leftist parenting and gender [split from gender recognition]

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leftist parenting and gender [split from gender recognition]

Post by Aum » Fri Sep 1, 22:39 2017

[Mod note: topic split from "gender recognition."]

If a boy who has a penis asks if he's a boy and you don't just say yes, then that's straight up lunacy.

What he decides to do with that boyhood or how he dresses is up to him. But if you're born with a penis you're a boy.

Making it airy fairy when, statistically, scientifically, less than 1% of 1% of children born have true gender dysphoria, is immoral and wrong. It's also a sign of our troubled times.
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Re: gender recognition

Post by Pikachu » Sat Sep 2, 11:30 2017

Aum wrote:
Fri Sep 1, 22:39 2017
If a boy who has a penis asks if he's a boy and you don't just say yes, then that's straight up lunacy.

What he decides to do with that boyhood or how he dresses is up to him. But if you're born with a penis you're a boy.

Making it airy fairy when, statistically, scientifically, less than 1% of 1% of children born have true gender dysphoria, is immoral and wrong. It's also a sign of our troubled times.
What's "true" gender dysphoria as you understand it?

You say "if you're born with a penis you're a boy." Do you consider Jazz Jennings a boy then?

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Re: gender recognition

Post by Sonic# » Sun Sep 3, 9:29 2017

Mels, I know Cordelia Fine's books on gender and neuroscience address little kids and the infleunces they receive at certain points. To my memory, her work was mainly demonstrative - hey, yes, kids are externally exposed to gender at very early points, and we can see kids beginning to internalize these ideas about gender.

Looking at Wikipedia, I know I've read one of the cited articles before and found it interesting (Martin, C. L. (1990). "Attitudes and Expectations about Children with Nontraditional and Traditional Gender Roles". Sex Roles. 22 (3-4): 151–66.) The gist is that understandings of gender begin to emerge by ages 2 or 3, and they continue to develop over the course of years, which includes some stigma (esp. for boys) when people step outside of understood roles. Then this article is more recent than that (2017), by the same author, and (based on my skim) seems to have pretty decent coverage in the articles it uses (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3747736/).
Aum wrote: If a boy who has a penis asks if he's a boy and you don't just say yes, then that's straight up lunacy.
Besides the other concerns raised with Aum's reply, I wonder about the effectiveness of just saying yes even if that is the kid's own answer as well. The power of gender to do harm sometimes occurs because so much of gender is externally determined, and people don't really feel the space to answer how they fit in that system. Like, I do identify as a man, but there's a lot of preferences that don't neatly align with others' perceptions of manhood. I had an early interest in cooking and home maintenance that was stifled for years because I was told that it wasn't for boys. Situations like that, where one's preferences don't quite fit what others say a boy/girl should be, may lead to asking, "Am I a boy?" That's not necessarily directly posing gender dysphoria, but expressing questions of what makes up boyhood and whether one is a good boy, especially where the messages are contradictory.

Answering that with questions and discussion is not forcing gender dysphoria on a kid. (What would lead you to see that in mels's post?) I see dialogue as an attempt to help kids answer the question and the questions unspoken behind that question for themselves. The longer-term hope is greater confidence in whatever gender they feel affinity for. That will usually agree with their bodies, but gender is so much more than that. Reducing gender to genitals fails to address the many influences even little kids are experiencing.

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Re: gender recognition

Post by melsbells » Tue Sep 5, 8:04 2017

Thanks everyone for the support and the direction.
Aum wrote:
Fri Sep 1, 22:39 2017
If [...]you don't just say yes, then that's straight up lunacy
There are models on development that suggest giving categorical answers to questions. But there are ways to do that without being prescriptive. One way is asking what a kid thinks, which has the added benefit of not giving a kid more information than they bargained for. Or like Sonic said,
Sonic# wrote:
Sun Sep 3, 9:29 2017
dialogue as an attempt to help kids answer the question and the questions unspoken behind that question for themselves.
I'm not sure how "Am I a boy?" -> "What do you think?" -> "I think I'm a boy" -> "Then you're a boy" is airy or unclear. There are things that the individual knows best, such as their likes and dislikes, emotions, and gender.

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Re: gender recognition

Post by Aum » Thu Sep 7, 6:04 2017

Yes it does force gender dysphoria onto kids to keep their identity questions intentionally ambiguous. Trans children exist but they are a very rare phenomenon. In leftist culture now we have parents letting their kids claim they're the opposite sex, or no sex, or some other made up thing... and then when the kids go out into the world and expect to have it acknowledged, it isn't. The kid gets ridiculed, or the leftist parents start "educating" people on the "harms" of assigning gender at too early an age. I'm not saying children should be pegged in gender ROLES, but all the evidence shows that it is psychologically stabilizing to know one's gender identity early on as part of development, even if one's relationship to that identity changes throughout one's lifetime. You can't just call yourself whatever you want and expect society to accommodate you!

The social fabric should not change for your experimentation. A boy with a Y chromosome doesn't get to call himself a girl just because he feels like it. He is biologically boy. I will refer to him as a he. Whether he dresses in tutus and dresses or wears makeup is a whole other story. When a trans man makes it into the news as "the first man to get pregnant!" I just want to tear my hair out. A biological woman, with a uterus, gets pregnant but because she calls herself a he, we are supposed to just pretend that a male gave birth? Give me a break. Society is NOT going to change to accommodate this kind of thinking. Sorry! It's not reality!

I am 100% against giving children hormone blockers and other enhancements in order to support this experimental transgenderism culture. Gender dysphoria is a real psychiatric condition that needs treatment. We don't tell schizophrenic people that what they're seeing is real and accommodate their delusions. We medicate them so that they can function in normal society again. There is no evidence that accommodating the gender identity whims of pre-pubscent children and their leftist parents leads to good outcomes. Even among known trans people, the suicide rate between pre and post op is exactly the same. The suffering they go through in their experience of gender/sex incongruency must be hell. I don't believe that modifying the body is the answer in all cases. We should definitely not be doing it to children.

In activism people are treating trans as the same as gay/lesbian but it's not. Being gay is not a psychiatric disorder. Being trans is. There are no demonstrable brain differences between an XX woman who thinks she's a woman and an XX woman who thinks she's really a man. None. The whole issue is in their mind.

The fact is, most children who experiment grow out of it and end up living as the biological sex they were born as. We should be treating the genders and the sexes in a straightforward manner during early development unless there are very clear, overt signs that the children are exhibiting dysphoric behaviors and desires incongruent with their born sex. Then other avenues can be considered. We should not be opening up all of society to this ridiculous gender confusion in order to accommodate SJW leftists. Genuine transgenderism is rare.

Go after gender roles, fine. But we should not be messing up the basic social order of men and women because of a very rare deviation in society. SJWs are not convincing anybody. There is no reason to create confusion or harbor any potential for the creation of dysphoric self-perception in children.
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Re: gender recognition

Post by Sonic# » Thu Sep 7, 8:20 2017

Let me represent the discussion as I see it.

melsbells describes a short conversation where her kid asked whether he's a boy, they discussed the question briefly, and then he said he was a boy. Her unease focused on how her kid was already getting a lot of external signalling about gender roles:
But it feels impossible to stay free from the societal assignment. Everything gets gendered.
She asked about resources regarding gender awareness in kids.

In this latest post, Aum has responded with a post I would describe as a trans-hating diatribe. He seems to disregard mels's original situation or the role of dialogue in interacting with children. He disregards the request for resources, at one point alluding to "all of the evidence" but providing none. (At least that would've been on point.) He disregards the fact that mels nowhere explicitly talked about the issues he's raising, and steamrolls past any nuance in any of our stances by suggesting that she (and we) are
forc[ing] gender dysphoria on our kids to keep their identity questions intentionally ambiguous.
To that specific point, no, a dialogue where I don't answer the question directly does not keep a situation intentionally ambiguous. mels's dialogue ends with the reassurance that he is a boy because he feels that way. I'd imagine resolving the discussion with a clear answer too. That's not ambiguous. Dialogue allows for greater exploration for why a kid might ask that and, often, a better understanding of gender that avoids the gender dysphoria you wave as a stick.

I'm also insulted you're accusing us of wanting to ride over kids' own gender assignations. I've given the gender assignations of my (future) children a lot of thought. No, I don't want to act hastily to say, "hey, everything's okay!" if my kids express uncertainty about their gender. We'd be talking to doctors, to multiple experts, and to each other to figure that situation out. There would not be any hasty decisions about "modifying the body," and of course we'd keep in mind the strong possibility that they're experimenting with gender expression but still consider themselves to be one gender. You're projecting a whole bunch of new objections on things we didn't say we'd do, like you're searching for a controversy.

Otherwise, I'm struck by how you're describing trans issues in the very hostile terms that homosexuality was described in past decades. A brief checklist:
1. "Being gay is not a psychiatric disorder. Being trans is." Being gay was a psychiatric disorder; it was in the DSM. Someone could have made the same objection you do, insisting that like schizophrenia homosexuality needs to be treated.

2. "You can't just call yourself whatever you want and expect society to accommodate you!" You mean, just like people in the past century or so have insisted that society will never accommodate homosexual people? I'll quote Margaret Thatcher: “Children are being taught they have an inalienable right to be gay. All of those children are being cheated of a sound start in life.” The same elements of your own objection are here - the children can't just be gay and have a fair chance at life. Society won't accommodate it. Yet I think you'd agree that you should be able to be gay, even publicly. So this seems to be contradictory; society can change.

3. "There are no demonstrable brain differences between an XX woman who thinks she's a woman and an XX woman who thinks she's really a man. None. The whole issue is in their mind." Two items:
(a) homosexual conversion therapy relies on the idea that sexuality is a mindset that can be adjusted, a fallacy that you're now projecting onto trans people;
(b) it's not in their brain but it's in their mind? That's a contradiction right there. It's also untrue - there are demonstrable brain differences, at least to the extent to which scans can show that.

4. "There is no reason to create confusion" - this has echoes of people who oppose everything from gender-neutral shopping to having two male parents or two female parents. To the former, one expert says this:
Dr. Elizabeth Sweet wrote:Those concerned that removing gender labels from toys will “cause the collapse of the gender order,” as Sweet put it, are whipping themselves into a frenzy for nothing.
(Note to mels - seems an interesting article actually on target!) To the latter, the confusion was mainly societal; kids generally roll with it.

Summarily, I'm struck by how much you sound like the social conservatives of yesteryear in your insistence on preserving a social order that also preserves the gender roles which you objected so vehemently to discussing. It speaks also to considerable ignorance on trans issues.

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Re: gender recognition

Post by Enigma » Sat Sep 9, 21:24 2017

Mel's kid ended that discussion calling himself a boy.. and with that discussion lowered the likelihood of Mel's kid being an ass to a trans or in any way gender nonconformist kid they might come across. I fail to see how this is damaging society.
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Re: gender recognition

Post by Aum » Mon Sep 11, 18:12 2017

You can call me trans-phobic all you want but it's just a bait and switch away from the authenticity of my argument.

You're comparing homosexuality to transexuality on a equal playing field in terms of social justice, but scientifically the two are apples and oranges. It's scientific fact that being trans is still classified as a psychiatric disorder. I'm not being transphobic for pointing that out. It's called gender dysphoria syndrome. It's still in the DSM to this day. The diagnostic criteria are considered whenever a person comes forth to a psychologist wishing to explore this issue. The debate is about how to treat genuine trans people. So far it seems like gender reassignment surgery does not put a dent in the depression and suicide rate whatsoever. Refractory mental health problems are a constant issue in this high minority demographic.

So now that I've framed that, I want to put it completely aside because it's not at all what I take issue with.

What I object to is the leftist phenomenon of extending gender ambiguity to children based on an increase in the discussion of trans people in pop culture. Cait Jenner comes out and now suddenly children everywhere have to be schooled on what it means to be trans (which is fine), and how gender culture is a lie (which is wrong). True trans people are rare... 1% of 1%. And yet we have places like California where they want to make it a State-wide curriculum where children are taught that they don't have to be the gender they were born as, and that gender is a fluid concept.

I can't just decide tomorrow that I'm a woman, anymore than I can decide I'm Chinese, or a different age. According to the left, if I genuinely, wholeheartedly believe these things, then the social fabric should bend to accommodate this. I 100% DISAGREE. Unless you are born intersexed and there is true ambiguity, or we are dealing with true trans children, then we should not support boys with penises calling themselves girls. Because it's simply not true.

If the only metric we have left to determine a person's gender is by asking them, then there's no scientific way to tell a person's gender by looking at them, even though our natural instincts run totally contrary to this. I can call myself whatever I want and I get to correct you based on my delusional thinking, and in leftist PC land everyone is supposed to support the delusion. Please NOTE I am taking issue with the current pop culture, not genuine trans people. The leftist pop culture of gender bending is what's causing the problems right now.

If children want to discuss their place in the gender universe then I'm cool with that, but we should not be supporting ambiguity. 99% of girls born as girls end up identifying as girls, same with boys. Gender dysphoria is not so endemic that we need to change the way children have been parented for millennia.

If children want to experiment then fine. But we shouldn't have to avoid calling a spade a spade in order to accommodate the current trends of some leftist parenting. I'm sorry but at some point we just have to say no to these ivory tower academics who are so disconnected from society that they don't understand what social cohesion means. Social justice, social activism and feminism have basically won in the western world. Yes the work is never truly done but post-modern feminists are so bored that they keep coming up with ways to push the envelop further and further. We have already largely debunked gender roles in society, we don't need to debunk gender identity itself to this extent.

I am not a social conservative but this gender bending, "I am nothing I subscribe to nothing" is just too much. What you hold personally to yourself to be true is your business and I support it but expecting society to change because you're feeling experimental is wrong. And inserting this ambiguity into the life of a young child, such that they will be biased into gender non-conformity that isn't genuine, is child abuse IMO. There are parents out there actually getting hormone blocking treatments and other body altering interventions so that their children can feel empowered in staying more ambiguous, or more of the opposite sex, when there is no evidence that this approach is healthy. It's wrong.

I'm sorry this discussion makes you uncomfortable but it needs to happen. There are a lot of people like me out there who won't be written off as transphobic just because we won't turn off our critical thinking. Social justice movements need major reform. They are inventing social problems where none exist and creating remedies for them that are not congruent with social cohesion, all because their movement has become redundant. But if you can't convince the adults then you sure as hell won't be convincing the children.
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Re: gender recognition

Post by Sonic# » Mon Sep 11, 18:56 2017

Aum wrote: You can call me trans-phobic all you want but it's just a bait and switch away from the authenticity of my argument.
You're the only one to use that term. I did make several pointed criticisms of what you were saying. I did call it a trans-hating diatribe, and I stand by that description.

Otherwise, you haven't addressed my specific criticisms of your point (that society does change and has changed, so claiming it won't is toothless; that no one here has ridden over a kid's own gender; that gender assignation for us is not a simple process where one can just change their mind at any time; that rather than engaging with what we've said, you've basically searched for a controversy). I fail to see just what is authentic about your argument, especially in response to having a conversation about gender with a kid where that conversation ended in a definite answer. It's so inauthentic you have to make up your own big bads (so-called "leftist pop culture," your misunderstandings about academic feminism) rather than speak to people here. You've made, like, 5 bad points rather than sticking to one, so it's tough to figure out what harm you think talking about gender does.

I'm not going to feed you further unless you choose to directly engage with people here. At the very least, provide the reading materials mels asked for, rather than using this thread as your personal soapbox on hating stereotypical liberal parents.

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Re: gender recognition

Post by Aum » Mon Sep 11, 19:51 2017

You won't respond to anything I've said so your rebuttal and personal attack on my character is worthless, as is your continued claim that I hate trans people. I resent being referred to as "fed" as though I'm trolling when my posts are carefully constructed for discussion. Most of what you wrote to me in your last post is using the gay rights template as a launching point for trans issues, when the two are not remotely the same. This is a major non-sequitur that you fail to address, all while accusing me of irrelevancy. I'm sorry that our discussion has not stayed in a neat little box but I am here to discuss feminism and broader ideas, not just join a book club. Maybe split our discussion into a new thread? Although it will probably end up in hell or just locked, if the past is an indication. The condescension toward me is very high right now and all because of personal biases.

My posts are dealing with the underpinnings of the whole moral philosophy of teaching gender ambiguity to children. I'm glad mels had a conclusive conversation with her child about gender identity.

In the OP: "I've been really conscious of not reinforcing a societally assigned gender, though in no way flawless. But it feels impossible to stay free from the societal assignment. Everything gets gendered." I ask why? Why are you avoiding it? Where did you learn that this approach is better?

What I'm proposing is that genderism is normal, and not something to be avoided because of pop culture trends. Just because a boy, born with a penis, gets called a boy does not mean that society is enforcing a gender. It means we are making a reasonable and stable assumption based on social values and social cohesion. We don't generally leave children as identity-less blobs and refer to them as nothings until they themselves figure it out. Most children are developmentally predictable and that's how our social moors are informed.

I'm not on any soapbox. Leftism in the United States has been pushing queer culture and gender fluidity for years now as an extension of redundant feminism, and it has used pop culture and celebrity to propel these issues into arenas where they don't belong or are unnecessary. You can write me off as a hater all you want but it's just a way of denying that other people don't share your subjective values about gender identity. There is absolutely no science to back up that anyone can be anything just because they say so in their own mind. Let's be real.

Mels issue seems to be with gender roles (boys wearing blue and girls wearing pink). I think it's reasonable to discuss with children that they can appear and express themselves however they want. But we should not be telling them that they can pretend to be (internally) whatever they want. A boy is a boy and a girl is a girl, even if a boy dresses in dresses and wears makeup. He's still biologically a boy. It's dangerous to equate homosexual psychology with trans psychology because they are not the same thing which is why I keep objecting to your false equivocation. Gender dysphoria has no proven treatment but is an ongoing recognized psychiatric disorder that causes great suffering. Even when trans people are put in ideal environments and granted freedom of expression and body modification, the rates of mental health problems do not change. The disparity between mind/body is so intense that it never really resolves. It's not like being gay whatsoever. Mental health rates among gays improve dramatically in supportive environments where they can have healthy relationships free from bigotry. The crisis is resolved with outward acceptance. I disagree with popularizing gender ambiguity on the basis of accepting a small minority of trans people, people who actually have a psychiatric condition that causes suffering. The transference to children, even if temporary, is not something I can support. I fully support trans people being who they are and doing whatever they need to in order to feel normal in the world. I don't support popularizing gender ambiguity based on culture trends because people so anti-traditional and bourgeoise that they are discarding human nature.

Camilla Paglia has a really fascinating treatise on how queer culture rises proportionally with the collapse of civilizations. People become so concerned with individualism and micro-realities that they turn their backs on the social fabrics that hold civilization together. It creates divides in the common trust and the ability of people to relate to one another across common realities. What better way to break down common reality than to destroy the ability to even identify one another? Christina Hoff Sommers has a similar discussion, you can find some of her talks on youtube. Are you going to call seasoned feminists trans haters too because they point out that queer culture is potentially a fad and not anything to do with hard biological science? Seriously, get off YOUR soap box and start entertaining other kinds of thinking about this subject.

But people like you, sonic, can't handle this kind of counter-information. You want to lump everything into LGBTQI and call for equality without really understanding the nuances. Trans people have very specific problems, needs, and the solutions remain unclear. You can't apply the gay rights template to trans and expect it to work because it won't. In fact, that kind of thinking is, IMO, more transphobic than anything else. It takes gay privilege and tries to duplicate it in an incompatible way, assuming that what worked for us must work for them too. And in the mean time, promoting gender ambiguity among children is not resolving anything. It creates more confusion and it does not remedy the suicide rate of true trans people. We are putting the cart ahead of the horse. There's nothing wrong with telling a boy that he's a boy.

Mels... my advice to you is, put aside your own personal biases, and let your child express themselves as they wish to. But there's nothing inherently wrong with the gender binary. It's normal. It provides stability and there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to prove that keeping children's gender identity ambiguous helps them. It may actually harm. The impetus to do so is being driven and governed by people in the social sciences, which are not real sciences but philosophical branches. Unless you have the rare child that has trans tendencies, it's best to stick with norms. Again I'm not talking about expression -- if your boy wants to dress as a traditional girl then that's your call. But he's still a boy. You don't have to act all unsure about it. It's not complicated whatosever. 99% of sexed-boys grow up thinking they're boys, and same with girls. It doesn't harm them in the least. I think it's great that your son concluded he's a boy. Now he can grow up with a stable template, zero confusion, and tackle other challenges in life. :)
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Re: gender recognition

Post by melsbells » Tue Sep 12, 15:45 2017

It took me a few days to get through the NIH article that Sonic recommended. It's not actually that long, I just didn't have enough time available to read it all in one go. There were a lot of interesting things in there, that I hope I don't botch as I try to relate them back.
The first thing that surprised me was that my kid is late on the spectrum of verbally identifying his gender. Kids usually start to identify as a boy or a girl as soon as they can talk. This identification generally mimics stereotypes, for example: "I'm a boy/girl because I like this boy/girl thing." that soundly answered one of my questions. The article focused a bit more on gender performance than identity, so while not exactly what I was looking for, was a worth while read.
I was then surprised that the most policing about gender performance happens from peers of the opposite assigned gender. So if a boy is playing with dolls a girl in the group is most likely to tease him. Or if a girl is playing with cars, a boy in the group is most likely to tease her.
Other things that were of interest was the question of how persistent gender identity was. This was looked at along of the lines of how much a person felt they conformed to their gender. People were more likely to identify a strong connection to their gender when in a setting with the opposite gender and as an outcast from their gender when in a setting with their gender. The kids who most strongly identified with their assigned gender, not only had the most stable gender performance, but their presentation and identity tended to become more extreme over time, though I think the longest studies only followed kids from preschool through first grade.

I really wish I lived somewhere that I could just go to a library and start reading up on child development. There's this fledgling person in my life and every time something new happens, I want to learn more about it. My history of thinking about this sort of thing is primarily via phenomenology and Rousseau's Émile, and with no persistent small person for me to notice and be intrigued by such minute developments. Thanks again.

Aum, I think part of what you're saying is putting emphasis on the difference between gender identity and gender expression, and that variance in gender expression shouldn't be confused with variance in gender identity. I appreciate that, and I'll do my best to support any expression, variance or not. I've read some psychological explanation that many kids who question their gender identity eventually return to identifying as their assigned gender. Many of these individuals exhibit gender expression variance or sexual variance (not heterosexual). But that doesn't excuse the harmful misinformation you're also stating.

The science on the transgender brain is still out. Some suggest that the brain of a transgender person, whether physical attributes or chemical components match that of the cis-brain of the same identifying gender. One possible explanation for this difference is that physical gender attributes happen at an earlier time of fetal development than the physical and chemical differences in the brain between genders. Note that these brain difference are not appreciable in effect. EDIT: This article from Harvard University news is quite beginner level and might feel beneath you, but maybe just jump past the first couple paragraphs and get to the science of how gender is genetically different from sex.

Suicide rates are depressingly high among people who are trans*, but there is no reason to equate that to being a mental disorder, no matter what the current psych diagnostic book, used primarily for insurance billing purposes, lists. Suicide rates among people in the trans* community are not significantly different from the rest of the population when looked at in cultures that are highly accepting of those non-binary identities. People who are trans* in what is generally known as Western culture, are more likely to be the victims of physical or sexual violence, are discriminated against, are marginalized, are identified as an outsiders, which all are things that separated from the trans* identity, would increase rates of depression and suicide attempt. Moreover, surgery that allows a trans* person to pass, does improve overall mental health. EDIT: I'm going to quote the entire abstract of this NIH article and bold the key takeaway.
This article examines whether gender identity disorder in childhood (GIDC) constitutes a mental disorder as outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV-TR). Data were collected in Samoa, a culture that is characterized by a high degree of social tolerance towards feminine males who are known locally as fa'afafine. The study location was chosen because, unlike Western locales, it afforded the opportunity to examine whether gender-atypical behavior, gender-atypical identity, and sex-atypical identity, in and of themselves, cause distress in sex/gender variant individuals, while simultaneously controlling for the confounding effects of extreme societal intolerance towards such individuals. Because of our focus on the DSM-IV-TR's diagnosis of GIDC, we were specifically interested in ascertaining whether adult fa'afafine recalled a strong and persistent cross-gender identification in childhood, a sense of inappropriateness in the male-typical gender role, a discomfort with their sex, or distress associated with any of the above. In addition, we sought to determine whether parental encouragement or discouragement of cross-gender behaviors influence feelings of distress in relation to the behaviors in question. Based on the cross-cultural information presented here, we conclude that the diagnostic category of GIDC should not occur in its current form in future editions of the DSM, as there is no compelling evidence that cross-gender behaviors or identities, in and of themselves, cause distress in the individual.


In Western culture, the trans* identity is taken on by less than 1% of the population, but that number is currently growing. Here's an easy to digest explanation why it's growing by Robot-Hugs. In cultures where a third gender is highly accepted, approximately 3% of the population is that third gender. Interestingly, that's the same percent of the population in Western culture that identifies as gay. EDIT: Earlier, I wrote the wrong information, saying that 3% of the population identified as LGB, but that percentage is only gay men. I was referring to fa‘afafine of Somoa. Here's a national geographic article that might be of interest and also touches on the science of the transgender brain.

3% is more than 1%, but still a small portion of the population. Even if it were only about a 0.01% chance that my kid would have a variant identity, I don't want to do anything to block off that option for whoever that one in 33 or a hundred or 10000 may be.

Note: I realize I make a lot of claims here with no links to find out more information. I'll try to come back to this and include such sources, but I wanted to post what I wrote in the meantime. EDIT: I made a correction (noted in text) and gave some sources.

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Re: gender recognition

Post by rowan » Wed Sep 13, 12:03 2017

Aum wrote:
Mon Sep 11, 19:51 2017
Mels... my advice to you is, put aside your own personal biases, and let your child express themselves as they wish to.
THAT IS LITERALLY WHAT SHE IS FUCKING DOING BY ASKING HER KID WHAT HE THINKS.

And you waltz in here first and tell her that she's Parenting Wrong.
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Re: gender recognition

Post by lovernotafighter » Thu Sep 14, 10:47 2017

There really IS no gender. It is a social construct. And the longer we go on believing there is "a" gender, the slower humanities' progress will be.
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Re: gender recognition

Post by Aum » Thu Sep 14, 15:01 2017

rowan wrote:
Wed Sep 13, 12:03 2017
THAT IS LITERALLY WHAT SHE IS FUCKING DOING BY ASKING HER KID WHAT HE THINKS.

And you waltz in here first and tell her that she's Parenting Wrong.
You need to calm down, please. I haven't flamed anyone in this thread, I don't deserve it.

I wasn't critiquing Mel's parenting specifically, I was speaking to the general theme of the thread. Feminists are touting gender fluidity via queer theory as though its a proven, scientific thing. But it's not. It's a philosophy born of the social sciences that is being peddled on college campuses to wider audience, with no longitudinal evidence that it's effective or that it's what's best for society.

My specific critique to Mel, as with other parents who share her attitude, is that they are a bit too laissez-faire... as though the issue is so ambiguous that we should be walking on egg shells and let children call all the shots. I see this all the time with people who steep themselves so deeply in feminist theory. They see gendered boogey men where non-exist, and it gets transposed onto their children, manifesting as total reluctance to guide their children into positive gender identification. I don't think there's anything wrong with coaxing a child into a normal gender identity profile, based on their born sex. You can only keep it unnamed and nebulous to point, after which it creates unnecessary confusion. Unless there is gender dysphoria happening, letting a boy know that he's a boy is a positive thing.

I think Mel has done the right thing by having an open conversation about it. My angst stems from her dilemma about how genderisms are everywhere and she is so afraid of playing into it. The question I pose is: is genderism wholly negative? Could it be healthy?
lovernotafighter wrote:There really IS no gender. It is a social construct. And the longer we go on believing there is "a" gender, the slower humanities' progress will be.
This is precisely what I am criticizing. There IS gender. There has ALWAYS been gender. Every society in the world has gender constructs. They are part of the social fabric and shared, common reality. Yes, if you deconstruct everything to smithereens, nothing exists and everything is subjective. I'm a pile of cells and not a "human", or this or that. But all of this mental masturbation does not sidestep biology and it never will. You're born with XY? You're a male. XX? Female. All human societies take those traits and build social norms based on them.

I have no problem with challenging these norms and I fully support rallying against enforced gender roles (to a point). What I'm against is the modern western leftist notion that "I'm nothing and everything because there are no real identities". As Paglia says in her treatise on decline of civilizations, when people begin to reject basic social identities, it's usually a sign that rampant, selfish individualism has begun to corrode the communal social fabric of society.

During the Cultural Revolution in China, gender was 100% equalized. Then they realized this was a huge mistake. Now when you visit China, they are into Elvis Presley and Audrey Hepburn. Women are extremely girly and stereotypically flowery, and men are "man's men". It's like the 1950's in the USA. Except you can't compare it in such a linear way. In China, feminism looks like reclaiming gender identity, and they warn the west to not discard the genders because they are important. They are part of cultural identity and arguably they interface fairly seamlessly with evolutionary biology. (I'm not arguing biological determinism here, I am saying that there are natural compatibilities between the two.)

The fact is... you ARE human. You have a sex. You have physical parameters with limitations. You have characteristics that people automatically, instinctually and socially associate with certain identities. And it's not wrong of them to do so. It's part of the human experience. If I'm a white man I can't wake up tomorrow and claim I'm a black woman.

Feminism has become redundant. I look at what the first and second wave feminists had to deal with, and their struggle was real. Now all the bored academics are sitting around looking for ways to further deconstruct society because their movement has nothing real left to fight. It wasn't enough to debunk gender roles and elevate women and POC. Now we have to debug identity itself and create a counter-culture to it.

You CAN'T just decide in your mind that you're something you're not and expect the world to bow to that. They won't. It's delusional. There are genuine trans people out there who need support, love and understanding, and this whole bourgeois fad culture of denying all identities is harmful to people who are truly struggling with who/what they are in the world.
The artist's job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote to the emptiness of existence. -W.A.

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Re: gender recognition

Post by Nech » Thu Sep 14, 19:46 2017

So just going to poke in here and point out a few things. Here's a list of things often referenced in conversations surrounding transgenderism, gender fluidity, and the like:

Intersex
SRY gene (grows on chromosomes)
Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
The "acceptable levels per gender" of testosterone and estrogen and how it actually compares to a blind population test and the actual range of levels both in males and females (the Olympic Committee's standards on "acceptable levels" may be a good jumping point for this one)

Now these things total an effect of anywhere from 17-35% of any given population (much higher than your 1% number), and only in those diagnosed (which many might not be in much more conservative/anti healthcare areas). These are scientific realities that ignore the oversimplification that you have applied to gender (or rather biological sex assignment, as gender is the term for the social construct portion of it). Gender and Sex are not the same thing. So if gender is the loosely constructed descriptor, why does fluid gender identity matter if you yourself are against gender roles and strict gender expression? If males can like dolls or be nurturing, and females can be tough and like sports, why does it matter what imaginary name we ascribe as a descriptor? Because honestly, imaginary is all gender really is. Someone sat down somewhere and went "Those with dangly bits like X, Y, Z!!" and then that became gender.

So to stop myself from going on a tangent, I'll just leave a few points that came to mind while reading your posts Aum and you can take it how you like.

1 - You speak about how SRS and social acceptance do not affect the suicide and depression rate in transgendered people, but ignore the fact that most, if not all trans people do not experience true social acceptance. You speak like there has been some sort of vacuum test, when there hasn't. I'd also love to see your sources on this, because everything I have studied and read shows the opposite affect.

2 - Gender=/=Sex, and they are not interchangeable. You switch between talking about gender as a biological fact and gender as a social role.

3 - Gender is a proven social construct, much like gender roles. Do you see no parallel between the two? Or notice the irony of advocating for the destruction of one but the protection of the other? Many of your arguments against dismantling the gender construct were used historically and irrefutably when people discussed taking apart the gender roles construct.

4 - It is hard to take any "counter-information" seriously when you offer no proof. It is literally no different than hot air or what trolls do. If you've seen data and have stats available, share with the class. I doubt anyone here will instantly about face when presented with hard data, but they certainly won't dismiss it outright without countering like you're currently doing.

5 - You speak about Leftist pop culture (this is a new one for me, I haven't heard this before) and how they break things down too much, but do you think you may be oversimplifying sex by the XY or XX criteria? There are many more factors at play (see my above mentions).

6 - This is not something new and not some fad, as you yourself mention the historical data on it and kinda counter your own point. Many other cultures have more than two genders. If there is precedence for this "sub-culture", does it not seem like a natural occurrence and not some crazy loosey goosey political leftist PC culture thing?

7 - You throw shade at Sonic for comparing trans activism to gay activism, but then incorrectly by your own standards compare race to to gender.

I had more thoughts while reading, but I have Skittles in the other room and they're distracting me.
Where there's smoke, there's fire. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. So just shut up, and bring some water.

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Re: gender recognition

Post by Sonic# » Sat Sep 16, 8:46 2017

Aum wrote:I haven't flamed anyone in this thread, I don't deserve it.
Yes, you have. Aum, you claimed I couldn't "handle this kind of counterinformation" and put words in my mouth. You attacked trans men who get pregnant and misgendered them by calling them "a biological woman" (hence my comment on "trans-hating diatribe", which describes what you said and which you continue to misconstrue as personal attack). You appeared to claim that what melsbells was doing "was immoral and wrong." Yes, you've since clarified the latter point, but if you want to know why people are arguing with you, it's because of that, because of the combative tone you set with your very first reply, and because of the moderator martyrdom that has been going on.

I thought stepping away would prevent the thread from going off-topic. I was wrong. So when Aum made more posts and I had a few days to focus on work, I decided to come back and think through some of this.

mels did a great job of cutting through many of the issues here. So did Nech. I'll take a similar approach, picking several claims that have been made to point out when and why they are not credible.

1. Gender identity matters generally. This is the least controversial idea that I think we all agree on. The NIH article and others state that perceiving gender and developing a gender identity is foundational in child development. Furthermore, the stakes of gender identity are lifelong, which is why questions of gender expression and gender performance arise generally, why people are sometimes trans* instead of merely being atypical in gender expression, why "third gender" develops in some cultures, and why even people who find themselves in different places on a gender spectrum still almost unavoidably refer back to a bigender system.

2. Gender must agree with sex. That's one major point of disagreement, and Aum hasn't provided evidence for why that's the case. The very existence of trans* people, intersex people who identify with one or another gender, women with masculine features, men with feminine features, and similar phenomena refute that point.

Now, gender does usually agree with sex. That much is observable fact. Must it? No. (link) When Aum insists that, "You're born with XY? You're a male. XX? Female," he's repeating a common trend as natural law, without the grounds for insisting it must always be true. Even sex is determined by several factors besides chromosomes, and chromosomes are not usually easy to examine. Nech touches on that too.

There are a few other arguments Aum makes. I'll just point out that the China argument is also too simplistic. He claims (1) that China enforced gender quality before and that (2) firm gender expressions happen today in order to claim that (3) China expresses "natural compatibilities between the two" but avoids being "biologically determinist." That's a causation claim where the primary evidence is only correlation - we have a then and a now, but no mechanism for understanding what caused the shift. Could it be globalization? ("Elvis Presley and Audrey Hepburn"?) A return to pre-Cultural Revolution standards of gender, recast in a modern Chinese/globalist lens? Or, from another angle, is the confusion of gender expression and gender roles here too much, in that this is an example about binary gender expression but Aum wants to make this be really about the existence of gender as expressed by sex? Finally, while the China example demonstrates one possibility for how gender might change over time in a culture, it's not deterministic; there's nothing saying that the US has to follow the same trajectory. That would be nonsensical anyway, as the government is not forcing gender to be more flexible. Rather, governmental systems of recordkeeping and assigning sex/gender at birth are at odds with a growing recognition that gender need not always correspond with sex.

3. The poles of the binary go away in this system. Yeah, no evidence of that. I don't see that going away either. Some people will still hold their masculinity or femininity to be important, and they will still express it in recognizably masculine and feminine ways.

4. Gender is freely changeable, even at a moment's notice. No, I utterly reject that, and I don't know of any academic feminists who make that as a serious point. Judith Butler, for instance, may claim that gender is a constructed cultural category. Even then, she insists that systems of gender performance are quite hard to budge and usually not consciously changeable:
Judith Butler wrote:“The bad reading goes something like this: I can get up in the morning, look in my closet, and decide which gender I want to be today. I can take out a piece of clothing and change my gender, stylize it, and then that evening I can change it again and be something radically other, so that what you get is something like the comodification of gender, and the understanding of taking on a gender as a kind of consumerism. . . . [treating] gender deliberately, as if it’s an object out there, when my whole point was that the very formation of subjects, the very formation of persons, presupposes gender in a certain way—that gender is not to be chosen and that ‘performativity’ is not radical choice and its not voluntarism . . . Performativity has to do with repetition, very often the repetition of oppressive and painful gender norms . . . This is not freedom, but a question of how to work the trap that one is inevitably in”
Butler said that about 25 years ago; today, I know of no researchers that would express the kind of flexibility Aum described. Gender may be able to take any of several forms, and it may be adjustable over the very long term; that scale is years or decades at least.

Aum brings this up at several points, like saying that "If I'm a white man I can't wake up tomorrow and claim I'm a black woman." Nope, he can't. (Also, he weirdly chose to racialize his transformation as well, which Nech points out - if gender is interchangeable with race and you assume that gender is biologically rooted, are you also saying race is biologically rooted?) When we're talking about the potential for either transitioning gender, subverting gender norms, or rethinking our own gender, we're talking about developments that take years of time to specify, explore, decide, and manifest. Even if gender is not exclusively binary and some people don't fit in the slots of that binary, that doesn't mean realizing one's identity is different and taking the steps to transition are easy or instant. That brings us to t:

5. Parents shouldn't transition their kids at a whim, involving psychological, expressive, and physical transformation. This represents one of Aum's big apprehensions. I agree, with particular emphasis on moments where parents are doing this independently and without consulting experts in medicine. Physical transformation is a particular touchstone; I'm not sure whether a situation exists where irreversable physical transformations should be made, but I'd want there to be years of persistent emphasis by the kid that they're not the gender they've been assigned at birth.

That said, I don't think that's grounds for rejecting the potential for kids expressing gender identities that don't fit what we expect. What is the harm in that? Aum has demonstrated no harm.

6. That trans* people are mentally ill and will forever be mentally ill because the DSM says it. Mels points out the central issue with that complaint; the inclusion of gender dysphoria, gender identity disorder, and similar items in the DSM has been controversial for decades, and there are arguments against it:
NIH article, via melsbells wrote:GIDC should not occur in its current form in future editions of the DSM, as there is no compelling evidence that cross-gender behaviors or identities, in and of themselves, cause distress in the individual.
That was the main point behind comparing trans* issues to gay issues: in the gay rights era, there was a compelling argument that doctors were stigmatizing homosexuality by treating it as a disease that causes distress to the people who are homosexual, when the real problem was social acceptance. Similarly, the past several decades have also seen a fight for trans* issues on a similar basis - treating trans* related issues as disorders ignores that the major problems associated with being trans* are either societal (acceptance, again) or coincidental (depression is a disorder; being trans* is not). In other words, being trans* in and of itself doesn't cause distress; it's all the shit around being trans*, much of which other people cause.

This is another point where Aum hasn't provided evidence, and evidence is also lacking on supporting points, like his suggestion upthread that it might be better for trans* people to not transition at all and that trans* people will never be socially accepted.

7. All of the personal judgments against academics (while referring uncritically to academics he happens to agree with, like critics of third-wave feminism Camille Paglia and Christine Hoff Summers), the allusions to a so-called "leftist pop culture," third-wave feminism, the inclusion of T in LGBTQIA, and stuff like that. These statements are way too broad to engage directly or argumentatively. As a reader, I would only take them seriously if I already agreed with Aum. Unlike the other points, no amount of evidence would be immediately persuasive here, as this goes well beyond the discussion and into the generalized categories and belief systems we each use. At best, this is something to develop over a greater amount of time.

Generally, I cosign Nech's statement:
It is hard to take any "counter-information" seriously when you offer no proof. It is literally no different than hot air or what trolls do. If you've seen data and have stats available, share with the class. I doubt anyone here will instantly about face when presented with hard data, but they certainly won't dismiss it outright without countering like you're currently doing.
Cumulatively, we've linked to a lot of stuff now, and I've read a lot of what others have linked to because I want to learn more. Aum hasn't provided links to outside evidence. Furthermore, I'm skeptical of people who make naturalist arguments or appeals to science in general, especially when they're non-scientists. As a non-scientist myself, I'm aware that I need to refer to actual research to back up what I'm thinking about science. Sometimes I even hold off to see what scientists like Eravial say. With Aum, I'll admit to one extra level of skepticism - I need more evidence because I know he believes in pseudoscientific beliefs like astrology, and so I don't know if the scientific consensus he draws from is actually scientific or merely pseudoscientific. So I'm not likely to be convinced by Aum's arguments when they're not backed up by some thorough sourcing. I know that takes time (it took time to do it myself). That's where I'm at.

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Re: leftist parenting and gender [split from gender recognition]

Post by Pikachu » Fri Sep 22, 4:24 2017

You'd think that the people against youth transitioning would be highly supportive of adult transitions to make the point that it's okay to transition as an adult. But no, the people against young transitioning are also the first in line to mock and ridicule later transitioned transwomen as ugly freaks in dresses and transmen as butch lesbians. They literally create the environment that makes trans people wish they transitioned early, yet condemn and campaign against early transition, creating a nasty double bind.
So far it seems like gender reassignment surgery does not put a dent in the depression and suicide rate whatsoever.
The claim comes from the wildly misleading op-ed by Paul McHugh in the Wall Street Journal. He claims - truly but highly misleadingly - that post-transition suicide attempt rates are higher than those of the general population, which they are. But that is not the relevant statistic. The relevant statistic is whether they are higher than non-transitioned trans people.
Even when trans people are put in ideal environments and granted freedom of expression and body modification, the rates of mental health problems do not change. The disparity between mind/body is so intense that it never really resolves.
False.

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/827713

At entry into the study (baseline), the most common comorbidity in both groups was depression, with a 24.9% incidence in MTF subjects and 13.6% in FTM, according to Dr. Asscheman. He noted, however, that the frequency of depression varied greatly among the study centers.
Even after treatment, 26 (2.4%) of the MTF subjects and 7 (1.4%) of the FTM subjects still reported depression, leading Dr. Asscheman to tell the large audience, "Sex-reassignment treatment does not cure depression.
"

Does not cure, but that would be a 90% decrease in reported depression.

Another study you can put into google:

Hormone-treated transsexuals report less social
distress, anxiety and depression
Esther Go´mez-Gil a,
*, Leire Zubiaurre-Elorza b
, Isabel Esteva c
,
Antonio Guillamon d
, Teresa Goda´s e
, M. Cruz Almaraz c
,
Irene Halperin f
, Manel Salamero


Overall, 61% of the group of patients without treatment and 33% of the group with hormonal treatment experienced possible symptoms (score 8—10) or symptoms (score >11) of anxiety (Table 3). The same pattern was found for symptoms of depression; the percentages were significantly higher in the group of patients without treatment (31%) than in the group on hormonal treatment (8%).

These studies prove that cross sex hormone treatment improves depression. So if feminization through hormones improves depression for Mtf transgender people, I'd like to see your sources and evidence that further feminization through sex reassignment surgery has no effect on the depression/suicide rate of trans people.

Because this study indicates otherwise:
http://journals.lww.com/plasreconsurg/F ... he.11.aspx

And you still haven't answered on how you distinguish "true trans" from "fakers".

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Re: leftist parenting and gender [split from gender recognition]

Post by Unvoiced_Apollo » Sat Sep 23, 5:52 2017

Aum wrote:
Fri Sep 1, 22:39 2017
[Mod note: topic split from "gender recognition."]

If a boy who has a penis asks if he's a boy and you don't just say yes, then that's straight up lunacy.

What he decides to do with that boyhood or how he dresses is up to him. But if you're born with a penis you're a boy.

Making it airy fairy when, statistically, scientifically, less than 1% of 1% of children born have true gender dysphoria, is immoral and wrong. It's also a sign of our troubled times.
This is just my anecdotal experience but...

I have experienced bullying based on simply engaging in normal children's play with girls. Insults were attacks on both me and the girls. But I NEVER questioned my gender as a male. So if a child asks me if he's a boy and was identified biologically as one, I am going to question what influences are on the child before I answer.

If a boy likes dolls but still feels like a boy, we can reassure him. If a girl likes GI Joe, same thing. As someone who has experienced being othered by the slightest variance of gender expression, I would want to know how this question came about from the child. "Do you feel like a boy" is perfectly fine question that helps establish a starting point and, to repeat this, engage in why the question was even asked.

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