Transgender Millennials

Jiminy crackers – I’m trying to A) buy a house, and B) get my transcripts transferred from the community college where I got my Associates to a real college where I intend to get a Bachelors, and both of those projects are a fuckin’ tangle of red tape. Especially the house-buying, which I kinda expected to be a rigamarole. And its bizarre that I’m even doing either of these things because I pretty much assumed that I’d never get an Associates degree and then when I got it, I assumed that I was done with the whole higher education bullshit and there was never a point when I thought I’d be trying to buy a fuckin’ house – until fairly recently when I realized that it was the only way I’d be able to live without roommates, which I’d like to do because I don’t like living with people. It would be cheaper for me, month to month, to buy a 2 bd, 1 ba house than to rent a 1 bd apartment, which is ridiculous. It used to be possible for lower working-class people to afford to live in this town. I blame those assholes in DC, but that doesn’t help the situation much. The reason I never expected to get a Bachelors or buy a house is that I have always assumed that a wretched loser such as meself couldn’t do those things – low self-esteem, fear of trying. Also, I’m kinda lazy. Studies have shown that Protestants have a slightly higher income level than Catholics and that’s generally attributed to the Protestant work ethic, but I didn’t inherit that part of it. I am not what you’d call ambitious. I am also not exactly thrilled that circumstances have put me in a position where I have to apply to a university or scrounge up my tax returns from the past two years so I can move outta my mom’s house and get a glorified piece of paper, but that’s nevertheless where I am. You can bet I’ll be voting for whatever socialists are running in the next election, promising free houses and college degrees. Actually, I voted for that one socialist who was promising free medical care and that didn’t work out. But I’m gonna vote for the socialists anyway.

None of which was what I wanted to write about here today, which was transgendered people. That’s right. Following up on sexuality in general and then gays in church, I’m gonna plow right into the trannies, which is what we called ’em back in the 90’s. I think that term is offensive or some shit now, but let’s not let that stop us. Here’s the thing – I’m not convinced that everybody who claims to be non-gender-conforming really is and I’ll tell ya why.

First, some people just think it’s cool to claim they’re part of the marginalized flavor of the month and right now that’s gender-non-binary or whatever. And it is pretty easy – if you wanna claim to be gay, there’s some expectation that you’ll get involved with somebody who is the same gender as you, but if you say you’re non-conforming-gender, you can continue to date whoever you were before because it ain’t about who you’re attracted to. Saying you’re conforming-binary-non doesn’t obligate you to change anything about yourself, but it does give you the right to tell everybody around you that they have to use different pronouns and if they don’t, they’re bigots. And when you get over it, you just switch back. How much fun is that?

The second thing is more important to me and it’s that the society we live in has some really stupid notions about gender in the first fuckin’ place. Men and women, girls and boys, are expected to fit into some really narrow boxes, the parameters of which are reinforced constantly. I have known grown-ass men who wouldn’t light their Marlboros with pink lighters. I shit you not. The feminist movement has helped some people – females and males – do things that they might not’ve been able to do before, but there is a lotta fuggin’ work left to do. So what I think is, that some young people look at the very confining pigeonholes that they’re supposed to spend their lives in and they think “I don’t fit in that category – I’ma be conforming-non-gender and then I don’t have to watch football or be really interested in buying shoes or whatever.” For some folks, declaring themselves to be transgendered-non-binary is a way of escaping the prison of whatever gender they happened to’ve been born into. And that’s fine as far as that goes, but it could go much further.

See, I’ve never been all that gender-conforming myself. I like some things that are associated with being male and some things that are associated with being female. I’d say I’m a bit more on the feminine side when it comes to my experience of the emotions that are associated with sex, but I’m pretty fuckin’ heterosexual. I mean – I really like pussy. And tits. Some of the problems I’ve had with relationships with women have come from the fact that they expected me to behave the way they thought men were supposed to behave. They assumed that I would be what they had been taught men were. I was with this one woman for several years who was repeatedly baffled by the fact that I wouldn’t conform to her preconceived notion of what men were like – and she was a self-proclaimed feminist who had been in a same-sex relationship before she met me. She’d get all pissed off at me and I’d try to figure out what she was off about and it would turn out that the root of the trouble was that she was acting out of her attachment to stereotypical gender behavior. I’d yell at her that I wasn’t a cookie cutter male, but she never got it. She was never able to see me as an individual. I was a man and she knew how men were. The fact that I said otherwise was just me lying. She really took it to the extreme, but it’s happened in every relationship I’ve been in. The women expected me to be something I wasn’t because I have facial hair and a dick. I still encounter that – women who assume things about me because they see a beard – but I’m not involved with them, so it’s easier to ignore.

Yet I don’t claim to be transgendered or ask other people to use a special set of pronouns and the reason for that is – I am male. I don’t have any issue with my maleness. There’s nothing wrong with being a male who is somewhat sensitive, likes to sew and doesn’t want to watch football or treat women like cum receptacles. There is, however, something very seriously wrong with a society that demands that human beings cram themselves into very tiny boxes and live their lives according to predetermined patterns based on what combination of chromosomes they have. Certainly, there is some logic to dividing labor according to gender in hunter-gatherer societies, but in case you hain’t noticed, the US of A is not one. Shit, many hunter-gatherer peoples were/are more openminded than the average American when it comes to gender.

As one might expect, I am saying that the problem is not with the individual, it’s with the society. That’s right – if the society at large didn’t try to force girls and boys, women and men, into roles, then people wouldn’t have to rebel against or react to those roles. If people didn’t act like boys are “supposed” to do certain things, then boys who don’t wanna do those things wouldn’t feel compelled to say “I wanna be a girl” or “I’m non-binary-conforming-gender”. They would just be boys who like girly things. Which wouldn’t make them gay. The same is true of girls who like boy-y things.

I overheard a coupla old biddies in a thriftstore t’other day, talking about somebody they knew who wasn’t doing what she should be doing. I didn’t hear if the young woman they were talking about was a lesbian or a transgendered boy-in-a-female-body or just a young lady who wanted to drive a bulldozer, but she was definitely not behaving like a young lady should, according to the biddies. One of ’em said something about how young people think they need to be individuals. The other said something like “Well, it’s fine to be an individual, but as Christians, we have to….” and at that point I’d gotten far enough away that I didn’t have to listen to any more of that twaddle. Maybe it’s not very Christlike of me, but I sometimes find comfort in the fact that other people are older than me and will probably die before I do. Those two old hens were exactly what I’m talking about. And to make it worse, they’re dragging God into it, which is a great way to convince someone to leave whatever religious institution they’re part of.

“Honey, God hates it when you don’t act like a stereotype.”

Not that I’m opposed to people leaving some religious institutions. The more people leave certain religious institutions, the better, in my ‘umble opinion. Trouble there is, when people leave one, they tend to quit ’em all. So when the young lady in question leaves the bigoted church to get away from the two old bitches, she’ll prob’ly just quit Christianity altogether. Some people leave Christianity because they’re attracted to something else, but many of ’em, if not most of ’em, leave because some asshole told them they couldn’t stay. Or that they’d have to become something they’re not in order to stay.

Let’s recall that Jesus was sold out by one of His own.

The biggest threat to Christianity is Christians. Specifically, Christians who tell other Christians who/what they have to be in order to be Christians. If somebody says they’re a Christian, that’s that. If that person chooses to have a beard and wear a dress, what difference is that? What does it matter if a person doesn’t fit into a box?

So I know this teenager who was born with two X chromosomes who likes skateboarding and prefers to have short hair. And this teenager felt moved to declare that she was actually a boy and everybody had to get on board with that. Now, that’s fine – I don’t mind calling the kid a different name. And I do know that some people really are born in the wrong body. But what’s wrong with a girl having short hair and a skateboard? Couldn’t such a girl just be a girl who likes the things she likes? What if all the girls who like boy things just demanded to be recognized as girls who like boy things instead of switching genders? Wouldn’t that force the meaning of the word “girl” to open up a bit? What if all the boys who aren’t exactly what the world expects boys to be insisted on being the boys they are? Would that make the definition of “boy” change? Would we all be freer to grow and learn and explore? Would God still love us if we actually became the individuals He made us to be?

Please note, I’m not suggesting that we throw all sexual mores out the window. I’m just saying that it might be okay to relax a bit. Let people be who they are – as God made them. Welcome them in and celebrate the contributions they make.

How fuckin’ hard is that?

I suppose the young people – millennials – who are jumping on the transgender bandwagon are helping the whole thing move forward to a better, less confining place. I generally think millennials are silly, but they’re the best hope we currently have of undoing the damage the baby boomers did. (I’m gen X – we don’t count.) So I play along with all the kids who want to be “they/them” because I think they’ll get over that eventually and the result will be a more egalitarian society – after the baby boomers die off, which I’m looking forward to. I have a tendency to think ahead to a future when nobody will care what kinda underpants ya wear or who you fuck – because I don’t care and I’d be happy to have less discussion about all that tripe in the media. I like to think that when all the manufactured scandals about lesbians and boys who wanna do ballet die down, we’ll be able to have conversations about interesting things like the importance of Danish tailors in Finnegans Wake, which I’m reading for the nth time now. I’m pretty much always reading Finnegans Wake.

Ya know what I don’t think we need to talk about? Christianity. Not that it should be a taboo subject, but what is there to talk about? Christianity is a thing we should do, not a thing we should debate. The reoccurring motif of chickens and eggs in Finnegans Wake is a thing to debate about – because it doesn’t matter. And if we were arguing about that, we’d’ve read Finnegans Wake, which is all about God’s grace poured out for sinners who don’t deserve it. When I get into a university, I’ma figure out how to work Finnegans Wake into all my papers.

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Transgender Millennials

  1. Buckle the Fuck up this is bout to be long as fuck cause I’ve got some Shit to say.

    To your first point, I agree. Being or claiming to be nonbinary is an easy claim to the community. I struggle with this morally. On one level I feel as though I should respect people and not say they have to prove their identity, but on another I have absolutely met people like this. People who make nonbinary people look fake. People who think being queer is trendy and cool, but they’re not queer so they chop off their hair or put on a dress or bind their chest occasionally and say they’re nonbinary, but experience no social or physical dysphoria in the ways that others do. I’ve also met people who see gender as a societal construct and have simply chosen not to participate. I don’t agree with this as an identity. Identity is about who you are inside, not your political stance on gender. I am in the camp that some level of dysphoria, (dysphoria being discomfort arising from the conflict between someone’s gender identity and their sex assigned at birth) be it social or physical, is inherent to the trans experience. This isn’t an idea held by all within the nonbinary community. It’s often looked on as bigoted and referred to as “truscum.” At this point I’m too fed up, I don’t care, I’m tired of my experiences being discounted just because of people who like to express themselves in ways that don’t conform and act like that constitutes gender identity. I will make the distinction here that accepting the body you live in is different from not experiencing dysphoria. Transition is expensive and not accessible to everyone. Self-hatred is pointless and unhealthy, and accepting your body as it is, knowing that you are your gender regardless of your body can ease the pain of dysphoria.
    I also agree that society has stupid fucked up gendered expectations of all people We would be better off as a whole if men weren’t ridiculed for being sensitive or women for being assertive. “Be a man” is the single most destructive idea in our society. A society that criticizes men for perceived femininity is a society that inherently values masculinity over femininity, which is fucked and hurts everybody in the long run. Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women because they feel as though they have to bottle up their emotions and “be a man.” By making expression of emotions other than anger “feminine” and demonizing femininity we isolate men. By characterizing anger as “masculine” we isolate and gaslight women who are told they are hysterical, when the same emotion expressed by a man would be seen as justified and healthy. All emotions should be equally accessible to all genders because all genders experience all emotions.
    Telling people they have to be like this or enjoy that thing because of their societally perceived gender is ridiculous and willfully ignores the individuality of people. People like things that don’t fit society’s conception of what they should like. That’s just facts. As far as clothing and haircut choices go, same deal. Clothes are only gendered because we decided they are. If someone who identifies as male wears a dress that just makes him a man who is wearing a dress, not a woman. We don’t say women want to be men because they wear pants, because that has been normalized in our society. It’s just taking a while for people to catch up in regards to other clothing items. Identity is how you feel not what you wear.
    Here I feel the need to make a distinction between social dysphoria and physical dysphoria. Social dysphoria is discomfort with the way society sees you, physical dysphoria is discomfort with your body. The way one is seen by others versus the way that one sees oneself. The intensity of these experiences are specific to individuals. Someone may experience social dysphoria but not be moved to alter their body, while another person may feel uncomfortable with their body but not give much of a fuck about how others perceive their gender. Someone else may feel both. All experiences are equally valid. Social dysphoria is something I do actually think could be alleviated to some extent if society let go of its conceptions of what people should be. Physical dysphoria is not.
    You said you know a trans guy who likes “boy things,” and that you feel as though if people demanded to simply be recognized as members of their assigned gender who happen to like things that are not traditionally associated with their assigned gender that that would force societal definitions of “boy” and “girl” to “open up,” and that they might not feel the need to transition. This is all well and good for people who identify as their sex assigned at birth, and when society finally comes to the conclusion that girls can like football and boys can like makeup because those things are not inherently by their nature “for boys” or “for girls” we will all be much better off. That does nothing for people who you recognize as truly being born in a body that does not reflect who they are inside. Putting aside nonbinary people for a second, binary trans people exist, and their experiences of their gender aren’t based on or defined by liking activities that society says they shouldn’t. Plenty of binary trans women like football and plenty of binary trans men like makeup because, again, these things aren’t inherently “for men” or “for women”, they are only perceived as such because society has decided they are. In the same way that the experiences of binary trans people are not defined by liking traditionally gendered things, neither are the experiences of nonbinary people. To relate this to your description of your own experience, you identify as male. You like things that are traditionally seen as feminine and experience emotions related to sex in a way that is traditionally seen as feminine, yet you remain secure in your male identity because your identity is not composed of your societally gendered interests or emotions, but of how you feel about yourself. The same is true of people of all genders.
    I want to relate my personal experience here in the hope that it provides context. I was assigned female at birth. As a child I loved dresses, and playing in the dirt, and knitting, and building forts in the woods. My parents pretty much let me wear and do whatever. I played with dolls, I liked to make them go to war. None of these things have any bearing on my gender, I’m just mentioning them to make the point again that clothes and interests don’t equal gender. I knew I was technically a girl, and that I related more to boys, but I didn’t think much about how being a girl was any different from being a boy. The closest I got to thinking I was a boy child was wanting to be the prince in disney movies instead of the princess. When I started puberty around age ten I began to experience top dysphoria. I hated the way my body was changing and I was powerless to stop it. I hated, and still hate, having boobs. I didn’t know how to express it at the time, but I hated that everyone around me thought I was a girl. I didn’t know that I wasn’t necessarily female just because I was born in this body, but I didn’t have the language to express what I was experiencing. I assumed that everyone felt the same way I did, and eventually it would pass. It didn’t. Every year it got stronger. By twelve I bound my chest with ace bandages and spent hours in the mirror hating myself and not knowing why I felt so disconnected from my body. By thirteen I was deeply suicidal and had no idea why. I thought something was wrong with me. I learned that trans people exist my freshman year of highschool. I watched endless youtube videos of trans men and felt like I had finally figured out what this feeling was. My junior year I began wearing my school’s male dress code and stealing my brother’s clothes to wear at home. My senior year I bought a proper chest binder and my dad cried, telling me he felt like he was losing his daughter. I cried because I didn’t know how to tell him he never had one. The first time my grandma saw me wearing a suit she straightened my tie and told me I looked very handsome, and I could have died I was so happy. My freshman year of college I had the space to express myself fully, and began presenting as male full time and using he/him with people I trusted. I went really hard into “I am male” that year, and it felt amazing to no longer force myself to be something I’m not. As time went on and the excitement and freedom of no longer pretending to be female wore off I began to realize something still wasn’t totally right. Being male wasn’t entirely authentic to who I am, it was simply more authentic than being female. I realized that this is because I’m nonbinary. I feel the need to make the point here that while clothes don’t have gender, they are a useful tool in performing gender, and at that time in my life I felt the need to perform gender to alleviate social dysphoria.
    The way I have found easiest to explain this is through shoes. Imagine there are only two sizes of shoe in the world, big and small. Imagine all your life you only owned shoes that are small. As you get older they just get smaller and smaller. They pinch your toes and cut into your heels and it hurts to walk, but everyone around you is wearing shoes and they all seem fine with the arrangement, so you just limp and keep it to yourself. Then one day you get a new pair of shoes. They’re too big, like clown shoes. You trip over your toes, but they don’t cause you pain, so you keep wearing them, assuming you’ll grow into them, until one day you find out there’s a whole third size of shoe. This size fits you perfectly. They don’t hurt and you don’t trip, they’re just right. This is how I feel about my nonbinary identity. I still identify as trans. I still experience dysphoria every single day, but I don’t identify as strictly male. I would still rather be perceived as male than female because that is more accurate to my experience of gender. “Sir” may be my too big pair of shoes, but “ma’am” is definitely still my too small pair, and too big is definitely still more comfortable than too small. I still bind my chest and I still intend to transition physically to look outwardly how I feel inside, but I understand that I am still myself regardless of how accessible physical transition is at this point in my life. I wear clothes regardless of their percieved masculinity or femininity because I have accepted that clothes have no bearing on my identity. You said that you “play along” with nonbinary kids because eventually they will “get over it.” I would say that some people probably will, but I will not. I’ve felt this way for the entirety of my conscious existence, and been through a shit load of therapy for it, and I can’t imagine it going away. I’m not this way because I think it’s cool. If I could choose to be a cis woman or a trans man I 100% would. In a heartbeat. But I can’t, because I’m not, so I have to keep living my life as a nonbinary person and hoping that one day society will believe me.
    Also: not all nonbinary people are kids. Check out To Survive on This Shore, specifically the interviews with Willy, Grace, Jay, and Justin Vivian if you’re at all interested in learning more.
    Please don’t discount the rest of what I’ve said because of this final point, BUT, 1) words like tranny are offensive because words that were once acceptable (such as how “retarded” used to be a medical term) evolve and become offensive when non group members use those words to hurt members, necessitating new language. A similar evolution can be seen with racial language, ex: “oriental.” 2) Words like tranny and queer are being reclaimed by the community, much like the Slutwalk movement tries to reclaim the word slut. This doesn’t necessarily mean they are reclaiming those words for everyone, but for the communities that they are used against. Queer has become an acceptable general reference as in “the queer community” but tranny, not so much.

    Like

    1. Holy moly – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts/experiences. My own perspective on any subject must needs be limited – I try to be transparent about my ignorance. I also tend to blurt things out – in speaking and writing – and fail to clearly convey nuances. I genuinely appreciate correction and clarification.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s