On the Science of Changing Sex

Video Interview with Alice Dreger

Posted in Film Review by Kay Brown on December 26, 2017

Alice Dreger is a science historian turned intersex activist and staunch supporter/ally of the transcommunity.  Unfortunately for her, she also has a strong moral center and stands up for truth above tribal loyalty.  Even though she had been and remained an ally, she was falsely vilified by some in the transcommunity when she investigated and then wrote a history of the way that J. Michael Bailey was treated after he wrote his book, The Man Who Would Be Queen.  Dr. Dreger later wrote about how this incident led her to investigate other instances where scientists had been falsely pilloried by those who disliked the conclusions that resulted from their work in her wonderful book, Galileo’s Middle Finger.

On an entirely personal note, I’m proud to call Alice my friend and hope that she will once again grace our house with her presence.

 

Advertisements

Comments Off on Video Interview with Alice Dreger

Video of Ray Blanchard

Posted in Film Review by Kay Brown on December 21, 2017

For some late transitioning transwomen Ray Blanchard is either the living embodiment of Satan or he is the genius who put a name to what they had been feeling confused about their own sexuality.  To me, he is simply a good scientist doing his job.  I wish we had more like him.

Although he did NOT discover the phenomena, he did coin the term autogynephilia and dug just a bit deeper than those before… as every scientist does in their turn.  But for some reason he gets both the credit and the blame for bringing attention to the Two Type Taxonomy of transgender people, especially for Male-To-Female transsexuals.  He wasn’t the first to notice the continuum of transvestite/cross-dreamer/cross-dresser/late-transitioning transsexual.  Nor was he the first to notice they were quite different than the exclusively androphilic “young transitioners”.  But he did pursue the phenomena along with several co-investigators with enough depth to pull the material from past researchers together under a coherent theory that fully explained and made predictions about the two types – predictions that are currently being shown to be correct.

So, let’s hear from the man himself,

Comments Off on Video of Ray Blanchard

J. Michael Bailey Video Interview

Posted in Film Review, Science Criticism by Kay Brown on November 19, 2017

Kay Brown 2010Excepting Blanchard himself, no one has been more misunderstood nor falsely vilified than J. Michael Bailey, Ph.D.  The conservatives have lambasted him for researching sexual orientation.  Bisexuals have lambasted him for showing that true bisexuality in men is actually quite rare.  Gay people have maligned him for his philosophical stance that if it is “OK” for parents to use genetic screening or manipulation to effect a non-critical trait such as eye or hair color, then it is equality “OK” to select for the equally non-critical trait of sexual orientation  (meaning that Bailey sees gay or straight as equally valuable and acceptable outcomes in children), falsely accusing Bailey of supporting anti-gay genocide (ummmm… no… he equally supported chosing FOR being gay… as they were morally the same).  But it is his authorship of a book that only incidentally covered Blanchard’s research on the Two Type MTF transsexual taxonomy that got his name on the uninformed LGBT communities black list.

TMWWBQ CoverBailey’s book, The Man Who Would Be Queen is primarily about male androphilia and its deep connection to gender atypicality, to male femininity.  But, in order to explain that connection, he needed to show that autogynephilic transwomen were NOT in that taxon.  Cue that autogynephilic transwomen’s backlash !

So, let’s hear Bailey in his own words:

 

Further Reading:

Book Review: The Man Who Would Be Queen

Tagged with:

Comments Off on J. Michael Bailey Video Interview

James Cantor, Ph.D. Videos

Posted in Film Review by Kay Brown on November 19, 2017

Kay Brown 2010Sexologists are a fascinating group of scientists.  When reading their papers, we occassional get glimpses of their personality, maybe their sense of humor.  But listening to their actual words in a video is much, much more satisfying in this regards.  In this post, I link to videos of Dr. James Cantor, who has been very much at the forefront of research on various issues that interest me, being interviewed by Dr. Amatay.  I hope you enjoy them… or at least learn from them.

 

Remember, if you disagree with something a scientist says, bring data… evidence, not vehemence.

Comments Off on James Cantor, Ph.D. Videos

Who Knows Best?

Posted in Film Review, Transgender Youth by Kay Brown on January 14, 2017

Video Review:  Transgender Kids: Who Knows Best?

I just finished viewing BBC Two’s documentary on the contraversy about whether the “affirming” model is best for gender dysphoric, potential transkids.  It is well worth viewing.  It covers the full ground while (mostly) being sensitive to the transcommunity.

But sadly, it fails in several key respects.  One, it completely fails to mention that transkids are nothing like adult transitioners.  At times we catch B roll scenes of adult transsexuals, which one instantly recognizes as autogynephiles.  So this failure to distingish the two may lead naive viewers to mistakenly equate the two.

Also unhelpful, the documentary interviews one person who frankly had no idea what she was talking about regarding sexual dimorphism of the human brain. While correctly saying that one couldn’t simply look at a brain and say whether it came from a man or a woman, she fails to mention that we can see statistical trends.  But worse, she flat out states that brains only become ‘gendered’ by living in a gendered society, completely ignoring research that shows the correlation with sexual dimorphism of the brain and sexual orientation.

The areas that the documentary does cover well is the well known phenomena of desisting of gender dysphoria in most gender atypical young children by the time that they are twelve or so.  They interview a girl who had been extremely dysphoric as a younger child who desisted at puberty.  As I’ve discussed in a previous essay, 80% of such dysphoric children do desist.  The video also mentioned that most of the desisting boys will grow up to be conventional gay men and not transgender.  However, the video introduces a straw man, lumping all “transgender activists” together as saying that we all wish to sweep this inconvenient fact under the rug.  Fortunately, though it was not well show-cased, this was (partially) shown to be untrue as they interviewed an FtM transman / activist / gender therapist who acknowledged this in passing, though he also contradicted himself and made an outright lie in stating “If someone says that they are transgendered, than chances are that they are transgendered”.  We know that this is simply untrue for pre-pubescent children.

The documentary interviews both Ray Blanchard and Kenneth Zucker.  I felt Dr. Blanchard was well spoken and articulate.  But frankly, and this truly surprised me, I came away feeling far less sympathy for Dr. Zucker than before.  Perhaps the editors are partly responsible, in that they used some odd frame editing at times, perhaps they chose the quotes where Zucker was the least sympathetic?  But Dr. Zucker seemed to lack all empathy for these kids and never once affirmed that transition was a viable option that should be considered for persistors.  Further, one got the opinion that Dr. Zucker was taking credit for his treatment having lead to desisting outcomes, that from his attitude while speaking, he would consider a better one than persisting.  (As a persister myself, having been “treated” with just the type of play therapy and later direct talk therapy that he outlines, I find that attitude offensive.  For the record, I firmly hold that neither outcome is better than the other.)  He even insinuated that parents who are ‘affirming’, who helped their children transition, are homophobic, refering to a remark, that may likely be apochraphal, supposedly a quote from a parent, “Well… at least they’re not gay.”  (Most parents who are homophobic are even more virulently transphobic; like my father who begged me not transition, promissing that he would look the other way when I had boyfriends over – just like he did with his gay brother.)  What really was disturbing was his strong attempts to pathologize all gender atypical and dysphoric children as suffering from a wide range of mental illnesses, which was echoed by one of his former colleagues, specifically arguing against the oft noted concerns regarding reaction to stigma (that is, Zucker and his former colleage questioned the conventional wisdom that transkids are depressed and anxious because they are teased, bullied, and considered a dissappointment and embarrassment to family and peers).  Frankly, I was dismayed.

The real heros of the documentary are the transkids who were interviewed.  One’s heartstrings were tugged, as one would expect, but these kids also told their stories with brutal effect.

All in all… a must see.

If you are in the UK, you may watch the video here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b088kxbw

Further Reading:

Essay on Desisting and Persisting Gender Dysphoria in Gender Atypical Children

Advice to Parents of Transkids

Comments Off on Who Knows Best?