Transgender

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  • RussRuss Deckhand, Styx
    @Natasha aka Nat

    Welcome, also.

    I guess my question to you would be how far you do or don't identify yourself with the concept of "a female soul in a male body".

    And to the extent that you don't, how your experience differs from what that phrase implies to you.



  • How can I put this?

    If I express opinions on the thread history no matter how careful I am some people will take it personally - we are all humans after all.

    And the last thing I want to do is make people feel excluded or attacked.

    The only safe thing to say is that "Probably you don't personally know or understand trans people" because in 99.9% of cases in most societies of countries that is true. Obviously you have outliers like Thailand and Philippines where trans are far more accepted and normal in society (yet still a long way from core society).

    I met a T-girl from the Philippines who is a professing Catholic, her priest knows she is genetically a guy but treats her 100% as a woman, she takes sacraments and so on. No idea if this is kosher from a theological view but from a human view that priest is a great model.

    It's worth consider that societies' acceptance levels vary considerably globally. I should do some reading on the estimated percentages of transgender in Thailand and Philippines as these could represent what will come out in the West over time ... that's my theory anyway, it could be wrong too ... we don't really know what causes someone to be a trans.

    Anyway I'm open for questions and dialogue.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    I’ve only known two trans people at all well in my personal life, one whom I knew from before they transitioned and who has successfully achieved the social and surgical transition they wanted. The other withdrew from the transition process following assaults in the local area - they did not feel safe. Shortly thereafter they killed themselves.

    I find I have become a lot less tolerant of transphobia since their death.

    That said I really struggle to imagine what it would feel like to be trans. Once I take away the idea of gender being tied to a social role, or a sexual orientation, or one’s secondary sexual characteristics - I don’t see what is left of one’s subjective experience of gender other than habit. I basically know myself as female because that is what I have been told I am.
  • Russ wrote: »
    @Natasha aka Nat
    Welcome, also.

    I guess my question to you would be how far you do or don't identify yourself with the concept of "a female soul in a male body".

    And to the extent that you don't, how your experience differs from what that phrase implies to you.

    Hi Russ,

    Let me give a question in return, a seperate answer as well, and maybe I will say a little more experientially in a day or two after seeing where things go.

    So my question ... 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? 😇 It feels ... relevant to discuss this to me.

    From a trans perspective why DO Christians get so hung up on earthly gender unless it's STILL an issue in heaven when souls are made perfect? Excuse my ignorance here if I am getting this wrong, it's still a genuine question.

    Nat


  • Russ wrote: »
    @Natasha aka Nat
    Welcome, also.

    I guess my question to you would be how far you do or don't identify yourself with the concept of "a female soul in a male body".

    And to the extent that you don't, how your experience differs from what that phrase implies to you.

    EXCLUDING a discussion on "what is a soul and does it have a gender" let me try to answer this from my own experience ... every trans is individual.

    1) Personally I feel I identify reasonably strongly if you say "a female gender identity in a male body" ... however I am still finding who am I. Pretty female for sure I admit.

    Working out your identity is complex because you are dealing with IN PARALLEL -
    a) Your own underlying gender identity ... who you truly are (this is the foundation)
    b) Society's acceptance of you in different places (home, work, social, church etc) ... we all want to be accepted even if we pretend otherwise
    c) Consequently how you present to society ... this may NOT be your true identity but a conscious compromise to find acceptance within different spaces and situations

    2) Always remember that Trans covers a far wider spectrum e.g. bi-gender, gender-fluid and others. Honestly, do I understand them all deeply?? No.
    But when thinking on my own gender identity I always bear this in mind and am open.

    3) For me personally, gender identity is a lot more holistic (overused word I know) and complex than the focus on the body. I genuinely ask myself "what does it mean to be a woman?" in a way of course that a cis woman never has too.
    I find it a useful baseline starting point and way of removing my own internal self-prejudices and preconceptions formed from childhood, parents, society and so on.

    I certainly don't feel male even after 40+ years of (looking back - successfully, but very unhappily) trying to be male.

    Personal experiential evidence suggests (strangely enough ...) I don't identify as a sheep or a dog or an armchair ... working with a specialist psychotherapist all point me to being somewhere between "Female and very female".

    I experience (or perceive) a very "female" emotional and mental state first over body i.e. form follows function not a focus on the body first. I make (and always have) female friends easily and relate to them, men rather less so.

    Finally I think if you look in the vast majority of cases I believe that most MtF trans don't choose to go "all the way" on gender re-assignment surgery. This mirrors my own case as of now. Acceptance is way more important to us that a "perfect" body BUT looking more female supports better acceptance within the attitudes of our current society.

    To cut to the chase (ouch!!) focusing on a penis, or lack thereof, is imho pretty much a red herring, certainly for me and I think for many many others. It's also VERY dangerous for all sides to focus on this as in discussion it becomes assumed from the outset this is the desired outcome for many trans.
    It may be the *final* outcome for a percentage of trans, but I suspect that percentage is not high.

    Related - in terms of statistics I want to say that there are many like myself who (where they are able to) simply bypass the NHS in the UK unless absolutely needed. The only things I think you need the NHS for as I see it are Gender Reassignment Surgery, and GRS for a formal Gender Recognition Certificate.

    So even any NHS percentage on GRS will almost certainly be considerably overstated I feel ... hormones, hormonal monitoring, cosmetic surgery, laser hair treatment etc really you don't need the NHS, who many trans have a terrible experience with.

    Lots to get stuck into there folks ...

    Seriously I hope this helps, and I look forward to graceful and interesting conversations.

    I will TRY not to flirt or tease too much but I cannot guarantee 😄😄😄

    I think this is a great example btw ... as a guy I cannot flirt to save my life, but as a woman it comes so naturally.

    Nat

  • I’ve only known two trans people at all well in my personal life, one whom I knew from before they transitioned and who has successfully achieved the social and surgical transition they wanted. The other withdrew from the transition process following assaults in the local area - they did not feel safe. Shortly thereafter they killed themselves.

    I find I have become a lot less tolerant of transphobia since their death.

    That said I really struggle to imagine what it would feel like to be trans. Once I take away the idea of gender being tied to a social role, or a sexual orientation, or one’s secondary sexual characteristics - I don’t see what is left of one’s subjective experience of gender other than habit. I basically know myself as female because that is what I have been told I am.

    I really hope that some of my other replies help you. For me, understanding that I personally am trans is raw and painful but quite real - so I fully understand those who don't. For many years as a guy I had an amazing natural connection and empathy for trans friends, which is so incredibly rare, so of course we got on.
    It took me so long and so many depressive phases to get to WHY I have that.

    I'm so sorry about your friends. I would be untruthful if I said that suicide does NOT cross my mind sometimes as I *know* this is/will be so hard. "Full" social and surgical transition can be too much for some, reality is very tough, each trans has to make their own decisions.
    based on their own gender identity. There is no one-case fits all.

    The NHS approach does not help i.e. living fully as a woman for 12(?)-months, I think before you can even get hormones? Maybe it has changed.

    1) Going on hormones asap on it's own has had a rapid and amazing calming affect on me, like connecting/rewiring me better with my female emotions and mind. It has been a lifeline where I can start to work things through without feeling pressure to go further.

    2) As an intelligent and rational adult I may identify and want to dress 100% as a woman but choose for professional reasons i.e. work that it makes sense to present as a guy (or in my case going forwards, perhaps as a girlie-guy). I know for some trans that may not be possible or workable for their gender identity.
    Personally right now, I'm thinking this kind of area too. The thought of putting on a suit again makes me incredibly depressed though, if that provides some insight.

    It's also important to say that while gender-identity is a big part of identity, it cannot be ALL of identity. I have had an amazing life in many ways. So perhaps I can look back on many other positive things I have experienced in life as a man, keep hold of them, and try and find a way to continue SOME of them plus find new positives as a trans female?

    The rest of my identity however in no way negates or compensates for how strongly I now identify as female ... it is just to explain my mindset and maybe that having a stronger identity in other areas can give you the internal strength to cope with the painful transitions??

    But in terms of coping, then (full) acceptance from anyone is like gold dust to me.
    If you will and can and choose to accept me that fully (and I can feel that in my heart) then I can cry on the shoulder of each person I feel it from with no shame, it means that much to me.

    This is what trans people need more than toilets, love us as who we are and may become, not as who you think we should be.

    I acknowledge fully that for (let's say) 99.5% of the population un-packaging gender identity is simply unneeded and may appear insane. For the 0.5% of us it can seem, and often is, a life-or-death matter. So we are the defacto pioneers whether society likes that or not.

    I do not choose to be trans, I just am ... I've been great at hiding it though.
    By looking at myself deeply, I can also accept also that much of "transphobia" can be societal and childhood conditioning too.

    By doing this I don't apportion blame or point fingers.

    We are all in this world together.

    Bless you all, whoever your God.

    Nat
  • Thank you so much for gracious and honest words above, @Natasha aka Nat. I’m in a rather emotional place at the moment, unrelated to this thread, but I am not ashamed to say that reading the above did bring tears and touched me deeply. Thank you, 🕯. I so wish you well and all happiness possible in your journey.
  • From a trans perspective why DO Christians get so hung up on earthly gender unless it's STILL an issue in heaven when souls are made perfect? Excuse my ignorance here if I am getting this wrong, it's still a genuine question.

    Nat
    Personally, I think the spiritual stuff gets filtered through very human biases.
    In Buddhism, there is sexism as well, but it makes no sense there either.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    From a trans perspective why DO Christians get so hung up on earthly gender unless it's STILL an issue in heaven when souls are made perfect? Excuse my ignorance here if I am getting this wrong, it's still a genuine question.

    Nat
    Personally, I think the spiritual stuff gets filtered through very human biases.
    In Buddhism, there is sexism as well, but it makes no sense there either.

    I will apologise to all and just say that I was just gently deflecting the soul aspect to (given the site) those who self-identify as Christians.
    I can be a terrible tease but asking a trans to discuss a question based on a concept of the soul, is maybe like asking most people discuss what it's like to be trans?

    My question is probably divisive between various Christian theological divides, depending on biblical interpretation and literalism, and is probably unhelpful in this thread ... I hope my answer EXCLUDING the word 'soul' was helpful though.

    Lilbuddha, I tend to believe that spirituality is also a major pillar of the human identity (often ignored by most these days). I also wonder how much people's spiritual and theological choices are based on society, family, upbringing, and perhaps some personal predispositions ... of course going back through the generations ad-infinitum.

  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    Nat/Natasha: "This is what trans people need more than toilets, love us as who we are and may become, not as who you think we should be."

    This is beautiful. And true for all of us, not only trans people.
  • Natasha aka NatNatasha aka Nat Shipmate
    edited September 2019
    Thank you so much Doone and Robert ... when one opens up one's heart and shares, the warmth and love you can receive back are amazing I find.

    It has both nothing, and yet everything, to do with gender identity.

    Nat
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    edited September 2019
    I can agree from personal experience that feeling you are living an inauthentic self is ultimately intolerable.

    I am glad that you are finding ways of negotiating a path between your old and your true identity. (May all the trumpets sound for you on the other side).

  • Hi Nat. I guess my main question to you would be how you define being a man or woman? How do you know that’s what you are?

    For example, I would say I know I’m a man because I have a dick. I don’t have any other firm evidence for the conclusion, which is part of why I’ve been pushing so hard on this thread - I find it very challenging to my own sense of identity because it’s questioning the validity of the evidence I use to determine that identity.
  • Hi Nat. I guess my main question to you would be how you define being a man or woman? How do you know that’s what you are?

    For example, I would say I know I’m a man because I have a dick. I don’t have any other firm evidence for the conclusion, which is part of why I’ve been pushing so hard on this thread - I find it very challenging to my own sense of identity because it’s questioning the validity of the evidence I use to determine that identity.
    If your dick were removed, would you know longer identify as a man? Is a man with a bigger dick more of a man than you are?
    Would it help if I said the clitoris and the penis develop from the same tissue? And that they have much in common like becoming erect with arousal?
  • Hi Nat. I guess my main question to you would be how you define being a man or woman? How do you know that’s what you are?

    For example, I would say I know I’m a man because I have a dick. I don’t have any other firm evidence for the conclusion, which is part of why I’ve been pushing so hard on this thread - I find it very challenging to my own sense of identity because it’s questioning the validity of the evidence I use to determine that identity.

    Hi Marvin,

    Well first of all I must say that I'm sorry to hear that trans people are threatening to your own sense of identity. It's not deliberate by us, trust me.

    In your case your sex and gender identity seem very aligned and straightforward. As a result how deep you personally need to look for evidence seems ... well, not too far at all, right (quick glance down 😉?)

    Certainly I can accept you totally as male in terms of sex and gender identity at face value, based on what you say, and your conditions.

    I do wonder why would you feel threatened at all? No one (I hope) is asking you to look any further than you are, nor do you personally seem to need to.

    I'm fairly sure every trans person would love to be as simple as you are.

    We really would, but we are not.

    For almost all trans it's far more complex. We don't experience that having penis or lack of one necessarily defines our gender identity. In some cases our gender identity is SO conflicted with our sex that we may want to change our sex surgically, but imho that is a huge minority.

    You can read my personal thoughts on gender identity in posts above and I'm happy to respond if I haven't been clear or you have more questions ...?

    Nat


  • BTW as Marvin alluded to "pushing so hard on this thread" I just want to say I am starting a self-imposed rule, for my own emotional well-being.

    I don't/won't read old posts on the thread prior to when I joined (page 40 I think)

    Truly I am here to discuss openly, help people understand, not to judge people or review entrenched or prior positions. Let the past be the past.

    If you want to re-raise points to discuss with me based on my personal experience as a trans, of course that's totally fine 🙂

    Xx Nat
  • Golden KeyGolden Key Shipmate, Glory
    Nat--

    Re definition of "soul", etc.:

    IMHO, it's basically who a person fundamentally is. That can be hard to sort out, given everything people go through in this world.

    Many Christians (and others) believe that God (by whatever name) won't rest until *everyone* is safely Home. No damnation. No torture. No one "lost". (FYI: this is sometimes called "universalism".)

    I have no idea what gender, etc. any of us will be. Will we have that at all? Will we care? Will we have opportunities to explore, if we want?
  • Hi Nat, I think what Marvin is getting at is how do you define being a woman if not physically. You've talked about your female emotions and mind (and how a lot of it is unconnected to physical attributes) - can you unpack a bit more what you mean by that?
  • quantpole wrote: »
    Hi Nat, I think what Marvin is getting at is how do you define being a woman if not physically. You've talked about your female emotions and mind (and how a lot of it is unconnected to physical attributes) - can you unpack a bit more what you mean by that?

    I'm going to pass on this one ... we all experience our own internal reality and emotions and it's subjective to each and every one of us.

    It's not a useful discussion and gets too tough on emotionally if drilled down ... the end discussion is are my emotions real or a fantasy and (unspoken, so I will speak and preempt anyone tempted) am I sane or insane?

    I am highly intelligent. I work(ed) in a highly analytical/logical field in business to a senior level for 20+ years around the world. I've had an amazing life and ... I'm not insane, or at least no more so than anyone else.

    My internal emotions, process and analysis of them is no more real than any cis man or any cis woman.

    Going into details makes what I experience and how makes then no less real and won't clarify as they are personal and subjective.

    Hope you can understand why I'd reply in this way ...

    Nat
  • I find the definition of male as penis-bearer quite weird. It reminds me of macabre jokes about toilet inspections, where there is a municipal genital inspector, who checks you out, before allowing you to pee.

    The interesting thing is that we seem to assess other people via their self-presentation, e.g., clothes, hair, posture, gestures, and so on. Normally, we don't ask to see their genitals, unless you move in very advanced circles. I guess there is also a feeling element, one of my old friends who was male, often felt female to me, and in fact to him.

    I think this has been discussed before, along with 'doing gender' or performing gender. These are interesting ideas, as the person is not construed as a static object, held in your gaze, but an active participant. So it shifts gender identity from objective to subjective. This seems to upset some people.

    Great to hear from you, Nat.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    I find the definition of male as penis-bearer quite weird.

    Me as well. If a man loses his penis due to injury, isn't he still a man? Of course, Hemingway wasn't so sure, but he had Problems and Issues.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    I find the definition of male as penis-bearer quite weird.

    Me as well. If a man loses his penis due to injury, isn't he still a man? Of course, Hemingway wasn't so sure, but he had Problems and Issues.

    Yes, his last novel is interesting, as there are suggestions of trans identity in the character Catherine, (The Garden of Eden), and some people have suggested the same of Hemingway. There is also his insistence on being a big bad man, who killed bulls, and drank, fought in wars, womanized, so it sounds like a cover-up.

  • I think this has been discussed before, along with 'doing gender' or performing gender. These are interesting ideas, as the person is not construed as a static object, held in your gaze, but an active participant. So it shifts gender identity from objective to subjective. This seems to upset some people.

    Great to hear from you, Nat.

    This is a tremendously interesting thought, one that I can personally relate to.

    If you are trans and physically close to someone you can feel your gender mirrored back to you in people's eyes. With some sensitive people you can see a kind of fluctuation in their eyes as they try to adjust/attune to your gender identity.

    I can understand why it would scare or upset a lot of people, or make them feel conflicted.


  • 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!
  • 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!

    For me perhaps I experience it personally without looking so deeply, but ...

    How one is perceived and wants to be accepted physically *in general* is a two way flow for everyone, a form of subtle (or less so) messaging and communication and signalling.

    Women's body image for example has changed over the centuries, now cosmetic surgery and so on. So body image is not fixed and some cis women are perhaps choosing to accentuate or emphasize their own gender identity to conform to an ideal?

    But of course with trans and gender identity we take this to the extreme which I acknowledge is super-threatening to societal norms - thankfully changing fast, I am so grateful.

    How I look / will look bodily as a trans woman I see as a mix of
    1. Who I really am as trans (what is my gender identity) plus
    2. How far I want or need to go towards current society's "ideal" view of how a woman presents herself - to gain a level acceptance of that works for me (again subjective)

    As a trans woman whether I choose to retain a penis or is more #1 than #2 (it's not very visible!) and depends my gender identity on a spectrum, my sexual identity on a spectrum, and realities like cost of surgery.

    I don't know how helpful I am being, but the conversations in this thread get me thinking too. And graceful/gracious discussion with people who want to understand is cathartic personally.

    Nat
  • Robert ArminRobert Armin Shipmate, Glory
    This is a bit of a tangent, but it's something your comments have made me think about Nat. As a gay man I get fed up with well meaning comments about gays "being in touch with the feminine side of their nature". Some gay men may feel like that; for me being gay is being more masculine than straight men.
  • Btw (I doubt it) but if anyone knows this I'd be personally interested in the number of UK trans who have undergone genital re-assignment surgery.

    The latest government statistics (Government Equalities Office) appears to baseline the number of trans in the UK at 200,000-500,000 I think the 500,000 is an uplift for "Our national LGBT survey found 67% of trans respondents saying they had avoided being open about their gender identity for fear of a negative reaction from others" (this includes me btw).

    So that's maybe up to 0.7-0.8% of a UK population of 65 million.
  • This is a bit of a tangent, but it's something your comments have made me think about Nat. As a gay man I get fed up with well meaning comments about gays "being in touch with the feminine side of their nature". Some gay men may feel like that; for me being gay is being more masculine than straight men.

    Hi Robert,

    To me it's not a tangent at all. It's a perfect example that gender identity and sexual identity are two very different things.

    It sounds like you have a strong gender identity as a man, and a clear gay sexual orientation?

    Also it's a good example than many men can experience a very feminine side WITHOUT making then trans i.e. they still have a male gender identity with more female emotions.

    When people bundle sex, gender identity and sexual identity into "sex/natural gender" every LBGTQ person becomes objectified ... I feel.

    There are some intersections of gender and sexual identity personally I can't (yet) grasp especially in the TQ area any more than many cis people, yet I accept them, just as I would like to be accepted wider.

    Nat
  • So that's maybe up to 0.7-0.8% of a UK population of 65 million.

    If I adjust for 81.1% (2016 stats) of UK population being 16 or over then we have a better base of 53 million, and a 'trans' percentage potentially closer to 1%.

    So as I read it we can confidently say that 0.5% - 1% of the adult population over 16 are trans based on current UK government numbers?

    Sorry, you guys have got me all focussed on penises and removal/additions in trans!! I said I'm a terrible tease 😄😉 but I'm also interested in how many trans go "all the way" whether MtF or FtM ... without getting into bi-gender, gender-fluid etc who I suspect would opt for the status quo.

    I just feel the % will be really low, I am curious too though.
  • Some late-night research as I'm interested in statistics vs my personal impressions. I promise I don't have a trans agenda or a trans ideology, I'm interested in numbers though 😊

    Reform of the Gender Recognition Act–Government Consultation - July 2018
    https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/721725/GRA-Consultation-document.pdf

    Annex E essentially seems to say that in the absence of hard UK data, the 200,000 - 500,000 UK estimate came from a (low) estimate based upon a Californian study of 0.35% of the adult population to an approximated (high) 1% based on a study in the Netherlands.

    Prevalence of Transgender Depends on the “Case” Definition: A Systematic Review - April 2017 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4823815/

    I found this paper interesting as it's a meta-data analysis from 27 international studies on trans statistics. I believe it removed one outlier study in Taiwan where the reported trans percentages were actually far too high due to a poorly worded question.

    Table 6 - Meta-analysis prevalence estimates of transgender identity shows trans identification at 871/100,000 = 0.87% which is at least not inconsistent with the numbers above.

    Table 4 - Meta-analysis of prevalence estimates for receipt or requests to receive gender affirmation therapy
    Sex Reassignment Surgery (SRS)**
    • Requested was 9.2/100,000 = 0.09% of population or 1.1% of trans identifiers
    • Received was 5.5/100,000 = 0.06 of population 0.6% of trans identifiers
    **While I don't have access to the underlying articles I believe SRS includes (for example)
    facial surgery, breast augmentation as well as addition/removal of the penis ... so we are talking even smaller percentages when it comes to surgical changes at that level of "detail" 🧐.

    I acknowledge see that historical surgical numbers can be distorted by supply/cost factors and so these can be understated versus full 'demand' which is increasing with trans awareness (see page 25 of the UK GRA Consultation as an illustration of the pipeline growth)

    I hope this is enlightening and may give some perspectives. For me it's interesting ... so I thought I would "share as I learn".

    Apologies in advance if I get anything wrong here, if so please say!

  • Of course, "trans" is interpreted differently. There is a wide view, which equals gender variance, and a narrower view. This has caused problems, for example the infamous 80% figure given for trans kids not transitioning (desistance), when many of them were exploring gender varieties. Julia Serano writes about this quite a bit.
  • Indeed - but out of interest what is the narrower view of "trans/transgender"?

    I'd assume I take the wider view i.e. gender variance of one degree or another ... probably includes some but not all cross-dressers (far from all experience gender variance)

    Nat

  • Yes, cross-dressing is included in transgender in many schemes, also nonbinary. Narrow view = under the NHS, a strong identification with the opposite sex, causing significant distress. Of course, it may fade.
  • Trans people now waiting 2 years to see an NHS consultant. Fucking brilliant.
  • You can understand why many including myself might use private routes rather than NHS if we can afford it? But I am lucky in this area.

    With insufficient NHS resources, obviously they must focus on people with higher gender dysphoria ("significant distress") ... people who'd previously have been labelled transexuals, although I think the term is falling out of use.

    Speaking of which and given some of the lines of questioning, it may interest people how a clinic may assess and score gender dysphoria in adults I am not sure how much it is still used, but I suspect quite widely, the GIDYQ-AA test. https://thomasingenderland.com/2016/11/08/gender-dysphoria-diagnosis-part-5-gidyq-aa-full-text/

    A Scaled Score less than 3.0 is strongly suggestive of gender dysphoria, I think the last time I did it I came out at 2.8 or 2.7.

    Nat
  • quantpole wrote: »
    Hi Nat, I think what Marvin is getting at is how do you define being a woman if not physically. You've talked about your female emotions and mind (and how a lot of it is unconnected to physical attributes) - can you unpack a bit more what you mean by that?

    I'm going to pass on this one ... we all experience our own internal reality and emotions and it's subjective to each and every one of us.

    It's not a useful discussion and gets too tough on emotionally if drilled down ... the end discussion is are my emotions real or a fantasy and (unspoken, so I will speak and preempt anyone tempted) am I sane or insane?

    I am highly intelligent. I work(ed) in a highly analytical/logical field in business to a senior level for 20+ years around the world. I've had an amazing life and ... I'm not insane, or at least no more so than anyone else.

    My internal emotions, process and analysis of them is no more real than any cis man or any cis woman.

    Going into details makes what I experience and how makes then no less real and won't clarify as they are personal and subjective.

    Hope you can understand why I'd reply in this way ...

    Nat

    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.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    edited September 2019
    I note here one can be directly referred to and NHS gender identity clinic, anywhere in the country, without requiring mental health screening or CCG approval for out of area services. Waiting times are terrible owing to demand being in the region of 5 times what the services were originally commissioned to provide.

    Here is a video of one of their service users. And this explains the care pathway.
  • I was thinking about shame as a driver of masculinity, certainly I remember feeling worried about what men should or shouldn't do, when I was younger. But maybe gender identity as a whole is riddled with fear and shame. Then I suppose you can argue that since the war there has been a partial relaxation of these prohibitions, as part of a general liberation, e.g., for women and gays. Then trans identities seems like a natural development, whereby repression is reduced. Granted, there are reactionary resistances to this, and bigotry is part of a culture war, see Trump.

    Lamb Chopped's phrase intrigued me, "gender for something immaterial". I prefer to say that we are moving from external to internal identity. Using gays as an example, my gay friend doesn't have distinguishing physical marks, but has a strong sense of personal identity. This is also true of an old friend who identified with being female. This seems to defeat behaviourism, or, "you are what I define you as".
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Purgatory Host
    I think gender is changing function, it used to be a non-verbal way of signalling information about yourself - your secondary sexual characteristics, likely preferred sexual partner, likely range of social roles etc - whereas now it is being seen primarily as a form of self expression. You see people online and in some queer social settings requesting you include your pronouns in your bio, or announce them along with your name when you introduce yourself.

    This does away with much of the previous ‘non-verbal’ signalling aspect of performing gender.
  • Reminds me of the German word, Selbstdarstellung, which most people translate as self-presentation. I think gender used to be determined by others, but now it's your identity, your performance. This clashes with traditional views, which were very othering, and in fact, proprietal, or do I mean proprietary. In other words, I get to determine who you are. I think this is a huge revolution, going beyond sex/gender, and we have no idea where it will go. The old sense of proprietorship is clear with trans people, who are sometimes treated as imposters, since I know better than you who you are.
  • One clear expression of this can be seen with children, whereby some people still treat them as possessions. Anyway, a trans kid seems to arouse horror in some, how can s/he possibly know s/he is m/f? Of course, the old reply to this is, how can a cis kid know who they are?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • That's about the physical though. I said I can understand people having issues with how they see their body. And it would feel wrong to wake up in any different body because I am used to the one I have.
  • This is interesting, as the shift from external to internal identity involves a changing view of the body. Thus, traditionally, you might say, "you have a penis, therefore you are male, and you ought to be masculine, and heterosexual".

    But this view has been dismembered in various ways. Or, the shibboleths have been challenged, and we are less prescriptive. In a way, it seems to separate the person from the body. We are angels!
  • quantpole wrote: »
    That's about the physical though. I said I can understand people having issues with how they see their body. And it would feel wrong to wake up in any different body because I am used to the one I have.

    But one of the opposite sex wouldn't feel any wronger than one of the same sex, all else being equal?

    But the thing is - would you then feel you had entirely *become* the other sex?
  • KarlLB wrote: »

    But one of the opposite sex wouldn't feel any wronger than one of the same sex, all else being equal?

    But the thing is - would you then feel you had entirely *become* the other sex?

    Of course it would feel more odd because there would be more differences, so it would be a bigger thing to get used to. Just as if I changed race would be more of a change than if I stayed the same race. I don't know about whether I'd feel I had actually become a woman when I've had all my life as a male (and similarly would I feel like I'd actually changed race or not?). And it still seems to be stressing the physical response rather than this inner idea of feeling male or female.
  • 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.

    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 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.
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