Identities

Some people are trans.

I had seen “Some people are gay…” but seeing the slogan for Trans, on a sticker, was delicious, exciting and affirming. I was delighted.  And being trans is a social construct: how much are we trans, because that is what trans is?

Some people are gay, and before that there was the term “invert”. Sexologists theorised that there was an inborn reversal of gender traits- “The masculine soul, heaving in the female bosom”. This theory conflates homosexuality with transgender. A woman is attracted to women because she has a man’s soul: she could, then, never find a compatible partner. Women with women’s souls would be attracted to the male bosom, etc. And before that, there were “tastes”- one man happens to like being whipped, another likes men- and sin, and sodomy. Men rape men as a way of humiliating and controlling the other, and men have sex with men they love, and men feel physical desire and use each other for relief, so Cottaging. These things seem like natural human responses whatever we call them, even, however we see them. If you grow up knowing that it is wrong and disgusting you may deny it in yourself, yet people do these things even under threat of death, as in Iran.

And then there are trans people. We express ourselves in the gender different from that assigned at birth, and when I transitioned there were transvestites, who did this for sexual pleasure, transsexuals, who did this because their gender was not that assigned, and took hormones and had surgery, and transgenderists, who presented other than assigned all the time but had no surgery or hormones, because they wanted to, but they were really really rare, or like transvestites who did not know when to stop or something.

And transvestites were disgusting but transsexuals kind of weren’t.

In Denmark, Malta and Ireland, and now in Norway, people can declare their own gender. Those between 6 and 15 can do so with parental consent. There is no requirement for psychiatric assessment, hormones or surgery. I want to know, do people just stop treatments? Hormones make passing easier and sex more difficult.

The question is whether people have surgery because they internalise that being transsexual is socially acceptable, but requires surgery; or whether they would seek surgery anyway. There may still be social pressures, whatever the law is. I want people to be free to make their own decisions. I don’t want one decision to be seen as more acceptable than any other. I know the strength my own drives had, and yet when people say, “Oh, that was social pressure, it is abominable that people should mutilate themselves” I wonder if they have a point. Which could be internalised transphobia (bad) or waking up from social pressures (good).

We move through life as best we may.

What of asexual as an identity? Some people are asexual. Perhaps some of them have some hormone imbalance or something. It might be curable- no, really, it might. If you could have a relationship, would you not want to? Would you not want to be normal? No, I want to be me (if that’s even possible) but-

9 thoughts on “Identities

  1. I know I’d feel more comfortable if I didn’t feel the necessity of fully identifying as male, but society still expects everyone to be either fully male or fully female, be it cis or trans. Hopefully this polarisation will change in time.

    As to legal recognition of gender, Aotearoa New Zealand seems to have gone it’s own way with this. To change gender on official documents such as passport or driver licence, all one needs do is make a statutory declaration. For all practical purposes your legal gender identity does not need to match the gender on your birth certificate. You are free to choose one of three genders: M, F or X. I think the use of X on passports will not be used often as many countries (such as the USA) won’t recognise such passports.

    Changing the gender on one’s birth certificate is more difficult as an application must be made through the family court. In other words it’s the court that makes the declaration, not the applicant. The court needs to be satisfied that you’ve had medical treatment to change your gender, but the law doesn’t specify what that treatment is. The court has interpreted this liberally and doesn’t require reconstructive surgery. My guess is that what constitutes treatment will become more liberal over time as social attitudes change.

    Personally, I don’t see the need to change one’s gender on one’s birth certificate. It simply states what gender one was born as – one’s gender at a specific point in time. It doesn’t necessarily reflect one’s gender at this point in time. I can understand the need to hide one’s previous gender today as trans people are still subject to discrimination. Hopefully at some time in the not to distant future there will be no need to hide previous gender identities.

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    • To change the gender on a UK passport you need a letter from a doctor saying the gender change is likely to be permanent, and proof of change of name. In Scotland we will get gender X birth certificates, but passports are for the UK government. I had not heard about the US not accepting such passports- I would want a passport I could actually use.

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      • For some people I guess the principle is more important than practicality. A bit like when same sex marriages were legalised here, a large number of Australian gay and lesbian couples visited NZ to get married. However those marriages are not recognised in Australia.

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