Love without truth is… It is such a tempting rhetorical formula that there have been several tries. Love without truth is sentimentality, hypocrisy, cowardly self-indulgence. Truth without love is either brutality, harshness or perhaps imperious self-righteousness. Evangelical Christians, who think Love may be tough, aimed at correction, not sparing the rod, might say Love needs grace as well as truth. The balance of love and truth is the conflict between liberal and conservative Christians, who emphasize one or the other.
Possibly over-influenced by the company I keep, I am nearly able to use the term the “trans cult” for trans theorists, in anger and blaming, but not quite. I am persuaded that humans are divided into two different sexes, but that gender is cultural. Patriarchy devalues some aspects of humanity and projects them onto women. Jung said the man must recognise his anima, the female soul within, and the woman her animus- for the qualities are not divided between feminine and masculine, but all human. The answer is to cherish the qualities of each individual. That is the minimum for love, respect, the I-Thou relationship treating all people as ends not means… there is no truth without love, for only love really sees.
Trans fits people in society as we are now. No, I am not a woman: I am a trans woman, a product of the culture, trying to find my way as best I can, find peace, find a place I might fit. Some people make a success of it: after a period of drifting they transition and make their way in the world. I don’t think it should involve surgery, perhaps not even hormone treatment. I see no point in surgery. It makes us infertile, and if it makes us more acceptable to others it is by proving we are sincere rather than proving we are women, or proving we have the doctors’ confirmation, which I don’t think we should need. Surgery seems the final stage of transition, the Holy Grail. It holds out hopes to at once make you a woman, win acceptance from others, and complete the transition journey. Your life will be wonderful. It is a thing to celebrate: we send each other cards marked “It’s a Girl!” Yet it’s still you with your same problems, and the problems of dilation and recovery from surgery as well.
While trans people have surgery, we will want surgery. Of course some of us will be able to make a go of life post-op, and some might even imagine it’s because of the op. But it does not do anything for you. A woman with a penis makes no sense, but me with a penis does. You are born in your own body. We will want surgery the more if we are aware of hostility in society, because we will want to prove ourselves. But genital surgery is only a symbol. If you want to wear a swimming costume or tight jeans, tuck.
Top surgery for trans men is quite different. It means you can stop binding- breathe freely, free of discomfort- and is essential for passing. I do not criticise any trans man for wanting top surgery.
Yet, we exist. Trying to live with my gifts and characteristics, I find presenting female more congenial. The qualities patriarchy devalues and projects onto women, I have. I have no wish to revert. I am a trans woman. So trans women should be treated and accepted as women.
That’s too subtle for many. If, as the Labour party asserts, trans women are women, we should be accepted and treated as women. If we are not, then we should not.
To avoid surgery and hormone treatment, trans women should be treated as women. We have transitioned. We are not dangerous, and should be treated as individuals, not blamed for each others’ wrongdoing.
Cross-dressing and gender queering should be welcomed, to subvert gender expectations, which harm both sexes. When someone wants to transition permanently they should be helped to value all that they are, for everything that is, is holy. Perhaps then transition will not seem necessary. This is the opposite of conversion therapy. The only problem with all this is feminism and the rights of women- and the wrongs women suffer from others.