Jump Off the Tranny Bandwagon

The latest media spew about the woman formerly known as Bruce Jenner has made the transgendered the cause du jour. Compared with appearing on the Kardashian television show, appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair as a transgendered person is actually a step up from the tabloid sewer for Bruce Jenner. But whatever you think of Caitlyn Jenner, we can at least agree on two things: 1) people have a right to do whatever they want to with their bodies, and 2) the rest of us don’t have to like it.

And for all its good intentions, the increasing acceptance of the transgendered has reached delusional levels that stand to do long-lasting harm.

People who are transgendered should be treated with the same dignity and respect as everyone else. Treating people with respect means telling them the truth, and if we tell the transgendered that their problems can be solved with hormone treatments and surgery, we’re not being truthful. Gender dysphoria is a mental condition and ought to be treated as such.

There are other disorders that cause people to want to radically alter their bodies in ways that reputable practitioners of medicine will not perform. There are people who wish to have their limbs amputated or become partially paralyzed, and no legitimate doctor will approve such surgery. Gender reassignment surgery should rank among those surgeries doctors won’t do. I am well aware that many transgendered people do not get genital surgery and it’s considered rude to ask if they have. Indeed it is rude to ask someone about the state of their genitals, but if you are making a public pronouncement that you are not the gender you were born into, it begs the question of ‘Just how serious are you about this new identity?’ At any rate, with or without surgery to the genitals, transitioning from one sex to another requires very serious and extreme medical treatment. Those afflicted adults are entitled to seek whatever treatments they can afford, but they shouldn’t take offense when the general public considers it to be the ghastly mutilation that it is or decline to endorse or pay for it.

This is not an excuse to disrespect people who are suffering from gender identity disorder. Trannies shouldn’t lose their jobs for being transgendered, unless their jobs are something incredibly gender specific that their transition would render them incapable of performing. But let’s at least respect our transgendered friends enough to speak to them truthfully.

Someday medical science will have a better answer for people who do not feel that they are in the right body. Right now the going treatment for people who feel they are actually of the opposite sex is to treat them with hormones and surgically alter them to make them look like the gender of their choice. People should be free to do that to themselves if it makes them happy, but the compulsion to do this results from a person’s mental state, and making someone appear to be a man or a women when they are not will not change their basic biological reality, only turn them into a caricature of the opposite gender.

There will come a time, sooner rather than later, when today’s reliance on gender reassignment surgery and all its variant treatments will be considered barbaric and indulgent. Future generations will look at photos of transgendered people the way we look at photos of Chinese foot binding today: as brutal, outdated and an affront to human dignity.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

7 responses to “Jump Off the Tranny Bandwagon”

  1. gbebensee says :

    Interesting viewpoint. Tough for me to see Caitlyn Jenner as mentally ill, though, and calling her that seems a bit out of line to me, especially since it’s the medical community that’s performing these gender changes. It’s my understanding that those wishing to transition have to go through considerable counseling, and were they determined to be mentally ill, the transition process would never begin. Also, how the heck is this at all like Chinese foot binding? It seems, actually, the very opposite. GB

    Like

  2. mjpullen says :

    I commented on your G+ post but I feel it’s important to at least correct the misinformation you’re presenting here at the blog, because it could be dangerous to someone who actually thinks you’re knowledgeable (rather than just opinionated and mean-spirited) about this issue. Gender Identity Disorder is an outdated “diagnosis” long out of use by all ethically practicing mental health clinicians. It was removed from the DSM-V in its last iteration. Gender dysphoria isn’t a thing.

    Transgender individuals (both “tranny” and “transgenderED” are offensive — you wouldn’t say someone is “gayed” or “lesbianed”) experience staggering rates of bullying and suicide attempts — for trans men the number is ten times the hetero-normative population, for trans women it’s just under that. [This is from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey, which had nearly 6500 respondents: http://endtransdiscrimination.org/report.html%5D. Many of those suicide attempts occur when individuals are children or teens.

    The “cause du jour” as you put it, is really just that there is some recent media attention and — gasp — *acceptance* of a group of people who are among the most misunderstood and oppressed minorities in our culture. Despite all the reality show nonsense surrounding Caitlyn Jenner and the irrelevant debates about whether or not she is a hero or the right hero or whatever, the fact that a transgender individual is on the cover of Vanity Fair, and that there has been some acceptance of her by mainstream culture (not “forced” on anyone, to my knowledge), may provide a light in the darkness to someone who feels terribly alone and despondent.

    Unfortunately many of those individuals feel hopeless because they are surrounded by people like you, who take the unfortunate, misguided, and dangerous opinion that transgender is not an identity but an illness. Not only is that a small-minded and bigoted opinion, it’s simply not true and no longer seen in the medical community as such.

    The fact that you are advocating for “treatment” of transgender individuals with no knowledge base to back it up is horrific. The fact that you are adding false empathy by pretending that your viewpoint is somehow a kindness and intended with “respect” is reprehensible. I hope you’ll get your facts straight and consider the consequences before you weigh in on issues of mental health in the future.

    Like

    • politenewyorker says :

      Gender identity disorder may be out of fashion but it is by no means mean-spirited or cruel. It’s an accurate description of people believing they are not their given gender. People are free to adopt any identity they wish, but how is it a kindness to tell someone that their normal, healthy bodies are somehow deformed and need massive surgery? Advocating for these very serious medical treatments in the name of understanding and acceptance is what is truly reprehensible. History will judge these as cruel and confused times when well-meaning people advocated for barbaric mutilation in the name of progress.

      Like

      • mjpullen says :

        Gender Identity Disorder is not “out of fashion,” and saying it that way belittles the information I gave you. It’s no longer an accepted medical diagnosis and hasn’t been widely used for years. (Updates to the DSM are infrequent for obvious administrative reasons, so sometimes a discarded diagnosis like GID hangs around for a long time even when professionals abandon its use). Since your entire opinion is based on the idea that transgender individuals are “afflicted” with a “disorder” and purports to establish what is and isn’t appropriate treatment for those individuals, it’s important for you to realize that medical science, clinical psychology and research all refute the opinion you are casting as a loving, “reality-based” (from G+ conversation) “truth.”

        I am a mental health professional with a Master’s Degree, a Specialist Degree, and hundreds of hours of post-graduate training in mental illness and LGBT issues. I have treated transgender clients at several stages, and I have a good friend with a transgender child. I lost my mom to suicide from a real mental health disorder. When you use a mental health diagnosis as a cover for bigotry and disgust, you step into my house and you’d better have your facts straight.

        While I don’t know everything about transgender, nor can I claim to speak for trans people as a group, I have never heard of anyone “advocating” for reassignment surgery for a transgender adult who had not thoughtfully and at length (like, years) considered it as an option. Trans people are not delusional, they’re not incapable of making rational decisions, and they do understand both social and medical consequences of how they express their identities.

        I don’t know what evidence you have that medical professionals are pushing people to become “mutilated” against their will, but you don’t cite it here. I could be wrong, but I suspect you thought it would be the kind of argument that makes your intolerance of those different than you seem less jerky. In my mind, you failed at that, but perhaps others feel differently.

        If you want to assert that you have a right to say what others should and shouldn’t do with their bodies, or what kind of medicine trained doctors, psychologists and therapists practice, you should consider a more nebulous platform that doesn’t require evidence, because clinical psychology isn’t with you. You could try religion. People seem to like that one.

        Like

      • politenewyorker says :

        You seem to be making a straw-man argument here. Nowhere do I claim the right to dictate what people do with their bodies and I state explicitly that the transgendered (or transgenders if those two letters are so offensive) should be treated with the same respect and dignity as everyone else. And if you knew me better you’d know I’d rather be tied to a bed with Ru Paul than take up religion. You still fail to address the main issue raised by my column. My issue is not with the people who have gender identity disorder, it is with the experts (like YOU) who tell them that being operated on will make them what they are not.

        Like

  3. Archibald Lazer (@Archibaldlazer) says :

    Homosexuality used to be a mental condition. Horny women (hysteria) used to be a mental condition. Having a stutter used to mean you were mentally retarded. You’re not a doctor, you’re not a scientist. This is not forced upon the individual by family or society like foot binding. Stop being afraid of change and embrace the fact that the world is stale and needs more things like trans awareness to fuck up its black and white barbaric notions of what is ‘normal’

    Like

  4. mjpullen says :

    I did address the main point of your column related to Gender Identity Disorder by explaining that it’s not a disorder. Your entire opinion is deeply and irrevocably flawed from a mental health perspective. So to explain why experts don’t try to treat trans people as though they are defective makes no sense from my perspective. I would never treat someone for GID in the same way I would never treat someone for marshmallow fluff disorder. It’s not a disorder, it’s no longer recognized, just as homosexuality is no longer seen as a disorder.

    Personally, I have NEVER told or pushed anyone toward the idea that an operation will make them something they are not, nor has any professional I have ever known. First, I have never worked with a client who was considering surgery and I gave you no reason to think that I had. Second, it would be wildly unprofessional and unethical to convince someone to do something like that or anything else drastic and permanent — and if you knew anything about mental health treatment you would know that. Ethical doctors and therapists NEVER bully or pressure people into making drastic decisions of any kind (except in life or death situations, and even then a client’s informed consent and autonomy are paramount). If they do, they should be brought up on charges and have their licenses revoked.

    I don’t know anyone who “advocates” for gender reassignment surgery, so I’m not sure what makes you think I (or we in the mental health community) do. I feel the same way about your straw man arguments — arguing against a phantom agenda by MH experts to mutilate the clients we care deeply about and are committed to supporting via intensive training and a strict code of ethics. The fact that you accuse me of this personally without knowing anything about me or my practice is insulting, which is the problem with your whole blog. Lots of nasty, accusatory opinion with no evidence whatsoever that this is actually happening.

    btw, I do think that saying “Gender reassignment surgery should rank among those surgeries doctors won’t do” when you’re not an expert, a doctor or transgender IS saying what other people can and can’t do with their bodies. Just because you say you’re being respectful doesn’t mean you are.

    I’ve tried and failed to help here, and that makes me sad. I wish you peace regarding this issue.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: