Monday, November 26, 2012

There Really Is a Difference!

It's funny how sometimes I will be kicking an idea for an article around in my head, and then suddenly one of the transgender kooks will say something that is exactly the thing I was thinking about addressing.  Well, Suzan Cooke, who has become a leading apologist for the Transgender Borg, so much so that I have more than once suggested we should just start calling her Locutus, has done just that.

In her ongoing attempts to attack people she once basically agreed with (her revisionist history of her reaction to Harry Benjamin Syndrome is pretty much fiction) she has published a new post called Sex Reassignment Surgery Does Make a Difference, Just Not the Ones the HBS Folks Claim.

The bit of inane drivel from Cooke that tied in with the article I have been considering, was this:This is because a few assholes have made SRS into this thing that is almost like a trophy they can wave in the faces of those who can’t afford surgery or don’t have the same level of discomfort within their own skins as to require SRS.
Now, this, of course, is straight out of "Transgender 101."  We are all exactly, absolutely the same, but...many cannot afford surgery, or simply do not feel the need for surgery, but aside from that, we are all exactly, absolutely the same.

And it is, of course, complete and total 


Yes, I can think of another term for it, but hey, I really don't care for that kind of language.  But, seriously, this is complete and utter silliness, and it establishes, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Cooke is completely and totally given over to the transgender point of view.

First off, the simple truth is, very few people who are truly transsexual...that is, people who are truly born with a brain that is sexually differentiated at odds with their body, and who are not actually some man who has a fetish as a hobby that involves fantasizing about being a woman, is likely to be able to deal with various issues that are going to interfere with the ability to accumulate sufficient wealth to be able to afford SRS without something of a struggle.

I know in my case, it interfered with my educational plans, and I wound up dropping out of school and actually spent a good deal of my life, pre-transition, as a homemaker.  My former spouse worked, and I stayed home.  We both agreed that I was more suited to keeping house, and my attempts to "earn the living" generally resulted in financial disasters.  That left me lacking in job experience I needed to find a good paying job when I finally came to full grips with what I needed to do.  

I was lucky that I was able, as more and more are, to find a job where my health insurance covered SRS.  Now, of course a kook like Cooke will probably throw some minor rant about privilege and how relatively rare this is.  And I will, of course, counter with a few facts.  First, the job I had at the time of my surgery was in a research project dealing with AIDS prevention for people who are transgender. Now, the definition of "transgender," was "politically correct" and included transsexuals, as well as the other categories that the "transgender paradigm" attempts to link with transsexuals.  In fact, much of my views of 'transgender" come from my experiences in that project.

The staff I worked with was rather varied.  Our executive director was a post-op transsexual who would have been close to being a contemporary of Cooke's.  We had a couple of other post-ops women, and an assortment ranging from one other true pre-op through various varieties of what turned out to be, pretty much non-ops as well as a few FTMs, and a couple of females who identified as "gender queer."  

Now, I became involved in the project because I was seeing a counselor who specialized in transsexual and transgender people, in anticipation of having surgery.  I was about three years into my transition when I came to San Francisco, and I was assigned to her by the City's health care system.  She was working with the research program I would be employed by, and I was asked if was willing to participate in a survey they were doing.  I agreed, and was interviewed by the person who I would later learn was the executive director.  As part of the survey process, I was invited to participate in various classes (part of the research project) and through that, I was invited to volunteer.  I had been attending college, considering a career in nursing, and  during the summer I had no classes.  Unfortunately, the nursing program was very impacted, and admission was by lottery.  I found myself in a difficult position.  The program that was supporting my college studies had a time limit, and it was very likely that it would run out before I could even get admitted.  The volunteering, which was presented to the program as an "internship" led to a job offer, and since I already knew that surgery was going to be covered soon, I jumped at the opportunity.

Now, the bottom line in all of this, is in an office with a number of supposedly "pre-op transsexual," only myself, and one other, actually took advantage of the surgical benefit.  A couple of the FTMs had top surgery, but I, and one other, were the only two who had SRS. 

The rest found a variety of excuses why they didn't really want surgery.  Some went on to other positions with the same university when the program we were in was disbanded after the principal investigator turned out to have been mishandling money, among other issues.  But they did not take advantage of the benefit.  

My point in telling this story is simple.  If someone really needs the surgery, if their body is at odds with their brain, they will find a way.  My plan had been to find a job that would pay enough that I could live on half my income, and put the other half into savings.  Right before coming to San Francisco, I thought I had reached that point, but other issues in my life led to that falling apart.  The job I had with the university was half-time, providing enough for me to live on, and the surgical benefit meant I didn't have to worry about actually saving money, but ironically my time frame worked out about the same.  If I had been working full time, at the same pay rate, I would have reached the point where I could have afforded the surgery about the same time I actually had it.  And, I did have the added benefit of note having the possibility of a financial disaster wiping out part, or all of my savings.  So, I suffered pretty much the same as I would have either way.  Even though my surgery was covered by insurance, the impact was the same as if I had worked for that time and saved the money.  The downside is, I didm't get to travel to Thailand, which is probably where I would have had the surgery otherwise.

As I pointed out in my last post, San Francisco will now cover SRS for those who cannot afford it.  If nothing else, any who claim they would have it, but cannot afford it, could consider relocating to San Francisco.  But, of course, few actually will.  And while I doubt it will become widespread, it is increasingly likely that other places that provide medical care for the less fortunate will be forced to consider such coverage.  And coverage under health insurance is quickly becoming widely accepted.  Soon the "I would, but I can't afford it," excuse will be gone completely.

This brings us to the second part of Cooke's silly statement.  There are "don’t have the same level of discomfort within their own skins as to require SRS."  Simply put, these people are not transsexuals.  They are people who have a desire, born of a fetish, or a sense of rebellion, or  who knows what, who have chosen to transgress societal norms.  They thrive on the conflict and controversy their behavior leads to.  It may not be politically correct to point this out, but they are, quite simply, basically anti-social in terms of personality.  They don't want to fit in.  They crave being at odds with the norm.  They are unhappy with the idea of being "normal."  They don't want to be a normal woman, or a normal man.  They want to be, as one kook once put it, "a woman-male."  That is, they want to force society to pander to their behavior, treating them as a "woman" while forcing the fact that they are male on people.  Or vice versa in the terms of some who are born female.  Some in this group, such as Mr. "Cristan" Williams, claim to have had surgery, but they still retain a strong link to their maleness.  Others, such as Mr. "Autumn" Sandeen actually engage in fraud to get their birth certificate change, openly bragging about their deception.  It is unclear if the judge in San Diego who granted Mr. Sandeen's request to change his birth certificate to falsely indicate that he is "female" was aware of his true surgical status (i.e. that he is a eunuch, retaining his penis) but in San Francisco the courts instructions make it clear that this is NOT acceptable.

It is not about being "special" as Cooke tries to claim, but it is more about actually not being special.  You see, I don't believe there is a basis for real comparison, so there is nothing to make a transsexual "better" or even "less" than someone who is transgender.  It would be like comparing the proverbial apple and orange.  Both share common traits, living beings, of the vegetable kingdom, and both fruits, but there the comparison largely ends.  Likewise, a transgender person and a transsexual are both human beings, and they may share a few other common traits (such as both having been assigned male at birth), but again, there the comparison ends.  Comparing the two is, in effect, comparing a man to a woman.  Same species, but very different in many ways.

And this is where Cooke's silliness falls apart.  Cooke simply does not get it.  Most of us never shared her past obsessions, and we have no need to purge ourselves of her feelings of guilt.  I did not transition to become a transsexual, I transitioned to become a woman.  But kooks like Cooke seem determined to make that as difficult as possible.  By engaging in anti-social behavior, and then trying to basically insist that this is "typical" of transsexuals, and worse, by, insisting on linking us to the even more anti-social behavior of some who push the transgender paradigm, when our past is revealed, either inadvertently, or because of necessity (my primary care doctor knows, but I don't share it, for example, with my ophthalmologist") we face forms of discrimination that are not necessarily overt, but are ore subtle, such as being perceived as thinking and feeling differently than we actually do.  No, I don't want to wear my past on my sleeve like some do.  No, I don't particularly want to talk about it.  No, I really don't appreciate it when you tell me how moved you are by the fact that it is the "Transgender Day of Remembrance."  What I want, is to be treated as you would any other woman, period.

The simple bottom line is this.  If Cooke wants to call a bunch of "men in dresses" sisters, because it makes Cooke feel all transgressive and revolutionary, and just oh so politically correct, that is certainly Cooke's right.  But hey, I don't, I want, and if Cooke wants to get her panties in a wad because of it, then well, Cooke is probably not going to be happy with what I have to say about it.  But hey, that's life.  Cooke has as much of a right to be wrong as anyone else. But I'm still not buying the insanity she is peddling.  And what little respect I once had for Cooke as an pioneer has long been laid to rest.  Who knows, maybe Cooke is right, and these people are closer to being Cooke's siblings than not.  But in that case, "sister" is really not remotely the appropriate term in either direction.

Yes, one way, or the other, SRS makes a difference.  For some, like myself, it makes a major improvement in one's life.  I have faced things that would have previously devastated me, but which I was able to handle because I no longer carry the baggage i once did.  For others, it is itself devastating.  It is a mistake for them, and it accomplishes nothing of value, and may even lead them to take their own life.  Or, it may just lead them to dedicate their lives to attempting to make life miserable for anyone for who surgery was the right choice.

Bottom line, I and others who fit the classification of "classic transsexual" are women socially, and as female as is possibly with current medicine.  There are a lot of people who have no real desire to be both, or in some cases, either.  I would appreciate it if both they, and their apologists, would stop trying to insist that they are "just like me."  They are not.  I'm not better, or lesser.  There is really no basis for comparison, and perhaps that is the biggest difference that SRS makes.  Whether you have it, or not, it makes clear the difference between those who desperately need it, and those who really don't.


Deb Morgan said...

Poor Suzan, she wants to be liked so much by a small click of loud and thuggish transgender bloggers (who only have a small following) that she has basically retracted everything she stood for. Neither side now respects her anymore, she has now morphed into a politician playing both sides just to promote her self-promting quasicelebrity.

Just Jennifer said...

Cooke went from being a real flake on Usenet (she once modified the APA press release announcing that homosexuality had been removed from the DSM to one saying that transsexualism was being removed, and then posted it as a "piece of performance art" which basically caused quite a bit of panic since it would take away the rationale for SRS) to being a relatively rational and sane person (she stopped drinking, and well, for a while, 9/11 seemed to have knocked some sense into her) back to being a complete kook. I butted heads with her on her mailing list, mainly because I did not fawn over how great she was, and bow and scrape to the satisfaction of her partner Tina. When she started her blog, not long after I started mine, I posted a comment welcoming her to "the blogosphere" and got a truly nasty response. She has increasingly become sillier and sillier. As I have said, she is welcome to respond here, provided she follows the same rules I ask of everyone else. She has repeatedly declined. Cooke rarely posts anywhere she is not in complete control. If she can't censor, she seems to be scared to face anyone.

Deb Morgan said...

She says nasty things about you and other women born with transsexualism, accusing you all of being bullys, yet then she turns around and devotes multiple blog entries just to singling out transsexual women and berating them with name calling and character assasinations. If thats not a hypcocrit than I dont know what is.

Just Jennifer said...

I know. Cooke's behavior is not that unusual. A lot of bullies, particularly online ones, try to justify their behavior by accusing others of being the "real bullies." I admit, I don't, as the saying goes, "suffer fools well." When someone claims to be a woman, but makes it clear that they don't see a problem with having a penis, well, that seems pretty foolish to me. And I think it is rather unwise to pander to foolishness, though few fools have the good sense to appreciate having their foolishness exposed. That, in my opinion, is their problem, not mine.

idappaccayata said...

I'm posting this here because I didn't know how to reach you any other way. This comment has nothing to do with your post.

I'm contacting you with my archive hat on. You are one of the very early HBS advocates and perhaps one of the most vocal. Would you be willing to conduct an interview (audio only or video) covering whatever topics you choose concerning HBS? If you're not comfortable with having me do the interview, would you be willing to have someone else interview you? If you're not willing to do that, would you be willing to make a recording of yourself talking about your history within the HBS movement?

I'd like to include your prolific voice to the archive of significant voices. There's no pressure and I'll only ask this once. If you don't feel comfortable - for any reason - that's fine. If you have concerns about this project that I can address, I'll do my best.

I've already conducted a number of interviews with significant people ranging from Milton Diamond and other docs who started WPATH to community voices like Marti (founder of transadvocate). I feel strongly that these voices an these experiences should be preserved even if I don't agree with everything they have to say.

If you'd like to participate, just let me know. If you don't want to participate, that's okay. If you know of another significant voice in the HBS movement that might like to have their perspective preserved, please let me know.



Just Jennifer said...

Sorry Mr. Williams, but the answer would be NO, NO WAY, NOPE, AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING?...

Seriously, no. Unlike you, and some others, I maintain my privacy as much as possible. Having my voice, or my image connected with you, and your I said NO, NO WAY, NOPE, AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN, ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND?, YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING?...

Further, there is simply no way I would trust you with such information. Your attempts to appear "intellectual" are amusing, but nope, not very persuasive.

But, it is kind of ironic that I found this right after posting my most recent article where I show, quite conclusively, that your claims concerning the origins of "transgender" are, well, wrong.

idappaccayata said...

Okay, that's fine. I wanted to at make the offer and give you the opportunity to have your voice represented.

Thanks for considering it.

Just Jennifer said...

I think we both know better than that....I was not born yesterday.