Sunday, 18 May 2008

The Three Models of Transsexuality

Over at Bilerico by Mercedes Allen, one of the writers on the subject I most admire. Worth a read, and the comments are as illuminating as the original post. Some even know what they're talking about.

And a post over at Bad Science:
What Sex are you? How would you react if someone told you you were wrong?

This is a post about sex and gender. It briefly describes some of the science, some of the junk science, and some of the exaggerations and occasional falsifications on all sides.

How do you define what is a man, and what is a woman? It would be useful if your definition didn't involve apparent absurdities like biological mothers being classed as men, and biological fathers being classed as women, but that's no insuperable barrier. It would also be useful if your definition included everyone (so everyone is either M or F, not neither), and no-one is both (so they're either M or F, not both). It is desirable that someone who was once M remains M, and someone who was once F remains F, but again, this is just a desirable property, not set in stone.

Whatever your definition, and whether it meets all or none of those properties, it's essential that it applies to everyone. No saying "Oh, but they're a tiny minority, we'll ignore them". The people concerned will object at this de-humanisation. It's also essential that your definition be humane, so extermination, exile, torture, or compulsory surgery to make people fit the definition are also right out.

It's my contention that no such definition with all the desirable properties above exists.

This post is too long, so I'll just finish up with some reading material that it's essential to look at before you can discuss this from an informed standpoint.
But you'll have to read the whole thing to see the references. Much has already appeared on this blog, but not the bit about Exorcism for example.


Anonymous said...

*smiles* Are we searching for a "Grand Unified Gender Theory" now? Would you prefer replies here or there?

Zoe Brain said...

Either - though I think the Bilerico site has a larger readership. Best would be a post there, and a hyperlink to it here.

Most interestingly, I found some data on Dr Bailey (yes THAT Bailey)'s use of fMRI to measure sexual orientation, over at Warren Throckmorton's. This could so very easily be extended to gender identity issues!