Magdalen Berns is a YouTuber, who unsurprisingly, is trans exclusionary. We’ve been having backs and forths on Twitter for a while, and after reading my blog she agreed with a few things I had to say. Also she disagreed with other things I had to say. We got to talkin’ all civil and friendly like and well, I said I’d critique her video. Here’s that critique, and here’s the video so you can play along at home.
1:08 – “The DSM V introduced substantial changes to the criteria”
Not really. The changes are in essence, in name-only. The other changes that happened cut out large chunks of what was considered to be necessary for a diagnosis of trans when the DSM IV was written. These chunks were largely unpracticed by medical professionals, and if you weren’t cherry picking the DSM V which is largely used in America. You’d have chance to read the ICD which is what a lot of Gender Clinics here in the UK use.
The ICD is the international classification of diseases. My diagnosis for transsexualism given to me by a doctor comes from the ICD 10, not from the DSM. The ICD 10 is having an update too, changing Transsexualism to Gender Incongruence.
The chunks cut out from the DSM’s definition were mostly surrounding the idea that A) calling it a disorder causes problems for people and B) that sexuality has literally nothing to do with gender. Which I’m pretty sure you (Magdalen), as a lesbian, can probably agree with. Being a lesbian doesn’t some how make you not a woman, no?
1:43 “They haven’t deemed sex to be relevant enough to provide a definition for”
Because sex is a common term that we all know the definition for (I’d hope) and it’s not actually that relevant. We’re talking about gender, not sex. For most people Gender will align with sex, these are people who aren’t trans. The two terms are essentially interchangeable for people who aren’t trans, and its understandable that a lot of people don’t understand that they are different things – because for most, they don’t seem that way.
However for trans people we’re fully aware that they aren’t the same thing, its sort of a biological fact of our reality and all that. Why would a definition for a mental condition regarding gender need to include sex at all, other than to reference the distance trans people want to put between our bodies and it?
2:02 “The APA’s definition of gender suggests it is socially constructed”
You say, by not only concealing part of their definition, but also by ignoring the “usually” part of their definition. Just a heads up, usually doesn’t mean necessarily. Legal recognition is not a necessary quality of gender. So you can’t use legality as a way of arguing its a social construct.
Then you go on to reveal the biological factors part of the definition and act confused about how biological factors inform gender. Which is kinda funny… since you actually showed a still from Blaire White’s video. Where within the first two minutes she actually covered exactly how Gender isn’t a social construct. So you should probably just go watch that maybe.
If we go back to the definition you used for sex – which you agree, isn’t a social construct its a biological one. You can see there are “hormones” listed in the category of what determines sex. Hormones and their effects are not social constructs. Seeing tits and thinking “that’s a girl” isn’t a social construct. This is how biological factors play into gender – because where as a trans woman is male sexed, that doesn’t alter the fact that she’s also female gendered – based on biological constructs.
and what a coincidence… our medication for our condition is…. hormones!
2:44 “They’re using gender and sex interchangeably”
I covered this already in this post scroll up.
3:09 “All aspects of sex are determined biologically”
This is true, yeah. That doesn’t somehow mean gender and sex aren’t intrinsically related to each other – they aren’t the same though. The sociological and psychological aspects of gender are – in non-trans people, a direct result of sex. In trans people they are negatively exacerbated by the mismatach between gender and sex. This is what dysphoria is.
5:22 “That’s the dysphoria (regarding point 7 of the DSM V criteria for children”
Correction, that’s physical dysphoria. Dysphoria isn’t just physical. Not to mention this is only one medical criteria for gender dysphoria in children specifically. The ICD 10 has different ideas as shown here. And I believe clinics in the UK have specific guidelines on how to deal with possibly trans kids – which I’ll get into in another post sometime.
But in short, they have far stricter requirements to be considered trans than adults. Their rules are different to the rules of adult trans people. Neither of your points regarding dysphoria criteria for kids really stand up when you don’t just cherry pick the DSM V as the ICD 10 states : “(gender dysphoria in children is) characterized by a persistent and intense distress about assigned sex, together with a desire to be (or insistence that one is) of the other sex”. There’s more to the definition, but I linked it above. Feel free to look.
Also note how it ends: “The diagnosis requires a profound disturbance of the normal gender identity; mere tomboyishness in girls or girlish behaviour in boys is not sufficient” ie – it doesn’t actually rely on stereotypes and GNC kids dont get diagnosed as trans.
The significant distress part is about their gender – not about what other people think of their gender. You’re a kinda GNC woman no? Go see if you can get a diagnosis of trans without lying to your clinician. Won’t happen and you’ll see they make sure that they find out whether its about what others think of you or whether its about how you feel about your gender.
6:55 – whenever we get off the adult criteria, I’ll take each criticism as it comes.
“it’s an incongruence but it doesn’t refer to the other gender”
An incongruence is essentially a fancy word for “mismatch” if we agree that there are only two genders and only two sexes – then if we have a mismatch it must be in reference to the other gender.
If only A + B exist then the only possible congruent examples are AA and BB. These match. Examples of incongruence would, in this system, inherently imply the other letter. There’s no way to have incongruence in this system without the letters being that of the other, ie AB or BA.
“if you search the terms Non-binary…”
I’ve covered Non-binary folk before, but needless to say – we live in a system where A + B are the only options – Non binary is merely a rejection of that system, not an invalidation of it. People choose to handle their condition outside of the sex/gender binary – which is their decision. This strays away from the medical side of things towards the identity politics side of things as NB is a form of identity. However its important to note that some people with the medical condition Gender Dysphoria, choose to identify as NB because that’s what helps them deal with their dysphoria.
“they don’t necessarily want to be described as male…”
This is true when we’re talking about transtrender types who don’t suffer dysphoria. However when we’re talking about those who do suffer dysphoria – I’m yet to meet an NB person who wasn’t a trans man in everything except name.
“adolescent girls don’t like their bodies”
Good thing this criteria doesn’t just apply to adolescent girls then huh. It’s a criteria that applies to all and a doctor/therapist will be able or should be able to talk the problems out with you. To really find out whether what you’re experiencing is typical puberty blues or something more sinister and troublesome. Dysphoria isn’t the same thing as being upset about stretch marks because you grew too fast. It’s a far more profound sense of discomfort.
“you could easily tick 1 & 5 and get a diagnosis for gender dysphoria”
No… no you couldn’t. If you could, go tell your GP that you’re experiencing 1&5, ask for a referral and then when you get your appointment at a GIC tell them that. It honestly won’t be enough.
“not the truth just the conviction!!”
This is kinda misunderstanding the point of that word being used. Its used because there is no objective measure of what is feelings of the other gender. So there is literally no way to say that it is the truth, only a way to say that these people have a strong conviction of such.
“you dont need to want to transition to be considered transgender according to the APA”
Kinda? I suppose. This is a huge debate happening in trans circles as it is. The point of these rules is that it would be barbaric to tell people that they must get surgery they don’t necessarily want if they want to get support and therapy for the condition.
The condition itself works on levels of severity, like all conditions. You can have minor dysphoria and just want a little therapy now and then and you can have severe dysphoria where nothing short of full transition will help you. The condition itself isn’t as simple as “all these people experience the exact same thing in the exact same quantities.”
This is also why the name in the ICD 10 got updated from Transsexualism to Gender Incongruence in the ICD 11 – because not all people who suffer this condition will want to fully transition. However that decision not to fully transition doesn’t invalidate the fact they have the condition. Forcing them to do so in order to get medical support (therapy) is fundamentally wrong, on so many levels.
“the APA don’t support that there are only two genders…”
Except they do. They just recognise that there are multiple ways of expressing gender and more specifically gender dysphoria – and those ways include people who reject the binary altogether such as the agender and non-binary. These are not new genders, and they don’t state that as such anywhere.
If I left anything out, feel free to DM me or comment on this.