Friday, April 27, 2007

Gender Identity Disorder

Barbara Walters will be doing a story on it tonight on 20-20. It was the first item to be discussed on today's The View, an ad/promo, really. Of course there was the typical progressive liberal self-congratulatory praise from the usual suspects--didn't you know that Oprah already discussed this topic on her show? (As well as Dr. Phil on his?) Someone needs to catch up.

What do I think of this? Since I don't have any direct experience, I will say nothing about the disorder itself or its symptoms (or individual cases and reports), but I would not count on the diagnosis or explanation given by secular "experts"--a problem with self-perception involves the intellectual and cannot be 100% organic, and there is no identity apart from the body (even when we take into account those who suffer from chromosomal disorders that block or impede the proper development of the sex organs and such, these exceptions only prove the rule). Instead, I will address the presuppositions that go into the causal analysis. The dualism of Barbara Walters and others contradicts their materialism--if all there is is the material, then to claim that there is an identity apart from the material is nonsense, and a product of the imagination. On the other hand, if there can be such a divide between mind and body, so that a male mind could be trapped in a female body and a female mind in a male body, then what exactly is maleness? How can the mind have a sex identity of its own, if it is not material? And if it is material, then how can it be said to be male rather than female if there are no distinguishing features. (And if these people go on to maintain that "gender is a social construction" they will be contradicting themselves even more.)

Now, perhaps they will admit that there are sex differences even with respect to the brain and its development. Shouldn't we then compare the development of the brain of these children and see if the brains are really male or female? (And sex hormones do play a role in brain development, iirc.) But instead they'd rather make up a new class of victims of society's intolerance and lack of understanding, promote an identity rooted not in nature or in social relations, but completely dependent upon the choice of the will.

If perception is merely sense perception and there is no intellectual component, then the answer is obvious: "penis" or "vagina" and "I'm like other people who have a penis" or "I'm like other people who have a vagina." In order to make the leap to a judgment involving universals, i.e. maleness or femaleness, there has to be an intellectual component. And there are many factors which can lead to a distorted judgment, but there is no corporal determinism, as if my body is somehow forcing me to judge that I am not a male.

wiki
Gender Identity Disorder
Psychology Today's Diagnosis Dictionary: Gender Identity Disorder
Gender Identity Disorder DSM IV Criteria
Gender Identity Disorder in Children
Gender Identity Disorder & Transgenderism (I definitely don't support the explanations offered here, but this is what I take to be an example of the opposing view. Of all these links, I'd probably be most sympathetic to the NARTH one; I link to the "official" DSM IV Criteria used by the "experts" to diagnose GID, but notice it does not give an explanation of its causes.)

7 comments:

Haveavoice said...

If you really have a problem understanding, I can help you with that. Try here:
http://www.myhusbandbetty.com/

or here: http://www.glbva.org/

or here:http://groups.yahoo.com/group/TSVets/

or here:http://www.gendertree.com

Probably every member can and will give you a description of their life experience with this matter. And as a bonus if you are polite and non-judgmental will go out of their way to embrace you and make you a friend. But whatever you do-don't judge. It's like a bad migraine, unless you've had one you don't know what an excruciating pain it is.

papabear said...

The only judging going on here is of the causal explanations offered.

papabear said...

(and of certain celebrities and their crusades)

Melissa said...

Re: your blog post - I admit it becomes a very complicated issue - but everyone focuses on different things. I believe it is a "quality of life" issue. If something is causing you enormous pain, don't you want to fix it, so you can get on with your life? And what would be the easiest/best way to do that? Only the person suffering should be able to decide. Even cancer patients have choices in their treatment. Others don't see it as an illness or "condition" but they still have the right to decide how to live their lives within the context they're given.

papabear said...

Cancer patients are morally able to choose between different legitimate medical options. Or, if the chances for eliminating the cancer are very poor or because of other relevant factors, it is morally permissible to refuse treatment altogether.

The problem is reducing a psychological problem which does not have an organic source to a medical problem, illness or condition. Hence quality of life does not apply, since there are norms by which behaviors and attitudes can be judged to be proper or improper, or if one must use the word by analogy, "healthy" or "unhealthy." Having a poor body image and an eating disorder or some other compulsive behavior is not healthy, however much one wants to claim that the person has a (moral) right to act in that way. (And the person doesn't.) Similarly, those who wish to disfigure or mutilate themselves, or to get surgery to amputate a limb are not mentally "healthy," and this is what should be addressed, not by satisfying their desire to have a limb removed.

Haveavoice said...

Have you looked at the links I provided or are you still stuck on celebs and their "crusades?"

Haveavoice said...

And "papabear," I have some advice- you may have to "get over it." Because no matter how much dissent you express or analyzing you do- transgenderism is not going away. Really it would be better to learn as much about it as you can and try, as difficult as it may be, to achieve some level of comfort with the topic.