom's dresser drawers and closet trying on her stuff, I already knew that what I was doing was something I had to keep secret and never, ever tell anyone. [I believe the binary is set in stone and ingrained very early on].
 
For about 30 years I kept that secret and learned strategies and coping mechanisms to keep it hidden from everyone. Friends, family, partners. I had issues of guilt or shame or loathing which bloomed from this secret as well that helped wall me off from the rest of the world. Because when I tamped it down, over time, and buried it so completely, I was still miserable. I had long stretches when I didn't acknowledge it at all. I had several "purges" - which is tossing out all evidence of crossdressing, like pouring out all the bottles of liquor and going cold turkey. But like a white-knuckle recovering alcoholic, I wasn't actually getting sober, or better. And some of my choices and acting out in my teens and 20s reflected that misery. All the while raising the stakes of this "terrible" secret. Creating bigger consequences in my mind (and also in the real world). It wasn't getting easier to come out ever because of the accrued interest and debt. 
 
Hiding that aspect of me - hiding who I was - became a means and form of survival above all and above anyone. It sounds dramatic, but being self-conditioned to be withdrawn and always at arm's length from one's emotions and from others' trust or intimacy is a significant way to stunt your growth as a human.
 
So it probably sounds a bit gothic to hear about Dr. V's reacting to Hannan's implication that she would not be safe. But it really isn't, not when you have been a fugitive for so long and your deepest, darkest secret that "no one" knows is about to be made public. 
 

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So this is exactly the nut of it, to me. This is a genuine question, not a challenge or a denial: can we get a clear example of her "shining the spotlight"? Like a quote, or a screenshot, or a video or something?

I may be just stupid, but that's exactly what I've been looking for, and haven't been able to find: the place where Dr V puts the spotlight on herself and her story.
Getting into semantics but she did claim to have all kinds of engineering credentials that were clearly designed to legitimize her product. If she was honest about her professional past, the writer would not have had cause to check into her history since being a fleet manager has no connection to designing a golf club.

I'm sympathetic to the fact that the writer was prepared to out her, and I'm sure that was a scary thing. Still, didn't Dr. V contribute to that outcome by shoveling endless lies about her educational and professional past?
 

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twibnotes said:
Getting into semantics but she did claim to have all kinds of engineering credentials that were clearly designed to legitimize her product. If she was honest about her professional past, the writer would not have had cause to check into her history since being a fleet manager has no connection to designing a golf club.

I'm sympathetic to the fact that the writer was prepared to out her, and I'm sure that was a scary thing. Still, didn't Dr. V contribute to that outcome by shoveling endless lies about her educational and professional past?
 
It's been referenced here by other posters, and was stated plainly in Christina Karhl's rebuttal on Grantland:
 
Upon making the unavoidable discovery that Vanderbilt’s background didn’t stand up to scrutiny, he didn’t reassure her that her gender identity wasn’t germane to the broader problems he’d uncovered with her story. Rather, he provided this tidbit to one of the investors in her company in a gratuitous “gotcha” moment that reflects how little thought he’d given the matter. Maybe it was relevant for him to inform the investor that she wasn’t a physicist and probably didn’t work on the stealth bomber and probably also wasn’t a Vanderbilt cut from the same cloth as the original Commodore. But revealing her gender identity was ultimately as dangerous as it was thoughtless.
 
What should Grantland have done instead? It really should have simply stuck with debunking those claims to education and professional expertise relevant to the putter itself, dropped the element of her gender identity if she didn’t want that to be public information — as she very clearly did not — and left it at that. 
 
 
And what you allude to is duly acknowledged by Kahrl (and most of those posting here, I think):
 
One of the difficulties that Essay Anne had imposed on herself is that, while trying to live a life in total stealth [i.e. "a term that means she did not want to be identified as transgender publicly, and probably not on any level personally"] she was also a hostage to the impossible and implausible collection of lies she’d created to promote her invention, inevitably risking discovery in an era when a cursory investigation can invalidate claims about something like a doctorate. Which does not get Grantland off the hook for blundering into outing her.
 
To reiterate: her scientific credentials and experience and education as a doctor or inventor or businesswoman were fabrications and lies and fraud. But her gender isn't and shouldn't be lumped in with those investigations. And if they were discovered, they shouldn't be vetted by Hannan because her gender identity is not a fabrication, or a lie, or a fraud.
 
It wasn't just a "scary" thing to threaten to out her. It was the wrong thing to do as a journalist, and as a human. It likely contributed to her death. 
 
For Hannan to uncover her false credentials is one thing. To say that Dr. V was at fault for ultimately being outed by Caleb Hannan is victim-blaming.
 

mauf

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Trlicek's Whip said:
 
 
To say that Dr. V was at fault for ultimately being outed by Caleb Hannan is victim-blaming.
 
We can excoriate Caleb Hannan for his crappy journalism without turning Dr. V into a victim.
 
Dr. V. took other people's money based on spectacular lies about her credentials and family connections. I see no comparison between her behavior, and the common practice by some trans folks of telling white lies about their background to protect themselves in a society where so many people lack basic empathy for them.
 

Average Reds

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Trlicek's Whip said:
 
It's been referenced here by other posters, and was stated plainly in Christina Karhl's rebuttal on Grantland:
 
 
To reiterate: her scientific credentials and experience and education as a doctor or inventor or businesswoman were fabrications and lies and fraud. But her gender isn't and shouldn't be lumped in with those investigations. And if they were discovered, they shouldn't be vetted by Hannan because her gender identity is not a fabrication, or a lie, or a fraud.
 
This is precisely correct, and I'm at a loss as to why this is even something we have to discuss.
 
 
It wasn't just a "scary" thing to threaten to out her. It was the wrong thing to do as a journalist, and as a human. It likely contributed to her death. 
 
To say that Dr. V was at fault for ultimately being outed by Caleb Hannan is victim-blaming.
 
 
It is not victim-blaming to point out the obvious - that by perpetuating a fraud that appears to have included attempting to form an alliance with a multi-billion dollar subsidiary of a public company, Dr. V placed herself in a position where she was inevitably going to be outed.  She may not have understood that, but once she set the wheels in motion it was going to happen.
 
To try to shame those who point this out is nonsense.
 

SaveBooFerriss

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Dr. V's lack of professional credentials is a valid topic.  Dr. V's gender identity is not a valid topic.  I think most people agree with those two statements.
 
I don't think that a story about Dr. V's lack of professional credentials gets run anywhere other than a golf specific website or magazine.  I think most people are dubious about products run on infomercials on late night TV.  I am a pretty avid golfer and I had never heard of Dr. V or her putter.  I think a non-golfer would not care about this.  
 
Of course, the gender identity issue was the hook for the story to be on Grantland.  It was the "Crying Game" moment.  The editors probably found it shocking and titillating and that is why they ran the story.  
 
That is what is most appalling about this case.
 

Trlicek's Whip

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My tone wasn't meant to shame. I was responding to the implication in Twib's post (not Twib's personal assertion, but what Twib put forth and to which I responded) that she was "asking" for it.
 
Yes, she put herself in a situation that was untenable due to her false background/education/scientific bona fides and her exposure to the public, which runs counter to being "stealth."
 
Unpacking all that and saying (erroneously) that gender was an equal part of the fraudulent claims is all I was emphasizing. And I believe we agree on that in this discussion.
 
 
Edit: pronouns!
 

mauf

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Average Reds said:
 
 
It is not victim-blaming to point out the obvious - that by perpetuating a fraud that appears to have included attempting to form an alliance with a multi-billion dollar subsidiary of a public company, Dr. V placed herself in a position where she was inevitably going to be outed.  She may not have understood that, but once she set the wheels in motion it was going to happen.
 
To try to shame those who point this out is nonsense.
 
Exactly. If Dr. V. had been charged with securities fraud, the prosecutor would have had to "out" her to prove the case.
 
By the way, the lack of attention paid to what appears to have been a criminal conspiracy further suggests that Hannan, Simmons, et al. are full of shit, and that the trans angle was a central part of this story from the very early going. Because if the story was supposed to be about a golf club, the fact that the entire story was a fraud perpetrated on their investors would seem to be worth more than a cursory mention. But if your story is a frat-boyish tale about Gary McCord getting duped by a woman who used to be a man, then I guess those details aren't that important.
 

Average Reds

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SaveBooFerriss said:
Of course, the gender identity issue was the hook for the story to be on Grantland.  It was the "Crying Game" moment.  The editors probably found it shocking and titillating and that is why they ran the story.  
 
That is what is most appalling about this case.
 
I think it's even more appalling than this.
 
If Dr. V doesn't commit suicide, I don't think they run the story precisely because they would be worried that it might lead to her committing suicide.  Only after she killed herself do they feel that it is both "newsworthy" and safe. 
 

Average Reds

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Trlicek's Whip said:
My tone wasn't meant to shame. I was responding to the implication in Twib's post (not Twib's personal assertion, but what he put forth in his post that I responded to) that she was "asking" for it.
 
Yes, she put herself in a situation that was untenable due to her false background/education/scientific bona fides and her exposure to the public, which runs counter to being "stealth."
 
Unpacking all that and saying that gender was an equal part of the fraudulent claims is all I was emphasizing. And I believe we agree on that in this discussion.
 
Got it.  No disagreement then.
 

Trlicek's Whip

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SaveBooFerriss said:
Of course, the gender identity issue was the hook for the story to be on Grantland.  It was the "Crying Game" moment.  The editors probably found it shocking and titillating and that is why they ran the story.  
 
The language that is ingrained when stories like this occur reinforces the same mistaken stereotypes. It all orbits deception, being tricked, or fooled. It's always been an objectified focus on the body parts or the addition/removal of those parts.
 
4chan and Reddit made "trap" a popular buzzword for transpeople. As if transpeople only exist to trap unsuspecting cis-men or women. Implying that no one would willingly want to be with someone trans. 
 
Even "stealth." Hiding after one is finally living with their inner identity and outward appearance matching. As Kahrl said, "trading one closet for another." 
 

jose melendez

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Trlicek's Whip said:
 
The language that is ingrained when stories like this occur reinforces the same mistaken stereotypes. It all orbits deception, being tricked, or fooled. It's always been an objectified focus on the body parts or the addition/removal of those parts.
 
4chan and Reddit made "trap" a popular buzzword for transpeople. As if transpeople only exist to trap unsuspecting cis-men or women. Implying that no one would willingly want to be with someone trans. 
 
Even "stealth." Hiding after one is finally living with their inner identity and outward appearance matching. As Kahrl said, "trading one closet for another." 
 
So this raises an interesting set of ethical questions:  I one is trans does one have a duty to inform potential sexual partners?  If so, at what point?  Does it depend on where you are in transition? 
 

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jose melendez said:
 
So this raises an interesting set of ethical questions:  I one is trans does one have a duty to inform potential sexual partners?  If so, at what point?  Does it depend on where you are in transition? 
 
I think it's almost begging the question to ask whether one has "a duty to inform potential sexual partners"-- should women take off all their makeup and stand under bright lights? Should men produce bank statements and letters of reference from animals and children? 
 
I think the answer is that people who really don't want to have sex with a trans person, should be careful to ask potential sexual partners and/or discern whether they are trans. 
 

Spacemans Bong

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yep said:
 
I think it's almost begging the question to ask whether one has "a duty to inform potential sexual partners"-- should women take off all their makeup and stand under bright lights? Should men produce bank statements and letters of reference from animals and children? 
 
I think the answer is that people who really don't want to have sex with a trans person, should be careful to ask potential sexual partners and/or discern whether they are trans. 
 
I think this line of thinking will get transwomen killed. Transwomen don't need to walk around with a flashing sign above their heads, but I think keeping schtum on the situation is not going to lead to embarrassment or awkward moments, but potentially violence.