Columns Jun 10, 2015 at 4:00 am



For SAD, I recommend reading up on what most dominants want. For instance, read what Bitchy Jones wrote on her blog, starting with:…

Sample quote: “How come submissive men aren’t all about well cut jeans and tight t shirts over their lickable torsos and expensively cut knicker-dampening suits and butchy boots and dirty looks. Yeah, not all women like the same thing, but their are vague ideas, there are archetypes women find hot and until you can buy a Hot Sissy Maid 2010 calendar in my supermarket I’m betting the look most submissive men are going for isn’t one of them.”

The essay talks about why it can be really intimidating to try to look sexy, and why it's still worth making the effort. And her whole blog is very educational.

Kitty Stryker’s essay "The Value of a Male Submissive" is also really good, especially at helping identify the kind of people you probably want to avoid in your search.…

And of course there’s a lot of great advice in the various D/s groups on Fetlife, where you can hang out and make non-sexual friends who will help you figure out how to ask for what you need and how to identify what you have to offer.

But really, Dan’s advice to 15 year old boys applies here too: work on yourself, so when you meet the right dominant, you can present the best version of yourself:

>> Join a gym and get yourself a body that girls will find irresistible; read so that you'll have something to say to girls (the best way to make girls think you're interesting is to actually be interesting); and get out of the house and do shit--political shit, sporty shit, arty shit--so that you'll meet different kinds of girls in different kinds of settings and become comfortable talking with them...Get a decent haircut and use deodorant and floss your teeth and take regular showers and wear clean clothes...>>

Note that if SAD is bisexual and looking for either a female or male dominant, I think pretty much everything above still applies, except that Dan’s advice would then be rephrased to advise sculpting your body into one both men and women will find irresistable, etc.
Re: SAD. I'm curious. Suggesting a sex worker is kinda an automatic. Why not in this instance? He can explore his kink and feel safe. Yes it might take time to find just the right femdom (do I have that term right? I get confused.). But maybe it's the ticket.
LW1: Ha
LW2: don't know
LW3: Oh please
You think I can't go rant on some other thread this week, Dan? Watch me.
Dear Lava, there's no doubt you could rant and rave on another site, we all have that option. I, for one, would totally appreciate it if you upped your grammatical game. Your insight and experience is diminished by the clunky sentences. You're Australian, so a native English speaker, there's no reason for it.
Jesus. I'm not even gonna be on this thread and I'm getting into trouble!
Nice drawing Joe.
Oh and phuni44. Go fuck yourself. That English clear enough?
Here is a great piece about the Caitlyn Jenner coming out issues, from a somewhat different perspective. Articulate, thoughtful, and respectful:…
Just to clarify, by "Articulate, thoughtful, and respectful" I mean someone else wrote it.
Oh, Joe Newton. A picture really is worth a 1000 words.
Well, what a shame to not have a new burning issue to debate this week, as we've discussed the Caitlyn Jenner transition (and transitioning generally) to death. Though I will thank last week's poster for his "I don't need to understand" comment. I copypasted it verbatim into a Facebook discussion and I think it really resonated, by which I mean it got a lot of "likes."

I have also refined my analogy about sex changes and pregnancy, for Lava's benefit, but I think she is sick of this topic as well.

Hope we get some good SLLOTDs this week!
“She coerced me to be way more dominant than I actually am.” Sitting here trying to imagine how that played out, exactly.
If I could fuck myself, I would do so happily. My lover is away from me right now and I'm lonely and bored. Also horny as hell. And masturbating is not making the cut. Yes, I'm an snob. But I do think that if one takes the time to post, one can take the time to avoid sentence fragments and hit or miss grammer.
@11. Probably not nicely. Emotional abuse takes many forms and activities and situations one might think are consensual, don't survive the light of day. Been there, it's grueling.
Phuni44@12. Right. Just stack your memo on top of all the other memos.
My secretary will be booking me into correct English speaking classes tomorrow.
When I return, upgraded, I sure as hell hope you will be pleased.
Feisty Aussie - Lava's handle is well chosen.
<3 from the horse.
I liked this on transgender.…
@ 12 - "Hit or miss grammer?" I hope this was intentional.
A similar question about finding female dominants came up a little while ago on FetLife in a Boston group. Presumably SAD wants to find a female dominant. The odds are very much against a hetero male submissive, but it's not impossible. Almost all male submissives lead with their fetish. The trick to finding a kind and respectful dominant is to lead with kindness and respect--funny how that works. A lifestyle dominant will want the sub to be of genuine service to her, and not just the kind of service most male subs pay pro dommes to demand. Housework, personal assistant services, chauffeuring, running errands, all will make SAD stand out from the crowd and show a true spirit of obedience and submission.
@EricaP--I love the links, thanks. Although will put in a word for crossdressing hotness--some dommes like me prefer the crossdressing submissive. I will say it is even more rare. But Bitchy Jones is right--my sub is a 10, muscularly speaking, I've never been with such a ripped partner.
@LW1: The trans-community often rejects analogies between gender reassignment and reassignment of any other social role/identity. IE: the NYT second-wave feminist op-ed asked why race change ala Michael Jackson isn't a right-on thing, commenters said that the analogy was too far-fetched to even be discussed. The implication is that gender is a more real, more fixed, more inherent form of identity than any other, but that what it's fixed in is not genitalia or even chromosomes but some as-yet-undiscovered-by-science internal, inborn, feature. It's not a personality or "choice" or a reaction to social life (which is how people talk about Michael Jackson's skin lightening and plastic surgery, or about rich kids "slumming" as gutter punks). But this hard realism about gender is a bit odd from a queer movement. And indeed, as the NYT pointed out, a lot of trans people (or maybe cis people looking at trans people) seem to be inadvertently reinforcing very rigid versions of gender identity. Case in point, adult reaction to the male-bodied child in my daughter's class who ONLY wants to play Frozen and draw princesses. People take his behavior as proof that girls play with those things, and boys do not---and that's too bad.
Also, as an anthropologist, it seems not a coincidence to me that the trans movement has been embraced by a generation that grew up with a radically more rigidly gendered pink-blue binary culture than previous generations (pink legos, makeup and perfume chemistry sets, toy stores with boy toys on the one side and girl toys on the other, etc.) That doesn't mean trans people are wrong, or shouldn't do what makes them happy, but that their gender identity and sexuality are shaped by culture--JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE's. Don't try to argue that there is some magically magic gender-being that has nothing to do with history, culture, place, and that your behavior is unquestionably "natural", because that moves us backward, rather than forward.

@elma: I don't completely follow your line of reasoning, but I agree that anyone using the word "natural" to mean "good" is highly suspect. I mean, dying of malaria is just about the most natural thing there is.
Ms Erica - Interesting links, ranging widely across the human spectrum. I could still dispute Mr Savage's gym body point, but on that I suspect that my censure might actually constitute much the same thing as general praise (such as when Marianne Dashwood and Willoughby take it as a point against Colonel Brandon that he should value the esteem of Mrs Jennings and Lady Middleton when he could command the indifference of anybody else and Elinor turns their complaint back on themselves). As I am not in a mood to contest what works on intended targets, I'll say no more for now.
@16 Crinoline
Thanks for the article. She is touching on many subjects that others would stay away from or won't be articulating to begin with.
It helped me understand what some may see in me while I'm out in my female persona, as well as some issues I should work on.
"People who haven’t lived their whole lives as women, whether Ms. Jenner or Mr. Summers, shouldn’t get to define us. That’s something men have been doing for much too long. And as much as I recognize and endorse the right of men to throw off the mantle of maleness, they cannot stake their claim to dignity as transgender people by trampling on mine as a woman."

I may skip the nail polish next time I go out.
@16 Crinoline, that was a fantastic read. From the article:

"Their truth is not my truth. Their female identities are not my female identity. They haven’t traveled through the world as women and been shaped by all that this entails. They haven’t suffered through business meetings with men talking to their breasts or woken up after sex terrified they’d forgotten to take their birth control pills the day before. They haven’t had to cope with the onset of their periods in the middle of a crowded subway, the humiliation of discovering that their male work partners’ checks were far larger than theirs, or the fear of being too weak to ward off rapists."

Exactly. I fully support the transgender community, but it sets my teeth on edge the times I have heard some version of "I know exactly what it feels like to be a woman." Whether it's a drag queen or someone who has gone through a full transition, my take is No, you do not. I respect their experiences and their right to change things as feels right for them, but they differ from someone who is born with female equipment (Martha Plimpton can't say 'vagina'?! The fuck she can't!), and has accrued a lifetime of experience that comes with that.
Question regarding terminology and the trans community: Why is the term "assigned" used? Assigned seems to imply a completely arbitrary decision, like you are assigned a reading partner in school, or assigned to a task.
If I were choosing the terminology, I would use "assumed" since it carries no fault.
It's darkly amusing, how people can say "If you weren't born exactly the same as me, then you can't possibly know what I've experienced!" and then immediately say "But even though I wasn't born the same as you, I somehow do know exactly what you have and have not experienced."

You can either say that anyone who isn't you can't know what you've had to cope with, or claim to know what other people have had to cope with. Not both.
@26 - re "assigned" - At least some of the (many) situations this terminology is expected to cover are, in fact, somewhat arbitrary: intersex babies whose drs/parents chose surgical routes to conform their bodies to a particular gender, is one example. I would think there is also a sense of "I didn't choose this" going on that the term accurately reflects. fwiw.
phuni44 @2, you're right, SAD says he may not be ready for a new relationship yet, in which case seeing a pro domme might be a good option. But that should be just part of his learning process, as he figures what he is seeking and what he can offer.

Marrena @18 " The trick to finding a kind and respectful dominant is to lead with kindness and respect--funny how that works"

@25, okay, fair enough, but it's not the pain/oppression Olympics here (and if it were, a trans woman would get the gold over we cis women). It doesn't make a trans woman any less a woman.
Dan, do you agree with everything every Democrat does?
@30 Singing cynic, I'm not trying to make it a competition. I'm saying there is not a singular female experience that both cis women and anyone in the drag queen or trans community can say we all share exactly the same, which is what the article is talking about.

@29 Thanks!

As for a pro domme for SAD...if he does that he should be very, very careful. Everything about his letter is a red flag for being extremely cautious about vetting any professionals he might come across. I'm not saying that findom is bad--it's a genuine kink for some guys. And there are also those who are into really extreme kinks, that from the outside look like abuse. So it's good that those pro dommes are out there, for those kinky customers. But they do tend to also prey on clueless newbies.
As I see it the main theme of the NYT article presented to us by Crinoline @16 is the notion that womanhood is being redefined/hijacked by transwomen and the media hoopla that follows Caitlyn Jenner.
I'm afraid the writer does have a point, considering history and recent struggles. It also helped me better understand how I may be perceived by others. All and all a very good piece indeed.
The Zoo @ 25, 32
Would you reconsider using the term "drag queen?" I'm sure you meant no harm, I just find this term to be somewhat misleading and inaccurate.
For many, an out there "drag queen" is all they know about being a trans woman (and may also be the only acceptable outlet to others.) Obviously this is a pretty distorted idea of "being a woman." Thanks!
@33 Marrena (and also sb53- in case you are here this week)
"it's good that those pro dommes are out there, for those kinky customers. But they do tend to also prey on clueless newbies. "
Thanks, this is what I was trying to tell sb53 last week.
CMD, I was referring to men who are actual drag queens, and not trans. Is that still kosher? I had a friend who did drag years ago (he was not trans) that would make comments about how he knew just how I felt when it came to being a woman. "It's so hard to be a woman" & "Oh, what we girls go through", that sort of thing. Funnily enough, he wore heels and a ton of make-up, whereas I'm much more casual in how I dress and look.

I appreciate that you and I are both getting something out of the article. And I think you should wear nail polish any time you want!
About pro dommes, he's 23 and just got out of a relationship. He seems like he's looking for a girlfriend, not an hour here or there. Also he probably won't be able to afford a domme with any regularity to satisfy his needs. He might have fun but dan was answering his question with more of a long term solution.
The Zoo- Thanks for your clarification. As long as I'm allowed to use nail polish your terminology is kosher for all meat AND dairy dishes.
SAD has another option- he can be the change he wants to see and start his own local kink group. Apart from that, seeing a professional dominatrix is a solid choice, too.
Well, this is pumping. Good reference, Crinoline. Another site referenced from the comments section of that article
this one of your feminist sites Venn?
Woman's perocative you know, to change her mind. If Jenner can follow female stereotypes, who am I to buck the trend?
Thanks DarkHorse for the sweet post.
Oh oh, maybe Not a good reference to mention, they are a Christian mob. Still. They talking feminism, so I guess it's finally an issue for the Christians.
@12: "Yes, I'm an snob. But I do think that if one takes the time to post, one can take the time to avoid sentence fragments and hit or miss grammer."

Skitt's Law. Never fails.
Here's my copypasted Facebook response to the article @16 linked:

See, attitudes like this just make me sick:

"They haven’t suffered through business meetings with men talking to their breasts or woken up after sex terrified they’d forgotten to take their birth control pills the day before. They haven’t had to cope with the onset of their periods in the middle of a crowded subway, the humiliation of discovering that their male work partners’ checks were far larger than theirs, or the fear of being too weak to ward off rapists."

So women who don't have corporate careers aren't really women either? Nor are lesbians? Nor women who live in areas without public transport, or women who are incredibly athletic? Gimme a freaking break. NO ONE reaches adulthood having had exactly the same set of experiences as anyone else. White Western women have not lived the reality of wartime rape; does that disqualify us from being true feminists?

Stop playing "who's more oppressed." I guarantee you trans women have, in many ways, had a much harder row to hoe than well educated cis white Western women, even if that row never included something on your personal female-trouble ticklist.
Jesus. I've just read thru at least 400 of the comments from that article in NYT, and my head hurts.
Yes Fan, some of the article was suspect- though, bringing some of the issues out in public for people to talk over can only increase understanding and acceptance of these issues.
So there you are Ms C Jenner, you have widened the dialogue.

Bi’s comment at #45 to stop playing ‘my personal pain gin rummy’ is an excellent starting point, but understandable easy for involved parties to forget, as it’s natural, when you feel like you finally have a voice that’ll be heard and not mocked or ignored, for a litany of past injustices to pour out. God knows I’d be doing it...
It’s reminiscent, to me, of the scene in Inside Man where Denzel is interrogating the Skh, who’s being mistaken for a Muslim, which in post 9/11 NYC has its own set of problems, and Denzel grins and says, Yeah, but you can still catch a cab, right?
Who’s got it worse? Do we have to fix one instead of the other, or before the other? Chris Rock can still get pulled over for DWB in Beverly Hills. He’s also rich as shit, and along with his family, will never die of an undiagnosed/untreated medical problem, or go hungry. A trailer-park kid in a shitbox car that never gets pulled over but who has multiple abscessed teeth and a host of malnutrition problems probably doesn’t want to hear Rock’s problems, and vice versa. Doesn’t mean they both don’t have a point.
The whole thing is not a zero-sum game, we don’t have a finite amount of empathy to give or steps to take. '
45-BiFan-- I didn't get the idea that Burkett was saying that the woman who has suffered the most for being a woman gets to be the best feminist or the best woman or gets to decide what being a woman is. I got the idea she was saying that definitions are hard, and it's insulting all around when one group seeks to make it simple. She goes on to include "relished certain courtesies" on par with "endured certain indignities."

Look at the common ways of defining women.

Born in a female body. This negates transgender existence. I don't like it. There's too much hard cold evidence in the form of transgender people for this one to work.

Has a vagina, uterus and female body now. Which would mean that if a woman suffered an accident or had organs removed due to cancer or other disease she's no longer a woman. Also patently observably untrue.

Has female experiences. Getting closer but still problematic. As others have pointed out "female experiences" varies tremendously across cultures-- and within cultures. As has happened in a few creepy experiments, raising a cis-gendered boy as a girl doesn't turn him into a girl. It only makes him unhappy or worse. (Look at Dear Prudence, June 8.)

Has a "female" brain. Which means we have to decide what a female brain is. This is the part of Burkett's article I liked the best, the part where she talks about the stereotypes on how women think. Aware of emotions, sensitive emotionally, bad at math, better at language and communication skills, not competitive, not aggressive, unathletic, concerned with appearance, play with dolls, low libido, pink. Give me a break.

Identifies as a woman. Fine. And if Jenner had come out and said this, I'd be more sympathetic. The problem here is that it takes everyone else some time to catch up. I have no problem with Jenner or anyone else identifying personally as a woman, but it's hard for me to relate to her as a woman unless I feel like we share more than that stated personal identity.
@Zoo: it sets my teeth on edge the times I have heard some version of "I know exactly what it feels like to be a woman" ... my take is No, you do not.

I think a more apt reply is "How could you possibly know that you feel and experience the world the same way a cis-woman does?"

One can certain say they wish to live life like a woman and be treated like a woman, but when you start claiming that your experience is the same as some other person or group of people however, you are casting speculation as fact. It's presumptuous, at best.
Crinoline @48 I also didn't get that idea from the article. It wasn't about who's more oppressed, but rather that in trying to overcome oppression some activists inadvertently resurrect ridiculous stereotypes about what it means to be a woman (talking about nail polish with girlfriends, seriously?)

What makes me absolutely sick is the whole argument about the word vagina. I sincerely hope that only completely deluded people are proposing that we replace it with "front hole."
@51 Ginnie, yep, they lose me with making vagina some sort of politically incorrect word. "The Vagina Monologues" helped a lot of women become more comfortable with, and even celebrate, a body part central to their identity, and de-stigmatize the word itself. Yes, yes, not all people who identify as women have one, but I don't believe that the overwhelming majority who do should have to police their language, lest it upset a few people who want to ban the word.

To bring in a point from a recent letter, it's about as sexy as a little used nickname for the clitoris. Yelling out, "Oh, baby, take care of the little man in the boat in my front hole" just does not have the same ring to it.
Ms Ginnie - Shades of Princess Paragon, when a second-wave feminist editor insisted that the Queen of the planet Iri be retitled the Elder Crone.
'Front hole' sounds like a term Kang and Kodos would use when discussing their future female constituents. "..and have you noticed, they're quite taken with the affairs of their respective front holes; its care and maintenance, what goes in, what comes out..."
'Hooters' started as a gag term in a Steve Martin bit, so I guess anything's possible, but this still sounds like the work of a RNC sleeper cell looking to derail trans acceptance.

#50 Crin, thought the Huffpo article made some good points.

I think Dan slyly alluded to Letter #3 in this week's podcast, especially on the common theme of 'what you say, especially on first couple of dates, is highly indicative of your judgement and emotional intelligence.'
It is not even the front hole. It's the middle hole. We, the female sex, have seperate places for all our waste products.
Unlike some people.
is there seriously a niche movement to rename the vagina the front hole? really? or is that concept being used as a tactic... i.e. ask for something absurd... so getting the second best thing becomes more likely....and both sides can claim victory...

if that is real... it is yet another example of completely missing the point
@ Chairman
"Front hole" is the terminology some trans men prefer to use i/o the more primary female-associated "vagina". And ... uh ... LavaGirl, you're technically correct, but - for most people - the urethra isn't sexual and everyone has one.
Helenka, it's a hole, yes?
The anus , I'm guessing is the back hole? Which for some of us, isnt sexual either.
What is this.. Pick on the dumb bitch from Australia week?
LavaGirl, I agreed with you ... technically. Haven't been on SLOG often enough to see whether you're being picked on (but sorry if you are). In any case, I'm active elsewhere where the terminology is in active use by transmen, so I tried to clarify its popularity.
Nice of you Helenka. You mean transmen want to call the vagina
The front hole ? How sad. And they have one or had one. Tell them for me please, Er, No.
@57: TMI, but my urethra is incredibly sexual.
Heavens, SeanDr seems to be taking a while to get back.
Of course, Fan. You remind me a lot of one of my closest friends. Shes a lesbian, there's a similar sense of humour.
Helenka, I was just sparring with you. Of course I could claim PMT, just a few people here would know that was an untruth.
Glad you came by though, because hearing that transmen are calling for Vaginas to be called the front hole alarms me.
Shouldn't Trans men be calling for the Phallus to be renamed.
No. They are asking for the female sex to rename their body parts, along with the trans women.
Something mighty fishy going on here.
“Know where you stand in a Front Hole!
Folks lend a hand in a Front Hole!
Please take me back to my Front Hooole!...”…
Ms Lava - I think I've seen an instance or two of a trans man wanting to rename (only? if memory serves) trans men's born genitalia that, and several of trans women's wanting to rename cis women's born genitalia, most of the latter being tied in to an objection to the [Scalia] Monolgues.

If your conclusion was deliberate, it gets a quarter of a point.
@ lava 55 - transwomen don't take it in the urethra... so its the middle hole for them too.... technically. Now... would you learn to write in full sentences with proper "grammer" already? hahaha.

Please note that I'm talking about how some transmen label THEIR equipment ONLY. How everyone else labels their fiddly bits is not affected.


Not negating your sensitive urethra, which is why I said "for most people".
Hi Hunter.
I just thought you Americans had changed the spelling of grammar. People in glass houses.
Thanks for the clarification Helenka. Funny still. Cause months ago Dan posted how there was pressure for women to change from calling the vagina a vagina, to the front hole.
So I'm guess the transmen went with The Front Hole, catchy phrase, and the tranwomen picked up on it and thought maybe it just be easier if all women described themselves that way.
Even with checking, I can miss something. Fun to be had in the ageing process.
Correction@68. So I'm guessing...

A few days ago, I had a bonding experience with all four of my surviving sons. We went to see Entourage together. A terrible pleasure, I know. Watching those boys and their rampant womanising/ attempts at/ there is one good boy there, a girl could take home to her mother.
Fascinating insight into that small piece of US culture, fantasy land. I feel though, the writer, don't have his name, got some funny scripts together.

Ms Lava - I'd have thought you'd have wanted to take such a male person home to meet your father (if he were still alive at the time).

The strange thing is that, out of the entire ATP, Mr Murray was the one who was closest to the walking embodiment of that television programme, and yet he's quite likely the biggest feminist on the men's tour, at least the most clearly professed among high seeds at majors.
Dan the Man, kudos again for spot on responses as usual to all three letter writers. I am all for accepting others for whom they are and / or identify with. I think that's another reason why I feel so much freer all of a sudden, from finally letting go of my much older sibs from galaxies far, far away. I have struggled with a lot of anger (with them); what a blessed relief to no longer have to pretend anymore!

Hey, Everybody: Griz is happily being a jazzy little cool kitty backstage, playing behind the scenes in the pit orchestra for a local musical (I hear you, LavaGirl---having additional performance opportunities is good, right?). So far, so good--this ought to keep me out of trouble for a while.
Venn, I was of the times where one didn't even hardly talk with parents. Taking lovers home, yeah right.
Grizelda, wondered where you'd got to. Sounds like fun, your musical story. Did you ever contact the guy who talked with you here? Check out his creds before you hand over any original stuff, though.
@73 LavaGirl: Yeah---opening night was tonight! I'm playing both piccolo and C flute in the pit orchestra backstage for The Drowsy Chaperone, a musical comedy set in 1928. I jumped the gun on a couple cues (I have brass cues alongside our trombonist in a few spots), but otherwise my solo parts came out pretty well. We've got great directors, cast and crew.
Also, next week is our flute choir's spring concert (C & alto flutes for me). Hopefully, all this keeps me out of trouble. I heard back from a flute choir in Sacramento, CA kind enough to read my first composed score and parts for flute choir. Agreed: a good start from my senior year of undergrad, but a poor read (technical problems, hard score to conduct in 7/8 meter; unbalanced, but....they felt I still had good ideas). I'm wondering if they'd still be interested in reading my latest for flute choir with piano accompaniment--premiered this year? More later.
At least they didn't come right out and officially declare that, in their professional opinion, I suck as a composer. Actually, I hope I never reach a pinnacle---and keep on learning and growing.

I haven't gotten in touch with our new guy here, yet----dang! forgot his login name---you're right about creds and my handing over original stuff. I'm wondering about sharing my website info....?
Congrats on opening night. That all sounds great. Mistakes? Im sure they just blended in.
Just go back a couple of weeks and find that guy's email.Then maybe just email him and see who he is? You'll be able to suss him by chatting surely.
As it is still on topic, I have found an ally of sorts for Ms Lava regarding her poorly-received trans overview - the redoubtable Milo Yiannopoulos (Brit, gay, conservative journalist/talking head, the sort of enfant terrible who will improve instead of just becoming dull if he matures). I heard him yesterday expressing a similar attitude about surgery. He is, though, considering changing his stance, as he feels that there is potential value in the idea of gender as fully being in the brain as an argument to use against people who advance gender as being entirely a social construct.

You talking to someone Hunter, or just a general brain snap happen for you?
My overview of trans issues Venn, would start way before surgery was an issue. Not allowed, though.
I've been reading Edmund White's
" Inside a Pearl", a memoir of living in Paris.
He tells of how he went to interview a movie diva in Mexico and shares her take on trans women....
" Oh Monsieur White, I admire them so. We are just biological women; they are artistic, constructed women.
They are the real women."
Dan, your statement, "Accept that you won't always understand all of the choices that other people make about their sexualities or gender identities" implicitly assumes that trans people have a choice about their gender identity.

If you want to be crass, then sure, I "chose" to become an alcoholic in order to cope, and 26 years later "chose" to finally accept myself when alcohol quit working. (My other "choice" was committing suicide.) But the truth is, no one "chooses" to be trans. Gender identity is "hardwired" in the brain in utero (…). In short, we're born this way.

In addition, you are correct that not all trans people get surgery, but not necessarily by choice. It should also be noted that many of us (myself included) have shitty health insurance that doesn't cover gender confirmation surgeries, or otherwise cannot afford it.

#21: "That doesn't mean trans people are wrong, or shouldn't do what makes them happy, but that their gender identity and sexuality are shaped by culture--JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE's."

No. Read up on the case of David Reimer.
Here is the complete PMID number that was truncated from the link above: 19955753
Emily V, one person's situation, ie David Reimer, does not a case make. We have no idea what else occurred for this person in her/ his life.
Gender is hard wired in the brain in utero? So if I read this link you gave and this will show absolute proof of this? How could they possibly check a baby's brain for what is and isn't hard wired?
Emily V. Suicide is a choice. Maybe a choice taken from a position of extreme emotional pain, it is still, a choice.
@LavaGirl - So you didn't even read the information I provided, yet you assume to know all about us? #cisgenderprivilege in action.

The conventional wisdom when I was a kid was that gender identity was indeed determined by how you were raised. This was based on the work of Dr. John Money with his patient David Reimer, work that was later proven to be fraudulent. Now, the science is clear: gender identity is determined in utero, during the second half of pregnancy, whereas the development of one's genitals begins in the first trimester. This lag time offers several avenues by which one's gender identity (in the brain) might not match what's between their legs (sex assigned at birth). If you want a third source to ignore, look up CAIS women.

And thanks for showing everyone how fucking insensitive you are. Suicide is technically a choice, but it's one that *no one* should have to consider. 41% of transgender people have attempted suicide (look it up, unless you're too lazy), so kindly GFY.
@80 Emily, I didn't take Dan's comment to mean he believes trans people choose a gender identity. I took it to mean he's talking about the choices they make in relation and reaction to how they are hard-wired. The LW talked about where the line is in choices, from how someone dresses all the way to surgery, and Dan was addressing how those choices are not the concern of anyone but the person in transition.
Ms Lava - I knew that, but wanted an economical recap.
@86- The Zoo - that was how i took Dan's advice too...

Emily- i have read about the David Reimer case in the past. Its horrifying on so many levels... and i agree, it makes a very strong argument that gender is hard-wired in the brain. If Reimer had been hard-wired with a gender-fluid identity... his story may have turned out differently.

But.... do you think that if you were born into a society where children were raised without a gender.... free to live their lives as either male, female, or neither (when they came of age)... that you would still have used alcohol to cope with your own identity questions? If not, then the statement "but that their gender identity and sexuality are shaped by culture--JUST LIKE EVERYBODY ELSE's."" is still somewhat accurate. Its just that our current culture has a negative impact on these questions....but that does not mean it has no impact.

I dont say this to pick a fight with you.... just pointing out that because gender has a very broad spectrum (i.e. some of us generally accept that there are more than two genders these days) its near impossible to create a universal law... or to completely separate gender/identity/sexuality/culture (other than just taking someone at their word...and treating them how they want to be treated...which is fine with me.)
Hunter @89, there's something soothing about your week in review takes. I don't know if you're old enough to know the reference (or from the U.S.), but it's a tad Uncle Walter (Cronkite).
Gee Emily V. That's the way.
I've thought of suicide as well, so you know, it isn't just the trans community who gets to these points.
Pain is pain, thinking to get out of the whole story is an option many people think to use.
And David's story doesn't prove anything, his/ her/ his life was botched on that Drs table in the first week of his life.
I just don't buy it's a hard wired outcome. it may be a combination of biological and experience. All sorts of reasons could contribute to a person feeling disconnected to the gender of the body they were born with. Biological, psychological, societies demands.
I have no issue with anyone presenting as they feel. Presenting as whatever sex they feel they are.
I have an issue with seeing the body as some malleable piece of machinery that can be rearranged without much damage done to the whole body.

The fact that David Reimer, a person with a penis and a Y chromosome, had trouble adjusting to a female identity, does not prove anything about why transpeople who reject the identity associated with their actual genitalia and chromosomes feel the way they do. There is absolutely no general evidence that all trans people who now identify as trans feel that way as a result of a specific biological/physiological phenomenon--you can't claim definitively that identity is "hardwired" until you find the wires.
I'm terribly late catching up with columns, sorry.

I feel like Dan's response to NSFM was unnecessarily harsh. What is wrong with trying to understand something fom someone else's perspective? NSFM was clearly trying to open his mind, not close it. He was seeking additional information so that he could fully support and embrace the trans experience. Why should someone *wanting* to educate themselves and come on board just be told that it's none of their damn business?
Yeah, I'm behind on my reading, too. But I love this quote:

"Accept that you won't always understand all of the choices that other people make about their sexualities or gender identities—or their partners or their hobbies or their whatevers—and try to strike the right balance between minding your own business and embracing/celebrating the infinite diversity of the human experience."

I wish we would teach this philosophy to everyone. I can never understand why people feel compelled to to force their choices on others. If a person wants to marry any other consenting adult, what do you care? If a person wants to get high, what business is it of yours, (or the state's)? We could help the minority of users who get into trouble with substances, better, if we weren't wasting money on prohibition. If a person wants to own a gun, fine, just don't shoot me. Why should anyone get to decide for me what size of cup of carbonated sugar-water I can buy?
People on both the Left and the Right need to learn to mind their own business. Everyone should have the right to pursue happiness, in whatever way they see fit, as long as they're not infringing on that same right of others. Isn't that supposed to be one of the founding principles of the United States?

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