Tag Archives: medium-end theory

you can’t support both trans liberation and medical ‘expertise’

i’ve been talking about this for many years now (here, here, here, and even here – rejection emails not included).

but here we go again:

the main structuring fact of so-called trans healthcare is that the exact doctors who trans liberals hold up as “the best” (cohen-kettenis, for instance) have decades-long collaborative relationships with the exact doctors who trans liberals hold up as “the worst” (zucker, for instance). those two, for example, regularly co-author academic and clinical papers, textbook chapters, and such, and have for as long as they’ve been working in the field.

and what these supposedly “good” doctors’ practice (always remember: practice is purpose), especially when it comes to young people, is the same old gatekeeping with shiny liberal rhetoric. wanna get a trans clinic to question whether you should be there? all you need to do is let them find out you’re wearing a kind of underwear that’s marketed to your originally assigned gender group! (this recent example taken from one of the “best” clinics in the u.s.)

Continue reading you can’t support both trans liberation and medical ‘expertise’

diasporic hebrew? diasporizing ivrit

a first line of thinking after reading maya rosen’s fascinating interview with tal hever-chybowski, published this week in Jewish Currents. to be clear, i like what THC (can i resist? no.) has to say a lot, and adore the cultural project he and his journal, Mikan Ve’eylakh [From Here Onwards], are pursuing. i’m thinking my way into the gaps i find in this interview because that helps me understand how it all fits into my own yiddish-anchored diasporist thinking.

Continue reading diasporic hebrew? diasporizing ivrit

when you say what the right says, you are the right

i’m always impressed at how often, and how consistently, liberals & progressives repeat right-wing marketing rhetoric as if it were not just true, but self-evident.

lately, i feel like i’ve heard these floating around (all bullshit invented in the late 1900s, some of it in my lifetime):

the right (or, sometimes, the far right) “moved from the margins to the center” between the 1960s and the 2000s. just absolute crap: if there’s one constant in u.s. politics since 1776, it’s the depth of white (especially wealthy white) support for the overtly white nationalist far right, which has never been separate from the rest of the u.s. right in anything but aesthetics.

the right used to have an intellectually rigorous, morally grounded wing that kept its less respectable side in check. bill buckley’s patrician accent doesn’t make what he said, wrote, believed, and advocated – and who he was allied with – any different from what you’re hearing from any other rabid death-cultist, from calhoun to cohn to roof.

the democratic party is in some way affiliated with the left. the least-justified fantasy since the faeries at the bottom of arthur conan doyle’s garden. perhaps such an alliance could could have been made at the 1964 democratic party convention, if it hadn’t refused to seat the multiracial Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party delegation. it says everything you need to know that in ’68, when a not-lily-white delegation was seated, it no longer claimed to represent “freedom”: it was the “Loyal Democrats”. that loyalty – still driving electoral progressives near you! – is part of why we do need a name for identifying with people who are actively trying to kill you instead of folks trying to keep you alive (“stockholm syndrome” is a misogynist lie invented to curb criticism of the police).

the “elites” of our society are media workers and the professoriate (who’re supposedly liberal: also generally a lie), not the people with actual economic and political power (including the ones who own media corporations and control universities).

it’s more disappointing (if less common) for folks who’re actual radicals to do this, of course. in that zone, the one i see coming up all the time lately is this:

the right, or the far right, or some parts of the right, are “anti-state”. now, there is a small slice of the libertarian right that might in fact oppose state structures as such. but most libertarians, and all neocons, paleocons, and other rightwingers who use an “anti-government” rhetoric base their whole political program on the existence of the state. some don’t want the current state, based on the slaveowners’ constitution of 1787, but all of them are aiming to maintain, and to control, a hierarchical, centralized, territorial structure of rule that legitimizes violence (by its agents, its supporters, and at times others) in service of its policies. you can tell because they want borders, they want enforced order, and they want “free enterprise” to be “protected”. that, my friends, is a description of a state and its policies, not of an “anti-state” position.

aside from making me annoyed, when liberals, progressives, and radicals parrot these various lines of bullshit, it strengthens the right. it turns their lies into “common sense”. and it makes them harder to fight. don’t do it. talk with your friends who do. and treat any analysis based on this junk as what it is: a right-wing analysis that supports and assists the right, even – especially – when it comes from liberals & progressives.

what isn’t antisemitism (more to come)

i’ll expand on this sometime soon, but here’s a start, since it’s been on my mind for the past few days:

antisemitism is a specific political movement. it was one of the many innovations of 19th-century european nationalism (looking at nationalism as an overarching political movement with many nation-defining branches), and is alive and well and living all over world. it has a specific history, and a specific ideology.

all anti-jewish bigotry is not antisemitism.

all structural anti-jewish oppression is not antisemitism.

much of it is garden-variety christian supremacism, of a type most closely related to the kind directed against muslims. much of it is garden-variety xenophobia, in north america generally of a type most closely related to the kind directed against (some) asian communities. some of it is a now slightly antiquated type of white supremacism. (and all of it is inseparable from colonialism and misogyny.)

calling it all “antisemitism” is like calling all racism “white nationalism” (articulating that key distinction is one of the solid pieces of analysis eric ward has done, alongside giving progressive NGO cover to his far-right buddies at the ADL). it makes for muddled analysis, drains useful words of their meaning, and (worst of all) gets in the way of effectively fighting antisemitism, christian supremacism, xenophobia, and white supremacy.

conflict, abuse, & lenin

today (1/9/2021) i learned that the original “bros before hos” leftist shmuck was, in fact, lenin.

like, literally. lenin.

and that him being That Guy was part of what drove the bolshevik/menshevik split.

i’m fascinated, and i think it’s actually pretty important – thus this post. be forewarned: there’s a certain amount of leftist trainspotting involved, but if you’re a movement person it will all feel very familiar.

here’s what seems to have gone down in what’s been called “the bauman affair”:

Continue reading conflict, abuse, & lenin

just temporarily putting these here so i can write what i’m supposed to be writing today without them getting in the way.

(1) the main thing wrong (politically/ethically; morality is just dishonest theology) with andrea long chu (as a thinker/writer; i don’t know her any other way) is that she’s a heideggerian (this needs a two-part parenthetical too; yes, i’m a bit compulsive today).

(2) the relationship between the terms in marxism-leninism is the same as the one in judeo-christianity, and serves basically the same purposes.

these are unrelated thoughts, for which fact i am grateful.

all the doctors are friends (but not *our* friends)

this is just because i’ve been having some conversations about kids and gender and transition and puberty-blockers and so on. and having some feelings about that.

(to get a few things out of the way as a preamble)

what i want in the world is for folks (of all ages) to be able to make and put into effect any decision they want about what to do with their bodies – which means, practically, working for there to be more and more possibilities available to more and more people. in the realms of gender and sexuality that includes access to all kinds of body modifications, whether towards or away from any particular socially recognized gender position, and also access to all kinds of options for reproduction, from permanently or temporarily preventing it to actively facilitating it. what’s important to me is the possibility of real, meaningful choice, and the removal of restraints on that.

probably because of coming up right before and after the arrival of antiretrovirals, i think about most of the access-to-medical-transition stuff as a “drugs in bodies” question, through the analogy of AZT. in the absence of much actual decent research on HRT drugs (either to learn more about their longterm effects or towards making better ones), we already know they’re generally shitty, but bad drugs in living bodies is better than dead bodies.

(and here’s the meat of the post)

so: in the current conversations, mostly things are framed as a fight in which advocates for kids’ access to puberty blockers face off against advocates of “reparative/corrective therapy” to normalize kids to their assigned genders. that’s how, for instance, julia serano sets things up in her mostly useful piece on Medium last year.

and that’s generally how things play out among trans community activists, parents, TERFs, and other folks outside the medical institutions involved.

but here’s the thing: that’s not a divide that exists among the doctors.

the best-known puberty-blocker doctors and the best-known “reparative” therapists work together, publish together, and generally see each other as collaborators rather than opponents. kenneth zucker and peggy cohen-kettenis, for instance, co-wrote the chapter on “gender identity disorder in children and adolescents” for a 2012 “handbook of sexual and gender identity disorders”. and that’s not an anomaly: even a mild bit of googling finds the two of them as co-authors on papers all the way from the late 1990s to the past few years (with at least a few also including ray blanchard in the credits). and that collaboration isn’t just on the page: well-sourced gossip tells me that before zucker’s clinic was shut down (finally!), he was known to send so many kids who didn’t respond to his “conversion therapy” bullshit to puberty-blocker clinics that he was considered one of their biggest referrers.

Continue reading all the doctors are friends (but not *our* friends)

on trans demographics

valkyriethunderbitch wrote:

We’re both seen in many ways as embodying aspects of both male and female, but rather than cis people seeing both of us as simply “in between,” trans men and cafab trans people in general tend to be seen as somehow possessing the better qualities of men and women, while trans women are seen as abominations embodying the worst of both genders.

Trans mascs get to have their manhood validated while also being reassured (and reassuring everyone else) that they have no icky core of misogyny or oppressive maleness, and that they essentially have all these positive woman qualities in place of the “bad parts” of maleness.

and i commented:

yes this.

but also note, from the 2011 Injustice at Every Turn report (flawed in its sample, but the best we have in the u.s. so far), and the A Gender Not Listed Here report based on its data, these things (mainly using the survey report’s terms):

respondents were 60/40 assigned male/female at birth. the surveyers’ analysis broke that down into trans/gnc/crossdresser splits of 47/3/11 for MAAB, 28/9/3 for FAAB, which is about 78%/5% & 72%/23% trans/gnc, respectively.

those replying “a gender not listed here” (i.e not male, female, or switching between) were 73/27 FAAB/MAAB.

but

of respondents identifying as either switching-between or not listed here (a different analytic for nonbinary+fluid), it’s 61/ 39 MAAB/FAAB. and with a little work, we can discover numbers for a more limited definition of fluid gendered folks (id’ing as switching-between but not analyzed as crossdressers): 9% of MAAB vs. 1% of FAAB).

and we can learn that 9% of MAAB vs. 14% of FAAB respondents identified as their initially assigned gender.

both of which, i think, complicate the picture. but mainly on the level of how people think about themselves, which of course is different from how we present ourselves in the world, and how the world understands us. which is what the analysis above is about.

the category of gender

this is more of a placeholder than anything else… building off a few scrawled notes from this past spring that i’d been hoping to get back to in a more elaborated way, but i’m not sure when i’ll have the time to do that in a complete way. so this is gonna be partial and not necessarily something i’ll stand by forever, or even for all that long.

and yes, i’m putting this up now because i’m cranky about the current bit of drama around “gender nihilism”, mostly because i see smart people whose analysis i like seeming to miss the ways their positions seem to me to support each other rather than being in contradiction.

so here’s two or so cents, for whatever it’s worth:

talking about “abolishing gender” means completely different things depending on what we mean by “gender”.

Continue reading the category of gender