May 31, 2021

Crossdreamers.com gets a new email reminder distributor

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

Google and Feedburner are closing down their free email distribution. We are moving over to Mailchimp, a well known and trusted email service.

For our subscribers the only difference will be that the email will now come from Mailchimp. You do not have to sign up again.

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.

We do not share your email addresses with anyone else and we will use the email address to send you crossdreamer.com relevant information only.

(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.

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