Mercedes Allen

3 Models of Transsexuality

Filed By Mercedes Allen | May 14, 2008 11:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: APA, autogynephilia, Blanchard, crossdressing, fetish sex, gender identity disorder, GID, Harry Benjamin Syndrome, Kenneth Zucker, NARTH, psychiatry, Ray Blanchard, Susan Bradley, transgender, transsexual, transvestism

Before going into a basic overview discussion of three models of transsexuality -- HBS, Zucker/Blanchard's and transgender -- I want to start with a couple of clarifications about some of the discussion that has been happening here and elsewhere on the controversy surrounding the Work Group drafting changes to how transsexuality is treated.

1. Dr. Kenneth Zucker does indeed advocate reparative therapies for transgender children. He does not advocate them for gay and lesbian adults. Where I consider his power as the Chair of the Work Group redefining "Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders" to be dangerous to GLB folk is in the potential entrenchment of reparative therapies at all. If it becomes legitimized for the treatment of transgender children, you can bet that the ex-gay movement will seize upon this as being validation of what they do. NARTH already cites Drs. Zucker and Susan Bradley and their reparative treatment of transgender children extensively.

2. Zucker's model does allow for transition of "homosexual transsexuals" (i.e. they have to be attracted only to people who are the same gender as their birth sex). While he subscribes to Dr. John Money's belief (despite the evidence to the contrary) that psychological gender in childhood is malleable (which also makes him an advocate of "assigning" intersex children), and can be "repaired" by conditioning, he does also believe that by adulthood, there are transsexuals who can only be integrated by society by gender transition (The Clarke Institute that Zucker and Blanchard both hail from is notoriously restrictive, however, so they do not make many such exceptions).

In retrospect, this makes the appointment of Dr. Cohen-Kettenis to oversee the specific entry for GID make sense. I believe that the Work Group's aim is to entrench:


  1. Zucker's model for treatment of trans youth and children (reparative therapy)

  2. Blanchard's model of "Autogynephilia" (more explanation of this model later) to relegate a large segment of the community to a paraphiliac category, and

  3. Cohen-Kettenis' direction of treatment of the far fewer transsexual adults who would qualify.

I am speculating, of course, but if correct, then Zucker's appointment is likely the APA's frightened response to the controversy surrounding the revolutionary new treatments of trans youth by therapists like Dr. Norman Spack.

3) I do believe that the therapists concerned seriously believe that they're trying to help people. That doesn't change the fact that their agendas are dangerous. Therapists of all stripes see only a small sampling of the truth. With the transsexual and transgender communities, they only see those who choose to go through the established gatekeepers' path toward GRS. They are not privy to a wider sampling of transfolk, and then those who they do see measure their words, and withhold anything that they think their therapist does not want to hear, or that might jeopardize their process.

The APA, and therapists in general, need to find a way to build a better rapport with the communities they treat (and likewise, the communities with the therapists). We may be seen as the equivalent of "barstool poets" in their literary midst, but we can recognize quicker than they when someone is overreaching, and being too much poet, and not enough barstool. Community advocates need to be heard.

4) In regards to the HBS assertion that I should leave the advocacy to them, I am a transsexual, many people I care about are transsexuals (most of them surgically-inclined!), many of the people who have embraced the transgender communities that I interact with are transsexuals and I will not just turn advocacy for all of us over to a group that has already excluded much of my community and declared that they consider me nothing more than a "male fetishist," just because they're jumping up and down, throwing a fit, and screaming, "It's my sandbox! It's my sandbox!" You are welcome to debate the data, but you are not the only people who are "real," nor the only people with something at stake. Suffice it to say, HBS radicals don't speak for Mercedes, either.

3 Models of Transsexuality

Okay, now it's fun time. Granted, reopening the HBS debate is not as fun as wearing polka-dots to a game of Twister, but what the hell. Actually, I do believe that taking a narrow look at the specific hypotheses being debated is useful -- maybe even necessary, so that things like "HBS" or "autogynephilia" don't seem like vague unknowns to those hearing about them or in the case of the latter, sound like a category that "applies only to transvestites."

Many readers already know the basic gist of at least two of the models being discussed, so I'm just going to have the headings hyperlink to diagrams and let you visit them if you feel you need them (or have been too embarrassed to ask). The rest is analysis and discussion.

A disclaimer: these are all theories -- and more specifically, my personal take on those theories. In the case of the Zucker-Blanchard model, I do not have inside information, I can only speculate on what their objective is based on their past history. There are more, and variations of these. As such, specifics are not always nailed down or proven/provable. The models of HBS and Transgender are often stated different ways by different adherents, and so my interpretation will not be the same as everyone else's. And yes, I couldn't help throwing in a couple little subtle bits of sarcasm. Just my little way of revenge for the many gobs of it that I've ignored in the past. :)

Zucker-Blanchard Model of Transsexuality

  • By separating transsexuals into three different groups (two by the diagram, because there wasn't enough room) plus a horde of possible unaccounted anomalies, they're unnecessarily complicating the issue. Occam's Razor tells us that the simplest, most direct explanation that encompasses all of the data is probably the right one. Here, they're giving three explanations for three contrived groups of data and still not accounting for everything.
  • Blanchard's theory of "autogynephilia" specifically makes assumptions that have to date not been proven, only supported by shoddy data and conclusion-jumping. Some of this also falls apart when looking at comparative data. We certainly know women who enjoy dressing up and feeling sexy -- to assume that entire transgender identities amount to a sexual-only motivation for the same behaviour is remarkably short-sighted and sex-negative. There's a lot of confusion and misinformation about this. For me (as a bisexual, I might be interpreted by this model as either a homosexual in denial or an autogynephile), the idea of becoming a woman was never a turn-on of itself. However, in my pre-transition, er, sexual fantasies, I happened to be female -- just as in all my other daydreams. Just because the "self as female" is present in fantasy does not make it the trigger, nor is "feeling sexy" a paraphilia of itself.

    Blanchard's theory completely overlooks that many of us do not function well sexually prior to transition, because of our aversion to our own bodies. It also ignores the fact that post transition, for MTFs, libido is low -- and under long stretches of HRT with T-blockers is sometimes practically nil -- and this usually doesn't seem to be an issue for us.

    I don't think modern psychiatry adequately understands "fetish" yet, throws the word at everything related to sex and gender, and too easily equates it all with paraphilia. An "image, act or action that elicits fixation or an erotic response" can conceivably include candlelight dinner, if it puts someone in a romantic enough mood. My own view of "fetish" is much different. I don't understand foot fetish myself, for example, but have never seen harm in a basic attraction to feet. Many men feel exactly the same kind of thing from looking at breasts -- foot fetish is only stigmatized because the particular body part of focus is considered socially unacceptable. I don't think the fetish itself is a danger. I think that stigmatizing it, submerging it so deeply that it stews and brews into some obsessive fixation and can only express itself in some sexual indiscretion... that's the whole danger of fetishizing something (don't get me wrong: I'm not saying that every paraphilia is necessarily harmless). And what autogynephilia seeks to do is to reduce our identities to the level of fetish, force people to submerge them, make them live in denial and let them stew until they explode. Which some in our community do already (some TSes get pretty messed up from coping issues). Thus ironically seeming to validate "autogynephilia."

    This is just like when male clinicians in the Victorian era decided to stigmatize womens' ability to feel sexual pleasure by inventing and fetishizing "nymphomania." And the presence of "autogynephilia" as a paraphilia in the DSM in any form will only serve as a step backwards in the diagnosis and treatment of transsexuality.

  • Dr. Zucker's approach with transgender children reasserts Dr. John Money's philosophy that gender identity is malleable and can be conditioned in a clinical setting. This philosophy has proven incorrect, highlighted by Money's own star example, named as "John/Joan," and now known to be the late David Reimer. This approach not only threatens to psychologically damage more transgender children, it also seemingly validates the surgical "assignment" of gender for intersex infants -- something that has also been extensively shown to be damaging.

The Zucker-Blanchard model of Transsexuality is what happens when you put a bunch of similarly-charged magnets together. They explode outward in all directions, although they think they've organized it well enough that the different concepts can co-exist cohesively.

A final note: most people who maintain the existence of autogynephilia point to those occasional fringe folk who end up in the newspaper, flashing people while dressed in stockings or doing other seriously off-the-wall things. They are out there. There is currently a diagnosis in the DSM-IV for "Transvestitic Fetish" to address this, although this is what is possibly what Autogynephilia would replace (and expand to include all lesbian transsexuals). TF itself is an abused diagnosis, being leveled at every crossdresser, even if they live in a safe, responsible, respectful and consensual manner -- and again, not every "fetish" needs to be made a paraphilia. However, for the sake of the fringe (which the clinicians unfortunately see in a disproportionate number), something does need to be stated in the DSM -- it just needs to be reined in so as to not stigmatize otherwise healthy people.

HBS Model of Transsexuality

  • I actually do agree on a number of the scientific fundamentals of HBS, where they exist. I also do believe that a biological trigger will be found to demonstrate transsexuality as a physical / medical issue rather than mental. Keeping this in perspective, it would actually place us as a smaller part of the larger Intersex community, rather than the other way around. Consequently, we are overreaching when we think to speak for all intersex persons. That science, however, is not there yet. We can encourage it, publicize it, but we can't act like it is unmitigatable fact.
  • Refusal to examine related data that follows the HBS model but is instantly characterized as paraphilia (i.e. non-surgical or partial-surgical transsexuals) despite evidence to the contrary (what hormones do to our libido and the fact that we still consider that a welcome trade) is not scientific method. Scientists do not look only at the data that agrees with them and dismiss what they don't like -- at least, not unless you're J. Michael Bailey. In order for HBS to develop into a viable model, it has to adequately address all the data. This returns to the concept of Occam's Razor.
  • HBS adherents' unwillingness to do this, and their frequent discussion of seperation from "transgender" (rehashing a long-outdated version of the term which is no longer the typical use of it, regardless of who coined it) and the GLBT community betrays bigotry. Medical science will never validate a theory replete with selective discrimination.

To be fair, there is much difference of opinion within the HBS community about what HBS is and what it asserts. Some adherents will actually believe in the existence of a partial continuum (I've occasionally even found some that will allow for non-operative transsexuals; moreso for those who are non-op due to health or financial reasons).

HBS provides an attractive option for transsexuals who are new in transition or homophobic / transphobic themselves, and who have had limited (or possibly poor) experiences with others in the transgender community. They are often in the process of defining themselves and differentiating themselves from sensationalistic connotations of drag queens and crossdressers, and feel empowered and liberated from that stereotype when they insult others in the community in the process. Quoting from the song used in the movie "Better Than Chocolate," I've often pointed out that there's a big difference between "I'm not a drag queen" and "I'm not a fucking drag queen." I am all for self-definition, if that process of self-definition is not deliberately accompanied by attempts to demonize others and burn bridges with them. For some, the initial belief is that the total casting off of other transfolk and turning to spit on them is the only way to earn respect for themselves (they learned that in the schoolyard -- and believe it or not, I mean that as a comment on peerism, and not as a snide jab)... and most restrict contact with the transgender community in such a way that they will never have to be challenged with anything that might tell them otherwise.

Of course, they might be rather surprised if they made an honest and objective attempt to get to know some crossdressers and accord them equal dignity (and to be fair, in some places the crossdressing community has its aversion for transsexuals, so I don't mean to imply that this is always easy to do). Having known crossdressers and others in several different communities, and having come to know them as human beings, rather than stereotypes, I have found them as a group to be incredibly diverse. I have to revisit some of what I'd expressed in "Transbigotry?" here, but it is relevant.

Some crossdressers live part-time lives despite needing to transition, because of concerns for wives, children, careers... all the things that are put at risk by going through the medical process. Many of us couldn't bear to live like that, but that doesn't mean that we should fault those who do. To my thinking, it would have to be the most difficult path of all.

Others experience gender dysphoria (I use the term because no other term has been devised to apply to the trans continuum and reached consensus, not because I'm reasserting it as a "mental health" issue) as well. Harry Benjamin himself at one point proposed a continuum based on Kinsey's model, with surgical transsexuals at the extreme end of it (Type VI), and crossdressers at the median or low end (Types III to I). For CDs, the compulsion to live as a gender other than their physical birth sex is there, but less intense, to the point where part-time, limited experience is enough for them. Some even feel the need to express both genders at various times.

The gender dysphoria is there. Just because dual-expression or other manifestations have not been our experience does not make them less valid.


Transgender Model of Transsexuality

Okay, I don't claim this to be a definitive model, but I do think it adequately looks at all the data in a cohesive and basically scientific manner (including FTMs, who I think are particularily forgotten or victims of conclusion-jumping in the other designs). We cannot set up a wall and refuse to see past it. On the contrary, I have found the diversity in thought and originality in experience to be quite illuminating.

Is the model "right?" It's a theory. It's something to build upon and prove or disprove. Have at it.

Respecting Identities

When asked to disseminate the single most important issue facing the transgender community (a huge task), I arrived at "the respecting of identities." Transsexuals need their families, co-workers, medical professionals and society at large to acknowledge them as the gender to which they identify. All else -- legal rights, medical rights and coverage, etc. -- should theoretically follow suit. This being as it is, we must also be willing to respect each others' identities.

My partner has come back from GRS, is healing up and feels that she has stepped past "transgender" and "transsexual" to become a "woman." Over time, I am certain that this conviction will become stronger. And I can fully respect that. She has paid her dues and earned this entitlement. One can argue that in 100 years, an archaeologist would still declare her remains "male," but to me that is irrelevant. She is female, and I see no reason not to respect this. If she remains as an advocate in the transgender community, then I believe that she still chooses to share some affinity with it, and remains an ally, as "post-operative." But if she ever wants to drop the post-op label and move on into full stealth, I see no reason to deny her this.

This is something that HBS people have raised, and sometimes validly so, but this is also something that has to be mutual. It's one thing to classify oneself as a "woman of transsexual origin" -- it's quite another for one to diagnose people as sex fetishists without ever having met them, and while completely dismissing perfectly reasonable and personal reasons to remain non-operative TS or a crossdresser.

So there. Everyone has their game cards. HBS people wanted in on the debate, and so be it. Please play nice.


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Mercedes,
I have put on my flack jacket and my Kevlar panties, which I'll need just to read the responses. I can give you a web site where you can order some, if you don't already have them. (giggle) You opened a big enough can of worms here to supply all the fishing lovers in North America for the next 50 years. The Tet Offensive will look like a tea party compared to the responses you'll get here. "'T' anyone?" I'll try and watch your six.

"IN-COMING!"

Huzzah, Monica, I'll be right there with you having some tea.

I have a post that should be done any minute now on Zucker, about the practical applications of his model of transsexuality, specifically when it comes to children. I can't see why this dude is in charge of anything at the APA.

Are there any open trans people on the panel? I haven't read anything about any, but it seems like a big flaw.

[blockquote]Are there any open trans people on the panel? I haven't read anything about any, but it seems like a big flaw.[/blockquote]

No, there aren't. The only transsexual or transgender person close to the panel is Anne Lawrence, who advocates for the Clarke-Northwestern clique and who has her own controversies surrounding her. There was a claim made at one point that she was on an advisory panel to the work group along with J. Michael Bailey, but she has publically stated that she is not (in circumstances which I tend to believe). Their influence, however, due to past work history, is still there.

There is a certain amount of elitism among the medical community about working with advocates with less education. It's a serious obstacle right now, although we do have medical allies.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 14, 2008 1:19 PM

"those occasional fringe folk who end up in the newspaper, flashing people while dressed in stockings or doing other seriously off-the-wall things."

Applying a bit of Occam's blood-play to this notion, isn't it simpler to assume such people are just common garden variety exhibitionists who happen also to be trans?

Mercedes,

Good posting, but one of the things you failed to address is the horrible implications of the Zucker model being entrenched in the DSM, and its affect on treatment of transsexuals and transgenders. I firmly believe it will lead to a situation analogous to the banning of abortion. It will not prevent transsexuals from getting surgeries, it will lead to them resorting to backroom and downright criminal practitioners if they cannot or will not go to good surgeons out of the country. It will result in more people going underground for their hormones, and doing unsupervised and dangerous self-treatment with hormone therapy which will result in increasing numbers of deaths and injuries.

Mercedes,
As far as HBS is concerned, I see it as nothing more than the tired rehash of radical feminism fashioned into a club to beat other transpeople with.

I also don't like the borderline racism, exclusionarly attitudes and inflammatory rhetoric that many of the WBT's have brought to this blog and others that turn reasonable discourse into a WWE wrestling match. Anybody who questions their worldview is instanly labeled in their Bailey-style counterrattacks as 'a man'

Te HBS advocates act more like fundamentalist Christians that someone who is claiming an identity they feel comfortable with.

Very interesting infromation I head about this guy Dr.Zucker on NPR the other day.Didnt know if I wanted to hurl or what then I was driving in my car.Then im in the calss of folks who are part CD and part Trans because of personal reasons my transition is on the slow path. But thaks for the posting readjusts body armour and helment and ducks back into my hole!

Caty

Just Jennifer | May 14, 2008 8:25 PM

Trolling?

"Con, this is Sonar. We have a new contact bearing one-two-five. She's traveling at one-five knots at a depth of five-zero-zero feet."

"Sonar, Con. Have you identified the contact?"

"Con, Sonar. Not yet."

"Sonar, Con. Keep tabs on her. Let us know if she opens the torpedo tube doors."

"Con, Sonar, Aye."

See post on Brain Intersex for an argument that cross-gendered neurology must exist. If you like, that if HBS didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent it, or at least find a good explanation why it didn't exist, when all the evidence said it should do.

See post on Thoughts on Gender showing how a neurological cause requires that there be different degrees and symptoms.

HBS theory contains within it the prediction that some women will be non-op. They just don't realise that, and artificially make a divide that will exclude people who they see as pretenders and wannabes.

I personally do wish that such a nice, neat divide existed. There are wannabes and fetishists. But operative status is as unreliable a metric as chromosomes. Many unfortunates are stuck in a twilight zone too, unable to either go forward or go back.

As a matter of convenience, a practical matter, a better divide would be between those who need to change their bodies through medical intervention, and those who don't. The distinction is still artificial and arbitrary, but very useful when judging legal and medical issues. So instead of SRS, any surgery of a similar nature, and any HRT would be the line.

Oh for what it's worth, I'm IS, formerly TS, and have had genital reconstruction. I'd qualify as one of the "cool girls" in the HBS club, in fact, one of the elite as I was judged medically female even before surgery. I have no personal interest either way, apart from wishing not to be associated with much of the TG group, contrary to my findings. But I have too much respect for the evidence.

News:

Ray Blanchard has issued a press release, which follows. Before it, I'd like to note that we've pointed to Zucker as advocating the reparative therapies, not Blanchard (although as Head of Clinical Sexology Services at the CAMH in Toronto, he has not diapproved of Zucker's therapies). As I've also previously stated here, I do believe that the therapists believe they are helping people. They are not necessarily transphobic by the proper use of the term -- they are, however, a danger in their present position.

The spokesman, Jack Drescher, is also on the APA Work Group for Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders.
_________________________________________

Jack Drescher wrote:
PLEASE CIRCULATE

I am forwarding this response by Dr. Ray Blanchard to the many rumors
and personal attacks circulating the internet.

Jack Drescher, MD
www.jackdreschermd.net

***********************************
Thank you for your e-mail advising me of the great deal of
misinformation that is currently being circulated about my views and
positions on the Internet. I am writing to state the facts regarding
the most serious of these incorrect notions. Please feel free to quote
from this e-mail in whole or in part.

This first notion is that I am transphobic. Nothing could be
further from the truth. In 1983 I published the first of a series of
research studies demonstrating the beneficial effects of gender
transition for transsexuals. I published further research studies
demonstrating the positive effects of social transition, hormone
treatment, and sex reassignment surgery in a second article in 1983,
and then in four more studies between 1985 and 1989. I published
literature reviews arguing that sex reassignment surgery was the most
beneficial treatment for properly diagnosed transsexuals in 1990 and
2000. In 2007, I testified pro bono on behalf of a transsexual
plaintiff who filed suit against the Ontario Ministry of Health in an
attempt to force the Ministry to reinstate public funding of sex
reassignment surgery. In summary, there is a readily accessible,
24-year-long, completely public record of my support for hormonal
treatment and sex reassignment surgery for transsexuals.

The second false notion is that I support reparative therapy
(sometimes called conversion therapy), which is a term that denotes
the attempt to change homosexual orientations to heterosexual
orientations. I do not now, nor have I ever, advocated therapeutic
attempts to alter sexual orientation, either in adults or in minors. I
have never written any document that could possibly be interpreted to
mean that I hold, or previously held, such views. I have never stated
that I think the alteration of sexual orientation is desirable or that
I think it is possible.

On the contrary, my considerable body of work on the origins
of sexual orientation has stressed that sexual orientation in males is
probably determined in prenatal life, a theoretical viewpoint that is
basically incompatible with the notion that therapeutic
interventions could alter basic sexual orientation. My publications on
biological (and, by implication, immutable) influences on sexual
orientation cover a 16-year period from 1992 to 2008.

The foregoing facts are indisputable. Any statements on the
Internet claiming that I am either opposed to sex reassignment surgery
or in favor of reparative therapy are simply erroneous.

Sincerely,
Ray Blanchard, Ph.D.

Head, Clinical Sexology Services
Law and Mental Health Program
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Professor of Psychiatry
Faculty of Medicine
University of Toronto

Notice he is not debunking his support and advocation of autogynephilia. Zucker is a danger because of his reparative therapy beliefs and Blanchard is a danger because of his belief of autogynephilia. He needs to denounce his past crap and denounce Zucker as the head of the work group. Even then, I still wouldn't trust him. The letter is meaningless.

Shannon wrote:
"It will not prevent transsexuals from getting surgeries, it will lead to them resorting to backroom and downright criminal practitioners if they cannot or will not go to good surgeons out of the country. It will result in more people going underground for their hormones, and doing unsupervised and dangerous self-treatment with hormone therapy which will result in increasing numbers of deaths and injuries."

This is a possibility, although it depends on the overall reaction to a DSM-V change and what it specifically declares. What I suspect is that Dr. Cohen-Kettenis will be responsible for a reduced classification of GID which will still allow for surgery. Even if not, I also believe that surgeons like Dr. Brassard in Montreal will continue to do the procedure, despite the stigma from the medical community. It will not be THAT much different from what they experience now.

JustJennifer wrote:
"Trolling?"

In honesty, no, despite the little bit of impulsive attitude I admit to feeling. HBS wanted in on the discussion, and so I decided this was a time that all three models needed to be thrust into the open. Feel free to poke holes in my theory and defend address my criticisms of yours. You are respectfully invited.

battybattybats wrote re: the fringers:
"Applying a bit of Occam's blood-play to this notion, isn't it simpler to assume such people are just common garden variety exhibitionists who happen also to be trans?"

Fringe people who fall under the "Transvestitic Fetishism" category may come from a variety of directions, not just exhibitionism. Although that is the likely explanation of the specific example I gave.

Zoe wrote:
"If you like, that if HBS didn't exist, it would be necessary to invent it, or at least find a good explanation why it didn't exist, when all the evidence said it should do..."

Actually, when you remove the bigotry and exclusion, there is a lot of overlap between HBS and (at least my) trans theory, on the surgical-transsexual aspect. And again, I do believe a biological trigger or triggers will be found -- which can address the whole continuum in matters of degree.

(Mercedes = DES child with some evidence of intersex: underformed testes, partially formed ovary, scarring possibly characteristic of CAH -- my birth records no longer exist, so I may never know. However, I don't feel that if intersex it would in anyway "validate" me any differently than I am as "transgender")

She also wrote:
"HBS theory contains within it the prediction that some women will be non-op..."

I have not heard that prediction from the theorists here or at TS-Si, but I appreciate your pointing out the likelihood.

and:
"... operative status is as unreliable a metric as chromosomes."

Thank you. I also believe though, that having resort to medical treatment is not the measuring stick, but rather the strength of need to express gender differently from one's physical sex (and outside sexual-specific expressions). Which is a less tangible measure, I admit.

Hi Mercedes!

DES, the gift that keeps on giving.. 1 in 5 male-gened people exposed to DES in the first trimester end up with a female gender identity. They often have other, more easily detectable Intersex conditions too, apart from the cross-gendered brain.

By any definition, you're IS. The combination of ovarian and testicular tissue meets even the most stringent definition.

That means that according to the DSM, you can't suffer from GID, but only GIDNOS. The SOC can't apply. If you're lucky, you can get fast-tracked for any treatment you feel needed, no questions asked. If unlucky, you'll be prevented from getting any treatment at all, not even HRT, as you don't fit the standard model. I was lucky.

If, like me, it's decided you're "over the line", and already female, any genital corrective surgery you might in future decide is best for you might not count as SRS for legal purposes. That can mean being unable to change documentation, a situation I'm in. It would actually be easier legally if you're still on the somatically male side of the arbitrary line, that way it would be counted as SRS, and the legal people know how to handle that.

Yes, my BC will always say Boy because medically, I'm a girl. You get used to things like that in the law.

Good Luck, and thanks for the insightful article and comments. I wish the HBS people, who I generally support as being 95% correct, would just realise that biology is messy, is blurred, and that a fanatical insistence on a sharp divide isn't tenable.

Your measuring stick is based on Human Rights concerns, and that's a powerful argument to make. The only possible counter-argument is based on practical difficulties in implementation, and the sorting out of people who want treatment that would be bad for them, from those who want treatment that would be good for them. I have mixed feelings on this one, and am open to argument. My position is based on what is easily doable, not what is right. I'm not comfortable with that, but still don't see any practical alternative.

Battybattybats | May 14, 2008 11:46 PM

"Fringe people who fall under the "Transvestitic Fetishism" category may come from a variety of directions, not just exhibitionism. Although that is the likely explanation of the specific example I gave."

II didn't make my point too well, sorry (posting when I should have been asleep 4 hours before is not wise). What I should have said is that in many (most, perhaps even all) instances the alleged behaviour can be covered by other causes just with Trans added incidentally such as with the exhibitionism.

I know some cis lesbians who have a thing for leather. Is leather fetishism in the DSM? Or perhaps a broader 'vestism' fetish as many people are turned on by wearing specific catagories of clothes. Then transvestic fetishism would be a subset of vestism surrounded by vastly greater numbers of cis folks into silk, satin, leather, nurse outfits, business suits and all the rest. Oh, and lets not forget the furries! Singling out those who allegedly get their turn on from just one catagory of clothes seems bizarre and unscientific especially as they must be insignificant in numbers to some of the other groups.

And then lets not forget that if someone is trans requiring some degree of trans expression to be capable of sexual arousal isn't abberant but instead something easily predicted by being trans or even more likely HBS. Shouldn't logicly lack of arousal when not presenting as much as possible opposite to birth sex be an HBS requirement or common symptom? We should expect to see high degrees of psychosomatic erectile dysfunction amongst pre transition HBS women under that model surely.

Also we know that the bias and discrimination many trans people face is huge. The case was made when homosexuality was being removed from the DSM that this discrimination and attempts to 'cure' the 'condition' was the cause of these problems. Should it be any surprise then that trans people might also suffer from similar higher frequencies of mental illness on this account that would explain the 'fringe behaviour'? That is if such behaviour occurs at a higher frequency than the general population. Cis folk get drunk and stagger round in public in their underwear and do stupid things all the time. It gets more press coverage if a guy in stocking does the same.

Battybattybats | May 15, 2008 12:29 AM

Responding to comments from Just Jennifer in the oher discussion that belong here

"And the stuff about the suits of armor sounds like someone seeing what they want to see. I mean really, you cannot base an argument on silliness like that. That's like saying that men in Scotland are really transvestites because they all wear skirts. Tell one of them that, and you are likely to be punched in the nose."

Gender-mixing trends have indeed occured in the past. If you doubt that plate armour fashions included exaggerated busts, excessively narrowed waists and unneccessary decorative skirting to create a deliberatly feminine shape you better bring it up with the historians. Though one historian was laughed at for his alternate explanation, that there was a sudden unreported mass of women taking to the battlefield in those suits of armour that was since covered up. As for kilts thats a spurious comparison. There are distinct mens and womens kilts. I know, I have some, inherited I might add. That is distinctly different from molding a corseted bustline shape onto a breastplate etc. Unfortunately my brother has my copy of arms and armour of medieval and reanissance europe so I can't give you specific referances.

"And yes, I think that gender is primarily binary, and I do believe it is immutable. Otherwise, all that would be needed would be a good talking cure, and all the HBS people would be fixed."

Great argument for the trangender model! Thankyou! Becuase if being a crossdresser etc wasn't immutable all that would be needed would be a good talking cure, and all the transgender people would be fixed. Only the talking cure doesn't fix transgender, not even the crossdressers.

"Now, for some people, who are not HBS (or if you insist, transsexual) the best treatment would probably be intense psychotherapy. Hormones are relatively benign, but surgery is almost certainly not called for."

But the psychotherapy doesn't work. All Zucker seems to do is torture children into submission but his admitted failure rate is what, 20% or so and he's only followed his subjects into what, their early 20's? When many closeted folk of the more repressive baby boomer generation didn't manage to come out untill much later in life than that.

So your calling for unethical treatment known to be inneffectual and likely to cause further harm. Good work Just Jennifer.

"And yes, contrary to the deconstructionist claims, what is commonly called "gender" is rooted in biology, not choice."

I think you are probably right. In which case transgender would be rooted in biology, not choice. There is anecdotal evidence to suggest that crossdressing etc may run in families with a number I have spoken too discovering late in life, often after the deaths of family members, that brothers or fathers also secretly crossdressed. It would be an interesting study to see if it is indeed an inheritable characteristic.

Harry Benjamin’s entire work, which spanned decades, was based on the premise that there was a group of people who from their earliest cognizant memory identified and felt innately they were born in the wrong body. Benjamin describes three groups of what might be called transgender today. In his words, emphasis mine:
”In previous medical publications, I have divided all transvestites into three groups according to the clinical picture they presented. First there are those who merely want to "dress," go out "dressed," and to be accepted as women. They want to be allowed to do so. Their clash is with society and the law. Most of them feel, live, and work as men and lead normal, heterosexual lives, often as husbands and fathers.
Group 2 constitutes a more severe stage of an emotional disturbance. It could be interpreted as an intermediate stage between transvestism and transsexualism. These patients may waver in their emotions between the two. They need more than merely "dressing" to appease their psychological sex with its commanding and demanding female component. They want to experience some physical changes, bringing their bodies closer to that of the female, although they do shy away from surgery and the alteration of their genitalia. Such a desire, however, can play a part in their fantasies and daydreams. Like those of Group 1, for them the penis is still an organ of pleasure, in most cases for masturbation only. They crave some degree of gynecomastia (breast development) with the help of hormone medication, which affords them an enormous emotional relief. Psychotherapy is indicated but the patients frequently refuse it or fail to benefit from it. Their clash is not only with society and the law, but also with the medical profession. Relatively few doctors are familiar with their problems; most doctors do not know what to do for them except to reject them as patients or to send them to psychiatrists as "Mental cases."
This clash with society, the law, and the medical profession is still more pronounced and tragic in Group 3, which constitutes fully developed transsexualism. The transsexual shows a much greater degree of sex [9] and gender role disorientation and a much deeper emotional disturbance. To him, his sex organs are sources of disgust and hate. So are his male body forms, hair distribution, masculine habits, male dress, and male sexuality. He lives only for the day when his "female soul" is no longer being outraged by his male body, when he can function as a female - socially, legally, and sexually. In the meantime, he is often asexual or masturbates on occasion, imagining himself to be female.”
Benjamin goes on to describe the defining difference between Groups 1 and 2…from Group 3:
The transsexual (TS) male or female is deeply unhappy as a member of the sex (or gender) to which he or she was assigned by the anatomical structure of the body, particularly the genitals. To avoid misunderstanding: this has nothing to do with hermaphroditism. The transsexual is physically normal (although occasionally underdeveloped) [2]. These persons can somewhat appease their unhappiness by dressing in the clothes of the opposite sex, that is to say, by cross-dressing, and they are, therefore, transvestites too. But while "dressing" would satisfy the true transvestite (who is content with his morphological sex), it is only incidental and not more than a partial or temporary help to the transsexual. True transsexuals feel that they belong to the other sex, they want to be and function as members of the opposite sex, not only to appear as such. For them, their sex organs, the primary (testes) as well as the secondary (penis and others) are disgusting deformities that must be changed by the surgeon’s knife. This attitude appears to be the chief differential diagnostic point between the two syndromes (sets of symptoms) - that is, those of transvestism and transsexualism.
For patients of a high degree of transsexualism (the "true and full-fledged transsexual"), a conversion operation is the all-consuming urge, as mentioned earlier and as a later chapter will show still more fully. Cross-dressing is an insufficient help, as aspirin for a brain tumor headache would be (Group 3).
Is the desire for post op status a reliable metric to determine transsexualism? In my view, yes, it is. And, it was to Benjamin as well.
I have had my run-ins with the folks over at TS-Si. All one would have to do is visit and review their reader’s comments to see that. I’ve had disagreements with their approach so broad that I was accused of “thinking” like someone who is transgender rather than simply female. And, the issue was? It was over exactly the point Mercedes makes:
That science, however, is not there yet. We can encourage it, publicize it, but we can't act like it is unmitigatable fact.
TS-Si’s take on the issue is that HBS is indisputable. Like Mercedes and others, though the research is promising, no definitive cause has been discovered for HBS and/or transsexualism.
Nonetheless, Benjamin recognized there was a distinct group of people we might refer to as HBS/classic transsexuals/true transsexuals (take your pick). He described the differences.
The snobbery that some HBS/classic transsexuals/true transsexuals throw at others who do not fall into that group is not right. I have been accused of it numerous times though no one seems to be able to quote me on when I did. Those accusations became so intense that I disavowed any association to those who did hold that view and shut down my blog over it. I know a few post ops…none of us hold the view that some of the more militant HBS folks hold toward others who are no in the true transsexual, Benjamin’s Group 3 category. We all know crossdressers and non ops as friends or acquaintances…same for gay folks. We don’t see ourselves as “better” than anyone else. We do, however, see ourselves as different…much, MUCH different than others who identify as transgender, and, as Zoe said, we really don’t want to be associated “…with much of the TG group.”
As Nexy said in an exchange with me on her blog, “different doesn’t mean better.” I agree. Unfortunately, even saying we are different is more often than not seen to imply “better”.
Just as someone who is a crossdresser can’t empathize with someone who is a Group 3 transsexual…neither can someone who is a true transsexual empathize with a crossdresser. It is an issue of not knowing what one doesn’t know.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 15, 2008 12:39 AM

This research http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/08/070819213846.htm looks very interesting. I wonder about the epigenetic consequences of activating said gene later in development or subequent life of a normally developing mouse.

Geez...the one time I didn't preview the post...and its all run together. Hopefully the editors will divide the paragraphs.

Oh, well...sorry about that...internal project engineering audit today...I'm tired.

S.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 15, 2008 12:57 AM

"Just as someone who is a crossdresser can’t empathize with someone who is a Group 3 transsexual…neither can someone who is a true transsexual empathize with a crossdresser. It is an issue of not knowing what one doesn’t know."

There are multiple forms of empathy. Projected empathy, ie they must feel what I feel, that's all covered in theory-of-mind. Relational empathy, ie the way I feel about this must be the way they feel about that. Imaginitive empathy, ie I can't know how that feels but I can listen to them and imagine how it must be for that to be so.

Only the first is inbuilt, that which psychopaths for example lack. The others are learned skills which also require learning about the subject to develop accurate responses and that allows empathy across great differences.

"Con, Sonar, I'm hearing multiple screws. Torpedoes are in the water!"

"Ship, brace for impact!"

"Con, Sonar, wait! They're going to miss their mark."

"Sonar, Con, aye. Carry on."

(Girls just wanna have fun. Oh, girls just wanna have fun.)

Monica, you'll have us all FRAZzled at this rate, and we've been DEMONised enough already.

As for me, on Harry Benjamin's scale, I'd be a 2 point something. It would be 3, but there are enough differences to make that dubious. And I never crossdressed, so 2 is right out too. That description doesn't fit at all.

The testes were my only way of having children, and so I valued them highly. The rest, I hadn't been issued with a standard model anyway, and it was a nuisance that got in the way. Disgusting? Not compared with the rest of the body, the Rugby player body I was issued with. Having a masculinised genitalia was overkill, that's all. To put it crudely, not so much icing on the cake, as a small turd garnishing a shit sandwich.

Of course when the testes became dysfunctional, not only were they no longer an asset, they were a cancer risk. I needed urethral re-plumbing too - that area had really atrophied. The external genitalia had to go.

I suspect any guys reading this are probably gibbering in a corner by now. I don't know how they can feel that way, but it's been my observation that they do. I reckon they must feel about it the way I feel about Mastectomy (EEK!!!)

But still I wasn't disgusted by it all, I just wished I had more raw material available for SRS. What little I had was valuable tissue that could be re-shaped into something almost normal. I could have opted for a Barbie-Doll surgery (the only procedure available in my country for someone with my anatomy), but I wanted to keep my options open, just in case the improbable happened. It was worth the doubled cost and overseas trip. A long-shot, but you only get one chance. Had it not been for the medical issues, I could have lived with the situation.

It all turned out better than I dreamed possible of course. It all matches my body-map image now. I even have a libido and a love-life, neither of which I expected to have. I'd rather thought they had to be partly mythical and grossly over-rated.

They're neither. But I didn't know that when pre-op. So... 2, 3 or neither?

Group down, make revolutions for 5 knots, going below the layer.

Rather biased to suggest a 'debate' when the subject matter has already been defined with particular categories or persons already having been characterized in the negative when compared to other conditions. This is exactly why many of us who identify with HBS would never sign a transgender designed petition. It would insinuate we agree with our inclusion under that banner which we most definitely find demeaning.
In fact I see in Zucker's motives a treatment much connected to that many transsexuals in years past were subject to...electro shock. And please don't tell me that reparative treatments do not work at all since there are some who specifically go to a therapist just for that purpose and for them it works. Talk about forced reparative treatment and you might find me in agreement. Two different issues!
There are not three models of transsexuality. Transgenderism is a term designed to create a non-biological social construct that gives gender variants an inclusive label. It is not part of the transsexual model although perhaps some transgender use it without knowing its 'specific' understanding.
HBS never claimed that non-ops were a specific type of HBS. What was said is that, in very rare cases someone might be HBS born yet because of having a severe medical condition might not be eligible for SAS (sex affirmation surgery). We do not accept non-op as a choice but simply see it as being a non-option as applied to most who use that term and therefore in that sense not at all HBS. Choice is a transgender lexicon usually equated with lifestyle and not at all analogous to those born with a condition that leads to a long driven need to find an avenue that would allow for physical correction.
Diane - http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

battybattybats battybattybats | May 15, 2008 9:07 AM

"It would insinuate we agree with our inclusion under that banner which we most definitely find demeaning."

How is being in the definition demeaning?
Innaccurate, potentially if your view is right but the science is far from conclusive currently. But how is it demeaning? That implies that you consider being transgender is bad and/or that some of the people also considered transgender is bad.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 15, 2008 1:50 PM

Just Jennifer wrote (on another thread: http://www.bilerico.com/2008/05/uh_oh.php#more), “And there are people who have surgery and who then regret it.”

That’s precisely why people should take their time making decisions about their treatment each step of the way, and why no one should feel pressured into getting genital surgery in order to obtain hormones and other surgeries. You clearly recognize this, yet you say that only people who want genital surgery should have access to *any* medical treatment. That’s precisely the approach that leads to regrets.

Just Jennifer wrote, “Now, I have to wonder...why do some, who have absolutely no desire to be rid of their penis (or vagina as the case may be) insist on calling themselves "transsexuals?" What do they gain by this? Are they that ashamed of what they really are?”

I’m not at all ashamed of what I really am, a gay transsexual man. It seems to me that the primary difference between our views is that you think of male and female strictly in terms of genitals. I view them as a combination of primary and secondary sex characteristics, including brain sex, chromosomes and endocrine profile. In that view, genitals have less importance in determining sex because they’re just part of a larger picture. Regardless of where we start before transition, all post-transition transsexuals are intersexed.

This is a sound scientific approach that I’ve found very useful when debating with religious fundies, as well as John and Jane Q. Public.
When attacking us, some of these people define male and female by chromosomes alone. Some define them based on the presence of testis or ovaries. I assume you strongly disagree with these notions, so how can you advance an equally arbitrary construct that sex is defined solely by external genitalia? Gender (man and woman, as opposed to male and female) are social contructs. I have no problem calling myself a man, and you, a woman, despite our intersexed bodies.

I’ve seen a lot of different viewpoints from people all over the transsexual spectrum. One trend I’ve noticed is this: FTMs tend to consider chest reconstruction the most important surgery, and for most MTFs, it’s vaginoplasty. I think the primary reason for that is that both are external physical features that are impossible to ignore. FTMs in general aren’t nearly as passionate about genital surgery for the same reason MTFs aren’t as passionate about breast implants. Both of us, first and foremost, want to get rid of the most prominent sexual body parts. Most FTMs have hysterectomy and oophorectomy as well. So, have you had your prostate removed? Surely you want to get rid of all traces of maleness, no?

Another thing that tends to get ignored in these discussions is the influence of upbringing, life experience, personality, and other factors on our body image. Transsexualism is not the sole defining characteristic of who we are and how we see ourselves and the world. If someone had asked me, when I was younger, if I wanted to get rid of my vagina, I would have said “yes.” But by the time I discovered that transition was possible and chose that path, I had learned to live with and accept a certain amount of “deformity,” learned that every decision we make is a trade-off, and had, within myself, already defined masculinity on my own terms in a way that allows for grey areas within the concept of maleness. What were once coping mechanisms became part of my decision-making process in my own particular approach to treatment, means’ of infusing prudence and careful deliberation with my desire to correct my body. My path is no less valid than yours, only different.

Just Jennifer wrote, “Or do they just desire to muddy the waters...”

I don’t “desire to muddy the waters.” Nature made the waters “muddy,” but what you’re calling “mud,” I call nutrient-rich mineral deposits.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 15, 2008 2:36 PM

Something tells me that Harry Benjamin didn’t work with many FTMs.

I don’t fit Group 1, since I never cross-dressed before transition, unless jeans and T-shirts are considered “cross-dressing” for female-bodied persons. And I never lived “as a woman,” or got married, or had kids.

Group 2 doesn’t apply, since I don’t waver between “crossdressing” and wanting body alterations, nor do I shy away from surgery (hooterectomy, hysto. and FMS) or want mere breast reduction, which would be analogous to “some degree of gynacomastia.”

Group 3--Well, I don’t want genital surgery in its present state of development, unless the uterus and ovaries count as genitals. The former *was* a source of disgust and hate before the testosterone stopped the monthly bleeding. Now it and the latter are just potential cancer sites, so I fear them more than anything. The boobs have always been a major source of disgust. Are those genitals?

As I've argued before, they could be analogous to penises because of their prominence.

I find it interesting how Blanchard choses to play games with semantics. First off, the term "transphobic" is kind of silly. It is an attempt to emulate the gay community's use, and sometimes misuse, of homophobic. A more accurate portrayal of Blanchard's views would be to call them what they really are, utter and total contempt for transsexuals.

Blanchard has played games with transsexuals for years. He claims to defend SRS, and yet Clarke has a long standing record of abuse of transsexuals. Only the bare minimum need to maintain funding are actually approved. Patients there are still denied access to sufficient doses of hormones, and then only after an outrageous requirment that they undergo RLT.

Clarke is a perfect example of the dangers a single payer plan can hold for HBS sufferers. Under the system in Canada, Clarke controls access to services for people in certain provinces. If you don't want to pay out of pocket, you play by their rules, and even then, you are probably going to wait a very long time for treatment, and suffer in order to get it.

Autogynephillia is a legitimate concept. It obviously exists. Where Blanchard's views fail is that he holds that all "transsexuals" are either AGP or homosexual. That is absurd. A percentage of males who claim a desire for surgery are clearly autogynephillic in the sense that their motivations have nothing to do with having a brain that is sexually differentiated female, but with a desire to be changed into a female even though emotionally they are essentially male. A good example of this would be someone who claims to be a woman while retaining a strong connection to his past. Such a person might, for example, make regular references to military service that only a man could have experienced. Put another way, an autogynephile wishes to be a woman, who used to be a man...or perhaps, a man, with the body of a woman. They are clearly not HBS.

My problem with Blanchard, as will Michael Bailey, is that they both exhibit a clear determination to discredit women who are survivors of HBS. If they can't label us as gay men who are just too gay to stay men, they label us as men with a perverse desire to be women. The key word, in both cases, is "men." It has been shown that Bailey's book, for example, was specifically designed to counter the view that women with HBS (though that term is not used) are not really women at all.

To be honest, I am surprised that those who express such hatred for HBS and WBT have a problem with Blanchard. You would think they would be his biggest supporters.

Actually, this is obviously an attempt to control, and censor the debate. That the whole "Zucker/APA" petition move is simply another attempt by transgender activists to force people under their label was a legitimate issue in that forum. You were losing there, so you decided to hide the issue here. Oh well....

As to your comments, you clearly have no understanding of Blanchard's model, which is an attempt to over-simplify the issue, and reduce "transsexuals" or more properly, women with HBS, to simply being "men." His approach is not overly complicated, but is actually overly simple. In fact, it is very much the same as the what the transgender model really says.

You are really not in a position to say what the HBS model says, as you are not a part of that group.

And the transgender model? Well, it is really just the same silliness as Blanchard.

I'll remembere that when I'm having lunch with my biogirlfriends tomorrow.

I was fortunate enough to have done my transition under the auspices of the Rosenberg Clinic in Galveston. It has not only been around since 1970, we who transition there don't get ranked by whether you're a Group One this or a Group 2 that transsexual.

The bottom line with Dr, Collier Cole at Rosenberg is helping you transition, work on whatever issues you have at the time, work through them, become a well-adjusted citizen confident in your gender identity and living an authentic life. Too many people are so wrapped up in theory that they don't take the time to live their lives.

Hi gang

Great postings by every one but you know there is one way to find out that yes your Trans that has not been talked about. That is your soul yes it has a gender and some times it inhabits a body not of its gender. For the inter sexed I feel that ths also applies to them as well.

For me this was the case when my female soul kept popping up and when I learned how to use "magic". A door was opened and I knew then that was why I always had felt something wasn't right about me and why I felt more girl than guy. My female soul was dominant in me this time around and I have no problems in letting her out. Yes I am changing but taking it slow as I have said before. So here you go another idea to ponder on .Ducks for cover back into my hole.

Caty

Lucy Bright | May 15, 2008 6:48 PM

“You are really not in a position to say what the HBS model says, as you are not a part of that group.”

By that argument you will be refraining from any comment on the transgender model, then?

“And the transgender model? Well, it is really just the same silliness as Blanchard.”

Spoke too soon...

Of course we can all speak about all the models. If we’re wrong I’m sure there’ll be someone to tell us. That’s the way debate works - unless you truly want the censorship you say you deplore.

Zoe, your statement about your birth certificate makes no sense at all. If it does not match your anatomy, regardless of the reason, it should not be that difficult to correct it, unless you were born in a place that does not allow correction at all. I cannot imagine putting up with an incorrect birth certificate unless absolutely necessary.

As I said, that sort of revisionist history is as valid as saying a kilt proves Scottish men are transvestites.

And actually, while there is not a single documented case of a person with HBS (or a true transsexual if you prefer) being cured by any form of psychotherapy, such cases do exist for transvestites and crossdressers. For example, some have responded to drug treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder. And other methods have also worked. But, they are not really needed unless the behavior is so troubling that the patient feels the need for a cure. In any case, comparing that to HBS is a bit absurd.

As to Zucker's therapy with children, it is worthless. A significant percentage of such children will literally outgrow such behavior without intervention while a few might develop into transgender. The rest will either turn out to be gay, or they will turn out to be HBS. But while the therapy might change some who would otherwise develop into transgender, it will do nothing for the ones who are gay or HBS.

And no, what is properly called transgender is not rooted in biology. It is based on learning and choices. Otherwise, they would be HBS, and there are observable differences.

As I said, that sort of revisionist history is as valid as saying a kilt proves Scottish men are transvestites.

And actually, while there is not a single documented case of a person with HBS (or a true transsexual if you prefer) being cured by any form of psychotherapy, such cases do exist for transvestites and crossdressers. For example, some have responded to drug treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder. And other methods have also worked. But, they are not really needed unless the behavior is so troubling that the patient feels the need for a cure. In any case, comparing that to HBS is a bit absurd.

As to Zucker's therapy with children, it is worthless. A significant percentage of such children will literally outgrow such behavior without intervention while a few might develop into transgender. The rest will either turn out to be gay, or they will turn out to be HBS. But while the therapy might change some who would otherwise develop into transgender, it will do nothing for the ones who are gay or HBS.

And no, what is properly called transgender is not rooted in biology. It is based on learning and choices. Otherwise, they would be HBS, and there are observable differences.

From: battybattybats

Diane> "It would insinuate we agree with our inclusion under that banner which we most definitely find demeaning."

Batty >How is being in the definition demeaning?

It is demeaning to label someone under an identity that is not theirs to begin with. I am talking about those in need of specific medical attention which for me was originally diagnosed as being true transsexual while under Dr Benjamin's care. He also considered true transsexuals as being of a biological nature. If you consider me transgender then you are demeaning me by that terms association with a fetishist, Charles 'Virgina' Prince. And if you don't agree with me then just read one of his 'Transvestia' publications that were published in the 60's, 70's and into the 80's when his transgender promotion came into full bloom.
You have identified yourself as a crossdresser and that is not a problem with me, never was. But to join me under your mix and match identity of transgender is demeaning to me since I do not consider myself as one of the myriad elements under that umbrella social construct, some of which are actually reflective of deviant behavior.
I am not ashamed of being HBS or even having been transsexual for that is how I was born, identified and then treated to a conclusion which brought my physical body into accord with my brain sex. How about you and others simply refer to yourselves as crossdressers if that is basically what you are without adding me to your myopic transgender identity and scorn me for not joining in?
Monica Roberts, I transitioned in the late sixties and had surgery in 1972. During that time it was imperative that we undergo treatment in accord with our actual brain sex, not a, 'I might be, maybe or could be'. I think your doctors are treating you within that process as well as following the guidelines that applied to those like me while under Dr Benjamin's care. I hope so at least.
For those who find repulsion at the therapy advanced by Zucker may I remind you that not only does Zucker promote that treatment but so does Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence (the self identified post-op autogynephile), Dreger and many others who actually believe that all who ask for surgery are what Prince himself called delusional. They give no credence to the research findings and other indications that one is born with a brain in contradiction to body or maybe they really do. Maybe it is because they have seen too many who just want to experiment mentally without any driving need for a solution to correct what has been a part of them long before puberty. I will not address them for they know better than I who they are. But, their numbers besides increasing are becoming so aggressive in demands that either the gender illusionists be weeded out and treated according to what their actual condition is or those in drastic need to bring wholeness to fruition will in the long run suffer...the HBS born.
Diane http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./


Battybattybats | May 15, 2008 9:50 PM

Has anyone done a broad personality type study on HBS and HBS equivalent transexuals? I suspect we may find that the more outgoing and headstrong the more likely the person will be distictly aware and certain of their cerebral intersex condition and less likely to submit to external conformist pressures conciously or unconciously.

If so those 10-20% of Zuckers conversion failures would be in the more often outgoing and headstrong personality range.

That would have some uinteresting implications.

"Great postings by every one but you know there is one way to find out that yes your Trans that has not been talked about. That is your soul yes it has a gender and some times it inhabits a body not of its gender. For the inter sexed I feel that ths also applies to them as well."

Interesting idea. I am qualified to have a deep theological and philosophical discussion with you on this as I have done courses on comparative theology and eastern metaphysics, for example, which soul are you referring to? As many systems have much more than one soul. There are systems that catagorise every person with having as many as 9 different types of souls each involving different functions within the self, some of these are carried over in reincarnation, some are unique to each individual and end on death and one is the same soul in all humans shared indivisibly. However, the trouble is that that would be a theological discussion, each model being culture/religion/tradition specific and not so easilly applicable outside of specific traditions. We could compare them with conciousness research that with its examinations of the different conflicts between sections of the brain etc unknown to the concious levels of the mind but that is massively complex and controverytial involving cutting-edge neurology worthy of a subject in it's own right.

As for magic etc it's worth noting that gender presentation change has been a practice in animist and occult traditions down through the ages, permanant like castration and temporary like crossdressing. That too is a subject in it's own right. It's worth noting the amount of religions, myths and the like through many cultures that feature permanant and temporary sex changes in mortals, gods and the like.

"As I said, that sort of revisionist history is as valid as saying a kilt proves Scottish men are transvestites."

Oh, so no person in history ever remarked about the latest feminine mens fashion trend huh. Really? Androgyny started with Bowie and Lennox did it? Somehow I suspect your the one being revisionist.

JJ - It's annoying trying to reply to you. A third of the time, you say insightful things I agree with. Another third, insightful things I disagree with, but at least can debate. And the final third I find you just plain obnoxious. That's not to say you are so objectively, just that your phraseology is infelicitous.

Moving right along.

Re Jurassic Clarke - I concur totally.

Autogynephillia is a legitimate concept. It obviously exists. Where Blanchard's views fail is that he holds that all "transsexuals" are either AGP or homosexual. That is absurd.
Couldn't have put it better myself.

A good example of this would be someone who claims to be a woman while retaining a strong connection to his past. Such a person might, for example, make regular references to military service that only a man could have experienced.
Oh that's right, the USA is so backwards and misogynist that they don't have women on submarines. Except for scumbag contractors like me who actually make the sonars and such.
I must convey your views to some of the standard-model 46xx women I've worked with in the 80's. Or the female midshipmen I've taught at the Australian Defence Force Academy in the 90's.
Oh, and when trying to insult people, go for the direct approach next time. Subtlety is not your strong point.

Jennifer, when I was 10 years old, had picked my new name, and thought I'd have a normal, female puberty, I wanted to be a Rocket Scientist. Even though in 1968, "girls didn't do that". Despite all the problems of being TS/IS, my life before transition did not greatly differ from that I would have had had I been standard 46xx. I will not abandon my career, my son, my life, just to fit in with someone else's outdated and stereotyped view of womanhood. Yes, I'm a Feminist in that regard.

In my experience, only those unsure of their own femininity feel the need to jettison all aspects of their previous life. No, that's not quite true, many warped their previous lives so completely to try to be men, so they had nothing worthwhile keeping. I got rid of almost nothing, as I had refused to make concessions just because I was TS. A wife instead of a husband, that was about it. And only one child, since my IS condition made me infertile.

Zoe, your statement about your birth certificate makes no sense at all. If it does not match your anatomy, regardless of the reason, it should not be that difficult to correct it, unless you were born in a place that does not allow correction at all. I cannot imagine putting up with an incorrect birth certificate unless absolutely necessary.

I was born in the UK. The UK Gender Recognition Act has been great for TS people, they can even get their BCs changed even if non-op. But those who are IS cannot, even if they're post-op. I've tried every way I can, but it's no go. It will require a change in UK law. As I live in Australia, mounting any High Court case is tricky.

As to Zucker's therapy with children, it is worthless. A significant percentage of such children will literally outgrow such behavior without intervention while a few might develop into transgender. The rest will either turn out to be gay, or they will turn out to be HBS. But while the therapy might change some who would otherwise develop into transgender, it will do nothing for the ones who are gay or HBS.

Now I'm agreeing with you completely again. But I refer you to one of the 3 "total failures" mentioned in Zucker's paper. 2 of them are Transmen in transition, and the third has been rendered asexual and neuter, with no desire for surgery of any kind. The Boy has been tortured out, but no Girl has grown in to replace it. I agree that that is HBS too, though it doesn't fit your model.

Battybattybats | May 15, 2008 10:56 PM

I asked: "How is being in the definition demeaning?
Innaccurate, potentially if your view is right but the science is far from conclusive currently. But how is it demeaning? That implies that you consider being transgender is bad and/or that some of the people also considered transgender is bad."

Diane responded with a lot of stuff including: "some of which are actually reflective of deviant behavior."

Well thanks for validating what seemed to be implied.

Now in what way do you mean 'deviant'?

As in different from the norm? Oh I plead guilty to that, being a goth. I'm very much different from the norm.
Morally and/or ethicly? There are immoral and unethical people and behaviours in all sexes races classes sexualities and the like. Can you please specify what is unethical about any transgender group of people that is caused by or indivisible from their transness? Note I'm requiring a violation of ethics not morality as morality is an unethical set of standards for determining right and wrong beyond the personal using as it does arbitrary variable precepts or just an averaging of popular opinions, slavery for example was moral for many (based on scriptural argument) but nevertheless unethical. Societies 'mores' are not an acceptable standard for judging right and wrong. In that regard morally I'm deviant judging from the more common morals of my society, ethicly I'm an altruistic idealist of a much higher standard of behaviour than the average.

What exactly and specificly do you mean by deviant?

In my experience, only those unsure of their own femininity feel the need to jettison all aspects of their previous life. No, that's not quite true, many warped their previous lives so completely to try to be men, so they had nothing worthwhile keeping. I got rid of almost nothing, as I had refused to make concessions just because I was TS.

I'm right with you on this, Zoe. I haven't held on to my past because I'm so attached to being male in some way. I'm attached to it because it's my past. It's my story, how I got to be the person I am. Sure, some of those things, like the Boy Scouts, were decidedly male-gendered. Some of them (like the Scouts) were me trying to "be a man" because I thought I was some sort of freak before I found out that transition was possible. I dated girls because that's what boys do, etc. But every one of those experiences has contributed to the woman I am today. If nothing else, they helped me see very clearly what I'm not, giving me a better picture of what and who I am.

Also, I used to think abandoning my past was the way I had to go. I thought about having to move away from my family, my friends, the places I love, and it just made me too damn sad. I spent years thinking I had a choice: do what I want, or be who I am. Fortunately, I came to realize that was a false dichotomy. And fortunately, there are models of existence out there that say, you know what, that's okay. I can be a boy that grew up to be a woman. To pretend I didn't exist for 20 years, or worse, to write a totally fictitious biography, would make my post-transition life just as miserable as my pre-transition life was.

Does this mean I'm not HBS? Fine, then I'm not HBS and there's some other explanation as to why I have a strong desire for GRS since I was a teenager even though I don't remember going through a "I hate my penis" phase at age 4 nor do I want to pretend my life didn't happen the way that it did. Just please, enough with the backhanded insults. If I get called a deviant or a fetishist one more time, I'm gonna get ugly on someone and I don't care what that says about me. I respect your right to self-define, so lay the hell off of mine.

Why is it always that the HBS people like bringing up Virginia Prince in the year 2008? She is about as relevant as 50 cent gas, and about as far back into history as the same. Her words back a half century ago are meaningless today, to everyone but HBS people. She's almost 100, for God sakes. Why don't they bring up Pope Joan or the eunuchs during the time of Christ as an example of why "transvestites are evil?"

If one cannot come up with an example of the "evil crossdresser" that pertains to 2008, then arguments about why HBS people are so superior to everyone else holds no water. But, try to tell that to someone who screams they want to be respected while disrespecting others. It's a two-way street. You reap what you sow.

"Where were you in '72?" I was protecting the lives and rights of Americans so they CAN choose their path in life. That's still relevant today.

Erin, I suspect like me you were never a boy. You just looked like one. But that's a mere quibbling over semantics.

It would have been nice to be in the Brownies rather than the Cubs, and the Girl Guides rather than the Boy Scouts. I wasn't in any of them, the one because I was wearing the wrong clothes, the other because I just couldn't fit in with the boy stuff that well. Other girls could, and I managed to do lots of boy stuff other girls couldn't, but I had my limits. We all differ in the minor details.

I think there are 4 levels in transition.

Level 1 - you stick with your old habits because it's secure, and in transition, you need all the security you can get in a very uncertain time.

Level 2 - you reject your whole past because of insecurity, you need validation of yourself as a woman. That means rejecting all boy stuff.

Level 3 - you realise that girls can do anything they want. You take your lead from your girlfriends, the 46xx ones, who don't have your insecurities about the past. The bits of your past you reject, you do so because you've outgrown them.

Level 4 - you make a conscious decision to go full stealth, and if that means abandoning things you once had that you value, you gain the full sensation of just being a normal woman.

Some get stuck on level 1, and those are the ones JJ is referring to, if I understand her correctly. Others get stuck on level 2, and there are many like that in the HBS movement. Some like you and I are on level 3, and comfortable with that. And some move on to level 4. I have too much invested in my son to do that, the price is far too high. I value maternity (or as close as I can get to it) higher than femininity (or as close as I can get to it). And it has to be said, I'm a Geek Girl and always was. My 46xx niece is the same.

I've been full stealth overseas, and yes, you do get treated differently. It's good, but what I have now I value more. Others who have less to lose, I advise to move on.

There is no one-size-fits-all, and no One True Way. Even the levels are generalities, and won't apply to everyone. We of all people should never let really good approximations be mistaken for sharp lines with no blurring and no exceptions.

One thing does bother me. I find I have to make a conscious effort to error-correct my memories. I'm putting a lot of things down on paper, as I have real difficulty remembering that I looked male once. It seems inconceivable, improbable, unimaginable.

I guess according to some people, in order for me to really be a woman, then I have to renounce my military past, where I indeed served in a part of the military that only men can serve. This is according to someone who never served their country in any capacity.

I suppose that if I was a successful TS who happened to have been homeless at one time, I would have to hide that so people wouldn't think less of me. Say if I had a mentally challenged boyfriend in a backward Southern state some time in my past, I would not want people to know that. Heck, some would even renounce they came from a Southern state.

I can come up with all kinds of scenarios where a TS may want to hide things in the past that would make certain narrow-minded people think less of them, assuming that TS doesn't have the strength or the capability to move beyond that. It also takes a person with a strong character to be proud of what they did as a man AND a woman. It doesn't make them less of a woman today. But, try telling that to some people.

Hundreds of transsexuals, including some HBS people, who have served in parts of the military that only men can, and are living happy, productive AND out lives. I contribute their success today in part to what they did in the military. The strenuous jobs they did back then as a man gave them the strength to face the challenges that they have today as a woman. Just ask Army veteran Diane Schroer. Ask any of them and they'll tell you. Or, you can listen to someone who just tries to find ways to put others down. Take your choice.

Why is it always that the HBS people like bringing up Virginia Prince in the year 2008? She is about as relevant as 50 cent gas, and about as far back into history as the same. Her words back a half century ago are meaningless today, to everyone but HBS people.

The repetitive reference to Virginia Prince by some who identify as HBS/classic transsexual/true transsexual do not represent the mind set of all who see themselves in that way. Making broad statements like "the HBS people" and "everyone but the HBS people" only serves further polarization.

There are tens of thousands of HBS/classic transsexuals/true transsexuals who don't identify as transgender, want no publicity, could care less about the gender debate, and simply want to be left alone to live their life. Though I don't think they like being lumped into the transgender bucket, I would think they could give a rat's rag about Virginia Prince.

Address the person, not the group.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 16, 2008 8:13 AM

"Making broad statements like "the HBS people" and "everyone but the HBS people" only serves further polarization."

Very good point. I agre and I apologise for my use of such phrasology and similar lately. It's a kind of argument I normally manage to avoid but that I've been picking up here lately. The constant 'the transgender' this and 'the transgender' that etc comments of bad generalising phrasology have been rubbing off on me.

I respectfully request everyone to try not to generalise and to withdraw all arguments based around generalising diverse groups of people into a single stereotype...

Like, say, the arguments against transgender that involve reducing all transgender identified people to MtF crossdressers for starters!

"Though I don't think they like being lumped into the transgender bucket"

Oh a bucket now is it. Very respectful of others views that is.

You can disscuss the accuracy or inaccuarcy of the transgender model and/or community without vitriol filled invective or venomous jabs just as we can do the same without using similar negative analogies or phrases for HBS.

Symbolicly buckets are not used to contain many valued things, but are used for scraps, leaks, dirt and manure. Thats uncalled for, offensive and low.

Deliberatly or accidentally that is offensive and unwarrented.

Batty,
You proved my assumption correct: you ignore what others say and seem to only listen to your own jabberwhocky.
A she-male who advertises to solicit sex often using the description of 'female top, male bottom' and giving size to the bottom lure is one of the elements under the transgender umbrella that I claim as being deviant. Need I repeat it again?
Diane

Zoe,
I was born with very apparent characteristics that led to sexual confusion and still does for medical practitioners. I was always sterile and know the reasons but that is my business which I do not share with others.
Do I consider myself HBS born and why? I am a firm believer that anyone born HBS is born neurologically intersex; no different than those born with other not at all apparent IS conditions. I do not believe the same condition exists for the gay/lesbian/transgender and that belief is in accord with the indicative research many in the TG community denounce for it might just delegitimize their claim of attachment to transsexuals which they seemingly need for validation.
And the only people who can make legitimate claim to being HBS born are those who are HBS, not someone who becomes enlightened by the advent of puberty. Being HBS is something that attends itself to a child's awareness at a young age: the body does not match the sexual mindset of the brain. It is not a category under the transgender umbrella as many accept transsexualism as being.
No, those who are HBS do not relate at all to your categories especially #2. You are talking about transgender/transsexual who find any and all excuses valid in defining themselves.
'Boy stuff', now that is confusing! I pitched softball in college on a male team so might that be 'boy stuff'? Now it seems that only females play fast pitch softball and even in the Olympics which I watch totally engrossed. Wonder how many of them are involved with 'boy stuff'. Sorry for the pun but I just could not ignore its humorous linkage.

Monica,
To refer to someone as HBS born when in truth they are tg, (or ts's with linkage to tg'ism), is more of the same confusion that seems so very much incorporated within the trans mix and match communities.
I was successful pre-surgery and more-so post surgery but never did I think I was mentally a male. That connection I must suppose comes from someone who identified as a male and then changed identities. HBS born are aware from birth their inner identity and that should never be confused with a strength motivated or constructed by maleness. I am strong only because I faced the contradiction of body to brain and did something about it as soon as was possible. I would not be denied and that I was able to do since I knew the truth of my being rather than a response to some perceived delusionary ideal. I did not build my strength on the back of a past life as a male. My strength came from my inner self that was always female.

I will be honest and probably get hammered for it but I cannot understand how a male who succeeded in life not only as an apparent male but one who also functioned totally and satisfactorily as such can claim later in life to have always been a mental female. That I will always wonder about since I always accepted the brain sex as being hardwired before birth, not a malleable binary.
To say otherwise is simply promoting gender as a permanently changeable concept which of course I totally disagree with.
Diane http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

BBB - I'm sure no disrespect was intended. I could have inadvertently used the same phraseology myself.

A better term would be "transgender conglomerate".

I mean that in the Geological sense,

Made up of loosely cemented heterogeneous material.

If that doesn't describe not just TG, but GLBITTQ, I don't know what does.

I refer you to the UK Intersex Organisation's document Intersex and Gender Identity :

There is a growing tendency to assume that all the varieties of phenotype (apparent physical sex), gender identification and sexual orientation are all merely different shades in one large rainbow. It is becoming increasingly common to hear people lump together transsexual, intersexual, transgender, gay and lesbian in the one sentence with the implication that all these issues share a common history or have common interests.
With me so far?

In many respects it is reminiscent of the attempts in Britain in the 80s to create a "Broad Democratic Alliance" of oppressed people consisting of left-wing and liberal political activists, women, gay people, ethnic minorities, disabled people and those who were unemployed, homeless and otherwise socially-disadvantaged. This was based on the presumption that, as all were victims of economic and social discrimination, there could be constructed a shared platform from which they could combine to resist the policies of the somewhat right-wing UK Government of the time.
And this is what the ENDA fiasco etc is all about:
It was unsuccessful for several reasons: it presumed that the experiences of discrimination by these diverse groups were similar in substance; it presumed that these groups all shared a common opposition to the Government; it presumed that the interests of those groups in ending discrimination could result in them all speaking with one voice, under one leadership; it ignored the diversity of views and experiences not just between but within each of these groups and presumed that each was homogeneous.
Can we at least be original in our mistakes, and not repeat ones others have made before us?

Rather than continue quoting, I think it would be useful to read the whole thing. I may not agree with all the conclusions, but the lessons to be learnt are all in there.

Monica wrote:

Why is it always that the HBS people like bringing up Virginia Prince in the year 2008? She is about as relevant as 50 cent gas, and about as far back into history as the same. Her words back a half century ago are meaningless today, to everyone but HBS people.

Di > He is still the one who first attached to the transgender concept. His words directed at me personally, (anyone that wants to change sex is delusional) still carry with them the transgender baggage that HE promoted then and still applies today. And HE will always be HE to me for his insult of me and others made it clear that is what he was and still is: a male who simply crossdresses and has no valid connection with the travails of those who NEED surgery.

The repetitive reference to Virginia Prince by some who identify as HBS/classic transsexual/true transsexual do not represent the mind set of all who see themselves in that way. Making broad statements like "the HBS people" and "everyone but the HBS people" only serves further polarization.

Di > Yes, perhaps so but until you recognise that HBS born are just that without any connection to transgenderism which in fact you previously told me in an email: "You are and always will be transgender whether you like it or not".
Damn it, I refuse to be identified as transgender no matter if subliminally connected to Prince or to those today who seem to still promote his delusion which he carried into all of the facets of his life.
We recognise that others self identify and do not chastise them for doing that. But do it for themselves and not us. In fact we applaud those who make a clear distinction of themselves without the need to link to others identities.

There are tens of thousands of HBS/classic transsexuals/true transsexuals who don't identify as transgender, want no publicity, could care less about the gender debate, and simply want to be left alone to live their life. Though I don't think they like being lumped into the transgender bucket, I would think they could give a rat's rag about Virginia Prince.

Di > Again transgender is a term that came from Hirshfield but was strongly promoted and therefore attached to Prince and his identity which all who knew him then knew also and accepted he was simply a transvestite who changed his label although wore the same fabric.
When the transgender community stops adding those who actually underwent surgery from their sub-set of elements then I for one will stop my reference to transgenders since I will then have no compelling interest in their false inclusions.

Address the person, not the group

Di > If you mean either the person or the group then you lost me since one and the same when the term transgender was offered by Prince to be shared with his like minded followers.
Why would someone ignore the term transsexual which was a valid medical term and then accept their identity as being transgender which is simply a non-biological social construct advanced by a transvestite in the first place? And last time I read about Prince he was still being honored for his work in promoting his transgender concept or is that too 'not relevant'?

Diane, http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

Susan,
Point taken, but you may do well to listen to BBB's comment when pointing out your used of disrespectful terminology. I reemphasize that to get respect, you must be willing to return it in kind. Yes, I'm guilty of that. Will you also admit guilt in that category? It goes a long way to smoothing out future discussions.

JJJ - one more thing. Monica and I have our differences of opinion. For one thing, I take issue with her statement:

The strenuous jobs they did back then as a man gave them the strength to face the challenges that they have today as a woman
I rather think it's the strength of character required to do the boy act and not go crazy that meant the military stuff was comparatively easy. Well, it was for me.

Oh one very important thing for her, and for me, though others won't see the significance. I'm not entitled to wear the dolphins, and have never pretended to be. I must emphasise that.

My only claim to being a bubblehead is that I've spent some time seariding at depth, and am a member of both the Australian Submarine Association, and the Sankt Petersberg Submariners' Club, the latter for work I did to help the families of those who were on the Kursk.
Some things transcend sex, gender, and even nationality. On average, over 300 submariners lives depend on my not having screwed up at any one time, be they South Africans, Israelis, Greeks, Swedes, Germans, Spaniards, Italians, Chileans, what have you.

We had a little game, a little in-joke to lighten the atmosphere. A custard pie. You curdled it.

Monica and I, as I said, have our differences. Real ones. We're unalike in many ways. But she has earned my respect and admiration for her work, both in the silent service, and afterwards. When you too have done as much in your area as she has with TAVA, you too will have earned equal respect and admiration, despite our significant differences of opinion. That's not to say I don't respect you now, but she's earned my admiration too.

Battybattybats | May 16, 2008 10:05 AM

"Can we at least be original in our mistakes, and not repeat ones others have made before us?"

Lol. There's a great Hindu story (discussed in The Power Of Myth series iirc) about the difficulty in making new mistakes and doing new things rather than repeating old ones. Hehehe 'former Vishnu's all' lol. I love that story.

Anyways the difficulty in such alliances i think is that too many folk aren't self concious enough of their own biases as to be able to learn to accept tolerate and relate to those in a simialr boat to them, needing allies like them. I see it in those crossdressers who can't get over their homophobia, those gays who can't get over their mysogyny, those goths who hate emo's. They tend to be minorities but overly vocal ones.

Folks who want to end others prejudice of them but who insist on mainatining their prejudices against others.

I always find it amusing when they blame other groups for it too. 'Those drag queens give us a bad name', say some crossdressers 'people would accept us if they didn't think we were gay'.

'Those camp gays give us a bad name', say some straight-acting gays 'people would accept us if they didn't think we were all like that'.

'Those Emo's give us a bad name' say some goths 'we were just getting acceptance and now everything goth has been taken over by emo and everyone thinks were all suicidally depressed cutters again'.

Those are real quotes. It seems the same equation. The same formula. Just swapping variables around, just a shift of names really. Races, classes, cultures, subcultures, sexualities. It seems to be the same pattern.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 16, 2008 10:25 AM

"Batty,
You proved my assumption correct: you ignore what others say and seem to only listen to your own jabberwhocky."

You misspelled Jabberwocky in your attempted insult and your words do not a vorpal sword make. No snicker-snack! (for the poetry lovers out there)

"A she-male who advertises to solicit sex often using the description of 'female top, male bottom' and giving size to the bottom lure is one of the elements under the transgender umbrella that I claim as being deviant. Need I repeat it again?"

See the trouble for you is that I understand the philosophy of morality and ethics rather well. I literally grew up on the subject. It is not enough to claim something is deviant, you must show what it deviates from and why it is bad for it to do so to justify it being bad that you could be associated with it.

After all you don't mind being associated with women and yet there are women who are volunatrilly prostitutes who advertise using their bust measurements.

So explain specificly the nature of the deviance, what makes it deviant and why that divergence from the norm is bad.

Zoe,
You and I gotta talk. You got my E-mail?

Monica

Wow still going strong but it seems to me so many here are more concerned with a label than with just getting on with being ourselfs and how to deal with being TG.

Our past is always a part of us even if it was lived thinking we were male at the time.So never ever feel you must hide some of it.To our vetrens I salute you. I worked for over 10 years for DOD after finding out I had a bad back and cluldn't join the Coast Guard. Now im in the fashin industry big leap in jobs but im proud of my own past and service.To our silent service folks I worked with the submarine fleet part of those 10.I even have a pair of honary Dolphins.
"Run silent Run Deep"!

Ps I was part of helping to keep it silent.

carry on
Caty

Actually Susan, HBS people recognize that the issue is not completely settled. That there is a physical cause is pretty much beyond question by all but the most diehard extremists. But the exact mechanism is still not completely understood. I believe there are probably numerous causes that all lead to a final, common result.

Actually Susan, HBS people recognize that the issue is not completely settled. That there is a physical cause is pretty much beyond question by all but the most diehard extremists. But the exact mechanism is still not completely understood. I believe there are probably numerous causes that all lead to a final, common result.

Lucy Bright | May 16, 2008 12:13 PM

“And no, what is properly called transgender is not rooted in biology. It is based on learning and choices. Otherwise, they would be HBS, and there are observable differences.”

This would follow only if the difference between HBS and transgender were a straightforward, all-or-nothing difference – like having a particular blood group or not. But isn’t there more than one kind of biological factor that may have a bearing on gender development, and mayn’t some or all of these may be present in a greater or lesser degree? I can see that, for the practical purpose of diagnosis, a threshold has to be applied (in the DSM it generally seems to be put in terms of ticking a certain number of diagnostic boxes), but in the messier real world things don’t line up so neatly, with HBS=biological on the one side and transgender=psychiatric/social on the other. And there are bound to be borderline cases.

The HBS supporters I have read on this in this and the Uh-oh thread (I’m not in a position to speak of HBS generally) seem heavily invested in identifying precise, non-porous barriers that distinguish them sharply from people who identify as transgender, whether in terms of biology (HBS is biological, transgender is psychiatric/cultural) or of personal history, where the landscape is littered with shibboleths: if you don’t know from a very early age, if you don’t seek transition as your primary life goal, if you don’t deny your past once you’ve achieved it, then you fail the HBS tests. The insistence that there only two genders and that everyone is either essentially male or essentially female (if I’ve got that right?) again militates towards a view where there is as much blue water as possible between HBS and everyone else.

I’m not convinced by any of these attempts, to be honest. The lifestyle tests for instance seem like special pleading. To make an overwhelming desire for surgery part of the medical description of a condition that is (as far as we know) equally distributed amongst all times and cultures, for example, you would have imagine a world where getting SRS is equally conceivable for everyone – which it clearly isn’t.

Actually, though, I’d rather concentrate on the aspect I feel least sure about, in the hope I’ll learn from the rest of you. And that’s the extent to which gender is biological as opposed to cultural. It’s been said by many here (and I’ve no reason to think otherwise) that gender is rooted in biology. But it doesn’t follow from this that gender is wholly determined by biology, or that biology is equipped to give a wholly satisfactory account of gender. That would be an example of the genetic fallacy (genetic in the philosophical sense, not the biological one!) – rather like the insistence that the origins of the word ‘transgender’ must determine every aspect of its use forever, no matter how the linguistic and cultural context changes. Biology may be where gender is rooted, but a plant is more than its root. Environmental factors are bound to have an effect on a person’s gender history, the way they understand and express themselves, and the way they see themselves reflected in the world around them.

Now, I don’t want to leap to the other extreme either. I certainly wouldn’t go down the Money-Zucker route of saying that gender is malleable and can be assigned, either by individuals or their therapists or parents. To continue the plant analogy: what Zucker does is try to turn a rose into a cactus by treating it as if it were a cactus (and roses don’t react well to that). That’s not to say that it can’t be made a more flourishing rose. I also think people have greater powers of self-determination than plants. To reiterate, though: I don’t believe anyone gets to ‘choose’ their own gender, if by that we mean something akin to picking an option from a menu: but that’s not to say that one has no say in one’s own development as a person, the role that gender plays in that, and indeed in the way that gender is understood. This can be related to broader social movements. Feminism, for example, is (amongst other things) a conscious intervention in the definition of what femaleness entails, and a girl’s sense of what it means to be a girl will be different now to what it was 100 years ago as a direct result of that.

So anyway, my conundrum is this. What does (for example) a MtF trannsexual mean when she says “I feel myself to be female?” What exactly is she saying? Partly I guess it’s a biological statement, that her ‘mental’ body image doesn’t fit what she sees her physical body to be. That’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s hardly the whole story. Partly she may be saying that she identifies herself with attitudes, characteristic and activities that are generally considered female or feminine. But these are culturally determined and subject to change (girls’ soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK, for example, and no one seems to think that the girls who play it are being boyish: thirty years ago they would have); and of course there is a wide overlap of characteristics between the sexes anyway (there are plenty of nurturing men who think of themselves quite unproblematically as male). Neither a wholly biological statement nor a wholly cultural one seems sufficient, then, though both seem necessary. So, I find myself looking for answers in the ways the two interact, not least in myself – and that’s a constant journey of discovery. The transgender model (as I understand it, anyway) does not offer easy yes/no solutions to these difficulties, but it at least offers a space in which they can be discussed and thought around, and I guess that is one of the reasons I feel comfortable with the transgender label. But I’d welcome other perspectives on this.

Well put Diane. I would agree that someone might be HBS born, but in extremely rare cases might actually be medically unable to have surgery. But that is far different from those who gladly seek out, and literally brag about, the slightest excuse that can be claimed as an excuse for not being "corrected." I always find it curious that they cannot just admit that they don't want the surgery. Clearly, they know that they are not HBS (or transsexual), but they seem to have an obsessive need to coopt that sort of identity.

Lucy Bright | May 16, 2008 12:16 PM

“And no, what is properly called transgender is not rooted in biology. It is based on learning and choices. Otherwise, they would be HBS, and there are observable differences.”

This would follow only if the difference between HBS and non-HBS were a straightforward, all-or-nothing difference – like having a particular blood group. But isn’t there more than one kind of biological factor that may have a bearing on gender development, and mayn’t some or all of these may be present in a greater or lesser degree? I can see that, for the practical purpose of diagnosis, a threshold has to be applied (in the DSM it generally seems to be put in terms of ticking a certain number of diagnostic boxes), but in the messier real world things don’t line up so neatly, with HBS=biological on the one side and transgender=psychiatric/social on the other. And there are bound to be borderline cases.

The HBS supporters I have read on this in this and the Uh-oh thread (I’m not in a position to speak of HBS generally) seem heavily invested in identifying precise, non-porous barriers that distinguish them sharply from people who identify as transgender, whether in terms of biology (HBS is biological, transgender is psychiatric/cultural) or of personal history, where the landscape is littered with shibboleths: if you don’t know from a very early age, if you don’t seek transition as your primary life goal, if you don’t deny your past once you’ve achieved it, then you fail the HBS tests. The insistence that there only two genders and that everyone is either essentially male or essentially female (if I’ve got that right?) again militates towards a view where there is as much blue water as possible between HBS and everyone else.

I’m not convinced by any of these attempts, to be honest. The lifestyle ‘tests’ seem like arbitrary special pleading. To make an overwhelming desire for surgery part of the medical description of a condition that is (as far as we know) equally distributed amongst all times and cultures, for example, you would have imagine a world where getting SRS is equally conceivable for everyone – which it clearly isn’t.

Actually, though, I’d rather concentrate on the aspect I feel least sure about, in the hope I’ll learn from the rest of you. And that’s the extent to which gender is biological as opposed to cultural. It’s been said by many here (and I’ve no reason to think otherwise) that gender is rooted in biology. But it doesn’t follow from this that gender is wholly determined by biology, or that biology is equipped to give a wholly satisfactory account of gender. That would be an example of the genetic fallacy (genetic in the philosophical sense, not the biological one!) – rather like the insistence that the origins of the word ‘transgender’ must determine every aspect of its use forever, no matter how the linguistic and cultural context changes. Biology may be where gender is rooted, but a plant is more than its root. Environmental factors are bound to have an effect on a person’s gender history, the way they understand and express themselves, and the way they see themselves reflected in the world around them.

Now, I don’t want to leap to the other extreme either. I certainly wouldn’t go down the Money-Zucker route of saying that gender is malleable and can be assigned, either by individuals or their therapists or parents. To continue the plant analogy: what Zucker does is try to turn a rose into a cactus by treating it as if it were a cactus (and roses don’t react well to that). That’s not to say that it can’t be made a more flourishing rose. I also think people have greater powers of self-determination than plants. To reiterate, though: I don’t believe anyone gets to ‘choose’ their own gender, if by that we mean something akin to picking an option from a menu: but that’s not to say that one has no say in one’s own development as a person, the role that gender plays in that, and indeed in the way that gender is understood. This can be related to broader social movements. Feminism, for example, is (amongst other things) a conscious intervention in the definition of what femaleness entails, and a girl’s sense of what it means to be a girl will be different now to what it was 100 years ago as a direct result of that.

So anyway, my conundrum is this. What does (for example) a MtF trannsexual mean when she says “I feel myself to be female?” What exactly is she saying? Partly I guess it’s a biological statement, that her ‘mental’ body image doesn’t fit what she sees her physical body to be. That’s fine as far as it goes, but it’s hardly the whole story. Partly she may be saying that she identifies herself with attitudes, characteristic and activities that are generally considered female or feminine. But these are culturally determined and subject to change (girls’ soccer is one of the fastest-growing sports in the UK, for example, and no one seems to think that the girls who play it are being boyish: thirty years ago they would have); and of course there is a wide overlap of characteristics between the sexes anyway (there are plenty of nurturing men who think of themselves quite unproblematically as male). Neither a wholly biological statement nor a wholly cultural one seems sufficient, then, though both seem necessary. So, I find myself looking for answers in the ways the two interact, not least in myself – and that’s a constant journey of discovery. The transgender model (as I understand it, anyway) does not offer easy yes/no solutions to these difficulties, but it at least offers a space in which they can be discussed and thought around, and I guess that is one of the reasons I feel comfortable with the transgender label. But I’d welcome other perspectives on this.

Zoe - your stages make some sense to me, though as you say no generalization will be 100%. I used to hope for some sort of biological explanation for what was going on with me, but now I worry that, if one definition were reached, it would become -the- definition, and exclude people with legitimate needs that still need treatment and access to transition, legally and medically. I may fit the medical profile and I may not, who knows? It hasn't been tested, nor can it be at the moment. That's why I feel a larger 'trans' movement might be the most useful way to deal with it for now. It's the best chance I see for the most people to get what they need, and that's my primary concern.

Diane - I would not be denied and that I was able to do since I knew the truth of my being rather than a response to some perceived delusionary ideal.

See, that right there is exactly the kind of backhanded insult I was talking about. How dare you? You go on and on about how non-HBS can never understand your situation. You're right. I can't. My life isn't your life, and apparently you knew your status at an earlier point in your life than I did, and took a different approach to transition. Bully for you. Now, if you don't mind, never, ever tell me what I am and what my life is again. Delusional? Step right off, lady. You don't have the first bloody idea why I live the way I do, or how I came to know the truth of my self. Maybe I didn't know from age 0. Maybe I didn't transition as soon as I turned 18, because I felt it was more important to have a stable foundation for my career first. You know what? That's my goddamn choice, and my goddamn truth, and you have absolutely zero standing to judge that. Got it? Seriously, call me delusional one more time. I'm sick of the shit you're dishing out to everyone here. You think no one respects you, and frankly, in my case, it's true, because you seem to think you've got God's own truth, and everyone else is deluded (i.e. psychotic) or deviant (and who appointed you lord high moral arbiter?). You call everything 'excuses' and are completely dismissive of anyone else's experience. Screw that noise. I respect your identity. You're HBS. You knew it from a very young age. Bully. You're still acting like a jerk, and that I have no respect for.

Not to mention, it reeks of privilege. You got in on the game early. You pass well and since there weren’t many, you rarely got noticed, if ever. Now the rest of us want our turn and your exclusive club isn’t so exclusive. Worse, people notice you now more than they used to. Honestly, cry me a river. It’s like straight-acting gays that are happy to have been accepted in mainstream society, but just don’t associate them with those, y’know, fags. Sorry to have sullied your country club, ma’am. I’ll remember my place next time.

Yes, I would have to agree with Diane. Demeaning is the best term for how I would feel about inclusion under transgender as well.

How is it demeaning? A better question would be, how is it not demeaning? First off, identifying as transgender is a denial of our identity as women. By its very nature, transgender implies that one is not "real." Second, transgender is a political and social movement that we strongly disagree with. Why should we want to be associated with it? And finally, given the behavior of many, if not most, who identify as trangender, that alone would make it demeaning.

Or what Lucy said, since she's far less angry than I am. Thanks for being more level-headed, you'll probably help more than I did.

Diane

I will be honest and probably get hammered for it but I cannot understand how a male who succeeded in life not only as an apparent male but one who also functioned totally and satisfactorily as such can claim later in life to have always been a mental female.

I don't either, and I did it, sorta kinda.

I came close to your definition - I was "a female who succeeded in life as an apparent male".

I certainly succeeded in life. My life was pretty close to the one I would have had as 46xx, as I've said before.

"functioned totally and satisfactorily" - well, that depends.

The worse thing was the psychosis. Mild, but there. There were whole chunks of my memory I couldn't access. I studied neurology, but could not perceive anything to do with gender. I'd look at a pretty girl walking down the street, think "Oh God I wish I looked like her!!!", then 10 minutes later, I would have forgotten it. You could have given me a polygraph test, and I would have passed while denying I could ever think such a thing. I was unable to wear anything but a white or blue shirt, no pastels, people might suspect my secret.

To have gone to a cross-dressing party would gave been totally impossible: it would have meant transition, immediately.

I was happy. Really. I'd break down and huddle in a foetal ball in a cupboard every now and then, maybe 3 or 4 times a year at most, but doesn't everyone? (Ok, they don't but I didn't know that).

The closest I ever got to admitting things was that I confided to a good friend once that I could have functioned just as well if I had been born a girl as a boy.

My name I picked in 1968, at age 10. It came from the Dr Who companion, Zoe, and she appeared first in early 68. A Pure Mathematics genius, and everything I wanted to be when I grew up. I really thought I'd have a normal female puberty, you know? It came as a heck of a shock later to find out that boys and girls were born different, I thought it was something arbitrary, and I'd been mistakenly put in the wrong group.

But instead of having a nice, healthy nervous breakdown at 13, and seeking treatment, I just went quietly insane. It was that or die, as transition was impossible. The elastic bands I tried to do a DIY orchy with hurt too much. I stopped when I realised that of course I could never be a mother, but I so needed to have children, they were my only hope.

I was functional, mostly. Enough, anyway. But at age 45, I was soooooo looking forward to dying from heart failure, though I never could figure out exactly why. That part of my mind was not accessible.

There was the bit about being anorgasmic, too. I don't think a guy would call that "satisfactory", but for me it was no big deal. Having a micropenis is not a total disqualification, but when combined with female wiring too, the result was not totally functional. Nothing Viagra could have helped with, it just felt un-natural. The testes were far more important to me, and again, I got short-changed. I was infertile, as opposed to sterile, for maybe 7 years of my life. 1998-2005. After 12 miscarriages, we had a son in 2001. It took technical help, syringes etc to extract the gametes of course.

That is as functional and as satisfactory as you can get under the circumstances. I had it easy compared to, well, everyone else I know in the same kind of situation. No alcoholism, no drug dependancy, no hospitalisation, no suicide attempts, not even any anti-depressants. I was happy. Really I was. I had to be otherwise I would have died.

2 weeks after I was told by the endo that I was sterile, I had my ears pierced, and 4 weeks later, I was fulltime. That was 12 weeks after the first cracks appeared. And that only happened because my body started feminising rapidly.

I was OK'd for HRT a week later, but that was irrelevant. I transitioned immediately because I had to, whether or not HRT was ever sanctioned, and whether or not SRS was ever going to be authorised.

At the endo visit after that, I was told that as the result of the medical tests (MRI, Ultrasound etc) I was actually more F than M anyway. Not a mildly IS male after all, but a severely androgenised female. That was still several months before I could get an appointment to see a shrink. I got my letters 3 months after the first visit, but had already paid my deposit to the surgeon by then.

How the heck did I do it? How the heck did I last 47 freaking years? The cholesterol tests I had at 37 showed I probably wouldn't make 40, for one thing. My endocrine system was a mess, and always had been.

From here, it seems unbelievable. And with all the hormonal weirdness, I even managed to have a child too.

Actually, Wolfgang, hormones are often used for diagnosis, especially with MTFs. That is not quite as true with FTMs, but it can still have some benefit. But there does need to be better screening before people move to that stage. Some really don't need any treatment other than psychological. If they are not interested in surgery, then they are not really in need of other treatment.

The simple fact is, if someone is happy with their genitals, then that is is a strong indication that their brain is consistent with their body. And if that is the case, then calling them "transsexuals" is, at best, a stretch.

Actually, while I understand the issues with FTM surgery, I also notice that a lot of people, both MTF and FTM, do want to call themselves transsexual, when they are really just transgender. You have said nothing to dissuade me from this view. And again, I don't understand this need to claim to be something one is not. Harry Benjamin differentiated on the basis of surgery. Even though it was not as common then, he recognized a difference.

I agree, a lot of FTM transgenders do seek breast surgery, but again, that is not comparable to MTFs seeking vaginoplasty, as many transgenders may talk about it, but never actually proceed. For them, as Benjamin said, it is a nice fantasy, but not a real desire.

The bottom line is, if you want to remain physically the male, or a female, you were born as, then you are not transsexual, and certainly not HBS.


Benjamin didn't do much work with FTMs. He mentions them in his book, but points out that they were relatively rare. I think true HBS men are still rare than HBS women. I think that women who decide to seek some sort of modification short of actually becoming men is more common. This seems to be part of the overall transgender movement. By the same token, far more females identify as "gender queer" than males. But this is not remotely the same thing as being transsexual.

No Lucy, I do not presume to define "transgender," but only comment on how others define it. Allen did not stop there, but instead tried to put word in our mouths.

Again, Diane, an excellent post.

I do find it interesting that so many of the "transgender" identified people are so obsessed with trying to claim how "ashamed" we are because we don't share their self-denigrating identities. They just can't seem to grasp that we simply identify as women, not out of shame, but out of simple fact. At least it appears to me that in their own efforts at managing their stigma, they feel the need to project it on to others.

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Zucker's failures are simply the relatively rare cases that are HBS. Again, transgender types far outnumber HBS. Most of the successes would have changed their minds as they mature anyway, either becoming gay, transgender, or even abandoning such behavior altogether.

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 5:57 PM

Why Zoe, I could say the same things about you, but I choose not to attack people directly. I believe such is frowned on here...at least it is when your views don't fit certain narrow mindsets.

And yes, women contractors might work on a submarine. But no, our military does not allow women in combat. But that misses the point entirely. For someone in the United States, that is a strong connection to a male past. It labels that person as a male, and making such references is a clear link to that past. It clearly shows a certain mindset. And no, the reference was made before I noticed you joining in.

And for many, it is not about their security in their feminity (which is usually far too nonexistent to be insecure about anyway), it is about that little thrill they get from being a man who became a woman. They don't want anyone to forget that.

Personally, I find it quite silly when people, usually those who have no hope of having a normal life as a woman, attack those who do. They trot out such crap as shame, fear, hiding, "in the closet," etc. They cannot imagine what it might remotely be like to simply be a woman, and not a trans something or the other. So, when someone comes along who does not share their view, they attack.

No, I jettison my past because a) it was not particularly pleasant, and b) because I have no desire to be anything other than a woman. I have no need for a trans identity. It has nothing to do with shame, and everything to do with wanting people to see me as I really am. And yes, I know many here will have no idea what I am talking about, and will blather on in complete ignorance.

Monica.
I have a degree in Political Science but took my minor in Psychology/Sociology way back when those two disciplines were taught as one. My first employment after college was that of a social worker for the City of New York in a re-hab facility since I did not have the money nor the will to enter law school. One needs not a degree in anything to express an opinion and Jennifer did just that and it is her right just as it is yours to express your own.
I do agree with Jennifer though in her representation of opinion in regard to what is and what is not transgender and how that might affect others. I also resent deeply your attempt to join me and others to your transgender conscript as if for us to deny our inclusion is somehow a betrayal.
I know that I would never forcibly join you to the HBS concept but then I also know you do not fit and would not ask that you belong to something that would be naturally foreign to you.
I also find it typical from past emails you sent to me that when you lose an argument you rebel by attempts at 'outing' another. One episode after your appearance in front of the Vietnam Memorial comes to mind but that is of the past and I will not digress. I know your self serving nature and some things about you I find rather bizarre and would not make it a point of discussion simply because I prefer to debate an issue even though lacking the advantage of the killer instinct which you seem to possess.
Not once did I read someone say they were better than another on these posts. We HBS born do say in a loud voice that we are different and distinct in our medical condition and our identity.
You proclaim yourself as being tolerant but your accusation of another as being a 'trans-person' when you know they feel that label as being non-applicable to them I find rather disparaging and somewhat intolerant of their feelings.
Diane

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 6:17 PM

Battybattybats...no one is denying you your right to be "deviant." We simply do not wish to be identified with you, and as behaving like you. We really share nothing in common with you, and, as stated, consider it demeaning to be linked to you.

Get over it.

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 6:21 PM

Erin, to each their own. But for me, the time I spent trying "to be something I was not" was very painful. I have no desire to hold on to that, and keep it a part of my life. Now, for some, this is not true. In some cases, it is because it was a blissfully short part of their life. For others, it simply was not really painful, as they were, quite literally, being who they really are. And now, in order to be who they really are, they have to live as a "man who became a female." No, such people are not HBS. They are, in the strictest sense, transgender.

And being straight forward about things is not insulting, unless, I suppose, one is truly ashamed of what they really are.

Zoe,
I can fully understand your narrative and thank you for sharing it.
For some I might suppose it is luck to find a solution young and for others perhaps best to wait. For me it was destiny and a driving nature to be whole so I do not offer myself up as a comparison for others. It was just me but I fully understand what it means to be just me.
But then I can never consider having transitioned in my twenties to be luck. If I was lucky I would have had correction in my teens when I attempted just that. Alas, that is prologue and I must admit to having had a wonderful life with with a man who asked me to be his wife whom I deeply loved and with his passing there now there is an empty void.
Enjoy your life and do not look back for there lies the pain of memory.

Diane

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 6:25 PM

Again, Helms makes the claim that some are purporting to be superior. That is not remotely the case. Different? Yes. Superior? No. Though I suppose if one is truly ashamed of what they really are, then they might see it that way. But this sort of thing is not uncommon among transgender types. I have seen HBS survivors and transsexuals attacked for supposedly thinking themselves at the top of a hierarchy that does not even exist. Not wanting to be labeled as something you are not does not mean you think yourself superior. But trying to force a label on someone who does not want it often means you feel inferior, and feel the need to bring them down to your level.

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 6:44 PM

Actually, it is really very simple....

There are those who are born with a physical birth defect, which causes their brain to be sexually differentiated at odds with their body. They are never comfortable with their body, and they are not successful in their birth sex role, no matter how long, or short, a time they remain there. They might transition very early, or they might be relatively late. But if they transition later in life, they will have a work history that reflects their discomfort with their birth sex and after transition their life will greatly improve. These people are HBS.

Then there are people who are born without such a physical birth defect. For whatever reason, they develop a learned behavior that leads them to derive pleasure from crossdressing and/or thinking of themselves as a female. They may, or may not transition at some point in their life. Prior to transition they will have a highly successful career in their birth sex role. If they may have served in the military and would have had no problem assimilating into the male culture that the military imposes on males. They never had any problem being one of the boys. so to speak.

That really is the bottom line. If you were ever happy as a male. If you were able to function reasonably well as a male, if you had a successful career as a male, or you were able to enter the military, or exist in other heavily male dominated areas, and suffer no abuse for not fitting in, then you are transgender, and not HBS. That does not make you inferior. But it does mean that, quite frankly, I share nothing in common with you. Now, if that bothers you, get over it.

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 6:57 PM

I guess some here are losing the argument, as I notice they have, again, resorted to personal attacks. Oh well...

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 7:05 PM

Sadly, Chuck Prince is not nearly as irrelevant as some wish to claim. Many of the ideas expressed by some here originated with Prince, and he is still idolized by many in the so-called transgender community. In fact, IFGE gives an award named for Prince, and WPATH has all but made Prince their patron saint.

Now, I would love to join in consigning Prince to the trash heap of history, but alas, some are still propping the old boy up.

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 7:12 PM

I find it amusing that Helms seems to be obsessed with knowing who I am. I guess this is a typical, dare I say is, male need to control. If I wanted to reveal my name, I would. But I choose not to. Helms should not be so presumptive to try to identify me. Said identification is childish, and disrespectful of both me, and the person she is trying to identify as being me. As I say, it seems to be typical male behavior. I have seen this in other discussions, here someone tries to control another by identifying who they think they are. Of course, people like Helms object to anyone who wishes to maintain privacy. Truly, this is sad.

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 7:25 PM

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Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 7:52 PM

I get so tired of transgender people carrying on about privilege. I'm really sorry if you can't assimilate, but that is not my fault, nor is it anyone else's fault. Some of us are born lucky, and are able to live lives as normal women. Others, well others are not so lucky. In a sense, I pity them, but I'll be damned if I will give up my privacy to make them feel better.

Battybattybats | May 16, 2008 7:58 PM

Great questions Lucy.

There have been some interesting reports in the science media on the consequences of FtM transexuals and our philosophical psychological neurological understandings of body self and conciousness with huge consequences in many fields.

This is because of the experience of 'phantom erections'. Someone lacking the anatomy reporting quite strongly and definatly the sensations of a physiological response, often as is the case in those with the actual organs at unexpected occassions.

Now there is the similar seeming 'phantom limb syndrome' where an amputee will have sensations like pain or itching or tickling in a limb that no longer exists. Studies into this brought many benefits as it was discovered that the brain body map is related to the formation of the foetus in first a spherical shape then the foetul position where in our brain body parts quite distant when extended are still considered next to one another and an itch on one part of the body could be missreported by the brain as belonging to a now absent part that lies next to it in the brain map while otherwise distant in anatomy. This has had massive benefis in understanding of the brain and pain, sensation, bio-feedback, motor control and lots more. It has even led to restored sexual pleasures for paraplegics where areas still with sensation that are near the erogenous zones in the brain map while far away anatomicly.

However the common though not universal experience of FtM transexuals cannot be explained thus. From what I've heard FMRI scans have suported that the brain is reporting the same stimulus as with males experiencing the same anatomical sensation.

That means that these transexuals have neural systems set up for producing erections and for experiencing erections. Unless it can be shown that all these transexuals have the HBS definition desperate need for surgery I think we can consider that a falsification of that part of the HBS definition. Those FtM's clearly have a neurological intersex condition. We only need one, just one single FtM who experiences phantom erections who does not have the desperate drive for surgery to rule that factor out of a medical definition of HBS.

Now the fact is not all FtM transexuals experience these phantom erections. Is this evidence for those FtM's being transvestic fetishists and not true transexuals? I would not expect so. Despite attempts to claim otherwise neurological conditions come in degrees and variations. Autism is a good example. Some autistic people are utterly 'locked up' while others are so mild as to be undetectable without extensive testing, many of the latter only being discovered because of children or relatives with more severe symptoms.

That is why I suspect that varying degrees of neurological intersex should be expected rather than considered impossible and thats why I suspect most, maybe even almost all transgender people will have varying degrees of neurological difference. Crossdressers being the equivalent of mild autism or maybe aspergers, HBS level transexuals being the equivalent of 'locked up' Autism.

Just Jennifer | May 16, 2008 8:01 PM

First off Lucy, you will notice that I said "what is properly called transgender..." A lot of people treat transgender as a label that they stick on anyone, and everyone, whether they like it, or not. People with HBS are not transgender.

And yes, even though you wish to blur the lines, the differences are quite distinct. First, and foremost, people with HBS have a disgust for their genitals that is not found in those who are not HBS. Second, they are unable to live successfully in their birth gender. Third, they are compelled to do what is necessary to correct their situation. While it may be resisted for a period, correction is really not an option for them.

Now, why should you care that we wish to differentiate ourselves from those who are transgender? Why does this bother you so much? Are you afraid we might be right, and not share some stigma that you feel? What is it about our views that you find so disturbing?

And I get so tired of non-HBS asking us that silly question. How does any woman know that she feels female? Well, that is how we know. Asking that is just an attempt to discredit our experience. Simply put, I could ask you, how do you know you are a male? If you have to ask, you probably can't understand the answer.

Battybattybats | May 16, 2008 8:19 PM

"Battybattybats...no one is denying you your right to be "deviant." We simply do not wish to be identified with you, and as behaving like you. We really share nothing in common with you, and, as stated, consider it demeaning to be linked to you.

Get over it."

Just Jennifer. Do you have ESL or learning or comprehension difficulties I should be aware of so that I don't misjudge your response and that could help me change my word choice to compensate for any disadvantages you may be challenged by?

Because you have entirely failed to understand the meaning of what I was saying. I never said anyone was denying my right to be deviant. I was in fact questioning which meaning of deviant was being used and why.

This is essential to know whether such deviance would be accuratly considered bad or instead admirable. It is essential to know whether being associated with it is objectively insulting or whether dissassociating from it is objectively insulting. Subjectively people can have all sorts of biases bigotries likes and dislikes but someone of one oppressed minority ethnicity who hates members of another oppressed minority ethnicity and wishes not to associate with them would be no less a racist than one from the oppressing majority, just one in a lesser position of power.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 16, 2008 8:35 PM

Just Jennifer. You keep speaking as an authority, as if what you hold to be true is objectively proven as true.

Please provide the link to the peer reviewed, statistically significant, hundreds of subjects, wide range, full control group, long term, methodologicly sound, repeated by peers for independant verification comparative study that proves what you say is known fact and not personal belief.

If you cannot what you have is subjective conjecture held on faith, not objective truth. That would make your views as valid on the subject as a voudoun priestess's, no more and no less. Personal truth yes but truth outside of you not at all untill it is scientificly verified to a proper scientific standard.

And unless you can understand that fact insisting on asserting that what you accept is true on faith and personal truth must also be true for others is offensive, insulting, false and also embarrassingly erroneous thinking.

I suggest you look up the basics of scientific method, rationalism and philosophical truth. It will help you in this discussion as, whether your view turns out to be right or wrong, you will upset less people and be more right and less wrong in how you express your view.

This just gets insane sometimes...

"Though I don't think they like being included with the transgender group, I would think they could give a rat's rag about Virginia Prince."


Oh a bucket now is it. Very respectful of others views that is.

You can disscuss the accuracy or inaccuarcy of the transgender model and/or community without vitriol filled invective or venomous jabs just as we can do the same without using similar negative analogies or phrases for HBS.

Symbolicly buckets are not used to contain many valued things, but are used for scraps, leaks, dirt and manure. Thats uncalled for, offensive and low.

Deliberatly or accidentally that is offensive and unwarrented.

That's an absolutely ridiculous analysis of the statement I made...utterly ludicrous. Get a friggin life, both of you.

If that simple statement I made was so offensive to you, I don't care if either one of you respect me.

Geeeez...


Woot just checked my email and this is still going strong. I see the term Cross Dresser tossed around here but I see no one who has ever spent time in that community. Im am not talking about preop dressing either. Long before I realized I was TG I was a CD we have our own little pecking order just like every one else. There are our fetish folks our guys in girls clothing types and girls like I was who did every thing we could to look like a woman when dressed. Then next up was the Drag Queens and finally the ones who molded there bodies almost like a Preop but stopped once they achieved there "shemale" look they wanted. This was an interesting part of my life and trust me we had our share of drama queens. So remember when causally taking about Cross Dressers they have there place in the wider LGBT community as well.
Caty

battybattybats battybattybats | May 17, 2008 12:02 AM

As Zoe said "BBB - I'm sure no disrespect was intended. I could have inadvertently used the same phraseology myself."

However as an analysis of the statement it isn't ridiculous. It may have been entirely unintentional but the associative meaning remains accidental or not. As any artist or creative writer with an understanding of just an ounce of theory can tell you (and I got within 2 months of obtaining my fine arts qualification before my undiagnosed disability nixed that course too) words like that have unavoidable associative meaning. Some use this deliberatly (see semiotics, neuro-linguistic programming and propaganda) and plenty of people do so by accident.

If you meant no offense you can re-word your statemnt and learn from the fact that something that was said so innocently of intent could still be quite offensive and all is fine. But language has meanings, layers of meanings and analogies and symbols are not neccessarily harmless.

Picture for a moment all the things carried in buckets. Diamonds or gold? Only in rough ore and surrounded by dirt. The bucket is not much of a symbol of containing positive things in a modern sosciety. Even in a rural area what does someone use a bucket for most often. Manure, dirt, 'grey' water, food scraps for compost.

The other term most often used, umbrella, what does it do? It covers, it protects from rain, it shelters. Sharing an umbrella with someone is synonomous with altruism and compassion.

I accept you may have had no idea of what unintended meanings would be contained in your use of the words "lumped into the transgender bucket" but neverheless the meaning is there. Art, symbolic meaning, surrounds us every day, it passes through our concious filters into our unconcious though processes in ways few are aware of. It is the primal language of the deeper brain.

People inadvertantly say offensive things without realising it quite often, it happens every day.

I don't disrespect you. But the offense I feel is real. I don't like having a group I'm proud to belong to described as a bucket, meaning that the people in it including myself and many friends are some of the things carried in a bucket most of which are not so valuable or pleasant.

In a normal social situatuion if someone says something unintentionally indelicate or inadvertantly offensive a simple 'sorry, I didn't mean to be offensive' or equivalent is said and the matter is done. I'd accept such a statement of such sort from you and you will definately have my respect.

And many can learn from this about the power of language, the ease at which something can be misscomunicated in a way that carries unintended insult and about other peoples emotions and how to interact with them.

Alas, Battybattybats shows an appalling lack of understanding of both science and medicine. No research is based completely on one single case, unless of course, one is desperate to prove some false claim.

Of course, I think it is far more interesting that research as shown that even though phantom penis syndrome has been observed in men who have lost theirs, it is not observed in most transsexuals. Of course, there are exceptions, but that does raise some interesting questions.

ROTFL! Wlll, Batty has made a major faux pas. In one post the claim is made that a single exception will disprove HBS. In the next, Batty demands a ridiculous standard of proof.

Oh well, now I know what I suspected and will act accordingly.

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JJ

There are those who are born with a physical birth defect, which causes their brain to be sexually differentiated at odds with their body.

Exactly

They are never comfortable with their body, and they are not successful in their birth sex role, no matter how long, or short, a time they remain there.
Concur 100%, though your definition of "successful" may vary. The degree of discomfort varies too. Some can manage the "mental gymnastics" to function sexually, others can't, to take a simple and easily measurable example of "success".
They might transition very early, or they might be relatively late. But if they transition later in life, they will have a work history that reflects their discomfort with their birth sex and after transition their life will greatly improve. These people are HBS.
I think the work history bit is something of a furphy. It's possible for someone to be so tortured that they throw themselves into a career to try to stop thinking about it. They can appear very successful. The real test is what happens after transition - do they blossom and does their life massively improve, despite the additional difficulties that transition adds? If so, that's a sure sign, and from my observations, a surer sign than desire for particular surgical procedures.
Then there are people who are born without such a physical birth defect. For whatever reason, they develop a learned behavior that leads them to derive pleasure from crossdressing and/or thinking of themselves as a female.
I'm not convinced that such people exist. Biology isn't binary, there are degrees of neural screw-up, and they affect different areas.

I'll take an example. Khadijah Farmer. Female Gender Identity, standard model 46xx female body. But her whole body language screams MALE. Anyone seeing her walking down the street would think her male. She's not, she's as female as I am. But part of her brain is masculinised. Just not the bit(s) to do with gender identity.

I think we all know those unfortunates who look fabulous, but whose general "vibe" matches neither their looks nor their personalities.

Then there are those that look, to put it politely, plain. Lots of masculine tells in their soma, yet no-one questions them, because they "vibe female". Objectively, no way should they "pass" to put it crudely. Yet even if they out themselves, the usual reaction is "I can't believe you ever looked like a man" when according to measurements and numbers, they still do to a large extent. That's because their hindbrain, the bit determining instinctive body language, is feminised. There are lots of subtle tells we are all wired up to recognise to determine someone's sex, and not all can be reduced to numbers (yet).

Such people as you postulate may exist. But there's little evidence they do, as partly cross-gendered neurology in different areas can explain all observed behaviour. This makes me most uncomfortable, and I wish it were not so. But I calls 'em how I sees 'em.

Coming from the direction of Intersex, I deal every day with men who are distressed that their bodies aren't quite the normal model. Women too in the same situation. I find it impossible to believe that the sexually dimorphic brain is somehow privileged and immune from the same kinds of thing that happen to the rest of the body. I also deal with people whose minds are such that the labels "male" and "female" are irrelevant, regardless of the exact mixture of somatic sex they were landed with. That tiny minority, within a small minority, within a larger minority, should not be labelled "paraphilliacs" or forced into someone else's idea of a universal binary that doesn't admit exceptions. We of all people should know what that feels like.

Lucy Bright | May 17, 2008 4:21 AM

>Now, why should you care that we wish to differentiate ourselves from those who are transgender? Why does this bother you so much? Are you afraid we might be right, and not share some stigma that you feel? What is it about our views that you find so disturbing?

Sorry to disappoint you, but I don’t find them disturbing at all. Nor, for that matter, do I feel any stigma. I think it’s perfectly understandable that you (as a group) should wish to find ways that clearly define yourselves and the ways in which you can be distinguished from other people with whom a largely-indifferent public might confuse you. I’m quite happy to accept (as I’m sure I’ve said before) that HBS is real, and different from other conditions (even if it’s not quite as radically different as you’d like it to be). Where I have less sympathy is with the ways you go about showing this, by assuming that a situation that exists in various degrees is actually all-or-nothing (but Zoe has written more knowledgeably than I about this). Especially problematic is your apparent need to represent the very wide variety of people who identify as transgender quite unrealistically in a one-size-fits-all description, usually couched in – well, demeaning terms (to use the mot du jour) designed to make them seem as different from you as possible. I certainly didn’t recognize myself in your description of the people ‘born without such a physical birth defect’ above, for example, and I doubt many would.

>And I get so tired of non-HBS asking us that silly question. How does any woman know that she feels female? Well, that is how we know. Asking that is just an attempt to discredit our experience. Simply put, I could ask you, how do you know you are a male? If you have to ask, you probably can't understand the answer.

If you don’t want to answer the question, don’t answer it – it’s not a problem. I do know it’s an old one, even if I persist in finding it interesting. The fact is, though, I DON'T know I’m a male – which is part of the reason I’m transgender! I have found that those who are secure in their gender identity (whether cisgendered or transsexual) often find it hard to say why, but also it’s not really an issue for them, at least once they have fixed their body to match. Cisgendered women and men need think about it even less than transsexuals, of course. But for some of us the question is our constant companion, because we live with a dissonance that can’t be solved with the surgeon’s knife. I’m still open to answers/theories, if anyone’s got some to offer!

Battybattybats | May 17, 2008 4:57 AM

Just Jennifer. You seem confused as to some of the basics of science and the philosophy of science.

It takes only a single piece of contrary evidence to sink an hypothesis and often near mountains of data from attempts to disprove the hypothesis along with confirmations of predictions made by that hypthesis for it to be considered true.

It would take only one exception to show that the HBS model would need adjusting to be accurate. It would take a great deal of research however to show that it is always accurate.

This is called 'falsifiability'.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability

Note the white-swan example. It only takes a single black swan to disprove the idea 'all swans are white.

Wow though, how could I, apparently a simpleton with an APALLING lack of understanding of science or medicine or debating manage to make such a point?

Guess I just showed several hypothesese are false.

As for your giving me a 'wide berth' and you finding my appearance personally offensive (not that you know what I look like afaik) etc etc. What's your problem with goths? Not that you know what kind of goth I am. Do you have the same intolerance of all goths? New-wave, dark-wave, cyber, romantic, neo-victorian, industrial, metal, diesal, steam, retro, punk, ostro, visi, etc etc? Would it matter to you if i were wearing black vinyl with facial piercings, black leather with tattoos or a top-hat and antique frock-coat?

battybattybats battybattybats | May 17, 2008 5:34 AM

Here's a link to a transcript of a radio program on the whole 'phantom penis' with it's profound validation of neurological brain-intersex. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2007/1861116.htm

Lucy Bright

I have found that those who are secure in their gender identity (whether cisgendered or transsexual) often find it hard to say why, but also it’s not really an issue for them, at least once they have fixed their body to match.

Not even when they haven't. It's something you are, regardless of appearance. In fact, those who are TS are so secure in their gender identity that they'll move heaven and earth to make the rest consistant.
.
Cisgendered women and men need think about it even less than transsexuals, of course.

Many of those are less strongly gendered than TS people, and so can't understand why anyone would transition for such a trivial reason as being the wrong shape.
.
But for some of us the question is our constant companion, because we live with a dissonance that can’t be solved with the surgeon’s knife. I’m still open to answers/theories, if anyone’s got some to offer!

The surgery does nothing to affect the gender identity. There's no such thing as a "sex change" in that regard. All it can do is make the mind and body match. To someone who is strongly gendered, and has the wrong shaped body, the discomfort is ... indescribable. I only knew how bad it was when it ended. Had I let myself realise it before, I'd be dead or insane.

My theory (hypothesis actually, more than a conjecture but not enough for a theory), is that it is inevitable that some people will feel as you do. It's an inevitable consequence of gender being set in the neuro-anatomy. Sometimes it's set to mismatch the soma. But sometimes the mismatch is only to a degree. There'll be people who are not particularly female, but certainly not male. Others not particularly male, but certainly not female. Others that are so close to the middle that they can only be described as androgenous. Others where the whole area is underdeveloped, and they are true neuters.

As the brain is slightly malleable, people so close to the middle can sometimes partly normalise. Worse, and this one really weirds me out, for those right on the divide, hormonal variations can take them from feeling just slightly M to just slightly F and back. I suspect my model is wrong there. That's what it predicts, but I've never heard of anyone like that.

This doesn't help you in the slightest, of course. Maybe it might help to say that you're not alone, that people like you have to exist to make nearly everyone else comfy as M or F. You're neccessary to make the binary gendering work. A dirty job, but someone has to do it. Being drafted doesn't diminish your heroism.

If I had any advice, it's the same I give to all the IS and TS people I see as part of the Ally program at the Uni. That is - be yourself. Find out what that is. And blow what anyone else says, me included. I'm working from a very limited data set, and although I'm very confident in the neurological cause, the details are less clear, and too much of that is informed guesswork. Those I'm not confident about at all.

I've been pulled away from my weekend in Paris to moderate this thread, so a few things.

Posting personal information about others' pasts not otherwise disclosed is not cool. Don't do it. It'll get moderated.

If you think a comment should be moderated, use the web-contact form up top. Include a link and the reason why. While just a year ago I was reading every single comment that went up on this site, there's no way I can do that anymore.

Play nice.

Batty,

You continue to amaze me. I don't think I ever met anyone who can expand conjecture to fact as well as you seem to be able to do. You ignore the site: http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./where scietific results are listed and then you argue for proof outlining absolutes before any of the evidence is accepted as being valid. An analogy: I wonder how much proof you might ask for so that you might be convinced a bee is actually able to fly considering its aerodynamics? And please show me one single study that proves without doubt the clear definition of transgenderism. Remember now we are talking about a social construct joined in its meaning with varying elements rather vaguely defined. And, since you take the TG term for yourself might you tell me where I too might find the conclusive evidence of how the support research was obtained to justify one label being attached to so many variants? Please tell!

In the meantime do your own homework on the site provided rather than simply defending your ignorance and making claim that others need to do the resarch for you.

Diane, http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

Of course it's ridiculous. Your implication that the word bucket is only used for dirt, scraps, and even, unbelievably manure is just plain wierd, if not idiotcy. A bucket is simply something that is used for collecting things...ANYTHING...period. If you want to assume a bucket of dirt, scraps, or manure and read negativity, instead of a bucket of love, milk, or honey then knock yourself out, but I'm not playing semantics with you.

You are right about one thing, any time someone say anything that offends someone else they should acknowledge that offence was not the intent...and in this case, I say that know. But as backhanded an apology as it may seem, but you and Monica's problem with that sentence say way more about the two of you than it does about my grammar.

Geez, Mercedes you've really started an avalanche of responses here! Power On! I never thought I would get all of this read, it's unbelievable the amount of response given here. Well, not totally unbelievable considering the passion that we all feel about the subject of ourselves! I thought I would throw in my 2 cents worth but am deriving to much enjoyment from just following the thread discussion.

I guess I didn't realize I was such a strong and domineering person that I can force other people to change their personal identities. So, I must spend all my time and money flying to a person's place of residence, break into their house and threaten bodily injury if they don't identify in the way I think they have to identify. It's the butch lesbian in me. (sarcasm)

Alex, be careful. I'll be flying to Paris next. I think you should identify as a gay man. I'm sure that frightens you. After I force you to identify as a gay man, maybe you can show me around Paris. I may try to force some French women to identify as German.

Trust me, I could give a rat's --- what a person wants to identify as. Anyone who wants to give me the power to say I am able to force them or anyone else to identify as something they don't want to may need to seek professional help for their insecurity issues.

Caillean McMahon | May 17, 2008 12:27 PM

Having donned Monica's recommended protective garb, and having added, at my son's recommendation, a helmet with my blood group stencilled upon the strap, I am preparing a lengthy paper on the subject of trans-diagnostics that I will be forwarding to the work group, on the basis of 23 years as a psychiatrist who has always had a sizeable portion of my practice made up of LGBT's. It will include most of the known neurological and neuroanatomical findings, some commonality of case history and outcome info that has occured in the practices of other clinicians, and a breakdown by criteria of most of the diagnostics associated with trans-phenomena.

It will include a recommendtion for a severe tightening of the diagnostic criteria for autogynophilia, but inclusion of AG in the differential.

It will not be limited to Dr. Blanchard's either/or homosexual vs Ag diagnostics, as neither the neuroscientific studies nor most clinicians experiences support such a simplistic view.

It will emphasize the accepted analytical concept of multiple determination, many possible factors affecting ALL observable behavioral outcomes, further arguing against the simplistic either/or approach advocated by Dr's Zucker and Blanchard.

In the view of many of the clinicians treating transsexuals, Autogynophilia exists, though the diagnostic criteria is drawn overly broad and becomes by and large a catch all for everyone not in the homosexual transsexual category to make either/or diagnostics work.

The Homosexual transsexual also exists. Again, the criteria, primarily based upon libidinal issues, is overly broadly drawn and desparately needs narrowed.

There are the neuropsychologically or neuroanatomically based transsexuals, who are neurologically or psychologically intersexed for lack of a better definition.

The number diagnostic sub-groups under the observable phenomena of transsexuality needs to be broadened, not narrowed. I will be arguing that libidinal based diagnostics(the either/or) would represent a step backwards in the face of accumulated case data and known or suspected neuroscience.

Obviously, no one will be happy with this (though included in the subgroups, HBS is described clinically and I simply will NOT use the term as it is overexclusive). Those willing to see AG buried in a crossroads with a stake through it's heart to prevent it's resurrection will not be happy either...I am sorry but I have and many other clinicians have seen patients who clearly meet the dynamics of AG, as opposed to simply falling outside of the Homosexual transsexual subset and thus meeting the current critieria used by Clarke.

Finally, I am arguing that the very reliance of sexual orientation to define diagnostics flies in the face of decades of belief that sexual orientation and gender identity are NOT linked functions.

I am hopeful that other psychiatrists will join in with submissions.

Flame away(ducking to take cover)

Lucy Bright | May 17, 2008 12:36 PM

Thanks, Zoe. I find your analysis persuasive (given the lack of data – I suppose something else may yet turn up), and your advice is exactly that which I’ve been trying to follow. It’s never less than interesting! And I’m giving a wobbly smile at the thought of being a drafted gender hero(ine) – connotations of military service notwithstanding. ;-)

Oh, and you were right to pick me up on a clumsy expression when I said “it’s not really an issue for them, at least once they have fixed their body to match.” I was conflating “issue” in the sense of a question or matter of doubt with “issue” in the sense of problem that needs to be fixed. Transsexuals do indeed (from all I’ve heard and seen) have a strong sense of their gender, and I wasn’t meaning to imply otherwise.

Battybattybats | May 17, 2008 9:58 PM

" I don't think I ever met anyone who can expand conjecture to fact as well as you seem to be able to do. You ignore the site: http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./where scietific results are listed and then you argue for proof outlining absolutes before any of the evidence is accepted as being valid."

What conjecture have I stated as fact? Specificly? Maybe you mistake my use of words like 'perhaps' or 'suspect' for instead stating that a possibility is a certainty? The people making statements of certainty however are not those showing scientific literacy, my basic and Zoe's substantial. We are discussing possibilities based on an understanding of the way science works rather than false certainties.

Firstly I'm ignoring the site because it's clearly biased. Ex-gay sites claim to have 'science' too. If the research is that good it should also be found elsewhere. All I asked for was DEFINITIVE evidence to support DEFINITIVE conclusions at a STANDARD level of scientific evidence to substantiate the claims being made. Show me the peer-reviewed academic journals. Show me the wide-rangeing studies with enough subjects to provide statisticly meaningful conclusions! Small studies don't cut it, you need a large number of subjects to ensure that a proper range has been obtained. With a control group too. Unless you can provide that you have suggestive pilot studies and nothing more. Cold fusion had that much but the taxi I took yesterday still wasn't powered by it was it!

There are scientific standards required to take something from sensible scientific conjecture to scientific conclusion. Either provide stuff that meets all those standards or accept that the evidence you find personally convincing is not yet reached the level sufficient to be scientificly certain.

"I wonder how much proof you might ask for so that you might be convinced a bee is actually able to fly considering its aerodynamics?"

Sigh. You really are behind the times. It's been years, almost a decade in fact, since it was shown that wake capture and the deforming of the wing shape of bees and other insects vastly alters the flow of air opening up huge new avenues of aerodynamics
http://www.abc.net.au/quantum/stories/s103203.htm
http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/zoostaff/ellington/aerodynamics.html
http://park.org/Canada/Museum/insects/evolution/deforming.html
You might also note that the increased variability of bats wings also give them vastly increased manouverability over birds that also sits outside the arhaic old notions of fixed state wing aerodynamics. http://www.livescience.com/animals/070122_bat_flight.html

Engineers are currently working on ways to use these discoveries in exploration robotics for other planets and miliatry spy robotics (where robot insects are really in right now).

It was in fact the example of insects that invalidated the old theories of aerodynamics requiring greater exploration, greater understanding, more discoveries and new theories of aerdodynamics that include the valid parts of the old ones and incorporate new ideas. This will keep happening in all fields as that is how science works.

But as for evidence of flight, sigh. You do like your straw man arguments don't you. No-one is arguing about whether bees fly or whether transexuals exist. Instead the argument is about how and why they fly/exist and how different they might be from other things that fly/exist. Without being able to say what the causation of each is and then work on detailed comparisons all we have is conjecture.

So your not talking proof, your not talking certainty, your talking conjecture with only limited and fragmentary evidence to work on. I'm not saying that the transgender model is proven, it too is conjecture. I didn't say otherwise.

"And, since you take the TG term for yourself might you tell me where I too might find the conclusive evidence of how the support research was obtained to justify one label being attached to so many variants? Please tell!"

I'm not claiming transgender as medical and scientific fact though which you keep ignoring. The only way to be sure of who may or may not be neurologicly intersexed to any degree will be a very large expensive series of studies. Till then we only have conjecture based on fragmentary evidence.

We don't have sufficient scientific evidence to rule who fits into what catagory. "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" especially when the requisite studies aren't being done!

"Remember now we are talking about a social construct joined in its meaning with varying elements rather vaguely defined."

Ah well if you insist on considering it only as a social/cultural phenomena you'll have to try and criticise it from a social/cultural point of view then won't you.

So from a social/cultural perspective vague definitions are the norm. Can you tll the difference between an extreme Emo and an Extreme Goth? Sure most people can, but an average Emo and an average Goth? Where does one stop and the other start? There is overlap between the social/cultural groups!

There are arguments in favour of the transgender model when looked at from a cultural, social and political perspective.

Who can say which gender/sex non conformists of history were crossdressers or HBS? Who can say which phenomena gave rise to third sexes in polynesia and southern asia? How could we determine which ones have been the driving forces of which religions or rituals throughout human history? Even by the HBS accepted definition both myst have existed, biological and psychological, before the modern age.

When considering the various biases against such people and practices throughout history we cannot again split one group as distinctive from the other.

In these considerations alone a single catagory recognising substantial diversity within it is neccessary.

Cultures and social groupings are defined essentially by two forces, the views and expressions of those within and those without.

Politicly too there is validation for a transgender alliance whether a variety of causation for the phenomena is found or not. Often the same laws discriminate against all or large portions within the grouping so having allies that work together is valuable.

And Susan, I've never seen a 'bucket of love'. You must explain that one lol. I accept your apology, backhanded or otherwise. Thankyou.

I'm sure if/when you learn more about semiotics (not semantics, that's different. We all know what the word means it's the additional meaning of the symbol that the word represents that is at issue) and it's usage in politics and art I'm sure you'll see why the reaction was how it was. Or maybe your just from a dairy area rather than sheep country and so the symbol has different meanings because of different experience with the symbol. Lets remember that symbols vary substantially and not knowing how a symbol is understood by someone from another region country or heritage can often be a cause of unintended offence, in that some anthropology might help, especially linguistic anthropology.

Caillean - sounds as if you're changing your opinions to match observations, rather than discarding observations that don't match preconceived notions.

I'd be most interested in what you have to say.

The areas of most interest to me are twofold: first, in what areas does my hypothesis fall down? Is it sufficiently falsifiable to be useful? To what extent am I being over-broad?

Second, what about people presenting with "gender issues" who have (other) Intersex conditions? Being excluded by definition from GID in the DSM-IV has severe repercussions when it comes to treatment. The effects of immediately post-natal surgical "normalisation" can be quite awful.

Will you bite the bullet and give a proposed medical definition of male and female? That's what it all comes down to in the end. Fitting a grey, blurry, biological splodge into two neat buckets.

As an aside, one of the better books on the subject IMHO is that of Prof Rachel Heath, the Praeger Handbook of Transsexuality ISBN-13 978-0275991760. I've had a few talks with Prof Heath when she was down in Canberra.

In any event, good luck. I think you'll need it. I know you deserve it. There's been too much Bad Science in this area.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 18, 2008 6:55 AM

On the subject of Autogynophilia, this paper looks interesting http://www.tracieokeefe.com/Autogynephilia.htm and I'd like to know what, if any, counter views there are against it.

Many of O'Keefe's qualifications came from what can reasonably be described as New Age Diploma Mills.

Having said that... when I met her recently (tuesday), I was most impressed by her abilities as both a clinician and a researcher. The paper that BBB adduced above is typical of her rigour.

It's clear from her hands-on clinical experience that she has a lot more knowledge in the area than I do, with my limited and heavily theoretical background. She learned something from me, but I learnt rather more from her, especially in the area of non-transitioning gender variant clinical cases. When it came to easily diagnosable transitioners, those who meet even the most fanatical and narrow definition of HBS, there was no disagreement. There's less evidence in favour of neurology than I'd like, yet more than for many other commonly treated medical conditions, which have even smaller sample sizes as evidence to back up treatment which we know works. Yes, we need more research, but not of the skewed type prevalent at CAMH, which I'm led to believe at the moment is the only game in town in North America. You can't just reject 90% of cases that don't fit your preconceptions, then coerce the rest to more closely fit.

I ended up defending Zucker against her attacks, would you believe. His science is actually good, and if you read the papers he's co-authored, the results show that his success rate is limited. I suspect he's becoming less and less convinced of his former position, he's too good a scientist not to. Too human to do it quickly though.

It's his ethics that I condemn. As I put it to Tracie, "He's not an Idiot as you say he is, but torturing children is wrong."

Thanks for the link, BBB. I'll bookmark that one.

Please, you must remember, that although I'm a Rocket Scientist and know basic scientific method, I have zero formal training in psychology or medicine. Most of my observations haven't even been face-to-face, and have been exclusively people who are undergoing transition or are Intersexed and with "gender issues". I'm TS/IS, and although that gives me some personal insight, it bollixes my objectivity. That gets even more compromised by hearing so very many tales of inhuman treatment by a neoFreudian establishment - they tear at my heart. Finally, as a computer scientist, I'm biased towards a rather mechanistic approach. I prefer evidence from MRI and other scans rather than the very wishy-washy and terribly open to observer bias soft-science kind, common in psychology. To see why, just read the literature and see how the picture has totally changed over the last 40 years. The inbuilt societal prejudice is obvious in hindsight, and the early work thoroughly discredited by later, more rigorous studies.

Critically examining my own conclusions.... it appears to me that cross-gendered neurology can be taken as a proven fact, at least, as much as anything in Science can be. For it not to be true would mean abandoning much of what we think we know about biology.

That such cross-gendered neurology is causal of the syndrome of Transsexuality is another matter. The rates match, the plausible symptoms match, and as a conjecture, we have enough evidence for it (vs zero against) that it can be considered a well-grounded hypothesis. Certainly enough to base treatment on, because there are other medical conditions that are generally accepted as understood where the evidence is even more scanty.

That is is causal of the variety of gender variance we observe is more conjecture, something that fits, something that is extremely plausible, rather than a well-evidenced conclusion. Occam's razor says it's probably true, but many a beautiful, neat and tidy theory like that has been slain by a single ugly fact.

We need repetition of existing experiments to firm up the hypothesis of transsexual causation - the "weak HBS" hypothesis. We need entirely new experiments to test the "transgender" conjecture.

Lucy Bright

Oh, and you were right to pick me up on a clumsy expression

No big deal. Small stuff remains unsweated.

Anyone who gets offended by something as trivial as that is, in my opinion, being unbearably precious. It merits what it got, a small correction, that's all.

It's not as if we didn't have rather more important (by 3 orders of magnitude) issues to concern us. Nice of you to post that though. Consider yourself hugged.

Caillean,

Having donned Monica's recommended protective garb, and having added, at my son's recommendation, a helmet with my blood group stencilled upon the strap, I am preparing a lengthy paper on the subject of trans-diagnostics that I will be forwarding to the work group, on the basis of 23 years as a psychiatrist who has always had a sizeable portion of my practice made up of LGBT's. It will include most of the known neurological and neuroanatomical findings, some commonality of case history and outcome info that has occured in the practices of other clinicians, and a breakdown by criteria of most of the diagnostics associated with trans-phenomena.

Di > It seems to me then that the, "sizeable portion of my practice made up of LGBT's," lends itself to a bias in favor of those behavioral elements and not truly able to accept the neurological contradictions in uterus as indicated by the research presented in support of BSTc studies and the further genetic research supporting a causative and not a learned or nurtured conclusion. Your proposed paper seems to be transgender positive and transsexual negative at least insofar as HBS is concerned.

It will include a recommendtion for a severe tightening of the diagnostic criteria for autogynophilia, but inclusion of AG in the differential.

Di > Severe tightening in what way? Would it then list autogynephilia simply as a fetish which many analysts have come to realize and as a non-condition for surgery? Or would those admitted AG's like Ann Lawrence and her adherents have their sway?

It will not be limited to Dr. Blanchard's either/or homosexual vs Ag diagnostics, as neither the neuroscientific studies nor most clinicians experiences support such a simplistic view.

Di > Hopefully you might keep to that!

It will emphasize the accepted analytical concept of multiple determination, many possible factors affecting ALL observable behavioral outcomes, further arguing against the simplistic either/or approach advocated by Dr's Zucker and Blanchard.

In the view of many of the clinicians treating transsexuals, Autogynophilia exists, though the diagnostic criteria is drawn overly broad and becomes by and large a catch all for everyone not in the homosexual transsexual category to make either/or diagnostics work.

Di > The low percentile of AG's and homosexuals should not be compared to those who actually are transsexuals, a condition for many that should not be treated as a behavioral psychosis. Many like myself knew from an early age, before puberty, that we needed resolution so that our sex matched our gender. It was not a graduated growth from a behavior to surgery we sought but a correction to that which was inborn. Dr Spack of Boston and Dr Kenntenis of the Netherlands know this only too well in the treatment of pre-adolescent children as does Dr Milton Diamond of Hawaii.

The Homosexual transsexual also exists. Again, the criteria, primarily based upon libidinal issues, is overly broadly drawn and desparately needs narrowed.

Di > Let us understand what this
'Blanchard/Bailey diagnosis' really means. Their categories were limited to only two extreme classes for transsexuals. But then that is probably all they saw since most true transsexuals do not hang out in drag-bars and if they do attend 'gender clinics' they realize they do not fit in with the behaviorists most of whom are looking for validity and not physical correction. And a pre-op male to female transsexual if attracted to males would not be homosexual but instead simply reflecting their brain gender attraction to the opposite sex no different than the majority of other girls.

There are the neuropsychologically or neuroanatomically based transsexuals, who are neurologically or psychologically intersexed for lack of a better definition.

Di > I need to say this as clear as possible. The AG's and homosexual TS's do exist. I know that from my own observations. I also know that the increasing number of those today that are having surgery are autogynephiles; they are not in the real sense transsexuals but I would class them as trans-gender to which they self identify as well (note Lawrence). Nothing in their behavior indicates otherwise. I could be more blunt but in this forum I suppose expulsion is the norm for those in disagreement with the majority. But alas, has that not always been the case in the reflective overwhelming numbers favoring behaviors rather than those declaring their condition in need of a medical resolution rather than being treated as being a gender dysphoric.

The number diagnostic sub-groups under the observable phenomena of transsexuality needs to be broadened, not narrowed. I will be arguing that libidinal based diagnostics(the either/or) would represent a step backwards in the face of accumulated case data and known or suspected neuroscience.

Di > I strongly disagree. The categories of transsexuals need to be clearly defined and narrowed. If you are talking about transgender then perhaps you might be right...that might need to be expanded with a critical and clinical view of obsessive and delusionary behaviors. Perhaps it should be recognized that many of the so-called homosexual transsexuals that Bailey and others seem to accept are not true transsexuals to begin with...they are homosexuals. Period! The confusion generated is ignoring the fact that it is not abnormal for a girl/or boy to be attracted to the opposite sex. Then why if a person born HBS with a body and brain in contradiction should be expected to ignore their basic brain sex and its attraction to the opposite sex and be somehow classed as homosexual? Yes, they are HBS born and not homosexual at all.
Di > I was born with a female brain, neurologically intersex according to Dr Diamond, so my normal attraction would be to males. I was mentally attracted to them although not of the mind-set to explore that attraction since my body was not yet 'repaired' and as a result I rarely behaved other than as an asexual. My brain was in tune but if I had been attracted to females then that might give rise to the question of a homosexual gender if not physical homosexuality would it not?

Obviously, no one will be happy with this (though included in the subgroups, HBS is described clinically and I simply will NOT use the term as it is overexclusive). Those willing to see AG buried in a crossroads with a stake through it's heart to prevent it's resurrection will not be happy either...I am sorry but I have and many other clinicians have seen patients who clearly meet the dynamics of AG, as opposed to simply falling outside of the Homosexual transsexual subset and thus meeting the current critieria used by Clarke.

Di > HBS is not a sub-set and rather insulting to consider it as such when other categories, (junk science), proposed by the Blanchard, Bailey and Lawrence's are considered as viable categories but since HBS clearly defines some and not all under the mix and match umbrella of those who take their cues from the GLBTQ it is considered 'overexclusive'. Yes, it is exclusive if you mean applying that concept to those who are true transsexuals rather than those who climb their self constructed ladder of gender rungs to a goal previously imagined but not causative of a biological or neurological nature. A child who knows little about sexual drive and how that might later affect them yet shows through actions of behavior that he/she has a sexual identity brain in contradiction to their body is a candidate for the diagnosis of Harry Benjamin Syndrome. It is not a sub-set but a distinct condition not to be compared with those who after puberty suddenly become aware of, 'I might be,' thoughts and are better left in the treatment rooms of therapists who would serve the patient well with control of behavior methods rather than confuse them by catering to their delusions.

Finally, I am arguing that the very reliance of sexual orientation to define diagnostics flies in the face of decades of belief that sexual orientation and gender identity are NOT linked functions.

Di> Actually in this regard I totally agree with you but with a caveat. Some do have surgery and express themselves before surgery as lesbian or gay when in fact they are heterosexual prior to any surgeries and function normally with their given birth organs. For someone still in an opposite sex relationship to declare themselves homosexual - lesbian in a male body comes to mind - just adds to the confusion which runs rampart in the transgender 'community'.

I am hopeful that other psychiatrists will join in with submissions.

Di > I hope others will see HBS as being something separate and distinct rather than a lower sub-set than even the mischaracterization of transsexuals into two ill defined categories: homosexual and autogynephilic which if examined carefully attaches sexual orientation and/or fetishism to the causative effects of transsexualism; a limitation in the extreme. And please, if writing any submission do not present transsexualism under the heading as a sub-set of transgenderism. But then, I don't expect too much from your paper other than perhaps how you might explain HBS at the bottom of the thesis. That is after-all the glbtq mantra is it not?

Diane http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

Battybattybats | May 18, 2008 9:58 AM

"The confusion generated is ignoring the fact that it is not abnormal for a girl/or boy to be attracted to the opposite sex. Then why if a person born HBS with a body and brain in contradiction should be expected to ignore their basic brain sex and its attraction to the opposite sex and be somehow classed as homosexual? Yes, they are HBS born and not homosexual at all."

I largely concur with this part of your point.

I wonder, if it is so traumatic for someone born with a female brain to be born in a male body (Which I don't disagree with) then one should expect it to be equally truamatic for someone with a male brain to change their body to female, unless they had a variant brain to begin with, even if this variation is a different variation to the HBS variation, say a malleable gender/sex identity variation.

This is one of the biggest problems with the HBS argument, that an HBS person needs surgery because existing in the wrong body is terrible to them (which I don't disagree is so) but someone who has a thoroughly normal brain but abnormal psychology could happily do so suggests that something/s is missing from the model.

If this was the case then a psychological treatment for HBS could be devised based on generating in them the abnormal psychology of such a person enabling them to be happy in their bodies just as a 'pseudo transexual' in such a model is with their surgicly altered body.

Thats one of the reasons I reject the notion that such people are psychologicly transexual rather than neurologicly as it would suggest Zucker could be right about using psychological treatment over surgery with children.

If some transexuals who are happy stable people post surgery but who don't fit HBS are purely psychological in causation such causation could be developed upon to treat HBS without surgery. However if they too have a biological causation even if it may vary substantially from HBS causation then this would not be so.

Alternatively HBS could include something much more than merely an intersex condition of the brain and include something which precludes them from such a natural variation found in neurologicly normal but psychologicly abnormal brains, HBS would have intersex brains and something else as well to provide that inflexibility.

Oh and also the argument that only those pre-puberty could have brain intersex conditions ignores the possibility of epigenetic changes occuring at puberty or even later in life! Now these could definately be expected to have lesser results the later in development they are triggered. As the mouse sex development discovery I mentioned in post 17 shows the timing and place a gene is switched on or off in development has a massive impact on what occurs. A genetic cause for example could plausibly in principle cause anatomical and/or neurological intersex in the womb to varying degrees but then the same gene triggered in early childhood could still possibly cause say an HBS level transexual and if the gene isn't triggerred until puberty you could end up with a non-HBS transexual or other transgender condition.

Epigenetics is a fascinating field on the cutting edge. As shown in the mouse discovery it has direct bearing on sexual development and variance. Especially as it's a gene involving both brain development and anatomical sex development!

battybattybats battybattybats | May 18, 2008 10:26 AM

Ooops I forgot part of my point..

""The confusion generated is ignoring the fact that it is not abnormal for a girl/or boy to be attracted to the opposite sex."

Also as it's been deemed not to be abnormal for a girl or boy to be attracted to the same sex either why is it involved at all, what bearing does it have?

Unless it can be shown that there are different proportions of various sexualities amongst transgender/HBS populations making it of interest in studies into causation of sexualities what has it to do with the subject at all? What makes it any more relevant than eye colour or handedness?

Diane

For someone still in an opposite sex relationship to declare themselves homosexual - lesbian in a male body comes to mind - just adds to the confusion which runs rampart in the transgender 'community'.

Oh I completely agree. It's most unfortunate that lesbianism exists, as it complicates things so severely. Just ask the CWA :) . Nonetheless, some women are lesbian. And some of those are also transsexual. As sex and gender are distinct (though not completely so, the coupling is loose as we say in systems theory), this is inevitable.

Many of those are probably Bi rather than Lesbian, but with all the lifetime of social conditioning and cross-gendered hormones, have any androphillic tendencies supressed, and the supression may never have been complete. Some, like yourself, outgrow it. That may be due to psychological causation, or neurotransmitters, or a combination. If it happens 6 months +/- 1 month from orchie, then it's probably biological, I believe. Vasopressin is the suspect.

It happened to me too, 7 months after my testes became dysfunctional, and unlike you, I wasn't remotely androphilic. I actually tried to be when young, I thought that that was an essential part of being a girl (GOSH I was green...). The change in sexual orientation is a pity in some ways, as I'm married to another woman, and we're co-parents of a small boy. We love each other very much, but neither of us are sexually attracted to women, so our continuing married relationship is completely sexless.

Of course by BBL theory, I can't exist. Whatever. I find it difficult taking them seriously, and am in danger of missing out on the occasional diamond of insight in the great midden-heap of dross that is AGP theory.

Finally, there have been relatively few cases of women beating, raping and murdering other women when they reveal their transsexual past, at least, compared to men doing that. Gynaphilia is a lot safer for transsexual women, so inate Bisexuality may be expressed as pure same-sex attraction.

Yes, "I wish I wuz a Lesbian, and not a Hetero" is my theme song. I find other women far more sympatico. But it's something you are or are not. I'm not. Darn.

I could be more blunt but in this forum I suppose expulsion is the norm for those in disagreement with the majority.
Only if they violate the Terms of Service, and those apply whether minority or majority opinion. Please continue expressing your views, I've found you give me much food for thought. As the TOS says:
While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated
I hope I've adhered to that. I've certainly tried to.

There are lots of masculine looking women, and feminine looking men who are not HBS. So what? That simply shows the diversity of human appearance.

But the issue is also raised that some people look quite feminine, maybe claim to be "transgender" but "vibe maie." Yes, such people exist. Perhaps their self-image is warped by looking feminine. I know a number of such people. They are not HBS. If nothing else, almost all such people that I know who are like this are not seeking full correction. And even if they do take hormones, they moderate their dosage so as to remain "functional." Now, I'm sorry, but to even remotely suggest a connection between HBS and such people is highly offensive. And to be completely blunt, if one cannot see the clear difference between such a person, and HBS, then one is being deliberately blind.

The simple fact is, people identify as either male or female at their core. Some may affect a bigender identity, but it never rings true. It always comes across as an affectation and is invaribly coupled to a political and social view that clearly drives the claimed identity.

I wonder, if it is so traumatic for someone born with a female brain to be born in a male body (Which I don't disagree with) then one should expect it to be equally truamatic for someone with a male brain to change their body to female, unless they had a variant brain to begin with, even if this variation is a different variation to the HBS variation, say a malleable gender/sex identity variation.

Someone who has a male brain (as defined and used in this thread, i.e., identifies as male) who wants to have GRS, or change their body to female is no just setting themselves up for a truamatic experience...but for the asylum. That's not a HBS/classic TS/true TS variation; that's psychosis.

This is one of the biggest problems with the HBS argument, that an HBS person needs surgery because existing in the wrong body is terrible to them (which I don't disagree is so) but someone who has a thoroughly normal brain but abnormal psychology could happily do so suggests that something/s is missing from the model.

I fail to see how the HBS/classic TS/true TS model is affected in any way whatsoever by this sentence. First, if someone's psychology is such that they must have GRS, and they happily do so, perhaps their psychology is not so abnormal. Secondly, their are many AGP's who side step the SOC, choose GRS, and are happy in their paraphilic life. And lastly, people do insane things all the time simply because they can. None of these three examples have anything to do with those who are HBS/class TS/true TS.

Lucy Bright | May 18, 2008 5:51 PM

“The simple fact is, people identify as either male or female at their core. Some may affect a bigender identity, but it never rings true. It always comes across as an affectation and is invaribly coupled to a political and social view that clearly drives the claimed identity.”

It’s a rather creepy experience to be told one doesn’t exist, but you’ll have to do a bit better than ‘rings true’ or ‘comes across’ if you want me to disappear in a puff of logic. As it stands, your statement is not so much a simple fact as a dogmatic assertion. Clearly you find the condition hard to imagine: but then a lot of people find the HBS condition hard to imagine – which doesn’t mean *you* don’t exist.

Actually, although in one way it’s very clear what “political and social view” drives your own claim (you want to keep the gender distinctions clear so as to preserve the HBS people from the taint of transgender contamination), in another way your assertion sits oddly with your own assumptions. You believe that gender has a biological basis, and you also accept that intersex conditions exist: given these two premises, why is it hard to accept at least the theoretical possibility that one might be intergendered? (I don’t particularly care for the term ‘bigender’, suggesting as it does two distinct and fully-formed genders cohabiting in one body. That’s not how I at least experience it, though others may.)

Hi. It`s true that I tend to put the ideas out there and see where people run with them, but it wasn`t my intention to leave so much unanswered for so long. I`m in between jobs, have had a stretch of working both, and just couldn`t keep up with things here.

Zoe wrote:

By any definition, you're IS. The combination of ovarian and testicular tissue meets even the most stringent definition.

That means that according to the DSM, you can't suffer from GID, but only GIDNOS. The SOC can't apply.

That's one of the reasons I stay sort of mum on it -- there's a potential refusal of treatment.

JustJennifer wrote:

Actually, this is obviously an attempt to control, and censor the debate.

Actually, bringing a seperate article from the "uh-oh" one did more to profile the HBS discussion and put it out in the open.

She also wrote:

"As to your comments, you clearly have no understanding of Blanchard's model, which is an attempt to over-simplify the issue, and reduce "transsexuals" or more properly, women with HBS, to simply being "men."

Although I've stated his model reduces MTF transsexuals to the level of "paraphiliacs" rather than "men" I don't see much difference in our assessment of him.

and:

His approach is not overly complicated, but is actually overly simple. In fact, it is very much the same as the what the transgender model really says.

How so? The model I presented acknowledges the high probability of a biological origin, overlaps with HBS minus the policy of exclusion of everything else on the continuum, and does not seperate the community into slices based on orientation. No offence intended, but I have to wonder sometimes if you even read what you're arguing with.

Susan wrote:

Making broad statements like "the HBS people" and "everyone but the HBS people" only serves further polarization.

I have been finding this in real life, as an HBS-leaning person and I have been able to mend some bridges and work together locally, again. The trouble is, I'm not optimistic that some of the extremists can do the same, and find it necessary to stick to the strong tone of point #4 in the introduction, with some.

Diane wrote:

I refuse to be identified as transgender no matter if subliminally connected to Prince or to those today who seem to still promote his delusion.

I'm still waiting to hear how my self-identification as "transgender" and my acceptance within that community somehow reinforce's Prince's assertion that the need for GRS is "delusional" (I'm very clear about the fact that I consider myself the exception, not the rule, among transsexuals), that 24/7 living and transition are "extreme" and the other aspects of the exclusionism that is attributed to the ancient origins of the term.

Monica Roberts wrote:

Too many people are so wrapped up in theory that they don't take the time to live their lives.

That is so exactly true (despite the fact that I've posted about theories). Part of the reason many have slipped into "transgender" terminology is that labels have become tiresome, and there's a need for something not so rigidly defined. I'd prefer "trans" if I thought it would have less baggage, but there we go with labels, again. sigh.

Lucy Bright wrote:

And that’s the extent to which gender is biological as opposed to cultural. It’s been said by many here (and I’ve no reason to think otherwise) that gender is rooted in biology. But it doesn’t follow from this that gender is wholly determined by biology, or that biology is equipped to give a wholly satisfactory account of gender.

Biology doesn't override everything, otherwise, our free will would not have any priority over our instincts. Just as someone with the "gay gene" isn't always necessarily going to be gay (or bi-), I can't see the still undefined and unexplored biological trigger of transsexuality creating an either-or scenario with no room for variance. In fact, I see it creating a lot of room for variance, hence the theoretical continuum.

We are defined by biology, social conditioning and choice. I believe that our gender is a result of biology first, and most intrinsically. I don't believe that the other two can wholly override the biology, or at least, that has not been my experience. But to say that the social conditioning crap we're fed has no effect at all is short-sighted. And in transsexual lives, the "choice" aspect boils down to whether we choose to live in denial of ourselves, or choose to unlearn all the conditioned $#!t and make our bodies fit. So ultimately, we can choose to leave behind the socialized patterns that we are aware of. Some, that we either aren't aware of or come to think of as useful, will tend to linger.

JustJennifer also wrote:

I do not presume to define "transgender," but only comment on how others define it. Allen did not stop there, but instead tried to put word in our mouths.

It's semantic. I commented on how HBS people define HBS, and invited you to correct me on it.

Incidentally, if you're meaning to insinuate that "Allen" is my "real" name, i.e. the old male name (seeing as mine is the only name you've switched to using the last name exclusively), you're incorrect.
----------------------------

More follow-up comments when I get more opportunity to catch up on the discussion.

Caillean McMahon | May 18, 2008 7:50 PM

defying a few colleagues and friends, including my partner who advised me not to touch the third rail that is trans-politics, here is the outline scheme proposal for diagnostics:

Disorders of Gender Identity and Expression
(sorry, the word disorders has to stay, there is NO way that they will cut it out.)

1. Conditions of suspected or demonstrable chromosomal, neuroanatomical, or neurophysiological intersexuality.
a. History of Transsexuality
b. Conditions Commonly Associated with Transsexuality
1. Chromosomal Variations
(including trisomies and mosaicism)
2. Theory of Failure of Testosterone Wash in Utero
3. Non-differentiated gender(anatomical)
4. Other
c. Diagnostic Criteria
d. exclusiory criteria for diagnosis(not surgery, the APA does NOT set those standards, they are in the SOC.

2, Homosexual Transsexuality
1. discussion of the old "ego dystonic homosexuality" as well as cultural pressures and influences.
2. diagnostic criteria.

3. Autogynophilia
1. History of AG
2. Diagnostic Criteria(new and far narrower)

Again, the APA does NOT define the criteria for surgery. Nor, to be honest, do psychiatrists rigidly adhere to the diagnostic criteria at all, it is not meant to be a chicker collar on clinician independence.

Nor, honestly, are that many even aware of what the SOC standards are; some who are play loose and fast with them anyways.

Three separate diagnostic categories.
Clarke gets their pound of fetish, and the rest of us who disagree with Clarke keep from being strung into an either/or psychodynamic-only model.

Who gets surgery is not up to the APA
This paper is not about surgery, or legitimacy.
It is about diagnostics.
There is no intent to support or decry any one's political positions in the T community.
I am not a part of trans-politics.

Obvously these categories will be flushed out in the paper far more extensively and have subgroups.
The longest section, btw, is under "other"

Diane, btw--you owe me an apology. Some of the others can tell you that I went to court for trans-rights concerning discrimination during transition. My friends, some of whom are LGBT themselves, strongly urged me not to get involved at all in any of this as I am lesbian-identified now and worked painfully hard to get acceptance from a largely second wave group. Some of them who are blog-savvy(I am not; I have posted perhps three times here) told me that I would be walking out into a thunderstorm holding a lightning rod.

As far as my personal identification, I transitioned to female, I am a woman. I was trans in transition. I am doing this paper for my profession, not for LGBT or Trans-politics.

From: battybattybats

Batty > Ooops I forgot part of my point..

Diane > BATTY, THAT SEEMS TO BE CONTINUAL FOR YOU MISSED MY POINT ENTIRELY.

Diane > "The confusion generated is ignoring the fact that it is not abnormal for a girl/or boy to be attracted to the opposite sex."

Batty > Also as it's been deemed not to be abnormal for a girl or boy to be attracted to the same sex either why is it involved at all, what bearing does it have?

Daine > I WAS DIRECTING THE ABOVE QUOTE TO THE
"HOMOSEXUAL TRANSSEXUAL" IMPLICATIONS AS SPEWED OUT BY BLANCHARD AND BAILEY. It had nothing to do with orientation of transsexuals per se. Blanchard and Bailey would have everyone believe that those who did not identify as anything sexual pre-surgery but instead rather asexual should be identified as homosexual simply because they had to fit into one of the BBL limited class of TS since they did not fit into their AG alternate.
Diane > I personally don't care who anyone goes to bed with but I do care about how I and others might be wrongly identified by the BBL trio and their cohorts.
THAT WAS MY POINT!
You have a bad habit of taking out of context and giving it your meaning.
Diane http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

Wolfgang E. B. | May 18, 2008 8:42 PM

Jennifer, no matter what you say, I'm still a real live transsexual, and I will continue calling myself such. I agree with your statement about hormones though. My brain never ran right on a female hormone balance. Testosterone has turned my life around.

Erin, about that lovely angry rant. Thanks saying what I wanted to, but am too self-restrained to say it myself.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 18, 2008 8:55 PM

Batty, on the topic of phantom erections in FTMs. I'm not sure where you got that info, but we get real erections, especially after some time on testosterone. The T causes some significant penile growth. It can get quite large when erect.

There was a study recently, on phantom limb syndrome in transsexuals. You might be able to Google it. They found that most FTMs don't experience phantom breasts after mastectomy, while most women do. MTFs don't experience phantom penises and testicles either, while most men who lose theirs do.

Caillean McMahon

Someone who actually knows what they're talking about, at last.

I wish you every success. I think the main difficulty is going to be in the "diagnostic criteria" though, especially for sections 2 and 3.

The differential from 1 is the sticking point.

Are the three mutually exclusive?

I would really appreciate an early view of your work. Bear in mind my amateur status, but possibly I could raise some issues you might wish to consider.

Regardless of the finer details, I think what you have in outline is so vastly superior to anything that has gone before that any minor disagreements I may have are nugatory.

Just Jennifer

The simple fact is, people identify as either male or female at their core.

Counterexample.

JJ, you really should engage in a dialogue with more Intersexed people. The majority do indeed identify as either male or female, and some get very upset indeed at the suggestion that they qualify as neither. There are all sorts of insecurities, but I don't have to tell anyone with a TS past about those, do I?

But some don't fit that neat, bi-gendered model. Neurology is messy, and those whose bodies are mixed have a greater chance of having mixed or cross-gendered neurology too. ~10% vs ~0.1%

Again, I wish it were not so. It complicates things, and makes it all too easy to mix up men wish a fetish and women with a congenital neurological issue, let alone all those who don't fit in either of those two exclusive categories.

From: Caillean McMahon

Diane, btw--you owe me an apology. Some of the others can tell you that I went to court for trans-rights concerning discrimination during
transition. My friends, some of whom are LGBT themselves, strongly urged me not to get involved at all in any of this as I am lesbian-identified
now and worked painfully hard to get acceptance from a largely second wave group. Some of them who are blog-savvy(I am not; I have posted perhps three times here) told me that I would be walking out into a thunderstorm holding a lightning rod.

Diane > I would apologize if I thought I said something in error but my answer was not in regard to what you have done in your private life but in reply to your proposed paper. I have never been on this forum and probably will not be here again as I am not in favor of being trans included. I too am not blog savvy but will at times respond to a subject brought to my attention.
I do claim that you are presenting a paper reflecting your own bias. Our HBS contention
is that the neurological indicators of the Dutch and Swiss studies are more indicative of cause for transsexualism than vague social constructs that seem to be the primary accepted reasoning of transgenderism.
Our suggested SOC is exclusive if you mean separating the wheat from the chaff, those who are and those who are not. We see HBS as not being akin to trans-sexualism but a distinction of that medical diagnosis.
If a person becomes aware of their gender conflict only after puberty then they are
not HBS. If a child is conflicted and feels a contradiction between their brain sexuality
and their physical sex before puberty then they should be classed other than transgender or even transsexual since that term has become rather obscene of late. They instead should be distinctly identified and HBS would rightly apply. We find HBS rather clear and does separate them from those who have no connection with the child's affliction.
With more research in support of a 'brain wash' effect on the hypothalamus adding to the BSTc findings, Amygdala and the hormonal rush of Kesspeptin studies then perhaps we might once and for all move those who select choice as an option from those who respond to an inherent biological need.
Seems that homosexuality as a disorder was cut out so why would 'THEY' not do the same in regard to "Disorders of Gender Identity and Expression?"


To Zoe:
My sexuality for those that seem to be confused never was male gender nor did I ever entertain the lure of lesbian which you seem to invite me to explore. I always liked boys; always felt comfortable with girls but not sexually; was basically asexual before surgery and afterward my body caught up with my brain. Never did I think I might be homosexual or even bi. I was a 'one tracker' and quite happy and sexually responsive
once my body was in league with my brain.
I married the man I loved never once regretting 30 years together ending with his passing
a short time ago. So my dear Zoe where and when did an introduction of hormones play a part in my sexuality? Hormones simply allowed my body to become more female and prepared me for the final surgery and the whole of life I would then live.
Seems I am one of the few in here who is heterosexual and perhaps that is the main
reason why we see things perhaps so differently.
Diane

Something about Gender Role and Gender: it's too easy to confuse the two.

Proponents of the Strong HBS theory seem to me to be doing that.

I don't look upon myself as being particularly feminine, though many objective observers have differed on that, enough for me to question it.

Many traditional gender role behaviours have a weak biological basis, in my view. Those behaviours which start as statistical tendencies become reinforced by social pressure into standard norms. "Girls don't do that" etc.

My role models were never Ursula Andress or Princess Grace. I didn't want to be like Barbie, I wanted to be like Destiny Angel, and fly a Spectrum Interceptor. My heroines weren't Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton, unlike my sister, they were Amelia Earheart, Marie Curie, Jacqueline Cochrane, Grace Hopper and Rosalind Franklin.

I still don't like "my little pony", Kim Possible's more my style. OK, I'd rather look like Hailey Berry than Madelaine Albright, and maybe that makes me AGP, but I ask you, what woman doesn't want to look more like Hailey Berry than Madelaine Albright?

And I'm just like all the other female engineers I know. Some spectacularly stylish, others who make even me look good. Women vary.

I know - or at least that's what my observations lead me to believe - that my brain cannot be completely typically feminine. It is in the area of gender identity, and many other areas too. But not all. In some ways I conform to a more masculine template. I don't like that, but what the heck, it's me, and many other women are like that too. And you know what? Some guys dig chicks like that. :) Nerds, mainly. The kind of guy I like too.

Oh my gosh. I am a religous person but never did I think I would witness a miracle. But surely it must be a miracle when I read and find myself fully agreeing with Wolfgang and his 'phantom' remarks. Good for you!
Diane

Actually Lucy, I have emphasized that "transgender" is a meaninglessly broad term. It can hardly be said that I have presented them as "one-size-fits-all." All I have said is that HBS is not transgender, and has nothing in common with it.

And actually, I did answer your question, but as I said, you are unable to understand the answer. But to repeat, we know the same way any woman does.

Single evidence points make no difference in areas like biology and medical research. That might well be true in other scientific fields, but I find it ironic that you want to dismiss HBS on the basis of a single, imaginary contradiction, but then demand unreasonble standards of proof.

Now, falsibility is an interesting concept in regards to discussions such as this. HBS is a valid theory, as it can, in theory, but proven false. The transgender model, on the other hand, like Blanchard's autogynephile-homosexual model, is not falsifiable. In both cases, the proponents approach excludes contrary evidence and arguments.

Actually, I used Allen because that is your last name. I also have referred to Helms as Helms. I am sorry that you feel the need to read something into that other than the simple fact that I used your last name, but nothing else was intended.

Lucy Bright | May 19, 2008 4:57 AM

‘Actually Lucy, I have emphasized that "transgender" is a meaninglessly broad term. It can hardly be said that I have presented them as "one-size-fits-all." All I have said is that HBS is not transgender, and has nothing in common with it.’

Terms can of course be broad without being meaningless (c.f. ‘human’). Whether they’re meaningful in any particular instance depends on how you use them. It’s true that you’ve acknowledged that there is a range of people with different conditions who call themselves transgender. However, that hasn’t stopped you generalizing about them, as in: ‘By its very nature, transgender implies that one is not "real."’

‘And actually, I did answer your question, but as I said, you are unable to understand the answer. But to repeat, we know the same way any woman does.’

My question was about gender generally: I was using the case of an MtF transsexual only as an example, as I thought I’d made clear. You answered by asking how any woman knows she is female. That’s a bit like describing the colour red by saying that it has an abundance of the quality of redness. It’s a sort of answer, I guess, but not a very useful one.

Mercedes,
JustJennifer does call me "Helms." I see it as a backhanded slap because she refuses to use our first names. She knows that if she were to put "Mr." in front of our names, which I have seen her do before, she would risk being banned here on Bilerico. She does it on other lists and blogs. This is her "compromise" to duck the editors. Notice, she calls others by their first name. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out. However, I know her real last name, as does many others on this list.

Diane wrote:

I could be more blunt but in this forum I suppose expulsion is the norm for those in disagreement with the majority.

Hasn't happened yet -- only for personal attacks, and even a lot of those have been let to slide.

She also wrote:

You ignore the site: http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./where scietific results are listed and then you argue for proof outlining absolutes before any of the evidence is accepted as being valid.

I do find the studies (there and elsewhere) to be too limited. They need to be conclusive among human populations (although animal population studies are good at developing theory and pushing for human population study), and to have repeatability.

That said, the studies only potentially show a biological trigger. They do not show that said trigger occurs solely to those who need to alter their genitalia at all cost. Which is my primary point of contention.

and:

Remember now we are talking about a social construct joined in its meaning with varying elements rather vaguely defined.

I like how you protest any ways in which you perceive that non-HBS people characterize your own theory, and then are perfectly comfortable defining everyone else's for them. It's so sexy.

Just Jennifer wrote:

If they may have served in the military and would have had no problem assimilating into the male culture that the military imposes on males. They never had any problem being one of the boys. so to speak.

Actually, military history among MTF transsexuals is not unusual, but not because they were ever comfortable with "being one of the boys." When a person's still in that denial state, doing everything to try to "fix" their brain, hypermasculinizing/overcompensating, charting a similar course to those of us who get married as a way to run away from who we are, some decide to corner themselves by throwing themselves into a rigidly regimented masculine life -- in hopes that that will work. It doesn't, but we learn that the hard way. Your assumption is understood to be historically quite wrong.

She also wrote:
... a bunch of things back in comment #90, prior to the warning by Alex, so I won't directly quote or rehash them. However, I will ask why they're coming from someone who is concerned about personally attacks?

Zoe wrote:

Yes, we need more research, but not of the skewed type prevalent at CAMH, which I'm led to believe at the moment is the only game in town in North America. You can't just reject 90% of cases that don't fit your preconceptions, then coerce the rest to more closely fit.

Actually, you can (and they will), and you can give yourself an air of legitimacy that will last until someone comes along and discovers that your "scientific results" are not repeatable. Which will happen when someone else cares enough to do studies that are more encompassing regarding transgender people. That could happen in two years -- but more likely in twenty.

Caillean McMahon wrote:

I am preparing a lengthy paper on the subject of trans-diagnostics that I will be forwarding to the work group, on the basis of 23 years as a psychiatrist who has always had a sizeable portion of my practice made up of LGBT's. It will include most of the known neurological and neuroanatomical findings, some commonality of case history and outcome info that has occured in the practices of other clinicians, and a breakdown by criteria of most of the diagnostics associated with trans-phenomena.

Welcome to the battleground. I look forward to your arguments.

and:

Clarke gets their pound of fetish, and the rest of us who disagree with Clarke keep from being strung into an either/or psychodynamic-only model. Who gets surgery is not up to the APA

It's not that neat and tidy. Most provinces in Eastern Canada that fund GRS surgery tie funding to approval by the Clarke. For many, funding is the only means by which they can hope to access GRS, and they're gatekeepered into oblivion by misclassification. I'm not venting at you personally, because I know you have no control over what they will propose, what they will seek to verify and what they will continue to do with it at CAMH. But that's how playing along will hurt people.

battybattybats wrote:

On the subject of Autogynophilia, this paper looks interesting http://www.tracieokeefe.com/Autogynephilia.htm and I'd like to know what, if any, counter views there are against it.

The persons in the control group are few (10) and specifically selected to pull the discussion out of the trans community (only one is even a crossdresser) and into a transvestitic fetish community -- which shows a conscious manipulation of data, albeit in a different direction than Blanchard. That doesn't mean to suggest that AG "should" encompass transgender, but it does make this a radically different sampling than AG studies usually aim for. She also makes a lot of assumptions, i.e. characterizing "butchy" behaviour among lesbians as male emulation / autoandrophilia.

Hi Monica!

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure this out.

Er... I hadn't noticed... (hangs head in shame).

On the other hand, I'm really good at software in satellites....

BTW I don't have your e-mail addy. I can be contacted via my website. Just google my name.

Of course with a surname like Brain, such a thing probably wouldn't work too well. I'm just as likely to reply "Certainly, Pinky" too.

Um... has the atmosphere been lightened a bit? I hope so. I think it needed it.

And Mercedes, I hope your hiccups get better :)

Geez. I hit the button once. I don't know why it posted three times. Yay for f'n Vista.

Monica Helms wrote:

JustJennifer does call me "Helms." I see it as a backhanded slap because she refuses to use our first names. She knows that if she were to put "Mr." in front of our names, which I have seen her do before, she would risk being banned here on Bilerico. She does it on other lists and blogs. This is her "compromise" to duck the editors.

What came to mind was an extensive comment elsewhere referring to me as "Mr. Allen." But I don't remember offhand who made it.

However, if it ceases, I can leave it be, and I don't see that her last name needs to be brought into anything.

Fascinating. TGs will never iron out these issues because of the pathological need common among them to be absolutely right. You can agree with 99 points but if you disagree on that last one, you are the enemy and must be destroyed utterly and completely. This can also be found at times among the HBS women too, but not as commonly. Why? because if you leave yourself in some sort of gender/sex limbo, you are always going to be on the defensive about gender and sex. If you leave that limbo (move through it) and get on with a fairly normative life, you can actually can gain some perspective. This is simple enough a child can understand it.

Since everyone expects essentialisms from me, here are some to consider:

There is no unified gender identity theory. There are several different conditions with different causalities and trying to place them on a continuum just leads to confusing the issue and failing to see the multiple causes. It is simplistic thinking only a tad more sophisticated than black/white.

All attempts to define exactly what a woman is or what a man is fail because people use more than logic and words in making that determination. It's done on an instinctive (gut) level by everyone to everyone they encounter every day. In fact it's the very first thing dealt with meeting someone on a level that isn't even noticed unless it is difficult.

Autogynophilia exists........deal with it.

Acting like a bunch of screaming nut cases when you don't like what psych professionals are doing is extremely counterproductive. All you do is convince them and their peers all trans people are, in fact, crazy. Bailey's book was pathetic and no one professionally would have defended it if they had not felt the need to circle the wagons when the reaction to it went overboard. History is about to repeat itself regarding the DSM. The costs this time will be enormous and mostly damaging to classic transsexuals coming along. Ironically the people who will be least damaged as a result are the very ones yelling the loudest.

And lastly, the simple fact I said anything will prompt some semi-nasty comment from a certain TG activist already censored here for personal attacks.

Mercedes,
Her last name is not a significant factor. I see you posted a new piece, so let's see how many times your last name is used there. Should we start a Bilerico pool on who comes the closest on how many times you or I are referred to by our last names on your new post? It would end on the day it goes into Archives. Nah. Bil and Alex could skew the numbers and make some quick postings to shove it into Archives at the right moment. (giggle) This is so much fun.

Actually, Helms imagines knowing a lot of things that are not necessarily known. If I wanted my last name known, I would use it. Helms seems to think I am someone, but Helms knows far less than Helms presumes to know. But this is not unusual behavior. I have observed people being cyberstalked by others, including having personal and private information revealed online. I choose to avoid that. Helms has been moderated for attemtping to harass me by revealing what is believe to be private information. I think this is unfair to both me, and the person Helms believes me to be.

Oh, and one other thought....since when is discussions of individuals on topic? That would seem to be a violation of the terms of service. Oh well, I guess I should be flattered that Helms finds me more interesting than the subject at hand, but to be honest, I find it a bit disturbing.

Mercedes remarks:

I do find the studies (there and elsewhere) to be too limited. They need to be conclusive among human populations (although animal population
studies are good at developing theory and pushing for human population study), and to have repeatability.

That said, the studies only potentially show a biological trigger.
They do not show that said trigger occurs solely to those who need to alter their genitalia at all cost. Which is my primary point of contention.

Diane's answer:

Let us examine the studies I have alluded to in my response to Caillean.
I listed findings not only of the BSTc research but also supportive and separate studies involving genetics and hormone effects previously
unknown and surprising even to the researchers. There are also brain scan studies that indicate a difference in the brains of true transsexuals
as opposed to those whose brain and body are compatible.
In the Dutch studies they determined that MtF transsexuals (it being assumed the same result for FtM's would concur) hypothalamus were equal in measurement with genetic female brains while the gay and transgender males were matching with other males and therefore clearly not in contradiction to their bodies as were the transsexuals. And to add further, the BSTc studies were repeated and found to be in support of the original research.
Understand the Dutch research was done on cadavers simply because not many of us would want to volunteer and add our bodies to said research
it being required for them to open up and explore our brains. For that reason and the main reason were the studies limited in number.
I find it ironic that transgenderism whose coinage goes back to Hirshfield and Prince is accepted as a valid model although no research attaches the variant elements under that label as being anything even remotely connected to a
biological cause; linkage and firm research findings supporting the transsexual in uterus factors are not only simply ignored but denounced. I strongly suspect that is a self protective measure so as to allow the confusion
of so many to avoid the facts that would expose the delusional aspects of their personality.
May I suggest that many diseases are being aggressively treated even though the causes are not fully known and there is limited information on their ability to even spread yet we treat them as distinct maladies. The research findings of a
causative reason for HBS falls into the same sphere I would claim and treatment should not be based on others misconceived notion of there not being enough hard evidence in support. That is poppycock!

I find it so very confusing to imply through the use of 'Gender Reassignment Surgery' usage that one might change their gender since gender is actually hardwired at its core but only changeable on a social scale. Perhaps this is simply another attempt for those who identify as transgender to escape the fact that their gender might be malleable within a limited behavioral understanding whereas it is actually sex that is reassigned or in the case of the born HBS
'Affirmed'.

Mercedes: "I like how you protest any ways in which you perceive that non-HBS people characterize your own theory, and then are perfectly comfortable defining everyone else's for them. It's so sexy."

Oh dear, sexy??? I might understand that coming from Lawrence but you surprise me.
Yes, we do define ourselves and not just as a theory but with actual research findings that give strong if not perfectly complete evidence that we were formed as a contradiction in the womb. Naturally that is a medical indication and except for the stress related effects this might
have on an HBS born, psychological long term treatment is not required after a diagnosis is confirmed. That seems to bother the APA who need to stabilize their members bank accounts by forcing adherence to their 'treatment' of actual transsexuals into the gender 'wobble' category.
We do not define simplistically the transgender lexicon, they do that so well for themselves although I must admit to being often confused by their 'might be, 'could be', 'want to be' unreliable variable identities.
What we do say and we say it loud and clear is that we are not transgender and never were. Our disagreement comes not in our identifying them but by our demand not to be included in the transgender lexicon. If that is the meaning
of how we identify transgender then so be it.

And yes, I must admit to opposing the 'grow into transsexual' assertions of many of the gender confused. I cannot see any reason why a person who
identifies as transgender but is not basically a transsexual should be weaned toward an irrational determination either by their peer group of TG's or even therapists. And I also think that if a person with a male brain were to ask for surgery to be female then that person should be turned
away from the surgeons office and sent instead to the office's of the nearest psychoanalyst. Surgery should never be a matter of choice or a reactionary response to fetishism (AG) but a requirement based upon a long and committed need.
And if a person insists upon labeling themself as a lifelong pre-op and/or an elective non-op (I am not addressing those who have rare but legitimate medical reasons that thwart surgery) then might we simply understand that they have not trans'ed their sex but seem quite comfortable with their birth assigned genitalia which limits them to the
'trans' something category but not HBS born or even transsexual since they would be confirming in the simplest understanding a transgender mind-set.

Diane http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

battybattybats battybattybats | May 19, 2008 10:27 AM

Wolfgang, the source of the phantom erections points I was making was this: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2007/1861116.htm

Diane, not every post i make is adversarial towards you, we both concur about the problems with dragging superfluous catagories of sexuality into the debate. I was agreeing with your point and discussing it further not attacking it. The questions weren't directed at you but raised in general and I apologise for any misunderstading from that not being clear.

Just Jennifer, what will you do if neurological intersex is proven to be correct however it is found to occur in varying degrees, like most are, and HBS then needs to be redefined to take into account mild HBS, moderate HBS and severe HBS?

And what if those with moderate cases are the transgender transexuals who don't want GRS? And what if the mild cases include most of the crossdressers you find so offensive?

Variance is found in most conditions including anatomical intersex so as Zoe has pointed out with her suggestion of a 'weak HBS' it should be expected to be the case with neurological intersex condition/s.

I'd still like to know what people who have a problem with 'deviants' define as 'deviants'. Because depending on definition anyone going against the norm of the times is deviant, not just goths but feminists too are devients, anti-slavery advocates were deviants, all reformers are deviants. Anyone who finds the status quo unjust, almost every artist, every non-conformist and every individualist are deviant.

However if the argument is made on moral grounds one must identify why such a moral is universally applicaple or upon which precepts it is based. Similarly if it is classed as unethical what school of ethics is used to define it as such.

Without being able to show why someone being a 'deviant' is neccessarilly 'wrong' it could be considered offensive to want to be distanced from them rather than associated with them on account of that difference (as seperate from incorrect identification as that is a seperate point).

Finally Just Jennifer is correct to point out that who she is outside of this discussion is unimportant. It shouldn't be discussed unless direct fraud related to things she has said in the discussion can be shown.

On the other hand Just Jennifer, you too have made a personal attack on me, your not using peoples names as they identify themselves here is also substantially dodgy. Monica Helms is wrong to discuss your outside identity real or mistaken but I don't recall an apology from you for your since-deleted personal attack.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 19, 2008 10:32 AM

Ooops, lost a bit of text there somehow, that should have read:

what will you do if neurological intersex is proven to be correct however it is found to occur in varying degrees, like most illnesses disabilities syndromes and disorders are, and HBS then needs to be redefined to take into account mild HBS, moderate HBS and severe HBS?

As Diane has pointed out, there are a number of studies that have consistently supported the HBS model, and zero that have supported any other model.

Anyone who spends any time around "transgender" people and HBS people will quickly see differences. Allen wants to gloss over these differences. So do others. But then, they also want to claim that HBS and crossdressing are essentially born of the same thing. After all, according to their model, we are really all just transgender. Even though they have no evidence for this other than their own assertions, and given that "transgender" is nothing but an artificial social/political construct there can be no valid evidence. In fact, in other discussions they have actually attacked HBS people as "deconstructionists" because we do not accept the "gender is a social construct" argument they have fallen back on in the past.

And again, we are not defining other's theories. We are simply pointing out the rather obvious, gaping holes in them. That is quite different from people stating that we believe certain things, which we don't, or that we have said certain things, which we haven't.

HBS is a very specific model, for a rare phenomena. It was, for many years, known to be very rare. That has not changed. What has changed, is that a lot of people wish to claim a status that they don't fit because of an imaginary hierarchy of "transgender." I find that rather amusing, to a point. But, because it causes confusion, which furthers the goals of those who would attack HBS people, and deny them basic rights, I am not going to sit by and allow myself to be harmed by others false claims.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 19, 2008 12:16 PM

lt's worth noting that the explanation may not fit a neat either/or model of either neurology or psychology.

Borderline Personality Disorder, Schizophrenia and Depression are all known to run in family lines.

The constant rewiring of the brain may end up with all psychological phenomena also being classifiable as neurological.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 19, 2008 12:22 PM

Diane wrote, "But surely it must be a miracle when I read and find myself fully agreeing with Wolfgang and his 'phantom' remarks. Good for you!"

Thanks, but it may disappoint you to learn that the study also included FTMs who chose not to have genital surgery, strengthening my argument that desire for genital surgery is not an accurate measure of who is transsexual (at least for FTMs). We have the same neurological intersex condition that produces FTMs who do want genital surgery.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 19, 2008 12:57 PM

Jennifer wrote, "After all, according to their model, we are really all just transgender."

No one here is calling us all "transgender" according to your outdated definition of the word. The current definition of "transgender" is as an umbrella term that includes transsexuals and other groups. If you don't like that definition, take it up with Mirriam-Webster and the American Bar Association.

Jennifer wrote, "...and given that "transgender" is nothing but an artificial social/political construct..."

Aren't *all* labels social/political constructs? That is the primary purpose of a label.

Wolfgang......the point so often overlooked is that a classical transsexual attempts to achieve the maximum amount of body/mind congruence possible......and with the huge costs and less than wonderful outcomes of FtM bottom surgery, not opt'ing for it hardly is exclusionary.......
especially given that testeostrone alone yields results often as satifactory in the long run. MtF and FtM bottom surgery is apples and oranges.

It's a straw man argument used by TGs to promote feminine penises, I expect better from you.

Cathryn wrote:

TGs will never iron out these issues because of the pathological need common among them to be absolutely right. You can agree with 99 points but if you disagree on that last one, you are the enemy and must be destroyed utterly and completely. This can also be found at times among the HBS women too, but not as commonly.

Well, we're seeing it among at least two HBS commentators right now.

And some of us are fine with admitting when we're wrong. You just don't see it because you insist that we're wrong about everything, even including our own identities.

and:

Autogynophilia exists........deal with it.

A form of transvestitic paraphilia exists which does not encompass as much as "Transvestitic Fetish" or "Autogynephilia" stretch to cover. Dr. Blanchard's theory specifically has flaws, not to mention that there is not yet an adequate understanding of "fetish" at this point.

Diane wrote:

There are also brain scan studies that indicate a difference in the brains of true transsexuals
as opposed to those whose brain and body are compatible.

Back to my criticism that the studies exclude anything outside surgical TS, I'd be interested in seeing a study that included non-op transsexuals. To be fair, nailing down specific biological causes is not easy. But the studies, the volume of them and their limitations still show a likelihood, not a definitive. I would be happy if they were definitive, but the research hasn't reached that level yet.

May I suggest that many diseases are being aggressively treated even though the causes are not fully known and there is limited information on their ability to even spread yet we treat them as distinct maladies. The research findings of a causative reason for HBS falls into the same sphere I would claim and treatment should not be based on others misconceived notion of there not being enough hard evidence in support.

But treatment IS being done, and according to the needs of HBS and transsexual persons, in the form of HRT and surgery.

I find it so very confusing to imply through the use of 'Gender Reassignment Surgery' usage that one might change their gender since gender is actually hardwired at its core but only changeable on a social scale. Perhaps this is simply another attempt for those who identify as transgender to escape the fact that their gender might be malleable within a limited behavioral understanding whereas it is actually sex that is reassigned or in the case of the born HBS 'Affirmed'.

Geez. It's the same surgery. Call it "Sexual Reassignment Surgery" if you like (it is, after all, biological sex that is being resolved). This is another label debate that I'm indifferent to. Others are saying "but it's not about sex." I'm fine with just calling it "the surgery that makes our brains and bodies match." Whatever.

Just Jennifer wrote:

As Diane has pointed out, there are a number of studies that have consistently supported the HBS model, and zero that have supported any other model.

Lack of study does not disprove something. The world was still round before Columbus sailed to America.

Actually Wolfgang, making any comparison based solely on FTMs "wanting or not wanting" surgery is not a valid option. Given the problems with FTM surgery, many are waiting for improvements in phalloplasty, which is understandable. I have seen photos of results, and in all cases they are less than perfect. I know many who desperately desire a penis, like any man would. But they are hesitant to choose between something that functions, but is relatively tiny, and something closer to normal size, that is essentially useless and may not even last very long. That is quite different from someone simply saying, "I am happy with what I have, and enjoy using it to have sex." Of course, among MTFs, the facts are clearer. While a few try to use the "I want something better," argument that is clearly bogus. Surgery is quite excellent for MTFs, and anyone who claims they are transsexual or HBS, but they want to keep their penis is, well....let's just say their claims are more than a bit hard to swallow. And that alone is one of the clearest differences between true HBS and those who claim to be something they are not.

To comment on several things that Allen has said.... First off, we are not really the ones making anyone the "enemy." We tend to be viciously attacked for not believing in the one true TG paradigm.

Second,yes autogynephila exists. In fact, there are those who actually acknowledged themsevles as such, and identify that way, so to say it does not exist is not valid. Of course, I can understand that some might fear such a label.

As to studies "excluding anything outside of surgical transsexuals," well perhaps that shows that the experts know more than the transgender types wish to give them credit for. As I have observed, there are clear differences that are obvious to those willing to see them. And that said, why should they confuse the possible results?

The use of the term "gender reassignment surgery" seems to either contradict the common transgender assertion that sex and gender are the same, or it really is an attempt to confuse the issue. In any case, it is a highly inaccurate term, and one that many find offensive.

And as to the lack of evidence...no, it does not disprove anything, which is why demanding that someone prove a negative is considered a dishonsest tactic in debating. But, it does seem curious that no such research appears to have been even attempted. Again, perhaps the experts know more than some are willing to admit.

Dented Blue Allen says I never notice she admits when she is wrong......when I've yet to see that happen. Back when Allen first popped on the scene I offered to discuss our positions via private email. Instead of a reply I got an insulting and widely spread insulting (by name) essay.....so much for reasonable, rational discussion.

Now Auto Allen is starting to parrot BBB who's claim to fame is believing if you repeat a totally unproven statement with zero evidence to back it over and over and over somehow it magically will become true. The sad part is this is about on a par with claiming there is a Cosmic Goat at the center of the galaxy eating stars and is really good at dodging a picture by the Hubble telescope but one day we'll get that picture and then BBB will be proven correct. We'll get that picture of the Cosmic Goat on the same day someone proves that fetishes are not a psycho-sexual disorder. Nope, I cannot prove there isn't a physical, medical reason for fetishes but then I cannot prove there isn't a Cosmic Goat either. The absence of any proof at all one way or the other on both still doesn't make them more than fantasies however. Continually denying a growing body of evidence without a shred of evidence to the contrary however ....well that's ok because TGs don't like the messengers.

This sort of nonsense passes for intelligent discourse in Genderland and what is really sad is no one seems to notice (except maybe those psych professionals you are pissing off with demanding letters) Just reading the current crop of blogs by TGs feels like falling through the rabbit hole.

So sign those petitions, write those blogs full of witty insults and scream and rant and rave and rend your garments. When the inmates tell the guards how to run the prison the results are predictable but maybe, just maybe, this time educated (with large egos) professionals (who actually disagree with the positions themselves) won't circle the wagons around their peers when a bunch of angry trannys start screaming which professional is acceptable and which isn't..........and maybe the Cosmic Goat will eat the DSM V before it gets published too.

The wrong people have been forced into psycho-therapy.

You counter bad science with good science, not petitions and demands and insults.......

Well Cathryn, you raise some good points. I agree about Blanchard and Bailey. That is pretty much what they do...repeat the same tired claims, with no real evidence, as a theory that is not falsifiable. As I have said, their goal is clearly to discredit transsexuals.

As to the cause of fetishes being biological, and the question of disproving it...well as I have observed, demanding that one prove a negative is considered dishonest. On the other hand, there is no reasonable model for such a claim, but there are certainly quite reasonable ones for the opposite claim. I believe that fetishes are the result of learned behavior. Otherwise, how would one explain the incredibly diverse array? I mean, is there some small bit of brain that if tweaked just so will result in someone who has a thing for rubber cat suits, but tweaked just so another way, and suddenly they are turned on by dead bodies, being defecated on, women smoking, women stomping small animals while wearing high heels, feet, or as we are discussing here, dressing up in the clothing of the opposite sex? What an incredibly silly idea. Gender identity is far more easily explained by brain structures. There are really only two, and the evidence is easily observed. And it can often be shown that people with fetishes can identify what triggered them.

Personally, I think for many transgender activists, all the noise being made about Zucker and DSM-V have little to do with real concern, and much to do with a desire to coopt transsexual space. There has been an increasing move towards separating transsexualism from transgender, and HBS is on the leading edge of this. We are the most vocal group, and have received the brunt of their attention, but others are speaking out as well.

I still remain puzzled as to why those who vehemently refuse surgery have such a strong need to claim the same status as those for whom surgery is an overwhelming desire. They argue that there is no real difference, when anyone can see that there are clearly differences.

Lucy Bright | May 19, 2008 6:49 PM

I may have missed it, but I don’t think anyone here has claimed that fetishes have a biological cause. Battybattybats was, I think, only suggesting that fetishism was not morally wrong, and that ‘fetishist’ (or ‘deviant’, where it’s being used synonymously) should not be used as an insult. There’s also the fact (which is consistent with what you’re arguing, Just Jennifer) that fetishes are defined as such within particular cultural contexts, and that these definitions vary from culture to culture. In the west, it’s considered ‘normal’ for heterosexual men to find women’s breasts erotic, but an erotic fixation with feet may well be labelled a fetish. In China, or so I've been told, a focus on the foot is considered quite usual. This doesn’t mean that the Chinese are a nation of fetishists, of course!

As I understand it, psychiatrists do not consider fetishism a psycho-sexual disorder except in cases where it leads to significant impairment of people’s ability to function well in society. Short of that, it’s just part of life’s rich pattern.


Wolfgang, the source of the phantom erections points I was making was this: http://www.abc.net.au/rn/scienceshow/stories/2007/1861116.htm

Diane, not every post i make is adversarial towards you, we both concur about the problems with dragging superfluous catagories of sexuality
into the debate. I was agreeing with your point and discussing it further not attacking it. The questions weren't directed at you but raised in
general and I apologise for any misunderstading from that not being clear.

Diane > And in answer I tried to direct my response to the whole and not to the singular. If my post was thought otherwise I am sorry.

Just Jennifer, what will you do if neurological intersex is proven to be correct however it is found to occur in varying degrees, like most are, and HBS then needs to be redefined to take into account mild HBS, moderate HBS and severe HBS?

Diane > That seems almost like saying the brain is in three sections and only able to act in either/or. Sorry but we are talking about research that deals with a specific physical part of the brain and in that study it was shown that only the actual transsexuals which included those not yet having had surgery as well as those who
had surgery. It also included those who stated they wanted surgery but had never taken hormones as well as some who had been given male hormones but were MtF. That knocked out the post birth hormonal influence on the hypothalamus.
And to add gist to the study it was mentioned that men who were on female hormones for prostate cancer related problems showed no indications or explanation as to why their hypothalamus was not affected by the hormonal influence. This study
obviously gave very strong evidence that the basic design of the hypothalamus was biological and created in the womb, not a result of post birth influence. Next section...the genetic
findings supportive of actual transsexual causes.

And what if those with moderate cases are the transgender transexuals who don't want GRS? And what if the mild cases include most of the
crossdressers you find so offensive?

Diane > May I suggest that they are just what they are...transgender. Never heard of a 'transgender transexual' so must assume that to be someone in the transgender camp who sees GRS as a gender change. Quite normal perhaps for them but as I have stated before I did not change my gender, I simply corrected my sex to conform with my inborn gender. If you meant 'G' to mean genital then you must excuse me for the assumption. I am sometimes confused by evasive terminology especially when used by transgenders.

Variance is found in most conditions including anatomical intersex so as Zoe has pointed out with her suggestion of a 'weak HBS' it should be
expected to be the case with neurological intersex condition/s.

Diane > Sorry but no such thing as a 'weak HBS'. You are either aware of your being different/HBS before puberty or not; that is what HBS explains. Those who might offer the 'weak HBS' as a model might also be those same people who offer up the weakness of the transgender model which has no distinction of its own. Yes????
I am well aware of what the differences are with anatomical intersex as well as some intersex conditions rarely ever mentioned by even specialists in the field.
Believe me on that score.

I'd still like to know what people who have a problem with 'deviants' define as 'deviants'. Because depending on definition anyone going
against the norm of the times is deviant, not just goths but feminists too are devients, anti-slavery advocates were deviants, all reformers are
deviants. Anyone who finds the status quo unjust, almost every artist, every non-conformist and every individualist are deviant.

Diane > I explained clearly what a deviant is under the transgender umbrella...a she-male sex advertiser as an example. I agree with you on your use of the word deviant as you apply it and find no fault with it. But, please accept that I do without doubt think expressing oneself as a sexual object is deviant behavior. But then I may be biased because of my religious upbringing!

However if the argument is made on moral grounds one must identify why such a moral is universally applicaple or upon which precepts it is based. Similarly if it is classed as unethical what school of ethics is used to define it as such.

Diane > Morality is now the issue? OK, I strongly believe anyone who has sex with animals is not only immoral but a deviant. Does that satisfy you? Apply your own ethical standards to that if you will. I will refrain!

Snip>>>>>

On the other hand Just Jennifer, you too have made a personal attack on me, your not using peoples names as they identify themselves here is
also substantially dodgy. Monica Helms is wrong to discuss your outside identity real or mistaken but I don't recall an apology from you for your since-deleted personal attack.


Diane > Wow, now I am flummoxed. I don't know how to address you: Batty or Batty or Bat. Either one might be taken as an insult if I were to use it singularly.
I for one use my legal maiden name that is not only on my birth certificate but also on my baptismal certificate as well as on all of my pre-marriage legal documents. So I fail to see what offense was made in addressing someone who uses a pseudonym by either their first or last name. Or maybe it has to do with wanting to identify as something other than what they really
are? Oh, I forgot, that is what many in the TG community tell me when I refuse to accept their calling me tg. The pot calling the kettle black comes to mind.
Diane

That all human behaviour has a neural basis is a truism, but isn't useful. We need to distinguish between lower-level functions that are immutable or nearly so, and much higher-level functions which are utterly changeable as the result of day-to-day experience.

Examples of the first: sexual orientation, eyesight. Examples of the second: whether to vote Republican or Democrat, whether you prefer Techno or Classical music.

And of course, there's no neat binary. We can easily distinguish extremes at both ends, but in the middle it gets blurry.

Even the most basic functions are somewhat mutable. Case in point, a man who has woken up from a multi-decade coma. His neurology differs from any other human on the planet, with parts of the brain re-wired over decades so the speech centre isn't where speech is any more. Then there those who have suffered traumatic brain injury, losing over 40% of their brain mass, and much of the rest being disrupted. Some are still able to think in nearly the same way as they were before.

Against those handful of cases, and the much larger sample where some neural deficits caused by disease and trauma have been "wired around", there are tens of thousands where even small lesions in specific areas have caused devastating and permanent cognitive deficits.

In theory, it may be possible for even some basic injuries at the hypothalamic layer to heal, given time. But as such injuries often stop the patient from breathing, or having a heartbeat, they don't have the decades needed.

So although nearly everything is mutable in some individuals to a tiny extent, in practice, much is not, not at all, not in the slightest.

Gender Identity in those who are strongly gendered is very basic. In those who are weakly gendered, close to the line, whether they appear more F than M or the reverse is determined by progressively higher and higher level functions, and will need progressively less and less heroic measures to change.

Those with classic HBS in the strong sense, it's really basic. You can torture them, psychoanalyse them, give them aversion therapy (the full Clockwork Orange treatment), totally disrupt their neurology with psychotropic drugs, even carve out pieces of their frontal lobes, and you won't do a thing to it. And all have been tried at one time or another, this isn't theoretical, alas.

A good but imperfect metric for HBS is desire for surgery. It's imperfect because although body-image is closely coupled to gender identity, it appears not to be perfectly so, and this is where I differ from proponents of the strong form of HBS theory. Some who desire surgery will do so for legal reasons, or so they can be sexually functional, not because it causes great discomfort.

Others can be quite comfortable with a strongly gendered mind, but an ambiguous or cross-gendered body. They don't care what they have, as long as it works. Many Intersexed people are in this category. I suspect that many "non-ops" are too, but lacking data, this is a mere conjecture, as is much of what I'm saying.

There are people whose general gendering is significantly weaker, yet whose body image is so strongly sexed, they will move heaven and earth to have the right body configuration, one that matches their mind. This can easily be mistaken for AG/AA, but unlike a fetish, it's a product of deep neural processes, not high-level ones. To say that it's akin to apotemnophilia, the desire for limb amputation when the body-image is defective, is technically true, but highly misleading. So misleading, you can treat it as false.

A far more accurate view is to say that it's akin to the desire of an amputee or someone with a congenital defect to have the missing limb restored, so the body images match. It restores function, not removes it.

Whether apotemnophilia or its healthy converse is a low-level or high level function probably varies. A beggar in a 3rd world country may desire amputation in order to beg more effectively ("high level"). One in a modern country may just be psychotic (also "high level" if it's treatable by anti-psychotic drugs etc).

A desire for limb restoral could be not because of any inate discomfort, but because of the practical difficulties of wheelchairs, crutches, and artificial limbs (also "high level").

Many cases though are probably low-level, and in those rare cases of intense low-level apotemnophilia, amputation of a perfectly healthy limb may be justifiable on humane grounds. Some doctors seem to think so.

Those amputees whose intense discomfort with their situation results from low-level mismatch with body image, and who are unable with current technology to regrow limbs, often suicide, despite having an objectively reasonable life in most ways. The comparison with those with HBS is unavoidable.

Fortunately, those cases appear rare. The discomfort can be lived with, and with sufficient therapeutic help to accept the situation, the "higher level" functionality can to some extent mask the "low-level" discomfort, with coping behaviour. Such a conflict causes its own problems though, and again, you get the same kinds of thing happening with those who are not classically transsexual, but have "gender issues" and will never transition.

It all fits in a common pattern of informal clinical observations. But without harder data to back it up, all it's useful for is as the basis for research, or possibly treatment in areas where we don't have the faintest idea what we're doing and lack any other explanation.

About the only area where we do have data hard enough to be useful as the basis of a therapeutic regime is in classical HBS. And even then, some will deny that.

No doubt what I'm saying will be misrepresented or misunderstood as saying that apotemnophilia is like transsexuality, the "Lawrence position". Well, if you actually read what Lawrence has said, I don't think even she adheres to that. There's a tendency to think the worst, a tendency unfortunately quite understandable given the past history of how transsexual people have been persecuted.

Having re-read "Clinical and Theoretical Parallels Between Desire for Limb Amputation and Gender Identity Disorder" it appears that Lawrence does adhere to that, that it's alway a high-level paraphilia based on misdirected sexual objectivisation.

*SIGH*

Wolfgang E. B. | May 19, 2008 10:22 PM

Jennifer wrote, "Given the problems with FTM surgery, many are waiting for improvements in phalloplasty, which is understandable."

Oh, so now it's okay not to want genital surgery. Make up your mind, woman.

Jennifer wrote, "That is quite different from someone simply saying, "I am happy with what I have, and enjoy using it to have sex.""

I never said I was happy with what I have. I said I learned to accept it because there's no better alternative. If they found a way to use stem cells to grow me a penis and testicles, I'd take it in a heartbeat.

I'd still keep my vagina though. I'm still a gay man after all, and why bother with anal sex when I don't have to?

battybattybats battybattybats | May 19, 2008 11:18 PM

Ethics is really a big part of much of these arguments.

Let us also consider one of the biggest ethical issues here.

If we assume for sake of argument the claim that all transgender people are so because of psychological rather than natal causation, some have claimed that they should be denied surgery.

I suggest that this is unethical.

As clearly many, in fact the majority last I heard reported, were happy post-surgery and only a minority appear to have been helped by talking therapy etc.

What argument is used to determine that this particular sexuality difference which harms no-one innately should be catagorised as wrong and in need of correction? Even when lack of reproduction and surgery is the result after all we still allow people to get cosmetic surgery for purposes of improving sexual attractiveness and we allow people to make surgical choices that determine their fertility for a variety of causes.

I suggest that the goal of 'normalising' people when their behaviour is different but not interfering with the rights of others (and therfore not causing harm) is itself wrong. Exactly in the way that treating left-handed people to try and make them right-handed is wrong, in the way treating homosexuals to make them hetero is wrong, in the way that surgicly altering intersex people before they are old enough to be able to make self-determinising decisions to their own treatment is wrong.

This is a crucial point. Self determination is one of the most important principles in ethical philosophy. True some people are incapable of making informed decisions, children are a good example. But in those cases the person making decisions for such a person is in a dire situation making choices for what they think may be in that persons best interest when in fact it may not be. This is where things like performing surgery on intersex children or treatment on transgender/HBS children is situated.

Making a determination for someone to avoid their suffering on account of being different when the wrong choice could be made causing further and in the intersex cases definately permanant suffering when instead the situation could be left until the person has become able to make that determination for themselves (even if it is just to report which sex they are internally rather than making a choice as to that, also what treatment from the options available should be there decisions!) seems philosophicly a very bad decision.

It assumes that being different is bad. That validates the systems of bullying and intolerance that many people face and suggests that being different is going to include greater suffering than the consequences of making the wrong decision for the child.

I would think that the only ethical option is to minimise permanant decisions made on behalf of others and maximise the chance of their making their own informed decision in the future.

Even if we accept that the psychological causation is the most common one for adault transgender people, if those people can be happy in that state, if they do not interfere with the freedoms/rights of others and therefore are in themselves ethical, if they are capable of making their own self determinated choices then denying them surgery seems to me clearly unethical.

The ethical decision would appear to be to put them through a process to ensure they are fully informed, have the capacity to explore impermanant options first and to maximise the chances of their being satisfied with their choice and then alowing the patient to choose their treatment option.

If that means that plenty of psychological causation transexuals get full surgery as well as the HBS, if that means that plenty of transgender people get only some surgery etc and some get none and the vast majority of each are happy with that, are productive citizens with rich and rewarding lives then that is exactly the optimal outcome!

Only if the majority of transgender people who had surgery were miserable and regreted it and other therapies have a greater percentage of success would surgery be innapropriate a treatment option for them. A way to determine the minority still happy with surgery would mean surgery should still remain a viable option for them.

Perhaps the psychological inability to tolerate differences in others should be considered more important in the DSM. After all it is the fundamental component of huge amounts of violence and disruption in society. It clearly causes much more harm.

Diane said: "If you meant 'G' to mean genital then you must excuse me for the assumption."

I did and you are excused.

"I am sometimes confused by evasive terminology especially when used by transgenders."

Hmm, could this be a persoanl attack? Maybe an attack on an entire group of people too? Don't think I'll excuse that. You presume the motivation is evasion, you are incorrect and your presumption is offensive.

"Diane > I explained clearly what a deviant is under the transgender umbrella...a she-male sex advertiser as an example. I agree with you on your use of the word deviant as you apply it and find no fault with it. But, please accept that I do without doubt think expressing oneself as a sexual object is deviant behavior. But then I may be biased because of my religious upbringing!"

Just providing an example doesn't really explain the deviance, the WHY is the important part of the definition at a philosophical level. You have to a point provided that now for which I thank you.

Might I suggest that while I defend your right to your religious moral values that judging others beyond yourself by them is itself unethical, that within your own religious freedom and moral freedom is the obligation to respect those of others that differ from yours. Don't worry that this invalidates all right and all wrong in a relativist mire though, secular ethics allows for definitions of right and wrong that do not require acceptance of a specific reiligious viewpoint to define right and wrong.

Such a person is acting ethicly, you don't have to read their advertisements so they are just utilising their free speech. Curtailing that because of your personal values would be unethical.

"Diane > Morality is now the issue? OK, I strongly believe anyone who has sex with animals is not only immoral but a deviant. Does that satisfy you? Apply your own ethical standards to that if you will. I will refrain!"

Again the WHY something is wrong is vital. People can arbitrarily name anything as right or wrong but with a reason why that can be applied elsewhere a reliable system can exist.

To handle your example is easy. Sex with a living thing without informed consent is wrong. Animals cannot give informed consent therefore sex with animals is wrong, the same rule you'll see applies to children as well, untill they are mature they cannot give informed consent especially on sexual matters so sex with children is also wrong. Someone very drunk, comatose, sleeping and some cases of being severly disabled are all unable to give informed consent and hence sex with them is wrong. The principle applies to a variety of cases. Necrophilia is covered by different principles of course, it is not done with the permission of the owner of the object (next of kin) and is against the wishes or without consent of the person prior to death. It too then is still wrong.

Diane, if your unsure how to address someone politely who is using an internet handle, I suggest you look up the current standard 'Nettiquette'. As for the rest of conversation, addressing people only by surname is often considdered rude in general western society though there are many exceptions and some even preffer to be known by their surname. If someone objects to it however, continuing to do so is most assuredly considered rude behaviour.

"So I fail to see what offense was made in addressing someone who uses a pseudonym by either their first or last name."

Hmm.. I guess I shouldn't assume everyone is perceptive enough to get it. Aside from the aformentioned general extreme rudeness. Surnames are gender-nuetral, the vast majority of first names are gender specific. By using only the gender neutral surname one avoids acknowledging the gender identity expressed in the gender specific first name.

Wolfgang said: "I never said I was happy with what I have. I said I learned to accept it because there's no better alternative. If they found a way to use stem cells to grow me a penis and testicles, I'd take it in a heartbeat."

Hopefully you won't have too long to wait as 3d tissue printing is advancing at a cracking pace!

I've been contacted by folks at TS-Si, and am satisfied that they don't advocate the same level of exclusion as some of the people who have been quoting them to me here and elsewhere. As such, mention of them has been removed from the original article above and I apologize if I have misattributed any attitudes to them that are instead coming from elsewhere. I suspect that TS-Si and I still have differences of opinion, but believe that we can put them aside when it comes to bigger issues affecting those areas of community in which we overlap.

As such, I'm burying the HBS hatchet on a personal level. Which I guess was part of the point of this thread for me: to put the question out there and see what can be done for resolution. I do believe we have common grounds and communal overlap, and now I am satisfied that we can do that, despite the disagreements, and despite the extremists.

The extremists, I suppose, I will never have common ground with, by their choice. So be it.

Dented Blue Allen says I never notice she admits when she is wrong......when I've yet to see that happen.

It just did, on "Scaremongering." Quite blatantly so.

And above, re: TS-Si attribution.

Back when Allen first popped on the scene I offered to discuss our positions via private email.

As I recall, this offer was made on my blog at the same time that some very unkind things were being said by you regarding my thread and another person's commentary, on another blog, in the comments to your "Not Ready for Prime Time," which has now been re-archived minus comments in another location, so I am unable to quote this back to you. Perhaps there is a failing on my part for not taking you up on this at the time, but that situation did not seem conducive to trust. I'd be willing to do so now, if you're willing to similarily bury said hatchet as well. We can start by nixing the "Auto Allen" stuff. It's up to you.

Batty,

You insult every HBS born when you use the
transgender/HBS as an invective. HBS is not, repeat, is not transgender.
I refuse to even answer someone who uses transgender as a comparison to HBS. You want to define yourself that is fine. But do not join me to your identity.
Diane

battybattybats battybattybats | May 20, 2008 9:56 AM

What invective?

I've used 'transgender/HBS' twice in this discussion in post 111 "Unless it can be shown that there are different proportions of various sexualities amongst transgender/HBS populations making it of interest in studies into causation of sexualities what has it to do with the subject at all? " and in post 158 "This is where things like performing surgery on intersex children or treatment on transgender/HBS children is situated."

I don't see how either is invective. I unreservedly apologise for any misunderstanding you may have had in what I said though you'll have to explain that as I'm at a loss to see how there was any denunciation, attack or reproach in those sentences!

This is a discussion on the various models of transexuality which is why I listed HBS side by side with transgender as what I was saying applied to both.

I doubt the two can be forever divorced in every particular as just historicly and culturally it would be impossible to determine to which group every gender nonconformist person or culture or tradition through history belonged. Some maybe but not all.

I was stating transgender/HBS because I was referring to cases which would involve both, such as with gender non-conforming children. In the case of such children clearly some would be HBS by your definition and some transgender by your definition, all would be transgender under the transgender model.

Besides while I respect your right to self identification that doesn't mean I think your right about it.

You also don't seem to respect the self identification of HBS qualifying transexuals who accept the transgender identification nor the identification of transgender people who do not identify as being fetishists nor concur with that diagnosis.

Indeed I wonder how a genderqueer person is fetishistic?

Nevertheless how would you rather I phrase those two points?

Note too that to discuss the subject properly we must entertain the parallel hypotheticals that each model is accurate and that each is innacurate. Not being used to philosophical discussions I'm sure that must be disconcerting for you, I know that for many it takes some getting used to. Until one model can be shown to be universally definitive, medicly but also culturally and historicly and socially (and even if one was) a discussion on those models must NECCESSARILLY be comparative so everyone in this discussion must use each as comparitive to the others even as they form arguments and/or conclusions supporting just one or another or none.

I'm sure a great difficulty for you is to step outside of your own basic precepts. When one argues only from a set of precepts not neccessarily shared by all others in the discussion it rarely gets very far. A person must be able to examine arguments from points of view that are based on precepts they don't share so that they may see how and why others reach different conclusions. This way discussions can reach a higher order of thought rather than simple shouting from ideological positions.

Actually, when people claim that all "transgender" results from a common cause, and they attempt to include HBS in that group, or when they make claims about people who are so-callled "non-op transsexuals" being the same as true transsexuals, or they talk about things like "mild HBS," they are pretty much claiming that fetishes have a biological cause.

Interestingly enough, what you point out about China versus the United States does, however provide pretty strong evidence that fetishes have a basis that is not biological.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 20, 2008 11:48 AM

Batty, you and I agree on many levels, but I was surprised to see the following statement, because I was just thinking about the topic the other day:

Batty wrote, "Perhaps the psychological inability to tolerate differences in others should be considered more important in the DSM. After all it is the fundamental component of huge amounts of violence and disruption in society."

Indeed, maybe it should be listed as a psychosis and be subject to medication or hospitalization. The trouble is that a huge swath of the human population is in need of treatment. That would definitely overwhelm the system.

On the other hand, intolerance is a very primative trait. We see it in pecking orders and violence throughout the animal kingdom. Individuals who are "different" are perceived as a threat because they tend to cause change of some kind to the existing order, or they represent an element that the powers that be can't control. Either way, they're a cause of (usually) irrational fear, which leads to violence. So perhaps it should be listed under phobias, except that most phobias don't lead to harm against other people, and this one obviously does.

At any rate, I agree that the DSM should consider intolerance among the most serious of disorders.

Wolfgang, is "cancer" a social/political construct? Is "AIDS" a social/political construct? Not all labels are social/political constructs. Some labels, such as "Harry Benjamin Syndrome" have very specific, objective meanings.

Without commenting on any person in particular, it seems to me that some people, having made a significant mistake such as having sex affirmation surgery (though obviously, it did not actually serve that purpose in their case) and having realized that they have made a tragic mistake for their own self, might, in an effort to deal with their own trauma, come up with bizarre theories as to why others might be motivated to have that surgery. This can actually be observed in several well known persons, who, even though they are "post-op" have become extremely agressive in attacking HBS survivors. Again, I won't name anyone in particular, but there is one person who is affiliated with a certain clinic in Canada who has written some extremely negative things about transsexuals, at least two others who are strongly aligned with certain views expressed by people associated with that clinic (and one of them has even gone so far as to endorse the views of Chiland, the French psychoanalyst who is extremely critical of transsexuals), as well as some others who have shown rather nasty behavior towards any successful HBS survivor.

People who make such a mistake can either turn their anger inward, often resulting in self-destructive behavior. Or they can turn it outward, attacking those who have achieved what they failed to gain.

Any resemblance of this thread to this cartoon is purely coincidental, right?

Lucy Bright | May 20, 2008 1:04 PM

Actually, Just Jennifer, I agree with you that (for the reasons you cited and I chimed in with) individual fetishes have a non-biological basis – although I suppose it’s still possible that there might be a genetic predisposition to fetishism in general, with just the specific form being dependent on experience. As to that I don’t know.

That said, I don’t see fetishism as a point on the transgender ‘spectrum’, but as a separate phenomenon that can be found amongst people with all kinds of gender identities. I do see there’s a potential confusion, especially in the case of crossdressers, some of whom are fetishistic, some what I would call transgender. And some are both, of course (but then, it’s not so unusual for women to find sexy clothing sexy either!). This may make it appear from the outside as if crossdresser=fetishist, especially as fetishists are the group given most prominence by the media. But there are many reasons why people crossdress, and not all do so for fetishistic reasons by any means.

Actually Wolfgang, you seem to have misundertood what I wrote. There is a signficant difference between unhappy with the current state of the art for FTMs, and not wanting genital surgery. Now, you again state that you would keep your vagina. That is certainly your right, but it is also very hard for me to comprehend such a statement. I know quite a few gay men, and not a single one of them has any desire to have a vagina, with or without a penis along with it. In fact, it has been observed that gay men wish to be males, who are interested in having sex with another, who they see as a male, and who seems them as a male. That is why referring to straight HBS women as "homosexual transsexuals" is so highly offensive. They have NO desire to be seen by their partner as, in any shape, form, or fashion, a male, a former male, or as a woman with a penis. That is something entirely removed from HBS. Now again, I respect your right to choose your own lifestyle, but it does not seem to fit within the definitions of transsexual, and is certainly not within the definition of HBS.

It is not unlike the situation that many HBS women encounter when told by transgender MTFs that even thought the MTF wishes to keep his penis, he is just as much a woman as we are. That is highly disrespectful of our identities, though I imagine many, who identify as transgender, would have trouble seeing that fact.

Actually, as observed a bit earlier, there are more than a few examples of people who had surgery, who should not have. Now, I imagine if you asked any of the people I mentioned, who have clearly turned their anger outward, if they are happy that they had surgery, I imagine everyone of them would state that they are. But at the same time, it is clearly obvious that something is very badly wrong. And it is obvious that whatever is wrong is related to their having had surgery.

And there are also examples of people who have had surgery who become very depressed and even self-destructive. Such cases are, thankfully rare. But they do happen. And in all of the cases where surgery was a mistake, the person clearly should have received some other form of therapy.

And it should be kept in mind that there are cases in England and Australia where the religious right is trying to use people who have regrets about surgery as a means to end all surgeries. It is not something to be taken lightly. It has not happened in the United States, yet.

I must say, I find it disturbing that some seem to be looking to claim personal attacks where clearly none exist. If one can't counter arguments, then one should not fall back on such tactics. Yes, many who call themselves transgender can use very evasive terms. Pointing that out is not an attack, and suggesting that disagreeing with a viewpoint, such as the "transgender paradigm" is an attack seems rather disengenuous to me. It implies that certain views cannot be discussed without being accused of attacking. It seems some wish to find offense in order to avoid having to actually defend their positions. Oh well...

And as to ethics, people differ on what is, and is not ethical. While I believe that morality is absolute, not everyone does. Some go so far as to take an "anything goes..." attitude. Given that we all have free will, that is their privilege. But they should also realize that not everyone will see things their way. I always find it odd that some are quite quick to take offense when someone does not share their view of morality, but they feel perfectly free to totally reject another's view and then expect that person to simply agree. That is, if you want people to respect your right to reject the idea of morality, you have to be prepared to accept their right to have their own idea of morality. You may disagree, but you should extend them the same right. If you don't want them imposing their morality on you, don't impose yours on them.

This goes back to an observation I have made many times. Some seem to demand that people actually "celebrate" their being transgender.

It appears that Allen is trying to coopt HBS into the transgender paradigm. This is not possible since, by definition HBS is exclusive and completely separate from transgender. We have no overlapping interests. This is the sort of thing that has triggered these debates to begin with. Allen is simply trying to declare a peace that is an illusion. First off, this is not a war, at least on our part. We simply wish to be left out of the transgender "community." We simply wish for it to be recognize that we have no "common grounds and communal overlap," no matter how much some wish to invent them. Unfortunately, it appears that anyone who disagrees with Allen is simply dismissed as an "extremist."

If Allen reallys wants to "bury the hatchet," then the place to begin is by respecting our boundaries, and not claiming commonality that is unwelcome.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 20, 2008 10:51 PM

Wow, Just Jennifer, which universities did you study moral philosophy in? (Mine were Newcastle and U.N.E.)

Those schools of philosophy that define morality and ethics as seperate put morality as the personal and subjective and ethics as the impersonal and closest possible to universal. You have swapped them over, your either a genius with a new set of moral precepts and a brilliant reason why they exist cross-culturally or you don't know much about the subject!

There's a reason why it's called bio-ethics, medical-ethics, scientific-ethics. Why there are boards of ethics that review the activities of researchers.

You postulate as to the bitter motivations of regretful people towards others transitions, yet you spout plenty on the motivations of others. I'm amused though concerned how unselfconciously you speak out against the very things you do more often than those you criticise. It's totally bad faith from an existential perspective.

A biological causation for fetish? Why not? If their is a biological causation for homosexuality. As Wolfgang neatly pointed out just because the body part that is sexualised shifts from culture to culture, what culture has no sexualised body parts? Check out a bit of anthropolgy once in a while, you'll find that there are universals in all cultures but variations in the expressions of those.

A biological cause for those with fetishes is not unlikely. There may be a personality type with a high chance of developing fetishes or a gene that increses the likelihood of being fetishistic.

However how many transgender people are fetishistic? I dispute the view that it's the majority as alternate explanations from epigenetic switches activated during puberty, mild neurological intersex psychologicaly repressed emerging through sexuality (after all some gay people know they are gay before puberty and some don't. And plenty of repressed things emerge through sexuality) have yet to be explored sufficiently to be ruled in or out. And for those whose transgender nature is sexual in origin as it's ethical (it comes under free expression crossing over no-one elses freedoms intrinsicly so it is very much ethical) then it is unethical to characterise it as wrong!

You also seem to only discuss HBS as an absolute. Medical definitions need to be flexible! Especially as science always discovers more about everything over time. If you want to consider HBS as a medical definition you better be prepared to risk kissing that exclusivity and/or any of it's definitions goodbye! If science uncovers varying degrees of neurological intersex then people who don't currently fit the HBS definition but who nevertheless are partially neurologicly intersexed will be let in by that science. The only way you can maintain control over who gets in and who doesn't is HBS as a cultural/social construct! Otherwise it will be taken out of your hands!

And yes, cancer is a construct! It is a generic term for a bunch of similar yet distinct illnesses with different causes and different effects and different treatments! Some are caused by viral infections like HPV, some are caused by toxic exposure like the lung cancers brought about by smoking or asbestos exposure. Some are spread by contact like one canine cancer or the spread facial tumour threatening tasmanian devils that put them today on the endangered list!

Good example! All catagories humans make are constructs designed to better understand reality. The catagories are invented, few last for long before they need to be shifted or outright discarded! Gravity, a construct used to explain one or more unexplained phenomena, we have theories but whether space-time is a continuum is under threat as the idea that it is made up of connected components of some sort is currently gaining. Light, again the name we have given to a part of the electro-magnetic spectrum.

Human, again a dubious definition. Homo Floresiensis, human, hominid, diseased or species? (And the people in that department were great to work with back in the 90's, I got on very well with Mike Morwood, Doug and the crew) Chimpanzee, human, hominid, other? Where is the line drawn and why? We still draw the line upon definitions we choose and often the line is shifted over time as more is understood.

You might want to start reading about metaphysics and the philosophy of science regarding such things.

And as for cultural and social constructs, you can opt out of the community with my support, you can insist on being referred to as HBS with my support, but insisting that you get to define transgender as not including HBS-qualifying transexuals will not work so long as there are any such people who are fine with it.

As a social and cultural construct transgender is created as much by opposition to gender non-conformity as anything else, HBS people pre-diagnosis will pass through that regardless and until there is a definate biological test for that diagnosis there will likely be some years in that state. Even then some neurologicly intersexed may not be HBS by it's current definition in which case HBS treatment would be inappropriate.

And that set of circumstances may neccessitate HBS being a subset of transgender in a cultural context forever even despite the desire of it's sufferers to sever their past utterly and live on as if it never happened let alone desires not to be associated with others who do fit comfortably under the transgender definition that they don't like.

For clarification.

Just Jennifer wrote:

It appears that Allen is trying to coopt HBS into the transgender paradigm. This is not possible since, by definition HBS is exclusive
and completely separate from transgender. We have no overlapping interests. This is the sort of thing that has triggered these debates to begin with. Allen is simply trying to declare a peace that is an illusion. First off, this is not a war, at least on our part. We simply wish to be left out of the transgender "community." We simply wish for it to be recognize that we have no "common grounds and communal overlap," no matter how much some wish to invent them. Unfortunately, it appears that anyone who disagrees with Allen is simply dismissed as an "extremist."

If Allen reallys wants to "bury the hatchet," then the place to begin is by respecting our boundaries, and not claiming commonality that is unwelcome.

Overlapping interests: having Drs. Blanchard and Zucker removed from the DSM work group; ensuring available treatment of (and where possible, funding for) GRS surgery, HRT and other corrective means; securing legal rights such as the recognition of our true gender, merriage rights, right to employment; the desire for further scientific study....

Which is why we keep stepping into the same issues. They're my issues too, and issues belonging to other transsexuals who do not shun the "transgender" umbrella, so I will be there. It's simple. If we achieve anything, you're within your rights to opt out.

An extremist is not someone who disagrees with me -- I'm fine with that, preferably if it's civil. I've disagreed with plenty of people here and still respect them. An extremist is someone who is not willing to listen to or consider other opinion, spends hours at a keyboard attempting to drown everyone else out, and has very strict, black-and-white fundamentalist views about self, others, life and everything else.

I freely admit that there are extremists in the "transgender" side of things too. People can weigh for themselves who this tag belongs to on either side of the debate.

I don't think the trans movement is ever going to have any credibility until it recognizes that not everyone who calls themselves a woman is a woman. It is very much an insult to women when a forty-five year old husband and father decides to have surgery and call himself a woman.

Mercedes, why on earth would anyone want to spend time with a dragqueen? If the trans movement want credibility acknowledge that dragqueens are also men and tell them to go hangout with the other gay men.

I also appreciated the comments of the HBS people who bothered to go back and look at the definitions of transexual and transvestite. Trangenderists are simply tranvestites. They can go with the dragqueens.

I am deeply offended by those who make me an unwilling member of their trans illusion. When the term transgender came into cloudy use many at that time used the term transgender/transvestite and not one single person that I knew then objected to that linkage. It was after all the same thing but with different packaging. Not one transsexual accepted that label for all knew that it never was intended to include transsexuals. But now some here take HBS and wrongly attach it to transgender/HBS. They are not taken to task by the moderators so I must assume they agree with him. I wonder how far they might agree with me if I could use a label they might find offensive: transgender/crossdresser/transvestite/she-male/ drag-queen (TCTSD) when addressing anyone using either of the included transgender elements therefore connecting them to all of the behaviors under that label. No different than using the linkage of transgender/HBS. But being a lady I would not lower myself to that level.

Sorry, but I totally disagree. Most transgender identifiers are transvestites. That is the majority of the transgender identity. Go to any of the chat rooms and/or tg web forums and there the true tale will be obvious. I never once met a crossdresser/transvestite who did not admit to getting sexual satisfaction from 'dressing up'. I understood them and never looked down upon them. But I did realize quickly that they were different and they never could understand my needs or feelings for we had nothing basically in common or shared. Oh, I have heard that they dress to be like a woman but at the end of the day the thrill brings with it relief from the associated sexual high and more often than not the next morning they go back to their male privileged identity which gawd forbid they should ever be denied. To join HBS born to that pattern of behavior is insulting for it is not us, never was us and never will be us.

Let us stay with the facts and not suppose that someday HBS might also include variations of trans something yet unexplained. The studies done by the Dutch on the hypothalamus concluded that 100% of the brains studied that the transsexual brains hypothalamus were no different than the brains of natal women or men with whom they had identified. On the other hand, concluded or surmised, no evidence was found that the same held true for transgender/transvestites or for gays or lesbians. Those studies were later duplicated and although still limited by number supported and found a distinct and specific cause for transsexualism yet no suspicious link that had anything to do with fetishism or what some have alluded to possibly also including those who are transgender, gay or lesbian. Maybe that is why the transgender attack the studies so vehemently; it clearly excludes them.

I am not suggesting that there might not be a gene that shows a cause for one to be transgender, gay or lesbian. What I am simply showing is that the studies I address dealt with the brain and not genes and showed a physical cause for HBS. Later studies showed the genetic linkage to transsexualism specifically to that which we HBS born claim in addition to BSTc as being valid in supporting our claim of separate and distinct identity which the tg advocates poo poo as not conclusive. Perhaps not inclusive but strongly indicative and it provides more evidence for our HBS identity than any evidence that has been found to explain the causes for those that hide under a masking label.

Fetishism is not to be equated with someone born with a correctable medical condition. Fetishism is not inborn but is reactionary and nurtured by varying triggers. Emelda Marcos was born without shoes yet her fetish was for shoes was it not? (SARCASIM INTENDED)

The issue transferred from the other post group into this one was to discuss transsexualism. I do disagree with the '3 models' though for it surmises that transsexualism is basically no different than transgenderism which as we know has a multitude of models or elements many of whom identify as sexual or fetish. HBS on the other hand, not being a trans model at all, relies on its definition as being medical with research findings that strongly indicate the condition and its causes. That is much, much different than those who identify as either/or under the transgender umbrella. And as we all know, quite a few take on the identity of others in order to hide their own.

Those who deny our right of expression seem to be solidly connected to the illusions that permeate the transgender 'community'. I suggest, not in attack, that they should simply identify as specific what their actual condition is that makes them part of the transgender grouping... cast off their masks. I would not of course be qualified to do that since I was HBS born and never a crossdresser, a she-male, a drag-queen, a CD sex worker, a transvestite or any of the myriad behaviors that find comfort under the transgender umbrella.

I do wonder why a true transsexual would ever allow themselves to be included under that banner and that befuddles me; maybe because they are not transsexuals in fact but might be better identified as a sub-set under the transgender umbrella.

This discussion was supposed to be about transsexual terminology. It has instead become one of robbery. Some of us define our status as being born HBS. The term is clearly outlined but now it seems those who need excuses for their behavior link onto us as if a need to wear another mask. We have seen that before with the adding of transsexualism listed as a sub-set under the transgender label. Almost akin to the overwhelming army taking possession of a minorities home and assets. The Tg mantra I might suppose: = 'I am everything but am without identity except for that which I borrowed'.

Diane http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

battybattybats battybattybats | May 21, 2008 8:46 AM

"I don't think the trans movement is ever going to have any credibility until it recognizes that not everyone who calls themselves a woman is a woman."

That sounds reasonable.. but... just how do you draw the line?
Just how does someone precisely define who is and is not a woman? It may be human to impose order and desire concrete invaraiable catagories but i'm afraid you might find that reality is far more fluid than you'd rather it be, even in mammalian biology. I'm still waiting for a definition of 'woman' that does not leave out plenty of people as neither male nor female biologicly. But maybe your the one to finally resolve this conundrum, be my guest, define 'woman' and 'man' without leaving any one human in limbo!

"Mercedes, why on earth would anyone want to spend time with a dragqueen?"

Cause, like every other sort of human being there are nice ones and nasty ones, generous ones and mean ones, good compassionate ones and small minded bigoted ones. All you have to do is find the appropriate ones and make friends with them just like any other worthwhile human being.

Their culture and behaviours may be different, like people of any other class, race, culture or subculture.

I have a long experience with a variety of classes and types of people. I'll share a ssecret with you. If you want to find genuine friendship, loyal friendship, decent honest helpful altruistic kinds of people I'll tell you where to look.

Find the nerds, the punks, the goths, the emos, the gays, the lesbians, the drag queens etc. Those on the fringes.

They won't all be good sure, but you will find a greater proportion of decent people amongst them and I'll explain why.

People who like to use other people, people who betray others easilly and care more about success than other people, those who like to hurt others emotionally or physicly... they need to blend in to succeed! They all do their best to look and act like 'normal' people. Not all 'normal' people are bad, there are lots of good ones there too, but that's where all the predators with any brains hide, amongst the accepted where suspicion and distrust less often falls. Look up 'powerpath' and you'll start to see the truth.

There are good and bad in every catagory of people, judging people by their style, clothes, wealth, sexuality, ethnicity etc rather than evaluating each person on their individual merits is making a clear mistake in thinking, it's sloppy and lazy cognition based on false assumptions and non-causal associations.

"tell them to go hangout with the other gay men."

What's the problem with mixed company? I don't have trouble mixing with people different to me. Do you? I haven't fallen victim to tribalism, have you? My self-identity is not so fragile that it requires constant reinforcement, but is yours?

And if not, why do you desire to ostracise a catagory of people and insist they only remain with others you deem as similar?

My friends are lesbian, gay, straight, bi, aboriginal, islander, chinese, amerindian, african, iraqi, jewish, white, rich, middle class, working class, poor, academic, educated, barely literate, yuppies, jocks, bogans, cockies, townies, goths, steam-punks, nerds, cis men, cis women, transexuals and crossdressers. No drag queens in my area that I've yet met but if I meet any I'll judge them on their qualities as people not whether they are drag queens.

You should give it a try one day, you might meet some nice people who will enrich your life with their difference and humanity.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 21, 2008 9:12 AM

Regarding intolerance of differance as a likely mental disorder Wolfgang wrote:

"Indeed, maybe it should be listed as a psychosis and be subject to medication or hospitalization. The trouble is that a huge swath of the human population is in need of treatment. That would definitely overwhelm the system."

Currently in Australia it's approximated 1 in 5 Australians will suffer from some form of mental illness, most often depression. I'm fairly sure intolerance of differance would be mild in most people requiring just a little treatment and severe cases would be much less frequent than depression.

Treatment would likely be like that of standard phobias, basic education to dismiss myths and basic logical fallacies would fix the mildest cases, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy should fix most of the rest very quickly but the most extreme cases will probably suffer Borderline Personality Disorder alongside it requiring more complex treatment.

Elaine:

It is very much an insult to women when a forty-five year old husband and father decides to have surgery and call himself a woman.

How about one who is 47, not 45? And "herself" rather than "himself"?

How about when before transition, and as the result of a ridiculous number of tests, MRI scans, ultrasounds etc, this husband and father was declared to be more accurately described not as a mildly Intersexed man, but a really, terribly, tragically, severely Intersexed woman? That long before surgery, or even HRT?

I don't claim to be any more of a woman than you are. Gender is between the ears, not between the legs.

The label "husband" doesn't fit now, any more than the label "wife" does. My partner in marriage is my partner. Yes, we remain married. Yes, the love is still there. But it's chaste. I was never issued with normal male parts (unlike yourself, perchance?) so it's not as big a deal as it would be for some. I miss the cuddles, but that's all.

The label "father" fits, and I wear that with pride. My son calls me "Zed" or "Zeddie", but when hurt or scared, "Daddy" too. If in public, I shrug it off. It's a small price to pay, and besides which, everyone thinks he's got it wrong. Sometimes I have to correct them when they tell him that. I out myself, but I never want him to suffer unfair criticism for merely stating a fact, and one I rejoice in.

With all the hormonal mess that is my endocrine system, it was truly miraculous that my gonads were, for a short time, partly functional. With technical help (for intercourse was neither a psychologically not physically possible means of reproduction), I had a child.

Not motherhood, and in a Universe where things were as they should be, I should have carried him. But that was never remotely possible. The male reproductive system is fairly simple: one partly working testis is all that's needed. The female one requires everything to be just right. I didn't come within light-years there. The removal of the "anomalous tissue" from my abdomen when I was 20 means I don't even know how far away. But it was long.

I don't claim to be any more of a woman than you. But when you claim my very existence is an insult to womanhood, implying that you are a woman, and I am not, then you go too far.

Your comment illustrates the problem many of us have with the Fanatic HBS element. The perception, reinforced by statements like yours, that they aren't interested in the science, or the neurology. They don't care to consider the messiness of real biology. It is an excuse for bigotry.

As people who have suffered from that themselves, it is sad and ironic that the pardonable ignorance and less pardonable malice that has inflicted on them so many problems should be so precisely mirrored in their own words.

An apology would be nice. Here, I'll go first.

I'm sorry that you see my existence as a personal affront to your femininity. I can't apologise for existing though, just the offence that causes you, as a woman. For you are one, just as much as I. Even though you were, and continue to be post-surgically, far more male in body than I.

Your brain and mind is female, that's all that matters. Not that I transitioned naturally, while you required hormones. Not that I had "genital reconstruction" while you had "gender reassignment".

It.
Does.
Not.
Matter.

I'm sorry you will never know the joy of motherhood. Neither will I, but I came close enough. I am content. It was worth the 47 years of Hell.

Now pardon me, I have to go look for something. My temper, I appear to have lost it.

Here, temper, temper.... where are you....

Found It!

Elaine, I'm sorry. I rarely bring the exact details of my peculiar metabolism up. I try to shy away even from generalities, except in an educational context. I find it leads to insecurity in others, and accusations of attempting to be "more female than thou".

Let's put it this way: I could have been born the standard model, 46xx, given birth to triplets, had a 36-24-36 figure, and I still wouldn't be more female than you are, not one jot or tittle.

But you see, I've never claimed to be. That, more than anything else, is the difference between us. I hope that difference has been narrowed.

And talking about insecurities, 47 years of doing the Boy Act did take its toll. Otherwise I would have answered you in much the same way, but with less emotion, anger and hurt. You pressed a button, much in the same way Bailey and Co do to you. I ask your forgiveness of that too. We're all human. (though some endocrinologists have their doubts about me there...)

Allen's comment illustrates exactly the sort of thing we are talking about. These are NOT common interests. Those who are not seeking sex affirmation surgery are not going to be affected by Zucker and Blanchard being involved in the DSM process. Those not seeking sex affirmation surgery have no standing to comment on its availability. And most importantly, those who are not seeking sex affirmation surgery have absolutely NO business trying to claim any sort of "legal recognition for their gender." What is being suggested here is that we should have a common interest in obtaining female birth certificates for intact males who simply wish to claim to be women. I, and the others with the Harry Benjamin Group strongly oppose any changes in birth certificates for those who have not changed their sex. For women, that means full genital surgery. Not "just an orchie," or just because a doctor says they are a woman. For a man, that means full upper surgery, removal of the internal female organs, closing the vagina, and at a minimum a meditoidplasty to create a small penis. Not just chest surgery and hormones, or just because the doctor says you are a man.

As to marriage, that issue is up to the individual states, but personally I do not want any marriage I enter into with a man to be labeled as any sort of same sex marriage. While I support the right to marriage, I don't want women with HBS' interests to be linked to same sex marriage, unless they identify as lesbian. The same is true for men with HBS. They should only be labeled as same sex if they are marrying a male.

Again, we do not have common interests. The only rights that HBS survivors need are to be recognized as their correct sex. And then only after corrective surgery. Once that is done, all other rights fall into place. The transgender crowd needs to have rights granted on a completely different basis, and we have no interest in that. So again, please respect our boundaries, or be prepared for us to speak out strongly, and firmly against your efforts.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 21, 2008 12:59 PM

Jennifer wrote, "Wolfgang, is "cancer" a social/political construct?"

I mistakenly forgot to add that some labels are medical or scientific in nature, but I was referring to the ones we've been throwing around here: Transsexual, HBS, transgender, crossdresser, etc. While I consider both transsexual and HBS to be medical conditions, we are also using them as social/political constructs. If we weren't, we wouldn't be having this argument.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 21, 2008 1:53 PM

Jennifer wrote, "That is highly disrespectful of our identities,..."

So, what I'm getting from you is that when someone (who doesn't fit your criteria) identitifies as transsexual or HBS, you consider it disrespectful of you. As a result, you cannot respect that person's identity. Sounds like a Catch 22. Personally, I find that being offended by the way other people define themselves is a sign of deeply rooted insecurity. In your case, it also suggests a purely political motive behind your identity, precisely what you accuse others of.

Jennifer wrote, "Again, we do not have common interests. The only rights that HBS survivors need are to be recognized as their correct sex. And then only after corrective surgery."

So, you think an FTM (who has not had genital surgery), but has a full beard, muscles, and appears 100% male to all casual observers should have an F on his driver's license? That's inhumane. But then again, so is denying treatment to everyone who doesn't fit your narrow definition of Transsexualism/HBS. But alas, that's been said repeatedly here.

Also, if the only thing you care about is legal identity, then you couldn't care less about the rights of pre- and mid-transition HBS people, the education of schoolchildren on HBS issues, or efforts to stop the violence against HBS people?

No, we are just tired of people who never had any doubt they were males, until suddenly, later in life, often after very successful careers as men (albeit, perhaps as crossdressers), they suddenly decide that they really want to be a woman, and then declare themselves to actually be a woman. That is not bigotry. It is just being realistic.

And the question has been raised about who is a man, and who is a woman? Well, that can be tough. I know of some cases where people have surgery and it changes nothing except the configuration of their genitals. They go from being an intact male to being a man with a vagina. And the same is true of some females. But it is far rarer. But that is really not the issue. If a man has surgery and becomes a female, he may still be a man, but he is, physically a female. He has to suffer the consequences of that. But as far as legal recognition goes, that should be based SOLELY on the genitals. If you are an innie, you are a female, if you are an outie, you are a male. Period. End of discussion. No playing games. No changing your birth certificate because "you're really a woman, but you just don't feel the need to get rid of your penis." And if you do have surgery, no claiming you are still a male so you can marry your girlfriend, even though you both have vaginas...unless you live somewhere that everyone can do that. Oh, and no claiming you are a "same-sex" couple because you didn't get a divorce before you had surgery, unless, again, you live where such marriages are allowed. The simple bottom line is, you play by the same rules as everyone else.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 21, 2008 2:24 PM

Jennifer wrote, "Actually, as observed a bit earlier, there are more than a few examples of people who had surgery, who should not have."

Here we go again. You say this, (and I agree that we should all be concerned about regrets), yet you believe that only those who express a desire for genital surgery should undergo any medical transition. This viewpoint is partly responsible for surgeries that should not have been performed on people who later regret them. (I've said this before, but I don't think you ever offered a counter-argument).

The restrictions you want reinstated were loosened precisely because of their negative consequences. According to the Nick Gorton FTM manual-- http://www.nickgorton.org --fewer than 1% of FTMs (of all types) regret the treatments they chose. It also points out that the suicide rate for MTFs post-transition is about 2% (the same as for cis-females), suggesting a rather low regret rate for them as well.

Sorry, but HBS is NOT a social/political construct. Not remotely. Transgender is. And it can be argued that crossdresser is, as it was created to be a bit kinder and gentler than "transvestite." Transsexual wasn't, at least until it was adopted by the porn industry. If you are trying to use HBS as a social/political construct then it just proves my point about disrespecting identities.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 21, 2008 3:02 PM

Diane wrote, "On the other hand, concluded or surmised, no evidence was found that the same held true for transgender/transvestites or for gays or lesbians."

Which BST study are you referring to? The Swedish study which involved six MTFs also found the BST size in cis-sexed gays and lesbians to be in between male and female, conforming to neither.

I've been called a cold hearted bitch for this, but the only concern I have about regretors is they are used by those who oppose SRS.

If a guy gets willy wacked off and decides it was a bad idea I don't think of it as tragic but rather evolution in action. Half the world gets along just fine without a penis and Wolfgang, with a male identity you manage without one.

So some guy screws up and no longer can write his name in the snow, this is tragic?

There is an old saying "if you weren't a transsexual before SRS you sure as hell will be one afterwards."

Well Cathryn, I do consider it tragic. But then I tend to be rather kind hearted. And I also share your concern for how such people might be used. That is why I get so angry when people call for greater access to treatment. That is a near certain means to end surgery for HBS victims, at least in many places. And yes, I agree with that old saying.

Personally, I find that some people try to find ways to claim that people are insecure. I have compared the behavior of some who are transgender to that of young whites who adopt urban fashions, speak in Ebonics, and who claim to be "just like Blacks." Many African-Americans, who are quite secure in their identity, find that highly insulting. These people are claiming an identity that they have no right to, and claim a commonality with people they actually have nothing in common with. It has nothing to do with being insecure, and everything to do with having your own situation belittled. People who have never, truly felt the pain of having a body that they are at odds with, but who claim they are "just like transsexuals," or are "just the same as people with HBS," are effectively minimizing and co-opting experiences that they have no real knowledge of. When someone who has no real problem with living as they are, claims to be the same as someone like myself, it hurts. It also confuses people, who start asking "Well, why can't you be like them? They're transsexuals, but they don't need surgery." Now, if someone can't see how that harms our interests, then they are not willing to see.

Actually, legal identity is not the only thing we care about, but it is a major issue nonetheless. For one thing, the transgender activists are very much trying to make it their issue. They want people to be able to legally change things with no real basis. Yes, people need to be able to change their paperwork during transition, but should this be allowed for everyone, or only for those seriously transitioning? And how long can they be "in transition" before they have to have their paperwork returned to reflecting their actual sex?

I do believe that people who are in RLT should be able to have their driver's license changed. They should also be provisions for them not to be outed by Social Security. But there need to be reasonable limits on how long they can do this without moving forward. And they shouldnot be able to change birth certificates until full surgery is complete.

As to educating students...why? Do we educate school children about most medical issues that do not directly affect them? They really don't need that information. If a person claims to be HBS, but plans to live openly as a woman who used to be a man, or vice versa, then I have doubts. I mean, if you really are what you say you are, why would you possibly want the world to know your past? You certainly won't be seen as what you claim to be.

And violence has to be dealt with as what it is, violence. Sadly, it is going to happen. That is simply human nature. It can, hopefully be reduced. I believe the so-called "panic" defenses have to be banned. And I support hate-crimes legislation. But the best prevention of violence is good old common sense. People have to learn to avoid bad situations. And no, I am not blaming the victims. I am urging caution.

Can you provide a reference for this "Swedish" study, as that is not the one we are referencing. For one thing, it was not done in Sweden. And there are two studies that we have referenced, the second replicating and confirming the first. I find it amusing that TG activists selectively choose to ignore the second, while harping endlessly on how small the sample size was in the first study.

This is the tread that won’t die we created the term Cross Dresser when Transvestite got hijacked by prop Tgurl’s when they began calling there self’s that. Yes I do not fit into any of your psycho babble terms I am just Trans.

From some of this babbling going on I just might go back to calling my self CD at least that way I know I won’t get any respect from some of you. Ever wonder why the T community doses not get respect just read some of these postings.

When the CD community talked about going it on our own we got begged told and yelled at to stay in the larger T community never mind that we got very little respect and even less support form it.

Carry on with the babble

Caty

Wolfgang,

I was clearly referring to the BSTc studies. Genetic studies can sometimes be inter-related but the Swiss genetic research clearly referred to transsexuals. I really have no idea what cis-sexed really means. Perhaps just another of the long list of behaviors under the trans umbrella for all I know. Never met one although I did meet a guy who claimed he was a metro-sexual. I even liked him.

Anyway, suggest you might do your own research and to help you out go to our site and read: http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./. Sorry no comics!

And yes, the definition of sex is more identifiable than is 'gender'. No one can read your mind but they sure can tell whether you are a male or a female should you walk naked into a shower room can't they? Birth certificate should only be reflective of genitalia and not some special priviledge wish list. If you identify as a female but have male genitalia then you are a male and I might suppose better identified as trans-gender.

Diane


I am a born female. I am not here to get into an argument or the violation of assignations about my genitals at birth or get into petty arguments about genitals.

I was asked where one draws a line? I don’t draw them. I suggest that people draw the lines in their narratives. If someone moves through the world saying they are men I take them at their word. If someone is a father they have well demonstrated they are men. Women aren’t fathers. That’s pretty simple and elementary.

If someone married a woman and said to the world that he was a woman’s husband, let’s take him at his word. Someone with an indentity of woman could not do that.

So you see Zoe, I don’t have to draw lines. People do it in their lives. Here are some more elementary facts. Females do not father children. You are a proud father? Then be a proud male and a proud man because that’s what you have said you are.

Sex is between the ears? Yes, it is, in part. Sex is also in our tummies and wombs and unfortunately for you in between your legs.

Why not she? Well I call men “he”, not “she” and I call them as I perceive them. How I perceive them is determined by the choices they have made in their lives. I don’t draw the lines – they do.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 21, 2008 9:11 PM

Jennifer wrote, "People who have never, truly felt the pain of having a body that they are at odds with, but who claim they are "just like transsexuals,"...

I felt that pain for over 30 years. Where do you get off assuming that only those who are HBS according to your definition are the only ones to have suffered it?

Jennifer wrote, "I do believe that people who are in RLT should be able to have their driver's license changed....And they shouldnot be able to change birth certificates until full surgery is complete."

In my home state, people can't even *renew* their driver's licenses without a birth certificate, and there's a bill in the pipeline to require a DL to vote. A correct birth certificate is an absolute necessity to do anything in this state, and it has to come *before* the DL change.

Jennifer wrote, "If a person claims to be HBS, but plans to live openly as a woman who used to be a man, or vice versa, then I have doubts. I mean, if you really are what you say you are, why would you possibly want the world to know your past?"

Why do you think I want the world to know my past? Why do you think I want to "live as a man who used to be a woman?" I was never a woman. I accept the fact that I was *female*, because it's an inescapable fact, but I wasn't a woman. Still, if I can bury my past, I will, because once I finish transition, I just want to get on with my life as a man. If I continue to call myself a transsexual after that, it'll only be as a concession to fighting for GLBT rights. But I may just disappear into the woodwork, because there are other things I'd rather be doing, like writing my Sci-fi novels.

Jennifer wrote, "But the best prevention of violence is good old common sense. People have to learn to avoid bad situations. And no, I am not blaming the victims. I am urging caution."

I agree. Some hate crimes could be avoided with common sense and discretion, particularly in regard to sexual activity. And that's not blaming the victims--Agreed. It's wanting people to avoid becoming victims.

Diane wrote, "Anyway, suggest you might do your own research and to help you out go to our site and read: http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./. Sorry no comics!"

No comics?! Well, forget it then! And I've been to the HBS site before. I have better places spend my time.

Some URLs to the various studies being bandied about would be really helpful at this point.

I think we're all familiar with the two main works on this issue,

Zhou J.-N, Hofman M.A, Gooren L.J, Swaab D.F (1997)
A Sex Difference in the Human Brain and its Relation to Transsexuality.
(PDF at http://www.harrybenjaminsyndrome-info.org/pdf/BSTc.pdf)

Kruijver F.P.M, Zhou J.-N, Pool C.W., Swaab D.F. (2000)
Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic
Nucleus (PDF at http://www.harrybenjaminsyndrome-info.org/pdf/brainsex1.pdf)

But we need to know what the various follow-up articles are. The ones on TG as opposed to TS, the "swiss" and "swedish" ones.

Has anyone got the full text of

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Sep;21(3):431-44.

Sexual differentiation of the brain and behavior.
Swaab DF.

Abstract:

During the intrauterine period the human brain develops in the male direction via direct action of a boy's testosterone, and in the female direction through the absence of this hormone in a girl. During this time, gender identity (the feeling of being a man or a woman), sexual orientation, and other behaviors are programmed. As sexual differentiation of the genitals takes places in the first 2 months of pregnancy, and sexual differentiation of the brain starts during the second half of pregnancy, these two processes may be influenced independently of each other, resulting in transsexuality. This also means that in the case of an ambiguous gender at birth, the degree of masculinization of the genitals may not reflect the same degree of masculinization of the brain. Differences in brain structures and brain functions have been found that are related to sexual orientation and gender.

Caty wrote:

we created the term Cross Dresser when Transvestite got hijacked by prop Tgurl’s when they began calling there self’s that. Yes I do not fit into any of your psycho babble terms I am just Trans.

Actually, one of the biggest reasons for that terminology change was because "transvestite" was associated with paraphilia, medically and professionally speaking. People who crossdressed for reasons other than a sexual thrill retook the term "crossdresser" in order to avoid that connotation.

That's the trouble with terminology and labels: these things will mean a myriad of things to different people.

Battybattybats | May 21, 2008 9:49 PM

Just Jennifer, who I note still can't manage to call Mercedes by the name Mercedes siad: "that should be based SOLELY on the genitals"

Why should that be the case?
What is the basis for why the all the restrictions you suggest should be imposed should actually be imposed?

What purpose should that serve?

"Sorry, but HBS is NOT a social/political construct. Not remotely."

Fine. Then lets let science take over the criteria of it's definition then. All they need is neurologicly intersexed people that don't match the current criteria postulated and then all of them will be let into HBS. That seems fine. And we'll have to let science modify the current criteria to match current understandings first, in which case as developmental disorders are generally very variable until we have evidence that this is a special (perhaps even unique) case they will have to alter the criteria to include variations of the syndrome.

As I said, if it's not social/cultural you can't keep power over the criteria to maintain your exclusivity, you will instead be subject to all the good and bad aspects of the scientific system, not just scientific methodology but also academic politics, you know, things like the DSM situation.

LOL you could end up with someone like Zucker or Blanchard writing the official criteria of HBS entrenching the 'homosexual' tag you object to right in the strict medical definition!

Diane, I realise your trying to drum up hits to the site, you mention it a plenty, but please show me the PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL.

"Sorry no comics!"
Wow, you really like to be insulting don't you.
Sigh, even artists like Toren Atkinson get scientific method! Someone who in fact could draw those comics for you would recognise the need for peer-review.

As Torens infamous band The Darkest Of The Hillside Thickets so eloquently put it in their awesome song A Marine Biologist:

"Collect the specimens and illustrate ‘em o well as best as you can

Bring ‘em up, lay ‘em out, look ‘em up, write ‘em down, and you can publish your findings in a peer-reviewed journal."

So please give me a link to a scientificly reputable site and the details of the PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL that I can go to my local university library and read.

Cathy, I refer to myself as a crossdresser. I get lots of respect from the majority of the LGBT communities and those intersex people I've met online, but apparently none from the HBS folk. Don't give up on the rest of the trans crowd, there are some very good folk amongst them.

Oh and HBS folk, your often criticised for bigotry which you deny, anything to say on Elaines comments then? A good chance to show you only want accuracy and are not motivated by bias or bigotry exists right there. Care to take that opportunity and bust some myths about HBS as just a cover excuse for bigotry?

Wolfgang E. B. | May 21, 2008 9:58 PM

My apologies: The BST study I was referring to was from the Netherlands, (bad memory, sorry) and they didn't find a significant difference between homosexual and heterosexual males. The site I got that from about 2 years ago was apparently incorrect. I lost all my bookmarks during the last power outage, so I can't give you the URL.

I did find this one, which details that one of the MTFs had not had an orchidectomy. http://www.symposion.com/ijt/ijtc0106.htm

Wolfgang E. B. | May 21, 2008 10:15 PM

Elaine wrote, "Females do not father children. You are a proud father? Then be a proud male and a proud man because that’s what you have said you are."

So, does that mean that you consider Thomas Beatie (the FTM who got himself pregnant via AI) a woman? He considers himself the father of his child and lives as a man in every other way.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 21, 2008 10:30 PM

Wow Elaine.
Just.. wow.

"Women aren’t fathers. That’s pretty simple and elementary."
And like most simplistic things it's also incorrect.

As Zoe has already pointed out to you from her direct experience.

"Females do not father children. You are a proud father? Then be a proud male and a proud man because that’s what you have said you are.

Sex is between the ears? Yes, it is, in part. Sex is also in our tummies and wombs and unfortunately for you in between your legs."

In this case it's called intersex. Look it up, shame you've embarassed yourself so utterly but hey, everyone makes mistakes.

"Why not she? Well I call men “he”, not “she” and I call them as I perceive them. How I perceive them is determined by the choices they have made in their lives. I don’t draw the lines – they do."

There this phenomena called repression that you might want to look up once you've finished reading about intersex.

After that you better read about this thing called existentialism as you seem to be making judgements in 'bad faith' making your fallible perception of others responsible for your own thoughts, actions and reactions. You could find the same points in psychology, maybe Cognitive Behavioural Therapy might be a good source for that info for you.

When someone claims that they are a woman, but they wish to keep their penis...or a man, but they want to keep their vsgina, then I find it more than a bit difficult to see how they can claim to have truly felt pain over their body. Sorry, but that is how I see it.


Now, I don't know what state you are referring to, but I am not aware of any state where you cannot change your name legally, and have that name on your driver's license. Now, not every state will change the sex on a driver's license before surgery. Some will, some won't. In some states people just have to deal with it. I don't agree with those states, but that has nothing to do with changing birth certificates. I mean, seriously...are you saying that a woman is forced to use her maiden name, even if she is married and wants to adopt her husband's name...because that will be what is on her birth certificate. Are you saying that a person cannot legally cnange their name, and have that change reflected on their driver's license? Sorry, but I know that is not how things work. You may not be able to change your sex marker, but you can still go through RLT.

A lot of what I said is not aimed at anyone in particular. I know some who are very out about being "transgender." That is, of course, their right. But it makes no sense to me. As I have said, one can be a woman, or one can be a transsexual, but you really can't be both. (Of course, for an FTM the term would be man, not woman.)


As to hate crimes, we agree. I know some people who don't grasp those facts. As I said, I don't believe the panic defense is legitimate, but it is often quite effective.

Elaine, in the Uh-Oh thread, you dropped this bomb:

"If late transitioners are all going to be classified as paraphiliacs in the DSM, along with fetishists, necrophiliacs and the like, what are the odds of us retaining the ability to change birth certificates, marry, or even legally access to hormones or surgery, no matter what medical professionals may deem necessary?"
I would hope all late transistioners would be precluded from allowed or to be able to falsify their documentation.

I'll let those words speak for themselves. No commentary is necessary.

On another topic...

I wrote a long screed giving the most intimate details of my personal life, in an effort to educate and help understanding. My effort was obviously wasted - on you, anyway.

You deny the existence of the Intersexed.

Females do not father children...

Sex is between the ears? Yes, it is, in part. Sex is also in our tummies and wombs and unfortunately for you in between your legs
No personal attack intended there, I'm sure. Yeah, right.

Maybe you should take that up with my OB/GYN, Elaine. My womb, if you can call a mere clump of cells that, was removed without my knowledge or consent at age 20, remember. If you too had a hysterectomy, should I start calling you "Sir"? I think not. If you had a karyotype, and were found to be one of the 46xy females with a defective SrY complex, you'd be legally male in Florida, but not in my eyes.

You know, when I was young, in order to gain access to the most basic medical care, you had to be strictly heterosexual, a caricature of 50's feminine behaviour, and quite frankly, sexually attractive to those who had power over you.

Lesbians did not exist. They weren't "real women".

Unless you were gracile, pretty, and all too often not just sexually attractive but sexually available to the gatekeepers, you were condemned to the abyss. Many of us died because of that. Some found the strength not to. You condemn them, not for their weakness, but their heroism.

I knew at age 7 that I'd never be pretty, or gracile.

Your call for a return to a situation similar to those days nauseates me. It spoils my objectivity, and makes giving you the respect you have a right to as a commenter here very difficult. I apologise for any lapse there.

Looking back, it appears I haven't addressed a good point that Elaine has made.

My fatherhood.

My boy is my son. His welfare is everything to me. If that means some personal embarrassment, if it means I leave myself open to attack by ... I nearly said "the bigoted and ignorant" .. those whose views of gender are strictly conventional and contrary to the biological facts, then so be it.

Poor little chap, he was landed with a most unusual Daddy. A girl. He even got to see the change happening right before his eyes, before HRT and everything. It was pretty spectacular. He was only 3 too.

I will never deny being his Daddy. Not for anyone. No mother would. No woman could.

But how can a woman be a Father? Not the biology, but the psychology? It can happen if she has a hypertrophied maternal instinct.

Maternity - or as close as I could get to it - was always more important to me than Femininity - or as close as I could get to it.

That kept me going for decades, the 1 in 100 chance that I might not be totally sterile. As it turns out, more like 1 in a million, and had I known the true odds, I would likely have given up. With transition impossible (not pretty enough, remember?), that would have meant insanity or death.

So if that means you call me male, go ahead. Your opinion means nothing.

"I will never deny being his Daddy. Not for anyone. No mother would. No woman could."


Women are not fathers. Men are fathers. By the same token men are not mothers just as you are not a mother. Women are not fathers or daddies.

This is why the trans movement has little credibility. It's because fathers insist they are women when that's not possible.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 22, 2008 4:25 AM

Jennifer wrote, "When someone claims that they are a woman, but they wish to keep their penis...or a man, but they want to keep their vsgina, then I find it more than a bit difficult to see how they can claim to have truly felt pain over their body."

I have (and had) way too many other body parts to feel pain over, so the one that isn't visible in all but the most intimate situations never rose to the level of importance in regard to my masculinity that you place on it. Clearly, your bodily pain was focused primarily on what was between your legs. Mine was centered on other areas, and they are legion. I got stuck with a really crappy, extremely female body.

When another transexual focuses on genitals so completely as you do, I have to wonder if you got really, really lucky in the genetic lottery, in which case, you have no business tellng me about pain.

Jennifer wrote, "Now, I don't know what state you are referring to, but I am not aware of any state where you cannot change your name legally,..."

I was taking about sex, not name. That's what matters most when you get pulled over at 4:00AM on your way to the woods for a morning bowhunt and the cop sees you've got an F on your license, but you sure as hell don't look like an F.

This post will probably be pretty long - I've taken the time to read pretty much all the posts...in a row, right after the Uh Oh thread too, so I'm tired, and I collected more than a few quotes coming to the end of the thread.

Elaine:
"So you see Zoe, I don’t have to draw lines. People do it in their lives. Here are some more elementary facts. Females do not father children. You are a proud father? Then be a proud male and a proud man because that’s what you have said you are."

Sounds suspiciously like a certain Renee. I don't know, I've been taught on MWMF boards that whenever "husbands and fathers" were mentioned, it had to be Renee. I stayed a couple months, and what do you know, it revealed true in all cases, under different pseudonyms.

I forgot who it was who said this:
"I am sorry but I have and many other clinicians have seen patients who clearly meet the dynamics of AG, as opposed to simply falling outside of the Homosexual transsexual subset and thus meeting the current critieria used by Clarke."

Clearly meeting the dynamics of AG includes finding clothing sexy while imagining yourself as female...which doesn't sound so weird to me for a regular 46,xx woman, I wonder why it would sound weird for one who had a slight problem previous to birth. I also sometimes see myself as an angel in dreams and fantasies. This doesn't mean I want to be one (though it would be cool, I'll keep that outside the realm of reality) or that I get off on that aspect (it's mostly incidental actually).

Diane:
"Diane:

To Zoe:
My sexuality for those that seem to be confused never was male gender nor did I ever entertain the lure of lesbian which you seem to invite me to explore. I always liked boys; always felt comfortable with girls but not sexually; was basically asexual before surgery and afterward my body caught up with my brain. Never did I think I might be homosexual or even bi. I was a 'one tracker' and quite happy and sexually responsive
once my body was in league with my brain.
I married the man I loved never once regretting 30 years together ending with his passing
a short time ago. So my dear Zoe where and when did an introduction of hormones play a part in my sexuality? Hormones simply allowed my body to become more female and prepared me for the final surgery and the whole of life I would then live."

A lot of this resembles my life - except hormones DID affect my sexuality. I was totally asexual with zero libido pre hormones. And what do you know, I discovered I was attracted to men after starting estrogen. I also discovered my body was quite responsive, but I won't go into details. I'm still virgin in every possible way. I'm pre-op if it matters, I was then too, obviously. I did not need surgery to be able to get aroused, though the prospects of not having a vagina for intercourse don't exactly make me smile, it will be fixed eventually. I won't necessarily remain chaste until then.

Just Jennifer:
"Second,yes autogynephila exists. In fact, there are those who actually acknowledged themsevles as such, and identify that way, so to say it does not exist is not valid. Of course, I can understand that some might fear such a label."

Many of those who identified as such did under the wrongful premise of using the term literally as "love of oneself as a woman" which sounds quite ordinary and mundane, not a paraphilia. Many, while aware of Blanchard's meaning to the term, use another for themselves. That they fail to see the stigmatization of the term is something I can't understand, but most are not like Arune or Anne Lawrence; specifically identifying with Blanchard's definition.

Just Jennifer:
"The use of the term "gender reassignment surgery" seems to either contradict the common transgender assertion that sex and gender are the same, or it really is an attempt to confuse the issue. In any case, it is a highly inaccurate term, and one that many find offensive."

The common transgender assertion actually defined gender and sex as NOT the same. It's commonly understood in society as exchangeable, but many, if not most people in the transgender community, understand the difference. The various terminologies used in certain laws or promoted by certain researchers are mostly those who muddy the waters.

Sex is understood as the biological, while gender is understood as the instinctual when it comes to behavior, thinking and everything related to sex that isn't outright biological (more or less, better definition than 'social' which seems plastic).

Just Jennifer:
"I believe that fetishes are the result of learned behavior. Otherwise, how would one explain the incredibly diverse array? I mean, is there some small bit of brain that if tweaked just so will result in someone who has a thing for rubber cat suits, but tweaked just so another way, and suddenly they are turned on by dead bodies, being defecated on, women smoking, women stomping small animals while wearing high heels, feet, or as we are discussing here, dressing up in the clothing of the opposite sex?"

Many fetish may be learned behavior, but the fact that many of them actually are fetish at all, has to do about their taboo nature. A woman putting on men's clothes won't be sexually turned on normally, because there's nothing at all taboo about it. But it's very much taboo for a man to even HINT at feminity in clothing, let alone wear a dress, nylon or high heels. So the taboo factor plays a major part there. Taboos are mostly social (since they vary from culture to culture). Fetish are a reaction or adaptation to taboos.

Then there is also, in the case of cross-dressing, those who both have a fetish about it AND feel better, other than sexually, about it, like a sense of well-being. So it can easily mix both, misinterpret one as another, especially if one interpretation is pushed in the public more than the other (ie the assumption that: cross-dresser = pervert, so even if a cross-dresser was to dress for well-being ONLY they would still be seen as a pervert and assumed to derive sexual pleasure from it - so the newbie who discovers that in themselves would go for the easier explanation "Aha it HAS to be sexual").

Diane:
"Diane > Sorry but no such thing as a 'weak HBS'. You are either aware of your being different/HBS before puberty or not; that is what HBS explains. Those who might offer the 'weak HBS' as a model might also be those same people who offer up the weakness of the transgender model which has no distinction of its own. Yes????"

It's a weak theory, not a weak HBS. The theory needs more support before it becomes as overwhelmingly proveable as say, gravity. The intention was probably not to make it seem like a "weak flu" but like a weak hypothesis that needs a lot more backing it before it receives attention and credit.

At least it's not unfalsifiable like AGP theory, so HBS's theory will probably take off the ground eventually if evidence accrues, while AGP theory most likely won't.

battybattybats:
"It assumes that being different is bad. That validates the systems of bullying and intolerance that many people face and suggests that being different is going to include greater suffering than the consequences of making the wrong decision for the child."

Many people seem to forget that. I totally agree with you there. Different is not bad, or good, it's just different. Being a man or a woman is not inherently better than the other, it might be to an individual, or even to a society (Japan is a patriarchy), but not inherently in itself.

Diane:
"Go to any of the chat rooms and/or tg web forums and there the true tale will be obvious. I never once met a crossdresser/transvestite who did not admit to getting sexual satisfaction from 'dressing up'."

Your sample is biased to people who actually go to forums and chatrooms. Most trans of any flavor actually don't. Some because they don't want to out themselves, or are scared by all the savvy people on a forum or chatroom (who intimidate them), some just prefer to keep anonymity for personal reasons that might have nothing at all to do with their transness, and others simply don't care for forums, chatrooms, or heck don't know they exist.

As an example, I found a BDSM community online. I had no idea it existed prior to visiting it, yet it has over 550,000 members. It could easily be said to be somewhat representative of online people interested in it, but most people still are not included, and the representativeness is skewed by factors such as income (the place is free, income refers to actually having a computer or a connection to internet at all - and no you don't go there from a library), internet-knowledge and shyness.

battybattybats:
"There are good and bad in every catagory of people, judging people by their style, clothes, wealth, sexuality, ethnicity etc rather than evaluating each person on their individual merits is making a clear mistake in thinking, it's sloppy and lazy cognition based on false assumptions and non-causal associations."

I try to judge everyone based on merits and actions rather than categories, as well. It's harder than it sounds (what will all the conditioning, and categorizing things being easier than analyzing specimens one by one) - but it's much more rewarding in the end I find. You get to know people you might have been prejudiced against, and you learn more about them and how wrong (or right) your prejudices were. I try to keep an open mind all the time...yeah even on MWMF forums (which is a bit of a flame fest at times).

-------

I might post again later, just wanted to reply now, before heading to bed.

Zoe > Then what would you call a person who had an ovary removed as an infant and still has non-functional uterine tissue yet was born with male genitalia although somewhat lacking. This person was also sterile and never could father or mother a child. That person in the truest sense is a hermaphrodite or in today's usage an intersex.
I never met a true intersex person that could father or mother children. I know of two xy women who have borne children but that is often not equated with being intersex by some intersex folks.
I am not attacking I promise. I just wondered how you feel in this regard.
I have always had the desire and strong urge to be a mother. It has been the one constant that I ponder often. I must admit to being envious when I observe a woman holding her infant and the joy in her face as opposed to the tears in my heart.

Wolfgang > Beatie is not a man in any way shape or form. She may be psychologically gender confused but physically she is going to be a mother. To call her a 'pregnant man' is absurd. She is legally female and an admitted lesbian who has no desire to actually be physically male but did take on and off hormones that I might add could long-term harm the fetus growing into a child. Selfish comes to the fore here and not the caring mother ideal that many equate with her. It further confuses the issue of what is and what is not transsexual although she might well fit into the open borders of inclusion that is transgender.

I have no problem with what Elaine stated. She made her point and I agree with her analysis. I was born different and in time I corrected that error and got on with my life. I am now without doubt a female. I worked throughout most of my adult life as a woman; I married my husband as a woman; I buried my husband and received the flag given me at the National Cemetery as his spouse, a woman; I will be buried with him when my time comes and the stone will reflect the fact I am his wife; I am a godmother; I am an aunt. I am also HBS born although other factors are often reviewed medically. But the basic fact is that I am not unlike most other HBS born, neurologically intersex.

Batty > you ask for respect from us yet you disrespect us with your transgender/HBS linkage. You throw insults and want respect. Is that part of the crossdressing code of conduct?
I find it ludicrous that someone would claim being a transvestite is different from being a crossdresser. How does that work. Both describe people who are of one sex dressing as the opposite sex are they not?

What I find even more insulting is that someone who is a crossdresser should in any way have a voice in any of the issues surrounding those who are changing their sex in opposition to someone who is simply changing his wardrobe when it pleases him. If you simply want your birth certificate to reflect your attire then that is nothing more than demand for a special privilege. It blurs further the facts of who and what you might actually be. And those who ride on the backs of the post-ops who have had surgery and demands for equal rights are doing harm to those who want to live as their acquired sex rather than mimic them.

And no, HBS is not a social construct as is trangenderism. It is a medical explanation that has biological roots that follow the research and science that is clearly explained. Its name is in honor of the doctor who treated those like me as medical patients whom he saw as a result of a biological cause.

Maybe if tg's changed their name to 'Prince Disorder/GID' more people might be able to understand it for what it is rather than be confused with its ridiculous attachment to those who need to undergo surgery in order to survive. That might work and at least it would be honest. Demanding some legally perceived right to dress as the opposite sex, intrude upon the privacy of those not their own physical sex and amending sex designation on a BC yet still maintain birth genitalia to me is a matter of gall, it is also irrational.
Diane

Is anybody actually reading these long repetitive posts?

Perhaps every conceivable position has been discussed...like TOO many times!

Can you say redundant arguments?

Sure you can.

Battybattybats | May 22, 2008 9:52 AM

I've heard suggested in other discussions elsewhere people claim that the HBS criteria is sexist.

Certainly the comments about military service seems weird to me. I spent many years as a child on an RAAF base and I've known cissexual women from the armed forces. I admit I was effectively forced from Air League because I didn't fit in (when I needed stitches in my gums I decided I'd had enough). By that notion I would be more of a woman than cissexual women because they were able to thrive in a male dominated field that I was not? Surely not!

Those who propose that people in denial will enter hyper-masculine professions do make sense to me even though that wasn't my case (I did ballet as well as martial arts and I gravitated towards feminine martial arts from early on). Definitive data is unavailable, anecdotally it seems there are a great many military crossdressers and transexuals etc. As an alternate hypothesis to the idea that those who've been in a masculine profession can't possibly be neurologicly intersexed the denial notion seems more likely as denial does clearly exist in other things like sexuality so why not this?

That said if there is variability in degree or type of neurological intersex that some may be incapable of entering the required denial is possible but that wouldn't neccesarilly mean those in denial cannot be neurologicly intersexed.

Battybattybats | May 22, 2008 9:55 AM

"Women are not fathers. Men are fathers. By the same token men are not mothers just as you are not a mother. Women are not fathers or daddies.

This is why the trans movement has little credibility. It's because fathers insist they are women when that's not possible."

Why is it not possible?
You can repeat that it is absolute till your fingers bleed but if you can't exlain WHY then your just restating a belief not showing that it is true.

So why don't you explain exactly why these terms are absolute without any possible exceptions?

Keep in mind cultural variations like 3rd sexes and alternate parenting systems where Aunts and Uncles raise children instead of fathers and mothers may need to be considered when deciding if something is socially or culturally determined.

Also keep in mind the reality of Intersex conditions as well as the much rarer Chimera. You aren't saying that your view is what is generally true but what is invariably true, that other than your view is actually impossible, so you'll need to explain why your right under every conceivable and reported circumstance.

Now if you can show what you say is true in all cultures and all biological variations I'll be very impressed. Seing as I have no reason to doubt Zoe at her word on her medical situation and she seems the living disproof of your view.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 22, 2008 10:16 AM

"Batty > you ask for respect from us yet you disrespect us with your transgender/HBS linkage. You throw insults and want respect."

Diane, let me direct you to post 161 where I responded to your first making such a point as I take it you missed it before.

You might also find it useful explaining specificly where I ask for a form of respect that I am not providing towards others.

And also, this is a discussion involving comparison and discussion of the different models and view of transexuality. Comparing each is neccessary, considering each as possibly true even if hypotheticly is neccessary.

If the HBS model is 100% accurate and proven so and we were just discussing it then you'd be right, if the Transgender model is 100% accurate etc then I would be wrong in what I said for recognising HBS as possibly distinct at all, if Zucker's model was right it would be different again.

If no model is yet proven conclusively 100% right then it seems that what I said is utterly the correct way to discuss this.

And as this is a comparative discussion the possibility that any and all and none of the models may be completely or partially correct. Rendering it appropriate for me to have made the statements I made. It's how you have an academic discussion rather than an ideological one. Maybe it's time to curb your dogma just a little.

Respecting your views does not mean agreeing to them, submitting to them nor failing to state ideas contrary to them. This can be done on all subjects in a polite and considerate manner, hence as soon as you raised your objection I asked how you might prefer my saying the same thing in a more polite manner, though as I said i must assume you missed that post.

Zoe > Then what would you call a person who had an ovary removed as an infant and still has non-functional uterine tissue yet was born with male genitalia although somewhat lacking. This person was also sterile and never could father or mother a child. That person in the truest sense is a hermaphrodite or in today's usage an intersex.
What would I call them? That would depend entirely on their neurology, nothing else matters. If they have a male gender identity, I'd call him a man. If they have a female gender identity, I'd call her a woman. And if neither, as is true in a very few cases, I'd call them whatever they wanted me to. Intersexed in any case.
I never met a true intersex person that could father or mother children. I know of two xy women who have borne children but that is often not equated with being intersex by some intersex folks. I am not attacking I promise. I just wondered how you feel in this regard.
The definition of "Intersex" is at least as fraught an issue as the definition of "Transsexual".

The strictest, most fanatical definition requires both ovarian and testicular tissue to be present. A slightly less strict definition requires them both to have been present at one time, though they may not be there now.

Another definition allows any mix of both male and female somatic characteristics, as long as the cause is genetic.

One of the more useful definitions is to allow any mix of male and female somatic characteristics, no matter what cause, as long as they were present at birth (though perhaps undetected).

I find the most useful in practice is "Any person whose body is neither 100% male nor 100% female".

For example, a hypogonadic boy could have their condition due to a tumour in the womb, or a hormonal glitch, or a mutation, or surgical intervention immediately after birth... and in all but the case of the mutation, each condition would be utterly indistinguishable from one another after a few years of life. No medical exam could split them. And even the mutation may not have been identified yet.

Note that the brain is part of the body, hence I include those with HBS as Intersexed by definition. It's a subset. Many are IS in other ways too, of course.

I have always had the desire and strong urge to be a mother. It has been the one constant that I ponder often. I must admit to being envious when I observe a woman holding her infant and the joy in her face as opposed to the tears in my heart.
I know exactly how you feel, Diane. Most women do. Some have an atrophied maternal instinct, but they're in a minority.

More women are barren, unable to have children. My heart goes out to them, as it does to you. I at least got second prize. I cheated to get it too. I had 42 years of hoping against hope, going with syringes and what have you just on the off chance that we'd hit the jackpot, the 1 in a hundred shot. Not very romantic, the process, but you do whatever you have to. Thomas Beattie had to go through far more to be as close to a father as he could be.

My situation is closest perhaps to a woman unable to carry a child, but able to donate eggs to a surrogate. That's a cheat too. You do what you have to, as I said before. I know several lesbian post-ops who donated genetic material before treatment, just so they could have children with the woman they love. That's an option many lesbians would give their eye teeth for. To make a child with the love of their life.

I would have done that too, but I never got the chance. My condition sterilised me before we knew what was happening.

I know of 2 47xxy guys who have fathered children. They cheated too, even more than I did. It took punch biopsies of the testes, and microscopic extraction of single sperm cells, but they managed it. Many 47xxys are 46xx/46xy/47xxy mosaics, and they can father children without cheating, some of them anyway. And there was one family, a mother and 3 daughters, all 47xxy with defective SrY complexes. And let's not forget those with 5ARD, born looking female, they masculinise, and some can become fathers. Not every man with PMDS is completely sterile either, despite the presence of a vagina (usually internally, but some have connections to the urethra, and get menstrual discharge).

GLBs are clueless on this. They have no idea. Biology is messy, and strict binaries at best a really good approximation. Exceptions exist.

As for me, well, when I drop my little son off at Big School (he's in Grade 1 now), with his sun hat, his backpack, and his guitar, and he cheerfully waves and says "Bye, Zed!", I am content. I sing him an honest lullaby. His teachers know, but the other mothers don't. I don't advertise, but I don't keep secret either.

And the only reason the teachers know, is because sometimes his mother picks him up from after-school care, and sometimes I do. They had to run security checks. Like Elaine, they had some difficulty with the concept of an ordinary looking woman being my boy's father. Yes, my name was on the list under "father", I had all the right ID, but it just boggled their minds. I had to go back and get proof that I once looked male.

Diane, have you ever considered adoption? I think you'd be good at motherhood. Best wishes, and our differences mean nothing when it comes down to what's important, Zoe

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Lucy Bright | May 22, 2008 12:26 PM

“What I find even more insulting is that someone who is a crossdresser should in any way have a voice in any of the issues surrounding those who are changing their sex in opposition to someone who is simply changing his wardrobe when it pleases him.”

I think there are two problems with this. One is that “someone who is simply changing his wardrobe when it pleases him” is almost as inadequate a definition of a crossdresser as “someone who decides to have a sex change operation” is as a definition of an HBS person. As has been mentioned, people crossdress for different reasons – some no doubt for sexual pleasure, some because it provides them with a necessary outlet through which to express their femininity, some because they are preparing for transition, others for other reasons again; but either way, crossdressing is seldom if ever a whim. Why would anyone let themselves in for the stigma (and worse) involved if it were so trivially-motivated?

Be that as it may, I also want to question the repeated idea that this debate should be open only to a restricted group of people, or indeed that only certain groups (viz. HBS) will be affected by the revision of DSM. On the latter point, I’d like to pass along this passage from a 2005 article in the *Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality*, quoted today on MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24664654/):

“A psychiatric diagnosis is more than shorthand to facilitate communication among professionals or to standardize research parameters. Psychiatric diagnoses affect child custody decisions, self-esteem, whether individuals are hired or fired, receive security clearances, or have other rights and privileges curtailed. Criminals may find that their sentences are either mitigated or enhanced as a direct result of their diagnoses. The equating of unusual sexual interests with psychiatric diagnoses has been used to justify the oppression of sexual minorities and to serve political agendas. A review of this area is not only a scientific issue, but also a human rights issue.”

In other words, we all have a voice. But that, in any case, is the nature of a debate.

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Zucker and Blanchard will not be removed from the committee rewriting the DSM. No amount of petitions or angry letters or threats or blogs is going to change that, indeed, will only assure they stay on because even those who disagree with them will circle the wagons around them in peer solidarity. This is what happened with Bailey's pathetic book.

AG is already part of the DSM, introduced in the last revision, there is zero chance it will be removed because three members are from the Clarke.

I and others suspect a larger agenda at work, one in which Zucker and Blanchard are pawns and that is Paul McHugh's desire to cut off all medical legitimacy for SRS and hormones. The best case scenario at this point is preservation of medical model transsexuality (HBS) under the psychiatric community because physical causality aside, any medical condition that is accompanied by psychological issues remains in the venue of psychiatry. That's reality.

Fetishistic transvestism is already in the DSM and will remain. Everyone gender variant who is not a fetishist or HBS will be considered AG. This will most likely cut the legs out from under trans activism. It will result in a tightening up of the criteria for HBS similar to the old days of Johns Hopkins for treatment making only civil rights for HBS people politically possible. No politician will support civil rights legislation that protects a class considered to have a psycho-sexual disorder, that is also reality. Transitions in four years will be extremely difficult with all ID changes tied to surgery only, this is already been happening and likely will only increase. Consider this a prediction of the future four years from now.

Hi Zoe,

Forgive me but my question was meant to explain to others and you do a better job on that score than I might. I had thought some might see how distinctions matter. It baffles the mind when realizing how many variations of IS there actually are.

Bill and I talked about adoption and I even went to an agency on my own. The talk ended abruptly when my congenital issues came to light. They actually told me my medical problems would suggest the child could be left without a parent for long periods should I be hospitalized or die while my husband was at sea on his tours. My medical problems made me ineligible according to them.

I prefer not to go into depth being on a public forum. Did that before and learned my lesson.

I sometimes think of what a child of mine might look like if I had been able to procreate instead of being sterile. It does give one loving thoughts.

Thanks for your info that I hope will help others to understand.
Diane

Cathryn:
"Fetishistic transvestism is already in the DSM and will remain. Everyone gender variant who is not a fetishist or HBS will be considered AG. This will most likely cut the legs out from under trans activism. It will result in a tightening up of the criteria for HBS similar to the old days of Johns Hopkins for treatment making only civil rights for HBS people politically possible. No politician will support civil rights legislation that protects a class considered to have a psycho-sexual disorder, that is also reality. Transitions in four years will be extremely difficult with all ID changes tied to surgery only, this is already been happening and likely will only increase. Consider this a prediction of the future four years from now."

I think fetishitic transvestism will remain, yes I agree. I don't agree everyone gender-variant that isn't HBS will be considered AG - especially as it doesn't apply to FtMs in any way and that the theory of AG is unfalsifiable and lacks conclusive linkage (A "It must be that" conclusion, based on just deciding it, is not proof).

Genderqueer people, androgynous people, they would be considered AG? How? And why? If it doesn't cause problems, why put it in the DSM? Ego-dystonic homosexuality was removed exactly because of that. Most people under the transgender umbrella do not consult for hormonal or surgical treatment, and most also have no desire for such treatment. So there is no reason to put them there unless it harms someone (like pedophilia), which I seriously doubt it does.

Many also don't consider themselves either HBS or transgender. Butch women is a good example of non-gender conforming women who also don't consider themselves (for the most) to be transgender. They also don't seek treatment vis-a-vis their butchness, unless in the rare case it was a FtM that appeared to be a butch woman.

If it's not broken, don't fix it.

Though I agree, if it's put into the DSM that everyone gender-variant, bar HBS and intersex, are actually dangerous perverts, society and lawmakers will have a hard time protecting them. I just don't see how they could do just that and make everything a paraphilia...though I have no doubt it's possible, sadly, in the world we live in.

Can you explain how that would happen?

I'm not sure I fit HBS criterias. For one I don't remember the exact moment in life I figured myself out. I also repressed pretty much all pre-adult memories and don't remember a single thing before the age of 5 (which I can pinpoint time-wise due to school). Even finding a way to unlock said memories, I would be too weak to face them, they are locked for a reason, and it's their painfulness. I may be better equipped to face them at a later point in life.

I got lucky in some respects, have had a decent family, decent genetics, and my transition was more or less accepted by my parents and brothers. Yet pain is relative. Some might be able to shrug off being held at gunpoint, and others unable to remember a bullying incident that resulted only in a bloody lip.

My childhood and teenage growth timing were certainly odd. I never was able to determine the cause or causes. I tried to get testing for intersex conditions (really only one, though there are two possibilities in my mind), which was refused because I'm already on hormones (and it's not as simple as a karyotype).

Given what I read about surgery not being covered in Canada for someone intersex, I'd probably put it on hold, if I even have a chance of having said surgery covered in the future.

I always looked about 75% of my age, since early childhood, and up to now. It was more apparent when age was measured by height. Having a couple years behind my classmates (in height/weight) certainly felt odd. Height and weight percentiles were more or less 'normal' at birth, average. They went down to 5th percentile and below soon enough. Yet I grew to 5'6" in the end as an adult.

The only two possible explanations in my mind are partial (or mild) AIS, that goes undetected because of no genital problems, no gynecomastia and fertility unchecked (but most likely never was there anyways). The other possible explanation is Turner mosaic 46,XY/45,X for which I found extremely scant information about online. The latter condition could explain the late childhood growth, while AIS would explain the late/absent puberty.

Given the lack of much information on either conditions (but especially Turner mosaic), it can only be speculative at this point.

If someone knows about cubitus valgus or pectus excavatum, could they explain to me why they are usually considered idiopathic on their own, but if detected within a condition, are suddenly with-cause?

For the record, wether I wualify or not as HBS (I'm on hormones and do intend to go for surgery, but does not know when I 'knew' for sure), given what I read about it, I'm disinclined to support its proponents. I also support transgender as a whole, simply as a matter of fairness and justice.

Who you are, wether cause by genetics, socialization, a mix of both, or whatever, should not be subjected to popularity vote by the majority. As such, no one has the right to consider another to be worthless. So I am for various protections concerning transgender as a whole, and against any kind of violence perpetrated against them - the same way I'm against homophobia and racism.

I NEED TO MAKE A CORRECTION TO A PREVIOUS POST:
I assumed when Elaine was talking about fathers and mothers she was addressing TG or AG males who lived comfortable lives as men (women in the reverse) then decided to have surgery. I attached
her statement to those who move on from a fetish to an illusionary enhancement of that fetish. That has nothing to do with a person born with a
brain and body in contradiction. I believe firmly that simply being a father or mother does not mean one is not HBS. HBS is a brain contradiction and in that light a biological condition. It has nothing to do with being able to function sexually or even having had children. If I mislead anyone, I apologize.

This will be my last post. I do not banter with those who have no attachment nor related understanding to the turmoil many of us have gone through.
Diane http://harrybenjaminsyndrome.org./

AMEN CATHRYN. Go to it girl. I bid you adieu.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 22, 2008 3:33 PM

Diane wrote, "Beatie is not a man in any way shape or form."

Personally, I have mixed feelings about the whole thing, and it doesn't seem to help our cause, though time will tell. I can't identify with the desire to have children myself--I knew by age 4 that I wanted nothing to do with childbearing. But, the impression I get from Beatie is that he is merely making the best of the cards nature dealt him. He and his wife want a child. He can't father one. His wife can't bear one. Adoption is expensive.

Hypothetically speaking, if an XY man had a birth anomaly that gave him a functional uterus, and he found a way to use it to bear a child, would you question his masculinity?

Wolfgang:
"Hypothetically speaking, if an XY man had a birth anomaly that gave him a functional uterus, and he found a way to use it to bear a child, would you question his masculinity?"


If that happened, I wouldn't question his masculinity. I suspect most people can't imagine that happening though. People associate female with childbearing, male with fathering, and it's pervading socialization from early age, so much that people can't imagine it another way.

I'm not sure its feasible endocrinology-wise, however. A man would usually have nearly 10 times more total testosterone than a woman (on average). This can evidently affect child-bearing. Estrogen levels during pregnancy also shoot to incredible levels, no doubt feminizing a man wether he wants it or not.

Schala,

Gender queers, butch lesbians etc who do not seek medical treatment will be effected by all this in one primary way.......you can kiss goodbye any chance of "gender identity and expression" being part of any future federal legislation because it would cover TGs....

For the past 15 years TGs have tried to erase classic transsexuality while claiming legitimacy coattailed to it. What is playing out now is the only logical end to that. No more hormones for TGs, no legal coverage beyond the current ADA for intersexed people, no coverage for gender non conforming LGBs. Fight it all you want, everyone was checkmated by those who had an agenda and it will take 15 years or so before it can be corrected again. The trans community has one of the shortest attention spans imaginable, within less than three to six months they will forget this battle and move on to the next current "outrage"......meanwhile this all is unfolding over a period of several years. In 2012 when the revision of the DSM is published, they will all be blindsided once again. Take it to the bank.

Cathyrn,

I hope your gloomy prediction does not come to reality. I don't have a particular stake in gender identity and expression protections myself, as I have no problems being seen as female now, except legally. When that last problem is fixed, I won't have problems at all.

Yet I stand by transgender people, because of the gross injustices perpetrated against them, oftentimes equalling or being worse than homophobia. I'm also against rigid gendered dress codes, wether in school, at work, or in the army and prisons. Double standards that have no reason to exist, should not exist.

Unless female human hair has different properties than male human hair, that affect the job, I don't see why one should be required a crewcut while another be okay with a bun, a braid, or some other thing. If it's all an image thing, and something appropriate for one is grossly inappropriate for another, they will need a better reasoning than "Long hair looks good on women, but men with long hair are hippies." to justify their policies.

With the standing record of gender discrimination being upheld in the US as totally normal, when it comes to dress codes, I'm not holding my breath. I have more hope for Canada however (where I live).

I don't think the DSM will affect policies. Consider gender identity and expression is protected in many places, that despite the current DSM-IV-TR definitions including autogynephilia, transvestic fetishism and a gross mischaracterization that amounts to say it's all about a role, for Gender Identity Disorder.

Despite detractors from the religious right who keep going on about lifestyle choices for everyone in the LGBT, they have failed to stop or prevent many such policies.

I don't know about you, but I'm transitioning because the body doesn't fit, not because the role doesn't fit. I just so happen to also fit a more feminine role, but I'm not a caricature either.

By Zoe's model, I would probably be FfnffF or something similar.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 22, 2008 7:45 PM

Cathryn said: "because you do not like having what everyone in the psych profession knows is a purely psychological issue"

And yet I've seen three very well respected psychs in my area, each with a different approach from a different field of psychology.

All three disagreed with you. all three said it was essential for my health and well being for me to stop fighting this part of myself, stop repressing this side of myself and instead learn to accept it.

So clearly you are mistaken in your use of the word 'everyone'.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 22, 2008 8:30 PM

Schala wrote, "I suspect most people can't imagine that happening though. People associate female with childbearing, male with fathering, and it's pervading socialization from early age, so much that people can't imagine it another way."

Maybe one has to be a sci-fi geek like me, but the scenario is purely hypothetical, so the mechanics of it are irrelevent. The point is a socio-political/ethical one. We all recognize that chromosomes are not the determining factor in whether we are men or women. Neither are the various ways in which we make use of our given resources the "pursuit of happiness." I suggest that anyone who calls Thomas Beatie a woman because he chose to bear a child, must logically also call the XY male in my example a woman because of his choice.

Diane,

Please consider yourself hugged.

I sometimes think of what a child of mine might look like if I had been able to procreate instead of being sterile. It does give one loving thoughts.
I know. I was there for 40 years, remember? I did what I could. My niece and nephew were the closest things I could have to a son and daughter, and I did what I could for them. When visiting friends, I always played games with the children, acting in accordance with my instincts and essence. I silently gave thanks to the Wiggles for providing an acceptable archetype of how someone with a male appearance could still be nurturing.

I don't have to hide anymore.

There are many women who, unable to be mothers, are aunts or grandmas, kindergarten teachers or just neighbourly babysitters. Society couldn't function without such women, who are mothers not to just one child, but all children.

If those of them who were born TS and transition late become libelled as paraphiliacs and mutilated men, they will lose their positions as teachers and carers. Yet this example of blatant Patriarchal oppression, of de-humanising nonconformant women, seems to be actively supported by some of the more fanatic Feminists. *SIGH*

Cathryn wrote:

"Fetishistic transvestism is already in the DSM and will remain.
Everyone gender variant who is not a fetishist or HBS will be
considered AG."

Actually, with Dr. Blanchard's positioning over the paraphilias part of the work group, I think it's most likely that "Transvestitic Fetish" will evolve into or encompass "autogynephilia" -- and because AG becomes the classification for androphilic (attracted to men) transmales, gynophilic (attracted to women) transfemales (substitute whatever terminology you prefer here), and bisexual transsexuals, this will mean that many will be misdiagnosed, even if they identify as and qualify as HBS women. Seperating by sexual orientation is a cornerstone of Clarke treatment.

Not that I'm saying I'd want that to happen, but it is a serious (potential!) danger.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 23, 2008 7:52 AM

"If those of them who were born TS and transition late become libelled as paraphiliacs and mutilated men, they will lose their positions as teachers and carers."

Would it also possibly effect custody as well?

Custody? Probably. Though in Western Australia for example, it's difficult to see how it could get much worse. A TS parent is looked upon as a de facto sex offender by the WA Family Court, and the child usually taken into state care. The other parent is looked on as an accessory, you see.

I find that difficult to believe, but I've heard of too many cases that appear to confirm it. Given the many, many millions in compensation the WA government had paid out to victims of abuse while in state care, it really puts TS parents in a bind there. Most move interstate before transition.

The (Australian) Federal Family Court has quite a different view, and I doubt they'll change that, and reverse Re Kevin no matter what the DSM says. So it depends.

In the US, the situation would depend on different states. In Florida and Texas, it's already fairly dire.

Actually, the term crossdresser was one of several terms invented by Charles Prince in an attempt to blunt the fact that tranvestitism is primarily a sexual fetish. While some "crossdressers" will reach a point where the sexual thrill part is diminished, it appears to usually start out that way. Much of Prince's efforts involved downplaying, and denying that part of "crossdressing." And yet, I would be willing to bet that virtually all crossdressing begins with, and still retains some, sexual components.

Why genitals?

Because anything else is ridiculously subjective. I realize that the transgender view is that sex and gender should be as optional as what clothes you want to wear today, but that is simply absurd.

HBS is proposed change in terminolgy. The idea is to replace the current tendency to label such people as having GID, which is a mental illness with a terminology that recognizes the biological and physical basis for the condition. We are trying to involved scientists.

As to Zucker and Blanchard, they are not remotely "scientists" in any real sense. Blanchard's views are not scientific in that they are not falsifiable. In Blanchard's model, anyone who does not fit the criteria is dismissed as simply lying. Simply put, it is a view that is far more compatible with transgender than with science.

As to the HBS website, we cite peer reviewed journals. It appears you have failed to actually read what is there. And several of our papers were presented at the last WPATH meeting. At their invitation.

As to Elaine...I don't know whether said person is serious, or simply the invention of someone trying to troll this group. I have known a few people who did take views as extremist as those that Elaine has expressed. One such person was removed from the HBS group for attacking others.

Ah, thanks for clearing up the confusion about the brain studies. As I said, I was not familiar with any studies that showed what was being claimed. The study you reference here was the first of two in the Netherlands. The second replicated the first, and included more controls. It is odd, but those who oppose the concept of a physical basis for HBS tend to ignore the second study, and create straw arguments attacking the first.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 23, 2008 2:02 PM

Jennifer wrote, "HBS is proposed change in terminolgy. The idea is to replace the current tendency to label such people as having GID, which is a mental illness with a terminology that recognizes the biological and physical basis for the condition."

I completely agree with this direction. The only thing we really seem to disagree on is who fits the criteria. As others have pointed out here, when more comprehensive studies are done, science will find the same neurological intersex condition in a much wider range of transsexuals, possibly even from those who want only HRT all the way to those who want every possible surgery, and everyone in between. There are no blacks and whites in nature, and no competent scientist will even entertain your strict criteria.

Sorry, but I see Thomas Beatie as a woman. That situation is also a major disaster for transgender people. It only reinforces the idea that transgender people are not really what they claim to be.

I cannot imagine setting out to father a child, and I cannot imagine an FTM setting out to be a mother. I have known a few FTMs who have had children, but in at least one of those cases, it occured before that person was aware that there was even hope for getting treatment. He grew up in a time when the only hope he had to get away from an abusive situation was to marry.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 23, 2008 2:16 PM

Jennifer wrote, "It is odd, but those who oppose the concept of a physical basis for HBS tend to ignore the second study, and create straw arguments attacking the first."

I've found that many of those who oppose the concept of a physical basis are really just opposed to the concept of transsexualism in general. They tend to shut down all their higher thought processes and start acting like bored chimpanzees in order to avoid thinking about, because if they *thought* about it, they might realize that it's true--God forbid!

Wolfgang E. B. | May 23, 2008 2:19 PM

Jennifer wrote, "It is odd, but those who oppose the concept of a physical basis for HBS tend to ignore the second study, and create straw arguments attacking the first."

I've found that many of those who oppose the concept of a physical basis are really just opposed to the concept of transsexualism in general. They tend to shut down all their higher thought processes and start acting like bored chimpanzees in order to avoid thinking about it, because if they *thought* about it, they might realize that it's true--God forbid!

Without addressing anyone in particular...I do have problems seeing someone as female who also identifies as a "proud father." This is a big part of the problems I have with "transgender." It seems to be about people wanting to have it both ways. It is one thing for someone to have had a child during a period when they were struggling with their identity, but is altogether different for someone to actively identify as a "proud father." And if someone is truly intersexed, other than HBS, it is extremely unlikely that they would be able to father children. Especially if they are basically female. There is something a bit odd about someone claiming to be a strongly intersexed female and able to father children. I have seen more than a few transgender people who claim some sort of intersex status, often seeming to invent quite fantastic scenarios. Oh well....I just tend to ignore them, except, perhaps, to have a good laugh at some of the more outlandish ones.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 23, 2008 2:33 PM

Jennifer wrote, "It is odd, but those who oppose the concept of a physical basis for HBS tend to ignore the second study, and create straw arguments attacking the first."

It's been my observation that many of those who oppose the concept of a physical basis, oppose the concept of transsexualism in general.

So, what do you make of the MTF in the 1st study who hadn't had any genital surgery?

Anne Lawrence is one of those who attacked those Netherland studies. I read her arguments and they don't sound like much. It seems Lawrence and the Clarke clique just want to discredit any biological basis in favor of their "It's a perversion, or you're lying" model.

The ironic part is that they claim, repeatedly, to be in favor of transition. Even Bailey does in his book. "I have nothing against them getting surgery." but noting in a quote from his book that his students at North Western thought said subjects were perverts who should get talk therapy, not surgery...

They seem to ignore their own effect on purpose, and deny they even saw it, but quote an example themselves... Is it logical to act that way?

To: Just Jennifer at post #241

I'm not a parent, and I probably can't bear or father children, nor do I intend to (I'm kind of young, and single, to be thinking about it anyways), but I don't see it as weird, bad, or a deviance to be a proud parent.

To attach the label of father to it is a matter of personal choice, but not one that needs to be criticized because it "violates the code of feminity". Believe me, I violate it too, even as girly as I am.

I don't believe being a proud father (in the case of MtF) or proud mother (in the case of FtM) invalidates claim to your sex. Father and mother are categories that have basis mostly in language and tradition. While male and female have a deeper basis.

A simple affiliation or choice will not render the sex affiliation invalid on it's face.

If I decide to never wear high heels, to wear minimal make-up, to never wear eye-shadow (once by a friend, pre full-time) and extremely seldom eyeliner (once or twice so far in over 2 years), to leave my hair down and unstyled (though it's pretty long), to wear t-shirts and pants or rather casual attire most of the time. If I decide to play and invest myself in videogames, shojo and shonen manga/anime alike, get in deep discussions about philosophy and mathematical implications in a videogame (statistics) - do I violate the code of feminity?

Cause I do all that.

I also detest dresses of a particular, rather popular, style. If a dress basically looks like a bedsheet cut in a nice way that hugs the body - it's not for me (and that's practically everything they sell). I'm not fond of skirts cut in similar ways. I like to be able to walk and/or run. But I'm not as practical as I sound - those just don't appeal to me.

Genitals are what most defines our sex. Secondary sexual characteristics are also a factor. I was extremely unhappy with having facial hair for example. But that was easily taken care of compared to correcting my genitals. But then again, I was luckier than most. Mine was never that heavy.

States have different rules concerning driver's licenses, but birth certificates should not be changed until genital surgery is completed.

I agree, not everyone who uses the term "autogynephile" to describe their self means it the same as Blanchard and Bailey, but quite a few do. And what Blanchard and Bailey describe does exist, just not to the degree they claim. To them, we are all one or the other. Some are one, some the other, most are neither.

In my remarks about gender reaasignment surgery, that was a typo on my part. It should have said that sex and gender are different. My bad. Still, calling it "gender reassignment surgery" is wrong.

Again, I would venture that something like 99.9% of all crossdressers who deny a sexual component are either lying, or being self-deceptive. They may believe it is not sexual, but deep down, I am willing to bet that it is.

Yes, some women do well in the military. Some do well in traditionally male occupations. But, they are still functioning as women. That is quite different from a male, functioning in a male role.

And when someone is extremely proud of, and very attached to, their male life, yet claims to be a woman....well, I am more inclined to have a good laugh than to remotely believe them. But that is a good example of the difference between HBS and transgender.

At #248, Just Jennifer says:

"Yes, some women do well in the military. Some do well in traditionally male occupations. But, they are still functioning as women. That is quite different from a male, functioning in a male role."

I fail to see where the major difference lies. The treatment may be different, but it doesn't invalidate the experience. You've flown a plane, wether people thought you were male, female, or a chimpanzee, you've flown a plane - the experience remains.

Please explain what 'male role' is, because I fail to see how a woman in the military is not in a male role because she's seen as a woman. Nor do I know why gender roles even matter in this. Butch women who wear men's clothes, date women (and only women) and work in construction, high atop construction sites with a majority of men - well they're still women.

Their role has nothing to do with their sex. And my transition had little to do with my role (it did some, that's what pushed me faster to the edge - having internal dissonance might be 70% of the hurt, but reinforced by external dissonance, it's even worse). The primary reason someone seeks hormones and surgery should normally be about a conflict with the bodymap - the body feels foreign - not the role necessarily (or even at all).

That's why I feel the DSM is misleading with its criterias about liking girl things and liking boy things and such. Then we have people who use arguments against transsexuals saying it's all about a role and a facade, and a masquerade and it gives credence to those "just extremely gay men" theories about trans women.

What do you make of butch post-op women who fitted better as men socially (because of being butch), but went ahead with hormones and surgery to correct the body dissonance? Let's say they were single for the sake of this argument, and no children.

Lucy Bright | May 23, 2008 6:41 PM

“While some "crossdressers" will reach a point where the sexual thrill part is diminished, it appears to usually start out that way.... And yet, I would be willing to bet that virtually all crossdressing begins with, and still retains some, sexual components.”

(I’m not really interested in Prince, his motivation, or the etymology of the word so much as in the phenomenon and its relation to the many thousands of real people affected by it – hence the ellipsis.)

This is a complex issue, and unfortunately neither of us has the hard data to back up our anecdotal experience. My impressions, like yours, are just that – and I offer them in that spirit.

First thing, though: a lot of crossdressers begin well before puberty. For them, the motivation is very likely not primarily sexual. Some of these may be HBS, some are perhaps no more than experimenting, some may even be dressed by others – but for a significant number none of the above applies.

Just for the sake of argument, though, let’s say that for most crossdressing has a sexual element when it begins – especially where it begins at puberty. (At puberty, a lot of things have a sexual component!) The fact is, however, that for many crossdressers, crossdressing loses most or all of that sexual component. Not only that, but for many people who are crossdressers – the ones I personally would categorize as transgender - the dressing itself can become a very minor aspect of a more general need (need, not choice) to express their femininity, a femininity experienced not as the thrilling crossing of a taboo into the ‘other’ but as a deep (and often repressed) aspect of their own identity. (I’m assuming MtF crossdressing here, again for the sake of argument.)

You are of course perfectly at liberty to say that such an experience is a delusion. Be that as it may, I think that where an activity is only marginally connected to physical objects (i.e. clothes) and has little or no sexual or erotic element, it is not plausible to describe it as a fetish (or indeed as autogynephilia).

The difficulty comes when one tries to estimate how many crossdressers the above description applies to. From what you have said, I assume that you would say it’s a small-to-vanishing proportion, and that those who describe themselves in those terms are liars or self-deceived. Of course, to that charge there is no answer except the “Is! Isn’t!” of the schoolyard, which immediately forecloses any possibility of debate. I maintain that it describes a pretty significant proportion. As far as I’m aware, no one has figures that would prove either of us correct.

Battybattybats | May 23, 2008 7:38 PM

Just Jennifer.
Have you ever considered that some of the people your laughing at could have a variation of degree or a different neurological condition leaving them BETWEEN the two sexes internally?

That you could be judging people because they don't cling to option 1 but take parts of option 2 because they may really be 1.5?

It doesn't rest easilly in your mind because your mind is strongly sexed, just opposite to your body, but what if theirs are weakly so?

Variation of neurological intersex that should be expected would make that likely.

As for things at puberty, plenty of people start to notice things only at puberty as many homosexuals only discover their sexuality, or only become aware of it, at puberty or after.

An abused child or a gay child repressed or in denial will often have sexuality emerging at puberty drag such things back to their concious mind, so why should we expect differently in this regard?

Just Jennifer wrote:

I have seen more than a few transgender people who claim some sort of intersex status, often seeming to invent quite fantastic scenarios. Oh well....I just tend to ignore them, except, perhaps, to have a good laugh at some of the more outlandish ones.

A degree of scepticism is only reasonable. The more outlandish the claim, the more sceptical one should be.

There comes a time though... let's see, articles in PopSci mags written by eyewitnesses who have actually met the people concerned and seen the medical test results, a continuous blog of events as they happened... and the pictures of course.

I'm a member of the Australian Sceptics by the way. They were rather more difficult to convince, but fortunately, seeing is believing, and some of them got to be eyewitnesses to what was happening too. Fortuitously, one had known me for 15 years beforehand, and knew what I looked like before. He could confirm that the photos accorded with reality, that it was my body, not the images, that had been "photoshopped" as it were.

I originally joined them as a "peer review" group, because I felt it was far more probable that I was delusional, 'seeing things' than such an outrageous event could happen. Since then, I've learnt a lot about Intersex conditions, read the literature, and almost nothing would surprise me. Some of the more common ones are far, far weirder than my own. My own is rare, and so not well studied, that's all. I've been trying to change that, but have had little success.

FWIW the symptoms are broadly consistent with a 46xy individual with both Androgen Insensitivity and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, and I'm being treated on that basis. Well, actually as if I had 46xx chromosomes and CAH, but close enough. Whatever works.

Except that the combination of the two is ridiculously improbable (1 in 169 million), and doesn't explain some of the anomalies in estrogen metabolism. 8mg of Progynova daily in a split dose, and 168 pMol/L serum level? Come on! That's what, 45 in standard US units? It was less than the 220 pMol/L I had before starting HRT anyway. (Max male baseline value from that lab is 160 BTW, so that was anomalous, but not outrageous)

From NZ studies, 8mg of E valerate in a split dose has to give results of at least 450-600, and 900 wouldn't be unusual, even with zero base levels. Nothing makes sense, not the T levels, not the E levels, not the SHBG levels, unless you throw all the established norms out the window. Yes, we've tried patches, same results, it's not the liver metabolic breakdown that's the oddity, it's the cellular receptors, or something even more unusual.

Whatever it is, I'm endocrinally odd. I think it's likely to be a single mutation we haven't identified yet, one to do with adrenal functions. Probably one of the many 1 in 3.5 million or so conditions that still remain Idiopathic.

And when someone is extremely proud of, and very attached to, their male life, yet claims to be a woman....well, I am more inclined to have a good laugh than to remotely believe them.

My life always was as close to the one I would have had with 46xx chromosomes as I could get to it. That was surprisingly close. I always was a Tomboy and a Geek Girl after all. My (46xx) niece is much the same.

"male life"? Never had one of those. A female one warped and distorted, yes. I can join the "women in technology and communications" now without being given a second glance. I can give a girlfriend a hug now when her bastard male of a boyfriend treats her like dirt, rather than having to remain at a distance. I've lost the distinction of being the only guy who really "gets it", the "guy" who's an "honourary girl" during girltalk gabfests, and am now just another female engineer.

The only thing that sets me apart, is when I'm asked to give an inspirational talk to girls just entering engineering, as senior female engineers are expected to do. How it was so much more difficult for us, yet we made it to the top of our profession, and they can too. We're supposed to inspire them by our example. Not everyone knows my past.

I have to beg off. I got all the Patriarchal male Privilege, though Goodness knows I paid through the nose for that.

I just can't do it, and I can't even explain without outing myself. Now I do that routinely in an educational context, but in this one, I just don't feel comfortable doing that. I feel ashamed of having an advantage other young women didn't.

I know it's not logical, that I paid a price in misery far exceeding whatever advantage it gave me, but it's still the way I feel.

Zoe, your post made me think.

It seems the most logical in my case and I missed it before. I thought I had a high metabolism and that's why I didn't gain fat (at any point in my life)...but that would mean I gained muscles (which I didn't either). So it's that i let the nutrients and whatever stuff that's in what I eat and drink, and it just passes right through.

I have no idea what that would be though. But it would include hormones. The effects I've had from testosterone were mild, same from estrogen though.

Simple bottom line, I have never seen any evidence that remotely leads me to believe that there is any basis, other than choice, for anyone to claim to be between male and female. If I ever see any such evidence, I will reconsider my position, but in the meantime, I remain completely unconvinced.

Women who serve in the military are still functioning as women. While we like to believe in the myth that the military treats everyone the same, that is not remotely true. I imagine for most, it is hard to comprehend the difference between functioning in a male role and a female role. I mean, let's be honest, no one who is not HBS can probably, truly comprehend this. Even crossdressers, who want to imagine they do, don't. Because even when they are, as they so often put it, "en femme," they are still men in dresses, and they are well aware of it.

Now, some women are more "butch" than others. And anyone who says that someone who is HBS, but who tends more towards butch than not, is not really a woman is sorely mistaken. HBS is not about being a super feminine person. It is about being a woman, just like any other woman. Women come in all ahapes and forms. I know women who have interests that I don't. I admit, I tend more towards the feminine. But I know women, both those born female, and those born HBS, who are both more feminine, and less feminine than I am. But we are all women. Being less feminine does not make one less of a woman.

One thing I have observed is that a lot of transgender types show no real comprehension of what being a woman really is, but they simply are living out some bizarre fantasy of womanhood.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 24, 2008 8:44 PM

"I have never seen any evidence that remotely leads me to believe that there is any basis, other than choice, for anyone to claim to be between male and female."

And what would constitute such evidence?

Here's my amatuer take on it.

Fact. Many illnesses, neurological conditions and developmental dissorders vary in severity.

Therefore. Occams razor and general common sense shows that we should expect and look for evidence of that amongst the neurological intersexed.

What evidence do we have? Many people who claim to be in that state. That's not enough as it could be attributed to other causes, though such attribution to all is problematic (e.g. how are the genderqueer fetishistic?). The discomfort of the known neurologically intersexed suggests that non-intersexed people should not be comfortable at all in any way mixing genders, that some are suggests that they may be mildly neurologicly intersexed. Many report some of the symptoms attributed to being neurologicly intersexed to varying degrees of severity, suggesting that they are varyingly neurologicly intersexed.

If we were to postulate what mild cases of neurological intersex would produce in symptoms we should expect to find: lesser degrees of female structures in the brain with said structures being to varying degrees in between each type just as many intersex anatomy is. Lesser degrees of GID requiring proportionally less extensive body modification or comfort with androgyny or fluidity of body and self-image. Varying degrees of fitting in with gender roles or of natural gender behaviour. Verying degrees of need to express gender variation and dissatisfaction in being entirely within either role or anatomy. If the condition is complex these should not all be expected to occur to the same degree as each other so some may have some symptoms at high levels and others at low.

So far that matches many under the transgender model though clearly it's not definitive. This is still suggestive though.

How could conclusive evidence be obtained?

A broad large study of neurological characteristics to determine the extent of sex based variation in cis-sexual cis-gendered brains so that a normal distribution of said characteristics can be mapped.

Then an extensive study of a large number of subjects of all the types listed as transgender, gender non-conforming, transexual, HBS and the various forms of Intersex.

This should determine which of these groups do not conform to the normal range of these brain structures and to what extent.

Strong symptoms such as HBS should be expected to show extremely female brain structures, perhaps even more so than the average female but within it's natural range. Those self identified transexuals who undergo partial but not complete body modification should be expected to have a lesser extent. The genderqueer should be expected to have structures approximately in between either sex average. long-term high frequency crossdressers etc should be expected to have a lesser extent with the lower the frequency to be closer to the normal range yet still statisticly different to it.

There we go Just Jennifer. Falsifiable.

That's not the only biological possibility either.

Epigenetics allows for te distict possibility (see that mouse discovery I mentioned before) that the timing of activation of certain genes would be behind some intersex phenomena, just as in the mice. Genes can be activated by many things at various times through life.

We know activation of genes at various times have different effects (see mouse intersex discovery) and that may or may not account for variations of physical, neurological and behavioural intersex.

Activation of such a gene under this model in the womb during anatomical sex formation would cause anatomical intersex, during neurological sex formation may cause neurological intersex. Activation of that gene during life may cause gender-variance physicaly, neurologcly, hormonaly, behaviourally or in other ways.

The study of epigenetic changes to sex development has just begun. More than one gene may be involved in each phenomena and each could have a seperate epigenetic cause.

The first test would be the study of sex development and brain development gene/s activation in animals and the varying effects of them being switched on or off at various points in development/life, specificly to find as many genes as possible related to sex based attributes in anatomy, neurology and behaviour.

Then we test a wide crossection of the population for degree of present activation of said genes in humans at various life stages. That gives us a baseline for comparison.

Then we test groups of each form of intersex and gender-non-conforming people from the Genderqueer and Drag Queens through to HBS identified transexuals.

We should expect that such gene activation of sex-related genes should be outside the normal range later in life for the lesser degrees of gender non conformity and earliest in the Intersex and HBS.

I myself already have an illness with an epigenetic aspect as genetic changes in several genes have been discovered in CFS sufferers relating to immune function and the cellular energy function of the mitochondria. The causation is currently believed to be an uncommon (about as common as breast cancer iirc) abnormal epigenetic reaction to a viral infection. However as one of my first cousins has a mitochondrial myopathy with very similar symptoms the possibility of a genetic predisposition to such an abnormal reaction can't be ignored. The identification of M.E. F.M. and/or C.F.S. is recent and appears to have become more frequent occuring in small outbreaks as a consequence of various causative virus outbreaks.

There we go, thats even a falsifiable hypothosis for the causation of variability too.

Wolfgang E. B. | May 24, 2008 8:53 PM

Jennifer wrote, "States have different rules concerning driver's licenses, but birth certificates should not be changed until genital surgery is completed."

And that would be truely unethical. But you don't seem to care much about ethics anyway, so, I'll leave it that.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 24, 2008 9:46 PM

"One thing I have observed is that a lot of transgender types show no real comprehension of what being a woman really is, but they simply are living out some bizarre fantasy of womanhood."

And what pray tell is what a woman really is?

Most of these people have grown up without or reacting against the socio-cultural aspects of gender behaviour imprinting.

Having practised 'appearing male' to fit in and avoid beatings (something I've never been that good at) for long enough it should be no surprise that for some it takes a long time to impose the other genders socio-cultural behaviourisms over the learned ones.

Some are able to shift into it right away, some never got the 'male' socio cultural imprinting very successfuly to start with and some have to unlearn it.

Can you show that these people lack intrinsic cross-cultural anthropologicly universal traits of womanhood? Otherwise why would it not just be that they have to learn the socio-cultural learned aspects of womanhood?

battybattybats battybattybats | May 24, 2008 10:06 PM

Schala said: "I thought I had a high metabolism and that's why I didn't gain fat (at any point in my life)...but that would mean I gained muscles (which I didn't either). So it's that i let the nutrients and whatever stuff that's in what I eat and drink, and it just passes right through.

I have no idea what that would be though."

Throughout my teens and much of my 20's I had almost zero body fat to the point of it being considered quite dangerous. I looked anoerexic but was eating huge amounts of food.

It turned out to be a combination of things, most related to my CFS or treatment caused by missdiagnosis of it. High metabolism, over-production of insulin, disrupted gut-flora caused by anti-biotics (starting with my hernia as a toddler then a number of courses for repeated throat infections and glandular swellings then for the 'mystery virus or infection' that destroyed my education and turned out to be the sudden and severe decline of what had been an unnoticed mild though slowly deteriorating case of CFS for many years) and a problem retaining some minerals so my body wasn't absorbing much of what I was eating, was burning through what it did absorb fast and it turned out was canabalising my own bones and muscles as if it were starving.

My hormones weren't checked but after taking treatment to reestablish neccessary gut microbes and supplements for the things my body had trouble retaining i slowly began increasing weight till after several years I'm sitting happily just above the top of my reccomended BMI at 76 kilos when I had been only 50 kilos before treatment!

Hi JJ

Simple bottom line, I have never seen any evidence that remotely leads me to believe that there is any basis, other than choice, for anyone to claim to be between male and female. If I ever see any such evidence, I will reconsider my position, but in the meantime, I remain completely unconvinced.

Exhibit A

If you have a look at some Intersex fora, you'll find plenty more. Most IS people are male, or female, just with somatic problems of various degrees. Some are neither though, and cannot and should not be forced into the gender binary model that I feel comfortable with, one that "fits me to a T" but not them.

Exhibit B.

I'll quote:

I was born physically intersexed and was medically assigned as male. If you like, I transitioned at an early age, without my consent. Like many intersexed people, neither I nor my parents were given any information regarding my condition or treatment ("trust us, we're doctors, this is all for the best, you wouldn't understand the big words we use"), I was one of those who slipped through the net of follow-up medical care and only uncovered the truth in later life, slowly and painfully, after a lifetime of confusion and conflict and undiagnosed health difficulties as I refused to go anywhere near anyone in a white coat for several decades.I had never heard of "intersexed", had never heard of "Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia", had no idea of the fact that I was living with several potentially serious endocrine malfunctions or that the whole secrecy surrounding my condition left my health in a very exposed and dangerous position.
I had been assigned as male - but I was not, I was intersex. But that is not an option in our society. There are only two possible classifications of sex, "male" or "female", and the doctors in those days, pre-Money, before it became routine to surgically modify people like me to "female", decided they could make "a man" of me. Nobody ever asked me what I was.
After many, many years of social ineptitude and blundering through life, I reached the point where I could no longer continue trying to live in the very restrictive social role assigned to me through medical intervention and I rebelled. There were only two possible options open and it was patently obvious that I did not fit the box marked "male", so therefore I must belong in the other box, that marked "female".
I could not understand why I was the way I was and I had no language with which to express what was inside me. So I began to search and finally came across the word "transsexual". This concept seemed to offer an explanation and so I sought out the trans community and realised that transition of gender roles was a possibility. I then began to seek medical treatment in order to transition and the recovery of the truth of my history began.
And, as I learned more about my self, a fundamental difference between people like me and those in transition who were "trans" began to surface. I was transitioning out of a role assigned to me, most trans people seemed to be similarly transitioning out of but they were also transitioning into. Equally valid but with different objectives.
The majority of trans people I know have the desire for confirmation of gender in one of the two categories accepted by society, which is why they transition, i.e., to express a definite gender identity, male or female, different from the one usually indicated by their current phenotype. The major topics of discussion within the trans support spaces are concerned with such confirmation and, in my opinion, it is entirely a legitimate objective and one which I have worked hard to support.However, given the choice of "male", "female", "intersex", I would unhesitatingly select "intersex" - but society does not give me that option so I select "female". I do so with deep reservations, gritting my teeth at a society which will not accept my right to simply be who I am.
I do not know many trans people who would experience such a conflict; there may well be, but I have never heard any express it. Most trans people I know identify themselves absolutely comfortably within one or other of the specified classes. And they have my full blessing in so doing. My life would have been a lot less problematic had I been able to do so as well.
Yes, I regard myself as a woman - but I am an intersex woman ... there is a multi-faceted complexity to my sense of self which the two labels imposed by society cannot embrace. My desire was not to transition into female - it was to transition out of male. Period.
To use experiences such as mine as evidence of commonality between "intersex" and "trans" is erroneous. My experience is not typical of intersex people - but neither is it typical of trans people. My conflict is not an internal dichotomy between gender identity and physiology - it is between the integrity of my being and the consequences of medical intervention. The conflict is an artificially created one. Had I been left alone and raised as I was at birth, there would have been no conflict and my identity would have been secure.
Because the question of gender identity is such a fundamental element in trans experience, many trans people have difficulty in understanding that gender identity is usually not quite such a big deal to most intersexed people. It is only a minority who feel a need to transition, usually those who have been surgically or hormonally coerced into a role to which they have serious difficulty conforming. For example, while there are those who are also trans, most people with XXY chromosomes ("Klinefelter's Syndrome") usually quite happily identify as men, most people with Turner's Syndrome or complete AIS usually identify quite happily as women and so on. The need to transition is nothing like a common experience for all intersex people. But it is the defining experience for all trans people.

Technically, I'm more properly classed as IS rather than TS. My life experience though could be straight out of "True Selves". There is no sharp, well-defined dividing line in my case, and I'll answer to either. I see TS as being a subset of IS anyway, but if coerced into one box or the other, put me in the "TS with IS complications" rather than "IS with TS complications" box - unlike the author of this piece.

Hope this helps. We, and I specifically include myself there - should always be open to changing our ideas when new evidence comes in. Not quickly, not without questioning that evidence and perhaps rejecting it as unimpressive, but not completely impervious to having even deeply cherished beliefs discarded either.

JJ, you may change your opinion as the result of this post, you may not. But you will have read it, and considered it. That's enough.

That's the inherent trouble with some of our discussion: the strongest and most convincing evidence that we see is the one case study that speaks strongly to us: ourselves (or alternately, those with whom we have strongly common experiences). We know it in our brains and our bones, and yet anyone else can shake it off as "unconvincing" data and diagnose us of things that don't even seem relevant to our lives. And when it gets to that point, further argument becomes irrelevant. :(

battybattybats at #260

Sounds like what I have except I've had no medication interfere. I've always been that skinny, and previous to hormones I took nothing at all. A tylenol every 2-3 weeks for a headache and that was it.

I only want to reach about 55 kg though (I'm at 47 kg now), and then I'll see.

Well, let's see....

I must say...CAH and androgen insensitivity...that is quite a combination. One condition is where the body produces too much testosterone, and the other is where the body fails to use testosterone. Of course, I don't see where that is actually claimed, just that the symptoms are similar.

Oh well... It is hard to comment on stuff that is stated rather vaguely. Then again, I don't know of any 46xx people who have fathered children.

Hmmmm, it would be unethical to insist that birth certificates reflect reality rather than fantasy....now that is an interesting position.

Actually, some of us have looked beyond our own experiences at both the research done by any number of scholars and at others we have encountered. My views of the transgender model, for example, are based on both research and personal observation.

Quite frankly, nothing presented here has given me any reason to change my opinions. It is obvious that some individuals who seeks some sort of modification to change their gender presentation are motivated by sexual or other psychological reasons. That is, they wish to present as something other than their true gender. In some cases, this modification is relatively benign, either totally superficial, or highly minimal. They may, for example, take very low doses of hormones. Not enough to really have any major effect, and certainly not enough to chemically castrate them. In more extreme cases they may go as far as having facial surgery. But they will usually not give up their penis. I find it very hard to consider such a person as being truly a female.

JJ - it's a puzzle. There's still no solid explanation for the rapid feminisation of 2005. My T levels were in between normal M and F levels then, and my E levels normal for F and way too high for M. But that should only have caused at best a normal, pubertal or HRT-rate feminisation, one happening over 3-5 years, not 2-3 months. The E levels were high, but not that high, and no matter how high they were, changes don't happen that fast in a normal body.

Taking 17b Estrodiol or E.Valerate supplements should have raised the serum E levels, to some extent anyway. 8mg of Progynova should not have been associated with a drop from 220 to 168 pMol/L.

And post-ops do not suddenly start rapidly masculinising with low levels of Testosterone for a female either. That started a few months ago, but heroic doses of E.valerate (>8mg) and androcur are controlling it.

It looks like my appearance is solely controlled by the testosterone-like analogues being put out by my "large and funny-looking" adrenals, as my Radiologist described them in 2005. Testosterone itself I appear to be insensitive to.

But really, we don't know. We have an unbroken 3 year pattern of consistently anomalous results, both blood tests and somatic changes, and nothing fits any well-known and well-studied explanation.

In pragmatic terms, my symptoms now are those of a 46xx woman with CAH, and my treatment based on that model, even though we know it's wrong. The treatment is working.

It is conjectured, ie it's a guess, that a 46xy with AIS and CAH could react in this way, but as that's never been recorded, we don't know. Even that doesn't explain the blood test results.

Personally, I think it's something else, the odds of a foetus having both and surviving gestation seem remote. Whatever it is, it's not in the literature. As I've found out, a lot of IS conditions are like that, "Idiopathic", where all we can do is just observe the results without knowing the cause.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 28, 2008 8:04 AM

"It is obvious that some individuals who seeks some sort of modification to change their gender presentation are motivated by sexual or other psychological reasons."

Obvious huh? Care to elaborate the very specific and precise logic that illustrates that?

Also, please explain to me. If someone develops a sexual or psychological motivation allowing them to desire to alter their body and be functionally happy living in that body medicly altered to change their "gender presentation" as you put it, why then would a psychological treatment based upon replicating that process be inappropriate for HBS people? And if genitals are the most vital part of this why then not just give HBS people the genital surgery then the psychological treatment to enable them to function in every other particular in their birth gender in the same way one of the people you discuss do.

How can you be certain that there is not a neurological difference in these people to enable the gender presentation changes to not be a source of distress to them the way it is to HBS people? If not, why then would replicating their psychological condition in HBS people not be a way to treat HBS non surgicly?

Actually, it has been my experience that the effects of estrogen are pretty fast to start and then they level off over time. That is, there is a spurt at the beginning, followed by a longer, more gradual period of continued development.

In my case, the initial effects were quite pronounced, especially in terms of my facial appearance. Then they leveled off a bit, and things developed at a more normal pace. So, I suspect what you experienced was not that unique. Something similar happens in pubescent teenage girls. There is a relatively rapid appearance of breasts followed by a longer period during which they grow to full size.

By precise and specific logic do you mean other than the fact that these people show no sign of remotely being female in terms of gender? That their entire character and personality reeks of being male? That they seem to have NO desire to actually live as a woman, but instead seem quite content to live as, and be completely identified as "transgender," often personally identifying with such self-denigrating terms as "tranny" or worse?

Now, to answer your second question... Quite simply, why would anyone wish to do such a thing? Why would they wish to replace a perfectly functional gender with an imperfect, flawed, and quite often dysfunctional replacement? People such as we are discussing do not have a gender that is actually at odds with their original one. They have a psychological compulsion that causes them to emulate, usually very poorly, the gender that is opposite their own. So, by your suggestion, we would take person who has a perfectly normal female gender identity, albeit one that is at odds with their body, and try to subvert that into a quite abnormal, distorted, parody of a male gender. Well, let's see...other than the simple fact that a) it would completely violate the maxim to "first do no harm," and b) the fact that it would be a complete failure, I can't, for the life of me, think of any reason it should not be tried.

Lucy Bright | May 29, 2008 4:48 AM

"By precise and specific logic do you mean other than the fact that these people show no sign of remotely being female in terms of gender? That their entire character and personality reeks of being male? That they seem to have NO desire to actually live as a woman, but instead seem quite content to live as, and be completely identified as "transgender," often personally identifying with such self-denigrating terms as "tranny" or worse?"

I don't know who "these people" are, but while the description above may apply to some, it completely misses the mark with many others. Straw-man caricatures are not a substitute for logic (to answer your rhetorical question) nor do they begin to address the questions of diagnosis or aetiology.

JJ -

I suspect what you experienced was not that unique.

Well, apart from the 2lb a day initial weight loss (average 1lb/day over 3 months), the cycles of rapid feminisation, partial masculinisation, then feminisation again...

I think the pictures show something a little out of the ordinary - and much of the change in hair and skin texture wasn't visible on the photos. You can just about see the beginnings of breast growth in May, the breast shrinkage in June, the difference in fat distribution to the hips in June, and the extreme hair oiliness in May vs the dryness and increase in volume in June... things were going haywire.

And in August, the only HRT I was given was a 50mcg 17B Estrodiol patch. I didn't ramp up fully until January, when the dose was quadrupled - the 100mcg patch I started in November wasn't doing anything. The quadrupled dose (8 x the dose in August) didn't do anything either.

Battybattybats | May 29, 2008 7:54 AM

"That their entire character and personality reeks of being male?"

You avoided dealing with my previous points on this notion so I'll repeat in case you missed them:

"And what pray tell is what a woman really is?

Most of these people have grown up without or reacting against the socio-cultural aspects of gender behaviour imprinting.

Having practised 'appearing male' to fit in and avoid beatings (something I've never been that good at) for long enough it should be no surprise that for some it takes a long time to impose the other genders socio-cultural behaviourisms over the learned ones.

Some are able to shift into it right away, some never got the 'male' socio cultural imprinting very successfuly to start with and some have to unlearn it.

Can you show that these people lack intrinsic cross-cultural anthropologicly universal traits of womanhood? Otherwise why would it not just be that they have to learn the socio-cultural learned aspects of womanhood?"

So, to put it simply: what traits of femaleness that are not cultural are these people lacking?

Having happened on this on the tv this morning while flicking chanels after waking earlier than usual http://today.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=571073&_cobr=optus and then following up this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/humanbody/sex/add_user.shtml the test put me at more than halfway between the neutral point and female average and thats through bad brain-fog causing a total mess up of typing completely invalidating the language portion of the test, something I'm told is rather my forte.

But, how much of that is due to differences in upbringing? Would girls given more lego as children be better at the 3d visualisation tests? I know some darn good women sculptors. Something must explain their superior to the average male 3d visualistion skills!

Even if there is neurological advantages in such activities for one sex or the other humans and their brains are very adaptible. It does not automaticly follow that character and personality are sex determined from birth.

I know some women with truly woeful social and language skills, many of whose character and personality would fit into male more than mine! They are very much "ladette's" distictly straight and far from TG or HBS. I went to school with a girl who became a car mechanic. There seems profound variety in these behaviours and skills, are we not really discussing averages with many exceptions rather than exclusive catagories when we discuss these differences?

I'm really interested in your definition of woman and these cross cultural universal traits needed to validate your argument.

From the Baron Cohen test above. I'm very high in nearly all categories, giving me a final result of halfway from neutral to male brain.

My ring fingers are pretty much identical in length, but that didn't weight much on the test above.

I also fit the description for Asperger Syndrome, which would predict a more logical-oriented brain than not.

from: http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php

Results:
Neurodiversity (Aspie) score: 168/200
Neurotypical (Non-autistic) score: 68/200

Asperger/HFA/PDD score 151 - very likely to receive a diagnosis
Social Phobia score 142 - very likely to get a diagnosis
OCD score 137 - very likely to get a diagnosis
ADD/ADHD score 95 - diagnosis unlikely
Dyslexia score 81 - diagnosis unlikely

and of course I fit the DSM-IV-TR criterias

----

Which proves that a male brain doesn't preclude bring female in appearance, manners (body language) and personality.

Actually, the description I gave applies to a rather large number of people, including some who are regular posters here.

Now, I am not a licensed psychiatrist or psychologist, and I prefer to leave the actual practice of diagnosis to such people. Nevertheless, it is obvious that some people are motivated by things other than a true disconnect between their brain and their body. I would imagine the details of etiology in those cases is highly variable. Any number of factors, probably related to learned behavior, can play a role. The simple bottom line is that somewhere during their life, they learned to derive pleasure from the idea of being different. And gender seems to be the current popular form of expressing such behavior.

On the other hand, there has always been a relatively rare group of people who have true disconnect between their body and their brain.

Now that is an interesting question...

What is a woman? That reminds me of the oft asked question, "How do you know you're really a woman?" I guess it is sort of like the response of a Supreme Court justice in a famous obscenity case. "I don't know how to define it, but I know it when I see, it."

Seriously, how does one define such things? It also reminds me of the concept of being "more of a woman..." I hear that one a lot from transgender types. Being a woman is not quantifiable. There is no specific measure of womanhood. You either are, or you are not. If you have to ask, then you simply don't know, and probably can't know.

And no, I am not avoiding your question. I am simply pointing out that your question does not really have an answer, other than that if you have ask, you really wouldn't understand if there was an answer.

If you ask a question, it's not necessarily because the answer would elude you, but for curiosity's sake and to quell those voices in your head that need some kind of validation for something that really doesn't have any.

I'm speaking in general, by the way. As it applies to basically any question that can't be answered with a clear-cut answer like 2+2 = 4 in decimal, 10 in base 4, 11 in base 3 and it's improbable to be binary since there are '2' in the addition. But that's a clear-cut answer. Many questions don't have such a clear-cut answer.

If I asked "How do you know if your clothing is color-coordinated?" it doesn't mean I have no fashion-sense, it means I lack knowledge and more or less rely on gut-feeling about said color-coordination endeavors (to no problem at all so far) - and I'm trying to see if my gut-feeling is actually right by other people's opinion (external validation).

battybattybats battybattybats | May 29, 2008 11:36 PM

J.J.
Arguments of truth from intuition or personal revelation just like those from personal experience are so subjective (and dependant on unconcious assumptions and beliefs devoid of critical analysis) as to be entirely invalid for judging the experiences of others!

You cannot use your personal experience of what being a woman is or how you know you are one for you to judge whether others are women because your personal criteria are not universal and therefore not projectable.

You must be able to show that these peoples lacking of behavioural characteristics you ASSOCIATE with womanhood are ENTIRELY INTRINSIC biologicly to ALL women in ALL cultures!

Otherwise you cannot discount the distinct possibility that most of, and the greater probability that at least some some of, those you deem male because of behavioural characteristics you associate with being male are just reflecting male cultural behaviourisms ingrained into habits coming from being forced to interact with male society and/or a lack of the same from female society on account of being forbidden from it.

The capacity of some to absorb such behaviours swiftly or fail to comply with those expected of them to begin with does not show that everybody should be thus capable. Many people have much more adaptive behaviour than others, many take longer to transfer concious behaviour to unconcious habits and some have great difficulty shifting habits once ingrained.

This is the point that the variability of gender associated behaviours throughout the many different human cultures brings an aweful lot of nurture into the debate. And where the social aspects of behaviour aquisition and the variability of flexibility and adaptibility in peoples capacity to change ingrained behaviours must be acounted for.

As part of attempts to keep bringing things to a rigourous level of research this part could be disproved by doing a substantial sized personality and adaptive behaviour study of HBS women and various types of transgender MtF people as well as a sizable control group of males and of females. Those who have the most outgoing and inflexible personalities should be found amongst those always feminine in behaviour (it would be interesting to see if the long-term genderqueer fit here). Those with the more slowly adaptive behaviours should be quite feminine in early life, gradually lose that as forced to adapt to male society and then take longer to lose acquired male behavioural characteristics. Those with the most adaptive behaviour will be able to swiftly move from male behaviour to female and back again.

Beyond that we might even be able to test the following at the same time:

Those who have less outgoing or more compliant-to-others personalities will likely remain closeted for longer and attempt the most to conform to social expectations of behaviour based on their birth sex and have the greatest difficulty coming out.

If however the proportions of personality types is consistent with a reasonable sized control group of cisgendered cissexual people then the idea can be dissmissed. Any substantial deviation would instead show that another personality/behavioural effect is at work and a new explanation would have to be found to account for it.

Untill such a study all thats needed to prove your point is a concrete cross-cultural definition of behaviourioural and personality traits of women without exceptions to show that it's purely biological, these need only be a handful of traits but ones found in HBS women and not in transgender.

You must now contend with Anthropology to justify your judgement of the womanhood of others!

"And what pray tell is what a woman really is?"

She is somewho has been socially consituted as a woman in her given society and who has a critical embrace of women as an identity.

This would preclude people who have male anatomies or who have voluntarily lived as men.

This would be anyone who is anatomically male.

Elaine - what about those people with 5ARD? They look female or feminised a birth, are usually brought up as girls, but partially masculinise at puberty. How masculinised are they allowed to be before they are no longer women?

What about women who have PCOS, some of them get masculinised genitalia too.

And for that matter, is everyone not a woman (by your definition) a man?

battybattybats battybattybats | May 30, 2008 9:02 AM

Interesting answer Elaine, though their are problems with it.

For starters you are incorrect in saying that the definition you provide precludes people who have male anatomies! Someone raised from birth as a woman, socially constituted as a woman and having embraced woman as an identity could have any anatomy whatsoever and fit into that definition! All that matters is socio-cultural experience. Any anatomy that is non-visible in general social interaction (and in any culture with clothing that includes a lot) is irelevant as to whether they are socially constituted and recognised as being a woman. An anatomical male raised as a girl, considered as a girl by peers and community and who identifies as a girl their whole childhood would be every amount a woman as an anatomical female in the same circumstance.

It totally bypasses the previously mentioned anatomical and neurological diffenerences and utterly ignores any 'nature' part of the whole and sticks entirely to 'nurture'. In that circumstance woman is entirely a cultural notion, one wonders if under that notion a woman of one culture and a woman of another where womens experience are distictly different (say for example a woman from a patriarchal hunter-gatherer tribe and a woman from a much more equal European metropolis) should even be considered both women! Their lives sharing little cultural commonality that additional terms might be needed.

It's a very interesting idea. A woman in a family that is otherwise solely male, a girl with only a single father and brothers in her family experience may then be considered less a woman because of her increased male socio-cultural experience. Tomboys who avoid much of female associated culture and instead enjoy male company would be less a woman and maybe even more of a man than a woman if accepted by men as 'one of the blokes' etc.

And what then for cultures with more than Men or Women but 3rd(or more) sex classes?

What happens when a woman whose socio-cultural experience enters another culture that does not recognise all of that experience do they become less a woman? Is a woman from a western democratic society with a high degree of equality become less of a woman if visiting a patriarchal country or vice versa? If a 3rd sex person travels to a country where only man and woman are recognised states what are they then?

And what then is a person who has been socially constituted and is recognised as opposite to their anatomy who partway through life moves socially to and with recognition to that state which matches their anatomy? Would such a person be a man or woman or neither?

If someone is socially constituted as one class, is recognised as that but does not embrace it and embraces the opposite, yet embracing that is a neccessary part of your definition, then what are they?

Where does an intersex person fit into this model? Not all of them embrace the class they are socialised and recognised as.

It's an intriguing idea but one riddled with vaguery and collossal flaws. It doesn't take into account the biological differences as subtle and variable as they may be, it doesn't work with all cultures and it leaves a significant number of people out as being neither men nor women as any HBS people, transgender people and any intersex people who do not embrace the class they are assumed to be at birth would not any of them fit all the criteria listed to be placed as either men or women.

It could be an idea that could be insightful after a substantial amount of development refinement and additions. We'd need a great deal more terms for all the people who don't neatly fit into it just for starters, to the point where even using the term woman for just this definition is dodgy it might need to be split into subtypes. We'd need mirrored definitions for man as well, but what about those in the middle? where is the line drawn?

This definition is currently not sufficiently thought through to answer the question. It would need added criteria to rule out male anaoties if thats your intention. It would need working on to handle cultures where raising children as the opposite gender has been commonly practised or where their are more than two sexes in that culture. It would need working on to handle the complexities of intersex conditions.

Starting from the socio-cultural rather than biology is an interesting approach, it might be worth exploring further, however the assumption that only one is valid may be incorrect, each may be only part of the whole and the presence of both may not be essential even if that is the case.

Ultimately Elaine is correct.

If the world refuses to see you as woman, especially other women, you apparently lack some essential essence of womanhood.

My advice to transitioners for years has been, be yourself and if you are correct and are a woman, that is what the world will see. Everything else is mental masturbation.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 30, 2008 10:04 AM

Cathryn, you missed the points I raised about the problems in the notion.

Specificly to your statement though, people in general carry biases that are culturally and socially informed, often bigoted and unethical and based on cognitive short-cuts rife with mistakes.

Some women who are not trans can be misidentified as being so.

Clearly those women don't lack an 'essential essence of womanhood' but instead a behaviour or trait commonly associated with womanhood.

Again note my earliergender behaviours. Some adapt more easily than others and that needs to be considered before judging peoples womanhood.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 30, 2008 10:15 AM

Yikes, poor edit. that should have read: "Again note my earlier comments on learned gender behaviours."

I missed nothing......I utterly reject your "comments" on learned gender behaviours based on a lifetime study of cultural anthropology, history, psychology and sociology.

If your body does not reflect what most in any given society feel is "woman" and that society, especially other women do not accept your personal definition of womanhood, what then are you basing claims of womanhood on?.......

You might not be a man, but failing acceptance of your womanhood by sisters and having a female body.....you are not a woman.

Ultimately women know other women.....it's pretty much that simple and that crosses all historical and societal venues. Consider it close to a universal truth.

Then despite having male anatomy and weird interests by female standards, I still qualify as a woman because people recognize me as such?

I qualify as a woman because I got lucky at the genetic lottery of life...I don't know, even I have problems accepting that as a complete thing.

Can you tell the government that so I can change my name and gender marker faster?

Let me begin by saying that there is nothing I "must" do, at least not on anyone here's say so.

It is rather obvious that some here have no real comprehension of what being a woman is.

Now, I would certainly welcome research by unbiased professionals. And some is being done. But things like being a woman are not quantifiable, irregardless of what some men wish to think. There have been silly attempts to measure such things, ranging from the MMPI to the COGIATI. None really prove much of anything...and I say that having scored heavily in the female range on both.

Thank you Cathryn! That is very well put. I know people who are totally "passable" in terms of appearance, but the moment they engage in conversation, they leave no doubt that they are men. I know others who are very challenged in terms of appearance, but people totally accept them as women because, well, they are women.

Ironically, a lot of the latter group are born female. At first glance, one might easily take them for men. But, it is clear that they are women.

The simple, bottom line is this. You can be a woman. You can be transgender. You can't be both. Unless, perhaps, you are a woman who identifies as a transman.

I am "passable" in terms of appearance, body language, voice, and no one ever doubts it - even my mother, and I know her enough to know she's not faking it.

Yet I don't identify as HBS because of the super-exclusivity of it.

Someone once said "I wouldn't be member of a club that wanted me in." I think.

I identify my past, and reluctantly my present, as trans (since I'm still legally in limbo). Once it's finished with, I'll identify solely as female, no ifs no buts, and no one would be able to counter me on it on a solid argument. I still won't identify as HBS. I won't identify as transgender either though - but I won't deny I had a trans history in my past.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 30, 2008 9:28 PM

"I missed nothing......I utterly reject your "comments" on learned gender behaviours based on a lifetime study of cultural anthropology, history, psychology and sociology."

Really?
So Elaine is correct that woman is entirely a social and cultural construct with no biological basis whatsoever and yet none of that is learned behaviour at all?

That is a tremendously extreme dichotomy and I would most welcome the specific missing data required to render it congruent and cogent.

I'd like to know how if no gender behaviour is learned how you account for differeing gender behaviour accross cultures and accross time in those cultures. If that isn't learned changes, social and cultural changes then what are they if they are neither nature nor nurture?

How do you account for the capacity of some people to pass alternately as men and as women? They have said that they learned to adopt male behaviourisms to be classed by men as male to avoid the consequences of having female behaviourisms in a male body until such time as they were safe and free to present entirely as female yet if their are no learned gender behaviours how are these people remotely possible?

"If your body does not reflect what most in any given society feel is "woman" and that society, especially other women do not accept your personal definition of womanhood, what then are you basing claims of womanhood on?"

So a Fafafini who travels to Australia from Samoa suddenly becomes not a Fafafini? Or only some Fafafini who have more features considered female by white Australian standards? Or dependant on what the company they keep is? Hanging out with the tolerant folk who accept cultural differences they are a she, the intolerant who don't they are suddenly a he, going to the church fete they are swapping from man to woman every few paces?

"Ultimately women know other women.....it's pretty much that simple and that crosses all historical and societal venues. Consider it close to a universal truth."

Again the example of the Fafafini seems to invalidate that notion entirely! It ignores that the criteria of behaviour and appearance of women is culture specific. Someone who is concidered a woman in one country isn't neccissarily accepted as a woman in another! Someone who passes in one culture won't pass in all cultures.

What about women who do fail to correctly determine if someone is a female? Is someone born a woman but with sufficiently masculine an appearance that they are mistaken as male by another woman then not a woman at all?

As you apparently have studied all this in extreme depth I eagerly await your detailed explanation as to how these seeming paradoxes are resolved.

"I still qualify as a woman because people recognize me as such?"

Ru-Paul appears to be a woman but he isn't. Men think that being a woman is about appearances as they understand women from their perspective
as an image sitting out in the world.

There is this idea in trans-world that is a reflection of that. Looking like a woman doesn't mean you are a woman. Not looking like a woman doesn't mean one is not a woman. It's not about looks it is about one's social constitution. This is why the trans emphasis on passing is silly. Passing means representing oneself as something they aren't. Is that all people who call themselves do is "pass". Ru-Paul passes and he's not a woman. So there is more to it than that.

The HBS phenomenon describes something, but not what the HBS folks would attribute it to. There is no feminine gene or homone. There is no protein that creates a need to wear lipstick.

But identity will do all of those things. That's why I like what Jennifer said. You can be transgender or a woman but not both. There's a tremendous amount of truth in that and when trans-world understands that...well it will no longer be trans-world. It will have grown out of that.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 30, 2008 9:39 PM

J.J. said: "Let me begin by saying that there is nothing I "must" do, at least not on anyone here's say so."

I have to remind myself that some folk aren't used to the turn of phrase of academic discussion. I apologise for the confusion. I didn't mean you must do so because I said so but that you will have to do so to make your point valid in this kind of discussion. Otherwise you would be making a baseless assertion.

"The simple, bottom line is this. You can be a woman. You can be transgender. You can't be both. Unless, perhaps, you are a woman who identifies as a transman."

Why?

You make a lot of assertions J.J. but as you can only speak for yourself rather than the rest of humanity when arguing from intuition, revelation or experience - the subjective forms of knowing - for your views to be considered applicable by others you'll need to back them up with direct evidence or where that isn't available with solid logical argument.

That's why in this kind of discussion it will never be enough to just state things are so, to work you have to also state why they are so.

"I still qualify as a woman because people recognize me as such?"

Ru-Paul appears to be a woman but he isn't. Men think that being a woman is about appearances as they understand women from their perspective
as an image sitting out in the world.

I don't think you fully understood me. I don't "pass"* simply because of my appearance. Because of clothes or cosmetics, or because people know my new name.

My appearance is undeniably feminine, but it doesn't look my age at all. Yet, this doesn't throw anyone off. Clothes are usually casual, jeans and t-shirts, and I don't need fancy clothes to prove anything. Cosmetics I almost never use, I find it costly and somewhat impractical, and some form of cosmetics I found do nothing to embellish in my eyes. People in general don't ask for my name, and strangers of course are not aware of it.

My body language, something for which I never had control, is read as female. Even I don't understand why, because I just act on however I feel, I don't copy anyone, nor do I have friends to even try it. Body language is usually underestimated when it comes to passing. It contributes a lot to what people call "vibe". You "vibe female" if people recognize you as such even if you have bed hair, no make-up and threw any clothes together (I'm not a morning person).

* I don't like the term either, but it's a shortcut to an easily understood meaning rather than a convoluted explanation of what it means, which is rife with semantic holes, since language wasn't determined to accomodate this in English.

Cathryn wrote:

My advice to transitioners for years has been, be yourself and if you are correct and are a woman, that is what the world will see. Everything else is mental masturbation.
That's been my advice too, and it's usually true. But some women will never "vibe female", their hindbrains are masculinised. Perfect example - Khadijah Farmer.
Such women are faced with lots of "deportment lessons" if they wish to avoid problems, acting against their instincts, or just saying "blow it" and being themselves.
I make no distinction between transwomen and the standard factory model here, as neurologically, there is no distinction.

Just Jennifer wrote:

I know people who are totally "passable" in terms of appearance, but the moment they engage in conversation, they leave no doubt that they are men. I know others who are very challenged in terms of appearance, but people totally accept them as women because, well, they are women.
"Challenged in appearance". That describes me alright. Not "very" challenged, well, I like to think not, but Hailey Berry I'm not. Not Madelaine Albright either, so maybe there is a God.

The most common reaction when I out myself to women my age is "I can't believe you ever looked different". I don't know whether to be more puzzled at how well I'm accepted now, or at how I ever managed to fool anyone that I was male.

Yes, and I do know people who look far better than I do, yet think like guys, it's obvious. I don't know if I can deny them femininity though, some of them have borne children.. it's messy. I really would like to see a clean, neat divide, but I haven't found one yet. Just a pragmatic one, those who need medical intervention, and those who don't. Even that is not satisfactory from a human rights viewpoint, as BBB has proven to me in other conversations.


"you'll need to back them up with direct evidence or where that isn't available with solid logical argument."

Why do tranvestites think they can dictate the terms for interacting? You've been doing that all along, insisting what we must do to satisify standards for what is....

Guess what? No one here has to meet YOUR standards.

battybattybats battybattybats | May 31, 2008 1:45 AM

Elaine,
You seem to be under the impression I'm making these terms up.

But if you glance over any reasonable quality text on the philosophy of science, on reasoned discourse etc you'll find that what I'm talking about are rather time honored, tested and refined principles.

They don't belong to transvestites. They were in fact taught to me by women who would fit your definitions in every way.

Zoe who is intersex and very clearly not a transvestite is able to handle proper rational discourse. I try to leave off the trappings of academic language as much as possible but without at least a bit of intellectual rigour people can end up asserting and defending baseless irrational nonsense or stating possibilities and definate certainties when they are not so.

Complaining that it is a transvestite calling for reasonable intellectual standards is one of the classical logical fallacies. Care to guess which one? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fallacies

battybattybats battybattybats | May 31, 2008 1:51 AM

Sigh, my symptoms are mucking up and interfering with my language skills. That should have been:

stating possibilities AS definate certainties when they are not so.

Mame du Bois | May 31, 2008 1:00 PM

The politicisation of the transsexual body is alarming. No-one has the right to make judgments on another persons body and to make judgments about another persons identity. When we do we are just perpetuating the same judgments passed on the transgender community as a whole.

Hands and politics off my body!

Body image and expression of gender identity is idiosyncratic and can also differ depending on race, country, (sub)culture, religion, age, socio-economics and educational background.

More importantly, body image and gender identity can (and usually does) change over time within the one person. This applies to everyone and not just transgenders. This alone makes classification difficult and an apparent waste of energy.

Alarmingly, there is a developing class system within the trans community that is stipulating someone's transsexualness should based on some diagnostic criteria.

Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is somehow less of a transsexual than one who opts to have it. A woman who has had a mastectomy due to cancer and who chooses NOT to have reconstruction is no less a woman than one who chooses the reconstruction - and many choose not too.

Another comparison is in the 'light skinned vs. dark skinned' debate within ethnic communities. Just as someone's ethnicity isn't based on the 'intensity' of their skin colour, gender identity can't be judged on how someone expresses their identity.

It is disturbing that while some parts of the community are advocating against binary concepts of gender, others are doing just the opposite. There is no middle ground for these people. Just as sexuality is a grey scale and not black & white, gender identity is bound to be the same.

At the end of the day, the DSM is superfluous. We live in a world of virtual communities and online pharmacies, many young TS/TG or whoever, will find their own way 'home'. This has been happening in many countries already that don't have any formal guidelines and where someone can buy hormones over the counter without prescription.

While I do recognise my own concerns that removing GID from the DSM would lower the stance of the trans community, I think this will be an unrealised fear. Just the same as removing homosexuality didn't cause the homosexual community to become impotent, any change in the DSM doesn't change the daily reality for the trans community.

The only reason it is there in the first place is because ultimately the trans community needs the assistance of the medical community and the medical community needed some guidelines. There is now an increasing body of academic literature that goes far beyond the DSM both in authority and depth. These will be relied upon more and more by trans health experts.

Of greater concern is the educating of the community about health and the consequences of hormonal reassignment and correct dosing. I know of many TS on DIY hormone regimes. Overdosing is common either through the belief you will be more passable or out of ignorance.

We were here before the DSM and we will be here after it.

Again, let's leave the politics, especially when it comes to my body.

"Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is somehow less of a transsexual than one who opts to have it. A woman who has had a mastectomy due to cancer and who chooses NOT to have reconstruction is no less a woman than one who chooses the reconstruction - and many choose not too."

Ah, but you see some didn't transition to be transsexuals........rather to be women or men. Women don't have penises, something everyone from rest of the world who didn't dive down the trans rabbit hole seems to take as a given.

Here's a hint....breasts are a secondary sexual charateristic, a vagina is a primary one. If you choose not to have primary sexual characteristics (as opposed to cannot for legitimate medical reasons) those in the greater world can hardly be faulted for questioning your sex. To me, most telling is the almost pathological need of those who "choose" not to have surgery to continually announce that choice.

And BBB, a woman from a tiny village in rural India has no problem detecting the womanhood of a western woman she meets even dressed in manish slacks and top with short hair and vice versa....... this is pretty much the universal I was referring to. All considerations of cultural gender roles aside, women still recognize other women without problem even when body cues are obscured. If one actually visits other cultures this becomes totally apparent by the way.

As far as the whole "you must debate me with my "logic" etc. One of the reasons I find it almost impossible to read what you post is that you frequently start from a totally flawed and unproven point then proceed to build a house of cards of "logic" on top of it.....a complete waste of time trying to follow since the flawed beginning results only in flawed conclusions.

"Elaine,
You seem to be under the impression I'm making these terms up."

Not at all. I've seen men using them for decades. However you seem to assume I am ignorant, when I disagree with you. That's something else men do.

"But if you glance over any reasonable quality text on the philosophy of science, on reasoned discourse etc you'll find that what I'm talking about are rather time honored, tested and refined principles.

I know what you are talking about. It's the language of dominance. YOU decide what "reasonable" is. YOU decided on what is acceptable. My decision is that I'm really tire of patriarchy. You are not the cure. You are the problem.


"As far as the whole "you must debate me with my "logic" etc. One of the reasons I find it almost impossible to read what you post is that you frequently start from a totally flawed and unproven point then proceed to build a house of cards of "logic" on top of it.....a complete waste of time trying to follow since the flawed beginning results only in flawed conclusions."

I agree entirely with this.

"Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is somehow less of a transsexual than one who opts to have it."


Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is not transexual at all. They are transgenderists.

I'm not for patriarchy, but I agree with BBB that there needs to be rules and bounds to discourse, or we're just speaking metaphorically without any grasp on reality, and what can we hope to change if we don't use logic and arguments?

Charisma can convince, dogma can oppress however. Avoiding discussion and proclaiming dogma over one's own opinion is not really conducive to dialogue, and is more an act of dominance than actually debating. You can lose or win a debate (or even only points of it), but dogma is the sign of a cult, since it all goes on faith.

The cure is not to impose opinions as to what constitute realness and then proclaim the idea self-evident and not up for debate.

"Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is not transexual at all. They are transgenderists."

They are who they are. It is not for you to decide who they are.

I am who I am, it is not for you to decide who I am, nor for me to decide who you are.

HBS and transsexuals are both *self-diagnosed*, there should be no policing and a holier-than-thou attitude within. It serves no one except the therapists like Zucker and Blanchard and Bailey who can laugh their asses off, watching us bickering as they continue to stigmatize anyone not heteronormative, and anyone who presents as another sex than their apparent birth sex (Yes, apparent).

"I'm not for patriarchy, but I agree with BBB that there needs to be rules and bounds to discourse, or we're just speaking metaphorically without any grasp on reality, and what can we hope to change if we don't use logic and arguments? "

Men would ask that.

The cure is not to impose opinions as to what constitute realness and then proclaim the idea self-evident and not up for debate.

"Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is not transexual at all. They are transgenderists."

"They are who they are. It is not for you to decide who they are."

It's EXACTLY up to me to decide for myself that they are men and to not pretend they are women.


"I am who I am, it is not for you to decide who I am, nor for me to decide who you are."

It is exactly for me to decide how I relate to you and how I see you. It is not up to you how I see you.


"HBS and transsexuals are both *self-diagnosed*, there should be no policing and a holier-than-thou attitude within."

This statement is policing. You have made a set of policing statements. I have no intention to pay any attention to them.

Schala,

Words have actual meanings. Transsexual used to have an actual meaning before transgenderists deliberately blurred it. Transsexual meant someone driven to bring their body and mind into congruence (SRS)to the fullest amount possible. Under that original, medical meaning there can literally not be such a thing as a non op transsexual by choice....not as long as surgical treatment with decent outcomes are available. Only non-op by circumstances, never choice.

HBS was coined because transgenderists rendered the term transsexual meaningless. You might not like this, that would be tough...it's the truth and not "dogma". Since words do have actual meanings.....yes, sometimes others get to tell you what you are. While the condition is self diagnosised, fitting the condition is subject to actual fitting within the definition, not your personal whim or desire. There is nothing elitist or holier than thou in this, it us just simply the way the world, the real actual world, works.

When you are discussing classic transsexuality (HBS), you are discussing an actual medical condition with an actual medical treatment modality that actually works 99% of the time. One that now can even be tested for, fits a very specific set of criteria, can be distinguished from autogynophilia (which despite the overly broad way Blanchard defined it is also an actual condition) and general, run of the mill, for lack of a better term, transness.

Elaine at 303.

Call me a man all you like, you'll be the one looking like a fool if you ever do in person, because you'll see something no one else can see.

The Empress is wearing clothes, call her naked all you like, she knows she is not.

I'll just choose to avoid you, should I ever meet you in person, to not have to deal with prejudice and false ideas based on dogma about who I am, when you don't even know who I am.

Please don't attack me, attack my arguments however you like. And yes that's another of those pesky rules of engagement that states that ad hominem are unproductive discussion derailments.

Keep in mind, I don't insult you, or call you a liar about who you are. The 'fool' comment above is an hypothetical only, if you do encounter me and go on to do what you said you would (relate to me as if I was a man).

battybattybats battybattybats | May 31, 2008 9:08 PM

Cathryn said:
"Words have actual meanings."

Hate to point this out to you but no word has an absolute concrete meaning. The meaning shifts from persons understanding to persons understanding, from repeated usage, from association. They do have meaning but theat meaning unavoidably will shift.

Example: Terrific. Originally meaning causing terror. Do you hear newsmen saying "the 9/11 attack was terrific"? No, because it has come to mean excellent, exciting and good.

Second example: Thing. It used to mean delliberative assembly. Do we hear newsmen say "The Prime Minister and The President spoke jointly before the Thing"? No, because it now means object.

Now the drifting or sudden extreme shifts of meaning has its positive and negative aspects. There is always the chance of having meanings without words in which case new words need to be coined or imported from other languages or existing words will take up that meaning. It's happened across the millenia, it's not remotely new.

Often political opponents will deliberatly try to control the meanings of words to associate negative notions with them.

Example: Cult. Used to mean religion. You could refer to the Catholic Cult, the Jewish Cult etc without a negative connotation. But opponents of emergent religions deliberatly demonised the word until it came to mean only small fringe apocalyptic religions using coercion and often ending in suicide. Thats why we now have the term Emergent Religions.

However most language shift is not deliberate. The deliberate shifting is mostly done with negative association, it is very difficult to add a positive or even a nuetral association or effect a positive or neutral shift of meaning unless it occurs naturally. note that spin doctors and ad agencies well versed in neuro-linguistic programming create new buzzwords and jargon rather than trying to ressurect or reform old jargon. Controlling memes is a tricky business.

So now Transexual means to many someone who changes sex characteristics, primary or secondary rather than requiring the changing of primary.
There wasn't a word for those changing only secondary characteristics so the meaning enveloped it, a rather predictible shift if you think about it.

Crossdresser is used in many but not all countries because transvestite was demonised in some to add negative, mostly sexual, associations. Regardless of who coined the term that is why it's use is common in some countries and not in others.

Linguistics. It's an interesting field of science and is more broader and complicated than most realise with huge intersections in psychology, philosophy, anthropology and politics.

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battybattybats battybattybats | May 31, 2008 9:30 PM

"And BBB, a woman from a tiny village in rural India has no problem detecting the womanhood of a western woman she meets even dressed in manish slacks and top with short hair and vice versa....... this is pretty much the universal I was referring to. All considerations of cultural gender roles aside, women still recognize other women without problem even when body cues are obscured. If one actually visits other cultures this becomes totally apparent by the way."

Hmm.. that doesn't match the anecdotes told me by anthropologists of their field work. Though the prevalance of westernised media even in rural India does make the evidence very time and location related.

And how androgynous physicly is the woman in your example? In my experience people from very different cultures often have a much greater difficulty determining the sex of androgynous people, even only slightly so. Seeing as the local University has had a large number of foreign students from many different countries for many years I and friends of mine have had plenty of direct personal experience with that and not just the goths.

You skipped entirely the points relating to Fafafini though. Could you explain how they fit into your Universal recognition of womanhood?

Oh and the capacity of some to pass behaviourally alternately as Men or Women?

battybattybats battybattybats | May 31, 2008 10:14 PM

It might be worth concidering some essential human rights intersections with this topic.

The right to self expression. People have a right to express thmselves however they see fit within the boundary of respecting all of other peoples human rights. Even when that expression includes body modifications like tattoos, piercings and more.

Crossdressing, transvestism, whatever anyone wants to call it regardless of motive does not intrinsicly cross that boundary. Irrespective of causation it is within a persons fundamental human rights.

The right to somatic sovereignty. People have a right to total control over their own bodies, what surgical and medical procedures are or are not performed on them. They have the right to decline treatment and the right to modify their bodies however they see fit from tribal initiation sacrification, simple ear piercing and substantial cosmetic surgery. This right is required for procedures like abortions and therefore is considered paramount by many.

Now there are many other contentious issues involving this right beyond just abortion. Any permanant or treatment decision made for someone who is rendered incapable of making their own decision at the time and is made on their behalf comes into this. The treatment of the unconcious, ressucitation, emergency blood transfusions (some object to this on religious grounds), the treatment of the comatose or severely mentally ill, treatments of childrn all come under this.

Adults like Jehovahs witnesses wanting to avoid blood transfusions or people who do not want to be resusitated may take precautions with medical alert bracelets, living wills or even tattoos to make a prior decision so that when rendered incapable of choice they will have the decision but this isn't always respected (or noticed) by medical practitioners at the time.

Children on the other hand are often many years away from the point where they can later agree with or regret the choices made on their behalf. That's why circumcision (male and female), intersex surgeries and others are important and interconnected human rights issues.

The right to culture. This is contentious, many claim that their right to culture, a valid right to claim, justifies male and/or female circumcision, body modifying intiation rituals etc. Actually it does, but only to the point where it does not interfere with any other peoples rights! So long as the person is consenting to the cultural practice uncoerced and fully informed then they have every right to them. A child cannot make many of those choices. They have the right to opt-out of the culture as much as to claim it so that any pemanant decision made on their behalf that doesn't take that possibility into account is not genuinly made in the best interests of the individual! Crossdressing, modification of sex characteristics and third sex catagories too have long traditions in many cultures. Many people have a right to claim these.

Arguments that failing to fit the HBS diagnoses should prevent SRS and even medicly supervised hormone treatment fails to take into account peoples rights to self expression, somatic sovereignty and often cultural rights too.

Arguments for (and even against) reparative treatment of gender non-conforming children or surgical treatment of intersex children need to take into account that thir is a responsibility to the childs future self expression and somatic soveriegnty.

Arguments for psychological therapy for non HBS people also needs to contend with these rights. A person must be incapable of choice or be chosing such therapy otherwise they are acting within their rights!

"Arguments that failing to fit the HBS diagnoses should prevent SRS and even medicly supervised hormone treatment fails to take into account peoples rights to self expression, somatic sovereignty and often cultural rights too."

What you are calling somatic sovereighty is but another distortion. You are using "somatic sovereighty" as a male entitlement.

HBS is not about "self expression". The only reparative therapy for HBS is reassignment surgery which ultimately is a repair of a bodily deformity.

I really don't care about your male hegemonies and other hoops you are establishing for people to jump through, especially since you don't pay any attention to them yourself.

How about you Cathryn? Do you feel a need to jump through hoops?

Mame Du Bois wrote:

The politicisation of the transsexual body is alarming. No-one has the right to make judgments on another persons body and to make judgments about another persons identity.
I must disagree. The various legislatures and courts, and even the medical profession, have, if not the right, then the power to make such judgements.

They do so, and it affects us, whenever we seek to marry, or get a passport, to have or avoid surgery, or even to use a rest room. We may not be interested in politics, but politics is intimately interested in us.

Cathryn wrote:

Women don't have penises, something everyone from rest of the world who didn't dive down the trans rabbit hole seems to take as a given.
Thereby ignoring a lot of Intersexed women who indeed, have penises. Also working female reproductive systems, some have borne children. Cathryn, you should get out more. Biology is messy. You are making common-sense statements that nearly everyone agrees on, but which are contrary to the facts. You are treating IS people in much the same way that the world treats TS ones.

Elaine wrote:

Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is not transexual at all. They are transgenderists.
This sounds a lot like the flat, imperative statements such as "People with at least one Y chromosome cannot be women. They are men."

No proof or argument, just a flat statement, an axiom of definition that cannot be the subject of reasoned rebuttal. Some such statements are true, but most are not, and few are useful.

How much surgery is required? Is SRS plus FFS plus AM needed, or just SRS? What about a "barbie doll" SRS that gives no vaginal opening? What about orchiectomy? What about those TS women with hypogonadism, who don't actually have a penis to be re-shaped? How long does the structure have to be before you classify it as a microphallus rather than a megaclitoris? What about FtoMs?

I don't know how many times to say it, but it is not that simple. Ghu knows I've tried to put things in neat boxes, but I can't.

On one end we have women, capable of bearing children, 46xx chromosomes, brought up in a female socialisation. At the other end, we have men, 46xy chromosomes, capable of being fathers, brought up in a male socialisation. All nice and neat and black and white, and covering well over 95% of the population.

But it soon gets blurry. We recognise women as still being women even if they are barren, or have had mastectomies or hysterectomy. Even if they have PCOS and a full beard. We recognise men as still being men even if they are infertile, or have been "injured in the stones", or have gynecamastea.

Further on, we have people who are 47xxy, or have 5ARD and change appearance from F to M through a natural process. People with cross-gendered neurology of varying degrees. People with cross-gendered genitalia, or endocrine systems, or chromosomes, of various degrees. Biology is messy.

And just in case that wasn't complex enough, masculine sexuality is such that some men have paraphilias, and get a sexual thrill out of faking a female appearance. And some women revolt against the historical oppression they've received, and become "sworn virgins" and socially male.

I identify as a woman. One with an unusual medical situation. TS with IS complications, IS with TS complications, whatever. I'm not at all happy that there is no neat dividing line. I really would like there to be. I'm no "gender outlaw" or "gender bender", the whole idea upsets me. Yes, I buy into the whole gender binary thing, I'm comfortable with it. I just cannot, despite all my attempts, draw neat divides when there are none. It's like asking whether yellow is more blue than red.

Zoe,

Inersexed? Let's put it this way, you are male enough to impregnate a woman and father a child.

Women are female and cannot impregnate other women.

But there is something beyond that. You say you "identify as". It doesn't make any difference how someone identifies. Someone with an identify of female isn't going to father a child because it is contrary to their identity. "Identify as" are words. Impregnating a woman and becoming a father are actions which negate the words.

It's this kind of contradiction which run rampant in transworld and makes it into a fantasy land.

Is it funny to throw around feminist terms out of context to shut down discussion? Cause I don't see what other purpose they may serve. Do they enlighten us on anything? Do they further the discussion?

They seem only to serve as a "I'm right, now stop discussing." device in this here case.

Elaine, feel free to not believe Zoe is a woman, but I will. Many others will, and yes, from mainstream society as well.

You can't make everyone else think your way, while there is no need for me or anyone else to make them think another way. I pray for the day when gender-variance is seen as nothing special and receives the shrug a "Today I got this for lunch at school" would receive.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 1, 2008 4:30 AM

"What you are calling somatic sovereighty is but another distortion. You are using "somatic sovereighty" as a male entitlement."

I'm what now?

I'm talking about universal human rights that apply universally to all humans. It's a human entitlement. Denying it to anyone is a crime against humanity. Denying it to any class of people is an unethical discrimination.

Thats how the whole notion of human rights works!

My comments were sex non-specific applying equally to all sexes sexualities races ages abilities religions classes etc as all human rights do even though the application and protection of those rights is in much of the world far from equal yet.

Somatic sovereignty isn't the only term used but it's the one i prefer. Regardless it is the notion that all human beings have entire ownership and control over their own bodies.

I'd like you to please explain how that becomes a male entitlement. Especially when everything I discussed applies equally to MtF and FtM people, applies to cis males and females too (circumcision) and applies to intersex people of all variations where corrective surgery may be involved.

How the heck does discussing all people covered by this universal human right as being universally covered by this human right become 'male entitlement'?

And a distortion? How I am distorting the way that this human right intersects with the issues being discussed here?

The principles of autonomy equality and liberty are the philisophical basis of the right. How is it remotely distorted in my discussion of it?

You might disagree with this being a right, you might disagree with human rights in general but to claim equality is inequality?

Elaine wrote:

Let's put it this way, you are male enough to impregnate a woman and father a child.

*SIGH* No I wasn't. I was able to father a child, but impregnation wasn't involved. For that I would have needed rather more than a partially working testis, and not needed technical help to extract gametes. Had you read my story with any comprehension, you might have picked up on this. You are letting your malignant misandry get in the way.

I have stated that I took full advantage of male privilege. Contrary to your philosophy, that doesn't require actually having a penis either.

The degree of wilful misunderstanding and deliberate ignorance of Intersex issues shown by some groups is astounding. We can speak, but they will not listen.

Arrogance and insensitivity are not purely male traits. The Patriarchy is not alone in denying and belittling the narratives of nonconformant women.

The Fanatical Fringe of the Radical Feminists are notorious for using "male" as an insult that puts an end to all rational thought, much as "commie" is used by right-wing fanatics. While claiming to abolish gender, they rigidly reinforce it with ever more rigid and tighter definitions of "womyn born womyn". While pretending to inclusivity and being progressive, in practice they are exclusive and reactionary.

Your clarion call for the persecution of all people who dare to become parents in the only way biologically possible for them, simply because your philosophy neither understands nor approves, exposes the appalling lack of human empathy inherent in your belief system. It's not just misandry, it's Xenophobia.

"Your clarion call for the persecution of all people who dare to become parents in the only way biologically possible for them, simply because your philosophy neither understands nor approves, exposes the appalling lack of human empathy inherent in your belief system. It's not just misandry, it's Xenophobia."

Are you out of your mind? I've just said that by definition females are not fathers and females do not impregnate other females. And if its biologically possible to impregnate a female - that rather makes you a biological male.

I haven't made any clarion calls. I haven't said you should be persecuted.

What I have said is that trans world is a fantasyland. I rather like Cathryn's phrase, "rabbit hole".

battybattybats battybattybats | June 1, 2008 10:42 AM

When data doesn't fit current models of the world constructed by huan minds to understand it, it is not the data that is fantasy but the model that doesn't adequatly account for it.

You may find it as dissorienting and counter-intuitive as many newtonian physicists found relativity and quantum physics did. The latter has often been compared to Lewis Carrols writings too.

Yet the data remains, 'damned' as Fort referred to it or otherwise.

Clinging to simplistic definitions, shoe-horning data into one box or another to make them fit a broken system, requiring the data to fit the theory rather than adapting the theory to fit the data is dogmatism.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 1, 2008 10:55 AM

If a woman is "somewho has been socially consituted as a woman in her given society and who has a critical embrace of women as an identity."

Then a man must be someone who has been socially consituted as a man in his given society and who has a critical embrace of man as an identity.

So then, what are all the people who do not fit all of these catagories? Neither men nor women by your definitions!

What also are the arguments that counter the Human Rights issues? (and why don't those arguments consequently then justify totalitarianism, oppression of people especially women and minorities, slavery etc)

Dayum the tread that wont die enough already this thread is repeating it self ladies.All it has stated is that there are gender bigots who will never accept Trans folks and those who have to have a medical reason for being trans.

I break that mold totaly I am female always have been no matter what body my soul inhabits she is female just this time she let her male host ie me learn she was about and she wanted out thank you kindly. So chill relax and move on to a new topic this one has been beat to death.

Love ya
Caty

Elaine

And if its biologically possible to impregnate a female - that rather makes you a biological male.
I'll make this simple, since you still don't understand.

I impregnated no-one. I wasn't biologically capable of impregnating anyone. I don't know how to say this more simply. Impregnation requires a penis, not just testes. Fatherhood requires only the latter. Now I'm not going to draw a diagram of my genitalia, past or present, but your obtuseness in this matter shows either a wilful blindness, or a lack of imagination and breathtaking biological ignorance of the scope of Intersex conditions.

I haven't made any clarion calls. I haven't said you should be persecuted.
You're on record as saying, and I quote the exact words:
I would hope all late transistioners would be precluded from allowed or to be able to falsify their documentation.
And in this and other posts effectively defining "falsify" to mean "make any correction I personally don't approve of, and regardless of biology", no matter how much misery that may cause. Your apparent intent, as shown by your words, is to make life impossible for all late transitioners (including myself) because you don't approve of our existence. You have continually misrepresented the most elementary facts in my own situation, and not just disrespected, but actually called for the causing of harm to all those whose gender does not meet your ..peculiar.. definition. I don't need to say that such an attitude is self-evidently cruel and utterly inhuman.

But enough of the editorialising. I'll let your words speak for themselves.

The full quote of Elaine's words is as follows:

From: Elaine
"If late transitioners are all going to be classified as paraphiliacs in the DSM, along with fetishists, necrophiliacs and the like, what are the odds of us retaining the ability to change birth certificates, marry, or even legally access to hormones or surgery, no matter what medical professionals may deem necessary?"
I would hope all late transistioners would be precluded from allowed or to be able to falsify their documentation.

It's here for all to see, mis-spelling and all.

The space worries about misandry and not misogyny and there's a reason for that. The trans movement comes from a male social perspective.

Yes, later transitioners have made their choices to lives the lives of men. They are not socially consituted as women which is to say they have not led the lives women lead. They have no socially female experience base not do they have a woman's social standpoint.

This being the case they are not and cannot be women. I didn't advocate persecuting them. I advocated their not being provided with false credentials which would imply they are women. Surgery doesn't alter their life experiences which is which constitutes a woman. Surgery doesn't touch those experiences. What I have done is to hold these people accountable for the choices they have made with full adult male agency in this society. That's all. A part of male privilege is that men are not held accountable for the choices they make in their lives.

My crime is that I make these choices visible. One person here said, "I will see her as a female". That's the collusion. That's the deal making that goes on in transworld.

By that logic, anyone with concerns about Homophobia has to be Gay.

I have concerns about RadFem fanaticism because of its inherent misandry and xenophobia, which leads it to identify anything strange or outside its experience as male, and thus to be hated and feared by definition. Thus the Transphobia, which extends to Intersex conditions too.

How do you account for transmen? Even your ideological guru Janice Raymond put them in the "too hard" basket because they didn't fit her pre-determined narrative. Are you as dismissive of their narratives too?

battybattybats battybattybats | June 1, 2008 9:36 PM

Elaine,
people are still entitled to change their minds. It's another fundamental human right! The right to withdraw consent or make a different choice at any time.

Also you might like to look up the words 'denial' and 'repression' which appear to be missing from your vocabulary.

Many people take decades to come to terms with all manner of things in life from childhood trauma and abuse to things like sexuality. Should we force lesbians who only come to accept that they are lesbians after living as heterosexuals to only have sex with men for the rest of their lives because they didn't come to self-acceptance until later in life? Should we force women in abusive relationships to stay in them because they made a mistake in entering into them in the first place? Of course not! So we can't make an esception in this, the principle is already set. Some people are more able to stand up to social pressures and conditioning than others.

As for life experiences constituting a woman, which ones? After all not all social conditioning is good... Which life ecperiences constitute a man also? Again the Fafafini comes to mind.

Also there is an assumption that all males have equal male privilege. I always find this argument amusing as it ignores the hierarchical nature of human social structures in every group and catagory and entirely dissmisses that a person can belong to multiple oppressed classes, that some can be further down the pyramid than others.

Judging by violence, joblessness, homelessness, family abandonment, ostracism and legal discrimination trans people are far more oppressed than cis women.

If we look at it from another perspective it could be argued that rather than an unfair advantage obtained by closeted trans people instead there is a substantial suffering of closeted trans people bullied and terrorised by these risks into remaining hidden and in self-denial. The question is, which is more valuable? Being able to be ones self or the advantages of being classed as male? That so many end up deciding that being trans or being female is more valuable to them than being male despite the loss of privelege and the added risks of violence, joblessness, homelessness, family abandonment, ostracism etc is evidence that being true to themselves is found to be far more important.

These people are not responsible for the circumstances of their birth. They are socially and psychologicly repressed into denial of themselves which often takes many years to undo. Even if it takes some decades these people are willing to risk greater discrimination, to give up privilege and be recognised as a member of an oppressed class.

You can try and claim they are at the top of the privilege pile but in statistical fact out trans people are almost always at the bottom of every catagory.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 1, 2008 9:59 PM

"The trans movement comes from a male social perspective."

It does? So the FtM are guys but the MtF's are also guys?
On Pam's House Blend one person responded to my questions as to FtM's and TG being a 'mens movement' with the comment:

"They are not the dominant thinkers, movers and shakers in the movement.
From what I have read, you never hear from the FTM and you don't hear much in the way of ideology coming from them."

So I asked some!
"I asked some Trans Men
Whether Trans Men are under-represented. As I said I would. This is what they said."

"As far as I can tell, and from all the statistics I've found, FTM and MTF transexuals exist at a roughly 50:50 ratio. But withing the MTF 'grouping' there is a large number of crosdressers, transvestites ect who are part of the transgender cominity, wheras in the FTM comunity there are comparativly verry few (not non, but a few).
And so of the transgendere comunity as a hole, FTMs are in quite the minority. (as per the whole 'men in skirts are crosdresers, women in trousers is normal' thing sociaty has going on at the moment) "


"I see a lot of very active FtM trans rights workers.
My viewpoint is biased, though. I seek them out, often to the exclusion of MtF writers and activists.

Which actually proves an interesting point of failure in your "friend's" logic, Batty - if you don't bother to research something you won't know it's there. I'm willing to be she's never bothered to look up Jamison Green or Raven Caldera, to read their work. "

"I also know of plenty of FTMs who are activists - people such as Stephen Whittle OBE, Lewis Turner, Mark Rees, Jamison Green etc, not to mention those of us who organise things on a much more local level to improve the everyday lives of trans men and women. "


"Generally, trans guys aren't seen by the general public as trans - we either pass, or we're seen as women (unlike MtF's who either pass or are seen as transgendered). (There are obviously exceptions; this is just overall)."

And one Trans Woman added:

"*Points to Prof. Stephen Whittle (OBE)*
http://www.pfc.org.uk/node/55
http://www.law.mmu.ac.uk/staff...

You'll note he's President-Elect of WPATH (formerly WBIGDA) & Vice-President of Press For Change (the primary UK trans political grouping). "

So then, how does it come from a male social perspective? Either the MtF's are women and the FtM's are men or the MtF's are men and the FtM's are women or both are really neither or both are both but how can it be argued that they are all only men? What can justify that seeming double standard?

Choices and Responsibility...

- I'll quote from "The Desire to have Children and the Preservation of Fertility in Transsexual Women: A Survey:

Transsexual women and transgender individuals, who undergo feminising hormone treatment, are confronted with the loss of their fertility. This has been considered a ‘price to pay’, and was sometimes thought to be beneficial for the transitioning process. Breaking completely with the past as a male and losing the possibility to ‘father’ a child, often was, and still is, considered a psychological prerequisite for a successful transition into the female role. However, times have changed, and the ideas about what are essential prerequisites for a successful transition for transsexuals have evolved. Individuals who are already parents are no longer excluded from treatment, transsexual women who are sexually attracted to women are no longer excluded, and transsexual women who have a rather masculine build are no longer excluded. And fortunately, most therapists now agree that the loss of fertility is not a prerequisite for a successful transition anymore (Meyer et al., 2001).
Yes that's right, Elaine, only attractive, conformal, stereotyped women needed apply, no matter what their age. No lesbians - they weren't really women. No feminists, or bra-burners. No-one "mannish". No-one like you, you'd be considered too opinionated and domineering. Not feminine enough to be a real female.

It was Patriarchal oppression at its worst. Some did what they could to build as normal a life as they could, anyway.
This change in policy only happened in this country 12 years ago - in some clinics. In others, it still is practiced.

Your argument about "taking responsibility for one's actions" is one usually heard from paleolithic judges blaming rape victims for not dressing more conservatively.

Modern reproductive techniques easily allow sperm freezing and insemination or in vitro fertilisation in order to have a child with a female partner. This would allow a transsexual woman to have her own genetic child within a future lesbian relationship (Lawrence et al., 1996). Many fertility centres currently offer treatment to lesbian couples and in a growing number of countries same-sex marriages or unions are now legally accepted. We therefore believe that sperm freezing should be discussed and offered to every transsexual woman, prior to hormonal treatment, similar to men undergoing treatment for a malignancy (De Sutter, 2001).
Or do you object to all lesbian couples having children, not just some? Are the non-maternal partners to have their femininity denied too?

"Also you might like to look up the words 'denial' and 'repression' which appear to be missing from your vocabulary."

1.) You are totally condescending.

2.) I know what they mean.

3.) To me they ar totally irrelevant to this discussion.

Here's why for number three. Look at Cathryn. She didn't seem to deny or repress anything. If you listen to the "who they are" silliness, denial and repression conflict with that assertion because one can't repress something like what Cathryn describes.

The question becomes rather obvious, and how could such as astute philosopher miss it (all the while noting that a man is speaking for these people who has never had their experience), what is it that they are denying and repressing? Secondly there is another question. What would be the motivation for that? There are unacceptable surface answer to the question, because trans likes to slide away from these questions. The unacceptable answers would be the usual ones that rattled off: family, peer pressure etc. Again, someone like Cathryn may weigh these issues with gravity but, it seems that she was clear about what she needed to do impelled as if she were an irrestible force. Late transitioners choose to live their lives as men and unavoidably become.... men.

Lucy Bright | June 2, 2008 4:02 AM

"They are not socially consituted as women which is to say they have not led the lives women lead. They have no socially female experience base not do they have a woman's social standpoint.

This being the case they are not and cannot be women. "

So now gender is socially constructed? Then why aren't you telling the HBS women that they're 'really' men too? Be consistent in your bigotry, please! Or is gender formed only after the age of 18?

Elaine,

Late transitioners choose to live their lives as men...

Which part of

...transsexual women who have a rather masculine build are no longer excluded...
Did you not understand? Especially since in many places, they still are?

Under those circumstances, it's repress or die. Not many manage to repress. Some do.

...and unavoidably become.... men.
Now that is a different issue, and one that needs addressing. Assuming that they do indeed "live as men" and not "live as women pretending to be men out of necessity".

But if they become men... how come they transition? The only men who transition are those with female bodies.

Perhaps we can clear up, or at least put bounds on, our mutual incomprehension.

Please define "female" and "male", and tell us if the union of the two covers the universal set of all people.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 2, 2008 10:43 AM

"1.) You are totally condescending. "

Not normally but I was in this case. You have a point. I apologise.

I should have said something like: 'You are dismissing the possibility of denial and repression which seems utterly ridiculous as these should be expected in significant numbers of people in any oppressed group where people are substantially pressured to conform in behaviour to the expectations of others.'

"The question becomes rather obvious, and how could such as astute philosopher miss it (all the while noting that a man is speaking for these people who has never had their experience), what is it that they are denying and repressing? Secondly there is another question. What would be the motivation for that? There are unacceptable surface answer to the question, because trans likes to slide away from these questions. The unacceptable answers would be the usual ones that rattled off: family, peer pressure etc. Again, someone like Cathryn may weigh these issues with gravity but, it seems that she was clear about what she needed to do impelled as if she were an irrestible force. Late transitioners choose to live their lives as men and unavoidably become.... men."

Except that some people are clear that they are gay from a very early age and some people take till late in their lives to come to terms with it. Some go for much of their lives in deep denial. Many commit suicide because of the pressures you consider irrelevant. Why should this be any different?

I suggest that there is no opperative difference between them, some people are clear and direct and open from the start, some go into hiding, some go into denial and repress or supress things. This varies depending on degree of pressure to conform, levels of tolerance of difference, strength of individual will, personality type, the nature of their family and friend relationships and a whole host more.

Also as has been mentioned we should EXPECT that neurological cause/s would be like many other neurological conditions and have variation. Thusly we should expect extreme cases where one would expect there to be a substantial inability to conform such as Cathryn describes and less severe cases who would be much more able to force themselves despite the suffering caused by such to conform to the behaviours expected of them especially in public.

Pointing out Cathryn's experience is a false argument. Her experience is valid but that does not mean it can be used as a measure for everyone. Some gay people know from early childhood, some discover they are gay during puberty, some try to avoid admitting it to themselves, some manage to keep that up till late in life.

I've known CFS sufferers who made their disability drasticly worse in their desperate attempts to avoid acknowledging the reality of it, especially because of the stigma and discrimination that has been associated with it in the past.

When people are faced with becoming identified as a member of an extremely opressed group frequently targets of violence, it would be irrational to assume some trans people would not do the same thing without strong evidence that the situation would invariably preclude that.

Pressures that drive some to suicide or repression that others can endure are clearly not inconsequential. Those pressures are particularly extreme for many trans people. Surely that is obvious!

battybattybats battybattybats | June 2, 2008 11:34 AM

So lets see..

We have a substantial lack of decent sized comparative studies to compare the different models on a biological basis but there are a few interesting testable predictions raised so far based on notions of variable or invariable neurological intersex, epigenetics and it's possible causation of anatomical, neurological and possibly even behavioural intersex and also psychology as to whether certain personality types are more prevalent in HBS transgender etc.

We have several Human Rights issues involving each model and carrying across to a lot of related issues from intersex to circumcision to abortion. These are yet to be fully explored from all viewpoints however.

We have ethics issues on reparative treatment and experimentation.

We have varying suggestions as to what constitutes womanhood and manhood. Anatomy, neurology, genetics, social construction etc (I'm suspecting it's likely a gestalt made of biological and socio-cultural componenents with no single component being always neccessarily present to be a woman but instead a majority of woman-associated components compared to man associated components with some people having very slim majorities and some being equally split between the two)

And we have a lot of dogmatic assertions.

There is still a lot to be explored in this discussion.

For example. Even if late transitioners do choose to live life as men or women (lets not forget the late transitioning FtM's!) but eventually change their mind, realise their mistake and want to transition why should they not do so?

Don't they still have several human rights that should ensure they should be able to?

And for those who put forward concrete notions of who is male and who is female (no matter the criteria anatomy or social construction) what then are the people who fit neither?

ROTFL! I was not aware that this was remotely an academic discussion. Especially given that most here seem to lack sufficient credentials to engage in such a conversation.

Beyond that, I stand by my comment. You can be a woman, or you can be transgender, but not both. People may wish to ignore reality, but that does not change facts. If you present to the world as transgender, you are not really going to be seen as a woman. That speaks for itself. It does not require any further proof. You may believe your own delusions...and accept the politically correct comments of people who will claim to see you as something they do not, but if you are really honest with yourself, you will admit the truth.

And these constant attempts to define the rule are getting tiresome.

"And for those who put forward concrete notions of who is male and who is female (no matter the criteria anatomy or social construction) what then are the people who fit neither?"

If you will notice I have never argued biology.

Class membership does relate to genitalia.

My criteria are for a lifelong herstory of a contra-classed identity. A person will live and make choices consistent with that identity. With a long life manifestation of a contraclassed identity they will have a social standpoint consistent with the class of their identity. This excludes a trans identity. They will also have genital correction is also part of my criteria.

For some people it matters less than it does for others.

Some people wouldn't be seen dead with pink hair (even if they like it), and some absolutely don't care what other people think of it.

I'm interested in lolita fashion and I was surprised to see many girls (born with the factory set genitalia) liking it but being too scared to wear something like it.

If it wasn't for my social anxiety I'd wear clothes like that more often, I don't really care what people think of it, but I can't handle stares when alone.

Some people are less heavily gendered than others. They attach less importance to it, and maybe make it clear to friends, acquaintances and family, that they don't care for being treated like a man or a woman, treat them as human beings and they'll be happy.

Some are just the notch above on either side. And like Zoe said above, feeling you'll never pass and having reason for concern is a pretty big deterrent to transitioning.

I thought I wouldn't be perceived as female at first, but I think everyone does at first. And slowly you become aware that you can, all that self-doubt lessens considerably. Some have to spend hundreds of thousands to be perceived as female - and some simply don't have that kind of cash.

If I wasn't already perceived as female...I probably wouldn't ever be. Facial Feminization Surgery is waaaaayyy out of my league.

For those that just *know* they'll only be seen as a weirdo and not anything remotely female, the doubts are much higher, and the incentive to hold back much higher.

You may be weird for a guy, but at least you're not seen as a freak by everyone you meet. I'm only seen as a freak by psychiatrists (because they know about me), though they say I'm sane too.

If my life was to be hell either way, I'd probably have killed myself. Because I'm heavily gendered. As it stands, my life isn't hell, so it's better than before.

I make no distinction between transwomen and the standard factory model here, as neurologically, there is no distinction.

Now I have to vehemently disagree with this statement. Anyone who would accept the label of transwomen is radically different from a woman. As I said, you can be a woman, or you can be transgender, but you can't be both.

And why any woman would wish to bring up anything from their past that effectively denies their being a woman (i.e. "outing" oneself) is also beyond me.

But again, this sort of issue is at the heart of the entire matter. Some are quite happy to be transgender. That is truly their identity, not "woman.

Someone who has chosen not to have surgery is somehow less of a transsexual than one who opts to have it. A woman who has had a mastectomy due to cancer and who chooses NOT to have reconstruction is no less a woman than one who chooses the reconstruction - and many choose not too.

Okay, this is the kind of remark that absolutely puzzles me. This is, of course, classic trangender rhetoric and is a principal reason why I reject the entire transgender model.

In short, it is absurd.

Women don't have penises. It is that simple. If you have a penis, and you willing keep it, then you are not a woman. End of story. Breasts are a secondary sexual characteristic. Some women are well endowed, some are positively flat chested, but they are all still women. But none of them have a desire to have a penis. If they do, well then they are men. In fact, they are generally viewed as being FTM transsexuals.

Now, I, like some others, have abandoned the term "transsexual" mainly because it has increasingly been co-opted by the porn industry. But I honestly don't undertand this need to try to muddy the waters by claiming to be a "transsexual" who does not desire surgery. For a very long time, that term was reserved for those who had, or who were seeking, surgical correction. It was easily understood. You have a penis, you want to keep it, you are not a transsexual. You want it gone, you are a transsexual. But some decided that was not good enough. They had to claim that title when they had no right to it. They wanted to be non-op transsexuals. Why is this? Are they ashamed to admit that they are what they are? Do they think that they will fool anyone? Or are they just fooling themselves?

Ah, but you see some didn't transition to be transsexuals........rather to be women or men. Women don't have penises, something everyone from rest of the world who didn't dive down the trans rabbit hole seems to take as a given.

Here's a hint....breasts are a secondary sexual charateristic, a vagina is a primary one. If you choose not to have primary sexual characteristics (as opposed to cannot for legitimate medical reasons) those in the greater world can hardly be faulted for questioning your sex. To me, most telling is the almost pathological need of those who "choose" not to have surgery to continually announce that choice.

Those are all good points. I also find the need to announce the decision to not have surgery most puzzling.

I certainly realize that surgery is not for all. But then, neither is being a woman. I certainly did not transition and have surgery to be a transsexual. The only reason I did it was to be a woman.

HBS was coined because transgenderists rendered the term transsexual meaningless. You might not like this, that would be tough...it's the truth and not "dogma". Since words do have actual meanings.....yes, sometimes others get to tell you what you are. While the condition is self diagnosised, fitting the condition is subject to actual fitting within the definition, not your personal whim or desire. There is nothing elitist or holier than thou in this, it us just simply the way the world, the real actual world, works.

Ultimately, it is quite insulting when people try to claim to be transsexuals when they are not because it modifies the real meaning of the term.

And the common claim that transsexualism or HBS is self-diagnosed is not really true. One may first come to believe that one is a transsexual, or HBS, until a professional concurs in that diagnosis it is effectively meaningless.

The Empress is wearing clothes, call her naked all you like, she knows she is not.

I'll just choose to avoid you, should I ever meet you in person, to not have to deal with prejudice and false ideas based on dogma about who I am, when you don't even know who I am.

Please don't attack me, attack my arguments however you like. And yes that's another of those pesky rules of engagement that states that ad hominem are unproductive discussion derailments.

Keep in mind, I don't insult you, or call you a liar about who you are. The 'fool' comment above is an hypothetical only, if you do encounter me and go on to do what you said you would (relate to me as if I was a man).

Actually, someone who admantly insists that they are a woman in spite of having a penis, and wishing to keep it, has effectively called their own self a man. I'm sorry, but no that is not an insult. That is just simple truth.

As has been pointed out, being a woman is NOT about appearance. A lot of people look very "passable," but they are not remotely women. They can fool people to a point, but the truth rapidly becomes obvious. Again, that is not an insult. That is just an observation of fact.

So now Transexual means to many someone who changes sex characteristics, primary or secondary rather than requiring the changing of primary. There wasn't a word for those changing only secondary characteristics so the meaning enveloped it, a rather predictible shift if you think about it.

Again, I have to ask why some wish to confuse things by changing the meaning of the term "transsexual?" What is gained by this? Do they really think they can fool people? Do they really think they can improve their status by effectively lying? They may change the meaning of the term, but they do not become what the term used to mean. That is one of the primary reasons that HBS was coined. Because transsexual had shifted meaning, and it was felt that the differences still mattered. Calling yourself a transsexual does not change anything. It simply means you are trying to deceive others into believing you are not what you are. It does not magically make a man with a penis into a woman.

So now Transexual means to many someone who changes sex characteristics, primary or secondary rather than requiring the changing of primary. There wasn't a word for those changing only secondary characteristics so the meaning enveloped it, a rather predictible shift if you think about it.

Again, I have to ask why some wish to confuse things by changing the meaning of the term "transsexual?" What is gained by this? Do they really think they can fool people? Do they really think they can improve their status by effectively lying? They may change the meaning of the term, but they do not become what the term used to mean. That is one of the primary reasons that HBS was coined. Because transsexual had shifted meaning, and it was felt that the differences still mattered. Calling yourself a transsexual does not change anything. It simply means you are trying to deceive others into believing you are not what you are. It does not magically make a man with a penis into a woman.

Thereby ignoring a lot of Intersexed women who indeed, have penises. Also working female reproductive systems, some have borne children. Cathryn, you should get out more. Biology is messy. You are making common-sense statements that nearly everyone agrees on, but which are contrary to the facts. You are treating IS people in much the same way that the world treats TS ones.

Okay, now we are getting into actual fiction. Intersexed women do not have penises. This would be especially true if the intersex condition was not severe enough to render them infertile. They may have an enlarged clitoris, but it is not a penis. That is just an absurd claim that has no basis in truth. It appears to be a desperate attempt to create an argument where none exists.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 2, 2008 9:45 PM

Elaine said: "If you will notice I have never argued biology."

Well you did and you didn't as you did state that socio-cultural construction somehow precluded those with male anatomy from womanhood.

However if you will notice, other people other than you have also put forward claims to a concrete definition based on other criteria than your own.

You needn't reiterate your criteria, the question is if such a strict view is taken what then are those who do not fit that definition. Assuming that the criteria for 'man' is the same formula as 'woman' but with the word man in place of woman then there are quite a significant minority of people who do not git in either. If we accept your definition what then are these people?

J.J. said: "Beyond that, I stand by my comment. You can be a woman, or you can be transgender, but not both. People may wish to ignore reality, but that does not change facts. If you present to the world as transgender, you are not really going to be seen as a woman. That speaks for itself. It does not require any further proof. You may believe your own delusions...and accept the politically correct comments of people who will claim to see you as something they do not, but if you are really honest with yourself, you will admit the truth."

Sorry but you are presuming that everyone who says they don't think like you really do and must be liars. Thats bogus. I do know a large number of people who do in fact recognise someone who identifies as transgender and they are still considered as a woman. You assume all these people are liars to prop up your theory. You shoehorn the data to try to cram it into somewhere it doesn't fit.

"And these constant attempts to define the rule are getting tiresome."

And the intelligent design and creationism crowd get upset with the same thing because they'd like not-science to be counted as science so they make the same objection whenever they must deal with reasonable scrutiny and standards of reason and evidence when they try and assert their views based on faith as objective fact. Not dissing peoples religious views mind you, only the false wittness of calling non-science science. Con-artists, sales people and advertising companies also object to the same things. It's harder to manipulate and hoodwink people when you have to deal with 'standards' and 'logic' and 'evidence'.

"And the common claim that transsexualism or HBS is self-diagnosed is not really true. One may first come to believe that one is a transsexual, or HBS, until a professional concurs in that diagnosis it is effectively meaningless."

Sorry, but it meant a lot to me, way before I saw a shrink. I don't particularly like shrinks, either. The only reason I got a diagnosis was to have an endocrinologist, cause I could have gone other ways to get hormones. I've had hormones for nearly 2 years without a diagnosis.

"Actually, someone who admantly insists that they are a woman in spite of having a penis, and wishing to keep it, has effectively called their own self a man. I'm sorry, but no that is not an insult. That is just simple truth.

As has been pointed out, being a woman is NOT about appearance. A lot of people look very "passable," but they are not remotely women. They can fool people to a point, but the truth rapidly becomes obvious. Again, that is not an insult. That is just an observation of fact."

Quote me where I said I would keep it? I said I had one now. Never said I wanted to keep it. Though I'm too poor to afford surgery, and I don't know when I'd have the means to. If it's impossible I will probably take my own life, or go unsavory ways to get it (still legal). Most likely suicide since my morals probably won't let me in those 'unsavory ways' - and even then I might lose more than I'd think.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 2, 2008 9:55 PM

"But again, this sort of issue is at the heart of the entire matter. Some are quite happy to be transgender. That is truly their identity, not "woman."

Not everyone thinks like you do. Some would say that a transgender woman is not a cis woman but that both are women. Just women with different circumstances of birth.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 2, 2008 10:13 PM

"Okay, this is the kind of remark that absolutely puzzles me. This is, of course, classic trangender rhetoric and is a principal reason why I reject the entire transgender model.

In short, it is absurd."

I've read arguments from cis women feminists that those woman who have reconstruction or those who do not are in one form or another not feminists, victims of the patriarchy and more.

"Ultimately, it is quite insulting when people try to claim to be transsexuals when they are not because it modifies the real meaning of the term."

You might like to read my previous post on language. An imediate family member is a qualified linguist so you might find the information quite useful.

"Actually, someone who admantly insists that they are a woman in spite of having a penis, and wishing to keep it, has effectively called their own self a man. I'm sorry, but no that is not an insult. That is just simple truth.

As has been pointed out, being a woman is NOT about appearance. A lot of people look very "passable," but they are not remotely women. They can fool people to a point, but the truth rapidly becomes obvious. Again, that is not an insult. That is just an observation of fact."

But many people do not define someone a man or woman based on their genitals.

The definitions you use are not universal so you'll have to accept that what is true to you is not so to everyone.

And passing is not about just appearance. It involves verbal and non verbal communications, word choice, tone, mannerisms and more. Like everything else it varies and much of those mannerisms, body language, vocal tones, word choice etc are culturally specific learned behaviour.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 2, 2008 10:20 PM

"Again, I have to ask why some wish to confuse things by changing the meaning of the term "transsexual?" What is gained by this? Do they really think they can fool people? Do they really think they can improve their status by effectively lying? They may change the meaning of the term, but they do not become what the term used to mean. That is one of the primary reasons that HBS was coined. Because transsexual had shifted meaning, and it was felt that the differences still mattered. Calling yourself a transsexual does not change anything. It simply means you are trying to deceive others into believing you are not what you are. It does not magically make a man with a penis into a woman."

You failed to comprehend my post on language. Where there is a meaning without an appropriate word either one is created, borrowed from another language or a current word absorbs the meaning.

No lying, no deception, just the natural shifting of language as well understood by linguists! And as many views on gender and sex shifted the words meanings shifted with them as part of the broader psycho-social landscape!

JJ - see "Reduction of the hypertrophied clitoris: surgical refinements of the old techniques.
Selvaggi G, Ressa CM, Ostuni G, Selvaggi L"

In adulthood, the phallus was about 2 cm long (Fig. 1) and increased to about 3.5 cm with arousal.
A nose by any other name would smell.

Some women don't like the idea of surgeons chopping up their malformed genitalia. The surgery's getting better, but there's a lot of butchers out there.

As for me... no I couldn't live with what I had. OK, I could, but only in the same sense that I could live with blindness or paraplegia.

I wanted to look normal for once in my life, not "ambiguous" or worse, "masculinised". I was willing to blow my life savings on it, endure pain, the risk of death etc. Of course I was. My partner had power of attorney in case I ended up in a persistent vegetative state, I had my will updated, I'd even sent the non-refundable deposit before getting my letters from the shrinks.

But monster of arrogance and ego that I am, I do not expect others to feel the same way. I've seen cancer patients die rather than have surgery. I've also seen the work of some butchers who leave the patient with nothing but a gaping hole, a colostomy, and a bag not a bladder.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 2, 2008 10:41 PM

"Okay, now we are getting into actual fiction. Intersexed women do not have penises. This would be especially true if the intersex condition was not severe enough to render them infertile. They may have an enlarged clitoris, but it is not a penis. That is just an absurd claim that has no basis in truth. It appears to be a desperate attempt to create an argument where none exists."

I'd like to see your argument as to why that is so. Can you cite a study on that? I hope your not just blowing hot air so please provide the evidence for your claim.

I'm pretty sure in my biology classes it was said both organs are the same tissues forming into different structures because of various genetic, hormonal and possibly other causes making them essentially two different versions of the same thing with uncommon variations that fall between the two sometimes entirely indistinguishable as being certainly of one or the other catagory.

So you say there is a distinct recognisable line of demarcation between the two. A point where someone can still distinctly tell where an atypical cliteris and an atypical penis are always distinct and recognisably different.

Well you claim to know more about it than my proffessor of biology did 16 yars ago. And you claim to know more about it than Zoe, an actual intersex person.

So please give us the value of your expertise and give us the exact criteria for determining this distinction!

"Well you did and you didn't as you did state that socio-cultural construction somehow precluded those with male anatomy from womanhood."

Yes, I did.

Women do not have penises, but men do.

As far as all this hoo-rah about what "some people believe" that's a pretty poor argument. There are a relatively huge number of people that believe they are going to be snatched from their cars on the way home and re-united with jesus christ.

So what?

"You failed to comprehend my post on language. Where there is a meaning without an appropriate word either one is created, borrowed from another language or a current word absorbs the meaning."

No one is failing to understand your posts. No one agrees with them, what an utterly narcissistic position.

You spoke about subjective meaning failing to make the distinctions between connoted and denoted meaning and arguing as if the only understanding or relevant meaning are the idiosyncratic conotations conjoured up by the trans movement.

BBB, Zoe doesn't get the last word on intersexuality by virtue of being intersexed. I am also intersexed, a tetragametic chimera to be exact. Intersexed women want a vagina the same as classic transsexual women do....some intersexed people opt for a third catagory like some transgenders do, intersexed men wish for penises. This whole line of reasoning is a red herring as is so much of your "logic".

"The meaning shifted and you lose" ........huh? The meaning shifted due to a deliberate erasure of classic transsexual via a two pronged attack. The first was to take away the meaning of the word, which was a medical term btw and not subject to such change of meaning for that reason. The second was the viciously enforced "umbrella" of the term that did once mean those who claimed womanhood while wishing to remain physically male, transgender.

Argue against this to your heart's content but the proof of the intent is the viciousness and shouting down of those who wished to reclaim an identity place with the launching of the term HBS....and it is because if classic transsexual once again is understood by it's true meaning, those like you once again cannot coattail some perceived legitimacy on it when you clearly stand apart from it. You appear to further fight this reemergence with constant flights of fancy about how you might be neurologically intersexed but the big bad scientists won't study you for it.

I have witnessed you over and over use the most blatant examples of patriarchal techniques of silencing women accompanied by blatant misogynistic positions. You seem to embody Janice Raymond's arguments about trans co-opting womanhood and colonizing it. That you do this to lay some claim to sisterhood with women is so insulting as to defy words. Someone who uses feminism as a swear word should rethink their personal claims to womanhood.

Recap:
I am also intersexed so my opinions on that state are as valid as Zoe's (whom most of the time I find myself in at least some sort of agreement)

I drank deeply from the "poison chalice of second wave feminism" I developed my feminist consciousness around age nine predating the emergence of second was feminism.

The neurological intersexed nature of HBS/classic transsexuality is firmly enough established that we now can even test for it on that basis with close to perfect accuracy....I know, it was my own work that led to the tests.

Not a single shred of evidence points to any other cause for non-HBS transness other than psychological, social. The paraphiliac origins of crossdressing might be considered an insult, but it is the understood causality used by almost all psych professionals and that is not going to change without a major indication of something else.

Taking a position contrary to 99% of the world and claiming the world is wrong and you are thus more enlightened and entitled to look down on us poor deluded masses does not win friends or influence anyone....it simply reinforces the idea that transpeople are not playing with a full deck.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 3, 2008 9:15 AM

"You spoke about subjective meaning failing to make the distinctions between connoted and denoted meaning and arguing as if the only understanding or relevant meaning are the idiosyncratic conotations conjoured up by the trans movement."

I refer you again to my examples of the words terrific, cult and thing. Its a well understood phenomena in the field of linguistics that the meaning of words are in a state of constant shift, especially in English. First it's usually in colloquial language or jargon either being a brief fashion of usage or gradually continuing it's usage uptake until finally the official standard meaning has evolved. The connotative becomes the denotative as the secondary meaning eclipses or becomes equal to the primary in its usage.

I bet that you have rarely heard the word Thing used to mean Deliberative Assembly despite the fact that is the original meaning of the word, from Old High German iirc.

Now there is more than just conotative and denotative meaning to language, there is colloquial, technical(often field specific), medical (did anyone else get annoyed how much Medulla gets used in human anatomy?), scientific (sometimes different from medical causing some confusion) all of which have messy standards undergoing frequent revision. I still remember the intense linguistic debate in my living room in the very late 80's or very early 90's between a pair of linguistics lecturers about the value of adopting scientific russian as the international scientific standard and how cranky the biology student was about the idea of people mixing greek and latin in taxonomic nomenclature let alone the idea of adopting the russian.

Now lets see, what's the Oxford definion of transsexual I have at hand.

"(person) having physical characteristics of one sex and psychological characteristics of the other; hence ~ism"

Thats from the single volume Australian Concise Oxford Dictionary given to me in 1987. Alas the encyclopedic (i think it was 20 volumes) Oxford dictionary is at my Linguist family members house and they live in another state now. It was the final print run of the paper version of the full dictionary, having moved to electronic media.

Whats the current state of the Kings English? Lets see what Oxford Dictionary online says.
http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/transsexual?view=uk

Oh look, there's been a shift!

"transsexual
(also transexual)

• noun a person born with the physical characteristics of one sex who emotionally and psychologically feels that they belong to the opposite sex.

• adjective relating to such a person

— DERIVATIVES transsexualism noun transsexuality noun."

Now the alternate spelling and the addition of 'emotionally' and 'feels that they belong to' has replaced 'characteristics of'!

And what's this?
http://www.askoxford.com/concise_oed/transgender?view=uk

"transgender
(also transgendered)

• adjective transsexual."

That word wasn't in my 1987 Concise Australian Oxford Dictionary.

So thats the official current meaning in the general English language.

A definite shift of the official meaning of the word!

There may be some variance amongst dictionaries, though unless there's been a big shift in the last decade and a half the Oxford is considered the standard for general English though the MacQuarie had a high reputation for Australian Colloquial language.

Wow, I almost miss the constant discussions about the comparisons of the different physical sense associations of the verbs for 'to know' amongst various aboriginal and indo-european languages. Almost.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 3, 2008 10:00 AM

"BBB, Zoe doesn't get the last word on intersexuality by virtue of being intersexed. I am also intersexed, a tetragametic chimera to be exact. "

Sure.

"The meaning shifted due to a deliberate erasure of classic transsexual via a two pronged attack."

Have you evidence that this was a deliberate manipulation of the meaning of the word. I've already acknowledged that some people try to control meanings for political purposes and that it is often quite difficult to do so beyond basic demonisation but can you show that this was the case that a deliberate shift was attempted and that it was the actual reason for the shift?

"The first was to take away the meaning of the word, which was a medical term btw and not subject to such change of meaning for that reason."

Not so! Medical and scientific terms ARE subject to change! But they are changed by comittees and associations (such as the redefining of Planet to exclude Pluto and other large Kuiper Belt Objects resulting in the new Dwarf Planet catagory which is still quite vociferously contended) and the general usage of researches and practitioners rather than the general language meaning shift from general changes of popular usage.

The two meanings are often seperate. Examples include (or have included as some have become considered un-pc) psychotic, schizo, dumb, depression, fatigue and many more which have different meanings in general usage to medical usage.

"I have witnessed you over and over use the most blatant examples of patriarchal techniques of silencing women accompanied by blatant misogynistic positions."

Could you provide specific examples. To my understanding I have not done that, however if you can show me how I definatly have done so I'll apologise.

"Someone who uses feminism as a swear word should rethink their personal claims to womanhood."

Umm.. don't think I did that at all (used feminism as a swear word or made a specific claim to womanhood either)! But again my brain-fog is quite severe at the moment clouding memory and interfering with language skills. Provide the example and I'll apologise. My family has included activists for womens equal rights for generations and I certainly would want to retract such a statement.

"I am also intersexed so my opinions on that state are as valid as Zoe's"

Your experience is as valid certainly. One may know more about it than another however. Who knows more about the variety of conditions? A question I cannot answer.

"Not a single shred of evidence points to any other cause for non-HBS transness other than psychological, social."

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. It is standard practice in science to consider alternative falsifiable hypotheses as potentially valid until ruled out (and even returning to them again in the future! Epigenetics for example covers ideas once thought absolutely disproved and discredited! Inheriting characteristics that were the result of a parents environmental stimuli? That used to be rejected as pure Lamarkism and yet now it's one of the hottest fields in bio research!). Have studies been done to rule out these possibilities?

"The paraphiliac origins of crossdressing might be considered an insult, but it is the understood causality used by almost all psych professionals and that is not going to change without a major indication of something else."

Yet all the psychs I've personally seen and all those I've discussed the subject with didn't agree.

And furthermore even if it is correct it doesn't invalidate transgender as a socio-cultural-political term, it does not invalidate the human rights arguments either.

I claim no specialised knowledge about IS conditions just because I'm IS. But having one of the non-standard "idiopathic" conditions, I've read more medical papers on the subject than I care to think about. I've had to to get some clues as to my own condition, and in the process been astounded by the variety of different IS conditions.

Someone who has something fairly standard like AIS probably knows a lot about AIS, but is unlikely to know beans about persistent mullerian duct syndrome, let alone 45x/46xy mixed gonadal dysgenesis. Most 5ARD cases I've contacted know little about Gender Identity Disorder, they usually just took the change in their stride, or had gonadectomy at an early age, and are standard females. One guy I know had gonadectomy as an infant, and is really, really pissed about that, he has to do an FtoM transition.

But he's outnumbered by the girls with CAH, who now are usually assigned female rather than male. Far too many cases of GID there. They still get it wrong in 10-15% of cases (according to a 2005 paper I was reading today), but that's a lot better than the 40% they used to get. Pretty much 100% of those with one form of CAH are tomboys, rather than boys.

It might be the form of CAH I have. I'll discuss it with my endo next time I see him. It was only identified a few years ago.

Anyway, I'm sure there are many standard cisgendered 46xx or 46xy people who know far more than I do, except in one specific area. My own condition. There I'm an expert. Nowhere else.

I'd like you to please explain how that becomes a male entitlement. Especially when everything I discussed applies equally to MtF and FtM people, applies to cis males and females too (circumcision) and applies to intersex people of all variations where corrective surgery may be involved.

First off, the right you claim does not exist as has already been pointed out. You do not have a right to force a doctor to act in a manner that would be harmful to you. That includes performing surgery that is not going to help you, just because you want it.

Second, while you might be technically correct, in actual practice, it would be a male privilege because such behavior is all but completely unheard of in women. There are very few women who seek surgery where it is not warranted.

Lucy Bright | June 3, 2008 12:08 PM

"Second, while you might be technically correct, in actual practice, it would be a male privilege because such behavior is all but completely unheard of in women. There are very few women who seek surgery where it is not warranted."

In the light of the above, it's maybe worth reminding ourselves of the passage that Elaine attacked as a claim to "male entitlement" (post 309):

"The right to somatic sovereignty. People have a right to total control over their own bodies, what surgical and medical procedures are or are not performed on them. They have the right to decline treatment and the right to modify their bodies however they see fit from tribal initiation sacrification, simple ear piercing and substantial cosmetic surgery. This right is required for procedures like abortions and therefore is considered paramount by many."

However one might feel about this idea, or whether such a 'right' exists, it hardly applies exclusively to males. And SRS is only a small part of it.

I have stated that I took full advantage of male privilege. Contrary to your philosophy, that doesn't require actually having a penis either. Perhaps not. But it does require one to have been fully functional as a male emotionally and socially. I never had that. I was always quickly identified as being somehow less than fully male by those I interacted with and never had any so-called "male privelege." That to me is more telling than whether or not you had a child.

No, the simple bottom line is that there is a very real difference between being "transgender" and being HBS. Some of us are born women, and some choose, for whatever reason, to try to impersonate being a woman. The difference, quite frankly, is more obvious than they wish to admit.

Bats....
First of all I read your comments you used to "prove" your therapist buddies don't label you paraphiliac and what I read is entirely different than what you do. What I see is the professional reluctance to come right out and tell you.....and that from the statements you have quoted! Being actually educated in psych speak, you might want to take my word on this.

As for your language creds.....I'm a writer, the precise meanings AND emotional loadings of words are important to me in order to communicate ideas........

Regarding your extremely patronizing and condescending manner of writing....the funny thing about male privilege is those who demonstrate the worst examples of it are apparently totally unaware of it no matter how many times you point it out. As a feminist, I my reaction to your communication style is a strong desire to......nevermind. I rarely respond to you because you write in a patronizing fashion that almost always sidesteps real issues with whatever red herring you can find and, in my opinion, you are intellectually dishonest in that you start from premises that are far from agreed upon to reach conclusions that leave me scratching my head in wonder that anyone could go there.....and you do it while giving little verbal pats on the head as if to say "see you poor deluded woman, I'm gifting you with my brilliance" before dismissing me. I don't like this from any man, I especially find it annoying in someone claiming "community" against my will with me.

When data doesn't fit current models of the world constructed by huan minds to understand it, it is not the data that is fantasy but the model that doesn't adequatly account for it.

That presumes that the data is legitimate and accurate. If the data itself is flawed, then it has no effect on the model. If one wishes to see the model as being broken, then one might try to force the data to fit the model that one prefers. That is exactly what Ray Blanchard and Michael Bailey have done. They have taken the data that suits them, and rejected that which is contrary to their view. This, however, is not a valid approach. To say that men can become pregnant, or that women can be fathers is simply making up data to fit a model that is without any real validity.

JJ-

But it does require one to have been fully functional as a male emotionally and socially.

Nah. People see what they expect to see. Well, usually.

When I transitioned, my PhD supervisor who has known me for 25 years said:
That explains it. We always thought you were eccentric because you were a genius.
I was sorry to disappoint him.

When I was working in Germany, where the plight of female engineers was far worse than in Australia, I was literally the only "man" who the other women felt they could talk to. As a foreigner, an Auslander, I could get away with things that would have caused suspicion in other contexts.
Talking with you is like talking with (another) woman!
Yes, I get told that a lot. We're not so chauvinist in Australia

(It sounds better Auf Deutsch)

When I saw my old academic supervisor at ADFA, the Australian Defence Force Academy, he was utterly flabbergasted. I'll try and recall his exact words:
But your mannerisms, your body language. It hasn't changed. It's exactly the same. And it's Feminine! Your appearance is female, I was prepared for that, but you're the same person, your whole demeanour is naturally feminine, how could I not have seen that?

I looked terribly male before you see. Really badly. It meant that I got praise for "good communication skills" rather than condemned for effeminacy. The inability to play silly male dominance games was put down to "eccentric genius". I got away with murder, nowhere near as good an actress as I thought I was. But adequate.

Some of us are born women, and some choose, for whatever reason, to try to impersonate being a woman.
And some women are compelled to "do the boy act", to impersonate a male, because their bodies are too terribly masculinised.

When that changed, I transitioned. Not immediately, I delayed nearly 3 weeks.....

I just had to stop pretending. To be me, and let the cards fall as they may.

I wasn't convinced I was "really" female until I joined the Women in Technology, and found others whose minds worked exactly the same as mine did. Most of my friends are, shall we say, "technically challenged". Except for the few guys I know.

So then, what are all the people who do not fit all of these catagories? Neither men nor women by your definitions!

You presume that such people exist. I would not agree that they do.

What also are the arguments that counter the Human Rights issues? (and why don't those arguments consequently then justify totalitarianism, oppression of people especially women and minorities, slavery etc)

As I have said, such "human rights" do not necessarily exist. One does not have a right to demand that a doctor do something the doctor does not believe will benefit the patient.

Yeah we can't demand breast augmentation cosmetically, because the doctor is against it? It won't benefit you...get out of plastic surgery then!

If the doctor doesn't want to do it, he better have a good reason, like lack of training or a different domain (neuro-surgery doctor might not be good to perform SRS or breast augmentation for example).

Only in the US can people invoke religion to prevent abortion or anti-conception pills prescriptions even when the patient/buyer has the required documents.

Yes that's right, Elaine, only attractive, conformal, stereotyped women needed apply, no matter what their age. No lesbians - they weren't really women. No feminists, or bra-burners. No-one "mannish". No-one like you, you'd be considered too opinionated and domineering. Not feminine enough to be a real female.

Actually, that is a bit of an overstatement. Things were not quite as bad as you claim. Yes, restrictions were tighter, and some doctors objected to those who identified as "lesbian" (it was thought at the time that homosexuality was also a mental illness, so why replace one with another), but people still managed to make it through. And a lot of people who clearly should have been weeded out, were. Now we have people who transition, and who fail to find happiness. They aren't women, and they make things hard for others by advocating for ridiculous positions and declaring themselves to be "out, loud, and proud activists." They present a very poor image, both physically and emotionally, and then behave in a manner that gives the Right plenty of ammunition to smear us all.

There was a time when people generally transitioned and then simply got on with normal, happy lives. A lot still do, but far too many become public nuisances because they have little, if any, choice.

Lucy Bright | June 3, 2008 6:06 PM

“What I see is the professional reluctance to come right out and tell you.....and that from the statements you have quoted! Being actually educated in psych speak, you might want to take my word on this.

As for your language creds.....I'm a writer, the precise meanings AND emotional loadings of words are important to me in order to communicate ideas........”

It’s a pity that your claim of linguistic precision comes right after that dangling participle – unless you *meant* to say that bbb was educated in psych speak? Bbb would be ill-advised to take your word on it, anyway. Even if your third-hand diagnosis weren’t so much hot air (with a distinct whiff of red herring about it), it would be quite unethical to undermine the “professional reluctance” of bbb’s therapists merely to make a debating point.

This thread has been going in ever-decreasing circles for some time. I don’t see anyone being persuaded either way at this point, so I’m going to bid you all adieu. Maybe I’ll come back in July and see if anyone’s still here! Good luck to all.

My criteria are for a lifelong herstory of a contra-classed identity. A person will live and make choices consistent with that identity. With a long life manifestation of a contraclassed identity they will have a social standpoint consistent with the class of their identity. This excludes a trans identity. They will also have genital correction is also part of my criteria.

Yes, when one sees someone who had a very successful period of their life, where they had no problem living and functioning as a man, where they were able to study, work, and otherwise live their life as a male, who then at a relatively advanced age announces that he is going to "become" a woman, then I feel it is ridiculous to accept that this person does, suddenly become a woman. They may claim to have "always" had those feelings, but it is hard for me to actually accept those claims as true. On the other hand, some people suffer for longer periods than others because of legitimate social and family pressures. They may suppress their feelings, but they will not do so successfully. They will not function well as men, and when they do transition their lives will improve dramatically. For the men who "transition" late, their lives often deteriorate. They blame this on "transphobia," even though the truth is often that they simply fail to actually function as women.

That is, um, rather interesting. For those who do not know, "Lolita fashion" is a Japanese phenomenon related to Manga that is primarily influenced by Victorian children’s clothing with something of a Goth twist. I suppose if one is, oh say, under 12, it might be kind of cute. Beyond that and it seems rather odd. Still, at any age, there is a rather disturbing sexual element. Sort of a mix of JonBenet Ramsey and Sailor Moon.

Sorry but you are presuming that everyone who says they don't think like you really do and must be liars. Thats bogus. I do know a large number of people who do in fact recognise someone who identifies as transgender and they are still considered as a woman. You assume all these people are liars to prop up your theory. You shoehorn the data to try to cram it into somewhere it doesn't fit.

Nope, I'm not calling anyone a liar. I am simply observing that there is a difference between political correctness and reality. A person may chose to express the idea that "transgender people really are the gender that they claim to be" but that does not mean that they really believe that. What they are really saying is that transgender people should "accepted" as the gender they claim to be, which is not the same thing as actually believing that person to be what they claim.

I realize that some confuse the illusion with reality, or at least prefer the illusion to reality, but if one is truly honest, one will have to admit that it is all a bit of a game.

Not everyone thinks like you do. Some would say that a transgender woman is not a cis woman but that both are women. Just women with different circumstances of birth.

Yes, some people have a highly subjective and meaningless definition for things like "woman" and "man." And some of prefer reality. Some people think that the government invented AIDS and crack as part of some secret plot. Some people still believe that AIDS is not caused by HIV, but is caused by other things like "poppers." People believe all sorts of silly ideas, but that does not remotely make them reality.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 3, 2008 8:02 PM

J.J.

I suggest you take another look at the cosmetic surgery and medicine industry. 'unneccessary' precedures are done regularly. How 'neccessary' is anal bleaching for example? How neccessary is botox. Harm? Seen the risks associated with botox? The death rate of cosmetic surgery? The most recent trend I heard of is botox injections into chest muscles to make other muscles do more work to make breasts look larger, hardly neccessary with a significant risk of harm!

People do have a right to do whatever they want with their own bodies. Body modification is a common initiation ritual such as ritual scarification. Ever looked at the penis surgeries performed in some Aboriginal intitiarions? Plenty of harm in that stuff. Ear piercing, breast implants, tattoos, other piercings, brandings, collagen injections, rhinoplasty... the list of ways people permanantly modify their bodies unnecessarily often with substantial risk of harm is collosal.

This is a human right, a fundamental one. Much of the fight for this right has been pioneered by the Jehovahs Witnesses in their push for the right to refuse some medical procedures even when those are life-saving. Death is fairly harmful. Feminists demands for abortion rights have also been a big part of this fight, thats where people have insisted on the right to have a medical procedure performed!

Now when it comes to children we should be able to agree that forcing permanant non-life-preserving changes on them against their will or before they can make suitibly informed consent goes against their rights.

The example of female circumcision including the removal of the clitoris is one that shows the point quite well i think.

So despite the cultural rights of the parents the childs rights are being abused by having that procedure forced upon them.

This is indeed a major current human rights issue! It means that many common procedures like male circumcision of children is also violating the same human right. The surgical 'correction' of intersex involves this right too.

Would you like to argue to me why the right of a woman to a medically performed abortion or the right of a girl to not have the clitoris removed are not really fundamental human rights? What about the right of a male or female Jehovah's Witness to refuse a life saving blood transfusion? They are all the same human right.

It is the philosophical principle that the individuals decision is paramount, that they are the sole owners of their bodies, that is the foundation of this right. Human Rights came from Enlightenment Philosophy.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 3, 2008 8:11 PM

J.J.: "You presume that such people exist. I would not agree that they do."

Elaine: "She is somewho has been socially consituted as a woman in her given society and who has a critical embrace of women as an identity."

A FtM who has been socially constituted as a woman in her given society but does not have a critical embrace of woman as an identity has been socially constituted as a woman not a man so they would not fit the same definition of a man. Of the two criteria one remains not fulfilled. Same with an MtF. If we use this criteria then there are people who do not fit either catagory. Thats the trouble with concrete definitions.

J.J. Do you have a different definition you are using that will fit everyone? Please give it to us then.

I've read arguments from cis women feminists that those woman who have reconstruction or those who do not are in one form or another not feminists, victims of the patriarchy and more.

Yes, I read Raymond years ago. And I found it quite silly then. I find it sillier now.

As has been pointed out, being a woman is NOT about appearance. A lot of people look very "passable," but they are not remotely women. They can fool people to a point, but the truth rapidly becomes obvious. Again, that is not an insult. That is just an observation of fact."

But many people do not define someone a man or woman based on their genitals.

The definitions you use are not universal so you'll have to accept that what is true to you is not so to everyone.

And passing is not about just appearance. It involves verbal and non verbal communications, word choice, tone, mannerisms and more. Like everything else it varies and much of those mannerisms, body language, vocal tones, word choice etc are culturally specific learned behaviour.

Let's see... No, it is not about appearance. But if someone has a penis, and desires to keep that penis, then they are a man. Women really don't have penises. Most learn that by the time they start first grade. Some won't to deny that.

Oh, I accept that people can be very wrong about what they believe. I have a neighbor who believes that the earthquake in China was caused by some sort of secret earthquake machine that uses electromagnetic waves. He also believes the same machine caused the 1989 earthquake in California. Now, he believes that, but he is also clearly a bit odd. I had a friend a few years ago who believed she was the Pope. She had a very logical reason she believed that. She also believed that the CIA was trying to kill her because she would not let them use her special powers for evil. She sincerely believed that.

You failed to comprehend my post on language. Where there is a meaning without an appropriate word either one is created, borrowed from another language or a current word absorbs the meaning.

No lying, no deception, just the natural shifting of language as well understood by linguists! And as many views on gender and sex shifted the words meanings shifted with them as part of the broader psycho-social landscape!

Actually, I understood it quite well. You simply failed to make any legitimate point in stating it. Appropriate words existed. There was no legitimate need to create a new word. There was no need to adopt a word from another language. And there was no need for another word to absorb that meaning.

Sorry, but there was nothing natural about the shifting at all. Your attempts to defend this simply prove my point all the more. A word that had a very distinct meaning was stolen by those who had no right to it, in order to deceive and to confuse.

I'm pretty sure in my biology classes it was said both organs are the same tissues forming into different structures because of various genetic, hormonal and possibly other causes making them essentially two different versions of the same thing with uncommon variations that fall between the two sometimes entirely indistinguishable as being certainly of one or the other catagory.

So you say there is a distinct recognisable line of demarcation between the two. A point where someone can still distinctly tell where an atypical cliteris and an atypical penis are always distinct and recognisably different.

I would say that if a vagina is present, and/or if you cannot urinate through it, then it is a clitoris. If testicles are present, and/or if you can urinate through it, it is a penis. And if the person is truly in between (which is actually extremely rare) then it is best described as neither.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 3, 2008 9:26 PM

Cathryn: "As for your language creds.....I'm a writer, the precise meanings AND emotional loadings of words are important to me in order to communicate ideas........"

I've done some writing as well as art, published and sold a little though my disability prevents me from doing anything as a profession. Still as a writer I'm sure you understand how quickly language shifts. Lots of works can be dated by their word use. The language has changed drasticly since the time of Chaucer and Shakespeare. There was a really good documentary series on the history of the english language recently on SBS here in Australia, unfortunately i don't recall the title. As for my own creds, I'm not a linguist but I picked up a fair bit from my family member while they went through to honours in the subject and discussed it constantly with me. I was considerd 'gifted' as a child especially because of my language skills with teachers arguing that I should be skipped ahead 1-3 years of schooling but it was against the policy of the school. However my disability is very debilitating and before it was properly diagnosed it cost me my HSC and a number of attempts to get various qualifications after that. I always passed what I completed but I always had to withdraw as I couldn't keep up with the workload.

"Regarding your extremely patronizing and condescending manner of writing....the funny thing about male privilege is those who demonstrate the worst examples of it are apparently totally unaware of it no matter how many times you point it out."

Oh I accept that i do have a bad habit, especially when my symptoms are bad, of falling into intellectually arrogant writing. It's not an exclusively male trait however, I've known plenty of women with it too. It's not patriarchal, just academic/intellectual snobbery. Unintended as it is I apologise for it. The bad habit that comes from being an intellectual in a redneck area quite dissaproving of intelligence where it becomes an ingrained defense mechanism. My family has had highly educated women for generations who suffer from the same problem, they raised me, it shouldn't then be any surprise that I have the same flaw.

I often consider much of your writing style as aggressive, arrogant etc as well. I didn't think there was all that much difference between us there, but my view is of course subjective.

"As a feminist, I my reaction to your communication style is a strong desire to......nevermind."

Bear in mind please that I am struggling with cognitive impairment caused by a severe disability. Its very bad at the moment so I'm running at about 40 IQ points below my pre-ilness level. It is only because I was gifted in this area to start with that I am able to do as well as I can. By all means kindly point out where I error, it does not spring from mysogyny as I'm fully aware of the many intelligent women that are my equals and betters (my Grandmother was a political activist, one-time member of the Australian Communist Party, head matron of one of Australias largest hospitals, writer, newsprint and radio journalist, newspaper editor and more. I have a Judge for a cousin, another has written important texts for ESL teachers, there are doctors, anthropologists, archaeologists, linguists, philosophers, lawyers and more amongst the female members of my family not to mention the many brilliant women I've met over the years) but keep in mind my disability and try to beware of unconciously being ablist.

"I rarely respond to you because you write in a patronizing fashion that almost always sidesteps real issues"

What real issues have I sidestepped? In the socio-cultural discussion I'm still waiting on responses on real issues like Fafafini etc. There's been hardly a response on the human rights issues and proposing alternate falsifiable explanations is totally standard for serious scientific and medical discussions. Those are all real issues.

"with whatever red herring you can find and, in my opinion, you are intellectually dishonest in that you start from premises that are far from agreed upon to reach conclusions that leave me scratching my head in wonder that anyone could go there....."

I speak of possibilities, it's done all the time in scientific, medical and philosophical discussions. You look at alternate possibilities then you look at the logical conclusions of them then you look at what predictions they might make and how they might be testable. Thats not intelectually dishonest. I'm not claiming anything as demonstrated fact that is not evidence based.

"and you do it while giving little verbal pats on the head as if to say "see you poor deluded woman, I'm gifting you with my brilliance" before dismissing me."

I'm not dissmissing you, though I do dissmiss some of the reasoning I find flawed, the occassional intellectual fallacy etc. That has nothing to do with the fact that your a woman. To dissmiss an argument because of the class of person making it is a major logical fallacy. Sure I'm human and can err but thats one I try particularly hard never to do.

"I don't like this from any man, I especially find it annoying in someone claiming "community" against my will with me."

I keep stating that i respect the self determination of you and others. If you don't want to call yourself transgendered thats fine by me. I respect that you do not consider that there is any relation between HBS and transgender. I just don't currently think your right. But I respect your right to hold an opinion I think is wrong. In just the ame way as I can respect the religious views of others. I don't have to share them to recognise and respect that it is their beliefs.

Also while I haven't claimed the term 'woman' I'm not very good at fitting 'man' to well either. I've never fitted in successfully in male society. I've always been considered eccentric and feminine and only ever fitted in with tolerant inclusive groups outside of mainstream society. It does depend on which set of criteria your using to determine 'man' and 'woman' of course. I've certainly paid my dues of suffering harassment and violence for not fitting into 'male' culture.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 3, 2008 9:38 PM

"Sorry, but there was nothing natural about the shifting at all. Your attempts to defend this simply prove my point all the more. A word that had a very distinct meaning was stolen by those who had no right to it, in order to deceive and to confuse."

What evidence do you have that the shift was not natural? What evidence do you have that the motivation of this artficial language shift was to deceive or confuse?

Anybody can make assertions, you've made plenty and provided excellent examples of whats wrong with simply making assertions with your AIDS, Earthquake and Pope examples. So then, provide some evidence.

That I suggest it was natural doesn't provide evidence of the reality of a conspiracy to artificially sway the word meaning any more than the GAO's report defending the mogul balloon explanation of the Roswell incident is evidence of a conspiracy to hide the reality of a crashed alien spacecraft and straberry icecream loving aliens in a secret undergound base in Dulce.

So then, what is the evidence you have of such a deliberate action or is this a conspiracy theory?

JJ wrote:

Actually, that is a bit of an overstatement. Things were not quite as bad as you claim.
YMMV on that one. In some places they still are. Certainly they were exactly this bad in the whole of Australia in 1995, and in some states until the last few years.

There was a time when people generally transitioned and then simply got on with normal, happy lives.
That was before Real ID acts and the like. Before the campaign for gay marriage too. Tennessee did not always have a law in place preventing amendment of Birth Certificates, and Kansas did not always insist that chromosomes alone dictated legal sex.

In many areas, we have gone backwards. Flying beneath the radar used to be an option. Now women in Australia who transitioned decades ago are being refused passports if they had the misfortune to be born in certain jurisdictions, and transitioners in Malta can't marry at all.

"That is, um, rather interesting. For those who do not know, "Lolita fashion" is a Japanese phenomenon related to Manga that is primarily influenced by Victorian children’s clothing with something of a Goth twist. I suppose if one is, oh say, under 12, it might be kind of cute. Beyond that and it seems rather odd. Still, at any age, there is a rather disturbing sexual element. Sort of a mix of JonBenet Ramsey and Sailor Moon."

It's not really related to manga. Sometimes a theme in manga or anime yes, but it did not originate from there. Mana, a J-rock visual kei artist is said to have popularized the fashion in Japan (it existed before). He also launched his own line of gothic lolita fashion.

Many equate gothic with lolita, but gothic lolita (gothloli) is a subgenre, like sweet lolita (amaloli), punk lolita, classic lolita.

It's cute under 12, sure. But, consider the price of the clothes, and what 12 years old can spend 200 to 600$ on a single outfit?

I've met a group of adepts of lolita fashion in Montreal. 6 or 7 girls, and a pre-transition MtF amongst them. They were all of college-age (18-24). They could either sew the clothes or buy them (from Japan at that) - things a child could normally not do unless they had rich parents.

I own all of 2 dresses, which I bought with my income tax return of 2005, they're not even on-par with theirs, because mine wasn't the same quality. The two dresses and some accessories cost about ~400$ US of today.

If you can pass for a teenager it's usually fine, especially if you have the figure to fit in those dresses (small waist, not too big bust). A friend of 21 passed for 14-15 easily. I pass for 17-18 (and I'm almost 26) - when dressed normally.

It's part of the culture of youth and cuteness of Japan.

There is not supposed to be a sexual element. As in: it's not intended. Lolicon is entirely different, and the book/movie Lolita is something else as well. Question adepts of the fashion, and they will tell you it has nothing to do with sexuality, and it's actually extremely decent (as opposed to indecent).

It's meant to look cute, as opposed to sexy. How is looking sexy not considered sexual, but looking cute is?

---------

"I would say that if a vagina is present, and/or if you cannot urinate through it, then it is a clitoris. If testicles are present, and/or if you can urinate through it, it is a penis. And if the person is truly in between (which is actually extremely rare) then it is best described as neither."

I present hypothetic cases:

XX genotype who has a penis, and can urinate through it.

XX or XY or XXY genotype who has hypospadias and/or crypto...err the term for undescended testes (hypospadias means cannot urinate through it).

XX or XY (or both, mosaicism, chimerism) genotype who has between 0.9 cm and 2.5 cm length, possibly with an ovotestis, or testes and ovaries (either 1 or 2 of each).

XX or XY or XXY genotype who has a vagina and a penis, both in an intermediate state as to their definition (the vagina is small, and the penis is long and/or can urinate through it). Possibly small testes (even in adulthood).

All those don't fit either.

Considering how ignorant doctors can be about such things, I wouldn't be surprised if said patients were never told, found later in life from records (even parents not knowing, or knowing and being advised to say nothing from birth), and then, once they figured what their condition was, were laughed at by their doctor(s). Their conditions repeatedly denied in spite of evidence.

I have a friend in this position.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 4, 2008 4:04 AM

On the psychology side of the discussion. As some are very adamant that psychological causation is the origin of all non-HBS transness can someone please outline the studies, the evidence, the mechanism etc for that to be the case.

Also, even if it is the case in some or all of these people as it is not inherantly unethical (unless someone has an argument that it is?) why should it be considered a psychological illness rather than a normal form of human variation like say homosexuality is?

Because the arguments in favour of delisting homosexuality as a mental illness - that it was not intrinsicly harmful, was not the cause of other mental illnesses but rather societies discrimination against it was etc seem to also be applicable to any psychologicaly originating transgender.

JJ - see "Reduction of the hypertrophied clitoris: surgical refinements of the old techniques. Selvaggi G, Ressa CM, Ostuni G, Selvaggi L"
In adulthood, the phallus was about 2 cm long (Fig. 1) and increased to about 3.5 cm with arousal.
A nose by any other name would smell.

Okay, so they reduced a female's clitoris. So what? They refer to it as a phallus, which is a proper term for what it is, not as a penis, which would not be. The two are not synonymous medical terms. Women don't have penises.

I wanted to look normal for once in my life, not "ambiguous" or worse, "masculinised". I was willing to blow my life savings on it, endure pain, the risk of death etc. Of course I was. My partner had power of attorney in case I ended up in a persistent vegetative state, I had my will updated, I'd even sent the non-refundable deposit before getting my letters from the shrinks.

One other observation. If one needs letters from a shrink, then one had to have been functionally male. They do not require them if they are merely correcting some ambiguious genitalia.

Just Jennifer:

Functionally? Not as in fertile I'd think. I require letters and I've always been infertile. I don't need to do tests or anything, it's pretty evident. If there's no cum, there can be no sperm, thus no impregnation.

This didn't justify my reason for transitioning. Either way I'd be infertile (before or after transition), and I never gave much thought about being a parent biologically. A bit too young, and too poor, and too alone. I'll let people who have the means to raise children do so.

Having sex affirmation surgery is not about appearance. As has been observed by many, very few people ever see your genitals, and most simply presume that they match the rest of your appearance. It is about your own self image. If one says that they are really a woman, but they want to keep their penis, or they claim to want surgery but they make silly excuses why they can't move forward with having it, then it becomes clear that their self image is not really that of a woman. The simple bottom line...if your brain is wired female, then it is not going to be comfortable with a penis (and testicles) hanging between your legs.

"The meaning shifted and you lose" ........huh? The meaning shifted due to a deliberate erasure of classic transsexual via a two pronged attack. The first was to take away the meaning of the word, which was a medical term btw and not subject to such change of meaning for that reason. The second was the viciously enforced "umbrella" of the term that did once mean those who claimed womanhood while wishing to remain physically male, transgender.

Argue against this to your heart's content but the proof of the intent is the viciousness and shouting down of those who wished to reclaim an identity place with the launching of the term HBS....and it is because if classic transsexual once again is understood by it's true meaning, those like you once again cannot coattail some perceived legitimacy on it when you clearly stand apart from it. You appear to further fight this reemergence with constant flights of fancy about how you might be neurologically intersexed but the big bad scientists won't study you for it.

Wow! That is very well put.

BBB, I have to point you back to what Cathryn just pointed out... What part of "...which was a medical term btw and not subject to such change of meaning for that reason," did you not understand?

There was a deliberate attack on a concept, as shown by Cathryn, myself, and others.

Not so! Medical and scientific terms ARE subject to change! But they are changed by comittees and associations (such as the redefining of Planet to exclude Pluto and other large Kuiper Belt Objects resulting in the new Dwarf Planet catagory which is still quite vociferously contended) and the general usage of researches and practitioners rather than the general language meaning shift from general changes of popular usage.

Obviously you misunderstood what she said. She meant that the meaning of the term is not subject to change outside of the context of committees and associations. Not that it cannot be changed. You actually just agreed with her and shot down your own argument.

The two meanings are often seperate. Examples include (or have included as some have become considered un-pc) psychotic, schizo, dumb, depression, fatigue and many more which have different meanings in general usage to medical usage.

What you actually mean is that people can misuse words. Some of the above are good examples. For example, "psychotic" has a very specific diagnostic meaning, but it is commonly misused by people as a label for someone who does not behave as some think they should. Lots of words are misused in that manner. "Transsexual" is another good example, though there is more comparable to someone claiming to be something they are not.

I could, for example, claim to be a physician in order to achieve some status in a debate, but I would be lying. Or some Caucasian youth will claim to be "just like black people" and go so far as to adopt urban fashions, and speak in Ebonics in an attempt to gain some status that they are not entitled to. And some claim to be "transsexual" when they are not, apparently to gain some sort of status.

I am simply going to have a nice laugh and stand by what I originally said...If someone had a long, and successful career as a man, taking advantage of male privilege, and then suddenly decides that they would rather be a woman I find it hard to see them as anything other than classic transgender. I certainly would not see them as HBS or transsexual.

Of course, one can call oneself whatever one wants, but that does not make it so.

If one had a long successful career as a quiverfull fundamentalist, taking advantage of Christian privilege (in the US), and then suddenly decide they would rather be a radical feminist, I find it hard to not see both of them as fundamentalist doctrines, as the person's attitude changes little.

What does it matter in the end?

Don't see someone as HBS or transsexual, your choice. But you do not enforce that choice on the person, you do not make decisions with prejudice or opinions - you do so with facts.

If a MtF late transitioner, who had a somewhat successful career as a man, transitions, gets surgery. You have no right to bar them usage of the female restroom, even if you are their boss. You could be sued for discrimination where it applies. You might think they're not really women, but their legal status overrides your opinion of them. Harassment is also illegal as a tactic.

Yeah we can't demand breast augmentation cosmetically, because the doctor is against it? It won't benefit you...get out of plastic surgery then!

If the doctor doesn't want to do it, he better have a good reason, like lack of training or a different domain (neuro-surgery doctor might not be good to perform SRS or breast augmentation for example).

Only in the US can people invoke religion to prevent abortion or anti-conception pills prescriptions even when the patient/buyer has the required documents.

No doctor can be compelled to do anything he is not willing to do. That is as it should be. They have rights also. The Standard of Care provide that one can be considered for breast augmentation after 18 months of hormones if there is not sufficient development.

And no, the doctor needs no reason other than his own professional opinion. You don't like, you can find someone else.

And yes, our system protects people's right to their own beliefs....even if you don't approve of them. I'm sorry, but I agree with that policy. No one should be forced to do something that offends their morals.

It is the philosophical principle that the individuals decision is paramount, that they are the sole owners of their bodies, that is the foundation of this right. Human Rights came from Enlightenment Philosophy.

Sure...you just march right on in to the surgeon of your choice and tell him you demand your right to have your penis turned into a vagina. Let me know how far you get. One word of warning...I think old Doc Brown would have trouble performing it. He is still in prison, and while the conditions would not be any worse than some he has worked in, I don't think they let him play with sharp instruments.

Sorry, but you really don't have that right. At least not in the civilized world.

A FtM who has been socially constituted as a woman in her given society but does not have a critical embrace of woman as an identity has been socially constituted as a woman not a man so they would not fit the same definition of a man. Of the two criteria one remains not fulfilled. Same with an MtF. If we use this criteria then there are people who do not fit either catagory. Thats the trouble with concrete definitions.

You assume that such a person can exist. If they do not have a critical embrace of woman as an identity, then they cannot be socially constituted as a woman in their give society. If they can be socially constituted as a woman, then they would have a critical embrace of woman as an identity. You see that is the problem with your position. It presumes that someone can be what they really are not.

I can't believe this discussion thread has gone on this long. I don't think anyone here is going to convince anyone else of anything, but if you all want to keep going, then cool.

But I'm done moderating this. So if it gets ugly, just know that pretty much no one's going to find this thread, no one here is going to concede anything, and that if you don't want to read the comments here then don't seek them out.

Otherwise, thanks for stopping by and comment away. There's lots of other trans relevant content that's a whole lot more recent on the front page if you all want to change the subject.

What evidence do you have that the shift was not natural? What evidence do you have that the motivation of this artficial language shift was to deceive or confuse?

I will simply point you back to Cathryn's rather decisive answer to this issue.

That was before Real ID acts and the like. Before the campaign for gay marriage too. Tennessee did not always have a law in place preventing amendment of Birth Certificates, and Kansas did not always insist that chromosomes alone dictated legal sex.

In many areas, we have gone backwards. Flying beneath the radar used to be an option. Now women in Australia who transitioned decades ago are being refused passports if they had the misfortune to be born in certain jurisdictions, and transitioners in Malta can't marry at all.

Real ID has not even taken effect in the United States. No one knows for sure what real effect it will have. But no, a lot of things only became problems after "transgender activists" starting messing things up for everyone. Flying beneath the radar is still an option for many. Where it is not, it is because of the actions of certain nutcases who have attracted attention, and caused people to associate HBS women with men who wish to impersonate women. Unfortunately, many transgender types seem to be determined to pull everyone down if they cannot have their own way.

On the psychology side of the discussion. As some are very adamant that psychological causation is the origin of all non-HBS transness can someone please outline the studies, the evidence, the mechanism etc for that to be the case.

Most likely, it is learned behavior. One discovers that something gives one pleasure, repeats the behavior, and it is reinforced.

There is also some who theorize that some non-HBS gender transgressive behavior is related to obsseive-compulsive disorder, and some of it does clearly exhibit that sort of trait.

As to whether or not it is harmful, one has to deal with the issue of whether or not the person controls the behavior or the behavior controls the person.

There is not supposed to be a sexual element. As in: it's not intended. Lolicon is entirely different, and the book/movie Lolita is something else as well. Question adepts of the fashion, and they will tell you it has nothing to do with sexuality, and it's actually extremely decent (as opposed to indecent).

It's meant to look cute, as opposed to sexy. How is looking sexy not considered sexual, but looking cute is?

Here is the Wikipedia article on the topic. I will leave it to others to judge for themselves whether they think this is rather odd or not.

If a MtF late transitioner, who had a somewhat successful career as a man, transitions, gets surgery. You have no right to bar them usage of the female restroom, even if you are their boss. You could be sued for discrimination where it applies. You might think they're not really women, but their legal status overrides your opinion of them. Harassment is also illegal as a tactic.

First off, we are talking about people who had highly successful careers. Second, such a person should be counseled, not given surgery. And second, in many cases, such a person is going to find life very difficult. Unless they happen to live in a jurisdiction where the law protects them (which is not that likely) they are liable to find it hard to get or maintain a job. Such people are generally making bad mistakes, and quite frankly, they need to be protected from their own stupidity.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 4, 2008 8:23 PM

"No doctor can be compelled to do anything he is not willing to do. That is as it should be. They have rights also."

Theres a field called 'proffessional ethics' you might find it interesting. You migh also like to look up 'morality of duty' arguments.

A persons persobal morality can come into conflict with their professional duty but what their actions would be in personal life are affected by their duty to their position.

In much of the 'civilised' world a doctor allowing their personal morality to influence their proffessional ethics loses their credentials!

Now you miss a big part of the picture here. What is legal does not always coincide with what a persons rights are. Circumcision of underage male children is common, but it violates the same right as circumcision of underage female children does.

"Sorry, but you really don't have that right. At least not in the civilized world"

I suggest you might like to look up some human rights philosophers and information. From the flagrant human rights abuses of many western countries to the underpinning reasons why rights are rights, where they come from, what their implications mean.

Your arguing as cut-and-dried the intersections of complex subjects and that only from the consequence of its implications to some issues. you need to deal with the ciore opperative principle even though you may not like some of it's peripheral ramifications!

If the right of somatic sovereignty, personal autonomy or which ever label you wish to go by does not exist it invalidates the right to abortion, to be free of forced sterilisation, to be protected from forced genital mutilation.

Whats more important to you? Preventing some people other than you from modifying their bodies or protecting the right to abortion, to freedom from genital mutilation, forced sterilisation, mutilation and crippling as forms of punishment and the vast majority of womens rights issues especially in the third world. Thats what's at risk.

The idea that a person and not the state or the community owns their own person is at the heart of the entire human rights notion!

Invalidate it and you invalidate all human rights!
Putting you on the side of China, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and all the totalitarian regimes of history that put the states in power over the individuals self determination!

Civil rights are based on human rights principles. If the states rights are more important than the individuals they may abuse minorities in whatever way is good for the state in the opinion of the state.

Now the doctor has rights too yes, but they also have obligations. Everyone is obliged to respect the rights of others. The point where each persons rights intersect determine right and wrong. The doctor has a duty to their position, to their oath. Like lawyers who must defend people they personally think guilty or prosecute people they personally think innocent.

Philosophy, specificly enlightenment philosophy is at the heart of both human rights and medical and legal ethics.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 4, 2008 8:35 PM

I said: "What evidence do you have that the shift was not natural? What evidence do you have that the motivation of this artficial language shift was to deceive or confuse?"

J.J: "I will simply point you back to Cathryn's rather decisive answer to this issue."

Please do. Which post was it? Cause I've seen no links to clear evidence.

To prove conspiracies one generally needs hard evidence. The watergate tapes are one example. The Wedge Document that proved Intelligent Design was a deliberate Trojan Horse for creationists is another.

So then, the conspiracy theory claims that a change of meaning was deliberatly attenpted and successful and the sole cause of the shift of the word in the general population, Oxford dictinary etc. So then prove it as a fact rather than the wild by producing some hard evidence.

I'm not saying it's impossible mind you. It is plausible. But you state is as fact rather than possibility! So then present credible definate evidence. The equivalent of the Wedge Document as well as evidence that it was the ACTUAL cause as something like that could be attempted, fail and yet have the result occur naturslly anywsy!

One other observation. If one needs letters from a shrink, then one had to have been functionally male. They do not require them if they are merely correcting some ambiguious genitalia.
There is no SOC for such cases, and some surgeons insist on letters anyway.

In my case it was fulltime, then hormones, then 5 months later, see a shrink and get the paperwork done. Total time elapsed: 7 months. Yes, all concerned usually follow the v6 SOC to the letter. But it couldn't apply, they had to wing it. I only needed one letter anyway, as I said, there's no SOC for this.

As I've also said, I had to go overseas, the local surgeons only do penile inversion.

Enough. You've shown you're not listening and ignoring what's been said, so it's pointless.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 4, 2008 10:05 PM

"Enough. You've shown you're not listening and ignoring what's been said, so it's pointless."

Thats a good point Zoe.
Dogmatic assertions and logical fallacies aplenty. All requring accepting as precepts notions that are not yet universally accepted. Reminds me of my conversations with Fred Nile actually.

I'd hate HBS to be tarnished by such behaviour. After all almost everyone here in this conversation has agreed with a neurological causation for some transexuals and for surgical correction for those who need it.

Plenty don't mind HBS-identifying folk cnsidering themselves outside the transgender umbrella. Some do but plenty don't.

But as public relations go I don't think the constant attacks on those who don't fit their worldview has served them well. The transgender advocates here all supported HBS people getting medical treatment. But the hostility (intentional or otherwise) towards those who aren't HBS identifying polarises people, and I've seen a bunch of open minded folk turn anti HBS because of that behaviour in this discussion.

Their are cultural, ethical and human rights justifications for non HBS transgender people deserving equality, recognition and essential services from the crossdressers and drag kings and queens to those who get varying operations no matter the causation. Yes even the self identified shemale sex workers advertising their penis size.

They are human beings too deserving not an iota less compassion or freedom or advocacy or rights.

HBS as a medical definition does not require denying anyone else SRS etc. A little public relations work to quell the hostillity would go a long way to raise the reputation of HBS.

Right now some people I know are calling them 'the TS-KKK' and thats hardly a good thing.

Transgender rights and HBS rights are not mutually exclusive. Everyone still has the same human rights and they cover both groups needs. We should be able to be allies whether we agree or not with the HBS model or the Transgender model. That should be nothing more than a minor academic discussion.

"Everyone still has the same human rights and they cover both groups needs. We should be able to be allies whether we agree or not with the HBS model or the Transgender model."

This is the whole problem with "human rights" when it comes to women's issues. Men piggyback the gains that women make and thusly maintain basal inequities.

I don't think an adult man has the right to have his desire to be related to as a woman because he isn't one. Basically this is a colonization and annexation. But in rushes "human rights" to the rescue to blur and obscure basal inequities and to allow men to piggyback once again, from gains made by women.

A simple principle that some here wish to completely ignore is that no right is absolute. The classic analogy is "Your right to extend your arm ends where my nose begins." Some here would obviously force a doctor to violate their conscience in the name of some supposed right. That is outrageous. For example, if a doctor feels that abortion is wrong, that doctor has an absolute right to refuse to perform an abortion. If a doctor feels that performing sex affirmation surgery is immoral, that doctor has an absolute right to refuse to engage in that practice. And a doctor has a right to make his own decisions about what is, or is not, beneficial to a patient. If a doctor feels that a given patient is not a proper candidate for a procedure it is his right to decline to perform it. That includes a doctor who feels that someone who is a late transitioner should not have surgery.

Sorry, but no right is absolute.

Alas, some here demand ridiculous standards of proof. As Cathryn pointed out, the behavior of the transgender crowd in reaction to the HBS model is more than adequate proof that the attempts to change the meaning of "transsexual" was motivated by an attempt to confuse the meaning of the term. If one wishes to ignore that clear reasoning (and of course, it should be noted that some here perhaps share that same motivation anyway) that is not my problem.

Enough. You've shown you're not listening and ignoring what's been said, so it's pointless.

It would be more accurate to say that I am not accepting what is being said. Obviously, since I have responded to what is said, I am listening and not ignoring it. No, I am just not accepting it. But that said, yes, maybe it could be described as pointless.

Dogmatic assertions and logical fallacies aplenty. All requring accepting as precepts notions that are not yet universally accepted. Reminds me of my conversations with Fred Nile actually.

Hey, I am sure Fred Nile didn't like it any better than I do. So, why don't you stop doing it.

As to the rest...well, this is typical. First off, as already pointed out, it is insulting to have people who are not HBS, claiming that they are. When people who don't want sex affirmation surgery claim to be just as much of a woman as someone who does, well that is just silly. But worse, it insults women in general.

And when such people claim that they are just as much women, or just like HBS people, or such, it gives those who would deny rights to HBS people ammunition. For many years, HBS people (or transsexuals as they were known at the time) were pretty much able to change their documentation, and get on with their lives. At the same time, crossdressers, transvestites, transgenderists, and others, accepted the limitations of their situation. Then people started claiming that they were the same as "transsexuals." They started demanding the same rights. They started demanding to be accepted as women based on how they were dressed, not on any objective facts. And suddenly, the religious right, which has lost the fight against gay rights, took on "transgender" as a target. And they have painted with the same broad brush. Now, my rights are in danger because some guy who wants to wear a dress demands that everyone call him a woman, and treat him as such.

Sorry, but that does not make me a bigot. It just makes me the victim of a movement that I want no part of.

I have no problem with transgender people receiving reasonable rights, like the right to not be denied a job or other things because of being transgender. But the ridiculous extremes that some want is too much. No, crossdressers should not have the right invade women's spaces, especially those where nudity is inevitable. No, they should not have the right to ignore an employer's dress codes. No, people who don't want corrective surgery should not be allowed to change birth certificates. And no, corrective surgery should not be available on demand.

Just Jennifer at 405:

I agree with the birth certificates. While I don't with dress codes. Dress codes, as they are, are only reinforcing stereotypes - in as much as men and women should be able to wear decent things, but not decently-gendered things.

Which includes: hair (length, style), earrings, relaxed dress (casual friday), skirts allowed for everyone, especially if in summer men are denied shorts (he has long pants and she has a knee length skirt, and it's suffocating heat) - that not changing the gender of the person, officially or otherwise. Make-up should not be forced on anyone, nor should it be barred from anyone, it should be decent/tasteful though. There is also nail length and the use of nail polish.

An item on that list would be either forbidden for all (men and women alike), or allowed for all. True equality and freedom.

I hate double standards if you can't already tell.

I don't request for anyone to be accepted as the other gender legally without reason. I don't draw the line at late transitioners though, they are included. I don't include cross-dressers though.

Ah and my suggestion about dress codes, would favor many woman-identified women gender variant in appearance, meaning butch women wouldn't need to 'femme-themselves' to find work, or keep it. Same for femmy men who wouldn't need to hide themselves behind a false facade that just isn't them.

It would always need to be decent though, no evening dress in an office or something outlandish.

Dress codes, as they are, are only reinforcing stereotypes - in as much as men and women should be able to wear decent things, but not decently-gendered things.

Which includes: hair (length, style), earrings, relaxed dress (casual friday), skirts allowed for everyone, especially if in summer men are denied shorts (he has long pants and she has a knee length skirt, and it's suffocating heat) - that not changing the gender of the person, officially or otherwise. Make-up should not be forced on anyone, nor should it be barred from anyone, it should be decent/tasteful though. There is also nail length and the use of nail polish.

Sorry, but I disagree. Let's take, for example, a sales position. Say we have someone who sells office machines. He is required to call on customers, and he happens to be a transvestite. Now, on a given day, he is feeling the urge to crossdress. He should not be able to impose that on his company, or his company's customers. They should not have to put up with some middle-aged man, sporting a five 'o clock shadow, showing up in a bad wig, a dress, and heels. I'm sorry, but that is just not fair to anyone. And he is being paid for his time and services. His employer has a right to make demands about appearance. The same would apply in a store, or even an office situation. Co-workers should not have to deal with that sort of situation. People should not be able to impose that sort of thing on others.

That is a totally different situation from that of a person with HBS, who is required to go through RLT before surgery.

Forget the wig, but what's wrong with having long hair at all? Before I transitioned I had hair at waist length (30 inches or about). It shouldn't have been an issue, wether I was male or female. If there was a security reason for me not to have it loose I would have tied it, braided it, put it in a bun, but I would not have cut it, why should I have? And why should any man have to as well?

Hair may be gendered as a stereotype, but hair grows equally in men and women. Testosterone may cause premature balding in some people, not so in others. My father still has all his hair and he's 50, and I don't have a single spot of balding/receding, while I started HRT at 24. Even then, some women suffer from balding problems, hormone related or not, and they also should not be forbidden to have long hair or however they wish to have their hair (as long as its decent and professional - and short/crew cut is only an option amongst many, not THE option).

I haven't worked in public or in many places. It doesn't seem appropriate for 'regular' women to wear a dress and heels in most jobs, especially if they have to walk, but that's my preference (to be able to walk rather than have a pretty posture). Why would a cross-dresser decide to wear a dress and heels, and why the wig?

I'm wearing a black t-shirt and a denim knee length skirt. That's the kind of thing I wear day-to-day. I wear pants too, depends on the weather and my mood, not on society's tolerance.

No wonder I don't work. I'd probably get fired soon enough because I'd talk about rules that were unfair.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 5, 2008 8:48 PM

"Alas, some here demand ridiculous standards of proof. As Cathryn pointed out, the behavior of the transgender crowd in reaction to the HBS model is more than adequate proof that the attempts to change the meaning of "transsexual" was motivated by an attempt to confuse the meaning of the term. "

Quick, rush to rense.com with your absolutely proven conspiracy theory. David Icke needs to know that the Queen of England is the leader of the transgender reptiloid satanist word defining alien manipulation of human history!

Sheesh by that logic not only is Bob Lazars wildest claims absolutely true, not only are the 'leaks' by 'the aviary' utterly true but Mothman is as factual as the explosiveness of hydrogen.

Applying that same argument to almost any conspiracy theory validates it. The more people object the more true it must be? Do you realise what that makes true? We're not in cold Fusion territory any more, beyond the CIA mind-controlled sex-slave supermodels, were even bryond the tin-foil hat level. We're even beyond the Air-Loom conspiracy. Your argument validates virtually EVERY SINGLE CONSPIRACY THEORY EVER!

Orgone and it's deliberate suprression, Tesla Death-ray test miscalculation causing the Tunguska event, flouridation of water making people receptive to communist propaganda, radar deflection experiment ripping a hole in space-time on a US navy ship killing all of the crew, secret nazi flying saucer protected base in antarctica ruled by hitlers immortal brain in a jar.

All were objected to strongly, therefore all proven to your standard.

We could make all sorts of statements about HBS and the more HBS advocates object the more it's true?

If thats your standard of proof, if more than that is a 'ridiculous' stadard of evidence we'll all need to revaluate all of science and history to fit in all this craziness. It'll make the textbooks more interesting introducing so much nonsense but we'll set the species back substantially.

Cold fusion has more evidence than you provided. The Aquatic Ape Hypothesis has vastly better evidence. Even Eric Von Daniken managed better. Right now their is more evidence and a better argument for the existence of bigfoot than your claim .

But of course I'm asking for a 'ridiculous' level of proof. Nope. The level of proof you provide is ridiculous, I'm just asking for actual proof, the kind of things that proved the Intelligent Design conspiracy or the Watergate conspiracy not a conspiracy theory so poor that it would not be published in the konspiracy korner page of Fortean Times or in The Lobster!

Watch out for the Derro J.J. They are as proven as your conspiracy theory, actually if you consider they had a second witnesses testimony even they have more proof.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 5, 2008 10:02 PM

"A simple principle that some here wish to completely ignore is that no right is absolute. The classic analogy is "Your right to extend your arm ends where my nose begins."

The right is absolute, but it includes a recognition of all other's rights. Where rights intersect there is a natural boundary. One involving consent!

I'll further your example. My right to extend my arm to touch you reaches the intersection where my right to free action meets your right to... SOMATIC SOVEREIGNTY! Yep, your right to decide what does and does not happen to your body! Therefore I must have your consent to touch your nose.

Thats why the right you said doesn't exist is absolutely required. Otherwise I'd have the right to punch you in the nose and you'd have the right to complain and/or punch back but not a right to not be punched!

As for doctors, policemen, lawyers etc allowing their personal morality to interfere with their proffessional work, just look up Proffessional Ethics. These aren't new arguments, it's a big field thats existed for a long time. There's no point going off topic to discuss it in depth here. Just consider one example. Does a policemen have the right to choose not to arrest a homophobe who has bashed a gay man to death because they think the homophobe was right? No, because there are proffessional ethics! Otherwise sexist policemen could decline to arrest rapists but we consider that kind of behaviour an abuse of power.

That doesn't mean any doctor must perform any requested operation, there are lots of rules that determine that. but patients get to choose from treatment options (in the UK homeopathy is even part of the NHS!) or decline treatment, they can get second opinions, seek treatment elsewhere etc. All because of their right to decide what is and is not done to their bodies.

They can get tattoos, breast enlargement or reduction or reconstruction, facelifts, rebuilt hymans, anal bleaching, piercings, beadings, ritual scarrification and lots more medicaly unneccessary voluntary and risky body modifications!

The right to control over ones own physical self is the basis for the wrongness of assault, kidnapping, rape, female circumcision and more. These rights apply to everyone equally.

Elaine: "This is the whole problem with "human rights" when it comes to women's issues. Men piggyback the gains that women make and thusly maintain basal inequities."

Can you prove this right never existed, was never considered prior to women using it for asserttion of rights over their reproduction? I would be very surprised if you could but even then equal rights are equal rights!

The problem is that sexist and racist (and lots of others 'ists') people and attitudes prevented equal rights from being protected and enforced equally. The basic notions of equality and freedom should have meant that everyone had the vote from the age of consent, that slavery continued and many have had to fight for generations for the vote and equal treatment under the law is a travesty and shame upon the species. That many are still fighting for those fights, that many are still not equal is a tavesty. The problem has been the hypocrits in every generation that don't accept the enlightenment arguments for equality and freedom, they just use those arguments to justify their own freedom and equality while intentionally disregarding their absolute obligation to apply them to all others!

The right covers everyone! It's not a womens right, nor a cispersons right, it's a human right. It applies to all humans.

Transgender rights are just claiming equal rights, human rights.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 5, 2008 10:21 PM

"They should not have to put up with some middle-aged man, sporting a five 'o clock shadow, showing up in a bad wig, a dress, and heels. I'm sorry, but that is just not fair to anyone. "

So you make an aruent for a doctors right to refuse treatemnt because of personal bias but a salesperson is obliged to a duty? Double standard there.

Dress codes have been used to exclude people of unpopular classes. Just look at the troubles male Sihks have had because of their turbans and need to wear a weapon for cultural/religious reasons. In more enlightened countries a compromise has been reached where a pin in the symbol of a ritual weapon suffices and the dress code changed to allow for things like turbans.

Dress codes that are discriminatory should be amended to allow for different classes, cultures, religions etc. Again it's a human rights issue.

However uniforms and presentation are covered. Your example would not be covering the professional presentation requirements. The bad wig wouldn't be ok and the five o'clock shadow certainly wouldn't. They would have to turn up with a proffessional presentation appropriate to the uniform and/or standards of dress.

There are lots of issues for Goths with dress codes and there have been whole fashion trends amongst goths from ways to express goth while fitting into dress codes!

But dress codes that discriminate against a class, religion, culture, sex, race etc are human rights abuses. The same principle that protects a sihk man wearing their turban, a muslim woman their headscarf or a christian their cross applies to everyone.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 5, 2008 10:58 PM

"You assume that such a person can exist. If they do not have a critical embrace of woman as an identity, then they cannot be socially constituted as a woman in their give society. If they can be socially constituted as a woman, then they would have a critical embrace of woman as an identity. You see that is the problem with your position. It presumes that someone can be what they really are not."

Ok then, lets deal with the poor join in your mobius loop. What the heck are people who do not have a critical embrace of the sex that society ATTEMPTED but by your reasoning failed to socially constitute them as?

What too of the example of Third Sex people in some cultures like the Fafafini of Samoa.

Forget the wig, but what's wrong with having long hair at all?

For the most part, nothing. That is a non-issue.

Why would a cross-dresser decide to wear a dress and heels, and why the wig?

Because a lot of crossdressers go for the maximum effect. They want to look as stereotypically female as possible. In fact, it is often easy to spot a crossdresser because they will be dressed to the nines. They rarely dress like the average woman.

I know some cis lesbians who have a thing for leather. Is leather fetishism in the DSM? Or perhaps a broader 'vestism' fetish as many people are turned on by wearing specific catagories of clothes. Then transvestic fetishism would be a subset of vestism surrounded by vastly greater numbers of cis folks into silk, satin, leather, nurse outfits, business suits and all the rest. Oh, and lets not forget the furries! Singling out those who allegedly get their turn on from just one catagory of clothes seems bizarre and unscientific especially as they must be insignificant in numbers to some of the other groups.

My, but this seems more than a bit of a stretch in an attempt to justify a certain behavior. For one thing, you confuse a preference for a certain material with a fetish for certain items. They are not the same. Nor is making a fashion statement the same as a fethish. Now yes, some people do have fetishes for certain fabrics. And this is generally considered a bit odd, at the very least. And it can be a mental illness if it becomes out of control (i.e. the person takes to stealing the items). And costume play is not necessarily a fetish either...unless, again, it gets out of control. Some guy might be turned on by his girlfriend wearing a nurses outfit on occasion, or he might start attacking nurses because his desire more than he can handle. One is benign, the other is a mental illness.

Now Furries...that is definitely classed as a fetish, and is viewed by most as more than a bit odd though largely harmless.

But none of this has anything to do with men trying to pretend to be women, and invade women's space.

Apparently some, or at least one, think that spouting a lot of nonsense about conspiracy theories and such substitutes for real logic.

Amusing, but not really worth answering.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 6, 2008 9:16 PM

"Apparently some, or at least one, think that spouting a lot of nonsense about conspiracy theories and such substitutes for real logic.

Amusing, but not really worth answering."

Sorry J.J. but you are really not weaselling out of it that easilly. You provided examples of unusual, even common beliefs to avoid dealing with socio-cultural criticisms of your socio-cultural theories. Remember you mentioned that some people (there's quite a lot in fact) believe in the rapture for example to dissmiss the point that as some people accept trans folk as being the sex they identify with as well as trans that then it too is socio-culturally valid. You are displaying a clear double standard. (you also might want to learn about metaphysics to better handle attempts to define some world-views as unreal and others as real especially when your arguing in favour of one socio-cultural view while dissmissing another)

So now I point out that your argument of proof if acceptible also proves a lot of conspiracy theories and fringe science theories from the plausible like the Aquatic Ape hypothesis to the most extreme lunacy of David Icke.

Thats a logical argument.

Want me to simplify it for you?

Proposal: Degree of objection to HBS = degree of proof of deliberate meaning shift to a false one of word 'transsexual'.

Core argument: Degree of objection to view = degree of proof of deliberate conspiracy against the truth in that view.

For the basic proposal to be true the core argument must be true. If the core argument is true then it applies to every single one of those nonsense conspiracy theories.

Now if even that is too complex we can simplify it as this: If your argument is proof then all those things are also proved the same way, if any of them aren't true your argument is not proof.

So there is the logical proof of either the utter uselessness of your 'proof' or the proof of all those conspiracy theories.

Sorry J.J. but you are spouting a load of nonsense. Your argument is invalid. It's not proof, it's rubbish.

Trying to call a host of examples entirely fatal to your argument in a real logical argument against yours as 'substitutes for real logic'? Either your being deliberatly intellectually dishonest or you need a serious refresher on what logic is and how it works!

battybattybats battybattybats | June 6, 2008 9:48 PM

"And costume play is not necessarily a fetish either...unless, again, it gets out of control. Some guy might be turned on by his girlfriend wearing a nurses outfit on occasion, or he might start attacking nurses because his desire more than he can handle. One is benign, the other is a mental illness.

Now Furries...that is definitely classed as a fetish, and is viewed by most as more than a bit odd though largely harmless."

So how is furries clearly a fetish if other costume play is not? It just looks like your trying to come up with excuses to marginalise those who are more different!

What is the specific line that defines that something is a mental illness? In your example the guy is attacking people, a clear unethical behaviour. I suggest that when behaviour becomes unethical its a good sign. Trouble is that unethical behaviour is not above the average amongst transgender people!

I'm reminded of the discussion on sex, porn and internet addiction on the Australian national radio broadcasters psychology program where the argument was put forward that there was no such condition. Rather that it was really a symptomatic response, a poor coping mechanism known as a 'deferment' behaviour when dealing with a genuine mental illness like clinical depression or social anxiety. By treating the depression or social anxiety the sex/porn/internet 'addiction' ended and usage returned to noraml healthy levels.

Just being odd, eccentric or different does not a mental illness make.

Though didn't you have a problem with us Goths too?
Sounds like you are merely trying to find justifications for personal biases. I'd hope that wasn't the case and I'd be happy for you to show that is not the case.
You might like to read this on us Goths http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4828230.stm

battybattybats battybattybats | June 10, 2008 10:29 AM

As I just mentioned in the 'can we really define man and woman' discussion the international human rights issues relating to this subject are explored in The Yogyakarta Principles http://www.yogyakartaprinciples.org/principles_en.htm

I should point out that denying non HBS people SRS or insisting on coupling rights and recognition to SRS is according to the Yogyakarta Principles a human rights abuse violating international law.

From the preamble: "UNDERSTANDING ‘gender identity’ to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms;"

Specificly the part States shall:...
"d) Repeal any law that prohibits or criminalises the expression of gender identity, including through dress, speech or mannerisms, or that denies to individuals the opportunity to change their bodies as a means of expressing their gender identity;"

Requiring surgery or restricting access to it to non HBS people is clearly in violation of human rights.

"OBSERVING that international human rights law affirms that all persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, are entitled to the full enjoyment of all human rights, that the application of existing human rights entitlements should take account of the specific situations and experiences of people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and that in all actions concerning children the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration and a child who is capable of forming personal views has the right to express those views freely, such views being given due weight in accordance with the age and maturity of the child"

This has strong implications for Dr Zuckers treatment as I mentioned before.

Now this does not invalidate HBS as a theoretical medical diagnosis, it just defines many anti-transgender policy arguments put forward by some HBS advocates and others as violations of existing human rights under interenational law!

Those who were upset about people having a right to choose SRS or who felt it was not a real right might do well to note this:

"Ensure that all persons are informed and empowered to make their own decisions regarding medical treatment and care, on the basis of genuinely informed consent, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity;
f) Ensure that all sexual and reproductive health, education, prevention, care and treatment programmes and services respect the diversity of sexual orientations and gender identities, and are equally available to all without discrimination;
g) Facilitate access by those seeking body modifications related to gender reassignment to competent, non-discriminatory treatment, care and support;
h) Ensure that all health service providers treat clients and their partners without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, including with regard to recognition as next of kin;"

Actually this whole section deserves to be quoted regarding Dr Zucker.
"PRINCIPLE 18. Protection from Medical Abuses

No person may be forced to undergo any form of medical or psychological treatment, procedure, testing, or be confined to a medical facility, based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Notwithstanding any classifications to the contrary, a person's sexual orientation and gender identity are not, in and of themselves, medical conditions and are not to be treated, cured or suppressed.

States shall:
a) Take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure full protection against harmful medical practices based on sexual orientation or gender identity, including on the basis of stereotypes, whether derived from culture or otherwise, regarding conduct, physical appearance or perceived gender norms;
b) Take all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures to ensure that no child’s body is irreversibly altered by medical procedures in an attempt to impose a gender identity without the full, free and informed consent of the child in accordance with the age and maturity of the child and guided by the principle that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration;
c) Establish child protection mechanisms whereby no child is at risk of, or subjected to, medical abuse;
d) Ensure protection of persons of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities against unethical or involuntary medical procedures or research, including in relation to vaccines, treatments or microbicides for HIV/AIDS or other diseases;
e) Review and amend any health funding provisions or programmes, including those of a development-assistance nature, which may promote, facilitate or in any other way render possible such abuses;
f) Ensure that any medical or psychological treatment or counselling does not, explicitly or implicitly, treat sexual orientation and gender identity as medical conditions to be treated, cured or suppressed."

Dr Zucker appears to be in distinct violation of international human rights law.

Dr Zucker appears to be in distinct violation of international human rights law.

As much as I dislike Zucker's views on a number of issues, this is just absurd. The documented cited has absolutely NO bearing on whether or not Zucker is in violation of International Law. It is, at best, a group of suggestions drawn up by a group of people. It is not a treaty, and it has no force of law. This is why I ignore stuff like this. But, since you have forced the issue, I am just going to have point out that this is a bit of an overstatement.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 10, 2008 8:52 PM

The document cited is an explanation of CURRENT treaties of international law!

Guess you missed that bit.

It's what application of CURRENT International human rights laws to sex, gender and sexuality issues means.

The document cited is an explanation of CURRENT treaties of international law!

Guess you missed that bit.

It's what application of CURRENT International human rights laws to sex, gender and sexuality issues means.

To quote Shakespeare, it is"...full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

As I said, it has no force of law. It is a group of suggestions, strongly worded, but of no real power. It cannot be enforced. It is, at best, a statement of moral principles. Otherwise, it would be in violation of various nation's sovereignty And, it does not represent any treaties to which the United States is a party, otherwise most of the various States would be forced to change their laws. I assume you are aware that treaties supercede even the U.S. Constitution? So, if this actually represented treaties, there would be no need to pass laws like ENDA. It may represent treaties between some countries, but it does not represent any actual universal law.

In another context, so the specific articles ae incorrect, but you get the idea:

The first legal instrument is the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights article 16 (http://www.hrweb.org/legal/udhr.html). The International Bill of Human Rights - the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and its two Optional Protocols - took on the force of international law in 1976, after the Covenants had been ratified by a sufficient number of individual nations. But as Edric Micallef Figallo said, not all "international law" is equal. Treaties to which member states are signatories are the only ones where obligation to comply is absolute on the signatories.

The second is the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights article 23 (http://www.hrweb.org/legal/cpr.html#Article%2023.2) Article 23. which *is* binding, and to which Malta is a signatory. See http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/treaty5_asp.htm

Malta's reservations on articles 13,14,19,20 and 22 do not affect its obligations under article 23. To repeat, the Yogyakarta principles merely spell out the details of existing obligations under UDHR.16 and ICCPR.23.

The USA's reservations are however, relevant here.

(5) That the United States understands that this Covenant shall be implemented by the Federal Government to the extent that it exercises legislative and judicial jurisdiction over the matters covered therein, and otherwise by the state and local governments; to the extent that state and local governments exercise jurisdiction over such matters, the Federal Government shall take measures appropriate to the Federal system to the end that the competent authorities of the state or local governments may take appropriate measures for the fulfillment of the Covenant."

Declarations:

"(1) That the United States declares that the provisions of articles 1 through 27 of the Covenant are not self-executing.

In other words.... the treaty give the US Federal Government no additional powers to over-ride the states, and in order for the provisions of the treaty to be law within the US, they must be implemented by specific acts of Congress and/or State Legislatures (ie are not self-executing).

So BBB is correct, but the US has stated as a condition of signing that the provisions will only be implemented within current constitutional limits. So it's a "declaration of intent" rather than a self-executing law, and requires national and state legislation to actually implement it. Which the Federal government has committed to enact at some unspecified time, and with no effect on State powers. JJ is correct that had these reservations not been made, "most of the various States would be forced to change their laws." and ENDA etc would not be necessary. But that's exactly why the reservations were made, because the ICCPR as explicitly clarified by the Yogyakarta Principles is enforcable International Law that binds the US. The reservations mean that the US can still carry on with "business as usual", enacting the provisions of the treaty through "normal channels" and at its own glacial pace.

Canada as a signatory to ICCPR would appear to be in clear violation though, as regards Zucker and CAMH. I'm not clear as to how much authority is given by the Canadian constitution for Federal Authorities to over-ride provincial legislation, and to commit provinces through International Treaty to specific courses of action.

IANAL, merely a Rocket Scientist who's done a pile of work on Legal Databases, and in the specific area of Gender Variance, probably knows more about International Law than most. I've had to know this stuff in order to fight my own legal battles, and advise my attorneys on the subject. My opponents too, they've always caved eventually when they realise what the law actually says. I have to spell out chapter and verse though, they don't know this stuff either.

So BBB is correct, but the US has stated as a condition of signing that the provisions will only be implemented within current constitutional limits. So it's a "declaration of intent" rather than a self-executing law, and requires national and state legislation to actually implement it. Which the Federal government has committed to enact at some unspecified time, and with no effect on State powers. JJ is correct that had these reservations not been made, "most of the various States would be forced to change their laws." and ENDA etc would not be necessary. But that's exactly why the reservations were made, because the ICCPR as explicitly clarified by the Yogyakarta Principles is enforcable International Law that binds the US. The reservations mean that the US can still carry on with "business as usual", enacting the provisions of the treaty through "normal channels" and at its own glacial pace.

The upshot of all this doubletalk is that I am right. These principles have no real force of law, and are just a nice group of suggestions that are essentially meaningless in the real world. Some might like the fantasy of a one-world government, but the reality is, nothing like that exists. Bottom line, they change nothing, and are effectively meaningless.

battybattybats battybattybats | June 11, 2008 8:41 PM

J.J. The USA is not the whole world. There are countries that do recognise international law unlike the USA *cough*torture*cough* with it's refusal to be part of international courts and the human rights commission. As Dr Zucker seems to be predominantly treating children in Canada the worsening human rights situation in the USA while lamentable aren't relevant.

No country has a spotless human rights record but the situation is improving in many countries including Canada. I heard on the radio today that Canada is finally apologising to it's stolen generation for it's linguistic and cultural genocide practices.

Even if Dr Zucker is not directly covered by the law where he is it could mean that some countries are out-of-bounds for him as he could be arrested in ones where the international human rights law is recognised, extradited to countries where it is recognised by countries with extradition agreements to countries where the law is recognised. He can even be tried and sentenced in absentia in some countries for human rights violations iirc.

It's also worth pointing out that human rights laws aren't arbitrary but are based on philosophies from the enlightenment upon which modern democracy and civil rights justifications are based.

Without the foundation-stone ideas of universal equality and freedom then all sorts of evils become justifiable for the good of the state or the majority (like the cultural genocide of indiginous peoples). The Human Rights laws are an unavoidable consequence of those two foundations.