Bodhicitta

Transgender Problem

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We can argue all day about the nature of transgender identity but here´s the thing: articles like the one above fuel misunderstanding, contempt, even hatred, towards people whose experience of gender is outside the norm.  Just look at the way this thread is titled: transgender problem.  Reminds me of the "Jewish problem" in nazi Germany.

 

It´s not that there´s no room for academic debate around transgenderism.  Just that I hope people approach the issue with understanding and compassion -- indeed, with Bodhicitta -- for the very real people touched by the issue.  

 

Liminal

Edited by liminal_luke
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The title of this thread is indeed a problem.

 

But the article highlights some interesting points. And either way, I think conversation should be encouraged, not stifled as some would have it -- as long as we all remember that we have no basis for judging individuals whom we have never met and about whom we know very little.

Edited by dust
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I don´t want to stifle conversation.  Like Dustybeijing, I just hope it comes from a respectful compassionate place.  The OP referred to transgender concerns as "the latest progressive hobby."  We can do better.

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We can argue all day about the nature of transgender identity but here´s the thing: articles like the one above fuel misunderstanding, contempt, even hatred, towards people whose experience of gender is outside the norm.  Just look at the way this thread is titled: transgender problem.  Reminds me of the "Jewish problem" in nazi Germany.

 

It´s not that there´s no room for academic debate around transgenderism.  Just that I hope people approach the issue with understanding and compassion -- indeed, with Bodhicitta -- for the very real people touched by the issue.  

 

Liminal

 

Thanks for speaking up! We have no use for more bigotry on this forum. Occasionally it surfaces and it is up to everyone here to take note and speak out against such narrow mindedness.

 

I see that 'Gendao' thanked the OP, which is not out of the norm for him.

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I have a bias against sites that misname themselves.  Judging by there list of articles, Public Discourse.com, is clearly a right wing Christian site, discoursing on a particular viewpoint of the world, which is fine.   I just don't like how they named themselves non religiously or politically.   I get the feeling there 'experts' are expert first in right wing Christian orthodoxy, secondarily in there field.  It reminds me of other Christian sites that have there expert scientists weighing in on flat earth and dinosaurs. 

 

I'd rather get information from a source that's less bias'd then right wing Christian apologist one.  What does a real sociological or psychological source say about the phenomena? 

 

 

addon> imo, its not necessarily bigoted, the article raises some decent points, its just from such a slanted angle that I don't trust its conclusions and find some of its language and assumptions off.  

Edited by thelerner
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Ryan T. Anderson founder is also part of  'The Heritage Foundation' a right wing think tank. At first glance I thought this was part of Princeton University, but is not.

 

 

Ryan T. Anderson, PhD, the William E. Simon Senior Research Fellow in American Principles and Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation, and the founder and editor of Public Discourse, the online journal of the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, New Jersey.

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Yeah, I noticed that the whole website is devoted to religious bullshit and various prejudices. But I do think some points in the article are worth discussion.

 

The thing that holds me back from unquestioning personal acceptance of transgenderism is: I've yet to hear someone explain it in purely biological terms -- it always comes down to a 'feeling'.

 

There are humans who identify as all sorts of things, including feeling that they are actually cats, and others who feel that they weren't born the 'right way', including a woman who felt she should have been born blind. I watched a really disturbing story on YT about a grown man who decided he wanted to be a little girl, and a couple later 'adopted' him as a part of a sex fetish. Disturbing... yet the "documentary" that portrayed him left out all the stuff about the sex fetish, focusing only on the "touching" transgender aspect of the situation (a little googling after watching it unraveled some nasty details about the whole thing).

 

I find all this bizarre, and it seems pretty clear in my mind that many 'body dysphorics' or 'gender dysphorics' have encountered some kind of trauma or other psychological obstacle -- rather than being born dissatisfied, they have become dissatisfied. Body dysphoria, then, might lie in the same vein as body dysmorphia -- might be preventable, or might be dealt with in ways that do not lead down a slope of acceptance (of potentially preventable psychological issues).

 

And so I wonder if the same can be said for some transgender people. The topic is not as clear-cut as either side claims, I fear.

Edited by dustybeijing
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So typical: accuse the site, poster and any conservative connections, real or imagined.

 

If transgenderism were not a problem to those suffering from it they would not go the surgical route.

 

The author, who does know, from experience, far more about the subject (I bet) than myself or any other poster here, says this affliction is mental/emotional and should be treated with counseling, not surgery.

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The author, who does know, from experience, far more about the subject (I bet) than myself or any other poster here, says this affliction is mental/emotional and should be treated with counseling, not surgery.

 

Right... and he couldn't be partisan (religious, dickhead) or simply ignorant of all the facts?

 

You present one article by one man and because he claims to have experience, everyone on the site must agree with him? There are no other options? No other experts who do indeed believe that surgery is often the answer?

 

:huh:

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So typical: accuse the site, poster and any conservative connections, real or imagined.

 

If transgenderism were not a problem to those suffering from it they would not go the surgical route.

 

The author, who does know, from experience, far more about the subject (I bet) than myself or any other poster here, says this affliction is mental/emotional and should be treated with counseling, not surgery.

 

Whether transgenderism is best treated with counseling, hormones, surgery, or some combination thereof may be the point of the article, but it´s not the point of my posts.  My point is this: these people are real; their problems are real; they deserve our respect.

 

Referring to transgender people as indulging in the "latest progressive hobby" is not respectful.  Period.  Nobody decides to get gender reassignment surgery because they are a liberal hobbyist.  They just don´t.  Whether or not transgender people benefit more from talk therapy or surgery isn´t the issue.  The issue is kindness.

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For anyone who may be interested to pursue this subject further, it might be helpful to reflect the above article against some of these:

 

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=international+journal+of+transgenderism&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwifyayu78PMAhVMD8AKHePCAscQgQMIHDAA

 

http://www.teni.ie/attachments/0c1d3879-d43c-4652-9c16-86f63c6b7ce7.PDF

 

(Mods please delete the links should there be copyright issues.)

 

Or subscribe to the International Journal of Transgenderism for the purpose of informed knowledge. 

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Thanks for speaking up! We have no use for more bigotry on this forum. Occasionally it surfaces and it is up to everyone here to take note and speak out against such narrow mindedness.

 

I see that 'Gendao' thanked the OP, which is not out of the norm for him.

 

And less bigotry aimed at people who wish to express their opinions within the rules of the forum.

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Whether transgenderism is best treated with counseling, hormones, surgery, or some combination thereof may be the point of the article, but it´s not the point of my posts.  My point is this: these people are real; their problems are real; they deserve our respect.

 

Referring to transgender people as indulging in the "latest progressive hobby" is not respectful.  Period.  Nobody decides to get gender reassignment surgery because they are a liberal hobbyist.  They just don´t.  Whether or not transgender people benefit more from talk therapy or surgery isn´t the issue.  The issue is kindness.

 

How so very rare it  is to ask a poster first - 'Is this what you meant?'  Instead a presumption is made. Period.

 

The 'progressive hobby' referred to the cheerleaders & advocates for surgery, not to those with the affliction.

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I share Liminal's feeling that people deserve our respect and support, especially when they are struggling. Our opinion of their struggles and choices is much less important than our willingness to be open, supportive, and caring, IMO. 

 

The data from the early work on gender reassignment surgery was that the recipients saw little or no improvement in their long-term psychological health. I believe that was the primary reason why the major institutions doing the surgery (Hopkins and Syracuse come to mind) discontinued the programs. I'm not as familiar with more recent data and look forward to exploring it a bit - thanks for those links CT.

 

I think the idea of trying to discourage surgery (and pharmaceutical treatment) and address the issues with other methods comes from a place of compassion and caution. Surgery is fairly high risk, the results are mixed, and I suspect there are a significant number of people who could find a way forward without such an extreme approach. Those who would perform the surgery can be somewhat predatory, as John Money was when he was at Hopkins. He had a God complex and caused a lot of harm by intimidating parents to follow his recommendations in dealing with hermaphrodite children, for example. 

 

There is a brilliant book about that particular aspect of the issue called Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. The ending is a bit odd but it's otherwise wonderful. 

 

The other aspect of this question is simply the idea that I am not comfortable in my skin, whether that is gender related or not, as was mentioned earlier. A particularly extreme example which I think is probably somehow related is Body Integrity Identity Disorder in which folks request elective amputation of healthy body parts.

 

There is another superb (and very unusual novel) that touches on that issue from a very different angle called Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. One of the most bizarre and memorable novels I've read.

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How so very rare it  is to ask a poster first - 'Is this what you meant?'  Instead a presumption is made. Period.

 

The 'progressive hobby' referred to the cheerleaders & advocates for surgery, not to those with the affliction.

 

Bodhicitta,

 

Have I got you all wrong?  Surgery may not be the answer, in general or in a specific case, but for the most part those who advocate for it as a treatment possibility are well-meaning.  Or at least that´s my assumption.  To call their advocacy a "progressive hobby" sounds dismissive.  They are people who, for the most part, care about transgender people and want the best for them.

 

So this is my perception.  The way you worded your opening post as well as the article you link to strikes me as disrespectful and demeaning.  But when I point that out, you say I am making presumptions and misunderstand you.  Perhaps so.

 

Let me ask you, then, how you feel and what you think to clear up any possible misunderstanding on my part.

 

Would you be supportive if you had a transgender child, or found out you had a transgender sibling?  Would you support that person if they choose to dress and act like they gender they identified with?  What if they used the public restroom of the gender they identified as? 

 

Would you welcome a transgender person in your workplace?  As a friend?  Do you experience yourself as someone who is open, kind, and compassionate with transgender people?  

 

If so, those qualities didn´t come through to me from your initial writing. My apologies if I misread you.

 

Liminal

Edited by liminal_luke
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Liminal: "Would you be supportive if you had a transgender child, or found out you had a transgender sibling?  Would you support that person if they choose to dress and act like they gender they identified with?  What if they used the public restroom of the gender they identified as? 

 

Would you welcome a transgender person in your workplace?  As a friend?  Do you experience yourself as someone who is open, kind, and compassionate with transgender people?"

******************************

 

Judge Liminal,  I do not know if I can be found acceptable to you based on the following answer and I admit to not caring if I pass your compassion test or not.  A written test is pretty silly, can you not see that?

 

As only a layperson, not a shrink, I do think (or accept if you wish) Dr McHugh's diagnosis that transgenderism is a 'gender dysphoria' disorder.  That being said I am open and compassionate to all beings, great and small.  Especially human ones with psychic disorders. 

 

My old Master Hua, who was quite a healer of physical ailments, said that mental problems were the most difficult to cure.

Edited by Bodhicitta

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  That being said I am open and compassionate to all beings, great and small.  

 

With the possible exception of me?  I, for one, am not feeling the love.

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Liminal: "Would you be supportive if you had a transgender child, or found out you had a transgender sibling?  Would you support that person if they choose to dress and act like they gender they identified with?  What if they used the public restroom of the gender they identified as? 

 

Would you welcome a transgender person in your workplace?  As a friend?  Do you experience yourself as someone who is open, kind, and compassionate with transgender people?"

******************************

 

Judge Liminal,  I do not know if I can be found acceptable to you based on the following answer and I admit to not caring if I pass your compassion test or not.  A written test is pretty silly, can you not see that?

 

As only a layperson, not a shrink, I do think (or accept if you wish) Dr McHugh's diagnosis that transgenderism is a 'gender dysphoria' disorder.  That being said I am open and compassionate to all beings, great and small.  Especially human ones with psychic disorders. 

 

My old Master Hua, who was quite a healer of physical ailments, said that mental problems were the most difficult to cure.

 

If you are only a layperson, then what data are you using to determine a gender dysphoria disorder? The only reference is one of a religious fundamentalist. Seems to me that you are not qualified in any way whatsoever, but are appealing to what you consider a higher authority and personal bias. Further, if you are so very compassionate, then why bring this topic into question?

 

Are you a monk or Lama?

Edited by ralis
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About transgenderism being considered a potential mental illness...

Of course it's something happening in the mental realm. It's not physical, except in very rare cases. The person thinks, feels, believes, that they are the opposite gender of what they physically are...for various reasons, or spontaneously.

Yet despite it being a mental phenomenon, is it an illness? I think, only if it present an unwanted problem for the individual experiencing it, or society as a whole (to be differentiated clearly from the smaller parts of society who simply have a problem with it).
 

In our culture, we're not fully accepting of transgender people, for better or worse (don't ask me which). Now...this is problematic for those individuals, to be unaccepted. Yet, is it the culture that's the problem, or is it the transgenderism which is the problem?

If they were accepted, then whatever they think they are would not pose a problem...so the unwanted problem in regard to transgenderism is society dictating that it's a flaw. Since transgenderism itself isn't the unwanted problem, I don't think anyone can say that it's a mental illness.

It's just a mental phenomenon, which is partially at odds with some of our societal beliefs.

Anyway...what I do like a lot about the article is that it criticizes some really corrupt thought processes that are being taken as mainstream beliefs by most millenials and leftists - that gender is what you feel that you are, rather than what you physically are. One thing we can say with certainty, is that such beliefs are unscientific.

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I don´t know what causes a person to be transgender.  Is it best considered a mental illness, a physical illness, or not an illness at all and just part of the glorious variation of life?  Beats me.

 

All I know is that these are real people whose suffering is real.  And it´s not my place to make that suffering a million times worse because of my own discomfort.  Whatever the etiology of trangenderism, it´s not my place to sit in judgement.

 

One of my best friends has cerebral palsy.  One of his hands curls in so he can´t open his palm.  It´s hard, of course, not having two working hands, but the hardest part for him is worrying about what other people think of him -- the hardest part is not being "accepted" as a person with cerebral palsy.  And that´s a damn shame.  Nobody should feel like less of a human being because their hands don´t look like everybody else´s.

 

In the same way, nobody should be made to feel like less of a person because they are transgender.  We´re all just doing the best we can here in life, and if someone born with male genitals wants to put on a dress and makeup and call herself Nancy than that´s nobody´s business but her own.  

Edited by liminal_luke
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Of course it's something happening in the mental realm. It's not physical, except in very rare cases. The person thinks, feels, believes, that they are the opposite gender of what they physically are...for various reasons, or spontaneously.

 

I don't know that the "Of course" is necessary.

 

It seems to you (or me), in most cases, something happening purely in the mental realm, perhaps. But there are biological indicators in many cases, and the research is ongoing. We should not judge before all the evidence is in.

 

I earlier mentioned that 'feelings' seem to be the primary explanation for trans people of all sorts, and that there is rarely a full biological explanation invoked. But just because someone feels something, and has no biological evidence for the feeling, does not necessarily mean that there is not a biological reason for the feeling.

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Look at "finger length and sexual orientation".

 

This is a clear well established marker for sexual proclivity and it is not emotional in its basis.

 

The poster appears never to actually discuss things but comes up with short self assured bits and is rude enough not to ever elicit real discussions - because he is not looking for it. It always appears to have an agenda base.

Edited by Spotless
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How so very rare it  is to ask a poster first - 'Is this what you meant?'  Instead a presumption is made. Period.

 

The 'progressive hobby' referred to the cheerleaders & advocates for surgery, not to those with the affliction.

 

Bullshit

By "progressive hobby" you meant "now that they've gotten gay marriage the new focus is on transgender".

 

Cheerleaders and advocates for surgery - ? pretty pathetic try for a save but not happening here.

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Bullshit By "progressive hobby" you meant "now that they've gotten gay marriage the new focus is on transgender". Cheerleaders and advocates for surgery - ? pretty pathetic try for a save but not happening here.

 

Gee, I am not focused enough on eliciting 'real discussions' - one wonders why, with such cogent, open-hearted responses as typified by Spotless.

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