Sick Trans Gloria

transAmong the issues guaranteed to draw a volcanic eruption from the politically correct  is the  free and open discussion than transgenderism. Indeed, to talk these days about transgenderism other than lavish and unqualified praise for those who abandon the gender of their births is to invite the label of mean-minded bigot.

Caitlyn Jenner’s apotheosis from suffering patriarch of the Kardashian clan to the newly inaugurated Queen of the trans movement marks a fresh high-water mark for trans-mania. At the start of April this year, Caitlyn was a father, former Olympian and sordid reality TV star. Now, just over eight months later, Caitlyn has been crowned ‘Woman of the Year.’ Should you want to offer anything other than gushing adulation for Caitlyn’s putative heroism, expect to be exiled from polite society.

This is why it was so amusing when last week Germaine Greer, normally a stalwart of the left, bluntly confront the First Commandment of transgenderism: Thous shalt not deny that gender is ‘fluid.’

Here’s what she said:

Just because you lop off your d— it doesn’t make you a woman… a man who get his d*** chopped off is actually inflicting an extraordinary act of violence on himself. I’ve asked my doctor to give me long ears and liver spots and I’m going to wear a brown coat, but that won’t turn me into a f***ing cocker spaniel.

Greer’s turn of phrase was perhaps gratuitously crass. But the media lynch mob now baying for her blood reveals just how narrow the bounds of reasonable discussion have become on all things trans. In achieving this iron grip on public opinion, the invention of the word ‘transphobia’ has been most useful. It is a convenient descriptor used to discredit anyone who expresses an alternative view to the trans-worship orthodoxy as an irrational bigot.

At this point you might be asking why there is any need to say anything critical about people who choose to change genders. After all, it’s their decision isn’t it? What good is achieved by sledging such a vulnerable group in the public square?

The hard truth is that the jury is still very much out on whether complex, expensive and radical medical procedures are the panacea for disillusionment with ones gender that trans-mania would have you believe. To start with, the suicide rate is just as high for people who have transitioned as it is for those yet to undergo treatment – a fact which of itself casts serious doubt over whether transitioning is really the ‘cure’ that it’s made out to be.

Moreover, hormone therapy is a publicly subsidized in Australia and prescribed to children wanting to avoid the puberty of their birth gender. And once a child has used hormones to forego puberty, going back the way you came isn’t all that easy. What’s more, a Monash Medical Centre Study has found that out of a cohort of children with gender identity disorder, the condition persisted into adolescence and adulthood in only 16% of cases. Children aren’t deemed to have the capacity to sign a contract, vote and, in many instances, commit crimes before the age of 18. So why should we deem them capable of changing their gender before they’re even teenagers?

And for those who think talking about these issues is nothing more than excuse for thinly veiled bigotry, it’s worth noting that these misgivings are widely shared amongst the medical profession. According to eminent former Psychiatrist in Chief at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Paul McHugh, the desire to change genders is a type of body dysmorphic disorder, which physical change will not cure. McHugh argues that wanting to switch genders is similar to that of anorexia or the desire to remove ones limbs, known as apotemnophilia, in the sense that they are all body-integrity identity disorders which produce a powerful urge to for radical physical transformation. McHugh’s colleagues agree. John Hopkins, which once did a booming sex-change business, now refuses to perform gender reassignment surgery.

To be sure, there is no shortage of scientific literature and sociological encyclicals on all things trans that directly rebut the views outlined here. The point however, is that there are good reasons to believe that changing gender is more complex than simply this heroic act of bravery it is popularly conceived to be. And when there are conflicting views on a difficult subject, offense and confected outrage are without doubt the worst reasons to silence those who challenge the status quo.

  • bemartin39@bigpond.com

    It is the epitomy of cruelty to idolise the condition of gender confusion. Let’s be understanding and non-judgemental, by all means, but celebrating the condition is bizarrely cruel.

  • ellenbraddock

    There are quite a few issues with this article.

    Firstly, the cessation of sex reassignment surgery at Johns Hopkins was for rather ordinary reasons, including the resignation without replacement of the surgeon doing those procedures at JH and that institution’s lack of interest once the procedure had progressed from the research stage.

    McHugh himself wrote in ‘Psychiatric Misadventures’, “It was part of my intention, when I arrived in Baltimore in 1975, to help end it.” These are not the words of someone who dispassionately collected, analysed and interpreted data, but rather those of an ideologue who worked from the conclusion back, a technique which is beloved of global warming ideologues.

    McHugh and others often cite the work of Meyer and Reter, which used a fascinating ranking scale in their review of outcomes, leading Pfäfflin and Junge (Sex Reassignment. Thirty Years of International Follow-up Studies After Sex Reassignment Surgery: A Comprehensive Review, 1961-1991) to write “The tables and figures shared by the authors do not seem serious because after the scoring table a maximum of only eight minus and five plus points can be achieved, but in the results table (p. 1014) a range from -18 to +19 points is given. How these figures came about remains totally in the dark….One asks the question how it came about that a renowned professional publication published such opaque figure material.”

    McHugh also distorts Reiner and Gearhardt (Discordant Sexual Identity in Some Genetic Males with Cloacal Exstrophy Assigned to Female Sex at Birth), claiming that they concluded that sexual identity follow genes when they actually concluded that the hormones to which a foetus is exposed have a powerful effect. They usually follow a predictable path, but not always.

    Zhou and others followed up on the influence of hormones upon the foetus and sexual identity, and reported in ‘Nature’ during 1995, “Our study is the first to show a female brain structure in genetically male transsexuals and supports the hypothesis that gender identity develops as a result of an interaction between the developing brain and sex hormones.” Their study might have been the first, but it hasn’t been the last.

    Kruiver and others reported (J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041) that “The present findings of somatostatin neuronal sex differences in the BSTc and its sex reversal in the transsexual brain clearly support the paradigm that in transsexuals sexual differentiation of the brain and genitals may go into opposite directions.”

    The more our ability to probe into brains advances, the more we see biology at work. Furthermore, the evidence on outcomes shows that transsexual people who receive sex reassignment surgery have much better outcomes that those who do not. Dhejne, Lichtenstein et al (Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0016885) conclude “Our findings suggest that sex reassignment, although alleviating gender dysphoria, may not suffice as treatment for transsexualism, and should inspire improved psychiatric and somatic care after sex reassignment for this patient group.” In other words, sex reassignment surgery helps those who need it. Yes, they have are high suicide rate than the population at large, but that suicide rate is lower than for those who did not have sex reassignment.

    Regarding the Monash study, it is not surprising that “Children as young as 3 years of age may experience gender dysphoria and cross-gender behaviour; however, only 16% of these children will continue to have persistent GID in adolescence and adulthood.” One rather suspects over-anxious parents are to blame at the age of 3, and this is what the article says. Regarding teenagers referred to Monash, “Of the 21 adolescents reviewed for consideration for hormone treatment, four experienced resolution of gender dysphoria or acceptance of gender variance with ongoing psychological counselling. Seventeen adolescents experienced persistence of profound GID with increased distress following commencement of puberty and were therefore considered eligible for hormone treatment.” In other words, by that stage of life, the vast majority of those claiming to be transsexual were in fact transsexual. This is at odds with the assertions made by the author of this article.

    It is curious that the author demeans the large and growing body of hard evidence which contradicts McHugh and his followers by calling “encyclicals”. That term is usually used to describe religious edicts issued by the Catholic Church, and McHugh has found a pulpit on Cathlic websites such as ‘First Things’. Perhaps the use of that term is something of a Freudian slip?

    Yes, it is true that these medications are on the PBS. Oestrogen and testosterone are remarkably cheap, and are vital to the treatment of transsexual people. If we are to have a PBS, then it seems uncontroversial that proven treatments should be included on it. One could point out that being transsexual is not a choice (many report hoping desperately that their condition would go away, but it doesn’t), unlike many common ailments that a function of poor diet, inactivity, and the abuse of alcohol and other substances.

    Finally, the author’s crass characterisation of transsexual people as “men in frocks and women with whiskers”, together with a photo chosen in furtherance of the insult, suggests that the author has a most undignified contempt, even hatred, for transsexual people. Most people, however, manage to convey their ignorant hatred in rather less than 800 words.

  • Rob Brighton

    Tran-sexuals seem to be a issue for the feminist movement;

    Trans people are in the wrong bodies as I understand it. They therefore seek to modify the body to suit the brain.

    Would this not suggest that there is a difference between the male and female brain?

    And if so where does this leave the feminist argument about nature and nurture?

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