Comparing Rachel Dolezal to transgender people is scientifically absurd

As you have no doubt read, there is a lot of controversy over the revelation that Rachel Dolezal, president of the Spokane chapter of the NAACP, has been pretending to be black for years. And it should surprise no one that conservatives who refuse to acknowledge transgender individuals’ identities used the opportunity to draw comparisons between the two.

This is ridiculous.

We know for a fact that transgender people are, for lack of a better word, real. MRIs have shown that a male-to-female transgender person has a brain that is like a woman’s, and that female-to-male transgender people have brains that are like men’s. Biological sex is hardcoded into the human genome and, on occasion, the body doesn’t match the brain. When trans people say they feel trapped in the body of the opposite sex, it’s more than a euphemism: On a biological level, that’s exactly what’s happened.

This isn’t true for race, for which biological influences aren’t much more than skin deep. There is no difference between the structure of a white person’s brain and that of a black person’s brain in the way that there is between a male brain and a female brain. Rachel Dolezal isn’t a black woman trapped in a white woman’s body; she’s a white woman who has chosen to identify as black.

Rachel Dolezal, screenshot via KXLY-TV / Youtube

Rachel Dolezal, screenshot via KXLY-TV / Youtube

I’m not going to speculate as to why she has made that choice. Although, for a really solid critique of her behavior and its consequences, read this.

What I will say is that it remains a science fact that it is impossible for her to be transracial in the way that Laverne Cox and Caitlyn Jenner are transgender. Race and sexual identity are differently different, with biology making the latter run far deeper than the former. To equate Rachel Dolezal’s performance of another race with the trans community’s deeply-rooted and unchosen identities is to trivialize both race and gender. Don’t do it.


Max Mills is a 26 year old Texan with a degree in Computer Science. Although he writes about a variety of things, his main focuses are education and political accountability. You can follow him on Twitter at @MaxFMills

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  • Wakame

    “On one hand someone prefers DNA evidence, which is more concrete, but
    not definitive in any way, vs someone who is more interested in
    neuroscience. “

    No, I have posted both neuroscience and DNA studies. Here they are again:

    http://www.cakeworld.info/transsexualism/what-is/brain-similarities

    http://www.cakeworld.info/transsexualism/what-is/transsexual-genes

    http://www.cakeworld.info/transsexualism/what-is/heredity-of-transsexualism

    I would encourage you to re-read the posts and study both the quantity and the quality of evidence presented on both sides.

  • Wakame

    “You guys can’t really draw points or counter parts from these articles,
    and can really only draw the conclusion that is stated in the conclusion
    of the studies.”

    Here are a selection of quotes from just some of the studies I have quoted on trans brains. This is what I mean by the weight of evidence:

    We present here a unique data set of boys and girls diagnosed with
    GD at two different developmental stages, showing that these children possess
    certain sex-atypical functional brain characteristics and may have undergone
    atypical sexual differentiation of the brain.

    On a behavioral and neuronal level, our results support the feeling of
    MtFs reporting they cannot identify with their assigned sex.

    Our results suggest that individuals with GD possess certain
    functional brain characteristics of their experienced gender and might have
    undergone atypical neuronal sexual differentiation, most likely during early
    brain development and not during puberty.

    The absence of
    serotonin transporter asymmetry in the midcingulate in male-to-female transsexuals
    may be attributed to an absence of brain masculinization in this region.

    These results support
    the notion that structural brain differences exist between transsexual and
    healthy control subjects and that majority of these structural differences are
    dependent on the biological gender.

    The absence of
    serotonin transporter asymmetry in the midcingulate in MtF transsexuals may be
    attributed to an absence of brain masculinization in this region.

    MtFs did not differ in CTh from female
    controls but had greater CTh than control males in the orbitofrontal, insular,
    and medial occipital regions. In conclusion, FtMs showed evidence of
    subcortical gray matter masculinization, while MtFs showed evidence of CTh
    feminization.

    These data
    partially support the idea that untreated FtM transgender shows a functional
    connectivity profile comparable to female control subjects.

    These
    findings provide further evidence that brain anatomy is associated with gender
    identity, where measures in MTF transsexuals appear to be shifted away from
    gender-congruent men.

    Our results
    show that the white matter microstructure pattern in untreated FtM transsexuals
    is closer to the pattern of subjects who share their gender identity (males)
    than those who share their biological sex (females). Our results provide
    evidence for an inherent difference in the brain structure of FtM transsexuals.

    There is also
    evidence that transsexuals have parts of their brain structure that is typical
    of the opposite birth-assigned gender.

    Taken together, the dichotic and
    handedness data reported here indicate that the MtF and FtM conditions are not
    mirror images in terms of the verbal-auditory aspects of their brain
    organization and neurobiology plays an important role, particularly in the
    development of the male-to-female trans-condition.

    Discriminant function analysis and source localization showed that
    the transsexual group was similar to female heterosexual controls, with
    increased sources in the right hemisphere in the fast frequencies.

    The differences in activation are
    similar to the known differences between males and females.

    the MF-TS showed in many areas deviations compared to the men and similarities
    with the women. MF-TS probably have a different brain organization than men.

    We revealed a
    cerebral activation pattern in MTF transsexuals compared with male controls
    similar to female controls compared with male controls during viewing of erotic
    stimuli, indicating a tendency of female-like cerebral processing in
    transsexualism.

    We showed for the first time that
    INAH3 volume and number of neurons of male-to-female transsexual people is
    similar to that of control females. The female-to-male transsexual subject had
    an INAH3 volume and number of neurons within the male control range, even
    though the treatment with testosterone had been stopped three years before
    death.

    Because our MFTRs were nonhomosexual, the results are unlikely to be
    an effect of sexual practice. Instead, the data implicate that transsexuality
    may be associated with sex-atypical physiological responses in specific
    hypothalamic circuits, possibly as a consequence of a variant neuronal
    differentiation.

  • Mike

    Very good articles from both sides, but be wary in following your own convictions (both of you). I see alot of wrong conclusions drawn from studies that are very shaky to begin with. You guys can’t really draw points or counter parts from these articles, and can really only draw the conclusion that is stated in the conclusion of the studies.

    Besides, I am not even sure what you 2 are arguing about. Seems like both of you agree that transgender has the strong possibility of being biological. On one hand someone prefers DNA evidence, which is more concrete, but not definitive in any way, vs someone who is more interested in neuroscience. Honestly, it all doesn’t really matter!

  • Mike

    “When trans people say they feel trapped in the body of the opposite sex, it’s more than a euphemism: On a biological level, that’s exactly what’s happened.”

    – It’s not, and you have absolutely 0 proof that this is an exact fact. Nor do you have proof that all transgender individuals have the “minds” of the opposite sex.

    “This isn’t true for race, for which biological influences aren’t much more than skin deep. There is no difference between the structure of a white person’s brain and that of a black person’s brain in the way that there is between a male brain and a female brain.”

    Also not true, considering that 1. there are proven genetic differences based on your race, and 2. we are not at a point that compares every difference of someones brain with anothers… yet alone determine differences or similarities between black and white.

    Are science degrees getting easier to get or something? Or are people just more ignorant these days?

  • Wakame

    Nothing I wrote counters the idea that science is never settled. What we have is a good working hypothesis based on the weight of evidence. We continue to do new science and to develop treatment protocols.

    The first study you quoted is very interesting, but it is not counter-evidence to the idea that male and female brains are different – it actually supports that theory.

    Your second study looked for genetic anomalies in 3 regions and didn’t find them. As they say in the conclusion: “Variable regions analyzed from ERβ, AR, and CYP19A1 are not associated with MtF transsexualism. Nevertheless, this does not exclude other polymorphic regions not analyzed.”

    And you will know from the studies I posted that other regions have been analysed and in those ones, anomalies were found.

    Your next study failed to find evidence that male to female brains are feminised in the particular areas they examined. It’s a study I am familiar with and it’s very interesting. However, it is outweighed by the 26 studies I posted for you which look at various regions of the brain and brain functioning. This is what I mean by the balance of evidence.

    Your next study on cortical thickness in untreated transsexuals is one I posted for you. It does not support your case. Here’s an extract from the conclusion: “FtMs showed evidence of subcortical gray matter masculinization, while MtFs showed evidence of CTh feminization.”

    Your next section dealt with persistence. You ask the following question:

    Question: How do you explain the phenomenon of persistence? There should be no persistence. They should just transition if that’s how they feel.”

    We know full well that most children presenting with gender non-conforming behaviour will not persist into adulthood. That is why we take such precautions over treatment. It’s the whole reason that the Dutch protocol using puberty blockers exists – to give time to work out which are the genuine cases. This protocol is extremely successful as you can see from this 2014 study:

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2014/09/02/peds.2013-2958.abstract

    Which states:

    “After gender reassignment, in young adulthood, the GD was alleviated and psychological functioning had steadily improved. Well-being was similar to or better than same-age young adults from the general population. Improvements in psychological functioning were positively correlated with postsurgical subjective well-being.”

    You ask:

    “How does an adolescent just develop gender dysphoria at adolescence if they are born with it? They should feel it their whole lives.

    The section of the report you posted gives you some answers to that:

    “we have seen several adolescent females with recent onset of a wish for SRS following a sexual assault. Other adolescents may present
    with clear body dysmorphic disorder, psychosis, severe depression and Asperger’s disorder, with the wish for SRS appearing almost as a secondary phenomenon. Those adolescents with GID whose GID symptoms were clearly present in childhood and have continued into adolescence are generally less complicated to manage.

    So again, this is why the approach is very cautious. However, we still don’t know all the answers- that’s why I keep telling you that science is never settled.

    “I can’t get access to the articles that discuss the above questions although I know they exist.”

    I can hardly discuss articles I haven’t seen.

    “How do you explain the case of Walt Heyer?”

    Walt Heyer was forced to dress as a girl by his grandmother. He says he wasn’t trans. He is a victim of child abuse and he has my sympathy. He would fall into the just over 2% of cases where people regret transition.

    Let me ask you a question – what treatment would you recommend for trans people and what is your evidence that it works?

  • Dreed37

    You perplex me Wakame. Earlier you say

    “Science is never settled”

    Then you follow up with

    “I’m not in the slightest bit worried. I have looked for the counter science too – there are bits and pieces (see if you can find them) but they are vastly outweighed by literally hundreds of studies that support my position.”

    That’s why doctors and scientists across the world are generally on my side. And it is why transition is considered a valid treatment.

    Translation: Science settled. You win!

    Well found some interesting counter evidence enjoy

    http://www.hindawi.com/journals/schizort/2014/463757/

    Association study of ERβ, AR, and CYP19A1 genes and MtF transsexualism.
    Fernández R1, Esteva I, Gómez-Gil E, Rumbo T, Almaraz MC, Roda E, Haro-Mora JJ, Guillamón A, Pásaro E.
    J Sex Med. 2014 Aug 15. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12673. [Epub ahead of print]

    Sex Dimorphism of the Brain in Male-to-Female Transsexuals
    Ivanka Savic1 and Stefan Arver2

    Cortical Thickness in Untreated Transsexuals

    Leire Zubiaurre-Elorza1,3, Carme Junque1,3, Esther Gómez-Gil2,4, Santiago Segovia5, Beatriz Carrillo5, Giuseppina Rametti1and Antonio Guillamon51Departamento de Psiquiatría y Psicobiología Clínica, 2Unidad de Identidad de Género, Hospital Clinic, Universidad deBarcelona, Barcelona, Spain 3Institute of Biomedical Research August Pi i Sunyer (IDIBAPS), Barcelona, Spain, 4Clinical Instituteof Neuroscience, Hospital Clinic i Provincial, Barcelona, Spain and 5Departamento de Psicobiología, UNED, Madrid, Spain

    Report of the APA Task Force on
    Treatment of Gender Identity Disorder
    Approved by the Joint Reference Committee, July 2011
    Approved by the Board of Trustees, September 2011
    The findings, opinions, and conclusions of this report do not necessarily represent the views of the officers, trustees, or all
    members of the American Psychiatric Association. Views expressed are those of the authors.” — APA Operations Manual.

    Quoting from Above study:

    The natural history or outcome of untreated children
    with GID is that a minority will identify as transsexual or
    transgender in adulthood (a phenomenon termed
    persistence), while the majority will become comfortable
    with their natal gender over time (a phenomenon termed
    desistence) (3-6). As reviewed by Wallien and Cohen-
    Kettenis (2008), the rate of persistence into adulthood was
    initially reported to be exceedingly low, but more recent
    studies suggest that it may be 20% or higher. In one recent
    study of gender dysphoric children (59 boys, 18 girls; mean
    age 8.4 years, age range 5-12 years), 27% (out of 54 who
    agreed to participate in the follow-up study) remained
    gender dysphoric at follow-up 10 years later (5). At followup,
    nearly all male and female participants in the
    persistence group reported having a homosexual or
    bisexual sexual orientation. In the desistance group, all of
    the girls and half of the boys reported having a
    heterosexual orientation. The other half of the boys in the
    desistance group had a homosexual or bisexual sexual
    orientation.

    Question: How do you explain the phenomenon of persistence?

    Gender Variance in Adolescence
    Susan Bradley, M.D.
    Richard Green, M.D., J.D.

    For purposes of this Task Force report, adolescence is
    defined as the developmental period from 12 to 18 years of
    age. Problems of gender identity present as a spectrum
    with some adolescents having longstanding gender dysphoria
    and wishes to be the other sex (typically evident in
    childhood) while others present with a more recent onset
    of gender dysphoria, sometimes in the context of more
    broad identity confusion and less clear definition of their
    identity as the other sex. For example we have seen several
    adolescent females with recent onset of a wish for SRS
    following a sexual assault. Other adolescents may present
    with clear body dysmorphic disorder, psychosis, severe
    depression and Asperger’s disorder, with the wish for SRS
    appearing almost as a secondary phenomenon. Those
    adolescents with GID whose GID symptoms were clearly
    present in childhood and have continued into adolescence
    are generally less complicated to manage. According to
    Cohen-Kettenis and van Goozen (90) this “persistent”
    group may have less overt psychopathology. Those whose
    GID symptoms emerge later, often with pubertal changes
    and/or in the context of a psychiatric disorder or following
    Transvestic Fetishism, present with a more complicated
    management picture. Although many of the same issues
    arise for both early and later onset groups, the timing at
    which particular issues arise and how they are managed
    clinically may vary between the two groups. The consensus
    among the clinicians with the most experience in this area
    is that it is important to address major co-occurring
    psychiatric issues prior to the gender issues in both early
    and later onset groups (23, 91). In the absence of other
    contributory issues, as is more common with the early
    onset group, supportive.

    How does an adolescent just develop gender dysphoria at adolescence if they are born with it? They should feel it their whole lives.

    And how about answering why children at Vanderbilt University and London’s Portman Clinic who displayed transgender identities, 70%-80% of them spontaneously lost those feelings? Or how an adult could “learn” certain behaviors over their lifetime and could have changed the way their brain operated to look more like that of the opposite sex?

    I can’t get access to the articles that discuss the above questions although I know they exist.

    How do you explain the case of Walt Heyer?

  • Wakame

    I’m not in the slightest bit worried. I have looked for the counter science too – there are bits and pieces (see if you can find them) but they are vastly outweighed by literally hundreds of studies that support my position.

    That’s why doctors and scientists across the world are generally on my side. And it is why transition is considered a valid treatment.

    Good luck.

    And while you’re at it, why don’t you define “woman” for me?

  • Dreed37

    Don’t worry I’m looking into counter evidence for the gene evidence and the other science you cite.

  • Wakame

    “changing their focus when they couldn’t find differences or when they found instances of females having “better” qualities”

    None of the studies I cited mention any brains qualities being “better” than other brain qualities.

    Your second 2 links don’t go anywhere so I will address the first one instead:

    The first link on the page is interesting – it’s about the limitations of neuroscience. It is however disputed:

    http://www.nature.com/nrn/journal/v14/n8/full/nrn3475-c3.html

    Nor does it disprove any of the science I posted – it merely warns that there is a problem with small sample sizes in neuroscience.

    The second item on the page is by Anne Lawrence. In this article she looks at only the first two studies in the link I gave you. They were the first 2 done. She does not address the 24 which follow it looking at various aspects of brain function and structure. It is, to say the least, out of date, and that is without going into the problems inherent in the article itself.

    The next item on the list is a book by Cordelia Fine. This is not peer reviewed science – it is opinion. Fine herself also pointed out in The Psychologist, that the book is concerned with scientific evidence presented as support for the idea that males and females are, on average, ‘hardwired’ to ‘systemise’ versus ’empathise’, rather than the question of the extent to which core gender identity is ‘hardwired”, It doesn’t address the studies I posted.

    Next is another book rather than science.

    The next piece is, by the admission of the editor, not a brain study.

    Then there is an article from the Wall Street Journal – not science.

    So, one interesting piece of science, a couple of interesting books, one of which doesn’t discuss the issue and some opinions, which pre date most of the science I cited for you. Nor does anything on the page touch upon the 26 genetic studies I gave you. And that is supposed to stand against 52 peer-reviewed studies.

    I have more though – if you explore the site I linked to, you will find around 800 studies looking at trans people and their treatment.

    How do you answer the gene studies? I mean why is it that people with repeats on the androgen receptor gene are the very ones who report gender dysphoria even though they didn’t know that had the gene anomaly? Coincidence?

    If gender identity is not innate, why is it that a large percentage of boys born with cloacal exstrophy and who are surgically given female genitalia and brought as girls, also report gender dysphoria? Coincidence?

    Why is there a correlation between gender identity and digit ratios if there is nothing biological about gender identity?

    If the brain is neuroplastic with regards to gender identity, why is it not possible to change the gender identity of trans people with psychiatry?

  • Dreed37

    Scientists have long since been trying to prove the existence of male and female brains, changing their focus when they couldn’t find differences or when they found instances of females having “better” qualities. For example, it was noted that males have slightly larger brains than females (the scientists cheered), but then it was determined that females have a larger brain-to-body size ratio than males. The scientists proceeded to look elsewhere for differences.

    Here are a couple of links for you

    http://sexnotgender.com/brain-sex-does-not-exist/

    http://www.rawstory.com/2013/02/study-dubunks-notion-that-men-and-women-are-psychologically-distinct

    http://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/dec/07/brain-science-ditch-male-to-female-cliches

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  • mjguillo

    “This isn’t true for race, for which biological influences aren’t much more than skin deep.” Please cite studies that indicate that people who identify with a race different than the race they are considered by society are no different than people who identify with the race they society sees them as. I know studies have been done with transgenders. I can’t find any that have been done with transracials.

  • devlzadvocate

    I’m still trying to sort out all of this, if it can be sorted out. We often exchange the references to “Black” people and “African-American” peole equally thinking they carry the same meaning. Maybe they don’t. So, is it possible to be “transracial” in black culture, history, observances, etc and not be African-American because you are not of that descent. For example, it is possible to convert to Judaism and learn all of the culture, history, observances, texts, etc, but NOT be a Hebrew because you are not of that descent.

  • Don Chandler

    I hear what you’re saying. A lot of folks want Gays to change their ways and be strait. And there are some gays that comply as best they can. They go to church and get married and have kids and accept the “heterosexual way” as best they can. Or they live in denial. Or lie about their sexuality. Mostly we say they are “in the closet”…maybe repressed or assholes ;) And then there are some people that are adopted and live in a black family and experience the life of being black and enjoy the culture and the perspective and experience the of racial discrimination. When Blacks suffer, so do they even though they were born white. Why is it I’m more sympathetic to Dolezal than say… Roy Cohn or the former congressman from Illinois, Aaron Schock. Or my former self. There is a difference. But I’m not actually blind to what the right-wing folks are doing with the issue.

  • You don’t have to ignore anything – you can change your skin color and make yourself look more black and you’ll likely face racism the way any other person would. But to deny your past and to be able to leave that life should you choose is the bigger issue.

  • Wakame

    Some people with Y chromosomes are born with vaginas.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Androgen_insensitivity_syndrome

  • Wakame

    “Excuse me but it is bad debate form to haughtily dismiss any question of
    the transgender/transracial comparison by essentially saying the
    science is settled”

    Science is never settled.

    “it’s even worse when the science you cite is beyond sketchy.”

    It’s isn’t sketchy – the scientists who did the studies clearly think that it is an important observation. There’s lots more of it too. Here are 26 peer-reviewed articles looking at trans brains:

    http://www.cakeworld.info/transsexualism/what-is/brain-similarities

    The evidence is mounting continually. Counter-evidence is scarce.

    “We can tell who has a Y chromosome and who doesn’t.”

    Of course, but a Y chromosome doesn’t make you a man. It is actually the SRY comonent which is responsible for male genitalia, but that can be transposed to a second X chromosome. (XX male).

    Not only that, but XY chromosomes are not the only determinants of your sexual development. Take Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS). That’s when someone has normal XY but is born with a vagina and a body that can’t develop as male because they are effectively immune to the effects of testosterone.

    If you want to look at the genes of trans people (you clearly prefer genetic evidence to neurological evidence) – science is doing that too. For example, they have found anomalies on the androgen receptor gene. Here are another 26 peer-reviewed studies looking at the genetics of trans people:

    http://www.cakeworld.info/transsexualism/what-is/transsexual-genes

    http://www.cakeworld.info/transsexualism/what-is/heredity-of-transsexualism

  • Dreed37

    Excuse me but it is bad debate form to haughtily dismiss any question of the transgender/transracial comparison by essentially saying the science is settled, it’s even worse when the science you cite is beyond sketchy. Basically every doctor in the field will tell you that the brain is the least understood organ in the body. Oh, sure… we’ve made great advances in finding things like tumors and broken blood vessels, but as to the organization of thinking, feeling and reactions, we’re still throwing darts at a distant board in many cases. Doctors can’t even agree if we can use brain scans to conclusively act as a lie detector. The science is improving, but it’s hardly bullet proof.

    DNA science, on the other hand, is solidifying quickly, at least in the broad strokes. We can tell who has a Y chromosome and who doesn’t. And there are telltale markers which anthropologists can use to identify the racial heritage of most any person, living or dead. But humans are so blended at this point that most of us have a mix of races, each of which can be partially ferreted out through DNA analysis. The bottom line is that brain scans are dubious at best, but DNA doesn’t lie. DNA can identify gender 100% of the time and it can nail down most of your racial heritage nearly as often. Which science do we believe in more strongly? Brain waves or DNA?

  • Don Chandler

    Well, to do so, one has to ignore the suffering of Blacks in America. BTW, a black man that immigrates to the US from Africa will not be the same as an African American. They have different backgrounds and one comes to the US from a majority population and the other is in a minority population that has a history of oppression. How could they be the same even though they are both Black? You can’t ignore the suffering.

  • How can we say that one person was born with the wrong body to match their gender but not race? Not ethnicity – not anything. You can be whoever you want and whatever you want.

  • Don Chandler

    Yup, Transparency is key. Being forthright does good for all. But by saying she was black, she is actually making a choice that Blacks couldn’t make. I could say I’m American Indian even though I’m a White guy from the suburbs. But lets be real, I’d be ignoring many things. In fact, I’d probably be laughed out of the pueblo. But if I adopted the ways of the Pueblo, I might come to be accepted as a friend but not as an Elder. Do you think I’d become a leader of the Pueblo? Unlikely.

    The real point, transgender people are not making a choice about who they are. And political groups are making hay out of the issue of “choice” vs “born as”. These political groups are transparently opportunistic.

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  • Terry Wrist

    What is scientifically absurd is calling someone with a Y chromosome a woman.Scientifically Bruce Jenner is and always has been a man.Just like how scientifically Dolezal is white, yet because Jenner FEELS that he is a woman he is so? It is ridiculous.

  • Publicly shaming someone is easy – we don’t know her full story. We don’t know why she did this or what all the details are but it’s so easy to make fun of. I’m pretty sure she’s a person with real feelings and it sounds like she needs mental help more than being burned at the stake.

  • I’m not going to tell someone they were born anything or that they should identify more one way with something than another. Not my place. The issue that comes into play is that being black in America (and elsewhere) does give you a lot of disadvantages. So as long as you are open about saying you were born white but identify as whatever – I don’t have a problem. Transparency is everything because whether or not you were born white but feel black you’ve had certain advantages being white that are not afforded to black people.

  • White&Blue

    Well I once saw gays being compared to second hand smoking, so this is hardly surprising. But the info about the brains of transgender people was new to me, and very interesting. Thank you for the article Max.

  • 2karmanot

    “The issue here is that she lied and over compensated for being born white.” I don’t think that is the true issue. Here is a woman who truly identifies with black culture and has within her a deep and abiding affinity for black culture, black history, and the black struggle for civil rights in an America roiling with perpetual racism and the violence that attends it. She has dedicated her adult life and professional life to the causes of justice and accomplished far more in that regard than the whiny critics who denigrate her. If anything there is a sense of identity tragedy in all this. She should be respected for her courage and choice.

  • therling

    This incident reminds me of a case I knew about some years ago. A person got a faculty job that was paid for by a fund set up by the university to increase the diversity of the faculty. She was able to claim Native American heritage because her mother was of Cherokee descent, but she was blonde and blue-eyed, she had little connection to Native American culture (except maybe for visiting some relatives), and her father was a millionaire–so it was not like she had to face much hardship based on her ethnicity. On paper it looked like the college was making progress on racial diversity, but to any observer she was merely another white, upper middle class person, hardly an under-represented kind of person on a college campus. Should she have claimed that job based on her genetic heritage?

  • nicho

    No. It’s very different. In transgender cases, the person is born with a brain that tells them one thing and genitalia that tells the world something else. Imagine if you were being treated as opposite the gender that you are. How would that make you feel? That is very very different from pretending to be a member of a different race.

  • Max Mills

    I will give it a try, thanks for the recommendation

  • devlzadvocate

    Thanks for the fast reply. Please understand my confusion and comparison to MHP. My apologies for misunderstanding your intent. I watch MHP every weekend because it is intelligent, factual, important, left-leaning conversation . Give it a try. Melissa is the editor of The Nation magazine. She has a variety of guests such as Josh Barro, Janet Mock and many other LGBT and African-American community leaders.

  • Max Mills

    I dont watch MHP’s show and didnt know who she was until this thread, I was responding to conservatives on social media. The link I used on the word “comparisons” was to tweets, but almost anyone with a Facebook or Twitter account should have found themselves swarmed with smug comparisons from the Right on this matter. “Transracial” was trending and a massive number of those comments were comparisons like the one I was critiquing, made with the intent of tearing down transsexuality as a real thing.

    While I dont know this person, what you say about making enemies is something I agree with. That was genuinely not my intent here.

  • devlzadvocate

    I don’t know if it is relevant or not, but it kind of makes me think that I lied about being str8 for years, yet I knew I was gay. I felt gay. I knew I was gay. Is that different? Does it matter that black people sometimes get called out for being “too white”? I dated a black man in the mid-1970s and we had that to deal with sometimes. I’m not sure about any of it. I’m no expert on racial issues or transgender issues, for that matter. Don’t get all over me. I’m just here talk about things some of us might have dealt with. One person I heard did make the point that transgender people come out and are NO LONGER HIDING who they really are and “transracial” (again, if that is a real thing), may actually be hiding who they really are.

  • devlzadvocate

    Apologies. I originally spelled it out and mistakenly revised it to initials. MHP=Melissa Harris-Perry. She does a weekend show on MSNBC at 10 am EDT.

  • How is it so different – you’re born one way but identity with another. Gender or race or whatever – who cares. Be who you want to be. The issue here is that she lied and over compensated for being born white. Transparency is key.

  • goulo

    What’s MHP? My web search skills fail me… :/

  • devlzadvocate

    Max, I am speculating that you are referring to MHPs topic this past weekend. I saw her thoughts regarding “transracialism” to be a question, not a statement of fact or scientific certainty. I didn’t think there was any attempt to equate transgenderism with transracialism (if such a thing even exists). It seems the entire point was whether transracialism is even something that does really exist. MHP is a champion of the LGBT community, not an enemy. Don’t try to make enemies where none now exist.

  • Bill_Perdue

    It’s bizarre, even insulting for the press to even raise these bigoted questions at a time like this. It must have been a very slow day on the internet.

    We have real things to worry about. Thanks to union busting by the WH and state governors in both parties the precipitous decline in the standard of living of all working people, in and out of unions, is still going on and poverty continues to blight the the lives of tens of millions.

    Overseas, Obama continues to make war on Arab and muslim nations and is building bases across Africa. And he’s planning a dangerous new escalation in his war on Russia that began with funding and organizing fascist to take power there and replace a pro-Russian corrupt regime with a pro-American corrupt regime. “U.S. Is Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry in Eastern Europe – The proposal, if approved, would represent the first time since the end of the Cold War that the United States has stationed heavy military equipment in Eastern Europe.” NY Times June 24th 2015

    And across the planet the problems caused by hydrocarbon emissions continue to kill and destroy crops and infrastructure. Obama and other Republicans as well as many Democrats continue to back fracking and offshore drilling as the atmosphere becomes a vast sewer.

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