Ed Team

Quote of the Day

Filed By Ed Team | September 02, 2006 10:18 AM | comments

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"The notion that a person is really someone of the opposite sex "trapped in the wrong body" is poetic stupidity. It doesn't exist in reality. A person wishing to change their external manifestations to appear to be a person of the opposite sex is someone very unhappy with being their "real" sex and/or believing in some idealized fantasy of how much better it is to be of the opposite sex.

...I suggest, indeed, letting children who wish go to school in clothes of the opposite sex -- but not counseling other children to not tease them or hurt their feelings.

On the contrary, don't interfere, and let the other children ridicule the child who has lost that clear boundary between play-acting at home and the reality needs of the outside world. Maybe, in this way, the child will re-establish that necessary boundary." -- NARTH Scientific Advisory Committee member Joseph Berger, M.D., who feels that society is causing gender identity confusion among children and the cure includes letting kids be bullied for being different.


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Nick Clarkson | September 2, 2006 5:47 PM

It's interesting. As I was reading the first sentence, I thought this might be a quote from a transperson challenging the idea of being "trapped in the wrong body." I don't understand my experience that way, so I was excited about the possibility of an interesting critique.

I think it's really interesting that he talks about "the reality needs of the outside world." Though I recognize I have certain "reality needs" that necessitated a transition, I would say that the "reality needs of the outside world"--that is, a need to be able to easily categorize people as either male or female--creates more "wishing to change their external manifestations to appear to be a person of the opposite sex" than transpeople may otherwise wish for. If there was less threat of violence for gender ambiguity, more willingness to respect all people's name and pronoun choices, perhaps physical transitions wouldn't be so necessary.

Melissa Williams | September 3, 2006 11:10 AM

Interesting point, Nick. I am interested to hear more about how you do understand your experience.
I want to throw in there that the IHF and the NIH (National Institute of Health; how the federal government funds science research) also have only two gender designations. During a discussion about research based on gender and gender as a pseudo-independant variable in research, the professor said, "How many genders are there?," and being the contrarian queer that I am, I said, "A spectrum." and he retorted, "How many genders does the NIH say there are?" My point is, lots of people have a vested interest in perpetuating the binary gender system. Imagine what would happen to quantitative research if scientists had to control for a gender spectrum!!!!

I'm with Melissa. I'd be interested in reading more about how you understand your experience. You should make a whole post out of it though...