Guest Blogger

The only moral use of an epithet is my own...

Filed By Guest Blogger | January 30, 2009 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media
Tags: Christian Siriano, crossdressing, faggot, lena dahlstrom, reclaiming language, rupaul, tranny

Editor's Note: Lena Dahlstrom, a crossdresser from the San Francisco Bay Area who also performs under the stage name "Joie de Vivre," addresses the Life+Style Editor of a gay newspaper petulantly defending his right to call people "trannies."

Dear Faggot:

Now I know you won't be offended by me -- a hetero crossdresser who also does drag -- calling you that, since after all we're all about reclaiming terms, right? Just like you getting RuPaul to "rule" that it's OK to call trans people "trannies." The thing is, as far as I know, RuPaul identifies as a gay man, so asking his/her opinion on this issue is a bit like asking a white person whether it's OK for other white people call black people... well you know the term I mean.

The thing is, reclaiming an epithet is something that only gets to be done by the people who've been targeted by it. There's a big difference between members of a stigmatized group reclaiming a term as a way of saying "yeah I am a [insert derogatory term here], wanna make something of it" -- and quite another when someone outside that group decides to fling that term around carelessly. And no, we're not "already there" in reclaiming tranny as a cuddly term of endearment -- Christian Siriano's catchphrase "hot tranny mess" was clearly meant as a putdown down in exactly the same way as clueless straight kids use "that's so gay."

As far as using "drag queen," I've got no problem with using that term to describe people who are actually drag queens -- i.e. people who are crossdressing for performance. Some of whom may also be trans. But using it to describe trans people off the stage is implying their gender identity is just for show, akin to straight people who tell you that you're not really gay, you just haven't found the right woman yet. Think I'm kidding? I've seen gay men tell transwoman: "No really, what's your real (i.e. male) name."

I do agree with RuPaul that one does need to take intent into account. I've got gay friends who've thrown around "tranny" -- but when I've gently mentioned that it's a term that a lot of trans people find problematic when used by people who aren't trans (or friends and allies), guess what, they stopped using it. But no, you had to go pissily justify your right to use the term and accusing people who complain of "Nazi-like" rigidity. That's hardly "coming from a place of love and respect" now is it? The place that comes to mind is: asshat-ism. Because bottom-line, if you have to have to ask yourself whether a term you're using is offensive, that's a pretty good clue that it's not a good idea to use it.

Words may never hurt me, but they can piss me off -- and I think RuPaul might also have something to say about the folly of getting on the wrong side of an angry drag queen.


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RuPaul is hardly an authority on it since he still hangs around with Chuck Knipp.

I'm tired of Perez Hilton flinging the 'tranny' word around as well

I don't think we're "there" yet with tranny. I don't like the word, and I don't want to be called a "tranny." Maybe we (trans people) will reclaim it, but at this point the trans people I know aren't even that comfortable with using it among themselves. And it has to start there, just as it did with "queer."

Interesting, because I just heard about this happening on a FL radio show:

http://www.myhusbandbetty.com/2009/01/30/friend-of-fags-bubba/

It's interesting to see this post because I've seen this issue with using the word 'tranny' come up a number of times this week. For example, a gay blogger from LA.MetBlo, see URL below,

http://la.metblogs.com/2009/01/26/equality-summit-or-gaycon-2009/#comment-56456

who recently attended the Equality Summit in California used the term along with a reference to Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs) to describe a transgender breakout session she attended during the summit.

Whatever her intent was for using the word, people were offended and the writer continues to defend her blog article, at one point justifying her use of it as trying to 'reclaim' the pejorative despite not being transgender herself.

Anyway, it seems like a no-brainer to me. Even if only a minority within the transgender community are offended by the term, we should respect their view and not use the word except when quoting someone else with the intent of emphasizing that person's bigotry.

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I like t-girl it that OK?

only if the person self-identifies as a t-girl.

No, it isn't. It's demeaning and foolish. Adult women are women, not girls.

Fascinating when you consider that for years women of transsexual history have complained loudly (when allowed to be even heard) about being labeled "transgender". Can we say hypocrites? I knew you could.

Hear, hear. Perhaps a good rule of thumb would be:

If you're defending your right to use a word to describe yourself, you're good.

If you're defending your right to use a word to describe someone else despite their feeling that it is offensive/hurtful/derogatory, you're probably being an insensitive asshat.

See? It's not that complicated. (And before anyone cried freedom of speech: yes, you do have it. So do I, and I'm going to use mine to tell you when I think you're using yours to be a jerk.)

Dan seems utterly clueless about the existence of a TG community at all. Jeezuz, touting RuPaul as an authority? It's like asking Eric McCormack of Will and Grace about how the gay community feels. I'd just like to be called by my name with the appropriate pronoun, please.

Hey hetero man,

What gives you the right to use the (non-reclaimed) word "faggot," (even in irony) to describe a gay person?

Also, the history of oppression of black people by white people is not just some metaphor you can throw around, to explain queer, mostly white, issues. The two oppressions have radically deep differences.

What puzzles me no end is how trannys can think they have the right to complain about being called a term when they defend to the death the right to do so to others against their will and have done so for over a decade? Are they capable of understanding they gave up the right to self definition when they denied it to others? Specifically the "umbrella" use of "transgender" considered an incredible insult and denial of the womanhood of women of transsexual history by those women.

I suspect these crossdressing men defend the umbrella use of "transgender" precisely so they can then claim the right to speak for women with absolutely nothing in common with them. How can you defend the right to be a gender outlaw and then demand the right to the use of one end of the binary as well? If you are a gender outlaw, have the balls to deal with what that entails. Why am I expected to use binary female pronouns and identity to refer to someone who clearly tells us they are a man or a third something? Exactly how is it "disrespectful" if I call a self identified man by male pronouns but he gets to expound on my womanhood as an "expert" because he shoved me under his umbrella?

I'm not sure if this was specifically a reply to me transheretic, but i'll give you my thoughts on it since it was linked to my comment.

I agree, everyone has a right to self-definition (within certain boundaries of course). No one has a right to co-opt the identities of others, especially the identity of those less privileged then yourself. For example, a cis woman dating a trans man has no right to call herself a lesbian. Furthermore, only those who are historically oppressed by a word have a right to reclaim it, if they choose.

Although, I will admit, in some instances this is hard to sort out. For example, faggot I think is a word that both trans women and gay men can reclaim as its historically used to attack both. Tranny is another such word, although in terms of the original poster, I think they do have a right to this word as tranny is something that does get used to insult crossdressers as well as trans women. Gay men on the other hand have no right to that word, nor do trans men (something I get seen used way to much, which is unfortunate).

As far as the umbrella identity of transgender goes. I think the problem with its use, is that there are some transsexual women who identify with it and some who don't. Both have reasonable positions as to why they do. I'm not quite sure how to sort this out though. I guess the only time it really becomes an issue (and I could be wrong about this) is one someone describes a non-transgendered identified transsexual person a transgendered person would be to clarify that they don't identify with that term and so to refrain from using it to describe them.

Otherwise its extremely hard to sort out via conceptual analysis the difference between a transsexual person who identifies as a transgender person and transsexual person who doesn't as that difference is the ONLY difference.

It's not something I did lightly. (For the record, the draq queens I perform with throw around the word "fag" a lot -- but I've never used it myself, for the reasons mentioned.)

But in this case the editor in question seems to be willfully oblivious. As someone aptly put it elsewhere -- in the case of the "pro-gay" radio DJ defending his right to call gays "fags":

When someone says you’re doing something that hurts them, you could either a) stop doing it, or b) continue. Why would you continue? If you accidentally step on someone’s foot in a crowd, and they say “Ouch!” would you apologize, or would you try to convince them that it really didn’t hurt because you didn’t mean any harm?

The Dallas Voice editor seems determined to continue doing something that he knows offends a number of trans people and determined tell people that they're just being "too sensitive." In other words, he thinks that the person using the epithet, is the one who gets to decide whether an epithet is offensive -- not the people who are the targets of it.

So I felt I needed a 2x4 to get his attention, to get him to understand what it's like to be the one trod on, and to highlight the hypocrisy of his argument.

So wait, you "highlighted the hypocrisy of his argument" by being a hypocrite yourself?

Way to stay classy, way to stay classy.

Trying to give someone a 'taste of their own medicine' or 'holding up a mirror' can work on some people, but often not on others.

For some its the only way they can empathise with anothers situation but some will remain oblivious.

It seems clear to me that this is what Lena was doing which is different from her arguing that she should be able to call people faggot while she shouldnt be called Tranny. Instead its like one kid going up the bully punching another kid in the face and punching the bully in the face and when the bully starts crying saying "if you dont like it then stop doing it to others".

Exactly, Batty.

Just to be absolutely clear, since the use of irony can go over people's heads...

I used it to make the point: "how would you like it if I took it upon myself to call you a 'faggot' in the same way that you take it upon yourself to call trans people 'trannies'.".

I don't like the word tranny in reference to me and I also don't like the word queer. I am older and I am a woman and liked to be referred as such. I don't mind the word maam as I am older and female. So, please think of some of us who want to be who we are and not something else.

I believe that the use of the word "faggot" in a reply was way over the top, particularly from a straight identified person.

Wearing a dress on weekends does not give you license to engage in this kind of attack, no matter what the provocation.

As for "Tranny or not," that is an issue for the trans-community to settle, so I will keep my "cis-gendered priviledged" self out of that discussion

I saw what people were saying to you when you were trying to help and I think it is shameful, Maura. The problem is that the "trans" community will *never* sort it out fairly, because the hierarchy that has emerged will not allow open discussion. Pure alpha behavior at work here.

One particular cabal has strongarmed the others and there is no going back. It is an abusive relationship at this point. Now they are busy silencing everyone who isn't "one of them", all the while maintaining a claim on the lives of people who want nothing to do with them.

Maybe there will be a calming when the public spokespeople for "trans" are all of the same mind. But that doesn't mean that the groups they lay claim to have accepted servitude. It just mean they have no voice.

Maura, I agree "faggot" is a vile, hateful term -- it's one that I'm all too familiar with. I was taunted with it as a boy who wasn't sufficiently manly for the school bullies. I've heard it muttered at me when I've been out en femme and in drag. I've had it screamed at me by potential gay bashers.

Which, as I said, is why I didn't use it lightly. In fact it's the first time I've used it in more than 30 years (the last time was back when I was a school kid who didn't know any better). Why? Because I've lost patience with (some) gay and lesbian writers and editors who, when asked stop using a term that many trans people find equally hurtful, not only continue to use it, but then go on to arrogantly proclaim their right to decide what's offensive to others, and belittle those who asked them to stop as being "overly sensitive."

It was a shock tactic intended to goad these folks into thinking about what they're saying, using a stark example that's close to home for them, since they've been utterly unwilling to put themselves in other people's shoes. Perhaps I could've more clearly posed it as a hypothetical, i.e. "how would you like it if I called you a..." But unfortunately, the experience of myself and others is that subtler arguments made in the past have just been blown off by these folks.

I understand why you're angered by my use of the term. I hope you understand why I also feel angered by those who insist on using a term they know that many trans people feel hurt by.

For those Transsexuals who do not like being under the umbrella term Transgender, perhaps they could try calling themselves Cisgender Transsexuals?

Thats a way they could show that they fit into and prefer a purely gender-binary model without dissmissing those transsexuals who either do not fit one or who even if they could fit it do not see gender as a binary as well as all the other people who identify with a non-binary model without one group delegitimising the other/s in the course of their self-identification?

Though my concern remains that the motive behind the anti-transgender umbrella folk is just the same sort of bigotry that had different white people arguing over who from what country really was white or more purely white and who was not in past centuries to justify racism and classification of people as sub-human etc.

The right to self-identification means both sides must acknowledge that some Transsexuals consider themselves Transgender and some do not. Meaning that a community of Transsexuals exists legitimately under the label and outside of it simultaneously!

So a simple term like adding Cisgender to one to match the Transgender of the other should help demarcate fairly these two groups then don't you think?

LOL, in a word Bats, NO.......
Another crossdressing man telling women who they are, you are the problem Bats, not the solution.

The proper term for someone who corrects a neurological birth condition as a part of the binary is woman (or man) no modifiers...no transgendereds or crossdressing men claiming otherwise. See, it's pretty simple, stop using the term transsexual, stop labeling others and stop trying to reclaim an umbrella usage term that is offensive to establish connections that do not exist. If someone thinks they are transsexual and transgendered, the burden is on them to establish an identity that is not destructive of others identity. Stop using transgender as an inclusive umbrella term totally. You cannot fine tune this and the time is long past to suddenly "add" transsexual back since it was rendered meaningless in the process of generalizing transgender in the first place. These trannys are getting all bent out of shape over being called trannys but somehow still won't own what they do.

Transheretic, I'm not telling women who they are.
I'm offering one logical term as a suggested solution to the dilemma, nothing more.

I'm not deciding who is termed transsexual or not. I have friends and others I know who term themselves that so thats who I refer to as transsexuals. And I do not consider any of them less women or men than cissexuals.

You say connections do not exist. So have you conclusively disproven them? Both historical, cultural, religious, social as well as medical, biological, psychological and philosophical? After all just one of those would support the existence of the term. Even were it true only subjectively for a minority community it would support the existence of such a term. Well then, please display your certain and conclusive disproof of all such connections.

As for burdens of responsibility regarding self definitions and language and terminology based on identity politics, its usually a messy area. Could you explain your reasoning for such an onus? Especially what school of ethical thought you use as your foundation for determining responsibility. Especially considering what I already said about the right to self identification.

Not to mention my concerns over the motivations of anti TG terminology advocates. I hope you can disarm such concerns. Would you, for example, if you gained what you sought regarding terminology support full equal rights for all people of gender identity and/or expression diversity?

Finally as for your command to "Stop using transgender as an inclusive umbrella term totally." I'm not under your authority and don't follow the orders of my peers so am disinclined to obey. Now if you rationally and logically show the term is entirely in error I'll happily abandon it. And I'm not especially attached to it quite honestly as I am starting to prefer the S&GD term for it's greater inclusiveness anyway.

Though perhaps you'd like that one even less.

It's not incumbent upon the rest of the world to disprove the "umbrella". Those who push it need to prove it in the first place. The school of thought behind that is a)common sense and b)people should mind their own business. But you see this strange viewpoint of how logic and science work all the time these days.

Those who have never experienced the condition known as "transsexuality" do not understand what we are talking about. In a polite society, differences such as these require people to keep their hands to themselves. Good manners alone should tell people that they do not own others. But we aren't dealing with polite people, are we?

Okay, I apologize ahead of time if anything I say or ask is offensive, but I really want to understand what terms mean and how to use them appropriately. Transheretic, you mention there is a problem with some using the term 'transgendered' as an umbrella term and after reading over others' posts about that issue in this comments section, I am still confused about what the controversy is. Would you mind explaining this further or providing a link where I can find details about it since I am new to this controversy? Also, what is meant by 'cisgender' or 'ciswomen?' I appreciate any help I can get since I am always trying my best to navigate identity politics as carefully as possible so I am respectful of a person's own identity.

Okay, I apologize ahead of time if anything I say or ask is offensive, but I really want to understand what terms mean and how to use them appropriately. Transheretic, you mention there is a problem with some using the term 'transgendered' as an umbrella term and after reading over others' posts about that issue in this comments section, I am still confused about what the controversy is. Would you mind explaining this further or providing a link where I can find details about it since I am new to this controversy? Also, what is meant by 'cisgender' or 'ciswomen?' I appreciate any help I can get since I am always trying my best to navigate identity politics as carefully as possible so I am respectful of a person's and/or community's own identities.

Careful Carlo, you don't want to run afoul of the meanies lol

Hmm, I can't think of an unbiased review of the situation anywhere on the web. There are plenty of Transgender blogs on the net, some probably link from here. There are much fewer blogs from people who object to their inclusion.

If you do get a list and take a look around, I'd suggest just listening for awhile before you decide not to post anything haha. It's a mean, nasty business right now and I'd hate to see another sympathetic person getting bashed when they are just trying to be a good neighbor.

Aria said: "It's not incumbent upon the rest of the world to disprove the "umbrella". Those who push it need to prove it in the first place. The school of thought behind that is a)common sense and b)people should mind their own business. But you see this strange viewpoint of how logic and science work all the time these days."

Well I know a smidge about both science and logic. Science works by DISproving falsifiable hypotheses.

As an example here is a falsifiable hypothesis: The biological factors found in many transsexuals related to them being transsexuals will be found to a lesser extent and lesser effect in many but not all non-transsexual transgender-identified people including Genderqueers and Crossdressers.

This could be tested to be disproved. Simply by performing the same tests on genes and neurology on a large number of subjects from a broad crosssection of transgender people with a group of strongly transsexual people and some strongly cis folk as control groups for comparison.

Thats how science works, by disproving potentially disprovable and testable ideas.

As for your a) common sense, often what is classed as such is neither common nor sense. Heaps of reality is counter-intuitive. And I'm sure 'common sense' arguments could be made on either side. As for b) thats a self-referential problem right there. Because one first needs to exclude all transsexuals who approve of and accept the umbrella term to then say that they are not precisely dealing with their own business.

The existence of shared legal issues, political issues, systemic issues, human rights issues, cultural connections etc does suggest that some form of umbrella term for those connections is appropriate to some extent whether or not it's an identity label.

So as long as there are transsexuals who consider themselves transgender then logically the umbrella will cover some of them. I'm certainly happy for some people of transsexual or operative history or whatever preferred term if any suits the women (and men if any also so choose) to consider themselves not under such an umbrella but just because it doesnt suit them doesnt mean they can insist that those transsexuals who do support the umbrella and are happy beneath it must be dragged out kicking and screaming from under it.

Both groups of transsexuals have a host of rights of self-determination and especially the right to self-identification.

You need to define "transsexual".

There is a long chain of causality that you are ignoring with your assumptions in that stated hypothesis. But first and foremost, you assume that "gendered behavior" is a diagnostic of "transsexuality", something that I would reject. The presence or absence of a condition does not depend on the form of its expression.

Your falsifiable statement is predicated on the notion that gendered behavior can be directly traced to biological factors in short form, and all the unstated factors link a physically-based transsexuality to the social phenomenon of "transgenderism". What isn't stated is that "gendered behavior" is used amorphously here to link undefined groups, and without clear definition the hypotheses is null. Although the statement sounds reasonable, it is full of the same mistaken presuppositions that cause the transgender problem in the first place.

...

The position that I propose is that transsexuality is a descriptor for a physiological variance that exceeds "tolerance". It is about the body, and only the body. The conflation of social theory and the study of empirical, physiological phenomena produces confusion and misdirects inquiry from what is scientifically sound. It also ventures into the realm of propaganda.

In viewing the body as a holistic system, one can describe its parts as "sub-systems". There are variations in structure which yield resulting variations in function. The body's neurological system is not independent of the the other systems that it contains, and the "operation" of the organism as a whole derived thereof will reflect this.

Accepting that all "sub-systems" will approximate a range of values when measured (in some fashion), it follows that the function of all sub-systems as expressed in sum will also vary according to this standard of measurement.

When a sub-system is at great variance with another, it can produce a quantifiable effect in the organism. In medicine these take the form of symptoms, to illustrate.


etc. etc.

...


The argument is basically about behavior. It focuses on the behavior of those who change rather than their state of being. i.e. people who change their body must be related to people who are altering their gender presentation for some other reason. As if those who experience the need to change their body, or else die in many cases, are engaged in some sort of gender play, but to a greater extent.

Sexual (body) identity is not the same as gender identity. Gender identity is not the same as the clothes you wear (behavior). Identity is independent of behavior. I don't think many crossdressers really understand this.

According to your logic, I would need to scientifically prove that angels don't fly out of your butt before I could state that idea is crap. I call that transvestite logic.

Anyone who claims to be transsexual and under your umbrella is free to embrace a "third" gender....we don't.

LOL
Hardly Transheretic! You totally missunderstand scientific method and my post!

You can find lots of articles, even whole books on the subject so we neednt go off topic on it.

But simply your angel example is not a falsifiable notion and like Intelligent Design and Creationism can be automatically dissmissed as unscientific because it is unfalsifiable!

Now if the highest achievements of science medicine and philosophy is 'transvestite logic' I'd be happy with that, though I doubt every single one of the great people and their achievements that all our lives are built upon were all transvestites somehow.

Scientific method and the philosophy of science is a fascinating subjecy. Metaphysics always is. I'm sure you'll enjoy the reading required for you to grasp it Transheretic :) Happy reading!

As for third gender etc, some very well may. But some may not. They are free to decide that they are both women and transgender. You dont get to define what options are available to them.

But you do get to decide what you define as and for you. And I support your right and freedom to do so!

Hi Carlo.

As I don't object to the term Transgender I will let those who do explain their issues with the term.

As for the new terms your unfamiliar with, Cis is the opposite of Trans. Now what exactly Transgender means is perhaps part of the issue but Trans in general when added to a word means to change, on or to the other side of, move across, go beyond or through, exceed or surpass.

So if someone changes their physical sex characteristics to match their internal identity they are commonly referred to as Transsexual while someone who does not in any way as they are born into a state congruent with their internal identity could be called cissexual.

So then the opposite of transgender would then be cisgender.

BattyBattyBats,

Okay, so if I understand this correctly then. A ciswoman, for example is someone who was born a woman and stays a woman and a transgender woman is someone who was born a man, but becomes a woman through gender reassignment surgery. Is that correct?


Roughly correct Carlo.

Though exactly what constitutes the Transwoman is often the subject of bitter vitriol.

It can easilly be said by many that the transwoman was also born a woman but with a male-body birth defect and that it is not the surgery that makes them a woman as they always were legitimately a woman inside and the surgery makes them merely recognisable to others as one and at last comfortable in their own body.

And then there are those who do not immediately get all the possible surgeries, such as those who wish to have biological children as per the human right to reproduction or those who are unable to get the surgeries such as because of other health issues that would nake any surgery dangerous. And there are some who are comfortable with only certain amounts of surgery while there are others who need to get full SRS ASAP.

Some catagorise only some of these as being legitimately Transwomen.

But importantly the Ciswoman has never had to worry about any of that.

Aria, you missunderstand how science works too I guess.

You dont disprove a falsifiable hypothesis with argument but with data. You raise an alternative hypothesis, that gendered behaviour is entirely unrelated to biologically caused gender identity. How would you propose that your notion can be tested to be disproven so that we can consider it too a falsifiable hypothesis?

Bearing in mind that a variety of biological causations and influences of behaviour are known to exist! From several medical drugs side-effects that result in increased risk-taking like gambling and promiscuity etc all the way to genes like the one currently believed to be associated with increased violence and aggression http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090121093343.htm

By testing the hypothesis we may, with sufficiently sound methodology, get a certain answer as to whether we can then dissmiss a fslsifiable hypothesis as falsified.

But without testing these and plenty of other hyptheses we only are discussing speculations possibilities and prhaps beliefs, not facts.

As for defining transsexual, unless you include a hatred of the term transgender in the definition then there are people of just about every definition who use the term transgender and are ok with the umbrella and that includes the early-transition SRS-ASAP definition favoured by many HBS advocates.

And its worth considering that other neurological conditions are very variable in severity of symptoms, such as Autism.

Yeah I understand the concept, but your hypothesis fails in the synthesis. I was trying to illustrate the very beginnings of the sort of preamble you would have to go through in order to start making sense of the problem. Bad example, my apologies. But, you still assume a transsexual syndrome automatically has something to do with gender transgression as a root cause, which I think misses the point entirely.

Speaking as one on the other side of the process, I can tell you that gender is useless as a diagnostic and has zero bearing on the presence or absence of the condition that says your body is wrong. Body problems need body solutions. Gender "problems" do not. Gender = social construct, and therefore cannot be part of a biological explanation. I don't think any kind of gender transgression is a pathology by itself, that is an artifact of the patriarchal psych system that says certain behavior is too "disorderly" and needs to be normed.

Gendered behavior is a symptom in some cases of transsexuality, but not all. One of the greatest failures of the Zucker, et. al. paradigm is that "effeminate" boys almost always grow up to be homosexual men. He is trying to use "feminine" behavior as a criteria to scan for "defective" males. Because as we all know, males that exhibit less-than-manly behavior are further down on the scale, closer to women.

That's the problem with trying to use a secondary effect, a sometimes-symptom/behavior, in order to diagnose what is most probably a simple variation in brain structure vs the rest of the body. I really think it is as simple as that. My body got fixed, dysphoria cured instantly. Just like that. It surprised the hell out of me. I really used to believe it was about gender until that moment. But all the stuff everyone seems so focused on in "transition" is really just about how you want to live your life. You can keep the femme crap, I don't want to bother with it, lol.

I should ask you when you are transitioning. I've never had this sort of discussion with a crossdresser before. muhahaha :)

But Aria, all scientific hypotheses are based around finding a maybe or what-if that is testable and plausible then testing them to see what is and what is not the case. Your suppossed to make assumptions in them, so what I suggest is exactly what your supposed to do.

For example when they said "if we assume the atom can be split then how could we test that in order to show that it cannot" or "if we assume that light is a particle how can we test it to disprove that it is" there HAVE to be assumptions and then one must be able to test them to try and disprove them and then one performs the tests and then evaluates the results! You need to investigate an unknown by saying 'what if'. So assumptions are an absolute component for the process!

Say what you want to know is if there are any connections between various groups under the transgender umbrella or not. You then design ways to test all possible options. You have to test all possible ones cause sometimes you get curveballs like when light is a particle and a wave depending on which test you use.

Thing is you need the assumption in the hypothesis that you test and then you must be ready to see it fail when you reach the conclusion!

Instead your making an untested assumption, that there is no connection between gender expression diversity and transsexuals. One built on theories, even subjective experience but not on reliable data built from solid methodology designed to test that specific hypothesis and saying that testing that is unnneccessary. That's un-science!

Now we know plenty of neurological variations occur in varying degrees of intensity, so just like Autism which as well as related variations like Aspergers which is considered an Autism-Spectrum Disorder we should logicly expect that varying degrees and variants amongst the trassexual neurological phenomenon would be possible and maybe even probable.

Some or even all of the Transgender umbrella could be just that. Or we could find that there are several similar but causilly unrelated phenomena currently labeled as transsexual with the rest of Transgender causilly unrelated to any of them.

Science works by testing possibilities till only one answer cannot be ruled out. Or sometimes all are and people must scramle to come up with new notions to test and try and disprove. It works by a process of accruing data that excludes possibilities.

It never works the way you suggest. Your thinking perhaps of the way medical diagnosis by a GP or specialist works, which is much vaguer and more nebuolous than medical research, biology, chemistry physics etc. Diagnosis works based on established notions and established data and fitting things too them, it fails whenever dealing with something new or when there are significant gaps in the scientific understanding of a condition in which case its back to goold old fashioned scientific method.

So then diagnoses rely on data and models established by scientific method. That way of operating is always inferior to scientific method but is quicker and cheaper when swift treatment is required hence its strong value.

So your suggestion is un-scientific. You can certainly propose hypotheses based on current untested models sure, and therefore test the models by testing the predictions based upon them. But you cannot dissmiss untested hypotheses based solely on it not fitting your current preferred model!

Now I am not stating my hypotheses is true, nor even likely. Just distinctly possible and untested. There are a great many other untested possibilities too. And untill they are all tested with solid data then no-one has facts! Only subjective experience, bias, conjecture, beliefs, possibilities and waffle.

And this carries all the way back from my example of what a scientific hypotheses is and returns to the point that how it works means that any notion, such as Transgender as an umbrella so long as it is testable is DISproven or fails to be disproven rather than proven.

So then at the end of the day we are faced with not contrasting clear answers but constant possibility, vaguery, uncertainty. Thats how science works. And it is the world of cutrent possibilites that we must consider our terminology as well as our moral and ethical reasoning in.

We do know that there appear to be biological contributers to people being transsexual with a good chance of some or all or a combination being causation. However there is a lot yet to learn on it let alone whether or not there are connections to any other neurological conditions let alone any other sex and gender variations!

And raw biological causation alone is not required for Human Rights, nor for social, historical, cultural etc connections so even were there no biological causative links found once all possible testing were done the other non-biological connections would be sufficient to justify an umbrella-term.

Based on rights alone both sides are correct, those Transsexuals who like the term can call themselves Transgender and those who don't can choose not too.

But when it comes to science it is data and methodology that rules and not even a minute amount of the neccessary studies have been done on the rest of transgender and until they are done all anyone has is conjecture!

As for Zucker et al, his claims are filled with methodological holes and his practices are extraordinarily unethical!

As for me transitioning? I wouldn't rule out the possibility (or almost any possibility) but currently i'm quite happy alternating between a degree of genderqueer-androgyny (which works well with my Goth fashion) and distinctly female presentation as suits me at the time. As for not having this sort of discussion with a crossdresser before, in what way? Maybe you just haven't talked with enough? There is a great deal of diversity amongst crossdressers.