Investigating the Lesbian Klan: The Rise of Cultural Feminism

Not all lesbians are members of the anti-transsexual Klan.  Nor are all lesbian feminists or even many lesbian separatists.

There is nothing inherent in the left/liberal precepts of lesbian feminism that requires the systematic bigotry that a minority within the lesbian community have deployed towards transsexual and post-transsexual women.

In spite of their claiming the label “Radical Feminists” their over all policies share little or nothing with the original “Radical Feminists” who grew out of the left and had more in common with the women of Weatherman, and the Trotskyites than they do with with those who claim that label today.  In the early 1970s to be a Radical Feminist meant that one acted radically rather than sitting around theorizing and engaging in vicious word games.

As early as 1972 there was a divergence from that form of feminism, which tended to view women’s oppression within the context of the oppressions of race and class.  This meant erasing the contributions Marx and Engels made to analyzing the origins of the family.

One of the early demands of what Red Stockings came to describe as “cultural feminism” came in the form of Robin Morgan’s Good-bye to all that… *1

Women had played a major role in every aspect of left wing movements in the US since the days of  the Abolition Movement.  They were part of the Labor Movement (Mother Jones and Elizabeth Gurly Flynn) They were part of the Communist Party (Dorothy Ray Healy).  The Anarchist Movement (Emma Goldman Lucy Parsons) The Black Civil Rights Movement (Angela Davis, Elaine Brown)  The Anti-war Movement, the Environmental Movement ETC.

In “Good-bye to all that” Morgan demanded women leave movements where they had worked for years, movements they had committed their lives to working with all to join what was at the time a middle class white women’s movement.  She laid out all the crimes of the alternative hippie communities yet never much focused on the misogyny of the mainstream media or corporate America.

This actually kept me from fully committing to feminism as I was working class and saw how oppressions of class and race meant that while all women were oppressed by sexism, many women carried much heavier burdens of oppression than others.

You see I was part of the anti-war movement and the counter-culture being trashed by Morgan, a well to do, former child star.  We were trying to build a new society and dealing with sexism wasn’t the only issue.

A couple of years later Jane Alpert, an acolyte of Morgan wrote Mother Right:

Letter from the Underground:

Dear Sisters in the Weather Underground:

I am addressing this piece to you, in spite of the fact that my concern at this point is with a far broader spectrum of women than your tiny band of forgotten leftists, because it was our arguments of the past year that convinced me to publicize my conversion from the left to radical feminism. I realized after these arguments that for me to keep silence would only support the illusion that the “underground” is united around the male politics which you still espouse, and these politics and practices are too reprehensible to me as a feminist to protect them by silence. I know that seeing this letter, which you thought you would receive as a private communication, here in print will shock you and that you will regard much of its content as a breach of the tacit code of honor among political fugitives. Nevertheless, my own politics demand that I share with all women my knowledge of the sexual oppression of the left, if only to warn other sisters against the pain that has been inflicted on us. Perhaps you personally will never open up to feminism; yet the experiences I am going to relate may speak more effectively to women involved in other branches of the left, from McGovern organizers to Socialist Workers Party members. And I have some hope that the impact of a public statement may do what none of my private arguments have succeeded in doing: persuade you to leave the dying left in which you are floundering and begin to put your immense courage and unique skills to work for women-for yourselves.

This letter and Morgan’s overt support of both Jane Alpert and this position struck me and many other left wing feminists as a betrayal on the order last seen by those who named names at the HUAC and the McCarthy hearings during the Red scare of the 1950s.

But even more insidious was another part of “Mother Right” which renounced the truly radical thinking of Shulamith Firestone while furthering the separation from the Left and counter-culture that had been started by Morgan.

“Mother Right” argued against the idea of women as female people  endowed with same abilities as male people.  While earlier feminists asserted that differences were not biological but  rather the result of patriarchal conditioning “Mother Right” introduced the idea of biological essentialism, the concept that men and women were completely different and didn’t share a wide variety of overlapping traits and talents.

For centuries feminists have asserted that the essential difference between men and women does not lie in biology but rather in the roles that patriarchal societies ( men ) have required each sex to play. The motivation for this assertion is obvious: women’s biology has always been used to justify women’s oppression. As patriarchal reasoning went, since “God” or “nature” or “evolution” had made woman the bearer and nurser of the species, it logically followed that she should stay home with the children and perform as a matter of more-or-less ordained duty all the domestic chores involved in keeping and feeding a household. When women work outside the home, we have the most menial and lowest-paid tasks to perform, chiefly because any labor a woman performs outside the home is thought to be temporary and inessential to her, no matter how she herself might be inclined to regard it. Naturally, then, the first healthy impulse of feminism is to deny that simply because women have breasts and uteruses we are better suited to wash dishes, scrub floors, or change diapers. As newly roused feminists, we retorted to evidence that women might be intrinsically better suited to perform some roles than others by pointing out that men have been forcing these roles on us for at least five thousand years. After such time, conditioning and habit are so strong that they appear to be intrinsic and innate.

However, a flaw in this feminist argument has persisted: it contradicts our felt experience of the biological difference between the sexes as one of immense significance To begin with, it seems obvious that biology alone would, in primitive societies, have dictated different roles and different powers as appropriate to each sex. And biological scientists have indeed assumed, for the most part, that the physical passivity of the female mammal during intercourse and the demands of pregnancy, childbirth, and nursing clearly indicate a role of women as biologically determined, and inferior. In response to this, Shulamith Firestone, with the publication of The Dialectic of Sex in 1970, articulated the definitive feminist antithesis to this idea by denouncing biology as reactionary. Agreeing that biology had necessarily been an all-powerful determinant of social roles in the past, Firestone went on to argue that the advances of technology made this tyranny potentially obsolete. Women are still enslaved to their bodies not because of biology but because the patriarchy will not permit the use of technology to interfere with men’s power over women. However, in Firestone’s view, the dialectic of history, in which the sexual relationship underlies all other power relationships, indicates that A feminist revolution is inevitable. This revolution will put technology to work to literally free women from biology, from pregnancy, childbirth, and the rest, thereby eliminating the last difference of any importance between the sexes and ultimately causing the sexual difference itself to wither away, in the course of evolution, together with all forms of oppression.

I think that Firestone is visionary in perceiving the sexual relationship as the basis of all power relationships, and in predicting that feminist revolution will therefore result in the end of all oppression. However, the evidence of feminist culture, which has accumulated largely since the publication of her epochal book, suggests that her analysis of the role of biology was deficient and that a third possibility, which is indeed a new synthesis of the previous views, may well be correct. The unique consciousness or sensibility of women, the particular attributes that set feminist art apart, and a compelling line of research now being pursued lay feminist anthropologists all point to the idea that female biology is the basis of women’s powers. Biology is hence the source and not the enemy of feminist revolution.

The root of this idea lies perhaps in buried history. It has increasingly been acknowledged that the most ancient societies worshiped a female diety or deities, and that menstruation, conception, pregnancy, childbirth, and all other phenomena associated with female biology were surrounded with taboos. Furthermore, a number of these ancient societies were matrilineal: property and social identity were inherited through the mother rather than the father. Whether women had any secular power in these societies is a subject of dispute, and most archaeologists and anthropologists have felt that women didn’t have any power except over a few religious rites. But most archaeologists and anthropologists have been men, whose imaginations could not quite grasp a society in which women held real power, even a pretechnological society. (For example, the section on “Amazons” in the authoritative Oxford Classical Dictionary spends all of one sentence dismissing the notion the Amazon tribes ever existed–though these tribes were acknowledged by nearly every ancient historian who wrote about preclassical times.) Feminists in many branches of science and historical research have been reexamining the evidence for the existence of ancient gynocracies, or women-ruled societies. Among the more visionary and lyrically persuasive (if somewhat factually problematic) of these recent studies is The First Sex by Elizabeth Gould Davis. Davis hypothesizes that patriarchal society began only after barbarian male tribes violently overthrew the ancient, peaceful, and relatively advanced gynocracies, in which women were not only worshiped but were actually temporal rulers. These ancient gynocracies may have existed throughout Asia, northern Africa, the Arabian peninsula, and the Mediterranean area and persisted as late as 2,000 B.C. in some areas, such as Crete. Recent archaeological evidence suggests that Davis may be proved correct in the near future, and her thesis has been stated in a more tentative style than hers by several other highly respected scientists.

Those of us who considered ourselves radical feminists in the original sense of the term i.e. left wing Marxist-Leninist feminists felt utterly betrayed by the direction Morgan and others seemed to be moving in.

Eventually our branch of feminism became known as “Liberal Feminism”.  The branch that goes out and demonstrates for rights.  Some times in a manner that is reformist and sometimes in the case of those who fight globalization and the corporatocracy, radical.

Cultural Feminism, also referred to by some as “gender feminism” diverged from political feminism which was denounced as “reformist”. Something I always found strange given the reactionary positions masquerading as radical thought one found in in the writings of the cultural feminists.

As an atheist, I found it very difficult to get caught up in and devote much energy to the whole goddess worship movement that seemed to be an essential part of cultural feminism.  If the concept of a sky-god already seems absurd, it doesn’t much matter if that god is male or female.  Honestly I found some of the “research” on pre-historical matriarchies to be sketchy at best and requiring the same level of skepticism I used in reading Erich von Däniken’s “Chariots of the Gods”

Dancing naked around a fire with a bunch of other women was edifying in terms of fun and a fuck of a lot less work that working to elect a candidate that would support the ratification of the ERA. Except, it somehow seemed less relevant to smashing the patriarchy than doing the hard work of organizing.

Yet the cultural feminists started using their essentialism to dominate the political discourse.  They did this by claiming ultimate victimhood and wearing that ultimate victimhood as a badge of honor that gave them veto power over the political feminists and lesbians.  After all it was their goddess ordained, mother right, to have the voice of authority.

This essentialism along with ultimate victimhood became a tool of personal power and dominance.  A tool for shutting down the politicals and assuring the destruction of any sort of broad based feminism that worked on a wide scope of issues.

The attacks on transsexuals starting with Beth Elliott showed the basic elements of what became cultural feminism.  Particularly the essentialist elements.

There was a popular feminist button in 1969 that read, “Biology is not Destiny”.  I remember this button because I had one and wore it.  It was a statement of liberation that said one was not limited by their biology to specified roles.  In those days we talked about the sameness of men and women, the overlapping of talents, skills etc.  How male dominance was a product of social engineering.

Incidentally Dr. Benjamin and others who pioneered the treatment for transsexualism reinforced the idea of an over lapping of the sexes rather than a sharp dividing line.  Dr. Benjamin spoke of the many criteria of sex differentiation.

The essentialism of cultural feminism on the other hand was very much into the “Women are from Venus/Men are from Mars”  dialectic.  This like any other fundamentalist line of thinking  requires that ideology trump any possible form of contradictory evidence. Even when that contradiction is a living, breathing, thinking person standing there messing with your theory.

Transsexuals mess with Cultural Feminism’s Essentialist Theory

In later posts on this subject I will go into some of the contradictions the existence of transsexuals create for the Cultural Feminists prime theory of essentialism.  Like creationists they tie themselves in knots, presenting arguments not supported by evidence.  They will resort to lies, slander and false accusations to gain support for purging not only post-transsexual women from the ranks of lesbian feminism but anyone who supports post-transsexual women.

Who can blame them.  Transsexuals are the contradiction that devastates their ideologically self contained world.

1.  I confess to a love hate relationship with Robin Morgan.  Many of the books she compiled and edited are and have been a part of my essential feminist library since the early 1970s.  On the other hand I have felt that Morgan’s claiming to be a lesbian while in a heterosexual marriage and enjoying heterosexual privilege was an insult to actual lesbians.  While other women who wrote the works featured in many of Morgan’s anthologies were being trashed as seeking stardom for the mere act of putting their names on the writings they worked to produce, Morgan was never shy about putting her name on the anthologies she produced and edited.

Study suggests boys and girls not as different as previously thought

Aah is this the start of the pendulum swinging back to the more progressive thinking of the 1970s when males and females weren’t considered so different afterall?

Could be.  Perhaps because all the emphasis on gender is starting to be seen for what it is, misogyny in different drag from the sexism of stereotypical sex role expectations that Second Wave Feminism critiqued some 40 years ago.

From Physorg.com: http://www.physorg.com/news201177495.html
August 16, 2010

Although girls tend to hang out in smaller, more intimate groups than boys, this difference vanishes by the time children reach the eighth grade, according to a new study by a Michigan State University psychologist.

The findings, which appear in the Journal of Social and , suggest “girls and aren’t as different as we think they are,” said Jennifer Watling Neal, assistant professor of psychology.

Neal’s study is one of the first to look at how girls’ and boys’ peer networks develop across grades. Because children’s peer-group structure can promote negative behaviors like bullying and positive behaviors like helping others, she said it’s important for researchers to have a clear picture of what these groups look like.

“Although we tend to think that girls’ and boys’ peer groups are structured differently, these differences disappear as children get older,” Neal said.

The reason may have to do with an increased interaction with the opposite sex.

“Younger boys and girls tend to play in same-sex peer groups,” Neal said. “But every parent can relate to that moment when their son or daughter suddenly takes an interest, whether social or romantic, in the opposite sex.”

The question of whether girls hang out in smaller groups than boys is controversial, with past research providing mixed results.

Neal examined peer relationships of third- through eighth-grade students at a Chicago school and found that in the younger grades did, indeed, tend to flock together in smaller, more intimate groups than boys.

But that difference disappeared by the eighth grade. While the size of boys’ peer groups remained relatively stable, girls’ peer groups became progressively larger in later grades.

Neal said further research is needed to confirm the results by examining a single group of children over time.

Provided by Michigan State University (news : web)

Medical treatment carries possible side effect of limiting homosexuality

From The LA Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-adrenal-20100815,0,5576220.story

A prenatal pill for congenital adrenal hyperplasia to prevent ambiguous genitalia may reduce the chance that a female with the disorder will be gay. Critics call it engineering for sexual orientation.

By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times

August 15, 2010

Each year in the United States, perhaps a few dozen pregnant women learn they are carrying a fetus at risk for a rare disorder known as congenital adrenal hyperplasia. The condition causes an accumulation of male hormones and can, in females, lead to genitals so masculinized that it can be difficult at birth to determine the baby’s gender.

A hormonal treatment to prevent ambiguous genitalia can now be offered to women who may be carrying such infants. It’s not without health risks, but to its critics those are of small consequence compared with this notable side effect: The treatment might reduce the likelihood that a female with the condition will be homosexual. Further, it seems to increase the chances that she will have what are considered more feminine behavioral traits.

That such a treatment would ever be considered, even to prevent genital abnormalities, has outraged gay and lesbian groups, troubled some doctors and fueled bioethicists’ debate about the nature of human sexuality.

The treatment is a step toward “engineering in the womb for sexual orientation,” said Alice Dreger, a professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics at Northwestern University and an outspoken opponent of the treatment.

The ability to chemically steer a child’s sexual orientation has become increasingly possible in recent years, with evidence building that homosexuality has biological roots and with advances in the treatment of babies in utero. Prenatal treatment for congenital adrenal hyperplasia is the first to test — unintentionally or not — that potential.

Continue reading at: http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-adrenal-20100815,0,5576220.story

This CAH is a referred to as a rare disorder.  It seems as though the cure they are seeking is not for CAH but rather for lesbianism.  Never mind how this sounds like something cooked up by Dr. Mengele, why should lesbianism be something in need of a cure?

On digging deeper the little Mengeles doing this research seem very concerned about cranking out “feminine” girls who will grow up accepting their feminine lot in life.

This starts raising all sort of question regarding the ethic of the Mengeles proposing this.

Would they say support a medication that could prevent autism, a rather frequent birth disorder if it say had a side effect of causing a 100% likelihood of the infant being born gay or lesbian.

When living in a world where right wing religious fanatics wield so much power it is reasonable to not only question proposed treatments for the genocide of lesbians in utero but to ask if these same researchers might not have played a role in the spread of AIDS.

There I have said it…  Given voice to the paranoid conspiracy question my gay male friends and I first asked when the Dispensationalist/Dominionist Taliban Christians first came to power and nearly immediately gay men started dying left and right while the right wingers in power did next to nothing to deal with it.

Just Say No to Pre-Natal Genocide of LGBT/TQI People

Gender Socialization vs. Gender Indoctrination

I am currently reading, “Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media” by Susan J. Douglas.

She is talking about the cultural sea of influences that shape how one looks at being female or for that matter male.  When she mentions the influence of certain obscure movies like “A Summer Place” or “Susan Slade” I remember going to these movies, which were the “chick flicks” of their day and how they shaped my world view of what it meant to be female.

When she writes about singing along to the hits of the Angels, Shangri-las, Ronettes, etc I remember singing along to those songs.  I was after all an obvious transkid who sort of learned that being called a sissy and queer didn’t hurt as much once I admitted to myself that I was transsexual and yes I did want to be a girl.

Right on the heels of having my ideas of teenage girlhood influenced from these sources and others like reading Glamor Magazine, Mademoiselle, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen came the Folk Book.  I wanted to be like Mary Travers or Joan Baez.

I tend to see the general cultural influences as the socialization that anyone can learn or be influenced by.

There is something else at play that I call gender indoctrination. This is the forced indoctrination that sticks a blue blanket on boy babies or more likely now days a camo blanket and football t-top, or a pink princess blanket and “born to shop t-top on baby girls.  Heaven forbid that some one might confuse the sex of the baby prior to the development of enough encouraged gender differences. Why that could turn a child gay/lesbian or even trans.

Never mind that gay/lesbian/trans etc are just something people are born just like the majority are born heterosexual.

You see gender has very little to do with sex or sexuality it is about the indoctrination in to the proper role expected of people who are a certain sex.  All males, gay included are supposed to be masculine/all females including lesbians are supposed to be feminine.  And both sexes are supposed to reify the idea of male supremacy.  Girls and women are indoctrinated to accept their proper place.  Their proper role is generally determined by such things as religion and its fuck buddy, psychiatry, which is just religion dressed in pseudo scientific drag.

Lately I have been witnessing the disapproving tizzy directed towards Angelina Jolie and her life partner Brad Pitt for their permitting their daughter Shiloh to dress and act any way she pleases.  It seems to me a very 1970s attitude on the part of the parents, like they might have actually read Marlo Thomas’ material from the “Free to be You, Free to be Me” school of child rearing instead of the bullshit of the closeted homosexual George Rekers and his fuck buddies over at NARTH.

I see a difference between the indoctrination part which so often fails with transkids and even with many gay/lesbian kids and socialization which I place in a different category.

Julia Serano in “Whipping Girl” avoids the confusing of gender as social role with gender as answer to the question, “What sex am I?” by the usage of “core sex identity” rather than “core gender identity”.

Having a core sex identity that is counter to the assigned sex offers an explanation as to why the gender indoctrination is such a failure while at the same time many transkids (particularly those who come out young) are socialized into the gender role to the point that there is no gender transition.

When people talk about having to learn these things many who came out young are surprised because so often our transition of presentation was more a matter of changing clothes and the way we wore our hair.  Our peers looked at us and said things like “You are the same person, only a girl now.”  It took a while for me to wrap my mind around the idea that the same thing happened with people who came out in middle age.

They weren’t so much changing their gender as their presentation and their physical being.  Actually it was probably more obvious. Although many who come out in middle age seem faced with a steeper learning curve when it comes to internalizing the socialized gender part.  Probably due to learning to shun the girl socialization as part of the development of the mask while trying to embrace the often counter intuitive (for them) boy socialization.

Why I like the Term, “Transsexual” Better Than the Alternatives

Too often those espousing the identity politics of “Transgender as Umbrella”, in order to enlarge their numbers from being  a small minority group within world of L/G communities, set such broad factors for inclusion in the transgender label that it appears that only a small minority of people aren’t transgender.

This of course erases transsexuals to the point where GLAAD’s style book and folks like Autumn Sandeen appear to think that it is appropriate to change transsexual to transgender when ever the word appears in print. The same goes for pre-op, post-op and sex change operation which enter the Orwell New Speak Morphing Machine and emerge as the nicely euphemistic and neutered “transition”.

Since when did “transsexual” acquire the same sort of stigma as a word like “nigger” that requires its being euphemized?

For me transsexual means changing sex or physical sex characteristics.   Not to mention living 24/7/365 in a manner consistent with the sex you are becoming.

At its core transsexualism is about the deep seated need to change sex from that assigned at birth.  Arguments as to why change with the seasons and are almost matters of faith.  Reasons are all legitimate to those doing the changing.  No matter the strength of evidence as to a physical nature there is no argument that will ever convince the bigots.

People with transsexualism have struggled to put words to what they feel ever since we started putting pen to paper and trying to relate our stories in the 1950s (I am currently rereading Roberta Cowell’s autobiography) The language lacks the words to relate what we feel inside and so we are forced to use metaphors.

At its core transsexualism is about having an operation to change one’s assigned at birth sex, that is why it is sex reassignment surgery.

Transsexualism has several common narratives.  Those narratives distinguish us from others who appear similar but who do not have the same desperate drive to actually have an operation to change their sex.

To placate the bigots we have desexed transsexualism to the point where it seems that wanting to be able to have sex as female or male bodied people (depending on the direction of change) no longer plays a part in our wanting SRS.

We have desexed transsexualism under the rubric of transgender to the point where wanting our bodies to look consistent with our gender of presentation when we are naked is looked upon as elitist rather than consistent with our changing sex to have our bodies match our core sex identity.

I view gender as suspect. Over thousands of years gender roles have been used to keep women as second class humans.  Substituting gender for sex reifies gender roles that keep women as second class humans deemed inferior to men.

What is gender identity if gender itself is an abstract construct that shifts over time and location?  Gender identity makes sense in the claims of transgender people as they are claiming that acting the role makes them real.  Indeed they denounce the “body essentialism” of those of us who point out that women are adult females and that men are adult males irrespective of their  presentation.

But I am a woman born transsexual and not a woman born transgender so I do not have to stake claim to womanhood based on my ability to adhere to an abstract gender role that I claim such an intensity of identity to, that it allows me to deny my actual body.

My femaleness in all its mix of masculine and feminine hippie anarchist feminist elements is confirmed every time I squat to pee, shower, make love or masturbate.

Now there are some who feel the need to add “Classic” to their transsexual.  I generally find these people to be conservative and heterosexist if not down right homophobic.  It especially sends them into a tizzy when two sisters form a lesbian bond.  It also seems as though “classic transsexual” is the latest incarnation of BBLZ etc’s AGP/AP model.

I am vaguely amused when lesbian sisters who initially embraced the term discover that it doesn’t mean those of us who have had SRS .  That it isn’t a substitute for post-op the way WBT was initially envisioned and instead it requires the embrace of a heterosexist stance that says post-SRS women who are lesbian should work for the protection of heterosexual marriage for post-SRS women. While lesbian sisters are expected to  settle for civil unions for themselves because same sex marriage would denigrate the heterosexual marriages entered into by “classic transsexuals”  At the same time “classic transsexuals” refuse to recognize the validity of lesbian relationships within the post-op transsexual community.

You know there was a time when those of us who had sex change operations were rare, indeed. When I got mine there were maybe a few thousand people who had the same surgery I had.  But now there are hundreds of thousands of us and the only thing that unites us is having had sex reassignment surgery.

Now I’ve know post-ops who have been perfectly flawless in every way and others who can’t live outside the ghetto.  But the vast majority of them who didn’t flat out lie and deceive the screeners had elements of that basic set of early established narratives as part of their life experiences and that makes all of them “classic transsexuals” in my book, which means I can dispense with the classic modifier.

If you want to say transsexuals who actually get sex change surgery then say it.  Don’t beat around around the bush.  When you start using “classic transsexual” in any other context than post-op then you are as much as saying there are many different kinds of transsexuals.  With many comes validation of the claims of transgender people to being “non-op transsexuals”.

I am also not a fan of HBS.  I liked Dr. Benjamin.  He was nice in an old school liberal, paternalistic sort of way but like most of those who study us he leaped to many many erroneous conclusions.  But even more so syndrome isn’t much of an improvement on disorder if any.  It is as though we are making Dr. Benjamin into some sort of definer of us rather than a facilitator who learned from what we told him.

We existed in ancient times and in every culture.  I perfer the term transsexual.

Now the argument can be made that it is tainted by association with sex workers.  Yet long before the emergence of IFGE, NTAC and other Transactivist groups, sex work was often the only means of survival we had.  It still is for way too many people.

By the same token isn’t the transgender argument for the use of transgender instead of transsexual based upon transsexual being the term of choice for so many trans* sex workers?

To me WBT, transsexual, post-op, woman of a transsexual history, classic transsexual all pretty much mean the same thing.  They all mean that the person to whom those various terms are applied had an operation that changed their genital from those of one sex to another.  All the other stuff is just window dressing that tries to hide the fact that having sex reassignment surgery is what defines us as transsexual.

Not having it and talking about gender as though it is more than clothing and mannerisms is a transgender thing, not transsexual.  We don’t transition, we get sex change operations hence the term transsexual.

Posted in Classism, Culture, Gay, Innateness, Lesbian, LGBT/T, Questioning Authority, Same Sex Marriage, Transgender, Transsexualism, Uncategorized. Comments Off on Why I like the Term, “Transsexual” Better Than the Alternatives

Sweden – Sex-based prenatal brain differences found… [2009-10-23 PhysOrg]

Submitted by Andrea B.

http://www.physorg.com/news175527913.html

Psychology & Psychiatry

Sex-based prenatal brain differences found

October 23rd, 2009

Prenatal sex-based biological differences extend to genetic expression in cerebral cortices. The differences in question are probably associated with later divergences in how our brains develop. This is shown by a new study by Uppsala University researchers Elena Jazin and Björn Reinius, which has been published in the latest issue of the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Professor Elena Jazin and doctoral student Björn Reinius at the Department of Physiology and Developmental Biology previously demonstrated that genetic expression in the cerebral cortices of human beings and other primates exhibits certain sex-based differences. It is presumed that these differences are very old and have survived the evolutionary process. The purpose of the new study was to determine whether they appear during the process of brain development or first upon the conclusion of that process. Identifying the initial genetic
mechanisms that prompt the brain to develop in a female or male direction is a long-range research objective.

The Uppsala University researchers analysed data, on the basis of sex, from another extensive study of the prenatal human brain.

“The results show that many of the genes situated on the Y chromosome  http://www.physorg.com/tags/y+chromosome are expressed in various parts of the brain prior to birth and probably provide a developmental basis for the sex-based differences exhibited by adult brains,” according to Elena Jazin.

More than a third of Y-chromosomal genes appear to be involved in sex-based human brain differentiation. Some of the genetic activity in question is evident in the adult brain, while other of it only appears at earlier stages of brain development http://www.physorg.com/tags/brain+development. It is yet unknown whether the differences in genetic expression
http://www.physorg.com/tags/genetic+expression among female and male brains have any functional significance.

“The findings are consistent with other factors, such as environment, also playing a role in how we develop,” emphasizes Elena Jazin.

Knowledge of the development of sex-based brain differences is of potential significance for the treatment of brain disturbances and diseases. A large number of psychiatric illnesses, including depression and autism, affect men and women differentially.

“Taking account of sex-based differences is crucial to the study of normal and abnormal brain activity,” according to Elena Jazin.

Source: Uppsala University (news
http://www.physorg.com/partners/uppsala-university/ : web
http://www.uu.se/en/ )

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