Monday, 22 December 2008

Today's Battles

A mixed bag this one.

First the Young America's Foundation list of the 10 worst examples of Political Correctness in Academe. My comments are still "awaiting moderation" so may be deemed too upsetting for them. Anyway, here's the long one in defence of West Point inviting one of their alumni to speak. An alumnus who is transsexual:
No-one with an ounce of rationality would disagree with most items on the list. Except, perhaps, to say that even more egregious examples can be found, such as the infamous banning of funding for Cystic Fibrosis because it was a “White Male” disease.

One item though detracts from the article’s credibility. It’s usually Moonbat liberals who are - if not ignorant, then not well versed in scientific issues, and who allow emotion and irrational belief to cloud reason.

I refer to the item about West Point. No facts are adduced as to why this is so awful. It rather reminds me of the articles that were published prior to 1950, and the de-segregation of the armed forces, denigrating black veterans. As conservatives, we should not deny the errors of the past - we leave that to Moonbats. And the facts are that about 60% of transgendered people, mostly women, have served in some capacity in or with the armed forces. I can think of no other minority group that has such a high level of service to the country, or to whom the words “Duty, Honor, Country” mean so much.

So what is “transsexuality”? Is it some peculiar sexual perversion? An “alternate lifestyle’? Yet another Liberal attack on our cherished institutions - and goodness knows, there’s enough of them?

I better explain from the basics. “Men are Men, Women are Women”, everyone knows that. It’s as obvious as the world being flat, and the Sun orbiting the Earth. And for most purposes, all three statements are true. When we navigate using a map, we can treat the Earth as being locally flat. We talk about “sunrise” and “sunset”. They’re both good enough approximations for most purposes. Similarly, 98.3% of the population is either wholly and unambiguously male, or wholly and unambiguously female. Of the 1.7% who aren’t, it usually takes a laboratory or extensive medical tests to find that out, and most are effectively asymptomatic, though they may be infertile or even sterile.

Such people are “Intersexed”, and there’s hundreds of Intersex conditions, ranging from the negligible (does it really matter if 10% of your body has female chromosomes when 90% has male ones?) to the spectacular. The most spectacular are the conditions such as 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency (5alpha-RD-2) and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency (17beta-HSD-3) which cause all infants to look (somewhat, mostly, or completely) female at birth, but the genetic males change to look (somewhat, mostly or completely) male by the time they’re 25. Male to female natural changes happen too, but they’re less than 1% of such changes in humans, and are not well understood as yet. In fact, about 30% of Intersex conditions are “Idiopathic”, meaning “we have no idea what the cause is”, just that they happen.

So what has this to do with Transsexuality? Autopsies and MRI scans have confirmed that transsexuals have cross-gendered neuro-anatomy. They quite literally have male minds and brains and female bodies, or the reverse. Often they have other Intersex conditions too, but this isn’t universal.

This isn’t exactly common knowledge. Such indelicate and embarrassing matters are hardly the topic of breakfast conversation, and few people include “Psychoendoneurology” or “The journal of endocrinal obstetrics’ in their bedtime reading. But the data is there, on the Net, through PubMed and other sources.

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, so here’s a small selection of the articles on the subject to show that I’m not trying to sell the usual Leftist snake-oil. Please research the matter yourself.

Gender change in 46,XY persons with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency. by Cohen-Ketternis

A Sex Difference in the Human Brain and its Relation to Transsexuality by Zhou et al.

Male-to-Female Transsexuals Have Female Neuron Numbers in a Limbic Nucleus by Kruijver et al:

fMRT zur Diagnose bei Transsexualität geprüft (An Examination of the use of fMRT for diagnosing Transsexuality) (ArzteZeitung, 2006)

A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity by
A. Garcia-Falgueras A and D.F. Swaab.

Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids. by Berglund H, Lindström P, Dhejne-Helmy C, and Savic I.

And so on and so on. Most of the hard proof has come in in the last 10 years, though a biological cause has long been conjectured. Before 1996, it was assumed (in the absence of evidence to the contrary) to be a purely psychological issue.

Transsexuality causes *intense* distress. The issue is not so much about sexuality as other instinctive behaviour - maternal instinct. natural gait, communications skills, instinctive ballistic calculations and so on, all areas where sexually differentiated thinking patterns are obvious, and which are not culturally conditioned. There’s no biological reason why “blue is for boys, pink is for girls”, that’s cultural. But despite what Moonbat Gender Studies departments hold as articles of faith, men and women do differ in their neurology, and no neurologist disputes this. The trouble is, some women are born looking like men, and some men are born looking like women. This feels terribly perverse to someone so afflicted, and the only cure is to align body and brain/mind through hormonal and surgical intervention.

Having such a person, who has overcome such challenges, has a long and distinguished military career, and wishes to “give back” to her alma mata speak about the issue isn’t “political correctness” in any way, shape or form.

Zoe E Brain
(Naval Combat System Architect, former tutor at the Australian Defence Force Academy, and one of the handful of well documented cases of natural male-to-female transitions on record)
Onto GetReligion, where I do something few people discussing Christianity do - actually read what the Bible says, instead of believing what "everyone knows", including many preachers who are no theologians. I quote the usual - Matthew 19:12, Isaiah:56:3-5, but also John 9:1-12, which I think is particularly relevant to some Intersex conditions - my own included.

Not that I'm a Christian. I just believe in many of His teachings, the ones that haven't been too distorted by misinterpretion and Pharisaic "obey the letter of the law while ignoring the intent" philosophy. I remain an Agnostic with a tendency to commit Buddhism.

And finally over at Queerty, the Gay news blog. "Should Doctors Still Consider Transgenders to Be Suffering a 'Disorder'?"

Well, yes and no. I describe my answer in detail as follows:
The distress caused by having a brain (actually the lymbic nucleus) cross-gendered (in some ways) compared to (most or all of) the rest of the body is a very real and serious psychological condition, comparable to the distress caused by some hideous congenital anomalies, coupled with biologically-based sexual dysfunction. But the neural mismatch itself is not, it is a natural variation caused by any of a number of genetic predispositions, coupled with an anomalous hormonal environment in the womb. Both the genetic, and the hormonal anomalies are necessary, either on their own has no effect. We think. We’re not absolutely sure, it’s just that we have lots of good evidence for this, and only a paucity of extremely poor evidence against.

Until the distinction is made between the congenital biological variation that is acute transsexuality, and the syndrome of distress it causes, then the social stigma and moral opprobrium will remain. Worse, effective treatment may be withheld, either because of unfounded doubts as to its effectiveness, or concerns that anyone who is "mentally ill" cannot possibly give informed consent for radical surgery. Such problems exist today, simply because GID in its totality is erroneously seen, and described in the DSM’s later incarnations, as purely a psychiatric concern.
That did lead to a follow-up question, on the nature if gender, which I think deserved answering at length.
Transsexual people are strongly gendered, but a significant number of Intersexed and non-Intersexed people are not. So although Transsexuals fit a binary model of gender extraordinarily well (for if they didn't, they wouldn't suffer the distress they do), we must be aware that the binary model is an approximation that fits most, but not all. It doesn't fit everyone. Most Intersexed people in particular fit a binary model, but some don't. We must be careful to respect Intersexed men as being men, Intersexed women as being women, but also that minority of Intersexed people who identify as neither.

Many transsexual people, being strongly gendered, and having had their masculinity or femininity questioned in the most disrespectful terms by others, object to any "in-between' category, a category they have often been forced into by others; "men, women, transsexuals". Which is exactly wrong, the opposite of what the situation truly is. It's because they fit the binary model so well, so much so that even having a cross-gendered body is insufficient to coerce them into an inappropriate gender "box", that they have the issues they do.

We must not force people into arbitrary boxes against the principles of medical facts, objective biology and even common humanity, strictly on ideological grounds.
NeoCon, Religious, Gay... all need information, then they can make up their own minds. From the Sacred to the Profane.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why did West Point invite someone who represents a violation of their standard of conduct to speak?