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the trauma argument

Some gender dysphorics try to explain the way they are by adopting the narrative that they experienced emasculation trauma at an early age. That occurrence so marked them that it helped produce some sort of fetish.

I've reflected on this argument many times but have always come to dismiss it as an origin for the transgender condition. First you must buy into the idea that a very young child can be sexualized many years before puberty and secondly you then need to accept that whatever happened to them was so traumatic that they are permanently stuck this way.

This type of narrative is not very prevalent in the countless ones I have read from other gender dysphorics. It seems that many had pretty normal childhood experiences save for the fact that they needed to hide this early self discovery that they were different. But I don't discount certain people's narratives and how they helped shape their psyche.

People who favour this argument may find solace in that since they enjoy what they have identified as a fetish, they feel they are exercising control over it. However , if they are actually gender dysphoric they will find that the feelings typically magnify with the aging process (see my previous post on this). So time will tell. I don't see why the trauma argument would hold more appeal than genetic predisposition since in both cases one is in essence stuck in a situation which is beyond their control and ultimately requires self acceptance.

Please note that I am making a distinction here between fetishes developed into adolescence and adulthood (which all kinds of people have) and which are considerably more common.

In the end we are left with much speculation and nothing provable and, since everyone requires a personal narrative to explain their own situation to themselves, this one will work just as well as any other.


  1. Why is it that we long for a definitive answer to the question, "Why am I the way I am?" Even if a scientific study that has universal acceptance was published today, would anything really change in us tomorrow? We want to know, but would our knowing really change anything? I'm not sure, but I am inclined to think that very little if anything would change by knowing the "why."

    1. actually Katie I think it would. Right now there are people on both sides of the fence: those who accept this difference as forming part of the mosaic of humanity and those who think of this as a perversion or a mental delusion. It might not change anything for how we conduct our lives but it would greatly influence public opinion and increase our ability to have more respectful treatment. Right now that treatment is borderline shameful and we have a long way to go.

      In addition I have a scientific curiosity that just won't quit plus a desire to dispel malice and the charlatanism that poses as science.

  2. Thank you for your response. It was kind of you to take my less-than-nimble comment seriously.

  3. Later... Throughout the day I've been thinking about your original article and your response to my comment. I agree with most of what you have written. However, it assumes that a compelling scientific argument will prevail against prejudice. The problem with this is that prejudice is very rarely a rational position. More often it is a twisted emotional response, born in ignorance and nurtured by egotism. We are 150+ years after the end of the Civil War. You would think that by now racial bias would be a thing of the past, but it isn't by any means. I am fearful that the same will true for gender issues. I'm fairly certain that things will improve in the future but it will likely be a slow, fitful and uneven process.

    I hope I haven't worn out my welcome by taking a somewhat contradictory position. In the future I promise I won't post three comments in one day! You got thinking...

    All the best, Kati

    1. I don't really believe that you will get to the haters but you will get to the reasonable minded people who are open to be educated. The vacuum left in the science leaves the door open for crackpot theories and by establishing something solid we would do away with all that.

      The people who want to believe what they want you won't change I agree. Just look at the hateful comments after Obama was elected

  4. Good points indeed Kati....feel free to comment anytime

  5. I'm afraid I am guilty of putting speculative thinking on growth hormones.

    What about the other way round? If a definitive and widely accepted scientific explanation of gender issues was published, do you think the trans-community would buy into it? In particular, what if the paper was critical of the medical communities' rush to medicate any and all problems and/or the FFS and GRS?

    From my perch, retrenchment is never easy. Once an individual is fully vested in an idea it is difficult for that person to abandoned long-held positions and adopt a contradictory opinion. It does happen, but it is often the exception to the rule.

    Enough speculation for one twenty-four hour period.

    Speculatively yours, Kati


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