May 13, 2016

"Hormones don't make me cry any more or less, but now my emotions feel normal -- unmuted, not suppressed."

"My health insurance covers the cost of hormones and sex reassignment surgery, if I choose that. It doesn't cover facial feminization surgery, which some say is even more important to mental health, and even physical safety. I avoid using the restroom in public, when I can.... Many parents are concerned about their girls using the same restroom with an adult trans woman in public. I understand the source of the fear. We want children to be safe from danger, perceived or real, but I know of no trans woman who has ever attacked anyone in a restroom. Sadly, transgender folks get attacked, plenty."

From "One transgender woman's long road to finding herself" at CNN.com.

I'm interested in that argument about health insurance. The writer is saying, directly or implicitly, that "facial feminization surgery" should be covered in order to allay the (unjustified) fears of others and because of the transgender person's vulnerability to attack.

But I was most interested in the quote that I put in the post title: "Hormones don't make me cry any more or less, but now my emotions feel normal — unmuted, not suppressed." Are complex emotions abnormal? I can see preferring free-flowing, stronger emotion, but is it necessary to disparage the original feeling as abnormal? I know, the phrase was "feel normal." But I'm questioning the centrality of this idea of the normal. But I suspect this is the language of drug prescription generally. You can get a psychotropic drug from a doctor to only to get you to "normal," not to get you high or as an escape from life's complexity. Is this all too medical? Why isn't there more talk of personal freedom and self-definition and creativity and invention? Because the ethics of doctors are central? Because insurance coverage is desired?

I looked up the word "normal" (in the OED). The first definition is: "Constituting or conforming to a type or standard; regular, usual, typical; ordinary, conventional." Is that what we want to be these days? It used to be what we wanted to get beyond — conformity. And, funnily enough, the third definition is: "Heterosexual." With these 3 examples:
1914   E. M. Forster Maurice (1971) xxii. 106   Against my will I have become normal. I cannot help it.
1972   T. Keneally Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith v. 38   Of course, Jimmie knew, Farrell was not normal and had once begun to caress him.
1990   Lesbian & Gay Pride 11/4   Back west in a long standing ‘normal’ society like old Blighty, many lesbian or gay teachers go in fear of exposure.
Andrew Sullivan called his 1995 book "Virtually Normal." Here he is, back in 1995, explaining why he used those words: Half the people will object to the word "virtually" and half will object to the word "normal." And I observe that there are 2 completely different reasons to object to "normal."

And here's Bob Dylan, because Bob Dylan lyrics from half a century ago pop up unbidden in my possibly not too oversimplified mind:
I’m just average, common too
I’m just like him, the same as you
I’m everybody’s brother and son
I ain’t different from anyone
It ain’t no use a-talking to me
It’s just the same as talking to you
Hey, I have a tag for "normal." Cool.

50 comments:

Expat(ish) said...

Does attacking people in a subway car count?

Fifteen seconds in Bing. Bing!

-XC

PS - I know the violence is pretty one sided, but lying about the dangers we're creating does not help ameliorate them.

David said...

I always wondered about Normal schools. What did that mean?

Sebastian said...

"I'm questioning the centrality of this idea of the normal." Sure you do. I mean, what is normal? It assumes a norm. Why have norms? Let's all be self-definingly creative. Except people who want to be free to follow traditional norms. Let's define them as strict segregationists. Those bastards don't deserve no self-definition.

"You can get a psychotropic drug from a doctor to only to get you to "normal," not to get you high or as an escape from life's complexity." Says who? You mean, psychotropic drugs are not now prescribed to escape etc.? You have studied this?

"Why isn't there more talk of personal freedom and self-definition and creativity and invention?" How could there be more? I mean, we have just had the federal government mandate that any public institution must abide by any form of self-definition, however insane. In these pomo times, it's self-definition all the way down. That's the new normal.

David said...

The writer is saying, directly or implicitly, that "facial feminization surgery" should be covered in order to allay the (unjustified) fears of others and because of the transgendered person's vulnerability to attack.

That was the second reason given. The primary reason is for mental health.

madAsHell said...

CNN? Perhaps, the entire article is a farce.

Farmer said...

but I know of no trans woman who has ever attacked anyone in a restroom

That is not the issue, at all, and I'm pretty sure everybody on that side knows it. Just like everybody on the pro-gay marriage side knew perfectly well that nobody was running around claiming that their marriage in particular was threatened by SSM. This is a straw man argument, and unfortunately people who oppose this aren't smart enough or articulate enough to keep the focus where it belongs.

The real issues:

1. What is "transgendered?" Technically, a mental illness called gender dysphoria. In the most generous definition, it's a feeling. It can't be proved.

2. Forcing the issue legally will result in gender-neutral bathrooms, either technically or for all intents and purposes, because, again, nobody can prove they are legitimately transgendered. It's all based on how they feel. "I feel like a woman" is enough for a predator to gain access to the ladies room. Best-case scenario is government gets to poke around in your private life to find out if you are what you say you are but even then, it can't ever be proved.

3. Most of us don't want gender-neutral public restrooms.

There is something wickedly ironic about a bunch of white males demanding access to the ladies room by playing the "bigot" card and actually managing to make some headway, but as I have two young daughters it's kind of hard to laugh about it.

Ann Althouse said...

"That was the second reason given. The primary reason is for mental health."

I agree that the mental health reason is there too.

I wonder how far that argument for facial plastic surgery would go. What about women who are unhappy that their facial features aren't feminine enough or the man whose features are not masculine enough? How much health insurance money could go into shaving bone off women's jaws and sticking chin implants on men? And once it's all paid for, what will people look like? How big will a man's chin need to be before he'll feel he looks as masculine as he feels he is? I'm picturing hordes of men with immense jutting jaws and women with pointy little anime chins. If only there were unlimited money.

Laslo Spatula said...

Daddy Issue America...

"Mom?"

"Yes, Amanda?'

"There's a boy at school who thinks he's a girl. I don't even get that shit."

"Well, he's probably a normal boy, just more fucked-up."

"A LOT more fucked-up, Mom."

"Well, we can live and let live. It's not like he's harming anyone."

"But he goes into the girl's locker room now."

"What?"

"The school lets him use the girl's locker room. I've seen his wang and everything."

"The school lets this happen? Fuck!"

"Yeah. I've seen him look at me in the shower. He doesn't, like, get a hard-on or anything. Actually, that kinda makes me mad. Like I don't turn him on or nothing."

"I'm sure when he gets home after school he goes and masturbates about you, baby."

"Really, Mom?"

"Yes, my sweet. I bet all the boys masturbate about you. Constantly."

"That's nice. Thanks, Mom."

"You're welcome."

"It's freaky, though. I mean, I try not to look, but there it is: his wang. I just wish he would put it away. maybe tuck it between his legs, maybe.

"I'm not sure I'm happy about this."

"Yeah. A lot of the boys are talking about beating the shit out of him for showering with their girlfriends."

"I think that's perfectly normal, baby."

"Yeah. That's the 'normal' I get."

"He'll just have to man-up about it, that's all."

"He's weird and everything but I hope he doesn't get hurt too bad."

"Pretending to be a girl has consequences, baby. You can't help that."

"Thanks, Mom. I always feel better talking to you."

"That's what a parent does, baby: that's what a parent does..."


I am Laslo.

Ann Althouse said...

"Number 12 Looks Just Like You."

iqvoice said...

Why isn't there more talk of personal freedom and self-definition and creativity and invention?

Because the State long ago decided that it had an interest in regulating Nature & Man. How can you talk seriously about personal freedom in a country where weeds, flowers, and mushrooms have been declared contraband?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Ann Althouse said...I'm interested in that argument about health insurance. The writer is saying, directly or implicitly, that "facial feminization surgery" should be covered in order to allay the (unjustified) fears of others and because of the transgendered person's vulnerability to attack.

Why unjustified? She feels it. Her feelings are valid. Therefore I must be made to pay money for her surgery so that she won't feel bad (or endangered/unsafe). What does the actual number of attacks/actual empirical data about safety have to do with anything? Someone feels something so I have to pay.

Remember George W. Bush? "When somebody hurts government has got to move." Remember? Well, people hurting includes anyone who feels like they're unsafe because of the way they look (as long as those feelings can be tied to sexuality or gender identity or anything else the Left has decided matters). And government moving means making me pay for things--things that are for other people. It's silly to ask "where is that covered in the Constitution?" Hell, it's not silly, it's downright hateful. Have some empathy.

bagoh20 said...

Insurance should cover racial reassignment, because your race is the thing that puts many in the most danger. White privilege should be available to everyone for free.

David said...


I wonder how far that argument for facial plastic surgery would go. What about women who are unhappy that their facial features aren't feminine enough or the man whose features are not masculine enough?

When trans people have surgery, it is a medical procedure to fix a medical problem (body dysmorphia or gender dysmorphia. Do you understand the difference?

Sebastian said...

"I wonder how far that argument for facial plastic surgery would go" Very far. For Prog arguments there is no stopping point. Anything goes.

"If only there were unlimited money" There is. Prog claims on Other People's Money are unlimited. Demands for Social Justice are inherently open-ended. Yeah, yeah, I know there's a limit somewhere, but Progs haven't reached it yet and will just keep going.

damikesc said...

I wonder how far that argument for facial plastic surgery would go

Obama will require it for Obamacare before the year is out.

Quaestor said...

The odd thing is the same crowd who load the word natural with overpowering moral significance (and as a byproduct made it the most common word used in advertising copy) see no irony here.

MayBee said...

I wonder how far that argument for facial plastic surgery would go. What about women who are unhappy that their facial features aren't feminine enough or the man whose features are not masculine enough?

Well that's just it, isn't it? How many people are completely happy with their face or their body? How many people feel their body is the exact expression of who they feel they really are?

I know my thighs are bigger than I would like them to be. High school would have been a lot easier if I'd felt more comfortable in a bikini at pool parties.

Chris N said...

That 10-card slideshow 'Know Your Identity Terms.'

Good stuff.

Just keep CNN on at the airport, have 1 or 2 top TSA men (or women, cisgenders, etc.) scan the faces of Muslim-looking arrivals as they pass by the TVs.

Does that woman with the headscarf scowl when a guy comes out of the women's bathroom?

Is the woman in the headscarf brown?

Check the CNN screen again and confirm if the brown/headscarf points don't cancel each other out.

CNN: Your one-stop information shop.

Quaestor said...

"Number 12 Looks Just Like You"

Made me think of that other "lets fix that face of yours" Twilight Zone episode, The Eye of the Beholder" which features a pre-cement pond Donna Douglas. Much inferior, really. A lot of hullabaloo just to make a jejune point about beauty.

Laslo Spatula said...

"And here's Bob Dylan, because Bob Dylan lyrics from half a century ago pop up unbidden in my possibly not too oversimplified mind:"

There is another Dylan song that deals with the flexibility of Identity:

."You may call me Terry, you may call me Jimmy
You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy
You may call me R.J., you may call me Ray
You may call me anything but no matter what you say.

You're gonna have to serve somebody, yes indeed
You're gonna have to serve somebody,
Well, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord
But you're gonna have to serve somebody.

I am Laslo.

Ron Winkleheimer said...

Why isn't there more talk of personal freedom and self-definition and creativity and invention?

Because that has nothing to do with it?

The point is the lie. If you can't say, "that guy, that guy over there, the one with a penis, that is a guy no matter what he says or how he feels" but instead have to affirm that guy is a girl, then you are well on your way to room 101 and "5 lights or 4."

Transgenderism doesn't even make sense from the leftist pomo/womens' liberation perspective.

If gender is a social construct then why should transgender people need surgery anyway? I have been reliably informed that all differences between men and women are a result of upbringing and societal expectations. If this is the case then someone who feels like a woman should stop worrying about their external plumbing and how they look and act and just go about their lives. Because wearing dresses doesn't make you a woman. Nor does having breasts or a vagina. Nor does wearing makeup. That's all society's hangup. Just be yourself, you are whatever you want to be.

Conforming to societal norms of what is appropriate for different genders is just giving in to oppression.

Hey, ever notice how male to female transgenders tend to emphasize the external aspects of womanhood? Wonder why that is.

Could it have something to do with the fact that they "feel" like looking like a woman, but have no idea what being a woman is from a woman's internal perspective?

Nah.

eric said...

This guy is insane and in our efforts to make everyone feel good, we are treating his insanity seriously. Sharing in his delusion.

Now if I could only get everyone to share in my delusions.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The idea of "normal" is offensive to the Left. I mean the concept itself. They're offended by the fact that this or that fring/minority group is outside the norm. It's un-PC to note that certain things aren't normal (in a common language statistical sense).
That's why you can say thing like "most men are taller than most women." It's true, of course, but it's un-PC.

Birches said...

Thank you farmer. I was about to write the same thing. I'd like to see an organized group of men start using the women's bathrooms to prove this point. they shouldn't even bother wearing a wig or a dress, after all pink frills and dresses are just gender stereotypes.

Fernandinande said...

Inquiring minds don't really need to know: would a genuine hermaphrodite use both bathrooms at the same time?

I'm a man trapped in a wolverine's body - it's hot in here!

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Birches said...
Thank you farmer. I was about to write the same thing. I'd like to see an organized group of men start using the women's bathrooms to prove this point. they shouldn't even bother wearing a wig or a dress, after all pink frills and dresses are just gender stereotypes.


That's impolite, though. The nice centrist people like Prof. A will find that extremely rude. You'll be labelled a troublemaker, a bigot, and someone who's hateful towards children. A moment's consideration will show you that's exactly how the Media will portray any such efforts. You'll probably end up arrested, as well, "letter of the law" be damned.

I don't claim that it's fair, nor that the Media has anything like consistency when it comes to how they treat protesters (remember "mostly peaceful?"), but that's reality. Don't ignore reality! That's the Left's job.

holdfast said...

"How big will a man's chin need to be before he'll feel he looks as masculine as he feels he is?"

CHINS?!?

What about enlarging other body parts to restore confidence and prevent depression?

buwaya puti said...

I identify as owning $10million more in assets than I do.
For the sake of my mental health ...
Well, we know where this is going.
If we don't get communism through environmentalism, we will get it through sexual identity. Or something.

damikesc said...

That's impolite, though. The nice centrist people like Prof. A will find that extremely rude. You'll be labelled a troublemaker, a bigot, and someone who's hateful towards children. A moment's consideration will show you that's exactly how the Media will portray any such efforts. You'll probably end up arrested, as well, "letter of the law" be damned.

I'll claim to be a woman who dislikes feminine stereotypes.

Birches said...


I'll claim to be a woman who dislikes feminine stereotypes.


Yep. Use their own language against them. If man went in one at a time randomly, without publicity or protests stating your purpose, most people will be too scared to intervene, just like the guy in WASHINGTON.

damikesc said...

It's easy to use their logic against them, given the utter lack of logic.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Quaestor said...Made me think of that other "lets fix that face of yours" Twilight Zone episode, The Eye of the Beholder" which features a pre-cement pond Donna Douglas. Much inferior, really. A lot of hullabaloo just to make a jejune point about beauty.

SNL: Twilight Zone sketch

Terry said...

I imagine a transgender person, using the law and 'reason' to convince his doctor to fill out the forms that justify the procedures that medically and surgically turn him in to a faux women. When all the procedures are complete, he is in the doctor's office, balling his eyes out.
Doctor: Glenda, what's wrong? You've had all the operations. Do you need more hormones?
Glenda: To tell you the truth, doctor, it's my legs. They don't feel right, as though they're not really part of me. I think I have limb dysphasia. If you won't cut them off I'll go crazy!
Doctor: Well, let's look it up in the ol' DSM. Nurse! Bring me my bone saw!

SeanF said...

David: When trans people have surgery, it is a medical procedure to fix a medical problem (body dysmorphia or gender dysmorphia. Do you understand the difference?

I would argue that plastic surgery is not a "fix" for body dysmorphia, but accepting that it is - why would a woman who feels her facial features aren't feminine enough not be suffering from body dysmorphia?

As to the word normal, I liked the way Soren put it in Star Trek: Generations: "'Normal' is what everyone else is and you are not."

MaxedOutMama said...

It is obvious that this is an attack on women's rights by men. The men who had transitioned or who were living as women, generally with hormone therapy, were already using the women's restrooms. So what is this about? Why the sudden move to make it impossible for women to call the cops and say "There's a man in the lady's restroom?"

What's really happening here is that a group of men have decided that women should not have a safe place to pee because it inconveniences a small group of men. Because men are VERY important, and women are not.

Nothing can convince me to see it differently, and the fact that this is presented as an LGBTQ issue just riles me up. It isn't.

John said...

How do you make a hormone?

Take it, Laslo!

John said...

I am confused. What is a "transgender woman"?

Is it a man pretending to be a woman? (with or without surgery)

Or is it a woman pretending to be a man?

from the context of the article it is clear that this is about a man pretending to be a woman. I use "pretending" in the fullest sense of the word since he doesn't even seem to be planning to do the surgery.

Absent the context, I could see it either way, though. Is there some standard usage?

This is a serious question, I am not trying to be a wiseass.

John Henry

John said...

In many states it is illegal for a psychologist to help a gay become straight.

Is it legal to help convince a man that he is not a woman? Or a woman that she is not a man? Seems like this is a better answer and a better use of insurance and govt funds than trying to help them be something that they are not.

A few weeks ago there was a man pretending to be a woman and a dragon. He had tattoos all over imitating dragon scales. Worked in a bank, as I recall.

I don't think anyone in the world would think that someone who really thinks he is a dragon has mental health issues. Yet there is just as much evidence that he is a dragon as that he is a woman. In a word, none whatsoever.

Shouldn't both be treated as mental illness?

Although, if they are not dangerous to themselves or others, live and let live pretend to be a dragon/woman ad God bless. That attitude does not mean that I think they are normal. Or a dragon. Or a woman.

John Henry

John said...

it is a medical procedure to fix a medical problem

No David, it is not to fix a medical problem.

It is a medical, or more specifically a surgical, procedure to address a mental problem.

Note that I use the word "address" instead of your "fix" because there doesn't seem to be a lot of evidence that it fixes the underlying mental problem.

John Henry

Real American said...

A man pretending he's a woman doesn't make him a woman. Neither does surgery or hormone therapy or high heels. Biology does and biology for this issue does not change. Even lunatics need to use the correct fucking bathroom.

Why do gays get lumped in with the trannies? gays have long insisted they are not mentally ill so why are they still hanging with them? even the trannies know they're mentally ill. If I was gay I would object to that.

damikesc said...

When trans people have surgery, it is a medical procedure to fix a medical problem (body dysmorphia or gender dysmorphia.

So, feeding anorexics is causing obesity, since they think they're fat and all.

Allowing lunatics to hack themselves would lead to psych hospitals being shut down, But it leads to good money for plastic surgeons "helping" folks "transition".

damikesc said...

Why do gays get lumped in with the trannies? gays have long insisted they are not mentally ill so why are they still hanging with them? even the trannies know they're mentally ill. If I was gay I would object to that.

Keep up with the times. They're shifting gays to the side to make the trannies their super-important-cause-of-the-day. It's hard to miss how little of the LGBT "movement" seems to give the tiniest hair on a rat's ass about "LGB"...

Paco Wové said...

"he is in the doctor's office, balling his eyes out."

Did not need that mental image.

Anthony said...

Most of this discussion is entirely beside the point. It doesn't have to make any sense because it's all about Progs exercising power over everybody else. This is just the latest stick that was handy to beat people over the head with.

Doug said...

We want children to be safe from danger, perceived or real, but I know of no trans woman who has ever attacked anyone in a restroom. This is a strawman argument. The NC law HB2 is not aimed at transgendered people struggling with their identities ... it is intended to keep perverts who would use the excuse that they identify with the other sex to gain entrance to bathrooms and locker rooms and put children at risk.

Doug said...

Psychotherapist: "I have two male patients. One thinks he is an elephant, the other thinks he is a woman. We call the first one delusional; we call the second one 'Caitlin'."

Eustace Chilke said...

Every so often something comes along that makes me sure that some future generation will regard us as fools, naifs or barbarians. The transexual delusion is one of them. The casual certainty of the ruling class that this whim of theirs can be forced on people who still insist that reality matters is a very bad sign. Like when Winston Smith was fool enough to believe that Big Brother could not make two plus two equal five. Now we'll see. I'm not optimistic.

jr565 said...

It doesn't matter if no transgender person is wearing a dress or a wig to get into a woman's bathroom or locker room. That is a straw man pushed by the left when they don't want to address the fact that IT DOESNT MATTER IF YOU ARE TRANSGENDER OR NOT.
Rather than address the fact that there is no mechanism in place to test whether someone is transgender they instead say " you hate transgender people". no, I don't want men in women's rooms looking at women. And if you make it easy for them to do so, they will take advantage of it.
Obama today just dictated a change to title IX. And again, schools can't even ask those who would assert they are a certain identity to prove they are. So it simply opens up all locker rooms and even sports teams to men. and they don't even have to offer proof. In fact the school CANT ask them. This is ludicrous!
On top of thst, Obama simply dictated it as if he's a king. The president doesn't have this sort of power, and yet he just asserts it as a mandate. this is tyranny, plain and simple.

jr565 said...

"
I wonder how far that argument for facial plastic surgery would go. What about women who are unhappy that their facial features aren't feminine enough or the man whose features are not masculine enough? How much health insurance money could go into shaving bone off women's jaws and sticking chin implants on men? And once it's all paid for, what will people look like? How big will a man's chin need to be before he'll feel he looks as masculine as he feels he is? I'm picturing hordes of men with immense jutting jaws and women with pointy little anime chins. If only there were unlimited money."

so you are drawing a line at facial reconstruction? But not, saying removing a woman's uterus and fashioning her with a makeshift penis. THAT should be covered by health insurance. Seriously, why stop there. They don't feel pretty enough. If they don't get the facial reconstruction they might kill themselves! It's a mental health issue!

damikesc said...

I wonder if gays realize how much this tranny nonsense KILLS one of their core claims. Huge error in allowing the lunatics to hitch their wagon to your movement, but c'est la vie. Confederate flag sympathizers made similar idiotic decisions.

They claim they have no power over their urges because they were "born this way".

Yet trannies were born as men and women and "self-identify" as the opposite sex. No "born this way" bullshit here and we're EXPECTED to humor the delusion.

Either you cannot control your biological urges imposed on you at birth...or you can. Either gays can become straight (self-identify as straight, to use the vernacular) or trannies cannot possibly "identify" as the opposite sex because they were born the sex they were.