August 1, 2015
[photos and captions added by GenderTrender]
JULY 31, 2015
Gender, Patriarchy, and All That Jazz by MARY LOU SINGLETON
Like many Americans, I have been paying attention to the current marketing of gender, the unquestionable system that tells us what constitutes male vs. female in our capitalist patriarchy. With morbid fascination, I am witnessing our culture move away from the old women’s liberation values that told young people they could participate in any activity they enjoyed, wear any clothing they liked, play with whatever toys they wanted, and think any thoughts they thought without these behaviors and beliefs being labeled male or female by forces then known as sexism. Not only have the categories of “boy’s toys” and “girl’s toys” returned with a vengeful backlash, now children and the rest of us are being told that an affinity for “girl’s toys” and dresses and make-up actually defines the true essence of girlhood. If a child really, really likes what is being sold by the capitalist patriarchy as female, that child IS female. And vice versa for children who reject female toys and stereotypical female interests. Even if they have two X chromosomes and a vulva, these children are now obviously boys. These children are especially to be considered boys if they hate their female physiology and despise their female bodies. Through the miracle of capitalist cooptation, we have progressed from the women’s liberation war cry of “Start a Revolution, Stop Hating Your Body” to hating the body being framed as revolutionary.
With particular interest, I have been watching and reading about Jazz Jennings, the biological male who from the time of toddlerhood strongly preferred the toys, clothes and mannerisms marketed as female. Because Jazz rejected the products and behaviors sold and enforced as male, and because Jazz never had opportunities to see males who identify as males playing with “girl things” and wearing “girl clothes” and “acting like girls,” and because Jazz had no interest in the products marketed as “boy things” (the guns, the robots, the buzz cuts, the army men), Jazz began identifying as the kind of person who likes “girl things.” Jazz’s parents agreed that if Jazz shopped and talked and threw like a girl, obviously Jazz was a girl. Happily for them (if money can buy happiness), Jazz was born at the perfect time in our post-feminist, post-modern, bread-and-circuses phase of late stage capitalism. Jazz’s family landed paid appearances on talk shows, paid interviews, and now a reality TV show, all promoting the idea that sex-role stereotypes (aka gender) are the only definition of male and female that matter. Jazz Jennings has become the literal poster child for Gender Incorporated, telling and selling us all what it really means to be female in a capitalist patriarchy.
Like Honey Boo Boo and Miley Cyrus, and Michael Jackson before them, Jazz appears as a happy, fun-loving child with a caring, supportive family. Jazz continually smiles while doing the things girls do: posing in a mermaid suit, cheerleading, being pretty. In several articles and appearances, however, Jazz has hinted at sadness, worrying about finding a boyfriend, stating that many biological boys Jazz encounters do not view Jazz as a girl. Jazz reports plenty of female friends, though. While I’m sure Jazz’s life will have its difficulties (life-long hormone replacement, plastic surgery, and childhood fame all carry significant risks), the majority of biological females Jazz encounters will offer comfort and kindness to Jazz, as they have been socialized through gender to do. Gender after all normalizes female self-sacrifice. Most adult females, even those who identify as feminists, exhibit an unexamined acceptance of gender. Women reflexively label every creature they see as male (unless said creature is portrayed with breasts or fake eyelashes and lipstick). They fear more than anything not being liked and they work hard to never, ever commit the sin of hurting someone’s feelings. They have been enculturated to accept their own erasure and to serve the interests of biological males. Jazz’s life will have problems, but these will be buffered and mitigated by female caretaking.
Jazz will inevitably encounter people who refuse to accept the belief system that asserts gender as fact and biology (i.e. the living, material world) as a mere social construct or inconvenience to be fixed with chemicals and technology. Some of these people will be females who resent being told that femaleness can be reduced to performance of “femininity” while they themselves do not appreciate the patriarchal gender system that defines female this way. Others will be males and conservative females who support and revere the patriarchy, but want to maintain a social order like the good old days when men were men and women were women. Because Jazz and the rest of us are being strongly indoctrinated to view “misgendering” as violence, Jazz will have many tales of such violence to report through the gender-promoting media. Those who have participated in the crime of misgendering will be appropriately shamed for refusing to capitulate to the new rules of gender (they may also lose their jobs or speaking gigs at universities or be sued for discrimination).
Because Jazz was born into a violent patriarchy, Jazz may also encounter physical violence, almost certainly at the hands of males. Should it occur, and I sincerely hope it doesn’t, this violence will be labeled a hate crime, a crime more worthy of social outrage and attention than the rapes, murders, torture and beatings suffered by biological females at the hands of males. Unlike biological females, Jazz legally belongs to a protected class, and violence toward this protected class of people is taken more seriously by the media and liberal activists (and sometimes even the legal system) than the routine, all day, every day male violence against biological females.
I do not predict an easy or peaceful future for Jazz. I, however, am even more concerned about what the future holds for Jazz’s sister and all of the girls she represents: the less special kind of female, the kind who doesn’t automatically get awards of bravery for declaring herself a woman and devoting herself to the performance of her assigned gender role. The kind of female conditioned to take up as little space as possible, even if this means starving herself. The kind of female whose body is not legally her own. The kind of female who is viewed as a state regulated incubator, worthy of public debates in mainstream media venues about whether or not she should be allowed to end an unwanted pregnancy or give birth at home. (Such debates about what women should and shouldn’t be allowed to do with their bodies currently receive less social criticism and outrage than the crime of misgendering, by the way. When it comes to forced pregnancy and birth, “good people can disagree.”)
A recent article in Cosmopolitan (a magazine designed to enforce the rules of gender to the female population; a magazine which recently ran a cover story promoting torture porn and telling women that we should learn to enjoy being tied up, beaten, choked, and having men ejaculate on our faces), featured Jazz Jennings talking about his sister. Jazz tells the interviewer and the world that he views his sister’s body as something that can be used to serve his reproductive desires. Like so many gender non-conforming children today who would have once grown up to be happy gay people with intact bodies, Jazz is being sterilized through the process of transitioning into a cultural stereotype of femininity. The medical industry will remove his testicles, if they haven’t already done so, and through plastic surgery create a simulation of a vagina for Jazz. Jazz wants very much to be a parent. Lucky for him he lives in a world where women’s bodies are for sale and rent. In the Cosmo interview, Jazz brags that he is “convincing” his sister to serve him as incubator so he can fulfill his dream of being a mother. Jazz, speaking of his sister’s vagina (which he calls her “vag”), says, “We’ll take my hubby’s sperm and throw it in there and fertilize it.”
[Read the rest of this post here: http://www.counterpunch.org/2015/07/31/gender-patriarchy-and-all-that-jazz/ ]
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Doumar rejected the Obama administration’s attempts to eliminate Title IX sex-based protections for women and girls and replace them with social stereotypes based on sex. The ruling came in the case of Gavin Grimm, a sixteen year old girl who believes that people have inborn mental characteristics based on sex, and that she has the personality of a sperm-producing individual. Individuals with this belief system call themselves “Transgender” and consider what they believe to be a mis-match between personality and reproductive biology to be a psychiatric condition.
Grimm believes her personality is one of a biological male, and that therefore she is a male with a female body. She would like to express this belief by using the urinals along with the males in the public restrooms at her school. Transgender adherents also believe that individuals who have personality traits “innate” to the opposite sex should be made to use facilities of the opposite sex that are normally sex-segregated for the protection and privacy of women (locker rooms, sports teams, sleeping quarters, showers, hospital bed assignments, etc.)
The Obama administration also believes in the concept of mental sex, and has attempted to bypass the legislature and judiciary by pushing guidelines through their Department of Education, OSHA, Department of Labor, EEOC, and Justice Department removing sex-based protections for women and girls under Title IX and replacing them with protections for “mental sex”, or “reproductive personality”, or “gender identity”.
The ACLU, with the backing of Obama’s Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Gavin Grimm’s school district, claiming that Title IX sex-based protections should be overridden by the concept of sex-based personality. Specifically they assert that students whose personality does not “match” their reproductive status should use areas of public nudity along with those of the opposite sex. Grimm’s school district sought to accommodate her sex-stereotype beliefs by offering her use of private unisex facilities in several locations throughout the school, but she claims segregating any facilities based on sex discriminates against her self-concept and belief that her brain is reproductively male.
This is at least the second federal ruling that rejects Obama administration attempts to strip Title IX protections from women and girls in order to establish federal guidelines on sex-based personality characteristics.
Here Gavin explains why she believes she is a sperm producing male individual, rather than an egg producing female individual:
“When I was little, I didn’t think of myself as a boy or a girl. I thought of myself as a kid who did what I wanted. When I started school, though, that gender divide became more apparent. I noticed that boys didn’t want to play with me. I had a best friend in elementary school, and one day he just said, “Hey, we can’t hang out any more.” When I asked why, he said, “’Cause you’re a girl.” I was indignant. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “What does that even mean?”
I never, ever, in a million years envisioned myself growing up to be a woman. I don’t think I thought of any alternatives, but I knew for sure that I was not going to grow up and be a woman. When puberty hit, my biggest struggle was not only feeling betrayed by my body, but also the increasing pressure to become a little lady.
It was around this age that my leg hair started growing in — and I did not want to shave it. I loved having leg hair; I thought it was cool! But, my classmates didn’t agree. My mother, of course, put a lot of pressure on me — because I was “blossoming into a young woman” and all that — to conform to feminine archetypes. That caused a lot of conflict in my family relationships. I was a very volatile, angry kid in that time period.
But, I didn’t give up; I just continued refusing to shave or wear dresses. I gravitated towards boys’ clothes. It started slowly: Oh, here’s one Pokémon shirt because I love Pokémon. Soon, I was only shopping in the boys’ section. My mother (and I want to make it very clear that she has come a very, very long way) is Christian. She had a lot of problems with homosexuality, and she perceived me to be a homosexual female because I was very masculine in how I acted and dressed. At one point, she came to me and said, “You’re so angry, and I know why.” I said, “Wait, you do?” And, she said, “You’re a lesbian.”
I was about 11 or 12 at the time. And, I knew I liked girls, but I’d never, ever, ever identified with the term “lesbian” — calling yourself a lesbian means asserting yourself as a woman, and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to live in that gray area where I didn’t have to say that I was anything. So, the conflict started again. Apparently, being a lesbian doesn’t excuse you from shaving your legs.”
July 3, 2015
Joel’s Blog: http://retransition.org/
June 22, 2015
May 27, 2015
The following was written by Diane Ehrensaft, Director of Mental Health at the Child and Adolescent Gender Center at University of California, San Francisco. Ehrensaft’s clinic is devoted to the controversial practice of sterilizing pre-pubertal children with off-label medications which stunt the growth of their genitals and reproductive system, preventing them from ever maturing. The formerly healthy children are then made dependent on cross-sex hormones, and the medical system, for life. Ehrensaft’s rationale for this practice is outlined in the writing excerpted below. The full text can be read here.
[*For the sake of clarity, each usage of the term “gender” in the text below has been replaced with the term “sex-role”.]
“In traditional theories, it is assumed that children clearly know their own [sex-role] by the age of six, based on the sex assigned to them at birth, the early knowledge of that assignment, the [sex-role] socialisation that helps a child know how their [sex-role] should be performed and the evolving cognitive understanding of the stability of their [sex-role] identity. Yet if a child deviates from the sex assigned to them at birth or rejects the rules of [sex-role] embedded in the socialisation process, they are assumed to be too young to know their [sex-role], suffering from either [sex-role] confusion or a [sex-role] disorder.
Following this logic, if you are “cis-[sex-role]” (your sense of your [sex-role] matches the sex assigned on your birth certificate), you can know your [sex-role], but if you are trans-[sex-role] or [sex-role]-nonconforming, you cannot possibly know.
Yet a macro survey of trans-[sex-role] adults conducted in the US indicated that a large proportion of respondents knew at an early age what their true [sex-role] was – they just kept it under wraps because of social stigma in their childhood years. So we could say that [sex-role]-creative children can possibly know their [sex-role] – and do, at a very young age.”
“Over the course of time, if we do not impose our own reactions and feelings on the children, like the ones above, and allow a space for their [sex-role] narrative to unfold, the [sex-role] they know themselves to be will come into clearer focus. From there we can give them the opportunity to transition to the [sex-role] that feels most authentic, followed later by the choice to use puberty blockers to put natal puberty on hold and later cross-sex hormones to bring their bodies into better sync with their psyche.
If we do not give them this opportunity, they may feel thwarted, frustrated, despondent, angry, deflated – feelings reflected in the symptoms correlated with being a [sex-role]-nonconforming or [sex-role]-dysphoric child. The root of these symptoms is not the child’s [sex-role], but rather the environment’s negative reactions to the child’s [sex-role].
When acceptance and allowance of the child to live in their authentic [sex-role] replace negation or suppression of a child’s nonconforming [sex-role], the symptoms have been known to subside or disappear completely, much to the surprise of those caring for the child. We might even consider [sex-role] as the cure, rather than the problem, privileging the child’s ability to not only feel, but know their [sex-role].”
Portland’s TransActive Gender Center embroiled in Controversy: Founder responds by posting bizarre “Transgender Children Conspiracy” video
May 12, 2015
TransActive Gender Center, the Portland-based transgender children’s lobbying group that bills itself as “the only transgender youth nonprofit in the country with actual office space,” came under fire last week when it was revealed on GenderTrender that the organization had falsified its status as an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization. TransActive announced that it is actually sponsored under the purview of another non-profit organization, which it then refused to name. Their spokesperson further admitted that TransActive had never in their 8 year existence made their financials publicly available as required by 501(c)3 non-profits under federal law. “We will, of course, make our financial statement public… on our timetable, not yours.” Said founder, director, and spokesperson Jenn Burleton on Friday, going on to insist that “zero percent” of TransActive funding comes from individuals or organizations that financially profit from the experimental practice of medically transgendering children. (The process espoused by TransActive renders the children both sterile and lifetime-dependent on an off-label pharmaceutical regimen). “We choose not to disclose our fiscal partner’s identity because we operate in most respects independently of them.” Burleton stated, clarifying in all caps when questioned: “They are the fiscal SPONSOR, not partner.”
Criticism was also leveled at TransActive for their “In A Bind” program, which sends out chest binders directly to children in unmarked packages so they can compress their rib cages and crush pubescent breast tissue without their legal guardian’s awareness or consent.
TransActive continued to court controversy today as founder and director Jenn Burleton uploaded a bizarre self-produced video about a Transgender Children “Conspiracy”. The video, which has been characterized as “unhinged” by some observers, plays portions of videos by transgender activists Mark Angelo Cummings and Lynna Arielle (hosts of the long-running Transition Radio program) overlaid with commentary by the TransActive head.
Burleton accuses the two of endangering children by engaging in frank public discussion of transgender de-transition, and also claims that children who transition in adolescence change their minds zero percent of the time. “…research shows that adolescents who present with gender variance, or transgender identity go on to be transgender older adolescents and adults 100% of the time.” [sic. bolding by him]. Burleton accuses de-transitioner “liars”, the “radical feminist left”, the “radical christian right” and the “black helicopter fringe” of…. It isn’t clear what. A conspiracy to create a conspiracy?
More confusingly, Burleton posts statements confirming that the medicines that his TransActive group lobbies government health agencies and legislatures to normalize have serious side-effects, are controversial, and he even posts part of a New York Times article from 2001 regarding an $875 million dollar settlement paid out by the manufacturers to settle criminal charges they had “illegally manipulated the Medicare and Medicaid programs”. Whew! Which side is Burleton arguing?!
It gets stranger as he posts a long montage from conservative media sources (Fox news, etc.) criticizing the practice of medically transgendering children. Then Jenn posts a definition of autogynephilia, followed up with accusations that transactivist Mark Angelo Cummings is “currying approval” from “radical feminists” as part of a “scam” , the point of which Burleton doesn’t define, (but it certainly wouldn’t include any monetary gain!). Anyway the whole thing goes on and on in a very long, breathless and disjointed fashion, tons of verbal abuse is heaped onto Burleton’s purported enemies, most especially Mark Angelo Cummings. The whole presentation is alarming, in the sort of way that one hopes that some members of Jenn’s support system might want to check in on him. It’s alarming in the sort of way that one might be concerned that this individual heads an organization that works largely with vulnerable children under the age of twelve. Only one part of his message is perfectly clear: TransActive Gender Center’s Jenn Burleton is very, very upset at whatever it is that Mark Angelo Cummings has to say.
*UPDATE: Mark Angelo Cummings and Lynna Arielle have just uploaded a new video, where they discuss the TransActive controversies on GenderTrender last week (without mentioning the source, naturally), as well as the practice of medically transgendering children in general. Watch it here: