Letterman on Obama's Trans Appointee


I think the joke seems to poke fun at homophobia. It is implied that the guy had some sexual interaction with a convincing trans woman and he feels icky about the implied homosexual acts. Where a person draws the line is a very personal choice but it seems to me that at least it can be talked about without poking fun at the actual trans person.
Simply implying that being with a trans-woman is somehow "icky" or even "homosexual" is insulting. I know compound nouns can be confusing, but the important part of this one is not the "trans" part, it's the "woman."
One would think so,otherwise what's the point. Besides Letterman referred to her accordingly as a she, the fact that they referred to her as a dude in past tense is proof that they see her as she sees, and conducts herself currently, even if part of that skit was is questionable taste.
Proofread your article. Tell(s) every time. This joke really isn't that funny, but it seems pretty harmless. Isn't it more important focus on the people who are actually spreading hateful messages than unfunny liberal comedians? Good for Amanda BTW.
"Amanda", although a pretty name, would not be the first on the list of names I'd chose if I was going to change my gender.
A man? Duh!
"Simply implying that being with a trans-woman is somehow "icky" or even "homosexual" is insulting"

Why? Plenty of gays feel the same way about heterosexual contacts. can't we all be equal in our feelings or do some have to be more equal?

I find it icky but you can still have equal rights

I know! I wonder if that was on purpose. It's gotta be.
Trans woman-
Fat woman-
Hairy woman-
what's the diff?
as long as shes's got the woman parts-
parts is parts, after all...
I'm disappointed in Dave, but only because it's a played out joke. And it was done way better back in 1984, in a little Seen Tom Hanks art flick called Bachelor Party


(Jump to 6:45 -- in Spanish for some reason, but it translates pretty well.)
"it would've been a better, braver, and more contemporary joke...."

Damn Dan-
you're a man of many talents.
Plenty of heterosexual guys think it is "icky" to be with a woman with ambigous genitals without even considering the chromosomes of the person. Some don't even like big clits. You can't ever expect 100% of heterosexual men to be willing to sleep with trans women.

I think Letterman was pretty brave for doing this. He clearly thought it out a lot whether or not it was funny. He used she is the present and he in the past tenses. He made a joke about a convincing sex change. He could have said nothing but is that how it should be? Should we just assume than transsexuality is something that is off-limits for jokes on tv? At least this will get more people thinking/talking about it even if it does squick some people out.
"as long as shes's got the woman parts-"

REally? I get turned on by ovaries......
Lighten up. This skit is just a riff off of The Crying Game.

There are real insults out there to be offended by - no need to invent them.

I love you guys, it's all about being accepting of other peoples' sexual preferences and turn-ons, which are based on a "hot thru' icky" scale for all people, straight, gay, trans….but suddenly, straight peoples' icky reaction is unacceptable.

Want to be accepted in mainstream, society? Don't be so damn PC, join the world on an equal footing, do not expect special privileges and most importantly, learn to laugh at yourselves. Afterall, you do look silly in heels.
geat real dan we know you think trans and bis are freaks
This was amusing and not at all defamatory or insulting. Some folks really need to lose their thin skins and take a joke once in a while. Think Dave's joke will be as insulting as the "jokes" that start to roll in to right-wing radio over the next week or two?
So is it insulting when lesbians feel icky about cocks in their twats?
wait? did you acknowledge that obama helped open a door?
The world of television comedy writing is - with a few notable exceptions - VERY, VERY, VERY male. omen have left writing staff because they just couldn't take the needling and/or offenses. It's happened with Letterman, on The Daily Show, Conan, on Ben Stiller (when he was in TV). If I'm not mistaken, Chris Rock's only female writer ever was Wanda Sykes (and it probably takes a strong, street-wise Wanda to put on with the shit).

But back to Letterman, the "trans" issue may not be Lettermen-specific, but it is young-ish, straight boy-specific, and since that's what's on Letterman's staff, no need to be surprised they'd be sort of cool, but uncomfortable with transgendered folk. How many times have we all seen, "What? You mean she used to be a dude? Aw, man!"
The world of television comedy writing is - with a few notable exceptions - VERY, VERY, VERY male. omen have left writing staff because they just couldn't take the needling and/or offenses. It's happened with Letterman, on The Daily Show, Conan, on Ben Stiller (when he was in TV). If I'm not mistaken, Chris Rock's only female writer ever was Wanda Sykes (and it probably takes a strong, street-wise Wanda to put on with the shit).

But back to Letterman, the "trans" issue may not be Lettermen-specific, but it is young-ish, straight boy-specific, and since that's what's on Letterman's staff, no need to be surprised they'd be sort of cool, but uncomfortable with transgendered folk. How many times have we all seen, "What? You mean she used to be a dude? Aw, man!"
To my utter shock and horror, I find myself pretty much agreeing with Loveschild. I also agree with Packeteer; it was more a joke about homophobia than transphobia, and it seemed to be poking fun at it.


Simply implying that being with a trans-woman is somehow "icky" or even "homosexual" is insulting.

That's ridiculous. People like what they like. The obvious corollary of that is that some people are allowed to find some kinds of sex or some kinds of sex partners "icky."

What needs to be distinguished is the difference between, "I think that's icky," and "That is icky." Like, personally, I find buttsex icky. But that doesn't mean that people who like buttsex are icky, and it would be obnoxious of me to say so.

Of course, some people will simply say "Ewww," without getting into "I" statements. Assuming that everyone who says that without going through all the PC qualifications is a bigot -- rather than just someone who is expressing their personal preferences -- makes you sound like a defensive whiner.
No Dan, many trans- men and women have no desire to pass. They just want to be themselves and to be accepted as themselves by those they love. They could care less how they are perceived by strangers.
As a gay man, even a relatively straight-acting one, you might be able to empathize.

That said, I don't see anything particularly offensive to the trans community in such an old chestnut. CBS viewers, on the other hand, should take offense at being expected to laugh at such unoriginal material.
Actually, by structuring the skit so that Dave is there slightly bemused and amused by the reaction to the news, I think Dave limits the potential for reasonable offense.

Also, it didn't end with "icky, icky, icky", but rather "go talk to him".

Sure the joke is old and I think Dave and his staff should have done better working this change in our culture into his show format, but overall, I don't think it was unsympathetic.
I love David Letterman, nearly out of nostalgia, but I've always felt odd about James Franco's appearance on the Late Show to promote Milk:


Dave says Franco should not have been eager to do a good job: "Do you really want to be good a kissing a guy?" ... and that's pretty homophobic. But then it's followed by Franco kissing Letterman on the cheek.

Maybe Dave represents the brave caveman, coming into the enlightened day?
@7, there's a big difference between stating a personal preference or aversion and applying it as a universal truth. Therein lies both the difference and the insult.
10, I dunno if I'd be describing Bachelor Party as an "art flick" or "little seen." I think most 15 year olds saw it in lieu of the latest Police Academy or Porky's. But i remember the reference and thank you for it sir!
Yuks about trans panic squick me out because trans panic sometimes leads to violence. Similarly unfunny is the straight guy who can't politely decline a gay man's pass without screaming OMG and running from the room.
Dave's come a long way on being more comfortable with gay issues but he's still noticeably freaked out by Trans issues...I seldom watch the show anymore but a year or two ago he was discussing a crew member of the show who was trans and Dave really didn't seem to understand it.
Really, they're making more fun at straight guys than anything else. I thought it was funny. Not fall on the ground, belly laugh funny, but funny.
I'd like to think it was a joke directed at tranny chasers, but for sure it was what Dan was implying. Dave nor the audience are not that savvy.

Which. . . ahem. . . "Sucks."
RE: Dan's question about passing:

As with anything trans. . . it can be complicated. . . but yeah, I think most people like to be accepted for who they are. I do. I like not getting looks or double takes. . . but that's me. (and yeah, I'm pretty much passable. . . (or blind to anyone giving a rat's ass?)

There are "Middle Path" Trans peeps that are okay with a clash between their assigned gender and their presentation. There are other terms like "genderqueer" and gender fuck that blur / confront notions of gender. . .

But. . . intellectually the "passing" thing is frowned upon. Being who you need to be with regards to "teh trans" can be expensive and time sensitive. Those who can't afford medical procedures, or transition later in life might have a steeper hill in life to climb in the "passing department. But - they still deserve their right to their own self determination. It shouldn't be a beauty contest.
Letterman will be apologizing. Dave is homophobic. Bad taste, insulting, anti-everyflippin'thing.

Jesusfuck, will you nutters give it a fucking rest?

There are countless examples of legitimately cruel, damaging, disgusting discrimination and bigotry. We don't need to scream like a bunch ninnies every we perceive (different from "see") every softcore remark or joke or slight.

As for the slight, has it ever occurred to you hyper sensitive types that the very fact that Letterman would pull this gag is expressly BECAUSE he wants to force what could otherwise be an uncomfortable subject (uncomfortable, that is, for his sheltered, cardboard consumer audience) onto the national psyche?

OK. Maybe we don't credit Dave for being that savvy. But the very fact that tranny news is being mined on post-prime time broadcast comedy, to me, is big, big progress. NOT because we make fun of it, but for the fact that we, collectively, are becoming comfy enough with gender bending that we can poke fun around it.

Get off your I'm-so-fucking-offended bandwagon and find stonewalls where they really exist.

For my part, I did chuckle, and I did perceive the joke to be on poor, sad, unenlightened and Neanderthalic Mr. Phobe, NOT trannies individually or collectively. Which I VERY MUCH take to be progress.
'Trannies' is a derogatory term.
Well said Dan. I'm kind of on the fence, it's great that a trans person is even being talked about on the conservative late night circuit with correct pronouns, but the "oh my god I fucked a 'dude' now i'm going to be sick" joke is old, unfunny, and hateful. I initially kind of giggled because, ha ha that guy is a stupid bigot! but after some thought I have to assume that most of the audience was laughing because, ha ha he fucked it!
Overall though I've been a lot more offended by The Stranger (getting a lot better), Slog commenters (seriously, for liberals some of you are pretty transphobic), and Slog friend Alice Dreger (google her if you care).

Oh, and do the posts bringing up homophobia on this thread indicate that the controversy over whether trans rights and homo rights are common rights has been settled?
@20, I'm shocked too! No asterisk or codicil reminding us that Obama is a terrible failure of a human being for not prioritizing gay rights above everything else. Shocking!

I wish Obama would kill DADT already so the liberals--specifically gay, blogging liberals who make frequent guest appearances on TV shows--would support him again. I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but the longer this goes on the worse it looks.
Considering that the "dude in a dress" panic defense is commonly used for murderers of trans people, this joke is beyond tasteless.
"that guy is a stupid bigot! "

Why? I believe gays should have equal rights, right to marry, adopt, have kids, you name it. But stick your cock in my mouth or up my ass and I will have nightmares for the rest of my life.

My sexual preferences don't make me a bigot, just as yours don't.
Really now. If anyone believes this gag was horrendous and shocking, then you have no sense of the tame and bland. This gag was the tame and bland. What really happens out there would be unfit to show on broadcast television without disclaimers of dramatic violence, perpetual suspense, and gut wrenching language.

Amanda (yeah, rotten creativity in pickin' names there) fits the tame because the tame is the predictable: white- or blue-collar man builds career, family, social reputation . . . man comes out as woman. Such a trans woman is way often white, too. It's a narrative that is sanitized and now familiar to most due to ad nauseam navel-gazey books, Oprah interviews, running the trans community show for so long, etc.

That's why the joke, as bland as it was, could be comprehended by the audience.
Somehow, I doubt Gwen Araujo, Brandon Teena, or Angie Zapata would have found that joke funny.

Of course, maybe that's because they were all murdered for being transgender.

It's not funny when it's the same joke told fifty bazillion times. It's really not funny when the punchline is used as an excuse for violence, and even gets held up in court as a valid defense. It's not satire when it's being used against a notably powerless group of people whose chances of being murdered are 14 times higher than the person telling the "joke."

This was a stupid skit mocking Amanda Simpson for being openly transgender, and it simply wasn't funny.

(BTW, Amanda is a name derived from the Latin verb ama-, to love, and its literal translation is "one who must be loved.")
No one ever said the joke was funny, Keori.

Also, note that Gwen Araujo, Brandon Teena, Angie Zapata, Chanelle Pickett, Grayce Baxter, and so on weren't white transgender women. This debate forecloses how they were all transsexual, young, and largely invisible until outed and exterminated). They weren't murdered so much for being transgender insomuch as they were murdered for not looking like anything other than cissexual women and men. They were regarded as a "threat" because they did not "look the part". Until that distinction is understood, accepted, and championed by transgender activists who must recognize themselves as allies to the invisible, then this circus will continue.

The white transgender woman is now a trope, and people from all walks of life know how to exploit that. They are the most frequent concept cissexual (and transsexual) people come in contact with. Just see what happened on Dave Letterman.

This might be unfair to white transgender people just coming out, but they have their predecessors to thank for that "me me me" media show of the last forty years. You have the Renée Richards, Jan Morrises, Jenny "Boy" Boylans, Riki Wilchins, and all the others who like to turn this discourse onto themselves and their so-called lives.

(And BTW, regardless the etymology, there are unavoidable puns that come from unfortunate name choices. That's just the way it is.)
Also, personal to Dan: after going on three decades of having a stiff hate-on for trannies, stop being such an apologist — unless of course you really mean it. It makes you look like such a pussy . . . willow*.

* another of those unfortunate names like Amanda, Pat, Riki, Donna, Phyllis, and on and on.
not only is letterman not a homophobe, he's a supporter of gay rights. he has expressed his support for gay marriage on his show. he has expressed dismay at those who would attempt to prevent gay marriage. he has announced the birth of a child of one of his lesbian employees and her wife during the show.

so he supports equality in thoughts, words and actions. that's not enough for sloggers? he's a caveman to you? i suppose you can have that opinion, but of course it is based on a complete lack of knowledge. i guess Dave's not hip enough for sloggers to watch. but don't let that stop you from your uninformed opinions, par for the course here on slog.

Well "TG". . . speaking of unfortunate names . We get it. You are all bigot-ee with teh trans women. Congratulations.

"Trans panic" is associated with violent crime not comedy.

For those not in the know - "TG" is the common abbreviation for "Transgender."

-Just sayin' :)
@37 - No one (at least, no one worth listening to) is saying that Obama has to "prioritiz[e] gay rights above everything else." But he made in the campaign, and has continued to make, a series of very specific promises that he has shown no signs of fulfilling. Yes, with the health care debate going on, it doesn't make sense for Obama to push through a repeal of DADT through Congress at present, even though it's a highly unpopular policy. What he CAN do is suspend its enforcement. He's also departed from campaign promises in defending DADT in court, something which, as the executive, he has no obligation to do.

And did you read the DOMA brief? That's not just failing to act on gay rights issues - that's doing *precisely the opposite* of what he's promised in the campaign. I've been willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt, but a year into his administration, no, it is not unreasonable for gay rights activists to be frustrated with his unwillingness to do *anything* to indicate that he will act on campaign promises regarding LGBT issues.

There's a difference between giving the president the benefit of the doubt and being a doormat.
You take people to be really stupid, trans i am. If Slog readers don't know what that means — and can't figure it out with Google — then maybe they shouldn't own a computer. Give them some credit.

And I don't have any problems with transsexual women or men. In fact, the more, the merrier — except for that part where it's politically more correct to drop "sexual" for "gender" and think it's all better nao. Transsexual people are pretty much told to go fuck themselves by the transgender political crew: "We're ALL transgender and you are in our big-ass leaky umbrella, so get over it." Uh, no. We're NOT all transgender, so fuck you.

Further, on the screen name bit, we went through this already. But if you'd like me to call you a dipshit again, it would be my pleasure.
"Transsexual people are pretty much told to go fuck themselves by the transgender political crew"

THat must have been fun to watch...a lot of split nails?
trans i am, I've been wondering this since I saw Letterman's douche bag joke. The first thing that came to my mind (besides "douche bag, of course) is that the joke isn't even realistic, since surely Amanda would have disclosed before sleeping with him.

So, my question is, isn't that usually the case? As a rule, transgendered people disclose before sex, correct? And jokes like these perpetuate (yet another) falsehood about trans people.
She's beautiful :D

How funny, I was just wondering that and then read your post. The skit was in poor taste -- and I agree with Dan it would have been both braver and more hip had the announcer been delighted upon hearing the news -- but it did make me wonder, like you did, if trans people usually disclose and what Savage Etiquette would say about any obligation to do so.

When I was younger, and much less mature, I thought anyone who would change their sex was pretty screwed up. But then I started thinking what it must be like for someone to feel that strongly that they were born in the wrong body and, instead of finding it off-putting, I began to find it fascinating. About ten years ago I ended up meeting two women who had been men. Both were very large-boned and neither seemed passable to me but I was riveted by the stories they told. Coincidentally, one was from my home state and, even more coincidental, had gone to the same high school as a bartender at my favorite club in Seattle.

I have to admit that I remain a little squeamish about dating or being intimate with a woman who had been a man but if I found her attractive and thought she was cool and we had a lot in common, I wouldn't turn her down just because of that.

:) Your posts are rant-a-liclious! I love it!

Stay classy. Hug, hug, kiss, kiss.
I've watched that video like five times now, and I still don't understand why its funny.
@53: I fed you. Now go away.
@49: I don't get it.
@50, 52.

It's... Like all things trans, a very personal, individual thing. I can only speak for myself, and I am off the market, so disclosing isn't an issue for me.

It's a tough issue.

I would think that trans peeps wouldn't want to be with anyone bigoted in the first place. Which, you could get to know the person before the idea of having to disclose. But... It does happen. MTF women get into crappy relationships just like non trans women sometimes. Some do not disclose and it can take a medical expert to know any differences in anatomy, so... I personally feel nobody should have to feel like they're "hiding" anything.

However, 'transpanic' and violence happens without any relationship or disclosing before sex... It can happen out on the street because some wack job clocks you as trans.
@52: Some do not disclose for any number of private reasons. The self-judgment call comes fraught with risk, and it underscores the perceptions entangled with a woman born as a boy or a guy born as a girl.

Obviously, if a transsexual person is shacking up with someone who isn't aware that she or he isn't cissexual, then it makes for certain risk, violence, or just plain death is in whatever capacity they are outed (or disclose of their own accord). This is why you have a list the names who are now statistics. Quite often the violence happens during an intimate moment, as a disproportionate number of the fatalities are from strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head, not from gunshots.

So the politics of this question really come down to that of perceived values wrought by cissexual people like yourself. If there is a squickness to the very thought of intimacy with a non-cissexual person, then it should guide you on where people genuinely see where transsexual people are placed in this society — human rights law and chummy acceptance being shallow veneers of tolerance at best, never acceptance.

This argument cuts both ways, too: if a transsexual person doesn't disclose taking ownership over their body, and that fact alone matters to someone, then it validates how that person is not ever going to be esteemed as a person in the most fundamental sense. A transsexual person, under this rubric, has the right to know if a cissexual person (and, well, I've known a few transsexual people who don't "date within the species", as it were) is going to have an fundamental issue about intimacy with a non-cissexual partner. But to find this out is often a proposition of outing oneself or chancing to hear the right thing at the right time by happenstance.

If anything, it would make no less sense for prospective, cissexual singles to disclose outright who they will and will not date — rather than put the onus on a transsexual person each and every last time. Doing the latter just repeats the same cycle of needless shame.

Okay, but then who's going to feed you?
@59: Your mom.
57 & 58, thanks for your comments. Cisexual was new to me so thanks, also, for expanding my vocabulary.

57: Which, you could get to know the person before the idea of having to disclose. & 58: Obviously, if a transsexual person is shacking up with someone who isn't aware that she or he isn't cissexual, then it makes for certain risk, violence, or just plain death is in whatever capacity they are outed (or disclose of their own accord).

If I was trans, say MTF, and knew there was a chance someone I was attracted to could freak out and beat me (or kill me) if I didn't tell him and he somehow found out, seems to me I'd try anything I could think of to suss out his attitude before getting involved.

58: This argument cuts both ways, too: if a transsexual person doesn't disclose taking ownership over their body, and that fact alone matters to someone, then it validates how that person is not ever going to be esteemed as a person in the most fundamental sense.

Maybe I'm not understanding the point you're trying to make but I don't feel that someone has to want to be intimate with me in order for them to have esteem for me as a person, as a human being.

If anything, it would make no less sense for prospective, cissexual singles to disclose outright who they will and will not date — rather than put the onus on a transsexual person each and every last time.

Funny...my initial reaction when I read that was: if the onus is going to be on anyone, it should be on the trans person. But then I realized you made a very good point, how it could work both ways.

I'm a hetero guy who doesn't care if someone is transgendered but would, in fact, have a problem if I learned that I had slept with a MTF transgender. Far be it from me to say what is or isn't offensive to the transgendered community. I'm sure Dan knows more transgendered folks than I do, but I wonder if he's any more qualified to pronounce judgment.

Most (not all) straight guys find the prospect of sex with a MTF TG not only icky, but fascinatingly so, in the way that the hypothetical prospect of prison rape is fascinatingly terrifying. Letterman and Kalter (or more precisely, their writers) are just tapping that reaction to make a predictable joke. They're not inciting anybody to go out and beat or murder transgendered, nor are they joking about those who are the target of such violence (no more than jokes about prison rape are meant to poke fun at the actual victims of it).

I find it difficult to believe that TGs are not aware of the commonality of such reactions, sponsored by television comedians or not, and except for those who actually engage in deceptive sexual tactics (if, indeed, any do), it seems like it would be the least of their concerns.

Whatever the consensus, though, it seems to me that, instead of fuming over a possible slight to transgendered people with what seems like a relatively tame joke, more concern should be spent worrying about the actual hatred being expressed by the likes of WND and other conservative/evangelical douches.
I have come a LONG way out of a deeply homophobic upbringing! I have gay friends that I love. I admire out gay people for being out. This wasn't really funny, or a really severe attack on her. It's unrealistic to expect Letterman etc. not to make fun of this. Dan and company, keep fighting the good fight, and don't hate on them for hating, right?
Unclosed markups fixed.

I read all the offense and anger first, and was expecting a joke that connected the term "dickless" w/ the Obama Administration. Or something equally sophomoric.

Instead, the joke is on the guy who's offended. He's a rube, a yokel, someone who is alien to the sophisticated and urbane attitudes of metropolitan New Yorkers, for whom anything involving a transgendered person would be "ho hum." The gag is to inspire mocking laughter at anyone (ie. the conservative media) who reacts to her gender-status rather than her abilities.

Not the best joke, but it fills time w/ a minimum of writing, which has always been Letterman's strength (and weakness.) He doesn't rely so much on joke-writing, like Carson did, but on situational gags like this one.

Regarding the outrage & kerfuffle from GLAAD, et al, I'll take my cue from the sophisticated Manhattanites-- "Ho hum."

hate speech can lead to hate crime. When you joke about freaking out over a trans peep, you are suggesting it's okay to do so... Which says to some people that trans peeps are less human.

awwwh. That's sweet. She would love to have you over for dinner. You are cute as a button! :)
I agree the joke had a dangerous element and effect to it, but let's not discount Alan Coulter's (that's the announcer) oft-repeated on-air shtick as an anti-intellectual clown, a completely unlikable, buffoonish character. He's done repeated stints as oversexed, creepy, angry, confused, or all of the above. Among other lunatic things and uncomfortable humor he's done on Letterman is pratfalls, beat himself up, episodes of screaming profanity as he walks out on the show, and playing Sarah Palin in very, very bad drag.

The joke is, I think, less harmful if you take Coulter's whole shtick into account, and I think the audience did. Although he's got the great announcer voice, he's generally considered the opposite of authoritative. He might not be an asshole in real life, but he certainly plays one on tv.

@62: It is no more deceptive for a transsexual person to refrain from disclosing their medical history than it is for a cissexual person to refrain from disclosing their disdain (or mere reservations) for transsexual people. Unless the couple are thinking about long-term relationships and families, then it's a non-issue.

If straight guys liken intimacy with a straight transsexual woman to fascination with ass-rape in prison, then they've got some old-skool misogyny to work through first. If you found out a former partner was a transsexual* woman, madcap, then your statement is self-contradictory: you do care. The question you should ask yourself is why it is you care. If she was a "good lay" (or whatever rubric you use to measure the night before), then how are you slighted or harmed? It's not like you have to worry about palimony. You're no less manly, virile, or heterosexual than you were before dumping your load in (or on) her. If it's because it bothers you that she knows what it was like to have been in a boys' locker room at age 11 or, because of this she must somehow lack some kind of je ne sais quoi "feminine mystique", then you've got your own problems to work through with that, not her.

* not worth discussing transgender in this context. Let's keep the water clear.
@67: That's what I'm afraid of.
Time for me to piss all the trans folks and their friends off... *Sigh*
Also, a note: when I'm referring to "trans" individuals here, I'm talking about transsexed persons, that is, individuals who feel that they really are or really should be some physical biological sex other than the ones that they are. This is a phenomenon completely distinct from transgendered individuals, who enjoy the coded gender expressions assigned to a sex that they are not, but do not believe that their genitals or secondary sex characteristics are or should be different than those which they "naturally" grew. The terms are often used interchangeably, which greatly confuses discussion of the respective topics. Also, to me it looked like Letterman was making fun not of trans people but of what may be an all-too-common response to trans people. This may be a case of people who have to deal with oppression on a daily basis seeing it everywhere, even where it isn't. This is a documented phenomenon concerning racism e.g. if I use the word "nigger" ever, even in a discussion of the word as a word, some people call me racist (due to the fact that my skin is of a light, nearly translucent pinkish shade). Ask yourself: If a trans or otherwise queer person/comedy troupe/etc. had made this joke, would you feel the same way? Would there be the same uproar in the queer communities?

Okay, so here's the deal: Trans folks SHOULDN'T have to disclose their previous sex-expressions, because everybody should just be able to fuck (assuming consent, of course) the people they find hot without worrying about their own or their partner's sex, gender, sexuality, etc. However, it is absolutely the case that in our society a majority of people view their sexuality label "gay", "straight", "bi", "pan", "poly", and all the other ones out there as a HUGE part of their identities. One's sexuality (for an overwhelming majority of the population) is literally the most important aspect of how people think of themselves as individuals. So when someone reveals that sie, for example, has not always been a man, woman, whatever, it's potentially a major threat to hir sex-partner's self-image, and it's understandable that the person might freak out. It would potentially be like a devout Christian learning that she's accidentally been worshiping Satan, or even that there is no Yahweh. If anything, it would be more extreme for some people (and I don't think that the people who react negatively to the point of violence or catatonia or anything like that are in the majority, but I think negative reactions to lesser degrees are/would be most frequent).

That said, and because trans folks are much less common than are cis folks (at least in our culture, there are a couple articles in one of my old Women's Studies texts about some south Pacific islander group for which transsexuality is a normative practice for a segment of the population), the onus is on a trans person to disclose hir sex history. There is ABSOLUTELY an element of homophobia to this, as there's a huge difference between, for example, "I won't fuck males because I don't find males sexually attractive" and "I won't fuck males because it's gross and wrong". By way of a parallel, while women SHOULDN'T have to worry about what they wear or where and when and with whom they go walking around a city, it's still a really bad idea for a woman to go strolling through a college neighborhood alone at 2 a.m. wearing a mini-skirt and halter top while intoxicated, as doing so increases the chances that a rapist will target her (a rapist unknown to the victim, that is; rapes committed by strangers are, of course, much less common than those committed by acquaintances). Trans people SHOULDN'T have to disclose their sex-expression histories, but it's still a good idea to do so at some point before e.g. someone is about to go down on them.

Finally (and here's the part that I think will piss the most people off), it's important to recognize that sex-expression dysphoria IS in fact a delusional belief. I do not intend this as a value judgment, but believing that one has or is supposed to have a vagina and ovaries and a uterus when one does not is a a rejection of a physical reality, which is sort of the definition of a delusion. It doesn't matter whether the feeling is biological (there is ample evidence for a strong biological component), psychological, or both, it's still a rejection of a fact (i.e. you have XY sex chromosomes and a penis and testicles). I'm not saying that I think it's BAD for someone to be trans, or that the person needs therapy to stop believing as sie does (once upon a time, before hormone treatments and sex-assignment surgeries, therapy probably was the best option, but now it may or may not be helpful to a trans individual, as with any cis individual). But trans individuals DO need to acknowledge that they are delusional (again, this is not necessarily problematic). It may not always be the case: if we ever develop the technology to completely transition a person's sex (as opposed to the superficial approximations of which we are now capable; I strongly believe that we should try to do so), trans persons will no longer be delusional because they will be able to alter their physical realities to match their beliefs. We are, however, not quite there yet, and so trans people will unfortunately, but not unreasonably, have to put up with people treating them as though they are not quite normal, because they ultimately believe something that isn't true.
John, could you expound further on the idea of "belief" and "delusion"?

If belief is not part of the equation, does this not also foreclose on delusion as well?

The fly in your argument's ointment is that not every transsexual person subscribes to "dysphoria" or "disorder" and never will. As such, these people can and do argue the case that, as the custodian of one's own body, there are expectations wrought from it, and in self-consensual capacity do what is necessary to meet those expectations. Those expectations come with an awareness of capabilities and limitations. What those capabilities and limitations are do not define the individual's presence or validity of being, though historically people have tried arguing otherwise (see eugenics movement).

Framed a different way, the technology to keep Stephen Hawking communicative and interactive with his peers and students is a function of the means available for him to assert his expectations of teaching and researching. He is obviously aware of his limitations: he won't be bowling anytime soon. That he must rely on technology to maintain his ability to continue with these self-asserted expectations does not deny his ability to function as an individual — nor does it suggest that he is in any way delusional for relaying on technology to let him continue practising his life on his own terms. In another time, he would have been institutionalized, hospitalized, or left to his own devices to die.

So some of those expectations of self, as a transsexual person is concerned, are pretty basic and fundamental, although this is clearly a concept lost on some. One of those fundamental manners of expectation is the way one maps out their own erotic body.

That's just sort of way it is. There is no why to it, metaphysically speaking. This point is something you also concede at the end of your comment by arguing, deterministically, that to "completely transition a person's sex" (I read this as "the ability to procreate as a prereq for sex 'certification'," so do correct me if this parsing was off) is the only way to negate the "delusional" designation of a transsexual person.

Given that the only morphological difference managed in flesh here (between what a body is "superficially" capable of doing now versus what it may be capable of with more medical "technology", as you put it) is a question of reproducibility through procreation, then what does this mean for cissexual people who cannot procreate (i.e., men shooting blanks or women with PCOS)? Didn't we already foreclose this humanity and self-delusion technological equation with Philip K. Dick's literature on androids?

In short, your argument favours a case, unmerited, for biological determinism based on an essential foundation (and notion) of procreation. This smacks as offensive to any cissexual woman who has rejected the essentialist dogma that the body is merely a baby-making container. This deterministic approach of delusion, by way of maintaining a cycle of procreation, is no less the same case made against cissexual gay and lesbian people for decades, as the rejection of a social institution favouring procreation as a prereq — as the basis, even — for a committed, monogamous relationship recognized by the state or religion was also considered delusional for generations.

Your logical framework must account for those transsexual people who never have subscribed to a concept of "dysphoria" or "disorder" for it to hold weight, just as it must account for cissexual people who never had nor never will have the biological mechanicals to participate in human procreation (to say nothing of motivation or lack thereof). Because your argument has not done this in either instance, your case has not succeeded — try as you did.

It was a nice college effort, though.
Letterman is a Jerk, that's his role. and the redheaded guy is the ultimate jerk. If you watch the show enough, you see how they use this guy. They are making fun of tramsphobes much more than they are making fun of transfolk. Learn to enjoy satire.
@73: Precisely.

I'd be totally with you and #73. . . if i felt the skit was making fun of a tranny chaser.

I don't think Letterman and his audience are that savvy. I'd like to think so, but they're not.
I'm not talking about reproductive biology here, necessarily; I think that that would vary from case to case. And I don't think that trans people are any more nor less delusional than, say, an obese person who "feels like a skinny person trapped in a fat body". In fact, it's a similar case of body-modification through surgical and drug/dietary means if that obese person has liposuction and takes, perhaps, a thyroid drug that brings hir metabolism in line with normative values. I'm not saying it's a problematic delusion, for either the trans or the obese person, but in both cases the individual feels that hir body's morphology is different than hir "true self" or something like that. I'm not advocating biological determinism; that's a philosophy that biology is the ONLY determinate factor in human behavior. Humans have brains complex enough that most behaviors are the result of some combination of biological and psychosocial factors.

But the fact is that we are our bodies. Any separation of the "self" from the physical form is delusional because the "self" does not and cannot exist without the physical form. The dualism of the "I" and the "Me", for example, is a psychological tradition resulting from a time when humanity's leading minds still believed in something like a soul; a little metaphysical operator pulling levers inside a meat-bag. If one subscribes to this form of dualism, then absolutely one could describe the trans phenomenon as not delusional: you could have a female soul in a male body or really any sort of binary- or inter-sexed soul in a binary- or inter-sexed body. But the soul is not real; we don't exist as individuals in abstraction of the physical matter that comprises us, and that belief is, again, delusional.

You state that "the only morphological difference managed in flesh here ... is a question of reproducibility through procreation", but this is far from true. A trans woman will never have as many nerve endings in her clitoris as the average cis woman (nor even, presumably, as a cis woman on the low-nerve-count end of the spectrum). She will not have the same type and distribution of internal erectile tissues in the vagina, nor the same auto-lubricating and auto-cleaning glands (nor the vaginal nerve distribution). She will not experience the same cyclic hormone production as a cis woman (though this can be approximated). There are a number of way in which modified genitals that attempt to reproduce a different, but "normal" or "average" set of genitals are functionally different (in terms of reproduction, as well as sexual and non-sexual functioning) than those they attempt to replicate. The same holds true for secondary (non-genital) dimorphic sex characteristics. Most strikingly, since we cannot yet (although we're getting close) grow nerve cells on-demand and nerves are invariably severed in sex-reassignment surgery, many (though not necessarily all) trans people experience reduced sensitivity in their genitals, especially compared to cis people of the same sex. Again, this isn't necessarily better nor worse, but to state that the only differences between the sex organs of cis and trans folks of the same sex involves reproductive biology is simply false. This is not necessarily problematic for the trans person, if hir belief of wrong-sexedness extends to things like external appearance, receptive vs. penetrating sex, and how others treat and react to hir, as we can address these things. But a man who believes he is "female" to the point of clitoral sensitivity, menstruation, and child-bearing, for example, cannot at present alter his physical body to become "female" in all the ways that he believes he is. He cannot become a cis female.

Finally, your body IS "just" a baby-making machine. Mine is too. And I don't even know your morphological sex. Fundamentally, we all exist as vehicles for our DNA to replicate. The fact that humans have evolved to a point where we no longer engage in activities solely related to our survival and procreation is incidental. And direct procreation isn't the only way to ensure the survival of one's genetic material; things like helping other members of one's species and kin group survive also accomplishes this. Don't get me wrong, I applaud any woman who has rejected the social construct that she MUST bear children, whether she wants to or not, and who doesn't buy-in to the idea that the only path of value for a woman is that of "mother". Men too, with the "father" role, though that was never as restrictive a role as was/is the "mother" role. People should procreate because they want to (if they can), and not because someone else thinks they should or should not. But understand that as far as the species is concerned, you only value, my only value, and the only value of ANY given individual is to what extent we help the next generation to come into existence and survive.

Ugh. that's a lot of words.

I wouldn't get too caught up with cliché's you hear on the TeeVee to form a treatise around. "Woman trapped in a man's body" isn't how it really works (as others have said.)

Those phrases evolve (imo) because people get tired of explaining themselves. . . so they make up a short hand way to speak.

. . . and most importantly I'll say:

"If you've met one trans person. You've met one trans person."

We all don't see things the same. (Just ask #74) Me being a woman has nothing to do with biology, body parts, DNA, or the structure of my hypothalamus.

It doesn't matter if it is a GD "choice." (code word "delusion?")

I have have a right to how I am perceived and navigate in the world.
I have no right to prevent others from the same.
They have no right to prevent me.

But be careful when you ask #74. . . she bites.
To riff a bit of J Horstman's & Telsa's comments:

People only have concepts of "male" and "female" because of regularities we see in the natural world involving what people with vaginas vs penises tend to do and the genes they have. Some people are physiologically intergendered and some people have bodies that are stereotypically male or female and yet have genetic makeups that don't match: XXY men, androgen insensitives, women with single X chromosomes, etc. These people contradict the false dichotomy we have built up around the idea than man vs women exhausts the gender spectrum - indeed, I would say they undermine the very notion of "man" vs "woman" period.

Most trans people, however, are not genetically or physiologically intergendered - they are entirely "normal" genetic males or females who feel their true gender identity is not the one reflected in their genes and bodies. I am happy we live in a society with the values and technology to help people live with whatever gender identity they desire - but my support of the liberty of transsexuals people to live as they wish doesn't mean I have to accept a false metaphysics. One cannot be a "woman born into a man's body" - MTF women are, simply, men who decided they wanted to live as women. The same is true for FTM transsexuals.

Thus I can't help but feel that those who regard as true statements like "I have always been a woman - it just took some gender reassignment surgery to make me look like one" are basically supporting the same oppressive gender-dichotomy they causes so much harm to all people who fail to comply with gender stereotypes. Saying that you aren't really a man or woman because you don't sincerely feel like one is a bold, brave declaration of your perspective - but it simultaneously implies that there are certain things a "real" man or a "real" woman can and cannot (or should and should not) feel. This is actually adhering to the same untrue gender stereotype/dichotomy that it appears to transgress. It is actually helping maintain the false dichotomy that is the cause of so much anguish for men and women who don't feel and act they way they're "supposed to."

To put it another way: I hope that we one day live in a world where males who gravitate toward typically female modes of behavior and perception (and vice versa) won't even consider that they were somehow "born into the wrong body" but instead will know from their earliest upbringing that chromosomes and body parts don't determine the ways we all live and our lives and interact with each other. In short, I hope that people will know that each person feels exactly how they're supposed to feel because each person really is "truly" and "naturally" themselves - there isn't really any other way to be.

In that future world there may still be people who decide to transition via gender reassignment (or even genetic re-coding procedures) - but I can't help but feel in that world that it would be seen as an adventure or a learning experience rather than like it is in this world: Seen as something a person "must" do because they are in the "wrong" body to start with. Nobody has the "wrong body" or the "wrong gender" - we just live in a world where many people (individuals and societies) aren't willing to really acknowledge the unique nature of each person.

Instead of squeezing or reassigning ourselves into the little boxes we need to realize that little boxes don't really exist...
Sorry, I'm a gay man and while I wouldn't freak out like that...I would definitely trip a little if I had sex with a man who used to be a woman. I also know I couldn't be (I think) with a man who used to be a woman either. I also don't like the fact it's LGB T, I don't feel the T should be part of our community. If you want to counter it's a "minority" issue and human rights issue then let the ACLU add the T. As a gay man I have nothing in common with a transgender person other than the rights and discrimination aspect, as well as many other minorities. I dunno, I understand it's a civil rights issue, just not comfortable being put in the same "group" as trans people. I think adding the T to LGB casts a...different prospective... on those of us comfortable with our gender.
@76: Our Weltanschauung here diverges on a fundamental point, one that you mentioned in passing. We’ll come to that in a moment.

Concepts of “true self” and “trapped in” are constructs to which few people actually prescribe (or describe) for themselves. Your case trips up on this measure alone, because it assumes as a given that tropes, as with labels, are broadly encompassing, when in practice they are nothing more than a containing model inside which certain qualities are imbued. In practice, very few people will meet every quality for that model.

I do submit that we are not just our bodies, for if we were, we as self-aware individuals would irrevocably be less ourselves when and if our body was impaired. I would argue this is not the case. The capability to do something with our body may be altered, such as after a vehicle accident or ALS, but the neural (encephalic) synthesis required to execute that impaired ability remains intact. We are obviously not at a point to discuss de-coupling a symbiotic relationship between mind and body, but increasingly we are understanding and documenting case studies when the mind can function optimally with a minimum of body (again, Stephen Hawking) and when the body can largely function without the mind (to some degree, Terri Schaivo).

Given this acknowledgement of clinical symbiosis, some continue to argue that there remains a separation of body and mind that has yet to be proved in the lab. I don’t think it’s necessary to wait for that day. There are days when your body feels fine but you, the individual, do not, and other days when your mind is moving along at a fantastic pace but the body is fatigued or otherwise unable to keep up.

So I advance that dualism is not only possible, but likely. And to apply your framework of “female soul”/“male body”/whatever is crudely simplistic at best, and diversionary from the main point at worst. And because not every body, in vitro or in vivo depending on circumstances, is configured to be a baby-making machine, you foreclose on every cissexual person who cannot reproduce, as much as they want to; under the rubric of your argument, a cissexual individual is less female or male because of that lack of reproductive capability. It happens. But I am aware that redacting this from your argument is the easy out you’re employing as a contingency to maintain your contention that the “delusional” dilemma of transsexual people can only — and exclusively — be refereed by cissexual people such as yourself (or, for that matter, transgenders who are cissexual). That self-endowed tack just smacks of arrogance, to be perfectly frank about it. You might as well start calling yourself John Money (but really, don't do that).

The main point is that one — the individual — can and often does assume ownership over one’s body. This does not imply, demonstrate, or prove the presence of soul, and there are no "trappings" involved. We as individuals assume ownership over our body in what we feed it, how we treat it, and how we tend to it with basic grooming routines (or not, as it were). Over time, these decisions manifest in a gestalt that can be sussed from external observations. These decisions — these actions — communicatively inform the individual’s treatment of their container/their meatbag/their temple/whatever, and this is what others (consciously or not, who are doing just the same with themselves) can observe and derive interpretive meaning therefrom. This manner of communication helps to inform social relationships on practically every level — including intimacy. Such a gestalt can readily manifest as the forty-something transgender who just came out last year, as one can look to that person's body and see how they were treating it in the years prior to and following that most visible decision. Likewise, a chain smoker and drinker who quits at fifty will still show effects from that a priori treatment of their body.

Taking ownership over one’s body because there are ways in which one wants to treat their body and communicate with others on their terms goes hand in hand with this notion of the self taking stewardship over the symbiotic component that interacts with the outside world — from conversations to acquiring energy (food). So in short (though nothing about this is succinct), this is less a question of dualism than it is to acknowledge that the mind, in situ, cannot function without the body and vice-versa. Even so, this symbiotic relationship effects that one's mind and body are not one in the same. Otherwise, we'd be amoeba, starfish, or sslt.

Actually, I wanted to reply to share with you that playing the philosophical wankery deck is doable and all quite lovely, but this is sincerely boring me.

In the end, using intellectual manoeuvres in such philosophy loses touch with day to day functional realities. No one audits nerve endings to determine who is normatively more “real” than another person. I think your squick threshold comes in trying to actuate a fundamental success or failing based on one’s ownership of body in whatever manifestation that could involve. I don’t think you’re liable to find any transsexual person to just foreclose on themselves just because they cannot possess — as you put it — certain morphological nuances which you levitate to a value system endowing cissexual people with advantages that transsexual people do not. The possession tack you argue just gets a bit objectified to render taking ownership to material possession. Indeed, there are some transgenders who believe that possession raises them to some kind of legitimacy. And that possessiveness is also their undoing, as it trivializes the relationship between oneself and that aforementioned stewardship over their body.

Lastly, you introduced this sub-thread by excluding transgender from the discussion. I applaud you for that and for sake of making this dialectic an interesting one to explore, but for you to (I’d argue) disingenuously play with transgender-reified pronouns like “hir” and “sie” sorely undermines your case. Transsexual people, writ large, have no interest to pander to that obfuscation of pronouns, and nor should anyone else who communicates with a transsexual individual.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve some rice and dal to make. I’m going to take care of my body, because it could use some nutritional nourishment. I could elect to disregard it, but I will indulge it because I want to. Maybe later I’ll add some sexual nourishment that will satisfy me splendidly — and I'll do so whether or not I have “all the parts” to enjoy it as much as a cissexual person might (or might not). That’s another metaphysical question that cannot be definitively answered here, by us, or by anyone else.
@80: As a transsexual person, I don't have anything in common with a transgender person beyond the basic civil rights issue you face, either. And as a transsexual person, I don't want appreciate being slammed in the same "group" as transgenders, either — often by cissexual queers like your peers. Hope that helps on perspective.

If you have a problem in shacking up with a transsexual man, then in the end it really is a question of whether you legitimize him as a stark raving homo such as yourself. If you tripped a little, then you're acknowledging — willingly or not — that on some level, no matter how slim, the information that your partner isn't cissexual like you is bothersome to your own confirmation of sexuality as a gay man. It shouldn't be. You're gay, and so is he. Call it a day.

And yet, by tripping a little, you also acknowledge — willingly or not — that a transsexual gay man faces a disproportionately identical ratio of the institutional, social, legal, theological, and health obstacles that you, as a cissexual gay man, do. About the only thing he can't do that you can is impregnate a cissexual woman. Then again, you'd never willingly do that, either.

If you trip up, then you have some deeper exploring within your gay self to do. But you're not likely to trip up, of course, because you'd never find a transsexual gay man fiercely hot. Not in a million years. Keep telling yourself that. You might start to believe it.

You wrote: "It is no more deceptive for a transsexual person to refrain from disclosing their medical history than it is for a cissexual person to refrain from disclosing their disdain (or mere reservations) for transsexual people. Unless the couple are thinking about long-term relationships and families, then it's a non-issue."

1. If the number of "passable" (to borrow others' term) transsexuals in the world was significant enough that it was statistically reasonable that many of the women I met were transsexuals, then I would owe it to myself to make my preferences known. But the statistics are not that way. I shouldn't have to tell every woman I meet that I prefer to sleep with only natural-born women in order to avoid the 0.00001% chance that a potential mate may be transsexual. If one of them asked, however, I'd certainly be forthcoming (and maybe a little suspicious).

Given the sheer weight of the demographics, the natural assumption in our society is (for lack of any other evidence) if you have the body of a woman, then you were born a female. If you're in fact a post-op transsexual, you know that (a) you weren't born with those genitals, and (b) that will be a deal-breaker for many/most straight people. If you decide to withhold that information anyway, then you are being deceptive.

2. Spare me the "you shouldn't have an issue having sex with a transsexual" lecture. Don't tell me what should or should not be an issue for me about who I have sex with or how I have it. If you want to go down that road, then I can tell you that it shouldn't be an issue sticking with the genitals you were born with.

But I didn't say that. I said I don't have a problem with transsexuals (or transgenders, or trans-anything) in general, but I would be upset if I found out that I inadvertently slept with one. I don't have a problem with men (gay or straight) either, but I would be equally upset if I found out I inadvertently had sex with one of them. If you can't figure out the difference between day-to-day social interactions and sex, then that's your problem.

Many people may not care what genitals their sexual partner was born with. I do. You may believe that a transsexual female is no different than a so-called "cissexual" female. I don't (and if you do, I'd wonder why you use those adjectives to differentiate between the two). Call me transphobic or whatever for it, I don't care. I don't apologize for my sexual preferences any more than I ask anyone else to apologize for theirs.
"About the only thing he can't do that you can is impregnate a cissexual woman."

Not even with a turkey baster?
@84: Would he want to?

@83: 1) I respectfully disagree with you. If you have the body of a woman, then you have the body of a woman. If you have the body of a man, then you have the body of a man. Let's call a spade a spade. This "at birth" crap is so evasive and so interpretive as to question really how much the average schmo really grasps about human development prior to birth, much less in the couple of formative years immediately following. Most have no effing clue (if the "pro life-'til-birth" camp shows any indication of this ineptness). Deal with it.

2) You never explained in this discussion why you'd be upset if you realized your partner was transsexual, but you never really got down to why. That's pretty lame, and by now, I don't expect you to expound further. Moreover, I won't spare you that "lecture", because it's no less sanctimonious for someone like you to tell someone like me that you think an onus should be placed on someone like me without ever really being forthcoming on why someone like you simply cannot be a little more frank about transsexual people writ large. It doesn't matter if your partner is cissexual. I'm quite sure they'd like to know on where you stand when it comes to how you relate to other people who might challenge your world view. It speaks reams to your conception of empathy (or lack thereof) in others. This comes in useful in ways far and wide.

So, madcap, unless you're willing to deign yourself to explain sincerely on the points addressed, I think we're done.
Ha ha ... that was funny as shit.
I don't mean to change the subject, but...speaking of "icky"....David Letterman. My partner loves him. He gives me the creeps. I find him arrogant, dismissive, condescending, and not particularly funny. He always seems so self-satisfied and superior....which I find massively not funny. Screw David Letterman and his trans-phobia. He should stick to making fun of married heterosexual men, who are fucking their employees.
kipp @ 79

It sounds like you only want to allow people freedom to change their bodies so long as their choices don't reinforce stereotypical gender roles. As a typically slightly femme gay man, I think that's selfish.
Hi John. I'm going to spit some research at you, because I'm a scientist, and well, I just plain like peer-reviewed research. Call me crazy, but I do! In fact, I like it more than random semantic conjecture that categorically pathologizes a highly disenfranchised minority group.


Look! Evidence that a very large proportion of transgender people experience "phantom limb" symptoms as a basis for their physical dysphoria. Like I do. This means that our brain structure exhibits sexual dimorphism aligned with our identified sex despite years of cultural socialization and stigmatization AND our junk. That's right.

So yeah, we're "delusional" just like someone that gets a limb blown off in Iraq is. Because, you know, they were born with a foot. So they're fucking nuts right? RIGHT?

Listen, I know that you specifically qualified your argument to placate people like me who were bound to get pissed off at what you wrote, but your efforts are pretty transparent, brohammed. Delusion has a pejorative connotation in modern parlance, and I resent your hidden implication that i'm nuts. It hurts, OK? If you're a neuroscientist, go ahead and use "Delusion" like you'd use it in a medical context. But wait! You're not a neuroscientist are you? You're posting in a popular online forum, full of people that are not, in fact, cognitive neuroscientists.

AND. And, look, look, look it's written by the most highly regarded neuroscientist of our day, badass of all badasses, V.S. Mo'Fuckin' Ramachandran.

So fuck off, John, and leave the science up to people who know how assess real live, non-fairytale data, OK?

All my love,