Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter: The World Comes Back to Life

Man, look at this Easter morning. This is definitely a good time to have a celebration. Everything is rising from the dead. There is not a cloud to be seen. There is more traffic than the usual Sunday morning on my street, I am guessing people are going to see family and going to church. I think Easter is more than a religious holiday, though I do think of it as being the biggest Christian holiday, bigger symbolically than Christmas. The eggs, the bunnies, the hats, I love all of that as well as the profound symbolism of the resurrection.

This week there was a County Council meeting that I didn't go to, a town hall meeting upcounty that the Citizens for a Responsible Whatever had sent out a newsletter about. They wanted all the shower-nuts to show up and tell the council they don't like the new gender identity nondiscrimination law.

I have some friends who are transgender, the ones I am thinking of used to be men and now they are women. I'm a social psychologist and the interesting thing to me is the social aspect of it. The "problem" is that somebody feels like something inside but people who talk to them don't see it, they don't realize how the person sees themselves, they think they are talking to a guy and they talk like they talk to a guy. It appears to me that the interpersonal connection is the showstopper, you might feel like a woman but really there is no problem with that, you can feel like whatever you want, the problem occurs when you talk to other people. So there's a lot to do with clothes and physical features, appearances, which just really means how you appear in the eyes of other people. Gender identity is a complex subject and requires a leap of empathy to understand, but it is understandable, these aren't Martians or something, they're like somebody who is fat but didn't used to be, and is always surprised when people address them as a fat person. I'll probably hear from them about that, yikes, back off, ladies! The fact is, of course it's impossible for me to know how it feels to be them, but the people I'm thinking of are smart, funny, brave people and I trust that their accounts of their experience are credible and real. There's certainly nothing threatening about it, no risk to anybody at all, the worst thing is that it's a little hard to understand.

So several people went to the town hall meeting and sent me email about it, and they were all in a way different, because each report gave a first-person account featuring the narrator. Well, one was pretty objective. I am going to try to piece together what happened at the meeting, and then I do hope people will fill in details in the comments.

The meeting was held Wednesday night in Clarksburg, which is a little north of Germantown. There are some things going on up there, there is an issue about development and they should be concerned about getting their share of the county budget, which, as you might have read, has some issues. But the main topics at the meeting were school redistricting, which the County Council doesn't have anything to do with, and ... yes, the shower-nuts.

There is an issue with a carousel in Wheaton Regional Park that the people in Clarksburg want moved up there, I think. Perfect topic for a town hall meeting. Development districting, same thing, good to get community feedback on that. There was discussion of the behavior of the cop assigned to patrol the high school in Damascus. Sounds like he gets out of line occasionally, well, cops and teenagers, that can be a bad combination. And is this right, that if you complain they won't look at it unless you have the complaint notarized?

There were several people in the front with “Stop Bill 23-07” signs, where 23-07 is the nondiscrimination bill. Also another guy in the back with a sign like “Protect my personal privacy. Stop 23-07.” I wonder how the law affects his personal privacy, well I guess I missed the chance to ask him. Maybe he's worried about naked women coming into the men's showers. I'll admit, that's a problem that doesn't worry me a bit.

Somebody spoke up about the nondiscrimination bill, saying that the Council had ignored the emails and letters it received. If I may remind you, some of those emails and letters were pretty weird, hoping council members' daughters would be raped, there was a Republican Party leader shouting "heil Hitler" in the Council meeting, actually it's good for them if the emails and letters are ignored.

Something was mentioned which I do know something about. Someone at the meeting talked about "five transgender people" surrounding a person gathering petition signatures and harassing them. We've heard this talk before. This is going to be a little hard for them to convince the public, especially since I have photographs and everything HERE. This has to be what they were talking about, you won't find five transgender people in the same place very often but one day Christine and I were having coffee at Starbucks with three transgender women, when we came across a guy getting signatures. They stood and talked with him, I walked around taking pictures, Christine sometimes joined the conversation, and it was all very friendly. The guy might have felt bad afterwards, because he basically deserted his station, he said he needed to go home and pray and think about the topic, and he left. I'm sure the shower-nuts were not happy to see those pictures on the Internet, but the fact is, when you meet these people you realize they are the farthest thing from the predators and pedophiles that the CRW wants you to think of. Anyway, there was no surrounding, no harassment, no five transgender people, it's just a normal example of the kind of things the CRW folks say to make it appear there is a problem when there isn't.

Somebody complained to the council about the fact that there is no exemption for religious institutions in the bill. Let me get this right. These people are saying there should be special wording that says it's okay for a church or religious school or whatever to discriminate against people? Do racist churches have special wording regarding racial discrimination? Do they realize how often this is going to come up? How many transgender people do you think are going to be applying for jobs at fundamentalist churches in Montgomery County? Is there actually a religion with a doctrine about gender identity? Why does somebody stand up in public and talk about the "problem" that there is no religious exemption in the nondiscrimination law? Maybe it's me, but I end up with the feeling there must be some other reason they feel the law should allow discrimination against transgender people.

It sounds like Duchy Trachtenberg spoke forcefully on the topic. First of all, somebody had said that her staff member had harassed people with petitions. The CRW had put a few-second-long video on YouTube, showing Dana Beyer -- who works for Trachtenberg -- telling some people that they didn't have permission from Giant and would be asked to leave. Let me mention something that we haven't said before. Some of the people who carried the petitions were just ordinary people, maybe they heard about this in church or something and thought there was an actual problem with men in the ladies room. But the people at the table that Dana went up to were not that, not gullible locals, those were people we have known for a long time, olde thyme anti-gay radicals. One of them was the central person, the letter-signer, when the rightwing minority tried to rebel against the citizens advisory committee over the sex-ed curriculum back in 2004. Google [retta site:teachthefacts.org] and you will find a lot of mentions here, and she also used to comment here as "Bianca," Google for that, too, and see what you find. While you're at it, Google for "Steina," who appears to be the other person in the video. These are hard-core rightwingers, not somebody you walk up to and harass and it intimidates them.

Trachtenberg also told the audience that she had received death threats at home, real threats, not somebody saying somebody didn't have permission to be somewhere. I'm sorry it comes down to that, one side claiming harassment just because somebody says something to them, and then actually threatening someone's life for sponsoring a bill to prevent discrimination. From the reports I got, it sounds like Duchy made the point loud and clear, too, that this bill is about discrimination, and it is devious to pretend it is about locker-rooms and modesty. She told the crowd that no other jurisdictions have had a problem with bathrooms, which is of course true.

Someone describing the meeting to me said that when Trachtenberg told about death threats, "the room went stone cold quiet." CRW type people don't want to hear about that sort of thing.

A couple of other people spoke about the nondiscrimination bill, it sounds like. It also sounds like the upcounty audience was mostly not friendly to the idea of banning discrimination against transgender people. That's fine, we live in a county that is part city and part country, it has its Blue and its Red areas, and this meeting was up in the Red part. The bulk of the population lives down in the denser areas, of course, and the more liberal, more urban opinions tend to get their way here. I imagine it is sometimes frustrating to live out there in the country and feel that nobody cares about what you think. First of all it was black people, then gay people, and now this, the government is intruding in your life etcetera. There are plenty of places in America where everybody's like that, and the elected officials enact their wishes. I'm glad not to live in one of those places, but there's nothing personal there.

I am told that at the end of the meeting, Duchy Trachtenberg was cornered by a group of people, and the police had to break up the confrontation.

I am sitting here on a beautiful Easter, with a lovely song on the radio about Jesus helping me lay my burden down. Outside my kitchen window all the world is coming back to life. I admit sometimes I don't get it, I don't understand why some people think the most important thing in the world, the thing that drives them to organize and set up web sites and write letters, phone people, would be a law that prevents discrimination against the smallest, most vulnerable, least threatening minority you can think of. Aren't there real problems out there that they could speak out about?

27 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
For some people, such as the showerheads, their fear is what motivates them- not love, not compassion, not understanding and not religion- except in their convoluted minds. This fear- the basis for virtually all prejudice- in their case has hardened to bigotry and hatred. So instead of using their time to feed the hungry,to comfort the sick, clothe the naked, they use their time to try to spread their fear and hatred. As they say " as you sow, so shall you reap".

March 23, 2008 7:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

BAGHDAD (March 24) - A roadside bomb killed four U.S. soldiers in Baghdad on Sunday, the military said, pushing the overall American death toll in the five-year war to at least 4,000.

March 24, 2008 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

American casulaties during WWII:

416,800

March 24, 2008 10:16 AM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Your point? We were attacked in WWII, and it was a world war. Iraq is a made-up war, a war of choice sold to the country with lies.

Anyway, this blog has nothing to do with this. There are plenty of other places you can make this point and be welcomed for doing so.

March 24, 2008 1:21 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

I was thinking the same thing: why is AnonFreak writing about this on this blog? It's sad that these soldiers had to die, one of those people who died was my cousin. So, I would really appreciate you sticking to the topic of the blog, AnonFreak.

March 24, 2008 1:46 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

I have read this blog for quite some time. I am continually interested in the motives of the religious right and how they justify "christian" discrimination against particular groups they find to be easy targets of their hatred and bigotry. I came across the following article by Charles Colson in the Florida Baptist Witness news magazine I regularily read. You will note how completely slanted the article is. Most people reading the Baptist news magazine would have no idea all the deception included in this write up. However, having read this blog for over 3 years I am well aware.

It amazes me the lengths so called Christians will go to in order to justify discrimination against a small group of people. Downright deception and outright lies apparently are acceptable to them as long as it accomplishes their ultimate goal. It is "the end justifies the means" type of mentality displayed so stongly by these people. Read the information below and judge for yourselves.

Not my shower: Breaking biological barriers
By CHARLES COLSON
Breakpoint
Published March 20, 2008


Mary Ann Andree was drying her hair in the Rio Sport and Health Club in Gaithersburg, Maryland, last month when the door to the women’s locker room suddenly opened. In came a man, wearing a blue ruffled skirt and make-up.

As Andree later told reporters, “I was very upset. There is a lot he could have seen.” Andree is far from alone. A lot of other women in Montgomery County, Md, are upset over a new law that demands co-ed locker rooms and bathrooms in all public accommodations.

Montgomery County, adjacent to Washington, D.C., passed the law last November to accommodate “transgendered people”—that is, men who perceive themselves to be women, and women who perceive themselves to be men. The law adds gender identity to the list of protected classes to the Montgomery County Code banning discrimination.

In effect, it means men will have full access to a woman’s restroom and locker room. A woman taking a shower after her aerobics class might look up to find a man turning on the shower next to hers. A little girl using a movie theater restroom will now have to worry that a strange man might walk in.

Michelle Turner, who leads a citizens group opposing the law, says, “Any biological male who is willing to wear a dress and who is feeling transgendered at that particular moment can enter the ladies room or locker room.”

And what is to stop non-transgendered men from entering the ladies’ room? Nothing. A child molester or rapist could put on a dress and go right in. So could pornographists. It is an appalling, shocking law. And get this: There is no exemption for religious schools, book stores, churches, and daycares. As Turner notes, “The act will use the force of law to make these organizations accept transgenders, transvestites, and cross-dressers as employees.”

The American Psychiatric Association classifies Gender Identity Disorder as a mental disorder. Supporters of the Montgomery County law refuse to accept this, and they have decided that you and I are not going to be allowed to accept it, either. Dana Beyer, a “transgendered” person employed by the Montgomery County Council, says that if you believe that XY chromosomes and male genitalia make someone male, you are a bigot.

In effect, transgendered persons are demanding that Montgomery County erase the distinctions between males and females. Make no mistake: This is not about the need for co-ed bathrooms. This law is simply being used to normalize Gender Identity Disorder—much in the same way the gay lobby uses laws to normalize homosexuality.

Montgomery County officials passed this law despite the fact that citizens opposed it by an eight-to-one margin. The good news is that concerned citizens have gathered enough signatures to put the issue on the November ballot.

But Montgomery County is not the only jurisdiction passing laws like these. Check out what your own local leaders are doing to protect your privacy rights. And parents, make sure your kids know the difference between the Christian view of sexuality and that being propagated by those who think they ought to be allowed to choose their gender and their bathroom.

March 24, 2008 7:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrea- not anon
wasn't Colson a convicted felon? nuff said.

March 24, 2008 7:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, but his mentor, Richard Nixon, would be proud.

David Fishback

March 25, 2008 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

These people seem to love the words "transvestites" and "crossdressers." It comes up in all their literature (cf. CRW, Concerned Women, FOF, etc.). Why this preference for these words?

rrjr

March 25, 2008 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Your point? We were attacked in WWII, and it was a world war. Iraq is a made-up war, a war of choice sold to the country with lies."

Dana, Saddam Husein invaded his neighbors twice. The second time, the invaded were our allies and we were obligated to assist. Upon a successful reversal of the invasion, we agreed not to depose Hussein in exchange for his agreeing to certain terms protecting his neighbors and minorities. As part of these terms, we had the right to monitor his compliance. During this time, he repeatedly fired missiles at our air patrols. He financially supported terrorism worldwide. He refused to comply with international demands that he open his nuclear facilities for inspection. Hussein started the war.

"Anyway, this blog has nothing to do with this. There are plenty of other places you can make this point and be welcomed for doing so."

One of your TTFers started the conversation. All I did was note the casualty rate of another war.

"I was thinking the same thing: why is AnonFreak"

Sorry, Derrick. Incivil comments will be ignored.

"Most people reading the Baptist news magazine would have no idea all the deception included in this write up. However, having read this blog for over 3 years I am well aware.

It amazes me the lengths so called Christians will go to in order to justify discrimination against a small group of people. Downright deception and outright lies apparently are acceptable to them as long as it accomplishes their ultimate goal."

Steve, if your main standard of truth is this blog, you're in bad shape. What deception and lies are you accusing Colson of? Could you be specific?

Colson has repented of his past crimes. He has won wide recognition of his efforts to advance the rehabilitative rather than the punitive nature of prisons in America. He is a winner of the Templeton prize for the advancement of religion.

Meanwhile, Democrats who commit perjury and obstruction of justice usually walk. Sometimes, their wives even run for President.

March 25, 2008 1:15 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 25, 2008 2:10 PM  
Blogger Priya Lynn said...

Red Baron said "[Sadam] financially supported terrorism worldwide."

That's a lie. The Fund for Independence in Journalism did a study which showed that Bush led the U.S. to war under false pretenses.

The study counted 935 false statements in the two-year period. It found that in speeches, briefings, interviews and other venues, Bush and administration officials stated unequivocally on at least 532 occasions that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction or was trying to produce or obtain them or had links to al-Qaida or both.
"It is now beyond dispute that Iraq did not possess any weapons of mass destruction or have meaningful ties to al-Qaida," according to Charles Lewis and Mark Reading-Smith of the Fund for Independence in Journalism staff members, writing an overview of the study. "In short, the Bush administration led the nation to war on the basis of erroneous information that it methodically propagated and that culminated in military action against Iraq on March 19, 2003."

The British polling agency ORB (Opinion Research Business) issued survey results January 28 that confirm its earlier estimate that more than one million Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the American-led invasion and occupation. The British agency carried out the work in association with its Iraqi research partner, the Independent Institute for Administration and Civil Society Studies (IIACSS).
In September 2007 ORB made public its finding that an estimated 1.2 million violent deaths had taken place in Iraq since March 2003. The agency commented at the time that US-occupied Iraq had “a murder rate that now exceeds the Rwanda genocide from 1994 (800,000 murdered),” with another one million wounded and millions more driven from their homes into exile, either internal or foreign.


To date the war has cost trillions of dollars at a time when U.S. domestic problems with the economy could desperately use that money in the States. This is more than enough to provide universal health care coverage to all American citizens. All to make Iraqis worse off than they were under Sadam with no end to the death and American involvement in the money pit in sight, not to mention that now the U.S. is more threatened by terrorism than ever before.

March 25, 2008 2:14 PM  
Anonymous Dana Beyer (posted by proxy) said...

Just for starters --



Colson's quote of me is a lie that was started by Theresa and now has spread to Colson. I dare you to find where I made that statement, or even implied it. On the contrary, it is typical of the sleazy manipulation of words that your side has used since the beginning.

Dana Beyer, M.D.

March 25, 2008 2:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon said: He financially supported terrorism worldwide

Priya said: That's a lie.

Then, Priya offered no support for this accusation. Al Quaeda is not the only terrorist organization. The evidence that Saddam provided financial support to terrorists is quite extensive. See the editorial page of yesterday's Wall Street Journal if you want to know some sources.

"To date the war has cost trillions of dollars"

No, it hasn't.

March 25, 2008 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Dana Beyer, a “transgendered” person employed by the Montgomery County Council, says that if you believe that XY chromosomes and male genitalia make someone male, you are a bigot."

Is this a lie, Dana? I thought I've seen you say this.

March 25, 2008 2:43 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Anon asked "Dana Beyer, a “transgendered” person employed by the Montgomery County Council, says that if you believe that XY chromosomes and male genitalia make someone male, you are a bigot."

Is this a lie, Dana? I thought I've seen you say this.


Let's see, would Anon tell a lie or Dana? My money is on Anon as the liar. Let's see, shall we?

Every regular reader here has come to know just exactly how unreliable Anon's thoughts and statements are, and we also know Anon suffers from an apparently uncontrollable desire to tar LGBT people with lies. Anon might want to brush up on a few legal points. (Please get Anon's IP number Jimk, I think Dana's lawyers will want it.) The statement libelously credited to Dr. Beyer by Anon ("I thought I've seen you say this") was in fact manufactured by the CRWeirdos here. It is a fabrication -- a lie they created, just like their lie that bill 23-07 is about bathrooms. Both statements are intentionally false and are intended only to INFLAME -- the CRWhatever's favorite tactic since January 13, 2005.

What Dana actually said was:

"These Anons are the definitions of bigots. With no scientific training or medical training, they pompously declare that people with XY chromosomes and male genitals are men. End of story. That it isn't so doesn't concern them on the plane of reality; that they would have to tolerate others who live in the world of facts is what annoys the hell out of them. Ms Griggs made it clear -- she has her definition of male and female, demands the right to believe it (which is her right) but then the right to impose it on others and not to be stigmatized for her archaic and perverse beliefs. Sorry, Regina. No go. And you know there are few outside Mississippi and Alabama who would flock to your banner because you have had to use the old fascist and racist ploy of shouting about the "innocence of women and children." How sad for you to live in the modern world."

March 25, 2008 5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chuck Colson says:

"Dana Beyer, a “transgendered” person employed by the Montgomery County Council, says that if you believe that XY chromosomes and male genitalia make someone male, you are a bigot."

Beatrice comments:

What Dana actually said was:

"These Anons are the definitions of bigots. With no scientific training or medical training, they pompously declare that people with XY chromosomes and male genitals are men."

OK, I'm really worried about being sued, and, yet, I can't help it. I must ask how this statement is different than how Colson characterized it?

Go ahead and provide some clarification.

March 25, 2008 6:18 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

You really are dense. I said that "you Anons" were the definition of bigots, not people who believe men have XY chromosomes and male genitals.

I also said that if you believe that an XY chromosome pair and male genitals are ALL that's involved (That's what "End of story" means, for those with a high school education)in making someone a man, and you refuse to learn about human sexual development, about which I have been speaking here for years, and work to discriminate against people because of that ignorance, then you are a bigot.

I have made it very clear that most people are ignorant of the complexity of sex and gender. I have tried to educate people about the various forms of developmental variations, so they can better understand intersex and transsex people. This is little taught in med school, let alone college or high school.

So I do not believe that anyone who believes the simple definitions is a bigot, unless they refuse to learn and understand and persist in promulgating the limited definitions for political purposes.

Theresa knows this, and I would bet Chuck Colson knows it, too. But to try to have an educated discussion about this would impair the ability to whip people into a frenzy and generate a backlash to an anti-discrimination bill.

I will debate Theresa or Colson in public at any time. I'm not holding my breath, because an agreement to discuss this material would completely undermine your crusade.

March 25, 2008 9:35 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

And here's what I said later that day following the widely and wildly misquoted post:

Theresa,

The Inane-Anons are let into this blog for comic relief and to provide foils, because no one could ever conjure them up out of thin air.

You, however, I find fascinating. You're an engineer. You've had a rigorous scientific training. Not too much biology, perhaps, but chemistry and physics at least. Unless you're a digital engineer, which I doubt, you must have an appreciation for variations and spectra and the fact that little in our classically-sized world is 0 or 1, on or off, yes or no.
I imagine you have the training to read science. So why don't you? Why do you stupidly say the things you do?

You know full well what I mean, yet, like most Republican officials, you so twist it as to make it unrecognizable.

Humans with a Y chromosome and penis and testicles are usually male. I don't know the exact percentage, but let's say 99%. Intersex births are 2.2% of all live births, and trans persons are approximately 1:500-1:1000. Any student of developmental biology would tell you intersex and transsex people would have to exist in our biological world.

My question to you (I don't know why I address my questions to you, since you don't have the decency to answer them, while I've answered yours), is why you haven't bothered to use your scientific training to learn a little something about sexual development? Just think about how satisfying it would be for you to educate your cronies. If Rick Bowers could do it, Theresa, you can.

Oh, now that Palm Beach County has joined Montgomery County and Governor Granholm of Michigan has extended trans protections to state employees, we've got over 38% of the country covered. You guys are running out of space. In a few years you'll need your own private Idaho where you can define people you don't like out of existence. Or, maybe, you could move to Canada. I hear their health care system is very popular there.

Reiner performed this study not simply to help his patients with cloacal exstrophy, but to PROVE that gender identity exists. Believe it or not, until recently it was one of those obvious things that no one had ever bothered to prove. And I know personally scientists and physicians, including Paul McHugh, who denied the existence of gender identity until Bill's study.

Chromosomal sex, which is a lot more complicated than you imply, has been around about eighty years. It's simplistic, and like most things, works in most cases. Something like Newtonian physics which works under the limiting conditions of the classical world, but not in the hugely larger quantum and relativistic universes.
So XX is generally female in development, and XY male. But there are XO females (Turner's syndrome) and XXY males (and transsexual women -- I personally know three) (Klinefelter's syndrome). And many, many more.

But -- we have learned that there are at least 54 genes on our DNA (and not just the sex chromosomes) -- that are involved in the earliest stages of sexual development, before a drop of hormone is produced. These are genes that produce proteins and enzymes, as well as genes that regulate the spatiotemporal production of those proteins.
One simple example -- the SRY gene. It is a critical component of the gene cascade that produces testicles, though we're not yet sure of its exact role in the cascade. The SRY gene is usually on the Y chromosome. If it is mutated or missing, you will get an XY female in all her glory. Conversely, you can have that SRY gene appear on an X chromosome, and you end up with an XX male, indistinguishable from an XY male.

If you're interested in learning more, check out the work of Dr. Edward Vilain, at USC, I believe.

That's just chromosomes and some genes. The genes interact in complicated feedback loops, and other variations have been discovered. It's quite fascinating.
There has been one particular genetic variation found in a group of transsexual women over in Europe. There will be others.

Once you get to testicular development, you have to be able to produce testosterone. And if you do, and you secrete it normally, you then need to have androgen receptors appear in functional form on the right tissues at the right times to have normal male development. There is a hormone called MIH, Mullerian Inhibiting Hormone, which causes the female reproductive structures to regress. And on and on.

All this happens in the first two months, during the life of the embryo. Once you get to the fetal stage, it gets even more complicated, as brain development begins.

The introduction of endocrine disruptors, such as DES, at this stage leads to female brain development in the presence of testicles and testosterone production. This produces an intersex condition -- male genitals and female brain, with the brain being the slightly more important organ -- known as transsexualism.

Check out the work of John McLachlan from Tulane, who showed this in rodents over thirty years ago.

I would hope this would open your eyes to the complexity and beauty of human development; it's not as simple as it looks.

Reiner's paper was a cautionary tale as well that if you have a Y chromosome you should look for testicles, because if you have testosterone production with androgen receptors in a fetus you will likely get a male gender identity. The usual experience of urological surgeons with genitally ambiguous children has been to make them into girls, because it is far, far easier to create a vagina than build a penis.

But that presupposes, and it was believed for thirty years thanks to John Money, that genitals determined gender identity. That is now generally accepted to be wrong, or at least way too simplistic, without taking other biological phenomena into account.


Transsexual men and women prove that no matter how intense the gender socialization, you cannot force a change in gender identity. There is no therapy, there are no drugs, no religious conversion that can accomplish that.

There are people who blog here who might want to believe otherwise, though I don't know why they care so much. It's just not the way it is, and you're wasting your time trying to force others to be miserable, and you're certainly not being very Christian in doing so.

I would hope, however, that some of you might recognize the key social fact relevant to all the fire and brimstone recently, from all this -- that transsexual women are, and have always been, women. Therefore, there will be no men in the women's room. Genitalia are a sign, and not always signifying the same thing.
Conversely, transsexual men are, and have been, men, and they will not be using the women's room and scaring all the girls there, but will, rather, be in the men's room where they will assimilate and do their thing, just like all the guys.

March 25, 2008 10:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I also said that if you believe that an XY chromosome pair and male genitals are ALL that's involved (That's what "End of story" means, for those with a high school education)in making someone a man, and you refuse to learn about human sexual development, about which I have been speaking here for years, and work to discriminate against people because of that ignorance, then you are a bigot."

So not everyone who believes that an XY chromosome pair and male genitals equal a male is a bigot, in your view, but only those who have refused to accept your theories about sexuality and, thus, are not in favor of discrimination legislation based on perceived gender.

Would that be a correct statement?

March 25, 2008 11:46 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

No, because they are not MY theories. They are the accepted scientific state of knowledge today, built up over the past eighty years of research into genetics, endocrinology, physiology, and now cognitive science.

And you are still twisting words. "Perceived gender"? Are you implying that I am "perceiving" my gender? You know full well that "perceived gender" refers to how others perceive a person's gender, not to what that individual's identified gender is.

March 26, 2008 1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dana said
“I would hope, however, that some of you might recognize the key social fact relevant to all the fire and brimstone recently, from all this -- that transsexual women are, and have always been, women.”

That is a curious statement coming from you. How did you father 2 children if you have always been a women? How does that work? If you have always been a women, wouldn’t that make your two marriages illegal and your 2 divorces not legal either? What is on your sons’ birth certificate? Are you listed as a father or a mother? When did your perception change?

March 26, 2008 12:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dana, the last comment was not by the anon you've been responding to the last few days. I think personal comments are inappropriate and would recommend that you delete them.

March 26, 2008 12:59 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Thank you, Anon, though it's not for me to delete them. The blog administrator has control over that process, and we can only delete our own comments.

I'm not offended by those comments, because they simply reveal the depth of ignorance on this issue. As I've pointed out, very few people know anything about this, because they were never taught. And, let's face it, for the large majority of the population this has never been an issue. When 99% of the population have a brain sex which matches their genital sex, the questions never arise. I can easily see how someone outspoken on this topic as I am can cause confusion and consternation. I'm only bothered by those who remain willfully ignorant, and then transmit that willfulness into fear and hate-mongering.

As I've been trying to explain, human sexuality and sexual development are very complex. There are a number of attributes to our sexuality which we often take for granted. It's like anything else about our anatomy or physiology -- when it's working we're oblivious to any of the components. Just imagine if you had conscious control over all your breaths and each beat of your heart -- it would be overwhelming. So these are autonomic, automatic, subconscious functions. But when you develop pneumonia or an arrhythmia, you become acutely conscious of how things are not working. Most people are unaware of just how important their thumb is, for instance, until they jam it or hit it with a hammer.

Same with sex. The vast majority don't have to deal with a physique that doesn't match the genitals, or hair growth that doesn't match the legal sex, or genitals that don't match the gonads. There is example after example, but usually kept hidden and affecting very few people over all.

The point this Anon doesn't understand is that reproductive ability and brain sex don't necessarily match; they usually do, but not always. So a trans woman can produce sperm, and a trans man can carry ova. Once a trans woman has genital reconstruction, then that opportunity is lost, unless sperm has been banked.

The practical point is that our system, while simple, is flawed. It works for most cases, but not all. It's analogous to Newtonian mechanics, which is applicable to our daily life, and Einsteinian mechanics, which applies at relativistic speeds. Most people are happily unaware of the latter. With trans persons, however, life can be completely miserable without transition, so being in that small minority in a marginalized state is highly problematic.

So we assign a sex to a newborn based on the genitals (when we can read them correctly -- those cases of ambiguity have their own set of problems which often carry on through life) and we then expect that child to express their assigned sex. Usually they do, but sometimes they don't, for a number of reasons. With trans persons the reason is that the brain sex, and hence, gender identity, doesn't match the assigned sex based on the genitals.

One can fake it, as most trans persons have done throughout their lives, and as I did. In my case, I lived my life as a man, even though I never was one. Everyone took me as one because I presented as one -- not because of my brain sex or genital sex, of which most people never had a clue.
Now I live as myself, as a woman, and the female I have always been, and everyone takes me as such. The only people who don't are those who think my past somehow gives them the right to insult and slander me, and to discriminate against others like me.

The simple fact is that the obstetrician made a mistake at my birth, and I have corrected that mistake -- legally, socially, medically.

In general we don't sneer at or denigrate those who've managed to correct their medical problems, especially when they are congenital. We often go out of our way to do so, as many surgical missionary organizations do when they visit Latin America, Africa and Asia to help repair a number of congenital anomalies. Those are the better angels of our nature.

And, btw, it's "woman" and not "women" in the context you used.

March 26, 2008 4:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DANA says:
The simple fact is that the obstetrician made a mistake at my birth, and I have corrected that mistake -- legally, socially, medically

If you were really a women at birth, and God just made a mistake, and now that mistake has been medically corrected, when was your last period? and can you conceive and give birth to children?

March 26, 2008 4:58 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

What kind of nonsense is this question? When did I mention God? I said my mother's obstetrician made a mistake.

I don't intend to discuss my periods with you, because you're obviously someone with no medical training and a closed mind. Suffice it to say that your question is insulting, and clearly underscores that you haven't heard a word of anything I've said.

March 26, 2008 5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous:
If you would take the paper bag off of your head you would see the world as it is, not as you want it to be. What kind of a ludicrous, uneducated, and offensive remark is this?: "when was your last period? and can you conceive and give birth to children?" There are millions of women in the world who are incapable of conceiving and giving birth to children because of physical conditions too numerous to list.
No doubt you are one of those religious bigots who condemns childless heterosexual couples as not having an "approved family".

In your case, ignorance is NOT bliss; it is lamentable.
Sonia

March 26, 2008 7:09 PM  

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