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A George Rekers Case Study: Where Is “Joan”?

Jim Burroway

July 18th, 2011

In the wake of George Reker’s “luggage-gate” scandal, the sad case history of his most famous case study, that of four-year-old “Kriag,” once again came to the surface. That started a chain of questions: who was “Kraig,” where was he, and most importantly, how was he? A year later, and as a result of BTB’s original investigation, we now know the tragic answer to those questions.

But Kirk Murphy, the real little boy behind Rekers’s “Kraig” wasn’t Rekers’s only client, not by any means. In a chapter that Rekers contributed to Innovations In Clinical Practice: A Source Book, Volume 16 (1998), Rekers reprised five of those case histories including Kirk’s, with some of those case histories going all the way back to Rekers’s 1972 doctoral dissertation (where Kirk also made his appearance alongside several other children). The same questions apply: who are they, where are they, and most importantly, how are they?

Take for example, fourteen-year-old “Joan”, who Rekers described this way in 1998:

Because of her mother’s two divorces, 14-year-old Joan had experienced very little affection or attention from adult males. When she first appeared in our clinic, she insisted that she had felt like a boy all her life. She bragged that no one could ever get her to wear a dress, and she wore a distinctly masculine shirt, a black leather jacket, faded blue jeans, and cowboy boots. She openly talked about her strong sexual interest in other girls as sexual partners, not as a “homosexual” but as a “male” wanting a girlfriend (Rekers & Mead, 1980).

Joan’s voice inflection was notably artificially low, imitating a man’s gruff voice, and her speech content was stereotypically focused on masculine topics. Her gestures and mannerisms were exaggeratedly masculine, as was her style of walking down the hall. She not only limited most of her social interactions to teenage boys, but she indicated her own cross-gender identification by referring to herself and this male peer group as “we.” She even failed physical education classes at school because she insisted on playing on the boys’ teams and upon using the boys’ locker room, both of which were denied to her by her school.

Joan was quite disgusted by her female pubertal development and tried to hide her breast development by wearing a masculine jacket or an overshirt that concealed her developing breasts. She refused to wear a bra and refused to use feminine hygiene articles. Presenting at our university-affiliated hospital, she requested transplantation of the male genitals of some teenage boy who wanted to be a girl, which was one of many of her repeated requests for sex-reassignment surgery.

Joan insisted that others call her “Paul,” but most of her peers rejected her altogether. Her only associates were a few socially maladjusted teen boys. She frequently suffered severe depressive episodes accompanied by suicidal ideation expressed in terms of wanting to be dead rather than to remain living with a female body.

Based on what we discovered while investigating Kirk Murphy’s childhood, it’s highly possible that Rekers’s description of “Joan” may be accurate in some areas and wildly off-base in others. “Joan” made her first appearance in the literature in 1980, when Rekers and Shasta Mead, a grad student at the University of Florida where Rekers was teaching at the time, published their paper, “Female Sex-Role Deviance: Early Identification and Developmental Intervention” in the Fall 1980 issue of the Journal of Clinical Child Psychology.  Their description of “Joan” contains a few more details, including why she wanted to be called “Paul”:

She preferred to be called “Paul” and strongly identified with Paul Stanley, a male rock star with a group called “Kiss”. She frequently crossdressed so that she resembled Paul Stanley, with white shoe polish on her face, a black star on her right eye, and red lipstick on her lips.

The paper uses “Joan” as an example of the difference between ordinary “tomboyism” (which Rekers and Meade thought was more or less innocuous) and what Rekers called “Gender Identity Disturbance,” the same label Rekers applied to Kirk. But unlike Kirk’s case, Rekers would never describe “Joan’s” treatment program in any of his published material, nor has he ever claimed any success in making “Joan” “normal.” What ultimately happened to “Joan,” Rekers doesn’t say and we don’t know. We have no idea whether “Joan” was gay, transgender, or a rebellious teen. But if you’re out there Joan, we would really like to hear from you.

See Also:
“Carl,” age 8½
“Joan,” age 14
“Paul,” age 8
“Wayne,” age 7
And, of course, “Kraig” (Kirk Murphy), age 4

Comments

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Hue-Man
July 18th, 2011 | LINK

I think anyone who has read your article on “Kraig” wants to know what happened and how she survived this mistreatment. My concern is, however, that if she is alive that she would be forced to become a public figure, a circus-freak show victim like the ones we see on American TV so often; to me that is a second victimization (unless telling the story publicly is her form of coming to terms with and overcoming her abuse).

Dawn
July 18th, 2011 | LINK

I’m curious if BTB will be just as supportive of her if she comes forward and says that her treatment days were helpful in getting her on the straight and narrow – will they provide a forum/tv interview with Anderson Cooper, etc?

Timothy Kincaid
July 18th, 2011 | LINK

Dawn,

I hope that we are supportive of her, regardless of her story.

I think that the fraud, abuse, callous disregard of the effect on the family, and the misery resulting from Kyle’s promised cure accompanied by the fact that an entire industry was founded on a false report was what interested Cooper.

I don’t know if “it worked” would be equally interesting to a television audience. But it would be interesting to me.

Jim Burroway
July 18th, 2011 | LINK

Dawn,

If “Joan” came forward with photos of her children and smiling preacher-husband and said the therapy with Rekers was the best think that ever happened to her — and that she’s saying all this without having being involved with the ex-gay movement in a leadership capacity — don’t you think that would be news? I do.

And while I don’t know whether Anderson Cooper would be willing to provide a forum, I would. Why not? It would probably be the most unusual story ever, since the only people who typically tell those kinds of stories are those who make a living in the ex-gay movement or have a similarly personal vested interest.

Erin
July 18th, 2011 | LINK

Methinks “kelly” is now “Dawn.”

Jim Burroway
July 18th, 2011 | LINK

Judging by ip addresses, “Dawn” does not appear to be “kelly”

Dawn
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

I am an avid reader of this site and didn’t mean for my words to come across as they have been taken.
I was however, wanting to look at this “research” from an unpopular side to consider and possibly prepare for.
I will go back to reading

William
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

I think that it would equally be news, and very welcome news at that, if “Joan” were to come forward and tell us that “treatment” given to her – IF any was in fact given – caused her no long-term damage, and that she is now living as a well-adjusted lesbian in a happy relationship with another woman.

MEP
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

As Kirk’s sister, my expectations are perhaps lower than the rest of yours. To start with, I simply want to know that she’s still alive. Beyond that, gay, straight, whatever – My hope is she is living her life as she is, not as a label someone else told she had to have.

Jim Burroway
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Dawn,

Please feel free to comment. What you brought up contributed very well to the discussion and is very much worth considering.

MEP:
You put it beautifully, much better than I did.

carol
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Not that this has to do with the discussion exactly but girls who are extremely masculine in childhood do not have the same rate of homosexuality in adulthood that feminine boys do. Several studies suggest this. So it might not be terribly surprising if she is married to a man and has children. Im not supporting any type of repressive therapy -absolutely not- Im just pointing out what we know right now from the research that exists.
Many parents are really struggling today to support our cross gender identified children. We also struggle not to over-support them if you will. Sometimes these children think they are the opposite gender in childhood but then grow out of that intense feeling and are happy instead to be a gay adult in the body they were born with.
It would be great if more LGBT people spoke about their childhood gender related development. The born this way website is a nice start. Many parents like me would like to hear more. Its possible to find women who talk freely about being masculine in childhood but its harder to find men who will talk freely about their girly behavior. The research suggests that most of these very feminine boys will be gay men and not truly transgender – parents like me would really appreciate hearing from those gay men telling their childhood stories,.

Jim Burroway
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Thanks carol for the points you raised. I think it is also important to point out as well that sexuality in women is often more fluid than it is in men.

Sometimes these children think they are the opposite gender in childhood but then grow out of that intense feeling and are happy instead to be a gay adult in the body they were born with.

Actually, the research shows that *most* children who identify with the opposite gender in childhood grow out of it and become gay and, as you put it, happy in the body they were born with. Researchers speculate that puberty has a lot to do with that change in direction. Before puberty, children understand sex roles more abstractly, and so if they feel like they identify with what others believe are “girly” activities and modes of relating to others, then that means they should be a girl. But once puberty hits, sexuality suddenly becomes much more personal and less abstract, and children come to appreciate their own bodies in ways they didn’t earlier, and quickly learn that their bodies play a much, much greater importance in how they see themselves and their relationship with others.

Of course, if the child is still dissatisfied with his or her body even after that transition into puberty, then it becomes much more clear-cut that we’re dealing with a transgender person. But it is extremely rare, which makes it very problematic to assume that a gender-variant child will automatically be a transgender adult before that child has hit puberty. This makes it doubley important, I think, to listen to the whole child, which includes listening to the 15-year-old child as well as the 6-year-old child, and to not put any children into a box that they will then feel the need to live up to as they get older.

Kate Middleton
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Hi Jim,

Thank you for your excellent work in investigating and exposing this.

The only research of which I am aware about the long term outcomes for feminine boys in childhood is Richard Greens. The children whom he “studied” did not declare themselves to be girls and turned out to be gay like Kirk Murphy.

This is very different to children who insist that they have the wrong body from an early age. There is a lot of evidence that this is neurobiological and is an endocrine problem and not psychiatric. The outcomes in Holland show that early intervention seems to lead to better outcomes.

The problem is that there is not nearly enough research in the area and psychiatry is a failed enterprise in this area. Transgender is not the same as transsexual/intersex as most of those under the transgender umbrella will not need medical help.

God help those children who do as Ken Zucker is still doing Rekers style therapy on kids.

I write with feeling as a survivor of traumatic behaviour modification in 1983/1984 and then decades of further medical abuse as I tried to find out what the evil bastards had done to me. I didn’t get the records until 20 years later and immediately set about researching.

I couldn’t believe that Rekers could get away with what he was doing whne I found out about it in 2005.

carol
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

All very true. Now if the trans-kid activists are reading they can attack you and not me.

Again, parents like me would so love to hear from gay men who grew up feeling very much like girls. I know it was and continues to be so difficult for boys/men to express any femininity in our world ( so I know even remembering feelings like this could be difficult) but it would be so very meaningful for parents like us to know that some gay men today do in fact remember an intense girl-ness of their childhoods. If anyone knows a forum where gay men discuss this kind of childhood girl-ness, I would love to find it.

carol
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

My “all very true” statement was meant for Jim and not for Kate.

Kate – do you have some evidence that Green did not include boys who declared themselves to be girls? There is no reason to think that these kids are not included in the studies. This is precisely why the puberty blocking route is so very controversial.

Kate Middleton
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Hi Carol,

I think you may be misreading what I am saying: girly behaviour and insisting that you are a girl and needing to change your body are quite different.

The children studied by Green were selected for girly behaviour and not for insisting that they were girls. most of them turned out gay.

It is very common for girls to be tomboys but turn out to heterosexual women and it is therefore reasonable to assume that children with a birth condition would be the same.

The assumption of a causal link between playing with dolls and so called transsexualism in adulthood is a red herring.

Darina
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

I was a little girl who hated pink and was secretly bored to death with dolls. I wasn’t very drastically “gender discordant” (I did love frilly dresses and ribbons in my hair), but still… I was lucky that it was considered normal in my country for a girl to play the local ball games and to generally be as physically active as the boys. Switching between games with my brother’s toy truck on a string and “cooking” games with my female cousin was nothing unisual for me, and luckily no cause of concern for the adults.

Now, at 38 years old, I’m more of a “tomboy” than ever, yet I’m a heterosexual woman. :)

Erin
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Jim, I don’t think sexuality is more fluid in women, I just think the fluidity is more visible because the stigma is different for men than it is for women. Men are better at hiding it.

Priya Lynn
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

I think you hit the nail on the head Erin.

Timothy Kincaid
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Dawn,

Please always feel free to comment. If you are thinking it, you probably are not alone.

Darina
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

So, if Rekers exaggerated as heavily as with “Kraig” in this case, maybe the girl was just a bit of a tomboy, or maybe it was just her parents’ perception that she wasn’t feminine enough, who knows? She could be anywhere on the sexual orientation or gender identity spectrum.

To be honest, even the possibility that she might be an entirely fictional character crossed my mind.

Timothy Kincaid
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Erin,

I think perhaps you are confusing two things.

There is a breadth of sexual attraction for each of us, some wider and some more narrow. For example one person might experience attraction only to a specific range of people based on masculinity/femininity, gender, body type, race, etc. while another person with a wider breadth might experience attraction to, for example, pretty much all types of men and also self-confident women.

Men, generally have narrower ranges of attraction than women. This is pretty much consistently found in the “how man people are gay” studies: men tend to be either straight or gay with fewer bisexuals, while there appear to be significantly more bisexual women than there are lesbians. (And my entirely non-scientific observations hold the same. The gay men I know tend to date within “types” while the lesbians I know may date people who seem to have nothing at all in common with each other.)

In addition to breadth of attraction, we also speak of fluidity of attraction. But fluidity is not a measure of movement within one’s range (i.e. a bisexual who dates a man and then switches to dating a woman). It’s a measure of how the boundaries change.

And there does appear to be a certain amount of fluidity that can be documented in some women.

A while back there was a sudden spate of high profile lesbians who spontaneously, and to their surprise, found themselves emotionally, sexually, and romantically attracted to a man. As this had been outside their previous range, it would seem that they experienced some measure of fluidity. (But it should be emphasized that this spontaneous change has not been found to correlate to efforts to change.)

This does not seem to be observed at all in gay men. There are not, to my knowledge, many stories – if any – of exclusively homosexual men who spontaneously found that they were in love with a woman. Some explore their bisexuality, but I don’t know of any who report newfound heterosexual attraction.

So it is both fair and accurate to say that women, generally, experience both greater breadth of attraction and fluidity in their attractions than do men, generally.

Priya Lynn
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

I’ll take Erin’s word for what women are like over a gay man’s any day.

Timothy Kincaid
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

Priya Lynn

you are entitled to your opinion.

Priya Lynn
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

You really don’t know what your talking about Timothy. Because of the stigma associated with gayness bisexual men tend to be exclusively in opposite sex relationships, that’s why you’re unfamiliar with them. There aren’t any fewer bisexual men than there are bisexual women but because for the most part only very gay men are involved in same sex relationships gay men are often under the false impression a man is either hetero or gay.

For women there is far less stigma associated with bisexuality, in fact in many instances its encouraged by society. Women are more open about their bisexuality and thus more willing to be in same sex relationships.

What you see as fluidity in high profile “lesbians” becoming involved with men is not fluidity but rather bisexuality. Because women frequently have a much, much lower sex drive than men its easy for a woman in a same sex relationship to be relatively unaware of her bisexuality and be “surprised” when after spending time around a man she finds herself sexually attracted to him.

You may now respond with your childish “you are entitled to your opinion”.

Jim Burroway
July 19th, 2011 | LINK

I will take the word of a lesbian who has been studying the phenomenon of sexual fluidity for several years over the word of someone who conjectures over anecdotes and nonsequiters:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18194000

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12585809

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10749081

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9779753

And others have found the same thing:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21707407

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21584828

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinions. Even those who aren’t familiar with the research.

Donny D.
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

Jim, five of those six links dealt only with women, and in the sixth I didn’t see anything that clearly supported what Timothy was saying about the supposed lower incidence of bisexuality among men.

As a bisexual man, I think Priya Lynn is the most right about this. There’s a great deal of anti-bisexual bigotry in both the straight and gay camps. There’s a lot of pressure to be (or to let them think you are) exclusively heterosexual or homosexual. If you’re a bisexual man, you find yourself shutting up about your heterosexuality when you are with gay people.

I don’t agree with Priya, however that “for the most part only very gay men are involved in same sex relationships”. Plenty of openly gay men have heterosexuality in their past, girlfriends with whom they had very satisfactory sex, or females spouses, sometimes for periods measurable in decades. Normally, though, they just don’t talk about it when they are around other openly gay people.

I’ve believed for years and continue to believe that male closet cases greatly outnumber openly gay men. There’s just too much weirdness from straight men on the subject of homosexuality for this not to be true. Since most of the closet cases would be bisexual, I’d have to agree with Priya that many more bisexual men are in relationships with women than with men.

Though that doesn’t necessarily stop those men from “stepping out” to scratch the same sex itch….

My guess is that results showing lower bisexuality among men are due in large measure to men lying to researchers and/or themselves.

Another question, though, is why someone would want to believe in a big bulge of exclusive heterosexuality on one end of the scale with a smaller bulge of exclusive homosexuality on the other end and almost nothing in between.

Donny D.
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

MEP,
That’s my hope too, that “Joan” is alive and okay. After that, her story is what it is.

Priya Lynn
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

Donny, I’ve spent a lot of time around heterosexual men. A lot of them were homophobes but a lot more were pretty comfortable about gayness and they often joked about being gay, grabbed other men’s butts and crotchs, talked about what desirable rear ends other men had, joked about having sex with them and so on. All were in heteroexual relationships, none of them ever in a gay relationship but its clear to me there was way too much comfort and enjoyment in “gay play” for most of them to not be bisexual to at least a small degree.

Back when I was in middle school and had a penis I’d have sleepovers with 4 different classments and some fondling went on with all of them. This was in a class of about 30 with 15 males. All of those four are married to women and have been for decades.

A lot of gay men think because a few of them falsely claimed bisexuality before they were comfortable with their gayness and they don’t see many actual bisexual men that there are none. That’s most certainly not the case.

As far as the abstracts Jim posted they support what I was saying, not what he was saying. Most say while there was variation in self labels and behavior attractions did not change. Changes in labels and behaviors mean nothing in terms of attractions. I changed labels myself a number of times as well as behaviors but the attractions to both sexes remained.

Jim will likely disagree with me, but people who misinterpret the “research” are entitled to their opinions as well.

Jim Burroway
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

The last link I provided includes a discussion of male sexual fluidity and female sexual fluidity.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21584828

I don’t know offhand whether there is a lower rate of bisexuality among men. I would have to look into that further to confirm or refute it. But that’s a different topic.

I think some people are confusing two very different concepts: sexual fluidity and bisexuality. Because people’s sexual attractions may spontaneoulsly move to a certain degree over the course of a lifetime, it is naturally assumed that they are therefore bisexual. In fact, that last study I re-linked above suggests that this assumption is supported for men. Bisexual men experience more fluidity, while gay and straight men experience considerably less.

But what the studies have found is that for women, degrees of fluidity can exist across the spectrum, including at the ends. Over the course of a lifetime, sure, you can call them “bisexual” if you want, but that label may be a strange one to the person you want to apply it to at particular points in that person’s lifetime. When someone at one point has no attractions at all to one particular gender, then that person is at one end of a spectrum and not somewhere where she isn’t. If that changes, then that person has experienced fluidity. Perhaps toward bisexuality, pehaps toward the opposite ed (although I suspect that is rare). But it does not mean that they were always bisexual. That is fluidity in a nutshell.

And circling back to “Joan” and the hope that she is living authentically and healthily toady regardless of her outcome, the same must also be true for those who experiece sexual fluidity. They, too, deserve not to be put into a box with the expectation that they must remain in that box for their entire life, whether that box is gay, straight or bisexual.

Jim Burroway
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

Pryia

As far as the abstracts Jim posted they support what I was saying, not what he was saying. Most say while there was variation in self labels and behavior attractions did not change. Changes in labels and behaviors mean nothing in terms of attractions. I changed labels myself a number of times as well as behaviors but the attractions to both sexes remained.

Jim will likely disagree with me, but people who misinterpret the “research” are entitled to their opinions as well.

I can only post abstracts because posting entire articles amount to copyright violations. I encourage you to do what I have done: Go to the library ad look them up. But even with the abstracts alone, your misinterpretations in the first paragraph supports your second paragraph. You can misinterpret it all you want, but you are entitled to your opinions.

Priya Lynn
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

I should add that I’m 50 now, if as many gay men like to claim bisexuality is a phase, its an awfully long phase for me.

Priya Lynn
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

Jim said “Bisexual men experience more fluidity, while gay and straight men experience considerably less.”.

LOL, Jim, there’s the flaw in your logic. If attractions were fluid, they’d be fluid for all individuals. To say because bisexuals are attracted to both sexes and shift the gender of their partners over a lifetime that their attractions are fluid is simply wrong. We shift partners because we are attracted to both sexes, not because our attractions have changed from one to the other.

I note in the first abstract Jim linked to over the 10 year period most women changed labels but by the end most had settled on a bisexual label or “unlabeled” which is what a lot of bisexuals prefer to call themselves to avoid the obnoxiousness of some gays and heterosexuals who try to inist they are really just gay or straight. Further it notes that the bisexual/unlabelled women’s attractions were stable over time, but reports on attraction levels fluctuated from report to report. This is not due to a change in attractions but due to a change in outside stimulus. If one is with a very atttractive female and not having many very attractive males in her life one may think she’s more attracted to women when in fact its only the outside stimulus that has changed, not the attractions themselves. Similarly if one is exposed to more attractive men than women one might think she has developed greater attractions to men, but once again, the stimulus has changed, not the attractions.

I encourage people to read the abstractions Jim linked to for themselves and note the talk about “fluidity” in labels and behaviors, but not so much in attractions. Jim has misinterpreted what he’s read out of bias confirmation.

Ultimately Erin was right at the very beginning “Jim, I don’t think sexuality is more fluid in women, I just think the fluidity is more visible because the stigma is different for men than it is for women. Men are better at hiding it.”.

This will be my last post on this thread but I will say one thing: I am impressed by the level of arrogance amongst some gay men who think they are in a better position to describe the nature of bisexuality than us bisexuals are ourselves.

Timothy Kincaid
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

Oh arrogant me, apparently my hubris is so grand that I will actually quote from large research projects instead of taking the word of a bisexual. Fool that I am, I didn’t realize that bisexuals know everything there is to know about bisexuality (and, being bisexual, about homosexuality and heterosexuality as well) and its rate of identity and the CDC could save itself a ton of money by just asking one. Perhaps we should notify the Census department before they include questions about sexual orientation and just ask a bisexual for the info.

Or, alternately, we could look at the studies.

This is pretty much consistently found in the “how man people are gay” studies: men tend to be either straight or gay with fewer bisexuals, while there appear to be significantly more bisexual women than there are lesbians.

Just a bit of the research:

Gary Gates’s analysis

The CDC

The NSSHB

But those believe that disagreeing with them is the same as misinterpreting research are, as always, entitled to their own opinion.

Jim Burroway
July 20th, 2011 | LINK

Pryia, you’re an idiot. And yes, I am in violation of our comments policy. But it’s a fact that if you’re not an idiot you’re behaving like one, so sue me.

That’s not my logic you think you aha! found a flaw in. I’m just telling you what the research says. I dont have a dog in this one way or another But if you insist on misrepresenting what I’m writing ON THIS WEB PAGE where everyone can just scroll up and see it, then you destroy your credibility when you claim that only you can correctly divine the written word in accordance with your opinions. Engaging you is futile, as it is impossible to engage a closed mind. I’m done with you.

Donny D.
July 21st, 2011 | LINK

Timothy wrote:

Oh arrogant me, apparently my hubris is so grand that I will actually quote from large research projects instead of taking the word of a bisexual. Fool that I am, I didn’t realize that bisexuals know everything there is to know about bisexuality (and, being bisexual, about homosexuality and heterosexuality as well) and its rate of identity and the CDC could save itself a ton of money by just asking one. Perhaps we should notify the Census department before they include questions about sexual orientation and just ask a bisexual for the info.

Timothy, if you have a problem with something that Priya Lynn, or I, or the both of us have written, you have a funky way fo expressing that. This paragraph sounds ambiguously like Priya Lynn, or I, or the both of us, might not be the only bisexual people you have a beef with. I would have been happier with you naming Priya, me, or the both of us if that was who your remarks were directed toward.

Amicus
July 21st, 2011 | LINK

2-cents?

Erin’s statement cannot be refuted on the facts, because it is a claim that (empirical) measurement of the facts is biased. There is no way to design a current study to test her thesis (or Donny’s conjecture), as it would involve an entire remake of a society’s current mores.

Priya’s claim that ‘attractions abide’, and most (if not all) instability is with stimuli, also seems one of those claims that may be true, but are almost impossible to measure. “Identity stability” for a “fluid identity” has to be a tricky concept to grasp for an individual, let alone measure for a researcher.

It is possible that some ‘identity instability’ for bi-sexuals lies with the fluidity itself. To complete the identity, some part of the self must be recognized as apart from any partner. Put another way, when you are with a man, there must be some ‘part’ reserved for women; and visa-versa. These dichotomies exist in other areas, as well. Temporizing helps, but it is still a source of … “instability”. The point of observing so much would be to suggest that that is an alternative hypothesis that is hard to measure as well.

Last, to the point about going to the library to read these papers, I would rather like to meet the apparently hunky S. Mock, PhD:

http://www.ahs.uwaterloo.ca/~smock/

Timothy Kincaid
July 21st, 2011 | LINK

Donny,

My sarcasm was directed to this sentence from Priya Lynn: “I am impressed by the level of arrogance amongst some gay men who think they are in a better position to describe the nature of bisexuality than us bisexuals are ourselves.” I should have put it in quotes so as to be clearer.

I have no problem with your comments as you were clear that you were stating opinion and weren’t pretending that your opinion trumps all.

And you are right that there is anti-bi bias in both the gay and the straight communities. Bisexuals are sort of relegated to an “also” category, not a convenient component of gay rights efforts (cuz “they already can marry”) and not a focus of the phobes (because they don’t much believe you exist).

Those are relevant points and I certainly have been guilty of leaving bi folk on the edges in my commentaries as well. All true.

Hypatia
July 22nd, 2011 | LINK

This discussion makes invisible the transsexual people who did violate gender norms in childhood, and were coerced by parents, teachers, and peers to be straight… but who did not go around insisting that they were in the wrong body. Growing up with the whole world ganging up on you to tell you you’re wrong about who you are, forcing you to doubt who you are, often causes terrible confusion in young children such that they never reach such clarity about who they are until well into adulthood.

For many trans individuals, although you can always find abundant indications of transsexualism in individuals going back into early childhood, it was not always declared as such outright. When you’re raised with fear of being yourself literally pounded into you with physical violence, it may take many years to get out from under the suffocating fear and denial, to acknowledge who you really are.

Beware of oversimplifications in predicting which kids turn out to be transsexual and which don’t. Very often, you just don’t know in childhood. Individuals with different personalities and different life experiences are not going to manifest it always the same way. Many of us lacked the self-assurance and assertiveness to be able to speak up for ourselves in childhood. I feel invisible after reading the debates here about who can be considered trans and who can’t.

Désirée
July 22nd, 2011 | LINK

A question for Jim & Timothy et al.

Has there been any thought/discussion to adding anyone from the lbt part of glbt to the staff here? Might help to alleviate the (perception of) heavy gay male bios that crops up occasionally, particularly in discussions that focus on l’s b’s or t’s.

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