The Transgender deulusion

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chimp3's picture
@sft: "I should have said

@sft: "I should have said disorder."

OK! So, offer any evidence that being transgender is a disorder.

Sheldon's picture
Wed, 07/04/2018 - 20:18

Wed, 07/04/2018 - 20:18
Searching for truth

"Disease was a poor choice of a word on my point. I should have said disorder."

Disease was another lie you made up, along with mental disorder. It's ironic how casually theists and religious apologists lie during their self righteous sermonising on here.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
Recently, I read an interest

Recently, I read an interesting piece in a scientific journal that spoke on how the brains of transgender people have been examined (postmortem) and reported that the size of the central subdivision of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, a part of the forebrain known to be important to sexual behavior, was closer to that of biologically born women than biologically born men.

And that a further study of the brains also found similarities in some cases, in neurons in the BSTc between transgender women and their biologically born counterparts

However, the result are very mixed from what I have read, so I wouldn't get too carried away just yet, but at least something is being done.

It appears to be a tough subject to discuss, I have only on occasion discussed it (when asked) and got labelled a cis-female.

Perhaps some things are not to be discussed in the arena of rational debate?!

Sheldon's picture
Why it it tough to discuss?

Why it it tough to discuss? Try imagining living your entire life as the wrong gender.

TheBlindWatchmaker's picture
We all have certain aspects

We all have certain aspects of life that we struggle with, nothing should be excluded from rational debate.

Terminal Dogma's picture
Surprised you didn't get

Surprised you didn't get called a transphobic, facist nazi....The standard leftist trick to shut down discourse.

Sheldon's picture
Yes because only leftists use

Yes because only leftists use irrelevant rhetoric, and anyone who disagrees with you is a "leftist".

Are you being ironic? If so kudos for tricking me. If not then....sigh.

Peurii's picture
I've been on a bit of a tour

I've been on a bit of a tour of "searching for truth" on these matters too as of late, mainly because the whole 70 genders and new pronouns thing.

Firstly let me say that I support, and always have supported throughout my adult life, the rights of gay people to get married, to adopt children, to rent wombs and the right of transsexuals to transition their bodies to the gender that they identify with and the right of people to present themselves outwardly in their chosen way.

Sex, gender and transsexuals
Sex means the biological truth that humans are bimodal, that there exists two sexes in humans that are needed to copulate in order to produce offspring. Intersexed people are rare, some 0,7% of the population, but in a biological sense they are not a third sex, like a person born without hands is not not a human. Gender means two things. The social gender means the expectations, clothes, activities, demeanour etc., ie. social norms, associated socially with the aforementioned sexes. If other people associate the person in question to the gender the person evaluated is presenting as, the person in question is said to "pass" as a woman, or a man. Some cultures have more than two genders. Then there is gender identity, the feeling of a person that one is of a gender or another. The terminology around sex and gender are tricky, because sex can determine gender, but gender can't determine sex. So even if a female presents theirself as a man, they are still a woman biologically. Some queer theorists and activists push for abandoning biological sex as a category altogether.

A transgender person is one that feels like their sex is not the one associated with their identified gender. A transsexual person is one that is in the process of changing their physical body through surgery or through hormones to resemble their desired sex. Some transgender people say that they have no gender, or that they are some other genders. A person told me on this forum some time ago that modern transsexuals feel the word transsexual is offensive, but I will use it, because it serves a useful distinction. Transgender is more of an umbrella term under which different sorts of individuals can be categorized.

Gender as a social construct
Gender is a social construct. But what does it mean that something is a social construct? For us humans, everything is a social construct. If concepts weren't socially constructed, we couldn't understand them, we couldn't talk about them and I'd say we couldn't communicate at all. We would be like the other animals that just grunt and groan. I can't know what it is to be a chimpanzee, but I remember about a study that said the chimps can communicate lions and other predators to other members of the herd by different grunts. To an extent I would say that chimpanzees are also then capable of social construction, of combining acts to meaning and categories outside themselves, and holding those categories in their mind. But even if something is a social construct, it doesn't mean that it is arbitrary, like some people on the internet imply.

A common argument I see against biological sex (hormones, chromosomes, gonads, reproductive organs, secondary sex characteristis) is that there are people who can have different combinations of them, and still pass as a woman, or that no one really sees chromosomes. This is a kind of a fallacy I'd say, because it assumes that concepts are always necessary and sufficient. Take games for example. Chess, icehockey, football and The Sims are all games, but you can't name necessary and sufficient conditions under which all of them are games. So virtually no concept is like that, but concepts are more akin to what Wittgenstein called family resemblances. You can see the face of two siblings, that they have something in common. All concepts are like that. Some social constructs portray reality more accurately than others and makes the world more intelligible for us. I could use these semantic games about planets also. No two planets are the same, all planets have different variables, some are made out of diamonds, some have lots of liquids, some are hot, some are cold, and who's to say that an asteroid or a moon is not a planet etc. If a tree has it's branches removed, is it a tree? If a human through surgery adds a tail and some flappy ears of a Ayrshire cow, is it a cow or a human?

But there is a strand of the social constructivist line of thinking, that deconstructs how a thing has been created, and then asks why couldn't it be construed in another way, and then proceeds to give another kind of constuction because supposedly it would give better political outcomes for their political camp. Take for example the claims of some transgender activists, and indeed some scholars like Anne Fausto-Sterling or Nicholas Matte, to claim that sex (not gender) is a social construct. Like I said, everything is literally a social construct, we couldn't understand it if it weren't a social construct. But there is a deeper ontological claim embedded in the epistemological problem there. If sex is just a social construct, it means that we are just the products of nurture, not also of nature, and that by simply talking about sex differently, we change the sex. Whereas if one thinks that there exists some reality behind our conception of it, such constructionism is ontologically, and not necessarily empistemologically at odds with scientific realism.

But even if gender is a social construct, it doesn't necessarily mean it doesn't have a biological basis. This might sound insane. Why would the colour red or skirts have anything to do with womans? To be sure, I'm not claiming that. I'm just claiming that since we are in the end only animals, could it not be possible, that it is natural for us to attach ourselves to the people we identify as our own sex, and imitate their actions in order to compete for mates later. Then the existance of gender would have a biological basis, but not the gender expressions.

Mental disorders
As Nyarlathotep posted here the reason gender dysphoria is in the DSM 5 is not the identification dissonance with their sex and gender identity, but the distress caused by it. Transsexual activists have been trying to remove it from DSM 5 altogether, because they argue that it does harm to the community, because people think they are "crazy" like scizophrenics, when they share the same categorization. But other transsexual activists want it to be there, so that they can have insurance companies etc. pay for the transition surgeries & hormones. The last DSM 5 changed from the identifying being the disorder, to the distress of the sex not aligning with the mental being the disorder, in part to accommodate the transsexual activists.

Currently it is not known what causes the urge that their gender is not aligned to their sex. It may have something to do with hormones. The overwhelming ration of male to female transsexuals as opposed to female to male transsexuals would suggest that. I think it was like 4:1. But the mechanisms are as of yet, unknown. There is no "cure" for the identification dissociation. Therapy helps only in some cases for children under the age of 10. But most children that identify in their youth as the opposite sex, abandon the identification when they reach adulthood even on their own. I think the numbers that persisted in their identification as the opposite sex was around 30%. So most children desist in their identification. The only thing that alleviates the dysphoria to some degree is transitioning. Transsexuals have an insanely high suicide rate, possibly mostly due to not feeling accepted by society.

What does it mean for something to be a mental disorder or a mental condition? There are a couple of problems with mental disorders and identifying them. Firstly mental disorders arn't like physical diseases like cancer or hepatitis. You can't "see" it in the patient, although in some rare cases like a very far developed syphilis, that attacks brain cells. There syphilis can be diagnosed as the cause of the multifaceted mental disorders. The "thing", that is the mental disorder, is in the mind of the person who is suffering from the mental disorder. You can affect certain "mental disorders" with medication, suggesting that some of them arise from brain chemistry, that is, for the person suffering from the "mental disorder", the "disorder" is the natural way for their brain to function. If the person stops using the medicine, in the case of scitzophrenic for example, the disorder can come back, because the brain chemistry of the person reverts to it's normal state of scizophrenia. The biggest problem with "mental disorders" is that they cause problems for the person to integrate into society. Take anxiety for example. It is not the problem that a person is anxious, it is the problem that society wants us to be proactive, wants us to engage in society and be productive. A person with axiety can't do this because of the functioning of their brain. So we label it as a "mental disorder" and try to change them, to better integrate them into society.

Now it gets a bit tricky. A person can believe any sorts of things to be true of their brain states. Take multiple personality disorder for instance. Nowadays most psychologists, despite the continuing existance of it in the media, don't believe that MPD is a "real" mental condition at all. This is because there is evidence to suggest that media exposure of MPD causes people to interpret their self as experiencing MPD. So the feelings people are feeling, when they come to contact with the narrative of something, are understood as being the thing the narrative was about. An easier example is alien kidnappings. The aliens have been documented to change with what kind of presentation is popular at the time in the media. So people have some episode of mental disclarity, and the brain later parses it into a story about aliens. There is also body integrity identity disorder, where a person feels that a certain body part is not a part of them. For them as for transsexuals, therapy doesn't seem to help, and some even go as far as to amputate an arm or a leg to feel complete. I don't think that they are related conditions, but I just wanted to point out that being exposed to narratives can change the lived experience of people.

Narrative of self
Why is this stuff about narratives important, and what does it have to do with transgenderism? Well, I'll tell you a personal story. As a teenage boy, I was a goth. I wanted to give the middle finger to das Man, by wearing skirts and using makeup. If I was a young person today, I would most definately identify as genderfluid, like Miley Cyrus reportedly does, but why? Because today there exists a narrative about genderfluidity being a thing. But what does it mean? As you remember gender is the social norms etc. associated with a sex. So if I wear clothes traditionally associated femininity or do things that are assiciated with femininity, I can be said to be genderfluid. At this point the meaning of gender seems to start to disintegrate into meaning just personality, and is just another way to stick it to das Man. I'm not sure if some of the people who take up these transgender issues are really transsexuals at all. I don't have any statistics on this, and I don't think anyone else has either, but if you can point me to some literature about this, I'll be glad to read it. Some transsexuals even call some of the more non-transitioning transgenders "transtrenders". But it's virtually impossible to distinguish "real" transsexuals from "transtrenders" though. But does it matter? Why should we keep gender norms anyway? I'm not sure it matters, and I'm all for the equality of sexes in every regard, but it's quite a transformation in the way the west talks about gender in public. And large changes usually have unintended consequences. Like Warren Ferrell argues, that a great deal of today's problems with boys falling behind girls in almost every facet of metrics has to do with the ways divorce courts assign children to their mothers fully or mostly, that seems to lead to all sorts of problems for boys development lacking father engagement.

I think it is a totally seperate thing from what transsexuals are feeling. But it's a bit more tricky than that since not all people who would like to get the surgery and the hormones, who experience gender dysphoria, are able to get it due to costs and just needing to get on with their lives or want to get it because of risks involved or laws that require sterilization, so that leaves them in a difficult position. For such people the transgender identity, of neither male nor female, is understandable, if it alleviates their dysphoria.

In closing
I worry what the exposure of this talk it will do to people's identities who are not "really" transsexuals, but come to invent a narrative of it for themselves. Especially if hormonal transition is made easier. If they are happy, that's fine, but as with kids that are under 10, early hormonal transition can leave them being transitioned into the sex, that they later feel like not being a part of, and possibly inducing infertility.

It's an immensely tricky issue that is embroiled in politics, the nature of science, the nature of reality even, human rights etc. etc. And today in this climate of the narrative of evil vs. good no constructive discussion of it seems possible without flamewars.

It's complicated.

Terminal Dogma's picture
Thanks for a thoughtful post.

Thanks for a thoughtful post.

You mentioned cost of hormones, I feel a bit prejudicial that trans folk get get all manner of medical, psychological, social, financial, political support and be hailed as Heroes on time magazine but cis folk who want hormones for any number of reasons have to buy illegal shit made in a bath tub, secretly dose and expose themselves to major legal and health risks including death and imprisonment.

It's morally and logically inconsistent as well as prejudicial that trans get all the benefits and cis go to prison for hormone treat. Where is the outrage from left, hint there is none. The left love men becoming women but hate men being men.

Also most males for most of history wore dresses.

Peurii's picture

Sounds like your country needs more socialism.

Yes I know gender expressions change through history. It would be moronic to claim otherwise. But my point was that the changing expressions don't necessarily mean that the indentifying itself with other people of your sex and adopting their gender expressions is not biologically based.

Sheldon's picture
"cis folk who want hormones

"cis folk who want hormones for any number of reasons have to buy illegal shit made in a bath tub, "

Have to? Hyperbole again...sigh. Could you link the research supporting this claim...ho hum.

Nasty leftist attacking your opinions...sorry facts. Is the term lefty fascist too much of a contradiction?

Sheldon's picture
"looking at this mental

"looking at this mental disorder (as it's currently classified)"

"The American Psychiatric Association, publisher of the DSM-5, states that "gender nonconformity *IS NIOT in itself a mental disorder."

I think you are the one who needs to set your personal feelings aside, as you are attempting to stigmatise people spurious claims. As I always ask under such circumstances why does this make you so obviously angry? Why do you care what gender other people identify as?

"please keep feelings aside and let's stick to science and other facts."

That's pretty rich when you open with a grossly dishonest claim about Gender dysphoria being a mental condition, when it most definitely is not.

"Why is science being ignored in order to please people's feelings?"

What science is anyone ignoring, and why are your feelings any more important than anyone else's? People with gender dysphoria suffer extreme distress, why should that be ignored and their suffering prolonged because you think your opinion matters about how someone else lives their lives?

..and yes I know this is an old post...

"i also do NOT believe we are heading in the right direction by accommodating this mental disorder by simply accepting it, denying the most basic levels of biology simply due to the fact that we don't want to hurt anyone's feelings."

It's not a mental disorder, and what we resist biology all the time, do you ever use antibiotics? Do you by your food, if so it has been genetically modified for centuries by agricultural selective breeding. If you were diagnosed with a painful and debilitating heart condition, and the only answer was a valve replacement from a pig (a near evolutionary relative) would you refuse it suffer for the rest of your llife?

I suppose you think cosmetic surgery is wrong as well then? How about dying your hair, or whitening your teeth in ways nature clearly never intended?

jonthecatholic's picture
That's the problem ain't it.

That's the problem ain't it. You've touched on a point which I don't understand as well. Why do we disregard science just to satisfy people's feelings?

Another point I'd like to make is this, if a biologically male person says they're female/a woman, which action would be more merciful?

Let them go on and believe that false belief or help them realize that their belief is wrong and correct it.

I think most people on here will normally say that we should correct false beliefs... except in the case of sexual identity. I would say, let's just be consistent. Science does provide us the answer as to whether someone is male or female or whatever. Why not bank on that?

Nyarlathotep's picture
A catholic accusing people of

A catholic accusing people of disregarding science; now I have seen it all.

jonthecatholic's picture
I actually have no idea what

I actually have no idea what kind of Catholics you know now. Look through history and you’ll find that many scientists are Catholic or Christian.

I actually don’t get where this idea comes from.

Terminal Dogma's picture
Yeah it was a Catholic

Yeah it was a Catholic scientist that testified in federal court and presented a compelling case that ID is not science. I doubt an atheist would have pulled that off in court so basically the Catholic church is the only reason that ID is not taught to all US schoolchildren in biology class from first grade thru to graduation.

I watched the whole case, it was beautiful to watch.

jonthecatholic's picture
So a Catholic scientist says

So a Catholic scientist says one thing... therefore the Catholic church is the reason for... (?)

This doesn't make sense.

My earlier claim that there are a lot of Catholic Christian scientists was a direct response to Nyar saying that he found it rich that a Catholic would base his opinions on science.

Either way, it's going beyond the original scope of the thread.

Peurii's picture
But it's not just a belief,

But it's not just a belief, like the belief in god that can be changed through evidence. I am perfectly sure that transwomen are painfully aware, that they are biologically male. That's the whole problem.

Before the medical community started offering surgeries and hormones to transsexuals, therapies were used to try to remove the dissociation with their gender identity and their biological sex. They didn't work. Only transitioning seems to work to help them.

But when it comes to Buzzfeed 100+ genders, I'm unsure what to think. Some of them could easily be just misinformed people.

jonthecatholic's picture
Has transitioning actually

Has transitioning actually helped though? Or are surgeons simply helping people live a lie?

Now, I’m of the opinion that to live a lie would be highly undesirable whatever the circumstance. You see, there’s gender reassignment surgery but really all it is is genital mutilation as the person simply ends up with non functioning genitalia. Please correct me if I’m wrong on this matter. I must admit I don’t know enough of the topic as it is not commonplace in my country.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ JoC

@ JoC

You are in the Phillippines right? And you say "its not commonplace in my country" then you must live in a closed monastery or just not go out at night. .

Here is a discussion doc ..

jonthecatholic's picture
So a quora question trumps my

So a quora question trumps my actual experience of living in my own country? I must admit, however, that I do not live in the capital and there, they are more liberated on these issues and so I'd expect more of them there. Where I'm from, however, they're not even called trans. They simply called gay. Even they call themselves gay even when they dress up in women's clothes and all. All in all, I know of probably just 2 people who may consider themselves trans but even with one of them, he still refer to himself as a man.

Lots of crossdressers and gay men and women though. Trans, not so much.

Jared Alesi's picture
Well, since your own

Well, since your own experience is quite limited, seeing as you're only one person in an entire country, I would say that yes, the quora question does trump it.

jonthecatholic's picture
Handwaving at its finest.

Handwaving at its finest.

arakish's picture
...person simply ends up with

...person simply ends up with non functioning genitalia.

No. They work. At least it worked for the one I dated. Granted, she was not going to get pregnant. At least I don't think she could. But that did not matter. She was definitely a she in her mentality. This was my first TRUE encounter with being with a transgender. I knew others, but only as passing acquaintances. Thus, I am fairly certain it can happen that a can be born into the wrong physical body.

However, everything worked just fine for her.


LogicFTW's picture
Besides, a woman does not

Besides, a woman does not stop being a woman when she hits menopause. You can not define a woman especially in terms of gender by the ability to carry a baby to term.

Sheldon's picture
1. What science is being

1. What science is being disregarded?
2. How is helping gender dyshoria anything to do with feelings?
3. Why ddo theists think their beliefs entitle them to tell others how to live?
4. In what way is sexualidentity a false belief? Please cite scientific evidence .
5. Who has disputed the biological identity of trans gender? Why is it relevant to the suffering of gender dysphoria rather than the cause?

I hate it whent theists try to peddle superstitious personal beliefs as science. JoC you're doing it here. What kind of morality doesn't care about suffering, and want to prevent it if possible?

jonthecatholic's picture
You raise a lot of questions.

You raise a lot of questions... as usual. I'm happy you made a list this time though.

1. What science is being disregarded?
- Being male and being female

2. How is helping gender dyshoria anything to do with feelings?
- It depends on how you "help" gender dysphoria. If by helping them you mutilate their perfectly functioning genitals, I'd say that's wrong. If you help them by letting them realize they're mistaken in their gender dysphoria, then that it in fact helpful.

3. Why ddo theists think their beliefs entitle them to tell others how to live?
- I think this stems from the belief that certain actions are objectively morally right or wrong. Everyone does this actually. We tell thiefs they're not allowed to steal even if they desperately need the money.

4. In what way is sexualidentity a false belief? Please cite scientific evidence .
- Well, if tomorrow, you meet a woman who says she's furniture, you'd probably think she's wrong. Or a woman who thinks she's a cat. Both women actually exist by the way. As to sexual identity, I don't get how hard it can be. Let's take Bruce/ Jenner / Caitlyn Jenner. If you look at him from a biological perspective, he is by all means a male member of the human species, therefore, a man.

5. Who has disputed the biological identity of trans gender? Why is it relevant to the suffering of gender dysphoria rather than the cause?
- Ummmm, they themselves dispute their biological identity. Why is it relevant to suffering? Because living a lie will always cause them suffering. They actually say it all the time. They think they're living "their truth" (whatever that means) when really, they're just masking the lie and parading it as truth.

I hate it whent theists try to peddle superstitious personal beliefs as science.
- I have not cited any church teaching, church doctrine, biblical verse, or anything religious. Just stating what we know about males and females in biology. This comment of yours actually shows me you'll disagree with anything I say even if it's true.

What kind of morality doesn't care about suffering, and want to prevent it if possible?
- That's a whole new kind of rabbit hole which might stretch this out much much further. I think I can, however, show that moral actions need not be tied directly to less suffering... but only if you say please. :)

LogicFTW's picture
Separate put the term gender

Separate out the term gender identity from the term sexual organs, and you should easily be able to understand.

I know and am friends with several transgender people. While it is a deeply personal issue to them, all of them fully understand what sexual organs they were born with and how that fact relates to their current chosen gender. None of them deny what sexual organs they were born with and what that means, they also do not deny and suppress their gender feelings now. Trust me, every transgender is very aware of this, much more so then you or me.

The merciful action is to support and help transgender people as they adopt the gender identity they want to be. It is not a false belief at all, they are being true to their feelings, and they fully and painfully aware of the biological facts they were born with.

If you want to say that there is a woman, not a man, because that person was born with ovaries and other sex organs/traits that correspond with the female sex, you are correct. But if you want to say that person does not identify as a male gender when the person does identify as a male gender, you would be incorrect. They believe they are of the gender they identify with, they do not deny what sexual organs they are born with, they do not deny scientific fact. They even go through painful and expensive surgery and treatment to start to change the facts of their sexual appearance. They are more aware then you are of your own.

jonthecatholic's picture
I see. This paints a better

I see. This paints a better idea of how trans people think. I think however, that gender identity is in fact tied directly to your sexual organs. That's actually what male and female mean, at least in biology.

Thanks for this though. I don't doubt this is hard for them and I can't claim to know what they're feeling at all.

Jared Alesi's picture
What credentials in the field

What credentials in the field of biology to you possess to make this claim? What evidence do you have to justify it? Biologists tell us that sex and gender are separate, but you disagree. On what grounds?


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