Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crawling out of the Pit of Dispair

Well, that was worse than I expected.

My charitable donations..CC and SA

This year, I decided to donate to Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army (twice!).  No, not because they help so many people.  Because my employer tells me to.  Oh, it's nothing illegal, it's completely voluntary.

Donate $12 and get to wear casual clothing for the week following Thanksgiving
Donate $10 and get to wear casual clothing for the rest of the year starting mid-December.  

Of course, if you don't you tend to stand out in a workplace of perhaps 35 people that are actually in our office on a day to day basis.  And our workplace is all about group cohesion.  We're a congregation, really.  Well about 23 or 24 of us are, literally.  See, most of the people in my office got their job through the local [town name] Valley Southern Baptist Church.

Why I am not you (except when I am).


   I'm tired of reading the same old confusion and misconceptions surrounding the use of the word, 'transgender'.  It's been used as a specific, personal identity and as a general term to indicate any gender variance.  It's been externally applied as a label to the queerest of the queer as well as the most binary post-treatment, "moved-on" ex-TS people.  And it's been self applied by people who range over the entire gamut as well.  No one agrees on its use because everyone is using it for their own purpose, and most of the time this leads to horrible internal inconsistencies (see: GLAAD's half-assed attempt to create a gender codex from a cis gender, cis sexed, gay point of view).

Here's my take on it, which I *believe* reconciles the Second Wave, "gender is performative" viewpoint with that of the HBS women and even those who are gender and sex fluid.  Take it around the cranium for a spin and see what you think.

  Although it is a medically treated condition, a person can identify as TS - but only if they are identifying as someone with the medical condition or someone who has overcome the condition.  A good analogy would be someone with cancer or who has beat cancer, or someone who has been in a terrible accident and has to relearn how to walk, talk, etc..  Traces of such an experience, either physiological or emotional, can remain for life and although not always the healthiest option, can become incorporated into their self identity.

  To otherwise assume a sex or gender identity of TS is internally inconsistent.  TS by definition means that someone's sex and gender identity is in opposition of  the one that was assigned at birth based on genital configuration.  Not a blend, not somewhere in the middle nor a rainbow-sherbet swirl.   To  hold a post-treatment identity of TS is a misnomer at best; the correct identity would be then be TG.  And that must be considered just as viable and valid an identity as is "man" or "woman".   In reality there is a continuum, but in our culture it is represented by a threshold between male and female and it is extremely fine.

TS is a very specific medically treated condition.
TG is a non-binary sex and gender social identity.

  Like any other medically treated condition, TS can vary in degree and severity.  There are dozens of sex-dimorphic physiological attributes, some in the brain some in the rest of the body, each with it's own place on a spectrum ranging from "male" to "female" and each it would appear can develop independent of the others.  In other words, it doesn't have to be binary.

  Like any other social identity, TG comprises countless multitudes of social attributes each with it's own spectrum.  And these identities are internal as well as external.  Some of them are obviously based on or prompted by physiology, but how they are created and expressed is cultural specific and learned.

So we have three separate attributes, not the two ordinarily used to describe 'trans':

-Social gender identity

Three attributes=six possibilities, and that's assuming a (false) binary for each.  In reality  each has its own full range of sub-attributes each with its own spectrum.  But let's keep it simple:

-Some people with TS are LGB; some are not.
-Some LGB people have TS; some do not.
-Some LGB people identify as TG; some do not.
-Some people who identify as TG are LGB; some are not.
-Some people with TS identify as TG; some do not.
-Some people who identify as TG have TS, some do not.

  Just like sexuality and sex identity, social gender identity and sex identity are separate attributes of each person that usually but do not always coincide.   They exist independent of one another and each person falls somewhere on each spectrum.

  I feel this is key to resolving the ongoing battle of, TS-vs-TG (as well as LGB & "T").  Each and every possible combination can and does exist and each must be respected as viable and real and equally valid by the others, if only because they are measuring different things.  Let that sink in:  none of them need appropriate the identity of any other.  By recognizing that they are separate, independent attributes this can be accomplished.  The question is, are people willing to give up the position they occupy in the hierarchy that only exists in their head and those of their specific sub-subculture?