On the Science of Changing Sex

Ruth Barrett, Or When An Old Friend Becomes An Enemy

Posted in Autobiographical, Editorial by Kay Brown on June 16, 2021

When J.K. Rowling of Harry Potter fame came out as a major transphobe, many LGB & especially T people felt as though it was a personal betrayal. They had read her book, viewed her movies, responding to the tropes of love and inclusion triumphing over hatefulness… only to learn that Rowling was herself a Death Eater. I was one of those transsexuals who felt betrayed. I had taken my daughter to each of the movies as they came out. She was the same age as the child actors portraying the lead characters. She had all the books. Now, those memories are bitter ashes, tainted by the vile transphobia Rowling has vomited over them.

But there has been an even more bitter betrayal by one that I had admired and emulated, Ruth Barrett.

Ruth Barrett is a musician and Wiccan. She and her musical partner, Cyntia Smith, recorded songs and dulcimer instrumentals. Another Wiccan singer & dulcimer player I admired was Holly Tannen. I was in love with their music, bought all of their recordings.

Note the dulcimer on the wall

I purchased a dulcimer from Folk Roots, the same type that Ruth & Cyntia had learned to play and perform using, taking lessons from Holly. But I struggled to play it. I had studied Individual Voice and Small Group Harmony in high school, but had never learned to play an instrument. I was a klutz. My fingers just didn’t seem to know what to do.

Then, by chance, in the mid’ 80s, I was invited by Z Budapest, feminist author and Wiccan Sage, to help her set up and run the sound system for a conference and concert in Berkeley, as I had learned that skill helping with concerts at the Billy De Frank Gay and Lesbian Community Center in San Jose. It would have been quite churlish of me to have refused. One of the women to perform that day was Holly Tannen, another was Ruth Barrett. Thus, I met and got to know two of my musical idols on the same day.

I engaged Holly as an instructor. I still struggled. My fingers still didn’t seem to know what to do.

By luck, at a pagan event, I met Ruth and Cyntia. They both gave me quick lessons and pointers. Ruth gave me photocopies of her chord charts and tab sheets for several of their songs. Ruth and I talked about how to find one’s own singing and playing style, one’s own authentic voice. I was to see them at several other events over the next few years and was on very friendly terms with both of them. I met Cyntia’s husband, Dale, who was a master luthier, a maker of the finest classical guitars. As a means of courting Cyntia, he had copied the basic design of the Folk Roots dulcimer to make Ruth and Cyntia new dulcimers in the tradition of the finest guitars, with a sound and playability unmatched by any other in the world.

As my playing had vastly improved, thanks to Cyntia and Ruth’s tips, and that I had come into unexpected money from having been granted a patent, which was rewarded by my employer with a cash bonus, I commissioned Dale to make me a custom dulcimer in the same style as Ruth’s and Cyntia’s. As it happened, Cyntia and Ruth were scheduled to perform at the Billy De Frank Center, so it was natural that they stay at my place. Cyntia and I, in the comfort of my condo, spent our time discussing the custom inlay that she herself would design and carve for my dulcimer.

That dulcimer was a wonder. In just a few hours practice, my playing vastly improved. Having a fine instrument is worth everything, both to the performer and their audience. No wonder the greatest musicians pay thousands for them. I began to play the dulcimer, modern full chording/fingerpicking style, mostly British Isles folk tunes, at pagan events to the great appreciation of my audience.  You may listen or download free, should you be interested, to my indie produced cassette tape album of mostly folk music, but a couple Early Music, and even a few of my own composition, on dulcimer, guitar, and flute, I recorded back in ’89.  (Tap on “Side One” or “Side Two” to listen to the MP3 version.)  Please keep in mind, this is my hobby… I don’t pretend to be a professional.

On one of the occassions I was to see and converse with Ruth, at a Wiccan gathering / camping event, she strongly encouraged me to attend The Michigan Wymym’s Music Festival. The irony is not lost on me, as she was to rail loudly against allowing transwomen to attend in the years that followed. She has become a vociferous voice for TERF / GC / Transphobic propaganda, using Wicca / Goddess worship as her authority for her hatred. She edited a book entitled “Female Erasure” whose central theme was that transfolk are a serious threat to women’s existence. She has even led spiritual events for “detrans” female bodied people to “sever” their past “trans” experience.

If learning that the author of Harry Potter is transphobic feels like a betrayal, imagine how I feel about Ruth Barrett spewing the most vile transphobic propaganda after having been a personal musical mentor and friend, a guest in my house, a hero that I emulated.

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Where Are All These “Detransitioners” Coming From?

Posted in Editorial, Female-to-Male, Transsexual Theory by Kay Brown on June 1, 2021

Perhaps, as we begin Pride Month, we should talk about both the psychology and the politics of non-gender dysphoric / non-gender atypical people , mostly teenaged girls and young women, claiming a “trans” and especially now days, a “non-binary” identity.  It must be hard on lonely straight folks seeing LGBT Pride celebrations and wishing that they too could be part of something larger than themselves, where they can be accepted and feel ‘loved’ by so many others, all at once.  Who wouldn’t want to be part of that?  Oh, and add into the mix the frisson of being a rebel, joining a cause, resisting homophobia and transphobia?  It’s every teen’s dream; They aren’t just some dissaffected youth, they are special and have a right to be angry with the world.

But, here’s the rub.  If they claim to be lesbian, they can’t be with the cute guys w/o looking silly.  If they claim to be bisexual and aren’t… well then they might have to fend off girls, and that might be akward, though it might be easier than claiming to be lesbian.  If they claim to be “trans”… well… you don’t have to like girls to be “trans” right?  Lot’s of transmen are into men, right?  Then the awkward issue of people pointing out that they aren’t actually gender dysphoric nor all that masculine.  One might get labeled (correctly) as being “tucute” to be FtM transman.  No problem, just wear unisex clothes and chest bind on occasion at LGB and especially T events and support groups.

But wait, there’s this new category of “trans” where one doesn’t have to actually be “trans”; one can claim to be “non-binary”.  One can still date boys and still dress as femininely as one wishes, when one wishes; because to be non-binary doesn’t require one to be butch in any way.

So, we get more and more feminine girls and young women “coming out” as “trans” and  “non-binary” to be one with the LGBT community.  Some LGBT, in an effort to be accepting and inclusive, openly accept and even celebrate these non-LGBT people as though they were.  After all, they aren’t hurting us, and the more that come to the political fight, the better, right?

Except, there is a danger for the transsexual community lurking just underneath.  What happens when these young women tire of LARPing as “trans” and “non-binary”?  Some will quietly stop.  But some will connect with “ex-trans” types, just like “ex-gay”, and claim a new identity, in another community that love bombs them, offering a new group identity that supports and assauges their loneliness: “desister” or “de-transitioner” (even if they never actually transitioned).  We are already seeing this coming about.

And as they become “detrans”, they become the darlings of transphobic political efforts, weaponized as “proof” that “transgender ideology” is “seducing” girls into believing that they are trans.

But actual transsexuals are NOT the villains here.  It is the young people who falsely claim these identities that are.

Consider that a recent claim was made that there are 13,000 “detranstioners” on a single subreddit. How can that be when we know from solid data that there are only ~100,000 actual transitioners in the United States, and that detrans post-op regret is rare at less than 0.015%. That’s around one in 10,000 post-op people. So where did these 13,000 people come from? Simple, only a tiny handful were ever trans to begin with. The rest were those described above, falsely claiming to be “trans” or “non-binary”, now falsely claiming to be “detrans”.

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Transsexual Post-Op Regret Is Rare

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on May 19, 2021

If one were to trust the propaganda against transsexual medical interventions you would believe that post-op regret is common and a serious problem that can only be fixed by “morally mandating it out of existence” by outlawing transsexual surgeries. But the truth is quite the opposite. We have yet another study that shows that post-op regret is less than 0.3% and only slightly less than half of that was actual “gender identity” related. So the true post-op “de-trans” type regret is less than 0.015%.

This is actually quite low and speaks to the usefulness of our present diagnostic protocols (gatekeeping). While transphobic critics of transsexual medicine falsely claim that surgery is provided far too easily and often, the data says otherwise.

Reference:

Narayan, S., et al., “Guiding the conversion – Types of regret after gender-affirming surgery and their etiologies”, Annals of Translational Medicine (2021) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8105823/

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American Psychiatric Association Supports The Two Type Transsexual Taxonomy

Posted in Confirming Two Type Taxonomy, Editorial by Kay Brown on February 6, 2021

Very frequently, I and others are challenged with claims that the two type taxonomy of transsexuality had been “debunked”.  When I show that that isn’t true, my interlocutors said something to the effect that, “Well, I’ll go with the American Psychiatric Association (APA) over your fringe science.”  They were assuming that the APA had “debunked”, or otherwise disavowed, the taxonomy.  Nothing could be further from the truth as we explore what APA documents show; most critically, how the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Revision Five (DSM-5) explains and supports the taxonomy and describes the two types.

But first, we need to explore a bit of nomenclature and its history.  Over the decades, the two types have been given different labels:

Homosexual         Non-Homosexual / Autogynephilic or Autoandrophilic
nuclear                  non-nuclear / marginal
core                        non-core / marginal
Ego-syntonic         Ego-dystonic
Androphilic           Gynephilic (for MTF only, the reverse is used for FtM)
True-                        Pseudo-
Primary                   Secondary
Group One              Group Three (Anne Vitale 2001) (For MTF only, “Group Two” for FtM)
Early Onset            Late Onset
Young                      Older  Transitioner
Early                        Late Transitioner
Transkid                 Adult

Most people who have recently learned of the taxonomy ascribe it to just one researcher, Dr. Ray Blanchard.  While he was a prolific publisher of studies of the taxonomy, he did NOT discover or create it.  He did, however, coin one of the terms used to describe one of the types, “autogynephilic” (AGP) to fully and correctly articulate their nature and the role of autogynephilia in the etiology of their gender dysphoria.  He contrasted this type with the description of the sexuality of the other type, using the then common convention of describing transsexuals’ sexual orientation based on their natal (biological / “assigned at birth”) sex, as “homosexual transsexual” (HSTS).

So, when exploring APA documents, we need to keep in mind that for MTF transsexuals, “homosexual” = “early onset” and “autogynephilic” = “late onset”.

Thus HSTS/AGP = early onset / late onset taxonomy.

I know that some will object and falsely claim that this is not the equivalent taxonomy or theory.  But we have examples of scientific papers where they are used interchangeably.  And more importantly, in the DSM-5 itself, the description and explication of the two types make it very clear that they are the same taxons and theory.  There can be no honest quibbles.  The DSM-5 fully documents, describes, and supports as our best current scientific understanding, the two type taxonomy and theory.

First, the DSM-5 defines (and thus acknowledges the existence of) autogynephilia in its glossary of technical terms on page 818,

autogynephilia Sexual arousal of a natal male associated with the idea or image of being a woman.”

This definition is literally the same as Blanchard articulated.  One cannot say the APA has “debunked” the existence of autogynephilia when they helpfully define it for use by their members and the public.

But let us continue.  One of the key points of the two type taxonomy is that autogynephilia is often expressed as sexual arousal to cross-dressing, and though not always, it can be progressive and lead to gender dysphoria.  The DSM-5 describes this very phenomena in its description of ‘transvestic disorder’ on pages 703-4,

“Transvestic disorder in men is often accompanied by autogynephilia (i.e., a male’s paraphilic tendency to be sexually aroused by the thought or image of himself as a woman).  Autogynephilic fantasies and behaviors may focus on the idea of exhibiting female physiological functions (e.g., lactation, menstruation), engaging in stereotypically feminine behavior (e.g., knitting), or possessing female anatomy (e.g., breasts). … Some cases of transvestic disorder progress to gender dysphoria. The males in these cases, who may be indistinguishable from others with transvestic disorder in adolescence or early childhood, gradually develop desires to remain in the female role for longer periods and to feminize their anatomy.”

One could not get a more clear description of the progression of autogynephilic cross-dressing to gender dysphoric transwoman.

The DSM fully describes and supports the two type taxonomy of gender dysphoria as can be found starting on page 455,

“In both adolescent and adult natal males, there are two broad trajectories for development of gender dysphoria: early onset and late onset. Early-onset gender dysphoria starts in childhood and continues into adolescence and adulthood; or, there is an intermittent period in which the gender dysphoria desists and these individuals self-identify as gay or homosexual, followed by recurrence of gender dysphoria. Late-onset gender dysphoria occurs around puberty or much later in life. Some of these individuals report having had a desire to be of the other gender in childhood that was not expressed verbally to others. Others do not recall any signs of childhood gender dysphoria. For adolescent males with late-onset gender dysphoria, parents often report surprise because they did not see signs of gender dysphoria in childhood.  Adolescent and adult natal males with early-onset gender dysphoria are almost always sexually attracted to men (androphilic). Adolescents and adults with late-onset gender dysphoria frequently engage in transvestic behavior with sexual excitement. The majority of these individuals are gynephilic or sexually attracted to other posttransition natal males with late-onset gender dysphoria. A substantial percentage of adult males with late-onset gender dysphoria cohabit with or are married to natal females. After gender transition, many self-identify as lesbian. Among adult natal males with gender dysphoria, the early-onset group seeks out clinical care for hormone treatment and reassignment surgery at an earlier age than does the late-onset group. The late-onset group may have more fluctuations in the degree of gender dysphoria and be more ambivalent about and less likely satisfied after gender reassignment surgery.  In both adolescent and adult natal females, the most common course is the early-onset form of gender dysphoria. The late-onset form is much less common in natal females compared with natal males. As in natal males with gender dysphoria, there may have been a period in which the gender dysphoria desisted and these individuals self-identified as lesbian; however, with recurrence of gender dysphoria, clinical consultation is sought, often with the desire for hormone treatment and reassignment surgery. Parents of natal adolescent females with the late-onset form also report surprise, as no signs of childhood gender dysphoria were evident.”

Note the full concurrance with the description of “early onset” gender dysphoria begining in childhood, persisting into adulthood and their sexual orientation as being “homosexual” with respect to their natal sex.  Note the description of “late onset’ as having the opposite sexual orientation as “early onset”, and then in natal males, “transvestic behavior” (an expression of autogynephilia) as a precursor to their gender dysphoria.  One could not get a more definitive proof of the APA’s acknowledgement and support for the two type taxonomy as the actual text from the DSM-5.

Further Reading:

Minority Report: APA Transgender Taskforce

Reference:
DSM-5

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Rainbow’ End

Posted in Book Reviews, Editorial, Transgender Youth by Kay Brown on November 26, 2020

I’ve published a book that I hope you will help me publicize, spread the word, by posting on your social media, Rainbow’s End: A Parent’s Guide To Understanding Transsexual Children and Teens.

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Second Novel Coming Out Soon

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on October 31, 2020
All the Stars are Suns ebook complete

In late ’17, I published a SciFi novel, All The Stars Are Suns using the pen name “Seaby Brown”, the first of many I hope, as my second novel will be available this coming Thanksgiving and I’m already writing my third.

And yes, while not the main protagonist, there is a transwoman in the first story.  And no, she is not a reflection of me or my life.  The plot hinges on future advances in understanding the neuro-physiology, the organization and operation, of brains, etc., taking advantage of my interest in biology and neurology.  It is set a couple hundred years into our future.  It is a story of hope for the future against dark regressive politics and intrigue.  But seriously, check it out!  You may learn more about the novel and order it from Amazon here.

RAVEN'S ROOK EBOOK 2

My second novel, Raven’s Rook will come out on Thanksgiving, the fall of ’20.  You may pre-order it from Amazon here.  It is the sequel to the first, set several thousand years into the future.  It’s a ‘coming of age’ story, of both individuals and a culture set on a far away terraformed colony.

I’m already writing my third, Skyview Keep.  It too is set in the same universe several thousand years further than the second.  No planned publishing date for it as yet.  And yes, there is yet another planned beyond it, a grand sweep of future history.


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The Silent Transsexual

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on September 14, 2020

Even as transsexual kids are being acknowledged and finding greater support in their communities, from their parents, and from more enlightened medical care givers, their voices are being shouted down by an ever growing chorus of people who are NOT transsexual.

I speak of course to the unfortunate social circumstance of having been subsumed in a larger identity of “transgender”.

The term “transgender” was originally coined in the ’60s by Dr. “Virginia” Prince, a heterosexual married lifestyle crossdressing man, an autogynephile who neither desired nor sought medical interventions to change his body. He coined the term to describe himself, and to differentiate himself, from transsexuals. Yes, the term originally EXCLUDED transsexuals. He was infamous for berating transsexuals in both public and private. He also coined the term to differentiate himself from secretive crossdressers, commonly called transvestites, autogynephiles who only occasionally crossdressed, often only partially in women’s lingerie, for sexual gratification and emotional comfort.

But, over the decades, the term was expanded, first to include transvestites, then in the early ’90s, it began to be used to cover “late onset” transsexuals, who had followed a transvestite, to transgenderist (the term used then), to transsexual, career arc. In a way, it made sense that such “late onset” transsexuals could and should be covered by such an umbrella term, given their histories. But sadly, because of the conflation of the two types, this also dragged “early onset” transsexuals under the umbrella, unwillingly and to their detriment, conflating and confusing them with heterosexual transvestites!

But sometime in the last ten to fifteen years, a new phenomena grew. People who were neither “early onset” nor “late onset”… indeed not even gender dysphoric, began to see that transsexuals were fighting for our social, legal, civil rights. We became, in some socially liberal circles, “cool”. And because we’re “cool”, many who felt like “outsiders” took on the superficial trappings and identity of being “trans”, even though they were in no sense gender dysphoric, nor even gender atypical.

But, among those who weren’t gender dysphoric nor gender atypical were large numbers of female bodied young people who wanted also to join the “cool kids club”. And as they did so, they diluted the voices of actual transsexual transmen. These transmen began to openly question why these non-transsexual, non-gender dysphoric, non-gender atypical, very often heterosexual girls, should claim to be like them. Thus began a war of words and of ugly epithets as actual transsexuals began to be pushed away from the ‘cool kids lunch table’ by self-identified ‘transgender’ and ‘non-binary’ people, vilified with such terms as “trans-medicalist” (“transmed”) and “truscum”, falsely accused of “believing that they are better than us”. If transsexuals dare to point out that we are very different from those who aren’t the least bit gender dysphoric nor gender atypical, and insist upon continued use of the most accurate label of available to us, “transsexual”, we are shouted down and derisively called, “the trans police”.

The viciousness and anger expressed by those who use these terms to decribe transsexuals, especially those transsexuals who point out that gender dysphoria is part and parcel to what defines them as transsexuals, is very telling.

But this wasn’t the end. Now we have entered a new phase where actual transsexual people are being silenced and marginalized by this ever expanding “transgender” community evidenced in the past couple years by the stunningly counter intuitive development in which they are now claiming that the very term that started it all, “transsexual” is “outdated” and even a pejoritive!

That term is NOT a pejoritive to actual transsexuals!!!!

The goal of those who are “transgender” who make this astounding claim is clear: To silence, to “erase” transsexuals.

Remember, very few people are transsexual, a tiny minority. But in recent surveys, 3% to 6% of teens and twenty-somethings are claiming to be “transgender” or more recently “non-binary”. That’s more than those who are actually gay or lesbian. Thus, the voices of actual transsexuals can be easily drowned out.

If our voices can be shouted down by claiming that there is no difference between those who merely self-proclaim their identity as “trans” and actual transsexuals, then they can lay claim to all the “coolness” and social acceptance that transsexuals have worked so hard over decades to earn.

Addendum 24 December 2020: Lest you think my complaint specious, last night, on twitter, I was “questioned” by one person and attacked by two others, for using the term “transsexual” to describe myself and those like me. The one who questioned me was a gay man who was under the impression that “transsexual” was indeed a pejoritive. The other two were also non-transsexual people, one a non-transwoman who also believed it was pejoritive, and the other was unclear. But that third person also jumped down my throat for using the term “transkid” without a space and the “-ed” suffix in “transgendered”. (How many will now be dinged for using the terms, “transwoman”, “transman”, “transboy”, “transgirl”) For decades, both terms were in use, but the last few years, language policing is being used to identify those who don’t use the “correct” forms; forms that shift with each season; forms which control how the various populations that are mistakenly pushed under the “transgender umbrella” are to be defined and made invisible or silenced. Again, defining that the term “transsexual” is verboten is the same as saying that recognition of transsexuals as a unique condition and especially the knowledge that there are two populations lumped under even that singular term, is also verboten. Ask yourself; who benefits from this language policing and how?

Addendum 9 February 2021: It’s getting worse. I continue to see, and to hear from other transsexuals, that we being told that we should not use the term “transsexual”. I’ve noticed a pattern. I’m more likely to get this insistence from a non-trans “ally”. This is amazing. Non-trans (or “cis-” if you like the term) folks telling transsexuals that the word is outdated and offensive!

Folks, I was a proud co-founding member of the ACLU TRANSSEXUAL Rights Committee in 1980. In the early to mid-90s I was the co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee of TRANSSEXUALS to recognize Alan Hart (an activist group lobbying the Oregon State legislature while simultaneously dealing with a transphobic gay and lesbian political lobbying group that was falsely claiming that an historic transsexual was a self-hating lesbian who felt forced to live as a man due to homophobia, all the while this transphobic organization had been actively throwing transsexuals under the bus, politically). In my wardrobe is a “letter jacket” given to me by the TRANSSEXUAL Menace group in the mid ’90s. I wrote articles for the TRANSSEXUAL News Telegraph (TNT) magazine in the ’90s. I taught a class on TRANSSEXUAL & Transgender History at the Harvey Milk Institute in 1999-2001. I’ve been writing this blog on the science of TRANSSEXUALITY and transgenderism for past eleven years. Are we supposed to abandon our own personal and cultural history because a group of non-trans folk have recently gotten a bee in their bonnet that “transsexual” is a bad word? Its as though being an actual transsexual has somehow become a bad thing. Thus, we are called “truscum” when we insist upon being recognized for who and what we are. We will not be silent. We will not be erased.

Addendum 4 June 2021: I’ve noted a new pattern. If shown this essay many non-trans ‘allies’ then back off, but only to the extent of condesendingly saying “I suuport your right to identify as transsexual” as though I needed their permission. But recognizing my right to my natural “identity” makes the general silencing & erasure still OK? It doesn’t.

As a transsexual, I will NOT be silenced.

Further Reading:

Lost In The Crowd

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JK Rowling and the Transphobic Big Lie Machine

Posted in Editorial by Kay Brown on July 6, 2020

Kay BrownShe didn’t create these lies.  JK Rowling has gotten them from transphobic propaganda generated by various groups whose vitriol has swirled around the bowl for decades.  She has spent several years immersing herself in this poison.  But because of her fame and now the recent media kerfluffle, it is reaching new audiences.

A long time friend, a woman I’ve known for decades, a guest at my wedding, had never heard these lies before.  She was confused, as they didn’t match what she knew of my life, my personality, my… well… everything.  So she wrote a note to me via social media asking what it was all about.  What was Rowling ranting about?

Fortunately, I was in a position to send her links to several essays I’ve written over the years.  I was able to share with her that the culture war she was just now seeing had begun in the early 1970s, at the dawn of the modern Gay Rights Movement just after Stonewall.

For instance, Rowling has voiced the lie that transsexuals transition because of homophobia, that they want to escape the label “homosexual”.  I first encountered that lie in print in a history book written by a gay man in the ’70s, as he systematically ‘erased’ transfolk from our joint history by redefining transfolk as self-hating homosexuals.

The lie that transsexual medical services are a “new” form of “gay conversion therapy”, turning homosexual people into straight by changing their sex, was central to Janice Raymond’s hateful book, The Transsexual Empire, published in 1979.  We’ve seen this lie more recently morph into the false agit-prop story line that gays and lesbians are forced to undergo unwanted sex changes in Iran.

Rowling repeated the lie that has been used recently about the purported danger of allowing transwomen to use women’s bathrooms, falsely claiming that invites sexual assault.  She used her own history of abuse and assault to attempt to increase that fear and to garner sympathy.  Well… young transwomen are just as likely to be assaulted, both sexually and violently.

Rowling uses the classic defense of her bigotry by attempting to claim that she supports transfolk and even uses the classic lie, “…some of my best friends are {fill-in-the-blank}”, all the while spreading vicious, hurtful lies.

Rowling joining the ranks of the openly transphobic will re-energize them.  There will be a renewal of the culture war against transfolk, especially centered on transkids, as they are the easiest to speak over, drowning out their voices.  It is more important than ever that those who seek the truth over lies know how the propaganda works and what the truth is.  So, I am putting together here links to my own essays, both historical and recent.

The Big Lie Machine

Lying about other people is ancient, so ancient that a prohibition against it was included in the basic Ten Commandments of the Book of Genesis, “Thou shall not bear false witness.”  Generating and spreading false propaganda about other groups is just as old.  The people who do so professionally have studied the art and science of lying for thousands of years.  So, it should be no surprise that they’ve gotten pretty good at it.  One of the techniques is the Big Lie:  Tell a lie so outrageous that no one could believe that the teller could have made up such an outrageous lie, so it must be true.  Or if not fully true, then some part of it, or some lesser shade of it must be true.  It fits the informal logical fallacy that ‘the truth lies in the middle’ or ‘two sides to every story’.  So, the bigger the whopper, the more effective it is as propaganda.

But the middle ground between a lie and the truth is still a lie.  The compromise between injustice and justice is still injustice.  This is where transfolk find themselves.  (Oh don’t mistake me, there are several propaganda lies being pushed by subsets of transfolk… as this blog has covered extensively… they just aren’t the lies that the transphobes care about for the most part… or they weaponize those lies as well.)

Transfolk like me have spent decades debunking the worst to the silliest of these lies.  But one lie has been the bane for decades.

That one agit-prop lie is being pushed right now and has gained traction lately.  It too is an echo of an earlier one.  One can see it emblazoned on twitter feeds and other social media as a photo-icon or plain text: “Biological Reality”.  Like many powerful propaganda lies this one consists of a Motte & Bailey Fallacy combined with a Strawman Fallacy.

Let’s carefully unpack it, deconstruct it, and examine its history and current usage.

Back in the early 1950s, as the Western public first became aware of transsexuality, most notably through press coverage of Christine Jorgensen in the U.S. and Roberta Cowell in the U.K., many were quick to note that “there is no such thing as a sex change”, as though that proved something profoundly debunking.  Well, this is both a true and yet misleading statement.  It is true in that no surgery, then or now, can take a fertile individual of one sex and result in a fertile member of the other sex.  What is misleading is that the goal of surgery was never fertility, but palliative.  It is to allow individuals who suffer, and suffer greatly, from somatic gender dysphoria to inhabit a body that approximates that of the opposite sex to a close enough degree that it alleviates their dysphoria.  Although many transfolk would love to be fertile in their new gender, they are willing to accept this trade-off to enable a good enough life.  The short hand for this process was “sex change”.

Part of that good enough life is social acceptance as full members of the opposite sex.  Thus the need for documentation that agrees and enables that acceptance, lest it interfere with that good enough life at every turn.

But here is where those anti-trans propagandists enter the picture.  It is their primary goal, whether they admit it publicly or not, to deny that social acceptance, to make it as difficult as possible.  While individuals may have varying levels of animosity and animus, as a group, their goal is to make life difficult to impossible for transsexuals to reach that goal of social acceptance as full member of the opposite sex.  Their weapon of choice?  “Biological Reality”.

The Motte of “Biological Reality” is one that every reasonable person can agree with and can’t directly refute.  Transsexuals have a biological reality of having (for most of them) been fertile (or potentially fertile if allowed to go through an unwanted puberty) in one sex, but now living as the other socially.  The Bailey defenders scream “No such thing as a sex change” and “Biological Reality” (…but their chromosomes… !!!) by definition precludes social acceptance as the opposite sex.  And when critics point out that this is not strictly true, rush back to the Motte.

Why can’t the Bailey be defended?  Let’s look at some “biological reality”?

Consider individuals with Complete Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome.  These are “biological males” with XY chromosomes, healthy testicles producing male hormones, etc.  But their bodies do not recognize nor respond to male hormones, so their bodies instead remain feminine.  That is their biological reality; They are biologically “male”.  Yet, if you were to meet one, you would read them as conventionally female.  They have completely feminine bodies and minds, personalities, from birth.  Most are exclusively androphilic (attracted to men).  They can have conventional heterosexual coitus with men.  It would be both nonsensical and cruel to deny them complete social acceptance as women, as fully “female”.  Biological reality be damned, these are women in every social sense that matters.  This is what is meant by SOCIAL GENDER.

Many people, far more than there are transfolk, no matter how that is defined, are born with Disorders of Sexual Development that preclude fertility, or even having conventional heterosexual coitus.  Yet, their “Biological Reality” is accommodated and they are socially accepted as men and women without garnering a hateful lobby to dispossess them of that acceptance.

When transfolk say, “transwomen are women” and “transmen are men”.  They (we) are speaking in this very same SOCIAL sense, as both aspirational and accomplished, both petitioning for and demanding as a human right, this basic recognition as both reasonable and kind, in the same sense that people with DSDs are accepted.

But, as transfolk do so, the anti-trans forces scream out from behind the Bailey walls, “NO!  Cause there’s no such thing as a sex change, no exceptions, no acceptance!”

And when transfolk point out that is both cruel and hateful; That it is wrong to use “biological reality” as a polemic weapon and as a legal tool to deny us social acceptance, the anti-trans propagandists rush back to the Motte and say, “See how crazy and unreasonable these Trans Rights Activists (TRAs) are, pushing their evil, twisted ‘transgender ideology’?  They are ‘erasing’ women!  They are denying Biological Reality !!!  We are only defending Biological Reality !!!  They are pushing to have us ‘canceled’, calling us ‘transphobic’ merely for defending Biological Reality.”

There it is, another Big Lie… the lie, the strawman, the Aunt Sally, that TRAs are crazy, irrational, and want to redefine the biological meaning of sex, that we don’t understand science.  They argue against an imaginary position that they literally put into our mouths.

No, they (we) are defending and depending upon the SOCIAL meaning of GENDER.  We ask only for reasonable and kind medical, social, and legal acceptance and assistance, to live our “good enough” life.

Further Reading:

Yet More Big Lies:  Transphobic Propaganda Targeting Parents of Transkids

Historic Transphobia in the Gay and Lesbian Community

Invisible Transgender People – Stolen History

Misplaced Moralizing: Transwomen & Sexual Assault

Further External Reading:

Examples of Transphobes using Rowlings public support include outspoken transphobe Helen Lewis at the Atlantic dissing “millennials” for supporting transfolk and being disappointed in Rowling, ruining their love for Harry Potter and the Wizarding World:  https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/07/why-millennial-harry-potter-fans-reject-jk-rowling/613870/

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COVID-19 Deja Vu

Posted in Autobiographical, Editorial by Kay Brown on March 13, 2020

Kay BrownI’m feeling a sense of deja vu these days.  It feels a tiny bit like the early ’80s as HIV/AIDS was spreading in the gay male (and androphilic only) trans communities.  Then, it was a mix of dread and denial.  For me, as it became clear who was most at risk and why, I was in deep dread that I might already have a ticking time bomb lurking in my body.  I had been sexually active with men as an obligate bottom during the ’70s and early ’80s before my SRS.

Until the HIV/AIDS epidemic, I had had completely unprotected sex.  I had never even seen a condom until I attended a “safe sex” education party held at one of my Stanford classmate’s house.  I mean, why should I have?  It wasn’t like there was ever any chance of pregnancy, right?  Seriously, that’s the only reason we knew for using a condom back then.  If one got an STD, one took a course of antibiotics, no muss, no fuss.  How wrong we were.

When testing became available, there was an option to have it done anonymously.  I didn’t want to do it even then, dreading the possible result.  But my friends, Joy Shaffer, M.D. (a gynephilic transwoman) and her lover, Patricia quite literally shanghaied me to take me to the clinic.  They also got tested, but c’mon… it was only done as a show of emotional support for me, so that it wouldn’t be so obvious that I was the only one who was actually at risk.  Fortunately, the test result was negative.

The HIV/AIDS epidemic grew and we learned about it being an STD and a nearly universal death sentence, some of us dramatically changed our behavior.  I know I certainly did.  I dramatically reduced my sexual activity and kept condoms with me at all times.  I had quite the “dry spell” for while, unwilling to risk even protected sex unless I knew that the man I was with was a very low risk.  (The fact that I dated almost exclusively straight men helped reduce that risk… but even then… better safe sex right?)

But some gay men and HSTS continued to contract HIV because of denial and ignorance.  And President Reagan refused to even acknowledge that we have a serious epidemic killing us.

So, here we are today, with a global pandemic illness and a President in denial, failing to respond appropriately, and some people in total denial as though it won’t affect them.  Deja vu.

Yes, it can.

So, please, stop going clubbing or to concerts.  Work from home if you can.  Wash your hands often.  Listen to health authorities and ignore bad advice on social media.

Survive.

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Critique of Gliske’s Gender Dysphoria Conjecture

Posted in Editorial, Science Criticism by Kay Brown on December 3, 2019

phrenologyWhen a radically new conjecture is put forward regarding the etiology of a phenomena that purports to be a new explanitory theory it must explain all of the previous observations, evidence, and data in a better, more compact way to be accepted as a theory, displacing or augmenting a previous one.  Stephen V. Gliske claims to have a new explication of the mechanism leading to a unitary theory of gender dysphoria, displacing our current two type taxonomy with its two separate and distinct etiologies, namely extreme gender atypicality vs. Erotic Target Identity Inversion caused by an Erotic Target Location Error.

However, as one digs into Gliske’s recent paper published in eNeuro, one very quickly notes several serious defects.  First, he relies on neuro-anatomical studies that have been shown to be purely effects of hormonal treatments.  He attempts to recruit xenomelia as a point of argument for his thesis but fails to note that such evidence supports the two type as that phenomena is also highly correlated with apotemnophilia and thus another example of an Erotic Target Location Error.  He cites a study which showed reduced activation of part of the brain to sensory touch of transmen’s breasts as evidence that this is a cause of gender dysphoria, rather than an effect of gender dysphoria (attentional suppression of emotionally distasteful experience).  Finally, he fails to explain or even directly acknowledge the overwhelming evidence for the role of autogynephilia in the development of gender dysphoria in one of the two types including the studies that concluded that the two types have different brain structural shifts.

inah3Gliske leans very heavily on post-mortem studies of MTF transsexual brains by Swaab’s group in the Netherlands.  For a while so did many other researchers and especially the transgender population.  Sadly for Gliske’s argument, this effect on areas of the BNST (BSTc & INAH3) was shown to be purely an artifact of these patients being treated for gender dysphoria using female hormones for years.  These changes are activational effects of hormones.  Perhaps Gliske can be forgiven for not knowing this, given that even Swaab’s group continues to publish papers referencing this earlier work as though it hadn’t been shown to be meaningless as evidence for any etiological arguments.

Gliske proposes a mechanism of gender dysphoria that arises out of a disturbance of sensory networks in the brain.  This idea is not new.  It was proposed by Ramachandran some years ago but with a different twist.  The earlier work suggested it as supporting the sexually dimorphorphic brain hypothesis.  That earlier work was shown to be statistically weak and inconclusive.  Later work using fMRI scans of transmen while their breasts were touched were interpreted as evidence of an intrinsic neurological difference in the sensory networks involving the breast of transmen.  However, as I have argued in the past, this ignores the ability of the attentional networks of the brain to both highlight and suppress sensory experience awareness at multiple levels.

{My reader can test this ability for themselves.  While reading the above, were you keenly aware of the exact position of your left foot?  Are you now aware of it?  Now imagine you hate your left foot and concentrate on your right hand.}

Ramachandran and Case also attempted to cite the example of xenomelia and observes that this may be similar to transgender, but ascribes it to somatic mapping issues while failing to note that we have another name for xenomelia, “apotemnophilia”, the erotic desire to be an amputee and how that desire arises out of an Erotic Target Location Error (ETLE) for the primary erotic target of amputees.  The authors thus sweep the well documented erotic motivations of both amputation “wannabees” and of autogynephilic transwomen under the rug in order to further their thesis of transgender as a brain mapping issue alone.  Gliske commits the same academic sin.

Gliske doesn’t completely ignore the two type taxonomy, but makes a sweeping statement that he does not back up with compelling evidence, that the two types are better characterized by age of onset than sexual orientation, failing to note that once false self reporting for both characteristics are taken into account, the two are in fact merely labels for the same taxons that focus on one or the other of the two very highly correlated items.  However, as has been shown repeatedly, sorting for the two taxons on sexual history to determine likely sexual orientation leads to significantly higher statistical signals.

Finally, Gliske ignores that the very studies he cites as evidence for his thesis more properly supports the two type taxonomy, as Guillamon, et al., concluded in a meta-review of the papers.

“The review of the available data seems to support two existing hypotheses: (1) a brain-restricted intersexuality in homosexual MtFs and FtMs and (2) Blanchard’s insight on the existence of two brain phenotypes that differentiate “homosexual” and “nonhomosexual” MtFs”

Gliske ends his paper with a classic Bad Science Journalism(tm) move by suggesting that his work will lead to better therapies for treating gender dysphoria without the slightest evidence or hint of how that might be.

Gliske calls this a “new theory”, but in fact, it is poorly warmed over previous conjecture with very little evidence to support it, certainly not enough to displace the Two Type Taxonomy and Erotic Target Identity Inversion.

Addendum 4/30/2020:  Gliske’s paper has been retracted.  I guess I’m not the only one who noted that this paper fails to meet basic standards:

https://retractionwatch.com/2020/04/30/journal-retracts-paper-on-gender-dysphoria-after-900-critics-petition/

Further Reading:

Essay on Swaab’s research on BSTc & INAH3

Essay on Ramachandran’s paper on phantom pain after SRS

Essay on Case & Ramachandran’s paper on Transmen’s responses to breast touch

Essay on Apotemnophilia arising from an Erotic Target Location Error

Essay on Age of Onset vs. Sexual Orientation

Further External Reading:

https://community.sfn.org/index.php?%2Ftopic%2F4375-editorial-ethics-issues-of-eneuro%2F&tab=comments&fbclid=IwAR0WSHgJPGtnsywVbkagfFbs9lyv0q27_bkLB4ddKUqY5uUTCLnKfmmJQZk#comment-12809

Essay on Bad Science Journalism(tm)

References:

Stephen V. Gliske, “A new theory of gender dysphoria incorporating the distress, social behavioral, and body-ownership networks” eNeuro 2 December 2019, ENEURO.0183-19.2019; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0183-19.2019

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