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Monday, November 12, 2012

Transkids hoaxer Denise Magner (Kiira Triea) has died. Some final comments.


One of the saddest chapters in the 2003 J. Michael Bailey affair has come to a close with the death of hoaxer Denise Magner. Magner, also known by a number of aliases including Kiira Triea, was a deeply troubled person who took out her anger through internet trolling. She was the creator of, where she published misinformation via fake online personae she’d created on USENET in the 1990s. The site attracted a handful of people, most of whom have since come forward with stories of how they were duped by Magner.

I was going to let this pass unnoticed until I saw that Alice Dreger and Candice Brown Elliott were spreading misinformation about Magner via recent eulogies.

It’s all been a pack of lies:
The sad, angry life of Denise Magner / Kiira Triea / Denise Tree

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Posted by Andrea James on 11/12 at 09:55 AM
Real WorldSexualityYouth IssuesPermalink

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kenneth Zucker’s cronyism and pathologizing ideologies about trans youth examined


The psychological literature on trans and gender-nonconforming youth has been infected by pathological science emanating from Toronto since the 1970s. Psychologists Y. Gavriel Ansara and Peter Hegarty have just published a paper examining the academic logrolling and cronyism that led to the pathological science emanating from an “invisible college” centered on the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). The main culprits are Kenneth Zucker, Susan Bradley, James Cantor, Ray Blanchard, Maxine Petersen; see my diagram from an overview of these connections. New faces in the conservative backlash against progressive conceptualizations of gender variance include include criminologist Michele Peterson-Badali and Kelley D Drummond, also both of CAMH.

Currently, Zucker and Bradley’s (1995) version of this model is the most widely used approach to these children in psychology. This approach involves behavioural modification techniques and aversive conditioning to ‘fix’ genders that do not match children and adolescents’ external gender assignments (Spiegel, 2008; Zucker & Bradley, 1995). While this model emerged decades after Rekers and Varni’s (1977) article on the ‘pre-transsexual’ child and some of their original terminology has been replaced by newer terminology, both approaches share a focus on preventing transsexual adulthoods.

After listing numerous guidelines and policies in place in the fields of psychology and other disciplines, which address the elimination of cisgenderist language and ideology in the field of psychology, they make a clear assessment of the problem and its relationship to Kenneth Zucker and CAMH. They write, “Far from fulfilling a ‘leadership role in working against discrimination towards transgender and gender variant individuals’ (APA, 2008, para 17), the continuation of mis- gendering language in psychology suggests that psychological journal publication policies are falling behind those of other professions.” The authors add:

By way of contrast, a recent article that was published in an APA journal and co- authored by the head of the invisible college identified in our sample referred to participants who self-identified as boys as ‘girls with gender identity disorder’ in both title and body (Drummond, Bradley, Peterson-Badali, & Zucker, 2008). Hegarty (2009) critiqued this
article on the grounds that these children’s ‘gender identities’ had been described as ‘disordered’ and in need of modification. In response, Zucker, Drummond, Bradley and Peterson-Badali (2009, p. 906) dismissed Hegarty’s critique due to its focus on ‘politically incorrect language’. By so doing, Zucker et al.’s (2009) rejoinder overlooked the possibil- ity that language might shape research questions, methodology, interpretations and impact (Crasnow, 2008; Danziger, 1990; Messing, Schoenberg, & Stephens, 1983). Research find- ings suggest that beliefs in ‘political correctness crusaders’ are more common among those with conservative gender ideologies (Lalonde, Doan, & Patterson, 2000). In light of Zucker et al.’s (2009) response, our finding that Archives of Sexual Behavior, a journal for which Zucker serves as editor, was among the two journals that published the largest number of psychological articles on children’s genders and expression may explain how editors in this field can fail to notice or address cisgenderist ideology in articles submitted for publication.
Reducing cisgenderist bias in psychological publications on children will require the active collaboration of researchers, editors and leading figures in APA. Yet psychologists and mental health professionals need not turn to journalistic guidelines to accomplish this task, as a minority of authors in our sample offered existing conceptual frames that would decrease cisgenderism in the literature.

Cisgenderism in psychology: pathologising and misgendering children from 1999 to 2008. Psychology & Sexuality iFirst, 2011, 1–24

The full Ansara-Hegarty paper is now posted online, at this URL:

Further reading:
Academic pathologization of transgender people

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Posted by Andrea James on 08/25 at 11:54 AM
Well-BeingSexualityYouth IssuesPermalink

Monday, June 20, 2011

British Psychological Society joins critics of proposed DSM-V revisions


Lynn Conway notes: Despite significant criticism, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders continues to move toward codifying dangerous concepts for sex and gender minorities. The British Psychological Society had just joined in criticizing the entire DSM as being based on unsound methods, and recommends sweeping changes in its formulation. In a 26-page document, they write:

As stated in our general comments, we are concerned that clients and the general public are negatively affected by the continued and continuous medicalisation of their natural and normal responses to their experiences; responses which undoubtedly have distressing consequences which demand helping responses, but which do not reflect illnesses so much as normal individual variation.
We believe that classifying these problems as ‘illnesses’ misses the relational context of problems and the undeniable social causation of many such problems. For psychologists, our well-being and mental health stem from our frameworks of understanding of the world, frameworks which are themselves the product of the experiences and learning through our lives.

Of particular concern to sex and gender minorities, they write of two specific “disorders”:

Gender dysphoria
Of particular concern are the subjective and socially normative aspects of sexual behaviour. We are very concerned at the inclusion of children and adolescents in this area. There is controversy in this particular area – the concept of a ‘diagnosis’ of a ‘psychiatric disorder’ disputed.
Labelling people who need help as ‘ill’ may make supportive and therapeutic responses more difficult.


Again, of particular concern are the subjective and socially normative aspects of sexual behaviour. It is a matter of record that homosexuality used to be considered a symptom of illness. The Society would not be able to support considering sexual differences as symptoms of illness.
We, finally, have severe misgivings about the inclusion of “Paraphilic Coercive Disorder” in the appendix. Rape is a crime, not a disorder. Such behaviours can, of course, be understood, but we disagree that such a pattern of behaviour could be considered a disorder, and we would have grave concerns that such views may offer a spurious and unscientific defence to a rapist in a criminal trial.

If you’d like to comment on this fiasco, APA has extended time for commentaries to July 15, according to Vibe Grevsen at LGBT Danmark.

Further reading:
Response to the American Psychiatric Association: DSM-5 Development”
My comment on the DSM-V proposals

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Posted by Andrea James on 06/20 at 04:27 PM

Saturday, March 12, 2011

First-hand reader orchiectomy report: Harold Reed, Miami


A reader notes:

I don’t know why I have not sent this to you earlier, but I wanted to give you a link to a blog I did a while back regarding my orchiectomy. I always knew that full SRS was not for me, but I did know I wanted to change “my downstairs” for a couple reasons. With that said, I really had a tough time getting some of my questions answered prior to my orchi. To fill in some of the blanks, I did this blog . I have forgotten the password and email I registered it to, so unfortunately I have been unable to go in and put up an updated photo of myself (after laser hair in that region), but I guess it will have to do. I wanted to pass it to you so that others might be informed and be able to learn from my experience. Hope it helps.

Doctor: Dr. Harold Reed
Date: April 2010
Cost: $4000, but I received $500 back after donation of my testicles to a laboratory that he put me in contact with.
Long-term outcome: I no longer have to take anti-androgens, and have actually stopped all hormones because of my prior use and the now lack of testicular testosterone production.
General impressions: I feel much more confident with myself, was able, per documentation provided to me by Dr. Reed, to chance my gender on all governmental documents and records. My sex drive has changed a bit, to be something more similar to that of a woman. Though I am told not everyone is as fortunate as me, I am fully functional still.

Further reading:

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Posted by Andrea James on 03/12 at 10:31 PM

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Julia Serano: The Case Against Autogynephilia


Biologist Julia Serano has published a peer-reviewed analysis of ”autogynephilia," a sex-fueled mental illness created in 1989 by psychologist Ray Blanchard. This theory emerged from a convenience sample that presented at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, a group which is unlikely to be a representative sample of the nonclinical trans population. Most trans people avoid the “gender clinic” system of the 1970s, seeking out supportive individual practitioners or using long-established extralegal networks. Since most “gender clinics” are long closed, many people who seek these out are either indigent, low-functioning, enjoy the humiliation of CAMH’s regressive forced feminization, and/or find validation in the clinic’s diagnoses that they do not find elsewhere (CAMH treats some people considered “pseudotranssexuals” under other theoretical constructs).

Her abstract notes:

Autogynephilia is a paraphilic model that states that all male-to-female (MtF) transsexuals who are not exclusively attracted toward men are instead sexually oriented toward the thought or image of themselves as a woman. The assertion that transsexual women are sexually motivated in their transitions challenges the standard model of transsexualism—that is, that transsexuals have a gender identity that is distinct from their sexual orientation and incongruent with their physical sex. This article provides a review of the evidence against autogynephilia and makes the case that the taxonomy and terminology associated with this theory are both misleading and unnecessarily stigmatizing.

Dr. Serano notes the straw man “feminine essence” argument used by Alice Dreger, J. Michael Bailey, Kiira Triea, and Blanchard:

However, pitting autogynephilia against an overly simplistic “feminine essence narrative” ignores a more nuanced view that I will refer to here as the gender variance model, which holds that gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, and physical sex are largely separable traits that may tend to correlate in the general population but do not all necessarily align in the same direction within any given individual.

In other words, Blanchard and his supporters assert that transwomen are “really” men, and anyone who takes issue with them must be arguing that transwomen are “really” women, thus ignoring the more sophisticated views held by their critics. Dr. Serano also tackles the claims that anyone whose self-report does not fit Blanchard’s ideology must be lying, and anyone whose self-report does must be telling the truth. This kind of cherry-picking of data is unfalsifiable:

If proponents of autogynephilia insist that every exception to the model is due to misreporting, then autogynephilia theory must be rejected on the grounds that it is unfalsifiable and therefore unscientific. If, on the other hand, we accept that these exceptions are legitimate, then it is clear that autogynephilia theory’s two-subtype taxonomy does not hold true.

Dr. Serano also tackles Anne Lawrence‘s bizarre “becoming what we love” assertions that love is a form of paraphilic expression in trans women:

The notion that individuals who do not experience erotic arousal to some stimulus might nevertheless be described as having a paraphilic relationship with that same stimulus has extraordinary ramifications. By the same reasoning, men who love their own children, but who are not sexually aroused by them, could nevertheless be said to experience pedophilia. Given the lack of empirical evidence to support this autogynephilia-as-romantic-love hypothesis, Lawrence’s argument is not very persuasive.

She concludes with several examples of how Blanchard and his allies needlessly exacerbate the nonconsensual sexualization that this population already faces in society:

Autogynephilia theory reduces MtF spectrum people to sexual motivation—in other words, it seems to both draw from, and to reinforce, these disparaging media stereotypes. Studies have shown that individuals who are sexualized are seen as less than human, are not treated with empathy, are not taken as seriously, and are seen as less competent and intelligent than individuals who are not sexualized (reviewed in American Psychological Association Task Force, 2007). Given this, it is no surprise that those who wish to demean, sensationalize, or discriminate against MtF transsexuals often cite autogynephilia theory in their attempts to invalidate transsexual women’s identities (e.g., Jeffreys, 2005; O’Leary, 2009; Wilkinson, 2006).

Serano, Julia M. (2010) ‘The Case Against Autogynephilia.’ International Journal of Transgenderism, 12: 3, 176 — 187. DOI: 10.1080/15532739.2010.514223

See also:
“Autogynephilia": a disputed diagnosis

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Posted by Andrea James on 10/17 at 03:09 PM

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