I'll quote from the The Original HBS Site :
Harry Benjamin's Syndrome is an intersex condition developed in the early stages of pregnancy affecting the process of sexual differentiation between male and female. This happens when the brain develops as a certain sex but the rest of the body takes on the physical characteristics of the opposite sex. The difference between this and most other intersex conditions is that there is no apparent evidence until much later after the baby is born or even as late as adolescence.I completely agree about the medical issues, as I've posted about earlier. The evidence that they're correct is overwhelming. So what has this to do with politics?
It's about elitism. And transphobia. And homophobia too.
Please read this article by Charlotte Goiar at the International HBS forum. I agree with pretty much everything as far as the paragraph "Practical and definite Terminology and its meaning.". There I depart.
Persons with HBS are people who have Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome (HBS), a purely physiological condition. They are simply men or women. Such people are born with the characteristics of both male and female. In common with others who exhibit typical sexual development, they desire to modify their phenotype and endocrinal system to correct it to their dominant sexual identity, an identity that is determined by the structure of the brain. The person with HBS does not change sex, as gender identity is fixed at birth, and the medical treatment involved is only physical correction.Transsexualism (TS), Gender Identity Disorder (GID), or Gender Dysphoria is a mental condition that consists of the desire to live and to receive acceptance as a member of the opposite sex. Do not confuse this with HBS, as it is not medical.It isn't? It's a symptom of cross-gendered neurology. Call it HBS or anything else, it's in the brain, and no amount of psychotherapeutic mumbo-jumbo will affect it in the slightest.
That's where some (and I stress some, not all) of the more fanatic elements of HBS theory start going wrong. Various kinds of HBS fanatics insist that only they are Intersexed, and others are psychiatrically ill. Some require anyone who's "really" HBS to be straight, to transition early, to be post-operative, to have had facial surgery and breast enhancement, to eschew all "boy stuff" and be perfect models of 1950s womanhood, or some combination thereof. And of course to have nothing to do with Gays or those freakish "Transgenderists" who are totally unlike them.
I'll quote from Laura's HBS Peer review :
As the owner of a Transsexual,Transgender web site I have always provided the latest information on Transsexual research on my site long before HBS was first uttered. So the research on HBS sites was very familiar to me. In order to learn more I joined the Official Yahoo HBS Support Group. What I learned had little to do with HBS. It instead turned out to be an anti-GLBT group. People who asked simple questions and needed support, were diagnosed by militant members as being transgendered, perverts and fetishists. Gays and lesbians were also denigrated with frequent slurs. In fact those who did support GLBT rights were banned simply for supporting them. Several that were diagnosed by those without medical degrees were affirmed post-ops with similar stories to mine. One thing Yahoos HBS groups are not is an HBS Support Group. The group moderator defends the constant anti-GLBT slurs as member venting.It's difficult for me to be in this position. They're right about so much, but some (and I emphasise some) are total fruit-loops in other ways. Hateful too. I just don't understand how a group of people so badly persecuted can join in the persecution of others.
I don't identify as "transgendered", nor as gay. In fact, they are both as alien concepts to me as is, well, masculinity. But I'm no androphobe, my homophobia is mainly a thing of the past, and my transphobia under control. Mainly. It leaks out on occasion, as you'll see below.
I'm a member of the Australian HBS support group, simply because they're right about so much. Here's what I wrote in reply to one of the more strident members, not fanatical, merely hard-line:
The evidence is what it is, and I reserve the right to alter my opinions based on the evidence.I'm hoping the Australian HBS group retains the moderate stance it has taken so far - basing its views on medical data, rather than psychological insecurities and elitism.
I do not ask you to "accept" anything. It would be useful if you could give more data, or if not, propose experiments that might prove your viewpoint is correct.
We "see through a glass darkly" here, taking clues and hints from all sorts of sources, some more reliable than others. I place little weight on most psychological studies, they've been proven to be unreliable in the past. I place more weight on MRI scans, and other objective data.
I place zero weight on my own self-perceptions, that I'm just a woman with an interesting medical history . Likewise my own desires as to what "should be". For if I had my druthers, there would be a nice neat binary, with HBS men and women easily and clearly distinguished from a variety of self-advertising publicity-seeking "TG Pride" paraphiliacs and fetishists.
For that matter, I would like to be either regarded as Intersexed or Transsexual(ie only neurally Intersexed), and not something in-between, with characteristics of both. Still, if I'm going to dream, let's go back to conception and give me 46xx chromosomes and a standard factory model female body, one that matches my brain.
My reading of the data though leads me to conclusions I don't like, but accept pending data that would contradict them.
1. That CG sexuality is not usually associated with extreme CG Gender
Identity, but in a third or so of cases, it's associated with mild CG
behavior, butch Lez or femme Gay, and rather more CG gender behaviour in childhood.
2. That CG gender identity is often (50%) associated with CG sexual
orientation, hence CG gender behaviour in childhood. 1/3 of children
showing CG behaviour are TS.
3. That CG gender identity is always associated with CG patterns of
thought - emotional response in particular- but not necessarily CG
sexual orientation (and childhood CG gender behaviour etc)
4.That CG gender identity is often associated with CG body image,
something else determined in a nearby part of the brain, and in most
cases this will require hormones, and in extreme cases, surgery to
alleviate the dysfunctionality.
But... that CG sexual orientation, gender identity, and body image, while coupled, are not absolutely so. They are distinct things. It's possible that only one will be affected, or two of the three. Worse, there are degrees, so both degrees of bigender and bisexuality exist, as do people not particularly enamoured with either M or F pattern bodies.
I will explain "CG" though, "Cross-Gendered". I define it as being "in relation to the arbitrary assignment at birth", and not in relation to genitalia, endocrinology, or anything else. Otherwise it can't be applied to any Intersexed people, for whom the chromosomes etc differ from the assignment. Furthermore, in relation to people with CG Gender Identity, who are strongly gendered, it can be more useful in a practical sense to reverse the polarity.
So a transWOMAN does not have a strongly CG gender identity, she has a strongly normal gender identity for a woman. It's her chromosomes (usually), her genitalia(usually), and in general her body apart from the brain that is cross-gendered for a woman. Sometimes her body image is cross-gendered too, and she's non-op. Sometimes her sexual orientation is cross-gendered too, and she's lesbian.
You may prefer to believe in a strict binary, where all 3, gender identity, sexual orientation, and body image are always the same. Either M or F, with no "degrees", just a binary. And anything else is an artifact of abnormal psychology, not neurology. My reading of the data indicates otherwise, but not only may my reasoning be wrong, the datasets are too small for comfort. I can't say that you're definitely wrong. Your belief would certainly simplify all sorts of issues, legal
I have stated my conclusions. I have stated the evidence I base my conclusions on. In terms of "HBS activism", the political aspect, the fact that to me the evidence of a biological cause of "transsexuality" means I have to support the rationale for HBS activism. "It's the neurology, stupid! Female brains and minds lumbered at birth with male bodies!". And despite the "degrees" and "blurriness" of the biology, sometimes you have to simplify. It's *not* a rainbow spectrum, it's Red and Blue, but with a small band of purple between , some more red than blue, some more blue than red, and some just purple. To say it's Red or Blue, while not 100% accurate, a least won't confuse the ignorant, while all sorts of scientific disclaimers might just give them the totally false impression that colour doesn't exist.
If I may make an analogy - the Earth doesn't orbit the Sun. They orbit each other around a common centre of gravity, which is really close to the Sun's centre. And that's a simplification, because other planets perturb things a bit, and the Moon causes even more perturbation., And the orbit isn't circular, but elliptical. It's complex.
But to say "the Earth doesn't orbit the Sun", while strictly accurate, is misleading to the ignorant. I support the Heliocentric model of the solar system to the same extent that I support the HBS theory, if you get my point. That's why I'm here, to give battle to the Geocentricists and Flat Earthers, the followers of Bailey, Raymond and the like.
Why does this all have to be so complicated? *SIGH*