As the people addressed by this letter have made many personal attacks on me, I must disqualify myself from making further comments as there's an obvious conflict of interest.
ANDREA BROWN-HER BIZARRE ATTACK AND NEGATION OF INTERSEX
I was stunned to read what I consider Andrea Brown's bizarre attack on intersexed individuals.
It is flawed and has poor fact checking.. I have written an open response to her letter. For her statements I abbreviate her name using the letters AB which then is followed by her statements which I have quoted.
My comments are between the signs designated ***. Finally I include
citations from pubmed and other references. I hope my response
validates the lives and experiences of not only the intersexed individuals whose existence she negates, but all intersexed individuals as well.
M. Italiano, MB BS (AM)
Board Certified in Alternative Medicine (India)
Advisor, Biosex variations, Organisation Intersex Internationl
Staff, Gendercare Inc.
The letter itself:
AB: "People claiming to have fathered children then suddenly claim to have had a spontaneous sex change, found an ovary, uterine tissue or uterus in surgery are liars or deluded and may require psychiatric help, which transsexual people normally do not require."
***Fertile individuals who have fathered children can have a uterus.***
***A fertile individual who has fathered two children can have an ovary with follicles and devloping ova. This individual also has a Fallopian tube and a uterus.***
***A fertile individual who fathered a child and also had an ovary with ovarian follicles and evidence that ovulation also occured. It is the first case where cytogenetics and not just a buccal smear was used***
AB: "Some transsexual people have claimed to have a period because they have pissed blood. They have not had a period. Kidney infections can cause a person to piss blood. Physical damage from impacts can cause a person to piss blood. A period cannot occur when a person has two testes, as the testosterone would suppress any possibility of a period if the tissue actually existed. People who have pissed blood because of childhood surgery are people who have had just that happen. They would strongly refute any claim that they are having a period, regardless of what any LGBT activist, queer theorist or trans activist states. They will state the truth and inform you it is from a bladder or kidney infection or scar tissue failure."
***While having a period as an ovulatory cycle is not likely, certainly
Andrea Brown's statement that "They will state the truth and inform you it is from a bladder or kidney infection or scar tissue failure" is WRONG since the blood may be coming form the uterus or uterine tissue. Not only is Andrea Brown wrong in this regard, but people who believe her may be harmed since they may be overlooking a possibility of having endometriosis or other problems associated with their uterus or uterine tissue. Blood in the urine coming from a uteurs or uterine tissue in these cases is sometimes called menouria or hematuria which may or not be cyclic. ***
AB: "The number of female to male transsexuals and transgenderists also falsely claiming to have CAH is also a problem....Issues such as gender identity are quite often a non-issue for people with CAH. Most are to worried with trying to stay alive to worry about gender identity, contrary to what LGBT transgender and queer activists like to claim."
***In at least one report, F to M transsexuals have a higher incidence of non-classical CAH than control females.***
***Secondly, there is quite a bit of controvery as to how to assign gender in CAH individuals due to issues with their gender identity. Andrea is very wrong in her dismissive attitude with regard to gender identity in individuals with CAH.***
AB: "Regarding gender identity in 5 alpha people, it literally can be anywhere from male to female. Contrary to the literature that is quoted, which also appears to be highly suspect. Most actually appear to identify as female, not male."
***Again Andrea Brown is not correct. Here are two recent reports on gender in 5 Alpha Reductase Deficiency individuals. They both contain a review of the literature. The first study link demonstrates that about 70% develop a male gender identity. The second demonstrates that of those raised as girls, 56-63% changed gender roles.***
AB: "Spontaneous sex change. This does not occur in humans and is a fiction created in pornographic magazines, porn films and the minds of deranged fantasists."
***While I am not aware of penis to vagina spontaneous sex changes in humans, there can be no doubt that gonadal changes occur where a post-natal or adult human gonad changes and acquires features of the gonad of the opposite sex. Commonly associated with a tumor, the organ nonetheless acquires both structural and functional properties of the other sex gonad.
Thus, although an adult ovary has not been known to become a fertile testis, it may undergo pseudo-male transdifferentiation and even develop Sertoli and Leydig cells which are male-specific testicular cells as well as other testicular specific structures. (Links below). This process is known as gonadal transdifferentiation. It also occurs in other mammals such as mice and cattle.***
AB: "Hermaphroditism. On very rare occasions a person has been born with an ovary and a teste. However this is so rare that it is practically unknown in the majority of intersex clinics and there appears to have never been a case of this in a transsexual person either."
***This needs clarification. Zucker and colleagues have indeed described a case of gender dysphoria in true hermaphroditism ***
AB: "The existence of people who are true hermorphodite is extremely rare and most experts in intersex will never meet one."
***Andrea's attack on intersex seems evident here with her very plain use of the offensive and slang term "hermorphodite".***
AB: "If a person has two testicles, even if they are undescended, there is no ovary. The only possible combinations are, two testes, a testis and an ovary (so rare it is almost unheard of), or two ovaries."
***No Andrea. These are not the only combinations. There are also persons who have bilateral ovotestes, OR a testis on one side and an ovotestis on another OR an ovary on one side and an ovotestis on another.***
AB "Some facts: It is impossible to have two testes and two ovaries.
It is impossible to have two testes and one ovary. It is impossible to have two ovaries and two testes. It is impossible to have two ovaries and one testis."
***The first and third categories of Andrea's are the same biological categories which oddly she uses in reverse in her bizarre dismissive and blanket anti-intersex statements. Actually 2 ovaries and two testes in a single human individual HAS been reported 4 times. Although cases a and b below are spurious, case c provides ample evidence of 2 ovaries and 2 testes in one human individual and case d is quite definitive of this.***
***It should also be noted that an individual can have penile duplication (2 penises) and two vaginas (vaginal duplication). Since this occurs, it is not difficult to understand that a penis can co-exist with a vagina in the same individual.
Furthermore, it should be added that it does not seem to be impossible for a human to be self-fertilizing with assisted reproductive technologies or even without the use of technology***
***Andrea Brown negates the very existence of several types of intersexed conditions which negate intersex experience. An example of an attack on intersexed woman Zoe by someone who goes by the name of "Nicky" is also in the comments section of her article. (Nicky's comment follows and is in the response area of Andrea Brown's article).***"Nicky Says:
02/04/2010 at 4:24 PM
'Well, even a good example would be ____is one of those Transsexuals who like to claim intersex and claim to have a spontaneous and natural Intersex condition. Zoe is one those who goes around online proclaiming to be an Intersex person and claiming to have 5ARD or 15BHDD...'"
***An attack on intersex and intersexed individuals to try to discredit intersexed women who may have thought or been told that they are instead transwomen seems unfortunate.***
*Sigh* I'll answer to both. Whatever. The reason that I'm publishing this is because a)It contains at least two articles I wasn't aware of, so deserves a place in my reference list, and b) Because although I'm virtually immune to personal attacks, they don't bother me, obviously other people are bothered by them. I should not be guilty of universalising my own experience, and should think of other people.
I think it could be because the Women Born Transsexual blog is usually of such high quality that Dr Italiano feels so strongly about it. If some nutter says something factually incorrect, it does no harm. If it comes from a usually credible source, it may do.
UPDATE: A previous version of the letter appeared on this blog briefly, but Dr I sent me a version with some minor changes of wording shortly thereafter, and this version is definitive.
UPDATE II: - M Italiano's letter is now available at http://www.gendercare.com/English/italianopaper4.html.