On the Science of Changing Sex

Autistic Dawn

Posted in Science Criticism, Transgender Youth by Kay Brown on January 21, 2023

— Are gender dysphoric youth prone to being autistic. Or reversing that, are autistic children prone to being gender dysphoric? There has been some clinicians suggesting there is a connection. But does the data support that assertion? There is data that suggests that transmen (FtM transsexuals) do show more autism type characteristics but the data for transwomen is mixed. That is to say, that gynephilic transwomen seem to have the name level of such as control men, while exclusively androphilic (HSTS) transwomen show the same, lower, level as control women. Given that HSTS are far more likely to have been identified as gender dysphoric as youth, we would expect that such male children w/ gender dysphoria would NOT show elevated autistic traits.

But I was challenged on this prediction and given a citation for a 2015 paper by Van der Laan, et al., that purported to show that both male and female gender dysphoric children did show elevated autistic traits.

But did it? Let’s look at the data. The paper is available on SciHub as a downloadable pdf, so you may refer to Table 2. Here is where we begin to see something odd. The researchers do NOT have data on any Autisism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnoses nor have they used the clinically validated Autism Quotient (AQ) instrument as in other studies. Instead they have used only two items in a maternally scored checklist about “obsessions” and “compulsions”. These constructs only weakly map to ASD, and could map to other disorders… or no disorder at all. After all, one child’s “obsession” is another child’s hobby, or even just a keen interest. This alone brings the study’s value for our purposes to near zero. However, data is data.

Of the male children, 54% were scored as having an obsession with a (cross?) gendered theme. While of the sibling controls, only 13% were. Sounds pretty convincing doesn’t it? But is it? But of the controls, 87% were scored as having an obsession with a non-gendered theme. Gee… that doesn’t sound like these gender dysphoric youth were any more likely to have an obsession indicating a likely ASD. The rest of the data for the compulsions and for the female children is similar.

The authors appear to know that this may not reflect a propensity to ASD, as they note,

“Another possibility is that intense cross-sex interests are simply a manifestation of GD. Such interests may lead to a clinical presentation that is ASD-like but only superficially so because the intensity of the interests is due to the GD and not an underlying ASD. If such were the case, then few, if any, additional ASD features should accompany intense cross-sex interests. If few additional ASD features are present, then other circumstances that might influence such interests to be elevated should be considered. For instance, GD children may obsess about cross-sex objects and activities as a way of communicating their strong desire to be the opposite gender. When confronted with resistance about this desire, the child may react by further intensifying these obsessions and, hence, his or her communication of this desire.”

My snarky response is, “Ya think?!?”

Further Reading:

Autism and Transgender

Autistic Sky

Autistic Sunset

Reference:

VanderLann, et al., “Do Children With Gender Dysphoria Have Intense/Obsessional Interests?”, JOURNAL OF SEX RESEARCH, 52(2), 213–219, 2015, DOI: 10.1080/00224499.2013.860073

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One’s Job or Education Do NOT Define Either HSTS Nor AGP Transwomen

Posted in Autobiographical, Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on January 17, 2023

— Just as one’s job or education do NOT define men nor women.

For over a decade, I’ve been writing on the Science of Changing Sex, explaining how the science supports the Two Type Taxonomy. This after spending years researching, teaching, and writing about our history. (Trivia: many of the current texts on our history have borrowed rather heavily from that earlier work. No, I’m not upset by that, but pleased it has become so well known.) That after having worked as an early transsexual rights activist, including joining with several other transsexuals to form the ACLU Transsexual Rights Committee in 1980. This early work almost certainly set the stage for later activists to join in that work.) Sadly, while there has been progress in understanding the nature of the Two Type Taxonomy, there is a continuing denialist opposition to it. That opposition has not restricted itself to respectful scientific arguments, but often descends into personal attacks, calumny, and character assassination.

Please Read “What The Next Wave of Transgender Activists Need To Know”

One of the silliest of these is based on mistaken sexist stereotypes about the differences between the two types, sadly started by several of the top sexologists that researched the taxonomy and support further research and education, to wit, that Autogynephilic (AGP) transwomen are very likely to be “geeky” and become scientists, engineers, and technologists while Homosexual (HSTS) transwomen are not. This is based on the totally erroneous idea that straight men are more interested in these careers than either women or gay men, by nature. The other false stereotype is that HSTS are too stupid to have such careers, having lower IQ than average. This too was started by an offhand personal obsersation by a sexologist.

Please Read “Stereotypes Are Dangerous” and “The Right Stuff”

The reality is that women are just as likely to be interested in such educations and careers as men, when given the chance and not discouraged from doing so. And HSTS show the same average IQ as the general population, though very rare, there are HSTS with very high IQs.

Please Read “Tech Bros and Silicon Valley’s Misogyny Problem”

From the graph, we can see how women, when the sexist limits on their enrollment in the physical sciences, legal, and medical fields were reduced, the percentage of women seeking degrees in those fields climbed and now has reached near parity with men. Computer Science is the only field where the enrollment initially climbed, then fell off. It was NOT that women didn’t like the field. It was and remains a problem of a toxic culture in computer programming where immature, misogynistic, young men make studying and working in the field a hostile environment for women.

Women have long wanted to be scientists and technologists. Consider these women: Ada Lovelace who worked with Babbage on the concepts of computer programming before computers existed; Maria Sklowdowska Curie who was awarded, not one, but two Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry; her daughter Irène Joliet-Curie who also won a Nobel prize in chemistry; Lise Meitner, who should have won the Nobel Prize for the discovery of atomic fission that led to nuclear power. The list is long. Although these are extraordinary women for their accomplishments, they are not unusual for being interested in science.

I would argue that gay men are also just as likely to be interested in these fields, though we don’t have as much documentation to prove it. But consider Alan Turing, one of the most celebrated mathematicians and computer pioneers of the 20th Century, was gay. Today, we have Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, Inc., one of the most successful Silicon Valley companies. The most amazingly brilliant technologist who ever reported to me was an undergraduate summer intern from MIT in the early ’80s. When he later came out, he asked me if I knew he was gay before. “I knew the day I hired you!”. He later earned a Ph.D., published a textbook on robotics, and became a Silicon Valley executive.

The stereotype of autogynephilic transwomen being geeky also fails to hold water when we look at them and note how many have careers that are not at all “geeky”, but are stereotypically male/masculine coded like law enforcement, military, construction, transportation, etc. Then there are the number who are living in poverty and squalor because they have no marketable skills acceptable to (accepting of) women post-transition.

Thus, women and gay men like and pursue education and careers in the physical sciences and technology just as much as straight men. But straight men will avoid fields that are coded as “women’s work” or feminine/”gay”. Autogynephilic transwomen notoriously have the same aversion pre-transition. So, while we can NOT use pursuing an education in the sciences or working in technology as a useful marker for autogynephilia, nor as exclusionary of being homosexual (transsexual or not); we can use female coded careers and jobs, especially those pursued before transition, as likely exclusionary of being autogynephilic and also increasing the odds that such an individual is homosexual (transsexual or not).

Back to the issue of what does define and differentiate the two types of transwomen. Very simply, their sexuality. One is gynephilic and autogynephilic, the other is androphilic (homosexual w/ respect to their natal sex). Nothing else defines the two types.

However, there are indicia that highly correlate with the two types. In my years of examining the science literature I have found seventeen independent lines of evidence that correlate and supports the two type taxonomy. None of them are educational / career interests. Some of these correlates can only be used at the population level, but several can be used at the individual level: gender atypical behavior as a pre-adolescent, age of onset of gender dysphoria, age of social transition, and of course, definitionally, sexual history (showing actual sexual orientation).

Please Read the first few entries in the “FAQ on the Science of Changing Sex”

The Personal Is Political

Back to the problem of the denialism and of the calumnious attacks, specifically, those attacks on me. In an ironically revealing, one might even say, self-own, they simultaneously claim that there is no two type taxonomy and nearly in the same breath tell me to shut up because I must be AGP as well because of my interest in the sciences and my long career in Silicon Valley! But as I showed above, that does NOT define nor differentiate the two types. But if one examines my bio, one can find all the indicia needed to determine which etiological type I fall into.

Please Read “About”

Consider this section to be an expansion of my bio, focused on those indicia. As I said in my bio, the only honorable defense against lies is the truth.

My mother, during an interview with Dr. Fisk at the Stanford Gender Dysphoria Clinic, complained bitterly about my early gender atypical behavior, under the false impression that he would be attempting to “cure” me. I was but 17 years old at the time.

“I have known for years that he wanted to be a girl.  But I thought that was [morally] wrong.  He was very different than his brothers.  All their friends were boys.  His were always girls,” naming several of my friends over the years, starting with those when I was five and six years old, but couldn’t remember my friend who had been my only guest on my tenth birthday.  “Marian,” I interjected for the only time during the whole interview.  “He was always very prissy.  He would walk clear around even the shallowest puddles.  When he was little, I would put him in clean clothes on Monday and on Friday they would still be clean.”  She confirmed that I had been sent to a therapist about my behavior when I was ten years old and again when I was 15/16.

When I was nine years old, at the end of 4th grade, our elementary school was planning one of those embarrassing shows where students perform for their parents and friends. I’m sure you know the type I’m talking about. I was cast for a part but when told the details of the part, I had a total emotional melt-down, tears, loud drama, refusing to take a male role. It set off a chain of interviews and behind the scene discussions with my parents that I only learned about years later. The next school year, I was required, by the school district psychologist, to be sent to a very special therapist some miles from our home, to “play” and talk with Dr. Peters every Friday afternoon. Interesting thing about the playroom. It had only boy’s toys, which held zero interest for me. Sometimes, we played chess, but otherwise, we only talked. Why?

Please Read, “Shameful History of Reparative Therapy of Transsexual and Gay Children”

I’ve already disclosed a few details about how in Jr. High, I spent my time at the library reading about girl’s fashion, make-up, etc. I also practiced putting on make-up, borrowing my mother’s, given that we had the same coloring, etc. I was always careful to put everything back exactly as I found it and to wash my face carefully, but she knew I was doing it. She just couldn’t catch me at it.

One of the stories my mother would tell other mothers, often in my presence to try to embarrass me, was about the day she was sitting out on the lawn pulling weeds when she saw me at a distance walking home from school. When I saw her, I discretely adjusted the stack of books I was carrying (female style, books against my chest, if you must know), sadly not discretely enough. She would tell her listeners that she was convinced that I must be bringing home and attempting to hide, pornography, so she later searched my room. What she found instead was a book on manners and etiquette for teenagers, mostly for girls.

When I was fourteen, my freshman year in high school, Debra asked me to the Sadie Hawkins dance. I loved dancing and she was one of my friends so I agreed. A couple weeks after the dance, she invited me over to her house. Her mother wasn’t home as I had expected her to be. Debra went into her bedroom and changed out of school clothes and into a very revealing, slinky dress. She literally draped herself across me as I sat on the front room couch. Disturbed, I pushed her off of me and jumped up off the couch. She tried to cajole me into rejoining her on the couch but I refused, as I paced the floor. She gave up and changed back into more modest jeans and top. The next day, as school ended, she again invited me over to her house, but I turned her down. Debra broke into tears and ran away. We never spoke again.

During the next summer, just after I turned 15, I took square dancing classes with one of my female friends. I paid special attention to the girl’s part, intending to attend square dances as a girl, and dance with the cute boys. My friend supported this plan and lent me one of her square dancing outfits. My mother discovered the plot and forbid me to attend any more lessons and forced the return of the outfit.

Another girl, who was in the square dancing crowd freaked out and cut me off when I came out to her. Thank goodness we didn’t go to the same school. But I hated losing friends.

We moved to a new house in a nearby suburb a couple months after that and I transferred to the local high school. I joined up with a crowd of kids that included a boy, Greg, I had known in Jr. High. He now lived with his mother and new stepdad, while his brother Jeff (Not my husband Jeff) lived with his dad and attended my old high school. Thus, my circle of friends doubled as I kept in touch and occasionally met with my old friends. One of those old friends, Dennis, would meet me half-way, at Cassie’s house. Dennis was very comfortable being affection with me, often letting me massage his back or just sitting close. One day, at Cassie’s, the two of them started making out hot and heavy right in front of me. The green eyed monster joined us and took over. I stormed out, slamming the door as hard as I could. For the next week, Dennis tried calling me several times a day. I just hung up on him as soon as I heard his voice. After a week, Cassie called. I wasn’t mad at her. She could make out with any boy she wanted as far as I was concerned. Cassie said to me, “You have punished him enough.”

So, with that we agreed that I would go to Cassie’s and talk to Dennis, to patch things up. But I had a plan. Cassie agreed to let me come early and borrow her clothes. She was two inches taller and a bit bigger, but her dress size was close enough to mine. I met Dennis wearing a cute blouse with a jumper dress over it, panty-hose and nice shoes. Dennis and I talked pleasantly, never once making any reference to how I was dressed. I was trying to let him see that I was attracted to him, etc. He didn’t reject me, but wasn’t going to be dating me either. Oh well… I tried. Skipping forward three years for just a moment. Dennis visited me right around graduation. During a walk around the block, away from other’s ears, he asked, “You going for that sex change?” I answered simply, “Yes.” Upon which he said, “Good luck.” and hugged me.

That same year, aged 15, my mother decided it was time she dealt with me and my “homosexuality”. She first took me to our family doctor for a physical and a consult about it. There didn’t seem to be anything physically wrong, save that I was “underdeveloped” (and stayed that way, thank the Blessed Goddess… At 15 I was perhaps at Tanner stage 3, I never reached stage 5). He recommended a therapist, Dr. Kanski, who I had to see once a week to “talk about my problem”. I would talk very pleasantly about almost any subject, but my sexual orientation and gender dysphoria / identity. Dr. Kanski later told my mother that I was “uncooperative”.

Around this time Jeff introduced me to his best friend Kevin. I had a huge crush on him for the rest of my time in high school. Jeff and Kevin occasionally came over to our house. My mother would notice that I got excited each time they did this, but thought it was Jeff that I had a crush on.

Later that year, as I was helping Cassie with her homework (I was often asked to help others and gladly did so), she reached under the table and grabbed my genitalia, saying in coquettish voice, “My mother won’t be home for hours.” I was horrified! I pulled her hand away from me and pretended nothing had happened. She started to slide her hand to my crotch again but I grabbed it and held it tight against her leg, while continuing to explain the homework problem. I was hurt and angry. She knew about my transsexuality. Why would she should do this?

The summer, just after I turned 17, I got a job as a full-time nanny taking care of two boys, ages ten, and four. Their mom later wrote a letter of introduction and recommendation using my new name and gender. The family also gave me some of her older, but stylishly appropriate for a teenager, clothes that would fit me.

Our house was next door to our community pool. We often had friends over for a swim, including Cassie and Barby, among others. One day, I picked up Barby from her house in our family’s spare car to go for a swim. She was wearing a skimpy bikini and nothing else. As we were going down the street, she grabbed my hand and pulled my hand to her crotch. (You just know that a straight boy would have loved it and also be having ‘trouble’ with his own.) I was never more grateful that I was driving a car with a manual transmission as I removed my hand back to the gear shift knob.

It was past time I came out to Barby.

My senior year I called our family doctor and asked for female hormones. His reply was, “You can do anything you want with your life, but I won’t be any part of it.” Soon after that I found a reference to the Stanford Gender Dysphoria Clinic. On the phone, they said I needed to have my parents make the appointments, etc. After some serious family drama, my Dad did. After the intake interviews with Dr. Fisk, I filled out their required paperwork at school, with friends looking over my shoulders, offering comments. Both of my parents tried to talk me out of transition.

Please Read “Cognitive Dissonance…”

A few months before graduation rolled around, I was out to all my close friends and word was getting around. Of course, the fact that I was often seen around town or at the mall with friends dressed as a girl helped that. But, I still had to present as a boy in class. I openly hung up my new wardrobe in my closet, earning silent glares of disapproval from my mother, but gave her a ‘I dare you’ look back. But after graduation, I was living full time as a girl.

At one point my father strongly suggested, “Have sex with a girl.  I’m sure that will change you.  What about one of your friends, Barby, or Cassie?  Wouldn’t they do it to help you?”  I replied angrily,  “I’m sure they would.  But that won’t change me and I DON’T want to have sex with them!”

I turned eighteen a week before graduation. My dad came over to wish me happy birthday and give me a present, the only one I got from anyone, a nice clock radio. I would need it as he also told me I was being evicted from my mother’s house and not allowed to move in with him.

I won’t go into details, that’s not anyone’s business; I dated several boys/young men from my circle of high school friends starting then and for the next few years. But one of my boyfriends, Jordan, from that time, later introduced me to his wife as his “first girlfriend”. Think about that, a straight man was proudly telling his wife that his first relationship was with a pre-op transwoman! Of the others, my mother had accused Jeff of being my lover. Wrong, he had rebuffed me… his brother Greg on the other hand… The one that really created family drama was Don, my brother’s best friend.

Barby complained, bitterly and unkindly, that I was “boy crazy”.

Bob at Jeff’s and my wedding in 1999

The relationship that lasted the longest was Bob. His mother was an engineer, president of the Silicon Valley chapter of the Society for Women Engineers. I was a welcome guest at their family dinners. She strongly encouraged me to study engineering. When he was away at Rensselaer, back east, we handwrote letters often and occasionally talked long distance on the phone. I learned from one of his housemates on the phone that when Bob was lonely, he would open the drawer where he kept my letters, just for the waft of my perfume I scented them with. When he was home… we dated on and off like that for several years. in the end though, he married my best friend Jan and raised two girls with her. But we remained friends. In fact, Bob attended my wedding to Jeff.

I remained friends with several female friends, most especially Jan and Robyne, occasionally sleeping over in their bedrooms. Think about that for a moment. Their families had known me for years…Robyne’s since Jr. High, do you think for one moment that they would let me be alone, in their teenaged daughter’s bedrooms over night, if they thought I might be interested or capable of having sex with them?

As to choice of careers. I love teaching and have been an instructor/tutor in several schools in several subjects, from teaching little kids swimming to teaching teens and adults flying. I started my career in Silicon Valley as a secretary / administrative assistant. I worked as an electronic assembler (a female coded job) and proceeded up the ranks of supervisor and management, all while earning a degree by examination after self-study. That’s not the career arc of a typical AGP.

So, remembering the definitions and indicia of sexual history & orientation, childhood gender atypicality (as reported by my mother), age of gender dysphoria onset, age of transition, etc. What type am I?

I have no doubt the AGPs in denial, haters, disappointed chasers, and TERF/GC folk will all still tell lies. But I know who and what I am.

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Sex Reassignment Surgery Demographics in the Netherlands

Posted in Confirming Two Type Taxonomy, Transsexual Field Studies by Kay Brown on January 5, 2023

Our favorite folks in Amsterdam have provided data set on MTF transsexuals receiving SRS in their clinic covering 40 years. The paper is openly available online, not behind a paywall, so you may read it for yourself. But I have a few observations and comments regarding the data and the authors’ comments.

First, let’s look at the data, reorganized into putatively HSTS vs. AGP. (Yes, given all we know about MTF transwomen, I will assume that all non-exclusively androphilic transwomen are AGP.)

Table 1

Demographics of transgender women undergoing primary genital gender-affirming surgery at the authors’ institution between January 1980 and January 2020

DemographicsTotalVaginoplastyOrchiectomyGCV
Numbern=1531n=1468n=44n=19
Age at surgery (SD=1)33 (25–44) 33 (24–44) 32 (26–45) 54 (45–60) 
Sexual orientation (self report) n=699 6454212
HSTS n= (%)372 (53) 357 (55) 13 (31) 2 (17) 

As the authors noted, “Individuals who opted for GCV (vulvaplasty only, no vaginoplasty) were generally older, had no history of puberty suppression, and were more frequently sexually oriented towards women.” The same could be said for orchiectomy as well. HSTS are must more likely to want/need vaginoplasty over other possible choices as one would expect, so as to be able to have vaginal intercourse with men.

The authors made a comment that I found ahistorical. They believe that GCV is a relatively new procedure. It is not. In fact, Christine Jorgensen had GCV only in 1952, as reported by her surgeon, Dr. Christian Hamburger, as neither of them desired to facilitate sex with men. Similarly, “orchies”, as we called them back in the 1970s, was common for both HSTS and AGP in the early 20th through the mid- to late-20th Century due to greater ease of obtaining them. (Some of this was due to the Eugenics Movement, which was only too happy to sterilize “perverts”.)

Finally, the authors wrote about encouraging “fertility preservation” but seem to lament that it isn’t possible for those who begin puberty blockers early, “The increase in individuals starting puberty suppression at early pubertal stages, when serum testosterone concentrations are insufficient for spermatogenesis, may lead to an increase in individuals without options for preservation of fertility.” This strikes me as “unclear on the the concept” as why would such MTF early transitioners, who are all HSTS (as even this clinic’s own data attests), want or need to cryostore sperm. Just who will they impregnate, their future husbands?

Reference:

Van der Sluis, et al., “Surgical and demographic trends in genital gender-affirming surgery in transgender women: 40 years of experience in Amsterdam”, British Journal of Surgery, Volume 109, Issue 1, January 2022, Pages 8–11, https://doi.org/10.1093/bjs/znab213

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