Wednesday, August 20, 2008

'Stupid assumptions' is redundant

"Intolerance is the most socially acceptable form of egotism, for it permits us to assume superiority without personal boasting."
"It's surprising how many persons go through life without ever recognizing that their feelings toward other people are largely determined by their feelings toward themselves, and if you're not comfortable within yourself, you can't be comfortable with others."
--Sydney J. Harris

There is a part of me that just can't let go of the idea that we transition to be straight and/or to conform to man=masculine/woman=feminine ideals.

With my knowledge of myself and other trans* folks, it just makes no sense.

This idea ignores genderqueer folks as well as other trans* folks who don't identify entirely as either a woman or a man.
It ignores queer trans* folk.
Theories that contain this idea ignore feminine ftm-spectrum folks and masculine mtf-folks.
The idea completely ignores androgynous trans* folks as well as others whose gender expression is neither masculine nor feminine.
And most of all, this idea erases all that we say about ourselves.

I absolutely hate refuting this idea/theory.
Because I find most simple answers are subversivist and/or ignore trans* folks who do not feel the need to transition.
Because I never remember to answer the base assumptions instead of the surface arguments.
This argument is so tired and old and has been used by everyone from transphobic queers to religious fundamentalists to transphobic feminists to social conservatives.

The assumption that masculinity is forever tied to 'man' and maleness and that femininity is forever tied to 'woman' and femaleness.
This theory assumes that there is something inherently sexual about being trans* or transitioning.
It assumes trans* and trans* folks are a monolithic group/ideology.
Proponents assume that there is something bad about being trans*, something horrible about transitioning. That no one would transition or be trans* if we didn't have to.

When for many trans* folk, being trans* is about their sex, being trans* is about their gender not fitting into either man or woman, being trans* is about their soul, being trans* is a very individual thing and is not easily explained, and there are so many ways of being trans*.
While many of us are sexual beings (just as many cis* people), we do not all view genitals as being inherently sexual.
There is a huge amount of diversity in the trans* communities; both in what 'trans' means to people and in our interests and views.
I am so glad that I am trans*; I feel like even if my life ends tomorrow, I will have grown so much in this life just from being trans* and meeting people through being trans*. I am not alone in this.
I felt so much more free after I was finally able to be out about being a guy. I feel so trapped in not being able to start T or get surgeries. I am not alone in this.
If there was a pill that would make me a cis*woman, I would refuse it. If there was a way for me to go back in time and make me a cis* person (woman or man), I would refuse it. If there was a way to make sure no trans* people would ever be born, I would fight against it. I am not alone in this.

If you listen to us, most trans* folks would not be helped by just getting rid of gender or getting rid of rigid gender/sex roles.
Try listening to us, we know that Jesus/Allah/Kali will not "fix" us if we just prayed more (God[s/ess] makes no mistakes, right?).
Listen and you'll know that ideology and talk therapy will not "cure" us.
Listen and you'll see that drugs and behavioral therapy do nothing to help us.
Listen; don't assume, listen.

For some of us, medical transition is a necessity for continued life and/or happiness.
For some of us, being able to have nongendered pronouns known and respected is necessary.
For some of us, unisex toilets are a temporary or permanent necessity.
For some of us, legal gender/sex markers need to be changed or done away with.
But for all of us, respect and acceptance and love are necessary.

This is the reality, the logical conclusions.


Tera said...

Proponents assume that there is something bad about being trans*, something horrible about transitioning.


The assumption is that trans* people are cis people with defects. When "cis" and "trans" are really different kinds of people altogether.

nexy said...

"this idea erases all that we say about ourselves."

well, we wouldn't want them to be confused by the facts. after all, what good is a theory, when real live people are walking around as living evidence that the theory is crap.

Battybattybats said...

Beautiful and powerful post Drakyn.

Your so very, very right.

Sarah J said...

lovely post. why is it that people always assume that we want to be just like the dominant class, in whichever manner we're talking about. or that everything we do is motivated by sex. Sorry, Freud.

thanks so much for that link! I loved it, indeed.

Drakyn said...

Yeah, 'cis*' should not be the default; trans* is just as valid and good of away of being as cis*.

Exactly Nexy, they can't listen to us because if they did they'd have to rethink their precious theories. Thats why their theories have been modified to include how deceptive and lying we are.

Thanks BBB. ^.^;;

Thanks Sarah! Yeah, while a fair amount of what sexual people do is motivated or influenced by sex, theres also a fair amount that isn't. Some people seem to like ignoring that when it suits them.
And I'm glad you liked the Barrette Manifesto! Have you read Whipping Girl? It isn't just on transsexuality, theres also a lot on femininity and how its devalued.

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but wouldn't "stupid assumptions" be redundant, not an oxymoron?

Anyway, I'm not trans*, and I've only met one transperson, and that was before he was living life as a guy, so I find blogs like yours very helpful in trying to understand. I know that probably isn't the point, but thank you.

Drakyn said...

Anon, I wrote this in the middle of the night; I didn't really care that much. But yeah, you're probably right. ^.^;;
Meh, oh well.

Helen G said...

So much word.
Thank you.

Gauge said...

This is an amazing post; thank you. I know if I weren't trans/genderqueer, I wouldn't have had nearly the number of amazing experiences in my life that I've had. And the hard stuff? Comes from a busted society, not me.

Anonymous said...

I was just wondering...
Did you bold the different parts of "assume" in reference to, "Assuming makes an ass out of you (u) and me?"

Drakyn said...

Yep Anon, I got a kick out of that for some reason. ^.^