Transgender

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  • quantpole wrote: »
    I suppose the answer is so what. I mean to the notion that I don't know what feeling female or male is like. Actually, I don't know what feeling male is like, although I am biologically male.

    I think the danger with this kind of incredulity is that it can topple over into doubt, e.g., I don't believe you have those feelings. I'm not saying anybody here is saying that.

    But of course, there are skeptics who doubt trans experience; I don't know whether they doubt everybody's experience, probably not. It must be a bind facing this in forums and so on, like having to prove yourself.

    The "so what" is that it is a good thing (in general) for people to understand each other.

    Well, the older I get the less I understand. I can certainly appreciate other people better, but I've given up on comprehension.
  • It's also because there are groups like the UN who say:

    Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender. Everyone has a gender identity, which is part of their overall identity.

    I think it is unsettling when such organisations are stating these things as facts that apply to everyone.
  • quantpole wrote: »
    It's also because there are groups like the UN who say:

    Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender. Everyone has a gender identity, which is part of their overall identity.

    I think it is unsettling when such organisations are stating these things as facts that apply to everyone.

    Yes, I agree with you. Assertions like this don't help. Also, I think some people don't seem to experience this. I learned as a psychotherapist not to make universal assumptions like that. And gender identity is bewildering really.
  • quantpole wrote: »
    I can totally understand, but I'm mildly regretful. I started a thread a few weeks ago called "agender" because I myself have never known what it means to have a non-socially-conditioned sense of gender for myself--I mean, like what is it? and I didn't realize anybody else DID until this discussion started on the Ship. To be precise, I don't mean I identify as agender or nongender or anything of that sort; I mean that I had always considered gender to be a matter either of the body or of the culture, and indeed feel precisely the same way about species. I still can't grasp the idea of a gender for something immaterial.

    So you can see why I'm a wee bit wistful, because even after the agender thread, I'm still basically in the dark about what it means or feels like--or even if (nobody shoot me!) it exists at all, or am I just getting all my communication signals crossed.

    Ah well. I shall drown my sorrows in tea.

    I'm the same. I can understand being uncomfortable with the way society views and treats you as a man or woman. I can also understand being uncomfortable with your body. But I don't understand what female or male feelings are supposed to be. And that's not to doubt Nat's sincerity, it's just a leap of comprehension that alludes me.

    Some of the questions here make me really look at what I experience ... however it doesn't mean all the answers come easily.

    Quantpole - most trans suffering from gender dysphoria like myself don't have a basis to compare 'generic' male or female emotions any more than you do ... if you want to understand female/male emotions and their difference you could talk with a cis woman or man?

    Assuming you are male I personally can't give you that insight any more than a cis woman can. Your wife or girlfriend 😉. Sorry I am a terrible tease saying that, I do admit it, please forgive me as it's a coping mechanism.

    I am fine with you asking as I am here out of free will and love, but I do want to ask if you can you understand how this kind of question can make trans people feel not accepted?
    We are asked to explain simple things like our emotional state or perceptions which for 99.5% of people is simply accepted as a matter of course.

    Practically what I AM thinking is that it would be good to talk with (or read a book by) someone bi-gender or gender-fluid who may experience their gender and hopefully male and female emotional processes on a day-to-day or situational basis across/between gender identities.

    I may do some reading on this as it may help me and others if I can find some enlightening examples.

    Emotions on their own are not gender identity, just a part of it I think we'd all agree? There are lots of very sensitive female thinking guys who are not trans.

    Nat






  • Colin SmithColin Smith Suspended
    edited September 2019

    I'll stress that it's a philosophical threat rather than a physical one. Because accepting these arguments means having to accept that I don't - can't - truly know who or what I am.

    Without any kind of objective external definition of what it means to be male or female I have only my own feelings and thoughts to go on. And I know from bitter experience that my own feelings and thoughts - even the ones that feel utterly real at the time - are very much capable of being wrong. So if any and all externally observable phenomena are deemed to be irrelevent to the actual core fact of ones being then how can I possibly know if I'm a heterosexual man or a lesbian who happens to have a penis? Must I simply hope that my flawed, fallible, fucked up mind happens to have got this one right? Is there no other way I can know for sure?

    I think most people accept, if they ever think about the question at all, that they can never have the kind of certainty you seek but still manage to lead contented and productive lives.

    If you think of your self less as a fixed entity and more as an adventure full of twists and unexpected turns I think you'll be more content.
  • But of course, there are skeptics who doubt trans experience; I don't know whether they doubt everybody's experience, probably not. It must be a bind facing this in forums and so on, like having to prove yourself.

    This x several million. Billion even. Bless you.

    I have two degrees, worked globally in four continents and 20 countries, met people widely around the world, reported into the deputy-CFO in a Fortune 500, have amazing life experience *including* now understanding that I am trans.

    As a man I am accepted, but because I identify as 'trans' my experience and emotional process can suddenly be doubted?



  • Yes, it's very noticeable with trans kids,who often receive horrible treatment, being doubted, but also told that they are being brainwashed, or their parents are evil, and so on. This doesn't happen with cis kids, people don't go up to them, and say, how do you know you are a boy? What did your parents do to you? Our society is still very repressive.
  • I am fine with you asking as I am here out of free will and love, but I do want to ask if you can you understand how this kind of question can make trans people feel not accepted?
    We are asked to explain simple things like our emotional state or perceptions which for 99.5% of people is simply accepted as a matter of course.
    ...
    ...There are lots of very sensitive female thinking guys who are not trans.

    I don't think describing an emotional state is easy at all. And I am very aware that this can be a difficult thing to talk about if you feel got at by the discussion. I can only try and reassure you that I am trying to understand a different point of view.

    I think your last sentence helps me understand more where you are coming from. It's not how I see things, but I think I get what you mean.
  • Yes, it's very noticeable with trans kids,who often receive horrible treatment, being doubted, but also told that they are being brainwashed, or their parents are evil, and so on. This doesn't happen with cis kids, people don't go up to them, and say, how do you know you are a boy? What did your parents do to you? Our society is still very repressive.
    With kids it's easy to doubt them as being immature or for the kind of reasons above.
    It's why I am here, a kind of voluntary sacrificial lamb ...
    Or maybe salt and light 😉 😇😇
    Must I simply hope that my flawed, fallible, fucked up mind happens to have got this one right? Is there no other way I can know for sure?
    How do you know you exist at all? I don't, I just fall back on 'Cogito ergo sum'.
    I don't think it's proof but I certainly don't worry about it.
    If you think of your self less as a fixed entity and more as an adventure full of twists and unexpected turns I think you'll be more content.
    I have always had that philosophy ... understanding I am trans is an unexpected twist but looking back it's always been there.

    There are huge negatives yet also EXCITING I get to personally and deeply explore, experience and deep dive gender identity in a way that almost everyone else doesn't and that can be kind of fun as well as scary?

    Surely one's self-identity itself is not fixed in stone? And gender identity is just one pillar of that, abeit one pillar that most people feel very wobbly when it's rocked even a little?

    We have learned to deal with wobbling the sexual identity pillar, most people anyway,

    We will learn to deal with wobbling the gender identity pillar.

    Ummmm ... and to be gently contentious, if people feel personally uncomfortable when discussing gender identity and fluidity, maybe the problem could be in the pillars of their own self-identity, not mine?

    I'm 100% fine being trans, I don't see why that's threatening to others identities.

    Xx Nat
  • quantpole wrote: »
    It's also because there are groups like the UN who say:

    Gender identity reflects a deeply felt and experienced sense of one’s own gender. Everyone has a gender identity, which is part of their overall identity.

    I think it is unsettling when such organisations are stating these things as facts that apply to everyone.

    Sorry, I was wondering why this is unsettling and which part?

    In almost all cases people don't have to deep-dive their gender identity but we all deeply feel and experience it whether consciously or - in most cases unconsciously

    Or is gender identity being separated from sex/natural gender the unsettling part?

    Genuine question.

    To me the above seems a universal truth for a human.
  • Because I don't deeply feel any sort of gender identity. The only way I feel I experience gender is as a social construct (which I'm not particularly comfortable with).
  • Natasha aka NatNatasha aka Nat Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I would probably have said the same for most of my life, which is why I'd say perhaps you do experience/feel it but it's so natural and integrated for you and your identity it doesn't hit a conscious level?

    Also if you experience it as a social construct, you are aligned with that social construct.

    I accept the point though
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Perhaps that's because yours and Lamb Chopped's align perfectly with biological sex so that you aren't aware of a distinction?
    It is akin white privilege, IMO. Being the default give one access to a special sort of blindness.
  • I do wonder why would you feel threatened at all?

    I'll stress that it's a philosophical threat rather than a physical one. Because accepting these arguments means having to accept that I don't - can't - truly know who or what I am.
    Except that threats to one's personal identification are often treated by the brain as an attack. And that is part of what leads to violence against the perceived attackers.

    Must I simply hope that my flawed, fallible, fucked up mind happens to have got this one right? Is there no other way I can know for sure?
    That is how most of what we think we think, and what we think we are, works.

  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Perhaps that's because yours and Lamb Chopped's align perfectly with biological sex so that you aren't aware of a distinction?
    It is akin white privilege, IMO. Being the default give one access to a special sort of blindness.

    Thanks for your useful contribution lilbuddha, always welcome. But given I haven't said anything about privilege or lack thereof I'm not sure what you are getting at, other than in trying to get a not so subtle dig in.

    I am well aware of how I am perceived as a man. In a lot of ways I don't like it. I just don't see anything of an inner gender identity in relation to it.
  • quantpole wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    KarlLB wrote: »
    Perhaps that's because yours and Lamb Chopped's align perfectly with biological sex so that you aren't aware of a distinction?
    It is akin white privilege, IMO. Being the default give one access to a special sort of blindness.

    Thanks for your useful contribution lilbuddha, always welcome. But given I haven't said anything about privilege or lack thereof I'm not sure what you are getting at, other than in trying to get a not so subtle dig in.

    I am well aware of how I am perceived as a man. In a lot of ways I don't like it. I just don't see anything of an inner gender identity in relation to it.
    Part of white privilege is the blindness to seeing what POC/BAME go through because they do not experience it. Straight privilege is a thing, can't see why cis-priviledge wouldn't be as well.
    It is not a dig, but an acknowledgement of how the mind works. You don't see the issue because you do not have the issue. I do not have the issue either, I am cigender. I have never felt a disconnect there. So understanding the feeling from that POV is hard.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    Perhaps that's because yours and Lamb Chopped's align perfectly with biological sex so that you aren't aware of a distinction?

    The only thought experiment I can offer here is to imagine you wake up tomorrow morning in a body of the opposite sex - would you feel you really were the opposite gender or would it feel wrong?

    And if that doesn't help, well, I can't understand Swahili but it's still a real language.

    Yeah, well, I don't want to re-do the "agender" thread here, so I'll just reply briefly. It wouldn't make a freaking bit of difference to me (except, I suppose, that it would throw off my center of gravity a bit, and I'd have to buy new clothes, and all that). I regularly have dreams where I'm either gender just randomly, and that's not what the dream is about--not the focus--it just happened to be the random "costume" my sleeping brain grabbed for as the first to come out of the chest. It's never felt either odd or uncomfortable--nor has it felt like "coming home"--it's more like I wake up, recall the dream, and after several minutes or so remember, "oh, by the way, you were a guy in this one." and my listening self says "oh, whatever," and drinks coffee and goes on.

    At work I am regularly misgendered by people writing/calling/emailing in response to the .... shall we call it a column? not quite, but whatever, I produce, and it doesn't matter to me. I usually don't even bother to correct them when I reply. And I only correct people in the general public if there's a chance that they might be flustered when I show up on their doorstep as the featured speaker or what have you, and we've had a 6 month long correspondence already with them under the misapprehension that I'm a guy. ("Doctor" hides a lot of gender issues). But if they're never going to meet me and get embarrassed, I don't care. (Neither do I correct their assumptions about my race unless the same situation arises or they ask me something ("What was it like to grow up in Vietnam?") that I can't honestly answer.)

    Really the only emotion I can muster up over my own misgendering is when someone (it's generally a guy) says to me, meaning to compliment me, "You have a mind like a man," at which point all my feminist fury comes out. But that's not anger at misgendering, it's anger at having half the human race denigrated.

    TLDR: I rather like being a girl; I'm sure I would like being a guy. If God ever gives me the opportunity, I think it would be way cool to try being a bird or a whale. I'm easy.
  • quantpole wrote: »
    I am fine with you asking as I am here out of free will and love, but I do want to ask if you can you understand how this kind of question can make trans people feel not accepted?
    We are asked to explain simple things like our emotional state or perceptions which for 99.5% of people is simply accepted as a matter of course.
    ...
    ...There are lots of very sensitive female thinking guys who are not trans.

    I don't think describing an emotional state is easy at all. And I am very aware that this can be a difficult thing to talk about if you feel got at by the discussion. I can only try and reassure you that I am trying to understand a different point of view.

    I think your last sentence helps me understand more where you are coming from. It's not how I see things, but I think I get what you mean.

    Thanks ...

    No problems and as we discuss it stirs my emotional stew 🥘. Let it cook slowly and don't burn me, I'd like to hang out here a bit 😉

    Emotional state is too big. I *will* share if I find something (like a specific emotion/area) fruitful for good discussion i.e.
    - totally personally authentic
    - specific
    - insightful
    - shareable
    - internally objective (of course, externally subjective)
    - one where I feel safe, and can communicate clearly and thoughtfully.

    Xx Nat
  • Just to re-emphasize. This isn't about "I doubt your experience and I'm trying to undercut you"; it's about "Dang, I wish I could know what it felt like to feel like that."
  • quantpolequantpole Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I'm asking about gender identity and whether everyone has a strong sense of having one or not. You seem to be insisting that I have an inner gender identity whether I acknowledge it or not.

    And no, nothing about privilege. I am well aware that trans people have difficulties to deal with that I don't, and yes I will never be able to fully understand it. But I don't see how not accepting that I personally have an inner gender identity has any bearing on that.

    (Crossposts, replying to lilbuddha obvs)
  • quantpole wrote: »
    I'm asking about gender identity and whether everyone has a strong sense of having one or not. You seem to be insisting that I have an inner gender identity whether I ackmowledge it or not.

    And no, nothing about privilege. I am well aware that trans people have difficulties to deal with that I don't, and yes I will never be able to fully understand it. But I don't see how not accepting that I personally have an inner gender identity has any bearing on that.
    I'm saying that if you do not have an internal disconnect, it is harder to understand why others do.
    White privilege is not just about denying the experiences black people go thorough, it is also about not understanding them. That is possibly why you can say
    I don't understand what female or male feelings are supposed to be
    It is why I say that I cannot completely understand what they are either, because I've never felt a disconnect.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    That is possibly why you can say
    I don't understand what female or male feelings are supposed to be
    It is why I say that I cannot completely understand what they are either, because I've never felt a disconnect.

    The conclusion I'd come to is that it is on an individual level. So some people (trans or not) see emotions as having maleness/femaleness. And that works conceptually for them and how they navigate life, but it doesn't work that way for me.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    But what would a female emotion be ? The basic human emotions are happy, sad, scared, angry and disgusted, you can have more complex emotional states but they will a blend of those emotions mediated by your thoughts.
  • I don't get what a female emotion would be either, unless it's shorthand for the feeling of being female.

    I also think it's possible there are people without a strong gender identity, hence 'agender ' is part of the LGBT+ alphabet now. I don't know how you would ascertain it either in someone else, unless you were to tell someone what their gender identity is, but how would you know that?
  • I do wonder why would you feel threatened at all?

    I'll stress that it's a philosophical threat rather than a physical one. ... Must I simply hope that my flawed, fallible, fucked up mind happens to have got this one right? Is there no other way I can know for sure?

    Well, you could let other people tell you what you are and try to be what they say you should be. Of course, you'd be giving them tremendous power over you, in the hope that they're slightly less flawed and fallible than you ...



  • Natasha aka NatNatasha aka Nat Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    I have some thoughts on emotions, but will hold my tongue and listen a while ...

    To be clear, I don't have the experience of individuals who are say agender, bi-gender, gender-fluid let alone tri-gender (which was new to me and a bit mind-boggling). I don't experience those as a gender identity, just as people here do not.

    While I don't need to deep-dive to affirm my identity or become part of a trans ideology (whatever that is), it's on my "to do" list as it may help me understand myself better, and gender identity in general better ... as Lamb Chopped says.
    JIt's about "Dang, I wish I could know what it felt like to feel like that."
    I feel that too!

  • But I was saying, when I worked as a therapist, I didn't have to identify with what a client was feeling. In fact, it would be inadvisable. For example, I sometimes worked with violent men. I don't have to feel violent myself. So I don't really get this idea of not knowing what somebody experiences, well, no, how could I.
  • Leorning CnihtLeorning Cniht Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    For example, I sometimes worked with violent men. I don't have to feel violent myself. So I don't really get this idea of not knowing what somebody experiences, well, no, how could I.

    But if someone tells you they have violent impulses, are prone to sudden attacks of anger, or whatever, then you understand what they mean, because you know what anger is, and what violence is.

    I understand on an intellectual level when someone talks about their gender identity, but like others on this thread, I don't have a frame of reference with which to think about that, because I don't perceive a gendered self that is different from my body. I am my body, and my body is me.

    People always say things like "imagine you woke up one day in a female body" or "what if your brain was transplanted into a female body", and again, I can imagine that as an intellectual exercise, but I can't imagine how I'd feel about that. It would certainly be surprising to suddenly have female biology, but I lack the frame of reference for imagining how I might feel about that, or about whether having female biology would affect that way I think.

    I also don't particularly think it's necessary. I don't have to be able to imagine how trans people feel to be able to treat them decently. I just have to know that they are people.
  • Let me open up a crack... and put myself in a vulnerable place

    Has anyone here experienced a strong and pure yet *totally* unfamiliar emotion or a strong emotional flavour in a way that they consciously had to to simply "live" in that emotion for minutes and taste it before they could even start to name it?

    I don't mean as a child, teenager or early twenties even ... but say mid-20s or after?

    Because it happened to me recently and the profound experience left me in tears after (of joy btw). I'm a bit stunned by it.

    It could be a situational, a genuinely new emotional flavour

    It could be related to female hormones

    Or both

    Or something else

    I don't know. The experience is real and has rocked me, but in a good way.

    I don't see emotions as specifically male or female but I wonder if recognition and internalisation of my gender identity allowed me to experience this (chicken-and-egg I know, I don't find this satisfying either)

    It's one reason I'm slightly reticent right now on gender identity and emotions. The experience is changing my own preconceptions on my emotional world.

  • I was looking up the possibility that Origen, the long-ago theologian, might have been trans. (Given what he allegedly had done could be considered gender-confirming surgery.) Found a few echoes of it, and an article nasty enough that I stopped reading it. But, among the hits, was a 2014 article from Al-Jazeera, of all places:

    "A nun's secret ministry brings hope to the transgender community: Nathan Schneider explores the unresolved challenge of transgender identity for the Catholic Church and one woman's courageous, life-saving response."

    I've mostly skimmed it, but it seems really good. This nun has done incredible work--and she *still* has to do it in secret.

    Worth a read, IMHO, for both her story and stories of people around her.
  • Yes, GK. Heroic stuff.
  • For example, I sometimes worked with violent men. I don't have to feel violent myself. So I don't really get this idea of not knowing what somebody experiences, well, no, how could I.

    But if someone tells you they have violent impulses, are prone to sudden attacks of anger, or whatever, then you understand what they mean, because you know what anger is, and what violence is.

    I understand on an intellectual level when someone talks about their gender identity, but like others on this thread, I don't have a frame of reference with which to think about that, because I don't perceive a gendered self that is different from my body. I am my body, and my body is me.

    People always say things like "imagine you woke up one day in a female body" or "what if your brain was transplanted into a female body", and again, I can imagine that as an intellectual exercise, but I can't imagine how I'd feel about that. It would certainly be surprising to suddenly have female biology, but I lack the frame of reference for imagining how I might feel about that, or about whether having female biology would affect that way I think.

    I also don't particularly think it's necessary. I don't have to be able to imagine how trans people feel to be able to treat them decently. I just have to know that they are people.

    Good points, LC. The gendered self is an interesting phrase, I think for many people it's similar to the gendered body.

    The whole area is confusing, and things like agender and non-binary and genderqueer seems to show a dissolving of the traditional categories, and a separation from the body.

    On the issue of 'knowing what somebody's experience is', it's also confusing. I used to have a lot of women clients, and sex difference didn't seem to matter much. I think certain human attributes are universal, particularly emotions and feelings. Of course, some people want a therapist who is similar, thus gay for gay, female for female.
  • Actually, that's wrong. Sex difference could be important, but in a positive way.
  • @Lamb Chopped, if I may try to answer your question...

    As humans in general we can quickly distinguish between male and female. Our brains are wired that way. The vast majority of the time we can perceive very quickly someone’s gender without needing to check out their genitals. Then our brains also make generalisations about those groups and their characteristics, and also how other people treat them, which reinforces our ability to distinguish gender.

    My young brain did this like anyone else’s. It saw those two groups ‘boys’ and ‘girls’, and the result of that distinguishing was to say “well, I’m meant to fit into this group (boys), but I feel like I belong in that group (girls)”.

    This had nothing whatsoever to do with genitals or my body. It was about all those little characteristics that combine to help us distinguish gender. The ‘in generals’. The differences in how we speak, carry ourselves, share ourselves. All those subtle things. And also how we are treated by other people. I didn’t want to be treated as a rough and tumble boy, I wanted to be a sensitive, softer, just nicer (in my eyes) girl.

    I appreciate that in this territory comes gender stereotyping that can be unhelpful (girls are soft, boys are tough / girls are sensitive, boys are insensitive). And maybe understanding that helped to dissipate the gender dysphoria that I had.

    But it was as simple as looking around me and seeing two groups and it being as clear as day that I’d been put in the wrong group.
  • goperryrevs and Natasha aka Nat Thank you both for your posts, and in particular your's goperryrevs immediately above this. I've long had difficulty in understanding just what it is that transgender people feel and realise that leads them to the realisation that they are transgender. Not doubting the realisation at all, but not understanding the path to it. With what you've both said, I'm now getting well along that pathway. Thank you both for your openness and clarity.
  • No worries, though I’d stress that was my experience, and it’s surely not the same as other others, for whom the physical side of gender is much more important.
  • No worries, though I’d stress that was my experience, and it’s surely not the same as other others, for whom the physical side of gender is much more important.

    I can understand the difference. Is it fair to describe what you have concluded as transgender and those for whom the physical side is what matters as transsexual?
  • [Complete Tangent]
    At the moment I keep hearing a certain song, and I can only make out one line: "You're always a woman to me". The only scenario I can construct for this is that a man has transed to a woman. Most of "his" old friends are unsupportive, and this song comes from the one mate who supports her in her chosen role. Am I correct? (I could Google, but where's the fun in that?)
  • Gee D wrote: »
    No worries, though I’d stress that was my experience, and it’s surely not the same as other others, for whom the physical side of gender is much more important.

    I can understand the difference. Is it fair to describe what you have concluded as transgender and those for whom the physical side is what matters as transsexual?

    As far as I can see, the term transsexual is disliked by many trans people in the UK, although a minority do use it. It used to be said that the former involved surgery, and transgender is an umbrella term, including non-binary. I also have a suspicion that transsexual is favoured by bigots, along with transgenderism.
  • An alarming rumour going around that the Tories are investigating possible anti-trans propaganda, in the forthcoming election, in order to demonize Labour. Maybe it's a false rumour, although the Times has taken an anti-trans position for years. No link, story in Pink News under title, "no 10 accused of trying to weaponize transgender rights."
  • Gee D wrote: »
    No worries, though I’d stress that was my experience, and it’s surely not the same as other others, for whom the physical side of gender is much more important.

    I can understand the difference. Is it fair to describe what you have concluded as transgender and those for whom the physical side is what matters as transsexual?

    I'm honestly not sure. Not an expert on these things at all. Just willing to share my experience.
    I also have a suspicion that transsexual is favoured by bigots

    And Tim Curry. "I'm just a sweeeet transvestite..... from transexual.... Transylvania"
  • [Complete Tangent]
    At the moment I keep hearing a certain song, and I can only make out one line: "You're always a woman to me". The only scenario I can construct for this is that a man has transed to a woman. Most of "his" old friends are unsupportive, and this song comes from the one mate who supports her in her chosen role. Am I correct? (I could Google, but where's the fun in that?)

    That's probably Billy Joel's "She's Always a Woman" from his album The Stranger. Released in 1977 this was Joel's break-out album. As far as I know it's about the singer's infatuation with a cis-woman. On the other hand, maybe that was Joel's way of getting his message by the censor at his record label.

    According to The Internet the song was about Joel's then-wife Elizabeth Weber who also served as Joel's manager.
  • There are various websites called Trans-cendence, transfigurations, etc., for trans people.
  • @Lamb Chopped, if I may try to answer your question...

    As humans in general we can quickly distinguish between male and female. Our brains are wired that way. The vast majority of the time we can perceive very quickly someone’s gender without needing to check out their genitals. Then our brains also make generalisations about those groups and their characteristics, and also how other people treat them, which reinforces our ability to distinguish gender.

    My young brain did this like anyone else’s. It saw those two groups ‘boys’ and ‘girls’, and the result of that distinguishing was to say “well, I’m meant to fit into this group (boys), but I feel like I belong in that group (girls)”.

    This had nothing whatsoever to do with genitals or my body. It was about all those little characteristics that combine to help us distinguish gender. The ‘in generals’. The differences in how we speak, carry ourselves, share ourselves. All those subtle things. And also how we are treated by other people. I didn’t want to be treated as a rough and tumble boy, I wanted to be a sensitive, softer, just nicer (in my eyes) girl.

    I appreciate that in this territory comes gender stereotyping that can be unhelpful (girls are soft, boys are tough / girls are sensitive, boys are insensitive). And maybe understanding that helped to dissipate the gender dysphoria that I had.

    But it was as simple as looking around me and seeing two groups and it being as clear as day that I’d been put in the wrong group.
    I've never had a doubt about my gender. As a child I played with dolls, but also built forts and played war. As an adult, I will go shopping with the girls and wrench on motors with the boys. Whilst gender societal gender expectations seem to play a part for some people, I question the strength of their role. But, maybe I am just an outlier in this as well as nearly everything else.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    No worries, though I’d stress that was my experience, and it’s surely not the same as other others, for whom the physical side of gender is much more important.

    I can understand the difference. Is it fair to describe what you have concluded as transgender and those for whom the physical side is what matters as transsexual?

    As far as I can see, the term transsexual is disliked by many trans people in the UK, although a minority do use it. It used to be said that the former involved surgery, and transgender is an umbrella term, including non-binary. I also have a suspicion that transsexual is favoured by bigots, along with transgenderism.

    Trans and transgender are really now considered the same and are an umbrella form that includes bi-gender, gender-fluid and so on i.e. gender variation plus people who'd previously have been called transexuals and also cross-dressers*

    I think transexual has historically (e.g. by the NHS) been used as a clinical term for trans on or approved to go on the transition pathway starting with hormones, blockers etc and potentially more.

    I think it's now seen as unhelpful as many trans may find hormones (at various doses) helpful without the need to go further. Degree of (any) surgery etc is also hugely variable. So what the word implied can actually vary from minimal physical changes to quite huge ones ... public perception often being physical changes are more major than reality.

    This is my understanding at least.

    * with cross-dressers historically I think they had been divided by psychiatrists into two groups in DSM IV with terms which aren't used now I think i.e. removed in DSM V ...

    Erotic cross-dressers dress more for sexual purposes than gender i.e. a kink and I believe generally don't suffer from gender dysphoria and I'm not sure how many would identify as "trans".

    Dual-role cross-dressers are those who cross-dress part of the time to experience their "female side", not for sexual purposes and so more likely suffer a degree of gender dysphoria, but not a major one. This "group" may contain people understanding their gender who may find they need to go further.

    I still find the classifications still useful, as a reminder that many people cross-dress for different reasons ... not necessarily to do with gender identity.

    I think the realisation came to the world of psychiatry than gender identify for trans is a lot more fluid and complex than the clinical "boxes" 10-15 years ago.

    Hope this helps.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    goperryrevs and Natasha aka Nat Thank you both for your posts, and in particular your's goperryrevs immediately above this. I've long had difficulty in understanding just what it is that transgender people feel and realise that leads them to the realisation that they are transgender. Not doubting the realisation at all, but not understanding the path to it. With what you've both said, I'm now getting well along that pathway. Thank you both for your openness and clarity.

    I would totally concur with "it was as simple as looking around me and seeing two groups and it being as clear as day that I’d been put in the wrong group"

    Thanks - for me I've been trying to fit into the 'wrong group' for way too long and suppressing looking too hard i.e. sacrificing authenticity for privilege.

    Totally agree once you do have that moment of realisation, it becomes clear as day. Environment can play a big part in this.
  • As humans in general we can quickly distinguish between male and female. Our brains are wired that way.

    And in small children, it seems that this is usually done by length of hair, and presence (or absence) of lots of pink frilly clothing. So when my small daughter cut most of her hair off (when they go quiet, they're usually up to something. We should have known she was suspiciously quiet) she got a lot of comments along the lines of "why is that boy riding a girl's bike?", "is that a boy or a girl?" and so on, because small humans are not, in fact, any good at "distinguishing between male and female".

    Similarly, all my son had to do was to put on his pink fleece, and suddenly he's surrounded by complete confusion. Is that a girl with short hair? It's wearing pink - it must be a girl. But that's a boy's bike.


  • RussRuss Ship-mate
    This had nothing whatsoever to do with genitals or my body. It was about all those little characteristics that combine to help us distinguish gender. The ‘in generals’. The differences in how we speak, carry ourselves, share ourselves. All those subtle things.

    Thanks, goperryrevs, that's really helpful. Seems to me you're talking about a natural femininity that goes deeper than social convention.

    ... regarding a soul, I believe this is a spiritual/religious construct without any widely-accepted scientific evidence? Perhaps there is experiential evidence on it, I am not sure 😉

    My question back to you and the community here would be from a mainstream Christian perspective whether the soul (in heaven) even has a sex i.e. male or female? Is there agreement/consensus on that?

    I'd agree with Golden Key - your soul is your "very self". Not some sort of internal ghost that only religious people believe in.

    You know that Christians agree on very little.

    Personally I'd say that there are male and female souls (but not straight and gay souls - our earthly desires will pass away). But others may differ...

    Whilst the distinction between body and soul goes back, I'm told, to the ancient Greeks, and some Christians feel it distorts the Hebrew tradition, it seems to me a helpful one here.

    First because to say that you have a female soul is a statement of your objective permanent nature, and doesn't reduce your identification as female to the level of feelings which are subjective and transient.

    Second because recognising that you have a male body allows questions about whether it is appropriate to take it to places where male bodies are unwelcome (e.g. women's athletics etc) to be separated from questions about your very self (where I accept, having no reason to disbelieve, everything you've told us).

    Accepting you as a female soul doesn't mean letting you run in the women's 1500m because that's an event for female bodies...
    Yes, the whole subjective/objective system is smashed by gender identity. I don't want to be defined by somebody else. This seems to be a radical idea!

    Distinguishing what is objectively true and what is only inside your own head seems to me a necessary step to any knowledge at all. Seeking to abolish this distinction isn't liberation, it's insanity.

    And it's entirely possible to accept the reality of the experience that Nat reports (and think no less of Nat as a human being because of it) without agreeing with your dubious philosophy.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    ISTM @Russ has just reworked the doctrine of Transubstantiation: the essence is one thing, the accidents another.
  • Well, Russ, how would you describe gender identity objectively?
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