I haven’t written about my life in a while, and I need to fix that soon, but right now I feel the need to express my views on gender.
I suppose Caitlyn Jenner was the tipping point, but I have been thinking about this for a while. It bothers me that the progressive thing to do now is to support transgender-ism. I have no problem with supporting any given person’s journey of self-discovery, but I do take issue with the idea of transgender-ism itself. And it’s because I don’t believe in gender.
Sex is very obviously a thing. People have genitals. And while I understand that there are more cases of non-binary sex than most people would assume (most of which are “corrected” very shortly after birth), the majority of folks are either male or female. And I think those words are useful, “male” and “female,” boy and girl, man and woman. But I think they should only indicate which type of genitalia a person has. I do NOT think that those words or categories should have anything to do with: what color we dress our babies in, what toys we allow our children to play with, which emotions of theirs we encourage, or how often we tell them that they are beautiful, or strong, or kind. I also don’t think those words should have anything to do with whether we, as adults, can: wear dresses, or suits, or nail polish, or make-up, whether we should grow or remove our body hair, or have certain hairstyles, or cry at movies, for that matter. I don’t think that what you’re packing in your underpants has anything at all to do with how you think or feel. While we make gender-associations with words like “nurturing” or “stoic,” we shouldn’t. No emotion belongs only to one sex. To say that it does limits our experiences.
As I see it, transgender-ism reinforces gender stereotypes. By saying you “feel more like a woman,” you’re limiting what it means to be a man. And vice-versa. Men and women don’t have different feelings unless it’s because they were trained to from a young age. By allowing younger and younger children to “transition” to the opposite gender, we’re telling them that if they feel a certain way, or act a certain way, then they need to have a certain set of body parts. Which seems crazy to me. Instead, why don’t we teach our children that if they want to play with dolls, or sticks, or wear their hair long, or take up carpentry, that they can and they should and that it’s absolutely fine and NORMAL no matter what pronoun we call them by.
So I think, instead of supporting transgender rights, which limit our own definitions of our genders, the progressive thing to do is work to eliminate gender all-together, which will free us to have hairy legs and wear high heels as we see fit. I will admit, it’s hard. My son doesn’t have any pink shirts. If he requested one, I’d absolutely get him one (though my husband and I are doing our best not to buy him any clothing that endorses characters or companies- we don’t want him to be a walking billboard). And I think that a man wearing lipstick in a board meeting might get some funny looks (or fired, potentially), but we women fought for our right to wear pants, and I think it would be much more sensible for men to fight for the right to wear dresses than to undergo hormonal treatment and surgery for it.
I suppose I should mention that I do believe a person, should they get the surgery, can be trans-sex. But it seems like more of an aesthetic thing to me and I’m going to class it with all the other elective surgeries, like face-lifts and tummy-tucks. All of them might make a person feel better about their body, but non of them are necessary.
I hope I haven’t offended anyone. I will absolutely allow comments bearing differing opinions, to further the discussion, but hateful ones will not be allowed. Hateful comments will potentially cause me to cry into my pillow at night. Not because I’m a woman and that’s how we work, but because that’s just the way I am.
(I’m editing this to add a picture of Owen the day his aunt sent him a doll stroller and a new dolly to push in it. He was So. Happy.)