It would be so much easier to know ourselves without the Therefores.
I don’t know why I do anything, beyond that I want to. So I transitioned, and have no idea why. There is a ready-made system of ideas explaining it. I have a medical condition. I am really a woman. These ideas give people courage to transition, and courage to assert their rights, and may make cis people more likely to accept us. It feels threatening when people challenge those ideas: the threat is that we will be excluded.
You are a man
Therefore you should not be in women’s space.
You have autogynephilia
Therefore you are a danger in women’s space.
There is so much threat about that we need to worry less about the ideas. Someone says, but you’re a man. So what? You will never persuade them otherwise. It only matters if they want to take action to exclude you. You hear them say you are a man, and fear exclusion, but it might never happen.
We suffer from imagined wrongs, imagined problems, foreseen pain that may not come to pass but is still painful in the imagining.
The result is to constrain us. Needing others and ourselves to believe the story, we suffer pressure to conform to it. But it is not that simple. Some say I should not say I am a man, because it gives ammunition to the phobes, but it helps me understand who I am, what I want, how I respond. Transition should be about liberation. No, of course I do not have “male privilege”, but some aspects of it fit. That’s one of the arguments the phobes use for exclusion. If only it was not used for point scoring, if only we could just live our lives, we could think on these things and see how we are, in our communities. Then we would be less self-conscious, more relaxed, and people around would pick up on that.
The thing is, we can. Don’t go where the phobes go. A few people, on a few threads on Mumsnet, the odd Reddit forum, some closed facebook groups, are full of hate for us, and their commenters strive to excel each other in their fearmongering and proposed restrictions. Some are off now getting money from far-Right US groups, which want an authoritarian view of gender that will hurt them worse than us. And you need not come across these people. It gives a heady mix of excitement and fear to read about them, even lurk on their forums, but you can just stop. And while there are weirdoes who will scream at you in the street, most people are minding their own business.
We can’t persuade the whole world. We can find a place we can live our lives. So I am glad to see trans women, again on line, with male voices, male pattern baldness, male faces under bouffang wigs. We are not so desperate to pass. We can be ourselves even when we do not.
Non-binary is not a discrete phenomenon from trans. We are people. The questions are, who are you? What do you want to do?