MEDICAL MYTHOLOGY – or, “Pay no attention to that doctor behind the curtain!”
How are butch lesbians supposed to become who we truly are, by artificially altering who we were born to be?
In this essay:
- Whose hair is this in my soup? — What changed for Butch Lesbians?
- What’s really going on back there in the kitchen? — Why did things change?
- Who put together this menu? — What’s wrong with the “Medical Model”?
- Who hired this waiter? — What in the world is Psychiatry doing?
- Who’s writing the “good” reviews for this soup, and why? — What about those happy with the Medical Model & Psychiatry?
- Is this really what we ordered? — When the “cure” is brain and body damage, how is it better than being “ill”?
- Where to read more
1. Whose hair is this in my soup? — What changed for Butch Lesbians?
The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you but yourself. ~Rita Mae Brown
Success, recognition, and conformity are the bywords of the modern world where everyone seems to crave the anesthetizing security of being identified with the majority. ~Martin Luther King, Jr.
When I was four years old they tried to test my IQ, they showed me this picture of three oranges and a pear. They asked me which one is different and does not belong, they taught me different was wrong. ~Ani Difranco
It wasn’t that long ago that “butch lesbian” widely meant, even in “official” academic channels, a butch lesbian: a masculine-gendered female-bodied person sexually attracted to female bodies.
And while most gender-majority people have traditionally felt that gender-minority people — including butch lesbians — are “unnatural”, “immoral”, and even “pathological”, from ancient times until recently a respectable (though often highly oppressed) number of butch lesbians sought pride in who they were, trying to stand against the unnatural, immoral, and pathological attempts to remake and define them according to so-called “normal” (i.e., gender-majority) society definitions.
Until the 1960s, butch lesbians (and other minorities) seemed to be really making progress within the dominant culture — working to discover and live out a true and proud reality of who we really are, and pressing the majority culture to see and accept us by our standards, rather than by its own.
Unfortunately for butch lesbians, that forward-progress has since been largely lost. Since the 1960s, many butch lesbians have lost any real sense of who they are as a tribe or community of people. And far too many (especially within academic and psych circles) have now surrendered to being “remade” according to majority cultural myths and medical / psychiatric models that promise a lot — but deliver little.
And it becomes a slippery slope: the degree to which we submit to being “remade” becomes the degree to which we are un-made. We end up hurt, rather than helped — and worse, often unable or unwilling to recognize what’s really happening to us. Any “gains”, then, are superficial and damaging — not deep-rooted and healing — not only to ourselves but also to others who follow our path and then slide into the same pit.
It certainly doesn’t have to be this way. We see, for example, the great social and personal advances made by many gay and lesbian people (especially but not only in the last 50 years) in how they understand and define themselves, and in how they are understood by others. As hard as being gay or lesbian can still be these days, it’s nothing like it used to be. Even 50 years ago (for example) psychiatry and the legal system were still defining and remaking gay and lesbian people into fodder for mental institutions and prisons. Today, those who would use psychiatry and the legal system against gay and lesbian people have to lie about what they’re doing, or risk being censured and punished themselves.
In contrast to the gay/lesbian community, though, the most vocal and visible members of the transgender community — especially those in academia, those in psychiatry and its derivatives, and those who service and promote academia and psychiatry/derivatives with their lives and loyalty — have waved a lot of flags and sounded a lot of trumpets regarding the “new” opportunities now available to transgender people in taking on academic and psychiatric definitions and remakes of themselves. Yet there are no real, demonstrable gains. And in many ways, we’ve even gone “backwards”, by embracing models that result in greater danger, and greater rejection, to and from self.
During the last 50 years, then, for many the definition of “butch lesbian” changed from:
“a masculine-gendered female-bodied person sexually attracted to female bodies”to:
“a grossly unhappy (anxious, depressed, body-hating, etc) pre-therapy, pre-operative and/or pre-testosterone, female-to-male transsexual”
And all over the internet, and in local support groups, academia, psychiatric and therapy circles, and more, those butch lesbians who do not, can not, or will not accept this new “definition” are being made more and more invisible – not only by the gender-majority culture, but also by most of those most visible and vocal within the transgender community itself. What too few are questioning is just whether this definition is valid — or even helpful — at all.
2. What’s really going on back there in the kitchen? — Why did things change for Butch Lesbians?
If you want to look like the people next door, you’re probably smothering yourself and your dreams. ~Clive Barker
This thing called psychiatry — it is a European-American invention, and it largely has no respect for nonwhite philosophies of mental health and how people function. ~Carl Bell
Logic: The art of thinking and reasoning in strict accordance with the limitations and incapacities of the human misunderstanding. ~Ambrose Bierce
During the last fifty years, how did gay/lesbian people, and transgender people, end up on different highways — even in different cities?
How did “lesbian” become something to be proud of in its natural existence, while “butch” became for most (at best) a medical disability needing therapy, surgery, and/or other medical “treatment” to “make right”?
Why are gays and lesbians moving more and more toward greater acceptance and celebration of their natural bodies, minds, and spirits, while transgender people are moving more and more toward greater rejection and hatred of their natural bodies, minds, and spirits (while simply calling their unhealthy actions against their natural minds, bodies, and spirits “greater acceptance and love” of same)?
The root answer lies in how much we welcome or refuse the Cultural Myths that dirty our lives – Cultural Myths that seek to define, assign, and align their own version of “reality” over the top of all minority groups (including but not only gay, lesbian, and transgender people).
Until the 1960s, for example, many gay and lesbian people accepted the medical and psychiatric definitions of themselves as being “sick”, “disabled”, and/or in need of “treatment” to make them better (i.e., straight). They were buying into what I call “Cultural Myth #03″:
CULTURAL MYTH #03:
Sexual reproduction is the only natural and moral reason for sexual activity.
… and its 1960s remake (created when straight people didn’t want their oral and other non-reproductive forms of sexual activity defined as unnatural and immoral any longer):
CULTURAL MYTH #04:
Sexual activity — whether it could actually produce offspring or not — is only moral and natural if done between two people who could produce offspring if they were engaging in sexual intercourse and their reproductive “plumbing” was in working order.
During the 1960s, however, more and more gay and lesbian people began to realize that these Cultural Myths are simply that — myths:
- The natural world is full of animal species that quite naturally (and quite regularly) engage in one or more forms of sexual activity in ways that have nothing to do with sexual reproduction — and it’s often done between individuals who could never reproduce offspring together (e.g., two females). Nature is also full of reasons for non-reproductive sexual activity. Some species, for example, use sexual activity for community bonding — no reproduction required. Other species exhibit homosexuality as a natural way of limiting future overpopulation without decimating the numbers within the current population. But all of these quite normal variations are ignored by the “scientific” Cultural Myths which simply ignore those parts of nature that don’t fit their definition of “natural”.
- And “moral” in this case is based on — what? Twisting of scriptures? Quoting bigots and bullies? Conformity to majority opinion? What? It doesn’t take too much investigation to realize that gay and lesbian people are just as likely to be immoral or moral — in sexual, family, financial, political, and religious activity — as straight people are. Therefore, defining homosexual sexual activity as immoral in and of itself makes no more sense than defining dark skin or attending synagogue as immoral in and of itself (though there are Cultural Myths for those bigotries, as well).
And in rejecting the influence of these Cultural Myths, gays and lesbians also began to reject the religious and psychiatric models that act as “justifiers” and “enforcers” for these Cultural Myths. They began working to change, not themselves but the larger and more powerful majority culture. They still seek to advance their own more healthy definitions for themselves. And because of their work in the last 100 years, but especially in the last 50 years, my own life as a lesbian is better protected, better appreciated, and more happily lived than it could have been in times past. With their continued good work, the minds, bodies, and spirits of gay and lesbian lives will only continue to get better, in the future.
But consider what’s happened with the transgender community, during the same time.
Transgender people also have a two-headed mythological nemesis, which also appeals to and claims to be proven by both science and religion:
CULTURAL MYTH #01:
Gender always matches the body’s potential for reproduction, i.e., “masculine” always goes with “male”, and “feminine” always goes with “female”. It’s both natural and moral, then, for men to only be “manly” and women to only be “womanly”.
…and, when this myth began to crumble in the 1960s, its “enhancement”:
CULTURAL MYTH #02:
Occasionally there is a dysfunction or disability within the brain, and then Gender doesn’t match the body’s potential for reproduction. However, due to modern advances in science, we can now use therapy, drugs and surgery to make someone with this disability a normal “masculine-male” or “feminine-female”.
Now, neither of these myths can or has been scientifically or religiously demonstrated within the natural world, or proven with religious certainty, any more than Cultural Myth #03 or #04 can.
Even so, during the time that more and more gay and lesbian people were fighting back against the unprovable cultural myths that wrongly defined and remade them, more and more transgender people were fighting for the unprovable cultural myths that wrongly defined and remade them. Therefore, while more and more gay and lesbian people came to see their minds, bodies, and spirits as normal, natural, and moral just as they were born to be, more and more transgender people came to see their minds, bodies, and spirits as abnormal, unnatural, and immoral, just as they were born to be.
More and more transgender people, then, began to celebrate, identify themselves by, and fight for their right to be “defined” and “treated” by the rituals, theories, and philosophies of the religious and psychiatric/medical models that enforce and “prove” Cultural Myths #01 and #02.
Over the last 50 years, then, people who used to be understood as “butch lesbians” now are said to have “gender dysphoria” (and other newly emerging gender “diagnoses”).
So, while it used to be said that:
- Butch Lesbians simply need the same cultural context, tribal fellowship, and elder mentoring that all minority individuals require to function with any health in a majority-culture that rejects or devalues them.
- The degree to which they fail to have those things is the degree to which they (like all minority people) suffer depression, rage, self-hate, alcoholism, drug use, suicide, and more.
- The real gender problem here is the greater culture’s rejection of nature and diversity — and it’s from outside of and imposed upon the butch lesbian (again, just as it is for all minority people).
- “Gender Dysphorics” need psychotherapy, testosterone, antidepressants, mood-balancers, plastic surgery, and more to become who they really are – and they need psychologically-oriented support groups of other “gender dysphorics” who are also getting psychotherapy, testosterone, antidepressants, mood-balances, plastic surgery, and more to support them.
- The degree to which they fail to have these things is the degree to which they (like all psychiatrically-challenged people) suffer depression, rage, self-hate, alcoholism, drug use, suicide, and more.
- The gender problem here is within and part of the gender dysphoric individual — it’s a brain and body dysfunction that creates a psychiatric disability.
Still, in all of this:
…who would really care if so many gender-minority people weren’t being hurt, exploited, confused, and/or left even more self-hating and alienated by all this new “help”?
…who would really care if it weren’t actually costing us our healthy minds, healthy bodies, and healthy spirits (sometimes permanently)?
…who would really care if this were more about helping the suffering, rather than pocketing the suffering’s insurance pay-out, or advancing professional careers, or controlling cultural nonconformity?
…who would really care if all of those submitting to the medical / psychiatric model were actually getting out of it what they were (directly or indirectly) promised, and really ended up happier and healthier, in the end?
I believe strongly that people should be allowed to do whatever they wish with their minds, bodies, and spirits — including making them grossly unhealthy, unhappy, and dysfunctional, if they choose to do so with full understanding of what they’re doing.
But that’s the problem, right there.
- Do the butch lesbians pursuing medical “correction” of their gender issues realize they are simply submitting to the “Psychiatric Model”, and that doing so promises lifelong consequences?
- Do they truly understand the Psychiatric Model? Meaning, do they understand how they function (or do not function) within the real world (i.e., do they judge medicine and psychiatry by what they actually do, or by what they say they do)?
- Do they understand psychiatry’s ongoing, historical, and highly profitable role in forcing majority-culture appearances and values onto minorities, women, and vulnerable others, officially defining being “different” from (or suffering because one is oppressed by) the majority culture as having one or more “mental disorders”?
- Do they understand the incredible brain and other body damage psychiatry has knowingly, willfully, and often permanently inflicted in the last two hundred years on those who submitted (or were forced to submit) to its “care”?
- Do they know that psychiatry has never taken responsibility for the suffering and damage it’s caused, always choosing to blame its victims or their “disorders”, instead?
- And do they realize the extent to which other non-psychiatric “therapies” and “treatments” (by surgeons and other MDs, psychotherapists, and so on) for gender are also based on the psychiatric model?
3. Who put together this menu? — What’s wrong with the “Medical Model”?
Poisons and medicine are oftentimes the same substance given with different intents. ~Peter Mere Latham
The doctor is often more to be feared than the disease.~French Proverb
Doctors think a lot of patients are cured who have simply quit in disgust. ~Don Herold
But before we can fully understand the “Psychiatric Model”, we have to understand what it grew out of and what it depends upon: the “Medical Model”.
The Medical Model is the gut-level, core, standing worldview of what’s become western corporate- (or government-) run medicine.
It is the dominant Medical Mythology in the world today (dominant not in “achievement” or “hold on scientific truth” — though it likes to think of itself that way — but dominant in political, economic, and cultural power). As such, it officially defines how those who operate within western corporate- / government-run medicine (doctors, nurses, insurance administrators, et al) see themselves, the world, and those who do and don’t become “patients”. For those “patients” who place their faith in it, the Medical Model also defines the function (or non-function) of their minds and bodies (while denying any real function of spirit). It also defines for them what being “healthy” really means and looks like, even if that “health” remains completely theoretical.
We are encouraged to believe that the Medical Model goes back at least to the ancient Greeks, and possibly even further. In fact, the Medical Model didn’t actually get its real start until the industrial-corporate power grabs of the 19th and 20th century — it’s truly less than 200 years old!
Healing, of course, goes back much further than that. There are records of healing methods 5,000 years old in India, 3,000 years old in China, and 1,900 years old in Europe.
In what’s now the United States (USA), the Native-Americans used (and continue to use) herbal medicines, foods, steam, and other healing methods to heal a wide variety of acute and chronic illnesses and injuries. Euro-Americans later combined many of those methods with those they knew from Europe, adding to the large number of different (nearly always natural-science based) ways of understanding medicine and the human body. Not all doctoring systems were worthwhile, of course, but in the 19th and early 20th century Thompsonianism, Physio-medicalism, and Eclecticism were among the more popular “doctoring” systems learning from and adding science techniques to the traditional Folk Herbalism practiced by so many others.
The forerunners of our modern Medical Doctors (MDs) also came into existence during this time, and were (and are) known as “Allopaths”.
Most other doctoring systems 100-200 years ago believed that the human body itself is its own best healer, and that doctors could do best by helping it do what it already knew how to do but could not for various reasons (the body was overwhelmed with and too weak from illness, for example, or one body system was too far out of balance to do its assigned part helping others, and so on). So, for example, if the body was fighting infection, these nature-science doctors would ask themselves, “How can I help the body’s own immune system to do what it already knows how to do?” These other doctoring systems, then, researched and used soothing, restoring, or strengthening plants, minerals, and so on to aid the body in its natural healing.
Allopathic doctoring, on the other hand, believed that the human body was its own worst enemy, when it came to healing. In fact, it was believed that, left to its own devices, the human body could never properly sustain or heal itself — it required the intervention of “medical science” to press or even force it into health. Allopathic doctors, then, would respond to body fighting an infection by trying to force the infection out through their own means — even if doing so bypassed, interrupted, stalled, or even damaged the body’s immune system (or other systems).
Allopathic “treatments”, then, involved such things as:
- giving people (including babies) toxic substances like mercury, belladonna, and nightshade;
- rubbing toxic ointments into the skin, intentionally causing them to blister into 2nd degree burns;
- draining up to 4/5 of the patient’s blood — “bleeding” them with cuts, vacuum devices, and leeches (George Washington, first president of the United States, was killed by allopathic bleeding done to get rid of a throat infection);
- forcing people to take in chemicals that made them wildly nauseated, and which caused violent vomiting and diarrhea, so they didn’t pay as much attention to their original illness or suffering (which was called a “cure”);
- withholding water and other vital substances even to severely ill patients (even after seeing that those who drank water often had “miracle” cures);
- giving dangerous combinations of “treatments”, one after another, with little attention paid to the results (William Harrison, ninth president of the USA, was killed by allopathic blistering, forced vomiting, forced diarrhea, and then when those didn’t work, given opium and brandy — as “treatment” for his pneumonia); and
- performing other torturous “treatments” such as holding someone underwater until they were unconscious and then reviving them (if possible).
“The use of any medicine must, as a general rule, be regarded as injurious, as the object of medicine is but to create a temporary disease for removal of another; and only applicable when the disease demanding it is itself the greatest source of danger.”The fact that a good number of allopathic patients died, or suffered under “treatment” far beyond anything their original illness could have brought on them (and that most often the illness either didn’t go away or just changed into something else, anyway), meant that most people avoided allopathic doctors whenever they were given any choice. It also meant that, while allopathic doctors were often already wealthy or serviced wealthy patrons (who subsequently often had higher death rates than those too poor to pay allopaths), allopathic incomes from the practice of medicine were often limited. Too many people (including many former allopathic doctors who moved on to other doctoring systems) recognized allopathic “treatments” as more dangerous than the diseases they claimed to treat.
For many of those living during this time, however, it was almost a “golden age” of health care. Generally, for example, there was a free market of medicine. There were many different kinds of doctoring to choose from — not just allopathic. Some communities even formed their own health coops, hiring various kinds of doctors to help their members as needed. Open competition kept doctoring prices down and affordable for a larger number of people. Open competition also inspired doctors to innovate, coming up with safer and more appealing healing techniques and medicines. Many of the superstitions and guesses of the past were being eroded by scientific experimentation and observation done by non-allopathic doctors who sought to find — rather than create — answers to health issues.
Further, there were no laws restricting self-, family-, or neighbor-treatment, so people could help themselves and each other as they had knowledge to do so. Information about using plants and so on for healing had been passed down through the generations, mother to daughter, or father to son, and continued to be shared.
The allopathic doctors weren’t satisfied with the status quo, however, and they worked together to change things more in their favor. In doing so, they began to institute what grew into our current Medical Model — a doctoring system based entirely on allopathic ideas and values.
The first allopathic act of consequence occurred in 1847, when Allopaths formed the American Medical Association (AMA) — an incredibly powerful doctor union which still exists to protect, organize, and promote the allopathic doctoring system, even today. In 1847, one AMA member complained in a report that:
“The very large number of physicians in the United States has frequently been the subject of remark.. no wonder the merest pittance in the way of remuneration is scantily doled out even to the most industrious in our ranks..”– and the AMA showed itself in agreement as it spared no time working to increase its members’ money-making abilities by controlling access to health care.
One tactic the AMA used was to proclaim it would begin protecting the public from what those it called “quacks”. It turned out, however, that a “quack” was anyone whose healing practice in any way limited AMA members’ income or control of health care. Seeking to gain in political power what it could not gain from those it wanted as patients, the AMA set out to win the favor of wealthy industrialists like the Rockefellers, and used their power and money to pass laws all over the country to “protect” the public by making the practice of any medicine but allopathy illegal.
The AMA was also responsible for closing down all non-allopathic medical schools by passing laws that created standards only allopathic schools could pass (or would even want to pass — many allopathic “doo-dads” were entirely unnecessary, even dangerous, as well as overly expensive).
The AMA also gained control so that it could guarantee that only a limited number of “approved” (allopathic) doctors would be licensed to practice medicine each year. It also made the “practice of medicine” by anyone other than a licensed allopathic doctor a crime — giving your neighbors medicine you grew in your own backyard, and which had been used successfully and safely for hundreds and even thousands of years, could now get you sent to prison. By keeping doctor supply low compared to the high demand for doctoring services, allopaths were able to protect and raise allopathic incomes, and amass more and more control over health care.
Allopathic doctors were so successful in decimating all the other methods and schools of medical practice that we can only wonder at how advanced some of these other medical models might have been by today, had they not been eliminated before they were able to mature into the 20th and 21st century!
So what else happened to medicine and health care after allopathic doctors rewrote the laws to make themselves the sole legal providers of healing help?
- Allopaths continued to use chemical and surgical “treatments” that often damaged the patient more than the disease or disorder ever could have.
- When patients “recovered”, allopathic doctors chalked it up to their own efforts — never admitting that a patient might be recovering despite their “treatments”.
- Costs to see a doctor skyrocketed, so that many became unable to get any medical help at all.
- With their great legal and financial power in hand, allopathic doctors defined the poor and vulnerable minority groups as “brutes” and “animals” ok to do medical “experiments” on.
- True medical innovation and research all but disappeared, since there was no competition to spur it on any longer, and since strict conformity to allopathic practice became required. Doctors stopped thinking “outside the box” — and despite all their education, essentially stopped really thinking at all.
- Incompetent doctors were no longer driven out of business by bad practice. Instead, they were protected by their licensing boards, as long as they did only what other allopathic doctors did. This also meant that ineffective and even dangerous chemicals and surgeries continued to be used even when they were proven wrong — no one wanted to rock the gravy-boat.
- A wealthy and elite class of medical “experts” was created which still didn’t bother being truly scientific, even as it systematically condemned all non-allopathic medical practices as “unscientific”.
…Except that by now few of us remember that allopathy didn’t use to be the only answer to mind, body, or spirit health issues. By now we are so indoctrinated into believing allopathy is the only safe and effective way to treat anything worth treating, that it rarely occurs to us to even consider (much less trust) other options that our ancestors would have eagerly sought out instead.
Worse, our ideas about how to heal ourselves of pain, disease, and disorder tend to only follow the allopathic line of thought. For many transgender people today, that means believing that drugging and cutting our natural bodies in damaging ways is the “real” way to make us “whole”. Too often any more we believe — like the allopaths — that the only way to be who we truly are is to artificially alter who we were born to be.
And in doing so, we put our full trust in a Medical Mythology that doesn’t deserve it.
In following allopathic advice, or agreeing to define our bodies and health allopathically, we must realize that while the allopathic Medical Model claims today — just as it did 200 years ago — to be based on objective science and reasoning, that’s really only its ideal or image for itself. In truth, the Medical Model — and the advice and direction we get from our medical doctors and health care companies for nearly all health issues — is based almost entirely on:
- “Proven” studies that often contradict each other (e.g., “Soybeans are healthy!”, “Soybeans are unhealthy!”; “Bypass surgery increases heart attack survival rates”; “Bypass surgeries have no effect on heart attack survival rates”);
- “Gold standard” controlled studies that provide no real, usable data (e.g., “unbiased” research nearly always declares “safe”, “effective” results when the researchers or their company/agency has ties to the manufacturing corporation; and, studies where a drug is briefly given to a few hundred similar people, and then it’s marketed as if everyone knows what significant short- and long-term health effects the drug will have among millions of different kinds of people, each with different kinds of health and illnesses);
- “Unchanging”, foundational, unquestioned “truths” on which a great weight of other medical “truth” rests — but which inevitably turn out to be incorrect one or more years later and are covered over by new “unchanging”, foundational, unquestioned “truths” (e.g., “PMS is all in women’s heads”; “High cholesterol levels are implicated in heart disease”);
- Outright lies and fraud covered over by manipulation of data (e.g., saying “In controlled scientific studies, Pharma drug XYZ doubles the amount of weight dieters lost compared to placebo!”, when in fact the placebo dieters lost one pound over the course of a year, while those on Pharma drug XYZ lost two pounds over the course of a year — and neither result is truly scientifically meaningful); and,
- Unwarranted presumptions of the short- and long-term safety of various combinations of drugs and surgical “treatments”, as if “proving” scientific studies had been done when in fact they have not (e.g., a “scientific” study has been done “proving” Drug A is safe, and another done “proving” Drug B is safe, and yet another done “proving” Drug C is safe — but absolutely no study is done to investigate what happens when all three drugs are combined in the body).
Is there anything that allopathy does well? Yes: emergency response medicine, and some diagnostics. Why? Because when someone needs a steering wheel removed from their chest, or their heart stops beating, that is the time to force the body to do what it can’t do on its own. That is the time when it’s ok to risk damage to the body in order to try and save the body.
Allopathic medicine also has some diagnostics it does well — though how it applies its findings can range from the ridiculous to the outright dangerous (and therefore we’re smarter to do our own research alongside — or even for — the doctor, if our short and long term health is truly what’s most important to us).
Problems start, though, when allopathic medicine is taken as “expert” in the things it does poorly (or is even dangerous in, if taken seriously). For example, defining what real health looks and feels like is as far beyond the reach of allopathy as the changing lead into gold was to the medieval alchemists. Understanding and healing chronic illnesses, spirit illnesses, culturally-imposed alienations, day-to-day bumps and bruises, and so on without creating additional or worse problems is also not part of allopathic talents — though, just like the medieval alchemists, failure doesn’t stop them from claiming continual scientific progress and even success!
So, based on allopathic medicine’s history and modern practice:
When a doctor gives a butch lesbian testosterone, and says “We can monitor your condition and take care of any side effects”, is it likely the doctor really knows what s/he’s talking about?
No. It’s not. The doctor can run some tests — but has no factual way to monitor or even understand everything that’s happening in the butch lesbian’s body, any more than an astronomer can track or understand every object in the universe sky. Even if the doctor were to track 500 different lab and other tests, that doesn’t account for the tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of things going on each second in a human body, the balance and interaction of which determine the patient’s short- and long-term health or lack of health. The doctor really has no idea what s/he is doing.
Is it likely the butch lesbian’s condition is going to be improved when the doctor later adds several more drugs to take care of the testosterone side effects?
No. It’s not. The doctor can adjust dosages or give other drugs to hide or suppress visible side effects, but there are no scientific studies proving that what s/he is doing is making the butch lesbian’s health any safer than it was before. In fact, adding more chemicals to counter the problems of other chemicals is like pouring bleach into a bucket of unknown chemicals to make it “safer”. The doctor really has no idea what s/he’s changing.
Is it likely the doctor will really worry that the butch lesbian’s brain and body are being irreparably damaged
by the “treatment” (“Really worry” means “will not consider doing anything that might hurt the patient in any way, either permanently or temporarily)?
No. It’s not. To an allopathic doctor or thinker, when there’s something (real or imagined, to the doctor’s way of thinking) to be “treated”, risked or actual side- or adverse-effects are considered normal, to be expected, and not a reason to avoid a damaging “treatment”.
Is it likely the doctor is going to see any significant problem with any of this?
No. it’s not, because this is how the doctor’s world works. This is how s/he has been taught to think. And this is what s/he is rewarded quite well for doing.
With all that in mind, consider this:
Few doctors would hand out steroids. Steroids are recognized as very damaging to the body and full of adverse effects.
Yet the steroids that athletes get and the testosterone butch lesbians get are essentially the same thing, and they have the same adverse effects in female-bodied persons:
- Heart problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, changes to the heart’s actual structure, bad heart rhythms, congestive heart failure, heart attack and sudden cardiac death, and bad cholesterol
- Liver and other organ problems, including liver disease, liver damage, abnormal liver enzymes, jaundice, and tumors
- Cancer problems, including liver and other strange cancers
- Body cycle problems, including sleep disturbances that affect healing and mental health
- Blood problems, including too many red blood cells, blood too thick, too much blood clotting, not enough blood clotting, and hemorrhage
- Skin problems, including acne, seborrhea, and “pins and needles” in the extremities
- Brain problems, including mood swings, rages, violence, depression, and apathy
- Reproductive organ problems, including too much estrogen (the body can convert “extra” testosterone to estrogen, if it decides to)
- and more
What is not out of real science?
The completely unproven idea that giving butch lesbians damaging testosterone (and heart disease, liver cancer, and so on) is “ok” and “good work” because doing so stops even-more-damaging depression, rage, self-hate, alcoholism, drug use, suicide, and more.
Has anyone even come close to proving testosterone “works” by eliminating the cultural- and self-alienation and oppression-suffering now psychiatrically mislabeled / diagnosed as “Gender Dysphoria”? That butch lesbians become better people after taking it? That they become happier and more a part of the communities around them? That they re-connect with the world in saner, healthier ways? That they do indeed become their real selves?
No. No. No. No. And, no.
So why do supposedly “science-based”, “non-quack” doctors keep doing it?
For the same reason they continue (for example) to hand out “cancer” drugs that kill more people than the cancer, and “heart” drugs that within a few years end up damaging the heart worse than it was to begin with.
For the same reason they keep pushing “antidepressants” that cause suicide and violent, psychotic rages in young people (and old).
Because they have convinced themselves that their brain-power is smarter than all of millions of years of evolved nature, when it comes to deciding what works and doesn’t work for the health-state of human bodies.
Because they’ve convinced themselves through gender cultural mythologies (i.e., bigotries) that — in regards to butch lesbian health — body and brain damage is as good as it gets for us.
Because this is how they’ve always operated, throughout their doctoring system’s history, and this is how they are taught to “think” (i.e., “conform”) in allopathic medical schools.
Because this is the current Medical Model.
So the bigger question probably should be, then, why do any of us continue to believe that this lead-pig flies?
There is nothing within allopathic Medical Model mythology that has any real, lasting health benefit for butch lesbians — or anyone, for that matter — when we allow it to define who we are and what our normal health should look like. By promoting the idea that “treatment”-induced damage to brain and body is “acceptable”, by making a mockery of real science, by believing it already understands enough about the human body to chemically bend and break it “safely”, the allopathic Medical Model has made itself the #1 killer of USA citizens — killing more each year than heart disease, killing more each year than cancer, even according to its own facts and figures [See the study entitled "Death by Medicine" to learn more].
But what about psychiatry, and the Psychiatric Model? What about psychology and other psychological therapies?
Do any of them do any better?
4. Who hired this waiter? — What in the world is Psychiatry doing?
“Psychiatry is probably the single most destructive force that has affected American society.” ~Dr. Thomas Szasz, lifetime fellow, American Psychiatric Association.
“Psychiatry is to medicine what astrology is to astronomy.” ~Leonard Roy Frank
“Going to a psychiatrist has become one of the most dangerous things a person can do.” ~Peter Breggin, MD and psychiatrist
Since the whole idea of gender “disorder” — and its “fix” via drugs and surgeries — gurgled up from psychiatry, it’s important to fully understand psychiatry, as well, before we decide to take on its definitions and role assignments.
Modern psychiatry is a powerful force within western corporate- / government-run medicine. The Psychiatric Model, as one form of the allopathic Medical Model, lays claim to and enforces similar Medical Model beliefs and behavioral standards. However, psychiatry enjoys a wild addiction to its own invented rituals, therapies, and philosophies to a degree not seen in nearly all other medical “specialties”. In fact, while most of the allopathic Medical Model is based on bad science, psychiatry’s nearly complete lack of any science makes it unique among medical “specialties”.
Psychiatry (in the USA) had its beginnings in the 18th century, when allopathic doctors began to realize the money that could be made in what they called “asylum medicine” — especially once they got themselves legally set up as the sole, legal certifiers of “insanity”. The “treatment” and warehousing of “problem” relatives, street people, and “non-conformers” was and is even today psychiatry’s role within allopathic medicine.
Asylums had already existed before the early psychiatrists showed up. Those deemed “mad” before psychiatry were generally seen as having become mindless animals, completely without hope or reason. Asylums were essentially dark, filthy prisons for those others didn’t want in their homes or on the streets. Beatings, starvation, and suffering from the elements was common. Inmates were often left chained to walls or held captive in cages or cells for weeks, months, even years on end — and no real recovery was expected of them. “Therapy” was thought to involve physically weakening the patient, inflicting great pain, and invoking terror — all to gain conformity and easy compliance.
And little changed after psychiatry took over — except that:
- Toxic chemicals, scientifically unwarranted surgeries, and dangerous “treatments” of allopathic medicine were now added to the suffering already endured by the asylum inmates; and,
- Since more “patients” meant more money (from families or the state), psychiatry began expanding the definition of those “requiring” its care, casting a wider and wider net around people who’d previously been seen as either “normal” or eccentric or simply suffering from the human condition. Later, when the state began to cut back on what it would pay to forcibly “house” people in asylums, asylums began to empty and psychiatry re-cast its net to include those needing “treatment” at and from home, as well. This also meant that more and more real medical conditions (some even as simple as malnutrition) were ignored and left untreated, once people were labeled as having “mental” problems.
- “Psychiatric patients” became the only allopathic patients legally denied the right to refuse “treatment” when a psychiatrist wished to impose it on them — even when the “treatment” was torturing, permanently damaging, and even killing them. Psychiatry claimed that patient attempts to change and even escape their “treatment” was “proof” that even more of the “treatment” was needed (not unlike the days when people were thrown into the river to test them for “witchery”: if they didn’t drown, that “proved” they were witches, and they were burned at the stake).
What psychiatry became a master at, however, was in re-creating “new” versions of the same torturous and damaging “treatments”, and claiming to have “scientific evidence” it never had. When past theories were proven to be complete nonsense, psychiatry simply repainted its tools and claimed to have made “progress”. So depressed people who were tortured with being surprise-dropped into pits of ice water to drown and (hopefully) resuscitate them, became depressed people tortured with being electrically shocked into unconsciousness and (hopefully) resuscitated — even though no (real) science has ever proven either method actually cured depression more than placebo, and even though both methods force short- and long-term body damage to those being “treated”.
Psychiatrists simply wanted to do things (like other allopathic doctors got to do things), and they did so, after inventing “therapeutic” reasons for doing them. Nothing became too horrible to imagine, if done in the name of “curing” insanity, depression, anxiety, alienation, and so on. Not removal of belly and reproductive organs. Not permanent destruction of brain tissue. Not alteration of personality or theft of basic human dignity. And so on.
And, just as in the “old” days, the true goal of “therapy” continues to be to physically weaken the patient, damage the brain, and/or invoke terror — all to gain conformity and easy compliance and “cure”. Even “patients” who become lifelong drooling zombies that have to be diapered and fed like babies are counted as “successes” because they no longer scream for release from their captivity, or feel the pain of their alienation, or rage at their mistreatment.
Is all of this something that modern-day psychiatry has grown past? Has it become “safer” and even more “sane”? No. It has not.
For example, psychiatrists realized a hundred and more years ago that their “cures” didn’t seem to last more than a few months (which means that their “cures” weren’t lasting any longer than those of native “witchdoctors”). The patient had to be “cured” over and over again for any “lasting” effects.
But modern psychiatry, using modern brain-scan tools, discovered that its “cures” only last as long as the patient’s brain continues to be damaged from its “treatment” (e.g., from on-going electrical shock to the brain tissues so severe it causes coma). As soon as the brain heals itself (which can take weeks), the “cure” disappears.
Did psychiatry gulp, horrified to realize it really had actually been hurting — and not healing — people all along, just as common sense was saying all along?
No. It did not.
Psychiatry simply redefined “mental health” and “progress” in “treatment” as including and requiring permanent damage to the patient’s brain and body. It said, for example, that recipients of psychiatric “treatment” who could no longer control their bowels or stop themselves from forcing themselves on others sexually were simply experiencing “surgically induced childhood”. It said that people who couldn’t even remember their children’s names any longer were “better off” because now they couldn’t remember why they were sad.
It said that no better option was available to the “mentally ill” (both “psychotic” and “neurotic”) anyway.
But is even that true? No. It’s not! It’s simply another mythology:
A collection of stories (diagnoses)… said to explain and make sense of some natural phenomenon (alienation, sadness, anger, etc., that is unacceptable or uncomfortable to mainstream culture)… as well as to justify and glorify the religious rites (so-called “science-based medicine”), customs (treatment plans, etc), institutions (psychiatry itself, and all its hospitals, drugs, schools, etc), and exploits (body- and brain-damaging imposition of chemicals and cuttings)… of those able to convince others (especially powerful others) to believe their version of “reality”.
How can we know that? For one thing, we know that people in third world countries without access to psychiatry actually heal (and usually within a few years) from so-called mental “disorders” psychiatry says can’t be cured (this even includes schizophrenia, where we see people who’ve never received any drugs for it not only recover, but also rarely relapse).
However, while people in countries with psychiatry can also (truly) heal (meaning no longer need any drugs or other “treatment”) from their so-called “lifelong” or “debilitating” mental and emotional suffering, they do so when they have (real) community support and remain far away from psychiatry’s mythological, victimizing, reach.
What does all this have to do with butch lesbians?
Nothing, because — despite psychiatry’s “catching” gender issues in its control-net in the 1960s — gender variance in and of itself is not a mental or emotional disorder. It’s an existence — just like having dark skin, or being left handed (two other normal, natural ways of being that allopathic medicine has named “disorder” in the past). Nor is our pain in any way “pathological” or in need of “treatment”, when we suffer as minority people treated badly by the majority.
Everything, because as long as we submit ourselves to psychiatric definitions of ourselves, we have no real hope for health and recovery. Instead, we’ll become pathological. We’ll become brain- and body-damaged via drugs and surgeries– and perhaps so much so that we become unable to even realize what’s happened to us. We’ll live out exactly the role we’ve been assigned: “disordered and cured by psychiatry; still disabled as good as could be expected”.
Psychiatry today continues to make a good living by avoiding any real science. Butch lesbians can’t afford to pay its price. The same statistical lies and badly set up “studies” that plague allopathic medicine remain a part of psychiatry and its gender “studies”, as well. Downplaying or counting as “normal” damage to brain and body remains acceptable to allopathic doctors of all kinds. Doctor-induced deaths are written out of study reports, and doctor-induced psychosis and mania are ignored or blamed on the patient/victim. Shortened life-spans mean nothing. Lives destroyed by strange cancers, or hampered by impaired body function, are of little consequence. Psychiatry continues to follow the same allopathic Medical Model thinking it began as part of two hundred years ago.
For butch lesbians, that means:
- definitions of self that promise to open new doors — but which only change the doors closed to us
- “diagnoses” that promise to help — but actually hurt
- drugs that promise to heal — but actually hurt
- sliding further and further down the slippery slope of allopathic / psychiatric medicine, where new symptoms are created by drugs given to suppress previous symptoms, and then suppressed by still other drugs, until our health (or insurance) is finally spent and we’re told we just have to “live with” what little we have left.
5. Who’s writing the “good” reviews for this soup, and why? — What about those happy with the Medical Model & Psychiatry?
I will lift mine eyes unto the pills. Almost everyone takes them, from the humble aspirin to the multi-coloured, king-sized three deckers, which put you to sleep, wake you up, stimulate and soothe you all in one. It is an age of pills. ~Malcolm Muggeridge
Formerly, when religion was strong and science weak, men mistook magic for medicine; now, when science is strong and religion weak, men mistake medicine for magic. ~Thomas Szasz
Never accept the proposition that just because a solution satisfies a problem, that it must be the only solution. ~Raymond E. Feist
It’s easy to meet transgender people who either have or have just begun conforming to the Medical Model and psychiatric definitions of who they are — and the drugs and surgeries they should therefore do (who are becoming transsexuals, in other words). And I’m often told how happy they are now (or will soon be).
I used to believe it. At one time, I myself believed I could find happiness and freedom from emotional torment and alienation that way. But after a time of listening and watching, I’ve come to quite different conclusions.
First of all, if those becoming transsexuals are truly happy, and made the decision to alter their lives with full understanding of the psychological, medical, and spiritual consequences of their actions, and aren’t passing off their decision as the only “real”, “mature”, “natural”, “scientific”, or “healthy” decision a transgender person can make — then more power to them.
I’m sure there are a handful of people out there like that. But there are always a handful of people who are like anything you can name or imagine (like, I’m sure there are a handful of people in the world who live to wear peanut butter in their ears — but that doesn’t mean everyone with ears would be happier to do the same, no matter how powerful the medical, psychiatric, or peanut lobby that might say so).
However, I’ve yet to meet someone — online or off — who truly meets the above “happy” criteria. Instead:
- Either they have done the hormones/surgeries, and (after the “glow” wears off) they find they still aren’t really happy. What they thought would make them more “normal” and acceptable to the gender majority did nothing of the sort. In fact, doing hormones and surgeries has made them less normal and acceptable to the people they hoped to “join forces with”, and they now spend their lives in a closet of dejected / angry rejection or fearful / torqued-off secrecy — a lifestyle much like the one they had before they started hormones and/or surgeries.
- And/or, they did the hormones/surgeries thinking they knew and accepted all the medical consequences, only to crash and burn in despair and panic later when the cancer test shows “positive”, or their liver starts failing, or the only way to control their abusive rage is to reduce or stop “treatment”, or their new “parts” don’t function as well (or as easily) as they imagined they would.
- And/or, since their brain chemistry is now so mucked up even the most basic and dependable parts of their natural personalities (things like their sexual orientation) have become unstable, they’d be hard-pressed to make a realistic evaluation of their transsexual progress, to date. They may believe themselves happy and healthy — but so do many people who — for example — use grossly unhealthy street drugs to feel “better”. How can anyone make a good evaluation of their own health progress when they are brain-chemically clouded?
- And/or, they were and are so filled with extreme self-hate over their gender variance that enduring toxic drugs / hormones and surgeries is actually a form of self-harming — and self-harming often does make people feel better (though in a crappy, addictive sort of way). These folks were already doing things that harmed their bodies before they started (including other legal drugs), so how can we count this as any different?
- And/or, having committed their brains and bodies to changes now irreversible, they vigorously defend and promote the rightness of their hormone / surgery choices to others in order to avoid dealing with the reality of having permanently damaged their brains / bodies for what they suspect now was no good reason (I did the same concerning my numerous “biker” tattoos — acquired in my more vigorous youth — for many years).
- And/or, not knowing any other way but the psychiatric model (or its derivatives) to handle the deep pain of living the lie all gender-minority folks are told to live, they simply promote and defend what seems to them the only available option besides suicide. If other options became apparent to them, it’s likely they’d stop holding out for this one (I did).
This means that under the “Gender Dysphoria” allopathic, psychiatric model, the real problem of gender-majority bigotry continues on, while gender-minority people “fight back” by trying to conform to the gender-majority. “Winning” is becoming “invisible” to those around them. And no one becomes a happier person when invisible.
Another problem is psychiatry’s attempt to see and “treat” transgenderism as if it were a real problem with a “scientific” solution — but there are no good, replicatable, (truly) scientific studies on transgenderism (or on gender-conformity, for that matter). Nor are there any such good studies on the short and long term successes and failures of people who seek out and submit themselves to Medical Model “transgender treatment”.
There is, however, a lot of pseudoscience and unproven assumption and theory out there — indeed, since psychiatry and its psychological “children” can’t truly quantify and test anything objectively (e.g., there is no blood test or brain scan that differentiates between those who are butch lesbians, and those who are not), there is no way to provide those objective, scientific studies. Which means that all the counseling, all the hormones, all the surgeries, are being done without any basic in science, and with no real proof that the “patient” will, in the end, not actually be even worse off than s/he was before due to the body- and brain-altering work of the “cut and drug” method. It’s all guesswork, theory, bigotry, cultural mythology, and bad science.
That doesn’t stop the psychiatric Medical Model from continuing to produce and promote gender theories and treatments as they had proof they worked for the true good of the patient’s physical and mental health, however.
And it doesn’t stop those of use who just don’t know any other options right now, or who simply enjoy the harm and drama that psychiatry and the Medical Model provide, from continuing to sell the “Gender Dysphoria” game as if it were real.
6. Is this really what we ordered? — When the “cure” is brain and body damage, how is it better than being “ill”?
Despite all our toil and progress, the art of medicine still falls somewhere between trout casting and spook writing.~Ben Hecht
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. None but ourselves can free our minds. ~Bob Marley
Our concern must be to live while we’re alive… to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are. ~Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
Butch lesbians — and all gender-minority people — deserve better than what psychiatry and the Medical Model will ever be able to provide or do for us.
Our value as part of our human culture and the natural world runs far deeper than how well we “pass” as gender-majority (before or after adding toxic drug hormones and surgeries to our lives).
Our lives are far better lived as who we really are, without the damage to mind, body, and spirit that powerful mainstream cultural mythologies insist are our “best hope”.
Our natural home is at the intersection of “masculine”/”feminine” and “male/female”. This intersection is also our gift to our communities, nature, and ourselves, when we learn to live there in peace.
Too many of us have given up and given in, for lack of knowing any other way. We’ve hated who we are because our self-knowledge and self-pride has been stolen from us. We’ve submitted to bad science and bigotry, because we’ve longed for peace.
We can have peace — but only when we stop participating in the cultural war against us. Only when we stop living half-lives as a “buy-off” for the world to leave us alone. Only when we know they’re there can we begin to hear the songs in our own hearts, and hear the stories of our own people.
We’ll find and even create our real space, when we stop blind-trusting in mythology-based “doctoring” and start opening ourselves to our own healing.
7. Where to read more
- Scientific Criticism By and For the Scientifically Untrained
- A Habit of Lies - How Scientists Cheat
- Mad in America: Bad science, bad medicine, and the enduring mistreatment of the mentally ill (Robert Whitaker)
- Death by Medicine
- Independent Scientists An Endangered Species
- Bonkers Institute for Nearly Genuine Research
- Name that Psychiatric Illogic! – A game to test each player’s ability to identify common logical fallacies and cognitive biases in psychiatric beliefs.
- Your Drug May Be Your Problem: How and Why to Stop Taking Psychiatric Medications (Breggin and Cohen)
- Alternatives Beyond Psychiatry (Stastny and Lehmann)
- Challenging bureaucratic elites
- Generation Rx (Critser)