Part 1 – The History of Transgenderism: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported, themotte.org
Part 2 – the Causes and Rationalization of Transgenderism: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported, themotte.org
Part 3 – How Transgenderism Harms Women And Children: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported, themotte.org
Part 4 – How Transgenderism Took Over Institutions And How Some Women Are Fighting Back: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported, themotte.org
Part 5 – Conclusion and Discussion: r/theschism, r/BlockedAndReported, themotte.org
Welcome back. Previously, we discussed a selective version of transgender medical history. I say selective because Joyce picked out the parts she wanted and wasn’t interested in a long drawn-out section in her book about that. She does, however, cite the book How Sex Changed: A History of Transsexuality in the United States for much of the history she does reference, and I heartily recommend that book if you want something that looks more at the history of the topic in the US.
With that said, let’s get into Joyce’s depiction of the causes and rationalization of transgenderism. I apologize to everyone for when I said that we’d discuss the harms that Joyce has noted, I want to do this first.
“Mommy, I’m a girl.”
Joyce brings us into the life of Richard Green, an American doctor/lawyer who spent many years in gender medicine. In the 1960s, he grew curious about whether the men who said they were really women and aware of this were always this way. In other words, were they little boys insisting they were girls, who would go on to be transsexuals? Note that at the time, gender clinics did not see children as patients.
Anyways, Green did a landmark 15-year study whose results were published in 1987 under the title The ‘Sissy Boy Syndrome’ and the Development of Homosexuality. The title, as you might imagine, gave away the conclusion. Joyce details the results as follows.
Green turned to the gold standard for investigating the origins of a condition: a prospective study, which follows people who seem likely to develop it to see what happens...He recruited around sixty ‘sissy boys’ and a similar number of ‘controls’: ordinarily masculine boys matched for age and socio-economic situation. He interviewed them and their parents every year or two. Of the forty-four in the first group whom he managed to stay in touch with, eighteen were unambiguously homosexual as young adults, fourteen fantasised about or engaged in homosexual activity with some frequency, and just twelve were exclusively, or nearly exclusively, heterosexual. Just one said he felt like a woman.
Of course, one study by itself is not particularly telling. Joyce argues that many studies have come forth since then, and all confirm what Green was saying. She cites a study from a Toronto clinic in March 2021 that followed 139 boys from 1975 to 2009 which found nearly 90% of dysphoric boys desisted. 82 of these boys ended up biphilic or androphilic.
“Ah,” you might reply, “but the ones who are most likely to be trans must feel it the strongest!” No, Joyce argues. We don’t know what makes someone a “persister” (opposite of desister), and the strength of the feeling isn’t necessarily a good indicator. As evidence, she points to Todd, the only one who persisted in Green’s study. By 17, Todd seemed to be settled into his desire to be a woman, but he didn’t stick out as unusually effeminate or dysphoric.
Joyce portrays Green as someone trying hard to get the parents of the boys to accept their sons as who they were and failed ultimately. The boys knew they were embarrassing to their parents, and some parents tried to remove the “sissiness” from their children.
This was not the only study at the time which suggested this. A survey of 21 male-to-female trans women found that 17 were transsexuals and previously regarded themselves as gay men.
So what did the two groups in the survey have in common? Joyce’s answer is androphilia. She cites the work of Paul Vasey, a Canadian psychologist and professor. According to him, your culture determined whether highly feminine boy would grow up to be a gay man, a trans woman, or some other cultural equivalent. Vasey points to the fa’afafine, a “third gender” in Samoan culture. These boys were not regarded as men or women, but still as undoubtedly male. He also references similar groups like the Zapotec muxes in Mexico.
Androphilic males were not, however, the only ones to go to these clinics, and the question would now concern why.
An “Aha” Moment
Picture a man. Married, having kids, in a conventionally masculine job with conventionally masculine pastime interests. Why would such a man go to a gender clinic?
This was the puzzle for Ray Blanchard, a famous (or infamous) name in the history of transgenderism in the West. You have likely heard the term “Blanchard’s typology” in other discussions about trans topics, but if you have not or don’t know it that well, keep reading.
Blanchard is a clinical psychologist who was working in a Toronto institute in the 1980s. When he came across such patients, he started working out a categorization, eventually settling on two broad groups.
Group 1 was androphilic males, a minority of the relevant people. They were Green’s “persisters” and highly feminine in presentation and interests.
Group 2 was varied and far more interesting. Many were like the man I asked you to picture above. Others reported imagining themselves as women with their wives penetrating them or as a woman in a lesbian relationship with their wives. Some were bisexual or asexual.
The sole cross-sex behavior that many reported was “erotic transvestism”. This is not that uncommon of a fetish in heterosexual men, a Swedish study found that nearly 3% of males experienced sexual arousal in response to cross-dressing. But this wasn’t enough for Blanchard. What was the link between wearing a woman’s clothing to help with masturbating and wanting to be a woman?
And then he met Philip.
Philip was a 38-year-old with severe gender dysphoria. He reported sexual experiences with women, but he also said that he imagined himself as a woman as well. His sexual fantasies involved imagining himself as a woman, with emphasis on his breasts, vagina, and soft skin. Sometimes, Joyce reports, Philip imagined himself being penetrated vaginally by a man.
The kicker? Philip said he never cross-dressed after childhood because he got nothing from it.
For Blanchard, this was the moment it made sense. The clothing was not these men were obsessing over. Instead, the clothes were how they brought life to themselves in female form.
Autogynephilia, meaning love for oneself as a woman. This was the term Blanchard settled on to describe these people.
Joyce emphasizes to us that Blanchard never intended to raise obstacles in the way of transitioning, only to understand and help his patients. Not all were entirely okay with transitioning, recognizing the harm it might cause their families or careers. She describes the generally high levels of gate-keeping at the time around physical transitioning as follows.
When patients were eventually seen, the personal crises that led to referral were past. And central to assessment was ensuring that they fully understood the goal of castration and bodily remodelling. They had to confront a tough question: was their desire to transition strong enough?... At [Blanchard’s institute], four-fifths of patients abandoned the idea of transition before surgery. Some did not show up for the initial assessment. Others never returned, perhaps having concluded that living with gender dysphoria was preferable to proceeding. Even after that, referral for surgery depended on the ‘real-life test’: changing name, pronouns and clothing, and maintaining a cross-sex presentation for two years.
I had heard stories in passing from trans people complaining about how doctors required humiliating and absurd demonstrations of transgenderism before allowing physical transition, and I would have to agree after reading this. I think only the most determined could reasonably conceive of going forward with this. Those who went the full course, however, did generally report being happier after the surgery.
There is still, however, one more piece to the puzzle of explaining this.
Those who follow transgender news may recall a particular case from 2021: Bell v. Tavistock.
The plaintiff was Keira Bell, a former patient at Tavistock (a gender clinic in the UK). Bell had previously come out as a trans man and received puberty blockers from the clinic before eventually getting a double mastectomy. Eventually, she regretted her choice and went back to identifying as a woman (though it doesn’t seem like she got more surgery – I don’t even know if you could).
I won’t go deep into the story of Bell at this time, that’s probably for another post. But for Joyce, Bell was the case that forced gender clinicians to start examining what the hell was going on with gender-dysphoric minors. In 1989, Tavistock clinic opened and had two referrals, both young boys. In 2020, there were over 2300 referrals, with nearly 75% being girls (most of them being teenagers). This is a pattern, Joyce says, that is replicated worldwide. I can’t find any sources to confirm this, but I’ve heard Destiny argue the same (that trans men are more commonplace than trans women), and he seems like he has a pretty good grasp of trans issues and facts.
In any case, Joyce attempts to diagnose why there has been such a large growth in girls choosing to come out as boys, or even just describing themselves with terms like gender-fluid, non-binary, etc.
Her answer? Sexuality, modern feminism, and social contagion.
After his initial study of his male patients, Blanchard turned his attention eventually to his minority of female patients. All of them were homosexual and masculine in presentation/interests. A rare few were autoandrophiles. Note that Blanchard did not describe them that way, I’m using the term because it fits what he seems to be getting at, but his term was “autohomoerotics”.
Joyce starts with the story of Margaret Bulkley. Bulkley was an Irish woman born in 1789 who took the name of her dead uncle to train as a doctor. She was ultimately forced by circumstance to live the fake identity permanently.
This story it not, by itself, that important, but the reaction to how it has been portrayed is telling for Joyce. She compares the responses to two biographies: * Dr James Barry: A Woman Ahead of Her Time* and The Cape Doctor. The first was published in 2016 and was well-received, the second in 2019 and trashed in some places as “transphobic”. Joyce thus places the moment when gender identity eclipsed biological sex amongst intellectuals somewhere between the two publication dates.
Personally, I think this is shoddy argumentation. Joyce is pointing to reviews by randoms online for a book that was probably only of interest to a small number of people and claims that this is how you know when this happened for intellectuals at large. I think this would be better proof of gender identity reaching far enough into the public that such reviews would be posted.
If anything, I would place gender identity as already having taken over biological sex amongst intellectuals prior to 2016, but probably not too long before that. The Great Awokening was just a few years prior and Obergefell was decided in 2015. However, it’s worth acknowledging that many ideas that became publicly acceptable in the middle of the 2010s had long-since been brewing and arguably dominating academic circles for much longer. CRT was a product of the 1980s, it just didn’t get attention until a few years ago when its tenets entered the Overton Window.
Going past this, Joyce argues that the reception to the second biography and subsequent transgendering of Bulkley illustrate the issue of modern feminism. Where previously a woman challenged the oppression of her sex, a trans man simply opted out while leaving that oppression untouched. Women in the past had lived as men for multiple reasons, but their reasons were typically not that they had been born in the wrong bodies. Economics, sexuality, and even desires for personal freedom all intermingled into why a woman might defend her decision to live as a man.
In 2015, Lisa Littman, an American physician and public health specialist, began to notice teenagers in her community announcing their transgender status in quick succession. When it hit six (all from the same group), Littman grew suspicious. The research did not suggest clusters at all. So she embarked upon a terrible quest to gaze into the abyss that would surely see her crack in the face of a cold and uncaring universe - going to Tumblr and Reddit.
What she found was teenagers giving idiotic advice and telling each other to stop listening to parents and doctors. Littman quickly decided to start gathering survey data and published it in 2018, which Joyce details below.
Most of the 256 parents who completed Littman’s anonymised ninety-question survey reported that their children had announced they were trans after spending more time online, after several friends had done so, or both. Almost two-thirds of these parents’ children had previously been diagnosed with at least one psychiatric or developmental condition; many had self-harmed.
Littman came up with another term you’ve probably heard of to describe this: rapid-onset gender dysphoria (ROGD).
Still, the causal chain lacked explanation. Why was having trans friends or spending time online making kids identify as trans?
Susan Bradley, formerly head of Toronto’s first paediatric gender clinic, argues that it has to do with autism and low self-esteem. For the first, she said that young people with autism or related disorders reject nuance and prefer rigid thinking. If they feel discomfort, they might conclude misclassification.
Where the online component comes in is what we might call the WebMD Effect. A child finding discomfort in their gender would search up symptoms, be told by other people or by the webpages of institutions that they are trans, and less-than-critically accept this.
The internet component has seen a great deal of discussion in recent years, reasonably so if this idea only came out in 2018. Joyce relates stories about girls who are anxious or lonely and perhaps have unpleasant experiences where their female status plays a role – sexualized harassment, rejection by a crush, etc. They turn to social media for explanations and get told they are trans and that they are valid. A powerful feeling of acceptance drowns out any skepticism in the mind. Tumblr gets some blame for this; Joyce implies that its culture made being white/straight/cis or any combination of those factors a sign of evil. Being non-straight gives social status, and what teenager (let alone teenage girls) can resist that?
Joyce has given us three reasons she thinks explains many, perhaps most, trans cases. But do you notice something about all three? Let’s recap these motivations:
Androphilia – love of men.
Autogynephilia – love for oneself as a woman
Social Contagion – being influenced by people online or by peers
Perhaps some of you have caught on, but if not, let me now reveal something. Recall that I discussed the case of George Jorgensen in the previous post, a man who went to Europe to physically transition in 1950. Did you at all wonder what his motivation was?
Take it away, Joyce.
As a boy, George had seemed quite ordinary. But inwardly, he was miserable, hating masculine clothes and games, and developing crushes on other boys. As an adult, he had homosexual experiences, which he regarded as immoral. He longed to ‘relate to men as a woman, not another man’, he wrote later.
And no, Joyce is most certainly not arguing that he is trans on the basis of that last line. No, Jorgensen was just another historical example of a man who was androphilic. A gay man who, unable to accept that he was gay, decided to become a woman so he didn’t violate his own morality.
Joyce’s chosen motivations are highly insulting, I imagine, to many trans people. If you are a man, you are either a homosexual in denial or someone with a fetish. If you are a young woman in 2023, you are likely being swayed by peers or social media. Some of these trans men and women are genuinely trans, but many would probably not get approval in Joyce’s eyes as truly being transgender.
To her credit, Joyce does not blame those who choose to come out as trans, depicting them as victims of the societies around them. Society and government did not allow gay men to exist in public, while pro-trans feminism actively turned women from a sex-based category to a gender-identity category. What was once a communal definition turned into one that placed highest validation of whatever an individual desired.
The Red Pill
Please see the comments for this part, the mods are mean 'cause they won't let me have more than 20k characters in my body.
That’s all for this post. Next time, we’ll get into some of the impacts Joyce attributes to the version of pro-trans ideology that has come to define what it means in 2023 to be supportive, I promise. I hope you enjoyed!
Jump in the discussion.
No email address required.
The standard explanation for this is twofold: "more awareness leads more people to realize transition is an option" and "trans people tend to gravitate toward each other, even before they realize they're trans".
I was pretty skeptical of that explanation myself, particularly the second part... until I experienced it first hand.
After about 5 months on hormones, I came out to friends and family at age 40. Most people responded with the standard pleasantries and statements of support, etc., but two of the responses surprised me: one friend told me he'd had similar thoughts about his own gender for a long time, but kept them to himself, and hadn't acted on them because his life circumstances made it impractical. Another was really curious, told me he hadn't ever "felt" male (or female), and said I'd given him a lot to think about when I explained why I decided to transition.
These are guys my own age who I've known for 20-30 years, and I didn't expect to hear that from either of them!
Suddenly it doesn't seem so far-fetched that teens who'll eventually want to transition might recognize some related aspect of themselves in each other, form friend groups without realizing they have this in common, and then all come to that realization shortly after the first one does.
Teen girls are particularly vulnerable to social contagion - it's how anorexia, bulimia, cutting etc have come in waves among teenage girls.
Adults are vulnerable too (in the '80s or '60s perhaps you would have interpreted whatever mental states lead you to feel trans as an indication of some mental disorder that was popular at the time - in the late '80s and early '90s maybe you would have thought your feelings had to do with repressed memories of abuse), but not nearly as much.
I agree it still seems likely that at least some of the increase in trans identification among natal girls is caused by social contagion. My point here is just that my experience has convinced me that social contagion probably doesn't explain all of it, because the standard explanation is more plausible than I originally thought.
I would put money on social contagion accounting for the vast majority of adolescent female trans identification. With adolescent males I think it's more complicated - very effeminate gay males may face discrimination to the point that transition is easier, males may be motivated by AGP etc. Suffice it to say that I think there are more reasons that a male of any age may choose transition, and fewer that a female may.
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
Something that may be relevant - though my recollection is hazy enough that I would think it's hardly any use - is that I seem to recall the "truscum" (gender dysphoria is required to be truly trans" vs. "tucute" (self-identification is all that matters) war was (fought on Tumblr and) won by the latter sometime in the 2016-2019 window. I'm thinking around 2017, but I have no solid justification for that date; somebody else may know the real story much better.
But if anything like that is true, that might be relevant, in how the case of Margaret Bulkley/James Barry should be treated according to the different rules is itself different. In the truscum model, since (from what you posted it sounds like) there was no gender dysphoria involved, there was no reason to operate according to the particular rules of etiquette afforded to true trans people; under the tucute model, there wouldn't be an exception.
Of course, I don't know if this would be any better. Would that really make a difference - do Tumblr faction wars decide the public discourse? At least, with that short a turnaround?
I think this picture captures the argument (not necessarily proven, mind you) about how the internet can impact real life. As people like to remind us, there is a person on the other end of that account with all the bells and whistles of a standard social progressive, and that person probably has a job and some social standing (not always, but I don't think we should dismiss them as starbucks workers or something).
Think of these not as wars, but battles. The war is between ideologies. Looking at the consequences of a battle is missing the overall impact of the war.
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
Thanks for the review again, I'm struggling to find things to even comment on because much of this is pretty well trod ground but it's good to have it all in one place.
No problem, glad you liked it!
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
The Red Pill
Seeing as there is not a better place for it, I thought I’d wrap up by going over what Joyce calls “gender-identity ideology” (GII). This is how trans people are encouraged to think and rationalize who and/or what they are. And we can start with the movie that is heralded as “universalizing” the trans experience: The Matrix.
I will not summarize the film itself, but instead go over what the film’s elements are that make it trans-allegorical and informative of GII.
Thomas Anderson believes his reality is false and rejects it, just as a trans person would reject their original gender
The Matrix itself is “cisnormative” society, meaning those who are removed from it are trans
Anderson only gets to leave once he takes the red pill, just as drugs and surgery allow trans people to exit their “fake” bodies
The Agents are transphobia made manifest, seeking to destroy those who rebel against society (Smith “deadnames” Neo by calling him Mr. Anderson)
Trinity falls in love with Anderson, representing the feeling of being validated as a trans person
Cypher is traitor and wants back into the Matrix, representing detransitioners (notice how he asks for higher status as part of his negotiations, perhaps making him out to be a trans person willing to flatter anti-trans beliefs)
There are more of these ideas, mind you, I’m just listing a few. For what it’s worth, I think this movie is pretty strongly about transgenderism, and we only debate if it is or not because the Wachowskis’ universalized it too well. Instead of gender, it became a film about rejecting authority and the status quo for the “real world”, just like Fight Club.
Joyce describes the “Matrix view” as dualism – the belief that your body and your psyche are distinct and separate. Another term for this comes from Gilbert Ryle, who described dualism as believing a person is a “ghost in a machine”. This view is especially tempting in the modern age, because most of us understand the analogy of a computer: a piece of hardware upon which any software might run. If operating systems are gender, then you can run Linux and Windows and Mac on the same machine without issue or even anyone complaining.
It is a view with a great deal of support in the modern age. Without transitioning, without dysphoria, one can simply declare that they are now a man or woman because of their feelings, and others are expected to act as if it is true. Once they eliminated definitions into these categories based on sex, the road was clear to let an unverifiable internal state be declare the highest authority for an individual's gender state.
This view, Joyce argues, was not how people conceived of transsexuality at the time. They would have thought of said people as having such a severe discomfort with their bodies that they could not live without surgery. Much like the officials of the first half of the 20th century, any accommodations were seen as “legal and bureaucratic fictions”.
Joyce is not opposed, mind you, to the deconstruction of binaries that postmodernists want to do. She praises the work of Simone de Beauvoir as recognizing that women are defined in relation to men and always as the weaker of the two. But she derides what GII has done with the following words.
Haven't read the book, however a couple of notes on your summary:
About this The Socio-Medical Construction of Transexualism (1982, Billings and Urban) is interesting:
Regarding the Matrix, it's interpretation as an allegorit for transgenderism is almost certainly a retcon. Judging from the recent Matrix Revolutions it even seems that likely only Lilly embraced this retcon.
It doesn't even make much sense within the context of the movie, it only works if you don't think about the details at all. What is your "real" gender, the one of the body in the pod, that you were born with, or the one expressed by your mind, inside the simulation? No. The Matrix was a kung-fu movie foremost, it had a basic gnostic framework and its main theme is the existence of free will.
As for dualism, describing it like this:
is extermely reductive. Dualism has a long history in western thought and is, for the most part, entwined with christian thought, which requires it for its theological views on afterlife. This is actually one of several points where its hard to reconcile woke-thought with the metaphisical materialst worldview (= the new athists).
Yeah, I think I touched on this in the part about Blanchard (people lying to get surgery and hormones).
I think, given how much the movies argue that the inside of the Matrix is fake, that we should generally argue that whatever exists outside of it is the real stuff. So Thomas Anderson's whole life in the Matrix was fake, his body in the real world was the one in the pod. Analogizing to gender, the fake one is what "society" is telling you, the real one is what the people who broke out affirm for you. His mind didn't make that fake identity, it was indirectly given by growing up as a brain hooked into an existing system.
I know very little about dualism and was mostly just regurgitating Joyce.
Sure. but isn't this just a lie. Are all lies a metaphor for transgenderism at this point?
A lie? I think the lie there would be the inside of the Matrix, and a trans-allegorical reading of the Matrix would argue that said lie represents cisnormative society.
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
I feel very strongly that the movie is basic gnostic bullshit and the trans-allegory is just a retcon.
I've been reading about that shit since cca 2000.
Detransitioners were barely a going concern back then, at all. As I remember, it was recognized it's a lifestyle that isn't for everyone. Sometimes people complained that it seemed to disappoint certain people in the community, but there was no tribal BS like now.
You had the AGP controversy, where certain highly dynamic transwomen were extremely pissed at people who dared to have a different opinion and made extremely nasty allegations, and the AGP people who came across as fairly reasonable.
I feel ashamed I ever took it more than mildly seriously, but then, I was a teen and barely had any experience with drinking.
Difficult to say, the movie universalized too well if the goal really was to sell a trans-allegory. Nothing can really be confirmed about what the directors say.
Context Copy link
Context Copy link
The matrix is a fascinating piece of art.
The sort of thinking that comes from applying this metaphor makes humans feel more modular, like different pieces of software on a machine. It makes it easier to think of unfriendly groups of memes as the tentacles of singular distributed agents, or like a hacker remote controlling your desktop.
Overall, I do agree with Joyce. The Matrix is easy to take as a trans metaphor.
But I think the themes are generalizable, and I think its easier to take it as a metaphor for Transhumanism.
Transgender and Transhumanism have a lot of overlapping themes. The modularity of the self. The ideal of rewriting what it means to be one's self, the rejection of innate properties as innate.
In the previous thread. A lot of people connected Transgender ideology to postmodernism.
Postmodernism deemphasizes the object level to emphasize the social level. It considers grand narratives a way to assert social control and rejects the stability of meaning. As a memetic tool, postmodernism is used it to empower individuals to write their own structure of meaning.
Transhumanism on the other hand, goes a step further. It takes those narratives that we have rewritten, and looks for a way to then reapply them to the object level. As a memetic tool, transhumanism is used to empower individuals to use technology to rewrite the physical world to match their self image.
According to Morpheus, and in the logic of the film, Neo was always 'The One', perhaps mirroring the TRA line that a given trans woman was always a woman. But in terms of what we actually see Neo do, the audience's experience of Neo, he starts his transition to becoming 'The One', right as he is beginning to believe; When he starts gaining the powers to defy the agents, culminating in his defeat of Agent Smith.
By postmodern logic, gender-identity is more important than gender. But few trans people stop there. They craft their bodies in an ongoing arc similar to Neo's. They use technology to shape the object level reality, until the object level mirrors the social narrative they've written.
I believe the theory and praxis of transgender ideology are postmodernism and transhumanism. These two things play into each other. As people learn that it's ok to change their model of self, the technology of transition that enables them to bring their physical self in line gains funding, and starts to catch up. As technology advances to make it easier and easier to change one's own body, the threshold for how much you need to want it before its legitimately worth it drop. Memes that it's a good idea become more viable, and start to catch on.
Context Copy link
Context Copy link