Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

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Jdsk
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Jdsk » 2 Sep 2020, 2:28pm

mercalia wrote:
[XAP]Bob wrote:They *should* be described in another way. Why aren’t they pair 23?

No other chromosome has a name related to such a minor part of its function, and the naming is actively unhelpful.


have you any idea what the other 96% do? would be interesting to know. I would hardly describe the 4% minor if thats all thats needed to do the job?

It isn't. Many other genes from other chromosomes are involved in sexual differentiation and development.

Jonathan

Jdsk
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Jdsk » 2 Sep 2020, 2:31pm

thelawnet wrote:... ARE biologically male.

You've used that phrase several times. What does it mean and what's your gold standard definition to be used in difficult cases?

Thanks

Jonathan

thelawnet
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby thelawnet » 2 Sep 2020, 4:21pm

Jdsk wrote:
thelawnet wrote:... ARE biologically male.

You've used that phrase several times. What does it mean and what's your gold standard definition to be used in difficult cases?

Thanks

Jonathan


This is not particularly complicated in that, as I alluded to, sex is about small and large gametes. No humans produce both types.

As I said, you can have someone who is female in the sense we have understood for thousands of years, that is that they have a female phenotype or predkminabtly so, but is biologically male.

Some people are hung up on the Y chromosome itself which does contain the sex-determining Y region, but the process of sperm production can result for example in said SRY region being transposed onto an X sperm. In that case it would not be complicated at all to conclude that said person is biologically male.

A person who for example has a female phenotype due to complete androgen insensitivity while having testes (AIS does not affect people with ovaries meaningfully), is still biologically male even though we may understand them as female in the social sense.

The difficulty of allocating a tiny number of humans to 'female' or 'male' in day to day life as a result of genetic mutations does not mean that these categories are in any way arbitrary.

People with male gonads are biologically male and those with female gonads are biologically female.

Gonadal dysgenesis, aka streak gonads, results in a female phenotype since that is the default sexual development pathway.

In some senses it doesn't matter that much if someone is biologically male or biologically female in that if we perceive them as female then in meaningful sense they are.

This isn't arbitrary of course in that we know very well that someone who is totally androgen insensitive will not only develop a female phenotype but should be raised as female, because this results in better outcomes for them.

These rare conditions where for example people with high levels of testosterone don't necessarily experience the normal biological effects of them, go no distance towards implying that anyone who asserts that they are female simply on their say so, is in fact female in any meaningful sense.

mercalia
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby mercalia » 2 Sep 2020, 6:22pm

all this talk of science is beside the point as the man/woman distinction in the west is ages old and predates what ever science has to say. It also predates any reference to gender & the trans debate ( which their activists want to ignore) ?

Jdsk
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Jdsk » 2 Sep 2020, 6:48pm

If you're trying to resolve the difficult cases it's a very good idea to know as much of the science as possible.

Jonathan

landsurfer
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby landsurfer » 2 Sep 2020, 6:57pm

This is dragging on a lot longer than i thought it would ...

Your sex is set at birth ... you are born male or female.
If you are a female and want to dress and live as a man thats fine.
If you are a man and want to dress and live as a woman thats fine.

To use your birth sex to deprive those of the other sex, of sporting awards, is cheating.

It really is that simple.
"There will come a day, when all the lies will collapse under their own weight, and truth will again triumph." Guess Who ...
The Road Goes On Forever

Jdsk
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Jdsk » 2 Sep 2020, 7:03pm

landsurfer wrote:Your sex is set at birth ... you are born male or female.

It really is that simple.

For some people it isn't. Sex at birth is usually allocated according to the presence or absence of a penis. There's a long list of conditions in which that is discordant from the chromosomes or the gonads (the definitions that were suggested above).

Jonathan

thelawnet
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby thelawnet » 2 Sep 2020, 7:44pm

Jdsk wrote:
landsurfer wrote:Your sex is set at birth ... you are born male or female.

It really is that simple.

For some people it isn't. Sex at birth is usually allocated according to the presence or absence of a penis. There's a long list of conditions in which that is discordant from the chromosomes or the gonads (the definitions that were suggested above).

Jonathan


You have misunderstood.

The male karyotype is 46,XY.

The female karyotype is 46,XX.

This is definitional.

That doesn't mean that everyone who has a 46,XX karyotype is genetically female. Y crossover to the X sperm can create a male genotype, i.e. 46,XX SRY+ which is a male genotype.

There are two sets of gonads: male gonads, which are testes, and female gonads, which are ovaries.

This again is definitional, and there are no female testes or male ovaries. They are male and female by definition.

Someone who has male gonads, yet possesses a female phenotype IS as such biologically male, since they possess male, as opposed to female, gonads. Reproduction is the basis for our existence, and sex at its most fundamental biological level is about nothing more than male and female gametes which are produced only by male and female gonads.

As mercalia observes, such a person while being biologically male is in fact female, since they would have been observed to be female before we were able to prove through science their innate biological maleness.

And as landsurfer says, sex is in fact determined at birth (or rather at conception).

What you are referring to is cases where people are born with genetic disorders of sexual development. We can test their genes and find that they should be raised as male/female (by observation of people with the same genetic disorder), whereas in some cases it will be incorrectly observed that they are female/male.

This incorrect observation does not mean that sex is somehow allocated at birth. It is in fact determined at conception, e.g., 5ARD Type II deficiency is caused by inheriting two defective SRD5A2 genes on the second chromosome. This genetic disorder will cause a female phenotype at birth, but should be treated with DHT cream, and raised as male, because, rather wonderfully, the human genotype has three different versions of the 5ARD enzyme expressed by three different genes on three different chromosomes, so the natal DHT deficiency caused by lack of 5ARD-II resulting in a female phenotype resolves itself at puberty with the expression of 5ARD-I, which as a second recessive disorder will not likely to be missing.

The incorrect observation that someone with this condition is female will result in that person being raised as female, and in some cases they will continue as female into adulthood. Clearly such a person is female in a meaningful sense, even if they possess a male genotype and may have taken such steps as gonadectomy and hormone therapy to have their appearance conform more closely to a normal phenotype, as opposed to something ambiguous/male.

I do not think we can get from 'Susan has a male genotype DSD but has been raised and always lived as female' to any equivalence with 'Jane grew up as John and has a normal male genotype, but now claims to be female'. The former was an objective process of determination, even if we might judge that it was an error, there is no objective basis for the latter whatsoever. It is a claim akin to 'my favourite colour is red', and not something we can meaningfully affirm or deny.

Jdsk
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Jdsk » 2 Sep 2020, 8:02pm

A confession: I teach this stuff and examine on it, and used to be part of teams which provided clinical care and management, including those in the country's most famous children's hospital.

I don't know anyone in the fields of either discovering how sexual differentiation works or caring for children or adults where all the components of differentiation don't line up who uses this sort of dogmatic language about "biological sex" or what people "really" are. Instead they describe genes, chromosomes, gonads, other internal genitalia, external genitalia, endocrine status, sex allocated at birth, sex currently allocated and psychological orientation. Then they move onto treatment options and their advantages and disadvantages and personal preferences, and if the patient is a child the parental preferences.

It's often very difficult.

Jonathan

Tangled Metal
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Tangled Metal » 2 Sep 2020, 9:17pm

I think it's possibly the psychological orientation and personal preferences that causes the most problems for the lay person in all this. In my case I struggle with the idea that someone in almost all aspects of this either male or female can identify and change to another based on personal preferences and the orientation they psychologically "feel" they are.

Is there any evidence to suggest that such cases where there's no difficulty in determining a physical, biological gender or sex that the self identification is a psychological condition or even something that can be determined with a test? There's conditions where people do not accept part of their body is their own AIUI which I believe gets counselling or other condition to try and reverse this. Could there be an element of this with a decision to n transition?

Before anyone criticises me for being a transphobe I will explain my reason to ask. I do not know anyone who has transitioned or wants to. I've heard about people who people I know who have, second, third or fourth hand if you like. So I am really don't know much on about what a person wanting to or who have transitioned thinks or feels. I have seen documentaries about people who ended up getting a perfectly good limb removed because "it's not theirs". This seems a strange thing to believe or think to me and possibly many people. It also seems to have elements where someone who has no physical medical reason that gender or sex isn't what was assigned such as chromosomal abnormality but still wants to transition. If this isn't true I want to know why. I can't understand it based on my personal life experience so I ask questions? The difficulty is those questions make me seem transphobic. I do not think I have especially prejudicial views about the transitioning component only the cultural element of some elements of the trans sector of n society.

Basically I want to understand and find out whether there's issues with transitioning where it's not that treatment that's needed but counselling or other actions. I want to understand better the cultural, physical, psychological, chemical and any other aspect of this area. But it's not easy to ask because of what I put down to an active cultural element that's possibly linked to a reaction to prejudice in society.

thelawnet
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby thelawnet » 2 Sep 2020, 9:28pm

Jdsk wrote:A confession: I teach this stuff and examine on it, and used to be part of teams which provided clinical care and management, including those in the country's most famous children's hospital.

I don't know anyone in the fields of either discovering how sexual differentiation works or caring for children or adults where all the components of differentiation don't line up who uses this sort of dogmatic language about "biological sex" or what people "really" are. Instead they describe genes, chromosomes, gonads, other internal genitalia, external genitalia, endocrine status, sex allocated at birth, sex currently allocated and psychological orientation. Then they move onto treatment options and their advantages and disadvantages and personal preferences, and if the patient is a child the parental preferences.

It's often very difficult.


Not really sure your point here. I observed above that while we can learn that someone who has a certain disorder of sexual development is preferentially raised as male, but many will in fact have been raised as female and continue to be, and that for those people it is true that they are female in a meaningful sense, even if they are male in some other senses.

I don't think it's dogmatic to observe that testes are exclusively male gonads, so for example it's misleading and political to describe someone like Caster Semenya as having hyperandrogenism, in that Caster Semenya's testosterone levels are normal for people with testes and are not harmful to their health, whereas they would be indicative of very serious health problems requiring medical treatment for people with ovaries. The fact that Caster Semenya is biologically male is not so much 'dogmatic' as a matter of observable fact. Of course there is a difference between Caster Semenya, who obtains an androgenizing effect from testicular testosterone, and an athlete who has testes, but obtains no such effect due to AIS.

It's not dogmatic to say that both of these people are biologically male, even if our laws say they are female for non-sporting purposes.

That these people are biologically male does not mean we should say that they cannot participate as females, but there's no point in wishy-washy hand-waving in that while disordered male biology can result in a female phenotype, we can't just assert that they are female without further qualification, because it's simply untrue in some senses of the word. Caster Semenya has a condition which will often result in the production of viable sperm, and can never ever produce eggs.

That Caster Semenya is a woman might be true in some sense of that word, but it is not sufficient in the context of sport where we divide people not on the basis of whether they like Barbie dolls or GI Joes, but on the clear binary basis between those humans with ovaries producing large amounts of female sex steroids, and those humans with testes producing large amounts of male sex steroids. We might not say that this is the reason, preferring 'male' and 'female' sport, but it is the differential gonadal production of sex steroids during puberty that results in large size and strength differences between the sexes, not simply 'being female', which as I observed might be true of someone with an abnormal genotype that is best raised as male but may be raised as female.

Hence it is necessary to be at least somewhat dogmatic in some senses, not when dealing with the medical treatment of people with genetic disorders, but at least in contexts where safety and fairness are important, because if we do not have an objective standard for difficult cases, such as where we house prisoners, or who we allow to compete in sport, we undermine safety & fairness pursuant to an untestable claim.

And that is therefore not to say 'Caster Semenya is a man', but that 'while Caster Semenya was raised as female, Caster Semenya has male gonads producing high-male normal levels of testosterone, which presents a fairness issue when competing against people who have female gonads producing typically 40x less testosterone'.

And we can also say 'Laurel Hubbard went through male puberty, competed as male, now identifies as female, but has no genetic disorder distinguishing Laurel Hubbard from other males, and therefore it would not be fair for Laurel Hubbard to compete with people with female gonads'.

We are not obligated to exclude everyone who has/had male gonads from female sport. But it should at least be a starting point, until we can prove that they don't have an advantage.

Jdsk
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Jdsk » 2 Sep 2020, 9:35pm

In response to Tangled Metal 2 Sep 2020, 9:17pm:

What a thoughtful post.

1 It's very difficult for many of us to understand things with which we aren't familiar. But it's also the case that we can adapt very quickly. In recent times see the (staggeringly rapid) acceptance of homosexuality, racial diversity, children born to unmarried parents and women in "men's jobs". A single example in someone we know personally can help enormously.

2 I wouldn't separate psychological differences from other types of biological differences. It isn't either "psychology" or "biology". (See also chronic fatigue syndrome.)

3 Please don't worry about possible accusations of transphobia. You're asking questions trying to understand more. You're not projecting your beliefs about what's real or what isn't onto other people or asserting stuff that isn't true.

Thanks for posting that.

Jonathan
Last edited by Jdsk on 2 Sep 2020, 9:42pm, edited 2 times in total.

Jdsk
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Jdsk » 2 Sep 2020, 9:40pm

thelawnet wrote:Not really sure your point here.

...

I don't think it's dogmatic to observe that testes are exclusively male gonads

The dogmatism to which I referred is not about single-dimension facts such as that. It's the assertion that just one of those many dimensions defines "biological" or "real" sex and the others don't.

The point is to understand all of them at once, whether we're talking about the underlying processes, the clinical management of individuals, or decisions about thresholds for sporting eligibility and similar.

Jonathan

thelawnet
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby thelawnet » 2 Sep 2020, 9:56pm

Tangled Metal wrote:I think it's possibly the psychological orientation and personal preferences that causes the most problems for the lay person in all this. In my case I struggle with the idea that someone in almost all aspects of this either male or female can identify and change to another based on personal preferences and the orientation they psychologically "feel" they are.

Is there any evidence to suggest that such cases where there's no difficulty in determining a physical, biological gender or sex that the self identification is a psychological condition or even something that can be determined with a test? There's conditions where people do not accept part of their body is their own AIUI which I believe gets counselling or other condition to try and reverse this. Could there be an element of this with a decision to n transition?


There is no single version of being transgender. Key claims of those attempting to validate the truth of their usually purely subjective claims, are often disordered biology (which is usually not the case), and an early knowing of their trans status (which is unverifiable).

Researchers have also distinguished between for example transwomen who are attracted to men (gay biological males), and transwomen who are attracted to women (heterosexual biological males). The former don't necessarily have much in common with the latter.

There are lots of sexual paraphalias, and for example gaining sexual arousal from oneself as a woman is not necessarily something that the person experiencing it would seek treatment to stop, any more than someone who enjoys sexual masochism would necessarily seek to get treatment to address that.

Clearly if for example you have body dysmorphia and want to chop off your legs this is a condition requiring psychological treatment to reduce this desire, since not having legs is harmful. It's not quite as easy to say that wanting to have your penis removed is necessarily something we should treat by invalidating that desire, as opposed to treating it by removing their penis.

Lots of men have enjoyed wearing their wives' underwear for sexual stimulation. This paraphalia is not something that we can condemn in the way that we can say paedophilia for example is harmful. It doesn't particularly matter.

Some will take this further and take oestrogen, have breast operations, etc. We are now told that they are women, and we must accept this or face censure.

We can distinguish logically between people who experience genuine psychological distress as males (which is true in that they really experience it, even if there is no genetic basis for it), from those who merely enjoy presenting as female. Those who experience genuine distress may be distressed further by being perceived as male, when they have a desire to be perceived as female.

It is in practice of course not possible to distinguish between these two groups, so the courtesy that we offer to those who feel distress as male to treat them as female is in practice extended without our consent to those who simply gain gratification from dressing up as female (of course the two aren't mutually exclusive).

For example this person https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/mistr ... p-20171002

goes to work different days as male and female. In the past they dressed up on weekends only, and went to special clubs.

I once walked into a shop selling BDSM gear, and walked out rather quickly. It wasn't my thing, but it's really nothing to do with me in that nobody's ever attempted to involve me with that - they do it with likeminded individuals, and it really doesn't impact on my life at all.

It's rather different when you have someone who uses men's toilets on Mondays and women's toilet on Tuesdays, and it's hard to escape the conclusion that our real sympathy for those who are unfortunate enough to experience distress with their natural phenotype, has been abused to facilitate a much larger group of people who merely prefer to present in a certain way, maybe only some of the time!

Tangled Metal
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Re: Transgender athletes (and related stuff)

Postby Tangled Metal » 2 Sep 2020, 11:00pm

Jdsk wrote:In response to Tangled Metal 2 Sep 2020, 9:17pm:

What a thoughtful post.

1 It's very difficult for many of us to understand things with which we aren't familiar. But it's also the case that we can adapt very quickly. In recent times see the (staggeringly rapid) acceptance of homosexuality, racial diversity, children born to unmarried parents and women in "men's jobs". A single example in someone we know personally can help enormously.

<Snip>

Don't forget men in "women's jobs", perhaps less accepted. For example male early years education workers carrying out the care part of their job is still something not accepted. Even more equal societies aren't truly equal with men doing so called women's jobs.

I think the very fact you didn't apply the flip side to the part of your post I put in bold says a lot. If even our more enlightened and considered posters misses it shows imbalance not really considered by wider society.