changeling times

trials and tribulations of eclectic chicken

mental bimblings on a trans theme. May 31, 2012

Filed under: trans stuff — eclectic chicken @ 9:07 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Now first off a disclaimer…. this is me having a mental bimble and writing it down. Thas’all….

I was thinking today about how many trans people claim that having the wrong gender brain is a ‘sign’ of their transsexuality… on its own it can’t be… many people must not be at one end of the male/female brain spectrum… we just don’t all get dysphoric about it.

Dysphoric… thats key isn’t it?…. like many things that make it into the big book of mental disorders… its ok to be something as long as it doesn’t interfere with your life… whether thats non-normative gender…non-normative sexualities… none normative ways of thinking…blahdy blahdy blah.

Soooo…is it possible to be transsexual but not dysphoric?

But you need to be dysphoric to be treated as a transsexual?

These are just questions…  I’m not giving answers…I’m thinking out loud (tippety tappety tippety…etc).

There must be transsexuals who transition who therefore are body/gender dysphoric but have the ‘right’ brain gender for which they were declared at birth.

There seem to be a lot of MtoF transsexual people who seem very male brained…. this links nicely with the theory that a lot of people on the transsexual end of the trans spectrum are also on the autistic spectrum.

Autism is said, by some, to be extreme male brainedness. (the opposite of which of course is extreme female brainedness which would be er…. hmmm… neurotic – but we don’t tend to talk about that any more… not since they stopped doctors giving women orgasms to cure it) [what was wrong with that anyway? sounds like fun]…

I digress… but in a mental bimble thats okay.

So we have mental dysphoria…we have body dysphoria… some people no doubt have just all round dysphoria.

The point i was getting to in my own mind is maybe transsexuality could be a syndrome… a syndrome as any fule nos is not a real medical thing at all… its a collection of symptoms. A bit like an ‘eye spy’ book… if you tick enough boxes the Big Chief sends you a certificate of syndrome.

People are very fond of syndromes nowadays… it fits in with out ‘everyone can be a victim’ mentality. I personally have ‘grumpy old cynic’ syndrome. The symptoms are many… sufferers legion.

This idea seems so obvious i can’t believe nobody thought of it…so I googled transsexual and syndrome and came up with  the ‘Harry Benjamin Syndrome’…. as expected this turns out to be contraversial… anything to do with transsexuality turns out to be contraversial…. there are so many ‘different’ ideas and thoughts of what it right and no concept that none of them or all of them maybe…right…or wrong.

…there are those who would throw the entire gender construct away to make themelves feel ‘better’… those who know surgery is the one true way…. those who say there is no true way – but usually those people have strong opinions on what is the wrong way.

I still like the idea of a syndrome… I usually score 50% ish on the how male are you quizzes and 50% ish on the how female are you quizzes..I’m never quite sure where that leaves me. I’m also left handed… a far more common occurance in males (or should that be those who are male brained)?  If you gave me a tick list of  trans ‘symptoms’ I tick lots of boxes, right back to being a kid.

In the months before Jane revealed all to me, a list of tick boxes would have been very helpful.

So if transsexuality hadn’t been nabbed and placed firmly under the skirts of psychiatry.. would it be a syndrome?

Ideally I guess we’d not need a syndrome either if we weren’t so hot on labelling and pigeon-holing people…. maybe it’d be simpler just to let people be what they want to be…. dress how they want… behave how they need….

I suppose that puts me in the throwing the binary out with the bathwater camp…

I guess the moral to this bimble is its easy to think about something too much… to concentrate too much on the ‘why’?

The more you think the more complicated something gets… not clearer…no…no… not clearer.

Acceptance… thats the key… big shiny key. If we all accepted difference would difference disappear up its own jacksie in a puff of smoke… thus negating dysphoria…

… you see?… dangerous ground again… I’m now tottering on the verges of rad fem gender theory and thats a BAD thing… not in the usual trans political us v the rad fems way…. but just i don’t like to be labelled as any sort of feminist. (tick another box for me).

My head hurts… I’ve probably managed to cause offence to all sorts of people who like to find offence wherever they can… blogs are such rich pickings for those whose offense taking is on a semi professional level… if they cross a line do they become officially ‘paranoid’?

I dunno…. its all just words and theory… time for tea and a nice biscuit I think.


8 Responses to “mental bimblings on a trans theme.”

  1. The Fishwife Says:

    Hang on while I get a coffee, some homous and tortilla chips, This could get interesting 🙂

  2. Rebecca Ashling Says:

    I’d have been somatically dysphoric, even in a socially utopian world. In any event, I can do what the sod I like with my body. It’s MINE!

    • eclectic chicken Says:

      thankyou for commenting Rebecca… so are you saying that your body dysphoria (i think thats what somatic dysphoria is to save anyone else having to google it) is a stand alone thing?… if you’d grown up in total social isolation you’d still have felt body dysphoric… its built in, as opposed to a socialised reaction?

      I wonder,therefore, if you’d grown up in an isolation box how you would have chosen to present yourself given a carte blanche to do so?
      Genuine question…I’m working stuff through in my head at the moment.

  3. Rebecca Ashling Says:

    Anyways, I would liken my experience of dysphoria to being left-handed but having two right hands.

    • eclectic chicken Says:

      aaah… i like this….
      ok..i’m left handed (actually fairly ambidextrous as i’ve tended to teach myself to do things right handed to make life easier in a right handed world and also in teaching my right handed kids to do things) so i have a left and a right.

      You would have a left-right and a right….

      which would make life very difficult…. even if you had a left hand transplant… you’d still be cack handed and living in a right hand world… but at least your thumbs would be pointing the right way.

      or am i being too literal and this is more of a ‘one hand clapping’ thing?

  4. Actually, what I take from what you write and agree with is, the categories and categorisation do not help, no-one knows enough to categorise, we should do as we like and take the consequences. Is hating trans women a necessary characteristic of “radfems”? Even if my trans-ness is a delusion I see no way of breaking that delusion and so no way of being happy other than presenting female.

    If the categorisation has a value, it is that it has allowed the pioneers to move forward. I would not have transitioned had I not been aware of trans women going before. They needed the support of the doctors, and got it.

  5. sophia Says:

    Didn’t suffer from body dysphoria before I transitioned and all there was apart from that was a desire to stop signalling male and start signalling female because it was really silly and made no sense as it was.
    Now I do have the body thing but the rest actually works most of the time.
    Don’t think a utopian society would help all that much, the feeling of wrongness goes rather beyond that. It may be socially responsive but not affected social acceptance. But some people are fine with it, for a time at least, so I don’t see it as key to ‘transsexuality’ if there really is such a thing, syndrome or condition. The act of transition may be a response to a whole variety of problems which may have nothing really to do with gender. For example I certainly believe that a number of deeply closeted gays, obviously more in the past, have transitioned with some sort of success.
    Do think there’s a point to identifying some strains of transsexual experience, primarily the evolution through transition. but that’s a lot more to do with seeking an understanding of the basics of gender dimorphic neuro-hormonal states and the nature of underlying factors in the gender binary.

  6. Sagebrush Says:

    One thing to keep in mind is that neurological research has shown that the anatomical differences between the brains of females and the brains of males are tiny. The brains of males and females are far more alike than different. The tiny differences, however, get magnified by the different ways we treat girls and boys.

    “Harry Benjamin Syndrome” is an invented term. It was invented by people who did not want to be called transsexual. I don’t know if they ever thought through the implications of the word “syndrome.”

    Female and male are designations of biological sex. Those born transsexual have a strong sense of themselves having been sexed incorrectly. The condition is distinct from, although sometimes intersects with, the desire to behave in ways that are outside the stereotypical gender norms. Transsexualism is a physiological condition, which is why the medical treatment of those who have it is so successful.

    The test you mentioned “measure” stereotypical masculinity and femininity. You can’t tell how “female” or “male” you are with those. All you can tell is how much or how little you conform to societal gender norms.

    There are certainly people who chafe at gender norms and indeed to break them or live outside them. As far as I can tell, that has gone on for as long as their have been gender roles, meaning probably forever. But confusing that with the need to change one’s body is where the RadFem argument falls apart. They say that if we were only allowed to express ourselves as we wished, there would be no transsexualism. They seem not to understand that the need to change one’s body is distinct from the desire to express oneself differently.

    A person born male-bodied doesn’t change sex in order to wear a frock. The person changes sex in order to have a vagina instead of a penis, because people born female-bodied have vaginas. The need is to be female-bodied. Frocks may or may not follow, as with any women.

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