May 31, 2021

Crossdreamers.com gets a new email reminder distributor

For those who subscribe to the Crossdreamers.com email reminder service:

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For readers who have not made use of this service, we have added a new subscription form in the right hand column of this page.

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(If you sign up and see a snail mail address for Crossdreamers: Do not take it too seriously!)

May 22, 2021

Science and Transphobia: Ray Blanchard is Now Assisting White Supremacists. Why?

Ray Blanchard, the man behind the "autogynephilia-"theory, recently took part in in a YouTube livestream hosted by the  British racist and white supremacist Edward Dutton. Needless to say, doing so effectively destroyed what was left of Blanchard's reputation as a researcher. But why would he do such a thing?

In case you have never heard about Blanchard's two-type model of male to female transgender people, here is the su twitter version: Blanchard argues that androphilic transgender women (who are attracted to men) are effeminate homosexual men, while gynephilic trans women (who are bisexual or attracted to women) are fetishistic straight men (autogynephiles).

Very few experts on trans identities believe that trans women are mentally ill these days, so his position clearly makes him an outlier in the scientific community. His model does have an effect on the lives of trans people, though, and not in a good way.

I will not spend time on bunking the Blanchardian typology in this article. That has been done here, herehere, herehere, here, here and here. Instead I will look at how Blanchard's actions can help us gain a better understanding of the role of science in society, and especially how it can be harnessed by bigotry.

Hiding your transphobia in plain sight

Ray Blanchard managed to a certain extent to "pass"  as a serious modern scientist, as long as he restricted himself to publishing  in science journals, hiding his real intentions behind  paywalls and science sounding jargon.

Most people do not read academic journals. Moreover, the arguments, statistics and terminology used in such publications are often impenetrable to outsiders. It is therefore hard for them to see the what lies behind the insider terminology and the complex tables.  

May 3, 2021

Debunking the female brain vs. male brain myth (and why it is not as easy as it might seem)


Lise Eliot is out with a new interesting article on the idea that the brain is gendered (i.e. different between men and women). She refers to a new meta-study of research on biological research that, as she sees it, shows that there is no difference between male and female brains beyond size.

I am a big fan of Lise Eliot, who is  a Professor of Neuroscience at the Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science in the US of A. 

Her book Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps and What We Can Do About It taught me a lot about modern neuroscience, and how some scientists takes a too simplistic approach to how our feeling of being gendered is created.

I would argue, though, that the arguments she makes against this part of neuroscience does not prove that there is no biological component to gender identity and that transgender identities therefore must be purely psychological. More about that below.

Mars vs. Venus

In a new article over at Fast Company she writes:

Everyone knows the difference between male and female brains. One is chatty and a little nervous, but never forgets and takes good care of others. The other is calmer, albeit more impulsive, but can tune out gossip to get the job done.

These are stereotypes, of course, but they hold surprising sway over the way actual brain science is designed and interpreted. Since the dawn of MRI [Magnetic resonance imaging, used for brain scans], neuroscientists have worked ceaselessly to find differences between men’s and women’s brains. This research attracts lots of attention because it’s just so easy to try to link any particular brain finding to some gender difference in behavior.

But as a neuroscientist long experienced in the field, I recently completed a painstaking analysis of 30 years of research on human brain sex differences. And what I found, with the help of excellent collaborators, is that virtually none of these claims has proven reliable.

April 30, 2021

On my most popular tumblr-posts on transgender lives and topics

I have been posting transgender news and articles over at my tumblr blog since early 2014, and have learned a lot about that section of the transgender community in the process. 

Tumblr is dominated by younger people, and I can see that they – for instance – love positive stories about being trans and references to reputable science sources that affirm transgender identities.

You can read more about this in my article "What my most popular posts on tumblr can tell us about what transgender youth are looking for" which I have posted over at Medium.

(I am testing out Medium as an alternative way of making my content more well known.)

April 19, 2021

The Rise of the Left-handed Cult

The 20th century saw a dramatic rise in the number of left-handed people. Was it all part of a leftist conspiracy? Read on to find out!

Right now ant-transgender activists, left and right, are trying to tell the world that the current rise in the number of transgender people is caused by a transgender conspiracy.

RightLeftRightWrong tells a similar story about left-handed people:

The history of the sinister left-handed

In pre-modern times left-handed people were thought to consort with the Devil. Left-handedness in women might be considered proof of them being witches.

In the 19th century science and medicine were used to fight the threat of those left handed:
The infamous (but influential) 19th Century physician Cesare Lambroso, who identified various facial and racial characteristics with criminal traits, turned his attention to handedness at the end of the century and the start of the next and, perhaps not surprisingly, he identified left-handedness as a mark of pathological behaviour, savagery and criminality.
At the middle of the 20th century American psychoanalyst Abram Blau suggested that left-handedness was caused by perversity and the result of emotional negativism.

April 5, 2021

Yes, Ernest Hemingway was Transgender

PBS has made a new documentary
on Ernest Hemingway which presents their
gender variance. (photo by Yousuf Karsh)

Ernest Hemingway is know as one of the greatest writers of the 20th century.  Hemingway is also known as one of the most macho male authors of the time. Yet, there is overwhelming evidence that the great author was some shade of transgender. 

Before we start: I am using the term "transgender" in its most common meaning here, i.e. as an umbrella term for all kinds of gender variance. 

We cannot know how Hemingway would have identified today, in a time that  is a bit more forgiving towards queer and trans people than the world Hemingway lived in. 

However, I will argue that given all the time they spent on trying to come to the bottom of their own gender variance, this was much more than a "fetish" (even if Hemingway, like most people, had their kinks). What we are facing here is a more fundamental nonbinary or transgender  identity.

Given that I do not know how Hemingway would have presented today, I stick to gender neutral pronouns.

My main sources on Hemingway's transgender nature are Mary V.. Dearborn's book, Ernest Hemingway: A Biography, and Nancy R. Comley and Robert Scholes'  Hemingway's Genders. (References below).

Fetish or identity?

Keep in mind that few of the authors who have looked into this side of Hemingway are transgender themselves, which often leads – as I see it – to some misinterpretations of Hemingway's  gender.

For some the very presence of erotic crossdreaming or sexual role play, immediately leads to the term "sexual fetish". This is a term that is actively used to invalidate trans people. 

Mind you, I am not saying that fetishes do not exist. Most, if not all, people have them.  But it should be pretty obvious that a transgender identity is likely to express itself through sexual dreams and desires as well. Instead of using fetishes and sexual fantasies to dismiss transgender identities, we should use interpret them in a transgender and queer context.

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