Thursday, March 7, 2013

I’m just sayin'

paula-sayin It's back-to-back Paula Gaikowski and today, my good friend has something to get off her chest.

Coming from the New York area, “I’m just sayin'” is a colloquial way of telling someone that this is my personal opinion on a subject. So with that in mind I’d like to tackle a topic that has been stewing on my mind for some time.

During my lunch break, I like to Google “transgender” under the News section. I typically get a great selection of articles pertaining to transgender people around the country. Quite often in the comments section after an article about a transgender person, I’d see the argument that “God doesn’t make mistakes when it comes to sex” A person can’t change their sex, because sex is defined by their DNA.”
I’d like to discuss the idea that a person’s sex is defined by their DNA and that there is no variation found in nature.

First, DNA does not determine sex, but chromosomes do. Recently a judge in Oklahoma refused the name change of a transgender woman on the grounds that according to “his” research, you are born one sex and the DNA cannot be altered. He’s correct that DNA can’t be changed, but he failed to mention or comprehend that there are many variations of sex chromosomes, specifically inter-sex people.

The list of intersex conditions is so extensive it is too long to list here. One example would be Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). A fetus with 46 XY chromosomes typically develops into a male, but with AIS, the receptors on the Y chromosome fail to absorb testosterone during development. Often the child is born without a cervix or ovaries, but with testes and shortened vagina. Most AIS babies live happy fulfilled lives as women. While some identify as male. There are dozens of different conditions like this involving many different types of variations. So as far as I’m concerned, this blows the whole “God made you either binary male or female" argument out of the water!

I understand that transgender and intersex are two different conditions and I do not want to offend anyone. My point is to demonstrate that in nature there are variations of physical sex other then binary male or female. With that established, I’d like to make the point that the same is true for gender identity. A transgender person will tell you they have felt that way since birth, that is they are wired deep down as the gender opposite their physical sex. Medical science is in the process of identifying possible differences in brain structure and genetics that would explain the reasons why people are transgender.

There are physical and genetic variations of sex that occur naturally. There are also variations of gender identity that occur naturally. Because we have not conclusively traced transgenderism to a gene or a certain part of the brain doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist. There is no evidence that social environment after birth has an effect on gender identity. In the past, religious leaders have incorrectly labeled people with misunderstood conditions such as, bipolar disorder, Tourette syndrome, Asperger Syndrome, and clinical depression as having flaws in character. Today we know better. Research has led us to understand why these differences occur.

I don’t want this to be turned into a religious argument, but I wanted to illustrate that sex and gender are not absolute. The statement "God made only male and female without any variations" is false. There are intersex people and transgender people and they have always been part of humanity. They are part of the human experience. Instead of condemnation, it’s time to open our minds, to begin learning, to begin understanding, then accepting and finally celebrating. “But, hey, I’m just sayin.”


  1. Paula thank you for discussing a topic that is very dear to my heart. I believe strongly that my gender disphoria has a biologocal component to it and even if there are sociological factors there is for me no denying this aspect.

    All the best,

  2. Brava, Paula! Very well said.

  3. Stana,
    I am really enjoying the guest posts from Paula. They are well written and well thought out. Thank you for sharing this forum with her.

    I find it empowering, affirming and pleasant to recognize that "God does not make mistakes". Once I got over the initial idea of wearing woman's clothes and finding out that I was not stuck down by a lightning bolt from the sky I figured that the Good Lord sees all of his children and that he has no problem with my wearing a dress, hose and heels. I figure at worst he may find my attire amusing. LOL. If I am the way I am and I am a child of God and made in the image and likeness of God then it feels pretty good knowing that God does not make mistakes.

    Regardless of the cause of our TG inclinations we are all people and we all deserve respect. I think that there needs to be understanding that there are no absolutes and that most things have degress of gradation.

    I think that for those of us who find ourselves to be somewhat dual gendered the concept is easy to understand. For those civilians who do not have any feelings of gender disparity they may find things easier to understand and more comfortable if they can view things in black and white.

    I think that it is mostly a matter of time as those of us who would like to present attired as women are more universally accepted. Every time you or Stana or any of us shed our male attire and step out into public wearing our woman's clothes I think that we win converts. You look good and I would say you pass some of the time. Some of us pass less frequently. My approach is to blend and not offend.

    Thank you again for giving Stana a day off.


  4. I find it significant that absolutely NOWHERE have I ever found the fact of hormone disruption due to environmental pollution taken into account when discussing the topic of "gender dysphoria". It's quite clear that it plays a part; one has only to go to any beach nowadays and see the numbers of "men with boobs" there! It sure wasn't like that when I was young, but now it's seen everywhere, and accepted as "normal" when it clearly ISN'T.

    I have read numerous accounts of sexual deformities and reproductive anomalies found in the flora and fauna living near polluted sites, are we expected to believe that similar problems are 'never' going to develop in HUMANS.? It has only been pointed out dozens of times that pesticides and many common chemicals found in our everyday lives (perfumes and dryer sheets to name just two) contain "xenoestrogens" and other hormone disruptors; are we expected to believe that this epidemic of gender dysphoria' among humans (especially children, who are particularly vulnerable) is completely independent of this fact? Please.

    Instead of pretending that all this is "normal", maybe those with these problems should have an endocrine assessment to check their hormonal balance. F'r instance, I as a woman, have had trouble identifying with the female obsession with 'maternity" all my life; it all made perfect sense once I had my hormones checked and the doc told me that my estrogen levels, while still within the "normal" range, was definitely at the "low" end of the scale. Years ago I read about a woman who was convinced she was 'a man"; she had her hormones checked and found she had a male hormone level well in excess of "normal for women" (about 1/20th that of men) should have; it was, in fact, that of a seventeen-year-old male! Hardly a surprise. then, that she would be convinced of her "masculinity"!. Intersexuals are also likely the product of prenatal hormonal disruption, either environmental or medical; I knew one whose mother was treated during pregnancy with stilbestrol to prevent miscarriage.

    1. A fear tactic used by environmentalists to garner political prowess and monitory benefit. We all know dilution is the solution to pollution. And that there have been trans folk to some degree throughout history. Our seeing more occurrences of such has more to do with media availability and a sense and desire to allow persons to express who they are, when in past times it was not socially acceptable for a person to vari from the norm.

    2. Sufiya, please look at this


  5. Sufiya that can sometimes be an explaination but most of the time this theory does not hold water. Many trans people have their hormone levels checked and they are most often normal. This applies to me as well.

    If it were that simple a quick trip to your GP would fix everything and voila!! No more trans people....if only....

  6. A friend of mine (at Church) has a tee shirt with the slogan, "God doesn't make mistakes, I'm meant to be like this" I find that reassuring

    1. If the god we and others believe in is as Omnipotent as we believe and ours seems to be so, based on the miracles all around us. It would then mean that yes, this god does not make mistakes, and thus we are that god's creation and no mistake! Which by itself renders us valid..

      I'm spiritual and humbled to things bigger then I. I can not be sure, but I can pretty much assume. We (the transgender community) are who we say we are, and are here for some reason, which will no doubt benefit everyone eventually.

      It's time to treat others as we would want to be treated. As I believe this is the golden rule.

  7. Stana, Paula, If has not been mentioned, here is a link to one such study.

    I think you'll discover, that we are on the brink of discovering, that god did make us just the way we are!

    On that note, I believe (and I get heck for this a lot) that there is a huge delineation of gender, and that a persons sex is a decision made by professionals who have not asked you your opinion, but put a label on you because of your inny or outy. When we all now there is far more to gender then your inny or your outy. And inter-sexed people are just one example of the convolution of gender/sex variables. No person should ever be allowed to tell you what you are supposed to be for the rest of your life. Also gender is a trap, If you have feminine feelings, but your a male, then you must change your identity. Femininity and masculinity exists to some degree from both of those two extremes in some manifestation of both. It's just that one may be more dominant then the other, but not necessarily with the right genitals to affirm societies rules. Any one in these variables sometimes feel they need to conform. When in actuality, they only need to be themselves unfortunately society is not ready for gender enhanced people! hugs and peace to all.

    1. Joanie

      Thanks for the link and also responding to the post. It great to get feedback. This study you reference is awesome, I believe there is more then one particular cause. Bottom line is we here we have always been here, treat us with respect.


  8. Joan,
    Thank you for your reference to that neurological study. While the study is 13 years old and most of the science is above my ability to digest it did find a statistical significance in the chemical/neurological composition of the brain of T folks that was closer to the female control group. It would appear that the science does support the concept that 'T' folks are "Born this way".

  9. paula thanks for the info and insite