The GLBT has been dealt a severe yet predictable blow by the Obama administration. The hammer I wrote about before has finally fallen, shattering the (undeserved) trust that people had put in a political party who had, after all, promised them nothing except that it would take their money.
Old alliances are coming unraveled as people absorb the reality of their situation, and many are having to actually think about their politics for the first time instead of simply parroting back what they are told. Slowly the light dawns on people who had been willfully ignorant about their so-called allies until this latest offense. And while many still voice their support of their historical allies privately they wonder, “Where do we go from here?”. The chorus isn’t so enthusiastic, and open rebellion stirs in the ranks. They aren’t the only ones who feel adrift on a political seascape that seems to make no sense anymore. Many of their fellow citizens are also seeking the new normal- and coming up with nothing but more questions.
This is the backdrop for the end of the gender paradigm. As the postmodern era draws to a close it still exerts its influence over our thoughts as it wanes. In some sense we can feel a bit of nostalgia for it, because although infuriating, postmodernism is a product of happier times. It came from the more easygoing, prosperous times that are required for such an idle musing to take hold and captivate a culture. It was the daydream of a society in summer, enjoying languid days on the beach without a care in the world. It stayed with us all the way through autumn, and now we wave it goodbye from winter’s doorstep. And when it goes, finally goes, it takes with it all the things that it brought. Then we will see how foolish we have been.
There are several branches to the gender paradigm problem, some of which have been argued ad infinitum over the years between its supporters and detractors. The political side is the most obvious field of conflict, where people with competing interests have been shedding virtual blood on the internet for years. The philosophical inconsistencies of the gender paradigm are less discussed, and I’m hoping I can persuade Hipparkhia to write on that subject as it’s her area and her keen insight always reveals something new and interesting. Maybe an epitaph, or a post mortem for transgenderism.
As part of that autopsy it would be nice to see discussions about some of the assumptions made by various groups about what makes a person “transsexual”. This would probably resolve a lot of the conflicts; the very mention of such a thing was practically banned in tg groups after awhile and nothing was ever settled. If people can’t agree on something, at least they can acknowledge that others do not share their opinion. And that of course brings up the the continuing efforts of the remaining “transgender” supporters to rebrand themselves as just plain “trans”, a blatant attempt at straight out obfuscation. The term “transgender” has become so sullied and useless to the GLB-Trans movement at this point that they are running from it as fast as they can. So these days when you run across someone writing from a “trans perspective”, just know they are the same people who have been previously known as crossdressers, drag queens, what have you, and they are still grasping at straws and trying to cling to transsexual in any way they can.
I always find it disturbing when people bring children into this mess with talk about “trans kids”. First, none of the so-called experts has a demonstrated they have a handle on this condition, or a real diagnostic for this condition in adults, let alone children. Given that the psych area is torn between some who regard transsexuals as crazy mutilated men and women and others who feel that our “gender expression” shouldn’t necessarily be cause to regard us as completely insane, I’m sure we’ll be forgiven if we have our doubts about the psychiatric profession having our best interests at heart. Hardly a ringing endorsement, but worse is that they have no room for biological fact in their field when it conflicts with the careers of entrenched functionaries. They need to find a way to incorporate science into their discipline, and that is likely to be a messy process that takes decades.
So given this situation, why are there so many people willing to practically diagnose kids as “transgender” and pave the way for their transition? It sounds like an ideal treatment plan at first, because you spare the child the horrors of growing up wrong and the terrible life as an adult that follows. But ever the cynic, I must ask how they know for sure when a child is so young, and who guides them in this process. The only studies that have been done on children in this area reveal that almost all young children who exhibit “gender variant” behavior turn out to be garden variety gay adults, not transsexual. In fact, the early studies on people who turned out to be transsexual as adults showed no such “effeminate” behavior in the children when they were little boys. Zuger’s later studies showed that 97% of the “effeminate boys” in the study turned out to be either gay or straight men later, while only 3% had “gender issues” later on.
Person and Ovesey’s original study labeled “primary” transsexuals as those driven to surgery at all costs, who never looked back. This group tended to be shy and withdrawn, not flamboyant or “effeminate”. The original “secondary” transsexuals were gay men and transvestites who wanted a sex change. This is very different from how it ended up later, isn’t it? After the gender paradigm settled in and the battle between Money and McHugh was underway the categories shifted. Gay men who wanted sex changes, being natural women of course, were now “primary transsexuals”, while crossdressers became the new “secondary transsexuals”. Notice anything missing from this situation? That’s right, they wrote the real transsexuals right out of the equation. And that’s where we are today. We have psychs like Zucker, who seems to think that transsexual is just a bad outcome for a gay guy, period.
So when I read about young children being encouraged to transition because they played with children of the opposite sex so well, and said they wanted to be a boy or girl, or played with dolls, or any of the other things that do not indicate transsexualism in children, I worry that uninformed parents are being coached by gender-friendly therapists into doing things that might not be in the best interests of their child. Certainly you don’t punish your child for their playtime behavior, you don’t restrict toys or turn anything into an issue when it doesn’t have to be. That’s a given. You let it run its course and the kids usually end up passing through the phase, growing up either straight or gay. The vast, vast majority of these kids are NOT transsexual.
But what happens when you encourage the behavior? If the dominant mindset among gender-friendly therapists is that transgender/transsexual is the same thing, a form of gay expression, and that either a gay or transsexual outcome is 6 of one, half a dozen of the other, what is going to happen to these kids? If left alone things almost always resolve, but when you pave the way you may be unintentionally bringing on the very thing that most parents would rather avoid.
Now obviously there will be a few kids who will benefit from early intervention and will go on to be very happy. But for the 97%+ who are not transsexual, is it really a good thing to create a situation conducive to cross-sex living through grade school, high school, and onto surgery as an adult?
Let me tell you about someone I knew in the past who transitioned young. I’ll call her Claire. Claire came out as a gay boy when she was 12. She was very flamboyant, very in-your-face about it. She was lucky enough to live in a place and time where things has mellowed to the point where being gay wasn’t an automatic beating in school, but it still wasn’t celebrated by any means. As she grew up and got to the end of her teens she partied a lot and really got into the sexual culture of the gay community. She identified with it and found a home there. But as time wore on she decided that she didn’t like the way people treated her. She wasn’t happy with the kinds of relationships she was finding, and though she felt at home there in some ways, the rest of it just didn’t with her fit with her plans. And she started thinking that it would be more fun to be a girl. She could date straight guys, and she wouldn’t have to be so self-conscious about her mannerisms and all that. She just didn’t like where the gay life was going to lead her. So she started transition at 19, and finished with surgery when she was 21.
This would have been a happy tale if it was about a transsexual woman completing transition. But it isn’t. Because, you see, no matter how much people think that transsexual is gay, it isn’t. No matter how effeminate a gay man is, he is not a woman and will never learn to be happy as one. Claire is not in a good way these days. The last time I spoke with her she had lost everything. She couldn’t stay in a job, she couldn’t maintain any relationships with straight guys because of her situation. And she was talking about how she felt she might have ruined her body and made a huge mistake. I wish there was something I could do for her but it’s really too late. I haven’t talked with her for awhile now, and I’m not sure how things turned out.
So when I hear young “t-girls” in their teens chirping about the gay community they love, or “trans women” in their early 20’s talking about how all trans is the same, I think of Claire. I know that these people are not transsexual by the things they say. I know their affinity and internal recognition of their “community” is real, and I also know that this awful postmodern belief system called “transgender” is horrible and ruins lives. I wish I could tell them to think twice before they go any further, but then I realize most of them will. Most of them will stop before surgery, and just play at being women until they get a little older and lose their looks just a little bit. Then they either slip away and come back somewhere else as gay men again, or they get loud and angry and denounce transsexual women. They become horrible misogynists, if they weren’t to start with. See, these are the “primary transsexual” twins to the “secondary transsexuals”, the older full-time crossdressers, that have been spearheading the activism up until now. They are two sides of the same coin.
Transgender was a self-propagating problem. Its existence enticed people to become transgenderists and the transgenderists, now trapped by it, created more transgenderism. It was a monster that simply had to run its course before it eventually died its lonely death, forgotten by the GLBT. Even now, before it has completely given up the ghost, people are abandoning it like rats from a sinking ship. The funny part is that they are sticking people like me, post transsexuals, with the label as a parting gift. I don’t worry so much about that. In the end all they have done, if anything, is given us a less objectionable word (to delicate American ears) for our birth condition. They haven’t succeeded in changing any important laws here. They haven’t budged the country an inch. If the DMV wants to call people who get sex changes “transgender” instead of transsexual, it doesn’t really bother me.
This was never about winning some stupid fight, it was about outcomes.