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Call Her Caitlyn But Then Let’s Move on to the Issues Affecting the Trans Community


Call Her Caitlyn But Then Let’s Move on to the Issues Affecting the Trans Community

Chase Strangio

On Monday, Caitlyn Jenner introduced herself to the world in a fabulous Vanity Fair spread. “Call me Caitlyn,” she tells the public in this latest cover story and through her recently launched @Caitlyn­­_Jenner Twitter handle.

It is important that people do actually call her Caitlyn.


Free our sisters! Free ourselves!


Trans people make me uncomfortable.

I try not to make my problem theirs -

and hope I will be able to successfully overcome the bigotry I absorbed so long ago.

I’m working on it.

If anyone is offended by the first sentence in this post, I apologize. It says a lot about me and nothing about you.

The hardest bigotry to confront is our own.


Good on you.

It’s hard because our reactions are coming from our monkey brain, and not everyone gets the kind of socialisation that prepares us to take perfectly ordinary differences in stride.

We feel broadly the same sort of discomfort with people who got saddled with dwarfism, giantism, big birthmarks, cognitive limitations, or cranio-facial anomalies such as Treacher-Collins Syndrome. We’re tongue-tied and don’t know where to look, and as Goffman taught us in Stigma, we lumber the victim with the responsibility of making us feel okay! Talk about a double-whammy.

They didn’t even teach us in school how to cope, but I’ve found that keeping a firm grip on the fact that there’s a very ordinary, and often abused, person inside the visible difference helps me stay focused on the only important part.


My discomfort is due to the attitudes I absorbed growing up. Your ‘solution’ is the same kind of nonsense promoted by those who believe in gay conversion therapy. You don’t like it so you think it is they, not you, who should change.

We need to change and recognize our own bigotry.

They need to be free to be who they are.


I’ll start by saying yes, call her Caitlyn. We all have the right to be who we believe we are. She should be able to use whatever name/gender/restroom/job she wants and opening the world up to this discussion is a wonderful thing.
That said, I have a difficult time grokking the transgender issues. I think I can grasp feeling like the inner you doesn’t match the outer you.
I have epilepsy, hypothyroidism and debilitating migraines. I feel like a healthy person without these issues most days but have had to learn to be comfortable with the body/brain I was born with. I don’t like to use the word “defective” but that is how it feels when I’m lying in bed having a migraine or recovering from a seizure. There is no surgery out there that will fix these problems … I just have to deal with it and learn to accept reality.
Caitlyn was born with an amazing body, able to be pushed to the limit and set world records. She doesn’t look very feminine even after going through the transition and some surgery. I would be surprised if there comes a day when she feels like a woman, as opposed to a man pretending to be a woman.
These issues are mine and not Caitlyn’s, obviously. I understand having a body that doesn’t feel like the one you “should” have and it is not easy. I wish Caitlyn the best and truly hope she has found a way to feel comfortable in her own skin.


I’d say bigotry isn’t unique. but apparently it is.


“You are uncomfortable because you observe something that is not normal. It should make you uncomfortable.”

So I should likewise feel uncomfortable around people with amputations, or people with congenital physiological anomalies, or unusually tall or short people.

“Natural law is that understanding that the function/use of a thing is known by the way the thing is structured.”

And the naturalistic fallacy is that merely because a thing is a certain way, then that is how it ought to be. We’d still be living in caves if we actually believed that.

“Let’s look at the human body now. It is made male and female.”

Or sometimes not. One of my classmates in college was a genderless person. In English, we don’t even have a 3rd person pronoun for such humans. M was genetically XXY and had undifferentiated sex organs–neither one nor the other. M’s parents were confronted with the choice shortly after M’s birth of whether to do gender assignment surgery, but this was at a time when we were finding out that gender reassignment was sometimes disastrous, and that outward physiology was not the overriding determinant of gender identity. So M’s parents elected to delay until M’s “true” gender was revealed. But always, the pressure was on to align with one gender or the other, when the reality was that M was neither. M’s truest gender was genderless. (M was also homosexual–attracted to neither men nor women, but feeling attraction for humans who did not have gendered traits.) [Edit: on further consideration, I should have said M was homophilic–I don’t know whether M’s attraction to the ungendered had a sexual component, though it clearly had a romantic component] M did ultimately succumb to societal pressure (mostly because M’s lack of gender made everyone else uncomfortable) and went with male. M spent a lot of time with some gender counselors who were specialists in advising transgenders, but M was basically outside of their field of experience, and they were ultimately of no help in establishing a gender, so M basically decided on male by the flip of a coin. The result, after M became a he, was that this relieved everyone else’s discomfort, but M felt like “his” life had become a sham, and he felt like he was living in an alien body. Then everyone was uncomfortable around him because he was always depressed, so he tried taking medications for that. And one of those medications carried an elevated risk of suicide, so there’s no telling whether it was that which ultimately did him in, or whether he just felt the best way to stop making people feel uncomfortable was to simply remove himself from the picture.

Through M, I met and briefly corresponded with a woman who was genetically XY. She didn’t get gender reassignment, it’s just that some humans are immune to the effects of testosterone, and she was born and developed with the outward physiology of a girl. They didn’t find out she was genetically male until her teens, when she was taken to a doctor to find out why she had never started her menstrual cycles. And in place of ovaries, she had undescended testes. So which way was she “made”? She looked like a woman (and how), she felt like a woman, she identified as a woman, but her chromosomes and testes said otherwise.

“To what purpose serve the genitalia? Do they even have a primary purpose? Yes, they do.”

Waste elimination.

“They purpose is the creation of life by the insertion of the male organ into the female and the depositing of seed within the female body.”

So artificial insemination is an abomination. This is just more naturalistic phallacy.

“Note this carefully: this is the NORMAL and PROPER function of the male and female bodies.”

So condoms would also be an abomination. But maybe if we used this function somewhat less, humanity wouldn’t be in such dire straits now.

“However, in order for this to happen, the male and female must have a desire to unite with each other and to do that which results in pregnancy. This normal desire for relations with the opposite sex is part of the function of sexuality in human beings. Without this desire, males and females would ignore each other and the human race would soon be extinct.”

So homosexuality is also an abomination. Trust me, there is no danger of humans going extinct from any lack of reproductive activity. At least, not until we perfect sex robots.

“any deviance from this is a result of something being dreadfully messed up”

What a great world it would be if we could identify and correct any deviants.

“Something is badly wrong and needs to be fixed.”

We aren’t gods and there are some things we can’t fix. Sometimes all we can do is attempt to provide palliative measures to help people cope–and even then, not always successfully. And sometimes we only do more damage when we try to fix things that really didn’t need fixing in the first place.

“Transgenders are people who are not functioning according to their biological creation. There’s a wire loose somewhere and the machine of the human body is off-kilter. It needs to be fixed.”

Who, exactly, has that “need”. Them or you? Do they get to have a say in what they need?

“There is a terribly high rate of suicide among people who have SRS done to them.”

There is also a high rate of suicide among transgenders who did not obtain SRS. You’ll also find elevated depression and suicide rates among people who sustained disfiguring burns as infants–not because of any health problems due to the scars, but because of the social isolation they experience.

“Of course, those with an agenda have kept this under the rug,”

What agenda is that?

“The compassionate thing to do is to heal the cause of the problem.”

What if you are the problem?


Well Unique, I’m glad to see you’ve come out of the closet. Like most of you ‘Natural Law’ freaks you use your interpretation of what’s approved by God to justify your bigotry,

But, if there were a God, I don’t think it, or its creations, would be constrained by your view of it.

It only constrains you.

See, at the end of the bell curve are the statistical anomalies, the people with purple eyes. Now, you don’t go around condemning that. You figure it’s part of God’s plan. But when sex is involved you suddenly start pointing fingers and claiming that, although our earliest records of sexuality document same sex attractions and trans people, that’s a manifestation of free will, not God’s will - as if people would choose to be singled out by bigots like you.

If something’s been around as long as people there isn’t much basis for declaring it’s unnatural.

Open your eyes. Confront your own bigotry.

We don’t have to remain stuck in outmoded ways of thinking.


“The genitalia serve for waste elimination? That’s a new one on me,”

You said primary purpose. You may use yours primarily for procreation. I use mine primarily for peeing. In fact, procreation doesn’t even rank second for what I most often do with mine, but as they say, different strokes for different folks.

“Artificial insemination is an abomination. So is contraception. This is the teaching of the Church”

There are many, many churches which do not teach that.

“and exactly for the reasons that I pointed out, that it interferes with the natural use of the body as God created it to be.”

I’m guessing you don’t use antiperspirants for the same reason.

“And as I said, according to natural law, that is, the natural function of the body as created to be used,”

There are a number of religions that teach we were each made distinct and unique because we were meant to fill different roles.

“yes, homosexual behavior is also a deviance from the norm.”

Depends on where you are. In the Castro district, or many seminaries, it could very well be the norm. And humans have often changed their views regarding norms. An 1830’s plantation owner might have been shocked to see what women wear today, especially for swimwear, and those same women might be even more appalled by the idea of owning people.

“The norm, which is written into the body, is that male and female come together to produce a third.”

So does your church also deem celibacy an abomination? Is that not also contrary to design? Would that not also quickly render humans extinct if we were all to do it?

“It would be a great world indeed if we could identify and correct all deviants.”

Be careful what you wish for. Most people on this planet do not believe in your god. How sure are you that you would not be cast among the deviants?

“You know, like lying presidents who start wars for the profits of others.”

Actually, that is the norm for presidents.

“Like those men who rape women. That is an abomination also.”

In my Bible, it was something more like petty theft (the woman’s “virtue” properly belonging to her future owner husband) and making it right meant making a payment and getting stuck with the rapee. And by the way, using your method of divining intended use from structure, what is it about the physiology of the human male body which leads you to believe it was not constructed for raping. Because it seems to function pretty well for that purpose.

“Like those who beat children.”

Yeah, I definitely had a different Bible. In my Bible, bears were sent to tear children to pieces, and little ones were dashed against the wall. And I can think of at least one church whose priests are notorious for the uses they find for children.

“Or those who have this idea of God which is out of line with His love of all Creation and all people.”

Except deviants.

“But that is the promise of the future”

I seem to remember a god-human who promised he would return in the lifetime of those who were present. It would seem godly promises are as breakable as human promises.

“that such deviations from the God of love will someday all be healed and all will live together in love and harmony according to His plan.”

So I take it your god has a pee-pee too. And this part we are living now, with all of our homosexuals, transsexuals, rubbers and Kardashians, this isn’t part of his plan? How could he have planned a healing without having also planned the very state which makes a healing possible?

“The agenda is to make that which is not normal to appear to be normal.”

If we are not yet to the “healed” part of the plan, then the state of being healed is not normal to this time. But presumably you think that can change. So apparently “normal” isn’t fixed in stone.

“As I said, the imprint of the body’s functions shows us that the norm is male/female relationships which produce children and families.”

Just out of curiosity, how would your church deal with a state of overpopulation?


That’s a wonderful reply. Were you trained in psychology, by any chance?


This line posted by “Unique” says it’s a troll. Please don’t feed it.


To use your own analogy, perhaps the central cause of this gender confusion we see today (I am specifically referring to bisexuals, transgenders, and–to use your term–the genderless) is bad seed sown in defective soil. Unfortunately making children is kind of like a roll of the dice–you never know what you will get until it arrives.
Those who turn out abnormal deserve respect and consideration for their abnormality. The overwhelming majority and remainder of humanity deserve to be honestly advised of their abnormality and advised to no more mock or ridicule them then we would trip a blind person or curse the deaf.


“…bad seed sown in defective soil.”

You sound like one of those '30’s eugenics proponents - the ones Hitler found so appealing.

What’s happened to you Poet?


Re: “bad seed sown in defective soil”

When we do experiments, we get positive or negative results, but we don’t look at it in terms of positive results good, negative results bad. All results make progress possible. In Nature, we have, in effect, a blind experimenter. Some of the new traits, or new combinations of old traits will thrive, and some will not, but we would not have the diversity and versatility of life we have without the vast number of trials. And from an evolutionary perspective, we know of instances where deviation from straight sexual reproduction has conferred advantage among highly social species. For colony insects, virtually all the members of a colony do not engage in reproduction at all. And in mammals, having non-reproductive members of a family may confer advantage to that family lineage where such members contribute support that benefits related offspring. And in a world where human population growth has been blithely ticking past billions marks at a quickening pace, it might be to the benefit all of us and the planet if more of us were to diverge from the usual reproductive scheme. So I’m disinclined to label such divergences as bad. And while replication errors are technically defects, the human genome is essentially a mass collection of such defects, and we wouldn’t be here without them.

And when we reach the point of being able to manipulate our own genome, we will of course try to treat or prevent debilitating and distressing abnormalities, but it isn’t at all clear that this will include gender identity and sexual orientation. I also expect we will start augmenting or adding abnormalities of our own. After all, there are many forms of abnormal we consider desirable. Someday, it may be the fully natural people like you and me who are pitied as the unfortunate abnormals.


I prefer for my arguments to stand on their merits, rather than on my credentials, so I generally try to leave myself out of the picture. (And the fact that annoys SR is pure gravy.) But I think I can safely say no. I was not trained in psychology by chance.


Heh. I’d like to think your leaving out the comma will teach me to use catchphrases less often, but it probably won’t. So how should I understand your response? I’m sure that if you were trained it wasn’t “by chance”, but do you have a significant amount of formal training, or is your understanding “only” an informal product of your enquiring mind?

That’s a fascinating position, not least because it makes my brain vibrate. I suppose I tend to think of credentials as being much like an FDA goodness stamp: the credential/stamp doesn’t guarantee we won’t be fed toxic rubbish in a pretty package, but it does probably improve the odds.


[quote=“Trog, post:24, topic:9128”]
“For colony insects, virtually all the members of a colony do not engage in reproduction at all.”

That may be fine for ants or bees, but I am human (as are you) and right now to be bisexual, transgender, or genderless is abnormal and as such the exception rather than the rule.

What might happen in a million or a billion years from now does not address the present situation. For that we must use our present and recorded historical knowledge (just a few thousand years by comparison). These tell us that those examples I have cited above are the very rare exception and not the norm for human beings. As such they are “strange”, “odd” and even “queer” ( I use the word in the classic sense and not as slang for homosexuals) to the “rest of us”.
So how do we treat those who fall outside what, for the present, is the norm for the overwhelming bulk of humanity? We treat them with respect and consideration. How should those on this fringe relate to those who are not like them? They should grant as full a disclosure of their abnormality as is appropriate to their relationship with others.

Reading your last words reminded me of the decree made by God before he confused the languages at Babel causing peoples to scatter throughout the earth:
Gen 11:6-9
"And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all
one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be
restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.
So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there
confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD
scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

Judging from your quote above, those ancients were not the only ones who desired to “play God”.


You have to understand that the term “boy” (or girl) has multiple layers of meaning. The woman Trog met through M, an XY person identified at birth and raised as a girl. Was she “born a boy”? Just how much does that only-visiblle-under-an-electron-microscope XY matter in real life anyway?

Another level is that electron-microscope karyotyping. You use a stereotypically male name as a handle, but you’ve almost certainly never had a karyotype done to discover whether you are in fact an exclusively-XY person rather than having some other pattern such as a mosaic. The OB took a quick look at your wee-wee and declared you “a boy” (I presume). But if the XY pattern is the sole and absolute determinant, you can’t know whether you are unless you have a chromosomal assay. At birth, it was just a guess, the same as “girl” was a guess for the girl who turned out to have the XY pattern

There are lots of points at which foetal development can take some path other than the expected, canonical one. XX people who get a benign tumour of the adrenal cortex in utero get big doses of “boy juice” from it which typically results in hypertrophied clitorises, broader shoulders, heavier bones, and an energy pattern more typical of XY kids. Many of them find themselves attracted to other girls, though their own identity is rarely anything but “girl” in spite of everything.

And of course there are always ignoramuses, some with big credentials who should certainly know better, who tell “just so” stories to explain what’s actually inexplicable. The fact is that we don’t know what makes a person a "boy’ rather than a “girl” or vice-versa.


The portion of my previous message that you quoted was in reference to an earlier reply and not my own idea. Also, if you cared to read the rest of my reply you will see that, far from wanting such people “eliminated”, I suggested that they should be treated with respect and decency.
I am neither Ottmar Vershoor (head of the Nazi eugenics program) nor a supporter of the Rockefellar/Carnegie Institute for Eugenics at Cold Harbor on Long Island which funded the Nazi eugenics program to the tune of millions of dollars in the 1920’s and 1930’s and made Vershoor a fellow of their eugenics foundation. (It still exists except it changed the name of its damnable so-called “science” to “Genetics”.)
If you cared to study the Nurmberg proceedings you would find that the Nazi eugenics crowd got their doctrine as well as much funding for their genocide programs from US eugenics foundations, publications, and laws, that were either sponsored or passed from the turn of the twentieth century to the 1930’s.
Recommended reading: “War Against the Weak”, by Edmund Black