“No” to the notion of transgender
by Ronald Gold
Gold was one of the leading members of the Gay Activists Alliance in
its heyday in the early 1970s. He is the man most responsible for
getting the American Psychiatric Association to drop “homosexuality”
from its list of disorders. Bilerico, a leading LGBTQ internet site
asked Gold to serve as one of their columnists. For his first column he
submitted the essay below. Bilerico accepted and published it, and
immediately a flak storm broke out. Caving in to the pressure, Bilerico
fired Gold, apologized to readers, and deleted the offending column,
which almost went down the Orwellian memory hole. Fortunately for free
speech, gay scholar Wayne R. Dynes found a copy and published it on his
personal blog site, Dyneslines.
In my opinion, Gold's article expresses good common sense. It is
direct, truthful, and in no way offensive. — John Lauritsen
What is transgender? Well, there are two sorts who seem to be covered
by the name, the drag kings and queens so good at portraying cartoon
imitations of straight people, and transsexuals, the folks who report
that from an early age they've felt themselves trapped in the wrong
bodies. Despite the equipment they were born with that belies their
assertions, they say they are really men or really women.
What does it mean to be really a man or a woman? Since it's not about
genitalia, it must be about personality, and what, one asks, is a male
or a female personality? Even straight people nowadays concede that
some men are the warm, loving type that used to be thought exclusive to
women, and some women are the strong, action-oriented sort that used to
be thought exclusive to men. And lesbians and gay men have always known
that people of the same gender can be very different from each other.
Isn't it true that those we form mated relationships with are always
complementary — even polar opposites — to ourselves?
Let me state it categorically. There is no such thing as a male or
female personality. Personality is not a function of gender.
So where does that put the concept of transgender? In my view, down the
tubes! And that leaves the further questions of how transsexuals got to
think the way they do, and what to do to resolve their dilemmas. I hope
I'll be forgiven for rejecting as just plain silly the idea that some
cosmic accident just turned these people into changelings. What
happened, more than likely, is that, from an early age, when they
discovered that their personalities didn't jibe with what little boys
and girls are supposed to want and do and feel, they just assumed they
mustn't be real little boys and girls.
So, parents of such little boys and girls, do not take them to the
psychiatrist and treat them like they're suffering from some sort of
illness. Explain to them that, whatever the other kids say, real little
girls do like to play with trucks and wear grimy jeans, and real little
boys like to prance around in dresses and play with dolls.
And make sure the teachers are on the same page.
As for adults struggling with what to do about their feelings, I'd tell
them too to stay away from the psychiatrists — those prime reinforcers
of sex-role stereotypes — and remind them that whatever they're
feeling, or feel like doing, it's perfectly possible with the bodies
they've got. If a man wants to wear a dress or have long hair; if a
woman wants short hair and a three-piece suit; if people want romance
and sex with their own gender; who says they can't violate these
perfectly arbitrary taboos? A short historical and cross-cultural
survey should establish that men and women have worn and done all sorts
of stuff. I recall reading something by Jan Morris in which it seemed
that he thought he needed a sex change because he wanted men to hold
doors open for him and kiss him goodbye at train stations. For
starters, I'd have told him that I've had these nice things happen to
me and I've still got my pecker.
Perhaps it isn't needless to say that a No to the notion of transgender
does not excuse discrimination against crossdressers or post-op
transsexuals in employment, housing and public accommodation; and I
strongly support legislation that would forbid it. I would, however,
get after the doctors — the psychiatrists who use a phony medical model
to invent a disease that doesn't exist, and the surgeons who use such
spurious diagnoses to mutilate the bodies of the deluded.
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