Monday, 16 January 2017

Our search for greater meaning

From the moment we become self aware we begin to search for a meaning to our existence. I remember being about 8 years old and experiencing angst over the concept of eternity. It wasn’t until a priest friend of the family spoke to me that I was able to try and conceptualize it and not think about it as much. In the end that really was about having trust and letting of something that was beyond my understanding.

We are all afraid of dying to some extent; some of us more than others and we try and seek greater truth than ourselves. What we are doing sitting on a rock that orbits another white hot object floating in space makes little sense. Yet the fact that we are able to ponder our own existence hints at something bigger than us.

I long ago stopped believing in the concept of heaven as it was explained to me in grade school when my religious instruction did not extend beyond a caricature tailor made for the mind of a prepubescent child. As someone in my fifties I accept the reality that I am not made to formulate concepts that exceed the capacity of my intellect for I am a flesh and blood entity aspiring to understand ephemeral and deeply complex realities.

My mind cannot imagine not existing and still has difficulty with the idea of living in perpetual eternity which would conceivably lead to boredom after a few millennia; but this is because I am trying to imagine things that exist on a different frame of reference altogether. I touched on this a few posts ago.

Religious instruction for the non-thinker stays at the level of pabulum fed to a child. But then not everyone wants to ponder beyond being given a set of instructions to follow in order to inherit a cosmic kingdom. It is more than likely that every religion in the world is wrong and only touches on grains of truth contained in the equivalence of a beach that extends beyond the horizon. In other words, we are only permitted a tiny glimpse.

The randomness argument does not appeal to my ordered mind and to what I observe and I trust that whatever meaning my existence has will be made more evident to me should I ever be privy to be afforded the right toolkit.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

conventional male

I’ve never been a conventional male but I always did my best to fit in.

When I was very young I learned what I needed to say and not to say in order for people not to raise any eyebrows. In the peacefulness of an empty house I expressed myself the way I wanted far from the prying eyes of my family or the neighbours.

I learned to be a great actor and made sure I stayed above suspicion. Every once in a while I would slip up but then quickly recovered. I managed this way for many years until my early forties when everything became unravelled.

The priest who conducted my marriage ceremony suspected something and many years later admitted to me he thought that I might be gay since I showed apprehension during the preparation. Upon telling him that I was transgender it all made sense to him in retrospect.

Now I can be myself although it’s sometimes hard to know who that is due to so much energy being spent to create a believable persona.

Now I am left with the task of sorting out who the real me really is which has become a fascinating personal journey.

One I am currently still on.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

double-edge sword

Yes I know I write a blog but besides that I don't have a presence on social media because I have a deep seated aversion to it.

The sheer banality of posting pictures of your breakfast, publicizing your particular mood at that very instant, a cat or dancing baby video or showing a bunch of mostly strangers where you went on vacation completely baffles me.

I had to get off Facebook when I began to not be able to stomach much of what my own extensive family was posting. I wasn't using it very much at all, but when I did, I would notice that even family gatherings and birthday wishes were being posted there rather than outright calling the person.

I recently attended a wedding that had me sitting at a table with some millennials. Some of them were openly taking selfies and posting them on social media rather than make conversation during dinner. I was a little taken back and I realize that not every young person is like this. But we do live in an age of instant gratification and where people who lack self-assurance might be tempted to seek validation through prolific posting and amassing of social media contacts as compensation.

Not long ago I watched an episode of a Netflix program called “Black Mirror” which is not dissimilar to the old Twilight Zone series. This particular episode had people interacting and after every encounter they would point their cell phones at each other and rate the experience. The higher the score the more popular you were and this would then impact the type of apartment you could get in the right neighborhood or even get you the right fiancĂ©e.

The moral of the story is that the young woman whose life temporarily unravels when her score drops due to a series of unfortunate events, encounters a 60 year old woman who has fallen off the social acceptability grid but who is also deeply happy because of it. She had simply unplugged from a society where her value was measured through the opinion of others.

In an era where you can be famous for simply being famous and where the president elect of one of the most powerful countries in the world (who also happens to be a classless and vengeful idiot) brandishes social media as a weapon, it will interesting thing to see whether the episode I watched proves to be prophetic.

Like everything else, technology and being connected is a double-edged sword and can be used and misused in a myriad of ways.

Friday, 13 January 2017

the transgender logic chain

I have used this simple logical argument before in my blog to show how transgender people must necessarily exist through biological predisposition and I will present it as an A follows B follows C chain:

1) Nature at all levels is replete with anomalies and permutations without exception
2) The human process of procreation and giving birth forms part of nature's biological mechanisms.
3) 95% of males and females conceived through this process align their gender identity with their birth sex which means that gender identity is influenced by biology (and only later attempted to be influenced through socialization)For proof of this see case of David Reimer.
4) This biological process is independent of race, religion or culture and is universal hence always predictable
5) Therefore anyone whose gender identity does not align with their birth sex must have had that identity partially or fully impacted by that biological process since transgender people are, in the vast majority of cases, highly functioning and not mentally ill.

What this means is that anyone who states that being transgender is part of a sociological movement isn’t thinking straight or, as is more commonly the case, blinded by personal belief.

Hence it follows logically that it wasn’t your decision to be born transgender. You simply were and the only thing left for you is to decide how to cope with that reality.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

Height a secondary issue

My height is not nearly as important as I used to think it was.

However, when I was mired in insecurity I saw it as a major obstacle towards blending in. Now that I am in a different place its almost a non-issue.

For one thing millennials are taller than baby boomers and that includes taller young women. But I have also noticed that tall genetic women don’t worry about being misgendered so why would I. If you know you should be there and are happy with yourself you will do more than fine.

That has definitely been the case for me and now I don’t give it a second thought and go about my business. As a result, I have never been more ‘Madamed’ in my entire life so obviously it’s working.

All the more proving that the inside has to be in a good place before worrying about the outside.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

a complete lack of dignity

President-elect Trump continues to show his complete lack of dignity by Tweeting every time he is criticized. The latest ruckus involved Meryl Streep's criticism of Trump's mocking of a handicapped reporter. She gave an impassioned plea that a President should be a role model for the populace instead of contributing to lowering the public discourse.

Perhaps for the public good someone in his administration should propose they strip this idiot man-child of his access to social media.

Meryl Streep may not "know him" but you can tell a lot about a person via his public behavior.

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

a synopsis of what I know so far....

Consider the following statement:

“I am a woman and hence I must transition”

There is no perfectly conclusive scientific basis for this statement and, after having read everything I could get my hands on for many years, I have tried to understand what makes some transgender people say that with such conviction.

The only thing I know for certain is that gender dysphoria is real. It is as real as the nose on my face or my hands that I can protrude out in front of me and marvel at. I know this because I have lived with it all my life.

I stated here recently that the physical data is inconclusive. Even the initially promising differences measured in the BSTc region of the brain led to more doubts and extensive criticism given that the transgender subjects used in the study had been ingesting hormones for months if not many years.

So scientifically we still lack a bulletproof case but don't me wrong in that I am convinced that some form of biological tracer will be found. But if there isn't just one source involved there may be a few because a gender identity is likely to be a precarious balancing act of correct dosages of hormone washes at critical times in order to produce a "normal" fetus. If these things don't happen with precise sequencing and the child is then also impacted through their early social development, you can end up with a human being who doesn't fit perfectly into the social mold that has been cast for them in advance.

I used to read in the narratives of some transsexuals how they suffered from a “condition” and if that condition is extreme dysphoria then I think they are correct because at such an elevated level (for Benjamin types V and VI even worse than my own) dysphoria must be all but debilitating. However their motivation was their own conviction based on their suffering since we still lacked that smoking gun. Eventually a splinter group made an attempt to make “their” condition exclusive via the introduction of “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” and, while it may not be a scientifically recognized infirmity, it served within separatist HBS circles to distance themselves from others.

And yet transitions worked for many of these people. They were lucid and not the least bit mentally ill and, once they transitioned, they should have the right to be addressed and treated as any genetic woman because that is what they now are and arguably always were. A gender identity is independent of what your genitals look like at birth.

The pseudoscience of Ray Blanchard is a dead end because it suffers from a fatal flaw in the form of conclusive proof of its "only about sex" foundation which is more built on sand than on bedrock. I could just as easily state that the eroticism is a natural byproduct of the dysphoria and end things there.

Androphilics are not much better treated in this model because Blanchard ostensibly painted them as deluded homosexuals. Once again the motivation is sexual and more specifically having access to heterosexual partners which sounds wholly unconvincing as the cause of something as drastic as a surgical intervention.

Now with declining relevance and in an academic equivalence to sour grapes, the BBL clan has turned to making disparaging remarks about transgender people on Twitter and in interviews. So much for compassion or for that matter dignity.

But I keep returning to the work of Hischfeld, Kinsey and Benjamin which are the founding fathers of our modern understanding of sex and gender; all having in common an agenda-free and keen scientific curiosity. In particular Benjamin's proposed scale based on degree of predisposition fits well with the notion of a unifying theory which would help explain what we see out everyday in the real world in the form of varying states of transition from social to full.

Thankfully, today's trans youth does not need or require to fight amongst themselves, however the enemies now lie outside our community in the form of radical feminism, distorted Christianity, plain old stupidity and ignorance and even people who have transitioned in error presuming to speak for everyone else.

Oh yes and lest I forget: academic hubris.