Monday 21 December 2009

A Dialogue with Ron Gold - Part IV

Ron Gold wrote, in part:
I find it unacceptable that you have put our correspondence online without mantioning that to me much less asking my permission. I do not give such permission for this or any further correspondence, and if that's not okay with you, I will regretfully have to stop writing you.


On 23/12/2009 10:35 PM, Ronald Gold wrote:
Was thinking that now that I'm agreeable to being online, perhaps you should also include the reply I wrote to your canine intercourse remark, etc. Why spare them a bit of vitriol?

OK, here it is....
I haven't had much sleep lately because my mind keeps whirling about with all the things I want to ask you and say to you about our correspondence. Where to begin? I kept asking myself. Perhaps mistakenly, I've decided to begin with a couple of things I'm really pissed off about, since this emotional state has colored my thinking which, like you, I like to think is rational.

First, I find it unacceptable that you have put our correspondence online without mantioning that to me much less asking my permission. I do not give such permission for this or any further correspondence, and if that's not okay with you, I will regretfully have to stop writing you. When I have reached some conclusions about what, if anything, I would change about my original post, I will say so (though I doubt if I now have a forum for my thoughts) and I might even decide it would be worthwhile to discuss how I got to that point, but while I'm getting there I prefer talking to a sympathetic ear, which I thought yours was, not into a loudspeaker!

So I have committed "canine intercourse" (were you one of those who objected to my use of the word "pecker"? --- a misguided attempt to add a note of levity, by the way) and my views have caused incalculable "real damage" you cannot bring yourself to specify. Best I can do is state succinctly my current view on that: My suggestion that the concept of transgender is a form of sex-role stereotyping (however much I might wish to modify that view in light of your info on neuroanatomy) is TOTALLY unlikely to inspire hatred and hostility toward anybody, and has NEVER been used by those who would like to kill anybody. I note that you have not included anything approaching that in your discussion of rationales for hate, and that my thoughts on the subject seem to have been the farthest thing from mind of the McDonald's manager who called a young applicant a "faggot." What the use of that word means to me is that hatred is directed at those who don't conform to the sex-role stereotypes that most people try to force themselves into. I can see that calling people mutilated and deluded whose self-image depends on thinking otherwise would be profoundly upsetting to them, but that's not at all what I was trying to do. Perhaps there was a way of saying what I had to say without upsetting anybody, and perhaps I should have tried hard to do that, which I admit I didn't. Right now, I can't think of any way I could have avoided offense. But "real damage'?

There are a great many other things I want to say and ask you about related to your most recent emails, but now I intend to wash the dishes and make the bed, so all will be ready for Ali when he returns from the latest in a million weddings we've been invited to since I got back here. He always goes because he likes the food and the chat, and I always don't because being among hundreds of people I don't know and can't talk to because of the language barrier, is not my idea of fun. I may return to this today, or start up again tomorrow.

I've discovered that I have on this computer a copy of Polarity: the Psychology of Paul Rosenfels, the as-yet-unpublished manuscript which outlines the theoretical base for virtually everything I have written. I've learned it's not as easy to comprehend as I hoped it would be, but I could email it to you if you're intrested. But I notice you've yet to comment on the two attachments I sent you recently, so perhaps not.

My comment on his request for publication:
By the way, you're an evil, evil man suggesting I include your diatribe. But then, I must be an evil, evil woman, as that tickles my funnybone - so if you're absolutely sure... it would add a certain air of completeness. Please confirm this though, I really wouldn't want to make another mistake like last time.(He did in a separate e-mail)

I feel terrible that I was so rude. I really don't want to stage a repeat performance, you know? Not just for your sake, but mine. I try to do the right thing, and when I screw up, as here, well, I don't feel very good about it.

I don't think you do vitriol very well though. Anger, yes, that you have down pat. Fury too. But you lack the spite and malice needed for proper vitriol.

Posts in this series:
Part VII
Part VI
Part V
Part III
Part II
Part I


Nikola Kovacs said...

So he's quite happy to have his ignorant comments published online for all the world to see. Comments that really did set himself up for the humiliation he surely felt when reading the comments to his original article, but he unequivocally takes exception to somebody posting comments online that show him in a far better light, as someone who is willing to listen and learn ...

or then there's this ...

That he didn't consult with any transsexual people, didn't consult any of their peers, the countless volumes of reference material before posting his original article and he takes exception to others who don't consult before they post online ...

Arrgghh, there's just too many hypercritical comments to choose from ... there's two from me anyway, look forward to reading others.

Anonymous said...

what a dweeb

Cynthia Lee

Hazumu Osaragi said...

To Mr. Gold;

I ask you to reconsider your desire to withdraw from having your dialogue with Ms. Brain published.

During the course of Ms. Brain's posting, I was revising my viewpoint on the stance you had taken in your Bilerico post.

I saw that you were willing to consider new information. I did not harbour any illusion that you would come to 'like' us, but I had hopes that you may come to shift your rational views on transsexuality -- that you may reach a place where, despite personal negative feelings, you would know for yourself that transsexualism is born of nature.

Or, to put it more simply, I had hoped to watch you enlighten yourself with Ms. Brain's help, and possibly, maybe, be present at any 'aha' moments you may have.

Anonymous said...

I understand Ron your reason for withdrawing from the discussion if the content is posted in whole or in part, I truly do.
This goes against your agenda to stigmatize TS folk.
That is fine with me because for the most part I have a low opinion of you homosexuals, being sex obsessed and spreading AIDS and all.

I have posted the agenda of you and your ilk here and elsewhere. I am truly glad I have been able to fight the good fight and keep true transsexuals away from the homosexual community.
We are better supported in the mainstream straight world and we don't have to be pressured to march in some silly parade celebrating what we do behind closed doors.

Please continue your agenda go ahead and lobby for the removal of the T from that alphabet soup you and your ilk call a community. We don't need you, we never did. All of our civil rights were affirmed in nearly all of these 50 states decades ago.
We can marry in every state as long as we are not borne in one of the few that won't grant a legal change of birth sex. The scientific and caring professions knew enough about our condition decades ago to have the wisdom to make our status as females legal.

We have something you may never get the privilege to marry. Marriage is not a right in the US.

Have a nice life Ron, I am so glad it's yours and not my life. :)

Zimbel said...

Hmmm... in part I, he sates:
"I sent this as an email reply, but would like it to appear on the site. Would it be possible for you to help out an old ditz, and try to do that for me?"

I'm not certain how to reconcile that with this response.

In any case, I agree with Nicole - these e-mails show him in a far better light than the Bilerico post.

Lloyd Flack said...

The question is which site did he mean? I don't think it was this one. From context it was probably Bilerico. And he was was refering to that particular email. I don't see permission to put up all the following emails.

Boo said...

I don't know about this having put him in a far better light, the basic problem that runs from the Bilerico piece through all of the posted exchanges with Zoe seems unchanged: he is determined to hold onto his sense of privilege no matter what. One comment from the last part posted was especially telling:

and I'm appallled by the whole notion that you're entitled to marry a man when you can say you no longer are one.

He's "appallled" by the notion that transsexuals might have gotten one particular right before the gay community. Because, as everyone knows, gays have to come first. Then, maybe, at some point, some time, the trannies can get theirs. Maybe.

Anonymous said...

I think Ron's attitude being out in the open is a good thing. It's nice to know who is going to stab you in the back.

I wouldn't call his attitude some kind of privilege, partly because such privilege doesn't exist, just like I wouldn't label my hard work and money spent on completing my transition any kind of privilege.
That term is so
Homo-Socialist, and I am anything but.

Zimbel said...

@Lloyd Flack-

Good points about what he may have meant.


To me, asking questions like "Aren't there people who've never thought themselves to be in the wrong body who also have these differences between body and brain?" is a large step from "I would, however, get after the doctors – the psychiatrists who use a phony medical model to invent a disease that doesn’t exist, and the surgeons who use such spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded."

Nikola Kovacs said...

But Zimbel ...

You'll see that now in Part 5 he goes back to what he said originally and what you've just quoted, and also added an anaolgy that makes it obvious that he is unable to wonder whether this is being done for the individual, or the others that have to interact with us.

In his analogy he makes it plainly clear that he takes offense at Michael Jackson's appearance, with complete disregard to any question as to whether Michael Jackson believed in himself that he needed the surgeries that he had.

What he's saying is that he doesn't like to have to look at Michael Jackson, it sickens him, and so why shouldn't I now interpret that as him finding Transsexuals repulsive and that's what his underlying motive is.

I now find myself agreeing with Boo but I do confess to have only read a bit of part 5. back to it ...

Unknown said...

I'm curious: did you apologize to Mr Gold, or not?

Publishing his emails was wrong. Not impolite - wrong. How would you feel if someone published a letter you wrote to them, with an expectation of confidence?

I presume from Mr Gold's complaints that you did not inform him of your intent to publish his emails. So while I suspect you did apologize personally, you might do yourself a favor and acknowledge your actions in public.

It's only your credibility at stake.

Carolyn Ann

Zoe Brain said...

Of course I apologised, at length. And gave the reason why I had misconstrued his intentions.

Mr Gold was gracious enough to accept my apology, and the reasoning behind my actions, and is now explicitly commenting for publication.

Boo said...

anoldfriend and Zimbel-

His attitude remains one of privilege- that as a gay man, he is above the trannies. Whether or not it exists only in his mind is irrelevant, because it's his attitude, and it informs everything he thinks and says around these issues.

See the next part of the dialogue, it's still there. He has indeed found a kindred spirit in Bailey. What he has to say about "those people" is far more important than what "those people" may have to say about themselves, science and logic be damned.

Anonymous said...

I was told long ago that anything sent on the web including e mails were to be considered public, not private. I was told to be certain that anything I sent through the web would be nothing I would not want to be seen publicly. I have seen nothing to change that opinion. Has those conditions changed?


Unknown said...

I'm sorry, Zoe: I don't see where you explicitly state that you made a mistake "unequivocally at the very start".

I apologize for my presumptions. They were based on a complete lack of information from you regarding this. It wasn't that you seemed to be avoiding responsibility for the mistake (something I suspect you are incapable of doing), it was that you seemed to be ignoring it! I can see I was wrong.

To be honest, once I realized that you did not have Mr Gold's permission, I felt somewhat betrayed. I definitely felt angry and misled. Perhaps I shouldn't apply professional standards to you, but you do write one of the leading blogs on gender. And, more importantly, you write about it with a seriousness virtually no one else can match! I feel the same way when The New York Times or The Guardian, even The Washington Post, make similar errors. I don't know if would you view that as a compliment, or with abject terror, but it comes from my respect for you. Respect you've earned by being so careful.

A misunderstanding is a perfectly reasonable reason for what happened. They happen all the time!

While I would never try to suggest a course of action, I do think that confronting a mistake like this, acknowledging the misapprehension, and how it happened would be of benefit.

Carolyn Ann

Unknown said...

KAT: Indeed, you should never write something you don't want to see on the front page of the NY Times. But that's different to being public.

An email is the contemporary form of the letter. Sometimes a letter is intended for publication. But a personal correspondence should not be considered public. The fact that some click a button and publish that which private should be merely shows their disdain for things like privacy and politeness.

I don't know where you live, but here in the States, the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union, a public advocacy group) is constantly fighting governments over this issue. Indeed, the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a case involving private texts and the public interest. It's not a settled issue, and likely won't be for some time.

Think of it this way: if you send a personal email using your employer's computer, during the working day, they can, legitimately, read it. They have no such privilege if you send personal emails from your home computer on your own time. That someone might publish your personal letters to them is a matter of etiquette, or their lack of such.

Indeed, it's been a form of personal attack for as long as letter-writing has been around. Spurned lovers distribute embarrassing letters from the spurner. (Is that a word?) Journalists have tried to read undisclosed letters to develop their stories; unofficial biographers do it all the time. Governments pry open virtual envelopes with casual disregard for privacy or decorum.

It might seem that the days of "gentlemen don't read other gentlemen's mail" (Sec. of State Henry Stimson, explaining why he was shutting down the US intelligence service in 1929) are long gone. Indeed they probably are. Perhaps they never existed?

But none of that removes an essential element of personal correspondence: the writer must be reasonably assured that they are writing to the recipient, and not the whole world. If I write personal emails to someone, and they publish them without my permission, I will not only cease communicating with them (perhaps with a final email detailing how disappointed I am), I will go out of my way to ensure the world knows that person is not to be trusted with personal correspondence. Indeed, I will do what I can to state they are not to be trusted at all! (They have proven themselves incapable of being trusted.)

There are, of course, caveats. Official interest in the contents, public and individual safety (if someone tells me they're going to commit harm in a private communication, it is my obligation to disclose that as rapidly as possible), and a few other instances.

But in general, private correspondence comes with an expectation of privacy. But people will ignore that expectation if it serves their purposes. So no, nothing has changed. :-)

Carolyn Ann

Zoe Brain said...

Carilyn Ann - after thinking about it for 0.5 nanoseconds, put me down under "abject terror".

If you look back at the archives of this blog, you'll see nothing about sex and the brain before May 2005.

My state of ignorance was almost complete. I looked on post-operative trans women as "real women" but that's about all.

The fact that I thought in terms of "real men" and "real women" shows the depths of my ignorance. I paid no attention to pre-ops, nor no-ops, and I'd never heard of either the David Reimer case, nor Harry Benjamin.

I had a psychological blind-spot that stopped me from having even a normal neuro-anatomist's knowledge of the subject. It was part of the awful strain of keeping up the "boy act" that there were certain thoughts I was unable to think.

Just as I was unable to cross-dress in fun for a party, or even wear anything other than a white or blue shirt. Even a loud tie was "too feminine".

My ideas have been lauded by some experts in the field, and my greatest achievement is to be spoken of favourably by Milton Diamond. Which is a bit like a physicist being told by Stephen Hawking that his ideas are pretty good.

But I'm entirely self-taught, from a standing start less than 5 years ago. Moreover, I have no journalistic training whatsoever.

To be regarded so highly be my readership, to have my blog archived by the National Library as of "lasting cultural significance"... and to know that indeed, I really am an expert in the area.. that's really scary.

Not because I'm afraid that I'll be "found out" as at best a gifted amateur, at worst a fake, but because our state if knowledge is so poor that even my poor amount is way ahead of the pack.

In the country of the blind, etc etc.

If I were a professional blogger, that would be one thing. But blogging is something I can only fit in in the interstices of my life, which revolves around raising my son, and doing my PhD. Moreover, this isn't so much a gender blog as one that tackles gender issues, along with space issues, politics, software, science, neurology.... and sometimes just plain fun stuff of no great worth and moment.

Sometimes... I look at this "Zoe" person, she with the patience of a saint, this paragon of intellect... and I think "Wow! I wonder what it must be like to be someone like that!". Because I don't recognise her.