On the Science of Changing Sex

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/

Advertisements

Comments Off on The Transsexual Brain Sex Gallop

“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 grasping at the concept of ROGD as they worked their way through their grieving for their gender dysphoric child.  It is not their child’s 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

Tagged with:

Comments Off on “ROGD” As An Epiphenomena of Parental Grieving

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

Comments Off on Richard Green, M.D., J.D. (1936-2019)