Transactivism stalls – Pluto in Air sign? ++ Judith Butler

Trying to track an astro-timeline through the heated gender argument which appears to be on the turn starts way back in the late Nineteenth Century as Pluto moved into Gemini with the birth of Harry Benjamin. He was an endocrinologist who had a lasting influence on gender medicine. His foundation was renamed WPATH (World Professional Association for Transgender Health) in 1979 with Pluto in mid Libra. It has become the global standard for the care of transgender children, though not for much longer as leaked files this week indicate their ‘experts’ knew the damage that puberty blockers do in causing infertility and cancer and went ahead anyway. And that they knew that in some cases patients were too young or too mentally ill (multiple personality disorder??) to fully appreciate the consequences of their treatment.

  For years, WPATH has been cited as a source of “best practice” for trans healthcare by numerous medical bodies, including the British Medical Association and the General Medical Council – and still is. The Royal College of Psychiatrists refers to WPATH in its own recommendations for care.

[ Hannah Barnes is associate editor at the New Statesman and author of Time to Think: The Inside Story of the Collapse of the Tavistock’s Gender Service for Children]

  Harry Benjamin, 12 January 1885 5.30am Berlin, Germany, followed on from sexologist Magnus Hirschfield, 14 May 1868 Kolberg, Poland, born twenty years before with Sun and Pluto in Taurus who was a transvestite and homosexual. Hirschfield perhaps because of his orientation kicked Darwin’s notions of evolution to the kerb and wrote that male and female were abstractions, invented extremes.  To which end he set in train a movement for trans-surgery and transformation of body chemistry. (See Gender post 1 June 2024)

   Benjamin saw a chance to make his professional name on the back of Hirschfield’s theories and with all the passion of a revolutionary ideologue – Pluto at zero degrees Gemini trine Uranus in Libra – he set in train an interventionist approach.  

   A later member of his foundation and even more vociferous advocate for surgical intervention was John Money, at one point a glittering name from John Hopkins University, who routinely advised abnormal male patients to be castrated and raised as girls. His surgical interference with a boy twin who had been badly circumcised, transforming him into a girl, was lauded (by him) as proof of his theories, until the tragic truth came out, wrecking his reputation and, worse, both twins committed suicide in adult life. Money, 8 July 1921, was a Sun, Mercury, Mars, Pluto in Cancer trine Uranus, with Jupiter Saturn conjunct in Virgo – inhumanely determined, destructive. See previous post 26 June 2023 John Money – manipulating gender boosted his career.

  New theories to boost a professional reputation were not only in evidence in the scientific/medical fraternity but academia was also awash with a fervour for postmodernist thinking which began to take hold in the early 1970s in France and thence to the USA universities as Pluto moved into Libra. The new philosophical worldview made rational debate on any subject not just difficult but well-nigh impossible.

  [I must admit to total ignorance on the subject but it explains a good deal about the gridlock in arguments.] In Post modernism, objectivity is impossible; language is taken to shape reality, not describe it; oppression is brought into existence by discourse; and binary sex is an artefact of Western colonialism.

  Judith Butler, an American philosopher and gender studies scholar whose writings have been influential in questioning the male female approach to humanity, is finding less acceptance with her recent book heavily slated. All critics of gender ideology, according to her, desire “the restoration of a patriarchal dream-order where a father is a father; a sexed identity never changes; women, conceived as ‘born female at birth’, resume their natural and ‘moral’ positions within the household; and white people hold uncontested racial supremacy”.

  [I feel as if I have gone down the rabbit hole into topsy turvy land. It is hardly a surprise that some people hold weird views but that they are listened to and become influential in the mainstream is scary.]

  Helen Joyce’s recent book Trans: Gender Identity and the New Battle for Women’s Rights on the other hand is a tour de force of clarity, common sense and useful information as she disentangles the history and various factions furthering the present debate for their own ends. She makes the point that ‘transactivists purport to speak for trans people but they serve their interests poorly’.  ‘Transactivism can be exploited by those who would harm children’. She is not arguing remotely that trans people want to harm children, any more than gay people did, but the homosexual liberation movement was infiltrated by paedophiles.

  She describes a coterie of individuals and groups who benefit from transactivism. Rich powerful males who want to be classed as women funding the cause. Everything else – harm to children’s bodies, loss of women’s privacy, destruction of women’s sports, perversion of language – is collateral damage. ‘Policy capture’ leading to a distortion of policymaking is aimed to benefit a minority at the expense of the general public. Big pharma have an eye to profits from drugs. Some activist parents would rather their child was transsexual than admit they are homosexual.

  There seems to have been/be a split amongst sexologists between those who were against surgical intervention like Alfred Kinsey and Richard Green whose ‘sissy boy syndrome’ studies over 15 years, indicated that the overwhelming majority of effeminate boys were likely to become adult homosexuals.

  My interest is always about why certain ideas grip a culture and become mainstream. What was the astrological driver of the ideology, damaging and otherwise.

  Sexuality has always been on a spectrum with a fluidity, more accepted in some cultures than others, but it was never, and still is not, an issue. The oddity about this toxic debate has always seemed to be about something other than the small numbers of genuinely gender dysphoric people who appear to be quiet living and far removed from the aggressiveness of the argument.  

  I hesitate to add a footnote which may sound extreme – and is in no way intended as any kind of analysis or diagnosis of genuine gender dysphoria; but is a possible hint of one aspect of the social madness on the topic of gender which has been swirling for the past few decades.

  Skipping across psychobabble, French analyst Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel focuses on the writings of the Marquis de Sade. De Sade’s hero becomes a god through a process of destruction and the creator of a new kind of reality. Nature becomes a melting pot where there are no boundaries – between ages (children/adults) or sexes. She refers also to the Dionysian Rites involving intersexual disguises. ‘Their aim is regression to the primordial confusion and their goal is the symbolic restoration of “chaos”, the state of unity without differentiation that preceded the Creation. This return to confusion manifests itself in a supreme act of regeneration and an enormous increase in power.’

  Hubris in denying and manipulating nature. She ties it into perversion but in less loaded language it refers back to early omnipotence.

  De Sade, 2 June 1740 5pm Paris, France had an 8th house Sun Jupiter Chiron conjunct in Gemini, which would give him a leaning towards entanglements, boundary crossing and taboos. He also had Neptune opposition Uranus South Node in Capricorn. As well as a sadistic/masochistic Mars square Saturn. His Uranus Neptune fits thoughts from the previous post 1st March 2024 on Gender – deny the past, self-create the future ++ more Uranus Neptune + Neptune in Pisces.

  The Dionysius reference also ties in with Jane’s comments about Neptune added onto the above post.

  Apologies for the hotch potch, length and absence of much astrology but Pluto moving a new sign, in particular into Air, is of interest given where we are at. It does give rise to a ferment of ideas, not all of them grounded in reality which drive cultural trends over the subsequent decades. The late 19th Century in particular spawned Freud and Hirschfield whose thinking took hold as Pluto and Neptune were together in Gemini – which brought great inspiration as well as off-the-wall confusion. And produced some exceptionally murderous dictators as well – Hitler etc.

Add On: Judith Butler, 24 February 1956 Cleveland, Ohio, is a Sun Pisces square a (can-be-know-it-all) Saturn in Sagittarius. She has a supremely confident and pushy Jupiter Pluto conjunction in Leo in an unyielding square to Saturn and an ultra-determined trine to an outspoken Mars in Sagittarius. Not a chart that suggests subtlety or nuance.

  Her Mars is inconjunct Uranus and in a very wide yod involving her Sun. A yod focal point Uranus can be contrary, wilful, erratic, but also has the ability to act as a catalyst and trailblazer. Though that in turn can lead to irrevocable rifts within the individual’s environment. Her Mercury in Aquarius is conjunct Chiron and square Neptune.

 I did attempt to wade through her wiki page with summaries of her writings and thinking – and got depressed. I did philosophy at university, though decades before this stuff, but it has the same feel of playing with language and concepts in a lofty, intellectual word salad that bears little relation to real life.  Terrifying that it actually slanted a culture.

21 thoughts on “Transactivism stalls – Pluto in Air sign? ++ Judith Butler

  1. The Leotard was actually the surname of the man who owned the company producing it. Not that has anything to do with your post.

  2. Speaking of the art world, most of the proponents of the Dada movement were born with Neptune/Pluto conjunct in early Gemini. Likewise, the Surrealist movement which followed, consisted of those born with the generational Neptune in Cancer opposing Uranus in Cancer.

    Both movements heavily influenced by Sigmund Freud’s 1899 publication, ‘The Interpretation of Dreams’. The aim of Dadaism was to overturn the social norms of bourgeois society.

    • Hi Virgoflake, when I was supporting my students in Art class, the teacher spent time discussing the period of Dadaism. He said that the art that came from that period was mostly due to the PTSD suffered from the people after World War I who had witnessed/experienced so many horrible awful things. Does that resonate with you? Thanks

      • Yes, the Dada generation were born roughly mid 1880s – 1890s when the Neptune/Pluto conjunction in Gemini was in full flow and were caught up in the terrible upheaval of WW1. Dada’s birth took place in a Zurich nightclub, the Cabaret Voltaire in 1916 among a group of poets and artists. The war in all its absurdity and pointless slaughter provided fertile ground for the flowering of the movement. In fact many gifted young artists were cut down in their prime, including Henri Gaudier-Brzeska, Egon Schiele, Franz Marc, Isaac Rosenburg and the art critic Guillaume Apollinaire.

        The Kaiser for example represented to this movement the kind of mindless authoritarianism which had led to the destruction of a generation and to the broken, shattered minds that survived it. From this perspective you can understand why that generation of artists and thinkers had such little faith in the traditional structures which (they perceived) had betrayed them. I think these artists and intellectuals were party to a particular moment in history, the aftermath of WW1, the humiliation of Germany and the breakdown of faith in the establishment and hence the structure of society itself and its social norms.

        Hannah Hoch is one of the more interesting of the Dada group. Born on November 1st 1889 in Gotha, Germany, the Neptune/Pluto conjunction plays a key role in her astrology. Not only is it rising on her Ascendant in the 12th house, but it is also the focal point of a Yod with her Scorpio Sun and Capricorn Jupiter in sextile. It is also the focal point of a T-Square involving her Moon in late Aquarius opposition Saturn in Virgo. What is interesting is that she pioneered the use of collage, cut-outs from magazines and newspapers whcih she used to create her satirical/political art, to mock conventional society’s expectations of women. She used printed text cut-outs in a way that was revived in the late 70s by the Punk movement’s graphic designers. Both movements anarchic in their own way.

        • I hasten to add that as the only significant woman in the movement, Hoch was treated pretty shamefully by the male members. Like the vast majority of male artists, their progressive attitudes, antiestablishmentism and anarchic values didn’t apply when it came to women. Hoch was on more than one occasion not only told to go and make the tea, but that her role was to have children not to make political/satirical art which criticised male attitudes. Her bisexuality and openness to experimenting with gender roles was seen as intimidating. She eventually left the movement.

  3. “I did philosophy at university, though decades before this stuff, but it has the same feel of playing with language and concepts in a lofty, intellectual word salad that bears little relation to real life. Terrifying that it actually slanted a culture.”

    I remember an art exhibition at my ex workplace, ‘Postmodernism’. I’d say that Marjorie’s above statement would apply to most of the exhibits too. It was all backed up with the usual nonsensical word salad catalogue. None of us really had a clue what it was all about – but it all looked terribly clever from a distance!

    • Post modernism is a form of philosophical narcissism which has itself become a justification and prop for narcissistic behaviour in wider society. It was harmless while it was largely confined to left bank French intellectuals boring each other in cafes but its adoption by the education system means it is now causing huge damage in wider society. At core it promotes concepts that lead to epistemological chaos such as the idea that you can simultaneously support women’s rights, and promote the idea than any male can become a woman, merely by identifying as one.

      • Hugh, Thank you. Succinct and understandable as opposed to the concept itself. Which I had somehow managed to miss altogether. Not sure what I was doing in the 70s and 80s apart from grappling with life and trying to recover my wits after university. Epistemologists angsting over how we know what we know was probably what sent me into therapy and down a route that seemed to provide better answers.

      • Thanks Hugh. Postmodernism is everywhere – and you’re quite right about the damage. When doing research, it is fascinating to see that earlier academic articles and papers on history are easy to understand, while later ones that favour postmodernist ideas and language are often a real challenge, to say the least. It’s a kind of game that shuts people out, and pushes many current gender debates into a maze of confusion.

        In other news, puberty blockers have been banned today for children in NHS gender clinics, citing their serious impact on future health. Harry Benjamin will have the Lunar Eclipse tucked in between his Uranus and Nodes, with tr Uranus transiting his natal Neptune in Taurus. Always interesting to see transits to a deceased person’s chart – these would maybe suggest some change and turmoil ahead for his influence?

      • Thank you, Hugh. There is something of the ‘Ranters’ and perhaps other dissenter radical groups during the 17th Century in the Postmodernist credo. Highly individualistic and anti-authority. A movement fomented from the English Civil War and it’s aftermath of the Commonwealth.

        Personally, I can’t think of anything worse than being married to one of those cerebral French intellectuals who bored each other in left bank cafes.

  4. Thanks Marjorie for exploring this hall of mirrors! I was interested to see that WPATH’s renaming dated from 1979. That’s also the year of first publication of The Postmodern Condition by Jean-Francois Lyotard (!). English translations date from 1984, no shred of irony there. Anyway, with the tr Uranus in Scorpio of 1979 now being opposed by tr Uranus in Taurus, and the Saturn in Virgo square Neptune in Sagittarius about to form a t-square with Saturn in Pisces this year, possibly a moment of real challenge has come for a philosophy that is found across academia?

    “The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (French: La condition postmoderne: rapport sur le savoir) is a 1979 book by the philosopher Jean-François Lyotard, in which the author analyzes the notion of knowledge in postmodern society as the end of ‘grand narratives’ or metanarratives, which he considers a quintessential feature of modernity. Lyotard introduced the term ‘postmodernism’, which was previously only used by art critics, into philosophy and social sciences, with the following observation: “Simplifying to the extreme, I define postmodern as incredulity towards metanarratives”.

    This influential work wasn’t highly regarded by Lyotard – “Lyotard later admitted that he had a “less than limited” knowledge of the science he was to write about, deeming The Postmodern Condition his worst book.” (Wiki)

    I had to read and study some of these French thinkers at university. I am none the wiser for it…..

  5. Re: Pluto in Aquarius. Here in New Zealand I have just been on a brief road trip with my Pluto in Libra son over from the US.
    I was stunned at the networking he is engaged in and am thinking networking might be a Pluto in Air phenomenon.

  6. Woke is going broke. Disney, Budweiser, North Face. Serious concerns for children’s safety from trans propaganda and people being imprisoned in Norway for saying that a male in women’s clothes is a man. One a juggernaut starts skidding it is difficult to stop it.

  7. I’d like a look at Judith Butler’s chart. She is so anti-women, a bad writer and a malign influence on American academia.
    She wants to queer society, which sounds similar to De Sade. A gay woman, who denies other gay women a protected space.

  8. Very interesting article, as in reality this is what the above is. Pluto in Aquarius could be intellectualism verses sex. As Pluto is raw sex. In some way, one could argue that the act of sex unleashes the furies (Pluto underworld) in the mind through contact. As losing inhibition is a form of absolute freedom (Uranus). With Pluto, the personal mind will encounter their own connection with the underworld of unfathomable emotions, through ecstasy, before returning down to confinement. It is the mind which choses which sex it wants to be and then is frustrated with the constriction of being human? Uranus loves the unusual, to be individually different. One way of looking at transgender could be to discuss the real meaning of transcending? As the meaning of transcending is to go beyond the limits – confinement – with expansion of the mind. Medication can be dangerous and disrupts the body, whereas transcending in the mind would be a way of becoming who you really want to be, without any harmful toxics. Pluto and Uranus is air and water. Mist and emotions. A new kind of therapy using transcendental meditation? Could be a form of helping those who wish to explore their sexuality, their need to become who they are; before any kind of physical surgical involvement – may help? Pluto in Capricorn (earth) was about the physical. Pluto in Uranus, in the above context, is about the opposing conflict between the top and bottom of our torso. Surely a connection of feeling comfortable is the first step?

  9. The late 19th century produced monstrous dictators but also the great leaders that defeated them. It produced Einstein, the greatest scientist of the age, from whose work was derived the atom bomb. Good and evil are always interdependent and intertwined. You can’t have the rose without the thorn.

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