Confused about what an Intellectual Turing Test is or what “gender identity” and “Blanchard-Bailey” mean? Click here! Please read, then vote at the end of the post.
How do you define woman/man?
“Woman” and “man” are the roles our society has devised to accommodate the sexual dimorphism of its inhabitants. (You know, us.) They are related to, but distinct from, the concepts of “female” and “male,” which refer to (for lack of a better term) one’s physical sex, which is a biological property. Our society expects adult female humans to act in the role of women and adult male humans to fill the role of men. A cat, or an insect, or a flower could be ‘female,’ but even if you have a cute name for her people will look at you funny if you say she, or it, is a woman. This is why we draw a distinction between sex and gender identity. (And also why describing women as ‘females’ is somewhat demeaning.)
The roles are in some ways prescriptive, pushing males and females to act in ways their peers want them to, and in other ways reflective of the natural behavioral differences that tend to exist between the sexes. (Reflective traits quickly become prescriptive traits as we lead people to fit into their roles.) And because these roles are so important to how our society works, we’ve also created arbitrary markers to signal that a person is one or the other. So we assign female humans to the “woman” role, which includes ‘be a mother’ (prescriptive), ‘act demure’ (reflective-turned- prescriptive) and ‘wear pretty pink bows in their hair’ (signaling), and male humans as “men,” who we expect to ‘eliminate hostile interlopers,’ ‘act boisterous,’ and ‘talk a lot about football.’
But there is a monkey wrench in both the sex and gender binaries. Male and female aren’t discrete categories, because they arise from complicated biochemical processes that aren’t guaranteed to work the same way every time. For example, some males produce more masculinizing hormones and some produce less. Sometimes children are born intersex. Quirks of chemistry can alter or block the effects of sex hormones on all or part of the body.
And highly prescriptive gender roles, we’ve found, are suffocating: our parochial expectations for men and women result in a lot of unnecessary suffering and limit our ability to achieve (because, say, a brilliant woman who could have transformed the world was forced to stay home and raise the kids).
That’s why our culture is beginning to acknowledge and adapt. Gender roles are not as imposing as they once were. But they are still meant to reflect and to signal sexual differences. Simultaneously, some people identified as one sex at birth realize that they feel more attuned to the other (or both, or none). The research in this area suggests that the brain ‘expects’ to perceive a certain set of sexual characteristics, based largely on hormonal exposure in utero, and responds with confusion and stress when it does not. Fortunately, these people can seek treatments that bring their body in line with what their mind is telling them. Similarly, adopting a new gender role can help dysphoric individuals feel like they are reflecting their interior state better, and help them achieve their goals.
What are your opinions on the cotton ceiling?
I wasn’t familiar with this term. I assume it’s referencing feminine hygiene products? Meh. But I guess there’s two things going on here? One being the hostility from TERFs. Okay, their model of sexuality, or PIV sexuality, or the presence of a penis-bearer, or whatever, as being inherently degrading and predatory is fucked up and anathema to good people leading happy lives. It’s not fair to men, and it’s definitely not fair to trans-women, who as a population already face more discrimination and hardship than anyone is comfortable confronting.
Two being, the difficulty facing trans-women who want to find female sexual partners who treat them for who they are. Hmm. I dunno. I don’t resent people for wanting to find sexual relationships that satisfy them, in either direction. And I’m not super comfortable with the idea that everyone has to validate something so intensely personal to them. But I am positive that, given enough time and goodwill, integration works. We’re already seeing it. Secondhand prejudice always loses to firsthand epiphanies.
Why are trans women disproportionately likely to be programmers?
I have no idea. Trans women have brains that are more like cis women, in some respects, but it’s not like those masculinizing hormones are just sloshing around doing nothing. Males are, on average, more predisposed to work with things and abstract systems than females. Perhaps dysphoria leads transwomen to eschew the physical competitiveness and social status games that signal manhood, and repress the instinct toward signaling femininity, so they stick to what they’re both naturally talented in and allowed to be good at. But that’s purely a conjecture.
Why do many trans women experience sexual fantasies about being or becoming a woman?
It would be weirder if they didn’t. Sexual response is such a deeply embedded instinct, so interwoven with bodily sensation, that it’s not surprising that they would reflect each other.
When taking the poll, if you can POSSIBLY round yourself off to Blanchard-Bailey or gender identity, please do so. Please do this even if you have major disagreements with the side you are leaning towards. Only use “neither” if you really really really cannot in good conscience round yourself to either.
Sexual dimorphism is just a kicker. To centralize any legitimate role of psychologically masculinizing hormones is not to be beholden to the gender identity position.
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Hardly. The gender identity position that Ozy defined also includes people who center dsyphoria as the main reason to transition. If one focuses on dysphoria, acknowledgement of sexual dimorphism is not contradictory.
In fact, it seems to me to be contradictory to not acknowledge sexual dimorphism in a dysphoria-centric position – otherwise, why would hrt have such a profound effect?
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Ozy admitted that they didn’t put that too well. Having a Blanchardian perspective and a dysphoria-centric position is not just possible but probable — you can write a short history of ‘why there are non-radfem trans Blanchardians’ that goes “trans person notices there are SO MANY trans people whose issues have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH EACH OTHER but all clearly experience gender dysphoria, attempts to figure out how there is such a difference in how the same condition presents but without engaging in Bad Wrongthink (and acknowledging the difference in the first place is Bad Wrongthink), accidentally finds sillyolme while googling something unrelated”.
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On the contrary, psychologically masculinizing hormones are an inherent part of some identitiarian arguments — namely, ‘AGP is exactly what we would expect to see if we gave [gynephilic] women testosterone-increased sex drives’.
(AAP is as always forgotten.)
If the writer here is legitimate, and I’m working under the assumption they are, I’d be really interested in seeing if they think MTF programmers see a reduction in productivity post-transition.
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I apologize – I made a mistake with the reply functionality of wordpress and my attempted reply was pinned as a comment. this is fine – I can be more precise here.
I did not mean to imply anything more than P(gender identity position | acknowledgement of sexual dimorphism) ~ 0.8. In that context I’m not sure what you are replying to. What does “Wrongthink” have to do with anything? There exist non-Blanchardians who center dysphoria as the main reason to transition.
I didn’t imply that being a Blanchardian meant you needed to acknowledge sexual dimorphism, not did I make any comment on Blanchardians in general. I said that it doesn’t make sense to me to believe gender dysphoria is the primary driver of transition without sexual dimorphism playing a role given the utility of HRT.
Many who do use the term autogynephilia, and thus may be confused for Blanchardians on the surface, use it in a very different way than Blanchard. Unlike Blanchard, radfem-associated trans people, the tumblr truscum community and /lgbt/ tend to use AGP as an argument not to transition (I can provide screenshots – however it is obviously anecdotal data) – contrary to Blanchard’s work. I would posit therefore that a number of those who would be classified under Ozy’s gender identity label would believe dysphoria is the primary driver of transition and would agree with the existence of sexual dimorphism.
“the tumblr truscum community”
…going to address this first: what alternate universe version of the truscum community are you associating with? I will admit it has been years since I was hanging out on that website, but I very vividly recall that people either actively rejected Blanchardianism or had never heard of it in the first place. My current perspective on that community is that it was much too liberal for that reason, especially given the number of people I knew in it who have since detransitioned. I would be very interested in hearing about your experiences with people in that community discussing autogynephilia, and in what year they occurred (I could buy it being a thing around 2011-2012, maybe, but not any later unless there were major shifts over 2016-2017).
The ‘wrongthink’ in question is that accepting the typology is wrongthink in just about every trans community, even ones that superficially believe similar things (I am all too aware that /tttt/’s definition of AGP is not always reasonable and became Blanchardian Anon solely to tell everyone this), and especially the ones that are not /tttt/. I got a lot of shit in /r/asktransgender once for simply asking if it were possible that a typology existed at all, outside the Blanchardian context, because my experiences in that community had made it all too clear that most of the other posters there were experiencing something orthogonal to my experience.
We seem to agree on all the stuff involving dysphoria and sexual dimorphism and were accidentally talking past each other there.
Conversation is probably an exaggeration. I wrote one post on autogynephilia being not sufficiently well-supported (by referencing Moser’s infamous study with n = 29) and got a lot of hate for it, including from bloggers I used to follow and admire (like genderspatial). This was in 2015 when I started using tumblr. Decided political discussions were suboptimal for my mental health and that supporting the truscum position was currently unnecessary given its prevalence in medical literature, so stopped posting about dysphoria.
Here’s a link to text from genderspatial’s truscum starter pack: http://genderspatial.tumblr.com/post/94978496222/things-that-may-mimic-gender-dysphoria
There’s also a lot of stuff snowflakespecial blogged about, though I didn’t follow her. Otherwise, discussion of autogynephilia tended to be rather lowkey except when the concept was questioned or used in a nonradfem way.
I later decided that gatekeeping more intrusive than informed consent for HRT would have negative expected utility (via back of the envelope calculations – I did not spend a lot of time to make sure my probabilities and utility estimates were accurate) which is why I no longer identify with the truscum community.
Here”s something interesting about autogynephilia that I want to share – my trans ex-boyfriend (ftm) claimed to have autogynephlia when I explained the concept (and said that was probably why he was okay presenting as female for so long). It doesn’t really help my position but it’s interesting.
My gut feeling is BB, but it could easily be naive GI.
I can’t tell, which probably means I should vote sincere.
With all due respect, I believe my statement implied that P(gender identity position | acknowledgement of sexual dimorphism) >> 0.
I estimate from personal experience P(acknowledgement of sexual dimorphism | gender identity position) = 0.3 in the general trans-friendly population (sample size n = 29, not counting myself), and thereby I estimate P(gender identity position | acknowledgement of sexual dimorphism) = 0.8, assuming 95% of the trans-friendly population agrees with the gender identity theory while 5% does not with P(sexual dimorphism | not gender identity position) at 0.9 – obviously these numbers are rough so I don’t feel comfortable saying more than 0.8. Yes, it is negative evidence. I just do not personally think it is sufficiently negative.
I also believe anecdotally that admitting an opinion not generally associated with the position is more likely to be genuine since the naive strategy is to provide the most positive evidence for the position you don’t support. Obviously this naive counterstrategy can be exploited and is exploited.
I think it is not necessary that trans women suffer a loss of productivity upon transitioning in a dimorphic model. It is quite possible that the parts of the brain which control perception of gender have little to do with the parts that are correlate to programming skill in this person’s model.
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