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View Diary: Jenna Talackova, Naturally Born Women, and Donald Trump's Junk (81 comments)

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  •  I know this is going to get me in trouble but... (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not sure what the argument here is.  Ms. Talackova is not a woman - biologically speaking.

    When I argue with my friends re: marriage equality - I'm for and some of them are against - my position is that the state cannot define love.  If we are all equal under the law - then if I (as a guy) want to be with a woman - why is it wrong for another guy to want to be another woman or be with a guy for that matter?  I have the right to choose and so does everyone else.

    However in this case - and I'm trying to get some understanding not be derisive towards anyone - I may treat Jenna as a woman, date her as a woman, even see her as a woman but strictly speaking she is not one.

    This is not a philosophical point - what is a man/woman really? - and it's not about denying anyone legal protections.  If she sees herself as a woman and wants to live, act, dress, as one - I have no issue with that.  But having surgery / taking hormones etc to make someone appear as a woman / man doesn't make it so.

    Personally I could care less about beauty contests  - I don't watch them.  If there are people who want to compete/ watch more power to them.  However, if this is a female beauty contest then it doesn't seem unreasonable that a requirement is - you are female.

    I'm trying to wrap my head around this and welcome all points of view - right now however, I'm not getting it.

    Free speech is not a license to lie.

    by kaplan0562 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 08:03:00 AM PDT

    •  she is a woman (4+ / 0-)

      We will agree to disagree.

      I do say that in the case of the Olympics, where in that instance where a girl was born intersexed and then went on to compete, that for fairness' sake she be disqualified.  In that case she had a hormonal advantage in a sport where artificial hormones are banned.  But in a beauty pageant, as the article says, there is no banning plastic surgery or breast implants or any other sort of body modification, so at the very least this beautiful young woman should be allowed to compete.

      •  ...sufficient for what? (0+ / 0-)

        I've just been discussing this with a co-worker and maybe I didn't explain myself very well.

        Legally, ethically, philosophically - I am perfectly ok with the young lady.  I wish her no ill will nor do would I ban her from competing in this contest if I were in charge.

        If I worked with her, went to school with her, met her at a bar - I have no problem with someone changing gender.  If she's happy and not hurting anyone that's all that we can hope for anyone.

        Do I see her as human - of course - will I recognize her on a personal level as a woman - of course.

        My co-worker asked me if I had a problem with her representing Canada in Ms. Universe - as a Canadian - no I don't.  

        What I was trying to say is - we shouldn't confuse science with emotional or philosophical arguments.  There are physiological and physical difference between men and women.  That shouldn't be used to subjugate one sex over the other but it is ok to recognize the difference.

        Similarly here - while I can wish her all happiness in her life - should I ignore biology?  Science should not bear any relevance in my treatment of Jenna as a  person but we should not discard it either.

        Both things can exist simultaneously.

        I probably didn't explain myself very well.

        Free speech is not a license to lie.

        by kaplan0562 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 08:42:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is true. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          From pure biology she is not a woman.  In every other sense, yes.

          •  In pure biology she is a woman (6+ / 0-)

            From what I understand, she does not have a penis.  She needs to take estrogen, but so do women who have had their ovaries removed.  She has breasts.  She has a vulva.  How is she not a woman?

            •  What about all the internal rerproductive organs.. (0+ / 0-)

              ...and processes and chromasomes, etc, etc?

              •  so a woman who has had a hysterectomy (1+ / 0-)
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                is no longer a woman?

                Chromosomes, you have me there.

                •  She would still be a woman. (0+ / 0-)

                  Perhaps if she had every one of her internal organs, processes and chromasomes replaced by male ones she'd be a biological female.

                  Maybe some day in the future they'll be able to do that.

                  •  women frequently have every one of their internal (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    rserven, Cassandra Waites

                    "female" organs removed in a total hysterectomy.  You seem to be unfamiliar with anatomy.  That stops those "processes" you are harping on about, but menopause will also do that pretty well.

                    Your definition of "womanhood" seems to only involve something detectable under a microscope.  And considering that the difference between male and female is one out of twenty-three, and invisible to the naked eye, that's a pretty strange definition of gender.

                    •  I'm not just speaking of organs. (0+ / 0-)

                      Processes, chromosomes and yes - microscopic things and even brain chemistry.  They all count.  And since all would agree she started out as a female and someone asserts all of a sudden asserts she's not, it would be up to them to present significant evidence of that.

                      And they can't do it.

                      •  No, you are only speaking of chromosomes (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        we have dismissed processes, as you admit that women with a total hysterectomy are still women.  This is the first you have brought up brain chemistry.

                        Brain chemistry differences between the sexes I believe are more dependent on hormones than anything else, so that wouldn't count, but to fight your argument for you, I believe you meant to say brain structure.  We are still learning about the brain, but here too the difference between male and female is more of a spectrum.  Some cis men have very feminine-structured brains and some cis women have very masculine-structured brains.  It is not a binary distinction.

                        The only clearcut difference is chromosomes.

                        •  I'm laughing now at the thought of beauty pageant (1+ / 0-)
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                          contestants being forced to take a brain scan before competing.

                        •  Would an analogy be that... (1+ / 0-)
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                          ...we know the concepts "table" and "chair" but there's also a spectrum through which a table becomes more and more like a chair?

                          •  that is a product of the brain trying to classify (1+ / 0-)
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                            We are inherently wired for language and putting things into nouns.  It makes for easier hunting and gathering.

                            But if you've ever sat on a table, you see how arbitrary the difference is.

                            Also, biology is rarely yes and no unless it is about DNA.  I believe that one percent of the population is born somewhat intersexed, so even without sexual reassignment surgery there are naturally blurry edges there.

                          •  What then is a "woman" and a "man?" (0+ / 0-)
                          •  Now that is a delicious question (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dov12348, rserven

                            I often play around with in the bedroom.  But I think most people would say a man is someone with a penis and a woman is someone with a vagina.  Certainly for the standards of a beauty pageant, that should suffice.  And the lady in question has a vagina and she does not have a penis.  

                            A more enlightened society would see that transsexuals are the gender that they know they are, no matter what sort of equipment they have under their underwear, and that's what I believe, and hopefully some day the law will follow.  But in the meantime, surely the standard definitions should apply?

                            Complicating things are those of us who are a little bit of both.  :D  Our lives are a lot easier, no doubt.  No pesky legal problems, and discrimination can be avoided, but we are certainly sympathetic to those who were born with the wrong body altogether.

                          •  If Mitt Romney... (0+ / 0-)

                            ....then decided to exchange his penis for a vagina but otherwise remained exactly the same, he would be a woman and should be able to enter the beauty pageant as well?  Say, just as additional PR for the campaign.

                          •  Beauty pageants are to judge beauty... (1+ / 0-)
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                   far as I can understand.  If someone thinks women are more beautiful than men, let them vote for the women.  But why not allow anyone to enter?

                            Some people believe that the model for this was male:

                            Would it be less beautiful if the model was male?

                          •  Apparently though... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...some beauty pageants were made so where the standard is a certain type of female.  Why? One big reason.  It sells.  

                            Maybe ironically, Jenna should then be in it because she appears to be not much different from the others...therefore she'd help the sales.

                            But private enterprises have their rules. If we want another more inclusive type, then let's go out and try to make one.

                          •  There is reason to believe... (3+ / 0-)

                            ...that this rule was invented after it was discovered a transwoman was in the competition.

                          •  Ok, that makes it more sneaky. (1+ / 0-)
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                          •  I just saw the Mona Lisa. (0+ / 0-)

                            Would it be less beautiful if the model was male? (Some say it was Leonardo himself)

                            Well, by what standard?  Human beauty?  Female beauty? Male beauty? Beauty in general?

                            Personally I can't answer the Mona Lisa q. yet because all I see is a female.  It's been embedded, I guess.  Maybe if you showed me a picture of someone I'd never seen...

                          •  There is a claim that the Mona Lisa was... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...a painting of Leonardo's apprentice, Salai:

                          •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dov12348, rserven

                            Although I don't think she would get very far.  :p

                            Having gender reassignment surgery is not a trivial operation.  "Exchange" isn't the word I would choose.  Not everyone who gets it finds out afterwards that they were right, unfortunately, which is why counseling beforehand is so important.  Sometimes those that have it find that it had been primarily sexual all along, and without the strong sex drive the conviction is gone, and the person goes back to living life as a man.

                            But true transsexuals are much happier afterwards.

                            So in other words, if Mitt Romney had SRS and afterwards wanted to compete in a beauty pageant as Kitty Romney, then yes, she's a woman.  If he wasn't fully a woman inside, he wouldn't want to compete after SRS.

                            Of course the weak side of my argument, to help your lack of coffee along, is transmen.  There is no effective surgery yet below the belt for them.

                            My question for you--Buck Angel (NSFW google) I believe has a uterus and a "female brain" and all those processes and chromosomes that you say define a woman.  Should he be able to compete in a beauty pageant?

                          •  A really fascinating conversation... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            cordgrass, rserven

                            ...thank you.  And Robyn too.  I have to go offline for now and will try to get back in later.

                            One thing - I am not trying to score points - I'm really trying to understand this and some of my positions aren't yet fully formed.  

                          •  Sometimes it doesn't work out. (0+ / 0-)


                            Should Buck be able to compete?  In a private pageant that's up to the owners.  And viewers and sponsors will react with their wallets.  It's common capitalism.

                            If Mitt wasn't fully a woman inside he may want to compete anyway if he just felt he was beautiful and that the pageant might accept him that way.

                          •  you are getting into more complicated issues (1+ / 0-)
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                            Everything I have heard and read about Mike Penner has convinced me that he was not a transsexual, and that article clinched it for me.  He was a crossdresser.  That's the sort of man I like, someone who is both.

                            Not to air the community's dirty laundry, but crossdressers generally have to deal with three difficult things.  First off, they are generally attracted to women, and women like me are pretty rare.  That's changing; women have a fluid sexuality and as society accepts crossdressing as more normal, a remarkable number of young women are open to it.

                            I used to think crossdressing was a fetish, but after the last five years I'm convinced it isn't, except in a small number of cases where it is a specific article of women's clothing that does the trick.  On the other hand, it is sexual.  Not in a perverted way, but in the innocent way that a woman dresses extra nice on a day she knows she will meet a man she likes.  Crossdressers want to be seen as sexually attractive, by women.  

                            And that leads to the second problem--passing.  Most crossdressers are obsessed with looking like women as much as possible.  Now if they are gay, that's a necessary thing.  But if they are straight, it's counterproductive.  I find the non-passable crossdresser more attractive than the one who looks exactly like a woman.  Crossdressers also have this odd narcissism; they sort of fall in love with their female selves.  Real transsexuals aren't like that.  So part of the urge to be passable is to be able to turn themselves on when they look in the mirror.  That drives them to female hormones and breast pumps and things, and getting obsessed with the idea of SRS, when that's not really what they want.

                            Finally, a lot of trans women are huge bitches, sorry to say.  They are ashamed of crossdressers, think that crossdressers make it harder for the true trans to gain cultural acceptance (when the opposite is true), and oftentimes the most passable ones are the cruelest, making no attempt to hide the fact that as soon as their transitions are complete, they are going to ditch the community as fast as possible and leave their old life behind, living their new lives 100% female and hiding any ties to their male past.  Of course these women are the objects of hopeless envy by most crossdressers, and the CD's try to emulate them as much as possible.

                            All those pressures combined to make Mike Penner dead.  I'm 110% certain that if his wife had been like me, that he'd still be alive.  The trans community pushed him too hard to be the poster girl for transsexuals, forced him into that box, when everything about him tells me he was a regular crossdresser.  

                            Robyn's not going to recommend this post!  :D

                          •  I thought about it. (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            Then I thought I would, just to be contrary.

                          •  Sitting on a table doesn't change its primary... (0+ / 0-)

                            ...purpose as a table, just as sitting on a basketball wouldn't change its primary purpose as a basketball.

                            I meant you could physically change the structure of a table so that it gradually became more like a chair - ie, shortening the legs, making the top smaller, etc.

                          •  And endtables are? (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            dov12348, rserven

                            Now I'm just fooling with you.  :D


                          •  Listen, I've been out of coffee... (2+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            rserven, cordgrass

                            ...for a while - going on fumes.  Have a little sympathy. :)

              •  Are we going to define women... (4+ / 0-)

                ...solely on their ability to reproduce?

                Sounds very patriarchal.

        •  Sufficient to be legally considered a woman. (1+ / 0-)
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          Until you have scientific evidence that shows that transgender men don't have brains like those of other men and transgender women don't have brains like those of other women, maybe you should leave science out of it.

          •  The issue is not transgender men or women... (0+ / 0-)

            ...I do believe there is some evidence that men and women have subtly different brain chemistry.

            This from the NIH in Britain...


            ...I am not claiming one sex has an advantage when it comes to intelligence, emotion, cognitive function.  Simply that there are differences because of gender.

            If that is true then changing sex would not necessarily change this chemistry.

            Again, I'm not trying to pick a fight - legally, ethically, personally - I think Jenna or anyone else is free to define themselves as they choose and I will respect that decision.

            However I don't think it's wise to deny the physiological differences between men and women.

            Respect/decency and Science don't have to be enemies.

            Free speech is not a license to lie.

            by kaplan0562 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:42:48 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  one more thing... (0+ / 0-)

              ...I am not a biologist/medical practitioner...I studied Math and Physics in school and now work as a programmer.  If someone in a medical specialty has evidence contradicting what I am saying - feel free to correct me.

              I posted the original comment to try to broaden my understanding of this issue not to demean anyone.

              Free speech is not a license to lie.

              by kaplan0562 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:46:14 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  correction - Sorry!! (0+ / 0-)

              The link is from the National Institute of Health in the US not UK.

              Free speech is not a license to lie.

              by kaplan0562 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 11:49:53 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  But research into the brain chemistry... (0+ / 0-)

              ...od transpeople is to be ignored?

              •  Thanks for the link.... (2+ / 0-)
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                rserven, gerrilea

                ...I may have been thinking about this all wrong.  I was looking at it as:

                - u take a man
                - change the man's parts as it were
                - u now have someone that looks like a woman but they still are a man biologically

                ...from the article you posted and FogCityJohn's comment below - the idea is someone could be a woman physiologically but have the parts of a man (for lack of a better term).

                I never considered that....but it is something to think about.


                Free speech is not a license to lie.

                by kaplan0562 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:35:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  Changing sex vs. changing gender (3+ / 0-)
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              rserven, Cassandra Waites, gerrilea

              First of all, transpeople are born with a biological sex that does not match their actual gender.  For example, the diarist was biologically a male at birth, but she identified herself as female.  Later in her life, she had surgery to make her physical appearance conform to her gender identity.  So she has been a woman all along.  It's just that one might say she was born with the wrong "equipment."

              Second, I'm not sure what "chemistry" you're talking about.  There are lots of cisgendered people who have all kinds of "chemistry" problems that affect their sex characteristics.  Men may suffer from abnormally low levels of testosterone, but we don't consider them any less male because of it.  Women may undergo all sorts of hormonal and other changes because of menopause, hysterectomies, or other surgeries, but they are still women.  

              Your focus is exclusively on a person's body, but our gender identity is in our minds and hearts.  I think that's the part you're missing.

              "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

              by FogCityJohn on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:03:05 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  yes perhaps you right... (3+ / 0-)
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                rserven, FogCityJohn, gerrilea

                ...I need to think about this a little more.

                Thanks for your input.

                Free speech is not a license to lie.

                by kaplan0562 on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 01:39:43 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Keep reading Robyn's diaries (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  gerrilea, rserven

                  As a cisgendered man, I really didn't have a very good understanding of transfolk and the issues that concern them until I started following Robyn.  That's sad to say, since I'm gay and really should have known better.  But I've learned a lot from this diarist and the other trans members of this site.  I suspect you will too.

                  "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                  by FogCityJohn on Thu Apr 05, 2012 at 04:33:43 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                    •  It's true, my dear. (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Reading your Friday diaries has become part of my weekly routine, and I've probably learned more from them than from pretty much any other diary series here on DK.  I couldn't even begin to catalogue all of the facts about transpeople you've taught me.  To cite just one example of my stunning ignorance, I didn't realize how many transpeople are gay or lesbian.  When I started reading your diaries, I just assumed you were straight.  

                      I say all this not to flatter you (although some flattery is probably in order :-)), but to give you an idea of the kind of need you're filling here.  I'm a gay man living in San Francisco, and if I can be this clueless about the trans community, one can only imagine how clueless the rest of the world is.  I know you probably feel like you're beating your head against a brick wall at times, but really do I think you're succeeding at educating some people.  So I guess I'd just urge you to keep it up.

                      "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                      by FogCityJohn on Fri Apr 06, 2012 at 10:11:27 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

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