The Trouble with Harry

December 16, 2010

A pre-postscript:

Some people I respect felt I was too harsh on Harry Benjamin, and I thought about it a little more and in some aspects they are right.  I am rather upset that Harry’s scale was constructed the way it was, and I do believe he could have done a lot more to speak on his belief that transsexuals are a distinct group, if he did believe that.  It’s difficult to tease it out of the text itself but if others see it I am not going to contradict them.

I still believe it was a grave disservice to us when he decided to put it all together the way he did, and this is the main point of my post.  The results of his book are the real issue.  My effort here was directed at  pointing out the spots where people commonly try to misuse the work to blur and obfuscate.

In light of all that, one thing stands out about Harry.  Despite whatever he may have personally thought about the condition, it didn’t matter when it came to helping people.  He was professional enough, and compassionate enough, to do what was right.  It’s a rare individual who can put misgivings aside and do what is proper in the face of overwhelming opposition from ones’ peers and the public.  He may have not been the perfect humanitarian, but he was a caring human.  That’s far more than can be said by the vast majority of the people who attempt to own the transsexual area with their academic credentials and committee-driven “medicine”.

I don’t believe in a devil.  I do believe in human avarice, moral weakness, and greed.  Those who torment us, who attempt to shame us and control us do so because it benefits them.  I can think of no better definition of evil than humans who attempt to raise themselves up and profit at others’ expense.  And these are the sorts of people we face when we attempt to avoid the chains of bondage they would lay on us.  The effort they make with their endless faux internet personalities is nothing to them.  They create tools to hurt and torture and then throw them away when done.  The cost to we who fight them is great, both in terms of thought and emotion.  That is why so few make the attempt.

There is such a thing as right and wrong.  It is measured by how we treat others.  And these people who attack us relentlessly are very much in the wrong.  It’s ok to recognize that, to speak accordingly and with great conviction.  That is the first step to ending this farce.  No matter how arrogant or condescending they may seem, always consider the source.  These people have no right to cast any stones and they only do so as a tactic to cow anyone who stands up to them.  Laugh in their face, do not be intimidated.

We are in need of a new paradigm.  It’s time to build on the work of Harry Benjamin and the few others who have spoken on this issue with any degree of wisdom… and go beyond.  That is progress, something sorely lacking in many areas lately.  One of the reasons I use transsexualism right now instead of terms like HBS or others I’ve heard is because I think we need to do some custodial work clean up the mess made over the word “transsexual” before we can move on.  Nothing is ever perfect, and not all damage can be undone so easily.  But it doesn’t have to be, does it?  Sometimes there is such a thing as good enough.  Simple lines have to be drawn, and people must be free to choose, finally given good information.

I am content to let others choose the new name and build whatever must be built in the years to come.  That is the work of the future.  The work for people like me, and any others who choose to take up the task,  is now.  We must handle the nasty garbage thrown our way in these dying days of the transgender and sexologist religion.  And then the work of building anew can begin.

I’ll post on this New Years Day.  That’s always a good time for new beginnings.

***

The first thing in any discussion about TS should be an analysis of where our ideas about the condition originate.  Much of our current thinking still comes from Harry Benjamin, despite the fact that modern science has completely discredited his scale.  It’s an unfortunate fact that Harry got a lot wrong in his musings, and Harry’s mistakes continue to bedevil the area today.  Blowhards and fakes continue to hold up this scale to puff up their own egos and lord their “superior” condition over others who are in the process of correcting nature’s mistake.  This is often done to enact some ridiculous agenda, and in some cases to salve a deeply wounded ego.

Harry was enamored of the idea of “inversion”, a 19th Century conceptualization of homosexuality.  It was originally thought that being gay was a form of being trapped in the wrong body.  This seems funny to us today because we have a very different idea about what is essential to the sexes, but at the time it was a plausible “theory”.

At some point it was realized that “inversion” was false, and that men who were attracted to other men… were still men.  It is not necessary to be a woman in order to experience that particular orientation.  And vice versa for women.  So in many ways this degradation of today’s sexology into “psycho sexual inversion” is a return to the ignorant 19th century. (Thank you for pointing this out Hipparkhia)

Benjamin tried to take all behaviors of people born with penises and force them together on a scale demarcated by this inversion concept.  Even at the time it was a clumsy, atavistic attempt to merge quite different phenomena together.  To a “sexologist”, having a penis is the equivalent of the patient in question stipulating that they have a “male brain”.  It doesn’t rise to that level of consciousness in these people who are utterly fascinated by the sex act.  They simply assume the sexual organs are the source of all personality and anything that runs counter to their expectations is “deviant” and in need of study and correction.

As a friend recently told me after reading The Transsexual Phenomenon, Harry was no humanitarian.  He had uncharitable thoughts about homosexuality and viewed transvestites and transsexuals as similarly disordered people.  (The expansion of the “disorder” term to intersex is in large part thanks to modern sexologists)  This is what Harry had to say about all these conditions he blended together:

The transvestite has a social problem.
The transsexual has a gender problem.
The homosexual has a sex problem.

Now, few people would argue that homosexuality and transvestism are related at this point.  So why is it so difficult to separate transvestites from transsexuals?  Thanks to sexologists we have gone back in time, and if you read through their recent papers in such places as the Archives of Sexual Behavior you’ll see they are even trying to rope gay men and lesbian women back into this scheme through studies of left handedness and other phrenology.  This is their “unified field theory” of queerness.  And it was Harry himself who conceptualized TS as a gender delusion.

The figure below is Harry’s infamous scale, the source of all the trouble.

There are a few things to note about this proposed categorization.  One, we must always remember that Harry was a sexologist and saw the world through the lens of the sex act.  Anything that deviated from his idea of procreative sex trended towards uselessness and constituted some kind of error, whether psychological or biological. (current problem-children sexologists maintain this view)  Next you’ll see that the Kinsey scale is also applied on the chart in an attempt to link this concept to Harry’s own work.  This is one of the more common observations made about Harry’s scale, but its still important to note.

Next, you can see the connection to today’s problems with the BBL clique by its blurring of the symptoms between the transvestite and the transsexual.  A type 3 transvestite may have dual personalities, for instance, and this was thought to “trend towards transsexualism”.  Today, we know they are completely separate things only sharing a few symptoms at times.  Overreliance on the therapist’s opinions about the meaning of symptoms changes the nature of the condition being diagnosed.  This isn’t a diagnosis; it’s quackery.

This has lead to much confusion, and if you look at the entire chart with a modern eye the whole thing is a mess.  Sex is mixed with gender is mixed with sexuality.  It’s all based on how often the person in question crossdresses.  So this is, in effect a scale of crossdressery and therefore flawed from the inception.  It surely doesn’t help that so much of his book on transsexualism concerns transvestites (for some reason) and the contributions of one Virginia Prince.

On one hand Harry could see that there was some biology involved (read that chapter in the book), but as a sexologist Harry preferred to regard the transsexual dilemma as a “gender problem”.  This fact cooperated with the later “gender revolution” to produce the silly mess we have today.  In a later paper he wrote:

Perhaps the chain starts with the hippie movement (with its long haired boys and trousered girls) and continues with the effeminate, but otherwise normal man, and its parallel, the masculine woman.  A further manifestation may only be concerned with the direction of the sex urge.  Perhaps then it could result in one of several forms of homosexual behavior.

Next on the scale may be the transvestite.  First the one who merely wants to wear the clothes of the opposite sex, then the one who -in addition- likes to acquire some of the other’s physical characteristics through hormone therapy.  Finally, there is the true transsexual whose craving aims to bring the entire body into harmony with the mind, by every means medical science can provide, including surgery.

You can see the extremely speculative nature of the Benjamin theory, later disproven, right there.  It’s merely a variety of “if it ain’t straight, it’s queer”.  The unified field theory continued to elude him.

One of the best parts of the chart though is the third row down, right side.  This one is for all the effeminate gay men who think they own the “type VI” category.  If you’ll look at the type V and type VI categories, Harry observed that either may have been married with children prior to transition.  And despite the changes to society over the years, this is still true.  Due to the misrepresentation of the transsexual condition as some kind of crossdressing perversion, or an option for certain gay men and lesbian women to play at being the opposite sex, many young transsexual people will not seek treatment.  This is a tragedy created and compounded by the BBL clique and their insistence on lumping “TG” and “TS” together, as well as a transgender movement that has cooperated completely with the BBL agenda.

This is where a lot of modern “somatically compliant gay men” who attempt partial transition have been confused.  And therapists comply with this confusion.  To these young gay men, the chief aspect of womanhood is making oneself ready for sex with men; they project their own desires onto women and seek the costume without wanting to actually take up the burdens and joys of actually being a woman.  And why should they?  They are men.

Being a woman to these (usually young) gay men  is being a sex object, and given their fixation on this one has to assume it is a very large component of the gay male personality for the “effeminate” types.   There is little else to being a woman in their eyes, because they are outsiders to that state of being and care nothing about it.  They do not understand the difference between being feminine, and inborn trait, and being effeminate, an act of mimicry.  In much the same way, the whole transsexual process is merely an act of mimicry for anyone not born transsexual.

Harry’s mistake in the term “complete psycho-sexual inversion” was that he regarded women who were attracted to other women as “less woman” than heterosexuals.  This reflects the sexism of the day.  Further, in order to be completely inverted, you had to be a “homosexual transsexual”.  From this sprang the stories about loving boys and never conceiving of marriage with a woman, and all the rest.  While the idea of marriage as the wrong sex is abhorrent to the TS person, life becomes complex and twisted.  It’s wrong to dismiss someone’s biological state due to a one bad choice, and I dislike this trend in certain quarters.  It’s unprofessional and unscientific. And under Harry’s scheme, it’s all too easy to diagnose a young gay male as transsexual based on these kinds of urban myths.

Today these exigencies of life are used against people born transsexual to shame them, and make them feel like a “lesser transsexual” by those with a more typically gay background.  But according to Harry himself, his “type VI” included a variety of people and traits.  His chief differential, as a sexologist of course, is who you slept with.  And we know how much that has to do with what kind of person you are; nothing.

The take home from this chart which encapsulates Harry’s philosophy is that Harry got it wrong, as another friend remarked recently.  He did state that:

“These speculations in symptomology are not meant to indicate a common etiology”

What a weak “apology” after the definitive argument made in his book!  Harry tried to leave himself a lot of wiggle room, but his conclusions come across in the end as anything but equivocal.

Today we know that gay men are not “related” to women.  Male effeminacy is a gender performance by gay men which attempts to mimic the neurologically-based “femininity” of women.  The brains of gay men are, if anything, “over androgenized” with respect to other men.  They are not “under androgenized” relative to men as would be the case with women, or MtF transsexuals.  The brain work slowly proceeds, coming ever closer to squeezing out the sexologists entirely.

The chief danger to science at this point is the continued reliance of the scientists on assembling their findings into a gender theory.  Men do this, women do this.  This is nonsense.  This mixes their social performance aspect of “gender” with their biologically-based ideas about “gender”, producing nothing of value.  Some still seek “gender” in the brain rather than stepping back and looking at the totality of the situation that would give them the perspective to understand the whole.  We are not just the sum of our parts as defined by people in lab coats.

***

I wanted to end on a note about why I write on these topics.  I know that many people worry over these things in their transition, and sometimes even after surgery.  This is due to the confusion sown by people who try to profit at our expense.  I don’t write things to justify myself; my life is all the justification I need.  I write to give people the information they need to fight back against the vultures and ghouls who have been preying on us for all these years.

A critic recently wrote of my quoting brain differences between us and gay men and said, “What does that have to do with being a type VI transsexual?”  The answer is; absolutely nothing.

But it has everything to do with being a woman.

We are different from the modern version of the gay type VI in the same way we are different from men.  Our minds are female at the elemental level, and we are women in that aspect our whole lives.  It never changes, and we never have to “perform gender”.  Those who fail to understand this are not transsexual.

We must stop allowing people to grade us and rank us according to their whim.  It is not their place to do so.  This fight against the sexologists is gradually drawing to a close.

This is a war we can win!

The first step is to reject those who place themselves in the role of master by simply acting as though it is theirs by right and seeing if everyone lets them get away with it.  They can only do this with our consent.  So don’t give it, and don’t be fooled.  Hucksters often set themselves up as indispensable authorities. Don’t let others control how you feel about yourself.

Always consider the motives of the strangers who show up on the internet with sterling tranny credentials and an agenda.  Don’t believe everything you are told.  Question everything.

And above all, be well. 🙂