I’ve been curious about the redundancy of social media arguments over transgender rights and how they impact females. The same discussion points over and over again. The same questions and answers from each side. The same results. In one of my own “discussions”, I was asked quite pointedly did I believe whether or not Trans* reinforced the gender binary. I replied yes.
In a recent NPR broadcast, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=202729367, many of the same discussion points were raised in the story and comments following the radio transcript. The biological realities. The passionate self-identification. Conflicting issues on both side of identity and expression laws. I felt there were several points of honesty raised, however, which have been missing from other discussions I’ve seen.
Specifically, a late-transitioning male (he “went woman” in his late 40s/mid 50s) who acknowledged his hyper-femininity; admitted that he clung to all the trappings of stereotypical female social construct; and explained how much he resented younger transgenders pushing for concepts such as bi-gender, gender queer, gender fluid and genderfuck. He wants his turn at “being a woman”. While he did not acknowledge that patriarchal gender stereotypes were detrimental to the rights and freedoms of females, he did recognize that the roles and expectation placed on women were constricting. But he enjoys that structure. This is what he wants – lower expectations, vanity interests, girl talk, romance. Those things of which males believe females are capable.
And my reply stays the same. Yes, I believe Trans* reinforces the gender binary. Men who transition to transsexual consistently display this behavior. They haven’t had their chance to be a girl and they don’t care how old they are or how pathetic they appear, they are going to do “being a woman” right! “Right”, of course, being defined in their male eyes. Patriarchal stereotyping. Gender reinforcement.
Alternatively, there was a lot of coverage of the non-binary transgenders, who genuinely feel that they are breaking barriers and forging a new Multi-gendered society. Eliminating biology, sociology and medical science. Proud of the variety – appropriated two spirits, bi-gendered, redefined intersexed, multisexed, polyamorous, ungendered. So many new and different possibilities, each unique and special, all gathered together into a new tribe. The Others.
The Others, against The One. Because there must always be a One in order for the Other to exist. http://othersociologist.com/otherness-resources/ And where there is no One, The One must be created.
The Others. A Trans Nation, united against Cis. Polarized in their opposition. Not moving forward, not diversifying, just opposing. Just another binary.
The problem is that very few people identify themselves as “cis”. Probably a minority that is just as small as those who identify as Trans*. I personally have only met 2 or 3 females in my life (lived in 3 countries and 15+ US states) who identify with the stereotypical female gender role. We all agree that we have the same biological sex, but we also all agree that our interests, personalities, and mannerisms vary greatly. Some enjoy hunting in the woods while they are disguised as trees. Some enjoy knitting. Some wake up every morning of their adult life to bathe, style their hair, apply makeup and transfer personal items from yesterday’s purse to today’s in order to match their shoes. Some crawl out of bed, brush their teeth and ride a bicycle to work. Some stay home with children. Most don’t. Some love a rainy day on the couch with a good book. Some hike 5 miles uphill through heavy undergrowth with a 40 pound kayak and gear on their back so they can “run da shit” at high water after the same rainstorm. All of these variables interchange. There is no one way to be a female.
When you call all these females who are happy being them-in-all-their-contradictory-intersectional-selves “Cis”, you mis-label us. You force us into the gender binary patriarchy defines as woman.
My reply stands. Yes, I think Trans* reinforces the gender binary.