The New Gender Paradigm

How to Change Opinion

The gay & lesbian communities have shown a stunning ability to change public opinion.  For example, a survey done in 1986 found that 69% of Americans opposed same-sex marriage.   That level of opposition continued unchanged until 2004, when opposition numbers began a constant downward march.  By 20012, more people favored same-sex marriage than opposed it (47% favor, 43% oppose.)   A recent poll (May 2016) showed that the approval numbers had been reversed by a decade of intensive campaigning:  61% of Americans favored same-sex marriage, while 37% opposed it.

This change came about through intense legal battles (11 states had passed constitutional amendments outlawing gay marriage -- but almost all were overruled in court.  Of course, the final victory also came through the Supreme Court, not through legislation.)  But in the meantime there were protest marches and sit-ins.  Advertisements were splashed across the media, billboards, and on the sides of buses.  

A key part of the campaign involved gays & lesbians telling their stories -- showing that they were normal human beings who faced the same worries & challenges as the rest of the population.   People who fell in love and cared for each other, just like everyone else.

Same-sex marriage provided a single goal, a well-defined rallying point that united the entire LGBT community toward achieving a great victory.


Transgender Status

In contrast to the growing acceptance of gays & lesbians, a recent study (U Delaware, July 2016) showed that acceptance of transgender people had significantly decreased just during the past year.   For example, the number of people in the general population who favored policies that protected transgender students from harassment & violence decreased from 71% in 2015, to 56% in 2016.   Support for transgender access to restrooms had similarly decreased.

In past surveys, most people admitted they didn't know much about the transgender community and the issues trans people faced every day.  But that's changed:  In this year's study, the vast majority of responders felt fully aware of what being transgender entailed.  ...And they disapproved.  Those individuals who knew a trans person personally were less likely to support trans equality.  


...The transphobes are winning.  Social hostility is increasing.  The current approach is failing.

OPINION:

A List of Challenges

Trans Adults

Trans adults face the harsh reality of trying to survive in a hostile society.


(1)  Competitive Passing and the transsexual elite:   The media likes to focus on transsexual celebrities who pass well and who have a high income that's insulated from discrimination.  The result is a distorted view of how most transsexuals actually live.

Passing well is a prerequisite for success:   in finding employment, in avoiding harassment, in forming relationships, etc.


(2)  Relationships:  How can anyone form a relationship with a “man who thinks he’s a woman”?  Superficial relationships based on mutual respect are possible.  Deep relationships based on empathy, trust, and love are impossible
 
(3)  Unemployed:  47% have limited job opportunities because of being transsexual.

(4)  Homeless:  19% of transsexuals have been homeless at some point of their lives.  2% are homeless at any single point of time (compared to 1% of the general population.)  29% of homeless transsexuals are refused entry by shelters, while 22% are sexually assaulted by the shelter staff.

(5)  Sex Work:  16% of transsexuals resort to doing sex work in order to survive.  44% of African-American transsexuals are forced into sex work, while 28% of Latino trans people are.

 -- HIV:  15.3% of transsexual sex workers are HIV positive, compared to 2.1% in the non-sex worker transsexual population -- and 0.6% of the general population.

On the other hand, the high rate in sex workers has been used to exclude all transsexuals from medical access, regardless of their actual intercourse practices.  It's another excuse for excluding transsexuals from mainstream society.

(6)  Healthcare Access:  A small but powerful group of medical leaders (primarily in the field of mental health) are disgusted by transsexuals and want to purge them from existence.  The tools they use include withholding medical support to transitioning, and desperate attempts at “psychotherapy” and “brainwashing” (aka “aversion therapy”, “reversion therapy”, “conversion therapy”, etc.) 

 

Those experts believe that it’s the natural destiny of trans people to become sex workers and to suffer with AIDS.  They write that society’s policy of harassment and physical violence are necessary evils to keep the number of transsexuals to a minimum.

 

A growing number (currently perhaps 10%) of medical doctors (not psychiatrists) acknowledge the essential humanity of trans people, and give trans patients what they want.  They don’t know or care about underlying causes or diagnostic criteria.  They simply accept the patient’s self-diagnosis.

 

The remainder know nothing about transsexuality and don’t care about it.  About half of those write a prescription since it’s the easiest way out.  The other half plead ignorance and refuse to do anything that might support a disgusting group of people.      

 

Medical technicians tend to reflect general society’s views about transsexuality.  However, it takes only one to make the healthcare system collapse around a trans person.

 

(10)  Medical Care:  Psychiatrists admit that they misdiagnose transsexuality 93% of the time.  However they use that abysmal indicator of incompetence to justify withholding lifesaving treatment.

 

Hormone management protocols haven’t changed in over 50 years.  Surely more specific & effective medications have become available during that time.  Isn’t it clearly apparent that oral estrogen should never be used?    

 

(9)  Social Acceptance:  Maybe 10-20% of general society are so disgusted by transsexuals that they actively work to purge these “non-conformers” from existence (through death & “conversion”). 

 

On the other hand, perhaps 5-10% of general society acknowledge a transsexual’s essential humanity.  They’re disgusted by the stories of harassment, violence, and discrimination.  They believe trans people have rights.  …Because they’re able to “look past” the awful disease known as “transsexuality”.

 

The rest, some 70-85% of the population, don’t really care one way or the other.  They have more important things to do.  They consider transsexuality to be weird, and perhaps amusing, but so are a lot of things in life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 esearch in the biologic basis of human sexuality has made great strides in the past 70 years -- especially in the area of genetics.  Why hasn't there been corresponding progress in trans diagnosis & treatment?   Psychiatrists are still the gatekeepers, even though they freely admit that their diagnosis is wrong 93% of the time.  Oral estrogen & Spironolactone became available in the 1970's.  Are they still the medications of choice almost 50 years later?

Here are several possible reasons for clinging to obsolete theories & modes of treatment:

1.   PERSONAL INVESTMENT:  The mental health community is deeply invested in mental illness theory.  Shifting to a biologic origin would erase decades of doing research in a blind alley.

2.  EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND:  Mental health professionals simply don’t have the vocabulary to understand concepts like cell receptor binding, cytokines, kinases and the controls of gene transcription.  Their biologic training hardly goes past the 1970's misunderstanding of XY chromosomes.


3.  ETHICAL BIAS:  During the 1970's - !990's, how could intelligent, moral surgeons think it was acceptable to change newborn boys into girls? -- Often without informed consent. 

How can anyone justify completely shutting down a trans teen's hormonal system during the period of its greatest activity?  ...Without an iota of safety data. 

Is it ethical to consider "regretters" to be more valuable human beings than transsexuals are?

Neural Plasticity
“Neural Plasticity” is the usual reply to the
evidence that transsexual women have the same neuroanatomy and brain function as other women – and they don’t have the brain anatomy & function characteristic of men.  Disbelievers say that brain anatomy doesn’t cause gender.  Instead, gender is a social construct, which arbitrarily labels some people as “men” and others as “women.”  That label forces an individual to think and behave a certain way.  Gender-specific thinking and behaving make physical changes in brain anatomy.   

The concept of brain plasticity goes back to the late 1990’s, when research showed that brain structure adapted to the external environment.  For example, if a person becomes blind in one eye, the brain’s neural connections to that eye wither and are replaced by connections to the good eye.  The same process occurs after limb amputation, deafness, strokes, and other physical changes caused by disease, trauma or surgery. 

In addition, the more often any neural connection is used, the stronger it becomes.  For example, intensive study of a language leads to enlargement of the brain’s language centers and their inter-connections.  Learning to play the piano increases dexterity and the audio centers.   Studying for an exam enlarges memory storage areas. …And so on.

In fact, the brain is constantly growing and changing.   In the thinking part of the brain – the neural cortex – nerve cells (neurons) are shaped like trees:  A single cell body (the “trunk” of the tree) connects to thousands of small branches known as “dendrites”.  The "twigs" of those branches link to -- and communicate with -- the surrounding nerve cells through their branches ("dendrites"). 

Put simply, any specific thought, memory or mental image has a physical form in the brain through the configuration of these dendrites, interlinking hundreds of neurons in a certain pattern.  it’s been shown that dendrite growth & pruning occurs extensively during youth (especially adolescence).  And it even occurs at night in everyone.  The dendrite changes are based on use:  the "branches" that aren’t being used are trimmed back ("pruning"), while highly active neurons grow & flourish.
From a functional perspective, creating a memory or mental image involves growing the necessary pattern of dendrites in a group of nerve cells.  Forgetting or distorting a memory results from pruning those same dendrites.

Plasticity Isn't....

Brain plasticity certainly occurs -- constantly.  But many people misunderstand the data and believe that the entire brain can be reprogrammed at will.  ...Including gender (the anatomic equivalent of "blank slate").   Put simply, some psychologists believe that if a child says, “I’m a man” often enough, the brain will adopt male neuroanatomy and function (supposedly due to “brain plasticity”).  But if that same child were to say, “I’m a woman” instead, then the brain would become feminized – resulting in a trans child. (Horrors!) 

And there are some (like Dr Zucker of Toronto) who believe that forcing that feminizing child to say “I’m a man” often enough will reverse the process.  The brain structure will return to the male mode.

Plasticity Is...

“Neural plasticity” applies only to the neural cortex and its connections.  Already existing brain nodes can enlarge or shrink, but core brain structures can’t be created or destroyed.
In fact, the brain gender research shows that male vs female structure can only be determined within a narrow time frame during fetal life.  Testosterone during the susceptible time always results in a male brain structure (regardless of genital appearance).  Testosterone given any other time doesn’t change the brain structure.

(Exposing a female mouse brain to trucks & guns also doesn’t result in a male brain, either.  Sorry, Dr Zucker.)

Same-sex marriage and I'm just like you worked for the gays & lesbians.

Is there an issue that could similarly unite the trans community in

a campaign to increase public acceptance?

To begin, here’s a list of the very real problems currently faced by the transsexual community:

(Comments, additions and insights are welcome:  transdoc @ genderparadigm . com  [remove all spaces]}

General

Is a worsening public opinion primarily due to misleading gender theory?  

(1)  The Essential Nature of Transsexuality:  Virtually no one believes that a transsexual woman is Really a Woman, or a transman is Really a Man.  At its core, transsexuality is widely considered to be a lie, a fraud, or a misconception.

--  Is it a biologic fact, a physiologic disturbance of mental processing, a product of broken social conditioning, or is it a personal choice at either the conscious or sub-conscious level?

--  Is it objectively present or not?  Or is it vague, subjective, insubstantial & intangible?

--  Is it present at birth?  A switch that’s turned on sometime later in life?  Or is it something that develops gradually, as life experiences interact with weaknesses in a personality?

--  Or do terms like “transsexuality”, “man”, and “woman” have no objective meaning?  Are they imaginary concepts, like “good” and “bad”, “normal” and “abnormal”, “right” and “wrong”, “freedom” and “slavery”, “rich” and “poor”, etc?  Are they words only given meaning by grouchy people trying to pick a fight?

--  Maybe the real problem is that advocacy groups waste time arguing origins instead of solving the tangible problems listed below?


(2) Transgender:  The term "transgender" is so vague & broad that it includes drag queens, gender protesters, and everyone else with non-standard gender expression.  These are people who probably shouldn't be using women's restrooms.  Are "transgender" people destroying all credibility and respect for transsexuals?

Mainstream society will never accept the concept of "claiming an identity" without any need for supporting evidence.


Which gender groups really do need restroom access? 


(3)  Religious Condemnation:  Many religious leaders believe that transgender is simply another term for gay.   As a result, the same negative stereotypes apply to both groups:  flagrant promiscuity, sexual predators, and the devil's missionaries -- trying to lure innocent & vulnerable heterosexuals into abomination.

Transphobic violence has been justified by using mistranslated passages from the Bible.


Somehow, the misleading dogma that God only created men and women proves that transgender people can't exist.   ...Nor can they "change" their "assigned" gender.  

(4)  Disgust:  Regardless of the cause, transsexuality is widely believed to be a crippling malady that must be stopped before it ruins a victim's life.  Furthermore, many feel that transsexuality is a fraud, a crime, a sin, a mental disease, or other moral lapse.   A society can only be healthy if it is cleansed of all transsexuality.

I’ve never read an article that actually promoted transsexuality.  That is, a statement that proclaims that transsexuality is a good thing.  Or that society is better off having transsexuals around.  Could it be that transsexuals offer a unique perspective that moves civilization forward in a positive manner?  Maybe transsexuality is a blessing, not a curse.  Transsexuals should be proud of who they are, and they have a social obligation to use their transsexuality to help others.

How much of mainstream society imagines this when they hear about trans restroom access?


BPsychiatric Diagnosis:  Normal vs Abnormal   Chemical changes in the brain.  Mental processes.

ut if the evidence is so overwhelming, why hasn’t anyone important mentioned it?   Why isn't it in books & advocacy websites? 

There are two basic reasons:

REASON #1:  Institutional Psychiatry & Psychology are completely invested in the mental illness paradigm.  Shifting to a biologic paradigm would require starting over from the beginning.  Just think of the many lifetimes of research that have been wasted.  “Experts” would lose their fame, power and income.

Instead of discarding mythology & obsolete data, "
experts" continue to base their research, writing and policies on the mental illness approach, even though everyone is quite aware that transsexuality isn’t mental.  In fact, much of the literature warns against the harm done by the insanity myth, while going on to support those same insane policies.  

...Hypocrisy is a safe face-saving approach for professors locked in their ivory towers.  -- Even though it’s catastrophic for the trans population and their families.

REASON #2:  Mental health professionals don’t have sufficient background in the health sciences (such as micro-neuroanatomy, cellular biochemistry and genetics).  A discussion of  a topic like cytokine modification of the androgen receptor binding site is incomprehensible for the average psychologist.  ...As it is for most of the trans population.  So both groups rely on the big-university "experts" to screen the data and interpret what it says.  See Reason #1.


REASON #3:  Even in the absence of word from the American Psychiatric Association or Johns Hopkins, popular science magazines occasionally provide articles about the biologic basis of gender.  In response, mental health apologists with little basic science background dream up excuses for their devoted adherence to the insane mythology.  Here is a sample of the more common “explanations”, and why they’re wrong:

Trans Youth
A campaign to improve the lives of transgender children could be a way to earn empathy from the general population.


(1)  Parental Acceptance:  The vast majority of transsexuals are born into families that don’t want them, don’t like them, and are disgusted by them.  Punishment, harassment, shaming.  Hopefully it’s “just a phase”.  Maybe psychiatrists can cure them.  Or maybe they’re incorrigible and they should be thrown out of the house as a lost cause.

Even “accepting” parents consider that they’re “coping with a crippling disease”.  Their transsexual child is a “special case” that needs to be handled differently compared to “normal children”. 

This struggle is the focus of a transsexual’s early childhood.

(2)  School Acceptance:
  The vast majority of transsexuals go to schools that don’t want them, don’t like them, and are disgusted by them.  Parents of classmates fear that their children will be harmed by contact with a transsexual.  Organized harassment is the usual tool used to “cure” (or eliminate) a transsexual student.  On the other hand, anything that might help the child or make their life more pleasant is strictly forbidden -- it might "encourage" the child's transsexuality. 

This struggle is the focus of a transsexual’s mid- and later youth.


(3)  Medical Acceptance:  The vast majority of transsexuals go to doctors that are disgusted by them, and who are dedicated to "curing" them.   Psychotherapy, harassment and aversion therapy are the usual tools used.  Helping the child or making their life more pleasant is strictly forbidden -- it might "encourage" the child's transsexuality.   ...And that includes offering any form of medical treatment. 



(4)  School Dropouts:  15% of transsexuals drop out of school, primarily due to harassment (78%) and physical assault (35%).  6% were expelled by the school because of their transsexuality.  48% of trans school dropouts become homeless as a result.


(5)  Suicide:  41% of transsexuals have attempted suicide at some point in their lives, compared to 1.6% in the general population.  Risk factors include:  job loss (55%), harassment (51%), poverty (61%), physical assault (61%) and sexual assault (64%).