More Interview Ethics: Janet Mock Ambushes Piers Morgan

janet_mock_piers_morgan_1_16x9_1600

Piers Morgan, CNN’s imported British tabloid reporter turned Larry King replacement, invited trans author and activist Janet Mock on his show to promote her new memoir, “Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love & So Much More.” As I watched the interview (because of Mock and not Morgan, who makes my skin crawl), I was struck by how far such interviews have come since David Susskind would invite transgendered individuals on his PBS show—this was classy, remember—and essentially hold them out as freaks. Morgan was respectful and supportive, though the sensationalist aspect was still there but muted: the text under Mock during her interview read “BORN A BOY,” and “was a boy until age 18,” which are, though accurately describing how most CNN viewers would understand Mock’s journey, over-simplified and counter to how Mock describes herself.

Mock seemed happy, Morgan seemed gracious. Then Mock went on Twitter and Buzzfeed to pronounce Morgan a clueless, ignorant, biased jerk.  He was, shockingly, “trying to do infotainment” Mock said. Morgan’s show is the epitome of infotainment, and everybody knows it. She criticized him for “sensationalizing” transgender people while neglecting a substantive discussion about her book. The sales of Mock’s memoir depend on its sensational aspects, again, as she and her publisher well know. Mock accused Morgan of asking the same kinds of embarrassing questions about body parts and boy friends that non-trans people are inevitably curious about. Well, of course he did…because that’s what his audience is curious about.

None of this was communicated to Morgan either before, during, or after the interview. Morgan, who is no Sam Rubin, was incensed, and struck back via Twitter, since that is the forum where Mock chose to publicly attack him. In various tweets and exchanges he called Mock cowardly, “churlish,” and shameful, and criticized her allies as well, as she successfully brought down the progressive hoards on Morgan’s head. The same week, he invited her back to on the show along with a panel so he could defend himself while assailing her conduct. You can read the transcript of that show here.

What’s going on here?

I yield to no one in my disregard for Piers Morgan. It takes a lot for me to miss Larry King. However, in this instance and the knee-jerk defenders of Mock to the contrary, Morgan was unfairly ambushed, and his feelings that he was betrayed, mistreated and exploited are wholly justified. He obviously intended to be respectful to Mock, and more important, to help her sell her book. Piers Morgan is nothing if not determined to be perceived as a virtuous, accepting, uncritical worshiper of all tenets of progressive cant, from the unwavering brilliance of Barack Obama, the virtues of Obamacare, and abortion for any reason and at all times, to banning handguns, and enshrining homosexuality with baseball, apple pie and Chevrolet. He oozed good will and beneficence during his interview with Mock, whose status as transgender made her an untouchable in his eyes, immune from criticism or the kind of arch criticism a less favored guest could expect. He does not, however, completely understand Janet Mock or people like Mock, and that is fine, That is what such interviews are for; that is what her book is for. If his questions revealed ignorance or what the trans community would regard as insensitivity, she was in the studio, on camera, to rectify the situation.

From Morgan’s  follow-up segment, after the Twitter war:

MORGAN: Well, explain to me. Explain to me what I did wrong. What did I do wrong?

MOCK: You called — so before commercial break, we had a lovely conversation and then all of a sudden you said, who was formerly a man. I was a baby, I was assigned male gender because of the parents of my genitals. As I grew up, I discovered my girlhood, I discovered my womanhood and I proclaimed and define for myself as Audre Lorde said. If we do not define ourselves …

MORGAN: Why didn’t you correct me at the time? Why you didn’t correct me?

MOCK: I did not because I was scared.

MORGAN: Did you feel that strongly?

MOCK: I did not because …

MORGAN: Scared of what?

MOCK: … I was fair and I want it to be a cordial I guess …

MORGAN: Scared of what?

MOCK: … and I think that that was probably incorrect of me. I wanted to be kind. I wanted to be generous because I was appreciative of having two segments on a mainstream show. It was my first major appearance as a young trans-woman who wrote her first book.

Probably incorrect? It was Mock who failed her obligation as an interview subject with a story to tell, speaking to a well-intentioned, white, heterosexual male who neither understood, could understand or had any reason to understand the nuances of what is still a mystery to the vast majority of the public: what does it mean to be “trans”? Because she was unprepared for the requirements of a live interview on a national stage, she resorted to attacking her host, post-interview, in public via Twitter, embarrassing him and impugning his professionalism when it was up to her, “scared” or not, to speak up and do her job while the interview was in progress

Mock also successfully played her minority victim card, so progressive bloggers and journalists tore Morgan to tiny pieces. She blew her dog whistle loud and clear. Morgan was attacked for his interview, and then for defending himself. The truth is, her attack was cowardly, by definition: she waited until after the interview because she was “scared” to be direct, fair, and responsible. She was indeed “churlish,” and her conduct was shameful as well.

Ah, but once unfairly attacked by an anointed minority, you cannot win. Morgan, in one tweet, told his trans critics to “pipe down”-–a reasonable request, since Mock had been leading them in a  completely unjustified hate-fest against a sympathetic ally who had only sought to give her a platform. Here’s the jaw-dropping reaction of Equality Matters:

“The act of silencing women by calling them “hysterical” long predates the fight for LGBT equality. But it’s especially damaging when used to marginalize transgender people – a community that has long been pathologized and treated as mentally ill and unstable. In his effort to silence his critics, Morgan played into some of the very same tropes that have been used to justify discriminating against trans women for decades. “

He was responding to over-heated tweets demanding that he issue an apology. I’m not sure “hysterical” was the right word, but excessive would work, as would unreasonable. This is the classic tactic of rigging the rules of discourse: “We can call you anything we like, but if you respond in kind, you are marginalizing and oppressing us like your kind always has, you big, bigoted bully!

Here, then, are the ethics verdicts on the episode:

  • Good for Piers Morgan for standing up for himself and not submitting to a minority media mugging that he did not deserve. Sam Rubin take notice.
  • The assumption of special interest groups, activists and minorities that they are entitled to kid gloves treatment in interviews is an example of asserting a special privilege that doesn’t exist, and shouldn’t exist. Morgan is not obligated to please interview subjects, or focus solely on what they would prefer to have him focus upon. Morgan’s obligation is to be fair, polite, and to give his viewing audience what, in his best assessment, they want to see and hear.
  • If interview subjects feel that they are being misrepresented or abused, it is their obligation to speak up and say so, during the interview.
  • Going on social media and attacking the interviewer in public, as Mock did to Morgan, is wrong—cowardly, unfair, and a clear Golden Rule violation.
  • If guests like Mock want to be regarded by interviewers as walking, talking, PR bombs and “gotcha!” traps, then they should keep behaving like this. Hosts would be completely within ethical bounds to decide that they cannot be trusted and should no longer be booked, as Mock’s treatment of Morgan was a blatant breach of trust. After this episode, if she were my guest, my first question to her would be this: “If I make an erroneous statement, Janet, or say something inadvertently that upsets you, are you going to be fair and forthright and tell me now, or will you smile, say nothing, and then attack me on social media behind my back? If it’s the latter, we can end the interview immediately.”
  • Mock owes Morgan an apology, and Morgan owes Mock nothing.
  • I feel guilty for enjoying seeing Piers Morgan being mistreated by one of the groups that he so fervently wants to suck up to, as he is the true victim here.

______________________________

Pointer: Ampersand

Sources: Equality Matters, CNN 1, 2; Color Lines, Slate, Beta Fusion, ThinkProgress, Buzzfeed

 

22 thoughts on “More Interview Ethics: Janet Mock Ambushes Piers Morgan

  1. I actually came in on Morgan’s side when this went down… Oh, and I just want to point out something…

    I was a baby, I was assigned male gender because of the parents of my genitals.

    No, Mock (and btw, what a delightfully appropriate name you have there, lady), you were assigned male gender because of your genetics – You had XY chromosomes, and a “gentleman’s sausage”. However your personality developed as a result of other biology and whatever else is a factor (I don’t understand how it works, and no offense Zoe, I don’t entirely care), you have become female. Your parents didn’t get a eunuch and go “Let’s attach a penis”.

    Morgan should have her on one more time and read her the riot act, tell her to go pound sand, and then boot her from the studio.

  2. Scott – great post, concise. Of course I take issue with it, as I’m sure you expected.

    How do you know what chromosomes Ms Mock has?
    For that matter, how do you know what she looked like at birth?

    I agree that as she was assigned a male sex when born, it is very very likely indeed that she looked mostly male, and very likely she looked “normally” male. I’ll even stipulate that as true, barring evidence to the contrary, exceptions are rare.

    As for chromosomes, 1 in 300 men aren’t 46,XY, and while there’s no really hard numbers for Trans women, the odds are at least 9 in 10 she is 46,XY. Maybe not quite that high given some of the anatomical “tells” she has, but in the neighbourhood. Well over 50/50 anyway. However, chromosomal testing at birth is unusual, and only performed very rarely indeed.

    But those are red herrings. Neither chromosomes nor appearance at birth definitively determine one’s sex.

    I better give some proof of that, as it could reasonably be classed as an “extraordinary claim”.

    J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9

    A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.

    Science 1974 Dec 27; 186 (4170): 1213-5

    In an isolated village of the southwestern Dominican Republic, 2% of the live births were in the 1970’s, guevedoces (actually male pseudohermaphrodites). These children appeared to be girls at birth, but at puberty these ‘girls’ sprout muscles, testes, and a penis. For the rest of their lives they are men in nearly all respects. Their underlying pathology was found to be a deficiency of the enzyme, 5-alpha Reductase.

    So you make two assumptions, then proceed to an unwarranted conclusion. But let’s assume, as is most likely, your assumptions are correct. I think they probably are, I’m just nowhere near as certain of it as you are. What about the conclusion? Why do I say it’s unwarranted?

    Nature (1995) 378:68–70.

    Our study is the first to show a female brain structure in genetically male transsexuals and supports the hypothesis that gender identity develops as a result of an interaction between the developing brain and sex hormones

    Anatomically speaking, Ms Mock was never male. Not completely. Some of the differences between male and female neurology are visible 26 weeks after conception. In some ways, she was anatomically female long before birth.

    So we get down to the question of what does define one’s sex. And that’s contentious, and not an easy call to make. It deserves its own post, as it’s a subject numerous courts have wrestled with, and continue to wrestle with, often coming to very different conclusions. The one thing we can say is that we can’t come to a clear, unambiguous and well-reasoned conclusion that doesn’t pose problems in one area or another.

    I have very set ideas on this, and will set out my reasoning as to why I came to these conclusions. But I admit that others may reasonably differ here. All definitions have problems, I think mine is the most justified (I could be wrong), and certainly the most humane (no room for doubt there, it is).

  3. First, I better say why this is important, why the distinction between “used to be a boy” and “used to look like a boy” isn’t just some sterile, trivial and pedantic squabble.

    “used to be a boy” is all too easily answered by “you still are, just a mutilated one, DNA don’t lie”. Which in turn leads to “you’re a sick homo freak who deceives others, no better than a rapist”. Which in turn leads to “you rapists should be flayed alive then burnt at the stake, you filthy perverts”.

    Which happens. The flaying and burning anyway, stakes have rather gone out of fashion. About a third of the murders of trans women involve extended torture and mutilation, some quite imaginative. It’s the lucky ones who just get shot.

    Trans women have 17 times the rate of being murdered as the general population. Trans women of color, while only 13% of the group overall, account for over 50% of the victims. So for them, we’re looking at around 80 times the chance of being murdered compared to the general populace.

    Clean up rate for homicide in the US is around 70%. The police know who did it, even if they can’t prove it. For trans victims though, the clean up rate is 30%, the homicide conviction rate even lower. “Attempted manslaughter” might be the charge when the perp was seen gutting the victim like a trout, and then caught disposing of the dismembered body parts.

    This is improving, with more homicide convictions recorded in the last 5 years than the previous 50, but there’s still a number of infamous cases where the perp walked for no other reason than that the victim was Trans. It’s a brave prosecutor who doesn’t offer a very lenient plea deal.

    The problem is though that “used to be a boy” is sometimes the only way of expressing the situation that ill-informed people will understand. To tell the whole truth takes too long, it can’t be done in 140 characters or a 5 second soundbite.

    Look at the length of my posts, and I haven’t even gotten to the definition of male and female yet.

    • First, I better say why this is important, why the distinction between “used to be a boy” and “used to look like a boy” isn’t just some sterile, trivial and pedantic squabble.

      But you need not do that, ZB. I know the difference, I agree that it matters, and I agree it’s not trivial. The point is that Janet had the opportunity and the obligation to explain that to Morgan and his audience, on the spot. What she did instead served no one but the most narrow interest, stirred up PR for the book, preached to the choir, and forfeited the respect of anyone paying attention.

      • Jack – I doubt I could have done as well as her, not within the limits of a TV interview from an interviewer who saw her as deceptive.

        I feel that if Mr Morgan was supposed to be supportive in the best know-nothing liberal touchy-feely and politically oh so correct manner, he should (pardon my French) bloody well have done his homework!

        This is not hard. The data is out there. Had he bothered doing basic research, talking to a few Trans people, his attitude would have been very different.

        Scott Jacobs put up a concise, clear post I disagree with. I really hope though that I’ve not badgered him, or insulted or disrespected him. Informed yes, told him why I disagree, but not implied any criticism.

        Scott’s not a TV interviewer with the power to reach millions. It’s not his responsibility to look this stuff up. OK, it’s not mine either to inform, but it’s useful, and I think necessary, so one shouldn’t be too precious about who should do what as long as the job gets done.

        Maybe someone with influence can get Mr Morgan to have a look at your post, and this thread. For next time.

        • That was a wonderful post, and I’ll put it up tomorrow as a COTD.

          I presume Morgan read Mock’s book—they usually do. Other than that, I’m not sure he would know how or what to research…he is not the brightest charm on the bracelet. This is a broad, general audience, lowest common denominator talk show that once was hosted by Larry King, a nice guy whose theory was that he would ask the same questions as his typical audience member would ask. Whatever Morgan’s diligence level, the time and place to correct his errors was when they were made, and someone with the requisite expertise was with him to explicate.

          It almost looks like a set-up to me.

          • Whatever Morgan’s diligence level, the time and place to correct his errors was when they were made, and someone with the requisite expertise was with him to explicate.

            It almost looks like a set-up to me.
            ***********
            Though it pains me to admit it, I think so, too.
            This isn’t the first time an author kicked up a controversy when they had a new book coming out.

    • To tell the whole truth takes too long, it can’t be done in 140 characters or a 5 second soundbite.

      Look at the length of my posts, and I haven’t even gotten to the definition of male and female yet.
      **********
      I applaud your efforts, Zoe, I really do.
      I’ve learned quite a bit from your posts.
      But I work/have been educated in the health sciences and you are often educating me.
      Do you really think the general public has the training and even more so, the desire (or intellect) to understand some issues which are quite medically complex?
      You can’t even get the average person to understand their own health issues most of the time.
      That might be one reason why people don’t understand, because they can’t.
      I’m not offering that as an excuse, either.
      But it could be a reason.
      (AMS, I’m not talking about you.)

      Moving onto the Piers Morgan aspect: I can’t stand him.
      Seriously can’t.
      But sitting in an interview with him and acting like everything is hunky dory, only to trash him later on Twitter was wrong.
      And you don’t convert people to your mission or get them to accept you by acting like an asshole.
      She could have correctly him politely, on the air.
      She was supposed to be there to inform him and his viewers.

  4. OK, let’s talk about sex – what defines it? Is it a matter of reproductive capacity, or of core identity, who one is?

    First – reproductive capacity.

    Scott, when you were born, you were a baby. Assigned male (I assume). Yet you had no reproductive capacity at the time, and wouldn’t have till you reached puberty..
    Similarly, women who have had hysterectomies, or men who have had vasectomies, or those born sterile or who have become sterile, through accident, disease, or just plain age.

    So lack of reproductive capacity doesn’t preclude having a sex.

    I know of two confirmed cases, one unconfirmed, where the patient had the capability (in theory at least) of reproduction either fathering a child or becoming pregnant. The Mayo clinic is studying one case, and I have few details, and those are confidential. My friend Petra Henderson, late of the Royal Corps of Signals and currently resident in Germany is the other – a botched hernia operation caused auto-fertilisation, though as most of the required structures weren’t present, the pregnancy couldn’t proceed very far.

    She identifies as female anyway, despite having fathered children before genital reconstruction to approximate a female norm.

    In view of these facts, while reproductive capacity might be a contributing factor to determining a patient’s sex, it can’t be definitive, and in a large number of cases, is irrelevant.

    The only thing I assert is that if a patient has become pregnant, and identifies as a woman, then she’s female, and we can ignore all other complicating factors such as chromosomes, secondary sex characteristics, documentation, appearance, etc.

    Similarly for patients who have fathered children and who identify as male. They’re men, regardless of other details.

    Second – Identity

    Scott – a thought experiment. Suppose you had fallen into the hands of a traditional “Mad Scientist” who gave you an involuntary “sex change operation” so you looked superficially female. Even gave you hormones, so parts of your brain changed, affecting your emotions to some degree.

    Changing your sex changes your brain: influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure by Pol et al, Europ Jnl Endocrinology, Vol 155, suppl_1, S107-S114 2006

    Many of the changes would be fully reversible, by the way, and the majority of the sexually dimorphic parts of the brain are unaffected – they’re set before birth.

    Would you still be male? Your basic personality would be the same, as would your sexual orientation. You’d have no sex drive, the hormones will do that, but I think it likely that your main emotions would be utter misery at having been castrated and mutilated, and that you’d do anything in your power to reverse the process. You would have acquired “Gender Dysphoria”, just as Ms Mock had from early childhood.

    Or maybe not. One in three are bigendered, with a Superior Parietal Lobule neither strongly male nor female, and could live with it without experiencing “Gender Dysphoria”. Maybe you’d merely be curious about this new life experience, though I think you’d soon become an ardent feminist when you realise just what used food women have to cope with.

    Lest you think this is some “straw man”, a ridiculous fantasy hypothetical constructed just for argument – nope.
    Discordant Sexual Identity in Some Genetic Males with Cloacal Exstrophy Assigned to Female Sex at Birth by Reiner and Gearhart, N Engl J Med. 2004 January 22; 350(4): 333–341.

    Intersex babies who had the misfortune to be born without genitalia used to be surgically and socially assigned as female, with very few exceptions.

    Eight of the 14 subjects assigned to female sex declared themselves male during the course of this study, whereas the 2 raised as males remained male. Subjects could be grouped according to their stated sexual identity. Five subjects were living as females; three were living with unclear sexual identity, although two of the three had declared themselves male; and eight were living as males, six of whom had reassigned themselves to male sex. All 16 subjects had moderate-to-marked interests and attitudes that were considered typical of males. Follow-up ranged from 34 to 98 months.

    I contend from this and other evidence that sex is best defined not by genital or chromosomal anatomy, but by neuro anatomy. An objective, measurable thing, set before birth, and immutable (unlike chromosomes, genitalia etc). This results in a gender identity, the gnosis that one is male or female, a product of objective biological fact.

    Moreover, every other definition results in misery for patients. Thus, apart from the objectively factual aspects, because so many definitions are arguable, we are ethically bound to use the one that results in least harm, all other things being equal. While I don’t think they are equal, that neuro-anatomy is better for other reasons, I think it proven that it is at least as good as any other.

      • What percentage of the population has these chromosomal or genital abnormalities?

        1 in 60, as near as we can tell. But in many cases that’s only technically true – if it takes a subtle lab test or series of tests to determine any difference from the usual, if there are no symptoms or effects on one’s daily life, is the difference significant?

        The figures from the ISNA are in the right ballpark, and their discussion of the difficulties in determining numbers, correct.
        :

        So nature doesn’t decide where the category of “male” ends and the category of “intersex” begins, or where the category of “intersex” ends and the category of “female” begins. Humans decide. Humans (today, typically doctors) decide how small a penis has to be, or how unusual a combination of parts has to be, before it counts as intersex. Humans decide whether a person with XXY chromosomes or XY chromosomes and androgen insensitivity will count as intersex.

        In our work, we find that doctors’ opinions about what should count as “intersex” vary substantially. Some think you have to have “ambiguous genitalia” to count as intersex, even if your inside is mostly of one sex and your outside is mostly of another. Some think your brain has to be exposed to an unusual mix of hormones prenatally to count as intersex—so that even if you’re born with atypical genitalia, you’re not intersex unless your brain experienced atypical development. And some think you have to have both ovarian and testicular tissue to count as intersex.

        The ISNA figures:

        Not XX and not XY one in 1,666 births
        Klinefelter (XXY) one in 1,000 births
        Androgen insensitivity syndrome one in 13,000 births
        Partial androgen insensitivity syndrome one in 130,000 births
        Classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia one in 13,000 births
        Late onset adrenal hyperplasia one in 66 individuals
        Vaginal agenesis one in 6,000 births
        Ovotestes one in 83,000 births
        Idiopathic (no discernable medical cause) one in 110,000 births
        Iatrogenic (caused by medical treatment, for instance progestin administered to pregnant mother) no estimate
        5 alpha reductase deficiency no estimate
        Mixed gonadal dysgenesis no estimate
        Complete gonadal dysgenesis one in 150,000 births
        Hypospadias (urethral opening in perineum or along penile shaft) one in 2,000 births
        Hypospadias (urethral opening between corona and tip of glans penis) one in 770 births
        Total number of people whose bodies differ from standard male or female one in 100 births
        Total number of people receiving surgery to “normalize” genital appearance one or two in 1,000 births

        I put the figures at 1 in 450 for 47,XXY males, 1 in 300 men not 46,XY, 1 in 3000 for Transsexuality requiring surgical treatment, 5ARD about 1 in 150,000 in the general population but clusters where it’s 1 in 50.

        Practically speaking, about 1 in 500 or so will have differences from the usual so significant that they affect daily life. I think that’s the best answer to your question. Over half a million people in the USA.

        Sources (just some):
        http://www.isna.org/faq/frequency
        http://www.isna.org/faq/what_is_intersex
        http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TSprevalence.html

      • Practically speaking, about 1 in 500 have symptoms so obvious it affects their daily lives.
        Technically speaking, including situations only a lab test would detect, and with no significant consequences, 1 in 60.

    • Scott – a thought experiment. Suppose you had fallen into the hands of a traditional “Mad Scientist” who gave you an involuntary “sex change operation” so you looked superficially female. Even gave you hormones, so parts of your brain changed, affecting your emotions to some degree.

      Changing your sex changes your brain: influences of testosterone and estrogen on adult human brain structure by Pol et al, Europ Jnl Endocrinology, Vol 155, suppl_1, S107-S114 2006

      Many of the changes would be fully reversible, by the way, and the majority of the sexually dimorphic parts of the brain are unaffected – they’re set before birth.

      Actually, the only case I know of where this happened – an male was given a sex change due to some physical abnormality, given female hormones, and told his entire life he was female – still wanted to do “boy” things, liked girls, and killed himself shortly after being informed what had been done at the age of 18.

      Sorry, but if you are born with a Y chromosome, you are genetically male.

      • Sorry, but if you are born with a Y chromosome, you are genetically male.

        True(ish). And?

        I’ll repeat:
        J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;93(1):182-9

        A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis.

        Yes, both the mother and the daughter she gave birth to are “genetically male”. So what?
        Elle MacPherson and other supermodels have a “male height”. Again, so what?

        There are men who are not “genetically male”, and women who are. “Genetically male” is just a convenient short phrase for “having the chromosomes typically found in men”. All but 1 in 300 men in fact. You could be one of those 1 in 300, unless you’ve had a karyotype (gene test). But once more, so what?

        Chromosomes strongly affect the odds that one or another path of sex development will be followed in the womb, but they’re not conclusive.

        Actually, the only case I know of where this happened – an male was given a sex change due to some physical abnormality, given female hormones, and told his entire life he was female – still wanted to do “boy” things, liked girls, and killed himself shortly after being informed what had been done at the age of 18.

        A few inconsequential details wrong, but close enough. David Reimer was the victim of a botched circumcision, not a “physical abnormality”, and he killed himself 25 years after he’d been told what was done to him (at age 13), and after attempting to undo the damage done to him as a child. But essentially correct.

        Details at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer

        History will record Dr Money, who was in charge of the case and falsified the data as some kind of monster, with Milton Diamond as the brave grad student who exposed his misdeeds. When I talked last with Professor Diamond at his home in Hawai’i, he was more charitable. Money did excellent work most of his life, and it was only the arrogance of competence that led him to commit this terrible, criminal mistake.

        I’m not so forgiving, but agree that this is the stuff of Greek tragedy.

        • If accused of name-dropping, I plead guilty and throw myself at the mercy of the court.

          It’s just that there aren’t many people working on this, I’ve appeared on media programs with Mickey Diamond, he’s interested in cases like mine,

          I confess to being a fangirl, and have an autographed copy of one of his papers.
          Biased-Interaction Theory of Psychosexual Development: “How Does One Know if One is Male or Female?”
          http://www.hawaii.edu/PCSS/biblio/articles/2005to2009/2006-biased-interaction.html

          ..which describes a (and probably the) mechanism by which a feminised/masculinised brain leads to a female/male gender identity.

          Sort of like having an autographed copy of “On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies” – Albert Einstein’s original paper on Special Relativity.

          • Nearly 50%. Most of those are male.

            That’s not a helpful answer though… there are too many confounding factors. If you asked “how many people in region X of age Y had some 46,XY cells in their bodies” I could give a better answer. Any woman who had given birth to a 46,XY child will have some 46,XY cells in her body. But men tend to die younger than women in most places, and as most men are 46,XY and most women are not, I’d expect proportion of 46,XY to drop with age (in most places).

            Karyotypes are not performed routinely on newborns, so we have no really reliable figures. The best estimate is 1 in 300 men aren’t 46,XY, but that figure is rubbery, it might differ from place to place. There are no comparably good figures for 46,XX women, and the more tests we do, the higher the proportion on usual genomes found.

            One data point:
            http://www.turnercenteret.dk/engelsk/incidence.htm

            A 20 year old study – but still good science.
            Sex Chromosome Abnormalities Found Among 34,910 Newborn Children: Results From a 13-Year Incidence Study in Århus, Denmark J.Nielsen and M.Wohlert in Birth Defects: Original Article Series, Volume 26, Number 4, pages 209-223

            Chromosome examination was made of 88% (34,910) of all 39,618 live- born children at the Maternity Hospital in Århus during a 13-year period from 1969 to 1974 (4 years, 5 months) and from 1980 to 1988 (8 years, 7 months).

            This paper deals only with the sex chromosome abnormalities. Autosomal abnormalities will be presented elsewhere.

            Klinefelter syndrome was found in 1 per 596 boys, XYY in 1 per 894 boys, triple X in 1 per 1002 girls, and Turner syndrome in 1 per 2130 girls. Other sex chromosome aberrations were found in 1 per 11,637 children. The total incidence of sex chromosome abnormalities was 1 per 448 children or 2.23 per 1000.

            Later studies have found higher figures, but not by much. 1 in 450 for 47,XXY (rather than 1 in 596) in boys “rarer” for girls for example. But take all these figures with a grain of salt, they vary between geographic regions.

            47,XXY 20
            46,XY/47,XXY 7
            46,XX(male) 2
            48,XXYY 1
            47,XYY 18
            46,XY/47,XYY 2
            47,XXX 17
            45,X 1
            45,X/46,XX 2
            45,X/47,XXX 1
            45,X/46,XY (male) 1
            46,XX/ 47,XX,del(Yq) (female) 1
            46,XX/46,XY (female) 1
            (many other more complex anomalies omitted)

            The 45,X/46,XY is likely to reverse sex to female at puberty. What happens to the 46,XX/46,XY child might depend on proportions. With samples so small, we just can’t get a good estimate of probabilities.

            I guess all you can get out of this is that “XY is male, XX female” or “got a Y? you’re male” don’t work except as approximations. Like “Over average height? You’re male”. It’s mostly true. Men tend to be taller than women.

  5. I wondered if you’d cop to Schadenfreude, or if I’d have to ask you about it. The only difference is that I don’t feel guilty about it at all. I’ve gotten used to the idea that I can defend someone, feel that they were wronged, and support their efforts to make it right- while still gleefully cackling at them, especially when they were hoist by their own petard.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.