Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Reflections on the Transgender Conflict

The transgender conflict is currently breaking hearts and confusing minds,
another tragic case of how an important concern can be twisted by politicians
and the media until all that is left is smog, and no one is helped.


#1 Keep politics, the media, non-medical people, and others out of the transgender subject. Leave this concern with the individual!

It would seem that if an individual's gender was wrongly assigned at birth, that this is a private matter, the business of no one but the individual. 

If a person's gender doesn't match his/her body, and so she/he has transitioned, who is going to know when she/he visits the restroom stall of her/his gender identity?

No one!

#2 Inform ourselves on the topic by reading scholarly articles, books, and by talking with a transgender individual IF she/he brings up the concern.

I am gradually learning about the concern, despite the media, politicians, social rumor, propaganda, and so much popular drivel. 

Get our learning from scholarship, not from popular leaders.

I've read one good scholarly book on sexuality related to gender, same sexuality, etc. That's not nearly enough I realize. So I continue to learn and to seek to understand. 

Personally, I don't know anyone who is transgender, at least no one who has identified thus. Hopefully, I will be able to discuss this with such an individual soon.

#3 Live in empathy, compassion, social concern, equality, and justice for all humans.

And keep seeking for what is true, what is just, what is right, 

and what is good in the Light,

Daniel Wilcox

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This documentary is neither strident nor angry, very all in the family in flavor:

I've done some blogging on the matter:

That chart was somewhat challenging to understand, but I think says people mostly want to stay who they feel they are on the red line and are willing to reorganize their gender role and physical characteristics around that goal.

We might get too stuck in the picture of "transgender" meaning moving from male to female, but that's not the whole story obviously.  I'll resist the temptation to post more links.  Easy to Google.



Thanks for the two urls. I've read your blog post and am going to get the film.

If a person's gender doesn't match his/her body, and so she/he has transitioned, who is going to know when she/he visits the restroom stall of her/his gender identity?

No one!

Well, that's a little more complicated than you're letting on. Transition isn't an overnight thing. It's a long process, around a year, for hormone replacement therapy to really make a significant change for some, and even so, it takes a few years for things to balance out. Similarly, getting to the point that a doctor is willing to prescribe hormones can take quite a while. And getting to the point where any surgeries are on the table is likely to take years.

I am not transgender. I have a few friends who are. One told me that it took 7 years of going to a psych for one hour every week (at $100+/hr) before he could get a letter from the psych saying he was sufficiently gender dysphoric to get "top surgery" (ie, double mastectomy). The psych appointments were in excess of $35,000 and not covered by insurance. The surgery, also not covered by insurance, was a further $5,000. No, the letter didn't result in coverage by insurance. It only resulted in a surgeon being willing to lay a finger on him. That's quite the barrier to transition!

And then there is the ban on prescribing any physical changes until after the person starts using the other bathroom for at least a full year. That's right, there's a catch-22. Many people say "well, just don't start using the other bathroom until your appearance is such that you can pass." But then the doctors say "we won't let you start changing your appearance until you are using the other bathroom."

Add in the high poverty rates for trans people (and well, consider the cyclical effect of insurance-not-covered medical care on poverty!), and many trans people spend years and years being unable to "pass." Many never will pass. This friend won't. Even if he went on testosterone, he's too old for his voice to ever drop sufficiently to pass. Hormones don't always do enough to a person's appearance, especially if they transition in middle age, for that person to end up passing without extensive plastic surgery, which is (of course) expensive.

Taking estrogen or blocking testosterone/androgen does not stop beard growth. Laser surgery is required to prevent 5 o'clock shadow, and it doesn't always work. The friend above actually has higher testosterone rates than would be expected for someone with ovaries and no hormone therapy, such that this friend has had beard growth since high school. His mother forced him to have laser hair removal when he was a minor. It was not successful. He can't grow a mustache, but he can grow an Amishman's beard. Now imagine the issues he had as a bearded person with a very womanly figure during the 7 years his doctors refused to prescribe top surgery. There was no safe restroom. Following the usual pattern for trans men, he received physical threats in the men's room (typical site of murders of trans men) and police attention in women's rooms. There still isn't a safe restroom. Even living in a state where it is on-the-books legal for him to use the men's room, it isn't safe to be in a restroom with with cisgender men.

The referenced friend gave permission for me to share his story and reviewed what I've written here.

Thank you for sharing of your friend's tragic situation.

I don't understand how it came to be that he received threats from men when he was in a restroom stall. Did they accuse him because he walked by them when they were at the sinks?

This is way outside of anything I've seen in the many thousands of restrooms I been in over a period of 59 years. I've never seen such attacks on anyone, but then maybe I only used restrooms that were safe. But I used to hitch hike around the U.S. and across Europe.

Also, I don't understand why police would have been in the stalls of women's restrooms. Why would police even be a woman's restroom.

Again, I've never seen any police in any of restrooms.

Did this take place in New York City or something?

I am learning about this, obviously need to read much more.

Yes, he is seen while walking through the door and past the sinks. He might be attacked or detained (to wait for police) on his way in or on his way out.

Also, when it comes to the men's room, well, you may not be aware, but urination has a different sound when you are someone capable of "writing your name in the snow" than when you're not. Those of us who can't write our names in the snow pressurize the urine as it leaves the body, and so there is a hissing sound. Men aware of this, hearing that sound come from a stall in the men's room, will wait outside the stall to punch its occupant as they attempt to leave the stall and go to the sinks.

No, there are not ordinarily police inside the restrooms and certainly not stationed in each stall. Rather, another restroom occupant will bar the door and call the police or the mall security guard. Or someone sees the person walk into the restroom and calls the police / mall security from outside. I take it you have not seen this viral video of a butch lesbian being dragged out of the restroom? Or here's another recent story of what happens when strangers think yo....

Some public restrooms, such as the single-occupancy ones in a Starbucks, can be ok. But imagine a busy turnpike rest stop restroom, with 20-30 stalls and many men. If even one takes exception to his appearance, he could beaten, raped, or killed. And in a busy restroom or a shopping mall, there often IS a cop or security guard within shouting range.

This friend has lived in urban, suburban, and rural areas. Probably the best is within the city lines of Washington, DC, where all single-occupancy restrooms are by law gender-neutral. That still doesn't make restrooms with stalls safe, but it means there are some places he can pop in if nature calls. 

Of course, he's  not going to be threatened, beaten, or have the police called every time he uses the restroom. But the risk is ever-present and high enough to develop what he refers to as "tranny bladder": learning to hold it for 12+ hours at a go. (Note: t----y is generally a slur. I'm quoting him on the term for this.)

*sigh* That second link was supposed to have the text "here's another recent story of what happens when strangers think you're the wrong gender," but QQ didn't like how long that link text was and cut it off.

You wrote, "Men aware of this, hearing that sound come from a stall in the men's room..."

I appreciate your explaining this because I never knew any men ever did this.

But then maybe it takes place in a city very different from cities in California. Out here, both men and women often use the same restroom (especially when the women's has a long line, etc.)

It baffles me why any man would be paying attention to the sound of peeing! Very weird!

Then you explained, "Rather, another restroom occupant will bar the door and call the police..."

Don't these prejudiced, intolerant individuals have a life?

But then many humans seem unwilling to choose empathy, compassion.

I've spent most of the last few years trying to help  Christians of various denominations including some Quakers, nontheists, etc. understand that the intentional slaughter of civilians is woefully wrong, etc., 
yet the vast majority of them continue to argue for bombing civilians, even burning to death thousands of children,
so I realize I shouldn't be surprised that there are intolerant, abusive men like your friend encounters:-(

Here's another good one I just reviewed, dunno if on Netflix:  Just Gender.


Daniel Wilcox said:


Thanks for the two urls. I've read your blog post and am going to get the film.

Hey Kirby,

Thanks for sending your review of the movie.

I think this one sentence helped me the most  with a succinct definition/differentiation:

"...the important distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation:  who you want to sleep with is orientation, who you want to sleep as is identity. 
There's no logical entailment connecting these two."

Kirby Urner said:

Here's another good one I just reviewed, dunno if on Netflix:  Just Gender.


Daniel Wilcox said:


Thanks for the two urls. I've read your blog post and am going to get the film.

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