Alien Abductions and Claims of Improbable Intersex Conditions in Online discussion Groups

Over the last 15 years or so that I have been on line I have evolved from some one who read and posted on various “Trans” Usenet newsgroups and internet forums to first a member of a number of “Trans” mailing lists.  Some 9 years ago Tina and I started the Women Born Transsexual mailing list.

I started this Blog in mid February.  Add to this some 40 years of experience since coming out.  This means I have met hundreds, if not thousands of people over the years who have had their lives impacted by association with one or more trans prefixed words.  I’ve read most of the major literature, a ton of biographies.  Some much more factual than others and some much better written than others.

I have a pretty wide ranging knowledge base in a number of fields, something typical of those with life long liberal educations supplemented with autodidactism.

This means I’ve read a number of works regarding intersex conditions including John Money and Anke Ehrhardt’s Man & Woman/Boy & Girl as well as the more popular John Money and Patricia Tucker book Sexual Signatures: On Being a Man or a Woman.  Another Book on the subject is Dr Richard Green’s Sexual Identity Conflict in Children and Adults.

Not only have I read these works but prior to writing this I went to the library and pulled them from their shelves.  Now you might say, “But both Green and Money and Money are discredited monsters?”

I would agree with you except for one thing and that was their co-editing of the Johns Hopkins book Transsexualism and Sex Reassignment in 1969-70.  They later drifted with times to far more conservative positions with the rise of the far right wing in both the US and GB.  Green was probably never a friend to people with transsexualism but Money was.

In the early days of Sex Reassignment Surgery they decided if one were intersex or transsexual based on one of the cruder tests, a buccal smear and slide stained to look for Barr Bodies, the inactivated x chromosome found in females but not males.  For obvious reasons the majority of these tests came back negative.  Nonetheless many doctors including Dr. Benjamin as well as the Doctors at Stanford where I had my SRS looked at some of us and said, “There is definitely something going on here that our tests are not finding.  You were too feminine before starting hormones for there not to be.  Matters like pelvic structure etc.

But as early as 1970 Doctors had become wary because they had been burned badly in a case circa 1960 at UCLA by someone known in the literature as Agnes.  Her case is documented in Harold Garfinkel’s book Studies in Ethnomethodology.  For those not familiar with the story of Agnes, Agnes was a transsexual to female person who got SRS at UCLA Medical Center in the late 1950s or early 1960s.  She presented herself as an intersex person with male genitals and “spontaneously appearing” female secondary sexual features. She claimed these secondary sexual characteristics just developed and swore she did not take any legally or illegally obtained female hormones.

She talked a good act and managed to get one of the first SRS operations that were performed at a major university research hospital in the US.  Now I can understand why she did what she did as there were maybe a half dozen places in the world where one could actually get SRS in 1960 and many of them were iffy.

The doctors loved her.  Oh, they wrote journal articles about her for JAMA and other prestigious publications.  Then a year or two later Agnes fessed up, she was transsexual and those female secondary sex characteristics were the result of her having first stolen her mother’s hormone tablets and later forging scripts for hormones and were not “spontaneously occurring”.  But the books and journal articles were already out there.

Now the doctors who had written them appeared to be either morons or dupes taken in by a con artist.  Of course they failed to ask the most important question of all, “why?”.  Why indeed?

The obvious answer is desperation at being born transsexual in a time and place when one knows SRS is possible but so rare as to bear comparison to early manned space flight that was occurring contemporaneously.  Something you knew was possible but so rare as to appear impossible for you to do.  Agnes did what she had to do, but she poisoned the well in the process.

All transsexual claims to being intersexed from that day forward were looked upon as being suspect. For what it is worth I can empathize with what those doctors must have felt.  Agnes not only flat out lied to them when they were trying to help her but made fools out of them as well.

In doing this Agnes also selfishly damaged study into transsexualism as an intersex condition. At that point it was decided that transsexual and intersex were distinct condition and not overlapping and intertwining ones as earlier researchers had postulated

When I went to Dr. Benjamin and he examined me he observed that I had under developed genitals and was physically rather feminine.  But that was pretty much as far as that line of examining me went.

I was receiving public assistance at the time and the social workers in Berkeley thought I would be a perfect test case to attempt to get the government to pay for SRS.  The social workers saw me as completely sane and thought I was a great candidate to help set a precedent.  So I was examined by four different psychiatrists who all found me sane.  Unfortunately those were also the early days of Nixon and his killing of the War on Poverty and Great Society programs that were helping people with transsexualism become something other than sex workers.  Instead of them helping me because I was sane and deserved rehabilitative help the new requirements of the more conservative government directives required me to be mentally disturbed and receive permanent disability.

As an autodidact and someone who was working at the NTCU the doctors with the Stanford program were open to discussing details with me and other of the more educated sisters that weren’t discussed with those who lacked the knowledge to actually ask the questions.  They were open to input from those of us with carefully considered insights.

After my evaluative screening session with Dr Fisk.  I asked him, “In your opinion, nature or nurture?”  His honest answer was, “We don’t know.  In your case and the case of some others we think nature yet with other people we think nurture.” He then asked me what I thought.

My answer was a bit of both nature and nurture and that I found it hard to not think it was physical with some of the sisters I met and at the same time a lot of people who came to our office seemed pretty crazy.

The thing was that with Hopkins in the 1960s and Stanford in the early 1970s the Gender Identity Clinics were not just places we went to for SRS. They were also research centers.  Right from the start they faced a good deal of opposition from people who wanted to shut them down.  The Benjamin Standards of Care and perhaps even the GID as diagnosis grew out of efforts to continue to provide SRS to people with transsexualism.

Quite a few doctors believe it is physical just as many people with transsexualism do.  We don’t make elaborate claims of various forms of intersex that are contradicted by our lives. One of the biggest contra indicators of would be fathering children.  Even those of us who liked boys and never became parents generally tend to not claim improbable intersex conditions.

In the 1990s a couple of people popped up and started appearing every where from the on-line world to the talk shows, magazines and the indexes of serious books.  Those people were Cheryl Chase and Kiira Triea.

Interestingly they reared their heads about the same time the talk shows were entranced with Satanic Child Abuse Cults, The McMartin School in Southern California and the supposed million (or some ridiculously high number) of missing children.  A number that would have factored out as a child from every school class room in the country and would have had every newspaper in America filled with little else than stories of missing children.

I’ve heard a lot of stories about all these infant sex reassignment surgeries.  Heart breaking stories from people who would have had to have had this surgery in the 1950s or 60s.  Supposedly vast numbers of people were operated on.  Expensive complex procedures in a nation where  sex reassignment surgery on adults was extremely rare and the techniques were just being developed

Do I doubt that surgeries were done?  No…  But I would pretty much bet no where near as often as Tirea and Chase who were then heading up ISNA implied they were.

I was on some of the same mailing lists as Kiira, along with Heike Boedeker, a strangely abusive European who came and went around 2000.  At one point Kiira made some claims that triggered my bullshit detector.  As a result I began doubting her veracity.

One of those claims was involvement with the Berkeley Women’s Music Collective at a time when Sandy Stone, a WBT was getting seriously trashed by certain lesbian feminists.  I had photographed a number of the women who recorded for Olivia Records, the label that the Berkeley Women’s Music Collective recorded on and there was material in Feminist and Lesbian History archives that I had access to.  I checked and didn’t find her there.  Now she could have used a different name, perhaps Denise Tree and yet I really didn’t find much there but I was reminded of something I had seen happen in the LA Feminist community.

I was involved with Renaissance, a trans-group with Jude Patton, Carol Katz and Joanna Clark (Sister Mary Elizabeth).  Someone came to meetings and photographed some of us.  Those photos were featured in a feminist publication in conjunction with an excerpt from Janice Raymond’s then doctoral thesis, which went on to become The Transsexual Empire.  When these came out my position was one of, “So what…  I experience patriarchal oppression and I am a hard working feminist with good solid politics.”

But this other sister claimed she was actually not transsexual but was really intersex.  I didn’t think much of it at the time and she wasn’t claiming to be intersex and trashing transsexuals by claiming to be realer than the lumpen masses of women born transsexual.

In that same time frame (circa 2000) I started hearing a lot about Bailey and Blanchard as well as their crackpot theories regarding androphilia/autogynaphilia as the motivating force behind transsexualism in T to F people.  One mailing list I was on (Trans-Theory) was invaded by an extremely vicious cabal of people who were sock puppets hiding behind various aliases.  They engaged in a brutal assault of people’s sense of self worth accompanied with occasional threats.

One claimed to be intersexed with CAH and accompanying salt wasting.  Okay, that sounded reasonable.  But why was she coming to a mailing list for Transtheory and pushing Bailey/Blanchard and Lawrence along with praising Janice Raymond?

As time has gone on Andrea James of TS Roadmaps has investigated both Triea and Chase.  She credibly alleges them to be frauds as do others.  ISNA has fallen apart.

This leaves people with far more credibility such as Sophia Seidelberg and Curtis Hinkle of OII to pick up the pieces and undo the damage done by someone who has become the J.T. Leroy of the intersex movement.

Of note I have noticed that the people who appear to be genuine tend to not be overtly hostile to people with transsexualism who do not tend to appropriate their narratives.  Along with our appearing in the same books of early research the approach to sex reassigning that people with transsexualism have of not having such surgery performed without our consent offers a model for people with intersex conditions who wish to exercise existential agency in determining via surgery their membership in one sex or the other.

Even young children are capable of making their desires known regarding which sex they consider themselves to be in a way that infants are not.  Consent and self determination should always be the critical factors not doctors or clergy acting as authority figures.

As I said OII has to undo the damage done by Triea.

But it is not an easy task as I have discovered on a mailing list for the discussion of the removal of the GID Diagnosis from the DSM.  Like many mailing lists this one seems to have died and only the rot from within remains as it has been taken over by the wailing of people with kitchen sinks full of improbable and often contradictory combinations of intersex conditions.

People who in spite of living as men and never having taken hormones are more women than post-SRS WBTs who have lived 10-20-30 or more years as female.

Surgeries performed I guess while they were carried aloft by space aliens in flying saucers because the likelihood of them having been performed in the time frame, location or by the named person seems virtually nil.

The other thing I have noted is that people making these claims often share a common trait that makes me suspect they have Munchausen’s Syndrome as along with these improbable intersex conditions they also often claim some sort of horrific physical disability or disease.  I suspect one is a spazzer (some one who pretends to have a rather profound learning disability).  Either way these people are like vampires sucking the life out of groups in a way I have seen ever since I first became involved in feminist and LGBT/T causes.

Their requirements for attention are boundless.  They find offense and attack back even postings or in a group statements that have nothing to do with them.

I have seen such people come into gender support groups and destroy them by taking the focus of these groups from mutual support to giving all attention to the person so beset by such a terrible history of abuse.  The classic case seen in the media is J.T. Leroy who claimed to having been a child sex worker, the product of an abusive trailer park “white trash” family.  I will grant you the books were labeled fiction but people interpreted them as autobiographical.  The author J. T. Leroy was a fictional being, a middle aged woman who got another woman to pose as this reclusive and evasive transgender person who was not only an author but who was HIV+ and had lived the life of her characters.

When the truth comes out everyone feels taken and people with legitimate claims suffer.

Transsexualism is in all probability a legitimate intersex condition, more nature than nurture.  The evidence keeps mounting for it being physical and although there continue to be staunch defenders of transsexualism being a product of flawed socialization their case seems to offer little beyond increasingly meaningless jargon and post modern babble.

As such people with transsexualism and people with legitimate intersex conditions have far more in common than one would imagine when listening to the people who sound as though they were abducted by space aliens with their improbable claims.

Ridiculous Study Blames Feminism for Non-Existent ‘Happiness Gap’ Between Men and Women

From Alternet:  Original posting at:

By Barbara Ehrenreich,
Posted on October 14, 2009, Printed on October 14, 2009

Feminism made women miserable. This, anyway, seems to be the most popular takeaway from “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness,” a recent study by Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers which purports to show that women have become steadily unhappier since 1972. Maureen Dowd and Arianna Huffington greeted the news with somber perplexity, but the more common response has been a triumphant: I told you so.

On Slate’s DoubleX website, a columnist concluded from the study that “the feminist movement of the 1960s and 1970s gave us a steady stream of women’s complaints disguised as manifestos… and a brand of female sexual power so promiscuous that it celebrates everything from prostitution to nipple piercing as a feminist act — in other words, whine, womyn, and thongs.” Or as Phyllis Schlafly put it, more soberly: “[T]he feminist movement taught women to see themselves as victims of an oppressive patriarchy in which their true worth will never be recognized and any success is beyond their reach… [S]elf-imposed victimhood is not a recipe for happiness.”

But it’s a little too soon to blame Gloria Steinem for our dependence on SSRIs. For all the high-level head-scratching induced by the Stevenson and Wolfers study, hardly anyone has pointed out (1) that there are some issues with happiness studies in general, (2) that there are some reasons to doubt this study in particular, or (3) that, even if you take this study at face value, it has nothing at all to say about the impact of feminism on anyone’s mood.

For starters, happiness is an inherently slippery thing to measure or define. Philosophers have debated what it is for centuries, and even if we were to define it simply as a greater frequency of positive feelings than negative ones, when we ask people if they are happy, we are asking them to arrive at some sort of average over many moods and moments. Maybe I was upset earlier in the day after I opened the bills, but then was cheered up by a call from a friend, so what am I really?

In one well-known psychological experiment, subjects were asked to answer a questionnaire on life satisfaction, but only after they had performed the apparently irrelevant task of photocopying a sheet of paper for the experimenter. For a randomly chosen half of the subjects, a dime had been left for them to find on the copy machine. As two economists summarize the results: “Reported satisfaction with life was raised substantially by the discovery of the coin on the copy machine — clearly not an income effect.”

As for the particular happiness study under discussion, the red flags start popping up as soon as you look at the data. Not to be anti-intellectual about it, but the raw data on how men and women respond to the survey reveal no discernible trend to the naked eyeball. Only by performing an occult statistical manipulation called “ordered probit estimates,” do the authors manage to tease out any trend at all, and it is a tiny one: “Women were one percentage point less likely than men to say they were not too happy at the beginning of the sample [1972]; by 2006 women were one percentage more likely to report being in this category.” Differences of that magnitude would be stunning if you were measuring, for example, the speed of light under different physical circumstances, but when the subject is as elusive as happiness — well, we are not talking about paradigm-shifting results.

Furthermore, the idea that women have been sliding toward despair is contradicted by the one objective measure of unhappiness the authors offer: suicide rates. Happiness is, of course, a subjective state, but suicide is a cold, hard fact, and the suicide rate has been the gold standard of misery since sociologist Emile Durkheim wrote the book on it in 1897. As Stevenson and Wolfers report — somewhat sheepishly, we must imagine — “contrary to the subjective well-being trends we document, female suicide rates have been falling, even as male suicide rates have remained roughly constant through most of our sample [1972-2006].” Women may get the blues; men are more likely to get a bullet through the temple.

Another distracting little data point that no one, including the authors, seems to have much to say about is that, while “women” have been getting marginally sadder, black women have been getting happier and happier. To quote the authors: “… happiness has trended quite strongly upward for both female and male African Americans … Indeed, the point estimates suggest that well-being may have risen more strongly for black women than for black men.” The study should more accurately be titled “The Paradox of Declining White Female Happiness,” only that might have suggested that the problem could be cured with melanin and Restylane.

But let’s assume the study is sound and that (white) women have become less happy relative to men since 1972. Does that mean that feminism ruined their lives?

Not according to Stevenson and Wolfers, who find that “the relative decline in women’s well-being… holds for both working and stay-at-home mothers, for those married and divorced, for the old and the young, and across the education distribution” — as well as for both mothers and the childless. If feminism were the problem, you might expect divorced women to be less happy than married ones and employed women to be less happy than stay-at-homes. As for having children, the presumed premier source of female fulfillment: They actually make women less happy.

And if the women’s movement was such a big downer, you’d expect the saddest women to be those who had some direct exposure to the noxious effects of second wave feminism. As the authors report, however, “there is no evidence that women who experienced the protests and enthusiasm in the 1970s have seen their happiness gap widen by more than for those women were just being born during that period.”

What this study shows, if anything, is that neither marriage nor children make women happy. (The results are not in yet on nipple piercing.) Nor, for that matter, does there seem to be any problem with “too many choices,” “work-life balance,” or the “second shift.” If you believe Stevenson and Wolfers, women’s happiness is supremely indifferent to the actual conditions of their lives, including poverty and racial discrimination. Whatever “happiness” is…

So why all the sudden fuss about the Wharton study, which first leaked out two years ago anyway? Mostly because it’s become a launching pad for a new book by the prolific management consultant Marcus Buckingham, best known for First, Break All the Rules and Now, Find Your Strengths. His new book, Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do Differently, is a cookie-cutter classic of the positive-thinking self-help genre: First, the heart-wrenching quotes from unhappy women identified only by their email names (Countess1, Luveyduvy, etc.), then the stories of “successful” women, followed by the obligatory self-administered test to discover “the role you were bound to play” (Creator, Caretaker, Influencer, etc.), all bookended with an ad for the many related products you can buy, including a “video introduction” from Buckingham, a “participant’s guide” containing “exercises” to get you to happiness, and a handsome set of “Eight Strong Life Plans” to pick from. The Huffington Post has given Buckingham a column in which to continue his marketing campaign.

It’s an old story: If you want to sell something, first find the terrible affliction that it cures. In the 1980s, as silicone implants were taking off, the doctors discovered “micromastia” — the “disease” of small-breastedness. More recently, as big pharma searches furiously for a female Viagra, an amazingly high 43% of women have been found to suffer from “Female Sexual Dysfunction,” or FSD. Now, it’s unhappiness, and the range of potential “cures” is dazzling: Seagrams, Godiva, and Harlequin, take note.

Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of 16 books, including the bestsellers Nickel and Dimed and Bait and Switch. A frequent contributor to Harper’s and the Nation, she has also been a columnist at the New York Times and Time magazine. Her seventeenth book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (Metropolitan Books), has just been published.

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