The literary Stasi pounces again

Warning: Any nasty comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. This ain’t one of your echo chambers and safe spaces on Tumblr. History, like science, only cares about facts, not your feelings and sense of validation.

Dr. James Miranda Steuart Barry, née Margaret Ann Bulkley
ca. 1789–25 July 1865

Another week, another book for the Woke Stasi to burn pre-publication. This time, they’ve set their teeth and claws upon E.J. Levy’s The Cape Doctor, which just sold to Little Brown. This is Ms. Levy’s first novel, coming after the 2012 story collection Love, In Theory. Her new novel is about a pioneering doctor who spent the last 56 years of her life posing as a man.

These zealots once again are behaving like babies throwing a tantrum. Ms. Levy’s crime? Correctly sexing Dr. Barry as a woman and using feminine pronouns. These bullies are screaming “He! He! He! He! He! He! He! Him! Him! His! How dare you misgender him! He was a man! Man! Man! Man! Transphobe! Bigot! I don’t feel safe! You’re committing literal violence! I’m complaining to Little Brown, and I hope they drop your so-called book!”

“TERF” is misogynistic hate speech, the latest version of “Burn the witch!”

Dr. Barry was raped as a teenager and bore a child. She declared she’d be a soldier if she were a boy, but was trained as a governess.

Instead, several of her brother James’s progressive, influential friends came up with a plan for her to attend the University of Edinburgh’s med school. In late 1809, she reinvented herself as James Barry, and never lived as Margaret Bulkley again.

She didn’t make a very convincing man, leading many to believe she was prepubescent. The University Senate tried to block her applications for final exams, but powerful friends intervened, and she got her MD in 1812.

Dr. Barry joined the army as a surgeon, and rose to become Inspector General (like a Brigadier General). In 1816, she was posted to Cape Town, South Africa, where she significantly improved quality of life and performed one of the first C-sections where both mother and child survived.

Dr. Barry later worked in Mauritius, Jamaica, St. Helena, the West Indies, Malta, Corfu, the Crimea, and Canada, before retiring to London. Her true sex was only discovered after death. The army sealed all records of her for 100 years.

Many women in history posed as men to do things they were legally, socially, culturally barred from. The only way women could become doctors, serve in the military, travel freely, live independently, attend most universities, etc., was to reinvent themselves as men. They were not transsexuals!

The TRAs piling on Ms. Levy harp on about how Dr. Barry could’ve “easily” been one of the women fighting to become doctors and receive higher education in that era, or go to one of the rare countries where women were allowed to practise medicine, instead of posing as a man. This shows such historical ignorance.

There were NO women’s med schools till 1848, and precious few women legitimately trained as doctors. Those rare few faced lots of discrimination. Also, how would Dr. Barry have financed this trip abroad, where would she have lived, how would she have found employment? Who chooses lifelong exile?

These people have no grasp of just how few rights women had prior to the modern era, and how women who went against the grain were treated. Women who read novels could be arrested if their fathers ordered it! There weren’t even any public ladies’ bathrooms till the late 19th century, and there was enormous opposition, since they enabled women to have lives outside hearth and home.

So of course Dr. Barry kept up the charade the rest of her life. Who invests 50+ years into a deception, only to turn around and unravel everything at the end? Women weren’t allowed to own property, so her will would’ve been null and void if authorities knew her true sex. Anyone with knowledge of her deception would’ve been arrested.

So how dare Woko Haram turn around and accuse Ms. Levy of being the one erasing Dr. Barry’s identity and disrespecting the dead! They’re the ones insisting this incredible woman was really a man!

We can’t apply modern concepts to historical people and situations. Dr. Barry lived as a man to be a doctor, not because she felt “trapped in the wrong body” or believed herself to be a transman.

I’m looking forward to reading The Cape Doctor, and hope Ms. Levy doesn’t roll over and cancel publication like Amélie Wen Zhao did with Blood Heir.

UPDATE: Sadly, they caved to the irrational lynch mob.

Rudolph Valentino Week, Part V (Reception and legacy)

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It can be hard for a contemporary person to fully grasp just what a social, historical, and cultural watershed Rudy’s popularity was in the 1920s. These days, there are so many graphic movies, songs, music videos (which apparently still exist), and books, coupled with a detachment from anything more than few decades old. The idea that women would faint in the aisles of a movie theatre or find a silent film without sex erotic strikes many people as laughable.

Some overgrown mean girl on a message board I left years ago once haughtily insisted that if women were truly fainting in the aisles when they saw The Sheik, their corsets must’ve been laced too tightly or they had no idea of what real sexiness actually was. Just because YOU, as a 21st century person, can’t fathom the mindset of a 1920s woman doesn’t mean they were a bunch of ninnies or suffering from tight corsets!

In every generation, the concept of shocking, sexy, vulgar, violent, radical, etc., changes. No one exists in a vacuum.

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The Sheik was based on a trashy 1919 bestseller by Edith Maud Hull (writing as E.M. Hull). Women loved both the book and film because it was a forbidden romance. The only kind of sex a so-called “respectable woman” could fantasize about was rape, since it wasn’t sex she sought out. Women were expected to stay 10000% virgin until marriage, not enjoy or initiate sex, only endure sex as something done for the man’s benefit, not have affairs, not get caught alone with a man outside of marriage (no matter how innocent the situation), basically be asexual, celibate, ignorant flowers.

Women loved the story of Ahmed and Diana because that kind of excitement and passion was missing in their own lives. They loved the idea of a strange man driven wild with desire for them, so much so he’d kidnap and ravish her. I’m very uncomfortable with people who insist rape fantasies are inherently unhealthy and unfeminist.

In a true fantasy, you’re always in total control, and things go exactly the way you’d like. These women didn’t really want to be beaten up and raped so brutally they feared all their bones had been broken. It was about what it represented, not truly wanting to get kidnapped, beaten, and raped. We can’t police strangers’ fantasies!

The film also significantly tones down Ahmed’s actions to make him a more sympathetic character, and the fate of Diana’s virginity is rather open-ended.

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Before Rudy, American women had only seen stereotypically masculine, clean-cut actors like Wallace Reid, Thomas Meighan, and Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. While I love those actors too, they represented a much different type of man. Rudy showed women an image of manliness they hadn’t known existed, a guy who harnessed sensitivity, beauty, grace, charm, wit, intelligence, physical strength, thoughtfulness, attention to his appearance. He also wore a slave bracelet.

Rudy was also dark-featured. Though he was actually half French (from his maternal line), he was blessed with dark Italian good looks and terra-cotta skin. He was an exotic, dark, foreign lover, an exciting change of pace from the stereotypical all-American boy next door they were socialized to want. That made the powers that be very uncomfortable, since it challenged the status quo.

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American men began emulating Rudy’s slicked-back hair and attention to his physical appearance. This made the powers that be even more terrified, fearing for the future of “American manhood.” Back in Italy, it was normal for men to display emotions, show gentleness and tenderness, write romantic poetry, cultivate gardens, and wear jewelry. Those weren’t considered signs of a weak, effeminate man or a gay guy. It was the Italian version of normal.

Basically, it let both sexes know there were options beyond what they’d been socialized to see as the only acceptable way. Though the word “gender” was still predominantly only a grammatical term during this era, Rudy’s nonconformism was a perfect example of breaking down gendered stereotypes. Since gender is a social and cultural construct, there’s no one right way to be a “real” man or woman.

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To this day, the name Valentino is synonymous with a handsome, suave seducer of women.

Lower right quadrant, perforated abdominal ulcers are called Valentino’s syndrome, since that’s what led to Rudy’s agonizing death.

The Valentino crypt is said to be notoriously haunted. Many visitors have reported feeling a cold spot, and seeing strange light show up in photographs. A lot of female visitors have also reported feeling phantom kisses.

The gender-industrial complex, Part XII (What is to be done?)

Warning: Any hateful, threatening, abusive comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. If you can’t bear a critical look at the media narrative you’ve absorbed, you’ve got a lot to learn about maturity and the importance of listening to other voices.

What exactly can we do to fight back against this tidal wave which arose within the last five years, when there are so few questioning, skeptical, critical voices in the media and anyone who dares not go along with it is denounced as some horrible bigot?

1. Deliver your message respectfully, cite valid sources, and bring up science and history. You’ll notice I haven’t once, over this series, used words like tranny, she-male, he-she, or laydeeface. I’m not about disrespecting other people, even when they use hateful language like “cis scum” and “TERF.” Never fight fire with fire. When people see you’re not just some rube with a computer ranting away, but someone delivering a message articulately, they’ll be more likely to listen and pay attention.

2. Stop using ridiculous language the transactivists have made up in the last few years. It just validates their cult-like narrative to call yourself “cisgender” or talk about “transmisogyny,” when no one outside of a very small group actually uses such words. For that matter, we should also call a double mastectomy what it really is, not use the euphemism “top surgery.”

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3. Defend yourself when you’re baselessly accused of “transphobia.” Actual transphobia would be bullying someone (real bullying, not making them use a gender-neutral bathroom), refusing to hire someone or rent them an apartment based only on being trans, using mocking slur words, or firing someone who starts transitioning.

4. Leave skeptical comments on news stories and YouTube videos, whether they’re nationwide or just local. The more people who publicly question this trend, the more encouraged others will be to break their silence and start speaking out too.

5. Let kids go back to just being kids! I grew up in a world where boys and girls played with all sorts of toys, and a girl playing with trucks and dressing in blue or a boy playing with dolls and growing long hair wasn’t seen as a reason to alert parents and send the kid off to a gender therapist. Left alone, at least 80% of children eventually grow out of dysphoria, and many who persist in gender-atypicality turn out gay.

6. If you’re part of the LGB community (which I’m not), try to steer organizations and news outlets dominated by the T back onto their original track. Perhaps you can ask why your campus gay-straight alliance has almost nothing but trans-themed activities, or write a letter to PFLAG asking where all the support for GLB youth went.

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7. If your child announces s/he’s the opposite sex, or wants to be the opposite sex, start a healthy dialogue by asking why s/he wants to change sex, and what s/he thinks being the opposite sex is all about. Children notoriously have an immature view of the world, minus years of life experience and cognitive development. For this reason, we don’t let children vote, drive, get married, live independently, work, or have mortgages either. Many times, they hear an adult word or concept and mistakenly apply their childish understanding of the world to it, like thinking sex must mean French kissing.

8. Don’t discount legitimate dysphoria among teens and twentysomethings. Many girls don’t have a very healthy, loving attitude towards their bodies because the popular media doesn’t exactly positively celebrate things like menstruation and giving birth, and there’s the very real fear of rape and sexual harassment simply for having a female body. A sensitive young man can also experience dysphoria and a confused attitude towards his sexuality, such as is on display in these three letters to Scarleteen:

“I worry that because I’m a man, I am going to sexually abuse someone”

“Is intercourse a violence or a violation?”

“Am I less of a man for waiting?”

9. If you’re gender-nonconforming like I am, celebrate that and serve as a positive role model to children and young people. I might, for example, tell a little boy I love his toy fire truck and say I loved playing with toy cars and trucks when I was his age. If he expresses surprise a girl would play with trucks, I’d tell him all toys are for both boys and girls, even if many people think only boys are allowed to play with trucks.

10. Question these stories being reported so uncritically by the media. Once you start digging below the surface and questioning things, you’ll be blown away by what you’ll discover.

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11. Stop rigidly stereotyping children, dammit! Give them all sorts of toys and costumes, stop making them play in different teams or stand in different lines, let them all participate in the same activities, don’t make a big deal out of it if Johnny has painted nails or Jane sports a buzz cut. So many of these alleged transkids are a direct result of adults refusing to let them play with certain toys or like certain colors.

13. Don’t let your minor child make irreversible, adult medical decisions, and find a legit (preferably older) psychiatrist instead of some SJW gender therapist!

14. Get acquainted with the gender-critical blogosphere! Some of the informative blogs I’ve learnt from include:

GenderTrender
Transgender Reality: What Trans People Are Really Saying Online
Stop Trans Chauvinism (a blog of reblogs)
Peak Trans Moment
4th Wave Now
Bureaucromancy
The dirt from Dirt
Retransition
Truth About Transition
Redress Alert
GenderCritical Reddit
Third Way Trans
Rejecting the Gender Cult
TERF Is a Slur
The Truth About Autogynephilia
Transgender Trend: Parents Questioning the Trans Narrative

The gender-industrial complex, Part XI (What really is gender?)

Warning: Any hateful, threatening, abusive comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. Your negative, disrespectful energy says everything about you and nothing about me.

The social construct of gender is something we can blame on the infamous Dr. John Money. Until he coined the term in 1955, the word “gender” was overwhelmingly only used in grammar. In the 1970s, Dr. Money’s definition of gender became much more widespread, all thanks to the misrepresented findings of his “John/Joan Study.”

Dr. Money had a lot of issues from a deeply dysfunctional childhood, and these obsessions, dysfunctions, and bizarre ideas found their way into his adult work as a sexologist and psychologist. He began his research career by studying hermaphrodites (the then-correct term for intersexed people). In 1967, he struck gold for testing his theories about gender identity, at a trusting family’s expense.

In April 1966, 8-month-old Bruce Reimer lost his entire penis (bar a little vestigial stump of tissue) due to a botched circumcision. Instead of using a knife like normal, the surgeon decided to use an electrical needle. The organ was severely burnt and left hard as a rock. The urologist who was called couldn’t even insert a catheter in the urethra, and had to surgically put a tube in through the abdomen into the bladder. Over the next few days, the baby’s penis dried up and broke off in pieces, with the severed urethra like a piece of string.

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Bruce’s parents didn’t know what to do until they saw Dr. Money on television, with a transsexual whose sex change operation he’d performed. They were mesmerized at what could be done, and immediately contacted Dr. Money. Bruce received an orchiectomy (castration) and a rudimentary vaginoplasty at 22 months, was renamed Brenda, and began to be raised as a girl.

Dr. Money loved this case because Brenda had an identical twin, Brian. This was the perfect matched pair to test his theories about gender identity and how a normal boy could successfully become a girl, without even suspecting she used to be a he. The experiment not only failed miserably, but Dr. Money violated numerous ethical precepts (and doubtless laws as well). He showed them pornographic pictures, very graphic pictures of women giving birth, and dirty films, made them undress and inspect one another’s genitals, forced them to simulate sex acts on one another as he took pictures, all sorts of pedophilic, beyond-inappropriate behavior. He even got their parents to walk around naked in front of the kids, though they wisely drew the line at having sex in front of their children.

When the truth came out at age 14, Brenda immediately reverted back to her true sex and took the name David, after King David, whose warrior spirit he related to. I must admit, I was kind of thinking of this story when my character Boy Ryan is asked his name by bridal salon owner Mrs. Marsenko, and immediately thinks of David. When asked to explain later, he said it was because King David was a great warrior and got all the women.

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Thing is, David always knew he was male, even when he was living as Brenda. Even before he could understand what those feelings meant, he knew something wasn’t right, and that he was different. He wasn’t a natal female who always felt male. He simply returned to his true nature. This went far beyond merely being a very masculine girl. It wasn’t about which interests and behaviors stereotypically lined up with one sex vs. the other, but naturally gravitating towards maleness. Most people in our society tend to conform to gender norms, but this proved you don’t even need to be socialized as that sex to know who you are.

Dr. Money was still touting this study as a success as late as 1997, when the twins found out about it and went public to denounce this vile man and try to save other kids from the same fate. Sadly, they both committed suicide, all in huge part thanks to the trauma caused by Dr. Money. The charlatan himself died of old age and still retains a positive reputation among too many people.

Gender isn’t one and the same as biological sex, even though most people never feel much or any disconnect between the two. I’ve always known I’m female, hated how my parents wouldn’t let me have long hair when I was young, enjoy going to women’s-only events and davening behind a mechitza, love jewelry, the color purple, cute fluffy animals, and painting my nails, frequently wear dresses and skirts, and look forward to someday experiencing pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, covering my hair after marriage, and going to the mikvah.

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On the flip side, I also have a lot of interests and behaviors stereotypically associated with men in the modern West, but in some cultures, that would be considered more feminine behavior. There are places where men stay home as nurturing caretakers while women hunt and fight, just as there are places where both sexes take equal part in farming, hunting, fighting, and gathering.

As much as I believe in equality and egalitarianism, there are some things no amount of socialization one way or the other can change. Men tend to be physically stronger and taller than women, with more tendency towards aggression, due to testosterone, while women have more body fat and a calmer, more nurturing nature. Perhaps this is part of our race memories, as Jung theorized, not just because of typical socialization and the effects of hormones.

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We’re all made up of different aspects, along a spectrum. No one is 100% masculine or feminine, just as being 100% right- or left-handed tends to be a sign of neurological damage. Even someone as liberal as myself has some conservative views. Sexual orientation exists along a continuum too. Perhaps you only have relationships with men, but feel more emotionally attracted to women. Maybe you’re a man who’s bedded lots of women, but enjoy gay erotica. Your core identity shouldn’t feel insecure, since we ultimately know who we really are, even if society has tried to convince us we have to pretend to be someone else or choose between two boxes.

The gender-industrial complex, Part X (Peak trans moments)

Warning: Any hateful, threatening, abusive comments will be deleted and the commenters blacklisted. You cult-like zealots are the entire reason I was roused into writing this series and no longer staying silent in spite of my overwhelmingly liberal views.

“Peak trans” refers to that moment when a previous supporter realizes something’s really, really rotten in Denmark, and starts questioning more and more things being presented not only uncritically, but celebratorily. The person then starts backing away from the former support of trans politics, and often ends up horrified at everything which is uncovered.

Some of my peak trans moments:

1. “Packers” being sold for girls as young as four. Let’s just say they’re totally disproportionate to what a normal boy looks like! This company gets them from a sex toy distributor. Classy. When you were a kid, did you go around looking at boys’ crotches to see if there were a bulge, or care about whether there were a little bulge in your own pants?

2. Special underwear for boys to mash down the bulge. Again, see above question. What kind of perverts are kids these days if they seriously go around inspecting their classmates’ and friends’ crotches to see if there’s a bulge?

3. Being called “transphobic,” “cissexist,” “cis scum,” “truscum,” “transmisogynistic,” “heterocisnormative,” a TEFF, and a whole host of other newly-coined slurs for daring to question anything about the current trans narrative. I was told I was being transphobic for simply making an offhand comment about how some (very vile) woman in a news story looked like a man.

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4. The made-up term “cotton ceiling” to describe lesbians who dare not want to date and have sex with men in drag. If you’re a man, you’re not a lesbian, and no duh you’re having a hard time finding real lesbians who want to date someone with a penis!

5. The Tumblr-coined term “truscum” for people who dare insist on the long-accepted definition of transsexualism as being related to bodily dysphoria. The people who claim it’s possible to be trans without any dysphoria call themselves “tucute.”

6. Rewriting history to cast themselves as front and center, such as claiming the gay men who led the Stonewall riot were really trans.

7. Taking over a lot of LGB news outlets, organizations, and clubs to be all trans, all the time, and writing everyone else out of existence.

8. The transing of younger and younger kids! Minus all this inordinate media attention, we wouldn’t be seeing such an admitted explosion in the number of children now presenting to gender therapists and getting puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones.

8. Trying to force themselves into women’s safe spaces, like locker rooms and bathrooms.

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9. The denial of biology, like saying a penis can be female too and that it’s just an opinion if a child is a boy or girl.

10. All the stereotypes out in full display. God forbid you just be a feminine man or masculine woman, instead of jumping on hormones and having surgeries! So many of these people become such caricatures of what they think a real man or woman is, like a dude-bro gym rat and a shopaholic princess bathed in pink.

11. An event to decorate cupcakes with vulvas was accused of being “transmisogynistic” and “violently transphobic” because it dared acknowledge women don’t have penises.

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12. Many women’s studies programs, university women’s organizations and lecture series, and women’s bookstores being taken over by transactivists.

13. Teens and twentysomethings who never had an issue with their identity suddenly deciding they’re trans based on the power of peer pressure, media suggestion, and binge-watching YouTube videos. Being gender-nonconforming is no reason to permanently alter your body!

14, Historic women’s-only colleges, like Smith and Barnard, being cowed into accepting biological men.

15. Last but not least, creepy fetishist Stefonknee Wolscht being hailed as some brave hero and martyr. Google this individual if you haven’t already seen his story. It’ll leave you shocked and disgusted.