Gethin is another commenter who is operating at a higher level than I am. I like to talk about whether I would have wanted to do Christine Jorgensen, or my gut reaction to Jenner's picture. Gethin has a more sophisticated way of looking at things; here are his comments from yesterday, in reaction to Remnant's post. (I'm also transcribing Remnant's reply to Gethin, and putting that in the comment section below, along with Gethin's response to that.)
1. I'll start with Remnant's frog analogy: In the process of embryonic and foetal development, do humans and frogs undergo a process of differentiation between human and frog, remaining human (or frog) unless specifically triggered to develop as a frog (or human)? Does the human/frog brain also differentiate between human and frog, sometimes incompletely? Have there been identified (and surprisingly common) cases of “inter-species” conditions similar to intersex conditions, where people or frog have been observed to have partial features of both humans and frogs, or have human DNA with a frog-appearing body, or frog DNA with a human-appearing body? If any of this actually happened, Remnant's analogy would be sound.
2. Dr Harry Benjamin hypothesised in the 1950s that transsexualism is probably caused by an influx of oestrogen during gestation, permanently feminising their brains, with modern science confirming this:
The brains of transsexuals react to certain smells in a 'female' way: http://cercor.oxfordjournals.org/content/18/8/1900.full
In contrast to Dr Benjamin, early SJWs like Dr John Money theorised that all gender-related behaviour was learned and there weren't any neural differences between males and females. We now know that, not only are there innate behavioural differences established before individuals are born, but these differences can be manipulated via hormone injections. It would be unethical to do this to a human foetus, but it has been tried with animals:
"In animal models such as the development of birdsong in finches, exposing chicks to androgens or aromatisable estrogens during critical windows of development permanently masculinises the female brain so that later exposure of the female to androgens will result in the development of birdsong. In females not so exposed to androgens, the administration of androgen as an adult cannot induce birdsong...A similar situation occurs in rodents where the application of androgens to XX animals can masculinise elements of reproductive behaviour in later life...These hormonal manipulations can only alter behaviour during certain temporal windows in development. Outside these critical periods hormonal exposure has no effect on future behavioural patterns"
(Barrett: 2007: 158)
3. You don't know whether Jenner is XY or not. No one knows what their karyotypes are until they're tested. A recent study showed that mosaicism is far more common than previously imagined.
Furthermore, scientists have found numerous chromosomal differences in transsexuals:
Androgen receptor genes in transsexuals are much longer than those of normal men: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18962445
58% of female-born transsexuals have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: http://humrep.oxfordjournals.org/content/22/4/1011.full.pdf
Another study shows female-born transsexuals to have a significant difference in their sex steroid gene compared to female controls: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17765230
4. It used to be understood that "a man" was someone with a flat chest and a penis and "a woman" someone with breasts and a vagina. Now that transsexuals have arrived on the scene, the goalposts have been shifted and "a man" is someone with XY chromosomes and "a woman" XX. So where do XX individuals born with functioning testicles and penises fit into this - are they women? And what about XY individuals born with vaginas who naturally develop breasts as teenagers - should we class them men?
Scientists have now found a way of changing the genetic sex of mice. A single gene has been identified - FOXL2 - which keeps females female. Switch this gene off, and ovaries morph into testes and begin pumping out testosterone. Is a mouse with testes female if it was born with ovaries? If so, how does that fit in with the "genetic sex" standards you're setting? Would we have to move the goalposts again if such technology became available for humans?
5. I am NOT arguing that Jenner is a full woman here. I accept that transsexuals are not women in the same way as, say, Queen Elizabeth II is a woman. But what I am arguing is that transsexualism is not fantasy-based as Remnant claims. Remnant's view that transsexualism "denies biological reality" reminds me of the 1960s view that autism, homosexuality and schizophrenia were all down to "poor parenting" or similar environmental factors and that people with such behaviour could be 'cured' with enough psychotherapy. We now know that autistics don't react to the hormone oxytocin properly, that schizophrenics have faulty dopamine receptors and that homosexuals have a difference in their hypothalamuses in comparison to heterosexuals. This is why no amount of psychotherapy has managed to cure any of the three groups.
Homosexuals, if left alone, can lead completely normal lives - leading to the RCPsych view that homosexuality is in no way a disease. Autistics have shown promising results in experiments with oxytocin therapy, and schizophrenics have a better prognosis with antipsychotic medication. Psychotherapy for any of them is snake oil, seeing as human behaviour is BIOLOGICAL, NOT ENVIRONMENTAL. Transsexuals are the same: psychotherapy has never worked on them and 98% of them carry on living as women until death after they have surgery.
6. You don't have to teach your children that this is normal, any more that you have to teach your kids that autism is normal, because it isn't. SJWs and the left-wing media wants us to accepts all sorts of things, including the idea that Islam is a tolerant, peaceful religion. Hardly anyone accepts that about Islam, but most people still treat Muslims politely. From Jan Morris to Lynn Conway to Joan Roughgarden, transsexuals have demonstrated that they can be productive members of society. Let's just have an "each to his own" attitude to them, seeing as they can no more help the way the pre-natal hormones altered their brains than autistics can help their genetic differences.