Thursday, October 14, 2010

Flawed Studies on Transsexuals

I initially posted this as a response to some comments but I believe I would like to expand on my feelings and beliefs.

I guess my feelings about shrinks therapists and doctors is clouded by my experiences with them. As a child they treated me like I was some degenerate pervert and they actually told me I was more than once. Many of these shrinks pushed me into a position where suicide seemed my only option to stop the pain. The worst part is almost all of them knew where and how I could get help but that is another story.

Dr. Person was nice but her study with Ovesey was not aimed at understanding transsexuals but at effeminate homosexuals and what she described as homosexual transsexuals or kids like me that pressed the issue as children. Harry diagnosed kids like me as Type VI with total psycho-sexual inversion. Basically I believed I was a girl and I did even though in strict medical fact I was not.

I have friends that tell me I was intersex not transsexual but I if I was intersex I was also transsexual. I am unsure whether very low testosterone levels and elevated estrogen levels in a boy qualifies one as intersex. I do know the bits between my legs were boy and the neurons between my ears were all girl where that was appropriate. There was certainly no confusion over gender at birth but the rest of my body was decidedly different  from my brothers and other boys as I aged.

I faced a different kind of bias as I aged despite the face of basically a young girl from 10 on. I scored 1600 on the SAT exam when I was 12 and a shrink my mom had me in therapy with calmly said to me 'you cannot be a girl  because girls do not score 800 in Math on the SAT test' and I remember leaving that session so confused because I was a girl and then in the next session he said things that pushed me into another suicide attempt and he recommended I be committed. He should have lost his license.

The Person-Ovesey study has haunted transsexuals from the day it was published and it is flawed and a disgrace because it was not Research it was justification of personal opinions and prejudices spouted by certain individuals, Person included although she was a friend, that wanted to prove a connection between the so-called most intense effeminate transsexuals and effeminate homosexuality. If she had asked I would have introduced her to a friend that was my age and a possibly more intense transsexual as a child with the same feelings towards boys that was more block of granite than girl. They met with and interviewed those that fit the study and avoided anyone that broke the jello mold they wanted to fit kids like me in and in the process coined Primary transsexual with a definition that was so bizarre I have a letter from Harry where he posed the question what were they thinking???

Northwestern University psychology professor J. Michael Bailey and his work 'The Man who Would Be Queen' is simply a continuation and further perversion of the Person-Ovesey study and work by another hack researcher Ray Blanchard. If possible it is even more flawed which is amazing in itself. Bailey eventually resigned his chair amid controversy. Personally I believe even a fool has a right to their opinion but bad research is bad research.Without fail they cannot take criticism about their work but fail to follow one of the single most important principles of academia. Defense of one's thesis is when not being sure to remove your bias from research always brings about failure.

I guess I would be classified as a Research Engineer for much of my life with the added caveat I put my research into practical and sometimes very unpractical real-life application most often with human life a risk. If research is not impartial it will always be flawed. One can have a premise for one's research and a belief about what should result but the process involves both trying to prove yourself correct and trying to prove yourself WRONG. We thought of it as research integrity. I see absolutely none of that integrity when dealing with transsexuals. Everyone has an agenda and little has to do with helping transsexuals. They are more interested in proving themselves correct than the truth. If one is attempting to prove oneself correct impartiality is gone and it is nearly impossible to find yourself wrong if you are totally convinced you are correct.

We see classic examples of this with Ray Blanchard and his ilk with their bias. It all began with John Money the poster child for bad Researcher and his lies, deceptions, and half truths involving the David Reimer case and many more lives he probably ruined. Dr. Money is another person I have unfortunately met that I would like to forget.

They missed the entire point of Harry's book and his life. A transsexual is not the gender between their legs. A transsexual is the gender between their ears. It is really that simple and gender is pre-programmed into us and it cannot be changed. It is part of our being and is the essence of what makes us human. We learn to be women but we were born girls if MTF.

Unfortunately Dr. Benjamin was very old when I met him.  He lived past 100 and to his regret he thought Dr. Ihlenfeld would carry on his work and keep his office open but Ihlenfeld decided to return to residency and become a Psychiatrist so Harry's work was never carried on. Harry knew happiness was the most important thing for us. Ihlenfeld was a strange duck and I think a disappointment to Harry.

I had a strange encounter with him in the early 90's., My husband was off on business somewhere and I needed to redo my passport and could not find my letter from the surgeon so I called and he would not mail me one, he was an asshole, so I had to drive to the city. I had to drop something off at the Groton sub base so I decided to take the ferry to Long Island and drive in to NYC that way and for some reason I cannot remember I decided to drop by and take Ihlenfeld to lunch and when I was leaving he says to me next time you come make an appointment because I do not do free consultations and it was then I knew he was a typical money grubber because I paid for freaking lunch.  I will not repeat what I told him.

I have never regretted one minute of my life since surgery. I have had good times and bad times and have been hurt in love and happy beyond any dream I ever had in love but that is life. What these idiots forget is that all competent research shows we are 99% or higher delighted with our lives after the process is over. If we had mental issues this would not be true. No surgery can cure that.

I would like to think things are better today and in many ways they are but there is no Harry Benjamin to care about us and refuse money from kids or adults that could ill afford to pay for much of anything or to encourage transsexuals to hang in there and we will get through this or fly to Boston to talk to a child that had been raped because she was transsexual and he feared for her sanity or to open an office in San Francisco just to help us or to convince surgeons to lower their price for someone because it was the right thing to do or defend us without thought of personal gain but simply because he cared.

His book is the only truly honest look at us.  The rest are wanabes or frauds.

The other thing that needs to be added is he did not treat cross-dressers, transvestites, or transsexuals any better or worse based on the condition. Sometimes I wish I was a young again but then I would have missed Harry and that would most certainly have been my loss.


Halle said...

It seems so inadequate to just say thank you, but it will take me many more visits and re-reading of your wonderful accounts to be able to synthesize anything more useful.

Thank you so much for taking the time to put this to 'paper' for us all!


Veronica said...

Fortunately, there are good gender therapists around now. Unfortunately, there seem not to be many of them, and there are still too many quacks. I was fortunate. My therapist (former therapist really -- I haven't felt a need to continue to see her) specializes in transsexualism and gender variance in children and adolescents, and she is both knowledgeable and understanding.

Therapy was good for me. It helped me work through a lot of issues. But blogging was probably at least as good for me. It was like instant therapy. I always found that writing was therapeutic for me, and I would get good feedback from readers. I worked a lot of things out in my blog.

By the time I had surgery, I was so very ready. And I know it was absolutely right for me. I am not even a year post-op, but I can't see having any regrets.

Anonymous said...

You are the best. I love how honest you are with your posts and I love even more how much we agree on things.

I didn't start therapy until a year before my SRS. I think I was blessed to be able to understand what was going on with me naturally. I guess it helps that I have love and support from the people around me.

I do have to say that therapy was a very important part of my life though. I learned how to voice my feelings better and overcome my emotions to understand why I feel them. Therapy for me was less about my transition and more about moving to NYC and learning how to adjust to it as a transgender person. Did that make sense?

I agree with Veronica. Blogging has helped me tremendously because I can get the thoughts out of my head and onto the screen where I can understand them better.

The Other Liz

Elizabeth said...

@Halle - I must say I am no expert on much TS. Now if we want to get into something dealing with Astronautical Engineering, Astrophysics, and software I can cover that.

@Veronica - Harry was basically my shrink and in my heart I believe he was more qualified than most. I know there are good therapists today but there are few too many.

@Elizabeth - My friend I am honest about myself as best I can be. I think having people around you that care is more important than therapists.

I like blogging and my friend Elizabeth here is to blame for me doing it. She said I would like it. I do. I think she got tired reading my 4 page emails to her.

I think a post on why I blog is in order. LOL