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Changing one's sex

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I'm putting this in metaphysics because I know Peikoff said that changing one's gender is a "metaphysical assault on reality".

 

Does everyone here agree with this? Is it possible to determine that your psychology is actually a different gender than your anatomy? Can anyone prove that this is possible? 

 

I know a couple people who claim that they are a different sex on the inside and they want to reflect that on the outside. What questions does this raise about male and female identity? If a man feels what he might describe as having a "feminine" brain, such as the desire to be submissive to men, would it be rational to want to then be a woman?

I tend to agree with Peikoff here, but those who experience this are quite adamant about it.

 

I also think it's a little strange to call for "equality", because wouldn't that mean that whether you were a man or a woman on the inside it wouldn't matter, since they are equal?

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Suppose I "feel" I have more in common with dophins than I do with humans... Further suppose that I am a human, and that dolphins and humans are both mammals, but different kinds of mammals.   No, n

Trans-sexualism and trans-genderism is not the same thing. Trans genderism doesn't involve any kind of surgery or hormone theraphy. I don't think trying to change one's sex can be justified, but I

I think what we have is not a problem of identity but a problem of self-esteem.     Gender roles and stereo types I think play a large part in a social-metaphysician's image of others, self, and re

I think what we have is not a problem of identity but a problem of self-esteem.

 

 

Gender roles and stereo types I think play a large part in a social-metaphysician's image of others, self, and relationship to others.  A rational egoist would not deem it a schism that their mannerisms, thoughts/feelings etc. tended to align with one gender whereas their body was of the other gender... they would accept such a thing as what they were.  A manly female or a feminine male....  For transgender folks, I think the excuse that they don't feel like they belong in their body really is just saying they don't feel accepted in superficial society and they need another "mask", one others will understand, to wear.

 

Now, if someone could find an intransigent rational individualist who nonetheless decided they were "born wrong"... I would like to hear their opinion... bearing in mind feelings are not a means of cognition or knowledge.

 

 

Am I supposed to be much smarter and handsome than what I am?  Did my DNA make a mistake by being what it is and making me be what I am?... Could I argue I don't feel like the real me ... which is smarter and more handsome?..  I could try to make an argument based on something in reality but I don't think saying I feel smarter and more handsome that what I actually am, quite cuts it.

Edited by StrictlyLogical
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I don't think one can answer the question properly unless one at least talks to some people who feel in this way... which would seem completely alien to anyone who does not. 

 

But, I'm really posting to say there's an existing thread on the topic.

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Am I supposed to be much smarter and handsome than what I am?  Did my DNA make a mistake by being what it is and making me be what I am?... Could I argue I don't feel like the real me ... which is smarter and more handsome?..  I could try to make an argument based on something in reality but I don't think saying I feel smarter and more handsome that what I actually am, quite cuts it.

Just because someone explains their feeling poorly doesn't necessarily mean it is irrational. That goes for any psychological topic. You can fault people for saying they were born in the wrong body, but a better explanation may be discomfort with appearance and wanting another one that conforms to their feelings about themselves. A person may describe it as "the wrong body", although that's more like a metaphor. Yes, sometimes it may be due to self-esteem issues, other times the self-esteem issue is hiding who you are for the sake of others so surgery is a rational way to stop worrying about others. The only way to know which it is is to talk to people. Changing one's sex isn't inherently irrational. Perhaps it is bizarre to you, but that doesn't mean it's always irrational.

 

I approach evaluating it the same way as plastic surgery, albeit with stronger implications on one's life. The issue of doing it based on the perception of others or based on egoism is there.

Edited by Eiuol
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I don't think you can really call it rational or irrational. I mean, how do you say whether any given individual would be better off with a penis or a vagina? By what standard?

It seems more like an aesthetic judgment than anything.

It does seem -strange- to look at it as anything other than the way it just is, but a "metaphysical assault on reality"?

Where might one find Peikoff's explanation of that?

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The surgery solves nothing for the gender issues as evidenced by the support groups for post-op disappointment, and adds physical problems and removes sexual function -- I doubt I will ever understand how the latter could be justified. I don't get the cry for recognition of their "true" selves followed by strong mimicking of established gender norms in dress and mannerisms. It's contradictory to simultaneously eschew gender identity for others while clinging to stereotypes of the opposite sex yourself.

If it were literally possible to change one's gender physiologically, via body transplant or some other science, I'd say go for it. But that's not possible, and the hack jobs people are doing to themselves I think is pretty gross and irrational, given that it doesn't even solve their inner conflicts.

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I don't think you can really call it rational or irrational. I mean, how do you say whether any given individual would be better off with a penis or a vagina? By what standard?

It seems more like an aesthetic judgment than anything.

It does seem -strange- to look at it as anything other than the way it just is, but a "metaphysical assault on reality"?

Where might one find Peikoff's explanation of that?

 

 

Suppose I "feel" I have more in common with dophins than I do with humans... Further suppose that I am a human, and that dolphins and humans are both mammals, but different kinds of mammals.

 

No, not only do I feel I have more in common with a dolphin, I think I AM a dolphin... but somehow reality has "mis-expressed" my metaphysical identity.  Swapped my body for what it should have been.... somehow in the mammal warehouse the DNA elves messed up...  I aim to correct such an error by using laser surgery to remove all my hair, I have my legs sewn together surgically, have my skin pigmented grey, and have the skin and fat of my buttocks fashioned into a fin for the middle of my back.

 

What is the result?  Is it a dolphin?  Heavens no.  Is it human?  Certainly, bodily, it structurally and functionally is a contorted remnant of a human.  Is it more like "me"?  Certainly not... not if me means what I AM (here "was").

 

The me that I was, is the me that I have assaulted on the basis of a fiction and an evasion.  I wished I were a dolphin (not me), and I assaulted metaphysically what I was, a human... in the hopes to attain something unattainable... a rebellion on reality.

 

 

Although a metaphysical assault on reality... it succeeds only insofar as it destroyed identity (what I was) but an utter failure insofar as it was unable to substitute identity with the wish... I could not become a dolphin,

 

and the reason why is simply because I was not and never was one.

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Legitimate issues mixed up with the whole "trans" movement:

-The non-primacy of most specific gender norms

-Sexual identity/issues left over from generations of religious influence

Possible legitimate issues, given the number of people who say that something is up, and given how they respond:

-Mental illness

-Some other mental or physiological something

I'm all for workarounds and "quick fixes" when no permanent solution is known or possible, I just can't see how those workarounds include hacking up your body, temporarily taking supplements to change how hair grows on your body (and who knows what other unwanted side effects), and removing the ability to orgasm (!), when the mental issues still persist afterward.

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Suppose I "feel" I have more in common with dophins than I do with humans.

Basically, a comparison with dolphins would imply that "being" trans is a purely psychological issue and also fairly arbitrary. Perhaps you're right, but anyone "pro-trans" would either say that it is physiological or that it is psychological but not arbitrary.
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Trans-sexualism and trans-genderism is not the same thing. Trans genderism doesn't involve any kind of surgery or hormone theraphy.

I don't think trying to change one's sex can be justified, but I have no issues with people who wish to choose their own gender. Gender roles are chosen either way: you can accept the choice made by everyone else for you, or you can make your own choice.

And I don't know how accurate the Peikoff quote is in the OP, but I think if it's accurate he probably has his terms mixed up. Surely, he doesn't think that a biological male simply dressing and acting like a woman would, is an assault on reality. Reality doesn't dictate whether we should be wearing skirts and heels or not.

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... I have no issues with people who wish to choose their own gender....

A bit unrelated, but I'm curious... Does anyone know how does modern pop-philosophy explains why people may choose their gender? Does such philosophy still label certain acts or traits in a gender-specific way? If anyone, of any gender can feel any way and do anything, then wouldn't it be meaningless to say one feels more like this gender or that? Edited by softwareNerd
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If gender is unrelated to sex, as it looks like Nicky might be saying, I'm not sure why the concept should exist.

Why the concept 'gender' should exist? I think of it as something like an invalid concept in the sense it doesn't refer to a phenomena in reality. Not that it's entirely baseless, since it describes norms many people follow, but it doesn't stem from being male or female other than what a culture prescribes.

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If the desire to change one's sex is innate, as some claim, I'd expect to see some genetic or physiological marker, common to transsexuals and nobody else or to transsexuals and the sex they want to acquire but not the sex they were born into.  Has anybody found such a marker?

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A bit unrelated, but I'm curious... Does anyone know how does modern pop-philosophy explains why people may choose their gender? Does such philosophy still label certain acts or traits in a gender-specific way? If anyone, of any gender can feel any way and do anything, then wouldn't it be meaningless to say one feels more like this gender or that?

I don't see the contradiction. Anyone could choose to be a woman, sure. Why does that make the concept invalid? Anyone could be a cab driver too. Doesn't mean there's no such thing as cab drivers and "not cab drivers".

 

Also, most feminists aren't really opposed to gender roles altogether. They're just opposed to them when it comes to work. In a personal social setting (where people interact looking for romantic, sexual, or in some other way intimate relationships) gender roles make sense, even in a modern society. It's in those settings that gay or straight people might choose to act in a gender specific way that doesn't correspond to their sex.

 

Bending of flipping gender roles can also be an esthetic choice (David Bowie comes to mind). The androgynous esthetic (androgyny can be viewed as a third gender) is also very popular on the Japanese music scene. Pretty much every famous rock band in Japan in the past 30 years has been performing wearing heavy makeup and feminine or androgynous clothing and hair styles. These are straigh men, for the most part, too. David Bowie has a wife (he has had a few of them, actually).

 

Gender is an important concept that helps us keep track of a wide array of social behaviors and artistic expression...but only if it's not confused with sex, or sexual orientation.

 

If gender is unrelated to sex, as it looks like Nicky might be saying, I'm not sure why the concept should exist.

I'm not saying they're unrelated, just that they're not the same thing.

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Gender is an important concept that helps us keep track of a wide array of social behaviors and artistic expression...but only if it's not confused with sex, or sexual orientation.

The only big objection I have to this is that it's only important insofar as social norms exist and apparently people really find an extra special concept to refer to behaviors as primarily related to one's sex. We don't have special concepts for "what black people do", except for racists probably. We don't have special concepts for "what short people do". If there WERE social norms for short people, the concept referring to it would be important only to the degree it is a norm. It would apply to artistic expression as 'non-conformist'. If the social norm went away, the "short behaviors" will be referred to with all the other concepts around that do the job. I find gender to be the same. Are there any concepts or ideas that would collapse if we lost gender concepts?

 

As it stands already, I've never needed most gender concepts. It's plenty easy to describe people and their self-expression without using gender, and without it sounding unusual.

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No [physiological] marker has yet been found for gays, either, but most would argue that homosexuality is innate, given how many people identify that way. 

 

 

Put Judy Garland on and monitor a guy's vital signs.

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