Transgender wars

Sex is a huge, and very anxiety-ridden, part of the human psyche. That (not the Bible) is why some are freaked out by gays. Well, they lost that war; but transgender freaks them out even more. So then we had the bathroom wars. And then Trump tried to ban transgender people from the military. His latest atrocity is to define, for all federal purposes, your gender as what’s on your birth certificate, deemed immutably fixed at birth or before. As if people go trans for nutty or perverse reasons.

This is not just cruel and hateful, it’s counter-factual. Here’s some biological information:

An embryo actually begins sexless, able to develop into either gender. (That’s why men have nipples.) Which gender it assumes is (normally) governed by its genes, with a lot of complex steps, elaborately choreographed by chemical signaling (via hormones). This creates male or female hardware and software. The hardware is the anatomy. The software tells you how to use it, and is installed in your brain.

My own software makes me sexually attracted to females. But there’s another aspect – feeling male– that’s so second nature we’re not even aware of it. It’s just part of one’s operating system, humming along in the background.

But what if there’s a signaling glitch during embryonic development, and incorrect software gets installed? We know some males have software telling them to mate with males instead of females. But, more rarely, some get entirely the wrong package – telling them they are female.

This is not some psychological hang-up, confusion about gender, or wishing one’s gender were different. Male and female brains are different, not just in how they work, but even physiologically. And it’s possible to be genetically and genitally male while having a mismatched female brain.*

Most of us, with everything matching, can hardly imagine what it would be like otherwise. But that’s the transgender situation. A basic incompatibility with one’s own body. That’s not something you can make yourself simply adjust to, or ignore. It’s something fundamental to who you are.

The condition is called “gender dysphoria,” usually showing up (and strongly) fairly early in childhood. The treatment can include drugs to delay puberty; then, if the condition persists, hormones and surgery to change the anatomy to better match the brain software.

Going through all this is a terrible experience; one’s social structures, and even one’s own family, are often non-supportive if not downright hostile. Even after transitioning, it’s still very tough for trans people to adjust. Their suicide rates are very high.

So they deserve empathy and human kindness; anything to make their road easier. Trump’s opposite tack is vile.

As to the bathroom panic, it’s not completely baseless. Some male sexual perverts and predators might try to get their jollies in women’s rooms. But let’s take a deep breath and remember that such behavior is always illegal and punishable, and transgender rights don’t change that.

This concludes this essay’s politically correct portion.

Just as Trump, playing to his most retrograde supporters, makes the transgender phenomenon political, it has also become political on the other side. Support for the “full Monty” of transgender rights has become part of the politically correct “progressive” catechism — and Heaven help anyone murmuring heresy.

This means all-in with the idea of gender self-identification — no questions asked. Any male who says he wants to be treated as female gets treated as female. More, it means children not only taught to be accepting, but actually encouraged to question their own gender identity. And, by all means, to change it if they like.

The power of suggestion is very big for youngsters. And a lot of kids are, of course, mixed up in varied ways, having trouble fitting in socially, relating to their families, struggling to form their personal identities, etc. Moreover, adjusting to puberty and the whole sexuality thing is difficult enough for even the most normal of kids. In this hothouse environment, being trans or “gender fluid” might seem an attractive ticket to coolness, to hipness. It’s the in vogue as thing to be now. And so there’s an epidemic of kids coming out with “gender dysphoria.”

Brown University scientist Lisa Littman recently studied this, and found many teen gals in friendship groups all suddenly asserting trans identities — often after binge-watching online videos by trans teenagers. Littman called this “rapid-onset gender dysphoria.”

But meantime, the “transactivist” movement is geared to fully honoring such a seeming choice. That means putting the kids on an express train to hormone treatments and surgery, irreversibly altering their bodies. That can be salutary for true dysphoria cases, but where some different psychological thing is actually going on, it can be a catastrophic mistake that will screw up that person’s later life. There have already been numerous such cases; sad stories. Yet in effect transactivists insist that these kids be allowed to self-diagnoseand get the associated treatment, with no second-guessing by medical professionals or other adults.

Where a child insists they are the other gender, starting early and consistently for years, that can be accepted at face value. But when it springs up suddenly in a teenager, it’s reasonable to question what is really behind it. Yet anyone urging such a cautious wait-and-see approach in such cases is condemned as an anti-trans heretic. After transactivist lobbying, Brown University withdrew its report about Littman’s research, saying it might “discredit efforts to support transgender youth and invalidate the perspectives of members of the transgender community.”

So with that smarmy bullshit, Brown caved to the trans Torquemadas. Yet another example of the left’s troubled relationship with freedom of thought and expression. At least Littman has not been burned at the stake.

* Rarely too, the anatomy can be messed up, ambiguous or in-between.

4 Responses to “Transgender wars”

  1. Mr. Tony Muhammad Says:

    This is an eye opener for me. It gives me a more rational thought about people who are experiencing the behavior of transgender.

    On Mon, Jan 7, 2019, 11:23 AM The Rational Optimist wrote:

    > rationaloptimist posted: ” Sex is a huge, and very anxiety-ridden, part of > the human psyche. That (not the Bible) is why some are freaked out by gays. > Well, they lost that war; but transgender freaks them out even more. So > then we had the bathroom wars. And then Trump tried to ban” >

  2. Lee Says:

    Rare conditions (such as red hair, albino skin, homosexuality, transgender) should not be described as “abnormal” (or failure of the rare condition to be described as “normal”), “signaling glitch”, “incorrect software”, “incompatible”, “dysphoria”, etc. These are negative value judgements where such judgement is not called for. Calling these conditions “rare” or “unusual” is fine; factually true and without value judgement. Also, one can say “trans” or similar to indicate that the body at birth and identity are not the same gender, but say “usually” rather than “normally” when discussing “cis” — the opposite of “trans”. (Yes, I realize that “gender dysphoria” is a medical term. It needs to change.)

    I think your “non-politically correct” portion of the argument is arguing against no one. With any important decision, of course one should exercise due diligence, conduct much research, talk to many friends, and (in most cases) not make decisions quickly. To suggest that people are giving up their genitals on a whim … it just isn’t happening. (Well, among billions of us, some are truly crazy, but beyond this negligible fraction, this just isn’t an issue.) Short of surgery, I see no problem with teenagers experimenting with sexual orientation, sexual identity, or sexual roles (e.g., female presidents, male nurses, transvestitism) … with the usual caveat that “experimenting” with sexual intercourse is not an insignificant decision.

    Except for these quibbles, I strongly approve of your article — thanks!

  3. Lee Says:

    Rereading that — I didn’t meant to imply that female presidents, male nurses, etc. are merely experiments. Despite that they are historically unusual, these are perfectly reasonable roles to be lived, not merely teenage experiments.

  4. Elizabeth Says:

    I agree with the points Lee makes.

    I’ll add that the “politically incorrect” portion totally disregards what the reality of a child medically and socially transitioning looks like. It also disregards the stance of the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association have said in regard to care for transgender kids.

    When cisgender children assert that they have an intrinsic knowledge of their gender, they are not questioned or used as a political example. Trans kids aren’t afforded the same deference. Adult involvement in shaping children’s ideas about their gender – from disallowing boys to dress up as princesses to deeming certain colors and emotions to be gendered – is rarely seen as questionable or influencing. When an adult supports and takes seriously a young trans person’s gender identity, it’s labeled as harmful.

    While the language used in the article is unintentionally laden with value judgments, it does point to the fact that humans have all kinds of variations in neurology and chromosomes and psychology and anatomy, which is appreciated and true. That really should just be the bottom line. It is bizarre to me that in some parts of the world there is so much obsession and think pieces and legislating around people and their particular combo of external parts, internal organs, chromosomes and brain patterns.

    The author mentions the high suicide rate in the trans community, which is true. 40% of trans people in the United States will attempt suicide at some point in their lifetime. Trans folks in our country live in a trauma filled environment, where their literal existence is questioned and mocked, and used as an excuse to exclude them from society and physically harm and kill them. The life expectancy of transgender women of color in the United States is 35.

    Pictures like the deeply offensive one included in this article contribute to that culture, which brings about the loss of trans lives. Buying into the “man in a dress” (femininity is so belittled in the United States – do you really think men just want to play at being a woman?) trope and comparing being transgender to pretending to be a dog is no better than anything the Trump administration is doing. In fact, it’s right in line with it.

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