One of the reasons I am very public with my contact information is because people (Men AND Women) need room and space to realize that their queer theory views on gender are actually conservative and anti-woman. Many people who started out as stridently pro-gender and aggressive towards me specifically (I don’t take it personally, by the way) have subsequently realized that gender is the problem. I also get lots of emails and calls from people who have direct experience with “being transgender.” What follows is a post from one of these folks. It is vital that people have space to have these critical discussions and to change their minds (or not).
GUEST POST: We Are All Non-Gendered
I am an XY male who tries not to gender, I came out very young cross dressed publicly for a few years, transitioned at 23, stopped at 29 or so, I’m a 30-something non-gendering male, my legal status is still female/ post-op, all my papers etc. say female, I couldn’t care less, one day I will change it back over but it was such a hassle to start that it’s not really an issue for me as I don’t use things that can cause an uproar…I use men’s rooms, etc., never barge or interrupt female spaces as I am not one. I still take estrogen as synthetic testosterone is very horrible, I don’t know how the FTM crowd does it, holy crap that stuff is scary, plus I do feel better on estrogen mentally, and that is more important than breasts or hips, ever will be.
We are all non-gendered, gender is a very external expression and worn only like accessories, a jewelry for the masses and self. We all in some way want to be recognized, admired or loved and accepted. We are social creatures and it’s only natural that we be a part of that social connection/acceptance.
The naked body is biological both internal and external (mostly external for males)(and yes, there are the percentage of folks who are either intersected or have ambiguous genitalia) as we know breasts come in all shapes and sizes for both sexes but predominantly in females as can bone structure between the two. (hips, hands, feet etc…)
Infants always start out showing problems with gender, once introduced, due to not knowing what it is or how it is defined and the knowledge of so-called social roles and yes rules (remember acceptance) Very young children have yet to be taught what those roles are or have them hard pressed to act as one and only one with sternness, it takes many factors to start that kind of induction to compulsive conformity and is pushed along rather quickly by family, relatives, outside sources (visual and communicated) and most importantly I believe, are the hopes and dreams and “expectations” our parents have for us the moment A. pregnancy is confirmed and B. we are declared either male or female due to existing biological genitalia ( there are differences yes, I know this, and the numbers are there, I am mostly talking about the majority of the population, not intersexed folks or persons with ambiguous genitalia that both need tests to further understand chromosomal status, as many intersexed conditions have multiple body system issues).
We can almost all attest to being scolded for activities and things we might have said, toys we played with, acting out or playing as if we knew it was considered wrong to begin with. We have all had gender forced upon us at many times or another, trans and non-trans alike. I was constantly berated and spanked with belts or paddles for things I had shown interest in and actions I had committed. Instead of explanations of gender and letting me ask, “But why?,” I was given a hyper-masculine view of things I should be doing and to “tough things out” and “why on earth would I want to do such things anyway”, I was always being round pegged in square holes, I never fit.
Most children tend to get showered with Hyper-masculinity and Hyper-femininity and there are those families who seem to let children be fluid to some degree but there is always a side of the fence they stay on. Gender can be a fluid state never resting weaving in and out for those who wish and yet understood by those who don’t. At such point why should it exist at all then? That’s what we need to re-teach, first of all, ourselves and then others. Material woven clothing items or accessories are not ultimate and final and defined for objectification. Females can be strong and independent and yet are never considered less a woman, Males can cry and be dependent and are they really less a male? Gender should never be given a second glance, I know that’s a hard concept being we are visual creatures…it always starts with ourselves.
No one really has gender, the products you purchase are deemed gender and some of us buy into it and some of us don’t care enough to worry!
I would like to ask you…how many surgeries would you have or that are possible to make you as comfortable and passable as a happy woman that you could be, are you comfortable with that? Why? Money is no object for this question.
Now how many surgeries can you have or that are possible to make you XX Female? Are you comfortable with that? Why? Not even all the money would help that
Do you see shame in a man wearing makeup or a dress? Is he less male? Perhaps to his own self or society but IS he really less male? Of course not. Is having an inverted penis any less male? Of course not, otherwise penile cancer survivors would all be considered women, regardless of style of clothing. Are breastless females any less female? Never. Is a post-operative hysterectomy female any less a woman regardless of what hormone she has injected or produced in her body? Nope.
These are the many questions I asked myself and now I ask many of you, because truth be known, all the surgeries in the world will never make you female or male, you in your mind will always know you are trans and born XY or XX, it’ll never go away, it’s still with me, I just understand that what I was taught was wrong, my parents and most of society weren’t right and that’s completely ok, we have to start from our present. Yes, I have breasts, no facial hair, soft features, and other female characteristics but I am in no sense a female in any degree or percentage!!!
So let’s get on to that, anyone, ANYONE can be transgender by definition, TRANSSEXUAL does not exist, I’m living proof and so are the other post-ops of the world. A penis is a penis is a penis, no matter what shape or form it takes, except “removal” thereof, not “inversion.” Your chromosomes and post-pubertal bone structures will never change no matter what you do to your body, why do you feel shame and anger right now just reading this? I know you do as I would have at one point as well. I am not against you, I am trying to change society’s view on gender regardless of chromosomes and/or post-op/pre-op genitalia status. Male-woman and Female-man are nothing to be shy or embarrassed about, it’s a reality and has been for a while now, we just like to fit in and hide.
ANYONE can be a man or a woman, but there is only ONE way to be a female or a male (not counting intersex).
Picture what a male and a man is, they really are different aren’t they? One evokes a picture of a human male with male reproductive characteristics, the other evokes a picture of a perhaps a socially acceptable fashionable attractive person with masculine qualities?
Picture what a female and a woman is, they really are different aren’t they? One evokes a human female (breasts, vagina, wider hips, softer features, etc), the other evokes a picture of perhaps a socially acceptable fashionable attractive person with feminine qualities
Now I use that term socially acceptable fashionable attractive term loosely, as not all people who aren’t masculine define or feel feminine and not all who aren’t feminine define themselves or feel masculine, it really shouldn’t matter and we shouldn’t look twice. A lot of non-trans people embrace gender and that’s fine as long as it is not projected and expected from others as it is of yourself. A lot of non-trans people are also against gender and break away from expectations as well. A lot of trans people embrace gender and heavily and that’s fine as long as sexual biology is not put into that mix, be a woman or a man all you want and enjoy and live life, but to parade and destroy all or any who mis-gender you is ridiculous, there are always clues to one’s transness, many girls have face pics online, yes they may look like a female, certain light, certain angles and if you see them in person they are almost always spotted, and why? It shouldn’t matter, and that’s the matter I would like to see changed. Yes, bathrooms can be scary, trust me I know, how many males are scared of others males in a male restroom or a male space? Yes, there are many who are.
I might have to continue this in another part, I hope Cathy will let me…
If many of you read or can read and understand at the same time, try to remove yourself fully and understand Cathy is not anti-trans or pro-trans. I feel she recognizes that trans exists and should be treated or understood as such, I have never taken anything of her as transphobic or hateful, (and I hope I’m not speaking for her, I’m saying what I have observed) I may not always agree or see eye to eye but as someone who identified as female and is legally documented as one, I am pro-female and not anti-male in the slightest. I will stand by my “pseudo-sisters” for their right to have choice in their lives and their spaces even without me because as someone who would have wanted that too why should I stop fighting for others now? And this does not make me anti-trans or pro-trans, or fear the trans, I am pro-freedom and anti-oppressive, I have high respect for women and it will always stay that way, I can only hope that one day, when a space is seen as safe I can be included not decided on my sex but on my character and merit with open arms in equality free from class, race, sex, and I won’t lose sleep if that never happens, knowing that women should have space is plenty enough for me to be called an ally regardless of inclusive or exclusiveness.
Thank you for this. The image at the end made me actually LOL.
Guest poster, thanks for your words and for being willing to share! You’re not alone in having come full circle in your understanding of this. Not at all. I don’t know if you know about the yahoo group “no going back” for de-transitioned people, but check it out if you’d like support from others who have this experience. It does give you a unique perspective on the ideas put forth, doesn’t it? Having lived them, you can see where they fall apart.
Thank you for explaining that physical reality exists and matters–and that saying so does not equate to saying that biology = destiny! Thank you for getting that by accepting the social definitions of “masculine” and “feminine” as the basis for whatever “gender identities,” we are actually letting misogyny set the terms of the discussion–the “discussion” being our lives.
Something I’ve been thinking about, that your words brought back to me: I remember the first time I heard of “transgender” in the mid-90s. I may have been mistaken, but I believed at that time that the word was meant to describe the experience of women who were seen as so “butch” they couldn’t “pass” unnoticed and unremarked on by dominant society regardless of what they wore or how they acted, and men who were seen as so “effeminate” that they were similarly indigestible to the mainstream ideals. Of course such people exist (that is, they are produced by the socially-constructed borders around what makes a “real” man or woman) but I also noticed that over time the ranks of the trans-identified were made up increasingly of people who were not like this, but who actually could “pass” as their assigned category but didn’t prefer to do so in any number of ways and for any number of varying reasons.
In some ways it seems like this very real experience (of people who would be punished as “failed” men/women by the current standards, regardless of their personal choices with regard to dress, name, pronoun, haircut) is obscured by the “catch-all” state of trans* these days. And actually, I think that using “transgender” in the way that I originally understood it came closer to saying something about the misogyny that underlies the form of social control that is expressed by punishing men for being too “feminine” (i.e. too much like women are “supposed” to act/too overtly gay) and women for being too “masculine” (i.e. acting too much like a human being, too volitional, not pandering to men, not acting out the scripts of compulsory heterosexuality).
I now believe that there is more value in questioning and unpacking the terms “masculine” and “feminine”–as you have started to do in your post–than dumbly accepting them as valid descriptors and deciding to “play” with them by remixing them into endless new “identities.”
Every “gender identity” argument falls apart when you stop someone to ask what “feminine” means and what “masculine” means. If you reject the social meaning of those terms, the whole conversation changes. Let’s start having this conversation on *our* terms.
Thanks for the comment. The No Going Back group is here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/nogoingback/
Thank you for posting the link, Cathy. Interactions I had via that group were a catalyst for starting to think more critically about gender. (Same anon as before.)
Thanks for the heads up about the group, I am sure there are folks who will find it helpful.