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    Wanting to be something that you are not -- isn't that somehow a mental issue, as would wanting to be a dog? On the other hand, aren't the ideas governing what is male and female just human constructs?

    I'm putting this in philosophy because I think it raises many questions about the idea of normality, and its importance (or lack of).

    What do you think?
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    normalcy doesnt exist.

    gender is real and biological, it's only hardline feminists who say it doesnt exist.

    and it's a proven mental illness, and transgenders have male or femal brains when they are phyiscally of another gender.
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    (Original post by 24yearsSpurs)
    gender is real and biological, it's only hardline feminists who say it doesnt exist.
    False. This entirely fails to understand the feminists and feminist/queer/postmodern theory you're attempting to criticize here.

    Gender is behavior, mode of dress, mannerisms, etc. It is not biological to wear a dress or makeup. To claim that's a biological truth is absurd. Furthermore, feminists do not claim that gender does not exist. Such a claim would be taken as absurd and patently false in every feminist circle. People clearly have behavior and modes of dress.

    Having a penis, vagina, breasts, etc. are all sex, not gender.

    and it's a proven mental illness,
    Not quite. Currently, according to the ICD it's 'gender identity disorder' and according to the DSM it's 'gender dysphoria'.

    The mental illness isn't the gender itself, but rather the anxiety, etc. associated with not being the gender one feels one is.

    and transgenders have male or femal brains when they are phyiscally of another gender.
    This is, actually, an unproven theory. And, the relevant research has been highly questionable due to methodology. Additionally, the research focused only on transsexual individuals, not transgender individuals. And you seem to be, quite inaccurately, attempting to lump the two together.
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    (Original post by Soundslikeachair)
    Wanting to be something that you are not -- isn't that somehow a mental issue, as would wanting to be a dog? On the other hand, aren't the ideas governing what is male and female just human constructs?

    I'm putting this in philosophy because I think it raises many questions about the idea of normality, and its importance (or lack of).

    What do you think?
    The first poster has deeply confused 'gender' for 'sex'. So, the first question is - are you asking about transgender individuals or transsexual individuals? Given the title, I'll assume that you're asking about transsexual individuals.

    Anne Fausto-Sterling is a developmental geneticist at Brown University, she's argued, like you've asked here, that biological sex (which is different from gender) is not the binary opposition of male-female.

    Using things like Klienfelter's and other intersex conditions, Fausto-Sterling argues that (starting from a historical perspective and examination) that the dichotomous definition of male-female is false.

    Biologists like to refer to chromosomes such as XX and XY to identify sex, but this is inaccurate. You can find individuals who are XY and were born/display as entirely female. You can find XX individuals who were born/display as entirely male.

    The actual biological development of sex in utero is actually hugely complex, it involves way more than simple chromosomes, it's also hormones, in utero environment and other genetics.

    Culturally speaking, it's a false claim to state that sex has always been understood in a binary male-female. This is a product of colonialism and the spread of European thought. In particular, some Asian and American cultures had (or still have) non-binary sex.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    Gender is behavior, mode of dress, mannerisms, etc. It is not biological to wear a dress or makeup. To claim that's a biological truth is absurd.
    Exactly, which makes it very interesting when transgender children are attracted to different-gender clothing. That shouldn't really happen. So, I think transgenderism is more an environmental thing. Unlike most others, they feel disconnected from the social norms belonging to their own gender, and therefore feel a psychological attraction to the other.
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    (Original post by Soundslikeachair)
    Exactly, which makes it very interesting when transgender children are attracted to different-gender clothing. That shouldn't really happen. So, I think transgenderism is more an environmental thing. Unlike most others, they feel disconnected from the social norms belonging to their own gender, and therefore feel a psychological attraction to the other.
    'Transgenderism' isn't a term, and it's typically used by anti-trans activists to insult trans individuals.

    Why shouldn't an 'attraction' to different-gender clothing happen?

    Trans isn't really an environmental thing, it's an identity thing. It's how the person self-identifies, regardless of the environmental/social pressures to the contrary. Also, you use the terms 'their gender' and 'the other'. The usage of these terms is incorrect.

    'Their gender' is whatever they define their gender as - man, woman, trans, queer, fluid, gender ****, etc.

    'The other' implies this dichotomous binary opposition, which is incorrect, as gender occurs on more than a binary scale.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    'Transgenderism' isn't a term, and it's typically used by anti-trans activists to insult trans individuals.

    Why shouldn't an 'attraction' to different-gender clothing happen?

    Trans isn't really an environmental thing, it's an identity thing. It's how the person self-identifies, regardless of the environmental/social pressures to the contrary. Also, you use the terms 'their gender' and 'the other'. The usage of these terms is incorrect.

    'Their gender' is whatever they define their gender as - man, woman, trans, queer, fluid, gender ****, etc.

    'The other' implies this dichotomous binary opposition, which is incorrect, as gender occurs on more than a binary scale.
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/de...transgenderism

    It doesn't really matter anyway.

    *Trans isn't really an environmental thing, it's an identity thing. It's how the person self-identifies, regardless of the environmental/social pressures to the contrary.*

    Well, yeah, but people aren't *naturally* driven towards a certain gender of clothing. So, the reason for a male preferring female clothing, at a young age, must be at least partly environmental. Any identity is environmental. We are not born racist, or greedy, or selfish, or altruistic -- everything is learned, except physical characteristics.

    Also, I think (whatever you want to call it) originates from a lack of uncertainty. If you are certain that you belong to a specific gender, the exterior alterations are therefore unnecessary as that would only be an attempt to have the exterior and interior match, which would only be necessary if a person was uncertain. If someone is uncertain, the exterior alterations are to enforce that certainty in the mind. So it is both a fundamental uncertainty, and a belief that the exterior affects the interior that would cause a person to change gender -- instead of someone simply being indifferent to it.
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    (Original post by Soundslikeachair)
    Also, I think (whatever you want to call it) originates from a lack of uncertainty. If you are certain that you belong to a specific gender, the exterior alterations are therefore unnecessary as that would only be an attempt to have the exterior and interior match
    This is false. Part of gender is performance (see gender as performance as well as performativitiy). Part of my gender is how I perform my gender to the rest of the world. My gender identity is how I self-identify my performance internally. You seem to be conflating my gender for my gender identity.

    If I am certain that my gender identity is feminine or woman, then part of this entails a certainty that my gender performance does or ought to reflect femininity or woman-ness.

    Gender is not merely internal identity, gender is constructed though recursive behavior.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)

    Gender is not merely internal identity, gender is constructed though recursive behavior.
    Agreed, but that wasn't my point. My point was that actively seeking to alter the exterior to fit the interior (by this I mean surgical operations), be that interior a construct of recursive behavior or not, must be the result of a need to make the exterior confirm the feelings of the interior. If the interior feelings are certain, then confirmation is not necessary.
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    (Original post by Soundslikeachair)
    Agreed, but that wasn't my point. My point was that actively seeking to alter the exterior to fit the interior (by this I mean surgical operations), be that interior a construct of recursive behavior or not, must be the result of a need to make the exterior confirm the feelings of the interior. If the interior feelings are certain, then confirmation is not necessary.
    But that's incorrect. Primarily because now you've switched from gender to sex. As the previous poster pointed out, though the methodology is questionable and results/conclusions are not universally accepted, trans individuals who feel the need to undergo surgery may have different brain structures (though it's unclear if this is a cause or effect).

    The more relevant point, however, is that sex is a political identity. It's non-neutral. It carries social meaning. When people gender you, they also sex you based on your gender presentation, by making assumptions about what they think your body ought to look like; and vice versa, what you're body looks likes ought, according to them, determine your gender.

    People who undergo surgery tend to individually feel wrong - to them, their body feels 'alien'; or, they want to change their sex so that individuals stop making assumptions about what their gender ought to be.

    It's not confirmation, it's how others gender/sex your body or if you feel 'wrong'.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    But that's incorrect. Primarily because now you've switched from gender to sex. As the previous poster pointed out, though the methodology is questionable and results/conclusions are not universally accepted, trans individuals who feel the need to undergo surgery may have different brain structures (though it's unclear if this is a cause or effect).

    The more relevant point, however, is that sex is a political identity. It's non-neutral. It carries social meaning. When people gender you, they also sex you based on your gender presentation, by making assumptions about what they think your body ought to look like; and vice versa, what you're body looks likes ought, according to them, determine your gender.

    People who undergo surgery tend to individually feel wrong - to them, their body feels 'alien'; or, they want to change their sex so that individuals stop making assumptions about what their gender ought to be.

    It's not confirmation, it's how others gender/sex your body or if you feel 'wrong'.
    So, running with the assumption that people who undergo surgery have a different brain structure, are you therefore suggesting this brain structure makes a person feel uncomfortable with a certain bodily appearance? How could a certain structure of the brain make a dislike their perception of their own body? Why should a female brain intrinsically dislike having a male body, or male brain a female body? It seems as though the reasons could only be environmental.
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    (Original post by Soundslikeachair)
    So, running with the assumption that people who undergo surgery have a different brain structure, are you therefore suggesting this brain structure makes a person feel uncomfortable with a certain bodily appearance? How could a certain structure of the brain make a dislike their perception of their own body? Why should a female brain intrinsically dislike having a male body, or male brain a female body? It seems as though the reasons could only be environmental.
    If I have an internal desire to change my sex because I feel as though I'm 'in the wrong body', this is by definition non-environmental. It's my internal processes and my body.

    You seem to be want to be arguing about internalized social pressures, not environment. These are very different things.

    To answer your question, as I think you're posing it though, I cannot answer your question. I have no idea why a particular brain structure would make someone dislike their own body. It's not uncommon, it happens with other things such as body integrity identity disorder. There's supposedly (I say supposedly because it's not my area and you'd have to ask someone who has done research in such an area) a correlation between brain structure and BIID.

    In people with phantom limb syndrome, their brain is still wired to act as though it has the amputated limb and the individual's brain still has activity in the relevant nerve receptor parts of the brain as though their nervous system is still active (even though the limb has been amputated and there clearly cannot be any nerve input to that part of the body).

    Perhaps their brain is 'wired' to feel as though it should have certain body parts that it doesn't.

    Perhaps, through associations, etc. the brain has developed a particular pattern of neurotransmitter behavior such that it creates negative feelings in association with the individual's body.

    One need not be able to answer how something is doing something to know that it's doing something. These are two separate questions. We don't currently know, but we could come to know, that is this is the cause without knowing precisely how it's the cause.

    To state 'it seems as thought it could only be environmental' is to make the fallacy of the single cause.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    If I have an internal desire to change my sex because I feel as though I'm 'in the wrong body', this is by definition non-environmental. It's my internal processes and my body.

    You seem to be want to be arguing about internalized social pressures, not environment. These are very different things.

    To answer your question, as I think you're posing it though, I cannot answer your question. I have no idea why a particular brain structure would make someone dislike their own body. It's not uncommon, it happens with other things such as body integrity identity disorder. There's supposedly (I say supposedly because it's not my area and you'd have to ask someone who has done research in such an area) a correlation between brain structure and BIID.

    In people with phantom limb syndrome, their brain is still wired to act as though it has the amputated limb and the individual's brain still has activity in the relevant nerve receptor parts of the brain as though their nervous system is still active (even though the limb has been amputated and there clearly cannot be any nerve input to that part of the body).

    Perhaps their brain is 'wired' to feel as though it should have certain body parts that it doesn't.

    Perhaps, through associations, etc. the brain has developed a particular pattern of neurotransmitter behavior such that it creates negative feelings in association with the individual's body.

    One need not be able to answer how something is doing something to know that it's doing something. These are two separate questions. We don't currently know, but we could come to know, that is this is the cause without knowing precisely how it's the cause.

    To state 'it seems as thought it could only be environmental' is to make the fallacy of the single cause.
    "If I have an internal desire to change my sex because I feel as though I'm 'in the wrong body', this is by definition non-environmental. It's my internal processes and my body".

    We really can't confirm that. An internal desire can originate from environmental stimulus, as this shapes our minds, but could also be caused by an inbuilt chemical response. I think we just have to ask, what is more likely? The brain structure instinctively knows what their body should look like (which would mean that if someone were raised to believe that their third arm was completely normal, that they would still question their third arm -- I don't think they would), or someone's attitudes towards their appearance are caused by outside factors? Though, the likely alternative isn't always true. So, as I said, you can't really argue either way without absolute evidence.

    "Perhaps their brain is 'wired' to feel as though it should have certain body parts that it doesn't."

    As I said, people generally only seem to see something wrong with their body when the exterior stimulus tells them so. The alternative just seems very unlikely.

    "One need not be able to answer how something is doing something to know that it's doing something"

    True, in this case, knowing the WHAT is sufficient, and understanding the HOW would be unnecessary. The problem is that we still don't know the WHAT. It's not a matter of HOW; the debate as to whether something is caused by environment, or biology, is a debate over description: the WHAT.

    We really can have no certainty, either way, just as there can be no certainty when discussing religion. The possibility that a God can exist does not justify a belief in God, nor should the possibility that the brain somehow knows what a person should look like (which just seems a little tenuous an idea), before birth, justify a belief in this rather than the more likely environmental cause.
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    I'm not sure it matters.

    If someone is trans and they want to medically/legally/socially transition then not being able/allowed to will **** them up. Any sort of therapy to get them to not be trans doesn't work where as letting them transition helps a hell of a lot- that's a fact, it's why that's what the NHS does.

    It's better for that individual to be happier and healthier. If that doesn't matter then economically it makes sense too, for the NHS and in terms of productivity.

    Even in terms of how we treat people, being trans isn't a choice regardless of what the cause is. You don't hold things people can't help against them, that's just not being a decent person.



    As for is it normal, I think the only meaningful definition of normal is typical. Beings trans isn't typical, very few people are. Does that have any sort of philosophical or moral value? I don't think so, it's just a 'fire is hot' type fact
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    False. This entirely fails to understand the feminists and feminist/queer/postmodern theory you're attempting to criticize here.

    Gender is behavior, mode of dress, mannerisms, etc. It is not biological to wear a dress or makeup. To claim that's a biological truth is absurd. Furthermore, feminists do not claim that gender does not exist. Such a claim would be taken as absurd and patently false in every feminist circle. People clearly have behavior and modes of dress.

    Having a penis, vagina, breasts, etc. are all sex, not gender.


    Not quite. Currently, according to the ICD it's 'gender identity disorder' and according to the DSM it's 'gender dysphoria'.

    The mental illness is the gender itself, but rather the anxiety, etc. associated with not being the gender one feels one is.



    This is, actually, an unproven theory. And, the relevant research has been highly questionable due to methodology. Additionally, the research focused only on transsexual individuals, not transgender individuals. And you seem to be, quite inaccurately, attempting to lump the two together.
    Men and women are psychologically different. This is proven, and it's only hardline feminists who say this is offensive.

    And the entire reason for gender reassignment is to treat the distress. Id say it works considering most who transition tend to feel/function better.
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    (Original post by Soundslikeachair)
    What do you think?
    As far as medical diagnoses go, psychiatric issues are probably the least clear cut and are as reliant on most recent scientific knowledge as they are on subjective moral-/value-based judgements, the latter of which is probably the reason this ties in so well with the idea of "normality".

    For example, things like homosexuality and fetishism would have been diagnosed as illness centuries ago when the western world was predominantly influenced by Christianity. I guess I could go on a tangent here about Foucault and how power determines what is constituted as knowledge, etc. but I don't know Foucault's philosophy deeply enough to elongate a discussion on it. But basically, that's my take on it; the main point here is that mental diagnoses also depend heavily on prevailing social customs and standards.

    I think what should constitute as a mental illness/issue is that when something causes significant harm or disadvantage to the person who has it or to other people. (Another example - there are (estimated to be) many people today who are living with autism or are on the autistic spectrum who are left undiagnosed because it does not have a significantly negative effect on their lives.)

    As for the male/female issue, surely there's a link to the fact that males have Y chromosomes and females don't, which result in them having their respective sexual organs, reproductive capacities. I think these "natural" biological capacities ultimately affect us as individuals and where we find our niches in the greater collective of society, which I believe is the reason for the established "male" and "female" roles in our society (the human constructs), which I think is what transsexuals feel like they are swimming against. Then you also have this concept of the "male" and "female" identities, which I think (knobs and fannies aside) depends heavily on conceptualised social constructs. That said, I agree with you in that there are ideas about the "male" and "female" which are purely human constructs, but there are biological facts that cannot be ignored.
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    (Original post by 24yearsSpurs)
    Men and women are psychologically different. This is proven, and it's only hardline feminists who say this is offensive.
    (1) Who are 'hardline feminists'?
    (2) Which school of feminism are you trying to single out here?
    (3) As a 'hardline feminist' myself, I have literally no idea what you're talking about. No feminist would make the claim that men and women are psychologically the same. This would be a denial of individual experience, individual differentiation, group membership, etc. This would deny the existence of gender, which no feminist does. It seems as though you're making a bunch of claims about feminism when, in fact, you've never actually studied feminism.

    And the entire reason for gender reassignment is to treat the distress. Id say it works considering most who transition tend to feel/function better.
    Yes, no one is denying this.
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    (Original post by 9910224)
    surely there's a link to the fact that males have Y chromosomes and females don't, which result in them having their respective sexual organs, reproductive capacities.
    This is a vast over simplification. Sex is way more than an X or Y chromosome. I could find an XY woman capable of reproducing with the 'appropriate sexual organs'.

    I think these "natural" biological capacities ultimately affect us as individuals and where we find our niches in the greater collective of society, which I believe is the reason for the established "male" and "female" roles in our society (the human constructs), which I think is what transsexuals feel like they are swimming against.
    Now you've switched from talking about biological sex to gender. Please make up your mind as to which topic you're trying to discuss. 'Roles' refer to gender, not sex.

    Then you also have this concept of the "male" and "female" identities, which I think (knobs and fannies aside) depends heavily on conceptualised social constructs.
    Are you talking about gender identity or sex identity?

    That said, I agree with you in that there are ideas about the "male" and "female" which are purely human constructs, but there are biological facts that cannot be ignored.
    Which biological facts are these? Sex is not binary, there are XX males and XY females, there are various intersex individuals, there are even full hermaphrodites. So which of these biological facts cannot be ignored and are somehow determinitive? Is it the chromosomes? In which case someone who is XY, yet has female genitalia, breasts and a fully functional reproductive system is now male? Or is it their sexual organs? In which case XX person with a penis is a male; and an intersex person is what?

    You seem to be constructing an opinion that biology determines sex, as if biology and biological information is not subject to human constructions or data interpretation. How biological data are interpreted involves political choices, just like the selection of historical or sociological data (see Quentin Skinner). So which political choices and data are you trying to defend here?
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    (1) Who are 'hardline feminists'?
    (2) Which school of feminism are you trying to single out here?
    (3) As a 'hardline feminist' myself, I have literally no idea what you're talking about. No feminist would make the claim that men and women are psychologically the same. This would be a denial of individual experience, individual differentiation, group membership, etc. This would deny the existence of gender, which no feminist does. It seems as though you're making a bunch of claims about feminism when, in fact, you've never actually studied feminism.


    Yes, no one is denying this.
    I only answered the OP who questioned the basis for transexuality. I think the basis is valid, and it's only people who dispute male/female differences in any form who say it's not.
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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    This is a vast over simplification. Sex is way more than an X or Y chromosome. I could find an XY woman capable of reproducing with the 'appropriate sexual organs'.
    Will look this up.

    Now you've switched from talking about biological sex to gender. Please make up your mind as to which topic you're trying to discuss. 'Roles' refer to gender, not sex.
    Surely, the sex has had influence over "gender" the whole time civilisation's existed?

    Are you talking about gender identity or sex identity?
    Okay, enlighten me on the differences.

    Which biological facts are these? Sex is not binary, there are XX males and XY females, there are various intersex individuals, there are even full hermaphrodites. So which of these biological facts cannot be ignored and are somehow determinitive? Is it the chromosomes? In which case someone who is XY, yet has female genitalia, breasts and a fully functional reproductive system is now male? Or is it their sexual organs? In which case XX person with a penis is a male; and an intersex person is what?
    Actually saw this hermaphrodites argument coming. <sigh> I actually know one. I didn't bother factoring it in because I didn't have so much time on my hands on a Monday afternoon to properly dissect it. Also, it's "determinative".

    So which political choices and data are you trying to defend here?
    Wasn't aware I was defending anything. Thought I had liberty to bounce around ideas in a public forum.
 
 
 
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