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Comment count is 48
Binro the Heretic - 2015-04-28

That takes me back.

I also remember John Belushi's parody on "Saturday Night Live". "Little chocolate donuts: the breakfast of champions."

I hope Ms. Jenner will finally feel comfortable with herself.

infinite zest - 2015-04-28

Speaking of "taking you back," watch the Diane Sawyer interview with Jenner on ABC and wonder what year it is. In my defense, I watched it out of sheer desperation at work because the internet was out, and I was busy, you know, working. But it's like, "really?" People are still treating this like some sort of a freakshow and it's up to Diane Fucking Sawyer to convince middle America that it's OK..

I remember a case here in Oregon back in the 80s or maybe early 90s about how an M2F was suing the steel mill he worked at about bathroom usage and subsequent sexual harassment. "Intolerance" might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Portland, Oregon but the Portland I grew up in was pretty horrible (just listen to the Dead Kennedy's "Night of the Living Rednecks." That's tame compared to the rampant racism and homophobia that I observed.) Anyway, for context, these were your stereotypical like "supermale" steel mill workers, and had been working with this fellow for some 20-odd years, undoubtedly making cat calls and telling dirty jokes about ladies' private parts. And they learned to not only accept it, but embrace the concept. Truth be told, it was more the trans fellow in particular, who wanted her own bathroom because she felt uncomfortable in either the mens' or the womens'.. the story goes on like this but it was all resolved, and this was some 30 years ago. I'm sure there's plenty of people out there who still think transsexualism is "weird" but the media's treating this like it's the bearded lady at the freak show.

fluffy - 2015-04-28

One of the many ways in which Portland is weird is that it's incredibly liberal in most neighborhoods, but as soon as you get into the suburbs it suddenly turns ultra-rednecky. And the delineation between Portland proper and the suburbs can be as much as walking a block.

Like, lots of cities have this good-block/bad-block thing where you can be in Gentrified Yuppieville one minute and in a decaying slum the next. Portland is like that but with politics instead.

Nominal - 2015-04-28

Honest question here:

If you remove the entire intolerant redneck factor, history of harassment, and the natural backlash against that, what separates the transgendered with other forms of body dysmorphic disorder like anorexia or xenomelia?

infinite zest - 2015-04-29

In both those cases, it involves some sort of mutilation that's unhealthy, like losing a ton of body mass and becoming sick, or losing a limb. I guess in the latter, full M2F does mean "losing" but they're also "gaining." Losing ones' dick and replacing it with a cunt isn't the same as cutting it off for the purpose of cutting or mutilating it.. I dunno, they're gaining a new sexual identity (and in the case of F2M a dick) either way. It is a valid question though: LGBQ (without the T) identifies itself on the fact that it's not a choice, like, say, a political party (like Jenner's choice to side with the Republicans) so the choice to go through with a transformation is ostensibly the choice that wasn't given to the rest, and is usually the result of lots of $$$. I know a trust fund kid who is F2M and let's just say it wouldn't have happened without the willingness to undergo tens of thousands of dollars of surgery, the kind of $ that you also get from Keeping Up With the Kardashians. So I guess to answer your question, good question!

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-29

The difference is that while anorexia cannot be addressed with surgical modification, bodily gender dysophoria *can*. People who want to undergo transition surgery do so, and are often happier from the results. Rates of depression and suicide *decrease* in response to this.

There was a great article a while back by someone working in a mental institute which highlighted this problem: A woman suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder was fixated on her hairdryer. Whenever she'd go to work, she'd have to commute back home two or three times a day, JUST to check and make sure her hairdryer wasn't plugged in and on. It was having a measurable negative impact on her career; it was causing her tremendous distress.

One of her psychiatrists made a suggestion: Bring the hairdryer to work *with* you. Immediately, the majority of her problems vanished; she was happier, more productive, and over all better off.

There are people who would argue this is an awful solution because she hasn't addressed her fixation on the hairdryer. Those people are stupid. The problem isn't her fixation on the hairdryer; the problem is that the impact her fixation is having on her life. By mitigating that impact, we solve the problem.

The problem isn't that some transgender people want to change their bodies. The problem is that if we don't let them, they suffer increased occurrences of depression, suicide, and worse.

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-29

Also, infinite zest, 'mutilation' is an awful word to use to describe a type of surgery that indisputably increases your quality of life. Especially when you consider that transgender people that undergo this surgery are doing so to make their bodies conform to their desires.

Do you think fixing cleft lip palates is 'mutilation'? No. Does having one decrease your quality of life? In pretty much all cases we've seen, yes. It's essentially the same thing.

infinite zest - 2015-04-29

Great Hippo I was referring to xenomelia specifically when I said "mutilation" but reading my post again I could totally see it taken that way. My bad. I do think that wanting to live without arms or legs is really messed up, because I can't see what self-fulfillment comes from it, but definitely not reassignment surgery. Again, my bad.

infinite zest - 2015-04-29

It's funny, I had a similar situation at work last night. My client was fixated on things found in the kitchen that are squeezable instead of normal toys. As far as I know, this hadn't happened before. He gets violent once something's taken away and the objective is usually to "trick" him into something else. When I first met the dude, he had his hands on a big thing of hand sanitizer, which he had his mouth in.. pretty sure that's poisonious. Anyway, he had no problem with me putting duct tape over the tops of everything while he played, so long as I wasn't taking them away. 30 minutes later he's lost interest anyway and didn't ingest anything bad or make a mess. But I also just remembered that I left the tape on half of them and probably have some 'splainin to do at work today. :)

My favorite story ever though was actually when I was talking to my mom, when I was still really stressed out about the line of work I was getting myself into. Turns out she worked one on one with Rosemary Kennedy back in Wisconsin (you know, the one that received the lobotomy) and she'd constantly throw cups and break them, so the solution there was plastic cups, or no cups at all. Cups for some reason were a huge trigger, my guess is because of all the fine China in the Kennedy household. So.. my mom brought in one of her cups from a china set she got at her wedding, and ta-da! Rosemary treated it like a treasure and didn't throw cups anymore. I love that story.

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-29

No, nevermind; rereading your post, I see what you meant -- I took it the wrong way. Sorry about that.

infinite zest - 2015-04-29

No problemo! :) Oh and @fluffy, you might be happy to know that the pocket of the neighborhood that Night of the Living Rednecks describes is now Darcelle XV and a ton of other awesome drag/trans bars these days.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-04-28

Sort of makes you wonder what's in those things, doesn't it?

I have a son who used to be a daughter. I'm just the biological, so we're
not that close, but he's so awesome, I can't even tell you. If you know someone who is trans-gendered, it can be hard to wrap your head around, but one thing that will help you get there is seeing how happy it makes someone to transition. With Les, I could tell about a minute into the first phone call.

There was a trans kid who killed herself because her parents wouldn't let her transition, and it's so much harder to do after you're eighteen. I hate to say it, but what a stupid kid. Here's someone who's got to be in his sixties, who is taking it on, as a public person. Transitioning in Public has got to be at least as hard as winning the decathlon.

You know, everyone worships Kurt Cobain and hates on Courtney Love for being a train wreck. I think there's something to be said for sticking around and dealing with the mess. But I digress.

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-28

It's cool that you're accepting of your son's gender -- and I don't know how he views his own gender! -- but I've met a lot of people who don't think of themselves as having 'changed' their gender so much as realized what their gender actually was all along.

I don't think 'stupid' is a word I'd use to describe someone who committed suicide under *any* circumstances -- nevermind one where their parents refused to let them do something important to their happiness.

As an aside, something a lot of people miss about being transgender: Not all transgender people can -- or even *want* to! -- go through a physical transition process. And that's fine; more than fine, in fact! The state of somebody's genitalia is probably the last thing we should concern ourselves with (and certainly not the metric we should use to determine someone's gender).

EvilHomer - 2015-04-28

You're very Zen, John.


(no sarcasm, you are)

Simillion - 2015-04-28

Forcing a binary onto gender identity is stupid. Killing yourself because 95% of society isn't capable of conceptualizing a spectrum of gender identity rather than a binary isn't stupid, it's a (sadly) permanent way of escaping a lifetime of external torment for being in the minority in a society of barely-civilized chimpanzees.

infinite zest - 2015-04-28

Maybe it's my generation, but I sort of forgot who Bruce Jenner was. Of Olympic athletes I can name off the top of my head.. Michael Phelps, Mark Spitz, Tonya Harding, Nancy Kerrigan, Bodhi Miller.. I think that's about it. Anyway, the whole time I was glancing past tabloids in supermarkets I thought this was Lee Majors for some reason. I guess I got my little rant out up above, but I've always lived in LGBTQ houses, and that includes that "middle america" I mentioned above. In fact, out of 40 people in a house about 15 were "trans" and they'd get in fights about whether stuffing and tucking was ok, given that they'd just paid thousands for reassignment, drama like that. Just another day in Wisconsin for me.

infinite zest - 2015-04-28

ok I walked into that one


simon666 - 2015-04-28

I'd like to hear some people's thoughts on this situation:

1. Per Judith Butler, et al. gender is not a biological fact, but a performance of social norms, i.e., wearing a particular type of clothing, behaving certain ways in particular social situations, and so on.

2. Some transgender people believe having sex reassignment surgery is a necessity.

3. Both one and two seem in conflict with one another. If 1 is the case, then merely changing one's performance should be sufficient for transgendered people. If 2 is the case, then performance isn't the crux of gender and there is something biological.

4. Contra 2, if one believes one is 'in the wrong body' one doesn't actually have any ground to stand on: people don't experience different bodies before birth, thus one can't know that one type of body is better than another body. To claim one's 'male' body is wrong and a 'female' body is right would presume that one _already_ knows what it is like to have a female body. But one can't know this. For all one knows, the 'bad feeling' or 'feeling wrong in side one's body' feeling is just the feeling some people have?

5. 4 is contra Foucault in History of Sexuality insofar as Foucault would argue the discourse of sexual identity has acted on the person from 4, telling the person the alleviation of base desire from 4 is to have sex reassignment surgery. By being contra Foucault, this is contra Butler in 1.

Okay, cluster fuck. Someone clear this up.

For the record, I think people ought to do whatever they want with their bodies and our duty to allow people to do what they want trumps. This may not mean they have good reasons, but nevertheless the freedom to act should not be infringed.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-04-28

>>I don't think 'stupid' is a word I'd use to describe someone who committed suicide under *any* circumstances -- nevermind one where their parents refused to let them do something important to their happiness.

It's almost always dumb to kill yourself, and almost always rude to say so. I referred specifically to the idea, expressed in the kid's suicide note, that transitioning at eighteen would be difficult because of the advanced age.

Yeah, I think that's dumb. I say that as someone who attempted suicide at 16 with about a tenth this kid's problems.

I wish she were here so I could tell her to her face.

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-28

simon666: You seem to be vastly overcomplicating this issue. It's not hard: Group A is not happy with the state of their bodies; they wish to change them. Group B is not happy with the gender assigned to them by others; they wish to assign their own gender. There is overlap between Group A and Group B.

Yes, gender is a social construct; like all social constructs, it is informed by our biology (including sexual dimorphism). Some people aren't happy with the bodies sexual dimorphism gave them, because they imply a gender identity that isn't theirs -- so they want to change their bodies to match up. Saying that they might not have 'good reasons' is like saying I might not have 'good reasons' to want to marry a man instead of a woman. If it's what I *want* -- if it's important to acquiring my happiness -- what more reason *do I need*?

No amount of philosophizin' is going to change the fact that there are transgender people who want physical transitions -- and experience a significant and measurable increase in their quality of life once they receive them. Arguing that their reasons might not be good is like arguing that I wasn't really happy with the eggs I ate this morning.

That guy - 2015-04-28

"1. Per Judith Butler, et al. gender is not a biological fact, but a performance of social norms"

That side of campus can be particularly stupid sometimes.

Just because gender (let's play a definition game with that word!) is not entirely a biological fact doesn't mean it's not at all biology that makes most men fall into to a certain cluster on x out of y traits, and most women fall into a different cluster on x out of y traits. (There's more in common than different, by far.)
The idea that "various hormones from fetal stages forward don't do ANYTHING to determine ANYTHING, and therefore gender is a purely social construct" can only be true by defining terms into the metaphysic you're aiming for.

It takes pretty willful ignorance to refuse to notice the world around you, because you don't want to trace back the causation that bearing testes/ovaries/neither etc -> tends to makes brains like this -> tends to cause these behaviors etc, in combination with other factors.

Butler's is back-pocket idealism, really, because she'd like to say that NO MATTER WHAT scientists find out about human behavior, if "it's" not true 100% of the time, it's not true....
The genderqueer exceptions are 'real' and the vanilla-gendered trend is 'unreal'.

Humanities "theorists" churn away in their tower for decades, and have no idea what cognitive scientists discover while they're up there. Anything inconvenient can 'be dismissed' in a number of ways. Their hatred/contempt for science, evidential arguments, statistics and so on is fucking staggering.

Any gap in human understanding and they try to drive a metaphysics bus through it. They have so much in common with the religious right that I wish they'd fuck already.

That guy - 2015-04-28

Plus, why would the tensions between point 4 & 5 act on some but not on others? Merely their experiences and thoughts?

That guy - 2015-04-28

There's all kinds of scientific approach that has far more robust explanatory power than some asshole humanities theorist ever could.
There's epigenetics, there's the way our brains change based on what we think and do, there's mother-fetus interaction, traumatic events and repression changing how a brain operates, changes based on what we absorb biologically, etc etc

Judith Butler's a bronze age priestess.

That guy - 2015-04-28

(I don't want my tone here to be mistaken for any anti-lgbt issues, mkay? Please?)

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-28

And if all that fails, we could just ask transgender people what would make them happiest.

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-28

You aren't coming off that way; it just strikes me that the easiest solution here is the simplest: There is no reason why gender should be something we force on people. And some people are much, much happier when we let them figure out their gender for themselves.

It's incredibly low-hanging fruit. I don't understand why some people fight it tooth and nail.

That guy - 2015-04-28

I don't think you have to know exactly what's what to be basically fair to people.
I think it's wacky-yet-rigid beliefs that get in the way, be they about Sky Cake or phallogocentrism or rigid social roles or whatever.

fluffy - 2015-04-29

"Gender" refers to a whole bunch of different things. Identity, presentation, social roles, etc., and a lot of it is cultural but a lot of it is also biological (but then biological gender and biological sex are also only highly-correlated, not one-and-the-same). There's also a myriad things which cause mismatches between different parts of it.

It's a big squishy ball of confusion and it's pretty much impossible for everyone to be on the same page as anyone else, terminology-wise.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-28

I guess this is as good a place as any to let you guys know the latest news on the CWC-front: ChrisChan has officially changed his name to "Christine".

https://kiwifar.ms/threads/2015-apr-21-christine-updates-her-g ender-on-facebook.9106/

He's still indifferent towards gender pronouns, but his transformation is chugging along nicely!

dairyqueenlatifah - 2015-04-28

I love all the cognitive dissonance Ol' Brucey is causing right now in the Tumblrsphere. He's come out as both a tranny, and a staunch right wing conservative.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-28

I have no idea who this guy/girl is, other than a face on a tabloid I saw at the supermarket last month. Is what you say true, DQL? He's a Log Cabin Transexual?

TeenerTot - 2015-04-28

I myself was disgusted when he came out as Republican.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-04-28

It was hard, but I eventually was able make peace with the fact that my trans-gendered son is an Apple fanboy.

Spaceman Africa - 2015-04-28

I imagined Bruce was more of a economic conservative if anything and not "staunch right wing". Also stop saying "tranny" to describe trans people in 20-fucking-15.

infinite zest - 2015-04-28

OH yeah.. I forgot about that part of the interview. It was actually set up pretty perfectly: Sawyer was talking about how Obama was the first acting president to recognize (actually say) "transsexual" and Jenner something like "yeah that's great, but he's not my president." I was going to check in with that but I got distracted by natural disasters and Alice The Rat.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-28

You can be disgusted, just so long as you respect his right to be a Republican, and accept him for who he is. We should be celebrating his lifestyle, not condemning him for being different.

Also, please stop saying "staunch right wing" to describe conservatives! This isn't the Bronze Age.

The Great Hippo - 2015-04-28

Anybody who can't handle the idea that respecting a person's gender identity does NOT automatically validate their politics amazes me. How do they function without the ability to hold more than one thought in your head at a time? When they're lost on the highway, do they refuse to ask directions from anyone who's a Republican?

Also, Jenner clarified that she prefers feminine pronouns now. So if you respect that sort of thing (and you should), she's a she.

infinite zest - 2015-04-28

It's fun to think about, because you probably know (or at least know of) a few people who identify as LGBTQ and Republican, but the vast population just assumes that they're all left. Since I donate to HRC I get their newsletters and they were using Jenner in a few examples in their literature before he "came out" so to speak, juxtaposed with messages from others in the Democratic Party. Human Rights has nothing to do with politics (or EVERYTHING depending on the side of the coin), but I'm interested to see what the HRC has to say or does about this.

fluffy - 2015-04-28

Jenner is an individual and does not represent transsexuals as a whole. Jenner's narrative is pretty exceptional in that at the end of the day, she is already wealthy and doesn't have to worry about where the next paycheck will come from and if anything will be able to cash in on this. Most transsexuals are not at a financially stable point in their life (nor are most people in general, but most people don't get ostracized from society and any income potential based solely on who they are).

Also it didn't take an act of courage for Jenner to come out, and this was one of the stupidest, most drawn-out "comings out" since Ellen.

Jenner also fits neatly into the "standard" trans narrative and, so far as I've seen, is only using this platform to raise awareness of formerly-Bruce Jenner, and not about the society issues that affect transgender individuals as a whole.

Why the fuck is the mainstream media still stuck in Renee Richards mode with this shit?

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-04-28

I think it takes extraordinary courage to face this issue iat all.. Facing it in public can only be harder, because of all the distraction and background noise. But 'I'm sure that Jenner cares more about how the people he's close to will be affected than he cares about Dianne Sawyer, and that's the same for everybody. (when he announces his new name, I'll switch pronouns. )

EvilHomer - 2015-04-29

I don't know, John. It does take courage to come out as a Republican, but I doubt the people he's close with will abandon him over this, and the qualifier "extraordinary" is a bit much.

Monkey Napoleon - 2015-04-29

The reason the media is fascinated by this is someone who is high profile in their own right coming out as trans is almost unheard of. Nobody this famous is willing to do press about it.

Chaz Bono counts, but that was an insane frenzy as well. Lana Wachowski almost counts, but she intentionally refused to talk about it until everyone stopped caring. Laverne Cox became sort of famous after she was publicly transitioned. Renee Richards was 40 years ago, which we all know was a totally enlightened and mega-chill age, and in all that time the number of trans people even a tenth as famous as Jenner you can count on one hand.

It also helps a lot when you're (in addition to being trans) kind of a kook and are probably having your publicist feeding news cycles and booking tons of press.

Monkey Napoleon - 2015-04-29

Fall 2015, keep your eyes peeled for yet another reality show and a book.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-04-29

>>I don't know, John. It does take courage to come out as a Republican, but I doubt the people he's close with will abandon him over this, and the qualifier "extraordinary" is a bit much.


John Holmes Motherfucker - 2015-04-29

I think that LGBT should be a sandwich: Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon, Tomato. Sounds delish, no?

That guy - 2015-04-29

needs more fats

That guy - 2015-04-29

Lettuce, Guacamole, Bacon, Tomato, Quiche, Innards and American cheese

Bort - 2015-06-09

I've read that Cynthia Jenner is problematic to at least some feminists; to me that underscores that feminism isn't about gender equality, not exactly. A movement that truly didn't give a damn about gender would find Cynthia Jenner completely uninteresting; it wouldn't even occur to them to see any complications in Cynthia.

Not trying to trash feminism, which still covers a lot of valuable territory. It just has its blind spots because it's more gender-focused than is typically claimed.

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