Ignorance

So maybe I’m spending too much time on the internet. I’m all for lively discussion but there comes a point in most conversations where everything there is to say has been said. There are some arguments that get thrown out again and again, despite being laughably uninformed. Here is my attempt to address some of the most common nonsense I see over and over again, trigger warning of course, as in this is bascially a list of my personal triggers.

I came across a really great article recently, it’s fairly long and quite up-lifting. That is unless one is foolish enough to read the comments. I should know by now never read the comments. But the comments do illustrate a problem, in that the article is a bit one sided. It focuses on a number of case studies but doesn’t mention a single one where the child went on to experience regret. Why is that important you might ask, well here is an exchange from the comments, it’s drivel and I’ve only included the bits I want to focus on, though out of respect though I’ve included the full quote at the bottom of my post.

“[…] I’m sure when research is done properly, it will be discovered that certain pressures in their upbringing has caused this. There is an interesting article on the net where  a man felt he was really female and had it turned out that his grandmother had dressed him in girls clothes […]”

This is no doubt a reference to Walt Heyer. He is one of the more vocal detractors of transitional care. This commenter seems to think proper research hasn’t happened. The truth is this subject has been researched extensively from every angle imaginable. We are just now getting to the point where that body of research is large enough to hold serious weight. Still there is an awful (awful) lot of nonsense out that that persists, despite being thoroughly debunked. Since we’re on the subject let’s start with the writings of mr Heyer.

Transition regret

In short Walt Heyer was abused as a child, then later in life he decided he was transgender, and after transitioning he decided he wasn’t. He sees his personal experience as proof that transgenderism isn’t a thing, and that those who provide care and facilitation are in it for the money. Honestly this scares me, as I think it should. I’m still at a point in my transition where I could turn around, and I worry about crossing the threshold to where I can’t. Even so, the fact that not everyone who transitions is actually transgender doesn’t disprove the existence of trans people. If anything it reinforces the notion that gender really is innate and immutable. Sure some people are gender fluid, but that is a whole other conversation, the fact that gender identity cannot be changed is one thing that pretty much all parties agree on. 

Oh and this brings me to my next point,

It’s impossible to change who you are

This is correct, and no one is saying otherwise. Moving on.

Biblical teachings

To quote Bender Bending Rodriguez, “The Bible says a lot of things, and not very clearly.” Another quote, and forgive me I can’t find the source, is that the Bible is not a moral cookbook. I would hope that everyone is familiar with the Dear Dr. Laura letter, which as I see it really should be the final word against using the bible to promote any kind of bigotry.

There is also a book titled ‘The Year of Living Biblically.’ An entertaining read that basically shows there are a lot of rules in the bible that most of us don’t even know exist. Another bit I really like is when George Takei points out that an anti-gay protesters is wearing a cotton and leather hoodie. One might argue that most of those laws were repealed by the church, i.e. a bunch of political leaders getting together and ditching the ones that simply didn’t make sense for the age. So yes that is a thing that happens, but it’s certainly not a new thing.

As I see it, if you’re going to be referencing the almighty you should also consider Matthew 7:2, basically if you’re going to use the bible as a reason to condemn someone, be aware that it’s your own head on the chopping block.

False equivalence

The concept of inappropriate comparisons is common practice among our detractors. I’ve seen all kinds of creative analogies, from superman to dinosaurs, one person I encountered mockingly claimed to be a semi-colon. I can see the appeal of this line of reasoning, it’s an opportunity to inject some humor into a… well frankly hateful line of reasoning. What people who use it don’t want to acknowledge that there is a biological basis for transgenderism.

This is not psychology, this is not opinion, this is well established and observable fact, rooted in physical evidence. We are all the same species, we are built from the same parts, if this wasn’t true then hormones wouldn’t affect us the way they do. Consider androgen insensitivity syndrome. No this is not the same thing as transgenderism, but it shows that hormone balance, not chromosomes, are what establish gender. Granted there is still a lot we don’t know, but in modern science the idea that chromosomes = gender is conclusively false. Suggesting that hormone levels in utero can affect our developmental path is not the same as suggesting a person can become a dog by thinking hard enough.   

Mental Disorder

This point is entirely semantic, that is to say it centers on the interpretation of certain words, but holds no actual merit as an argument, regardless of how you choose to interpret those words. The word disorder was chosen because really what else were they going to call it? It was a clinical term, coined for the sole purpose of discussing the the condition well before it was fully understood. It was never intended to be pejorative, and when ignorant people began using it as such the term was changed. The only information relayed when you call transgenderism a mental disorder is that you are obnoxious. 

Autogynephilia 

Ugh. I hate the word. I hate the concept, and the implications, and the stupid jerk faces that suggest it. More than anything I hate the fact that on some level there’s at least a little truth to it. The thing is though, as an argument that’s ostensibly anti-trans, if it is true it does nothing but support the idea. Dysphoria is a feeling, that is to say it is the brain trying to communicate something. I think a lot of people have some misconceptions about the brain, notably that the conscious mind is their brain. No, it is only a part of the brain, and it is not in charge.

A person cannot stop their heartbeat by thinking about it. When injured we cannot stop the pain, we can distract ourselves, disassociate from our bodies (speaking as an expert), but we cannot remove it completely. If we stay up too late we will become tired, go all day without eating and we cannot help but feel hungry. If the brain wants something it makes sure we know it. It talks to us, and has all kinds of ways of doing so, arousal is just one of it’s many languages. 

I am what some might call a late bloomer, in fact I’m still blooming, that is to say I’m not yet fully comfortable with my own sexuality. I mean I figured out pretty early that I like women, but I hated myself. I don’t know that I can explain that statement, this is something that never made sense to me, I just didn’t like my body, I didn’t like picturing myself in an intimate setting. As an awkward confession I used to practice suppressing erections, I didn’t understand why I did it at the time, I just didn’t like having them, especially when there were people around. What I learned recently is that I do enjoy my body as long as I am picturing myself as female, and this weirds the heck out of me.

******

Oh and here is the full quote from earlier. It’s pretty vapid but since I’ve quoted them I think it’s only fair to include the full statement.

“Having known a man who had gender reassignment surgery to become a “woman”, who used to say after being married and having 3 children, that he always felt like a woman inside, I ask the question “how do you know what a woman feels like inside?”

How does anyone know what the opposite sex feels like inside?? It is surely a very subjective thing and I’m sure when research is done properly, it will be discovered that certain pressures in their upbringing has caused this.

There is an interesting article on the net where  a man felt he was really female and had it turned out that his grandmother had dressed him in girls clothes every time he went there unbeknown to his parents! He remembered asking her one day, “grandma, would you still love me if I was a boy?” Hmmm.”

… sigh

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