Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Comment of the Week: Jay Kallio on Chaz Bono Reluctance

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | May 15, 2011 7:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Site News
Tags: Camille Paglia, Chaz Bono, Daily Kos, New York Times, Reluctant role model

On Jessica Max Stein's post Reluctance about Chaz Bono, 'The Reluctant Transgender Role Model, in which she notes that "while Bono may be a reluctant role model, many in the queer and trans community are equally reluctant to claim him."Thumbnail image for Bono_Chaz_2010_crop.jpg Stein references a few pieces critical of Bono from The New York Times, Autostraddle, Nick Krieger and Feministing. There's also a Daily Kos article and the viral Camille Paglia video.

Stein gives kudos to Bono for speaking out, but concludes "let us hope that this is just the beginning of this kind of media attention, leading to a fuller picture of the trans community in all its vibrancy and strength." Her post thus hooks into the "transgender vs. transsexual" debate that is coming to the fore in the trans community. The "transgender" experience of a fluid gender continuum is different from the "transsexual" experience of binary gender substitution.

A number of commenters made the point that Bono bears no responsibility for addressing this debate, but Jay Kallio made the point most forcefully:

The blogosphere firing squad aimed at Chaz Bono is really disheartening...He is simply another struggling human being, thrust into the limelight, not a spokesperson or paid elected official with an obligation to represent a constituency...The sense of entitlement of many people who seem to feel they have a right to demand others take the onerous responsibility to represent their lives is astounding to me...If Chaz Bono had tried to tell the story of all those who are elsewhere on the gender identity spectrum as they seem to expect him to, my guess is that people would be howling mad at him for "co-opting" their stories, and shrieking at how they don't "resonate" with how he presented them, and how dare he speak for others...Ultimately it baffles me that queers who are so adamant that others must understand and respect their self concepts and plethora of nuanced identities then are so rejecting and unforgiving when someone speaks of their own experience...

Some people are genuinely and innately men and women, firmly ensconced in the gender binary, and no one else has the right to demean them for it. Try giving the respect you want from others, they are then much more likely to give respect in return...

What say you, Projectors? Is Chaz Bono doing a great service for the trans community, or a great disservice? Is criticism of Chaz Bono for being a "gender essentialist" fair or unfair? Jay's full comment after the jump.

Here is Jay's comment in full:

The blogosphere firing squad aimed at Chaz Bono is really disheartening.

I'm not addressing this to anyone who has commented here yet, but it's painful to me to hear all the "friendly fire" harsh criticism of Chaz Bono's interviews, in which to me he sounded very fair, real, and sincere. I cannot fathom why so many people seem to think Chaz has either the obligation, or even the right to represent anyone but himself, and tell the truth of his own journey.

No one can authentically represent the inner life of another, that is their job alone to communicate to whoever they wish to have understand them. If someone doesn't feel represented by Chaz and his life story the responsibility is incumbent upon them to write their own book, not push that responsibility off on someone else. Chaz is a person with a life, not a fictional character who can be rewritten at will and according to someone else's demands.

I feel it is appropriate for people to demand that media present us as human, in all our complex strengths and failings, not as mentally ill perverts as they will try to, and that is a worthwhile effort. But Chaz doesn't control how the media portrays people of gender variant experience. He is simply another struggling human being, thrust into the limelight, not a spokesperson or paid elected official with an obligation to represent a constituency. There's a huge difference.

The sense of entitlement of many people who seem to feel they have a right to demand others take the onerous responsibility to represent their lives is astounding to me. It seems counterproductive at best, and overtly destructive and meanspirited at worst to cut down anyone who takes the risk to come out and tell their story. I give a tremendous amount of credit to anyone who takes on the brutal task of coming out of stealth and honoring our personal truth in full view of a hostile public, therefore becoming a target for the bigotry, hostility, and treachery of others who detest and loathe us. Whatever the nuances of someone's gender identity, it requires courage to stand tall and tell our truth.
I would never lay the expectation on someone else to tell my story. No one can, but me. It's my job, not theirs'.

If Chaz Bono had tried to tell the story of all those who are elsewhere on the gender identity spectrum as they seem to expect him to, my guess is that people would be howling mad at him for "co-opting" their stories, and shrieking at how they don't "resonate" with how he presented them, and how dare he speak for others...

Instead of constantly blaming and shooting down others like Chaz Bono who try to do something positive, I wish those folks would try actually doing something positive. It's very empowering once you try it, and ultimately much more constructive and satisfying an investment of energy.

Sorry if I am being unduly harsh, but the constant barrage of self righteous indignation and demeaning, hateful barbs aimed at every positive step forward (like Chaz has taken) is such an ugly energy drain.

Ultimately it baffles me that queers who are so adamant that others must understand and respect their self concepts and plethora of nuanced identities then are so rejecting and unforgiving when someone speaks of their own experience...

Some people are genuinely and innately men and women, firmly ensconced in the gender binary, and no one else has the right to demean them for it. Try giving the respect you want from others, they are then much more likely to give respect in return...

imgsrc


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I think Chaz should only speak for himself.I was disturbed by his promotion of the idea that we all have to be part of the LGBT community and wear the transgender label. I thought we were moving beyond that with the acceptance by some not to label Nikki Araguz Transgender.If you all truly want unity quit labelling everyone and telling them which group or groups they have to belong to. Their are gay and straight people under both the transgender and Transgender label they should have a right not to be counted as LGBT unless they choose to be. That doesn't mean they don't support the LGBT it just means they are Allies instead of card carrying members or tools to be used to promote agendas they don't support.

Argh I meant to say their are both Straight and LGB people under both the Transsexual and Transgender labels.The LGB identified T people should fully understand why it should never be their right to force LGB inclusion on the straight members of either label. Shame on those who do.

We live in a democracy, Amy. You only have a handful of people who share your objections to the way WPATH wants to define you. Don't you understand your personhood should be put up for a vote, just like Prop 8 in California . . . ??? Oh, wait a minute?

Survey says?

My answer?

What do you do with a lynch mob? Forget about a drunken sailor. Hardly anyone is even familiar with the tune.

Just wondering how I can download your new avatar. Love it!

Edith click on amym440 it will take you to TSwomens coalition.You don't have to fill out the application or join just state who you are and what you want. I'll hook you up with the avatar.I think more people need to use it :)

Kudos to Chaz for sharing HIS story. How on earth can everyone expect him to share their story? He doesn't know each of you, nor has he met you. All he knows is HIS story, and he told it. I look forward to many more stories being told and coming forward. I look forward to the entire rainbow of colours being represented. But until then, we have the few voices that the media have latched onto, and I for one, am thankful that Chad's voice is a well spoken, honest, sane voice. He isn't all over the board in presenting himself, he has his stuff together, and I for one applaud him for having the courage to take this story public.
You want YOUR story told? Write a book, sing a song, create a poem... Tell your story, we'd love to hear it :)

What strikes me about Kallio's comment - and those of many others - is the misguided assumption that somehow public figures are actually knowable entities, people who sit with us around our dinner tables and whose "stories" are purely personal and somehow above critique. I addressed this in another post where Kallio and others made similar points, including the assertion that those who critique Bono should just either write their own books or provide their own narratives. http://www.bilerico.com/2011/05/chaz_bono_on_david_letterman_about_his_new_book.php (my comment here is a version of that).

But Bono, like it or not, is a public figure, who has garnered a tremendous amount of public attention, and whose views on gender and sexuality contribute, rightly or wrongly, to a public discourse on the same. I should add that he has made a film about his transition, given numerous interviews, and makes PAID appearances at several events. Like it or not, Bono's views are up for public consumption and discussion.

It's perfectly legitimate for those of us in a free, open society, committed to rational public discourse and dialogue (however one wishes to construe the meaning of those terms), to express their thoughts about a subject or a person, especially a public person who has, like it or not, taken on the role of a spokesperson.

To simply counter such discussions by writing that, "Instead of constantly blaming and shooting down others like Chaz Bono who try to do something positive, I wish those folks would try actually doing something positive. It's very empowering once you try it, and ultimately much more constructive and satisfying an investment of energy" is counterproductive and, frankly, petty and profoundly anti-intellectual. I can critique, for instance, the building of, say, yet another glass and steel edifice in downtown Chicago for any number of reasons without having to prove that I can actually build my own building. I can critique an actor in a movie without having to first get a role in a major/minor film project to show.

And I or anyone else can critique Chaz Bono for his public statements and/or his public persona and/or his book/his film without being required to write my own book or being required to "do something positive," whatever that means. It is absurd to demand such "credentials" in the blogosphere where the point is to actually have a discussion about issues raised. And I don't have to be trans, either, to have an opinion about how he uses his celebrity. Surely we all have a stake in these matters, regardless of how we identify. And while he's certainly a person, yes, he's also a public figure and being dissected as such comes with the territory, within reasonable limits. None of us is obliged to pretend that we know him intimately or to defer to anyone who insists that he is simply "doing good."

No one here has been needlessly petty, and when they are, there's always been a self-correcting mechanism - at least on TBP, for the most part. So, let people have at it, let them critique him or have an opinion on him or anyone else, or any other matter. Let's not stifle discussion - and this is a discussion that goes far beyond Bono himself, as Jillian's own words above attest - by assuming that only a small, small segment of the population which is EXACTLY like the subject of the conversation,Bono, is entitled to it.

Good points, Yasmin. I think Jay's concern, and I share that concern to some extent, is that whoevershows up in the media spotlight is subject to criticism by the trans community because they aren't representing us properly. And, indeed, some of them aren't. There is no question that Chaz's comments are subject to criticism, and I could easily write a big book critiquing his comments. At the same time, we all believe some rather boneheaded things, and I think we need to loosen the reins a bit and let him make his mistakes without thinking that he is ruining everything for the rest of us. Sure, his comments about women are objectionable, and his gender essentialism is common among newbies, perhaps even necessary to a person who is coming to grips with how to be a man in our society. I spent years thinking about how women walk and talk, and worked to master it. At the time, a friend said to me "first learn the stereotypes, then you can break them." Now I would bristle at the suggestion that a woman should walk or talk in a particular way. But I can afford to, as my femininity has been confirmed, at least to myself, and to many others as well (if not everybody, ah well). Who among us hasn't had the same thought at some point or another about the way women are, or the way men are. "Men!" we think to ourselves, or even vocalize it, but there are no cameras present. This does not, of course, mitigate the critique one bit. But while I happily join in the critique of Chaz the newbie, I also remember that I was once the newbie, struggling to understand myself and the system of gender all at once in a very, very unfriendly world.

Hi Jillian,

yes, absolutely, and I nod to many of your points made below as well. But to be clear, my larger point was also that there's a great deal of squelching of discourse that goes on when people start to assume that a) only those who share a subject's EXACT points of identification can speak to their stories (and I use "subject" to indicate that my problems with the current mode of shutting down discourse extends to many other life stories as well) and b) that there is not an enlivening and theoretical debate to be had by us all.

I'm not talking simply about gender theory here, but the idea that our lives, however they are constructed/perceived, like it or not, also form part of a cultural discourse around these issues. And I think it's incumbent upon us to recognise that discussions about, say, trans identity can and should be taken up by people outside the immediate community. There are, obviously, problems that can arise but there are even bigger problems when we assume that only the personal experiences of people who have gone through the exact same thing as, say, Chaz Bono, are entitled to say anything. That's the dangerous swing I see here and, if I may so, also perhaps the reason why so many discussions about trans matters devolve into ... well, what we often see, sadly on TBP, which matters become intensely personal and personalised.

And Bono is a public figure - he's not my neighbour, he's not my friend and even if he were, he'd still be a public figure who's chosen to be quite public. While I actually have great sympathy for his situation and I actually do think that, yes, there may well be an element of bravery in his being out, he's still, in the end, a public figure. It's one thing for people to share their experiences, as you and others have, but it's quite another to assume that our discourse ends there - and that's the great danger I see here.

I agree with some of what Jay says. As someone who wrote one of the critiques of the New York Times piece on Bono, I had no intention of participating in a firing squad aimed at Bono. I had intended to open up the discussion so that mainstream audiences (like readers of the Times) who are only seeing Chaz as the face of Transgender understand that there's more to us than just one person.

A problem, I think, is one of media placement (or at least that felt my challenge), the inability to get my commentary on this subject in front of the same New York Times audience who read that sloppy article, or in front of the people who don't know that trans people are more diverse than Bono's one experience.

Most of the critiques mentioned here made their way out through personal or GLBTQ spaces, and I can see the angle where it seems like we're excoriating one of our own. Criticism isn't negative in and of itself. It's valuable if it is part of a dialogue (Thank you for contributing to this conversation, Jay). The unfortunate part, to me, is that this conversation is staying within our own circle, and we're all telling each other stuff we know, without being able to share it with those who are unaware. And well, it's only Bono who seems to have access to these unaware people, and that's where the indignation, if there's any, seems to come from. At least that's my opinion.

Thanks for your comment, Nick, and thank you for your very interesting writings. Regarding your comment about the public not seeing diverse faces of trans people, I think the public has seen lots of "faces of transgender," from enduring icons like Christine Jorgenson and Renee Richards, to people in the media spotlight in the past few years, like Thomas Beattie, Kate Bornstein, Amanda Simpson, Isis, RuPaul, Dr. Dana Beyer, Angie Zapata, Lana Lawless, Candis Cayne, Calpernia Addams, Gwen Araujo, Alexis Arquette, Ben Barres, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Babs Siperstein, Charles Busch, Wendy Carlos, Christine Daniels, Leslie Feinberg, Antony Hegarty, Stu Rasmussen, Joan Roughgarden, Susan Stanton, Brandon Teena, and Hon. Victoria Kolakowski. Chaz is having his fifteen minutes of fame, and while it is true that some of the American public live under a rock, Chaz is not the first transsexual to be in the media spotlight. True, you and I are not able to get our faces into that media spotlight, but that's not the criterion by which I would judge whether the public is getting to see a diverse group of trans people.

Brandigirl | May 15, 2011 9:04 PM

Jillian boy you really open a can of worms this time...LOL ;~) So let me jump in here with my two cents. I think the reason so many on here and around the net have jumped on Chaz and is because those in the Transgender camp can't understand that for a Transsexual which is what Chaz and Nikki Araguz are or were at one point providing they haven't evolved passed those labels. They have a real living breathy Identity that don't Involve being Trans, see for Transgender people they live, eat and breath being trans 24/7/365 it's an endless saga not so for the diagnosis HBS Transsexual transition is simple an issue to be dealt with and move on, blending back into the fabric of society. Take me for example. I knew from early childhood I was different I wasn't sure what that meant but I knew and when my time came I finally was ready to go to therapy to find out what my issue was I did. After a period of counseling (6 months) I was given a diagnosis just like you'd get from an MD if you were dealing with a medical issue. My therapist then laid out a treatment plan and we proceeded to treat my condition. I went through the necessary steps one by one never jumping over any or putting my cart in front of the horse. I didn't go on hormones until my therapist told me it was time nor did I change my drivers lic or any other document until it was time in the end I got my letters of recommendation arranged and had my surgery then changed my documents and began my new life. From that point on it was merely blending back in to society and discovering what It was like to live on the other side. This time my mind and body were in tune and I could run on all eight cylinders. For some Transsexuals they discover somewhere along the way whether their straight or bi or even gay, for many who are straight they leave the LGBT community behind forever never looking back. For some who are gay or bi they hang around but only they don't want to be considered part of the Transgender group their part of the gay,lesbian or bi group.

For the self diagnosing transgender life is a roller coaster of their own making. They jump into the fantasy of being the opposite gender with complete disregard for the consequences solely caught up in the fantasy of being a women. Their lives are an endless drama mill is it any wonder why when they self diagnosis self medicate injecting silicone, motor oil,Vasoline or anything else that will help them transform their bodies into their fantasy Image. They never have any blood work done so safeties not an issue for them nor do the feel the need to comply with standard surgery requirements in order to change documents instead they rather cry and bitch about how unfair it is that they should have to have surgery and use the excuse of how expensive it is and throwing out false facts that surgery is unsafe... Baloney. They have no use for GRS surgery or in blending into society. Their whole intent is to stand out as thats the only way they can feel important and validate their miserable lives and the transgender community wonders why HBS transsexual cry foul at being cramped under their Trans umbrella.

Yes Jillian there is a battle coming and it's because HBS women of history are No longer willing to stand by and be silence. No longer willing to be misrepresented or have their medical condition co-opted by those who would use it to force society to accept them when they misrepresent what it means to have GID/GI. We are No longer willing to let the Transgender who have No legitimate medical condition of their own to vilify their lifestyles misguide and misinform the general public.

Brandi, I think you have stated the problem very well. There is an important difference between transsexual identity and the transgender umbrella. When I was a newly minted academic, I had a problem with certain gay lawyers and academics pushing the idea that we had to create a new legal category called "gender identity" that reflected a "transgender" umbrella concept, instead of just expanding the concept of sex discrimination. The game was so far along by the time I came along, however, that my first article, which tried to make this point, was treated with some amusement and disdain by them. I quickly realized that it was too late to take back the territory, and that I would spend my life angry if I tried to shout them down. There were too many of them, and not enough of me. So at some point I reconciled myself to using the terms "transgender" and "gender identity," even though I personally identity as a woman of transsexual history, and think that my sex is female, and don't particularly agree that gender is socially constructed and a continuum. My solution is to allow people to self-identify however they wish, and to honor both transgender and transsexual people, and to remember that the important thing is to remove the stigma and legal discrimination that surrounds us. I try not to get too bent out of shape about this, because if I did, I would lose any effectiveness I have to make our lives better.

You think she stated the problem "very well" with shit like this: "Their lives are an endless drama mill is it any wonder why when they self diagnosis self medicate injecting silicone, motor oil,Vasoline or anything else that will help them transform their bodies into their fantasy Image.""are No longer willing to let the Transgender who have No legitimate medical condition of their own to vilify their lifestyles misguide and misinform the general public."

That is an attack on people who exist while not being cis or fitting into her strict, exclusive post-op system and a suggestion that only a select few (coincidentally, those exactly like her) deserve rights and respect. This is not a discussion of who uses what terms to self identify (for example, how many bi people despise gay people's attempt to construe their identities as "half straight half gay), this is an attack on the legitimacy of other people's identities and lives for themselves. The core argument of people like Brandi does not seem to be a right to self identify differently than others, but rather that she does not want to be associated with the others precisely because she sees them as twisted, mutilated, inferior, and deserving of discrimination.

"For some who are gay or bi they hang around but only they don't want to be considered part of the Transgender group their part of the gay,lesbian or bi group."

Wow, and I thought the day would never come that I actually agree with something you said...

This is why I don't have much to do with gay groups or gay ppl anymore. If they know my history (and it only takes one person in a group knowing for everyone to know), then I am not treated as just another queer woman, but rather as the trans woman. Femmy gay men seem to be the worst, they get all excited, apparently b/c they think I am a transfeminine gay guy, which I am not in any way.

I get plenty of degendering in the str8 community, I definitely don't need to get that from cis-gays (actually, I get more acceptance from str8 ppl than many cis-gays, esp lesbians). I have plenty of interesting things in my life, so I just focus on those now instead of trying to be a part of the gay community, and life is really much better.

I think where I depart from you, though, is I don't feel the anger and hate that you do toward 'transgender' ppl. Yes, perhaps it confuses ppl about the way *I* am trans, but if ppl are really interested in understanding and accepting, then I can explain that there are lot of ways to be trans, like there are a lot of ways to be gay.

Really, most ppl don't know that either, of course, and just use the stereotypes from the media. Mmmmm, just like with trans ppl. I know that is changing for cis gay ppl, but still, most of the gay ppl in TV shows and movies are dysfunctional, and that dysfunction is based on their being gay, not just a person who is gay who has issues.

To me personally, even if I might cringe a little at times, everyone has the right to express themselves as who they are, as long as they are not harming others (like pedophiles or such). If you look at things in an intersectional way, there are *lots* of ways that other ppl can make *any* group look bad--women, men, politicians, scammy used-car dealers, parent, any dimension that you want to look at, and we all have several. Maybe you should look to getting your perspective heard, rather than just constantly posting nasty comments about ppl who don't work in what you perceive as your own self-interest.

Carol, I dearly want to give you a high-five right now.

Renee Thomas | May 15, 2011 9:13 PM

OK I get it, you don't want to tagged as queer, gay, etc. Message received loud and clear. But how much of your vociferous objection (and that of your like-minded sisters) is the desire to be accurately understood by others (vis-à-vis your “Women of History” narrative) and how much of it represents an unexamined and internalized homophobia. I mean really, how hard is it to say; "hey I'm an ally of the LGBT but I identify as a straight, hetronormative woman of operative history? Here’s the crux of it Amy, not a few of your post-op transsexual sisters ARE indeed queer. Nobody is asking you to march in our parade. If you would rather recede into the woodwork, then by all means please do! As regards all things in life, stay (or go), but do it because it's what YOU want to do. I assure you, I'll have no problem finding someone else to hold up the other end of the Gay Pride banner.

Renee I have taken most of my day to research how the former Harry Benjamin Society came to be named WPATH. A name that squarely aligns its purpose with the LGBT community at the detriment of non LGBT T people and if you ask me at the detriment of LGB aligned transgender people. You know to many times I've heard those in favor of the word transgender and forced LGBT association throw out words like Transphobe and Homophobe at those who wish to not be identified as transgender or LGBT.Let me throw a phobe back at them its because they are heterophobes and transphobes. They just can't for the life of them understand why someone would need to have SRS or desire to just fit in their gender including opposite sex attraction.

Renee Thomas | May 15, 2011 10:23 PM

As I said, "Nobody is asking you to." Ya wanna be straight, please be my guest. Be the straightest straight you can be. I mean really, God bless ya and rock on girlfriend!

Renee I respect that you say that you support me I guess that means your not part of the problem. Here though is an interesting link you should read through to the end. The interview is of Walter Bockting President of WPATH I think you'll find it interesting what he has to say about transsexuals towards the end.
http://positivelyaware.com/2008/08_04/walter_bockting.shtml
and if that links get you going read the link that I just left for Edith.

Renee Thomas | May 15, 2011 10:52 PM

I have no dispute with Bockting's comments; they (with respect to "having a foot in both camps") tend to follow my lived experience rather closely. You see, I don’t find his comments particularly disruptive to my sense of my humanity. My “humanity” is a good deal more resilient than all that.

And there are a lot of us straight transsexuals who don't agree with the anti-LGBT types. I'm just fine standing with gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgender people. I'm more than a little tired of others speaking for me while at the same time claiming to be unfairly silenced.

SAS if you read all my comments in this thread and others in no place will you find that I said I wouldn't stand side by side with anyone in the LGBT. The only thing I've consistently stated is allow me to me viewed as an allie and let me choose my own labels or not. I have met other transsexuals and crossdressers that want no part of supporting anything to do with the LGBT who is anyone to tell them they can't have that right? Or who is anyone to refuse acknowledging them that right even if begrudgingly?

Since I didn't mention you at all, Amy, I don't see why I should limit my observations to only what you've said. This is a debate that's been going on for years, and good on you if you disavow it, but many of those who share your stance have spewed a lot of venom towards gays, pre-ops who don't toe the line, and non-ops. Even just on Bilerico, I've seen tons of hate, revisionist history, and derailing. That kind of stuff is utterly failing to earn my sympathy.

Further, you talk about only wanting to define your own labels, but why is it that every single time someone on this site uses the word "transgender" or even just "trans" for a transsexual woman, the seperatist group assumes the transsexual in question would be offended? And the ones that publicly use the word transgender are assumed to either not be transsexual or been brainwashed by the ultra-powerful transgender illuminati? So much for self-definition.

SAS those mean and hateful comments have definetely been a two way street. There have been more than a couple supposed trans leaders on here that have left some pretty nasty comments towards me or other non transgender affirming people.I personally have asked several prominent trans leaders to put it out in the mainstream media that it is not acceptable to label all transsexuals as transgender. To also push Glaad to revise its media guide to recognize again not all transsexuals are to be labelled as transgender or considered part of the LGBT community.I think I'll add put pressure on WPATH to change its name to a non LGBT associated one. I personally think WPATH could and should be held responsible for ethics violations for choosing that name and insisting all t people join the LGBT. Show me some real and meaningful progress towards undoing the confusion and damage the word transgender and its associations has caused and I'll gladly shut-up. Till that day in the mainstream media and elsewhere I'll voice my displeasure with it.

I've still not seen evidence that there is any confusion or damage done by the word transgender. All I've seen are just-so-stories about how transsexuals had it so much better before the transgender activists came along and ruined everything (something that has not borne out in my own lived experience or any media or history I've seen), or false equivocations between a definition of "transgender" as an umbrella term and a more specific definition that the public isn't even aware exists.

Lets see proof of damage thats easy have you read the NCTE NGLTF survey? The "Transgender" community has been estimated at 700,000 there was a Bilerico post about it in the last couple of weeks. The NCTE/NGLTF survey was put out for one year to LGBT community centers and transgender groups.It was specifically put out in a way to attract transgender affirming people.Now read the numbers in the survey and realize those numbers reflect the demographic that was sought out to take the survey.Then take a look at that demograghic and its political and gender sprectrum positions. It as a group has got to have the highest numbers of violence and suicides of any group that is considered transgender. Now consider that group even given a years time only amounted to 6400 out of a potential 700,000. Now that small group participates in and to some small degree is funded by the LGBT and is questionably politically supported by them.
WPATH has a few known LGB and Transgender affirmed persons on its board.Not only did those people change the name of the organization from a non LGBT associated one they are now actively promoting the stance that we are all part of the gay community so we might as well seek it out. Then if that isn't bad enough its chair a gay man and supposed psychiatric proffessional is saying he knows that transsexuals aren't really men or woman but in fact are transgender sound familiar to anyone thats been in the community for a while?Now add to that two transgender board members one that has been a chairperson for NGLTF. Then another a well known author and lecturer that as far as I can tell has no medical degrees but is sitting on the board of a "Healthcare Proffessionals Group." I don't think that it is to unreasonable to believe that there is likely a fair amount of bias towards the LGB community on the board or in the organization that the name change reflects the bias. I think both the name change and the recomendation that all T identified align themselves with the LGB has little to do with the health and welfare of those people and everything to do with growing the LGBT.

And? How does that show the damage is caused by the usage of the word transgender? Because bad things happen to transgender people, thus the word is to blame? Those bad things would disappear if they were called transsexual instead?

Actually thats not what I'm implying what I am implying is that if more effort was put into getting those fixated on a transgender/transsexual identity and stuck in the lgbt/transgender community out those survey numbers would decrease.Instead they are trying to drag down the healthier population that are out working, going to school etc into a group where the people involved have bigger issues then just their gender identity/gender expression preventing them from moving forward.I have witnessed this and still actively pursue trying to help those stuck in that rut climb out.I hate to give conservatives credit for much of anything but there is some truth to the saying you can't fix stupid. I dare any trans leader who is at least partially honest to deny what I'm saying is the truth.

I'm at a loss to understand what you are even saying. Who is dragging who down? Are you saying that being associated with LGBT community makes you unable to go to school or find work? I'm serious, I can't tell what your point is.

I watched the show, most of it. I actually didn't bother to finish because it was so downright normal to me as to border on boring.

And those of us who are fully binary identified and transitioned to just women and men are the brunt of out and out hatred by those who live to deconstruct gender. I probably know this as well as anyone. I don't tell my own story because any sign of weakness or being human I have shown in the past has been used against me, by TG ID'ed people, not the rest of the world.

Chaz is being screwed for being honest and genuine by those he probably expected to be his community. It's a hard lesson finding out they not only are not your community, to a large extent they are your worst enemies.

This war will not end until we are allowed our own voices and lives. I wish nothing but the best for Chaz and hope he learns quickly to avoid the LGBt like the plaque.

And I or anyone else can critique Chaz Bono for his public statements and/or his public persona and/or his book/his film without being required to write my own book or being required to "do something positive," whatever that means.

Of course you can! Mario Lopez does it every weekday night right after the evening news. I think he has a piece ready for tomorrow night. Walter Bockting has a critique ready that is "peer" reviewed on a quarterly basis. It's amazing how much you can tell about a person by the company they keep.

What about scientific racism? It was used to blame the Irish for their poverty during the potato famine. Just, how open are you to the "spirit" of "open minded" inquisitiveness? What about phrenology. What about Az Hakeem and Julie Bindel? What about the ideas of George Lincoln Rockwell? Should I go to the U S State Department and tell them Az says my sex designation is a "deception"? How open minded should I be to the opinions of the lynch mob?

Renee Thomas | May 15, 2011 10:06 PM

Oh please, don't tease us and keep us all in suspense, just go all Godwin on our asses and get it over with.

Sheesh!

Yeah, Amy,

Hindsight is twenty-twenty. I overlooked all those primroses lining the path. Bockting is just another Jim Fouratt, only more tolerant of what appears to be "mutilations" through the microscope he sees everything through. He does have an affinity for those gay feminine men who either were transsexual or are just "trans". What a guy. I think he accepts the guys as men. I just don't think he likes women very much. I think he ought to take his eyes out of his pocket, but that's where the money is. It would also help if he got his nose off the ground but he's searching for more. As Bob Dylan might say, there ought to be a law against him coming around. Call me close minded.

Edith I really do believe I found the key to unlocking this whole mess.

Except Chaz has not just been commenting about himself (e.g. I am a man and I feel just like any other man), he has been making statements about his beliefs regarding the gender essentialism, for example, in one interview:

"I never really understood women before, to be honest, but I had a tolerance for women that I don’t have now...There is something in testosterone that makes talking and gossiping really grating. I’ve stopped talking as much. I’ve noticed that Jen can talk endlessly...I’ve learned that the differences between men and women are so biological. I think if people realized that, it would be easier. I would be a great relationship counselor. I know the difference that hormones really make.”

Statements like that are sexist, for one, and are not even remotely leaving space for inclusivity (even of femme male identification or butch female identification-let alone of non-binary or non-hormonal transition trans identities). So, yes, I do think it is fair to criticize Chaz as an essentialist, not because he is binary identified (because this is a tricky issue in a society that sorts people this way-and because cis binary ided people would not automatically be hit with such an accusation), but because his statements are explicitly essentialist. Binary ided transgender and/or transsexual folks should not be picked out for criticism as essentialists that binary ided cis folks would not be hit with, but neither should they be excused for their essentialist theories (or for their sexism, homophobia, or transphobia) simply because they are trans either.

So, the short answer is "yes" it is fair to criticize Chaz as an essentialist, not because he is transsexual, but because he is an essentialist.

I'm sick of the service to the community bit.
We take hormones and get sex reassignment surgeries for ourselves not to be part of some Transgender Borg Collective.

People repeat a bunch of mythology about how those of us who came out in the late 1960s/1970s had to be fembots and conform to what the Drs dictated.

We were freer, less conforming, more self aware and individualistic than the people in today's "Community".

WTF everyone has to say the exact same words in the exact same order or they are an enemy of the community.

That isn't a community. That is a really creepy cult.

Every single one of us had a different history and path to getting here, where ever here is. We grew up with different influences and we bloody well should have the right to describe those experiences in our own words without being chastised or called names by a community that has become more cult than community.

Well said, Suzan. I love the passion in your words. I suppose my concern is that transgender "gender continuum" advocates demand adherence to their view, and transsexual "gender binary" advocates demand adherence to their view. I'm tired of orthodoxy. Why can't we all just get along?

Jillian, this simply isn't true. Those of us who are binary tend to be what we have tried to rename over and over....those born classically transsexed. Almost all of those in this group are quite willing to accept gender continuum for those not born that way and feel that they deserve basic civil rights as well. This is NOT mutual. What we demand is not universal application of the binary, just our Goddess give right to be that ourselves without our realities, lives and medical condition co-oped by a dogmatic and counter experience denial of who we are (not who they are).

When the current head of WPATH is a sissy gay man, an organization that originally was set up to aid binary transitions of classic transsexuals, and that gay man, like so many other gay men, is essentially gynophobic to the extent he cannot even conceive of anyone actually fully transitioning to woman, the problem cannot be solved short of all out war returned on those who first declared it on us.

Radical, you say "almost all of those in this group are quite willing to accept gender continuum for those not born that way and feel that they deserve basic civil rights as well. This is NOT mutual." That's not what I've seen. I've seen a lot of crying and moaning about how people shouldn't use the word "transgender" and that doing so co-opts transsexuals, and that the transsexuals are going to make war on the transgenders, who aren't "real" men or "real" women, because they haven't had bottom surgery, and all that bosh, which is just silly, and puts transsexuals in disrepute because it's so silly. Of course, I've also seen a lot of crying and moaning by the transgenders about how transsexuals lord it over them and that you can be a man or a woman by just thinking you are, no effort required, and transsexuals are just fooling themselves, etc. That's equally silly and disreputable.

Respect isn't won by going to war. It's won by making sense, which is much lacking in our community.

A war? And, I haven't ordered my Kevlar panties on line yet. So, is the "Transsexual Talaban" going to shoot insults from the rooftops at us? Will the IED's be filled with labels? I'm shaking in my sneakers.

Welcome to the front lines, Jillian. All of this seems to remind me of a recent E-mail exchange you and I had.

Monica Helms is a perfect example of what is wrong with TG, Inc. "Transsexual Taliban". Really? Not trying to dehumanize anyone, are you?

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You gotta be kidding me. She is on their board????!!!!

Duh, nevermind. Need coffee. And something for the heart attack I almost had. Maybe coffee isn't the thing I need to drink right now!

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Leslie Crawford Leslie Crawford | May 16, 2011 3:48 PM

I hope you don't exclude all transsexuals that can't afford reassignment surgery.

Actually I've almost never been able to elaborate in the slightest on what I believe or not on any LGB and especially t venue because I only get this far and the personal attacks start at a fevered pitch to make damn sure I cannot.

I won't here as frankly, after being subjected to actual, real life terrorism by the likes of Helms I find it hard to give a damn anymore other than to make sure the damage they have done is limited.

And I have recounted elsewhere the full extent of the terrorism I have been subjected to and it fully reaches terrorism under the definitions used in the Patriot Act up to and including multiple credible threats on my life.

If someone wants to use a stupid "war" analogy then they (or you) cannot whine when someone makes fun of that analogy. Besides, it fits. The Talaban is a narrow-minded fundamentalist group of Islam. We have fundamentalist Christians in this country and they have been referred to as "The American Talaban," on this blog many times. When people want to have a narrow-minded, fundamentalist view of transsexualism, then they deserve the term. If you don't like it, then take your weapons and go home, because none of you want an exit strategy in this "war," much less planned on one. Like the Talaban, all of you want to do is to fight this label war until we all die of old age.

"Death to the Godless transgender devils!" There, you got a new war cry.

Point proven yet once again.

Let's put this "Transsexual Taliban" comment of Helms in the proper context. Go to this site, http://ariablues.blogspot.com/ scroll to the bottom and read us. This is the sort of online crap I've taken from this crowd for more than a decade. Can there be any excuse for this level of insane hatred directed at another human being? Notice it is still up with multiple mirror sites. Now add that Pam's lists me along with the religious right nutcases as "transgressive" and links it, not to the alleged offensive article I wrote but the Sandeen hit piece on me that was on the front page of Pam's calling me a racist in no uncertain terms. This was after I was banned there so I could not respond.

It is war as far as I'm concerned...... and anyone who can read that site above and Autumns's Pam's hit job and still tell me this has been two sided can go directly to hell.

I am building my own wall of shame and Autumn is at the top of the list as she outted a woman of transsexual history to her church!

http://stoptranssexualhate.blogspot.com/2011/04/oh-sandeenno-you-didnt.html

Yes, there is no shortage of crazies on either side of this. Unfortunately. And some on the gender deconstruction/transgender side even used to have columns here, smugly and condescendingly telling the WBTers that they were deluded and wrong (which I agree with to some degree, though I felt the same about said columnists to some degree, too) and making personal attacks against them.

Leslie Crawford Leslie Crawford | May 16, 2011 2:05 PM

Why do people like you always bring up having or not having bottom surgery as you call it as a problem with transsexuals and transgender term. Transsexuals don't have a problem if your post or pre it's the other people in the transgender umbrella like cross dressers,transvestites,drag queens and those who have a fetish. These people are not transsexual or transitioning and I don't know why people refuse to see this because it is perfectly clear to those of us that are truly transsexual. I still say it has to do with money that is made by psychologist would be lost if we were freed from their grip.

I have had transsexuals in all seriousness say to me that pre-ops simply have to accept discrmination until they get surgery, and that any pre-op that doesn't live in poverty while saving for surgery isn't really serious and is a fraud.

Damn it Jillian, how many ways does it have to be explained that calling someone female bodied and fully woman identified living a woman's life a transgender is misgendering them by forcing them into a third gender category

This total lack of respect for women of history by using this term to refer to such women is a gross and even vicious attempt to deny what they have tried to put behind them. If you or anyone else feels they absolutely must speak for us as well as themselves you can damn well start using transgender AND transsexual at the very least. This is too much to ask I've been told for over a decade now..........and this is why I have started working behind the scenes to make sure that difference is codified into medicine, psychiatry and the law so this shit ends once and for all.

I agree with you about using transgender and transsexual. I myself try to refer to both all the time. I still forget sometimes, but you're right that it should be done.

To elaborate on why this war is necessary, since 911 actual stealth as it was formerly thought is impossible. That means post corrected and post transitioned every woman with history will occasionally find herself in a position where that history is revealed to some extent. We will not stand for being dragged out of our womanhood when that happens because of the dogma being promoted by those who claim the right to speak for us without being anything like us. I view it as a basic feminist issue, men speaking for women is not to be tolerated anymore especially at a time when the rights of women in general are under a constant attack attempting to roll back all the gains of the past 100 years.

"Why can't we all get along"? TG, Inc. refuses to listen to our voices and they call the shots that affects our lives. If we speak against that situation we are branded bigots and haters.

http://stoptranssexualhate.blogspot.com/

Why is it that the "Why can't we all just get along" is directed at those of us who are non-transgender identifying women with transsexual histories?

Brandigirl | May 16, 2011 8:51 AM

Susan Here Here ! I say you've hit the nail n it's head, The Transgender social deconstructionist are quick to attack ANYONE if they even so much as whisper a message thats out of line with their collective cult like message of "accept us as women with a penis or else" or the oh so famous rally cry of "we are women...well kinda give us equal rights" Anyone and especially a Transsexual their most feared enemy who dares to voice an opinion as they know it will be different from their mantra is called "essentialist or "elitist" They been able to dupe GAAD, the media and other orgs into using their mantra that Transgender also means Transsexual and that anyone who dresses as a women has Gender Identity and is really a man or a women depending on how they dress...what crap. It's simply a means to and end that would make cross dressing acceptable behaviors in public.

Chaz is a Transsexual and as such his Experience is that of a Transsexual and thus it's not the same as that of the Transgender. The fact that he's famous is really whats got their gaff in a twist. The fact that Chaz as a soap box to promote his message which isn't their message and they don't is killing them it's driving them insane. In this case theres No way they can swoop in like they did in Maryland and start promoting their case as they did when Christy Lee Polis was (a Transsexual) was attacked. NO ONE who knew passed until Equality Maryland open it's big mouth trying to make brownie points of this womens tragedy and labeled her "Transgender". I saw an update video from her now that the noise has died down were in she reports that now that they (Equality Maryland) outed her and made it known to the world that she has a passed she can't find a job...Thanks Equality Maryland for co-opted another sisters history for your own gain.
Don't shoot the messanger just because you don't like the message. Chaz is entitled to his own opinion just like everyone else that fact that he has a soup box to premote his opinion isn't reason to attack him, I for one hopes he continues to premote his binary message.

Yeah, except the clips I have seen of Chaz, he refers to 'the Transgender community'...I have yet to see a quote from him where he uses the word 'transsexual' to refer to himself or others.

Pls let me know if I am wrong, I really haven't followed him much. I feel he is mostly getting attention b/c of his mother, not b/c of his story, which, as Radical Bitch said, is not really that unusual, other than the circles he is able to run in. And call me cynical, but I expect a lot of the reason he is doing all this publicity is for the money, not to help trans ppl. He has not had a very successful career, and while his mom prolly helps him out financially, I expect he needs the money.

OK I get it, you don't want to tagged as queer, gay, etc. Message received loud and clear. But how much of your vociferous objection (and that of your like-minded sisters) is the desire to be accurately understood by others (vis-à-vis your “Women of History” narrative) and how much of it represents an unexamined and internalized homophobia.

That argument is a red herring if there ever were one. It's a lie that has been repeated so often it seems true. It isn't

here is the crux of the matter in Walter Bockting's own words:

We are now recognizing that a MTF transsexual is not simply a woman, or woman may not be the best way to describe that person’s experience, but instead realize that this person is transgender.

"Transgender" means "not female". What part of that do you not understand? The T in LBGT stands for "transgender". Refer back to Bockting's own words. Why are queer people of transsexual history referred to as "transgender" rather than lesbian, gay or bisexual?

Why is no one among the primary movers and shakers of the LGBT movement willing to defend people who have had legal and physical sex changes in the sex they legally and physically transitioned to? All we hear is double talk.

The reasons why we are not defended as the sex we are is very complex. What it comes down to is a person of transsexual history shouldn't be required to wear a tag around their neck. One wonders why someone would have vaginoplasty if they didn't want to have a sex change. Of course, there are people like Anne Lawrence. It is people like her who are dominating the discourse and who are so well received in LGBT and academic circles. The implications are nightmarish for those of us who have changed sex.

I think a lot of justifiable anger should be directed toward the cop outs who are enjoying their comfortable academic and political positions while they oversee the steady erosion of the rights of transsexual people that occurs in court decision after court decision. This is not taking place in other countries. The discourse always turns to Thailand and Pakistan never to Europe or Australia unless it's about "gender recognition" where a panel puts you on what amounts to a sex offender registry.

I suppose we are supposed to stand by idly and politely and just watch that happen? Forget about it.

Edith, all this banter brought to mind a joke I read once and it keeps reeling around in my mind. I'm sure it will bring some howls of protest from all quarters but wth. I'll post it and duck.

On a transatlantic flight, a plane passes through a severe storm. The turbulence is awful, and things go from bad to worse when one wing is struck by lightning. One woman in particular loses it.

Screaming, she stands up in front of the plane. "I'm too young to die!" she wails. "Well, if I'm going to die, I want my last minutes on Earth to be memorable! I've had plenty of sex in my life, but no one has ever made me really feel like a woman! Well I've had it! Is there ANYONE on this plane who can make me feel like a WOMAN??"

For a moment, there is silence. Everyone has forgotten their own peril, and they all stare, riveted, at the desperate woman in the front of the plane.

Then, a man stands up in the rear of the plane. "I can make you feel like a woman," he says. He's gorgeous. Tall, built, with long, flowing black hair and jet black eyes, he starts to walk slowly up the aisle, unbuttoning his shirt one button at a time. No one moves.

The woman is breathing heavily in anticipation as the stranger approaches. He removes his shirt. Muscles ripple across his chest as he reaches her, and extends the arm holding his shirt to the trembling woman, and whispers:

"Iron this."

Thanks for your very thoughtful reply, Deena. But, I wonder who is a woman? Who is a man? What is the binary? What is gender? What is sex? I believe in opposite poles and continuums. I don't think they are mutually exclusive. I am interested in the surgical techniques developed at Johns Hopkins between 1930 and 1960, the work of Lawson Wilkens, Hugh Hampton Young, Archibald McIndoe and his cousin Harold Gilles. I am interested in how the notion that one could change sex came about. I am interested in how the medical community conditions the legal community as to how sex should be assigned. I am curious how Stephen Whittle's ideas about gender and sex have come to dominate the world of sex and gender. I am interested in the development by the Lawson Wilkens Pediatric Endocrine Society of the Chicago Consensus on the Management of Intersex "Disorders". I am interested in why a transgender organization (WPATH) has a committee on "Disorders of Sex Development". I am interested in the implications and the reasons why someone who might be born with a vagina and testicles in their abdomen would be considered "disordered". I am wondering what that has to do with "gender". I am interested in why the government of Australia will not acknowledge the existence of the Sex/Gender continuum. I am wondering why Australia insists on clinging to a two sex gender designation system while acknowledging that science is clear that defining sex is a very unclear proposition. I am interested in who is sincere and who is just screwing around messing with other peoples lives. I wonder why someone thinks they should be able to have a sex designation changed and why think they should be able to. I wonder why no one who comments here really takes any of these things seriously. I wonder why people who just seem like a more tolerant version of Jim Fouratt have such an influence over the lives transsexual women will take, people who won't even acknowledge transsexualism, who insist that any transsexual to female person is just an extreme gay man or worse kind of freak. I wonder why your humor is so irritating sometimes. Getting back to my first question, what is a man? What is a woman?

Gosh you are obviously far more intelligent than me. I have no idea about all those famous people you reference. Thank you for complimenting my absurd sense of humour. Please forgive me if I seem a bit distracted lately because I missed my period last month and am worried that I might be pregnant.

Deena,

This is obviously futile. Excuse me for thinking. I know the only subject worthy of discussion is how much difference bottom surgery makes and how many years post op you are. Of course, we all know Leif Erickson got here before Columbus. He landed on the shores of Johns Hopkins Hospital and laid hands on some surgeon and they immediately and magically turned men into women and we never hear the other half of the story about how the women were magically transubstantiated. This went on for fourteen years and two dozen lousy surgeries were performed until 1979 when Stanley Biber took over using patents he stole from the Johns Hopkins. In the meantime legislatures all over the country, full of horny old men, decided that anything with a vagina was female which angered a lot of women and gay men who came to the conclusion that we were just crazy, exactly as Stephen Whittle says. Hence gender identity disorder was born. Voila!!! Now, the most we can hope for is to join the witness protection program or stick around and depend on the kindness of strangers, hope for non discrimination legislation and fight among ourselves to see who ends up climbing to the top of the pig pile while the world looks on in horror and disgust. Hope you are considering an abortion.

Thanks Edith. I did some reading on the people, processes and history you referenced above. I actually share many of your concerns but this thread is probably ill suited for exploration of those issues.

You got me thinking about one ironic factor in the whole Chaz effect. Letterman seemed very cordial and respectful but would the dynamics have been the same if Chaz had been born male and was moving towards being a woman?

The questions asked were...
"What say you, Projectors? Is Chaz Bono doing a great service for the trans community, or a great disservice? Is criticism of Chaz Bono for being a "gender essentialist" fair or unfair?"

I wouldn't necessarily call Chaz's service great but I also don't think its a disservice. He is comfortable on stage with a national audience and speaks well. Though I may see things differently I would say the discourse he had with Letterman was a net positive in public awareness.

In a like vein I won't criticize Chaz or anyone else for stating their opinion. If someone wants to take issue with Chaz'z views and offer counter perspectives that is certainly fair.

Leslie Crawford Leslie Crawford | May 16, 2011 12:58 PM

Many people forget those of us that were pioneer's from the 50's and 60's that were not in the news. I have a friend who had her reassignment surgery very quietly at age 18 in 1960 at Johns Hopkins and I transitioned in 1974 and went to Johns Hopkins to see Dr. John Money for help only to be denied any. Our data was used by Harry Benjamin to establish the standards used today. I resent a few people who have decided what label I have to use and run my life as they see fit. I never saw where I need a psychologist to tell me what I've already knew from childhood. What I do want is equal rights and help to correct my body to match my mind. I think some people have seen us as a way to make a lot of money in one way or the other at our cost and our loss. It would be too easy just to accept us and us means transsexual/intersex people and not to be confused by the transgender umbrella someone came up with to throw us in. Many people would lose their livelihood if we were accepted and just helped correct the things we need corrected.

Um, Johns Hopkins didn't even have a gender clinic much less do SRS in 1960.

Leslie Crawford Leslie Crawford | May 16, 2011 2:39 PM

Think again and if you want to meet her come to SCC this year in Atlanta.I had a doctor argue this with me. It wasn't released to the public then but she was sent to Harry Benjamin in New York by a doctor from Hopkins and the surgery was done at Johns Hopkins. Don't call me a liar unless you know the true facts.

Southern Discomfort Conference, basically the countries largest and most expensive dress up party for transvestites pretending to be transsexuals.

(laughs)

Well, I thought it might be Southern Comfort, but given the context, I thought it couldn't be. Too ironic, lol.

Poor child. Johns Hopkins did the worst surgeries of any place including the infamous Dr. Brown.

They actually did a grand total of about 2 dozen surgeries vs other university med centers that did hundreds.

1974 there were about 3 dozen places one could get SRS in the US It reached a high point in the late 1970s before the whole Meyers/McHugh engineering of the shutting down of programs via their bogus study that used the dreaded heterosexual 1950s era fembot model every one accuses the other doctors of usning.

Leslie Crawford Leslie Crawford | May 16, 2011 2:58 PM

By the way she will be speaking at WPATH that Saturday as part of SCC/WPATH combined event that day.Then it will be known that Johns Hopkins was involved with reassignment surgery and studies in the late 50's.

Leslie this might help. http://www.cinematter.com/tshistory.html


It contains the following...

"SRS finally came to America with the help of a FTM, Reid Erickson. Born female, Reid inherited a fortune from his father, and began transitioning to live as a male under the supervision of Dr. Harry Benjamin.

Erickson formed an organization, The Erickson Educational Foundation, to promote the study of transsexualism. A group of doctors at Johns Hopkins University were among the first to benefit from the generosity of the EEF. Doctors John Money, Howard Jones and Milton Edgerton started America's first Gender Identity Clinic. There, in 1965, after receiving permission from a Baltimore court, Phillip Wilson underwent the first SRS in the U.S. to become Phyllis Wilson.

In 1966, the Johns Hopkins Gender Clinic announced its success to the New York Times. In addition, that year Dr. Harry Benjamin wrote his penultimate work, The Transsexual Phenomenon.

Now, the floodgates opened, as over the next couple years several universities opened gender clinic: Stanford (under Psychiatrist Norman Fisk and surgeon Donald Laub), UCLA (headed by Dr. Robert Stoller), Northwestern, and the University of Minnesota (Dr. Hastings?). The Stanford clinic in particular was noted for its pioneering work, involving both the sigmoid colon resection vaginoplasty, and advances in phaloplasty techniques.

In 1969, the first private practicioner began performing SRS in America: Dr. Stanley Biber, working from drawings from the Johns Hopkins Clinic. His practice was seen as an alternative to the gender clinics, where prospective transsexuals were expected to meet sometimes strict criteria before being awarded with SRS. "

Leslie Crawford Leslie Crawford | May 16, 2011 3:56 PM

What did I just tell you. ITS NOT IN ANY ARTICLES IT WAS KEPT SECRET FOR THE PERSON GETTING THE SURGERY. Come to WPATH this September and find out yourself.

Anyone who puts any credence in anything coming from World Professional Association for Transvestites (if they were being honest) should also throw in with HRC.

That organization is already history and they just don't know it yet. They made themselves into a professional laughing stock in the psychiatric community. No one has to pay any attention to their Standards of Control any longer if they do not wish to do so.

A trans help group lead by a nelly gay man is a joke in case you cannot figure that out. When said nelly gay men demonstrates he cannot even fathom an actual transitional process, it's worse than a joke, it is just plain pathetic.

Who gives an actual damn when Toilet Hopkins started doing surgery anyway? Their program was notorious back in the day for selecting for gay men for surgery rather than actual people born transsexed.

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Knock yourself out Leslie. I personally have no use for either WPATH or SCC. That link I provided you asks for people to submit corrections so if you have anything creditable you would be doing a service to provide it to them.

Just a reminder to all that personal attacks merit a TOS. If you want to say that a commenter's ideas are stupid, unprofessional and criminal in nature, that's fine. Saying that another commenter is stupid, unprofessional or criminal in nature is not fine. It's a fine line, and I don't always get it right, but I do try.

He should be free to talk about himself and his journey. As stated he does not claim to represent the trans community. Even on forums I am noticing more and more abuse from corners if you happen to fit the gender binary. From being heckled if you live in stealth to being called deluded by feeling you simply were born your true gender, just with a birth defect it is becoming more and more apparent that nobody can represent the community as a whole as it is simply too diverse. Transgender, 3rd genderists et al simply cannot understand the true transsexual's innate feeling of being literally trapped in the wrong life and body. Often labelling us elitist or divisive simply because of the way we feel about ourselves.

It is sad and damaging for us to continually criticise others for not representing everyone. I am sorry, I know nothing of feeling "trans", to me personally that is a state of being which has meant my entire life pre transition was a constant battle and filled with feelings of worthlessness and self loathing. To have been able to simply feel neither gender construct applies and live feeling neither wholly male or female to me is not who I am. I knew from the age of 4 that I was different somehow. 30 years on, I finally had the strength to be the woman I really am. To those who I do not represent in the trans community, I cannot help not understanding your feelings and issues. I am sympathetic and supportive but as I was told by the first psych I saw, "I will never understand the way you do because I am not you."

I think it is about time that we accepted our diversity and not ask for the impossible of a single person to represent all people on the TG spectrum.

Oh, I feel like crying all over again! This thread has had me in tears several times. I want to really understand the issues involved, but all the nastiness doesn't help. I've followed all the links and checked many of the references I didn't know, and learned things, so thank you all, but I feel so confused. I just had SRS 5 months ago, can't pretend to be some old hand, and don't feel like one. I feel like my identity/s is/are in pieces and sometimes it hurts so much! And this whole "am I trans" or "am I a woman" question is so important to me now. I'm a bit worn out from a) surgery and b) having my whole self be up in the air and uncertain. Anyway, I don't exactly mean to complain, or even say, "why can't we get along?" though I want us to support each other; mostly, crazy thanks for even just hammering away at this stuff. Love, Chelsea Rose

Chelsea, first, congratulations on getting your SRS. I just want to say that even though it's gotta be a stressful situation for you, you're a strong person for getting this far. I think that ultimately those questions about identity are something you have to delve deep and figure out for yourself, but I hope you have a good support system that won't pressure you. Take anything anyone says with a grain of salt (even what I say!) and feel confident in yourself.

Dear Chelsea:

Don't mind us. The truth is that this whole debate is a tempest in a teapot. We live our lives as best we can, and sometimes we seek validation in less than healthy ways, like giving people on the internet a piece of our minds. I also felt unsure of myself, an emotional mess, some days good, some days bad, for a good year after my surgery, and I completely relate to your feeling like your identity is in pieces. Yes, it is an emotional rollercoaster. But it generally subsides, and will hopefully get easier as time goes by. (If not, dig out that therapist's number!) I wholeheartedly agree with your call for us to support each other, and I support you 100%. The truth is that we are all amazing people in the transsexual and transgender community, and we survive things that others can't even imagine. Please feel free to call on me for any support anytime.

Jillian

Dear Jillian and Sas - thanks for your kind remarks and supportive vibes; feels good. And it's nice to hear that I'm not the only one who struggles(d) a bit after surgery. It's not regret, no way, it's just a brutal sense of not knowing myself. Or something like that. It's all actually hard to figure out. My partner of 25 years and mother of my son is very supportive - it was clear I HAD to transition, which helped her accept it. Plus I never hid it from her... yak yak yak, maybe it's okay to go on like this now that this thread is "old." So I should be okay. I kind of feel that if it's a "tempest in a teapot" it's still an interesting batch of tea, but yeah, "identity" is a strange thing, I guess, one needs it but it's not really real anyway... So some days I feel great about being a transsexual, and other days I feel horrible about "not being a woman." I did dream of being a woman, and yes, it was just a dream, but it had driving force. I wonder if I'm pushing too hard for what can only be a dream, or other days think I'm not asking enough of myself... do you know what I mean?

Yes, Chelsea, I know exactly what you mean. All I can say is that I moved through it and I am happy. I wish the same for you.

Chelsea if in any way I contributed to causing you stress I'm sorry.I'm simply arguing points to what seems like an endless immovable object.If any of the links I provided helped you I think thats great.Good luck in moving forward and past the post-op blues.