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01 June 2010

Rose White’s Harry Benjamin Syndrome Review – a review

The front cover of this book says that it is by Violet Grey, but both Amazon and her own publisher, CompletelyNovel, say that the author is Rose White.  Rose has also used the pseudonym Fleur Black.  There is an obvious pattern here of a flower word with a colour word.  Readers of Grey, White and Black will quickly notice that all three have the same stylistic quirks, of which the most obvious is that Grey, White and Black – and nobody else – all write ‘autogyne’ instead of ‘autogynephile’.  Here is Rose using it, and here is Fleur.  The book quotes White and Black as if they are different persons from the author, assumed to be Grey.

Fleur Black went through a phase of posting comments on Women Born Transsexual in March 2009.  Here is a sort of autobiography:
I was crossdressing at 6/7 but by 8 I knew I had to hide it ..until at 14 I wrote to Doctor asking him to cure me to be a proper boy because that's what everyone seemed to think I was and by then my body had gone really male…doctor brought letter to speak to mother, he ran out of house rather than speak to me when I arrived home from school..no-one said anything about it so a couple of days later I swallowed the aspirins and made a mess all over the bathroom…buried it basically but of course we everyone constantly reminded me that I was displaying feminine behaviour..finally at FIFTY SEVEN it was do or die time…now 4.5 years later I hope I’m less than a year off surgery…but if the shrink in April says no SRS then I will have nothing left to live for even though I'm fully out and transitioned all legal right up to just needing SRS so I can try get a bit of a proper life for my last years…my mother is almost 90 and lots of relatives lived into 80s so basically i could have a few good years…just hope so.  [a few spellings corrected].
Violet tells almost the same life tale (p2).

Here Rose writes about her trip to Tunisia for breast augmentation.  She is active in the Charlotte Goiar HBS group.  While she has had her Gender Recognition Certificate for some time, she is encountering difficulties in getting surgery under the NHS.  Rose nor Fleur nor Violet say anything at all about what they did between the ages of 14 and 57. 

    You can read the entire book online.

    Charlotte Goiar has put a link to the book on the HBS International (English) site, but only to the PayLoadz site where you can pay for it without seeing it.  There is no link to the CompletelyNovel site.  Nor is it admitted that Violet Grey is Rose White.

    Actually, CompletelyNovel give the book's title as Harry Benjamin Syndrome Review, but internally the title is given as Transsexual Phenomenon #2: HBS: Harry Benjamin’s Syndrome comes of age. 

    While the book is claiming to be a successor to Harry Benjamin’s Transsexual Phenomenon, there are no footnotes, no bibliography and no index.  Internal citations to other publications are usually either wrong or inadequate, and she freely replaces ‘transsexual’ with ‘HBS’ in quotations from others without editorial brackets and without clarity that she is doing so.  A very serious defect is that the page numbers given on the contents page are plain wrong: e.g Chapter 6 is said to be on p37, but it actually starts on p44.
    The first 18 chapter comprise 108 pages, and each make a short point.  Chapter 19 alone is another 108 pages, and rambles and rants.  I suspect that many readers will skip the last chapter.

    Jargon.  In addition to ‘HBS’ which is unquestioned here (as you would expect from the book’s two titles), there are other usages which need to be explained. Fortunately she devotes chapter 2 to how she uses some of the words. 
    • With other HBS advocates, Rose uses SAS (Sex Affirming Surgery) instead of SRS (Sexual Reassignment Surgery), a change that I am fully in agreement with. 
    • She and they say ‘gender’ where most of us would say ‘gender identity’.  This is confusing, but this misuse is not confined to HBS persons, and in fact is a usage popularized by Virginia Prince
    • ‘Mangina’ was a term used by Joseph Kirchner after his return to being male.  I have never seen any other person identify with the term.  Rose and HBS persons have imposed this term on men who wish for or have acquired a vagina without becoming a woman.  They show no interest in the self-chosen terms used by such men. 
    • She and others use BLZB, sometimes expanded to Beelzebub, which means Blanchard, Lawrence, Zucker and Bailey.  Rose sometimes writes as if this were one person or one thing.
    White-Black-Grey also has some personal usages that need to be spelt out. 
    • As already mentioned, she persistently writes ‘autogyne’ instead of ‘autogynephilic’:  “Autogyne (sic) was conjured up by Ray Blanchard, leader of the Beelzebub gang at Toronto’s CAMH” (p13).
    • She uses the old-fashioned, not to say patronizing, GG=Genuine Girl for cis women, and Norm for cis men.
    • She often uses HBS, transgender etc as nouns, as against the common opinion that they should be used only as adjectives.
    • Body Clocking Effect (p16).  Rose claims that an HBS woman on estrogen ends up looking 15 years younger, while a lesbian will look like an old man by her fifties.
    • BRSS=Bindel-Raymond-Stein Syndrome.  See below.  One can understand Rose putting Bindel and Raymond into this, but who is Stein?  It turns out to be Gertrude.  I don’t know of Gertrude Stein being transphobic, and Rose does not produce any such evidence.
    • FBMS=Fourrat-Bailey-McHugh Syndrome.  See below.
    • IPAP=Induced Pheromic Addiction Perversion.  See below.
    • Anne Vitale Effect.  She uses this term but does not define it.  I used Google to find Rose defining it here: “Effect of rising testo needing feminine expression followed by falling testo causing lack of female thinking and the urge to purge”.  See also here where Lilacwoman (presumably Rose again) sends readers to Anee Vitale’s TNote 15.
    • Natalie-Rose Syndrome.  An increased need to urinate as the prostate has shrunk and the bladder is sitting lower.
    • MBEPR=Malignant Bisexuals’ Ego Protection Reflex.
    • Bigots and Fools.  This is the title of Chapter 10.  Enemies are “the Fouratist homo, the public, the press, bigots and fools, ignorant medics, penny pinching political manipulators, BRSS dykes, religious pedophiles, closet homos and  … Manginas”.  She particularly decries writers Fourat, Bindel, Burchill, Batty and Raymond.  You may know who each of these are, but in this book they are simply denounced with no explanation.  This is the most homophobic chapter with its obsession about oral sex and wild fantasies of what oral sex does.  See more below.
     Some of her points:
    • HBS are not “crossdressers, manginas. transgenders, autogynes, wimps, perverts, genderqueers, genderbenders, drag queens, fetishists, drag kings, transvestites, AIS, Klinfelters, hermaphrodites, male post-ops, female post-ops, non-ops, closet gay, closet lesbians, gays who have ingested too much sperm over the years, lesbians who have ingested too much vaginal secretions, people who have been exposed to unrecognised chemical poisoning at work or in the environment, mental cases” (p24).  An HBS, unlike the experts and the transgenders, can tell another HBS from all of the above.
    • She explains that Harry Benjamin was a researcher in Chicago (p1). She must be better informed than other writers who thought that he worked in New York and San Francisco only.
    • “We are all descended from Adam and Eve” (p28).
    • “Manginaism is a new phenomenon engendered by the endless media-porn brainwashing” (p11).  In other words it is media-genic; it is taken up by people who have seen it in the media.  There are those who say that the increase in transsexuality in general, and therefore HBS also, is media-genic.  White-Black-Grey does not discuss this other aspect.
    • MtF HBS have a second puberty and other trans women do not.   “Now that we know about BSTc it is easy to realise that the truly-HBS brain will respond the estrogen regime exactly as does the pubescent girl”.   Rose proposes that the MtF HBS will wear “F***-me high heels and pretty clothes and doing their hair like bird’s nests and accessorising as extravagantly as a teenage girl”.   For other writers this is precisely the mark of an autogynephile.  I agree that starting HRT is like a second puberty, and I remember buying lots of clothes at that stage.   But that is a beginning, and most trans women pass though it and then become pretty much like cis women of their own age.  (See my review of Janice Raymond where I criticize her for concentrating on the recently transitioned).  Rose, by her own account, has been stuck in this phase for 5 or 6 years, and, perhaps defensively, rejects trans women who do not behave like pubertal girls as not being HBS.  There is also a chapter on “Why HBS Women Love Shopping”.
    • The HBS Wikipedia Pages were removed “in the face of an onslaught by cohorts of J Michael Bailey”(Introduction).  This will be news to Andrea James who was actively involved in that removal and is also well-known for her antagonism to Bailey and Blanchard.
    • Rose refers to the  well-known 1995 BSTc study by Zhou et al and  takes it to be the marker of HBS.  “The BSTc findings is the only believable theory of Harry Benjamin Syndrome that makes sense”.  She seems to be quite confident that she has a female-sized BSTc, ergo that she is HBS, but does not tell us when her brain was cut open so that it could be established.   Also she does not consider, as Anne Lawrence does here, that BSTc is actually a marker for autogynephilia. 
    • Actually Violet does not need BSTc or any brain testing.  She has a reliable test for which trans women are truly HBS:  “A brain cannot show HBS until post mortem but a good test for true HBSness in the living male is to time how long one can bear to spend in a department store checking out handbags, skirts and bras.  Two hours is as good a diagnosis of true transsexualism as any shrink can make; ten minutes or so and he’s just a man.”(p88).
    • Chapter 6 is a call to action that “We must secede from the DSM”.   'We' being HBS in the EU.  In general one can hardly argue with that.  The DSM is a product of the American Psychological Association and there is no reason why any other country should use it.  She claims that Europe is “practically united in ignoring the DSM and instead interpreting the HBSOC”.  Is that the WPATH SOC or the Charlotte Goiar SOC?  That is not clear.  In the spirit of this secession, Rose then spends most of the rest of the book declaiming against US Americans and Canadians, and says little about the acceptance or otherwise of HBS in Europe.
    • “Many a homo’s brain has been turned pseudo-female by the testo-to-estro conversion that converts a mouthful of sperm into a dose of estrogen that has given him strange feelings of femininity that are anathema to a homo and which he then compensates for by decrying those male-bodied people who do become happy women” (p70). 
    • Chapter 12 on ‘Induced Pheromic Addiction Perversion’ argues that in Montreal’s (sic) CAMH the person subjected to plesmythography will be affected by the pheromones from Blanchard etc and thus he will be unable to prevent being aroused.  This is more so as Blanchard etc are ‘closet homos”.
    • Chapter 13 is on BRSS=Bindel-Raymond-Stein Syndrome and FBMS=Fourrat-Bailey-McHugh Syndrome.  Both of these are “a delusional disassociation showing as an irrational refusal to accept the evidence” that HBS post-operatives go off and lead happy fulfilling lives.  While FBMS is “basically simple stupidity”, BRSS is “a dis-ease of the brain in which the estrogen from vaginal sex in ingested and then upsets the body’s chemistry that is stimulated to produce more testosterone to regain equilibrium.  But this continued supply of estrogen causes the output of testosterone to then cause a masculinisation of the brain and the body which makes the lesbian feel male and seek more and more vaginas to get the fix of estrogen.  Newly lesbian women go though a phase when they resemble nothing more than sex-mad teenage boys.  And as everyone knows, appetite grows by what it feeds on, so the BRSS lesbian seeks more and more vaginal sex but the brain has now got to work hard to stop the lesbian seeing herself as a male and so she enters the psychotic denial phase in which she tries to deflect her thoughts from her maleness by targetting  what she is becoming and seeking ever more female conquests to prove her lesbianism.  Being attracted to visions of femininity the BRSS’d lesbian’s male brain cannot help noticing the HBS women who are going through their own Second Puberty but once the HBS is recognised as such the feeling of revulsion of the possibility of her having any remnant of maleness produces great loathing akin to the homophobia of heterosexual men that naturally outlets as vindictiveness or deliberate sadism like in Bindel’s articles and Raymonds ‘Empire’ or as it is clinically known ‘homosexual rage’. “ 
    Of course there is not the slightest evidence for any of this.  It is simply asserted.
    • She does not comment on what happens to men who do cunnilingus, or to women who swallow sperm. 
    Conclusions
    • This is the first book devoted completely to HBS.  Hopefully a better, less homophobic one is in the works. 
    • In a later chapter Rose comments about how well she gets on with gays and lesbians in her local LGBT group and criticizes others for being homophobic.  This is not an unknown combination.  She may be less publicly homophobic than some others but her use of terms like ‘homo’ and her obsession with the ill-effects of oral sex reveal an underlying attitude that is quite nasty.
    • This book is even more homophobic than the few quotes above might imply.  The HBS movement has many times been accused of homophobia.  Given this book, any apologist for HBS will need to distance themselves from it, if they are to be taken seriously.
    • It is a little bit naughty of Rose to pretend to be three people, but it is mild compared to what some academics do.
    • It will be interesting to see how other HBS persons react to Rose’s book.

    2 comments:

    Anonymous said...

    You must remember that it's now like the days of the Wild Wild West when it come to publishing. Any crazy person that can string together a sentence can publish and promote a book. And unfortunately with so many people now lacking in the scientific knowledge of process, ie, test, prove and replicate, they think all they have to do is say it and it makes it so.

    rose said...

    hello Zag you old frump...you ask what happens to men who do cunnilingus? simple they stay youthful from the same bodyclocking effect that estrogen pills produce...and what happens to women who swallow sperm? for that we'd need to find some who have swallowed enough to make some observable difference...logically prostitutes might seem to be good subjects but then hanging about on street corners in all weathers and taking drugs and probably living on junk food would obscure any observations.
    nice pix of me...how many other pix of transexuals have you hoarded?