On the Science of Changing Sex

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 story at Medium.com

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Transsexuals As Political Pawns

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on October 25, 2018

Kay BrownTranssexuals are being threatened by the usual suspects.   The current US Federal Administration is looking to ex-post-facto revoke our post transition legal identities, often directly over-riding our state identification and re-issued birth certificates.  To do this, they would also regulatorily, with no legislative authority, be ignoring tens of thousands of court ordered documentation changes.  Thus, they may huff and puff all they want, but until they get a national law that can pass “strict scrutiny”, this will have no effect on our actual legal status and identification markers.

What the Administration is really suggesting doing is to officially withdraw all Federal agency support to fight against discrimination of transfolk, just as they already have de facto.  This would mean that the Administration, and by extension, the GOP, is declaring to their hateful, deplorable, base that they are delivering on their promise to “Make America Great Again”… back to the days when transfolk, especially transkids in school are once again fair game for bullies and their ‘phobic schoolmaster enablers.

Fortunately, the States still have the right to protect us, as some have.  Thank goodness I live in California.  Sadly, many live in states where they offer no protections.  This is where we as transactivists need to put our efforts in the near future.

There is only ONE Federal department which can, if the Administration chooses to use it, hurt our legal status and identification documents, the State Department which issues passports.  Interestingly, it was the State Department which was the FIRST governmental agency to grant identification recognizing our post-transition status in 1953 when it issued a new passport to Christine Jorgensen so that she could return home.  Since then, post-op transfolk needed only to provide documentation attesting to that fact to get their new or re-issued passport in their new name and sex, good for the standard ten years.  Some time later, the policy was updated to allow transfolk in transition to get a new passport good for two years.

Having the ability to get a passport meant being able to show ID that matched one’s current social status even if their home state wouldn’t provide new ID.  It was literally a life saver for many… as it meant being able show it to employers and even law enforcement.  (Recall that many cities still had so-called “anti-impersonation” laws used to criminalize and harass transgender citizens until the ’80s.)

If this Administration attempts to change State Department policy that has been in effect for 65 years now with no problems… well… then we will see just what happens when pawns fight back.  They think we are weak, an easy political target.  This is a long game… a game of chess…

Remember what can happen when a pawn reaches the last rank:

Pawn Promoted to Queen, CheckMate !!!

 

Reference:

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Kenneth Zucker Vindicated

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on October 11, 2018

phrenologyCAMH has issued a public apology for publishing false and defamatory statements about Dr. Zucker and his methods in treating transkids.  (I’ll hold my breath waiting for our community to do the same….)  As part of the vindication, CAMH is paying over half a million dollars as reparations and legal costs.

 

External Reading:

https://www.camh.ca/en/camh-news-and-stories/camh-apology

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Why Transgender Folk Hate Scientists

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on September 18, 2018

27867072_1811649452220144_4426664495691531655_nBlanchard, Bailey, & Lawrence… just listing them evokes waves of antipathy in the transgender communities, especially among late transitioning transwomen.  Ask many of them and you will be told that these three are hateful transphobes… in spite of copious evidence to the contrary.  But why?

A recent paper (Hannikainen 2018) explores the issue of lay people conflating the results of science research with the scientist’s ideology.  The study showed that there is a tendency to ascribe motivation “to prove” an hypotheses rather than simply to test one.  Further, this tendency, this effect, was more pronounced if the results, the data, were disagreeable to the individual evaluating the scientist by his results.

As Voldesolo wrote,

“This is a dim and dangerous view of science, and one that no doubt contributes to the increasing politicization of the field. If results discordant with our preferred worldviews can be cast as the workings of an ideologue in a lab coat, then reactions to research will increasingly polarize. The possibility for empirical truths to accurately inform our views erodes, and a shared understanding of the means by which we discover truth is undermined. If we turn to the results of studies to determine our level of credence, as opposed to the methods by which those results were achieved, then science becomes a breeding ground for our biases as opposed to their antidote.”

Thus, many transwomen hate Blanchard, Bailey, and Lawrence not because of who they are or how they feel about transfolk (which is actually fairly positive and supportive) but on the unpleasant truths that they discovered and wrote about.

Let me state it plain and clear:  The truth is the truth no matter who researches or writes about it.  Further, seeking to demonize scientists who discover a truth that is unpleasant is both despicable and self-defeating because the truth will out.  Shooting the messenger will not change the truth.

Further Reading:

Essay on transactivists reactions to Anne Lawrence conducting research

Further External Reading:

The Danger of Judging Scientists By What They Discover

Reference:

Hannikainen, Ivar. 2018. “Ideology Between the Lines: Lay Inferences About Scientists’ Values and Motives.” PsyArXiv. July 1. doi:10.31234/osf.io/gyk26.

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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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Exploring The Science of Transgender

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 16, 2018

Through Knowledge, Justice…

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

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

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

One can find a bibliography for this blog if you wish to quickly find papers of interest.  You may wish to review the Glossary if a word is unfamiliar.

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

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Detransitioners Are NOT The Enemy

Posted in Autobiographical, Editorial by Kay Brown on June 21, 2018

Kay BrownTransgender folks should not fear detransitioners.

When I was 18 years old, on my own, effectively disowned by my family.  (I say effectively, as I was given a meagre allowance with the stipulation that I was NOT to come home or be seen by any of the family’s connections.)  I was fully socially transitioned and was just beginning HRT.  I had found a room to rent with kitchen and bathroom privileges.  The owner, a young divorced mom with a young daughter and her twenty something brother lived downstairs.  Two other women rented rooms upstairs.  Oh… and they often had boyfriends spend the night… so this wasn’t some female only space by any means.  In fact, I even had a date with the brother, went to a Jr. College dance together.  I couldn’t really afford the rent, so I did babysitting of the daughter in exchange to lower it to what I could afford.  I should mention that I couldn’t afford to eat either!  I went hungry for weeks at a time.  One of my high school friends found out about that and organized a food drive for me.  I ate a lot of strange stuff from cans for a while !  After several months of this… well, disaster struck.  I got read and outed.  No one in that house wanted a transsexual in the house, I was forced to leave.

So much for the theory that if people know an LGBT person, their hatred will be reduced… not in 1975 it didn’t.

So, I had to find a new place, fast… and I didn’t have enough money to rent my own space, no matter how humble.  I didn’t know a single transperson.  I had never met a transperson.  I was completely alone, no community, no mentors, no one I could turn to.

I was told about a place called the Alternative Community Center, where they had a bulletin board listing housing.  I hoped that I could find an LGBT friendly space.  I inquired at a goodly number of situations… While I found plenty of L friendly spaces, some G friendly spaces… there did NOT seem to be any T friendly spaces… In fact, in one mixed house I got quite the cold shoulder, openly hostile and vile comments.  But as I walked out, one of the straight men, ran after me and excitedly talked to me, actually trying to flirt with me, then admitted he was a closeted cross-dresser (i.e. a gynandrophilic autogynephile)… and while he clearly wanted to be my buddy, he also wouldn’t stick his neck out to support my joining the house-hold.  I was becoming depressed and disparate.  Then, my luck changed.

A very butch lesbian had a room available in a rented house near the beach.  She explained that it was temporary, it being winter, the off-season, so she had rented it dirt cheap.  I could have the room dirt cheap.  Her name was Curly Hummingbird.  She was totally cool with me being MTF trans.  I couldn’t believe my luck.

Living there was comforting and I felt more than welcome.  Curly even set me up with a man.  She loved sharing with me that all her lesbian friends had the hots for me.  She didn’t tell them I was trans.  She also made it VERY clear that she too found me attractive.

As time went on, we had many late night discussions.  It turned out that she was a detransitioner.  She had lived for three years passing as a man.  Yes, when gays, lesbians, and straights were all horribly transphobic when confronted by an actual transperson, a detransitioner was my savior.

After several months, winter turned to springtime weather and the house rent went up.  Curly was moving on and so must I.  I thought I had found a new savior, a mid-twenties, self-described “straight” transwoman I had met at the Stanford Clinic’s “Grooming Seminar Series”.  But she turned out to be a predator instead (as I wrote about years ago in another essay).  So, I learned that transwomen could be even worse than detransitioners.

But interestingly, at that “seminar”, Dr. Laub, Sr., the surgeon of the clinic made an announcement that one of the popular members of that little community of autogynephilic transwomen had decided to detransition AFTER having SRS.  This sent shock waves through most of the attendees, save for one twenty-something lesbian identified post-op who philosophized that “he” had found what he needed on his life’s journey and that no one should feel sad about the situation.

Thus, the earliest lessons I learned in the transcommunity… detransitioning was real.  It happened.  It was not tragic… and they were not my enemy.

Having said that, I will admit that there is one very loud asshat of a detransitioner who clearly is our enemy, Walt Heyer.  But notice that he seems to be the lone voice, beloved by the transphobic alt-right and Xtian Right alike.  He is the exception that proves the rule.

Finally, I want to point out that someone who begins social transition and/or HRT but backs away from that in a short period of time should perhaps not be considered a detransitioner?  After all, we used to have a consensus in the caregiving community that there should be a “Real Life Test” period sufficient to determine if such transition and medical interventions were the right thing for a given individual.  Perhaps we need to view such “detransitions” as not being detransitions so much as having conducted the medical / social / psychological tests and found that they were not right and count that as a win?

Oh, Curly, if you read this, please contact me?  It would be great to catch up after all of these years.

Further Reading:

Essay on Tranwoman as Predator

External Further Reading:

“I Wanted To Take My Body Off”: Detransitioned

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

Posted in Autobiographical, Editorial by Kay Brown on June 11, 2018

Kay BrownThere is an ongoing ‘war of words’ concerning the best course of treatment for gender atypical & dysphoric youth.  Lately, as our society has learned to accept and even celebrate LGBT youth, there has been a reaction from religious and reactionary bigots who would wish to return to the days when parents and medical caregivers could treat gender atypicality as a serious psychiatric disorder that needed drastic interventions in and of itself, rather than a non-pathological variance found in all human societies.  So, perhaps its time to review the history of such interventions in the light of more recent scientific and humanitarian knowledge.

First, one must understand that historically, gender atypicality concerns were mostly focused on male children, ‘sissies’.  It was often assumed that ‘tomboys’ would outgrow it, but sissy boys would all too likely (and statistics bear this out) grow up to be homosexual or transsexual, both equally considered as disordered, criminal, and to be avoided at all costs.

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To understand the nature of a given intervention one must first understand the underlying assumptions about the etiology of gender atypicality, dysphoria, and sexual orientation that a given intervention was designed to address.  During the mid-20th Century several competing theories vied with each other but there was a common thread, that of a disturbance of nurture.  That is to say, that they rejected the role of biology and focused on the environment.  So, if the environment is broken, so will the child be.  From there, several theories emerge, first up, faulty family constellation, lack of “appropriate” role modeling, and the “Smother Mother”.

The faulty family constellation theory is from observations that many children grow up in so-called “broken homes”, where single mothers are raising children on her own, with no man in her life.  The theory is that a boy child simply has no male role model and thus learns only feminine behavior and identification.  But, this wasn’t true of all feminine boys.  So, another term was added, the “emotionally absent” father.  This was a man, who though physically present in the home, rejected his son and thus failed to mold the young boy’s behavior toward the “healthy” masculine norm.  Of course, a modern understanding would be that the boy’s femininity had been the cause of the rejection by a homophobic father, not the other way around.  Also, many masculine heterosexual boys had grown up in single mother households, so they had to add the term “vulnerable” to the description of the boys, that is to say, only those who were “vulnerable” to this absence developed into sissies.

The theory also holds that the mother in these families tends to ‘smother’ a boy, hold him close to her body for excessively long periods, ‘tie him to her apron strings’, etc., such that he can’t form a separate gender identity, or even any identity, of his own.

The intervention designed to ‘fix’ the faulty family constellation is to introduce a “healthy” masculine heterosexual male role model to the boy and encourage identification and subsequent modeling upon that man.  Since it isn’t always practical to require a single mother to find a suitable husband willing to take on the task of ‘toughening up’ the sissy boy, the goal is to place the boy in therapy sessions with a suitable role modeling therapist.  For a pre-teen this would often mean “play therapy” with sex typed boys toys.  Ideally, there would also be family therapy where the boy’s father would be encouraged to take a greater role in the child’s upbringing and similar withdrawal of the mother’s involvement.  Playing with girl’s toys is to be actively denied, taking away beloved toys and dolls, often lampooned as “Drop the Barby” therapy.  Another aspect would be to restrict the boy from having female friends and require them to participate in single sex activities such as scouting, etc. where they are often exposed to peer disapproval and even bullying.  It sounds almost gentle and acceptable… but underneath, the message to the child is that they are not “ok”, that there is something wrong with them, that they are not lovable as they are, leading to reduced self-esteem and increased loneliness.

While we can all applaud the idea of family intervention to encourage more paternal involvement and bonding, the idea of decreased maternal involvement is simply not justified given that we now know that the faulty family constellation theory is just plain bogus.  Further, if a homophobic father can’t step up and bond with a feminine boy, that boy will need his mother’s acceptance all the more.  Further, placing the blame upon the mother for having “encouraged” the boy’s femininity in this manner is just plain evil.

{Personal Note:  At the age of ten, during the ’67-’68 school year, I was sent to such “play therapy” with Dr. Peters (you can’t make this stuff up), a tall bearded man in a large room filled with toys.  I don’t remember seeing any girl’s toys in the room, ever.  According to my parents, separately, since they divorced when I was a teen, I trust that they were both being candid with me, it had been the school psychologist who had insisted that I be refered to Dr. Peters and only Dr. Peters.  This would also explain why my teachers interfered with my female friendships and forced me to interact with boys in class, and there was nothing subtle about it.  —  What I find saddening about the episode is that in my case, the faulty family constellation theory is completely reversed.  My mother, though an amazingly capable and caring parent, was the one who became emotionally unavailable and rejecting.  It was my good fortune that my Dad was always a very warm, loving, caring, and devoted father to all four of his children… though, if we are all honest about it, I was likely his favorite.}

Another intervention that gained some currency in the mid to late 20th Century is, in effect, to place a child into a Skinner Box, that is to say, create a deliberate reward & punishment system, in therapy, in the home, and in the classroom, in which gender typical behavior is consistently recognized and rewarded, perhaps with tokens redeemable for desirable privileges, while gender atypical behavior is penalized.  This type of environment is often used in cases of extremely “disturbed”, aggressive, or violent children and teens where cooperative behavior is rewarded and aggression is penalized.  Here, the theory is that child is held to be “gender disturbed”, expanding the definition used for one class of children requiring extraordinarily harsh and controlling interventions to another.  There were a number of ‘therapist / researchers’ who have published and recommended such interventions using just this pathologizing language.

One of these, George Rekers, a self-hating closeted gay man, not content to label gender atypical boys “disturbed”, not satisfied with the stigmatizing term “effeminate” boy, coined the even more powerfully pathologizing and stigmatizing term “feminoid” in the manner of the racist stigmatizing of those with Down’s Syndrome as “mongoloid”.  One of Reker’s recommendations included abusively “spanking” (beating actually) young feminine boys when they committed some feminine behavioral infraction.  Interestingly, Rekers own research showed that such feminine boys were essentially like gender typical girls,

The amount of feminine play by the feminoid boys was found to be significantly greater than that of normal boys, but not significantly different from the predominantly feminine play patterns of the normal girls.”

Imagine putting a gender typical girl through this… yes, that’s the moral and psychological equivalent.  I can’t even begin to express how evil I find this so-called “therapy”.  And this is what some parents and pundits wish us to resume?

Special Note:

One of the most important and yet at the same time, distressing aspects of this shameful history is that these abusive interventions came out of the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) in the late ’60s and ’70s.  At the very heart and center of this was Robert Stoller and Richard Green.  It was Dr. Green who gathered together these vulnerable gender atypical children to allow graduate students to conduct this shameful “research”.  Rekers, in his published paper on the “treatment” (read: torture) of Kirk Murphy (aka Kraig), thanks Dr. Green for providing him his victim.  Further, Dr. Green was personally involved in the research.  Knowing this has certainly lowered my esteem for Dr. Green who I had previously held in high regard.

External Reading:

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

http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/06/07/sissy.boy.experiment/index.html

What Are Little Boys Made Of?

References:

Rekers, G., Yates, C., “Sex-typed play in feminoid boys versus normal boys and girls”, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00917600

GEORGE A. REKERS AND 0. IVAR LovAAs, “BEHAVIORAL TREATMENT OF DEVIANT SEX-ROLE BEHAVIORS IN A MALE CHILD”, Journal of Applied Behaviorial Analysis (1974)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1311956/pdf/jaba00060-0003.pdf

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