“I saw the breasts and I saw the long hair and I thought, like, that’s what I wanted.” – Jait Jr., former transgender teen now a gay man trying to undo the damage to his body done by hormones and silicone.
“I’m always walking around with a secret”.
MTV “True Life” runs a segment on transgender teens- one male, one female, now forced to undo the damage as they grow up and change their mind about believing they should medically alter their bodies into looking like the opposite sex. “I’m questioning my gender again”- Full episode here:
The incredible sexism of their home environments (“Boys who play with Barbie must be girls”) is astounding and illuminates some of the cultural forces driving the “transgender children” trend. Both of these former trans teens were fully supported into transitioning by their families, and both families cautioned the (now young adult) transgenders against switching back.
“This is what I was afraid of. They don’t get it. They feel like I’m not being true to myself. I don’t know… I just feel like they think that I’m making a mistake.”- Jait Jr on his family’s lack of support for his de-transition.
“Right now I just want to shave off all my hair and be a man so that’s what I’m going to do”- Jait Jr, formerly “Daniella”.
“Detransitioning is what is going to make me happy”- Jait Jr.
“Growing up, I never really felt super-girly and I couldn’t put my finger on why.” -Amanda, former teen transgender “Anthony” now quitting testosterone and undergoing electrolysis to remove her beard.
“I guess my biggest fear is that right now I’ve got it all figured out but that I’m going to get confused again and not know what I’m doing or who I am. Forever.”- Amanda
“I just hope that this is the last transition I make. I don’t want to keep doing this”. -Amanda
“I hope I’m done with gender related surgeries for good this time”.- Jait Jr.
“I guess I kind of feel reborn”.- Jait Jr.
“I haven’t felt this comfortable in a while”. -Jait Jr.
“I think I prefer make-up to shaving because it’s easier and a lot more fun”- Amanda, still a strong believer in gender roles.
January 16, 2013
January 16, 2013
Dirt at “The Dirt From Dirt” posted a brilliant dissection of the racism and homophobia at the core of transgender attack (read death threats and harassment) of feminist Suzanne Moore’s use of the term “Brazillian Transsexual” -specifically her comment that sparked the transgender death threats, etc. against Moore: ““We are angry with ourselves for not being happier, not being loved properly and not having the ideal body shape – that of a Brazilian transsexual.”
Dirt parses the other (non-feminist) venues that have used the same phrase without objection from the feminist-targeting trans politic, and breaks down the demographic – the white racist heterosexual homophobic autogynephile- behind the recent attacks against feminist speech. In short, the same demographic that is always at the core of attacks against feminists vis a vis “gender”.
Dirt argues compellingly that the majority of male transgenders who are privileged white heterosexual male autogynephilles (men for whom embodying the subordinate sex-role stereotypes inflicted on females is an erotic act) are in conflict with the minority of male transgenders who are gay males- largely impoverished non-whites- who adopt transgenderism as a means of survival in a homophobic world.
Homosexual male transgenders objectively exhibit “feminine” characteristics from an early age and adopt female personas because they are easy for them to adopt, and increase social functionality and success in a homophobic culture, in stark contrast to the heterosexual male transgender, who exhibits no objective gender-noncompliance in childhood but begins sexualized fetishistic crossdressing at puberty and for whom transgenderism or “autogynephillia” is a sexual orientation. See transvestic fetishism. This is the distinct difference between homosexual and autogynephillic male transgenders and Dirt outlines the ways privileged white heterosexual fetishists colonize and exploit the oppression of impoverished non-white homosexual transgenders to advance a heterosexual white male political agenda.
Dirt is calling bullshit on hetero white male exploitation of homosexuals, people of color, and the women’s liberation movement in the forwarding of a male-supremacist colonizing political platform.
“There is a conspicuous jealously and homophobia by the majority of trans males aka Mtfs whenever reminded of trans males who pass (perform for their own internal male gaze) better than they. Especially males requiring less drugs and surgeries with which to do so. Those males make up the few percent of trans males who are homosexual. Males who seek transition, unlike your 90+ percent of hetero male transitioners who transition seeking the ultimate fetishist’s high, transition instead because of his pathological homophobia. These gay males, do not have to lie to their “gender specialists” about their attractions or their feelings of believing they “always felt like girls”. Many gay trans males formed close relationships with females their age when young and were allowed into early female spaces, experiences your classic autogynephile wasn’t at all privy to.”
“Not unlike your typical straight male homophobe, hetero trans males are equally homophobic and then some! But theirs is a homophobia coupled with extreme jealousy. That’s not to say they wont use gay trans males for their own political agendas whenever one is beaten or murdered. But outside of that, these men HATE gay men, period! Sadly the gay trans male is usually a minority, he doesn’t have the white privilege and power commanded by the white straight Trans politic. He usually has to put himself into danger if he feels compelled to transition. Dangers from prostituting himself to raise monies for transition, including frequenting life threatening Pump Parties.”
I have to say that 99.9% of men who attack feminism and women and lesbians are of the heterosexual male variety. Many (most?) transgender males from the gay community have agreed with the posts here on GenderTrender. I have never had a homosexual type male transgender harass or threaten me in the years I have hosted this blog. They do not attack feminists, they do not fight against female-only spaces, etc. It is only the heterosexual male transgenders who seek sexual access to females who issue death threats, propose corrective rape of lesbians, proclaim themselves “actually female” or “female brained” or fake intersexed. Those who go on rage-fueled rampages against any female who speaks out against sex-roles = heterosexual.
Kudos to Dirt for calling bullshit on privileged straight white male exploitation of the travails suffered by the homosexual, often non-white, impoverished men whose names, lives, and struggles are co-opted to advance an absurd female-hating exploitative and privileged hetero white male political agenda.
January 8, 2013
Rest in peace Fag Hag. And also Rest in peace creepy hetero dude. They’re all “trans men” and “trans women” now. Remember the FagHag? The FruitFly? Those drag-queen-like-women who haunted the gay bars because, although women, felt that gay men were their soulmates? So they dressed up all flaming and shit? Flaming like a layday? They would hang around at last call looking for dudes who would take them home. Like F2T blogger Matt Bailey, who advises females on how to escape the female lot through medicine but who over-plucked her eyebrows as a faghag for so many years that injecting all the testosterone in the world will never remove the surprised lady look from her visage. She’s a “fag” now. A “lady fag” with a ‘gina and all. Second hole. BONUS HOLE yo. Not to pick on “Matt”, but for real: the FagHag era is dead. They are all “transmen” now.
And the creepy hetero dudes. Remember the yucko hetero dudes that haunted the corners of lesbian spaces, uninvited, unwanted, and leering, longingly? They are still there! Only now they are “trans-women”, hopped up on black market estrogen and wearing bad wigs to cover the male pattern baldness.
The last time I went to a lez bar (recently!) there was one in every corner- same as the creepo straight dudes used to be- manning their posts, looking forlorn. Same as it ever was. But they are “women” now.
Straight people have always creeped on gays. Weirdo straight people have always edged into gay and lesbian spaces. Because Gay/Lesbian= Kinky Sexay Times! Never mind that Lesbians and Gays on the whole are fairly average and boring. Oh Noooooooo. It’s the sexayyyyyyyy. It’s the “not straight”! So Faaaaabulous.
Now we get creepy straight faghags like Stephen Ira (Katherine Elizabeth) Beatty and creepy hetero dudes like Tobi Hill-Meyer (and a million other dudes) inflicting themselves on gays (who ‘aint having it so much) and lesbians (who are under a deluge of these fucking bastards). Because= Jendur!
I propose this day, January 8, arbitrarily, as the FagHag and Creepy Straight Dude day of remembrance in the Lesbian and Gay community. Goodbye FagHags! GoodBye Creepy Lurking Straight dudes ! Oh Haiiiiii Trans “allies to the lesbian and gay community” !
December 12, 2012
Drag is offensive to trans people because no one can tell the difference between a man in female drag and a man with a personal internal sense of feeling like what he imagines a reproductively female person feels like.
He should have dressed more flamboyantly, with a giant headdress perhaps, to signify that he is a male who “performs” female for entertainment purposes, as distinguished from a man who “performs” female because he is trying to disguise himself to pass as female for personal lifestyle or sexual fetish reasons.
Drag queens should only model in advertisements that appear in Gay publications, so that the public will know they are gay.
Cocks in Frocks should never ever be portrayed with humor.
Men wearing dresses should not be permitted to use the men’s bathroom and should instead use the women’s.
Some male transgenders prefer to sit to urinate. The ad may lead the public to believe all males who perform female-assigned gender choose to use urinals to void.
The ad implies that the viewer needs to “stay strong” to deal with sharing the men’s restroom with a female impersonator, which implies that female impersonators are not a desirable person to share a restroom with.
Any ad featuring female impersonation should explicitly convey a pro-transgender message.
Photos of Drag Queens should only be used for personal promotion of their entertainment services and never used in advertising campaigns.
Transgender males are victims of hate crimes more frequently than Gay men or Drag Queens.
Drag Queens are “triggering” to lifestyle transgender males, especially the heterosexual ones.
The public may think trans males are gay, when in fact the majority are heterosexual men who want to be “lesbians”.
The fact that he is smiling gives the viewer permission to not take transphobia seriously.
His failure to “pass” as convincingly female makes him a distasteful example of gender failure.
Drag is funny, Trans is tragic.
October 23, 2012
October 15, 2012
My son, lets call him Ellis has always been a sensitive child. Even when very young it was obvious he was not a typical boy. I remember at 3 years old him picking up an Autumn leaf and turning it over gazing at it intently. Then he turned to me and said, "beautiful". He always shunned playing football with other boys or physical games and instead preferred to play with the girls, or one other boy who was similar to him.
October 14, 2012
From the NYPOST:
From the New York Daily News:
Queens woman trapped in man’s body wins battle with insurance company that balked at paying for her sex change operation
“Ida Hammer, born a man, has lived as a female her entire life”
Yeah…. Not really. Ida is a man trapped in a man’s body and is renowned in the Lesbian community for his outrageous anti-gay campaign against Lesbians at the 2012 NYC Dyke March.
First of all Ida, better known as animal rights activist Daniel Hammer, managed to squirrel his way onto the organizing committee of the NYC Dyke March, even though he is:
1.) a male.
2.) partnered with a male.
For the record, Dykes are NEITHER male, NOR partnered with males.
Second, he got a group of other guys together and – in his position of “authority” as Dyke March organizer- stalked and hunted down lesbians who are publicly known for their feminist and gay activism and proceeded to surround and terrorize them, claiming that Dyke March is NOT A SAFE WELCOMING SPACE FOR LESBIAN FEMINIST PARTICIPANTS.
See him in action here:
For the record, NY Daily News, “living as female” does not entail men running campaigns against women and lesbians at Dyke Marches. And Daniel did not start his female impersonation until four years ago.
From the article:
“I never really was a boy,” [Hammer] said Wednesday. “From the earliest age I always knew I was a girl, unfortunately that’s not how other people saw me.”
Hammer, who was raised a Mormon in conservative Utah and moved to New York four years ago, said her parents have been very supportive — as is her longtime partner, a man.
“He already sees me as a woman,” she said. “That’s not going to be too big of an adjustment.”
Hammer’s legal battle with MVP began in July 2011, when she sought authorization from MVP for “genital reassignment surgery.”
“My insurance company denied my claim on the grounds that it was ‘cosmetic’ surgery,” said Hammer, a writer and activist.
“I have been undergoing treatment for gender dysphoria for the five years, my doctors determined that the surgery was necessary, and the insurance company was second-guessing my doctors,” said Hammer.
After MVP denied both her appeals, Hammer turned to the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund, which threatened to sue.”
Not only did Hammer have the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund backing his claim, but the TLDEF press release states “In addition to TLDEF, the legal team representing Ms. Hammer included Robert Goodman, Brandon Burkart, Katherine Kriegman, Ariel Meyerstein and Susan Reagan of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.”
Like in the recent Kosilek case, Hammer contends that his desire for cosmetic surgery represents a profound form of mental illness for which there is no treatment. The recent strangulation-killer Kosilek’s ruling, currently under appeal, was cited by Hammer’s legal team as precedent for the “medical necessity” of cosmetic “gender” surgery [PDF].
September 26, 2012
Who is trans? Who has the right to “gender-bend”? Who has the right to attempt to impersonate the opposite sex? When is trans “authentic” and when is it not?
These issues are coming to the fore as conflicts around the hastily and ill-considered “gender identity” laws which were passed in the last decade become tested by real life application.
Who are the Gender Identity laws- which are being pushed by mainstream LGBT organizations- designed to protect? It’s the heterosexuals, stupid.
In Portland a group of sexual fetishists (heterosexual men whose sexual arousal occurs by imagining themselves occupying the sexual “object” = female) filed a complaint against a bar that refused to allow them to hold gatherings there on Friday nights. The reason? These hetero male fetishists, the “Rose City T-Girls” insisted on using the women’s restroom, reportedly leaving the seats up and pissing all over and generally making the women unsafe and uncomfortable. From Oregonlive.com:
“Though Avakian does not always file complaints, bureau spokesman Bob Estabrook said he did in this case because “there was concern that a large number of people were impacted.” He also said that because many of the T-Girls are not out of the closet as crossdressers “there may be barriers to the individuals filing the complaint themselves.”
Now, these guys make no claim to being “men in women’s bodies”, the standard internal, subjective, self-reported claim which Gender Identity laws are intended to protect. These guys get erections pretending to be female. Do Gender Identity protections force women into nonconsensual participation in these males sexual activities? Yes. And do Gender Identity laws remove the rights of women to privacy in women’s showers, locker rooms, restrooms and other areas segregated by sex for the safety of women from predatory males? Yes. Do Gender Identity laws remove the rights of women to act defensively and “trust their gut” in situations where some creepy dude is imposing himself? Yes.
Do transgender movement activists make a distinction between transsexuals who have undergone cosmetic medical or surgical “treatments” and hetero dudes that get erections pretending to be female? No. Do transgender movement activists make a distinction between individuals that have obtained legal “gender” recognition or otherwise objectively demonstrated a history of persistent internal self-concept of oneself as “the wrong sex” – and hetero dudes that get erections pretending to be female? No.
Let’s face it. Gender Identity is a religion. It is a personal internal belief, completely subjective, unprovable, faith-based. Gender Identity protections protect the right to personal faith and personal belief in stereotypes based on reproductive sex. But religious protections don’t provide the right to stomp on the rights of women. A man may have the right to sacrifice chickens to express his internal subjective faith-based beliefs. But he doesn’t have the right to do so in the Ladies Room at the corner pub. And he must have objective proof of authenticity of his religious belief – such as proof of duration, proof of commitment. He can’t just claim to be temporarily Jewish to force his employers to give him the day off for Yom Kippur for example.
But that is exactly what Gender Identity laws do. A few GI laws and ordinances require objective proof of the claimed internal faith-based belief in “gender”. But most don’t. That would harsh the hetero erectile buzz, dude. In fact this year neuroscientist Vilayanur S. Ramachandran director of the Center for Brain and Cognition at the University of California, San Diego introduced research attempting to establish “Alternating Gender Incongruity” a “new category of transgenderism”. That’s right! Transgenders that “feel like” a woman in the morning and “feel like” a man for an hour or so before dinner, and then… etc. The transgender politic is moving rapidly away from “gender permanence” and away from objective proof of authentic faith. Even prominent transgender activist Meghan Stabler, the only heterosexual male board member of the largest LGBT organization in the US- the Human Rights Campaign- reverted to his male legal sex to marry his wife. It is all about the erections now.
Laws allowing legal change of sex were implemented for a tiny group of transsexuals that were left in social limbo due to having had their genitalia and reproductive organs surgically removed by experimental surgeries in the 1960’s, and their bodies visually changed from long-term ingestion of cross-sex hormones. Those people remain rare. According to a survey of the transgender population of NYC less than 5% of “full-time” transgenders have had “gender reassignment” surgery. Even with the current explosion of transgenderism, with some clinics reporting a doubling annually of individuals seeking cross-sex hormone treatments, there are still less than 50 surgeons worldwide willing to perform “sex change” surgeries. Transgender no longer means “sex change”. Legal sex is becoming increasingly meaningless and subjective. Gender Identity can change from morning to night- and back again. Why?
It’s the Heterosexuals, Stupid. Specifically it’s the predatory and sexist right to erections of heterosexual men that mainstream LGBT rights organizations are now fighting to protect. If you become aroused being perceived as an “object” (female), you require an AUDIENCE. Much like subway flashers, flashing alone to yourself at home lacks the “kick” that inflicting yourself on an audience provides. And the millions of closeted hetero transvestic fetishists – men in government and law and medicine and finance- are pushing these “protections” through faster than the social implications (for women) of their practical application can be assessed. So, gaggles of testosterone-soaked porn-sick dudes taking away a safe private place for women to pee and change their tampons, etc in Oregon. And everywhere these laws have been passed.
In Colorado a woman who reported a creepy man in the women’s restroom was told by mall security that they had no legal right to even inquire about the man’s internal gender self-concept due to the local Gender Identity ordinance. Much less kick him out. Or arrest him for being a predatory peeping tom.
From the comments section on the Oregonlive article linked above:
“KristyGCD-I want to clarify a few things… First, In my original comment I posted that “members of the Rose City T-Girls Yahoo Group filed the complaint”. Brad Avakian actually filed the complaint but to my understanding about a half dozen of the core members were named in the complaint. It becomes confusing and also they have a lawyer involved in some capacity as well.
Second, Cassandra the leader of the Rose City T-Girls Yahoo Group does not identify herself/himself with the title of “Transgender Woman”, he is a Crossdresser. It seems as if every single last news story went with that false title. If you go on the Rose City T-Girls Yahoo Group webpage and click the name link “Cassandra” at the bottom of the page, his Yahoo profile comes up and he identifies himself as “CD Cassandra”. His main yahoo email address even contains the word “crossdressing” in it.
Jennifer- Oh Kristy, don’t forget about Cassandra’s perverted little on-line sex site. Don’t forget to let people know that they can see more than they ever care to of Cassandra just by going to this linkhttp://www.ifriends.net/membrg/ShowClub_v2_custom.dll?pClub=CASSANDRA4FUN&pStyle=Home How freakin’ gross is that??? And this group claims that it represents the transgendered community. I just don’t understand how any self-respecting member of the transgendered community could associate itself with this sicko and his perverted group.
KristyGCD- Holy Crow! Google ‘CASSANDRA4FUN PORTLAND’ and you get back no less than 25 hits from a whole array of different smutty websites linking to his iFriends.Com sex cam profile. One of the websites his profile shows up on is a smut site called Teenagers.Org, Make no mistake, his Cassandra photo shows in every last one of them. What the…. OK, I’m feeling a little sick, I gotta go hurl now!
“Jennifer- You’re analogy is closer to the truth than you think, Lorca! They DO have a sex offender in their group! Their member of the month for this past August was arrested for masturbating in public (while dressed like a girl) in his neighborhood while little kids were playing! If people knew exactly how disgusting and depraved this group is, they would run them out of town!”
“KristyGCD- I was a member of the Rose City T-Girl Yahoo Group that filed the complaint. Also, as a crossdresser in that group I went to the P-Club almost every Friday night for most of the past year. From my perspective I can clearly see why the group cost Chris Penner his regular patrons and their business. A hand full in the group guzzled pitchers of cheap beer, were loud and obnoxious. Their behaviors also caused issues with the women’s bathroom as well. The CD leader of the group “Cassandra” was one of the biggest offenders of those same bad behaviors. Looking back and putting everything in hindsight, I am ashamed of myself for involving my crossdressing in something so tacky and chaotic. The leaders of group (same ones who filed the complaint) knew there was a problem with their presence there from as far back as 18 months ago, but continued to use the P-Club as the Friday night hangout. One of CD’s in the group even posted that fact in his blog ‘Susan Miller’s Blog’. My opinion from experience from then and up to today, this whole complaint seems more like a “gotcha” moment in the simple wording of a sentence on requesting the group not to come back. Why on earth a group of mostly closeted CD’s would want to play “the victim” bring themselves into controversy and the public eye is beyond me…”
Sydney crossdresser and performer Trevor Ashley has a parody of the musical “Annie” opening at the Sydney Opera House in a few months called “TrAnnie”. From Gay News Network.com:
“It follows the “hard knock life” of ten year old orphan Fannie who is desperate to have “long-overdue” gender reassignment surgery but must first escape the Sutherland Shire Children’s Orphanage and the clutches of boozy matron and registered sex offender Miss Trannigan.”
Transgender activists, in what the article calls a “growing controversy” are up in arms against the non-heterosexual crossdresser. Why? Because Ashley has not proclaimed an internal feeling/faith of “I am in the wrong body”. He has not given public personal testimony as to his internal self belief vis a vis “Gender Identity”. Why not? Because he is a crossdresser, just like the heterosexual fetishist Rose City T-Girls, who also are crossdressing men, men protected by the “Transgender Umbrella”. But in Ashley’s case….no erections! No heterosexuality! So no umbrella for you.
“Trans Menace” spokesman Indi Edwards- a heterosexual man who famously launched a campaign likening lesbian feminists to insects deserving of extermination – and who, along with other transgender activists joined forces with Men’s Rights Activists to have Gender Identity “protections” in Great Britain applied to prevent all female-only gatherings and conferences at Conway Hall- vows to stop Ashley’s show from ever being performed: “The show wont go on” he stated [sic].
So there you have it. This is the tale of how the LGBT movement became an anti-female, anti-gay, Heterosexual Men’s Rights movement. The most powerful heterosexual Men’s Rights movement since, uh….well.
September 26, 2012
From Katie S., mother of a “Transgender Child”:
Submitted on 2012/09/23 at 5:54 pm
I find this entire blog very mean-spirited. I’m not sure why you have such strong feelings against transpeople. I feel sorry I stumbled onto it. Transgender people are already a marginalized population. They experience violence left and right. Honestly, why do transpeople bother you all so bad that you have to invest so much time and energy tearing them down? Maybe I’d have to be some kind of ultra feminist lesbian type to understand.
I’m actually a conservative-leaning woman. I’m married, and live in Utah with a girl and three boys. The baby of my family, a boy, has insisted he is really a girl from almost the moment he learned to talk. He’s eight now, and it’s been incredibly difficult to deal with this issue. Our church, family and friends are not supportive, but when his father and I force him into a male role, he gets so depressed that we become scared for his personal safety. When he was five, I found him in bed in the morning with his pants down. When I asked him why he slept like that, he said he wanted to make it easier for God to take his penis away. He’s ALWAYS believed he was really a girl, and that God made a mistake.
I’m sorry, but you’re missing something. I don’t know what it is, and obviously, you don’t either. I am an LCSW, and I’ve accessed lots of psych articles about brain and genetic differences in transpeople. From what I’ve seen with my son, and the other kids he plays with at Kids Like Me (a program for trans kids), I agree with the research. There’s no other way to explain my son’s early behavior. His feelings have not changed, no matter how hard his father and I push, or how much time he’s spent with counselors at LDS Family Svcs. It’s just what it is. I’ve come to accept that.
It scares me that he/she will have to deal with people like you someday.
Submitted on 2012/09/23 at 11:02 pm
I do not agree with your argument that human brains are not sex-typed. You might be inconvenienced or annoyed by the fact that male/female hormones and genetics influence the brain, but to deny it is also a form of “magical thinking”.The research I’ve read and the experiences I’ve had with my transgender child prevent me from believing any different.
I’ve noticed that most of your writing paints a very simplistic, black and white picture. In this post, it’s either “sex-typed brains explain all gender-specific behavior” or “social role conditioning explains all gender-specific behavior”. It’s all or nothing. In reality, nature working in tandem with nurture is actually the most plausible explanation for all human behavior. And do sex hormones, which have an effect on every single aspect of our bodies, magically skip over the brain? I believe that social conditioning plays a huge role in male/female performance, and when you compare outcomes between males and females, it almost always looks like two barely distinct normal curves. Performance and anatomy are two different things, and in my opinion as a mental health professional, there is something going on in the brain that guides us in some of our reproductive behavior.
My son is only 8, and our family believes in different gender roles for men and women. I actually enjoy being a mother, wearing makeup, and looking and feeling feminine. My husband enjoys doing guy stuff. Why then, has my son completely rejected his body and his role at such a young age? We’ve offered male socialization. Why does he reject it? What convinces a 3 year old boy, against all of our wishes, that he is really a girl?
Explain that to me.
How will laws against pediatric conversion treatments affect the medical trend of sterilizing gender-noncompliant children?
September 19, 2012
The California State legislature recently passed a law prohibiting therapies or treatments designed to change the presumed sexual orientation or “gender expressions” of children.
New Jersey Assemblyman Tim Eustace has announced that he will introduce similar legislation in that state on September 24.
How will these new laws impact the emergent “cosmetic medicine” trend of chemically halting maturation of sex-role non-compliant children (“Transgender Children”) followed by the application of sterilizing lifetime cross-sex hormones? The children being sterilized and “electively disabled” and made drug dependent for life by the new wave of “Gender Treatment” clinics sweeping the country are below the age of consent, and have these profound and irreversible eugenics treatments performed on them at the behest of their parents.
Research shows that the majority of children referred for such gender “treatment” will grow up to be normal well-adjusted gay and lesbian adults if left medically untreated. Research also shows that the vast majority of all children who are referred for gender “treatment” report no continuance of gender distress into adulthood if left medically untreated.
Will these laws provide grounds for class action suits against medical providers that perform such treatments on pediatric subjects? Alternately, will these laws prevent parents from having the right to withhold consent for lifetime disabling “treatments” to be performed on their children -if their children are diagnosed as being sex-role non-compliant?
We don’t yet know.
Law professor Mary Zieger published an interesting commentary today exploring the issues. GenderTrender will be following these developments closely.
California Legislature Underscores Need for Better Gender Identity Standards
JURIST Guest Columnist Mary Ziegler of the Saint Louis University School of Law says that the US Supreme Court’s decisions in reproductive rights cases may complicate efforts to bring constitutional challenges against California’s recent legislation banning the use of sexual orientation therapy on minors…
JURIST recently reported on a law passed by the California State Legislature prohibiting the use of sexual orientation change or conversion therapies on minors. Sexual “conversion” or “reparative” therapy is designed to change the sexual orientation or gender identity of the patient. Its supporters include religious organizations and the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH). After the American Psychiatric Association (APA) issued guidelines cautioning ethical practitioners against performing conversion therapy, the California legislature began crafting the first law prohibiting the therapy, described by the statute as “sexual orientation change efforts.” The law prohibits any psychologists or mental-health care providers from encouraging attempts “to change behaviors or gender expressions, or to eliminate or reduce sexual or romantic feelings” for persons of the same sex.
Two things struck me about the California law. The first involves the law’s relevance to transgender individuals. Noticeably, the legislature’s findings asserted only that homosexuality and bisexuality were not diseases. The legislation made no such statement about gender identity or gender expression. Although regulating efforts to change “gender expressions,” the legislature described these attempts as a form of sexual-orientation therapy, conflating gender identity/expression and sexual orientation and leaving open the issue of whether transgender individuals suffer from a disorder in a way that gay, lesbian or bisexual people do not.
This omission may well reflect the ambivalence that some progressives feel about describing gender identity (or gender identity disorder) as an illness. M.T. v. J.T., one of the few cases to recognize that an individual can legally change her sex, relied on a medical framing of gender identity, explaining the importance of relief for those “suffering from the condition of transsexualism.” Changing one’s sex becomes, in this account, the necessary treatment of a disease. At the same time, LGBQT activists argue that transgender identity is not pathological or inferior to any other form of gender identity or gender expression. The statute highlights this tension, and it makes clear that even sympathetic legislators do not yet always have the vocabulary or understanding to address gender identity issues. The law frames all conversion therapies as involving sexual orientation. This paradigm obscures important differences between sexual orientation and gender identity that the courts may well have to flesh out.
I was also struck by the response given to the law by the right-wing Pacific Legal Foundation. [CORRECTION: Correction: Professor Ziegler's link is to the Pacific Justice Institute, not to the Pacific Legal Foundation, which is a separate organization and takes no position on this matter. -GM] The Foundation suggested that it would argue that the law violated First Amendment rights to free speech and Fourteenth Amendment rights to privacy. I couldn’t help noticing what the Foundation did not say — that the law violated parents’ Fourteenth Amendment rights to custody and control of their children. In a series of cases involving the unwillingness of Jehovah’s Witnesses to allow their children to receive blood transfusions, the courts have balanced parents’ religious liberties and rights to custody and control of their children against the best interest of the child.
It is not clear how the courts will strike this balance in conversion-therapy cases. The US Supreme Court’s parental-rights cases, such as Troxel v. Granville, primarily address custody and visitation. Lower court decisions offer little additional clarity, since they most often involve situations in which a child faces a risk of death or serious bodily harm. If the sexual-orientation-change statute is challenged, the courts will have to decide how, why, and to what extent “conversion” therapies harm children. The Supreme Court may also have to elaborate on the parental right (or liberty interest) spelled out in Troxel. How far does this right go, especially when a child’s own sense of identity is at stake?
That the Foundation did not rely on a parental/religious rights claim was surprising. It was more than a little ironic that the Foundation did rely on physicians’ rights to speech and privacy, since the grassroots right, and the anti-abortion movement in particular, has effectively gutted both in the Supreme Court. In Planned Parenthood v. Casey, in the context of an informed-consent regulation, abortion opponents argued, and the Supreme Court held, that physicians giving medical advice were not speaking at all. Instead, they were practicing medicine, and the State had a good deal of latitude in regulating medical care.
Secondly, in the years leading up to Casey, abortion opponents argued that physicians had no privacy rights in the abortion decision — whether that right involved the freedom to practice medicine as one saw fit or privacy in the doctor-patient relationship. At most, the argument went, physicians had standing to assert rights that belonged to someone else. This argument effectively justified regulations that could be framed as affecting only physicians more than women, including laws banning particular abortion procedures or requiring physicians to describe an ultrasound. In the conversion-therapy context, arguments about medical speech and privacy probably won’t work precisely because the grassroots Right has undermined them so thoroughly.
Interpreted broadly, Casey leaves significant room for the state to regulate quasi-medical aspects of the culture wars. In the case of the California statute, Casey also makes clear that the courts may have a broad new role in adjudicating the truthfulness of all medical speech — not just statements made during abortion care.
The idea of courts deciding the truth of statements suggesting that homosexuality is a medical illness makes me uneasy. I am not sure that courts are competent to determine the truthfulness of supposedly scientific conclusions, especially when those conclusions address hot-button social issues. I am even less certain that courts should focus on truthfulness. The issue of “conversion” therapy raises important questions about the scope of parental rights, the reach of the Free Exercise Clause, and the meaning of equal citizenship under the Fourteenth Amendment. Hopefully, courts will take on these issues directly rather than expanding sadly inadequate truthful-and-non-misleading standard from Casey.
“Conversion” therapy is part of an ever-larger medical front in the wider culture wars. In the abortion wars, the right has reaped substantial benefits from medicalizing a variety of constitutional, moral and social issues. I expect that the California law will show that both the left and right can play this game. What Casey has given social conservatives in one context, Casey may well, in other contexts, take away.
Mary Ziegler is an Assistant Professor of Law at Saint Louis University School of Law. Her publications include articles on the same-sex marriage debate, reproductive rights and the history of the American eugenic legal reform movement. Prior to her position at Saint Louis University, she served as the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fellow in Law at Yale Law School, and as a clerk for Justice John Dooley of the Vermont Supreme Court.
Suggested citation: Mary Ziegler, California Legislature Underscores Need for Better Gender Identity Standards, JURIST – Forum, Sept. 18, 2012, http://jurist.org/forum/2012/09/mary-ziegler-gender-standards.php.