January 24, 2017

No, trans women are not men and trans men are not women

You meet them online, you meet them in various social settings: The people who think that gender is so simple that it is only a matter of what’s between your legs. Here is my response to one such individual.
Photo: Visivasnc
 “Transwomen are male, Transmen are female, there is nothing wrong with that fact at all.”
I hear this argument over and over again: "Men are men, and women are women. It is simple!"
No, this is not simple.
In this context I normally hear one of three explanations for what male and female are:
1. It is about genitalia -- taken as a sign of biological sex.
(The reality is much more complex, by the way. Many are born with ambiguous genitalia)
2.. It is about chromosomes -- XX is female, XY is male.
(This is not true either, there are intersex XX males and XY females who live as -- and identify with -- their assigned gender).
3. It is all about upbringing and socialization 
(Nope: The fundamental gender identity rarely changes even if you are raised as the opposite sex.)
Transgender feelings are real, regardless of what is causing them
In spite of genitalia, chromosomes and upbringing. In spite of a culture that harasses and ridicules gender variance (and in particular femininity and female identities in those assigned male). In spite of societies that reward men richly for playing the manly game: There they are, trans people who dream, long and desperately need to live their lives as the gender they feel they are. 
They did not ask for this mismatch. Most of them would give a lot not to feel this way. But they do and it does not go away.  For many of them this is a matter of life and death. The attempted suicide rate among transgender people is 40 percent. You do not try to kill yourself unless you are experiencing something very, very real.
In other words: The very existence of transgender men and women, the very people you try to invalidate, proves that you are wrong.

January 18, 2017

Yes, I'm Barbara

I asked Barbara over at Crossdream Life for permission to republish a version of a blog post she wrote for her own Crossdream Life blog (which is restricted to CDL members). It is a poetic presentation of a psychological breakthrough as regards gender and gender identity. This is not uncommon among transgender people, although the way this takes place may vary a lot. Barbara is a male to female crossdreamer.
Sometimes transgender doubts may be resolved by
a psychological breakthrough. (Illustration: sezer66)

Guest post by Barbara

It started with innocent restless obsession with all the things gender :) Old beliefs about two-spirited people were shaken, new ideas were written on the water, I was consuming page after page of  information in the vain hope of reaching the unreachable.

All this was be accompanied by one single black metal band: Mgła. Their great albums were the only music that I could stand. Excellent melodies, dark atmosphere and nihilistic lyrics; this combination was exactly right. A good dose of nihilism was a good thing; 

If I were to come to some conclusion, it had better not be an artificial construct, not a made-up position. So aggressively questioning everything except feelings was a right thing to do. Day after day tension built, thoughts buzzed in my head like a swarm of locusts.

The main question was: Who am I? Am I two-spirited? Am I female? Or is it all is made up and I just have a fetish (I’m a fetish, how funny)?

Is that true, that female part of me, or is it a defensive construct? What if the male part of me is an artificial construct? (Giggles) It feels like a right thought. What am I wearing? Male clothes? But why? Am I a female to male crossdresser? (more giggles) Ok, I’m not bad at passing as male (Did I say that aloud?)