The difference between transcending gender expression and transitioning genders
I had to talk about this. I know that everyone is kind of tired of talking about it. Transgender activists are tired, Youtubers are tired, the media is tired, I am tired. Everyone want a little break from talking about gender, if only for a day. So sorry to bring it once again, especially considering that everyone is conflicted about it, and no matter one's stances on the different issues, you are guarranteed to get a lot of backlash. Gender as a topic is now a landmine. So, without further ado, here's my thoughts on genders, transgenderism and more. [Definition of gender I used, down below]
First of all, yes I am one of those people, the ones who say: ''there is only two genders''. However, there is an infinity of gender expressions. Gender is predefined, biologically, we don't choose it, like most of our physical attributes, and it isn't arbitrary, unlike race, gender is defined based on reproduction, a mechanism of life. Females are the one that gave birth, or lay eggs if they lay eggs. Males generally fertilise the egg. There is a few interesting unique cases in the animal world that stray from this rule, but humans don't. Intersex people have a birth defect, not unlike trisomia or a third arm, it's not supposed to happen under normal circumstances. Transgender people are a special case, their brains register their gender as the opposite one from their DNA and outside appareance, which cause a lot anxiety and confusion. Many specialists are still not sure of the right way to relieve them of their sufferings. For now, the most popular way to deal with the problem is gender transitioning, that is, to artificially trigger a puberty of the opposite gender with hormones injections, and, if the patient desire it, a sex change chirurgy. The efficacy of this type of treatment seems to be a mix bag. Many transgenders report feeling better and less anxious now, but on the long term, it seems the suicide rates are still quite high even after the chirurgy and hormonal therapy. Some argue it's social stigma and discrimination that maintain the suicide rates high, and not just the person's own feelings of dystopia or the side effects of the treatment. This can be hard to assess however, after all, not every post-operation transgender person is easy to tell apart. Many blend in perfectly with the gender they always felt as. Transgender activists argue that transitioning is the only humane thing to do, saying any other treatment is wrong. I wonder why though, there has been talks of how we could treat the feeling of dystopia, instead of yielding to it. Kind of how we treat schizophrenia or depression, instead of letting those suffering from it have, respectively, hallucinations and commit suicide. And, before you say ''but transgenderism is just like homosexuality! and homosexuality can't be treated!'' remember why gender dystopia is considered a mental illness and not homosexuality. The definition of a mental illness is :''(Pathology) any of various disorders in which a person's thoughts, emotions, or behaviour are so abnormal as to cause suffering to himself, herself, or other people''. Obviously, gender dystopia fall in that definition, because transgender people suffer from the dystopia, while homosexuals don't suffer from their homosexual feelings. Granted, they can, because of societal reasons, feel stressed or anxious, but being homosexual, in itself, does not cause any suffering. Unlike gender dystopia, where they suffer simply from their own feelings of not being in the right body, not just from societal causes. So, while we know that homosexuality seems untreatable, and that treating it is not necessary, since being gay doesn't cause any harm, why assume it's the same for gender dystopia? Maybe there is a way to suppress the feelings that cause so much suffering to these people, the same way we suppress the abnormal feelings caused by a depression or a mental disorder. But anyway, treatment was not the main topic of this post, just a side reflection. For now we use gender transitions, and that's fine by me, I just think we should consider other ways to help those people if a less intrusive, dangerous and irreversible way exists.
The main topic I wanted to talk about was the ''non-binary'', those people that identify as something different from male or female and say that they, also, are transgenders. First of all, I thought, as most people, that the trans part was for transitioning from one gender to the other... not transcending genders altogether. Many people seems to think ''trans'' is a gender. Well, no, trans people transitionned, so they are now the gender they always felt as, not an imaginary transition gender! As for people who say they are ''demi-girl'' ,''zuchini'' or ''gender-fluid'' and all those funny sounding or confusing new gender types ( there is more genders than pokemon types apparently), they always sounded ridiculous to me. I'll talk about two of them, Agender and Gender-Fluid. Agender seems to be for people who identifies as no gender, like none at all. Ooook... But you don't reaallly choose genders... as unfortunate as that may seems, you have a gender, like it or not, that's your choice, but you have a gender. Gender-Fluid push that idea further... they have a gender, maybe it's female, maybe it's male, maybe it's in between. Depends of their mood, so it changes, hence the fluid part. Ok that's ridiculous. Gender is fixed, even transgender people acknowledge that, heck, why do you think so many of them are willing to have chirurgy and take hormones? Because gender is fixed. Even after transition, they are still in a fixed gender state. Granted, this state need to be maintained with hormones intake, but still, you can't change gender on a coin flip. Those people, the non binary folks, seems to complain more about gender expression than anything.Gender expression is how we socially and culturally express gender differences. You know, skirts, beards, make up, blue for boys, pink for girls, profession choice, etc... Which begs the question: if those people want to express their gender in the way they want, why create new genders in the first place? Nothing is stopping you, as a male, from wearing skirts, make-up and pink if you so desire. No need to invent a gender for that. It seems to me these people just invented new genders instead of accepting that they can express themselves,as a man, or a woman, in any way they like, claimed to be an oppressed minority because they are quirky, and said that now everyones own them respects. That's not how it works guys. Or gals. Or non binary unicorn-gendered folks. I understand that they want to reject gender stereotypes and usual expectations that comes with being male or female by creating new genders, so that these have no stereotype or expectations because of their novelty. However, those new labels are no less able to be stereotyped and prejudiced against. And these people insistance in calling themselves trans, because they transcend gender roles, not genders, is harming those that want or already have transitioned from male to female or female to male. People now lump all those gender role defying non-binaries with those who suffer from gender dystopia, and the people who finds those new genders silly, but don't know much about gender dystopia, are likely to assume, that they too, are just people that want to oppose gender roles, and not people suffering from a mental illness and need support. If you want to oppose traditionnal gender roles, do so, that's fine, but don't invent genders just because it's easier than facing the fact that you dislike your own gender stereotypes and traditionnal roles. Affirm that yes, you are a man, a straight man, but that no, that doesn't mean you have to sport a beard or that you can't wear a skirt or that you can't be a nurse. Affirm that yes, you are a woman, and yes, you like skirts, but sometimes you like acting ''like a boy'' and that your love of destruction derbies if perfectly fine, that you don't care what others think of it, because they shouldn't care and you shouldn't either.
Many trans activists are trying to push those new ''pronouns laws'' were you are obligated to refer to people with the pronouns they identify as. [UPDATE November 22, 2016: turn out that law is outlawing only discrimination against people based on gender identity or expression. It's harmless and fine. People, both for and against it, were mislead into believing it was making it illegal to not use someone's prefered pronouns. It isn't. As long as it isn't discriminating agaisnt them, like refusing them service or a job based on their gender identity or expression, it isn't illegal. Everyone was just too dumb to read the bill for themselves.Yeah that includes me. I did read it, both in french and english to be sure to get the good meaning, and it's ok, it's almost symbolic since discrimination overall was already illegal, they are just stating that for gender identiy and expression, discrimination is still not ok. Here's the link http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?DocId=8280564 ] While I get how it could maybe help some folks that transtioned and have their relatives and acquaintances use the old pronouns not feel upset in public or private, I don't see how this policing of language is helping those same relatives and acquaintances to be more tolerant. Everyone that knows a trans person that transitioned knows that for some people it's just hard to use the new pronouns and name when you are used to the old ones for years of use. Punishing people that are just having trouble transitioning their language is going to make them resentful. Why would they even try to talk to trans people if they can get arrested or prosecuted for a mistake? That could lead to ostracisation and isolation. As for people who misgender just to be mean, those are assholes, just ignore them, report them for harrasment if necessary,but don't prosecute them because they used the wrong word. Also, since those laws were not thought for actual trans people, but for the non-binary folks and their weird pronouns, anyone that refuse to use those alien words will be punished, for, frankly, disagreeing with the idea that ''Xe'' is a pronoun or that ''zuchini'' is an acceptable gender. Punishing people for not liking the way you express your gender is just silly, does not encourage people to be tolerant towards you and, like I said, why all those labels in the first place? The first step in having bigotry based on a hierarchy of categories for something... is to have labels in those categories. You are just multiplying the potential for bigotry, not unlike those racist folks that like to create more racial divisions, like ''jew''(a religion, nothing genetic or even biological about that), ''muslim''(another religion), ''ginger'' (an hair color) or the infamous ''aryen race'' (bullshit that the Nazis made up). I already talked about why race is nonsensical and arbitrary there (click on these words, it's a link to that post) so I won't talk about it again, but you get why I compared new genders to new races: it's unecessary. While there isn't a thing as biological races, there is genders, that's the only difference in this analogy. No, the goal of those laws is to force people to accept the non-binaries unique gender expression. Unfortunately, I think this will cause the opposite. The best way to make people accept new behaviours and ideas, is to normalize them, trivialise them. Think of homosexuality, a while back, it was seen as weird and scary, now it's the most boring thing in the world... Except in Saudi Arabia and most muslim countries. Exposing the public to homosexuals, through television, magazines and more, normalised the concept of homosexuality, and made people more tolerant towards it. Same thing for most ideas, including what is masculine or feminine. I think why Saudis or Russians are so opposed to homosexuality is because they still mythicise it, for them it's still weird and scary. If they were exposed to non-dangerous, normal gay people, they would progressively warm up to the idea that there is nothing to fear here, that homosexuality isn't a disease or something dangerous and perverted. By making new labels and insisting that these are minorities, that they are different and more, you are alienating them from the rest of society, not integrating them. That's also why I oppose affirmative action or quotas, they allienate women and ''people of color'' (That term, I hate it, I don't believe in races so using it makes me cringe), makes them seems like they are special or different, it dehumanize them,makes them less relatable.
Anyway, that was my thoughts on all of this. I once was called transphobic because of them. Ridiculous. I may have expressed myself in a clumsy way before, but I certainly am not bigoted against transgenders. I respect people choices, identity and beliefs, even if I think their beliefs or choices are bad.As for identity,such as skin color,hair color, or the gender those transitioning identifies as, those aren't choices nor beliefs, so of course that I don't judge people based on that. I'll even say your weird pronouns, because I am not a dick. However asking me to get rid of my right to not believe you are a ''demi-girl'' is infringing on my freedom of thoughts and my freedom of speech. I have the right to say, and think, that your new genders are not real, and that if you want to express your gender excentricity, you can do so with your own gender, no need to make up one. Thank you for reading, my name is KeLvin, and see you next time!
P.S: my definition of gender: ''the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex'' Merriam-Webster. Notice the ''associated with''. Gender is linked to sex, it's inevitable. As for the typically, it's to remind people that the association may change from one sex, to the other, or neither/both, like how pink used to be a masculine color, but isn't anymore. Some associations remains to this day, like how it isn't false to say males are more likely to be aggressive or violent.