Gender Identity

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    Jacob
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    I started writing a reply to a post Hogeye made on facebook, but I think my response grew too long to be easily readable on facebook, so I decided to post it here instead.

    (I’m assuming Hogeye is ok with me quoting his post and addenda, so I’ll do that first for context.)

    The last few people at the meeting got into a discussion about transgenderism. Jacob said that there were a number of XY chromosome variations that might be considered causes of trangenderism. I had heard of XYY, macho males reputed to be correlated with violence and criminality. I looked it up, and found that Jacob was correct that there are others. Very, very rare however, i.e. even more rare than XYY.

    ▪ XYY syndrome (47, XYY)
    ▪ Klinefelter syndrome (47, XXY)
    ▪ Triple X syndrome (47, XXX)
    ▪ Turner syndrome (45,X)
    ▪ XXYY syndrome (48, XXYY)

    My conclusions are:
    1) Some trannies have genetic mutations making them the way they are. The most common mutation is called Klinefelter syndrome.
    2) The vast majority do not, and are simply mentally ill with a body image disorder (similar to anorexia.)
    3) The genetic science explains why the vast majority of trannies (99% or so) are men wanting to be women rather than vice versa. A single Y chromosome makes one biologically male, so extra X’s for a male may make one tranny. There is no analogous extra Y’s for a female.

    Another observation: In the 19th century, some people were so concerned with race that instead of a black-white binary classification, they had many in-between classifications like mulatto, quadroon, octaroon, and hexadecaroon. I see that as an analogy to today’s proliferation of gender classifications. If you are obsessed with race, you have lots of words for racial divisions. If you are obsessed with gender, then you have lots of words for gender divisions. I don’t care much about race or gender, so the divisions seem kind of silly to me.

    Correction: MtoF trannies outnumber FtoM trannies by about three to one, not 99 to 1. (Though estimates are all over the place.)

    Thanks for posting Hogeye. Can I ask for your source, though?

    I want to clarify what I was trying to argue. I did not intend to claim that transgender people have the chromosome variations you list, or that this causes them to be transgender.

    My first point was that there are a number of characteristics that constitute “gender,” as well as “sex,” according to folk concepts, (including the modern concept held by people in our own society that includes chromosomes and genes as an essential characteristic.)

    These characteristics include: genital configuration, gonads, facial and body hair, presence of an adam’s apple, presence of breasts, chromosomes, hormonal makeup, and psychological aspects. (There may be others that aren’t occurring to me just now.)

    In the real world, human beings exist with a variety of combinations of these characteristics. Attempting to classify all people using a strict “binary” concept of gender and/or sex leads to contradictions and/or arbitrary classifications, because we find more than two possible sets of these characteristics that people could have. Thus, I think a useful concept of gender, (or sex, either one,) needs to either include more than two categories, or be applied less strictly, with an understanding of the limitations of the concept’s applicability.

    My understanding is that you, more or less, take the first route. You include more than two categories. I think this because, in some of your facebook posts, I’ve seen you say that some people could be called “hermaphrodites.”

    My second point was that, if one uses a non-binary concept of gender or sex, then it seems arbitrary, to me, to treat all the characteristics except psychological ones as part of what constitute a person’s gender or sex. Yet, if psychological aspects are included, then this raises the question: if a person has all the characteristics we, (or most of us, at least,) associate with masculinity or femininity except for their psychological characteristics, then how do we classify them? Which characteristics are the essential constituents of gender?

    Further, if people classify themselves according to their own psychological characteristics instead of their other characteristics, while acknowledging that they have the combination of characteristics they in fact have, then is their classification irrational or false in any way? It is to this last question that I answer, “No.” I don’t see any reason to think that their classification of themselves is irrational, or that their beliefs about themselves are false.

    Regarding chromosomes, if a person’s genes causally contribute to their gender identity, (their perception of themselves,) that doesn’t necessarily mean the genes involved are the “x and y” chromosomes which you list variations of, there may be other parts of the genetic code that also play a part. Even if these chromosomes play a dominant role, this still would not necessarily mean that they are the only genes that play a role. And even if the cause is completely non-genetic, this would not mean that no biological difference exists. For example, development in the womb could play a role distinct from any role potentially played by genetics.

    In discussing genetics at our get-together, I had two distinct points which I wanted to make.

    One was that genes might play a role in the development of a person’s gender identity, but, regarding this point, I did not intend to claim that it was definitely the x and y chromosomes in particular that played this role. Rather, I wanted to suggest that some parts of a person’s genetic code, (perhaps these chromosomes, perhaps others, perhaps both,) might play some role. I also pointed out that I had heard of evidence that this might be the case, that genes may be a determining factor, but my impression had been that the genes involved were some other than the x and y chromosomes. (I will have to spend some more time on google scholar to learn whether I had understood right or whether my source was correct, as I don’t seem to have bookmarked the article in which I had read of this.)

    But the other was that there are more combinations than just “xx” and “xy”. My purpose in making this specific point was not that transgender people may have some other chromosomal combination, but that if more than two variations of these chromosomes exist, and if these different variations can come combined with a variety of other characteristics in real human beings, (for example, just because one has a “male” genetic code doesn’t mean one must also have “male” genitals and gonads, and lack female genitals or gonads,) then classifying people into “male” or “female” based solely on their “x and y” chromosomes does not divide people up into two groups in a way that matches the average person’s intuitions.

    Finally, while you may not care about gender, many people do. My impression is that, particularly in Arkansas, a significant number of people think of gender-nonconforming people as less human that those that conform to society’s expectations. Some of these people are willing, and likely, to do harm to transgender people. That may mean supporting legal discrimination against them, (e.g. bringing back laws that allow police to check people’s genitals to ensure that they’re not cross-dressing, and punishing those that do,) engaging in violence against them, or non-violently harassing them. Regarding non-violent harm, landlords may be less willing to rent to them and more inclined to kick them out, employers may be less likely to hire them and more likely to fire or treat them poorly if they are hired, people may simply be less willing to become friends with them, etc.

    While most of these harmful actions are non-aggressive, (by the NAP,) they can still be harmful, and a society with a culture that encourages and/or condones these kinds of harmful behavior can cause transgender people to have a lower quality of life than they would if they could live in a society with a more accepting culture. Since I want to help these individuals achieve better lives for themselves, I want to help create a more accepting culture. While that’s not a concern derived directly from support for the NAP, it need not contradict the NAP in any way, and, in my case, I do not think it does.

    Since I want to be part of the Ozark Voluntaryists, and to help create a community of people who want to live without aggression, and I also want communities that I’m a part of to have a culture that is accepting of LGBT people, (not merely refraining from aggression towards them, but refraining from treating them as sub-human, or flawed, due to their LGBT status,) I have made some attempts to persuade others in our group, (such as yourself,) that transgender people are not, inherently, either broken or delusional.

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