Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

The New Republic Cover Story On Trans Rights

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 25, 2011 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Media, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Caroline Temmermand, The New Republic, trans in the media, trans movement, transgender rights, transsexual

TNR_Cover.jpgThe New Republic has a story out on trans rights. It details the story of Caroline Temmermand, a transsexual woman, who recently transitioned. (That's not her on the cover, but Sam Berkley. Berkley is a plaintiff in a lawsuit against New York City, which requires sexual-reassignment surgery in order to change genders on a birth certificate.) As the author notes, the story evolved from a lead on speech therapy for trans women, and Ms. Temmermand was profiled last year in the GW student newspaper in a well-done article on that subject.

The New Republic, a magazine of politics and the arts, is generally considered liberal, though it is to the right of many progressives. Its readership is generally considered to be older, influential establishment liberal types, and so a story in The New Republic is going to reach a lot of people who don't read much about transgender or transsexual people.

The magazine hasn't discussed trans issues much, although there was a good article last year, Obama's Transgender Quota: One And Counting, about the crazy right wing response to the appointment of Amanda Simpson.

I met the writer, Eliza Gray, a couple of weeks ago at the suggestion of a friend, and she seemed like she had done her homework, although she was fairly new to the issue. She asked me a lot of detailed questions about the legal framework surrounding trans workplace issues, and I obliged. They also wanted to show pictures of trans people, and I obliged in that, as well, after much trepidation. I do not photograph well. But it seemed cowardly and contradictory to my message of pride to say no, so I said yes. Oh brudder.Jill_TNR2.jpg

The photo gallery appears in the print version, and will appear in the web version on Monday.

The story also discusses many important topics, including the violence and discrimination that trans people regularly face, the history of exclusion from the LGB community, and the legal situation in terms of employment discrimination. I think it's well done, overall, and will give important information to an audience that does not regularly think about these issues. What do you think?

imgsrc: The New Republic


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I clicked the link. I couldn't read the story without subscrbing.

I think it'll be available on Monday.

It's always great to see more, well-done, open-minded exposure for the trans community in publications that reach unique audiences. Good for The New Republic, I'm excited to see the story.

Tina (IL) | June 25, 2011 5:56 PM

asking for comments is premature for a story that hasn't appeared. Adam, how do you know it is well-done, open-minded? I will wait and see what it says, not make a remark on something I haven't even read.

You're right. I was going off of Jill's comments where she said it's well done.

while the dear professor is often correct, I prefer to make my decisions by examining the material, which is what I was taught by my professors...not to accept their views as facts. I don't know if Dr. Weiss would agree with me (we disagree on many issues, but I respect her), but I believe people should make up their own minds...I am amazed by people who will "lock step" with others without examining issues themselves. As I said, I'll wait for the story to come out and examine it. I also question her source when she states that many of these people haven't had much exposure to trans issues...I would think a professor might provide evidence of that before stating it...again, it is just how I was taught.

Om Kalthoum | June 26, 2011 12:32 PM

Jeez, what's with the 'tude around here? Why not follow your own advice and wait until you read the article(s) before you start poking people with a stick?

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 7:00 PM

om, if pointing out that waiting to see what an article says is "poking people with a stick" then I confess...I'm a master poker. What is with your "tude"? Are you against people deciding for themselves.

You are of course quite correct, Tina. Examine the text! There are some mistakes to be found there, though I think on the whole they are minor. As for my observation about the readers of The New Republic, it is based on comments from the writer and my research into The New Republic online. I never found any specific study on the exposure of TNR readers to trans issues, but when I put together their demographic with a brief study of the magazine itself, I conclude that it is unlikely that its readers know much about this complex subject. I am perfectly willing to be wrong should evidence to the contrary be discovered.

Jillian I'm curious you said that "The New Republic is going to reach a lot of people who don't read much about transgender or transsexual people." Does this article explain the difference in the two distinct groups if not why not ? For people to truly understand the needs of Transsexuals and Transgender they need to known that the facts and the differences between the two since the needs are very different for both groups. I for one will be interested to read the article when it comes out.

Non-discrimination at work, housing, and myriad public accommodations, the obligations of government and private organizations to respect our declared identities (regardless of how valid we think ours are in comparison to others, and access, without discrimination by providers, to the means of appropriate gender presentation, most frequently through medical means.

What on earth differentiates the basket of rights we both need? I'd like to see an explanation that doesn't involve you expressing contempt for other trans people.

@Valerie Perfectly put. That. End of discussion.

Aww, but I like arguing on the internet! ^_^

> .. the obligations of government and private
> organizations to respect our declared identities (regardless of
> how valid we think ours are in comparison to others...

So how about you respecting ours as transsexual, then as women, and not transgender, queer, or anything else, without individual, informed agreement?

> ... access,
> without discrimination by providers, to the means of appropriate
> gender presentation, most frequently through medical means.

There you have it. Just presentation. Whereas SRS, which is hidden and deeply personal, is a matter of life and death for others: needing access to that is the most vital distinction of all. Acceptance and recognition of knowing it for certain as a child can be another. Then, for the same basic cause, usually needing to be seen as simply the sex we have become (and not some third gender) seems to be yet another (unless some transgender people feel the same way?).

Brandi. List these alleged differences, these differences NEVER shared, these differences with NO overlap.

Come on. You keep making these claims so back em up. I'm calling your bluff so lay the cards on the table. Better make your case watertight, because unless you do you are irrevocably sunk.

Make sure to cite the Biological studies of crossdressers and genderqueeras, make sure you are able to show the lack of any shared Human Rights and Civil Rights issues, the lack of any overlaps or shared aspects of Culture too especially Indigenous Cultures, and show that there's no Historical connection either.

Of course you can't, so you won't. Because all you have shown thus far is that you have no real case, only the masquerade of one. Prove your case or accept that you have none.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 8:39 AM

I know that it is accepted practice in Bilerco to "eat our young" (and for that matter our old). It is also a place where real and pretend experts flaunt there "knowledge" and trash anyone who doesn't have the brilliance of a Mensa member. It makes some people feel superior...and I guess I'm wondering what those of you you do that get out of it. Please site cases, biological studies, and shared aspects of your so called social strata.

Seriously, I'm getting weary of people who have to flaunt their "intelligence" here. We are talking about opinions and ideas, not feeling good by making others feel bad. Or maybe I've got it wrong.

I'm waiting for the response from the more intelligent members of Bilerco...1,2,3.

Seriously, I'm getting weary of people who have to flaunt their "intelligence" here. We are talking about opinions and ideas, not feeling good by making others feel bad. Or maybe I've got it wrong.

Nope. That about sums up the comments section around here lately. If it helps, we're as sick of it as everyone else too and we're revisiting our comments policy because of it.

Why is asking for proof of claims flaunting ones intelligence? If some ex-gay came in here and interrupted every thread to make outlandish claims about gay men, you can bet they'd get demands for proof, and rightly so!

Yes, surely I'm engaged in complete sentence privilege, also known as, anglophone working class kid who didn't stop using the public library privilege. I don't think I can apologize for making my point in a succinct manner with usage of contemporary and historical parallels and call that coming from a class privileged background, seeing as I hadn't had any income support since I left the house at 20, and not an appreciable amount more than room and board before that, and have never earned more than $28,000 in a year.

I think that makes me a prole in the Western World who reads. That enough data on my social strata for you, Tina?

One major difference Bayne are the people that proclaim their contentment with their birth sex genitals can just walk away at any time they choose. Especially those who identify as gender queer because for them it is all just a game about screwing with societies views on gender and attacking those with a legitimate medical need. For gender queers any medical treatment they need is purely cosmetic vs in the case of transsexuals for which it is truly lifesaving.For Transvestites of both male and female birth sex they also suffer from a recognized mental illness so it is fair to say they have no choice either except to live as the opposite sex while denying they really are their birth sex. I truly fear that the gender queers are going to continue to falsely drive up suicide rates associated with legitimate transsexuals.

Lisa, you are correct in saying that, according to the psychiatric profession, transvestites suffer from a recognized mental illness. For that matter, it is equally true to say that transsexuals also suffer from a recognized mental illness. I don't think the mental illness label itself, putting aside the diagnostic criteria, tells us much about how transvestites differ from transsexuals.

One major difference Bayne are the people that proclaim their contentment with their birth sex genitals can just walk away at any time they choose. Especially those who identify as gender queer because for them it is all just a game about screwing with societies views on gender and attacking those with a legitimate medical need. For gender queers any medical treatment they need is purely cosmetic vs in the case of transsexuals for which it is truly lifesaving.For Transvestites of both male and female birth sex they also suffer from a recognized mental illness so it is fair to say they have no choice either except to live as the opposite sex while denying they really are their birth sex. I truly fear that the gender queers are going to continue to falsely drive up suicide rates associated with legitimate transsexuals.

Lisa, I disagree with this: "For gender queers any medical treatment they need is purely cosmetic vs in the case of transsexuals for which it is truly lifesaving."

If gender and sex and sexual orientation are unrelated to one another then all three are experienced by everyone. Just as not all transsexuals have the same sexual orientation, and span every imaginable SO - transsexuals can and do experience gender and being gendered in every imaginable way. Being transsexual, and having a need to medically transition does not assume a binary relationship with gender. So there are transsexual people who do also posses a discomfort with how their sexed bodies are gendered both pre- and post transition. Asserting that a person whose gender is "queered" cannot also experience their body as transexed denies reality.

Couching medical transition as "life saving" for one and "cosmetic" for another, establishes a useless hierarchy. Rather than make a case for two things being unrelated (gender and sex) it unites two unrelated things (binary gender and sex).

Other than that.. I'm largely in agreement.

Now, now, Bayne, Brandi didn't say there are no shared commonalities, just that there are differences between those who identify as transgender and those who are transsexual. I don't think that's a terribly controversial statement, do you?

Brandi, here's what it says: "Transgender, transsexual, transvestite, cross-dresser: All of these terms mean different things, but most people probably can’t outline the differences. The most useful term, “transgender,” was coined in the 1980s and came to encompass any person who acts outside the social norms assigned to their biological gender, from a butch woman to an effeminate man to transsexuals like Caroline, who medically alter their bodies with hormones, surgery, or both." Later, it says "In 1973, the gay rights movement succeeded in removing homosexuality from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). At the same time, transsexuals were moving in the opposite direction, and, in 1980, transsexualism was added to the DSM, providing a means to obtain access to hormone therapy, reassignment surgery, and other treatments." It also uses the identifier "transsexual" to refer to those who identify as "transsexual."

Om Kalthoum | June 26, 2011 1:15 PM
The most useful term, “transgender,” was coined in the 1980s and came to encompass any person who acts outside the social norms assigned to their biological gender, from a butch woman to an effeminate man to transsexuals like Caroline, who medically alter their bodies with hormones, surgery, or both. [emphasis added]

Uh-oh. Not cool, by me. I see we've got the "everybody is transgender" definition. Speaking as a woman who has sometimes been labeled as butch, I don't appreciated having my identity misappropriated - as trans or anything else. This sort of nonsense really bugs me.

Also, the use of the passive voice in the construction, "was coined," conveniently allows the author to avoid identifying who that particular agent was doing the coining. Lazy writing that.

Too bad this recent article is behind a firewall, but perhaps someone will liberate it. Thanks for mentioning the other pieces. I enjoyed reading/watching them. They broadened my outlook, especially the voice training clips.

I agree, Om, that the "everybody is transgender" definition is not helpful. It comes from the "continuum of gender" theory, with which I have serious concerns. You are correct that it labels people as something with which they do not identify. That is a failing of the psychiatric profession, which considers it their right to label people with a diagnosis. That has its uses when one is treating a person, but when it migrates to general social usage it constitutes an assertion of political power that deserves no more deference than the opinion of anyone on the street.

> I agree, Om, that the "everybody is transgender"
> definition is not helpful. It comes from the "continuum of
> gender" theory, with which I have serious concerns. You are
> correct that it labels people as something with which they
> do not identify. That is a failing of the psychiatric
> profession, which considers it their right to label people
> with a diagnosis

Yes, but the article is not citing psychiatrists when it labels "butch women to effeminate men" as transgender. That isn't DSM at all. Psychiatrists don't recognise transgender as a term anyway - it has no medical definition.

> ...their right to label people with a diagnosis
> That has its uses when one is treating a
> person, but when it migrates to general social usage it
> constitutes an assertion of political power that deserves
> no more deference than the opinion of anyone on the street.

With all due respect I cannot agree. If a psychiatric diagnosis is well founded then it surely has validity anywhere: thinking of paedophiles, and other diagnoses. But what you are probably thinking of are the GID diagnoses, and the proposed, continuing GD diagnoses, which, I must point out are not even useful in treating people because they are wrong-headed, baseless, and invalid for any purpose.

GD in Childhood has not a single criteria that matches those that distinguish the children who transition from those who desist at puberty at the Dutch children's clinic. Adult GID ruins every attempt at scientific research where it is used because its criteria are too wide.

bugbrennan | June 27, 2011 7:22 AM

I thought Prince "coined" transgender in the 1970s - http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=502924

> I see we've got the "everybody is transgender" definition.
> Speaking as a woman who has sometimes been labeled as butch, I
> don't appreciated having my identity misappropriated - as trans
> or anything else. This sort of nonsense really bugs me.

It is abusive colonising of other's identities. Some in the L&G section of the American Psychological Association include the wearing of short hair by any woman, or an earring by or long hair by a man as transgender too. They think it is profoundly radical, but in fact, on top of being abusive, it is highly reactionary, since it is removing almost all variation from plain "woman" and "man". Stealing the breadth of normality that certainly many women have had to fight for centuries to achieve.

Christine | June 26, 2011 8:04 PM

Jillian, declaring “transgender” as being most useful term, begs the question of to which purpose is it most useful? Certainly as a political shorthand to cover the entire spectrum of gender variant people it is useful, especially when trying to educate non-trans people, many of whom neither the patience nor the inclination to learn about the differences. However, there are very real differences between the various groups, and to pretend there isn't or to minimize the concerns of those who raise those differences, is one of the main reasons why we have an ongoing intra-community brawl about identity politics. It is this conflict that provides a far greater hazard to our rights and progress than any right wing persecution. See see my latest at http://tgirl.glamazon.net

I agree, Christine, about the question of how the term "transgender" is useful. When I read that in the article, I also disagreed. However, the article's author faced the same problem that you described in your post on your blog: how to convey to a listener or reader in a reasonable amount of time what identities and/or rights are being described. I am sure she submitted a longer piece, to which her editor said something like "we only have so much paper and ink and reader attention." I'm glad she wrote it, despite the impossibility of fully explaining everything in this complex area.

New Republic:
> At the same time, transsexuals were moving in the opposite
> direction, and, in 1980, transsexualism was added to the DSM,
> providing a means to obtain access to hormone therapy,
> reassignment surgery, and other treatments.

Jeez, that couldn't be more wrong. We weren't moving, a few psychiatrists were shafting us for decades to come, against our wills, because they thought we were mentally ill when, up until then the definition of transsexual had included an absence of mental disorder. There had been no need to be labelled mental ill to obtain hormones, or reassignment surgery up until that point.

That was how it was for me too, at the start of the 1970s. And none of us were consulted on the change. Given that most of us who had gone through transition on the basis of freedom from mental illness were living proof of the efficacy of that, and the success of SRS, they had absolutely no basis for adding it to the DSM, but plain prejudice.

Well since it's gang up on the Brandi day. There is one undisputed difference between a transgender Individual and a diagnosis transsexual those "Diagnosed" with GI/GID are thought by science to have the brain gender of the opposite gender thus causing their Gender Dysphoria. All the studies that have been done on brain gender have been done on Transsexuals none sight transgender.without a brain gender of the opposite gender from birth an Individual has NO reason or need of transitioning. The transgender has NO vilification for how they live only their same old mantra of "They feel like a women inside" Baloney they have ZERO proof they have any medical condition what so ever. just their word well that and 80 cent will get you a bus ride, Sorry Boys and girl but that doesn't fly in the world we live in nor does it fly in the medical community. Societies not going to change laws just because you say you have some condition that you have no proof you have and I for one will continue to promote the differences between the to at every opportunity.

How do you know they don't have gender dysphoria as well and are managing it in their own way? Not every trans child knows their own gender from the point they can articulate themselves. Some of us, the whole world telling us we're not x but y, decide to believe them. And not every person treating a condition feels that they are best served by the most aggressive treatment.

Brandi,

It's really nice to hear your definition spelled out so directly, I'm beginning to wonder how much of the arguments that pop up over this are based on not understand each other's words. The vast majority of the people I know who call themselves transgender and those who I think of when I think of the word "transgender" would fit your definition for being transsexual, having a GI/GID diagnosis.

Do you really see anyone with a GI/GID diagnosis as transsexual? Because I've heard many transsexuals complaining about the "transgender" folks who are gender non-conforming, pre/non-op, genderqueer, and so forth -- and a very large portion of such folks have a GI/GID diagnosis.

I'm sorry, but I'm still laughing over that ridiculous comment...

"undisputed difference" "proof"

...endless amusement!

If anyone's interested in the actual science... while it's more correct than not to say that transsexual people have cross-sexed brains, it's not completely accurate. Certain parts, yes, always as far as we can tell, never an exception. But other parts, not. And MtoF and FtoM are not *quite* mirror-images of each other either.

We also have insufficient evidence about non-TS TG's. However, we do have *some* evidence.

One person we studied had untreated male gender dysphoria (S7), took no hormones and kept his transsexual feelings under wraps. He appeared to have a large INAH3 volume - in the male range - but a female INAH3 number of neurons (68) and a female BSTc somatostatin neuron number (95). Hence, this individual's hypothalamic characteristics were mid-way between male and female values
-- Sexual differentiation of the human brain in relation to gender identity and sexual orientation D.Swaab & A.Garcia-Fulgaras Functional Neurology, Jan-Mar 2009


Whether one's Gender Identity is Female or Male or Neither is dependant upon the fine-structure of the Hypothalamus. Whether one's "body map" contains Male, Female or Neither genitalia is dependant on the superior parietal lobule (SPL).

Usually they match. Female INAH3, BSTc etc etc and you have Female SPL. Usually. But then, you also usually have most of the other structures feminised too, and, in fact, the whole body, with XX chromosomes and so on. There are exceptions.

The evidence is that part of my neurology is male. Part is classically transsexual female (I won't go into that, just say that some TS and IS women have characteristic structures neither cis-women, cis-men, nor ts-men have ). And SPL and Hypothalamus both female.

We have high confidence that the diference between whether a TS or IS woman desires genital change to a female norm is dependant on the feminisation of the SPL. We have high confidence that whether someone should be classed as male or female depends on the feminisation of the Hypothalamus.

We have less confidence that the personality characteristics of one subgroup of TS women described by Blanchard et al - talents in engineering, computer science, mechanics, science, law - are associated with characteristic anomalies shown in that subgroup of TS-women's brains. We have less confidence that TGs have intermediate masculinisation/feminisation of the hypothalamus.

Sorry it's complicated. Reality is like that, and there's no guarantee that it fits any particular ideology, just experimental observations.

Dichotic Listening, Handedness, Brain Organization and Transsexuality Govier et al International Journal of Transgenderism 12:144–154, 2010

This study investigated the functional brain organization of 68 male-to-female (MtF) transwomen and 26 female-to-male (FtM) transmen by comparing their performance with 36 typical male and 28 typical female controls on two indicators of cerebral lateralization: dichotic listening and handedness. A sex-differentiating dichotic test and a handedness questionnaire were administered. It was hypothesized that the MtF participants’ dichotic performance would be significantly different from the control males and resemble the control female pattern. This hypothesis was supported. It was also hypothesized that the FtM dichotic pattern would be significantly different from the control females and would resemble the control male pattern. This hypothesis was not supported. Finally, it was hypothesized that there would be significantly more nonexclusive right-handers in both trans-groups. This hypothesis was supported. Taken together, the dichotic and handedness data reported here indicate that the MtF and FtM conditions are not mirror images in terms of the verbal-auditory aspects of their brain organization and neurobiology plays an important role, particularly in the development of the male-to-female trans-condition.

See what I mean?

1. How high is that confidence?

2. Have any studies been done on non-cisgendered persons who don't engage in the current medical model?

3. Thank you Ms. Science!

1. My confidence is rather higher than in any of the current theories about lunar formation; less confident than I am about the sun being likely to rise in the east tomorrow. Others differ.

This isn't controversial amongst neurologists. There's been enough presentations on it to the AMA, the APA etc so they're coming round to it being the "consensus statement" now, though we're not there yet. It's not so much whether the issue is neurological, we're now finding out exactly what areas of the brain are involved, and to what degree.

2. No data, and I've been trying to get such studies done. The problem is defining the sample with adequate bounds, as there's such a broad spectrum involved. It's relatively easy to say "OK, subject matches all the diagnostic criteria for IDD-10 F64.0 diagnosis, they're Transsexual", even if what that actually means is debateable. There are good objective metrics so we can segregate people into TS and non-TS.

Sampling non-TS but "sufficiently TG" is more difficult.

It would all fit, I think it does fit, but many a beautiful and elegant theory has been slain by one ugly little fact. We don't have anywhere near enough evidence to say one way or the other, just that all the evidence we do have leans one way - but could easily be uncharacteristic. We're about where we were regarding the biology of TG people as we were regarding TS people around 1961. Hints, but that's all.

Some resources for those who want to know a little more:

Dr Veronica Drantz, professor of biology, has made a series of presentations for a lay audience. I'd highly recommend these:
Available here

Dr Sid Ecker, professor of endocrinology, presented the Neurobiological and Endocrinal evidence to the American Psychiatric Association's seminar on the sibject in 2009.
His powerpoint slides are available here

Dr Kate O'Hanlon made a presentation dealing promarily with sexual orientation, with gender identity as a side issue, to the AMA - that's available here, but is surprisingly less technical and rather more political than the other two.

Then there's my list of references, and abstracts or quotes from them. It's nowhere near complete, it omits all the animal experimentation results for example - Sid's presentation had a bibliography 7 pages long - these are just some highlights, only dealing with TS and IS in humans unless common genes are involved. I'm particularly interested in the areas where the simplistic "male brain vs female brain" model is wrong, I want to determine the limits of this model. It's far more right than wrong, but I want to make our picture clearer, not grind some ideological axe.

Zoe, I looked up the article you cited in Functional Neurology. What a fascinating article! I admit that I have not kept up with the science of gender identity, and I am constantly amazed by your knowledge of the field. I am more and more coming to change my opinion that science has not yet shown a conclusive link between brain anatomy and transsexuality. (I'll need to study up on that. It's on my long to do list.)

There is no difference to those who hold all the discrimination cards. The religious bigots don't see the difference. They have an all-inclusive hate. The only difference they see between pre-ops and post-ops is that they would say the post-ops woman mutilated their bodies. To them, we are all abominations, so we all need equal protection under the law.

Post-ops get discriminated against on a regular basis. Post-ops lose their jobs or are denied employment on a regular basis. Post-op women get beat up as well. And, there are several post-op women on the Remembering Our Dead list. A bullet will not stop and ask if you had surgery before continuing on.

As much as some trans women want to delude themselves into thinking, a new vagina will not protect them from the stupid people in the world. And, as you may have already seen, being blunt about their vulnerability in the real world will get them very angry. Yelling and screaming at us who point out reality to them on a blog will not make it any less real. I'm okay with them not wanting to be under the umbrella, but they have to remember they're equal to all of us when it comes to discrimination and hate crimes. Not admitting that is more dangerous than crossing a piranha-filled river wearing freshly cut rib eyes.

you miss the point it isn't about being post -op or pre-op or even non-op it's about having proof one has GID and that can ONLY be done by having counseling and or therapy. Those who have a diagnosis of gender dysphoria which is = to having the brain gender of the opposite sex have a legitimate medical condition and diagnosis to substantiate their claim of being born in the wrong body those who don't ie; the vast majority of the those who call themselves transgender.

Also post-op don't make up the vast majority of those who face violence or job discrimination... A "bullet" really come on don't you think your being just a little mellow dramatic ? There are "few" post-op on the ROD list and I doubt any of those died by a bullet.

In my experience anyone who feels trans -- ie trangender, transexual, genderqueer, etc - can go to a therapist and get therapy and get a letter that says they have GID. The proof is pretty easy to obtain if you really want it. I suppose the exception is people who occasionally crossdress for fun but have no desire to change sex or gender, I doubt they could get the letter. I'm wondering how does one prove one's status one way or the other? Is a letter from a therapist sufficient or is more proof required and what does that look like? Is a brain scan required?

Personally, I have a GID letter but feel more transgender than transexual.

Anyway, interested to hear your thoughts, I find these lines very blurry.....

You keep using that word "proof". I do not think that word means what you think it means.

In order to get a medical diagnosis you need to be able to find a qualified therapist, one who has experience and, hopefully, some training in this specialized area. Unfortunately, finding one who is close enough to where one lives is still quite difficult in most parts of this country.

Secondly, even if you do find one you need to be able to afford the cost of the effort. Even if the therapist charges on a sliding scale the cost of getting there: gasoline, bus and/or train tickets, etc. can be very prohibitive for people who are living in poverty, on the edges of our society because they cannot function well enough, i.e. pass or hide their true selves, to fool people into employing and housing them.

The demand for "proof" that Brandi seems to make for trans people to be considered "real" is a symptom of blind privilege, in my opinion, and ignores the reality of the majority of trans people in this country.

As others have noted, this "proof" makes no difference to those who oppose equal treatment under the law for all those who somehow violate gender stereotypes. It's a moot point, a derail, when we are talking about political and social acceptance and how to bring it about.

Emelye, I agree with you, in that "proof" seems to be more important to the medical profession than to the question of rights, and that since access to competent health care is more expensive than many can afford, and there is no proof at this time apart from cutting open someone's brain and counting the number of neurons in particular areas, the question of proof in individual cases cannot be definitively obtained, nor demanded.

I have a diagnosis that took all of a half-hour consultation. And apparently, people get turned away after that process.

Cis women who elect to get HRT don't have to see a psychiatrist, and instead operate on an informed consent basis.

There is no legitimate reason that we need a diagnosis for an elective preventative health measure any more than I need a shrink to buy a treadmill or take low-dose-aspirin therapy.

"Recognizably, aspirin is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), and thereby the cardiovascular benefits from low-dose aspirin have to be balanced against the potential gastrointestinal harm. Observational studies have estimated that the incidence of serious upper gastrointestinal tract complications (bleeding, perforation, obstruction) among NSAID users in the general population is on the order of 1 case per 1000 person-years, with a case fatality rate of approximately 5% to 10%"

Do you notice any similarities on order of magnitude of complications and rate of fatality with HRT? And yet, I can go to a pharmacy and buy this drug from the non-prescription section.

What we need is informed consent, not a process whereby trans people are allowed, if they're really good, to graduate to being cis.

I have no diagnosis of GID, because I absolutely refuse to have it listed anywhere in my medical records that I am disordered. Those who support the continued inclusion of GID/GI/GD in the DSM can kiss my ass.

I receive my Rx for transition-related hormone replacement therapy on an informed consent basis from the Mazzoni Center, a clinic which specializes in LGBT healthcare.

If anyone wants "proof" that am a "real transsexual" or that I am a woman, they can, as my cis female friends used to say when we were teens, "suck my dick."

I got your legitimacy right here.

That's ten pounds of awesome in a five pound bag right there.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 7:25 PM

You have a "dick" and you call yourself a transsexual? I think we have different defintions, which is fine...but I know few women with "outside parts" south of the border...but call yourself whatever you so desire, my dear.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 7:36 PM

to clarify my comment, if you "enjoy" your "part" then I can't see you as a trannsexual...if you don't plan on surgery, you may be transgendered, but to me you aren't a trannsexual...you can be preop if you are waiting for some reason (money, kids, whatever), or post op, but if you are happy with your "package" I don't see as a trannsexual...which doesn't make me right, and no I don't have any "studies' or "positive truths" about it.

I can't believe you managed your type two diabetes with diet. Everyone KNOWS you need your foot amputated!

Seriously, you ought to listen to yourself instead of projecting your body-map discomfort onto other people. There are non-operative trans women out there. I don't know how much more simply I can make my point without using a phrase that rhymes with tucking fiddle it.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 7:46 PM

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I must? I honestly could care less. I have bigger fish to fry. And if it's funded again the most prominent reason I wouldn't would be political, would be to stick it to the genital essentialists like you.

Tina, I understand your point about the dividing line between pleasure in having a penis versus not, but saying that another person who disagrees is "deluding" themselves is not a substitute for argument. It is simply an attempt to invalidate another person by accusing them of lying, and it detracts from your important argument. Make your point, say you strongly disagree in whatever words you like, that's enough.

Tina (IL) | June 27, 2011 8:03 AM

thank you Professor...spoken by the woman who promoted a cult-like group in a recent email by mentioning the name of the group...how many times was it??????????

Tina (IL) | June 27, 2011 8:06 AM

pardon me, in a recent article in Bilerco, not an email.

My labia are slightly further from my walls and my walls are slightly further from my clit than yours... the scent, the self-lubrication, the refractory period, the taste, none of these things change with surgery.

All you have done is make an outie an innie because you were bothered on some level, social or body-map, or both, by said outie. And that's fantastic. I'm sure it was liberating for you as it has been for countless women before you. I could care less. If you want me to lose four-and-a-half inches I'd like to have it be my height, please. That makes me more gender dysphoric than the little girl who makes it uncomfortable to wear a pair of ironically named boyshorts.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 7:53 PM

you poor thing.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 7:54 PM

sorry, hit submit early...i feel sorry for you that you can't understand that there is a difference between people who have had surgery and those who don't. I can't explain it to you...you may be gender queer, but you aren't a transsexual my dear!

I will relate that to the wrists that spent three-and-a-quarter years in a battle of will and wits not being cut.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 8:03 PM

and that proves????

Proves your psychotic but it doesn't prove your a Transsexual. I agree with Tina if you got a dick and you use it you're NOT Gender Dysphoric maybe part she and part male which makes you part of the transgender meme but you're not a classic Transsexuals and you don't have GID based on clinical standards.

Quoth my girlfriend, "That's stupid, that's trollface stupid"

Again, genitalia =/= gender, otherwise you were confused men up until someone removed your erectile tissue.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 9:28 PM

ah, well that puts me in my face. no, i knew i didn't want my penis, if you like yours, go for it, honey, but not as a transsexual...call yourself whatever you want, but you will never be a transsexual in my books it you have a penis and enjoy it!

That's great. Your books are the books of another bigot who would deny me basic medical treatment and ostracize me from society for the sake of her own privilege.

Brandi,

This is getting heated so I'm not sure if I can get a word in edgewise here. Honestly, I've really been struggling to understand the brightline between transgender and transsexual. There are the obvious cases, of course, but what gets really difficult in my mind is when people tell others that they aren't transsexual despite their own belief that they are.

I thought I had a good working definition when you laid out that transsexuals have GI/GID diagnoses and transgender people are those who don't. But now you're tossing out a new criteria: that transsexual women do not enjoy sexual stimulation of their genitals before surgery.(it's not clear if you meant that to apply to transsexual men as well).

There are of course, such women who have a GI/GID diagnosis who also enjoy sex before surgery, so I'm not sure where they go. If you get a chance, I really appreciate a list of any other criteria you have. Are you just going off of the old diagnostic criteria for a true transsexual? These conversations always confuse the hell out of me because I don't fully understand the ground of the debate.

Gemma, I understand your argument and it is a good one. However, telling readers to "kiss my ass" and "suck my dick" simply detracts from the credibility of your point. Make your point, say you strongly disagree in whatever words you like, and that's enough.

Are you going to scold Brandi for calling people psychotic, or is it OK 'cause she's HBS?

In fact, the current Gender Identity Disorder diagnosis in the DSM-IV and IV-TR was not written to support transsexual people or enable access to medical transition care. Quite the opposite, GID was authored, primarily at the Toronto Clarke Institute (now called CAMH), to promote gender reparative psychotherapies to drive TS people into closets of their birth-assigned roles. As the title of "disordered" gender identity suggests, the GID diagnostic criteria contradict social and medical transition and describe transition itself as symptomatic of mental illness. GID is not limited to transsexual individuals but is broadly overinclusive to scoop in many non-TS trans and gender nonconforming people with false-positive diagnosis. In fact, children can be diagnosed with GID strictly on the basis of gender role nonconformity with no indication of distress with their born sex characteristics or assigned gender roles. The current diagnostic criteria make no reference to brain sex. The GID subworkgroup for the DSM-5 has offered to change the title to Gender Dysphoria (from a Greek root for distress), but their proposed diagnostic criteria fall far short of clarifying that nonconformity to birth-assigned roles and victimization by societal prejudice are not, in themselves, mental pathology. I urge my transsexual sisters and brothers to focus more on DSM and other policy issues that impact our access to medical transition care and less on demonizing and scapegoating other trans people.

Kelly,

I am glad you have chimed in here. There are some very serious issues to consider. I know my GID diagnosis is a very unfortunate thing. Some of the comments here are very offensive. There are many writing who are very misinformed about the implications of GID. This has only made for more confusion and has created a distraction away from real important legal questions that will have an impact on no one but post SRS people because of the way laws are currently written. Anyone who who would like to see people stripped of their post surgical legal statuses, I think, would welcome such a distraction. I have to wonder about the motivations of certain people when I consider what seems to be at stake.

There have been very offensive comments about inverted penises and much dismissiveness of the significance of transsexual surgery. I would wager that if the question were asked whether post SRS people deserve their legal status as the sex they transition to, there would be many people who would say no, that it discriminates against non-op people and pre-op people who do not have the financial means to pay for surgery. Karyotypes have entered the conversation, dimorphic bone massing has entered into the discussion, elsewhere, I have read, elsewhere, that the fact that one doesn't have a Bartholin gland renders someone not female. The same kind of sex essentialist arguments people like Dale O'Leary and other religious conservatives use to fetishize the importance of reproductive paradigms.

Who is discriminating against who? It seems like the general consensus is that there are many people who would have laws that have been on the books for decades repealed. Section 8(a)(3) of ENDA would have undefined "post transitioned" people segregated from those of the same sex they transition to. Does the fact that full frontal nudity with exposed male body parts is too offensive to expose women to and wouldn't be acceptable, that those with acquired female primary sex characteristics have to be made equal to those with male primary who do not want female primary sex characteristics, rather than those with female primary sex characteristics like theirs, in order to prove that primary sex characteristics don't matter? If primary sex characteristics don't matter why is the law being written in such a way that it will make it impossible for a person who is transsexual to ever transition to the sex they are most congruent with?

Obviously being characterized as having a "disordered identity" is a huge problem but so many of the discussions here focus exclusively on identity. When bodies are discussed, those who have had theirs feminized are characterized, at best, by many here, as having a surgery that has no meaning or, at worst, the result of a horrible fetish involving the removal of body parts. I really don't see how anyone who has had vaginoplasty can countenance some of the things said in this comment thread and others like it.

There may be some who say things that are very offensive to non transsexual people - those who prefer to be categorized as trans or transgender. That is wrong. That is very unfortunate. So much energy has been wasted on GID in this thread by people who are poorly informed about the negative implications of having a GID diagnosis. That is just as unfortunate. The focus on gender, however, only leads to trouble in my opinion. When it comes to vaginoplasty and similar sex changing surgeries, it seems to me there can only be two understandings: 1. that is beneficial, performs a purpose, is significant. or, 2. it is meaningless, it doesn't change a person, which can only lead to the conclusion that it is the result of a fetishistic body identity integrity disorder and that it is actually mutilation, as many people are arguing here.

In most jurisdictions in the U S, regardless of discrimination and court challenges, the law considers SRS to be significant enough to count for a sex change. The majority of commenters, here, actually make the argument that that is unjust, that those who have had SRS are not the sex they transition to. Now, there are very poorly informed people arguing a very reductionist sex chromosome essentialism to argue themselves out of their sex change. What are the implications there? Why did they have SRS to begin with? Isn't there a way for people who do not desire SRS to fight for non discrimination without erasing what it means to legally change sex for those who have? Why is there no concern for this?

I am in favor of anti-discrimination laws that do not put post transitioned people in a legal category other than the category they transitioned to, unless sex categorization changes across the board for EVERYONE, male and female,not just a newly constructed category of "trans" people. Anti-discrimination protection should be genderless protections for people to express themselves freely. They should not be laws that dismiss the significance of a a persons sex characteristics whether born with them or acquired, whether they are mixed at birth or mixed after acquisition. A person should not be characterized as disordered in order to have a body that functions well physically as well as socially and sexually. Yes, sex is very important. Why all the denial over that? Yes, the physical body is important. Why the denial over that? Yes, the body can be changed in ways that are significant. Who is making anyone do that who doesn't have a need?

How about just going with the Uruguayan model? What would be so terrible about that? No man wants the legal status of woman for a minimum of five years, but women do. Require all facilities that sex-segregate instead of having individual rooms to respect legal status.

Done.

Also, since you've made the accusation, name someone and what they said that you imply as being mutilation instead of an often necessary, often unnecessary surgery with regards to body-map issues. I take offense to those transmisogynists who engage in the mutilation meme and I take further offense to the liberal application of accusations that it is happening on these boards.

Vaginaplasty is not mutilation, but neither is it a 100% effective treatment applied without a single false-positively indicated patient. To assert so, is to live in a fantasy world sustained by one's desperate need to believe in this absolute.

You have dominated this thread, Valerie. In the past you have made every characterization you can of SRS to provide reasons why people shouldn't have it, from fistulas to the fact women of history cannot get pregnant. You and the others provide every argument possible why SRS shouldn't make a difference the way it does, currently, involving someone's legal status as female. Not all women menstruate. Some women have Y chromosomes, etc. What do you suggest, everyone who doesn't fit the perfect reproductive ideal as female be regarded as trans? I don't care if you want to focus on what a couple of people are saying. Most of this thread has been a yes it is, no it isn't ping pong game with very offense personal attacks hurled back and forth. The questions here are legal questions. The largest question is whether people who are legally categorized as male or female should have that classification removed from them and be put into a transgender class because their straight boyfriend might reject them or some bigot might kill them. I have never seen so many arguments presented that would support any lawyer from Texas or elsewhere and provide reasoning for why a post transsexual person should have their marriage annulled on the basis they are not "really female" and essentially have their legally transitioned to status revoked.

Why don't you advocate for your own rights without providing justification why others should not have theirs? Your arguments that vaginoplasty doesn't make a difference ring hollow.

Oh for the love of... no, that is not what I'm saying. I'm trying to articulate why I can be happily non-operative and a woman because some people are utterly cocksure that that could never be the case.

If you would, please, check for context in the future, it would be most appreciated.

But again:

Trans people deal with their gender dissonance/dysphoria in many, many, ways, and the standard of surgery equaling womanhood is as artificial as any cissexist standard. Not all trans women need surgery to relieve their gender dysphoria, and not all trans women want surgery.

The standard of, "until you've had the operation, you're a..." is callow, backed up by nothing but the selection bias of those who transitioned in a highly regimented manner, confuses genitals with gender, and is a definite must for your next trans bingo card.

And yes, I mention complications because they are one of *my* reasons for being non-operative. I know and have known people who felt differently, but there was an important difference:

It was *their* body, and to punish or reward someone for listening to their body and dealing with their body map issues, should they exist, is, frankly, perverse.

So yes, be citizens with the rest of us. It works rather well in Uruguay.

The standard of, "until you've had the operation, you're a..." is callow, backed up by nothing but the selection bias of those who transitioned in a highly regimented manner, confuses genitals with gender, and is a definite must for your next trans bingo card

First off gender is a linguistic notion. In French the pen of my aunt can have a "gender". Arguing positions and points made by a handful of people have been made the focus of straw man arguments. So many people who strongly disagree to your attitude and approach might also not disagree with some of the things you say on your own behalf. The problem is that there is a lack of respect and sensitivity when the question of difference arises. Equality is a huge concept. Very few of us are equal in every way. To completely end social and legal discrimination, gender and sex difference would have to be overlooked, not just for some but for everyone. I don't think every aspect of sex discrimination is unfair. That has to do with the nature of sex difference, even if it is very difficult to draw the line to determine how to be discriminating in a way that is fair to all. I believe there should be an expansion of rights and protections without affecting what has been accomplished regarding currently legally recognized sex designations for post transsexual people. I am not even defining what post transsexual means when I say that but I know that for a transsexual to female person it is extremely important.

My libertarian leanings are not without their limits. It seems that there are those who have SRS who don't have it because they are interested in being female. I don't understand an autogynephilic need for surgery or understand BIID. That is someone else's business, not mine. Many people do opt for SRS because it does make them female. That vaginoplasty makes a person female should be obvious, at the very least, as to how it obviously affects a person's ability to engage in sexual relations. It also changes a person in more subtle ways that are very significant.

Gender is a really socially complex phenomenon. It involves conditioning and dependence on the receptivity of others for acceptance of the roles to be performed. That gets very complex. We are all brought up in different environments. Some people are brought up suppressed more often than others, many in a very consistent, conscious and oppressive way. Some are conditioned to repress their natural inclinations. Gender and sex are intricately interrelated but gender is cultural and behavioral and can be very frustrating for a transsexual person. Transsexual and transgender are not synonymous with each other. Once a sex change has been committed to, however, it is far less malleable than gender is. What is at stake here is very complex from both perspectives, way more complex than I have the time to discuss thoroughly. With everything that is at stake from either perspective, it is very wishful thinking to believe that emotions will not run high when one person's needs are conflated with another's or, even worse, rudely dismissed. Just because one perspective might be articulated with more finesse than another's does not always make it the correct one or correct from another perspective.

I have a different argument then Brandi and a question for Dr. Weiss. Dr. Weiss I'm curious who told the author that Transgender is the most useful term? I'm still left wondering how anyone can see the word Transgender for other than what it is. What it is, is an unwarranted power grab by the LGB against a powerless group. Sure some of you support it but is it really right to label people Transgender that don't want the label? Is it right to use that word to drag people into the LGBT that are to petrified to speak out against this injustice because they are afraid of loosing family and friends? Is it right to drag heterosexuals into a community where some people within it label everyone queer? The simple fact is at some point how the LGBT has used people for political gain and discriminated against them is going to get out into the mainstream and at some point the LGBT are going to run out of excuses for justifying their actions and will be held accountable for them.

Well, for every asshat who I've ever argued with because they wanted to "kick those weird trannies out who confuse and do harm to our movement to the public because we all just want to be normal, not freaks", I guess they have another reason to add to their argument: "They don't even want to be part of our movement. So let them fend for themselves."

Inclusion and support is just a power grab. Being too specific is violent and unfair. Being too broad is also violent and unfair. Oh, the humanity.

Personally, I've always been happy to have trans people as part of the community because to exclude them is to abandon them to their own purposes...and indeed, it would seem that there are a sizable amount of people in the LGB community who would be more than relieved to drop the burden of trans rights. To me, inclusion is a means of sharing political strength; it's to say that the gains I can make are the gains you also can share.

I'm not so naive that I don't realize that the LGB rights community has failed the trans community at multiple turns. But I'm also not one to paint the very real interpersonal and political support of others as motivated by pure self-interest, especially when I see a section of the LGB community that feels they would be better off not having to contend with a population that they think makes their own struggle harder. I reject their normative perspective and their selfish inability to challenge the social structures that would give them entree but bar others.

That's what I perceive trans inclusiveness in the LGB movement to be, what it should be, even if others in the community have warped it into an abusive power grab.

Lisa, I don't know who told the author that transgender is the most useful term. It is useful, in that I use it when trying to explain the issues to lay audiences, but I also make sure to explain "transsexual" and how it differs in important ways. You have an important point about labeling people as "transgender" without their approval. I was glad to see that Om chimed in above, as a butch woman, who also objected to being labeled "transgender." Ultimately, using the term "transgender" to describe us all is a political act, and one that people are entitled to object to. At the same time, until we all live in individual caves located far from each other, political acts are unavoidable. In my opinion, the best we can do at this point in history, where many people don't know a darn thing about trans people except that they're weird and don't deserve any rights, is to band together and try to educate people as to rights for all of us and the differences among us. Of course, post-op transsexual people deserve certain rights that other trans people do not, such as the right to go into a public dressing room, locker room or shower room and get naked in public. For that discussion, the distinctions among us become important, and even the most ignorant can readily grasp the distinction.

Angela Brightfeather | June 26, 2011 3:30 PM

Here we go again.
Exactly who do people think they are that they can deny anyone else their moments in life that lift their spirits, make them feel more whole or provide them with moments of ecstacy in their lives. To those people I say kiss of!! No one has to provre what makes them happy and it is the APA that has marked being gender diverse as a compulsion, which totaly incorrect.
When you see your child on the stage getting their diploma, or in a Christmas play, do you have the right to feel so good that you could cry? Does the person next to you have the right to tell you to stop crying because they don't have a child graduating or in the play and that your embarassing them with a public display of emotion?
Brandi, who do you or anyone else think that you, are that you should be able to make someone else feel guilty about being a crossdresser and being called transgender? And what makes you so special that you and others like yourself find so much hatred and displeasure about being called a Transgender person? It is a term that has evolved and if it gives protection to all gender diverse people through legislation, is it so below you that you need to separate yourself from the others who are at least similar in nature?
I truly feel sorry for those who have not enough heart as to bear a "name" for the sake of social justice for others and join in the fight for equality when it comes to gender diverse people of all kinds, and instead must insist on discriminating against others in their moments of life that bring them happiness and fullfillment.
The whole argument is as silly as the two men that spend four hours talking about fishing and at the end, one of them says "I see and understand that you love fishing, but I am a fly fisherman". Depriving the pride and dignity of one group of people who are gender diverse is as heartless and unthinkable as stripping people to their skin and flailing them with insults.
To those who don't want to be considererd Transgender, then either live with it or provide everyone with a better word, not words, to include all of us in this fight for our rights so that it is simple for people to create legislation that protects all of us, or stop complaining.

Oh I don't know, Angela, I understand your point about just getting over ourselves and accepting the transgender label, and you're probably right that at this point in history it's easier than trying to explain all the differences. But I don't think it's "heartless" of Lisa to note that there is a distinction between transsexual people and other types of transgender people. She's simply trying to assert her hard-won personal identity, and, like Om, doesn't like others telling her what her identity should be. Personally, I think we should all be permitted to self-identify, though for medical purposes there may be objective criteria, and for political purposes there may be a united front that elides the differences for a while. I see a parallel to the African-American experience of being divided into the now-derogatory terms of mulatto, quadroon, octaroon, and other terms that white people put on black people, and basing their rights on that hateful typology. At the same time, even today there are differences how people identify in the African-American community, and there is quite a debate about who's black, who's (really) white, who's biracial, who's multi-racial, and what it means for the community. (I note that this is just an analogy, not saying the experiences are otherwise the same.)

I don't find her identity objectionable, just her refusal to even fathom the possibility of mine.

Not many post-ops on the ROD wall? There have been all sorts. As a matter of fact, I as a post-op quorums chair for the Democratic party in Wyoming was forced to leave the state because three teens who had been raised to hate "queers" decided to shoot my car, my house and at me for over a year. That's living proof that "transgender, transsexual and any other word in legislation or common usage is a good word if it will buy us even a little protection. I would rather be addressed as "dear", and not as "ma-am" but I don't have the ability to demand one or the other. This bickering is tiresome and divisive.

Dawn, you forget that Brandi is permitted to say any old garbage without having to verify it. In fact, an arrest was just made in the murder of Victoria Carmen White, a long time post-op woman. http://southorange.patch.com/articles/a-tribute-to-victoria-carmen-white-2

But Brandi doesn't want to hear about people like that because it would upset her little "reality."

Gina need I remind you that one doesn't need vitrification to have an opinion. No Gina your wrong again people like Victoria Carmen are real and yes they do get hurt and killed from time time, but weighted against the vast numbers of transgender that come to harm the transsexuals are a minute number. Why do you think a vast number of Transgender come to harm ? Because they fly in the face of society trying to force they're third gender upon society and the result is those in society who have been taught something different about male and female or about gender feel threaten and so they strike back out of fear, or homophobia or because they feel they've been deceived. How many of the dead Transgender are there because they provoked a straight male or deceived them into believing they were a real female ? I'm not saying violence is right or that anyone should be hurt or killed but we ALL must take responsibility for our actions and if someone ie a transgender women decided to go int oa bar pick up a straight guy and think when the finds out he's really with a guy he'll just brush it off or be ok with it that just ridiculous and stupid. At some point the clothes will come off and the proof is in the pudding and if theres a stick were the pudding pot should be then theres going to be hell to pay. Those that "Choose" to set themselves outside society by not having surgery can't expect to be a full participating member of society as they aren't like everyone else. they've got the wrong equipment.to play for either team at best they will only be tolerated.....IMO

1. The trans murder rate is slightly higher than the American murder rate, it's just a question of erasing 90% of us that makes it look like an epidemic.

2. There's no forcing of a third gender going on, most of the victims are binary identified and the assailants would kill you if you said you were post-op too.

3. Learn English if you speak it as your first language, there is a difference between their and they're. Their is possessive. They're is a contraction of they are.

4. Being cut does not change gender. Gender is innate, often discovered, and less-often reclaimed.

Valerie, I'm not sure what you mean when you say that the trans murder rate is slightly higher than the US murder rate. The comment about erasing 90% of us eluded me. But it sounds like an interesting argument. Can you clarify?

If one goes by Dr. Conway's estimate on lower bound of trans women at an incidence of 1 in 250 for all male-assigned adults in the United States, that would make the trans female population approximately 206.8 million/2/250 or about 413,000. Add a conservative estimate of the transitioned male population at 1 trans man for every 3 trans women and you would have a population of just over 550,000. These are, of course, very conservative estimates. A murder rate of 6 per 100,000 per year, roughly the national average, would mean that there would be 33 US murders every year, as a baseline.

"The new result update reveals that in the last 35 months, 45 homicides of trans people were reported in the USA (2008: 17, 2009: 15, January-November 2010:"

http://www.transrespect-transphobia.org/en_US/tvt-project/tmm-results/tdor2010.htm

That means when we should have expected nearly 100 murders, just based on population and random selection, we have 45 reported.

Perhaps the proportion of the population is as low as the insurance companies estimate, 1 in 867, or 150,000 trans Americans, but I frankly doubt it. Even then that would push the expected homicides down to about 9 a year... so we're talking about a national murder rate of 10 per 100000 per year. Not great, but better than living in Houston, Dallas, or most any other major city in the United States.

To report the trans murder rate as astronomical, as ten times higher than the general population or more, then, assumes that most trans people, despite our experience, don't exist. We are literally erasing ourselves for rhetorical purposes and I find it rather defeating, unless we begin lighting candles for the silent suicides... people bullied out of transition by an imposing set of hurdles before they start, who withdraw, and end their lives without ever identifying themselves to anyone as trans.

Anyway, I hope that's a succinct explanation.

Yes, that's a very interesting analysis, Valerie. Thank you.

Tina (IL) | June 27, 2011 9:18 AM

In 2002, Lynn Conway, a professor at the University of Michigan, estimated male-to-female transsexualism in the United States to be in the range of 1 in 500 to 1 in 2,500.[v] now this is from the HRC website, and I haven't properly cited it, but is the discussion about a later study than this?

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html

Actually, I was wrong, she puts the number at 1 in 200, and a more recent population study puts the incidence of trans (treated and untreated) at closer to 1 in 100.

She uses, I believe, flawed language in differentiating her transsexual population from her transgender population, assuming somehow that the non-operative and socially transitioned are somehow debased coinage, but the numbers are impressively high.

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/Prevalence/Reports/Prevalence%20of%20Transsexualism.pdf

In the UK, those who maintain the central government database of National Health Insurance accounts (which it are essential to get work, collect benefits, use the National Health Service, etc.) say they have around 5,000 with a changed gender marker. That's about 1 in 12,000 of the population (0.008%), for both directions of transitition.

To change that marker only requires a letter from a doctor (any doctor) stating they think the change of role is permanent (the same criteria as used for changing passports and driving licenses); it does not necessarily signify any bodily change. It won't include anyone under 16, but it will include some people who have reversed a previous change. Obviously it excludes all who have taken no step towards transition my may do in future, and the probably quite high proportion of trans people who may only live in role part-time and not change the NHI they need for work. It obviously totally ignores the probably vastly greater number of occasional cross-dressers, and those who are are only trans in their imaginations and on their keyboards. And we have no independent audit of the number.

But it s remarkably similar to the incidence rate we who campaign for children who are consciously transsexual use - 0.002% of births for T->F going right thought to use of hormones, and mostly to SRS - based on very solid, but probably slightly conservative Dutch clinic numbers over several years. That clinic is very well advertised, free, and only open to Dutch residents, which gives us quite high confidence in the figures.

There obviously is a vast discrepancy with Dr Conway's estimates, which I honestly do not see any thing to back up in real life. In turn that would increase the percentage figure for those who die from violence, rather dramatically, I fear, and regret.

I can only say that much work needs doing to increase understanding of us, especially amongst men, and neutralise those promoting hateful or fear inducing interpretations of our lives. That means not only religious hatred but also those who induce people to feel that their natural response to us as human beings threatens their own identity, or standing.

Blaming murder victims... real classi Brandi. It's my hope that your last post will be removed for blatant transphobia.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 8:56 PM

I do think Brandi brings up a good point...perhaps not valid, but important. Just as parts of society excuse violence against prostitutes by "they were asking for it", I've had friends tell me "well if you are at a bar, flirting with guys until 1 in the morning and making them think you are a woman when you have a penis..." I am not saying I agree with that, but it is something that portions of our community subscribe to. It isn't a "well they deserved it" comment in their cases. It is like a preop transsexual, without surgery, wanting to join a women's only fitness center. I understand the concerns people would have...I don't know where I fall on the answer to what should happen, but I don't think we should demean those who feel one way or the other on the subject. I also believe that there are many, many crossdressers who think it is a stigma to be a crossdresser, but not to call themselves transgendered or transsexual. I accept their rights to do so, but unless you are revolted by how your body looks "down there", I don't buy it (personally). That doesn't mean I don't respect you...just I reserve the word transsexual for those who feel they HAVE TO alter their bodies to fit who we are.

Gina having an opinion is transphobia don't shoot me I'm only the piano player

Brandi, I don't agree that post-op trans women are exempt from personal violence. I will tell you that despite my surgery and passing well, I have found it impossible to date "straight" men because the response has always been bad when I told them. I don't think there's any evidence that post-op trans women fare better than other trans women. To the extent there is, I wonder whether it has something to do with socio-economic level that allows some people to have a medical transition and others not, and live in relatively more affluent communities where violence is less often the response.

> Brandi, I don't agree that post-op trans women are
> exempt from personal violence.

Having spent 14 years with an abusive lesbian partner I have to agree with you. Stupid of me, yes, but it took that long to figure out first that it wasn't, as she said, my fault, then to find an escape, since she had tied me in very thoroughly.

> I will tell you that despite my surgery and passing well, I
> have found it impossible to date "straight" men because the
> response has always been bad when I told them. I don't
> think there's any evidence that post-op trans women fare
> better than other trans women.

Several of my friends are, or have been happily married so clearly it is possible.

But I believe the reason that, despite being bi, I have never had a relationship with a guy is that they totally scare me. That may be from childhood bullying, or twice just escaping assault when under orders to date in order to prove my heterosexuality during RLT, after which I was told to be stand-offish, which I may still be. Don't know. Maybe excess fear there.

It doesn't apply to women.

> ...To the extent there is, I
> wonder whether it has something to do with socio-economic
> level that allows some people to have a medical transition
> and others not, and live in relatively more affluent
> communities where violence is less often the response.

Nah, nothing to do with it. There are many societies, you should know, where economic status has little or no connection with medical transition, and demonstrate that.

Tall Stacey | June 26, 2011 5:57 PM

Brandi, I certainly hope that the post mortem brain analysis you reference will not be a requirement to prove my condition in order to be recognized by society. At that point it will be a little late.

Brandi I'll see your inverted genitalia and raise you one cervix, one uterus and 2 ovaries. Are you in? You can always fold and wait for better cards in the next hand. I seriously doubt, however, that you can beat what Judy will draw. She is sitting next to you and has twin boys born after 14 hours in labor. Want to cash in your chips or should I tell you about Susan who is sitting across from you? You, sweet pea, are in a game way over your head. The question is do you have the sense to recognize it and know when to fold em?

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 9:12 PM

Although not defending everything Brandi says, I find your comment to be, to be honest, crazy. Let me ask you a simple question: is there a difference between a person with a penis and a person with a vagina? I had vaginaplasty. See the term has the word vagina in it. I see a difference. I don't think people "invite" violence on them, but before I had my surgery, I knew that I couldn't "go all the way" with a man. Can we at least agree there is a difference between a person with a penis and one with a vagina? Or will you make another smartass comment?

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Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 9:34 PM

what are you talking about? "Real cards on the table?" How about if you have a penis and like it, you aren't a transsexual. How does that grab you, honey? And talking about coping an attitude...look in the mirror honey.

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Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 9:46 PM

if that is the best you can do, better fold your cards. I don't claim to be a natal woman. I'm not going to bear children either, einstien! So what. you haven't answered my question about whether you enjoy having your equipment I notice? I wonder why that is??? Every transswexual I know would have a quick answer to that one!

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Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 9:55 PM

nope, i just don't want to be lumped in with people who have penises. i think i have that right...or did you take that away while i wasn't looking?

Well, if we separate society by gender then no, you don't have that right. If we instead separate society by genitalia, than you will... is your genitalia more important to your legal status or your gender?

"How about if you have a penis and like it, you aren't a transsexual."

Really? Post-op transsexual men aren't transsexual?

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The idea that being cut somehow makes me real is religious dogma of the most basic order. Quit being genitally deterministic.

PS: Girl - breasts = girl

Girl - vagina = girl

Gender identity is in the brain and:

Girl - brain = corpse, or possibly republican.

If we can agree there is a difference between people with a vagina and people with a neo vagina, sure. And if you can point me to the studies that show a percentage amount of bathroom space set aside for people of a particular genital configuration or dating sites such as craigslist that advertise penis seeking penis instead or w4w or m4m or m4w then I will be most grateful. Until then it seems you're more genitally essentialist than the cis community.

Tina (IL) | June 26, 2011 9:54 PM

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Okay, this I report. This has gotten hateful and lewd.

poor baby. no, you are the one who wanted us to "put the cards on the table." i'm not saying anyone is better or worse than anyone else...just that transsexuals are people who are uncomfortable with their gender...including the...er, organs. i'm sorry if you are offended by that.

These words, they do not mean what you think they mean. And your faux privilege as well... not as concrete as you think it is, yes, you're transphobic, and, as a result, you degender women.

i disagree...but i think you and i are going to disagree on almost everything, aren't we? and i don't think that is a bad thing.

I do. Because I don't go out of my way to degender people and I abhor the practice in others... except dirt, but he had it coming.

well, i guess we should live in a country where everybody thinks exactly the same...your way. no thanks, i'd immigrate to another place, where discussion and differences are respected. i don't take away your gender...you can be transgender...call yourself whatever you want to...just don't expect me to change my mind, as i don't expect you to.

I can be a committed socialist, for example, and still have the respect for extant institutions and self-identification and call a member of the order of the garter 'sir' respect can be divorced from opinion.

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1. Do you have their karotype tests?

2. Don't degender them. I report you for that.

Have at it Valerie. You bore me.

deena, did i say i was superior? where are you getting that from? I am different. Evidently you haven't understood the string of messages (I'm giving you the benefit of the doubt). I don't give a damn if you have three heads and 12 toes...it doesn't freaking matter to me. I don't claim to be a natal woman...get it...if you can read, you would have heard that. if you don't like my posts, so what? I disagree with you...what are you going to do, get into a fight with me? I don't think so. Just let everyone have their own opinion, okay?

Tina you also bore me. Now don't get all upset. I'm just telling you the truth.

and you amaze me...you can write a lot and say nothing.

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and again, i don't associate myself with everything that brandi says, either.

No, you just present a discomfiting similarity.

if you can't tell the difference, i am not going to be able to explain it to you. i don't feel superior or inferior to anyone. i'm comfortable with everyone the way they are...but i don't have to believe what they believe.

Look I don't hate transgender people but I do think they are kidding themselves if they think society is ever going to see them as equal in society, especially when they don't get counseling don't have a diagnosis and don't get surgery... I just don't believe it will ever happen. I'm sorry if that pisses you off or if your offended by that but thats just how I see it. Transsexuals have a birth condition a defect they strive to understand and to fix they get counseling which leads top transition which leads to hrt and then to0 RLT which leads to surgery which leads them to becoming a part of society again. thats how its supposed to work and thats why Transsexuals don't have the issues of blending back into society that transgender people have, they aren't swimming up stream of society they're part of the flow.

and on that i disagree...some transsexuals have trouble fitting back in, some don't...it doesn't make them less transsexuals. and now, i am going to enjoy a nice bubble bath.

Tina your right I should have said the vast majority of Transsexuals,as most I've known have had FFS when it was needed. And for those who don't blend back in they suffer the same misery that the transgender do of always being shunned by society, it's not a fun pr pretty life. Thats why I think one should have counselor and why one should be honest with ones self before jumping into transition and take account of how things are really going to be and what ones life will be like after going through transition. If one isn't financial equipped to deal with the cost of transitioning and getting back to a point where one can blend back in well one must consider this as it could mean a less then desirable quality of life.

Oh sampling bias, how useful you are for knowing people who can spare forty grand at a diagnosis' notice.

Brandi, I have to agree. If someone wants to transition to living as the opposite sex, one should be realistic about what their life will look like, because it can be hellish. I have met a number of people who transitioned and then regretted it. That makes me very cautious about advising people to transition.

Whereas I take the view of transition similar to the rhetorical question of when the best time to plant an oak is... if it's eating you up, you probably should because time diminishes efficacy of treatment while dysphoria continues to increase in intensity. Perhaps that's because I've seen so many people who look like they have bad results... until, that is, they get proper dosages or HRT or a certain level of permanent hair removal, etc... Again, my data is only experiential, but the earlier the transition, the greater the efficacy of transition medicine.

But again, know what you're risking... just like almost all of us did.

Same thing makes me very worried indeed about "It gets better" being used generally with T->F people.

darksidecat | June 27, 2011 2:26 AM

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I'm a heroine!

...

That is somewhat legal to transport across borders! :D

@ Jillian. We now have more tha 90 comments on an article that can't even be read until Monday unless you have a subscription to TNR. Insanity? No, but not far from it IMHO, and I own my part of the insanity. Send in the clowns.

I feel that the transsexual women arguing here are completely erasing the existence of trans men, with some of the things they're saying.

So far this entire thing has involved and focused on women. Where are the perspectives of and about trans men?

That's a good point. The degree to which phalloplasty is tied to legal rights for trans men is greatly reduced in comparison, and despite some very satisfied individuals, there is less satisfaction with surgical results (stop me when I get something wrong here...)

So what am I not covering in my arguments that concern about complications + cost + concern about dissatifactory results + not giving a good god damn makes an awful lot of trans people, seriously dysphoric before treatment trans people, not seek surgery, female exclusive other than that women are the ones doing the arguments, and, given the incidence studies, probably about three-fifths to three-quarters of the trans population? Or, by transsexual, did you only mean the post-operative?

Could you clarify your second paragraph? I'm not sure what you're trying to say.

Okay, I was able to piece together that paragraph.

It's not you. It's Lisa, it's Brandi, it's Tina. They seem to be completely ignoring the different issues that face trans men in regards to SRS, as opposed to trans women. Many, many trans men don't want the procedure simply because they don't feel that results are very good. Why should these men be considered not real transsexual men?

The fact that the conversation is extremely centric on the anatomy of trans women also makes it difficult for trans men to enter into the conversation. Statements like "real transsexual people don't have penises" completely erases trans men, including ones who have received bottom surgery.

It just seems as if the existence of transsexual men hasn't even crossed the minds of some people here, and I would really like to see at least a bit of focus on how this debate impacts trans men.

Tina (IL) | June 27, 2011 8:00 AM

You are absolutely correct, and I apologize. The threads we were in were talking about transgender women. I have no experience with transmen, other than having met a couple. For me to comment on that would be an insult to transmen, since I have limited knowledge. If that offends you, I sincerely apologize...I stay with those subjects I know something about...and transmen is not a subject I am versed in.

Mark your right I did omit FTM in my opinions and none of my opinions were meant to reflext my views on FTM. I known like three or four FTM and they are al great guys, so let me clarify my thoughts on their legality in my opinion. I understand that the GRS for FTM isn't as perfected yet as it is for MTF and that it's very expensive thats why I feel that if a FTM has top surgery and removes reproductive organs that should qualify them to legal be male. I bet if you asked FTMS if you could have a working penis most of them would say yes, that they have a deep desire to be a complete man this in my opinion goes to brain gender and is proof in the least that they have GID.

It all has to do with Brain Gender both for FTM and MTF it's a matter of whats in your head not your heart or what fantasy you've dream up but a totally unnerving unsettled feeling that has persisted since childhood that's chewed at you and nagged at you until one day you can't stand it any longer and you seek out help naturally from a doctor in this case a therapist or counselor.

This is really interesting, Brandi. When it comes to trans men you can understand a situation where the expense and the lack of quality might be justifiable reasons why someone you would consider a true transsexual might choose not to pursue genital surgery. However, I have friends who have had phalloplasty or metiodioplasty who are very happy with their results.

The reality is that these barriers are much more individual. Some trans men have the money, know the research, can access high quality surgeons, and go for it. At the same time, some trans women don't have the money, have medical issues that contradict surgery, have to choose between food, rent, hormones, or other necessary medication, or face other significant barriers.

You're willing to give all trans men a pass whether or not they can overcome their specific barriers. Are you willing to acknowledge that there are transsexual women who can't overcome their specific barriers, and if they choose to focus on survival and other issues rather than pursuing SRS that doesn't change what is in their head? Or would you see them as not really transsexual?

Mark, I agree that some transsexual women commenting on this post forget that the issues of transsexual men are as important as those of the women, and that forgetting to mention trans men entirely is a mistake in both logic and politics. Perhaps it is symptomatic of an unseen male-socialized privilege?

Or possibly, it's because there are different laws regarding identity changes for masculine transitions and thus there's not the same divide on the male side of the community. I've not seen the trans masculine equivalent of HBS rhetoric as I have with other trans women. I think that may probably be more plausible than the 'residual male privilege' trope.

T->M people have their own forums, and generally seem to chat less than women on public boards/blogs. It is surely best T->F people don't talk about the very different T->M experience without knowledge or permission (although I often find certain T->M people have quietly pressed their own singularly biased views of T->F issues). There is no justification for that implication of masculinity.

I understand your complaint, Mark. I think it would patronizing and gratuitous for t>f people to speak for those who are t>m. The surgeries are very different. There is an issue involving homologous erectile tissue that is very different for t>f than it is for t>m. Apparently, techniques have not been developed that allow erectile vaginal tissue to be used to construct a penis. For most t>f surgeries there is available tissue. When there isn't there are other effective techniques. The things being argued about here are not equally opposite problems. The concerns are not analogous. I don't think anyone could really comprehend the issues of transition, medical and social that they do not experience first hand. That said, it would be interesting to hear more from the men than we do. I do not think, however, that legal, medical and social issues for t>m persons can or should be used to justify the things that are being argued over, regarding t>f transitions.

Here's a link to the full article with no subscription required.

Tina (IL) | June 27, 2011 8:46 AM

I just read the article rather quickly, as I am about to get ready for work. It is well written...not in depth, but a good article. In talking about Mike/Christine, I appreciate the fact that she used the female pronouns, even though AP guidelines might have been "violated" by that usage. A nice article, some small things I might quibble with, but very well written. I'll look at it (and the rest of my issue...I subscribe through...gasp...my ereader), later tonight. Thanks.

That article struck me as a good general overview of trans issues. I already knew about the rift between GLBs and Ts, but it still shocked me to read some of the quotes. (Accusing transwomen of RAPE just for transitioning? Really? REALLY??)

It did kind of confuse me that the vast majority of the article was about a specific transwoman named Caroline, yet the cover image is of an unnamed transman. Who is that guy, anyway? Why is he on the cover instead of Caroline?

Oh, and Dr. Weiss, I disagree with your assertion that you don't photograph well! In fact, since you debuted your new, sleeker hairstyle, you remind me a bit of Chelsea Clinton. (And I mean that as a compliment.)

Yes, really, rape, simply for being us, transitioned. I got that when I was "outed", and it frequently emerges as a general charge against all of us on internet lists. The theory goes that one is a "man" (although I was at most ever a boy, and more accurately a transchild) in "women's space", or even "women's heads", without their permission. When other women didn't understand that (or resisted "rape" being misused, they just made up lies to imply physical rape which was "too painful to describe", years after my SRS (I've been transitioned 40 years now). All that mattered to them was their hatred, their transphobia. The same women (I know their names) mostly now run women's refuges, or teach women's studies. The fact that few women's refuges are safe for women like me follows from that.

As a thoroughly dedicated feminist myself - not to mention my having identified totally with women since the age of two - with a close friend employed as a rape crisis counsellor, that was really devastating. Which is of course exactly what is intended.

Reading the New Republic article I find two more problems:

> one benefit of being born a man

I don't understand why writing about us seems to destroy so many writers' brain cells. Do they really think we were born fully fledged adults? Do they think we are not human, not even mammals, but some strange alien beings, or maybe replicants from 'Bladerunner'? Contrary to what is so often written, I'm certain I was born a baby; I've seen the pictures.

> In a number of ways, Caroline’s transition followed a
> typical path. Until recent years, most male-to-female
> transgender people did not transition until middle age and
> had often been married and had children. (Anecdotally,
> therapists told me that clients have been coming to them at
> younger ages.)

Now this is seriously dangerous rubbish. Maybe she really is talking about transgender people here, but if she is talking about transsexual people it is nonsense. This is erasure of young transitioners, which has been going on since treatment began. Even Benjamin totally failed to write up his adolescent patients, but he did report many below middle-age. He knew, and now we all do that in other cultures people have been transitioning as children or adolescents for hundreds of years. The Hijra surgery is traditionally done any age from 10, and Indian medical journals have effectively published follow-up studies.

When I had SRS the nurses told me I was by far their youngest yet, but later I discovered it was a lie, and there had been several of my age in the 5 or 6 years SRS had been done in London before my date. And still, here we have supposedly "anecdotal" evidence when there are published papers following up a whole tranche of people who have had SRS at 17 or 18, and numerous books and websites evidence more, and younger cases. Even major TV documentaries show children transitioning, and there is a growing base of western cases having hormones, and the appropriate puberty at the same age as their peers, as young people in countries with over-the-counter hormones have been arranging for decades now.

Is it that later transitioners don't like to think about they years they have missed, and therapists massage that? Or is it playing to a conservative readership? Certainly it bugs the hell out of children, teens, the adults they become, and their supportive families.