November 3, 2010

Transgender Man Is On Women's Basketball Team, Sort Of

kye-allums-transgendered.jpg
ceci n'est pas une personne transgenderee

From the NYT:

But Monday was anything but ordinary because it was the day the world would learn about the decision Allums had embarked on one year earlier: to come out as a transgender man playing on a women's basketball team.

Advocates for transgender athletes said they believed Allums was the first Division I college basketball player to compete publicly as a transgender person... a George Washington official said Allums would remain on the women's basketball team.

Got it? Transgender man on women's basketball team.

"I didn't choose to be born in this body and feel the way I do. I decided to transition ... I am trying to help myself and others to be who they are."


II.

In case you miss the nuance, here's the title: "Transgender Man Is on Women's Team."  So in a progressive society, what are we to do with this?  Should a transgender man be on a man's team, or a women's team?

But the more urgent question is, who decides what words mean? 


III.

I defy you to read that article and figure out what the hell is going on.  I know I'm not the only one confused, as evidenced by the comments on The Huffington Post, which I read when I have to go to the dentist.

And here is the first paragraph of Salon:

A transgender female-to-male basketball player at George Washington University is about to put the NCAA to the test. Kye Allums has been on the school's women's basketball team since 2008, but when the season starts later this month, the 20-year-old is premiering as a man. It will be the first time an openly transgender player has played Division 1 basketball
It is almost perfectly clear that what is happening is a woman who is now "premiering as a man" is on the women's basketball team.  That this will still not generate any interest in women's basketball is besides the point.

The point is that what's actually happening is very different than the report.  Let me summarize: nothing.  A person born as a female is playing women's basketball.  Also, she is still a female.  She's never had surgery, never taken hormones, has no genetic ambiguity.  At autopsy even the most radical activist is going to mark "F."

However, she prefers to identify herself as a he.  That's it. 

There is no controversy here, at all.  It's just names.  "From now on, I want you to refer to me as 'The Situation.'"  Whatever. 

This is a regular old female who is playing on the correct team (women's) and wants other people to call her what she thinks she is.  But there are plenty of idiots who are applauding the college for... letting her play.  As a woman. On the woman's basketball team.

IV.

Note that I have referred to her as "she," while she prefers to be called "he."  The team has decided to call her "he" as well.

The real issue-- and why it's in the NYT and why you should care very much-- is who decides what words mean.  I'll admit that how I define "he" is based on one set of principles, and how she defines it is based on another, and we differ on how those words should be used. 

He is looking forward to Nov. 13, when Allums and the team will compete at the Best Buy Classic in Minneapolis. The game will be his public debut as a transgender man playing on a women's team

But the NYT is setting itself up as the arbiter, it is deciding for both of us what will be true.  It's not taking up a scientific analysis of the question, it isn't even delving into the massive volume of mostly unreadable articles about gender issues.  It is simply deciding.

It doesn't announce what it's done, it pretends it is already established to think like this.  "We're writing it this way because of course everyone knows..."    Are you telling me that one of the most prestigious papers in the world did not know that the article it was writing was misleading?  Confusing?  It did it on purpose.  And so did the AP.  And every other media outlet that "reported" the "story."  There's no story!  Nothing happened!

But it has placed you-- the 100% of the world that thought they already knew what words meant-- on the defensive.  "Oh, have I been doing this wrong all this time?"

They didn't do it because they care about the transgendered, they did it because they want to make it ordinary that the media decides what words mean.

That's the reason for the report, that's the reason the story is everywhere.

V.

Speaking of The Situation, you may have heard that on the show Jersey Shore, Mike "The Situation" may have made out with.... a "trannie."  

The "cast" is repeatedly heard saying, "if you have to think about it... it's a trannie."  Point is, The Situation wasn't sure it was a "trannie," but it was.

Or was it?  GLAD got upset, and MTV apologized.  I'm not sure what term they would have preferred, but I am sure of the purpose of the complaint-- and no, it had nothing to do with the "offensive nature" of the word "trannie."

What's obvious once I say it is that the "trannie" deliberately fooled Mike.  He tricked him into thinking he was a woman.  I'll state the obvious: if a man tricked a lesbian and blah blah blah.

There's no outrage at all that the "trannie" fooled Mike, and, according to GLAD, you're not even allowed to laugh about it.  Partly its because the outrage has been usurped by GLAD, Cognitive Kill Switch style, and putting everyone on the defensive. 

But that was the plan: obliterate a word ("trannie") that is derogatory but that has an actual definition. And that definition is: a man pretending to be a woman.   Get rid of that word, and whatever word you use to replace it won't have that definition, it will be its own thing.  So it couldn't have fooled Mike, it is what it is.  It's the legitimization of a 3rd sex.  Something that "is" what it says it is-- "a transgendered individual"-- can't ever be accused of pretending to be a woman.

And if that made no sense to you, thank God.

VI. 

You can go back to the distraction of gender politics and semantics, go ahead and be hypnotized into thinking you must take a side, like the NCAA had to do ("planning a review of its policies.")  Go ahead and believe your President is a socialist, or your former President s a racist, Kanye West has inside information.  The game is over for me, I have enough rum to wait out the rest of my life.  But the rest of you, especially the rest of you under 30, wake up.  The day is approaching where the media will redefine what is right or meaningful, redefine you as meaningless.

And you'll believe it.

---

http://twitter.com/thelastpsych










Comments

I feel like I'm just waitin... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 11:43 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I feel like I'm just waiting for Pastabagel to slip up and mention something about rum and then I'll be like Costanza with the Twix: A-HA!

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The point is that what's... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 12:00 PM | Posted by Reader: | Reply

The point is that what's actually happening is very different than the report. Let me summarize: nothing.

Thank you, whoever-wrote-this-entry, for pointing out the obvious logic: XXs play on women's teams and XYs play on men's teams.

But the rest of you, especially the rest of you under 30, wake up. The day is approaching where the media will redefine what is right or meaningful, redefine you as meaningless.

Too late on the under 30 crowd.

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I'm not sure if you give a ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 12:19 PM | Posted by DCF: | Reply

I'm not sure if you give a shit, but these past few posts have been awesome.

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What pops out to me is that... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 12:26 PM | Posted by Vi: | Reply

What pops out to me is that by saying "I am a man" in a woman's body, you are defining male/femaleness as something other than the body; it's saying we are fundamentally different in some mental/emotional way. How true that is, I don't know, but I thought it was politically correct to assume that men and women were basically the same thing, aside from their bodies.

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I'm a little surprised at t... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted by DEstlund: | Reply

I'm a little surprised at this post. So you would not allow a transitioning transgendered person to use the pronouns of the gender they identify as until after surgery? After hormone treatments? When is their identity valid for you? Or are you just callously using transgendered people as a hook to make your political point about media narratives?

As for "political correctness," anyone who feels the need to use the phrase is falling short of understanding what is "correct." Gender is a norm, a role, a performance, and a prominent part of identity. To pretend otherwise is not politically correct; it's tone-deaf and childish. "Why won't XXs and XYs just look and act like they're supposed to," is not a valid question.

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"As for 'political correctn... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 12:51 PM | Posted, in reply to DEstlund's comment, by Vi: | Reply

"As for 'political correctness,' anyone who feels the need to use the phrase is falling short of understanding what is 'correct.' "

Yes, you misunderstand me. I thought it was only newspapers who care about political correctness, which is what makes the whole thing kind of funny to me. Perhaps I am wrong.

What I do know is that not everyone thinks their gender is in any way relevant to their identity.

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DEstlund, let's not confuse... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 12:53 PM | Posted, in reply to DEstlund's comment, by Ben: | Reply

DEstlund, let's not confuse facts and narrative. The facts of the matter are clear and undisputed, it's the narrative that's tricky.

"Why won't XXs and XYs just look and act like they're supposed to?" is a valid question. That it's also trying to discipline everyone else is also a valid objection. Objecting by claiming that it's invalid is equally an attempt to discipline and, arguably (i.e. obviously) hypocritical. That gendering is a normative practice is banal, but using this critique to debase tacitly (i.e. without substantive argument) an alternative is insidious.

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You're waiting out the rest... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 12:59 PM | Posted by Lise: | Reply

You're waiting out the rest of your life pickled in rum? That's exactly what the media wants you to do.

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@vi, not everyone is of tha... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 1:22 PM | Posted by Destlund: | Reply

@vi, not everyone is of that opinion, but they're wrong. Sex and gender constructs that only start with gender norms (including sexism, patriarchy and rape culture) are totally pervasive in our society. It's impossible to avoid, which is why we must interrogate. It's why "political correctness" is a sham--it doesn't actually enlighten anyone; it just gives a false veneer of civility to the discussion.

@Ben, But the alternative is to refuse to cooperate with him, to mock and deride this person for being transgender. I would prefer to live in a world where we use ungendered pronouns, but we don't. What's insidious is the gender-policing that you and this post are advocating.

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Have you actually read the ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 2:06 PM | Posted, in reply to DEstlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Have you actually read the post?

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The bigger story is that "h... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 2:11 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The bigger story is that "he" is white.

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Alone has his own definitio... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 2:27 PM | Posted by Jesse: | Reply

Alone has his own definition of what a "he" is. Allums has another. But Alone's problem is that the media has decided that Allums' is correct: A person is the sole arbiter of their sexuality.

Okay, second part first: Who cares?

First part: Really? This is up for debate? If you think sexuality is solely determined by the results of your autopsy, then you clearly are just phoning it in on this topic. But your fierce desire to believe nature is binary is putting you on the wrong side of history, my friend.

The René Margritte reference is cute, though. But I don't think you get it.

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Who said anything about "al... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 2:40 PM | Posted, in reply to DEstlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Who said anything about "allowing" anything or "validating" anyone's identity? That is a sick, hysterical interpretation of this blog. The constant invented and self-inflicted victimization of the left is a debilitating and sickening disease.

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Well, Alone, you strike me ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 2:42 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Well, Alone, you strike me as the kind of guy who would rail against the media depicting homosexuality as something other than a psychiatric disorder back in 1972. And 1974.

The day is approaching where the media will redefine what is right or meaningful, redefine you as meaningless. And you'll believe it.

No, I don't think so. Media is becoming more decentralized than it's been in the last quarter century or so. I'd worry about the dumbing down of education (Texas school board style) more than the media. It'll produce more ignorant people who believe global warming is a myth and intelligent design is ... well, intelligent. Finally, we have the few, the proud, the punditocracy- rare people like you to tell us what to believe.

I think Lise was exactly right ... you continue to drink your rum, continue to purchase a broad spectrum of media (this blog being a testimonial to mass consumption)- in short, you are the ideal media customer.

Something to ponder: it doesn't matter what you believe, Alone. Just that you consume.

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Of course I did. I just hav... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 2:47 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Destlund: | Reply

Of course I did. I just have a problem with using trans people as an example of the media constructing our narratives, because gender is fundamentally a constructed narrative (and we as individuals are limited in our ability to actually do the construction). This trans man is transitioning from female to male because it is what he understands his identity to be. That the media (and hopefully, that we) are understanding and accepting this is a poor example of the sort of outright manipulation we are being told to expect. I agree with the final point, but it's neither supported nor invalidated by the rest of the piece.

I had kind of hoped to be enlightened on the APA's upcoming move from "gender identity disorder" to "gender incongruence" in the DSM-V, but it seems our humble narrator is more inclined to dismiss both.

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Can Shaq play in the WNBA i... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 3:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Destlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Can Shaq play in the WNBA if he "decides" he is a woman?

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Good of you to go ahead and... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:00 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by destlund: | Reply

Good of you to go ahead and put "decides" in scare quotes, because who up and "decides" that they cannot live as their birth-assigned gender? I'm not transgender, but I am gay, and to me that's right up there with the idea that I "decided" not to be straight one day. I've been through hell because I was a gay kid growing up in the South, and trans men and women go through far worse. Who would decide to do that?

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"...gender is fundamentally... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Destlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"...gender is fundamentally a constructed narrative (and we as individuals are limited in our ability to actually do the construction)."

The first part of this is a good point. Since so much of gender roles are constructed by society anyway, the media has that much more freedom in telling us who we are (so therefore we should let them define us and powerlessly follow their instructions on who we are, because that is what we understand ourselves to be? Or will you argue that no, we can be whoever we want to be, as long as we choose either their "man" or their "woman"? I know it's not what you meant with the rest of your post, but that kind of insidious adoption of definitions is exactly what TLP was warning about).

If you want the DSM-V to define genders for you, that's cool too!

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Alone:Long time read... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:18 PM | Posted by Ryanonymous: | Reply

Alone:
Long time reader, first time commenter. I really enjoy your blog. I think you would find this article interesting.

http://pitchfork.com/news/40587-george-w-bush-responds-to-kanye-west/

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christian's?... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:24 PM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

christian's?

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wtf?... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

wtf?

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Thank you DEstlund! You ro... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:31 PM | Posted, in reply to DEstlund's comment, by RC: | Reply

Thank you DEstlund! You rock!

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Re: "What I do know is that... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Vi's comment, by RC: | Reply

Re: "What I do know is that not everyone thinks their gender is in any way relevant to their identity."

Most people who have never had the experience of feeling trapped in the "wrong" body are inclined to agree that gender is not relevant to their identity. That doesn't mean it's not true - that gender is irrelevant when it comes to identity - it just means they are unaware.

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No, I argue that the truth ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by destlund: | Reply

No, I argue that the truth is somewhere in between. We are participants in the construction and performance of gender. All of us. To the extent that it's manufactured by media, it's also generated by us through our complicity--this is nothing new. Once the razor blade companies convinced women they needed to shave their armpits, women convinced themselves to go ahead and shave their legs too. The DSM is generated by a process involving humans trying to achieve a consensus. The media is generated by a process involving humans trying to achieve a profit. It's manipulating us, but we're generating it. It's not some alien other, except in its blind lust for growth and profit at any expense. Are you (is Alone) arguing otherwise?

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I suspect that I disagree w... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Ben's comment, by RC: | Reply

I suspect that I disagree with you, but I can't argue with you because your comment is so confusing. Would you care to give us the Cliff's Notes version of your argument?

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Genetics don't matter, what... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:50 PM | Posted, in reply to Reader's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Genetics don't matter, what matters is hormones. As long as he or she remains having testosterone relatively close to the female range, he or she should then compete against other women. There are XX women with extremely high testosterone who for all practical purposes are men, and there are XY "males" with no androgen receptors who for all practical purposes are women. All that matters is hormones.

This has happened before in sports, womens sports anyway, where an athlete had a genetic condition which made her quasi male, giving her an unfair advantage. It would be no different, and arguably much more deceptive, if a "transsexual man" begins hormone replacement while still competing against women. Testosterone is a major reason men have a big physical advantage over women, if a woman takes male level testosterone, she turns into a he and enjoys similar advantage.

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I think Alone's argument is... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by RC: | Reply

I think Alone's argument is more focused on the decision-making process and not the decision itself. Sixty years ago the media (not the mention the medical and psychological establishment) told us that gender nonconforming people were ill. Now they're normalizing it. If they got it wrong a mere sixty years ago, why should we trust that they got it right now? Why should we let them hijack the decision-making process?

Also, you asked, who cares? Usually, non-religious people who have never felt trapped in the "wrong" body care. But quite a bit of people do care. From the few transgendered people I've known, there's a reoccurring motif: the individual felt that gender reassignment and suicide were the only options available.

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Reading through the comment... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 4:56 PM | Posted by Aron: | Reply

Reading through the comments above I feel like I might have missed something in Alone's writeup. I read this entry as the New York Times et. al. making noise about Allums's gender when only Allums's sex had any bearing on her eligibility to play basketball.
Alone referring to Allums as female is a genetic classification, while talking heads use male or equivocate to put hooks in your mind. Unless I did miss something, the gender issues above seem more like a few people running to their pet topics.

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The word "sex" is used to d... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:08 PM | Posted, in reply to Aron's comment, by RC: | Reply

The word "sex" is used to describe a biological sate. Sex chromosomes, conspicuous organ systems, and hormones are what determine your sex, be it male, female, or inter-sexed.

The word "gender" is used to describe a psychological (sociological??) identity that is a zillion times more complicated.

I hope this helps you see why "sex" is a bit more clear-cut, but "gender" is confusing and, at times, controversial.

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1) No one except perhaps ra... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Vi's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

1) No one except perhaps radical social engineers with no interest in scientific reality argue that men and women are exactly the same.

It's widely recognized men are better at some things and women are better at other things, although exceptions exist (a woman who is 6 ft tall may be better at basketball than a man who is 5'7).

There are brain sex differences and again this is not radical news. Men are better at spatial reasoning, few argue this. The male brain is argued to be more "specialized" and lends itself to focusing on narrow subjects (which may contribute to the male/female autism divide as a major feature of autism is deficits in focus with an inability to shift attention, intense rigid fixed interests on a very narrow very specialized subject). This may explain the fact men excel in engineering and sciences where this type of brain is required... intense focus and interest on a narrow and highly specialized, fragmented concepts clearly would benefit a scientist and fuel scientific research; an advantage in special reasoning would benefit an engineer.

Women are better at processing multiple tasks at once and being attentive to multiple simultaneously occurring information (this may reflect women's evolution as caregivers and may explain why "womens jobs" typically orient this way toward attending multiple tasks at once...waitresses, secretaries, teachers and nurses are often doing multiple things at once, as if the high number of female employees in these fields shaped the work environment to capitalize on their skills)

Anyway, no one REALLY thinks men and women are exactly the same, and this is absolutely incorrect from a scientific perspective because prenatal and postnatal hormone exposure clearly defines the brain toward maleness or femaleness - proclivity toward interests, behaviors, skills and deficits.

What is generally believed is that men and women are equal in the sense that they deserve equal rights and equal opportunities. Meaning you should not pay someone less just because she is a woman even if she is doing the same job as a man... you should not deny someone the right to make their own decisions and to contribute to society in elections just because she is a woman.


2) Regarding your thinly veiled phobia of queer people... yes, gender and sexuality definitely is more than your body. It is in your brain.

If you woke up tomorrow in a woman's body, how would you feel about it? Avoiding the smutty reply I anticipate you will respond with, seriously I want you to contemplate what life might be like if you were born in a female body and had to live your life being treated like a girl. Now I want you to contemplate the prospect this happens to people sometimes... their brain is masculine (or feminine) but the body is the opposite.

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But a third in-betweeny gen... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:20 PM | Posted by spriteless: | Reply

But a third in-betweeny gender would be hot! The media is saturated with hyper-males and hyper-females, I could use an ambiguous scrawny third option for eyecandy! I vote we add more genders, with my clicks and ad-views!

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@Destlund: You're missing t... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:23 PM | Posted, in reply to DEstlund's comment, by Ryanonymous: | Reply

@Destlund: You're missing the thrust of this post, but I'll bite.

Biological gender in humans is binary, with the exception of rare mutations. You're correct when you state that gender is ALSO a social costruct. Gender is a biological trait, upon which we have constructed social roles.

No one has a problem with this person
1. Dressing as a man
2. Talking like a man
3. Acting like a man
4. Wearing a strapon and pretending to be a man during sex
5. Taking male hormones
6. Having surgery to switch out her genitals (although I have read that FtM surgery is much less advanced than MtF)

No one is saying the person in question chose to be transgendered, or trying to dehumanize her for identifying as man. The only issue that was raised is that the NY Times chose to call this person a man without even discussing the word choice.

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Can Shaq play in the WNB... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:34 PM | Posted by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

Can Shaq play in the WNBA if he "decides" he is a woman?

Not only can Shaq play in the WNBA, but Shaq can bench 4,000 pounds simply if he and the Times tell us he can. His narrative is reality.


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I'm not missing the thrust ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Ryanonymous's comment, by destlund: | Reply

I'm not missing the thrust of the post; I'm arguing that transgendered people are a bad example of what the author is trying to portray. You say you don't have a problem with steps 1-6, but implied is the assumption that whether we accept this person's gender expression and use appropriate gendered language is up for discussion. The NY Times [correctly, IMHO] assumes that it is not: Kye Allums understands and identifies himself as male, should be addressed as male, and will at some point will take steps toward being easily identified by others as male.

The fact that he is postponing these steps in order to continue to play on a women's basketball team is what makes the story interesting, not that the NY Times refers to him according to his gender expression. The fact that this discussion attempts to put which gendered pronouns are used back in play in an attempt to illuminate the broader narrative-shaping going on in society is at best a faux-pas.

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Acting, dressing, thinking,... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Ryanonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Acting, dressing, thinking, and behaving masculine, combined with taking testosterone, are all perfectly acceptable actions for a women. It doesn't maker her a man though. Sorry.

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I'm not transgender, but... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:46 PM | Posted by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

I'm not transgender, but I am gay, and to me that's right up there with the idea that I "decided" not to be straight one day.

You're behavior is who you are. Your behavior is also what you have the most control over (from a psychological standpoint.) Therefore, you choose your identity every time you engage in a behavior.

You are not your emotions, or thoughts. They just occur and offer possibilities. But you choose which of those possibilities to strive for.

Example:
Some dude cut me off on the road the other day in a rather egregious manner. I had the desire to run him right off the road. I did not, hence I am not a killer.

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@anonymous 5:39:Righ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 5:57 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

@anonymous 5:39:
Right. That's what I said.

@destlund:
That is certainly not implied. OF COURSE what she chooses to do with her body is her choice. However, the appropriate use of gender-based language IS up for discussion. Calling her a man is not correct use of language any more than calling me a bodybuilder would be correct language. EVEN IF I had bought a bunch of size-XL muscle shirts. EVEN IF I had "come out" and stated my intent to begin
1. taking male hormones (anabolic steroids)
2. eating 4000 calories per day
3. follow a bodybuilding exercise regimen

EVEN IF I told everyone that I wasn't comfortable in my 150 pound body, and felt that I "really am" an intimidating bodybuilder. They're only words. Of course I have the human right to do all of the above, but until I'm at least engaged in some kind of bodybuilding regimen, anyone who calls me a bodybuilder is indulging a fantasy.

The author is not using "transgendered people" as an example- he(?) is using an article from the NYTimes which talks about a transgendered person. Again, NO ONE is stepping on this person's freedom to behave as she wants, or occupy any social role that she wants.

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I don't think that's quite ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:00 PM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by destlund: | Reply

I don't think that's quite right. I've had sex with women. Horrible, forced, awkward sex, and I was still queer as a three dollar bill while I was doing it, because I had to fantasize about men the whole time. The moment I discovered sexual attraction, it was and only ever has been toward men. If I had never acted on it (or if no one had ever seen me do so or if no one knew I indulged in the fantasies), then by your definition, I'd be straight.

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But you choose whi... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:01 PM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by David: | Reply

But you choose which of those possibilities to strive for.
Are you striving to become heterosexual or a gay? How's your striving going? Are you less heterosexual when you haven't had sex in 6 months? And what happens if you stop striving? Revert back to ... ?
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I'm coming out to my friend... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:02 PM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I'm coming out to my friends as a 6' tall Mark Wahlberg lookalike. Anyone who fails to indulge my fantasy will be labelled intolerant.

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(1) I'm glad you didn't kil... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:03 PM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by RC: | Reply

(1) I'm glad you didn't kill that dude!

(2) Being gay is not a good example of what you're trying to illustrate. I think that what you're alluding to is the fact that a person isn't good or bad because of their thoughts, they are good or bad because of their actions.

Sexual orientation is something different altogether, because the very definition of a homosexual is somebody who is attracted to the same sex, not necessarily somebody who acts on those impulses. That is, a gay man can get married and never have sex with a man, but he's still gay.

By contrast, a "good" person can't kill an innocent human being and still be a good person.

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"Again, NO ONE is stepping ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:06 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by destlund: | Reply

"Again, NO ONE is stepping on this person's freedom to behave as she wants, or occupy any social role that she wants."

But you did. Just there. Just now. And have been throughout. This blog post and half of the comments want to raise a debate about whether this person can occupy the social role of his non-birth-assigned sex/gender. You're just reframing it to say that he can pretend to occupy a different social role, but we shouldn't be expected to acknowledge that. The argument is that the NY Times should raise that very debate, and that their assumption that we have moved past that point socially is a sign of Very Bad Things to come.

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Exactly. You ARE gay. You d... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:09 PM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Exactly. You ARE gay. You didn't choose it, and you can't change it. But imagine a future world where you can have surgery to change your sexual orientation! Transitioning is a long, difficult process, but for whatever reason, you feel that you're actually a heterosexual man stuck in a homosexual body/brain.
You tell everyone the embarassing truth- even though you were born gay, you've never felt entirely comfortable with it, and you want to transition.
Should your friends start calling you straight?
Your mom?
Your teachers?

The NY Times?

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No, I'm not. Of course she ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:18 PM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by Ryanonymous: | Reply

No, I'm not. Of course she can occupy the role of man to whatever extent her biology and modern medicine allow her to, but to call her "man" when she has female organs and no male organs is simply inaccurate. I don't understand your focus on the LABEL of "man." What makes it accurate to call this person a man?

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Short answer: yes.... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by destlund: | Reply

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: that's very interesting, because as a teenager I was bullied--I bullied myself too, trying to 'pray away the gay.' At times I thought I would have been better off dead. Would I have had "orientation reassignment surgery" back then? Yes. Would I now? No. I still stick by my above answer for your four questions--in fact that's a part of why sex reassignment surgery, or even hormone treatments, require years of psychological preparation and assessment. Nobody rushes into this territory. Kye Allums has spent years, possibly decades, wrestling with his identity: at first privately, then presumably in therapy, and now publicly.

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Whats wrong with indulging ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Whats wrong with indulging the fantasy. If my friend with girl sex parts is happier dressing as a boy, having a boy name and being referred to as "he" then why not?

Some days it looks like forcing people to live in reality only serves to make the world more miserable. Especially when there is conflict about what is defined and real

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It's a part of transitionin... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Ryanonymous's comment, by destlund: | Reply

It's a part of transitioning to occupy the role of the gender one is transitioning to for months or even years, long before vocal trainers, surgeons and hormones go to work, in order to make sure that it's a real and appropriate for that person. I've never experienced it, but this whole conversation is making it clear just how unbearably difficult the process is. "But you've still got a penis/vagina, so I'm going to call you what I perceive you to be regardless of your identity!" seems a puerile response. I guess I'm advocating the liberal/progressive version of the "Life begins at conception!" line on the right, except that in this case the embryo can hear you telling it it's not a real baby.

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Reminds me of a story a few... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:38 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Reminds me of a story a few years back, the headlines were along the lines of 'married man pregnant.' Reading further only to be disappointed that the story wasn't nearly as interesting - that this married man was born female.

I recall at the time feeling like I was missing something about the story and the arguments it started over sex, gender, and identity. A feeling that something didn't make sense, and I think this blog clarified that feeling a bit. It had nothing to do with the judgment of an individuals lifestyle (which the arguments even here seem to have devolved into a bit). The arguments were really over words, over who gets to define reality, whether you can choose your identity that's separate from your actions. What Ryanonymous said.

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@destlund:(The 6:18 ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:39 PM | Posted by Ryanonymous: | Reply

@destlund:
(The 6:18 anon was me. I forgot to enter a name.)
OK, you would have wanted reassignment surgery. Cool. What I want to know is, why would you think that people, even the NY Times, should call you "straight" (still within the context of the story), BEFORE YOU HAD THE SURGERY?

This isn't about judging a person's sexual preference, orientation, or identity. It's about language.

For the record, I am quite familiar with gender transition. My father began taking female hormones and anti-androgens when I was 15, and came out to the family at 16.

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I answered that already: ye... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Ryanonymous's comment, by destlund: | Reply

I answered that already: yes. A trans man is a trans man from the moment he realizes that he is a man, whatever that means. We can discuss what being a man is, but you seem to be arguing that until we hang a cock on him, he's a woman. If that's your case, what about non-cisgendered people? People whose DNA indicates another or no gender? Can they never occupy a gender? Can they never be called by the usual terms for the gender they want to occupy?

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So when I asked "Who cares?... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 6:54 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Jesse: | Reply

So when I asked "Who cares?", it was to people who are uncomfortable with the idea that someone's sex isn't limited to their genitalia. Do you really think that, if a woman believes he's a man, that decision is completely independent of some internal biology??

Secondly, have you considered that "the media" isn't doing something insidious but simply responding to what we know now, through acres of research, that sexuality isn't binary. Or even a choice?

Maybe instead of reading a blog, some of you should read some papers. Oh that's right, Alone has convinced you that everyone has an agenda (not him, of course, because you want to agree with him).

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No. I'm not interested in w... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 7:17 PM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

No. I'm not interested in what he or she "is." I think defining that would be impossible. I'm interested in the words we use to describe him or her with regard to gender.

By what logic would you refer to person as a member of whichever gender they prefer?

Who defines reality?

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@Jesse -First, you... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 7:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by RC: | Reply

@Jesse -

First, you're preaching to the choir!

Second, although I do suspect that sexual orientation and gender identity have strong biological roots, it's almost an irrelevant point. Hypothetically, if we were to assume that LGBTs are LGBT because of social/environmental factors and biological factors don't play a role, there's still no evidence to suggest that they (or we, as I am gay too) can change.

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Destlund - you rock. Thanks... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 8:10 PM | Posted by Anonymouse: | Reply

Destlund - you rock. Thanks for keeping the discussion compassionate.

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I wholeheartedly disagree w... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 9:59 PM | Posted by Bruno: | Reply

I wholeheartedly disagree with most of what you said, but it's good to know people on the other side of this debate can be reasonable and write this well about how they feel.

And for I'm not going to argue, above all, that either way be the obvious Truth, I'll beg to differ mainly about there not being an issue. You're right, it is semantics: still it matters.

Cheers for another brilliant read. :)

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"Therefore, you choose your... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 10:16 PM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by Gary: | Reply

"Therefore, you choose your identity every time you engage in a behavior."

No. Others choose your identity based on their interpretation of the meaning of those behaviors. It's the insistence that others interpret your behavior the same way you do that is one of TLP's major themes. You may think you're being "caring" and helping the person, whereas I may think you're being "co-dependent" and harming the person.

This basketball player insists that we see her the way she wants to be seen rather than allowing us to make up my own mind.

She is a woman.

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In other words, if you have... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 10:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Gary's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

In other words, if you have black hair, if I can convince 51% of the people that your hair is red, then that makes you a ginger?

Brilliant argument there.

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Are you familiar with the p... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 10:55 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Are you familiar with the phrase "concensus reality?"

Yes, if the majority of people agree on the definition of a thing, we should use that definition. If the most people identify your hair as black, if it says "Hair: BLK" on your driver's license, it is reasonable AND ACCURATE for everyone to call your hair black. You have the right to call your hair red, and to demand that everyone else refer to you as a ginger, but you will be wrong unless you can prove otherwise.
Your subjective epistemology is ridiculous and solipsistic. The only reason we're still talking about this is that gender supposedly has a measurable and a patently immeasurable quality.

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Have you heard of the phras... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 11:26 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Jesse: | Reply

Have you heard of the phrase "scientific reality"? Sexuality is not a binary thing. That's the wonderful thing about science: It doesn't matter how many poly-syllabic words you use, you pompous ass, you're still wrong.

If you think you're right, then prove it. Prove it with science. Do an experiment, submit it to a peer-reviewed journal and prove the acres of research on this topic wrong. Otherwise just keep highlighting your thesaurus.

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You know what I always thin... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 11:28 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

You know what I always think of when I read this blog? This:
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3956361694476971154#

I'm pretty sure he's been drinking rum

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Of course sexuality is not ... (Below threshold)

November 3, 2010 11:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by Ryanonymous: | Reply

Of course sexuality is not binary! I never said it was. However, the language we use to describe gender IS binary, and it is the LANGUAGE of this situation which is in question.

What do you think I'm wrong about? And how does science support your conclusion?

Were you trying to argue for a recognition of the full spectrum of human sexuality in words, but forgot what you were saying and instead typed "pompous ass?" It's easy to get distracted.

As far as scientific reality goes, biology would look at her as a woman. She has functioning female gonads and the secondary sex characteristics of a female member of the species. Obviously, that perspective does not give us the whole picture of womanhood. There are other, more subtle qualities which make one a "man" or "woman," and yes this is obviously part of a social narrative.

The question at hand is this: Who decides what words mean?

Did you miss the above article entirely?

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Hey, what I got from this p... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 12:01 AM | Posted by Sliced Pineapple: | Reply

Hey, what I got from this post was that, if you make any other claim (like "I do lots of volunteer work" or "I am deeply into the music scene") people would judge those statements, as best they could, by how they conformed to reality.

But, if you choose to make a certain other claim ("I am a man"), then no one can criticize or disagree with you, because a) manliness, hence the argument, is ill defined, b) disagreement has a number of negative connotations, like intolerance.

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When I first read this I wa... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 12:17 AM | Posted by SJF: | Reply

When I first read this I wanted to be that jerk who said 'what about the XXY person or the XY person with androgen insensitivity' because it's not as simple as XX/XY, but that ultimately wouldn't have contributed anything to the conversation so moving on.

"Who decides what words mean?"

I thought we did together, that it was a give and take, a reaching of consensus.

In the case of Allums, he says "I want to be a he, I will make X amount of effort to present myself as a man." and others in turn say either "I agree to see you as a man" or "I disagree, I think of you as a woman no matter how much hormone you take or what surgery you have." Identity is consensus, isn't it? I think that's what most of the commenters were getting at here.

The problem I see is that a person could simply say "Oh, I want to be a man today" or "I want to be a woman today" without putting any effort into living the role every minute of every day and everyone has to do the bobble head "yes-whatever-you-say" or else they're a bigot. I have great sympathy for transgendered people who commit to the lifelong difficult change of living in the gender opposite their biological sex, but I don't have much for people who play at it for attention...and we the information consumers should seek to know the difference.

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Hey Anon 5:18,I he... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 12:23 AM | Posted by Vi: | Reply

Hey Anon 5:18,

I hear that making wild assumptions about people is not a recipe for a happy life.

You've chosen to assume that I am homophobic, male, have never heard of some of the most overplayed "results" in male/female brain research, and like replying to serious questions with crude and cliche jokes. You've chosen to assume that I have not considered what it would be like to be the opposite gender, and that if I did, I would not have decided it didn't matter much to me. You've chosen to assume that by "How true that is, I don't know" I meant "It is definitely true to the max," and that by "politically correct" I meant "correct," which is really baffling.

The amusing part is that you probably get sad/angry sometimes about how you're surrounded by stupid, ignorant, intolerant people. If this negative outweighs the pleasure you get from acting morally superior on the internet, you might want to rethink what you assume about people. And yes, this advice is for everyone, myself included.

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Being "womanly" (social con... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 12:44 AM | Posted, in reply to Sliced Pineapple's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Being "womanly" (social construct) and being a "woman" (objective reality) are not the same thing. The first can be debated, the second cannot. If someone desires to be more or less "womanly", then they have that option, and society can react to that however it sees fit. This basketball player will always be a woman, regardless of what gender role she adopts or surgeries she has. Which is fine.

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Which bathroom does this "m... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 12:47 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Which bathroom does this "man" use?

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This one gets it. ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 1:01 AM | Posted, in reply to SJF's comment, by Ryanonymous: | Reply

This one gets it.

There are an infinite number of assertions I could make about myself -
"I am a millionaire."
"I am 7 feet tall."
"Everyone says I look just like Mark Wahlberg."
"I am spiritually enlightened"

All of these assertions would be blatantly, obviously false. I would be looked at as a loon if I then proceeded to insist that everyone else play into my fantasy.
The story (if I could play basketball half as well as the person noted in the article) would read: "Player removed from court by medical staff, pending psychiatric assesment." Who decided how the situation would play out? Not doctors. Media outlets.
The narrative does not connect real events to make them easier to understand; rather, it predates the events, and the account of events is twisted to fit the narrative.

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Conversation can now end. <... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 2:28 AM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Conversation can now end.

Anon 2:42 11/3 gets honorable mention for the most pizazz.

destlund at 5:39 nailed it.

I suspect alone has taken up to trolling, either that or he is a downlow queerphobe pretending to be a progressive. As destlund so suscintly put it: the thrust of the post is fine, but it is not up for debate that a person should be the arbiter of their gender identity, as gender identity is a function of how one feels about themselves. A biological female person with a masculinized brain and a strong feeling she should be a male, who tells the world she wants to live as a male, should be validated and respected and we should do what we can to support this person (by identifying them as male). This isn't some example of narcissism, this is a problem you should just be thankful you don't have to deal with. I can't imagine how difficult the life of a transsexual must be, but I have an idea of it.

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>You f***ing ass.<... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 2:37 AM | Posted, in reply to TheUnderwearBandit's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

>

You f***ing ass.

In a way you are correct - when a gay person lives a life as a gay person, they are choosing to be gay. From a purely robot logic perspective, that's correct.
However, you are implying one has a choice of choosing to live as a heterosexual if they want. No. They do not have an option to choose to be properly straight. The only other option available to them is to choose to be a LIAR, a person who is unaccepting of themselves and shameful, who hurts and lies to others by pretending to be something they aren't.

I don't get the mindset of these homophobes. They scowl at open gays... but the only other option is the closet. Would you rather gay men stay in the closet and marry your daughters? Really? You want your daughter to marry a DL brother who runs off in the middle of the night for anonymous gay sex, exposing your daughter to STDs due to the fact DL gay men don't have many options for committed relationships/
Or your sons... you want your sons living in the closet miserable and unhappy? Pretending to date women and pretending to enjoy it?


Restraining an antisocial impulse is not the same thing as lying to everyone, pretending to be heterosexual when in reality all your sexual thoughts are focused on the same sex. When with friends you pretend to be attracted to kim kardashian but you're really thinking about men.

Have you ever bothered to thinka bout what life might be like for a homosexual person? You are a heterosexual man, you get turned on by tits and ass so you have never had to imagine what life might be like if hard masculine bodies did it for you instead. Imagine going about your entire life like that, with your reflexive sexual impulses being for virile young men. Imagine fake passionless relationships with soft, boring women, who do absolutely nothing for you.

Would you be so adamant about the closet, then?

I think the world would be a better place if people put themselves in others positions more often.

You heterosexual white men have such an easy ride, I suppose given your entire life was set before birth, you never developed cause or need for empathy.

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6:09 You're a retard... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 3:00 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

6:09
You're a retard.

Gender identity (the feeling that one is more like the opposite sex than the one they wer eborn as) is something we all have whether or not we are aware of it. It is not some abstract label or idea we transiently adopt, like being emo or being gothic, like being mark wahlberg, or being "heterosexual". Sexual orientation is entirely biological but "being heterosexual", when used in this context as you are using it, means "enjoying the privileges of heterosexual people", thus it is an arbitrary label. It is possible for a gay person to have a strong feeling they are supposed to be straight, but this is not at all analogous to a man having a strong feeling he should be a woman. A gay person having a strong feeling they should be straight is like a poor person having a strong feeling they should be wealthy... the drive is not informed by anything biological (duh, they are homosexual) it is only informed by the social advantages one understands lies on the other side. This is why many gay people stay in the closet, actually.


When someone says their gender identity is that of the opposite sex, they are not adopting a fashionable label or trying to get social privilege. This is not an arbitrary decision.

This person is not saying saying "I wish to enjoy the lifestyle of the opposite sex because I Perceive it as better". They are saying "my brain does not like the way it feels to be treated as a man, I do not relate to being male, I do not like feeling masculine, I hate shaving and wearing suits, I do not belong in this body and I cannot tolerate this life of being treated like a man when my entire brain is oriented toward femininity".

I want all of you 20-30 year old heterosexual white males to take 5 minutes out of your day and really think long and hard what life would be like for you if you were born with a vagina. Just, please, think about it. Imagine being 4 years old and being put in dresses and encouraged to play with dolls. Imagine being 11 and still having the same brain you have now, but you have a girls body. Everyone calls you she, and your parents pressure you to behave feminine, to wear dresses and dress femininely, to find a boyfriend and a husband, to have children... imagine if you had to deal with that, your whole life. Imagine if now in your shorts you had a va jay jay. You are just as interested in sports/cars/t&a as you are now, except your body looks like a female body and you have a female birth name and the world treats you like something your mind just isn't.

If you don't think the brain can be polarized toward thoughts/behaviors in congruent birth sex... think again. Scientists *routinely* shift behavior and sexual orientation of animals and insects by changing a few hormones and chemicals at the right time during gestation. This actually does happen.

Just be glad it didn't happen to you, you 20-30 year old heterosexual white males who will never know what it is like to be a gender or sexual minority, free to pass judgment.

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Actually some people reject... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 3:19 AM | Posted, in reply to Ryanonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Actually some people reject the binary "male female" gender dichotomy and prefer to label themselves as transgendered.

Personally, I don't think there is that much biological difference between a person who chooses to identify as a transsexual, and a person who chooses to identify as transgendered. Both people are informed by biology - their brain is not enough like their birth sex for them to find any comfort in the traditional sex role (meaning, the man with a penis doesn't feel masculine enough to continue living life as a man... the woman with a vagina doesn't feel feminine enough to continue living life as a woman).

I think the biggest difference between transgendered people and transsexual people is that the transgendered person has less of a need for certainty, boundaries, and is comfortable with the prospect that sometimes things which usually are pretty straightfoward aren't straightforward. Sure, 99% of the world is either male or female, but some people have brains which are somewhere in between.
The transsexual person, on the other hand, thinks he/she has to choose between male or female and ultimately decides he/she is more like the opposite of their birth sex and so forms a strong internal gender like the opposite sex (when in reality, they are rather ambiguity and may have many traits like their birth sex, such as sexual orientation or the odd masculine/feminine quirk here and there).

I think if such a study were to be conducted, to identify personality traits in common among trangendered people and among transsexual people, we would probably observe that transsexuals were more of a disciplined, structured, regimented, orderly disposition whereas transgendered people are more comfortable with uncertainty and ambiguity and the prospect of things not being in the tight little boxes our social structure taught us were immutable.

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Er...did everyone miss this... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 5:01 AM | Posted by Whatever: | Reply

Er...did everyone miss this part in the doc's post?

The point is that what's actually happening is very different than the report. Let me summarize: nothing. A person born as a female is playing women's basketball. Also, she is still a female. She's never had surgery, never taken hormones, has no genetic ambiguity. At autopsy even the most radical activist is going to mark "F."

However, she prefers to identify herself as a he. That's it.

How is this news? It's not even a political statement.

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People who consider themsel... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 7:06 AM | Posted by Nik: | Reply

People who consider themselves transgender are not, in fact, transgender. Gender is not a social construct. There is one set of male chromosomes and one set of female. Gender refers to XX or XY. There are outliers, hermaphrodites, XXY's, etc., but those individuals don't fit in with the accepted term transgender.

While "choice" does not factor in, individuals who identify themselves as transgender do not actually belong to the sex they identify with.

TLP is about pulling back curtains and revealing false choices. We accept that a genetic woman who believes herself a man is a man. But, she is not. What this individual is, is a person who personifies the characteristics we associate with the opposite sex. That doesn't change their gender. Man=man, woman=woman. Have an operation, changing your genitals doesn't change your genes.

A woman demanding I refer to her as he isn't an exercise in tolerance or acceptance, it's a play to discard the definition of he/she.

Words have definitions. He and she don't refer to the social roles men and women have, they refer to the sex of an individual dictated by a person's genes. If a "transgender" individual really wanted to break down the walls, they would refer to themselves as their sex while having the characteristics of the opposite gender.

Those that would really lose their shit over me saying you're actually a woman even if you say you're a man, don't actually care about what factually is. They just want to force themselves into the spotlight.

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But a woman who realizes sh... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 7:15 AM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

But a woman who realizes she's a man, can't ever actually be a man. Strict to definitions, it's all about genes. The real issue is, is individuals identifying with the opposite gender role. Bullshit on me being wrong for calling a transgener by their genetic sex.

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Almost everyone integrates ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 9:46 AM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

Almost everyone integrates their beliefs about gender into their personal identity - and many of these beliefs are socialized and highly erroneous beliefs. It's why we teach children to "act" like a man or a young lady. The reality is that the media constructs of both male and female are already drag images - they're not actually natural expressions of gender (and more often than not, not even natural physical expressions of gender - they're literally constructed). The natural expression of gender is much less binary - the people on the extreme ends, the hypermasculine and hyperfeminine are just as unusual as people in the middle who have aspects of both genders.


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not too late for the under ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 9:51 AM | Posted, in reply to Reader's comment, by onereaderwrites: | Reply

not too late for the under thirty crowd...I'm 25 and as stupid, pathetic and quixotic as this sounds: I'm finishing my degree, I'm starting a MA in the spring, and I'm currently teaching writing. If I can't help my generation and the generation below me think critically and articulate their own meaning, I will die trying.

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Your logic is very reasonab... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 11:43 AM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by RC: | Reply

Your logic is very reasonable, but it ignores the need for vocabulary to distinguish between biological "sex" and the social construct of "gender." Before 1955, "gender" was only used in the context of grammar. It had no usage in biology or social sciences.

From Wikipedia: "In 1955, sexologist John Money introduced the terminology distinction between biological sex and gender as a role; before his work, it was uncommon to use gender to refer to anything but grammatical categories.[1][2] However, Money's meaning of the word did not become widespread until the 1970s, when feminist theory embraced the distinction between biological sex and the social construct of gender."

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Consider the use of gender ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 11:51 AM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Consider the use of gender in grammar. Captain Jack Sparrow might say "Aaarrrr, my ship the Black Perl, ain't she a beauty?"

He's giving the ship a gender - the female form - but strictly speaking, the ship does not have two xx chromosomes. The ship has no biological sex, but it has a socially constructed gender.

Do you see now why feminists took this grammatical word and applied it to social constructs?

I'm betting that neither you nor TLP would object to Captain Sparrow's right to define his ship's gender as he sees fit, in non-biological terms. So why object to a transgender individual's right to identify with whichever gender feels more natural?

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I hope Alone doesn't bother... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 11:52 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I hope Alone doesn't bother reading the comments for this post. All the rum he'd have to consume to make it through this thread would probably pickle him.

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Consider the use of gender ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 11:52 AM | Posted by RC: | Reply

Consider the use of gender in grammar. Captain Jack Sparrow might say "Aaarrrr, my ship the Black Perl, ain't she a beauty?"

He's giving the ship a gender - the female form - but strictly speaking, the ship does not have two xx chromosomes. The ship has no biological sex, but it has a socially constructed gender.

Do you see now why feminists took this grammatical word and applied it to social constructs?

I'm betting that neither you nor TLP would object to Captain Sparrow's right to define his ship's gender as he sees fit, in non-biological terms. So why object to a transgender individual's right to identify with whichever gender feels more natural?

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So why object to a trans... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 12:08 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Jack Coupal: | Reply

So why object to a transgender individual's right to identify with whichever gender feels more natural?

so...I've got A positive blood group but feel more comfortable with B. What am I to do? Petition the government?

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Go learn about logical fall... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 12:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Jack Coupal's comment, by RC: | Reply

Go learn about logical fallacies (from http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx) and then try making an argument. You're guilty of the following:

(1) Argument From Final Consequences - i.e., the bogus argument that if we recognize gender as a social construct, then people will start to consider blood type a social construct

(2) Non-Sequitur - i.e., arguing that blood type and gender are related concepts

(3) A False Use of Reductio ad absurdum - i.e., having falsely argued that blood type and gender are sequitur, you then use an otherwise valid argument to give your comment a false appearance of logical congruity

(4) Slippery Slope - i.e., the argument that we can't recognize gender as a social construct, without sliding to a point where words are meaningless and all reality is self-appointed

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Hi, everybody, And h... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 1:02 PM | Posted by psynospy: | Reply

Hi, everybody,
And hi Mister Alone, if you’re still there.

Could it be that the noise made by this no-event (and the number of comments made is part of that noise) comes from the fact it is a condensate of many sensitive topics? Mainly, it touches our insecurity regarding the link between our identity and gender/sexuality. It that domain, we need stable and strong certainty (either gender is fixed or it is a choice, your pick) and there's a person who choose to change her own tag (if he/she can, maybe our own is that certain). That cannot be without visceral protest. And the anxiety that it brings in the media and in us allow people whose gender identity is, willingly or not, flexible or shaky to rejoice and defend that decision (to change publicly one own tag). That’s a good recipe for an emotional debate and according to me, the media’s will to impose world view is only incidental.

I hope I'm clear. Have fun.

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The most interesting thing ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 2:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Vi: | Reply

The most interesting thing about your saying

"Avoiding the smutty reply I anticipate you will respond with, seriously I want you to contemplate what life might be like if you were born in a female body and had to live your life being treated like a girl."

is that I don't have to imagine-- you've just shown me what it's like to be treated as the opposite gender. I don't have an identity crisis every time someone on the internet refers to me by the wrong pronoun. Also, given the above quote, you should put some thought into how you treat men/humans, because that's exactly the kind of thing that makes people feel uncomfortable with what people assume about their apparent gender.

Statistically, there are differences between men and women. For the individual, changing what people call you will not change who you are. I believe there's a word for people whose identity is dependent on what other people think of them...

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NB: Saying "I don't have a... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 3:48 PM | Posted, in reply to Vi's comment, by RC: | Reply

NB: Saying "I don't have an identity crisis every time someone on the internet refers to me by the wrong pronoun" trivializes what transgendered people go through. Most transgendered people I've met came to a point where suicide and gender reassignment were the only options they felt they had.

As for the N-word: In my observation, transgendered people have personalities that more closely resemble somebody suffering from post traumatic stress, not narcissistic personality disorder.

You seem to think sex differences and gender differences are the same. The former should be used to describe a biological state, the latter should be used to describe a social construct. Consider two similar sentences:

(1) "Hey, look at my new car, isn't she a beauty?"
(2) "Hey, look at my new car, she's got two x chromosomes!"

The first sentence immediately makes sense because it assigns the car a socially constructed gender. The second sentence does not make sense, because it attempts to assign a rigidly-defined, biological definition of sex.

As I mentioned in a pervious comment, prior to 1955 "gender" was used exclusively in grammatical contexts. It's evolved to describe social constructs because our language demands it. We need a vocabulary to discuss these issues.

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"Who would decide to do tha... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 5:31 PM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by JohnJ: | Reply

"Who would decide to do that?"

Trannies?

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"How many legs does a dog h... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 5:52 PM | Posted by JohnJ: | Reply

"How many legs does a dog have if you call the tail a leg?

Four. Calling a tail a leg doesn't make it a leg."

Abraham Lincoln

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I want to address Alone's p... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 5:57 PM | Posted by The Devastator: | Reply

I want to address Alone's point head-on. He wrote:

But it has placed you-- the 100% of the world that thought they already knew what words meant-- on the defensive. "Oh, have I been doing this wrong all this time?"

They didn't do it because they care about the transgendered, they did it because they want to make it ordinary that the media decides what words mean.

So what if it is a nefarious social engineering plot? What's important here is that brainwashing everyone to accept that people have the right to decide what gender they are makes it less likely that this guy and people like him will end up getting Matthew Sheparded. Compared to that, the fact that the rest of us have to get used to some new terminology is pretty unimportant.

If minorities did not exist, the only function of political correctness would be to annoy everyone, and so in that case it would be stupid and unnecessary. (If your racism against Martians is what gets you through the day, hey, go with God). But of course they do exist, so political correctness, while still just as annoying, should be promoted as much as possible.

"It's not about trans rights, it's about what words mean," everyone is saying. I'm saying, those are pretty fucked-up priorities.

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To hell with those scientis... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 6:01 PM | Posted by JohnJ: | Reply

To hell with those scientists who decided that Pluto isn't a planet! Pluto will always be a planet to me!

Free Pluto!

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I know I've always felt lik... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 6:09 PM | Posted by JohnJ: | Reply

I know I've always felt like a black man trapped in a white man's body. That's why I made sure to check "African American" on the census. And next time I go get my driver's license renewed, they better be more accommodating. Stop the h8!

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I am confused.The ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 8:08 PM | Posted by AmandaLP: | Reply

I am confused.

The NY Times has taken the step to consider gender as the identity of the person. Thus, a person chooses to identify as a man, so the NY Times uses masculine pronouns to refer to him.

the concept of "biological sex" is traditionally how the sports arena has chosen to divide the sexes within their two sex system. Thus, yes, nothing is transgressive about a person who identifies as a man, but (presumably) has a vagina and/or uterus, and chooses to play on a woman's team.

How many of you have had your chromosomes tested? Perhaps you may fall outside of the sex XX/XY binary?

The NY Times has continued calling people straight after they have had same sex sexual encounters. The NY Times has continued calling people Christian after they have done some Very un-christian things. Why would they choose not to use the gender that one identifies as in their reporting?

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I know this is reall... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 9:33 PM | Posted by air max 90 men: | Reply


I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks - you cleared up some things for me!

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"Why would they choose not ... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 9:56 PM | Posted, in reply to AmandaLP's comment, by JohnJ: | Reply

"Why would they choose not to use the gender that one identifies as in their reporting?"

For the same reason they wouldn't report someone's race based on their at-the-moment choice. Why can't I choose to identify myself as a member of whatever race I want? I'm free to believe whatever crazy thing I want, but I don't have the right to force other people to cater to my beliefs.

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On a related note, I though... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 9:58 PM | Posted by JohnJ: | Reply

On a related note, I thought this was a pretty funny way of discussing some of the issues raised here: http://www.cracked.com/article_18823_5-insane-ways-words-can-control-your-mind.html

People want to control the language because that gives them some control over how we think.

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@JohnJRace and eth... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 11:21 PM | Posted by AmandaLP: | Reply

@JohnJ

Race and ethnicity are even more dubious. If an article ran that discussed a person as an African American, there would be a retraction if the person were really Latino. You can choose to acknowledge one background over another. What happens if someone is dark skinned, and was born in Mexico from a white mother and a black man from Ethiopia. What is their race, and does the reporter make that choice, or does the person get to explain their own race?

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"does the person get to exp... (Below threshold)

November 4, 2010 11:53 PM | Posted by JohnJ: | Reply

"does the person get to explain their own race?"

That is, I think, the point that TLP is trying to make. There is a world of difference between "explaining" and simply believing that wanting to be something else makes it a reality. A person can explain their race or gender to their heart's content. There is an underlying reality. Trying to believe that race or gender can be simply adopted or changed at whim is nonsense. Expecting other people to adapt their language to accommodate our requests is a little unrealistic. No one is advocating stopping people from doing whatever they want to their own bodies. I think TLP is concerned about the all-too-common belief that language creates reality. It's not true that simply calling someone a man or women suddenly means that they are a man or a woman.

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7:15am Frankly you... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 1:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Drive By Education Services: | Reply

7:15am

Frankly you are wrong that being a "man" or "woman" is about the genes. What defines a person's gender identity is the person's "brain sex" which is largely determined by prenatal and early postnatal hormone concentrations. What defines "man" or "woman" - in terms of physical sex, i.e. penis/vagina/secondary sexual characteristics - is hormones. Really, if you are interested enough in this discussion to participate, please educate yourself in basic endocrinology and human development. I'll give you a brief primer. Pay attention plz.

All human beings start out as an asexual fetus. There is no penis, no vagina, no testicles, no ovaries, and this is true regardless if it is an XY or XX fetus. The fetus has a pair of gonads which are in the abdomenal cavity as ovaries might be. The gonads are not ovaries or testicles but they have the potential to turn into either.

The way sex chromosomes work is that they shunt the otherwise asexual fetus into either male or female development, but this is down downstream by androgens and estrogens -- everything humans are socially, emotionally, and instinctually able to identify as "male" or "female" is 100% controlled by these previous hormones prenatally and postnatally.

The chromosomes only affect the development of sex by causing the gonads to differentiate into testicles or ovaries. Once these structures are developed, they then produce the testosterone or estrogen which does everything else. Also, anti mullerian hormone (AMH) produced by the Y chromosome prevents the development of the uterus and cervix. This is the only direct contribution from the Y chromosome - it prevents uterine development, and it makes the gonads differentiate into testicles (which produce testosterone). Every single other thing is caused by estrogen or testosterone, regardless of whether or not you have a Y chromosome, or testicles. Everything the human mind emotionally and socially associates with maleness is from testosterone. Keep that in mind. Unless you consider having a uterus to be definitive of being a woman, then you have to agree it is ultimately one's exposure to estrogen or testosterone that defines being a man or a woman. I work with a woman who failed to properly develop a uterus or a cervix. Would you say she isn't a woman because of the fact her uterus and cervix did not develop completely normally? Absolutely not. Her brain and her body are clearly polarized toward being a woman, and she identifies as a woman, she is a woman. She has even had a child (after numerous miscarriages due to her abnormal uterus and cervix, but none the less she has one).

Now, with that said. Back to "what the Y chromosome really does" vs "what testosterone really does...

The presence of a y chromosome causes the gonads to descend, differentiate into testicles, and produce testosterone in very very high quantities. In human beings, the presence of tesosterone prenatally and early postnatal life is responsible for the development of almost all brain sex differences. Prenatal testosterone it is also responsible for the development of external male genitalia, scrotom, and penis. The basic structure from which the scrotom and penis development is the same between men and women. In women the scrotom becomes the labia majora instead, and the penis fails to develop, becoming the clitoris. Note: if an XX fetus, with ovaries, with estrogen, is exposed to very high testosterone prenatally, that XX fetus will develop a male brain sex (i.e. will behave more like a boy - will like sports, rough play, will be sexually attracted to women, will not like feminine activities). It will also develop either male genetalia or very ambiguous genetalia.

Testosterone is also responsible for all secondary (i.e. post pubertal) male sex characteristics such as increased height and muscle strength and decreased body fat and angular facial features (strong jaw, strong nose bridge, lower strong brow bone, facial hair, body hair), darkened skin complexion secondary to increased hemoglobin synthesis (men actually have a different reference range for Hgb). The capacity to see a man face to face and know automatically it is a man, or the capacity to hear a man on the phone and know it is a man, all of these things are controlled 100% by testosterone. Nothing else defines a man but testosterone. This is why FtM transsexuals are indistinguishable from "natural" men... if you get someone's testosterone level up to like 300-900 (female range ~30-50) they will rapidly develop male secondary sex characteristics and be more or less indistinguishable from a man face to face or over the phone. If the person went through a female puberty (if they are post pubertal) they will retain their female secondary sex characteristics (e.g. shorter height, breasts, wider hip bones, more subcutaneous fat in the hips and buttocks) but they will look primarily like a man. From male range testosterone, even a post pubertal woman will develop all facial features of a man (strong brow ridge, nose, jawline, full beard), their voice pitch will become male and over the phone you will answer this person as "hello sir". The breasts will not go away entirely, although lack of estrogen and progesterone (due to a shut down of the ovaries secondary to synthetic testosterone) will cause the breasts to wither and shrink in size. Subcutaneous fat and facial skin thickness will also wither and shrink without estrogen and progesterone. Complexion will darken as testosterone causes Hgb synthesis which makes the skin a darker ruddy color, combined with loss of subcutaneous fat and fluid retention that would otherwise make the facial complexion soft and fair. Testosterone also causes pores to enlarge and produce more sebum, also preventing "fairness" in the complexion (estrogen prevents this, keeping pores small and the skin nice and clear). Skeletal muscle development occurs and they develop increased strength and stamina, although they will fail to develop increased height if they are post puberty.


Now, if the fetus LACKS a Y chromosome, the gonads do not descend, do not become testicles, but develop into ovaries. The lack of AMH causes the development of uterus/cervix which would otherwise be blocked.

It is LACK of testosterone which prevents the fetus from developing into a male. Without testosterone, the brain sex is feminized, the external genitalia is as well.


Above, what I describe, is normal development.

Be aware many, many diseases as well as acquired conditions occur which affect how a human organism makes or responds to sex steroids. All of these conditions contribute to gender identity and sexuality differentiation, or they may contribute to intersex conditions if they are severe enough.


Examples:

XXY - "Klinesfelter Syndrome"
Fetus develops as a male, as the Y chromosome prevents ovarian development, causing testicular development. Fetus develops penis and scrotum and testicles. However, it is noted Klinesfelter boys are often feminized, with gender identity/sexuality disturbance due to incomplete brain masculinization. The X may partially block testicular development resulting in abnormally functioning testicles and decreased / low levels of testosterone prenatally. Development of mild intersex condition (e.g. small phallus and hypospadias undescended testes) is also common. They are otherwise males and you may have met a XXY male in your lifetime.


Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, CIAS - This disease is genetic, and it can occur in either XY or XX fetuses, however the effects are much more devistating in an XY (male) fetus. Due to genetic defect, the receptors for androgens (testosterone) do not work. We have previously established testosterone is what makes a man think and look the way he does, so clearly this fetus will totally fail to develop penis, scrotum, or any primary or secondary male sexual characteristics. They won't develop as true women either as they fail to make estrogen or progesterone as they have no ovaries... however, they do develop into a quasi-prepubertal female. They will never undergo female puberty, they lack ovaries, they have rudimentary undescended testicles. The brain sex is female, as they lack receptors for tesosterone required to masculinize the brain. They live as women and take estrogen at puberty to complete female development (breasts/fat deposition).

Complete androgen insensitivity is the most ideal form of this disease - the partial versions (i.e. some androgen receptors work) is far more devastating as the person develops intersex condition with ambiguous genitalia. Surgeries for ambiguous genetalia and an inability to assimilate in any cultural gender/social role due to ambiguous brain sex may result.


CAH - congenital adrenal hyperplasia. This is another genetic disorder which can affect either XY or XX fetuses... but unlike CIAS, this disorder is much more devstating in the XX fetus. CAH is a disease where the person does not make the enzyme which converts the precursor to cortisol into costisol. Enzymes are substances which dramatically accelerate chemical reactions in the body, FYI. Lack of this enzyme, thus lack of sufficient cortisol (as the reactions occur veeeery slowly) results in the adrenal glands making tons and tons of this hormonal precursor in an attempt to create enough cortisol. The levels of this pro-hormone increase numerous times. The level of cortisol is low in spite of these efforts.
Now, the problem is that this pro-hormone not only makes cortisol, it also makes testosterone. Since the person lacks the enzyme to make cortisol, but htey DO NOT lack the enzyme to make testosterone, naturally most of these hormone precurosors end up being shunted into the testosterone synthesis pathway.

The effects of CAH on the male fetus are present but they are trivial compared to the effects on the female fetus. Even though this fetus has normal ovaries, which produce estrogen normally, the fetus is bathed in extreme amounts of testosterone. This testosterone causes the development of male primary (penis, scrotum) and brain sex changes. The clitoris becomes very enlarged and may look like a phallus. The CAH female often behaves more like a male and there is a very high rate of homosexuality. It's not all that uncommon for some CAH females to live as men in extreme cases.

.
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Ahem.
There are many, many diseases, conditions, both genetic and acquired during the prenatal period, where a genetic male fetus develops into a female, and a genetic female fetus may develop into a male. The conditions I listed above are just a very small handful of well recognized ones.

I think I have done a good job describing the cause of normal primary and secondary sexual development. It is clear now that it is tesosterone (and estrogen) which is ultimately responsible for causing everything humans emotionally and socially recognize as maleness or femaleness.

With that said, now, I ask you, what of transient hormone fluctuations prenatally? Not enough to cause obvious interesexuality (abnormal penis or vagina development)... but, just ENOUGH to slightly masculinize the brain of a female fetus so that it really likes playing basketball, is sexually attracted to breasts and wide hips, and feels a strong sense that it is actually a male and should live as a male social role?

What of hormone fluctuations in male fetuses, just enough so that the brain fails to develop normal male sexual orientation (toward hips and breasts and full soft feminine faces, sexual response to female pheromones), and instead develops female sexual orientation toward well defined muscles, increased height, deeper voice pitch, sharp angular jaws and cheekbones, and sexual response to male pheromones?

Think about it, peeps.

These things are biological. Physiological. It has little to nothing at all to do with how one was raised or what one wishes their identity to be. The brain has a sex, whether or not one actually identifies as a man or woman is irrelevant. Certainly there are many extremely feminine / homosexual men who never identify as women but none the less live their lives more or less like women, and there are many women who never identify as men but live their lives as men, in sexual relationships with women, dressing like men, behaving and acting like men.

I agree personality/social/environmental dynamics are probably responsible for one's choice to say they are transgendered, transsexual, or make no declarations at all. But the raw meat of the issue - one's proclivity for basketball, sports, sexual attraction to women, combined with a lack of proclivity to motherhood and childrearing, dressing / feeling feminine and being treated like a female - is in the brain.

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Yes, I realize this was TLD... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 1:44 AM | Posted by drive by education services: | Reply

Yes, I realize this was TLDR.

I realize this was wasted effort.

I am trying to get you people to understand physiology, biology, thus come to the reasoned logical deductive conclusion that:

1) The brain has a sex, and this creates our expression of gender and sexual orientation (how much we like wearing dresses, behaving femininely, wearing male clothes, behaving masculine ways, engaging in female or male social roles, feeling sexual attraction to females or males)

2) Brain sex, i.e. gender has nothing to do with environment or arbitrary decisions about one's identity

3) Brain sex, i.e. gender is controlled 100% by how much estrogen or testosterone you were exposed to during fetal development and early postnatal development (scientists hypothesize the spike of testosterone early postnatal life in male infants is largely responsible for masculinizing the brain programming gender identity and sexual identity). It is only very slightly controlled by testosterone and estrogen after that point (although evidence does suggest fluctuations in estrogen and testosterone affect female sexual attraction somewhat, with higher estrogen orienting the female toward masculine men and higher testosterone orienting her to sex in general)

4) Brain sex, i.e. gender, is not controlled by chromosomes. Physical primary sex is not either. It just so happens normal development means almost all men are 46,xy karyotype and almost all women are 46,xx karyotype.

However there are MANY men and women with a different karyotype than this. A woman with CAIS has a karyotype that is 46,xy. She is a woman. Feels like a woman, thinks like a woman, looks like a woman, IS a woman.

Brain and physical sex are controlled by estrogen and testosterone. This only correlates with karyotype.

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I was focusing on how much ... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 2:46 AM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Vi: | Reply

I was focusing on how much we care what labels people use, and what that says about us. I was talking about people who want to be referred to in a certain way, not about transgendered people, because this article was not about transgendered people. I wanted to ponder why re-defining ourselves is so provocative that the New York Times threw a fit over it.

I am apparently horrible at speaking clearly, and for that I apologize. I feel bad for making people write long posts arguing against views I don't have. Please excuse my horribly-worded comments where I'm seemingly too busy musing on various concepts to make any sense.

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"Frankly you are wrong that... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:02 AM | Posted by Nik: | Reply

"Frankly you are wrong that being a "man" or "woman" is about the genes...
The way sex chromosomes work is that they shunt the otherwise asexual fetus into either male or female development, but this is down downstream by androgens and estrogens..."

You contradicted yourself in the first 2 paragraphs. Chromosomes are the organized structure of DNA and genes are units of heredity in a living organism. They normally reside on a stretch of DNA. Genes are part of chromosomes. It's the same thing. And according to you, chromosomes determine the development of the gonads into sexual organs. These organs then determine the level of hormones produced which effects/controls the development of the body/mind. Logically your end conclusion should be that genes (or chromosomes) determine gender/sex. And gender, by definition, is the characteristics that differentiate between men and women, which includes primary and secondary sexual organs.

While gender can be used to describe what social role an individual identifies with, for the purpose of this discussion it is clearly being used in the context of physical description. You insult our intelligence by trying to confuse the two (or reveal your inability to understand which meaning we are referring to).

The point is that people who claim they are the gender opposite the definition of their physical organs, are wrong. Whatever social role they chose to identify with is irrelevant, the pronoun "she" refers to a set of physical characteristics, not behavioral preferences.

In no way am I trying to imply that individuals that embody the opposite sexual social role are wrong. What I am saying is, by trying to convince us that they are something they are not (at least physically) they are committing an act of extreme narcissism. They are trying to create an image of themselves that is factually inaccurate to the naked eye.

In the middle of your post you mention abnormal chromosomal development. While irrelevant to the discussion of individuals who chose to identify with the opposite sex, it furthers your constriction of your first point. You write that their genes cause them to produce abnormal hormone combination and influences their behaviors, tendencies and characteristics. You have to chose, do genes/chromosomes influence sexual identity or not?

"I work with a woman who failed to properly develop a uterus or a cervix. Would you say she isn't a woman because of the fact her uterus and cervix did not develop completely normally? Absolutely not. Her brain and her body are clearly polarized toward being a woman, and she identifies as a woman, she is a woman. She has even had a child (after numerous miscarriages due to her abnormal uterus and cervix, but none the less she has one)."
If I follow correctly, the idea you are trying to counter is that a woman is defined by her internal sex organs (cervix/uterus). Your counter example was that this woman's cervix/uterus did not develop normally and even so we would consider her a woman. Within 2 sentences you state that she was able to bear a child. You should read your writing before you post, because a woman carrying a child to term means their cervix and uterus are functional. This makes her unfit to be the example to prove your point. I do not consider the existence of individual reproductive organs the only definer of sex. I simply wished to point out that you don't know what the fuck you're talking about.

"The basic structure from which the scrotom[sic] and penis development is the same between men and women. In women the scrotom[sic] becomes the labia majora instead..."
Again, you are either deliberately trying to mislead us, or you truly can't follow your own points. According to science (which you did in fact reference) the gonads become testis/ovaries. If the fetus develops as a female, the gonads become ovaries and the testis never existed. Once the gonads become ovaries, testis cannot develop and by no fucking stretch of the imagination can something that doesn't exist become the labia majora.

While infusion of sex hormones can cause a change in secondary sexual organs, primary sex organs remain. Even if injections of testosterone could replace female sexual organs with male ones, the point is irrelevant. The woman did not produce the testosterone, it was artificially introduced to her body, which has no bearing on sexual identity as defined by her genes.

"These things are biological. Physiological. It has little to nothing at all to do with how one was raised or what one wishes their identity to be."
The only reason I bring this point up is to reiterate your inability to maintain consistency even within the same paragraph. Biology, in reference to genetics, cannot be influenced by nurture (to be clear, by nurture I mean social influences. Not exposure to things like radioactive materials). But you inaccurately credit nurture with the possibility to be influential.

"Brain and physical sex are controlled by estrogen and testosterone. This only correlates with karyotype[number and appearance of chromosomes in the nucleus of a eukaryote cell]."
These are the words you close your post with. I have made posts while drunk, or extremely fired up that I am embarrassed with when I reread them. But, judging from the length and adequate spelling/grammar of your post, you were neither while posting. I suggest to you the following. 'Tis better to remain silent and be thought the fool, then speak and remove all doubt (

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I agree, there does need to... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:18 AM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Nik: | Reply

I agree, there does need to be pronouns that describe role preference/identification. But my point has nothing to do with what role transgenders (I hate using this term because I don't want to lump hermaphrodites and genetically anomalous individuals in with standard XX or XY people) assume, and everything to do with them making false claims and making accusations of bigotry when others reference them (transgenders) using pronouns that by definition are accurate.

Digressing a bit, I believe that the movement to accept female transgenders as male it shows a lack of self confidence and an ironic instance of unintentional bigotry. What female transgenders identify with is a social role, not having a penis. By demanding that they be considered men, implies that a woman cannot personify/identify with societal defined male behavioral tendencies. That is wrong and would make true feminists cry (if they did in fact cry).

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I think you may have misund... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:29 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Nik: | Reply

I think you may have misunderstood the point I am trying to make. Your example describes anthropomorphism, which might be analogous if I considered the assignment of gender a subjective label. As it references to this discussion, I consider gender equatable to the genetic configuration that differentiates between genetically standard men and women.

My goal isn't to debate the definition of gender. I use gender to refer to the physical and genetic differences between men and women.

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Easy counter, you are equat... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:31 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Nik: | Reply

Easy counter, you are equating the social roles someone identifies with and the definition of the pronoun that describes their physical attributes.

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Jesus, no one allows her to... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:37 AM | Posted, in reply to destlund's comment, by NIk: | Reply

Jesus, no one allows her to continue playing on a woman's basketball team. She is allowed because she is a woman. The reason men aren't allowed on a woman's team is because they are physically stronger/larger/taller, etc. It's a no brain-er that she is allowed to play because SHE IS A WOMAN. She posses no genetic advantage.

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Regarding all the hullaball... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 5:24 AM | Posted by Kyle: | Reply

Regarding all the hullaballoo about these posts about what would happen if Shaq declared himself a woman: it's entirely possible that somebody could troll the rest of us by deciding to call themselves a different gender on a whim. (In some states, this would be a viable strategy to enter into a legal gay marriage -- by legally changing your gender). The point of this hypothetical isn't to trivialize the experiences of those who were born with a man's brain in a woman's body; it's to point out that merely taking someone's stated identity at face value is insufficient as a method for agreeing on gender.

The non-story here is about a situation where nobody would expect any controversy, but it's treated as equivalent to a biological male attempting to play on a women's team, which really would require a lot of courage on the school's part. It's hijacking the connotations of a potential real controversy to make that potential controversy seem less controversial because... well, everybody's cool with this guy/girl playing on the women's team.

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Nik,I didn't contr... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 5:45 AM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by Drive By Education: | Reply

Nik,

I didn't contradict myself. You didn't understand, or you are being purposefully obtuse.

To repeat: Chromosomes (which are units of many genes) do not control primary or secondary sex... but chromosomes merely control the hormonal environment via gonadal differentiation. The key is this: HORMONES control sex, which in turn are highly influenced by gonadal differentiation, which in turn is controlled by genes, which are parts of chromosomes.
Seeing as it is:
1) only hormones that matter, and
2) seeing as hormones are caused by WAY MORE than gonads,
...it is *irrelevant, stupid, pointless, and unscientific* to define sex / gender exclusively by chromosomes. It it ultimately the hormones which determine primary or secondary sexual characteristics.

Chromosomes are only relevant in that they are the determining factor of hormones during normal development. However, not all development is "normal", and it is entirely possible for hormones to be slightly or substantially abnormal due to endogenous or exogenous factors. Needless to say, when speaking of transsexualism/genderism/homosexuality/bisexuality, we need to be open minded to the fact that there very likely were atypical hormonal conditions present during prenatal and early postnatal development.

Here's some more fun examples proving hormones trump chromosomes in determining primary and secondary sexual characteristics.

Google:
"XX male syndrome"
In this disorder, the SRY gene (normally only present on a Y chromosome ) happens to be located on an X chromosome. The SRY gene is what produces AMH (remember the previous educational lesson - AMH stops the development of uterus and allows testicles to develop).
These men are genetic 46,xx karyotype like a "woman", but guess what they have testicles, a penis, and no one in their right mind would call them a woman. They cannot create sperm however and are always infertile. The few men with this disorder were heterosexual (i.e. sexually attracted to women) although signs of low prenatal testosterone such as hypospadias and undescended testes are not uncommon.

"XY gonadal dysgenesis"
In this disorder, a human with a 46,XY karyotype ("male") does not develop functional gonads. Again, to reference the previous educational lesson, the fetus has a pair of gonads which then differentiate into ovaries or testes... well in this disorder, there were no gonads, and so the karyotypical male does not have testicles, and so never was exposed to any testosterone. The lack of any testosterone means it developed into a female prenatally. It has a feminized brain, feminine identity, a vagina, and is a woman for all practical purposes. She is infertile, and will never enter a natural puberty due to a total lack of gonads (no ovaries, testes). She is treated with estrogen like the woman with CAIS (also 46,xy but yet a woman).

This can also occur in 46,xx fetuses but the effects are less interesting/dramatic (i.e. it would have developed a vagina anyway assuming all other development was typical)


"turner syndrome"
Turner syndrome exists when a human has a 45,xo karyotype. They only have 1 x chromosome. They are not fully female in that they do not have functioning ovaries, will not enter puberty, and are infertile... but they default develop into females as this condition does not expose the fetus to virulizing testosterone.

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Chromosomes control hormona... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 6:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Drive By Education's comment, by Nik: | Reply

Chromosomes control hormonal environment, hormonal environment decides gonadal development. Once the gonads develop into genitalia they determine the production of hormones. Hormones determine sexual development. If any of this is not an accurate interpretation of your post, please let me know. If it is accurate, please explain to me how chromosomes are not directly linked to sexual development.

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I would also like for you t... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 6:08 AM | Posted, in reply to Drive By Education's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I would also like for you to address my grievances concerning your coworker, who's dysfunctional organs some how bore a child.

Honestly, read what you've written. Follow the connections you make. Your conclusions are counter to the argument you are trying to support.

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The pronoun "she" refers to... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 6:10 AM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by DBE: | Reply

The pronoun "she" refers to a woman, one who lives and identifies as a female. If you greet a woman at the store, do you inspect her anatomy to make sure she has a vagina, cervix, do you palpate her abdomen to find her ovaries? Demand a blood test to prove her karyotype is 46,xx? No. You treat her like a woman because she looks and sounds like a woman and wants to be treated as a woman. Calling a woman "she" isn't about what is in her pants, it's about what is in her head. She has long hair, feminine clothes, calls herself jane. She's a woman.

"" Within 2 sentences you state that she was able to bear a child. You should read your writing before you post, because a woman carrying a child to term means their cervix and uterus are functional.""
The child was born very premature because her cervix is incompetent as it is not fully formed. She had numerous cervical cerclages and was on several months bed rest and EVEN STILL had a barely viable fetus who happened to survive. She had 4 prior miscarriages. A cerclage, BTW, is a set of "sutures" button hole sewing the cervix closed. Usually this is only necessary when a woman has had problems from like, many D&Cs (abortions) or something,.. the only other time this is necessary is congenital hypoplasia of the cervix as in the case of my friend. A formed cervix works properly and fetus can be carried to term. The function of the cervix is to create a barrier between the uterus, placenta, and external environment. There is actually a thick mucous "plug" which forms in the cervix during pregnancy.
I never said she carried the child to term. You confabulated "to term". In this day and age, it's entirely possible for a half-formed baby to develop in an artificial womb for the rest of what would otherwise be the gestational period. Science is a wonderful thing, too bad you aren't all that interested in it with your knee jerk impulsive ideas about the world.


"" According to science (which you did in fact reference) the gonads become testis/ovaries. If the fetus develops as a female, the gonads become ovaries and the testis never existed. Once the gonads become ovaries, testis cannot develop and by no fucking stretch of the imagination can something that doesn't exist become the labia majora. ""
This is evidence you were not listening to anything I said.
The gonads developing into ovaries are NOT what controls whether or not a fetus becomes female. A lack of testosterone is the ONLY thing that determines whether or not a fetus develops into a female. There can be testes, ovaries, neither testes or ovaries... as long as there is NO TESTOSTERONE, or alternatively NO TESTOSTERONE RECEPTORS, then the fetus will develop into a phenotypical female.
And yes, the same tissue which would otherwise develop into a scrotum (assuming testosterone was present in sufficient quantity), would otherwise develop into the labia majora (again, assuming testosterone was DEFICIENT in sufficient quantity). You need edjumacations because I"m not getting through to you.


""While infusion of sex hormones can cause a change in secondary sexual organs, primary sex organs remain. Even if injections of testosterone could replace female sexual organs with male ones, the point is irrelevant. The woman did not produce the testosterone, it was artificially introduced to her body, which has no bearing on sexual identity as defined by her genes.""

If you had THE CAPACITY TO LISTEN, LEARN, AND UNDERSTAND you would realize that it is hormones, not genes, that ultimately control sex and gender. That "woman" who happens to have a vagina, or even a 46,xx karyotype, she may have been exposed to transient fluctuations in testosterone which virulized her brain. So, she has a vagina, but her mind is not feminine and finds it impossible to conform to a female identity.
For this person, helping them to create a more masculine identity is no different than giving a CAIS woman or a 46,xy gonadal dysgenesis woman some estrogen and progesterone at puberty. You are essentially correcting a birth defect.
The brain of a FtM transsexual is virulized. They are often sexually attracted to women, they are invariably masculine in significant ways, the brain is NOT feminine. Subbornly insisting on calling them "women" is biased, bigoted, ignorant, prejudical, pointless.
Would you call a woman with CAIS a man? NO, because she has a vagina. But her karyotype is 46,xy and she has no ovaries. What now, buddy? Why is this a valid birth defect to treat with hormone replacement, but not transsexualism?

perhaps we should go back to fundamentals:
** THE BRAIN HAS A SEX, and it is created by hormones, not by genes or chromosomes (see post at 1:44 am**

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6:08I am failing t... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 6:15 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

6:08

I am failing totally and completely to see how what I wrote is evidence against my conclusions. You're going to have to substantiate this accusation with more than that, otherwise I am just going to have to assume you didn't understand what I said.


THe shorter, second post, better describes my point.

My point is this.

Hormones, regardless of chromosomal sex, produce the physiologic changes prenatal and postnatally, which in turn create primary and secondary sexual characteristics, including brain sex and orientation.

I dont' see why this is so hard to grasp.

My lengthy, excessively TLDR post was just full of little anecdotes and descriptions creating an argument for the alpha role of the hormones (over the genes/chromosomes). Seeing as many things other than genes/chromosomes can affect hormone concentration or sensitivity, and it is not entirely possible to prove whether or not the brain is masculine or feminine, we have to simply BELIEVE PEOPLE when they say they are a man (in spite of a vagina).

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For real these last few pos... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 9:43 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

For real these last few posts have been awesome. Who the hell are you?

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JohnJ - I'd suggest you rea... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 11:05 AM | Posted, in reply to JohnJ's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

JohnJ - I'd suggest you read Black Like Me - people of different races can pass. Passing is just as much a part of the story of African-Americans as it is transgender people, and even women - there are women who passed as men for most of their lives, just as there are African-American people who passed (and pass) as white, and just as there are men and women who pass as women and men. There are plenty of people who identify as being more Black than white and who are accepted within the African-American community as part of the community - part of identity is culture, it's not just biology. There is a female culture (and different female cultures within different cultures for that matter), just as there are a diversity of African-American cultures (that is distinct from African and Afro-European cultures).


Fear of transgendered people is not unlike how the most virulently homophobic people are so personally fearful of another's sexual desires because they're terrified of their own homosexual desires and are insecure in their heterosexuality. (Heterosexual guys who are really secure in their masculinity don't worry about "catching teh gay".) If you're secure in your understanding of yourself as a person, and your personal and social identity, then you're not going to get all freaked out by difference - that includes all other genders and intersex people. People who mistakenly believe that the constructs and accessories of gender (wearing makeup, gendered clothing, walking a certain way, etc) define sex (and not just gender) tend to get very upset when they get fooled by the constructs and accessories of gender - why? Because it destabilizes them and confronts them with how their own gender identity is a construct. If someone has made some gender construct a major part of their identity - if they believe their personal power comes from being a man or a woman, or the social power of being male or female, and not from themselves as an individual - then they'll get freaked out and feel as if they're losing both their identity and their social power.

And, while it's a very complex issue due to societal prejudices, I'd say there can also be an element of the same thing when someone who doesn't pass tries to force others to buy into their identity. (Though in the story Alone refers to there seemed to be a general acceptance of the person's identity by the team, it does seem like a bit of a non-issue. Like Alone points out, this article seems more about the media than the purported subject - but I suspect that's partially because the journalist and editors don't fully understand what they're writing about. They'd probably have done better to put an arts journalist on the story - most social issues get more deeply thought about and emerge in the arts well before they hit popular culture, including the news.)

Anyway, we're really not far enough along in terms of social acceptance of difference that you can blame people for wanting to fit into the binary categories we have constructed for gender and to be able to pass. However, technology and plastic surgery has advanced to the point where we can - if we have access to plastic surgery - quite radically alter our physical identity.


Of course the media (and the people who own the media) want to control the narrative - not only is that the very definition of propaganda but it's also always been the function of news media. (Along with making money, though that's often secondary to controlling the narrative.) Sometimes, very occasionally, we've lived in times where the narrative is more open in our news media, or the owners are more altruistic, but both traditionally and now the "news" has mainly been about promoting the publishers beliefs and shaping the narrative about reality. Even the best investigative journalism is usually undertaken by a political/financial opponent of the subject - you get better investigative journalism when papers are being used in this way sometimes (though, of course, you need real competition for this to happen - by that I don't mean the fake Fox type of difference/opposition).

What we say and how we speak does influence how we think (and how we can see the world) - culture and language does shape our brain. That doesn't mean that someone who is a racist or homophobe but tailors their language to be politically correct and to hide their fear/hate will stop being a racist or homophobe because they stop using words that explicitly express it. Polite xenophobes still reveal their fear most of the time. What it does mean is that people who were subjected to overt xenophobia in the workplace or school are exposed to less overt xenophobia (though you can't make people feel or think differently, you can make them act in a slightly more socially responsible and respectful way and show that a xenophobe's fear/hate/sense of narcissistic entitlement isn't socially condoned...really it's just saying that if you act like a total dick to someone because you've got a disproportionate sense of entitlement you'll be held responsible for your actions).

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I will always see gender id... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 1:04 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I will always see gender identity disorders as disorders, and homosexual people as people with a very weird and disgusting fetish (though not a disorder)

I am very selective towards the people I associate with, though with a degree of tolerance, and I hate all form of excessive weirdness. A black (white) guy who think of himself as white (black) would be very weird to me and I will avoid every possible contact with him, tolerating him only if he is a coworker or a memeber of a social circle I can tolerate by ignoring him as much as possible.

If in the future technology will make it possible to significantly alter your physical appearance, people who use it to change their gender\race will have to keep it a secret or I will stop having contacts with them.

This goes for almost everything. From weird sexual fetishes of any kind(homosexuality included) to mental illness, people should be considerate enough to hide their private quirks from others. If they fail to do so I will do everything to avoid any contact with that person in the future (exceptions if I find out accidentally may be given)

Why should all secrets be openly discussed? Nobody wants to know them. Most people is weirded out by homosexuality, transgenderism, mental illnesses. There is absolutely no need to tell the whole world about them. Or at least telling normal people about them

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WTF? If I tell you... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 1:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RC: | Reply

WTF?

If I tell you I'm gay, I'm not telling you anything about my sex life. I'm telling you who I am. If you can't help but picture me in a sexual situation with another guy, then what does that say about you? I'll let others speculate why the very thought of two men together is so pervasive in your mind, and it why it gets you into such a lather.

Your problem is that you have one set of standards for straight people and a second set of standards for gays. If a straight friend of mine talks about their husband or wife, how the two of them met, what they do for fun, etc. - I don't immediately think of them having sex.

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Your compassion and REASON ... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 1:36 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by RC: | Reply

Your compassion and REASON are much appreciated.

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Anonymous - You seem to hav... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 3:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Anonymous - You seem to have an obsessive fetish about fetishes! Now that is funny! He who doth protest the loudest...

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Do you object to using male... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 3:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by RC: | Reply

Do you object to using male/female pronouns to describe inanimate objects that, by a biological definition, are sexless?

I know, that's a bit snarky - I'm blatantly setting you up for a "gotcha!" response - but give this question an honest reflection, with a lighthearted sense of humor. It may change your perspective.

You appear to already have some sense that gender is more than just a biological phenomenon (i.e., "what female transgenders identify with is a social role, not having a penis"). That's good. Kudos.

You seem to be hung up on biology, but rest assured when a MTF transgender woman (MTF = male to female) says that she is a woman, she's not referring to a biological definition. She is not false claiming to have exchanged a Y chromosome for an X.

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Excellent!... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Vi's comment, by RC: | Reply

Excellent!

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Anonymous - You're not hidi... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:05 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Anonymous - You're not hiding your private quirks and obsessions - you're actually making them very obvious and simply trying to impose them upon others. Pretending you're not neurotic after the post you just made is just funny. Someone who isn't neurotic wouldn't have such a strong rejection of other people's difference because it wouldn't have anything to do with their own identity (though it could just be narcissism on your part, apparently you think it effects your identity if someone else has a fetish...clearly you see others as merely an extension of yourself if this is the case).

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Maybe Michael Jackson had s... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:15 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnJ's comment, by RC: | Reply

Maybe Michael Jackson had some racial identity disorder, but he's unique in MANY ways.

That being said, if Michael Jackson preferred to be called white, I would have gone along with it. It wouldn't behoove me to fight him on it (even though he still had an African American genetic makeup). It would just make me seem like a jerk.

Besides, "white" is just another bogus social construct.

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Very good point: A person'... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:30 PM | Posted, in reply to AmandaLP's comment, by RC: | Reply

Very good point: A person's biological sex is what matters in sports segregation, a person's socially defined gender is what matters in most day-to-day matters (at least in journalistic write-ups). I hadn't thought about it that way.

Kudos!

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Re: "Easy counter, you are ... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:41 PM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by RC: | Reply

Re: "Easy counter, you are equating the social roles someone identifies with and the definition of the pronoun that describes their physical attributes."

That's an incorrect counter. Pronouns don't refer to physical attributes, they refer to social constructs. Constructs that often don't make sense, but we have to deal with them nonetheless.

Ever take French? In French, a road is a she and a coffeeshop is a he. In Modern English we've largely done away with gender assignments, but when personifying objects we are still inclined to give them male or female gender assignments (and use pronouns accordingly).

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Well said regarding "white"... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 4:43 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Well said regarding "white" and "black" - I've known a few people who have parents who are "black" and "white" who look "white". The very fact that someone can "pass" proves just how much of a construct these kinds of categories really are. These categories once defined whether one was considered a person or object to be bought or sold. Kids naturally notice difference but generally they learn prejudice from adults or other children who learned from adults. Prejudice is usually a form of scapegoating - a way to project all our own repressed desires and fears onto someone else as a symbol/object rather than seeing them as an individual human. Xenophobia is routinely used as a political tool for exactly these reasons. If nationalism is a form of narcissism where the individual takes on a grandiose identity that's not really related to who they are as an individual, then xeniphobia and prejudice is a way to protect this narcissistic/false image of oneself and where one lives as being all good while the Other is all bad. It's not rocket science and it's pretty rote political/social manipulation.

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`When I use a word,' Humpty... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 7:57 PM | Posted by JohnJ: | Reply

`When I use a word,' Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, `it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'

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So she didn't make the wome... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 8:16 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So she didn't make the women's softball team?

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???... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 8:35 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnJ's comment, by RC: | Reply

???

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Seriously? You've never rea... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 9:05 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by JohnJ: | Reply

Seriously? You've never read Through the Looking Glass? No wonder you don't get what TLP's talking about.

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???... (Below threshold)

November 5, 2010 9:10 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnJ's comment, by RC: | Reply

???

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"Women are better at proces... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 4:49 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"Women are better at processing multiple tasks at once."

Pretty sure this is yet another feminist myth, and it's not like there isn't a shitload of male-oriented jobs (that are far, far more demanding and complicated than waitressing) that require doing many things at once.

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Hardly a role-model for Tra... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 4:56 AM | Posted by Damienomen: | Reply

Hardly a role-model for Transgender acceptance/understanding.
"He" is indeed confused.

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In my recent college days, ... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 10:49 AM | Posted by Human: | Reply

In my recent college days, I made some friends at Mount Holyoke and Smith. Each described with concern the growing militancy of "transmen" who insisted on attending women's colleges while transitioning to men. They wanted to go through life as men with degrees from women's colleges. On the other hand, these colleges would not admit men transitioning to a life of womanhood.

The description I got from my friends and their friends of the average campus transman was this: an aggressive, mentally unstable bully. Many had showed up on campus at age 17 with a regimen of testosterone (T) pills and breasts bound flat with ace bandages and socks stuffed in their crotches. Some had been planning to have their breasts removed since their first days of puberty. They generally came from wealthy families and did not have career ambitions beyond making the world safe for transmen. Gender studies was the default major.

They were notorious for being mean, having outbursts, and claiming discrimination. No one wanted them for a roommate because of their reputation for suicidal talk, bizarre behavior, and complete disregard for the feelings of their roomies. They perceived everything in terms of their gender issues and frankly many straight and lesbian students were afraid of them.

One friend from Mount Holyoke who was stalked for two years by a transman roomie from freshman year. My friend told "it" that she was straight. "It" responded that the ongoing transition would result in manhood, so it was all good. Another friend was pretty much assaulted by a trans RA on her third day of college. A Smith friend had a roomie who cut her breasts in "preparation" for her "top" surgery.

I met a several of these transmen and many of them seemed... off. There's something not quite right about a teenager telling you their plans to have major, irreversible surgery like its a tooth extraction. The idea that this might be a phase to wait out was like denying gravity.

Some had disturbed childhoods and several blurted out their long-time diagnoses (bipolar, depression, etc.) that they ascribed to their trans status and discrimination from the larger world. I only met one that I would describe as being a happy person. The rest were obsessively serious about their sexuality. While the typical activist was hanging posters about third-world debt or impeaching Bush, the transmen activists were fighting to be called men. It was always about getting external affirmation for themselves.

The public environment was one of political correctness, but below the surface there was the definite sense that these transmen were delusional in their quests to get surgery/hormones to solve their emotional problems. Even on liberal campuses, the whole thing seemed unhealthy.

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In my recent college days, ... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 10:50 AM | Posted by Human: | Reply

In my recent college days, I made some friends at Mount Holyoke and Smith. Each described with concern the growing militancy of "transmen" who insisted on attending women's colleges while transitioning to men. They wanted to go through life as men with degrees from women's colleges. On the other hand, these colleges would not admit men transitioning to a life of womanhood.

The description I got from my friends and their friends of the average campus transman was this: an aggressive, mentally unstable bully. Many had showed up on campus at age 17 with a regimen of testosterone (T) pills and breasts bound flat with ace bandages and socks stuffed in their crotches. Some had been planning to have their breasts removed since their first days of puberty. They generally came from wealthy families and did not have career ambitions beyond making the world safe for transmen. Gender studies was the default major.

They were notorious for being mean, having outbursts, and claiming discrimination. No one wanted them for a roommate because of their reputation for suicidal talk, bizarre behavior, and complete disregard for the feelings of their roomies. They perceived everything in terms of their gender issues and frankly many straight and lesbian students were afraid of them.

One friend from Mount Holyoke who was stalked for two years by a transman roomie from freshman year. My friend told "it" that she was straight. "It" responded that the ongoing transition would result in manhood, so it was all good. Another friend was pretty much assaulted by a trans RA on her third day of college. A Smith friend had a roomie who cut her breasts in "preparation" for her "top" surgery.

I met a several of these transmen and many of them seemed... off. There's something not quite right about a teenager telling you their plans to have major, irreversible surgery like its a tooth extraction. The idea that this might be a phase to wait out was like denying gravity.

Some had disturbed childhoods and several blurted out their long-time diagnoses (bipolar, depression, etc.) that they ascribed to their trans status and discrimination from the larger world. I only met one that I would describe as being a happy person. The rest were obsessively serious about their sexuality. While the typical activist was hanging posters about third-world debt or impeaching Bush, the transmen activists were fighting to be called men. It was always about getting external affirmation for themselves.

The public environment was one of political correctness, but below the surface there was the definite sense that these transmen were delusional in their quests to get surgery/hormones to solve their emotional problems. Even on liberal campuses, the whole thing seemed unhealthy.

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JohnJ - I'm very familiar w... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 12:40 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnJ's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

JohnJ - I'm very familiar with Through the Looking Glass but I suspect you may actually be missing a large part of what Alone seems (to me) to be getting at in his blogs. That's alright, that's the nature of subjectivity - we all bring our own interpretation to what others write and say (and do) based upon our own understanding/knowledge/experience. For instance, you think Alice in Wonderland when many other readers would be thinking McLuhan and Foucault (for very obvious reasons).

It's interesting, considering the actual blog Alone wrote, that you're trying to claim that you can decide what Alone's blog means - that you want to be an arbitrator of meaning yourself and decide what words are allowed to be used and what they mean.

The reality is that language and meaning of words is constantly changing. It's why we don't use the same dictionary we did 100 years ago. Common use is generally what determines whether a word survives and becomes woven into the lexicon. The other reality is that our understanding of and knowledge about sex and gender - and humans in general - is in the midst of a revolution. Why? Because of technology - both the technology that allows people to shift gender and that used by science which has allowed us to start to understand more about an area that was very taboo for a long time (and obviously still is for some people) because of religion. Why? Because religions uses sex - and the idea that sex is "sinful" - to try to control their followers.

And, because I'm also fond of Alice In Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass...

"Who are YOU?" said the Caterpillar.
This was not an encouraging opening for a conversation. Alice replied, rather shyly, "I--I hardly know, sir, just at present-- at least I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then."

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who said anything about pic... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 1:05 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

who said anything about picturing you having sex with a man. Don't project your thoughts on other. And why are you using the implication of me being gay as a insult? says a lot about you

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Current studies show that n... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 1:40 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Current studies show that neither men nor women are nearly as good at multitasking as they believe they are, but that women are generally slightly better. This could just as easily be enculturated as it is genetic. However, the reality is that we're still very unclear on some aspects of gender, sex and neurobiology - what is becoming very clear is that gender AND sex aren't as simple man/woman.

We'd all be better off if we approached people as people and accepted diversity - then maybe people could just live as who they are without needing to try to stuff themselves into a constructed category that has less to do with nature in our society than it does with religion. And, in a society where plastic surgery is heavily promoted as the way to become something that you weren't born as, it's hardly surprising that some people choose to change their gender or even their physical sex (in terms of being an innie or an outie, and hormonally). Particularly when such false images of the opposite gender are the norm and promoted as the norm.

Undoubtedly there are many men (gay, straight and transgender) who believe that being a woman means that men just give you what you want and you don't have to work for anything - you are a princess and life is easy. (The irony here is that they don't actually want to be a woman in a case like this, they want to be the media construct of what a woman is - there are people born female who also make this mistake.) And, of course, there are women who want male privilege and think life would be easier as a man, who are attracted to and trying to live out a false construct. People who have no desire to change their gender or sex also get caught up in these fake ideas (so much so they panic if someone challenges the false images they hold to be reality, even though it's really TV and a fantasy, or at best mediated reality).

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Your paranoid, rumor-monger... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 2:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Human's comment, by RC: | Reply

Your paranoid, rumor-mongering is appalling. I've known attendees at several women's colleges, including Smith, who had no such problems. Your writing reminds me of a certain German statesman who I can't name without fulfilling Godwin's Law.

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(1) I would never use the ... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 2:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RC: | Reply

(1) I would never use the word gay as an insult, as I am gay.

(2) Why can't you be around gay people? Why does it bother you so much? You say it's because you think of us solely as "people with a very weird and disgusting fetish." If you can't think of us as human beings, if you can't purge your brain of thoughts of our "very weird and disgusting" sex lives, then that's your problem.

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Even when Alone explicitly ... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 7:20 PM | Posted by Ryanonymous: | Reply

Even when Alone explicitly states that the article is about media controlling personal narrative, you still can't see that there is no controversy native to the story. It is a non-story. Exactly like someone said above, your biological gender is the only thing that matters in terms of sports eligibility, and your gender identity is the only thing that matters in terms of everyday life. It's a biological woman playing on a woman's team.

There is no trans-rights issue at hand in the content of this article.

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You make some good points. ... (Below threshold)

November 6, 2010 10:41 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by JohnJ: | Reply

You make some good points. I agree that we bring our own understanding of language with us, and we impose it on what we hear and read. I also agree that language is in a constant state of flux. However, I don't think that any of that means that TLP didn't have a point of his own. My goal is to understand his meaning, not replace his meaning with my own. The characteristics of language you noted are an impediment to that. Those are problems to be overcome in order to achieve understanding.

I feel pretty confident in asserting that TLP was decrying the use of language to attempt to create a narrative different than reality. The media should report reality, not a narrative. If I'm wrong in this understanding, I do hope that TLP will set me straight.

A word of advice: you may want to adjust your tone. Referring to Focault and McLuhan makes you sound elitist. There's no point in citing such obscure authority on a blog where more people are certain to be familiar with Lewis Carroll.

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So you've known some Smithi... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2010 10:26 AM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Human: | Reply

So you've known some Smithies who never had these problems. So have I. But I've also known several who did. As I've said, I've met several of these transmen and in general they are depressed and depressing.

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Well, I gotta give you kudo... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2010 12:18 PM | Posted by RC: | Reply

Well, I gotta give you kudos for at least being forthcoming with your bigotry. Kudos! It's much more appalling to hide it behind semantic arguments, IMHO.

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Well, I gotta give you kudo... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2010 12:18 PM | Posted, in reply to Human's comment, by RC: | Reply

Well, I gotta give you kudos for at least being forthcoming with your bigotry. Kudos! It's much more appalling to hide it behind semantic arguments, IMHO.

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JohnJ - "The media should r... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2010 2:26 PM | Posted, in reply to JohnJ's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

JohnJ - "The media should report reality, not a narrative. If I'm wrong in this understanding, I do hope that TLP will set me straight."

Well "the media" includes sitcoms and all kinds of things that aren't about reality - are you perhaps talking about the news and not all media? What the news media "should" do and the reality of what the news media is and always has been are quite different things. You can either deal with the reality of what news media is or you can indulge your fantasy of how it should be (which you seem to have learned from TV and the movies) and get outraged when reality contradicts you're belief of how things "should" be. The fact that you're outraged that reality does not conform to your expectations is, you know, one of those things Alone/TLP writes about quite often.

JohnJ - "A word of advice: you may want to adjust your tone. Referring to Focault and McLuhan makes you sound elitist. There's no point in citing such obscure authority on a blog where more people are certain to be familiar with Lewis Carroll."

What? You think referring to McLuhan is elitist? In regards to a blog post that's all about just what McLuhan and Foucault write about. Clearly your so-called "populist" quote wasn't actually more generally understood or known that, say, "the medium is the message". Like I said, assuming to speak for and determine Alone/TLP's meaning and then being scornful because someone didn't recognize your obviously not so populist quote is actually behavior that indicates not only are you an elitist but you're also trying to associate yourself with Alone/TLP's authority in the hopes that it makes you an authority. You seem pretty hung up on elitism and trying to claim Alone/TLP agrees with you and that you speak for Alone/TLP.

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You would probably be depre... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2010 3:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Human's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You would probably be depressed too if you felt like your body didnt match your brain.

It's also possible hormone therapy, at least early on, can cause mood and emotional disturbances in people. This is not uncommon in the general population (testosterone makes people angry, aggressive, impulsive and prone to emotion). In males who take additional testosterone, such symptoms are common.

So, it's possible your experiences were biased by people who were in the middle of a medical event (hormone therapy initiation), after the transition and stabilizing of hormones these symptoms might not necessarily exist.

Certainly it is hard to believe these symptoms are attributable to transsexuality. Depression and negativity might be, but the anger and aggression sounds certainly hormonal, like a teenager might be.

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Naw. It wasn't hormones. ... (Below threshold)

November 7, 2010 9:10 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Human: | Reply

Naw. It wasn't hormones. It was a dark, almost goth-like attitude of victimhood. The words I kept hearing were of being the victim of nature itself. I got the sense that these transmen were repulsed by themselves. I had no prior knowledge of this people and I had no bigotry towards them. I am just reporting my experiences.

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Sorry for the delay and the... (Below threshold)

November 8, 2010 8:27 AM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Ben: | Reply

Sorry for the delay and the cryptic presentation. My point was that neither 'political correctness' nor anything else you'd find on a bumper sticker is adequate as an argument. Even if backed up by progressive, emancipatory sentiment, it's not a principled argument. So the result is that in trying to shut hicks/hillbillys/rednecks/republicans up, you're just invoking a cognitive kill switch (https://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2009/12/the_cognitive_kill_switch.html - with footnotes, no less!). 'Political correctness', 'racial sensitivity' or 'gender neutrality' are just hollow symbols without principled argument, and invoking them is no better than Bible-based gay-bashing or promoting any other agenda with a reactionary kill switch, like 'family values'.
If you're gonna discipline somebody else's acts or speech, which we all do all the time, at least provide the best reasons you can, or just hold your prejudiced peace.

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Ascribing pronouns or sex t... (Below threshold)

November 9, 2010 8:23 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Nik: | Reply

Ascribing pronouns or sex to inanimate objects is actually a perfect example. I take no issue with people identifying objects as he/she. But either description when applied to an object is meaningless. A car can neither be male nor female no matter what we call it. As mammals, people are (for the most part) male or female and have corresponding pronouns. Demanding to be referred to by the opposite pronoun is meaningless because it doesn't change what that person is.

My problem is that a woman demanding to be called a man is a smoke screen to the real issue, which is why can't woman fulfill social roles normally ascribed to men? If we are to fully consider FTM transgenders as men, why is this individual allowed to play on a women's basketball team? This is a double standard and even if we completely rule out the physical aspect of gender, we still adhere to certain social rules which say men cannot play on women's sports teams.

I refuse to be party to this kind of hypocritical treatment. Even if I was willing to accept the position that an individual is the gender they identify with, I would imminently renig my acceptance when presented with this story.

Liberals, Democrats, LBGTQ community or the media, whoever (or all) you want to say is behind the push to consider FTM transgenders as males (or MTF as women) labels anyone who wants to discuss the contradicting points of any LBGQT issue a bigot. Last time I checked, you needed to take some action against a community based on a consideration of their characteristics to actually be a bigot.

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You feel that male/female a... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2010 4:40 PM | Posted, in reply to Nik's comment, by RC: | Reply

You feel that male/female are biological distinctions unless otherwise declared to be social distinctions. I (and grammarians, the feminist movement, and the LGBT movement) feel the opposite, that male/female are abstract social distinctions unless otherwise specified as biological.

In light of this, I would pretty much agree with your first paragraph if you'd just add the word BIOLOGICALLY in a few instances: "Ascribing pronouns or sex to inanimate objects is actually a perfect example. I take no issue with people identifying objects as he/she. But either description when applied to an object is BIOLOGICALLY meaningless. A car can neither be BIOLOGICALLY male nor female no matter what we call it. As mammals, people are (for the most part) BIOLOGICALLY male or female and have corresponding pronouns. Demanding to be referred to by the opposite pronoun is BIOLOGICALLY meaningless because it doesn't change what that person is BIOLOGICALLY."

In your second paragraph, you ask some very meaningful questions. Questions that are much more meaningful than "is this person male or female":

(1) Why can't women fulfill social roles normally ascribed to men?

Personally, I'm quite content with my being gender non-conformative without wanting to go under the knife, but that's somehow not enough for transgendered individuals. I assume that they have their reasons, and have thought about this issue extensively with their doctors and preoperative therapists.

(2) If we are to fully consider FTM transgenders as men, why is this individual allowed to play on a women's basketball team?

This question assumes that I've convinced you that a FTM transgender is, in fact, a man. Have I done that? Did I win? *sarcastic evil grin*

Personally, I think that beginning with the first treatment of testosterone, this individual should not be allowed to play on an all-female team. But it's not my call. Presumably the league decided that this person is still playable because an FTM transgender is still, BIOLOGICALLY (or GENETICALLY), a female.

In your fourth paragraph, you talk about bigotry. I can't speak for all "Liberals, Democrats, LBGTQ community or the media," but you seem frustrated, not bigoted. By contrast, a good example of bigotry can be see in Anonymous on November 5, 2010 1:04 PM.

Does that make you feel better, to know that your non-bigotedness has been validated by me, a liberal, LGBT Democrat? :)

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Your inserts of "biological... (Below threshold)

November 10, 2010 5:39 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by Nik: | Reply

Your inserts of "biologically" are right on with what I was trying to say. Hopefully I am not jumping the gun when I say, I think we are on the same page.

In response to your response to my first point. I think FTMTs who "go under the knife" are the extreme, but not the only one's who demand to be recognized as "he".

On to point two. Ha ha, very tricky, but my question does not imply that I have been convinced. It simply postulates a hypothetical situation in which I have been convinced, for the purpose of revealing a contradicting and hypocritical point in the issue of accepting transgenders as (in a literal sense) the opposite gender. *shit eating grin of someone overly happy with himself*

I personally agree with you about when to disallow FTMT from playing on an all women's team, but the issue and my point is, if we are to consider a FTMT a man in all respects, we should make no exceptions at all. If, as a society, we decide to accept personal gender declarations, I may not agree, but I will not fight against it. BUT, then you have to follow the societal gender rules (such as the women's sports team), otherwise I'm running right out the door screaming like a crazy person.

The only other concession I want is, if someone accidentally refers to their lesbian roommate's "boyfriend" as her "girlfriend" because it's a really confusing situation where the girl "was" straight (meaning dated men before coming out) then the first girl she started seeing started to fully embrace becoming a FTMT after the two started dating, but they both insisted they were lesbians so the original someone thought that "lesbian" took priority over "transgender" and used the pronoun "girlfriend", I don't want that someone to get the stink eye. (This story is obviously not a personal anecdote)

Yea, Nov. 5 was an asshole, but I'm guessing a troll. People that ignorant don't usually know how to read. And I'm not trying to be an asshole, but I'm not looking for validation. I feel pretty confident in my position. While I am trying to persuade you to believe as I do, I'm not going to freak if you don't see things the same way I do. One day, I hope to live in a world where we don't have to agree with each other to accept each other's positions. I think I am right, but if society goes the other way, I will go along, too.

This is not a fact or fiction situation, if 2 people disagree on what 3+3 equals, one of them is wrong and there is no room to accept their opinion. But we are dealing with a cloudy issue where both sides are trying to use science to make declarations about social definitions and if people "choose" to be homosexual, or if a man can be "born" in a woman's body. We should be able to have a healthy debate, and if in the end we don't agree we can still be friends. Or even if we can't be friends, we should be able to leave each other the fuck alone and not worry about what the other thinks. That's all I'm drivin' at.

(P.S. When I re-read "liberals, Democrats, LBGQTI community, media" I was a gasp in horror. They might be the groups that support what I'm rallying against, but I realized the people that lump those groups together are Republicans and crazy conservatives, and while I am certainly not a Dem/lib, I don't want to be lumped in with either of the latter two, either.)

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The organization you are re... (Below threshold)

November 12, 2010 11:41 AM | Posted by Jim: | Reply

The organization you are referring to is GLAAD, not GLAD, which is a different organization. GLAAD is Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, a media watchdog group. GLAD is Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders, a legal group currently fighting for equal marriage rights and other gay rights issues.

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To me a "transexual" is a s... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 6:42 PM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply

To me a "transexual" is a somebody without the guts to be queer. For XY TSes it's "I'm not really a faggot, I'm a Woman Trapped In A Man's Body"; for an XX TS it's "identifying with the oppressor" (or "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em"). The question is "Why do these people feel they need to be poisoned with artificial hormones and/or mutilated by surgery?"


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Well, to me, a aid worker i... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 7:20 PM | Posted by Dav: | Reply

Well, to me, a aid worker is someone who eats bon-bons all day. Wow, making stuff up is fun!

Being trans has jack to do with sexuality - you can still be straight, bi, gay, asexual, just like cis people. And given the rates of rape and murder, "join 'em" makes no kind of sense whatsoever as a motivation.

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To me homosexuals are just ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 10:16 PM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

To me homosexuals are just people who fail with the opposite sex, and so pretend they weren't attracted in the first place. Why do they feel the need to carry on this ridiculous charade, it's certainly not fooling me or David O'Bedlam

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To me people who put words ... (Below threshold)

November 16, 2010 10:50 PM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply

To me people who put words in my mouth are scumbags.

In fact what I believe is that some people, even people who could have as much hetero sex as they want, simply prefer the same sex. Why they do that is beside the point: the point is that they do it and they think about it. Which becomes a problem for them because when they were first doing it and/or thinking about it "Society" disapproved of it; for some reason Society has stronger ideas about who you have sex with and how you do it than about what flavor ice cream you prefer and whether you like it on a cone or in a bowl. And "Transgenderism" is one way some people handle that disapproval.

As to "feeling like [the opposite biological sex] inside," whatever that means, you don't have to get hormones and surgery to deal with that; you don't even have to wear or not wear anything in particular (but if you want to "cross dress" go ahead). All you really need to do is say to yourself "This is how I am, to hell with anybody who doesn't like it." Which is also my recommended way of dealing with one's [homo-, bi- or hetero] sexual preference. I call it courage of a necessary sort.

That said, as a middle-aged man I can attest to the truth of a twitticism I heard somewhere: "Men will fuck mud." Women, other men, sheep, vacuum cleaner hoses, whatever. Why should anybody care, is what I want to know.

(I didn't come here to rant but I did. Apologies, Doc.)

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David o'bedlam - You are aw... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:05 AM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

David o'bedlam - You are aware, sir, that not all homosexuals (i.e. "faggots") are feminine, and you are aware not all transsexuals are sexually attracted to the same biological sex... correct? Meaning there are some people with a heterosexual orientation but a gender identity more like the opposite sex, and there are some people with a homosexual orientation but a gender identity just like the sex they were born as.

Certainly it is most common for homosexuals to also have gender identity disturbances to some degree (meaning to say gay men are often preoccupied with stereotypically female activities such as art, fashion, socializing, shopping... whereas gay women are preoccupied with stereotypically male activities such as sports, maintenance/repair and dress in masculine ways).
And it is also true most transsexuals are either homosexual or bisexual (sexually attracted to others who have the same biological sex).

But, you should be aware, it does occur sometimes that the timing and nature of hormone aberrations means the orientation is affected but the identity is not, and sometimes the identity is affected but the orientation is not. It is therefore incorrect and highly offensive/inflammatory to state "transsexuals are somebody without the guts to be queer".


I would and do agree that transsexuals are probably not all that different from transgendered people (in the sense that both groups have a profoundly atypical gender identity which is not fully like their birth sex due to hormone abnormality prenatal and early postnatal life). The main difference between them is likely personality dynamics, where in which the transgendered people are comfortable with the ambiguity and the transsexual people are not (and ultimately decide they are more like the opposite sex than the one they were born as). We need to respect not all people are comfortable being "in the middle"... some people feel the need to identify as a gender they feel most like, to pick a side, and some people decide they are on the wrong side and take surgery to correct that problem.

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Again, it makes no sense to... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:12 AM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Again, it makes no sense to say that transgenderism is a form of handling homosexuality. It is way, way, way, way ,way worse to be transgendered than it is to be gay. If you are gay, most people won't fully accept you but generally you can function day to day and no one is going to harrass you that much or ostricize you. Certainly you will face disapproval and rejection because you are a queer, but it is NOTHING like the sort of harrassment a transsexual or transgendered person faces, a big burly man with stubble wearing a long wig and makeup and a padded bra is just scary, wouldn't you agree?

I think, if anything at all, you have it backward. I think there are a lot of gay people out there (both male and female) who are fully transgendered, transsexual, but never acknowledge that and simply live as extremely feminine males or extremely masculine females. There are certainly many gay men I have met who looked like women, behaved like women, talked like women, dressed partially like women, used feminine pronouns in reference to themselves, give themselves girly nicknames, etc... and on the flipside, many women who look like men, talk like men, behave like men, and call themselves "pat"(ty) or "chris"(tine).
In spite of the fact these individuals have forged an entirely transsexual/transgendered identity, they don't acknowledge it and simply identify as gay or lesbian.

So, sir, if anything at all, I would argue you've got it in reverse. Most queers are too afraid to admit they are also transgendered, because it is another thing they will face stigma for... so instead they live the lifestyle but let it go unnamed.

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"not all homosexuals (i.... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:38 AM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply

"not all homosexuals (i.e. "faggots") are feminine"

Yes, I know that. Those are the ones that people don't yell "Faggot!" at, the ones where it's not "obvious." If nobody thinks you're gay they don't give you problems for it, eh?

Paradoxically perhaps some of those non-obvious types, gung-ho Marines etc., also go transsexual. That's called "internalized homophobia": even if nobody they know knows they're homo they do -- and they hate it.

As for being feminine, I've known a few guys who are feminine and get called "faggot" but have no sexual interest in men whatsoever, nor do they want to be women. Mostly they just wish people would leave them alone about it. (Bi chicks love guys like this; I envy them that.)

I don't know as much about FTMs. They're rarer anyway. As for "obvious" lesbians, they're (arguably) less likely to get bashed on the street. Mostly they get approached for threesomes, from what I've seen.

Anyway. Get clear on it: it's not that I'm an idiot, it's that I don't believe in "transsexualism." And that I do believe that Society should care no more about people's sexual preferences than for their taste in ice cream. Also I posit that in a society that doesn't hate queers there will be far fewer transsexuals. Capice?

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By the way, I'm not ... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 1:43 AM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply


By the way, I'm not here to argue; I've said my piece and I'm through. Disagree if you want, I don't care. There's room enough on the World Wide Web that.

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Anonymous - "If you are gay... (Below threshold)

November 17, 2010 11:13 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Anonymous - "If you are gay, most people won't fully accept you but generally you can function day to day and no one is going to harass you that much or ostracize you. Certainly you will face disapproval and rejection because you are a queer, but it is NOTHING like the sort of harrassment a transsexual or transgendered person faces, a big burly man with stubble wearing a long wig and makeup and a padded bra is just scary, wouldn't you agree?"

Wow, you're really rocking an ugly stereotype about transgender and transexual people - I've got to wonder how many transgender people you know if you think they're all big hairy men in drag. And you clearly don't have much of an idea of the kind of bullying and making fun of effeminate gay men that still goes on. TV often presents caricatures of effeminate Gay men that make them out to be silly, superficial and, well, something (yes, "thing) to be laughed at. The gay men who could always pass - the more masculine gay men who used to just stay in the closet (and often still do) - aren't treated or depicted this way. Why? Because of gender conformity and because they actually conform to the masculine ideal more than most straight men. (There's another whole discussion to be had around this but AIDS had a lot to do with the dominance of hypermasculinity in contemporary gay culture when gay culture is historically created and driven by the outsiders - the Oscar Wildes, Quentin Crisps, etc - the people who had no choice but to stand up for who they are because they couldn't possibly hide it.)

David O'Bedlam does bring up a good point about society and acceptance of difference. Most people are very uncomfortable with people who don't fit into binary gender categories (and also those who don't fit into binary categories when it comes to sexual desire) - this includes the internalized xenophobia that exists in the more mainstream Gay community (which is quite directly linked to the commodification of Gay culture and having become a marketing demographic more than a community, AIDS also played a role in the rise of a dominant hyper-masculine gay culture).

Of course, part of my personal thing is people (and myself, of course) being accepted for who they are - NOT having to conform to binary role playing - so I am aware of my bias here. I'm a bisexual woman - forget your porn fantasies, it just means I find people attractive on an individual basis and not because I date certain kinds of objects. Having a "type" always seemed a bit of a neurotic fetish to me - it's object not person directed. And, being a woman in this day and age I can play with "masculine" things without it being considered freakish - the same isn't true for men who play with "feminine" things.

While I think people should be able to do what they want with their bodies, including changing their sex, I do think there's an element of wanting to conform and also get the perceived "privileges" of a particular gender for some people (not to mention wanting to be included in mainstream society). The key is "for some people" - individuals have a diversity of motivations, desires and experience. Really, it's not that surprising that people would rather be able to pass by fitting into a category than be relegated as a "freak" - it does take a lot of courage to stand up and be honest about who we are, very few straight people do it so why would someone do it when there's the threat of violence, ostracization and so on?

Anyway, it's worth considering that if we lived in a society that actually just accepted people for who they are and the diversity of humanity that people may make different choices and have more options. Instead, our society promotes distorted hyper-masculine and hyper-feminine ideals that the vast majority of men and women fail to live up to, but often spend ridiculous amounts of energy and money trying to conform to - even using dangerous drugs that destroy actual sexual function for a surface appearance of masculinity or undergoing dangerous surgeries that actually have nothing to do with what it is to be a woman or a man. What can I say, most of us who fought for queer rights back in the 80s were fighting for acceptance of diversity - it was about being subversive and inclusive, accepting as who we are. It was about a corrosion of conformity, not defending the status quo and promoting conformist ideas of what is to be a woman. So, ultimately it's silly to make generalizations about people who want to change their gender and/or sex because people have individual motivations. Certainly, like all plastic surgery, there is a belief that changing external appearance will change one's experience of the world (whether it's how one feels inside or how the world treats you). Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. There are cases of people changing sex and then greatly regretting it when their life didn't magically improve. Just as their are people who are relieved and happy that their external appearance now reflects their internal identity.

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Hello David O'Bedlam!... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 4:58 PM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by RC: | Reply

Hello David O'Bedlam!

Your tone in your first comment came off as pretty nasty, but your subsequent comments were a bit more cordial. Thank you for that. I suspect you're a pretty open-minded guy, just a bit frustrated.

(NB: I hope my tone comes of as non-belligerent, as is intended)

You claim that a "'transexual' is a somebody without the guts to be queer" in one comment, but then you say "in a society that doesn't hate queers there will be far fewer transsexuals." These are not identical statements.

The former statement is quite harsh and is directed at individuals, while the latter wisely acknowledges the huge role that culture plays in this topic. I think we can both agree on the latter statement.

Consider Iran, a Muslim country with deeply rooted anti-feminist and anti-gay sentiments. Here gender reassignment surgery is encouraged and even subsidized by the government as a "cure" for homosexuality. From reading wikipedia, it seems like this cultural environment encourages (some) people to have surgery who otherwise (probably) would not:

"Iran carries out more sex change operations than any other nation in the world except for Thailand" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transsexuality_in_Iran).

That being said, it is VERY important to understand that sexuality and gender identity are independent. Butch heterosexual men change into butch homosexual women. Does that make sense to you? Me neither.

The good news is that it doesn't need to make sense to us. I'm a gay man, who identifies as a man, and I don't care if the reason can be traced back to my culture, politics, religion, biology, genetics, upbringing, environment, endocrinology, or epigenetics.

Also, contrary to what you say, I'm pretty sure that FTM transexuals are more common than MTF transexuals. A FTM transexual has more to gain socially from being a man, so it again would appear that cultural attitudes come into play somehow.

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AnAnon-1) I am aware... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 9:30 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

AnAnon-
1) I am aware some transsexuals 100% pass, I've seen many of them, M to F and F to M who did it at the right time during development (before puberty completes) and so now look entirely like the opposite sex. However, this is the exception, not the rule. Most transsexuals transition well after puberty, and in biological males especially the ravages of testosterone mean she will never fully look like a woman. It is possible to go from woman to man, but it is not possible to go from man to woman. Femininity is defined by a preservation of the childish/youthful features of the skeleton - large eye orbits, small jaw, small nose, small cheek bones, small brow bone. Testosterone virilizes these structures, permanently alters the skeleton of the face and body. So, yes, if you are a 40 year old transsexual, you will more than likely end up looking like a man in drag.

The point of my comment was not to express hate or disgust for transsexuals, it was to highlight the fact that it is much, much, much harder to be transsexual than it is to be gay... and this is why many gay people downplay their transgendered identity.

If anything, I think david o'bedlam has it reversed - gay people are too afraid to be transgendered. We all know that a large percentage of gay and lesbian people have profound gender identity disturbances in addition to sexual orientation typical of the opposite sex. Many gay men are physically slight/feminized, wear colorful clothes and makeup, speak with a soft feminine voice (purposely cultivated as well as bioloigcailly default), give themselves a feminine version of their masculine birth name (i.e. "matthew" becomes "mattie"), and gravitate to feminine hobbies such as decoration, fashion, makeup/aesthetics, shopping and socializing. We see the similar phenomenon with lesbians, where they behave & dress in masculine ways, change their feminine birth name and put a masculine spin on it, and generally present a significantly masculine persona to the world.

IN spite of the fact homosexuality often occurs with gender identity disturbance, MOST homosexuals never recognize this in themselves and "walk the walk" without "talking the talk". They call this being gay, even though it - gender identity disturbance - is an entirely separate issue from sexual orientation (often related, but NOT the same).


And you, david, and the rest of the world referencing the "obviously gay" homosexuals? I argue you've got it all wrong, there is no such thing as an obviously gay person. There are, however, obviously transgendered/sexual people... and we (straight, gay, society in general) erroneously conflate sexual orientation with gender identity. When we see that slight, feminine, soft, lisping young man, we think to ourselves "obviously gay"... in reality what we are observing is "obviously transgendered" and he may or may not actually be sexually attracted to men, he may or may not ever identify himself as a transgendered person... but all the same, gender identity is almost impossible to hide. Gender identity is a large part of our personality, and we cannot fully hide it. It is embarrassing and awkward when a feminine man tries to butch up, and it is similarly strange when a butch woman tries to fem it up. The brain has a sex and it cannot be ever hidden.


Sexual orientation on the other hand can totally be hidden - sure a glance, a stare, can indicate attraction and thoughts, but it is impossible to really KNOW for certain. There is no such thing as an obviously gay person. There are ONLY transgendered people, and we as a society and people constantly and chronically confuse gender identity with sexual orientation. Gay people are probably the worst offenders, as they have the most at stake. While it is difficult to be gay, it's easier to be gay than it is to admit you are not fully happy with your anatomy and part of your brain longs to be the opposite sex, some of the time, a significant amount of the time. I suspect much of the internalized angst homosexuals feel isn't because of homophobia/bullying, it's because of the mild, moderate, or severe gender identity disturbance, leading to self loathing. Depression and dysphoria are very big symptoms of gender identity disturbance, because gender identity and gendered behavior is so integral to who we are (whereas sexuality/orientation is a very small part of ourselves, comes out only situationally, and can be coped with better). Of course I have no proof of this, but considering how much gay people conflate gender identity with sexual orientation, it would not at all surprise me to discover that the gender identity problems common in homosexuals are a major reason they have such a high rate of depression, dysphoria, suicide...


2) I disagree with your take on bisexuality - as a state of being attracted to "individuals". This myth (that bisexuality is a more evolved/spiritual form of sexuality which does not judge people by their packaging) is just as bad as the "hypersexual maniacs" myth and the "unstable/unbalanced" myths of bisexuals. I am also bisexual, and I view it as my neuroanatomy being a combination of feminine and masculine in terms of sexual orientation. I am not "attracted to individuals", I am attracted to masculine and I am attracted to feminine. It's that simple. Sexuality is regulated by the reptilian, non-thinking parts of the brain. There have been people I have liked very much as people but felt no sexual attraction to and there are people I don't like as people but feel sexually attracted to . I would argue anyone claiming to be "sexually attracted to individuals" is probably confusing platonic feelings for sexual ones. It is not possible to be sexually attracted to non-sexual traits (like kindness, benevolence, agreeableness). Certainly non-sexual traits can enhance your fondness of someone (intensifying a preexisting sexual attraction), but the raw, primal sexual attraction itself? No, that's regulated by things like visual cues, pheromones, voice pitch... signs of sexuality. And my take on bisexuality, true bisexuality, is that it represents partially masculinized and partially feminized sexual orientation. No higher, more spiritual sexuality involved.


3) What makes you think transgenderism is superior to transsexualism? I agree that personality/social factors probably determine who is transsexual and who is transgendered...but it is just as biased and false to say that transgenderism is inherently superior/more accepting than is transsexualism. Unless you are a transsexual, transgendered person, you have no idea what it is like to see life through their eyes... and even if you are transgendered, you don't know how much your personal experience is like someone else's experience. I have to believe there are some people , for reasons other than social pressure, who cannot tolerate living in a body that looks like it does. There may be some people who are SO masculine or SO feminine that they just can't deal with their anatomy. I know I would not want to wake up in a masculine body. I think if I had to go through life as a man I would be very unhappy and I don't know if I would be content with "being in the middle". I probably wouldn't have the courage to be transsexual, either... most likely I would languish miserable. I like being feminine, pretty, and I like being treated that way. I like wearing feminine clothing and I like dressing up and looking attractive and feminine. I do not and would not want to be treated like a man. In some ways I suppose I am more masculine than other women (I'm rather fond of mechanical things and am quite sharp with systems, I can be quite assertive and aggressive, and I am bisexual ) but in terms of my presentation and appearance I would *hate* looking masculine and manly and being treated that way.


It is just as biased to be pro-ambiguity as it is to be against it. Many people don't believe bisexuals exist, for example... which is just as foolish and narrowminded and comes from a polarized sexual orientation perspective which cannot fathom that bisexuality can be real. Speaking personally I find it hard to believe polarized sexual orientations exist. I find it hard to imagine since my experience is all I know, and ever since I was a small child I have been sexually and romantically fascinated with men and women. I don't go and say everyone must be bisexual and in denial (the way gays say of us, or straight people for that matter).I just accept others have different neuroanatomy, and most have a polarized orientation. I have to accept gay men/straight women don't know what it's like to be attracted to a woman, and gay women/straight men don't know what it's like to be attracted to a man... as hard to imagine as it is for me, I accept their perspective as being real and valid.


Can you not see it is just as biased to pass judgment on transsexuals (as it being a pathological state, a symptom of an unaccepting society) , as it is for a frank homophobe to pass judgment on you for being a bisexual? I can totally imagine how one would be driven to be transsexual if they were so polarized to the opposite gender... that they could not find comfort "in the middle". And I can also accept that personality factors (discomfort with ambiguity, a drive for boundaries) are just as valid as sexual ones (a brain that likes/gravitates to the opposite sex in terms of gender identity).

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RC - IT does seem that f to... (Below threshold)

November 18, 2010 9:41 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

RC - IT does seem that f to m transsexuals are more common... and I would assume this may relate to the fact that a masculine identity may push someone to extremes whereas a feminine identity allows someone to be more comfortable with "averages". This is supported by gender research indicating the masculine/male brain jumps to extremes in things - ability, intelligence, skills/interests. So it only stands to reason that very masculine women are more likely to identify as men (an extreme position) whereas very feminine men are more likely to just live as very feminine men (a tendency to averages and an avoidance of polarization and extremism is a sign of a feminine brain).

A woman who lives life as a man has far less opportunities and will face more hardship than a woman who lives life as a woman, so I am not buying the explanation that social pressure (to enjoy the benefits of being a man) is the reason behind it. Not all f to m transsexuals pass 100%, and the process is extremely difficult for those people.

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You make some very good poi... (Below threshold)

November 19, 2010 2:19 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by RC: | Reply

You make some very good points - it's all very logical and reasonable - but it does somewhat contract with my (admittedly limited) experience with transexuals. I'll have to take your words and let them marinate.

You see, it's quite intuitive that FTM transexuals would be more masculine and "extreme." It makes perfect sense. However, the few transexuals I've met (both FTM and MTF) are among the most gentile, non-belligerent, and non-extreme people I've ever met.

I realize that my sample size is small, but I've assumed from these observations that being discontent with your gender changes you into a more compassionate person. When you've carried such a psychological burden for so long, I think it makes you more likely to empathize with other people and their burdens.

I'll have to think about it…

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People who are transgender ... (Below threshold)

November 21, 2010 1:07 PM | Posted, in reply to RC's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

People who are transgender or transexual are individuals, trying to make sweeping generalizations about motivations and personality is no less silly than assuming all straight men are all the same or all lesbians or all straight women are the same and have exactly the same idea about what it is to be a man or woman.

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Do try to understand what I... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 1:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Do try to understand what I'm saying: a feminine male is a feminine MALE, not a "woman in a man's body." And yes, in our society one would expect a feminine man to prefer other men, of whatever gender and "preference," but that's not always the case. The same goes for masculine females: an "FTM" is not a "transman," she's a mutilated woman.

I'm separating sex and gender, and for that matter sex, gender and sexual preference. One is BORN anatomically and chromosomally male or female (except in rare cases of deformity): you can be, say, a gay and butch MALE or femme and straight FEMALE, but whatever your manner and however you feel you will remain chromosomally and (usually) anatomically male or female. If you get hormones and surgery trying to change this you will only become a fucked-up male or female -- you will NOT change your sex. Sex is a biological construction, not a social one.

Regardless of how they feel inside or how they seem to others, an "FTM" cannot have functioning testicles and an "MTF" could not give birth.

And by the way, I'm aware of such phenomena as, e.g., Androgen Insensitivity in which someone may have a vagina and clitoris but be chromosomally male and unable to get pregnant, but such cases are rare and can be detected by a blood test. That's called "intersex," a birth defect (I can't think of a better term at thge moment), which is not the same thing as "transsexuality." E.g., it might be that you can't get pregnant because despite having a vagina, clitoris, etc., you're genetically male; you will not be "a transsexual" because there is no such animal. You're a male in which something has become very unusual. And there's no confusion: a blood test will show pretty much what went on in utero.

The "transsexual movement" wants to slop some of that over on themselves, to confuse everybody else about their own confusion. To use my earlier example, there's a world of difference between someone with Androgen Insensitivity and a "transman," and that world of difference can be shown by a blood test: regardless of what a "transman" pays lots of money to do to herself she will remain XX.

Unlike such things as Androgen Insensitivity here is no blood test for "transsexuality." Nobody can tell you that objectively and scientifically speaking -- whether you like it or not -- you're "transsexual."

And because "intersex" is pretty damn rare we may treat it as "the exception that proves the rule": the rule is that XX makes you female, as shown by the "false positives" who despite outward appearance are XY -- who cannot give birth which is something only XX people can do. And vice versa: someone without a Y chromsome will be unable to knock anybody up.

It might sound complex but it's really simple: any individual in which there is a Y chromosome will not be a female, and anyone with two X chromosomes, regardless of what else is going on, will not be a male. Male = XY, female = XX. Which in the vast majority of cases turns out as you'd expect by looking at the genitalia of a newborn infant. Regardless of how that infant grows up to "feel inside."

And yes, it's perfectly possible, and perfectly okay to be, say, a femme straight male or whatever. That's gender and preference, not sex; they are usually -- but not always -- in close correlation. Which is perfectly fine, as long as the individual realizes he is "a feminine man who prefers women" and not "a lesbian in a man's body." The second is like saying "I'm a unicorn with an elephant's trunk."

Get it yet?

Like I said, I didn't show up here to argue. But I also didn't show up to have my position misconstrued (deliberately or not) either.


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By the way, I'm not ... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 1:29 PM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply


By the way, I'm not used to this interface yet; that last long "anonymous" post was from me.

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Another BTW: I mysel... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 1:47 PM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply


Another BTW: I myself am a Bisexual male, pretty androgynous as males go, who came out at age 12 in 1975 and became a queer activist at age 16 in 1979, and I'm speaking as an "old veteran" who has spent most of my life trying to explain to people that "no, I don't want to be a woman, I just like having sex with other guys (and occasionally fall in love with one.)" Whether this is by "nature" or "nurture" is irrelevant: what matters is that I'm just as entitled to human and civil rights as any Archie Bunker. So my bile at the diversionary "transsexual" movement might well be said to parallel that of some old-school female feminists I know who say "I devoted my life to proving women should be equal to men, not that women are weak pathetic victims."

A "transwomen" who digs guys should fight for his right to be cocksucking human being with a penis, not give in by having themselves mutilated. Be strong, be queer.

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Another BTW: I mysel... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 1:49 PM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply


Another BTW: I myself am a Bisexual male, pretty androgynous as males go, who came out at age 12 in 1975 and became a queer activist at age 16 in 1979, and I'm speaking as an "old veteran" who has spent most of my life trying to explain to people that "no, I don't want to be a woman, I just like having sex with other guys (and occasionally fall in love with one.)" Whether this is by "nature" or "nurture" is irrelevant: what matters is that I'm just as entitled to human and civil rights as any Archie Bunker. So my bile at the diversionary "transsexual" movement might well be said to parallel that of some old-school female feminists I know who say "I devoted my life to proving women should be equal to men, not that women are weak pathetic victims."

A "transwomen" who digs guys should fight for his right to be cocksucking human being with a penis, not give in by having himself mutilated. Be strong, be queer!

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GACK. A major fuckup... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 1:51 PM | Posted by "D O'B": | Reply


GACK. A major fuckup: I tried to stop the posting in time to correct the grammar in the last paragraph but it came out as two posts. Please forgive me, I'll try not to do it again.

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Shouldn't you just fight fo... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by Cashman: | Reply

Shouldn't you just fight for your right to gender reassignment surgery?

Seriously I'm just kidding above, I'm not making any kind of statement about your sexuality, I'm sure you are a male who is attracted to both males and females, as you say. I don't think it's very fair that you start claiming you know what's going on in the mind of people who claim to be transsexual though. YOU aren't transsexual. Neither am I. But maybe some other people are. Sexuality is obviously very complicated, partially biological, partially socially constructed, and despite the existence of broad groups there are exceptions that defy clear categorization. Even genetics isn't that simple. You mentioned androgen insensitivity, but there are also people with genotypes other than XX or XY, and there are apparent males with XX genotype (caused by X-Y crossing over, where one of the X's absorbs part of the Y).

My perspective is that I couldn't care less about other people's sexual orientations. If they say they're straight or gay or whatever else I'll believe them, and if they're actually not then that's for them to work out in their own mind, it's not my interest or concern, beyond just being supportive if they're my friend.

Even if social pressures have made people feel they are transexual, when otherwise they would just be gay (which, based on the existence of heterosexual male -> homosexual female transexuals seems implausible), that doesn't mean they should be pressured to give up their transsexuality. Social forces can leave an imprint on people that it is not realistic to remove. Society should just be accepting of everything that is not harmful, and in 500 years we will see one way or the other if transsexuality is real or not.

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David - Interesting that yo... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 3:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

David - Interesting that you assume that everyone else's experience must be exactly like your own and how you want to define it for them (mainly because it seems to conflict with your ideas about your own identity). To be clear, I am in no way negating how you feel or think about yourself but the amount of anger you seem to feel towards people who feel differently than you and choose gender reassignment surgery is, well, coming off like narcissistic rage and a desire to negate others who may well be quite different than you. You're busy making their choices all about YOU - that's the narcissism.

People are individuals - sure there are "effeminate" men who are gay, straight and bisexual who are quite happy and comfortable being effeminate gay, straight or bisexual men. There are also "butch" women who are gay, straight or bisexual who are very comfortable being women. However, there are also people who feel differently than you and no matter how angry it makes you that doesn't mean that they are "wrong" or somehow sick just because it makes YOU uncomfortable and challenges the identity YOU'VE constructed for yourself.

For the record, I'm a bisexual woman who also came of age during the 70s and where I come from Queer is inclusive of all shades of difference - you get to be an effeminate bisexual man AND people who have always felt like girls who want to be a woman also get to be who they are and are loved for who they are...not vilified and denigrated because they don't conform to someone else's desires and prejudices. Your version of Queer seems rather fascistic and hostile, to say the least. For the record, being a woman is not defined by the ability to spit out babies - the fact that you think it does makes it kind of weird that you're even bringing up feminism.

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"being a woman is not defin... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 3:54 PM | Posted by "David O'Bedlam": | Reply

"being a woman is not defined by the ability to spit out babies"

I didn't say that. I said you have to have two X chromosomes, i.e. to be biologically female, to "spit out babies." Not that it's required, or that women are good for nothing else, or even that you should give a damn one way or the other, only that anatomically and physiologically speaking that's the difference between the sexes: one is built to get pregnant, the other to cause pregnancy. Whether you want to "spit out babies" or not is up to you, but if you were born with a Y chromosome whether you want to "spit out babies" or not is irrelevant because that Y chromosome means you won't be able to. I.e., it's the chromosomes that determine sex, not the surgeon's knife.

If you want to get "Beauvoirist" I'll agree with you: the kind of "XX person" you want to be, e.g., how you want to dress and what you want to do for a living, is entirely up to you. Within the physical boundaries that were determined by the time you were born. Someone born XX "but expresses herself atypically" will remain woman who works construction, who gets drunk and beats up bikers, and who has a wife and hates kids" -- not "a man in a woman's body." It's those two X chromosomes that count here, regardless of what you do with them, and no mistranslated philosopher can argue that away.

Some "life forms" can change their physical sex or be both at once, but H. Sapiens cannot. The closest we can come is to fuck ourselves over with hormones and surgery -- instead of forcing society to accept us as we are.

What's so hard to get right about that?


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Once again you're assuming ... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 4:42 PM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Once again you're assuming that your personal identity issues should be everyone else's and making it all about YOU while spitting out narcissistic rage on anyone that doesn't affirm your identity and desires and conform to them. I get it that YOU'RE not someone who has the feeling or desire that they're born in the wrong body and have no desire to have sex re-assignment surgery. Nobody here is saying you SHOULD have gender re-assignment surgery or claiming that effeminate men are all women trapped in men's bodies - clearly you're not trying to communicate here but impose your beliefs about your identity on others. Your total denial of other people's experiences and desire to impose your beliefs on them is, quite frankly, isn't promoting queerness or acceptance on any level. You sound like you consider yourself a militant queer but you're just coming off as a total body fascist who is no different than a homophobe who thinks that homosexuality is "unnatural" and should be "cured". So why do you so desperately want to define other people's identities for them and what they can do with their bodies? And deny other's their experiences and choices? It's pretty clear your experience isn't that of people who choose to have sex re-assignment surgery, I'm not sure why you're so enraged about other people's choices and differences.

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David - "...instead of forc... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 5:01 PM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

David - "...instead of forcing society to accept us as we are."

That's rather ironic since you're unwilling to accept others as they see themselves and "are" and deciding you have the right to use "us" about people you're actively negating and distancing yourself from. You can't force others to see you how you'd like to be seen - an element of narcissism is trying to force other people to see you how you identify yourself (which may or may not be who your behavior expresses you to be). You can openly and honestly be yourself and people who are interested in seeing who you really are will be able to see you. Others will project their own needs and desires onto you for their own purposes, kind of like you're doing with people who opt to have sex change operations. Other people aren't your ideological toys and it's not their job to affirm your identity (because apparently you need massive outside reinforcement to keep your identity intact and get enraged that anyone would have a different experience or deal with their identity differently). It's pretty clear that when you say "we" or "us" you mean "me, me, me".

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I've been reconsidering, an... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 6:37 PM | Posted by DeShawn Lumumba: | Reply

I've been reconsidering, and, you know, you're absolutely right: it's what a person feels like inside that determines one's identity, regardless of what you look like when you're born or what anybody else says.

With that in mind, I'm now coming out as Transafrican, a black person misborn into a white person's body.

I know this is true because ever since I was a toddler I've loved to feast on fried chicken and watermelon, I used to amaze the other kids by dancing along with Soul Train without missing a beat, and it distressed me to no end that my hair won't Fro like Michael Jackson's did. (No joke, all this is really true.) So what I'm gonna now do is start saving up for the necessary surgery, and in the meantime I'm going to buy myself some droopy pants and "bling" and a whole crate of shoe polish.

And if you dare to impugn my deep-down Africanicity, if you presume to suggest that instead of doing all kinds of stuff to myself I should fight for my right to be a white guy with rhythm, I'm going to call you a fascist and a racist and an inconsiderate meany who thinks everybody else should go along with *your* personal pathologies and *your* silly ideology.

Furthermore I'll insist you be consistent and support me in telling my fellow Black brothers and sisters that I really am who I feel myself to be and not just some wacky clown in blackface. Hmmm? Maybe you could raise their consciousness about Race like you've just raised mine about Gender.

And hey, you know who else would have told me that no matter how I felt I was still really a honky, don't you?!?

Happy Kwanzaa, yo!


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So everyone who is African ... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 7:21 PM | Posted, in reply to DeShawn Lumumba's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

So everyone who is African is Black? Dude, Africans come in white too (in many shades of human in fact). Africans are people born in Africa, it's a national/continental and cultural identity, with subgroups within it like the rest of the planet. Like Europeans or North Americans, it's not defined by the tone of your skin. You seem confused. From the rather muddled cliche of baggy pants and "bling" you seem to want to pass as a rapper you saw on tv...I suspect even with the appropriate makeup you'd have a pretty hard time pulling that off. Hip hop, btw, is culture and people of all colours are engaged in creating it.

Or is it just skintone you're talking about? You also don't seem to realize that America's history is full of people who are "transrace" (race is, after all, more of a construct than a biological reality) - meaning they were pale enough to move from a black community to a white one during times of segregation and "pass". Some people bleached their skin so they could more easily pass.

So, yeah, you can decide you are black man trapped in a white man's body if you want and go through the effort of making the superficial transformation. How well you pass will determine if others accept you or not, and treat you like a black man. I'd highly recommend you read the book Black Like Me. If you're a middle class white guy, you may want to opt for being a middle class black guy - or a bit of an oreo - it'd be easier for you. Of course, class is a cultural construct as well.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Like_Me

If someone wants to change their class, their gender, their cultural identity, their skintone, their hair colour, the size of their boobs or implant horns in their forehead, what business is it of mine if they're not hurting anyone else? The person having the operation is assuming the risks and consequences of their choices and actions, they're taking responsibility for themselves, I don't see why that upsets you so much. Is it because you're afraid you'll sleep with or be friendly to someone who you believe is a woman but once had a penis? Unless you want to sleep with someone, why is it your business or right to even know?

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Perhaps I should have been ... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 7:39 PM | Posted by DeShawn Lumumba: | Reply

Perhaps I should have been more specific: because of how I feel inside I know myself to be a "Negro," a "sub-Saharan," an "Africoid," a "Bantu." I'm aware that Morocco is also in Africa, but when your average American says she's "African-American" she does not mean her forebears were Berber.

The baggy pants & bling was a parallel to the big boobs and big hair the trannies I've known went for. No TS I knew wanted to be a butch woman, they all went for superfemme. And the names too: everybody wanted to be Candie or Vanessa, nobody wanted to be Mamie or Ethel.
Nobody goes through all those hormones and laser treatments and surgeries hoping to come out plain and dowdy; looking like Snooki is a good start though.

So of course as a Transracial I'd want to look like Michael Jackson BEFORE, not Michael Jackson AFTER. I can do the latter as an ordinary white weirdo, though I would need lipstick.

If you're over 18 and have ventured out of your mommy's basement you should know this already. Now stop being deliberately obtuse, okay?

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If you want to dye your ski... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 7:46 PM | Posted, in reply to DeShawn Lumumba's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

If you want to dye your skin black you've got my blessing.

Seriously the reason that your argument is not entirely sensible is because blacks and whites are NOT really different psychologically, while men and women actually are somewhat different.

But if you say you're transafrican I'm not going to argue with you.

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Also my post above.<p... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 7:53 PM | Posted by Cashman: | Reply

Also my post above.

"...I should fight for my right to be a white guy with rhythm, I'm going to call you a fascist and a racist and an inconsiderate meany who thinks everybody else should go along with *your* personal pathologies and *your* silly ideology."

If you want to be white guy with rhythm that's also fine. I support your right to decide you like and want to be a part of black culture, I also support your right to change your physical appearance to look blacker (because I don't care at all about what you do with your life). Whatever you prefer. Maybe you think it's mutually exclusive to accept gays and transsexuals, but I don't see it that way. I think people should be accepting of gays AND transsexuals at the same time.

If, as a bisexual guy, people are not being nice to you I think you SHOULD fight for your right to be a bisexual guy. But if you decide you want to have surgery to look like a woman, then go for it. It's honestly up to you, not up to me.

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Anyway, to return to the in... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 8:01 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Anyway, to return to the initial article and person being discussed - there are quite a few aspects of this story that Alone seems to have left out. It's not just someone who suddenly decided that she now wants to be addressed as he, it's something they've lived with since they were a child. Kye Adams does intend to undergo the physical transformation and take hormones eventually but it's being done in a way that allows him to keep her scholarship (gender use intentional) and doesn't disadvantage teammates. It's all pretty reasonable actually and it's also very normal for someone who intends to undergo hormone therapy and operations to change their outward sexual signifiers to start the process by living as the gender before the physical transition starts. It's actually pretty cool that people are being so supportive.

And does it really change the definition of "man"? Why be so insecure? Is the only thing that defines one as a "man" having a penis or balls? Are you still allowed to call yourself a "man" if you lose them in an accident? And if it's all about biology, why doesn't the brain count for anything when it's really where our experience of ourselves happens? Identity is a lot more fluid than most of us like to believe...

http://www.outsports.com/os/index.php/component/content/article/24-people/338-transgender-man-to-play-for-womens-basketball-team

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Very few women want to be u... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 8:21 PM | Posted, in reply to DeShawn Lumumba's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Very few women want to be ugly, whether they were born a woman or not. You seem to be a bit unclear about women and identity as well.

And if you think you're Michael Jackson trapped in a white man's body you should be rejoicing since Michael Jackson seemed to believe he was a white man trapped in a black man's body. (In reality, I suspect his body and identity dysmorphia was a bit more complex than that. Poor guy. But it's a bit hard to resist stating the obvious and the whole turtles standing on turtles aspect of it.)

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"Identity is a lot more ... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 10:26 PM | Posted by David: | Reply

"Identity is a lot more fluid than most of us like to believe..."

Right, it's all a matter of self-definition. We all are whoever we feel ourselves to be. White, Black, male, female, Napoleon, Jesus Christ... And we should all back each other up in our respective assertions, whether or not they have any basis in scientific fact or objective reality. We should even eliminate the fascist tyranny of having fixed legal names. Ergo, this week I'm Mickey Mouse, next week I'll be Cleopatra, the week after I'll be a 83 year old deaf begonia named Fergie -- a plaid one.

Ever heard of a philosopher named Sokal?

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DOB - Sir, listen. Your lif... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 11:13 PM | Posted, in reply to "David O'Bedlam"'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

DOB - Sir, listen. Your life story is very inspiring that you came out at such a young age, at a time when it was very very hard to be gay... however, HOWEVER, you have to understand that transsexualism has nothing to do with sexual orientation. It's like your brain won't let you understand that.

1) It is a lot more difficult to be a tranny than it is to be gay. In today's society, anyway, this is true. It might not have been true in 1975, but in 2010 it is much easier to be gay than to be a transsexual. Gays are relatively accepted now (relatively anyway), transsexuals still remain outcasts and "weirdos" and freaks. This is why many gay/bisexual people with a profoundly atypical gender identity do not acknowledge it and simply call it being gay. You yourself say you are very androgynous... yet you refuse to use the word transgendered in reference to yourself.

2) As I said numerous times, GENDER IDENTITY is not hte same as SEXUAL IDENTITY. There are many, many, many transsexual people who are entirely heterosexual (well, by their biological sex they are heterosexual). It happens.

What about those 5 year old little boys who refuse to wear boys clothes and keep saying to their mom "I am really a girl" and "when will I wake up and be a girl?". That actually happens. How can this be a reaction to queerphobia, the child is too young to even know what queer is or that it is bad (which is why he is so forthcoming with his desire to be a girl).

You are letting your personal experiences bias you. Gender identity is real and some people seem to have such a strong emphasis on the gender identity of the opposite sex that they decide they do not want to keep their anatomy the way it is. Reassignment surgery, for these people, feels like the correction of a birth defect. Why deny them this surgery that makes some people so much happier than they otherwise would have been?

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And a bisexual male of all ... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 11:26 PM | Posted, in reply to "D O'B"'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

And a bisexual male of all people should be the most sensitive to the perspectives of others.

Research suggests bisexuality doesn't even exist in men. There is that famous experiment where men and women were shown various pornographic images... some were females only, some were male only, some were females and males together.

All males responded in a polarized way to the pornographic images... meaning genital blood flow increased to imaged containing either men OR women, and was strongest when the prefered gender was exclusively on screen (meaning men were most excited by exclusive female porn or exclusive male porn, but also became excited by male+female porn).

All females responded in a bisexual way to pornographic images, and genital blood flow increased to porn that had males, females, males + females and there didn't seem to be a strong preference for either type of porn.

Now, I'm not arguing that men can't be bisexual. I am sure they can. If women can be bisexual, that means men must be bisexual as well, since men and women , male and female, are merely defined by various mixtures of hormones before and after birth, we are not entirely different species or anything... if it is possible for people to e partially male and partially female (i.e. transexual, transgendered, homosexual, various other gender/sex atypicalities) then it stands to reason that a brain process operant in typical women should also be operant in some feminine males as well.

Either bisexuality isnt real at all, OR it is something that is possible for men as well as women.

The research also seemed to suggest all women were queer, which seems ridiculous to me, knowing what I know, talking with other women, it seems as if most women have a strong sexual preference for males so the idea that women have no sexual preference is clearly bullshit. The fact the study suggested all women are sexually ambivilent casts doubt on it as evidence against male bisexuality. None of those seem true.

The point I"m making is that the entire world doesn't believe your perspective is real, D.O.B.
Most people think you are a gay guy in denial... or some kind of paraphilic sexual maniac who will fuck anything the way a dog humps a stuffed animal: a gay man who also fetishizes femaleness (or a straight man who fetishizes femaleness).

How ironic that you belong to a sexual group no one even believes is valid and you are trying to eliminate the perspectives of other gender/sexual minorities.

At least a bisexual female can occupy the fetish / desire category of heterosexual men, and some crappy research validates it is real.

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The problem is that you're ... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 11:40 PM | Posted, in reply to David's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

The problem is that you're mistaking your own ideology for "scientific fact" and your own subjectivity for objectivity. You not only sound no different than those who claimed that science proved that homosexuality was a pathology a couple of decades ago. You kinda sound like one of those people who is anti gay marriage because it will lead to people marrying tables and penguins (and penguin/table polygamy).

Self identity is just a story we tell ourselves about who we are, social identity is who or what other people think we are (the stories they tell about who we are, which is usually in relation to them and who they are). Sometimes they align, sometimes they don't.

Words do change meaning all the time and can be used in different ways. And, in reality, many people have quite subjective meanings for words based upon their own experiences. Language is also fluid, it's changed by context and use. Meaning is shaped by the listener as well as the one speaking, or the reader as well as the author.

Objective reality, of course, exists but it is something we try to see from our innate human subjectivity - that's just how our brains and perception work. Sure you can practice observation or a sort of detached voyeurism and we can use tools and methods to help us see beyond ourselves. The very reason we have science is that we recognize just how subjective and biased individual perception and even observation is - the scientific method is an attempt to mitigate our innate subjectivity and biases but even our best efforts and with all the tools/instruments we have to extend our very limited senses, we're still only doing the best we can.

Science is the best method we've got for attempting to see the physical world and our collective selves objectively so I'm in no way dismissing it as a method of investigating the world, just pointing out that it is what it is and we are what we are. Science doesn't actually have a great track record regarding being free of social biases regarding both gender and sexuality (mainly because both of these matters touch everyone personally and relate to personal identity AND social identity). I'm always leery of people who try to use science to be "right" rather than as a means to further understand because it's usually a sign that someone is trying to use science for ideological purposes - to promote their version of subjective reality rather than to actually try to discern objective reality as best as we can.

So, objective reality exists and it just is. Then there's subjective reality, everyone's personal view on what reality is that's often shaped by forces outside of our conscious awareness and control. And then there's what's called "consensual reality", which means what we all agree reality is (which may have nothing whatsoever to do with object reality and right now we've got groups of people with quite different and contradictory consensual realities...as a species, we don't currently actually all share the same consensual reality...we're not on the same page, so to speak). Most of what we use to operate socially is consensual reality and most of the "culture wars" going on at the moment are due to conflicting consensual realities and an attempt to make one's own version of consensual reality dominant. Most of us hang out with people who share our subjective take on reality, which in turn creates a consensual reality between us and our friends.

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Yes, in fact I do kn... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 11:52 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply


Yes, in fact I do know, "transsexualism has nothing to do with sexual orientation." Some people who think they're women born into men's bodies want to have sex with men, some people who think they're women born into men's bodies want to have sex with women, some people who think they're women born into men's bodies want to save themselves for Jesus, and some people who think they're women born into men's bodies are into farm animals.

Most of the TSes I've met or heard of were "straight transwomen", people who were born XY who want to "transition" into (pseudo-)women who have sex with men.
They'd get all hissy if I referred to them as gay or male.

I daresay that's most likely the vast majority of cases out there; with most Gender, Sex, and/or Identity Disorders it's mostly XYs having them. For that matter most rapists are XY, whether they're raping prison fish or pasture sheep, so when people say "rapist" they usually picture an XY with a penis. Which is not to slight unaltered XXs or even XYs without penises, as I'm sure there have been, say, isolated instances of post-op "transsexuals" forcing themselves on puppies that I haven't heard of.

Like I said, sir or ma'am, it's not that I'm an idiot, I just don't believe in "transsexualism." In most cases what you have is a tormented gay male who's so off in his head that he wants off with his genitals. Period.


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Can you stop calling everyo... (Below threshold)

November 22, 2010 11:54 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Can you stop calling everyone you disagree with a narcissist, please?

DOB doesn't come across as a narcissist. He just seems kinda dogmatic, like, this is an important issue to him and he needs some help realizing his perspective is flawed. A narcissist is superficial, his image means nothing except that it is his, it isn't really him, it's just to be seen/be real. DOB has a real identity as a queer person, and although I have been arguing him for the past few days (and you as well) I can appreciate how he feels the way he does. He's wrong, though, but I totally understand his POV. He's having a hard time separating sexual orientation from gender identity and this is part of the reason his perspective is so false. It's not his fault, the gay community is just as guilty for CONSTANTLY conflating gendered behavior with sexual orientation. The abnormal/atypical gendered behavior of many homosexuals is the primary reason they do not assimilate. Sex is just a small facet of ourselves whereas on the other hand, gender is a huge chunk of it. NO one has to know you go home and fantasize about rugged guys, but EVERYONE will know you don't conform to the status quo if you are a florist with a lisp who calls himself "girl". Nothing about being a florist with a lisp who uses feminine pronouns in reference to himself is about eyeing up men... this is all gendered behavior, and it is the gender piece of homosexuality (the fact so many homosexuals are also significantly or slightly transgendered) that makes it an "issue".

He's just not getting that all trannies are gay. He's not getting that trannies are afraid to be gay, trannies don't want to be in the body they are in.

It is hard for him to understand that since his personality seems rather gel with fluidity (due to being androgynous and bisexual) but he just can't seem to get that some men and some women HATE being men and women and this has nothing to do with fear of / an inability to accept being gay. Not all trannies are even gay.

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"Like I said, sir or ma'am,... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:14 AM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

"Like I said, sir or ma'am, it's not that I'm an idiot, I just don't believe in "transsexualism." In most cases what you have is a tormented gay male who's so off in his head that he wants off with his genitals. Period."

I don't think you're an idiot... I think you are so set in your ways and your perspective that you aren't even trying to understand that your perspective isn't universal and some gender/sexual minorities don't feel the way you do.

You don't believe in transsexualism, that it is possible to have such a strong gender identity disturbance one is better off living as the opposite sex and taking surgery/hormones to assimilate... but how can you say that when you yourself are not a transsexual? You are an "androgynous bisexual male". You don't know what it's like to be a gay male, and you don't know what it's like to desperately want to be a woman, a female, feminine in body and presence. Why do you presume to have the capacity to even JUDGE someone elses reality and perspective?

I understand your message - "do not mutilate your body, accept yourself, don't try to fit in to a society, make society fit to accept you". However you really are way way way off base with your fixed belief that all trannies are self loathing queers. Many transexual people ARE activitist types trying to change society to accept them. They want to be accepted as transsexual women or transsexual men.

You just have to accept, believe people when they say to you: I cannot stand living in this gender role. My brain refuses to enjoy or tolerate it and I won't do it any longer. Accusing them of being a self loathing fag is ridiculous and prejudicial, it would be like me accusing you of being a self loathing gay man for being bisexual. I don't know what it is like inside your head and I"m not going to dismiss your reality.

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"having a hard time sepa... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:20 AM | Posted by DoB: | Reply

"having a hard time separating sexual orientation from gender identity"

No, I'm not. As I clearly said in last comment, "[s]ome people who think they're women born into men's bodies want to have sex with men, some people who think they're women born into men's bodies want to have sex with women, some people who think they're women born into men's bodies want to save themselves for Jesus, and some people who think they're women born into men's bodies are into farm animals."

And of course the same goes for born XXs who want to "transition," and for people of all chromosomal sets who think they're really something else whether or not they actually want to have surgery -- as not all people with Gender Identity Disorder are that far gone.

By the way, you do know there're lots of surgeons making small fortunes by encouraging people to irreparably "fix" themselves; you're not only buying into a sad pathology, you're enabling a medical racket. Women all over the world started hollering about all the unnecessary hysterectomies and mastectomies about 30 years ago, but fortunately for shady surgeons around the same time "gender reassignment" came into vogue. I'd bet a surgeon could send his kid through college just by what he'd make by "helping" the trannies of the Tenderloin alone.

Can the PC Police start reading what I actually say instead of projecting your fantasies onto me? Or are you so narcissistic that you don't notice when someone says something different from what your ideological conditioning has led you to expect?

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deshawn lumumba - I am goin... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:36 AM | Posted, in reply to DeShawn Lumumba's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

deshawn lumumba - I am going to completely pretend as if your response wasn't racist. It is, but I'm just going to argue your point because there may be some people who agree with you.


The difference between a transsexual and a "transafrican" is that gender and sex are entirely controlled by TESOSTERONE and ESTROGEN levels before and shortly after birth. You can see my earlier replies as "drive by education" where I gave a brief primer on how it works. XX and XY do NOT control maleness and femaleness. The only thing that controls maleness and femaleness is TESTOSTERONE and to a lesser degree ESTROGEN.
A lack of testosterone means female. A presence of enough testosterone means male. It's taht simple. You can be XY, XX, XO, XXXY, XYY, XXYY, or any number of combinations. The ONLY THING THAT MATTERS is how much testosterone bound to the testosterone receptors in your brain and your body.

Maleness and femaleness was possible for all humans, what we ended up as is exclusively a function of how much testosterone our fetal selves bathed in. If it was a lot, we turned into men. If it was a little bit or none, we turned into women. If there is some atypicality in testosterone activity in the brain or in the body we end up transsexual, transgender, gay or bisexual.

SO you see it is entirely possible to be a transsexual for the same reason it is possible to be diabetic or to be ambidexterous or any number of physiologically determined traits/states.

It is nOT possible to be a "transafrican" as this is purely a psychological construct. One either does or does not have the genes to be of african descent. On the other hand, all human beings are exposed to sex determining hormones - every single one of us could have been male (high testosterone before birth) or we could have been female (low testosterone before birth). What actually happens is a function of the prenatal environment, XY, XX, XO, XYY, XXY, or other... it doesn't matter. All that matters is testosterone locking onto the testosterone receptor or not. This exists in every human, the capacity for maleness or femaleness. On the other hand, only some humans have the potential for africanness... a person with genes from scandinavia has a zero percent chance of developing as a sub saharan african.


TLDR: you are medically ignorant.

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To assume XX/ XY = "normal ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:40 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

To assume XX/ XY = "normal testosterone activity thus normal male/female" is false. IT is possible to be an XY but have a genetic mutationw hich makes certain areas of your brain insensitive to testosterone (hypothetical example, the genetically gay male). The body develops male but the brain is feminized and attracted to men and the gender identity is very feminine.

It is possible to be XX but exposed to abnormal amounts of testosterone before birth and so develop a masculine identity and masculine sexual orientation. Testosterone receptor activity in the brain is normal, so this elevation of testosterone masculinizes the brain leading to male identity and possibly ambiguous genetalia.

I just don't see how this is so difficult for you people to understand.

Gender and sexual identity are not like arbitrary psychological constructs. They are biologically real and they are determined by TESTOSTERONE or lack thereof.

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Deshawnlumumba - since you ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:50 AM | Posted, in reply to DeShawn Lumumba's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Deshawnlumumba - since you are obviously DOB I'm just going to refer to you as DOB.

Regarding your response at 7:39... yes, the reason trannies go superfemme is because they have the opportunity to create their sex and gender, which few natal women have. If natal women had to deal wtih the AWFUL AND UNFORTUNATE experience of remaking themselves into who they should be, I doubt anyone would be an ethel either. I am a female, my birth name is XXXXX, and ironically I always wanted to be Vanessa. My parents were going to name me Vanessa but went with XXXXX instead. I often tell people my name is Vanessa, it is my online name.
If I were born in a mans body and had the courage to be transsexual, I probably would name myself Vanessa too. However, I would much much much much rather be who I am (an imperfect natural female with a not so cute name).

It's like... if you get into a car crash and your nose is shattered, the plastic surgeon is probably going to give you the Heidi Montag 2.0 (as opposed to the natural Barbara Streisand you had before). If you had the power of God you probably would choose to never be in a car accident at all, to have your Streisand Shnaz and love it to pieces (pun not intended)... but unfortunately this horrible accident happened to you, your nose needs to be rebuilt, and so why not go for something cuter and more anglo and femme?

Trannies are in a similar position. Every one of them would probably give everything they could to have a natural female body, imperfect and all.. but unfortunately they have a male body and so why not try to make it as cute and femme as possible? IF you're getting surgery and choosing a new name anyway, most people would choose to be your ideal self.


IF YOU got into a disfiguring accident today, would you want your face the way it is now (imperfections and all) or would you aim for features more like Brad Pitt?

Think about it.

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One can be being narcissist... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

One can be being narcissistic or expressing narcissism without having a NPD and what I was pointing out was that DOB was expressing a narcissistic perspective - meaning that he was making other people's actions or existence all about him and obviously feels entitled to use people in this way (as objects to affirm his identity). Considering that narcissism is an overriding theme of TLP, it's hardly out of place to bring it up. It's kind of funny that you find it so bothersome.

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Look, you can call me whate... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:01 AM | Posted by DOB: | Reply

Look, you can call me whatever you want and diagnose me any way you please, but the fact is that "transsexualism" is still a sad syndrome that exploits disfunctional faggots for the sake of the "helping" professions like "counseling," hormone injections and "gender reassignment" surgery. If you weren't so homophobic and brainwashed you'd see that the obvious choice is to help the person live as he is and change society to accomodate him, not encourage him to get fucked over because the System has made him hate himself.

Have you ever met a "tranny" from rural eastern Tennessee? I have, and if he'd grown up in the Castro District instead he'd most likely be a well-adjusted queen. Instead he wound up in the Tenderloin, full of other "transsexual"
refugees from backward localities. The poor kid.

The question is simple: "Why do you feel you need hormones and surgery to feel better about yourself? Isn't there anything less drastic that you can do?"

And that's it. I'm done arguing with homohating idiots.


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DOB - I'm not diagnosing yo... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:42 PM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

DOB - I'm not diagnosing you, I'm just pointing out how your words/actions/behavior is coming off...what you're actually communicating. Judging by your frustration, it may not be what you intend to communicate.

So far most of the hatred towards others and xenophobia has been coming from you. Besides, you've claimed to be bisexual and not homosexual - there is a difference, at least most men I know who are exclusively homosexual tend to think so. Most bisexual men I know think so too. I'm also aware that as a bisexual woman my experience is quite different than that of my lesbian friends and lovers. But, of course, we're all individuals and have our own experiences of both ourselves and the world.

Trying to claim that everyone who doesn't agree with you is a homophobe because they don't agree with your transphobia is just plain silly. (Particularly since you've claimed to be bisexual and you're the one displaying the hateful and exclusionary beliefs about people - you claim to be a victim but you're actually being an aggressor). But, hey, it's a pretty handy way to avoid actually having to take responsibility for yourself.

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"Trying to claim that ev... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:53 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply

"Trying to claim that everyone who doesn't agree with you is a homophobe because they don't agree with your transphobia is just plain silly."

Kinda like trying to claim that everyone who doesn't agree with your "transphilia" is not only unenlightened and excessively PI but also a "fascist who is no different than a homophobe who thinks that homosexuality is 'unnatural' and should be 'cured,'" huh?!

At least my way does not result in the permanent maiming of any misguided human beings. Have you ever met a post-op TS who regretted his decision? There's no going back. All I'm proposing really is not going that far: I see nothing wrong with Bill living as Wilhemina in a total-drag lifestyle. The only difference is it'd be harder to find men who claim to be "100% straight" if you've still got your boy parts attached, but nobody who knowingly goes with even a post-op tranny can be "100% straight" anyway.

41 years after Stonewall I certainly won't consider trying to exclude "non-op" drag queens from the queer community, just as they can't really expect us not to smirk a little if they claim to be straight women despite obvious evidence to the contrary -- we're all entitled to our harmless delusions. But post-operative transsexuals, as claim to be not queer but "straight women," don't belong in a GAY community, anymore than I should expect the Nation of Islam to accept me as a convert because I grew up dancing to Soul Train.

I myself have been drawn to a tranny or two in my long career, such as the poor kid from rural eastern Tennessee I met in the Tenderloin a few years ago. Of course we didn't get along too well because I failed to persuade "her" not to do something so drastic and gave "her" up beforehand. (For which I should be flogged as a fascist, right?)

But anyway. I've said my piece many times and my opinion won't change either. Surely if youse are adults we can agree to disagree and let it go.

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DOB,Same anon whos b... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 12:48 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

DOB,
Same anon whos been discussing this with you (not ananon, the other anon) and I can see where you are comming from. I think you make a lot of valid points. You are probably very correct when you say that SOME transsexuals have the surgery for the wrong reasons and SOME doctors are exploiting them. SOME transsexuals do it because they come from small communities and they don't realize it is okay to be non-conformist in gender expression. SOME doctors do surgeries because they are greedy scumbags.

However you really are way off base when you state these are the rule rather than the exception. The rule is that most transsexuals are much happier after they transition to the opposite sex, and most transsexuals are grateful to their doctors for reassignment, and most doctors do it because they empathize with these people (a group of people the rest of the world finds pathological, confused... OR disgusting, immoral, perverse, including many queer people such as yourself).

To pretend every tranny is like some kid you hooked up with a few years ago is silly. Even a short stint on the interwebz and youtube will reveal many well adjusted transsexuals who are living their lives more fully as a result of SRS.

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Dude, but I don't have "tra... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 9:24 AM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Dude, but I don't have "transphilia" - I may love some individual PEOPLE who have had sex reassignment surgery and accept that people can know themselves and make their own choices but I don't fetishize it or find it particularly exciting or alluring, or preferable to people not playing with gender. (Nor do I conversely, blame it for all my personal problems.) You're simply projecting your own obsession with SRS onto me, it's not part of my identity nor does it challenge my identity in any way nor do I really think it has anything to do with me at all...it's the other person's business what they decide to do with their body and their lives. They're not hurting anyone else...you, however, clearly DO want to hurt other people who don't conform to your personal ideological beliefs. I find it sad that your difference has made you intolerant of others rather than compassionate and accepting - but obviously it serves a rather important psychological purpose for you to be hateful to others.

What's funny is that you're so on the offensive and defensive that you're not even listening. I've actually written that I do think it's possible that some people have romanticized ideas about what it is to be the other gender, and that in a different culture/society that I DO think that SOME people MAY choose not to have SRS. (Though I still suspect that there will be people who still choose SRS.)

That, of course, is speculation about an imaginary world since this world is full of people full of hate for the Other (even people who claim to be queer bisexual men are full of hate for the other, which just makes me sad since it's such an exclusionary and hateful personal vision of "queer" that it seems almost antithetical to what queer was originally meant to be about). Considering that the most hardcore and exclusionary homosexual men wouldn't want YOU to be considered part of the Gay community because you're both bisexual and admittedly androgynous/femme, your whole schtick is kind of insane and doesn't really make sense (except maybe if you're actually denying your own feelings and desires). Of course, you could just as easily be a troll who wants to pretend that they're Other as a shield to spew hate towards people who change gender.

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DOB - If you are for real..... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 10:36 AM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

DOB - If you are for real...and actually interested in discussing the issues...

Certainly there are parts of the homosexual community that are very prejudiced and fetishize hyper-masculinity to such an extreme that effeminate gay men, drag queens, transexuals and women are viewed as the despised Other. I am sorry if you've experienced this kind of rejection and prejudice, or if you've been excluded from a group you want to be a part of because you're bisexual or androgynous/femme. (However, there are also hypermasculine men within the Gay community who love women and accept all kinds of difference as well, it's a very diverse community...so diverse it even has exclusionary factions within that diversity.)

We could also discuss the heightened hyper-masculinity that emerged as a response to AIDS in the 80s. If you are who you say you are, then we both saw our communities decimated by AIDS and lost a lot of friends starting in the early 80s and dealt with that period of intense xenophobia. Or how the commodification of Gay culture, the conception of Gayness as a marketing demographic, has changed Gay culture.) We could also discuss how "queerness" emerged to counteract exclusionary social politics and in support of the Other and difference. Or what it means to you, which is apparently something different.

I also understand that you've got all kinds of personal investment in whether other people get sex changes or not - both in terms of how you view yourself and also because you've been attracted to people who are effeminate men (or who dress like women and see themselves as female but still have a penis) and get upset that they're making choices to change in a way that you don't find attractive (apparently). Part of accepting that other people are autonomous human beings - not just supporting actors in the movie of our lives - is allowing them to make their own choices...that includes ones that we don't like or approve of. Lots of people, including within the gay community, don't like or approve of bisexuality (though thankfully that's less the case now) but that doesn't mean you should "choose a team" or that you're lying about your identity or desires. It would be nice if you extended the same respect to others (and Others) that you'd like for yourself.

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Egad, you people can... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:15 PM | Posted by DoB: | Reply


Egad, you people can't move on? Even after I say you should give up trying to argue with me because I'm as hard-headed as you are? Yikes. You poor critters.

Consider this: me and what army?!? Are you worried that I have hordes of followers reading TLP who will outvote your PC orthodoxy? Or are you so narcissistic that you simply cannot accept that one guy in the blogosphere disagrees with one of your Received Opinions? Or maybe the Hive Mind has fallen SO in love with me that it MUST persuade me to reciprocate?

Give it a break. On this one subject I am immovable, which is my right as an idependent individual. I've stated the reasons for my view, including the fact that it's based on three decades of my own life experience -- instead of a list of positions one must agree to to be a member in good standing of whatever ideological tendency that's swallowed you whole -- and you still continue.

To state my unchanged position succintly: "SRS" is a too-drastic surgical solution to a persistent social problem.

What's so unacceptable about that?

I'm not outlawing it (if I were Stalin I still wouldn't do that), nor am I demanding that every single TS (or even a single one) be rounded up and shot. I'm simply saying I think "SRS" is a bad idea.

To repeat myself in my last comment herein, on "November 17, 2010 1:38 AM" (i.e. a day and a half), ago: "I've said my piece many times and my opinion won't change either. Surely if youse are adults we can agree to disagree and let it go."

How many lives will be lost, how many cities destroyed, if you simply go "Yeah d00d, well, that's your opinion" -- and drop it? (Do you even know how to drop it?)

Sheesh. I hope for your sake(s) that I'm really talking to just one person with a personal problem. And I'd explain why I hope that but it'd probably set at least one of you off on another counter-diatribe.

And now I'm bored with this "discussion." If you want me to keep this going I suggest you send me money.

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If you're actually "bored" ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:10 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

If you're actually "bored" with the "discussion" then simply finish - nobody is forcing you to respond or participate here in any way. Though if you consider yourself "immovable" then clearly you were never here to participate in a discussion, but simply here to promote an idea that you're willing to cling to even in the face of contradictory evidence (otherwise you wouldn't be "immovable). This indicates your position is ideological/emotional and not actually rational or based upon evidence. And, of course, that you were here simply to attempt to force your (irrational since they're not about evidence) beliefs on others. Some of your ideas may well have merit and are ones that I've considered myself (though obviously in a more real world light than yourself). However I'm not going around being hateful and exclusionary to people who already have to deal with a great deal of hate and exclusion. Nor am I trying to control what other people do with their bodies (just because you can't have physical or legal control, it doesn't mean that you're not acting like an emotional bully in your attempts to demonize and exclude people who are Other...hell, I don't even want you to be excluded from the gay, GLBT or queer communities, even though some gay men would).

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That was, of course, addres... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:12 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

That was, of course, addressed to DOB.

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DoB - "I've stated the reas... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

DoB - "I've stated the reasons for my view, including the fact that it's based on three decades of my own life experience -- instead of a list of positions one must agree to to be a member in good standing of whatever ideological tendency that's swallowed you whole -- and you still continue."

I've got over got over tyree decades of being a bisexual woman under my skirt, what makes you think your personal experience trumps mine or that of people who choose to undergo SRS? Other people aren't all about you and they have their own unique experiences, why do you keep trying to impose your experience on them and control their actions/behavior? Clearly you've had a difference experience than people who choose SRS. Your three decades of experience are as a bisexual and androgynous man, not as someone who has always felt more like a female than a male (or more like a boy than a girl) and who is only attracted to one gender.

Also, you're the one that's making participation in a certain community contingent upon ideological rules you've made up - you're the one looking to exclude people who don't conform to your ideological beliefs.

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"you were here simply to... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:29 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply

"you were here simply to attempt to force your ... beliefs on others"

So you responded by "trying to force" YOUR beliefs on ME.

And -- "FORCE"?!? Why do you think you feel this way?

Is there a gun pointed at your head? How many stormtroopers do you see behind me ready to enforce my diktat?!?

I've been called all kinds of names and given many diagnoses in this thread. I can just imagine the spittle flying as you rant what you type.

Doesn't it just SUCK when somebody disagrees with you (and your friends)? Don't you just want to send me off to a (locked) "Re-Education Camp" where through a long program of rigorous criticism and self-criticism I can find it in myself to accept your One True Truth? (Or perish in the process, which would be easier and cheaper?)

If I'd known my comments would hit so sensitive a nerve I might not have bothered. Anyway...

To repeat myself: "How many lives will be lost, how many cities destroyed, if you simply go "Yeah d00d, well, that's your opinion" -- and drop it? (Do you even know how to drop it?)"

I really don't have anything better to do now than hang out on the Web arguing with (other?) idiots. Don't you? I hope for your sake you do; a life as dull and empty as mine ain't much fun. Sometimes it even drives me to drink while I boogie in the blogosphere. The question is, how much of a pathetic loser are you? Are you really such a sad case that my "fascist" opinion really rocks your whole world?

"ATTENTION! Step away from the keyboard while you still can!"


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"...[Y]ou're the ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:34 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by DOB: | Reply


"...[Y]ou're the one that's making participation in a certain community contingent upon ideological rules you've made up..."

Oh yeah, "The Community of Queer Netizens Who Agree With 'David O'Bedlam.'"

What a mighty faction we are too, me and all my imaginary friends. I just wish they were in MY imagination instead of yours, that'd be more fun for me.


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Dude, it's kind of silly th... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:52 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

Dude, it's kind of silly that you're trying (ineffectually) to control my actions by telling me not to post (while continuing to post yourself). If you can't handle the discussion or what's being said, remove yourself instead of trying to control me. Do you always try to control yourself via trying to control others? You seem pretty worked up for someone who claims to be "bored".

Also, I said you're TRYING to force your ideology on others by being an emotional bully, I didn't say you were actually capable of doing so.

Also, I didn't say that the Gay community supports your ideological position, I just said that YOU want to exclude people who have had SRS from participating in the gay community (because you said you do).

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I'm not telling you not to ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:38 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by DoB: | Reply

I'm not telling you not to post, I'm pointing out that you're being an idiot by continuing to argue with me (who might be an idiot myself). Also, I declared I was bored before I had that (pretty stiff) bourbon-&-coke on an empty stomach; now I've got nothing better to do than argue with (fellow) idiots like you -- and if I did I might be too "tipsy" to accomplish anything anyway.

To ask again: Why does MY opinion matter so much to you that you keep entertaining me by "refudiating" it? Can't you just, oh, "agree to disagree"? (With one tipsy loser boogying in the blogosphere, yet.)

I wasn't trolling before, two days ago, when I stated, defended and elaborated upon my (actually quite sincere and heartfelt) opinion. But now I'm just arguing with the (other) dumbass who insists on arguing with me when anybody (even I) can see that it's pointless & silly.

As I see it, i.e. me and my army of imaginary stormtroopers, you can do one of two things: you can shrug this discussion off ("I tried, but he just won't listen to reason") -- or you can admit to me and everybody else reading this thread for as long as it's archived that yes, you really ARE at least as much of a pathetic loser as that "David O'Bedlam" guy.

Either way there are no winners: there are no cash prizes here, and nobody Out There will really give a shit. For one thing I've got more "power and influence" in this thread than I've ever had in Real Life.

Do you keep it going? If so I have half a bottle of golden rum to mix with that's left of my store-brand diet cola. Or do you go do something more important, as if anything could possibly be more important than providing continued amusement to 'that "David O'Bedlam" guy.'

And if I really am so important to you why don't you SEND ME MONEY? I have a Paypal account of my own, y'know.

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Dude, maybe I have my own r... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:54 PM | Posted, in reply to DoB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Dude, maybe I have my own reasons for wasting my time that have nothing to do with you. Maybe my responding is all about me. Or maybe I don't consider this discussion a waste of time even if we don't agree (or agree to disagree). Maybe other people have their own motivations and experiences that have nothing to do with yours? Maybe it is about both you and me to me. Maybe I don't consider it a waste of my time. Or maybe I do but I find it useful in other ways and want to waste my time. That's what you don't get - it's not always about you, or about what you want, or about your perception of yourself as the most super awesome bisexual revolutionary dude evar or as the biggest loser to roam the interwebs evar.

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"...Or maybe I don't con... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 4:15 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by DOB: | Reply

"...Or maybe I don't consider this discussion a waste of time even if we don't agree (or agree to disagree)."

Mon sembable! My long-lost soul-mate! Will you marry me? Or better yet, SEND ME MONEY. With a little more motivation I can be even more fun.

By the way, you are missing the point: it's got nothing to do with my opinion of me, or your opinion of me, or your opinion of my opinion of me...

It's called "an impasse": neither of us will change our opinion on the subject of "transsexuality."

Which we're dealing with, since neither can budge the other, by wasting our time. Or I'm wasting my time arguing with you anyway, and for free yet.

It's too early for me to drink enough to find you consistently amusing -- for free anyway. Maybe you'd like my Paypal thing? I've seen this blog won't show email addresses, but you can reach me at [email protected]

XOXO!

DoB

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DoB - Since your position w... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 4:36 PM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

DoB - Since your position was "immovable" from the start, it was always an "impasse" since you were promoting an emotional/ideological position that reason or even scientific evidence couldn't dissuade you from. If you'd just said, "this is my experience and I feel this way about it, it's not factual but it's how I feel" then things would have played out very differently. However, you tried to claim that your emotional and ideological position was evidence/fact based and that your feelings and beliefs apply to other people and not just you. You're still not getting that other people have their own experiences and motivations and aren't just supporting players in your movie.

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"You're still not gettin... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 4:50 PM | Posted by DoB: | Reply

"You're still not getting that other people have their own experiences and motivations and aren't just supporting players in your movie."

Actually you're wrong: I'm getting that you exist, i.e. that there is some poor slob out there whose life is even more boring & empty than mine. It's sad really, but it does provide a curious kind of validation: when my sister says "you shouldn't waste your life arguing on the Internet" I can point to this thread and say "But look, there's one poor slob out there whose life I'm lighting up -- for free!"

And by the way, I'M not just a supporting character in YOUR movie either. Tu quoque & PKB.

Now I suggest that you prove that you have a life independent from me: "'Step away from the keyboard while you still can!'" You poor slob who obviously can't afford to SEND ME MONEY, you.

By the way, I suggest that we have a small audience here, a large part of which is rolling their eyes at both of us now. Want to flip a coin to see who gets to declare victory?

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Dude, you really don't get ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 5:08 PM | Posted, in reply to DoB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Dude, you really don't get it - you just tried to make me into a supporting actor in your movie by projecting who you want me to be onto me and making it all about your imaginary conversation with your sister. What you don't get is that everyone else isn't you - every single one of us alive at this moment has our own identity (even those of us who may be trying to be someone else, and some people even have multiple identities), we have our own experiences, desires, hopes, dreams, neurosis, etc. We're not just a reflected version of you (aka a projection of your psyche). I get it that you're you - which according to what you've said so far is a middle aged bisexual man who is gender ambiguous and hostile to people who choose to have SRS. That may or may not be who you really are, this being the internet and all. Your behavior here does seem to express certain things about you - because behavior is readable and is what generally defines who we actually are as opposed to who we think we are - but obviously I also read that through the filter of my own experience.

I have no need to prove anything to you, why would I? My identity isn't dependent upon what you think of me. Though you do seem really intent on trying to make me stop posting or discussing identity issues.

Ahhh, the audience.... Are you performing for an audience and consider me the supporting cast? Do you believe the audience has left so you're no longer interested in performing? I'm simply engaging with you/your posts, it's not a performance for me.

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Again, YOU ARE MISSI... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 5:23 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply


Again, YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT. I hear your "diagnosis" of narcissism, which may or may not be relevant, but dig: you are being an idiot. You are continuing to argue with someone who has admitted that he's lost interest in the subject of the argument and is now just wasting time arguing over basically nothing with some other faceless fool on the Internet.

As far as I'm concerned you are helping me amuse myself here. If you quit and go away, assuming your life is full enough to have anything to go away to, I'll get bored and do something else. I've got 7 or 8 browser tabs open now, I'm playing xscrabble on another desktop, and my turkey is at the point where I'll have to keep checking on it: you probably don't know it but you're not the only thing I've got going on right now. Whereas I have no such info about you, all I know is when I come back here and refresh the page there you are, amusing me again.

Whatever you think you're doing does not obviate the fact that we are both sitting here wasting our time yammering at each other's "brick walls."

What besides amusing me do you get out of this? And why do YOU persist in what seems to me to be an unrewarding waste of time? There's only a month left till Xmas Eve, don't you have some important shopping to do?

Want to flip a coin to see who wears the white pumps this time?

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Hey, at least you're starti... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 5:46 PM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Hey, at least you're starting to wonder "What besides amusing me do you get out of this?" You don't seem able to conceive of anything other than your own motivations, or that others may have their own motivations, and it's still framed around what you get out of it and seems intended to be belittling, but at least you're starting to wonder and get an intimation that there may be something more to other people and the world.

You may or may not be who you claim to be, this is the internet and I don't think I know who someone really is from interacting in a thread (though you seem to believe you know who I am, and apparently it's a reflection of you). If you think your behavior makes you a narcissist, maybe you are...or maybe you're not. That's really your business until you start trying to claim your personal ideology as objective fact (that becomes other people's business because you're trying to assert your subjectivity as objectivity/reality).

Not only do you seem hung up on who's watching and whether it's worth interacting if there's no audience to watch you perform, you also seem pretty hung up on who is "important".

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This being the Internet, al... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 6:22 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply

This being the Internet, all I know for sure is you're some anonymous somebody keeps popping back up to try to prove to me that s/he's right when s/he calls me "a narcissist." Or maybe you're trying to convince somebody -- me? the imagined audience? your ex-wife if you have one? -- that I'm a bigger narcissist than you are.

I'd said several times I'm just getting you to help me waste time, while you keep trying to tell me you're trying to teach me something. I.e. you're trying to show me that you, a faceless "anonymous" on the Internet, really exist as person in your own right. That you have a life and a "personhood" separate from me.

Yes... and...?

You're beginning to sound like Eliza script somebody set up to troll me. Which is failing in what I've decided the purpose of this "discussion" with you is, i.e. you're getting dull. Surely I've given you enough to work with so you can actively amuse me for a while, since I'm getting tired & sober and running out of ideas to entertain myself with you with.

Let's try this: I'll grant that there's someone (at least one someone) Out There on the Internet who is as real to him/herself as I am to me and who has been typing back at me all afternoon, for lawd knows what reason you give yourself for doing such things; i.e. I'll assume you're really not some kind of bot. Yes, I acknowledge your existence, Mr/Ms/Miss/Mrs AnAnon. So what do I win? A nice pair of white pumps, maybe?

Oh, and by the way, people really should exhaust several other alternatives before they have a surgical "sex change," because from what I've seen and read it sucks when you decide afterward that that was a mistake. Really. I would suggest, in my layperson's opinion, they try to learn to live with themselves in the body they were born in instead.

But you don't have to believe ME, I'm not the ONLY one saying this; I'm sure you could Google up several instances of TSes who've said "OOPS" about that when it's too late to fix it. Remember, the "genitals" they rebuild for you will never be as good as the ones you had "transitioned" away.

And anybody who tell you different has an agenda of their own. Granted I have an agenda myself, but somebody who follows my suggestion and finds a non-surgical way to deal with the problem at can go ahead and have the surgery if nothing else works. Or s/he can totally ignore my input and just jump right into it -- and hope it turns out later to be as good a solution as it seemed before.



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I did the Googling m... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 6:26 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply


I did the Googling myself. This is what I got when I entered in the terms +"sex" +"change" +"regret".

http://www.google.com/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=%2B%22sex%22+%2B%22change%22+%2B%22regret%22&aq=&aqi=&aql=&oq=&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=573da4ec7e15bdf2

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And right back at you...</p... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 6:40 PM | Posted by AnAnon: | Reply

And right back at you...

http://www.google.ca/#sclient=psy&hl=en&q=%2B%22sex%22+%2B%22change%22+%2B%22happy%22&aq=&aqi=&aql=&oq=%2B%22sex%22+%2B%22change%22+%2B%22happy%22&gs_rfai=&pbx=1&fp=d889988ee2a99b11

The point isn't whether people regret or are completely happy with the consequences of choices they make, the point is that they get to make those choices for themselves. Just like you get to make your own choice about what you do with your body, whether it clashes with other people's ideologies or desires.

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DOB - Dude, you're not real... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:07 PM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

DOB - Dude, you're not really acknowledging that I'm a real person with my own motivations - it's not about how "real I am to me". It's about how real other people are to you. In fact, you're accusing me of being a robot simply because I'm not getting all frothy when you attempt to be insulting (not performing according to your script/attempt to manipulate).

Nobody said some people don't regret having SRS, once again you're missing the point. The point is that other people's choices - whether they regret them or are incredibly happy about them - are not about you. They're not about me either but then I'm not trying to resolve an identity issue through controlling what other people do with their bodies. People are allowed to make their own mistakes, and if people choose to lie to themselves or their psychiatrist then they have to live with the consequences of that. Just like all of us have to live with the consequences of our choices and actions.

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Like I said before <... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:08 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by DOB: | Reply


Like I said before 'me and what army?'

How is stating, defending and explaining an opinion you apparently disagree with, in a manner you apparently find unimpressive, violating anybody's natural human right to do whatever s/he wants with his/her own genitalia?

Have I parked a tank in front of every single "sex reassignment centre" in the known universe?

Do you even see me blocking any doorway anywhere waving drawings of severed genitals yelling "please don't kill your pee-pee"?

Do you even imagine a single pre-op TS has been reading this thread and has come to think "gee, I'd better not do that because 'David O'Bedlam' thinks it's a bad idea"?

What it to YOU, bud? Do you have a large financial stake in a 'Sex Reassignment Centre'? Or are you just arguing with me because your "narcissism" is bigger than mine?

I want to thank you for helping me pass what might well have been another boring afternoon, but really.

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"You're not reall... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:12 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by DOB: | Reply


"You're not really acknowledging that I'm a real person with my own motivations."

Of course you are, dear, of course you are.

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Once again, if you'd said "... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:20 PM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Once again, if you'd said "I feel like this and it's my opinion" this would have unfolded very differently. All you had to do was stop pretending your subjective opinion/feeling/ideology was something other than what it is. That's what people have essentially been calling you on from the get go. What you did was claim your opinion was fact and then try to bully everyone else into silence. This leads me to wonder whether you think being the last one to post makes you believe you've "won" (since you seem to be hung up on this as a competition with a "winner" and "loser"). It's not how I see it but, hey, if that's what it is for you that's what it is for you.

I'm glad to hear you have no real power or influence regarding other people and SRS (though you claim to have dated and abandoned someone who considered them transgendered because you couldn't get their identity to conform to your desires so you may not be as harmless as you like to indicate or think you are). And, obviously all you can do on the internet is try to manipulate or bully people into not responding to or challenging your ideological position. Not very effective on someone like me but it could be potentially damaging to someone who was vulnerable and considering SRS. But what do you care, you've expressed nothing but disgust and hatred towards people who consider SRS anyway...but I'd guess that's because it's really all about you and how they effect your identity.

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Dude, I don't NEED you to a... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:23 PM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

Dude, I don't NEED you to acknowledge my identity or that I'm real. I'm simply pointing out that you seem incapable of acknowledging that other people are real and not just extensions of you...attempting to be belittling as a deflection doesn't change anything. But, hey, if it makes you feel "important" to do so, have at it.

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If you'd said "I ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:24 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by DOB: | Reply


If you'd said "I feel like this and it's my opinion" this would have unfolded very differently.

Oh, I see now. Point taken. Thank you!

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That is, I should ha... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:29 PM | Posted by DOB: | Reply


That is, I should have EXPLICITLY said "I feel like this and it's my opinion" instead of supposing that any rational adult would take it that way to begin with anyway, given that I'm not thundering fromm a burning bush or dictating from atop an M1 tank.

Sheesh.

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That point was made by othe... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:35 PM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

That point was made by others at the very beginning because you kept trying to promote your opinion as fact, glad it finally got through.

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"you seem incapable of a... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:43 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by DOB: | Reply

"you seem incapable of acknowledging that other people are real"

You mean a faceless anonymouse on the Internet?

Who participated with me in a l-o-n-g argument that I pointed out was a futile and pointless, that (as I said) I only came back to a day and a half later because I had nothing better to do at the time?

Do you want me to show you I think you're really real? In circumstances wherein if it were me I'd find it more flattering to be considered a chatterbot?

How exactly would I show you that I think you're really real, esteemed sir and/or ma'am?


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That point was made by o... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 7:58 PM | Posted, in reply to AnAnon's comment, by DOB: | Reply

That point was made by others at the very beginning

You mean somebody else explicitly pointed out what I assumed was the case all along, i.e. that all I was really spouting was One Guy's Opinion? On a subject that I nevertheless obviously care a lot about?

What I got out of it is that for some reason some people
tried to argue me out of my strongly-held opinion, as if there was something important at stake. And somehow not noticing what I'd gone to great lengths to point out. Even stooping to misrepresenting my argument and putting words in my mouth.

And often in this thread I had the feeling that whoever it was was arguing not with me but with some cardboard cut-out of a "transphobic" Nazi.

But anyway.

Yes, I know, you're all really real. And so am I. Isn't this special? Let's all sing "Kumbaya."


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It is simple from my perspe... (Below threshold)

December 4, 2010 10:32 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

It is simple from my perspective as long as the transman, FTM has not started testosterone he still qualifies as biologically female, with a body running on estrogen. Thus he should be allowed to play.

As soon as he starts T, hormone therapy he should not be allowed on the team. I, btw, am married to a transman. My husband is an FTM. Using the male pronoun is courtesy.

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You noticed there was a war... (Below threshold)

December 14, 2010 7:11 PM | Posted by Julian Morrison: | Reply

You noticed there was a war over definitions going on - fair enough. You failed to consider that the other side may be right, and that the essentialist position may be simple, obvious and wrong.

Here's an exercise for you. Walk down the street. Count men and women.

How many of them did you karyotype? Did you even pull their pants down? Goodness, you are ignoring the two features the essentialist position falls back to as absolutes. You could have passed a trans man or a trans woman. No, you wouldn't necessarily have known. Re-examine: you just gendered a bunch of people from mostly _social_ attributes - hair, clothes, role. What came first, the idea or the supposed biological essential?

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this article angers me extr... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2011 1:32 AM | Posted by Derek: | Reply

this article angers me extremely. whoever wrote this is a transphobic bigot. if you identify as male or female you should be TREATED as the gender you identify as no matter what your body looks like. to look at some of the comments mocking this guy buy going "he" sickens me to think people are this old fashioned and shallow. lets take an example, say you identify as female but you are in a male body. should you be allowed to use the women's restroom? YES! people should be treated with respect. sex is between the legs, gender is between the ears. if any of the majority of people here knew anything about the transgender umbrella and definitions they would know there is a HUGE difference between cross dressers and TRANSGENDERS. are you aware millions of transgendered people commit SUICIDE every year because of some of the shit people are saying about them, and bullying them, like you for example? think before you say and judge someone and maybe someone here will have a sane head and stop insulting and mocking this poor trans man.

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You are a terrible person. ... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2011 2:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Derek's comment, by Derek Is A Terrible Person: | Reply

You are a terrible person. You are selfish and hypocritical and have set the transgendered cause back a thousand years.

"lets take an example, say you identify as female but you are in a male body. should you be allowed to use the women's restroom? YES!" You're stupid. You're looking at it from "her" perspective, but what about the other women in the bathroom? Should they have to deal with you and your penis just because you wish you were a woman?

"are you aware millions of transgendered people commit SUICIDE every year because of some of the shit people are saying about them" You're stupider than stupid. There are only 30,000 suicides year in the whole country. How many are transgendered? How many are transgendered and did it because of "some of the shit people are saying about them?"

Nowhere in the post does Alone judge Mike. The point he made was very clear: a genetic female is playing on the women's basketball team. There is no controversy. If the genetic female had wanted to play on a men's basketball team as a transgendered male then there'd (maybe) be a controversy. But this is a fake controversy devised by the media for the purpose (according to Alone) of making the media "the arbiter of such things." But I wouldn't expect someone who thinks "millions" of transgendered people commit suicide every year to be particularly good at reading comprehension.

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how can someone wish they w... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2011 2:38 PM | Posted by Derek: | Reply

how can someone wish they were a woman. people can't help they were born in the wrong body and it's bad enough the world today and society ridicule about everything people do. you've got no right to judge people or presume you know how they feel or what they go through. ._.

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The good doctor's argument ... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2011 11:11 PM | Posted by druniusequus: | Reply

The good doctor's argument is that if words like "man" or "woman" have no objective meaning, and can arbitrarily be changed or recategorized according to political beliefs or media preferences, then our hold as a society on science, reason, justice, and truth is pretty much doomed.

And he's absolutely correct.

A trannie or cross dresser is simply that, and it's neither cruel nor immoral to acknowledge that fact. Some men like to wear dresses and some women like tool belts.
Perfectly OK, but it doesn't change their biology. If I painted a horse with black and white stripes, I would not gave a zebra. I'd still have a damn horse,no matter how many times I referred to him (delusionally) as a zebra.

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Thank you for sharin... (Below threshold)

March 14, 2012 10:18 AM | Posted by Haber: | Reply


Thank you for sharing
Haber

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Very interesting observatio... (Below threshold)

March 18, 2013 9:05 PM | Posted, in reply to Vi's comment, by Atarii: | Reply

Very interesting observation, and I believe that I agree.

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So, one woman is allowed to... (Below threshold)

March 18, 2013 11:22 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So, one woman is allowed to take testosterone (effectively a PED) while the others cannot, right? Whatever dude.

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The only thing I'm sure I a... (Below threshold)

March 13, 2014 11:58 AM | Posted by johnnycoconut: | Reply

The only thing I'm sure I agree with in this post is that the team shouldn't have had to think that hard before allowing this person to keep playing on the team, as e.g. they weren't taking hormones that would put them at an advantage and also, since their teammates supported them all the way, it was good for team cohesion to keep them on.

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Let's everybody treat these... (Below threshold)

March 13, 2014 2:36 PM | Posted, in reply to Jesse's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Let's everybody treat these poor, mentally ill people (transgenders) like a real serious topic because the media says it is, and not get serious about the banksters, globalist corporations and mass immigration, because someone doesn't want us to be talking about all that boring stuff...

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Let's diagnose people as me... (Below threshold)

March 13, 2014 2:58 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Crank: | Reply

Let's diagnose people as mentally ill over the internet because that's how the media apparatus has taught us to respond to threats!

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As other people have pointe... (Below threshold)

March 13, 2014 10:31 PM | Posted by Froot Loop: | Reply

As other people have pointed out already, the brain has a sex that is chosen at birth. For 99% of people born, this isn't a big deal because they are born with the brain matching the body. For those 1% of us, we aren't born with the brain matching the body. I cannot describe how much pain I've been through being transgendered, body of a man so people expect me to act like one, mind of a women so I need to act another way, and how confused I was for the longest time.

I lead a painful life of social isolation,being seen as a freak,feeling ugly, and very low self-esteem and body image. Gender Dysphoria is real. It has real consequences. People don't one day decide to call themselves a man or a woman. People who think that way are ignorant.

So when I see all these transphobic comments then the same person claims gender doesn't inform their identity, than deny transgenderism exist... That's pretty disgusting. Get out of your comfort and try to learn about people different from you. Read up on trangenderism before you open your mouth with your un-informed opinion. Trangenderism exist,scientist have discovered it*, it's not something created by some fruits who want to wear women's panties.

I noticed their are two types of people on TLP blog. Those who's mind's are blown by all the stuff Alone points out, and then "narcissism,narcissism,narcissism" becomes their answer to everything, even when it's not. And then there are those who's minds are blown, but it just informs there idea of how things should be and shouldn't be. The former group are terrible posters, thinking their minds are open but they are as shut tight as ever. The latter are the people who are actually learning, because they can think for themselves and can disagree and agree with Alone because they think like adults and not people who need to be led around like a dog, and are the best commentators.

All you people that made those transphobic comments, TLP is not some alternate reality were you are magically better than everyone else because you read this blog. You can still be called out for various flaws you have, from having cisgender privilege or white privilege to being horribly ignorant. Just like in the real world.

And on the post itself, what I think Alone is trying to point out is that most people still don't know what transgenderism is. The New Yorker should have provided information on transgenderism to educate people on what this person is. The piece doesn't do that, it just says "this is a male a female to male transgender, don't know what that means, well tough". Basically telling us what is reality without context.

And it works, look at all these commentators on TLP who missed the point. Alone even says that transgenderism does exist, but it isn't commonly known by 99% of the population, would it have been good to add some research papers to show that it exist?

That's the argument, not "transgenderism doesn't exist, it was created by evil narcissistic New Yorker magazine in some conspiracy theory with the Atlantic Monthly to brainwash into evil narcissist". Which seems to be the argument allot of posters on are making.

Only a narcissist thinks reading TLP somehow makes you genius able to unplug from the Matrix and is the Lone Narcissist. The true non-narcissist realize it informs their view of the world and then they can disagree with Alone on some issues and agree on others.

*Drive By Education summarizes the scientific proof on how we come to be born male or female and why transgenderism exist and even intersex people to boot. Read it and educate yourself.


TL;DR: This blog is great, but just because you read it doesn't mean your above criticism. You are not Neo from the Matrix.

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Excellent discussion, DOB! ... (Below threshold)

March 15, 2014 1:52 AM | Posted, in reply to DOB's comment, by Atarii: | Reply

Excellent discussion, DOB! You were lucid, intelligent, composed and dare I say quite interesting and entertaining!
You MAY be some sort of narcissist, but the persons with whom you were arguing seemed utterly unaware of themselves at all! You mocked, ridiculed, and made fools of them, yet they soldiered onward, determined to make you "see the light," or whatever it is they were attempting to do.

The website to which you linked was also fascinating (Sex Change Regrets). I read almost everything thereon.


There was actually a time in my life when I wanted nothing more than to be a girl. I could be pretty and sweet and nice and have long hair and be protected by a strong man. (I'm not even a homosexual!)

I even have many characteristics typically attributed to women, such as strong emotions (my feelings are hurt somewhat easily, although as an adult, I can act maturely despite strong emotions) naivety, and some feminine physical qualities. Even these days I, at times, lament that I would have made a better female than male; and still, I now accept my role as a male, and realize that as humans, we have the capacity to have any manner of delusion or desire, unrealistic and untenable; yet, those desires are not reasonable by virtue of their very existence!

Anyway, there is no actual evidence that these desires are caused by some sort of physiological malfunction.

Finally, I thank you again for your contribution to this article and, I suppose we could call it a "thread," and I thank you because I want you to know that someone did appreciate your statements.

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