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The Gender Binary & LGBTI People – Myth and Medical Malpractice

As this posts, I’m sitting down at a panel on sex differences. This Freethought Festival talk by physiologist Veronica Drantz seemed appropriate, if not definitive.

Comments

  1. says

    Hm. It’s an interesting talk and I agree with most of the conclusions.

    However, I’m also uncomfortable calling any one of the studies referenced here the definitive proof of sexual identity or orientation. There is clearly a strong correlation, but the very same data appears to show outliers. Even one exception is enough to demonstrate that the presence of a certain trait is not sufficient by itself to determine identity or orientation.

    The talk also seems to gloss over the details of neurological development, which is far more complex than this. There is much that doesn’t happen until near-puberty, for instance. Some areas of the brain appear to still be developing even into the 20s.

    One other thing I’m always a bit unsettled by is the casual association of fact and morality or law. Parts of the talk seems to be leaving space for the opinion that LGBT should be treated as people because they can’t help it; that’s just how they developed. No; they ought to be treated as people because they’re people. There’s really no space for the naturalistic fallacy in this, and it’s the same logic that has kept the entire queer spectrum so oppressed for this long…

    Clearly, it wasn’t meant to be a talk on ethics in particular, so perhaps the connection was mere coincidence and not actually intended.

  2. says

    I would disagree with your disagreement. She says that people who don’t conform to the gender binary are different, not disordered. So your statement that they should be treated as people because they are people is right in line with the presentation.

  3. baal says

    I love that the talk was full on science. She made the case well that intersex folks (and others) need to be allowed to be what they are rather than forcing a particular physical outcome.

    It kills me that the republicans are pushing for bills where a doc could unilaterally make any decision and then lie about it so long as it is a ‘christian’ decision.

    The historical answer – do surgery so the kid will be ‘normal’ – might make more (some? any?) sense if docs were good at making gender decisions. It’s beyond doubt that they fail miserably and the option of wait and ask is the clear ethical choice.

    Also, since it was a sciency talk, there are always the hilarious side points. In this one, yep, there are really truely gay rams. It’s nice to get the reminder that those darn evil homosexuals have gotten their agenda foisted on the wild critters! (how?)

    Lastly, one side had bisexual men thrown in with gay. I’ll have to see why they did that. My a priori guess is that they lacked the numbers to differentiate.

  4. says

    @kagerato, i’m new to the broader trans* discussion, but i also appreciated the video on its scientific merits and agree both that they may have been overstated and that they should be irrelevant to the discussion of humane treatment. There certainly was a moral thrust to Drantz’s thesis, but to me it came across purely as one of medical ethics, which ties it to law — and which makes the science key. The lack of legitimate science supporting the view of any orientation or identity as tantamount to a mental handicap, was, i thought, the central point; it legitimizes both charges of malpractice and concerns that the ideologies of the people who write the diagnostic criteria be in line with the science. Am i being naïve?

    Drantz does indeed take a stance on the classification of GID, though her passion seems to be for the process, not the conclusion, so it seems likely that she’d want to know if reclassifying it would pose problems. I’m glad you cited Reed; i was digging around in my memory for where i’d read about these subtleties recently.

  5. says

    Am I being naïve?

    No, actually that makes a lot of sense. Thanks; that helps me understand better where her thought process probably was.

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