Friday 27 February 2009

Blessings, Contrasts and Christianity

I get reminded, now and then, of just how much my life has changed since 2005. Not in the ways that you might think though. The whole "change of sex" thing turned my life upside-down of course, as you'd expect. The medical puzzlements as to how things happened, the mechanisms, still remain, and for me, any hormone treatment has to be classed as "experimental". We're in Unknown Territory, Terra Incognita. Yet another blood-test today, tracking what's happening even if we don't fully understand it.

My transformation was not just from male to female - or to be pedantic, female-thought-to-be-a-mildly-intersexed-man to female-known-to-have-been-a-severely-intersexed-woman, but one even more profound. From a first class citizen, secure in her rights, knowing that for all its faults, society was on the whole not too bad, to a pariah, filth, a cancer on the body of society, someone worse than a mere murderer or bank robber. Someone who looked unexceptional, but who, if their medical history was known to them, many tens of thousands of people would exterminate on sight, and consider themselves doing the world a favour, and even doing God's work.

Here's what I mean.

From WorldNet Daily :
Sen. Scott Renfroe, R-Greeley, stood before the state Senate Feb. 23 just before it passed SB 88, a bill granting insurance benefits to homosexual partners of state employees. He read scripture to lawmakers – including the bill's openly "gay" sponsors, Democrats Sen. Jennifer Veiga and Rep. Mark Ferrandino.
Renfroe began reading the book of Leviticus to the Senate.
"Ye shall not lie with a man as one lies with a female. It is an abomination," he read. "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act, and they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltness is upon them."
...Renfroe acknowledge that the Bible condemns many sins, and he said the state should not seek to legalize those behaviors.

"Obviously we have sin — we have murder, we have, we have all sorts of sin, we have adultery, and we don't make laws making those legal, and we would never think to make murder legal," he said. "I stand in my belief that this is wrong, and we should not condone it as a government."
Now I'm not Gay, but to such people, Transsexuals, Gays, the Intersexed, they're all the same. Abominations guilty of Abomination. To be compared - and not favourably - with murderers, and commanded by God Almighty to be put to death.

You might remember Greeley. It was the place where a Transsexual woman was bludgeoned with a fire extinguisher in the course of a robbery. And then when, critically wounded she started "gurgling and trying to get up" was hit again and again until she stopped moving, permanently. And where the defence argued that the victim smiling at her attacker was unbearable provocation, because she was transsexual.

It seems that at least one Republican lawmaker would agree, and applaud the act as being in accordance with Divine Will. He didn't speak as a private citizen either, but in the legislature.

He's not alone. From the Colorado Independant:
State Sen. Dave Schultheis (R-Colorado Springs) restated his opposition to a bill requiring HIV tests for pregnant women by claiming that infected babies would cause families to “see the negative consequences of that promiscuity.”
“What I’m hoping is that, yes, that person may have AIDS, have it seriously as a baby and when they grow up, but the mother will begin to feel guilt as a result of that,”
Yes, a Lawmaker actually hopes that babies will get AIDS, in order that the mother will see the "error of her ways". Which is why he's voting against a protocol that prevents that from happening. If he'd do that to babies, what would he encourage against adults?

This attitude is not just in Colorado. In Utah, Senator Chris Buttars (R-West Jordan) said that the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community doesn't want "equality, they want superiority." That "It's the beginning of the end...Oh, it's worse than that. Sure. Sodom and Gomorrah was localized. This is worldwide...". He called the gay-rights movement "probably the greatest threat to America," likened gay activists to Muslim radicals and dubbed same-sex relationships "abominations."

Thy shoot Terrorists don't they? So what should they do with someone even worse?

It's ironic that I'm not even Gay, but no matter. I'll accept the label if it puts me on the other side of these people. People who want to see babies get AIDS.

I have fallen down the rabbit hole, into a looking-glass world where people like me are murdered every few weeks. And many more taken to the brink of death. Well, the world is an imperfect place, I always knew that. But now it's different, the people who freeze to death on church steps aren't in some 3rd world kleptocracy or dictatorship, they're people I know, people whose websites I've visited. You can't be TS without knowing personally someone who's died or been put in intensive care from violence. More than one.

For those who think that Christians are being persecuted in return by the all-powerful GLBT lobby and their "Homosexual Agenda", there's this:

Yet even becoming a Pariah has not been the most life-changing effect. I can't say the sex-change and the demotion to the status of subhuman vermin are unimportant details, but there's something I consider far more important in changing my life. It's the people I've met, and the situations I've seen and read about.

I was blessed with a miraculous cure for my transsexuality, and that was a relief I can't express adequately in words. Like being released from Hell. But I've had an even greater blessing. One that's causing me to seriously question my agnosticism, when a mere inexplicable medical phenomenon could not.

From D. in Colorado, the place where the first two Republican senators came from:
As many of you may remember, It was a 11 months ago yesterday that I was brutally beaten and left for dead for what, being me. I've gone down along road with many twist and turns, and a lot of frustration and hard work to get to where I am today. I still haven't hit what the medical profession calls maximum medical improvement. (I guess that's good) I still have more work ahead, but considering I almost didn't make it and last May they were starting the paper work for permanent disability without quality life. I've been able to officially retire the following therapist, physical, occupational, speech and barring any hiccups my neurologist (hurray no more MRI's or Cat scans). Yesterday, I went to my primary care who finally released me to return to work full time gradually increasing my hours over the next 2-4 weeks. Unfortunately they did still keep some medical restrictions in place to hopefully protect me, but I know I've come along way!

No need to respond, I just needed to express my feelings, but thanks anyway for reading.

Once again remember in this fast pace world that we live in today, please take the time to STOP, look around, smell the roses, and see the beauty life has to offer. Take your negatives and turn them into positives. Remember you only live once, and you never know if you'll wake up tomorrow and have the chance to again!

Thanks for all the support! Remember to always be aware of your surroundings. I love you all, and thanks again for your love and support!
And from C.
As some already know, or may not know, I was literally "Murdered"
just after my 21st birthday, in 1988...I was slipped in and out of death many times before I was stabilized...
The EMS crew had written me off on arrival to the hospital... I was fully comatose...
Without going into all the gory details again here, I am still not completely healed. I never will be. The attackers thought they had butchered me...but, modern medical science managed to pull me from the grip of death...but not with out life long side effects.

I was unable to do much of anything for 18 months after I was spared from the embalmers table...

Take every moment of life's breath as a precious gift. and if you are like us, the ones who pay a horrible price for being who and what we are, every step towards recovery is a major win.

I will pray very hard for you, that you too can recover and mend.
I will pray that your inner spirit, can find the way to somehow go on, and not suffer the nightmares of reliving it endlessly.

For me, it took forgiveness. Why they decided to do what they did to me, I don't know. I never found out who it was...but, I had to forgive it in my mind. I had to let it order to go forward with my life.

Your survival and subsequent living of life fully later, is going to be the real victory.

None of us should have to endure this kind of pain...just because we are " special souls ".
I've been placed in the company of such women. People who have every reason to curse God, the Fates, the Universe, and their oppressors. People who should by all rights be bitter and twisted from the decades of misery induced by transsexuality, and the persecution they get when they have the temerity to get treatment for it. And what do I find? Love. Forgiveness. Life. Hope.

Remaining Agnostic in the face of that is increasingly difficult.

Thursday 26 February 2009

Today's Battles

At Qweerty one of a breed that's all too common. When Feminists talk about the Patriarchy, and the arrogance of male privilege, this is what they mean.:
At the risk of sounding controversial, I visit Queerty because I am a gay white male. I have no interest in 'women issues'. While I'm not opposed to sporadic and infrequent attention to lesbians, I do not want this blog devoting any more time to their cause....Simply because I am gay does not mean I care about lesbians, bisexuals or transgender persons. I don't even know why some people try and group us together as one cause - GLBT - because we are not. I can see some purpose to grouping G + L and even Bs together, but not Ts. I am quite comfortable being male, and I hate being associated with crossdressers. I find Ts offensive and do not want to extend any rights to them. Remember, had we not tried to press for "gender identity" clauses in all legislation, but instead limited it to "sexual orientation", gay marriage would be legal in every state. I have to agree with straights when they observe how bizarre and socially-inept crossdressers are, with their drug use and alcohol abuse.

Transgender persons should fight their own battles, because at the moment they're hindering the rights of gays, lesbians and bisexuals everywhere.

p.s. I am not opposed to lesbians reading the blog.
btw. In terms of transvestites, I do not hate them. I like the one that appeared on the Tyra show recently. She was very human, although obviously depressed and (before Tyra rescued her) was homeless. This is embarrassing: as gay men try to gain acceptance, we need to do so on the basis that we are educated, affluent and have greater disposable incomes (due to a lack of dependents). Crossdressers go against everything we work to attain.
I am quite content with how I live my life and, unlike you, I don't need to pretend for a moment that I must have the support of crossdressers so to be successful. I'm very happy surrounding myself with men, both gay and straight, and women, lesbian and straight. I don't need to go looking for peasants or (not to be mean) heshes for some form of validation.
I did not matriculate with a Juris Doctor in Law so to defend transvestites. I did so for selfless reasons, to work on bringing marriage equality for gay men and lesbians everywhere. It pains me when all our hard work is undermined by crossdressers, most of whom as Tyra shows, are welfare recipients, homeless and addicted to illicit drugs. They're embarrassing and as a "community" bring out reputation into disrepute.
I will also be the first to admit that I have not done enough to stop Prop 8 or work towards legalizing same-sex marriages. I practice commercial law (and don't believe in pro bono work) so naturally I'm very busy. However, I HAVE made a personal commitment to work towards legalizing same-sex marriage this year. I am happy to boycott businesses, picket churches, etc., and by the end of the year I will know I have made a difference. Yes, I can accept that as of today, I have done very little for our 'cause', but that will change.
Sure it will. Part of my reply:
You're supposed to be a lawyer, right? JD from UCLA?

Does the name "Shannon Minter" ring a bell? Here's a hint: on the legal team opposing Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court. While you are doing … what, exactly?

I can understand your spiteful jealousy of someone in the limelight like him. Someone actually doing something about gaining same-sex marriage rights, rather than sitting dotting i's and crossing t's on foreclosure memoranda and bills of sale.

He's also a Transman. One of those people you wouldn't give any rights to. You know, the unemployed drug addicts, not someone big and important like you.
Most of our opponents are people of goodwill. But sometimes you do run across the genuine article, a grade 'A' Arschlock as they say in Germany.

Moving right along... to the Billingsgate Gazette:
I'm not a stereotypical gay rights activist, not some out-of-stater wearing a clown wig and rainbow face paint, hysterically shouting rhyming cliches while tossing glitter. I'm a pro-capitalist, Republican-leaning professional who's held an 8-5 job since college and my wardrobe is very conservative. I'm a fifth-generation Montanan, educated in a wonderful rural school and a proud alumna of Montana State University. I also happen to be a trans-woman.

A tragic fact about my situation and that of many others with regard to current Montana law is that, even though I'm highly qualified for my job and even though I've, through my effort and ideas, brought millions of dollars to the company where I've worked for nearly 20 years, I could at any moment and without recourse be eliminated from my job simply because I am transgendered. Further, if that should occur, I'd find myself facing a hostile job market in which I could be denied a chance at any job for which I apply simply because I'm part of the minority GBLT community.
A woman after my own heart. I gave a smidgin of support in the comments, to show she's not alone.

Thence to the Gainesville Sun, and the Independent Florida Alligator, where I gave essentially the same comment on both. "Re-use" it's called, not re-inventing the wheel.
" This campaign is about dishonesty. It's about deliberately stirring up hatred based on natural fears for childrens welfare. Using children in a way that amounts to abuse and bearing false witness.

Getting down to fundamentals, it's about the fear that the law will allow paedophiles to thrive. And preventing that is worth removing existing human rights for some, and making sure that others are never granted them.

When you look at the facts, in the 20 states and nearly 200 other counties and cities with similar or identical legislation, such fears were also raised, and often by the same out-of-state groups. They've always proven groundless.

But maybe Gainesville is different, unlike every other part of the USA. No-one who has seen some court decisions recently could say that there aren't some very "progressive" judges out there. So why do I say this is dishonest?

Because the law, even after amendment, still prevents discrimination based on sex. Any judge so "progressive" as to allow a man claiming to "feel like a woman today" to use a female restroom would have no compunction in letting a man who didn't feel anything of the sort do it too. Because you can't discriminate based on sex. That's what the law says now, and will say even after amendment. Exactly the same wording.

The fact that this has never occurred in Gainesville (or anywhere else in the US) proves that this legal theory is a beat-up, a Big Lie endlessly repeated to stampede people with fear. To terrorise them. The lawyers at the Thomas Moore legal centre know this, they just deliberately conceal it, and hope that by shouting loud enough, no-one will notice.

The people of Gainesville are being played for fools. They should be outraged at it. But unless someone draws this to their attention, how are they to know? If no-one in the 5th estate researches it and publishes it, they may well fall for it. "
Rather than being "collateral damage", it's obvious what the real target is. It's not a bug, it's a desirable feature. They just lie about it.

Finally, at After Ellen, a very good question :
I asked my friend, "If you were given only two options: 1) you could die OR 2) you could become a transman, which would you choose?" And she said that she would choose to die because being in a man's body she would feel trapped since her mind wouldn't match it. I, on the other hand, said I would choose to become a man. She said, "But wouldn't you feel trapped in the wrong body like how transgender people do before they transition?" However I don't believe I would, I think I would feel fine about it. It's not that I have ever felt trapped in the wrong body or wanted to transition. I just don't think I would feel trapped if I did.

What do you think? Would you choose option 1 or 2?
The responses are consistent with the hypothesis I advanced in BiGender and the Brain that some people are BiGendered - able to function to some degree in either gender role - but that most are not.

I made my choice, but I cheated by being TS in the first place. Rather than a descent into nightmare, it was a blessing beyond belief. Of course, I had to live through 47 years of transsexuality first.... I never came close to suicide though. Nowhere near.
People survive being blind, or quadraplegic, or brain-damaged, and still manage to lead worthwhile lives. Even with a male body, even when things feel terribly, awfully perverse and horrible, all the time, you can still help others. Even if your own life is irretrievably awful, you can still live, and even have a few moments of joy amidst the unending horror. You can save lives, and make your death worthwhile by heroic sacrifice rather than a meaningless self-destruction.

That's what kept me going, anyway.
It does for a lot, and that is a partial explanation of why so many of us end up in the military. A chance for a death with honour, a death with meaning, and a death which means someone else whose life is worthwhile gets to survive instead. That is a great victory. Victory? No, a veritable Triumph against impossible odds, spitting in the eye of an unjust Fate.

So, dear readers, what would you choose? An involuntary partial sex change, without full reproductive capacity, or suicide? Comments are open.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Collision Debris

The graphic on the right shows just how much space junk there is, and what new bits have been added by the recent collision between Cosmos 2251 and Iridium 33.

Most space junk is small - flecks of paint and the like. But even they can make your eyes water when their relative velocity at collision is tens of kilometres per second. By comparison, a bullet travels at less than half a kilometre per second.

Such small things don't last long though. A 1/6 cubic meter satellite in orbit at 800km will re-enter in about a century, as although the atmosphere is so thin as to be almost a complete vacuum at that altitude, "almost" is the operative word. Smaller, lighter things in lower orbit decay faster. And every time the sun hiccups with a solar storm, the trace upper atmosphere expands outwards as it heats, and drag at low orbit increases dramatically. Mother Nature's orbital vacuum cleaner makes sure that small particles slow down, and as they slow, their orbit gets closer, so they enter even denser atmosphere, so slow even more, and soon they start heating up and evaporating.

I hope that in 50 or 60 years time, the older space debris will be recovered and sent back home to museums, just as aircraft from WW2 are recovered from frozen lakes and jungles today. As archaeological artefacts of great historical value. And incidentally, to remove a safety hazard.

Tuesday 24 February 2009

The Evidence

In response to a request that read:
What I'm requesting from anyone and everyone that can help, to please provide me with any and all creditable medical and/or psychiatric documentation that supports our condition that are completely legitimate. I have to use facts because some will try their hardest to tear it apart. I would like to use as much as possible genetic/biological proof to go along with the DSM.

Here is my reply:

Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids. by Berglund et al Cerebral Cortex 2008 18(8):1900-1908;
...the data implicate that transsexuality may be associated with sex-atypical physiological responses in specific hypothalamic circuits, possibly as a consequence of a variant neuronal differentiation.

Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041
The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions and point to a neurobiological basis of gender identity disorder.

Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.
Solid evidence for the importance of postnatal social factors is lacking. In the human brain, structural diferences have been described that seem to be related to gender identity and sexual orientation.
A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.
Our study is the first to show a female brain structure in genetically male transsexuals and supports the hypothesis that gender identity develops as a result of an interaction between the developing brain and sex hormones
A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity. by Garcia-Falgueras et al Brain. 2008 Dec;131(Pt 12):3132-46.
We propose that the sex reversal of the INAH3 in transsexual people is at least partly a marker of an early atypical sexual differentiation of the brain and that the changes in INAH3 and the BSTc may belong to a complex network that may structurally and functionally be related to gender identity.
There's a pile more with URLs at BiGender and the Brain. See also Dr Veronica Drantz's Powerpoint presentations, and the specific quotes from Dr Harry Benjamin's The Transsexual Phenomenon at Two for the Reference Library.

Legal Findings:
Re Kevin – Significant Findings Of Justice Richard Chisholm In Respect Of The Expert Medical Evidence In That Case As To The Causation Of Transsexualism And As Strongly Affirmed By The Full Court (Australian Family Court) On Appeal. Deakin Law Review 2004 v22
At paragraph (247): 'In my view the expert evidence in this case affirms that brain development is (at least) an important determinant of a person's sense of being a man or a woman. No contrary opinion is expressed. All the experts are very well qualified. None was required for cross-examination, nor was any contrary evidence called'.

At paragraph (248): 'In my view the evidence is, in essence, that the experts believe that the brain development view is likely to be true, and they explain the basis for their beliefs. In the circumstances, I see no reason why I should not accept the proposition, on the balance of probabilities, for the purpose of this case.'

At paragraph (252): 'The traditional analysis that they are "psychologically" transsexual does not explain how this state came about. For example, there seems to be no suggestion in the evidence that their psychological state can be explained by reference to circumstances of their upbringing. In that sense, the brain sex theory does not seem to be competing with other explanations, but rather is providing a possible explanation of what is otherwise inexplicable'.

At paragraph (253): 'In other words (as I understand it) the brain of an individual may in some sense be male, for example, though the rest of the person's body is female'.

At paragraph (265): 'In my view the argument in favour of the "brain sex" view is also based on evidence about the development and experience of transsexuals and others with atypical sex-related characteristics. There is a vast literature on this, some of which is in evidence, and I can do no more than mention briefly some of the main points'.

At paragraph (268): 'It seems quite wrong to think of these people as merely wishing or preferring to be of the opposite sex, or having the opinion that they are'.

At paragraph (270): 'But I am satisfied that the evidence now is inconsistent with the distinction formerly drawn between biological factors, meaning genitals, chromosomes and gonads, and merely "psychological factors", and on this basis distinguishing between cases of inter-sex (incongruities among biological factors) and transsexualism (incongruities between biology and psychology)'.

At paragraph (272): 'In my view the evidence demonstrates (at least on the balance of probabilities) that the characteristics of transsexuals are as much "biological" as those of people thought of as inter-sex'.

Kantaras v Kantaras - some excerpts from the expert testimony.
When asked does a person choose their own gender identity? He (Doctor Bockting) replied:
"No. This is something that develops. It's believed to
develop very early on in childhood. There are some
theories that say that it is fixed at the age of two. So this is
not something we choose, this is something we become
aware of as we grow up."
Q. Would you say (transsexualism) is more of a
psychological problem or more of a physical
A. I think it's both. It's not physical in the sense that
they have been able to detect with certainty a
physical cause of their conflict.
Q. So you think its both, or you think its only
A. I think its psychological distress, but there's also an
aversion - - - sense of a process that people feel
physically. I think that's part of this condition. It's
really the anatomical and the psychological really
interact in this condition ***
Well, I mean, another way of saying is that what
we have been able to establish very consistently the
emotional suffering and distress when somebody
has this conflict.
Yet, the way to alleviate that conflict it involves
physical changes because the conflict is very tied to
their body image. And, then - - - there is evidence
of studies that hormonal and sexual differentiation
of the brain is believed to play a role. So its really a
condition where all of these things come together.
Q. Right. But it's a medical condition, correct?
A: Its recognized – in the medical field, a recognized
disorder. That is, a mental health disorder - - -
where a physical intervention is providing the relief.
Q. Okay. And that's exactly my point. It's a
psychological disorder with a – what did you say?
A. Where a physical intervention - - - well, it's rather a
social role change.
Q. Okay, so it's a psychological disorder that physical
intervention medically physical intervention
A. Correct.
Q. Dr. Cole, does the fact that a condition is listed in the DSM
mean that it necessarily has a purely mental or
psychological cause?
A. Absolutely not. It's listed in the DSM because it
has to do with the mind, with the brain, with
emotional suffering. I mean, you also have learning
disabilities in there.
You have, you know, people who have sexual
problems, a man with erection problems, a woman
with orgasm problems, that's listed in the DSM, but
it has nothing to do with somebody being unstable.
Q. So the fact that gender identity disorder is listed in
the DSM, does that tell us anything one way or the
other about whether the condition has a
physiological or biological cause?
A. No, it doesn't. It's very controversial even within
the Benjamin Association to have it listed in the
DSM. There are many people who argue it should
be moved over to a medical kind of diagnosis as
opposed to a psychiatric diagnosis.
Dr. Cole was asked about Michael Kantaras and if he is a victim of a more mental problem, there's been some suggestions in this case that because gender identity disorder is in the DSM that Michael Kantaras should therefore be viewed in a pejorative sense as sick, or unbalanced or mentally ill. He was asked some questions as an expert in this area to help sort through this issue. He was asked if he was familiar with the criteria for gender identity disorder in the DSM?
A. Yes, I am.
Q. And do those criteria refer exclusively to the
conflict between the person's gender identity and
their anatomy as well as distress that conflict
A. Yes.
Q. Is there anything in those criteria relating to having
any kind of bizarre or disordered thinking or
behavior or to any kind of emotional unbalance or
instability apart from the distress caused by having
the wrong body?
A. No.
Q. So would it be true that being diagnosed with GID
does not mean that the person is otherwise unstable
or disturbed or mentally ill?
A. Absolutely.
Q. In practice, are transsexual people who have
completed their gender transition anymore likely to
have psychological problems than non-transsexual
A. No.

Mr. Minton thus asked Dr. Cole are transsexual people who have completed their gender transition any more likely to have psychological problems than people who are not transsexual? Dr. Cole answered "no" and added that in the mid-nineties he and his colleagues undertook a scientific study of over 400 charts of people they worked with at the clinic and found that this group of transsexuals had no more pathology, meaning problems with suicide attempts, depression, etc., compared to the normal American population. They took a subsample of 100 people who completed MMPIs, personality tests and they did not have significant elevations on anxiety, depression, or paranoia.
Q. Okay. So you don't see a gender disordered person
with gender dysphoria, you don't see that as any
A. I see that as not in a typical example of the
schizophrenia or affective disorders, the
psychopathology of that nature.
Q. So you do or you don't? Maybe I didn't follow
you. You do see it as psychopathology or you
A. Oh, I don't.
Q. Well, does Harry Benjamin or the people in the
Harry Benjamin Association see it as some form of
A. I don't think so. I believe it's simply seen as a
persistent misidentification in terms of that sense of
identity with anatomic self.
Q. Okay. Well, let me ask you something, why is it
listed as a mental disorder then?
A. Well, I think, as I said in my earlier testimony, that
is because it has to do with the mind and distress of
the mind it was listed in the DSM way, way back.
But there's still controversy even today of having it
listed in the DSM as opposed to some other type of
medical disorder.

Androgen Receptor Repeat Length Polymorphism Associated with Male-to-Female Transsexualism by Hare at al Biological Psychiatry Volume 65, Issue 1, Pages 93-96 (1 January 2009)

A polymorphism of the CYP17 gene related to sex steroid metabolism is associated with female-to-male but not male-to-female transsexualism by Bentz et al Fertility and Sterility , Volume 90 , Issue 1 , Pages 56 - 59

Functional MRI
fMRT zur Diagnose bei Transsexualität geprüft Ärzte Zeitung, 30.05.2006
So würden bei Männern das limbische System und dort vor allem Regionen im Hypothalamus, in den Mandelkernen und im Inselkortex wesentlich stärker aktiviert. "Diese Vorbefunde konnten wir beim Vergleich der heterosexuellen Männer und Frauen unserer Kohorte bestätigen", sagte Gizewski.

Bei den transsexuellen Männern gab es diese spezifisch männliche Aktivierung des limbischen Systems nicht. Die mit der fMRT erzeugten Bilder entsprachen vielmehr exakt denen der weiblichen Probanden.

Die Radiologen können also das, was die transsexuellen Männer angeben - daß sie sich nämlich "wie im falschen Körper" fühlen - anhand der Aktivierung des Gehirns auf erotische Stimuli bestätigen. Es gibt offenbar ein biologisches Korrelat des subjektiven Befunds.

In men, the limbic system and upper regions of the hypothalamus, the amygdalae and the insular cortex were activated substantially more strongly. "We confirmed this finding in the comparison between the heterosexual men and women of our Cohort", said Gizewski.

This specifically male activation of the limbic system was not found in the transsexual sample. Under fMRT, the pictures corresponded rather accurately to those of the female sample.

Radiologists can now confirm what transsexuals report - that they feel "trapped in the wrong body" - on the basis of the activation of the brain when presented with erotic stimuli. There is obviously a biological correlation with the subjective feelings.

To which I'll add the Official American Medical Association policy on the subject.
Whereas, An established body of medical research demonstrates the effectiveness and medical necessity of mental health care, hormone therapy and sex reassignment surgery as forms of therapeutic treatment for many people diagnosed with GID; and
Whereas, Health experts in GID, including WPATH, have rejected the myth that such treatments are “cosmetic” or “experimental” and have recognized that these treatments can provide safe and effective treatment for a serious health condition;
RESOLVED, That the AMA support public and private health insurance coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder (Directive to Take Action); and be it further
RESOLVED, That the AMA oppose categorical exclusions of coverage for treatment of gender identity disorder when prescribed by a physician (Directive to Take Action).
7. Brown G R: A review of clinical approaches to gender dysphoria. J Clin Psychiatry. 51(2):57-64, 1990.
Newfield E, Hart S, Dibble S, Kohler L. Female-to-male transgender quality of life. Qual Life Res. 15(9):1447-57, 2006.
Best L, and Stein K.(1998) “Surgical gender reassignment for male to female transsexual people.” Wessex Institute DEC report 88;
Blanchard R, et al. “Gender dysphoria, gender reorientation, and the clinical management of transsexualism.J Consulting and Clinical Psychology. 53(3):295-304. 1985;
Cole C, et al. “Treatment of gender dysphoria (transsexualism).” Texas Medicine. 90(5):68-72. 1994;
Gordon E. “Transsexual healing: Medicaid funding of sex reassignment surgery.Archives of Sexual Behavior. 20(1):61-74. 1991;
Hunt D, and Hampton J. “Follow-up of 17 biologic male transsexuals after sex-reassignment surgery.Am J Psychiatry. 137(4):432-428. 1980;
Kockett G, and Fahrner E. “Transsexuals who have not undergone surgery: A follow-up study.Arch of Sexual Behav. 16(6):511-522. 1987;
Pfafflin F and Junge A. “Sex Reassignment. Thirty Years of International Follow-Up Studies after Sex Reassignment Surgery: A Comprehensive Review, 1961-1991.” IJT Electronic Books, available at;
Selvaggi G, et al. "Gender Identity Disorder: General Overview and Surgical Treatment for Vaginoplasty in Male-to-Female Transsexuals." Plast Reconstr Surg. 2005 Nov;116(6):135e-145e;
Smith Y, et al. “Sex reassignment: outcomes and predictors of treatment for adolescent and adult transsexuals.” Psychol Med. 2005 Jan; 35(1):89-99;
Tangpricha V, et al. “Endocrinologic treatment of gender identity disorders. ” Endocr Pract. 9(1):12-21. 2003;
Tsoi W. “Follow-up study of transsexuals after sex reassignment surgery.Singapore Med J. 34:515-517. 1993;
van Kesteren P, et al. "Mortality and morbidity in transsexual subjects treated with cross-sex hormones." Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1997 Sep;47(3):337-42;
How much more evidence do we have to give? How many more scientific articles, research papers, journals of neurology, reproductive science, psychology, psychiatry, endocrinology, and medicine must we quote? How many expert witnesses must we call, and how many legal cases must we lose, because even at college, people are only told about "usual" circumstances regarding sex and gender, and not exceptional ones? How many pardonably ignorant journalists must we seek to educate, because the colleges and universities have let them down?

People have been fired for being Transsexual. People have been fired for being Intersexed. But now people are being fired for even teaching that Intersexuality exists. - See important updates below and in the comments.

From Atlanta Progressive News (yes, the word "progressive" doesn't instill confidence, but the facts are the facts no matter who reports them.)
"I was basically fired for teaching about intersex people in my Introduction to Sociology course this Summer against the wishes of Stombler. Stombler said she agreed with me that sex is socially constructed-in that we, as a society, have to define how many sexes there are, who gets to fit into each category, and how to handle the anomalies-but she said that it was too advanced for 101 students," Cardinale said.

"Because we do define sex and gender in any 101 class, I felt it was important to define those terms accurately and inclusively from the beginning," Cardinale said.

Last summer, an Atlanta Police Officer, Darlene Harris, came out as intersex, as reported in Southern Voice Magazine, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and Atlanta Progressive News.

Cardinale had invited Harris to come in and speak to his class about her experiences as an intersex person, to help illustrate the social construction of sex. Unfortunately, afterward, Stombler took issue with Harris's guest lecture and said the Department would not support Cardinale's lesson plans.
Enough. To persecute us for existing is one thing : to deliberately conceal that we even exist, another.

The next time someone who's a product of this mis-education system starts saying "Oh, I read somewhere the treatments don't work", or "don't give me any of this brain-sex nonsense", or "but aren't they just, you know, crazy like the DSM says?" - please quote them this article. Especially the last part, which shows them why not only don't they know the facts, but what facts they were taught are often wrong.

UPDATE: Please see the comments section for a first-hand account that differs significantly from that reported by the Atlanta Progressive News. Here, I'll quote:
It's unfortunate that Matthew had a bad experience, but there is much more to this story. For a Graduate Student Instructor to get taken out of the classroom, there have to be a lot of problems in the classroom, with the course design and the instructor. Every GSI undergoes extensive pedagogical training and ongoing evaluation. It is peculiar that one would claim to get fired for featuring an intersexed speaker within a climate where we are encouraged to include intersex issues in gender, sex, and sexuality curriculums.
..I hope you'll take the time to consider that there are other factors involved here. Please consider my alternate viewpoint and divergent experience in teaching and studying intersex at GSU.
As always, my thanks to those who comment here, and for this comment in particular. I don't claim to be correct all the time, but do try to issue corrections, or where the situation is unclear, give all the evidence.

As the result of numerous comments from people with first-hand knowledge of the situation at the University concerned, I'm now convinced that the situation has been substantially mis-reported. Rather than deleting the incorrect part of the post, and pretending I hadn't got it completely wrong, I'll just unreservedly retract my statements with apologies, and refer readers to the comments section as to why my opinion has changed. It's not just a matter of accuracy or inaccuracy though. My comments were unjust to the people concerned. I can't apologise for the initial error given the limited data, but I can and should apologise for the injustice I've done them, and in public. I so do, here, now.
“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?”- John Maynard Keynes

Monday 23 February 2009

One Woman's Story

I've sometimes remarked on this blog how immensely privileged I've been to meet some of the finest and most courageous people on the planet.

This is one of them.

She's "Deep Stealth" - having your house firebombed when you got outed will do that - so I can't say how or where I know her from, nor when we last met. She's my friend though, that's enough.

Saturday 21 February 2009

Today's Battles

At Mercatornet, trying to sort out the Junk Science from the Real Science. And all against a background of prejudiced (as in "conclusion pre-judged beforehand") religious belief.

Over at the Grauniad, where human rights for transgendered children are discussed. This article, unlike many, is sympathetic to them. And a follow-up at EdgeBoston discussing the same article, and replying to a sceptic about the whole concept.

On to The Young Turks, and attempting to correct some minor, and some not-so-minor misinformation about Intersex in an article that discusses human rights.

And in other news...
On Wednesday, the Legislature dealt its final blow to this year's Common Ground Initiative, possibly the most expansive push for legal protections for gay and transgender Utahns in state history. The effort had the backing of popular Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr., positive signals from the LDS Church, and, on most issues, the support of public opinion, according to a Salt Lake Tribune poll.

Even so, a House committee Wednesday rejected Rep. Jennifer Seelig's HB160, which would have offered two, unmarried cohabiting adults -- including same-sex couples -- safeguards of inheritance rights and medical-decision making for one another.
Equality Utah crafted the Common Ground Initiative in response to statements made by the LDS Church after passage of California's Proposition 8. Even though it supported the ballot measure, which banned same-sex marriage in the Golden State, the church said it "does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches."

Despite those comments, the LDS Church did not endorse Equality Utah's initiative.
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, at their hypocrisy. Except that I genuinely should be. I shouldn't just accept it as the usual stuff, say one thing, do another. "That was then, this is now" should not be the standard to which any group claiming any form of moral mandate is held to. It's just that anything else would have been most out of character for those showing such lack of charity.

Friday 20 February 2009

From a Canon Lawyer

Via the Catholic Forum on Moral Theology:
Just a couple of observations, that I hope might be helpful to you. I am a canon lawyer with a JCD {Juris Canonici Doctor, Doctor of Canon Law - ZEB}, and I'm hoping this post might help. First is that you are obviously very concerned about how the Church defines you, and how that definition then affects all of your other relationships. But I think that in your case (and in the cases of those like you) we must look toward a broader understanding of Canon Law to find answers.

First, understand that the law of the Church is based on European code, not the common law as found in the US and in Australia. This is important because it gives us a different legal mindset than we are used to. Church rules are written broadly to encompass the largest number of people. But when legal anomalies arise, they are dealt with either by specific exception, or by allowing there to be pastoral provisions made for those for whom the law doesn't fit. It is evident that your situation is one of those anomalies that is not envisioned in the law. Thus, you are getting contradictory pronouncements on this precisely because your situation does not fall into one of the Church's neatly defined categories.

Second, in Church law, laws which are restrictive are to be interpreted strictly (c. 18). You write that the Vatican has defined transexuality as a "psychic disorder of those whose genetic makeup and physical characteristics are unambiguously of one sex but who feel that they belong to the opposite sex." But look at the definition - and you may be right to say that these conditions do not in fact exist. Read the definition strictly as one is supposed to do under canon law. Does it apply to you as defined? If not, then the restrictions or limitations also do not apply to you. This is not just sophistry - it is truly the way the law works. You are not obliged to stretch their definition to fit you. Rather, you are within your rights to say that definition does not apply to me because I DO NOT FIT that definition. Thus any pronouncements made by them based on THAT PARTICULAR DEFINITION or consequences from that pronouncement do not bind you. Those rules only bind those that fit that definition.

So, it seems to me that what the Vatican has made a determination on is if you are "unambiguously" of one sex, but "feel" you belong to the other, then this definition applies. But it seems to me that if you are medically "intersexed" that by definition your gender is ambiguous. Applying another canonical maxim, "you are not bound to the impossible", you can only clarify your gender as much as it is possible to do so, using the best available information you have at that time. Neither God nor the Church can require you to do more than that.

So ultimately, I don't think there is an answer to your question. The Church has made a pronouncement that it does not want people who clearly are of one gender to change to another because it is considered mutilation. However, it has not made pronouncements for those whose gender is not biologically/genetically consistent or determined. Your situation puts you into a theological and canonical gray area where morally you are simply called to do the best you can do with the information you have. And consider that the Pope when he speaks is speaking as someone who has a Code understanding of the law and theology - he is making pronouncements that are meant to be applied to 99% of his people. I suspect that if you were to present him with the facts of your case and of those in your similar situation, he would understand that you require an exception because you and your circumstances are exceptional! The scriptures you quoted in your posts are evidence that even in scripture there are those to whom that 1% exception applies.

You have obviously had a very difficult path to travel, without there being a clear road. And it sounds to me like even though you are not sure in your belief, it still means a lot to you to have the Church understand your struggle. Unfortunately, it does not appear that much officially has come out on the subject. That may be because it is such a complex issue that it defies an easy "rule" on the subject and that each case must be dealt with as a legal exception. That would be consistent with Church practice.

But please also know that just because there are not clear answers for you, it does not mean that the Church does not care about you. You are profoundly loved as God's child regardless of your situation. Your son is loved as a gift from God - and is never to be thought of as a grave error. You are not bound to the impossible - he was conceived under the circumstances of what you understood about yourself at that time. I wish you and your family every blessing, and will keep you all in my prayers.

Given the extensive evidence that Transsexuality is a form of Neurological Intersex, this doesn't just apply to me.

Wednesday 18 February 2009

When "Human Rights" means Inhuman Wrongs

There has been a worrying trend ever since the UN Human Rights watchdogs, in their various incarnations, got infected, subverted, and zombified by national groups most guilty of Human Rights abuses.

Now throughout the world, both governmental and non-governmental "Human Rights" groups have sprung up, dedicated to making sure that their existing privileges are preserved, and existing human rights for others are withdrawn.

As in Burundi:
The new criminal code was drafted over a period of nearly two years, with the assistance of Burundian and international legal experts, after elections in 2005 restored a democratic system in Burundi and required the revision of legal texts.

However, in October 2008, at the end of the discussion on the bill, the Human Rights and Justice Commission in the National Assembly inserted a provision criminalising "anyone who engages in sexual relations with a person of the same sex."

The provision would be the first law criminalising gays and lesbians in the country's history.

The bill was approved by the National Assembly on November 22nd with little debate.
So much for "Human Rights and Justice". Also so much for the the African Charter on Human and People's Rights, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Burundi is a signatory. Fortunately, the Senate rejected this "Human Rights" bill.

As for Pakistan:
University student protested in Peshawar, while a local non-governmental organization called the "International Human Rights Commission" demanded the immediate implementation of sharia in Swat.
Thereby removing many of human rights granted to women and non-muslims there. The version of sharia they advocate re-introduces slavery too. There, in a campaign that involved the assault of women shopping alone, the destruction or forced closure of girls schools, and the forced abandonment of a polio vaccination program, the fanatics have won. Girls schools will re-open, but whether anything other than wrote repetition of the Arabic syllables that are in the Koran will be allowed to be taught is open to question.

Human Rights should mean Human Rights for all Humans. But when groups in power see others as sub-human, the concept fails. Slavery, the treatment of women as property, and the legalised persecution of other minorities inevitably follow.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Today's Battles

At Reddit, about Birth Certificates. Just correcting some misconceptions, errors of fact. Though there's the usual insults embedded there too. Meh.

Then at the Wilkes Beacon, where an unusually obnoxious and ill-informed "opinion piece" sparked off a flurry of letters correcting the writer's mis-statements of fact. The word is getting out, and it's no longer socially acceptable to repeat the same old canards, the same old slanders. Not without them being opposed.

Monday 16 February 2009

Don't Panic

The Omid satellite itself looks to mass about 15-20kg, 25kg tops. There's what looks like a GPS orientation system, some comms, a battery, and little else. Lifetime maybe a week. No attempt at stabilisation, the antennae are omnidirectional. The kind of microsat regularly put up by universities as class projects. Simple, but that's good, less can go wrong.

A space-hardened GPS system is very sensitive technology, and if this is one, one wonders how it escaped into the wild. But given the relatively benign radiation environment at 350km altitude, and the short life, a commercial military standard one might have been used. Not exactly a dime a dozen, but easy to procure and to integrate using commercial avionics techniques. Pure speculation on my part though.

I really hope that's an engineering model not the flight model in the picture, as they're certainly not operating under cleanroom conditions.

From Arms Control Work :

Here are some rough numbers (which I expect Geoff will improve on) based on my analysis of the North Korean TD-1 launch in 1998, and assuming that the Safir is similiar in capability to the TD-1. This seems like a reasonable assumption from the parameters of the missile.

The orbit given for the objects requires a speed of about 7.7 km/s. My estimate is that the first two stages could have achieved a speed of about 3.5 km/s (this is based on an analysis of splash-down locations of the first two stages from the 1998 NK launch). That means the third stage would have had to give a delta-V of about 4.2 km/s. Assuming the satellite is very low mass (about 20 kg), that appears to be achievable with small solid stages that may be commercially available.

If this missile attempted to launch a significantly larger mass, the range would be much less. My estimate is that the range would drop to about 2500 km for a 1000 kg payload, which may be what a nuclear warhead would weigh, or about 4000 km for a 500 kg payload.

— David Wright · Feb 3, 10:24 AM ·
I think he's being a bit generous, I'd expect a "beginners" nuke to mass at least 2000kg with the re-entry shielding. Anyway, this is not an ICBM of the same class that launched Sputnik, nor even the one that launched Explorer. It's not an ICBM at all, in fact, more like the Thor IRBM. Good enough to reach Israel, and maybe southern europe, but not with a nuke, only a warhead half the size of a V2's.

On the other hand, they did orbit a satellite. There are two new objects up there now, one the terminal booster, the other the Omid R&D sat. The Iranian team deserves congratulations on their success.

The animation put out by the Iranians (see below) indicates a 2-stage rather than 3-stage booster.

From Iran Daily Opinions Service:

The satellite has a mass of 27 kg (ISA web) or 25 kg (IRINN news agency) and it is a 0.40m cube. It carries an instrument to measure the space environment, and a GPS receiver modified for use in the unstabilized (i.e. tumbling) satellite, according to the Iranian Space Agency web site
The first Iranian satellite was launched into orbit on Feb 2 at around 1834 UTC +/- 5 min on a southeastern trajectory from an unidentified launch site in Iran. Two objects are in orbits of 245 x 378 km x 55.51 deg and 245 x 439 x 55.6 deg; radio signals picked up by Bob Christy, Sven Grahn and Greg Roberts confirm that 2009-04A is the Omid payload and the 2009-04B is the Safir rocket final stage. Omid’s orbit is close to the announced plan of a 250-350 km altitude.
Now on to the physics package. From the Los Angeles Times:
Little more than a year after U.S. spy agencies concluded that Iran had halted work on a nuclear weapon, the Obama administration has made it clear that it believes there is no question that Tehran is seeking the bomb.

In his news conference this week, President Obama went so far as to describe Iran's "development of a nuclear weapon" before correcting himself to refer to its "pursuit" of weapons capability.

Obama's nominee to serve as CIA director, Leon E. Panetta, left little doubt about his view last week when he testified on Capitol Hill. "From all the information I've seen," Panetta said, "I think there is no question that they are seeking that capability."

The language reflects the extent to which senior U.S. officials now discount a National Intelligence Estimate issued in November 2007 that was instrumental in derailing U.S. and European efforts to pressure Iran to shut down its nuclear program.
One could be forgiven for thinking that now "their man is in", there's no need to dissemble. It wouldn't be the first time that people were "economical with the truth" regarding intelligence assessments in pursuit of political goals.

By way of comparison, here's a picture of FedSat (mass 55Kg) under assembly....

And completed.

Friday 13 February 2009

Her name is Sam

The Country Fire Authority's David Tree's rescue of a Koala is pictured below.

Sam has burns to her paws, and is currently being treated with antibiotics by wildlife rescue services. She is expected to make a full recovery.

And if that wasn't a happy enough ending for you, she's also found a boyfriend, Bob, another Koala rescued from the fire. He put his arms around her, and she cuddles up next to him at night. Video here.

Both Sam and Bob are Strzelecki Koalas, a population more genetically diverse, larger and furrier than the conserved Koalas that have been used to repopulate former habitats. So as a human being, as an Australian, as a Scientist, and as a woman, I LOVE happy endings like this!

Thursday 12 February 2009

A Human Being

An Intersexed woman, who is transitioning. Triply Intersexed in fact, mosaic male/female, and 45x (Turner Syndrome female) chromosomes, and with (masculinising) Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia. As unusual as I am - though at least in her case, the syndromes are all well understood, even if the combination is improbable. One of the rare 1 in a million "True Hermaphrodites" with both ovarian and testicular tissue. The ones who are always described as "extremely rare" or whose "numbers are so negligible they may as well not exist".

But regardless of what involuntary surgery has done to her in the past, and what voluntary treatment will do to her in the future, she was always a woman ever since she was a little girl. Peering past the external facade and into the soul is a relatively easy trick to pick up, once you know how. You can do it even by viewing a few minutes of low-resolution video, once you know what to look for.

The glandular problems can cause our weights to become unstable. The mixed hormones can also cause our skeletons to be abnormal, too thickset for female, but just as anomalous for male too. The 5 O'clock shadow is particularly distressing for those of us who are women, but fortunately, agonising electrolysis and laser therapy can help there.

This is what we look like. This is who we are. We exist, though many Religious groups like to pretend that we don't, as by the tenets of their faith, we can't. Many others like to pretend that there's only a handful of us worldwide, rather than many millions, with tens of thousands of the more obvious cases in the USA alone. About 5 million if you take the most inclusive definition, about 50,000 if you take the most restrictive.

Not many transition, but some do. Some naturally - that's usually from a female to a male appearance - and some through medical treatment. Some of us feel the need to change our body forms to become less anomalous, to make mind and body align more closely. Many have no need to, with minds and bodies fitting neither the definitions of male nor female very well.

The point is - it's our decision. Not Society's. Not our parents. Not well-meaning medics. Not a Church's. To identify as men, or as women, or as neither, or as both. The anomalous biology that makes us so different, that is the root cause of our persecution, gives us this right. A God-given right, for those who believe.

In her case, and in mine, we are women with an unusual medical condition. But one size does not fit all, and those of us who are outside the gender binary, rather than within it, deserve just as much respect as do we whose minds - if not bodies - fit snugly and seamlessly into the conventional model.

Wednesday 11 February 2009

A Small Substitution

Imagine a newspaper account of prisoners in a punishment block for their own protection.
Kidnap mum Karen Matthews is shacked up in prison with a Black and a baby killer, the Yorkshire Evening Post can reveal.
Ms Barton, 32, said that Matthews had to be moved to the punishment block after just one night for her own safety.

Just two other prisoners live permanently in the block, Ms Barton claims, a child-killer and a Black.
It would be a public disgrace if anyone with more melanin than the norm was put in a punishment block, even if it was for their own protection from racists. The original is a little different, but not much. Now imagine a headline reading
Weekly's story sparks "Nigger Nigel" frenzy

A weekly paper inadvertently sparked an online football frenzy last week with a story about a negro's anger at the NHS.
The Sun ran it under the headline "Nigel Nigger lookalike jibes" with the intro: "Chelsea captain Nigel Terry is being taunted by rival football fans – who say he looks like a negro in whiteface."

By last Thursday afternoon, the day after the story went online, it had generated an amazing 2.5m page views on the Warrington Guardian's site.

Deputy editor Hayley Smith said: "This is a phenomenal response. The story was already popular but within an hour of somebody saying Nigel looked like Malcolm, it became massive. The reaction was amazing."
I think there'd be an outcry. Just a bit. Something about racist attitudes permeating society and the like. But the original article, while differing in only minor ways, is looked on as quite normal, and nothing to complain about.

Oh well, on with the posting to try to make things a little better.

A discussion of Fertility and Transition, something all too few consider. That could be because in many jurisdictions, sterilisation of transsexuals is mandatory. Wouldn't want them to breed, would we? The original article though is sensitive and thoughtful, something that isn't always the case.

Then on to the Nashua Telegraph, and a plea for legal reform. One that sometimes falls on ears that are not deaf, merely hard-of-thinking.
I have a mole on my neck. I will be getting it removed in a few weeks. It has been there for a couple of years. I always think people are looking at it(truthfully). It makes me feel different. Can I get a mole law? Then get some money when others look at it. Or don't pick me for some project. I feel discriminated against. Maybe I could leave it on and then make money off of it.
Hopefully this "Pleading" falls on deaf ears.

Thence to two Christian-oriented sites. The first is the Gay Christian Movement Watch,
Some points that the GLBT community seems unwilling to discuss or acknowledge are in the areas of curses and perverse spirits.
The word says the curse causeless shall not come. When people play with the word of God and refuse to repent the Lord can send a spirit of perversion just as he sent an evil spirit to plague Saul.
Proverbs lists some of the ways that people can anger God and receive his wrath in the form of an evil spirit and being blinded to it.
The devil has tried to kill male children of God from Genesis on and he’s doing a good job of it with these spirits of perversion telling transgenders that being MtF is alright and blessed in the eyes of God.
I'm not sure such people can be reached. Certainly no amount of rationality and scientific argument will get to them. They're impervious to citing scripture too. But to the superstitious, maybe my own unusual and unexplained transformation might get to them. I had to try, anyway.

On to The Professor, who should know better. Actually, no, he shouldn't, I can't blame him for knowing nothing about Intersex conditions, and professors pontificate about areas outside their speciality all the time. They shouldn't slander though.
I must admit that I have not followed the literature on transgender studies much; however, I do have a general idea as to what is being discussed in the academic literature as well as in mainstream society regarding gay, lesbian, and queer theory.
Honestly, I think Santhi was trying to cheat.
He was referring to Shanti Sounderajan, a woman with CAIS. The professor has no idea of the difference between transvestites, transsexuals, and the intersexed. Or for that matter, biology vs idiology, fact vs fiction, or sexual orientation vs sex. My reply (which has yet to make it through moderation, though I think it probably will) reads thus:

Please do some research on Intersex before saying something like “Honestly, I think XXXX was trying to cheat”.

As someone who is Intersexed, I appreciate your honesty in expressing your blatant ignorance. If you hadn’t said something like that, we wouldn’t have been given the chance to give you the information. I certainly don’t blame you for not knowing anything about a subject before expressing an opinion, not in this case anyway. It’s not exactly a subject most people know a lot about, and “common sense” would argue that you’re right.

Of course,”common sense” also says the Earth is flat, and the sun rises and sets rather than the Earth being round and rotating.

There’s hundreds of different Intersex conditions, and about the only thing they have in common is that the patient has a body neither 100% female nor 100% male. Now often, they’re not aware of their condition, and you could even be one of them. The odds are very much against it, but you could have at least some 46xx chromosomes, normally found only in females. The odds are higher that you have some 47xxy chromosomes, neither conventionally male nor conventionally female, but still not high.

It appears that Santhi has a condition called ‘Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome’. This condition means her cells just plain ignore the male hormone, testosterone. You could inject her with enough to change the Dallas Cheerleaders so they look like the Dallas Cowboys, and it wouldn’t affect her one whit. She’s more female in body than most women.

However.. she also has 46xy chromosomes, usually only found in males (though some women with them have given birth). That means that in the womb, she developed testes rather than ovaries, and these are internal. She also developed a vagina, though not a cervix or womb.

Moreover, her brain, specifically the lymbic nucleus, is unambiguously female. Her instincts, her reflexes, her senses of smell and hearing (all of which are sexually dimorphic) are female. If the terms “man” and “woman” are to mean anything, she’s a woman, albeit sterile.

It can be utterly devastating for a young girl to come to a fertility clinic to find out why she hasn’t had her first period yet - and to be told that it’s because she’s “genetically male”. She’s not, for 46xy chromosomes are found in some fertile women, but not even all medics are familiar with such unusual conditions. Usually 46xx means female, 46xy means male. Usually.

Two PopSci articles available online are PBS Nova Online’s The Intersex Spectrum and COSMOS Science magazine’s Intersex: The Space between the Genders.

More data on Intersex conditions is available from the Intersex Society of North America at , the UK Intersex Association at and Organisation Intersex International

Ignorance like yours leads to persecution: being called cheats, perverts, freaks, paedophiles… often by people who are highly educated in other areas, and who would normally never dream of treating anyone with a rare congenital medical condition as a pariah. Fortunately, unlike a genetic oddity, ignorance is curable, and it’s in our best interest to try to cure people like you of it.
Too much snark, not enough objectivity in that one, but I'm only human.

Not that everyone accords me that privilege. Still, at least I'm only "possessed by an unclean spirit" this time, and not actually accused of being the Spawn of Satan. Not yet.

UPDATE- The Professor left me a comment that was kinder to me than I deserve after my snarkiness. His students are more than fortunate to have such a mentor. I wish there were more in academe like him, and I hope I'll be able to follow his example.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Numbers and the Brain

The computational resources required to model the brain are huge - but within our reach soon. From Wired:

The structure of the cerebral cortex is the same in all mammals. So researchers started with a real-time simulation of a small brain, about the size of a rat's, in which they put together simulated neurons connected through a digital network. It took 8 terabytes of memory on a 32,768-processor BlueGene/L supercomputer to make it happen.

The simulation doesn't replicate the rat brain itself, but rather imitates just the cortex.
The human cortex has about 22 billion neurons and 220 trillion synapses, making it roughly 400 times larger than the rat scale model. A supercomputer capable of running a software simulation of the human brain doesn't exist yet. Researchers would require at least a machine with a computational capacity of 36.8 petaflops and a memory capacity of 3.2 petabytes -- a scale that supercomputer technology isn't expected to hit for at least three years.
Modelling the brain through sheer compuational grunt allied with software is just one approach that's being examined.
Software simulation of the human brain is just one half the solution. The other is to create a new chip design that will mimic the neuron and synaptic structure of the brain.

That's where Kwabena Boahen, associate professor of bioengineering at Stanford University, hopes to help. Boahen, along with other Stanford professors, has been working on implementing neural architectures in silicon.

One of the main challenges to building this system in hardware, explains Boahen, is that each neuron connects to others through 8,000 synapses. It takes about 20 transistors to implement a synapse, so building the silicon equivalent of 220 trillion synapses is a tall order, indeed.

"You end up with a technology where the cost is very unfavorable," says Boahen. "That's why we have to use nanotech to implement synapses in a way that will make them much smaller and more cost-effective."

Boahen and his team are trying to create a device smaller than a single transistor that can do the job of 20 transistors. "We are essentially inventing a new device," he says.
Which, if it comes to fruition, will have rather more immediate uses than modelling the brain.

The trouble is, that even if you do all of this successfully, all you manage to do is to model a mammal in a persistant vegetative state. Intelligence is not so much a thing as a process, and forming a mind given the components may just be as difficult a task as painting the Mona Lisa after inventing paint, canvas, and brushes. A whole new order of difficulty.
Meanwhile, at the University of California-Merced, Kello and his team are creating a virtual environment that could train the simulated brain to experience and learn. They are using the Unreal Tournament videogame engine to help train the system. When it's ready, it will be used to teach the neural networks how to make decisions and learn along the way.
Will the model of the brain be self-bootsrapping, self-ordering, the way that happens in nature? That's likely. But will it be sane at the end of it? That's another issue.
Then there's the difficulty of explaining that mimicking the cerebral cortex isn't exactly the same as recreating the brain. The cerebral cortex is associated with functions such as thought, computation and action, while other parts of the brain handle emotions, co-ordination and vital functions. These researchers haven't even begun to address simulating those parts yet.
It could be that these would be even more difficult to deal with, yet essential for any model worth the name to implement. This kind of tool though will be very useful in figuring out how the brain doesn't work, even ifthe ultimate aim is not achieved initially.

It's certainly our best, nay, our only hope of figuring out how we think, and how we feel. Just modelling the lymbic nucleus, and comparing the results with "normal" and near-normal but "anomalous" neuro-anatomy (for example, that involved with transsexuality) should tell us many of the things we want to know. Eventually. It might take decades, or even centuries though.

More on neural modelling in previous posts.

Monday 9 February 2009

Today's Battle

Not by me this time. Not yet. Our time may come, as it did in 2003. But today, the 40 degree temperatures we've had every day for a week are now only 29, the sky is overcast, and we've had a sprinkling of rain.

When driving, we scan the horizon for signs of smoke. We keep the radio on, so we get the emergency warnings as soon as possible. We take what precautions we can, and we go about our daily business.

It looks very much like the final death toll will exceed 200. Too many in the burnout zone are still officially missing, and despite the best efforts of the medics, some of those in hospital will succumb to multiple organ failure in the coming month.

Then there's Heroes and Heroines like this.

Sunday 8 February 2009

The Bowdlerised Internet

From Sociological Images, an advert for an ISP from 2005.

After complaints of this pandering to the extremist home-school Religious Right (as opposed to those who homeschool because many public schools are utter disasters), the official story was:-
Our advertisement was a tongue-in-cheek attempt to show the lengths some people will go to in order to protect their children from 'inappropriate' subject matter.
Not exactly obvious -in fact,that directly contradicts the part about "So will we...making it simpler". And dumbing it down.

The full story was described over at

From No Clean Feed on the Internet Censorship that the current Australian Government is committed to, as they owe favours to religious extremists:
Although the final details of the filtering plans have been kept under wraps, the Minister is on record as being firmly committed to a mandatory clean-feed internet to Australian homes, schools and public computers.
What do we know so far?

* Filtering will be mandatory in all homes and schools across the country.
* The clean feed will censor material that is "harmful and inappropriate" for children.
* The filter will require a massive expansion of the ACMA's blacklist of prohibited content.
* The Government wants to use dynamic filters of questionable accuracy that slow the internet down by an average of 30%.
* The filtering will target legal as well as illegal material.
* $44m has been budgeted for the implementation of this scheme so far.
* The clean-feed for children will be opt-out, but a second filter will be mandatory for all Internet users.
* A live pilot deployment is going ahead in the near future.

What we don't know is just as important.

* What age level is the country's Internet to be made appropriate for? 15? 10? 5 years old?
* Who decides what material is "appropriate" for Australians to see?
* How are lists of "illegal" material compiled?
* Who will maintain the blacklist of prohibited sites?
* How can sites mistakenly added to the list be removed?

All of us want to see children protected from content that could be disturbing or harmful. The clean-feed filter is not a good way to go about this, and could actually reduce the safety of children online.
The battle against wowserism, bowdlerisation and the legal enforcement of ignorance continues. Those who see Science as opposed to, rather than orthogonal to, their Religion are committed to suppress it. That includes Wowsers, but also the terminally politically correct on the Left, and Young Earth Creationists on the Right.

Friday 6 February 2009

The Devolution of Free Republic

It used to be a conservative site. Now though.... there's this.

To: chuck_the_tv_out

How many intermediate forms do they have? Oh yeah, NONE.

Here is an intermediate or transitional. Note its position in the chart below:

Fossil: KNM-ER 3733

Site: Koobi Fora (Upper KBS tuff, area 104), Lake Turkana, Kenya (4, 1)

Discovered By: B. Ngeneo, 1975 (1)

Estimated Age of Fossil: 1.75 mya * determined by Stratigraphic, faunal, paleomagnetic & radiometric data (1, 4)

Species Name: Homo ergaster (1, 7, 8), Homo erectus (3, 4, 7), Homo erectus ergaster (25)

Gender: Female (species presumed to be sexually dimorphic) (1, 8)

Cranial Capacity: 850 cc (1, 3, 4)

Information: Tools found in same layer (8, 9). Found with KNM-ER 406 A. boisei (effectively eliminating single species hypothesis) (1)

Interpretation: Adult (based on cranial sutures, molar eruption and dental wear) (1)

See original source for notes:

7 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 07:00:53 by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)

To: gwilhelm56

Let’s call it what it is, Satanism. That’s where it comes from - Satan- and he’s who they will spend eternity with for blaspheming against God. It’s good to know that God is just. I’d love to see the smirks fall from their faces when they find out what their eternal future is going to be.


21 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 08:08:40 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)


To: Coyoteman

23 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 08:10:45 by mgstarr ("Some of us drink because we're not poets." Arthur (1981))


To: ToGodBeTheGlory

Let’s call it what it is, Satanism. That’s where it comes from - Satan- and he’s who they will spend eternity with for blaspheming against God. It’s good to know that God is just. I’d love to see the smirks fall from their faces when they find out what their eternal future is going to be.

This is a science thread. Religious dogma has no role in science, nor on this thread. Please take it elsewhere.

28 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 09:07:40 by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)


To: Coyoteman

“This is a science thread. Religious dogma has no role in science, nor on this thread. Please take it elsewhere.”

This is a Conservative website. Evo-Atheism has no role in conservatism, nor on any thread on this board other than to show the depths that Satan will go to spread his lies. Please take your NEA-loving cult elsewhere.

37 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 09:34:21 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)


To: ToGodBeTheGlory

“This is a science thread. Religious dogma has no role in science, nor on this thread. Please take it elsewhere.”

This is a Conservative website. Evo-Atheism has no role in conservatism, nor on any thread on this board other than to show the depths that Satan will go to spread his lies. Please take your NEA-loving cult elsewhere.

Are you suggesting that evolution, a science which fully follows the scientific method, is not permitted in conservatism, or on this website?

38 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 09:39:14 by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)


To: Coyoteman

I’m not just suggesting, I’m saying that evolution is not science and is of Satan. It has no place in Conservatism.

43 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:13:02 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)


To: ToGodBeTheGlory; Coyoteman

I’m not just suggesting, I’m saying that evolution is not science and is of Satan. It has no place in Conservatism.

Feel free to demonstrate all of the above.
44 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:16:45 by Gumlegs


To: Gumlegs

Satan has everything to do with this thread, because the thread is about Darwinism and evo-atheism, which are of Satan. It matters not how long one has been posting here, it matters what they have been posting. I have been posting the Word, and evo-atheists have been posting the words of the Deceiver.

Remember, God is the final Admin.

45 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:19:03 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)


To: ToGodBeTheGlory

You keep posting that, but you’ve never posted a word as to why we should believe you.

46 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:20:08 by Gumlegs


To: Gumlegs

Read the Word. God wrote down everything we needed to know. It’s written in plain English for even the slow to understand.

48 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:24:24 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)


To: ToGodBeTheGlory

Please stop posting religious dogma on this science thread.

Your belief has no role in science.

49 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:24:44 by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)


To: Coyoteman

God created science just like He created everything else. Got news for you. God and freedom of religion take no back seat to anyone on this forum. Freedom of religion reigns supreme in this land. If you don’t like it, shove it.

50 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:25:50 by Jim Robinson


To: ToGodBeTheGlory

You made some assertions. You've just posted you can't be bothered backing them up.

If "God wrote down everything we needed to know," as you just posted, what are you doing on the internet? It's not mentioned in the Bible.

51 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:27:17 by Gumlegs


To: Jim Robinson

You may post anything you wish to this thread (or any other). Coyoteman lives in his own little world.

In my world science is not equated with satanism.

However, your world is increasingly becoming overrun with extreme fringe elements who do equate science with satanism.

If you would rather keep those fringe posters, and discourage the scientists from posting here, then fringe posters is what you''ll end up with.

54 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:44:58 by Coyoteman (Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.)


To: metmom; All

Coyoteman’s been banned.

64 posted on Thursday, 29 January 2009 10:56:31 by CE2949BB (Fight.)


To: tpanther; Coyoteman

Why pick on evolution then?

"I can't think of anything that is so insecure surrounding gravity (etc.) today, that when a concerned group of parents places a sticker on a textbook reminding students as in the example in evolution is mere theory, and not fact, they get sued, can you?"

I hope the lawsuit was thrown out, since everything is a "theory" and its impossible to prove a theory, only to disprove it. Truth has little bearing on utility. Take a falsly geocentric view of the universe and navigating a boat by the stars and the assumption that everything revolves around the Earth still works fine.

Oh, and btw, Edmund Burke never actually wrote that tagline - it is oft attributed to him and may well be something that he might have said but there is nothing in his works or those of his contemporaries to suggest that he did. So much for truth.

RIP Coyoteman

441 posted on Friday, 30 January 2009 01:07:49 by Anatheme


To: Coyoteman; metmom; Jim Robinson; All

Excuse me... science BEGAN as the observation of the natural world and the wonders of God’s creation, thus to gain understanding so to draw man closer to his Creator, and his eternal destiny.

Thus in keeping the above context in sight, to make the statement that “science is not equated with satanism” [sic] yet simultaneously extol the supposed virtues of a thought system whose cornerstones rest on the philosophical postulates of secular humanism, which in fact denies the existence of God, is by definition a “false” or “diabolical” mission. Here is the reasoning behind my assertion:

The word “diabolic” derives from the Greek word “diaballo” meaning to “pass beyond” or “over”, from the root dia - “through” and, as a causal accusative, “with the aid of”. Later, diaballo acquired a more sense - for example “to set against” (Aristotle) although it was sometimes used (as diabolos) when a ‘bad’ or ‘false’ sense was meant, as for example, a false accusation.

The early forms of the English word devil are regarded as deriving from the Gothic (the Old English divul) ‘diabaulus’ which came from the Latin ‘diabolus’. However, the Old English ‘deofel’ and kindred words like the Old Frisian ‘diovel’ could be derived from the suffix ‘fel’, a variant of ‘fell’ meaning fierce, savage, or wild. Then the original form, ‘deofel’, would mean the ‘fierce/ savage/ wild’ god. There is some justification for the use of the Latin prefix in this manner - e.g. ‘deodand’, which occurs in 12th century English. In this context ‘fell’ (from the Latin ‘fello’) was often used to describe both a wild, fierce person (such as an outlaw) and a brave man or warrior. Much later, the word passed into general usage as ‘felon’ - with a moral sense.

This is often regarded as from the Hebrew, meaning accuser. However, the Hebrew is itself derived from the Greek aitia - “an accusation” - qv. Aeschylus: aitiau ekho. The Greek form became corrupted to the Hebrew ‘Satan’ - whence also ‘Shaitan’. In Greek of the classical period aitia and diabole were often used for the same thing, particularly when a ‘bad’ or ‘false’ sense was required. Hebrew is essentially in its origins a corrupt form of Greek, with some other influences thrown in.

The word ‘evil’ derives from the Gothic ‘ubils’ which meant a ‘going beyond’ (the due measure)

To be diabolical is to be false. Hence, to connect science with a philosophical set of principles that sets as its objective a denial of the metaphysical realm science sought to explain is to “pass over and beyond” the purpose of science “with the aid of” a counter philosophy, so to cast science in a light alien to its origins. Such an endeavor would rightly be defined as “anti-science” or “counter-science” or more precisely a “false science” that asserts itself to establish a new paradigm… one that “sets against” God, and works to usurp God’s authority while simultaneously envying the power of God. Thus we have a system of thought that is wholly foreign to science but desires to subordinate science under its realm, rather than be subordinated to the original intent of science: the study of God’s creation.

This new paradigm asserts itself better, bigger, and more rational than belief in God… thus it “goes beyond” God, and therefore may accurately be called “evil” (Gothic: ‘ubils’)

The new paradigm asserts that man descended – “evolved” - from wild beasts Thus it is “devilish” in its philosophy, and false in its principles (Greek: ‘aitia’ and ‘diabole’).

(How is it possible to hold that man may simultaneously descend from, i.e.: move downward, and yet “evolve” or move upward?)

So, in fact this new paradigm is false… but for reason of envy of God’s power of creation it is more than false… it is a lie, for all lies derive from pride and envy. This new paradigm asserts that man descended from wild beasts, and so its philosophy may accurately be described as “devilish.” This new paradigm “accuses” all religion as being the bane of humanity, and so it may accurately be described as satanic (Greek ‘aitia’). Since this new paradigm:

1. Is an unfaithful or “false” copy of the original (diabolic)
2. Declares that order comes from disorder without intervention of intelligence (evil)
3. Declares man evolved from beast (devilish)
4. Accuses all religions to be the bane of humanity. God does not exist (satanic)
5. Asserts the above, having envy its motive, and thus is based in false pride, not science (diabolic)

So, your original statement “science is not equated with satanism” … needs a slight modification: ‘true science is not equated with Satanism’ … whereas that which presently poses as “science” does indeed derive from the diabolical, is devilish in philosophy, is evil in its nature, is a lie, and satanic in its objectives.

By a trial of the objective facts the accused is guilty. The prosecution rests its case.

499 posted on Friday, 30 January 2009 04:34:42 by TCH (Another redneck clinging to guns and religion)


To: Lurking Libertarian

God told us everything we need to know in plain English in the KJV Bible. We don’t need to know about the internets to get to Heaven.

561 posted on Friday, 30 January 2009 07:58:50 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)


To: wendy1946; varmintman

I’m guessing that in 100 years he’ll be a footnote in history books, while the real scientists will have come to terms with the electrical nature of the universe. Some interesting things at this website:

635 posted on Friday, 30 January 2009 10:53:15 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)

To: GourmetDan

Have fun answering this.

What force is capable of moving the massive Sun around a much less massive Earth while leaving the Earth motionless?

What Biblical passages do you think support Geocentricism?

1,188 posted on Thursday, 5 February 2009 10:21:48 by allmendream ("Wealth is EARNED not distributed, so how could it be redistributed?")


To: allmendream

The answer is quite clear. The force in question is God.

1,197 posted on Thursday, 5 February 2009 12:21:01 by ToGodBeTheGlory ("Darwinism" is Satanism.)