August 5, 2018

On lesbians, transgender people and feminism

Here is another question I got over at tumblr:
What definition of "lesbian" and "feminist" does this blog use? I appreciate that male-inclusionists use the term egalitarian for themselves. Why use feminist for yourselves when you support gender essentialism and refuse to acknowledge sex-based oppression?
Yes, I know, this is most likely a trans-exclusionary "radical feminist" trying to get me to show the world that I am misogynistic anti-feminist. But I cannot let an opportunity like this get wasted.  Here is my reply:

What is a lesbian?

A lesbian is normally defined as a homosexual woman, meaning that she is sexually attracted to people of her own gender. I believe that sexual orientation can often be more fluid than the binary this concept grows out of allows for, but for many this represents a perfect description of their sexuality.


A feminist is a person who supports feminism. As I see it, feminism should at least include the following:

1. A clear understanding of how our societies (which are dominated by men and the Patriarchy) stop women from from achieving equals status to men as regards real power and influence, employment and salaries, legal framework, social welfare and services, as well as personal respect and validation. Moreover, feminism will have to include political means by which to change this.

But that is not enough. The oppression of women is so effective, because it is part of our language, the mental maps we use to navigate the world, and our institutions. This explains why women sometimes are as strong supporters of the status quo as men are (as in women voting for Trump and Putin).

Therefore feminism must include:

2. The goal of replacing the Patriarchy with a new understanding of biological sex, sexuality and cultural gender where men, women and non-binary people are understood as equals – politically, socially, and culturally. This is a society where being a man is no longer understood to be the default norm for being human, and where men no longer dominate.

Biological sex should be irrelevant. Sexual orientation should be irrelevant. Gender identity should be irrelevant. Everyone should be seen as human first, anything else second. But we are definitely not there yet. I live in a country where the three most powerful politicians are women, but where women continues to be belittled, ignored, dismissed and harassed because they are women.

August 2, 2018

What about non- and detransitioning transgender people?

I got the following anonymous question over at tumblr:

Why do you invalidate and devalue the experiences of detransitioners? Stop talking over them just bc they make you feel threatened. They're actually very lovely and they send an important message that we need to explore other options for dysphoria management. What about trans ppl with chronic illnesses that can't do HRT? They need our support but we just ignore them.

Here is my answer:

I do not devalue the experiences of detransitioners, nor do I feel threatened by them.

I have underlined repeatedly that the complexity and diversity of sex and gender lead to difficult choices for many transgender people (and I am using the word transgender in its wide “umbrella” sense here).

People with gender dysphoria may chose not to transition for many different and legitimate choices. I am a gender dysphoric transgender person and I have not transitioned.

Given the rampant transphobia and homophobia in our societies, I am also not surprised see that some who have transitioned find living and presenting as their target sex difficult, and detransition for that and other reasons.

Regretters used in anti-trans propaganda

However, right now the very existence of “regretters” is used by transphobic TERFs and right wing fundamentalists to invalidate the identities of all transgender people.

The argument is that if some are detransitioning, all those who transition are “fake” and that transitioning is a recipe for mental illness and suffering. This is why I over and over again underline the following:

1. Only a small minority of those who transition regret doing so (between 0.6 and 4 percent according to the studies I have read).

2. The great majority of those who transition report a much higher quality of life and health after transitioning. While the attempted suicide rate among all transgender people is around 40%, the similar rate for those that have transition is more or less the same as the general population.

I say this not in order to devalue the experience of detransitioners, but to ensure that their very existence is not not used to undermine the legitimacy of transitioning as an essential  tool in transgender health care.

July 24, 2018

Transphobic propaganda and the myths of desitance and regret

The great majority of transitioning trans people do not regret their decision to live as their true gender.

It is interesting to see how transphobic, lesbian,  "radical feminists" (TERFs) use the exact same arguments that were used to invalidate and marginalize lesbians. 

The most common one was that homosexuality was an acquired sexual perversion caused by the propaganda of the homosexual movement. If you could protect children from the gay movement, there would not be any lesbians.

This is obviously the same argument that is used today to stop lesbians from adopting children. Lesbian parenting is unnatural, will hurt the children and make them gay and so on and so forth.

The desitance-argument

The desistance-argument forms the foundation of the TERF argument against the the identity of transgender people. Since so many gender variant people, in the end, do not chose to transition, the TERFs assume that none of them are really of the gender they claim to be.  They have been duped by trans activists.

This is a completely misleading reading of the research available, as it mixes up gender nonconformity with gender identity. 

Variation in gender expression is used as a way of exploring both identity and sexuality among straight, gay and queer people. You will find “butch”, “femme” and “androgynous” people among all of them. 

The majority of these people are not gender dysphoric. They do not experience a severe misalignment between their gender identity and their assigned gender, or between mind and body. They simply express masculinity, femininity or any other aspect of cultural gender in a way that feels right for them.

June 24, 2018

Interesting video sums up research on male and female brains

Below I have embedded a great video from SciShow Psych on the differences between female and male brain. I recommend it because Hank Green and colleagues have clearly read most of the relevant literature in the field.

The conclusion they come to is that although you may measure differences between the two biological sexes brain wise, it is unclear whether these differences have anything to say with men and women’s abilities, interests, or behavior.

It is also clear that if there are any clear differences, they are normally very small and only make sense on an aggregate level. That is: The individual male and female brains always display a mix of “femaleish” and “maleish” traits.

Hank Green does not discuss research into the brains of transgender people in this video. What his presentation tells us, however, is that it makes little sense to say that a trans woman is a woman because she has a “perfect female brain”. Given that there is so much variation between men and between women in this respect (a woman may have a brain that looks similar to the average “male brain” and still identify as a woman), being close to the female average neither confirms or invalidates her gender identity.

June 21, 2018

Does the WHO ICD-11 Manual Erase Transgender and Non-binary Identities?

In the new WHO ICD-11 manual the only condition described is gender incongruence. Does this mean that transgender people who are not suffering from this kind of misalignment between experienced and assigned gender will be denied the help they need?
The new edition of the health manual of the World Health Organization no longer considers being transgender a mental illness. Stigmatizing diagnoses like "transvestic fetishism" have been removed.

After my positive review of the treatment of gender incongruence in the new edition of the international WHO health manual, I got an email from one concerned non-binary reader who pointed out that since gender incongruence  – i.e. the experience of a deep mismatch between the experienced gender and assigned gender – is the only symptom of being transgender included in the manual, the medical profession may ignore the suffering experienced by other transgender and non-binary people.

They  argued that the medical gatekeepers may even use the manual to erase other parts of the transgender spectrum, leaving us with what was once called "the classic transsexual" (i.e. those that are able to live up to the "trapped in the wrong body" narrative) as the only "real" transgender people.

They also argued that given the gender stereotypes listed under the gender incongruence in childhood definition, this may even lead to continuation of a system that forces transgender people to live up to the stereotypes.

The threat of a binary backlash

You are not paranoid when they are out to get you, so do understand what this reader is getting at.

Transgender separatists ("HBS", "truscum" or "transmedicalists") may try to use this new edition to argue that they are the only real transgender, that there is no spectrum and that other transgender people should stop calling themselves transgender.

June 19, 2018

The WHO ICD-11 health manual removes transvestic fetishism. Being trans is no longer a mental illness.

Yesterday the World Health Organization released the new version of its International Classification of Diseases, the ICD-11. The new edition brings some very good news to transgender people.
Being transgender is no longer considered a mental illness by the international medical community (Photo: Wavebreakmedia)
"Transvestic fetishism" is no longer included

First of all, the diagnoses of "transvestic fetishism" and "dual-role transvestism" are no longer included.

Several countries, including the Nordic ones, have already removed the transvestic fetishims of the list of "paraphilias" from their national versions of the ICD-10 , arguing that crossdressing is just an unharmful expression of gender variance, and that including it in the manual causes needless stigmatization and suffering.

According to the WHO crossdressing and crossdreaming are no longer considered  mental illnesses.

Being transsexual is no longer a mental illness

Furthermore, being transsexual (in the sense of suffering from a mismatch between your biological sex and/or expected gender role and your experienced identity) is no longer classified as a mental illness, either.

Discuss crossdreamer and transgender issues!