How I helped Dreger erase the entire trans community overnight, apparently.
Part One: my response to the discussion on Trans Media Watch.
This follows on from a discussion I started in a post here called Leave the kids alone; this led to a couple of other posts, and is linked to responses in other blogs and an online discussion group, I have added other links to within my blog site at the end.
I recently started a response to the Trans Media Watch Group, where I explained that didn’t see much point in responding there, after having been invited to post there, and almost immediately have answers demanded by four or five people at once. This was about midnight, a couple of answers after I posted a link to my blog. I had naively hoped that people would discuss what I had raised, rather than engaging in much the same ad-feminem polemic used to dismiss Dreger’s original comments. I had hoped that what I said would have been viewed as a ‘glass-half-full’, rather than ‘glass-half-empty’, and most of what I had said ignored.
I found it quite amusing when I reflected that a journo was not only calling me stupid, but critcising me ethically, because of my ‘academic’ approach – and being told I was the pot calling the kettle black by another when I critcised her rather abusive approach, having safely removed the comment made by her that I was responding to… This was somebody who, so far in the debate, had mostly indulged in character assassination, and who had not attempted to address any of the humanitarian issues raised.
I am foolish for forgetting that the reason why people in these forums cut and paste quotes all the time, is because they themselves will go back and remove some of their own inflammatory comments, rendering the reply nonsensical. They like to keep a record of what people say, repeat it out of context, which I guess must generate a certain paranoia in themselves that their own words might some day be used against them in this way.
So, here I will do exactly that. I have no issue doing this, as the posts are visible publicly by any member of that social networking site.
Natacha demanded evidence, repeatedly, after every other post at one point, when I explained I would prefer to stick to experience; I did produce evidence, only to have that evidence ignored, and being told I was ridiculous producing evidence when I had said I preferred to talk about experience. This was after Natacha had said that if I didn’t produce evidence, I was being dishonest:
So, after saying that ” I am more interested in experience, XXXX. Evidence is usually something that people who don’t know about something directly gather in order to support their ideology.” You are now saying that you are going to produce evidence. Ridiculous.
But, when I spoke from experience, that was ignored as well – not even engaged with. Very neat and tidy: I am the one being told I am being unscientific, yet anything that is produced to explain my view, is simply glossed over. It kind of reminds me of how men ignore what women have to say a lot of the time, which I guess says a lot about somebody who is essentially a dual-role male cross-dresser.
It kind of suggested to me that anything I said that did not correspond with the ideological belief under discussion would be disregarded – that in itself is not ‘scientific’, it is foreclosing debate to avoid hearing a contrary view. This seems to happen whenever anybody who experienced gender dysphoria in childhood points out that only a few people who have this experience end up as transsexual. They are not listened to, basically, because they are not transsexual. People who are lesbian, gay, genderqueer, intersex, even some transgender people, are ignored when they recount their experiences of gender dysphoria – and as often as not are degraded as being transphobic – because they have a different point of view about gender dysphoria. But all that is really doing is undermining what such people say, in order to put the priorities of transsexuals before others. It is like some transsexuals really believe they have the last say when it comes to gender dysphoria, and only their experience of it counts for anything.
This behaviour is in itself “transphobic”, because it marginalises and ignores experiences like these recounted by people who are included under the “trans” umbrella. There are transsexuals who can be the among most transphobic people I have ever come across.
I have not been the one calling people dishonest so far, but, now I will say that it is disingenuous to discount other people’s experience, simply because it does not accord with your own, and to come to some pretty far reaching conclusions based on your experience alone, yet which may well affect those who have a different experience of the same phenomenon, and not own that this is what you are doing, and make out that it is ideologically neutral.
This approach effectively derails the discussion, and draws people further away from dealing with any of the issues raised. I am not a scientist, don’t pretend to be, never had (I do have an MSc outside this area, and I carried out research for several years while I was teaching and studying as a post-graduate). I am not a determinist, and I am not sure that science is able to answer what are, fundamentally, issues about ethics and humanitarianism.
What I stated are my views, and some people do not agree, for various reasons; they are at liberty to disagree, but not to attack me for having different views, or to miscast those who disagree as being ‘transphobic’. The way this ‘appears’, being on the receiving end, is that rather than engaging in discussion, some people prefer to gang-up and shout other people down when they say something they don’t like. But, I still have my opinions, which you can discount as worthless if you like, and I see this differently. You cannot stop me believing what I want, and speaking freely.
I have not had much time for Dreger for seveal years, because of her involvement in bringing about re-labeling intersex conditions “disorders” in DSD, and her support for Bailey, and disagree with her on several things, although I respect her speaking out about experiments with DEX & CAH and her legacy in the campaign for the rights of intersex children. I have never liked Bailey or Zucker’s approaches, and have said so quite clearly. I have made it quite clear that I support adult’s decisions about their lives, and appreciate how hard growing up with gender dysphoria is, and how I understand what young adult trans people have to go through, and that I admire and respect them enormously.
I feel at liberty to contribute to this discussion, because I have a history that has both intersex and trans issues interwoven within it. I have not enagaged within the trans community for some years now – precisely because of the problems Polly has raised, and which to me, it is evident, still persist. Now the names and faces have changed. I find it quite sad that as a “community”, people have not moved on from this pack mentality.
Each time you attack somebody’s character, motives, and so on, when they have expressed support and made explicit statements to that effect, dismissing these as “disingenuous” (in the way I just demonstrated), you make it harder for them to make such statements of support. You push them away, and make it harder for them to feel inclined to be supportive, and such statements will start to be made through gritted teeth. Eventually, you will end up with people who cannot be bothered supporting you at any more.
I am sure Natacha will find much to twist in what I have said here. But I do find it sad, deeply tragic in fact, that all you achieve in this process is losing allies, rather than gaining them. Because, contary to what Jane might believe, we are not all as stupid as she thinks.
In response to my question:
“I get that you don’t like Dreger…neither do I. In rejecting her, are you also rejecting everything she says?”
Came the the reply:
“I just don’t care what she says, YYYY. Despite everything she claims, it’s always from a cisgender, othering, you-are-a-testube-specimen-for-me-to-study viewpoint. Until/unless she has enough self-awareness to recognise this in herself, she has nothing interesting to say.”
And yet, when I state much the same thing, from an experiential and self-aware position, I am shouted down, and independent evidence – of the sort Dreger usually draws on somewhere in her writing – is demanded. The reality is, you do not not want to hear what Dreger, somebody like Polly, myself, or anybody else is saying about this. Yet I am being told I am not being scientific, when I have never claimed to be a scientist and prefer to draw on experience; you dismiss academics who do present such scientific evidence because they have no such experience, or specialists who have done such research as being part of some transphobic conspiracy. It is a hypocritical approach, because it is not scientific to only accept what people who agree with you say, and dismiss anything that doesn’t as irrelevant in some way, persistently try to silence dissent, and make out that is scientific.
Another person said:
“Despite what Michelle may claim to the contrary, it is ridiculous to suggest that any practitioner in the UK is prescribing treatment for those who do not seek it, or are incapable of making their own decisions”
Now, I didn’t say that. Interesting how people get from what I wrote to there. Are you sure you aren’t getting confused between what ZZZZ wrote she thinks I said – and what I said?
Somebody brought up the recent Daily Mail story [about a 16 year-old whose parents paid for her treatment of puberty blockers to delay puberty and SRS in Thailand for her 16th birthday], asking what I thought about that. She must have exceptional parents. I hope it all works out for her. As with any experimental form of treatment, it will be many years before we know the full consequences. People in the group seemed keen for this experiment to be rolled out, but the data will not come back for 20-30 years. I am never keen to see children experimented on in these ways, and much less have them exposed through the media, as that can cause its own problems. I will not be in a position to see the results of this experiment, as I doubt I will still be alive then.
Regarding the osteoporosis risk in later life from endocrine disruption in adolescence, I did not come to the discussion expecting to have that challenged, as it is pretty basic stuff – ask your local endocrinologist. I would have thought that seeing how much people in the group seemed to reify science, they’d have known that already. As I said before I went to bed, they can find out all about this by typing “endocrine disruption” and “osteoporosis” into Google, where they will get lots of results. Do it on scholar to refine that even further to scientific papers. I posted a link to some basic information, as did Polly, just so people would know that I am not making it up; I shared my personal experience with this. I won’t do more than that in this resspect, because whatever I do, say and provide will just get thrown back in my face.
I was going to post this response to the group the following day, but the dicussion was closed down before I had the opportunity. I can see the point of not continuing the discussion after this, because of the hostility it generated.
The response to this discussion on Jane Fae’s blog:
Jane did, however, feel compelled to respond to some of the points I raised in various posts there and on my blog.
In this post, she first gives a smug story about a feminist friend who formerly “outflanked her” in feminist theory (presumably, Jane, now she has become a woman for a couple of years, has overtaken her friend’s 40 years experience as a feminist…). Why the blog starts out that way is not entirely clear, although I read it as Jane making people clear she knows more about feminism than we do. I don’t really care, because I know very little about feminism, and while I might support feminists, I tend to feel I have the wrong sort of history to really engage with it fully. I see myself more as “intersexist”.
Much of the rest of the blog is Jane’s attempt at misrepresenting and rubbishing what I said in the forum and in my blog posts, and calling into question my integrity, and my honesty, in a fairly polemical ad-hominem way. But done in a way to make her appear reasonable and engaging, in a rather patronising sort of way, between the barbs.
In response to my sharing my and another’s experience of gender dysphoria in childhood, which was about climbing the walls and feeling pretty depressed, and my experience of hormonal insufficiency which led to osteoporosis later in life, Jane responds:
“I don’t know the absolute answer: i do know that had I, as i have become, been aware of and offered puberty blocking at 12, i would have jumped at it. I am also aware of the hurt and grief of those who wish equally that they had been given such an opportunity. And by talking theoretically as you do, you in effect erase their being: you argue, subtly, that who they are, what they are is a mistake.”
What I find interesting about this is that it is a response to my originally saying this:
“when we [myself and another person referred to] were 12, we were a fucking mess because of all the crap we had to deal with. And, as you so rightly point out, a child who has gone through so many years of gender-based bullying and abuse will be just as much a mess. Do you honestly believe that such a child could be deemed competent to make such a decision? I wouldn’t have had any idea what I would have decided when I was 12, or if would even have been able to understand what was being proposed. I was very depressed, angry, and pretty shut-off.”
So, my response, which is experiential, is dismissed as “theoretical”, and thereby “erasing”, while her response, which is of the same order, is factual, because it claims some gnosis that mine does not. Jane Fae “knows” this, in a way I do not assert, because I understand that one can ever really “know” in such a situation. And because of this, my arguing based on my experience somehow erases somebody else’s “being”. That sounds like only one type of person’s experience is valued in this situation, namely, that of transsexuals’.
This is where I get really angry. It is abusive, and it pushes a button in me. So, now I take a break from the avoidance of personal invective:
A person who lived as a man for over 50 years, transitions, has SRS, and insists that kids be medicalised in order to help them conform to gender role stereotypes, tells me that I have erased a whole community I have been associated with for over a decade. Not only does this person know better than any woman involved in feminism for 40 years, this person knows more than anybody who ‘transitioned’ over a decade before as well, and who had gender reinforcement surgery 50 years before they had GRS. That is the point I begin to have real difficulty not referring to this person using the male-pronoun.
What an Ego-trip…
This myth of transsexual erasure, first posited by Nataf in the 90’s, isn’t really that viable anymore, because rather than having been erased over the past 20 years, transsexuals have become increasingly visible. That is despite most ordinary transsexuals choosing for themselves a path of self-erasure – i.e., ‘passing’ to the extent of becoming completely ‘stealth’ and invisible in society. Transsexuals have only emerged in the last 50 years as a recognisable group, and if you do an analysis of reporting in the media, as I have, over that that period, the exact opposite is true – they have been increasingly exposed, rather than erased.
So, this person who has lived within the freedom of white, male, upper-middle-class, heterosexual, cis-gender privelege for over 50 years, has a Damascus moment and informs his->her ‘fiancee’ and seven-year-old child that henceforward he->she is going to wear a skirt, and become a woman, while hanging on to and transferring his->her accumulated male, heternormative, cis-gender privelege – this person decides that he->she is in some way ‘oppressed’ by my having a different point of view on some issues to him->her. Ahem, excuse me, I think you have this arse-backwards, if you don’t mind me saying so – it is you who is trying to shout me down, silence me, render me invisible, all of which constitute part of what I understand by ‘erasure’.
But, this ignorance is not surprising, because if you knew anything about the history of intersex and transsexualism, you would know that the ideology that originally gave rise to transsexualism as an experimental method of dealing with effeminate homosexual men and masculine homosexual women in the 1940’s & 1950’s, requiring strict gender conformity in the process, was the same ideology that entailed intersex children having surgery which ‘corrected’ their genitalia in part to ensure that they would conform to the psycho-social gender role that was being reinforced in their behaviour. Things have moved on a long way from there, but both traditional responses to transsexual and intersex gender and genital non-conformity respectively have their roots in this ideology. As a result, intersex people really have been erased by people maintaining this gender-conforming doctrine over the past 50 years or more, in a way most transsexuals cannot even start to imagine. Not simply metaphorically, literally, they have had the signs of their difference physically erased by cosmetic plastic surgery and endocrinal interventions, in order to ensure that they can be hidden within society, their existence denied, their sexuality submitted. Intersex people, have been erased, not as a community, but individually, one-by-one.
So, yes, looks like you pressed a button there, didn’t you? It’s OK, Jane, I understand a bit about how things like sado-masochism and abuse work. My father installed most of these buttons a long time ago when I was kid. Your unwillingness to listen to my experience, shouting me down, twisting what I say, and the general arrogance that I can only put down to your 50-odd years of masculinist privilege. That erases me. I do not erase you or some community you have fairly recently adopted and appointed yourself as a spokesperson for.
Jane goes on to say this about me:
“In the past you’ve certainly advocated positions that, for all you argue subtly that they aren’t, look about as transphobic as a lot of the Christian Institute output. You see the problem? You have some sensible points to make. But just as i’d be interested in a study by a Jewish scholar re-examining the history of the holocaust – and really not too bothered by a similar work from a member of the BNP – you are not a good person to be putting these arguments.”
Thanks, at least some of what I say makes sense… I am unclear what these positions you speak of are, because as a former member of a group for transgender Christians in the “real world”, I have always been openly critical of Catholic, Evangelical and fundamentalist criticism of transsexuals (as well as of gay men and lesbians); I do not believe that trans people are “intrinsically disordered” – quite the opposite, I don’t believe GD should be classed as a mental illness at all – or that trans people are “sinful” because they are trans. I have never supported the BNP, quite the opposite in fact, I was involved in the first wave of the Anti-Nazi League, doing stuff like marching through the East End to oppose the growth of the far right at a time when the East End was still a white racist stronghold. So, I am not too sure how comparing my views to those of holocaust denial has anything to do with this discussion; and to be frank, the implication that the situation facing transsexuals in liberal democracies today is in any way comparable to the holocaust of the Jews under the Nazi’s is either contemptuous or ludicrous. I’m not sure which, but either way, it has the potential to press more buttons in people, and loses loads of credibility points for simply bringing it into the discussion.
About why I posted a link to my dissenting post on a forum, Jane asks:
“What was your intent?”
The background to this is that I responded to a question by a friend of mine who is quite well known in the queer community, Del, who has in the past been as critical of some of Dreger’s output as I have. He said agreed with a lot of what she said in the article, and asked me what I thought about it. I had just read the article too, and I had to say that I also agreed with the main substance of it. Joelle Ruby Ryan joined in, and was quite savage about our agreeing with Dreger – not the article, so much as agreeing with Dreger; she was also as dismissive and contemptuous about her views as you and Natacha have been. This led me to read what she had written in her blog about it around the time it was published, which led me to write something on my personal blog, which covered what Dreger said, but also addressed some of Joelle’s rhetorical and ad-feminem critique of Dreger. Somebody then picked up on this, and it got shared around, and a rather strong response that followed on from the one I made to Joelle’s blog-post, but directed at Natacha’s similar polemical ad-feminem critique of Dreger, turned up on the “Trans Media Watch” forum (when I say strong, what I did was apply the same sort of tone, sarcasm and derision to Natacha’s piece as he/she had applied to Dreger’s).
One of the moderators of the forum, who has been a friend of mine for nearly ten years, knew I wanted to respond to what was being said by Natacha and others there (the forum is open to view to any FB member, so I was following the discussion), and suggested I join in the discussion and present an alternative viewpoint on this topic. I explained I really had no desire to join a trans forum, because my experience is that some people in them can be nasty and vindictive. But, I went ahead and requested membership anyway, and posted a rebuttal of the distortions and misrepresentations of me and my views that Natacha had posted on her blog. I did this by linking to a post on my blog. The reason I did it that way is because I know my responses can be intricate and get quite long, and I did not want to take the thread up by filling it with long-winded posts; that way, people would have the freedom to visit the site, read the post, or not, and just move on. So, that was my intent for posting my response to Natacha on the forum. My intent for my original post was because despite often not agreeing with Dreger, this time I did, and that expressed agreement was ridiculed and derided. There are other things I have agreed with Dreger about – her campaigning for intersex kids and involvement in exposing what has been going on with DEX & CAH. If I disagree with somebody, I usually state my reasons, but I don’t tend to feel that just because I don’t agree on one thing, I cannot agree with them on something else. That is not how debate works.
It is like with radical feminism. I am not, and can never be, a radical feminist, but there are things that a particular radical feminist might say that really makes sense to me, and when they do, I don’t think “oh, I cannot possibly accept that, a radical feminist said it”. To me, a lot of what some radical feminists say makes a lot of sense, and I have to try and take that on board. And those things that don’t make sense to me personally, I don’t have to deal with, because I am not a radical feminist, and I do not have to conform to that ideological framework. It is like what some people said in the Gay Liberation Front – it is still out there in the ether, like the Sisters of Petpetual Indulgence and Outrage. It made an awful lot of sense back in the early 70’s – it still makes a lot of sense now. I don’t dismiss it all just because the world has changed a lot since then.
About my views on medicalising gender non-conforming children, and intervening to disrupt their endocrine system before puberty, which I thought I had been pretty clear about (maybe Jane hasn’t got it yet – yes, I do have problems with that proposal), she says:
“Yet the main thing I think you have communicated by your interventions is a view that you personally are opposed to it and, frankly, if you wish to advance that view in a trans forum, you need far better creds than you have.”
This sounds to me that nobody is allowed to oppose it, unless they have been vetted and cleared by the transsexual gender-thought-police. Part of that vetting, presumably, will be that people do not express views that the gender-thought-police do not like, such as opposition to things like the issue in question? It brings back to me just how thought as well as gender performance was policed within the trans community – it is one of the reasons I decided to put some distance between us, staying in touch mainly with people I regarded as friends.
Jane says that I refused to answer people on the forum’s questions coherently – well, yes, sort of, but not quite. Within a couple of hours of my post, four or five people ganged up on me in the group, demanding instant answers. This started around midnight my time, so yes, by 1 a.m. I had had enough, and wanted to go to bed, so I stated that I would return over the course of the weekend, and engage with the points raised in a less heated atmosphere. That formed the start of this post, in fact, where I reviewed each comment one-by-one, and began to develop responses to the questions raises, in a single piece of text that would cover all the points raised. You see, when people gang up on me, I feel bullied, and I do not respond well to bullying (it’s those buttons again); I learned quite young that it is better to walk away from a gang than to try to engage them alone.
Any “expertise” I might have is from having researched many of these issues in some depth for nearly ten years, mostly in an academic envirnoment. Through this, I have read most of the literature on the subject up to before I emigrated last year. I have interviewed and talked with some of the UK and other parts of the world’s leading experts about these issues. I have either interviewed or talked to over a hundred intersex, lesbian, gay, transgender and other gender variant people who have experienced gender dysphoria, and intersex people who have not. I have analysed over one hundred interviews with lesbian and gay men, and through this determined that the extent of severe gender dysphoria amongst the lesbian and gay people in that sample was about 10%. I have not sought to publish the results of this research, as yet.
My position was not fuddled over the age of consent at all; I did not answer your rhetorical question. I avoided answering you at that time, and I told you the reasons why. It is a good seven or eight years since I did a review of the legal position facing intersex & trans children in the UK, for which – obvioulsy – I had to get an understanding of Gillick competence. I have since answered that question, just as I answered the question about the risks of osteoporosis. I think that the problem you have is not that I am muddled, but that you are not prepared to accept that I express the view I have, which makes whatever I say seem muddled to you. I am well aware it accords with the views of people you and others in the trans community do not like. But, I tend to take my positions on things by what seems correct, either logically or ethically, to me.
Having thought this through, I think that throwing in Gillick was a bit of a red-herring. Because the endocrine disruption is about facilitating what are basically cosmetic changes prior to reassignment surgery at 16, and not medical procedures to deal with physical health problems per se. So, the age of consent seems more appropriate for these interventions meant to aid cosmesis.
“Your position – your preference for people to evolve without intervention – is ideological. Its a preference about what SHOULD happen”
No, it is a preference about what DOES happen, e.g., biological males virilise in adolescence, biological females do not (apart from where intersex is a factor); I am looking at how that SHOULD be accommodated alongside the gender nonconformity that DOES happen as well. Your’s is the ideological position, because it cannot accommodate what DOES happen, it argues that what happens SHOULD NOT happen, and seeks to intervene to make changes so that what happens biologically conforms to what SHOULD happen in order to have the biology conform to the expressed gender identity.
My approach is libertarian, yours is deterministic – you argue that what happens is inevitable, and by intervening you facilitate the inevitable. I argue that this is not inevitable, and the individual should be free to choose their preferred outcome once they have reached a point of mature sexual development. I argue this, because many people will not be fully aware of what their sexual identity is before puberty. I suggest that the age of consent is best used as the point at which such choices can be made. 16 is an arbitrary point, but it is the one we tend to use for a range of significant situations.
You present your position as neutral, when it is actively seeking to alter and restrict potential outcomes. You present mine as active, when it is neutral – seeking not to alter and restrict potential outcomes.
I agree with you that people should be free to make their own decisions, even if we think they are a mistake. For adults, I agree. The way people raise kids (so I am told by people who can have them or who teach them) is that they let them make mistakes, in the hope that when they are old enough to decide on really important stuff, they will have learned how to make intelligent choices. This situation seems like rather a big thing to decide on to me, and if they make a mistake, I am not sure what lesson that would convey to them. In this scenario, I’d say parents are there to protect them from having to make such a huge decision, and helping to prepare them to make that kind of decision when they are old enough and able to make it. Because, if it is a mistake for them to start down the road of endocrine disruptors and a life on sex steroids, it could ruin their life. So, while I am all for consulting kids, once they are of an age that they can take full responsibility for their lives and their actions, then they are in a position to make such a major decision. We do not let kids make life-changing decisions about other life-changing things until after 16, and even then with parental consent. People can only legally participate in marriage or sexual intercourse, for example, after 16. Smoking, drinking alcohol, driving, voting, all the things that involve choices, decisions and responsibility, are all phased in between 16 and 18. I don’t see why decisions about changing gender should be any different.
If I considered gender dysphoria to be a medical issue, which I used to before I thought about the recent proposed revisions to DSM-V, I might be able to compare a child’s decision on this in the same way they can make a decision to have wisdom teeth out or having a brace fitted or whether to have chemo or not – but I no longer see it as a mental health issue at all, and it doesn’t belong in DSM-V (just as paraphilias do not belong in there either, being about autonomous choices). I no longer see any reason why gender nonconformity and inconsistency has to involve psychiatrists or any specialists other than routine check-ups by endocrinologists and any visits needed to plastic surgeons. If psychologically healthy adults make a decision to do something, why should they need this validated by a psychiatrist? All any plastic surgeon needs to know is that people requesting surgery have no record of mental health history or sex offenses.
“Now…if you genuinely want to contribute to trans thinking on this subject, i’d say you need to unpick that before you bring forward any more “evidence” – cause to be honest, you’re mostly winding people up and no-one is really able to hear you on this topic.”
Contributing to trans thinking hadn’t occurred to me particularly. If I did, I might have hung around the community the past five years, don’t you think? No. I just want to state my position, then if people think there’s something in what I say, they can take something away with them. It is more important for me that I do not stand back and say nothing – so I can sleep at night knowing I spoke up. But, I don’t see you as the gate keeper of trans thinking anyway, if you must know. I’d expect trans people to think things through for themselves; although for some reason, you (and Natacha) seem to think you are in a position to say what is acceptable or not for trans people to think.
If you had listened/read what I have said, you will see that I have produced evidence, but you ignore it. Not simply academic research type evidence, but evidence based on first-hand experience, as well as detailing some fairly well known facts based on evidence of the sort you asked for. The problem for you is that you choose to ignore it and carry on as if I hadn’t; I am becoming of the opinion that whatever evidence is presented to you, you would find a way of dismissing it, because your position is ideological, basically.
The problem for me is that you propose this new intervention, instead of the interventions that pre-existed it, and which involves a risk to other people’s children. There is no long-term evidence that this will work out, nor that it won’t. That means it is experimental. But, this is not being sold to the kids or their parents as an experiment which will yield data about the effectiveness and danger over a generation. This seems to be promoted as being something that will work out for the best. It might not. I want you and those who promote this to be clear about this. Especially to parents, but also to the media: that you want their children to be used as guinea-pigs, to test out a transsexual theory, and that hopefully it will work out for the best, and you have no guarantees, but having weighed-up the risks, you have convinced the medical profession that it will be for the best. I say you, as you are one who supports it.
So, with that I think you need to publish your risk analysis, or if not you, somebody like Bernard, or whoever has carried out the risk analysis, listing all the factors that go into the equation; make it available publicly, for everybody to see. That way, we can check that you have missed nothing out, and that the calculus is sound. I have done probability and quantitative analysis at post-grad level, so if you want me to check it out, I’m sure I can get the grey cells going. I also think that if this is to be a scientific experiment, you need to stipulate what evidence would be capable of falsifying it. That means, not pointing out people who might kill themselves if it doesn’t happen, or how one or two examples of white middle-class kids worked out really well. What would show this experiment wasn’t working? If one person goes mad and/or kills themselves who is treated this way? Two? Three? As a proportion of how many kids treated?
And no, I would not be happy to do a little experiment, having one group of kids treated this way and another group of kids left to grow up without interference. I don’t think kids should be experimented on in an attempt to show this will work.
You keep asking me for evidence, and talking about risk, and yet I am not proposing a major change in how people deal with gender incongruity – I, like Dreger, am just saying, leave the kids alone and let them grow up the way they want to without medicalising their difference. Despite all the talk of Zucker and his chums, that is what schools often try to facilitate (here anyway, from what I can make out). It is where you get parents who belong to fundamentalist religious cults they run into difficulty, because those parents usually expect the child to be averted from gender non-conforming behaviour. You are the one proposing this shift in approach towards intervention, and using talk about children’s rights and risk analysis in a way that obscures this. You have it the wrong way round, you have to produce evidence to support the changes you insist on.
So, now, my challenge to you is this – show us your risk analysis and the evidence that goes into it, and what you would accept as evidence that will falsify the experiment.
The reason nobody is able to hear me, Jane, is not my credibility or lack of it, it is because you insist on misrepresenting and shouting me or anybody else down who has a different point-of-view from you.
My responses to other online comments:
Transphobia, a heresy for our time
Leave the kids alone II (response to Natacha)
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