Thursday, 9 April 2009

So what position does she play?

Darwin Central is one of my favourite sites, a place for rational conservatives. I like to think I'm one of them.

Here's a portion of a recent post though.
So, some claimed 34% of Americans already have to bow to the will of a "self-identified" minority so small it is statistically irrelevant. There is nothing even remotely good about that, IMO. I've refrained from commenting on these threads but I've read enough. I didn't want to offend anyone but you know what, who gives a f.ck about offending these people? They obviously have zero respect for the rest of society so the feeling is mutual. What kind of nerve does someone have who gets their dick cut off, takes hormones and has tits installed to tell me something is wrong with me because I think that is just insane?

Nobody has lied to me and nobody has duped me. I would say that it was quite the opposite. Somehow supposedly 1/3 of the American people have been duped into tacit approval of people's messed up, mentally disturbed sex-fetishes.
I don't think he knew that one of "these people" was posting on that thread. So I called him out on it.
The tits came naturally, and I didn't have a "dick" to cut off (not that that's done anyway...). But I'm one of "these people".

May I refer you to the DC University threads on the subject? Please read Transsexuality and Intersex and then Transsexuality Q&A

Then please get back to me, and we can discuss this rationally. By all means give any evidence you have that contradicts what I've written.

You have accused me of having no respect for society, and even said that's obvious. Well if so, proving that should be easy for you, and I invite you to try.

You've also said that you think gender reassignment is insane. Here the onus is on me to prove otherwise, as there's an excellent prima facie case that you're right. Hence the DC University threads.

One more thing. Yes, I do take what you've said personally.

If, after reviewing the evidence I've given, you still think that I am, and I quote, some one who is "messed up" with a "mentally disturbed sex-fetish" and with "zero respect for the rest of society " then I invite you to argue your case, and no apology would be appropriate for an honestly-held opinion with a rational basis, no matter how much I might disagree with it.

Just don't hide behind "I have no wish to give offense but..." and have the guts to say it to my face, rather than to a group not present here to defend themselves against your insults. I won't call you an ignorant and irrational bigot until you've proven that's what you are - I doubt that you're either. All I have now is evidence for a pardonable lack of knowledge on your part, a strongly held opinion based on a very limited grasp of the facts, and thinking that you could hide behind anonymity and not be confronted by one of "those people" you have no respect for to force you to justify your assertions about them. Well, I'm calling you out on it.

There's a lot in those threads, so I don't expect an answer soon. I do expect either a rational argument justifying your personal attack on me, or an apology. If I get neither, I won't let the matter drop, and will take it up with the moderators. Is a week long enough, or would you like more time? It doesn't have to be an ironclad justification, just a rational one.
As for the title of this post? It's from an old joke, with many variants. Here's one:
Boss: Johnson, we are giving you a promotion but you have to move to Montreal.

Johnson: Montreal! "Nothing comes from there except hookers and hockey players!"

Boss: Listen pal, my wife comes from there!

Johnson, without missing a beat replies, "No kidding! What position does she play?"
I believe that the answer, the antidote, to false, misleading or hateful "free speech" is not censorship, but more "free speech". I also agree with Woodrow Wilson -
I have always been among those who believed that the greatest freedom of speech was the greatest safety, because if a man is a fool the best thing to do is to encourage him to advertise the fact by speaking.
I need no encouragement of course. Er, wait, that didn't turn out right....

When passions are high, and matters are worth getting passionate about, sometimes a little humour can provide the social lubricant needed to ensure we treat others with the respect they deserve. And sometimes it just shows to anyone monitoring the debate just exactly what a humourless, ignorant and bigoted anal sphinctre one of the sides is. A win either way.

36 comments:

Julie Curtis said...

I have 10 of whatever you use to give to your favourite charity if you get 'Either' a rational discussion or an apology.

I think my moneys safe ;-)

J

RadarGrrl said...

I have no idea why you persist in hanging around these right wing nutbars. From what I've seen, you're anything but a conservative.

Lloyd Flack said...

That particular poster got jumped on by nearly everyone else on that thread (me included). It was not his emotional reaction that was attacked but his denial, in the face of the evidence, of the situation that transsexuals find themselves in.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

Zoe,

What is this state of "cat-like awareness" that you talk about?

sumptos devil s advocate said...

Also, once you define it, could you explain how it comes to be that transsexuals tend to have it more than other people?

Bad hair days said...

http://forum.darwincentral.org/viewtopic.php?p=476293&sid=b1ae534cfd18a0c9a0a8bb1bc2eeb548#p476293

it' so good for me you loosing your tamper... one more time of over and over telling truth without it and I'd honestly thought your a mindless robot and

LLoyd, thank you for being an ally

Laserlight said...

RadarGrrl, I am always amused to see people who get offended about, e.g., the word "tranny", but don't see anything wrong with calling a group of people "nutbars". One would think the people who show up here would have learned a little tolerance for people whose views they don't understand or disagree with.
And if you don't consider Zoe a conservative, to me that would indicate a misunderstanding, either of Zoe or of "conservative".

sumptos devil s advocate said...

Basically, you say that transsexuals must have a cat-like awareness before they transition: What is exactly is and what are they trying to be aware of?

Anonymous said...

SDA, can you link to the URL where Zoe has made this statement please?

Anon#1

sumptos devil s advocate said...

anon,

Why soitenly:

http://forum.darwincentral.org/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=4628&start=0

I cannot express the relief that Transition brings. It's not that it solves all your problems, quite the contrary, it brings a host of new ones. But the relief, no longer having to pretend, no longer having to be in a state of "cat-like awareness" to quote Marge Simpson 24/7, that is inexpressible.

Anonymous said...

SDA, I'm not Anon number 1, but I can take a pretty good guess...

Cats are generally pretty aware creatures so Zoe is suggesting that transsexual folk are in a hyper-aware state before transition.

By analogy:
Imagine that you're a gay teenager... and that your parents are highly religious and absolutely hate gay people. You hear them make slurs about people they know or assume are gay (dresses like a f**got / dyke etc. etc.). Now you have a reaonable basis to believe that your place in the family is threatened if your parents find out that you are gay - so you become hyper aware of your own behaviour. You make sure you dress in strictly gender-apropriate clothing, you don't hang around other gay people, you may even make slurs against gay people when your parents can hear.

Or maybe you're under Witness Protection and you're always rehearsing your new name and history but forever wondering if today is the day you'll get busted.

Or maybe you're transsexual - eveybody you work with thinks you're a guy but you know you're not. And you're forever wondering if today's the day you're going to get busted. So you make sure you wear strictly gender appropriate clothing. You make sure you know all the latest sports results. You have the flashiest and best maintained car in the office. And you're forever listeing with half an ear, just in case, despite all your efforts, someone suggests you might not be "the real deal".

Long story short, "cat-like awareness" is not an intrinsic property of transsexuals. It is an often-observed property of someone who is keeping a secret and transsexuals (before they transition) are generally keeping their real identity secret.

RM

Zoe Brain said...

It is, as I said, a Simpsons reference.

Being TS means you can never act on instinct, just relaxing. You are playing a role 24/7, 365, and can never step out of character.

You have to keenly observe the men around you, and try not to stand out from the crowd. You have to suppress the instinct to swing your hips, and walk with a male swagger. You have to laugh in all the right places.

It's like being a spy in enemy territory, one false move and you can arouse suspicion.

Mostly it's unconscious, but a part of you is always alert, always making sure you don't let your guard down.

The relief when you can just be, and not act, is indescribable. And it can take years to finally unwind, not to have that voice of caution telling you not to act so feminine. It's gone now for me. Mainly. Enough so that when it happens, it comes as a surprise, and it's easily ignored. No longer useful, though it was a lifesaver at one time.

Nica said...

That is exactly how it is, Zoe. The relief is wonderful. One aspect I always had to expend a lot of energy to control was my voice and mannerisms. Especially my hands. But it all came out eventually anyway.

If Marge said it, I believe it.

Be a voice for peace.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

Zoe,

I don't understand. The average pre-transition MtF is worried about being found out as a woman, the natural way to act? That seems to contradict what I've read before about how they have to learn to "pass" and work on their voice, mannerisms, etc., in order to be able to present as a woman. And now they're saying that that is the natural way for them to act?

Zoe Brain said...

The voice requires training. (oddly, mine didn't... but remember I'm IS not standard TS).

Many mannerisms are habits that have to be un-learned.

But basically, you're correct. You just have to learn to relax, act naturally, be yourself. That's harder than it looks!

The rest - well, there are deportment schools if you wish to go to them. Most of their clients aren't TS of course, it's not only TS women who may wish to be more classically feminine.

I haven't bothered. I really should get my hair done though, and a manicure. There never seems to be time (or money..)

Heck, I've been through transition, I've earned the right to some of life's little luxuries!

Maybe even a facial.

Zoe Brain said...

Julie - I'm having a rational discussion now, via PM with the guy.

But I wouldn't have taken your bet, as I thought your money would be safe too.

Anonymous said...

SDA, it's different for everyone I think. My voice could easily do with some practice to be considered consistently in the feminine range, but things like mannerisms and demeanor just came naturally once I realised I could relax.

R.M. & Zoe's description of the cat-like awareness is also spot-on. For me there were about 3 or 4 occasions that I can remember where something just "came-out" naturally, a comment, a way I did or said something, despite my best efforts to never let these things out, that raised alarm-bells in others.

The more I'm uncovering about my past however, and the actions of those around me, especially ex work colleagues, it's becoming clearer and clearer that I was giving off many more subtle clues as to my true identity than I really knew. My family will deny this because they don't want to be found out that they "knew" something about me way before I told them, but these other innocent bystanders in my life and their comments don't lie because they have no reason to.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

Interesting. Still, isn't the voice a presentation killer if it can't be sufficiently feminized? It seems that the voice is given the most weight in determing the masculinity or femininity of a person.

Also, I read a few posts ago in the comments section about body image and the feeling of body parts. One person said they can't feel their chest be touched unless they see it be touched. Does this extend to the penis as well, in that they do not even feel the penis be touched unless they see it be touched? I hope I read the original comment right.

Also, how would this override the penis's messages being sent to the brain about its being touched?

Anonymous said...

"Interesting. Still, isn't the voice a presentation killer if it can't be sufficiently feminized? It seems that the voice is given the most weight in determining the masculinity or femininity of a person."

Only if society continues to believe in the gender binary.

For me, feminizing my voice would be great, it would save a lot of trouble on the phone, it would make me feel better because others would relate to me better. But why should I change something like that? Why should I change something solely to make it easier for others to label me with one of their labels?

- Nicole (p.s. The previous anonymous poster was me too.)

Lloyd Flack said...

Actually, I was surprised when the poster concerned went rabid. He had seemed much more reasonable before on other issues.

radicalbitch said...

"For me, feminizing my voice would be great, it would save a lot of trouble on the phone, it would make me feel better because others would relate to me better. But why should I change something like that? Why should I change something solely to make it easier for others to label me with one of their labels?"

And here we have the attitude that leads to cis-victimized thinking. Newsflash, 98% of the women on the planet make personal adjustments to "fit in" like learning what is appropriate to wear on what occasion. Voice training isn't all that hard, the primary aspect of a mid range woice that get sexed are vocabulary, syntax and modulation. Bea Arthur's voice is read by most as female if not feminine. As for the rest, if you are neurologically female and stop those things you did to get read male pre-transition then passing is just not an issue.

Nicole said...

“And here we have the attitude that leads to cis-victimized thinking.”

The idea that others start to feel victimized because I have learned to me myself, and that self, I believe, lays outside of the gender-binary is something I hadn’t considered. I can most certainly vouch for my own feelings however, that I was going crazy trying to fit into this world as a male, transitioned and found a similar thing when trying to fit in as a socially accepted version of a female. I have only begun to feel okay about myself since accepting that I’m somewhere in-between, leaning more towards feminine than masculine however.

Newsflash, 98% of the women on the planet make personal adjustments to "fit in" like learning what is appropriate to wear on what occasion.

Other women can make whatever adjustments they want to, the fact that they make adjustments in any case surely implies that it is not a naturally occurring thing that they adjust to. Are they not adjusting in order to conform?

"Voice training isn't all that hard, the primary aspect of a mid range voice that get sexed are vocabulary, syntax and modulation. Bea Arthur's voice is read by most as female if not feminine."

Agree with you. My voice is okay, it gets me by most of the time. I would however prefer it to be a bit more feminine so that it helped me to be seen as female more of the time. But at the same time, I realise that adjusting my voice that bit further is yet another way I’m conforming and therefore buying into the gender-binary theory.

"As for the rest, if you are neurologically female and stop those things you did to get read male pre-transition then passing is just not an issue."

I agree with you for the most part, but would like to know what things you are talking about that you assume some people do and get read as male pre-transition for?

Zoe Brain said...

Just a clarification - saying "all you have to do is relax as the instincts are pre-installed" is an over-generalisation.

As accurate an over-generalisation as saying "women have 46xx chromosomes".

Most do. It's a good approximation. It's true in general. But there are exceptions, and just because usually if the part of the brain dealing with gender identity and emotional response is feminised, so are other parts to do with instincts, well, it's not always the case, and there are degrees.

Some women, both standard factory models and transwomen, do not have naturally "feminine" body language. For SFM women, this can be an issue, but not a big deal. For Transwomen, it can lead to them being misgendered. So I should be careful not to over-generalise too much, for the 1% where "just relaxing" won't cut the mustard.

Anonymous said...

Also, I read a few posts ago in the comments section about body image and the feeling of body parts. One person said they can't feel their chest be touched unless they see it be touched. Does this extend to the penis as well, in that they do not even feel the penis be touched unless they see it be touched? I hope I read the original comment right.

Also, how would this override the penis's messages being sent to the brain about its being touched?


If an MtF woman has a body image corresponding to female anatomy (particularly that there is no penis in her body image), then the brain has no reason to expect to feel anything when a penis is touched. Therefore it doesn't. The penis still has nerves that connect to the brain, but the brain doesn't have a reason to listen. Kind of like a TV being on when no-one's at home...information is being sent, but not received.

If on the other hand the woman was looking down, there is a second source of information - the eyes say "this penis that is attached to me is being touched (WTF!)" and the brain can go scurrying to find those nerve connections (that connect to the penis) and find out what they're actually 'saying'. Kind of the equivalent of someone shouting, "Hey there's something good on the TV" and everyone rushing into the lounge room.

The same thing would happen for an FtM guy, who has a male body image - which doesn't include breasts. I'd suggest this is what the commenter on the other post was describing.

R.M.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

Zoe,

And you can count this person as among the 1%:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2PL02hMb5E0

I'm guessing that the person on this video is not one for whom talking femininely comes naturally.

-----------------------------------

R.M.,

Interesting. So say, for such a person, if only the penis were being touched by something the brain would not realize at all that the body was being touched?

Anonymous said...

Interesting. So say, for such a person, if only the penis were being touched by something the brain would not realize at all that the body was being touched?

Assuming they were blindfolded (or not looking / eyes shut etc), exactly.

Seems kind of the inverse of people who have phantom limbs after amputation being able to accurately determine when someone was poking their limb.

R.M.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

R.M.,

And that would be the case, no matter how painful or out of the ordinary the sensation on the body part in question is, right?

Looking here:

http://stray-ideas.blogspot.com/2008/03/phantom-penis.html

It seems at least 30% of post-op MtF's should not have undergone SRS, because they experienced the phantom penis.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

R.M.,

One more question: Would a prepubescent girl have phantom breasts and what would change in her teen years to give her phantom breasts, if her breasts failed to develop?

Anonymous said...

It seems at least 30% of post-op MtF's should not have undergone SRS, because they experienced the phantom penis.
Careful here, you're inferring something that isn't neccesarily true (or even likely to be true). Body image / body map is only one part of someone's identity. This part of identity may be masculinised or feminised to a greater or lesser degree than the rest of the brain.

Thus, all you're saying is that 30% of women who underwent SRS had sufficiently masculinised body maps to feel a phantom penis for some time after SRS (it normally remaps itself after a few months).


One more question: Would a prepubescent girl have phantom breasts and what would change in her teen years to give her phantom breasts, if her breasts failed to develop?
Dunno, but I'd suggest consideration of the question, "Does a 10 year old have a phantom adult body?"
Your hypothetical girl may be extremely unhappy with her (very) small breasts, but the right thing are still there and mapped correctly, so I don't think it is an equivalent question of phantom body parts.
Same for a young male whose puberty is insufficient. He may be unhappy with the size of his penis, but it's still there and still mapped correctly in his brain.

R.M.

radicalbitch said...

Ok.....I have a half amputated finger, I am aware of it almost every moment.....
I am not aware of the missing penis.

Is this the data point you'all are looking for?

sumptos devil s advocate said...

R.M.,

"Thus, all you're saying is that 30% of women who underwent SRS had sufficiently masculinised body maps to feel a phantom penis for some time after SRS (it normally remaps itself after a few months)."

Do you have citations for this and the other comments in your post?

Anonymous said...

A far better discussion than I could come up with exists at New Scientist

But a few other refs:

"Cases with Phantom Penis and Strange Phantom Sensation after Sex Reassignment Surgery" UMENOMIYA REIKA(Fukushimagakuindai Fukushi)
Journal of the Japanese Society for the Study of Chronic Pain
VOL.24;NO.1;PAGE.15-23(2005)

(Partial abstract, my bold)
There are 4 Gender Identity Disorder (Male to Female) cases who feel strange sensation after Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS: mean of sexuality adjustment operation). It is feeling of presence of the penis which resected. I termed the feeling of this strange presence "Phantom Penis". Therefore the outbreak mechanism which is different from a case of penis amputation at the past is considered. Protocol of SRS which dorsal nerve of penis and a peripheral sensory nerve are kept as much as possible. Furthermore, elimination was promoted by pain of insert with vaginal dilator which prevented a stenosis of the new vagina which was constructed.


An Australian Gender Centre even mention this phenomena as fairly well known in one of their fact sheets:

www.gendercentre.org.au/doc/kits/male-to-female-surgery-kit.doc

"Another thing about nerves is the occurrence of "phantom pain" or "phantom itches". Your brain has built a three dimensional "map" of the nerve endings throughout your body. For example, a nerve ending located 5 feet 8 inches down and 8 inches in front of your brain, and on the right side, is in the area corresponding to your right toes. So if you drop something on your foot, your brain gets the signal from the nerve endings, looks up the location in its map, and tells the conscious part of your brain that your foot needs attention.

During surgery, tissue with its associated nerve endings gets moved around quite considerably. Because your brain has not had sufficient time to update its map, it may be telling you that you are experiencing an excruciating itch somewhere in your groin, when in fact that particular nerve ending is now deep inside you. You may automatically reach for the spot and be surprised when you find that you can't scratch it. This will disappear quickly as your brain adjusts."

You should also be careful, given that most post-op women will have been living with a penis for many years before undergoing SRS and that is plenty of time for brain-training to occur, in much the same way as is done with amputees. I know of no research into the question of "Did these women who experience a phantom penis start off with a feamle body map, but over many years got used to the presence of a penis?"

R.M.

Zoe Brain said...

SAD wrote:And you can count this person as among the 1%:

I was thinking more along the lines of Khadijah Farmer. Who is female, not trans, but has typically masculine body language.

Look at this video starting from 2:20. Note the handclasp like the guy next to her at 2:38. (Sorry... my "catlike awareness" of body language showing here.. I had to observe this stuff and imitate it, to her it comes naturally). Note the restricted hand gestures and shoulder shrug compared to the more expressive whole-body communication of the woman next to hi.. I mean, her.

I'd love to get a scan of her brain, to find out what areas are "masculinised". Or rather "conforming more strongly to a typically male stereotype as opposed to a typically female sterotype", as she's a woman, and arguably more feminine biologically than I am in toto.

For that matter, I'd like to get my own brain scanned. At least there's one experimental subject I can be sure has given full and informed consent.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

R.M.,

And how does this tie in to some pre-op MtFs not even feeling their penises?

Zoe,

Thank you. Also, do hormones have an effect on the mannerisms people use? Further on the point of hormones, did you have as a prepubescent child Asperger's symptoms then too? Did you notice a major change in your behavior as your childhood puberty began and the testosterone started flowing?

Anonymous said...

And how does this tie in to some pre-op MtFs not even feeling their penises?It was actually answering your unsupported assertion that post-op women who suffered a phantom penis, should not have undergone the operation.

As to pre-op women feeling penises; some do, some dont. Presumably the ones that don't also don't suffer from phantom issues when post-op.

Those that do are no less women because of it and it is normally a temporary 'affliction' that resolves in a few months anyway.

R.M.

sumptos devil s advocate said...

R.M.,

Understood. It seems then that the presence or absence of phantom penis is not a good proof that a person should or should not have undergone the surgery, right?

(Also, could you let Zoe know to respond to my last question of her?)