August 6, 2013

Why Does Transgender Science Matter?

I don’t mean for the title to sound pretentious. I don’t mean why does Transgender Science, my little blog here, matter; I mean why does transgender science, the systematic study of the biological and psychological realities of transgender persons, matter?

Simply put, it’s because of assholes like Walt Heyer, who runs the disingenuously named Sex Change Info blog. He has got a beef to pick with the transgender community, and he does it though insult, stereotyping, and cherry-picking science that “proves” his assertion that transgender people (mostly transwomen; he almost never mentions transmen) are nothing more than perverted sickos with mental problems. Lest you think I’m exaggerating, here’s a part of his most recent blog post  

The real war on women today is being waged on the female gender by men who remove their tallywacker (Snoopy) and declare they are full-fledged women.

These people, transgenders who are just men with no Snoopy, can use your restrooms and change the gender designation on their birth records and other ID to female. They’ll show you birth gender females a swinging thing or two by legally proving that you females are the same as men, just with no Snoopy.

Transgender women, manufactured from men by surgery, have more protections under the law then you pesky women who were born female.

Depending on what your view of female is, you may see transgender females (i.e., men who removed their tallywacker) as lovable little fuzzballs who need to be protected from the wacko, transphobic, homophobic, bigoted gender normals who were born male and female. Perhaps you see transgender women as men who enjoy what looks like childish play gone psycho with dress-up taken to extreme–copious amounts of makeup, flamboyant mannerisms, surgical breasts, facial work and yes, the removal of the old useless trouser snake known as “Snoopy.”

Note the immature name-calling, the use of derogatory slang for the penis, the utter contempt for transwomen in general. Doesn’t it make you just want to shout at the screen? “Fuck you, Walt!” 

For the record, Heyer is an unhappy detransitioned transwoman who now crusades against the “transgender agenda” by running some blogs and self-publishing some books. As I understand his story, he went all the way through SRS before detransitioning. So, I guess technically he doesn’t have his own “Snoopy.” Would I be justified in calling him “her”? Only if I wanted to be a misgendering asshole like Heyer. 

Anyway, Heyer and his ilk love to cherry-pick at science studies, eagerly tracking down any bit of data that may support their conclusions about transwomen and then touting them as unimpeachable proof of their claims, all while ignoring the larger body of evidence that contradicts them … all of which they claim is agenda-driven and illegitimate  of course.

Frankly, that sort of pseudoscientific uncritical thinking just pisses me off. It’s the same sort of deceitful tactics delusional conspiracy mongering that antivaccine advocates and 9-11 truthers use to support their crappy worldviews. If transwomen (and transmen) are going to build a base of support as legitimate persons and not “crazy people,” we need to be aware of what good science says about our biology, psychology, and physiology; and we need to be willing to correct the transphobes and transogynists out there who seek to delegitimize us with bad science. 

So consider this my little effort to contribute to the cause. I may not be able to do much in terms of activism, but I can read a science article and report on findings and occasionally call out people like failed transwoman Walt Heyer on their bullshit. 

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