Contrary to popular belief among some of the most seriously transgender identified of the transgender activists I actually support transgender inclusive ENDA as well as Hate Crimes bills that include phrases like gender identity and perceived gender expression.
Shoot I can even exchange non hostile e-mails with Monica Helms regarding transsexual and transgender veterans issues. We may not agree on every thing but we can dialogue and examine the positions of the other with out resorting to name calling.
On the other hand I have seen certain other people trashing Feministing, a blog I both feature in my list of links and post comments upon, as being “transphobic” for having a post regarding Focus on the Family’s hate mongering beg for money letter. The trashing wasn’t really about the post itself but rather about the comments.
It ended trashing Feministing… a blog run by Jessica Valenti that publishes pieces by Julia Serano periodically.
As far as some are concerned the only concern a post-SRS woman can have are centered on transissues to the exclusion of all other issues. One must be transgender identified. If one is woman identified then one is transphobic.
This makes dialoguing rather difficult. It also makes working together on specific issues difficult. It sort of reminds me of the rabid right wing which insists on screaming names and hatred at other nations and then wonders why the rest of the world considers them nut jobs who would rather go to war than enter diplomatic talks.
Fortunately the moderates in the transgender movement are more understanding and it is possible to advance positions on given issues working on an ad hoc basis.
April 10, 2009 at 11:52 am
Julia Serano had some excellent points about scapegoating the feminine but she planted a time bomb in the consciousness of transgenders with the promotion of the whole “cis” thingies.
One who took it and ran out of the park with it was Lisa Harney who has made a laughing stock of herself in feminist circles by calling every random feminist who disagrees with her personal viewpoints transphobic and exercising “cis-privilege”. This notion is the ultimate in third gendering in that promotes the idea that everyone you call normborn is a trans oppressor by nature. Think about it, how can one actually transition to woman if one feels all non-transwomen are their personal oppressors? Answer, it makes it damn near impossible until you grow up enough to see that sort of victimization as the trap it is.
Me? I identify as woman, a Pagan feminist one. My personal sense of self is not threatened by some random neo-Raymonites opinion about who I am because in many cases I have actually lived as an adult woman longer than they have. Adult woman, not trans woman, not tranistioning woman, just woman.
If you are capable of having a rational discussion with Helms you must be a saint. That one is, well, need not go into details.
April 10, 2009 at 8:55 pm
I had a very strange man at a meeting in LA attack me for “passing privilege”.
Now this meeting was in what became a bad area after sun down, I wore my typical dyke go to meeting outfit of jeans, running shoes Center t-shirt and a fleece or leather jacket.
Granted I would go to transmeetings and folks would assume I was just another dyke from the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center.
But this person was pissing and moaning about how no one addressed him as the woman he identified as being.
He looked like Dee Snider of Twisted Sister. I said that people were more likely to respond to you as a woman if you provide them with the visual cue that they should think of you as a woman.
What is a bit off about the primacy of identity thingie is that it requires nothing beyond declaring one is to demand others go along with that claim even when all visual and other sensory information contradicts that.
As for the passing privilege thing… I didn’t pass all that well as a boy and hormones matured me into femaleness.
April 11, 2009 at 3:13 am
Try a bit empathy. The story with the Dee Snyder look alike reminds me of a beatyfull woman that snaps at an obese one telling her how she just has to slim down and that she brought that to herself and how disgusting she is.
I love to read some of Lisa Harneys posts and I liked espacially the Transphobic Tropes series and an article about how privilidge works, http://questioningtransphobia.wordpress.com/2008/08/24/transphobic-words-and-deeds/
which I even translated for my blog. What I liked espacially about the article was, that in its basic conecpts you can use it for every privilidge based power dynamic.
>Think about it, how can one actually transition to woman if one feels all non-transwomen are their personal oppressors?
Do you think the “Dee Snyder” person ever can become just one of the girls? So its not a question of wanting or beeing, but a question of ability.
April 11, 2009 at 3:48 am
Does that justify an attack on someone for “passing privilege”?
What is “passing privilege”?
I too have known people who give no “female clues”, who dress and look like men, who make no attempt to BE women — and, who DEMAND they be called “she”.
They are never harrassed on the street or on the subway. They are never looked at in any strange way — but, they do attack those who could be their allies by their DEMANDS. The person I knew risked no job, risked nothing — but did attampt to “get close” to “trannies”, in a physical way.
This was a “mental transgender” (it was all in his head), who had the potential to be a sexual predator.
Most folks actually can “pass” — when they stop “passing”.
When I lived on Long Island, I often ran into people I knew. I saw myself always being “read” – and I was. I drew attention to myself by being too well dressed, always having my “face” on (makeup), trying to be “too right”.
When Suzy came to N.Y., she got me out, gave me support, gave me “permission” to just BE a woman. Jeans and a top were ok to go shopping in — I no longer had to look “just so”. As a result, I blended in, was no longer being “read” anywhere near as often.
Moving from a place I’d lived in all my life, where I was very well known in many different circles, made a huge difference — as does time.
“Empathy” does not include allowing yourself to be attacked for someone elses shortcomings.
Some of us, no matter how well we “pass” will never be “one of the girls”. We were never “one of the boys”, or “one” of anything else. Some of us will always be loners to some extent. That has nothing to do with “passing”.
April 11, 2009 at 4:03 am
> Some of us, no matter how well we “pass” will never be “one of the girls”. We were never “one of the boys”, or “one” of anything else.
That was a first step. When I spoke of empathy I pushed it one step further – being othered by everyone else can place a person in an “all defences up”-mode all the time. Snapping even at hands that are there to give a help.
And the persons with bad passing I know dont come away that easily as you discribe it. A lot of verbal herassment, finger pointing and such. I see it, when I am with some ones who has passing issues and than I’m often am reminded that I’m blessed with passing privilledge, while I tend to forget that in my everyday life in which in this area is uncomplicated.
April 11, 2009 at 5:17 am
Way back when I was running the NTCU, which would be in about 1971 or 72 I met the infamous Angela Douglas. The one who made our hassles with a few feminists over the matter of Sandy Stone being sound engineer for Olivia Records into the Transwars.
He was running around the country being the public face of transsexualism and colonizing the efforts of ordinary sisters to organize peer to peer groups etc. He was very Alice Cooper and the dicks in the under ground press loved him. Of course they also loved the money we were bringing in as sex workers to their advertising departments every week too but that is a different story.
Any how this mentally disturbed person, Douglas went on to get his operation from Dr. Brown after winning a lottery. He then reverted to being basically a psychotic man who spent the rest of his life firing off diatribes accusing everyone of ripping him off.
The thing is right after meeting him I turned to Jan who was running the center with me and said, “That very strange guy is not a transsexual, He is just crazy and delusional.”
There are people who are actually mentally ill who have delusions of being transsexual but aren’t. One real sign is seen in people who have a totally unrealistic view of who they think they appear to be. Feeding delusional thinking isn’t empathy, it is encouraging mental illness.
Telling them what they might need to do to change the worlds impression of them might help.
But in some cases throwing up your hands and admitting that one is offering peer counseling and isn’t a psychiatric professional and sending the person to some one with a degree in the psychic profession is the best course of action.
April 11, 2009 at 5:21 am
Dealing with the “all defenses up” mode is on the person who has their defenses up. The person constantly being defensive has to learn to lower those defenses if she ever wants any peace.
There are times I think the person we really have to convince is ourselves. Getting away from a place where most folks we come into contact with on a daily basis knew us “before” can also help an awful lot.
As far as being a loner — that has nothing to do with “passing”. Many of us HAD to learn how to enjoy our own company, indeed PREFER our own company, just for some peace, some quiet. It beats the hell out of being teased, abused, and beaten on a regular basis.
Now, this has nothing to do with the person who DEMANDS to be considered “she” while remaining “he” in the eyes of all around him.
It appears to be an extreme form of male privilege — DEMANDING to be considered a “woman” while still presenting as typical male – all the time.
April 11, 2009 at 5:56 am
There are certain known psychological disorders that can have the effect. Borderline is one of them. Shizophrenia and strong THC abuse (which is known to sometimes cause shizophrina).
Interesting: fMRT Scans showed cross sexed patterns in brainactivity for people with diagonsed shizophrenia. It devalues the fMRT studies on transsexuality a bit, but the more research is done on those issues (reaserch and not trying to fit everything in a neat little theory and call that reseach like BBL) is valuable.
April 11, 2009 at 7:45 am
Actually Sarah those shizophrenia results also show that when it is chemically controlled, the cross sex patterns disappear where as it does not in classic transsexuals.
There are no shortage of unmedicated lunatics running around claiming to be trans. In the end I’ve noticed that women “vibe” woman, for lack of a better way to put it. Apparently I was one of those who vibed woman long before I transitioned.
I’ll never understand the need to denounce or devalue all the various studies beyond it seems to be an indication of not having reached a point of basic self acceptance within one’s self. It seems to boil down to that over and over. If you do not believe yourself to be female on the deepest level, why should anyone else? If you wish to be a part of a third gender, why should anyone accept your claims of being a woman?
April 11, 2009 at 8:07 am
I hope you do not think, I want to devalue any studies? If you do please read my older comment over here:
Those who might be better of with a third gender do not have a real chance in the binary western world.
I learned that there are a lot of people who have no issues with the body map, but do a srs anyway. Leading to 30% of post ops having a phantom penis. Given that there are only 0.5 to 1.5% detransitioners and that any study showed the brainsex as far as measurable is 100% succes rate when the only criteria was that of an diognosis of transsexuality – something isn’t fully female (given they where transsexual females) in their brain, yet whats measurable does not show it. There is no simple binary, but those who have caught the whole package are a bit more in luck given todays medical and social posibillites than those who are only partially effected.
April 11, 2009 at 8:45 am
Where on earth does this term “passing privilage” come from? It looks and sounds to me like sour grapes on those who do not have a feminine personna but desperately want one. Who, for whatever reason, cannot present a feminine enough image to be accepted as female. In my opinion that comes from within as much as from anything else.
In addition to that one might exchange ‘passing privilage” for “Beauty privilage” isn’t it the same philosophical thing? Frankly so much of these accusations of “transphobia” and “passing privilage” has the stench of testosterone to it. Just as the crap that eminates from north western stinks of the stuff.
At age fourteen my Mother wanted to take me to see a doctor about my insistance that I was female but by then I had read about aversion therapy and it scared the living daylights out of me and I screamed the house down until she promised me she wouldn’t. Instead she went and talked with our general practitioner who apparently merely said “I would grow out of it” My Mother talked to many of her friends none of whom were particularly surprised since I looked and behaved in a quite obviously feminine way.
Having that wretched “thing” between my legs caused me great trauma and though I am over it now there have been times since SRS when I have had nightmares that the “thing” is still there. I imagine that any woman would feel the same way.
Anyone who can survive living as a woman with an intact penis is emphatically not transsexual, HBS or whatever term anyone else comes up with. Hurling accusations of phobias, elitism and passing privilage at those who stem from a different starting point is really just childish. Perhaps they should deal with their own issues and not make them worse by claiming someone elses.
April 11, 2009 at 9:48 am
> Anyone who can survive living as a woman with an intact penis is emphatically not transsexual, HBS or whatever term anyone else comes up with.
I find it quite funny how always its the phallus.
> Having that wretched “thing” between my legs caused me great trauma and though I am over it now there have been times since SRS when I have had nightmares that the “thing” is still there
I’m with you in this. To point out the study again with the phantom penis. The control group where man that lost theirs. There 60% had an phantom penis. So while the same studie proves that srs is not the best thing for every transsexual person but bodymap issues are true for 30%.
What the problem is, declaring this part the boundary of TS/HBS vs. TG – how will you know? Only an affected person self can tell you. And most of them ignore that, wanting the srs to be women in every physical aspect anyway
(for an example, read this story:
And your stance puts them there, too.
Put the fact is that many of the people who have an srs for this reason suffer hugh afterwards.
An example is, a famous trans… women in switzerland. Like Cathryn and Suzan, she not only resonated very female, but also did a lot of modelling, she had a lasting relationship with a male, too. But when I see interview she gave a day before her srs, she looked very depressed and told how she sees this a sacrifce to society. The story didn’t and after that, she was interviewed shortly after srs and all seemed quite well, but it was the start of her falling down. In an interview a year later she was shown the post srs video and just laughed hysterically. Later she stopped hormones and suffered from bonedensity loss and deep depression. Years later one of her many suicide attempts was succesfull.
What caused her suffering was this “sacrifce to society”.
April 11, 2009 at 3:11 pm
I’m sorry Sarah, I do not mean to be unkind here but all in that link is a heap of bullshit and you have misunderstood my post completely. I have never had “phantom Phallus ” dreams that is not the nature of those nightmares. They were the result of the trauma caused by being transsexual.
Why do you find it amusing that it “always comes down to the phallus” because it isn’t funny. The phallus is the focus of the trauma. Females don’t have a penis. it’s really quite simple.
April 11, 2009 at 3:14 pm
I understood that your bodymapping is female? Mine too. Its just not true for everyone.
And the link was to show how this “its all about the phallus” gets people to mutiliate themselfs (which happens when they don’t have the body mapping)
I hope I could make it somewhat easier to understand now.
April 11, 2009 at 3:20 pm
By the way. Women have a womb and no prostata. Which of those do you posses? Its NOT that easy – or is it?
April 11, 2009 at 4:12 pm
Don’t read so much into the tentative conclusions drawn by the schizo study. We aren’t talking necessarily talking about the same areas of the brain, let alone the same chemical processes. People are drawing parallels without justification. The preliminary schizo work does nothing to invalidate work being done on “transsexual brains”.
The problem is that people are glossing over some very major points. The “outer” brain responds to sex hormones in adulthood differently than the “inner” brain, which is where we get our “body maps” and other core attributes. Swaab himself states that the “inner” brain stops responding to hormone influences perinatally, due to an aromatization factor.
The “outer” brain is much more plastic in adulthood with regard to these sex hormones. The study on pre-HRT people showed that the volume and gross composition of “transsexual” brain approximate that of their assigned/genital sex. After some time on HRT, there is a shift toward the norms for the “target” sex. This says nothing about the inner brain, nor the function of the brain taken as a whole. But people like Anne Lawrence are purposely misconstruing the evidence to discredit us.. It is awful that this sort of willful ignorance and disingenuous argument is allowed a voice in any kind of “science”, even if it is just a bunch of sexologists trying to challenge neurology.
In fact, the work done so far confirms that the *operation* of the “transsexual” brain is within the norms for its internal (brain) sex rather than the assigned (genital) sex, >in the areas where it truly matter<. For things such as sense of self, our body maps, and even things like mannerisms, we are who we say we are. Having typically male or female “outer brain” skills with regard to higher cognition says nothing about our core identity. There are examples of men and women who cross this artificial boundary all the time. Plenty of overlap in the continuum as they say.
Moreover, if you give ANY man or woman “cross-sex” hormones, their outer brains would change as well- we are not strange and exotic species, after all. But the inner brain never does. And that is the point. The seat of who we are at the deepest level lies in the unchanging, immutable form of our core brain.
A case could be made that the hormone therapy produces our feelings of well-being because it brings our outer and inner brain into balance, creating harmony out of discord. And that is the real reason why HRT provides a good diagnostic to separate the transsexual from others. It produces profound discomfort in the crossdresser or schizophrenic not because of psychosomatic or social concerns, but because the over time the brain *physically* changes in the wrong direction.
This IS transsexual syndrome. The physical brain is atypical with regard to genitals. It’s nothing more complicated than that. For some reason people want to involve gender and all these other secondary (or completely extraneous) issues. Yes, some people vibe more “feminine”; that is a function of neurology. It is ,mainly, motor skills driven by the “hind” brain and linked through nerves to muscles. Some things respond to adult hormone changes, and some do not. None of this speaks to all this esoterica coming from the group identity crowd. Identity politics has no place in medical treatment.
April 11, 2009 at 4:46 pm
My mother didn’t have a womb either for the last 30 years of her life. Other women lose their breasts to cancer.
There are AIS women with XY chromosomes and vagina but no uterus.
Indeed the only real characteristic of women is they have a vulva/vagina and men have a penis/phallus.
Gender doesn’t mean squat since there are masculine women and feminine men.
And masculinity/femininity is never an absolute but is always a comparison as well as tending to vary from action to action.
BTW the phantom penis study… Bailey? Blanchard? Lawrence? Chitland? or Zucker?
I tend to think it all bullshit.
April 13, 2009 at 4:09 am
And men loose their penises too, and am still man.
Since the phantom penis study should a connection of neural body mapping and transsexuality no one of the named would have published the results.
See: http://www.cosmosmagazine.com/node/1648 for details.
April 13, 2009 at 6:16 am
I have a missing finger lost in an industrial accident. I am constantly aware of it……..
I have no awareness of the former “male” parts. This whole “body mapping” thing is just an expression of the idea of neurological intersexuality. A female wired central nervous system reacts as one, a male wired central nervous system reacts as one. The real question is why any of this would be a surprise to anyone who devoted more than casual thought to the matter.
April 13, 2009 at 11:15 am
Cathryn, the surprise lies in the 30% with the phantom penis. That means 30% of diagnosed TS women (the testpersons for any brainsex study were taken from this group of people) had a phantom penis, while other studies had a nearly 100% of visible removel of inner and outer brain.
What this means? No one can say missing bodymapissues doesn’t invalidates ones transsexuality in terms of brainsex.
April 13, 2009 at 12:45 pm
If 30% of the people in these studies are not transsexual, it shouldn’t suprise anyone that the results are skewed.
April 13, 2009 at 5:00 pm
Sarah sez: “Cathryn, the surprise lies in the 30% with the phantom penis.”
Considering the way tissue is moved around and not for the most part amputated I could see how some might (particularly if the questioner words it to get such an answer might agree they feel something akin to what the questioner describes as a phantom penis.
Considering female sexual arousal the same reactions are part of female arousal.
The question really is who is experiencing the phantom penis? The post-SRS woman or the questioner with his own bias.
Has the questioner decided what results he/she wants and structured the query to get those answers confirmed?