I know this blog entry will be wandering a bit off topic from the subject of atheism, but I think it plays indirectly into the larger need to express a comprehensive political and social narrative to compete with the Tea Party Glen Beck religious wacko ideology that threatens to conquer American politics. Moreover, I can't get to sleep without getting this off my chest. So here goes.

Medical decisions are questions of cost/benefit analysis. There is a condition. There is a treatment. Is the treatment indicated for the condition? Are the side effects of a drug worth the benefit it might provide? Why do we give cancer patients drugs that cause crippling anemia, hair loss, and nausea, while we would consider these side effects to be completely inappropriate in say, an acne medication? Because these are comparative questions. It comes down to balancing one side of the equation against the other.

If men have an outrageously higher incidence of heart disease than do women, why do we not castrate every male who has a heart attack? I am certain that if a study was made of the effects of castration on long term prognoses of male heart disease victims, we would find that almost nothing else comes close in terms of improving the odds for long term survival. Why, then, would the very idea of such a study utterly repulse 48% of the humans reading this? Because we, as a society, place a value on male sexuality. (to a very absurd degree, but that is a subject for another blog post)

If, however, you are transgendered, your sexual expression is begrudgingly accepted strictly as a matter of whim. It is considered to have absolutely no value. Accordingly, if you are transgendered, and are on hormone therapy, the first course of action in even the most minor medical events is to withhold hormone treatment. If you are transgendered, and you have a heart attack, you WILL be taken off hormones.

What is it about the sexual identity of a transgendered person that makes it so strikingly less valuable than that of a natal male? Is such inequality justified? If you are a natal male, and you felt a surge of revulsion and fear at the idea of your balls being cut off at the drop of a hat, please understand that I feel exactly the same way about my hormone treatments.

This is what we are talking about when we talk about things like social justice and equality. This is a real world, specific example of inequality with a functioning comparison for measuring it. Compare this to the usual vague screed against the "homosexual agenda" from someone like Limbaugh or Beck, and let me know which one holds more water.

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Comment by Gaytor on October 23, 2010 at 4:21am
I get the emotional tug that you are exposing with the castration. I have to say that if exercise and not eating right weren't options to solve my heart problem, I don't think that losing my sexuality is an option to cure my disease. I don't know if this argument helps or hurts your intent, but life includes sexuality for me. Without it, I'm just not interested. Maybe if I had never experienced it, I wouldn't care, but I have. Arguably, it's why we live. To procreate. To live long enough to have children and to raise them. Family is the driving motivator for many and let's be honest, that goes back to sexuality.
Admittedly, sex for non pro-creative purposes still drives many and that would be an interesting discussion in itself. The tweak that causes sexuality to be different from the mean being no less driven yet pro-creation cannot be the base purpose. hmm...
I can accept the drive to cure the view or vision one has of oneself. I don't even know how to word it fairly because it's not something that I've experienced. What do you read about others whom have undergone the procedure? Do most fully accept their new sexuality? Do some reject the new vision of themselves? I don't think that I've really delved into the subject with a trans-gendered person. I do find it fascinating and I feel terribly ignorant about it due to a lack of exposure.
Comment by Dawn McCain on October 24, 2010 at 6:55pm
@Adriana - Estrogen causes the blood to clot more easily. Usually this manifests itself in increased likelihood of stroke or DVT, but my experience is that the medical establishment will cut off MtF hormone therapy at the slightest sign of anything remotely associated with cardiovascular symptoms. Among the MtFs I personally know, one was taken off hormones for an episode of dizziness. I know less about the experience of FtMs, but if you are an MtF, and you walk into a doctor's office with symptoms more complicated than a common cold, you have about a 50/50 shot of being ordered to stop taking hormones.

You quite correctly observe that our society's regard for the value of female sexuality lags behind that of male sexuality. I honestly had no idea how entrenched and extensive sexism was before I started transition. I have found the experience to be quite eye opening.

@Gaytor - "Do most fully accept their new sexuality? Do some reject the new vision of themselves?"

I have heard thirdhand anecdotal stories of transsexuals who later regretted their transition, but I have never met any such person. Given the sample size of people I directly know who have attempted transition, the high end estimate of those who might later regret their transition would be something like 5%. So, estimating conservatively, I would say that 95% of transsexuals fully accept their new sexuality.

This shouldn't be surprising, given that our society so strongly vilifies transgenderism. There is an overwhelming force to conform to social sexual expectations. While I do not personally know anyone who transitioned and regretted it, I know of literally hundreds who are transgendered but who force themselves to live in social gender obedience. Many would rather die than face the stigma of transgenderism, and an alarming number do exactly that - committing suicide rather than living as they are.

There is an attitude, particularly among males in regard to MtFs, that if just one self-proclaimed MtF transsexual later regretted their decision to transition, then we have to question the entire process of transition as an acceptable social practice. This is used as an argument for "gatekeeping" - the idea that transsexuals should be impeded by every possible means from achieving their transition objectives - that it should be as time consuming and expensive as possible. There is a pervasive idea in our culture that if just anyone could start transition at any time, that we would fall into some kind of chaos.

The problem is that the current state of affairs is already that bad. If people are killing themselves because of the immense social pressure against transgenderism, then the idea of gatekeeping is murderous at best. From a moral standpoint, there is absolutely no justification for adding to the pressures that already exist in our society to limit transgenderism.

If you ask me, I think the question boils down to this - your average sports bar attending red blooded male voter is far more willing to hear about some dead faggot behind a dumpster somewhere than they are to hear about someone who had their dick cut off and later changed their mind. In the mind of the 21st century male, the former is infinitely preferable to the latter.


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