Friday, November 30, 2012

What's Wrong With Just Being Normal?

For many of us, nothing.  For some...well...  To me, there is nothing wrong with being "traditional" or " "mainstream,"  but in her most recent rant, Suzan Cooke, transgender kook, gender fascist, and pretty much increasingly a bit of a shrill joke, goes off over someone named "Purple." What did this person do that was so terrible?  Well, apparently they have extolled the virtues of being a relatively normal person.

Granted, this person does seem to also be a bit of a flake.  It is not clear if this is the person who used to post under the name, "PurpleGirl," who was a devotee of Charlotte Goiar, who started a European "Harry Benjamin's Syndrome" movement (apparently it has since dropped the incorrect use of a possessive...naming is to honor, not imply ownership) who used to post under the name "Courtney Michelle Holder."  That person, who as I recall did take some extremist views not unlike those taken by person posting as Donna Reiser, who is also a devotee of Goiar.  The HBS group that I was part of had major disagreements with Goiar, and broke with her very early on.  

Cooke never misses a chance to attack the HBS movement, apparently because the idea that a person might actually transition simply to live a normal life seems to disgust Cooke.  This Reiser is as extremist in one direction as the transgender activists, including Cooke, are in the other.  Where they want to claim that everyone who is "transsexual" is motivated by a desire to transgress gender, and must be "out, loud, and proud," Reiser claims that "true transsexuals" cannot be lesbians.  While many of the "straight men in dresses" that make up the core of the transgender extremists do claim to be lesbian, that does not mean that everyone who is transsexual, and identifies as a lesbian, is a fraud.

Let's consider that view.  Certainly some women, a certain percentage, are sexually and romantically attracted to women.  Some of them are that way, pretty much from birth.  Others are more fluid in the sexuality.  A lot of women, after a bad experience with a man, or because of abuse by a male, will, for a period, be attracted to women.  They may well return to being attracted to me, often to the dismay of their female partner.  So, to say that a "transsexual" cannot be a lesbian is to say, in effect, that transsexuals are significantly different from other women.  And this plays into the Blanchard-Bailey theory that attempts to "prove" that transsexuals are not really women at all, just excessively gay men, and straight men with a weird fetish.

This sort of thing is not uncommon.  I once had a well-known transgender kook tell me that a transsexual could not possibly be "pro-life."  I have seen others try to claim that transsexuals can't be Republicans, or conservatives, etc.  

The simple fact is, women, including transsexuals, like women in general, can have a wide range of views.  Some of us are more conservative than others.  Personally, I tend to joke that my politics are radically moderate.  I am a member of the Far Middle, the extreme center.  I pride myself on the fact that I can enter a debate between someone who is far right, and someone who is far left, and have both of them calling for my head. 

Some people, like Cooke, are very rigid in their thinking.  They are incapable of comprehending other view points.  I don't mean "agreeing" with those viewpoints, but comprehending why someone might hold them.  They cannot see that their might be arguments supporting that view that people might honestly hold.  Cooke sees the world as  black and white.  If you do not share Cooke's highly extremist left-wing view then you are wrong, end of story.  No just in error, but wrong as in "you will face the firing squad" when the revolution occurs type wrong.  Even evil, in a sense, though Cooke does not quite seem to believe in actual morality in an traditional sense.

On the other hand, while I may not agree with someone, I can often see why they think the way they do.  I can see the reasoning behind their view, and that enables me to see the flaws in their reasoning, if such exist.  I could make their arguments for them, and then explain to them why those arguments are flawed while also explaining why the extreme opposite view is equally wrong.  That is more than an extremist can handle.

A good example of this sort of thing would be the recurrent bathroom issue.  On the one hand, and extremist like Cooke will claim that there should be NO restrictions on transgender access to bathrooms.  No matter where one is on the imaginary spectrum, whether one identifies as a straight male fetishtic crossdresser who is just really turned on by the idea of slipping into the ladies room even though you know you are not going to pass and will cause major distress...which really, really turns you on, are you are a surgery-tracked transsexual who is a week away from surgery, it is all the same.  And I can see the arguments that might be made.  Everyone needs to pee.  It can be dangerous to go into the men's room if you are crossdressed.  We have to respect everyone's gender identity and gender presentation.  Now, on the far opposite extreme are those who might go so far as to say that even if one is a fully transition post-op, they have no business in the ladies room.  Their argument would be, a Y chromosome has no business in the ladies room (I would love to hear how they would deal with someone with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome, a so-called "XY female.")  Well, The first arguments are not really persuasive.  If one wishes to crossdress, that might be their right, but it does not give them license to create a public nuisance, and quite frankly, speaking as a woman, a man in the ladies, and that is what a crossdresser is, is a public nuisance.  They don't become a woman when they slip on a dress.  If they are concerned about danger, then they should take responsibility for their behavior and avoid such situations.  They do no have an absolute right to crossdress and use that as an excuse for being a nuisance.  And the term gender identity is, to a large extent, meaningless.  It is one thing to be a true transsexual, carefully screened by a qualified and competent therapist, and another to simply assert that one "feels like a woman today."  And presentation?  Give me a break.  It may be your right to present as you wish, but that does not mean I have to pander to your fantasies.  

As I say, I am a moderate.  There need to be provision made for those who have a legitimate need to enter the ladies room, even though they might be physically male.  Those who are properly diagnosed as transsexual (not some kook who manages to fool a therapist with a big rubber stamp), but also provision to protect the privacy of women.  Personally, I did not enter the ladies room until I felt reasonably sure that I would be accepted as a woman, and not cause distress.  That, simply put, was because I was a woman, and had concern for other women.  The vast, overwhelming majority of those who identify as transgender are men, and like men, they think they have privilege that they really don't.

No, there is nothing wrong with being normal and traditional.  And people have a right, within limits, to be otherwise.  But, if they make that choice, they should also take responsibility for their behavior and realize that not everyone is going to look at them and say "Aren't they so cool, being a rebel and all..."  We aren't.  We are far more likely to look at them, and at best laugh, and at worst see them as a very disturbed, and disturbing person."  


Priya Lynn said...

"Personally, I did not enter the ladies room until I felt reasonably sure that I would be accepted as a woman, and not cause distress. That, simply put, was because I was a woman, and had concern for other women. The vast, overwhelming majority of those who identify as transgender are men, and like men, they think they have privilege that they really don't.".

Like you, I did not feel a right to use the ladies room and didn't until I was confident I'd be accepted as a woman and not cause distress. I came to this realization a while into my transition when dressed androgynously I'd go into the men's room and have men look at me, do a double take and look surprised. I realized then that I was being perceived as a woman and it would be risky to continue using the men's room. I felt I had to use the ladies room at that point but didn't feel right about it until after my sex change surgery.

I find myself agreeing with some of what you say but other things I think you go too far and don't really know what you're talking about. For example when you say "The vast, overwhelming majority of those who identify as transgender are men..." you really have no way of knowing that, you're just asserting your (odd to me) unsupported opinion as fact. You do a disservice to society when you do this.

Just Jennifer said...

I had similar experiences. I recall once, I was about to go into the men's room in a Walmart when an employee stopped me, and said "Ma'am, that's the wrong bathroom." And more than once, I had someone look a bit panicked that a woman was in the men's room.

And you have a right to your opinion, but mine is based on years of observation. While some adopt that term out of ignorance, or because of pressure, I have found that those who prefer it want to make sure that people know they are "transgender." And they often cling to their past lives as men with an amazing tenacity.

No, it is a disservice to society when the idea is pushed that simply saying, "I am a," magically changes one.

Priya Lynn said...

I don't necessarily disagree with you that its a disservice to society to promote the idea that simply saying "I am a" magically changes a person.

But if you were to read up a bit on statistical analysis and research aimed at characterizing groups of people you'd realize that your opinion based on years of your own experiences is in no way a scientifically valid way of drawing conclusions about populations of people. Statisticians vary a little with some saying anecdotal evidence is evidence but the weakest kind of evidence and others saying it is not scientific at all. You're on very shaky ground when you equate your opinion with reality.

Just Jennifer said...

There is a great deal of pressure on researchers to maintaining "political correctness." Speaking the truth can get one attacked. I have worked in research, and I have seen that sort of thing. Some are always at the ready to attack anyone who does not adhere to the party line.

Priya Lynn said...

If you worked in research then you should be aware that in order to draw conclusions about a population with reasonable confidence they are correct you need a random sample of that population of a statistically significant number of people (1000 is a generally accepted number). Your experiences are a convenience sample and I suspect number a lot fewer than 1000 and you have not applied any scientific analysis to accurately quantify your experiences in a way that eliminates bias.

Admittedly, this is a problem with most research into LGBT people, particularly trans people - there are so few of us it is very difficult and expensive to get a truly random sample of a statistically significant number of people so most research into LGBT people is based on convenience samples.

Priya Lynn said...

Really? You want to be taken seriously and appear open minded and fair and then you delete my comment about the importance of random samples and statistically significant number of samples?

I thought more of you than that Jennifer, I see I was wrong.

I came to your blog from another blog that criticized you and linked to you. I thought you had some good points although I disagreed with others. You tried to make the case that they were wrong and you were right but now its apparent you aren't an honest person and you're more interested in appearing right than you are in actually being right.

Shame on you Jennifer.

Just Jennifer said...

Or, you just have to be exposed to the culture that permeates this group, both in person, and online. And right now, though it is beginning fade, "trans" is trendy. It has become a status symbol among some to have a trans child, and I very much suspect that some parents actually try to encourage it so they can become something of a celebrity. True transsexuals, and I know some hate that term, are extremely rare. And completely different from transgender, which is a political and social movement.

Just Jennifer said...

No, I did not delete your comment. I have ONE rule about comments, that they do not invade my privacy, or that of others. But, I do moderate every comment. If someone violates the rule, the comment never sees the light of day. Well, I do also remove anything that is spam, or attempts t promote porn, and such. I don't always have time to immediately approve every comment. I do have a life. Try no to jump to conclusions. It only makes you look foolish. And try reading some of the comments others have posted I am not like some bloggers who will remove anything that disagrees with their narrow views. I simply deal with what is claimed, and refute it as needed.

Priya Lynn said...

Thank you for posting my comments, I was a little to hasty in assuming you read it and didn't want it seen.

I agree that transsexual is a different term from transgender but there is overlap between the two. Transgender is a continuum that includes transsexual individuals as well as those who feel themselves as not fitting into sex role stereotypes based on sex assigned at birth. Many transgender individuals will never seek sex change surgery or want it and may think of themselves as somewhere between the genders rather than being a different gender than the one assigned at birth. Transsexuals are more rare than transgender people but once again, absent random samples of the general population yielding a statistically significant number of transsexual people you are not in a position to say how generally how rare it is. Once again, your personal experience in person and online has very little to say about the culture of this group - it just isn't scientific.

When you say trans is trendy, that it has become a status symbol to have a trans child and that some parents try to encourage it to become celebrities, its important to define what you mean by "trans" - do you mean transsexual (wanting to be the gender one identifies with ) or transgender (merely having characteristics that don't fit stereotypes). If your suggesting some parents try to encourage their child to be transsexual, I don't believe that. If you're suggesting some parents try to encourage their children to not be restricted to gender stereotypes, for boys to perhaps try playing with dolls or girls to try playing football yes, I can believe that happens to a degree and I don't think it is necessarily a bad thing.

Just Jennifer said...

I had to start moderating because certain people took advantage and would post things that were not okay.

No, transsexuals are NOT transgender. Transsexual is a medical condition that is extremely rare. Transgender is a term that was dreamed up by crossdressers in an attempt to blur the lines. It is a social and political construct that has no objective meaning. Anyone can call their self transgender. To actually be a transsexual, you should be diagnosed by a qualified, competent, and ethics therapist. Sadly, there are an increasing number of quacks who will simply rubber stamp anyone who asks. This often leads to tragedy when people get approved for surgery that is not right for them. And transgender is a misnomer. Gender does not change. For many years, a small, but obsessed minority of psychiatrists and psychologists have tried, in vain, to cure transsexuals of their "delusions," They have tried all sorts of therapies with zero successes. But, at the same time, we have people who claim to have suddenly, at the age 40, 50, 60, 70...realized that they have "always" been a woman, after a long history living as a perfectly normal male, who engaged in things like he military, sports, and other masculine pursuits. Some were crossdressers, but really never showed any real sign of having a female gender.

I am suggesting that their are parents who plant the idea that the child should be the opposite gender, and who encourage it, and push the child to go along. It is not about avoiding stereotypes, but about pushing the child to change the stereotypes he or she adheres to.

Priya Lynn said...

I think most people knowledgeable on LGBT issues would disagree with you that transsexual is not part of transgender or that transgender was a term dreamed up by crossdressers rather than one used by people who don't fit in a gender binary - I certainly do.

I see no evidence that there are "an increasing number of quacks who will simply rubber stamp anyone who asks". Perhaps you can research it, get it peer reviewed and published. Then we can discuss reality rather than your personal opinions.

If people at the age of 40, 50, 60, or 70 want to change genders and live as who they want it to be, what's it to you? How are you harmed by this? Its really none of your business. There simply aren't significant percentages of people who've undergone sex change surgery who regret it.

I get the impression you'd like to greatly restrict who can get this surgery. That may prevent the rare instances of people who feel it was a mistake but it would also hurt the far greater numbers of people who want to transition for which it would not be a mistake. We have to ask "Which way will help the greatest number of people and harm the fewest?". I think if you think about this objectively you can't help but acknowledge that the system as it is now is much better than one that is more restrictive (perhaps much more so?) that you would seem to prefer because people you don't know who aren't hurting you are doing something you don't approve of.

It is very rare that "surgery leads to tragedy", studies show the vast majority of people who undergo sex change surgery are happy with their decision and happier after than before. It seems that what others do is a very important issue to you and it makes you very angry that people have sex change surgeries when you do not approve of them doing so. I'm sorry you feel that way.

There may be parents who push plant the idea that the child should be the opposite gender, encourage it, and push the child to go along but I believe that would be extremely rare and the mental health professionals whose cooperation is required to block puberty and or get approval for sex reassignment surgery would weed them out.

I could be wrong, maybe you can prove it eventually (but I doubt it) but I think you are getting all upset over an imaginary problem because it somehow makes you feel superior to some people transsexuals you don't approve of or transgender people you don't approve of. Perhaps you feel that these sorts of people some how reflect badly on you and that is why you're angry at them. That's a shame if that's the case.

I think you're the one with the problem, not the transsexuals who transition late in life or the people who identify as non-transsexual transgender people.

Ultimately this matters not, I see this is so important to you that you're not going to consider what I say or others say or that you might be wrong. You apparently have an emotional need for this to be the way you see it.

I hope you can overcome your anger to people who do you no harm and find the happiness in life you deserve.

Best Wishes,


Just Jennifer said...

Sorry, but "transgender" came out of the crossdressing community. It was pushed by people who were not transsexuals.

And yes, it used to be that most gender therapists tended to specialize in that field. Increasingly, there have been people who have built their practices on telling people what they want to hear. They don't probe.they don't talk to people who know the patient, they don't delve into the patient's history, they just label anyone who asks with whatever label that person wants. I was lucky. I saw a couple of therapists who didn't take that approach. In fact, my surgery had to be approved by a committee, rather than just having a couple of letters and going off somewhere that is more interested in money than getting it right.

It does not always lead to suicide, but there are a number of people who clearly should not have had surgery, who show severe dysfunction. They tend to become very outspoken against people who have had successful transitions. It makes me angry when people pursue this path. These people are unable to assimilate as women, and demand that everyone else be like them, and be "out, loud, and proud" so to speak. They condemn people being "stealth" or "assimilating," applying the term "truscum."

Again, the problem is therapists are pressured to not ask too many questions. If a child is really transsexual, they should be placed in a school where they can assimilate instead of being an object of attention. But that is not what transgender want. They don't want to be able to go into a rest room and no have people know. They want to force acceptance.

The issue is not just transitioning late, but transitioning late after a lifetime of being a successful male. Of showing no sign of being transsexual until suddenly deciding they are a woman. When someone has a 20+ year career, as a man, in the military, or served as a Navy Seal before deciding they are really a woman, something is totally off.

And yes, these people do great harm.