Tuesday, 26 April 2016

The Lunatics Are Taking Over the Asylum!

     According to estimates, between one in 20,000 and one in 7,000 men, with a similar order of magnitude for women, are transsexuals, that is they are seriously distressed about their biological sex, and feel in their hearts that they are "really" members of the opposite sex born in the wrong body. Of these, only a fraction go on to have an operation. It comes as a surprise, therefore, that I have met three of them, and so am sympathetic to their plight. Certainly, as long as we permit "sex change" operations, legal anomalies will arise which need to be dealt with. Hitherto, this has always been seen as a social problem: how to permit these unhappy people to live with some sort of dignity and peace of mind. But lately there have been strident calls to treat it, not as a problem, but as an issue of "rights" - which are defined very broadly, despite the fact that they are not self-evident, nor the result of community consensus. That is a route which leads to madness, which will ultimately rebound to the detriment of those it is intended to help.
     Let me recount my own anecdotes. Believe it or not, in my own branch office of just a few hundred people, we had two transsexuals. One I did not know personally, but everybody said she used to be a man, and she looked the part. The other was a close colleague, whom I shall call Jack. One day, out of the blue, he announced that he would feel better as a woman. A public meeting was held. Everybody was completely civilised; if Jack wanted to be Jill, we would go along with it. At one point, however, a line was drawn. The women were absolutely against his (her?) use of the female toilet. The disabled toilet was suggested as a compromise. The fact that he was sexually attracted to women did not help his claim, but the women relented a dozen years later after Jill had had her sex change operation.
     A few years later, a man I shall call Arthur joined my Toastmasters club. He gave his opening speech, but then sent us a letter stating that he intended to become a woman, and did we mind? We agreed that he had been courteous to let us know beforehand, but I raised the issue of the toilet. However, it was pointed out that the women's toilet in the hotel where the meeting was being held possessed only a couple of cubicles. Martha could just walk in and out unobtrusively and no-one would be the wiser. That is a point a lot of people tend to miss: it is only corporate lavatories, where everyone's identity is known, that a problem arises, not in anonymous public ones. Eventually, we agreed to treat him as a woman in all respects. We wouldn't inform new members that Martha was really Arthur. On the other hand, we would make no concessions. If someone wanted to make a comment about "queers", so be it.
     The plan came unstuck, however, at the next meeting, when Martha turned up, looking just like a man in drag, and gave a speech. One of the women who hadn't been present at the previous meeting was shocked, and started making an issue of it. The result was that he left the club. I always thought it would have been common sense to wait until after establishing a new identity before joining a new organisation, but it turned out we had been part of an experiment. His psychiatrist had recommended he test the waters before taking any major steps to transitioning. Whether that experience convinced him not to transition, and whether that would have been a good thing, I cannot say.

Red Herrings
     At this stage we ought to make a few points about transsexualism, gender identity disorder (GID), or gender dysphoria - call it what you will.
     1. Don't confuse it with homosexuality. Jack claimed that he had always thought of himself as a woman and he had always been sexually attracted to women. As one transsexual put it: "Sexual orientation is whom you go to bed with; gender identity is who you go to bed as." In about half the cases, the two conditions do not correspond. Also, ultimately, transsexuals have different agenda to homosexuals. After all, the whole point of having the operation is to live, as far as possible, the normal life of a member of the opposite sex, not to join a group whose lifestyle is, by their own admission, out of left field. As Mark Steyn so aptly put it:
The trans-life had little in common with "gay pride" - because the object wasn't to come out of the closet, but to blend into it so smoothly no one would know you hadn't always been there.
     In fact, I notice that some homosexuals are trying to uncouple transsexuals from their own movement.
      2. You can't really change sex. A "sex change" operation allows one to better live as a member of the opposite sex, but the new sex organs are never quite as good as natural ones, there are no sex glands, no possibility of procreation, and the person has to live with hormone supplements. That Jill is a real woman is essentially a legal and social fiction - a useful fiction, perhaps, but it should not be confused with fact.
     3. There is no such thing as a third sex. Some people bring up chromosomal abnormalities to refute this proposition, but they are wrong. Normal men have XY chromosomes, normal women XX. The default position is female, but shortly before birth the Y chromosome initiates testosterone production which turns its bearer into a male. People with XYY and XXY chromosome sets are somewhat abnormal, but still clearly males, just as a man born without legs is still clearly human, and not a separate species, or evidence that humans are not necessarily bipeds. Likewise, XO people are abnormal women, but still obviously female. In fact, psychologically, they are ultra-feminine. There occur the odd cases of human chimeras, where the individual retains some of the cells of a resorbed twin but, again, such people are clearly either male or female. The only situations where chromosomal sex does not correspond to physical sex are those of complete androgen insensitivity, where XY individuals develop as mannish women, and XX male syndrome, where part of the Y chromosome has attached to one of the X chromosomes..
     Intersexes are simply men or women with ambiguous genitalia, which in the past often were brought up as the wrong sex, although their chromosomes and internal plumbing are more or less normal.
     In any case, this discussion is not relevant to transsexuals, because they are chromosomaly and physically normal men and women.
    4. It's a mental disorder. That should be virtually self-evident. It does not, of course, preclude the possibility of some biological predisposition. Every mental illness has at least some physical and genetic contribution, but we still regard schizophrenia and bipolar disorders as mental illnesses even though they are the result of chemical imbalances in the brain, and can strike their victims out of the blue. In the case of GID, if a physically normal man thinks he is a women, or a physically normal woman thinks she is a man, then he or she is suffering from a delusion - a painful, and probably incurable delusion, but a delusion nevertheless.
     It follows that, although an operation may perhaps be useful as a last resort, the first line of treatment should be psychiatric - if not to effect a complete cure, at least to reduce their distress and help them become more comfortable with their real sex. And the bottom line is: we do not treat mental illnesses by forcing everybody else to endorse the victim's delusion.

The Process of Transition
      If you have annoying and intractable physical symptoms - say an itch, or ringing in the ears - there are two ways you can deal with it: either try not to think about it (not always easy) and use the normal activities of life as distractions, or concentrate on it till it becomes an obsession and distracts from the normal activities of life. In a like manner, transsexuals suffer from gender dysphoria: a gnawing background feeling that they are at odds with their fundamental nature. The dysphoria can be mild or severe. Before sex change surgery was invented in the 1960s, they just had to put up with it, and for that reason most of them did. But the advent of promised relief in the form of surgery has now caused many of them to obsess about it. It is an example of how technology often causes problems as well as cures them.
     Sex change surgery is a radical process. It means amputating perfectly good body parts and replacing them with imperfect ones or, in the case of testes, ovaries, and womb, none at all. It is also very difficult to reverse. The last thing the patient wants is to find himself on the wrong side of the river with his bridge burnt behind him, yet this is the fate of too many transsexuals. Post-operative transsexuals have a very high suicide rate - 18% in one study - and presumably many more are dissatisfied with their life. Quite a few want to "detransition", or attempt to go back to their true sex. The homosexual endocrinologist, Charles Ihlenfeld, who has provided hormone treatment to 500 transsexuals, once said that 80% of those who want to change their sex shouldn't do it. Dr Paul McHugh of the John Hopkins Centre, which used to perform such surgery, claims that it does not really improve the psychological lives of the patients. Not everyone agrees, but it is an opinion worth considering. The Swedish study which followed post-op transsexuals over 30 years found that after about a decade mental problems start to set in, possibly as a result of social isolation. The most recent investigations tend to confirm it. Those who have transitioned also have a death rate twice as high as for normal people. With this in mind, I wonder about Jill, with whom I have not communicated for several years. Jack was not an easy person to relate to, but it could be done on a superficial level, while Jill, although everyone treats her respectfully, is neither "one of the boys" nor "one of the girls".
     Transsexual children raise special ethical concerns because, although early intervention with puberty blockers would obviously make transition easier, the vast majority do not need it, for they lose their gender dysphoria as they grow up. However, there now appears to be an epidemic of gender dysphoria in teenagers to the point where it has become a form of mass madness. The father of one such girl complained about how the therapists simply accepted his daughter's self-assessment as a transsexual without even seeing her. When a study on this social contagion was published, activists attempted to get it suppressed.
     For all these reasons, the legal requirement for sex change operations under most jurisdictions include psychiatric assessments, followed by the patient living as a member of the opposite sex for a certain length of time. These requirements are obviously for the benefit of the transsexual.
     During this intervening period, the patient lives in a legal limbo. I suspect, but do not know, that Jack changed his name to Jill on the driver's licence, the "M" also got changed to "F". It would be rather awkward if it didn't. However, although we tend to use driver's licences as de facto identity cards, their only real purpose is to prove that the bearer is entitled to drive a car. In 99 times out of 100, the bearer's sex could be deleted from the card without any adverse effects. Changing it on a passport would be a different matter. Foreign countries might not recognize it.
     Likewise, although a pre-op transsexual could surreptitiously use the public lavatory of his/her preferred sex, public changing rooms are a different matter. How would the other women, themselves partly or wholly undressed, react if the new "woman" stripped off to reveal a penis and scrotum? If the person was foolish enough to commit a crime pre-op and was sent to a women's prison, there would be hell to pay. (Being sent to a male prison wouldn't be much better.)
     These are the sensible precautions society uses to address the problems of "sex change". Suggestions for improvement are always welcome, but now see what happens when the problem is redefined as one of "rights".

The Descent into Madness
     The transsexual rights movement appears to have been piggy-backed on the homosexual movement, which has an inordinate influence on the left wing of politics. Only this could explain why such a stub of a tail could wag such a big dog. Indeed, as an exercise, you may well attempt to identify any real transsexual in the van of the movement. It is not these unhappy people, but the vast regiment of the politically correct left who are the real lunatics attempting to take over the asylum.
     The stamp of the gay gestapo is all over the movement: their ruthless attempts to steamroll their agenda onto everybody, their rejection of compromise and the rights of other people, their raucous attempts to shout down, bully, and intimidate their opponents, and their copious use of insults such as "bigot" and "transphobe" in order to push the view that only an irrational hatred could possibly motivate anyone speaking against them.
     But the first line of attack has been to commandeer language in order to redefine reality, and regrettably, otherwise reasonable people has fallen into the trap of using it. The person's biological sex is too often referred to as his "assigned gender", as if it were some arbitrary ruling of the parents or the delivery room doctors. In a bizarre court decision [PDF] in the U.S., the majority judges stated:
G.G.’s birth-assigned sex, or so-called "biological sex," is female, but G.G.’s gender identity is male.
     The point here is not just that they forced the school to allow the girl-who-wanted-to-be-a-boy to use the boys' public lavatories, even when the school went so far as to provide her with single cubicle unisex toilets, but also that they put "biological sex" in scare quotes, as if it were something which didn't really exist. We have arrived at the bizarre position whereby homosexuality is supposed to be inborn, but male and female are considered social constructs. (Check here for the very confused philosophical undertones of the movement.)
     The twin brother of a transsexual explained that, while he was still a boy, he grasped the fact that he really had an identical twin sister(!). Recently, in a local paper, a woman explained that her daughter had been born with the external and internal features of a boy. Personally, I don't know how I would respond if I were presented with the terrible dilemma faced by this parent, but one thing in certain: she doesn't have a daughter with the external and internal features of a boy; she has a son who imagines he is a girl.
     Those last two stories initially caused me some confusion when reading them, because of the use of the female pronoun with obviously male names. They are example of a fiction which is becoming all too frequent: the idea that a person's subjective identification is his true nature, and rather than change sex, he has always been a member of the opposite sex. It is one thing to treat Jill as a woman, but it is a step too far to insist that she was always a woman, even when she was called Jack and wore trousers and a beard.
     Language having thus turned nature on its head, the next step on the downwards slope was facilitated. A certain section of the political spectrum always sees any unfairness, or perceived unfairness, to be the result of "discrimination", to be countered with procrustean one-size-fits-all "anti-discrimination" legislation. "Do you realise," one activist complained, "that it is legal for a transgender to be fired the day after he transitions?" Such a case, in my humble opinion, would indicate that the transsexual had sprung his transition on the employer, without having had the courtesy to discuss the issue with his boss and co-workers beforehand, as Jack did. If he sensed that they really were irrationally and irreparably hostile to his proposed move, it would have been better if he had planned a change of career. Apart from that, having an employee "change" sex might actually compromise the business - especially if he has personal contact with regular customers.
     But right now the struggle involves the "bathroom wars" in the United States, where various governments are insisting on restricting public lavatories to those of the appropriate biological sex. The political correctors, of course, are digging their heels in. And the irony is, the laws really wouldn't much affect real transsexuals, who will continue to do what they have always done. As Matt Walsh said, in his usual inimitable way:
Men who “live as women” can unfortunately already use their desired bathrooms. That’s one of the many reasons why this whole issue is ludicrous. If you’ve really invested in the charade, nobody would know that you’re a male in the women’s room, or a female in the men’s room. There has never really been anything stopping a man from dolling himself up like a woman and going into the women’s room. All he has to do is commit to the role, and the rest of us will be none the wiser.
     The activists are so tightly confined to their own little world view, and so unable either to compromise or ascribe good motives to their opponents that they refuse to understand, or care, that the real objection to desegregating public lavatories is the danger from deviants using the law for their own nefarious purposes - of which we are now seeing an increasing number of cases.
     Remember Amnesty International? It used to be a sterling organization campaigning for the release of non-violent political prisoners. But over the decades it has morphed into a lobby group for a whole lot of causes, not all of which will pass the smell test. And now they have finally lost the plot completely; they have joined the bandwagon for the two most dangerous agenda of the trans movement: the push to remove the criteria for an operation, and the push to remove the operation.
     In the first case they want to make it easier to have the operation. In particular, they are upset at the requirement for a psychiatric assessment. It stigmatizes them; it implies that they have a mental disorder(!). It does not occur to these people that, at the very least, it might be useful to have a psychiatrist prepare them for the transition and guide them through it. As pointed out earlier, these rules are there for the protection of transsexuals, not to hinder them.
     The second agendum is the reverse. Apparently, not every transsexual wants to go through with an operation (a good thing!), but to legally change sex while not even physically changing. Under this arrangement, all Jack needs to do is put on a dress and call himself Jill, and he automatically gets the right to:
  • strip off in front of half-dressed women in a women's change room,
  • get promoted under his firm's affirmative action policy, 
  • enlist as a woman on a dating site,
  • compete against women in women's sport (also here), and
  • be admitted to a women's hospital ward, women's domestic violence refuge, or women's prison. (In Britain, right now a rapist has been moved to a woman's prison simply because he now calls himself a woman.)
  • other abuses on this list.
    In particular, it appears they are upset that the operation causes sterilisation. Apparently they want to recreate the grotescue cases of "pregnant men", in which a woman calls herself a man leaves her internal plumbing intact so that she could go through the process of procreation. They want this to be a new norm: a woman pretending to be a man getting pregnant in the normal manner, with or without living with the father, or a man pretending to be a woman getting his female consort pregnant. It's all about ME, and never about anybody else, let alone the children. Common sense should remind us that nature designed children to be brought up by a father and mother. The negative effects of single parenthood are so well documented that nobody can now seriously deny them. And, as personal testimony shows, children in even the best same-sex household suffer emotionally. Imagine what it must be like growing up with a mother pretending to be a father or a father pretending to be a mother. We have enough mixed-up children in the world without adding to them.
     This will not end well. You cannot force the majority of people to accept a blatant lie indefinitely. Right now the small population of transsexuals are being used as pawns in a larger culture war, and they will inevitably suffer when the reaction sets in. In the meantime, a lot of vulnerable people are being led down a path which will ultimately ruin their lives.
     When Facebook provides 71 gender options, and a woman publicly informs the President that she is "non-binary" and, worse still, this nonsense is being taught to impressionable school children, the only effect can be to make confused people more confused, when we should be helping them come to grips with their real identities.
     Beam me up, Scottie. There's no intelligent life down here.