After the last two reblogs, I almost instantly regretted it, not least because the middle position I stake out between so-called TERFS and trans militants results in internet outcomes only a masochist could love.
You really haven’t lived, though, until a congenial, seemingly reasonable Marxist approvingly emails you an essay from a right-wing Christian think tank and then snarks when you balk. What’s so striking to me about the cruder trans excluders is the combo of religious zeal and paucity of evidence for all their fuss. This combo to me, coupled to a deep conviction that the people they target for pathologizing and ostracism are monsters if they object too stridently, is often a sign of working backwards from a bias, and is among the reasons why my middle position is somewhat less middle lately. I’ll clarify that when, somewhat later this week, I engage down in comments.
Since, sadly, the belligerent vulgarizing of radfem critique continues on radical Twitter, by people who seem utterly convinced that they’re punching up, I am going to own up to, and apologize for, the glaring omission of a trans voice from my “both sides” reblogs the last time around. I am commending my readers to this Trans Advocate interview by Cristan Williams with Swedish researcher Cecilia Dhejne. I’ve chosen it because Dhejne co-authored a study that is among the most widely used to pathologize and fear-monger around trans people.
The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post and Fox News are among the many mainstream sources that have cited the study to cast trans people in a negative light, particularly to the effect that gender confirming medical treatment doesn’t help them. The Christian think tank essay I mentioned above also cites it. These negative pieces citing the study clearly furnish a lot of the talking points bouncing around the internet at the moment. This is my main reason for boosting this six-year-old interview with Dehne, who lucidly explains the extent to which trans opponents have grossly misrepresented her work while clarifying what it actually shows.
Williams: Before I contacted you for this interview, were you aware of the way your work was being misrepresented?
Dhejne: Yes! It’s very frustrating! I’ve even seen professors use my work to support ridiculous claims. I’ve often had to respond myself by commenting on articles, speaking with journalists, and talking about this problem at conferences. The Huffington Post wrote an article about the way my research is misrepresented. At the same time, I know of instances where ethical researchers and clinicians have used this study to expand and improve access to trans health care and impact systems of anti-trans oppression.
Of course trans medical and psychological care is efficacious. A 2010 meta-analysis confirmed by studies thereafter show that medical gender confirming interventions reduces gender dysphoria.
You can read the rest here.
[Breaking my vow not to engage with you on this topic]
You seem to be conflating different issues, some simple, and others more complex.
I don’t even know what you’re arguing, or what you think that radical feminists defend or promote. I feel like I need to start from the beginning, especially since your current link is also all about those terrible TERFs. You shared two articles last time, and neither was by a radical feminist. So even the basis of trying to discuss this was distorted. I was trying to explain why I didn’t agree w/ them, and you were going from issues to issue, then accusing me on Twitter of “cherry picking.” (yes I had a badly worded comment. Shoot me.) You said “I think a lot of people dismiss the radical feminist critique of trans identity politics without even knowing what it is,” yet you yourself appear not to know what it is.
First, as I pointed out to you on Twitter: “radical feminism” has a meaning, and history. The “radical” refers to “root”: getting at the root cause of sexism, misogyny, the patriarchy. Women theorized that the cause of women’s oppression globally was based on our biology: our ability, or perceived ability, to bear children. Women further theorized that “gender” is one tool of that oppression: femininity was assigning submissive, compassionate, and weak traits to women, so we would accept our lower class and feel sorry for our oppressors, and masculinity, a position of coercion and power and strength, was for men so they would dominate us. This is the meaning of “radical feminism”; anyone claiming to be a “radical feminist” who does not believe in this biological theory is not actually a radical feminist–she’s mistaken. This includes the “old school radfem” you reblogged previously, if she calls herself a radfem.
Radical feminists believe that gender is imposed, and that it’s a hierarchy. Males>females; Men>women. The notion that gender is innate and that sex isn’t innate is antithesis to radical feminism. It has nothing to do with transgender people, or a bias against anyone. So when people refer to us as “exclusionary,” it is only true to the extent that we say that males are not women. Sex is a biological class with males, females, intersex. Gender is imposed on us. “Celebrating” gender would be like “celebrating” race for a black person. Believing that gender is innate is, for us, like believing that race is innate. Therefore, we believe that the ideology of the transgender movement is antagonistic to women’s liberation. This has nothing to do with individual transgender people. Furthermore, the people who say that it is “lucky” or “privileged” to be a woman have typically been men (and some class traitors) from the Men’s Rights’ Activists movement. So the idea that womanhood as a class is “privileged” screams to any woman who has thought about these issues and agrees w/ the biological basis for our oppression “MRA!” The same goes for the idea of “cis,” which not only assigns privilege to women, but claims we accept our gender. We don’t! We resent the implication that we “identify” with our oppression. However, our assertion that our ability to bear children is the basis for our oppression also theorizes that the reason for this oppression was and is based on jealousy of women for having this power. What does the transgender movement say? “Men can have babies!” We include those transmen in womanhood; they are not men having babies: we do not exclude “trans people”,/b> from anything; we exclude male trans people from “womanhood,” period. Radical feminism is ,b> male ,/b> exclusionary, not trans exclusionary. Therefore, the term “TERF” is not accurate, and since it is often accompanied by some verbal or physical demonstration of hatred towards women, your adoption of the term is disappointing, to say the least.
You asserted last time that a trans-identified male who doesn’t “pass” experiences transphobia, which is a “subset” of misogyny. No. Women are not reviled for being “too feminine.” This is an experience of males. Not women. (I’m talking US culture, of course. Patriarchy is worldwide but sex roles [gender] are different in different cultures). Males who “identify with” women, males who are reviled for being feminine, do not experience sexism. They most certainly are not having a female experience–they’re having a male one. ALL males learn male socialization beginning in infancy, even if some males reject the “masculine” role. The main part of this role is to dominate women.
How do men dominate women? They dominate us by intimidation, by brute force, with their penises, by taking over our bodies and spaces, while excluding us from social, physical, and political life. They dominate us w/ gaslighting and with taking advantage of our socialized acceptance and empathy that usually extends to ignoring our own needs for others’ feelings and especially males’ feelings. They manipulate us – hard to meet a heterosexual woman who hasn’t had a boyfriend tell her he’ll kill himself if she breaks up with him, as just one example. Fighting for our rights has included creating safe environments where we couldn’t be physically and mentally abused and intruded upon, and where in activities that involved physical abilities, women could have our own spaces since men’s bodies are different and stronger. We created spaces and venues where women could talk about this socialization and how to empower ourselves to care about ourselves and women generally and not put all our caring towards men who manipulate us and always put men first. At the same time, we fought for access to political/Political institutions.
What are some of the main conflicts between radical feminists and Trans Rights Activists? Penises in women’s spaces, including domestic violence shelters, males in women’s activities, males claiming absolute ownership of women’s bodies, telling us that male feelings are more important than women’s safety, telling us that getting together even for a meeting on our own is bigoted and forbidden. Telling us we must “center” males in our feminism. Telling us that a male’s feelings of “identity” are more important than 20 females’ feelings of self-worth and pride. Telling us that males will kill themselves if we don’t agree they’re women (I have dealt w/ depression for 35+ years and yes, I care about suicide risk but suicide threats “do this or I’ll kill myself,” are manipulation). Telling us that one boy’s feelings of identity are more important than 200 girls’ feelings of safety and privacy. You don’t know what it’s like for girls going through puberty and learning day by day that our bodies are there for the male gaze. Reaching that day when leaving the house means honks and cat calls and worse each and every day. No break. We don’t get harassed when we’re in a skirt but not when we’re in pants (unless we are mistaken for being male). That’s a male experience. Add to that periods, which are still generally considered gross, and other hormonal changes. Right at that age, girls around the country are being told that they have to have boys in their changing rooms. Oh, and now that males are women, men get to represent us politically and Politically. So each tenet, and each priority of trans rights activists is specifically in agreement w/ the oppression of women historically, and the antithesis of our movement to liberate women everywhere.
Under the umbrella of “transgender” there are lots of different people and feelings and “identities,” but let’s look at one group: the “gender nonconforming” males. These are males that radical feminists who are “gender nonconforming” ourselves would theoretically have a lot in common with. But what does the patriarchy teach/tell them? They’re told: fine, you want to be more “feminine” and wear dresses, makeup and ignore power tools? We’ll let you. Especially if you say it’s “feminine” to be accepting and “masculine” to be dominant. But putting women in their place and controlling them is not fucking optional. So you tell those women that they will never be safe. You show them who’s really in control. And the men listen, boy do they listen.
There are now virtually none of the spaces I came of age with as a woman, and a feminist. Women’s bars? Gone. Women’s libraries? Gone. Women’s consciousness-raising groups and sessions? Gone. Michigan Women’s Festival? Gone. Women’s “take back the night” marches and rallies? Gone. (yes, genius, they still exist. Do most of them talk about women and women’s danger and not “danger to people” generally? Usually not. Has much changed in terms of the need for them? No. NYC is not representative of places in the country and the world. Women will often forego activities because of the danger of being outside at night to us). We also can’t talk about the very oppression we face, which is biological. Abortion rights as a women’s issue? Gone. Midwifery as a women’s issue? Gone. Periods as a women’s issue? Gone. Feminists who have witnessed this disappearing are sad, upset, and yes, we’re fucking pissed. And we are not going to be silent just because people like you want to make this about identities, and have some sort of need to prove that it’s bigotry, and not a defense of our own selves, our own bodies, our own liberation as well as our concern about many people, especially children, being caught up in this trend. On the rare occasions women try to have a women-only space, it is knocked down. Trans-identified males can have their own spaces, even ones around the topic of getting lesbians to fuck them (i.e, homophobia and rape), at a Planned Parenthood event. But lesbians can’t talk amongst themselves at a Goddess event. On and on. But we’re not standing for it. We’re going to keep fighting back. If you don’t like it you can fuck off.
What about the men who support the radical feminists? You seem to be trying to prove, or are convinced, that a friend of yours has suddenly become bigoted about not only trans people but maybe all “LGBTQ” people, including you. Ironic, considering you said previously “I think one thing these friends and I can all agree on is that maligning all misgivings about trans identity politics as “transphobic” is thought-terminating bullshit.” I told you on Twitter it’s also very ironic, because part of the hatred against gay males is because you don’t put women in our proper submissive place. Now you’re criticizing the straight dude for listening to us and not putting us in our place. I’m not going to talk here on your blog about private conversations I’ve had w/ particular individuals, and I wonder why you are. But I can tell you that other men I’ve talked to were interested in learning about this topic, and once they agreed that the movement was at odds with women’s liberation, they began to look at the way women were treated online w/ regard to this and other issues. They saw the vitriol and the hatred and violence and threats of violence and they were shocked, sad, and angry. They saw that it wasn’t just trolls – that the “kill all terfs” was real anger and hatred, and they saw this reflected in real life encounters as well. They talked to women who knew nothing about this movement-working class women in US or in other countries, and those women, mothers, especially were shocked that males were saying they were women. The anger you are witnessing against misogyny and misogynists you are attributing to transphobia. That’s your issue, not theirs.
[I can also respond to the studies you cite, and transsexuality vs. transgenderism, etc. But I’m not sure how we can have this “smarter conversation” you say you’re seeking w/o a basic understanding of the terms, beliefs, and conflicts]
I don’t have much to add aside from that this was a really good comment.
As long as I’m using Twitter as my link feeder, here are some links about what I discussed above:
PS, Thanks, Hummus!
No Soy Yo, I agree with Hummus that this is a great comment, as are the links you provided in your reply comment. I am going to post a separate comment below rather than tack it into this comment’s thread, even though your comment helped inform my thoughts. Thank you for taking the time to write this.
Thank you for writing this. Hadn’t realized (though I still don’t really understand how) women spaces are being claimed this way, and how on earth that became normalized.
It seems obvious to me that surgery and hormones are effective at treating gender disphoria. Literally gender disphoria means being unhappy about your biological sex and especially the sexist gender excpectations placed on us as a result, but in these cases it means also wishing to switch sex.
However, when it comes to drug, electrocution and surgery based treatments for various forms of unhappiness and mental abnormality, I find it horrific that people think the burden of proof is on those who have much less money to prove these treatments are harmful, and that merely being “effective” at treating the diagnosed condition is enough, or being beneficial according to a meta-analysis of selective published small studies by the industy. The burden of proof should be on those who want to sell the treatment to proof (each study should have to be at least twice as big as the last with no selective publication) that it *increases* overall quality of life and life expectancy, since many “effective” treatments can do the opposite, and to clearly state whether it actually cures the underlying condition (like anti-bacterial drugs do) or not. I’m pretty extreme but when it comes to government funding, I think all government programs and subsidies should have to prove they are better than all the other proposals competing for funding in terms of overall improvements in quality of life. It seems to me that these treatments are massively overrated in this respect because they’re profitable, but I could be wrong.
The few gender dysphoric people who have access to such treatments (and their parents if they’re children) deserve all the data on both adverse effects and possible adverse effects data. I hope they’re not only being told is that it is effective in treating gender disphoria, which in this case just means it’s effective in reducing their desire for a sex change. Just focusing exclusively on the fact it reduces the diagnosed condition and giving inadequate discussion of adverse effects and risks is not fair on gender disphoric people either.
It seems to me like an increasinging number of people being recommended it at a younger and younger age for being gender non-conforming, and some people who transistion even in their late teens or early adulthood do regret it. Maybe you’ve already discussed this somewhere else, but I’d be interested in what you think of the basic theory that gender disphoric people are victims of sexism and sexist gender roles, and that the primary solution to this is to oppose these roles and get rid of sexism?
There has been an overlap in trans surgery and trans hormone therapy between psychiatry and cosmetic surgery. I honestly feel roughly the same way about cis men taking steroids to be more manly and cis women getting breast implants (although some forms of trans ops and therapies are more extreme than either of these). If a man has disphoria, thinking his muscles are not big enough, or a woman has disphoria about her breast size or shape, hormones and surgery will be effective at reducing disphoria about these things in particular. It doesn’t treat the underlying cause, it does not necessarily benefit overall health, and it’s not harmless to society, but it is effective.
However, I haven’t seen anti-gender feminists bothering to criticise these *much* and many appear supportive of such things including voluntary transition. I think this is because their focus is being able allowed to organise based on their biological sex to persue their shared interests.
A better analogy would be an anorexic who undergoes liposuction. I’m sure they wouldn’t regret it, but that doesn’t mean they will then feel better, or that it’s necessarily the best option. The fact that some people “need” to go through such drastic measures as to remove healthy, working, organs should not be celebrated, nor of course should they be shunned, discriminated against, or scorned. You’re right though, that’s not a primary concern of most radical feminists, and many of us and some transsexual people think that they are being used for the current postmodern campaign of the “umbrella” transgender definition.
One concern of many radfems with regard to srs is the lessening of requirements to be able to receive surgery and/or hormones, and especially how that is affecting children. The vast majority of children who don’t “transition,” desist sometime soon after puberty. Yet they and their parents are being pushed into transitioning, now with laws judging parents’ competency on their acceptance that their son is a girl and vice-versa. This level of state control into sex stereotypes is frightening for many of us.
I am a critic of the medical and psychiatric industries in general, and I also criticize them in this case. If I mention that SSRI’s cause depression, mammograms don’t save lives, screening colonoscopies don’t save lives, etc., I am not criticizing anyone who has a screening mammogram, takes SSRI’s etc., but rather the medical industry, and I’m not going to infantilize people with gender dysphoria either. There are many issues with the studies Tarzie has linked to, and in my opinion they don’t meet the burden of proof you bring up.
My reply with list of links backing up my other comment got tied up in moderation, so I don’t want to give more than one link. Some links about the “umbrella” vs. gender dysphoria, the opinion of most radical feminists (“Transsexuals are not the problem”), and sources about medical industry generally are in this Twitter thread:
Thanks for the comment. Can you explain why that’s a better analogy?
Hey, sorry, please forget the analogy comment–I was referring to the permanency, but really it’s probably best not to use analogies. As I quote in my comment below, this “treatment” is unique within both medicine and psychiatry, so let’s just leave it at that.
I’d just like to clarify that I wasn’t making an analogy, but discussing problems with cosmetic medicine in general. There are not related only by analogy. I think trans medicine is an extreme form of cosmetic surgery, legitimised by a psychiatric diagnosis, and not merely analogous. Psychiatrists can and do classify other body issues like anorexia, bigorexia and could easily add a general “body disphoria” to the DSM that could include all body issues, including cis insecurity about breast size, and which would profit the cosmetic medicine industry further. The overlap between the two industries may be unique at the moment but at the same time it is a natural overlap that occurs when each industry is allowed to operate to its extreme and collaborate.
Way off topic but I thought you would be interested.
Not all that off-topic. Ms. Winner looks like a really, really unhappy person. None of her selfies show any happiness. For a young woman that’s really unusual. She might not have had any romantic relationships. Physically she has a masculine build and is probably an extreme outlier in female testosterone levels. It’s possible that she’s intersex.
I have been hesitant to comment on the last few blogs because I am pretty new to radical feminism, and I’m even less-familiar with transgender politics and activism. But since there hasn’t been much commenting, I decided to tepidly post this comment, hoping that it might add something. I welcome any challenges to my positions as that will help me learn more.
Prior to reading about radical feminism, my position on trans politics was essentially knee-jerk support despite being ignorant of pretty much everything about it. I basically thought, “Trans people are marginalized and oppressed. I stand with other oppressed people, such as women, Palestinians, people of color, etc. Therefore I support trans people and their activism.” As I later dug deeper into radical feminism, I was initially surprised to discover the conflict between it and trans politics/activism. I have been reading quite a bit about this conflict lately, though I confess that I have struggled to locate a reliable, good-faith argument from the trans activist positon (more on that later).
I find the basics of radical feminism to be compelling, its analysis of patriarchy, how women are oppressed as a class, its criticisms of pornography, its way of understanding “sex work”, etc. I also fully agree with the radfem position on gender, that it is a socially-imposed and culturally-reinforced hierarchy, not something innate to human beings.
Considering trans politics and activism, I currently have three struggles. The first is that there are many aspects of trans politics that confuse me. The frequent conflating of biological sex with gender identity is one example. If a trans woman says, “I was born as a man, but now I am a woman,” I more-or-less understand what they are saying. However, if they claim, “I was born male, but now I am female,” that is nonsensical to me. Another confusion I have is the way transgender is defined. A frequent definition I see is (paraphrasing, not a direct quote), “someone who’s gender identity is different than the gender they were assigned at birth.” This confuses me, because gender isn’t assigned at birth – sex is. I have also seen trans activists claim something along the lines of, “there are an infinite number of genders or gender identities,” and to me that seems like they are using gender as another word for personality, at which point they are not saying anything meaningful.
The second struggle I have with trans politics is the way it is enforced. Tarzie mentioned in a previous post, “… maligning all misgivings about trans identity politics as “transphobic” is thought-terminating bullshit.” I completely agree, but I think it goes much further than that. The mob-mentality way that conformity to trans politics is enforced is approaching theological levels of silencing dissent and criticism. [A reminder, I admit my experience with trans politics is less informed than I want it to be], but I have never seen criticism met with a rational argument. It’s not just thought-terminating. Public policies are being proposed and adopted based on trans politics, and criticism or opposition to those policies are met with the same mob-mentality dismissal and silencing. This tendency of shouting down critics of trans politics or policies advanced by trans activists makes me extremely skeptical and just sends my bullshit detector into the red.
The last struggle I have with trans politics is the harmful and dangerous baggage that has manifested in recent years. I will bring up two examples. First is the dubious behavior of many trans activists. The prolific use of dehumanizing and mischaracterizing labels such as “TERF” is dishonest and dangerous. I have repeatedly seen radfems called TERFs with accompanying threats of violence (“Kill all TERFs” in extreme cases). This is advocacy of male violence against women. Period. Yet since the male making the threat identifies as trans, it is met with far less opposition -even silence – from people with left politics. (Perhaps this is what Tarzie was referring to in an earlier post by, “I think we can also agree that there is at least a smattering of penis-having assholes in the trans movement throwing their weight around in relation to biological women, and these shitheads should go fuck themselves.”) The second example of harmful and dangerous activity is applying the “trans” label to gender non-conforming children. The label itself is not really the problem, the problem lies when parents and doctors choose to make interventions in the child’s health and development. In extreme cases, parents and doctors who believe their child is transgender will administer puberty blockers to children who are too young to understand the long-term, permanent consequences. This is child abuse – and parents and doctors who do this are celebrated within the trans community for their progressivism. So to conclude this paragraph, trans politics is the only subset of left politics I am aware of where male violence against women and child abuse are tolerated and accepted, even if just by a subset of supporters. Am I guilty of cherry picking here?
My problems with trans politics aside, I understand that trans people face oppression and I oppose that oppression. I do not deny the experience of any trans person, and I admit the limits of my own understanding, especially as a member of the oppressor class. Tarzie said in a previous comment, “The [second wave feminists] I’ve read make a clear distinction between trans people — with whom they seem genuinely sympathetic — and an undeniably retrograde strain of trans politics.” I agree with that distinction 100%, and I hope my comments above reflect that.
Once again, I am open to challenges, criticism, or suggestions for further reading. I would be especially interested in a link to a good-faith, well-argued position that is sympathetic to the trans position in the radfem vs trans debate, because that is where I feel most vulnerable to ignorance.
A belated thank you for the reply above and for this thoughtful, articulate comment (I was waiting for Tarzie and/or others to comment, but …) I can’t help with your request at the end, but I question the idea that non-transgender people are the “oppressor class” when a definition of transgender isn’t even available (see my links after my first comment above). These days, being gender nonconforming yet not “identifying as trans” seems to be far less accepted in many circles. This also relates to Tarsi’s comment about “punching up.” Is a white male who says he’s female truly oppressed by women? Is a white male who wears make-up oppressed by women? Sorry, I don’t see it.
Regarding the issue of children, unfortunately this abuse of children is widespread and is being enshrined in law in the UK, Canada, US, and coming to the periphery soon. This BBC documentary may be the last time a MSM site dares to discuss this “debate,” even though at least 80% of kids desist in being “trans,” while hormone blockers are regularly prescribed to ALL kids whose parents ask for them. (and btw, the desistance rates are *not* seen when given these drugs. And, btw most of these kids would otherwise grow up to be healthy gay and lesbian adults, so this is a form of sexualizing children, experimenting on “different” children, gay eugenics, and gay sterilization previously only dreamed of by the ruling class)
I think my comment identifying myself as a member of the oppressor class lacked context, sorry about that. I did not intend to imply that non-transgender people are the oppressor class. I am a member of the oppressor class, not because I am not trans, but because I am a heterosexual, white male. For that reason I can’t fully understand either side of this debate, both the trans activists and the radical feminists. I try to empathize as much as possible, but I recognize my limits. I do, however, understand that males are socialized to minimize and normalize violence against women, and I clearly see a lot of that manifesting in trans politics, which I find disgusting. And the fact that it’s tolerated by the “left” is simply unacceptable.
“Is a white male who says he’s female truly oppressed by women? Is a white male who wears make-up oppressed by women? Sorry, I don’t see it.” – I think that everyone is oppressed by gender, and gender norms prevent us from becoming fully human and free, whether one is conforming or non-conforming. This is why I support the rad fem position that gender should be abolished. This brings up another area where I have a problem with trans politics. Trans activists, and queer politics in general, do not want to abolish gender, they want to diversify it, celebrate it, embrace it, find their individual identities and and expressions in it. To put it bluntly, I see mainstream trans politics as a dead end. It does not seek liberation and it is destined to fail, because the source of oppression – gender and sexist stereotypes – are embraced, rather than opposed. It reminds me of liberals who claim to oppose the capitalist, imperialist, white supremacist system of power in the USA, but rather than seeking to abolish it, they embrace it and wish to reform it from within.
> The main part of this role is to dominate women.
Ah, not other men. I am enlightened now. All those hierarchies for nothing.
how does the sex hierarchy of man>woman (2 sexes) now become “all those hierarchies”?
Hierarchies according to Michael:
In the past (and sometimes to this day), white people who had relationships with black people or wanted to marry a black person were denied this right, and were even beaten up or killed over being a “n*er lover.”
Ergo: Richard Loving was oppressed based on race whereas a black person who fell in love with another black person wasn’t oppressed based on race, but rather had race privilege. Also, white supremacy exists so white people will dominate other white people.
There were so many “TERFs” in that article you linked to, the actual data may have gotten lost. (“the glaring omission” from previous weeks that you’ve now rectified is linking to someone who runs a website called the theterfs.com, yet you insist that radfem Twitter represents “belligerent vulgarizing of radfem critique“– yeah, message received, thanks)
BTW, I’d commend your readers to Miranda Yardley, a transwoman who is an ally to radical feminists, who doesn’t claim to be a woman, and criticizes the current transgender ideology. As I pointed out to you on Twitter, the response transwomen like these get from trans advocates is at least as brutal as the response radical feminists get from them. (“you chopped your dick off for nothing.” Lovely.) Lots of good posts on their site:
Re. the Swedish study, I need to repeat here, I am not saying that nobody should medically transition. I am extremely concerned about the push towards medical transition of teenagers when they’re given puberty blockers, and I’m always a critic of the medical and psychiatric industries. I believe that transsexuals are one more group whose concerns are being trivialized and appropriated by the trans rights lobby. The issue of sex reassignment surgery (srs) is of less concern to many radical feminists (including me) than many other issues, but nevertheless the article you linked to is very misleading.
First of all, it’s always best to look at actual data and not a description of the data by anyone, including the study authors. (also including me: everyone should look at the data themselves if they’re interested). But first let’s dispense with the Transadvocate.com article and what the headline and Cristan Williams assert vs what Cecilia Dhejne actually says. The headline says something about suicide rates. At the end of the TA article Williams says “There you have it. …”
but NO. Cecilia Dhejne says nothing about suicide in that interview and certainly does not say that her study says suicide is not there. All she does say is “…Medical transition alone won’t resolve the effects of crushing social oppression: social anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress.”
One thing to keep in mind: this Swedish study and many others regarding transsexuals are comparing the general population to transsexuals who have received treatment. The only answer to a “before and after” question is from interviews asking those who have received “treatment,” subjectively basically “do you feel better?” Even a casual knowledge of human behavior or cognitive dissonance tells us that after removing healthy organs, people want to believe it did them some good. But more than that: the study does not compare treatment and no treatment. It also does not compare treatment with hormones and/or surgery and treatment with psychotherapy or some other possible treatment. So anything this study tells us about the efficacy of treatment is weak at best.
There is an increasing push to allow this “treatment” without ANY psychological tests or treatment whatsoever. I don’t know why this apparently has no one, except for radical feminists, upset.
Regarding suicide, what does the Swedish study say?
“Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population. 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.”
I will emphasize here that this study specifically says it is not trying to answer that question (“does it treat transsexualism”?) but it should be telling that the only long term study of its kind indicates that it doesn’t.
“Sex-reassigned transsexual persons of both genders had approximately a three times higher risk of all-cause mortality than controls, also after adjustment for covariates.” Ah, yes how phobic of me to be concerned with mortality of trans people.
“The Kaplan-Meier curve (Figure 1) suggests that survival of transsexual persons started to diverge from that of matched controls after about 10 years of follow-up.” There are long-term problems that are being ignored.
Study: “The cause- specific mortality from suicide was much higher in sex-reassigned persons, compared to matched controls.” And a reminder, what Dhejne says, “Medical transition alone won’t resolve the effects of crushing social oppression: social anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress.”
John Hopkins doctor whose article was published in a conservative Christian site (no not defending the site, but the article wasn’t a conservative Christian article–just published there–whereas there were ten “TERF’s” in the article by the MRA author you linked to): “ The most thorough follow-up of sex-reassigned people—extending over thirty years and conducted in Sweden, where the culture is strongly supportive of the transgendered—documents their lifelong mental unrest. Ten to fifteen years after surgical reassignment, the suicide rate of those who had undergone sex-reassignment surgery rose to twenty times that of comparable peers.”
The MRA guy writing on an MRA site: “No, the study does not show that medical transition results in suicide or suicidal ideation. The study explicitly states that such is not the case and those using this study to make that claim are using fallacious logic.”
Yeah, whatever. He’s mischaracterizing both what the JH MD said and also what his own interviewee said. Again, everyone read the study, it’s open source (but I’m out of links w/o moderation).
What about violence?
“Transsexual individuals were at increased risk of being convicted for any crime or violent crime after sex reassignment (Table 2); this was, however, only significant in the group who underwent sex reassignment before 1989.”
So transsexuals AFTER srs were more likely to be convicted of violent crime than those of their same birth sex. I.e., a transwoman was MORE likely to be convicted of violent crime than a man. Later it was still true but not significantly more (but not LESS–males don’t turn into females with regard to violence according to this study). Of course police and court prejudices and class are all relevant here, and always hard to figure out what’s happening in a police state, but the claims that transwomen are like women in terms of violent behavior have not been proven anywhere, and seem to be disproven here.
What’s this “treatment” we’re talking about?
“The treatment for transsexualism includes removal of body hair, vocal training, and cross-sex hormonal treatment aimed at making the person’s body as congruent with the opposite sex as possible to alleviate the gender dysphoria. Sex reassignment also involves the surgical removal of body parts to make external sexual characteristics resemble those of the opposite sex, so called sex reassignment/confirmation surgery (SRS). This is a unique intervention not only in psychiatry but in all of medicine. he present form of sex reassignment has been practised for more than half a century and is the internationally recognized treatment to ease gender dysphoria in transsexual persons., 
So this is a unique intervention not seen anywhere else, and the “problem” it’s addressing doesn’t seem to be treated adequately by this therapy?
What does the other study you linked to, the meta-analysis, say?
“All the studies were observational and most lacked controls.”
“Conclusions: Very low quality evidence suggests that sex reassignment that includes hormonal interventions in individuals with GID likely improves gender dysphoria, psychological functioning and comorbidities, sexual function and overall quality of life.”
“Very low quality,” “suggests,” “likely.”
Please remember we are talking about removing working, healthy organs and a lifetime of dangerous hormones.
So there are are people who actually believe there is no such thing as a gendered brain. And there are people who reckon gender fluid is not laughable. But do they exist much beyond the internet and academia? Personally, I’ve never met any. I guess I need to get out more.
Having said that: men insisting they are women, white folk claiming to be black, rich people pretending to be poor. Fuck off the lot of you.
Off topic – How much stock do you put into this http://www.nairaland.com/955076/black-african-nobility-ancient-europe/4
I too am at war with the local DSA and trying not to have a stroke over their ignorance and self-aggrandizing. Have you taken a look at the new crop of newly minted “well *I* went to college and let me tell *YOU*” activists recently?