"I don’t know, but it seems that people with a deep-seated feeling of discomfort in their body is a fairly new phenomenon….Or was it just kept hidden in some way. Isn’t psychological-help helpful?"
T H, this phenomenon is not "new;" there are accounts of people preferring to adopt the clothing and roles of the opposite gender throughout history. The NUMBERS, perhaps, are new, and this may reflect the growing confusion our dominant culture currently inculcates everyone with, the notion that "there's no such thing as truth;" that "truth is what you say it is;" "what's true for you," etc. Finally, what IS new is the ability and techniques to alter a person's body significantly to be able to claim that they have had a "sex change," although when you look at the actual results of these surgeries (and, for the record, it always takes multiple surgeries, not just one), I expect any clear-eyed person would have to admit that in fact, post-surgical "transgendered" people have not, in fact, managed to change their sex; they've only done a more complicated, more dangerous, and irreversible version of what the historical cases did in adopting the clothing and other outward trappings of the opposite sex.
This is, according to Walt Heyer, an author who underwent "sex change" and lived as a woman for 8 years before realizing he'd made a terrible, terrible mistake, one of the most painful realizations that he had to come to terms with: the fact that, after ALL the hormones and surgeries and the great discomfort and disruption to his (and all his loved ones') lives, in fact he still was NOT a woman. He was only a kind of poor substitute, a "faux" woman. The sad (for him, at the time) truth was that, no matter how he altered his body, he would never actually be a woman. It may be this painful realization (among others) that leads to the huge upswing in post-surgical transgender suicides about 8 to 10 years after the surgeries.
As to your question regarding whether psychological help is helpful, indeed it certainly can be. With children, in fact, the vast majority of children who come to the attention of someone with "gender confusion" or potential "gender identity disorder" (which we're not going to be able to "officially" call that anymore. . . ) will simply grow out of it with time and a reasonable social environment. In other words, as children are growing, it is really NOT that big a deal if they express something along the lines of "I wish I was a boy" (or girl, whatever the other gender is). Often the "problem" is as simple as finding out what the wish is really about (maybe his little sister gets all the attention? maybe a little girl really wants to play baseball but someone has given her the impression that that is not an appropriate activity for a girl? maybe the little boy wants to play the oboe but his father--or his culture in general--sends the message that he has to play a more "masculine" instrument because "oboes are for girls"--or even that he can't be a musician at all because that's not manly? etc.).
With teens and adults who experience this disorder (and I'm going to continue to call it a disorder, since until extremely recently, everybody agreed it was, and it is clearly disordered to wish that healthy parts of your body should be surgically removed), again, there are track records of successful therapeutic treatments. The problem is that, going the way of homosexuality in the '70's, the politically-correct "thought police" are now telling us we can't call it a disorder, which means it can't be ethically TREATED by psychologists who otherwise would like to help. They'll have to do some contortions to give "acceptable" diagnoses and pursue treatments. But some, still driven by the deep desire to help people, and courageous enough to go against the flow, will do so, even as they continue to assist people with SSA to come to terms with their sexuality in healthy and constructive ways.
So yes, various forms of therapy CAN help. The question is only whether they will be ALLOWED to help (or just drowned out by the "celebrations" of high-profile mutilations and the constant drone of shoutings-down as "bigoted" and "phobic" of anyone who tries to offer such help), and how much trouble anybody TRYING to help is going to be given when they do try to help (currently, there are people trying to pass laws to prevent anyone from trying to help people with SSA who would like help with that; this may be
next on the docket).
D on Thursday, Jun 11, 2015 2:20 PM (EDT) wrote:
"I saw a TV show featuring a beautiful woman—to all appearances—whose
periods had not started when she went to college. Genetic testing showed she
was actually XY—the male genotype.
According to Texas law (where she resided) she is legally a man.
What is she? Man or woman?
There was a man who served as a man in the armed services. A CT scan showed
uterus and non-functioning ovaries in his abdomen.
Is he a man or a woman?
These anomalies might be the result of a world spoiled by centuries of sin,
but do show that there are no simplistic attitudes that cover all bases."
Yes, there are cases of developmental problems that do result in either
ambiguous genitalia, or external genitalia that do not match internal sex
organs, or other physically confusing disorders of development. However,
these are EXTREMELY RARE. In these cases, we do need to carefully treat each
case as a precious individual and see what the reality of existence is for
each of them. Because these cases ARE extremely rare, that's really not much
of an issue (although I'm sure the popular media are busily at work finding
every possible angle and exploiting it to the full, thereby making it seem
like "intersex" people are just milling about everywhere these days. . . ).
In the Jenner case, there is NO question that Bruce Jenner was born as a
normally-developed male; his ability to engender children demonstrates that;
so in this case, we are looking at someone who is NOT experiencing anything
like what you are referring to, but only a psychological "mis-fit" between
their physical body (normally developed) and their desire to adopt the
appearance and role of the opposite sex. As others have already pointed out,
psychological professionals still are directed by the DSM to believe that,
if someone wants their normally-developed and -functioning legs cut off
because they desire the identity of an amputee, that is a disorder; it is
only when someone wants their normally-developed and -functioning sex organs
amputated that we suddenly need to treat their pathology as some kind of
"beautiful" and "courageous" expression of self. Something is rotten in the
state of APA. . .
Note: Questions and my answers were originally posted in the comments section from: