Gender is innate and evolved; it is not the result of ‘socialisation’, as the blank slate ideology contests. No serious scientist believes the blank slate hypothesis now, other than a few contrarians who allow their political beliefs to overshadow their rigour. The notion that gender — along with a raft of human behaviours — is ‘socialised’ has been completely, comprehensively and utterly debunked, for over 60 years.
Anyone who has experience of dealing with animals knows that male and female animals are very different, not just in the way that they look, but the way that they behave. In other words, they display innate gendered behavioural traits. Males tend to be more aggressive, females more nurturing.
There was a time when I, as so many now seem to profess to do, accepted that sexuality and sex were distinct from each other. Time and examination have since led me to a different understanding.
In general terms, when we are dealing with a natal sex binary (male/female) and without the influence of transsexualism, that premise is true. The fact that one is male or female is no determinant of a person’s sexuality. There are no shortages of homosexual and bisexual males and females and there seems to be no physical determining factor in either biological sex as to what makes someone gay or bi.
The introduction of transsexualism, though, brings a new dynamic into play when considering the sexuality of both of the transsexual themselves and their partner in relation to their natal sexes.
Social division into ‘men’ and ‘not men’ groups, together with a domestic matriarchy, explains why transsexual expressions in SE Asia differ from the West.
Male to Female transsexuals are normally scientifically categorised as homosexual or nonhomosexual with regard to their birth sex. I use the term HSTS for the former. Blanchard explained the latter in terms of autogynephilia, love of oneself as a woman. These we term autogynephiles or AGPs. There is a discrepancy, between the West and Asia, however. Whereas in the West, most AGPs are older and about 60% seek relationships with women, most AGPs in Asia transition much younger and are almost exclusively attracted to men. Why is this happening?
Much has made about the differences between autogynephilic transvestites (AGP) and homosexual transsexuals (HSTS). However, most of this work remains largely clinical and as such, it fails to connect to the sympathies of the public. An exception to this of course being J. Michael Bailey’s The Man who would be Queen, an almost pop-science interpretation of the data on transsexualism. Even this, despite being a nice read, is written from the perspective of a researcher. What I am getting at, if not already obvious, is that not much is written from the perspective of HSTS women.
I am an HSTS woman, and was invited by Rod to write a piece or two based on my experiences. I don’t usually get to share these with other people, and I thought this a good opportunity. I won’t get into much about my childhood — after you’ve heard a couple of HSTS’ childhood remembrances, you’ve pretty much heard them all — but I will give some basics.
So you’re planning to meet some ladyboys in Pattaya? Read this.
The whole of south-east Asia is remarkable for its highly visible populations of transsexual women. These are not at all the same as you may be used to thinking of, if you are a Westerner. They’re not like Bruce ‘Caitlyn’ Jenner. (See my discussions on Ray Blanchard for more details.)
Ladyboys in Thailand and across Asia are not like that at all. They are
beautiful and very sexy. They are extremely feminine in appearance and manners. From their early teens they use female hormones, often birth control pills which are freely available without prescription. These can turn them into staggeringly beautiful women. And the fact is that many men are powerfully attracted to them.
Plenty of men find transwomen attractive and will seek them out and even pay in order to have sex with them. Why? The travestis of Brazil and South America might show us.
Brazilian natal women are unquestionably amongst the most beautiful in the world, but South American women, including Brazilians, tend to be rather short in stature, at least on average. However, many South American men are very attracted to the classic Anglo-Saxon standards of beauty—tall, slender, blonde, blue eyes, pale skin and so on. Enter the travesti, as transsex women are often known in Latin America and parts of Europe. With her naturally greater height she has an immediate advantage in this marketplace. If she began taking hormones young, as manydo, there is every chance that she will be naturally pretty, and she will certainly do everything she can to maximise her assets.
Prostitution is, they say, ‘the oldest profession in the world’ and, as far as the historical record goes, it’s at least close to being so. The first mention of prostitution that we know of was 5,500 years ago, in the city of Uruk, in Sumer in Mesopotamia, where priestesses in the Temple of Inanna performed this service.
The religious connection with prostitution, of course, is one that has long since been lost — though we might discuss it in another piece; yet of course, the practice continues. Until recently, in fact, the major push to suppress prostitution was itself religious, coming from, in particular the Protestant Christian traditions and notably the Anglican one, which has always been a pillar of sex-negativity and repression.
Of recent decades, however, the attempt to prevent women from engaging in prostitution has come from other women. Indeed, it has become a bastion of modern feminism. But this throws up a thorny moral question: do we or do we not have the right to do as we will with our own bodies?
Women think in terms of power and men in terms of sex; this is innate.
Women’s best chance of success in evolutionary terms is the protection of their children. They are limited in how many they can have and rear to maturity, and childbirth, without modern medicine, is extremely dangerous. So women constantly (and reasonably) seek control (power) over their own reproduction, since for them, choosing a good mate is paramount. This extends over the space they live in — so that male aggression in particular is removed and with it the risk of violence, accidental or otherwise to children.
As women move out of the Home Group space and into the broader society they take these objectives with them, and this leads them to try to gain power over that society in the same way. So, although the impetus is evolution and reproduction, this is expressed as a desire for power. That is why the abortion debate is so polarised: nothing can ever be allowed to challenge a woman’s power over her own body, even the rights of her unborn child.
Gender is innate. It is not a social construct This article discusses how it evolved.
Early human society was fluid, with survival always the goal. It was, in general, divided by sex. Women and children formed a home group, which focussed on protection of the children and nursing mothers, foraging, perhaps trapping small game and birds, and the preparation and cooking of food. This group would have been a sisterhood of equals, but led, in all probability, by the elder women, the grandmothers, who were also the teachers, the midwives and shamans.
The other group was of men and older boys, based on the hunt. This group had to be able to respond quickly to the changing circumstances of the hunt, which could, especially when hunting large game, be lethal. A command system developed, probably around the best and most experienced hunters. We call this the ‘away’ group.
These two groups have long been identified and are still obvious in non-Western societies today. They are the evolutionary basis of gender.
Cognitive Dissonance is the feeling of discomfort we get when what we perceive clashes with our expectations. We all walk around in a mental model of the world. That should be obvious. But this is an immensely sophisticated system. When you enter a space for the first time your eyes target the most important elements and your mind blocks in the rest. As the moments pass, in response to sensory stimuli, the less critical areas are built up in your mental model in much the same way a as a computer works ‘in the background’
This process relies on assumptions that are made at a cognitive level. The sky is blue. I can measure that by using a type of light meter called a colour temperature meter. So while I cannot know how you perceive blue, I do know that whatever blue looks like in your head, the sky is that colour and we can agree on it.
What if you walked outside and the sky was yellow? I’m not talking about some beautiful sunset, just the regular sky. Ten minutes ago it was blue, now it’s yellow. What do you think of that?