Author Topic: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?  (Read 6778 times)

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Offline Volnutt

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Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« on: June 03, 2015, 07:36:10 PM »
A question that occurred to me the other day thinking about the Caitlyn Jenner situation. Perhaps the better question is, is it truly possible to be a man "trapped" in a woman's body or vice versa?

Obviously, this is not a decision to be made lightly, hence the reason that those considering sexual reassignment have to go through years of therapy beforehand. I don't know how parents can possibly justify allowing a child to make this sort of decision and this thread is only about adults.

Now, we know that babies can be born with ambiguous genitalia and the parents have to choose one or the other (the medical maxim generally being "easier to dig a hole than build a pole"). I know this is not true hermaphroditism, but still the child is going to have to grow up sexually committed to one gender or the other. Orthodoxy AFAIK is also committed to the idea that gender is an essentialist function of both the soul and the body. I'm not sure why there could categorically never be a conflict between the two, then.

So, given these things, is it possible for someone to be born with the "wrong body," medically transition to the gender that better harmonizes their soul and body, and then live as a heterosexual according to their new gender?

What elements of Orthodox tradition might this conflict with? And no, I'm not talking about some hypothetical situation of an Orthodox homosexual getting a sex change as a "dodge." I don't think any reputable doctor would go along with that, anyway.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2015, 08:13:18 PM »
It'd be worth mentioning this custom in the context of this discussion, too.

Regarding the issue of being "born in the wrong body":

Orthodoxy AFAIK is also committed to the idea that gender is an essentialist function of both the soul and the body. I'm not sure why there could categorically never be a conflict between the two, then.

I see your point. One thing that bugs me from reading the knee-jerk responses to this issue from evangelicals and fundamentalists is that they seem to resort to the same old "Everything and everyone is perfect just the way God made it/them, because God makes no mistakes, and wanting to be different is rebellion against Him" argument. But the mere fact that so many people are born deformed and disabled, or not born at all (due to spontaneous miscarriage, etc.), blows the "God makes no mistakes" argument to smithereens. That argument seems more Calvinist than Orthodox anyway, and it seems to me that an Orthodox would need to be more open to the possibility that everything is not "perfect the way it is" and that we do live in a broken world, a fact that doesn't necessarily imply that "God makes mistakes".

Also, don't forget the brain/mind (which is not the same thing as the soul, but is often conflated with it by Westerners). Studies show that transgender people usually have brains that, in terms of anatomy, brain waves, response to stimuli, etc., resemble the opposite sex from their body.

So the question becomes: does the person have the right brain in the wrong body, or the wrong brain in the right body? Would it be possible to somehow re-wire a person's brain to match the sex of their body, and if so, would this cause the person to identify with the "right" gender for their body, thus clearing up the gender-identity issues without the need for surgery? If such a remedy is possible, it seems like that'd be the ideal one from an Orthodox perspective since it would eliminate the conflict between be "soul" (actually the brain) and the body, without mutilating the body.

It'd be interesting to read some statements on this issue from a leading Orthodox theologian who has actually studied it in detail. Are there any?
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2015, 08:43:03 PM »
I think both of them are mental illnesses although transexuality seems to be the more bizarre one. Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"? That's messed up.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2015, 09:28:29 PM »
I think both of them are mental illnesses although transexuality seems to be the more bizarre one. Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"? That's messed up.

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2015, 09:36:32 PM »
I think both of them are mental illnesses although transexuality seems to be the more bizarre one. Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"? That's messed up.

People with tattoos and earrings.
Somehow, inking your skin and piercing your ears seems to be not at all on the same level as chopping off your penis, getting breast implants, getting a custom made vagina installed and then taking a dozen or so pharmaceuticals every day so your body doesn't reject all the mutilation that you did to it.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2015, 09:40:59 PM »
It's funny this Caitlyn Jenner thing came at exactly the same time I bumbled into the writings of Judith Butler (which doesn't make for light reading since she broadly deals with psychoanalysis, which I am less than a layman in understanding).

So Volnutt, is gender a biological/natural given classification? Or rather is it constructed in the way in which we talk, perform and do?

Caityln wears a dress that expresses "his" femininity, not because "he" is a woman. The point is that quality of being female doesn't exist before its expressions. So the relevancy of Caityln's physiology is how he is using that body to enact gender roles.

I would add that just because boys and girls act differently from each other does not mean you can just arrange them into those classifications without already presupposing that the masculinity/femininity exhausts the entire extent of gender. You would be begging the question.

To the extent I understand Butler's point, the fact is there are variations of grey between male and female, which is a direct result that gender is performative rather than purely given. We are established and comprised by gender to the extent that this performativity is not just a uniquely particular single "act", but is always the repetition of a norm(s). Identity is thus constructed by performative activities, behaviors, and body language, not the other way around (where identity is the source). Her remarks concerning agency are interesting, that the only possibilities open up are precisely forced by regulatory law and identifying to normative demands. In other words our sexed bodies don't act in compliance with what the law sets forth, rather our actions are assembled and organized by it.

So to sum up, there is nothing innate about gender.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2015, 09:49:53 PM »
I think both of them are mental illnesses although transexuality seems to be the more bizarre one. Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"? That's messed up.

People with tattoos and earrings.
Somehow, inking your skin and piercing your ears seems to be not at all on the same level as chopping off your penis, getting breast implants, getting a custom made vagina installed and then taking a dozen or so pharmaceuticals every day so your body doesn't reject all the mutilation that you did to it.

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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2015, 09:52:17 PM »
That all went over my head. I just look at it this way. If you want to wear women's clothing, knock yourself out, I don't care, but don't act surprised when people look at you strangely or say you are odd. Don't expect me or anyone else to think you are the greatest thing since sliced bread because you have some weird sex fetish that you feel the need to broadcast to the world.

Honestly. Some days I feel like there are about 3 normal people in the world and rest of the world is a massive insane asylum.
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Offline Asteriktos

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2015, 10:06:39 PM »
I thought we'd moved beyond this strong-behavioral psychology stuff. Well, first two posts were interesting anyway...
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2015, 10:11:09 PM »
Sorry Justin. I ruined it.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2015, 12:18:55 AM »
It'd be worth mentioning this custom in the context of this discussion, too.

Huh. The Samoans do that, too. Interesting.

What does the Albanian and Serbian Orthodox Churches have to say about it? I'm guessing they (officially) oppose it because of the crossdressing.

Regarding the issue of being "born in the wrong body":

Orthodoxy AFAIK is also committed to the idea that gender is an essentialist function of both the soul and the body. I'm not sure why there could categorically never be a conflict between the two, then.

I see your point. One thing that bugs me from reading the knee-jerk responses to this issue from evangelicals and fundamentalists is that they seem to resort to the same old "Everything and everyone is perfect just the way God made it/them, because God makes no mistakes, and wanting to be different is rebellion against Him" argument. But the mere fact that so many people are born deformed and disabled, or not born at all (due to spontaneous miscarriage, etc.), blows the "God makes no mistakes" argument to smithereens. That argument seems more Calvinist than Orthodox anyway, and it seems to me that an Orthodox would need to be more open to the possibility that everything is not "perfect the way it is" and that we do live in a broken world, a fact that doesn't necessarily imply that "God makes mistakes".

I agree wholeheartedly.

Also, don't forget the brain/mind (which is not the same thing as the soul, but is often conflated with it by Westerners). Studies show that transgender people usually have brains that, in terms of anatomy, brain waves, response to stimuli, etc., resemble the opposite sex from their body.

So the question becomes: does the person have the right brain in the wrong body, or the wrong brain in the right body? Would it be possible to somehow re-wire a person's brain to match the sex of their body, and if so, would this cause the person to identify with the "right" gender for their body, thus clearing up the gender-identity issues without the need for surgery? If such a remedy is possible, it seems like that'd be the ideal one from an Orthodox perspective since it would eliminate the conflict between be "soul" (actually the brain) and the body, without mutilating the body.

It'd be interesting to read some statements on this issue from a leading Orthodox theologian who has actually studied it in detail. Are there any?

Interesting possibilities. I don't know how many transsexual people would be interested in that, but perhaps.
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2015, 12:20:45 AM »
I think both of them are mental illnesses although transexuality seems to be the more bizarre one. Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"? That's messed up.

People with tattoos and earrings.
Somehow, inking your skin and piercing your ears seems to be not at all on the same level as chopping off your penis, getting breast implants, getting a custom made vagina installed and then taking a dozen or so pharmaceuticals every day so your body doesn't reject all the mutilation that you did to it.

What about getting an artificial limb because of an accident? An artificial heart? What if someday they perfect brain transplants or artificial spines?
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #13 on: June 04, 2015, 12:29:59 AM »
Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"?
Becoming disabled by choice, not chance: ‘Transabled’ people feel like impostors in their fully working bodies

Yeah, that's the difficulty. There's also such a thing as the Cotard delusion in which someone might think that they're the walking dead. I've also heard of cases in which the patient thought that their leg was somehow an imposter and needed to be removed. The question of what is a mental illness and what isn't can get pretty complex.

I think the difference with transsexuality is that a transsexual person can go on to lead a normally functioning life as a member of the opposite sex. Yes, there can be some complications from the hormone therapy, etc. but I don't see how these differ from the complications inherent in any number of surgeries.

A "transabled" person, on the other hand, is intentionally damaging their body. Just because disabled persons have adapted to their conditions in admirable ways does not make their disability something to aspire to. That's like taking up smoking because you want a deeper voice. It reminds me of a situation from about a decade ago when a deaf lesbian couple wanted their baby to be made deaf by medical means.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 12:33:43 AM by Volnutt »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2015, 12:36:19 AM »
It's funny this Caitlyn Jenner thing came at exactly the same time I bumbled into the writings of Judith Butler (which doesn't make for light reading since she broadly deals with psychoanalysis, which I am less than a layman in understanding).

So Volnutt, is gender a biological/natural given classification? Or rather is it constructed in the way in which we talk, perform and do?

Caityln wears a dress that expresses "his" femininity, not because "he" is a woman. The point is that quality of being female doesn't exist before its expressions. So the relevancy of Caityln's physiology is how he is using that body to enact gender roles.

I would add that just because boys and girls act differently from each other does not mean you can just arrange them into those classifications without already presupposing that the masculinity/femininity exhausts the entire extent of gender. You would be begging the question.

To the extent I understand Butler's point, the fact is there are variations of grey between male and female, which is a direct result that gender is performative rather than purely given. We are established and comprised by gender to the extent that this performativity is not just a uniquely particular single "act", but is always the repetition of a norm(s). Identity is thus constructed by performative activities, behaviors, and body language, not the other way around (where identity is the source). Her remarks concerning agency are interesting, that the only possibilities open up are precisely forced by regulatory law and identifying to normative demands. In other words our sexed bodies don't act in compliance with what the law sets forth, rather our actions are assembled and organized by it.

So to sum up, there is nothing innate about gender.

I'm not sure it's that simple, but at any rate I'm asking this from within the bounds of Orthodox ethics and doctrine in which gender is both (at least partially) innate and subject to some normative roles. I'm sorry if I didn't make that clear enough.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 12:38:48 AM by Volnutt »
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2015, 01:17:12 AM »
I think both of them are mental illnesses although transexuality seems to be the more bizarre one. Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"? That's messed up.

People with tattoos and earrings.
Somehow, inking your skin and piercing your ears seems to be not at all on the same level as chopping off your penis, getting breast implants, getting a custom made vagina installed and then taking a dozen or so pharmaceuticals every day so your body doesn't reject all the mutilation that you did to it.

What about getting an artificial limb because of an accident? An artificial heart? What if someday they perfect brain transplants or artificial spines?

Quote
I think the difference with transsexuality is that a transsexual person can go on to lead a normally functioning life as a member of the opposite sex. Yes, there can be some complications from the hormone therapy, etc. but I don't see how these differ from the complications inherent in any number of surgeries.
The difference is that surgeries are for people who have body parts that aren't working properly. You get a heart transplant because your heart isn't working right. You get an artificial leg because you lost one in an accident or at war. You don't get artificial legs because you think you would look cooler with metal legs. Perhaps it would be time better spent if we were to identify ways that people could accept themselves for who they are rather than encouraging reckless surgeries where we are removing sex organ, making new ones and getting people stuck on drugs that they have to take for the rest of their lives because they perceive it will make them happier. Just because people have mental images of what they should look like, doesn't mean doctors should cater to such things. There are tons of stories of people continually going back for more and more plastic surgery because they are never satisfied with some aspect of themselves.  The solution is not to keep knifing them up and injecting silicone until they turn into plastic people, it is to identify the underlying pathology and figure out a way to resolve it.  I was rather mean in some of the comments I said earlier and I shouldn't have said them. I do think that transexual individuals have a mental pathology that isn't healthy, but it is the medical community that encourages this stuff that makes it a reality. Instead of trying to figure out what is best for the patient, they cater to the whim and turn them into plastic.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 01:29:58 AM by TheTrisagion »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2015, 01:19:19 AM »
I know about one transsexual with (relatively) good standing with the Church, being able to commune etc. IDK whether via old or new name, though.

I have to say I sympathize with this problem. I also think surgical operations are better and less dangerous solutions than "rewiring" brains.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2015, 01:50:38 AM »
Quote
Perhaps it would be time better spent if we were to identify ways that people could accept themselves for who they are rather than encouraging reckless surgeries where we are removing sex organ, making new ones and getting people stuck on drugs that they have to take for the rest of their lives because they perceive it will make them happier.

I just finished reading a Huffington Post article a about a trans woman being pushed onto a NYC subway track. If people need to accept who they are, it seems equally important to expect society to accept them for who they are as well.

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2015, 02:23:37 AM »
I think both of them are mental illnesses although transexuality seems to be the more bizarre one. Who mutilates their body to satisfy some "identity urge"? That's messed up.

People with tattoos and earrings.
Somehow, inking your skin and piercing your ears seems to be not at all on the same level as chopping off your penis, getting breast implants, getting a custom made vagina installed and then taking a dozen or so pharmaceuticals every day so your body doesn't reject all the mutilation that you did to it.

What about getting an artificial limb because of an accident? An artificial heart? What if someday they perfect brain transplants or artificial spines?

Quote
I think the difference with transsexuality is that a transsexual person can go on to lead a normally functioning life as a member of the opposite sex. Yes, there can be some complications from the hormone therapy, etc. but I don't see how these differ from the complications inherent in any number of surgeries.
The difference is that surgeries are for people who have body parts that aren't working properly. You get a heart transplant because your heart isn't working right. You get an artificial leg because you lost one in an accident or at war.

And what if people who identify with the alternate sex have a body that isn't working properly? Perhaps their soul is one way, but their body doesn't match for whatever reason.

Perhaps it would be time better spent if we were to identify ways that people could accept themselves for who they are rather than encouraging reckless surgeries where we are removing sex organ, making new ones and getting people stuck on drugs that they have to take for the rest of their lives because they perceive it will make them happier.

All surgery is risky. People die all the time due to errors in the anesthesia mix.

Schizophrenics, depressives, etc. are often on drugs for the rest of their lives in order to live normally. When I get my bariatric surgery, I'm going to be on a vitamin regimen for the rest of mine. I don't see how this is any different.

Just because people have mental images of what they should look like, doesn't mean doctors should cater to such things. There are tons of stories of people continually going back for more and more plastic surgery because they are never satisfied with some aspect of themselves.  The solution is not to keep knifing them up and injecting silicone until they turn into plastic people, it is to identify the underlying pathology and figure out a way to resolve it.  I was rather mean in some of the comments I said earlier and I shouldn't have said them. I do think that transexual individuals have a mental pathology that isn't healthy, but it is the medical community that encourages this stuff that makes it a reality. Instead of trying to figure out what is best for the patient, they cater to the whim and turn them into plastic.

I agree that the obsessive seeking out of plastic surgery is a problem. But that doesn't apply here. Transsexuals don't want to be an idealistically beautiful man or woman (well, no more than any cissexual might or might not) just a normal one.

Like I said, I'm not arguing that everybody who feels a bit of gender dysphoria from time to time should go under the knife. I also agree that some have done it recklessly. These things take years of counseling to suss out. But I think for some people it is a persistent, real thing.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 02:24:25 AM by Volnutt »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2015, 07:06:13 AM »
if the sex change operation results in a loss of fertility, which it does, then Canon I of Nicea, also I think Apostolic Canon 78 or somesuch, the number I cant recall, would deny ordinarion to the priesthood.  Unless the sex assignment surgery was performed on a child without their consent.  Recall the John/Jane procedure when they tried to raise a boy born with mixropenis as a girl: when rhis failed, as a teenager he had to undergo horribly painful reconstructive surfery on his penis.  I believe he was fertile, but if whatever they did to him neutered him, he would still be qualified for the priesthood.  Whereas "Kaitlyn" has disqualified himself from the priesthood should he ever realize his action was a mistake.

Gender assignment surgery I think is acceptable only in case of infants born with deformed genitalia, in which case it should either follow whatever would allow them to be fertile, or failing that, whatever would require the least amount of modification, or failing that, if someone is born a true hermaphrodite, whatever sex organs should not be there according to whether they have an XX or XY chromosome should be removed or sealed up.

Volnutt is wrong about anaesthesia mix errors; these have become relatively uncommon, so the risk is .1%.  Which is 1 in a thousand, but thats everyone who has surgery; the actual risk factor of anaesthesiology depends on factors like the health of the patient; anaesthesiologists will routinely stop surgeries if theyre worried about the ability to resucpscitate a patient quickly given the open wound.  For example, spinal surgery on a trauma patient with a chest tube and lung damage is fairly high risk.  Procedures involving propofol are low risk; my mothers gastroenterologist who did an endoscopy last summer, when my mother had severe problems due to ulcers which have since healed, told me in his entire career he had never seen a patient die from the anaesthesia.  And it certainly wasnt the cause of death in the case of Joan Rivers; evidence suggests there rhe problem was uncintrolled bleeding froma throat biopsy that should have been done in hospital with a crash cart and intubation equioment standing by (which was the case where my mother had her procedure). Likewise, in Michael Jacksons case you had a doctor who wasnt an anesthesiologist administering propofol without the right equipment in a totally unsuitable environment and failing at basic CPR technqiue.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2015, 07:13:42 AM »
I don't think transexuals are particularly concerned with the canonical impediments that prevent ordination.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2015, 07:19:55 AM »
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Perhaps it would be time better spent if we were to identify ways that people could accept themselves for who they are rather than encouraging reckless surgeries where we are removing sex organ, making new ones and getting people stuck on drugs that they have to take for the rest of their lives because they perceive it will make them happier.

I just finished reading a Huffington Post article a about a trans woman being pushed onto a NYC subway track. If people need to accept who they are, it seems equally important to expect society to accept them for who they are as well.

No one should be pushed in front of a subway train.  There have I believe been attacks on Orthodox Jews on this basis, and I would suggest Orthodox clergy use caution at railway stations along the Orthodox-Catholic border refions of Europe, as well as Catholic clergy.  But this is an issue that affects everyone who uses rapid transit or even railways.

There is a solution that can help at least on subways, where several factors including the rapid acceleration and deceleration of the trains, the door-level platfroms, the height between the platform edge and the trackbed, and the third rail, and the lack of any safe area to roll into, except occasionally a drainage canal, make being pushed over especially dangerous.  In fact, on the London Underground, the trains are powered by a "four rail" system with two exposed power rails in between the running rails.  Land on those and you will get painfully electrocuted, albeit slowly, until the arriving train delivers the coup de grace.  The solution is to use barriers, usually plexiglass, and doors aligned with the train doors.  This works on subways as long as you dont change the door configuration, and install automation to ensure rhe train always lines up wiht the doors correctly.  Im sure all of you have used airport peoplemovers, which invariably have rhis tech, but some London Underground stations on the Northern line, and all stations on the Jubilee Line Extension, now have this.

But one can still get pushed in front of busses or lorries/trucks.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2015, 07:20:44 AM »
It is by no means the rule, but you will find a lot more asexuals among transgendered people than among those without body dysphoria issues. Some because they have so many issues with their own bodies as vehicles of sexuality, that they don't know where to begin to relate to the bodies of others; and some because their own body issues have made them consider the physical details of other bodies as irrelevant. The latter often describe themselves as 'sapiosexual' - attracted to intelligence, no matter what kind of body it's packaged in.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 07:21:18 AM by Arachne »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2015, 07:44:39 AM »
It is by no means the rule, but you will find a lot more asexuals among transgendered people than among those without body dysphoria issues. Some because they have so many issues with their own bodies as vehicles of sexuality, that they don't know where to begin to relate to the bodies of others; and some because their own body issues have made them consider the physical details of other bodies as irrelevant. The latter often describe themselves as 'sapiosexual' - attracted to intelligence, no matter what kind of body it's packaged in.

My best friend considered himself asexual for a few months before becoming a Mormon and being seduced into marrying one of their delightful girls.  That cured his asexuality.  However he decoded he was asexual after the failure of a love affair that involved sexual contact.

I really do feel for people who feel this way.  But the Orthodox Church can do five things only: pray for them, provide spiritual direction, refer to a psychiatrist, perform heterosexual marriage, or allow persons into a monastery.  But the ancient canons deny monastic tonsure to those who simply hate the other gender and abhorr the thought of heterosexual intercourse.

By the way, we do have some darn good psychiatrists.  Read Orthodoxy and Psychotherapy, an uplifting book.  I deaparelty want to see the Orthodox Church expand to be a leader in mental health services; Im ashamed of the fact there are in the US so many Catholic, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Adventist and other hospitals and so few, if any, that are Orthodox; in downtown Dallas there is a "hospital district" where it seems like every Christian church except the Orthodox has a sleek modern campus.

But most behavioral health in the private sector is run by for profit companies.

I think the Orthodox should try to make up for the lack of hospitals in the US by throwing our weight into behavioral health; its one area where I think our religion makes us uniquely able to help people.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 07:49:24 AM by wgw »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2015, 07:58:43 AM »
It'd be worth mentioning this custom in the context of this discussion, too.

Regarding the issue of being "born in the wrong body":

Orthodoxy AFAIK is also committed to the idea that gender is an essentialist function of both the soul and the body. I'm not sure why there could categorically never be a conflict between the two, then.

I see your point. One thing that bugs me from reading the knee-jerk responses to this issue from evangelicals and fundamentalists is that they seem to resort to the same old "Everything and everyone is perfect just the way God made it/them, because God makes no mistakes, and wanting to be different is rebellion against Him" argument. But the mere fact that so many people are born deformed and disabled, or not born at all (due to spontaneous miscarriage, etc.), blows the "God makes no mistakes" argument to smithereens. That argument seems more Calvinist than Orthodox anyway, and it seems to me that an Orthodox would need to be more open to the possibility that everything is not "perfect the way it is" and that we do live in a broken world, a fact that doesn't necessarily imply that "God makes mistakes".

Also, don't forget the brain/mind (which is not the same thing as the soul, but is often conflated with it by Westerners). Studies show that transgender people usually have brains that, in terms of anatomy, brain waves, response to stimuli, etc., resemble the opposite sex from their body.

So the question becomes: does the person have the right brain in the wrong body, or the wrong brain in the right body? Would it be possible to somehow re-wire a person's brain to match the sex of their body, and if so, would this cause the person to identify with the "right" gender for their body, thus clearing up the gender-identity issues without the need for surgery? If such a remedy is possible, it seems like that'd be the ideal one from an Orthodox perspective since it would eliminate the conflict between be "soul" (actually the brain) and the body, without mutilating the body.

It'd be interesting to read some statements on this issue from a leading Orthodox theologian who has actually studied it in detail. Are there any?

Very good insight! 

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2015, 08:12:22 AM »

Honestly. Some days I feel like there are about 3 normal people in the world and rest of the world is a massive insane asylum.

Im with you. I mean, if you wanna chop your ding dong off, be my guest. But dont expect me to march in the next parade for you, or hand you a trophy.

Things quickly moved from wanting "tolerance" and "equality" to demanding celebration.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2015, 08:21:32 AM »

Honestly. Some days I feel like there are about 3 normal people in the world and rest of the world is a massive insane asylum.

Im with you. I mean, if you wanna chop your ding dong off, be my guest. But dont expect me to march in the next parade for you, or hand you a trophy.

Things quickly moved from wanting "tolerance" and "equality" to demanding celebration.

Exactly.  But the problem is that they are not looking for tolerance and acceptance.  The goal is to FORCE you.  You WILL love it, you WILL embrace it, and you WILL support it.  If you don't, you'll be ostracized by the mindless sheep that do whatever pop culture tells them to do.  Which in 2015 is a sizeable amount of society.

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2015, 08:37:11 AM »
The thing is, we draw a categorical distinction between biological males and females: males have Y chromosomes, females do not. There is no equivalent categorical distinction between "male brains" and "female brains": certainly males and females have different tendencies and are not exactly equivalent, but there's also plenty of overlap. So for that reason I think it's a little absurd to talk about being a man trapped in a female body, or vice versa. You can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2015, 09:31:00 AM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2015, 09:33:39 AM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2015, 09:36:21 AM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

He had no Y, hadn't He? "He"?
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 09:36:40 AM by mike »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2015, 09:38:17 AM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

He had no Y, hadn't He? "He"?

What makes you say that? Parthenogenesis? Well since parthenogenesis doesn't naturally occur in humans, there's no particular reason for it to follow its natural course in the case of Christ. If one miracle is allowed, so is another.

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2015, 09:43:41 AM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

He had no Y, hadn't He? "He"?

What makes you say that? Parthenogenesis? Well since parthenogenesis doesn't naturally occur in humans, there's no particular reason for it to follow its natural course in the case of Christ. If one miracle is allowed, so is another.

I figure the Lord knows a thing or two about creating humans.  I mean, this time was easy mode.  He already had a womb to work with, not a pile of dirt.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2015, 11:58:33 AM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

He had no Y, hadn't He? "He"?

Unless you've got your hands on some pertinent DNA, you don't know.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2015, 12:23:59 PM »
This thread needs to be bookmarked for future reference...
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2015, 01:44:54 PM »
This thread needs to be bookmarked for future reference...

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2015, 09:27:54 PM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

He had no Y, hadn't He? "He"?

Unless you've got your hands on some pertinent DNA, you don't know.

Funny you should mention that....
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2015, 10:11:40 PM »
Perhaps the better question is, is it truly possible to be a man "trapped" in a woman's body or vice versa?
If they were able to transplant the top of your brain into a woman's body, then you might be a man in a rest-of-a-woman's body. Having this experience from birth is harder to explain.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2015, 10:29:01 PM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

He had no Y, hadn't He? "He"?

My guess is that His Y was either created by fiat or engineered from one of Mary's X chromosomes (a Y is just half an X). This would have been even easier if Mary had Turner Syndrome (XXY female).

I don't think either option leads to unacceptable theology.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 10:29:53 PM by Volnutt »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2015, 10:31:05 PM »
The thing is, we draw a categorical distinction between biological males and females: males have Y chromosomes, females do not. There is no equivalent categorical distinction between "male brains" and "female brains": certainly males and females have different tendencies and are not exactly equivalent, but there's also plenty of overlap. So for that reason I think it's a little absurd to talk about being a man trapped in a female body, or vice versa. You can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

But why are the chromosomes the only determining factor and not brain chemistry or persistent psychological identification with the opposite sex? Some people's bodies are so loopy, it seems like their chromosomes are almost an afterthought.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 10:32:21 PM by Volnutt »
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2015, 10:35:24 PM »
Perhaps the better question is, is it truly possible to be a man "trapped" in a woman's body or vice versa?
If they were able to transplant the top of your brain into a woman's body, then you might be a man in a rest-of-a-woman's body. Having this experience from birth is harder to explain.

Well, first of all, all us guys were female until a certain point in fetal development, so it isn't hard to see how things could sometimes develop incompletely or as a result of mutation. Maybe some females only became male on accident or only remained female on accident. God allows all kinds of genetic mix-ups.

But either way, I didn't think that in Orthodoxy gender was not solely a matter of body but of body and soul together. I thought some Orthodox theologians have spoken in terms of there being an essential quality of gender that's in the soul. Perhaps I was wrong...
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 10:37:15 PM by Volnutt »
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Offline Jonathan Gress

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2015, 10:42:32 PM »
The thing is, we draw a categorical distinction between biological males and females: males have Y chromosomes, females do not. There is no equivalent categorical distinction between "male brains" and "female brains": certainly males and females have different tendencies and are not exactly equivalent, but there's also plenty of overlap. So for that reason I think it's a little absurd to talk about being a man trapped in a female body, or vice versa. You can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

But why are the chromosomes the only determining factor and not brain chemistry or persistent psychological identification with the opposite sex? Some people's bodies are so loopy, it seems like their chromosomes are almost an afterthought.

Because as long as we're talking about gender in such essentialist terms, it would be nice to ground those terms in something objectively verifiable and categorically distinct. Chromosomes seem to be the only such things around; everything else is too fluid or the categories overlap too much with each other.

For example, I am happy to say that some man persistently identifies as a woman and that this could even justify addressing him as a woman, letting him dress as a woman and even surgically alter his body to become more like a woman. But from my vantage, he remains a man. His self-identification concerns himself only; as a third-person observer, I go by the genes.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 10:45:57 PM by Jonathan Gress »

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2015, 11:50:53 PM »
I think it's important to take people at their word regarding their own experiences (all other things being equal), though. I just don't think it's charitable to call someone a liar without a really pressing reason to do so.
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Offline Minnesotan

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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #43 on: June 05, 2015, 12:07:48 AM »
The thing is, we draw a categorical distinction between biological males and females: males have Y chromosomes, females do not. There is no equivalent categorical distinction between "male brains" and "female brains": certainly males and females have different tendencies and are not exactly equivalent, but there's also plenty of overlap. So for that reason I think it's a little absurd to talk about being a man trapped in a female body, or vice versa. You can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

But why are the chromosomes the only determining factor and not brain chemistry or persistent psychological identification with the opposite sex? Some people's bodies are so loopy, it seems like their chromosomes are almost an afterthought.

Because as long as we're talking about gender in such essentialist terms, it would be nice to ground those terms in something objectively verifiable and categorically distinct. Chromosomes seem to be the only such things around; everything else is too fluid or the categories overlap too much with each other.

For example, I am happy to say that some man persistently identifies as a woman and that this could even justify addressing him as a woman, letting him dress as a woman and even surgically alter his body to become more like a woman. But from my vantage, he remains a man. His self-identification concerns himself only; as a third-person observer, I go by the genes.

Okay, what about people with chromosome configuration XXY? Because they do exist, and their phenotypes can be either female (as in the case of the "East German athletes") or male.
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Re: Can transexuality be separated from homosexuality?
« Reply #44 on: June 05, 2015, 12:11:50 AM »
can say that you're a woman with pronounced male tendencies, but as long as you have those two X chromosomes, you're a woman, sorry.

so what Jesus was?

What?

He had no Y, hadn't He? "He"?

My guess is that His Y was either created by fiat or engineered from one of Mary's X chromosomes (a Y is just half an X). This would have been even easier if Mary had Turner Syndrome (XXY female).

I don't think either option leads to unacceptable theology.

Turner syndrome actually means having just one X (so, 45 chromosomes total). There's a different name for XXY, which can result in either a male or female phenotype. It's called Kleinfelter if found in males; not sure if there's an official name for being an XXY female, although the "East German athletes" (who had an uncanny advantage in the women's sporting events) fell into this category.
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