Transsexualism and the Tyranny of Experts

Because others know what is best for us.

The priests, who function as experts in the rules of the imaginary being in the sky tell us, “God does not make mistakes.”  Even though all sorts of obvious birth defects sort of refute that one.  Of course if one holds to that particular belief then there is always the possibility of god as malevolent being.

But let’s take a look at the claims of expertise on the part of the god interfacers.  With them there tends to be reliance on books of mythology dating back 1500 or more years that have scientific mistakes and impossibilities like earth centric solar systems etc.  Not exactly confidence providing in the scientific arena these “holy” books tend to also be rampantly misogynistic and homophobic.

Mostly the god interface folks seem to be experts at enriching themselves by extortion and begging.  They tend to use people born with transsexualism as modern witches, scapegoats for the short comings of their “flocks”.  According to these enlightened fools, transsexualism is caused by either Satan, failure to pray enough (give enough money to the god interface people), Obama, or feminism.  Because god doesn’t make mistakes it can not possibly be caused by natural genetic variation or environmentally induced genetic mutation.

Then you have the psychiatric establishment with their sciency sounding jargon.  Stoller and others attributed the same sorts of psychiatric “cause” for transsexualism that they had previously used for homosexuality. Nice try but as they say about the expertise of people with transsexualism anecdotal evidence is not science.

Then you have the doctors who operate on intersex infants, because perish the though an intersex person should wait until they can verbalize a desire for surgery that would move their bodies in one direction rather than the other or for that matter to remain with the body they have.  So the experts roll the dice and make the decisoion for them based on their status as experts.  The result is that there are a fair number of pissed off people born intersex who wish the doctors had waited until they had input on what was done to their body.

Now transsexualism started out as a home grown product of people with transsexualism piecing together information.  a snippet of  Magnus Hirschfeld here and a story there, an article regarding sex hormones and a doctor or two willing to help desperate people.

By the late 1960s people with transsexualism were the experts, we had perhaps a half dozen or so books that told us what we had to know about hormone dosages and the nature of the operation.  We knew our own narratives , which were the sanest and most reasonable that I have seen.  We described ourselves as feeling trapped in the wrong bodies.  Not a whole lot of babble about gender.  A lot of us looked like teenage girls except for lack of secondary sex characteristics and having boyparts between our legs.  A lot of us show signs of not being all that receptive to male hormones or as the case may be to have too much male hormones.  In short when we presented ourselves to the doctors we already seemed to be on the road to becoming.

But natural or environmentally induced variations of intersex would have been too simple for experts who all too often overlook the obvious that both men and women are from Earth and neither are from Mars or Venus. Besides the experts were having to deal with uppity women rebelling against oppressive sex roles that reduce them to lesser people of a lesser and oppressed class.  From Lucy Parsons to John and Yoko the truth that women were the slaves of slaves and nigger of the world was being openly stated.

The experts responded by developing “gender” because simply being male or female with a wide range of traits and interests that can be shared by members of both sexes was unacceptable in that it undermined the idea of both opposite sexes and the idea that both were mutually exclusive and immutable.

Because transsexuals, transgenders and other intersex people fell somewhere between or saw the potential in achieving greater oneness of self by moving from an assigned and ascribed as immutable status to a different defined as immutable status the experts viewed us as mind fucks, the fly in the ointment.  We ruin wonderful Ph.D. theses and deeply thought out theories as well as works of literature and art based on “never the twain shall meet.”

The very idea that one might decide based on one’s own thoughts, one’s own core of inner being to actively seize the agency to determine for oneself which ascribed class one belonged to was and is anathema to those who set themselves as “experts”.  And when it comes to intersex, transsexual or transgender people exercising their freedom to control concerns which determine their own destinies there is an abundant range of “objective” experts.

We have the “religious authorities” who cite ancient texts of mythology to determine the proper course of action for those who are born in-between.  Not surprisingly these experts tend to mutter platitudes regarding the infallibility of the sky being and how it is either “his” will (god is always a male in the misogynistic panoply of religions and the invisible man is invariably a male supremacist) or how one must accept the unchangeable.  Unchangeable  even though surgery is available which does change the primary insignia of sex assignment.  Experts of this nature are often the generators of fine points of minutia as to why sex reassignment surgery doesn’t really change one’s sex.

All too often we cave to these experts and cravenly put forth other names for what the surgery does, names like gender reassignment surgery.

Then there are the conservative experts whose thinking runs along the lines of:  If men and women are so similar as to share common traits and interest that people can actually be born who are in-between and capable of self-determination as to which class they belong then the constraints that hold civilized society together will be destroyed.   Women will think they are the equals of men and the very patriarchy upon which the different sex classes of society depends will come unhinged.

We have the legal experts.  Their swords cut both ways and yet for thousands of years men have written the laws that defined women as lesser.  Driven by the Taliban Christers they now write defense of heteronormative marriage that can be construed to deny people with a history of transsexualism or intersex people the right to marry at all.  Their microscopic examination and tight parsing to define who is man and who is woman leaves little space for people who are in-between even when it comes to matters such as rape and laws that define it as a crime only against “females” with the rape of male or people in-between seen as sexual assault instead.

We have the academic experts with their queer studies and gender studies.  Some of the worst of the worst oppressors generate something called “queer theory” which defines us as gender transgressive, what ever that means.  Especially when women born transsexual often show the same mix of culturally defined as feminine or masculine behaviors as assigned at birth females.  Again the “experts” further their careers in their field by oppressing the ‘non-experts” by othering us and denying us the validity of our life experiences.

WBTs and MBTs as well as other intersex people have our narratives discounted as non-objective since they serve to promote our legitimacy over that of religious, academic, psychiatric and legalistic dogma.  Yet we are the only ones capable of speaking with authority regarding our own lives, telling our own stories.

We raise the question of the legitimacy of the experts who pathologize us not because we are pathological but rather due to the misogyny and agenda driven thinking of those experts promoting their own careers and causes based on our oppression.

No more waiting for crumbs

From Socialist Worker Wolf, author of Sexuality and Socialism: History, Politics and Theory of LGBT Liberation [1], makes the case for demonstrating in Washington at the National Equality March on October 11. Sherry is currently on a speaking tour of the East Coast [2].

September 18, 2009

THE NEWS this week that New York Rep. Jerry Nadler has proposed legislation to repeal the Clinton-era Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) would have been sufficient to quell the demands of LGBT activists one year ago.

Today, Nadler’s bill is a welcome step. But the fact that it comes seven months into the presidency of a man who promised to repeal DOMA–and amid comments from Democratic leaders like House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that getting rid of the federal anti-marriage equality law isn’t a “priority”–highlights the molasses pace of LGBT rights legislation and the bankruptcy of the incrementalist strategy that has guided the LGBT movement for decades.

Like the moribund Equal Rights Amendment campaign for women’s constitutional equality–initiated in 1923, reintroduced in 1972 and never passed by the required 38 states–LGBT gradualists have argued for a state-by-state legislative approach to winning change.

Enough begging for crumbs. If we want equal rights for LGBT people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states, we have to demand it from the federal government–and that means getting out and marching on October 11 in Washington, D.C.

That’s what Generation Twitter and thousands of others–via Facebook, street heat and word of mouth–have been expressing in protests across the country since the passage last November of California’s anti-equal marriage referendum Proposition 8.

President Barack Obama’s own equivocation these last months shows the limitations of an electoral strategy–and the importance of struggle.

He is the first president to publicly utter the word transgender and to honor the anniversary of the 1969 Stonewall riots last June. Yet his Justice Department first insultingly upheld and then opposed DOMA. And Obama continues to drag his feet on repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell”–a policy that its own author, Gen. Colin Powell, calls for ending.

The relationship between LGBT activists and the Democratic Party has been a dysfunctional one. The Democrats court LGBT votes and money, but offer few gains and a fair share of abuse in exchange.

Notably, openly gay Rep. Barney Frank has refused to sign on to Nadler’s DOMA repeal bill, saying, “It’s not anything that’s achievable in the near term.” Frank, quite busy these days shoveling bailout money to the Wall Street bankers, was also instrumental in tossing transgender people out of proposed employment non-discrimination legislation in 2007.

For LGBT activists wooed by the Democrats, ditching the more militant strategy that won a hearing in the first place for a “don’t rock the boat” approach is the price to play.

Thirty-five years have passed since gay civil rights legislation was first proposed in Congress, yet LGBT people remain an unprotected class of citizens. Whereas the denial of the rights of gays to work for the federal government, for example, was enacted with the stroke of a president’s pen in Executive Order 10450 in 1953, no such swift action has been taken to overturn decades of institutional discrimination.

When Bill Clinton was in the White House, it wasn’t until nearly six years into his presidency that he Executive Order 11478, providing partial relief for lesbian and gay federal employees–not including 3 million military personnel.

But the fact that his action left intact sodomy laws (finally overturned by the Supreme Court in 2003), anti-same-sex marriage legislation (which he signed), the military’s unequal status for LGBT people (which he introduced!), and never mentions the rights of those who are transgender, exposes the failure of the electoral route for winning civil rights for sexual minorities.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

WE’VE GOT to strike while the iron’s hot. Today, political tectonic plates are shifting rapidly, and groups and individuals need to get on board or step aside to let a new generation push ahead for full equality.

When Harvey Milk’s protégé Cleve Jones put out the call for the National Equality March on Washington in October, almost every major LGBT group balked, arguing that there wasn’t enough time, and a march wasn’t the right strategy.

But the force of events and popular sentiment compelled organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to endorse this march. It’s a positive sign that HRC feels the pressure to endorse–while grassroots activists shaping the march haven’t watered down its demand for full equality now.

Unlike marches of the recent past, this one will not be brought to you by Miller Beer, Citibank or any other corporate entity. Its bare-bones budget is posted on its Web site [3], and celebrities like Cyndi Lauper and Lady Gaga are volunteering their services and paying their own way. It’s grassroots all the way.

New activists are showing the way forward. When Black lesbians Aiyi’nah Ford and Torian Brown were kicked out of a Silver Springs, Md., diner for embracing, they called a protest in late August–and then got involved in building the march on Washington. A police raid on the Rainbow Lounge bar in Forth Worth, Texas–carried out on the night of the 40th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion–sent patron Chad Gibson to the emergency room. Outraged LGBT folks called a protest–and now they’re also building for the October 11 march. So are the local LGBT people in Atlanta, who responded with protests after an early September raid at the Eagle bar.

All of these actions have made international news and are forcing authorities to apologize and change policies.

Many transgender people, accustomed to being pushed into the shadows, have thrown themselves into building this march–from veteran Florida activist Donna Lee, who serves on the steering committee, to newer radicals like Dove Paige Anthony in Chicago’s Join the Impact. Trans voices will be heard from the stage as well.

Whether the National Equality March draws tens of thousands or many more is hard to tell since so many established media outlets are ignoring it–though CNN, MSNBC and the LGBT cable network LOGO have agreed to give it exposure.

No matter how many turn out to march on October 11–or attend the vast array of workshops the day before–it will help punctuate a turning point for LGBT civil rights.

And a new network of activist groups will emerge from this march: Equality Across America. As Massachusetts activist Gary Lapon puts it, “We are not simply organizing to protest, but protesting to organize.”

The new mood for LGBT equality is a reflection of a generation that grew up with unprecedented cultural exposure to sexual and gender variance, yet lives with draconian laws and organizational strategies that asphyxiate dynamism and shut down debate. No more crafting our demands to suit the tepid conservatism of a bygone era. We want it all!

President Obama, this is our Rosa Parks moment. When will you allow LGBT people sit at the front of the bus?

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

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Posted in Feminist, Lesbian, LGBT/T, Same Sex Marriage, Transgender, Transsexualism, Uncategorized. Comments Off on No more waiting for crumbs

House ENDA Committee Hearings Start Wednesday: Salted With ENDA Opponents

From Bilrico Report

Filed by: Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

September 21, 2009 10:30 AM

There will be an extremely important Congressional hearing on ENDA this Wednesday, September 23, at 10:00 am ET. It is before the Committee on Education and Labor. It will have a lot to do with whether ENDA succeeds or not. But of the 49 committee members, 15 have voted against, or are undecided on ENDA. Another 4 are thought to be supportive, but have failed and refused to co-sponsor.

What do you think we should do about that?

Like all Congressional hearings, it will have the charm of a lead balloon. There’s no sound track, no quick cutaway to the well-acted reactions of various witnesses and congressmembers, and it doesn’t wrap up in 30 minutes. But if you listen carefully, very carefully, the music in the background begins to rise. It will either be a triumphal anthem, swelling the heart and leading to victory, or a funeral march, foreshadowing the doom of a noble cause.

This is where your part in the drama comes in. You will either call these Congressmembers offices in droves, demanding equal rights, or you will not. You will either harangue your friends and relatives to call and email, or you will not. You will either become a demand for justice, or you will attend to other business. What say you?

The hearing by the full Committee on Education and Labor will be available to watch online live by going to the top right-hand side of the page, an inch down, click on “Live Webcast.”

The hearing is designed to focus attention on this bill, amid all the other hullabaloo in DC and the nation, and to see if Congressmembers will stand up and take notice.

It is unclear whether there are enough votes to pass ENDA in the House if it were to be voted on today. The leadership will not let it proceed to a vote until that is clear. That is going to be up to you.

I suggest you watch the hearing carefully.

The House Numbers

There are currently 159 co-sponsors of ENDA, HR 3017, in the House.   Co-sponsorship is important because it means that Congressmember is solidly behind the bill and can be counted upon to vote in support.

Another 20 Congressmembers have indicated privately they will vote in support, but are not co-sponsors. 30 more are seen as probable yes votes, either because they co-sponsored ENDA in the past or supported other LGBT causes.

That brings us to 209, which is 9 short of what we need at a bare minimum.

Committee Members Not In Favor of ENDA

There are some members of the Committee on Education and Labor, who will be voting on your rights, who are not in favor of ENDA. You must call them, whether they are from your district or not, though I suggest you look for ones in or nearest your state. They are voting on your civil rights, and you have every right and duty to ask them for support.

The following members of the Committee are not co-sponsors of ENDA:
Jason Altmire <>(D-PA-04),
Paul Tonko <> (D-NY-21)
Dina Titus <> (D-NV-3)

The following members of the Committee voted against ENDA in 2007
John Kline <,7> (R-MN-02)
Thomas E. Petri <> (R-WI-06)
Howard “Buck” McKeon
<> (R-CA-25)
Peter Hoekstra <> (R-MI-02)
Mark E. Souder<>(R-IN-03)
Vernon J. Ehlers <> (R-MI-03)
Joe Wilson <> (R-SC-02)
Cathy McMorris Rodgers<,82>(R-WA-05)
Tom Price <> (R-GA-06)
Rob Bishop <> (R-UT-01)

The following members of the Committee appear to be undecided about ENDA:
Brett Guthrie <> (R-KY-2)
Bill Cassidy <> (R-LA-6)
Tom McClintock <>(R-CA-4)
Duncan D. Hunter<>(R-CA-52)
Phil Roe <> (R-TN-1)
Glenn “GT” Thompson

Call and ask for them at (202) 224-3121. Click on their names for their web pages and email contact info.

More Strategy Tips

It would also be good strategy to get the 50 who are likely to vote in support – but who have not yet agreed to co-sponsor — to agree to co-sponsorship.

More co-sponsorships will help notify the leadership that this bill is ready for a vote. If your Congressmember is not yet a co-sponsor, please call him or her and ask them to co-sponsor the bill. Here’s how:

Find your Representative here:<>

Find your Representative’s ENDA status here:

The telephone number is (202) 224-3121. Put that on speed dial.

Please let us know what you’ve done in the comment space below, so we can encourage each other. Are we willing to fight for our rights?

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on House ENDA Committee Hearings Start Wednesday: Salted With ENDA Opponents

The Transtealth Bombers.

My friend Sophie has a great post over on her blog:September 22, 2009 by sophiaofthescythes

It is the debate around some kid going back to school after having started treatment to become female physically that has set me thinking. It seems the tear away, lie away Scum newspaper in the UK have been at it again. This time we are getting the “Political correctness gone mad” approach with headlines like “Sex swap kid goes back to school as a Girl!!!” Well guess what, 50 percent of the population of the school went back to school as girls so what’s the big deal?

Well I know that the answer to that would be “But they left school before the summer holidays as a BOY!!!” So what? I spent a large chunk of my childhood going to school being called “Boy” and “Girl” and “Cat” and “Dog” (By everyone else I add) so I would hardly see some kid changing their outward sex going back to school as being any big deal.

Continue reading at:

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on The Transtealth Bombers.