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Don’t Kill the Messenger

By April 23, 2018May 18th, 2019No Comments

Feminism vs. transgenderism

This conversation is not an easy, but an important and necessary, one. Please bear with me as I introduce a subject that seems either politically incorrect or certainly forbidden. Some of you may not have even heard it. It involves individual choice, once a basic American principle that has morphed into the extreme control over our lives of late stage capitalism. For the sources of control. Just follow the money, if you are not doing so already.

First I want to underline the difference between gender and transgender. We all are assigned a gender at birth and it is based upon what sex we seem to be. Mistakes are made, but how many? According to the latest statistics, 700,000 individuals identify as transgender in the U.S. alone. They have no doubt that they were born into the wrong body and most will undergo hormone treatment and surgery to right that wrong.

I was one of the early feminist psychologists who brought forth the term “gender” in order to distinguish what was learned, even unconsciously, from what was determined genetically. That was an enormous first step, as every aspect of a human being was believed to be tied to sex. Everything from pink to blue blankets, dolls to trucks, were considered to be part of a biological predisposition. If you were a boy and you liked to dress up, then you were inevitably destined to be gay, a word that was whispered if spoken at all in the 1950’s. Instead, there were code words used that only those who were supposed to understand them and did. Very few individuals would “Come out of the Closet “ and, if so, at great peril

The development of the field of gender was designed to discover how much of these preferences were genetic and how much socialized from that first blanket. The field of gender is now 50 years old and has discovered much, including that sexual orientation cannot be changed by therapy or surgery or any other value based schemes. It is a given. The growing field of epigenetics does show clearly that the environment is quite active in turning off and on some genes, but not in altering basic sexual orientation.

On the cultural side, gay marriage has been legalized in many places in the world and gay people are just being given the opportunity to lead regular normal lives. These are simple human rights.However, gender was never meant to be interpreted as being in the”Wrong Body” or subject to medical treatment, which procedure began in the 1966.

Fluidity is possible. Sexual attractions that develop are possible. There’re so many terms available rightness for sexuality that they soon must all morph into just that, sexuality of every imaginable kind.

Yet reinforcing the binary and demanding that one’s body be altered to fit one’s ideas is not scientific at all, but medical in the sense of following the money.This surgery which is now commonly available in white Western contexts is a way to make money for the medical establishment and for Big Pharma. Each of these 700,000 individuals, should they undergo the procedures, will spend several hundred thousand dollars, will suffer many side effects as there arena long term studies on the effects of a lifetime of hormones or the complex surgery involved.

Before White America and Europe existed, any indigenous cultures had the concept of three or even five genders and lived happily with these ideas. On virtually every continent throughout history, societies with more than two genders thrived. No one was cut or mutilated, as it was natural. No one profited from it in the range of billions of dollars.

My point is not only to support gender fluidity and nuance, but to question how the Western medical professions took hold of sexuality and enforced the binary so strictly that only by medical procedures that bring the human body into conformity with two sexes can this fluidity be permitted. The medical profession continues to enforce this binary to the cost of anywhere from $50,000 to hundreds of thousands of dollars for dangerous and not always successful genital mutilation and transformation of facial features.

I am not including in these costs a lifetime of taking hormones, which undoubtedly will be causing cancer and other illnesses in future generations. Who else is to benefit? This is similar to the promiscuous use of opiods in today’s society. These procedures have not been studied long enough even to tell us what the medium long term effect might be. Suddenly they became not only permissible, but forbidden to discuss. Most importantly, transgender people are mostly eager to reinforce the binary that Western White culture has forced upon us, reinforcing the extreme binaries and stopping the movement and behavior toward fluidity and exploration of nuance and preference of sexuality in favor of the rigid binary. This must stop.

I deny no one the right to live as they or he or she or ze wishes and to wear clothing and makeup and adopt culturally ascribed behaviors to express their gender identity. Each of us should have civil rights and human rights, but the medical professions must be held to a scientific and not financial standard.

The individual has every right to learn the nuances and practices of who they are. We are all different and those decisions should not be made for us by multi-billionaire capitalist medical and pharmaceutical companies . This industry did a fine job of replacing women as medical doctors in the past centuries. It must not be allowed to replace nature again.


Kaschak, E. (2015) Sight Unseen:Gender and Race through Blind Eyes

This article was originally published in Psychology Today.

Ellyn Kaschak

Ellyn Kaschak

Ellyn Kaschak, Ph.D. is an internationally acclaimed and award-winning psychologist, author and teacher. She is well-known as a speaker, workshop leader, human rights advocate and a public intellectual.