This assumes I believe gender is a social construct, which I personally do not. I rather think gender, as with most things in humans, depends on both biological (sex) and psychological aspects (gender).
And what is a psychological aspect outside of bio-determinism? Is the psyche constructed outside of biology and social conditioning? If it is constructed on its own, could we have a mutually comprehensible knowledge (logos) associated with it?
While gender roles are ultimately social constructs, the gender itself is not.
But what is a gender outside of its manifestation? If sex is an inner disposition and it leads to a role in societal gender-space as gender roles, what dimension does the gender itself occupy? Let’s see if the following segment clarifies that:
There are plenty of examples of transgender people who do not conform to their real gender in a societal level (much as there are many cis people who do not conform to the societal norm of their gender, but are not themselves transgender. It’s not merely about the societal perception of gender, as many transpeople do not even conform to that, or sexual orientation, as many transgender people also do not have “heterosexual” orientations.
You are positing a real gender (not a gender role), that is not sexually constituted, but exists again at some plane in contradistinction to what- a fake, disingenuous gender? If we were to find and replace gender with gender roles as constituted thru sexual composition, would we still need Gender as a separate category from corresponding Gender Roles? Aren’t gender roles the sole manifestation and the only possible indication of the intangible category of gender itself? Wouldn’t everything else revert to sexual, and consequently, to biological definitions if there is no gender (and subsequently its roles) to talk about?
As I am not transgender, I cannot know what it is to feel a dissonance between your body and your mind. I can merely take their words for granted. But from what I’ve gathered, it goes beyond gender roles and perception of gender, down to a sense of dysphoria about one’s own body.
If the inability to experience a discrete class of subjective experience hindered its objective evaluation, we wouldn’t have psychology as a discipline. Subjective experiences cannot be taken as explanations of themselves, we experience the world to be flat, the sun to move around us and yet do not take these evident perceptions as explanations of their phenomenon. Trans experience may have similar subjective biases that confabulates an essence out of transgender existence, and correspondingly, an essence of gender outside of its expression.
An inner truth cannot solely create the gender or its representation, there has to be an interaction. They can only be transgender if they are judged to cross over existing social norms, and there will still be standards to adopt even for transgenders.
Why? I don’t see such standards. In fact, there are non-human, otherwise healthy animals who behave with all the hallmarks of the opposite gender (aggression, territorialism, whatever is relevant for that species) without any clear reason.
Is it possible to have a signifier without a corresponding signified? Is it possible to have a crossing over without something to be crossed over? What is crossed over in the trans-gender? The gender. What is the gender? Whatever has been already made out of it, not limited to those who experience the condition itself.
If you’re born into society and the history of society already established codes of behavior in empirical space, any class of behavior can be perceived to be specific to a category (gender), so much so that these behaviors and mannerisms (hallmarks) might find their perceived expressions in all subjects, including animals. The only clear reason here would be the order of causality, placing the society at the origin of interaction.
No biological issues, no lack of animals of the opposite gender, etc., and yet they behave as an animal of the other gender. Recently I’ve seen a case of a chicken behaving like a cock, crowing, challenging other males, etc..
How do we know that there are no biological issues in this anecdotal evidence? The chicken might simply be imitating a rooster-like behavior for leverage in local power struggle, benefiting from the hardwired submissive effect within established sexual dimorphism. And even if we knew that this was simply accountable to a chicken with the capacity to imitate a behavioral pattern associated with a rooster, would that make it gender specific in the society of poultry, or, to the observer who already has preconceived notions of behavior?
Of course, humans, being more complex, have more nuanced reactions, from agender, non-binary conforming (these I’d agree have a measure of societal influence), to transgender.
And of course we might also have the same capacity to imitate and thereby readjust our existing social rank, position, placement, etc. This might find its expression in imitating racial features or manners of domination (passing judgment, etc)
Or, they will be judged for acting according to their predispositions. If one justifiable predisposition is sexual orientation, couldn’t another one may be aesthetics (this is why I have included transvestites in my question), or, the disposition to satisfy others? Could you justly (and justifiably) regulate these dispositions? If not, could you judge their manifestations?
I confess to not understanding what you meant here. Clarify?
Let me clarify with a historical example: All the way until the LGBTT rights gained dominance, homosexuality was explained away in mainstream psychology as an applied deficiency on natural character. If somebody ‘turned’ gay, it was traceable to some trauma in some developmental stage. (For example Butch Lesbians must have lacked mother figures, they needed to aspire to what was available, they turned to the male figures, they renounced their natural character, they aspired to be what they are not, etc, they chose to be what they are not.)
Once this assumption was invalidated (both scientifically and politically) they had to ditch the social construction model and accept it as a sexual orientation.
Orientation (or predisposition) allowed an extra-moral character to the condition, it allowed for an exception to the moral rule of choice. Yet other predispositions did not (and still do not) seem to qualify. Now even S of BDSM has to validate its existence in the plane of sexual orientation, as another exception; you cannot have an orientation towards submission, satisfying others demands, you must strive to be free, mostly because of its implications in general.
Aesthetic disposition against the imposed personal interest, likewise, is out of question. One cannot be accepted to act against the established virtues of society. Lil’Kim has to justify her actions over her body to the others in the language of the others, and the others think they have a natural, self evident right to accepting confessions, admissions and excuses.
As for transvestites, I do not consider them in the same category as transgenderism or Lil’Kim’s transformation. Most transvestites, at least as far as I know, do it deliberately (for a cause or mere taste), for sexual gratification (in case of fetishists), money, aesthetic, or plenty other reasons. I know of no transvestites who claim psychological and physiological distress from not being allowed to transvestite.
Transvestites are not the same category as Transgenders, similar social norms apply to both in expression of their dispositions. Transvestites, in the liberal world, are also given the exception to act against established gender roles. In those circles they are not judged as going against their nature to comply with the wishes of others. In more conservative societies they can even face death for going against the rules (this may be why they are not often heard with their claims)
We’re going for her own words, which reveals her distress about being traded over for “European-looking” (read: white) people, a sentiment expressed by many, many black women.
We can only know or presume one’s thoughts and inner sentiments for their words. Most transpeople will tell you they, from a very young age, do not feel comfortable in the body of the sex they were born in, and that there’s a dissonance between what they feel and what they are.
And this personal dimension is enough to show that there’s a problem, Lil’Kim and others do not have to be included to make an already undeniable point about inequality and discrimination. If the author thinks she and people like her are suffering due to the compliance of Lil’Kims everywhere, that’s a whole new topic of discussion.