On the Science of Changing Sex

Exploring The Science of Transgender

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 16, 2018

Through Knowledge, Justice…

27867072_1811649452220144_4426664495691531655_nThis blog is on the science of transsexuality and transgender sexuality, including aspects of sexual orientation.  The blog also explores socio-political themes where appropriate.  There are many myths and misunderstandings about transsexuality and transgender people.  Our scientific understanding of the transsexual phenomena has increased and dramatically improved over the past fifty years, yet much of what is available in popular literature is misinformation and disinformation.  Much of what the public, including transsexuals and transgender people themselves, believe about the etiology and epidemiology of transsexuality is based on wishful thinking on one hand and deliberate distortions on the other.  Worse, many cherry-pick among the scientific papers, choosing those that, in isolation, appear to support a given thesis.  Many people have read misinformation and disinformation regarding the science, denying, decrying, and even weaponizing the science, often in emotionally inflammatory language (including vicious attacks on the characters of scientists and educators), that makes its rounds in the echo chamber of the web and social media.  Indeed, there are fora that will instantly ban any who discuss this science in any truthful way.  This blog is an attempt to correct this situation.

Learning an unpleasant truth is better than believing a comforting lie – Don’t let the “tribe” tell you what to think – Trust only evidence, not vehemence

All information found in this blog is supported by peer reviewed science and referenced (cited) in essay posts covering a given topic found on this site.  Many topics are interwoven with other topics, as they are interlocking issues.  Please explore the entire site for a full explanation of each topic.

I recommend that one read the first several entries in the FAQ as an introduction and jumping off point via the links provided.  One can find a bibliography for this blog if you wish to quickly find papers of interest.  You may wish to review the Glossary if a word is unfamiliar.

Remember as you read this site;  Transsexuals and transgendered people are good people, worthy of our respect, and even of our admiration.  Nothing in this material is meant to imply otherwise.  If you are a transsexual or transgendered person:  You have value as a human being.  You have the right to be respected, valued, and even celebrated as the gender to which you identify and aspire regardless of etiology.

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Who Would Date Transgender People?

Posted in Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on July 1, 2019

female_scientistA very recent paper by Dr. Karen Blair and R. A. Hoskin received a bit of publicity in both pro and anti- trans publications.  BOTH mischaracterized the paper and its findings.

But before I go into the paper, I have to make some strong editorial and political statements:

All acts of sexuality and romance should be joyously consensual.  No one may coerce, by force or by emotional blackmail, anyone to participate in any sexual or romantic activity.  To be even more specific; No, you may NOT berate people who won’t date or have sex with transfolk into doing so.  No, you may NOT call such people “transphobic” just for not being attracted to you or other transfolk.

On the flip side; No, you may NOT call transfolk respectfully seeking to date non-transfolk “rapists” or “rapey”.  No, you may NOT use examples of transfolk lashing out in frustration (no matter how unkindly) as exemplars of all transfolk’s behavior or attitudes.

The first thing to understand about this new paper is that it is a byproduct of another study and was not conducted to test any hypothesis.  The manner of obtaining its subjects was more typical of a convenience sample and may have some bias to it.  Specifically, there were many young people who were in college.  So, this study is an “exploratory” study and was never intended to find out “why” people feel they way they do about transpeople, only whether they would “hypothetically” be interested in dating transpeople.

In reporting responses, Blair et al., use the sexual orientation of the subjects compared to the post social transition identification as either “congruent” or “incongruent”.  That is to say, if a straight man said that he would date a transwoman, that is “congruent” with his sexual orientation.

Response categories by sexual and gender identity.
.                                                       Exclusionary N (%) Congruent N (%) Incongruent N (%)
Bi/queer/non-binary                   56 (48.3)                    40 (34.5)                20 (17.2)
Lesbian women                           79 (71.2)                    10 (9)                      22 (19.8)
Gay men                                        108 (88.5)                  10 (8.2)                   4 (3.3)
Heterosexual women                 388 (98.2)                  6 (1.5)                     1 (0.3)
Heterosexual men                       206 (96.7)                  3 (1.4)                    4 (1.9)

Given some of the friction found between some gynephilic transwomen and a certain element of the lesbian community, the data from the study is perhaps surprising.  Ten percent of the lesbians indicated that they would consider dating transwomen.  Doing a bit of math, given that lesbians comprise a bit over ~1% of women and 9% are willing to date transwomen = 0.1% of women, while post social transition gynephilic transwomen are only 0.04% of socially identified women, there are more than enough willing lesbians as there are lesbian identified transwomen; a happy coincidence.

Interestingly, happy circumstances occur for every one else as well.  There are more people in each congruent and incongruent category to allow every transperson of every sexual orientation to find a willing partner.  It may be a more arduous task for transfolk to find willing partners, but there is no shortage.  Far from transfolk being shut out of the dating (and marriage) market, we are very much welcome in it.

Further Reading:

Going to the Chapel

Reference:

Blair, K.L. & Hoskin, R.A. (2018). Transgender exclusion from the world of dating: Patterns of acceptance and rejection of hypothetical trans dating partners as a function of sexual and gender identity. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.
https://www.drkarenblair.com/s/blair2018.pdf

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The Transsexual Brain Sex Gallop

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on June 13, 2019

phrenologyA year ago I wrote an essay in response to an article that clearly cherry picked its citations to argue that recent brain sex research shouldn’t be used in evaluations of transsexual etiology.  I pointed out that it represented a change in strategy by autogynephilic transwomen from attempting to use brain sex research to bolster the claim that all transwomen had feminized brains to a strategy of attempting to claim that brains aren’t sexually dimorphic so that no one would notice that the latest brain scan studies on transfolk support the two type taxonomy of transwomen.

Well, it looks like I was right – as another article by Simon(e) D Sun [sic], this time in Scientific American Blogs, attempts to tell the very same misleading story, even right in the subtitle, “Actual Research Shows that Sex is Anything But Binary”.

It reads as a Gish Gallop running headlong away from the two type taxonomy while setting up some amazing strawmen and logical disconnects that the author hopes the reader doesn’t spot,

Let’s just take the most famous example of sexual dimorphism in the brain: the sexually dimorphic nucleus of the preoptic area (sdnPOA). This tiny brain area with a disproportionately sized name is slightly larger in males than in females. But it’s unclear if that size difference indicates distinctly wired sdnPOAs in males versus females, or if—as with the bipotential primordium—the same wiring is functionally weighted toward opposite ends of a spectrum. Throw in the observation that the sdnPOA in gay men is closer to that of straight females than straight males, and the idea of “the male brain” falls apart.

Say What?  Ummmm….  So Sun turns a classic example of a sexually dimorphic brain feature that has been feminized in a class of people whose very sexuality has been feminized, who are known to have more female typical gendered behaviors as children… and somehow that gets flipped to demonstrate that the “Idea of the male brain falls apart”.  Ummmm… No!  Just No.  This demonstrates just the opposite, that there is a very strong correlation with a female typical feature and female typical behaviors in both male and female bodied people.  That argues for a sexually dimorphic brain with behavioral correlates.

Then, Sun cites studies of transsexual MRI brain scans but completely fails to mention that they are from two separate etiological types and as such do NOT support the thesis of a non-binary, non-sexually dimorphic brain.  Sun is counting on the reader not knowing this key fact.

It is disappointing to see articles this poor.  Sun, stop using phony science articles to justify ignoring the two type taxonomy.

Further Reading:

(Cherry) Picking The Transgender Brain

Review of Brain Scan Research

Further External Reading:

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/voices/stop-using-phony-science-to-justify-transphobia/

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“ROGD” As An Epiphenomena of Parental Grieving

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on June 12, 2019

TransSupportDiscovering that one’s child is gender dysphoric, for what ever reason, evokes parental distress.  How can it not?  The spector of one’s child going through pain is bad enough.  But to “lose” the child that one thought one had, as though they were dying, and yet that child isn’t dying but may metamorphize into another, a stranger, a changeling?  Even for parents who believe that they are liberal, tolerant, accepting of LGBT people, that “loss” is still real.

These parents grieve for the child that they thought they had.  The grief is real.  It hurts.  Even as they love their gender dysphoric child, they still grieve.

Which brings us to how grief is experienced and expressed.  Although often questioned, the Kübler-Ross model is still generally useful if we disregard the notion that one goes through it in a linear progression.  Instead, the “stages” can be experienced in a wicked jumble.  They are denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and (hopefully), acceptance.

Parents of gender dysphoric children will exhibit all of these emotions and expressions.  But now, with the internet to allow parents to very quickly find each other, these personal expressions can take on social expressions.

Unlike the actual death of a child, a child who is gender dysphoric and wanting to socially transition is still standing there, day in, day out, so the grieving stage of denial has no easy check, their child could be mistaken, it could all be just a phase, a fad, a social contagion.  It could be this false malady that other parents are all talking about, Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria… and it should be treatable!  It will all be OK.  My child won’t grow up to be one of those people.

But the child still stands there and still insists that they feel this awful disconnect between their body, their social expectations, their sexuality, and what they dare to dream for their future selves.  The parents feel frustrated, and the next stage of grieving comes to play, anger.  Anger at the child, but that isn’t the real problem they say to themselves, it must be someone else’s fault.  It must be all of that stuff on the internet.  It must be all of that Transgender Ideology that has gotten into their innocent heads, causing Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria.  Those People are to blame.  And when those people won’t take responsibility for hurting their child, well, it’s time they were castigated for it on the internet!

But sometimes, the parents need to bargain.  Oh… couldn’t we find a therapist to fix my child.  Shouldn’t there be some sort of therapy allowed for my child?  Why is conversion therapy no longer legal?  Surely I’m allowed to determine what is best for my child?

Then the sadness strikes and they look to the internet to find advise on how to cope with a transgender child, how to deal with a transgender child.  Fruitlessly searching for those magic words that will make the pain go away.

And maybe, just maybe, they will finally reach acceptance and learn to celebrate the child that they have, rather than continue to grieve the loss the of the child they thought they had.

Parents in online fora invented the concept of ROGD as they worked their way through their grieving for their gender dysphoric child.  It is not a newly developing etiology.  But as reason for castigating transfolk and an imaged harmful “transgender ideology” it serves the purposes of a number of transphobic constituencies to take advantage of grieving parents.

Further Reading:

Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria and Parental Denialism

Shameful History of Reparitive Therapy of Gender Atypical Youth

Essay on Parental Internet Search Strings

Advice to Parents of Transkids

Further External Reading:

What I Didn’t Understand About The Stages Of Grief — Until I Was In Them
by Caila Smith

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Richard Green, M.D., J.D. (1936-2019)

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on June 5, 2019

Greens bookDr. Richard Green passed recently.  How will we remember him?

Joe Herbert published an obit in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, a journal that Dr. Green founded.  As one would expect, he lionizes Dr. Green.  I can’t join him.  Dr. Green’s career is not quite as faultless as Herbert would have it.

I first became aware of Green in early 1975, when Dr. Norman Fisk recommended his book, Sexual Identity Conflict in Children and Adults, to me during my first intake evaluation interview at the Gender Dysphoria Clinic at Stanford.  I drove to the book store right afterwards to buy it.  Although interesting and informative in general, one particular passage had the greatest emotional salience for me,

“The men who fall in love with and perhaps marry women who are themselves former males, by and large, have known their partners only as women.  Their prior sexual experiences have been only with females.  They consider themselves heterosexual and their relationships heterosexual.  To varying degrees they are consciously and unconsciously aware of the biologic status of their partners, but it would be simplistic and would furthermore blur generally accepted definitions to call these men homosexual.  Rather they are men who respond to the considerable femininity of male-to-female transsexuals, ignoring the dissonant cues of masculinity.”

family

Those very words, read when I was 17 years old, gave me hope that my dearest wish, to live in society accepted as a woman, to find and marry a straight man, hopefully to also adopt children, just might be possible, in spite of my own mother’s words of encouragement that “No man will ever love you, you know.”  Fortunately, Dr. Green was right, and my mother quite wrong.

Herbert points out that Green and his colleagues at UCLA were working with gender atypical boys believing them to be transkids, future MTF transwomen.  This wasn’t an unwarranted assumption given the standard transsexual narrative, based on the life arcs of homosexual transsexuals (HSTS), but assiduously aped by autogynephilic late transitioning transwomen to improve their chances of slipping by the ‘gate-keepers’.  But in longitudinally following these youngsters, the majority did not persist to become transsexual, but developed into gay men instead.  Herbert praises Green for changing his hypothesis to match the data, as a good scientist should.  Thus was born the ‘sissy boy syndrome’ and the acknowledgement that gay men have gender atypical childhoods.

However, this glosses a key fact.  Green and his colleagues believed at that time that they were working with young transkids.  Yes, I just said that earlier.  Let me repeat that, because it is key to my concern with not forgetting an ugly truth.  Green and his colleagues (most notably Rekers) at UCLA were trying to “cure” transsexual children to make them grow up to be masculine straight men.  To do that, they engaged in the most vile, despicable, “therapy” experiments conducted on children to date.

Lately, it has become unfashionable and even illegal in some polities to conduct “conversion therapy” to attempt to change one’s sexual orientation.  But a few (and that’s still too many) now argue that it is still proper to “encourage” transkids to “accept” their birth sex.  The problem is two fold.  First, where is the line between reasonable acknowledgement that most gender atypical kids are ‘pre-homosexual’ not ‘pre-transsexual’ and transphobically devaluing the lives and needs of transkids?  Second, where is the line between listening attentively and supporting youth to become the best versions of themselves and implicitly, and even explicitly, telling them that both gender atypicality and gender dysphoria are morally unacceptable?;  Or even more explicitly, telling them that being transsexual is a less than acceptable outcome?  (Don’t quibble, this is in fact what is the underlying value system motivating these therapists.)

Dr. Green is complicit in fostering this implicit devaluing of the lives of homosexual transsexuals in favor of desisters as the better outcome.  Yes, I argue that a morally neutral position regarding desistance vs. persistence is the only acceptable one.  Let desisters naturally desist.  Let persisters naturally persist, providing medical technology as requested by individuals making informed decisions as they mature to become the best versions of themselves.  Holding the position that desisting is the desired outcome tells both transkids and the adults we become (yes that includes me) that we are the undesirable outcome. That we are the “failures”.  This is socially and morally a despicable value to hold.

Further Reading:

Shameful History of Reparitive Therapy of Transgender and Gay Children & Youth

Reference:

Herbert, J., “Richard Green M.D., J.D. (1936-2019)” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2019)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-019-01474-3

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Autoandrophilia vs. Autohomoerotic Sexuality

Posted in Editorial, Female-to-Male by Kay Brown on May 15, 2019

female_scientistIf you are paying attention to the latest discussions regarding sexology of female bodied gender dysphoria you may have come across a debate in which some of the old time sexologists have quibbles about the concept of autoandrophilic transgender sexuality.  Oh, let’s spell it out, Ray Blanchard had once upon a time flat out denied that autoandrophilia exists, largely because he, as many other sexologists asserted, believed women never have paraphilias…. but then evidence poured in… OK… he says so some women have paraphilias (masochism being the most common)… but that still doesn’t mean that gay or bisexual identified transmen are autoandrophilic… they just have autohomoerotic fantasies of themselves as gay men.

Sigh… I say tomato, you say tahmahto…

Seriously, recent research has shown that autogynephilic males can experience essentially the same thing as Interpersonal Autogynephilia, in fact, many of them do, having fantasies in which they are lesbian.  And no, one can’t say that they aren’t the same thing.  Frankly, if males can experience autogynephilia as the result of an erotic target location error, by simple symmetry, we would expect that females can also experience autoandrophilia as a result of an erotic target location error.

Need proof that women experience an erotic target location errors?  Consider amputee “devotees” and “wannabees”, people who are both sexually attracted to amputees and want to become an amputee.  While most are men, there are women.  Are we to say that female wannabees experience a different phenomena just because they are female?  Seriously?  I prefer to use Occam’s Razor and avoid unnecessary sexist ideology.

Back to autoandrophilia in androphilic transmen, we see the same sex ratio, very few such transmen compared to autogynephilic transwomen.  And again, by Occam’s Razor, if we know that female bodied individuals can experience an erotic target location error as rare as amputee wannabee, then we fully expect to find it in simple androphilia as autoandrophilia.  It might “look” different than what we find in males, but it’s still there.

Further Reading:

Essay on Androphilic Transmen being Autoandrophilic

Essay on Amputee Wannabees and Erotic Target Location Errors

Further External Reading:

https://meduza.io/en/feature/2017/08/02/lose-a-leg-find-yourself

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Camille Paglia Is NOT Transgender

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on May 3, 2019

Kay BrownHave you noticed that more and more the mainstream press is using the term “transgender identified” or describes someone as “identifies as transgender”?  They didn’t used to do this; and for good reason.  Journalists have twigged to the fact that many people who are lately claiming to be trans aren’t.  The most notable example is Camille Paglia, the “feminist” who isn’t.  Camille Paglia is claiming to be transgender so she can troll actual transfolk, just as she trolls feminists.

I’m sure that journalists have noted that Ms. Paglia never presented in the least bit gender dysphoric, not now, not ever.  Her appearance is perhaps on the marginally tomboyish side… a look that was common for many women back in the late ’70s and ’80s from when her fashion choices were made.  At best, she might be taken to be a “soft butch” as Leslie Feinberg would likely have described her.

Does Camille bind her breasts?  Does Camille use testosterone?  Does Camille even present as a man?  Does Camille even have a man’s haircut?  Is Camille even the least bit gender atypical in behavior, mannerisms, etc.?

What self respecting actual transperson would write of transfolk like this, as she is quoted in a recent The Atlantic essay,

“You are either born male, female, or deformed (physically or mentally). Trans people are mentally diseased and often violent. If they are not able to accept the reality of their disease and cope with it they must be removed from society by any means necessary. Some might argue that the high suicide rate among those suffering from this severe mental disease is nature correcting itself. Camille Paglia is a transgender person who was able to accept and overcome her mental disease. Be like Camille.”

Read that bit of text again, especially the part “must be removed from society by any means necessary”.  These are words we would expect to be coming from the alt-right, not a transperson.  If she were speaking of removing Jews ‘from society by any means necessary’ and claimed to be Jewish but has no Jewish ancestors, what would your conclusion be?  When confronted by seeming contradictions, one should look to the most likely explanation based on actual behavior rather than identity claims.  Camille is trolling transfolk.  Claiming to be transgender herself is part of that trolling.

Why would an academic troll transfolk at all?  Well, because it garners attention.  Consider that Jordan Peterson was a little known second rate academic psychologist with very puerile philosophic notions until he leapt to the world stage by pointedly insulting transfolk in a viral video.  Trolling transfolk is very popular among people who have nothing much else to contribute to modern thought.  The real trans population is too small to politically defend itself and thus make for an easy and exotic target to troll to gain notoriety.

Do I support efforts to remove Camille from her academic post?  No.  Do I support calling her out for her transphobic trolling and false claims of being transgender?  Absolutely!

Claiming to be trans does not make one trans.  Being transgender is not like being a Republican or Democrat which are identities that one earns by self appellation.  One simply is trans in the same way that one is gay or lesbian.

Camille Paglia is a transphobic troll, not transgender.

Further Reading:

Essay on people, mostly teenagers, falsely claiming to be transgender

Further External Reading:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/05/camille-paglia-uarts-left-deplatform/587125/

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The Gender Dysphoria Epidemic in Teens

Posted in Science Criticism by Kay Brown on April 26, 2019

female_scientistIn the media and in clinical circles, there is a perception that there is a growing epidemic of gender dysphoria in teenagers.  But is there really?  A recent paper set out to test this perception using a survey of 318 male and 401 female youth participated in 2012–2013, and 326 male and 701 female youth in 2017 with up to 3.6% of the boys reporting gender dysphoria in the later survey.  That’s twelve of the boys.

Right from the start, I have to question the utility of this study because these numbers are FAR too small to detect clinical gender dysphoria in statistically valid numbers given that we know that only three out of ten thousand individuals experience gender dysphoria sufficient to drive them to socially transition.  And that counts “late onset” gender dysphoria which would not occur in teenagers.  If we count only “early onset”, we would expect to see only one out of ten thousand.  So, with less than two thousand subjects this study couldn’t possibly detect any change in the incidence of severe gender dysphoria.

Lying on survey instruments is common in the general population.  It also occurs in the transsexual population and has been shown to be heavily driven by social desirability bias in which autogynephilia is strongly downplayed or outright denied in the “late transitioning” / gynephilic transsexual population.  But another form of misrepresentation occurs, especially in teenagers, as the authors point out,

“Validity screening is a novel approach in GD research. Social desirability has been recognized as a methodological problem resulting in the concealing of information perceived as stigmatizing in clinical encounters and research studies. Anonymous survey studies appear to offer a forum to disclose sensitive information without such inhibition, but particularly among adolescents, surveys have also been shown to be susceptible to exaggeration of such information. The proportion of those who admitted to giving incorrect responses was low, but missing information on this item was decidedly common. Comparisons between those reporting responding honestly with those who were not honest and those omitting to answer the honesty question revealed first that among male youth, admitting incorrect responding was strongly associated with reporting GD as measured by the GIDYQ-A. Unfortunately, no validity screen was included in the earlier data. The prevalence of GD detected among males in the earlier data may also be an overestimation. However, not responding to the honesty question was likewise associated with vastly increased prevalence of GD. This may indicate that adolescents felt uneasy after mispresenting themselves when faced with the honesty question and chose to ignore it. However, it may also be that adolescents exaggerated their gender-related dissatisfaction due to assuming that such feelings are expected. GD has recently attracted extensive media coverage in Finland. Adolescents may perceive that they should problematize their gender, and this may influence their responses. When confronted with the validity question they perhaps nevertheless hesitated.”

The odd thing about this study is that their validity screening was conducted with just a single question item in the survey at the end, “Did you respond  honestly?”  While one can imagine that some who had previously been dishonest would now admit to “Yeah, I’m just messing with you.”  Can we assume that all who had been dishonest would suddenly be totally honest just because they asked?  Seriously?  Still, answering the question that they had not been honest or not answering that question both correlated with a higher GD score.  This tells us that we can not trust these scores.

Simply put, there is no credible evidence that there is such a serious epidemic of gender dysphoria in teenagers.  Underpowered studies such as this will not answer the question.

For myself, I don’t see any evidence of any increase in the incidence of severe gender dysphoria, only an increase in the visibility and acceptance of transfolk, and of the trendiness of claiming to be transgender.

Further Reading:

Essay on teenagers falsely claiming to be transgender

References:

Katiala-Heino, R., et al, “Gender dysphoria in adolescent population: A 5-year replication study” Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1359104519838593

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ROGD Redux

Posted in Editorial, Science Criticism by Kay Brown on April 22, 2019

female_scientistA paper published online today in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by a young transwoman, Arjee Restar, tears apart the Littman paper purporting to be about a phenomena called Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria which Littman claims is an example of “social contagion” in which teenagers, most of whom are female bodied, develop gender dysphoria purely because of exposure to what many are calling “transgender ideology”.  Restar’s paper admirably questions Littman’s paper on it’s poor methodology which failed to follow good science practices.  The critique shows that rather than testing a hypothesis, Littman’s entire study was designed to produce a predetermined result and pass it off as science, as Restar explains,

“Participants recruited into a study should never be selected based on a researcher’s a priori knowledge of how the results of the paper would appear and confirm their premise. As noted earlier, Littman recruited specifically on three Web sites solely because these venues are attracting a specific demographic group of parental-respondents who are already subscribed into, are selecting into (i.e., self-selection bias), are promoting the concept of “ROGD,” and agree via consent form with the premise of the study. By choosing a specific population of interest and selecting cases and venues where cases can be found, an a priori motivation that favors the investigator’s premise and specific perspectives is likely to be gathered from the sample and thus likely contributing to systemically biased results.”

Fortunately, both Littman’s revised paper and Restar’s critique are openly published, not behind a paywall, so anyone can read both and come to their own conclusions.  However, I do have a few of my own comments to make here.

First, the idea of social contagion of minority human sexual orientation has previously been put forward.  In fact, it became a center piece of homophobic political activism that used such slogans as “Save Our Children” from the “homosexual agenda” of “recruitment”.  That Littman and her ilk recycle this thoroughly debunked trope in a new guise should be no surprise (ref: Brakefield, 2014).

Second, the idea of social contagion (ROGD as a form of “conversion disorder”) focused on girls smacks of the misogynist concept of “hysterical women” found in sexist medical literature of the past.  It’s use here as a “just so” explanation is one that transphobic parents would happily cling to in their denialism.

Third, I’ve already shared my thoughts on transphobic parental denialism in a previous essay.

Finally, I look forward to seeing more of Ms. Restar’s academic work in the future.

References:

Restar, A. J., “Methodological Critique of Littman’s (2018) Parental-Respondents Accounts of “Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria” “, Archives of Sexual Behavior (2019)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-1453-2

Littman, L. L. “Rapid-onset gender dysphoria in adolescents and young adults: A study of parental reports.” PLoS ONE, 13(8) (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0202330

Brakefield, T. A., et al, “Same-sex sexual attraction does not spread in adolescent social networks.” Archives of Sexual Behavior (2014)
https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-013-0142-9

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Female_hysteria

Further Reading:

Essay on ROGD and Parental Denialism

Further External Reading:

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/amphtml/shannonkeating/rapid-onset-gender-dysphoria-flawed-methods-transgender

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Oppressive Rituals of Ceremoniously Announcing One’s Gender Pronouns

Posted in Autobiographical, Editorial by Kay Brown on April 8, 2019

Kay BrownBefore I jump into the deeper topic of this essay, I need to share an anecdote in the hopes that reading it will help any non-trans person reading this to understand it.  (Note: I normally avoid the use of the term “cis” as it is deeply problematic, but that is an issue for another essay.)

About a decade ago, I accompanied a young protégé, a 20-something transwoman to Trinidad, Colorado so that she wouldn’t be all alone as she underwent SRS and the painful first days afterwards.  I stayed at a B&B owned by a lesbian.  It was billed as a very trans friendly place where transfolk and their families / friends could stay during and after their hospitalization.  Perfect, I thought.

Well… not so perfect as it turned out.  The first few days went well as I got along well with the relatives of the transfolk, who except for exactly one 17-year-old, were all classic autogynephilic transwomen.  The non-transfolk, all female, staying at the B&B were clearly self-congratulating themselves for how supportive they were of their transgender relative.  The owner of the B&B was friendly, and tried to get me to partake in smoking grass and staying up late to get more than tipsy on hard liquor with her lesbian friends.  As I never drink more than a few sips of wine with dinner, never use pot, and am habitually an early to bed, early to rise type, she was very disappointed in me.

But, after being there several days, as my young protégé lay in the hospital bed recovering, there was some rather animated discussions among the family members of the transfolk at the B&B, it became clear to me that they all thought I was my young protégé’s mother.  Further, it became clear that even though all of these people had transfolk as relatives, spouses, or lovers, they didn’t really have a clue as to certain aspects of trans-life, history, or medical etiology.  I said something that could only be properly understood if one knew that I was trans… Oopsie!

The owner of the B&B suddenly turned to me and said, “But YOU aren’t transgender!”.

“Yes, I am.  I had SRS in this very same place twenty-eight years ago.”

“But you are so womanly!”

Yes, that is a verbatim quote, which tells volumes of her perception of and attitude toward the many transwomen that she had met over the years of operating her B&B.

It took several more minutes of question and answers before they actually believed me.

But this was a very bad move on my part, outing myself… even to this ostensibly trans friendly environment.  Where before I had been simply a woman to them… suddenly, I was no longer in that social category.  I was the “other”.

Oh, they never misgendered me or stupidly asked me to divulge my “real name”.  And they still used feminine pronouns.  But, it had a different accent, a different emphasis, when they used it.  Further, I wasn’t to be involved in the same conversations, or invited to the same activities.  I was the “other”.

I spoke with my husband on the phone every evening and told him how icky it all felt.  How I felt deeply unhappy, lonely, even weepy at times.  He spotted it.  He got it even before I did, “You are the n!gg@r again!”

“Yes, that’s exactly it.  I’m the lowly n!gg@r to them.”  I feel that same awful icky, sick to my stomach, sinking feeling that I had as a child and teenager before I socially transitioned and lived mostly stealth.  Back when even my own siblings called me, “It”.

Non-transfolk, often without realizing it, have a condescending attitude toward transfolk.  We are “those people”… the “other”.  And even when they are socially liberal and think of themselves as oh so hip, transfolk are never normal people to them.  We are “those unfortunate people”… and of course as privileged “cis” folk, they must be nice to us by using the correct pronouns.

About Those Pronoun Reveal Rituals

apa_pronoun_stickersSo now I turn to the heart of this essay.  There has been growing for several years, a practice that when I first encountered it made me feel that same icky feeling.  I was in a room with other, mostly LGB and non-trans straight allies.  I was the only trans person in the room.  Because I was there as a representative of the transcommunity, everyone in the room KNEW that I was the only &^%$#@! trans person in the room.  Yet, as is often done, they went around the room in a circle to “check in”.  I’m very used to the traditional check-in, one introduces oneself and says how they are feeling or some other appropriate to the meeting statement.  Cool.  But this time, a very NOT cool addition had been made.  It was socially expected… you know how that works… expected that one would announce one’s ‘pronouns’.  When it got to me, I did the socially unexpected thing and after announcing my name, said “Pass.”

I had hoped that they would get the hint.  No… because at a later meeting, they did the same thing.  Once again, I was very obviously the only trans person there.  Once again, I simply said, “Pass”.  After this… it seemed that they got the hint and this ritual stopped.

But, a year later, we have a new addition to the organization, a middle-aged, but recently transitioned, gay identified FTM transman.  And, we have a non-transwoman organization building professional consultant coming in to lead the group through a long and much-needed planning meeting.  She, knowing that there are transfolk in the group, does the now socially obligatory “check-in” with the same oppressive pronoun announcements.  Given that part of the check-in was to say how we are feeling, I spoke up and said how irritated, angry, sick to my stomach, and condescended to, that this ritual of having to announce our “pronouns” made me feel.  This was NOT a welcome statement as everyone but the other trans person got defensive, really defensive.

Here’s the thing.  Would any group of non-trans-folk be performing this ritual if they knew, KNEW, that they weren’t any transfolk in the room?  Then why the ^%$#@! are they doing it when they know that there is?  Why the &^%$#@! do it when they already KNOW what the gender presentation of that trans person means for their pronouns?

Here’s the other thing.  Having to tell everyone their pronouns is superfluous to non-transfolk, a ritual that they perform to virtue signal to each other and mistakenly believe that they are signaling “welcome” to those who are trans.

One of the rationales I’ve heard for this ritual, “But how are we to know what pronoun to use?”  To transfolk that feels like, “If I have to tell you what my pronouns are, my transition has failed.  Please don’t make me feel like that.”

Another rationale I’ve heard is that it is helpful for those just starting transition, especially young people.  Interestingly, a young transwoman, S. Alejandra Velasquez, wrote about this very issue 15 years ago in her essay on recommendations regarding therapy for transkids,

“Transkids who have not transitioned socially are unlikely to put a great deal of importance on what pronoun you use for them or what name they’re called. This is not a sign of having ambivalence to their gender or feeling conflicted about which gender they want to be; given that their gender is already at issue they may simply not care how a health care provider addresses them. Showing ‘sensitivity’ by trying to respect their ‘gender identity’, or worse insisting that they declare their ‘gender identity’, will only make them feel embarrassed. Transkids are practical about identity issues so don’t make a bigger deal about it than they do.”

blerp-d9aa89fd_pronoun_stickers

If someone wants you to use a pronoun that doesn’t match their appearance and obvious intended gender presentation, they can simply inform you of it privately.  No muss, no fuss.

Can we please just let transfolk be folk?  Can we please stop this shallow virtue signaling that makes non-transfolk feel that they are cool and welcoming while in truth, they are telling us that we are “the other”?  Don’t expect us to participate by wearing label stickers.  Don’t expect us to participate by putting announcing pronouns on our social media pages.  Get to know us as human beings.

Addendum 7/12/2019:

I recently saw a posting that was widely shared calling people who don’t need nor want to participate in this ritual of announcing one’s gender pronouns, “transphobic”.  Given that a fair number of transsexuals have been refusing to participate, this is transgender identified people calling transsexuals, transphobic.

Further External Reading:

Treatment Recommendations For HSTS Transkids by S. Alejandra Velasquez

 

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Autogynephilia Debunked !!!

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on April 1, 2019

In this essay I show definitive proof that Autogynephilia does not lead to late onset gender dysphoria, transsexuality, or transgenderism…

 

APRIL FOOLS !!!

No, autogynephilia most definitely leads to late onset gender dysphoria!

For decades now, a vocal minority of self-styled “transactivists” have sought to “debunk” the well documented phenomena of autogynephilia that underlies the eitiology and sexual histories of late onset / late transitioning / non-exclusively androphilic transwomen’s need for transition.  But all attempts to “debunk” the phenomena have failed for the simple reason that autogynephilia both exists and is near universally acknowledged by late onset transwomen.

Further Reading

Essay demonstrating that autogynephilia is the cause of late onset gender dysphoria.

Essay on the nature of autogynephilia and expressions

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