Now given that this guy might as well have trollface.jpg as his profile pic, we don’t have to pay much attention to what he has to say. He’s just trolling–clearly–using loaded language on both sides of the issue to ignite flame wars on the update. Who cares. Reading through the comments, though, is an interesting experience. Not interesting enough for me to share the comments one by one–besides, there are at least seventy right now–but it did make it plainly obvious that the average person has no idea what we’re even talking about.
First, there is a difference between transgenderism and transsexualism, and it’s actually more than splitting hairs. I once criticized someone for using the word “transsexual” and said they were likely out of touch with mainstream society, because it is no longer widely used. I was incorrect, and hadn’t given the matter sufficient thought. I was still correct about the person, because it’s not like he knew the difference, but I didn’t, either. “Transgender” seemed a more palatable version of the deprecated “transsexual.”
It gets murky, because there is a difference between gender and sex. After all, gender is a social construct; sex is not. This gets even more opaque because we tend to use words like “male” and “woman” in both contexts, often without even realizing it. For example, in a single paragraph, a person might say, “A man is someone with a penis [thereby referring to the sex of male], and someone with a beard who drinks beer and eats steaks that are almost raw. If your steak is cooked, you’re not a man.”
It should be readily obvious that we’re talking about two totally different things here. One is a sexual organ–a certifiable, verifiable fact that a person either has or does not have. The second part deals with social roles and stereotypes that are not universally applicable. Although it’s becoming increasingly politically incorrect to say, if you have a penis, then your sex is male. At least, that’s how it used to be–I would argue that’s no longer the case, seeing as I’m a non-op transsexual, but I also think that “having a penis” means that I can never refer to my sex as female.
See how complex it gets?
Gender is all about archetypes and stereotypes, conditioning, and societal expectations. “Girls play with Barbies, boys play with G.I. Joes” is a statement referring to gender. These are human social constructs without objective form–they are, to borrow from Shakespeare, our attempt to “give to airy nothingness / a local habitation and a name.” It is almost completely arbitrary that skirts are feminine and jeans are masculine, that women wear makeup but men do not. Of course, we can look through history and find socioeconomic reasons for why these things are adapted by or forced onto one gender or another, but that doesn’t really change anything. Why didn’t men decree that skirts were masculine and that jeans were feminine, that way they could see all those delicious butts in jeans throughout the eons?
Well, for one, denim wasn’t invented in the age we’re discussing.
“Because they didn’t,” is the answer to my question, though. Why didn’t men decide that it was their role to attract women, and thus that men needed to wear makeup and doll themselves up? Again, “Because they didn’t” is the answer.
Now, again, we can go back to the ancient stages of human history and reflect on the fact that men are innately stronger than women, and so men naturally fell into the hunter role better while women were better suited for the gatherer role, but we’ll still ultimately find that it was arbitrary and mostly about power. I’m not preparing to launch into a tirade about female oppression throughout history–it’s not relevant. That’s exactly my point: none of it is really relevant. How these things came about is meaningless today–they are because they are, and they aren’t because they aren’t.
The anthropic principle applied to gender, as it were.
What about bras, though? Surely, it’s not a societal construct that women wear bras while men don’t. Indeed, it’s not, because the sexual dimorphism of humans is most prominent in the breasts. This is a real, sexual difference between the two. We can talk about bra burning and stuff, but that’s not the point. Again, the point is that women have boobs, and men don’t, so if either sex was going to wear protective–or oppressive, for the virulent feminists out there–clothing over their boobs, it would obviously be the sex that has something there to protect.
We could easily ask why men wear jock straps and cups, but women don’t.
“Because having something in that region to protect is a characteristic of the sex,” we would answer, and we would be right to give that answer.
Now, what happens if someone’s sex does not match their gender?
A lot of people would call it a mental illness. This is, strictly speaking, referred to as gender dysphoria, and it’s presently considered a mental illness, though the reason for that is explicitly given that it’s the only way to ensure that Hormone Replacement Therapy and Sex Reassignment Surgery are covered by medical insurance plans. We can get into whether or not that’s beneficial or harmful. It’s also not relevant to our discussion. Gender dysphoria is simply what it’s called when a person’s sex doesn’t match their gender.
Since “gender” is a social construct in the first place, it’s impossible that it could genuinely be a mental illness.
It would be like saying that a white kid has a mental illness because he wears Fubu and listens to Kanye West. In this analogy, the kid’s skin color (an objective, verifiable reality) does not match his cultural identification (he has adopted black culture as his own). Is this a mental illness?
What a stupid question. It’s obviously not a mental illness.
But when we alter it slightly and we have a white boy who wants to wear dresses and play with Barbies, suddenly we do have people crying that it’s a mental illness.
This is what being “transgender” means. It means there is no change to the person’s sex, yet they adopt the other sex’s gender roles and stereotypes as their own. Yes, this involves acknowledging and even embracing gender stereotypes, one of the many examples of liberals’ hypocrisy. You literally cannot be transgender without being sexist. Saying–even if not directly–something like “I don’t want to play with G.I. Joe! I want to play with Barbies, because girls play with Barbies!” is quite obviously sexist.
Under most circumstances, the liberal would reply, “Girls don’t have to play with Barbies! That’s an outdated way of thinking, you chauvinistic pig!”
But if the person is transgender, they’re like, “Awe, and you should do whatever empowers you!”
Being transsexual entails being transgender, but “transsexual” means that there are changes to a person’s sex organs, and there are a few types of this. There is Pre-Op, Post-Op, and Non-Op, depending on whether the person is going to undergo surgery of their primary sex organs. The difference between a Pre-Op Transsexual and a Non-Op Transsexual, then, is one of intent: the pre-op intends to have a sex change operation–to have their penis replaced with a vagina, or their vagina replaced with a penis. A Post-Op is someone who has had this surgery, like Caitlyn Jenner. A Non-Op is someone who is fine with their primary sexual organ, but does make changes to their body that exclude surgery (excluding cosmetic surgery of the face or breasts).
Realistically, a non-op transsexual is a mix of the sexes.
I’ve been criticized and told that I shouldn’t call myself a shemale because it underscores the idea that we aren’t “real women.” I agree and disagree. I agree that, when we’re talking sex, yes–not having the primary sexual organ of a woman does, in fact, mean a person isn’t a “real woman,” at the very least sexually. I realize this offends people. I also don’t care. If you don’t have a vagina, then your attempts to sell yourself as sexually a woman are either disingenuous or delusional. Take your pick. But I don’t think it’s your prerogative to demand other people to acquiesce to your delusion.
Sex is a matter determined by the person’s sexual characteristics. My sex is shemale. I don’t care if that bothers you. It is shemale–you can use “non-op transsexual” if you want, but I prefer communication over political correctness, and “shemale” conveys more to the average person in a single word than this entire article will–and saying “I’m offended” isn’t going to change that. I’m not a pre-op or post-op. I have made the deliberate and conscious decision to keep my penis. It would be the height of absurdity to proclaim that my sex is female and to demand that other people grit their teeth and pretend like it is female. It’s not–it’s S.
My gender is female. With the recent changes to my eyebrows and increasing changes to my face from the estrogen that I take (which is causing the bodily changes I addressed previously), I’m increasingly “passable.” While many people would also get upset that I’d dare use such a word to describe a transsexual rather than a Drag Queen or crossdresser, it simply is the case that I, as any transsexual person does, want to be able to simply exist as an ordinary woman. It’s not until we get into the bedroom with the door shut that my primary sex organ would matter, so no one ever needs to know that my gender–female–doesn’t quite match my sex–shemale. As I currently stand, it is obvious, primarily because of my eyebrows and cheeks.
While the liberal would argue, “No. There’s no such thing as ‘passable’ when it comes to transsexualism or transgenderism. You are female because you say you are female. So you are, by definition, passable, because you are female,” the reality is, of course, murkier.
We don’t live in La-La Fantasy Land.
The word “passable” refers to whether a random stranger will notice anything odd about my gender identification. I can insist to this stranger, “No, really, I’m a female” all day long, but it’s not going to stop me from getting this look:
Strictly speaking, no, “passable” doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m not a drag queen or a crossdresser–I’m transsexual. So the liberal is, in a sense, correct–I’m passable by definition because I identify as a woman and thus am a woman. Strictly speaking, it is irrelevant whether I conform or break this stereotype or whether I have or lack that feature. I am because I am because I am.
Yet the liberal is still wrong to say it has nothing to do with me, because no transssexual person wants that look.
Caitlyn Jenner, for example, is one of the least passable transsexuals that I have ever seen. It’s seriously jarring to me, to see Caitlyn Jenner. I do feel bad for the girl–that enormously square jaw and countless amounts of money spent on cosmetic surgery. And I’ve spent very little money and yet am far more “passable” than she is. That makes me sad for her–it does.
But that doesn’t really change anything.
So, to summarize, sex has been, through most of human history, a binary matter, and because of that, gender became a binary matter. I would suggest that it’s probably true that gender remains a binary matter to this day, but sex is no longer a binary matter. After all, I would put “S” under my sex, but “F” under my gender. I do get that a lot of people think that I should put “F” under both, and I’ve had people chastise me, insult me, and block me for refusing to put Female as both my sex and my gender.
If you ask me, that is the mental disorder: refusing to accept that your sexual organs do determine your sex.
We can have disagreement about whether the sex of “Female” means “has boobs and vagina.” But we can also find plenty of examples that break that mold–breast cancer survivors, and some girls are just flat-chested. We can have a disagreement about whether the sex of “Male” means “has penis, no boobs.” And we could also find plenty of examples that break that mold–men who have had irate waves perform improvised surgery with butcher knives after finding them cheating, or men who have what we call “man-boobs.” There are exceptions to everything, and a rejection of black and white thinking is prevalent in my work.
So I’m not willing to say that it’s universally true that women have vaginas and boobs, and men have penises but no boobs. But I am going to say that if you’ve made the conscious decision to have a penis, then you’re expecting other people to bow to your delusion when you say that your sex is female. Maybe this means we need a new sex for people who willfully operate between the sexes by having a penis, curves, and boobs while identifying as the gender of female.
What do you know! We have one.
Stop being offended by it. It’s the next step of sexual identification.
A quick note: I would tentatively suggest–without having put a considerable amount of thought into it, hence why it’s tentative–that if you experience “gender dysphoria” while touching your primary sexual organ, then it is probably evidence that you are identifying as the wrong sex. People are often surprised to learn that my penis doesn’t bother me. This appears to come from a general confusion on the matter–I’m a lesbian. My penis is rather useful for that. If I experienced “gender dysphoria” by having my penis stimulated, then I’d have major problems. I’d also say that this is “sexual dysphoria” and not “gender dysphoria.”
But my sex is shemale. Shemales have penises. There is no discrepancy there, so there is no conflict that would cause dysphoria. Again, people would understand that more easily if they could get it through their thick skulls that there are some very goddamned good reasons that I identify my sex as Shemale rather than Female.