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A trans person's measured take on the trans sports issue
So first of all this post was inspired by GGExMachina's brief statement on the issue:
For example, it is objectively the case that biological men have a physical advantage over women. Yet if someone points this out and suggests that transgender people shouldn’t be allowed to fight in women’s UFC, or women’s soccer or weightlifting competitions or whatever, suddenly you’re some kind of evil monster. Rather than saying that of course trans people shouldn’t be bullied and that we could perhaps have a trans olympics (like the Paralympics and Special Olympics), we are expected to lie.
I've found that this position is incredibly popular among liberals/left-leaning people, especially here on reddit. It seems like, once or twice a month, like clockwork, a thread stating more or less the same thing on /unpopularopinion or /offmychest will get thousands of upvotes. And while I completely understand the thought process that leads otherwise left-leaning people to come to such conclusions, I feel like the issue has been, broadly speaking, dishonestly presented to the general public by a mixture of bad-faith actors and people who have succumbed to the moral panic. And, as I've seen, there are plenty of people in this subreddit and elsewhere who are itching to be as supportive as they possibly can to the trans community but find themselves becoming very disillusioned by this particular issue. By making this post I hope to present a more nuanced take on the issue, not only in regards to my personal beliefs on what kinds of policies are best to preserve fairness in women's sports but also in regards to shining a light on how this issue is often times dishonestly presented in an attempt to impede the progression of pro-trans sentiments in the cultural zeitgeist.
Sex & Gender
The word "transgender" is an umbrella term that refers to people whose gender identities differ from those typically associated with the sex they were assigned at birth. According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, the approximate composition of "the trans community" in the United States is 29% Transgender men (Female-to-Male), 33% Transgender women (Male-to-Female), and 35% non-binary. (The remaining 3% were survey respondents who self-identified as "crossdressers", who were still included in the survey on the grounds of being gender non-conforming) While non-binary people, as a group, are probably deserving of their own separate post. the focus of this post will be on trans men and trans women. I will also be primarily focusing on transgender people who pursue medical transition with Hormone-Replacement-Therapy, as they are most relevant to the issue of sports. (Mind that while the majority of binary trans people fit into this camp, there is a sizable minority of trans people who do not feel the need to medically transition.) What do trans people believe about Gender? The views of transgender people in regards to Gender are actually pretty varied, although the most prominent positions that I've personally seen are best summed up into two different camps:
The "Trans-Medical" camp
Transgender people who fall into this camp usually consider Gender Dysphoria to be the defining factor of what makes somebody trans. The best way I can describe this camp is that they sort of view being transgender akin to being intersex. Only whereas an intersex person would be born with a disorder that affects the body, a trans person is born with a disorder that affects the brain. Trans people in this camp often times put an emphasis on a clinical course for treatment. For example, a person goes to a psychologist, gets diagnosed with gender dysphoria, starts hormone replacement therapy, pursues surgery, then emerges from this process of either cured of the gender dysphoria or, at the very least, treated to the fullest extent of medical intervention. This position is more or less the original position held by trans activists, back in the day when the word "transsexual" was used instead of "transgender". Though many younger trans people, notably YouTuber Blaire White, also hold this position. Under this position, sex and gender are still quite intertwined, but a trans man can still be considered a man, and a trans woman a woman, under the belief that sex/gender doesn't just refer to chromosomal sex and reproductive organs, but also to neurobiology, genitalia, and secondary sex characteristics. So someone who is transgender, according to this view, is born with the physical characteristics of one sex/gender but the neurobiology of another, and will change their physical characteristics, to the fullest extent medically possible, to match the neurobiology and therefore cure the individual of gender dysphoria. Critics of this position argue that this mentality is problematic due to being inherently exclusive to transgender people who do not pursue medical transition, whom are often times deemed as "transtrenders" by people within this camp. Many people find it additionally problematic because it is also inherently exclusive to poorer trans people, particularly those in developing nations, who may not have access to trans-related medical care. Note that there are plenty of trans people who *do* have access to medical transition, but nevertheless feel as if the trans community shouldn't gatekeep people who cannot afford or do not desire medical transition, thus believing in the latter camp.
The "Gender Identity" camp
I feel like this camp is the one most popularly criticized by people on the right, but is also probably the most mainstream. It is the viewpoint held by many more left-wing trans people, (Note that in the aforementioned 2015 survey, only 1% of trans respondents voted Republican, so trans people are largely a pretty left-wing group, therefore it makes sense that this position would be the most mainstream) but also notably held by American Psychological Association, the American Psychiatric Association, GLAAD, and other mainstream health organizations and activist groups. While people in this camp still acknowledge that medical transition to treat gender dysphoria can still be a very important aspect of the transgender experience, it's believed that the *defining* experience is simply having a gender identity different from the one they were assigned at birth. "Gender identity" simply being the internal, personal sense of being a man, a woman, or outside the gender binary. Many people in this camp, though, still often maintain that gender identity is (at least partially) neurobiological, but differ from the first camp in regards to acknowledging that the issue is less black & white than an individual simply having a "male brain" or a "female brain", but rather that the neurological characteristics associated with gender exist on more of a spectrum, thus leaving the door open to gender non-conforming people who do not identify as trans, as well as to non-binary people. This is where the "gender is a spectrum" phrase comes from. "52 genders" is a popular right-wing meme that makes fun of this viewpoint, however it is important to note that many trans and non-binary people disagree with the idea of quantifying gender identity to such an absurd amount of individual genders, rather more simply maintaining that there are men, women, and a small portion of people in-between, with a few words such as "agender" or "genderqueer" being used to describe specific identities/presentations within this category. It's also noteworthy that not all people in this camp believe that neurobiology is the be-all-end-all of gender identity, as many believe that the performativity of gender also plays an integral role in one's identity. (That gender identity is a mixture of neurobiology and performativity is a position held by YouTuber Contrapoints) Trans people and biological sex So while the aforementioned "Gender Identity" viewpoint has become quite popularized among liberals and leftists, I have noticed a certain rhetorical mentality/assumption become prevalent alongside it, especially among cisgender people who consider themselves trans-allies: "Sex and Gender are different. A trans woman is a woman who is biologically male. A trans man is a man who is biologically female" When "Sex" is defined by someone's chromosomes, or the sex organs they were born with, this is correct. However, there is a pretty good reason why the trans community tends to prefer terms like "Assigned Male at Birth" rather than "Biologically Male". This is done not only for the inclusion of people who are both intersex and transgender (For example, someone can be born intersex but assigned male based on the existence of a penis or micropenis), but also due to the aforementioned viewpoint on divergent neurobiology being the cause for gender dysphoria. Those reasons are why the word "Assigned" is used. But the reason why it's "Assigned Male/Female At Birth" instead of just "Assigned Male/Female" is because among the trans community there exists an understanding of the mutability of sexually dimorphic biology that the general population is often ignorant to. For example, often times people (especially older folks) don't even know of the existence of Hormone Replacement Therapy, and simply assume that trans people get a single "sex change operation" that, (for a trans woman) would just entail the removal of the penis and getting breast implants. Therefore they imagine the process to be "medically sculpting a male to look female" instead of a more natural biological process of switching the endocrine system form male to female or vice versa and letting the body change over the course of multiple years. It doesn't help that, for a lot of older trans people (namely Caitlyn Jenner, who is probably the most high profile trans person sadly), the body can be a lot more resistant to change even with hormones so they *do* need to rely on plastic surgery a lot more to get obvious results) So what sexually dimorphic bodily characteristics can one expect to change from Hormone Replacement Therapy? (Note that there is a surprising lack of studies done on some of the more intricate changes that HRT can, so I've put a "*" next to the changes that are anecdotal, but still commonly and universally observed enough among trans people [including myself for the MTF stuff] to consider factual. I've also put a "✝" next to the changes that only occur when people transition before or during puberty) Male to Female:
Breast development and nipple/areolar enlargement, including in some people, the development of mammary glands and the ability to breastfeed
Thinning/slowed growth of facial/body hair
Cessation/reversal of male-pattern scalp hair loss
Softening of skin/decreased oiliness and acne
Decreased muscle mass/strength
Widening and rounding of the pelvis
Changes in mood, emotionality, and behavior (anecdotally crying is way easier to do)
Decreased sex drive (anecdotally, taking progesterone helps a lot in regards to regaining sex drive, though attraction is often noted as being experienced a bit differently than how it feels with testosterone)
Decreased sperm production/fertility
Decreased testicle size
Decreased penis size
Decreased prostate gland size
Voice changes (As far as I've heard, most people only experience minor changes from transitioning in adulthood, so it's common to do vocal training on top of everything to actually get a female-passing voice. I'll add a ✝ here since vocal changes seem to be a lot stronger in people who transition before/during puberty)
Changes in body odor (It's been documented that men and women often times have different smelling body odor, and trans people commonly notice a change in this regard) *
Changes in how arousal, sexual pleasure, and orgasms are experienced *
Changes in facial complexion *
Slight changes in hair color, texture, or curl *
Slight changes in eye color *
Changes in alcohol/drug tolerance *
Experiencing pubescent skeletal development and bodily growth along female-typical lines, including both bodily size/shape and facial bone/cartilage features ✝
Female to Male:
Growth of facial/body hair
male pattern scalp hair loss (in some individuals)
Roughening of the skin and prominence of veins
Increased muscle mass/strength
Changes in mood, emotionality, and behavior (I forget the source for this sadly but I remember reading that trans men are significantly more likely to commit crimes and get into fights after starting HRT)
Increased sex drive
Cessation of ovulation and menstruation
Acne (especially in the first few years of therapy)
Alterations in blood lipids (cholesterol and triglycerides)
Increased red blood cell count
Deepening of the voice
Enlargement of the clitoris
Changes in body odor *
Changes in how arousal, sexual pleasure, and orgasms are experienced *
Changes in facial complexion *
Slight changes in hair color, texture, or curl *
Slight changes in eye color *
Changes in alcohol/drug tolerance *
Experiencing male pubescent skeletal development and bodily growth along male-typical lines, and closure of growth plates ✝
Often times, when the whole "transgender people in sports" discussion arises, a logical error is made when *all* transgender people are assumed to be "biologically" their birth sex. For example, when talking about trans women participating in female sports, these instances will be referred to as cases of "Biological males competing against females". As mentioned before, calling a trans woman "biologically male" strictly in regards to chromosomes or sex organs at birth would be correct. However, not only can it be considered derogatory (the word "male" is colloquially a shorthand for "man", after all), but there are many instances where calling a post-HRT transgender person "biologically [sex assigned at birth]" is downright misleading. For example, hospitals have, given transgender patients improper or erroneous medical care by assuming treatment based on birth sex where treatment based on their current endocrinological sex would have been more adequate. Acute Clinical Care of Transgender Patients: A Review
Conclusions and relevance: Clinicians should learn how to engage with transgender patients, appreciate that unique anatomy or the use of gender-affirming hormones may affect the prevalence of certain disease (eg, cardiovascular disease, venous thromboembolism, and osteoporosis), and be prepared to manage specific issues, including those related to hormone therapy. Health care facilities should work toward providing inclusive systems of care that correctly identify and integrate information about transgender patients into the electronic health record, account for the unique needs of these patients within the facility, and through education and policy create a welcoming environment for their care.
Some hosptials have taken to labeling the biological sex of transgender patients as "MTF" (for post-HRT trans women) and "FTM" (for post-HRT trans men), which is a much more medically useful identifier compared to their sex assigned at birth. In regards to the sports discussion, I've seen *multiple threads* where redditors have backed up their opinions on the subject of trans people in sports with studies demonstrating that cis men are, on average, more athletically capable than cis women. Which I personally find to be a pathetic misunderstanding of the entire issue. Because we're not supposed to be comparing the athletic capabilities of natal males to natal females, here. We're supposed to comparing the athletic capabilities of *post-HRT male-to-females* to natal females. And, if we're going to really have a fact-based discussion on the matter, we need to have separate categories for pre-pubescent and post-pubescent transitioners. Since, as mentioned earlier, the former will likely have different skeletal characteristics compared to the latter. The currentInternational Olympic Committee(IOC) model for trans participation, and criticisms of said model (I quoted the specific guidelines from the International Cycling Union, but similar guidelines exist for all Olympic sports)
Elite Competition At elite competition levels, members may have the opportunity to represent the United States and participate in international competition. They may therefore be subject to the policies and regulations of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and International Olympic Committee (IOC). USA Cycling therefore follows the IOC guidelines on transgender athletes at these elite competition levels. For purposes of this policy, international competition means competition sanctioned by the UCI or competition taking place outside the United States in which USA Cycling’s competition rules do not apply. The IOC revised its guidelines on transgender athlete participation in 2015, to focus on hormone levels and medical monitoring. The main points of the guidelines are: Those who transition from female to male are eligible to compete in the male category without restriction. It is the responsibility of athletes to be aware of current WADA/USADA policies and file for appropriate therapeutic use exemptions. Those who transition from male to female are eligible to compete in the female category under the following conditions: The athlete has declared that her gender identity is female. The declaration cannot be changed, for sporting purposes, for a minimum of four years. The athlete must demonstrate that her total testosterone level in serum has been below 10 nmol/L for at least 12 months prior to her first competition (with the requirement for any longer period to be based on a confidential case-by-case evaluation, considering whether or not 12 months is a sufficient length of time to minimize any advantage in women’s competition). The athlete's total testosterone level in serum must remain below 10 nmol/L throughout the period of desired eligibility to compete in the female category. Compliance with these conditions may be monitored by random or for-cause testing. In the event of non-compliance, the athlete’s eligibility for female competition will be suspended for 12 months.
Valid criticisms of the IOC model are usually based on the fact that, even though hormone replacement therapy provokes changes to muscle mass, it does *not* shrink the size of someone's skeleton or cardiovascular system. Therefore an adult-transitioned trans woman could, even after losing all levels of male-typical muscle mass, still have an advantage in certain sports if she had an excessively large skeletal frame, and was participating in a sport where such a thing would be advantageous. Additionally, the guidelines only require that athletes be able to demonstrate having had female hormone levels for 12-24 months, which isn't necessarily long enough to completely lose musculature gained from training on testosterone (anecdotally it can take 2-4 years to completely lose male-typical muscle mass) So the IOC guidelines don't have any safeguard against, for example, a trans woman training with testosterone as the dominant hormone in her body, and then taking hormones for the bare minimum time period and still having some of the advantage left. Note that, while lower level sports have had (to the glee of right-wing publications sensationalizing the issue) instances of this exact thing happening, in the 16 years since these IOC guidelines were established, not a single transgender individual has won an Olympic medal Also note that none of the above criticisms of the IOC policy would apply in regards to the participation of pre-pubescent-transitioned trans women. After all, male-pubescent bone structure and cardiovascular size, and male-typical muscle levels, can't possibly exist if you never went through male puberty to begin with. What could better guidelines entail, to best preserve fairness in female sports while avoiding succumbing to anti-trans moral panic?
The most extreme way for female sports to reasonably go about addressing this issue would be to only allow for the participation of transgender women who are documented to have, with puberty blockers, carried out their transitions without having gone past Tanner Stage II or III of male puberty.
Sports leagues willing to be a bit looser could accept adult transitioners under the stipulation that their bodily measurements in regards to certain skeletal features fit within a standard deviation of the cis-female average
Sports leagues willing to be even looser could copy the IOC guidelines, but require documentation of having gone through HRT for a greater period of time rather than just the 12 months, (3 years would probably be better) to guarantee full loss of male muscle mass
In my personal opinion, sports leagues should pick one of the three above options depending on what best fits the nature of the sport and the eliteness of the competition. For example, extremely competitive contact sports might be better off going with the first option, but an aerobic sport such as marathon running would probably be fine with the third option.
How this issue has been misrepresented by The Right
Right-wing rhetoric surrounding this issue assumes that the issue exists as an innate consequence of trans activism (Ie. "This is what the left is pushing!") rather than as a result of individual sports leagues failing to have solid rules for participation. Often times, certain low-level sports leagues have failed to even measure trans athlete's hormone levels, and have, in some cases, let completely male-bodied athletes participate as women. This is obviously the fault of these specific sports leagues failing to implement or enforce reasonable rules for participation, but right-wing articles surrounding such instances will act as if these occurrences are an ideological goal of the pro-trans left. This runs off of the assumption that a majority of trans people and "the left" are specifically pushing for muscular males (who merely "identify" as women, and nothing more) to dominate female sports. When, in reality, we really had nothing to do with these occurrences, and the majority of trans people would even likely agree with the sentiments expressed in this post. Additionally, accepting the gender identities of trans people is something you can do irregardless of your opinion on the sports issue.
Over-exaggeration of the problem. The issue is often sensationalized to the extent of coming off as a call to action, to stop the trans activists and their SJW bullies from ruining female sports! They're coming after your daughter's lacrosse team! In reality, out of the hundreds of thousands (perhaps even more) of sports competitions that exist in the United States and throughout the world, an incredibly small percentage of them are actually ruined by trans participants. You hear the stories of the 6'5'' trans woman with the broad frame winning a weightlifting competition, but not of the hundreds of more average-sized trans-female athletes turning out more mediocre performances. This isn't to say that the niche cases don't present a problem that indeed needs to be fixed, but presenting the problem as more prevalent than it actually is acts as a rhetorical strategy meant to provoke anger as well as a more dramatic response. Buying into this rhetorical strategy, especially if you're is already somewhat ignorant to the issue to begin with, will make it much easier to convince you of accepting drastic solutions to the problems. Ie. "ONLY XX CHROMOSOMES ALLOWED IN FEMALE SPORTS", instead of any of the three more measured approaches suggested above. The provoked response of anger is also meant to turn people off of accepting trans rights in general.
Infuriatingly, I've noticed that right-wing rhetoric usually doesn't even mention pre-pubescent transitioners at all. Like, these people are fine with acknowledging the existence of puberty blockers when they're trying to make them illegal, but they refuse to talk about them in regards to the sports issue. There have been cases where conservative jurisdictions have banned the participation of all transgender students in girl's sports, period. Meaning a transgender girl who never went through male puberty at all, and has pre-pubescent hormone levels as a result of puberty blockers, could be banned from participating in girl's sports, while in reality said trans girl could possibly even be at a disadvantage compared to the cis girls, as a result of not even having started puberty yet. Nonsensical. And liberal allies are at fault of this too, I've noticed. I've seen countless reddit threads where left-leaning people voice their take on the trans sports issue without mentioning the existence of pre-pubescent transitioners. It's honestly ridiculous.
The sports issue is also used as an excuse to say derogatory things about trans women that would be less justifiable in other instances.
I'll use Joe Rogan as an example of this last thing:
She calls herself a woman but... I tend to disagree. And, uh, she, um... she used to be a man but now she has had, she's a transgender which is (the) official term that means you've gone through it, right? And she wants to be able to fight women in MMA. I say no f***ing way. I say if you had a dick at one point in time, you also have all the bone structure that comes with having a dick. You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints. You're a f***ing man. That's a man, OK? You can't have... that's... I don't care if you don't have a dick any more... If you want to be a woman in the bedroom and you know you want to play house and all of that other s*** and you feel like you have, your body is really a woman's body trapped inside a man's frame and so you got a operation, that's all good in the hood. But you can't fight chicks. Get the f*** out of here. You're out of your mind. You need to fight men, you know? Period. You need to fight men your size because you're a man. You're a man without a dick. I'm not trying to discriminate against women in any way, shape, or form and I'm a big supporter of women's fighting. I loved watching that Ronda Rousey/Liz Carmouche fight. But those are actual women. Those are actual women. And as strong as Ronda Rousey looks, she's still looks to me like a pretty girl. She's a beautiful girl who happens to be strong. She's a girl! [Fallon Fox] is not a girl, OK? This is a [transgender] woman. It's a totally different specification.
Calling a trans woman a "man", and equating transitioning to merely removal of the dick, and equating trans women's experiences as women as "playing house" and "being a woman in the bedroom". These things are obviously pretty transphobic, and if Rogan had said these things about just any random trans woman his statements would have likely been more widely seen in that light. But when it's someone having an unfair advantage in sports, and the audience is supposed to be angry with you, it's much more socially acceptable thing to say such things. But the problem is, when you say these kinds of things about one trans woman, you're essentially saying those derogatory things about all trans women by extension. It's the equivalent of using an article about a black home invader who murdered a family as an excuse to use a racial slur. Now, I'm not saying that Rogan necessarily did this on purpose, in fact I'm more inclined to believe that it was done moreso due to ignorance rather than having an actual ideological agenda. But since then, many right wing ideologues who do have an ideological agenda have used this issue as an excuse to voice their opinions on trans people while appearing to be less bigoted. Ie. "I'm not trying to be a bigot or anything and I accept people's rights to live their lives as they see fit, but we NEED to keep men out of women's sports", as a sly way to call trans women "men". Additionally, doing this allows them to slip in untrue statements about the biology of trans women. I mean, first of all in regards to the statement "You have bigger hands, you have bigger shoulder joints", obviously even in regards to post-pubescent transitioners, not every trans woman is going to have bigger hands and shoulder joints than every cis woman (My hands are actually smaller than my aunt's!). It's just that people who go through male puberty on average tend to have bigger hands and shoulder joints compared to people who go through female puberty. But over-exaggerating the breadth of sexual dimorphism, as if males and females are entirely different species to each-other, helps to paint the idea of transitioning in a more nonsensical light. I hope this thread has presented this issue in a better light for anyone reading it. Let me know if you have any thoughts/criticisms of my stances or the ways I went about this issue.
Here are some more replies. This one is from candidate Micheal Prill. The district promotes academies and programs for athletics; however, many of these target males—how would you help to support and promote female athletes? As someone who grew up being heavily involved in sports, I understand the disparity between the male and female sports supports. Female students need to be given equal opportunity to participate in athletic programs to the same degree as their male counterparts, with entry screening processes not being set up to lean heavily towards male students. We also need to offer a wider variety of sports that accurately reflect the preferences of all students. I promise to ensure that from a board perspective I am supporting this stance when we are making financial and program decisions in regards to athletics. I will go one step further to this though and state that I believe our athletics programs don't just exclude females, they also exclude all students who do not identify within the binary male-female system. Students of various gender identities are left out entirely in our binary sports models. This is a systemic issue which must be tackled at the board level and beyond by offering options of all-gender and co-ed sports programs. I believe all students regardless of gender identity should be afforded equal opportunities. Do you believe mental health is a key part of education? If so how do you intend to do to improve the mental health of children and youth in the school district? Mental health is one of the most significant contributing factors in whether or not a student even has the ability to be fully engaged in their learning environment and motivated to achieve to their ability. Mental health is the top contributing factor in the quality of life experience our students have on a daily basis, in school and outside of school. One of the most effective ways to improve mental health in our students is by providing the necessary supports and resources in place to assist them while navigating mental health issues in the school environment. I attended my son's PAC meeting at GWG last month and was impressed to see a room specifically created for students with anxiety. As a parent I have been involved in the IEP process and needing to set up resources within the school to allow for mental health breaks when needed. We need consistent supports in every one of our schools, including quiet spaces with counseling support, a streamlined IEP process which takes into account mental health needs and supports, support groups for students who struggle with mental health, and a strong push to advocate for reducing stigma for students with mental health issues. How would you ensure that students receive individualized learning throughout the district? I am a strong supporter of early identification of learning disabilities and gifted abilities, as well as the diagnosis of neuro-diversities, and students who excel in specific areas in arts, academics or sports. Early identification of strengths and limitations is done through increased resources surrounding psycho-educational assessments with a focus on creating stronger partnerships and contracts with external agencies. Our current identification supports are inadequate. Following this, we need consistent resources within our IEP teams so individualized learning plans continue to be established, implemented and with regular review. I also strongly believe in specialist teachers and programs which focus on empowering students through their love of arts, academics and athletics. I believe creating programs which foster these strengths in our students is key, as is attracting the specialist staff we need. What is your ultimate priority for the budget? My ultimate priority for the budget is that it is maximized to ensure that each student has an environment that engages them and supports them in their learning to the best of their ability. Do you support funding for healthy breakfast programs in high schools? I am supportive of healthy breakfast programs in our schools, and in looking at ways in which these can be funded, whether by the district or in partnering with community agencies. How to do you intend to include students as shareholders in your decision-making? I will be advocating for a student representative to sit at our district board table as a non-voting party, along with inviting our DPAC representatives and our union representatives. These four groups are our key stakeholders and I believe direct involvement is necessary to ensure we as a board are including their voice in decision making. What is your stance on Policy 500? While Policy 500 speaks to prevention and consequences, it is lacking any provision to address supports for students who are facing addictions issues. What is your stance on students expressing their own gender identity and sexual orientation? I am the parent to four kids in school, and two are members of the LGBTQ+ community. I understand the critical importance of affirming and empowering students to express who they are, regardless of gender identity, gender expression or sexual orientation. Do you believe that students should have to pay additional fees to access field trips and school supplies? In theory I believe no one should have to pay additional fees for any of these things. In practical application however, and with an understanding of the limited resources with which our government provides for these expenses, I fully understand the previous board's decision to ask families to supplement this funding in order to provide better services. That being said, we must have consistent processes in place so that families for whom this becomes financially burdensome are able to receive the financial exemption they need so their children can continue to be fully included in these activities and in having their necessary supplies. Do you support funding independent directed studies? I would have to have more information on what that would look like specifically. I am open to hearing any recommendations or ideas for any programs which would enhance the student experience and promote greater engagement in education. Do you support funding art and music programs at the same level as core academic programs? Even outside of budget issues and constraints, each of these programs is unique in terms of what level of funding they actually require. A math core program for example would not require the same funding as a music program. What is most important rather than comparison of total funding is to assess each programs' needs and ensure we as a district are providing full funding support to see each program through to its highest ability. I believe this is a far better measure for how we can best support the programs on an equal level. I am fully and equally supportive of the arts, music, athletic and core academic programs. Are you in favor of implementing more mentorship programs? Absolutely. Mentoring programs put students in real-life situations in a manner in which they can learn from more experienced community members. This provides a considerable advantage post-secondary in the workforce and encourages students to consider future career options, as well as builds relationships within the community that can later support that student. Do you support a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health program? Yes. Our health programs must reflect our society and the challenges and needs of our students. All groups of students must be fully represented in the program materials and presentation. Without the use of SOGI 123, how can you guarantee that staff are best equipped to handle questions and issues relating to LGBTQ+ issues? SOGI was voted in support of by our current board of trustees earlier this year and is now fully a part of our board policy. Even if a board were to attempt to remove support for the SOGI resource, the School Act and our board policy would require the board to provide an inclusive resource which does the same thing - provide supports for students with diverse gender identities and sexual orientations. The board is mandated by the Ministry of Education to ensure our teachers have these resources. How will you ensure that LGBTQ+ youth are properly represented, respected, and protected within schools? This is the exact reason that our Ministry of Education has mandated that all school boards include SOGI in it's anti-bullying policies. SOGI in the classrooms promotes inclusion and understanding and will help protect our vulnerable students. Our teaching materials and library resources need to ensure representation of LGBTQ+ youth. Further to that, I believe each school should have a GSA club or equivalent, along with counseling supports, for our LGBTQ+ students. These supports are not currently consistent across our district. I also believe as a board we must adopt a zero tolerance policy for transphobia, homophobia and any bigotry on the part of our staff, administration and students. Lastly, I will advocate for visible supports for our LGBTQ+ students, such as flying the Pride flag at our district office and at our schools. In light of the recent lockdown protocol that was invoked on Sept. 21st, do you believe that students would be truly secure if someone was to enter a school with a weapon? As a dad with kids in school, and as someone with a Criminal Justice and Security Intelligence background, this has often crossed my mind. I have reviewed our district's Safety Procedures Manual and it is quite comprehensive. It is consistent with recommended actions for these kinds of safety scenarios. I don't think we can ever fully anticipate every aspect of any major security incident and all its variables, but I believe with our current policy we have set up a solid plan for protecting our students. As a school trustee, what will you do to help students participate in extracurricular sports programs, without forcing them to pay $110 per sport? Similar to the question regarding field trips and supplies, ideally I would like to see no family have to pay for participation in sports. In reality of our budget, I understand why supplementing the funding is necessary. Boards do not always get funding for extracurricular activities, and when they do it is very limited. That being said, money should never be a barrier in our students being able to participate in these programs. I believe this is an area we can work on, and it may require thinking outside the box. We can work with our partners to come up with funding solutions, and this can also include advocating with our Ministry. I am willing to look at options to alleviate the financial pressures some families are having in this regard to ensure no student is excluded. How to you intend to recruit more teachers teaching-on-call, plus specialist teachers? Part of the issue with our staffing shortage is that the Chilliwack School District is not at this point in time considered a choice employer. I plan to advocate for a Marketing Plan to rehabilitate the image of the Chilliwack School District so we can attract more teachers in all areas. Would you be willing to move the start of the school day to 9:00 a.m. from 8:30 a.m.? Yes. I am supportive of any ideas which will create a better learning environment for our students. Moving to later start times is one area which should be strongly considered given the considerable research on the benefits to student, particularly in high school. It would be important to seek consultation from all our partners on this. How do you intend to adequately fund programs in theatre, computer programming, and the trades to ensure that the quality of education and materials are current and relevant. Our partnership with the UFV has been a key aspect of ensuring we are at current standards in some of these programs. We must continue to partner with our community agencies to ensure quality and relevance. We are often at the mercy of budget constraints, but there is alot we can do within that budget to ensure programs are adequately funded. I also believe hiring specialist teachers goes a long way in securing the best quality of education in these areas. Do you support linear or semestered system? Throughout high school and then university I experienced both the linear and semestered systems. Personally, I much preferred the semestered system. Fewer focuses for a shorter period of time were more tailored to my personal learning style. How do you intend to fund additional apprenticeship programs at the high school level? Even with limitations, our budget allows us to do many things, and I believe that a continued participation in apprenticeship programs is supported in our budget. If additional needs are identified, I believe we have a strong case to advocate with our Ministry for additional funding. French Immersion students who live north of the highway must pay $250 as “courtesy” bus riders; however, we often arrive home by 4:15 p.m., despite classes ending at 2:40 p.m. What do you propose to change so that students arrive home in a timely manner? Part of my main campaign platform is to immediately sit down and identify the key areas where our students are being impacted due to reconfiguration and overcrowding. Transportation issues is one of the biggest areas which has been identified. Given the current number of buses our school district has, it has been difficult to provide optimal busing for all students. I believe we need to advocate for adequate funding for transportation which reflects our recent population growth so we can ensure proper resources. I also believe we need to create partnerships with our City, along with other community agencies engaged in transportation initiatives, to seek solutions that are acceptable for all of our students. As a side note, later high school start times would go a long way in reshuffling the bus resources we have and alleviate the time pressures of transporting all of our students at the same time at day's end
Spiral Dynamics - Crucial knowledge about the current insight on how to increase Awareness [Long but worth it]
before i start, this post is NOT intellectual masturbation, this has a practical use to athene current approach, this knowledge is CRUCIAL to the development of the app and will help a lot of people. my english is bad, i hope you can understand the idea. why i wrote this post instead of apply? i live in south america, athene say i can't apply. the post is long but i can guarantee you that this knowledge will be worth your time Having clarified that, let's start now:
basically the current insight of realtalk is ¿why people with knowledge dont do anything? It's because they dont have the awareness, and you gain awareness by projection and experience. for example a blind person can understand "table" but if you ask them "what color is the table" he will not be able to understand the question, because he doesnt have the awareness of "color". the same way, humans understand and have the knowledge of "right, wrong, responsibility, consistency" but they lack the awareness
i tried the new insight with a lot of people, "be a child in a remote village with a drought" the most common feedback i recieved was basically "oh, i just realized i am selfish and a bad person o_O" (many of them were shocked) "now i am aware of that, but i will not change, i am just like that" this is very similar to the click, is like "i am aware that logic is always the best option.. but i am just an inconsistent person" ¿why change is so difficult even when people grasp the awareness? what is the best approach to change people?
the biggest issue with most people is that they dont know what the fuck to do with their lifes, they lack direction & purpose, many people say "i am fine the way i am" because they believe on a fundamental level that they are in "the final level of awareness" so to speak. but, what if i told you that human awareness evolves following a PATH and you can determine your level of awareness based on science and facts, that way you can say "ok, i am here and i need to move to there", will that make a BIG difference?
the science that study that is called "developmental psychology", this knowledge is CRUCIAL:
"Carol Gilligan", a Psychologist did an study when she was trying to understand female morality, she asked to many woman for many years "do you think woman have the right to an abortion?" then she keep asking the same question to the same group of woman for many years to see how some of them change their awareness over time. basically she received 3 types of answers:
1-"woman have the right to an abortion because i say so and what i said is right" (selfish-ego answer) 2-"woman dont have the right to an abortion because society-moral-law-bible-family say is wrong" (social answer) 3-"woman have the right to an abortion, because if you see the problem from a logical point of view, people that want to do an abortion will do it anyway, so It's better to legalize it, that way you can do it safe for those people, in certain context abortion is very necessary, but in some context is bad" (logical answer)
She made 3 big discoveries with this study:
1-human awareness follow a certain "path" or "stages" during personal development. (me) > (others) > (logic-reality)
2-you can't go back to a previous stage. for example, a selfish person can change to a social person, but a logical person can't change to a selfish person.
3-human awareness can't skip stages. in other words, a selfish person can't just skip to be logical, he needs to have the social awareness first to then have the logic awareness. Years later 2 psychologist "Don Edward Beck" & "Clare W. Graves" did more studies about this discovery, they found out that human psychology evolve in 8 stages of awareness during personal development -each stage has a CORE VALUE that they represented with a COLOR -each stage has his own paradigms that needs to be solved to advance to the next stage. -this 8 core values represent an specific time in human history. -you can be dispersed in various stages, but there is always a stage in which you are "stuck", that is your core value. -each stage think he is right and the others stages are "wrong" or "stupid" -one of the most fascinating discovery is that human awareness evolve in an "spiral" or "cycle" between "life is about me" & "life is about others" that's why is called "spiral dynamics" or "the graves model"
this level of awareness is the most primitive one, i need food, water, warm. -people with this core value: babies, feral childs, senile people -Human history: Prehistory, caveman -less than 1% of world population-paradigm shift to stage 2: "I need to cooperate with others to increase my survival rate, i can't survive by my own"
STAGE 2 COLOR PURPLE, CORE VALUE (BELONGING)(others)
i can trust in my family & i can trust in close friends, i belong to a tribe, my tribe gives me safety, the world is a very mysterious place and the only explanation to things are superstition, magic, spirits & gods. -People with this core value: aboriginal, Shamans -Human History: first tribes -1% of world population-paradigm shift to stage 3: "if i became the leader of my tribe i can increase my survival rate"
STAGE 3 COLOR RED, CORE VALUE (SELFISHNESS)(me)
i am selfish, i want to be the leader of my tribe, i want respect from others, i want more food, i want people to obey me, i WANT things and i will use my FORCE and POWER to feed my ego. life is a battle, survival of the fittest-stronger, life is a competition, social structures based on power. -People with this core value: criminals, impulsive people, bullies, religious extremist, extremely intolerant & selfish people, Cruel people. -Human History: agricultural revolution, first empires, dictators. -20% of world population-paradigm shift to stage 4: "being impulsive and selfish has consequences to me and others, we need order, rules, morals, i need to respect others in order to survive"
STAGE 4 COLOR BLUE, CORE VALUE (COMFORT)(others)
i submit myself to the system because that gives me comfort and safety, i can't stand by myself, i respect the law, authority, religion, i never question anything because my belief are the absolute truth, i felt lazy, empty, conformist, with low Self-esteem, i felt that my life is meaningless, my inaction is ruining my life and the life of others and i felt guilty about it, i felt like a loser and selfish, i dont deserve to be loved or to be happy. -People with this core value: people with 9-5jobs, Twitch chat, religious people, Conservatives, modern society. -Human History: civilization, Modern Age, Religion, church, countries. -40% of world population-Paradigm shift to stage 5: i want to be a winner, i want success, i want to question society and improve myself, i want to be my own boss instead of working as a slave for someone, watch real social dynamics. realizing that Your childhood trauma was not your fault and You deserve to be successful, trust in your intuition and be confident again, develop your social skills.
STAGE 5 COLOR ORANGE, CORE VALUE (VALIDATION)(me)
i want validation and recognition, individualism, life is a game, i am willing to manipulate and take advantage of the rules to achieve my goals and be successful, Even at the expense of others and the environment, i only crave for good experiences, status, money, fame, freedom, fake confidence, selfishness, materialism. -People with this core value: entrepreneurs, corporations, Businessman, corrupted politicians, idols, "successful" people. -Human History: industrial revolution, Capitalism -30% of world population-Paradigm shift to stage 6: validation, money and material things will never bring me Lasting happiness, no amount of experience or drugs will never fill me, i want human connection, purpose, i want to care and give and receive love unconditionally, i am being a cancer to society and my life felt meaningless.
STAGE 6 COLOR GREEN, CORE VALUE (CONTRIBUTE)(others)
humanism, altruism, responsibility, good intentions, human relationships and human connection, selfless, empathy, compassion, fight for a good cause, abundance mentality -People with this core value: save the children, greenpeace, charity, activist, the zeitgeist movement, people in politics with good intentions, some vegans. -Human History: 1950 approximately, hippie movement, declaration of human rights, ecology, etc. -10% of world population-Paradigm shift to stage 7: Facts > Feelings, good intentions is not enough, if i really care about the world then i need to have the biggest impact, we need to value logic, facts, science and reality.
STAGE 7 COLOR YELLOW, CORE VALUE (UNDERSTANDING)(life is about life itself, reality)
systemic thinking, i value consistency, logic, knowledge, facts, science, objective reality, i want to understand the world and other people, neuroplasticity (open minded), overcome excuses, overcome cognitive biases, cognitive dissonance and ego defense mechanism, cognitive empath (you see people as humans, not as NPCs) thinking in probabilities instead of binary, be result-oriented instead of outcome-dependent, sustainability, thinking outside the box and question everything. -People with this core value: Einstein, spinoza, carl sagan, Bill gates -Human History: Right now -less than 0,01% of world population-Paradigm shift to stage 8: logic itself is not enough, you need to understand the emotional component, understand awareness and psychology-neuroscience As a whole. this take a lot of time projecting yourself in others, meditation.
STAGE 8 COLOR TURQUOISE (AWARENESS)(no core value - no attachments)
Holistic global understanding of Awareness, psychology, neuroscience, existence, subconscious, emotions and humans, rational intelligence + emotional intelligence, insane neuroplasticity, constant state of flow, true selflessness, clear mind without noise, ego death, you became water. change the world and change people, global union, you try to spread your awareness to other people (a teacher who creates other teachers), the most intelligent person on the world makes others intelligent, the most good person in the world makes others good. -People with this core value: Athene, Gandhi, Buddha, jesus less than 0.0001% of world population-Human History: Right now
¿why this knowledge is important? because the approach of the Athene therapy is wrong: "with cognitive empathy - projection exercises people get perspective and that increases his awareness" the problem is that is not that simple
i tried the "projection insight" with a RED person, he became aware that he is selfish and a bad person, But he didnt change ¿why? because on a fundamental level he believes that "life is a battle, survival of the fittest", that's why He would not help the dying child, even when he became the child in his mind, even if he is the one that needs help, he still is trapped in that paradigm, in his own words; "i dont except anything from anyone so no one should except anything from me, i am selfish, that's how i am and i will never change" he will never give a fuck about a child in africa, he need to break his RED-awareness paradigm FIRST.
cognitive empathy is the final level of awareness, trying to change low-awareness people with that paradigm is like teaching algebra to a child Who does not know how to add, First you must learn the numbers, then add, then multiply, then equations, then finally algebra. if you start by teaching cognitive empathy people can "Grasp" something, but that eventually will fade away and they will go back to his previous awareness stage in which they are stuck with his current paradigm. in fact, that is exactly what happened to the click. most people never even tried to click, because they where too attached to his current core values and they where not disposed to change in the first place.
you can't change an ignorant-selfish person into a "selfless-logic" person with just ONE insight or ONE click, you need a LOT of insights, mechanical projection exercises, knowledge and existential answers for each stage with their respective paradigm, you need to guide and influence people based on his CURRENT stage of awareness, you need to follow the stages in order because that's how the human brain works, and thats not an opinion, is a fact. self development is CRUCIAL to increase awareness until you reach the stage when you became selfless or logical.
a final example, i tried the "projection insight" with an ORANGE person, he became aware that his problems are meaningless compared to other people suffering, but he didnt change ¿why? because on a fundamental level he believes that human value is based on their success, and that every person has the life he deserves, in his own words "The child needs to overcome his own problems by himself, I am not responsible", he will never care about others until he break that individualism paradigm.
if we really want to change the world, this knowledge needs to be added in the app and in therapy
TL;DR: Awareness evolves in certain stages, each stage Has a paradigm, you can't skip stages because that's how the human brain works, therapy needs to be step by step otherwise the awareness will fade away.
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