Change Your World-NOT your Body

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lesbian Co-opters and the Pressure to Transition

Somewhere between performing for the Male Gaze and Feminism swirling 'round and 'round the toilet bowl, more and more straight women are co-opting Lesbian identity. Co-opting and then pressuring insecure lesbians into transition in order to relieve their own lezbophobia. Case in point...http://www.vice.com/read/lesbians-no-longer. 

I am not sure what is more disgusting the blatant misogyny from the trans female... “Men get treated like shit,” he says. “I mean, I know women get treated like shit all the time. But like, when you’re a man, people just bump into you all over the place. You have to hold doors, but nobody says thank you. And you don’t get compliments, ever.”
“Yeah,” Sadie chimes in, “girls are always telling each other, ‘oh honey you look great! I love your dress! Did you cut your hair?’”
“Yeah,” says Marco, taking a sip of his beer. “None of that.”
“And the handshake really threw me at first,” he adds. “Women shake each other’s hands like this.”
He stands up to demonstrate and shakes my hand in a calm, casual manner.
“But men,” he continues, “do it like this.” or this... "He had his breasts removed on May 2 of this year, the last outwardly visible sign of his past as Erica. The plan is to have bottom surgery – the final step – in May of 2013.So far, at every step, from cutting his hair off, to the first shot of testosterone, to the legal name change, it was Marco who was nervous beforehand—afraid to take the plunge, while Sadie was calm and supportive. She would hold Marco’s hand, tell him that it was going to be all right, remind him that this is what he wanted and that he would be happy after doing it." ...from the straight woman who claims to be a "failed lesbian" with every lesbian partner she has behind her/beside her having had coincidently transitioned!

Before the straight co-opter got hold of her and pressured her into transitioning.

Queered straight women not unlike the one in this article are becoming more common in lesbian spaces. This, like female transition is yet another harmful product of the backlash against feminism. As the Gender Straight Jacket has tightened and hyper femininity now a patriarchal expectation of females as young as toddlers, male domination both within and without hetero relationships are reigning as if feminism had never occurred.  As a result, hetero female agency has shrank to dust speck leaving hetero females somewhere between a 50's house frau and an over worked, under paid whore. 

But instead of utilizing feminist inspiration to change the men in power and the men in their lives, they are instead using their own straight privilege to occupy lesbian spaces and lesbian women. And the moment the actual lesbianism of their hetero escape sets in, they are planting lezbophobic trans time bombs in the minds of young fragile lesbians, and thus creating men they can have an equal (or greater) power exchange with (precisely because these men are women)! 

While we lesbians can understand their plight, we cannot allow their privilege to harm our community. We must overthrow the PC driven queer alphabet soup from guilting us into the liberal submission it has beaten us into! Because at this late stage in the game it is not just lesbian rights we're fighting for, but the lesbian RIGHT TO LIFE!

dirt

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112 comments:

  1. I don't agree with Dirt.

    But to the anon at 10:31: the fact that there are lesbians who do bad things does not mean that sexism doesn't exist (as I think you're trying to imply). Our rape culture has taught us that it's OK to treat women like sex objects, whether we are male or female. We learn that looking up a girl's skirt is perverted but funny, and totally acceptable. This is something that all people, male or female, gay or straight, need to be aware of and make efforts to change. But not all lesbians are feminists, and a woman doesn't have to transition to being male in order to oppress other women.

    And, of course, transmen can be feminist and they don't necessarily oppress women.

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  2. Dirt, you need to realize that the people who read your blog aren't all seeing the world the same way as you. You described a quote as "blatant" misogyny, but it's not obvious at all to me (and I suspect, to most of the people reading this). If you're looking to educate people, maybe you should explain further the misogyny that you see.

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  3. Of course dirt took the comments off that she, with her delusional mind, didn't agree with.

    Go have another drink!

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  4. Ah, my comment has been deleted, as have other. Nice to see that the first comment here is in reply to a comment that no longer exists! To reiterate what I said, Dirt's blog is not about being female or the "death of she". It's just a soapbox for her to stand on and shout hate at anyone who doesn't resemble herself. This isn't even about lesbians. It's about classes of lesbians. God forbid you should be anything other than butch because as this latest post shows, she's got it in for you too.

    I really do find it incredible that in a country such as the States, which prides itself on being a land with constitutional rights to freedom, peoples freedom to conduct legitimate relationships and express themselves as they see fit is unacceptable to the likes of Dirt. Or am I really supposed to believe that the Big Bag Male Gaze is responsible for people exercising their right to freedom of choice?

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  5. Haha, she takes the time to delete some posts, but never replies to questions directed to her. She communicates with us through censorship and bullying only.

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  6. It's not men's fault that lebians don't want to be with women anymore.

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  7. @12:14: Exactly! You put it perfectly. Her silence speaks louder than her ranting ever could!

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  8. She's probably busy sucking down a bottle of booze!

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  9. They are still a Lesbian couple. The femmey Erica just became more andogynous looking after the "t" and haircut. The comments from both in the article clearly show their desire for "normalization" in society (being seen as a hetero couple).
    It's no secret that being a Lesbian makes the rest of society uncomfortable - they don't know how to really deal with you. It's easier for society to deal with a person who at least looks like a strange small man (society doesn't care what's in your pants.)

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  10. As someone who's transitioning, I can tell you that society sure does care what's in our pants. They make a huge freaking deal about it constantly. They tell you that you're not really a man if you still have a vagina, and you're not really a woman if you still have a penis.

    I keep saying, I don't agree with Dirt, and I don't like her. But I don't see the value in accusing her of being an alcoholic. Remember just after the VP debate, Fox news was accusing Biden of drinking before the debate? That kind of accusation only helps you make your point to the ignorant and mean-spirited.

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  11. Haha, I know this isn't the right place to say this, but I just had a consultation with a surgeon and have scheduled my top surgery. I'm giddy and a bit overwhelmed. The surgery isn't until January, but I have a lot of things to do to prepare.

    The more I read Dirt's blog and the comments from people on it, both supportive of the trans community and not, the more I realize that I'm on the right path.

    So thank you, Dirt. Your voice of unreason is helping transgender people like me find more reasons to do what's right for ourselves.

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  12. The title of this article in question is:

    "Lesbians No Longer: A Transgender Trip into Heteronormality"

    Notice the final word in the title of the article which is "Heteronormality". What exactly does “heteronormality” mean? It appears to be saying that based on outward appearances this young couple looks exactly like any happy heterosexual couple. Heck, we even expect a white picket fence with mom in the kitchen and dad mowing the lawn, or performing some other masculine task. By quickly glancing at the happy male with the short black hair and the extremely feminine dressed female, this picture could be something from the 1950s. That is, men dress and act one way and women dress and act another way. I suggest the following experiment. Take a photograph from the 1950s that depicts a happy heterosexual couple with him sipping a beer, puttering around with the barbeque, and the lady of the house in her prettiest dress. Now, look at the photograph at the top of this article. See the similarities.

    “Sadie sits cross-legged and sips a beer while Marco cleans and lights the grill. Sadie, wearing a short, fitted dress, asks, “Honey, do we have enough coal?” in that singsong voice girlfriends sometimes use to cloak skepticism as supportiveness.

    “I’ll figure it out,” Marco answers, speaking more to the small fire he is tending than to Sadie.

    His hair is cropped short, and his voice has deepened from the hormone therapy.

    Sadie calls herself a failed lesbian. She’s had sex with three women in her life, and all three of them are now in various stages of becoming men. This includes her partner of two and a half years. When Sadie fell in love with Marco, he was a woman named Erica.
    Suddenly, at age 25, when Sadie thought she had a pretty good idea of who she was and had become comfortable identifying as a lesbian, she has found herself in a committed, heterosexual relationship with a man. And not just with any man, but one who wants to distance himself from any queer identity he once had, taking Sadie with him.

    “I can spend time with newer friends and talk about my ‘boyfriend’ without feeling like I’m telling some giant lie,” she said.

    It sure looks like “heteronormality” to me. Isn’t this what society expects all along? So, here is my question:

    WHAT IS SO UNIQUE, SPECIAL, OR REVOLUTIONARY ABOUT “HETERONORMALITY”?

    Perhaps, just perhaps, trans is nothing more than a different way of saying “heteronormality” while at the same time claiming it’s something trendy and revolutionary. Yes, I think I finally understand.

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  13. "And, of course, transmen can be feminist and they don't necessarily oppress women."

    Question: How can we completely separate feelings of internalized misogyny from “gender identity disorder”? After all, how many girls and women in our society really feel comfortable with themselves or their bodies?

    Perhaps there really are a few rare individuals who are “gender dysphoric” and could benefit from transitioning (surgical removal of both healthy breasts, a life time of testosterone, and surgical alteration of healthy female genitals). Or, it could be that the clearly observed increase in the number of FTM “transitioning” is largely fueled by a mixture of internalized misogyny which no female can really escape, homophobia and lesbian phobia, and standard trans talking points that make it seem as if “transitioning” doesn’t involve blood, a surgeon’s scalpel, or a life time of cross gender hormones?

    Question: Has there ever been a time in recorded history in which the mutilation of female bodies in one form or another hasn’t existed?

    Question: Unless we can say with all certainty that no woman ever lives to regret “transitioning” and that culture plays no role whatsoever in the decision to “transition”, isn’t this just another form of the mutilation of female bodies. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before.

    If we are wrong about FTM transitioning, how many mutilated female bodies are we willing to toss aside?

    "I really do find it incredible that in a country such as the States, which prides itself on being a land with constitutional rights to freedom, peoples freedom to conduct legitimate relationships and express themselves as they see fit is unacceptable to the likes of Dirt. Or am I really supposed to believe that the Big Bag Male Gaze is responsible for people exercising their right to freedom of choice?"

    First of all, I seriously doubt that the person who posted this comment is a Constitutional scholar. Second, it doesn’t matter what country one lives in because freedom to exercise critical thinking skills and post independent thought and analysis should be granted to all humans. I'm sorry if independent thought offends people. Now, I want to discuss FTM “transitioning” because the word itself seems to shield or hide the extent of damage being done to healthy female bodies.

    As to "transitioning" in general doesn't it assume all the following:

    (1.) No woman will ever live to regret having painful multiple surgeries to surgically scrape away every inch of her female identity.
    (2.) Culture, family, or peer pressure play no role whatsoever in the "body modification" of females and their genitals.
    (3.) All humans are capable of making rational decisions, and are fully aware of all the risks associated with any decision.
    (4.) All surgeons come highly qualified and are equally skilled.

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  14. Reviewing "transitioning":

    (1.) In FTM "transitioning", a surgeon takes a scalpel and removes both health breasts. It's not a simple procedure to turn female breasts into a male chest, and it comes with pain and scarring. This is major surgery, and occasionally people die in surgery. Why do females even have breasts? Why not simply surgically lop off the breasts of all females? Human females like all primates have breasts. Breasts can be erotic, and they are the best food for babies. Contrary to what some think, they do serve a purpose.
    (2.) In order to maintain a masculine appearance, testosterone has to be taken for life. If a transman still has his ovaries and uterus there is an issue of long term testosterone use and PCOS. Besides PCOS, elevated liver levels, lipid levels, and other health problems might occur.
    (3.) Because of PCOS, some physicians recommend removal of ovaries and uterus within five year of starting testosterone. Hysterectomies are major surgery, and not all insurance will cover this for "gender dysphoria".
    (4.) I saved phalloplasty for last because it requires multiple surgeries to the female genitals, skin grafts, and is painful by any standard.

    "It is important to note that most phalloplasty procedures require multiple surgical visits as well as some revisions. The procedures can involve pain and discomfort, require significant recovery time, and often leave large areas of visible scarring. Because of the nature of using skin grafts, there is always a risk of tissue death and loss of part or all of the penis. Other potential complications include the extrusion of testicular or penile implants, the formation of a stricture (an abnormal narrowing; blockage) or fistula (an abnormal connection; leakage) in the newly constructed urethral passage, and infection. There may also be damage to the nerves of the donor area, resulting in numbness or loss of function. Erotic sensation may be changed or diminished. And the results may not be as aesthetically pleasing as one might like them to be. Also, one must consider the usual risks of any surgery, including bleeding, infection, problems from anesthesia, blood clots, or death (rare).

    Phalloplasty procedures also tend to be very expensive (between $50,000 to $150,000) and are often not covered by insurance.”
    http://www.ftmguide.org/grs.html#phallo

    Risks/complications of metaidoioplasty and phalloplasty

    Possible complications specific to metaidoioplasty without urethral lengthening include:

    • dissatisfaction with the length of the penis (shorter than expected)
    • change in sensation: loss of sensation, persistent tenderness, or hypersensitivity
    • temporary or permanent narrowing of the vaginal opening, making penetration difficult
    • change in urine spray, resulting in splashing of the labia and vaginalskin
    Possible complications specific to urethral lengthening include:
    * urethral fistula: opening between the urethra and the skin, leading
    to leakage of urine (very common: occurs in around 45% of
    phalloplasties)
    * partial or total death of the tissue used to create the new urethra
    * narrowing or closure of the new urethra
    *hair growth in the urethra (from hair-bearing tissue used as urethral lining)

    Phalloplasty includes all the possible complications of urethral lengthening as well as possible:

    * partial or total death of the tissue used to create the new penis
    * numbness or hypersensitivity of the skin of the penis
    * decreased sexual sensation, possibly with decreased ability to have orgasm
    * compromised sensation and/or function of the hand and wrist of the donor arm (approximately 5% of patients need a long period of physiotherapy to recover fully)
    * dissatisfaction with the size or shape of the penis
    * excessive scarring in the donor sites (arm/thigh)

    http://transhealth.vch.ca/resources/library/tcpdocs/consumer/surgery-FTM.pdf

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  15. "Haha, I know this isn't the right place to say this, but I just had a consultation with a surgeon and have scheduled my top surgery. I'm giddy and a bit overwhelmed. The surgery isn't until January, but I have a lot of things to do to prepare.

    The more I read Dirt's blog and the comments from people on it, both supportive of the trans community and not, the more I realize that I'm on the right path.

    So thank you, Dirt. Your voice of unreason is helping transgender people like me find more reasons to do what's right for ourselves."

    I certainly don't want to frighten anyone before surgery, but there are some things surgeons don't tell people. Every now and then people die in surgery, and once in a while people pick up infections from hospitals.

    I wish you the best and I trust that you chose your surgeon with great care. Relax and breathe. I wish you a safe and uncomplicated recovery.

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  16. So, how was Marco "pressured into transition," as dirt claims. The only pressure i read into was the need to be at peace with oneself.

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  17. "So, how was Marco "pressured into transition," as dirt claims. The only pressure i read into was the need to be at peace with oneself."

    I see exactly what the title of this article states, "Lesbians No Longer: A Transgender Trip into Heteronormality". Please see my earlier post. Isn't it interesting that "normality" comes right after "hetero" as in "heteronormality". Where did this word come from and what are its cultural implications? We aren't allowed to ask such questions for fear of being branded "transphobic".

    Sometimes we miss the obvious because it's staring us straight in the face.

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  18. @6:46: Haha, of course surgeons tell people about the chances of death and infection. Good lord. Do you really think doctors are all that irresponsible?

    Any time you have surgery (especially if you are put under), there’s a chance for death. And any time you’re cut open (even if you have a wart removed that way), there’s a chance for serious infection.

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  19. This reminds me of Bev Jo's article called "Better to be Anything but a Lesbian."

    Erica/Marco was (maybe still is) more stereotypically "feminine" than I could ever be.

    This whole trans thing is so freaking weird. It doesn't make any sense.

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  20. @ 8:04: I really don’t understand what you’re getting at. Most transgender people are all about challenging what’s heteronormative. Some women transition to male, and then seek female partners. Some transition and seek male partners. Also, some men transition to female and seek female partners, some seek male partners. There are a lot of trans people who identify as gay. There are also a lot of trans people who don’t identify as just male or female.

    Heteronomative is the idea that people fall into distinct and complementary genders, and that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation. From what I understand, it was developed by people who needed the language to explain and examine the systematic oppression of gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered people, and anyone who doesn’t fall into a clear cut category of heterosexual man or woman. It’s not transphobic to talk about what heteronormality means. Heteronormality excludes transsexuals.

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  21. @DM: Men can be feminine, and women can be masculine. So someone who transitions from female to male can still have feminine traits. It can be hard to wrap your head around, I know.

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  22. I forget who said it, but I don't know why people think trans is supposed to be "trendy." It's no more trendy than being gay.

    And yes, I've heard people complain that being gay has become trendy. But that's a load of BS. Who would suffer the discrimination, the bullying, the potential of being murdered for your identity, just because it was fashionable?

    Well, ok, maybe some people would (after all, women used to wear makeup that killed them). But is there honestly anyone in your communities who you think are gay in order to be trendy? And I don't mean people you've heard about on the internet. I mean people you interact with in real life.

    Well, it's that way for the trans community too. I hear lots of accusations of trans being trendy, but every trans person I know has gone through a lifetime of struggling, introspection, therapy. They've put up with bullying, hate from both straight conservatives, and gay liberals. They get abuse from all sides. But they still decide to remain true to themselves and refuse to put aside the trans identity.

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  23. Now, someone said "As to "transitioning" in general doesn't it assume all the following:"

    I'll go over each point, but no, it doesn't assume any of the following. These assumptions are things that Dirt and people like her believe the trans community assumes. And there may be individual trans people who do assume these things. But overall, the trans community and the medical community do not assume the following:

    (1.) No woman will ever live to regret having painful multiple surgeries to surgically scrape away every inch of her female identity.

    Some women do. There really isn't much research available, but what's been done suggests that less than 5% of trans people regret surgical transitioning.

    I notice the way this was phrased was to make the surgeries sound scary. They are no more (or less) scary than any other major surgery. And they don't hurt any more or less.

    (2.) Culture, family, or peer pressure play no role whatsoever in the "body modification" of females and their genitals.
    Of course culture plays a part. We are all products of our cultures. Culture plays a part in us identifying as gay or straight, and it defines for us what male and female is, so it is part of what makes us want to transition. It's possible that family or peers may pressure someone. But the common story of trans people is of conflict with their friends and family when they come out. A woman posted a comment on Dirt's blog a couple weeks ago, asking her to advertise a blog she started to try to help other parents like her prevent their kids from transitioning. It's not unlike what gays and lesbians deal with when they come out to family and friends.

    (3.) All humans are capable of making rational decisions, and are fully aware of all the risks associated with any decision.

    I don't think anyone assumes this. Of course there are times when a person can't make rational decisions. Those people aren't given treatments for transitioning. And it woudl be nice if people were fully aware of all the risks, but that's up to each individual. Just like with any medical treatment, the doctor/surgeon/etc should explain as much as possible, but ultimately it's up to the patient to educate themselves (just like it's up to us to read the warnings on all the medicine we ever take in our lives).

    (4.) All surgeons come highly qualified and are equally skilled.

    I can't imagine anyone believes this. In a world of rating things, you don't think surgeons get rated too? There are sites where you can read feedback from people who've worked with different surgeons, see pictures of their work, and get information as mundane as whether there's free parking. There's a lot to look at when picking a surgeon, and most trans folks have to travel to other parts of the country to find a good one.

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  24. "Dirt, you need to realize that the people who read your blog aren't all seeing the world the same way as you. You described a quote as "blatant" misogyny, but it's not obvious at all to me (and I suspect, to most of the people reading this). If you're looking to educate people, maybe you should explain further the misogyny that you see."

    If we look closely at FTM "transitioning" and the extent of damage or alteration of healthy female genitals and breasts, it sort of resembles female genital mutilation. Female genital mutilation has a history. Don't be afraid to strip it down and look at it realistically. Dirt's little blog isn't really sufficient to properly describe the various ways in which the female body has been surgically altered throughout history. To state that culture plays no role whatsoever is ludicrous on its face. Because we are so immersed in our own culture, perhaps we can't really see ourselves for what we have become. How many teenage girls feel totally secure with their bodies? If girls and women felt completely secure about their bodies, then why are fashion, cosmetics, cosmetic surgery, botox, etc. million dollar industries? We intuitively know that culture does, indeed, play an enormous role in how girls and women view themselves. This should be painfully obvious to any rational person. As to trans, we are repeatedly told that internalized misogyny plays no role whatsoever in “transitioning”. Well, I’m not buying it. Is FTM transitioning “a man trapped in a woman’s body”, or is it an attempt to escape from a society that constantly devalues women from the time they are born? On one end of the spectrum we have the hyper feminization and sexualization of young girls, and on the other end of the spectrum the girls who don’t buy into this sex stereotyping and forced femininity see no other alternative than to actually become boys or men. Whether we want to accept it or not, there are some profound ethical questions that the trans community simply refuses to address. They cleverly dance and dart around the uncomfortable questions. When this no longer works, they directly attack anyone who has the audacity to bring certain issues up. The woman who calls herself Dirt is reviled as if she were the most evil person in the world. Take a cold hard look at female genital mutilation and breast ironing then look at FTM “transitioning”. There are fourteen year old girls who already can’t wait to get a binder. Unfortunately, they don’t know that binding for long periods of time can mis-align the ribs and cause other health problems. The surgical scraping away of female genitals and female identity is an ethical issue. We had better be right about this and stop pretending that “transitioning” doesn’t involve a surgeon’s scalpel and a life time of testosterone.

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  25. Some questions they cleverly avoid:


    Question: How can we completely separate feelings of internalized misogyny from “gender identity disorder”? Is this even possible? After all, how many girls and women in our society really feel comfortable with themselves or their bodies?

    No one wants to touch this question. When some transmen themselves say that they transition because they rather enjoy the male privilege, how can we say that internalized misogyny plays no role? Don't try telling me that most transmen don't like the male privilege and status. I'm not saying FTMs are sexist, but being male does come with its perks and privileges. We are supposed to shut our collective mouths and go along with it all.

    Question: Has there ever been a time in recorded history in which the mutilation of female bodies in one form or another hasn’t existed?

    From Chinese footbinding to female genital mutilation it seems a constant throughout history.

    Question: Unless we can say with all certainty that no woman ever lives to regret “transitioning” and that culture plays no role whatsoever in the decision to “transition”, isn’t this just another form of the mutilation of female bodies. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before.

    "Of course culture plays a part. We are all products of our cultures. Culture plays a part in us identifying as gay or straight, and it defines for us what male and female is, so it is part of what makes us want to transition. It's possible that family or peers may pressure someone. But the common story of trans people is of conflict with their friends and family when they come out. A woman posted a comment on Dirt's blog a couple weeks ago, asking her to advertise a blog she started to try to help other parents like her prevent their kids from transitioning. It's not unlike what gays and lesbians deal with when they come out to family and friends."

    So, this person states that, "it's possible that family or peers may pressure someone." When a woman gets both her healthy breasts surgically removed it's permanent. Do people really believe that years of taking testosterone doesn't have side effects? Has this person ever heard of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) which is common in FTMs who take testosterone for years and still keep their ovaries and uterus?

    "Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) is a medical condition that may affect as many as 25% of Female-to-Male (FTM)transsexual persons. The symptoms of PCOS may include hirsutism (in the absence of androgen treatment), irregular or absent menses, dysmenorreah (painful menses), obesity, and, rarely, true virilization. However, many people show no obvious symptoms. Persons with PCOS are at increased risk for endometrial hyperplasia (overgrowth of the lining of the uterus), endometrial cancer, and breast cancer. Polycystic ovaries and uterine fibroids, which may or may not be related to PCOS, are common in FTM people and may be aggravated by testosterone therapy."

    http://www.shb-info.org/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderfiles/shbmengea.pdf

    Yes, they admit that culture, peer pressure etc. might influence the decision to "transition", but we shouldn't concern ourselves with this at all. It doesn't matter, and don't worry about it.

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  26. "Culture plays a part in us identifying as gay or straight, and it defines for us what male and female is, so it is part of what makes us want to transition."


    ABSOLUTELY,BUT CERTAIN QUESTIONS AREN'T ALLOWED. ONLY CERTAIN CULTURAL ASPECTS WILL BE DISCUSSED AND WE GET TO DEFINE THEM.


    Couldn't the constant devaluing of women in society and the relentless utter misogyny that all women must feel and experience play a role in FTM "transitioning"? So, yes, culture does play a role in "transitioning", but don't ask this question. Does female to male "transitioning" involve a "man trapped in a woman's body", or is it a means of escape from the constant devaluing of women in our society?

    There are other ethical issues surrounding "transitioning" I would alike to address. After all, this individual finally admitted that culture plays a role in "transitioning". Since culture plays a role in "transitioning", does this include homophobia and lesbian phobia and how society views gay men and lesbians? About six or seven months ago, I distinctly remember one rather irate person post something on this very blog stating something to the effect that he or she would rather have his or her daughter grow up to be a man and get the respect from being a man than to be steered toward becoming a carpet muncher who gets no respect. I will always remember this. Same sex erotic attraction is as old as human kind itself. Sex reassignment surgery, puberty suppressing drugs, and synthetically produced testosterone are all relatively new on the extremely long time line of human history. Historically, there have been times in which sex reassignment surgery has been used as a form social control, specifically the erasing of gay and lesbian identity. This has been clearly documented in Iran. Simply google it. In Iran, homosexuality is punishable by death, but the government will help pay for sex reassignment surgery. As I understand it, after Thailand, Iran carries out more sex reassignment surgeries than any other country. The transgender community won't even touch the subject of "transitioning" erasing gay and lesbian identity even when there are clearly documented examples of this very thing. By outward appearances, doesn't the lovely couple in the following article appear heterosexual? Aren't enormous societal pressures put on gay men and lesbians to be happy heterosexuals.

    "Lesbians No Longer: A Transgender Trip into Heteronormality"


    It's in plain sight and people are still so blind. What the heck do people think "heteronormality" means? It's amazing. Are we that dense? Don't even whisper that "transitioning" might involve some serious underlying hidden lesbian phobia. Perhaps not in all cases, but certainly in many.

    I could go on forever about puberty suppressing drugs, but that is another subject. If cross gender hormones are given right after puberty suppressing drugs, future fertility can be compromised. We aren't allowed to discuss the sterilization of children anymore than we are allowed to discuss the mutilation of female genitals.

    By the way, how did the word "transition" come about? Who thought up this rather benign word? Why not just call it the surgical and chemical alteration of female genitals and breasts? The surgical scraping away of the very identity of female.


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  27. "Culture plays a part in us identifying as gay or straight, and it defines for us what male and female is, so it is part of what makes us want to transition."

    Well, they finally admitted it, but who really cares after all?

    Incidentally, when a surgeon takes a scalpel and surgically removes both healthy breasts on a female, or sterilizes her by taking out her ovaries and uterus the reason given is "gender dysphoria" which is supposed to be somehow immutable and not influenced by societal or peer pressure. Cultural reasons aren't mentioned. Now, some people finally admit that culture plays a role in "transitioning". This gets more interesting all the time. I hope some psychiatrists are reading this.

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  28. Of course culture plays a role in transitioning. That shouldn't be in dispute. But that's not the same as saying that people are forced into transitioning, or duped into thinking they should transition when it's the wrong choice. That's the stance that I'm sure you want to take.

    We're all products of our cultures, no matter who we are. Culture plays a role in whether you don't transition too. Those who don't transition are equally affected by your culture as those who do.

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  29. Transitioning doesn't have to involve a scalpel or testosterone. There are many people who transition socially (changing mannerisms, clothing, etc), or use testosterone but not surgery, or do top surgery but not testosterone. There are many who use testosterone for a while, but then stop (not out of regret). Transitioning is a lot more complex than you make it out to be.

    ReplyDelete
  30. We're not avoiding the questions below. You just don't listen to us when we address them (and on this blog, Dirt frequently deletes it when we talk about it):

    "Question: How can we completely separate feelings of internalized misogyny from “gender identity disorder”? "

    You can't. You can't seperate internalized misogyny from anything in our lives. We have been raised in a misogynistic society, and even those of us who are aware of it, still fall prey to the self-hate, and hate of other women that we have been taught from birth. It's something I think anyone who transitions should think about. But that doesn't mean that transitioning isn't going to be right for people with GID.


    "Question: Has there ever been a time in recorded history in which the mutilation of female bodies in one form or another hasn’t existed?"

    No, there hasn't. However, there's a big difference between mutilation and real medical procedures. And definitions of mutliation can vary. I've been critisized for having tattoos and piercings and been told it's a form of self-mutilation, for example.

    Sex-reassignment surgery is a choice that FtMs make, it is as safe as any other surgery, and it doesn't remove the FtM's ability to enjoy sex. True female mutilation is rarely a choice, it's very dangerous, and it is intended to remove the ability to enjoy sex. My question is, why do transphobes insist on ignoring the differences between female mutilation and sex-reassignment surgery?

    (I have to separate this into two posts)

    ReplyDelete
  31. "Question: Unless we can say with all certainty that no woman ever lives to regret “transitioning” and that culture plays no role whatsoever in the decision to “transition”, isn’t this just another form of the mutilation of female bodies. It’s not like we haven’t seen this before."

    This argument doesn't necessarily make sense. Culture plays a role in every part of our lives. Would you say the fact that I like tattoos, and am part of a community that encourages my continuing to get more tattoos is a form of mutilation? Because the culture I'm involved in has taught me tattoos are a positive thing. But there are definitely people who regret tattoos, it's definitely painful and potentially dangerous, and I definitely get a kick out of how jealous my friends are of them.

    "When a woman gets both her healthy breasts surgically removed it's permanent."

    Well, sort of. My step-mom had her breasts removed (granted, it was due to cancer). She has new breasts now and is very happy with them.

    "Do people really believe that years of taking testosterone doesn't have side effects?"

    Of course not. I don't know anyone who believes that. That's why we work closely with our doctors to monitor our health, and stop testosterone if necessary (not counting the very small minority who get testosterone illegally, which is not condoned by the trans community at large).

    "Has this person ever heard of PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) which is common in FTMs who take testosterone for years and still keep their ovaries and uterus?"

    Oh yeah, I know of it. I probably have it. Never been officially diagnosed, but I have many symptoms and it's not very uncommon in females at all. There are theories that it's more common after testosterone use, but not a lot of supporting evidence (that's why they say testosterone "may" increase the chance of getting it). Also, most of the time, PCOS doesn't change one's quality of life, even for FtMs.



    "Yes, they admit that culture, peer pressure etc. might influence the decision to "transition", but we shouldn't concern ourselves with this at all. It doesn't matter, and don't worry about it."

    I didn't say it doesn't matter. Absolutely it's something that should be considered! Before I started testosterone, I examined the idea, talked with my therapist, talked with friends and family. A lot of people rush into it faster (but are no more likely to regret it). We're not ignoring this stuff. We're just looking at this stuff, and looking at the positive outcome of transitioning. You folks are ignoring the positive side.

    (please be so kind as to forgive the typos. It's late for me and I'm too sleepy to catch them)

    ReplyDelete
  32. "Couldn't the constant devaluing of women in society and the relentless utter misogyny that all women must feel and experience play a role in FTM "transitioning"?"

    Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexixm and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to transition.

    There's probably not a lot of trans folks who would say that. But to be honest, there's not a lot of folks who will admit to being misogynist, even though our culture has made that a part of who we all are.

    But do I think that misogyny is the only reason for people identifying as trans and wanting to transition? No. And it would be awesome if other people who are against transition could give us the benefit of the doubt. That there's more going on than a lot of self-hate. Especially since transitioniong has been going on for half a century and that there are a lot of successful FtM stories out there.


    "Don't even whisper that "transitioning" might involve some serious underlying hidden lesbian phobia. Perhaps not in all cases, but certainly in many."

    I have to disagree with that. I have seen evidence of a few FtM people who seem to hate lesbians. But like most lesbians don't hate trans people, most trans people don't hate lesbians. Your opnion is an extreme one, and there are extreme trans people who exist on the other side of the coin.


    "I could go on forever about puberty suppressing drugs, but that is another subject. If cross gender hormones are given right after puberty suppressing drugs, future fertility can be compromised. We aren't allowed to discuss the sterilization of children anymore than we are allowed to discuss the mutilation of female genitals."

    I just don't know enough about this topic to discuss it. I don't want to pretend I know about things that I haven't had a chance to really research. It's been enough work learning about what transitioning means for me. I'll worry about this when I am raising kids.

    "By the way, how did the word "transition" come about? Who thought up this rather benign word? Why not just call it the surgical and chemical alteration of female genitals and breasts? The surgical scraping away of the very identity of female."

    Well, for one thing, "transition" takes a lot less time to say than what you just said. It can cover surgery and hormone therapy, but it can also just cover changing what pronouns you use and the kinds of clothes you wear.

    ReplyDelete
  33. PS @ 11:10

    "Well, they finally admitted it, but who really cares after all? "

    It seems like you ladies all care a lot. You can't stop talking about us trans folks and our genitals.

    It reminds me of when I was a kid, and boys would tease me when they liked me.

    That's cool, I get it. You all can stop teasing. Let's just make out and get over all this sexual tension.

    ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anon@6:02,
    No, society really doesn't care what's in your pants - I'm talking about people like the lady selecting apples next to you in the produce area, the guy taking your burrito order, the cab driver, etc. People categorize each other all day, and it's much easier/more comfortable for mainstream society to deal with a category they understand, like male (even if he looks and sounds strange), than it is for them to deal with a strange Lesbian woman.
    This is part of why I find FtM so sad, because they are doing it in large for society/to be "normal", and so comprimising their personal lives. Who does care what's in your pants, how comfortable you are in your body, etc. are your intimate partners. There are no easy answers - most young Lesbians have very little self-confidence, and who can blame them? Just look at the message society gives people - Lesbians are good for nothing, and 2 women can't even have sex together - who wants to be that?
    Germany

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  35. Blah blah blah. Surgery can cause death. Big news. So can walking, if I step in front of a bus. Merely being alive carries a risk of dying. Trying to put the shits up people who are more aware than anyone else of the risks of surgery is just scaremongering and once you start doing that, you've lost your argument.

    Nice to see my original comment was deleted here too. In reply to society not caring what is in people's pants, even if that was true (which it ain't), Dirt certainly does. In fact, she obsesses over it. It's ludicrous to suggest that it is easier being a transman than a lesbian. Take Dirt example; she's a real-life Millie Tant. Society expects lesbians to be butch, and it's much easier to be a butch lesbian than a butch straight woman. Dirt 100% is a product of her culture. She's so "normal" on the lesbian scale of identity that it's laughable.

    I'd never even heard of heteronormality until about six months ago so thanks for the education. Guess I'm going to have to start hating on all of my friends, my brother, my parents and the whole of my extended family for buying into the machine. How dare they treat me as an equal and not actually give two shits about my sexuality! I want my drama! After all, it has been eleven years now that they've known and I've still not experienced any sexist or homophobic hate. Though that might have more to do with me not really giving a shit either. What society can't deal with is lesbians not acting like a pack of raving lunatics, they can't figure you out when you're just as boring as everyone else. It would seriously benefit you if you just calmed down and got on with life.

    ReplyDelete
  36. Anon@7:11 -
    I'm quite certain that everyday society really doesn't care what's in your pants, because no one is looking that closely. They care that you roughly "pass" as male. That makes it easier for them to categorize and deal with you.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Everyday society cares about what's in my pants. The second thing people ask me when they find out I'm transitioning is whether I have a vagina or a penis. (The first thing they ask is which bathroom I use).

    When they don't know I'm transitioning, they make their assumptions and move on, of course. But that means, if a trans person doesn't want people prying into their genital configuration, they have to pretend they're not trans. They have to hide a big part of their life. And some trans folks want to do that, but a lot of us don't.

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  38. Germany, don't worry, we don't have difficulty finding partners to be intimate with. Trust me.

    The people who care least about my physical appearance are my friends, family, and lovers.

    The people who care most are the bus drivers, store clerks, coworkers, and other people who would like to put me in a convenient box marked "boy" or "girl" but aren't sure how to do it. Some of them just pick one and move on. Some of them ask me very personal questions that should embarrass them. Some of them just switch between calling me "sir" or "ma'am" until they think they've hit on the right one.

    I forget what the point of all this "in your pants" stuff is about.

    ReplyDelete
  39. The lady selecting apples next to an FtM in the produce area will be tangibly more comfortable than she would be selecting apples next to a clearly Lesbian woman. That's because she knows how to deal with any male (even if they are strangely small, etc looking.) I don't think she'll be thinking about what's in this strange-looking man's pants,any more than when she's dealing with an elderly man, she can have a little banter like she always does with men, and go on. Her interaction with the Lesbian is likely to be uncomfortable/awkward for both.
    Whether you want to admit it or not, that's a big part of why so many young Lesbians are masquerading as men and "transitioning." I predict this FtM trend will last about a generation, until the next generation of Lesbians sees how todays FtM's end up living/looking and decide they don't want to be that.
    Germany

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  40. Those two are right out of a comedy sketch. And the quotes about the handshakes and "not gettin compliments no more". Classic. Is this a goof? These two are for reals? LMFAO. Ya can't make this shit up. I wish I knew someone who worked on SNL. Dang. These two weirdos need a reality show. lol.

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  41. It cracks me up how people keep describing FtMs as "small strange guys" or something along those lines. Saying it as if being a man who doesn't conform to a male "ideal" is a bad thing.

    And then in the same post, will bemoan the fact that the world doesn't accept women who are butch, or otherwise don't conform to the female "ideal."

    You're saying that one way of nonconformity is good but not socially acceptable, and the other is bad bus socially acceptable. The reality is that both are expressions of gender identity that deserve equal treatment and respect, but both are looked down on by society as a whole.

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  42. No, the lady selecting apples would be the most uncomfortable around a clear Lesbian. She would know how to interract with all hetero women, most of whom wouldn't conform to any female ideals, even if some looked like they are trying.
    I'm not saying there are any easy answers, but one thing for sure is that a woman uncomfortable in her body is not a man. It's extra mean when a partner pressures an already messed up young woman into "transitioning" to be more comfortable/"normal".

    ReplyDelete
  43. @2:59

    Are you the hypothetical straight woman selecting apples? Is that how you know for certain? Or is that an opinion that you're expressing.

    It seems most of the anti-trans people commenting here would find the small, strange man more discomfiting. Is it just lesbians that have a problem with small, strange men?

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  44. Germany, what is "clearly" a lesbian woman? Sporting a buzzcut? Draped in a rainbow flag? Holding hands with another woman? You can do all of those things and more without being a lesbian. Why should you give a crap about what the nosy old lady who should be busy buying apples thinks of you anyway? You're in a shared public space and you'll likely never see each other again. Am I supposed to care what she thinks? If she has issues and feels discomfort around lesbians, FtM's or even small, strange looking men then that is her problem, no one else's.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I think the whole concept of ftm's transitioning because of internalized misogyny is really weird. I can sort of see what is being said, but as an ftm guy I can say that while I do have negative feelings towards femininity I do not think this is the reason I am trans, rather that this is one of the symptoms of being trans.
    I think if I was comfortable - and I don't mean perfectly happy with a female body, simply able to accept a female body, that I would not have a problem with femininity - however when people used to identify me as female it made me feel really bad, and I ended up associating femininity with feeling bad.
    Now I have come out as a ftm male I have far less dislike for femininity, I feel less like I need to reject it because it is not being used to define me.
    Also, the thing someone said about transmen having male privilege is a tricky area I think. I still do not pass all the time, and mostly just cause confusion, therefore I am not given male privilege. Once I have been on T and had surgery and pass properly 100% of the time, then I think I will have male privilege. Unfortunately at the moment I am in the phase of transitioning when I do not identify as females and am therefore not part of that group, and I am not accepted as male and not part of that group.

    ReplyDelete
  46. @5:51: Thank you, that was a nice, personal perspective to see. I appreciate your insight. It was very reasonable and thoughtful.

    I do believe that internalized misogyny has had a role to play in the relationship you have with your gender identity, but I don't think it's unreasonable that you don't feel that way. I don't think that you are trans because of misogyny (having a role to play doesn't mean that it's the origin of your identity).

    ReplyDelete
  47. I finally got a chance to read the article instead of just all the comments here.

    First of all, I'm very disappointed in certain parts of the article. They just have to slip in that becoming more aggressive on T is "a common side effect." While that can happen, I think it's more common that transmen find peace, like Marco did, and that helps them level out. The fact of the matter is that it's a side effect we're warned about, but there's very little data to say what percentage of people become objectively more aggressive.

    Second of all, Dirt has read this completely differently from how I read it. She found and highlighted the quotes that make her point, and conveniently ignored the parts that don't line up with her narrative of the "straight co-opter."

    Let's see what we can do by picking and choosing other quotes:

    "Suddenly, at age 25, when Sadie thought she had a pretty good idea of who she was and had become comfortable identifying as a lesbian, she has found herself in a committed, heterosexual relationship with a man. And not just with any man, but one who wants to distance himself from any queer identity he once had, taking Sadie with him."

    This makes it sound like Marco is the one in charge, and is bringing Sadie-the lesbian-along for the ride.

    "As a child, Erica prayed that she could grow up to be a boy," long before she met Sadie.

    ' “It was weird,” Sadie describes. “I had gotten comfortable being out in public as a lesbian couple, but I wasn’t comfortable being out in a visibly trans couple. People stared.”'

    It sounds more like the lesbian is being forced to get used to a straight identity.

    Sadie had to go to therapy, talks about the burden of being the partner of someone transitioning. She was supportive of Marco when he took steps to transition, but there's no indication that it was her idea, that she tried to convince him, or that she was even completely comfortable with the idea.

    Maybe Dirt believes that Sadie isn't "lesbian enough" because she chose to stay with her partner after he transitioned? Maybe, in order to make Sadie fit into her anti-trans narrative, she had to cast her as the straight co-opter, despite the lack of anything to suggest that? Sadie doesn't fit into Dirt's view of how lesbians should act, so Dirt has decided she must be the enemy.



    ReplyDelete
  48. PS: to go into testosterone and aggression more…

    There are a lot of studies which have been done which find that people with higher levels of testosterone are more aggressive, or violent, or dominant. Based on these studies, it has been assumed that female to male transsexuals on testosterone will be more violent. I have also seen older studies which seemed to show this to be true.

    However, there is also a lot of information out there showing that while testosterone and aggression are connected, it may not be be testosterone that is causing the aggression. In fact, it can sometimes be the reverse. I haven’t seen studies done by anyone who went into it assuming that testosterone wasn’t going to make FtMs more aggressive. And the assumptions of the researchers will affect the results.

    Putting studies aside, the general consensus I have found among people in the trans community is that testosterone affects everyone differently. Some people may get more aggressive, some people definitely become happier and more mellow. Some people might get completely different kinds of mood swings. As I say over and over, this is why it’s important to work closely with a doctor, and hopefully a therapist, when you are on hormone therapy.

    Some interesting reads on testosterone and aggression:

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-testosterone-alone-doesnt-cause-violence

    http://www.nature.com/news/2009/091208/full/news.2009.1131.html

    http://www.ftmguide.org/myths.html#1

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  49. Are Trans"men" as looney tune about others accepting their vagina as a MAN's Vagina like the trans"women" are about everyone accepting their penis as a "woman's penis"?

    Do trans"men" insist on using the men's bathroom like trans"women" insist on using the women's bathroom?

    I bet not on both counts. Hmm, I wonder why.

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  50. I don't see Sadie as a co-opter, just on account of her history of being with people who transition. If I give her the benefit of the doubt, her odds of finding someone who ends up being trans, are about the same as mine. My ex transitioned FTM, and I got accused of pressuring her into it. not a fun place to be.

    It is harder and harder to find someone who does not identify as some form of genderqueer or trans - because lesbians are a dying breed. Ironically it can be even harder to find an actual lesbian in a big "gay Mecca" city.
    Add in the rest of the queer postmodern alphabet soup - having to short through the gay personal ads for someone who isn't a bi married woman, MTF, poly, seriously kinky, etc - and good luck to you.

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  51. Anon@4:51,
    "A clearly Lesbain woman" means someone who looks like what we expect a Lesbian to look like. Those are the only Lesbians you, I or the apple lady notice. Most Lesbians walk right by us, and we don't notice, because they look exactly like straight women. Still, every Lesbian internalizes the same BS which I already covered- being seen as worthless to society, etc.
    I said I don't think there are any easy answers of how to raise self-esteem/confidence in young Lesbians, or how to stem the trans trend. I would say the person doing the most to just show the USA how "normal" Lesbians actually are is Ellen DeGenerous.
    Germany

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  52. @ Alice, We have Sadie's own words which are quoted here, that it was on her instance that her "g/f" transition when her "g/f" clearly expressed great doubt. And if you have been around the lesbian community long, then we both know that by the time Sadie is 30, she'll be married with children (or planning children) with a man. And the trans female will at that point be getting fucked/fucked over by men, till she partners with another trans female.

    dirt

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  53. @6:37

    Umm.. what? I'm not sure what you mean by a "woman's penis" and "man's vagina." I'd like to see more of what you're talking about.

    Transmen do use men's restrooms. I'm transitioning at work, and the plan is for me to use the men's restroom after I have top surgery.

    Dirt, did you read the post @1:21 at all? How do you explain all of the quotes there, which support the idea that Sadie was not the one pressuring Marco to transition?

    ReplyDelete
  54. Anon@6:37,
    Why will you start using the men's bathroom after top surgery? You're still a biological female in your pants, and so will need some kind of STP device to warrant using the men's room, won't you? Can't you see what a grotesque masquerade you are taking part in? Wouldn't it be a lot easier to just use the bloody stall in the women's room?
    Germany

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  55. Dirt, I see your point.

    I tried coming out in my twenties. Ended up in the confusing mess of the queer community, feeling transition pressure myself, etc. I met a lot of women for whom lesbianism was just a lark. I felt just as objectified by other women as I felt by men. So I just crawled back into the closet, and came out later. I don't feel like I missed much by sitting out my 20s, but I really admire the women who have the strength and courage that I didn't have then.

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  56. @Germany:

    I can see you're very offensive to both men and women. Well, and to me personally. What you call a "grotesque masquerade" is something that is making a lot of trans people happier, healthier individuals.

    Also, in my experience, stalls in the women's restroom are rarely bloody. That's really gross. Do you experience that a lot?

    I won't be using an STP. I'll be using the stalls in the men's rooms. I've been using men's rooms my entire life, whenever there's a line for the woman's room (in my state, there was a law passed a long time ago saying women can choose to use either bathroom). I don't need to use a urinal, and in fact, a lot of guys don't. Not every dude is comfortable whipping his dick out in front of an audience.

    I actually don't care which restroom I use. But straight, non-trans people really want to know. They don't seem to care which one I pick either, but since I'm going to go by male pronouns at work, want to grow a beard, and will dress as a man, it just seemed logical to use the men's room.

    I don't mind answering people's questions about this stuff. But do you need to be so rude about it? Do you think being a jerk is going to make me suddenly go "oh shit, this is crazy. I shouldn't transition after all!" Because that's now how people work.

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  57. @Alice:
    What do you mean by them thinking lesbianism was a lark? I'm honestly curious because I've never met someone for whom it was a lark. I live in a very gay city, and know a lot of gay, lesbian, bi and trans folks. Maybe we just all take our identities more seriously here?

    I do remember in college when a lot of my gay friends thought bi girls were just doing it for "fun" or something. They felt insulted by the fact that these women didn't just go all out and be gay. Is that the kind of thing you mean?

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  58. Anon 4:36,
    Obviously you care a great deal about what bathroom you use. As a woman masquerading as a man, we both know you don't have a dick to "whip out" for anyone.
    Anyway, I don't wish you anything but good luck,
    Germany

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  59. @Germany

    You're making assumptions about my identity. I identify as a mix of male and female. I certainly don't have a dick, because I really don't want one. I love my clit! Holy shit my vagina is awesome. I'm a big fan of vaginas in general.

    But I enjoy looking male. I like beards almost as much as I like vagina. And I am excited to have a flat chest after a life of having enormous, back-breaking boobs (I thought about breast reduction, but in the end it wasn't what I really wanted).

    And when you transition (whether you're transitioning to a 100% male identity or a mix) there's a lot of things you have to think about. Like what bathroom you'll use. When my boss asked what bathroom I was going to use, I said it didn't matter to me. But nobody else can make that decision for me, so I had to figure it out. So, yes, I did a lot of reading, looked at other people's experiences, thought about my own experiences with using each kind of bathroom, and came to a conclusion.

    Let me try to explain this in another way. I really, really don't care about how margin borrowing works. But where I work, I have to help customers understand how it works, and explain their margin accounts to them. So I had to study for months and take two exams to get licensed to talk about it. I can tell you all kind of crazy shit about margin. But it actually bores the crap out of me.

    So, when I say that I don't care which restroom I use, I mean it. I just had to decide on one or the other for work. Outside of work, I'll probably just use whichever one doesn't have a line.

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  60. "When a woman gets both her healthy breasts surgically removed it's permanent."

    Answer:

    "Well, sort of. My step-mom had her breasts removed (granted, it was due to cancer). She has new breasts now and is very happy with them."

    I'm happy that this individual's mother is fine, and I appreciate the sincerity in her post, but I'm still struggling to understand what is happening. I know this is might be a touchy subject, but I don't believe it's a "well, sort of". Because it seems more permanent than not, maybe this subject is worthy of exploring. If one googles "FTM" and "chest masculanization" or "FTM" and "top surgery", there are several websites advertising the procedure.

    If a transman who has had "chest masculanization" or "top surgery" stops taking testosterone and decides to de-transition, will his breasts grow back exactly the way they were before "chest masculanization"? Is this possible? With the best plastic and reconstructive surgeons, is it possible to surgically reconstruct a biological female"s "chest masculanization" back to the way the breasts were before "top surgery"? Since one can find surgeons to do "chest masculanization" by simply googling the words, and it does seem logical that eventually a biological female might regret the decision given the increase in FTM "transitioning", this seems like a fair question to me.

    Women have had their breasts surgically enhanced for decades, but completely removing female breasts is, in my opinion, something we might want to really think about. After all, how much healthy tissue is left after so-called "top surgery" or "chest masculanization"? I admit that I'm no expert on this issue, but it does appear as if most of the healthy tissue is removed. This is healthy breast tissue, and all of it is essentially carved off the female body. Is there another way of wording this because I can't think of any? Can females even breast feed after "top surgery"? I don't know, but we do know that some FTMs get pregnant. For example, didn't Thomas Beatie, the "pregnant man" FTM, have his wife breast feed one of his babies through artificial induced lactation? So, here was a FTM who got pregnant three times after legally changing her sex, and one of her babies was breast fed by her partner. If breasts aren't a normal part of the female anatomy, then why do we even have them? Why not just surgically remove the breasts of all females right after they start developing?

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  61. "Well, sort of. My step-mom had her breasts removed (granted, it was due to cancer). She has new breasts now and is very happy with them."

    Let's look at the difference between cancerous cells which can easily be seen and diagnosed and "gender dysphoria" which cannot really be quantified. A lab test can diagnose cancerous cells. Is there some kind of lab test for "gender dysphoria"? For "gender dysphoria", a therapist or a psychiatrist can only rely on what a person says. How did what are essentially elective mastectomies in healthy women come to be known as "top surgery" or "chest masculanization"? It's very interesting to me. This individual's mother had her breasts removed because of cancer which any decent lab anywhere in the world can detect. The science is clear and precise. Young women are eager to get both their healthy breasts removed based on "gender dysphoria" which can't really be quantified in a precise manner. A surgeon brings out the scalpel based on this "gender dysphoria". People have already admitted that culture and peer pressure can play a role in "transitioning". I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but something in my gut still tells me that this is worthy of serious debate.

    At any rate, I'm glad this individual's mother is fine, and she is happy with the breast reconstruction.

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  62. More on "chest masculanization" or "top surgery"...

    This transman doesn't appear too pleased with the "top surgery".

    http://www.originalplumbing.com/2011/03/11/tuckblog-botched-surgery-becomes-beef/

    "I had top surgery on Jan. 9. When my surgeon removed the bandages a few days later, I was shocked by how terribly butchered I looked. I was literally speechless. Opened my mouth to speak, but no sound came out.

    I tried to take it in stride, though -- crossed my fingers that it'd look better as it heals. But it looks even worse as I heal. Someday I'll fill you all in about what it looks like. I'm not up for that right now, though.

    I can barely stand seeing myself in the mirror. I can barely stand taking off my shirt to shower. My dysphoria is off the charts.

    Honestly, it was less traumatic having breasts. At least when I had breasts, I could cope by reassuring myself they'd be gone someday. But now... they are gone (sort of... he left tons of tissue behind) and I'm supposed to be free of hunching my shoulders and layering shirts, etc. But I'm actually more ashamed of my chest than I was before.

    I feel traumatized like I've never before in my life.

    I paid $6,000 for this butchered mess -- a mess I'm going to live with for the rest of my life. I can't afford to have someone fix this. My surgeon has said he'd do some "touch ups," but I can't even imagine allowing him to lay a finger on me again. Also, this mess requires more than "touching up." It needs another full surgery, IMO.

    I'm devastated. Absolutely devastated. Beside myself with grief. I don't know if I can live like this. :'("

    http://www.susans.org/forums/index.php?topic=54691.0

    I had a very bad allergic reaction to the ...everything (post: http://www.susans.org/forums/index.php/topic,97579.0.html) and the skin underneath my sides is really STILL swollen, like my upper arms bump into it, and it's not fluid, it's just pretty thick, I assume heavily irritated skin and then scar tissue. At this time she still keeps telling me to be patient with the swelling, but I really just feel she didn't remove enough tissue. (I'm super self-conscious so that doesn't help!)

    I have lightly applied pressure to my chest in various spots, the side (think left of the left nipple, right of the right nipple) and that's the only area that "smushy," the rest is fairly hard, but not like that of which is under my arms. I kind of want to take photos and ask someone, but a wee-bit too shy to show the possibly botched production and the allergic reaction still thrives. Hopefully this goes down, if not... revision I suppose!

    http://www.susans.org/forums/index.php?topic=97743.0

    This transman in the following video doesn't look too pleased with his "top surgery".

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hE4WuqMB_a4


    Look carefully at the scarring in the photo.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47JBVGUFrmY

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  63. "But do I think that misogyny is the only reason for people identifying as trans and wanting to transition? No. And it would be awesome if other people who are against transition could give us the benefit of the doubt. That there's more going on than a lot of self-hate. Especially since transitioniong has been going on for half a century and that there are a lot of successful FtM stories out there."

    "Especially since transitioning has been going on for half a century..."

    Have doctors been giving testosterone to biological females for "gender dysphoria" for at least half a century? Wasn't testosterone first chemically synthesized sometime around the 1940s? I thought the first sex reassignment surgery was on males not females. We only started to see an increase in FTM (female to male) within the last fifteen to twenty years. On the extremely long time line of human history, what is fifteen, twenty, thirty, forty, or even fifty years? I hate to say this, but it's a tiny speck. What do we have here? So, I will grant this person fifty years even though we know that testosterone for "gender identity disorder" or "gender dysphoria" in biological females was rare twenty years ago. How long have we seen "top surgery" or "chest masculanization" in biological females?

    Compare this to the following:

    There are literally thousands of years in which we clearly see various culturally prescribed forms of mutilation of the female body in which the female body has been sliced, diced, carved, and mutilated in a myriad of ways. Indeed, pick anything because the list is very long. For example, Chinese footbinding, breast ironing, or female genital mutilation are things I can quickly name. To me, the more one carefully looks at everything that involves female to male "transitioning" the more it has an all too familiar feel or sense that it's something that we've seen before. I mean look at the extent in which healthy female breasts, reproductive systems, and female genitals are surgically altered. I won't bore the reader by listing or describing all the ways in which misogyny and the devaluing of females have shaped and impacted women's lives. If people want to really understand this, think of the number 163 million. According to a well-researched book, "Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men", Mara Hvistendahl documents how an estimated 163 million females came to be missing from the Asia's population—in South Korea, Vietnam, and Georgia, as well as India and China. This is sex selective abortions, but we know that female infantacide was occurring in India and China long before this. So, 163 million missing girls is not an accurate account of how many females have been lost forever. Am I comparing FTM "transitiioning" to sex selective abortions or female genital mutilation? Not exactly, but something doesn't seem right to me when I read about five year old transgender girls whose parents are already calling "he". Something doesn't feel right to me when I read about puberty suppressing drugs for pre-teens and teenagers. Something doesn't feel right to me when I look at the scars left behind from "chest masculanization", or look at what phalloplasty really entails for biological females. It's as if something almost ancient seems to creep into my subconscious. FTM (female to male) transitioning is the surgical scraping away of healthy female breasts and genitals. It is erasing female identity. Think about this. I mean really think about this, and don't tell me that there aren't ethical implications.

    On the extremely long time line of human history, fifty years means diddly squat. Compare that to a thousand plus years then come back and talk to me.

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  64. @ 5:43:
    Here's why I said "well sort of."

    No, after having chest reconstruction, you certainly won't grow back your breasts. My step-mom had a mastectomy, which completely removed all breast tissue and made it impossible to grow any kind of breasts, but after having breast reconstruction, she's very happy with herself as a woman.

    Chest reconstruction these days leaves some breast tissue, and some growth might be possible after going off of testosterone. But if someone really regretted having their breasts removed (which doesn't seem to happen, or if it does, then it happens in incredibly small numbers), then they can have breast reconstruction, just like thousands of women who have had breast cancer do. They might even like their new breasts better! They can pick the size they get, the shape, they won't be saggy (at least at first). It will be crazy expensive, but if they were able to afford chest reconstruction in the first place, I'm sure they can find a way to get their breasts back if they change their mind and it's what they need to be happy.

    I'm not saying it's an unfair question. I'm just giving you the answer to the question. Because it's a question that a lot of transguys think about when they are trying to decide if they want to have top surgery, it's not hard to find the answer.

    Oh, yes, some people can still breast feed after top surgery. It depends on the situation. And if a trans person is thinking they want to have kids someday, then that's one of the things they consider when they are looking at top surgery.

    A lot of women who don't have anything done to their breasts can't breast feed for one reason or another. So, there are alternatives that we've figured out through history. It's not hard to deal with if an FtM ends up not being able to breast feed. They might have feelings of inadequacy like other women sometimes do when they can't breastfeed. Or they may just shrug their shoulders and use an easily available alternative, like many other woman who can't breastfeed.

    "Why not just surgically remove the breasts of all females right after they start developing?"

    Because that would be dumb. We know why we have breasts. There are just some people who don't want them. Should they be forced to have breasts? I suspect that some people believe they should. I don't think that's something that should be decided for other people.

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  65. @ 5:44

    If we take your argument to the logical conclusion, then there's lots of things that can't be quantified the way you described. Depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation. Should we question whether those people should be treated? Should we be giving potentially harmful mediations to people who are depressed, when all we have to go on is what they say?

    Of course, there's more than someone just walking into a doctor's office and saying they're depressed (there should be, at least. Some doctors will prescribe andti-depressants at the drop of a hat). Doctors measure things like how often you feel depressed, do you think of suicide, do you have fatigue, loss of appetite, changes in weight? There's a lot to look at, and a diagoses isn't super simple. A lot of things can cause depression, and there's a lot of ways to try to treat it. Some people will need medication, some are fine with therapy. There are even very new surgical treatments which can help with things like OCD (and like all surgery, it carries risk).

    Getting surgery or hormones for being transgender is a lot more than just walking into a doctor office and saying you want testosterone. It's a lot harder to get hormone therapy than it is to get anti-depressants. I had to see a therapist for a long time before I got a letter from her saying she recommended testosterone.

    And I had to look at things like what gender do I feel like, I did the "real life experience" where you try to pass as the other gender even if you don't look anything like the other gender (and trust me, that's hard).

    And, there is more than one way to transition. Some trans people never use hormones or have surgery.

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  66. @5:58

    Are we talking about the "fifty years isn't that long" thing again?

    You know what else is relatively new? Women voting. I mean, for thousands of years, women couldn't vote in societies where voting was done, but now less than 100 years ago we started letting women vote. I mean, it looks like the results are pretty good so far, but what about women who vote for people like Bush? He won twice in a row. What if the woman's vote is to blame for that?

    And the number of women voting has been increasing, but when we compare that to thousands of years of only men voting... well, a hundred years of women voting means squat.

    That's only one possible ridiculous argument I can make about something being bad just because it only came into existence in recent history. It's not a valid argument to say that transitioning doesn't deserve to exist just because in your estimating, it only has existed recently.

    And I have thought about sex-reconstruction. I have thought about it a lot. Do you really think that trans people don't? Do you think that you're the only one who has looked at all the pictures of the surgeries, read the possible complications that could happen, thought about the implications of what we would do if we had made the wrong decision? You want to create a narrative of trans people being too stupid and ignorant to realize what we're doing to ourselves. That is not the case. I won't say that there aren't people who make mistakes. Mistakes happen in every part of our lives. But we don't throw out a whole identity just because of the possibility that a rare few individuals will make a mistake.

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  67. @Germany: I've been using the guys room for months. I use the mens bathroom, mens changing rooms in shops and the mens changing rooms in sports facilities. I've even competed in the male category of sports competitions where I was 100% supported from the officials, other competitors and my own club. I can tell you from experience that over 50% of men using public bathrooms don't use the urinal, and instead opt to use cubicles, many with the door closed and locked. I'm not one to question whether or not they have dicks (because to be honest, your comment is incredibly offensive to men who may have a micro penis or no penis at all due to injury or circumstances of birth) but it's laughable how trans-opposers on this blog try and tell me how my life should be; full of misery and denial, experiencing hate and confusion. I've had nothing but complete and utter support from my department, partner, friends, team mates and every single person who has ever known me or has recently come into my life. And guess what - I'm not even on hormones yet, but I don't hide my transition from anyone who I come in contact with in my every day life. Some people are curious and ask interesting questions, others tell share stories of their own about people they know or have know but not one single person has ever questioned my transition or denied me service. Not only would denying me service or access to facilities be illegal, but they have no reason to do so either. As for questioning it, at the very worst I have experienced innocent curiosity, at the best it has always been acceptance, so any attempt at defaming my legal and social status is really like water off my back. What would be really impressive is if the trans-deniers here could drag their ass into the 21st century like the rest of us and realise that in real life, your views are in the minority for a reason, legally and socially.

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  68. @ 5:46

    Newsflash at 11, cosmetic surgery can get botched.

    It's true, it happens. And I can tell you, top surgery looks horrifying immediately after it's done. That's why I've spent a lot of time watching videos by people who show the results not just immediately after, but also a week in, two weeks, in after a few years. It's important to know what you're going to experience from the day you have surgery until many years later.

    It's also important to research surgeons, see pictures of work they've done on other people, find out how long they've been doing chest reconstruction, that sort of thing. There's actually a site called transbucket where people can post reviews and pictures of their surgeries, giving other people a chance to see if the surgeon is someone they want to work with.

    It's unfortunate that some people have a bad experience. It's scary, and it demonstrates why people need to do the proper research before they get any kind of surgery.

    Fortunately, the great majority of people don't have that kind of experience. Most trans folks do their research, find someone they're comfortable working with, and are very happy with their results. For every video you post of someone who is unhappy, I can find at least five videos of people who are very happy.

    (don't be confused by my use of the phrase "cosmetic surgery." Cosmetic surgeons do plenty of medically necessary work).

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  69. @6:33:

    Thanks for sharing your experience! It's encouraging to see the support you've gotten.

    Unfortunately, I know how the trans-deniers will spin it here. They'll say that all those people who are supporting you are actually pressuring you into transitioning.

    They don't see a supportive and loving community as a good thing.

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  70. 6:37 Haha, I can't speak for everyone but I just don't talk about my vagina. I do use the men's bathroom though!

    The thing I find really weird here is that as feminists, Dirt and co. surely have been fighting and campaigning for women's right to decide for themselves how to treat their body and make their own decisions not based on some patriarchal authority figure, yet when a woman, as they see transmen, wants to transition they believe they have the authority to tell them not to? It's my body at the end of the day, if I want to change it to make myself happy I will. I am an intelligent adult.
    I don't need someone to give me permission - man or woman.

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  71. @6:39: When I told my best friend of over 20 years how I felt just before making the step to get help, she actually said to me "I was going to say something a few years ago but I thought it wasn't my place". It is only now that I actually wish someone close to me had said something earlier. The only person who was in denial was me. I was literally the only person who didn't see it coming, didn't want to discuss it and repressed the issue for more than a decade. I can never, ever get those years back so I am going to make the most of what I have now. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I told people close to me how I felt, even my own mother, and they said "We've always known, we just wanted you to discover it on your own". The only person I felt pressure from prior to starting my transition was myself, and it was pressure to maintain the status quo, to stay as I was and to keep stamping the whole issue down until it died. Starting my transition has been a release. I've lost no friends or family, I've not been discounted at work and I am physically more active and healthy now than I have been in the past ten years. For the first time I actually want to go out and take part in things and interact with people. Am I proud of being "trans"? No, I'm not. I can't help it, and I seen no point in being proud of something I can no longer help or deny, but I am proud of being me for having come as far as I have. I have so much more courage now in every day life that I genuinely feel I am going through a positive experience. It may have taken a year from my life to finally have any sort of idea of who I really am, but I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to be where I am now. As for hormones and surgery, I would much rather be an acne-ridden bald funny-looking man who's a bit grumpy than what I've spent the last ten years of my life pretending to be.

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  72. I want to return to this statement because I didn't make this comment. I'm just trying to understand it.

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to transition".

    Replace the word "transition" with what "transitioning" actually entails and see how it sounds, or replace "transitioning" with various well-known and common ways in which the bodies of women are drastically altered.

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [have both her healthy breasts removed or have her genitals surgically altered].

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [self-mutilate her body... self-mutilation is more common in women than men...they are called "cutters" for a reason and most "cutters" are women]. Listing all the statistics would be very boring.

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [starve herself almost to death by anorexia...this is nothing new].

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [gorge herself till she almost pops as in bulimia].

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [undergo plastic surgery, botox, butt lift, face lift, tummy tuck, you name it...etc... etc]

    Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [put chemicals and foreign substances into your body].

    I have this radical idea, but I don't think it has a snow ball's chance in hell of being accepted because it involves women actually learning to truly embrace and love themselves and their bodies. My God! what a radical idea.



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  73. @7:49: I have an even more radical idea: How about accepting all people regardless of how they treat their own bodies?

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  74. @ 7:12: Well said!
    @ 7:31: I totally understand where you're coming from! It's been so good being supported by my family and friends.

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  75. @ 7:49: transgender people are not denying women the opportunity to embrace and love themselves and their bodies. My radical idea is that you accept that some people want to transition, even though you don't understand it.

    Also, how about that, you can replace a word with other things and then make the sentence sound damning!

    Let me try.

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [spread hatred for other humans who don't conform to their understanding of gender]."

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [accuse transmen of being lesbians who can't accept themselves]."

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [accuse lesbians who stay with their partner after he transitions of being straight co-opters]."

    "Yes, I'm pretty sure I said that at some point. Not in those exact words, but yes, I do believe that internalized sexism and a misogynist culture could contribute to a woman's desire to [disregard the feelings and health of other people in order to try to force a gender identity on them that they don't feel comfortable with]."

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  76. Not all people who transition "have both her healthy breasts removed or have her genitals surgically altered." And if they do, it's their choice, and they do it while working with doctors so that they will continue to be healthy individuals.

    "self-mutilate her body... self-mutilation is more common in women than men...they are called "cutters" for a reason and most "cutters" are women." Even if transitioning does include surgery, this is a far cry from cutting or other forms of self-mutilation, which are done in order to cause pain (where as the surgery is painful only temporarily and doctors and patients do whatever they can to reduce the pain). Self-harm is likely to result in serious physical problems, infections, or death, where as sex-reassignment is not likely to result in any of those (though they are possible, as with all surgery).

    "starve herself almost to death by anorexia...this is nothing new" or "gorge herself till she almost pops as in bulimia" Also going to result in physical problems and death. Also completely different from sex-reassignment.

    "undergo plastic surgery, botox, butt lift, face lift, tummy tuck, you name it...etc... etc." I actually think this can be like surgical aspects of transitioning. I mean, there are woman with huge breasts who get plastic surgery to reduce them because their breasts make them uncomfortable and unhappy. There are women with very small breasts who get enlargements in order to be happier with their self-image. Not everyone agrees with plastic surgery, tummy tucks, etc, but nobody is denying us the right to get them if we want to.
    And they have about the same level of risk that you'll expect from other surgeries, like sex-reassignment.

    "put chemicals and foreign substances into your body." Are you talking about drug and alcohol abuse? If so, you can see the comment I made about anorexia and bulimia. Or do you have a problem with people taking any kind of drugs? Do you have a problem with my anti-depressants? What about the antibiotics I had to take for the sinus infection I had? Chemo for cancer patients? If you don't have a problem with all that, I'm not sure what your point is.

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  77. @8:42: It's warming to see others who are/have transitioned go through a positive experience and I think it's important that people see how damaging self-denial can be for a transsexual individual and that not everyone is lucky when it comes to being accepted. I genuinely feel sad for those who experience loss and hardship because they are not accepted for who they are, be it lesbian or transsexual, but ultimately our actions not held to ransom by anyone other than ourselves. Until I started transitioning I knew literally nothing about transsexual or transgender. Only after discovering it for myself did I realise how suffocating trying to define myself through sexual identity has been for me. I've never truly had a sexual identity and I still don't, even being with my partner of over ten years. Sexuality simply isn't important to me. I realise that it is for many other people, but it's honestly something I've never associated with.

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  78. Choice doesnt exist within patriarchal structures/TGSJ.

    dirt

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  79. @Dirt:

    I don't know what TGSJ stands for.

    The rest, I've heard before. Do you also believe that all sex with men is rape?

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  80. @Dirt: But you choose to present as butch, yes?

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  81. Anon@6:28,
    Talk about grasping for straws - what kind of analogy was that? Since when do women need therapy, operations, hormones, etc. to vote?
    We know the "trans" concept has been around a little over 100 years. The original Dr. notes, etc. from that is all in German, and I hope somebody translates it into English sometime soon, because that would help clear that point up.
    Anyway, I think the medical world is interested to see what the long-term effects of testosterone on the female body will be, which they never could have tested otherwise. I have seen documentation of the doped Eastern German and Soviet Union female atheletes who really got experimented on with drugs, including testosterone, how much they suffered later in life.
    Germany

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  82. Anon@6:33,
    I hope you continue on and never end up taking hormones.
    Germany

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  83. @Germany

    I wasn't comparing voting to transitioning. I was talking about the ridiculousness of saying that something isn't a reasonable course of action just because it is new in the grand scheme of history.

    I'd like to see that documentation that you refer to. Was it a study? Do you know who did it? Any information you can give me to help me find it? I can only guess that those individuals were on significantly higher levels of testosterone than FtMs are (since the levels taken for athletic purposes are much higher than transitioning).

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  84. @Dirt: Is there a time or place in the world currently or historically where you believe women were able to make their own choices?

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  85. "But not all lesbians are feminists, and a woman doesn't have to transition to being male in order to oppress other women.

    And, of course, transmen can be feminist and they don't necessarily oppress women."


    I want to examine this statement from every angle, and I want to pick it up and turn it around so I can see every single perspective. I don't want to focus on individual transmen, or to question whether or not a transman can be a feminist, or whether or not this or that transman is a decent, kind, and honorable human. I'm sure there are kind and caring transmen. Rather, I want to look at the very process of female to male transitioning itself and how it relates to women as a specific class of people. When we strip it down to its bare essentials, female to male transitioning is the erasing of female identity. How can we possibly deny this when it should seem so obvious? The very word or phrase FTM says "female" to "male" in that the female or woman is being replaced or lost. What does it mean to erase female identity? When the entire economic system of the world is controlled by men, what happens when female identity is further erased? Sex selective abortions are responsible for 163 million lost females, and while the horrific practices of female genital mutilation and breast ironing are supposed to be outlawed, they still occur.


    Suppose we have two groups of people and it was possible to instantaneously snap one's fingers and belong to either Group A or Group B. Which would most people choose?


    Group A controls the political and economic systems of virtually every country in the world. They have amassed great wealth, control mighty armies and industry, and are the esteemed leaders in most vocations and occupations.



    Group B constitutes the vast majority of poverty in the world, have little or no control over the political or economic structure of their countries, have been sold into prostitution, have been married off at a young age, have had their feet bound and mutilated, have had their genitals mutilated, and are so devalued to the point that the fetuses of Group A have been aborted, and the infants in Group A have been killed.


    If it were possible to snap one's fingers and magically change to either group A or B, what would people do? Again, what does it mean to erase or lose female identity? To state that there aren't any ethical implications in erasing female identity seems so absurd to me. When even some members of the trans community admit that culture can play a role in transitioning, one has to wonder.

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  86. "undergo plastic surgery, botox, butt lift, face lift, tummy tuck, you name it...etc... etc." I actually think this can be like surgical aspects of transitioning. I mean, there are woman with huge breasts who get plastic surgery to reduce them because their breasts make them uncomfortable and unhappy. There are women with very small breasts who get enlargements in order to be happier with their self-image. Not everyone agrees with plastic surgery, tummy tucks, etc, but nobody is denying us the right to get them if we want to.
    And they have about the same level of risk that you'll expect from other surgeries, like sex-reassignment."

    People need to read this paragraph again because I think it's very telling. Is this person comparing "chest masculanization" in which both healthy breasts are completely carved off a female body with breast enhancement or breast implants? With breast enlargements, women are adding to or enhancing what already exists. With "chest masculanization", the purpose is to surgically cut away all appearance of femininity, or the female. After all, it is referred to as female to male for a reason. Why do women get their breasts enlarged. They want to enhance their female features. Female to male transitioning is just the opposite in that the sole purpose seems is to be surgically scraping away or cutting out what was once the female. Or, is this person comparing something like botox of a face lift with phalloplasty on a biological female? Do people really understand what is involved in phalloplasty in a biological female? Doctors just can't tack a penis on a female. They have to get six to eight inches of donor tissue from a donor site. It can require multiple surgeries.

    Not only does female to male transitioning drastically alter a female's healthy breasts, genitals, and reproductive systems, it actually erases the very identity of female.

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  87. @ 11:05 PM

    You're not examining anything, you're just repeating the same trans-denier rhetoric that we've seen on this blog a hundred times already.

    You'll never understand transgendered people until you understand that transmen aren't erasing the female. there are some individual transmen who try to (and things aren't easy for them). But the majority of us are trying to find a balance of masculine and feminine we're comfortable with. Even men have female qualities. Most transmen retain a lot of their femininity, and even embrace it! I know trans men who love to get their period. There are trans men who don't have bottom surgery. I enjoy dressing up in women's clothing for certain, very specific situations (belly dancing mostly). And I'm not the only trangendered person like that.

    The anti-trans narrative you are trying to create only works if all (or at least most) transmen really are trying to wipe out everything female about them. The transmen who do that are not the rule, they're the exception. And maybe they are misogynists. But they are not what makes the trans community what it is.

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  88. @ 11:13

    This is getting really tiresome. Yes, yes, absolutely yes we know what phalloplasty requires. I don't think transmen are surprised when they walk in for surgery and suddenly find out how it works.

    It is a very unique surgery, but it is based on techniques developed for other types of cosmetic surgery. It's not the only kind of surgery that requires taking tissue from another part of the body.

    I was comparing chest reconstruction more with breast REDUCTION. They are very similar procedures in a lot of ways. In fact, my chest reconstruction surgery won't even remove all breast tissue. Some is left because men have breast tissue, and that looks more natural.

    And it's still not about erasing anything.

    It's about embracing an identity that hasn't been defined for you by other people.

    I like that.

    Transitioning is about embracing, not erasing.

    I know you won't agree, but that doesn't matter. Because I know it's true for me. There's no arguing with that.

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  89. Anon@1:03,
    I'm sorry I don't remember off-hand what it was called, but it was a German TV documentary. Basically they "unwillingly transitioned" to varying degrees, got lied to, experimented on and in the end when they had all these health problems, had no medical records, etc. since it was all covered up. If you wanted to look for the basics in english, just google something like "Doping East German female Athletes".
    Germany

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  90. " Even men have female qualities."

    There's yer problem right there -- thinking that QUALITIES (like empathy or rationality, or whatever else you want to choose from the usual pink or blue boxes) can be labelled as male/female. They're not.

    But some bodily tissues/organs CAN (but not all). Hence trying to create a balance or whatever of masculine and feminine is just nonsense -- you CAN'T create actual male organs on a female body, just a simulacra. Ditto, you either ERASE or disguise actual female organs.

    The human body isn't mouldable plastic, and there is a hell of a load of difference between breast reduction and chest masculinization. If you believe you can alter your appearance, welcome to the wonderful world of plastic surgery, with the attendant costs and risks. If you believe you can masculinize yourself, then welcome to the world of delusions.

    "It's about embracing an identity that hasn't been defined for you by other people."

    Another delusion, in that all these so-called 'identities' are ALL defined in a social context, hence the possible choices ARE defined by other people. The only identity that you have that isn't defined by others is the biological reality of being male or female. How that is perceived, you can try to fight that, but a camouflage job is just that.

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  91. @Bad Dyke:

    You have a different opinion. I think you're wrong. Yes, everything about our identities and choices is affected by our culture. But that doesn't mean we as individuals don't have a role in defining ourselves too. It's a combination of culture, biology, and individuality. You can't completely separate them from each other.

    I don't expect you to understand or accept that. You don't have to. I can respect the fact that you don't understand trans identities. And I won't ever question your personal identity.

    What's wrong, what makes your arguments tiresome and close-minded, is the fact that you can't respect other people's right to identify as trans. Your right to have your opinion only extends as far as it affects you. When it starts trying to infringe on other people's rights, you've gone to far.

    If you come up with some new argument that hasn't already been addressed by a trans ally commenting here, then I'll have more to say to you. But from what I've seen, you and a lot of the people here just repeat the same things over and over while failing to acknowledge the people who provide perspectives and proof that contradict you.

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  92. @2:46pm

    If Bad Dyke doesn't believe in things being gendered, trans "identity" disrespects her, everyone that thinks like her, and actually everyone in general whether they believe, agree or are indifferent.

    When you approach gender as the fantasy that it is, in that everyone needs to support in order for it to retain any validity, the arguments posed by her and others start to make a lot more sense. No amount of patsy-superior-talk-down-to-you-moral-highground-tone on the internet changes basic fact.

    ..and I'm a "transwoman".

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  93. @ 5:09

    I don't understand what you're saying. Bad Dyke, Dirt, and other trans-deniers believe that gender is rooted in biology. That male and female exist, and that you can't deviate from the gender you were born with.

    The reality is that gender is defined by humans, not biology. The "fantasy" that trans-deniers refer to is the belief that one can have a gender that doesn't align with their chromosomal/biologic sex.

    I'm unclear about what exactly you thinkg you're agreeing with trans-deniers about.

    And yes, I talk down to people who say that I don't have a right to exist. While I believe in their right to be treated as equals in the eyes of the law and society, I don't believe they have the right to be a jerk to me and expect me to to talk back.

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  94. PS: To clarify, they say I don't have the right to exist as a trans person. No matter what I say or believe, they believe I'm female now and forever, and that I do not deserve to ask for people to use male pronouns, or to let me use the men's restroom, or to make my own decisions about my body.

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  95. "(1.) No woman will ever live to regret having painful multiple surgeries to surgically scrape away every inch of her female identity.

    Some women do. There really isn't much research available, but what's been done suggests that less than 5% of trans people regret surgical transitioning.

    I notice the way this was phrased was to make the surgeries sound scary. They are no more (or less) scary than any other major surgery. And they don't hurt any more or less."

    I don't know where this individual got the 5%. According to the PubMed study,

    Abstract
    CONTEXT: The treatment for transsexualism is sex reassignment, including hormonal treatment and surgery aimed at making the person's body as congruent with the opposite sex as possible. There is a dearth of long term, follow-up studies after sex reassignment.

    OBJECTIVE: To estimate mortality, morbidity, and criminal rate after surgical sex reassignment of transsexual persons.

    DESIGN: A population-based matched cohort study.

    SETTING: Sweden, 1973-2003.

    PARTICIPANTS: All 324 sex-reassigned persons (191 male-to-females, 133 female-to-males) in Sweden, 1973-2003. Random population controls (10:1) were matched by birth year and birth sex or reassigned (final) sex, respectively.

    MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Hazard ratios (HR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI) for mortality and psychiatric morbidity were obtained with Cox regression models, which were adjusted for immigrant status and psychiatric morbidity prior to sex reassignment (adjusted HR [aHR]).

    RESULTS: The overall mortality for sex-reassigned persons was higher during follow-up (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 1.8-4.3) than for controls of the same birth sex, particularly death from suicide (aHR 19.1; 95% CI 5.8-62.9). Sex-reassigned persons also had an increased risk for suicide attempts (aHR 4.9; 95% CI 2.9-8.5) and psychiatric inpatient care (aHR 2.8; 95% CI 2.0-3.9). Comparisons with controls matched on reassigned sex yielded similar results. Female-to-males, but not male-to-females, had a higher risk for criminal convictions than their respective birth sex controls.

    CONCLUSIONS: 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.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21364939

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  96. @ 7:58

    I don't understand, that study didn't have anything about the number of people who regretted transitioning. I have looked at it very closely.

    Are you assuming that people who committed suicide regretted their decision? Because the study didn't suggest that at all.

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  97. "I don't understand, that study didn't have anything about the number of people who regretted transitioning. I have looked at it very closely.

    Are you assuming that people who committed suicide regretted their decision? Because the study didn't suggest that at all."

    This individual is right in that this study dealt with mortality, morbidity, and criminal rate after surgical sex reassignment of transsexual persons. No, they didn't seem to come right out and ask people if they regretted transitioning. Perhaps they should have done this. Instead of asking people how they feel, they looked at things like mortality (how long you live) and morbidity (how well you live).

    "Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population."

    "Strengths of this study include nationwide representativity over more than 30 years, extensive follow-up time, and minimal loss to follow-up. Many previous studies suffer from low outcome ascertainment,[6], [9], [21], [29] whereas this study has captured almost the entire population of sex-reassigned transsexual individuals in Sweden from 1973–2003. Moreover, previous outcome studies have mixed pre-operative and post-operative transsexual persons,[22], [37] while we included only post-operative transsexual persons that also legally changed sex. Finally, whereas previous studies either lack a control group or use standardised mortality rates or standardised incidence rates as comparisons,[9], [10], [11] we selected random population controls matched by birth year, and either birth or final sex."

    They tracked people after SRS for thirty years. Look at this graph and notice male control and female controls versus MTF and FTM. So, you might say you feel better after SRS, but you don't necessarily live as long.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043071/figure/pone-0016885-g001/

    Death from any cause as a function of time after sex reassignment among 324 transsexual persons in Sweden (male-to-female: N=191, female-to-male: N=133), and population controls matched on birth year.

    I apologize because this person is right. This study didn't focus on people stating they felt regret.


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  98. "I don't understand, that study didn't have anything about the number of people who regretted transitioning. I have looked at it very closely.

    Are you assuming that people who committed suicide regretted their decision? Because the study didn't suggest that at all."

    This individual is right in that this study dealt with mortality, morbidity, and criminal rate after surgical sex reassignment of transsexual persons. No, they didn't seem to come right out and ask people if they regretted transitioning. Perhaps they should have done this. Instead of asking people how they feel, they looked at things like mortality (how long you live) and morbidity (how well you live).

    "Persons with transsexualism, after sex reassignment, have considerably higher risks for mortality, suicidal behaviour, and psychiatric morbidity than the general population."

    "Strengths of this study include nationwide representativity over more than 30 years, extensive follow-up time, and minimal loss to follow-up. Many previous studies suffer from low outcome ascertainment,[6], [9], [21], [29] whereas this study has captured almost the entire population of sex-reassigned transsexual individuals in Sweden from 1973–2003. Moreover, previous outcome studies have mixed pre-operative and post-operative transsexual persons,[22], [37] while we included only post-operative transsexual persons that also legally changed sex. Finally, whereas previous studies either lack a control group or use standardised mortality rates or standardised incidence rates as comparisons,[9], [10], [11] we selected random population controls matched by birth year, and either birth or final sex."

    They tracked people after SRS for thirty years. Look at this graph and notice male control and female controls versus MTF and FTM. So, you might say you feel better after SRS, but you don't necessarily live as long.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3043071/figure/pone-0016885-g001/

    Death from any cause as a function of time after sex reassignment among 324 transsexual persons in Sweden (male-to-female: N=191, female-to-male: N=133), and population controls matched on birth year.

    I apologize because this person is right. This study didn't focus on people stating they felt regret.

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  99. This might be a really sore point, avid reader, but transwomen pass less well than ftm's do. If no one is recognizing you as female, I bet that's a really compelling reason for you to assert that gender is pure fantasy...sorry but it had to be said.

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  100. I'm trans, I look completely male and have a straight girlfriend, I have a great life.

    However - if I was on a desert island with nobody around, and lived a life alone, I would STILL transition. Because it is for ME and feeling comfortable with myself, NOT to fit into society or what is 'normal'.

    It's about being true to how you feel.

    Quote for every human - 'we are who we pretend to be'.
    Whether people believe transitioning is a 'pretence' or not, it doesn't matter because people read us how we look and act.

    To the whole world - I am male. So even if physically I am not (even though technically I am as I have had surgery and hormone treatment, but if we are talking DNA) then that does not matter anyways, because the world does not know that.

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  101. @ LJ:

    Thank you for sharing that! I'm glad you're in a good place!

    @ 11:29 PM

    So there's several problems with that one study. One of the big ones is that they were comparing trans people against non-trans people. Why's that a problem? Because trans people (whether they transition or not) tend to suffer from depression and attempt suicide more often than non trans people. Just like gay and lesbian people tend to suffer from depression and attempt suicide more than straight people.

    If there's a study that compares trans people who don't have sex-reassignment against trans people who do, and it then finds that people who have the surgery commit suicide more often, then I'll believe that sex-reassignment surgery is a problem, and that people are regretting having it done.

    Please also note that the study itself says, more than once, that the study is not a suggestion that sex-reassignment surgery should not be done.

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  102. "So there's several problems with that one study. One of the big ones is that they were comparing trans people against non-trans people. Why's that a problem? Because trans people (whether they transition or not) tend to suffer from depression and attempt suicide more often than non trans people. Just like gay and lesbian people tend to suffer from depression and attempt suicide more than straight people."

    I do wish there were more long term studies that follow people for twenty or thirty years.

    As I understand it, the controls were random. I suppose they didn't call people up and ask if they identified as trans. They were looking at statistic.
    By the way, not everyone who might fall under the category of gender non-conformist identifies as trans. Trans is nothing but an identity. Morbidity and mortality are good indicators of overall health of any population.

    Even with sex reassignment surgery depression can still exist. It in and of itself is not a cure all for everyone. Unfortunately, it's true that gender non-conforming people, or people who don't fit exactly into what society says is appropriate female and male behavior do suffer from depression. Gay men and lesbians also suffer more from depression and are more prone to suicide. Why is this true? The obvious reason is overwhelming and relentless discrimination. Why not change negative stereotypes of gay men, lesbians, and gender non-conforming people? This seems like a logical first step and it doesn't involve surgery and a life time of cross gender hormones.

    "Because trans people (whether they transition or not) tend to suffer from depression and attempt suicide more often than non trans people."

    Is this person stating that sex reassignment surgery won't magically cure all depression? The reason gay men and lesbians are depressed is because of discrimination.

    Again, I wish there were long term studies.

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  103. The trans community is aware that sex reassignment surgery doesn't cure depression. I don't think it cures depression for anyone. Depression isn't that simple. That's why after having sex reassignment, people need to continue communicating with their doctors, and hopefully a therapist, and continue to maintain a support network of friends and family.

    Heck, the surgery creates a lot of stressors which can make depression worse for a time. Having to find the money to pay for it, recovering from the surgery itself, possibly having to travel for it, definitely missing work (which might be unpaid). Feelings of depression and anxiety can skyrocket at this time.

    But after recovering from the surgery, people usually report improvement in their depression and anxiety.

    This isn't the only thing that's used to help with depression which causes more depression in the short term. When you first start anti-depressants, for example, there's an adjustment period. It may take trying several different anti-depressants to find one that works, a process that can take months for some people. Starting out, many people feel worse depression, increased suicidal ideation, and other negative effects. But it levels out eventually, as long as you continue working with your doctor and don't just quit.

    Starting therapy is another thing that can cause huge stresses. There's finding a therapist you're comfortable working with (many people aren't successful the first try), figuring out how you're going to pay for it, getting the time off work for appointments.

    So yes, I am absolutely stating that sex reassignment surgery doesn't magically cure all depression. And most trans people wouldn't say that. It's the trans-deniers on this blog who keep saying we believe that and call us delusional.

    Absolutely we need to change negative stereotypes. That includes not discriminating against people who transition. We should embrace non-conforming people who identify as the sex they were assigned at birth, and we should embrace people who don't identify as the sex they were assigned at birth.

    I'm personally trying to change the negative stereotypes being spread on this blog. For example: not all transgender people have sex reassignment surgery, or take hormones their whole lives. It seems the main argument against being transgender that I see on this blog is that the surgery and hormones are bad. So what's the response from trans-deniers when confronted with transgender people who don't make use of either?

    And I agree, I wish there were more long term studies too.

    -C

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  104. @November 1, 2012 2:12 AM

    I didn't know the party train was still full steam ahead in this comment thread, sorry I missed yours!

    I don't have any problem with "passing" as female. At the end of the day, people box and treat you by how you present yourself to the world, and I present as female and am treated as such. I don't have any axes to grind with the world surrounding identity or "misgendering".

    The feelings that I have developed about "gender" as a fantasy construction have developed over the past five years or so -- through talking with radical feminists, not so radical feminists, completely delusional trans people, fairly well balanced trans people, and women and men from all walks of life. I never drank the kool-aid from the "trans narrative" bowl, and I believe very strongly that anyone who does is not genuinely transsexual. I'm positive that the true numbers of actual transsexual people are the tiniest fraction of those who actually claim to be transsexual today.

    I read dirt's blog with great fascination, not even so much for the posts themselves, but the discussion they generate. People need to decontruct "gender" contructively, and every so often strides are made here that would never be made in a "transsexual friendly" place because of the kool-aid, because of the language policing, and because of the reliance on identities more precarious and fragile than a house of cards.

    My decision to go through with what amounts to nothing more than extreme body modification was made because it saved my life. I'm now happy, healthy, own my own business, and am generally much more of an active participant in the world. Being transsexual has never defined me -- who am I as a person does.

    There is absolutely no "sore point" here. Just a person interested in participating in the discussion.

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  105. @avid reader

    It's fine that being transsexual doesn't identify you. I understand that. But I don't understand why you can't respect the people who do let that define them.

    I've never wanted to let my sexuality define me. In most situations, I refuse to tell people what it is. But I understand and support the people who make their sexual orientation who they are. Everybody understands the world and themselves and finds happiness in different ways.

    I appreciate that you come at gender in a different way than a lot of transgender folks. But I don't appreciate that you are unkind to people who don't think the same way you do. You've had unkind things to say about me because you feel I'm dismissing you for disagreeing with you. But you are coming off as very dismissive of others.

    I've actually been dismissing you because you have been a jerk. I'm fine with people disagreeing with me, but I'm not fine with people being hateful, spreading incorrect information, or trying to belittle the rights of people to have their identity. You say you like the discussion here, but instead of adding to it in a constructive way, you've been generally offensive.

    I'm trying to understand your perspective and also let you know what my perspective is. I hope you can respect that.

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  106. I have no problem with people defining themselves through their sexuality or their transsexuality (?) if they so choose. It's an awfully limiting thing to do to one's self, and maybe helps to explain why those people can't reach any sort of "happiness" that we're all striving for in one way or another. It takes all sorts to make the world go 'round and all that.

    I do have a problem with "gender", and an even bigger problem with the assumption that we all must believe in it to coddle those who precariously stand atop it. If that makes me "dismissive", so be it. This is hardly a forum where one can adequately put forth their entire perspective, lest it not meet dirt's approval and find itself removed.

    I'm hardly a jerk, being hateful, spreading incorrect information nor belittling anyone. I'd be more than happy to talk to you, or anyone, through a more direct line of communication. Talking to others through these blog posts when just about everyone is "Anonymous" and comments disappear at random is challenging at the best of times.

    I *am* irritated, nothing more.

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  107. @avid reader

    You're OK with someone identifying as transsexual, but you are not ok with people believing in gender? That doesn't make sense. Transsexuals are people who identify as a gender different from what they were assigned at birth. Gender is necessary for transsexualism to exist.

    Gender is a social construct. It only exists as far as our society has defined it. That is true of a lot of things: sexual orientation, religion, race. While with some of them, there are physical characteristics that go into the creation of the identity (skin color, chromosomes, physical actions), the identity is still a cultural construct.

    That does not mean that these identities are delusions. Unless you want to say that agreed upon cultural constructs are delusions. Which you can say, but then you can't pretend that you aren't also someone who is sharing that same delusion. We might be aware that this is all basically made up. But that doesn't mean we stand outside of the belief in these identities.

    It's unfair, for example, to compare someone believing their a toaster to someone having a gender identity. The first would clearly be an individual's delusion. The second is the delusion we share with all the rest of the people in our culture.

    I suppose if a significant portion of our population started identifying as toasters, we'd have to change our perspective on that. Just like society has had to change it's perspective on whether black people are really human beings, or whether homosexuality is an identity.

    But for now, trying to compare someone identifying as a certain gender to someone thinking their a toaster is dismissive.

    It is challenging to converse on this blog, it's true. Plenty of my own posts have been deleted. I started posting anonymously because my posts are automatically deleted when I sign in. It makes it hard for us to contact each other directly too, though.

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  108. My perspective is that you don't really need a gender identity once your body reflects the gender that you feel. Thank god I can put that boring shit to rest. There's plenty of other things we can and should be concerning ourselves with as humans. The whole thing is a sum-null argument. And it's like the tower of Babel up in here.

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  109. @ 5:25

    I agree with you that in an ideal world, gender would be a non-issue. However, the real world is full of discrimination and violence against people who are women, and people whose gender identity doesn't match their birth sex. If we could get everyone to realize that gender is just a construct and should not be a factor in how we treat others, then we wouldn't have to worry. But you're not going to convince society of that.

    You can't convince everyone that women and transgendered people deserve equal treatment either. But you can convince some people, and you can affect social policy. We need to keep the dialogue about gender going because if we don't, we just risk ignoring the fact that people are suffering. As humans, we should be concerned with helping our brothers and sisters who face hardships, abuse, and even death because of their gender identity (whether it matches their birth sex or not).

    If that bores you, I'm not sure why you're on a blog where people are going to talk about gender constantly.

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  110. Yes, yes, I get that. And I do good work in my community. I also come here to fight for myself and my trans community when I feel we are maligned. Because we are trans, Dirt and some of her sick harpies have suggested that we are child molesters and rapists by nature and that our partners are also child molesters. That's a real clear-cut example of oppression-from a demographic that should understand what it's like to be called a pervert JUST because of who you are. What they don't seem to understand is that it doesn't matter who they think we are. They can keep shouting into the ether but it won't change a thing about my life. No one seems to want to address the issues that can be addressed such as ftm's taking male privilege, lack of exposure to feminism, stoopid chauvinism. They would say we don't exist without misogyny, but the harder truth is that both exist and are real. I'd rather discuss productive topics. My existence is irrefutable.

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  111. @ 9:49

    I do believe that the truly delusional people who are the ones that want to argue our right to exist. Oh, and I don't doubt that you do good work in your community!

    I think the contentiousness of our conversation came about from misunderstanding. I honestly thought it was that or trolling, which wasn't meant to be dismissive, it was more an attempt to find out which way you were intending to go.

    Sometimes the topics on this blog do get pretty boring. A couple of weeks ago, people were just arguing about which kind of feminist was more relevant. It kind of made me feel better to know that different kinds of feminists hate each other as much as some of them seem to hate trans people, though.

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  112. “And the handshake really threw me at first,” he adds. “Women shake each other’s hands like this.”
    He stands up to demonstrate and shakes my hand in a calm, casual manner.
    “But men,” he continues, “do it like this.”

    Many years ago, I have no idea where, maybe in a magazine in a doctor's office I read an article about the importance of a handshake especially for women in business. It went on to say how little girls and young women are taught to offer their hands coquettishly, like they're expecting a man to kiss and say how lovely they are. It stressed the importance of shaking a man's hand the same way boys are taught. Regardless of the circumstances, interpersonal relationships should be equal, so ladies, don't introduce yourself as unequal to the man you're being introduced to.

    That advice always stuck with me, and though I have no idea how I shook hands previously, to this day I don't do what the speaker in that article is claiming. And I've met many many women who've shaken hands in a "masculine" manner.

    And I also remember a male friend of mine once saying, "Never give a weak handshake. It's not feminine, it's just passive aggressive."

    -Erica

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