Thursday, 5 June 2008

Today's Battle

Over at the Nashua Telegraph. It's on what causes Transphobia.
Why are they so anti-Trans? It's a matter of pardonable ignorance.

In the days when 95% or more of the population was in agriculture, it was impossible not to know that some animals were neither normally male nor normally female. "Intersex" conditions were obviously real, tangible things. Some had ambiguous genitalia, some were hormonally mixed up "freemartins" with cross-gendered behaviour, it was accepted by everyone that while most animals were wholly male or wholly female, some were not.

When we became "civilised", meaning "living in cities" and away from daily contact with livestock, such things were forgotten. And at school, we learnt in Bible classes that men were men, and women were women, as God created them. Later, as science progressed, that 46xy was male, 46xx was female, and that's all there was to it, nice, neat, and simple.

We weren't taught that some animals, and some people, were 47xxy, or 46xx/46xy mosaics, or had any of a number of other Intersex conditions. Such things were embarrassments, to be concealed, "family secrets", and more often as not, either victims of infanticide, or in later days, surgical "correction".

We as a society forgot about Intersex conditions, so we never realised that people and animals could be born with Intersexed brains, the cliched "woman trapped in a man's body" or the reverse.

Now there are a lot of socialogical snake-oil salesman out there, all peddling their different brands of fashionable nonsense. How can people be blamed for seeing "transsexuality" as just another case, more of the same, if they weren't taught about the biology at school?

There's also the element of homophobia, and religious belief that not only is homosexuality (or indeed, any form of sexuality to some) morally wrong, but the reasonable but utterly mistaken belief that all gays really want to be women, and all lesbians really want to be men. So not only were transsexual people really gays, they were dishonestly attempting to circumvent the Good and Proper ordering of society by perpetrating a grand deception on unsuspecting people. Rather than being merely unfortunate Freaks (as one commentator put it), they were Perverts who were undermining the whole of society by their trickery and perversion.

It was ignorance, married with a healthy scepticism of something that went against "common sense", and genuine concern for the good of one's community and the welfare of one's children, that cause transphobia.

And that is why the Nashua Telegraph's stories on the subject are so important. Some, like Mr Winslow, still remain sceptical. Some, like TH, are so uncomfortable with the whole issue that they don't want to think about it - except when it comes to legislation that might give these people some human rights, like the right to marry, or adopt. Then they think about it all right, and oppose any such "nonsense", as it is outside their own experience.

Now a disclaimer: I'm Intersexed, with a Transsexual life history. You see, a few Intersex conditions cause a natural change from looking like one sex, to looking like the other. Usually Female to Male, the reverse is really rare. But such people, if they try to fit in to societal norms, transition at some time in their lives. For some it's a nightmare, the old body shape matched their brains, and they get surgery to stop the natural change. For others, like me, it is a relief from decades of discomfort, a feeling of wrongness, that the whole situation is horribly perverse.

People like TH and Jeffrey Winslow cannot, or will not, comprehend that, and won't believe that something like that could happen. Show them the evidence, that conditions like 5ARD or 17BHDD exist, and they still won't believe it. That's because it would mean shattering their whole world view.

Some people will continue to take refuge in their comfortable ignorance, for this whole thing is embarrassing. Hopefully most will at least listen to the medics, the biologists, the scientists, and not least the stories of those with Transsexuality or other Intersex conditions.

We can but try.


Nicky said...

That means for you that you can no longer call yourself intersex because if you say your intersex with history of transsexual. It means that you are not intersex or can be called intersex anymore because you have a history of transition and being a transsexual.

That's why any intersex that dose transition can no longer be called intersex and will have to lose that name and identity because they transition and that the intersex label dose not apply to them anymore. See the intersex label and naming is for those who have a genetic medical condition and don't transition at all. They stay intersex and stay where they are for what ever reason. Those who are intersex and do transition do lose that label and identity. They then pick up the transgender label and identity and are never allowed to pick up the intersex label, all because they transitioned.

Anonymous said...

I see you are still in deep denial Nick.

Zoe Brain said...

Nick, so those who are mildly intersexed with 5ARD and go from somewhat feminised to less feminised, or somewhat maculinised to more masculinised, are IS. But those who are severely Intersexed with 5ARD, and go from feminised to masculinised, are not. In fact, the more IS they are, the less they are.

OK, if you say so, but that's not the definition anyone else uses.

Nicky said...

See, intersex people who transition, do not have the right to be called intersex anymore. You can not say your intersex when you become a transgender because you have to be one or the other. You can't have it both ways because it's psychologically, physiologically and emotionally impossible.

Even as far back in the 1980's, any intersex that transitioned was in effect no longer an intersex and was called a transsexual and that rule still holds true to this day. That's the rule I use and that's my philosophy.

Moreover, the prefix trans- infers a “moving across” and although a few people with intersex conditions may choose to change their gender role, the vast majority never “go” anywhere in terms of their sex or their gender, but are happy to stay in the status in which they grew up.

My philosophy is that people who are born intersex and transition, are no longer allowed to be called intersex anymore. I also object anyone saying that taking HRT of any kind imply's that you are transitioning to something. When the majority of intersex don't transition at all. They just take HRT to maintain the hormonal balance in their system, much like diabetics replacing something that their bodies can't produce on their own.

Also, I am not in any deep denial because i base what i know about intersex on proven facts, proven theory and proven research that has been solidly tested and duplicated by other researchers and scientist.

Anonymous said...

Nick, you're entitled to your opinion, but please recognize that your opinion may be mistaken. Zoe is not just cute, she also has an impressive IQ, is a careful researcher, has personal experience and can (and does) cite a list of studies as long as my arm. So...if you're going to disagree with her, please bring specific references.

Nicky said...

That don't impress at all. All that IQ don't mean nothing unless you can put it to good use.

I disagree with her on the grounds that she wants to say shes transgender with history of intersex. You can't claim to be both at the same time because you have to be one or the other. When you transition, you lose that right to be called intersex and you pick up the transgender label. You can't say your both at the same time. That's like double dipping into both labels. You gotta be one or the other.

That's why intersex people back then is far bit easier than it is now. Back then over 25 yrs ago, any intersex that transitioned, lost all the rights to be called intersex and was medically labeled as a transgender by the doctors. That's why back then no intersex kid never transitioned back then. The parents didn't allow it or wanted it.

Just be glad you weren't born intersex in the late 70's and lived through the 1980's.

Anonymous said...

you are in for the long haul if you want to canvas this issue with old transphobic Nick. Nick you are entitled to your views and others are entitled to see they are as hatefull as any other bigot.

Anonymous said...

Nick, methinks thou doest protest too much in your obsession with transgenderism. Zoë does not say she is transgender. Transgenderism is a social construct following puberty/adolescence affecting the expression of male sexuality, e.g. homosexuality, transvestism, fetishism, she-males,drag queens etc.It has NOTHING to do with pre-natal conditions such as Zoë has, you have with Kallmanns, or others have with HBS. A person can have one of the dozens of intersex conditions and still be transgendered in their sexuality. Looking at your own blog page I put it to you that you appear to be in denial of your own transgenderism. Rather than continuing to make yourself look silly on this site may I, as a retired medical person with HBS, prescribe for you (gratis) a protracted period of silence and deep soul-searching?
With best wishes for your success,