The original post by notorious transphobic feminist, m Andrea:
Zoe, the intersexed get a free pass in my book, perhaps I should have mentioned that. Transfolk have normal chromsomes, comprise .007% of the population, and literally only a handful of those are intersexed. The intersexed organizations are strongly opposed to body modification surgery.I'll let that last sentence pass though to the keeper. In my view, no human being is congenitally cruel, evil, or sexist, incapable of humane behaviour and sub-human by virtue of their birth. Not because of race, and not because of sex either.
The idea that hard science should exclude everything but numbers is a patriarchal concept.
It has nothing to do with medicine, but the sign of true intelligence is the ability to apply the lessons learned from one field to another, and I'm sure the scientisty folks can manage. To say that medical science should ignore the cost paid by half of humanity for the benefit of .007% is insane and cruel and proves my point that males are incapable of non-sexist behavior....
Again, Zoe, it is the classification of transgenderism which is at issue. Either it is a mental illness, or it is not.Some would classify rabid misandry in the same category as rabid racism, as a mental illness. I wouldn't, I think it's just evil. It's not in the DSM-IV anyway, and I don't think it should be. I'm not into pathologising as insanity views that I disagree with.
In my reply, I misinterpreted her .007% figure as being that for Intersex, rather than Transsexuals. But no matter, Lynn Conway's figures say greater than 1 in 3000 at the most conservative bounds, that's about .04%. It was a fortuitous mistake, as it allowed me to bring up and tie together some of the IS/TS issues. Anyway, on with the motley:
m Andrea - it's true that Gender Identity Disorder is in the DSM-IV-TR, the manual of diagnosing psychiatric illnesses. It is a psychiatric illness in that context.I simplified - gender is formed during childhood based on comparison with hard-wired emotional response compared to other people - but close enough.
The code is 302.85 for adults, and 302.6 for children, or if there is any non-neurological Intersex condition involved. You may give a "free pass" to the Intersexed, but the Patriarchy and psychiatric establishment do not. Any distress caused by a mismatch between reality and arbitrary assignment is considered a psychiatric illness.
But so is having been raped - the codes there are 995.81 (if raped as an adult) and 995.5 (if raped as a child).
In fact, it's not the biological cause that is the psychiatric illness, but the anxiety, depression and other sequelae resultant from the biological cause that requires treatment. For some, putting an end to the underlying cause, be it repeated physical abuse or brain/body mismatch, can affect a complete cure. For others, psychotherapy may be needed, or at least, an end to the Patriarchal system of stigma and shame that further victimises the victims.
It wasn't that long ago that the idea of having rape victims have a say in their own treatment was anathema too. The arguments both for and against are identical.
It's not true that Intersex organisations are against surgery. They are against *involuntary* surgery, surgery without consent. They believe that until the patient can tell us what gender they are, surgical intervention should be minimal, and aimed at preserving urinary, sensate and reproductive functionality, not mere socially-acceptable cosmesis, that will leave the child transsexual in at least 10% of cases, possibly 30%.
I have no idea where you get the 0.007% figure from. There is much confusion about the exact definition of "Intersex", that may account for it. Using the most inclusive definition, where the soma is neither 100% male nor 100% female, the incidence is 1.7% (See Fausto-Sterling et al).
While this may be technically true, the majority of such cases would only be detectable through extensive lab tests, they are essentially asymptomatic, though many compromise fertility. Others are asymptomatic at birth, only developing symptoms later - such as sex reversal, as in my case.
At the other extreme is Leonard Sax's definition, which excludes many syndromes recognised by all Intersex groups as being Intersex conditions. His figure is 0.02%. But to get to this low figure, he has to exclude Kleinfelter Syndrome (47xxy not 46xy or 46xx) and other conditions. Even though some 47xxy people have fathered children, and other 47xxy people have given birth.
I tend towards the inclusive definition myself, while admitting the difficulties. However, I can't be objective about it.
Regardless of the incidence, if it is deemed desirable on Utilitarian grounds that a minority suffer "for the greater good", we should be honest about it. We should not seek to minimise the size of the group affected, nor bury or ignore scientific evidence just to feel less guilty.
The evidence from Kruiver, Zhang et al has already been mentioned. Now that is open to reasonable attack on the grounds of lack of replication - not that attempts have been made to replicate it that have failed, but that no attempts have been made. It is open to attack on the grounds of small sample sizes, though the sample size is not insubstantial compared to the universal set.
But to that evidence, I'd add that of Berglund - "Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids" - Bentz - "A common polymorphism of the SRD5A2 gene and transsexualism." - Kerlin "Prenatal Exposure to Diethylstilbestrol (DES) in Males and Gender-Related Disorders: Results from a 5-Year Study " and "The Presence of Gender Dysphoria, Transsexualism, and Disorders of Sexual Differentiation in Males Prenatally Exposed to Diethylstilbestrol: Initial Evidence from a 5-Year Study" - and especially Krause - "Geschlechtsspezifische Differenzen der Hirnaktivitaet in der fMRT bei Normalprobanden im Vergleich mit transsexuellen Probanden". For the teutonically challenged, that's "Gender differences in brain activity between normal volunteers compared with transsexual subjects in functional magneto-resonance imaging".
We're not sure what the exact mechanism is or mechanisms are that cause transsexuality. It appears to be the combination of an atypical hormonal environment in the womb, combined with a genetic pre-disposition. We're now confident though that we know what transsexuality is. A (partly, mostly or completely) male brain in a (partly, mostly, or completely) female body, or the reverse.
If you give the Intersexed a "free pass", they qualify too. Unless you restrict your definition of "Intersexed" unreasonably, or deem all these papers - none of which have been contradicted - to be a long chain of individual 1 in a million coincidences.
Going beyond the dry, dusty numbers inherent in Science, I'll quote the Full Bench of the Family Court in Australia, back in 2003, when the data was far more scanty, but still overwhelming:"There should be no escape for medical and legal authorities that these definitions (of male and female) ought to be corrected and updated when new information becomes available, particularly when our outdated definitions bring suffering to some of our fellow human beings."