Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two-edged sword

In a comment response to Unknown in the post What's in a Name, I wrote the following:
I agree with you about male-bodied children who are more physically feminine. For one thing, there are many physically feminine men who are not transsexual. But a transsexual girl/woman with a feminine body is indeed fortunate.

Someone left a comment that the writer subsequently deleted. I get comments in email, and I thought the writer made a good point. So I shall add
as long as she survives childhood.

Being feminine-looking is indeed an advantage when it comes time to change sex, but first the girl has to make it through the taunts, bullying, and even beatings that are likely to come her way.

As someone who was not as feminine-looking as some but nonetheless endured her share of trouble and pain for not looking or acting like people thought she ought to, I should have remembered to qualify my statement.


Unknown said...

I don't know if you've read it yet? But as the comment promised

I won't try to make it a link this time as I'm apparently a HTML failure.

Sagebrush said...


A premise worth consideration (as I wrote earlier), and one that you have supported in your post.

The only problem with the previous link was that it had an extra "http" in it. I've seen that before. I don't know why it happens sometimes. Not a big deal!

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip, I keep an eye on that.

I'm not here to start another meaningless debate which will as usual progress into a mud slinging match between "women of history" and "the transgender" but I see varying levels of intensity to be false. I think the actual condition remains the same regardless, it is simply the factors that influence us and our individual lives that affect how we experience (and then deal with) the condition itself.

The whole "transgender" line of thought (in my mind at least) is based on that one little misunderstanding of varied "intensity".

Whilst (I think) Benjamin gained a good understanding of our condition, he failed when he associated it with TVism on any level, and whilst in some ways, his scale helped diagnose, it also has help us to be co-opted as something we are simply not.

Loose that scale, that has evolved into a "spectrum" and recognize TSism as a single condition (whereby, you either are, or you are not) and conflation must cease.

Anne said...

I agree that Benjamin's "scale" has been totally misconstrued by the TG to justify their "spectrum" theory. However, I do NOT agree that the, " varying levels of intensity to be false".

I believe that it is the lower levels of intensity in some that allows them to "cope" and survive by seeking the relief provided by occassional cross-dressing. Sometimes this "coping mechanism" works for decades, allowing for marriage and children. When it ultimately fails we have the "late transitioner" or the "super-TV" who begins to x-dress full time or "transitions socially".

This "social", non-surgical transitioner or TRANS GENDER desperately seeks the percieved "status" and actual social acceptance of those that, BEAUSE they suffered from a HIGHER level of INTENSITY, were FORCED to face and defeat their demons early in life and were able to successfully "cure" their physical misconfiguration and are now simply living as the women that they actually ARE without all the "baggage" or history acquired while living as a man.

Further, I see the introduction of the "more feminine" body structure a just one more red herring having nothing to do with one's core understanding of SELF.

I know of PAIS individuals who survived, (barely), well into their mid 30's, before the total INCONCRUITY of their lives FORCED them to seek treatment.

Unknown said...

I think I understand your point Anne, however I think you're far more inclusive than I.

My thoughts, theory, and comments are based on those I would personally consider to be TRANSSEXUAL, the lower intensities that you have described, don't even get a look at that diagnosis from me.

in my mind, they are simply NOT transsexual. They do NOT suffer the same condition, and as such, I see no need to include them and justify their existance by suggesting they just didn't feel it as bad or as much.

I'm not trying to offend you (seriously I'm not, you have my respect), but essentially you yourself have done in you comment that which I've seen you speak against.

From what I read, you've confirmed transgender theory, and that TG is a lesser form of TS, which I totally disagree with.

In my mind, even (the majority of) those who change sex late in life after "all else" has "failed" are generally NOT TS (with rare exception).

Unknown said...

Further-more, if you do exclude those people considered "lower intensities" then the condition itself becomes far easier to recognize, understand, diagnose and treat.

Sagebrush said...

For the most part, this blog is not concerned with transgenderism or transvestism. Its focus is on the birth defect called transsexualism, characterized by incongruity between the sex of the brain and the sex of the body. From time to time the blog might deal with the various kinds of transgenderism but only as a contrast to transsexualism. Any condition or phenomenon that does not have to do with a brain/body mismatch is really outside the scope of this blog.

It seems to me from the best evidence available (of which much more is needed) that brain/body incongruity, like brain/body congruity, exists from birth. There would seem to be no mechanism for it to develop later in life. If a person has a birth defect, they must have at least some awareness of it early in life. The point at which the birth defect is treated, however, is a different matter.

Whether there are levels of intensity or severity of the transsexual congenital condition is unknown at this time. It would, however, be unusual among birth defects, and indeed among any medical conditions, if there were not different levels of severity, just as there are of conditions such as cleft lip or cleft palate.

Scientific facts are what they are. Some might be politically or sociologically palatable, some might not, but their accuracy does not depend on that. Opinions on natural phenomena should be based on science and not on political expediency. Scientific theories are explanations of observed phenomena. If a theory gains acceptance, it is not because it "makes sense" but rather because attempts to falsify it fail.

Unknown said...

I agree SB, and that was kind of my point, you are born TS or you are not.

A birth defect does not vary in "Intensity" the only thing that varies is how and what the sufferer experiences because of their condition, and in my mind (in relation to this particular birth defect) I think social and physical factors are what influence how and what the person experiences and how and when they treat it.

But again, that is JMO, YMMV =-)

Sagebrush said...

Intensity seems to be the wrong word, since that would describe the experience of the birth defect. Severity would be a better word to apply to the medical phenomenon itself. And birth defects such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and clubfoot do vary in severity.

Anne said...

@ "unknown"...Actually, I thinn you are misreading my words, or at the very least the intent and meaning.

Benjamin clearly differentiates "true/classic" transsexuals as the two highest levels of intensity, (Types V and VI).

I am not gong to defend a 50 y/o HIGHLY preliminary look at the available data and the initial classification of that data.

It was a great start, but most certainly NOT the "last word".

Ignorng TGs will not make them go away. All we can do is draw the distinction which at this point seems quite clear. I do agree that either one IS afflicted with this congenital defect is NOT. I find this interest in the "difference" between Types V and Type VI, to be totally irrelevant.

The bottom line is the end result. Are you a woman, or are you not?

I do think SB makes a good point in that the severity of the defect is what NECESSITATES the medical intervention. Social convention is NOT a factor.

Anne said...

Also...I think what we need to remember is that Benjamin was attempting to do, was classify/describe/quantify SYMPTOMS, IE; behavior, not causes or etiology.

Unknown said...

And he did a good job of that. Given how patients must have appeared to him at the time, I can see how he might think those presenting with the symptoms described under type 6 where a more "intense" variant of the condition, however, I think they where simply less repressed.

As sage says, birth defects may come in varying sevarities, but "intensity" describes how one might experience the condition.

I think that suggesting there are different intensities brings with it the inherent implication that is a mental condition.

Again, I think there is only one form of the condition, we all just deal with it differently due to our circumstances.

Sagebrush said...

As I suggested earlier, maybe we should avoid the word "intensity" and stick to "severity." And acknowledge that transsexualism might or might not have different levels of severity. Feel free to argue either possibility.

Unknown said...

I look at things this way:

For a woman born female, There is no "severe" or "intense" female there is just plain female.

The same applies here, you are either female with a birth defect, or you are not, really simple.

Severity (in my mind) could only really relate to the repocussions your birth defect had on your life and again, I think that is relative to how and when the condition is treated which is dependant on the circumstances you've lived through.

Sagebrush said...


As I wrote, I am using "severity" only with regard to the defect itself. There are different severities of cleft lip, and they all need to be repaired. But a baby born without the defect simply has a normal lip. There are all kinds of "normal" lips, but as much as they vary, they don't cause the difficulties that any severity of cleft lip can (e.g., with feeding -- cleft lip is not just a cosmetic defect).

Human biology is rarely simple, and intersex conditions are no exception. Look at all the gradations of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome, from various levels of Partial to Complete.

Unknown said...

I think, in a sense, I can understand what your getting at, not quite sure, are you saying that what varies (IE makes some more severe than others) is how much the body masculinizes?...

Other than that, in what way do you think some are more severe than others?

Sagebrush said...


More like to what extent the brain fails to respond to dihydrotestosterone (the derivative that is responsible for making the brain male). Maybe it's all or nothing -- respond normally to DHT or not at all -- but I can also see where the brain might respond partially but not fully, similar to the different degrees of AIS.

Sadly, we know little as yet about how this works. Even the non-response to DHT is more conjecture than anything backed up by solid evidence.

Anne said...

Except for those studies on the effects of EDC's, especially DES, THAT, dear friends, IS the sad state of our limited understanding of the "hard" science or possible etiologies.

What does NOT change however, and what CAN be observed studied and quantified is HOW the individual reacts to this condition. This is what HB did. His was a study and an attempt to describe and quantify what he observed.

He drew the line of distinction between transsexual and everything else at that point where medical intervention was required for the well being and/or survival of the patient. He drew the transsexual line at the Type V/VI Level of Intensity.

Personally, THAT works for me until a better yardstick can be found.