Saturday, November 28, 2009

Sex and Love, key to TG and TG-community growth or stagnation

Well I'm back from Sydney.
I travelled to be with my boy/girl (FtM Crossdresser) for their birthday.

The circumstances of one of their friends helped put into focus for me something key to the transgender community.. and often quite taboo. One i've mentioned before but which seems even clearer and more crucial to me now.

It was yet another crossdresser attempting to hang up their heels and quit. They felt their crossdressing need stems from a lack of a girlfriend and would dissapear with a woman in their life. I won't discount the possibility, though it was what i once thught too till i learned from direct experience that i was wrong, and there's been many other crossdressers who thought so too only to then be in the complicated situation of being in a comitted relationship when the need to crossdress returns with all the struggle and stress that comes of telling or hiding or repressing and the partners feellings on the matter etc.

Now this person had been coming out more and more with the support and encouragement of, and with feellings for, my current boy/girlfriend. It's not the first time for hir as being openly TG-attracted for some time. Hir ex-fiance went forward with transition because of the accepting relationship.

Many closteted crossdressers and transsexuals yet to transition have been in that state because of loneliness and the fear of forever remaining in that state. Many other CDs are closeted because of the concerns and feellings and comfort-zones of cis partners. For many an accepting partner is the path to being out and self realisation. Of course for some internalised issues may be strong or stronger nevertheless, but for many it robs them of a terror that holds them back, holds them down. In mainstream society few doubt the need for sex and romance...

Loneliness, the desire for companionship, for romance, for sex, reproduction... why these are recognised as primary drives in life in most communities.. but not ours. No the terror of the labels Fetishist, Gay and the fear of offending, confirming the fears of or scaring off the existing cis hetero wives and girlfriends of MtF CDs rules. To the point of many parts of the community excluding and villifying others.

Now sure some people who are attracted to TG people are badly behaved.. like thats a new thing to women, and to men too. But there are many transgender-attracted people who are quite decent people... and most that I've met are totally closeted about their desires. And most are assuming i mean cis men, but in fact i've met quite a few trans-attracted cis women, most in relationships with cis men. I've even been propositioned by some cis women in my own rural town to join them and their partners for threesomes and in the offline world i've met far more trans-attracted cis women than cis men.

There's also the concerns over sexual images of transgender people, often requiring us to ignore the entire role of appearance in sexual attraction, the reality of sexual imagery of cis women and cis men pervadinng nearly every magazine newspaper film tv show. And often these complaints are about the very existence of non-binary transgender people and objections to them being considered sexually attractive. Now arguments about what kind of sexual images are exploitative and of imagist bias is seperate and reasonable topics, but to say all are is to deny the possibility of erotic art or any beauty in any transgender nudity.

The trans-attracted are labelled 'chasers' and often excluded with much hostility. Flirting and the like often strictly forbidden despite occuring in most hetero cis spaces. And while an argument can be made that it's needed to have some spaces for TG people to discuss issues without having to consider trans-attracted people or interact with them it's often the case amongst CD support groups and sites that such privacy is centred on allowing cis wives such privacy from their CD husbands and the rest of the world but the reverse is less often true.

What we have is a situation where huge numbers of people remain closeted or suffer by delaying transition out of fear of never finding a partner. Where many stay in abusive relationships out of fear of blackmail, loss of custody or of never finding another partner. Where the concerns of cis partners don't just effect the compromises within relationships but also drive the policies of support groups and organisations resulting in the exclusion and marginalisation of some of those already suffering too much. And where those attracted to transgender people are also closetted often, both cis men and cis women, only able to bring themselves to seek the sex but too frightened of judgement to date openly and often staying in the comforts of cis relationships.

Addressing the reality of this is vital, of the need for transgender people to be like everyone else, able to flirt, able to seek sex and/or romance, to seek a compatible partner. The need for incorporating the trans-attracted into our efforts to liberate our diverse community from oppression and to help them overcome the stigma of their desires.

And taking the controling reigns of large chunks of the community from the hands or fears of cis people with cis concerns is equally vital! Sure easing family members through transphobia is important. Sure relationships need compromise and communication. Sure Cis people can be valuable members of the community and the most accepting of Cis people being free of the internalised transphobia that hamstrings us and with little (usually...) transphobia of their own have often been courageous and supportive in helping members of our community to step out into the light.

But all the pandering to cis concerns has gone way too far. It's holding the community back and it's causing harm to many within it. We must address these issues solidly and squarely.

Until we do only a tiny minority of TG people will be out, plenty will slink back into the closet when relationships fail or be overcome with despair that they will never find love.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Bigotry and Unscientific and Unethical Rot in the Heart of Psychiatry

Once again comments I've written elsewhere strikes me as being worthy once re-edited of a post on it's own.

These are from here:

I am especially troubled by a September report from Dr. Raymond Blanchard, chairman of the Paraphilias Subworkgroup of the DSM-V Task Force. He proposes to retain the TF diagnosis, renamed "Transvestic Disorder" with its existing diagnostic criteria that ambiguously label all "behaviors involving cross-dressing" by those assigned male at birth as sexually deviant on the basis of their sexual orientation. Moreover, Dr. Blanchard proposes to add the deeply offensive and inflammatory term, "autogynephilia," as a specifier to the diagnosis. I ask the DSM-V Task Force and elected officials of the American Psychiatric Association to reject his proposal.

Here we have a diagnosis criteria of a mental illness that includes SEXUALITY as one of it's criteria! And SEX as another! From the pdf preview of the report:

"(4) with a heterosexualorientation. There are, of course, cross-dresserswho fall outside this definition: homosexual men who crossdress without sexual arousal and perhaps rare women who cross-dress with sexual arousal. The existence of these other groups has no necessary bearing on whether the combination of male sex, heterosexual orientation, cross-dressing, and sexual excitement constitutes a distinct syndrome. The consensus of expert clinicians, for almost a century, has been that it does."

Does anyone like the idea of sexual orientation being a criteria for diagnosing a mental illness folks? Think it's good that het male to female crossdressers are seperated from gay ones because of their sexuality in this? Or the female to male ones from the male to female ones because they are assumed to be 'rare'. And strange that being aroused wearing lingerie (something they seem to think only happens with het CDs, not gay ones) is somehow bad but a man being aroused wearing leather chaps or a woman finding wearing a tight corset arousing (which is almost every goth woman i know for the record) is somehow different.

This is an arbitrary definition. Built on policing gender roles from a transphobic gender-binary as well as sexuality double-standards and sexist double-standards. There's something wrong in that affecting everybody! And the knock-on effects through the psychiatric field could effect anyone!

And as Kelly, the author of the original post i was commenting on reminds us:

...the TF diagnosis defames a huge population of CD, genderqueer, and other trans folks who have been inexplicably silent on this issue. Moreover, a person does not actually have to be sexually aroused by gender expression to be diagnosed. Criterion A in the current and proposed diagnosis is (conveniently) ambiguously worded to be met by "or behaviors involving cross-dressing." The mere "involvement" of "cross-dressing" is all that is required. Even worse, the second criterion fails to distinguish distress actually caused by gender expression from distress caused by societal prejudice. So a CD individual who is perfectly happy and well adjusted and has been outed and fired can be further bashed by a TF diagnosis, because being a victim of job discrimination can be considered "impairment" in the diagnosis. Dr. Blanchard's TF diagnosis was designed to ensnare as many gender nonconforming people as possible on the basis of male birth-assignment and sexual orientation. It should be removed from the DSM-V.

There is a phenomenon I've been observing, and repeatedly subject to in fact.
It's where bad science with poor evidence poor logic poor conclusions and cherry picking of evideence and failing to apply proper scientific method by searching for disproofs of contrary evidence rather than only corroborative evidence get accepted and placed on high because it's consistent with presumptions and unscientific beliefs and what suits the mainstream.

It happens regularly with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyalitus/Fibromyalgia where psychologists are still getting pieces published and supported that the illness is psychological in origin and exaccerbated psychologically despite findings of genetic switch activity in blood, despite mitochondrial function evidence, despite evidence in cerebrospinal fuid and evidence of cerebrospinal swelling/inflamation and now the evidence of a retrovirus XMRV previously linked to prostate cancer being found in the majority of CFS sufferers.

In other words in total contrast to empirical evidence which must be ignored and pretended does not exist in order to make these claims the more comfortable stereotype-affirming view gets undue support and acceptance.

If Blanchard GENUINELY wanted to test his theories the very first thing that should be done is to apply all the tests that have found biological corellates in transsexuals upon crossdressers, looking for milder forms or varient forms of the same traits. An obvious thing to rule out surely? But major tenants of Psychiatry are under threat from Neurology, that'd be fraternising with the enemy. And i doubt any genuine test would be applied to his theories by him. He wants to build a theory, not test one. Construct an explanation that fits his preconceptions, not find the truth.
And here is an important question.

Why is it that despite years and years of homophobic and transphobic murder....
There is no sign of homophobia or transphobia listed as mental illnesses? No sign of treatments for them?

Cause there is an Unethical notion at the heart of much psychology.. that social norms are right because they are social norms and deviation from social norms and resistance to social conditioning is an aberation. Thats a Philosophical and Unethical cancer at the heart of psychology.

Until all Ethical actions and behavior is removed from the DSM and Unethical and Irrational Hate is included then there is Human Rights Abuse at it's heart!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Time To Stop Subsidising Religious Businesses?

It's a simple concept.
Money corrupts. Most faiths even preach so. Religious owned businesses are subsidised by the taxpayer and given an unfair competative advantage. Thats protectionsim pure and simple.

Now i'm not suggesting we remove alltogether tax exemptions from churches. Or prevent them from doing charity work.

But how's this for a simple concept?

If its donations going to ceremonial buildings and ceremonial implements thats purely religious in function and not taxed.

If it's something sold or bought that's business and should be taxed.

Surely thats fair?

And regarding discrimination laws and exemptions a simple line can be drawn too.

If its for admission to, participation in and running of ceremonies and for ceremonial buildings and the beaureacracy directly pertaining to ceremony they can discriminate however they want. But in all charity works and in all businesses these should not be able to discriminate. If a religion wants to be a business all bussiness laws should apply without exception. If a charity then all charity laws should apply.

Surely thats fair too?

It's time to stop the unfair subsidising of businesses by the taxpayer purely because the owner of shops, printers, food companies or whatever else is a religous organisation. That immaterial to the freedom of religion and it's contrary to free trade and fair business practices!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Julie Bindel still doesn't understand what Human Rights actually means

Julie Bindel once again rails against the Transgender community with an argument that once again clings to some studies while ignoring the existence of others and which also is a human rights EPIC FAIL.

The full article is here:

But the key error is the same one I tried to explain to her on facebook and reiterated here on this blogpost

I have no idea if she's reading the comments on the article page but my own there (qued for mod approval at the moment i type this) is as follows:
Hi again Julie. As i explained before and available here: your view is in places contrary to basic human rights principles. Most notable Bodily Autonomy, the principle that gives people the right to say no to sex, to say no to state-forced surgery, the right to contraception and to terminate pregnancy. You use the term human rights but you seem confused about the key concepts of human rights. As arguing that transgender people should be able to choose surgery or no surgery is valid, but your criticism of those who choose it is
invalid as its contrary to the human right of bodily autonomy. I suggest you
read this also I suggest you look into the philosophical foundations of what makes human rights human rights then review your opinions to remove the hypocritical inconsistency.

Now it's a pretty simple concept. And it's a fundamental human rights principle. The basis in fact for many feminist womens rights fights to assert this fundamental universal human right. It's astonishing to imagine that Julie could go through her career without once encountering this principle or that she would knowingly attack the right that is so vital to women and children the world over. Only a few possible explanations come to mind.

* She may think that for some reason Transsexuals are an exception to Universal Human Rights. Making her use of the term human rights and claims to advocating them a knowing lie or unknowing falsehood.

* She may have a Utilitarian view that the possible effect on Cissexual and Cisgender women are more important that the universal human rights of Transgender and Transsexual people even though the same argument would invalidate the womens rights movement because of its effects on men in the past. Making her use of the term human rights and claims to advocating them a knowing lie or unknowing falsehood.

* She may knowingly be using the term human rights in full understanding of the hypocracy of arguing against the human rights of others and falsely claiming the human rights of women and children are effected by the equal rights of all people including transgender and transsexual people.

Either way a clear and unavoidable hypocracy exists. Bodily autonomy is a Universal Human Right. A key concept upon which Womens Rights and Childrens Rights depend. And it means that people MUST have the right to CHOOSE SRS and they MUST have the right to DECLINE SRS without any coercion of any sort including needing SRS to be recognised as a woman or man or to avoid laws and beaureaucratic processes that discriminate based on actual or perceived sex or gender identity or expression.

Thats what Human Rights demand. It's what Bodily Autonomy, Freedom of Expression, Equality, Freedom From Disscrimination, Freedom Of Self-Identification and more all require.

Thats what Human Rights means Julie. It doesn't mean what you think it means. Your incorrect use of it in your article is hypocracy as it refutes your arguments.