Man/woman/other

 

I had a thing pop up on my Facebook feed yesterday that was a bit of a rant about transgender women. Essentially it said something along the lines of ‘even if she doesn’t look like a woman and her genitalia is male, a trans woman is still a woman’.

I understand very well what the poster of the rant was trying to say, but I was thinking that if a transgender woman doesn’t physically look like a woman or adopt any of the exterior trappings of a woman, how do they identify with being a woman on the inside? Do they start taking an unnatural interest in romantic comedies staring Anne Hathaway, long walks on the beach or the thread count of Egyptian cotton sheets? If you cut away all the socially accepted bullshit that ‘women like x’ or ‘women don’t do y’ (because there are ALWAYS exceptions to those things,) what makes a woman, a woman other than what she looks like?

My friend google, gave me the following definition:

Transgender, unlike transsexual, is a term for people whose identity, expression, behavior, or general sense of self does not conform to what is usually associated with the sex they were born in the place they were born. It is often said sex is a matter of the body, while gender occurs in the mind.

By that definition, my lack of interest in children, my love of gaming and nerdy stuff and my role as breadwinner and provider in my relationship makes me transgender. I don’t feel the need to identify as a man though, so where does that leave me? As a woman, because that’s what I look like.

I understand the trauma of never feeling comfortable in your skin and wanting to be something/someone else more than anything in the world. The pain of never being able to reconcile those feelings fully must be enormous, but I don’t think that a good way to deal with that is by taking on all the socially accepted crap that defines gender just to put a label on yourself. You shouldn’t have to wear pink fluffy slippers and fill your house with candles because you don’t feel like a ‘man’.

One of my transsexual friends who is post-op, does not like wearing dresses. Yet, for whatever reason, she gets heckled for not wearing one, as though if she’s not wearing a dress, she’s not a real woman. I don’t remember the last time I wore a dress, but I don’t get heckled for it. I do get a lot of disapproving comments and reactions about my disinterest- bordering-on-hate of babies and children though (because I must be a monster if I’m a woman with a fully functioning oven and don’t want to put a bun in it.)

I have a few transgender and transsexual people around me and I’m sure they would say that I’m not qualified to comment on this issue at all, but I’m going to drop the bomb anyway…I don’t really think transgender is a thing and by making it a thing, it is just perpetuating the myth of gender: the idea that everyone has to go into one bucket or the other and you can only do things/think things/like things that are in your bucket. It’s nearly 2016-I think it’s time we got away from the two bucket system and gender entirely.

So back to the original rant on Facebook, what I would have liked it to say is this:

“A man can do, say, feel whatever the fuck he wants to and if a man wants to take a dip in the ‘woman’s’ bucket, that’s fine. Actually, you know what? Just take a whole fucking bath in that other bucket, if that’s what you want. Or better yet, let’s just tip the whole fucking contents of the two buckets out on the ground and let’s wallow in it like pigs in the sun. If you feel like the body parts you were born with don’t suit, fine, feel free to change that shit, but don’t ever feel like you need to wear something or think something or be something because you are woman or a man. Okay?”

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3 thoughts on “Man/woman/other”

  1. Much as I agree with you, I think for a lot of trans folk appearances matter because it is linked to social acceptance (as their felt gender). Although I have to say that all but one of the trans folk I know (and there are a fair few) seems to want to almost be a caricature of what is ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ and THAT I don’t get at all.
    I’m totes with you on the notion of a people-spectrum…its not a binary thang at all.

  2. Soooo…the question is, does dressing as their preferred gender help with society’s acceptance or hinder it? If they are doing it for themselves because they want to wear pants or makeup or whatever, that’s fine, but if they’re doing it to somehow ‘assist’ or ‘fit in’ with the folk around them, to me it has the opposite affect. I tend to find a person who is comfortable in their own skin more approachable than someone who is a ‘caricature’ (yes, I totally see that too!)

  3. I guess some people just want to ‘fit in’ (i.e. ‘pass’ as their felt gender) after a lifetime of feeling like they don’t fit (in their birth-assigned gender)?
    Being a white cis female I haven’t really ever had the experience of being treated as an ‘outsider’, and thus I can enjoy a level of comfort in my own skin, AND a positive /desire/ to be ‘different’…

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