Passability And The Toupée Fallacy

So, I wanted to take a moment to briefly look at one of the more common logical fallacies I encounter in terms of people’s perceptions of trans people. Although it’s a pretty simple fallacy, and the kind that once explained suddenly seems embarrassingly obvious, it nonetheless ends up having some pretty severe consequences for trans people, the cultural perception of us, our own individual processes of self-acceptance, and even carries a lot of complex political implications.

I’m not sure if this is the proper name for the fallacy, but I’ve seen it used, and I like it: “The Toupée Fallacy”. It works like this:

“Toupées always look fake. I’ve never seen a single toupee where I couldn’t tell what it was!”

See the fallacy? [Read more…]

Phytoestrogens and Natural Transition

So I’m at this Christmas party thingy for a trans support group last month, and I’m catching up with a girl I know, and she begins asking me weird, akward-ish questions, like “how are your boobs doing?”

These kinds of things tend to go with the territory at trans support groups.

Providing my usual evasive, non-committal response, she proceeds to inform me that her own have been developing fantastically. First, she explains that she’s been taking progesterone. I reply that I’ve heard mixed things about it, that it, more than any other HRT medication, tends to be a bit unpredictable and rather on the “your mileage may vary” side of things- negative effects being reported just as often as positive ones. She then says that she’s on the “brand” of progesterone that has “only two side effects”, one of which she claims is breast growth. I begin to become a bit suspicious of whether she wholly understands the concept of “brand” as applied to medication (particularly a hormone like progesterone, which is going to be progesterone no matter who is actually manufacturing it) and also how much she understands what “side effect” means.

And then it got worse. [Read more…]

Feminist Dogma

Hello there! Are you growing tired of the ongoing criticisms of sexism in the skeptical community? Do you feel like one of the essential values of freethought and skepticism is lost when we set up “sacred cows” like feminism? Do you believe that feminism, like anything, needs to be held up to critique, and that the way that any questioning of feminism or dissent from the growing feminist consensus is met with the “thought police” coming to gag you? Do you feel this crushing of dissent is creating an echo chamber that is preventing us from being able to have a free, open discourse? Do you feel all this petty infighting over such trivial issues is destroying our movement? That people seem wholly incapable of discussing sexism in a rational way? That it’s distracting us from more important issues? Do you believe that we need to be more skeptical of feminist dogma? [Read more…]