Friday, May 15, 2009

A New Low for Transgender Silliness

Sometimes I come across a story that is just so incredibly silly that it is hard to believe. One such story has come out of Tennessee. And this story serves to illustrate both the silliest extremes of some transgender activists and the dangers of linking transsexuals and people with HBS with the LGBT community.

The facts of the story are, at first look, a bit fuzzy. A person by the name of Jo T. Rittenberry married a man named Jeffery Scott Phillips in 2007. Ritternberry, who was born in Kentucky, claims to be a post-op transsexual, to have had full sex reassignment surgery with Menard and Brassard, and to have obtained a birth certificate based on that surgery. That seems simple enough. But, unfortunately, things appear to be a bit more complex.

First off, Rittenberry is currently in the Montgomery County Jail on fraud and assault charges. To further complicate matters, Rittenberry is housed as a male prisoner. It seems that when Rittenberry was booked, something, well....extra was found. That is to say, while being patted down, it became obvious that Rittenberry still has a penis. And Rittenberry has stated that he has no problem being housed as a male, that he "can deal with it." Finally, the clinic in Montreal confirms that Rittenberry was a patient, but also has stated that Rittenberry did not have full sex reassignment surgery. There appears to be little question that Rittenberry is still quite male.

Now, while there is some question as to whether the marriage would be legal even if Rittenberry had completed full SRS. Tennessee does not recognize same-sex marriages, and is one of three states that does not allow birth certificates to be changed after SRS. However, people are allowed to change their driver's license, and that is all that is required to get a marriage license.

Now, before I comment on this mess, let me begin by affirming that I have no problems with same sex marriage. I have several friends who were married during the period that same sex marriage was legal in California, and I was present at one of the weddings. But, I also do not believe that marriages for post-op HBS survivors fall under the category of same sex marriages.

Now, what we have here is, plain and simple, a same sex marriage. Rittenberry has stated that he was not aware that Tennessee does not recognize marriage for pos-op transsexuals and "It wasn't anything planned to be deceptive." That may, or may not, be true, but it seems pretty obvious that Rittenberry knows that he has a penis, and that he is therefore still a male.

The first thing that is not clear in this case is what Rittenberry and Phillips were trying to do. Now, it is possible that Rittenberry could not afford full surgery, and went to Montreal for a castration. It is also possible that Rittenberry was denied surgery for some reason, either medical, or because of some problem with his documentation. Or, as appears very likely, Rittenberry backed out from having the surgery. Again, the clinic acknowledges that he was seen there, but also states, emphatically, that he did not have sex reassignment surgery and that any documentation saying he did was forged.

There have been any number of cases of transgender people using vague letters written by sympathetic, but dishonest, doctors to obtain fraudelent changes to their birth certificates. The doctor, who has perhaps performed a castration, or even a breast augmentation, writes a letter saying that the person has had irreversible surgery for the purpose of changing their "gender." This, of course, is not what the law requires, and could result in a prosecution if someone ever chooses to pursue it. And I would not be surprised to find more than a few cases where people have actually used forged documents in the same manner.

Now, as absurd as all of this is, even more absurd are the position taken by some on Bilerico. Some there are insisting that Rittenberry should be housed with women. Given that Rittenberry is clearly a male, that is outrageous. Rittenberry is in protective custody for his protection. If he is placed in with women, it might protect him, but it would threaten the women he would be housed with. Even if he did not take advantage of the situation, it would be extremely uncomfortable for the women he would be housed with. But this sort of misogyny is not uncommon among many transgender activists.

Another bit is silliness is this remark from someone who is identified as "Abby:"

Also, if I was Rittenberry, I'd be looking into suing Drs. Brassard and Menard, and their clinic, for disclosing private medical information without her permission. That is clearly illegal under U.S. law (HIPAA) and I suspect Canada has similar restrictions.

Now, the problem with the above comment is that is shows a complete ignorance of HIPPA which includes an exception for the release of information to law enforcement agencies under this sort of circumstance. Presumably, any Canadian law would include the same provision.

"Abby" also makes this remark:

Also, for a secretary at the clinic to claim that the letter Rittenberry submitted to change her Kentucky birth certificate "was not authentic" without having seen the letter is outrageous. She obviously has no way of knowing whether Rittenberry had surgery somewhere else or simply found another doctor who certified her completion of SRS. Talk about sticking your nose in where it's none of your business!

Given that the letter being referenced was the one supposedly issued by the Montreal clinic (there is nothing to indicate that any other doctor or clinic is involved. It is as though "Abby" is grasping at straws trying to make the facts change.

"Abby" also tries to make the argument that full sex reassignment surgery is not necessary for one to have a sex change:

Polar, don't be so quick to condemn Rittenberry as having "falsified docs to get
the BC change done." Some doctors will certify that a trans woman has completed
"sex change surgery" upon completion of an orchiectomy (aka castration) without
vaginoplasty. She could have had that done many different places. Thus, the fact
that Drs. Menard and Brassard (improperly) claim she hasn't had SRS (who knows
whether they ever actually examined her?), and that the jail guard claims he
felt a penis, doesn't mean she did anything wrong in changing her Kentucky birth
certificate. Most state statutes allowing for changing the gender on a birth
certificate don't define the surgery required, instead correctly leaving that
medical matter up to doctors to determine.

No one with a shred of common sense has any doubt what surgery is required:

For example, the State Code of Alabama provides:

Upon receipt of a certified copy of an order of a court of competent jurisdiction indicating that the sex of an individual born in this state has been changed by surgical procedure and that the name of the individual has been changed, the certificate of birth of the individual shall be amended as prescribed by rules to reflect the changes.

This is pretty much the same language used by other states. It represents something of a uniform approach. It is complete silliness to suggest that any state is going to knowingly change the birth certificate of any male who still has a penis. But this is typical of the silliness of the more extreme transgender activists.

While cases such as this may appeal to the gender fascists as a means to force their radical agenda on society, they only result in more negative attention being drawn to people who have a legitimate need to correct their birth certificates. Each time something like this happens, it increases the likelihood that laws will be changed to make it difficult, if not impossible for those who suffer from HBS to simply get on with their lives. Of course, this means nothing to the transgender activists, who continue to take an all or nothing view.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Stuck on himself...

As I have said before, when I started this blog, it was not with the intention of spending so much time commenting on the silliness posted on so very many "transgender" blogs. But, because there is so much silliness, and because the gender fascists go to such great pains to censor any dissenting views, I often find myself doing just that.

One of the most outspoken of the gender fascists is Monica Helms. Helms, like some many of those determined to impose their views on people, seems a bit confused. For some time, Helms was an avowed non-op, but has recently started claiming to be surgery tracked. This is odd, given the number of times that Helms has viciously attacked those who have had surgery.

About a month or so ago, Helms started his "Stuck" series, one of which I have already commented on. Apparently, the series was supposed to be three articles, but now Helms has added a fourth that is on a common theme for many who are transgender, "fear." Of course, they are not the ones who are afraid. They project this emotion onto others.

As is typical of Helms, he uses this concept to slam what he sees as improper behavior for those he drags into his "community." For example, he speaks of those who are fearful of being seen with other "trans people." This he attributes to the idea that the chances of being clocked increase with the number of trans people in a group. Now, there is some truth to that concept, but I doubt it is a fear that Helms has to worry about. Helms has little choice in the matter of being clocked.

Then Helms goes on to suggest that some "transsexuals" fear "crossdressers." He attributes this to the fact that many object to the hateful statements made by Arnold Lowman, aka "Virginia Prince." In raising this point, Helms makes the following statement:

They fear the words that came from Virginia in 1959 as if they pertain to the world in 2009. I say this is fear, because there has never been a good explanation why her fifty-year-old words remain relevant in the 21st Century.

Now, this statement leaves me wondering if Helms is really that ignorant of "Prince" and his ongoing diatribes and the fact that they continue to used to attack transsexuals and people with HBS. "Prince" not only never renounced those positions that were first taken in "1959" but continued to express them to anyone who would listen.

Now, I would say that "Prince's" words were never really "relevant" but they did form the basis for much of the harm done to transsexuals and people. For example, Blanchard's pseudo-science can be directly traced to "Prince."

Here are some of the misconceptions that can be directly traced to "Prince:"

  • The idea that transsexuals study the biographies of other transsexuals in order to create our stories. This allows researchers to ignore the fact that we share common experiences because. And that allows them to dismiss the legitimacy of our claims. This has led directly to Blanchard's approach of simply labeling as a liar anyone who does not fit his theories.
  • The concept that sex and gender are so totally separate as to be effectively unrelated. This means that, given the tendency of some to define gender strictly in terms of "social construct," some claim that one can simply choose one's gender.

  • The idea that crossdressers are motivated by something other than erotic desire. This view was pushed by "Prince" even as he was telling Robert Stoller how he did find crossdressing erotic.

  • The idea that transsexuals can be divided on the basis of sexual orientation, and that they are either men who are just super gay, or that they are men with a fetish.

Helms goes on to discuss how some fear discovery. Now, like many gender fascists, Helms equates not being "out, loud, and proud" with being fearful. It simply does not enter his mind that some might simply wish to live their lives as women, and not "transgender women." If someone knows your past then they are very unlikely to ever fully accept you as a woman, but instead, their views will always be colored by the fact that you were born a male. For some, this is not a good thing. Of course, for a transgender like Helms, it is the whole thing.

Finally, we have this from Helms, which is what lead to the tiltle of this article:

Through all of this, I cannot understand why some trans people fear me, the
things I do, or how I live my life. They try to come across one way, but it
boils down to nothing more than fear. Trapped animals growl, show their teeth
and scream when faced with a supposed threat, all to cover up their fear. Humans
are no different. I try to extend the olive branch to those who fear me because
I have made many friends from those who may not have liked me in the past. I am
never afraid to make a new friend, yet it is another fear that many in the trans
community have.

Now, first off, the people who Helms is attempting to slam here would be insulted by his referring to them as "trans people." I personally do not care to have the adjective "trans" appended to anything referring to me. Now, I suppose Helms idea of a trying to "extend the olive branch" is to attack post-op women, as he has done many times. Granted, Helms was able to find a kindred spirit in Suzan Cooke, but that would be a good subject for another whole article. Simply put, Cooke may identify as a "Woman Born Transsexual," but increasingly Cooke sounds like a transgender in all but name.

No, the bottom line is, no one fears Helms, or how he lives his life. Like many of the gender fascists, he thinks himself more than he really is. No, we simply do not appreciate his attacks, though we do find that he does continually expose himself for what he really is. And, that, simply put, is more, perhaps, to be pitied, not feared.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Arnold Lowman is dead...

Now I imagine you might be asking, "Who was Arnold Lowman?" You probably knew him better as the infamous crossdresser "Virginia Prince," aka "Charles Prince." His real name was Arnold Lowman. Or, at least that was his name at birth. Quite frankly, I have never seen anything that says whether he changed it, or not. But, he is much better known as "Virginia Prince," the founder of the Heel and Hose Club that later became Tri Ess, the "sorority" for heterosexual crossdressers. I think the original name says a lot about what "Prince" was really all about, but he made a career out of denying that transvestitism, which he later insisted be called "crossdressing" was not erotic in nature. To which I say, "POPPYCOCK!"

While "Prince" was telling the world that he was a "femniphile" and crossdressed out of a love of the feminine, he was admitting to Robert Stoller, a researcher at UCLA who specialized in gender identity issues, that he really was motivated by erotic desires. And he was also telling Stoller, and anyone else who would listen, that transsexuals were all just crossdressers, or gay men, who were just getting carried away. Hmmm, sounds like the same pseudoscience that Blanchard spews now.

One problem was, "Prince" had no standing to be making such pronouncements, and yet he had papers published as though he did. His degree was in Pharmacy, not Psychology.

"Prince" is also credited with coining the term "transgender." Some question this, as the term that he actually coined was "transgenderist," to describe full time crossdressers such as himself. Now, it appears that "Prince" did take female hormones, and it is claimed that he had breast implants, but he was completely unwilling to give up his manhood, though some claim his response to the news of Christine Jorgensen was, if I had $5000 I would catch the next boat to Denmark. Of course, it is has also been said that he was, quite wisely, denied surgery.

Now, even though they were somewhat slow to react to the news, some of the transgender fascists have begun to sing the praises of their fallen hero. Both Sandeen and Helms have weighed in. And Sandeen has not taken that kindly to those who would point out "Prince's" shortcomings. For example, one person was took to task for referring to "Prince" with male pronouns. Of course, this is a big no-no in the fantasy world of the transgender." A big part of the transgender fascist's paradigm is that one gets to simply declare what one is, and everyone else has to follow in lockstep agreement. Never mind that "Prince" was clearly not a woman, given that his motivation was admittedly erotic. In his later days, he was known for having a taste for "she male" pornography.

Now, Helms raises the question about why anyone would care about "Prince's" 50-year old remarks. Well, Helms has never been known for paying much attention to facts, and apparently he glosses right over the fact that "Prince's" ideas are still being used by those, like Blanchard, Bailey, Zucker, Docter, and others, who would discredit transsexuals.

So, "Prince" is dead, and for the most part, few have actually paid much attention. Even in places where you would sort of expect this to be a major story, it has been ignored. There is no mention on either the Tri Ess web site, or at the IFGE web site. I would be a bit surprised if TG Tapestry doesn't dedicate the next issue to "Prince," but then again, he was a bit of an embarassment to those who want to claim that "transsexuals" are really "transgender." But, at the same time, IFGE did name one of their awards (since dropped) for "Prince." So, who knows?

As Shakespeare said:

The evil that men do lives after them;

The good is oft interred with their bones;

Not that "Prince" actually did anything that was that good, but there is no question, his evil will definitely live on for a while longer. Especially for those who suffer from Harry Benjamin Syndrome.