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.

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