On the Science of Changing Sex

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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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 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!”

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 female 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.  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.  Get to know us as human beings.

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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Models of Androphilic Transwomen Etiology

Posted in Editorial, Transsexual Theory by Kay Brown on March 29, 2019

nf0p0r4

There are several models of how androphilic males become gay men or transwomen.  The three most common are shown above.  Homosexual Transsexuals (HSTS = androphilic transwomen) share many traits with gay men as populations.

Model 3 is very unlikely, but is very popular with autogynephilic transwomen because it allows them to claim that they are on the same “spectrum” as androphilic transwomen, they would just be on the far left, showing very little femininity.  The problem with that is that pesky autogynephilic sexuality which HSTS and non-transwomen don’t share, on top of the well documented issue of late onset of their gender dysphoria, or even awareness of any gender issues in most until adolescence or later.  There is no evidence that supports Model 3 in HSTS.

Model 2 is problematic given the very strong evidence of greater femininity, both in early adolescence, and in a range of adult sexual behaviors, that correlate highly with each other in gay men and that HSTS transwomen show up as being on the far feminine end of that spectrum.  So, a variance in femininity definitely correlates with the likelihood of being HSTS vs. a gay man.

This leaves Model 1 as being the most likely, with lots of evidence to support it.

I did not create this graphic and I’m not certain of its origin, though given the text, I suspect it comes from a sexologist.  Indeed, I must take exception to the comment regarding non-Western cultures.  We have evidence, data, that shows that even in Samoa, there are non-fa’afine androphilic males.  In southern Mexico, where famously, muxe who live as HSTS and are respected rather than stigmatized as in the Anglo-sphere, there are two forms of “muxe”… one that is HSTS and one that is essentially male identified, masculine behaving, to wit, gay men.  My point?  That when cultures are less femmiphobic and homophobic, both HSTS and gay men coexist.  Our own culture has been slowly coming to the same point.  While the line between HSTS and gay men may not be one that is strictly taxonic, it cannot be said that it is strictly cultural either.  The likelihood that one will self identify and take a cultural position as HSTS / transwoman may vary by culture – as individuals have to find a place in their given culture as best they can.  (Consider that in the US prior to 1961, homosexual or transgendered males were both criminalized and medically stigmatized in all fifty states, driving gays into the closet and HSTS underground, but both existed.)  But, even in the least to the most transphobic cultures, both gay men and HSTS transwomen coexist.

Further Reading:

Essays on Etiological Conjectures concerning HSTS

Essay on correlations in gay men and HSTS

Essay on “passability” of HSTS vs. AGP transwomen

 

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Fraternal Birth Order Effect Applies to First Born Male Children Too

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on March 22, 2019

critical-thinkingA while back, I wrote an essay that showed that androphilic Male-To-Female transwomen had a greater Fraternal Birth Order Effect (FBOE) than gay men as populations.  This is evidence that gender atypical androphilic males are more likely to have a FBOE etiology than more gender typical androphilic males.  But I saw pushback from some in the transgender community that didn’t understand the science, didn’t understand that there could be, and is strong evidence that there are, other etiological factors that can cause gender atypical androphilia in males.  There was anecdotal comments about, and even a long list of, first born androphilic transwomen (at least one included me), as “proof” that the FBOE had nothing to do with androphilic transwomen’s etiology.

Sigh…

This reminds me of the type of argument that goes like this, “I had a large lunch today… so clearly there is no hunger problem in the world.”

But, in any event, we now have evidence that the underlying cause of the FBOE can and has operated in some first born androphilic males, including transwomen.  One of the chief hypothesis of the cause of the FBOE is the ‘Maternal Immune Response’ in which key proteins in male only development during a pregnancy enters the mother’s blood stream where the mother’s immune system creates antibodies to fight off a mistaken “infectious agent”… the male child.  This in turn passes back to the male fetus where it interferes with normal male sexually dimorphic brain development, leading to a feminized brain.  The FBOE effect would then come about because each male pregnancy increases the amount and strength of the immune response.  Each male pregnancy increases the chances of the next male pregnancy resulting in an androphilic gender atypical male child, including the chance of an androphilic MTF transkid.

f2.large_We now have what may be the ‘smoking gun’ and at the same time strong evidence that it may also operate in first born males, not just subsequent male children.  Testing for a specific antibody suspected to be the cause has shown that mothers of gay sons have more than those who have had only straight sons.  What’s more interesting, is that mothers of only first born gay sons and androphilic MTF transkids showed the same effect, as this graph shows, though not as strong as those mothers of gay sons who had older brothers… indicating a progressive effect leading to the progressive FBOE.

Let me state that again, the underlying cause of the FBOE can and does operate in some first borns !

So, Please.  No more bad logic regarding potential FBOE etiologies in androphilic transwomen?

Further Reading:

Essay on FBOE being a stronger effect in androphilic transwomen

Reference:

Bogeart, et al, “Male homosexuality and maternal immune responsivity to the Y-linked protein NLGN4Y” (2018)
https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1705895114

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How to Ruin Sex Research

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on February 22, 2019

Kay Brown 2010Hot off the (virtual) presses is a new editorial in the Archives of Sexual Behavior by J. Michael Bailey that is a must read for anyone concerned with sexology research and education.  It starts with recounting a recent disturbance during a presentation by one of his graduate students, a young researcher that I personally have great expectations for,

On November 10, 2018, my graduate student, Kevin Hsu, gave an invited presentation at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) in Montreal. The occasion was his receipt of the society’s annual “Ira and Harriet Reiss Theory Award” for “the best social science article, chapter, or book published in the previous year in which theoretical explanations of human sexual attitudes and behaviors are developed.” His paper was on gynandromorphophilic men, or men attracted to transwomen who have not had vaginoplasty but have penises.  …  However, an attendee repeatedly and aggressively interrupted the presentation. This person, the psychologist Christine Milrod … strongly objects to the scientifically well-studied idea that gender dysphoria that begins after puberty in natal males is caused by autogynephilia, or a male’s sexual arousal by the fantasy of being a woman. Milrod was asked repeatedly by the audience and the moderator to let the presenter continue.

From there, Dr. Bailey calls attention to the problem of allowing transfolk to define what is and isn’t allowable subject matter for research.  As well as recommending reading the editorial, I wish to add a few comments of my own.

First, I know from talking to many transfolk over the years, that most autogynephilic transwomen know in their heart of hearts that the science is accurate, even as they wish that the researchers and folks like me would not talk about it.  Second, we know that quite a few “early onset” transwomen wish that “late onset” transwomen “activists” would allow them to speak for ourselves and not have to pretend that there isn’t an obvious difference between them… and that society in general recognized their unique needs.

Also, to those disruptive “activists”, on behalf of those “silent” transwomen who don’t appreciate the unwarranted attempts by autogynephilic transwomen in denial to shout down sex researchers… SHAME ON YOU !

To the sex research community:  There are those who support and appreciate the work you do, even if it leads to uncomfortable knowledge.

Further Reading:

Essay on Hsu’s paper on Gynandromorphophilia in Autogynephiles

Reference:

J. Michael Bailey, “How to Ruin Sex Research”, Archives of Sexual Behavior, (Feb. 2019)
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-019-1420-y

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Stolen History II

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on December 21, 2018

Kay Brown 2010In an essay I wrote nearly two decades, I wrote how transhistory is stolen from us, how especially the history of transmen is erased, usurped, and misgendered to support Oppression Theory, misrepresenting our lives and identities instead of respecting them.  Well… just this month, the New York Times has stolen a piece of our history again.  But in the spirit of internet meme corrections, “There I fixed it for you…”  I offer this edited version of Charley Parkhurst’s Obit in the Times as it should have been,

Overlooked No More: Charley Parkhurst, Gold Rush And Transgender Legend

A swashbuckling, one-eyed stagecoach driver lived his life as a man. After his death, the revelation that he was transgender provoked widespread astonishment.

Since 1851, obituaries in The New York Times have been dominated by white men. With Overlooked, we’re adding the stories of remarkable people whose deaths went unreported in The Times.

By Tim Arango (corrected by Kay Brown)

Charley Parkhurst was a legendary driver of six-horse stagecoaches during California’s Gold Rush — the “best whip in California,” by one account.

The job was treacherous and not for the faint of heart — pulling cargos of gold over tight mountain passes and open desert, at constant peril from rattlesnakes and desperadoes — but Parkhurst had the makeup for it: “short and stocky,” a whiskey drinker, cigar smoker and tobacco chewer who wore a black eyepatch after being kicked in the left eye by a horse.

And there was one other attribute, this one carefully hidden from the outside world. When Parkhurst died in 1879 at age 67, near Watsonville, Calif., of cancer of the tongue, a doctor discovered that the famous stagecoach driver was biologically female. Charley, it turned out, had chosen to masculinize his dead name Charlotte.

“The discoveries of the successful concealment for protracted periods of the female sex under the disguise of the masculine are not infrequent, but the case of Charley Parkhurst may fairly claim to rank as by all odds the most astonishing of them all,” The San Francisco Call wrote not long after his death, in an article that was reprinted in The New York Times under the transphobic headline “Thirty Years in Disguise.”

Charlotte Darkey Parkhurst was born in 1812 in New Hampshire. Abandoned by his parents, he was consigned to an orphanage, from which historians believe he ran away wearing boys’ clothes. He wound up in Worcester, Mass., where he got a job cleaning horse stables. He also found a mentor, Ebenezer Balch, who taught him how to handle horses.

“The story goes that while in the poor house he discovered that boys have a great advantage over girls in the battle of life, and he desired to become a boy,” The Providence Journal in Rhode Island wrote respectfully of his identity as a man in an article after his death, as reporters on both coasts tried to piece together his life.

After working as a stagecoach driver on the East Coast for several years, Parkhurst journeyed west, like so many Americans seeking fortune and reinvention in California. He traveled by ship to Panama, traversed a short overland route, and then boarded another ship to San Francisco, where he arrived in 1850 or 1851.

In California, he quickly became known for his ability to move passengers and gold safely over important routes between gold-mining outposts and major towns like San Francisco or Sacramento. “Only a rare breed of men (and women),” wrote the historian Ed Sams in his 2014 book “The Real Mountain Charley,” “could be depended upon to ignore the gold fever of the 1850s and hold down a steady job of grueling travel over narrow one-way dirt roads that swerved around mountain curves, plummeting into deep canyons and often forded swollen, icy streams.”

Parkhurst wore “long-fingered, beaded gloves,” Sams wrote, supposedly to hide his “feminine” hands. He was considered one of the safest stagecoach drivers — not a daredevil, like so many of his contemporaries — and had a special rapport with the horses. He drove for Wells Fargo, at least once moving a large cargo of gold across the country.

A 1969 article about Parkhurst in the Travel section of The New York Times evoked some of the perils he faced: “Indians and grizzly bears also were a major menace. The state lines of California in the post-Gold Rush period were certainly no place for a lady, and nobody ever accused Charley of being one.”

“The only feminine trait her acquaintances could recall,” the article added, “was her fondness for children.”

Once he was kicked in the eye by a horse, which was perhaps startled by a rattlesnake; that earned him the nickname “One-Eyed Charley,” for the black patch he wore over his left eye.

Parkhurst’s story has long been shrouded in myth and thinly sourced anecdotes. (A well-worn tale has him killing a famous bandit known as Sugarfoot after he held up his stagecoach on the route between Mariposa and Stockton.)

In “Charley’s Choice,” a 2008 work of historical fiction, the writer Fern J. Hill imagines that as a child, Parkhurst told a friend of his dreams of driving a stagecoach. When the friend replied, “You can’t, you’re a girl,” young Charley decided then and there to live as a man.

And in another novel, “The Whip,” by Karen Kondazian (2012), Parkhurst is cast as a straight woman who wanted her freedom, thus being a perfect example of stolen history. “I would have done that,” Ms. Kondazian said in a telephone interview.  “I would have probably put on men’s clothes, to be free like a man.”  She added: “You can kind of use her in any way you want, because we don’t have the total facts about her.” thus indicating that she has no respect for transgender history in the face of obvious facts of his life.

Some historians say that had Parkhurst lived today, he might well have identified as gay or transgender. “Being gay at that time was seen as negative,” said Mark Jarrett, a textbook publisher who included Parkhurst in a new book intended to comply with a California law requiring social studies curriculums to recognize the historical role of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

“It was illegal, it was a crime,” he said, “so people didn’t go around professing what their real identities were. They were hidden identities.”

In the late 1860s, with the growing popularity of railroads, stagecoach driving became a dying profession. Parkhurst retired and opened a saloon for a time, and also worked as a lumberjack in Northern California.  After he died, The Santa Cruz Sentinel wrote, “Her accumulations were regular and her wealth considerable at the time of her death, which took place in a lonely cabin, with no one near and her secret her own.”

Parkhurst could claim one other distinction: An 1867 registry in Santa Cruz County lists a Charles Darkey Parkhurst from New Hampshire as having registered to vote — more than 50 years before the 19th Amendment gave women the franchise nation wide. While there is no evidence he voted in the 1868 presidential election, his gravestone in Watsonville, misgendering him and stealing our history is etched with these words: “The First Woman to Vote in the U.S.” (The claim is known to be wrong as women held the franchise in New Jersey until they lost that right in 1807.)

Even in the 19th century, however, there was admiration for Parkhurst’s successful transition and stealth life, if not actually understanding the nature of transgender experience and identity,

“The only people who have occasion to be disturbed by the career of Charley Parkhurst are the gentlemen who have so much to say about ‘woman’s sphere’ and ‘the weaker vessel,’ ” The Providence Journal wrote. “It is beyond question that one of the soberest, pleasantest, most expert drivers in this State, and one of the most celebrated of the world-famed California drivers was a woman. And is it not true that a woman has done what a woman can do?”

Original Obit:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/05/obituaries/charley-parkhurst-overlooked.html

Further Reading:

Stolen History

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Review: “Romanoffs” Ends in Shameful, Hateful, Transphobic Trope

Posted in Editorial, Film Review by Kay Brown on November 24, 2018

Shame on you Mathew Wiener, and your entire crew!

Spoiler Alert!

The webcast video series Romanoffs ended its eight episode first season finale the other day with a tired, over used transphobic trope of the dysfunctional, murderous transsexual.  Gee… like nobody has ever done that one before!

The series is predicated on showcasing ever more dysfunctional “Romanoffs”.  So, in the season finale, we surely would be seeing the single most ‘effed-up’ human being of all… and what is the most ‘effed-up’ type of person in the mind of the show runners?  Why, a transsexual of course!

In a series of flashbacks that relate the tale that an older woman, Candice, tells to her chance met seat neighbor on a train, we see a back story of a transsexual Romanoff who turns out to be Candice herself.  (The fact that my legal name is Candice and I’m transsexual of about the same age was spooky and disturbing.  OMG!!!  Am I a cliche?)  In the flashbacks, we see how her step-mother, and possibly her father in collusion, murdered her mother and attempted to murder Candice when she was a child.  We see her father’s hateful rejection.  We see Candice’s love affair with a bisexual man end when her lover choses to marry a woman instead of staying with Candice.  Given that this episode is one long series of tired cliches and tropes, we have to have a suicide attempt.  Finally, it turns out that this wasn’t a chance meeting on the train, but carefully arranged and timed so that she could murder her half-brother and recover a Romanoff family heirloom set of earrings that belonged to Candice’s mother, and by right, to her and not to her non-Romanoff step-mother.

In terms of karmic revenge, there was no need to write the episode ending with Candice killing her innocent half-brother by poison on the train to avenge herself against her step-mother.  Simply drugging him would have been enough to allow her to recover her earrings from his luggage.  No, the murder was to cap the episode with the transphobic trope of the evil, mentally ill, transsexual murderer.

Shame on you Mathew Wiener, and your entire crew!

Shame !!!  Shame !!!  Shame !!!!!

Further Reading:

It’s Just a Joke!

Transphobic Film “Humor”

Further External Reading:

https://www.bitchmedia.org/post/end-of-gender-transsexual-killer-strikes-again-sevigny-transphobia

View at Medium.com

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