Ron Gold, who apparently is a long time gay activist, wrote a post entitled "'No' to the notion of transgender." (After much hesitation and a great deal of anger from the gender fascists, the article was remved from Bilerico. But it was preserved by Google, and so I have a link.) Now, as good as that title sounds, the article itself is quite nasty, full of bad information, and generally shows what this gay man thinks of transsexual women. And in this article, I am going to respond to what he says.
Of course. the gender fascists are up in arms, even though the article is not so much about them as it is about those who should not even be labeled "transgender." In Gold's twisted imagination, there are basically drag queens and transsexuals:
What is transgender? Well, there are two sorts who seem to be covered by the name, the drag kings and queens so good at portraying cartoon imitations of straight people, and transsexuals, the folks who report that from an early age they've felt themselves trapped in the wrong bodies. Despite the equipment they were born with that belies their assertions, they say they are really men or really women.Okay, right there, he is off to a bad start. He seems to condense what is properly called "transgender," those who, almost always after puberty, suddenly decide that they want to live as members of the opposite sex but in the majority of cases wish to keep their genitals intact, with those who are HBS (also known as classic or true transsexualism) who knew from an early age that something was wrong, and who exhibited issues from an early age.
Now, from this unstable foundation he goes down hill...
What does it mean to be really a man or a woman? Since it's not about genitalia, it must be about personality, and what, one asks, is a male or a female personality? Even straight people nowadays concede that some men are the warm, loving type that used to be thought exclusive to women, and some women are the strong, action-oriented sort that used to be thought exclusive to men. And lesbians and gay men have always known that people of the same gender can be very different from each other. Isn't it true that those we form mated relationships with are always complementary - even polar opposites - to ourselves?At first it appears that he is spouting the classic transgender "We can be women while keeping our penises," silliness. But it quickly becomes obvious that he is actually trying to deny the reality of the experiences of true transsexuals. His words seem to echo the ridiculous views of those like Janice Raymond and Julie Bindel. And worse, he seems to be pandering to outdated stereotypes and myths about gay men. He seems to be saying that they always pair as nelly queen with a butch male. How truly bizarre.
Just so there is no mistake about where he is coming from, he empatically states:
Let me state it categorically. There is no such thing as a male or female personality. Personality is not a function of gender.And not surprisingly, his remarks are clearly, and dare I say, catergorically, a complete load of bovine excrement. No one, with a shred of common sense, would ever make such a dogmatic statement. Granted, this misconception is at the very heart of radical, extremist feminism, but no one, except the transgender community, really takes them very seriously. Everyone else just rolls their eyes, and recognizes their views as just plain silly. Some on the Left might extend them some slack just to be politically correct, but they don't really buy into such idiocy.
Gold continues on in confusion of transgender and transsexual and his attempt to set us all straight:
So where does that put the concept of transgender? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how transsexuals got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas. I hope I'll be forgiven for rejecting as just plain silly the idea that some cosmic accident just turned these people into changelings. What happened, more than likely, is that, from an early age, when they discovered that their personalities didn't jibe with what little boys and girls are supposed to want and do and feel, they just assumed they mustn't be real little boys and girls.No, it is not some "cosmic accident," just something that interferes with the sexual differentiation of the brain in utero. And what he dismisses, refering to it erroneously as "transgender," is exactly what transsexuals experience. But he doesn't think that such an experience has any real meaning. And, of course, it is more than just realizing that one's "personality" doesn't jibe. It is much deeper than that. It is a sense of discomfort with one's body. Gold clearly does not accept that the obvious fact that boys and girls are actually different. But they are. All the efforts at raising a gender neutral child either fail, or result in a child who is deeply confused.
Next Gold presumes to tell parents how to deal with such a child, providing truly bad, and potentially harmful advice:
So, parents of such little boys and girls, do not take them to the psychiatrist and treat them like they're suffering from some sort of illness. Explain to them that, whatever the other kids say, real little girls do like to play with trucks and wear grimy jeans, and real little boys like to prance around in dresses and play with dolls. And make sure the teachers are on the same page.While children may go through phases where such behavior occurs, for a transsexual it is more profound. And no, while "tomboys" and "sissies" exist, and often grow up to be normal, healthy children, that is not what we are dealing with here. Transsexuals, even as children, are not simply little boys who want to wear dresses and play with dolls. They have a brain that is wired like any little girl's, which inclines them to like the things that girls like. Telling them that this is okay for little boys is not going to change that, and will probably, ultimately, just lead to even more confusion.
It is when he comes around to advising adults that we get to heart of what is really bother Mr. Gold. In truth, that was obvious all along, and he does not hesitate to let us know what he is really concerned with:
As for adults struggling with what to do about their feelings, I'd tell them too to stay away from the psychiatrists - those prime reinforcers of sex-role stereotypes - and remind them that whatever they're feeling, or feel like doing, it's perfectly possible with the bodies they've got. If a man wants to wear a dress or have long hair; if a woman wants short hair and a three-piece suit; if people want romance and sex with their own gender; who says they can't violate these perfectly arbitrary taboos? A short historical and cross-cultural survey should establish that men and women have worn and done all sorts of stuff. I recall reading something by Jan Morris in which it seemed that he thought he needed a sex change because he wanted men to hold doors open for him and kiss him goodbye at train stations. For starters, I'd have told him that I've had these nice things happen to me and I've still got my pecker.What a classic statement. Here we have the real reason that so many gay men have problems with transsexuals. They fear the lost of their, uh, pecker. Well, Mr. Gold should rest assured...no one wants to take his pecker away from him. No one is going to pressure him into having sex reassignment surgery to correct his behavior. In fact, Mr. Gold should be aware that actually be a gay man is considered a contraindication for having SRS.
It is kind of ironic in a way. Many of the gender fascists, in attacking Mr. Gold, have tried to compare his statements about how there is no such thing as a male or female personality to things from the Religious Right. In fact, such a few is contrary to what the Religious Right thinks. They strongly believe that men and women are quite different in terms of personality. What the Religious Right does believe instead, is the silliness Mr. Gold presents here...that transsexuals are really the same as gay men, and should not give up what he clearly sees as his most prized possession. Again, he just doesn't get it. I guess Mr. Gold is so worried about his own penis that he feels he has to be concerned with everyone elses as well. Sort of a "No Penis Left Behind" program.
He concludes with more ignorance:
Perhaps it isn't needless to say that a No to the notion of transgender does not excuse discrimination against cross-dressers or post-op transsexuals in employment, housing and public accommodation; and I strongly support legislation that would forbid it. I would, however, get after the doctors - the psychiatrists who use a phony medical model to invent a disease that doesn't exist, and the surgeons who use such spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.Apparently Mr. Gold felt a need to play a bit of CYA. He wants to deny people needed medical care because he fears for the safety of their penises (funny how FTMs are suddenly not a concern) but he doesn't want anyone discriminated against otherwise.
As to the rest of his comments, they are simply the ignorant rants of a gay man who is terrified that some penis might be removed. In his mind, apparently becoming a woman is mutilation. The simple fact that he ignores is that transsexualism is a well documented disease, with research increasingly showing that it has a physical cause. In his ignorance, he would spare transsexuals from discrimination, but he would consign us to a living hell.
Much has been written about this article. Mr. Gold was immediately removed as a contributor at Bilerico (of course, censorship is their standard response to any controversy), a number of articles have been posted condemning Mr. Gold, and Bil Browing is in full retreat. He has yet, as far as I can tell, failed to explain why this article was allowed to be posted. Perhaps he thought that, since the primary target was classic, true transsexuals, the gender fascists would embrace it. This is not the first time that Bilerico has allowed a gay man to condescend to transsexuals, and it will probably not be the last.
I suspect that, truth be told, this probably reflects Bil Browning's true opinions more than he wants to admit. In fact, it probably actually relects the true feelings of many gay men who simply cannot comprehend the real nature of transsexualism. And once again it goes to show why it is a mistake for transsexuals, both women and men, to allow themselves to be linked to the LGBT.