Mentalism and Bad History

A Kay Brown post delving into biased accounts of history? It’s not that surprising.


One of the most famous individuals I met was Angela Keyes Douglas, AKA Douglas Keyes.  When I first met Douglas, in 1977, s/he was living in Berkeley as… well… not really a woman so much as s/he didn’t really pass or even really try, and seemed totally oblivious to how people reacted to him/her.  It was obvious to me that s/he was “off”… and I mean “off“.

It’s interesting how she “half”-misgenders Douglas, likely due to a combination of mentalism/ableism and gender-conforming bias; “if you don’t pass, you’re not a woman”.

A great account of the disparity between Kay Brown’s posts about Douglas and Douglas’s experiences herself can be found here.

Clearly, Douglas was psychotic, probably schizophrenic.

Armchair diagnosing is a hallmark of psuedoscientific internet posters.

Some cases of MtF transsexualism are associated with and plausibly attributable to other comorbid psychiatric disorders, especially psychotic conditions such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Á Campo, Nijman, Merckelbach, and Evers (2003) reported on a large survey of Dutch psychiatrists, who had evaluated 584 patients with cross-gender identification and possible GID; in 46% of these patients, the psychiatrists interpreted cross-gender identification as an epiphenomenon of other psychiatric problems, including psychotic, mood, dissociative, and personality disorders. Brown and Jones (2016) observed that, among 5135 persons (69% male) diagnosed with GID, transsexualism, or transvestism who had received care from the U.S. Veterans Administration, 32% had also received a diagnosis of “serious mental illness,” meaning “diagnoses associated with psychotic symptoms” (p. 128), including schizophrenia- and bipolar-spectrum disorders. Thus, comorbid psychotic disorders and other severe mental illnesses may account for some cases of MtF transsexualism in nonandrophilic persons who deny autogynephilia — and for some cases of MtF transsexualism in androphilic persons as well.

The attempt to paint being trans as some sort of mental illness or the result of a mental illness is neither scientific nor unproblematic. There is a long history of attributing being trans to various mental illnesses by transphobes, GVTs and TERFs: schizophrenia, anorexia, body identity integrity disorder, narcissistic personality disorders (and other cluster B personality disorders). It’s a tactic used to demean and invalidate trans identities and experiences, and Lawrence’s evidence is far from establishing being trans a result of co-morbid conditions. She uses opinions of psychiatrists, of which we have long documented gatekeeping, stigma, bias and discrimination from. There is no clinical evidence, no cross-sectional evidence, no actual evidence from the patients, no experimental evidence, nothing. It’s a survey of people related to the trans people in question. Which sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? Oh, that sounds like the Littman “Rapid Onset Gender Dysphoria” paper there was a big hullabaloo about in the news that’s been widely discredited.


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