The Public Defender’s Office of the state of São Paulo decided to implement a quota for transsexual people in the contests for their positions, in addition to the quotas already offered for blacks, indigenous people and people with disabilities. The decision, announced last month, was made by the body’s Superior Council.
The quotas consist of reserving 12 % of vacancies in competitions and internships for blacks and indigenous people, 5% for the disabled and 2% for transsexuals, informs the defender on its website. In addition to the new offer of quotas for trans, the racial quota was expanded: in previous contests it was 20%. 5% of the vacancies were also reserved 12 for “women in situations of domestic and family violence”. The policy will also be implemented “to the extent possible” in commissioned positions and ongoing service contracts.
The quota size for transsexuals — 2% — was calculated by the Public Defender’s Office taking into account what is supposed to be the trans rate in the general population. The source for the calculation is an article published in 2021 in the journal Scientific Reports, of the group Nature, by the professor of the Department of Psychiatry at the USP School of Medicine Giancarlo Spizzirri, with six collaborators. The study is part of a larger investigation conducted by Instituto DataFolha between November and December 2018, and was the first to assess “gender” diversity in a country in South America.
But there is a problem of overrepresentativeness in this percentage. Spizirri and colleagues did not calculate that there are 2% of transsexuals in Brazil. This statistic in the article is an estimate of the number of “gender-diverse people” that also include transgender people. The authors define who these people are by two “umbrella” terms: “transgender” and “non-binary gender”. Alternatively, they use the term “non-cisgender”. “Cisgender” or “cis” would be people who are not trans.
Transgender would be “people who identify with a gender that is incongruous or different from the one assigned to them at birth”. Non-binary would be those who “feel that their gender identity is outside or between male and female identities, for example, a person who feels they are of both identities or neither”. The term “transsexual”, used by the Public Defender’s Office when communicating its quotas, does not appear in Spizzirri’s article, except in the references.
The researchers’ method consisted of interviewing a sample of 5930 people in public places in Brazil. If it is possible to consider transgender synonymous with transsexual, the size of the reservation of vacancies should be 0.7%, proportion of transgender in the study sample (40 people). However, the study itself reports that 60% of these transgenders “reported not wanting to have characteristics of the opposite binary gender”. As the very definition of transsexual is wanting to have these characteristics, then the proportional quota would be 0.2%, that is, one tenth of what the Public Defender’s Office is offering.
A Gazeta do Povo spoke to the Public Defender’s Office of São Paulo by phone and email, but did not receive a response regarding the issue of overrepresentation of trans people through quotas until the end of the report .
Conceptual confusions of ideological background causing foreseeable problems
In December of 2020 the Federal University of Southern Bahia (UFSB) canceled a medical course enrollment due to suspected fraud in its quota system for trans people, in which the institution was a pioneer. Who perpetrated the fraud would have been João/Joana/Jô Magalhães, who wears a beard, but claims to be a “non-binary” person. Speaking to the G1 website, Gabriel Nascimento, the president of the commission that canceled Magalhães’ enrollment, said that one of the reasons for the decision was that the vacancies were intended for trans people and not people in transition.
Historically, transsexuality is defined as a deep and persistent desire to have a body of a different sex from the one you were born with. This craving is now classified as a disorder by psychiatry—gender dysphoria disorder. Thus, the psychiatric diagnosis would be a necessary condition to define a person as transsexual. But it is not a sufficient condition, given that most children who manifest dysphoria grow up without becoming transgender and generally live their adult lives as homosexual or bisexual. Transsexuals are people for whom presentation to the opposite sex, with medical help, has proved to be the most appropriate treatment for dysphoria.
This whole theoretical framework and medical practice is under attack from a base ideology associated with academic ideas such as “queer theory” and the unnecessary distinction between sex and gender. One of the biggest proponents of this distinction was psychologist John Money, famous for unethical therapeutic practices that involved trying to raise as a girl a baby who lost his penis in an ill-fated circumcision (the “girl” insisted it was a boy, and Money hid the failure of the study). of the public). In addition to insisting on using the term “gender” instead of “sex”, assuming that there was nothing biological about “gender”, Money also coined the term “gender role”.
Activists Inspired by these ideas, they insist on the term “transgender” instead of “transsexual” and stigmatize as “transmedicalized” or “transmed” transsexual people who insist that the classical definition must be respected, and that it is not enough to claim to belong to a “ gender” to actually be treated as such, without any transition effort involving medical treatment. The extreme of this activism has led to a kind of gender mysticism in which young people seriously claim to identify with “cute gender” and “beach gender” — a clear confusion of personality idiosyncrasies and taste with gender and sexual identity.
Therapists who follow these ideas have initiated irresponsible medical practices of prescribing puberty blockade and hormone treatment for young people, especially adolescent girls, who do not fit the diagnostic profile of gender dysphoria. It’s called “affirmative therapy”. In the English-speaking world, there are several cases of girls who regretted having their breasts removed and taking testosterone, an intervention that can permanently deepen their voice.
In the book Affirmative Action Around the World (republished by É Accomplishments in 2016), the American philosopher Thomas Sowell documents several cases of vertiginous and artificial growth of groups as soon as these groups receive different treatment from authorities or the law. In other words, the very creation of quotas is the source of “fraud” in quotas, as it creates an incentive for people to identify with favored groups, however tenuous their relationship with them may be.
There is already, as documented by observers, a social contagion of LGBT identities among young people, especially in the United States. There, the number of trans people jumped from a few units per 2018 thousand people to 5% of young people under
years old. Part of this inflation came precisely from the conceptual innovations of identity activism with speculative identities that are difficult to objectively measure as “non-binary”. The quota for transsexuals of the Public Defender’s Office of the State of São Paulo may represent an extra incentive for more confused people adopting identities that little reflect what they really are.