Transexuality

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ascendingPig
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Re: Transexuality

Postby ascendingPig » Sat Dec 20, 2008 2:48 am UTC

I have two trans (I guess) friends: One MTF and one female-born genderqueer.

I think I'm totally accepting of my MTF friend (though I occasionally slip up and refer to her with masculine pronouns, and she'll roll her eyes and say, "Pronouns! I hate them!"), and she has been openly MTF since before I met her, though her parents force her to dress as a man and she hasn't yet gotten surgery.

On the other hand, I cannot bring myself to respect my genderqueer friend's choices. Maybe I'm not so comfortable with people outside of traditional gender roles, but I don't think that's the case. It could be because she only recently confessed to me her suspicions of a genderqueer identity, whereas I've known her as a girl for a long time and she's always willingly worn fairly feminine clothes. It might be because I feel awkward about women going so far in stepping out of their gender roles, since I'm fairly masculine myself yet don't feel a need to cut my breasts off.

My main issue is that when I talk to her, I'm really hearing a 15-year-old girl tell me that she hates her body and hates her breasts and her genitals, etc. My first reflex when I hear that is not to tell a teenage girl to "get surgery." Clearly she has some self-esteem issues, right? I just can't help being intolerant of her. I think it's ridiculous when she insists I not address her as "lady" (what I call all of my female friends) or doesn't want to hear my insistence that her breasts are perfectly fine and not so large as to be cumbersome and she should just put up with them.
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T-Form
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Re: Transexuality

Postby T-Form » Sat Dec 20, 2008 12:53 pm UTC

DJorgensen wrote:The are more MTF's statistically than FTM's.

I'm not sure about that - I've read various claims (ranging from "many more trans women" to "slightly more trans men"), but there seldom seems to be a source. Hell, even figuring out how many trans people there are is incredibly difficult when you can only see trans people who have acted on their own initiative, and since the mainstream understanding is largely based on ridiculous caricatures of trans women, some people who might otherwise identify as trans men might not realise that a female-to-male transition is possible; they might not even be aware that there are other female-bodied people who feel the same way.

ascendingPig wrote:On the other hand, I cannot bring myself to respect my genderqueer friend's choices. Maybe I'm not so comfortable with people outside of traditional gender roles, but I don't think that's the case. It could be because she only recently confessed to me her suspicions of a genderqueer identity, whereas I've known her as a girl for a long time and she's always willingly worn fairly feminine clothes.

I wouldn't focus too much on any aspect of a person's chosen appearance. Feminine clothing is a bit like facial hair, or stereotypical masculine/feminine interests - it could be a disguise used by someone who isn't fully comfortable expressing another identity (they might not be confident enough to do so, or they might fear violence or other social nastiness, for example). Or they might not feel that clothing is particularly relevent to their identity. Or their feelings about their identity (or their current understanding of those feelings) might be fairly new - which wouldn't necessarily tell you much about how they'll feel about it in the long term either, really.

If you want to get a clearer picture of what's going on, I reckon* the only thing you can do is talk to him/her, and just listen and respectfully ask questions, rather than trying to give advice or analysis, or expecting to get all of the answers. Respect his/her privacy - if he/she tells you something, don't tell anyone else (and especially not the internet) unless he/she makes it clear that it's okay. You should probably try to respect his/her wishes on the "lady" thing, too; that sort of thing can be very important to people. It might seem ridiculous to you, but there's no real reason why you couldn't deal with that, right?

* Remember that this post is just a suggestion from a person with no relevant qualifications, and who can't know the details of the situation. Be sure not to treat any of it as a substitute for doing your own thinking.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby stoke » Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:49 pm UTC

For all we know it isn't completely hormonal and there is a genetic component as well. Or environmental factors when the child is still very young. Or a mixture of all or some of the above.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Osha » Sat Dec 20, 2008 7:18 pm UTC

ascendingPig wrote:I have two trans (I guess) friends: One MTF and one female-born genderqueer.
My main issue is that when I talk to her, I'm really hearing a 15-year-old girl tell me that she hates her body and hates her breasts and her genitals, etc. My first reflex when I hear that is not to tell a teenage girl to "get surgery." Clearly she has some self-esteem issues, right? I just can't help being intolerant of her. I think it's ridiculous when she insists I not address her as "lady" (what I call all of my female friends) or doesn't want to hear my insistence that her breasts are perfectly fine and not so large as to be cumbersome and she should just put up with them.


Sounds like you're concerned about her well-being and have a bit of an ick reaction more than you're being intolerant. If she somehow convinced you the only way she could ever be happy was to do whatever she wants to do (not 100% clear from your post) would you want to stop her? Would you ever want to not employ her, or stop being her friend, or not listen to what she has to say because of her issues? If not you're not being intolerant. Possibly a little overbearing or wrong, but certainly not intolerant.

Intolerant people want to do things like use electroshock therapy to cure the queerness out of us, or take away rights, or you know; there's always good old fashioned verbal assault, stalking, ostracising, and murder.

Also, to reiterate T-Forms point ('cause this is important), the polite thing to do would be to at least call her by what she wants. Would you like it if a friend of yours insisted on calling you "Lord ascendingPig"? At the very least it's not a ridiculous request.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby stoke » Sat Dec 20, 2008 8:11 pm UTC

ascendingPig wrote:I have two trans (I guess) friends: One MTF and one female-born genderqueer.
On the other hand, I cannot bring myself to respect my genderqueer friend's choices. Maybe I'm not so comfortable with people outside of traditional gender roles, but I don't think that's the case. It could be because she only recently confessed to me her suspicions of a genderqueer identity, whereas I've known her as a girl for a long time and she's always willingly worn fairly feminine clothes. It might be because I feel awkward about women going so far in stepping out of their gender roles, since I'm fairly masculine myself yet don't feel a need to cut my breasts off.

My main issue is that when I talk to her, I'm really hearing a 15-year-old girl tell me that she hates her body and hates her breasts and her genitals, etc. My first reflex when I hear that is not to tell a teenage girl to "get surgery." Clearly she has some self-esteem issues, right? I just can't help being intolerant of her. I think it's ridiculous when she insists I not address her as "lady" (what I call all of my female friends) or doesn't want to hear my insistence that her breasts are perfectly fine and not so large as to be cumbersome and she should just put up with them.


It is possible to go through a phase of hating your given gender, and then realize that, while not perfect, your body is tolerable. However, trying to get her to accept her body when she's not yet comfortable with it will probably just make her feel worse. If her friends and family don't give her room to experiment how will she be able to tell if it is right for her or not? It's not like teens experimenting with some part of their identity is uncommon.

Maybe she is only a "light shade of genderqueer" as someone claimed to be earlier, and only acting out more because she feels other people are doubting her. That is, maybe she is trying to validate mild discomfort with being female by acting out the other extreme. I mean if she is 15 then she just went through puberty and is suddenly expected to be more gendered than she was as a child. Maybe it isn't the inherent woman-ness than she dislikes, but the social one? I'm not saying she isn't trans, but that it is hard to say when she is just first expressing these feelings.

I agree with Osha that you aren't being intolerant, but since she is a friend you might want to humor her at least for the time being. In general I get irked when I say something along the lines of "I feel bad about *" and a friend responds with "no you don't." Regardless of what * is.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Pizzashark » Thu Jan 01, 2009 12:44 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:The way I see it, my being different, my inability to live as a man as my body wants, and my great desire to live as a woman as my mind wants is a completely internal thing. It's all within me. The battles, the pain, the depression, the feeling of worthlessness, how your body isn't right, isn't beautiful, doesn't move right, doesn't feel right, that's all inside me, and is something that I'm working through. Once I figure out all that is caused by being trans, well, I have 2 options: keep it inside, and keep battling it on an internal level, where I know I will lose because I can't pretend that my mind and my body match, or I take it external, allow my mind (the more important part of me) win over my body, and be happy. Choosing the latter of the two bring many other problems, like self doubt, and people not trusting you, and people hating you, but those are all caused by other people, and are solveable by education and understanding. I can't control other people, but I can control myself. So, I chose the path which causes external problems but fixes internal problems. And, yes, it's not the best way. But it's the best way to date to resolve the issues.

Does that answer your question?


It answered the one I was planning on asking.

I do feel like I understand the mentality of transgender people a lot more for reading most of this thread, though I imagine I'm still pretty ignorant. At least it's been a pretty interesting way to kill the first of my last two hours on shift.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Eldritch Horror » Thu Jan 01, 2009 2:00 pm UTC

Considering the fact that I've always been a slightly effeminate male, which is ironic considering my overabundance of facial hair, I think that I can understand, if maybe only a little, what it's like to be a transsexual. This may seem a bit odd, but for as long as I can remember, I've always been more attracted to pre-op transwomen (MtF) than to actual females. I'm not exactly sure of why I feel this way, but I mentioned this 'odd' attraction because it's just one example of how complicated our brains are when it comes to whom we find attractive and how we feel about ourselves. And, it does make me feel a guilty when I consider the difficult and dangerous nature of transgenderism. One could even say that it's worse to be transgendered than it is to be a homosexual or bisexual because of the shockingly large amount of intolerance that comes at you from all sides. And yet I cannot help but feel an odd feeling of respect for transgendered people because of the courage that it takes to be honest about your sexuality when most of the world would revile you for it.

Still, considering how far we've come as a species, the tolerance of transsexuality shouldn't even be an issue. As it has been said in this thread over and over again, what someone else does with their body is none of your business, and whether or not a person feels like they truly are a male or a female should not affect how you treat them. (Well, except for the simple courtesy of addressing them as they wish to be addressed.) After all, regardless of the particular reproductive organs we have, we're still all made out of the same materials.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Lucrece » Thu Jan 01, 2009 5:53 pm UTC

There seems to be quite a difference between effeminate men and transsexuals. I recall this very effeminate gay man-- a walking emulation of women-- being suggested by his friend why he didn't seek a sex-reassignment surgery. He indignantly responded "Are you crazy?", insulted by the very suggestion.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Eldritch Horror » Thu Jan 01, 2009 11:16 pm UTC

I guess that difference is due to the fact that some people who are more effeminate/masculine than their gender is 'supposed' to be don't feel as, how to put this... 'out of place' with regards to their body as those who are transgendered. As I said, human sexuality is extremely complicated.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Alcazabedabra » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:04 am UTC

Sounds to me like a profound inability to play the cards you're dealt.

My distaste for self-mutilation in general completely aside (hell, it ain't my body anyway), I can't see how what gender you are can really be such a huge issue. You only get threescore and ten in the body you've got, altering it with crude and invasive surgery can't be any more fun than simply playing the part.

Hey, guys. Would it really wreck your whole world to try being female for a lifetime? Do the gals really get it that bad? Try that question vice versa.

Popular opinion indicates that your present lifetime is either not the only one you'll have, or is insignificant in importance when compared to what else is waiting for you. If you're of the atheistic persuasion, maybe it's a bigger deal - but still, the logic won't fly with me. I'd rather be a whole man than a mutilated and only partly functional woman, no matter how badly I wanted to be female.

The question of gender is, to me, simply not important enough for me to go under the knife to become a poor imitation of the opposite sex.

It takes some stretching, then, to envision the individual so bound up on the question of gender that he would actually commit enormous resources, months (years?) of agonizing transition and recovery, not to mention the social stigma of being transsexual, to flip that one binary bit in the endless stretch of code of who you are from one to zero.

I thought I had a live imagination, but I lack the cognitive agility to conceive myself in such a state.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Quixotess » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:57 am UTC

Alcazabedabra wrote:it ain't my body anyway
Alcazabedabra wrote:I lack the cognitive agility to conceive myself in such a state

I guess I'm confused as to how you can acknowledge this and still think your contribution is relevant. You lack the cognitive ability, yes, but others have stated specifically in this very thread that they experience dissonance with their assigned gender strong enough that the transition process is, indeed, worth it to them. Your post reads like a dismissal of what trans* people have told you about their experience.

If you are not trans* then by definition you do not understand what it is like to be trans. That's only to be expected, you know? What you're saying is "I'm not trans*; therefore, it doesn't make sense to be trans." Don't universalize your experience.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Alcazabedabra » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:13 am UTC

Quixotess wrote:If you are not trans* then by definition you do not understand what it is like to be trans. That's only to be expected, you know? What you're saying is "I'm not trans*; therefore, it doesn't make sense to be trans." Don't universalize your experience.


Can I do any other?

I have no other basis for argument than my own experience, my opinions (beliefs, feelings, etc), and whatever third-party data I am able to dig up.

If my argument can be invalidated by the fact that I, personally am not transsexual, then on what basis can anyone who is not transsexual argue for or against transsexual practices?

The answer may very well be that we cannot! Thus, the opinions of anyone not transsexual about transsexuality are entirely NULL!

THAT would mean that, *gasp!* transsexuals are free to do with their bodies as they wish!

...which fact really rather invalidates this entire thread, doesn't it?

Is there any legal or logical argument against? One that is actually completely objective? Quixotess is quite right that arguments based upon subjective preference or distaste have no pragmatic bearing.

If, perhaps, the entire matter is one of preference, then what is this thread doing in a debate forum?

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Osha » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:18 am UTC

Argg..you wrote a whole 'nother post while I was writing this one... I'm way too slow! :(

Alcazabedabra wrote:Sounds to me like a profound inability to play the cards you're dealt.

My distaste for self-mutilation in general completely aside (hell, it ain't my body anyway), I can't see how what gender you are can really be such a huge issue. You only get threescore and ten in the body you've got, altering it with crude and invasive surgery can't be any more fun than simply playing the part.

Many transgender people forgo the knife and are content with hormone replacement therapy.
That said many people find the unpleasant surgery worth it for a more fulfilling sex life. Cause you know, having the wrong bits for your gender can be difficult for the sexytimes. And (anecdotally) most people who undergo the surgery are happy with the results. I should probably mention that the guy to girl surgery works a lot better than the other way around.

Hey, guys. Would it really wreck your whole world to try being female for a lifetime? Do the gals really get it that bad? Try that question vice versa.

You could use the exact same argument for homosexuality. The point is the very act of pretending, of being in the closet, often leads to unhappiness.

Popular opinion indicates that your present lifetime is either not the only one you'll have, or is insignificant in importance when compared to what else is waiting for you. If you're of the atheistic persuasion, maybe it's a bigger deal - but still, the logic won't fly with me. I'd rather be a whole man than a mutilated and only partly functional woman, no matter how badly I wanted to be female.

The thing is personally I'm never going to use my penis for the purpose of impregnating someone. Given that: why should I be deterred from surgically getting a vagina despite never being able to give birth? I'm certainly not worse off and can have more fulfilling sexytimes as mentioned earlier. Also I'm an atheist but I think waiting for good stuff to come in the afterlife is a terrible reason to not improve your current life.

It takes some stretching, then, to envision the individual so bound up on the question of gender that he would actually commit enormous resources, months (years?) of agonizing transition and recovery, not to mention the social stigma of being transsexual, to flip that one binary bit in the endless stretch of code of who you are from one to zero.

I thought I had a live imagination, but I lack the cognitive agility to conceive myself in such a state.

Yes it's years of transistion in most cases, in general you have to live in the role of the desired gender for a whole year before sex reassignment surgery, the fact that people go through with the long and tumultuous transition despite the stigma should give you an idea of the intensity of gender identity disorder (or whatever they call it nowadays).

Also Saying it's just "one bit" is a bit of an understatement (pun intended). It's how you dress, how you talk, your body language, how other people relate to you, a sense of being in the right body, etc.
It doesn't take an enormous stretch of the imagination because it's not something out of a fantasy book, it's something that happens in real life.
Plus there are degrees between masculine and feminine, gender can't be described with just one bit. You'd need abstract classes out the wazoo, it would be a programmers nightmare.

EDIT:
THAT would mean that, *gasp!* transsexuals are free to do with their bodies as they wish!

...which fact really rather invalidates this entire thread, doesn't it?

I'm not saying you shouldn't debate your opinions on transsexuality but I don't believe you've put forward any convincing arguments on why we should not be able to do with our bodies as we wish. If you don't think we should, then why not?

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Alcazabedabra » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:30 am UTC

Osha wrote:Argg..you wrote a whole 'nother post while I was writing this one... I'm way too slow! :(


Sorry. I was on a roll.

Many transgender people forgo the knife and are content with hormone replacement therapy.
That said many people find the unpleasant surgery worth it for a more fulfilling sex life. Cause you know, having the wrong bits for your gender can be difficult for the sexytimes. And (anecdotally) most people who undergo the surgery are happy with the results. I should probably mention that the guy to girl surgery works a lot better than the other way around.


Okay. Actually, as much as I consider hormone therapy a little distasteful, the argument of distaste was completely invalidated by my earlier post. You're actually arguing against a post that contains nothing but subjective argument. Arguing subjectively can be informative all around, but it doesn't get anywhere.

I would prefer these people be free to subject themselves to any number of horrors.

You could use the exact same argument for homosexuality. The point is the very act of pretending, of being in the closet, often leads to unhappiness.


Yes, you could. I would prefer they be happy, too.

The thing is personally I'm never going to use my penis for the purpose of impregnating someone. Given that: why should I be deterred from surgically getting a vagina despite never being able to give birth? I'm certainly not worse off and can have more fulfilling sexytimes as mentioned earlier. Also I'm an atheist but I think waiting for good stuff to come in the afterlife is a terrible reason to not improve your current life.


If, indeed, an improvement it would be.

Yes it's years of transistion in most cases, in general you have to live in the role of the desired gender for a whole year before sex reassignment surgery, the fact that people go through with the long and tumultuous transition despite the stigma should give you an idea of the intensity of gender identity disorder (or whatever they call it nowadays).

Also Saying it's just "one bit" is a bit of an understatement (pun intended). It's how you dress, how you talk, your body language, how other people relate to you, a sense of being in the right body, etc.
It doesn't take an enormous stretch of the imagination because it's not something out of a fantasy book, it's something that happens in real life.
Plus there are degrees between masculine and feminine, gender can't be described with just one bit. You'd need abstract classes out the wazoo, it would be a programmers nightmare.


Okay, I exaggerated about the 'one bit in the endless stretch of code' thing. I still think that there are social and intellectual concerns that supercede gender.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Osha » Sat Jan 03, 2009 6:52 am UTC

One question: If a person wants to undergo a sex change, then why not? Why wouldn't they be happier? There are already gatekeepers in place (see Harry Benjamin standards of care) to try and keep them from acting rashly. If someone is willing to go through all the financial, emotional, familial, and societal issues to get a sex change and isn't deterred by counselling then whose to say they wouldn't be happier?

And Science seems to say that they actually are happier in most cases.

And as much as I'd love to keep debating I have to be up in five hours, so I'm going to bed now.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby DJorgensen » Sat Jan 03, 2009 8:03 am UTC

Alcazabedabra wrote:Okay, I exaggerated about the 'one bit in the endless stretch of code' thing. I still think that there are social and intellectual concerns that supercede gender.

Exaggeration leads to invalidating your point, but by all means there are a chain of human needs and wants that require fulfillment and my experience is that gender itself is marginally above food, water, and shelter. Without being trans its difficult to rightly explain as there lacks a connection between those who are both mentally and physically accepting of their gender and those who's mental and physical states are incongruent. What it usually comes down to is the fact that you cannot change your mind, so its only possible to change your body to match your mental self image.

That said, it is pure psychological torture to be unable to be yourself anytime anywhere. I myself have contemplated and even attempted suicide on many occasions from the age of 12 to now because I simply cannot make things right. It was not until I was 18/19 that I discovered that I may be trans, and by then I had gone from the top honors student, into honors college, to someone who was utterly mentally unfit to be part of society. That considered my options are simple: I can be dead, or I can try to be myself through what ever procedures are available. In any case, all my attempts to really blend into society utterly failed until I started treatment. I could go for 3 -6 months per job and went through an immense amount of friends and stints of being agoraphobic, manic (to the point of psychosis), depressed, and just utterly useless and hurting those nearest to me.

Transitioning for me has certainly been an improvement. I have the luxury of looking inherently female - I've been assumed female since before I was even aware I was trans, which made it impossible for me to use public washrooms / change rooms and any thing that was really gender specific - and I have a sturdy resume and a strong network of friends and supporters (and lovers). Surgery itself is not something I ultimately care about - I'll get it just for the sake that I have never been able to have sex as a guy (difficult to explain, everyone I've been with has been bi and has told me this). I am saddened by my inability to have children as its been a life long goal of mine, but nonetheless its not impossible as there is always adoption.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Alder » Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:19 pm UTC

First, I'd like to say that I've found this thread interesting and informative.
DJorgensen wrote:What it usually comes down to is the fact that you cannot change your mind, so its only possible to change your body to match your mental self image.

I was thinking about this while brushing my teeth yesterday, and have a couple of questions, which I couldn't see fully answered anywhere.
First - (feel free to contradict me if I describe this badly) - there is a - mismatch(?) - between how transgender people feel in their minds, and their physical, outward appearence. Is it known which side of that is the 'incorrect' side? And, I suppose, does it matter anyway... That is - is the brain's understanding 'right', and the physical appearence the 'error', or is it an 'error' in the brain and the physical appearence correct?

Second - (and leading from the first, perhaps) at the moment, there is only one way to practically deal with this, which is to realign the physical appearence with the internal image. How would transgender people feel if it was also possible to do the reverse - via medication, say - to realign the inernal image with the physical appearence? Would that be acceptable, or would someone's feeling of identity be so strong that they might not want it?

I apologise if this is not entirely coherent...
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Re: Transexuality

Postby DJorgensen » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:08 pm UTC

Alder26 wrote:First, I'd like to say that I've found this thread interesting and informative.
DJorgensen wrote:What it usually comes down to is the fact that you cannot change your mind, so its only possible to change your body to match your mental self image.

I was thinking about this while brushing my teeth yesterday, and have a couple of questions, which I couldn't see fully answered anywhere.
First - (feel free to contradict me if I describe this badly) - there is a - mismatch(?) - between how transgender people feel in their minds, and their physical, outward appearence. Is it known which side of that is the 'incorrect' side? And, I suppose, does it matter anyway... That is - is the brain's understanding 'right', and the physical appearence the 'error', or is it an 'error' in the brain and the physical appearence correct?

Ultimately its impossible to say. From studies, they have shown that there are similarities in the hypothalamus between transsexual females and natal females, which differ from heterosexual males and homosexual males. This would lead one to believe that we are correct in assuming that the physical gender is wrong as opposed to the psychological gender - but it is still certainly a matter of perspective as there is no definitive answer to why or how this happens. In either case the most satisfying results can be attained through changing the physical self as delving into the brain is always a dangerous and unpredictable matter.

Alder26 wrote:Second - (and leading from the first, perhaps) at the moment, there is only one way to practically deal with this, which is to realign the physical appearence with the internal image. How would transgender people feel if it was also possible to do the reverse - via medication, say - to realign the inernal image with the physical appearence? Would that be acceptable, or would someone's feeling of identity be so strong that they might not want it?

There is a way - through brainwashing, conditioning, or lobotomy - and yet I really don't think there are many who wish to pursue that as it really begs the question of what is your identity? You would be leaving yourself behind to be something that you've never understood. I grew up and found myself associating with women more, I know them and understand them far far better than men. For me to have to learn men would be far more difficult, and I would no longer be the person that people love, I would be someone who I never was capable of being. That said, there are those who believe deeply in religion, or see themselves as in a position where they have too much to lose by transitioning to the point that this is deemed a suitable option, and its been known to happen.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby T-Form » Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:32 pm UTC

Alder26 wrote:Second - (and leading from the first, perhaps) at the moment, there is only one way to practically deal with this, which is to realign the physical appearence with the internal image. How would transgender people feel if it was also possible to do the reverse - via medication, say - to realign the inernal image with the physical appearence? Would that be acceptable, or would someone's feeling of identity be so strong that they might not want it?

I expect there are a few trans people who would take the hypothetical magic mind-altering pill, but some (I suspect most, but I don't have any way of knowing for certain) would not. Personally, I'd see even the existence of such a pill as dangerous - I wouldn't trust doctors or states not to treat it as a universal replacement for a physical transition; even if it's not seen as an absolute replacement it'd still threaten to provide yet another obstacle, with doctors (and parents, where relevant) endlessly asking "are you really really sure you don't want to change your mind rather than your body?". And that's assuming that the need for informed consent will be respected, which isn't very reliable with gender/sex issues. It's a lot like research into the "causes" of gender identity issues, and of homosexuality too - the motivation often seems to be less about understanding queer people or giving us more options, and more about finding a way to get rid of us. If this sounds implausible - and I expect it will, to a lot of people - I'd encourage you to read about the way intersex babies have been (and often still are) "treated".

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Mysidic » Sun Jan 04, 2009 12:30 am UTC

T-Form wrote:I expect there are a few trans people who would take the hypothetical magic mind-altering pill, but some (I suspect most, but I don't have any way of knowing for certain) would not. Personally, I'd see even the existence of such a pill as dangerous - I wouldn't trust doctors or states not to treat it as a universal replacement for a physical transition; even if it's not seen as an absolute replacement it'd still threaten to provide yet another obstacle, with doctors (and parents, where relevant) endlessly asking "are you really really sure you don't want to change your mind rather than your body?". And that's assuming that the need for informed consent will be respected, which isn't very reliable with gender/sex issues. It's a lot like research into the "causes" of gender identity issues, and of homosexuality too - the motivation often seems to be less about understanding queer people or giving us more options, and more about finding a way to get rid of us. If this sounds implausible - and I expect it will, to a lot of people - I'd encourage you to read about the way intersex babies have been (and often still are) "treated".


I can only imagine how hard it is to live such a life, but I really don't like the idea of a mind-altering pill. It sounds more like a way to get rid of people who don't fit the norm than a real way to help people with transgender issues. It's essentially saying that having such thoughts are wrong, and that the mind needs to be fixed. That you need to change for society, and not be what you want to be.

It's not transgender folks that need to alter their thoughts, it's the bigots who think that it's wrong that need to change.

And @T-Form, are there any specific books/websites you'd encourage us to read?
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jan 04, 2009 1:15 am UTC

Mysidic wrote:
T-Form wrote:I expect there are a few trans people who would take the hypothetical magic mind-altering pill, but some (I suspect most, but I don't have any way of knowing for certain) would not. Personally, I'd see even the existence of such a pill as dangerous - I wouldn't trust doctors or states not to treat it as a universal replacement for a physical transition; even if it's not seen as an absolute replacement it'd still threaten to provide yet another obstacle, with doctors (and parents, where relevant) endlessly asking "are you really really sure you don't want to change your mind rather than your body?". And that's assuming that the need for informed consent will be respected, which isn't very reliable with gender/sex issues. It's a lot like research into the "causes" of gender identity issues, and of homosexuality too - the motivation often seems to be less about understanding queer people or giving us more options, and more about finding a way to get rid of us. If this sounds implausible - and I expect it will, to a lot of people - I'd encourage you to read about the way intersex babies have been (and often still are) "treated".


I can only imagine how hard it is to live such a life, but I really don't like the idea of a mind-altering pill. It sounds more like a way to get rid of people who don't fit the norm than a real way to help people with transgender issues. It's essentially saying that having such thoughts are wrong, and that the mind needs to be fixed. That you need to change for society, and not be what you want to be.

It's not transgender folks that need to alter their thoughts, it's the bigots who think that it's wrong that need to change.

And @T-Form, are there any specific books/websites you'd encourage us to read?


Transsexualism wouldn't be the first condition we've treated with mind-altering drugs.

Let me cut out part of your argument for greater emphasis:

It's essentially saying that having such thoughts are wrong, and that the mind needs to be fixed. That you need to change for society, and not be what you want to be.


Our society already does this for lots of people. For instance, if you think you want to kill yourself, society says having such thoughts is wrong and that the mind needs to be fixed with antidepressants. If you consistently think you see things that aren't really there, society doesn't pretend (anymore) that you're a psychic or a medium who can commune with ghosts and spirits, they put you on medication for schizophrenia.

And sometimes, the schizophrenic or the suicidal depressive in question will give the exact same argument you just gave about why they shouldn't take their meds.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby T-Form » Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:25 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:Transsexualism wouldn't be the first condition we've treated with mind-altering drugs.

That's merely an appeal to tradition; you're assuming that all of the past actions of medical and state institutions are legitimate, when you haven't provided any reason why that would be so. Actually, they've done all sorts of things in the past that we'd consider abusive today, and a number of the things they do today are likewise considered abusive by various people.

And sometimes, the schizophrenic or the suicidal depressive in question will give the exact same argument you just gave about why they shouldn't take their meds.

That doesn't make it an invalid argument. You're just using an ad hominem here, and although you haven't explicitly said so, it looks like it's intended to suggest that any argument a trans person or a sympathetic person (or possibly anyone at all) makes against mind-altering medicine is automatically invalid. Poisoning the well, in fact.

Mysidic wrote:And @T-Form, are there any specific books/websites you'd encourage us to read?

I'm not very good at keeping track of where I read things, so I'm afraid I can't suggest anything specific. Looking for personal accounts by trans and intersex people on the web is probably a good start, and they'll often link to more theoretical stuff.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Jessica » Sun Jan 04, 2009 3:40 am UTC

Schizophrenics are a danger to others, if not themselves. They will hurt others in some instances. They are forced to take drugs when they're found to do this.

Depressives are only forced to take mind altering drugs when they've proven they will attempt to kill themselves. Anything before that is voluntary.

Transsexuals want to change how their body looks. It's not hurting themselves, anymore than breast implants for women who want larger breasts are hurting themselves. They're not hurting anyone else. They simply want to look, act and be treated how they feel they are.

If a pill existed that would make transsexualism go away... well, I'm sure the majority would tell trannies to take it and tell them they were sick. In the same way that if we had an anti-gay pill it would be prescribed to gays and lesbians to make them like the right people. And, I'm sure everyone would see that as normal. I'm sure that people living in that world would be "happy" with their lot. Or at least the majority of people would be, and that minority that are taking pills don't really matter.

But, since a pill doesn't exist, we don't really have to worry about it. (Well, actually, a pill does exist that makes my feelings of being in the wrong body go away... they're my hormones, and they help make me feel more normal).
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Mysidic » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:14 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:Transsexualism wouldn't be the first condition we've treated with mind-altering drugs.

Let me cut out part of your argument for greater emphasis:

It's essentially saying that having such thoughts are wrong, and that the mind needs to be fixed. That you need to change for society, and not be what you want to be.


So, because we've treated other such "problems", transsexualism is a mental problem that can be treated? What's the limit for what can be treated in such an argument?

Our society already does this for lots of people. For instance, if you think you want to kill yourself, society says having such thoughts is wrong and that the mind needs to be fixed with antidepressants. If you consistently think you see things that aren't really there, society doesn't pretend (anymore) that you're a psychic or a medium who can commune with ghosts and spirits, they put you on medication for schizophrenia.

And sometimes, the schizophrenic or the suicidal depressive in question will give the exact same argument you just gave about why they shouldn't take their meds.


Just because a schizophrenic said it dosen't automatically make it wrong.

However, transsexuals aren't a threat to themselves or anyone else, and don't really have a mental problem. Depression and Schizophrenia cause a person to become a threat to others, which is why they are treated.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:42 am UTC

T-Form wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Transsexualism wouldn't be the first condition we've treated with mind-altering drugs.


That's merely an appeal to tradition; you're assuming that all of the past actions of medical and state institutions are legitimate, when you haven't provided any reason why that would be so. Actually, they've done all sorts of things in the past that we'd consider abusive today, and a number of the things they do today are likewise considered abusive by various people.


Indeed. In fact, I anticipated that someone might take this argument in that direction—that we should accommodate schizophrenics and suicidal depressives instead of treating them.

What I'd like to see is an actual argument in that direction.

T-Form wrote:
And sometimes, the schizophrenic or the suicidal depressive in question will give the exact same argument you just gave about why they shouldn't take their meds.

That doesn't make it an invalid argument. You're just using an ad hominem here, and although you haven't explicitly said so, it looks like it's intended to suggest that any argument a trans person or a sympathetic person (or possibly anyone at all) makes against mind-altering medicine is automatically invalid. Poisoning the well, in fact.


You're either playing "let's name logical fallacies" or trying to interpret my argument as uncharitably as possible.

Here's my point. Either our treatment of mental illness is wrong (and you should provide arguments that they are), or transsexuals are somehow different from schizophrenics and suicidal depressants (and you should provide arguments that they are).

On a similar theme:

Mysidic wrote:
Philwelch wrote:Transsexualism wouldn't be the first condition we've treated with mind-altering drugs.

Let me cut out part of your argument for greater emphasis:

It's essentially saying that having such thoughts are wrong, and that the mind needs to be fixed. That you need to change for society, and not be what you want to be.


So, because we've treated other such "problems", transsexualism is a mental problem that can be treated? What's the limit for what can be treated in such an argument?


I'm asking you.

More precisely, I'm asking the reciprocal question. When should we correct physical reality to match someone's mental perceptions, and when should we correct people's perceptions to match physical reality?

And in a different direction:

Jessica wrote:Schizophrenics are a danger to others, if not themselves. They will hurt others in some instances. They are forced to take drugs when they're found to do this.

Depressives are only forced to take mind altering drugs when they've proven they will attempt to kill themselves. Anything before that is voluntary.


I never talked about force.

Jessica wrote:Transsexuals want to change how their body looks. It's not hurting themselves, anymore than breast implants for women who want larger breasts are hurting themselves. They're not hurting anyone else. They simply want to look, act and be treated how they feel they are.


Medicine is not a case of "the customer is always right". If a woman with severe body dysmorphia kept going in to get bigger and bigger breast implants, sometimes the surgeon will make the professional decision not to operate and to treat the body dysmorphia. If an anorexic goes to the surgeon trying to get a gastric bypass, they will not get their wish.

Now, maybe doctors should ignore the panopoly of conditions that causes people to have mistaken perceptions about themselves and severely endanger people with repeated plastic surgeries or unwarranted gastric bypasses. Or maybe transsexuals are in a different situation than anorexics and other people who suffer from body dysmorphia. I'm asking for an argument to that effect.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Lucrece » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:16 am UTC

For those who have asked about good places for material, Zoe Brain's blog is superb.

http://aebrain.blogspot.com/

Just sift through the archives and read her bio.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Azrael » Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:18 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:
T-Form wrote:
And sometimes, the schizophrenic or the suicidal depressive in question will give the exact same argument you just gave about why they shouldn't take their meds.

That doesn't make it an invalid argument. You're just using an ad hominem here, and although you haven't explicitly said so, it looks like it's intended to suggest that any argument a trans person or a sympathetic person (or possibly anyone at all) makes against mind-altering medicine is automatically invalid. Poisoning the well, in fact.


You're either playing "let's name logical fallacies" or trying to interpret my argument as uncharitably as possible.


For the record, neither of those two is an acceptable way to comport yourself in SB, T-Form. We debate points here, not rhetoric methods nor individuals.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Jessica » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

Are transsexuals different from schizophrenics? Yes.
For one thing, the fact that medication /does/ exist to treat schizophrenics and depressives which changes brain chemistry, while on the other side medication of a similar variety doesn't exist to treat transsexuals is one (very obvious) difference. Body dimorphic disorder and anorexia are both treatable through psychotherapy. Transsexuality has no known psychotherapy which works to resolve the trans issues.

I mean, it's the same with all disorders. You don't treat a common cold with antidepressants and therapy. The current, and to date only therapy which has shown an effect with transsexuality has been transition. Hence why we treat trans* people with that. GID (gender identity disorder) is still in the DSM-IV, and is treated as per the process that was determined to have the best effect.

It might sound like an appeal to how things have always been, but what I'm trying to say is that we treat problems with the cures we have for them. We don't treat BDD or anorexia with surgery because surgery doesn't work. in the case of BDD, they just get more surgery. In the case of Anorexia it doesn't change anything. The difference between that and trans* is that a) not everyone gets surgery, and b) those that do often feel better and relief afterward.

I'm not sure if I'm making a good enough argument for you. But, then again, I always dislike being told that I'm just mentally ill like a schizophrenic. Doesn't make arguing easier for me (Sorry... on other forums I've had this argument over and over again, and generally the person who argues against me essentially believes that I'm sick, like an alcoholic or schizophrenic, and there's really no way to argue for yourself against someone who things your mind is wrong.)
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Philwelch » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:37 pm UTC

Yes, but none of that answers the question—if there was a medication that treated GID by changing perceptions, would that be (in medical terms) a better treatment than surgically or chemically altering their bodies in order to match their perceptions?

I can accept that we have to work with what we have. But the root question is whether it's physical reality that's wrong or if it's perception that's wrong. I understand it's frustrating for you to hear this, but no one likes having their perceptions questioned—not even in the comparatively everyday case of false memories. When people's gender perceptions are a mismatch to their physical bodies, how do we determine what's right?
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Lucrece » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:Yes, but none of that answers the question—if there was a medication that treated GID by changing perceptions, would that be (in medical terms) a better treatment than surgically or chemically altering their bodies in order to match their perceptions?

I can accept that we have to work with what we have. But the root question is whether it's physical reality that's wrong or if it's perception that's wrong. I understand it's frustrating for you to hear this, but no one likes having their perceptions questioned—not even in the comparatively everyday case of false memories. When people's gender perceptions are a mismatch to their physical bodies, how do we determine what's right?


I'd like to introduce the issue of elements that are tightly intertwined to one's identity. I believe gender identity is the case. Even if there was a medication, most of these individuals would refuse to take it by principle. They are who they are. Outside the mind/body discord that they seek to address, transsexuals seem to function just fine in a society. They hold great positions competently, such as the transwoman who sued the Library of Congress for discrimination (having been an extremely qualified veteran). If it is not being detrimental to anyone else, why is it not up to them to resolve the issue how they best see fit. Unlike suicide, for example, gender reassignment surgery isn't harming anyone; in most cases, transsexuals actually report being happier/fulfilled.

It seems to me that most of the societal problems that we see involving transsexuals stems out of discrimination. Being fired from jobs without reason, being beaten by police brutally because they are being profiled as prostitutes (the only job they can maintain most of the time), being killed at high rates. All these issues that transsexuals are often blamed for-- miserable lives, undignified jobs, mental health-- appear to be mainly caused by external sources, not the condition itself.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Malice » Sun Jan 04, 2009 10:35 pm UTC

Philwelch wrote:Yes, but none of that answers the question—if there was a medication that treated GID by changing perceptions, would that be (in medical terms) a better treatment than surgically or chemically altering their bodies in order to match their perceptions?

I can accept that we have to work with what we have. But the root question is whether it's physical reality that's wrong or if it's perception that's wrong. I understand it's frustrating for you to hear this, but no one likes having their perceptions questioned—not even in the comparatively everyday case of false memories. When people's gender perceptions are a mismatch to their physical bodies, how do we determine what's right?


Your hypothetical assumes that people don't have the right to incorrect perceptions. And clearly they do (after all, we protect religions, don't we?), at least in cases where those perceptions only harm themselves.

If somebody has, say, surgical addiction, a doctor can refuse to perform further procedures, but nobody can force that person to stop trying, or to take pills to relieve their need to try. It's only when a person's life is in danger, or they become a danger to others, that the state is allowed to step in and force them to fix their mental issue.

I think transsexualism is absolutely a mental disorder (although I hope I can say that without agreeing with the negative connotations that phrase can bring), but that it falls under the category of a "safe" disorder, like OCD, religion, and most cases of surgical addiction. Dissatisfaction with one's own body is something anybody has the right to have, if they want it. You can't force a cure on people like that, because crossing that line puts you in the position of policing thoughts, and it's a real slippery slope all the way down to stopping girls who want to get their ears pierced or overweight people who want a second cheeseburger. At some point individual freedom and responsibility has to hold sway, or we'll spend all our time enforcing the cultural norm on each other.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Azrael » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:11 pm UTC

Lucrece wrote:It seems to me that most of the societal problems that we see involving transsexuals stems out of discrimination. Being fired from jobs without reason, being beaten by police brutally because they are being profiled as prostitutes (the only job they can maintain most of the time), being killed at high rates. All these issues that transsexuals are often blamed for-- miserable lives, undignified jobs, mental health-- appear to be mainly caused by external sources, not the condition itself.

Being as this is SB, several of those require citation -- i.e. high murder rates, high rates of prostitution, high rates of job turnover.

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Re: Transexuality

Postby Lucrece » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:35 pm UTC

Azrael wrote:
Lucrece wrote:It seems to me that most of the societal problems that we see involving transsexuals stems out of discrimination. Being fired from jobs without reason, being beaten by police brutally because they are being profiled as prostitutes (the only job they can maintain most of the time), being killed at high rates. All these issues that transsexuals are often blamed for-- miserable lives, undignified jobs, mental health-- appear to be mainly caused by external sources, not the condition itself.

Being as this is SB, several of those require citation -- i.e. high murder rates, high rates of prostitution, high rates of job turnover.


Murder rates-- One in 12 chance, as compared to the average (average set by FBI's UCR) 1 in 18000 as per: Kay Brown, instructor for "20th Century Transgender History and Experience" at the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco, Washington Blade, Dec. 10, 1999.

Job discrimination-- http://transgroupblog.blogspot.com/2007 ... stics.html , although I trust http://nctequality.org/Issues/Homelessness.html more.

Prostitution rates I read in an older contribution, so I'll need some time to dig it up.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby DJorgensen » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:13 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:Yes, but none of that answers the question—if there was a medication that treated GID by changing perceptions, would that be (in medical terms) a better treatment than surgically or chemically altering their bodies in order to match their perceptions?

I can accept that we have to work with what we have. But the root question is whether it's physical reality that's wrong or if it's perception that's wrong. I understand it's frustrating for you to hear this, but no one likes having their perceptions questioned—not even in the comparatively everyday case of false memories. When people's gender perceptions are a mismatch to their physical bodies, how do we determine what's right?

Find a medication, put it through trials, find the side effects and from the successes to the failures and everything in between and then and only then can I really consider it to be an option. Else, I am going to continue with what I have and know to work. The problem is, gender identity starts to develop at a young age. Once an individual realizes that they are not in the correct sex, it starts to become more and more apparent instances where it was prevalent as a child. In order for me to go back to being male, I would have to erase at least 12 years or my life, and blank out more up to when I was probably 3 years old. Recovering from that would simply be another lifetime of relearning and rediscovering, and I simply would never be me again.

Being transgendered is as much a mental disorder as it is a physical one. Its vastly different from many other mental disorders as its not possible to prove that there is indeed something that is outright mentally wrong with the patient. I've stated many times over that as I got older testosterone drove me more and more mad, and as I was a late bloomer this really makes sense to me. Now that I have very little testosterone I am far far better than I can really remember. The last time that I felt 'unclouded' and able to focus on the matter at hand to this degree was when I was 12. So if it were that I was born physically female instead of male, this would never have come up as an issue for me. I would have lived a life similar to many of the girls that I know.

For those that think transgender people are not a danger to themselves, this is certainly not true. If I were prevented from doing it or moving forward in any form, I simply would not be alive today. I've had near death experiences more times than I care to think about, and know that regular medication (anti depressants, anti psychotics, mood stabilizers and such) would have done little to qualm them without making me worse off (unable to work, support myself and family, unable to function sometimes, etc). The medication that I get does not prevent me from doing anything - except being male - and certainly makes my life a million times better than it was.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Alder » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:31 am UTC

DJorgensen wrote:Find a medication, put it through trials, find the side effects and from the successes to the failures and everything in between and then and only then can I really consider it to be an option. Else, I am going to continue with what I have and know to work.

That there was what I was attempting to ask earlier, but expressed much more clearly.
DJorgensen wrote:The problem is, gender identity starts to develop at a young age. Once an individual realizes that they are not in the correct sex, it starts to become more and more apparent instances where it was prevalent as a child. In order for me to go back to being male, I would have to erase at least 12 years or my life, and blank out more up to when I was probably 3 years old. Recovering from that would simply be another lifetime of relearning and rediscovering, and I simply would never be me again.

It occurs to me that it's likely the medication might be more effective at a younger age, before or at the changes of puberty. In fact, whichever way it's treated - medically or surgically - would potentially be less traumatic the sooner it was dealt with. So - should we be looking for a way to identify transexuality at an earlier age, so that people don't need to spend half a lifetime feeling 'wrong'?
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Philwelch » Mon Jan 05, 2009 12:36 am UTC

Malice wrote:Your hypothetical assumes that people don't have the right to incorrect perceptions. And clearly they do (after all, we protect religions, don't we?), at least in cases where those perceptions only harm themselves.

If somebody has, say, surgical addiction, a doctor can refuse to perform further procedures, but nobody can force that person to stop trying, or to take pills to relieve their need to try. It's only when a person's life is in danger, or they become a danger to others, that the state is allowed to step in and force them to fix their mental issue.


Yes, but that's a separate issue. I'm talking about what the proper medical treatment would be for such a person, not whether or not we can force it on them.

Continued:

Malice wrote:I think transsexualism is absolutely a mental disorder (although I hope I can say that without agreeing with the negative connotations that phrase can bring), but that it falls under the category of a "safe" disorder, like OCD, religion, and most cases of surgical addiction.


Fair enough.

So what's the disorder? Is the body wrong, or is the mind wrong?

It could be argued (and I find myself arguing from this position if not whole-heartedly holding it) that transsexuals have a mistaken perception of their identity, but that modern medicine allows us to physically and chemically alter their bodies to better resemble their perceived gender—that such treatments do not in fact correct the disorder so much as make the disorder easier to live with.

Also: suppose the condition can be identified and treated prenatally or neonatally, either way. Should we privilege treatments that ensure that there are more transsexuals in the world, or should we treat the condition in such a way that the prenatal transsexual grows up with a fully integrated and body-compatible gender identity?
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Re: Transexuality

Postby luketheduke » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:09 am UTC

Philwelch wrote:So what's the disorder? Is the body wrong, or is the mind wrong?


Clinical depression and Schizophrenia are attributed to chemical imbalances. The drugs that treat them treat those chemical imbalances. As such it is scientifically sound to do this.

The argument up to now involves a lot of handwaving. If you only talk about "The hypothetical mind-altering pill", then try to compare "treating homosexuality instead of allowing homosexuals to live it out" and "treating people who think they are in the wrong body with a drug instead of allowing them to correct their body".

Some people seem to be quick to think that if the body says "male" and the mind says "female", then you just have to look at the patient and see with your eyes that it's clearly a male. And looking deeper, you would see the XY chromosome and deduce: Clearly, this creature is intended to be male. And so, the mind must be wrong.
However, as has been pointed out before, the sexual development of a human is influenced hugely by hormones, and the binary perception of sexuality is an over-simplifying one, and this:
DJorgensen wrote:From studies, they have shown that there are similarities in the hypothalamus between transsexual females and natal females, which differ from heterosexual males and homosexual males.

I think this strongly suggests that transsexualism is not a puraly psychological problem.

So, yes, it is a commonly accepted fact that depression and schizophrenia are a disorder that should be treated by removing the bad moods and the hallucinations (respectively).
I think that assuming the same for transgender issues, even purely for the sake of argument, goes too far and is, frankly, a bit insulting.

EDITED: Attacks based on your personal feelings are not appropriate in SB in the least. Since I doubt you'll be able to remain objective, do not return to this thread.

-Az


PS: Oh great, forum rush hour. I had to alter my post to some extent to reflect the two posts above me. Sorry if anything looks redundant or something.
PPS: I think I was trying to make several points, and now my post looks like it's only making points that have been made before. Arrgh. I still think it merits being submitted.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby DJorgensen » Mon Jan 05, 2009 1:48 am UTC

Alder26 wrote:
DJorgensen wrote:The problem is, gender identity starts to develop at a young age. Once an individual realizes that they are not in the correct sex, it starts to become more and more apparent instances where it was prevalent as a child. In order for me to go back to being male, I would have to erase at least 12 years or my life, and blank out more up to when I was probably 3 years old. Recovering from that would simply be another lifetime of relearning and rediscovering, and I simply would never be me again.

It occurs to me that it's likely the medication might be more effective at a younger age, before or at the changes of puberty. In fact, whichever way it's treated - medically or surgically - would potentially be less traumatic the sooner it was dealt with. So - should we be looking for a way to identify transexuality at an earlier age, so that people don't need to spend half a lifetime feeling 'wrong'?

Dealing with it at a younger age has many benefits. Prior to puberty, we are all rather similar and secondary sex characteristics are not yet established. Thus there is no undoing what your teenage years did you you physically to transition to the opposite (desired) sex. Not only that but the psychological trauma is reduced as in reality children are not set in their ways. They have no career to worry about and their peers are often more able to understand (as opposed to adults that again are set in their ways, children are more innocent and thus open to accepting others for their differences - unless they've been taught otherwise). Unfortunately its not something that can easily be diagnosed unless the person comes forth and understands what isn't right with them. For myself I knew there was something at a young age, but I never knew anything about being transgendered until I was about 17, and from there I toyed with the possibility when I was 18, and confirmed it with my first partner at 19 who was a transguy. Yet there are 12 year olds who completely understand it and are able to transition early on, though its also easily seen that their dysphoria is extreme. Most doctors will not diagnose someone who is under 16 though as most believe any younger and there is more room for error.

That said, I would believe that anything - physical or psychological - would be best treated early on.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby Philwelch » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:30 am UTC

luketheduke wrote:
DJorgensen wrote:From studies, they have shown that there are similarities in the hypothalamus between transsexual females and natal females, which differ from heterosexual males and homosexual males.

I think this strongly suggests that transsexualism is not a puraly psychological problem.


There are neurological accounts for many psychological problems as you yourself pointed out. The hypothalamus is part of the brain (and thus an influence on the mind), just as serotonin is a neurotransmitter and the brain's means of regulating it may get out of balance.

luketheduke wrote:So, yes, it is a commonly accepted fact that depression and schizophrenia are a disorder that should be treated by removing the bad moods and the hallucinations (respectively).
I think that assuming the same for transgender issues, even purely for the sake of argument, goes too far and is, frankly, a bit insulting.


First, "insulting" does not mean "wrong", though words like "insulting" and "offensive" are good ways of dismissing points without addressing their substance.

Second, I assume nothing. I merely suggest possibilities, possibilities you have not done a very good job of ruling out.
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Re: Transexuality

Postby stoke » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:34 am UTC

Could we leave the schizophrenia comparison behind? Looking over the past page suggests that people don't really know enough about it for it to make a good comparison, and trying to be accurate would bring the discussion off topic.

So what's the disorder? Is the body wrong, or is the mind wrong?

It could be argued (and I find myself arguing from this position if not whole-heartedly holding it) that transsexuals have a mistaken perception of their identity, but that modern medicine allows us to physically and chemically alter their bodies to better resemble their perceived gender—that such treatments do not in fact correct the disorder so much as make the disorder easier to live with.


This question seems ill-defined. What does it mean for the body or the mind to be "wrong"? Each on it's own is fine, it's just the combination (female mind and male body or male mind and female body) that doesn't function properly.

Further, taking a pragmatic view, the best option would be whatever statistically has the best outcome. All the research I've looked at points to SRS and hormone therapy being subjectively helpful and well-tolerated in the individuals seeking them (try a simple search on google scholar if you doubt me). I'm not saying it wouldn't be a good idea to try cognitive therapy first, but if the patient wants to try hormones or eventual desires SRS the data supports their effectiveness.



Out of curiosity, for those transgendered people here who don't mind answering:
Which is more important and to what degree: not being perceived as your initial sex/gender or being perceived as your desired gender/sex? Is there anything about your desired gender/sex that you dislike (physical or social)?


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