I posted this to a list at: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/trans-theory/ Over the years this list has been the space to go for theoretical fist fights.
It has been mostly a dead list save for a few long time contributors, but it might be a worth while place for those interested in eternal debates. It’s “Trans-Theory” and is on Yahoo groups
I started hormones in mid-March 43 years ago.
I’m 40 years post-op this year. I’m also friends with Max Wolf Valerio “The Testosterone Files: My Hormonal and Social Transformation from Female to Male” who tends to concur with me on many of these points.
I’m not going to argue in the metaphysical and semantic mess of Transgender Borg ideological terms where one has to assume special definitions for words the general public interprets as having a different meaning.
Arguing in that realm is like trying to argue with a Scientologist or any other religious whack job. When I do that I wind up feeling dirty and hate myself in the morning.
When they assign sex at birth they do so on the basis of hole or pole. They do not do chromosome tests and they do not scan brains.
They do not have tests that will determine if you are straight, transsexual, gay, lesbian, transgender or anything else. Tabula rasa. Here is a male infant; he gets the male gender uniform and indoctrination program. Here is a female infant; she gets the female gender uniform and indoctrination. Ignore the goddamn hippie commie feminist terrorist who lets her kid do what ever he/she wants and refuses to get with the program.
Now we don’t actually have a gender binary, nor do we have a huge number of sex differences that aren’t related to those parts between our legs and the hormones associated with those parts.
Many non-western countries have much more of an actual gender binary due to taboos regarding male defines social realms and female defined social realms. These cultures are beyond the scope of this discussion.
Born transsexual, or born gay, born transgender. When I use these terms I’m basing them on actual human observation. There are an awful lot of gay people who are in denial (Marcus Bachmann) based on their physical
We see children straight from the cradle who cause us to think the doctors made a mistake in the sex assignment of this one. Or the little boy who is a mini gay man at five years old.
So like the Dylan song “Somethings happening here, but you don’t know what it is, do you Mr. Jones?”
Which brings us to that shiftiest and most suspect of all terms in this debate. Gender. WTF is gender? Seriously here is this hugely loaded term that upon unpacking seems totally devoid of meaning beyond function as an ideological tool for reinforcing female inferiority.
Outside of positions taken while having sex or giving birth there are very few activities that are exclusively male or female. Hell even when having sex the role of fucker and fuckee isn’t actually defined 100% by the sex of the parties doing the act. That kind of leaves pregnancy and giving birth and impregnation as pretty much the only sex exclusive acts.
Don’t bother running the transmen giving birth by me. I’ll be forced to deBorg the language on that one to “butch female gives birth”.
I like the trapped in the wrong body metaphor. It describes the discomfort I felt within my own skin. Making my skin my own demystifies the process.
What was I doing in the process?
Process is very important to me, with its implied interaction with the world at large.
Identity without action equals fantasy. But action without imagined, visualized goals lacks purpose.
There were a multitude of reasons for my unhappiness with the sex I was assigned at birth. Some but not all might fall under the rubric of that nebulous term, gender, particularly since gender is the interface we use to communicate with others in society.
From the cradle people expressed a tentativeness regarding the authenticity of my sex assignment, an impulse to question my claim to maleness, which either mirrored my own unease with that assignment or nurtured that unease.
Here things become very chicken and egg. what came first? Or is this part of the socialization of transkids?
This I know and know for sure. The act of coming out, telling friends and comrades that I wanted to be a woman, that I wanted to change my sex forever altered our social interactions. Even as I was taking the first
red diethylstilbestrol tablets.
As my nipples swelled, as my breasts filled, my skin softened, hips rounded, as the dream was made a physical reality my interactions with the world changed.
By changing my physical sex the gendering of my being changed.
As my body changed my way of seeing myself changed, I was becoming by the act of physically changing my body.
I know we are no longer supposed to use the term “sex change operation” and that suggesting that the surgery makes it real makes me a genital surgery essentialist.
I have walked through this world as a male transkid, as a pre-op transsexual, as a post-op transsexual and as a post-transsexual and I feel that these 64 years including the 40 years post-op/post-transsexual have managed to impart as least a little insight. Thus I feel qualified to say that living in this world with a pussy between your legs is a vastly different experience from living with a dick there no matter what clothes you put over those parts or even what secondary sexual characteristics you bear.
For one thing I view sexism and misogyny as a constant source of oppression while transphobia is something I hear of from others. I have the equivalent of white skin privilege that goes with fitting into the world as female, with a female body and not as transgender with a body and being that many seem to believe requires explaining and justification.
The problems and issues of transgender people or for that matter pre-op transsexual people are not my issues. This does not preclude empathy for the issues of others.
My position is based on my physical reality. The world reacts to my physical reality not some unrealized “identity”.
The process of change was a process of letting go of old assumptions and assuming the authenticity of the new interactions based on the feedback my physical presence was eliciting. In that sense gender as a social
interface functioned to reinforce my sense of being. This is quite different from the concept of gender as a metaphysical constant.
Flesh makes it real and separates the world of dreams from the world of reality.