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[personal profile] jacquic
I posted here (f-locked) about an article by Julie Bindel and a refutation that [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet is writing. I had read the article after reading some of the arguments on [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet's post, and my reading of it was coloured by them. I understood her to be arguing that claiming that gender dysphoria exists implies acceptance of outdated gender stereotypes. But some of the comments on my journal made me question my understanding; and now I'm not sure what I think.

The points arguing against Julie Bindel have been explored very thoroughly in [livejournal.com profile] steerpikelet's post and the comments on it. But some of the points that commenters on my earlier post made I think are valid; for example:

- The author doesn't express herself very coherently. But in my view, how we handle that lack of clarity says as much about us as about her.

- I see the author as asserting that we shouldn't offer the fantasy of a "sex change" to everyone who feels they were born the wrong sex, because a) the procedure is very imperfect and b) there's no "robust scientific evidence" that it resolves gender dysphoria.

- I think Bindel presents a very balanced argument and the central point (as I see it) remains true: gender surgery doesn't change your sex. Only DNA reassignment could achieve that.

- I would also suggest that gender reorientation is body mutilation - you remove functioning organs and replace them with a non-functioning simulcrum of the opposite organ. I wouldn't say that all body mutilation should be avoided, but I do think doctors have a greater responsibility to ensure this is really what the patient wants before proceeding

- I do think that gender is defined by society and so reoriented men and women should be treated as being their chosen sex; however, I also think that transvestites should be, and that way there is no need for surgery. People should just define themselves as they please. (This wonderful piece of logic from [livejournal.com profile] rickbot)

The ever-useful (this is a compliment!) [livejournal.com profile] friend_of_tofu pointed me to this article from November 2008 on a similar topic. [livejournal.com profile] friend_of_tofu describes this article as being offensive and unpleasant, but reading it with fresh eyes, I'm not sure it is. (By which I mean to say, not that I think it is inoffensive and pleasant, but that I actually don't know whether I think it is offensive and unpleasant or not.)

From this November 2008 article: I questioned whether a sex change would make someone a woman, or simply a man who has had surgery.

Seems to me a sensible question to ask. Putting aside her views that the surgery is regrettable in retrospect, even if we were assuming (equally without evidence from my point of view) that it is always successful and the people who have it are happier (yes, I so agree with [livejournal.com profile] herringprincess when she says that the NHS is here for our mental health as well as our physical health), male to female trans people are, factually, people who were born men and have had surgery to cure gender dysphoria, and who are now treated by society as women.

I think that if someone is a woman in how they feel and how they are seen then they should be allowed to work in a female-only rape crisis centre (whether they've had surgery or not), but this is somehow irrelevant to the central question. After all, they should also be good at dealing with the job as well; and there are plenty of women (whether born male or female) who wouldn't be.
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