Support the IEET




The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States. Please give as you are able, and help support our work for a brighter future.



Search the IEET
Subscribe and Contribute to:


Technoprogressive? BioConservative? Huh?
Quick overview of biopolitical points of view




whats new at ieet

Digital Afterlife: 2045

Is the UN up to the job?

Digital Leaders TV: The Internet of Things (S01E01) - Full Episode (48min)

Winning the war on cancer?

Transhumanism and Moral Enhancement

Algocracy and other Problems with Big Data (Series Index)


ieet books

Virtually Human: The Promise—-and the Peril—-of Digital Immortality
Author
Martine Rothblatt


comments

dobermanmac on 'Transhumanism and the Will to Power' (Oct 20, 2014)

instamatic on 'Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?' (Oct 18, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?' (Oct 18, 2014)

philosophytorres on 'Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence" (Part II)' (Oct 18, 2014)

Roger on 'Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing?' (Oct 17, 2014)

CygnusX1 on 'Nick Bostrom's "Superintelligence" (Part II)' (Oct 17, 2014)

Magellan35 on 'MMR Vaccines and Autism: Bringing clarity to the CDC Whistleblower Story' (Oct 16, 2014)







Subscribe to IEET News Lists

Daily News Feed

Longevity Dividend List

Catastrophic Risks List

Biopolitics of Popular Culture List

Technoprogressive List

Trans-Spirit List



JET

Enframing the Flesh: Heidegger, Transhumanism, and the Body as “Standing Reserve”

Moral Enhancement and Political Realism

Intelligent Technologies and Lost Life

Hottest Articles of the Last Month


Google’s Cold Betrayal of the Internet
Oct 10, 2014
(7313) Hits
(2) Comments

Dawkins and the “We are going to die” -Argument
Sep 25, 2014
(5473) Hits
(21) Comments

Should we abolish work?
Oct 3, 2014
(4957) Hits
(1) Comments

Will we uplift other species to sapience?
Sep 25, 2014
(4493) Hits
(0) Comments



IEET > Rights > PostGender > Vision > Sociology > Philosophy > Bioculture > Futurism > Staff > Kris Notaro

Print Email permalink (51) Comments (17071) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


Genderqueer, Pansexual, LGBTQ: Will Gender Exist 100 Years From Now? - Rebooted


Kris Notaro
By Kris Notaro
Ethical Technology

Posted: Oct 24, 2013

In this article it is my hope to highlight some of the most important aspects of gender and sexual identity within the confines of hardcore science: psychology, biology, and sociology. It is my personal opinion that we have not figured out the science behind gender, rather it be sociological or biological in nature. This article is simply an overview of how modern day scientists and sociologists look at gender and sexual identity. For all I know, we are all born genderqueer and pansexual, but biological science is showing us the rainbow of diversity which comes along with being a sexually complicated evolved species.

Note: Even though the DSM-5 lists "Gender Identity Disorder" (GID) as "Gender Dysphoria" (GD), after talking with and interviewing a number of people, it is my conclusion that "Gender Dysphoria" even though renamed over the years, contains within it too simular wording as "Gender Identity Disorder" (GID), therefore, in this article GID is synonymous to a degree, with that of GD. It is then up to the genderqueer, pansexual, LGBTQ community and scientists to decide what stays in the DSM and what does not.

IEET Contributor Wes Strong wrote a follow up to this essay from a social constructivist point of view.

The following is an updated version of a 2010 article "Will gender exist 100 years from now, or does it already not exist?"

Introduction

It has been claimed by biologists that the brains of females and males are different in obscure ways. However physical differences in adults may be due to psychological and sociological pressures on the brains of each gender, because cultures and societies probably exaggerate roles and stereotypes, having an impact on brain plasticity. On top of society’s role in forming gender identity, we can see in current biological data of brains and their relation to gender identity due to “molecular and hormonal mechanisms.” (Rosario, 276-278)

It has been shown that the structure of brains in Homo sapiens can take on either a male or female form from a variety of factors during critical postnatal periods.  The biology of sexual identity is reveling important data which points to diversity in sexual orientation, leading us to accept that looking at gender in a binary fashion is unacceptable; gender identity in Homo sapiens is probably much more ambiguous and diverse then we once thought. (Rosario, 276-279)

From this we can conclude that the gender identity listing in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders should be eliminated. Genetic engineering of the brain will only increase the ambiguity if we choose. A post gender-binary society is possible, not only in the future, but as we will see it may already be here naturally.

Genetics

Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes within each cell; twenty-two of these are alike in both males and females. A female has two X chromosomes and a male has one X and one Y within their cells. It is with this Y chromosome that the differences in males and females begin. This combination of XX or XY does make a female “female” and a male “male”, but it does not have a direct effect on gender identity or sexual orientation. “Rather, the influence is indirect and derived through determination of the nature of the embryonic gonadal anlagen and their hormonal products”. (Gooren, 593)

All humans start out as “females”. If “male” sex hormones and the appropriate receptors are present, the male genital phenotype will develop, and if sufficient male sex hormones or functioning receptors are not present, the female genital phenotype will develop. (Knickmeyer, Cohen, 826)

It was standard practice through the 1980’s and 90’s that children born with ambiguous genitalia could be raised as members of either sex because a person’s body image was considered a function of socialization. (Diamond, 623) It was believed that one’s sexual behavior was controlled by nurture not nature. People had surgery so that they would be of one “sex” or “gender”, leaving the nurture part of development as a leading factor of identity.

It wasn’t until the late 90’s that it became evident that sexual behavior was determined prenatally and it did not matter how a child was raised. “It appears that the extent of androgen (i.e., testosterone) exposure of the brain in utero, during the early postnatal period, and at puberty, has more of an effect determining male gender identity than does sex of rearing and sociocultural influences.” (Diamond 625)

A concept that emerged from the 1998 American Association of Pediatrics conference was that since the human brain can be either male or female, there is a possibility that someone would not want to be the gender which they were given from birth. (Diamond, 626) Genetics, along with other factors, such as hormones, social constructs, to even pheromones show that adults may want to change their gender because they feel that they are not the gender they grew up with.

Our DNA contains four nucleotides; Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine, and Thymine. Genes are made up of these four nucleotides, ATGC, and are arranged in different sequences which yield a variety of different kinds of proteins that make up the human body. The phenotype is the resulting expression of the genotype which is what the organism looks like, functions, and in some cases how the organism acts.

This article is dealing with gender identity within humans, instead of the obvious differences we may find in mice when dealing with gender. (Rosario, 275-278)  The genotype is supposed to explain what the phenotype will look like, but that is not always the case. For example take someone who has been cut badly and their body then has a scar. The genotype and the phenotype are different, and the scar doesn’t represent what the genotype was originally programmed for, respectfully. It was originally programmed so that the area of skin would be smooth and tough, not scarred, but had within it the ability to heal the initial cut.

I would hesitate however to explain gender identity as a scar. Certain types of phenotypic brains are a result not of thier parent's genotype, or observable phenotype, but rather because the human had “mutated genes” or was exposed to certain chemicals, including hormones during prenatal critical periods.

If a human embryo was exposed to certain chemicals, usually endogens, androgens, and sometimes certain vitamins and minerals during pregnancy which permanently changed the brain to go one way or the other, or perhaps a little bit of both genders, we can call that sexual dimorphism, but only on the ground that we accept that size, shape, density, and structure of certain brain areas suggest “femininity” or “masculinity”. This article leans toward Rosario’s idea of diversity and ambiguity in relation to the human brain concerning gender identity and even the way one might act, or wish to act.

As it turns out neuroscience and genetics is showing how the brains of LGBTQ people are really ambiguous. There’s more then 20 or 30 ways the brain could be "feminized" or "masculinized" in that the brains between men and women are a little different dimorphicly on a macro scale. (Rosario, 276-278)  You can identify a male by his brain and a female by her brain, but the thing is some of that may also be due to sociological pressures on brain plasticity, making the gender even more ambiguous in a gender neutral / genderqueer / pansexual society. A male who has a phenotype and genotype of a male can have a women's brain, and a woman who has a genotype and phenotype of a woman can have a male’s brain, respectfully.

 

Gender Identity and the DSM

The phenomenology, nosology, and even the very name and pathological status of gender variance have been particularly heated topics recently because of revisions in the DSM with the planned publication of the DSM-5 in 2013. While all the sexual disorders have long been controversial, debate about [Gender identity disorder in children] (GIDC) has been particularly fiery. As Jack Drescher (2010), a member of the Work Group on Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders, summarizes, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBTQ) activists criticized the Work Group and the APA more broadly of pathologizing transgender people. Some activists erroneously claimed that GIDC was a Trojan horse aimed at repathologizing homosexuality. Furthermore, therapies aimed at coaxing gender dysphoric children to accept their natal sex were likened by these advocates to “reparative therapy” of homosexuality. While some transgender activists argued for the complete elimination of GID and GIDC from the DSM, others feared that expunging GID would allow insurers to drop coverage of transgender medical care and instead view it as an elective or cosmetic. The articles by individual members of the Work Group point out that these researchers thoughtfully grappled with the scientific, political, and sociological ramifications of having GID in a psychiatric nosology (Cohen-Kettenis & Pfafflin, 2010; Drescher, 2010; Meyer-Bahlburg, 2010; Zucker, 2010). The Working Group's proposed revision of the very term GID to “Gender Incongruence was partly to mitigate the social stigma of a psychiatric “disorder” as well as to more accurately portray a psychological phenomenon that benefits from identification and therapy: a lasting, “marked incongruence between one's experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender” (APA, 2010). Readers should review the “Rationale” section of the GIDC draft revision as well as the aforementioned articles to appreciate the reasons for retaining a diagnosis as well as the changes in criteria according to newly accumulated psychometric data.”(Rosario, 2013)

There has been a lot of controversy over the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders III’s and (DSM-V - 2013) listing of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) as "Gender Dysphoria" (GD) since the beginning of its formation. The DSM is a book which lists and describes psychiatric disorders considered official by the American Psychiatric Association. The current DSM version is DSM-V(yr2013).

The APA doesn’t list disorders in this influential book by any layperson standards, in fact it uses committees to review the science behind each listing and as the years go on the DSM evolves into a more precise book for doctors and psychiatrists. But this same review process, which was responsible for the removal of “homosexuality” from the DSM is now under attack by the LGBTQ community, especially by transsexual / transgender / genderqueer peoples.

Some researchers are also supporting the removal or revision of GID out of the DSM based on recent science which suggests that gender identity is not as simple as recognizing ones phenotype, but instead complex reasons have been found, from hormonal, sexual dimorphism, pheromones, or the density of neuron structures in the brain of the third interstitial nucleus of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH-3) to genes outside of the X and Y chromosomes. (Kohl, 344-345; Rosario, 267-284; Hill,8-9)

The controversy around the DSM listing is vast in scope. “There is often a moral tone to much of the discourse, reflecting conflicting ideologies and deeply held values, perhaps protecting vested interests or reflecting gender politics.”(Hill, 10) Part of the criticism of the GID lays in the fact that cultural trends may be different. As Hill suggests in America we have expectations for young people when it comes to gender roles, but relax these same expectations for adults.

Girls and boys can participate in activities that are stereotypical for the other gender and not be uncomfortable being a boy or a girl at the same time. (Hill, 11) Some modern parents are affected by transgender kids to the point of being distressed because their children want to go against the norms of society and act differently then their phenotype, creating problems for them in school and in general social life because the United States has particular gender roles which males and females are supposed to live up to, especially in their youth.

Going against the norm and claiming that they are really a member of the opposite sex, or somewhere in between, some children seek operations. However these operations are rare and, here doctors and parents run into problems. There is more success in operations before puberty according to some researchers and doctors who may just be trigger happy, playing around with simplifications of the complexities of role theory. Young people may change their minds when they get older so caution should be taken. One limited and possibly biased study showed that adolescents who had their sex changed had very positive outcomes and where happy with their decision. However some children grow out of their “GID” and become happy with their untouched phenotype. (Hill, 25-29)

I disagree with Robert L. Spitzer, the author of Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders or "Gender Dysphoria" as in the DSM-V:

Discussion of Questions for DSM-V stated that GID can be compared to the eyes of blind people. The goal of his paper is to remain calling gender identity outside the norm a “disorder.” I would have to agree with the growing number of LGBTQ people that it shouldn’t be called a disorder because “identity” within the human brain and mind is so diverse that trying to pin down something like this as a disorder is a waste of time, especially given the scientific evidence that homosexuality may even have a role in evolutionary processes, never mind the science which is talked about within this particularly influential article. The meaning behind identity when it comes to sexual attraction is very important to people in our society, hence some claims that sexual identity and discrimination is socially constructed. This importance (to both the queer individual and the ignorant homophobic) has led to many deaths resulting from hate crimes, discrimination within cultures, and prejudice. Hate and discrimination tends to be learned from ignorance, clearly having strong cultural-societal roots of violence.

How many people have been killed by others in the recent because they are blind? How many people have to suffer everyday in utter confusion because they are blind? Blind people in the western world have at their advantage a number of tools designed for their condition to help them live within society. Some people may make fun of them, and many blind people would love to be able to see, to be able to use the original evolved function of their eyes, but looking at gender and sexual identity purely from an evolutionary view, relating the biological function of eyes to sexual identity as Spitzer tries to do by attacking Hill, becomes rather problematic.

However, many homosexuals and transgendered people do not want help and the last thing they want is to be discriminated against because they fall under what society refers to as LGBTQ. It seems that when it comes to gender identity people want to be who they think they are and don’t want to have to conform to a certain stereotype of the binary sex which has been valued so greatly by conservative Christians and the like who believe in a “God” (who happens to be male) and has a binary view of gender. I would argue that fundamentalist viewpoints about gender identity are reminiscent of racism.

In response to Spitzer’s article, I would have to conclude that gender identity discrimination can be more correlated to racism than blindness. It would be disgraceful if scientists told African Americans/black/people of color that they have a genetic disorder, or an identity disorder, that they are really “white” and should be converted to a white person. Science (and sociological studies) have shown that race is not a ground for discrimination or grounds for any particular way of looking at people. The same applies to gender identity. Spitzer should rethink his views on gender identity and help eliminate it from the DSM-V. It is clear that the transsexual community does not want GID and GD as a listing in the DSM, just like how homosexuals didn’t want homosexuality listed in the DSM-III. The DSM-IV-TR states under “Gender Identity Disorder” many guidelines which fit the criteria for the listing, including;

“In adolescents and adults, the disturbance is manifested by symptoms such as preoccupation with getting rid of primary and secondary sex characteristics (e.g., request for hormones, surgery, or other procedures to physically alter sexual characteristics to simulate the other sex) or belief that he or she was born the wrong sex.” and “The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.”(DSM-IV-TR, 302.85)

According to the actual wording adults with “GID” are under “significant distress”, and I believe it to be the case that it will one day be very clear that most of these people suffering from this problem lies in how their culture reacts to their identity and how they view themselves through the eyes of other people and even the eyes of themselves yearning to be who they truly are, probably because of the chemistry of their brains and bodies, and not because they can just change if they want to. Many doctors are working on ways to help people change sexes and become the person who they want to be, but this I suggest only be done post-puberty (DSM-IV-TR, 302.85 )

However I think that in our society with sex roles so explicitly clear in the media, in our families and in the work place that the yearning to be Genderqueer, Pansexual, male, female, etc is intensified within these individuals, through societal conditioning. They look at society and think about the ways they should look and act, but the ways that society has formed gender roles may be very skewed in itself, so any LGBTQ person has extra pressure to act and look a certain way, because society exaggerates gender roles.

Minds who do not have “GID” also struggle to just live up to what the media, friends, family, etc are putting out there. In a post-gender society minds will have the opportunity to escape gender roles. People who currently don’t look a certain way, who don’t fit a certain stereotype have problems coping. A person who wants to be the opposite sex must have those same problems, but more intensely, in my opinion. After reviewing websites, books, and journal articles it became clear to me that the reasons for homosexuality, pansexualism, genderqueer transsexualism are so vast, and so complicated, one can use occam's razor, and make the connection that biology and society, nature and nurture are so diverse, so indecisive, that the possibilities are simply infinite like in a rainbow of diversity.

We can see how genetics may play a role, how prenatal exposure to certain chemicals may play a role, how society may play a role that the only conclusion to be drawn right now is that identity concerning gender should not be considered a disorder. One day the science will be so fined tuned that it will be possible to test people for certain gender and sexual identities just by looking at their genome and a sophisticated brain scan, and/or hormonal levels.

Some people are worried such things will increase discrimination in societies that view gender identity outside heterosexism a disorder. Fetuses may be tested, and gene therapy may be used to “correct” such conditions, or some other type of hormonal balancing may be used. I think it should be up to the LGBTQ community, in a democratically way to decide if their identity is a "disorder" and if they would rather fit into the heterosexual matrix of domination. This I highly doubt will become reality, and instead the opposite will happen: diversity will prevail. Though biological reductionism in some cases (levels of reality), if not all can conclude ones gender/sex, society should be prepared for boys wearing dresses and girls playing with toy trucks, etc.

Gender Differences and Sexual Reproduction

There are of course non-controversial differences between genders, in fact, I just implied one of them; that “gender” exists and is a word that describes something, but what does it describe? Biologists have identified differences between members of the same species which can increase the likelihood of sexual reproduction, the difference in each species is known as gender or sex, which usually comes in the form of “male” and “female.” Sexual dimorphism is used to describe the phenotypical difference between males and females of the same species. An example of sexual dimorphism in gorillas is the fact that males tend to be twice the size of females.

Homo sapiens however have less distinctive sexual dimorphic characteristics than many other animals. (Campell, 277) There are also organisms that are asexual, like the sea anemone and the desert-grassland whiptail lizard. Natural selection has also produced many species which are purely hermaphrodites such as the earthworm. Sexual dimorphism and reproduction vary greatly on our planet, both in the plant and animal kingdoms.

Some animals also reproduce by an “external” mechanism where the eggs are fertilized outside the body, for example, typical frogs. (Campell, 534-535) Sexual reproduction as it is in Homo sapiens is just one way for an organism to reproduce. In the future we might actually find it healthier for humans, transhumans/posthumans to reproduce in artificial wombs, rendering human sexual reproduction useless, and perhaps even harmful.

Maybe when people/minds learn about the variety of sexual reproduction and sexual dimorphism in other species, and also grasp the concept that we, as humans, share a lot of DNA with these other animals, one starts to understand that nature does not go by the bible, social constructions, or even just biology, that it is a fantastic mixture of everything from biological-reductionism to sociological constructs that simply play roles in the gift of neural plasticity AND genetic expression.

One notable condition in humans is partial androgen insensitivity syndrome where males with XY chromosomes, but on the X chromosome there is a “defective” androgen receptor gene. People with this condition are mostly biologically male, but have all female characteristics and tend to take on female “gender roles.”

A person with this condition shows how androgen creation is important in gender identity. Studies have also pinned down that androgen production for gender identity is important in prenatal periods and during prepubertal periods. (Tsuyoshi, 1011-1016) Conditions like these help scientists understand the roles of genetics and androgens on the human body, and can even help with understanding gender identity. As the years go on androgen production and genetic markers for gender identity will show why even within the biology of people, and not just in their mind’s, that identity comes in many forms that should be respected.

Gender Identity

Anyone who knows something about biology knows that almost anything can happen in the diversity of problems that can arise in human and animal reproduction. However this article is concerned with gender identity, which in healthy children and adults is very complicated and we do not want to refer to gender identity as a “problem.” The kinds of discrimination and prejudice people come up with is amazing, to say the least.

It seems many people yearn for precise ways of thinking about sexual reproduction and sexual dimorphism; many Americans would like to think about gender in a strict binary fashion. Some people even believe today that the bible, a book written thousands of years ago which has no relevance to science today, is the way we should look at gender. The phenotype of an individual has many implications on their social status and expected identity (social conditioning). Iran for example has a task force dedicated to tracking down homosexuals to either beat them or imprison them. So obviously gender identity, including LGBTQ can affect people in certain societies in absolutely atrocious ways.

A study was done in 2008 using 48 brains from cadavers. This study provides more evidence that hormones do not necessarily have a direct effect on the gender dimorphism of the INAH-3 region. Instead this study suggests that this region is “masculinized” or “feminized” prior to any operations or hormonal treatment. However this study is also very controversial, and I would rather not focus on it.

Although, it does seem that the anterior hypothalamus (INAH-3) may be one of the areas in a network of neurons which is, in reality, gender dimorphic. It has been shown that the neurons of INAH-3 were “masculinized” in female-to-male transsexuals and “feminized” in male-to-female transsexuals. Studies like these support the claims that “GID” may be rooted more in biological determinants of gender dimorphism which can’t be treated with classical conditioning.

Therefore a mind who is genderqueer, pansexual, LGBTQ should not be listed as having a “disorder” because, in Homo sapiens, there is NO evidence which suggests or is taken seriously by modern science that socially constructed gender roles should have any impact whatsoever on how a person should or shouldn't act. This claim however is not suggesting that serious epistemology of ethical and moral theories is misleading, instead it is simply a claim about modern society's ridiculous notion of "gender roles": hence rendering them obsolete. Social, political, and biological science as of 2013 continues to give us evidence that Homo sapiens more or less socially construct mistaken gender roles from a history of primarily a culturally patriarchal "Matrix of Domination."  In the future, as more data is collected on the social front, the data from genetic testing and phenotype studies like the one mentioned above will help pave the way for transhuman and posthuman sciences of “gender” and "sexual identity."

Conclusion

Geneticists are finding genes outside of the x and y chromosomes that may play a role in gender identity. They are also finding the results of “mutated” nucleotide order within the x and y chromosomes related to gender identity. There are so many possibilities for a gender related gene mutation to occur that many more years of science will be needed to fully understand gender identity, as I stated in 2010.

Traditional values of looking at gender in binary fashion is growing less and less important as scientists show how it is that gender identity is diverse in nature and caused by many biological and social conditions. A post-binary-gender society is not only possible but it seems we are already living in one, if we choose.

As humans take control of their own evolution and as we see a transhuman/posthuman world develop, a vast array of identity, with the so-called notions/concepts of “masculinity” and “femininity” will either fade away or grow into a rainbow of diversity. What do you think?

References

Readers may also be interested in the FAQ provided by genderqueerid.com.

Campbell, Neil, Jane Reece, Lwarence Mitchell and Martha Taylor. Biology: Concepts & Connections. San Francisco: Pearson Education, Inc., 2003.

Check, Erika. Genetics: The X factor. Nature 434 – 7031 (2005) 266-267.

Collins, P. (2000). Black feminist thought knowledge, consciousness, and the politics of empowerment. New York: Routledge.

Diamond, Michael. "Clinical Implications of the Organizational and Activational Effects of Hormones." Hormones and Behavior 5 (2009): 621-632.

DSM-IV-TR, 302.85 Psychiatry Online. “Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders”. 10 July 2009 <http://www.psychiatryonline.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=1>

Ellegren, Hans. "Hen's, Cocks and avian sex determination.” EMBO reports (2001): 192-196.

Gooren, Louis. "The Biology of Human Psychosexual Differentiation." Hormones and Behavior 50 (2006): 589-601.

Hill, Darryl B., Rozanski, Christina, Carfagnini, Jessica and Willoughby, Brian. “Gender Identity Disorders in Childhood and Adolescence” Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality,17:3 (2006): 7 – 34.

Kimura, Doreen “Are men's and women's brains really different?” Canadian Psychology Vol.28 (2) (1987): 133-147.

Knickmeyer, Rebecca C., and Baron-Cohen. "Fetal Testosterone and Sex Differences in Typical Social Development and in Autism ." Journal of Child Neurology 25 (2005): 825-845.

Kohl, James V. 'The Mind's Eyes” Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality,18:4, (2007): 313 — 369.

Rosario, Vernon A. “Quantum Sex: Intersex and the Molecular Deconstruction of sex. GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies Vol 15 (2009): 267-284.

Rosario, Vernon A. “Gender Variance: An Ongoing Challenge to Medico-Psychiatric Nosology” 2013

Schmitt, D., Realo, A., Voracek, M., and Allik, J. “Why can't a man be more like a woman? Sex Differences in Big Five Personality Traits Across 55 Cultures.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 94 -1 (2008): 168-182.

Spitzer, Robert L “Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders.” Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality 17:3. (2006): 111 – 116.

Tsuyoshi Baba1, Toshiaki Endo1, Hiroyuki Honnma1, Yoshimitsu Kitajima1, Takuhiro

Hayashi1, Hiroshi Ikeda, Naoya Masumori, Hirofumi Kamiya, Osamu Moriwaka and Tsuyoshi Saito. “Association Between Polycystic Ovary Syndrome and Female-to-Male Transsexuality” Human Reproduction 22:4. (2007) 1011 – 1016.

______________________________________________________________________

Gender - is the range of physical, biological, mental and behavioral characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity on varying levels, largely narrated and socialized by individual experience. Gender is entirely a social construct, a complex of sex, sex identity, culture, associations and interactions with social gender roles/norms, as well as other factors.

Gender expression - is how people demonstrate a gender. It can be a combination of masc/fem and/or androgyny of various forms. Gender identity is how an individual identifies their gender composition, though this does not always manifest into expression due to social pressures. Individual gender expression does not always match individual gender identity because of patriarchy, heterosexism, etc. For example, androgynous expression often leans towards the masculine, largely due to socialized and internalized patriarchy.

Sex - Defined as a noun refers to reproductive parts (more than just man/woman). Third sexes exist (mixed parts, etc.).

Sex as a verb - is affected by a vast number of socializations and power structures from patriarchy, heterosexism, sexism, gender oppression, even classism through capitalism, etc. Sex as an act is particularly effected by patriarchy, sexism, and heterosexism and narratives constructed by patriarchical porn industry.

Sexual identity - How individuals define their spectrum of sexual attraction based on a fluid combination of gender, gender expression, sex, and certainly other factors. In this sense, gender and sexual identiy can have an interactional relationship and contribute to each other's definition, or place a limit on it.

Femininity- Attributes often associated with females through classical culture and literature

Masculinity - Attributes often associated with males through classical culture and literature

ALL of these, other than sex as a noun, are social constructs defined by an intricate net of interactions between individual experiences, social norms, power structures, etc. etc.

Gender is socialized through various methods, but is a product of those methods more than any biological impulses (sex parts, hormones, etc.) Experience is a BIG part of this which includes an interaction with the contradictions of social norms, rigid male/female gender roles, etc.

Sex acts - follow a very similar path. Gender identity and expression may change over time as individuals interact with these norms in various different ways (It also may stay the same due to these interactions). Same with preferred acts of sexual expression.

Femininity/Masculinity are also defined historically and culturally whose narrative is directed by the ideology of the dominant and powerful classes. Femme/Masc meant different things in the middle ages than they do now. These are socialized characteristics that associate social activity with sex parts, largely reserved to the two dominant sexes (male/female), but in some cultures including third+ sexes in various ways.

Though Gender Dysphoria is in the DSM-5 I would argue that it is not a mental disorder. Gender-assigned-at-birth is problematic from the start as gender is part of a socialized identity and assigned-at-birth conflates sex and gender (which are distinctly different). People diagnosed with GD are no different from anyone else. Social experience narrates and defines individual identity, and individual identity can change over time (or remain the same). There is no universal biological evidence (as far as I know) to indicate GD has a physical cause, but is instead a complex of social interactions, emotion, identity, and other factors.

Gender is inside the normal diversity of human existence while excessive emotional depression and other mental struggles are often the result of social experiences and pressures dictated by power structures and systems of production etc. etc.

So without those structures / with better ones depression wouldn't be as omnipresent in society, but even a good diagnosis and treatment of that disorder requires a social action as to address the systems that manifest these emotions in the individual psyche. - Wes Strong


Kris Notaro, a former IEET intern, now the IEET's Managing Director, earned his BS in Philosophy from Charter Oak State College in Connecticut. He is currently the Bertrand Russell Society’s Vice-President for Website Technology. He has worked with the Bertrand Russell A/V Project at Central Connecticut State University, producing multimedia materials related to philosophy and ethics for classroom use. His major passions are in the technological advances in the areas of neuroscience, consciousness, brain, and mind.
Print Email permalink (51) Comments (17072) Hits •  subscribe Share on facebook Stumble This submit to reddit submit to digg


COMMENTS


Unfortunately, you have not shown why queerness should not be called a “disorder.”  Intricately understood brain chemistry might also correlate to alcoholism or the propensity to gun down pedestrians, and yet we don’t re-write the DSM to accommodate psychotics and sociopaths who are not distressed by their lifestyle.  You only _want_ queerness expunged from the disorders list because of your subjective preference; that is why the debate is “fiery.”  Science is supposed to proceed from laws, and thus remain impassive, cool, and collected.  It seems that if scientists were able to do that, they could let the research speak for itself, without venturing off-topic to swipe at the bible, which never claimed to be doing science in the first place.

Secondly, your racism analogy bites back before it fails.  Why don’t scientists tell blacks that they’re really white?  Because the chromosomes don’t lie.  What you’re suggesting is that anyone who is proud to be black should stop emphasizing it, should stupidly downplay the trends about who is universally better at basketball, rapping, and booty-pops.  Why don’t you go to the NAACP and tell them to de-emphasize MLK day, since we can, in the end, be any race we want?  In my diversity training at my public high school, the black student union walked around to the classrooms and said to us mostly whites:  “Please don’t dress like us!  Please don’t talk like us!”  The white kid who thinks he’s black might be an admirable social mixer, but we all know his desires could eventually conflict with reality.  The same goes for persons encumbered with the inclination to express a non-assigned gender, to drink, and to slay. 

Most at IEET deny culture because they deny the cult, or that anyone could be in charge.  They are their own cult-leaders, and don’t care if anyone joins, but care enormously if any group (i.e. Christians) confesses a leader who transcends the ineffable self.  Perhaps your next article could tell us why that confession bothers you so much.





“Why don’t you go to the NAACP and tell them to de-emphasize MLK day”

Good idea: icons are outmoded; let’s also dispense with Presidents Day and the days paying homage to saints. The Bible clearly states God and His only son (God did not want too many children so He wouldn’t have to apply for foodstamps) are sacred-none else. And btw, Peter was not really the first Bishop of Rome. Christ was in the Mideast when He told Peter He would build His church on him, not in Rome. Thus though the Bishop of Rome is legitimate secularly, this is as far as it goes. The first bona fide Pope was Leo.
Henry, you strike out before you go to bat.

“ ‘Please don’t dress like us!  Please don’t talk like us!’
The white kid who thinks he’s black might be an admirable social mixer, but we all know his desires could eventually conflict with reality.”

Yet whites are generally convinced they are prettier than blacks: why can’t blacks be elitist in return?
Questions:
how many abortions do lesbians have?
how many gays beat their spouses and children (children through surrogates and adoption)?

 





Kris, I can’t I just can’t with these outlandishly absurd comments. I’ll pretend like these are the most racist things I’ve seen today. Liek this thing of pure racist drivel:

“What you’re suggesting is that anyone who is proud to be black should stop emphasizing it, should stupidly downplay the trends about who is universally better at basketball, rapping, and booty-pops.”

I’m sorry, Black people are proud to be black people because they are proud of their people’s history and struggle to survive massive oppression and genocide. No one is “universally” better at anything, they are a product of social conditions. Plenty of black people aren’t good basketball players, don’t listen to rap, and don’t have the ass to twerk. There is no universal essential truth about people with dark skin. Also, basing an ideology on subjective experience is not really a scientific way of doing anything. Take your whiteness and racism elsewhere, thank you.

@intomorrow:

“Good idea: icons are outmoded.”

You are treating US presidents as if they are equals to MLK. I agree, get rid of president’s day, July 4th, etc. etc., but not because they are “icons that are outmoded” but because they celebrate genocide, slavery, racism, imperialism, and murder. This is not some abstract ideological concept that you have to struggle with, its up in your face if you bother to look. Saying we should abolish all of that is incredibly racist - makes you the same as those who say that immigrants should be required to speak english, that people of color should walk, talk, and act a particular way to fit in, and that people in the US should aim for assimilation. You are denying their culture and history and that is just as imperialistic and racist as our wonderful (sarcasm) founding fathers. It’s not your place as an oppressor to decide what is best for the oppressed. I’d be proud to honor MLK everyday if we lived in a society that actually recognized the history of this genocidal nation (including the genocide of first nations peoples that I have yet to mention). People have the right to have icons, people that they identify with - this is not a mere production of modern society.

But here’s a few of my thoughts. You say:

“After reviewing websites, books, and journal articles it became clear to me that the reasons for homosexuality, pansexualism, genderqueer transsexualism are so vast, and so complicated, one can use occam’s razor, and make the connection that biology and society, nature and nurture are so diverse, so indecisive, that the possibilities are simply infinite like in a rainbow of diversity.”

which is really quite good, though I would argue overplays the role of biology and genetics in determining gender identity. Then you go on to say:

“We can see how genetics may play a role, how prenatal exposure to certain chemicals may play a role, how society may play a role that the only conclusion to be drawn right now is that identity concerning gender should not be considered a disorder. One day the science will be so fined tuned that it will be possible to test people for certain gender and sexual identities just by looking at their genome and a sophisticated brain scan, and/or hormonal levels.”

which is problematic as you argue that gender (which is really a complex of gender identity, sexuality, and socialized identity) could be 100% defined through an advanced scientific analysis of individual genomes, brains, and hormones. Is your argument that these are the core factors that contribute to gender identity?

Gender is defined entirely through a social process. Gender is viewed differently throughout societies. These basic biological concepts may provide a canvas on which we can create our gender identities through a social process of reflection and replication (certainly influenced by dominant social norms), but these biological factors (as far as I know) do not inherently determine gender identity or [removed]the main ways in which we interact with gender as a concept).

This is demonstrated in how you explain the “male” / “female” brain concept and say that women can have phenotype and genotype female and have a “male” brain and vice versa. I know in the past you have argued that this also varies to an extent that a brain can be a mix of both :male” and “female” brains.If this is the case, I would argue that identifying “brain types” according sexual organs is not only inaccurate, but incredibly problematic for the same reasons that the gender binary is problematic.

You seem to argue towards a more diverse and fluid understanding, that since there is a spectrum or various and countless combinations of gender identity and expression, forming essentialist roles around constructed identities [male/female] runs counter to what appears to be an underlying truth about the human experience. I would agree. But to argue that everything we understand gender to be is determined by and can be measured through biological factors disregards the role of social forces.

You touch on the role of social forces slightly when you discuss how the heterosexist and patriarchal paradigms force exaggerated gender expression in order to conform to some recognizable norm to some degree. There could be some truth to this, however, I would argue the socialized nature of gender expression likely goes a lot further and holds a greater influence, possibly even changing biological factors (I don’t know any specifics about this, but socialization and power do affect individuals biological health in many various ways - IE racism).

Humans are social beings. While biology may lay a basic template out, I would suspect that we are far more defined by our social experience than determined by biological factors. I doubt that gender ID will ever be able to fit neatly into a biologically measurable scientific model due to the fact that the individual psyche, conciousness, self-awareness, and understanding play a significant role in the formation of individual identity.





“You are treating US presidents as if they are equals to MLK. I agree, get rid of president’s day, July 4th, etc. etc., but not because they are ‘icons that are outmoded’ but because they celebrate genocide, slavery, racism, imperialism, and murder. This is not some abstract ideological concept that you have to struggle with, its up in your face if you bother to look. Saying we should abolish all of that is incredibly racist - makes you the same as those who say that immigrants should be required to speak english, that people of color should walk, talk, and act a particular way to fit in, and that people in the US should aim for assimilation. You are denying their culture and history and that is just as imperialistic and racist as our wonderful (sarcasm) founding fathers. It’s not your place as an oppressor to decide what is best for the oppressed. I’d be proud to honor MLK everyday if we lived in a society that actually recognized the history of this genocidal nation (including the genocide of first nations peoples that I have yet to mention). People have the right to have icons, people that they identify with - this is not a mere production of modern society.”

Agreed on the presidents: however it isn’t entirely fair to write that Geo Washington, say, could have been expected to think as a late 20th- early 21st century progressive. Jefferson hated homosexuality; but let’s not judge him by the lights of 2013.
And MLK lived in a different era as well; we can be thoroughly sure MLK held on to some bourgeois notions, esp as he was an ordained minister. Do not make the mistake of projecting your own worldview on an icon who died 45 yrs ago—such projection would be one of the worst aspects of iconism. This from Wikipedia:

There are opposing views, even within the King family, of his religious and political views about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people. King’s widow Coretta said publicly that she believed her husband would have supported gay rights. However, his daughter Bernice believed he would have been opposed to gay marriage

Also, do not forget—not that you would—you are a white male yourself. Why am I more of an oppressor than you?

“this is not a mere production of modern society”

Correct, it can be traced back at least 6,000 yrs; which makes it all the more outdated. IMO iconism is now a foolish tribal relic- and nothing you write will change my mind on this.





Not so fast, wcstrong.  Last I checked, the BET awards were this month; not a country song or volleyball player in sight.  Keep pretending they didn’t happen, and keep denying that it’s a real and valued event for the art forms (and not just the people) showcased.  That won’t help American race relations.  I appreciate, however, that you exposed Notaro as a materialist, and so my criticism stands.  There are intelligible reasons to act in accord with our genotype.  Motivations to act otherwise may be real and subjectively powerful, but the acts they engender [ha ha] are not intelligible, and so cannot be morally perfective.





One “needs” to objectify materialism before you can rise above it?
What more is the body but material form - souls are naturally asexual.. as are cells of the body, aren’t they? (and so too a future choice for potentially uploaded minds/transcending spiritual entities)?

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Love and sex/sexism/gender identity, (the motivations of biology and tradition), are two “completely” different things? Which leads nicely to a completely different question - “why” sex as recreation/stimulus/procreation anyhow?

The days of “nuts” and “bolts” and the pastime of “screwing together” may swiftly be drawing to a close? In fact, you don’t need any bodily parts to recreate orgasm do you?

 

 





@wcstrong - I will do more research and edit correctly, thank you for the constructive criticism, always welcome!

@Henry Bowers - by materialist do you mean I consider biological reductionism important to the topic of LGBTQ identity? If so your right, to degrees currently understood. And/or is your materialist claim about the nature of the universe outside that of the human brain/mind? If so, your partially right, for I do consider the Big Bang Theory as an accurate theory and scientific paradigm, meaning, that the universe started out as one kind of thing, and then emerged into a vast array of other kinds of things. We use the word “properties” to identify kinds, for example, the element, carbon, did not exist, as far as we know, before the “big bang” and it contains unique observable properties.





“Take your whiteness and racism elsewhere, thank you.”

I’m still curious to know why he doesn’t. Henry claims that “most at IEET deny culture because they deny the cult, or that anyone could be in charge”, but that seems to beg the question: why does he keep commenting here? He thinks that we “care enormously if any group (i.e. Christians) confesses a leader who transcends the ineffable self”, but he doesn’t explain what he even means by that, let alone provide any credible evidence that this is actually the case.

What has been clear for some time, in any case, is that Henry is deeply committed to a narrative in which what matters is not whether one has “real and subjectively powerful” motivations to act but whether the acts such motivations engender are “intelligible” and thus “morally perfective”. What “intelligible” and “morally perfective” are supposed to mean in this context remains somewhat obscure, but obviously they are taken somehow to imply traditional Christian values.

Why do I focus so much on Henry’s comments? Partly out of habit, I guess, but also because he comments here a lot and it strikes me that just denouncing them as “pure racist drivel” does little more than maintain a dialogue of the deaf. We could just ignore them, of course, but this won’t make such ideas go away either.

In fact, it is not so much that Henry’s views are “pure racist drivel” as that they are reactionary. All the bla bla about intelligible acts and moral perfection seems to be serving mainly as a way to defend the status quo ante when male was male, female was female and marriage was a sacred union between man and woman. That world is passing away, Henry. Intomorrow is right: you and your like are living in the past (or, more correctly, an imaginary past that never really existed).





Why queerness should not be called a disorder - It is part of the spectrum of human experience. Liking the color blue is not a disorder. A desire to keeping things neat is not a disorder. Enjoying theater or movies is not a disorder. These are preferences, often guided by identity, identity which is formed through a social process. Sexuality is a preference. Biology may create a framework that allows us to determine identity and preference, but it is not wholly determined by biology.

@intomorrow: You said this:

“however it isn’t entirely fair to write that Geo Washington, say, could have been expected to think as a late 20th- early 21st century progressive. Jefferson hated homosexuality; but let’s not judge him by the lights of 2013.”

Actually, it is entirely fair to make such a judgement. Washington, Jefferson, and many other so-called “founding fathers” were well aware of what they were doing. Several wrote or said that they felt it was morally unjust to hold people in slavery/bonded labor, but they all understood the important of slavery in building a national economy. This is discussed in pretty much every modern history book. Slavery is not a product of ignorance - AT ALL. It is a product of power, capitalism, racism, and imperialism. To the founding fathers, the validity of slavery came down to a financial need for the burgeoning merchant/plantation class over any moral sensibility. The logic of racism grew almost entirely out of the British colonies based on prior experiences in Ireland and in a few small islands in the European Atlantic. They knew full well what they were doing, plenty of histories documented the vast and complex natures of African peoples at the time (not to mention first nations as well). To say that this was mere ignorance and to have the cultural relativism that accepts racist ideologies because they were “in the past” is both ignorant of history and ignorant of persistent systems of racism that continue to this day (based on the same or similar logic).

You also said:

“And MLK lived in a different era as well; we can be thoroughly sure MLK held on to some bourgeois notions, esp as he was an ordained minister. Do not make the mistake of projecting your own worldview on an icon who died 45 yrs ago—such projection would be one of the worst aspects of iconism.”

First, what does being an ordained minister have to do with anything Bourgeois? This is profoundly ignorant. Black Christianity in the US was actually very radical at its roots and in many ways continues to be to this day. Yeah I have ideological conflicts with some people in these faiths, but there is literally nothing about MLK and Black Christianity, especially Black Baptists at the time that was Bourgeois.

Hell, he is largely know for building around working class issues! Segregation was a black working class issue. So was voting in a period when you could get shot of hung for even thinking about voting while black. These efforts became more pronounced in his later years as he supported union strikes, workers struggles, and began to build the broad-spectrum poor peoples’ campaign. As you move form 63 towards his assassination his speeches and writings get progressively more radical! Beyond Vietnam, the mountaintop speech, etc, etc. MLK called the US the greatest purveyor of violence in the world! He spoke openly about the problems of Capitalism. He actually used the term capitalism as a system, not just one part of it like those in the modern period who criticize banks, but don’t make the next step to look at the systemic level.

MLK may have had hope to some degree in bourgeois political forms, but this does not make him bourgeois at all. There is a small amount of wiggle room for working people in republican democracy (US Gov’t structure), it is just incredibly weak at this moment due to weakened movements. Obviously, that needs to be revolutionized, but that’s neither here nor there when you have very little to speak of in terms of large social movement activity.

In regards to Gay Marraige and MLK’s beliefs, I would say that this is largely ireelevant. First off, the marraige initiative is entirely assimilationist and as such centering the hopes and dreams of LGBTQ community on this basic concept is entirely problematic. MANY and is mean MANY in this community reject this notion outright or don’t care about it at all. The reason why it has a spot light is because there is a burgeoning group within that community that is appealing for acceptance among the ruling classes. They are actively seeking to assimilate into the ruling classes and are using their power and money to create a path through which gays could be more accepted among the patriarchy through a repressive marriage system. This does little to directly attack heterosexism which runs rampant throughout the system, it merely operates to secure a role for this burgeoning gay class to gain a position among the ruling class to administer it. MLK was someone who changed his views over time due to experience and the people he interacted with (apparently unlike you).

In terms of icons - I don’t think you understand what I mean. Whether or not you think this or that about oppressed groups icons, inspirations and leaders is largely irrelevant. It is their choice and assuming you have the right to say their choices are irrelevant is entirely racist. You are deny their right to choose. Maybe they choose none, maybe some, maybe many. You can have democracy and leaders/icons at the same time. Capitalism just exaggerates this social process by commodifying people and selling them to the proletariat as symbols of and inspirations towards ruling class bourgeois ideology. This doesn’t mean that they can’t play a role in revolutionary struggle. Certainly the presence of MLK and Malcolm X did a lot more to help oppressed people of the world and push movements for justice and equality forward than say a Capitalist Icon like Miley Cyrus (puke), Justin Bieber, or Barack Obama.

@ Henry Bowers - I am not sure what the BET Awards has to do with any universality of blackness. Do all Black people go to the BET awards? Do they all watch it on TV? Please explain to me how you think BET represents all black people.

I didn’t say that art forms that derive out of black history and struggle (pretty much all modern music and much art) shouldn’t be praised. I was saying that just because they have origins in black culture and history doesn’t mean that all black people like/enjoy/participate in them or are inherently good at them. The more and more you speak the more and more you reveal your racism.

RE: Materialism. I am a Materialist of sorts. There is not “human soul” more than the complex webs of social and emotions experiences that we have throughout our lives. It is not something ethereal, supernatural, etc. It is a product of self-awareness, consciousness, and socialization. The “human soul” is, in that sense, entirely a social organism. Being a social organism does not mean that it isn’t material. Social systems are just as material as human biology. They take on forms, they have instructions, they replicate throughout society, the change and mutate in small portions at a time, they are guided by purpose, etc. etc. Being a materialist is simply saying that all we know and see can be understood through science from the simplistic organism to the most complex social system. Kri’s argument in the one paragraph where he claims gender could be determined through a series of scientific tests in the future is more like something I would call “Biologism” which centers through and principle around biological organisms without expanding the realm of the material into manifest social forms and structures. This is a point I would love to explore more at a time, but not now since it would take a lot more time to expand upon my thoughts here. I am a materialist, but not in the modern consumerist sense, but in an understanding that all we see and feel is material and can be quantified in some way whether or not we are currently able to quantify it. There is no supernatural, there is no phenomenon that we can’t apply method to and discover a basis for new things. People who study and focus on “hard sciences” often tend to lean more in a reductionist perspective in regards to materialism, and they often miss a vast wealth of other organisms around them.

In terms of the rest of your comment, to say that anything that is not biologically determined is “not intelligible” is to deny a large majority of human experience (I’d also argue its incredibly oppressive). Is art biologically determined? Are political structures biologically determined? Please explain why you think so.

In terms of “rising above materialism, Cygnus, please describe what you mean by the word “materialism”. To me, it seems your interpretation is very much guided by Capitalist interpretations of the theory (the world is all material so get as much of it as you can and keep it for yourself), which is entirely problematic of course, but this is more correctly identified as “consumerism” - a modern capitalist form inspired to some degree by materialist theory. “Consumerism” does not condemn a material reality, however, neither does eugenics, Hitler, forced medical experiments, slavery, etc. etc.

In terms of sex as recreation/stimulus/procreation etc. no one is forcing you to have sex Cygnus. You can choose not to have it and “move past” this act on choice. Feel free to stop having sex anytime.

Lastly, and I may be wrong on this since I am not 100% sure, but I am pretty certain that you need at least a brain in order to experience an orgasm. I mean maybe we can take our brains out and still experience it, but I’m pretty sure that is not possible. I think there are a number of people on IEET with their brains already out of their head, probably on vacation given some of these absurd comments, so it wouldn’t be much of a stretch wink

Anyways, this was a decent piece overall, Kris, I said my part and that’s that. Comments are always more absurd than articles it seems.





Please everyone, watch what can be called “reactionary” comments. I am all for heated debate, but we must not attack one-another.





@peter Wicks - Good comment overal. A few problems jumped out at me though, (but nothing on the level of Bowers, lol):

You said:

“Why do I focus so much on Henry’s comments? Partly out of habit, I guess, but also because he comments here a lot and it strikes me that just denouncing them as “pure racist drivel” does little more than maintain a dialogue of the deaf. We could just ignore them, of course, but this won’t make such ideas go away either.”

I understand what you mean by that analogy, I just wanted to make you aware that it is ableist. Deaf people do have dialogues. Some speak verbally, some with their hands. Deaf conversations are usually a combination of the two, along with lip reading. So you can have a dialogue with the deaf and deaf people do have dialogues, so this analogy is based on an oppressive narrative that deaf people can’t speak, which was and is used to dehumanize and oppress them. You may want to choose a different analogy in the future. Like yelling at a wall, or something like that.

In fact, it is not so much that Henry’s views are “pure racist drivel” as that they are reactionary. All the bla bla about intelligible acts and moral perfection seems to be serving mainly as a way to defend the status quo ante when male was male, female was female and marriage was a sacred union between man and woman. That world is passing away, Henry. Intomorrow is right: you and your like are living in the past (or, more correctly, an imaginary past that never really existed).”

Racism is a reactionary ideology. His overall guiding light is probably a much more encompassing reactionary ideology of which racism is a part of, however. Lastly, on the imaginary past thing - try telling oppressed people that their past is imaginary and see what happens. History is a real, living thing, just because we have technologies that may help lead to a drastic change in how that history is formed or changed doesn’t invalidate all hitherto history. This is especially important if you want to be on the side of “progressive”, even if you are more towards the right side of that spectrum.

I mean we could talk about post-structuralism/postmodern time etc. etc, but people experience things. They experience them in an order. Time has a structure and does exist whether or not postmodernists want to admit so. People are welcome to wax poetic about fantasy-land nonsense as much as they want, that doesn’t mean it is right.





Kris’ ability and discipline to stay on-topic is enviable.  My theory is simply that we can’t go on promissory-note philosophy unless it is really, enormously, and totally going to pay off.  Suggesting that material configuration ultimately expresses genotype, phenotype, and gender, but that this configuration is influenced through time by external stimuli, is just to keep promising that “someday we’ll be able to escape the confines of determinism in order to prove determinism.”  But that promise, in my view, does not hold a candle to the promise of Christian revelation.  So materialism is to me non-cogent, even if pragmatic.

What you say about properties is also interesting, because I was astounded this year to discover (from Porphyry) that essentials in the definition are still only predicated qualitatively; that is, rationality is at the end of the day an accident, but an accident on which certain indubitable properties (such as the observable ability to laugh) depend.  So rationality is essential by this dependence.  I don’t know what significance that lends to carbon’s properties, since lots of things don’t exist before they exist.  What more have you in mind regarding carbon’s properties and the claim that acting incongruously with one’s genotype is morally excellent?  Have you any books to recommend on property emergentism (if that’s on-topic)?





@ wcstrong..

Re Materialism, you pretty much stated the obvious, “every Human” subscribes to materialism, but not necessarily as being materialistic, which you conflate with consumerism, (I used to also attribute these as synonyms). Yet obviously! Materialism applies to forms and “matter”, where then does this leave energy, especially since one “transforms” into the other?

To rise above and beyond the “material”, I specifically imply as beyond the “material form” and by way of the spiritual, the idea, and with contemplation of existence as “meta-physical”, (if possible at all that is, still presently “material Humans” can only contemplate “material substrate” and continue to appeal to reductionism)?

Indeed, as you then hint, there is much that cannot be rationalized within the material, including “ideas” abstract ideology, “intelligence” and especially “mind” - so there is much that “exists” that is not material in form, and neither which can be reduced to purely “energy”?

Re Sex - you totally miss my point and “avoid” the question, so I’ll ask it again..

Love and sex/sexism/gender identity, (the
motivations of biology and tradition), are two
“completely” different things? Which leads nicely
to a completely different question - “why” sex as
recreation/stimulus/procreation anyhow?

Why do you have/want Sex wcstrong?

For want of dopamine? For exercise? Because you have been taught to lust? Because, tied up in your own gender education and memes, you think you “must” want it? You believe it to be “natural”?

To put my point more plainly..

prejudices arising from sexual identity and confusion, (leading to angst and suffering), are supported by the status quo and perpetuation of Gender identity, the reliance upon Sex, and therefore the sexism that permeates any gender distinctions?

To belittle my point to simply prudishness regarding sex is to be ignorant of future possibilities of gender change, technology assisted procreation, (especially artificial wombs and “freeing” women from the pains of Childbirth, if they so desire, as individuals), and towards the “total abandonment” of Sex as recreation and as worthless, (at least as in materially/bodily)?

So.. Why Sex wcstrong? (because you enjoy it - presently)? How do Cylons make lurve? How will uploaded minds?


ps Henry still has a point regarding perpetuation of “material identity”. The question again poses “what do you want”? What kind of “material” or non-material existence do you envision?

We “choose” to subscribe to our own identity, (and subject to our memes and nurturing), even with the football team and colours we display, let alone projecting our machismo and sexism, (traditional patriarchal identity to which women submit - and believed as what is “natural”)?

 

 





@Henry Bowers – I was not necessarily suggesting the use of the term emergentism as it is known in the philosophy of science. However emergentism can be applied to materialist notions of the universe in many different ways.

I would first start by reading:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/properties-emergent/

then google “philosophical emergentism”

As for books, many books on “philosophy of science” will help you understand the concept of emergence.

Though, if you come across any claims by creationists that philosophical emergence can be applied to “scientific creationism”, you should stay away from such literature, because, as far as I know “scientific creationism” is an atrocious and shameful pseudoscience misleading many people away from real science and philosophy.





Wesley, your answer was comprehensive enough that it answered the questions.
You are right my opinions don’t change much- but what I want to avoid is attempting to be all to everyone. It is tempting to say yes Henry you are correct re piety; yes, Pastor Alex, you are right on this responsibility; agreed on that virtue.
Mr. Libertarian you are on-target concerning freedom (who is going to disagree with freedom?)
Frankly, I think you are gullible to be a socialist when socialism pretty much died when the Berlin Wall fell—it is now time to kick over the traces. Even unchanging me can see that.
The doubt isn’t with MLK, it is his money and influence grasping family, who attempted to railroad an elderly man in a specious assassination trial. You know how law enforcement is: when they sense promotions and awards, they want to convict and let innocent convicts be freed years later- if they ever are.

After reading your detailed response, there’s no disagreement . But I am now convinced gay marriage is still a viable issue in such a conservative decade. True, most gays who want to marry are seeking the ticket to a more bourgeoise life.. yet it is risk worth taking. Gays have to pull every string they can pull.





Intomorrow and wcstrong, I think this may be time to take some deep breaths before further commenting… Thank you - kris





Kris,
will try, but if the comments end up Reader’s Digest, it’s worse than flaming. After Wesley’s last comment, am quite calm because he furnished a complete reply. What irritated me with bloggers who are no longer at IEET, is they wanted too much agreement on everything. We can’t be orthodox RC Catholic, pro-gay, socialist, libertarian; not all at one and the same time.





@Intomorrow – As long as we remain in the confines of modern science, philosophy, futurism, transhumanism, posthumanism, and technoprogressivism then all should work itself out.

When it comes to politics I personally think we need to accept that oppression is everywhere around us (and should be abolished ASAP, obviously), and solutions to oppression vary from spectrum’s of anarchism, socialism, and liberalism. Though each has its theories and practice, none of these in my opinion are finished or set in stone-theories, instead they are all evolving.

As politics as a theory/science and action evolves we should do our best to learn from history and abolish suffering and oppression in our local communities and worldwide.





“solutions to oppression vary from spectrum’s of anarchism, socialism, and liberalism.”

Perhaps anarchism, socialism, and liberalism, etc, are no longer solutions? This decade it now appears is another dreary one like the last decade; couldn’t we start thinking about for the next, the ‘20s, anarchism, socialism, and liberalism and all the rest being phased out as we have largely phased out religion? Even Henry probably lives such a modern life that his faith is superficial, pro forma.





@Intomorrow – Even though this is off-topic for this article, I would like to try (but ultimately fail) at presenting a political alternative if you can call it that.

Here in Connecticut, in a poverty-stricken area people have created a few community gardens in safe/non-contaminated soil. People who receive food stamps can even buy food from these locations. They also hold free classes on how to prepare the food, drawing hundreds of people eager to learn. Some may call this neo-anarchism or a model for organizing communities separated from local and regional government(s) as possible. Some may call it a version of anacho-socialism, while others may just call it a way to reduce the oppression of the State and corporations while increasing the health and knowledge of people in poverty-stricken areas. Whatever you want to call it, it is working, at the moment, in that community dealing with a few aspects of life – food, community, and food education.

We can talk about all the ideas for a future where we see a major decline of scarcity and one which is non-capitalistic in nature. However that sounds a lot like what we can call early anarchism to me. The only issue I have with your willingness in using super abstract thinking as to state “Perhaps anarchism, socialism, and liberalism, etc, are no longer solutions?” is that many emerging or re-emerging models to help eliminate oppression are either reminiscent of, or contemporary thinking in the lines of socialism and anarchism. The only thing I can think of, in the human condition to meet your question with some kind of answer is to say, hey – lets not label these models, lets just do what works against oppression and poverty.

I also wonder what political and social epistemologists would have to say about dumping these terms, though that is not as important as getting things done in the real world in my opinion.

In the end however I have a funny feeling that while we are restricted by the human condition some people may want to name these actions in order to educate others about them, and there is no use in re-inventing the wheel, so lets just be honest and call it one of the spectrum’s of anarchism and/or socialism.

What do you think?





@wcstrong
Point taken about “dialogue of the deaf”. It’s an expression, of course, (meaning not so much “yelling at a wall” as “talking past each other”), and I do think one can be TOO careful about these things, but I take the point that using expressions like this can reinforce prejudice.

Re “try telling oppressed people that their past is imaginary and see what happens”, I think this may be a good time to consider to what extent people who tend to identify with ethnic / gender / religious groups that have tended to be privileged - let’s say white, male and Christian, for example - can subsequently themselves become “oppressed peoples”. I wrote this because this is an impression that many white Christians (both male and female) tend to have, and it is of course an impression massively reinforced by Fox News et al. (We also have our equivalents here in Europe, by the way.) And it is not wholly without foundation: people tend to be motivated above all by a desire to hold on to what they have, and I think there is therefore truth in the idea that it is more traumatic to have privilege and lose it than never to have had it. This is not intended as an argument for the indefinite maintenance of privilege, or for “telling oppressed people that their past is imaginary”, but rather a suggestion that empathy needs to work both ways.

Re “History is a real, living thing, just because we have technologies that may help lead to a drastic change in how that history is formed or changed doesn’t invalidate all hitherto history”, a related point is that “history” - that is to say the past - like all other aspects of reality, is vastly more complex than anything any of us can say or write about it. And whether it is judicious to say this to oppressed people or not, the reality is that the historical narratives we tell ourselves - whether it is the complacent narratives of the privileged or the resentment-fuelled narratives of “oppressed people” - ARE to an extent imaginary, and we do well to bear that in mind.

In any case, Henry is a long way from being a postmodernist, and I don’t see anyone else in this discussion falling into that trap either. I could certainly argue that the experiences people think they (or their forbears) have has are in reality psychological structures that exist in the present, and which can be modified - and I would be right to do so - but this doesn’t make it unhelpful to think of our (and others’) experiences as real and meaningful. But if it is important to recognise them as such, then it must also be important to try to understand what aspect of people’s experiences make them as reactionary as Henry (for example), and to what extent these experiences (even if it is that they have watched too much Fox News) may have led to a genuine sense of oppression.





@wcstrong:  I’m not saying only that which is biologically determined is intelligible.  By intelligible I mean conceptual, the intelligible good being an end abstractly considered which everyone recognizes as perfective or fulfilling of the human individual.  The biological complementarity of coitus is indicative of its being an intelligible human good, but does not in itself wholly cause it to be good.  The cause of what is good is the natural law of God, toward which we are inclined; its efficient cause is our practical reason.  We are inclined toward one of our functions, coitus, and so the man and woman observed pursuing it, one toward the other, is intelligible.  When we see two men so mutually inclined, however, we wonder if they are not at first perhaps performing the Heimlich maneuver on each other, before we realize they are doing “something” for some ambiguous “pleasure.”  We don’t really know what to call that sort of thing; it’s a kind of group masturbation, and while many may appear inclined to masturbate, it’s not a rational inclination.  Every masturbator knows that he’s connecting himself to the sensory deprivation tank of false reality, that he’s summoning his sexual powers when there is no spouse in sight, which while pleasurable, is self-evidently and patently unreasonable.  If morality is possible only among the rational, then irrational action is immoral.

@Kris:  Unfortunately, the statement, “As long as we remain in the confines of modern science, philosophy . . . then all should work itself out”, is itself a philosophical statement.  Pragmatism enjoys some convenient blind spots.





@Henry Bowers - You suffer from homophobia. I don’t know whether to have compassion for you, or to ask you kindly to move on to another website with your absurd comments. Your “pragmatism” comment made no sense to me whatsoever, are you referring to pragmatism in the sense that Dewey did. Frankly, I don’t really care at this point, your homophobia, rude comments, and what seems like your own willfully ignorant mindset is surpassing my ability to have compassion for you. At this point I have no reason to sensor any reactions that you get from others, and I am inclined to ask you to move on to another website which better fits your willful ignorance.





To be honest, I do still find Henry’s perspective somewhat intriguing. It has just enough rational coherence for me to be able to engage with it in a way that I find somewhat meaningful, while in other respects it is clearly delusional. Whether he actually “suffers from homophobia” is questionable in my view: in fact I don’t see much suffering there, and that’s an important point insofar that it is important to avoid conflating what we would like to be the case (e.g. that those expressing homophobic, racist or otherwise reactionary views must be “suffering”) with what is the case (which is that they may not be). At least from my utilitarian perspective, homophobia and other kinds of irrational prejudice are wrong because and to the extent that they reduce overall well-being within society, not because they necessarily cause suffering in those holding the prejudice.

One of the more intriguing aspects of Henry’s latest comment, from my perspective, is his definition of an “intelligible good” as “an end abstractly considered which everyone recognizes as perfective or fulfilling of the human individual”. Personally I would challenge *anyone* to identify an “end”, abstractly considered or otherwise, that *everyone* recognises as “perfective or fulfilling of the human individual”. Henry claims that we are “inclined…towards the natural law of God”, before launching into a quixotic assessment of what “we” might be thinking when respectively observing heterosexual or homosexual sex. He then makes the utterly bizarre claim that “every masturbator knows that he’s connecting himself to the sensory deprivation tank of false reality” (actually that thought had never occurred to me, Henry). Even the logical step from “morality is only possible among the rational” (a questionable premise in any case) to “irrational action is immoral” seems suspect: how do you get from the one to the other, Henry?

In any case I don’t think I will lose sleep if Henry decides to stop or is prevented from commenting here, and certainly his comments risk distracting us from more, shall we say “intelligible”?, discussion. On the other hand, given that reactionary ideas such as Henry’s remain prevalent in our society we might consider that engaging with Henry is good training for engaging others with reactionary views. As a general rule I don’t think we can afford to stop engaging with people who have reactionary views, at least to some extent, and it’s not as if the site appears to be in imminent danger of getting swamped by reactionaries…





It should be up to the IEET community now, but I would like to see more “intelligible” discussion.





Well deleting comments referring to you (ludicrously) as a bully might be a good place to start…

But more seriously, I think it might help if Henry thinks about - and better still, actually *tells* us - what he would like to achieve by continuing to comment here, should he wish to do so. That some of his views are reactionary and deplorable from the perspective of some of us here at IEET should not, in my view, in itself be a reason to exclude him from commenting, but he at least needs (again: in my view) to demonstrate some willingness to engage constructively, and be open to other points of view.

Of course Henry might reply that we should also be open to “other points of view”, such as the view that it is (still) appropriate to refer to atypical (from a traditional perspective) gender identities as “disorders”, or perhaps even that any sexual activity other than between a husband and wife for the purposes of child-bearing is somehow immoral, and this indeed leads to an interesting ethical dilemma: how open *should* we be to views that we find abhorrent?

Here I think moral subjectivism can help. Some of Henry’s views appear to me to be indeed delusional as well as reactionary, but when making purely normative (as opposed to empirical) claims I cannot really say he is *wrong*, only that they are offensive from my utilitarian perspective. As to whether they are sufficiently offensive to merit censorship, at this point I don’t really have strong views either way.





“As a general rule I don’t think we can afford to stop engaging with people who have reactionary views, at least to some extent, and it’s not as if the site appears to be in imminent danger of getting swamped by reactionaries…”

Or in danger of getting swamped by any comments at all in fact?

I must be missing the “sub-text” here? Personal attacks, trolling, is rude/low in my book - attacks against ideology is merely “testing”, educational and beneficial ultimately, although decorum and respect should be applied, (we should not attack the “person” for the belief?) Attacks against logic or displays of wilful ignorance are not really attacks, nor necessarily time-consuming for serious participants?

Gender/sexuality and soon to be, acts of sex will soon rise above the scientific discussion and investigations, as the “solutions” for prejudice and discrimination, acceptance, will be found in sociocultural re-evaluation, and as we often keep telling ourselves here, Humans can and do already rise above the biological barriers and evolutionary/biological chains - as we have “mind” to do and achieve this?

Mark me down as “ideally” Asexual - I have no shame admitting this, (will I change my mindset in future? Unlikely, but “never say never”) More importantly, however, is that I already have no prejudices afforded by preference for any gender - all will be irrelevant soon enough?





“we should not attack the “person” for the belief?”

To a large extent I agree, but let us not forget that since we can exercise choice about what to believe, what we believe is therefore not morally neutral (from a utilitarian perspective, but also I would argue from the perspective of most other reasonably coherent ethical frameworks), let alone what beliefs one chooses to express publicly.

Bear in mind also that the expression of beliefs as thoroughly reactionary as Henry’s, while not specifically targeting individuals, is nevertheless harmful and prejudicial for those whose behaviour Henry and other reactionaries condemn as “immoral”. Henry thinks he has God on his side; what he actually has on his side is an imaginary ogre who has been used to oppress innocent souls for millennia.





@CygnusX1, Peter Wicks, Intomorrow, and wcstrong and anyone who wants to add - I would like to go back to the topic of this article.

If I made any mistakes, or if you feel anything from your studies have shown this article to be incorrect in some way, please let me know.





@wcstrong - you asked “which is problematic as you argue that gender (which is really a complex of gender identity, sexuality, and socialized identity) could be 100% defined through an advanced scientific analysis of individual genomes, brains, and hormones. Is your argument that these are the core factors that contribute to gender identity?”

Whether it be social, genetic (including “mutations” within and outside the X Y chromosomes), hormonal, prenatal exposure, or something else, yes, I do indeed think that “gender identity” can be and will be observable properties of the mind and some body parts.

Your opinion is not too far off, for your view is “the range of physical, biological, mental and behavioral characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity on varying levels, largely narrated and socialized by individual experience. Gender is entirely a social construct, a complex of sex, sex identity, culture, associations and interactions with social gender roles/norms, as well as other factors.”

I would like to note as well, even though I put “mutations” in quotes, it is genetic mutations which largely contributed to Darwinian evolution. A mutation, even though it might sound bad, is actually the opposite in natural selection (except those cases in which it causes extreme physical/emotional harm to the organism). Hopefully as we embark on the transhumanism/posthumanism path, we can control these negative mutations in species even outside ourselves. BUT, when it comes to gender and sexual identity, diversity, instead of uniformity may be preferable under human/posthuman rights.

To get back to the biological observable properties, it is in my opinion, that as brain scans and other fine tuned tests evolve, both chemicals, and especially brain plasticity will show what one values. However, I think these “values” are indeed largely socially constructed, that is, the concepts of femininity and masculinity. Even though fine tuned tests of the future can pin point down what you value, that still does not mean that you are wrong by being a social constructivist, all it means is that we have definitively found the biological correlates to your social constructivism.

However, as stated above, genetics probably play a role, to the degree that even Vernon Rosario identifies more ways of genetics playing role in gender identity then even the most radical genderqueer and postgenderist activist! So biological reductionism, instead of showing that gender identity is binary in nature, is showing us all the possibilities above and beyond any binary view of both sex and gender.





Hi Kris,

I don’t have any specific issue with your article, on the contrary I found it very interesting and I broadly share your conclusions. I also agree that there is a distinction to be made between what causes gender identity (social, genetic, prenatal etc) and to what extent it can be observed and defined objectively with regard to the actual current state of the mind and body.

I suppose what I’m wondering is what all this might mean practically for the vast majority of us who have broadly conventional gender identities. As a social phenomenon, binary gender is obviously still alive and well, even if it is starting to fray at the edges (to Henry et al’s chagrin). In fact, if there is one comment in your article that I would take issue with it is the idea that we already living in a post-binary-gender society “if we choose”. Even at the collective level, habits are hard to break (again, Henry’s comments have been helpfully illustrative of this in my view), and at the individual level we simply don’t have that choice. Thankfully (for me) I don’t have substantial problems with my current gender identity, but for those that do the still-binary-gender society we live in remains suffocating.

This may also have relevance with regard to whether non-standard gender identities should continue to be considered “disorders”, and here I would like to touch on a wider issue about how our (Western) societies approach psychology. One of the insights of the founders of positive psychology in the 1990s was that we had gotten extremely good at identifying and treating “serious mental disorders”, but we weren’t doing anywhere near as well at helping basically healthy and well-balanced individuals to lead happier and more fulfilling lives. I suspect that the fact that we are still regarding exotic gender identity as a “disorder” is partly a consequence of this, in which case the practical conclusion might be that we need to promote positive psychology as an alternative to focusing morbidly on “disorders”.





@ Peter - > “helping basically healthy and well-balanced individuals to lead happier and more fulfilling lives.”

I think maybe anyone in distress over gender identity should indeed talk with a positive psychologist, or a community expert in this field.

I agree with your statement and I think our society is leaning that way, but in a society which should have universal healthcare, we should not require the DSM to have a non-positive listing identifying individuals who want a healthy “sex change”. Instead, that should be covered (in the real world) by health insurance, and in the future, as an aspect of universal healthcare.





@Peter, I also agree that with your statement “As a social phenomenon, binary gender is obviously still alive and well, even if it is starting to fray at the edges (to Henry et al’s chagrin)” and your criticism “I would take issue with it is the idea that we already living in a post-binary-gender society “if we choose”.”

Unfortunately Hate crimes still happen around the United States, and we do not live in a utopia free from oppression. My attitude and hope which this article displays simply comes from my eagerness to see our society socially evolve for the better.





Agreed, although re universal healthcare I have some doubts, in the sense that what can be achieved technically may vastly outstrip what can be done given availability of resources. While I see very good arguments for universal, free-at-the-point-of-use standard healthcare, I also tend to think it should be possible to pay for superior care if one is so inclined and has the means to do so. Obviously this depends somewhat on one’s overall political philosophy - and your earlier exchange with Intomorrow is relevant in this context - but unless one is completely opposed to the idea of using money one has earned (hopefully by relatively honourable means) to make one’s life better it seems logical to apply this also to above-standard healthcare? Which side of the line “healthy sex change” would fall would presumably depend on a society’s wealth / availability of resources, alongside other considerations? Anyway I tend to agree that regarding non-traditional gender identity as a “disorder” looks increasingly anachronistic and ignorance-based.

By the way, reading your article and especially about the far-reaching effect of brain plasticity as applied to gender identity gave me a fun new way of looking at my fellow public transport users today! I think I probably have been overestimating the role of genetics and biology in creating binary gender identity in the past, and I found it highly insightful to read your analysis, the more so since (unlike other analyses I have come across) it starts from a clear recognition of the essentially binary biological roots of our gender in the XX/XY dichotomy.





Transgender: What the Law says

www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/your-rights/transgender/transgender-what-the-law-says/

Subcategory: Philosophy

I won’t bother reiterating a third time how preoccupation with Sex, and sexual activity enforces differentiation and Gender, and perpetuates prejudices - just wasting my time.

Even wcstrong cannot see that is own gender memes and views on Sex assist perpetuation of “Gender labelling”. Such like differentiating Race substantiates Racism, (one cannot swim without getting wet - unless swimmers isolate themselves from environment with protective apparatus or reside in denial that water makes you wet)?

I do agree that Gender prejudice may be likened with racial prejudices, so methodology for solutions should involve the same kind of thinking - How is Global racism, Homophobia and prejudice progressing these days, any success?

If so? things are not as bad as you infer? And modern times and discrimination laws would imply that progress for Transgender acceptance will be much swifter?

Seems like the Ancient Greeks could also teach us a thing or two about Gender discrimination?

Did I mention that my views on Sex make me indifferent to these prejudices regarding Transgender? (I guess I must be special?)

But really, as I first hinted, there is a Christian ethic to deal with all sorts of prejudices? And moreover, what would the Buddha do/say about these issues of prejudice?

There are quite a few examples regarding legal cases and successes for Transgender children in schools, and one especially in the UK about a year back that I cannot find, regarding a Transgender child whose school and classmates have absolutely no problems with acceptance, yet the local authority couldn’t deal with legality efficiently, leading to the suspension of the child from school. It finally ended happily however.

Kids can be the worst bullies, and the origins of bigotry begin with childish mindsets. Girls can also be worse bullies than boys, (Google it). This is something all kids have to deal with. Social media is a modern tool utilized especially for group bullying, (Lord of the flies). There are too many cases of child suicide from bullying, for being too fat, too thin, too beautiful even?

And so to reiterate and emphasise the difference between Love and Sex, (Gender)


Q : Do parents love their Transgender children?

If they do, there is hope yet, as society comprises of such understanding species.

DSM “manuals” may become progressively comprehensive, and the term “disorder” may even be removed from all kinds of biological/genetic and brain development categories, yet this will not help solve “Sociocultural” problems or provide solutions to overcome social prejudices?

Prejudices will never be overcome whilst “differences” and diversity is celebrated, because you cannot enforce “acceptance” only mitigate against “intolerance”? Groupthink can be deconstructed with time, by helping “individuals” to reflect and become enlightened to their own prejudices and bigotry?

Dispassion : If one is “indifferent” towards Gender and appearances, (does not celebrate), one disaffected by intolerance and does not suffer prejudice?

Transgender Kids - Youtube

www.google.com/m?q=transgender+children+youtube





@CygnusX1
I find your reflections interesting, but also somewhat nihilistic? If the answer to prejudice is to be dispassion, does this not risk taking much (if not all) of the joy out of life?

Indeed we cannot swim without getting wet, but does this necessarily mean we should stay out of the water? Or is it rather that we need to take sensible precautions to ensure we don’t drown?

The way I see it, gender identity in humans has evolved from the basic binary dichotomy in other animals, and current problems of gender identity “disorder”, like so many other “disorders”, can be seen as part of the pain of transition, as we gradually evolve away from original binary blueprint. There are indeed legitimate questions to be asked about the extent to which we want to see a flourishing of gender identities vs a gradual fading away of gender, and how promising we see sexual activity as a means of getting whatever it is we want from the future.

I guess you already know this, CygnusX1, but I tend to see (following contemporary positive psychology) “dispassion” (mindfulness) as a means to facilitate flourishing rather than as an escape from things we don’t like (suffering, intolerance, prejudice…). This is also why I’m not attracted by negative utilitarianism, and thus have some qualms about David Pearce’s (and others’) abolitionist project.





By the way, one simple thing you can do to fight anti-gay (and, by extension, other forms of) prejudice is to sign AllOut’s petition to persuade Marriott not to host a “gay cure” conference.
www.allout.org/marriott





An awesome song and video on this topic:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlVBg7_08n0





@ Peter

“I find your reflections interesting, but also somewhat nihilistic? If the answer to prejudice is to be dispassion, does this not risk taking much (if not all) of the joy out of life?”

Again, I am not advocating Stoicism, nor negative Utilitarianism, (this is not sufficient, although somewhat commendable), and I don’t subscribe to Buddhism as equating to nihilism, but yes, there is a “price to pay” for rationalism and applied mindfulness and “mental vigilance”.

I do subscribe to dispassion in both Buddhist and Hindu philosophy with aims to mitigate suffering, and for this, one must reign in joy and “emotional highs” too - this is what I practice, and it works, (for me).

Yet none of this is to disvalue passion, but merely to control emotional states, (rationalism). There are times when we must knowledge our emotions and our passions - and with the pursuit of freedoms and justice especially? If I did not believe this why would I even bother to comment here?

I do imagine a non-dystopia world order which respects diversity and especially individual freedoms, yet applies sedate and dispassionate attitudes in achieving peace and security. A world where poverty has been eliminated, which would go “a long way” to eliminate social dis-harmony and international socio-political conflicts, fear, racism and prejudice.

A world summed up thusly..

“Hi, I’m Transgender”
“So what?”

This is the applied indifference and dispassion I infer.


This “indifference” is readily expressed as proof and example when I declare goals towards ASexuality, here and elsewhere? There appears no prejudice afforded towards Asexuality and abstinence, why is this? Perhaps it IS worth reflecting further on this difference in attitudes?


Empathy: Did you watch the Transgender videos? Were you emotionally moved? (These questions are purely rhetorical).

Who needs an EQ/Empathy questionnaire when you can self reflect more comprehensively with such media readily available online?


@ Kris..

Thanks for this informative article, it has prompted much Self-reflection and further reading.





There does seem to be some problems with the edit function - at least with mobile/android?

The Save button not functioning, but the Cancel button does?





@CygnusX1
Perhaps the main difference between us is that you want to take your mindfulness further than I do? For me it is indeed a means to achieve my life goals / ideal lifestyle (and yes, that includes empathy), whereas you seem to want to take it (and the corresponding dispassion) further.

And as a lifestyle choice, that’s fine with me. What I wonder, though, is to what extent you see this as a model for others to follow, and if so with what kind of caveats? I can well understand that rationalism and mental vigilance would sit uncomfortably with “preoccupation with sex” and other pleasurable (emotion-inducing) activities, but is this for everyone and if so why?

I suppose I’m curious about this because (i) this is an ethics blog, so we need to clarify the extent to which we intend our prescriptions to be universally followed, and (ii) I want to understand to what extent there is really a fundamental difference between us (concerning reality?) and to what extent it is just differing preferences/sensibilities?





“In the end however I have a funny feeling that while we are restricted by the human condition some people may want to name these actions in order to educate others about them, and there is no use in re-inventing the wheel, so lets just be honest and call it one of the spectrum’s of anarchism and/or socialism. What do you think?”

Kris, have thought about it a couple days; not being a Bertrand Russell, the only response coming to mind is maximum candor re anarchism, socialism. First admit that it’s ultimately about lingua franca: which is condescending but necessary. After surveying the Black Power movement, it is apparent black activists and their allies had to make threats to accompany dialogue. But Che Guevara activism is now corny. If we are going to tell Reaganites not to live in the ‘80s, we shouldn’t promote Che and clenched fists (‘militancy’) unless of course we happen to live in third world locations—yet ‘we’ do not. ‘They’ do- not us. There is where the condescension kicks in..where the lingua franca comes into play.
However clenched-fists is handy when dealing with Henry Bowers. If one of us blogged at an orthodox Catholic site (liberation theology is an exception to the rule) posting pro-gay comments, the replies would be less polite than our comments to Henry are.
The advantages to gayness ought to be reiterated: far less unwanted children and abortions, etc. Many advantages.





@Intomorrow - I referred to a community garden as a form of anarchism/socialism, it is not exactly a form of militarism, but if you ask the state and corporations, it just might be wink





Right, Kris- no gardeners brandishing their scythes. As an aside, the reason at one time in the U.S. there existed a militant minority, even the Weathermen blowing up buildings, was military conscription during the failed war in ‘Nam. (It exacerbated the Civil Rights movement but may have accelerated it—so it was mixed-outcome).
Moral of the story is, many opponents of the protesters way back when didn’t understand this. They claimed it was about ‘radic-libs’ wanting power, when the overwhelming majority of the protesters were reacting to the botched policies of the LBJ administration and its aftermath. To this day the allegation is the majority of progressives are glory/power seekers when most are not.
Brings us to now: Wesley does fine at IEET, it is only that IMO his political correctness could be toned down. For instance why would anyone feel obliged to pay lip service to the MLK family? esp. when they do not document their conspiracy theories. Today, such theories are dime-a-dozen; we’ll all have our fill of conspiracy by the 22nd of this month—no need for more.

Henry Bowers is sincere however we can’t critique him without being slightly undiplomatic, can we? What concerns me most is the subtext of wanting to scapegoat gays- not necessarily Henry but maybe so, possibly Henry does want to blame gays for what isn’t their culpability. Nowadays racism isn’t fashionable, yet though v. few will say the ‘n’ word, one can say ‘fag’ anytime one wants. Racism is now so unpopular a billionaire can jocularly claim he may exploit others and pollute the air and water, but at least he’s not a racist. “I may murder a guy once in awhile”, an Andrew Dice Clay may exclaim, “but he’s white so you can’t arraign me for a hate crime.”
Disliking gays is, again, more popular. There’s paranoia involved: a black guy might ask—a’ la ‘Blazing Saddles’—“where’s the white women at?”, but the gay guy asks, “where’re you at?”
Insecure men, mostly, are the homophobes; you hear it all the time in the Midwest: “that house is the lesbian center of this town.”
When a pro-gay marriage bill was voted down, I overheard local yokels telling their friends how relieved they were: “my ass wasn’t made for packing fudge” went the typical line.

At least from my utilitarian perspective, homophobia and other kinds of irrational prejudice are wrong because and to the extent that they reduce overall well-being within society, not because they necessarily cause suffering in those holding the prejudice.

Yes, a homophobe may sob all the way to the bank. Rightist magazines do pretty much that; their authors are getting paid to write re homosexuality the sort of articles written about blacks 50 yrs ago. I remember reading such articles then, the articles being opposed to the Civil Rights Act. Here’s the punchline, Pete: today the same magazines (or likeminded magazines having been founded after that era) are getting blacks to write magazine pieces and books which would have gotten black authors beaten up in the South way back then. Thomas Sowell is Exhibit A.
http://www.thelomonacofamily.com/thoughts/other_peoples/gay_marriage-Thomas_Sowel.html

On the other hand, given that reactionary ideas such as Henry’s remain prevalent in our society we might consider that engaging with Henry is good training for engaging others with reactionary views.

Yes; the caveat being that if Henry and his ilk can be undiplomatic at times, we ought to be granted the same prerogative to be impolite—on occasion. We wont make it a practice.





“Henry Bowers is sincere however we can’t critique him without being slightly undiplomatic, can we? What concerns me most is the subtext of wanting to scapegoat gays- not necessarily Henry but maybe so, possibly Henry does want to blame gays for what isn’t their culpability.”

And he is also blaming IEET, I suspect - and Kris in particular - for making him aware of just how deluded he is. Not that he sees it like that, of course - he thinks IEET has “lost its mind” (that comment was deleted, but still showed up on the e-mail notifications) - but what did he expect? That we would politely engage with his reactionary, homophobic delusions and eventually be convinced that sex other than between a husband and wife for the purposes of procreation is immoral? Or at least that he would be able to continue taunting and teasing us indefinitely, without it undermining his faith in said delusions?

If Henry hasn’t been banned from the site and is still willing to comment then I’d actually be interested in his views: what *did* he expect?





“There are times when we must [ac?]knowledge our emotions and our passions - and with the pursuit of freedoms and justice especially? If I did not believe this why would I even bother to comment here?”

Good, CygnusX1, so you agree that passion is not something to be “disvalued” as such, and you seek (inter alia by commenting here) to channel your own passion into the pursuit of freedoms and justice. Altogether to be welcomed in my view.

What I’m wondering now, not least since Intomorrow have started talking about Henry again - perhaps even a tad spitefully? - is to what extent you agree with Intomorrow’s statement that “we can’t critique him without being slightly undiplomatic”, and also whether you see any merit at all in doing so, not least with regard to the pursuit of freedoms and justice, and bearing in mind, as I wrote earlier, that the expression of beliefs as thoroughly reactionary as Henry’s, while not specifically targeting individuals, is nevertheless harmful and prejudicial for those whose behaviour Henry and other reactionaries condemn as “immoral”.





@ Peter

Thanks for correcting my statement, as I said above, the edit function is not working/saving/accepting edits for some reason, (it was working OK previously).

Regarding most of what you said, this has already been discussed, and “mincing words” is not ultimately constructive to convey meaning or sentiment is it? All parties seemed to agree on this?

Quite honestly, I don’t understand what this site hopes to achieve without an audience willing and eager to participate in “ethical” discussion, and this involves differing views and opinions as welcomed and valued, even if frowned upon, (hostility aside that is)?

It is noticeable that most of the commentary follows the more political articles, or at least, seems to regularly turn to politics at some point. Often interesting and unavoidable, yet can be distracting, (although this accusation is often aimed at “religious” politics also). Politics and political viewpoints are unavoidable and cannot be disconnected from discussing “ethics”?

This months favourite word seems to be “reactionary” - what of it? Provoking “reaction” should be what IEET is hoping to achieve?

I can’t see anything hostile in Henry’s comments, nor even anything controversial, (beyond the norm), his comments, above and beyond provoking “reaction” which appears to be the intent, often include a valid point/counter-point. However, Henry often still does not want to expand upon his comments, for whatever reason or motive - this I find disappointing.

If Henry has been banned, (and I would be “alarmed” beyond mindful control if the case be true), then it would indicate how petty this site has become, thus I cannot believe it true. If it is, then it really is not worth wasting any more time here, as no progress could ever hope to be achieved with discussions?

BTW What ever “did” happen with Pastor Alex, one time moderator for IEET, and now as disappeared? Has he perchance “given up” too?





I agree with much of this, CygnusX1. For example, I strongly agree that IEET can benefit a lot from an audience that is willing and eager to participate in “ethical” discussion - indeed, in ethical discussion about ethics (and emerging technologies) - and that this needs to involve differing views and opinions, which therefore need to be welcomed and valued, even if we dislike some of the views being expressed.

I also agree that some of the more political discussion can distract us from potentially more helpful (i.e. insightful) discussion, however I think we perhaps assess this risk differently, and also perhaps the extent to which the political discussions we have here can also lead to useful insights?

I think I was probably the one to introduce the word “reactionary” into this discussion, essentially in response to wcstrong’s description of Henry(‘s comments) as “racist”, but “reactionary” doesn’t merely mean “reactive”. It rather refers to a mindset based on a rejection of certain aspects of progress. Fascism was such a movements, and all kinds of fundamentalist revivals - whether religious or, for example, Maoist (the Chinese Communist Party also has a fundamentalist wing) are “reactionary” in this sense. To some extent I think it is an inevitable (and even in some ways useful) accompaniment to progress, but where the expression of reactionary views indeed has a potential to be harmful and prejudicial to groups of people who are still struggling to achieve freedom and justice I think we cannot afford to be entirely “dispassionate” in the way we respond to them.

Personally I think his remarks on this thread regarding homosexuality in particular indeed went above and beyond legitimate provocation, and ultimately this site should not be a test of our ability to exercise mindful control. I also think we can do without such commentators here, without losing much. Even Alex, for me, was somewhat too monotonic in his comments to genuinely enrich the discussions, and I suspect that one reason why some regular commenters fall away (as I have done at times) is simply that they come to think they have better things to do. And that’s fine with me.

Perhaps the question we need to consider is how important it is to increase the number and diversity of commentators, including those of a more religious persuasion?





“not least since Intomorrow have started talking about Henry again - perhaps even a tad spitefully?”

Actually, having been raised one, am v. reluctant to criticise Christians- in Mid America doing so makes one a quasi-outcast. But excessive diplomacy is coolly offering cookies to foreign supplicants.
Am not writing Henry (Henry merely being an example, not a dartboard to take shots at) is wrong, am writing his apologetics are on a scale of 1- 10 usually—just say—a five; and such wouldn’t be what Christ would want. Again, it’s not Henry’s metaphysics so much nor is it his own personal morality, which appears to be higher than average. It’s (again) his impractibility.. typical for rather cloistered Christians.

Now, it is only proper Christians should be cloistered- as with universities/colleges, a certain buffering from the outside is necessary. However if one necessarily ignores much of the world outside, there’s a price to be paid. The Bible does say homosexuality is sinful and for Christians to spread the Word of God on all matters. Yet what of the gifts which gays have bestowed? Alan Turing merely for starters: one cannot separate Turing’s gayness from Turing anymore than separate Henry VIII’s heterosexuality from Henry VIII. At least not in terms of legacy, which is what is paramount. Christ’s legacy is what counts. One might say it could have been someone other than Jesus but this was not the case. The Legacy was Jesus, not Brian http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=InScDlxvxzQ
Another salient issue is how the Bible doesn’t differentiate sin. Adultery, what used to be called adultery, is considered as wicked as homosexuality. You know well, though, Henry isn’t going to waste time lecturing us on the evils of ‘adultery’ (what a quaint ring to it), it is obvious by now Henry is no fool; when it comes to his own life Henry covers his posterior in looking out for his interests. Also not what Christ had in mind, a Christian is supposed to be self-sacrificing; no evidence Henry is self sacrificing. In the absence of evidence one might be forgiven for a presumption of Henry being a nominal Christian; as in the Midwest:
all crucifix and no Jesus.

All I really care about in this topic is that gays not be scapegoated (Kris’s article is too difficult for me, anything involving consciousness is Greek to me). Remember, Henry dredged this negativity up and if what he writes is important enough to him to write in the first place, one cannot very well fault anyone from reacting to Henry. It is positive to get this negativity out into the open: now that blacks can’t nearly be scapegoated as in the past, gays can. And if not gays, then undocumenteds (‘aliens’). An Other is always available to blame. A Christian told me:

our clothing is designed by homosexuals in California.”

Well, luckily the clothing isn’t designed in Brussels, Pete, or it might be too close for comfort.

What is irksome IMO is Henry’s going beyond being a representative of the RC Church. He can’t, Henry is not a representative of Jesus Christ—Jeshua the Annointed One. If I get a tad nasty about it: tough titty. Henry brought the football out, some of us are running with it.

“Perhaps the question we need to consider is how important it is to increase the number and diversity of commentators, including those of a more religious persuasion?”

We could each ask one person to blog at IEET. The sweetener is, if they would be so inclined, they might possibly be persuaded to submit articles one day.





“All I really care about in this topic is that gays not be scapegoated (Kris’s article is too difficult for me, anything involving consciousness is Greek to me).”

I agree that’s important, and I also agree with you about footballs. That said, I also think CygnusX1 has a point when he writes about the need to attract an audience willing and eager to participate in “ethical” discussion, in which differing views and opinions are, within reason, welcomed. So the question is where to draw the balance between welcoming differing views and opinions and avoiding tolerating, as wcstrong put it, “outlandishly absurd comments”. As I wrote above this site should not be a test of our ability to exercise mindful control, so when (for example) wcstrong says “I can’t I just can’t” we (and that includes CygnusX1) need to listen, especially when the comments causing offence are indeed too “outlandishly absurd” to constitute a particularly helpful contribution to the debate. I was happy to engage with Henry for a while, but while CygnusX1 worries that driving people like Henry from the site is exacerbating the problem (to the extent that it is a problem) of there being few and not very diverse commentators here, we might conversely worry that it is precisely people like him who are keeping away the kind of people we would like to contribute more. In fact, this strikes me as rather more plausible (but of course it depends on what kind of people we do want to contribute here).

Interestingly, I think you’re to some extent falling into the same trap as Henry and Alex in paying too much attention to what the Bible says, or what “Christ would want” (as if that actually means something). I understand that you are reluctant to criticise Christianity publicly, but for me it’s important to overcome this distortion by which even liberals care excessively about what the Bible says about this and that, and what “Christ would want”. Perhaps it works as a transitional solution for some, but if we really want to steer ourselves towards the best possible futures, then we need to do better IMO.





Then I’d have to move out of the Midwest! as all the factors, Where does matter. Mainly, if we are to communicate with the religious, anyone who is motivated by revealed truth, we have to speak their language to some degree. We can’t discuss religion on scientific grounds; what we can do is, in the case of a Christian, examine the scripture to see how the Christian’s hermeneutics match up with scripture. Such is entirely fair and the best we can do IMO.
Naturally, we could have ignored all of Henry’s comments and he would have ceased. He is sincere, however he lacks a practical sense.

At any rate, Henry does offer a slant on Nomos versus antinomian—yet better posted at a Catholic or other Christian-oriented site. Henry is saying we are playing God; but for us to abandon playing God is abandoning much of transhumanism/posthumanism.
Just re-skimmed Kris’s article: it is quite comprehensive and would take a few days to absorb.. but I do comprehend the gist of it.
———————
———————

Pete, you ask why I pay much attention to religion: have written, years ago, that the arts, entertainment, religion, mean much the same to me. But now, one mustn’t overuse the word escapism- even if it turns out such is exactly what it all amounts to.





YOUR COMMENT (IEET's comment policy)

Login or Register to post a comment.

Next entry: What is Transhumanism today in France?

Previous entry: Cross-linking of the Extracellular Matrix

HOME | ABOUT | FELLOWS | STAFF | EVENTS | SUPPORT  | CONTACT US
SECURING THE FUTURE | LONGER HEALTHIER LIFE | RIGHTS OF THE PERSON | ENVISIONING THE FUTURE
CYBORG BUDDHA PROJECT | AFRICAN FUTURES PROJECT | JOURNAL OF EVOLUTION AND TECHNOLOGY

RSSIEET Blog | email list | newsletter |
The IEET is a 501(c)3 non-profit, tax-exempt organization registered in the State of Connecticut in the United States.

Contact: Executive Director, Dr. James J. Hughes,
56 Daleville School Rd., Willington CT 06279 USA 
Email: director @ ieet.org     phone: 860-297-2376