Crossing Swords With Aria Blue

Posted: January 15, 2010 in Troll Wars


Sister Of Perpetual Indulgence: Paris House

Jan 17, 2009
Aria Blue has written a challenge in my comments.


Yeah, here’s the thing Jasper. I was born physiologically “different” than you, and your denial of that just makes you look silly. We have no “shared origin at birth”; your claim is an attack on my personal sovereignty as well as reality.


Just so you know people like me have “trans-hoods”, not childhoods; we never develop that understanding of “male as self” that you did. Our experience of the world from birth until death is fundamentally different from yours. I share no experience of maleness with you in that sense. Are you starting to see why you are wrong about the transsexual birth condition?

I will respond to her here. To understand her position it is helpful to know that she allies herself the Women Born Transsexual (WBT) ideology which argues for an ontological chasm between Mab (Male At Birth) queer and herself. She also refuses any categories which include Transgender women with penises. WBT’s speak as though the no-op transwomen are oppressing them. They are painted with the Male essence. They themselves recieve the Female essence. They are convinced that Biology has already proven the fundamental Biological difference between a GenderQueer Mab like Jasper and a Male-To-Female (MTF) Transsexual. This comes from a willfully ignorant reading of Swaab’s dissection of Transsexual Brains. Swaab’s seems to have shown a difference between to research groups, MTFs and the Genderal Male population.
Forget the fact that research included obscenely small groups (a total of twenty brians) because they had to wait for subjects to donate their bodies to science. Forget that there was no randomization in the research design, or that nobody has replicated the results because it takes years and years to gather the data. Just look at the research design. There is no Genderqueer Mab research group. I am not any more a part of the the genderal male population that an MTF is. Swaabs results compared MTF’s with General Male polulation, period. It is intellectually dishonest to forget that.
The brain science researcher’s do not even know what the word genderqueer means. of Course they are not going to look at us in there research. My prediction is that Brain researchers will realize that Gender Variant or Gender Invert is a better description of a biological population group than the category Transsexual which is of recent vintage.
I have realized that the core disagreement is whether the term Male At Birth (Mab) applies to MTF’s. Radical Transfeminists want to rewrite their own personal histories and to erase their Male-born history. This position is is too politically correct. Feminine Mabs share an embodied experience growing up as feminine boys. The term Mab is completely agnostic about identity, it is merely a marker for shared experience. If a transfeminist is unwilling to accept even the agnostic designation Mab, then she removes herself from any dialogue outside of the transgender community and the politically correct feminism which has embraced "Cissexual Guilt" as the postmodern form of White Liberal Guilt.

Comments
  1. blackcherryorchid says:

    I agree that the study as designed is just about useless. I’ve read plenty of radfem critiques of it but you are approaching it from another angle. There have always been “effeminate” men and males who were not masculine. Straight, gay, or otherwise, there have always been plenty of those who kept their penises but were femme. So of course if anyone is going to be making brain comparisons, then this group has to be included and distinguished from the “general male” population.

    WBTs really don’t want to be identified as MAB because they don’t want to acknowledge any male privilege. Also because they hate their bodies so much that they feel they must completely repudiate everything “pre-op.”

  2. Jasper Gregory says:

    @blackcherryorchid You so get it! It is interesting to see how Swaab’s study is used in identity politics by people who do not really get the setup of the experiment. Empirical Science needs humility, instead of grand claims about proving ontological questions.
    What is the standard RadFem critique of Swaab?

  3. Aria Blue says:

    That’s because this has nothing to do with gender, Jasper. I’m not getting into it any more with you because you seem to lack the ability to understand some very basic things. Just know that your words and actions are very aggressive and unwelcome.

  4. polly says:

    Dunno what the standard rad fem critique is but my critique is this. The main problem with Swaab’s research is that it was done post mortem, (for obvious reasons, doh!) and brains are plastic. So there is no way of proving that any differences, even if they could be shown to exist were the cause, rather than the effect of being a male to female transsexual. Even psychological phenomena can hugely affect the brain’s formation, you don’t need to physically alter hormonal balance. Plus the research sample was very small with no proper control group etc, etc.

    We can’t say brain sex DOES exist, but we can’t say it doesn’t either. There is no real evidence either way, and never will be until we develop ways of accurately measuring live brains and study them from the very earliest stages of development.

    I’m a brain sex agnostic. It could exist, it could not exist, we just don’t know. One thing that makes me deeply sceptical though is that we are told the effects of pre natal testosterone simultaneously make you lesbian/gay OR transsexual. Now how would one phenomenon have two different effects? Or three, if as you say, we should include non gay/lesbian gender non normative non transsexual people.

    To prove something you need to prove a cause, an effect, and a causal mechanism. We’re light years away from that.

    “Transsexuals” obviously couldn’t just arise as a phenomenon around the middle of the 2oth century, if we are talking about a naturally occurring human variation. You can say surgical techniques only arrived in the twentieth century, but that leaves more questions than answers really.

    I have no problem with people defining themselves as transsexual, I can’t tell someone else what’s inside their consciousness, I have no problem with people defining themselves as anything, as long as they respect other people’s boundaries and right to say “no”(the bit that’s usually sadly lacking, though I’m not including you in that Jasper). But this ‘one true grail’ stuff just gets old.

    If you want to read a good critique of stuff about brains generally though, I’d start with Anne Fausto Sterling’s ‘sexing the body’.

  5. polly says:

    And there IS no female essence. Or if there is I haven’t got it.

  6. polly says:

    Oh and I just wrote a longer piece on brain sex, explaining the (scientific) problems with Swaab. Namely that taking hormones changes brain structure so the differences Swaab observed were most likely a consequence of his subjects taking hormones. Sorry.

    http://verymadcows.wordpress.com/2010/01/22/brain-salad-surgery/

  7. Jasper Gregory says:

    Pardon my delay Polly. I was taking a small sabbatical from the Internet. It is refreshing. I have been working with a pen and sketchpad instead. It is a medium I had almost forgotten.
    —-
    We are very close on this one I think, but the differences are interesting. I am starting a post in response.

    I do not get the ‘One True Grial’ reference. What do you mean?

  8. bettyblu says:

    wow this is the first site that hasn’t bashed feminists for describing the basic difference between women and MTF as “transphobic” but rather the realistic experience of growing primarily in a male body, with male privilege. every other site i’ve seen has bashed cissexual women’s point of views into oblivion, accusing them of hate and exclusion. there seems to be a block there, and the movement of MTF trans groups to demand inclusion in women’s groups who would prefer, in some cases, like the Vancouver Rape Center, to limit those involved to a shared life experience of being born and raised as a woman. i am confused as to why the trans movement doesn’t move towards more self-acceptance and self-definition as a shared spirit, a third sex, as unique and wonderful as male or female. why is “woman” the default for all things considered “not male”? feminist do not hate MTF – they want equality of rights for everyone, but that too means that cissexual women have the right to be with women born women without being called “anti-women” or “transphobic”. i love being a woman and its not defined by genetalia, dress or “roles”, and being born a woman, i do take offense to a man, pre and post op, defining what a woman is and adhering to that strict list of things to do/get/acquire, that too has been defined by men thus far for centuries.

  9. polly says:

    Well you know Jasper “I am an authentic woman, the rest of you are fake” stuff. The brain sex debate anyway reminds me very much of the difference between UK and US activists on the ‘gay gene’. US activists are very keen on the idea of the gay gene because they think it proves they ‘can’t help’ being gay and gives them ammunition against the right. The UK attitude was very much more “Why do we need to justify ourselves”. Which is mine as well.

  10. Jasper Gregory says:

    @polly US activists are very keen on the idea of the gay gene because they think it proves they ‘can’t help’ being gay
    I am critical of the idea of one gene. It is naive. But, similarly I find the idea of tabula rasa at birth to be naive. There is a complex interaction of biology and sociology.
    I feel like the American Identity Politics has to do with activists focusing on judicial review as a method of social change. A gene is evidence to be used in a court of law. This can be used to vest rights and privileges within the Juridical System.
    I came of age in Holland, so my first real interaction with American Identity Politics was recent. I was shocked at the level of ignorance.

  11. Jasper Gregory says:

    @bettyblu wow this is the first site that hasn’t bashed feminists for describing the basic difference between women and MTF…
    This site is an experiment in dialog.
    I think a lot of the battle has to do with terminology. The fight is over the definition of the terms man & woman. I find those terms “laden with theory” to paraphrase @polly.

  12. polly says:

    Obviously we’re physical beings and our physicality has an effect on our psychology, what I have an issue with is things being ‘fixed’ or ‘hardwired.’ You can have something that is very, very strong, but it is usually possible to replace it with something else or repress it if you try. Not that I’m saying you should, please note.

  13. polly says:

    And right now Jasper this is the only blog on the internet that doesn’t depress the hell out of me. Including my own.

  14. Jasper Gregory says:

    @polly Well that is very sweet. I am enjoying some of the posts on this blog: http://bit.ly/drczKh . I admit to being depressed by the internetz too. Too many pointless blogwars and not enough fresh thinking. I have been having all kinds of adventures. I wish there were some easy way to document and communicate my experiences as a Mab Femme. For instance, tonight I was sexually harassed by a right wing Fab Femme. Again I catch gender construction in action. That would make interesting reading, but the effort involved in writing about it hardly warrants the scant rewards.

  15. Schala says:

    “There have always been “effeminate” men and males who were not masculine. Straight, gay, or otherwise, there have always been plenty of those who kept their penises but were femme.”

    and then there were hijras…

    No anesthetic penis and balls chopping at youth. They aren’t just feminine, they’re literally eunuchs (by our western definition).

    and that Cybele religion…you know, 2000 years ago. Bet you people didn’t think lightly of chopping off their balls if they identified as male.

    “WBTs really don’t want to be identified as MAB because they don’t want to acknowledge any male privilege. ”

    Few people recognize female privilege, but I can see I benefit from it, in many ways. A lot more than I did pre-transition. Probably has to do with being inappropriate gender-wise before, but privilege works that way (its very heteronormative centric).

    “Also because they hate their bodies so much that they feel they must completely repudiate everything “pre-op.””

    Or maybe because it’s an error to see their body as male in the first place. Unless you do like patrarchy and place extreme emphasis on genital configuration at birth to the detriment of all other (sometimes invisible) sex markers.

    “So there is no way of proving that any differences, even if they could be shown to exist were the cause, rather than the effect of being a male to female transsexual.”

    No need to have a chicken and egg argument there. You can’t cause someone to not be trans, or to be trans on purpose (aside genetic manipulations on humans, which are generally prohibited), so why bother trying to guess which came first?

    “One thing that makes me deeply sceptical though is that we are told the effects of pre natal testosterone simultaneously make you lesbian/gay OR transsexual. Now how would one phenomenon have two different effects?”

    We have few genes, and yet they do a crap ton of things. Doesn’t surprise me that stuff that happens prenetally could influence more than just your weight at birth or malformations.

    And it can make you gay/lesbian/bisexual AND transsexual as well. Read Zoe Brain for more in-depht information.

    For example, a certain small part of the brain represents sexual orientation. A certain other part of the brain, smaller even according to Zoe Brain, represents sex identity. Both need to be masculinized or feminized at the right time in a short time-window that occurs pre and post-natally (two different times).

    A non-perfect system where randomization is possible, and that coupled with variations in hormones for a ton of reasons (of the mother while pregnant) can cause exceptions to occur in one or both of those centers.

    If evolution is plausible (and it is) – that we evolved from uni-cellular micro-organisms – then it sure is much easier to understand that certain phenomenon can occur by chance.

  16. DarlieB says:

    I am so sorry everyone is exposed to people like Aria Blue. She represents only herself and a few radical intersexed people who got cut off when they tried to cause the same kind of chaos in the intersexed community.

    Whatever cause/causes none of her hysterical and unfounded assertions apply to none but her deluded self. All of the transgender community I know are sick to death of these people so please don’t judge us all by these fruitcakes. The Baileys , the Blanchards, the Zuckers and the Aria Blues are all as equally as fractured a group of misfits. Life is to short to even bother with the utter nonsense they spew. Define your life fo yourself , not others. Truisems fall fast and hard.

    Poll, just shut up. There is no evidence whatsoever that hormones change brain structure. It’s like listening to noise.

  17. Dorothy Williams says:

    Jasper, you ‘re “transsexual” in the same way my cat is a dog. You’re a fetishistic freak, admit it and stop calling yourself “transsexual”. In my eyes, you’ll NEVER, EVER be transsexual nor a woman.

    What a sick joke!

  18. fleur says:

    just being effeminate is not the same as being born with Harry Benjamin Syndrome.
    The most effeminate person I have seen has zero femaleness and has sex with any man who he meets in the toilets.
    Hijras are drugged for their operation – then they provide sex for the closet homosexuals who cannot be openly homosexual in their country.

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