August 26, 2014
August 22, 2014
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]
“They Looked Beautiful. They Looked Normal.” Dr. Norman Spack- TED talk on creating transgender children
January 28, 2014
There’s a reason not a single trans website, blogger, or journalist has reported on, commented on, or re-posted the “Dollmaker” Dr. Norman Spack’s recent TED talk. It is, as they say, “problematic”. He is completely clueless about women, sex politics, transgenderism, and the medicalization of gender. Frighteningly uninformed and ill-spoken by any measure.
He extols on various sexist stereotypes then reports how he diagnosed pediatric UK trans “chicken circuit” celebrity Jackie Green as being “destined to become six foot five inches tall”. This caused him to dose the child with cross-sex hormones AT THE AGE OF THIRTEEN, against all medical advice. The child then underwent surgical removal of his testes and inversion of his penis into a cavity designed for other males to sexually penetrate AT THE AGE OF SIXTEEN, with Dr. Spack’s approval, by a surgeon in Thailand, where such procedures were then legal. These procedures have now been criminalized as medical crimes against children.
In related news, Dr. Spack was quoted in an article this week titled “Uncertainty Surrounds Medical Treatments For Transgender Youth” He offered this clueless gem: “The difference between a tomboy and a trans-male who starts puberty is that the tomboy accepts having breasts, accepts having periods.” Has the eugenics doctor never spoke to a single pubertal female, tomboy or not? Has the Docktor never heard of anorexia, bulimia, cutting, breast ironing, or THE ENTIRE ENDOCRINOLOGICAL INDUSTRY marketed to women who DO NOT WANT to menstruate EVER?
Dr. Spack began transgendering children because he “wanted to do something dangerous” with his medical credentials. He has succeeded in that alone, and that is how he will be remembered by history.
The following is an excerpt from the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) “Model District Policy for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students”, produced in conjunction with Mara Keisling’s National Center for Trans Equality.
Full PDF here:
From the GLSEN website:
UK “Transgender Chicken Circuit” pre-teen Leo Waddell denied puberty blockers: Doc says long term effects unknown
September 10, 2013
12 year old Leo (formerly Lily) Waddell’s hopes were put on hold last week in her bid to become one of the rarest of breeds: a marketable female “transgender child”. Leo and her hairdresser mother Hayley have been making the rounds in the UK this year publicizing the child’s transgenderism and her participation in another rare breed: an experimental program of chemical castration for gender nonconforming children using “puberty blockers”.
Why, what’s so rare about that, the reader asks? Dutch clinics do this, Australian clinics. In the US there are such clinics in Boston and Los Angeles and Chicago and at least a dozen other places. In the US there are doctors like Dr. Michelle Forcier in Rhode Island who will even wave all psychological evaluation for these kids, and surgeons like Dr. Beverly Fischer who perform “sex-change” surgery on children as young as twelve. Administering chemical castration to gender nonconforming children is a gosh-darn bonafide medical trend, a tsunami, the reader exclaims!
Well, here’s the difference. It’s all in the word “experimental”. For something to be experimental, data has to be collected about the subject. Unlike all those other clinics who are administering drugs to stop the growth of children’s sex organs the one in the UK, -funded by the National Health Service- claims to be actually keeping records of the experiments they are doing on children. None of the other physicians administering these off-label unapproved drugs have bothered. Dr. Marvin Belzer who oversees the pediatric transgender clinic at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles says he was “too busy treating” the children and “never had the time to do the research”. None of the children who have been subjected to these treatments have been followed into adulthood, nor the results of such treatments tracked, even though they have been going on for nearly two decades. No follow-up data of any kind, physiological or psychological, has ever been collected.
The problem with medical data collection and oversight is that it tends to introduce accountability: the dreaded paper trail. Which is what inconvenienced our twelve-year-old friend Leo last week when her mother approached her family doctor to administer the experimental pre-pubertal chemical castration injections. Her physician performed due diligence and researched the medication. What she found is that the long-term effects of puberty blockers have never been studied. The manufacturers of the medication warn that the long-term effect on children is unknown. Side effects can be profound, disabling, and irreversible. Transgender activist and Philadelphia Trans Health 2012 keynote speaker Ryan Cassata reports becoming so violently ill on the medication that she was forced to abandon “treatment”. Leo’s doctor reached the reasonable clinical conclusion based on this information and protected the health of her patient by not administering the medication. Leo and her mother went to the news media. To the Mirror. To the Mail. To the daytime TV talk circuit.
From the Mirror:
Leo, who underwent extensive psychological and hormone tests before being prescribed the medication, would have been one of the youngest in the UK to receive the drug. But his family doctor refused to give him the injections because she did not know how they would affect Leo in later years.
Leo from Lowestoft, Suffolk, said: “I’m devastated. This was the one thing that would’ve made a massive difference to me and it’s been taken away.”
Mum Hayley, 48, also slammed the GP’s refusal. She said: “We asked why and she said because she didn’t know anything about the long-term effects.
“But that’s why they’re researching it. Leo has a disorder, and needs treatment. He’s been showing signs of puberty for a while now and it’s upsetting for him. He needs to have treatment.”
Hayley is now approaching other surgeries in the hope of finding one to give Leo the monthly injections.
The Sunday Mirror revealed earlier this year how Leo was to take part in the study by University College London Hospital and the specialist Tavistock and Portman clinic in West London.
In a statement, Leo’s GP Dr Jennie Morrison said: “I have had no previous experience of administering this specialist medication to young people and have already sought advice from my prescribing authority.
“Any clinical decision I make always gives consideration to every aspect of the patient’s wellbeing. My priority has always been, and continues to be, the welfare of the patient.”
The Tavistock and Portman clinic said: “We respect different views, which have at their heart a concern for the long-term welfare of young people.”
You may or may not have noticed that although females comprise the majority of children being administered off-use maturity-stopping puberty blockers, the females themselves hold little celebrity cache on what transsexual BenGirl blogger Elizabeth calls “the Transgender Chicken Circuit”. Marketable “transgender children” are almost solely male. Female (F2T) representation seems to dilute the popular narrative. Jazz, Coy Mathis, Nicole Maines, “My Princess Boy” : all male. Girls who want to wear pants and have adventures and avoid being raped are a dime a dozen and they are not a marketable commodity.
The “Transgender Chicken Circuit”, for the uninformed, is a patchwork of media appearances, news and feature articles, talk shows, documentaries, convention and seminar appearances that savvy parents can weave together into a modest cottage industry of transgender child celebrity. Think of it as a Munchausen-marinated transgender version of “Toddlers and Tiaras” whose fans are aging cross-dressing male autogynephiles in possession of both a wistful longing for an unexperienced girlhood, and a generous disposable income. These men are the funders of the agencies and lobbying groups promoting the medicalization of childhood gender nonconformity. The best known example is billionaire financeer and lifelong closeted crossdresser (and father of three) James “Jennifer Natalya” Pritzker whose Tawani Foundation single-handedly funds the experimental pediatric transgender drug clinic at Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
There is a disturbing element of pedophilia exhibited by many “fans” of the “Transgender Chicken Circuit,” as evidenced by plentiful transgender adult male YouTube channels featuring dozens of videos of these children, creepy-ass fetishized “fan sites”, and expensive glossy coffee table photography books of the sort that would get Calvin Klein into trouble. Add the transgender pornography sites which track the children’s “progress” and it’s pretty clear that sexualizing these children is a large part of their marketability.
Leo is due to star in an upcoming documentary funded by her mother Hayley under the “MyGenderation” imprimatur owned by transgender reality show “star” Raphael Fox . The pre-teen disturbingly brands herself as “Leo Sexy Waddell” on her Facebook page.
Beyond the overt pedophilia, and the marketing of a fetishized version of “girlhood” to adult male fantasists, the transgender movement “needs” to create transgender children (as activist Autumn Sandeen has explained) to “take the sex out” of the transgender equation whose most dominant practitioners are adult male sexual fetishists. But perhaps the most important reason to impose transgender labels onto children is to publicize a “born this way” narrative like the one the gay liberation movement used to pacify critics.
The transgender politic supports, celebrates and covets sex-based social stereotypes, a value undermined by their own sex being in opposition to the role they wish to occupy. The only solution to this dissonance is to frame sex-based social stereotypes as innate but reproductive sex itself as malleable. Transgender activists forward the pseudoscience of “brain sex” to posit sex stereotypes as inborn and have tried to co-opt the experiences of child victims of reproductive birth anomalies (“intersex”) to destabilize the concept of human reproductive dimorphism. Intersex activists invented terms like “assigned male at birth” to discuss the medical procedures performed on them as infants. The transgender movement colonized the experiences of intersex children and adopted these terms for themselves, insisting that having ones gonads surgically altered or mutilated in infancy is the identical experience that every healthy child goes through every time their reproductive sex is identified.
Intersex activists have for decades resisted attempts by the transgender movement to use the experiences of children born with disorders of sexual development as correlative evidence of an inborn defect causing certain men to experience sexual excitement by inhabiting a female sexual “object” or “form”. Harry Benjamin, the “father of transsexualism” claimed that transvestitism, transsexuality, and homosexuality all result from unidentified developmental disorders of the reproductive system (Of course, he also believed irradiating women’s sex organs would “rejuvinate” them, among other things.) Intersex advocates have been forced to withdraw from and disband their own organizations, even cease using the word “intersex” in order to prevent their programs from being colonized by the transgender movement’s bid for “born this way” legitimacy. They ultimately succeeded (mostly) in divorcing themselves from trans rhetoric due to the fact that their movement goals are increasingly in opposition to that of the trans politic. The intersex/DSD movement lobbies AGAINST nonessential medical treatment on children designed to cosmetically “normalize” their gender before the age of consent. Their philosophy OPPOSES the very concept of “congruity” between cosmetic biological sex morphology and social gender role that is the core value of the transgender movement. This year the DSD movement saw the United Nations declare that medicalization to promote gender “congruity” is a human rights crime against children. Last month a ruling in the US opened the door for cases involving the medical treatment of sex/gender incongruity in children to be tried on the basis that such treatments infringe the constitutional rights of a dependent population. Which is exactly opposite to the aims of the transgender politic.
With the failure of the transgender movement to destabilize reproductive dimorphism in the public sphere by relating their experiences to the experiences of children with DSD the trans lobby attached themselves to the very same population the gay movement had used to gain “born this way” legitimacy: lesbian and gay children. Sixty years of research shows that the largest demographic of transgenders- heterosexual men- are in no way gender-nonconforming as children. Gay kids are. You won’t see adorable pictures of these heterosexual transgender men as toddlers wearing tiaras and being fabulous. Their “gender identity” started at puberty with an erection while wearing mother’s panties. Such men have little interest in the concerns of girls like Leo but they will use them to promote the “Born This Way” meme when they can.
September 6, 2013
“The toy store has bowed to pressure from campaign group Let Toys Be Toys to stop promoting toys as gender specific over concerns about the impact this has on children when they are growing up and developing their personalities.
Toys R Us will now draw up plans for how to make its marketing more inclusive, and remove explicit references to gender in store. Adverts will eventually show boys and girls playing with the same toys, such as kitchens, toy guns and lego.
Let Toys Be Toys, a campaign group run by parents, has called for the removal of gender bias, saying it restricts children’s choices.
Megan Perryman, Let Toys Be Toys campaigner, said: “Even in 2013, boys and girls are still growing up being told that certain toys are for them, while others are not. This is not only confusing but extremely limiting as it strongly shapes their ideas about who they are.”
Toys R Us announced the move after meetings with the campaign group. Roger McLaughlan, managing director of the toy store, told the Independent: “We will work to ensure we develop the best plan for our customers.”
Harrods also launched its toy collection last summer based on theme rather than gender.
Last year the Swedish branch of Toys R Us launched a gender neutral advertising campaign at Christmas, showing girls shooting a toy gun and boys and girls playing together in a kitchen.”
Let Toys Be Toys was formed by a group of feminists that met on the parenting website Mumsnet. Read about (and join!) their mission here: