Sunday, October 25, 2015

That'll set the cat among the pigeons . . .

I note with interest that feminist Germaine Greer has stirred outrage among lesbian, gay and transgender activists by stating bluntly her opinion that transgender 'women' (i.e. those who've 'transitioned' from male to female) are not, in fact, women.

Frankly, I'm surprised that the outrage is so strong.  Ms. Greer has never made any secret of her opinions - and medical science is largely on her side.  Let's face it, one's gender is not a product of feeling, opinion or psychological euphemisms.  It's determined by one's chromosomes.  If you have two X chromosomes, you're female.  If you have one X and one Y chromosome, you're male.  For the vast majority of the human race, that's it, medically and factually speaking.  (There are a few - relatively speaking, very few - cases where chromosomal abnormalities make it not quite so simple - so-called 'intersex' cases - but they're uncommon.)

I have great sympathy for those who struggle with their gender identity.  I know several such individuals, and I do my best to support them in what must be an enormously complex and sometimes very difficult approach to existence.  Nevertheless, on purely medical and scientific grounds alone, one must surely admit that the chromosomes have it.  Irrespective of psychological or psychiatric factors, if one's XX or XY, then one's gender is not a matter of opinion, but of fact.  I must respectfully ask whether in many - perhaps most - cases, surely the best way to treat the problem is to deal with those psychological or psychiatric issues, rather than try to 'fake' through surgery an external resemblance to an internal reality that medical science cannot change - namely, one's chromosomes?

I'd be interested to hear reader comments about this.  It's an issue worth debating, because it's firmly out in the public arena now.  Please don't get crude or rude about it, no matter what your personal opinions may be.  Remember, these are human lives we're discussing.  Those suffering in this situation are worthy of the same respect we want others to give to us and our lives.



skidmark said...

If one wants to "identify" as a pecan waffle they should be able to do so, although there will be few who will sign on board as swearing on a pitcher of syrup that the person is in fact a pecan waffle.

There is a vast difference between identifying as and claiming to be. The former has aspects of playing "dress up" that need to be considered while the latter is a delusion that may cause significant life problems.

stay safe.

Jonathan H said...

I agree - feeling like the other sex is a sign of deep problems that won't be solved by surgery and hormone injections. I found this article by am man who has 'been there, done that' to be insightful:

Glen Filthie said...

"I have enormous sympathy for those who struggle with their gender identity. I know several such individuals, and I do my best to support them in what must be an enormously complex and sometimes very difficult approach to existence."

I watched the liberals and stupid people mainstream the homosexuals. Then they brought the trannies out of the closet. Now they are trying to mainstream pedophilia. I've watched the church abandon morals, ethics and common sense to accommodate them. Whatever.

I've always believed that good will eventually triumph over evil given time...but it is my conviction that letting these sexually disturbed people run amok isn't good for anyone. As long as we let victim politics trump morals and ethics - you're going to get a lot of cats eating a lot of pigeons - and they will ultimately get eaten by wolves.

Pass the popcorn and enjoy the freak show. And carry a gun at all times.

McChuck said...

This is a consequence of letting politics take over medicine. Transvestitism (et al.) used to be classified as a mental disorder. Now it's 'normal', regardless of the definition.

It may be natural (i.e. mental birth defect), but it's surely not normal.
I don't really care that much how people conduct their perversions at home. I just really wish they'd stop doing it at me and my children.

JoeMama said...

Very large studies of identical twins (+20,000 sets) is not genetically predetermined. Between 4%%-and-10% of "other" (identical) twins also share gay orientation. Genetic predetermination hypothesis demands 100%.

The authors of the identical twin studies posit that homosexuality is a response to childhood trauma: Sexual abuse and bullying being the most likely causes.

If we truly believe that sexual abuse and bullying are "bad" then we should stop enabling it by normalizing the consequences. Homosexuals should be counseled for their trauma. They may choose to keep their orientation but they should be *treated*, not glorified.

Those who perpetrated the sexual abuse and/or bullying should be identified and dealt with.

Glorification of homosexuality shields the monsters who roam among us.

Peter said...

@JoeMama: I think you may have misunderstood. This isn't about homosexuality: it's about transgenderism. There is a difference, although I can understand that the latter issue often (but not always) involves the former.

Divemedic said...

My feelings on people who are homosexual or transgender are the same: it is a disorder that should be treated as the psychological problem that it is. This treatment need not be forced or mandatory as long as the person afflicted is no danger to others. That is, the person can voluntarily seek treatment.

A man who is biologically male can no more claim to be a woman than he can claim to be a Bantam Rooster. If he were to believe himself to be a rooster, he would rightly be called insane, whether the cause were due to environment or due to inheritance.

That doesn't mean that they have no rights, it means that they are ill and should be treated compassionately, no differently than we treat any other mental disorder. To play into their delusion and allow them to live as females is not doing them any favors. These people are still unhappy and tortured. They deserve our compassion and our empathy, not hate and derision, but we should be firm in not playing to their illness by pretending that there is nothing wrong and that they are perfectly healthy.

Egregious Charles said...

Transwoman and men's rights activist Theryn Meyer gives a polite, scientific counter to the chromosomal argument you politely gave here.

Divemedic said...

With the above being said, @Joemama misses an important point: A genetic illness does not have to be present in 100% of identical twins in order to be a genetic disease. Frequently, there are diseases with a genetic component that appear in only some twins. In these cases, it is likely that there is a genetic base, and the full blown disease is activated by an environmental trigger.
Diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes mellitis (both type I and type II) have a genetic base, but are triggered by environmental factors. Even HIV has a genetic component to it, with some people not having the protein structure in their T cells that enables the virus to enter the cell, thus making them immune to the disease.

Bob said...

Star Trek was a bit ff with their "Prime Directive" about not interfering with other life forms. The real "Prime Directive" of any life form is survival of the species.

Any action or conduct contrary to that is not natural or normal, and those practicing abnormal sexual activities should be - at the very least - isolated away from the population in general, especially the children.

In my view, allowing them unfettered access to schools and the media - movies, TV, etc. - is a foolish and self-destructive mistake, no matter how well-intentioned.

My opinions on this have nothing to do with any kind of religion or social vanity. They have evolved from the idea that if everyone became a lesbian or homosexual, the human race would vanish in one generation.

Maybe that would be a good thing. It appears that us humans seem hell bent on destroying everything.

Eck! said...


Greer has made a good living on controversy of sex and gender.
Note I use those as separate things. Sex, a physical construct centered on procreation and the mechanics of that. Gender, our words and social constructs for what we expect of behavior based on outward perception of their sex.

The fun begins when the conservatives and the liberals go head to head. As they say in some parts you brought that insanity to your house and its likely to catch fire before you toss water on it.
But you will get to see some social and maybe not so social
behavior and bias from those. The pigeons didn't let the cat
walk in it was tossed.


Ferric said...

As someone who suffers from a very mild case of body dismorphic disorder as I child it would have been pretty easy to mistake me for being transgender. I often went through great pains to present myself as male, asking my parents to buy my 'boy clothing', playing with toys aimed at boys and watching television shows aimed at boys my age. Most of my friends were male and I would play along with them, often expressing the desire that I could become a boy. The thing was, I was too young to understand that it wasn't that I wanted to be male, it was that I found some, but not all, aspects of the male form more desirable than my own physical appearance. As I got older I was better able to understand that my dissatisfaction with my body was not due to me wanting to be male, but because there was something wrong with the way I saw myself versus the way I wanted to be seen. I honestly cannot accurately describe what I want to be, because it's more about dissatisfaction with what I am than wanting to be something else. I suspect that if tomorrow I were to suddenly turn into my idealized self, no strings attached, I would eventually start to feel the same dissatisfaction that I do now.

Because of this I don't really believe in the whole 'born in the wrong body' notion, nor do I believe that it's a physical disorder that needs to be treated with hormones and surgery. There are clearly underlying mental causes and those need to be addressed. Otherwise we're treating the symptoms, not the disease. Worse, we're pretending that the disorder doesn't exist and attacking those who dare propose that there's a disorder in the first place.

Will said...

Another world champion who did what Jenner did, some years back:

Since Jenner's story went public, I've wondered if this was known before the choice was made.

That they felt driven to make this change is saddening. Took courage, though.

libertarianrn said...

I have a good friend who is a transgender woman. She is on testosterone blockers and taking hormones but has not had any surgery. After working with a vocal coach to change her voice, and being on hormones for a couple years, she can generally pass as female. She would say she is biologically male, but her gender is transgender female. As strange as it is from the outside to see a good friend change their identity so radically, it must be so much stranger to experience from the inside.

To me, it does not matter at all what gender someone identifies as. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my nose. And since my friend has requested that I address her by a female name, and generally treat her as female, I'm happy to treat my friend the way she requests to be treated.

Anonymous said...

There's a reason why John Hopkins stopped doing gender reassignment in 1979.

Unknown said...

Someone can believe with all their heart that they're Napoleon.
That in no way obligates me to call them Emperor.

Just because you wish to deny reality does not make reality less existant.
And few things are quite as clear-cut as sex.

Also, self-mutilation clearly qualifies as "harm to self".

C. G. R. said...

Reading all these comments on top of what I got from the media on the topic I tend to believe we're continuing to be immature as a society. Is "gender reassignment surgery" going to change a man into a woman? No, neither biologically nor otherwise no matter what some people say. Should this kind of surgery not be allowed? No, if someone wants it, let him have it because it's his life! No one has the right to dictate someone else what to do with their life and body. But these people will have to accept and live with the consequences. I don't think I (or anyone else) has the right to tell someone not to "change their gender" but I also don't want these people to come crying because this didn't worked out the way they expected or because they can't adapt to the new life realities.
The way I see it we are free to choose but we are not free of the consequences of our choices.

parascribe said...

I disagree that surgery should be allowed just because someone wants. In my view, gender reassignment surgery for a body image issue is as unethical as providing liposuction to bulimics. As Peter noted, outside of a tiny fraction of these cases, the issue is psychological, not physical. Right now the media obsession with "acceptance" is the worst thing for a fragile part of our society.

Nate Winchester said...

Heh, and here the other day I was going to email you this article on transgender, dysphoria and our culture of narcissism. Seems relevant now.

Anonymous said...

Here's my thoughts:

It's a very complex issue. First off, we only recognize the 2 genders for the most part - but everybody is in fact a Mix of it. EVERYBODY has both Testosterone & estrogen in differing amounts. We have difficulty recognizing Intersex conditions as it is. Many do not know until puberty or even adult hood - some go their entire lives without ever knowing. So given that their are Intersex conditions of the body - Why do we view intersex conditions of the brain as impossible?

Probably simply because we don't know enough yet.

---My feelings on people who are homosexual or transgender are the same: it is a disorder that should be treated as the psychological problem that it is---

As far as treatment: Transition is the recognized treatment right now. Is it the fix all for all persons experiencing these issues? Obviously not. However, it is the best that can be done at this stage. How would you treat the psychological problem without transition? Ice pick Lobotomy perhaps? Transition is the psychological treatment.

Jason said...

This whole thing is quite interesting. It strikes me as profoundly evil to indulge someones obvious mental distress like this. Imagine saying to an alcoholic, "Good on you for your brave lifestyle choice, here is a pallet of Jack Daniels and don't worry, we will pass laws making everybody accommodate your absences and inability to do your job, and shame anybody who refuses to celebrate". This is no different to doing that. It is a tragedy that we have gone so mad as a culture that we want to encourage this sort of deviancy. Compassion for those struggling is a must, but forcing everybody to play along or else is a dangerous totalitarian madness.

That being said, this does provide an interesting opportunity to roll back the cultural left and crush them but setting them on each other.

It is madness to indulge the transsexual activists but they do provide an interesting means for crushing the lunatic feminists, and if they are going to pass these sorts of laws, there is no reason not to weaponize them, you know they will. A mens rights groups in England already shut down a vilely misandric radical feminist conference because the conference only allowed "real women" to attend. English anti-discrimination laws contain "gender identity" clauses, so such stipulations are illegal. The mens rights loonies are part of the cultural left as well and part of the problem, but they do demonstrate a useful way to approach such things.

All of the feminists arguments about female oppression can be dismissed thanks to the arguments of the transsexual activists. After all, if your gender is what you choose to identify as, then all a woman needs to do to end "patriarchal oppression" of herself is to declare she is a man, dress and act accordingly and all of the male privilege she claims exists will be hers. At this point, any "oppression" she suffers as a woman is chosen by her because of her insistence on identifying as a woman. If you are oppressed by choice that is really your own problem. You _can_ help that yourself. To deny this is "transphobia".

I think the transracialist silliness will actually put this whole thing over the top too. "What do you mean you mean you lack the privilege of a white man, just declare yourself trans-white and trans-male and your problem is solved".

Those with an interest in saving western civilization have been handed a potent weapon to make the barbarians fall upon each other in a furious bloodletting and let them waste their energy fighting each other instead of burning civilization down. They will end up doing it anyway, unreality has a way of imploding when it meets reality, but there is no reason not to push.

Jason said...

Actually transition is _not_ the recognized treatment. It is the equivalent of the alcoholic crawling into the bottle.

Johns Hopkins Hospital who pioneered the surgery stopped doing it because follow up on the patients indicated that it didnt actually help them.

Anonymous said...

First off - Genital surgery is not a requirement of Transition;

2nd, You compare to an Alcoholic - You're comparing a non-functioning person to a functioning one. Albeit a functioning person that's a little different. Would you agree that IF transitioning helps somebody to function more in society that they should do that?

A brand new study from Canada confirms this effect. There, the suicide attempt rate for transgender people was similar to what other studies have found: about 18 times higher than the general population. But the study found that some factors greatly reduced the attempt rate. For example, when transgender people had affirming parents, the rate dropped by 57 percent. Access to legal documentation consistent with their gender identity dropped rates by 44 percent. Trans people who experienced low levels of anti-trans hate were 66 percent less likely to attempt suicide. And perhaps most importantly, the further along individuals were in their transitions — i.e. the closer they were to having a body and outward identity that matched their internal gender identity — the less likely they were to attempt suicide

So if you REALLY cared about Transgender persons - the best help you can give them is to accept them.

Anonymous said...

So the only way to really care about transsexuals is to forfeit our integrity, look reality in the eye and deny the truth? I would never wish to harm another person, especially someone who is fragile, but actively denying truth and giving up my integrity is too high a price to pay in order to keep from hurting another person's feelings.

If pretending really helps, then why isn't this the prescription for all the other psychological and neurological illnesses?

Anonymous said...

Also, not to be unkind or indelicate, but is a person truly functioning if, for them to function optimally in their eyes, everyone around them must change their behaviors, customs, and belief systems to accommodate them?

Anonymous said...

---must change their behaviors, customs, and belief systems to accommodate them?---

What Behaviors, customs, or belief systems must be changed exactly? Beyond treating all persons with kindness and respect?

---- look reality in the eye and deny the truth?---- Genitals are usually the least important thing about most of the people you meet. and at the same time, as said earlier all persons have a mix of Feminine and Masculine traits - including sex hormones. So what "truth" do you have to deny?

Anonymous said...

Locker rooms, bathrooms, etc. As a woman, yes, I would feel very uncomfortable sharing either of those things with someone who is genetically and/or physically male. Being unable to have any opinion other than eat, drink, and be merry without being labeled a bigot. Being pressured--through shaming, the law--to change acceptable cultural and/or religious mores due to the demands of a small percentage of people.

Kindness and respect go both ways. And it is hardly a kindness to accommodate or celebrate a mental illness that causes so much anguish and pain. It is also not a kindness to force everyone else, regardless of the dictates of their own consciences, to go along with it.

Reality would be the chromosomes that make up the genetic component of a person. In the vast majority of cases, things are pretty cut and dried in that department: xx is female and xy is male. Feelings will not change that reality. Looking at someone who is genetically male and being forced to call him a female via the law, social shaming, and people that form witch hunts to financially harm a person who does not fall in line is requiring a person to deny the truth.

If a person's sex organs are the least important part of that person, then why are so many hell bent on people accepting that those same sex organs have nothing whatsoever to do with their sex? And why is accepting a person's personal interpretation of their sex organs tantamount to accepting or rejecting a person completely? On no other merit than going along with whatever they've decided no matter what reality says.

Real harm, pain, and anguish are happening to people. Real suffering that is only going to be compounded by trying to force everyone else to call day night and night day. If we really wanted to help and do something, scientists would be studying people with the intent to discover the underlying causes so those could be treated. They wouldn't be saying all is well while the city burns behind them.

Anonymous said...

---people accepting that those same sex organs have nothing whatsoever to do with their sex----

Sex and Gender are not quite the same thing.

---Locker rooms, bathrooms, etc. As a woman, yes, I would feel very uncomfortable sharing either of those things with someone who is genetically and/or physically male---



Which one of these two are you more comfortable with in your restroom?