So, without any further ado... The third place loser:
Biggest Loser (third place): The Kosilek Fan Club
By supporting the decision, and by totally ignoring the basis of the decision by Massachusetts Judge Wolfe, who defined Kosilek's need was based on her having a "severe mental illness", these individuals undermined their own argument that transsexuality isn't a mental illness. That there were no efforts made to address the medical argument beyond ignoring the mental illness stuff simply highlighted the intellectual laziness of the, er, "argument".
No serious effort, indeed no effort, was made to address the philosophical problem posed by Kosilek's crime. (A hint: if you're against violence against women, how do you reconcile support for Kosilek with "his" gruesome murder of "his" wife?) But the main problem was that support for Kosilek was based on his need to be a woman; by ignoring the "why" of the Judge's ruling, the Kosilek Fan Club proved it was more about grandstanding than thought. The moral conundrums are plenty in this court room victory; the refusal to address them, the denial they actually exist, does the transgender and, in particular, the transsexual communities no favors at all.
The entire supporting argument was based on empathy and a need to be a "civilized" society. This was undermined when some in the transgender and transsexual communities set about demonizing Cee Cee McDonald's victim, by all accounts, a thoroughly nasty man but not someone who deserved to die by her hand. The conflation of Treyvon Martin and Cee Cee McDonald was odious, unconvincing and unnecessary. It almost took the third place from the Kosilek Fan Club, but the obvious unwillingness to address Kosilek's crime, the ignoring of the moral problems posed by Kosilek's court room victory and the eagerness to toss aside core principles, because they were inconvenient, make the Kosilek Fan Club a decent third place loser.
Biggest Loser (runner up): Radical Feminists
This was not a banner year for Radical Feminism. With much heralding, they didn't hold a conference as the management of their London venue decided it didn't want the publicity, the association, or the potential lawsuits RadFem 2012 would bring. In other words, they didn't want to be party to discrimination.
This, unsurprisingly, brought worldwide squeaks of condemnation from individuals who proclaim that they support equality for all, except for those nasty, 'orrible trannies (I paraphrase, obviously). It also brought about a
The RadFems were brought to our attention by Sheila Jeffreys astonishingly shoddy Op-Ed in The Guardian. With absolutely no attention to intellectual honesty, rigor or thought, Ms Jeffreys carelessly hysterical rant was as shrill as it was conceited. She employed the same ideas racists and anti-Semites use to justify and defend their hateful speech as she tried to argue that speaking out against hate was the same as the hate she stood for. She tries, and fails, to persuade us that she's for free expression and that part of that is for women to discriminate against, and subjugate, a minority. Because of how they are defined by the haters.
2012 provided ample evidence, if any were needed, that Radical Feminism is, at its core, a discriminatory, hypocritical, emotional, hate-filled screech that has no place in any decent or reasonable discussion about gender and/or free expression. It also proved that its leaders are generally feckless and stupid.
Biggest Loser: Transsexual Separatists
The shrill vitriol of the transsexual separatists was (mostly) silenced when its adherents realized that their heroines, the Radical Feminists, hated them as much as they hated "transvestites", "crossdressers" and "transgenders". The list of all-encompassing groups the transsexual separatists bitterly hated was indecently long. With the same eager broad brushes of Tea Partiers, the TS-Separatists hated because they could. With about the same intellectual rigor, and success, as Sheila Jeffreys, these people tried their damnedest to justify their hate. When that failed, a small group took to caustic whining about being victims. Their only problem was a complete inability to explain why they were victims of a group that has many more anonymous bedroom-only members than out-and-about members. It was a significant failing for this bunch of odiously shrill twits.
The other two failings were the ignorant denial of freedom of expression and the judging others simply by what was either between their legs or what any single person intended to be between their legs. (I was, to be honest, quite surprised by the number of pre-op transsexual women who were (are?) eager supporters of this obnoxious "philosophy"!)
With a supercilious doctrine, and a spectacular and very amusing downfall when their rug was pulled from under them, Transsexual Separatists easily achieved "Biggest Loser" in the gender category.
Biggest Winner (third place, shared): Cristan Williams
In a particularly successful year, Cristan successfully proved many sacred tenets and credos of Transsexual Separatists to be either false or unfounded. Her research into the history of the gender movement is informative and enlightening, and she employs it in her arguments against people who are as careless with their facts as she is careful.
She also rides... A Harley, but no one's perfect. :-)
Biggest Winners (third place, shared): Lana Wachowski, Laura Jane Grace
By "coming out" as transsexual individuals, these two ladies, prominent in their artistic fields, these two ladies proved that you can be successful while not "fitting" into a "gender binary". With eloquent argument, they argue that you can be who you are and that not conforming to gender stereotypes is nothing for anyone to be "frightened" of. They are positive role models for the wider gender community.
Biggest Winner (runner up): Transgender folk against TS Separatists
It was probably the "hidden" gender story of the year, but the downfall of the TS Separatists could be traced through T-Central; their blogs disappeared, one by one, until there's a token one or two, screeching to their ever-diminishing choir. As the readership disappeared, so did the blogs. They became invitation-only or simply disappeared. The unnecessary hate wasn't something people wanted to be exposed to, but as long as T-Central held onto its policy of allowing those voices to be heard, there wasn't much anyone could do. (Starting an alternative service would entail more effort and dedication than most people would want, or have time for.) But the problem generally solved itself; as I said, the only prominent-ish ones left are owned by a discredited clown and a vitriolic, effusive, ineloquent blogger.
Biggest Winner: Transgender individuals
This year was arguably a banner year. Becoming so mainstream that they were targets of far right Christian hate groups and Transsexual Separatists alike, I think it's fair to say great strides were made in public acceptance. There's a long way to go, obviously, but Europe's anti-discrimination laws embrace gender expression and it's becoming more and more a non-event when someone does wear clothing of the opposite [sic] gender. While there's still a long, long way to go, the general direction toward acceptance is encouraging.
So that's that. Figuring out a winning runner-up was actually a tad difficult; I had an extensive debate with myself whether the accomplishment of standing against vitriolic bloggers was enough; in the end, I decided it was for the simple reason that the TS Separatist bullying was quite overbearing; standing against it wasn't easy, such was the ugliness and deeply hurtful words of the TS Separatist campaigners. They intended to hurt and bully ordinary transgender folk, eagerly dictated and passed judgement upon their lives and enthusiastically found them, by their arbitrary and capricious standards, wanting.
Picking the winner was actually quite easy; the various gains in legal, if not necessarily societal, acceptance are remarkable. The acceptance that transgender and transsexual people exist can be more easily seen in the laws that discriminate against them than in the efforts to ensure such folk enjoy the legal and personal protections they need. There's a growing acceptance of the need to not discriminate because of who someone is. Like I said, there's still a long way to go, and there will undoubtedly be some setbacks, but in general I'd say the trend is encouraging.
Here's to 2013. :-)
Edit: Some stray determinants. :-)