Tuesday 6 January 2015

It wasn't always like this....

And standing there as big as life,
And smiling with his eyes,
Joe says, "What they can never kill,
Went on to organise.
-- Joe Hill

Royal College of Psychiatrists – (UK)
16 April 2002

Historical context:
From the 1930s to the 1960s, Trans people were understood to experience a congenital physical condition, and after appropriate clinical intervention, they had full civil liberties in their real sex. Their Birth Certificates could be corrected, they could marry if they wished, and live otherwise ordinary lives. In the late 1960s, however, two events contributed to a massive change in that status. First – and ironically at the point at which gay men were decriminalised in the UK, in 1967 – in the USA, John Money announced that he had solved the dilemma of whether nature or nurture decide our gender.
One of a pair of twin boy babies had accidentally been penectomised during circumcision, had been reassigned as female, never told of his reassignment, and brought up as a girl. Money, a self-styled ‘missionary of sex’ announced that, after long-term follow up, the girl had successfully adjusted to her new role and that it was, therefore, nurture and not nature that decided the gender of people. Incredibly, on the basis of one single case, that view became the dominant one. It was clear by analogy that Transsexualism was not congenital, and that Trans people should respond to nurture if it was persistent enough and firm enough.

Second, in 1970, the case of Corbett v Corbett ‘criminalised’ Trans people by removing civil status recognition from them. The effect of that trial was comparable to the effect of the trials of Oscar Wilde and of Radclyffe Hall: it produced ‘a brilliantly precise image’ of the Trans community, a ‘grafting of a narrow set of cultural signifiers’ onto an ostensibly homogenous body of Trans people. In the public imagination, Trans people would always be Trans women [so that Trans men became invisible] and Trans women would always be, in the judge’s terms, ‘a pastiche of femininity’, a sort of teapot-elegant drag-queen, a kind of figure of fun. Equally seriously, Trans people were no longer allowed to correct their Birth Certificates, could not marry, could not adopt, were sent to the wrong sex prison [where Trans women at least were routinely raped by male inmates and warders alike] and it became the norm for them to be dismissed from employment as soon as their condition was disclosed, whether at diagnosis or later. With further irony, in 1980, as homosexuality was removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Registered Mental Illnesses (DSM), Transsexualism was placed in it, to confirm by medicine this new edict of the law.

The first response of the UK Trans community was to feel crushed, and the second was to organise.

... in 1998, in the USA, Professor Milton Diamond discovered the real outcome of John Money’s iconoclastic research: the child who had been reassigned as a girl had never been happy in the female gender role; he had always experienced his gender as male, despite his female rearing, and female hormone treatment, and as soon as he was able he had reassigned to his male identity. John Money’s findings for his research were revealed as being grossly inaccurate at best, but not before a generation of tertiary specialists had been at least misdirected by someone who, for many of them, had been their mentor and pre-eminent amongst them. From the point of view of Trans people, of course, a generation of patients had been inadequately and inhumanely treated.


Anonymous said...

im surprised no one questioned the person in the media to say if they liked their life as a girl ?

while TV in the last 60's were not the same as they are now, newspapers would have covered the interview.

or asked their parent for their opinion ?


Anonymous said...

tsk tsk on my dear Zoe succumbing to the Predominant Narrative: alas, I don't have the time or energy to rebut all the error that have cropped up in your text?

"Professor Milton Diamond discovered the real outcome of John Money’s iconoclastic research…"

By the way, this does not agree with Milton Diamond's version of it… but you have to pay close attention to what he does not say about the sad case of David Reimer.

- AnneRose

PS: As I suffered deeply through yet another episode of maltext-induced Repetitive Eyeroll Disorder in reading "As Nature Made Him," I concluded with growing horror that Reimer must have been a CAH case — from his abnormal degree of aggression FOR A BOY even before finding that his treating endocrinologist came to hold a similar opinion.

Me, I was hypoandrogenized on top of benefitting from a feminized brain due to a maternal fever suffered around the 24 week of pregnancy.

ain't i awesome (boys suck)

lol and thanks again,
- AnneRose