Transgender

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  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    fineline wrote: »
    And if it were a male body, I’d have to learn a new way to pee, and new types of public toilets that would be smellier,
    It would seem that men's toilets are smellier because they don't know how to use their equipment, despite having been born with it.

  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    And if it were a male body, I’d have to learn a new way to pee, and new types of public toilets that would be smellier,
    It would seem that men's toilets are smellier because they don't know how to use their equipment, despite having been born with it.
    Not so much that they don't know how. More laziness (not working to do it right) and selfishness (not caring about how not doing it right impacts others).
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    And if it were a male body, I’d have to learn a new way to pee, and new types of public toilets that would be smellier,
    It would seem that men's toilets are smellier because they don't know how to use their equipment, despite having been born with it.
    Not so much that they don't know how. More laziness (not working to do it right) and selfishness (not caring about how not doing it right impacts others).
    It were the sarcasms, lad.
    And, BTW, women can manage to be disgusting in the loo as well. Just not as consistently as men.
  • lilbuddha wrote: »
    It were the sarcasms, lad.
    Sorry, I'll stop with the self-deprecating truths. Clearly they are unwelcome.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    mousethief wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    It were the sarcasms, lad.
    Sorry, I'll stop with the self-deprecating truths. Clearly they are unwelcome.
    I was just making sure you understood what I was doing, not that I was mocking your reply.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    I'm curious how Christians view transgender.
    I think the Church of England got a resolution to recognise transgender people through Synod with little hassle.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    Not only did the CofE agree to welcome transgender people in July 2017 (pdf), but it also suggested a welcoming liturgy in January 2018 (CofE website) and in May 2018 (Daily Telegraph link) encouraged transgender people to become priests.

    (Slight irritation that homosexuality is not so accepted and how long it took women.)
  • I'm curious how Christians view transgender. I imagine that quite a lot of evangelicals see it as sinful, since God is a binarist, well, in relation to sex/gender, (see the Nashville statement). And I guess that more liberal Christians are cautiously accepting. After that, dunno. Any views?

    The Nashville statement is a weird mess of biological essentialism and a-historicalism. Since it came out I've had separate discussions with two of the signatories and both of whom came to opposite (and equally nonsensical to my mind) conclusions
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I think it is a real issue for transgender people who feel a call to monastic life. Monasteries and convents tend to be binary and biological in their view of gender. I don’t think many accept trans people, though it seems to be something that Anglican ones are starting to look at. I think that, say, an Anglican convent can decide that they will accept trans women, but the community has to agree, and if it’s a community who don’t even agree with women priests, that might be difficult.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    I was recently describing my friendship with an ex lodger, and the person I was talking to kept telling me that I was behaving like a man - likewise in terms of how I organise my house & chores.

    This was something that caught my attention in the Makepeace stooshie - the assumption that a change in gender means a change of personality. Why? Because some behaviours are Male and some Female: simples.

    To clarify; in the particular case Makepeace mentioned, my interpretation was that the person being described hadn't essentially changed as part of their gender re-assignment, but continued to act in what Makepeace (and possibly society) thought of as 'stereotypically male' at least along a particular axis.
  • mousethiefmousethief Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    We have an openly transgender person in our parish. Our priest has made it a point to welcome them, and let everyone in the parish know that the person is welcome.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    "Firenze wrote: »

    This was something that caught my attention in the Makepeace stooshie - the assumption that a change in gender means a change of personality. Why? Because some behaviours are Male and some Female: simples.

    To clarify; in the particular case Makepeace mentioned, my interpretation was that the person being described hadn't essentially changed as part of their gender re-assignment, but continued to act in what Makepeace (and possibly society) thought of as 'stereotypically male' at least along a particular axis.

    It was the idea of stereotypes I was challenging. The last sentence is intended as a statement of a position I go on to reject. Nothing says a women can’t be aggressive - except the socialising not to appear so, which one assumes this woman had not grown up with.
  • I see there was a protest at London Pride by a group of anti-trans lesbians, who got to the front of everybody. They said that "males who identify as lesbians" are enforcing heterosexuality on lesbians. I don't really get this, but it shows how much conflict exists.
  • Google "Drop the T" and you'll get some up-to-date coverage of a petition to advocacy groups. The basic argument is that LGB is about sexual orientation, trans is about gender identity, and the interests of trans individuals are not the same as those of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    I googled "Drop the T" -- wow. GLAAD and Human Rights Campaign have already said hell to the no, thank goodness.

    In regards to the thought experiments:

    If I woke up tomorrow in a man's body, I think I'd find it incredibly difficult, even if everyone around me just went with it and was fine with it. I don't really know how to be a man. Our society has really weird expectations of how men and women should behave, but I'm used to navigating the weirdness of the expectations of women. While I don't feel like my sexuality comes into play with most of my interactions with other people, I do feel like my status as a woman does. For instance (and this is a gross generalization, but it'll have to do for the moment), when I meet someone in a social situation and I'm finding out how much I want to talk with them, part of the calculation is whether my not acting very stereotypically feminine will be a good thing for them -- for most stereotypically feminine women I'm a problem, for men who expect women to be more feminine I'm a related but different kind of problem. And I know how I want to navigate all that. But I wouldn't know what kind of man I was if I had a man's body. I assume I wouldn't be some toxically masculine asshole, but after 50-plus years of figuring out how nice I want to be in any given situation, I wouldn't know how much any of that would apply to being a man. Maybe my boss would think I'm less of a jerk, though -- I know she doesn't think I'm nice enough.

    If I woke up tomorrow on an island where everyone regarded me and treated me as male but I had the body I have now, I think I'd be very, very confused to start with, and things would probably go downhill from there.

    The question I posed earlier but did not answer: Would I date a trans man? If I found myself relating to him the way I relate to men I'm attracted to, I would. He would probably have to have recognizably masculine secondary sex characteristics; I'm not attracted to androgynous-looking cis men.

    Another thing: I find it really hard to have any of this discussion without turning around at every third sentence I write and thinking, wow, that's really sexist.
  • Ruth wrote: »
    ...
    Another thing: I find it really hard to have any of this discussion without turning around at every third sentence I write and thinking, wow, that's really sexist.

    Which is one of the arguments from the "Drop the T" folks - that trans people are somehow promoting traditional binary gender roles - i.e. a masculine woman would "choose" to be a trans man because that's a more traditional gender role rather than being a butch lesbian, for example.

    And for another angle on transphobia, there's this:
    ... Fink said the rising awareness about transgender people has made life more difficult for her, something she finds "really emotional, really stressful" to talk about.

    "Ten, 12 years ago I was just a tall woman and nobody thought anything of it," she said.

    "But because these gender nonconformers are being so loud and proud ... now everybody looks and they can see oh, that tall woman with a deep voice, maybe she's a dude."

    Brooklyn Fink explains why she burned the pride flag on campus




  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    It comes back to what is gender? The starting point is our personal relationship to our own physicality, which can range from positive enjoyment, through indifference, to levels of discontent with the specifics (and what a vast expanse of human misery lies in that part of the spectrum) to outright rejection.

    I don’t see anywhere on this continuum where the social construct of gender doesn’t come into play, and usually to negative effect. (Not least, as I keep muttering, because Evil Capitalism commodifies our desires).
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    Ruth wrote: »
    ...
    Another thing: I find it really hard to have any of this discussion without turning around at every third sentence I write and thinking, wow, that's really sexist.

    Which is one of the arguments from the "Drop the T" folks - that trans people are somehow promoting traditional binary gender roles - i.e. a masculine woman would "choose" to be a trans man because that's a more traditional gender role rather than being a butch lesbian, for example.

    And for another angle on transphobia, there's this:
    ... Fink said the rising awareness about transgender people has made life more difficult for her, something she finds "really emotional, really stressful" to talk about.

    "Ten, 12 years ago I was just a tall woman and nobody thought anything of it," she said.

    "But because these gender nonconformers are being so loud and proud ... now everybody looks and they can see oh, that tall woman with a deep voice, maybe she's a dude."

    Brooklyn Fink explains why she burned the pride flag on campus




    Seems to me that the problem there is the people who think that a transwoman is a "dude", assuming that's a male epithet in this context.
  • I'm curious how Christians view transgender. I imagine that quite a lot of evangelicals see it as sinful, since God is a binarist, well, in relation to sex/gender, (see the Nashville statement). And I guess that more liberal Christians are cautiously accepting. After that, dunno. Any views?

    The Nashville statement is a weird mess of biological essentialism and a-historicalism. Since it came out I've had separate discussions with two of the signatories and both of whom came to opposite (and equally nonsensical to my mind) conclusions


    My sympathies. I can't imagine a single one of the signatories I'd care to have even a conversation long enough to ask them to pass the salt

  • Firenze wrote: »
    It comes back to what is gender? The starting point is our personal relationship to our own physicality, which can range from positive enjoyment, through indifference, to levels of discontent with the specifics (and what a vast expanse of human misery lies in that part of the spectrum) to outright rejection.

    I don’t see anywhere on this continuum where the social construct of gender doesn’t come into play, and usually to negative effect. (Not least, as I keep muttering, because Evil Capitalism commodifies our desires).

    I'm just chewing over your idea of a starting point, but I suppose begrudgingly that there might be. But one also has to cite the imputation of gender to infants - it's a boy/girl! exclaimed with varying degrees of delight and horror. Then we go on a long journey of accepting or rejecting various ascriptions of gender traits.

    But yes, our own body figures here as well. I think at the moment, it's all so complex, that no-one can understand it. But in a sense, trans people have made a breakthrough from, 'how am I described by others', to 'how do I feel'. I think this has been a shock, not just to traditional notions of gender, but also notions of identity. I think Sartre posed the question, do I exist for others, or myself? Well, we are still struggling to answer, and gender is a key arena for this.
  • ArgonaArgona Shipmate Posts: 17

    There has been some research on gender; the case of David Reimer made it clear that gender was not a result of nurture as had been assumed.

    One case can never make anything clear, only raise questions - in this case, perhaps about the desirability, not to mention the ethics of childhood transition when the individual’s mature preference is unknowable.

    Gender is real, whether it comes from nature or nurture, but the jury is still out on which of those it is. A while ago, much was made of apparent differences between the ‘wiring’ of male and female brains, which seemed to support the innate origin of gender differences. Since then, as well as doubt being cast on some of those findings, there’s been a growing understanding of the brain’s plasticity, how it can ‘wire’ itself according to how it’s used - which brings nurture back into the picture. I’m no way qualified to vote on this jury but either way, you acquire the nature you have and if it’s not the culturally-approved nature for your body, your life may be problematic.

    I’m like Fineline. I know that I’m a man but beyond that, feeling ‘masculine’ or ‘like a man’ is a mystery to me - as would be feeling ‘like a woman in a man’s body’. No way do I contest the reality of these feelings in others, it’s simply that I have no idea what those feelings could be like. Is this like someone totally blind from birth, trying to understand colour? Perhaps so.


  • I remember when there was an obsession with the origins of homosexuality, and there were some wild and wacky theories, and some vicious ones. But eventually, there was a kind of realization, that being matters more than etiology. In fact, the search for etiology can be part of the pathologization, and gays and lesbians threw it off. Is the same happening with trans?
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I have mixed feelings about etiology. Personally, I think some version of the etiology in the articles I linked to (way upthread) is probably true, and etiology can be helpful for articulating trans experience, bearing in mind that etiology bears on both transgender (including nonbinary) and cisgender gender identities.

    We often see transgender experience articulated merely as a "feeling" (which makes it sound too subjective to some people) or mainly by reference to gender roles (which can make it sound sexist). So finding other ways of articulating this experience is helpful, even if no one wants to put all their eggs in one basket.

    The problem with etiology is that it is incredibly politically fraught, and many people (including some contributors to this thread) are dead-set against it. There's no point in bringing in etiology if all it's going to do is sideline the discussion into a heated debate on a side issue.

    Julia Serano in one of her books describes gender identity as "subconscious sex". That may be a helpful articulation that doesn't explicitly invoke etiology (though I think it might do so implicitly).

  • Yes, I wouldn't chuck etiology of the window. But I remember how it could be weaponized in relation to gays - the reason you are gay, is because your father abused you, and there are many others. Of course, the Freudians had a field day. But there are serious investigations into causation, which will carry on.

    Same with trans. I suppose a prominent weaponized version is autogynephilia, the idea that trans women are men who are turned on by imagining being women.

    Ideas such as this tend to be spectacularly unfalsifiable, and really amount to denigration. There is also the rather amazing fact that many people who are non trans, get turned on by imagining being all kinds of things, including the opposite sex, (sarcasm).

    But again, serious research will carry on.
  • out of the window.
  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I sometimes wonder if it's irrelevant. Does it matter whether it's cultural norms or something else that underlies a feeling of belonging to a particular gender? Of academic interest, but what should shape policy and our attitudes to *people* is *those people's* lived experience of being them.
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    I sometimes wonder if it's irrelevant. Does it matter whether it's cultural norms or something else that underlies a feeling of belonging to a particular gender? Of academic interest, but what should shape policy and our attitudes to *people* is *those people's* lived experience of being them.

    I agree. I think this is what happened with gays/lesbians. The search for causes was often a way of pathologizing, and when that died down, we are back to lived experience. With trans people, the pathologizing is in full swing, in some quarters.
  • RuthRuth Shipmate
    The reason we have problems with taking certain people's lived experience as a basis for, well, much of anything, is that we don't have broad enough respect for humanity in general. We're looking for external rules to tell us what is and is not okay. Plus there's always going to be someone who comes up with the "but what if someone's 'lived experience' tells them they really need to be allowed to [insert gruesome thing here]?" argument.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    Also because we know from our own lived experience that it is possible to be sincerely mistaken about fundamental aspects of one's own life.

  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    In my early days on the Ship, ChristinaMarie pointed me at the UK Evangelical Alliance's position paper which advised church leaders to counsel transitioned transgender people to revert to the gender they were born with.

    I'm not sure if that's still the case, but that right there put me off the UK EA for life (for the record, I could not in all good conscience be part of CNEF, its sister organisation in France, either basically for the usual DH reasons).

    My personal position is that transgender covers such a range of issues that a one-size-fits-all approach is impossible (I mentioned this here but nobody took it up).

    [ETA that was an answer to a post by @quetzalcoatl which now seems to have been deleted]
  • I thought that was a common evangelical position, since God made two sexes, so that men and women could have babies, and mum could cook and do the dishes, and so on. But to advise people to abandon a trans identity is so dangerous, surely more people know this?
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    But to advise people to abandon a trans identity is so dangerous, surely more people know this?
    That was my tearing-my-hair-out thought at the time, yes. "First do no harm".

    Not all evangelicals hold to the complementarian position you describe, although some certainly do.

    Besides, I think your comment muddles up gender identity as something internal and sexual characteristics. As far as I can see, being biologically intersex engages a lot of issues similar to transgender issues, but there are also quite distinct and sometimes conflicting ones.

    That's what I mean when I say one of the problems here is the wide range of issues covered by the term.

    Seeking recognition of the authorities for an intersex gender because one does not biologically fulfil the customary criteria to tick either the male or the female box constitutes very different grounds for such claims than a profoundly felt identity on no genital or chromosomal grounds at all. I think.
  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    RuthW is spot on, in my view. Fineline said something very similar in the Styx thread. To respect any individual human being flows from accepting the remarkable and sometimes perplexing variety exhibited by humanity in general. Social categories and norms will sometimes get in the way of that.

    First of all, do no harm. And if we recognise that automatic thinking under the influence of social norms has caused us to do harm, then it's time to repent and change. As Eutychus's personal story reveals. I've got a few of them myself.

  • edited July 2018
    We've seen a fair number of things, helpful and not, within my extended family. I thought This Link at least provided some understanding of the difficulties and mind-bendingness of some of this. ymmv of course.
  • Quite a lot in that, most of it was well written and sincere. I don't really get the stuff about dating, as it seems so subjective. I don't know who I would like or not, am I supposed to?
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    IMO no prophet's link could really use a NSFW tag as it's pretty explicit.
  • Leaf wrote: »
    IMO no prophet's link could really use a NSFW tag as it's pretty explicit.

    and it seems to traffic it its own set of stereotypes and wheels out evidence that's somewhat dubious at best.
  • I don't know whether anyone reading this thread is going to be in the relevant part of the UK on 25th July, but if so, they might find this event interesting; all I know about it is what it says on the page I've linked to, but the speaker's academic webpage is here.
  • EutychusEutychus Shipmate
    hosting/
    Leaf wrote: »
    IMO no prophet's link could really use a NSFW tag as it's pretty explicit.
    Ship practice on NSFW relates principally to images with "graphic content" depicting extreme violence or its results, or nudity that could get viewers into trouble if viewed on a work computer.

    I can't see anything on that page to merit an NSFW tag. The page is well within the remit of the thread topic and dealing with it in an adult* fashion.

    If this needs further discussion, please take it to the Styx.

    /hosting


    *for the avoidance of doubt: adult as in "grown-up", not as in "XXX"...
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    Okay. Thanks, Eutychus.
  • roybartroybart Shipmate
    no prophet's link demonstrates a strong discomfort factor that so many people use as an excuse to stigmatize or marginalize transgender people. My own such feelings were very much changed by two experience several years ago:

    1) The transgender woman mayor of a nearby town spoke before a discussion group at my church. She told her story and described the difficulties (and rewards) of transition and of living very much in the public eye. This lady was intelligent, articulate, kind, attractive -- what I would usually consider both desirable and "normal."

    That experience moved me deeply and made me examine more closely at my discomforts when considering the transgender issue before meeting her. Which led me to seek out ...

    2) the U. of Chicago philosopher Martha Nussbaum's book From Disgust to Humanity: Sexual Orientation and Constitutional Law, which, although it addresses issues of sexual orientation rather than gender identity, applies very much to the ethics of the transgender debate.

    Nussbaum's thesis has to do with the irrational feelings and prejudices that underlie the anti-LGBT arguments -- particularly "the politics of disgust."

    Even though I am a gay male and grew up in the fifties in the same village that was the home to Christine Jorgensen, the first transgender woman in the US to receive wide publicity for her transition and who in fact made a successful career as a female singer. I needed to do serious self-evaluation and to make some changes in my preconceptions and prejudices.

    Meeting the lady member and immediately liking and admiring her and her journey was crucial to the changes I have made.

  • edited July 2018
    It is rather more mind bending though. But thinking through.

    The individual might define themselves as female gender. They may have anatomical features of female gender, male gender or both at once, bluntly breasts and penis at once. Because clothing disguises the anatomy in ordinary activities it doesn't come up. --this seems to me to be the point: mostly such things affect no-one except the individual human being, thus please do what you will. And let us not define for others who they are when it is only in a small percentage of activities that others need notice, if they notice at all. It needn't be from rare activities that the discussion occurs, but from the common ones. I don't need to think of intimate or toilet activities of anyone anytime.

    Which has nothing to do with the developmental trajectory of getting from the biological definition of sex to the self definition a small proportion of humanity desires.
  • I thought that everyone uses self-definition. If you take Bob, who feels OK about being male, you could say that he has been described as such since birth and during childhood. But Bob has accepted this description, and has made it his own.

    But it's unclear to me how much people purely passively accept a gender assignment, and how much they perform something individual. I assume that there is scope for individual self-presentation.

    Of course, there are also people who are not trans, but non-conforming, and presumably they express their non-standard gender in various ways.

    I think this is why the radicals talk of doing gender, or performing it. Do you do it without thinking?
  • Before the separation of sex from gender became a popular way of seeing things I don't know that many questioned it much. I certainly didn't. I recall hearing about gender first sometime in the early 1970s. The idea of separation of the two was a provocative idea but no data. For me it never occurred to me to be other than what I was born as. There were boys and girls and we were what we were. There was 2 stories in intro psych about two famous people. It was obviously rare. The context was more about what is mental illness and maladjustment than any consideration that such a thing could be considered within the 1.5 standard deviations of the average which was the statistical normal. With the debate about whether questioning sexual identity was pathology or not. Academic interest only. Never expected reification.

    I don't think this far I've seen convincing info on a basis other than testimonial and qualitative that persuades me about a developmental pathway that doesn't involve social influence and the suggestion that it is possible now to defy previously accepted definitions. With the understanding that within human diversity, everything is possible.
  • Which has nothing to do with the developmental trajectory of getting from the biological definition of sex to the self definition a small proportion of humanity desires.
    This is awfully dismissive.
  • @NOprophet_NØprofit - I agree with @mousethief that you are being very dismissive particularly as there is some scientific evidence of that the biological basis of gender and/or sexuality is complicated, see below:
    There has been some research on gender; the case of David Reimer made it clear that gender was not a result of nurture as had been assumed. David was a twin boy who was reassigned as a girl aged 22 months, following a botched circumcision operation that resulted in castration. The then Brenda Reimer was never properly accepted as a girl and refused to continue being treated as a girl between the ages of 9 and 11. He retransitioned back to being a man at 15 and underwent a significant number of surgeries to reassign himself back to his original gender.

    A foetus in utero would develop as a female without the input of testerone and other hormones triggered through a part of the XY chromosome combination. The foetal brain shows different gender development patterns as the neural tissue responds to the different hormones it is exposed to. There is also a theory that prenatal exposure to hormones affects sexual orientation. If prenatal development is so affected by the in utero experience of hormones, cannot the same be true of gender?

    It's also very dismissive of all the lived in experiences you've heard described on this thread.

  • RussRuss Deckhand, Styx
    Ruth wrote: »
    The reason we have problems with taking certain people's lived experience as a basis for, well, much of anything, is that we don't have broad enough respect for humanity in general. We're looking for external rules to tell us what is and is not okay. Plus there's always going to be someone who comes up with the "but what if someone's 'lived experience' tells them they really need to be allowed to [insert gruesome thing here]?" argument.

    Yes, people's experience is what it is, and trying to make them deny that experience is coercive.

    (And of course that goes also for the experience that Makepeace related above).

    And yes there are conditions under which people do not recognise from within themselves that others are human. So respect for humanity in general requires that something like the Golden Rule be applied externally, as part of a process of socialization. External is not intrinsically bad.

    It is meaningful to talk of objective truth to which someone's real and acknowledged subjective feelings may or may not correspond.

    So that in trying to navigate competing truth-claims arising from different people's real experience, we turn to science as a method of establishing objective truth.

    And AFAICS the provisional verdict of the science seems to be that gender dysphoria is real and that treatment to transition the sex of the body to match the gender of the mind is helpful for people with this condition.

    You may of course agree or disagree.

    If we can reach agreement on the philosophy, with its clinical polysyllables, we can then consider how we best express that in clear unambiguous everyday language.

  • mousethief wrote: »
    Which has nothing to do with the developmental trajectory of getting from the biological definition of sex to the self definition a small proportion of humanity desires.
    This is awfully dismissive.

    It also ignores the difference between biological sex and gender. If they were identical, there would be no issues to do with identity. We would all have our genitals inspected at birth, have the exclamation, it's a boy/girl proclaimed above our heads, and settle down to a quiet life of playing with tractors/dolls, respectively. It's a teeny tiny bit more complicated than that, and trans is one element in the huge complexity of gender.
  • edited July 2018
    An individual's lived experience is in common language a testimonial. It isn't data in the usual way of collecting information systematically about a sample. Qualitative research has become a method of trying to systemize information in situations where sampling isn't possible. Worthy. I don't dismiss the individual lived experience but to generalize to the population from the lived experiences of a small group of qualitative stories isn't how we develop overall understanding, nor set public policy whether social or health.

    So I'm only dismissive of using the qualitative stories to say what the developmental pathways and influences are for everyone. The normative (most common) is congruence of biology and gender. We cannot argue from the exceptional. I support fully the human rights of those who are transgender, as they are, what they need to do to live healthy and happy lives.

    We seem to have several unresolved issues and probably not resolvable now: how self identity re gender may develop for different people when the biology isn't congruent with felt gender, how much we should take from those developmental pathways to influence the understanding of everyone's development, at what age and stages of development is it reasonable for parents to support transgender.

    In my extended family we're continuing to sort out. Thankfully we seem to be be getting beyond advocacy to better acceptance of needing objectivity and inclusion of the additional history beyond the advocacy.
  • LeafLeaf Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    Before the separation of sex from gender became a popular way of seeing things I don't know that many questioned it much. I certainly didn't. I recall hearing about gender first sometime in the early 1970s. The idea of separation of the two was a provocative idea but no data. For me it never occurred to me to be other than what I was born as. There were boys and girls and we were what we were. There was 2 stories in intro psych about two famous people. It was obviously rare. The context was more about what is mental illness and maladjustment than any consideration that such a thing could be considered within the 1.5 standard deviations of the average which was the statistical normal. With the debate about whether questioning sexual identity was pathology or not. Academic interest only. Never expected reification.

    I don't think this far I've seen convincing info on a basis other than testimonial and qualitative that persuades me about a developmental pathway that doesn't involve social influence and the suggestion that it is possible now to defy previously accepted definitions. With the understanding that within human diversity, everything is possible.

    The Bible doesn't contain directives about things that people had no desire or capacity to do at the time. There is no biblical instruction such as "Don't shoot at UFO's" because people had neither the desire nor the capacity to do this.

    But there is a directive about cross-dressing*. Deuteronomy 22:5: "A woman shall not wear a man's apparel, nor shall a man put on a woman's garment; for whoever does such things is abhorrent to the Lord." When Deuteronomy was written, cross-dressing was a thing that some people had the desire and the capacity to do, such that a rule was made about it. This predates the 1970's by some time.

    You don't know how many men "borrowed" their wives' or sisters' clothing privately, or went shopping for non-existent wives.
    You don't know how many women were relieved by the clothing reforms of the 1920's which made it socially acceptable for them to wear men's apparel.
    You don't know how many people literally kept their identities in the closet, so that when they got home, they could peel off the gender that had been assigned to them and finally dress in a way that reflected their inner selves.

    For those who are congruent with your assigned gender, or who do not have a strong sense of gendered life, I think it can be hard to understand the deep discomfort that transgender people report feeling when they have to pass as their assigned gender. It's not that they go home and "dress up." It seems to be more like the feeling of Eustace in "The Voyage of the Dawn Treader" when his dragon scales are scratched and peeled off, so he can be his true self. He wasn't putting on something; he was revealing who he truly was underneath.

    *Note: this is not to conflate cross-dressing with transgender identity, which may be different things, but to indicate that none of this is new.





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