Wednesday, July 01, 2009

CNN: Transgender People are Here to Stay

CNN had an article online last week titled "Commentary: Transgender people are everywhere," by a transsexual woman named Donna Rose. She starts out reminding us of Chaz Bono, Sonny and Cher's kid, formerly named Chastity, who recently announced that he was transitioning from a female to male gender identity. This is a high-profile celebrity transition, Rose says, but it is not such a rare event.
We're a cross-section of society -- pilots, engineers, doctors, factory workers, artisans and pretty much anything else you can imagine. It was only a matter of time before we came to Hollywood. Make no mistake -- Chaz isn't the first and certainly won't be the last.
In a very real sense, transgender people are no one thing. We are everyone, everywhere. Whether you realize it or not, we go to your school, we are active in your communities of faith, we are your neighbors, your co-workers, your family members. Commentary: Transgender people are everywhere

We sometimes quote an estimated statistic that about one tenth of one percent of the population is transgender. That's not very many people, which makes the situation harder, because many people have no experience at all interacting with a transgender person. They haven't given it a thought, don't know what to say, and sometimes respond with anger at their own awkwardness when they do find themselves face to face with someone who does not conform to their expectations about gender. Rose's point here is a good one, that in fact there are transgender people in all walks of life. A few celebrities might get noticed by the media or whatever, but there are a lot of people who have quietly made adjustments in their ordinary lives to correct the erroneous assignment of gender at birth.
We live in a world that tries to force all of us to conform to the expectations and roles established for our bodies at birth, yet our heart and our spirit often realize that we have been miscast in life. We are forced to ask questions of ourselves about things that few ever consider.

The search for answers is indeed the pathway for overall happiness and fulfillment in life. This is a journey that each of us is on -- trans and not -- and the simple fact of the matter is that the transgender journey may appear unique, but the end goal is a universal one: Happiness.

Needless to say, there are those who continue to live in a world where "different" somehow automatically means bad, or is a threat. These are people who would keep transgender people trapped in stigmas of mental illness, moral weakness, sexual perversion and general societal freakishness.

It seems to me that nature gives us sexual qualities, we don't need to pretend to have them. A man shouldn't need to "act like" a man, a woman shouldn't have to "act like" a woman, you are what you are already, and everything you do is an expression of that. Maybe your nature is stereotypical of your sex, and maybe it is not, by degrees. But there is social pressure pushing us as individuals toward the ends of the continuum, a feminine man or masculine woman is punished in everyday interactions by stares and comments and worse, discrimination, violence.

I like her comments about people who believe "different" somehow automatically means bad. Really, that's the heart of it, that's the thing we argue about here on this blog, this is what brings TTF to the cultural battlefield. Our unifying value is the belief that someone can be different from us and still be a good person. We undermine social pressure toward conformity, especially on sex and gender dimensions, and oppose efforts to dehumanize and sanction individuals who are different from the statistical norm. We stand for freedom of personal expression.
Our defense is a simple one: We prove who we are, individually and collectively, not with words but with the courage to come out and the ability to live our lives with dignity and grace.

It may come as a surprise for many people in this country to recognize that many of us who are transsexual are not embarrassed, ashamed or otherwise apologetic of who or what we are. We refuse to go back into the stifling closet of trying to be something we're not.

We enjoy each and every day being unique, as men and women and everything in between, and we rejoice in our diversity rather than fear it. The ties that bind us are far more than the obvious connections of gender. They are bonds of courage, authenticity, integrity and pride.

You have to admire people who have the courage to make their lives right. You know there is almost no social support for someone changing the public expression of their gender identity. Our society, in fact I expect it is accurate to say all societies, have characteristic role expectations dichotomized by gender, and when someone switches roles or expresses an identity somewhere in the middle it makes people uncomfortable. We don't have routinized behaviors for interacting with someone of uncertain gender, and many people react negatively. Yet thousands of people every year are brave enough to make the transition. I can't even imagine how hard that must be.

Ms. Rose has a good point to make here.
Transgender people are victimized by crime more frequently than the general population. Many of us find ourselves unemployed and unable to be hired for jobs for which we are well qualified simply because we are transgender. And, as harsh as this life can be for us, many previous generations had it even worse. Things are changing -- slowly but surely.

Why are they changing? Because transgender people are here to stay. We've been here all along and we're finally acknowledging that our unique journey is part of who we are, but not ALL of who we are. Chaz is a courageous brother. He is a role model to others struggling with similar issues and questions. He is someone who has taken control of his life and intends to live it to the fullest. These are not things to fear. These are things to admire.

The message here is not one of our bodies, but one of our spirits. It is not one of becoming something you're not; it is of accepting what you are. As French writer Andre Gide said: "It is better to be hated for what you are than loved for what you're not." Many of us have experienced these words first-hand and know them to be true. Chaz knows who and what he is. That is not something to fear. That is something to celebrate.

This month marks the fortieth anniversary of the Stonewall riots, which in many minds marked the beginning of the revolution for gay rights. We use an acronym "LGBT," sometimes switching the L and the G, and sometimes forgetting about the T. In recent years, as Congress has debated an act that would require equal employment opportunities for gay and lesbian citizens, there has been real debate about whether that protection should be offered to transgender individuals, too, or just LGB. The debate has caused tension in some quarters between gay and transgender people, with gay people explaining that they really don't feel much in common with the transgender community and hoping that gay rights are not postponed while Congress considers whether to include this other group. I think the transgender community is realizing that they have to speak up for themselves, they will not ride automatically on the successes that gay and lesbian people have seen. That may be the good that comes out of the inclusive-ENDA debate.


Anonymous Robert said...

Seems to me that the real force at the Stonewall riots were the trans people who just wouldn't put up with it anymore. It's time for the LG and B part of the equation to stand up for our T brothers and sisters.


July 01, 2009 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stonewall is when gay people decided violence is not the answer.

They decided it was the question and that the answer was yes.

July 01, 2009 12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wouldn't put up with what anymore?

July 01, 2009 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

here's an interesting analysis by Jeff Johnston, a leading gender issues analyst

Mr Johnston has served on the Boards of many organizations serving those afflicted with same sex attraction and was once afflicted with this malady himself:

"Imagine your eighth-grade son telling you he had to change clothes in front of a girl. That’s what happened to a 13-year-old boy in California; the school let a girl use the boys’ locker room because she “identifies as a boy.”

The California Legislature created this situation when it passed “The Safe Place to Learn Act”in January 2008. Here’s how it defines gender:

"Gender" means sex, and includes a person's gender identity and gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person's assigned sex at birth.

Catch that? Gender includes a person’s “gender identity” and appearance. It’s not your biological sex that matters but how you “express yourself."

So, students in California can “change their gender” at will – moving into a “multi-gendered” system where people can shift from male to female – or become any combination of the two. In a “multi-gendered” world, an infinite number of genders is possible.

This law erroneously assumes sex is as changeable as clothing. One could theoretically embrace a new gender each day, because gender is now determined by how you express yourself, not by physical reality. Pronouns like “he” or “she” are offensive and discriminatory in public schools, because they won't fit students who don’t "identify" as either male or female.

And this isn’t just happening in California. In Colorado, a law passed requiring businesses to accommodate men and women in all restrooms, locker rooms and changing rooms according to the “gender” with which they identify. An Alaska school district passed a similar measure. And beyond the U.S., GLBT activists around the world echo The International Bill of Gender Rights, “It is fundamental that individuals have the right to define, and to redefine as their lives unfold, their own gender identities, without regard to chromosomal sex, genitalia, assigned birth sex, or initial gender role.”

It’s instructive to consider what the world’s leading expert on "Sex Reassignment Surgery" (SRS) concluded. Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and former head of the surgical gender reassignment unit at that esteemed institution, said that “transgendered” patients he had come to know were no happier after surgery than before.

“I have witnessed a great deal of damage from sex-reassignment," he said. "We have wasted scientific and technical resources and damaged our professional credibility by collaborating with madness rather than trying to study, cure, and ultimately prevent it."

Because of this, Johns Hopkins University closed its SRS unit because they determined that, just as you wouldn’t perform liposuction on an anorexic patient, it was inappropriate to surgically alter a person’s anatomy in an attempt to treat a mental disorder.

Dr. McHugh is amazed at the medical professionals today that make such quick diagnoses to perform SRS rather than point out how erroneous the procedure could be.

“It’s become an advertised and promoted idea and very few are telling patients that there are other ways of looking at their problem” he said.

Those who struggle with gender confusion and brokenness deserve compassion and healing — not special legal status, particularly in schools. Through God’s grace and truth, and the help of the church, many have come through such confusion to embrace the sex of their birth.

When Jesus was asked about sex, He pointed back to creation and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” Christ affirmed the reality and goodness of the two sexes. Scripture joins biology and human experience in forcefully proclaiming God’s design for the sexes not a “multi-gendered” system."

July 01, 2009 1:30 PM  
Anonymous neggatore, good buddy said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

July 01, 2009 1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

TTF, here comes your 19th nervous breakdown:

It's official, the 2012 presidential contest between Sarah Palin and Barack Obama has begun.

Well, the sports-metaphor portion of the race has, anyway.

In an interview with Runner's World magazine, the Alaska governor and presumptive GOP front-runner has laid down the gauntlet, challenging the commander-in-chief to a long-distance race:

What about a race? Could you beat the president?

I betcha I'd have more endurance.

My one claim to fame in my own little internal running circle is a sub-four [hour] marathon.

It wasn't necessarily a good running time, but it proves I have the endurance within me to at least gut it out, and that is something, if you ever talk to my old coaches they'd tell you, too.

What I lacked in physical strength or skill I made up for in determination and endurance.

So if [it] were a long race that required a lot of endurance, I'd win.

Presidential campaigns, as everyone knows, are marathons, not sprints.

So maybe that bodes well for Palin's chances in 2012, and explains why her Political Action Committee is already releasing head-to-head campaign ads against Obama, even though the new president's administration is just six months old.

Like Obama, Palin is also a fan of basketball, earning the nickname "the barracuda" from her high school days as a tenacious guard.

But after the two finish their hypothetical marathon, don't count on them taking to the White House court for a game of one-on-one.

... people have asked if I'd ever challenge him to a one-on-one because we both love basketball.

But look, he towers over me and I wouldn't be complaining about an unfair advantage there, but maybe I'd do better playing H-O-R-S-E with him than one-on-one.

Perhaps we should dispense with debates and policy positions, the endless barrage of negative ads and the repetitive stump speeches, and simply hold a presidential decathalon to decide the next election.

To hear Palin tell it, John McCain might even suggest we add his own favorite sport as part of the competition:

I used to joke around with John McCain during the campaign about coming jogging with me.

And once I asked him what his favorite exercise was, and he said, "I go wading."


He lives on a creek in Arizona, so he goes wading.

That cracked me up.

Running, wading, endurance, determination, marathons -- Will the sports metaphors ever cease?

On a side note, the governor detailed the music she likes to listen to while running.

I crank up old Van Halen and AC/DC, then I get into my country music, then I always wrap it up with a couple of mellow Amy Grant songs.

Hard to imagine her striding along to David Lee Roth belting out "Running With the Devil" (let alone to AC/DC's "Highway to Hell") but, the governor did name her son Trig Paxson Van Palin, so I guess anything is possible.

July 01, 2009 2:07 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

To Threadjack
To take over the content of a message thread by changing the subject of discourse to a topic outside the purview of the original subject and/orforum, while maintaining the subject line. A form of amusement for trolls. Threadjacking is distinguished from flaming, as flames are a quasi-personal attack on a poster or on a poster's style of discourse, where threadjacking is deliberatly steering the discussion offtopic.

From the Urban Dictionary

July 01, 2009 2:12 PM  
Anonymous threadjack thriller said...


I just happen to come across the Palin piece and know everyone here loves her.

We can still discuss the pitfalls of transgenderism.

Johns Hopkins dispensed with that foolishness because it wasn't helping anybody.

July 01, 2009 2:38 PM  
Anonymous manic depression said...

"WASHINGTON (June 30) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Tuesday he wants to make the law prohibiting gays from serving openly in the armed forces "more humane" until Congress eventually repeals it. He said he has lawyers studying ways the law might be selectively enforced."

Where else but America could helping someone get on the battlefield and get their head blown off be considered humane?

There was a time when everyone of age in America was trying to find a way out.

Even Jimi Hendrix pretended he was gay to avoid the draft.

July 01, 2009 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I hear too much about gay men saying that trans issues are not their issues. HRC and Barney were willing to throw trans people under the bus to get ENDA passed.

From my point of view, civil rights for anyone in our community can not morally come at the expense of civil rights for others in the community. Much as the schools I attended reeked of homophobia, to the point that no one if noticed that that's what it was, I see entrenched transphobia in our schools. This must change, but will only if we take a stand.

As I said, Stonewall was as much, or more so, a rebellion of transgender people.

July 01, 2009 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you don't understand, Robert, is we're not talking about civil rights. You have no right to be liked.

"This must change"

In other words, you want a law that people have to pretend to like gays and transgenders.

That's the gay totalitarian impulse rearing its ugly head again.

If police are harassing you, and maybe that happened at Stonewall decades ago, you'd have some legitimate grievance but that's not happening.

Buck up and stop whining.

July 01, 2009 9:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jim quotes the writer of this article as saying that the transgender issue is not of the body but of the spirit.

If this is the case, then why do transgenders get sex change operations and/or take hormones, etc. to change their bodies? If it's not about your body and all about your spirit -then why not leave your body intact? Is it because transgenders need the societal affirmation of being called by a certain pronoun or affirmed by strangers as a certain gender?

A very cool person is what I call a "secure transgender" -- one who doesn't feel the need to get a sex change operation, doesn't feel the need for any hormones or operations, dresses according to societal norms because he or she is well mannered enough to want to make others feel comfortable and, plus, he or she knows the spirit doesn't need accoutrements -- and could care less about whether someone thinks he or she is a male or a female. That person knows his or her own center and feels no need to make excuses or to prove himself/herself.

July 01, 2009 10:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"A new Gallup poll shows a marked increase in the percentage of Americans who consider the Democratic Party's views as being "too liberal." The number rose from 39 to 46 percent.

Brian Darling, director of senate relations for The Heritage Foundation, interpreted the increase as an indication of the difference in people's perception before and after the presidential election.

"I think many perceive that the Obama administration is packed more to the left than President Obama campaigned for as president," he said.

Darling added that numbers also indicate Americans are generally unhappy with the nation's lawmakers.

"They don't like Congress," he said. "The American people are very dissatisfied with the direction of the country. I think's it's a bipartisan problem."

Tim Graham, director of media analysis for the Media Research Center, said people are starting to see the Democrats' real agenda.

"Now that the Democrats are in power and are trying to pass large bills through Congress," Graham said, "it shouldn't be surprising on some levels that people in the middle see that it's too extreme."

Darling also noted that values voters are watching how both parties handle important issues such as same-sex marriage.

"The American people are very much against (gay marriage). They've proven it at the ballot box on numerous occasions," he said. "The California initiative to declare that marriage is between a man and a woman was supported by a number of people that voted for Barack Obama for president."

The Gallup numbers show no change in the past year in the percentage of Americans who describe the Republican Party as "too conservative." The percentage of Americans who say the GOP leans too far to the right remains at 43 percent."

July 01, 2009 10:36 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Oh whew! Thank goodness for that poll huh, Anon?

Oh, oops, on closer examination, I guess it's more like thank goodness for the Heritage Foundation guy's spin because here's the rest of what Gallup, unspun, reports regarding its latest poll: (emphasis mine)

...the Democratic Party still compares favorably to the Republican Party from the standpoint that more Americans say the Democrats' ideology is "about right" (42%) than say this about the Republicans' ideology (34%).

In fact, the 34% who say the GOP is about right is a new low since the question was first asked in 1992, and a far cry from November 1994 and November 2002, when majorities thought the Republicans' views were appropriately balanced.

Independents' Views of the Parties

Political independents' perceptions of the two major parties' ideological orientation are important since both parties need to appeal to the political center in order to win elections. (The vast majority of partisan identifiers predictably view their chosen party's views as being about right and the other party's as being too extreme.)

Currently, independents are more likely to view both parties as being too extreme in either direction than to believe they are about right. But more independents say the Democratic Party (38%) than the Republican Party (25%) is about right.

Independents are a little more likely to say the Republican Party is too conservative than to say the Democratic Party is too liberal
, in a slight departure from the results among all Americans.


The Democratic Party continues to hold the upper hand over the Republican Party in the current U.S. political environment by a variety of measures, including party identification and party favorable ratings. However, compared to last year, Americans are significantly more likely to see the Democratic Party as too liberal, and as a result, they are somewhat more likely to view the party as being too far left than to perceive the Republican Party as too far right. That may expose a bit of a vulnerability for the Democratic Party, and if perceptions of the Democratic Party as being too liberal continue to grow, the GOP may be able to win back some of the support it has lost in recent years. But that may be possible only if the Republicans are at the same time able to convince the public that they are not too far to the political right.

July 02, 2009 7:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


You fool.

Independents are the very ones who have started to desert BO. Most of them don't approve of the way he's doing his job.

34% is the low and you're bragging abot 42%?

Currently in the polls, in the two governors' races being held this year, New Jersey and Virginia, the Republican candidate is ahead.

Democrats gain an advantage occassionally when a Republican administration gets everyone mad.

Then, everyone gets to know the Democrats and normality is restored.

It'll happen in 2010.

Experiments all end eventually.

July 02, 2009 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

A fool is someone who makes election outcome predictions more than a year out.

It'll happen in 2010.

Yeah, it'll happen just like President Huckabee happened.

Oh! Oops!


Keep spinning, wishing and hoping and ignoring the facts that don't fit with your world view.

Glub glub glub

July 02, 2009 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, and keep ignoring history, Anon-B

I have one thing to say to you:

Sarah Palin


July 02, 2009 8:49 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

That name makes a lot of people say "boo!" I'm surprised you're among them.

Tell us Anon, what's the right wing press saying about the donations to her legal fund to pay for her defense of the many ethics complaints that have been filed against her in Alaska? How many of the donations are from people doing business with the State of Alaska?

July 02, 2009 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Fascinating reading: Obama blows out Palin in hypothetical contest

This survey found Obama beating Palin by a 20 point margin in 2012, "the largest popular vote blowout since George McGovern ran against Richard Nixon in 1972."

Of course it's way to early for any predictions, but time will tell.

July 02, 2009 9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

FYI -- The Federal Election Commission has cleared Palin on all of the ethics charges that were brought against her during the presidential campaign (including the charge against her that she inappropriately purchased clothing).

July 02, 2009 10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Anon-B has Sarahphobia

July 02, 2009 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

stock market is crashing after the dismal jobs report

the word is out today that Sir BO is considering a second stimulus package

I wonder why he never tried a first one?

Sir BO, a one-term wonder!

July 02, 2009 11:43 AM  
Blogger sandra said...

As a post operative woman I can assure you that being transsexual is a very real condition. And that post that said that they thought that a cool trans person is one who was so secure in their gender identity that they didn't even need SRS is full of crap. I am quite happy in my chosen gender and have no wish to return or have any regrets of any kind.

Also that clown from John Hopkins is no longer even a practicing doctor. He stated that opinion decades ago. JH no longer even has a gender clinic. Other therapists for the last 40 years have stated that SRS is one of the most effective treatments for GID.

Also the Stonewall riots were started by the trans people since they were so easily noticed. They were constantly being shook down. Many in the community try to downplay the role that the trans people played in the founding of the modern LGBT movement.

One last question. By every standard of medicine except genetics (and please don't use that argument just yet), I am a woman. All my documentation shows that I am female. I still am attracted to women. So by inference, I am a lesbian (and proud of it). So that makes me a homosexual. Which is an abomination in the eyes of the lord by the definition of some who interpret the bible in certain ways. Ok, so what if I was attracted to men? Would I still be an abomination? After all by medical definition I am female attracted to males, so that would make me a heterosexual. Ok, now you genetics waving people can chime in "Your still a male because you can't change your DNA!". Hmm... so then I am a homosexual because my DNA still shows me as a male. So if I am still attracted to females, then I am heterosexual, and not an abomination in the eyes of the lord, even though everyone else thinks I am a lesbian.

For those of you whose heads have exploded, please clean up after yourselves.

I don't really care about what you think of me. Nor what your creator thinks of me. I am a happy, loved woman.

July 02, 2009 12:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By every standard of medicine except genetics"


what other standards are you speaking of?

are there any other than those (anatomical, hormonal) that you or your doctor have intentionally altered?

July 02, 2009 12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

29 0f 30 stocks in the DJIA are voting against the Big O today?

Sir BO, the fabulous one-term wonder

July 02, 2009 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bone structure can't be altered.
Your pelvic will give you away!

July 02, 2009 1:05 PM  
Anonymous PasserBy said...

Anon, why in the world are you the expert on whether this person is a man or a woman? Would you want some idiot on the Internet telling you what you are? Someone makes the serious decision to change everything about the way they live, risk alienating all their friends and family, they know they're going to be insulted and discriminated against by morons like you, they undergo years of evaluation, and then they make a transition in their life greater than anything you can comprehend.

And you want to argue that their pelvis is the wrong shape.

July 02, 2009 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

I think Anon-B has Sarahphobia

Oh yeah, GOP 20 percentage point losers always scare me.

<eye roll>

Your fear, however, is palpable.

Glub glub glub

July 02, 2009 1:49 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

Bone structure can't be altered.

I guess Anon never heard of rhinoplasty

July 02, 2009 1:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

some other Anon is bringing up bone structure

Palin is money for 2012

she'll get a lot of IOUs next year when she makes appearances to raise money for congressional candidates

she has something most other candidates don't

she's a celebrity and the public is fascinated by her

the overkill by those like Anon-B who are deeply worried about her will lead to a sympathetic backlash

add that to her intelligence and natural political skills and you have a nervous one-term wonder in that big white house downtown


July 02, 2009 2:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks like the President will come to the rescue of Nebraska psychiatrists:

President Barack Obama said today that he still favors a "robust" federal policy protecting health-care workers who have moral objections to performing some procedures.

Speaking to eight religion reporters at the White House before his first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI on July 10, Obama sought to reassure Catholic health-care workers that they would not be forced to perform abortions. Obama said he is a "believer in conscience clauses" and that a new policy would "certainly not be weaker" than what existed before.

July 02, 2009 3:09 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

The genetics of human sexual development is highly complex, with over 54 genes actively involved in embryonic development. The SRY gene on the Y chromosome is just part of it, and there are cases where the SRY is on the X chromosome.

We've learned a great deal about sexual development, especially the fact that it is often not the genes that matter (since we share those genes with many other mammals), but the regulation of those genes leading to the orchestration of gene expression.

There are genetic variations that lead to a female brain with male genitals, epigenetic variations due to DES, phthalate and BPA exposure that cause transsexualism and other intersex changes, various metabolic variations rooted in the genes such as Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia and Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, chromosomal variations such as Klinefelter's and Turner's, etc.

I like Donna's juxtaposition between spirit and body, because it is a polarity appreciated by many throughout Western history. But gender identity is a function of the mind driven by brain structures such as the Bed Nucleus of the Stria Terminalis of the hypothalamus, among others.

The brain is a part of the body just like the genitals, all jokes of the male brain being lodged in the scrotum aside. When there is a sexual mismatch between brain and genitals, the solution with a 99% success rate is to reconstruct the genitals to match the brain.

It really is quite simple, except for those who somehow view the genitals as sacred or more important to human experience than the brain. We see this in the denigration of people with "mental illness" all the time, whereas "mental illness" is no more than the psychological manifestation of brain disorders. Being schizophrenic is no different than having multiple sclerosis, it just manifests through behavior and is, therefore, classified as "mental" which translates into "weak, moral, dangerous, perverted."

It's time we recognized the material causes of these variations and disorders and treat them as we treat any other medical condition. The treatment of the form of intersex known as transsexualism is the reconstruction of the sexually dimorphic aspects of the body, and not the futile treatment of the brain which has not worked in over 100 years of trials.

July 02, 2009 3:13 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

For the person referencing Rhinoplasty, that does not affect bone. That works by reshaping cartilage and soft tissue. However... cheek bones, chin bones, etc can all be reshaped surgically.

For the person referencing genetics, I am intersex. I have two complete sets of genes. Some are XX some are XY. Genetically I am female AND male. Think about that. God made me this way. Why? If it is SO important that there be ONLY female or male, why did He make me both? For those doubters who will try to pretend that I don't exist, here : what I have is called mosaicism. Here is another good resource

For those talking about God's will, educate yourself before talking about what God wants or thinks. Who are you to say what God thinks or wants? Being transsexual is not a choice. God has made a transsexual person the way they are, and who knows what His reasons may be? Are they the same for why He chose that I should be intersex? Are they the same reasons He chose to make some gay and some straight? Are they the same for why He chose to make some tall, some short, some black, some white?

Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways! 11:34 For who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been his counselor? 11:35 Or who has first given to God, that God needs to repay him? 11:36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever! Amen.

July 02, 2009 3:19 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

Jeff Johnston is not anyone's idea of a "leading gender analyst" outside of Focus on the Family, and Paul McHugh has never been the "world's leading expert on sex reassignment surgery." He has no training in human sexuality, being an expert on eating disorders. His views on sex and gender come from the right-wing Catholic tradition, and he has never debated any medical experts on these issues, preferring to hide behind the skirts of Catholic prelates while he spouts his hate. I do thank him, however, for convincing Hopkins to shut down its program, because he privatized the care of gender variant individuals, opening up supportive treatment to tens of thousands.

Hopkins was never an oasis of support; to the contrary, their attitudes were sexist and misogynistic, and limited to treating highly sexualized individuals. Hopkins has a long history of being on the wrong side of history, relating to mental illness, race, sex and gender, and has only become a progressive institution over the past twenty years.

July 02, 2009 3:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is absolutely no correlation between those who are genetically intersex and those who "perceive" themselves to be intersex. Just like...there is no correlation between someone who is genetically Asian and someone who "perceives" himself to be Asian. Two different issues at play here. We're talking apples vs. perceived apples...

July 02, 2009 3:36 PM  
Anonymous Maria said...

Anonymous said : There is absolutely no correlation between those who are genetically intersex and those who "perceive" themselves to be intersex. Just like...there is no correlation between someone who is genetically Asian and someone who "perceives" himself to be Asian. Two different issues at play here. We're talking apples vs. perceived apples...

Ahh, but there is indeed a correlation. I have heard very few transsexuals claim that being transsexual is a form of intersex... but both groups are gender variant through no fault of their own... and are usually persecuted for it as those who are unable to cope with that reality project their own fear, anger, pain and resentment on us.

We make very convenient targets. We are easy to attack. It is "safe" to attack us.

The truth of it is that you do NOT know what causes transsexualism. You have an opinion. Many people do. You are entitled to your opinion. You are welcome to it. It is your opinion. That does not make it a fact. Assuming that it is factual or presenting it as a fact is wrong and logically fallacious.

For all you know being transsexual may very well be a completely biological issue. It may be a very specific form of intersex. You don't know. I don't know. No one does. Many people claim to, but that still does not make their opinions into fact.

That being said, why are you so quick to present your opinion as fact and use that to demean and trivialize another human being and the pain that they suffer? What has hurt you so badly that this is your reaction to people who do you no harm and seek only to live their lives with simple human dignity?

Why does this issue provoke such hatred and animosity in those it does not harm?

July 02, 2009 3:52 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Good to meet you Maria. I've read of mosaicism but didn't know anyone.

Silly anonymous, I wasn't talking to you and you in your essential egocentricity completely did not understand what I was saying. Stick to threadjacking and hiding under bridges, you're better at it.

As I said, it's time for the members of the lgbt and allied communities to go to bat for all members of the community, not simply those most like ourselves.

Jim, have you been following the raid on the Rainbow Lounge in Ft. Worth on the anniversary of Stonewall? Seems remarkable to me.

July 02, 2009 3:58 PM  
Blogger JimK said...

I agree, Robert. It's almost as if the cops planned it to coincide with the Stonewall raid, within a few minutes of 40 years later. I don't know what to make of it, do you? Not that I would ever expect a Texas cop to be, you know, a redneck or anything, but it's a little mind-boggling to think that they'd do something as blatant as that.


July 02, 2009 4:36 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon, in an unattributed quote copied:

“Imagine your eighth-grade son telling you he had to change clothes in front of a girl. That’s what happened to a 13-year-old boy in California; the school let a girl use the boys’ locker room because she “identifies as a boy”

Interesting little story Anon, I found it over here at the Christian Rights Headlines for 4/28/09 ( ) If you go here ( ) hit the “Current Headlines” button and search for 4/28/09 you’ll find it as well – presumably this is where it was copied from.

After an hour of searching the internet for other indications that this actually happened, I came up with nothing, nada, zilch, zero. This being the case, I have to wonder if it actually happened or if it’s just another panic-stricken transphobe making this up. It is not uncommon for schools to require trans children to use the faculty restroom, a unisex restroom, or other restroom that requires a key in order to accommodate everyone’s privacy.

Have a nice day,


July 02, 2009 4:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea- not anon
Since Sarah was mentioned- I am hoping she runs with another fine family values candidate- Mark "sparkin" Sanford.

Wow, I bet 2010 will see us vote all the Dems out of MC. Anon has been predicting that every election and I can see the tide is turning- the great successes of CRC and the Showerheads showed that. I am looking forward to seeing the same loser GOP candidates running in MC in 2010.

July 02, 2009 6:38 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

Anon quoted again:

“It’s instructive to consider what the world’s leading expert on "Sex Reassignment Surgery" (SRS) concluded. Dr. Paul McHugh, professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins University and former head of the surgical gender reassignment unit at that esteemed institution, said that “transgendered” patients he had come to know were no happier after surgery than before.

Because of this, Johns Hopkins University closed its SRS unit because they determined that, just as you wouldn’t perform liposuction on an anorexic patient, it was inappropriate to surgically alter a person’s anatomy in an attempt to treat a mental disorder.”

There are other things that are instructive to consider as well. Paul McHugh, a devout Catholic, joined JHU in the mid seventies, and HE is the one that shut down the SRS unit after having one of the researchers (Dr. John Meyers) do a study that was later determined to be flawed.

In Paul’s own words: (from )

“This interrelationship of cultural antinomianism and a psychiatric misplaced emphasis is seen at its grimmest in the practice known as sex-reassignment surgery. I happen to know about this because Johns Hopkins was one of the places in the United States where this practice was given its start. It was part of my intention, when I arrived in Baltimore in 1975, to help end it.”

I find it interesting that this “expert” on sexual issues decided to end JHU’s treatment program even before he got there. It is interesting that his biography at the US Conference of Catholic Bishops website ( ) doesn’t really indicate a whole lot of study or expertise in sexual issues per se. It states:

“His career has three interrelated themes. The first is to create a model department of academic psychiatry by rendering explicit the conceptual structure of psychiatry and by demonstrating what this structure implies for patient care, education and research. The second is to teach how the brain-mind problem is embedded in these concepts and how it affects the thought and actions of psychiatrists. The third is to investigate the "motivated" or "driven" behaviors, including the addictions that are open in this era to multiple levels of analysis from molecular biology to social science. These ideas should be clear from the directions he has given his Department, the careers he has fostered, and the books and papers he has written.”

This would explain his apparent expertise in alcohol and drug addiction, and (potentially) his founding of the False Memory Syndrome Foundation, but not expertise in Gender Identity issues.

Paul McHugh did a lot a JHU, including concealing incidents of child rape from MD authorities: ( from )

“Howard Fishman's reply to our Aug. 21 Op-Ed column "Strange Bedfellows," which was about the Roman Catholic bishops taking advice from people who had covered up criminal sex abuse of children, was full of name-calling and irrelevant, inaccurate arguments ("Column is 'sexual McCarthyism at its worst,'" Letters, Monday). Yet, nowhere did he deny the essential facts we presented: that Dr. Paul McHugh and Dr. Fred Berlin had knowingly concealed multiple incidents of child rape and assault from authorities, despite a Maryland law requiring them to report the crimes.”

It is also constructive to consider that even though McHugh was successful in stopping GRS (the SURGERY), he did NOT stop the treatment of transsexuals at Johns Hopkins.

JHU in fact adheres (rather strictly, when I went there in 1999) to the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care – the triadic treatment for transsexuals involving psychotherapy, hormones, and surgery, based upon the patient successfully passing the Real Life Test (RLT). Johns Hopkins therapists will provide the 1 letter necessary for hormones after 3 months of RLT, and the 2 letters from different physicians necessary to receive the surgery after 1 year of successful RLT.

July 02, 2009 6:45 PM  
Anonymous svelte_brunette said...

They just don’t do THE SURGERY there.

In fact, I only know of 3 surgeons in this entire country with a reputation and experience level (currently alive and working) that I would trust with this surgery. There are probably a few lesser-known ones, but they’re not the kind of doctor you find at just any hospital – even JHU, if they allowed it. BTW, on another note, McHugh was replaced at JHU in 2002. ( )

One of my friends successfully completed the regimen at JHU, got her letters, and then got her surgery, in spite of the fact that she had to commute from North Carolina once a month to Baltimore to do it. (There aren’t a lot of well known gender identity clinics in this country, so JHU gets hundreds of them from all over the country.) I currently have another friend in her mid fifties seeing a JHU therapist and things are progressing well – she’s smiling a lot more these days and has even ventured out in public as herself in relatively safe places. If you go to JHU’s Sexual Behaviors Consultation Unit website ( ) you’ll see they deal with transgender issues for both children and adults.

As for “transgendered” patients he had come to know were no happier after surgery than before,” Paul McHugh’s statement from the ‘70s has been repeatedly undermined by scientific facts coming in over the past few decades. The study noted here ( ) compiles data from 1961 to 1991 and roughly 2000 patients. It goes over the good and bad of some of the studies, the limitations of some, changing vocabulary over the years, as well as sorting out duplications in some of the data. The publication isn’t in a serial fashion like a book, so you have to follow a number of embedded links to find all the details. In the “Final Remarks” section it concludes:

“At the end of this overview about follow-up studies of patients with transsexual symptoms who have been subjected to genital changing and live contrary to their original gender order, one can summarize the results using gross simplification as follows:

In over 80 qualitatively different case studies and reviews from 12 countries, it has been demonstrated during the last 30 years that the treatment that includes the whole process of gender reassignment is effective. Accordingly, all follow-up studies mostly found the desired effects. The most important effect in the patients' opinion was the lessening of suffering with the added increase of subjective satisfaction. Besides this, we found most of the desired changes in the areas of partnership and sexual experience, mental stability and socio-economic functioning level. As an average, the desired changes were slightly better in males than females and, depending on the starting situation, were more or less markedly in different areas.

In many publications it was reported about complications and undesired effects. Especially in the early years of the reporting time there were frequent and sometimes severe complications in the surgical procedure that in many cases, but not as a rule, could be fixed by corrective surgery. By comparison, the information contents regarding complications of the psychiatric and hormonal treatment were less. Regarding suicidal tendencies, it can be determined that suicide attempts were above average before and at the start of treatment, but that the frequency decreased in a statistically significant manner during and following treatment.”



July 02, 2009 6:46 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

It is a little mind-boggling, Jim. As best I can figure out, and everything being speculative at this point, it seems that the FW police wanted the Rainbow Lounge shut down (it was only open a week or so). Reports indicate that they'd been scoping out the place all week. Jim Burroway at BTB argues that the Texas public intoxication law is an invitation to police abuse.

All reports (all of them) indicate that the actions of the po and state po were intended to intimidate patrons. Here in DC and Arlington, police come to bars and restaurants to check that there are no underage customers, and to investigate reports of drug sales and prostitution. Never do they accost dozens of customers with threats of arrest for intoxication.

The whole affair seems incredible, and highly fishy.

The difference now, in America in the 21st century, is that Fort Worth has a gay councilmember who can speak up for his community, that the FW mayor has taken a stand against abuse of this sort, and that the internet has broadcast this affair across the country. The experience of lgbt people everywhere (especially trans people) is there are yahoos and haters in all sorts of places in our country, some in positions of power, some in majorities, some simply anonymous. But we have a community and supporters who can do something about it.

My argument all week has been that the lgbt community needs to stand for all members of our community. Stonewall was a spontaneous rebellion of the most outcast of our society, and we, in looking towards equal rights, protection, and safety in the larger world, can't leave anyone behind. It's good to see that Barney Frank and HRC are now only supporting inclusive ENDA, not the partial effort they supported last year.

July 02, 2009 8:14 PM  
Blogger Dana Beyer, M.D. said...

By definition, "intersex" refers to having characteristics of both sexes. That includes a female brain with male genitals and vice versa:

From Wikipedia -
Intersexuality in humans refers to intermediate or atypical combinations of physical features that usually distinguish male from female. This is usually understood to be congenital, involving chromosome, morphologic, genital and/or gonadal anomalies, such as diversion from stereotypical XX=female or XY=male presentations, such as sex reversal (XY=female, XX=male), genital ambiguity, sex developmental differences. An intersex organism may have biological characteristics of both the male and female sexes.[1]

Politically speaking, "intersex" has referred to genital ambiguities in its purest sense, but it has also always referred to conditions that were historically called male and female pseudohermaphroditism, and now are called Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome and Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia.

Language evolves, with the key being the drive to a deeper understanding of reality.

July 02, 2009 10:54 PM  

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