It's funny and frustrating to see how people get passionate about the transgender subject. A day doesn't go by without me reading someone's opinion on the phenomenon. Sometimes I wonder whether the people voicing their opinion really care about the subject because often they sound like a broken tape just going on repeat.
A lot of people think trans are trying to play out some role in the world and they change themselves to adjust to that role. Some are and some do, but since this is not the case for all I don't believe transsexualism is to blame.
When I was younger and in the process of researching the subject I came across intersex people, the concept at first and then the actual human beings. I thought they had been blessed at first, I felt envy because given their condition no one could really question their feelings of something being off with their gender or their desire to change physically.
For a little while I even thought about paying some doctor to falsify documents that would allow me to claim I was intersex, I thought my family would love me then, I wanted them to accept me. But my desire to discover what I really was and show my true self kept me from lying. I wasn't a person who had been born with anything unusual, at least visible, about their body. I was a person who despite having a perfectly normal body didn't feel like the same was their own in some areas. The whole point of me coming clean about my gender dysphoria was not to have to hide anymore, it had nothing to do with creating an illusion of something that I was not.
Perhaps my parents would have an easier time accepting my condition if I could back it scientifically, but I didn't need them to accept me, I needed them to see me. What if I were to show them the fake paperwork and they still wouldn't accept that I wasn't comfortable with my sex and wanted to do something about it? Having parents that would take care of me would make things easier, yes, but accepting a lie is in no way accepting me.
I wrote this a couple of weeks ago for Facebook:
If the word trans can be used for those who do not experience gender dysphoria, then I can't continue to identify myself as such. I am not doing this to be happier, I am doing this not to be miserable.
I don't want to claim transness for myself but I chose that word for a reason, and now the reason behind the word is being changed. I don't care if it's the word trans or the word shit I use to describe my situation and that of others, but I do need a word.
I chose the word trans because at the time it described my situation exactly, it was a very specific word, now it seems to be a term for anyone who doesn't think they are the ultimate version of their sex.
Words change, I get it, but what happens when a word no longer describes what you want to convey? You find another word. That has no bearing on how you feel about people that use the word you have decided not to use.
People think this is an issue of division, but it is an issue of categorization and organization.
Not being able to relate to something or someone doesn't not equate to hating them, thinking less of them or thinking they don't deserve attention.
You don't treat burnt skin in the same way you treat a skin rash. The afflictions are both in the skin but they are different afflictions.
One of the biggest pushbacks from people digesting the whole trans subject is that they seem to be driven to differentiate themselves from others. A man who has been told his whole life that he is a man because he has a penis would surely have an issue with someone else without a penis calling themselves a man. If anyone can call themselves a man then why am I special? How am I useful? Where is my place? Do I belong?
I have never seen anyone, trans or not, say that men don't have penises or that males have vaginas. However, some people have been saying that not all men have penises and while this may be a minority I think it's important to speak about it.
Every time another man has questioned my masculinity based on the genitals they think I have, I ask them what they would do if they found themselves in an accident and lost their member. 99.9% of the time they tell me they would commit suicide. They don't ask whether they can still pee or have sexual pleasure, they don't ask whether the accident would leave them in constant pain, they don't even ask if they get to keep the balls after the accident, just the thought of themselves without a penis is enough for them to reject life all together. This is why it is so important to let men know that they are not a penis, because there are men born with unusual genitalia and many things can happen during the course of a life.
I can't judge anyone deciding to take their lives because they are having issues with their gender identity, which is all the men who dare put themselves in the hypothetical accident are experiencing; the rate at which trans people have been reported to suffer suicide is a demonstration that this is not really a problem of men but of people. Even those fully aware that their body is only a representation and is not truly them can suffer this.
Transsexualism being a mental illness is a possibility, but people mistreating others because they think the others are sick is a probability. This is where the push for not seeing the condition as a medical one has come from, there are those who don't think it's necessary to label it a disease for it to be treated. There are others, even trans people, who want the condition seen as medical because of how strongly it manifests in them. They want the condition being recognized medically because they seek medical alternatives to treat it.
Another one of the rough spots when dealing with the subject is in the usage of the word gender vs sex, separating man from males and women from females. In trans circles these words have different meanings, we have given them different meanings to be able to speak about our situation more clearly. At some point the words may have been used in the same way, some people don't want the words to change or get refined either because they don't want to learn new terms or don't want to change their way of speech. They don't have to recognize gender and sex as different things, they don't have to use the words for the things others use them, I have seen how harsh the criticism can be over not adopting a word and I can't support that kind of bullying. At the same time, I wish to tell the people having trouble with words evolving/devolving that they can't stop it. No amount of whining is going to keep people from speaking the way they want to. Just like I feel the word trans is changing in meaning and I don't like it, yet can't do anything but state why and seek an actual alternative. I have never heard any argument as to why simplifying gender expression to plain gender and sexual biology to sex is a problem.
People will insist that a person can't change their sex so there is no such thing as a transsexual. Even if we can't change someone's sex completely that doesn't mean we are not going to try, and try, and try. And that trying and trying and trying is what makes a transsexual. The word in itself says we are going from one place to another, not that we managed to do it. Some trans people have accepted that they will never be able to change their sex completely and settle for the methods available to change one's appearance, others are training themselves in medicine to do what many call impossible. A trans person is completely capable of accepting that sex can't be changed, what many may not accept so easily is that it can never be changed.
When posing the hypothetical question to trans people on whether they would be willing to have a clone made of themselves with their desired sex, and whether they would deny the clone of a chance at life by taking over the body to have their desired physique, 98% of the surveyed said they wouldn't. They would instead ask why other alternatives like growing specific organs weren't an option, some even went as far as questioning the character of the creator of the survey for making it in the first place.
Feeling useful is the biggest pushback I have found on the subject. People tend to assume that the world only holds itself together because they are sacrificing according to their sex and carrying out their gender roles correctly. They think any challenging to the way they think things are would mean the end of civilization. Some have even convinced themselves that trans people want to destroy gender. I have never heard anything more ridiculous in my life. Why would trans people want to destroy gender given what they put themselves through in order to be able to show their own? How does not believing in gender fit anywhere in the narrative of someone feeling like others are not seeing their gender?
Questioning gender roles and their place in time is a healthy habit, it doesn't mean that the person questioning doesn't believe any gender roles are useful or good.
Another big problem with the usage of language has come from suggesting that a lot of gender roles are no longer applicable or never were. Some people started using the term social construct to describe gender and the constant usage lead others to believe they were saying all gender roles and even sexual biology is social or made up.
Then came the issue of paperwork. When people question the way trans people wish to be treated they often excuse their behavior by saying that legally we are whatever they say we are. That is why trans people started pushing for legal recognition. Of course, there were other things that took trans people to seek legal recognition for their condition, but the main has been discrimination for not having paperwork that reflects our appearance which would affect us in schools and work, ect. Then some people were pissed because we were even able to get legal recognition in some places. The same people saying we were X or Y because our ID didn't say otherwise, then proceeded to complain that they were being forced to recognize us based on our state identifications.
I've noticed that a lot of people, most people, don't like all the gender roles associated to their sex. But giving them up, even partially, is not an option. And if they have to do them all even when they don't want to, they think everyone else should suffer the same fate.
There are a few people who are actually concerned about the influence of seeing trans stories on TV and the Internet, this includes trans people. They see how strict gender roles can be and how some people can mistakenly come to think they are trans when they simply don't fit in all the expectations for their gender and are unaware everyone else experiences the same thing. No one does or likes 100% of the things associated to their gender, but the insistence in preserving gender, as if it's something that needs saving, can lead some people to believe the rest of the world is satisfied with the way things are and start protesting this by way of rejecting gender all together.
It is a common thing to hear trans people feel like outsiders, people who are not trans feel this all the time too. But no one really spends all their time thinking about their sex or which gender they belong to. There are people, specially younger people, who think this is how gender works, like you are walking around all the time thinking of your genitals and how they fit in with you, walking around thinking of the things you should do based on your gender. These people can assimilate identities for themselves that are reliant on what they think others experience for gender. Someone who calls themselves "non-binary" for example, may really be saying that they think the world is in extreme opposites and they feel more neutral to this, like that is not applicable to them. What they don't know is that extreme opposites is rarely applicable to anyone, but they can only react to what they see.
There is one thing I should say about individuals who think they are trans and yet see themselves outside gender, or encompassing all genders (all people). I have never met a single one that was not suffering from seeing themselves like this, specially those that see themselves as outsiders. To this people I wish to say that you are completely normal in your way, that most people can understand you even if you believe they can't, and that you too belong to this world even if it doesn't feel like it sometimes.
Most people don't know what their chromosomes are like and won't ever know, and yet perhaps the most insistant opposition to transition comes from those who speak about biology but think the number of interex people is small enough to completely dismiss them from class. Those are the people that go into panic mode when people suggest there may be more than two genders. To those people I say relax, if there's only two genders then there's no way we can make up another. No one is denying that the complete male or female are realities. What many people are saying though, is that only talking about the complete male and female is a problem because not everyone fits there. Perhaps they don't fit there only because of the way they feel, perhaps there is something visible to them that psychologically is making it difficult to find a place when gender is presented as either or.
First they will say that your genitals decide, then you show them people with different genitals and they will say they are either male or female in their chromosomes. I love it when they say that because it gives me an opportunity to ask them when they last got their chromosomes checked. Most people will never become aware of their chromosomes until they face issues with reproduction, if they ever decide to have children.
We are not measuring sex based on chromosomes, to explore that part of the body is expensive, we are not telling people they are male or female based on their chromosomes so bringing it up when coexistance is being discussed is useless and frankly seems like a desperate attempt at an agument. I find it hilarious to see people proclaim their gender proudly and when questioned about it all they can tell you is about their genitals. Those same people apparently have super powers because they seem to be able to tell everyone else's chromosomes based on their appearance.
For every possible explanation about the existence of trans people non trans people may come up with, we have already come up with ten others. From divine creation, to enviromental mutations, from alien experiments to government experiments...any possibility is being discussed, including mental illness. If you think you are contributing something by leaving a comment saying trans people are sick or that there is a mediatic interest in pushing people that way, you are probably not saying anything new. We have discussed this at length for years and continue to do so every day.
If you are pissed off by this point it's likely that you are one of those that sound like a broken record, worse, a re-run for a TV show that was never really all that good because you can still DJ with a scratched off record.
You don't have a greater interest in knowing us than we have in knowing ourselves. Save your time, you may only have one life after all.
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