Ethics? Research? Communication?

Sophia Siedlberg

Salmacis Advocasy, Orlania Biosystems, Sussex
Gendys Conference, 2002


In 2002 the Portman Clinic was the scene of a classic example of yet another ill reasoned set of "Intelligent" statements (This time about Transsexual people) that played the alleged intellectual trick of vindicating then destroying the subject matter. After listing a litany of suffering and distress that arises from the condition currently termed "Gender Identity Disorder" (I wonder how long this term will last?) they then went into the usual tirade about "deviancy" and "delusional beliefs". I must stress that the Portman Clinic was not represented by the statements that were made. They have a children's gender identity clinic that did suffer a degree of embarrassment as a consequence of the "official statement" that was allegedly made on behalf of the Portman clinic. This statement read as follows:

The victory in the European court of human rights in which a post-operative transsexual person was granted permission to marry in his adopted gender role is a victory of fantasy over reality (Landmark ruling for transsexuals forces Britain to change laws, July 12).

Many psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and psychotherapists find that their trans-sexual patients are individuals who, for complex reasons, need to escape from an intolerable psychological reality into a more comfortable fantasy. By attempting to live as a member of the opposite sex they try to avoid internal conflict which may otherwise prove to be too distressing.

It is a measure of their urgency and desperation that they frequently seek surgery to make their fantasy real. By carrying out a "sex change" operation on their bodies, they hope to eliminate the conflict in their mind. Unfortunately, what many patients find is that they are left with a mutilated body but the internal conflicts remain.

Through years of psychoanalytic psychotherapy, some patients begin to understand the origins of their painful feelings and can find ways of dealing with them other than by trying to alter their bodies. The recent legal victory risks reinforcing a false belief it is possible to actually change a person's gender. It may also strengthen the view that the only solution to psychic pain is a legal or surgical one.

Dr Ruth Berkowitz
Stanley Ruszczynski
and six others
Portman Clinic

The Guardian, Tuesday July 16, 2002

It does open up a very interesting question though doesn't it. For example why do some people who are obviously driven by some need to hide overt hostility behind a professional if not caring mask? The only purpose it did serve. (Aside from causing the GIC clinic itself within the Portman considerable embarrassment). Was to make it clear that the authors of that statement were perhaps more culpable than people imagined. I mean, lets face it, listing just how bad life gets for transpeople, and then making the same negative remarks about "The triumph of delusion over reality". It is plainly evident that by acknowledging the distress felt by transpeople, and then by attacking them even more is at best sadistic. I could go even further and say that given practically every time the Portman does publish anything on the subject of transsexualism, wether from the GIC or from the critics. They often say "This condition affects more boys than girls"

I mean forget the etiquette that decrees that I should be polite about it, or "objective" I am sorry, but not this time. That was a statement written with malicious intent, and there is no way of hiding this fact. This has actually opened a can of worms for me, and I really think that this time, it is perhaps time to stand up to those who hide behind intellectual "integrity" and bring them to a point where they have to account for their actions. Am I really going to swallow the line that treating "GID" with surgical and hormonal intervention is wrong when what follows goes on unquestioned? I don't think so!

We hear constant remarks about "research" which quite frankly are quoting attempts to treat "GID" that are way past their sell by date. There are people out there who genuinely wish they could be "Cured of those feelings" and lead a less complicated existence, so it is not as if everyone is openly hostile to the "research" in question. But face facts, the research, and attempted forms of intervention in the past did not work, I could sit here and quote statistics until I am blue in the face, I wont convince the critics, because, they are, to use their own words. "Listening to a delusion that triumphs over reality" Their delusion over the plain facts.

I can never understand the many and varied critics of "transsexual" people. For example, I don't see the same who often work in the clinical arena offering to use the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care on intersex children and babies before indulging the surgeons knife. This is because they cant. A young child cannot really comprehend something like this being done to them. But do they have any reservations in such cases? The answer is no! It seems to say something this, again about the unthinkable possibility of malicious intent, or at best malignant indifference. And while I am on the subject of intersex children, it seems odd that while they put adults though these "standards of care" they don't hesitate when conducting such forms of surgical intervention on children who cannot give consent.

And before the clinicians cry "Ah but this is different, we are dealing with a physical condition" I would counter that the surgery carried out on children is often "cosmetic" and not done to address life threatening problems. In fact many IS conditions have other life threatening symptoms to be dealing with. But do we hear about all these problems? no! What we get to hear is "But it is a socio-medical emergency". Well "socio" implies "Listening to a delusion that triumphs over reality" on the part of the medics and misled parents.

As for adult gender identity "disorders" which involve an adult consenting to and seeking SRS, the debate about "Gender identity" of the brain really confuses me, and I find it somewhat telling.

I cannot understand the critics of Professor. D.F. Swaab's research into the Bed Nuclei of the Stria Terminalis. (BSTc). Like most research there are broader implications. In this case there are implications for oncology of all things, the death (apoptosis) and differentiation of nerve cells, with respect to tumours, especially where steroids and nerve cells are involved can provide many clues with respect to some types of brain tumour and the whole family of hormone dependant tumours in the rest of the body. But the critic wont even entertain that? Why? Well because of the fact that the primary research involves gender identity variability in a biological context. It seems irrelevant in some sense to me whether or not the final conclusion defines gender identity as being a result of this observed set of biological variables. What is relevant is the fact that the broader medical implications of ignoring this research will result in the study of hormone dependant tumours being compromised by the denial of the basic data. It seem even more puzzling that these critics can be very blas� about stating that the presence of an X or a Y chromosome will somehow make gender identity congruent with the body. This is totally unscientific.

Even more absurd is the lie that the X and Y chromosomes even define the "true biological sex". There is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise, the fact that there are many copies of the "Male gene" (SRY) spread across the human genome, in both sexes would be at least enough to indicate that all is not quite so simple.

However for the purposes of this particular discussion it would be best to move on with the relevant argument as it now stands. (For further information read "Nature Gives Choice" in the context of the Gendys conference papers)

It does not stop at this point though does it, lets be honest, we are really talking control and body politics, as advocated by MEN(M) and WOMEN(W). not by a more balanced or objective line of reasoning. I am not excluding what are perceived (wrongly) to be the two exclusive halves of the human race, I am referring to radical feminists and radical phallocrats. Who as far as I am concerned have no right whatsoever to butt into the lives of other people in the way they do.

We have those "Men-only golf clubs" and "Women's spaces" Do I ever find "Transsexual only" spaces? or "Intersex only" spaces? No! Perhaps there should be, perhaps there should be a vetting system that is not unlike those employed by absolutist men and women who, in some fit of genital narcissism see fit to exclude anyone who does not fit into the ever more strict criteria of belonging to a given sex.

In all honesty I think it is certainly about time the delusions, and this is what they are, of these so called "critics" need also to be questioned, because despite the fact that many are in the medical profession, they seem to treat their patients with utter contempt. Even the wording of the letter I have quoted above shows that sense of pity and disgust at play. The hyphen in the word "Transsexual" reading "Trans-sexual" somehow has a pathological edge to it, emphasising the word "Sexual" and thus delving into the Freudian obsession with "perversion" and "sex". The only "perversion" really is the control freakery and sadism on the part of the "critics" who invent all manner of procrastinated conclusions from a slow antagonistic line of semi logical reasoning.

In essence what I am saying is that the whole argument as illustrated here says more about the "Battle of the sexes" than sound clinical practice or social policy making. Think about it like this, over 50 years ago society was on the whole male dominated. And as such women were often excluded from a lot of things, the situation is still not perfect, with pay dictated not by ability, but what genitals someone has, and women are still the losers in this respect. However today we live in a more matriarchal society, and what we see, in all honesty is a classic example of the old "Hail President�" cycle, (As I call it). The matriarchy is every bit as corrupt as the patriarchy it is replacing, "Same crap in a different package" to coin a somewhat cynical phrase. Has anything changed? the answer could well be no!

Lets be brutally honest here - and, to begin with, stop trying to force boundaries between the transsexual and intersex communities. While both are unique, and I myself do find it very difficult to state that from a medical stand-point that transsexualism is the same as intersex. It may seem a contradiction, but having thought about it, this sub-debate is also divisive. It seems to miss out on two things, firstly that both groups of conditions are evidently biological in origin. And that the medical profession has been known to abuse both groups while regarding them with contempt. This sub debate evades a crucial issue, and this is the issue the right to control ones own body. I am not interested in the TS and IS divide, it is simply there, as is the "male/female" divide. but is it approximate. both men and women are biological entities, but not as defined by social agendas. It is not really a contradiction when you think about it. It is becoming an irrelevant distraction. The right to control ones own body is the core issue here.

The fact of the matter is that neither radical feminists or phallocrats have any right to dictate or decree who does what with their own body, or what level of clinical intervention may or may not be used for any political or prejudiced reasons. However hard they try to intellectualise it. Whatever method they use to influence their stranglehold on the lives of the "Gender" and "Biological sex" variant people, quite frankly they are interfering in the lives of others and with a great degree of sheer hypocrisy and arrogance.

It is the "colonising" of Gender and biological sex variant peoples bodies through the communities themselves that annoys me more than anything else. In the USA there is one alleged support and campaigning network for the rights of intersex people that proudly boasts a mission statement that claims to speak for all intersexed people. Actually, if anyone is trying to convince me that a mission statement from a well known radical feminist movement has been copied, word for word, only with the word "Woman" replaced by the word "Intersex" and this serves to represent the intersex community. I will simply say they are lying. I will point out that in practice the colonisation is obvious. Given that both radical feminists and phallocrats feel it so important to protect their "spaces" and their own body autonomy. It seems incredibly strange that they seek, by such obvious means to undermine the integrity of the lives of others.

I need convincing that when such a mission statement serves only to speak for those who were surgically feminised as children, while marginalising those who were masculinised. That such a mission statement can have any relevance other than to serve the interests of the absolutist man or woman, pulling the puppet strings.

Many times you will hear radical feminists carrying on about how women's bodies have been controlled by external (often patriarchal) forces. Complaining about the number of male gynaecologists who seek to control women via their "medical status." They then seem to have no qualms whatsoever about inflicting the same degree of control over both transsexual and intersex bodies. Why cant they just butt out?

Mention Female circumcision and you will hear "Oh that is wrong" from the radical feminist. Mention intersex genital mutilation and they suddenly say "Oh that's different". How is it different? and then if they have a pang of conscience they will see similarities in "clitoral reduction" but "imposed, experimental phalloplasty?" there answer to that is "you are lucky you got to keep it welcome to male privilege" But this has nothing to do with the pointless antics of men and women with their status politics and privileges. I has a lot to do, again, with the right to control ones own body.

Within the transsexual community, I have noticed the trend to quote female and male stereotyping. Short transmen and tall transwomen seem to be guilty of some cardinal sin, purely by virtue of their height. So stupid is this form of colonisation it contradicts itself. How many times do I hear the phrase "Big hands, big feet and tall" to decry the male to female transsexual, when so called "Genetic women" are paraded all over the fashion magazines with precisely that physical build being held up as a form of female ideal. Some women fortunate enough to have such characteristics seem unable to take their feet from under the duvet, and put their toes to the floor without saying "This will cost someone $64,000". I need to hear a far more convincing argument to deny some male to female transsexual people surgery than that.

This is my problem, most if not all arguments that seek to control the bodies and lives of both communities are at best trivial at worst downright nasty. But never do they seem able to offer up a single plausible justification for what is on the face of it pure hegemonic bigotry.

The fact remains that once men were the privileged sex, women and the variant were the underdogs, today, women are becoming the privileged, they are doing very little to recognise the variant. The word "tolerance" is more often used than "acceptance", think about this subtle difference. Tolerance is a very loaded word with many connotations.

And if my accusations of fix sex bias are going to be dismissed, then at least I will use this opportunity to make it clear what I mean by that. I wonder how many female to male transsexuals or surgeons who specialise in phalloplasty would be prepared to say just how difficult it is to construct a viable penis? Imagine how a so called "Hypospadias repair" (As depicted on a certain intersex website as being a fully developed male phallus with a tiny nick in it that can be corrected to make a boy) can be seen as a simple procedure when, there is such variability of the usage of this term, and varying degrees of severity. To describe someone with this problem as "A routine illness and not intersex" is very telling. Why? well perhaps that sex bias is at play.

A sex bias perpetuated by phallocrats and (paradoxically) the radical feminists who would seek to ensure that the phallocentric life is the one to preserve, perpetuated by radical feminists who seem to think that women are some sacred beings whose existence cannot be contaminated by an "intersex woman" or "transsexual woman" in their midst. "Tolerate" implies they will "reluctantly put up with it", vastly different from accepting the fact that a child was born with ambiguous genitalia and has made a valid choice about how they live, or accepting the fact that transsexual people are people born with the wrong genitals who seek to put that right given what medicine has to offer.

The result of all this has been the "Phallometer test" which (if you pass) does not automatically mean "You are lucky you get to keep it" (Phallocratic or radical feminist remark?) It means that some surgical intervention will still take place and quite often it will still prove harmful.

Surgically sexing a child without regard to how that child will accept what has happened is plain wrong. irrespective as to what form the surgery takes. Clitoral reduction is just as criminal. but not more so or less so. I mean when the statement "It is harder to make a pole than a hole" is bandied around I often wonder how they arrived at this conclusion prior to Dr John Money trying to insist that all are surgically assigned to female during childhood.

The whole edifice is built around a lie, based on the narcissism of absolutist men and women, in love with their own genitalia and bodies rather than a simple edifice of error built around a true understanding of sex differentiation. The "Generic" intersex support group is a prime example of ignoring the specifics of each individual case. The "Generic" "Trans" campaigning group is run more for the benefit of cross dressing men and radical feminists than it is for genuine "trans" people.

I for one have had enough of being told by other people how I should live, what form my body should take and how I should exist, purely to satisfy the deluded, narcissistic whim of absolutist men and women whose only justification seems to be what they get up to in bed with each other. I see sex on television and I am filled with hatred and rage. Why? Because I feel dictated to! I don't call for it to be banned, nor do I have a problem with someone who is Gay, or Lesbian, Bisexual or Heterosexual. But I have a big problem with someone else using their sexual preferences to decry my very existence, or to have had me mutilated as a child.

So back to Dr Ruth Berkowitz, Stanley Ruszczynski and six others. I will challenge them, in this statement here and now to answer this question. Just whose triumph of delusion over reality are we really talking about? And I will ask the same of all phallocrats, radical hominists, vulvacrats, radical feminists, puppet gender politicos and the like the same question.

To summarise, I perhaps need to re-iterate what I am seeing in all this.

Phallocrats, men who thought themselves superior to women, decided that anything that was not pure as driven snow "female" was a man impersonating a woman that had to be toughened up. Then they came across this concept called gender reassignment surgery. Initially, driven by curiosity they decided to see wether or not using such surgeries on children who were sexless could be sexed. And they attempted it. Before long they had to invent the "phalllometer" given that with phallocrats "size matters" because previously they had messed up so many kids trying to masculinise them. They then came up with the idea of feminising all sexless children after the mess they made, and thus the phallometer was born. But on a social level anything that was not "pure as the driven snow female" was regarded as a "Male pseudohermaphrodite" and thus was born the non disclosure clause. Not only that the feminising surgery that was inflicted on innocent children was as equally as useless as the masculinising surgery.

Then came the radical feminists, who could best be described as the same old crap in a new package. Like their male "enemies" (Co conspirators actually) they harped on about the "Pure as driven snow female" (Quote Only "XX will Dooooo" says our body fascistic friend Greer). And the lie continued. Now to make matters even more difficult for rad feminists and phallocrats, who are basically narcissistic creatures in love with their own genitalia, another menace had emerged. Initially they could sanitise this "menace" called "Transsexual" in current parlance. When we had Radclyffe Hall's "Well of loneliness" (F to M) and Virginia Woolfe's "Orlando" (M to F) all was nice and easy to sanitise. It was literature. Despite the fact that in reality transpeople had existed in some form or another down the ages. (aka Hijaras, Winkte etc etc etc) It was when the surgery actually got used to conduct SRS the sanitisation became a nightmare for phallocrat and radical feminist alike. A book was easy. when discussing RH, "Just a deluded lesbian, sanitise by making it a Lesbian Epic" as for discussing VW, well they responded with "Oh what a delightful little love poem between two lesbians, gender is a social construct, real people outside fiction don't matter"

Meanwhile what we now know as Intersex and Transsexual people were being bullied, beaten, raped, tortured, experimented on, denied recognition and generally scapegoated, pathologised by the medical profession which had the audacity to claim it had created both groups as a "modern social phenomenon" And in this "social-medical" context the vivisection continued.

Then the radical feminists and the phallocrats decided that they were in control of these peoples bodies. While you will always hear radical feminists railing at gynaecologists, they often say nothing about transsexual and intersex people unless it serves their interests. For example any intersex individual who was masculinised as a child simply does not exist. And those who were feminised were victims of some phallocratic conspiracy. And upon the arrival of Janice Raymonde M to F transsexuals then defined as men who were colluding in this conspiracy. (This is of course two sex system bullshit)

It was not long before a puppet "Intersex support organisation" appeared, using a mission statement that, lets face it, was drawn up by radical feminists, and then hastily adapted by the replacement of the word "Woman" with "Intersex" but it still meant the same thing. If society had deemed you female, you were only then allowed to complain.

Before long, if you were surgically masculinised as a kid, sanitisation said that "being bullied, beaten, raped, tortured, experimented on, denied recognition and generally scapegoated and pathologised by the medical profession" is a "Male privilege" and as such the words "No Justice, you will be assimilated and sanitised, resistance is futile!" constantly rang out.

It seems that radical feminism is nothing more than phallocrasy in a different package, the only difference being that the followers of Radical feminism have vaginas and match all the "Criteria" to be female. The Phallocrats of course being penis proud. Der Eigener or Spare rib, what is the difference? Same crap different package. Once men ruled, now women rule, hail president�!, nothing really changes!

Read Greer and what do you find, well? Women with AIS are to be sanitised, by being re-defined as pantomime dames, and an insult to the sisterhood nation. At the same time they were seen as an insult to the brotherhood of the penis, because the phallocrats had decided that "XY" was a superior being. (Provided it had an erectile penis)

The result? "If an intersex child is born with ambiguous genitalia, then butcher that child to fit the two sex system, No consent given, control of ones own body denied.

If an adult Intersex person or Transsexual person seeks surgery to resolve a painful identity conflict, refuse surgery, or at least make attaining such difficult with sadistic mind games. Again control of ones own body denied."

I dare not include my response to all this, other than to say. "normalisation" is basically a delusion against reality as perpetuated by two selfish groups of people. There is male privilege and female privilege. Anyone else has no privilege, they are just subjected to the same "socio medical" machinations that were inflicted on people in concentration camps. When radical feminists and phallocrats run around behaving like blonde haired, blue eyed people in 1930's Germany. Then I say they must be challenged.

Citation: Siedlberg,S.,(2002), Ethics? Research? Communication? GENDYS 2002, The Seventh International Gender Dysphoria Conference, Manchester England.
Web page copyright GENDYS Network. Text copyright of the author. Last amended 25.06.06