The Bailey article

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Alice Dreger’s account of the Bailey story is available here [pdf]. It’s a dizzying trip through the looking glass– there are plastic vulvas, Stalinist purges of the transexual ranks, and, of course, a neo-conservative conspiracy. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, just imagine an Almodovar movie gone horribly, horribly wrong.

109 Comments

  1. Autogynephilia always gives me mixed feelings. On the one hand, taken from a sexual perspective, it’s perfectly normal, even necessary. From a sexual perspective, most biological women ought to be autogynephiliac, themselves. How do most people get turned on? By imagining their own genitals, usually interacting with others’. People can get off on just themselves, because they are aroused by their own genitalia. If they weren’t, there’d be no incentive to use said organs in the act of sex. I know a few transpeople who love sex, but cannot participate with the sex organs they were born with, because they don’t see any attraction to themselves having them. This, of course, excludes asexual individuals. 
     
    However, taken from a non-sexual point of view, autogynephilia looks like as much an excuse to say transsexuals are perverted as the Oedipus complex looks like an excuse to masturbate over naked pictures of your parents. 
     
    The problem with supporters of autogynephilia is that most people (in my experience, at least) are disinclined to believe that sex is the sole motivator behind every (or even most) human action. So people who don’t see transpeople as perverts get offended by the implication, while those who are maybe inclined the other way might have their views reinforced (and a good many of these people might accept a reinforcing of their views without digging too deeply or thinking too hard about it.) 
     
    For the record (so that my views may be understood in more context,) I am a transwoman. I don’t have all that much of a sex drive (I think it may have been consumed by my intellectualism, because, if I’m not intellectually interested in sex, I’m rarely sexually interested at all.) I don’t have any pathological disgust with respect to my male parts; I can function as well with them as I could with a vagina. That I would prefer the latter is simply a matter of preference (I would also prefer the ability to bear children, even though I don’t, at the moment, feel any compelling need to do so any time in the future.) I may not even get the genital surgery, as it is prohibitively expensive and the best surgical work isn’t perfect and won’t be for a while. 
     
    I may, in fact, read Bailey’s book, just to see what his stance on the matter is.

  2. autogynephilia looks like as much an excuse to say transsexuals are perverted as the Oedipus complex looks like an excuse to masturbate over naked pictures of your parents. 
     
    nowhere, as far as I’m aware, does bailey call anyone a “pervert”. if his book gives people with an anti-transexual agenda (I assume such people exist) justification, well, so it goes. some evolutionary research gives creationists ammunition, and genetics research often gives racists ammunition. people with an agenda will always find justification for their beliefs.  
     
    Dreger’s article points out that some of bailey’s research finds positive psychological effects of sexual reassignment surgery, and that he personally recommended many people for it.

  3. I honestly feel sorry for trannies. I believe it is a simple developmental error that could happen to anyone. 
     
    However, nobody has figured out how to turn an XY into an XX. I wouldn’t consider what is done today as sex reassignment surgery. 
     
    Someday scientists will figure out how to “redifferentiate” the human brain and help these guys feel masculine. In most cases they posess a male body and nervous system in perfect working order. Doctors that surgically remove the genitals of physically healthy, but emotionally troubled men should lose their license to practice. 
     
    The same goes for doctors who exploit Apotemnophiliacs 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apotemnophilia 
     
    These people need help, not silly science. If you’ve ever read the nonsense research that comes out of these identity groups you know what I mean.

  4. Looc says: 
     
    Someday scientists will figure out how to “redifferentiate” the human brain and help these guys feel masculine. In most cases they posess a male body and nervous system in perfect working order. Doctors that surgically remove the genitals of physically healthy, but emotionally troubled men should lose their license to practice. 
     
    Well, that sounds a little excessive. A mechanic who tricks up a car, jacks it way up, for example, does not lose his license. 
     
    In any event, if people want to mutilate themselves, I think they should be allowed to. However, I do object to my tax dollars being spent to help them.

  5. I’ve read about half of the pdf, and the Kieltyka person is incredibly entertaining and makes the whole affair with TMWWBQ seem like it’s just something I have to plow through between Kieltyka episodes.

  6. It’s a long way to the shop wh  
     
    Should we allow surgeons to perform Gastric Bypass on Anorexic women because they feel fat? 
     
    These “doctors” are mutilating emotionally troubled people for profit. In any other field of medicine they would be hung. Trans-friendly therapists actually tell people that it is physically possible for a woman to be born in a man’s body. Calling any of this science is shameful. 
     
    Then again its not my weiner so…  
    …when does the new season of The Office start?

  7. These “doctors” are mutilating emotionally troubled people for profit. 
    Where were you during the circumcision thread? You’d have been a lot of fun. 
     
    But on a serious note: do you object to recreational plastic surgery, too? Things like breast augmentation/reduction, face pulls, nose straightening… there are times when plastic surgery is used to correct terrible injuries and birth defects, but in many cases there’s no medical reason for the intervention. It’s just that people want to look different. Just how ‘well-adjusted’ should people have to be before they can choose to have plastic surgery in your judgement, or does wanting to look different constitute “emotional troubling” such that surgery would be inappropriate?

  8. Caledonian 
     
    I think its the fact that weiners are getting chopped off that bothers me the most. 
     
    But seriously… 
    I think if doctors sold it as a permanent Halloween costume instead of a sex change procedure I would be ok with it. Another thing is that the “work” these surgeons perform makes hair plugs from 1972 look natural by comparison! Even after they’ve got their sausage hacked off they are still XY, they are still men. These aren’t women stuck in male bodies. They are men with cratered gender centers who are otherwise healthy. There is a big difference. 
     
    As for people born intersex they’ve got a case. Surgery to make them one sex or the other is understandable. 
     
    In any case I feel sorry for all of them. Its a medical problem.

  9. Looc, what do you say to hormone replacement therapy? It’s a gradual, nonsurgical process that weeds out the people who are merely troubled (because people who are truly cisgendered have a negative reaction to these hormones, which are counter to their nature.) 
     
    Second, what is your argument concerning tomboy or butch transwomen, and girly transmen? There are many transsexuals (myself included) who could operate perfectly fine in the gender roles we were born into, but not the bodies.

  10. Gaaaah! That last anonymous comment was me. Not sure what happened.

  11. Sam Wilson  
     
    I honestly don’t buy any of it. It isn’t that I don’t believe biological processes aren’t at work, they clearly are. Most of these guys have probably felt like women since their earliest memories. But that doesn’t get around the fact that they are otherwise healthy men. Something happened to their gender center, probably prenatally. 
     
    But a girly man is still a man.

  12. In order to be classified as a “girly man”, you first have to feel like a man. If I may venture a hypothesis: You are male (as evidenced by your mention of penises getting removed bothering you the most) and you cannot imagine yourself as anything else. You are, then, projecting this view of yourself onto others and deciding that they are probably confused. 
     
    I am far from confused. As I said, I may not even go for the surgery, simply because I don’t care enough. I just don’t identify as male any more than most females do. Sure, it might be possible, eventually, to change my brain instead of my body, but why would I? The brain is far more important than the body, in my opinion, and my mind-body incongruity causes me no problems that cannot be fixed with hormones. 
     
    Actually, on second thought, there is a fix for the brain. It’s called a lobotomy, and it will fix all of your problems.

  13. It’s a gradual, nonsurgical process that weeds out the people who are merely troubled (because people who are truly cisgendered have a negative reaction to these hormones, which are counter to their nature.) 
    That’s just silly. It’s not most of their physiology that you’re asserting is the wrong gender, but parts of their brains. Their ‘nature’ isn’t relevant, and won’t protect them from negative consequences of such massive hormonal shifts. The process weeds out people who don’t value becoming the other gender enough to tolerate the changes, not because it weeds out people whose ‘nature’ is incompatible with the hormones.

  14. Sam Wilson 
     
    Sam I don’t know you, I’ve never met you, I’ve got no dog in this fight. But I’ll give you one piece of honest advice. Please, for your own sake do NOT mutilate your body. In twenty years when somebody figures out how to cure GID you will thank yourself. 
     
    You are probably a healthy XY with some psychological problems. These problems may have been present since birth and they are probably biologically based. However that is a far cry from being a woman in a man’s body.  
     
    Spend an hour and read how nature manufactures an XY versus an XX and you will realize just how silly the entire concept of TS is. Transgenders have cratered gender centers, that is the only reason they feel like the opposite sex. We are probably talking about a few hundred thousand neurons pointing in the wrong direction.

  15. I’d much rather mutilate my body than mutilate my brain. I’m very intellectual and don’t care much about my body except that its continued functioning facilitates my continued learning and growth. I’d kill myself if I thought I would retain consciousness afterwards, because I don’t remember ever dying before and I’m interested to know what it’s like. From a spiritual perspective, if there is something beyond this life, then my soul, and maybe my mind, are the only things I’m taking with me. My body will wither and die eventually, and I’m fine with that. I don’t think I could live with myself if my mind did it first, though. 
     
    If I had the choice between making my body a better fit for my mind, and making my mind fit within my body, I would choose the former in an instant. As asked above, if someone has decided, rationally, to alter their body (be it anywhere from a tattoo to a sex change,) who is anybody to stop them? (After, of course, they reach the age of majority.) 
     
    I know how chromosomes work. That’s basic high school biology, there. I know things not taught to me in high school, too, like how the specific chromosomes determine the sex of the newborn, and how the primary sexual characteristics develop in the womb. I know about how malformed chromosomes or hormone imbalances can cause fledgling brain cells to form in one way or the other. I had to learn them, in order to make a competent decision in the matter of my mind-body incongruity. 
     
    Removing from the specific subject of transsexuality, it is my opinion that to force a specific physical paradigm on someone is as morally wrong as to force a specific religious paradigm. If someone wants to get a tattoo, they can do so. If they want to amputate their arm, they probably shouldn’t, given the vast uses of the arm, but I wouldn’t stop one of them, either. Forced application of a status quo causes stasis, which is opposed to and less desirable than chaos. If someone makes bad choices, so be it. Other people have the right to offer help, but the first person also has the right to refuse that help. 
     
    Point the second: Pascal’s Wager (or a more secular version thereof.) If the future is entirely unknown, and one is presented with a choice between taking action and not taking action, where both choices have unknown consequences but not taking action has potentially worse consequences (in my case, a descent towards stasis and perhaps lifelong depression,) it is always better to take action, thereby preventing, at least, the increase of stasis. Stasis will, perhaps, come about eventually, in the form of heat death, but we can at least prevent it from forming in our own lives here and now. 
     
    Thanks for your advice, but I don’t think I’ve made a bad choice. Only time will tell.

  16. I think that as time goes by we will find that there are multiple subsystems in the brain that all have to be oriented the correct way for an individual to be a normal male or female (and there will be some variance within each of those groups). 
     
    The various GIDs will then turn out to be cases where not all of the subsystems are functioning in the male-appropriate or female-appropriate manner (for an XY or XX individual). I imagine that some of the malfunctions will explain things like sex with animals, attraction to minors, and so forth.

  17. The Real Richard Sharpe  
     
    I think you are correct. We are talking about different types of developmental problems or outright brain damage.  
     
    Pedophile Amygdala 
    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/07/pedo-amygdala.php 
     
    Left-handedness and pedophilia: Brain damage 
    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/02/left-handedness-and-pedophilia-brain.php

  18. Sam Wilson 
     
    I’d much rather mutilate my body than mutilate my brain. 
     
    Sam what you fail to see is that if you are a healthy XY male and you feel like a woman something in your brain is feeding you bad information. Your decisionmaker is operating on a faulty sense of reality.  
     
    Good luck with whatever you chose, you’ll need it.

  19. Just what exactly is “feeling like a woman” supposed to entail? For that matter, I’ll ask the same question about feeling “like a man” – I’m male, and I have absolutely no idea what that phrase means. 
     
    What’s being discussed by that question? Sexual orientation? Attitudes? Emotional response patterns? Being comfortable with physiology? Someone, please, explain it to me.

  20. Just what exactly is “feeling like a woman” supposed to entail? 
     
    I am male. I am not comfortable discussing my feeling with other people. 
     
    I suspect that what that phrase means is that such people are more comfortable with and are attracted to female-typical behavior. 
     
    I suspect that “feeling like a man” means that we, as individuals, are more comfortable with and attracted to male typical behaviors, and we strongly resist behaving like females. Indeed, females who want us to behave like females can fuck off :-) 
     
    Based on reading and observation, this attraction to and comfort with female or male typical behaviors develops at a very early age, as one would expect.

  21. Caledonian 
     
    Just what exactly is “feeling like a woman” supposed to entail? 
     
    Good point. Women exhibit every type of behavior imaginable. Margaret Thatcher and Paris Hilton are both women. What exactly does, “I feel like a woman” mean? 
     
    I read somewhere that boys with GID are typically far more feminine than girls of the same age.

  22. What I meant to say is boys with GID don’t play like girls. They tend to be for more feminine than the average girl. 
     
    Something got cratered.

  23. Perhaps a lot of it is explained by the article: 
     
    Is there anything good about men?”

  24. I suspect that “feeling like a man” means that we, as individuals, are more comfortable with and attracted to male typical behaviors, and we strongly resist behaving like females.  
    That just replaces one ambiguous phrase with another. What the hell is a male-typical behavior? 
     
    What are we talking about, here? Stereotypes? Statistical tendencies? 
     
    Is playing with dolls male-typical? What if we call them ‘action figures’? Is wearing a skirt male-typical behavior? What if we call it a kilt?

  25. Sam what you fail to see is that if you are a healthy XY male and you feel like a woman something in your brain is feeding you bad information. Your decisionmaker is operating on a faulty sense of reality. 
     
    Good luck with whatever you chose, you’ll need it. 
     
    Looc, stop mistaking cultural expectations for ‘reality’. Reality says that most (but not all) humans have either XX or XY chromosomes, most (but not all) humans with XX chromosomes develop a female phenotype and most (but not all) humans with XY chromosomes develop a male phenotype, and most (but not all) have neurological and psychological development consistent with that phenotype and fit comfortably into culturally-specified gender roles. 
     
    It’s comfort with our own bodies and with cultural expectations that are the issues for trans people; chromosomes are quite completely irrelevant, just one in a long, dismal history of biological markers that have been claimed to determine one’s ‘true’ gender. Here ‘true’ usually seems to mean what culturally-determined gender role one ‘should’ live as, an inherently normative claim, which, as such, is NOT science. Your obsession with chromosomes is no different than doctors of a century ago classifying intersex people into ‘true hermaphrodites’, ‘male pseudohermaphrodites’ and ‘female pseudohermaphrodites’ on the basis of which sort of gonadal tissue they were born with, and assigning them a ‘true’ gender on that basis. 
     
    That’s just silly. It’s not most of their physiology that you’re asserting is the wrong gender, but parts of their brains. Their ‘nature’ isn’t relevant, and won’t protect them from negative consequences of such massive hormonal shifts. The process weeds out people who don’t value becoming the other gender enough to tolerate the changes, not because it weeds out people whose ‘nature’ is incompatible with the hormones. 
     
    Caledonian, which negative consequences exactly would you be referring to? Believe me, all the negative effects of hormones I ever experienced were from testosterone before I transitioned, and apparently I never had very much of that anyway. Hormone replacement therapy doesn’t select for trans people who are willing to tolerate what you would probably consider the negative effects of it, but for people who don’t consider those effects negative. 
     
    Someday scientists will figure out how to “redifferentiate” the human brain and help these guys feel masculine. In most cases they posess a male body and nervous system in perfect working order. Doctors that surgically remove the genitals of physically healthy, but emotionally troubled men should lose their license to practice. 
     
    Looc, I would rather die than have my brain altered to ‘feel masculine.’ That would be worse than death; it would leave behind a person who isn’t me but purports to be. I am my mind, not the meatbag my mind presently inhabits, so if the two do not match then the body must be altered, not the mind.

  26. Andrea 
     
    Two questions: 
     
    Should Anorexic women be given Gastric Bypass? 
     
    Should surgeons hack off the limbs of Apotemnophiliacs? 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apotemnophilia 
     
    The reality is that your brain didn’t form right. You’ve got deep psychological problems and an army of “medical professionals” willing to exploit you for money. 
     
    Within a couple of decades people won’t be born with GID. Children and mothers will be vaccinated against the pathogens responsible for GID and a host of other mental illnesses.  
     
    The Infection Connection 
    http://psychologytoday.com/articles/pto-19990701-000031.html

  27. Looc, take a chill pill. 
     
    Anorexics should be allowed to get surgery, as should apotemnophiliacs. What does it harm you if they are prevented from doing so? What leads you to believe that you know how people should live their lives? How would you react if they tried to tell you how to run your life? 
     
    In the interests of disclosure, I’m a straight male with no interest in body-modification or mind alteration (alcohol excepted) of any kind.

  28. TGGP  
     
    Agreed, hack away. 
     
    In fact we shouldn’t require prescriptions to get drugs either. People know what they need. 
     
    The western world’s concept of medical standards and ethics is antiquated. Viva La Revolucion!

  29. looc, 
     
    stop playing amateur psychologist. it’s absurd.

  30. Spend an hour and read how nature manufactures an XY versus an XX and you will realize just how silly the entire concept of TS is 
     
    the genetics of gender isn’t as cut and dried as you’d like. read about androgen sensitivity syndrome, klinefelter’s, turner, etc.  
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turner_syndrome 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgen_insensitivity_syndrome 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klinefelter%27s_syndrome

  31. p-ter 
     
    How is an Apotemnophiliac different from a transgender? 
     
    The truth can be very irritating.

  32. p-ter 
     
    Those aren’t disorders?

  33. p-ter 
     
    I made it clear from the beginning I’m talking about normal XY trannies. 
     
    People born ambiguously probably need some sort of procedure.

  34. who cares, looc? you said that the entire concept of TS is “silly”. clearly, it’s not. sexual differentiation is not as simple as XX v. XY. in particular, people with AIS (ie XY women) appear like perfectly normal women (albeit sterile ones).  
     
    you are arguing that people who want to change genders (or cut off their arms) shouldn’t be allowed to. that’s a political position, and entirely different from the question of whether transexuals would be psychologically better off changing sex (or whether an apotemnophiliac would be psychologically better off without an arm).

  35. Two questions: 
     
    Should Anorexic women be given Gastric Bypass? 
     
    Should surgeons hack off the limbs of Apotemnophiliacs? 
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apo…/ Apotemnophilia 
     
    Yes. Their bodies, their choices. 
     
    The reality is that your brain didn’t form right. You’ve got deep psychological problems and an army of “medical professionals” willing to exploit you for money. 
     
    My brain formed as it did, and I like it this way. Who appointed you judge over my brain’s ‘rightness’? Why does such a paragon of mental health spend his time playing gender enforcer on the Internet? Is it perhaps insecurity about your own masculinity that motivates you? A little castration anxiety, maybe? 
     
    Within a couple of decades people won’t be born with GID. Children and mothers will be vaccinated against the pathogens responsible for GID and a host of other mental illnesses. 
     
    The Infection Connection 
    http://psychologytoday.com/artic…701- 000031.html 
     
    What does that have to do with anything? That article contained no reference whatsoever to gender, and even if my identity were caused by some long-ago pathogen exposure, of what possible relevance could it be? I am who I am, and do not desire to become anyone else, least of all in order to satisfy your quaint notions on what my gender ‘should’ be.

  36. Just what exactly is “feeling like a woman” supposed to entail? For that matter, I’ll ask the same question about feeling “like a man” – I’m male, and I have absolutely no idea what that phrase means. 
     
    Well, as a gay man who had GID as a child, I can tell you what “feeling like a woman (girl)” entailed for me: in the most fundamental sense, I imagined myself as a girl. For example, I was a bookish kid, and I was really into the Chronicles of Narnia. When I would daydream about stumbling into Narnia, in my daydreams I was always a girl. In *all* my daydreams I was a girl.  
     
    That was really the crux of it for me. I just couldn’t imagine myself as a male. When I thought about my life and how I wanted to be as an adult, I always imagined myself growing into an attractive, intelligent and competent woman, even though I knew that I was physically male.  
     
    When puberty hit, something seemed to “snap” in my brain and I started being able to imagine myself as a man (thank God). Now, in my late 20′s, I’m grateful that I’m a man and wouldn’t want it any other way. I got much less feminine once puberty hit, too, so I imagine that whatever went terribly, terribly wrong with my brain’s development partially righted itself as I got older. Still, when I remember how tortured I was as a little kid over my gender identity, well, it’s really very sad that some people go through their whole lives with this and never feel right.  
     
    Which isn’t to say that I feel completely comfortable with sex reassignment surgery, even for others (though I’m aware that it’s not my business). It just seems so drastic.

  37. p-ter 
     
    My point is that doctors are there to say no. Thats why we have them, thats why we have prescriptions. 
     
    Doctors aren’t supposed to hurt people and they shouldn’t tell patients whatever they want to hear. There are plenty of therapists telling normal XY men that they are indeed women trapped in fully functioning and healthy male bodies. That is the dumbest concept I’ve ever heard. 
     
    In a few decades none of this will matter. Scientists will figure out why this stuff happens and we’ll have effective vaccines or other defensive measures. Until then it pains me to see medical professionals exploit mentally ill people who need help.

  38. Doctors aren’t supposed to hurt people… 
     
    so if research on outcomes of gender reassignment showed positive effects, you’d be all for it?

  39. I would rather die than have my brain altered to ‘feel masculine.’ That would be worse than death; it would leave behind a person who isn’t me but purports to be. I am my mind, not the meatbag my mind presently inhabits, so if the two do not match then the body must be altered, not the mind. 
     
    Andrea, 
     
    But what is your “mind?” Is it anything distinct from your brain? You talk about this disconnection between your body and your mind, but if your mind is just your brain, then really, the disconnection is between your brain, which is a part of your body, and the rest of your body.  
     
    It stands to reason that if there is a disconnection between two parts of your body (in this case, your brain and your sex) you should adjust the one that is adjustable. Right now, neither is adjustable, really, as sex-reassignment surgery is merely cosmetic. But if they found a way to reorient the brain to make it match the rest of the body, it seems strange to me to oppose it on the grounds that the mind is something other than the brain (and, by extension, just another part of the body), because I see no real evidence for this.

  40. Doctors aren’t supposed to hurt people and they shouldn’t tell patients whatever they want to hear. 
     
    Good. Then you won’t support doctors hurting trans people by blocking our access to hormones and surgery, I take it? Why do you get to decide what constitutes a hurt over the objections of the person actually affected? 
     
    There are plenty of therapists telling normal XY men that they are indeed women trapped in fully functioning and healthy male bodies. That is the dumbest concept I’ve ever heard. 
     
    Where does this fixation on chromosomes you have come from? If I were Klinefelter’s syndrome (XXY chromosomes) instead, born with a normal male phenotype and a female gender identity (most XXY people have male gender identity, but there’s some evidence to suggest they are a little more likely to be trans than XY people), would you suddenly have no objection to my transition? What possible difference could it make?

  41. MarcZ 
     
    When puberty hit, something seemed to “snap” in my brain and I started being able to imagine myself as a man (thank God). Now, in my late 20′s, I’m grateful that I’m a man and wouldn’t want it any other way. 
     
    I’ve read that before. I assume the testosterone of puberty does that. 
     
    Imagine if you’d had these doctors helping you out before puberty. 12 year old gearing up for “sex change.” 
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/01/28/wkim28.xml

  42. fyi, from here:# There seem to have been at least 30 research assessments of the effects of gender reassigment surgery (Brown GR, 1990). The number of these particularly dictates that some sort of systematic review is necessary to make a balanced judgement about what the effects actually are. Further, the development of research in the field suggests that criticisms of early studies have only been reacted to more recently (Snaith P et al, 1993). This emphasizes that any reviews must not only be systematic, but up-to-date. 
    # Although the research published generally states that the effects are beneficial, it would be incorrect to say that this finding has been universal (Meyer JK, Reter DJ, 1979). 
    … 
    The points above, by raising significant problems in the conduct of much of the research claiming to show that gender reassignment surgery is beneficial, suggests that the true conclusion from the available research is that we genuinely cannot be certain about what its effects are.

  43. Looc, 
     
    Agreed. Based on my own experience (and common sense), I don’t think it’s ethical to give a 12 year old sex-reassignment surgery. I expect that a lot of transgendered people would agree with that as well.

  44. p-ter  
     
    Physically speaking it is decisively UNbeneficial.  
     
    As for the mental and emotional effects it would have to be amazingly beneficial to make up for the physical destruction that takes place. I guess they aren’t seeing any obvious mental benefits.

  45. MarcZ 
     
    Yep, let people remain gay, happy and physically whole. 
     
    There is simply no way to change XY to XX.

  46. I read some of the Bailey stuff through the links here. I think its a red herring. To say that many transexuals are such because they have a sexual desire to be women is beside the point. Is this a legimitate argument for depriving them of the their civil liberties? To argue yes is the same as arguing that less intelligent people should also be require to forfeit civil liberties because they are less intellgent. 
     
    Equal before the law is not equal in nature. Likewise, not being equal or the same in nature in no way is a legitimate basis for unequality before the law. Thus, Bailey’s argument, as a social policy issue, is a red herring. 
     
    I view the issue of transexuality as part of the larger issue of “morphological” freedom. If transexuals are forbidden by law or regulation from undergoing their transformation, what is to prevent such laws from being implemented that would ban radical life extension or IQ increase? Clearly the issue of transexuality is one of morphological freedom. 
     
    There are transexual activists that recognize this connection. Several of them speak at transhumanist conferences such as Transvision and some of the Extropian conferences.  
     
    Unfortunately, Andrea James does not seem to recognize this connection (I have seen her website). She supports organizations such as Public Citizen that have a spotty record, at best, in supporting morphological freedom and individuals’ right to develop the advanced technologies such as biotech and nanotech that would enable such morphological freedom.  
     
    This seems illogical to me because I would think that transexuals are, by their nature, the worlds first transhumans and, therefor, should embrace the right of morphological freedom and the access to the technologies to make it possible.

  47. But what is your “mind?” Is it anything distinct from your brain? You talk about this disconnection between your body and your mind, but if your mind is just your brain, then really, the disconnection is between your brain, which is a part of your body, and the rest of your body. 
     
    By mind I mean myself as perceived introspectively, the ‘software’ which is supervenient on the substrate provided by the brain. 
     
    Consider, for example a sound wave. It’s made up of the interacting motions of many oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the air, but is best understood as an emergent phenomenon of certain ways those constituents can interact; its behavior is very similar to waves in completely different media, and it’s usually most easily understood by taking the air as a continuum approximation, deriving a wave equation and approaching that abstractly. My mind is, in one sense, nothing more than the behavior of my brain, but it can be best understood as an emergent phenomenon at a higher level of abstraction. 
     
    In any case, the distinction is rather less important than you seem to think, for reasons I will discuss below, so I will not bother with further philosophical digression. 
     
    It stands to reason that if there is a disconnection between two parts of your body (in this case, your brain and your sex) you should adjust the one that is adjustable. Right now, neither is adjustable, really, as sex-reassignment surgery is merely cosmetic. 
     
    What on earth is ‘merely cosmetic’ about it? It won’t change my karyotype, but, Looc’s chromosome fetish notwithstanding, that is of absolutely no relevance to the way I perceive myself or the way the world perceives me. It won’t let me give birth, but I didn’t want to anyway. Frankly, after surgery I will be nearly indistinguishable, short of a chromosome test, from a post-hysterectomy cisgendered female. Surely you wouldn’t claim that such a person’s genitals are ‘merely cosmetic’, so why would you make such a claim about a post-op transwoman? 
     
    But if they found a way to reorient the brain to make it match the rest of the body, it seems strange to me to oppose it on the grounds that the mind is something other than the brain (and, by extension, just another part of the body), because I see no real evidence for this. 
     
    I oppose it on the grounds that my identity is a property of my mind, which in turn depends only on the physical state of my brain, not on the rest of my body. If my brain were altered so that I perceived myself to have a male identity, I would not be myself any longer.

  48. Andrea  
     
    If you were ambiguous because of some sort of genetic glitch I fully understand the need for medical help. 
     
    I’m talking about a physically healthy man (or boy) getting talked into a whole lot of nonsense that they’ll regret for the rest of their life. 
     
    The entire phenotype of transexuality will enter a Children Of Men era when a vaccine is created that stops it in utero. These people are being encouraged to take a one way trip that might ultimately leave them very alone.

  49. If you were ambiguous because of some sort of genetic glitch I fully understand the need for medical help. 
     
    I’m talking about a physically healthy man (or boy) getting talked into a whole lot of nonsense that they’ll regret for the rest of their life. 
     
    The entire phenotype of transexuality will enter a Children Of Men era when a vaccine is created that stops it in utero. These people are being encouraged to take a one way trip that might ultimately leave them very alone. 
     
    I’m not alone; I have two utterly wonderful girlfriends. I’m not regretting anything other than not doing this sooner, and I’m thanking my lucky stars that I had a weak enough male puberty that I could pass as female more easily than as male even before I started hormones. Believe me, I would be in a whole world of regret if I tried to live as a male. 
     
    You didn’t answer my question about people with a normative male or female phenotype at birth, but both chromosomes and gender identity inconsistent with that, of which a trans woman with Klinefelter’s syndrome is the most common example. The flaws in your ‘chromosomes define identity’ dogma are showing.

  50. Andrea 
     
    You didn’t answer my question about people with a normative male or female phenotype at birth, but both chromosomes and gender identity inconsistent with that, of which a trans woman with Klinefelter’s syndrome is the most common example. The flaws in your ‘chromosomes define identity’ dogma are showing. 
     
    What are you talking about? People with physically normal bodies but who also posess a more or less hidden genetic glitch? 
     
    What help could surgery off them?

  51. Andrea  
     
    Believe me, I would be in a whole world of regret if I tried to live as a male. 
     
    I think that is where our disconnect is. You’ll always be male. No scientist has figured out how to make you otherwise. 
     
    You aren’t getting a sex change operation, you are getting superficial plastic surgery. There is a big difference.

  52. p-ter 
     
    I’ve read about that syndrome. It looks like that guy might need some help. What can be done, I really don’t know.

  53. I read some of the Bailey stuff through the links here. I think its a red herring. To say that many transexuals are such because they have a sexual desire to be women is beside the point. Is this a legimitate argument for depriving them of the their civil liberties? To argue yes is the same as arguing that less intelligent people should also be require to forfeit civil liberties because they are less intellgent. 
     
    Yes, exactly. I object to Bailey because of the way he universalizes his claims, asserting that all transwomen must either be exclusively androphilic or autogynephilic, and propping that dichotomy up with circular logic, saying that if a non-androphilic transwoman claims not to be autogynephilic, well, those autogynephiles just lie about it anyway. He asserts that people like me (exclusively lesbian trans woman, started transition at age 22, passes as female far more easily than as male, and absolutely no history of fetishistic cross-dressing), don’t exist, or at best are lying about our experiences, and that comes in the context of a long history of Procrustean theories like this being used to deny trans people access to treatment. Still, I agree that autogynephilia probably does exist for some people, and it shouldn’t be a reason to deny them access to transition or regard their identities as less valid. 
     
    I view the issue of transexuality as part of the larger issue of “morphological” freedom. If transexuals are forbidden by law or regulation from undergoing their transformation, what is to prevent such laws from being implemented that would ban radical life extension or IQ increase? Clearly the issue of transexuality is one of morphological freedom. 
     
    There are transexual activists that recognize this connection. Several of them speak at transhumanist conferences such as Transvision and some of the Extropian conferences. 
     
    That’s exactly how I see it. Freedom to transition is a special case of the freedom to control the content and presentation of one’s own body and mind, and this morphological freedom is of great importance to defend, and will become more so as advancing technology allows a wider and wider range of modifications. 
     
    Yes, I am a transhumanist and I’ll probably be the first in line to upload. :) 
     
    Unfortunately, Andrea James does not seem to recognize this connection (I have seen her website). She supports organizations such as Public Citizen that have a spotty record, at best, in supporting morphological freedom and individuals’ right to develop the advanced technologies such as biotech and nanotech that would enable such morphological freedom. 
     
    Well, Andrea James is problematic for a variety of reasons. She went way over the line counter-attacking Bailey; posting pictures of his kids on her web site was just not okay. Still, her web site has been pretty helpful to a lot of trans women just starting out, including myself a couple years ago.

  54. p-ter 
     
    Back to your earlier point that researchers can’t find an obvious emotional or mental benefit from this procedure. BTW, this is why Johns Hopkins dropped the procedure. 
     
    If the physical side is a disaster (read about the side effects sometime), and the mental side is neutral why even provide it to otherwise healthy people?

  55. Andrea 
     
    Have you ever considered how you’ll feel being in your early 20s and never having another orgasm? 
     
    That is a common side effect for MTF transexuals. I hope your therapist mentioned that.

  56. What are you talking about? People with physically normal bodies but who also posess a more or less hidden genetic glitch? 
     
    What help could surgery off them? 
     
    Looc, are you having some kind of reading comprehension problem? I was referring to the minority of Klinefelter’s people who are also transsexual – people with XXY chromosomes, male phenotype at birth and female gender identity. They get the same benefit from transition and surgery that all other trans people do: being able to look at their own bodies without having panic attacks at the sheer wrongness of it and function in a social role that doesn’t require them to fake their way through life. I brought the example up because it shows the flaw in the essentialist dogma you’re pushing: an XXY trans woman isn’t chromosomally ‘male’ even by the lunatic standard you uphold, but you apparently think she should live as a man at the expense of her own happiness in order to uphold her true-as-thundered-from-on-high-by-Looc gender. 
     
    What about a woman with complete androgen insensitivity? She has XY chromosomes, a mostly female phenotype at birth, and usually a female gender identity. If I’m ‘male’, than so is she. Do you dictate that she should transition to male just so that you can sleep soundly at night, secure in the knowledge that no one dares live in a gender role other than that commanded by their infallible chromosomes? 
     
    I think that is where our disconnect is. You’ll always be male. No scientist has figured out how to make you otherwise. 
     
    You aren’t getting a sex change operation, you are getting superficial plastic surgery. There is a big difference. 
     
    What you care to explain what exactly that difference is, without reference to my karyotype, as I have already more than adequately shown that this is clearly not a universally correct determinant of gender, and in any case is utterly irrelevant to the way I live my life and interact with the world. I don’t even know my karyotype, and considering how low my testosterone levels were before transition and how easily I passed as female even by accident back then, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if it turned out to be XXY or some other variety of chromosomal intersex; in any case I don’t *care*. It simply is of no practical relevance to my life or anyone else’s exactly what chromosomes I have. 
     
    Once you’ve finished with that, you can try explaining it to all the people at my workplace who I interact with every day and who haven’t got a clue I’m trans and just take me for a cisgendered female, or to all the people who met me before I started transition and thought I was a pre-testosterone FTM or a butch dyke, and then got really confused when they found out I’d been assigned male at birth, because even if it said M on my birth certificate I sure never looked or acted very much like one.

  57. Have you ever considered how you’ll feel being in your early 20s and never having another orgasm? 
     
    That is a common side effect for MTF transexuals. I hope your therapist mentioned that. 
     
    I’m not orgasmic now, and I wasn’t before I started hormones either. I experienced having functional male genitals as being like having an alien parasite attached to my body that would periodically demand appeasement, not as a source of any pleasure. I’m now very happy to have those bits in a spironolactone-induced coma, and looking forward to getting genitals I can feel comfortable with. Believe me, the sex I have now works a whole lot better for me than it was before hormones when *that* would keep getting in the way. 
     
    In any case, most studies have found that the majority of trans women (usually more than 90%) who have surgery using the modern technique (penile inversion vaginoplasty with sensate pedicled clitoroplasty), including some who, like me, weren’t before.

  58. A number of assumptions have been made here that may not neccessarily be true. 
     
    First, the assumption that every TS woman has a penis in the first place. This is not always the case. Most do – that’s why the most common surgical technique is “penile inversion”, where the penis is turned inside out, the erectile tissue removed, the sensate glans relocated, and the inverted tube used as the neo-vagina. But a large minority do not have sufficient length for that. 2″ or less isn’t enough. A minority have depths rather than lengths, the only thing protruding under normal circumstances is the foreskin. 
     
    Second, the assumption that the penis is removed. It isn’t. It’s re-shaped – see above. 
     
    Third, the “never have an orgasm again“. That assumes they were orgasmic in the first place. Most are, but many are not. Some have even had kids, with IVF. Many have such a strong maternal instinct that such barriers as having a male body and being anorgasmic are just difficulties to be overcome – using syringes etc. 
     
    Fourth, the assumption that TS women are all Gay. Many are lesbian, but a lot are straight too. About 50% report a change of sexual orientation after orchidectomy. 
     
    Dr Suporn in Thailand performs on the order of 200 MtoF surgeries per year. He keeps statistics. 90% of women who were orgasmic before surgery are orgasmic after, which compares favourably with natal women. 40% of those anorgasmic before surgery are orgasmic after. That means his total orgasmic success rate is about 80%, as so many TS women were never able to get the male genitalia to work right. Most were capable of erection, that’s not the problem. The problem is the wrong device drivers in the brain for a male anatomy. 
     
    I completely agree that anyone contemplating surgery should look at the risk of having a poor result. Not just being unable to orgasm, if that’s a big deal, then you shouldn’t contemplate it anyway. I mean the chances of death, of never being able to walk again due to compartment syndrome, and of having a colostomy.  
     
    I can’t really give details about my own case, it’s so bleedin’ rare. The medical team still aren’t sure whether to classify me as a “Transsexual women with a freakishly strange endocrine system” or a “Woman so badly Intersexed she looked like a man most of her life.” 
     
    I’m usually put in the same category as those with 5ARD and 17BHD deficiency. Serial Hermaphrodites. Those born looking like one sex, that partially or completely change to the other over the course of their lives. 
     
    The important thing is that every psychological test, and my life story, shows that I’m a vanilla, bog-standard, classic Transsexual woman. One of the 20% who never cross-dress, and one of those who were tomboys when young. The metabolic oddities are irrelevant.

  59. Andrea – second in line. I’m first. But we have to live that long to start with. Cryonics, anyone?

  60. I was born with ambigious genitalia. The doctors at the hospital were scared, disgusted and confused by me, or so I am told. They convinced my mother that the best thing to be done would be feminize my genitalia as much as possible via surgery, and that my parents should raise me as a girl. 
     
    When I was barely two weeks old, I went under the knife. The doctors removed (or attempted to remove) the masculine aspects of my genitals. After the surgery, I was given back to my parents, who named me Rose. 
     
    I was raised for almost thirteen years as a female, with no knowledge whatsoever of my intersexuality at birth. I was raised as a female, yes, but I never FELT like a female. From an early age, I refused to wear feminine clothing. My only friends were males. I loved to play sports, such as football, and I loved to go fishing and hunting with my father and cousins. I IDENTIFIED as a male. When my peers began puberty, my doctor started giving me estrogen shots. When I asked him why, my mother told me that I was born ‘a boy and a girl’, but they made me into a girl so that I could be ‘normal’. I remember so clearly the anger that I felt then. I told my mother that I didn’t want to be a girl, that I wanted to be a boy. That I had always felt like a boy. My doctor laughed, and my mother looked confused. She told me that they raised me as a girl, and that I was a girl, and nothing would change that. But now, here I am fifteen years later, a man. I am happily married to a wonderful woman and together we have adopted two children. 
     
    Please do not tell me that I am mentally ill. Please do not tell me that someone who is born female thinks like a female, identifies as a female, or vice versa. Scientists have established that males and females have different brains. Do you really think that it is impossible for a man to be born with a woman’s brain, or for a woman to be born with a man’s brain? What about a hermaphrodite born with a male’s brain, or a hermaphrodite born with a female’s brain? You act like you know everything about transsexualism, but you know absolutely nothing. I’d appreciate it if you’d either research the subject, LISTEN TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE, or just stop making degrading comments about a group of people who are degraded enough.

  61. Thanks Matthew. I had read about a case just like yours, famous I think, and was going to bring it up.

  62. Matthew Langer says: 
     
    Please do not tell me that I am mentally ill. Please do not tell me that someone who is born female thinks like a female, identifies as a female, or vice versa. Scientists have established that males and females have different brains. Do you really think that it is impossible for a man to be born with a woman’s brain, or for a woman to be born with a man’s brain? What about a hermaphrodite born with a male’s brain, or a hermaphrodite born with a female’s brain? You act like you know everything about transsexualism, but you know absolutely nothing. I’d appreciate it if you’d either research the subject, LISTEN TO SOMEONE WHO KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE, or just stop making degrading comments about a group of people who are degraded enough. 
     
    Matthew, the situation is more complex than you think. It is highly likely that there are multiple subsystems involved in the brain. 
     
    In your case, ambiguous genitalia could cover a multitude of conditions, including your penis simply failing to develop as much as is usually the case. In your case the doctors were wrong, as were the doctors in Canada who decided that the boy whose penis was destroyed during a botched circumcision should have gender reassignment. The masculinization of his and your brains made sure that neither of you would be happy with the result. 
     
    However, I think it is nonsense to talk about women born in mens’ bodies or men born in womens’ bodies. It is most likely that one or two subsystems have developed in a manner opposite to their genetic sex.  
     
    Having said all that I suspect that we simply do not know enough about these issues yet.

  63. I agree that we do not know enough about these issues yet, but I think that it would be wise to keep our minds open to this sort of thing. It has been going on for centuries, anyway.

  64. I was talking about that poor kid who got his penis burned off during circumcision. 
     
    I found a reference to it here.  
     
    Very similar experience to Matthew’s.

  65. Hi Matthew! Though you might want to change that monnicker some day… 
     
    If you want help there, there’s help available. Whether to make changes (and disrupt the lives of all you love), or to live for others, with as little discomfort to yourself as possible. Just remember it gets worse with age. 
     
    I can’t undo the past. As someone though who straddles the dividing line between TS and IS, I can do everything in my power though to stop the injustice that happened to you happening to other kids. 
     
    Out of sheer necessity, I’ve had to become something of a TS activist, though the idea of Activism is as far from my natural inclinations as, well, changing sex. I’m doing a PhD you see, and need to travel to overseas conferences. But TS people in Australia are denied passports if they can’t get their documentation in order, and because I changed sex without having an operation, I can’t. I just want to live a normal life, but some won’t let me. Very well: let battle commence. I’m not going to accept victimhood, to be a “professional victim” leeching off sympathy, as do many minority groups. I’m going to do something about it. 
     
    But my main cause, if you can call it that, as I’m not a great one for causes or activism, is to stop what happened to you happening again. I’ve seen too many cases of it in TS support groups. Maybe 5%, maybe 10%. We don’t know, no-one’s done any studies, all I have is data over some 1800 TS people, but there’s selection bias there, towards older cases. It may be over-represented in the sample. 
     
    Then some … person … says you (and I) have to be either a sex-crazed gay fit to be a whore, or a paraphilliac madman, and if we object to it, we’re narcisstic crazies in denial, and, well, it doesn’t make life any easier. 
     
    The Real Richard Langer – I agree completely. All my studies have shown that there really are multiple subsytems, and dependencies between them. Some subsystems have a bimodal distribution – women tend to have one kind, men tend to have another. But it’s a continuum, and most men and women have some degree of cross-gendering in some areas, while the majority remain typical. 
     
    So what makes us Men and Women? One of the subsystems is responsible for defining that, and if that area alone is cross-gendered, then the result is HBS, Harry Benjamin Syndrome, or Transsexuality. Now usually if this area is cross-gendered, many others are too, perhaps even most. 
     
    Some women who are TS have the hard-wired instincts for feminine body language. That doesn’t mean they are effeminate as males, some have the bodies of football players, so just become “good communicators” with “excellent use of gestures” when giving technical presentations. I speak from personal experience there. 
     
    Others have to learn feminine mannerisms if they transition. But then, a lot of girls take deportment lessons. It does mean though that such women have a tough time, they lead to the traditional “man in a dress’ stereotype, as no matter how good their bodies look, they “vibe male ” without training. And sometimes with. Tragedies like that are not exceptional, and we sometimes have to live as best we can when the situation is unsalvageable. Live – or die. The suicide rate amongst those who don’t get treatment is tragically high.

  66. But how do socially-acquired concepts of gender (like “feminine” clothing) become attached to our hypothesized neurological masculinity? 
     
    There are deep questions, here. 
     
    On a related note: does anyone know if female ‘tomboys’ are more likely than the average female to be homosexual?

  67. Then some … person … says you (and I) have to be either a sex-crazed gay fit to be a whore, or a paraphilliac madman, and if we object to it, we’re narcisstic crazies in denial, and, well, it doesn’t make life any easier. 
     
    look, I realize you’re an “activist”, but it doesn’t do you any good to distort a researcher’s position and smear him. your “creative” quotations were pointed out in the last thread, and the report (which summarizes Bailey’s research in a very different manner than you do) is linked in the main post. Read it and cut the bullshit, or don’t comment.

  68. Matthew Langer 
     
    You were given a “sex change” operation at birth. Later you were told to take hormone injections against your will. I think that is crap, I agree with you 100%. I am completely against that kind of abuse. 
     
    The only thing I can say in your parents defense is that you were born ambiguous and they didn’t know what to do. Thats a tough call as a parent, especially 20 or 30 years ago. 
     
    In the case of ambiguity I can understand them wanting you one way or the other for your own mental well being. They just picked wrong. 
     
    What would you have done?

  69. Andrea & Zoe 
     
    Look, we aren’t going to agree on any of this. Do what you want. 
     
    But keep this in mind. MarcZ felt like a woman until puberty and then he suddently felt like a man. This is very common for GID kids, in fact I believe it is the norm. Don’t be surprised if scientists figure out how to mimic this for adult TS. In ten years you might (or might not) be very sorry you took this one way trip. 
     
    Good luck, honestly.

  70. p-ter: I’ve read the report. I also read the original book. Have you? If not, please do so, it might help you understand where I’m coming from. 
     
    I too dislike the intellectual dishonesty of selective quotation without context. Please read the book to make sure that the quotes were not cherry-picked, but are representative of the whole, as so many of the Amazon reviewers (both pro and con) seem to think. 
     
    From GenderPsychology.Org:Bailey points to scientific evidence for why you should believe his characterization of transsexual women rather than believing their own life stories. I have shown that he mischaracterizes these studies. In fact, these studies show transgendered women are largely honest people and their physiological responses match their self descriptions. 
     
    J. Michael Bailey fails to think critically about Blanchard’s model. He acknowledges neither its methodological flaws nor the over-interpretation of its data. By focusing his attention on case studies, he had the opportunity to explore the subtleties in how Blanchard’s model relates to the lives of transgendered persons. Instead, when he differed from Blanchard’s accounts, it was typically by over-simplifying, stereotyping, or by further over-interpreting data. 
     
    By dismissing the perspectives of transsexual women and failing to think critically about Blanchard’s model, he set up an environment of exceptional hostility between himself and the transgender community. This hostility further amplified an already existing hostility between these groups over the authority given professionals under the mental illness model. At a time when sensitivity and careful exposition were most needed, his book was instead most divisive. I still believe some good can from Bailey’s book. He has illustrated the epitome of what science is like when you emulate an in-your-face talk-radio persona. His illustration shows why scientists need to always have sensitivity for their research participants. Sensitivity is not only good manners, it is good science. Through our shared experience with this book, I hope more psychologists will acknowledge the legitimacy of the self-perceptions of transgendered persons.

  71. Caledonian  
     
    does anyone know if female ‘tomboys’ are more likely than the average female to be homosexual? 
     
    Gender Dysphoria (GID) is the #1 predictor of adult homosexuality. However I’m not sure if being a tomboy would be considered dysphoria. It needs to be overwhelming before it is considered GID. 
     
    Either Zoe or Andrea mentioned being disgusted by his genitals. That is a classic symptom of GID.

  72. Looc – thanks for the sincere best wishes. 
     
    One thing I didn’t make clear: transition for me happened without medical intervention. From a biological standpoint, I went from more-male-than-female to more-female-than-male before starting HRT.  
     
    Had I decided to try to keep up the Boy Act – and I did consider it, the effects on my marriage and my 3 year old son were incalculable but unlikely to be good – I would have faced certain difficulties. 
     
    The first is that the testes were now totally inoperative, and internal. They were being “cooked” by body heat, and the odds of testicular cancer were high to certain in the long term. They had to be removed. There was already a 2mm lesion on one (I had more ultrasounds, MRI scans etc etc than you can believe to try to determine what the heck was happening, $5000 worth in fact, after insurance) 
     
    The second is the atrophied penis. I needed urethral re-plumbing anyway to avoid unhygenic spraying, as the only thing I had that protruded was foreskin. I’d gone from “undervirilised fertile male syndrome” to definite microphallus in just a few months. 
     
    The third, and the most important, is that I no longer “passed” as male. The day before I decided to go fulltime, while walking from where my car was parked to work, wearing my normal business attire, I was accosted by some drunks. They took me for a “Butch Dyke” or “Drag King” – those were their words – and threatened to “convert” me.  
     
    Now keeping up the Boy Act was hard enough when I had the body to carry it off. Psychologically, doing it with the new configuration was impossible. I’d actually subscribed to an FtoM magazine that gave tips on how to make a female body appear male, but although I had a good base to work from, I hadn’t had the years of practice needed. In any case, I just couldn’t. I’d done it for 47 years, but whatever I was using to do it with had run out.  
     
    There were two pillars that kept me from transitioning. The first was that in order to have children, I had to be male. I was infertile of course, the testes never worked right, but it was possible. Anything else I might (or might not) have had was removed as “anomalous tissue” along with my gallbladder when I was 20. Those who have had cholecystectomies do not, in general, have classic hysterectomy scars as I do. In any case, if there was something there, it was vestigial at best, not even remotely functional. I could never have been a mother, but I could have kids, with technical help. And I needed children, I don’t suppose any guy will understand the primal need some women have for that. Not all, but I got a triple dose of it. 
     
    The second was that there was no way on God’s Green Earth that I could ever pass as female. Sure, I had some chest development, and a female pelvis, but otherwise I looked like a rather short quarterback. 
     
    Both situations changed simultaneously, and over weeks. Leaving me firmly in mid-air, nowhere to go but the direction I’d always wanted anyway. This was no Nightmare, more like an Impossible Dream come true. 
     
    Regrets? I think not. I’ve already had more than my fair share of luck. This syndrome is thought to be 1 in 3.5 million, there’s only a handful of cases known. Nothing in PubMed, even though Kathy Noble’s case has been known for a decade, and the causal mechanism in her case is well understood.  
     
    The cause in my own is conjectural, but seems to be a combination of not particularly rare minor mutations, plus an anti-cholesterol drug to trigger the synergistic effects.

  73. The only thing I can say in your parents defense is that you were born ambiguous and they didn’t know what to do. Thats a tough call as a parent, especially 20 or 30 years ago. 
     
    In the case of ambiguity I can understand them wanting you one way or the other for your own mental well being. They just picked wrong. 
     
    What would you have done?
     
     
    I’m not blaming my parents as much as I’m blaming the doctors who claimed that the best thing that could be done for me would be to surgically mutilate my body to fit the ideals that they had. But I am blaming my parents somewhat, because they still do not believe that I feel like a man fifteen years after I started living as one. They still believe that I should be a girl, that they raised me as one, so that’s what I am.  
     
    I honestly don’t know what I would have done. If my wife and I had a baby (which is not possible), and I still had the experience that I did, the experience of being forced to live as the wrong sex, then I definately would NOT subject my child to that kind of horror. I would try my best to raise the child gender-neutrally until the child could decide which sex it was. Which, unfortunately, would pretty much be impossible. 
     
    If I were in the situation of my parents, 28 years ago, I would probably have done the same as them, but only because I wouldn’t know what else to do, because I would be afraid and want what was best for my child, as you said. I do not blame them for that…I blame them for the fact that they have cut off contact with me and still insist that I am a girl. I understand why they did what they did when I was born, but that does not make it right.

  74. Matthew – in order to accept you as their son, they’d also have to accept their guilt about what they did to you. 
     
    They’re unable to do that. That’s an all too human reaction. They don’t realise that they weren’t to blame then, but are now in their rejection of you. 
     
    I’m so sorry. I wish there was something I could do. Just know that you’re not alone, nor the first person this has happened to.

  75. At least you folks are not arguing nature vs. nurture.

  76. But keep this in mind. MarcZ felt like a woman until puberty and then he suddently felt like a man. This is very common for GID kids, in fact I believe it is the norm.  
     
    I remember when I went through puberty, I became all about being a man. It was like a competition with my friends. I would mentally track whose voice was breaking first, who had more body hair, etc… The whole process was exciting. I’m Italian-American and I have a very heavy beard: I think I had a full beard by the time I turned 16–long before my WASP and German-American friends did. I thought I was the shiz-nat because of it. 
     
    I had a friend (my first boyfriend, actually) who also had GID as a kid and puberty for him had the opposite effect. He said when he started getting facial hair and body hair, he felt like something pure had been destroyed. It threw him into a deep, self-destructive depression. I’ve often wondered why it is that I had the response I had to puberty and he had the opposite.  
     
    I also remember there were physical differences between us. His genitals were extremely – even shockingly – small, whereas mine are normal. I wonder if that might correlate with it somehow. Maybe we both missed out on some crucial masculinization event as fetuses (feti?) but then I was, for whatever reason, biologically more primed to respond favorably to the testosterone rush of puberty? Maybe his small genitals were an indication that his insufficient masculinization was more extreme than my own?  
     
    I don’t know, it’s interesting to think about.

  77. This is a very interesting topic and I’m wondering if the knowledgeable among you might have a crack at these questions. 
     
    1. Why do so many transexuals (note, all the so-called “fully functional” escorts, for one) keep their original genitalia in spite of changing all secondary characteristics to a woman? Is it fear of surgery or do they really prefer to keep their penises and testicles? 
     
    2. Why are there apparently a lot of men who like to pay for sex with transexuals and/or view transexual porn. And who are they? Are they gay men with a fetish? Straight men with a fetish? Or something else?

  78. 1. Why do so many transexuals (note, all the so-called “fully functional” escorts, for one) keep their original genitalia in spite of changing all secondary characteristics to a woman? Is it fear of surgery or do they really prefer to keep their penises and testicles? 
     
    Eh, it’s probably mostly about the money they can make from escorting. Surgery isn’t cheap. Anyway if they’re ‘fully functional’, then they also probably aren’t on hormones, so they would have had to get breast implants. If they can deal with having sex with male clients using ‘fully functional’ male genitals, then they’re probably much less dysphoric than most of the trans people I know. I don’t actually know anyone like that, but I’d imagine that some of them are just in it for the money and not really trans, and some of them are doing it to save money for surgery and plan to be on hormones at some point in the future. 
     
    2. Why are there apparently a lot of men who like to pay for sex with transexuals and/or view transexual porn. And who are they? Are they gay men with a fetish? Straight men with a fetish? Or something else? 
     
    I don’t know but I wish they’d go away. I’m really glad I’m a lesbian.

  79. A better question would be, why do so many pay the $16,000 and up for genital reconstruction? 
     
    It’s costly, it has risks, a good result isn’t guaranteed. According to Marci Bowers (a specialist surgeon in Trinidad, Colorado), 60% of her patients never use their new vaginas for sex. 
     
    I’ve tried to ask myself why it was so important to me. I can never get my documentation consistent no matter what I do, so it didn’t solve any legal problems. I didn’t have conventional male genitalia, just a masculinised mess. I wasn’t disgusted by it, just embarrasssed.  
     
    I wasn’t even intensely uncomfortable. I knew I was a woman, and it wasn’t as if I ever intended having any form of love life. Yet I never considered not having the full surgery, rather than an orchiectomy and urinary reconstruction. It wasn’t a logical thing, more of a deep-seated emotional need to look normal for once in my life. 
     
    I may reconsider the “not having a love life” bit, or I may not. The point is, I have a choice now. I can live pretty close to a normal life, without pretence, or having to conceal. 
     
    I can fully understand why some women don’t get surgery. Some can’t have it, or health reasons. Many can’t afford it: they’d rather put the money aside for their children’s education. Some don’t like the risks of a poor, even fatal, result. Some are just afraid of any major surgery. And some, those in the escort industry, realise that being a “chick with a dick” is worth thousands a night, whereas being just another whore is worth a few hundred at most. They tell themselves that the money is being saved for surgery, but often it gets blown on clothes, jewelry, and drugs. All too many don’t get a choice: their pimp will pay for the boob job, but they’re essentially enslaved, not allowed anything else.

  80. Maybe transexuals really are women. Judging from this one thread I have come to the conclusion that they enjoy writing long and meaningless posts about their feelings.

  81. That last comment was supposed to be humerous. Upon reflection I find it slow to the punch line and a little too mean. 
     
    My apologies to the whole GNXP community.

  82. Actually, I found it funny. Thanks for showing such consideration though, that’s appreciated even if the apology was unnecessary. 
     
    It’s funny because it’s true… wait, I didn’t say that! 
     
    But seriously folks… the guys who are TS are often overlooked because they tend to be the “strong, silent type”, not given to emotional outpourings. Many don’t realise they exist.

  83. KingMWhy are there apparently a lot of men who like to pay for sex with transexuals and/or view transexual porn. And who are they? Are they gay men with a fetish? Straight men with a fetish? Or something else?I have never understood Men, and especially not the weird and wonderful variation in Male sexuality. 
     
    You think that someone like me would have some sort of “special insight”, having pretended to be male for decades. But it doesn’t work that way. I can predict pretty accurately what a guy might think under some circumstances. That was a necessary survival skill, imitation. But I have no idea how anyone could feel like that. 
     
    Sometimes I would be with a group of “other” guys, all sympatico and on the same wavelength, then one of them would say something, all would agree, and I’d realise with a shock just how different Men and Women are. What had seemed so familiar and comfortable was suddenly so Alien. 
     
    There’s plenty of evidence that they really do feel that way, that a lot of Machismo isn’t just artificial one-upmanship, who can tell the biggest lies, but I still find it difficult to believe. 
     
    So in answer to your question – I’m clueless, sorry.

  84. Zoe Brain, 
     
    Thanks for the additional thoughts. There are plenty of guys given to endless rounds of self-reflection, as well. 
     
    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the transexual/male sex dynamic. Does a transexual with male genitalia think of herself as a woman, then, when having sex with a man? But presumably, she is capable of using her penis like a man, so doesn’t this imply gay male behavior/thoughts? 
     
    And the man, is he a gay man with a fetish for breasts? A straight man with a fetish for penises? It strikes me as very weird, but then again, I don’t get S&M, golden showers, or group sex, either.

  85. Sometimes I would be with a group of “other” guys, all sympatico and on the same wavelength, then one of them would say something, all would agree, and I’d realise with a shock just how different Men and Women are. What had seemed so familiar and comfortable was suddenly so Alien. 
     
    Only because humans have so little empathy that we rely on other people being virtually identical to us. For crying out loud, men and women share much, much more than they could ever differ on.

  86. KingM Does a transexual with male genitalia think of herself as a woman, then, when having sex with a man? But presumably, she is capable of using her penis like a man, so doesn’t this imply gay male behavior/thoughts? 
    Good, Intelligent and Reasonable Questions. I’ll try to be clinical. There are times for dignity and boundaries, but not in a medical context. I’ll have to answer your questions second-hand, based on others’ experience though.  
     
    You see, and much to my chagrin, I was in the 50% whose sexual orientation changed 6 months after the male glands became inoperative (through natural causes in my case, but still). For most of my life I was asexual to lesbian. In many ways I wish I still was, it’s scary and disconcerting to have something as fundamental to your identity as sexual orientation change. I’m still dealing with that, and Celibacy looks good right now. I don’t actually like guys (no offence), it’s purely physical. 
     
    I’m either old-fashioned enough, or just too plain inhibited, to want casual sex. In the unlikely event I ever find anyone, it will be for the long term, marriage, the full bit. That’s why I think it’s impossible. Very few women my age who are divorced or widowed find Mr Right, and me having such an unusual medical history doesn’t help one little bit. 
     
    I have some G/Fs in a similar situation, you see. The factory model, not TS.  
     
    Getting back to your question, about pre-op sex with a guy… some women – not just TS ones – are into oral. Some are into anal too, that’s something I find distasteful, but I know I’m a prude, conservative, staid etc. A prudish, rather innocent, middle-aged geek girl who’s a virgin at 49, and likely to stay that way too. Probably. 
     
    Most pre-op TS women on Hormones are emphatically not capable of erection, nor do they want to be. It’s something of a relief not to be for them. The idea of penetrating a male sexual partner is about as awful as the idea of a straight male being penetrated by a female partner. Though knowing guys’ sexuality, no doubt some would get a kick out of that. 
     
    I say “most” are not capable, because there are a handful of exceptions. I was one of them. In theory, that was physiologically impossible, the blood tests indicated my testosterone level was in the female range, way below that needed. But I have so many biological oddities, that was just one more. 
     
    One gal I know is Kleinfelter – 47xxy. Biologically female in most ways, hourglass figure, slim, svelte, a Scandinavian Beauty. But with a little extra something that was a bit of an impediment to both her and her fiance. She got that corrected a few weeks ago, and in a few months, they will have a normal life at last. Her fiance is definitely not Gay. Gay guys do not go for gals 38-23-36. 
     
    Now if you’d asked about how so many TS women could have married lives, even had children, while pretending to be male, that’s a better question. With me, having a child took technical help. Erection wasn’t a problem, but I could never manage the “mental gymnastics” needed for orgasm. Most can, though most find it difficult to some degree.  
     
    This is probably TMI – too much information – yet your questions weren’t prurient, just natural curiousity. I’m a Geekette, a Scientist, this stuff is interesting to me too. What’s more, I’m my own experimental subject, there’s no question of an ethical review panel and whether there is truly “informed consent” or not.

  87. The idea of penetrating a male sexual partner is about as awful as the idea of a straight male being penetrated by a female partner. Though knowing guys’ sexuality, no doubt some would get a kick out of that. 
    It’s called ‘pegging’. You should read Dan Savage more often.

  88. In the vein of TS women behaving like some of the worse stereotypes of biological women, I used to work with a TS woman in an AIDS clinic. She was a drama queen, to the point of going to the City Civil Rights Commission (or whatever branch of the government handles such affairs is called) to allege discrimination because someone had put a sign on the women’s restroom that read, “Absolutely no men allowed!” which she felt was directed at her.  
     
    What we tried to explain to her, over and over, was that the sign was put up by a female client in anger over the fact that a lot of drunk and stoned male clients were stumbling inadvertently (one hopes) into the women’s restroom, and the female clients were getting sick of it. (We served a very low-SES population at the organization, the majority of whom were chronic drug users.) She just wouldn’t listen, and if you tried to reason with her, she got overly emotional, cried, called you a bigot, etc… We were even subjected to transgender sensitivity training for three hours, which I went into thinking would be an interesting forum for discussing things but turned into a three hour harangue on the part of the presenters about what terrible people we all were.  
     
    The point of this is, I wonder if there isn’t something uniquely volatile about the male/female combination that you find in a lot of TS and gays. I know a lot of gay men who are aggressively feminine (i.e. flamboyantly gay). For a long time I thought they were just purposely going over the top. But sometimes I wonder if the flamboyance of some gay men isn’t the natural result of a male physiology interacting with a female brain. And if something similar wasn’t going on with our overly emotional TS employee.  
     
    Though it’s possible she was taking bad hormones, or was a nutcase irrespective of the fact that she was TS.

  89. MarcZ – A number of things. 
     
    The experimental results of Gooren et al showed that TS women’s brains were female in the area of the BSTc layer of the hypothalamus (in the brain). We think this area affects perception of self as male or female. 
     
    The same data showed that Gay guys were typically male in that area. If their brains are feminised in any way, we have no evidence of that. 
     
    As regards TS women behaving like really bad stereotypes of femininity, it’s a matter of basic insecurity. We haven’t been socialised as girls, or young women. Many of us feel rather lost, alone, and just want to fit in. This can lead to some pretty dreadful results, especially at first. 
     
    It takes an effort of will just to let go, be yourself, and not go from pretending to be one thing to pretending to be another. This is especially difficult as if you don’t appear feminine enough, you can end up murdered. You have to take a leap of faith. 
     
    We know our chromosomes are male (well, most of us’s are). Those of us who have studied the neurology know that our brains are masculinised in some ways (as are those of most natal women, I might add). This can lead to a basic questioning of one’s self. Am I a woman? Or some kind of in-between ersatz, not the Real Deal? 
     
    In my case, I used to worry about that. Most of my G/Fs are technically illiterate, and here was I, and Engineer, a genuine Rocket Scientist. Was I some kind of phoney, only deluding myself? Then I joined the WITChes – the Women In Technology and Communications. And I was home, for the first time in my entire life, amongst women who thought exactly like I did. It was wonderful. Guys probably won’t understand how important that was, but the Gals will.  
     
    Now for the painful bit. Most of us who have been through Hell for decades get damaged by it.  
     
    Somewhere between 30% and 90% die as the result of this condition, by suicide, violence, or substance abuse. Few of those who survive are unscarred. 
     
    Look at me – I have more sexual hangups than you can poke a stick at. Psychologically Damaged goods, though I’m healing. Realising that you’re damaged doesn’t make it easier, but it’s necessary if you are to heal. 
     
    Now some are like the nutcase you have described. I’ve seen some myself, at the Clinic in Thailand. “Drama Queen” is right, and a fairly hefty dose of paranoia too. Often narcissistic, selfish, considering only themselves.  
     
    Some heal. Some get their paranoia fed by the genuine persecution most of us suffer at some time or another. There’s plenty of newspaper reports available on the net. TS people dying from accidents while the emergency services people laughed at them (Washington DC). Others going to 23 different doctors for cancer surgery, only to be refused treatment at each one (see the documentary “Southern Comfort”). 
     
    The worst things that have happened to me are trivial. I have to travel 200 miles for each 15 minute endocrinologist appointment, as none of the local endos treat “people like me”. I’ve been refused a passport, quite illegally, and will be taking legal action on that one. Minor stuff. Blacks had far worse in the 20′s, or even the 50′s. 
     
    A woman I know had to spend 18 months in a hospital learning how to walk again after being beaten with iron bars in broad daylight on a city street. That is more the kind of thing many of us are afraid of. It happens rarely, but there aren’t that many of us, so the odds are pretty awful. 
     
    Was she paranoid? Yes. But in many places, she would have been exactly right.  
     
    I still think she was a nutter.

  90. MarcZ  
     
    I wish I had a link but I’ve read that most GID boys are more feminine than females of the same age. I’d imagine the same is true of transexuals. If a huge chunk of the brain is male but the gender identity core registers as female the behavior is gonna get interesting.  
     
    I guess it’s like putting a 400 HP engine into a Prius.

  91. LoocIf a huge chunk of the brain is male but the gender identity core registers as female the behavior is gonna get interesting.Couldn’t have put it better myself. 
     
    Even if you’re the person in question, it’s still interesting. Actually, that makes it more interesting. (also embarassing, uncomfortable, hilarious, tragic etc) 
     
    The size of the Masculinised chunk varies. I thought mine was pretty large, that I’m not a particularly female female. Makeup is a chore, I don’t bother unless it’s a special occasion. High heels make me look good, but are instruments of torture. I always was a Tomboy. 
     
    It’s nice to look good sometimes, but my life is too short for much Girly stuff. 
     
    Yet I’ve been told both by people who have only met me after 2005, and those I’ve known for 20 years, that they can’t imagine me as anything other than a woman. That puzzles me. How come I “vibe female” when others who look far better than some frumpy middle-aged academic woman don’t? 
     
    There’s a lot to our recognition of someone as the opposite (or same) sex. Appearance is a huge part, but so is voice, vocabulary, body language, gait, even smell. A lot of that is instinctive, hard-wired. In the brain. Looks like I got the F pattern there, I suppose. But this is all conjecture, we don’t know enough. 
     
    Hence the room for some rather whacky theories.

  92. Zoe Brain 
     
    I guess we’ll have to see what researchers figure out over the next several decades. 
     
    Could be interesting.

  93. The size of the Masculinised chunk varies. I thought mine was pretty large, that I’m not a particularly female female. Makeup is a chore, I don’t bother unless it’s a special occasion. High heels make me look good, but are instruments of torture. 
     
    In Elizabethean England, you wouldn’t have been a very impressive high-status male, either.

  94. I used to feel sorry for them too–that is, until I met some of them. Believe me, I am a tolerant social liberal who has always believed in equal rights for gays, abhorred the genital mutilation of intersexed individuals, etc. But my notions of transmen were smashed when I actually understood the phenomenon up close and personal. The worst sexual harassment I have ever experienced in my life (and there has been more than enough) came from a “trans” boss. It’s not an identity; it’s a fetish of the patriarchal construction of femininity, as well as a fetishization of having sex while being viewed as this patriarchally-defined rape object. It’s a paraphilia. Some people want to have their limbs amputated and be lusted after as an amputee; well, these MTF guys have a related type of paraphilia, wherein they see all women as women qua patriarchal fantasy, and thus as some sort of social amputee. I have never been more degraded, dehumanized, or subjected to leering with accompanying commentary on my body by men than I have been by the “transsexual” men I have known. 
     
    Some of them also have an escape fantasy attached to it, i.e., “I feel like a social failure, especially as a man who isn’t charming or successful at being dominant, but I wouldn’t feel this way if I could be a woman, especially the way guys ooh and aah over those girls spread eagle in Hustler and the morons in Miss Teen USA competitions who still get a cookie even though they fail at life!” Now, of course there are lots of guys struggling with low self-esteem who feel they can’t compete in life, socially or otherwise, but some of these guys get attached to the idea of womanhood as an out, and then reinforce the idea with masturbatory fantasies. 
     
    One of the commenters here even mentioned how badly they want a real womb to experience pregnancy; they see women the way a child might see, and want to emulate, how Native Americans are so often portrayed as “The Noble Savage”–some one-dimensional, offensive, Westernized storybook construct. Seeing them as proud horse-warriors may sound positive, but their fantasy is really about identity essentialism and Otherness, which is not positive-it’s a delusion. Womanhood as magical, womanhood as carnal, womanhood as being a walking cunt, a breathing incubator. They fetishize the construct as both a sexually gratifying paraphilia and as a social escape.

  95. K A – I think my posts speak for themselves. Readers can look at them, look at your assertions, and make up their own minds. 
     
    I confess that yes, I would like to have had the full female reproductive system. To have borne my son, not fathered him.  
     
    I doubt that any man would understand that need. Most women would though, it’s part of the deal. Though of course some women don’t want kids, and I don’t understand them either. Are you one of them? Or perhaps you’re one of the many who can’t have children? 
     
    You know it’s funny. The usual criticism of TS women is that they don’t talk about motherhood, and so must be deluded men. Now according to you if we do, we must be fetishising it. Don’t worry, we’re used to such Catch-22 situations. It only hurts when the shrinks do it. 
     
    Some of us don’t talk about motherhood for the same reason that double amputees rarely talk about running. But most do. Our children are very important to us. 
     
    I confess I’m confused though about your post. Was this person a genetic male (Transwoman) who was an aggressive lesbian? Or a genetic female (Transman) who was just a Cad?  
     
    For that matter you mentioned “the transsexual men you have known”. More than one? More than a dozen? 
     
    If you refer to TS women as “transsexual men” then that says something about them, and you. Were they TS or just Transgendered? 
     
    Pardon me, I did get upset by your post, but now I just want to see where a “tolerant social liberal” like yourself is coming from. My apologies if I come over all inquisitorial.

  96. One more thing that just occured to me. Are you a follower of Janice Raymond by any chance? If not, may I recommend Transsexual Empire : The making of the She-Male. It should be right up your alley. 
     
    Here’s the first review: Would you believe transsexuals are an insidious male plot to undermine the women’s movement? So says Janice Raymond, lesbian, feminist, and alleged scholar–who originally wrote this scathing condemnation of transsexuals in as her doctoral thesis. If her professors were addled enough to accept this 200 plus-page diatribe as scholarship, I consider myself fortunate not to have attended the same university as she. 
     
    To paraphrase a statement I remember from Jean-Paul Satre’s “Anti-Semite and Jew”, all bigotry has a grain of truth to it–and that’s what makes it dangerous. Bigots take a minor fact and blow it out of proportion, and that is precisely what Raymond does throughout her book. She contends, for example, that male-to-female transsexuals symbolically rape women’s bodies by attempting to acquire one for themselves. There is, in fairness to Raymond, a condition which transsexual therapist Anne Lawrence calls “autogynephilia”–people with this condition are aroused by the change itself. But on further examination, this argument falls apart. Post-op transsexuals find themselves as much in danger of ACTUALLY BEING raped as any biological woman–why would transsexuals willingly risk being the victims of real rape merely to degrade women? And what of those who are not aroused by women’s bodies at all, but are attracted to MEN? Raymond, as usual, is blind to these Grand Canyon-size holes in her logic. 
     
    One might wonder what she thinks of female-to-male transsexuals. Simple–they don’t exist. They are, in her view, lesbians in denial, thus exonerating all biological females from the insidious evil of transsexualism. She never asks herself why the numbers of female-to-males are so low. Could it be, perhaps, that a woman can adopt male attire and mannerisms without so much as a raised eyebrow, and therefore disappear into the population? Funny how no one seems to care much when women (including Raymond herself, a butch lesbian in short hair and Birkenstocks) cross gender lines. 
     
    I have to admit something–I quit reading this book about two-thirds of the way through, being so angry I couldn’t stand to look at it again (as you may have guessed, I am a transsexual myself).I think the proverbial “last straw” was her comparison of sex-change surgeons to Nazi death-camp doctors like Josef Mengele. One knows for sure an argument has broken down when the person making the argument compares opponents to Nazis. 
     
    Fair or not, true or not, the book did its job. Johns Hopkins shut down its gender identity program in the early eighties largely because of her “research.” Because of the thinking of people like her, transsexuals are denied jobs, schooling, access to restrooms, homeless shelters, and battered women’s facilities even today in many parts of the country. Some may have died in part because of her. I wonder how she sleeps nights. Here’s another: A perspective that doesn’t kow-tow to mushy good feelings 
    Raymond’s thesis is a very stimulating discussion of the transsexual “solution”. Most of the reviews here obviously have soem investment in supporting a biological approach to what even a majority of physicians see as a psychological issue. While it may be popular, “liberal” and “progressive” to support surgical transgender changes, these “solutions” are far from proven effective. 
     
    Raymond’s book gives a fresh perspective to the issue. Her approach is very feminist and anti-patriarchal. So what? She makes some good points about the issues. Her arguments also have implications that go beyond transsexualism to questions of society’s take on what is appropriate for each gender. 
     
    If you aren’t afraid of discussion, then Raymond’s ideas are interesting to explore. Especially a good book to read along with “As Nature Made Him” by John Colapinto and Christine Jorgenson’s autobiography.Interesting how Radical Fenminist Tolerant Social Liberals and Fundamentalist Paleoconservatives can make common cause, isn’t it?  
     
    Finally, here’s another, that ties it in with the initial post: I am an autogynephilic transsexual, and I think that Janice Raymone doesn’t like people like me. And I understand why. Too often, delusional and aggressive and masculine trannies try to bully their way into women’s networks. I think that the other kind of male-to-female transsexual (“homosexual transsexuals”–see Bailey’s THE MAN WHO WOULD BE QUEEN) would fit in better, but they have no desire to do so.And a quote from the book itself All transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the real female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves …. Transsexuals merely cut off the most obvious means of invading women, so that they seem non-invasive.

  97. Which paleoconservatives are you talking about, Zoe?

  98. Was this person a genetic male (Transwoman) who was an aggressive lesbian? Or a genetic female (Transman) who was just a Cad? 
     
    Neither. He was exactly what I said he was. He had a paraphilia–his orientation was toward women-as-amputeed-humanoid-objects, just as some men have an orientation toward smelly high heels or plush stuffed animals. We are not the noble savage; we are people. They have to stop demeaning women as misogynists and ironically claiming bigotry against those who object when they do. I have no need to suffer abuse, or for them to force me to be subjected to a sexually-charged blackface routine. Women are abused enough in this society, and this is the crack-cocaine of misogyny.

  99. K.A – and in your view as a tolerant social liberal, all Transsexuals are like that? 
     
    How about this one
     
    I think you may be over-generalising from a particularly bad experience with a weirdo. Did you make a formal complaint about the harrassment? 
     
    I do find it slightly bizarre to be subject to the Glass Ceiling now. It’s not something I grew up with, and the contrast is painfully obvious. 
     
    I admit that my professional achievements would have been far more difficult had things turned out the way they should have from birth. I also have an unusually strong maternal instinct, and pregnancy (probably several of them) would have put the kibosh on my career, because our society is still not set up for mothers who are also professionals. 
     
    There have been advantages, career-wise, huge ones. They pale into insignificance compared to the hellishness, and those who transition often get a boost in their abilities. Their psychic energies are no longer devoted 24/7 to keeping up a very uncomfortable act.

  100. I guess what I am trying to wrap my mind around is the fact that transexuality is such a significant issue that it has generated 100 comments here, more than most other postings in gnxp. I am not a transexual and I don’t know any personally either. Given that, I do not see why this should be so concerned with this issue as to insist that transexuals should not be allowed to be what they choose to be. In other words, if something does not affect you personally, what is it of your business that someone else wants to be something you think is strange and unusual. 
     
    I simply do not understand why this is an issue worth generating 100 or more comments. perhaps you can enlighten me.

  101. Kurt9, You don’t see how the posters on Gene Expression might be interested in a subject that touches on genetics, identity, and human sexuality?

  102. Also, there are people like Zoe and Matthew for whom this is an important issue. A lot of the other comments were people responding to them. 
     
    Also, I take it from Zoe’s silence that paleos are in the clear. Coming soon to an internet near you: the TransPaleo alliance!

  103. Kurt9 
     
    Threads related to sexual dysfunction usually bloat up with comments. 
     
    Threads on incontenence… not so much

  104. Sorry, I’ve had connection problems. 
    As regards Paleocons – try looking at Free Republic. Especially comments 8,9,12,15,16,18,19 and 21. Removed not because of what I said, but because if who I am. Also, I was too pursuasive that TS has nothing to do with homosexuality (pace Bailey, Blanchard et al) but was a form of Intersex condition. They couldn’t argue, so I was vapourised (in the Orwellian sense). 
    Then there’s Americans For Truth. It’s difficult to reconcile Also ask your senators to vote against the S. 1105, the so-called ?Hate Crimes? bill, which passed the House and is expected for a vote in the Senate soon. This ?thought crimes? bill will make it easier for homosexual- and transgender activists ? working hand-in-hand with liberal prosecutors ? to harass conservative businessmen and Christian/pro-family advocates by falsely claiming themselves as victims of ?hate.?with the wording of the bill, which reads in part: IN GENERAL- At the request of State, local, or Tribal law enforcement agency, the Attorney General may provide technical, forensic, prosecutorial, or any other form of assistance in the criminal investigation or prosecution of any crime that– 
     
    (A) constitutes a crime of violence; 
     
    (B) constitutes a felony under the State, local, or Tribal laws; and 
     
    (C) is motivated by prejudice based on the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability of the victim, or is a violation of the State, local, or Tribal hate crime laws.Crimes of Violence only. It’s still pefectly legal to call for transsexuals to be exterminated, or quarantined in Madagascar. From SayAnythingPlease tell me why I should read anything pertaining to your ambiguous,Androgynous unfortunate calamity? Really If I had my way I would exterminate all of you 
    .. 
    I refuse to sugar coat every word for the politically correct crowd. I?m not running for any type of office here, I just love how all of you are trying to divert these people?s sickness for sympathy and diagnoses. 
     
    The bottom line is these people should be quarantined. Maybe you want them as your role model, but I sure as hell don?t. Your probably the same deranged people who are pro-choice. 
     
    You wanna know what?s wrong with America? People like you. 
    … 
    The point I?m trying to make here is, or though it is unfortunate that these types of people were born with there condition, for a healthy society to exist they must be segregated, along with the queers and etc. 
     
    These liberal concepts are poisoning healthy young minds. Take the Aids epidemic for instance, Anyone with a half of brain would have to agree that they should all be quarantined. And if they refuse or escape and begin to mingle with healthy people they should be given the death penalty. 
     
    What kind of polluted brains do you people have? how un-healthy is your thinking here? Your willing to risk one hundred lives to save a life that is dead already. 
    … 
    I stand by what I said in the name of every healthy civilization. What I prescribe is a cheap and effective solution to deal with the dangers of the lifestyle that these people display. 
     
    If any of you suggest that we ought to ship them to some island giving them the opportunity to live or die by there own hands, then I will agree to this so long as we wash our hands of them once they get dropped off there. 
     
    If you feel the need to send gifts there fine, but don?t tell me I or anyone should be required to do the same. 
     
    To insist that these types of people should be treated equally is erroneous. And to allow them to be amongst young healthy impressionable children is a sin. 
     
    You may not like what I have to say, but it is the truth. You people who support these people are underminingly destroying a healthy moral society.  
    And so on and so forth. 
     
    We’re used to such mendacity as that of the “Americans For Truth”, from both the Far Left and the Far Right. Neither ever let facts get in the way of philosophical positions they have a deep emotional commitment to.

  105. Compare and contrast the above with I contend that the problem of transsexualism would be best served by morally mandating it out of existence. That’s from Janice Raymond’s book “The Transsexual Empire”. 
     
    We’re used to this. But that doesn’t mean we won’t attempt to counter it, usually just by exposing it to publicity – as here.

  106. Michael, 
     
    I agree with you that a blog for people into genetics, socio-biology, and human biodiversity would have people quite fascinated by the issue of transexuality. However, much of the discussion here is not so much on the physiological basis of transexuality than the disapproval that some people here have had about people undergoing the “transformation” process. 
     
    For what I know about the subject is that transgenders lie on a spectrum, with crossdressers at one end and full-blown, post operative transexuals at the other. I think Bailey is likely to be correct for those lying towards the CD end of the spectrum, but is likely wrong about those lying towards the other end.  
     
    I have heard that real transexuals (the ones lying at the post-op end of the spectrum) have a mean IQ of 130. Is this true? If so, this is highly suggestive of a real neurological basis of transexuality that exists independent of one’s erotic fascination with being a woman. 
     
    Being a hard-core materialist/libertarian whachumaycallit, I believe very strongly that “morality” is simply a form of “contract law” between competant individuals and that morality is entirly contractual in nature and I think everyone else here thinks this way as well. In which case, the “moral” arguments against the transexual “transformative process” ought to carry no weight here (unless you assume that people claiming to be transexuals are mentally ill such that they cannot be considered competent individuals, which noone here seems to be claiming). 
     
    This was the basis of my rant.

  107. Kurt9 : For what I know about the subject is that transgenders lie on a spectrum, with crossdressers at one end and full-blown, post operative transexuals at the other. I think Bailey is likely to be correct for those lying towards the CD end of the spectrum, but is likely wrong about those lying towards the other end.  
    I agree. I consider the evidence for a “neurological” or “brain-sex” theory to be overwhelming. Back in 2003, the Full Bench of the Family Court of Australia found it to be at least true in the balance of probabilities: 
    At paragraph [252]: ?The traditional analysis that they are “psychologically” transsexual does not explain how this state came about. For example, there seems to be no suggestion in the evidence that their psychological state can be explained by reference to circumstances of their upbringing. In that sense, the brain sex theory does not seem to be competing with other explanations, but rather is providing a possible explanation of what is otherwise inexplicable?. 
    … 
    At paragraph [265]: ?In my view the argument in favour of the ?brain sex” view is also based on evidence about the development and experience of transsexuals and others with atypical sex-related characteristics. There is a vast literature on this, some of which is in evidence, and I can do no more than mention briefly some of the main points?. 
    … 
    At paragraph [270]: ?But I am satisfied that the evidence now is inconsistent with the distinction formerly drawn between biological factors, meaning genitals, chromosomes and gonads, and merely “psychological factors”, and on this basis distinguishing between cases of inter-sex (incongruities among biological factors) and transsexualism (incongruities between biology and psychology)?. 
     
    At paragraph [272]: ?In my view the evidence demonstrates (at least on the balance of probabilities) that the characteristics of transsexuals are as much ?biological? as those of people thought of as inter-sex?.Now if the cause is or mostly is biological, then a spectrum of behaviour would be guaranteed, depending on what parts of the CNS were affected, and to what degree. 
     
    It’s complicated by the fact that our minds are shaped by 3 factors, and I’ll have to use a Computer analogy there as it’s quite accurate. 
     
    First, there’s the hardware. This can only be changed by surgery, physical trauma etc. Changing a motherboard with a hammer can be done, but it’s unlikely to be functional afterwards. This corresponds to gross physical structures in the brain, and the cellular characteristics, what receptors there are available for different hormones and neurotransmitters. Males and Females differ even at the cellular level. 
     
    Then there’s the Firmware, which can be reprogrammed, but usually is not, except at Puberty and Pregnancy. PTSD or long-term stress can cause physical changes in the brain, these can be measured by MRI. Hormones also can change the neurology. It’s not just possible, but inevitable that a mainly F type brain bathed in M type hormones will prevent typical F type function. 
     
    Finally, the Software, societal conditioning and education. This is very mutable, though is constrained by the limitations of the hardware and firmware. 
     
    Then, to make matters worse, the software is self-modifying. We learn as we go through life, and our ideas and opinions change as we learn. 
     
    A Biological cause is sufficient, and sometimes necessary, to explain a variety of human behaviours. Masculine women, Feminine Men, Bisexuals, Homosexuals, Heterosexuals, Transsexuals, Crossdressers, Transvestites, Autogynophiles, the works. 
     
    If repeated attempts to re-program the system, using “reparative” therapy don’t work consistently, then the problem isn’t in the software. If “aversion” therapy, a form of torture, and hormone treatments don’t work, then the firmware is not the only problem too. 
     
    Psychic surgery, lobotomies and leucotomies, don’t affect the area that’s in question, the hypothalamus. Neither does ECT, “shock treatment”. All have been tried, but the lack of any benefit, and the unfortunate side-effects have lead them to be discontinued as therapeutic options.  
     
    When I was young, at a time when I really should have transitioned, involuntary lobotomy was quite commonplace as a treatment here in Australia. ECT was universal, at doses that would never be considered now. It never worked, so they kept on cutting out more, or increasing voltages. As I said, some of the results were most unfortunate. 
     
    So I hid. Death I could face, but not that.

  108. Reading what I just wrote, it all seems so terribly Dramatic. It’s not. There’s no torch-bearing pitchfork-wielding peasants at my door. Life is pretty good, with no effect of my unusual medical situation in my daily life. 
     
    OK, I’ve still not got an Australian Passport. Well whoop-de-do. People like me get fired from their jobs, beaten up, denied access to our children, but we don’t get carted off to Vernichtingslagern or lynched from the nearest tree. Ok, the latter happens, but it’s really rare, and happens to Gays too. 
     
    We have to retain a sense of perspective. Yes, we’re treated as 4th class citizens, but although there are calls for our extermination, there’s far more voices shouting those calls down. It’s too easy when faced with discrimination to be a “Drama Queen”. Listen to Michael Savage on the subject, and you can see the temptation. 
     
    When talking about a murder victim (as I said, it’s rare but it happens) who was a post-op – like me – this is what he said.(quoting an article)it appeared the victim had been in the process of becoming a woman…”Yeah, process of becoming a woman — psychopath… should have been in a back ward in a straitjacket for years, howling on major medication. 
    … 
    “You’re never gonna make me respect the freak. I don’t want to respect the freak. The freak ought to be glad that they’re allowed to walk around without begging for something.”Michael Savage has 8 million loyal listeners. That’s a worry. But there are over 200 million adults who don’t listen to him, so we shouldn’t exagerate.

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