Inevitably, when trans folks existence gets mentioned online, the topic gets bombarded with folks throwing out half-remembered medical/psychological diagnoses about what is “really” going on. Now, armchair philosophy isn’t exclusive to topics related to trans stuff by any means, or is it any less annoying or hostile. I’ve just observed enough that I found common patterns I want to address/de-construct directly.
Also, a reminder that if someone online is claiming to be a professional and throwing around dismissive and pathological implications of your behavior and what medical/psychological measures you “should” be taking to address them, that is very likely a violation of their professional license.
That said, for starters, I actually kind of love when people start throwing this one around: because it proves their knowledge of psychology begins and ends with Bugs Bunny:
That’s not a thing. “Men who think they were Napoleon” was never a thing. Ever.
It’s a frequently cited example of classic 19th century “schizophrenia” symptoms, but has no actual recorded documentation of such. On page 604 of William James’ 1890 treatise Principles Of Psychology, he describes instances of hypnotizing men to believe they are Napoleon (amongst other things), but only temporarily. It was also used an early-20th century comedy trope misrepresenting the Adlerian concept “Napoleon Complex”. It’s referenced in cartoons, Laurel and Hardy shorts, and even used as a prominent character trait for one of the antagonists in John Steinbeck’s classic story Of Mice And Men. Ironically, Napoleon Complex itself also been proven not to be a thing. Hell, Napoleon wasn’t even particularly short for his time.
But, nine times out of ten, the reason people think it is a thing is because of this:
The classic 1956 Bugs Bunny cartoon “Napoleon Bunny-Part” more or less established this concept to mainstream audiences. And, hilariously, you see people reference it like they are citing a case study.
This sort of stuff, however, I don’t have quite the sense of humor for:
Comparisons between gender dysphoria and body dysmorphia are inevitable, and always bunk. They aren’t clasified the same, they aren’t treated the same, and they do not respond to the same treatments. Conflation of the two is also very dangerous, because many trans folks experience dysmorphic disorders (eating disorders, self-harm ideations) that need to be treated separately. Also, reminder that Paul McHugh is a domestic terrorist hack and considered a laughingstock by his peers and pretty much anyone but the anti-trans right wing.
Anyway, the “really not thinking this through” award goes to this sort of crap:
So, like, how do folks that propose this think this will work? First of all, it’s actually kind of difficult to get committed to a state mental hospital, without police or family escort. Unless you are considered an immediate threat to yourself or someone else, such places are actually reluctant to take folks in, because of costs. For that, these religous right dweebs can thank their idol Ronald Reagan. The idea that politically inconvenient folks can be mass-boarded in mental asylums away from the sight of “decent” people like in a Victorian Novel hasn’t been a thing for decades.
Speaking of cost, who would be paying for this? I thought these sort of dweebs were small government/no-taxation without representation don’t tread on me types?
Right now, even as underfunded as they are, the average yearly cost per state to run their institutional hospitals is over $188,000. By comparison, even though data is limited, the cost for transgender health care is looking like around $77,000 a year (and this data is from an extremely liberal area). Opponents trot out the expense of surgery, but there’s only a handful of surgeons that even take insurance. Many of the well-known surgeons popular for their pioneering techniques do not. Yes, more surgeons will likely be emerging in the future, but what folks that aren’t trans may not be aware of is that word-of-mouth is a huge influence on doctor choice. Many of us forego insurance covered doctors for others with better recommendations. Coverage costs have always sailed way under predictions every time for this and other reasons.
And yeah, I’m definitely putting more thought into this than any of them are. I’m sure someone is gonna diagnose me with something or other for that. Feel free to do so in the comments I guess.