Ronald Gold

"No" to the notion of transgender

Filed By Ronald Gold | December 10, 2009 4:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: gender identity disorder, gender roles, mental illness, psychiatry, transgender

This post has been removed. See: Upon further reflection and deliberation, if you want to know more.

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Well, if you wanted to get some attention for your first post, this was the way to do it. People respond to someone who tells them that they, as a segment of the community, that they don't exist, that they're just delusional, and that you know more about their desires, identity, and neurology than they or the various organizations that deal with actual medical science do.

I'm sure others will go through your piece in more detail and pose some significant "Um, where's your proof? Like, at all?"s, but I wanted to ask the big one: why? If everyone's deluded about transsexualism/transgenderism (I don't see you making much of a distinction between the two), why? Is the conspiracy for money? Power? Because it seems like quite a vast conspiracy and quite a bit of wasted resources if the only reason it's happening is just to fuck with people's minds.

It reminds of those rumors of the "homosexual conspiracy" (comparisons between "rejecting" transsexuality and "rejecting" homosexuality will probably also appear later in the thread), and I'm always left wondering, if what we're doing is about convincing people we are who we are when they don't think we really are that way, that we're just perverted or whatever, then what's fueling such a conspiracy?

Because as much as you couch your argument in the language of liberation, it's anything but. Consider:

If a man wants to wear a dress or have long hair; if a woman wants short hair and a three-piece suit; if people want romance and sex with their own gender; who says they can’t violate these perfectly arbitrary taboos?

And yet your entire piece is about enforcing arbitrary taboos. There's nothing liberatory about telling a man who was born into a woman's body that he must be referred to with pronouns that deny who he is like "she" or that he can't get the medical attention he needs to live as who he is. Keeping someone from living their lives as they know they should because you have a negative reaction to thoughts of losing your "pecker" doesn't promote freedom. It's quite the opposite.

Oh, and about misgendering Jan Morris... class.

To be honest, I was reading the piece and waitng for the punch line -- the pay off from the paraody. From the opening paragraph of describing trans people as either those akin to drag queens or as transsexuals (no acknowlegement of genderqueers, crossdressers who don't see crossdressing as performance art for drag shows, gender fluidity, etc.), I thought I was going to get some satire payoff. Alex, you gave us some satire of late with a payoff -- that's what I thought this was going to be.

But no. Daniel Gold's piece is full of ignorance of the diversity of trans experience, full of stereotyping, and completes in calling trans people like me basically having a delutional personal and community identity.

If Daniel Gold continues to post here as an LGBT author, please don't count on me reading Bilerico anymore. There are enough LGBT websites I can go to that fail to embrace the wonderful, broad diversity of my trans community -- and the rest of the LGBT community, for that matter -- and tell me directly or indirectly that trans existance is delusional. And, deny the identity of that people like me who embrace the socio-political concept of transgender.

So where does that put the concept of transgender? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how "transsexuals" got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas. I hope I'll be forgiven for rejecting as just plain silly the idea that some cosmic accident just turned these people into changelings. What happened, more than likely, is that, from an early age, when they discovered that their personalities didn't jibe with what little boys and girls are supposed to want and do and feel, they just assumed they mustn't be real little boys and girls.

Before writing another piece that begins in such a place of apparented bigoted ignorance, Ronald Gold should read Zoe Brain's collection of studies and information regarding brains -- especially her starter piece Bigender And The Brain.

Seriously, at a blogsite that has a history of embracing the diversity of the LGBT community, what is Bilerico doing posting this piece of antitrans sentiment without an opening disclaimer that it's an opposing viewpoint? At this blogsite, without a disclaimer, this post just strikes me as plain offensive and wrong.

So does this clown have a degree in human biology? It's not only offensive, but he offers absolutely no evidence whatsoever for his claims. As far as I am aware, biologists, psychologists and anthropologists have rejected the notion that human brains are just blank slates, or that there are no psychological differences whatsoever between males and females.

From a psychiatric perspective, transsexuality is regarded as a natural phenomenon, and while the diagnosis of "gender identity disorder" is controversial, nevertheless, reputable doctors certainly do not treat transsexuality by telling the transsexual person to get over it, it's all in their head. That's more akin to what the bigoted Christian right would advocate.

I've read some stupid shit on bilerico, but this one is especially embarrassing.

Mr. Gold, we are working toward a BETTER understanding of trans people and issues, and fighting for equality for all LGBT people. If you aren't going to help, then at least don't be a burden. Get the hell out of the way and keep your uninformed musings to yourself.

Alex, I wonder if, in the distant future, after the smoke clears, when our history is written, he may not be proven right. The folks who find him offensive are vociferous and clamorous but that does not make them any more perceptive. This discussion should continue.

This wasn't a discussion. It was a diatribe meant to demean and dehumanize trans people.

Judas Peckerwood | December 11, 2009 1:35 AM

Yup, just another bigot.

So is this the thread where all of Bilerico's closet transphobes come out of the woodwork, or what?

You're right about one thing. Regarding the many trans people speaking up here saying "um, you're actually very incorrect": what makes us more "perceptive" is neither our "vociferousness" nor our "clamourousness", but the fact that we have direct first-hand experience with being trans, unlike the cis author of this post. In addition to first-hand experience, we also have science on our side.

The sheer amount of ignorance on display here is stunning. I cannot believe you'd support it with a "well, those trannies sure are noisy, but WHAT IF HE'S RIGHT".

And while we're at it, perhaps we should allow posts that explain how homosexuality is a choice and is therefore invalid. Or about how all child molesters are gay. Would that piss you off?

Alex, I wonder if, in the distant future, after the smoke clears, when our history is written, he may not be proven right
As much chance of that as there is that the Earth is flat after all.

Father Tony, please do some reading on the subject.

A good reading list is here - which attempts to give a variety of views on the subject. Some of the neuroanatomy may be fairly hard going though.

A more simplified explanation - though of only one viewpoint, is Prof Ecker's Presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.

I figure anyone who has ever heard a confession is probably at least as au fait with such issues as Psychiatrists.

As a Catholic, you may wish to have a look at the discussion What is the Church's position on the Intersexed and Transsexed? as well. There are references to much of the Science, as well as a very insightful opinion from a Canon Lawyer.

Father T, it's not as if there isn't any evidence, or that the matter is controversial to biologists. It's more a matter of the word not having gotten out. There are still (literal) platygeans in the world, even now.

Father Tony implies by his comment that in some way he and I are the same - that in effect, I am a gay man who made some strange choices, or worse, was compelled by social pressures to express myself in a dishonest way.

Trust me, Tony - you and I have *nothing whatever* in common... and the disjoint that your comment reveals is why so many trans people distrust and reject the entire notion of lgbT alliance.

Dear Folks,

As I have often said here on Bilerico, I have gained a deep appreciation for what I DO NOT KNOW about the trans experience.

I continue to value your enlightening words, but I will not hide my sincere interest in points of view that are opposed to many who comment herein.

I do not think that Ron is a bigot or a hateful person. I don't think I am either. Some of you have a tendency to turn this "Comments" field into the island in "Lord of the Flies". Frenzied, you seek to kill. I have no taste for that, and I call shame on it.

We are each imperfect, but dissatisfaction with our imperfections does not mean cutting off our own heads.

Read Tale of Two Cities again. Do you look a bit like the mob pushing the carts toward the guillotine for careless and wholesale beheading? Don't you have enough real enemies in the shadows? Are you frustrated because you can't get at them, so you attack the voices that are really not against you?

These points of view are not academic exercises for us. When trans people talk about how the very same words that Ronald Gold uses in his post are used to justify abusing us, denying us housing, jobs, used to justify rape and murder, we are not exaggerating.

It's really problematic to tell people who have been hit with hate speech that denies every aspect of their personal lives and realities that they're too angry and mean because they're not willing to have this conversation with the umpteenth person who thinks he's bringing some kind of special insight to people he assumes are unsophisticated and uncritical of gender and gender roles (that is, trans people).

Further, I do not believe that Ronald Gold is not against trans people. Read his post again: He does not want trans people to transition. he calls us deluded and mutilated. He deliberately misgenders the trans woman he names (Jan Morris), he mischaracterizes her reasons for transition into the most superficial of reasons. And he says transgender does not exist. Are these truly the words of a friend? Of someone who has trans people's interests at heart?

How would you react if you saw these words stated about gay men?

Also, this?

Alex, I wonder if, in the distant future, after the smoke clears, when our history is written, he may not be proven right.

He won't be proven right. You can observe any trans person's life, ask any trans person what they feel, think, how they live, and you won't come near the kind of life or person that Gold attempts to describe in this post. He's just plain wrong. I don't need to entertain his opinions and discuss them to reject them. I've dealt with these same opinions over and over again. my blog is dedicated to refuting the kind of things he says, because so many cis people repeat it over and over. He brings nothing new to the discussion, but what he does bring is deeply unpleasant to trans people.

And with that in mind, it's incredibly tacky for you to criticize trans people for being upset at his hateful and bigoted words. I do not even care whether Ronald Gold is hateful and bigoted in his heart of hearts, I only care about what he's said, and what he said was terrible.

Dear Lisa,
Being called bigoted, hateful, privileged and ignorant is painful enough, but "tacky"? That's hitting below the belt. :)

And telling somebody that what they've read isn't abusive when it is -- what's that?

Tony, given the severity of the provocation, the tenor of the vast majority of the comments here have been spectacularly restrained - in no small part because trans people have been so often derided as shrieking meemies every time they respond with any degree of emotional honesty. So please don't toss out that red herring.

Whether or not Gold is "really" bigoted or hateful is beside the point. What he wrote was deliberately inflammatory, did little to invite "reasoned" response, and failed utterly in any presumed "good intent." That the comments have been, by and large, so much more thoughtful and substantive than his initial entry - and that his only followup so far actually managed to be *less* evident of any consideration on his part than his original post - renders your analogy of the trans respondents here to mobs with pitchforks not only moot but peevish and self-serving.

Dear Val,

I wonder if he was being "deliberately inflammatory" as you suggest. That may be the most important focus. If that is what he was doing, I'm disappointed.

I presume that Mr. Gold is a well-functioning adult. I therefore give him the credit of awareness of how his language operates and is received.

I think it is quite evident that his provocation was quite deliberately as inflammatory as it was received. In fact, I think that was the entire structure and purpose of the piece: to stir up, by means of a pugnacious posture, a "lively" discussion on a topic about which he has strong, though ill-informed opinions.

It is quite frankly a hack gambit only one step removed from outright bullying.

Tony, with all respect, you don't have to be a hateful person, or even a bigot, to spew the kind of ignorance that underlies all the hate and bigotry trans people face. I reject the suggestion that Ronald Gold is an ally. At best, he's a well-intended ignoramus - too presumptuous to bother learning before he speaks, and too thoughtless to bother learning before he speaks about something so personal and high-stakes as this. Honestly, trans identity and how it's understood is often a matter of life and death. Someone who knows so little about something SO important should be asking, not telling.

This kind of ignorance, and the attitude that sustains it, is part of the problem.

"Frenzied, you seek to kill." Flair for the dramatic much? Calling out somebody for ignorance is not homicidal. It's actually a more violent act for the author to spout ignorance on an identity that's so stigmatized, people are regularly murdered for it.

As angry as I am with your misguided post, I recognize that you're interested in open dialogue, respect, and open, careful examination of hot topics. I agree this is important. The author obviously didn't write in that spirit of careful, respectful dialogue and study. People are responding to that, and rightly so. But I share your wish for our community to have a better dialogue than this one.

In solidarity-
Matt Smith
self-appointed cis ally

Yes, Matt, I do have a flair for the dramatic, and thanks for not throwing any knives as I rotate on this carnival wheel.

Gina Grahame | December 11, 2009 2:28 AM

Hi Ron,

Given your beliefs about transexualism, I assume you believe people who complain of back pain or migraines, are either faking or delusional, right?..

How do you align your 'only seeing is believing' stand with God and the Bible?

I can see what you're leading to, Ronald, but I don't think you've expressed it very well. Words about "peckers," "mutilation," and "deluded" send a very powerful message of rejection and derision and I don't think that was your point.

I think the basis behind your post is very queer liberation actually and it reminds me of contributor Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore's assertions that gender is too binary and our language isn't fluent enough to handle the vast middle ground between the two poles.

I can see your point that gender identity isn't based on genitalia and gender roles force into an either/or paradigm that should be avoided, but the basic fact that gender identity exists - that human beings tend to identify more with one gender or another - shouldn't be overlooked and dismissed so casually.


Mr. Gold and all like him should be forced to sit and listen to group therapy sessions that I need to attend to undo the damage he and other bigots like him have done to us!

Fortunately he and his generation are slowly dying off and this ignorance and bigotry will die with them!

The only good thing about Mr. Gold's post is that it rips the scab off the wounds inflicted over the years by many Gay men and lesbian women in quiet collusion with gender congruent heterosexuals roughly his age!

Mr. Gold… Read carefully and think (if you can or ever have)!

You actually owe the existence of the computer you wrote your hateful words on to a brilliant Trans-Woman! All computers, PC’s, MAC’s even the servers that have replaced big mainframes owe their existence to this same brilliant Trans-Woman! She was fired from IBM, nearly committed suicide, lost her family and so-call friends simply because she, like me had to correct the incongruence!

LGBT, we are all born the way we are and therefore guaranteed as a birthright to all the rights, protections and privileges of our constitution and its bill of rights! There is no “abnormal” when it comes to sexual orientation and/or gender identity! Our species evolved this way and all of us owe each other love, respect and complete acceptance. Science is now beginning to prove what all of us in the LGBT community have always known… We’re born the way we are!

I suspect Mr. Gold that you are as bigoted against bisexual people as you seem to be against my transgendered sisters and brothers I’m transsexual and lesbian but so many more are transgendered. Being transgendered is to gender identity what bisexuality is to sexual orientation! Bisexual people are quite likely the majority of us on this planet yet many older lesbian women and gay men ridicule them!

To all of you under the age of 50 reading this, remember that ignorance is always the root of bigotry and hatred!

Judas Peckerwood | December 11, 2009 1:26 AM

Amen, sister. It's sad to think that progress will only come as the bigots -- of all stripes -- die off, but I've come to accept that as our only chance to secure equality and respect for all. I only hope it comes to pass, sooner rather than later.


I'm afraid you have more faith in people's good intentions than I do. I know trans topics tend to generate a lot of heat, and I welcome those discussions normally, but this is the equivalent of having a Fred Phelps post on the front page of this website speaking on the validity of gay identity. It really makes me question whether I want to continue reading at all.

i like this response to this post because it allows for someone to have a personal opinion without bashing them for having it. i also think that the right idea is there but perhaps more education is needed by the transgender community.

i am FTM going on 9 years in transition and i have always stated that i was born into exactly the right body for my journey in this life. had i been identified male at birth i would have been MTF. im simply supposed to experience both genders in this life and i am. so i already think differently than most transgender people.

i also do not think that surgery "makes or breaks" a transgender person. as is said and stated a great deal "genitalia doesnt make a man or woman either" and yet in the same sentence or thought transgender people will say that they have to have surgery to feel "complete".

and i agree with this person about doctors and therapists to a degree. it is a must that transgender people have a professional to go to to talk and work things out and that it is determined to be right for them and there isnt something else going on. that being said, a lot of doctors and psychiatrists abuse their power and take advantage of transgender people to get as much money out of them as they can. i have had personal experience with this. my first therapist was a gay man who told me that he would never approve me for hormones because he didnt like "ftm's invading his community". but he also said that he knew i had to have therapy to ever be eligible for hormones so i should just keep coming back to him until he might change his mind. i moved on.

if it is required that transgender people see professionals in order to get "permission to change their bodies" then the professionals should be REQUIRED TO BE PROFESSIONAL! and there should be instant and harsh consequences for unprofessional behavior. this begins with being REPORTED!!!

a balance must be made and the standards of care must reflect that balance.

a professional must NOT BE ABLE to treat transgender persons without having attended specific training in such care and have a damn certificate to PROVE IT.

transgender people are held accountable for their actions of going around the system. the system must be held accountable for making transgender people have to go around it.


Words about "peckers," "mutilation," and "deluded" send a very powerful message of rejection and derision and I don't think that was your point.

I rather got the opposite impression, that that was exactly what his point was.

I think we should let Mr Gold speak for himself on that one, Bil, in a follow up or a comment reply. I don't think either of us should speak for him.


You can’t just grasp at any straw of accepting gender variance and say that it makes an entire haystack of transphobia actually “queer liberation.” By that logic, therapists who claim to be helping queer folks become straight are shining stars of queer liberation because they’re working with the notion that sexuality is fluid and can change over time.

I think there’s about 182 comments on this post right now, but I just want to add one thing that I don’t think has been said yet - what gender people are assigned at birth is just a guess that their parents make, based on the way their society thinks about gender and what they expect will fit best for their child. White U.S. cultural norms lead parents to make a bunch of assumptions about their children based on whether they have innie bits or outie bits (a lot of other cultures assign gender that way too, but I want to be clear that gender means different things in different cultures and that what white people do is not a universal norm). This is one of the many guesses and assumptions that parents make about what their kids will be like when they get older and what kind of things they will need and want, and as anyone who’s ever had a child – or been a child – knows, a whole bunch of those are going to be wrong. Parents aren’t bad for incorrectly guessing their child’s gender, or food preferences, or what toys they’ll like, or what they’ll major in in college – babies don’t give you much to go on at first, and the important thing is that parents believe their kids when they say “Mom, I like the whale book better than the dinosaur book” or “actually, Dad, I’m a boy,” even if on first inspection they seemed to be more of a female paleontologist type. So when a parent looks at their newborn and goes “hmm, this one’s got innie bits, so I guess she’s a girl,” that doesn’t mean that that parent’s assignment has some kind of inherent correctness that overrides whatever the child eventually figures out about their own gender.

Oh, and I have to confess a terrible desire to insist that Ron Gold is a woman, regardless of what he says. Intentional misgendering is mean, nasty, oppressive and inappropriate under all circumstances, but I can’t help think that he thinks it’s a good thing to do to other people, so maybe he’ll *like* it…

before the drama we know will ensue gets started...

as a gay and transgender person who works on HIV issues in my free time and for an LGBT org during the day, i know a ton of cisgender gay men who are very knowledgeable and great trans allies. let's focus on building bridges, on both sides. the momentum is already there in a growing number of cities, on both sides.

hope everyone keeps it respectful and remembers that this guy doesn't speak for all gay men, just himself.

Thank you. I was wondering when on earth someone would point out that gay trans people DO exist. Now if only more people (of all genders and sexualities) would actually remember to take us into consideration before making sweeping judgements.

Nice to know the multitudinous negative things I'd heard about the author of this post did not appear to have been exaggerations.

I am curious, though...

Does Norah Vincent ghostwrite for you? Or is it the other way around? Or do you get together with Alice Dreger, Michael Bailey, Jim Fouratt, Janice Raymond and Alix Dobkin and play spin the transphobe to see who gets writing credit for the turd of the day?

Its easy to lose track because you all sound alike.

Remember the GAA split from the GLF led to the GAA being among the first of the organizations to focus exclusively on LGB without the T stuff.

To the comments above, I'd just add this: what if "the body they've got," feels so foreign, so absolutely in conflict with who you truly are that it causes major depression and thoughts of suicide? In other words, what if other people's experience isn't the sort of casual conflict with heteronormative gender roles that you describe and is instead a deep anguish caused by the failure of your birth-assigned sex to match up with who you truly are?

What then? Or can you not imagine it because it's different from your own personal experience (which is the main thing I'm taking away from this post)?

Um, err, eh...


Mr. Gold,

Thank you for providing an excellent reason why it is that trans issues consistently get overlooked, ignored, and simply avoided.

In one post, although you likely meant well, you managed to demonstrate a particular kind of thought pattern that is common among those who are older.

That its wrong on so many levels, and seeks to oversimplify something that cannot be made any simpler without loss of comprehension or creation of ignorance, is, well, sorta expected.

The conflation of sex and gender, the commingling of what was thought with what is known, past and future colliding here, now, in the ideas and ways you communicate.

I suspect it will get fairly ugly fairly fast -- be aware that the things you've said here are, quite literally, saying that transfolk are simply nuts.

But hey -- cheer up. You just solved an issue I've been having for a couple weeks.

Time to get writing...

I find this completely appalling. So much of this is grossly misinformed that I don't even know where to begin. Have you ever actually spoken to a transsexual person about their experience? Have you ever actually listened?

There is so much more to gender than putting on a dress or a suit or who you sleep with. And reducing transgender to drag/1970's definition transsexuals cuts out such a wide swath of experience. Please, please, educate yourself.

You seem to view medical transition as some terrible, fearful thing that must be avoided at all costs. What is inherently wrong with changing one's body, or one's physical characteristics that denote gender? Why isn't this an "arbitrary taboo" to be violated as well?

And how dare you call my body mutilated. How dare you.

Seriously, Bilerico? I expect better than this. Varying opinions on issues are great, but I don't think my legitimacy as a person is an issue to be debated.

Lucky for me, I did play with boys toys and girl toys, took the time to dress in both genders, and in general attempted to compromise and "accept" my cross-gender feelings in a way that let me continue being a man. Believe you me: we don't _try_ to become transgender, nor do we spend our time lauding some long-lost, inept aspect of socialization. My therapist, my doctor, and myself, upon reflection of these issues, decided that transition was a far cry better than suicide.

By your logic I could argue that homosexuality doesn't exist. Thankfully, I don't need to provide an example to prove my point, as NARTH, Love Won Out, and other virulently anti-gay websites have already done it for me: "homosexuals aren't really gay; they just didn't bond with same sex peers!"

Furthermore, I find it offensive, base, and argued from a position lacking logic, credibility, and emotional candor. Lacking any substance, you instead rely on the very model of gendered behavior you attempt to abhor to write off an entire group of people as being guided by psychologists into a gendered role. Your argument of "it's perfectly possible with the body you've got" is not only ignorant, it is transphobic; it is an attack on the very credibility of transgender diagnoses, and one that I take personally. People like you make it hard for people like me to get the care we _need_; despite your lovely pet theories, and despite my numerous attempts to compromise with the body I was born with, I still ended up a woman.

I fear that, excepting that you can provide proof for your posit, your argument simply does not hold water. I have more vibrant, acrid words I'd care to attach to this, but most aren't fit for printing.

Why did Bilerico let this piece run on an trans-inclusive website? Hell, I write for the thing and I _just don't get why we'd publish this._


Although I whole-heartedly disagree with much of what you wrote, Ronald, I do know what's heading your way now, and I feel for you in that regard!

Just as a preface to the sh*tstorm that will more than likely transpire bellow this comment, let me just say: welcome to Bilerico!

Now now, Phil -- you only got a taste of what's in store, lol. This one is going to rip through stuff for a good week.

This was one of the most horrific things I've read in a while, and I honestly can't believe it is here on TBP. Gold seems to suggest that there is biological gender and then there is personality, and that is all there is.So, if it isn't one, it must be the other. Even a shallow review of biology shows that traits, actions and identity are far more complex than personality or pure physical anatomy.

I saw in Bil's introduction of you as a new BP blogger that you were one of the leaders of the fight to remove homsexuality from the DSMs. From this post, I assume you will be leading the fight to keep gender identity in the DSMs. After all, we're delusional.

I have a question about this, which is coming 100% from a place of being a trans ally and just being ignorant on this particular issue. My question: Don't we want GID to stay in the DSM, so we can continue to try to force insurers to cover transition-related medical expenses?

Ideally, no. We should be able to get the care we need without having a stigmatizing diagnosis as a prerequisite for getting it done and/or paid for. As it stands, practically no insurance plan covers trans-related care even with the GID diagnosis in the DSM, so it's not like removing it is going to hurt us in any case.

I totally understand the second half of your answer, as well as the stigma associated with having your identity defined by the medical community as a "disorder." Here's what I'm not getting: don't you have to have a diagnosable medical condition which requires "treatment" in order to have health insurance cover care? Otherwise, I'd think they'd consider it "elective," like plastic surgery.

Not saying that's how it should be, just thinking that's how it is (and unlikely to change anytime soon). I definitely agree that transgender people should be able to get care they need without being classified as "mentally ill." But I'm just thinking, given the current (broken) system, that you'd need to keep something in the DSM for the few people who need a "diagnosis" for care or otherwise.

Or is it really so few people that it's not even worth it?

Much was posted while I composed my follow-up. I'm with Diane - ignore me. I'm sure there's a better forum for this discussion.

I'm not opposed to there being some kind of diagnosis to base insurance claims on; as things are, the system (which is indeed broken, as you pointed out) requires a diagnosis for treatment to not be considered elective. If we could replace GID with something that doesn't label me as mentally ill, I'd be as happy as if GID got dropped entirely.

Yeah, on the train ride home tonight, I think I finally realized what it was I wasn't getting: it's not about eliminating transition-related diagnoses entirely, it's about getting them out of the DSM, so that they are no longer in the same class as psychosis and borderline personality and are instead in the the same realm as hypothyroidism and high cholesterol. In other words, treating transition-related medical care as physiological treatments rather than psychological ones.

Did the dense cisgendered gay guy finally get it? ;-)

Hey now, you're not dense at all! :)

as a trans person who has had surgery and submitted to insurance they do not and will not cover any expenses, so I would rather not be labeled mentally ill

Insurance almost uniformly does not cover transgender treatment of any kind. Other medical conditions get medical insurance coverage without being in the DSM.

The US isn't the only country that uses the DSM. Taking GID out and not replacing it with something else will hurt Canadian trans people.

And hurt British TS persons. And hurt Scandinavian ones. And Germans. And French.

But narcissistic and ableist (and thus bigoted) Amerikan TS persons don't see that. They just see "ZOMGZORZ!! I AM NOT TEH CRAZY!!!" Which is bullshit.

All current science suggests that TS persons have a neuorlogical irregularity -- and guess what? So do paranoid schizophrenics. And people with genuine bipolar disorder. And autists.

...but then again, I'm not bigoted against any of the other types of people I've listed, so of course I don't see anything wrong with having a neurodisorder. Too bad TS persons are just as likely to be bigoted against SOMEBODY as everybody else is.

All of those conditions meet the definition of a mental illness in the ICD-10 and DSM-IV-TR. GID does not.

Moreover, all of those conditions are recognised as disabilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act. GID is not, it's specifically excluded.

You've just proved that the problem is with the U$ system.


GID [i]does[/i] meet the definition for some form of neurological disorder under the ICD and DSM:

If you continue to insist that it does not, without citing sources from TS-friendly professionals, I will be forced to assume that your objection is from nothing more than deep-seated ableist bigotry.

Furthermore, NO the DSM and ICD classify bipolar disorder as a "mood disorder" not a "mental illness". You just keep getting more and more uninformed and more and more bigoted.

I would like to say that I understand many of the objections to classifying GID in the DSM. However, I certainly do want GID seen as a psychological disorder for the reasons Sam mentions but also because it is the psychological effects of the disorder that make life miserable, for many (though not all) people suffering from it. Recall that there are universal health care systems elsewhere in the world that rely on standards such as the DSM for determining what counts as 'medically necessary'. Removing that classification might deny many people of the health care they require.

It seems to me, too, that Gold is advocating the idea that all GID amounts to is feeling that 'society' frowns on the sorts of stereotypical attributes of the other sex. It strikes me that it is afar more ramified and complicated condition than that. He says, "that whatever they're feeling, or feel like doing, it's perfectly possible with the bodies they've got.' Seeing as I can think of several things off the top of my head that women can do that men cannot do 'with the bodies they've got', I would suggest to Gold that he has either a feeble imagination or he classifies activities too broadly.

Please ignore my claims about the desirability of having GID in the DSM. There are lots of views here; let's stay on topic. I'd edit them out if I could.

No, we want TG/TS people to get therapy for depression caused by an ignorant, often bigoted society, then HRT and GRS when needed to help mitigate the incongruence. We're not mentally ill, we have physical conditions that insurance must be forced to cover!

I'm not even going to read the rest of the responses to this side-track, cos it usually ends in nonsense.

All I have to say is that is DSM listing meant that people were "delusional", then people with Down Syndrome must be "delusional". If anything about TS listing in the DSM needs to change, it's categorisation, description, and US suggested care.

In most other countries that use DSM listing to provide care, TS persons listed in the DSM is a relative non-issue -- the UK, Canada, Iceland, and other countries rely on DSM listing to provide TS persons with HRT and surgical procedures; these countries also tend to cover TS procedures under their NHS. The U$, on the other hand, recommends "reparitive counselling" due to a long and ugly history of the now-closed "gender clinic" system, a system that reigned over TS care in the 1960s and 1970s U$, and which was almost definitely abusive, but which closed before proper investigation could be performed.

Though the NHS TS services of non-U$ countries are still often a far cry from perfect, it can still be agreed to be superior to the standards of care afforded to TS persons in the U$ -- so in these DSM-relying countries, obviously DSM-invlusivity is a complete non-issue. Furthermore, removal from the DSM may put the transition status of TS persons in those countries in jeopardy, especially if there is no safeguard put in place to otherwise guarantee transition.

...but hey, Amerikans kind of have a surplus on the narcissism and fighting to see who can shoot oneself in the foot, first.

me thinks maybe ronald needs to read 'coming out straight' and some cuddle therapy to resolve his issues. since he got the answers for the whole 'trans' thing wrapped up, he can listen to another, who has got the 'gay' thing figured.

Ronald, your qualification of everything you said above with the assertion that you say, "No to the notion of transgender does not excuse discrimination against cross-dressers or post-op "transsexuals" in employment, housing and public accommodation; and I strongly support legislation that would forbid it," is disingenuous at best, laughable at worst.
Right, sure. I just bet that you support an INCLUSIVE ENDA, and it is purely coincidental that you picked right now to post this.

Wow, Ron! Just what the world needs: yet another person who feels compelled to loudly cry "I know that your experience is invalid (because it's not MY experience)!"

I sensed you were heading down the tubes when you describe the "two types" of transpeople: the "drag cartoons" and the "stuck in the wrong bodies." Believe me when I say that there are a lot of other ways of experiencing being trans.

I get what you're saying about loosening up gender roles so that ALL people might express themselves more freely. But trashing the existing labels/categories entirely is not helpful. It's downright offensive.

Are you sure you're not Janice Raymond in drag?

Janice Raymond was an informed bigot.

She did enough research to pick apart the leading theories of the time, including John Money's theories, although she did not present any fully-developed alternative, variously hinting about gender rigidity, fetishism, homophobia, and the ways patriarchal institutions could use control of gender transition resources.

Ronald Gold is just uninformed.

Im not gonna sit here and quote all your mistakes, Im just gonna say this. You clearly have no idea what your talking about. If you had actually researched fully the subject of being transgendered or being a transsexual, you wouldn't be posting this garbage. Don't just form your opinions based on the processed crap the media feeds you and don't try to tell people how to live their lives.

So congratulations, you've managed to piss off pretty much the whole trans community.

And this from a gay man? Incredible.

Wow. Rhetorical question: do you actually know ANY trans people? Did you talk to even one of us in coming up with your proclamation of what our lives mean? Because it's blindingly obvious that you don't get it. Your article's content is 90% stereotypes of trans people, with misrepresentation of our words and lives making up most of the remainder.

To continue (I accidentally hit the "post" button before I could finish up): You don't HAVE to like us. You don't HAVE to educate yourself on our issues. But if you want to be seen as anything but a two-dimensional caricature of a '70s era anti-trans bigot, you might just want to take the time to do a little learning before opening your mouth next time.

Somebody help me, I've been teleported back to 1980!

Why does this man think he has any insight into trans experience, or for that matter gender?

Cis LGB's largely do hate us, and we're reminded of this again and again. Seriously, what the hell?

Why does this man think he has any insight into trans experience, or for that matter gender?

Judging by his remarks about mutilation and peckers and stuff, I'd say that it has something to do with projecting unresolved castration anxiety...

If the intent of your post was to dehumanize trangender people and communities everywhere, then CONGRATULATIONS! You did a great job.

There are so many things I want to say about all of the inaccurate and horrific things you wrote, but I will stick to this: transgender is no more of a binary (as you wrote, drag kings/queens and transsexuals) than gender is as a whole. There are a multitude of identities that fall under the transgender umbrella, including genderqueer, two-spirit, butch, bi-gender, third gender, androgynous, femme and many others.

Please educate yourself on transgender people and issues before you write about them. The National Center for Transgender Equality has some great information and resources on understanding transgender people, and I suggest you read them.

I am at a loss for words. We don't need enemies when we've got 'allies' like you. But, I digress.

It's easy to see how you could go down that road. But there's a fundamental flaw in your argument.In your second paragraph, you say that "if it's not genitalia, then it must be personality" (emphasis mine). And were that true, your argument would have worked. But for that argument to have worked, you would have to assume that there really are personality traits that are exclusively male or exclusively female, which you so succinctly negated immediately following the infamous line. And likewise, just as there are a broad range of personalities across genders in cisgender people, there are a broad range of personalities in transgender people too. Some transwomen are more feminine, some more masculine, and some are in between. The same goes for transmen, and genderqueer people as well. So you see, I agree with you when you say personality is not a function of gender.

The problem is, you don't consider any other possible alternatives. You're essentially using the same logic Bush used with his own oh-so-infamous line, "you're either with us, or you're with the terrorists." This sort of black-and-white thinking is very destructive.

As a transwoman, I will speak to my personal experience. What pushed me to transition had nothing to do with my personality whatsoever. What did push me was the overwhelming discomfort leading to anxiety (in medical language it's called dysphoria) over how others perceived me in terms of my gender. This anxiety was severe enough as to make it very difficult to function in society. Once I transitioned, this anxiety lessend and I went from a very dysfunctional person, to someone that now can thrive in society.

There's a real problem in our society, with people projecting their experiences onto others. That is, we assume that because we experience life a certain way, everyone else does too. But if we follow this thinking, it leads to misunderstanding and oppression. The truth is, that we each experience life uniquely, and what may be true for one person may not be true for another.

Ronald, you are one person, who I assume has never experienced the intense feeling of gender dysphoria. I have. Who has the more credibility here?

Oh dear Christ.

Well on the plus side at least for once it's a gay man doing that level/type of fail, I do get tired of being "represented" as a cis dyke by the likes of Julie Bindel etc etc etc ad nauseum.

Bilerico? Did you really need to fail on this score, AGAIN?

and if this really was mostly an attempt to pull attention, that's almost even more loathsome. Here's a hint: write something original and interesting. It might take longer but it'll give you better karma than using people even more marginalized than you as a trampoline for your ego and ignorance.

no, getting any response at all is NOT a good thing. Really. You fucked up.

WOW, and your first post too,
a few more like this and you will quickly become redundant. if you are not already.

I'm curious as to what you'd say to the people who say "I have a penis but I'd like to have sex with my vagina instead." How, exactly, do you propose that this is "perfectly possible with the bodies they've got"?

I'll give you credit for one point: personality and gender are orthogonal. Gender is a social construct, and as such to speak of "transgender" is, at least from one viewpoint, to speak of a social and cultural maladjustment, not a personal one. I can see the arguments in favor of this, and I've been known to make them myself, often as a lead-in towards the deconstruction of the sex-gender connection. So, at least for this much, I can accept your comments.

However, having made the assertion that personality and gender are unlinked, you promptly dive into "transsexuality is an artificial construct" and "surgery is mutilation" without ever stopping to realize that just as personality and gender are unlinked, so too are sex and gender, and you blithely equivocate between the two in your post. A person may not only think, "I am being treated incorrectly in society" but "I am possessed of an incorrect set of physical sex characteristics," and this latter view has shown remarkable resistance to psychological therapy, to be nice about it.

I can't wait to hear how you tackle things like intersexuality, body-integrity identity disorder, and morphological freedom as a sapient right.

I also think that anybody who gave Austen any guff for her posts owes her an apology. This is almost exactly the kind of message that she said prompted her to write her views. From a narrowly-focused political assessment, this is about the worst possible thing that a popular GLBT site ought to be letting on its front page, because it endorses the rationalization of T-marginalization in support of the GLB movement, which is precisely what Austen was trying to call out as wrong, dangerous, and harmful. And now here it is, presented unironically by somebody who was just warmly welcomed to speak his mind in for everyone to see. Uncool.

You know, I'm glad other people above me were polite so I don't have to be.

Mr Gold, I invite you to step right off and confine yourself to topics you actually have an understanding of.

Besides, don't you know being gay was once considered delusional? Oh right, you do. Funny that.

But hey, at least I know I can ignore your "contributions" with impunity.

Judas Peckerwood | December 11, 2009 1:42 AM

Seriously, can we all just agree right now to boycott reading and commenting on all future posts from this anti-trans bigot?

oh and by the way, 'phony medical model to invent a disease that doesn't exist'.. since when has being Trans a disease? could I be passing this disease to others? should I be quarantined? maybe a face mask?

maybe this disease is so bad my penis will fall off. (one could only hope to save that kinda money.)

Ah, here we are, back with another version of the infamous "Questioning Transgender."

We really are the perennial scapegoat of radical gender politics, always the ready footstool of someone else's belligerent "pride".

No matter. Mr. Gold is evidently of an older, and thankfully passing generation of gay and lesbian activists. His relevance is minor, and he serves here only to illuminate this site's extraordinarily poor judgment.

Seriously, Bilerico? This guy is a new writer here? This vicious apparently willfully ignorant person? I know half a dozen folks off the top of my head who have more insight & less WTF-ness. AND they're better writers.
It's painfully ironic that this man can spew such negative nonsense, but we are urged here in the comments to keep it "respectful." I refuse to respect someone who knows so little, yet has so many opinions, about my life. Nor will I attempt to engage such a person in discussion; I'd as soon waste my time "proving" the world is round.
I haven't been 'round here in a while because some of the past "wars" over trans issues just made my heart ache. But someone said I had to see this crap. Apparently this is just another place where the "T" in LGB(t) is considered optional. So be it; it's not my blog. I'm outta here.

Mr. Gold,
I find myself at a loss for words, so naturally there are a few things I need to say. I am a transman (FTM) who began life as a girl who played with trucks and mud and continued to do so. I didn't change my body to reap cultural benefits or to become a *real* man. I changed my body because there were days when I couldn't be in a room alone with myself in the body I was in at the time. It was so incongruent with my soul, with what I knew in my gut.

Imagine that someone told you that you could no longer be a music lover. Using the model from your article, I anticipate you'd call this a form of personality, but as music lovers, you and I both know that underneath the desire for music is a soul that yearns to listen and that cannot be swayed from its course to that fact. No LPs? Okay, we'll use CDs. Growing hard of hearing? Okay, we'll use vibrations or light and colors.

Simply put, Mr. Gold, my soul yearned to see its maleness reflected. Now that it is, my soul is calm and content. All this said, I hope you and your partner are able to resolve the immigration issue. You see, I'm supportive of other people's happiness to the degree that it's life-sustaining to them and their community (and especially when I'm not directly impacted.) Maybe there's a lesson in there.


Riley, my first thought was to "forgive him for he (Mr. Gold) knows not what he does!" Mr. Gold's age says allot about this but he's lived this long and refuses to think! President Obama spoke today of necessary wars… I think this is one of them. This war of words against ignorance and bigotry must continue until all the ignorant bigots are dead (of natural causes)!

"Besides, don't you know being gay was once considered delusional? Oh right, you do. Funny that."

Inorite? -headdesk- -headdesk- -headfuckingdesk-

It's too bad, you know, back then, they listened to people who were -actually gay- talking about their -own experience- rather than a bunch of ignorant-ass "experts" who were mainly concerned with their own agenda.

Of course, turning around and doing the same thing to trans folk is TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

Cause, gay people can't possible be oppressive to anyone else! Fuck no! And, we only ever have to worry about ourselves! At the same time, everyone else should take our shit completely seriously! Because, well, again, THAT'S TOTALLY DIFFERENT.

Did I mention that you totally fail? Because you do. Fail.

Katherine Lewis | December 10, 2009 5:55 PM

While I do believe in free-speech, I also believe in editorial power. I viewed the thoughts and opinions shared by Bilerico in the highest regard until I read this piece. I fully agree with Jessi. This piece should never have seen the light of day and is showing waning editorial oversight.

Your views on gender are quite similiar to those of UK feminist Julie Bindel.

I am not just how sure that I am as far as accepting your entire decontructionist paradigm, aspecially the sweeping way that you dismiss the medical model on gender and nearly overtly de-legitimise the gender of women of operative history(some of whom are Lesbians and activist colleagues of mine).

You wisely stop short of doing so though, just short enough to maintain some kind of deniability.

Further in your rejection of the clinical sciences you stand proudly alongside of Paul Cameron and some of the more rabid and questionably sane members of the evangelical community.

I am left with the sick feeling that I've just read an arctile reducing the gender identity and legitimacy of women of operative history to play acting or delision, and have done so on an LGBT blog.

I hope that this is not the wave of the future on Bilerico.

Also, and this has probably been covered, but it bears repeating: Ron, cupcake, you need to know that there are a -lot- of folks who are trans AND gay/queer. And/or! femmey or butch, respectively.

As in: there are "flaming" gay trans men, and butch trans gay men; and femme trans dykes, and and butch trans women that are get the idea. Same as with cis people. Amazingly enough. The only difference is, they get yet another layer of shit from ignorant people and/or the system.

But yes, by all means, let's invent some convoluted reasons for why, say, butch trans dykes either don't exist or somehow are STILL reifying the oppressive heteronormative/cisnormative gender system more than, say, you.

Not to mention how it's remotely any of your business in the first place what other people do with their own damn bodies and/or identities.

as a trans man of 9 years i have been asked during a number of presentations if i have ever been discriminated against because i am trans.

my answer is always swift and decisive "mostly from the LGB community". and this is very true.

from a "community" that expects equality and equal rights and to be "treated like everyone else" comes distinct and severe discrimination, phobic behavior, ridicule and downright mean and abusive behavior toward the trans community.

i have heard straight people comment on this to the degree of "if gay people dont accept you then why should we?"

no one can have a true understanding of something without first having personally experienced it. commenting with the illusion of "understanding" is harmful.

no one expects anyone to know everything so if you dont know...ask. then comment about your personal understanding due to proper research.

i do not agree with what you say but i will fight to my death your right to say it.

Thank You!

Unfortunately, there are dynamics which invisibilize butch trans womn and feminine trans men. I am in-between butch and femme and have faced constant pressure to femme up in transition. I can only imagine that many butches face worse.

Dominic Spanglebramble | December 11, 2009 12:31 AM

I myself am a pre-T, possibly non-op FTM.
And I am a Femme.

I am transgender, not because I feel I should adhere to cultural norms for men, not (entirely) because I am fed up with being treated as a lesser human for having a vagina (that certainly hasn't decreased since coming out as transgender thanks in part to people like our dear columnist), and not because I think "gee golly wouldn't it be fun to have people think of me as a sicko".

I am transgender because I wake up in the morning expecting to have a penis, but then I realise that I still don't. I am transgender because I get more of a thrill out of being in the penetrating role during sexual relations, even with men, and a strap-on just doesn't cut it for me.

I am transgender because I am a man.

Amanda in the South Bay | December 10, 2009 6:00 PM

I'm pretty shocked like everyone else is about how offensive and callous this post is.

and the surgeons who use such spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.

I just love it when supposed 'allies' in the LGb community say such nice things about my body and mental health.

A number of issues.

My first reaction was to thank Mr Gold for substituting his ideology for my narrative, so I don't have to form opinions of my own. He knows what I think, and tells me what that is. But to say that is too snarky. Not useful.

The second reaction, looking through the comments, was to be amazed at how few ad-hominem attacks there were. The level of politeness was high, and I hope that this continues.

The third reaction - just because someone's opinion is unpopular doesn't mean it's not true. Mr Gold's queer-theory ideology is an integral part of a substantial proportion of the GLB movement, so yes, Bilerico is justified in publishing it. It's one thing to have a "safe space", another to suppress competing views.

I think it's pretty safe to say that while his opinions may be widely-held in the circle he moves in, they're not shared widely here at Bilerico. And none of the people he's talking about share them. Though of course, by his thesis they're deluded so badly they mutilate themselves, so their opinions can be safely discounted.

The question though is not how popular his opinions are, but how true are they? If they're obviously unsound, we should be able to calmly and matter-of-factly refute them with evidence, not rhetoric.

I think the level of FAIL here is so great that it deserves a full article, rather than just a comment. Heck, it deserves a book.

I'll condense things though and post a separate comment as a preface, if you like. Starting with this comment, not by a psychiatrist, but an MD and professor of urology. An expert in anatomy, biology, and endocrinology:

We spoke for 2 1/2 hours on why cross gender identity was a normal inherited variation of humans. We showed how Transgender Brains think, smell, and hear like the opposite sex.

The fundamental issue is the boundary between the concepts of biological sex, gender role, and gender identity. Medical evidence shows that Gender Identity is part of biological sex based on physical measurements, while Queer theory insists that it must be part of Gender Role for philosophical reasons.

But to logically set out the reasoning to reach those conclusions, and to give the evidence, would, as I said, require a whole article. Not a short one, either.

I'll leave aside the morality of labelling some as "deluded" based on nothing more than a deeply-held philosophical belief system. A Faith-based set of beliefs of what *has* to be so, rather than what is. One thing we all have in common, Mr Gold included, is to be victims of that kind of thinking.

I'd love to see that article, Zoe. But better not post it here. It might cause Mr. Gold to have to reconsider his transphobic views.

I doubt it. Maybe I'm doing him an injustice saying that, but the degree of Fail in his post is so great his views are probably impervious to evidence.

Most people are extraordinarily resistant to having their Faith questioned.

This is why I stopped reading Bilerico months ago - transphobic articles, followed by apologetics by Bil. How sad that this is still the way things go here.

Alright, a few things to say about this.

#1) What you're doing here is inflammatory and horrid. You are completely disregarding and invalidating the experiences of hundreds of thousands of people all over the world, along with a significant percentage of the readership of this blog.

#2) As a trans woman, I actually have to say that I agree with some of what you're saying. Personality is not male or female, and our arbitrary assignments of what is male and what is female is completely absurd.

But that doesn't mean that transsexuality is absurd as well, nor does it mean that there being male and female experiences in the world is absurd. The transsexuals you're describing here are stereotypes of trans people, and not at all representative of most transgender individuals.

Transgender people are every bit as complicated and nuanced as cis people in expressing and experiencing their genders, if not more so, and your post fails to even acknowledge this complexity. Your post fails to acknowledge feminine trans men and masculine trans women. Where does your analysis consider trans women that are extremely butch? Trans women putting on drag king performances?

You, and everyone else that spouts the nonsense that you've put out there today, are alienating a group of people that could be some of your strongest allies. Many trans people yearn for a world where there is less division between the genders and people are free to be themselves however they want. Every trans woman I've ever met fails to fit into the "I have to be a girly girl" mentality. They're skateboarders and rock climbers and martial artists and engineers and rocket scientists and mechanics and electronics geeks and DJs and on and on.

By your logic, we must have "male personalities," eh? And if that's the case, then what in your crazy-ass theory explains why people like us transitioned from male to female? If we were just going to keep being (or in most cases, start being) all rough and tumble tom boys, what was the point of transitioning? Where your's nice neat cis-privileged theory explaining that away, huh?

You're evaluating a situation from afar, looking only at stereotypes. If you actually ever talked to any of us, you'd find that we agree with a hell of a lot of what you're saying, when you're not completely ignoring our experiences and our realities.

#3) What the hell is a transphobic idiot like this doing posting on a trans-friendly blog?! This is absolutely disgusting drivel, inflammatory, and very very hurtful to a significant portion of your readership. I'm absolutely shocked to find this here. When I first saw it, I was convinced it *had* to be a joke, because there was no way that this site could ever let someone like this speak here.

#4) I really really really really really wish someone would start talking about some of the OP's ideas from a non-transphobic point of view. I think that the idea of gender liberation or post-gender societies or whatever goes hand in hand with transgender experiences and philosophy, and a good discussion where people weren't trying to tell us that our realities aren't real would be quite nice to have at some point.

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 3:59 AM

Actually Paradox it's millions. And not just a few millions! Cause he denegrates all non-transsexual transgender people as cartoonish parodies as well as calling Transsexuals deluded. Now thats more than 5% of the population according to the APA and some numbers put it at 12% or more! Just the MtFs of the Tiwi Islands are at 4% of the population there.


Good thing trans people aren't required to get your approval before we are allowed to live our lives the way we want to.

I agree with the other commenter who suggested you look into the ex-gay movement. Their shit smells a lot like this, except they can help you meet Jesus. Isn't that awesome?!

Oh wow. I couldn't possibly know where to begin.

So I and all I know and have experienced are just silly.

If that's the direction this place wants to go, I can pack up my deluded or non-existent self and leave you to your more intelligent discussions.

Wait until tomorrow, ya'll.

Take the opportunity to educate, not excoriate.

(And ya know if *I* am saying that, then the excoriation is coming along later...)

It's very sad that someone with as long and distinguished a career in the movement as Ronald Gold had managed to learn nothing in all those years and is still stuck in an early 70s gay liberationist analysis of who trans people are and why everything we know about ourselves is to be dismissed. It just means that for thirty, maybe forty years, he has not opened his mind to anything that any of us have said, or, equally worrying, begun to understand the notion of solidarity.

It is no good saying that you are in favour of housing for trans people if at the same time you are saying we have no right to our identity, that all we need is some sort of curative therapy to set us on the right path. It is offensive when Rick Warren says it and it is even more offensive when a gay brother says it.

What sort of person describes surgery as mutilation?- That would be someone who wants us to be denied it. Can you not see, Ronald Gold, that by using that inflammatory and defamatory language you are putting yourself in the company of people who would have equally harsh words for you and your life? This is the language of hatred, and of self-hatred.

Trans people need allies that do not think it OK to stab us in the back while claiming to be on our side. I cannot understand why Bilerico thinks it OK to publish a comprehensive assault on trans identity that is so ill-informed and clueless.

I've often recommended this site as trans-friendly and trans-inclusive; it may be all those things, but what it is not, clearly, is trans safe.

I call on the various trans and trans ally contributors to Bilerico to make their disgust at this piece clear.

A well reasoned argument from a completely specious premise.

"Since it's not about genitalia, it must be about personality..." peremptorily excludes other possible explanations.

The general attitude of the writer shows disdain of a group of people that he seems not to understand in the least. But then, transgendered people have come to expect this.

It is disappointing, though, to see such insensitive writing on a putatively supporting forum.

That this has appeared would dissuade me from subscribing.

Amanda in the South Bay | December 10, 2009 7:27 PM

I think its a waste of time, and I don't have the stomach for too much of it, but I'll see if I can pick apart some of what he is saying.

What is transgender? Well, there are two sorts who seem to be covered by the name, the drag kings and queens so good at portraying cartoon imitations of straight people, and transsexuals, the folks who report that from an early age they've felt themselves trapped in the wrong bodies.

Spoken like a true outsider who knows jack shit about terminology, much less of the debates within the trans community over those words. FAIL.

"Despite the equipment they were born with that belies their assertions, they say they are really men or really women."

Denying trans people's identities. Way to go.

it mean to be really a man or a woman? Since it's not about genitalia, it must be about personality

Um, yeah. A good point is raised-what is a man or a woman? And Mr. Gold concludes that if its not about genitals, its about personality! Yep, chromosomes, hormones, gender identity, blah blah blah, who cares about those pesky little things!

Perhaps it isn't needless to say that a No to the notion of transgender does not excuse discrimination against cross-dressers or post-op "transsexuals" in employment, housing and public accommodation;

I assume then that Mr. Gold will be policing women's restrooms with a bunch of rad fems and right wing types who don't want trans women who haven't had gential surgery to use women's restrooms?

And the quotes around transsexual! Arrgh, this is pointless.

Meghan Stabler | December 10, 2009 7:36 PM


A post at 4pm and over 56 comments within 2+ hours?

Ronald, did you read and I really mean READ your post before you hit submit? Our movement, a collective movement needs to move forward, not backwards. The transgender community looks for one small step forward every day with acceptance and legislation, and within your first post for TBP you took a giant leap backward.

Also noteworthy is ZERO response from you to the 50+ comments on your post. Did you just want to hang the bait out there and sit back an watch?

Come on. I accepted your credentials, and history, but maybe you should read up a little on where we are TODAY and the current thought of all the wonderful trans and LGBQA bloggers here at TBP first!

I look forward to reading a mia culpa from you to the community.

Y'know, on the one hand, I can see where he's coming from as far as freeing one's physical presentation from culturally-imposed restrictions based on gender, but then he loses me completely because of his indulgence in distasteful, antiquated stereotypes to make his argument.

Mr. Gold, you may or may not have a valid argument to make, sir, but the way you present it is frankly offensive, and I doubt you're going to win many supporters here that way.

"Mutilated"? "Deluded"? Is that what you really think of us, sir? If so, what are you doing here, where we poor deluded and mutilated transsexuals hang out?

I'm sorry, I tried my very best to be objective about this post, but I can't help but find your manner offensive and frankly an example of the some of the very worst kind of anti-transgender bigotry I think I've ever heard from a fellow LGBT community member, and believe me, I've heard plenty.

Not the way to win friends and influence people here at the Bilerico Project, Mr. Gold. I hope your next post will be considerably more thoughtful and considerate than this one. I can't imagine how this one could be any less so.

Julia Johnson | December 10, 2009 7:43 PM

It is unacceptable that transphobia is presented on any site, particularly a site that sells itself as LBGTQ. Given the policy listed below about "abusive" responses or "personal attacks," I wonder why the authors of these articles are not being held to the same standard. Gold's perspective is transphobic--it doesn't matter whether or not he understands that. The editorial team should monitor posts as it does responses.

In the context of this site, Gold's article is hateful. Imagine a different scenario: On an anti-racist site, if an author were to argue that people of African heritage are intellectually inferior or people of Asian heritage are inherently smarter at math, they would be kicked off the site. On an LGBTQ site, the authors need to demonstrate a keen awareness of the bigotries that their writings should be speaking against instead of being given free reign to articulate perspectives that are part of the systematic oppression of community members.

I request a response from the editorial board so that we can all make a decision whether Bilerico is a site we can continue to support, in whatever ways.

I request a response from the editorial board so that we can all make a decision whether Bilerico is a site we can continue to support, in whatever ways.


And people talking about what he should do in his "next" post?! Bilerico should publish a retraction and apology as they announce Ron won't be writing here anymore, but I fully expect cis LGB's to sell out trans people over hate speech again.

Julia, you can rest assured that every word posted on by a contributor (whether "regular" or "guest blogger") has been reviewed and approved by Bil Browning, Alex Blaze or one of the other editors. I can see no reasonable explanation for approving this article other than to drive internet traffic to this site and, thus, profit from our outrage at this hateful post. Any claim that they simply wanted to provide a different perspective just doesn't wash coming from a site that claims to be trans-inclusive and trans-friendly. Well, now it's trans-hateful.

There are many ways to have a discussion about trans identities that is respectful of all people and their differing ideas and experiences. This post is so far from such a discussion that's it's not even in the same universe.

There's so, so very much to be said here, but I shall bite my tongue and keep it brief and polite.

"Trans people necessarily reify gender binaries", as a meme, is both overplayed and false. It's bad enough to continually run into it in feminist circles, or in comments made by people ignorant of the realities of the trans experience. Seeing a post on Bilerico on the topic is both surprising and disappointing.

There is basically no point to refuting this particular meme here. It's been done time and again to the point that a brief google session should be able to answer your questions on the topic.

The biggest problem with this post, from my perspective, is the (assumed) cis writer's condescending dismissal of the trans experience. Throwing scare quotes around the word "transsexual" every time it comes up is just plain disrespectful. The message it sends is that the writer holds only derision and contempt for the identities of the people he is addressing. Using words like "deluded" to describe transsexual people, or "mutilate" to describe what we do with our bodies only underscores this point.

Crap like this constructs a hostile anti-trans environment, and has in the past resulted in trans people bailing on other blogs (e.g. Feministing).

Ron... Dude... What?

Holy mother of pearl, are you even kidding with this? And hello, editorial team? Anyone? Bueller?

im not going to share "my story"(ugh) to try and get you to see the "human face" of your transphobia (double ugh). My best advice for you is to put the pen down or turn the computer off, and i dont know, go birdwatching or take up chess or something. Get a hobby, fill yourself with the fabulousness that is being alive. And GTFO of other people's beeswax, particularly when you clearly have zero clue WTF you are talking about.

phoenixrisingftm | December 10, 2009 7:56 PM

I'm sorry- let me get this straight. You've received awards in the field of journalism?

As someone who began doing freelance writing for my local paper at the age of 14, I'm appalled by your lack of journalistic integrity. Nothing about this entry shows journalistic skill.

See, here's the problem: When you write an article or an opinion piece, it's important to make sure you know what you are talking about. Even if you don't have access to publications, etc. there's this brilliant thing that has made life easier in terms of research; it's called Google.

Frankly, I'm tired of seeing posts from people who do not identify on the trans spectrum or seem to have any knowledge on the subject. You don't see me writing an article invalidating your gay male identity, do you?

I won't even go down the road of addressing your narrow view of your own community ("Isn't it true that those we form mated relationships with are always complementary - even polar opposites - to ourselves?")

Please educate yourself. There are these fantastic things called books which can help you in this endeavor.

I do not defend Mr. Gold's position, as it is based on false premises. More than enough people have stepped forward to refute his claims to make my additional rejection unnecessary.

I think we also need to have some compassion for Mr. Gold.

I would note that Mr. Gold grew up during a time when psychiatrists deemed gay men and lesbian women abnormal, treating them with electroshock and lobotomies to enforce gender stereotypes. All of us are appalled by people such as J. Michael Bailey, but imagine him with a cattle prod and a icepick, and a medical license to use it on you in 1950. Remember that there was a time in this country, within some of our lifetimes, when to be branded as gay meant being an outcast with no job and no home and no family.

The hatred of some of our LGBT rights pioneers for psychiatry has its roots in terrible abuses that were routine, and continue, though in diminished form, to this day. I reference Dylan Scholanski's excellent book, "The Last Time I Wore A Dress" for more recent manifestations. Psychiatry today is generally (though not always) a more benign profession. But I have compassion (though not agreement) for older people like Mr. Gold who remember when psychiatrists pushed some young people into sex reassignment surgery when it was not appropriate just to avoid the stigma, punishment and violence attendant on being gay. There are young people in places like Iran in similar positions even today. In Iran, I would like to set Mr. Gold free with a machine gun to free these prisoners of medical abusers.

I completely disagree with Mr. Gold's position. I question his place in this blog. I doubt his relevance to today's LGBT community. But I have compassion for him, and I hope and pray that he will use this experience to stop and think, and to learn something, about how the world has changed.

Like the Japanese soldiers who hid in the caves of Guam for decades after WWII was over, afraid to come out, Mr. Gold persists in living in a world that no longer exists. At one time it was brave and challenging to the status quo to say that men have the right to be feminine without needing surgery, and that psychiatrists abuse gay men and lesbian women by forcing sex reassignment on them. That time is long past, vanquished in part by Mr. Gold's brave efforts. That is part of what makes deriding Mr. Gold's post so bittersweet. The hero who could not stop saving people, even against their own will.

Come out, come out, wherever you are, Mr. Gold

Thank you, Dr. Weiss. That really helps put this otherwise bizarre offering in perspective. However, I still don't understand why the *editors* thought that this piece was valuable in some way. What is this supposed to add to the conversation? It's just a more juvenile, less sophisticated form of Janice Raymond, delivered with the smug assurance of a 13 year old who thinks he's come up with the bestest, most original idea ever (gag). Yes, it's hard to muster compassion for the poor guy, but I'll keep trying.

Dear Mr. Gold -

You appear to have, inartfully, and in the most backward way possible, argued that gender is a social construct, and that we ought not to consider transgenderism to be a psychopathology.

These are the only two premises you put forth with which I might agree. For example, if you will follow this link:

You will find some stickers being sold by a brother of mine, asserting that group thin creates gender. Furthermore, just as you yourself pushed to have homosexuality removed as a psychopathology from the DSM, so would many transgender activists such as myself have the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder removed.

That being said, As both a post-operative FtM transsexual, and formerly, an award winning drag king, I must not only assure you that I exist, that the two classes of transgender people that you cite are not mutually exclusive, but that you have actually managed to exclude the majority...and in so doing, revealed your near total ignorance on the subject.

Furthermore, I must point out to you that in placing the word transsexuals in quotes, you have violated the current GLAAD media reference guidelines...of which you yourself wrote the first edition. As such you article comes off not only as bigoted, but as hypocritical.

Yours in the True, Trans, Spirit of Stonewall,
J D "Ox" Freeman
Alabama Gender Alliance

Ronald Gold? Really?

The man who marginalized gay pride events in the 1970s by pushing to bar drag and other groups from participating? The fellow who ran the NGTF that did not even want an "L" in their name? The guy who pushed for a policy best summed up as "we're just like straight people" back in 1975? The very same guy who likely help back the whole of the LGBT community for years?

Honestly, we can do far, far better than falling into stone-age views of our community from the days before AIDS activism, before Harvey Milk, and yes, before the rise of transgender culture.

So Bilerico, when are you going to give blog time to a therapist who believes in curing gays and lesbians and that homosexuality is all in the mind?

I say if you going to publish one kind of bigotry that denies me you should at least have the ovaries to publish another kind of bigotry that more squarely denies gay and lesbian existence...or is that to close too home?

I think it would be interesting to have people comment on the SCUM Manifesto, and how to update Valerie Solanas' ideas for the present day ... but that might offend half the readers.

While I don't normally read Bilerico anymore because of the repeating transphobia (and Bil Browning's appropriation of the Virginia Tech massacre), people should remember that this is the same Ronald Gold who was part of the NGTF/NGLTF whole "We're just like straight people" push and he worked to keep "Drag" (a word that used to include trans people years ago) out of Pride parades in the 1970s. While we could hope that he would have improved since then, it's not like the attitude expressed in this article is new. It's completely consistent with his view of acquiring and recognising the rights of a few "straight-acting" gay people at the expense of others.

When I saw in his introduction Mr. Gold was one of the ones who led the process to remove homosexuality from the DSM, I was encouraged by the thought he might have a unique perspective on the current GID/DSM situation. I could not have been more wrong.

After reading his post and the ensuing comments, two things are painfully obvious: 1) Mr. Gold knows absolutely nothing about transgender issues and 2) Out of 60-odd comments NOT ONE agrees with him (this one included). As someone said, with friends like him, who needs enemies?

Much of what needed to be said has been said before me and it would be redundant of me to repeat it. The fact is Mr. Gold's post appears to be nothing more than an expression of his hateful, negative (and obviously uninformed) feelings about the transgender community in general. It it nothing more than transphobic hate speech and should have never been posted here at Bilerco.

I have never been so insulted and disrespected as a person by an "allegedly" trans-friendly site. The reactions and response will determne whether or not I will continue to read and contribute here. Thank you.

you know what, I cannot read your entire article becuase you dont know what you are talking about, youre writing to "educate" people and you dont even know the facts. Are you transgender? Doesnt sound like it. Are in involved with the community? I highly doubt it. Leave these articles to the folks who know what they are talking about. How can you completely throw away the idea of being transgender BASED ON PERSONALITIES! That is so idiotic. And then you bring it back, by saying that transgender folks must get this idea because their PERSONALITIES dont mix with other little boys or girls. This is stupid. Really. Go write about animals.

Posts like Mr. Gold's actually make it difficult for people like me to feel like they can contribute to a site like Bilerico. I would urge a hasty repudiation by the Bilerico editorial staff of Mr. Gold's statements. It's one thing to have differing opinions, and I understand that Bilerico is a forum on which we are asked to agree/disagree/debate. But it is also supposed to be a safe space. And that cannot be accomplished with virulently anti-trans language exhibited above.

Agreed. If going forward this is what the ed team chooses to identify as "positive intent" for an LGBTQ forum, count me out. I enjoy the platform, but I refuse to share it with slapdash writers looking to write me off as a looney.

The ignorance in this piece is so overwhelming I don't even know where to start. I will just say one thing: since gender identity is not about personality, the whole so-called premise of this article is down the tubes.

I expect this sort of uninformed crap from someone like Julie Bindel, but to see it published in Bilerico? WTF? Seriously, WTF? Is someone asleep at the switch?

Posts like Mr. Gold's actually make it difficult for people like me to feel like they can contribute to a site like Bilerico. I would urge a hasty repudiation by the Bilerico editorial staff of Mr. Gold's statements. It's one thing to have differing opinions, and I understand that Bilerico is a forum on which we are asked to agree/disagree/debate. But it is also supposed to be a safe space. And that cannot be accomplished with virulently anti-trans language exhibited above.

Stephanie M. | December 10, 2009 8:24 PM

I'm one who definately agrees with people being able to voice their own thoughts and opinions, however I must say I was high disappointed in seeing this article, especially on this site which so far while having some moments where education was needed, I've never seen a post that so thooughly disregarded a portion of the community as this.

Honestly my initial reaction was a hope that the editorial team here would pull Mr. Golds access to post, however, it is honestly my hope in some of the reactions that are posted, we will begin to understand that we need to educate not only outside to the non queer community but within the queer community as well about trans people. I also seriously hope that Mr. Gold will take this opportunity to teach himself a few things here.

That said, should such posts continue unabated, I'll be taking my browsing time to a different site which would be a shame as this site has done alot to enlighten me across the entire LGBT spectrum

For discussion sake I'll assume Mr. Gold is correct in his posting. How does he propose to change the minds of over six billion people on earth who believe people tend to feel they are male or female? He'll also need to ensure laws are revised world-wide to accomodate his beliefs. The major world religions will need to be revised to accomodate his viewpoints also. Every employer on earth will need to be advised to get on board with the new paradigm as well.

Oh wait - reality check: it ain't happening folks! So even if he's right hypothetically Mr. Gold is wrong from a practical viewpoint. Unless he is God. If he is, my apologies.

I want to personally ask everyone here please to not judge the entire site by this one post. You know we value free and frank discussion here, as evidenced by this very discussion and many, many, others.

Regardless of whether you're new here, been around a while, or have come back just to post on this after having been absent for a while, I'd ask of you this one consideration:

We have over seventy different contributors here, posting on a wide variety of topics. This is a single post by a single contributor, albeit a pretty upsetting one to be sure. Please don't judge the entire site and all of us who contribute to the Bilerico Project by this one post.

We want your voices here, both when you're in support of what you read here and when you're enraged by it. To me, it's the wide diversity of voices and opinions that makes TBP great and damned proud to be a contributor here.

This post is getting exactly the reaction it deserves because you are here, right now, reacting to it. Please, keep doing precisely that, and keep coming back and doing it, whenever you have something to add to the discussion and to any discussion we have here.

In short, we need you all and we want you here. Don't allow a single offensive post to harm a great community. Instead, let's use it to make our family here at TBP even stronger.


Thanks for listening.

I would hardly be judging this site based on this singular post. I would, instead, be judging this post as representative of the problems which exist with this site.

Note, however, that this site has more trans contributors than any other site of its sort.

Most of whom have commented pretty pointedly on this article here.

This may be true, but then again, "all transsexuals" is a granfaloon. Just because Bilerico has a high percentage of trans writers does not itself mean anything. What interests me is the content and the literary tone, not the people who create it.

Let me put it this way. The two biggest memories of this site that stick out in my mind at this point are
1) my friend Austen, someone I have known for six or so years, gets heaped upon by multiple official "equality" organizations for calling out people like Dr. Gold and their divisiveness in espousing cutting out the T from the GLBT.
2) Dr. Gold's post gets by the editorial filters.

That does not establish a positive narrative about this place in my mind. Based on those two points alone I am neither inclined to remain nor to encourage others to come here. If you continue to post here, that's your business, but it suggests to me a lack of willingness to defend yourself, not an open-minded attitude.

I'll say this once and very loudly. tolerance is transitive, and so too must be intolerance. I am welcoming of any and all viewpoints which are in turn welcoming of mine. I am willing to support any belief which is willing to support mine. I am not willing to endorse an opinion—or a person—that tries to rob me of my identity as Dr. Gold has done. Tolerance of the intolerant is not a virtue. It is a moral flaw borne of that most insidious of rational failures, false balance.

If we are open to the closed, then the closed will dominate, and they will use our openness as the tool by which they assert dominion. We must be closed to the closed, lest we ourselves become complicit in their actions. If we offer tolerance to the intolerant, then we become responsible for giving them a platform from which to spread their intolerance, and thus we become accomplices to their words. We need not ostracize them. We need not exclude them. But we must make it clear that their views are not welcome, because they will not welcome the views of those around them. If they choose to isolate themselves, that is their right and their prerogative, but we cannot collectively allow ourselves to let people like Dr. Gold spread their ignorance and then hide behind the craven shield of "I have a right to my opinion." Down that road lies Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and the intellectual horror that is "Fox News".

I would fully expect a person of Bil's moral standing and social responsibility—as the head moderator and nominal voice of Bilerico—to repudiate Dr. Gold's divisiveness. I would also expect a person such as Dr. Gold to apologize for having voiced such isolating language in a place meant to be known for its welcoming attitudes. That so many of the editors of this place have spoken up against Dr. Gold fills me with some degree of hope that his words will not be seen as having been endorsed by the moderators of the site. I can only hope that the owner of the site—and the owner of the words—will do the same.

"If we offer tolerance to the intolerant, then we become responsible for giving them a platform from which to spread their intolerance, and thus we become accomplices to their words."

WOW, just WOW, I am quite impressed with your argument and the eloquence that exudes from you writing.
I have always felt this but could never put it into words.

Yes, Bilerico has a diverse group of contributors. But this site doesn't allow hate speech against gay men, or supposedly, anyone else. In fact, the rules below say that "slurs" are not allowed. Yet Bilerico endorses this post and its author as worthy of consideration, even though he uses the all too common transphobic slurs that SRS is "mutilation" and that trans people are "deluded." That leads me to question very deeply the sincerity of the supposed support of the editors of this site for trans people and our issues.

The failure of this site to apply its editorial guidelines for comments (abusive or inclusive of Slurs) to what it provides in its front-page and twitter feeds is absolutely intolerable. Please do not remove this post, but let it stand as an honest reference to where Bilerico decides to make a change - or where it does not.

"This post is getting exactly the reaction it deserves because you are here, right now, reacting to it. Please, keep doing precisely that, and keep coming back and doing it, whenever you have something to add to the discussion and to any discussion we have here."

Oh, please. So blatant transphobia is okay because it will create a "reaction", and lots of controversy. And trans people should keep reacting to the transphobia by commenting here? Why the hell should we do that? What's in it for us? To me, this looks like the most cynical kind of editorial maneouvre: encourage specious "debate" because it will increase the Bilerico Project's readership and... get more people angry... and for what? So that TBL has higher web stats at the end of the month.

Let's not pretend that this piece of trash is actual debate. It's provocation, clear and simple. The best way to deal with provocation is to boycott, refrain from comment, and ignore. Don't feed the trolls. And don't feed TBL, surely the most cynical "GLBT friendly" site on the internet.

First, I'm a former, not current, TBP editor, and so I do not speak from that perspective. However, I do have that experience and I have worked with Bil and Alex closely and so I can and will speak from that perspective.

I do not for one moment believe this post was approved for the sole purpose of generating hits. Hell, I was pretty pissed off to be honest because this post has focused everyone's interest here and it seems like few are reading and commenting on anything else on the site right now (including my own latest piece).

I know Bil knew that this post was going to generate controversy. Controversy, however, is not a bad thing. In fact, it makes the discussions here better when there are well-spoken, intelligent people debating important issues.

There is a line, however, between controversial and downright offensive, and that's the line I think has been crossed here.

Were I still an editor and had a vote, I'd vote to dump him. In my opinion, he's crossed not only the line of offensiveness, but also the lines of good taste, rational argument, and just basic politeness and civility.

In a nutshell, I value the family we've built here and I don't want him to be a part of it.

Dearest Rebecca -

I have copied my comment to the editor, to GLAAD, and to both the en|Gender and Pam's House Blend blogs.

This same approach forced the Advocate to correct itself in response to one of my letters to their editor.

This is Ronald Gold's first post here. I intend to make a large stink...enough to ensure that it is his last.

I encourage you, and all of my beloved trans family reading this, to join me.


Dearest Rebecca -

I have copied my comment to the editor, to GLAAD, and to both the en|Gender and Pam's House Blend blogs.

This same approach forced the Advocate to correct itself in response to one of my letters to their editor.

This is Ronald Gold's first post here. I intend to make a large stink...enough to ensure that it is his last.

I encourage you, and all of my beloved trans family reading this, to join me.


It's not even a matter of being offensive - really, the issue here is a matter of being *relevant*. Not every opinion is worthy of being given a platform. The "opinion" expressed by Mr. Gold is so archaic, so lacking in even the pretense of factual support, so obviously rooted in an outdated and discredited ideology, that it doesn't have anything to add to any relevant debate. It's like publishing a piece asserting that gay men are equivalent to pedophiles, and expecting readers to have a serious debate about that. Wtf?

I know Bil knew that this post was going to generate controversy. "

And "controversy" gets hits.

But no Becky - it's not best for us to say - but they have trans posters - remember that, let it slide.

When someone purposely insults and verbally assaults you - as this blog did here- THEY need to take responsibility. THEY need to look at why they chose to print this and what that says about them that they may not be fully aware of.

I mean - did they look at this and think - hey - this seems to make sense. Or, this cracks me up. Or - hey - we're posting some things about enda - let's marginalize trans folks at the same time so we can send a dogwhistle message to conservative Dems - psst- here's a bargaining chip boys.

I mean WTF was the discussion & what were the thoughts that went into the decision to publish this?

But no - you don't get a pass for hitting me 'cause I should know that deep down, you really love me.

Screw that.

Hang on Kathy, I never said that we should let anything slide. In fact, if you read my other comments in this thread you'll see that I don't feel that way at all and in fact, I don't want him posting here.

This was a judgment call made by Bil and Alex, one that I personally disagree with. Usually (though by no means always), I support the editorial decisions made here and I think overall the editorial staff does a great job.

This time, I think they made a bad call, and I hope they rectify it quickly. No contributor is worth tearing apart our Bilerico family over, and especially not someone like this.

Let me be crystal clear and for the record: I want him gone.

You wrote:
"But no Becky - it's not best for us to say - but they have trans posters - remember that, let it slide."

Maybe a few less after today.

It still hurts to come to a favorite website and read an article from a person talking about how you and many of your friends and loved ones are delusional and/or mutilated. And to justify that argument by pointing to the same two dimensional stereotypes that are used to abuse us time and time again? Yeah. That's painful.

So I'm sorry, but I'm going to come here and judge this website for putting up shit like this, even once. Can this really be safe space when I'm reading the same bullshit that my family used to justify hiring a police officer to keep me out of my mother's funeral? The same bullshit that's used to justify murdering and raping other trans people? The same bullshit and unexamined nonsense that's used to justify unfair hiring practices, medical abuse, etc. etc. etc.

Frankly, with the shit we have to deal with for being trans, we don't want to have to be reminded of that trauma by our "trans allied" blog, you know?

You keep believing trans people are delusional and I'll keep believing marriage is only between a straight woman like myself, and a straight man.

This makes a lot of fucking sense. You have constantly denied me a chance to be a contributor because I'm too "controversial," but you bring on a transphobic person whose first post trashes the very concept of transgenderism. Great. Compared to Ron, I'm Mary Poppins.

I have to say that I'm with Monica on this one.

I've never even attempted to become a contributor here because I know most of my views on 'gay marriage is everything' and 'incremental progress is unquestionable' rub people the wrong way - but I dare say that more people agree with me about that - either in whole or in part - than with Gold's excretion.

In all seriousness Bil, are there not enough other venues (web, print, you name it) where Gold's hatred of trans-everything would be welcomed with open arms? Yes, I know, the Washington Blade died and Bay Windows is no longer The Jeff Epperly Times - but aren't there plenty of other places for people whose politics are stuck in neutral, belching smoke alongside Jean O'Leary on stage in a New York 1973 time loop?

What's next?

A soliloquy from Pedro Julio Serrano on authenticity?

Or some nabob-ery Norah Vincent, waxing poetic about how intersexed people are doubly-blessed in the South 40?

Good golly, Ronald! That's the most strawmen I have seen in any one single post. It's a veritable scarecrow parade! You do know what strawmen fallacies are, right? I'll assume so, please let me know if that's giving you too much credit.

It's almost like, and please correct me if I'm off, but it's almost like you've gotten this completely silly and ridiculous notion that all of the things you said apply in any way at all to trans folk.

It's strange because, you see, I violate "perfectly arbitrary taboos" regarding gender all which way right now. I wear baggy pants bought from the boys' section (unacceptable for a young lady!), I'm very much attracted to women (goodness, how taboo for a girl!), I have shortish hair, I swear, play video games with violent explosions, I work in the sciences and program various computers, databases and whatnot (all things that are dreadfully taboo!). So, provided the abhorrent tomfoolery you just spouted was true, I'd be a shoe in for a female to male transsexual, no?

Oh wait, oops, forgot to mention something. I'm male to female. Been on estrogen a while actually.

But wait! If it's all about gender roles and fitting taboos, how can an intensely tomboyish, lesbian, science geek, video game geek, trash talking stereotype stomper of a girl come out of being MtF transsexual? Hint: I wouldn't be able to. Bigger Hint: It isn't about gender roles and fitting taboos. Giant Hint: You have no clue what you're talking about (warning, this hint may give up the answer, please don't be disappointed)

I hope this was enlightening for you. Because it was boring for me. Really, arguments like these from people like you are a dime a dozen. I've got copy paste quote trees built for this. But I figured, it's Bilerico, why not drag out the creativity? I hope someone appreciates the effort.

Dear Mr. Gold -

You appear to have, inartfully, and in the most backward way possible, argued that gender is a social construct, and that we ought not to consider transgenderism to be a psychopathology.

These are the only two premises you put forth with which I might agree. For example, if you will follow this link:

You will find some stickers being sold by a brother of mine, asserting that group think creates gender. Furthermore, just as you yourself pushed to have homosexuality removed as a psychopathology from the DSM, so would many transgender activists such as myself have the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder removed.

That being said, As both a post-operative FtM transsexual, and formerly, an award winning drag king, I must not only assure you that I exist, that the two classes of transgender people that you cite are not mutually exclusive, but that you have actually managed to exclude the majority...and in so doing, revealed your near total ignorance on the subject.

Furthermore, I must point out to you that in placing the word transsexuals in quotes, you have violated the current GLAAD media reference guidelines...of which you yourself wrote the first edition. As such you article comes off not only as bigoted, but as hypocritical.

Yours in the True, Trans, Spirit of Stonewall,
J D "Ox" Freeman
Alabama Gender Alliance

Dear Mr. Gold -

You appear to have, inartfully, and in the most backward way possible, argued that gender is a social construct, and that we ought not to consider transgenderism to be a psychopathology.

These are the only two premises you put forth with which I might agree. For example, if you will follow this link:

You will find some stickers being sold by a brother of mine, asserting that group think creates gender. Furthermore, just as you yourself pushed to have homosexuality removed as a psychopathology from the DSM, so would many transgender activists such as myself have the diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder removed.

That being said, As both a post-operative FtM transsexual, and formerly, an award winning drag king, I must not only assure you that I exist, that the two classes of transgender people that you cite are not mutually exclusive, but that you have actually managed to exclude the majority...and in so doing, revealed your near total ignorance on the subject.

Furthermore, I must point out to you that in placing the word transsexuals in quotes, you have violated the current GLAAD media reference guidelines...of which you yourself wrote the first edition. As such you article comes off not only as bigoted, but as hypocritical.

Yours in the True, Trans, Spirit of Stonewall,
J D "Ox" Freeman
Alabama Gender Alliance

I am most certain that I am a woman as sure as you are certain you are a man, period.

Dennis Hambridge | December 10, 2009 8:57 PM

Ronald Gold is delving in to a subject that is way beyound his remit and qualification, infact this is an insult to the trans and gender variant people, an infactual article and very amaturish attempt of trying to be a journalist--A job to reach even half marks on this one

Mr. Gold, I am struggling to understand many of your points. Your article opens with a question: “what is transgender?” The answer you provide, a dichotomy between drag performers and transsexuals, I think falls far short of the diversity of gender expression within the transgender term (ignoring cross dressers, gender queer, etc). Why did you choose to reduce the discussion to this?

You then ask the question: “What does it mean to be really a man or a woman? “ Immediately, you dismiss the idea that it has to do with genitalia. This is an interesting contention, but you don't explain why you think it is true. Would you be willing to explain this point in more detail?

You then ask: what is a male or a female personality? The answer you provide is that such things don't exist, and quite reasonably point out that gender stereotypes do not explain the diversity of gender expression. But then you claim that transsexuals simply don't feel comfortable within the gender stereotype assigned to them, and that they simply need to be aware that its okay to express gender differently.

I guess that last sentence is the heart of your article, and yet you offer no evidence to support your contention. Your claim is at odds with the statements made by most transsexuals I have read. And, not surprisingly, many here are objecting to what you wrote.

Mr. Gold, I think you will find that a large number of Bilerico readers agree with you that gender stereotypes are unnecessarily constricting and even harmful. And many will agree with the idea of “gender-full” parenting, offering children role models who live a wide variety of gender expression. But I don't understand why you think transsexualism is simply about gender stereotypes. Would you be willing to develop this idea more?

What was this horrible man given a platform? Shame on you.

To all of our trans family out there: YOU ARE PERFECT IN EVERY WAY AND YOU ARE LOVED BY MANY!

Shellita Gold | December 10, 2009 9:16 PM

Bil & Other contributors to Bilerico,
I have to join the cacophony of Trans people on this post to say I find it flatly offensive, degrading, bigoted, and problematic in any number of ways.

Reading it I felt like I was flipping through the anti-queer propaganda my grandparents showed me as a child that was used to justify the incarceration and torture of thousands of queers in my homeland. It lacks insight, current information, or the clear consensus and articulation of the experiences that trans people have finally started to come out as a community to articulate. It perpetuates ignorant, stereotypical caricatures of real, complex, beautiful human beings... a sure sign of bigotry.

While there is no accompanying photos of a big boobed; blond haired, man seducing chick packing heat might just accompany this post a la 1930's Germany... given enough time and artistic talent I might expect one to appear in a leaflet version of this post handed out at "Say No To Transgender" rallies...

I wonder how Bilerico readers would feel were they reading a 1950's version of "No to the notion of homosexual sodomites." A post that pontificated to great length with esoteric and long discredited specious arguments about how "Homosexual Sodomites" are merely trying to emulate relationships they didn't have with their same-gender parentor were too attached to their opposite gender parent or were sexually abused as children. Might I add, all arguments that have been used in the current justification of the "Anti-Homosexuality Bill" in Uganda by American Fundamentalists. I suspect there would be outrage.

On face, this post is offensive. I won't even bother to make assumptions about Mr. Gold, as we have never met, never had a conversation, and I'm sure in his heart is a well intentioned.

In a perverse way I am glad this post is here. At least it is an honest, frank if misguided and damaging view that more people share but never voice.

As someone who grew up in an exceptionally racist place (but that was 97.8% white) where racist were never exposed because they never had to be openly bigoted. I find silence far more disconcerting than the fervent debate that can unfold once people put their misguided notions on the table.

I have to say however: As a trans person, I am sorely disappointed that this post appears, and that you have allowed it to remain. I wonder how many contributors would complain to no end about such a post appearing on a New York Times blog; and NYTs refusal to remove it.

Think about it... long and hard.
And while you do, I will click on over to Pam's House Blend.

Somehow "I told you so" doesn't even cut it.

Oh, but it does, lyssa, it does :D

If only you knew...

spill it, mujer! you have my digits...use em.

You did tell us. Too bad we didn't listen the first time.

Got your back on this one all the way. The Lesbians and the Transwomen stand offended, markedly offended.


Delusional is the denial of scientific evidence, and the scientific evidence is on the side of the trans-people.

Mr Gold:
en boca cerrada no entran moscas

As a scholar and advocate on psychiatric policy defamation of gender diversity, I have cited Mr. Gold's activism on the DSM classification of homosexuality and have admired his contributions in the 1970s. However, words cannot express my disappointment and outrage at the intolerance and contempt for gender transcendent people that he expressed here today.

As a Trans person
I am flatly disgusted, dismayed, and disappointed in Mr. Gold's post. I am twice as irate with Bilerico's editors in allowing this post to stand without immediate retraction.

You have seriously tarnished your reputation today. This is exceptionally disappointing.

GrouchyTheGrouch | December 10, 2009 9:52 PM

Old guy is old.

These young """transgender""" whipper snappers and their crazy identities!


The more I think about this post, the more it makes my blood boil. I'm not offended that assholes like "Mr. Gold" exist. I've gotten my fair share of trans haters in my life, treating me like absolute shit because of this stuff. No, I'm offended that you, as supposed transgender allies, would allow someone to come here and post something *THIS* offensive, hurtful, abusive, triggery, disgusting, bigoted, and evil.

Rational and reasoned discourse on the nature of transsexuality and transgender people is valuable and good. Questioning the foundations of gender is good.

But derisively calling us "deluded" and "mutiliated" and everything else. Talking about trans people as two dimensional parodies of gender? I'm sorry, but with how much shit I've had to deal with, I do *not* need this. If you do not retract this post and apologize PROFUSELY for allowing such hate speech to exist here, I will have to stop reading your blog. If only because I really am not interested in hearing my abusers' justifications for the trauma they've heaped on me coming from my so-called "allies."

Joselyn Harris | December 10, 2009 9:55 PM

Just because some fascist, who has the ability to type should his ravings be aired. I am truly tired of the ignorance of people like this writer. This world will never transition intellectually till we forcibly alter these slobs.

Dear Bilerico Editorial Team,

This post is one of the worse things I have ever seen on an LGBT blog. The fact that it ever got past whatever editorial process you have is the part that is the most disappointing. Really, you were gonna let his first post be about questioning gender identity. GREAT. I am such a fan of this blog, hope my own can one day be one tenth of what Bilerico does, but today - you failed.
The fact that a front page apology does not yet exist, troubles me even more.

Do the right thing guys,

The Angry Queer

The Epic Fail of this article can best be illustrated by an analogous quote:

Perhaps it isn't needless to say that a No to the notion of "sexual orientation" does not excuse discrimination against "gays" or "lesbians" in employment, housing and public accommodation; and I strongly support legislation that would forbid it. I would, however, get after the psychiatrists - the ones who say that if you're an effeminate male, you have to be perversely sexually attracted to men, and if you're a butch woman, you have to be sexually attracted to other women.

Such a quote is exactly analogous to the misconceptions, misunderstandings, and completely bogus assumptions embedded in this article.

I find that those who hold to Mr Gold's theory are in general unwilling to try an experiment: try living as the opposite sex, but the same gender. No need to change your gender role in the slightest. Keep exactly the same behaviour patterns as you do now. Just take hormones, and get castrated. It shouldn't make any difference, after all.

Well, that's rather hard to say with a straight face to an Albertan trans woman who's got no funding for any of her transition, and instead of being able to respectfully get hormones, and begin transition, without having to jump through a series of ridiculously cissexist hoops, has to console her friend who was just told that before they'd even consider her for estrogen, that she'd have to have her 'mood disorder' addressed. Do you need counseling for insulin? Tamiflu? The girl needs medical help to transition, yes, but it's her body and rightly her choice. Saying that transsexuality is not a delusion, just as they do in Britain since 2002, does NOT equal an end to respectful care. Case studies indicate that rather, depathologization improves access AND funding.

Anyway, back to the original premise of the article:

No. I'm not going to martyr myself and deny myself the life and body that my brain has been screaming at me to have since about the age of 12, somewhat later than Mr. Gold might presume someone who is a [trans erasure]'femme-minded boy' would be when [/trans erasure] she first started feeling that something wasn't right, and the way she felt towards girls had taken on a rather atypical dimension. No, I will not erase my gender for the sake of your argument, sir. I only wish you would afford me the same level of respect I do you.

Valerie, send me a private note and let me know the details, and I'll see if I can turn up an option or two: [email protected]

Hi there Mr. Gold and welcome. Looks like you stepped in it with your first post and if that was your intent you scored an A+. If it wasn’t opps you failed. As they say with friends like these who needs enemies.

Yikes! This is an outrageously offensive & misinformed post.

Like you I am a non-transgender gay guy, and I strongly disagree with the content of your blog post. You messed up big time. Perhaps these many comments will serve as a wake-up call. Hopefully you will not react defensively. Rather I hope you reflect, read, listen. Some. The work of being an ally means we will get it wrong. We will get corrected. We will need to educate ourselves, listen deeply and educate ourselves some more. Think of the clumsy ill-informed gay allies you may have met in your early gay days. Clueless and uneducated allies can make a mess.

But then maybe you don't even wish to be an ally to transgender people. Perhaps you want to correct people with experiences different from your own, to sort them out like the reparative therapists tried to sort us gay guys out. Perhaps you learned that trick from our oppressors. It's time to learn some new tricks. Start by listening deeply, then listen some more.

I hear Scott Lively's looking for a podium.

Mr. Gold,

You are a tiny, tiny little man with a tiny, tiny little mind living in a very tiny little world.

Bigotry is sooooo yesteryear.

Get with the program or go back into your cave.

california panda | December 10, 2009 10:38 PM

Welcome Mr. Gold.

I'm so glad you posted this. It is a perfect example of the willful ignorance regarding trans experience that some older generation individuals both gay and str8 hold and espouse even today. Thank you for becoming a lightning rod which so aptly illustrates all that is patently wrong with your and similar attitudes. This denial of our reality is one main reason ENDA has not yet passed. It contributes to the reasoning and action behind the denial that refused a young transwoman in Florida a job with McDonalds along with many other job discrimination actions across this fine country. It is the reasoning behind the refusal of so many insurance companies to fund necessary sex reassignment surgeries for transpeople. It is also the reason why so many conflate Trans identity and the GLB experience.
I leave you with this thought, "Ignorance and close-mindedness are not virtues".

Post-op and living large.

PS if you would like to learn more about us so you can form a truly open mindset this is one place you can do it.. but first you must be silent and feel the "Force", young padawan.

At we would not allow this post to remain or we would very clearly and blatently use it as an example of what is wrong.

Are you mad, Ronald? I have never in my life read anything so jaw-droppingly wrongheaded and rude. I'm appalled.

Who the hell asked you, Ronald?

You don't get to vote or pass judgment about whether or not Gender Identity Disorder exists, or if any individual identifies him/herself as any particular stripe of trans. You would never dare tell anyone else that they weren't entitled to name themself or their identity.

Given your experience with how media works, you knew damned well that calling Ms. Morris "he" would be inflamatory and insulting, yet you did it anyway. Gay men used to be dismissed by bigots who would misname their gender. But I guess as long as it isn't your ox being gored, it's okay. And I'm glad you're happy with your "pecker", but that doesn't mean everyone else has to be happy with his or hers.

Everyone else, please stop citing Gold's age as a reason for his ignorance and his arrogance. I was a gay activist in the 70's and I get it. I literally know 90 year olds who get it. Personally, I thought Gold was long since dead because it's been decades since I heard anything about him contributing to the GLBT equality movement. But that doesn't mean he is so old that he should be given a bye for prejudice.

Yes, this.
His age has nothing to do with his complete and utter ignorance.

I lived with a woman for a year, she was 86, not once did she tell me that I was wrong, and the life I had chosen was non-exsistant. However, she supported me, and understood I chose a more difficult road. She had been married to a man who served in all military branches (if i had known him in his living life, he would have been supportive as well).

It's hard to know where to start. To begin point by point would be tedious.

R. Gold has delved into something that he has neither the experience nor empathy to address.

I suggest that Bilerico formally drop the "T" off their masthead. Perhaps R. Gold can continue in his present vein and convince us that lesbians do not exist either.

One good thing about an unintelligible and unsupportable argument - you don't have to support it with any type of thoughtful or sensible argument. Why was this dribble published?

Pal, I don't know how you could make such an asinine assertion.clearly you are not afflicted with this condition.if you wrote to get a rise out of people congratulations,you succeeded.but i submit to you respectfully you are ripping people who are dealing with a legitimate sounds like you are from the fundamental religion about a little more love and a little less condemnation.
Please go back to class and do your homework.

"Since it's not about genitalia, it must be about personality..."

Your logic is faulty, rendering your hypothesis invalid.

:( This was a pretty sad post. Most of the gay friends I have are allies and they don't think this way about me. I definitely never thought that their being gay was a learned or societal function. I truly believe people are born with their sexual attractions, it Can gender identity be the same way? I don't know the writer of this article, but it seems like he'd be at home either working at CAMH as a therapist or being a "gender specialist" in the 60's. It's kinda sad that people still think like this today.

Wow. Hate much?

May I ask WHY this person is writing for bilerico? Did you confuse this with some other site?

I look forward to your next piece on umm, the benefits of conversion therapy?

Good grief. Unreal.

WOW...I am SO disappointed in this opinion piece being disguised as an actual article. Ordinarily I have found items on Bilirico to be well written and well researched. This item is neither.

I am not a person who has had or is considering a sex reassignment. I am a lesbian woman, born female who has never has any difficulty knowing my gender or living in the gender to which I was born. How sad that so many individuals can not make the same statement. I have seen children in the body of one gender who know they are the other gender. Children too young to even KNOW what gender is about.

Please have someone research this subject matter thoroughly and retract the absolute ignorance that is running rampant throughout this poorly written and researched piece.

Dove-Paige Anthony | December 10, 2009 11:26 PM

It always seems to be the non trans people that seem to have the answer to all of our problems... weather they have any idea what they are talking about or not. Trans people have existed in every culture on earth, but since the spread of christendom an active effort to erase our history has been waged on us. We by our very existence challenge the notions of male and female that is the mark of oppressor and oppressed perpetuated by the big three Abrahamic religions of the world. The mere fact that intersexed people even exist at all totally disproves the notion of gender as a bianary...which your ideas about us spring from. The notion that it is all in our heads and perpetuated and cultivated by shrinks disproves itself as there were trans people long before there were shrinks, and on a number of other notes geneticists have traced down a gene that only occurs in trans people, in their brain to be exact, so ya it is in our heads, studies done also show brain structures in the bed nucleus of the hypothalamus of trans people are different...this is the region of the brain that deals with issues of gender/orientation etc. yes there are all kinds of attempts made to diagnose and pathologize us for being somehow different, over the last year and a half I have traveled and interviewed several trans people that are doing amazing things with their lives,(Im a film maker) in spite of people expecting them to jump through hoops to be just like them. The one current that ran throughout the interviews was that these were just ordinary people dealing with a strange situation in life, and if the playing field were leveled, ie. people stopped trying to disprove their reality and just let them be themselves and determine their own selves and bodies, then they could just get on with the things of life instead of having to live up to your expectations for what their lives represent, to themselves. We remap our bodies for ourselves and no one else. The saying goes that gender is 95% between the ears and 5% between the legs, you seem worried about that 5% for us, quit focusing on our 5% and focus on your own 95% because most trans issues are other people having issues with our gender. Go get a copy of the Kinsey Report, its an interesting read it is one of many reports over the years that shows that gender is NOT a binary but rather a continuum. Im trans, and Im cool wit that, get over it.

Archie Semper | December 10, 2009 11:28 PM

Let me just speak for myself--a feat you seem to be unable to accomplish (in this appalling post, at least). It's not about gender roles. It's not about personality. It's about identity. MY identity is male.

I see that other people have ripped you a new one (now you can be penetrated by two men at once!), so I will keep this short. I have always had a male gender identity, as far back as I can remember. And you know what? I've always been gay. That's right, man on man. Even while I lived in my cursed female body, I had a gay sexual orientation. So when you say about trans people that "whatever they're feeling, or feel like doing, it's perfectly possible with the bodies they've got," I beg to differ. I could never be a gay man while I had a female body.

Come to think of it, I couldn't be a man of ANY kind in my old body.

"it's perfectly possible with the bodies they've got. If a man wants to wear a dress or have long hair; if a woman wants short hair and a three-piece suit"

I'm in complete support of men wearing dresses or women wearing three piece suits, and any other deconstruction of the gender binary, however this completely misses the point. I'm not transgender because of the clothes I wear. I'm transgender because of the internal sense of gender I have always felt.

If this type of thinking is promoted at this site, I will seriously question whether I wish to read or contribute here any longer.

This post is backwards. There aren't any cisgender LGBs. All gays are transgender to varying degrees. "Cis gay" is a term coined by trans activists to create a schism amongst gays. There should be a post challenging that. This blog post is just useless crap.

Yeak whatever, were all transgender.

But there are cissexual LGB's and they screw us every chance they get. Not just threw us under the bus but have just about burned out the clutch from backing the bus back up so they can pretend they're advancing on our backs again and again.

OK, I think Mr Gold has gotten the message that his opinions are not shared by many here.

They are, however, held by a substantial part of the GLB movement. Not a majority, a distinct minority, but not exactly a tiny minority, a very vocal one that has access to media outlets trans people are denied. Unlike similar sentiments uttered by Focus on the Family etc, these groups are relevant to Bilerico's mission, and should not be excluded.

Just because the ideas are unpopular doesn't mean they should not have been expressed. Monocultures where everyone thinks alike are prone to go astray. Our most cherished ideas should be able to withstand a little challenging if they're so very correct.

Maybe I'm so used to being gang-attacked by all other commenters on religious and right-wing political sites that I have some sympathy for Mr Gold here.

The two things in the article though that I think do deserve extreme condemnation, are the deliberate misgendering of Jan Morris, and the reference to the "mutilation" of the "bodies of the deluded". This wasn't expressing a contrarian opinion: this was disrespect. The second might be dismissed as an unfortunate and undiplomatic turn of phrase, with no easy way of expressing the idea in a more palatable fashion.

The first though was the insult direct, and puts the last line in a very different light. The article violated the Bilerico TOS here.

I wish Mr Gold well with his future contributions. Look at it this way, there's nowhere to go but up from here. And I hope that commenters will evaluate each future article on its merits, and not be overly influenced by their opinion of the author as the result of his.... "violation of the TOS" to put it politely.

Zoe...hon...don't wish this guy luck with his future posts. Join me in calling for this being his first and last.

My contact at GLAAD is going to be walking into quite an e-mail inbox tomorrow morning. We're not done here.

Zoe...hon...don't wish this guy luck with his future posts. Join me in calling for this being his first and last.

My contact at GLAAD is going to be walking into quite an e-mail inbox tomorrow morning. We're not done here.

I know homophobic trans people, Zoe. Should they be given a platform at Bilerico to tell us all how to "pray away the gay" or whatever homophobic message they'd like to pass along? Just because he's gay doesn't mean his views are worth airing. As you point out, they violate Bilerico's TOS.

It's disgusting that TBP is hosting transphobic hate speech, and then defending that hate speech as positive intent.

I know homophobic trans people, Zoe. Should they be given a platform at Bilerico to tell us all how to "pray away the gay" or whatever homophobic message they'd like to pass along?
Since they are part of the GLBT too - yes. If they can do so in a respectful manner, without denying gay people's narratives, referring to them as "perverted" or that it's a "lifestyle choice". Abiding by the TOS.

Tricky though, that. Mr Gold faced the same problem. Trying to express an idea without appearing to be a bigoted anal sphincter.

I've had the same problem myself. And guess what? I find that if you can't express your idea without it appearing to be disrespectful, ignorant and bigoted, it's because it probably is, and maybe you should re-think it.

Lisa, I'm homophobic myself. Though hanging round this place, and others, has largely cured me of that loathsome disease.

If some homophobic trans person does write such an article though, I hope that they will be treated with the same courtesy as Mr Gold and his views have been in the comments. I'd expect a veritable tsunami of opposing views of course.

I also hope they'd do a better job of abiding by the TOS.

Ronald you don't know me, you've never met me, you know nothing of my life or my experiences. So just how did you become an expert on who I am? What are your qualifications?

The fact that you describe your former lovers by their nationality speaks volumes. They're not people to you but just Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and Bangladeshi.

I'm going to be much more concise than you have: fuck right off with your cissexual privileg.

Bil why do you continue to publish trans-denigrating posts? Is there something on your mind that you won't come out and say yourself? And what positive intent is there in Ronald's post?

This article is undiluted drivel. In essence, Mr Gold is saying "I can't imagine what it would be like to have a transgender identity. Therefore, it doesn't exist."

He also displays complete ignorance of the transition process. Most trans people encounter strong resistance from the medical community, Mr Gold - it's not something they're eager to foist upon people.

Mr Gold's discomfort with gender variance is betrayed by the fact that he repeats the worn-out trope that a boy who wears a dress must inevitably "prance around."

Time to start listening, Mr Gold. Other people know better who they are than you do.

Bilerico editors have now added a note claiming that calling us deluded was with "positive intent". Who's deluded now?

We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written

Bad idea. No-one here has done that yet. If they do, you're going to be very busy deleting posts that violate the TOS.

Yeah, this note is another epic FAIL!

I'm going to take this a step further and call a few folks to the carpet. A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece as a counterpoint to my views on trans issues which, in cold, logical terms, laid out commonly-stated reasons as to why trans people shouldn't be included in LGBT legislation. Even though I stated that this was a counterpoint piece that did not reflect my moral standing on the issue, I was asked by the ed team to write an apology after pressure from outside organizations. I believe this was a fair request, as my original point was muddied by the Internet's game of telephone, and I was happy to wrap everything up in a single post. I figured that this would prepare bilerico ed staff for potential trans-quagmires further down the road, and it's best that it happened with someone who wasn't trying to denigrate trans people.

Soon after, Mr. Gay Icon steps up to the plate and write a half-cocked post _whitewashing an entire community out of existence_ -- no attempts at irony, parody, or counterpoint intended -- and gets a "positive intent" editor's note at the top of the page. As the communications director for the HRC explained to me after my brush with LGBT infamy, these kinds of negative press actually cause tangible political harm, as well as encourage division in a time where we should be united. "Positive intent" or not, harm has been done.

I'll withhold judgment for a day or two, seeing as ed teams do need time to respond to stepping on a nasty, manure-encrusted landmine like this. However, I call on the ed team to maintain the same practices for this poster as they do for their other posters: an apology must be tendered, preferably by both the ed staff and the original poster, to make amends for the intolerable reporting that has taken place. The man's history, age, or credibility as an "icon" does not change the fact that his words are hurtful, damaging, and give ammunition to fair-weather politicians looking to bargain away trans rights to broker a deal for LG-only legislation.

I ate my humble pie. Now it's Mr. Gold's turn.

Austen - I didn't think you owed an apology then, and I don't now. The difference in the way you and Mr Gold have been treated is pretty darned obvious.

The life of moderators is not an easy one, and everyone screws up sometimes. The ed team did with you, and they're doing it here in the opposite direction, and far worse.

Yes, I'm calling them to account. I just wish I could say that I haven't made worse mistakes in the past, so feel a bit hypocritical in doing so.

I think the difference in your treatment is the worst mistake they've made since I've been following this site. The injustice is far too blatant. While it's true I've seen far worse on other sites made routinely - I tend not to hang around there, life's too short.

You can be darned sure that MassResistance will be using this post in future. "Even the sodomites realise that these so-called "transsexuals" are really only pretend-women, not just sick perverts like they are, but deluded as well."
It's happened before.

The worst thing is, I'm not sure that they see what the problem is - the bit about "in the same spirit" as a post describing trans people as mutilated and deluded would suggest that.

Thank you. At least I'm not the only one who sees it in a similar light.

How does one rectify wanting to nail a blog to a wall and being a contributor for that same blog? To be honest I'm still not sure. I just know that I enjoy writing, no matter the venue, and I can only hope that the response to this article is swift and satisfying.

There are places to whom I refuse to give my money that did less in a lifetime to deserve my ire than this one article has done in the past six hours.

Yes, there needs to be apologies from both Mr. Gold and the editorial team. Posting this piece was the biggest mistake Bilerico has ever made.

and I was thinking the same thing Austen. as i was reading the post I had thought maybe it was written in the style of your post. it was not.
while I fully understood where you were coming from,I also can see where this ron gold is coming from. and I don't like it.

I am shocked that the editorial team made you write an apology. Your original post was clear, your devil's advocate post was clear that it was written as a "devil's advocate piece". For the editors to force an apology is a dumbing-down of this site.

The editors also posted a piece by Michael Alvear a few weeks back. His web-site clearly has featured anti-trans material in a sensationalist manner.

Wow, The editors might try to claim that this isn't reflective of them, but I assure you that it does. This site has just lost all credibility. There is no place for this type of uneducated garbage on a site claiming to be LGBTQ.

Holy shit! What the hell were you thinking when you submitted this?

Mr Gold, where have you been all these years? How have you remained so stuck in your antiquated thinking with all that has been learned and accepted regarding the trans community these past few decades? I am a transsexual woman who tried her damndest to remain in her former body and role until the real possibility of death pushed me to a physical transition. You dare to speak for me? To define me? To negate my very existence?

I'm grateful this blog prominently lists authors with their pictures at the top of their contributions. That'll make it easy to ignore Dr Gold's future blathering. Any and all credibility and respect I may have had for the man because of his past has evaporated with one articel.

Congratulations Mr. Gold. You have nicely illustrated a sickening and regrettably large portion of the GLBT community which has NO concept of what gender it.

Your words:

What does it mean to be really a man or a woman? Since it's not about genitalia, it must be about personality...

Mr. Gold, might I suggest you actually do some research on a subject before you draft an embarrassingly sophomoric composition which insults your fellow members of the GLBT community.

Gender: Sexual identity, especially in relation to society or culture.

Gender{identity} is how one identifies ( what's between the ears) and sex{physicality} is one body(between the legs).

Mr Gold, these two are never perfectly in congruence. In fact they out of sync for many. For those in which the brain's hard-wiring responds with an identity at conflict with the body's hardware, the person may define themselves, for lack of a more precise clinical definition, transgender.

While drag artist of either royal title may present a gender expression incongruent to their actual physicality, they and their sometimes overt caricatures are, at best, part of a broad spectrum of the transgender experience. They by no means represent the entirity nor are they excluded from it.

The transsexuals you spoke of with such ignorant contempt are never completely

"folks who report that from an early age they've felt themselves trapped in the wrong bodies."

Many transsexuals have felt different since an early age, yet not all come to " mutilate the bodies of the deluded" as you so eloquently placed it. Nor do they all identify with the statement they were "trapped" in any body.

Society has placed social constructs on my behavior because of my body and not my gender.

As a homosexual, Mr Gold, have you ever been at conflict with social constructs? Has your sexual orientation ever been maligned by heterosexuals with whom an utter lack of knowledge prevented an intelligent discussion?

Thank you Mr Gold.....

Does this mean anything?

Your participation in online communications occurs in real time and is not edited, censored, or otherwise controlled by Bilerico Media, LLC. Bilerico Media, LLC cannot and do not screen content provided by users of the Service. Notwithstanding the foregoing, Bilerico Media, LLC reserve the right to monitor content on the Service and to remove content which Bilerico Media, LLC, in their sole discretion, determines to be harmful, offensive, or otherwise in violation of these Operating Policies. In order to maintain an informative and valuable service that meets the needs of the users of the Service and avoids the harm that can result from disseminating statements that are false, malicious, violate the rights of others, or otherwise harmful, it is necessary to establish the following rules to protect against abuse:

You may not post or transmit any message which is harmful, threatening, abusive or hateful. It is not the Service's intent to discourage you from taking controversial positions or expressing vigorously what may be unpopular views; however, Bilerico Media, LLC reserve the right to take such action as it deems appropriate in cases where the Service is used to disseminate statements which are deeply and widely offensive and/or harmful.

Gold's views are not "unpopular" or "controversial". They're harmful, deeply and widely offensive, abusive, and hateful.

Why is this allowed to stand? Why is TBP hosting transphobic hate speech?

There is too much to address here, but let me begin with one clear point that has gotten less attention but Ronald should be aware of. Gender non-conforming behavior is different from being trans. Surely we can all see that there is a different between being a woman with short hair and being a man with short hair. And when you want to be recognized as one, the opportunity to be seen as the other is very little comfort.

Secondly, did you honestly post this with positive intentions? This is trite, shows utter ignorance of trans experience, is horribly maliscious and hurtful. Your continued silence in responding to any of the criticisms here also belies the possible intention of engaging in honest dialog.

Third, I too am frustrated at the editorial choice to do the education after this post went up rather then before. If you don't want to censor people, you can still delay the post, have a conversation about the issue, and suggest that they post about a topic they know something about. I am very doubtful that ANYTHING a contributor posts would be put through. What if someone advocated killing the babies of homophobes?

Would a post that was as anti-gay as this post is anti-trans -- such as regurgitating the debunked arguments NARTH makes -- be posted? I somehow doubt it.

True. Zoe Brain makes the argument above that this is a belief that many cis LGB people hold about trans people, so airing it should be allowed... but what about homophobic trans people? I know they exist, and as much as I can't stand them either, would it be appropriate for a trans person to post about how LGB people are delusional because sex is strictly about procreation?

Perhaps this was one of Bilerico's "daily experiments" in which case it failed.

Bilerico, please take my T off of your masthead.

I am *literally* feeling sick to my stomach after reading the nonsense defending this disgusting hateful abusive and horrible piece of filth.


Where is the "positive intent" in this editorial? Gold blames individuals for claiming identities that subvert the binary system he rails against. While he is entitled to his opinion, dismissing an entire segment of our community goes too far. If Gold truly believes the problem is with doctors and psychiatrists, he should "get after" them and apologize to the trans people he has insulted with this post.

Ronald Gold,

Both as a transsexual and as an experienced writer, I believe that this post shows that you are clearly (and embarrassingly, in my opinion) overstepping the boundaries of your personal experience and education. The thoughts presented in your post are so unfounded, enraging, naive, juvenile, amateurish and hateful that I won't even waste my energy responding to any of them specifically. I just will say that I am deeply disappointed to see your entry on this site and that I am not happy at all to have you aboard as a fellow Bilerico Project blogger.

Also, who the hell are you calling deluded?? Where do you come off talking to me and other trans people like that?

This is the most offensive post I have ever read on the internet.
I request that the editors immediately remove this post, which I believe is Hate Speech. I am concerned that the result of the staying on here even part of one day is another one of my sisters or brothers being murdered or suiciding, if not today, some day soon.

This is not worth discussion. If the editors of Bilerico don't recant their flimsy response that I saw recently, and put up a completely different one, coupled with the removal of this post, I will be likely to never peruse Bilerico Project again.

I am disappointed in humanity tonight.
Do you care what you are doing, editors? Shall we send you the next obituaries of transgender deaths? You are participating by your clearly inappropriate choices here today.

How tragic, and uninformed, dear editors. How about you try substituting words Gay Lesbian Bisexual or Intersex for where Mr. Gold mentioned transexual concepts. Can you really be this stupid? And I don't use that word lightly.

I firmly request that the entire post be eliminated, and a sensitive apology and educational piece on hate speech be substituted.

Allowing this type of psychologically violent speech on your site is beyond a difference of opinion, it's beyond tragic. yes these are strong statements, why do I worry that you aren't smart enough to understand your mistakes, editors and Mr. Gold?

Judas Peckerwood | December 11, 2009 1:54 AM

Joseph, while I agree with you on the offensive inhumanity of this post, I disagree with your demand that it be taken down. It needs to stand as a reminder of the hate we continue to face within our LGBT "family" -- those willing to discriminate on the the basis of gender, gender identity, race, etc. to convince themselves that there is someone lower on the ladder than they are. The bigots within our own ranks are in many ways our most dangerous enemies, and we need to shine a shaming spotlight on them at every opportunity.

Robyn Carolyn Montague | December 11, 2009 12:57 AM


Joseph Dhara | December 11, 2009 1:07 AM

Editors, I am waiting for Mr. Gold's piece to be removed and replaced with the most accurate and respectful piece on hate speech in the LGBTIQ communities that you can muster.... and FAST. This is not appropriate or acceptable use of your site.

Joseph Dhara | December 11, 2009 1:09 AM

Clearly, the editors of this blog, and Mr. Gold have not truly loved someone who is transgender before. It would be impossible to love transgender people, and accept this article.

Got therapy? And some smart mentors?

My personal thoughts on the matter:

I want to make it clear:

The editorial team here is still very much trans friendly and affirming and tolerating and accepting and all the other stuff we talk about. They get it -- as they indicate in the earliest comments here (Alex's in particular).

Bilerico has more trans contributors -- members of the site who post as a part of the team -- than any other site out there.

Mr. Gold's post certainly doesn't reflect the team's ideas, since the team here includes a lot of transfolks.

Including me.

As for Mr. Gold, in the morning, there's going to be a post to help you understand that your need for education is a lot greater than you realize.

I have spent the day defending you because I'm aware you were trying to do something positive. You likely aren't very aware of me, so you don't know just how hard that was for me.

That was your one time, sir. Please don't screw up this badly again.

And please take the time to learn before you speak to a subject you are uninformed on.

I'm sorry, but my impression of Bilerico is anything BUT trans friendly. Yes there are occasional posts by trans people and a rare trans friendly post by a non-trans person, but the anti-trans posts that I've seen here outweigh all of that in my opinion.

Perhaps a truly trans friendly blog such as the Trans Group Blog (no association whatsoever) would be a better place for us and we can leave the haters to their hatred.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | December 11, 2009 7:14 AM

Alex is the managing editor. Look up "edit" in the dictionary. The gatekeepers left the gate open to let this happen or were too inattentive to read it.

IM trans girl I have never worn a dress in my childhood barely played with dolls and didn't understand why i have a penis frankly I thought all girls had them and the doctor just cut them off at birth for me its everything about my penis I hate the damn thing its ugly its embarrassing and it don't match with my soul
it has nothing to do with my "personality" it has every thing to do with my body it don't match up with how i feel inside
I highly sugust this Gold person is told to take some training courses or be fired cause this kind of insulting article is in bad taste

Donna Simone | December 11, 2009 1:37 AM

I never did choose to transition
Transition chose me
I did choose to live authentically
In truth, with dignity, grace and respect for all that call this Earth - HOME

I found Ronald Gold's comments to be rather boring and not surprising. Until I did a little research I wondered if he was a Scientologist due to his extreme dislike of Psychiatrists.

What really gets my blood boiling though is not his post- but the repeated comments of people on this site trying to silence him and call Bilerico anti-trans because of this post.

Whenever I hear someone try to shut down a conversation by saying "I'm offended" that's when I get angry. Safe conversations rarely lead anywhere- its only when we get beyond the safe and dig down into the weeds and really hear where people are coming from that we can all learn something.

There are times when I have been offended by what people say and sometimes I can't take it- so I leave the room, or close the computer down.

But to try and silence a conversation because you are offended, doesn't mean the ideas or substance disappear.

This post was rather timely for me, as I was at a holiday party over the weekend, where transgender issues came up and someone brought up the "mutilation" comment. A really open-conversation happened, where I think some real listening and learning happened- if someone in that situation had said, "I'm offended" the conversation would have been shut down- and no dialogue would have happened and no attitudes would have changed.

Whether we want to believe it or not, there are folks out there who believe that GRS is mutilation. To me having that conversation is important- I've never seen a mind change when it was closed.

I don't believe Ronald is in the place unfortunately to move beyond where he is - but maybe there are other people reading this that have similar thoughts - who would benefit from a place to have that conversation.

Instead we are seeing a predictable, I'm offended take this post down comments from people - shutting down a conversation.

There are plenty of times I come to this blog and read stuff that offends me - and if every time I demanded a post be taken down because it offended me, well there wouldn't be much here.

I'm not sure why I'm trying to engage you in dialogue here - what you're saying is, well... Look, society - all of society - is a platform for transphobic bigotry. Many of us have spent time and energy responding to comments such as those about mutilation or how trans people think that girls have to play with dolls and boys have to play with trucks. Many of us have done the education over and over again.

You find it angering that people are honsetly offended and hurt by the fact that this was posted? I find that angering and patronizing. Who the hell are you to tell people what their emotions are supposed to be? Who the hell are you to tell people to suck up yet another round of hatred when they endure that same hatred on a regular basis?

No one is owed a conversation on how trans surgery isn't mutilation. No one is owed time to spew their hatred. If you want to spend time defending freedom of speech, why do you defend Ronald Gold's freedom of speech to attack trans people in a manner that actually violates TBP's TOS, but you attack the freedom of others to respond honestly to his hateful words?

So tell me, when this happens, why is it that trans people always have to suck it up?

Is it time that TBP hosted some guest posts by Peter LaBarbera and other vocal anti-gay conservatives as well? So there can be posts about how same-sex attraction is a sin, a lifestyle choice, how LGB people do not deserve to make their own families? Where do we stop with the opposing, hateful viewpoints? Who else gets to be sacrificed on another's hate speech?

Well I guess we're all angry now.

I'm perfectly ok with trans people talking about their anger- what I am not ok about is having people decide, well I'm offended - shut up.

And you don't have to "suck it up" if the conversation is so offensive to you - you don't have to engage in it. I get that. There are many times when I don't want to have to have that conversation, in my instance around "LGB" issues- so I let other people engage in it.

But please don't tell me what conversations are ok to have and what are not.

And for the record, I would love to have Peter LaBarbera or Richard Cohen put up a guest post up.

He's violating the terms of service, engaging in hate speech, and in general dismissing the lives and experiences of all trans people because of his own castration anxieties.

I will tell you that it's not okay to demand conversations of trans people, to tell us that it's okay to dissect what someone thinks our lives are just to confirm their own prejudices. It's not okay to do that to anybody and I'll say that to anyone at anytime. You are clearly complaining that it's wrong for trans people to set boundaries, to say "This is not on," and that's pretty offensive and, again, angering.

Cissexual, cissexist, transphobic voices are constantly, routinely, raised against us. All the time. This should not be a place where that happens. If there needs to be a conversation about how surgery isn't mutilation, it should be produced by pointing to examples of people claiming that and dismissing them, not by a contributor producing the claim uncritically as if it were obviously, blatantly true.

So no, this post is not okay, it should not have happened, it is deeply offensive and painful for trans people to deal with this kind of crap again and again. No one needs a lecture on how these ideas need to be engaged in earnest discussion every time it comes up. I mean, it's really big of you to give me permission to not engage, but it seems to me that you're more concerned about Gold's "right" to speak up than you are about the fact that his words cause real harm. Even though you apparently understand what's wrong with his words, you do not see how damaging it is for a prominent LGBT blog to put words like this front and center. It is also not appropriate to say that the site's TOS should be suspended to accommodate his right to speak up and introduce an opportunity for dialogue by trashing the hell out of a significant number of the regular readers here.

When we have posts that deal with sexual violence or rape, we put them behind a "triggery" tag and let people know that they're about to approach something that may bring up some trauma they've experienced.

So why do you see no problem with posting triggery horrible bullshit like this here without any warning to people? Hell, the triggery shit is in the title.

Why is it so triggery? Well, how about all of the trans people that get beaten, raped, and murdered, and when their attacker is questioned, they justify it with words similar to what Mr. Gold mentioned, talking about mutiilation and delusions and "saying no to transgender." How about my own experience of standing outside a funeral home, being prevented from going in to see my mother's lifeless body because my step-father hired a police officer to keep me out, while family members came up to me and told me all about how delusional and stuff I am?

Maybe you can debate whether or not you are allowed to live in an objective, rational, and calm fashion. But me? When someone starts telling me that my entire life is a delusion and that all of the pain and suffering and trauma I've experienced didn't need to happen, frankly, I'm not going to be objective, rational, nor calm. I'm going to be triggered, pissed as fuck and ready to defend myself from what I experience as an emotional assault with all of the baggage of past assaults. And if someone I consider an "ally" or "friend" is letting the person make that attack, I'm going to ask them why they're supporting emotional abuse towards me.

That's what you and others aren't getting here. This isn't some abstract discussion of academic concepts. Mr. Gold is talking about MY FUCKING LIFE and the lives of many other trans people. He's reminding me of REAL FUCKING TRAUMA that I've experienced. And really, try to find a transsexual that hasn't been SEVERELY TRAUMATIZED through the process of transition. You'll be hard pressed to do so.

The line of reasonable debate and discussion stops when you start to tell me how to live my life. Let me put this loud and clear: MY LIFE IS NOT UP FOR DEBATE. Do you really expect ANY trans person to listen to someone trivialize our traumas, pains, and sufferings as "for a delusion" and NOT get compeletely pissed off? Really?!

When the political becomes personal, and words become weapons, defending yourself from attacks like this becomes an exercise in sheer survival.

The thing is capitolistpiggy, if this post had been speaking of gay persons in the same manner it would have never been posted. So don't tell us about what's ok and what's not ok to talk about.

LOL, how manyy licks of Bilerico does it take until you get to the center of the issue? Bilerico isn't transphobic, they're concerned with comments/visits! Bang! They win... and really, you know you'll be back tomorrow.

They damn well better be.

I'm here now. And this is the sort of stuff that's *my* bread and butter.

Hell, I'll get a good 5 posts out of it, counting the one's here and at my home, lol. Which is important, given I've been starving for subject matter of late...

Dominique Storni | December 11, 2009 2:19 AM

What absolute BOLLOCKS!!!!

I've reposted articles from here before, Bil, et al. You've lost me as a fan.

Hey Mr. Gold...

Fred Phelps has nothing on you. I thought about calling you a stupid fucktard simpleton, but that would be an ad hominem attack, wouldn't it?

Try doing some research before you open your mouth and shove your feet all the way in.

There's way more scientific evidence that transgenderism in its many varieties and splendors exists as normal anomalies and variations of the binary M/F than exists any evidence of the causation of homosexuality. There have also been many research projects proving that transition and surgery are the only "cures" for transsexuality.

BSTc Netherlands.
Norway Transgender
UCLA Transgender gene
Australia Transgender androgen receptor

"The idea behind Bilerico Project is to encourage dialogue among different facets of the LGBT community that might normally never interact this intimately. We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written - with positive intent while bluntly stating your own opinion and experiences."

Are you folks even kidding?
It's true that i would never interact with this dude, and for good reason, which i think should be obvious by now.

But where is the "positive intent" anywhere in his post? It is hate speech pure and simple (oh, but in the name of dialogue, so it's ok! so long as it's trans folks who get the shit end of the stick of course), and that this tripe was allowed through the clearly gaping sieve of your editorial team speaks volumes about what i have been coming to clearly understand about this site for some time.

I don't want to pile on Ronald for a flawed and offensive post or the editors for questionable judgment, so I won't add fuel to the fire.

Perhaps this is a good time to take a deep breath and remember that we cannot see into the depths of anyone's heart to judge, and none of us were ever born completely and perfectly sensitive to every injustice in society.

We are all allies.

Someone claiming that my deeply held feelings about my personal identity are flawed isn't my ally. Enemy of my enemy, at best.

If you want to know where changing cultural views leave transsexuality, ASK A TRANS PERSON!

Speaking for us, with your uneducated opinion, us reeks of privilege and intolerance.

I was raised by liberal parents who emphasised to me that guys can be feminine, and girls can be tough. So why am I trans? Please, allow me, the trans person, to answer that.

For whatever reason (my dr suspects xx/xy chimerism but we've not been able to test it), my brain "knows" I am the other sex... just as, with my eyes closed, it "knows" that I have two arms and two legs, it "knows" what's between my legs... only it wasn't at birth. As a child, I came across a PBS show about War vets suffering from "Phantom Limb Syndrome". *THAT* is what I identified with, much to my confusion, in grade school. I could care less about the stereotypes associated with the other gender and no degree of fluidity in gender expression could even resolve it.

so the message here in the article is "do whatever you want, unless I personally disagree with it" and "it's ok to screw with binary gender roles, unless you feel like you only belong at one end of the spectrum, and then you should keep your mouth shut" or "we're ok with you changing things about yourself, but only to a level that we're comfortable with"

I will happily agree that psrinks and their "disease model" have got to go, but personal mental and bodily integrity should never be the cost. just because you don't want it, doesn't mean that others don't.


it is almost laughable that my response is going to be held for moderation to be sure that it isnt a personal attack because "personal attacks will not be tolerated" ...

it might also be deleted for being "off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur..."

perhaps you should have used the same measuring stick on mr. gold.....

I'm not even going to pick this article apart. It's garbage.

If you want to know where changing cultural views leave transsexuality, ASK A TRANS PERSON!

Speaking for us, with your uneducated opinion, us reeks of privilege and intolerance.

I was raised by liberal parents who emphasised to me that guys can be feminine, and girls can be tough. So why am I trans? Please, allow me, the trans person, to answer that.

For whatever reason (my dr suspects xx/xy chimerism but we've not been able to test it), my brain "knows" I am the other sex... just as, with my eyes closed, it "knows" that I have two arms and two legs, it "knows" what's between my legs... only it wasn't at birth. As a child, I came across a PBS show about War vets suffering from "Phantom Limb Syndrome". *THAT* is what I identified with, much to my confusion, in grade school. I could care less about the stereotypes associated with the other gender and no degree of fluidity in gender expression could even resolve it.

With all due respect Joe, that's BS. Ronald Gold is no ally of the transperson and publishing this post does NOTHING positive for the trans community. Yes it's their right to post it, but that does not make them allies by any means.

I found Mr. Gold's highly ignorant comments no more highly ignorant than another recent post at Bilerico (also by a gay cisperson) which positively glowed about Simon LeVay, a "scientist" who also has some absurdly unfounded opinions about transwomen. And as I recall, some of the people who run Bilerico actually wanted to approach LeVay to write for them, even though they could have found out in 5 seconds how horrific his relationship with transpeople has been. Just because one has been an activist in one part of "the movement" doesn't mean you have any entitlement to spout nonsense about something you're of which you're woefully ignorant. It reminds me of William Shockley, a brilliant physicist who was known for inventing the transistor. Unfortunately, he thought this somehow qualified him as a commentator on the subject of eugenics and racial intelligence (with some incredibly racist opinions). Before you open your mouth again Mr. Gold (or some of the other cis "trans" experts at Bilerico) I suggest remembering WIlliam Shockley.

And while we're at it, perhaps we should allow posts that explain how homosexuality is a choice and is therefore invalid. Or about how all child molesters are gay. Would that piss you off?

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 3:05 AM

Saying "no" to the notion of Gay!

We've seen scientiic evidence of cross-sex neurology in Gays and Lesbians and Transsexuals. This was not just relating to brain functions in sex acts.

Therfore there is no such thing as gay or lesbian! Merely different kinds of Intersex just like Transsexuals. And when the rest of transgender gets tested, not just drag but also crossdressers genderqueer and others of us you seem totally ignorant of, they expect the pattern will remain.

Like that mate? I just rendered your entire identity an illusion, a lie. Hurt? Then don't do it to others!

But see it gets worse, cause I didn't make up that stuff i just wrote. There really is evidence of cross-sex neurology in gays and lesbians.

I personally am a MtF bi-gender/genderqueer/crossdresser. My girl/boyfriend is a FtM bi-gender/genderqueer/crossdresser and neither of are cartoonish parodies. And I have friends who are transsexuals. And definately not deluded (didn't you hear they've found one gene more common amongst TS than the general community btw?).


(didn't you hear they've found one gene more common amongst TS than the general community btw?).

Not quite correct.

A polymorphism of the CYP17 gene related to sex steroid metabolism is associated with female-to-male but not male-to-female transsexualism by Bentz et al Fertility and Sterility , Volume 90 , Issue 1 , Pages 56 - 59

Androgen Receptor Repeat Length Polymorphism Associated with Male-to-Female Transsexualism by Hare at al in Biol.Psych. Vol65, Issue 1, Pp 93-96

It's two genes. One for FtoM, one for MtoF. And exon 1 of the AR gene is excluded, we know it's another part - see

Association study of gender identity disorder and sex hormone-related genes by Ujike et al, Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2009 Oct 1;33(7):1241-4.

But talking about this to someone like Mr Gold is like trying to explain the quantum mechanics of electron shells to someone who still espouses the Fire, Water, Earth and Air theory of Chemistry for philosophico-religious reasons.

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 3:46 AM

I stand corrected Zoe. Thanks for the additional information and clarification!

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 4:27 AM

Example please?

Remembering I'm one who supports the right of self-indentification of those transsexuals who do not consider themselves transgender.. as well as the same of those transsexuals who do.

Or are you referring to my using the 'mirror tactic' rhetorical device right then?

Does it matter if it was a rhetorical device? I'm gay, my sex is female and my gender is androgynous and I identify as butch.

How others classify my gender is largely out of my hands. The concept of gay butch females and gay effeminate males are useful weapons or wedges of some sort. Like we're proof T exists within the LGB regardless of how the majority of us identifies.

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 5:34 AM

I apologise to you. The Mirror is always a heavy-handed response. I do indeed respect your right to self-identify as Gay.

I do not personally believe that Gay does not exist or is an illusion. That the science supports a connection intrinsicly between T and BLG does not mean Gay does not exist, it merely means we need to re-think what it means.

But the point of what I said is an attempt to illustrate Reciprocal Ethics to a person comitting a massive Ethics FAIL. An attempt to show to someone that the same thing they are doing when applied straight back to them are unacceptable to them. And often it's crucial to help people see through their othering and thus acceptance of double-standards.

But as it seems you felt my attempt to hold a mirror to Ron's FAIL argument covered you i apologise for that. And want to make clear my actual views. That GLBT are all by current scientific evidence indeed parts of the same natural and good biological phenomena as well as valid cultural and social identities.

I think the problem is, Ron really only needs half a mirror. And the trans community maybe needs half a mirror.

And what I mean is perhaps the transgender umbrella has gotten too big. I could easily say and explain that every gay person is transgender by current political definition. And that seems to only confuse people more than it helps them understand.

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 6:27 AM

Why do you think it has gotten too big?

I think if transgender includes gay butch women and gay femme men by default, it seems to weaken or diminish or just make it harder for people to understand how that is different from people who live and identify as a sex other than the one they were assigned at birth.

I do think gay identity includes transgender qualities all by itself. Even if sexual orientation and gender identity are considered separate concepts by abstraction, sexual behavior is part of gender roles.

Er, speaking as a member of the transgender community (but only for myself) I don't believe in telling people they're transgender just because I think they should identify as such.

Also, I can't say I've seen a lot of people insisting that butch lesbians and femme gay men are transgender. I've noticed you bring this up rather frequently - are people telling you that you're transgender. Are trans people telling you that you're transgender?

I've seen numerous definitions of transgender, which were written by transgender people, include the average gender bending gay in the definition. I'm questioning whether it makes sense to do that because I can see it confuses people. This blog should be an obvious example. Ronald Gold here is clearly confused.

Some trans people have said I'm cisgender until I state otherwise. There are posts all over bilerico by trans bloggers using and defending "cis gay", "cis LGB" and even "cis queer" terminology. That terminology is intended to force folks to identify as one or the other, just like "gay" and "straight".

I've seen numerous definitions of transgender, which were written by transgender people, include the average gender bending gay in the definition. I'm questioning whether it makes sense to do that because I can see it confuses people. This blog should be an obvious example. Ronald Gold here is clearly confused.

Ronald Gold's been saying stuff like this since the 1970s. I don't think you can (or should) lay the blame for the things he said at the feet of people trans people and the way they use terminology.

Some trans people have said I'm cisgender until I state otherwise. There are posts all over bilerico by trans bloggers using and defending "cis gay", "cis LGB" and even "cis queer" terminology. That terminology is intended to force folks to identify as one or the other, just like "gay" and "straight".

No. It's not identity or identification, or at least not the sense of "I identify with that." It's a matter of identifying privilege and oppression. Trans people experience a variety of issues that cis people don't. For example, cissexual people are highly unlikely to be subjected to an article about how they're all deluded and mutilated for not transitioning or not wanting to transition. Then it comes down to cisgender and transgender, which are harder to define. I like Tobi's definitions.

I recall reading something by Jan Morris in which it seemed that he thought he needed a sex change because he wanted men to hold doors open for him and kiss him goodbye at train stations. For starters, I'd have told him that I've had these nice things happen to me and I've still got my pecker.

That would be a fail. Jan Morris is not a "he" then. Still having your dick is a disadvantage, transwomen generally don't want their dick. Several have tried (and some succeeded) in cutting it off themselves.

Really, you're ignorant to transsexual's situations and attitudes. No, it's not that easy and no one will call you a "he" if you look like a woman. End of story, not perfectly easy. We're not just gay like you seem to think.

If I were you, I'd stick to topics I knew something about.

Margot Biaramka | December 11, 2009 3:15 AM

Rebecca, you claim with over 70 contributers, there is going to be a diversity in point of view and not everyone will agree but can you point to even one of those 70 who EVER posted that gay men are deluded straight men who have just been brainwashed into being gay?

Which one of those 70 folks who is a lesbian claim to know what types of gay men there are and who are the real ones? Can't remember ever seeing those articles. Will Mr. Gold next tell us that Queer POCs aren't really POC or colour because he know that that's just a social construct.

Finally, I am a straight non-transgender women and even I know that just as the range of gender expression and presentation varies hugely with both straight and queer people so too does that same variety and range exist with transgender people.

The only one that seems caught up is stereotypical gender behavior is you. There are butch transexual women, genderqueer androgynes, high femme gay transgender men and so many genders and lack of genders that you can't even imagine. They all exist and will continue to exist no matter how many fearful people spread lies and hate about them under the guise of discussion and discourse.

The only person who is delusion is Mr. Gold if he thinks he has even the smallest understanding of transgender expression and identity and even less that he thinks that as non transgender guy he has any right to pass judgment or have any validity.

Mr. Gold, shame on you. you sully your own name and history with your own fear based behavior. You do know that while you claim transgender people do not exist, every day transgender people even those who identify as being straight are being murdered because people who think like you, think they are gay men or women. These transgender people are dying as much from straight hate as from the hate from within community that claim to call them brothers and sisters.

Bilerico, shame on you for having zero tolerance for gay hate speech but allowing trans hate speech. Check your privlege. you can not claim to be a safe space for all LGBT people and then publish hate speech and if you can't figure out telling someone they don't exist and delusion, then your english is even worse than mine.

sorry if my english is not best but my passion is true.

QUOTE: Editors' Note: All posts published on Bilerico Project do not reflect the opinions of nor any endorsement by the Editorial Team. Many Bilerico readers and contributors have found Ronald Gold's op-ed offensive or needlessly coarse. The idea behind Bilerico Project is to encourage dialogue among different facets of the LGBT community that might normally never interact this intimately. We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written - with positive intent while bluntly stating your own opinion and experiences. UNQUOTE

Sounds like a cop-out to me; also I fail to see the 'positive intent' behind this post, as I'm sure no one here would defend a family disowning a gay son because they claim to 'have the best of intentions' for doing so. If the 'positive intent' is to allow this rotter to denounce and make slurs at an already repressed minority group, then congratulations Bilerico! We look forward to more shite posts from Mr Gold and absolutely no apologies from either the writer or the people who allowed this to be posted (as I'm sure that's how this is going to go..)

It's so typical for gay males with the privilege of blending into straight society to paint themselves as woeful victims in an oppressive system; all the while our legitimacy as a transgender community is put into question-- why I wonder, to further the gay movement by distancing yourself from us? All of the arguments made against having a transgender identity are the same arguments made by those opposed to homosexuality. They are all pathetic and unfounded.

I knew at age five that I was a boy despite my birth certificate saying 'female'-- I referred to myself as a boy, peed standing up, was only friends with boys, interested in action figures, hot wheels, etc. Not typical little girl behaviour if you ask me. It has always been obvious to myself, my family, my friends, to everyone that I am more masculine; I faced resistance for that but it didn't change the fact. Sure my parents bought me dresses and Barbies, signed me up for ballet and that like, but I hated those things. At age fourteen I came out as transsexual and began to see LEGITIMATE, COLLEGE-EDUCATED therapists who told me that what I was feeling was the result of a genuine physiological problem. I have since had bloodwork done which shows that I have MALE chromosomes, not the female ones which you hypocrites and the conservative right tell me I am supposed to have by nature. I knew I was a male long before I knew I had male chromosomes, yet Mr Gold has the gall to tell me that I am delusional for being transgender? Ah sweet hypocrisy! This is as legitimate a form of being as 'gay' or 'lesbian' is- in my case there is even a clear, obvious medical reason to show this.

What it basically came down to for me was "make society happy but be miserable, play a societal role into which you have never fit, ignore the fact that you have breasts" OR I could be honest and admit that socially and physically I am happier and better adjusted as a male. By-the-way I have never identified as a lesbian, I have an awesome boyfriend (not trans, so he must be a sicko for being with me) and my boyfriend is the one who wears the eyeliner in the relationship! So much for you and 70% of idiot society's rigid stereotyping of all transgender people. We're all either perverts trying to get into the women's restroom or confused gays ashamed of our natural sexualities, make up your minds people! Nevermind that you have zero medical training or real knowledge on the subject, nevermind that all of your opinions come from whatever you just gone done absorbing from an ill-informed media.. we transsexuals have all got this grand scheme going to confuse you into believing we're the opposite gender so we can either coerce you into sex or get attention for ourselves; truly the arguments against the 'notion of transgender' are getting stale and weak fast, what with all the contradictions and short-comings where evidence is concerned.

I agree with everyone else who posted that on a supposedly LGBT-friendly blog never in a million years would anti-GAY posts spouting rubbish to defame THEIR cause be allowed to be posted. Such is life, let's cater to the free-speech of such bigots as Ronald Gold instead of considering the feelings of an easy-to-target minority. I don't believe in blocking a discussion, but I do believe that with just about every other 'news' source making a target or a joke of trans people it is very inappropriate for a 'trans friendly' blog to even permit this.

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 3:35 AM

Tough Bill.

This post doesn't cut the mustard. It's a screed. Without evidence or reason. It's hate-speech. Totally offensive with the remark about 'deluded' and totally offensive relegating all of sex and gender diversity into two negative stereoype ctagories and totally offensive saying all non-transexuals are cartoonish parodies.

There is no excusing that. It's offensive hate speech plain and simple.

And to a community rife with internalised oppression and suicide as it is. To use a common Australian phrase for the lowest of low acts this is "Kicking the dog when it's down".

Bilerico better give one of the best apologies in the history of apologies.

You're absolutely right Bil, and 99% of us simpleton commentors are wrong. Please forgive us.

Tina, that much as obvious... 300 and counting!

P.T. Browning, anyone? Bil, I have to hand it to you, this post was sheer genius. You will go down in GLBT history as the William Randolph Hearst of blogs.

Woke up today here in Bangladesh to find not only that my post had run, but that I had a deluge of negative responses. Whoever said that I wanted to start off with a bang was right and, since my aim as a bilerico contributor is to take aim at some of the politically correct assumptions of our current movement, I was ready for a barrage of disagreement. I was distressed to find, however, that the bulk of the comments limited themselves to stating that I am bigoted, ignorant, abusive and too old.

One thing I regret about my post is that I failed to take on the question of gender dystopia head on. I concede I'm far from an expert on this, but I continue to believe that it is highly unlikely to have a biological basis (Is there any credible evidence for that view?; I'm willing to listen). So I posited an explanation based on societal pressure to conform to the gender stereotypes. (If there are other explanations, I missed them amidst the tirades.)The "conspiracy" I see is sex-role stereotyping, and the transgender concept, I suggested,is just that stood on its head. Yes indeed, people do tend to identify with one gender or the other. I attempted to inquire if that makes any sense. I'm in favor of gender-neutral restrooms.

My post was indeed an "attack on the very credibility of transgender diagnosis." and, for the record, I don't want to see ANYTHING in the DSM, which I view as a dead-wrong attempt to view human problems as pathology, and collect some insurance-company coin in the process. I don't apologize for using words like mutilation and deluded. That's what I think it is!

Next, somebody said, I'll be saying there's no such thing as homosexuality. As a matter of fact I think that's true (and no such thing as heterosexuality) and expect to say something along those lines in my next post, if I'm not hounded off the site.

Incidentally, I NEVER tried to keep drag people out of gay parades or any of the outrageous things a couple of commentators accused me of, and have no clue where they could have picked up such lies.

I wasn't trying to change the minds of 6 million people. I was attempting to open a dialogue with some of you who are willing. I hope to be allowed to try again.

Thanks for joining into the conversation. Although I notice you don't actually respond to any of the thoughtful criticisms you've received. Even if you believe "the bulk of the comments limited themselves to stating that [you are] bigoted, ignorant, abusive and too old," please respond to the ones that didn't.

Additionally, given what you've said, and you're insistence on using transphobic trigger words like "mutilation" and calling every trans person "deluded", I think it's quite reasonable to call you bigoted at this point in time. It's not simply stated, there's plenty of evidence being pointed to as well. Not all of your critics gave reasoning behind their claims, but plenty did. If you want to contradict them then you'll need to give some reasoning beyond "I am not."

Additionally, I hope the editorial team will apply the TOS to your comment even though it was not applied to your post. You just me and half your critics "deluded" and "mutilated." That's a personal attack at the very least, if not a slur as well, and needs to be removed.

Rather than spam lots of links, I'd just suggest you go to Zoe's blog, she links to quite a few studies in total. I'm afraid you're somewhat...out of date...with the belief there is likely 'no cause' and that it's 'all in the head'.

On a general note, I felt no compulsion to 'conform to stereotypes'. I transitioned, live as a woman, but I don't even own a single dress or wear makeup, so I don't know what sort of transfolk you've met over the years, but you're speaking of some sort of caricature I rarely run into.

You speak as if all transfolk transition to wear a dress, or not wear a dress or because they act a certain way or don''s complete nonsense, part of my problem with a response is because...I don't even know where to *BEGIN*

By speaking FOR us in defining our experiences and in such derogatory ways, you are shutting out dialogue, not opening it.

You're trying "take aim at ... politically correct assumptions?" By stomping on trans people? Really?

I mean, I know everyone wants to be a rebel. But usually to be a rebel you want fight the 'man', not join him to gang up on a bunch of people who've been fighting an uphill battle for their rights - and, sometimes more often, yours - for the last 40 years.

You're absolutely right Ron, there is no biological link to transsexuality. And there is also no biological link to homosexuality, it's just a matter of not having the love of your father when you were little.

Get real. Homosexuality exists, heterosexuality exists, intersex exists and transsexuality exists. What is your goal with all this? One homogenized, bisexual, androgynous society?

As a cissexual man you have no first hand knowledge of what it is to be transgender or transsexual. And since there is no mention of it in your bio I think it's safe to say that you don't have a degree in gender studies, sexuality, biology or the like. So where do you get off telling us that we are deluded?

Your assertions are ridiculous. If you want to write publicly, try writing about subjects you know something about instead of speculating about that of which you have no clue.

Although I will be perfectly content if I never see your name in print again.

I was distressed to find, however, that the bulk of the comments limited themselves to stating that I am bigoted, ignorant, abusive and too old.

ignorant: Your post deals with two dimensional stereotypes of transsexuality, not the reality of trans experiences. It shows extreme ignorance of the subject.

abusive: Using language like "deluded" and "mutilation" is, if not abusive in itself, extremely upsetting to people that have had those words used to justify abuse.

bigoted: Your post seems to show a blatant disregard for the demographic you're talking to. Until you shut up and start listening for a bit, you're going to remain to be seen as bigoted.

Is there any credible evidence for that view?; I'm willing to listen
There's tons. I personally don't have links, but if I spent a few minutes with google, I could find tons. Go do some research and you'll find lots. Also: Lots of other folks here have posted about biological information on trans people. If you're not a transphobic bigot, you can turn that image around by actually clearing up some of your ignorance and learning about the topic you're writing about. Bilerico tends to have a very high caliber of writer here, people that research their subjects and are sensitive to the population they're discussing. You failed at both of these. I hope you can succeed in the future.

The "conspiracy" I see is sex-role stereotyping, and the transgender concept, I suggested,is just that stood on its head.
And you'd be wrong in that suggestion. Spend some time talking to some of us transsexuals, and you will see that we rail against sex-role stereotyping just as much as, if not more than, you do.

I don't apologize for using words like mutilation and deluded. That's what I think it is!
*headdesk* Okay, Ronald, you're talking to us here, so I have a bit of hope, so let me put this to you again: Using words like "mutilation" and "deluded" is VERY VERY hurtful and offensive to people that have had those words used against us to HARM us and KILL us. Please show some sensitivity and stop using those words. Additionally, it gives the impression that you are not interested in learning more about the topic to see that perhaps your thesis is incorrect. I.e. it makes you look like a bigot. Again, if you want to change that image, step 1 is to stop using offensive and painful language that is DIRECTLY CONTRIBUTING TO THE DEATHS OF TRANSFOLK.

I'll be saying there's no such thing as homosexuality. As a matter of fact I think that's true (and no such thing as heterosexuality)
For what it is worth, as a TRANSGENDER WOMAN that is BISEXUAL, I actually agree with some of what you're saying here. However, when making a point like this, you need to make sure that you are sensitive to the identities of the folks involved, which you are currently not demonstrating an ability to do. You also need to recognize that identiies can be useful for political or empowerment purposes.

Example: So if people should have whatever gender expression they desire, you have to recognize that our culture punishes those that express gender in a way that is against their socially defined gender. For these folks to band together under the "gender variant" flag is useful, even if the concept they are banding together for only exists in the minds of society. Not saying that it does only exist there, but assuming you're right, the social realities of the situation make the identity vital towards making positive changes.

I hope to be allowed to try again.
Keep talking to us like this and START LISTENING, and you'll find folks much more amicable and less "ZOMG, UR A BIGOT AND WE HATEZ YOU!"

You managed to trigger a LOT of trauma and pain with your post. Consider why that might be and contemplate carefully your words in the future with that in mind. You cannot approach this from a purely "logical" point of view, as the people involved are DEEPLY emotional about it. I've had very intense recent trauma to deal with, and I'm *STILL* doing better than a lot of my fellow trans* siblings. You need to be sensitive and considerate with your words and language if you want to open such controversial ideas up for discussion.

Charlie Butler | December 11, 2009 5:53 AM

I'm not going to add to what other people have said, but it doesn't exactly inspire confidence that you write 'dystopia' when you (presumably) mean 'dysphoria'...

I do understand what you're saying and agree with part of what I think you're getting at.

There are people who don't fit society's expectations of gender, and don't fit a gender role and yet don't feel any need to change their physical body. I'm one of those people.

When you say "There is no such thing as a male or female personality." Do you mean masculine and feminine? That's what it sounds like. I can safely say that MY brain isn't inherently masculine or feminine. What I know to be considered masculine or feminine was taught to me. And it's not something I ever related to. But since I'm not feminine as people born female are supposed to be, then I'm butch.

And gender variant folks like me are often considered to be under the great big transgender umbrella (whether we like it or not)--in theory anyway.

However, I think that is very different than people who are transsexual, and those who need to live and identify as a sex other than the one they were born as. It is real. And it's very obvious to me that transwoman do identify more strongly with being a woman than I do even though I was born female. And it is perhaps counter-intuitive and confusing to classify us both as transgender.


Continuing on some of the thoughts from my last comment to you, my best advice for changing the image you seem to be gaining here would be to talk "TO" us, instead of talking "AT" us. You want a dialogue? You can get one, or could have...

You know what would have been great to see? Instead of you coming on here telling all of us transgender people what we feel and experience, it would have been great if you had come to us seeking more knowledge on the topic. You are clearly very ignorant when it comes to transgender issues. Had you described your beliefs, as wrong and offensive as they may be, and asked us for our opinions on them, noting for yourself that you have very little experience or understanding of transgender people, you probably would have found your inbox filled with informative commentary. Probably a few people pissed off at your ignorance, but even that might have been helpful in helping you to realize the sensitivity of the topic for some people and worked on improving your sensitivity in the future.

Something like that would have probably gone over really well, been a really great dialogue about the concept, and allowed you to participate in discussions where you learn about how your ideas about a gender-less society (or whatever it is that you believe in) fit with the realities of transgender experiences.

That was EXACTLY how my first experiences with transgender people went. I came to a bunch of them, posted ignorant and offensive crap talking about genderless societies and telling trans people how they felt, got called on my bullshit, and learned from my mistakes. Although much of my ignorance was willful due to denying my own transgender nature, I hope the story might be useful to you in coming to understand what it is that you're actually dealing with here.

Dear Mr Gold

Thank you for dispelling some of my own tentative misconceptions about you. Thanks also for starting to engage with your critics.

I think you still owe an apology for misgendering Jan Morris. That was nyeh kulturny rather than a product of lack of knowledge. I won't say "ignorance", as I think that has overtones that would be misleading, and indeed unjust to you.

As for the "mutilation" and "deluded" bit, since that seems to be a genuinely held belief of yours, with no good way of expressing it in less hurtful tones, I'm willing to give you a pass from my own perspective. I claim no right to judge your remarks in absolute terms.

I concede I'm far from an expert on this, but I continue to believe that it is highly unlikely to have a biological basis (Is there any credible evidence for that view?; I'm willing to listen). So I posited an explanation based on societal pressure to conform to the gender stereotypes.
...ignoring (or not just being aware?) of the fact that many trans people can't be shoehorned into fitting this conjecture.

I can't really use my own narrative as a counter-example. I'm not trans, technically, but Intersexed. Born looking male, a partial female puberty at age 47, and transitioned then as the result. But I'd picked the name "Zoe" at age 10, as I knew I wasn't male then. No matter how much I wanted to be, because boys did all the cool stuff, they got to be astronauts and doctors, not beauticians and nurses.

I lucked out - eventually - and so got to be a Rocket Scientist (literally), but also finally was able to drop the "boy act", and have a body that didn't feel horribly wrong. The relief was indescribable, and had I known it would be like that, I would have sought a transsexual transition decades earlier. And been denied it, as my body wasn't feminine enough for the doctors of the day for me to be considered a good risk, and my preferred gender role was another strike against me. Some of your criticisms of the psychiatric profession in the past are close to the mark - but you confuse cause and effect. Effeminate men were not misdiagnosed as transsexual women because of their nonconformant gender behaviour as they are in Iran today; rather, transsexual women were refused treatment if their gender behaviour was nonconformant, or whose bodies were too "butch" until relatively recently.

As regards the evidence - you should look at the URLs in my previous comment to Father T. Maybe not the Catholic one, but certainly Dr Ecker's presentation.

A preview of some of the hundreds of papers on the subject:

Debate on the relative contributions of nature and nurture to an individual's gender patterns, sexual orientation and gender identity are reviewed as they appeared to this observer starting from the middle of the last century. Particular attention is given to the organization-activation theory in comparison to what might be called a theory of psychosexual neutrality at birth or rearing consistency theory. The organization-activation theory posits that the nervous system of a developing fetus responds to prenatal androgens so that, at a postnatal time, it will determine how sexual behavior is manifest. How organization-activation was or was not considered among different groups and under which circumstances it is considered is basically understood from the research and comments of different investigators and clinicians. The preponderance of evidence seems to indicate that the theory of organization-activation for the development of sexual behavior is certain for non-human mammals and almost certain for humans. This article also follows up on previous clinical critiques and recommendations and makes some new suggestions.
It's only "almost certain" as we can't do experiments on human foetusses to reliably and consistently induce transsexuality via hormonal manipulation, the way we can on animals.

That's from Clinical implications of the organizational and activational effects of hormones. M.Diamond, Horm Behav. 2009 May;55(5):621-32 BTW.

Others -

Specific Cerebral Activation due to Visual Erotic Stimuli in Male-to-Female Transsexuals Compared with Male and Female Controls: An fMRI Study by Gizewski et al J Sex Med 2009;6:440–448.

Neuroimaging Differences in Spatial Cognition between Men and Male-to-Female Transsexuals Before and During Hormone Therapy by Scoening et al J Sex Med. 2009 Sep 14.

Male-to-female transsexuals show sex-atypical hypothalamus activation when smelling odorous steroids by Berglund et al Cerebral Cortex 2008 18(8):1900-1908;

Male–to–female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus. Kruiver et al J Clin Endocrinol Metab (2000) 85:2034–2041

Sexual differentiation of the human brain: relevance for gender identity, transsexualism and sexual orientation. Swaab Gynecol Endocrinol (2004) 19:301–312.

A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality. by Zhou et al Nature (1995) 378:68–70.

A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate nucleus: relationship to gender identity by Garcia-Falgueras et al Brain. 2008 Dec;131(Pt 12):3132-46.

As to why a cross-sexed brain (in certain areas) universally leads to a discordant gender identity, you're actually close to the mark again.
Girls "know" they're girls not from preference for gendered behaviour (though even that's a simplification), but by unconsciously (or rarely, consciously in late crystallisation of gender identity after age 4) observing that their emotional response, sense of smell, sense of hearing, body language, spatial cognition, instincts, language and thought patterns etc correspond closely to that of female peers, and differ markedly from that of males.

See Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: “How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?” M. Diamond, Sex Roles (2006) 55:589–600

The field is complex; there are many unknowns; we've studied "classic" transsexuals (who are relatively easy to differentiate from the general population) but not transgendered people generally. I've simplified things, and both sex and gender are bimodal distributions, multivariant continua with two clusters, rather than a binary. A tiny proportion of gender behaviours has a clear biological basis, though the majority has none whatsoever, and much that does has a tenuous basis at best.

But we've gone well beyond the question of "is there a biological basis to transsexuality", and are now investigating exactly what brain structures are involved, and in what ways.

All of the papers I've mentioned in this comment are available online: you'll find URLs via the links I've given in other comments.

"I wasn't trying to change the minds of 6 million people. I was attempting to open a dialogue with some of you who are willing. I hope to be allowed to try again."

Might I suggest that if you want to "open a dialogue", starting with a full frontal assault advocating nothing less than our cultural eradication was perhaps a bad way to go about it? It's far more likely to make us want to fight you than making us want to talk to you.

Do you ask to borrow your neighbour's lawn mower by shooting their windows in, or does that seem really counter productive to you? Perhaps there's a lesson in that.

Yes, I had my penis surgically removed and a vagina constructed. Yes, I'm happy about that. Yes, calling it "mutilation" is hate speech. No, you don't have to have it done yourself. We do our thing, you do yours; live and let live. Is that really so hard?

Next, somebody said, I'll be saying there's no such thing as homosexuality. As a matter of fact I think that's true (and no such thing as heterosexuality)
Just what we need: Gore Vidal sans any redeeming qualities.
I was distressed to find, however, that the bulk of the comments limited themselves to stating that I am bigoted, ignorant, abusive and too old.
Other than the "too old" complaint, the above sentence could have been written by Michael Bailey and/or Alice Dreger in response to all of the analysis of their exterminationist bigotry which picks them apart and - validly - calls them out as exterminationist bigots.

If you think that you get to insult people's existence, claim that the insults were not insults even though no rational person would view them that way, call all of the valid analysis of your bile insulting to your own pwe-shus feewings and then use your self-serving characterization of said analysis as an amulet of martyrdom that insulates you both from the substantive criticism and any reasonable adjetives that might attach thereto, then I have a question for you: Why aren't you working for the christianist right? You've got their m.o. down pat.

The "politically correct assumptions" you were "taking aim at" were nothing more than a bunch of straw men set up by none other than yourself. Ask some trans people about the trans experience, and we'll tell you that yes, as a matter of fact we *do* understand gender to be a multivariate, organic, fluid, and not necessarily determined by biology. We are excruciatingly aware of that and to paint trans people otherwise requires either a certain level of ignorance of the trans experience, incredible chutzpah, or both. I'm going with "both" this time.

Yes, we want gender liberation, too. Duh. Do you seriously think we don't? I don't see any reason to assume otherwise, much less to take pot shots at us. If you think you had some cool new thoughts about gender policing and gender liberation and you'd like to know how trans people think your thoughts apply to their experiences, come ask us. Don't just come around and tell us we're a bunch of deluded, mutilated things, or that our identities are not worth respecting. Then again, I think it was clear from your post that you really didn't give a shake what we think about your thoughts and how they apply to our experiences. You, the cis expert on the trans experience, were more interested in simply dictating the details of our experiences to us.

If you were distressed to find people think you "bigoted, ignorant, abusive" after your initial post, well, perhaps you shouldn't have said that entire host of things belying a bigotry against trans people or an ignorance of the trans experience. Not calling us "deluded" or "mutilated", not throwing scare quotes around the word "transsexual" every time it was used, not misgendering us, and perhaps even going so far as to *respect our identities* would have done wonders to keep you from being perceived as "abusive".

My self-awareness is not a political question. "Political correctness" has no bearing on it.

My self-awareness is not externally imposed or constructed. It is a natural consequence of my internal equilibrium.

I am not deluded - my reality testing is just fine, thank you and I have been judged quite sane by actual certified psychs - and choices I make with regard to my own body are not mutilation, they are an expression of my own mind within my bodily domain.

You have been supplied ample opportunity to learn about biological correlations and causes of trans identity - opportunities which you appear to have ignored in favor of your own prejudice. That biology and sociology have a dynamic relation in the shaping of identity and behavior is old news - your framing of this question in simplistic and inflammatory terms is deliberate and empty provocation, worthy more of a philosophy freshman than an allegedly experienced activist.

If your original post was offensive, your followup is merely entrenching and ridiculous. You come here with a claimed history of some good works for a portion of the community, but quite frankly your views have been rendered beneath consideration. You are free to air them, of course, as long as someone is willing to print them. But they have no merit, as far as I am concerned.

Mr Gold;
It must be remarkably uncomfortable to be to the Right of the Ayatollah Khomeini on an issue.

The Imam was convinced on a religious and a scientific basis that trans women are women.

Is it the cutting off the penis thing that is the real source of your irrational and unsupported position on post-operative women? A bit of castration anxiety, perchance, with just the right amount of mysogyny tossed in?

I don't know, myself, where your views come from. Certainly not from any article upon the subject not written by the Christian Right since 1990

I found Mr. Gold's comments ignorant and offensive. I don't have to play the justify my existence game with Mr. Gold, or anyone for that matter, if he thinks I'm a mutilated man, he's entitled to say what ever he feels. But could he please explain to my family and friends that I am not who I know myself to be? You have not only offended me but everyone who knows and loves me. You have offended all the people who helped me through my transition. You have offended my dead spouse who helped me be who I am today. You have offended my Father and Mother. You have offended my brothers and sisters. You have offended your credibility with me.

I can only hope, Mr Gold, you learn something from this experience. I hope you learn that trans people are people, we are not a delusion or a mental condition. We are not an abstract concept. We are people with families, friends and co-workers who would disagree with you. We are people who rise above. And you will not alter our course in life or deminish our resolve to be who we are or who we were meant to be. You can't wish us out of existence with your cruel words. Many have tried, it doesn't work.

We're like the ever ready bunny, we just keep going and going and going....

"I continue to believe that it is highly unlikely to have a biological basis (Is there any credible evidence for that view?; I'm willing to listen)."

Yes, there's a lot of evidence for that. But if you want to write about a topic, do your own research. Don't ask other people to do it for you after the article has been published.

There's a lot more besides the references Zoe Brain listed. It is possible to do experiments on animals, and it's well documented that sex-specific behavior can be altered by hormone levels before or shortly after birth. That applies even to behaviors that are not manifested until much later, in adulthood. Read up on organizing and activating effects of hormones.

Also read some of the research on people who have been sex-reassigned as babies, often because of congenital issues or, occasionally, accidents (e.g., the famous case of David Riemer). Some fraction of the those reassigned take on their new identity well enough, but many have a strong and persistent discomfort with their assigned sex and request reassignment even without knowing what their chromosomal sex is.

Furthermore, there are many studies that have looked at gender and behavior in people with conditions such as congenital adrenal hyperplasia, or androgen insensitivity (whether partial or complete), or 5-alpha reductase deficiency, or... get thee to a library. There's lots of interesting stuff out there.

And to continue the Hamlet allusion - there are more things in biology and gender, Mr Gold, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Well, I was giving you the benefit of the doubt.

Don't expect anything resembling it in the future.

And, based on this response, and this response alone, I have decided that perhaps hounding you off the site is for the best.

I'm going to move forward with my "101" course, and I'm going to move into advanced work, as well -- stuff that you should have known, and would have were you part of the current movement.

It is not political correctness, either, Mr. Gold, to treat fellow human beings with courtesy -- using that phrase does not excuse you from doing so.

You failed at this, and, in so doing, caused direct and personal harm to many people. Harm of a sort you appear to have forgotten in your warm bungalow in Bangladesh, yet was hurled against you once.

I'm *very* willing to have that discussion on what you erroneously call "Gender Dysphoria" (yet another example of your consistent and persistent failure to understand the subject you are addressing).

So are all the people who just said nasty things about you.

Yes, all of them.

But to have that conversation, Mr. Gold, you, personally, first need to educate yourself on the subject.

You could have asked and they would have taught you.

But you blew that chance, and now you have to teach yourself.

Do it before you *ever* speak to the subject again.


Because I promise you if you ever do, I will indeed, do everything I am able to do to make sure you suffer the same sort of pain you have inflicted thus far.

And I am very good at that.

Yes, men can be feminine and women can be masculine. It is NOT just (most) cis people who realise this is the case, trans people are capable of this basic reasoning too. Identifying as MALE is NOT the same as identifying as masculine, identifying as female is not the same as identifying as feminine. You seem to start from a completely false premise. You need to understand what trans people MEAN when they say 'I identify as X' (clue: not all of them mean the same thing).

If you met some actual real trans people you'd find that they aren't all gender stereotypes. They're diverse in personality. Many of them actively fight against stereotypes for the gender role they live in. Hell, I've had my penis chopped off and hold doors open for people and am actually pretty masculine. Feeling that 'he/him' is wrong and feeling my body was wrong had nothing to do with silly outdated stereotypes. Have you been reading Julie Bindel or something?!

For your information, the medical community did NOT invent transsexualism. People have been altering their bodies surgically and hormonally for thousands of years. There is evidence of people drinking horse piss to feminise (which is where the HRT drug premarin comes from). Trans people in the past had to find sneaky ways of getting treatment from the western medical profession in the past. We have had to fight tooth and nail for every little bit of medical recognition. The medical community realises that if they don't treat us, many of us will resort to black market hormones and maybe self-surgery (which has also been done for thousands of years).

Sir, walk in my shoes for a mile and tell me your opinion then.

It would be my hope that all of these folks who espouse the belief that trans is imaginary could come back in the next life as someone sentenced to the same hell it took me decades to overcome. The justice of it would be quite poetic.

In the meantime, please give us more of your wisdom on things you have no experience in. How about, for instance, an essay on what it is to be black in America. It seems to me you are just as qualified to enlighten us on that topic.


"Sir, walk in my shoes for a mile and tell me your opinion then."

Mary did you see old gay dudes picture? notice the cane. even in his best days he couldn't handle the heels I walk in, not for a few feet let alone the mile.

battybattybats battybattybats | December 11, 2009 6:54 AM

Can we PLEASE get Logo or some such to make a truly COMPREHENSIVE Transgender-for-dummies documentary with all the trimmings and production values and graps and play it regularly and make it's viewing particularly compulsary for having any position on any GLBT media, org or any other position of power and responsibility involving Trans people?

Cause this level of ignorance when the answers have existed for years, where supporting evidence is constantly accumulating from science and where TG folk have been burning out in our attempts to educate through the morass of unfounded baseless hate.

That any organisation or media outlet old media or new media can continue with this ignorance is an unacceptable negligence on the part of GLBT media and orgs let alone mainstream media.

It's time the people in a position of power over information flow.. and thats the editors of papers and blogs and the producers of tv and film etc.. take up THEIR responsibility for accurately bringing the evidence-supported information to the public!

They need to know what the facts are, where the evidence came from and what the conclusions we are forced to draw from that evidence is and what is still unknown and what the possibilities may be.

And that will TOTALLY be on the side of sex and gender diverse people. From explaining the neurological discoveries to the Yogyakarta Principles on our human rights to the outrage over Zucker and Co's Unethical and Scientifically Invalid hogwash.


There is not much I can say in the way of how I personally feel, as a female-to-male transgender person, by way of outrage that has not already been expressed by many, many others in the above comments.

I was going to write a bit about my experience, an attempt to give another perspective. However, I realized by your reply to the comments, Mr. Gold, that you have only read enough of them...or absorbed enough of them... to gather that the general reaction is that you're an ignorant, geriatric bigot (realize I am not saying this, I am paraphrasing your reaction).

Having actually read nearly every comment below your post, yes, a lot of them say that, often only that. But, the vast majority of them provide a window into this life experience you have chosen to denigrate. Some have even already provided links to information on this possible biological link that you doubt exists. Did you absorb any of that to augment your opinions of the trans community? Given the apparent lack of research in your original post, I can't say that I am surprised that even having a few hundred people telling you that what you've said is not how we experience life still hasn't made a dent.

Sir, I'm afraid you have not opened this mythical path of discourse that both you and TBP seem to think you have.


I am absolutely astonished and offended with the content of this editorial. If someone wrote a column "No to Homosexuals" it would never see print on this site. This is reprehensible journalism. Although Bilerico uses the following disclaimer:

Editors' Note: All posts published on Bilerico Project do not reflect the opinions of nor any endorsement by the Editorial Team. Many Bilerico readers and contributors have found Ronald Gold's op-ed offensive or needlessly coarse. The idea behind Bilerico Project is to encourage dialogue among different facets of the LGBT community that might normally never interact this intimately. We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written - with positive intent while bluntly stating your own opinion and experiences.

this feels to me like a simple case of trying to hide behind technicalities.

Robyn Carolyn Montague | December 11, 2009 8:27 AM

Personally, I feel the post speaks for itself and of the author. With the content said as it was, the obvious rebuttal is that the author is not Trans and therefore has no qualification other than to say "I am an expert because I found nothing on Wiki that justifies one being Trans."

I have run across enough marginalization by those that detract the Trans, including the LGB's (said of the Community) to simply ignore it and press forward in education of those that think in that manner.

The obvious solution to this is simply get a copy of this (and of all of the response commentary) and use it as a good example of the description of Transphobia for that education of others.

You know, if I wanted to read bigoted crap from somebody who obviously has no idea about what he's talking about, there are many websites I could go to. Newsmax for example or freerepublic. Maybe Mr. Gold would be more comfortable at Americablog where an equally bigoted, ignorant individual named John Aravosis believes the same tripe.

Your post and your views are ignorant and unexamined beyond belief. One implicit assumption is that trans* people have never considered these views, have never tried to express femininity or masculinity without the requisites of transition and medical intervention, whereas all have struggled with these issues for years or decades. You have no understanding that most trans* people do not fit gender stereotypes, that many are queer, genderqueer, butch women or feminine men.

Not only do you dismiss our lived experiences, but you implicitly label us as incapable of self-examination, unintelligent and foolish. Insult piled on injury. Your words stem from simple bigotry and hatred, and that is what you cannot deal with, so you pile on the "blame" for our existance squarely on trans people. Your views justify discrimination and hatred and violence, time and time again. Your words contribute to the oppression trans* people face every day, an oppression which kills every day - have you heard of something called Trans Day of Rememberance?

I hope and pray that in some corner of your soul you acknowledge this, and that while perhaps one sleepless night over the consequences of your actions at least give you a moment's pause. I fear that this is too much to hope for, and that the price for your wilful ignorance will continue to be paid in our blood.

This is my opinion, restated from the comments section of Helen Boyd's facebook note in response to Ronald Gold's post, which is what brought my attention to it originally. I haven't read all the comments posted here, but from skimming them, I recognize that the opinion I am about to express may be regarded as ignorant and offensive. My hope is that those who will be offended will be able to get past that reaction and think about the intersection of the two important issues that are colliding here: gender norms and transsexual rights. I'd like to see people begin to move out of their comfort zones and try to meet others who have differing opinions in a DMZ where some dialogue can take place. It is in that spirit that I offer my own commentary:

If I may: it seems that what Ronald Gold is saying in his piece is that people SHOULDN’T be pathologized. He’s taking a position against the hierarchical power of a medical model that puts a sacrosanct stamp of approval on certain people who either 1) meet the requirements that the medical community has developed, 2) manipulate the system to achieve a correct “diagnosis”, or 3) willingly jump through the hoops of this medical model.

To me, Ronald Gold is suggesting that the individuals take power into their own hands and not surrender to the “professionals” who have been rubber-stamp approved by the arbiters of culture and civilization.

Where Helen and I may yet agree is on the following point: Ronald’s stance makes it extremely difficult for those individuals who do want to pursue surgical solutions to their gender dysphoria. In his dismissal of medical solutions, he in effect sentences trans people who want to pursue sexual reassignment surgery to the same fate that women who want to pursue abortions face in societies that disallow medical professionals from treating them with their specialized skills and technology. And while some legendary herbal concoctions may serve to induce abortions outside of the medical mainstream without resorting to coat-hanger solutions, I’m not aware of any similar magical plant-based potion that could polymorph a trans person into their preferred gender. But I think Ronald makes some interesting points; he is arguing against the culture of gender norms. His approach is challenging and problematic–tacky and offensive to some–because he has dared to make a speech about gender norms at the intersection where they meet transgender issues. He’s deliberately stirring a volatile pot, but I think we should thank him for it.

"it seems that what Ronald Gold is saying in his piece is that people SHOULDN’T be pathologized."

And it seems to me that he's calling trans women "he" and saying we should keep our "peckers". Furthermore, he's referring to us as "mutilated" and suggesting we are deluded. That sounds a lot like pathology to me.

"But I think Ronald makes some interesting points; he is arguing against the culture of gender norms."

He's treating the lives and the right to exist of a whole bunch of people as an academic exercise, and engaging in it from a point of total ignorance, reducing trans people to his own imagined stereotypes in order to make his point. That reeks of unchecked privilege, and rather than be thanked for it, I think he deserves roundly condemning for behaving in such an atrocious way.

I'm afraid you are speaking in ignorance yet again. You, the OP, and many others seem to take the view that the confused "proto-transsexual" turns up to see a doctor who applies a medical model. I think you will find that in most circumstances people are quite clear on their gender identity and desire for intervention (hormones, anti-androgens, surgery) before they see any doctors, and a large proportion have hormone treatment at least without seeing doctors, something that is riskier medically but does not involve any imbalance of power.

I personally know many people who are not binary identified in terms of gender who still want medical intervention, after years and decades of life expressing their gender as they want without it, and detailed consideration.

I'm sorry, but doctors can't be blamed for the "problem" of the existance of trans* people, some of whom fit the "medical model" (by this I assume you mean the HBSOC?) and some who do not.

I'm also afraid that trans* people and allies have seen Ron's views thousands of times, and will continue to see them thousands of times more, and cannot be blamed for being frustrated with them when they are so entrenched on ignorance. A more nuanced view would bear in mind points such as I make above, and would seek to explore an issue rather than arguing from a position "well, these people should not exist, so there is a problem somewhere".

Often such arguers are so entrenched in the gender binary themselves that the vehmence with which they decry the existance of trans people seems absurd. Many trans people have lived androgynously for many years. Many people find they are happy doing so, and some then find that they wish to go further.

It's also immensely frustrating when GLB people are so blind to their own bigotry and dehumanisation of trans* people that they cannot see how arguing from such a position is so hurtful to and dismissive of trans* people. Any article which took as a premise that the existance of GLB people is a problem that must somehow be resolved would never see the light of day on any GLB blog, and it is very clear and hurtful why many so anti-trans continue to be endorsed by GLB people as "legitimate discussion".

Why does Ronald Gold need to attack transgender and transsexual people in order to argue against the culture of gender norms? Transgender and transsexual people are definitely harmed by the culture of gender norms on a spectrum: "Don't be feminine." "Okay, you can be feminine, but just don't be gay." "Okay, you can be gay, but just don't transition." One of the most profound violations of gender norms (to cis people, who assume that trans people are just like them before transitioning) is to transition. Someone who at birth was called a "boy" by a doctor who only checked the anatomy and never bothered to find out what the child might think later on, who was raised to be a "boy" turns around and says "No, I'm a girl." And it's not about wearing dresses and playing with dolls or being feminine. it's not about masculinity and femininity. It's about the certain knowledge of who you really are and how the entire world keeps telling you "No, you can't possibly know yourself better than we do."

I am all for people attacking and critiquing gender norms. I am all for that discussion. I am not all for cis people deciding that the best way to attack gender norms is to make up a load of ignorant statements about trans people that are demonstrably wrong and use trans people as stand-ins for those gender norms.

Thanks for posting that, Lisa. That's an important point to make:

'it's not about masculinity and femininity. It's about the certain knowledge of who you really are and how the entire world keeps telling you "No, you can't possibly know yourself better than we do."'

Mr. Gold does dismiss that kind of knowledge with his over-arching dismissal of transsexualism, which he refuses to believe could indeed happen as a "cosmic accident" of neonatal development and birth. But transsexualism is not something that can be dismissed so easily, with the very real "cosmic accidents" like intersex births and Klinefelter's syndrome. One does have to wonder what Mr. Gold's opinion of an intersex individual would be.

You know, if I wanted to read bigoted crap from somebody who obviously has no idea about what he's talking about, there are many websites I could go to. Newsmax for example or freerepublic. Maybe Mr. Gold would be more comfortable at Americablog where an equally bigoted, ignorant individual named John Aravosis believes the same tripe.

All I got to say is that at no time was the medical establishment involved in my transition. I sat and stewed on it for several years all by myself, before ending up staring at two possible futures: one where I remained male, and most likely remained miserable, and quite possibly ended up killing myself, and one where I transitioned, and maybe got killed even earlier by tranny-bashers, maybe still had a miserable, self-hating life, but also maybe came to like myself, enjoy being myself, and had good things happen.

I chose transition, and it has been far better than I dared imagine.

There is a spectrum of gender, and I am far happier on the far side of where I was assigned at birth. I'm happier with estrogen in my body, I'm still occasionally full of giggling joy at having tits, and I'm much, much happier being called "she".

No doctors have ever been involved; I am self-diagnosed.

Yeah, listen. I hate hypersensitivity as much as the next crochety old-school queer liberal. So I really don't mind one bit if people ask provocative questions about things like transgender. (Disclosure: even though my wife is TG.) But that also doesn't mean that any old contrarian opinion is provocative or impressive.

I don't find this post offensive because it challenges dogma about transgender. I find it offensive because it blithely, arrogantly ignores the possibility of any causality besides "genitals" and "personality." Serious, informed discussions of TG already take into account much more subtle, poorly understood causes like hormones, brain structure, neurogenetics, body image... and if the author had done even the most cursory study of TG issues, he'd have known that.

Instead, he just ran off his fingers about a subject he never bothered trying to understand, blowing right past many points that are obvious to people who have read about TG -- or talked to any TG person in any depth at all -- and then got straight to dispensing advice as if he were an expert. Dammit, I appreciate the attempt to broaden the debate, but not from someone who didn't do his homework. I really prefer my challenges to actually be CHALLENGING.

Okay, care to explain why a chronic depression that began at puberty (10) ended once I started to transition?
"Pecker" be damned.
My body was never meant to run on testosterone.

Okay, care to explain why a chronic depression that began at puberty (10) ended once I started to transition?
"Pecker" be damned.
My body was never meant to run on testosterone.

Gay men are just failed straight people, wimps who didn't have the guts to act girls out. eventually they got horny and banded together and realized they could help each other "unload" but they are still all failed heterosexual men. While mediocre men fail to get the prom queen these losers failed to score at all. How depressing it must be to be such a failure in bed that you will never ever experience sex. Homosexuality is just the cover story to hide the lie. The truth is these guys were just all creeps that no women would go near. Eventually these failed men got the message and gave up on women.

Yawn. Some people may be of the opinion that this is new radical stuff. Some people may think this represents good "common-sense" thinking.

But let's be honest, this is just utter crap, heard it all before a zillion times, what's the point of including garbage you can read in any right-wing newspaper anywhere. If I had been the editor I would have been ashamed to allow someone with such a high level of ignorance to display that ignorance to all and sundry like this. Allowing this poor ignorant person to humiliate himself like this was a shameful act of unprincipled opportunism by the editor.

Derek Stephens | December 11, 2009 10:55 AM

It is amazing how much inner loathing you have. You start your blog out with calling drag queens and kings cartoon imitations of straights. Then you end it with a NO to the notion of transgender.

Who are you to judge? Or become the expert in this subject? You are a gay man, stop talking about a subject that you personally never experienced.

Your comment about your pecker, just shows your macho male attitude and why you reject this whole subject.

You are doing exactly to the trans community what the homophobic group does to all of us. Saying we don't exist, etc....

And shame on Bilerico, for allowing such ignorance on here. There should be zero tolerance for this type of bigotry. What is worse it comes from someone who is gay.

In the end, you have only made yourself look bad.

"If a man wants to wear a dress or have long hair; if a woman wants short hair and a three-piece suit"

Yeah, I completely agree with that, as a trans dyke who likes short hair and who sometimes enjoy three-piece suit.

Though I am usually less classy and prefer combat boots, which allow to give cis guys who think they can call me "he" an actual reason to fear castration.

FurryCatHerder | December 11, 2009 11:08 AM

Ronald Gold's article was doing fairly well about halfway through. No, there is no such thing as a "male" or "female" personality. Personalities don't have genitals, and neither do many of the attributes that we associate with genitals. Thirty years or so of being in and around the lesbian and gay communities taught me that there are people with penises who want to be their partner's "wife", where "wife" is assigned all of those attributes stereotypically assigned to the female partner of a heterosexual relationship, and there are women who want to be the "husband". Again, "husband" is a sex-based stereotype.

And he's correct -- these are stereotypes and they have no basis in reality or fact. Women can open doors, fix the car, kill spiders and mow the lawn just fine. They can do this whether they are lesbians or straight. They can do this in or out of a relationship with a member of the same or opposite sex. Men can cook, clean, care for children and do the laundry just fine as well. And the same holds true for all of the myriad and sundry things that Society has taught so many of us are associated with genitals.

And I would agree with Ron -- if someone is transitioning so they can wear dresses or fix cars, they are doing so for the wrong reason and they ARE deluded and they DO need to avoid psychologists.

About 12 years ago I received a phone call from a friend. It was the night before she was to have SRS and she was concerned about making a mistake. Her issue? After a year or so of being "Susan", she'd fallen into the same pattern as so many other professional women her age. She (gasp) wore blue jeans and no makeup when she wasn't dressed up in power suits and full-on makeup. I spent an hour or more talking to her and explaining that clothes aren't what makes her who she is any more than SRS is going to make her someone different.

What I'd tell Ron is that superficially he's almost right. But that it's probably the kinds of people, in the places there are, at the times of the life they are in those places, that is grossly misinforming him, because even in his follow-up piece that's what he uses -- sex stereotypes -- as part of what informs his attitude towards trans people.

Fourteen years ago, when I was starting transition, the absolute MOST important thing in my ENTIRE life was verbalizing how I'd felt growing up. And telling everyone I could bore to TEARS about playing "tea party" with the girls in my neighborhood, or wanting to take ballet instead of play football, or thinking I'd grow up to be more like Mom and less like Dad. And the emphasis, over and over and over again, was all about the ways in which STEREOTYPES informed me that my body was wrong and it just needed a really good fixing. Because at that time of my life, and for a couple of years afterward, it was important. It was important because people like Ron don't have the experience of being through-and-through entirely and completely wrongly gendered.

But something changed for me that changes for many trans people, but not (unfortunately) for all trans people -- I pass well enough that I was able to carve out a corner of the world in which I could be "Me" without having to explain, justify, rationalize, cite science journal articles, scream, yell and call people "transphobes". And that is when I got down to the business of the REAL purpose of transition -- living MY life in a spontaneous, natural and free-flowing manner.

So, twelve years ago next week, I had SRS in Neenah, WI with a little old man. I changed apartments so none of my neighbors had ever seen the "male" version of me, then saved my money and a year later moved into my current house in a nice neighborhood with nice people who all thought I was a woman and was born that way.

Where Ronald Gold goes horribly and miserably wrong is that the body itself is "the enemy" on levels that are far more numerous than just my ability to wear a dress several times a year, or to bake, or sew or do cross-stitch. And my ability to work on my car, and house and mow the lawn isn't validation that I've got XY chromosomes that are the "real" indication of my sex.

Like so many other transsexual women, I wrestled with what it meant to have these "feelings" I've got. I confided in a friend back when we were in college that I thought I might be gay, because how I felt wasn't "straight". And yet, I liked the way a naked woman's body feels and smells and tastes. So I couldn't possibly really be a gay man. I processed that. I processed how I felt about gender stereotypes. I processed how I felt about my body. In short, I processed and process and self-examined and wasted a lot of my life doing exactly what Gold wants us to do. In the end, it was a waste of time. Useful, learned a lot about myself, but it didn't change a damned thing.

Gold doesn't need to be lectured at. He doesn't need to be told about brain studies. He doesn't need to be given a science lesson. He =needs= to spend time with transsexual men and women NOT doing anything trans. I don't know where he lives but I invite him to come to where I live and to spend time with me, doing things I enjoy that he might also enjoy. He needs to experience me in all my dykey queerness. He needs to experience the way in which I'm not some femmie straight guy who went crazy and had "his" penis cut off. I am, for whatever reasons, a dyke who was born into a male body.

Gender is a many spendored thing, and Gold probably has very useful insights. Sex stereotypes are sexist crap made up to keep women in line and police male behavior and declare as "not-men" sissies, fairies and fags. Very true. It it's perfectly okay if straight men are feminine and straight women are masculine and queers of all sorts are however queer they are.

But there is something about the body or else gay men who are attracted more to feminine men than masculine men would just partner with straight women. After all, more women than men are feminine, larger field to pursue, much easier time of it. But they don't. And the same holds true for lesbians. I like butch women. I'm attracted to masculinity. But not masculinity-as-masculinity, it's masculinity in the female form. Butch women would be a sad and lonely bunch if lesbians who are attracted to masculinity took the easy way out and dated straight men. And it is this truth -- that bodies-as-bodies have meanings that transcend sexual stereotypes -- that is the proof of transsexuality and transgenderism. Bodies =have= meaning.

This is what takes so many trans people years to learn, after all the "I like dresses" and "I like trucks" talk by my sisters and brothers in the trans community is said and done. I am me, and my body has a meaning, and it was only by changing my body that the full, complete and total meaning of who I AM comes through.

This was what it took my transphobic relatives to see -- that I really am my mother's daughter, that I'm not some deluded freak. That when they interacted with me, knowing my mother as she was, that they saw that who I AM is the same person as had I been born with a vagina in the first place. And people who knew her, and never knew me as her son, knew that surely I was my mother's daughter. And people who knew me, and met her, knew that as well. That what sounds like delusion -- "When I was little, I thought I'd grow up to be just like my mother" -- suddenly doesn't seem all that deluded.

From his history, it's clear than Mr. Gold is more of a agitator against straight homophobia than a LGBT community builder or theorist. Notwihstanding, he also feels free to claim the mantle of a lesbian feminist, as his piece "Three Stories of Gay Liberation" shows:

And I discovered that my old boss Jean O’Leary had told her interviewer that I, Ronald Gold, was “the most sexist man” she’d ever met.

Weell! While Jean was at the National Gay task Force, I wrote every word of every article and every word of every letter she signed her name to. Most especially, I wrote ALL the stuff about how lesbianism is a feminist issue, the stuff that gained Jean her reputation as a prominent “feminist theorist.”

The only time I refused to be Jean’s ghost writer was when she wrote her piece for the first-ever coffee-table-sized lesbian source book. Seems the book had a section for articles by “Friends” of lesbians and I had volunteered. But no men were allowed! So I was damned if I’d masquerade as Jean O’Leary.

Was Ron Gold asked to contribute based on his careless, lazy writing or his celebrated place in gay history?

Wow 173 messages and all but a handfull from here took me awhile to read it all.Ronnie I hope you have learned that the T is not silent any more and Tony dont waste time calling for postings to be closed till everyone gets to have there say.
So there you go a good duscussion and hot tempers and mixed with well written comments thats what I love about this site.

Personal info im CD/TG and btw kiddies im going to be 55 in January so drop the your to old nonsense now as you will be my age one day way to soon to.Oh yeah strated dressing at 13 in the dark ages. Side bar Ronnie nobody uses "pecker" any more so update baby!

love ya

To Ronald:

Trans people and our allies are angry, because we've seen this before. Someone comes along, speaking as though they have an insight into being transgender that we need to hear and doing it in the most offensive way possible. Not only is there nothing new here, but there is also nothing here that hasn't been responded to by trans people a thousand times over.

In your follow-up you write this:

"Is there any credible evidence for that view?; I'm willing to listen"

Bullshit. People had already pointed you toward evidence for the view before you posted this. For example, someone suggested you Google "BSTc Netherlands". More importantly, many trans folks have pointed out that they pursue transitioning despite their varied upbringings and despite the backlash from ultra-conservative pundits like you. To anyone who empathizes this is prima facie evidence that it would take more than a mere attitude adjustment to change one's trans status. We don't need to be told that you're "willing to listen". If you were ever willing to listen, we would have known it, because we would have seen that you were listening. Like all transphobes in your position you blithely sing your song with your fingers planted deeply in your ears and hurl abuse at your audience when we find nothing redeeming in your lyrics. You may have never tried to keep transgender people out of pride parades yourself (though given your propensity to say things that obviously aren't true, I won't be taking your word for it), but you exemplify the attitude that has led to transgender exclusion.

To Bil:

This post is really for you, because it's apparent that despite all claims to the contrary Ronald isn't here to listen or have dialog. People who want to have dialogue don't speak on the behalf of others before listening to what they have to say. People who listen don't say they're willing to listen to what they've already heard and ignored. People who say that trans people are "deluded" and "mutilating" ourselves aren't merely being challenging, they are being offensive. When I see you make an acknowledgment of your moral and editorial failings that isn't half-hearted or full of sob stories about how hard it is for you, as a cis editor, to have to decide whether to print words that have been used to explain why trans people who have been raped had it coming, then maybe I'll believe that it isn't the Bilerico Project's policy to treat trans people as though we are a class below cis LGB people. Until then I'll be calling your policy what it is: cissexist.

Because of the sheer number of comments, and the fact that what I've wished to say has been rendered more eloquently by previous posters, and the fact that any comment I make will quickly be lost in all the other comments, I've refrained from commenting until now.

I thought the article might be useful to share with some old and dear friends who have stood by me and my transition, but still don't get why I'm 'too sensitive' about the offhand, thoughtless slights I get on a regular basis from the cis-het majority -- and often from those same friends who otherwise stood and stand by me.

I went to copy the URL to paste into the e-mail--

and saw the name of the file for this article--


Right there in the URL box (go ahead, look...)

Bill Cosby once said that as a man, he could never really grok childbirth. He said he tried, though, by imagining grabbing his lower lip and pulling it up over his head.

At least he tried...

This guy talks from a position of ignorance clearly, and on that basis we can all dismiss his viewpoint.

What I'm much more worried about is the idea that this might cause tension between LGB and T communities. People, this guy does not speak for all gay men. He certainly doesn't speak for me.

The fact is, as LGBT people, we have all been told that what we know to be true on the inside is nonsense, that something has 'gone wrong' and that only if we could accept the pop-psychology interpretation, then we could just be 'normal' like everyone else.

To experience that for yourself, and then not be able to realise that maybe it applies to T people too, is pretty moronic.

Why Bilerco? Why? I like some of your thought provoking articles even when I don't agree, but this isn't thought provoking it's thought numbing. This article serves no real purpose other than to drive away some of your readers. Obviously, with all the comments (which I just don't have the time to read) I'm sure this was said before and far better. His article is a bland oversimplification. It would be like me saying well.. for instance.. if being gay is just a sexual fetish for men and men like to stick their peckers into holes, why does it have to be a butt instead of a vagina? A hole is a hole right? So all gay people are just misunderstood straight people that just prefer one hole over another.
I'm not used to seeing such immature and poorly thought out articles here. Perhaps this article was just some strange figment of the imagination. I guess I'll just ignore Bilerco posts this weekend, and when I wake up on Monday, perhaps I'll find this was all some sort of aberration.

I've seen some posters mention the "misgendering of Jan Morris" and I have to ask for some explanation since I do not understand what is meant by that. I don't see the name "Jan Morris" anywhere in the original posting. Sorry for my ignorance.

In History we learn to avoid anachronistic thinking. It seems to me that a similar model can be applied to the work of "understanding" someone else. Our way of thinking, believing or being is not applicable to anyone else. How does one come to the place where it is permissible to say, "Because you don't think like I do you can't be real"?

One way this happens is by internalizing the oppression experienced in one's life. When the input to a life has been one of "not conforming" one sees from that perspective. Then, when the same person achieves some state of privilege, it becomes easy to use that privilege to make sure there is someone below -- in order to maintain the new status. (For reference, see Boston in the 70s.)

Finally, the idea that a transgender person is some sort of "cosmological mistake." What if the "mis" is in our understanding of the universe? I met an 11-year-old girl who said to me, "God made a mistake with me." How does one move progressively through life when the belief is that one is a mistake? It can't be done. It's not a mistake to be transgender; it's another way of being.

I hope that Mr. Gold reads these comments and thinks. I look forward to reading his next piece.

"...mutilate the bodies of the deluded" your last line is what GOT me, not like the rest hadn't already gained my steady attention.

How in the world did you gain employment with a LGTBQ news source when you choose to sound-off on the transgender community? The minority within the minority. We support everyone else, yet when we have our days of support, like the Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), I look around to see a smaller crowd gathered.

Your sole opinion of little intellect was the basis this article was written. Before you attack and denounce something, maybe you should invest more time in research. Did you study human biology, science and genetic makeup -- tracing the different production of DNA? Did you even interview anyone trangendered for insight?

Personally, I do not claim to have a psychological condition, nor do I seek therapy; however, I am a female-to-male transgender. I do not blame my parents, society or God. *gasp* I'm a unique person and I feel that I am the way I am for a bigger purpose and plan.

Being transgender isn't a "notion", just like being gay, lesbian, black or white isn't a "notion".

I have always lived as male inside of myself and within the past few years I have lived as my "true" self wholly. It is a freedom for people like me to not live a lie. If I were to remain living as a woman, it would be the same as if a gay male remained chained in a heterosexual marriage. It's living a LIE.

I can agree to a degree that many psychologists misdiagnose people, overdiagnose, etc. (they enjoy making money). But, based on what they diagnose, it does not make being transgender a "notion". To many this IS a dysphoria that they live with.

It's pathetic that someone who writes for a LGBTQ news source can blab about the idiotic thoughts in their head stemmed from lack of facts, research and basic science and genetics.

What are your thoughts on Intersexed? Do you realize that there are plenty of trangendered individuals that are interesexed, even if just slightly. *raising hand high* I'm guessing that is also just a "notion"?

This is not a smart ploy if you are trying to gain attention. Negative attention can ruin your reputation and career.

So, go ahead and pat yourself on the back.


President of

Ronald Gold: I'd encourage you to give the comments here more consideration that your last post shows. You have a lot to learn from them! You've actually said/done some things that are textbook examples of unexamined privilege. I may even use them for my class next semester. And you've displayed some textbook resistance when people called it out.

There's a ton of smart critiques of what you posted. They can't be easy on your ego, but those are the knocks. And while there's no shame in messing up badly, it would be shameful and a shame if you brushed off the resulting learning opportunity that's sitting here waiting for you.

It may be hard for you to follow some of the critiques without a better developed grasp of social justice than you've shown. If you need help understanding them, or learning about social justice in general, just ask.

I'm sorry to see people write off your generation the way they did. It's agist BS. Not nearly as egregious or unprovoked as what you did, but still BS. Get it together, people!

Really, Bil? Spewing stereotypes is being "challenging," not "offensive"?

Uneducated, under informed, and a touch of the oppressed oppressing the oppressed?!!!


I'd just like to add my voice to the chorus condemning this article. Very sad.

To Ronald Gold! You know opinions are like a**holes about everyone has one, and most stink. Such is where I place the opinion of Mr.Gold. Mr. Gold, go join the Bailey's and Blanchard's of the world. As for me, I have spent years sorting this out about myself, and someone who does not have a clue as to what they are talking about is not going to change my mind. I would not even justify the comments made in the article further except for the fact someone might actually believe the statements above for something other than the crap it is.

Geesh I never fail to be amazed at how folks that belong to society as a minority get off by bashing another minority. To what higher purpose does Gold want to aspire? What character flaws are we expected to turn the other cheek to? What editor would allow this under the guise of "Dialogue". The excuse just does not hold water when the real answer should have been, I fucked up. Vulgar plain and simple. Not the editorial response to shore up what is a tragedy of the human experience. Gay, Lesbian and yes transgender folks know what it feels like to be bashed. Is this Gold's litmus test to see if we change from a neutral base to an acid? If so it worked I feel very acidic right about now. Just remember Gold it was not so far in the distant past when it was said that Gay was a personal choice. How soon you got pompous and almighty. My gender issue and the peace I feel has been resolved after transition was finally completed. I do not look for or need your ignorant blessings of understanding to live my life whole and complete. I do feel the day is passing that trans folk need to sever our ties with the Gay Lesbian community and learn to stand alone on our own. One does not grow up and realize their full potential until they take responsiblity for themselves and use their own leaders and forums to establish our right to be a equal member of society. We are well on our way and there is much work to be done, Beginning with ignoring the likes of Gold an others who would drag us down, hold us back and do us harm. Shame on Gold and the editors for allowing this disgrace to be granted space on the site.

I like this sentence:

"Let me state it categorically. There is no such thing as a male or female personality. Personality is not a function of gender." puts the writer about five yards into more sophisticated territory than someone who believes that capitalising words makes them somehow become facts. FACT. You know the sort.

Unfortunate that he forgot to tie his shoelaces. Or don't they allow them where you live, Ronald? -hope the knees get better soon.

Honestly I really don't know where to begin since this post has offended me on so many levels; as a lesbian, a person with many transgender friends, a political blogger and blog owner. As a blog owner let me say if this "op-ed" was published to run the numbers up during the slowest weeks of the year...shame on you. If on the other hand this was published to incite a riot you have succeeded. I hope your decision to run this piece will not undermine the value and credibility of the fine writers who do publish here.

Mr. Gold, I am stunned at the level of ignorance that you have exhibited in this op-ed. I could not stop thinking how Neanderthal and simplistic your views are. You state that you have been published in New York Times, Los Angeles Times, etc, one would think that research and a solid understanding of your topic would be paramount.

As a lesbian, and blog owner who has trans gender friends, I would never consider writing on such a complex topic, especially without doing my research. Your cavalier attitude and lack of knowledge is a disservice to our community.

Your Statment:
"So, parents of such little boys and girls, do not take them to the psychiatrist and treat them like they're suffering from some sort of illness. Explain to them that, whatever the other kids say, real little girls do like to play with trucks and wear grimy jeans, and real little boys like to prance around in dresses and play with dolls. And make sure the teachers are on the same page."

Where do I begin? Do you actually think a sit down with Susie or Johnnies teacher is going to make the world easier to live in for these children. What a simplistic view you have of a complicated world trans children have to live in.

Your Statment:
"So where does that put the concept of transgender? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how transsexuals got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas. I hope I'll be forgiven for rejecting as just plain silly the idea that some cosmic accident just turned these people into changelings. What happened, more than likely, is that, from an early age, when they discovered that their personalities didn't jibe with what little boys and girls are supposed to want and do and feel, they just assumed they mustn't be real little boys and girls."

I'm stunned! Cosmic accident, changelings...this is not a scfi movie. This is reality involving real people. Their personalities didn't jibe...well then it's settled, everyone can stop the research, their reading and discussion because Mr. Gold has resolved the trans gender issue. Well my trans gender friends it’s solved “you are not in sync.” Good did you arrive at this?

OMG I have to stop here before my head explodes from this ignorant op-ed.

On behalf of the Ugandan Ministry of Science and The Family; I am honored to present The James Nsaba Buturo Medal of Self Promotion and Irrelevance to the formally distinguished Mr. Ronald Gold; in recognition of his outstanding efforts in pursuit of intolerance and flawed science. It is truly rewarding to see the trees we have so insidiously planted bring forth such embittered fruit

Lauryn Farris | December 11, 2009 3:39 PM

There are a lot of people that have commented here that I have the utmost respect and love for. It is almost embarassing to me sometimes to talk about the "gay" organizations I am involved with. In the past I posted a lot of Bilerico articles on FB and elsewhere, why would I do that now? Bil Browning's original comment above is almost as bad. All of us have stories about the "gay" leaders that have bashed us back to Sylvia Rivera and beyond.

Rebecca Juro,in your comments you talk about it not being everyone here. Indeed it is not everyone, but when and where does it stop? When do we say enough, those of us trying to work within the "gay" groups are getting bashed from both sides. As far as I am concerned Bilerico is a liability I am not willing to be involved with any more.

Lauryn Farris
President, San Antonio Gender Association
co-chair HRC San Antonio Religion and Faith Committee

I read this article and was pretty damned pissed off. I'm glad my testosterone is low because I would have probably become very angry.

"cross-dressers or post-op transsexuals"

You left me out. I am a pre-op transexual but I am not a crossdresser.

I find you horribly out of place here at Bilerico. How the hell did you end up on a site that is normally FOR the GLBT community instead of against the 'T' (Transgender).

Will you please at least go look up Transgender in Wikipedia so that you can understand it a bit better?

So now a site that I have grown to love (Bilerico) is leaving a bad taste in my mouth. If you keep spewing this kind of nonsense out I am not coming back.

Reading the post I kept thinking to myself that this post is like me (a privleged white, 'conservative', christian, middle class, southerner) speaking towards the African Americans experiance.

Obviously, I would do a poor job of it and of course there would be a backlash.

Kinda like here and now. I also know that no matter what I said, it wouldn't be enough.

Bolt Vanderhuge | December 11, 2009 4:31 PM

"We encourage all readers to continue responding to Mr. Gold in the same spirit his post was written - with positive intent"

Seriously? This is what you call a "positive" article?

This article was not written with positive intent. That much is obvious. I would love to respond to Mr. Gold in the same spirit in which his post was written, but I'm not going to lower myself to his level.

I am a man with breasts, a vagina and a uterus. My being a man has nothing to do with personality, i.e. my personality has not changed since openly "coming out" as a transgender. I dress the way I do because I do, but in no way am I a drag king or imitating anyone.

Just published today: Gene discovery could make gender reassignment easier! CLICK HERE FOR LINK TO STORY Quote from article: "Previously, it was thought that gender was controlled by X chromosomes and Y chromosomes. Men typically have XY, while women have XX. This study refutes the consensus that gender is fixed at birth and that embryos are female unless they possess a male-determining gene."

See the link on my name for the great genitalia/personality dichotomy - the classification system for the 21st century...

... but suffice to say, surely anybody trying to start a debate or educate (same old tired and erroeous debate at that) on the rights or wrongs of anothers (or an entire marginalised groups!) existance should know something substantial of and on which they speak?

This post is in no way "challenging" is purely "offensive".

"I hope I'll be forgiven for rejecting as just plain silly the idea that some cosmic accident just turned these people into changelings."

Following the author's "logic", what is one to make of people who are intersex? What "delusion" does THEIR equipment "belie"? Based on his statement about "equipment", the author clearly concedes that biology plays a role in the development of a person's sex and secondary sex characteristics. This is true of people born male, female, and intersex.

It is relatively common knowledge that not all intersex "conditions" are necessarily visibly identifiable (some cases of congenital adrenal hyperplasia come to mind)--they require medical testing to "diagnose".

Is the author so intellectually dense that the possibility that being transgender might be related to intersexuality never occurred to him (I am not saying that it is, I am just using this example to make a point)?

Bilerico would never allow someone to post an article recommending that parents straighten out their LGB teens by giving them a lecture--and ended by calling people who "think they are lesbian, gay or bisexual" delusional.

This author is spouting the same crap about the supposed etiological factors that cause people to identify as transgender as a fringe group of quack mental health professionals called NARTH (the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality). NARTH--a hate group-- also uses long-debunked pseudoscientific theories (similar to the author's feeble speculations) to explain the etiology of homosexuality.

Has Bilerico's readership gotten so small that it is willing to sink to these depths to gain a few more hits?

This article is hate speech--unambiguous, blatant, and glaring hate speech. The pathetic disclaimer that Bilerico put up to distance itself from the author's archaic (at best), uninformed, and hateful views only highlights this fact--it also proves they are quite aware that it is hate speech. But since the target of the hate speech is the "T" in their ostensibly LGBT readership, they have decided to leave it posted here.

After all, who gives a crap if a few "trannies" are deeply offended and hurt, right? They are easy targets, and as long as your actual target audience--cisgender gaysbien soccer moms and soldiers training for ordination to the priesthood--isn't concerned about it, then what is the problem?

I support free speech and the author's right to broadcast his puerile ignorance. That doesn't mean Bilerico--a site supposedly for the LGB AND T "community"--has to serve as a megaphone for hate.

The editors should remove this putrid example of hate speech from the site and issue a formal apology to transgender readers now.

But they won't. They need a way to attract people to the site to click on the ads. That's clearly more important that transgender people's lives.

To all transgender people everywhere:

You are not a cosmic accident. You are a cosmic gift.

This is a lively debate. I believe it's better to have the debate out in the open like this than whispered in a holiday cocktail party. I'm learning and growing from this kind of openess. Thanks Bil and Ron for posting this.

genderqueer, offended, can't say anything that won't be redundant to the 300+ comments, but so thrilled to see the massive, well-deserved backlash.

I have found it useful when screening an article for hatred and bigotry, to find and replace identifiers. Often this helps me see past my own prejudices. Herewith are edited versions in [brackets] of key parts of this article.

>> So where does that put the concept of [heterosexuality]? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how [heterosexuals] got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas.

>> So where does that put the concept of [homosexuality]? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how [homosexuals] got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas.

>> So where does that put the concept of [bisexuality]? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how [bisexuals] got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas.

This bisexual thinks that the blog should either repudiate the author's remarks or remove the T from its logo. Either you acknowledge the concept of transsexuality or you do not. If not, stop pretending that the transsexuals are inside the tent when you not only label them as second-class citizens, judge them from the outside, and lecture them on what they should and should not feel and do.

Honestly I really don't know where to begin since this post has offended me on so many levels; as a lesbian, a person with transgender friends, a political blogger and blog owner. As a blog owner let me say if this "op-ed" was published to run the numbers up during the slowest weeks of the year...shame on you! If on the other hand, this was published to incite a riot you have succeeded. Bilerico's decision to run this piece and then defend it is astonishing. This is not a devils advocate op-ed; this is an op-ed of ignorance and backwards thinking from within our community. Shameful!

Mr. Gold, I am stunned at the level of ignorance that you have exhibited in this op-ed. I could not stop thinking how archaic and simplistic your views are. You state that you have been published in New York Times, Los Angeles Times, etc; one would think that research and a solid understanding of your topic would be paramount.

As a lesbian and blog owner who has trans gender friends, I would never consider writing on such a complex topic, especially without doing my research. Your cavalier attitude and lack of knowledge is a disservice to our community.

Your Statement:
"So, parents of such little boys and girls, do not take them to the psychiatrist and treat them like they're suffering from some sort of illness. Explain to them that, whatever the other kids say, real little girls do like to play with trucks and wear grimy jeans, and real little boys like to prance around in dresses and play with dolls. And make sure the teachers are on the same page."

Where do I begin? Do you actually think a sit down with Susie or Johnnie’s teacher is going to make the world easier to live in for these children? What a simplistic view you have of the complicated world trans children live in.

Your Statement:
"So where does that put the concept of transgender? In my view, down the tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how transsexuals got to think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas. I hope I'll be forgiven for rejecting as just plain silly the idea that some cosmic accident just turned these people into changelings. What happened, more than likely, is that, from an early age, when they discovered that their personalities didn't jibe with what little boys and girls are supposed to want and do and feel, they just assumed they mustn't be real little boys and girls."

I'm stunned! Cosmic accident, changelings…..this is not a scfi movie. This is reality involving real people. “Their personalities didn't jibe”...well then it's settled, everyone can stop the research, their reading and discussion because Mr. Gold has resolved the trans gender issue. Yes my trans gender friends it’s solved “you are not in sync.” Good did you arrive at this?

If your point of this op-ed was to get people thinking then you succeeded. Unfortunately, I’m thinking if someone from our community thinks in this dismissive simplistic way than how in the heck do we expect heterosexuals to understand.

OMG I have to stop here before my head explodes from this ignorant op-ed.

I'm not LGBT. I'm a straight ally and a molecular biologist. Please do not make statements about what you believe or do not believe to have a biological basis if you are not willing to do some research first. Science is about data, not people's opinions.

I follow Zoe and I also follow the peer reviewed scientific literature on LGBT people. There is a lot of biological evidence, as has already been cited here. There is evidence for being gay (male or female) and transgender.

That's mighty cis of you, Ronald Gold

First, I wouldn't call 95% of the people on the planet "heterosexuals". They are human just like you, and I doubt people here want to be called "homosexuals". This is part of the reason that the GLBT has become so alienated from society, and therefore ineffective.

The original post was uninformed, out-dated, bigoted claptrap, and from someone inside the LBGTQI community too. But, sadly, it's what some of us in the trans community have come to know and expect from a certain element of the gay community (that's my personal experience; I don't want to stereotype any part of the community the way Ronald Gold has attempted to.)

The thing I find more disturbing than Ronald Gold's imbecilic piece is the fact that the piece has been removed and Mr. Gold expunged forever from the site (by the looks of it). This amounts to censorship and is akin to Soviet style practices of "uncreating" people. How are we to advance the dialectic if ideas, even ridiculous ones, cannot be uttered and then elegantly dismantled for the myopic garbage they so clearly are? What are we afraid of? Sadly Ronald Gold is a dinosaur. Isn't it better he be educated as to why that is rather than setting him up as a villain with an agenda to peddle until the day Stanford University pries his record collection from his cold, dead hands?

I imagine Ronald was already getting the idea before he was terminated for uttering his nonsense. Heavy censorship can only give unwarranted credence to a political outlook that should be debunked.

The attitudes demonstrated in Mr Gold's post are a big part of the reason why I am far more comfortable among straight people than around gays. My straight friends "get it".

As somebody who is both TS and same-gender oriented, almost none of my "straight" friends "get it" -- and I actually feel far more comfortable around gay men.

Mr Gold's post is pretty much the out-dated -- but still harmful -- viewpoint of an old man who thinks advanced age always comes with advanced wisdom. It is not typical of the Gay community, and broad-brushing gays like you're doing here is doing nobody any good.

Gold's semtiment demonstrates why I have far more fear of gay employers than I do of straight ones - and, even more so, demonstrates the unquestionable need for trans people to be included in ENDA: protection FROM gays and lesbians, not protection alongside them.

I didn't read all of the original article as it has been taken off, but I heard about it from a friend's FB post. My gender identity is irrelevant to the conversation but suffice it to say I consider myself an ally - for anyone marginalized, dismissed, attacked because of who they are.
I was very disappointed to read what I did and to discover that Ron was a major force in the NGLTF, especially since I just signed up to receive their emails and information.
I am also working w/other organzations who address issues for all LGBTQ kids. Long story - but agains, suffice it to say that as a prospective foster parent, particularly concerned about the kids who are rejected by their families of origin, foster & adoptive families because of their gender identity, I cannot fathom how anyone who has had the experiences that I assume Ron to have had, could write what he wrote.
Please know, all of you who have had to wrestle w/the issues that are part of your particular journey, this mom & pastor is a voice from the perspective of love and hope. Please remember there are those of us, who may not understand every nuance of the issues but are horrified by what appears to be a very ignorant approach to this matter.
May you find a peace that passes understanding in the chaos of this storm.

OK, at the time I'm typing this out, there are already 310+ comments, so this is probably going to fall on deaf ears. That said, while it's true that many, possibly most TS/TG persons are "gender normative" (Trans men who are into "masculine" activities; trans women into "feminine", hetero-identified/het-preference bisexual, etc...), there are still a fair about of said who simply aren't and never were.

I'm a TS man and like the two other TS men who I can stand enough to call my friends, I was never "a tomboy", I now own more hair styling products than I ever did in my pre-transition years combined, I have enough houseplants to fill a subway terminal, and among my favourite bands are included Army of Lovers. By many people's standards, especially those of most other TS men, I'm pretty "femme, in personality". My therapist, Dr Sandra L. Sammons (who has had over twenty-five years experience with TS patients) has even so much as stated that "personality" is such a small part of the average TS person's internal gender identity that it's hardly a factor in diagnosis.

Basically, the current science feeds the hypothesis that gender identity is neurological, thus being TS is a neurological disorder -- and, alongside fibromyalgia (a condition of inexplicable, chronic, physical pain which can only be "proved" through EEG scans) is one of only two neurological disorders best treated through physical means.

History also provides plenty of examples of TS/TG persons, one of the earliest possibly being even Roman Emperor Elagabalus (though it's really difficult to diagnose historical figures, especially ancient ones, with any condition, neurological or otherwise; for starters, the Romans were no stranger to exaggerating or inventing pecularities in those they wished to defame politically, so any accusations of transgenderism levelled toward Elagabalus by his contemporaries must be taken with a grain of salt). The phenomenon of TS/TG person's isn't new -- only the current methods of treatment are, but there are also many new and modern methods of treating other neurological disorders, from autism and epilepsy to schizo-affective disorders and fibromyalgia, that (when compared to TS treatments) almost never get any outspoken opponents. The only reason that opponents speak up against TS persons is simply because gender identity is such an integral and comfortable part of the opponents' lives that they simply can't imagine why anybody would "want to" have an incongruent and uncomfortable gender identity. The reality is, though, that if TS persons could just stop "wanting to" have this neurological quirk, then wouldn't autists just "want to" have typical emotional reactions to the world? Or wouldn't people with fibro- just "want to" stop being in pain with no physical cause?

At this current point in time, there are very few restrictions on what a woman or a man can or cannot be or do or take interest in, and these barriers are only weakening with time. Yet TS persons still happen, right? If it were all about "personality", then wouldn't this be the era where we begin to see a sharp decline is TS occurrences? And yet prominent TS woman activist, Lynn Conway, has estimated that the TS population is 1 in 500, based on current population data:

While I can applaud the idea of tearing down gender stereotypes and making the world more inviting to persons who prefer atypical gender expressions, and indeed many TS/TG persons are promoting these ideas, that potential future will not make TS persons go away.

I was raised in a home where, while my parents were told "it's a girl", I was encouraged in my interests in science -- far more so than my interests in literature and the arts. I was expected to be a doctor of some variety. I may have been sent to Catholic school and made to wear a uniform with a skirt, but almost never wore them at home or anywhere else, nor was I expected to "dress like a girl". I had three sisters, one of whom was a "tomboy" even into adulthood, and the other two who were encouraged in their more "feminine" interests. By the logic presented in Mr Gold's post, due to the encouraging environment I was raised in, I should have been perfectly capable and happy to life my life as a quirky "soft butch' heterosexual woman -- but unfortunately, this was not how it turned out. My mother raised me with a great disdain for society, so what "everybody else" may have thought hardly ever factored in to my thinking, with regards to transitioning. Ultimately, I transitioned because I could not cope, on a deep and instinctive level, with this neurological atypicality through any other means. It had nothing to do with how I was raised or any interests I took on or personal preferences in how I dress.

The concept of "gender identity" as a real, tangible thing is outmoded. It's a philosophical construct, and trying to overlay it onto biology is deceptive and destructive.

The terminology is poor : "sexual identity" would be a better term, but even that may cause misunderstanding.

It's the sense of whether you're a boy or a girl: and some have it stronger than others, and a few don't have it at all ("bigender"). Looking at Intersexed case studies is helpful here. In fact, I'd say you can't understand transsexuality without studying (other) intersex conditions first, to give context, in both the biological and psychological domains.

But that's advanced stuff. And there are contrary opinions to mine.

You can have a strong sense that you're both male and female (bigender) or a strong sense that you're neither (neutrois), or a strong sense that you're 50/50 (androgyne) etc. It's not just binary identified people that can have strong needs to assert their identity through social and/or medical transition.

Not sure what you were implying there so just sayin'. Felt it was worth pointing out since such people are generally given a hard time and denied appropriate treatments by the medical community.

Andra, I agree completely. Not everyone fits into the binary model of sexual identity.

See my blog's post on "Bigender and the Brain", where this is explored.

Being a "construct" =/= "not real." The building I live in is a construct; it doesn't mean I can just walk through the wall because I've decided not to believe in it.

I agree with you. Transgender people are human beings and should have the same rights as everyone else. we are not sick people who just wanna put on dresses to look at womans naughty bits in a bathroom.

Some may disagree, some may agree, but the following words are important.

I am a transsexual, a woman, and a human being. I have been raped, beaten near to death, shot at, sexually assualted, and other hateful crimes over a long period of time. I'm still working on my process towards surgery, including following the SOC Bengamin Protocols. I have lost 3 marriages, almost all of my family, and many so-called friends. All this having been said, ask yourself some real important questions.

1. As a transsexual person, would you wish our condition on another person, such as your worst enemy? I sure wouldn't.

2. I have a terminal illness, and the only known cure is a surgical proceedure, which would then help me become a more productive person. The alternative is a grave, caused by being forced to be something I'm not. Would you wish to be the cause of a suicide, knowing that you could have prevented it by recognizing it as a natural and real illness, and working to help with the cure?

3. Recognize the differences between the rest of the transgendered community and the transsexual community, including the fact that most of us did not wish this, and tried to hide it until we could not hide it anymore. Have you ever seen a TS lose it so bad they have ended in a hospital? I have, and it's not pretty. Bloody mutilation is the least of it.

The net result is we as a sub-group of a sub-group need to remember that we all must stand together, and cherish our allies, or we will lose all our gains. Be nice, and love and help each other.

MitchInOakland MitchInOakland | December 13, 2009 6:35 PM

There's an elephant in the room! It's the fact that transsexuals (in particular) insist that their bodies (as born) were deformed.

Gay people have been fighting for at least two generations for it to be recognized that being gay is NOT a disability -- nor is it in any way a semblance of deformity or dysfunction!

I happen to believe it would be far wiser to recognize that being gay is a choice -- as was my experience during a (far better and saner) time when experimentation with sexuality and drugs was accepted and gender boundaries were in the process of being discarded. My experience was that being gay is a choice -- made as a result of experimentation -- one for which a person can and should be proud! Enough of "I can't help it, I was born this way." I believe that's a major factor in how we've reached this impasse.

From issues of "disclosure" (vs. the closet) to those of deformity, gay and trans identities are implicitly somewhat opposing viewpoints. One can be a gay person who's supportive of rights for trans people on human rights or disability grounds, but we're only a single community in the eyes of our enemies.

As for terms like "mutilation" or "delusion," that's obviously someone's perception, and they (as much as those who take issue -- both, incidentally for experiential reasons) have a right to express themselves accordingly. There's an old statement attributed to Voltaire and beloved by civil libertarians: "I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it."

The attempt to stifle certain forms of expression is hurtful, too. Who decided that one should be silenced because expressing a particular view is "hurtful"? Life (from birth trauma onward) can be hurtful, and it's not necessarily because of malice; sometimes it's the result of a genuine difference in lived realities. One such genuine difference involves whether one accepts the reality of a mind/body duality itself -- which is pivotal in accepting the very notion of transsexuality or transitioning.

Deal with it. There is no real "LGBT community." That's life.

There's an elephant in the room! It's the fact that transsexuals (in particular) insist that their bodies (as born) were deformed.

This isn't a fact, not about all transsexual people. I don't insist my body was deformed. Many others don't. Also, a huge part of the problem is how so many cis people (like yourself) insert yourselves into trans discussions about trans bodies, as if it's your business how we relate to our own bodies.

The attempt to stifle certain forms of expression is hurtful, too. Who decided that one should be silenced because expressing a particular view is "hurtful"? Life (from birth trauma onward) can be hurtful, and it's not necessarily because of malice; sometimes it's the result of a genuine difference in lived realities. One such genuine difference involves whether one accepts the reality of a mind/body duality itself -- which is pivotal in accepting the very notion of transsexuality or transitioning.

The lived realities are not equal, especially since both a trans person's lived reality as a trans person and a cis person's lived reality as a cis person cannot possibly inform equally as to what it is like to be trans with the need to transition.

It is not necessary to understand in order to accept. That's simply the price of admission that most cis people demand. They demand unfettered access to transsexual lives, experiences, beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, bodies... to everything trans people have, and even then many continue to reject the basic truth that trans people exist, that we have a need to do something that cis people don't.

There is no equality of viewpoint here: On the one side, you have trans people saying "This is my life, my experience, and it is valid." And on the other side you have cis people who do not understand it, but think that because they're cis, they automatically have access to all knowledge as to why anyone would choose to transition - and they impose their assumptions over the realities of trans lives and experiences. The two are not equal - both sides are making claims about the same people, but only one side is made up of the people in question. The other side...well, they're bloody well not telepathic, are they?

This is exactly what prejudice is. When you combine it with institutional power (society implicitly and explicitly favors people who don't transition over people who do), you have something like this, where a prominent gay rights activist's words can be used within the LGBT movement as well as by the right wing to attack and demonize trans people.

It is not equally hurtful to say: "trans people mutilate their bodies" and "Gold should not have been able to use Bilerico as his platform to say these things." It's simply not. On the one hand, he's condemning how trans people live and think and experience, and on the other hand, cis and trans people are saying "That's prejudice, and even hate speech." It's not an attack on Gold's personhood, not an attack on the validity of his existence.

It's not even as if views such as his don't appear a thousand times a day, in comments on news articles about trans people, in anti-trans blogs, in jokes about straight cis men discovering the woman he had sex with was trans, in the ways we're shut out of access to services, denied health care, denied employment, denied housing, harassed, assaulted, even murdered.

Gold's not oppressed because anyone asked that his words be removed. Gold participated in the oppression of trans people because he said the same things that everyone else who hates us says.

battybattybats battybattybats | December 13, 2009 9:13 PM

The Elephant in the room MitchInOakland is the science that shows cross-sex neurological variation in many Gays and Many Lesbians and in Transsexuals.

Different brain regions, different results. But in each case neurological cross-sex variation.

And lots of transgender people don't change their bodies much or even at all. And how many Gay and Lesbian people permanantly modify their bodies with tattoos and piercings?

Seriously Body Modification is a basic human right is it not? Dental surgery for example?

Bodily Autonomy IS an issue for GLB people. A raped Lesbian may find Abortion a pretty important issue. And for many transgender people like Genderqueer bi-gender crossdressers and others the closet and much more are big issues shared with GLB people.... and many are of course GLB people.

Stonewall was raided with an anti-crossdressing law. Body Modification is a right belonging to anyone and a gay man with a tattoo and pierced ears has used their right to bodily autonomy and if their job discriminates against that it becomes a matter of the same right as well as gender-exoression discrimination too. Science shows some Gays and Lesbians are in fact born different irrespective of whether its a choice for you and evidence amongst Intersex people showing some have fluid identities and some have fixed ones further supports this and that some transgender people have a brain-body-map conflict with their anatomy while the greater number do not further illustrates this diversity of needds and issues within AN INTRINSICLY RELATED AND CONNECTED PHENOMENA.

Splitting hairs because of those TSs who have a severe and vital need for surgery ASAP is stupid when the science shows a clear conenction, the history does too and the vast vast majority of TG people do not have the differences you raise.

Actually... if your point is about an elephant in the rooom it's a tiny baby pigmy elephant whereas my point is a herd of rampaging woolly mammoths.

We ALL ARE CONNECTED. Deal with it!

Darlene Fike | December 14, 2009 9:25 AM

Because of your comments. I offer this. I have a lot of gay and lesbian friends and I do not wish to offend them. (I think you said something like that - blah, blah, blah.)


Doesn't feel good when the shoe is on the other foot does it?

Seems to me that the ex gay ministry, or wing nuts, will tell you Mr Gold (bronze) that being gay is a choice. That you really could be straight if you wanted but you would rather be a sub human being. That really if you just tried to be with a woman and took gd into your heart the perversions you do will go away.

Now don't get me wrong, to me transgender has no true meaning, as to me it includes all people(including you mr gold) who fit within the general queer umbrella. Why? Because it in itself is an umbrella, an ever growing one at that.

In my neck of the world we look at the term to mean all those who the greater society feels are not living like them.(crossing their gender "norms") As such you loving men instead of women fit.

So welcome to not being real, like the rest of us queers.

Given that the president himself just appointed a transgender woman to an administration post, perhaps it went without saying that, no, the federal government won't discriminate against potential employees based on gender identity. Okay, that's a stretch. But now, the official entry point for anyone looking for a government job, has updated its anti-discrimination policies to specifically prohibit such disqualification, and the gay groups are happy!

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