On the Science of Changing Sex

To Survive on this Shore

Posted in Book Reviews by Kay Brown on August 30, 2018

Kay Brown 2010There is a new coffee table book out on older transfolk.  When I looked at the website for the book, I expected it to be loaded with nearly all older transitioners, autogynephilic transwomen.  And yes, they were there.  But very happily, there were young transitioners from decades ago, like me, who Survived on this Shore…

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“I’m a senior citizen. I made it to seventy and a lot of them won’t make it, they won’t make it at all. Because most of them die from drugs, from sexual disease or they’re murdered. They ask me questions like, ‘Well, Momma Gloria, how did you get through?’ I say, “I got through with love from my family and the grace of God.’ That’s how I got through. You have to have some stability and you have to have some kind of class, some charm about yourself. I never was in the closet. The only time I was in the closet was to go in there and pick out a dress and come out of the closet and put it on.” – Gloria

There are also an almost equal number of transmen.  One them is “Sky”… I knew an FTM named Sky way back when… hmmmm….

Book website:

https://www.tosurviveonthisshore.com

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Misplaced Moralizing

Posted in Autobiographical, Editorial by Kay Brown on August 28, 2018

Kay BrownOr…  #MeToo & #WhyIDidntReport

The other day, a non-transwoman on a “gender critical” (which usually means “transgender belittle”) forum hatefully misinterpreted a passing remark in one of my essays about maintaining safety and privacy when dating as a teenaged MTF transkid.  She very nastily described stealth, passing, transwomen not telling their dates that they are trans as “rapey”.

No, “rapey” is…

a man inviting a 20-year-old transwoman who had just moved into the low rent flat a couple doors down to watch some TV during a quiet summer saturday afternoon.  In the middle of a program, without saying a word, he unzips his pants, pulls out his penis and proceeds to masturbate.  Without saying a word, she leaves the room to return to her own room and locks the door.

“Rapey” is…

a tall, above 6′, very strong-looking man in his early 30s following a 5’7″, 140lb, 19-year-old transwoman, in a mid-thigh length dress and light sweater, off the bus at night, on her way home from her job as a secretary, following her only a few paces behind her duplicating each turn down deserted streets toward her suburban apartment obviously looking for a dark corner.  That young transwoman, steeling her nerves, turns to confront the man hoping that a brave face will deter the attack she knows must be coming, saying “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

“Whose going to stop me?” he says haughtily, tilting his head up to show his disdain.  The transwoman, having confirmation that this man does indeed intend to rape her and seeing her opportunity for surprise, folds the fingers of her hand to form a sharp edge of her knuckles and strikes him in the throat, turns and flees as fast as she can for the final few yards for her apartment door, her hands shaking so badly that she drops her keys before finally getting the door open, slips into the apartment, slams, locks, and bolts the door!

“Rapey” is…

a coworker grabbing a 21 year old transwoman in the hallway at work as she comes out of the women’s room, dragging her kicking and screaming to the men’s room while repeating over and over “It will be alright,” in a sick twisted “calming” voice.  In the doorway to the men’s room he pulls up her calf-length skirt, pulls down her panties and grabs her… oops… pre-op genitalia which he hadn’t expected.  At that moment she shakes loose, bolts down the hallway, enters a room and locks the door behind her.  She waits for an hour before peeking out the door then runs full tilt for the parking lot and drives home still shaking.

Rape Culture…

is telling management about the attack, where upon, she is taken to a dimly lit room with only one chair to be interrogated by two men looming over her.  Her request that she speak to a woman is denied.  After scoffing at her account she is fired a few days later.

Rape is….

…having fallen asleep on the couch at a stranger’s apartment because your date doesn’t want to go home yet.  Rape is when the occupant of that apartment, now that she is alone there, her date leaving her still sleeping, wakes that 20 year old transwoman by forcefully ripping her clothes off, dragging & throwing her on his bed naked, and forcing his penis into her anus… all the while she is screaming at the top of her lungs for help which never comes as he keeps talking like he is making love to her.  She kicks and tries to bite him but he is far too big, strong, and holds her two wrists in one large and very strong hand.  She is sobbing when he is done… only he isn’t.  Still holding her wrists above her head, drags her to the shower where using soap washes her off, removing the ‘evidence’ of his crime.  He follows this by fondling and attempting to masturbate her pre-op genitalia with soap lathered hands.  She sobs, horrified and shamed all over again as he does so.  The soap gets onto her wrists which allows her to slip his grip and push away from him.  She runs to her clothes, dodging the man by jumping over his couch, and runs out the door in a state of mostly undress, and keeps running several blocks before stopping to dress herself.  She makes her way home on foot in the menacing dark, puts on her least attractive sleepwear, and stares unseeing at the wall huddled protectively to herself until dawn.

Rape Culture is…

knowing that she can’t go to the police to press charges because she knows what happens to women… how they get revictimized and retraumatized though the whole process… how their sexual history gets dragged out in court to make her look like a slut.  Take that public slut shaming defense tactic and imagine what the press coverage of the “alleged rape” of a 20 year old “boy” who looks and acts like an attractive girl would be like in 1977.

That’s “rapey”.

Rape is…

… a 21 year old transwoman feels the knife at her throat wielded by a stranger who forces her to perform oral sex on him… while hoping against hope that she will still be alive when he is finished… and hopes that he doesn’t find out that she is trans… ’cause that’s how transwomen end up as the headline reads “Man Found Dead In Dress”.

Yes, that’s definitely “rapey”.

That transwoman in each of these incidents was me!

So don’t you DARE presume to some higher moral ground to tell ME that accepting an invitation to share dinner, or go to the park, to bike riding, or to the beach… without outing oneself as trans to him is “rapey” !  Oh that poor man…he had a pleasant time with a woman he never knew was a transwoman.  How horrible!  He doesn’t know how very traumatized he isn’t!

Rape is immoral because it is traumatizing, degrading, and demeaning.  By conflating transwomen maintaining their privacy for either safety or self-esteem reasons until they are certain that they wish to share that medical history with a prospective romantic partner with rape they are not expressing valid moral reasoning but simple trans and homophobia.   It relies on the notion that for a straight man to be romantically involved with an androphilic transwoman, no matter how physically and behaviorially feminine, no matter how desirable a personality or moral character, he is demeaned by the experience.  He becomes less of a man, either homosexual, clueless, or both, a figure of ridicule, while the transwoman is to be despised as a liar and a cheat, as well as an effeminate (misogyny) homosexual (homophobia).  The meme disparages both parties, increasing the discrimination that androphilic tranwomen experience and the likelihood of being severely beaten and murdered by transphobic straight men who find themselves attracted to such transwomen (whether or not they knew beforehand).  This meme is deadly to androphilic transwomen (no hyperbole).

Further Reading:

Essay on how androphilic transwomen are at high risk of transphobic violence from straight men.

Essay on transphobic jokes and memes that falsely portray androphilic transwomen as sexual predators

Essay on gynandromorphophilic transsexual attempting to coerce androphilic transwomen to have sex, including this author.

Further External Reading

What is ‘second rape’ and what can we do about it?

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Safety First

Posted in Editorial, Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on August 7, 2018

female_scientistPersonal Safety: Women’s and Transgender Rights in Prison

In one of the episodes of Pose, Blanca, a very feminine pre-op transwoman is unjustly arrested and is held in a cell with a number of very scary looking men.  The scene is presented without any editorial comment as the visual tableau speaks for itself.

When I was just 18 years old, my friend Marcella, a 24 year-old pre-op Latina transwoman and I were talking about what happens when a pre-op transwoman is arrested and jailed.  I was concerned about it to the point of not just not committing any crimes, but of ensuring I never was in a position where I might be suspected of a crime.  Marcella thought I was silly, saying, “In jail the men are there for you honey!”  She shared her experience of having been arrested for drug possession and spending some time in county jail.  (She had a fondness for Quaaluudes.)  She related that she was very well treated by some of the men who protected her from harassment and violence.  Me?  No.  I still wouldn’t have been willing to prostitute myself in order to purchase that protection, the price would be too high.

Over the decades, I have taken in a number of transfolk and non-transfolk for varying periods of time.  I had rules.  One of them was no illegal activities or substances, period.  (The same rule that fictional Blanca had for her house in Pose.) A decade ago, that rule was broken by one of the young transwomen I allowed to stay in my house during her recovery from SRS.  She had hidden that she was a drug addict and had brought into my house drugs and paraphernalia.  Taking a spare key, she also stole my airplane and crashed in a hay-field while high!  She spent some time in jail, presumably in a women’s ward as she was then of course post-op.

This brings up the issue of where we place transfolk during incarceration.  Our rules should be based on safety for all concerned.  But they aren’t always.  I’ve already brought up the issue of placing clearly feminine pre-op transwomen in with men and how one either trades sexual favors for safety or risk sexual and/or violent assault.  But is that the only concern?

Sadly, transwomen are not homogenous as a population.  Most transwomen, both pre- and post-op in Northern European and English speaking countries are gynephilic and autogynephilic.  And a minority… a small minority… are prone to criminality and violence… including sexual assault against women and children.

In the Dhejne study following up a cohort of post-op transsexuals they found,

Male-to-females had a significantly increased risk for crime compared to female controls (aHR 6.6; 95% CI 4.1–10.8) but not compared to males (aHR 0.8; 95% CI 0.5–1.2). This indicates that they retained a male pattern regarding criminality. The same was true regarding violent crime. By contrast, female-to-males had higher crime rates than female controls (aHR 4.1; 95% CI 2.5–6.9) but did not differ from male controls. This indicates a shift to a male pattern regarding criminality and that sex reassignment is coupled to increased crime rate in female-to-males. The same was true regarding violent crime.

Note that transfolk, both MTF and FtM had nearly as many criminal convictions as men.  It’s interesting that men still exhibited more criminality as both MTF and FtM by a slight amount.  If I had to guess, I would hypothesis that this is because of the inhomogeneous taxonomic structure of the MTF community in Sweden where the study is from.  While most transwomen would be AGP and thus likely to have identically the same criminality as men in general, the minority of ‘early onset’ transwomen pulls the rate down by 20%.

There are very few studies that explore the issue of transfolk and the risks that some may pose to others in a prison setting.  However, there are some disturbing hints.

In the Canadian court case of Kavanagh, a transwoman in prison, the following excerpt may be found,

“Dr. Watson’s suggestion that pre-operative male to female transsexuals would pose little physical risk to female prisoners was addressed by several of CSC’s witnesses. Dr. Dickey, Dr. Hucker and Ms. Petersen all disagree with Dr. Watson’s statement that most male to female transsexual inmates are attracted to men: To the contrary, they say, the majority of transsexuals in federal prisons are actually attracted to women. It takes serious criminal activity to qualify a person for a federal prison sentence in Canada. According to Dr. Dickey and Ms. Petersen, homosexual transsexuals do not generally have the degree of aggressiveness or psychopathy necessary to get them into a Canadian federal prison. The transsexuals that Dr. Hucker has encountered in the correctional setting tend, he says, to be “more ambiguous” in their sexual orientation… Dr. Dickey, Dr. Hucker and Ms. Petersen all say that they would be very concerned about putting a pre-operative male to female heterosexual transsexual inmate in a women’s prison, given the risk that the inmate would prey on female prisoners.”

Then there is the concern that some transwomen may be a danger to children.  There have been several cases of transwomen in prison for sexual assault on, and even murder of, children.  There is even documentation of two pedophiles seeking to transition and receive medical interventions who admitted a belief that as women their interest in being around children would be more socially acceptable!

Denying it does not serve the transgender community.  Balancing safety and respect for human rights for all concerned should be the goal and recommended policy.  Thus, while this is just my personal opinion, I highly recommend the following policies concerning transwomen, incarceration, and access to “women’s spaces”.

First, when arrested but before conviction of any crime.  Transfolk should be kept separate from non-transfolk to ensure personal safety and to respect their dignity.  Someone not convicted of a crime should not be “punished” by being put at risk and of being disrespectfully treated.

Transfolk convicted of a crime should be evaluated on a case by case basis as to their placement to maximize safety for all concerned.  Transfolk’s sexual orientation, etiology (taxonomic diagnoses), and surgical status must be considered but no hard and fast rule applied.  Where there is no risk of violence or sexual predation, a transwoman may be placed in a female facility regardless of genital surgical status (e.g. ‘early onset’ – androphilic transwomen are not a risk to women, but are at very high risk from men).  Risk factors considered should include the prisoner’s history of violence, especially toward women.  A transwoman who has ever exhibited violent or sexual crimes (not including prostitution) should NEVER be housed in a women’s facility regardless of current surgical status.  That is to say, a rapist has forfeited the privilege and the prison system shouldn’t provide new victims to a predator.

References:

Dhejne, et al. “Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden” (2011) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0016885

Kavanagh vs. Canada

Saunders, et al., “Gender reassignment: 5 years of referrals in Oxfordshire”
https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/the-psychiatrist/article/gender-reassignment-5-years-of-referrals-in-oxfordshire/6B5F217162ABD9B3189F2EB82787034E/core-reader

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