Trans ignorance (for SkidRowRadio)


Hi, SkidRowRadio. As you know, I’m not transgender, so I may not be qualified to talk about this. But I do have a platform, and there’s a lot that needs to be clarified here.

You seem to think that people transition due to being uncomfortable with the social gender role they’ve been expected to perform, which may be unnecessarily restrictive. You’re almost right, but there’s more to it than that. Just because someone may feel that they don’t entirely fit within their assigned gender role, that doesn’t mean they’re going to conclude that they must really be the opposite sex. They may not totally fit within the purportedly restrictive gender role of the opposite sex either, so transitioning might achieve nothing.

It’s not as if people immediately flip to the other sex because of some minor difficulties with gendered expectations. That would be absurd. For trans people, it’s far more pervasive and internal than that. They don’t only feel out of place in their expected gender role. They feel out of place in their own bodies. They can tell that this isn’t who they’re supposed to be, and that wouldn’t go away even with the dissolution of social gender roles. Society in general could be completely accepting of all kinds of cross-gender behavior, but that’s quite separate from how they would still feel about their anatomy.

And even from the angle of performing gender roles, looking the part can really help with acting the part. We might say that in a better world, this wouldn’t be necessary and that kind of gender policing wouldn’t happen. And that would be nice, but in the meantime, it does help them. It’s good for them to be recognized and accepted for who they are, rather than expecting them to endure being misgendered for the sake of a point of principle.

And really, if you think society somehow encourages this, take a look at how trans people are actually treated. See how society shows their support: by accusing them of raping people in public restrooms, denying them employment and housing, calling them mentally ill, and obsessing over their genitals. Like you. I mean, what are you hoping to accomplish by calling them “Frankenstein-like flaps of barely living tissue”? Do you make a habit of critiquing people’s private parts for not living up to your standards? What are you, a connoisseur of dicks?

For all you know, these people could be very happy with their genitals. They might consider it a vast improvement over what they had before, and that’s all that matters. It’s their body, not yours. So who asked you for your opinion? This is between them and their doctors. It’s none of your business. And if you think they’re just victims of some kind of medical establishment conspiracy, then you really don’t understand that many of them actually do want this. The reason this option exists is because there’s a demand for it. Do you think they can’t make this decision for themselves? Extensive counseling is a part of transitioning. It doesn’t even happen without psychiatric evaluation – not that this means much when you’ve already concluded that the whole of medicine is tainted for allowing this. And for you to say that they shouldn’t have this option is to say that helping them live their lives shouldn’t be an option.

If you’re concerned about the results being unsatisfactory, you don’t have to be. A strong majority of trans people who have sex reassignment surgery find it to be a positive outcome. So accusing doctors of “arrogance” or “hubris” means precisely nothing in the face of actual results. You are right about one thing, albeit unintentionally. This kind of surgery does not “make” someone a man or a woman. That’s because a trans woman is already a woman. Some trans people don’t even choose to have surgery. That’s not what makes them men or women. They were men or women to begin with. That’s who they are. And if you really care about these people, do you think you’re helping them by denying their autonomy, rejecting their gender, insulting their genitals and calling them “mutilated”?

One thing I have to wonder about is your idea that trans women are so inevitably masculine that they can completely pass as men if they just take off their dress. (Talk about restrictive gender roles!) Do you even know any trans people? I mean, other than the ones you think you can identify at a distance? Because I can assure you, not all trans women are like that – far from it. You’re not going to notice the ones who pass so well you would never even guess. Certainly, anyone can act “like a man”, but that doesn’t mean they’re all going to pass as one. And many trans women definitely wouldn’t. In the real world, you don’t stop being Superman just because you put on your Clark Kent glasses. How does this concern you, anyway? If narrow gender roles are the problem, then it shouldn’t matter how masculine women might be. And you’re not helping by making such a fuss over what trans people look like. Why should it matter?

And after all of this, it’s really unimpressive to see you insist that you support these people and you haven’t been hateful at all. You know, it’s hard to be charitable about this when you hit on almost every transphobic cliche and then tell us you just didn’t understand. That’s sticking your neck out and then pulling it back before someone can grab a hold of it and choke the stupid out of you. When something is considered hateful, it’s usually for a reason. And trying to find another label for it isn’t going to change that reason. You can call it hate, you can call it not-hate, you can call it green beans if you want. But that’s like trying to cure someone’s cancer by changing the test results. It’s a confusion of cause and effect. Of course you want the luxury of not being seen as hateful – you just don’t want to walk the walk.

Nothing you say reflects a concern for their well-being, only a concern for your own unfounded conjecture about them. Here we have people who just want to live their lives, and you can’t step back and leave them alone. That is all you need to do. You don’t need to treat them like victims of the people who are helping them, you don’t need to criticize and scandalize their bodies, and you don’t need to be such an idiot! Maybe you didn’t know any better, but ignorance isn’t an excuse for running your mouth about something and relentlessly degrading people without having bothered to do even the most basic research first – aside from finding pictures of their genitals to gawk at. That is not a respectful way to treat someone. If you cared about trans people at all, you could start by actually listening to them instead of assuming you know better. Because you don’t.