Friday, 6 March 2009

Today's Battles

More like "this week's" rather than "today's", but no matter.

At OutSports, attempting to explain why Mike Penner, the sports journalist, is not Christine Daniels any longer.
I don’t care what Mike eventually ends up looking like on the outside, or whether he ends up presenting as Mike or Christine. I just hope that he finds a place of balance, a place of comfort.
On to the Arizona Standard, and the mistreatment of transgendered veterans by the VA. Arguing against the contention that as cosmetic and elective surgery shouldn't be covered, they should be refused treatment.
"Sex reassignment is not "experimental," "investigational," "elective," "cosmetic," or optional in any meaningful sense. It constitutes very effective and appropriate treatment for transsexualism or profound GID."

That's from the World Professional Association for Transgender Health "Standards of Care" or SOC.
Thence to the Daily Vanguard, answering the question "If physical sex can be changed, then why not mental gender? ". It's not as if it hasn't been tried.... for over 50 years...
Just some of the techniques tried - Psychotherapy,. Cognitive Thrapy, Neuro-Linguistic Reprograming, Psychotropic drugs of various sorts, Electro-convulsive therapy, Psychoanalysis, "Aversion Therapy" involving painful electric shocks to eyeballs and genitalia - with or without nauseating drugs being administered, "Spirit Release" therapy, lobotomy, leucotomy, Exorcism... yes, they got pretty desperate. Zero success rate, and even the most intense brainwashing and torture didn't have more than a temporary effect. The more radical brain surgery may have worked, but as the patient was unable to talk or even feed themselves afterwards, that wasn't a great success either. Lesser brain surgery just lowered the IQ and rendered them genderless.

The evidence is that significant proportion of people, perhaps 1 in 3, could function with various degrees of facility as either gender. For those who are strongly gendered though, as all TS people are (or they wouldn't be TS), it's essentially unchangeable with foreseeable technology. We'd have to enlarge some sections of the brain, reduce others, change the distribution of cell types in each structure, even perform surgery on individual cells to give them the right hormone receptors. The brain is very sexually dimorphic, and TS people have cross-gendered neurology.

Changing the rest of the body is much easier, though even then, we can't give fertility yet.
Leaving matters of great public importance, on to Femulate, where I try to give some reassurance to a Transgendered man that there's many more like him. That he's unlikely to be a "transsexual in denial", which is what worries him.

The Twin Cities CityPages are next, discussing the treatment, mistreatment, or maltreatment of TS youngsters. "I believe it is ridiculous to expose any child under the age of 18 to hormones to change the body that they were born with" as one commenter put it. Well, I do too, when there's a significant chance of them being Transsexual. That's why they should be on puberty blockers, so they don't get the inappropriate hormone flood that would otherwise "change the body they were born with" in harmful ways.

That's not what the commenter meant though. Hormones that are "natural" get a free pass from him.
First, as to "lifestyle choice". What about the sighted "lifestyle choice", where people get cataract surgery to correct congenital blindness? Or the hearing "lifestyle choice" with cochleal implants (never as good as the real thing, quite artificial) to correct congenital deafness?
*Sigh*. One thing I've noticed though. Even a year ago, it sometimes seemed that I was the only one with a teaspoon, moving the mountain. Now I'm just one of many, and not the most articulate either. Fewer and fewer articles go unanswered. Fewer and fewer ignorant or bigoted comments go unchallenged.

We're getting there.


Unknown said...

It would appear that the replies I already submitted to the Arizona story have been conveniently deleted, even though they were up for a good two weeks.

Zoe Brain said...

The story's in two parts, so there are more comments here.

Anonymous said...


It's not the first time in response to a news story that I've read your 59 in 60 figure. I'm interested to know how you arrived at that figure, whether it was you who arrived at it or it's come from somewhere else.

I'm assuming that you or whoever came up with this figure has taken into account all different kinds of intersex conditions as well as transsexualism.

The other thing I'd like to mention is that this time in reading your comments to different news stories, I also subjected myself to every other comment made by other readers.

It's REALLY interesting to note the debating tactics of the conservativem the religious, the unquestioning individuals that just comment based on fear, pre-conceived ideas or things that have been taught to them by parents/school/church or society.

Sometimes they totally lose the plot, sometimes they just vanish when questioned deeper, or asked to provide facts to support their claims, they choose to ignore facts, they don't realise that it's okay to change their opinion if proven incorrect but what comes across loud and clear mostly is that they believe that the matter at hand, whatever it may be, will cause untold damage if allowed to continue or pass or whatever. In other words they seem to love to believe that the sky is about to fall in.

It's laughable really, if only they knew how they really looked to those of us who choose to think about things and question.