July 28, 2014
From the New Yorker:
“On May 24th, a few dozen people gathered in a conference room at the Central Library, a century-old Georgian Revival building in downtown Portland, Oregon, for an event called Radfems Respond. The conference had been convened by a group that wanted to defend two positions that have made radical feminism anathema to much of the left. First, the organizers hoped to refute charges that the desire to ban prostitution implies hostility toward prostitutes. Then they were going to try to explain why, at a time when transgender rights are ascendant, radical feminists insist on regarding transgender women as men, who should not be allowed to use women’s facilities, such as public rest rooms, or to participate in events organized exclusively for women.
The dispute began more than forty years ago, at the height of the second-wave feminist movement. In one early skirmish, in 1973, the West Coast Lesbian Conference, in Los Angeles, furiously split over a scheduled performance by the folksinger Beth Elliott, who is what was then called a transsexual. Robin Morgan, the keynote speaker, said:
I will not call a male “she”; thirty-two years of suffering in this androcentric society, and of surviving, have earned me the title “woman”; one walk down the street by a male transvestite, five minutes of his being hassled (which he may enjoy), and then he dares, he dares to think he understands our pain? No, in our mothers’ names and in our own, we must not call him sister.
Such views are shared by few feminists now, but they still have a foothold among some self-described radical feminists, who have found themselves in an acrimonious battle with trans people and their allies. Trans women say that they are women because they feel female—that, as some put it, they have women’s brains in men’s bodies. Radical feminists reject the notion of a “female brain.” They believe that if women think and act differently from men it’s because society forces them to, requiring them to be sexually attractive, nurturing, and deferential. In the words of Lierre Keith, a speaker at Radfems Respond, femininity is “ritualized submission.”
In this view, gender is less an identity than a caste position. Anyone born a man retains male privilege in society; even if he chooses to live as a woman—and accept a correspondingly subordinate social position—the fact that he has a choice means that he can never understand what being a woman is really like. By extension, when trans women demand to be accepted as women they are simply exercising another form of male entitlement.”
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July 28, 2014
July 27, 2014
Originally posted on naefearty:
I started this blog mainly so that women who are in, or who are recovering from a relationship with an autogynephilic male can find each other, and to encourage these women to speak out against this abuse. We can be the key to exposing the lies that hide behind the carefully constructed myths that surround these men. The commonly accepted trope that these are “women trapped inside men’s bodies” for example. That it has nothing to do with sexual fetish. That “gender” is an innate “essence”, that must never be questioned. That a “transwoman” is a “woman” because they say so. Yanno. Stuff like that.
I also want to signpost women to authors and bloggers who helped me to make sense of what was going on, and who opened the door to me finding healing, and to turn pain into a righteous anger that fuels my will to devote my…
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Organization Intersex International: Transgender people using “brain sex” theories damage the Intersex community’s ability to organize
July 26, 2014
By Morgan Carpenter, new Director of Organization Intersex International Australia:
Intersex, brain differences, and the transgender tipping point
5 June 2014.
Over a decade ago, intersex and trans activist Raven Kaldera wrote that trans people seeking classification as intersex might be seeking legitimisation, as if a physical cause is necessary to obtain social or familial validation. He said that trans people using brain sex theories to claim intersex status were basing a political stance on unproven science and damaging the intersex community’s ability to organise.
We might hope that times have changed, with the amazing Laverne Cox appearing on the cover of Time magazine, as it declares The Transgender Tipping Point. This is great news (also, we can’t wait for the next series of Orange is the New Black) but, sadly, a high proportion of enquiries that we get at OII Australia, a national intersex organisation, are still from trans folk seeking biological validation for their identity.
Intersex is a term for innate physical differences in sex characteristics, known controversially to medicine as “Disorders of Sex Development” and historically as hermaphroditism. At least 30 or 40 genetic differences causing intersex traits are known to science. Intersex is not defined as a gender identity. Intersex people have all sorts of gender identities, just like trans and other people. Some intersex people have non-binary gender identities, just like some trans people, but most intersex people are men or women.
Correlations between brain sex differences and same sex attraction in men, and trans gender identities in women, have been widely reported over a long period of time – yet there’s still controversy even regarding the notion that men and women have different brains. Given the known biological basis of many intersex variations, much of the research on causes of homosexuality has been carried out on live foetuses and infants with intersex traits.
Late last year, a neuroscience study inspired headlines proclaiming, “hardwired difference between male and female brains could explain why men are “better at map reading” (And why women are “better at remembering a conversation”)”. Cordelia Fine writing at The Conversation shows how the reporting and the study itself, of nearly 1,000 people, inflated very modest differences into something “tediously predictable“. In reality:
In an larger earlier study … the same research team compellingly demonstrated that the sex differences in the psychological skills they measured – executive control, memory, reasoning, spatial processing, sensorimotor skills, and social cognition – are almost all trivially small…
the social phenomenon of gender means that a person’s biological sex has a significant impact on the experiences (including social, material, physical, and mental) she or he encounters which will, in turn, leave neurological traces.
The more research that is conducted, the more clear is the evidence that brains are plastic. Differences are often over-stated, especially where results fit social preconceptions, but brain structures change according to circumstance and repeated activities.
Studies in recent years have found that a short eight-week mindfulness meditation program changed the brain structures of 16 participants, while other studies have found brain differences in active longer-term meditators. Scientific American has collected some good links.
More recently, a study in Israel has found that parenting rewires the male brain, particularly those of gay men: “the experience of hands-on parenting, with no female mother anywhere in the picture, can configure a caregiver’s brain in the same way that pregnancy and childbirth do“. In heterosexual men, brain differences were “proportional to the amount of time they spent with the baby“.
Laverne Cox said in that Time interview (via The Guardian):
If someone needs to express their gender in a way that is different, that is OK, and they should not be denied healthcare. They should not be bullied. They don’t deserve to be victims of violence … That’s what people need to understand, that it’s okay and that if you are uncomfortable with it, then you need to look at yourself.
It’s time for a bit more pride, and time for phone calls seeking validation based on brain sex to stop.
Biological validation doesn’t improve access or quality of healthcare. Testing for biological differences creates its own risks. Basing a human rights campaign on being “born that way“, or not being able to help being different is undeniably seductive, but we all deserve human rights whether we’re born a particular way or not. It shouldn’t depend on your genetics or your brain structure any more than your gender expression or what you choose to wear.
- Raven Kaldera (c.2000-2004) Dangerous Intersections
- Katy Steinmetz (29 May 2014) The Transgender Tipping Point in Time Magazine
- Simon LeVay (30 August 1991) A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men in Science 30 August 1991: Vol. 253 no. 5023 pp. 1034-1037. DOI: 10.1126/science.1887219
- OII Australia (29 April 2014) Submission on the ethics of genetic selection against intersex traits, includes material on research on the causes of homosexuality using foetuses and infants with intersex traits.
- Christie Nicholson (22 January 2011) Meditation Correlated with Structural Changes in the Brain in Scientific American
- Eileen Luders, Arthur W. Toga, Natasha Lepore and Christian Gaser (15 April 2009) The underlying anatomical correlates of long-term meditation: Larger hippocampal and frontal volumes of gray matter in Neuroimage, 15 April 2009; 45(3): 672–678. PMCID: PMC3184843, NIHMSID: NIHMS90659
- Scientific American (31 October 2013) Taking a Closer Look at How Meditation Improves Our Brains [Video], collected research on meditation and brain structure.
- Cordelia Fine (4 December 2013) New insights into gendered brain wiring, or a perfect case study in neurosexism? at The Conversation
- Elizabeth Norton (27 May 2014) Parenting Rewires the Male Brain, American Association for the Advancement of Science.
- Amanda Holpuch (30 May 2014) Laverne Cox heralds ‘transgender tipping point’ on cover of Time in The Guardian.
[Bolding by me. Images added by me.-GM]
July 21, 2014
July 15, 2014
“Ultra Violent” Transgender Teen “Jane Doe” transferred to male facility after assaulting another female victim
July 14, 2014
The transgender male Connecticut teen being called “Jane Doe” has been transferred to a juvenile male facility today after committing another assault on a teenage girl and a staffer on Saturday night in the all-female psychiatric facility where he had been housed.
Readers will recall that the young man, with a history of serial violence against women and girls, had been transferred in April from the custody of the Department of Children and Families to the Department of Corrections, and placed in a private cottage at an adult female prison facility because no juvenile female space was equipped to accommodate violent male offenders. Connecticut State Gender Identity laws prevented the male teen from being transferred to any one of the many appropriate juvenile units because the law makes a distinction between those male teens who may have special vulnerabilities or needs, are gay, are “feminine” or sex-role nonconforming, and those who believe they are “female brained” and identify themselves as transgender. Male teens who declare gender beliefs are offered special dispensation to be housed with juvenile females on the basis of that belief.
Connecticut state juvenile authorities began administering cross-sex female hormone treatments to the troubled young man at the age of 16 in an effort to make him appear more female.
Transgender and gay male activists rallied around the violent teen on the basis of their claim that incarcerated female minors should have no right to safety from his serial assaults. Demonstrations were held in multiple cities calling for the young man’s release back into a general population of potential female victims. Protesters urged authorities to disregard the safety of girls, claiming that the young man’s feelings of wishing he was female would be hurt if he was placed in an appropriate juvenile male facility -and that one violent male teen’s feelings were more important than the physical safety of female teens and staffers. Connecticut resident and gay male activist Harvey Fierstein wrote an OpEd published by the New York Times calling on authorities to prioritize “Jane Doe’s” feelings about his sexual identity over the rights of juvenile females to be incarcerated free from violent male assault. Male activists defended the youth by proposing that targeting women and girls for violence is a natural response for males who have survived abuse by other males. The teen’s previous assaults include multiple acts of battery against juvenile females, stabbing a female juvenile with a fork, breaking a female staffer’s jaw, blinding a female staffer by repeated kicks to the head, and smearing his feces.
Male activists set up “Justice for Jane” websites and mailing lists and an attractive, feminizing portrait was drawn up to represent the serial offender to the public.
As a result of this activism officials transferred the young man at the end of June to Middletown’s Child Psychiatric Institute -in one of its juvenile female units in deference to the teen’s desire to believe he is actually female.
In a development that should surprise no one, providing him with access to female victims has resulted in the violent assault of both a teenage girl and a female staffer in last night’s attack.
From reporter Josh Kovner at the Hartford Courant:
“7:28 p.m. EDT, July 13, 2014
The transgender youth who was imprisoned without charges because of her history of assaulting staff members in juvenile facilities has been accused of assaulting a worker and another youth at a juvenile treatment program in Middletown on Saturday night, child protection officials said Sunday.
State police are investigating the allegations, said Gary Kleeblatt, spokesman for the Department of Children and Families. The youth was moved Saturday night to a single room at the secure Connecticut Juvenile Training School.
The 16-year-old transgender girl had been shifted back to DCF care on June 20 after her transfer to York Correctional Institution for women in Niantic drew outrage from national civil rights advocates.”
“A brief statement from DCF said only that the youth, known in court filings as Jane Doe, “assaulted another youth and a staff member at the girls Pueblo Unit and also destroyed state property.”
The locked Pueblo unit is on the campus of the former Riverview Children’s Hospital in Middletown.
“State police have been notified, and we are confident they will take whatever action they deem is appropriate,” Kleeblatt said.
DCF had been awaiting approval of plans to place the youth in a juvenile treatment program in Massachusetts. It is not clear how the new assault allegations will affect those plans.
Romano said the Massachusetts option sounds to him like “a false promise.”
Initially, DCF opted not to place the youth in the Pueblo Unit, making the case that it had no programs to care for her.
Romano has said he wants to see her go to a foster family.”
The Courant quotes DCF Commissioner Joette Katz as stating that “agency staff searched “for a secure facility that would honor [his] gender identity.”
None of the news agencies have yet reported on the status of the injured female victims. Updates will be posted in the comments section below.