Profiting from body dissociation
Using the language of Human Rights to open up new markets
Surrogacy and transgenderism are heavily promoted as human rights issues, supposedly enabling ‘procreative liberty’ in the case of surrogacy, or ‘gender affirmation’ in the case of transgenderism. These are also huge business opportunities for the medical industrial complex. In each case, human rights promotion is a big part of the sales pitch that is needed for the business opportunities to be realised.
The gender industry
The pioneering research of Jennifer Bilek, here, and here, has shown how the language of human rights is used to disguise the involvement of the gender industry. Funding by a handful of super rich, white American men, many with medical industry links, is enormously influential in the normalisation of ‘transgenderism’. Bilek identifies the new markets that have flourished because of this influx of money - including gender clinics for children, specialist surgery wings in hospitals, puberty blocking drugs, and cross-sex hormones.
“This ideology is being promoted as a civil rights issue by wealthy, white, men with enormous influence who stand to personally benefit from their political activities. It behoves us all to look at what the real investment is in prioritising a lifetime of anti-body medical treatments for a minuscule part of the population, building an infrastructure for them, and institutionalising the way we perceive ourselves as human beings, before being human becomes a quaint concept from the past.”
(Jennifer Bilek, Follow the money, 11th hour blog 3 Mar 2021)
One of the rich white men Bilek has identified is Jon Stryker, the billionaire heir to the Stryker medical technology corporation fortune. In 2000, Stryker created the Arcus Foundation, which has, over the past 23 years, poured funds into a complex web of institutions that promote LGBT, but especially T without the LGB, causes.
STILLTish has researched recent funding initiatives by Arcus. She found that many of the grants are based on forced teaming - “This is where Trans Ideology proponents feign alliances with established movements to establish ‘common cause’ and piggy back on their reputations. The most obvious one is gay rights.” (STILLTish, Arcus Foundation Grants, gendercriticalwoman blog 22 Apr 2021)
Particularly significant for the UK is the Arcus funding of Stonewall. Arcus gave Stonewall $100,000 in 2015 specifically “to ensure full legal and social equality for trans people by integrating trans-specific work into all key campaigning and programs”. 2015 was the year Stonewall changed from being an LGB charity to being an LGBT one, with the nebulous category T, rather than the reality-based LGB, becoming its main focus.
At the heart of this promotion of transgenderism by the gender industry is body dissociation. In order to be able to sell ‘gender affirming’ medicalisation, recipients have to be dissatisfied with their sexed bodies, and then encouraged to undergo medication/surgery to modify their bodies. The media, particularly social media, play a big role in normalising this for young people, as do the LGBT+ charities that are increasingly involved in RSE (relationships and sex education) programmes in UK schools. I looked at the work of one such charity, Just Like Us, here. The materials that Just Like Us has produced for primary schools focus particularly on normalising the erosion of sex boundaries - one maths problem for 5-7 year olds gives as much attention to the preferred pronouns of a non-binary person doing a calculation as to the calculation itself.
Catching them young is a useful strategy for the gender industry. Off label drugs can be provided to delay puberty, Then cross sex-hormones can be given, which, if the changes in secondary sex characteristics are to be sustained, creates a lifetime of demand. Surgery to further the body dissociation can be added as an optional extra.
Creating dissatisfaction in your target demographic, and promoting products and services that apparently address the dissatisfaction, is a marketing manager’s dream scenario. But the dream for the young customers can quickly turn into a nightmare, when they discover that the products and services they have been persuaded to consume don’t necessarily ease the distress they have felt, yet cause lasting damage to their health which cannot be reversed.
The checks and balances that usually govern medical interventions are almost non-existent here - “most hormone-dispensing doctors provide no brakes and no reality check on these distressed patients. They are awash in unreality themselves” (Abigail Shrier, Irreversible Damage, 2020). That’s not just In the private sector - in the NHS, “Primary and secondary care staff have told us that they feel under pressure to adopt an unquestioning affirmative approach and that this is at odds with the standard process of clinical assessment and diagnosis that they have been trained to undertake in all other clinical encounters.” (Cass Review of gender identity services for children and young people, Interim report, Feb 2022)
The fertility industry
As with transgenderism, surrogacy is a huge opportunity for the medical industry which also relies heavily on dissociation - in this case, dissociation from natural processes of procreation. With gestational surrogacy the woman who provides the eggs, the man who provides the sperm and the woman who is pregnant and gives birth can be unrelated to each other, and living in different parts of the globe. By targeting not just infertile heterosexual couples but same sex couples, women wanting to avoid the career interruption of pregnancy, and individuals without partners, the fertility industry can extend its market coverage, and boost its profits.
“Surrogacy is heavily promoted by the stagnating IVF industry which seeks new markets, as well as by gay men who believe they have a ‘right’s their own children and ‘family foundation’…Regulation will only ever cement surrogacy as ‘legitimate’. And It will enshrine the compartmentalisation of women reduced to body parts, and encourage dissociative mechanisms to cope with the inherent cruelty.”
(Renate Klein, Surrogacy: a human rights violation, Spinifex Press, 2017).
Dissociation is not only an inevitable consequence of the fragmentation of the process of reproduction, it is built into the relationship between a surrogate mother and the child she bears. The natural connection a mother feels for the baby inside her interferes with the necessity to hand him or her over to the commissioning parents, so the process is organised to minimise this. Elizabeth Purslow, a nurse and former midwife, notes that “It is said that surrogate mothers prefer not to be related to the baby as this helps her to feel disconnected to the baby, as it ‘isn’t hers’ and commissioning parents also want to separate the mother from the baby.” (Elizabeth Purslow, Surrogacy in the UK, Nordic Model Now, 19 Apr 2022).
The latest development in the promotion of ‘procreative liberty’ links transgenderism with surrogacy, and multiplies the dissociation. Belatedly acknowledging that loss of fertility is one of the side effects of ‘gender affirming’ medication, the gender industry is now turning a potential threat into an opportunity, by linking hormone treatment, egg and sperm freezing, and the exploitation of surrogate mothers.
“This is a marketing opportunity that will benefit both the gender and fertility branches of the medical industrial complex. Growth in demand for transurrogacy will synergistically boost profits for the industry as a whole, at a time when growth in IVF treatments for heterosexual couples who are naturally infertile is slackening.”
(Alan Neale, Transurrogacy - the next profit opportunity for Big Fertility, 11th hour blog, 28 May 2022)
The next post will explore how Mary Shelley’s prophetic vision in Frankenstein has played out in subsequent centuries, and where it seems to be leading.