I Don’t Understand the Trans* Movement.
There, I said it. BUT, hear me out.
Gender, as assigned at birth, is generally done via examination of the genitalia by the birthing doctor. It’s not a perfect system, but generally it categorizes people to the correct sex. Now sex is the important part of this discussion, as that’s based on chromosomes.
Generally speaking, females have two X chromosomes, while males have an X and a Y chromosome. There are exceptions (as briefly outlined above), but they tend to be pretty rare and don’t have a very profound physical effect (to the point where many individuals with unique chromosome arrangements are indistinguishable from those with standard arrangements). The male/female distinction here is with regard to biological systems and, generally speaking, genitalia. That’s it.
So that’s where the trans* movement becomes confusing to me. Transgender is defined as follows:
“Denoting or relating to a person whose self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventional notions of male or female gender.”
The conventions we’ve arbitrarily put in place stem from our insatiable need to categorize things. Blue is male, pink is female; men play sports, women cook — these aren’t real traits. It’s all made up! Gender identity should have absolutely nothing to do with these things. If you sit down and think about what society believes it means to be male or female, most of what you come up with has nothing to do with physiology, and physiology is the only thing that should matter with regard to that classification. If you’re a male who identifies primarily with traits that fit with female social norms, you’re not a woman trapped in a man’s body.
In my opinion, the trans* movement is an affront to individualism, because it claims that you have to categorize yourself to be accepted. It’s symptomatic of a pretty significant social issue of which we’ve only just started to scratch the surface. We as humans have this burning need to classify and label the world around us because that makes it easier to come to terms with the enormity of our own existence. In the realm of science, that’s a good thing: we observe, record, and classify forms of life and physical/chemical processes such that they can be better understood and so that we can that information to try and build a better world. When we start to classify social practices, however, we ignore the fact that we fabricated those social constructs in the first place. Somehow, through the series of choices our race has made through the course of history, we’ve come to this exact moment, and somehow we believe we ended up in exactly the right place. But we’ve made a lot of wrong decisions, people. There have been wars and crises abound. Why is it that that we think we’re always right?
Frankly, we’re pretty dumb. But we can get better.
The trans* movement is an outcry against discrimination, but I feel like they’ve misidentified the sort of discrimination they’re fighting against. Gender discrimination isn’t the issue here: it’s discrimination against people. We don’t like things that are different; that deviate from our artificially-created social norms. People are people, and they should be accepted for their uniqueness regardless of what that entails. That idea doesn’t give you the right to cause harm to others, but it gives you the freedom to express yourself freely. You shouldn’t have to fear being who you are, and you shouldn’t let who you are be dropped into a category just because it doesn’t fit into the box that someone else created.