Thinking Outside the Gender Box

Originally posted on christinebenvenuto:

Sheila Jeffreys, a professor of feminist politics at the University of Melbourne, offers an interesting and thought-provoking analysis of transgender issues in a new book, Gender Hurts (Routledge, 2014). Depending upon your point of view, her ideas may offend or may enter the discussion like a breath of fresh air. Reading the book, what I found myself wishing was that a discussion was really happening – that a free and open exchange of ideas and information on all the issues touched upon in this book was possible. That it isn’t – that there are those violently opposed to free speech for for anyone who doesn’t agree with them in this arena – isn’t lost on Jeffreys.

The book traces the short history of the transgender rights movement, beginning with the word and concept of “gender” itself. Once upon a time offered as a replacement for “sex roles” by feminists who…

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Paul McHugh (USA)

Originally posted on Gender Identity Watch:

The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed written by Dr. Paul McHugh on transgenderism. As expected, trans advocates immediately attacked the Wall Street Journal for publishing it.  McHugh is wildly reviled by trans activists. The op ed appears in its entirety below.

The government and media alliance advancing the transgender cause has gone into overdrive in recent weeks. On May 30, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services review board ruled that Medicare can pay for the “reassignment” surgery sought by the transgendered—those who say that they don’t identify with their biological sex. Earlier last month Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said that he was “open” to lifting a ban on transgender individuals serving in the military. Time magazine, seeing the trend, ran a cover story for its June 9 issue called “The Transgender Tipping Point: America’s next civil rights frontier.”

Yet policy makers and…

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Forced pediatric transsexualism

Two nice people were ignorantly gushing on Facebook about how wonderful it is that a little 5 year old girl is being forced into a life of medicalized transsexualism.  A demonic pair of attention-seeking San Diego real estate agents has offered their daughter up in sacrifice to the pediatric transsexualism industry. I made the following comment:

FacebookI had not yet had my morning tea when I wrote this. I cribbed extensively from several excellent articles  on GenderTrender in preparing my comment. Before the “gender identity” fad, little girls not conforming to patriarchal “femininity” might have been called “tomboys,” and many would likely have grown up to be butch lesbians. Now they are being forced into a life of medicalized transsexualism.

I’m not saying that it’s “good” to be hearing-impaired, but it seems sort of telling that the parents already had their daughter surgically kitted out with a hearing aid at age 12 months, the earliest possible time allowed in current medical practice. She has likely already had additional surgeries (to replace and “upgrade” the hearing aid) as she’s grown, and will probably continue to have them. Was her hearing really that poor at 12 months? In view of their subsequent actions, I get a sense from these parents of “Munchausen syndrome by proxy.” But this is just my speculation.

Posted in children, evil

The ‘treatment’ for non-gender conforming girls/boys is child abuse

I REMEMBERED REALITY:

Absolutely shocking and evil.

Originally posted on Shack Diaries:

In the UK any child not conforming to gender stereotypes may be diagnosed as having gender dysphoria – defined by the NHS as:

“a condition in which a person feels there is a mis-match between their biological sex and their gender identity.”

The age at which treatment can start for this ‘condition’ was lowered in 2011 from 16 to 12 years old.

The Gender Identity Service at the NHS Tavistock and Portman clinic deals with all cases of such treatment for those under the age of 18. Treatment involves hormone blocking injections in order for the patient to basically undergo the process of stopping puberty, as pre-stage to a possible ‘sex change’. The drugs used are also potenially very dangerous, previously used in cases of extreme cancer treatment for example.
Children as young as 3 years  (!) have been treated at the clinic and the number of referrals has tripled…

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Have fun, boys

I REMEMBERED REALITY:

“Born in the wrong body,” “woman trapped in a man’s body,” all such thinking is profoundly arrogant and delusional. “Gender identity” is an obsessive irrational belief and profoundly disordered self-perception. M2Ts and F2Ts escape into an insane medical industry-promoted fantasy of narcissistic self-hatred and self-mutilation (love of the projected illusion but hatred of one’s own self), as well as shopping for body parts, whilst deeper emotional problems are glossed over and patriarchal sex role appearance/behavior stereotypes are reinforced.

Originally posted on Hypotaxis:

Born in the wrong body” reads Jezebel’s synopsis of Boys Don’t Cry.

And so Teena Brandon, a gender non-conforming lesbian, has been claimed by the Transactivists.

Nowhere in Teena Brandon’s history did she identify as “trans” or as “in the wrong body.” Medical professionals and trans activists are all too eager to claim her as trans/wrong bodied. It fits their narrative nicely.

I’m sorry to inform y’all, but there is no “wrong body.” You are born into the body you are born into – male or female, no matter. Your body is perfectly fine. Your male body, your female body is beautiful. Your body is not a theory or a construct. Your body is not an abstraction. Your body is a biologically determined, finite, bit of flesh – enjoy that shit – you’re gonna be dead soon.

If your male body wants to wear glittery capes and eyeliner, that’s…

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Transgender = commodity fetishism

Excerpt of an article from 1982.

Dwight B. Billings and Thomas Urban. The Socio-Medical Construction of Transsexualism: An Interpretation and Critique. Social Problems, Vol. 29, No. 3 (Feb., 1982), pp. 266-282

IMPLICATIONS FOR CRITICAL THEORY
Forms of illness are always more than biological disease; they are also metaphors, bearing existential, moral and social meanings (Sontag, 1978). According to Taussig (1980:3), ‘the signs and symptoms of disease, as much as the technologies of healing, are not “things-in-themselves”, are not only biological and physical, but are also signs of social relations disguised as natural things, concealing their roots in human reciprocity’. Even with negotiated illnesses which often lack a basis in biology, the reified disease language of natural science obscures their social origins (Holzner and Marx,1979:137). Disease-talk is about things, not social interaction. Patients whose subjective histories are subsumed under the unifying rhetoric of transsexualism win operations but no language adequate to express the disparate and diverse desires which lead them to body mutilation. These remain private, inchoate, unspeakable.

Critical theorists describe the ideal therapy situation as a paradigm of non-distorted communication (Habermas, 1968:214). Rather than ‘treat human beings as the quasi-natural objects of description’, the goal of communication is patients’ self-reflection and emancipation from the reified pseudo-language of neurotic symptoms (Apel, 1977:310).

The real task of therapy calls for an archaeology of the implicit in such a way that the processes by which social relations are mapped into diseases are brought to light, de-reified, and in doing so liberate the potential for dealing with antagonistic contradictions and breaking the chains of oppression. (Taussig, 1980:7)

 

According to this view, therapy promises either to provide patients with sufficient self-understanding to criticise society and struggle politically against the crippling effects of social institutions or to provide new fetishes and easily commodifiable solutions to personal troubles (Kovel,1976–7). Transsexual therapy, legitimised by the terminology of disease, pushes patients towards an alluring world of artificial vaginas and penises rather than towards self-understanding and sexual politics. Sexual fulfillment and gender-role comfort are portrayed as commodities, available through medicine. Just as mass consumer culture, whose values are illusive, offers commodities whose ‘staged appearance’ are removed from the mundane world of their production (Schneider, 1975:213), surgically constructed vaginas are abstracted from the pain and trauma of operating rooms and recovery wards. Critical theorists claim that the illusions of consumerism can be as pathological for individuals as the neuroses and psychoses symptomatic of the earlier period of capitalist industrial production (Lasch, 1978).Today, in late-capitalist consumer culture, frenzied rituals of buying contradict the puritanical self-denial characteristic of the nineteenth century. We express our identity as much by the things we buy as the work we do. Commodities promise escape from alienation, and the fulfilment of our needs. Critics compare the temporary solace of consumer spending with the transitory euphoria of a drug-induced trance (Schneider, 1975:222).Similarly, transsexuals are in danger of becoming surgical junkies as they strive for an idealised sexuality via surgical commodities. This is what physicians refer to as a ‘poly-surgical attitude’ among post-operative patients (Pauly, 1969a). Male-to-female patients especially are caught up in an escalating series of cosmetic operations—including genital amputation—to more closely approximate ideal female form. They routinely demand breast implants and operations to reduce the size of the Adam’s apple. Edgerton (1974) reports that 30 per cent of his patients also sought rhinoplasty (nose reconstruction); others demand injections of Teflon to modulate vocal pitch and silicon to alter the contours of face, lips, hips and thighs. Surgeons reduce the thickness of ankles and calves and shorten limbs. In their desperation to pass, male-to-female patients try to effect a commodified image of femininity seen in television advertising. In so doing, many patients are themselves transformed into commodities, resorting to prostitution to pay their medical bills.

While it is difficult to assess the ultimate worth of consumer products, we can try to discern the false promises implicit in their appeal. In the absence of adequate follow-up research, it is impossible to assess the lasting value of sex-change surgery, though recent studies suggest an almost invariable erosion of the transsexual fantasy following an initial ‘phase of elation’ lasting two to five years after surgery (Meyer and Hoopes, 1974). Johns Hopkins University physicians stopped performing sex-change operations in 1979 on the grounds that the patients they operated on were no better off than a sample of transsexual patients who received psychotherapy but not surgery (Meyer and Reter, 1979). Other prominent clinics, however, continue to perform surgery (Hunt and Hampson, 1980).The following excerpt from a letter written by one transsexual who underwent surgery expresses the disappointment and anguish of some patients:

No surgery can possibly produce anything that resembles a female vagina. The operation is a theft. [The surgically remodelled tissue] is nothing but an open wound. It needs dilation to keep it open and if dilated too much become useless for intercourse. Such an open wound lacks protective membranes and bleeds under pressure… Apiece of phallus with an open wound below and a ring of scrotum hanging is all it is…Who calls that an artificial vagina is nothing but a bandit looking for ignorant and credulous people to exploit them. (quoted in Socarides, 1975:130)

The evidence suggests that Meyer and Hoopes were correct when they wrote that, in a thousand subtle ways, the reassignee has the bitter experience that he is not—and never will be—a real girl but is, at best, a convincing simulated female. Such an adjustment cannot compensate for the tragedy of having lost all chance to be male and of having, in the final analysis, no way to be really female.(Meyer and Hoopes, 1974:450)

THE POLITICS OF SEX-REASSIGNMENT
Taussig (1980:7) shows that ‘behind every disease theory in our society lurks an organising realm of moral concerns’. In this paper we have examined both physicians’ and patients’ motives for sex-change surgery. We conclude that at the level of ideology, sex-change surgery not only reflects and extends late-capitalist logics of reification and commodification, but simultaneously plays an implicit role in contemporary sexual politics. The recognition that, in this day and age, the fulfilment of human desires is less a matter of public discussion than a technical accomplishment of social administration (Habermas, 1973:253) applies equally to sex-changes. Medicine brushes aside the politics of gender to welcome suffering patients —many fleeing harassment for sexual deviance—into pseudo-tolerant gender identity clinics. Yet these clinics are implicitly political and, indirectly, intolerant. With reproduction and sexual functioning falling under medical jurisdiction, physicians have played crucial roles in maintaining gender organisation (Ehrenreich and English, 1973). In providing a rite of passage between sexual identities, sex-change surgery implicitly reaffirms traditional male and female roles. Despite the mute testimony of confused and ambivalent patients to the range of gender experience, individuals unable or unwilling to confirm to the sex-roles ascribed to them at birth are carved up on the operating table to gain acceptance to the opposite sex-role.

Critical theorists contend that, in the United States, hegemonic ideology absorbs and domesticates conflicting definitions of reality (Gitlin, 1979:263). But rather than support contemporary movements aimed at reorganizing gender and parenting roles and repudiating the either/or logic of gender development (Chodorow, 1978:1979; Ehrensaft, 1980), sex-change proponents support sex-reassignment surgery.

 

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Case study of how quickly “gender identity” can take over a man’s life and destroy his family

A couple of years ago this guy revealed to his wife that he was a transvestite fetishist. Now, in 2014, he’s going to have a fetishistic fuck-hole carved out of him. I’m not going to link to his page because I don’t mean to heckle him – these excerpts from his blog are just a profoundly disturbing example of how in this day and age, a man’s garden variety autogynephilia — which might have been addressed through meditation, counseling, prayer, or other approaches – or perhaps even just been maintained privately, without trying to “drag” his wife into it – can rapidly escalate and go completely haywire. It’s obvious that the man has now become quite bonkers, with the collaboration of his therapist and his doctor. Too bad for his FAMILY, whom he professes to love so much – no, “becoming Rachel” is really the only thing in life that matters. Very sad situation.

February 2011

I came out to my wife of 20 years less than a month ago. Seeking to end the guilt, shame and the ever-present fear of discovery I told her everything. She was not extremely surprised but I could see the shock of realization in her eyes. The realization that “My husband isn’t really my husband any more”. There were tears at that moment. Mine and hers. We decided to work this out together.

. . . .

Since coming out, I vowed to keep our marriage intact.  I am first and foremost, her loving husband and lifelong friend. Second, I am a father to my 3 kids. Third, I am a relatively cute woman who can walk in 4″ stiletto heels better than my wife.

My wife had already picked up on some not too subtle clues I had been dropping. My taking to wearing panties for the last few years was a big one. It started out as a dare when she wouldn’t wear a pair I bought for her one Christmas. To my surprise, I loved them. I started under dressing every day since.  Then came the thigh high nylons (hint to new CD’s, pantyhose suck if you are wearing pants and have to use the men’s room). It was then I started to hide my purchases. Putting them on in secret and loving every silky second of it.  Shoes were next. Oh, the lure of high-heeled pumps. By the time I had graduated to buying my first skirt, things were spiraling out of control.

“Is this just a phase?” “Some strange fetish?” New thoughts were spinning in my head. The big one for most ‘straight’ crossdressers is “Am I gay”? I am not. However, when I put on the skirt I felt something powerfully feminine inside me. I felt a sense of happiness and completeness that had been missing. I cried tears of joy and of fear. Fear that I was losing myself to something I could not understand. She is Rachel.

. . . .

I no longer fear transition nor do I expect to (at least not in the traditional sense, more on this some other time). Being honest with myself I cannot discount transition in my future. As I explore myself and the world as Rachel my sense of self is evolving. I still enjoy living life as both male and female. As long as I am happy an loved I can live like this forever. Still there could come a day where I might find that becoming Rachel fully is who I really am. I will not fear that day but I also might not embrace it. I still think that I have more to lose transitioning that I would gain. Only time can tell.

March 2011

Today is my two month anniversary of coming out. It is also my 60th day of World of Warcraft sobriety. I used to be asked why all my characters were female. My response was “who wants to stare at a guy’s butt for hours and hours a day”. Well I think the real answer is obvious by now. Thanks to WoW I was able to be female in a safe and fun environment. Virtual worlds can be a really good way to begin exploring your transgendered self. A number of players actually thought i was a girl in real life. Unfortunately, it became an addiction. I was spending the time hiding from my family, friends and responsibilities. A virtual closet where I could hide away just like I hid my trans self.

. . . .

It’s been about 9 months since I first started shaving my legs. Nylons look awful with leg hair and i love the smooth feeling. My wife couldn’t understand why I would bother but she didn’t seem to mind after a while. At that time she didn’t know i was wearing thigh highs almost every day under my work clothes. Recently my arm hair has been bothering me since I have a beautiful slinky black dress that is sleeveless. I don’t have ‘gorilla’ arms but the hair I had is definately not attractive in that outfit. I do have a couple of other tops that benefit from hairless arms too. Because of my wife’s negative reaction to my removing my mustache I told her what I was considering and she just said it was my choice. Well I’m nearly hairless now and I’m starting to really see myself with a more feminine body. I never cared much about my appearance except keeping clean and not looking messy. In fact now I am getting a little vain. I wonder about a little tuck around the eyes or maybe a bit of FFS (facial feminizing surgery). Maybe a bit of electrolysis or laser hair removal. Even hormone treatment has it’s allure with softer skin, some breast growth, and a little softening in the face and other areas.

At this point I have to step back and really look at myself. I haven’t even experienced being Rachel as a complete person yet. I dabble in clothes and makeup but I’m nowhere near ready to step out into the world en femme. I have to ask myself what is my goal. Is is to be happy being a woman sometimes? Or is that happiness only going to come through a full transformation? Now I come back to the transition question. Will that ultimately make me truly happy? Maybe, but I know several people that would be unhappy with that choice. Me being one of them.

. . . .

I get turned on seeing myself en femme. I get turned on by woman’s clothing in general. I don’t consider this a fetishistic act because I don’t crossdress just for the sexual kick of it. I do it to feel good, to feel feminine and to express that side of myself as a woman. However, the sexual charge I get has diminished slightly. It changes to more of a warmth and comfortable feeling the longer I stay female. More like the afterglow of orgasm.

. . . .

[My wife] said “The less I think about it the better.” she also said something to the effect that it is always in her face. I have tried very hard to tone things down. I mostly underdress which includes my favorite footless tights. She hasn’t seen me in anything else for weeks. I haven’t even dressed for almost two weeks. (The pressure is building too). I even skipped my support group meeting to spend last Friday night with her. I don’t see how this is going to play out. I’m starting to go back to that dark place where depression is just waiting to take me again. My heart sinks every time that I hear that another couple has found a way to live with and even enjoy their husband’s crossdressing. I keep asking “why not me?”. I know this is selfish and I can’t help it. I don’t know what I’ll do if we can’t work through this. I’ve always said I want to keep the marriage intact. I love my wife with all my heart and I couldn’t bear to live the rest of my life without her. But my trans feelings are not going away. In fact they get stronger everyday. I’m definitely a happier person the more I get in touch with these feelings and I can’t see supressing them again. Suicide is not an option and never was. Neither is divorce. I can’t even stand the thought of living apart without breaking down in tears. I just don’t know right now.

May 2011

I went to see my therapist again after almost a month since my last appointment. We discussed the possibility that I was transexual and not simply a crossdresser. Her assessment was that I have been naturally transitioning since our last meeting. She saw a much more feminine change in me than I was aware of. My speech and mannerisms changed the more comfortable I became. By the time we were almost halfway through the session I was more Rachel emotionally and personality wise than ever. I had to come to terms that even without hormones, clothes, and makeup I am becoming a woman. But surprisingly I still retain enough of my male self to bounce back and forth with relative ease. This has a tendency to make things confusing at times. I think this is probably the biggest problem in my relationship with my wife. I can flip flop in a single conversation without my even noticing it. But she does and it reinforces the perception that the man she is talking to is becoming less and less the husband he once was.

>>>LATER: November 2013<<<

It’s been almost three years since I felt the need to put my words and experiences down on electronic paper. Over two years of that time I have been able to be myself most of the time. Well, mostly at work. Home time is getting better. Also, I have been on HRT for a year now.

I am starting to realize how much of my life is just normal. I don’t obsess over the ‘girly’ things as much. I got descent at doing makeup, but hardly wear any at all nowadays. Nylons used to be a joy to wear, now they are another piece of clothing I put on when necessary. I have dozens of pairs of earrings, most of the time I wear titanium studs.

I am pretty much unable to do ‘guy’ anymore. I don’t put much effort into it actually. At work I am very femme. At home I am more butch. When I am in public I rarely get gendered male if at all. Even if I try, I get ma’am and ms. My son called me dad in front of a cashier (she was paying attention) she still said “here is your receipt ma’am”.

January 2014

This week the governor of my birth state New Jersey proved he is an asshole and a transphobe. A bill to remove the surgery requirement for transgender people looking to change their birth certificate was vetoed by Governor Christie. I was in a rage when I found out. I have the opportunity to get my surgery but there are many that can’t. There are also trans children whose only form of ID is their birth certificate. These children are too young to have gender affirming surgery. The veto of this bill means these children could be subject to discrimination and loss of their privacy. This is why the bill should have been signed. Chris Christie’s ignorance of trans issues and unfounded fears over abuse and fraud just cement his reputation as an asshole and enemy of LGBTQI New Jersey residents.

. . . .

This past Wednesday I took another step forward in my life. I saw my therapist that morning and finally asked for the letter that was offered to me months ago. He brought up the previous letter and updated it. Then he filled out the contract for GRS surgery and asked me several questions relating to informed consent. I answered, then he handed me the contract which I initialed and we both signed. Done. Maybe twenty minutes top and my life had changed dramatically again.

Since starting my transition I was pretty clear that I didn’t need surgery to live my life. I still don’t ‘need’ it. My wife asked me at the beginning “So this means you want THE surgery?” I said not now, maybe not ever, but there may come a time when I DO want it. She cried hard that night. Not since her parents passed away had she cried so much. It broke my heart.

In the two and a half years since that night my transition has gone very well. I work full time as a woman, I have come out to my family, and I no longer try to hide who I am. Recently a sense of wrongness about my body has been building. My dysphoria has increased and I see no signs of it abating. What it comes down to is I ‘want’ GRS for myself. I thought I could push it aside. I can’t anymore. I didn’t even realize how much in denial I was until my therapist handed me the bright pink folder (coincidence) that held my copies of the paperwork. I went to shake his hand and say thank you. But I was overcome and hugged him fiercely. I thanked him while on the verge of tears. He quietly and calmly said into my ear “Don’t thank me Rachel, you have earned this”.

Whatever happens in this next year I can handle it. This could even be the final step that ends my marriage. I may have to prepare for that possibility. One thing is certain; I finally believe in my heart I have earned this.

 

 

Posted in autogynephilia, cult of transgender, m2f, men trapped in men's bodies, neo-vagina, rape culture, self-deception, surgery, what is autogynephilia? | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments