Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Travel Issues

New Information The U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has advised all airlines that, effective November 1, 2010, all passenger reservations containing any U.S. city segment or flying over U.S. airspace must contain full Secure Flight Passenger Data (SFPD). Reservations without full SFPD will be rejected by the TSA, and airlines will be subject to penalties.
* Provide Secure Flight Passenger Data information: When making a travel reservation, travellers should provide the required data elements (full name, gender and date of birth).
I'm due to attend a conference in New Orleans in November.

I've asked the TSA which gender I should report - the one on my UK Birth Certificate, the one on my UK passport, the one on my Australian passport, or by one reading of Wilma Wood vs C.G studios, none of the above?

Meanwhile... I'm making contingency plans to fly to Mexico, then travel overland from there. Just in case.

This is silly. But then, that's nothing new in the collision between legalities and biological realities.


Anonymous said...

And when one arrives in the US under visa waver, you get fingerprinted. If you are trans, this can show up that you previously travelled on a passport with a different gender. In the UK we can get a gender change on our passport without a Gender Recognition Certificate. So, without a GRC the 'sex' on our passport is not our legal sex.

Do we lie and say that the passport has the correct sex ID or run the risk of being accused of travelling on a false passport?


Carolyn Ann said...

(I got an error message when I tried to post this, first time. So here's to trying again!)

Just as a word to the wise - I wouldn't plan on trying to get into the country via Mexico. That border is particularly "interesting" if you're on a "different" (i.e. not US or Mexican) passport, such as a British one.

I've been to Mexico quite often, and I can tell you border security was "interesting" in the 1990's! The last time we were there, 2006, it was even more "interesting".

So while I can thoroughly recommend Mexico - not the border regions, or Oaxaca - I don't think it would be a good idea to try what you're thinking of. If the border guard even suspects you're trying to outsmart Homeland Security - you will end up in jail. And then you will be deported. They might be quick, they might take their time - it's up to them. And you'll barred from entering the US for a period of 5 years on up to life. There's no appeal process, either.

I'm not trying to frighten you, I'm trying to deter you from trying a course of action that has great potential to cause you a lot of grief.

All I can advise you to do is get the TSA, or perhaps the US Embassy involved. And see if you can get some official letter, and material listing you as a speaker or something, from the conference organizers. (From what you've written, I'm guessing you're already doing that.) I did read they are being more open about academic conferences. (I think it was in the NY Times, if you wish to employ your considerable, and frankly quite awesome, research abilities!)

I'd go as far as saying: do not, under any circumstances, try to fool Homeland Security, or the TSA.

For instance: the TSA will have details about your last visit, and any communication with the US Embassy. So, if you turn up at the border and claim anything - they'll invite you to a little room where you can all have a chat about why you're trying to fool the TSA. Not why you're trying to get into America.

When you travel to the US, you have to list all your waypoints. If there's any suspicion, they presume the worst. So landing in Mexico, and not having the right paperwork to get into the US, despite your best efforts, will - likely as not - result in your detention. The Mexican border is a political hot-spot, right now. So travelers entering the US are undergoing a little more scrutiny than normal.

I do know one or two people who tried to fool the TSA. They have regretted it. One person I know discovered that Homeland Security has a really long memory. Those people were traveling on British passports, and thought they could fool the TSA - without any potential problems.

Just remember the TSA has no empathy, no understanding for your needs. They know only that if they make a mistake (and what is a mistake is not at all defined), the guard will lose his or her job; managers up and down the line will do so, too. And that if they bend the rules once - it's likely to be for some stooge from the newspapers, or their Inspector General's office. And they'll lose their jobs. And have to talk to investigators for hours and hours.

The procedures, processes and demands are not designed to make it easy or comfortable for you - they're intended to make it easier for the TSA and Homeland Security. And no, their demands and instructions are not fair. They don't care. What they care about is protecting the US, and if some innocent, harmless, person can't attend a conference - that's not their problem.

All in all: DO NOT, under any circumstances, try to hoodwink border security. It's not perfect, but it is effective.

Sincerely, I hope it all works out for you!

Carolyn Ann

Zimbel said...

I doubt that Wilma Wood v. C.G. Studios, Inc. is controlling - it appears to be a separate U.S. District court ruling on what it thought the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court would rule - in other words, it appears to have been a ruling for a different jurisdiction altogether.

If you want a guess, it would be the passport you're traveling under - but that's a guess, not informed opinion. The purpose of giving them information other than your name is to reduce the incidents of false positives (which, under certain names, is very high). As it seems that this needs to come from the airline, I suspect that there are tight constraints (i.e. - there's probably no allowance for name, gender, or other changes). In any case, try to get to the airports early, in case you need to spend time explaining your situation.

SFPD should be abolished in its entirety; its chance of preventing terrorism is under the level of noise, and its costs are non-trivial.

And... on the topic of attempting to find terrorists, here's an interesting article : Strong profiling is not mathematically optimal for discovering rare malfeasors

@Carolyn Ann - as far as I'm aware, SFPD has nothing to do with entry or exit from the country. Certainty the statute that is behind SFPD (Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act) appears to indicate that these are entirely separate, if some of the names on the SFPD come from other lists that may also populate the ones at U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Anonymous said...

Heh...I'd be landing in YYZ or YUL instead, then taking a train south. Longer, but less hassle than the Mexican border. Plus, YTR is nearby.

Carolyn Ann said...

That (SFPD) might not have anything to do with entry (although I'm sure it has some peripheral matching-up, after the Christmas Bomber) - my concern was more about the means of entry than the database the authorities use.

I've been to Mexico a number of times, and each time I've noticed that the broder security is "keen"! It can be as bad entering through Canada, but as I nearly always traveled up their on business, it didn't seem to be quite the same hassle as Mexico.

Overall, it's just not a good idea to think you can fool border security. It's like a cop once told me: crooks always think they can outsmart the cops, but what they always forget is that the cops have a lot of experience in catching crooks! It's not a perfect system - but if the cost of betting wrong is more than you can handle, why tempt fate? Don't forget - if she did try to get through Mexico, and was caught - she'd be deported to Mexico. Who would then probably deport her back to either Britain (if Zoe uses a British passport), or Australia - who probably wouldn't be too happy about it all.

Just my opinion, of course.

Zoe Brain said...

I'm not trying to "fool" anyone. I've entered the USA several times recently, quite legally, on the visa waver program.

Entering the USA is not a problem. Other than the risk any TS or IS person takes of being held by immigration "because they can". A visa just gives you the right to appeal, it doesn't stop the detention.

Entering it by air on the other hand... or even entering US airspace without landing - that may be an issue.

This could be a real challenge if going to, say, Ha'waii. Or flying near it, as you have to do to get to Vancouver from Australia via a great circle route. I'd have to do a dog-leg via HK or Japan.

Zoe Brain said...

And if I was trying to "fool" the TSA - I'd hardly have contacted them beforehand asking what the heck it is I should be doing to comply with their rules, would I?

I may of course be told that there is not way that I can comply. It would not surprise me. If the rules don't cover it, just say No.

So I'd be making sure that Homeland Security, the US Embassy, TSA, Uncle Tom Cobley and all know exactly why I'm taking a slow boat from China or whatever.

It may not prevent problems - but should bias the odds.

Paula - that's the situation I'm in regarding my UK BC and UK passport. I'm unable to obtain a GRC (despite being post op etc etc) since I'm not technically TS but IS by the GRA. So in the UK, I'm legally male for some purposes, legally female for others, and a "transsexual person" (by the equality act) for yet others. Yes, by the GRA definition I'm not TS, by the EA definition I am.

However... in Australia my Immigration records say I'm female. Those are the controlling or cardinal documents. Here, at least, at a federal level everything matches.

Do we lie and say that the passport has the correct sex ID or run the risk of being accused of travelling on a false passport?

Except biologically I'm a case of "severe androgenisation of a non-pregnant woman", so to say it's a lie would be more inaccurate than not even in a legal sense.

I'd be going in on an Australian passport, but as has been pointed out, that's not relevant - they have my UK ID cross-referenced.

Anonymous said...

there are only two sexes and they are fixed at conception. You need to put down that you are a male -always have been and always will be. You noted a female who was "genetically male" an "XY" and menstruated and gave birth. This female was not genetically male.
Her ovaries had XX chromosomes.
An XX can't produce sperm and an XY can't produce eggs. There is always a predominant true sex.

Zoe Brain said...

Anonymous - er, no. Factually incorrect.

She had, and I quote, a predominantly 46,XY karyotype in the ovary (93% 46,XY and 6% 45,X).

You really don't know much about biology do you? You may be suffering from "homochromosexuality", as you make up "facts" as needed to justify your beliefs.

What are the symptoms of homochromosexuality? The most salient characteristic is the rigid, irrational delusion that sex is dimorphic and that chromosomes determine the real sex of an individual. This obviously combines irreconcilable thought processes which are contradictory and causes those suffering from homochromosexuality to illogically manipulate data to fit their irrational need to refuse the fact that people are extremely diverse and that there is a spectrum of sex variations in the natural world."

Things like making up stuff about this woman having "XX ovaries", when the article clearly states she does not. Why did you indulge in such fabrication? Because you "knew" it had to be true on the basis of your ideology? Or do you think there's some kind of conspiracy by scientists to hide the true facts that only special people like you can discern?

Carolyn Ann said...

Just trying to be helpful.

You might not be trying to fool the TSA - but they might not think so. And just because you've entered the US a few times before doesn't mean they'll allow you to enter again!

As for the other point - people do strange things. Over the years I've learned, as you probably have, that if someone thinks something is possible, they'll try it. Whether it is, or isn't.

Your original post suggested something I thought strange and likely to end up in tears, so I tried to point out the folly of such action. It's up to you whether you agree or not. Don't mind me - I just happen to live here, and hear quite a few tales of woe when it comes to the TSA, the INS and generally entering the country.

Hey, your life, your decision.

Kathrin said...

The secure flight initiative is intended to help them build a database more likely to identify a specific person.

For example, they want to be able to identify between "Chris Smith, F, born 1/3/2009" and "Chris Smith, M, born 1/3/2009".

The idea is to get the blacklist as specific as possible, so as to inconvenience the fewest number of people.

As for what you put, it's not really a big deal. The TSA deals with trans men and women, butch lesbians, effeminate men, etc. all the time.

All it means is that you are slightly more likely to get heightened security, and if you have a common name, a slightly higher chance of being "blacklisted".

If that happens, contact them, and they will give you a "resolution number", which can be used for future travel to avoid the issue. Simply provide it when booking your tickets.

In general, the "least hassle" approach seems to be "put what you are most likely to be gendered as".

Zimbel said...

@Anonymous August 11, 2010 2:22:00 PM-

You can put an appellation, if you like, through Choosing "Name/URL" for your identity, and putting in a Name.

Anyway, RE: your comment - I've read an introductory college-level Biology book written before sex chromosomes were identified. While they made some now-interesting mistakes (thinking that males had two "factors", and females one), they identified around 6 sexes, and indicated that there were more that were beyond the scope of this book. Similarly, when I had biology in the late 1980s (past the time when the sex chromosomes were identified), with a book that was appropriate for a college introduction course, the chromosomes were correct, and about 10 chromosomal sexes were identified.

In other words, I'm very curious as to where you're getting your information from. No post sex-chromosomal biology text I've ever heard of claims that there are only 2 chromosomal sexes, and the only pre-chromosomal biology text I'm familiar with both used different terminology (X was a "factor" if my memory serves me correctly) also didn't claim that there were only 2 biological sexes. From what I've briefly read just now, it seems that this recognition has existed in biological circles for centuries.

Obviously, Biology has had major advancements since either of those texts, particularly with the beginnings of mapping the sex genes, and with a number of papers cited on this very site. Also, both were very basic texts - some of the information about sexual development of various organs was likely known around the time of the later book, but it simply didn't get into a lot of detail on embryonic development.

My question for you is where did you get this biological information? It almost seems like it was originally concocted from very myopic concepts of sex, using the modern knowledge of sex chromosomes in a very primitive way to give it scientific gloss. I'd like to know so that I can attempt to correct the author, thanks.

Zimbel said...

Replace "centuries" above with "over a century". My apologies for the inaccuracy.

Alan Kellogg said...

(If it helps)

Gentles, Ms. Zoe Ellen Brain has shown herself to be a lady, notwithstanding her previous condition as a gent. She has dealt with her condition and the circumstances surrounding her transition with honesty and courage and can be allowed entry to the United States with all confidence.

Anonymous said...

I said her ovaries had XX chromosomes. They had XY and XO and XXY too. But they also had XX. Page 185 blood, 46,XY (100%),(20 nuclei); skin 46,XY(80%)/45,X(20%)(50 nuclei);gonad46,XY (92.9%),45,X(5.9%),46XX(0.06%),47,XXY(0.6%)(1000nuclei). They only looked at 20 blood cells and it had only XY. Her skin had 20% XO and they only looked at 50 cells. Her ovaries were XY mostly and then mostly XO. But still out of 1000 ovary cells they found 60 XX and 60 XXY. Like I said it depends on where they are where it counts.
I bet you can't find ANY (zilch) report where Y chromosome material was successful in going through an egg. Eggs don't have Y chromosomes.
Eggs don't have Y DNA. It is a male chromosome. it is male dna. Find me 1 report of where someone got Y chromosome DNA throough an egg. not on this planet. You need to read Dr. Larry Crabb more. Dr. Crabb will show there 2 sexes and they are determined at conception.
Do you think Dr. Crabb would say you are a woman or a he, a Mr. a man, a male and always will be? You have Y dna. It goes through sperm. It is male dna. It is not female dna. You can't compare this with a female whose ovaries obviously had some XX
cells in them. X dna goes through the egg. Any Y DNA she had wouldn't be in her eggs. She has XX cells where it counts. Find me 1report where this is not two-sexed and I will send a letter to Dr. Crabb. They do have biology at Biola U. and U. Illinois too you know. And Crabb
was with John who was on the Albert Mohler show. But it goes back to Crabb.

Lloyd Flack said...

Anonymous, the chromosomes are the packaging for the plan. Plans aren't always carried out. And sometimes a standard plan is put in non standard packaging e.g. SRY gene complex on an X chromosome.
Sexes are clusters of organisms. You are looking for some essential definining difference between the sexes so that you can put everyone into two packages. Biology does not work that way. The differences between the sexes are hordes of traits all of which show a continuous gradation. Most people clearly fall into one of two categories. Trying to force everyone into these two categories is torturing reality.

Zoe Brain said...

The only karyotype I've had was on my blood - which also had 20 46XY cells, just as with this woman.

The anomalous tissue removed from my abdomen around 1980 was not karyotyped.

Do you really think that my sex depends on that?

What about the cases in

Frydman, R. et. al. (1988) Pregnancy in a 46 XY patient. Fertil. Steril., 50:813-814.

Kan, A.K.S., et. al. (1997) Two successful pregnancies in a 46, XY patient. Hum. Reprod.,12(7):1434-1435.

Selvaraj, K., et. al. (2002) Successful pregnancy in a patient with a 46, XY karyotype. Fertil. Steril., Aug.; 78(2):419-420.

Or the surrogate mother case in

Sauer, M.V., et. al. (1989) Successful twin pregnancy after embryo donation to a patient with XY gonadal dysgenesis. Amer. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 161:380-381.

For that matter, what about women with gonadal dysgenesis in general - no ovaries as such of any kind? Are you saying they're really men? Even if they give birth to twins?

I mean, you *can* say that of course. Or that those men with De La Chapelle syndrome who have fathered children are "really" women. Or, with the Indonesian Catholic Bishops that all those with any 47XXY chromosomes are "really" women because of their two X's. Even if they've fathered children.

I looked up Crabb L. on PubMed. There was one specialist in Parkinson's disease, another on dentistry. Could you please tell me what works on genetics he's written?

There is of course a Larry Crabb who argues that women were miraculously originally formed from Adam's Rib, but he's a "christian councellor" who wouldn't know the 12q12-q13.1 regions where the masculinising DHH sequence is usually found from the Yp11 region where you'd normally find SrY. My knowledge is scant, but at least I know that much. Should I look at Men & Women: Enjoying the Difference (Zondervan, 1991) or perhaps Basic Principles of Biblical Counseling: Meeting Counseling Needs Through the Local Church (Zondervan, 1975) ?

If someone is correct, they're correct, regardless of lack of peer-reviewed publications or formal training in the area. And just because someone has strongly held religious convictions doesn't necessarily mean they will always believe superstitions completely unsupported by evidence.

My problem with those of strong religious persuasion though is that while they all "know" exactly what someone's "real" sex is*(don't ask how - they just do), they differ amongst themselves about what criteria to use to determine that, even when they talk about chromosomes. An area they have remarkably little understanding of. As with the Indonesian Catholic Bishops.

Zoe Brain said...

One thing - in the case described in Cytogenet Cell Genet. 2000;91(1-4):204-7.
An SRY-negative 47,XXY mother and daughter.
Röttger S, Schiebel K, Senger G, Ebner S, Schempp W, Scherer G.

The daughter's Y chromosome came from her mother. It had the same deletion of SrY, hence she was a daughter, not a son. Meaning that the egg was XXY or XY too.

A bit difficult seeing, if the 0.06% XX chromosomes are the ones that are universally responsible for egg production, how that pesky SrY-deleted Y chromosome somehow snuck in there.

Or maybe there was a series of spontaneous mutations in the husband's sperm that happened by a far more than trillion to one coincidence to exactly match the gene sequence in the defective Y chromosome of the mother. I suppose if you believe in miracles, anything's possible.

That's the problem. In order to believe that chromosomes determine someone's "real" sex, you have to believe in them. And literally anything is possible.

Zoe Brain said...

You may of course point out to this sceptic that her own condition is as yet unexplained and even inexplicable by medical science.

The change itself, no, there's at least four different ways by which someone can have an MtoF change at normal pubertal rates that have been clinically observed. And many more that are theoretical possibilities.

The problem is the rate of change in my case. Something most anomalous happened there, where 80% of the change happened over 3 months. Something went peculiar with the cell turnover rates, and the cholesterol metabolism was just plain odd.

Ironic, isn't it?

Zimbel said...

@Anonymous- thanks for the information. I presume that you mean this Dr. Larry Crabb of New Way Ministries? If so, please note that he claims to be: "a well-known psychologist, conference and seminar speaker, Bible teacher, popular author, and founder/director of NewWay Ministries."

No where in there does it suggest that he has any expertise in Biology.

In any case, to respond to your post directly:

For starts, the belief that X and Y chromosomes determined sex by themselves is now archaic by about 15 years. See, for example Molecular basis of human 46X,Y sex reversal revealed from the three-dimensional solution structure of the human SRY-DNA complex

From the conclusion, page 712: "The structure of the hSRY-HMG-DNA complex presented
in this paper permits the consequences of clinical
mutations that result in 46X,Y sex reversal to be rationalized
at the molecular level and suggests a common mechanism
for the action of SRY on the expression of genes
responsible for the male phenotype."

Of course, this is based on a 1995 paper that showed that SRY is the gene that expresses testes: The molecular biology of SRY and its role in sex determination in mammals - but note that that's behind a paywall.

The point of both papers (and a number of other papers - use your favorite search engine for 5 minutes) is that sex is determined by one or more genes (not the chromosomes they're normally on). For the moment, I'm ignoring all the issues with the actual usage of the genes (i.e. fetal development, gene expression, etc.) - I think that Zoe Brain covers that above and elsewhere on this blog better than I can.

As for your point about ovaries, you're confusing cause and effect. Ovum, Primary bodies, and Oocytes aren't dependent on all sex chromosomes having particular sex chromosomes or genes. Yes, in most cases, all Ovum/Primary Bodies/Oocytes have the X sex chromosomes only, but that's because most females are 46XX; it has nothing to do with Ovum production from Primary Oocytes. An XY ovum, for example, should be perfectly viable (and, if you look at either some of Zoe's references or even your own, you'll find evidence of some).

I'm glad that you have Biology there. Perhaps you should have a chat with a Biology teacher/professor.

Anonymous said...

To AE Brain and Zimbel,
The examples of XY females with gonadal dysgenesis. They are all female because the SRY (MALE!) pathway is altered. They are all pregnant because of embryo donation (something I may point out can theoretically occur in a normal male without a uterus).
In fact the XX"Y" female is just that-a female because she lacks the SRY which is one step in the SRY male pathway. She is not XXY but is XX"Y" technically because some of her Y DNA (the SRY is absent). If she had the SRY gene she would NOT be able to
have eggs. SRY = NO EGGS. None of AE Brain's references have an XY ovum. XX De La Chapelle can be fathers adopting but you cannot find ANY example of someone with an XX type producing sperm. IT DOES NOT HAPPEN. It is AE Brain's overactive imagination.
AE Brain, you had male organs.
You had fertility as a male. You can not be a female. Puberty changes only occur in the secondary characteristics. You can't find a testicle that in puberty changes into an ovary.

Zoe Brain said...

Anonymous - you're now shifting the goalposts. First you said that chromosomes determine sex, and that an XY woman actually had XX ovaries. Now you're saying it's about SrY (and ignoring DHH etc). Or is it about presence or absence of testes now? Sorry, it appears you start with the conclusion, then cherrypick facts to support it, ignoring ones that don't fit. 0.06% XX.... Jeez.

I suggest you read M.Italiano's answer to M.Andrea which you'll find on this blog. It includes references to cases of pregnancies of people with testes.

Not included are cases of auto-fertilisation, such as Petra Henderson's. PMDS cases can be doubly fertile.

At age 20, I had 50 Graham's tests in an effort to decide exactly what organs I had in my abdomen. They kept on getting the same anomalies in the imagery, hence I have a scar from bikini line to breastbone, where they removed a number of "anomalous structures" that didn't belong in someone who looked male. Exactly what these were is unknown, the records misplaced, as they so often are in cases of Intersex. They could easily have been tumours of course, so we can't say with certainty whether the scar is a hysterectomy scar or not. Which is why I don't mention it, I just don't know.

But it appears from what you say that the results would have determined my "real" sex, that sex is not blurred and messy and fuzzy, that there's a bright line dividing the sexes. Because.....?

If it's so well-defined, how come such a situation could come about?

One of the foremost endocrinologists on the planet diagnosed me as a case of "severe androgenisation of a non pregnant woman". Now I admit that in such cases of severe Intersex, "woman" and "man" become mere approximations. But you would substitute a diagnosis by yourself, based on the theological writings of a psychologist.

I think I prefer his opinion over yours.

Zoe Brain said...

See also

Somatic Sex Reprogramming of Adult Ovaries to Testes by FOXL2 Ablation by Uhlenhaut et al, Cell, Volume 139, Issue 6, 1130-1142, 11 December 2009:

In mammals, the transcription factor SRY, encoded by the Y chromosome, is normally responsible for triggering the indifferent gonads to develop as testes rather than ovaries. However, testis differentiation can occur in its absence. Here we demonstrate in the mouse that a single factor, the forkhead transcriptional regulator FOXL2, is required to prevent transdifferentiation of an adult ovary to a testis. Inducible deletion of Foxl2 in adult ovarian follicles leads to immediate upregulation of testis-specific genes including the critical SRY target gene Sox9. Concordantly, reprogramming of granulosa and theca cell lineages into Sertoli-like and Leydig-like cell lineages occurs with testosterone levels comparable to those of normal XY male littermates. Our results show that maintenance of the ovarian phenotype is an active process throughout life. They might also have important medical implications for the understanding and treatment of some disorders of sexual development in children and premature menopause in women

You might also look at the role of the SOX9 gene.

The researchers anticipate that temporarily suppressing SOX9 in males would have the opposite effect. Turning it off would automatically trigger the ovary development gene to come on, leading to cells in the testes turning into follicles and ceasing the production of testosterone.

One hypothesis that would fit the facts in my own case would be a suppression of SOX9 and activation of FOXL2 - and the reverse - happening over the course of my lifetime. But how this could happen is unclear. Certainly something happened in 2005 to cause my testes to feminise. But there were so many other anomalies regarding cholesterol metabolism, some life-threatening, that this was rather lost in the shuffle.

Anonymous said...

AE Brain, Chromosomes DO determine sex. But what are chromosomes made of? They are made of genes which are made of DNA. There is no switching goalposts here. Obviously the SRY pathway was working in you and you were a fertile male and now an infertile male. In the report I did not say that "an XY woman actually had XX ovaries". I said "Her ovaries had XX chromosomes." That is not a fabrication. Her ovaries did have XX chromosomes in addition to XY XO and XXY. Yes the XXers were in the minority, but she was genetically mixed.-remember the title of the article
fertility in a woman "PREDOMINANTLY XY. Obviously in her there wasn't an SRY active pathway-hers was not working. You can name any gene along the way, but if her SRY pathway was not working. If it did, she would not have eggs. She would not have had eggs. Your SRY pathway was working. You had sperm. If there are pregnancies in people with testes, then it is either egg donation or they are hermaphrodite and produce eggs. But if they are hermaphrodite and produce eggs and carry a pregnancy the organs don't even line up to impregnate also. There is no recorded instance of someone who has fertilized AND also been fertilized. If a Petra Henderson that you mentioned self fertilized herself where is the child? We are not talking about plant kingdom here ya know. Self-pollination occurs in plants, but the counterpart doesn't happen in human. One has a true sex and it is either male or female. This is set down at conception. If a part of the Y like the SRY is not there or if the pathway is not working you can have a female. But again this is set at conception. Your Y chromosome obviously worked with its sry pathway and you had fertile testes and sperm-a male.

Anonymous said...

AE Brain,
comparing mice to humans is like apples and oranges. The postnatal life of mice does not correpond to that of human. XO mice are almost always fertile. XO human are rarely fertile. If you give androgens to a prenatal or early postnatal monkey you will sterilize her for good. That don't happen in human. Just 'cause Crabb is religious, don't you think that Crabb follows other religious ones like Dr. Neil B Whitehead and Dr. Jeffrey Satinover? There is an unimpeachable divide between the two sexes.

Lloyd Flack said...

Very well, what sex do you claim someone with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is? What sex should they have on their passport and why?

Zimbel said...


You might want to look at Oogenesis again. I think you're mis-understanding the process of Meiosis.

In an XXY female, I'd expect most of the following Ovum to survive for a significant period of time:


Y would be created, but it's unlikely to live for long enough.

If you believe that all sex is chromosomal, I submit, once again, that there must be around 10 sexes.

However, it seems like you don't believe this; in one of your arguments, you place quotation marks around a Y chromosome; that indicates that you understand that sex is dependent on genes.

If you understand that genes are the basis for sex, then the problem is more that your understanding of early embryonic and fetal development is dated or weak. I'd suggest that you read a number of the papers marked as "reference" at this site, or a decent modern physiology text that focuses on early development. Genes are essentially blueprints for protein production; there are numerous errors that can occur in that process. Simply put, if genes are not expressed at the normal time, or something atypical happens, an atypical result happens. Such as organs that are more typical for different sexes to be present in the same person. Or an organ that has certain features typical of different sexes apparent in the same organ.

Zoe Brain said...

"Ironically long after winning her new Gender based on her being a transsexual, she was found to also be intersexed. Not only were additional internal female organs discovered during emergency surgery, but the massive intra-abdominal tumour was in fact mostly placenta caused by a previous disastrous hernia operation....

It appears her ovaries became active after the failure and removal of the male gonads as part of the Sex reassignment surgery and today they make enough normal female hormones to eliminate any need for external hormones/medication."

She had a partially absorbed foetus in her abdomen, self-fertilised as the result of multiple fistulae left by previous bungled surgery.

She had fathered a son somewhat before then.

Please look up "foetal teratoma".

As I said, if there's such a bright, easily discernible line dictating "real" sex, how come there's so much biological messiness? Manufacturing a sharp dividing line between male and female is like trying to establish one between people who are large and small, or with blue eyes vs brown. Or who are "black" or "white". Or should I say "really" black or "really" white.

Now onto SrY...
A 34-year-old woman presented with testicular feminization and a 47,XXY karyotype. Cytogenetic analysis and fluorescence in situ hybridization suggested that the Y chromosome had a normal structure; the polymerase chain reaction was positive for SRY. CONCLUSION: This is the third reported case of 47,XXY with a female phenotype in spite of the presence of a Y chromosome and the normal SRY. This suggests that the phenotypic sex in these patients might be due to the involvement of other sex-determining genes.

47,XXY female with testicular feminization and positive SRY: a case report. Saavedra-Castillo et al Reprod Med. 2005 Feb;50(2):138-40.

Genes such as DHH for example, or SF1.

CONCLUSION: This case illustrates that normal ovarian development is possible in the presence of Y chromosome in ovarian follicles and despite the expression of SRY in ovarian tissue.
-- Normal female phenotype and ovarian development despite the ovarian expression of the sex-determining region of Y chromosome (SRY) in a 46,XX/69,XXY diploid/triploid mosaic child conceived after in vitro fertilization-intracytoplasmic sperm injection. Oktem et al.
J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Mar;92(3):1008-14.

We've dealt with the magical power of the Y chromosome. Now so much for the universal masculinisation of active SrY.

I'll see if I can find the recent report about the apparently normal baby girl born about a year ago with XY chromosomes and SrY neither translocated nor deactivated.

Such cases are rare of course. Now please look up the Italiano paper, as it has records of XX males who were biological fathers. There, a translocated SrY gene *was* responsible.

Genes obviously play a predominant role in forming the somatype. But the existence of various congenital anomalies in genetically usual infants should clue you in that they're not the whole story. Furthermore, genes may be activated or deactivated after birth.

Zoe Brain said...

Oops - looks like translocated SrY isn't always required for XX male sperm production.

At the time of explorative laparotomy, the ovary and female internal genitalia on the right side were removed. Biopsy of the left scrotal gonad showed Sertoli cells only. Clinically, true hermaphroditism was established.

The patient was referred again when he was 44 years old. Because of increasing hardness and pain in the left epididymis and post inflammation changes observed by ultrasound, bacteriological analysis of semen was performed. Unexpectedly, spermatozoa were found.

Not that long ago, I attended the Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference in Portland, Oregon. THE most fascinating workshop was on a peripheral subject, artificial life. We have a far greater understanding of what happens inside a cell than I thought. It turns out that there are digital computations performed inside using the equivalents of NAND and other gates, implemented in proteins and RNA. We have even inserted artificial genes in cells that perform bandpass filtration, and are well on our way to making complete cells entirely from manufactured parts, rather than re-programming natural ones with artificial DNA.

Part of this was the invention of a programming language rich enough to express all the things that happen, yet sparse enough not to be able to express things that don't. These artificial cells won't be hand-assembled: they'll be manufactured by compilers which we already have implemented (mostly).

I expect to learn more next week, where I'll be presenting a paper to the Artificial Life conference in Odense, Denmark.

Things are more complicated than you think: but it turns out the complexity is an emergent property of remarkably simple components - ones whose functions are well understood, and exactly equivalent to structures in digital machinery.

Anonymous said...

Zimbel, AE Brain had a normal sry pathway. that = male. I am aware that there can be things that impair a normal XY state with its usual sry gene activated. In the absence of a normal XY activated SRY pathway, you don't get a testis. you get ovarian. Thus an XY can be a female if the sry directed pathway is disturbed. But
there are no XY or Y eggs That doesn't happen. They are barren unless they get an embryo donation or unless they have some XX cells like the example AE Brain mentioned. remember "predominantly" XY.

Anonymous said...

AE Brain, A teratoma is a tumour. It is not a person although it has some tissues in it. The case of
Petra Henderson that you mentioned is not a self fertilization. This can't happen in humans. What you described is merely a parthenote.
And there is only one virgin birth that has occured. Thte XXY phenotypic female you mentioned with testicular feminization is just that-they don't have ovaries -they only have tests and their appearance is female. The one with 69 chromosomes in there and XY. Sure you can have SRY in the follicles and in the ovary, even ones with gonadal dygenesis.
But you don't have XX sperm or XY eggs. You DONT have eggs with a Y chromosome or an SRY gene in these eggs. That is a MALE sperm situation.

Lloyd Flack said...

Whatever your name is,
Just what is your criterion for deciding what sex an individual belongs to? The presence of the SRY gene will not do since it is only present in therians (marsupials and placentals. What is your criterion in other organisms?

Besides, it is not the sole determiner of sex. In a 46XX woman there is usually active feminization happening not just an absence of the SRY gene. The very existence of a 45X sydrome is a give away on that.

So are you assigning sex on the basis or chromosomes , on genes, on the basis of activated genetic pathways or on the basis of the final phenotype? What if the phenotype is the result of environmental effects? If pathways how much of the genetic pathway has to be active?

And you haven't answered my question about what sex should be on the passport of someone eith CAIS.

You appear to be trying to fit a messy reality into clear categories. Why? What is wrong with admitting that things aren't allways clear cut?

Carolyn Ann said...

Anonymous: Her name is Zoe. She goes by her name - you hide behind "anonymous". Why should anyone take you seriously?

Occurred has two r's.

And: that virgin birth allegedly happened. There's no actual, definitive, proof. Belief is not proof. Belief such as that is, as far as I am concerned, little different from mass-delusion. (Yeah, yeah - I'm going to hell. With your bigotry, I'll meet you down there. We can continue this discussion then, if you wish?)

*Carolyn Ann* <-My real name. Unlike you, I don't hide behind a mask. I'm not a coward, and neither is Zoe. You are.

(Zoe is not responsible for the irritation, nor the words or sentiment expressed in this comment. Carolyn Ann Grant is.)

Anonymous said...

Lloyd, I am talking about humans. We are used to terming a person with CAIS as a female but their true sex is male. Like it says here they are called brothers and they are male pseudohermaphrodites.

they got functional XY chromosomes and a functional sry pathway-meaning the sry gene and its pathway genes are not broken. thus the male dermining pathway is not mutated. it has also been said that ivf can maybe mature the immature sperm in a dish for fertilization. Dr. Neil E Whitehead has written that they should not be able to marry men.

I am restating what a large number of people infuenced by Dr. Crabb and Dr. Whitehead state about a either or sex. It is an alternative to what some people think that AE Brain provides some wrong information on a few sites.

Anonymous said...

Lloyd wrote "In a 46XX woman there is usually active feminization happening not just an absence of the SRY gene. The very existence of a 45X sydrome is a give away on that."

I've already granted that a 45X person is a woman and even a XY gonadal dysgenesis person with a
mutated sry pathway is. The latter are barren unless for examples given embryo donation or they have some XX cells that give them eggs. They are not fertile female since the Y SRY pathway don't go through an egg.

Zoe Brain said...

Neil Whitehead.. the Committed Christian who wrote:
"Most transsexuals believe that their longing for sex-change is biologically determined. However there is no real evidence for a biological basis for transsexuality in terms of measurable differences in genes, brain microstructure or physiology."

Now being fair, he's not actually quoted any work on the subject since 1996, and most of the evidence has come in since then. But he ignores contrary evidence as inconsistent with his religious belief.

Anne O'Namus - you make some interesting claims, could you please give some references to research that shows
"But you don't have XX sperm or XY eggs. You DONT have eggs with a Y chromosome or an SRY gene in these eggs"

Especially since we've already shown that either an XY or XXY egg exists (or as you put it, an XX(Y)). And that XX sperm exists, or at least, sperm exists from a person with XX chromosomes and no detectable Y chromosome or SrY complex. Not even 0.06% Y, but I have to say the tests probably wouldn't have detected so small a proportion. It may be possible that everyone on the planet has at least some 45X and 46XX cells. Certainly all women carrying male children have 46XY cells in their blood, and for at least a month after giving birth or miscarrying.

Petra Henderson that you mentioned is not a self fertilization. This can't happen in humans. What you described is merely a parthenote.
The pathology report said auto-fertilisation, but how you'd distinguish that from parthenogenesis is something I'm not certain of. I believe the X chromosome was from one cell line, the Y another, but the e-mailed path report I got from her didn't include that data. I'm treading very close to revealing confidential medical data anyway. I don't mind that when it's my own, but not someone else's.

Here's a quote from "Autoreproduction in Hermaphrodites by Joseph D.Schulman and Richard J.Sherins Hum Reprod. 1995 Mar;10(3):500-1.

That shows some of the difficulties in such cases:

Regardless of the genetic cause of a particular case of
hermaphroditism, meiosis in such individuals would be
expected to produce a wide variety of genetically different
gametes; hence any offspring resulting from autoreplication
either of a mosaic or a chimaera through gamete formation
and gamete fusion would be a genetically distinct as well as
potentially normal child.
Thus, it can be speculated that autoreplication by certain
human hermaphrodites is not biologically impossible.

Petra's case appears to be the proof of that, I'll see what papers got written about it.

Now I'm sure that Crabb's and Whutehead's views, based on religious belief rather than research, are popular with a large segment of the community. That segment also contains a large proportion of people who believe that hail and snow are stored in containers in the sky, and the "windows of heaven" open to let in the "waters above" when it rains.

Such notions are also based on religious belief rather than experimental results too. But so what? The question should be, are they true? What evidence is there for and against? Just because a belief is based on religion doesn't automatically make it superstitious nonsense. Let's look at the evidence.

Over to you, Anne.

Zoe Brain said...

Anne - please permit me to doubt whether Dr Crabb or Dr Whitehead have ever considered the cases I have mentioned in formulating their conclusions. Perhaps you should ask them.

And since we don't know what genes were in the "anomalous tissue" that was removed from me at age 20, and that the only karyotype test I've had gave exactly the same results as for the XXY mother's... I don't see that even using your own eccentric definitions (for you seem to change them with each comment) that you can possibly determine which sex I "really" am. We just don't have the data you'd need.

It appears - and feel free to correct me if I'm wrong - that you've started with a pre-determined conclusion, and are desperately trying to defend that position.

I'd be fascinated to hear the biological details of the "And there is only one virgin birth that has occured". In which medical literature is this described? I've not found any such cases which have come to term.

Meanwhile, some more light reading:
AMH and AMH receptor defects in persistent Müllerian duct syndrome by Josso et al, Human Reproduction Update, Volume 11, Number 4, July 2005 , pp. 351-356(6)

True hermaphroditism with oogenesis and spermatogenesis. Shannon & Nikolaides Aust N Z J Obstet Gynaecol. 1973 Aug;13(3):184-7.

I think that's the first known confirmed case of a patient producing both sperm and ova.

Ovulation in a cytogenetically proved phenotypically male fertile hermaphrodite. by Parvin Br J Surg. 1982 May;69(5):279-80.

I'll quote:
"An unusual case of true hermaphroditism is reported. The patient was a 32-year-old phenotypically male true hermaphrodite. Histology of his removed ovary suggested that ovulation had, at some time, occurred. He had also fathered a child and this is believed to be the first case of a cytogenetically proved true hermaphrodite who is fertile as a male."

Spontaneous ovulation in a true hermaphrodite with normal male phenotype and a rare 46,XX/47,XXY Klinefelter's mosaic karyotype. by Kanaka-Gantenbein et al Horm Res. 2007;68(3):139-44. Epub 2007 Mar 26.
"CONCLUSION: The importance of full histological, cytogenetic and molecular investigation and of interdisciplinary approach in every single patient with sex differentiation disorders is highlighted by this rare case of spontaneous ovulation in a true hermaphrodite with normal male external genitalia and Klinefelter mosaicism."

Ovarian Sertoli-Leydig cell tumor: a SRY gene-independent pathway of pseudomale gonadal differentiation. Hittmair et al Hum Pathol. 1997 Oct;28(10):1206-10.

"Sertoli-Leydig cell tumors (SLCT) are rare sex-cord stromal tumors of the ovary composed of undifferentiated gonadal stromal cells, Leydig cells (LC), and Sertoli cells (SC), with the latter forming structures resembling fetal testicular tubules."

Cases of individuals with both a set of functional testes and functional ovaries were described as far back as 1871.
See "Anaesthesia, hospitalism, hermaphroditism, and a proposal to stamp out small-pox and other contagious diseases"
Volume 2 of Works of Sir James Y, Simpson, Publ. Adam and Charles Black, 1871

Anonymous said...

You have not shown that an XY or XXY eggs exists. The SRY does not go through the egg. The person in fact was only XX"Y" meaning they did not have the SRY complex-it was deleted. Upon further reading of the paper I see it also says that not only was the SRY deleted but that a translocation of extra X material went onto the Y chromosome!-something you also didn't note. You have not showed even 1 example of sperm coming from an XX individual because that don't happen-of course unless the person also has XY or XXY (LOL) and is a chimera. Women who carry male children have XY cells in their blood...what does that mean?
It don't mean these cells are functional or can become eggs....Again with Petra assuming she didn't have IVF this "autofertilization" is most definitely a parthenote which in humans won't become a person. The XY vs. XX sex binary is so fundamental. Dr. Albert Mohler deals with this also in his stuff on stem cells. It is currently not even possible to envision how to use technology to get an XY cell to become an egg or a XX cell to become a sperm in the lab-Consider the following REFERENCE by Debrah JH Mathews, PJ Donovan, J Harris, R Lovell-Badge and others July 2009
in Cell Stem Cell Forum Vol. 5 page 12 "There has been discussion...of the possibility of using PSC-derived gametes in same-sex reproduction....though headline grabbing, faces significant if not insurmountable scientific barriers. In brief, due to the complexity of the human egg and because it must contain all the resources necessary to develop into an embryo, it will be very difficult to derive eggs that could be used for reproduction from XY (chromosomally male) cells, especially eggs able to give chromosomally normal offspring. The converse, deriving competent sperm from XX (chromosomally female) cells, faces so many scientific challenges-in particular the fact that at least some of the genes critical for sperm production are located on the Y chromosome-that it is difficult to envision how it would be possible..."

Anonymous said...

Another paper on Ovaries and Female Phenotype in a Girl with 46,XY Karyotype and Mutations in the Cbx2 Gene. AM J HUM GENET May 15, 2009 page 5
"Given the young age of our patient, even the high FSH levels cannot reflect accurately the potential for pubertal function and fertility. If the similarity between mouse and human phenotype remains throughout life, unexplained sterility might me a sign of CBX2 abnormalities in the human population"

It seems that in mice and humans that a SRY gene (entire Y chromosome) does not go along with an egg.

M Italiano said...

Dear Anonymous, Gosh. OK. Even so-called chromosomal sex sex is not determined at conception. An XY zygote can undergo mitotic non-disjunctions and anaphase lag giving rise to an XX embryo. Surprised? Don't be.
There is more.

(Even XY individuals can be born from humans who can autofertilize. The plant vs. human analogy doesn't exist. The organs don't need to line up as you state, although an embryo can have both sets of fully functioning reproductive

(Now let's take a look at that SRY gene and its functioing pathway going through an egg). Most XX true hermaphrodites who have kids
have male kids. Yes. what a surprise. You know what that means? OK. it means that since they are getting fertilized by a normal X from the male and an X
from the true hermaphrodite who has the SRY gene and its pathway going through an egg. PS-I don't like to use hermaphrodite but am using the word here for your clarification)

(bone marrow blod cells can produce eggs in adult animals. How do you know they ca't in humans)?

(fetal cels including XY cells can become functional thryoid tissue in an pregnant woman as well as other tissues).

The XYd1 alteration in mice produces fertile female mice in the presence of an intact SRY gene. he SRY gene goes through the egg in mice. (Voila)

OK now XO Turner's can be fertile females. Thus a second X or Y is not needed. Zoe provided an example of MOST
(as you say) of the Y going through the egg in humans. I provided same for the SRY system in humans. Thus 2 X chromosomes is not needed and the SRY gene and its pathway can be transmitted via an egg. OK lecture over. Byeeeeeeee

M Italiano, MBBS (AM)

Lloyd Flack said...

What is your criterion for assigning sex? If it is as it seems to be the presence of an active SRY initiated gene cascade how much damage to that cascade does there have to be be before you will regard it as inactive? What is the justification for your criterion?

And do you believe that what we treat a person as should be determined by your criterion when it conflicts with the phenotype? If so why? Should we use such a criterion when we have no way of knowing it and even the person concerned does not know themself?

As an example if it is discovered that someone has CAIS should their passport be changed to male? Should their marriage be regarded as homosexual and possibly invalid? If you disapprove of homosexuality who should they have sexual relationships with or should they abstain from such relationships? Your own position please, not simply quotations of another's position.

Anonymous said...

Brain and Italiano are coming up with way too many exceptions and the exceptions are very peculiar ones. What are their credentials and is Italiano also allegedly intersex?

Zoe Brain said...

THREAD DERAILMENT ALERT!!! Incipient Ad Hominem Argumentation Detected!

Anonymous - what's your real name? Because if you don't give that, you have no business asking others about their medical history.

That they give references to the papers dealing with their evidence is adequate - and necessary. You in general have not (with a few honourable exceptions).

You've dodged every question you've been asked. Please do some answering yourself, with references. I don't care whether you're a high-school dropout or an emeritus professor of biology, as long as you state the evidence for your conclusions. The facts speak for themselves, and I have no use for "argument by authority".

Yes, there are way too many exceptions for any simplistic theologically based beliefs to account for. We faced the same problem with heliocentric astronomical models, having to add epicycles upon epicycles to conform with the theologically required "perfect circles" of orbits.

Now please answer the questions that have been asked of you. Attempted thread derailment of this kind does no-one any good. We're trying to determine what a complex reality is, not engage in some intellectual urination contest.

And a reminder - please add a monicker, so we know which Anonymous we're talking too. If you can't think of one, Anne O'Namus, Susan De Nimme, or Norman Dennis Ploom are recommended.

Kathrin said...

Just to follow up -

Just took a number of flights here in the US.

Gender and birth date are not printed on the boarding pass/ticket.

As such, it is _impossible_ for the TSA agents to know what was put at ticketing.

As such, you have no need to worry - if the computer doesn't like you, you get slightly higher levels of screening (pat down and hand search of bags).

The computers at the customs entry point are a little different. If you have been in the US before as the opposite sex, it will show it.

If they ask, be honest. If they look confused after scanning your passport, it may be procedurally easiest to volunteer.

In either case, there should be no issues.

Zoe Brain said...

Last time I was in the USA was last month. I had no problems.

I'm also aware of the data encoded on the chip on my Australian passport. It includes previous names etc. Any immigration section anywhere in the world which has the capability to read the chip has this data displayed. Not all do.

Immigration isn't my concern.

anonymous andy said...

Dear Brain, You are being kind of harsh. I'd like to submit this to Drs. Crabb, Mohler, Whitehead and
Satinover. I'm just the messenger.
But you and Italiano come up with some quite rare exceptions in all of this. OK about you and Italiano med history your comment is reasonable. But to submit this to the 4 we should know what credentials you people have.
The references both of you provided
are not common. Self fertilizable humans, cells in the blood that may become eggs, XY animals who are fertile with their SRY and even reports of true hermaphrodites humans who send their SRY complex through their eggs. This defies all kinds of traditional rules.
Rocket scientists are supposed to be smart, but seriously what is your field?
And Italino is a bachelor of medicine and surgery of some sort?
It seems more on topic to ask how many intersexes he treats than about
I don't know what epicycles are and to me that seems off topic.
But if the SRY gene complex now is not a true sex indicator, what do we tell Crabb, Whitehead, Satinover and Albert Mohler what is the true sex indicator? Heck if a person is self fertilizable then they have two true sexes both a female and a male. But what about a person who doesn't have two true sexes, what is their one true sex?

Lloyd Flack said...

There isn't a single defining true sex indicator. There are a whole horde of indicators. And these indicators take a range of values but for most people will be in one of two ranges, There might be a very large overlap between these ranges as there is in height. There might be few in the overlap ranges as there will be for the sizes of most parts of the genitalia. Remember that both sexes have all the same structures but developed differently e. g the glans penis and the clitoris are the same structure and there is a small blind vagina analogue in men.

And a person might have characteristics within the male range in one characteristic but within the female range in others and not fit into either group on still others. Male and female are populations and biological populations have fuzzy boundaries. For most purposes you so not impose an a priori classification rule but rather you you look at the populations and assign a best fit on multiple criteria,

With a classification into sexes, for social purposes, for interacting with people we should not look at some defining essence but at what classification is useful. Most people will clearly fall into one of two clusters. Some will not fit as well but it is still a good idea to treat them as if they were more clearly within a cluster and if need be help the make themselves a better fit. And some don't really fit well at all into either cluster and we have to accept them as the outliers that they are.

Anonymous Andy said...

Lloyd, I've granted that someone can be self fertilizable and therefore of two true sexes. But I have trouble believing for others there isn't a true sex. Is not the triu sex a female for a person who can only produce eggs and have say 3 kids just because she may have some factial hair? Is her true sex not female because she may have small breasts? But if she is not fertile as a female then OK but we get into tricky territory. Since the sry complex go through an egg, we get tricky. So if we leave out sry genes and sexchromosomes then the gonads are primary and genitals and hormones are secondary indicators. So if
someone has testicles and on the outside they have female appearance
it would seem their true sex is male. Getting to your other question, it would seem tough for those who don't agree in same sex marriage to permit someone with testicular feminization and who has testes to marry a normal male with testes. I think I mentioned there is some talk of using the testes and getting sperm to masture-two people who only have sperm cells are true sex males. That is what I was saying that Dr. Whitehead has declared them as male pseudohermaphrodites-meaning they are true sex males but with female outside appearance characteristics. Seems if they want to do sex changes and also this monkeying around stuff like ivf then they could also develop a procedure so that someone is not resistant to androgens and the ones with testicular feminization could be changed with improved technology to be just regular guys.
BRain has already put on an article abou someone with complete
case who has a masculine gender.

Zoe Brain said...

Hi Andy

The problem of fitting everyone into a strict binary-sex system are the same as the ones faced by the old Race Classification Board in Zuid Afrika. There, there was a theological basis for dividing Hamitic from partly Hamitic people, and those from the rest. And they tried to make biology co-operate in that. It didn't work out too well...

Between the years of 1950 and 1966 there were 267,541 individuals who could not be adequately categorized by the apartheid system of racial categorization. And they tried harder than any group, before or since, to coerce a messy, complicated reality into conforming with their ideologically and theologically based ideas on race. Just as many today try to do the same for their ideologically and theologically based ideas on sex.

You might want to look at this post on the subject.

As regards qualifications - I've got nothing formal on the subject. I really should get some I suppose, but I value Mickey Diamond's high opinion of my work rather more than some letters after my name.

My degrees are a Baccalaureate in Pure Mathematics and Computer Science, a Masters (with distinction) in Information Technology, a few post-grad certificates in Science Communication etc etc, and I'm currently working on my PhD on the use of Meta-Genetic Algorithms. Whether it will end up as a doctorate in Computer Science, Software Engineering, or Computational Chemistry is still undetermined, it's multi-disciplinary. Specialisation, as R.A.Heinlein said, is for insects.

I've been called on by professors of medicine and psychology here at the ANU to give talks on this issue. I've also been called on to give non-technical talks to general audiences on the subject.

Six years ago, before my peculiar change, I knew almost nothing. I've had to research the area, and even things like the CCR25a and Milano mutations, just for the health of my son - and my own of course.

M.Italiano has an MBBS, and is a longtime Scientific Advisor to OII - Organisation Intersex International. He knows vastly more about the biology than I do. That wouldn't be hard, it's only in this one very specialised and abstruse area that I have any significant knowledge.

I recommend that in addition to the genetics, you have a look a some of the articles I've recently blogged about. There's one on Dr V.Drantz's work that will be published soon, and you should go read the article by American Trans Man too. Dr Ecker's powerpoint presentation on neuro-anatomy is also good - you'll find it via this post, along with a long reading list.

I have a great deal of respect for Dr Jeffrey Satinover, by the way, and anyone interested in the science of cognition - how our brains work - should be familiar with his works on the subject. His works on the Kabbalah etc, not so much. But as I said, specialisation is for insects, and I don't consider his lack of formal qualifications in areas outside psychiatry and physics to be at all significant. He's a polymath.

Lloyd Flack said...


In Biology you have populations with huge variability and with constantly changing compositions. You cannot for example make a definition of a species by defining its essential characteristics. What you do is look and see if the organisms fall into clusters and see how isolated the clusters are from each other. Biological classifications are frequently revised, fusing of splitting species.

I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a Master of Statistics. I have frequently worked on clustering biological data. And the clusters and classes that I work with are always messy. There are always outliers and usually points that cannot be fitted well int whatever classification or clustering you are creating.

You do violence to reality when you try to force everyone into two clearly defined sexes. Most fit well but there are always exceptions.

The classification that we need for social purposes is not necessarily the same as what we would use for biological explanations. In particular we should place a high importance on neurological characteristics. I am thinking of thins such as the brain's body map and the associated sense of sexual identity and on the different drives and ways that information is handled in the to sexes.

Most people see their sexual identity as a fundamental part of who they are. They would find the idea of changing this appalling. Transsexuals are trying to make their body match the unalterable neurological sense of identity better. Women with CAIS would rightly find the idea of being turned into a man just wrong on the most fundamental level. What they would like is fertility as a woman. They should not be pushed into doing violence to their nature to satisfy other peoples desire to put everyone into neat categories.

anonymous andy said...

Llyod the CAIS person in the article Brain linked to wouldn't mind living as a man. Most of course would. But the problem is that we can't have two people who have only testicles get married to each other. I even heard it stated that by dressing as a woman they are crossdressing. As for transsexuals there is another problem since what they call a vagina is just a degloved penis basically that is turned inside

anonymous andy said...

Hello Brain, I am surprised you like Satinover since he has written Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth and is pro reparatist. There is an article on the NARTH site in the gender identity disorder section about determining sex using objective criteria.

Zoe Brain said...

"But the problem is that we can't have two people who have only testicles get married to each other."

Why not? Especially if one can give birth to her husband's child, using a donated egg.

I'm glad you said only testes though.

To see the inhumanity that your ideology would lead to in practice, please have a look at this post.

"As for transsexuals there is another problem since what they call a vagina is just a degloved penis basically that is turned inside out."

Er no. Penile Inversion is not the only way of performing genital reconstruction surgery (GRS). For one thing, it requires the presence of a relatively normal penis - something that many who have GRS have never had.

For another thing, there are cytological changes after reconstruction, so after a year, even at the cellular level, the tissue is indistinguishable from standard factory model vaginal. That's regardless of the original donor cell type.

As for my respect for Dr Satinover - I also have even more respect for Sir Isaac Newton. His work on Physics and Mathematics is genius.

His work on Alchemy, trying to turn lead into gold - not so much. As a Theologian, he's at best 3rd rate too.

Dr Satinover is an extremely brilliant man. That doesn't mean to say that all of his notions are, well, consistent with the evidence.

And just because NARTH has a bunch of crackpots and dangerous nutters on its scientific advisory team doesn't mean to say that absolutely everything they publish is complete rubbish. But I suggest you contact Christian Psychologist Warren Throckmorton on that. While he and I disagree on the interpretation of some evidence, I know of no man with a higher degree of personal and intellectual integrity.

Elane S-D. said...


From my prior experiences in travelling to the States (>30 yr, now), and even in light of recent increases in the level of information required, I doubt that you will have significant problems.

Which, of course, is not the same as ruling trouble out altogether, but it may be fairly said that CBP/TSA/DHS and all the other TLA pooper-troopers have much more alluring targets than you. Or me, for that matter.

Elane Imgoven
happily heteronymous for the very best of workplace reasons. ^_^