Covering chapters I & II.
Raymond takes us through the early history of the pioneers of “sex reassignment” surgery and the commencement of hormone therapy. For those of you interested in this Chapter I is where you will find it. I will confine my self to a few things that interested me from this section.
Firstly the lack of available statistics on “transsexual” surgeries. This made me wonder if anyone keeps record, today, especially in light of private providers. I assume we can obtain figures for those obtained on the NHS. I would love to know how much this has cost the taxpayer especially as we are now likely to face the compensation costs for those irreversibly harmed.
This also leapt out at me. Some states (New York) mandated health insurance providers to include “transsexual surgeries” . In New Jersey medicaid would cover it and this prompted some feminists to contrast the lack of federal funds for abortion.
Writing in 1979 this is overwhelmingly a male phenomenon but there are some “female to male transsexuals”; exact ratio is subject to speculation but she ends up on around 25%. For Raymond these women are mere tokens to camoflauge that this is, essentially, a male project; driven by men and for men. The women act as a kind of “beard”.
Another paragraph that leapt out at me, particularly because I am covering Janice’s work at the same time as Martine Rothblatt. Rothblatt is a male who defines himself as a “woman” and is keen on taking over female reproductive capacity such that “gestation becomes a commodity”. Karen Horney has written about womb envy and Greenson, below, writes of men and their “repressed envy” of the female sex. 👇
Raymond also speculates that men are over-represented in “transsexuals” because they are socialised to “fetishise and objectify” women already by rape and pornography.
Chapter II: Born or Made?
Chapter II looks at the theories used to explain “transsexualism”. They are divided into the social and biological and this chapter focuses on neuro-endocrine explanations with a particular emphasis on John Money’s work.
He advances a range of explanations: 👇
Superficially, as Raymond points out, many of Money’s arguments do seem eminently reasonable. Although there are feminists who take a hardline, anti-biologically determinist, stance about sex differences (I was once one of them) most of my acquaintance accept the likelihood of an interaction between nature and nature. I still acknowledge that there is a danger in a “born that way” defence of rapists or “blame it on the testosterone” arguments or even a sense of hopelessness in fighting sex stereotypes. I think we can avoid both of these traps even if we agree that the influence of nature does not only occur from the neck down.
Notwithstanding this chapter questions a lot of the research on the influence of hormones and behaviour with a few examples. Dosing female (monkeys) with testosterone was alleged to increase aggressive behaviour but Raymond provides research showing the impact was higher in females who already showed dominant behaviour. She also provides an example of a high testosterone, dominant, male who lost his dominant display when he lost dominant status, in a new group, and had a concomitant decline in testosterone. Worth delving into this chapter to explore this issue and, as a corrective, read Carol Hooven’s Testosterone and, for balance, the works of Cordelia Fine and Gina Rippon.
As Raymond points out we are not monkeys and 👇
Some of the analysis fails to take into account the prevailing culture. Behaviours associated with “masculine” or “dominant” behaviours change over time and what was once called “tom-boy” behaviour, or considered deviant, was the norm for girls in 1979. I can concur, as a tree-climbing, jumper off buildings kind of girl, we were all like that when I grew up, as a working class girl in the North of England.
Raymond, unsurprisingly, finds Money’s frame of reference a bit sexist and akin to Thomas Aquinas.
There is a really interesting section on the development of the foetus which starts on the female pathway until later differentiation, when the foetus can follow a male path. This is overlooked by Money who treats oestrogen as a “passive” hormone and testosterone as “active” which mirrors the Aquinas treatment of the female sex.
Money’s choice of language is also revealing.
Money argues that we are all wired to have a “gender identity” in the same way we are programmed to acquire language. Raymond remains unconvinced.
For Raymond these are the same old, tired, arguments with a new spin.
Money argues that a person’s “gender identity” is hardwired into them by eighteen months and to disrupt it will have catastrophic consequences.
This is antithetical to the feminist project of rooting out those behaviours that prepare women for a subordinate role. Feminist conscious raising encourages women to transcend these, artificially opposed, limitations. For the “trans” lobby we must, instead, believe “gender identity” is fixed and immutable. We must therefore believe in the “trans” child.
Money’s position on sex stereotypes is set out in Sexual Signatures, Tucker and Money. It’s interesting that he uses the example of foot binding which many of see as paralleled by the rise in breast binding in teenage girls.
Money argues that sex stereotypes will always exist and any programme to challenge the is doomed to failure. He wants these structures to remain intact but allow some individuals an opt out clause.
Raymond asks the question what other attitudes would we accept are ingrained and immutable? Would we shrug our shoulders about racist attitudes? Below she calls out his egregious sexism.
The scene was therefore set for the modern “pro-affirmation” approach at “gender clinics” leading to the rising rates of detransitioners we are seeing in 2022. This approach underpins legislation across the globe that accepts an immutable “gender identity” as akin to sexual orientation. That this policy is underpinned by the work of a sexist, paedophile should give people pause for thought.
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