I am disengaging from any public forum on this, because I have found it violates my rule about engaging with zealots. Zealots are capable of disregarding truth in favor of opinion. There’s a difference between someone who says after a discussion that they still have concerns or don’t agree with a conclusion and one who simply dismisses all evidence that disagrees with a preconceived set of assumptions.
I have, I think, narrowed the craziness down to a relatively small number of issues. Don’t expect to convince anyone, but take solace that there’s no reason to bend to zealots:
Biology or Chromosomes
A remarkably large number of people believe due to a bare knowledge of biology that the body, outside of effects brought about by hormones, is male or female. What do I mean.
- During gestation testosterone or estrogen will cause the Mullerian duct to differentiate into either female or male genitalia. At the point this happens the gonads have already formed (sufficiently to produce sex hormones). Problems with this of various kinds cause intersex conditions as I talked about elsewhere.
- Later during gestation sex hormones cause brain changes. It is suspected that here problems with hormone levels and/or issues with hormone receptors can cause gender issues. As far as I know this has only been shown in animal models.
- At puberty sex hormones cause secondary sexual characteristics, female hips broaden, breasts develop and menstruation begins, males develop facial hair and stronger muscles and larger skeletons. Both sexes see growth spurts, maturation of their genitalia and growth of body hair appropriate to their sex.
There are a couple of problems with talking about biology when objecting to people physically transitioning not being really women or men. Much of the body (as far as I’m aware) doesn’t respond to sex hormones at all. The parts that do respond, respond whether you’re born male or female to the sex hormones that are present. There’s no switch that tells your skin to not respond to estrogen if you were born with an XY karyotype.
What does this leave? It leaves the brain and the genitalia as the legitimate areas of argument because those really were formed early and won’t structurally change. Unfortunately for the objectors, multiple studies support the idea that trans women are much more like natal women than men in terms of measurable aspects of the brain that differ between men and women. This difference does not exist for sexual orientation or cross sex hormone use.
There are those that essentially mock SRS as a mutilation or like to use the charged word castration. In the literal sense of removing the male gonads this is true. The choice of word I think is mostly meant to make already uncomfortable men still more uncomfortable. It works.
The truth of SRS is that with the sole exception at this point of the vaginal lining, the rest of the tissue used from the male genitalia to form the female genitalia is carefully chosen for its relation from an embryological basis. The labia major and scrotum really are the same kind of tissue. Forming the labia minora from penile skin is a very good analogue as well.
The result is such that regular physicians generally can’t tell, and one’s sexual partners can’t tell from that alone.
So much for biology.
As for chromosomes. Genetics are affected by the environment. Sex chromosomes, even omitting the variants involved in intersex only have so much influence. External events can overcome genetics and cause genes to express themselves differently. Otherwise any two identical twins would always remain 100% identical and die at the same moment in time. This is clearly not true.
Many people are also born with mixed male and female chromosomes.
As we saw with intersex, it is possible to have 100% male chromosomes and be indistinguishable from any other female barring an invasive examination.
Trans women are Really Men
This is also the real objection that TERFs have against us. What can I say, the arguments are often so misinformed as to be laughable if they weren’t taken seriously. There are some reasons people believe this though.
Part of the reason is that the term transgender is a pretty loose term. Some include cross dressers and some don’t. An awful lot of people have this bizarre notion that a guy could show up in a bathroom and just say it. OMG.
People really do confuse trans women with cross dressers and drag queens. The differences are obvious to us, but not to them.
Cross dressers are men who like to dress as women. They enjoy it and it’s fine by me. Some cross dressers become trans women but most don’t.
Drag queens are gay men who dress up for entertainment and other purposes but are definitely men and I suspect almost never become trans women.
People do not understand that the absolutely last thing most (like 99.99%) of trans women want is attention. We want to live our lives as women and be acknowledged as such by our friends. Like anyone we want to have love and affection in our lives. A (pre surgery) trans women using a ladies’ changing room is going to use a private booth to change and she’s not going to strip naked and walk into the shower. It would cause a scene and doubtless get her officially or unofficially kicked out.
A trans woman who’s had surgery can use anything she wants. Nobody’s going to know anyway. Really.
TERFs seem to think we only want to play at being women. It’s remarkable that they don’t ask us. Many of us have boyfriends, and I’m sure more than a few of us regret not being able to bear children if we’re of an age. Yet they just assert that we wouldn’t want it, don’t want it, etc. They apparently are also unaware that while we don’t need to deal with having a period (I am duly grateful) we still get the joys of yeast infections, bacterial vaginosis and UTIs, and we are just as vulnerable to STDs as any other woman.
But are we really men? I don’t think so. We share hormone levels and libido levels with other women, not men. We have brains like other women, not men. Some trans women and some cis women are somewhat androgynous or even to the masculine end, doesn’t make them men.
Probably the single stupidest worry I’ve ever heard in my life. Almost all predation, either sexual assault or child sexual abuse is done by someone the victim knows. Nor is there any guaranty that the assaulter is the other sex, there are plenty of women who predate on girls or men on boys, so lacking trans women (apparently trans men are totally cool) people might want to consider that if there really were a risk in a public bathroom it would probably come from another member of your same sex in the bathroom.
But let’s break this down. During transition and until a trans women either has an orchiectomy or SRS, she is likely taking an androgen blocker and estrogen. This has another name when applied in the criminal justice system, it’s called chemical castration. Post orchiectomy or SRS she’ll still take estrogen.
Libido in trans women is much lower than males, in many it is basically gone. The notion that trans women are interested in being sexual predators is pretty ridiculous. Pre operative trans women are often unable to achieve an erection in any case.
But think about the actual thesis. The proposal is that someone is going to think that a public place, a bathroom, which is constantly in use with people entering or leaving is a good place to commit a sexual assault. To make it completely insane they propose to stop the threat by making entering the bathroom a minor crime because it will discourage a predator from taking the opportunity to commit a felony.
For the record I’m not aware of a single assault committed by a trans women in a ladies room. There have been many assaults of trans women in ladies room – how about some legislation to protect us?
Men will just say they’re Transgender
I guess I have a couple of reactions. My first one is so what? Ladies, haven’t you noticed that there’s nothing to see in the ladies’ room? How long do you think this will last?
Also, do you think guys really want to join us in line at major events so they can use one of the three stalls available for the 96 women on line?
If there’s someone in the ladies’ who’s hanging out and being creepy and I don’t care if it’s a man or a woman, I’m calling security. Doubly so if I see someone trying to peer over or under a partition.
Seriously, a little education and men who aren’t actually presenting as female will be turned away by store employees and certainly women in the ladies’ room. Despite expectations by actual perverts out there, it takes more than shaving your legs and donning a dress with falsies, and shaving carefully, and putting on heavy makeup, and getting a good wig and probably shaving your arms too to be seen as presenting as female. Seriously, you really think some guy is going to do all that to see a bathroom with scattered toilet paper and wet seats because some stupid idiot thought she was going to catch something and insisted on hovering over the seat?
Transgender people are mentally ill
Usually along with the statement that they need treatment. To be fair, going back a scant forty to fifty years ago sees both homosexuality and gender issues labelled as pathologies. Why not keep those labels? A psychologist would be the best person to answer but they aren’t considered pathologies at this point. My arguments would be:
- Both gender identity variance and sexual orientation variance can appear without other disfunction
- They both occur in the animal kingdom, they are clearly not a nurture issue
- All evidence points to them being unchangeable and innate
- In the absence of making them pathologic and attempting to “cure” them, those that have these variances can lead happy lives without other problems
What I do agree with is that trans people deserve appropriate treatment. What these folks generally don’t understand or accept is that at this point the best available treatment available is cross sex hormones and surgery. Given the early basis that seems to be involved, I find it dubious that there will ever be a better option, just much better versions of what we currently do.