Skip to main content

the next frontier

Many transgender people talk about an inner female identity that they can trace to their earliest memories to and, while I cannot argue with their sentiments at all, this may or may not be an accurate portrayal of what is truly going on.

Most of us learn to take cues from our parents, teachers and peers about which type of gender behaviour is acceptable or not for our birth sex. To what degree certain traits are genetically encoded and which can be attributed to socialization can be put into question because from an early age we learn to conform to expectation and many keep their secret desires to themselves once they experience disapproval.

There are masculine women and feminine men who are not only at ease with their gender expression but with their physical bodies and yet for the transgender person there seems to be something else going on. The argument for an innate female identity can be argued back and forth however, in the complete absence of genetic proof that would allow us to point to something that makes transgender and transsexual people markedly different; we are left without a definitive explanation.

The opposite argument for an innate female identity is the idea that this is an abnormality borne out of fetish, trauma or a combination of both. This explanation has resonated with some who have found it to be a plausible answer for the origins of their own gender variance. Indeed after the vacuum created following the work of Harry Benjamin, Ray Blanchard was only too happy to fill it with his own ideas which have yet to be fully accepted most especially by transgender people themselves who see the idea of a mental disorder as an anathema.

But regardless what you believe about the origins of gender dysphoria and the reason why some people choose to transition, the reality is that this is happening every day somewhere in the world. The almost carnival freak show novelty that was the Christine Jorgensen case back in the 1950’s has been morphed into a more common (if albeit small) occurrence that can no longer be ignored by society. Doctors, lawyers, business people are transitioning; some early in life and some later.

It is possible that as the stigma of a transition lessens, some who were previously on the fence may be tempted to go forward with one. The danger of course is that not everyone who considers one should necessarily go through with it and may in fact regret doing so at some point down the road.

The formal gates are there to prevent people from may be tempted to think it’s a viable solution to their depression; self image problems or childhood trauma. Walt Heyer, for example, who had a multiple personality disorder as well as substance abuse issues and now advocates against the transgender condition may be a good cautionary tale for people who should not transition. He rails against the charade of thinking you can change genders but the fact is that transitions do work for some people.

But what about the people who do not desire full surgery and only want hormones or to simply live as the opposite gender without altering their body? The issue then becomes one of legal protection and of tolerance. This tiny percentage of the population that was previously marginalised and even hidden from view is now requesting full-fledged recognition and protection under the law. Of course not everyone is comfortable with this and it has catapulted the discussion about bathrooms and classrooms and workplace transitions into our everyday lives as well as challenging some people’s religious beliefs about what is a man and what is a woman.

But at its roots, this is really about treating a small and little understood minority with some degree of dignity. Regardless of people’s opinions about something they cannot personally relate to, the transgender have a right to exist and live in relative happiness and without fear of persecution. This will greatly depend on the fortitude of those on the frontier lines as well as on the political bravery of those who hold the reins of power.


Comments

  1. While there are some societal events that move things along more quickly, such as the Jenner interview or Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars, most of the progress will take place on a smaller, one to one basis. As each civilian encounters a 'T' person that civilian will be able to form opinions about the person as an individual. It is important that they eventualy encounter several different T people so that they can try to get an appreciation that we are not all alike. Not all Canadians are the same, nor all Americans, nor all blacks, nor whites. People understand that. Time and exposure is needed for folks to grasp that not all T people are the same and that the concept of divergence that you and I can appreciate can, over time, be grasped by others and that all will be treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve.
    Pat

    ReplyDelete
  2. you are completely correct Pat. Thanks for your valued input.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

prejudice disguised as objective rectitude

So here is Professor Jordan Peterson perhaps justly calling out the excesses of political correctness gone mad. But then he extends it to not indulging transgender people the basic dignity of being addressed in their preferred pronoun. To do so for him would cost nothing and to stand on literal principle seems to serve little use other than to send a message of disdain.

If you have transitioned or even live as the opposite gender is costs me nothing to address you in your preferred pronouns. What difference does it make to me and what am I trying to tell you when I don't?

Peterson wants to stand on his rights to call reality what it is except that in this case the exact objective escapes me. But of course the right wing Federalist is in love with him because he calls a spade a spade.

If I see a rock I can call it that but then the rock doesn’t have any feelings. To address a transgender woman "her" and "she" is not undermining my rights as a person in any way b…

"Oh please its 2016!"

I have mentioned before that I have a lovely young couple living above the unit next to mine. Well the other day as I was getting in the door, she and I overlapped for the first time with me dressed as a woman.

We had a nice conversation and at some point I mentioned the obvious which was that I had told her future husband that they might see me in a different guise from time to time so they wouldn't wonder about who the strange woman was. She just looked at me almost rolling her eyes while smiling from ear to ear and said:

"Oh Please it's 2016!"

For the record she was also very complementary regarding my choice of attire.

I could care less at this point in my life what people think but it is still lovely to see the millennial generation's freedom of spirit and acceptance so lacking in previous generations. Yes they have their own foibles, as does every generation, but this area certainly isn't one of them.

the pseudoscience behind gender dysphoria

The real science as to what causes gender dysphoria still awaits.

Harry Benjamin was on to something except he didn’t have the scientific evidence to back up his suspicions hence, like a true scientist, he negated to draw conclusions. His hunch, based on treating so many patients over his lifetime, was that one is born with a predisposition to be gender dysphoric.

However, with inconclusive brain scans and no DNA marker (as of yet) we are left with believing the word of people who need help and only want to lead happy and productive lives.

The best we have been able to muster since Benjamin's death in 1986 was to amass statistics on who gets a boner imagining themselves as a woman which is in equal parts pathetic and disappointing. For this is not really science at all but is instead playing with interview data that doesn't point to anything definitive or conclusive. I have dealt with this problem at great length in my blog.

The whole thing started with Kurt Freund's obses…