Tuesday, 1 January 2008

Today's Battle

Where Zoe meddles in the Internal Affairs of the great state of Rhode Island.

You see, an "elder statesman" in the Democratic Party in that state wrote an article in the Providence Journal decrying all this modernist nonsense about gender. David Carlin is a former Democratic majority leader of the Rhode Island Senate.

He argues cogently that "hard cases make bad law". And that to make specific exceptions out of compassion for small minorities is a mistake, because the majority suffer.

Well, freeing the slaves caused untold suffering to the slaveowners, and destruction of Southern society, didn't it? But I digress. In general, he has a point. Read the article anyway.

Well, naturally I couldn't let that one pass to the keeper. So I wrote a little reply, which the Providence Journal was kind enough to publish.

I refer to David Carlin’s Dec. 22 article, “Those bathrooms for the transgendered.”

He says:
“I am assured by America’s most up-to-date and ‘progressive’ people that this is not a mental illness. It is a perfectly natural feeling in a small percentage of any population. And if you persist in thinking of this as a mental abnormality, then you are the abnormal one. You suffer from a moral abnormality — bigotry.

“I confess, dear reader, that I can’t get used to this very up-to-date idea.”
I can understand that. Outrageous claims such as the world being round, or that microorganisms — “germs” — were responsible for disease faced similar quite understandable scepticism. As did the claim that blacks were not inferior to whites, another proposition opposed by many Democrats.

May I bring to the attention of Mr. Carlin the following peer-reviewed medical articles, detailing results of autopsies:

Zhou J.-N, Hofman M.A, Gooren L.J, Swaab D.F (1997) “A Sex Difference in the Human Brain and its Relation to Transsexuality.” (PDF) http://www.harrybenjaminsyndrome-info.org/pdf/BSTc.pdf;

Kruijver F.P.M, Zhou J.-N, Pool C.W., Swaab D.F. (2000) “Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus” (PDF) http://www.harrybenjaminsyndrome-info.org/pdf/brainsex1.pdf.

Yes, it is a “perfectly natural” phenomenon, much as spina bifida, harelip, or other congenital abnormalities are. It’s also highly embarrassing, possibly why some 30 percent with it kill themselves. It’s also not so rare: Counts of those actually treated for it (rather than the 40-year old estimates quoted in most textbooks) indicate there are tens of thousands of Americans with it.

Mr. Carlin is no bigot. Neither, despite his protestations, is he in his dotage. He is intelligent and articulate. Being a little old-fashioned is no sin, but that is not the problem.

The problem is pardonable ignorance. Hopefully, this letter may help solve the problem.


Downer, Australia

I've already had some evidence through e-mail that this has made a difference.

Now if they'd only spelt my name correctly... still, even Jove nods.

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