When people say they're transgendered, what is the meaning of this? Do they believe its genetic? Developmental? Doesn't matter? From a purely biological and developmental perspective, the facts of development appear to be entirely plastic. Interactions between caregiver and infant are structuring processes built around the recognition of need. The picture emerging in the neurosciences which study human development show that self-other form a basic dialectic of the developing mind. A plausible understanding of sexual orientation as well as gender dysmorphia see's the developing mind as beginning with very basic self-other representations based in shared eye gaze, vocal intonation (how happy and enlivened you sound; or conversely, depressed or withdrawn) and shared bodily contact. The arrow is outside-in. And the basic logic is 'symmetry' - with attunement to felt need being "what works" to, in the words of the developmental psychologist Ed Tronick, create a 'dyadic expansion of consciousness'. These early life patterns in turn form the basis of relational expectancies. The body, which is other relative to the observing mind, forms it basis from these interactions with others. Feelings in the body are not random, but very much logical consequences of interactions with Others. At around puberty, this basic self-other dialectic appears to become metaphorically "grafted" onto the otherness of sexual orientation. The gender with the 'different body' is "other" to my own gendered body. The theory contrasts self-from-other, so that, if your early-life caregivers fail to recognize your needs and respond appropriately, its as if the other "isn't real". The other overlooks your subjectivity, your feelings, and how your feelings are structured by their reactions towards you. Such dissociation (and the idealization which creates the dissociation) could theoretically, and plausibly, steer a 10 year old kid with generalized anxiety created by such poor-responsivity from early caregivers into experiencing a problem with his own attraction to the other gender. One can extend this metaphorical dynamic further so that the self and the universe would be patterned according to earlier dynamics. Or, again, the observing mind and its own experience of self. With this basic background, as well as the biological sciences which describe the relevant mechanisms (epigenetics), it seems evident that sexual orientation and gender identification are a function of development. Problem: if we promote the 'rightness' of homosexuality or transgenderism, isn't there a tacit denial of a developmental process that has created this inverted 'feeling need'? If there is a high frequency of trauma in the histories of people with sexual identification and gender identification issues, wouldn't it perhaps be destructive, and contribute to more societal dysfunction, if we don't acknowledge the evidence of the empirical sciences, and heed the positive value that they can potentially offer? Alternatively, I have a pet theory. The theory applies to some people with transgender needs (the wachowskis) who appear to have a deep interest in transcendental philosophies, but in the sense given to it by the political philosopher Eric Voegelin, as "intramundane Gnosticism", or a desire to exist in "this world" (which is assumed to be false - called maya in the east or the demiurge by Plato) without ever reflecting on your 'transcendental source'. Of course, everyone has a different past, and not everyone interacts with mystical philosophies interested in transpersonal states of being; but there is nevertheless a clear connection between "not feeling real" because a caregiver fails to respond to you, and the feeling that the universe "isn't real", because we are able to contemplate time, and eternity, and in reference to this contrast, it appears that people with serious early life trauma have profound difficulty with tolerating both these ideas at once. At a psychological level, the Universe's independent existence and sheer infinite size implies that we are not quite "it". We are, but we aren't, and its this mixture of fundamental meaning (love) and a universe built out of an apparent randomness which, I imagine, can easily torment the minds of people who don't have the required knowledge to interpret this experience in a way that doesn't result in complete nihilism (i.e. Nietzsche). So, naturally, is it possible that some people are being motivated by depressive and traumatic emotions that drive them towards trying to live just in the 'now', even though such a singular commitment will probably lead to the increasing dysfunction of society? This is what I am curious about. Those who call themselves "postmodernists" seem unwilling to reflect on how reality works, probably because their traumatic feelings are too strong to allow them to engage "time" without feeling like their engaging "unreality". I am very sensitive to this situation, and by no means is this thread meant to demonize those people who've been led towards these feelings, and feel good when others affirm the rightness of their needs. Being the sort of organism that we are means we don't have a choice in these matters - that is, how we're related to early on determines how our brain is shaped, and thus, determines how well we are able to regulate our feeling states. These are things we inherit, and it takes analyzing what was unanalyzed to see how these sorts of interactions have shaped us. To summarize: transgenderism appears to be related to early life errors in caregiver-infant recognition dynamics, which established the metaphorical 'ground' for later life identification issues. In some people, such as the wachowski's, interacting with profound metaphysical 'ideas' can generate, in people with unresolved trauma histories, extreme feelings of derealization, depersonalization, depression and ultimately, a nihilism as to the meaning of things. When I keep hearing the phrase "narrowly defining gender", I'm curious as to what else could define gender besides your bodily dynamics. From a strictly logical perspective, the only basis I could imagine to have any serious case to make of what else would "define" gender would be the 'transcendental' or 'timeless' perspective which some people adopt towards the meaning of their existences. If from here, one's "will" is the only real truth (as many believe) then gender would be "narrowly defined" from a strictly biological perspective. But perhaps this perspective is an "alchemical" mistake of not realizing how the present contextualizes the present? It is indeed a "mind-****" for almost all of us who live in this society to have to realize that the so-called "timeless" is contextualized and made different by conditions within time i.e. a secure attachment in development versus an insecure attachment. Ultimately, this is not a "LGBTQ" is evil thread, as I hope my above rational descriptions have made clear. It takes very seriously the suffering humans feel; and I am by no means beyond this suffering, which is why I am far more sensitive to the topic than the majority of people who have 'issues' with LGBTQ "object-relations". My interest is to pull the conversation from the idealistic image of "I was born this way" (as in the lady gaga song - a song that must confuse developmental scientists in the biologies and psychologies) into the possibility that much of we take to be "normal" development is not normal, but fairly harmful. Furthermore, so long as the trauma remains unresolved, every time we 'think about' about our problems, negative feelings are released. This is what I mean by 'alchemical': the past images of your negative relational experiences in your past "judge" the meaning of your present object-relation. "Transcendental meditation", for instance, is a fairly effective way to create serious trauma disorders in people with pasts that can't effectively "metabolize" such a profound object-relation. A part of me wonders whether an entire culture and society could be controlled through such methods. Indeed, its not like anyone is trying to be evil. Rather, we are a very complicated organism with very complicated organization. For the eastern world - such as the Hindu world (but not so much the Tibetan Buddhist world, where the Dalai Lama has made an education in the physical and biological sciences a prerequisite) which exists in the sordid caste system, the world out there is deemed to be eternally "unreal". A similar philosophy exists in other Indo-European cultures which adopt an equivalent concept to maya - the "demiurge". Both positions are taken to be utterly truthful, and yet, anyone acquainted with modern systems sciences can't help but notice how tremendously wrong eastern thinkers attempting to 'explain time' got it; they were very literal, and not in the least bit understanding the non-linear nature of things. Is this universe of ours so unbelievable that we simply cannot use "mysticism" to understand it, despite the fact that there are 3,000 or so years worth of speculations on the topic? Anywho, the question is not "is eternity real", or "love is eternity", but rather, why do we experience such a conflict between the timeless and the temporal? Why are we so opposed to "God", or as I think would be easier to metabolize for most western ears, "the Universe"? My inkling tells me that existence really is, when its working properly, a paradise. Conversely, when we put ourselves into an asymmetrical organization, we find ourselves flirting with suicide, destruction, dysmorphia, and other troubling malformations of spacetime on the ground that "nothing matters". Really? Is Madonna right that "everyone must stand alone" (in "like a prayer")? I didn't have sadistic or masochistic parents, so I cannot speak to what someone who feels this way really feels. To think we "must" stand alone sounds almost cultic; and strange, because it feels so much better to work and cooperate with others. Thus, I really feel this is an issue of having a very wrong story - or narrative - to explain "why you feel the way you feel". And, if there are other's you are connected to who hold the same stories, the "symmetry" between yourself and them - being a love process - makes it even harder to step back from your religious commitments and ask yourself, "can it be different"? "Do I really think that my little brain can know all there is to know about reality?" I hope most people answer that question in the negative, yet, again, traumata "corral" the mind, keeping it dissociative, and in many, literally maintains a "multiple personality" disorder type organization. Obviously, a society of people with no metacognition sounds like a potentially very unjust society, insomuch as we need to "keep track" of our feelings and why we feel what we feel in order to behave in reasonable ways.