Addressing JonBenet Ramsey, John Mark Karr, Nancy Grace and Sex Change Operations

I recently wrote a nastygram to CNN’s Nancy Grace based mainly on the comments from a couple of her “talking heads”, but largely complicit attitude towards what they had to offer. I share it with you as I continue to await a response from the “team” who produces Nancy Grace’s show. First I will give you the text of the note to her show, followed by some commentary and then the comments that caused me to react so adversely. Finally, I will add some further commentary on the matter:

Dear Nancy,

I was disturbed by the implication today on the Nancy Grace show that among the “whacked out” things facing John Mark Karr, is Gender Dysphoria. In 2006, my dear Nancy, We know that Gender Dysphoria is a legitimately treatable condition faced by tens of thousands of people if not hundreds of thousands people, VERY FEW of whom ever commit ANY sort of crime, no less crimes against children. Painting a picture of a man whose gender dysphoria contributed possibly to the death of Jon Benet Ramsey is irresponsible, offensive and naive, and frankly, I believe you owe your viewers a more objective look at Gender Dysphoria.

It’s quite possible, and it sounds like by all accounts that John Mark Karr is a transsexual. What that has to do with the Ramsey case or his guilt in the matter is beyond me. I see it as a smear campaign that says arrested=guilty and guilty= a good platform for associating thousands of innocent people with the most heinous of crimes. I am a transsexual woman who would never even CONSIDER such a horrible crime and I am offended by how the issue was handled on your “news” cast. At the end of the day, crime or no crime, John Mark Karr is a sick person.

Since when did it become acceptable behavior to treat the sick with such disdain? We have a justice system for a reason. How will you respond IF (yes IF)it turns out this guy is just a garden variety sick person in need of help for his delusions as opposed to the real monster of a 10 year old murder case? I tend to think that where there’s smoke there is fire too, but let’s keep on topic shall we? You owe the transsexuals in America and Canada an apology and a legitimate place in the discussion if you are going to create (or allow to be created on your show) a blanket association between Gender Dysphoria and Pedophilic murder.

Where did all of this come from? Well as you know, if you have not been hiding in a cave near Tora Bora for the last two weeks, John Mark Karr is awaiting trial in Boulder Colorado after convincingly confessing to the murder of 6-year old murder victim Jon Benet Ramsey. Apparently, it’s not enough that the man has said things like “What Jon Benet and I had was special”, or “I loved Jon Benet”. It’s not enough that he’s not only an admitted pedophile, but hasn’t been stopped after numerous allegations of the same in his past. Apparently it’s imperative to completely discredit him prior to his arraignment, in every way possible, including in ways that are completely beyond his control. Here’s some of the comments from http://cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS that torqued me due to their naivetÃ?©. The first was from psychoanalyst Bethany Marshall, one of CNN’s regular talking heads, who as a trained professional should KNOW better than to say the following about a man who is not her patient, and with whom she has never met for a diagnostic session:

MARSHALL: It seems actually like he’s suffering from something we call delusional disorder. It’s a psychiatric syndrome, and he seems to be having several delusions. One is he feels he has a special, unique relationship with Jon Benet.

By some reports, he has a delusion that he’s going to be killed. I read that in some media reports. And then he also has the delusion that he’s a woman, because he was planning a sex change operation. And I think that what happened is that the delusion just got out of control as he reached middle age, which is not atypical for this particular disorder, and he began to write more e-mails and to fantasize about it more and more. It really just came to the public attention and to the attention of law enforcement.

GRACE: And Bethany Marshall, it’s interesting about him wanting the sex change operation.

MARSHALL: Yes.

GRACE: Apparently, reports stating that he told the workers there when he was having all of his hair lasered off his face…

MARSHALL: Right.

GRACE: … and chin and neck, they said, “Do you want us to leave any?” And he reportedly said, “Well, whatever a woman would have.” FYI: Most of us really don`t have facial hair…

MARSHALL: Right.

GRACE: … Mr. Karr.

MARSHALL: I think that’s why he was so fascinated with Jon Benet, in fantasy if not in reality, because I don’t think he ever really knew her, is that he wanted so much to be a woman himself that, who was he going to identify with? A little beauty queen. In his mind, she’s a beauty queen. And then that’s intertwined with the pedophilia, so it’s going to be, of course, a 6-year-old beauty queen. But it’s based upon the identification and the wish to be like her.

Later in the interview, Nancy had the following interchange with “talking head” Defense attorney Renee Rockwell:

GRACE: Renee, if this guy goes to trial, how in the heck are you going to keep it away from the jury that your guy wanted a sex change and had all his facial and neck hair removed with a laser treatment?

RENEE ROCKWELL,: Well, I don’t want if you want to keep that away from a jury. You want the jury to think that he’s just as whacked out as he can get.

The reason, I was so frustrated was that this was an opinion show in the guise of a news show, and it has quite gotten out of hand. While I expect some bias in the news media, I certainly do not enjoy coming under what I consider as a personal attack because some whack job happens to have a recognized medical condition that is the same as one I have which is more prominent than many know and less understood than it should be.

What many don’t understand is that gender exists on a continuum, not determined solely by genitalia. In fact, the creation of genitalia is determined by a function of the hypothalamus gland in the brain. Sometimes that gland screws up and we witness the biological effects. There are over 400 physically identifiable gender abnormalities that are considered by the non-psychiatric medical community to be purely biological. Klinefelter’s Syndrome, which often leaves the genitalia ambiguous and in which the chromosomes of the individual are XXY as opposed to a normal XY or XX gets the most attention, but there are so many more. Many in the psychiatric community believe that Gender Dysphoria, a condition in which the body and sex organ all seem to be “normal”, but in which the person feels they are trapped by the gender protocol assigned to that sort of body, should ALSO be classified as a biological condition. As a transsexual woman, I happen to agree.

When CNN anchors step in front of the camera, they do all Americans a great disservice when they comment naively on subjects with which they are unfamiliar in disparaging ways that hurt people and promote a continuity of naivetÃ?©. A transsexual person in this world has a hard enough time figuring out how to fit in a world with two boxes on opposite sides of a fence. We don’t need to find ourselves naively associated with people who cause harm to our society. While it may be true that John Mark Karr is indeed Gender Dysphoric, that is and should be between him and a medical professional. For means of legality, and protecting society, the only reason he should be news, is in relation to his involvement, if any in a ten year old over-publicized murder investigation.

I am tired of hearing things like “Next we will talk with a woman who says she once sat on a bus with John Mark Karr when he was in high school. Hear the chilling tale of how he ate ice cream in a bizarre way. You won’t want to miss this.” Like HELL. Yes. I do want to miss that! I think we get it! There is a freaky guy admitting to pedophilia and murder. Do we really need to make more news out of what is already a sensationalized news story? Nancy Grace, you have been smackedâÂ?¦and oh, by the wayâÂ?¦ you deserved it.

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