I have bitten my tongue long enough, really, and now feel I have to speak out about a certain type of on-line encounter that leaves me feeling very angry.
It involves people who are disagreeable, and who insist their views are right, and who will bully and personalise issues if you don’t agree with them, and will call you names, become abusive and threatening if you do not acquiesce. Then, when they are ejected from whatever forum it happens to be, they will shout about the injustice of being dealt with that way. Yet, if you visit their space on the web, the slightest murmer of dissent is met with instant exclusion without any discussion, warning or feedback. This is the totalitarian mindset of some people I have encountered who identify as transsexual. I don’t tend to come across so consistently it elsewhere.
An example of the sort of issue that is not up for negotiation is childhood interventions; this is very much a sacred cow to transsexuals. The argument goes that when it comes to trans children, little boys are really little girls, and little girls are really little boys, and people should move heaven and earth to assist them in becoming the boys and girls they want to be. Another argument is that transsexuals are biologically wired up to have female brains in male bodies, and male brains in female bodies. The support for these two arguments is based mainly on older transsexual narratives that they always felt that they should have been girls or boys, and nature made a cruel mistake. That and a piece of research based on a small sample in Holland that has never been replicated, and is starting to grow whiskers by now. An isolated, unreplicated, confirmation of a theory. Yet, if challenged this tends to get dealt with in the way I described earlier – as does challenging the idea that children should have intervention for being trans.
My concern here is because childhood intervention is also an issue for intersex people, and it is a sacred cow to many of us. If I am going to be consistent, how can I support intervention in one group, and not in another? I do not believe that transsexualism is a form of intersex, as some people try to have us accept – and if it was, why would I support unnecessary childhood intervention for some and not others? I would be a hypocrite if I did. But, even though i do not see these issues as both relating to intersex, I still fail to see why they should be dealt with differently. I support an organisation like Genital Autonomy because I believe that such autonomy has to be extended to all people equally – so I regard male, female or intersex genital cutting as undesirable without adult fully informed consent; that would have to include transsexual people. But, I extend this to incorporate any form of intervention that affects sexual phenotype, such as hormone therapy, and psycho-social reinforcement of gender; anything that is not directly necessary to maintain physical health (such as to maintain bone development and prevent of osteoporosis in later life) of pre-adults.
What does frighten me is that some transsexual people are so caught-up in this fictional binary-gender ideology, that they are convinced that as adults, intersex people who do not identify as clearly gendered in traditional ways are in some way ‘sick’, and insist they should have reassignment surgery so that they will conform to gender norms. They also argue that it is harmful to intersex children not to operate in a way that ensures they appear unequivocally male or female. Then they get upset when intersex don’t want to include them in their groups. This is because many of us experienced these sorts of interventions, and we did not like them as children, and do not want them again as adults, and do not want them to be inflicted on a new generation of children. Not even children who might one day grow up transsexual (but who might grow up as gay or lesbian, or straight).
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.