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Stonewall : Hypocrisy or Ignorance ?

by Helen Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 03:02:10 PM EST

Last night at its awards ceremony at the Victoria and Albert museum, the Stonewall gay civil rights advocacy group awarded Iris Robinson, the Democratic Unionist Party (ultra-Protestant conservative) MP in Northern Ireland, an award for being "Bigot of the Year". It was a heartily justified award given her claims that gay people could be cured with Christianist "talking therapy" (aka pray away the gay) and her statement that homosexuality is an abomination.

Which made the nomination of Guardian journalist Julie Bindel as "Journalist of the Year" at the same ceremony especially interesting, given her claims that the transgendered can be cured by "talking therapies" and that sex change surgery was "mutilation".


Indeed, Bindel has a long and, frankly, awful history of Feminist Essentialist-inspired transphobic bigotry. Indeed, both the Guardian and Bindel were forced to issue apologies about the tone of one of her articles,  "Gender Benders Beware",  presumably to prevent the involvment of the the Press Complaints Commission. Not surprising when you read it, containing as it does amongst others, the following choice phrases;-

....Also, those who "transition" seem to become stereotypical in their appearance - fuck-me shoes and birds'-nest hair for the boys; beards, muscles and tattoos for the girls. Think about a world inhabited just by transsexuals. It would look like the set of Grease.
[...]
I don't have a problem with men disposing of their genitals, but it does not make them women, in the same way that shoving a bit of vacuum hose down your 501s does not make you a man.

But it's worth remembering that she only apologised for the tone, not the substance of the article. On its own it would be reprehensible, but she is a serial offender. Indeed I wrote about attending the recording of one such polemic here last year, Transgenderism and Julie Bindel

What really annoyed the community was that when we protested that a gay civil rights group shouldn't be in the business of rewarding somebody who insults another part of the queer community, we were given a rather dismissive brush-off. We already knew that Stonewall was only an LGB organisation and tended to be dismissive of the "T", but the level of disdain was an eye-opener. And following on from "Toiletgate" earlier this year where trans people were prevented from using gender appropriate facilities at the rally following the London Pride march, and the whole kerfuffle last year in the USA regarding the debacle of the anti-trans stance by the US gay advocacy group, Human rights Commission (HRC), over the Employment Non-Discrimination-Act (ENDA) that I discussed in my essay We have been betrayed before, there was a general feeling that enough was enough.

So a protest was organised. Initially we hoped that perhaps 50 people would turn up, the Facebook ticklist indicated that perhaps 100 might turn out, but on the night 150 people showed up (naturally the Stonewall friendly gay press reports only 70). This makes it the largest protest ever organised by the trans community in Britain. We had a nice little area organised by the police, with whom we'd been in consultation, handily placed for embarrassing many of the expensively attired suited and booted straight-acting sensible gay community who looked alternatively sheepish or affronted at the scruffy queers trying to ruin their night. However, I should in fairness note that several came over to talk to us sympathetically, as was noted in an early article in the Pink Paper Celebs split over trans protest at Stonewall Awards. Equally it was funny to see the Stonewall organisers look distinctly put out when they were told by the police that our stewards were entitled to hand out leaflets to the attendees explaining our action and there was nothing they could do about it.

A good time was had by all, shouting our prepared chants of "El, Gee, Bee, where's the Tea ?" and "Stonewall !! Hypcrites!!" before we decided after an hour and a half that we'd made our point and drifted off to the nearest pub for a hard-earned beer or two.

One of the organisers, Sarah, the Bringer of Tea, (see up date below) has a much more detained blog of the events of the protest including a lot of detail of which I was unaware. Please go read, she even has pictures. But I like this bit as it shows the diversity of the crowd.

The crowd which turned up was very varied. Apart from the usual suspects from the London trans scene, we got many feminist, queer, socialist and other allies turning up, all keen protest what we all saw as Stonewall's hypocrisy. Especially welcome was Dr Stuart Lorimer, one of the gender specialists from the Charing Cross Gender Identity Clinic. I've propped up a bar with him before (and ended up doing so after the protest), and find him very likeable. He had a personal reason to be there, aside from showing solidarity with the trans community; Julie Bindel had professionally insulted his whole profession in the "Hecklers" debate by implying that medical transition was some sort of conspiracy by 1950s psychiatrists, and to hear her argument, one would think they're practically clubbing people on the street, dragging them in and having them wake up in an ice-bath minus their breasts/penis

No news that Stonewall are going to be a little more respectful in future, but we have plans to do something about that.......

Update [2008-11-8 6:18:26 by Helen]: There is a video of some of the protest posted downthread, I'm in the foreground with a hat holding the banner.

Display:
Good on you Helen and all the other protesters!
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 03:23:58 PM EST
Stonewall riots, New York City (1969) in part, in memorial.

This was long before I arrived in NYC yet none too late to color my understanding of political agencies operating in that city to "contain" liberalism --by every measure of economic wealth. Mr Giulani was the worst offender by far in abusing the public trust vested in the mayoral office AS WELL AS venal, wealthy GLBT PACS during my 16 years residence. THE WORST. HEINOUS. So many people suffered.

I could never, NEVER, understand how that fuck acquired the epithet "America's Mayor," if I didn't understand how profoundly neurotic are WASP cultural cues in America. Obama roasting Rudy's "cross-dressing" presidential appeal during the Alfred Smith Dinner is emblematic.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 04:24:46 PM EST
I can't pretend to understand all this (because I am not sure what it would feel like), but it does seem to me to be an important point of principle: that, providing the ramifications of it are not aggressively missionary, then we should allow people to be what they want to be...or even if they do not want to be- in the case of suicide.

Strength in biodiversity - who knows which genes will survive? There is no 'adaptation' in my opinion. Cells don't think. But they do throw up varieties when they are jiggled, and very occasionally a variety emerges that is better equipped to survive - even though it may be anthromorphically uglier than a toad - unless you are a toad. We only like people because they are the faces we have always seen. Behaviour again. I don't know if octopii kiss before they make love - probably not - but they do 'want' their potential mate. Beauty is truly in your neural networks.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 05:25:58 PM EST
I don't know about strength in biodiversity, I can assure you my genes are in a dead end. I've not bred and am now incapable.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 05:40:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yep - that's why I find it so difficult to get into that mental space. It is not a criticism - I just can't imagine how it would feel. I can't empathize.

Genetic continuation is over-rated. I keep telling my daughters (Oh, don't be silly Daddy, put away that ridiculous pipe) that memories are the only way to live on. Memories of who you were and what you did. A family is part of that, but imo it is all the people with whom you have come in contact and with whom you have communicated with who carry that folk memory.

Do we know about it? Do we fuck. We're dead. But it still matters ;-)

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 06:09:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We're entering into territory I tried to address in another diary. Unfortunately there are those on this blog who are eager to mock, denigrate and bully anybody who reveals such inner thoughts, so you'll forgive me if I no longer consider this forum a safe place for me to indulge such a discussion and will not pursue this further.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 06:24:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree. And understand your reticence. We'll maybe get to it one day in B'w**d.

It's sad that is not so far possible to discuss without injury. But I hope we can still find another balance of discussion that would be less judgemental....

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 06:29:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but I kept my silence on that subject for 25 years, never discussing my feelings with anybody. I foolishly allowed myself to reveal them and some nice person stomped all over me because it pleases them to wreak havoc with those they consider lesser.

I'm sorry, but it's unlikely I'll ever speak of it again.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:50:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a real shame for us all. I've learnt a lot from you.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 05:03:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to have missed that discussion and am sorry for not being around to lend my support.  ET can be as bigoted as anywhere when it comes to putting down people you disagree with. People's feelings are just that, feelings, valid in their own right, and not dependent on some external rationalisation, validation or legitimation.  It probably doesn't make you feel any better about it, but this applies as much to straight males as it does to women or LBGTs.  ET's rationalist/positivist intolerance of what cannot be easily explained in rationalist/positivist terms is one of its less attractive features.  I hope you stick around.  You are more important to the future of ET than you may realise or are given credit for.

Vote McCain for war without gain
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh don't worry Frank, I intend to stick around, although like others I do go away to lick my wounds every now and again.

However, I will not discuss the subject that Sven raised of personal legacy and what survives us. The diary is there but I have not looked at it since I lost it and will not respond if you comment. Nor will I respond anywhere else here, this is demonstrably not a safe forum for such issues.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:53:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]

"ET's rationalist/positivist intolerance of what cannot be easily explained in rationalist/positivist terms is one of its less attractive features."

I keep hearing this but nobody seems able to come up with examples which would show that this is a significant tendency in ET. Could you give some actual examples of this "intolerance" - apart from Jerome's discouragement of discussion of astrology? :-)  I'm sure you won't think such a request is "brutal", "trashing", etc.  


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 10:27:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ted Welch
I suspect that many of the problems with this discussion and others of a similar nature come down to a difference in criteria, reference frames and of personal preferences for styles of discourse.  Much of what is being discussed in this thread has to do with individual perceptions of the responses of others.  Perceptions are always mediated by the individual's emotional response.  No response = no perception.

Questioning a person's perceptions or asking for them to explain or justify their perception is different from asking someone to justify a conclusion that is based on a process that clearly involves a separation between subject and object.  It can seem that the appropriateness of the emotional response or of the perception itself is being questioned.  This type of questioning can be helpful or can be used to simply stop discussion of a given subject, but, regardless, it requires considerable effort to respond.  This is in part due to the question being posed from a frame of reference different from that in which the discourse was being conducted.  A truly forthcoming answer requires one to develop a translation between reference frames where one frame may contain dimensions not found in the other.  This is a worthy goal, but enduring work can still be done in different areas that have not been tied together into a unified whole, such as has been the case in the 20th century with thermodynamics electrodynamics in physics.

When such questioning comes to be the expected response any time certain subjects are discussed, as with Chris Cook, who anticipates "obligatory fisticuffs with HiD" any time a discussion of possible commodity market manipulation arises, one may wonder whether the discussion is a quest for truth and understanding or is, instead, a struggle over the perceived limits and nature of the bounds of reality.  I think R.D. Laing might have referred to this as "the politics of reality."

Another approach might be to grant the authenticity of the perceptions of others, at least provisionally, especially when many individuals have similar perceptions.  I would estimate that there may be at least eight or ten people who regularly post comments and/or diaries who, at least for some of their perceptions, operate from a frame of reference different from that of the physical sciences.  Is it not a bit Procrustian to expect them to spend half of their efforts in those discussions responding to questions arising from a different frame of reference?

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:00:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thank you for your sensitivity. I wish that others might become so.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 04:37:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this comment touches upon repressive power inequalities in interactions, a much overlooked dimension

this ('overlooking' repressive power inequalities being a subset of these inequalities) is a subject worth exploring closer, especially how it operates (both as top- and underdog) in our own experience in our own lives

Reason is, that when combined with

  • disowned perspectives, mutating into shadows, projected outwards

  • alienation as a consequence of not succesfully inquiring into who we are and what our work is

  • a rampant desinterest / sloppyness regarding living up one's formal ethical stance when comfort zones are perceived to be under siege

  • economic structures if not built upon and engaging this phenomenon for one's own agenda, at least gladly using them

there are some major inroads into finding reasons for -looking away from and thus a continuation  / an increase in sufferring

degrees to which repressive power inequalities inflict suffering are closely tied to levels of consciousness.

these level develop, as indicated by  developmental psychology. On http://www.kheper.net/integral/psychology.html there's an interesting story on this

there's much to say about this, but I don't want to elaborate now, also since much has been written on the subject already

by emilmoller (emil@beyondthewalls.eu) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 02:59:09 AM EST
[ Parent ]


Questioning a person's perceptions or asking for them to explain or justify their perception is different from asking someone to justify a conclusion that is based on a process that clearly involves a separation between subject and object.  It can seem that the appropriateness of the emotional response or of the perception itself is being questioned.

Yes, but the key point is that nobody even questioned Helen's "perception" nor her emotional response, let alone "bullied" her, etc., despite her claim that they did.

So this point, which I have myself endorsed, is also irrelevant:

Another approach might be to grant the authenticity of the perceptions of others, at least provisionally, especially when many individuals have similar perceptions.

Yet again we don't have any actual examples of the alleged "intolerance" in ET.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 02:16:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If Helen (or anybody else) feels bullied or intimidated by the way the discussion unfolded, can you not entertain the thought that maybe sometimes you should step back even if you cannot quite understand the point of view?

You frequently insist on pushing your view too forcefully in the name of 'robust' debate.  Not everybody wants to engage in argument or debates on the same terms that you do. Please try to recognise that.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 02:25:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]

If Helen (or anybody else) feels bullied or intimidated by the way the discussion unfolded, can you not entertain the thought that maybe sometimes you should step back even if you cannot quite understand the point of view?

Not when she begins the personal attacks - about a comment on Crazy Horse's comment, not on her diary as such, travesties even reasonable requests, to someone else, for some evidence, as "brutal", "trashing", "interrogation", etc. If anyone was adopting a bullying tone it was her and in fact afew suggested to her that it had gone far enough.  Nor do I find her claim that she feels bullied plausible when I see that she attempts to play the victim with others - cf. afew saying recently that she was "laying out a false grievance" - as she clearly was.


You frequently insist on pushing your view too forcefully in the name of 'robust' debate.  Not everybody wants to engage in argument or debates on the same terms that you do. Please try to recognise that.

"pushing" is a loaded term and  "too forcefully" is a matter of opinion - any examples? I don't think my comments are any more "forceful" than those of many people here - we are adults. Helen herself said she could be "robust" in her own defence in reply to afew's suggestion that it had gone far enough. Nobody is obliged to engage in arguments or debates with me, but if they do I will try to present my arguments as well as I can - I don't consider that "pushing" and I don't usally do it so "forcefully" that I use terms like "brutal" etc. if others merely ask me for some evidence to support my claims. I just try to supply the requested evidence.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 12:57:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
afew suggested to her that it had gone far enough

What I said at that point concerned the exchange between you, not Helen alone. It was obviously heading for the wall, and I wanted to try to calm it down without pulling out the front-pager hat (because that drives otherwise reasonable people mad).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 01:09:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]

True, but it also remains true that she started the personal attacks and in fact it was only after your comment that I replied with personal criticism of her, as I'd had enough of her criticism.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 05:00:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
we don't have any actual examples of the alleged "intolerance" in ET.

The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence.


keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 03:09:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]

No, but given the absence of evidence, claims about "intolerance" can of course be tolerated but not taken very seriously.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 01:00:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
asking for examples is already a rationalist approach, I suppose - those speaking of in terms of tendencies, perceptions, feelings and the like most probably are not ready, or even willing to rationalize all that.

(i also wonder whether a blog can be said to have a 'tendency' per se - it's like saying artists tend to be leftwing; some do, some do not, generalizing doesn't have that much relevance*, I guess; if there is intolerance or insensibility, it's of this and that person)

*except if this blog actually has a "line" - established by its owners/moderators - that I'm not aware of...

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)

by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:21:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Eh, but isn't a rationalist approach required when it comes to making actual accusations of people?
Tendencies, perceptions, feelings -- A witch! She put the evil eye on me! Just the other day, she gave me a nasty look, and now I have these undefinable ailments...
So yeah, I'd say that if you accuse people of hostility, dismissiveness or whatever it was, you better have some examples. A 'feeling' says nothing, cannot be looked into, verified, etc. And, in a conflict, the person who cries first is not always right.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:11:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Amen :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 01:01:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
you can see what I have to contend with. this is happening increasingly.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 11:07:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]

What are you talking about - I made a reasonable request to Frank, given what he'd said about "intolerance" in ET and then referred to your over-the-top description of my earlier, similar request - i.e. what I had to put up with.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 01:16:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think your request for examples is reasonable, especially as you are not putting it in a confrontational way, and examples can be a good way of helping others to understand what some people are concerned about.

Unfortunately the search function on ET doesn't work, and so it can be extremely difficult to find examples which prove the point I was making.  (also my memory for the exact context of a remark is often poor).

However I do recall several members being chased away, some permanently, and others having extremely hurt feelings after some very bruising experiences. This sometimes involves ad hominem attacks, sometimes just sneering or sarcastic comments, and more often just a dismissal of the point of view being taken.

A very minor recently example effecting me would be a comment on my last diary: poemless:

But seriously, this is an oversimplification and does not really illustrate an appreciation for the relationship between people and their leaders outside the world of Hollywood cartoons.

Having spent a lifetime studying "the relationship between people and their leaders" I didn't take kindly to being attacked for having a cartoon level of appreciation of such relationships especially as I didn't see any evidence being produced to justify that assertion.

I don't want to make a big deal of that example -it was at the very minor end of things - but it was recent enough for me to find the direct source without undue difficulty.  What disturbs me more is that I have come across quite a few ET members now -in off-line conversations - who have felt extremely hurt at one time or another. I have been there myself and was shocked at the lack of understanding of best practice dispute resolution procedures and fair process I encountered.

I don't want to go there again either, except to say that I still think ET is, on balance, one of the best sites for civil discourse around.  That doesn't stop me looking for a better one, and if I find one I won't be hanging around, because I don't see any recognition of the problem, or progress being made in improving this aspect of ET.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 04:36:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would agree - but it is often a question of tone leading to misperceptions. I seem to recall a long comment thread on drugs, with a lot of quite contrasting views. I know that you and I were quite far apart on the issues - as far as I recall - correct me if I am wrong, but we were free to make our points. The 'tone' was different. Overall the thread was a quite open exchange of views in which everybody learned something imo. I know I did.

It was the type of exchange that I enjoy - perhaps influenced by the fact that it is a subject about which I know something and in which I am interested ;-) But similarly 'toned' exchanges have taken place on other non-standard themes and they all add to the richness of ET imo.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:01:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yea - I vaguely remember - but you're often wrong on things and it doesn't cause the slightest offense!  :-)

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:29:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
LOL

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:43:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Honestly, and without commenting on your other diary Frank, I thought poemless' "appreciation" meant more like "holding in high esteem", and doesn't refer to your competence, but to your looking down on the said relationship, somehow. ?

Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 05:52:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the context of that diary, and comment thread, I don't think that interpretation is tenable, and poemless didn't suggest that interpretation in subsequent discussion.  However, the very fact you read it that way shows how easily misunderstandings can arise when there is only a keyboard and not the full range of visual and tonal cues we use to establish meaning and intent in face to face conversations.  I do think that is a major part of the problem with 99% of disputes which arise here.  I didn't notice any spats in the many lively conversations which took place at our Paris meet-up last month, though the sunshine and the copious amounts of wine might have played a role in that!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 06:13:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
lol !
One more reason to keep our calm and remember all this when we're about to reply impulsively to a supposed attack.


Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last! (Martin Luther King)
by ValentinD (walentijn arobase free spot frança) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 07:02:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Frank Schnittger:
Unfortunately the search function on ET doesn't work, and so it can be extremely difficult to find examples which prove the point I was making.

You can always google a specifik site by adding it as a search term. For example a google search containing site:eurotrib.com will only give you results on ET.

Often this is superior to sites own search functions.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 08:13:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the tip.  Why don't we have this as a standard search button on Eurotrib?

Oops - I just googled my own name in Eurorib and it came up with 12k results.  No it can't be. It can't be!  I'm not that sad to have contributed 12k comments am I?

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 06:23:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There are many, many, many duplicates. Try to think of all the way a single comment in a deep thread can be seen...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 06:25:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
i.e. as a comment in a thread, on recent comments, on Frank's comments etc.???  How can a search function screen out such duplicates?

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 06:32:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or as a member of the thread provoked by the first comment, as a member of the thread provoked by the answer to the first comment, etc...

An inhouse search function wouldn't have such problem ; it could also be possible to use robot.txt to tell google to only index certain pages, and not others, but at the risk of losing some referrals, i.e. links that wouldn't go to those pages. I also have the impression that Scoop's URL have duplication (i.e. the same page can be accessed through various URLs), which is bad for a good ranking. Indeed, "numbered" URLs are bad from this point of view, too ; that's a secondary feature request for ET 2.0.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 07:50:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Linca has a good comment from the perspective of ET application. From the user perspective - solving the particular problem of finding a particular comment - there are more functions in the Google Advanced search, in particular timestamp (though it annoys me that it is so crude), more search terms and the option of not including finds that has a particular search term.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 01:07:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a site Google. See just under Search.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 02:34:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I must be slow - but  can't find it

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 07:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You might be looking for a box, it is a link.

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A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 10:21:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I repeatedly forget where it is and have to look for it each time!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 12:40:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks.  There so much stuff which is just part of the furniture and I never notice it.  I didn't even think to look there - I looked everywhere else!

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 02:49:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]

A very minor recently example effecting me would be a comment on my last diary: poemless:

    But seriously, this is an oversimplification and does not really illustrate an appreciation for the relationship between people and their leaders outside the world of Hollywood cartoons.

Having spent a lifetime studying "the relationship between people and their leaders" I didn't take kindly to being attacked for having a cartoon level of appreciation of such relationships especially as I didn't see any evidence being produced to justify that assertion.

You expected evidence Frank ? !! You implicitly impose a rationalist framework ! :-) Given there was no evidence to support the comment why take it so seriously ? Why not just ask for the evidence ? - but be prepared to duck if you do so here :-)

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 01:11:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The notion of evidence is not unique to positivist/rationalist frameworks.  Indeed positivism insists that evidence be measurable i.e. quantifiable, something not always required in other paradigms.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 07:55:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]

"The notion of evidence is not unique to positivist/rationalist frameworks."

Indeed (though I wasn't referring to a "positivist" one) and the request for evidence is seen as entirely reasonable in many areas. Cf.  "someone"'s comment for the dangers of not relying on evidence.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Tue Nov 11th, 2008 at 04:25:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ET can be as bigoted as anywhere

You have this habit of writing out exaggerations that somehow seem plausible. I haven't seen anyone question Helen's trans status here - I think there is a near universal off-limits / respect for what people do with their life and their person on this site. Beliefs and views, though, are completely open to attack and debate. That's not bigotry - at worst it's a lack of emotional intelligence, and even then, there are no rules on discourse on this site.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:40:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OK - taken out of the context of that comment as a whole it is clearly a exaggeration.  There are a lot more bigoted places than ET!  What I should have said is that putting people down for their views or their way of expressing them - as opposed to arguing their views on their merits happens on ET as well as elsewhere - which is obviously a less serious charge.

notes from no w here
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 06:28:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But as MillMan says, Helen has not been put down here - on the contrary, I think has been offered support - as far as her TS status goes, and her personal-experience diaries have been well received, warmly commented, and recommended.

It's not a detail. It seems to me (Helen is free to see things otherwise, of course), that it's the biggest part of the picture.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 02:42:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I have been quite amazed at how this discussion has gone.

My complaint was; the first discussion I entered into on this thread was with Sven. It began to move into areas where, on a previous diary, I had felt exposed and vulnerable and felt bullied and harrassed. That may have been an unfair reading of events but I was reacting emotionally due to exposure etc and so I brought the discussion with Sven to a close with a not so oblique explanation which was accepted by those participating.

Then all hell broke loose and I withdrew from the conversation as I still feel quite raw about what had happened and did not want to go through it all again for other's purposes. That conversation has continued without me and I was happy as it didn't distract from the very much more germane discussion I was having at the back of the thread.

I am enjoying the conversations I am having, I hope you are enjoyiing yours too, but I haven't really followed yours at all (sorry, I really don't want to know what some people think about me). However, I noticed your comment as I was paging by and thought I should clarify a couple of points as I feel you've sufferend a minor misapprehension of how it all started.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:39:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is that addressed to me?

I have barely put in two brief comments here, precisely to correct misapprehensions.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 03:55:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry to hear that, Helen.  I always love your commentary.  Thanks for contributing.
by cambridgemac on Fri Nov 7th, 2008 at 08:15:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This is a blatant misrepresentation of the discussion of that diary; nobody mocked, denigrated or bullied you about the content of your diary, your "inner thoughts" - as I pointed out at the time. The comments on the content of your diary were favourable.

Far from being the poor victim, it was you who launched an over-the-top attack on my simple request to Fran for some examples of the claimed negative responses in ET to personal experience, etc. This was referred to by me in a response to a comment on your diary by Crazy Horse.  This request was caricatured by you as: "brutal pedantic skepticism" and "silencing", as if that wasn't enough, you also claimed it was  to "trash" something and "interrogation" - an absurd caricature, as I said, as is the claim here that someone "stomped all over you". In fact Fran was not "silenced" - why should she be by a simple request for some evedence? - and said her evidence was some emails she'd received and that she didn't want to make them public.

When afew disagreed with you on Weds, you caricatured what he said, and he felt you were making a "false grievance" - as you are here. He said:


I didn't say you were being "tedious beyond belief". You're just laying out a false grievance there.

http://www.eurotrib.com/story/2008/11/5/61913/1442/68

 At least get the facts right - but then the supposed grounds for your claimed victimhood would disappear.

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 10:15:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well done to you all for the protest.  Do you know if it hit media elsewhere?  

I'm appalled at the blatant transphobia from Julie Bindel and the campaign still has a long way to go to create a shift where more people can see that it is utterly unacceptable to air those kind of views.  If she'd said something similar about disabled people, there would be uproar.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 05:05:47 AM EST
Well, I did mention one report in the Pink Paper, but Julie Bindel has her own highly inventive response in the Guardian. She has a version of gay history in there that is astonishingly one-eyed. But the best bit is this;-

'But I for one do not wish to be lumped in with an ever-increasing list of folk defined by "odd" sexual habits or characteristics. Shall we just start with A and work our way through the alphabet? A, androgynous, b, bisexual, c, cat-fancying'

I pointed out the strange correspondence between feminist attacks on the transgendered and Chrisitan attacks on the gay community, but I never expected her to actually echo the "all gays are paeophiles and want to marry their pet spaniel" attacks of the republicans.

Apparently all she wants to do is be left alone; fine by us, just stop attacking us in the press like you did in this article. But really all she's doing is whininng that "this community is vicious - if you attack it, it defends itself". Our bad it seems.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:10:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
She's attacking the gay community there now?  Who isn't she trying to alienate?  

My eye is on the letter b which is a fairly typical response to my sexuality from lesbians who tell me that I have to be one thing or another.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:29:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Having read it again, the article does descend into incoherence by the end; which strongly suggests we rattled her. I think she may come to regret this article cos in her intemperance, she aimed too widely and that will have been noted.

Despite having a couple of strangely supportive scolds on the threads, the Facebook discussions didn't go well for her. whilst continually calling for a "debate", she kept evading questions until her refusal to address certain points became the whole issue. She started off feeling like she was controllng the debate, and some fools did fall into the trap, but she lost control of it under pressure and pops in now and again to complain that we're the mean-trannies who are hatin' on her. Quite ridiculous.

ps did you see my update ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:42:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Saw your update but can't find the video.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:53:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
OOps sorry



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:56:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see you!!!
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:58:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I think there is a certain amount of suspicion about the B within the gay community. I've heard lesbians say something along the lines of "you can always rely on a bi, they'll always leave you for a man". Plus, JB is of the persuasion that believes that lesbianism is a higher calling and that wasting your energies on a man is a betrayal of women.

But that's old fashioned 2nd wave essentialist bs, 3rd wave feminism has a more, open and accepting view, its a more mature feminism.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:48:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah I have had that discussion about different types of feminism with a friend before.  The essentialist approach is ridiculous and destructive.  It feels as though women want to punish men for being men, and to punish women who don't agree with their view which then does nothing to address inequality.  It just continues to alienate women even further.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 06:56:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A guy I used to know lived with his wife and her girlfriend. The ammount of abuse they used to get at meetings for not being sufficiently comitted to the cause was unreal. Including claims that by not leaving the father of their child that they were opressing the gay and lesbian community.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 09:14:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the child had been male they would have been "ordered" to have leave him behind. Second wave feminism loved its hierarchies of who was real, who was more victimised, who was the real lesbian. It was a caste system invented by the rule makers to ensure they remained top dog bitch to enforce a "natural" order.

It's where the slur about "black gay diabled whales" originated. You'd read Spare Rib and the writer would slip in what their position in the hierarchy was to ensure everyone knew where they stood in relation.

Of course, women aren't competitive or bullying at all. How could it even be suggested ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 09:38:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Possibly power is made more alluring by having been on the receiving end of domination...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 09:41:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What was interesting was watching people create pecking orders whilst angrily denying they were doing any such thing. Everybody involved really beieved fervently that they had flat structures where all voices were equal when it was blatantly a hierarchy of assumed privilege. Such a joke.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 09:48:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
It's where the slur about "black gay diabled whales" originated.

I do not understand what this slur is about at all. If anyone could explain it to me I would be grateful.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 01:11:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I just followed the Guardian link, and this is probably the worst form of politically self-defeating selfishness there is (even aside from the moral aspects, which you've already covered).

Somehow she makes me think of Mary Cheney.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 07:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the comments thread is entertaining. I'm increasingly convinced that the article was a colossal own goal for her.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 07:47:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But can she see it, or is everybody else just self obsessed and unreasonable?
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 07:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No I don't think she can. One of the things I have noted is that some political philosphies perform the same function in some people's lives as that of religion. It provides a complete and universal set of answers to life's questions and so long as you stay true to the "word", all will be well.

Just as with religionists, a lot of politicos, be they free-marketeers or communists can only interpret the evidence of the world's behaviours in the light of their understanding. Anything that doesn't fit is  rendered invisible to them or inventively explained away. Dinosaurs ? Easy. Children rode brontosauri to school before god sent the flood to kill them all.

We've seen the same with other radfems who seem ot live in a very much different world (a much darker one too) than the one you or I perceive. She is utterly impervious to criticism. Doctors tell her she is wrong about transgenderism and she dismisses them as being part of the transgender-medical complex, a sinister patriarchal organisation dedicated to finding male dupes to mutilate and re-programme to send out into the world to colonise and infiltrate the sisterhood. Fortunately she is wise to their games.

You cannot reach her, which is why we refuse her when she offers "debate" because the only discussion she'll accept is one where she gets to tell us that we're all freaks and wrong and she's right.

Instead we seek to reach out to feminists and most of the LGB community and convince them that our fight is their fight. We keep returning to the point that nobody loses their job for who they sleep with, but how they look or behave. So looking after the T is self-protection for LGB. Radfems can't be reached and it's our job to isolate, not engage with them.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 08:38:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Some people are just utterly incapable of stepping outside of themselves and seeing how they have been perceived.  

I wonder what it will take to create a social shift in the attitudes towards transgender people?  A colleague mentioned to me a few weeks back how recently ie the last 3 or 4 years, being gay has suddenly taken a shift to becoming far more socially acceptable but without there being one key turning point that we can point to to explain the shift.  Whereas with things like gender and race there are some defining moments that has created a shift in the public consciousness.

by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 02:52:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
She would probably be happier writing for another newspaper.

The implicit (almost explicit) message seems to be, I've got mine, now why don't the rest of you whiners STFU.

Mary Cheney indeed.

The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 08:17:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there is a fantastic comment in the response thread to her article on CiF, I admit to knuckle-gnawing jealousy of her grasp of the issues and her elegant considered reply. I'm going to quote ZoeBrain in full

Intersexed people tend to keep a low profile. It's safer for us, and besides which, so much of the Gender Politics based on competing philosophies that ignore medical facts reminds us too much of Kindergarten. Not a happy place for some of us, by the way, And medical facts are things that can kill us if we ignore them, some of our medical conditions are life-threatening.

There are amongst us people who identify as male - but with a congenital medical problem. There are those of us who identify as female, again with a congenital medical problem. I'm in that group, by the way. There are those of us who identify as neither, as Neutrius. And those who identify as Androgyne, something of both. Actual degree of physical Intersexuality has little impact on this, women can be born with bodies that look mainly male, and the reverse.

There are a few of us whose appearance naturally changes over time - see Gender change in 46,XY persons with 5alpha-reductase-2 deficiency and 17beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase-3 deficiency. by Cohen-Ketternis. Most such natural "sex reversals" are Female to Male, I'm in the tiny minority that go the other way, but the legal and social problems are much the same. Unlike most who are Intersexed, we can't hide.

JB doesn't think we exist - or less charitably, if we do, then she thinks we shouldn't. You see, we are acutely aware of the real differences between Typical Male and Typical Female, as well as all the bluriness and complexity that makes a strict binary model of either Gender or Sex meaningless. We know that for some, the binary models fit really well, no matter what political philosophy you espouse. And for some, they don't fit at all, regardless of what various religious or political beliefs you hold. Reality doesn't care.

Call me old-fashioned, but I thought the one battle we feminists won fair and square was to convince at least those left of centre that gender roles are made up. They are not real. We play at them. We develop traditional masculine or feminine traits by being indoctrinated, not because we are biologically programmed to behave in those ways.

Our very existence denies that. Gender Roles are a social construct, there's no "gene" for girls preferring pink and boys blue. But Gender is not. There are very real neurological differences in the way we think. It's a Bi-Modal distribution, two peaks, one typically female, the other typically male, but with overlap and some who are in the middle. Complex I know, not simple, but biology is like that.

Transsexuals - those whose emotional responses and thinking patterns (as opposed to learned Gender Role) are atypical for their body form get extreme discomfort. Some have neurology, a brain-body map, that gives them instincts contrary to their anatomy.This gives such intense discomfort, it's indescribable. Many suicide, and substance abuse and induced mental illness is common. Surgery to align brain and body has a 98% success rate (though the co-morbidities may remain after the cause is removed), and every other treatment - from "talking cures" to the full "Clockwork Orange" aversion therapy has a 0.000% success rate. That's in the literature, anyone on the net can verify it.

See BiGender and the Brain for some of the science about gender.

JB is Transphobic by the definition in Stonewall's own pamphlet, but this post by her shows it goes beyond that. She doesn't want to be associated with anyone at all different from her. And she claims the right to decide what's best for others on the basis of her normality, and in the name of philosophically pure Radical Feminist Lesbianism.

She's a "worthy contender" for "Journalist of the year" - in her own mind. Others differ, and in her opinion, they have no right to.

The problem is that STONEWALL, the organisation, is guilty not of Transphobia, but of "aiding and abetting". JB is just another shock-jock columnist, one who gets the Grauniad extra readers by being "controversial". A professional Troll, whose eccentric views are exploited to sell papers. That she often writes articles on genuine issues such as gynephobic violence is a bonus.

Having such a person, one who has now revealed herself in this article as highly Xenophobic, nominated for an award is against every principle of diversity STONEWALL stands for. Or should do. We have been given good reason to doubt that now,

I have nothing to add except a green glow to read it by.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 06:55:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That really is excellent.
by In Wales (inwales aaat eurotrib.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 07:26:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks! I try.
by Zoe Brain (aebrain@webone.com.au) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 11:42:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Glad you could find us (didn't know you could track a cut and paste).

And thanks for that comment, tho I gave up on wading through the comments on CiF and wouldn't have seen it if Paula Thomas hadn't directed me from Facebook.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can't track a cut and paste as such, though you can see that visitors are coming by way of a certain link. You can also always google or otherwise search everything published on the net, with more or less automatication.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!
by A swedish kind of death on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:46:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Helen:
Our very existence denies that. Gender Roles are a social construct, there's no "gene" for girls preferring pink and boys blue. But Gender is not. There are very real neurological differences in the way we think. It's a Bi-Modal distribution, two peaks, one typically female, the other typically male, but with overlap and some who are in the middle. Complex I know, not simple, but biology is like that.

This is where I know there is a conflict between many transsexuals and many queer-feminists. Both groups are (imo) primarily working from self-observation. In one case, Gender is experienced as a biological fact, in the other Gender is experienced as a social construct.

From the short argument presented in the comment here I would suppose one could have a heated debate around the meaning of "think", what constitutes "neurological differences", interpretation of data, how thought-patterns evolve and relate to society etc. Or it could start in some other end.

As both groups tend to have incorporated the experience deaply in the understanding of self, I have rarely seen a productive discussion however and would be loath to start a flamewar.

Just to clarify, Bendel does not appear to be a queer-feminist. She has actually nothing to do with the comment I have just written.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:34:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, if you follow the link I included back to zoe's place, you'll find a much more considered explanation of current medical thought about developmental brain physiology and its implications for identity and sexuality amongst other issues.

I don't profess to understand it in any but the broadest terms (Zoe's the rocket scientist, not me), but I have always found the manichean versions of nature vs nurture unpersuasive.

Gender identity must be to a greater extent innate, for the simple reason that we are primarily animals. Animals aren't just higher apes, they're the lowest mammals, gender identity is hard-coded in the same structures identified in birds, reptiles and fish. It's not just our lizard brain that tells us if we're male or female, it's older than that.

What nurture does is about learned gender roles. But gender roles can't trump identity. Oh, you can fake it, I did, but it doesn't make you happy.
eg David Reimer

David Reimer (August 22, 1965 as Bruce Reimer - May 4, 2004) was a Canadian man who was born as a healthy boy, but was sexually reassigned and raised as female after his penis was accidentally destroyed during circumcision. Psychologist John Money oversaw the case and reported the reassignment as successful, as evidence that gender identity is primarily learned. Milton Diamond later reported that Reimer never identified as female, and that he began living as male at age 14. Reimer later went public with his story to discourage similar medical practices. He committed suicide at the age of 38.
.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 12:52:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Nature/Nurture Debate is one of those irritating, binary, intellectual debacles that refuses to Go Away.  From the wikipedia article:

This question was once considered to be an appropriate division of developmental influences, but since both types of factors are known to play such interacting roles in development, many modern psychologists consider the question naive - representing an outdated state of knowledge. The famous psychologist Donald Hebb is said to have once answered a journalist's question of "which, nature or nurture, contributes more to personality?" by asking in response, "which contributes more to the area of a rectangle, its length or its width?"



Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 03:21:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gender identity is certainly not hardcoded in all fishes, considered that in some species most specimen change sex very regularly...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 07:40:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ambiguities can be present as well. I know I  discussed the ambiguities of the intersexed condition on an OT about a week or two ago, specifically denying that the situation is always a binary; merely saying it tends towards being so. Indeed, zoe herself  spontaneously changed sex in her late teens (a very rare intersex condition - the legend of Tiresias).

There is no reason why a mechanism cannot exist that allows a fluity in creatures for which it is a specifically beneficial adaptive behaviour, but generally it is a hard-coded situation because it is the mechanism that provides best results across populations.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 05:48:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we talk about animals in general, it is mostly not hard coded ; think of hermaphrodite snails... The need for hardcoding mostly comes the female reproductive organ being large enough that having it present in all specimen becomes inefficient. The need for it to be hardcoded in the mind, i.e. with a real instinctual behavioral difference between male and female, comes from the need to raise the young.

And the "hardcoding" can come from many places : tortoises' sex is decided by the temperature of the eggs' surrounding, not genes. There's no reason something that indeed is subjectively felt as a hardcoding could come from very early unconscious socialisation and education - and indeed have biochemical effects. The human brain is extremely malleable.

I wonder if those studies on biochemicals, etc..., have also been conducted in places where some sort of transgenderism are socially accepted and even mandated, like, if I remember correctly, some Pacific Islands ?

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 06:07:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I didn't mention genes. In fact I tend to avoid going into the whys and wherefores of how coding happens or comes unstuck as I suspect there are multiple reasons, I'm merely interested in noting that it does.

As I said, zoe goes into some of that, but a biological science with ongoing investigation into a phenomena is not yet in any position to make definitive statements. Preliminary findings suggest we think gender identity is coded here (points to primitive part of brain) and that in higher animals it seems to be hard coded (with specific exceptions). Beyond that, write to zoe.

I'm resistant to the idea of nurture hard-coding, simply because what little of what I've read of the literature (pop simplifications, I freely confess to not understanding the full-on stuff) suggests that this is not how the brain develops. Nurture can allow fluidity of gender role and behaviour, which may suit the class of gay men more than straight men in a conformist society.

However, the superficialities of transvestism etc are possibly nurture related (I genuinely don't know) and may be able to be adopted in some socieites.  I can however tell you with considerable vehemence that transvestism was meaningless to me, it didn't scratch my itch and didn't address or reduce my inner distress.

However, regarding hard coding, I return to a point I made during an essay I wrote over a year ago; I felt physically and psychologically poisoned by testosterone; or rather the absence of oestrogen. Once I started taking oestrogen the pain melted away rather suddenly after 6 weeks. This was not something I expected as the pain of testosterone was "normalised" and was my expectation of how life felt, nor did I have any concept of wellness until it went away, so the chance of a placebo affect is unlikely (I don't discount them entirely).

It is hard to imagine how such a response could be an encultured expectation. It was purely in my head, like somebody removed a nagging tooth.

But actually I've never seen anyone come up with a description of how being transgendered feels to someone who doesn't know, it's like trying to explain colour to a blind person.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 08:00:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There was that case recently of a person with a brain a third the size of a normal brain, who despite that was fully able to behave in normal society. That's why I say the brain is very malleable.

Our society also insists on real biological links with social phenomena - parenthood is only "real" if the child bears the genes of both parents, and people will go to impressive lengths to get such a "real" child. Maybe you needed more than transvestism for similar reason, because you can't feel as a woman without the physical attributes which are so important in our society (And then, probably you really needed those hormones).

I'm also thinking of the cases of the basketball players getting late, large growth spurts, in how encultured behavior could have very large physical effects. The intersection of the cultural and the physical is much larger than we often estimate ; and much of it remains unconscious. Maybe our "nurture", our competition friendly society, causes higher testosterone levels that make transgenderism hard, whereas Pacific cultures wouldn't cause such level of testosterone, particularly for someone raised as a girl...

Sometimes the localism of much of Neuroscience and Hormonal research (like much of experimental behavioral research) is depressing : it would be interesting if these sciences studied more that US college students and a few others...

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères

by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 08:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
To be honest you're getting into an area of poorly understood exceptions where I can only hold up my hands and say I don't know. I don't know if these things you cite prove anything, or if there is a common thread between them, let alone if it has anything to do with the extremely localised issue of gender identity.

I'm sorry. Ask Zoe, but I suspect she doesn't have a full answer either.

I go with hard coding of gender identity cos that's what medical science is so far suggesting and I go with what is described as the bi-modal bell curve model (twin peaks) for susceptibility to nurture.

I was hard codedfemale, I "know" that cos I has such a positive physiological reaction to oestrogen that the idea that it was nurture related seems ridiculous. Especially given how hard I work daily to deal with the nurtured aspects of my behaviour that remain undeniably and spirit crushingly masculine. I really do know the difference in the phenomena and I can assure you they are not the same.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 09:32:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not late teens I'm afraid - 47. Of the cases of MtoF sex-reversal from unknown causes, all but 2 started around age 45-50. Those two happened in the mid teens.

All but one case (Terry Wright in the UK) were TS before the change. Mr Wright has become TS as the result, poor guy.

by Zoe Brain (aebrain@webone.com.au) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 07:53:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
whoops, sorry. I knew there were large chunks of your essay I didn't follow, I didn't realise I was that dense....ho hum.

thanks for correcting me

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Mon Nov 10th, 2008 at 08:03:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An uneasy alliance

In April 2007, Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, Rep. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, and others introduced the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that was transgender inclusive, in that it would provide protections for not just gays and lesbians but for people whose gender identity and expression didn't match their sex assigned at birth.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) advocacy groups drummed up support for ENDA over the summer; the list of co-sponsors grew to over 170. But when the bill was introduced for a vote in September, legislators ditched protections for gender identity and expression, citing concerns that the inclusive bill lacked the votes. Over 30,000 LGBT people and their allies contacted their representatives to oppose a non-inclusive ENDA, but in the end, the House passed the bill by a vote of 235 to 184; seven legislators voted against the bill because it did not include gender-identity protections.

The sole LGBT organization that did not oppose the non-inclusive ENDA when the vote was taken, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), claims to have been speaking for its constituency, too. The organization conducted a poll on Oct. 26 that found that 70 percent of respondents supported a gay-only bill if a trans-inclusive bill couldn't pass. "For 30 years ENDA has never once passed any house of Congress in any form," says HRC spokesperson Brad Luna, "and only in the last few years does it become fully inclusive. For the first time last year, although it was not the bill that we wanted, a piece of that goal to provide employment protections for the entire community was passed through Congress. We certainly see that as a significant step forward."

The 2007 fight over ENDA was certainly not the first moment at which the LGBT grass roots had the opportunity to announce, loudly and unmistakably, that protection for transgender people (and for gender identity and expression) was central to its concerns as a movement. Conversations over the place of transgender people in the lesbian and gay community have been going on for as long as the movement has been around. And the debate over whether to include protection against discrimination based on gender identity and expression -- often framed as whether to include transgender people in nondiscrimination bills or not--has been going on since the earliest gay-rights bills were drafted in the 1970s. Yet the notion that homosexuality is solely defined by sexual choices is fairly recent; early sexologists' accounts of homosexuality explained the phenomenon as one of "gender inversion," and gender nonconformity flourished in early gay communities. Anti-gay legislation of the 1800s actually policed gender expression; for instance, laws required patrons of bars to wear a minimum of three articles of gender-appropriate clothing. But as the gay-rights movement developed into a self-conscious political project, its gender nonconforming members were pressed to the margins.

"The question that calls for explanation is not whether transgender people can justify their claims to gay rights," Shannon Minter writes in his groundbreaking essay, Do Transsexuals Dream of Gay Rights? "but rather how did a movement launched by bull daggers, drag queens and transsexuals in 1969 end up viewing transgender people as outsiders less than 30 years later?"

*
Many of the first proponents of city and state laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation didn't intend only to protect gay and lesbian people. Matt Coles, then still a law student and now the director of the ACLU's LGBT Project, was part of the legal team that drafted San Francisco's nondiscrimination ordinance in 1977. They left the term "sexual orientation" undefined in the measure, intending to provide protection for everyone from transgender people to "butch women and sissy guys." But when opponents of the ordinance charged that the language would also shield such "sexual orientations" as pedophilia, the drafting team realized it needed a stricter definition. "And although we really didn't want to do this, we defined the term," Coles says. "It was the easiest thing to do." The legislation now defined sexual orientation solely in terms of sexual-partner choice.

It was also, Coles acknowledges now, probably "the wrong thing to do." (The smarter approach, he says, would have been to amend existing civil-rights laws to include sexual orientation and gender expression in the definition of sex discrimination.) This approach spread to other cities and states, and by the time gay-rights leaders thought that Congress and the president were ready to pass and sign federal-employment protections in 1992, "sexual orientation" meant gays and lesbians only.

The first gay civil-rights legislation had hit the national stage in 1974, when representatives Bella Abzug and Ed Koch of New York introduced a federal gay civil-rights bill that would have offered sexual orientation protections based not only in employment, as ENDA would, but also in housing, credit, and public accommodations. In 1992, when a Democratic president took office, the comprehensive bill was stripped down to include only employment protections in order to help it pass--but it still failed. By then, the definition of sexual orientation excluding gender identity and expression was "just irresistible," says Coles, because it was reflected in almost all local laws. (Minneapolis stands out as an exception that proves the rule: In 1975, the city passed a nondiscrimination ordinance that included in its definition of sexual orientation "having or projecting a self-image not associated with one's biological maleness or femaleness." A Minnesota state law, passed in 1993, echoes the city's sexual orientation definition.)

Trans-specific advocacy emerged in the 1990s, when the LGBT policy agenda--whether on nondiscrimination, relationship recognition, or the military--was still very much the gay policy agenda. As both transgender and gender nonconforming lesbian and gay people became more visible, the pressure mounted to incorporate issues facing transgender people, and trans advocates requested a series of meetings with lesbian and gay advocacy groups to encourage those groups to expand their mission. Early converts included the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians & Gays, and Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. By the mid-1990s, the national groups reached consensus: Everyone, including the Human Rights Campaign, had made commitments to include transgender and gender nonconforming people in their work.

*
The shift hasn't been confined to the organizational level. Generationally, grass-roots gay and lesbian activists are far more likely today than at any point in history to see trans concerns as central to their organizing and activism--and to understand the importance of gender identity. "I don't hear any objection from people 40 and under," says Jennifer Levi, director of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders' Transgender Law Project. "It's just the way things are moving. It's no longer that easy to separate off trans identities from gay identities."

E.J. Graff, a Boston-based journalist who wrote a series of articles on trans inclusion for the gay and progressive press in the early 2000s, says she began her intellectual exploration because "what I thought and I what I felt" on the issue "were not lined up. Like every generation of young idealists, many of us [lesbian feminists] felt like we were inventing a brave new world of perfection," she says. "We were reinventing gender. The feeling was these sex roles are evil social constructions! We don't have to do it! We are free!"

But as she learned more about transgender people and trans advocacy, Graff realized that another way to understand gender was unfolding. "I grasped that it's not an intellectual thing, that it's far more visceral and necessary than that. That sense--like who you desire--comes preconsciousness. And whether that is shaped by nature, nurture, or culture at that point no longer matters, and you have to honor it. I just don't want to live in a society that doesn't respect people's profound emotional needs--as long as they are not actively harming someone else." The "uprising," as Minter calls the resistance to a non-inclusive ENDA, has for many provided incontrovertible evidence of the full embrace of transgender people by the lesbian, gay, and bisexual grass-roots organizations.

Still, some gay talking heads continue to wonder aloud whether trans people deserve a place in the gay-rights movement. Salon blogger Jon Aravosis suggested that the "uprising" over ENDA was anything but directed by the grass roots: "Sure, many of the rest of us accepted de facto that transgendered people were members of the community, but only because our leaders kept telling us it was so. A lot of gays have been scratching their heads for 10 years trying to figure out what they have in common with transsexuals, or at the very least why transgendered people qualify as our siblings rather than our cousins. It's a fair question, but one we know we dare not ask."

That premise is mistaken, say many transgender activists. "It's not that we just were sitting around one day and said, hmm, which movement should we attach to? We share culture, we share friends and enemies," explains Mara Keisling, a longtime trans activist who for the past five years has led the National Center for Transgender Equality. As Gunner Scott, a transgender-rights activist in Massachusetts, puts it, "As much as people want to deny it, we've been here all along."

Plans are in place to introduce a trans-inclusive ENDA in the next Congress. This has been one of the most violent years on record for assaults against transgender people; in 2007, LGBT advocates and legislators attached trans-inclusive hate-crimes legislation to the military-spending bill, which was voted on favorably in both the House and the Senate (although amid threats of a veto and concerns over Iraq War funding, legislative support in the House evaporated, and the provision was stripped from the bill).

Advocates are also taking on both private insurers' and Medicaid's refusal to cover sex-reassignment surgery. Levi cites this as a critical hurdle to overcome before other gains can be realized. "A lot of the misunderstandings about trans identities grow out of the misperceptions about the legitimacy of the physical condition related to trans identity for many people," she explains. "Unless and until people understand the legitimacy of trans identities, there will continue to be pervasive discrimination in employment, family law, health care, public accommodations, and everywhere else."



keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Sat Nov 15th, 2008 at 12:02:55 PM EST


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