The Medical Ethics Dilemma That Is Transgenderism

9 Dec

When I first started reading about the “transgender” rights movement, one early response I had was “you all have got a serious troll problem.”

Several years down the line, this thought still seems appropriate, in that any real clinical criteria for gender dysphoria have been divorced from legal developments protecting “gender identity.”

Outside of the context of a clinical condition, “gender identity” doesn’t mean anything. While it would be a worthy project to work to give personal presentation more legal protections, to the extent that doing so did not enable predatory behaviors, “gender identity” protection does not rise to this bar, and in fact reinforces rigid codification of personal presentation as it applies to males and females.

The “transgender” rights movement falls down in other ways as well. Treatment with artificial hormones is a kind of poisoning, and genital surgeries often have complications, or fail entirely, and are not effective imitations of natural genitalia.

Medical ethics demands such treatments be reversible. Practice does not bear this out. You cannot unscar the scarred, you cannot replace what has been disposed of.

The rationale behind all this is suicide prevention. Sadly, the world is full of people who are driven to despair and choose to opt out of this vale of tears. But in order to justify such extreme measures, there must be real evidence that they work to prevent suicide. No such evidence exists. Various figures are bandied about on social media, but they are not backed up by rigorous research, if any at all.

What is clear is that many people are unhappy for reasons related to their sex and personal presentation. The former cannot be changed, and the latter should not be such a problem. Where is the place of medicine in this?

Of late, the “transgender” rights movement is increasingly, and wisely, branching out into eschewing medical intervention entirely in some cases. However, in doing so, they cannot bring with them the history and obvious limitations of those who choose to partake in such interventions. What they do bring with them is the aforementioned troll problem. It is no new thing for male crossdressing to have a significant correlation with criminal behaviors, it is no new thing for gender nonconforming men to be sexually abused in prison. Putting on transgender identity poses an obvious solution for the latter, and an equally obvious opportunity for the former. But sorting out which of them is likely to pose a danger to women is quite another matter.

A primary concern of people who protest this “gender identity rights” movement is exactly this. Enabling predatory men also aligns with promoting legitimization of paid rape, aka prostitution, and pedophilia, which go hand in hand.

So we have a number of issues here. Right of personal presentation, right to a presumption of safety in private spaces, prisoner rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, and last but not least, medical ethics. Medical ethics dilemmas are classically knotty, interdisciplinary, vigorously debated, and lead to hard feelings all around, or they would not rise to this bar. Where do one person’s rights stop and another’s begin, and what are the proper roles of law and medicine in all this? Good law cannot be based on bad medicine, good medicine cannot be based on bad law. Thus do medical ethics dilemmas challenge us to examine our biases and assumptions.

In this case, it always comes back to “gender identity,” what does that mean? Is it a real thing in a person’s brain that must be accommodated? What does that even mean? And if it is externally imposed, what does it do to a person’s brain, and what do we do about that? If externally imposing gender is a bad thing, what happens when we accommodate the results of this imposition, and what does *that* even mean?

Surely we don’t want to punish those who suffer overly from such impositions, they are punished enough as it is. But then there is that troll problem.

Medical ethics dilemmas often come down to the intersection between good practice and cultural and class differences, and this intersection is generally not a pretty one. AIDS patients demand research, religious groups see AIDS as deserved punishment for what they perceive as sexual deviance. Women want control over who is born, men want a say in that too, even though they do not do the work or suffer the consequences. Doctors require informed consent from patients, patients may be from cultures that do not allow a woman to make such decisions. Violent male criminals want easier treatment and profess insanity, or transgenderism; women prisoners would like not to be housed with these men.

To recognize the pattern above, it is required to see women as a political class. A great schism between radical feminism and much of the political left is that the latter refuses to do so, or sees this problem of female subjugation as having been resolved. This is the same cohort who think prostitution is consensual and that women have more power over men than we admit, which in turn aligns with men’s rights activists.

Because if you admit misogyny is real, then you might actually have to do something about it. And that, in turn, was why feminism arose, in order to keep pointing this out, that misogyny is real, it manifests in our lives in many ways, and that women have the right to call it out when we see it, and not constantly feel obliged to put ourselves second to the rights of others. Feminism was never about catering to the rights of men, it has always been about putting women first, and that includes in the context of transgenderism debates. Because if you allow the idea that men can “identify” themselves into womanhood, there will be no end to it, and we will be back where we started.

Advertisements

4 Responses to “The Medical Ethics Dilemma That Is Transgenderism”

  1. stchauvinism 2015/12/09 at 2:47 pm #

    Reblogged this on Stop Trans Chauvinism.

    Like

  2. elfkat 2015/12/09 at 3:55 pm #

    Reblogged this on Adventures and Musings of an Arch Druidess.

    Like

  3. naefearty 2015/12/10 at 1:37 am #

    Excellent and clearly laid out argument. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: