AMM’s very powerful follow-up comment:
@9: It’s like when my father convinced me (for an afternoon) that I could sell stuff door-to-door. I went out and canvased the neighborhood. And I realized: it’s just not me. I am not, cut out to be a salesman
@10: AMM, I love that analogy.
I don’t. Facile as it may seem this is because being a salesperson (in the widest sense) is a learnt skill, not a state of being. People we call naturals at sales simply have personalities that better enable them to quickly get over the hump of sucking at it and finding it hard. They probably learn how as kids. It’s closely linked to performing (acting). For the rest of us we practice, try and eventually get at least tolerably good at sales, but never actually enjoy it, even if we get satisfaction from our success.
You missed the point. Could I have learned to be a salesman if my life had depended upon it? Probably.
But I would have hated it. I would have had to spend every day stomping down my revulsion at what I was doing. I would have died inside, and at some point felt like dying was better than living. At some point, it wouldn’t have mattered whether I killed myself or not. I figured that out in a half-hour. And Rob, if you don’t believe I could figure that out in that short of a time, you simply have no clue, you are one of those “knows not, and knows not that he knows not.”
This is the point that cis people miss. They don’t seem to understand what it is like to feel revulsion at having to live as one’s assigned sex to the point that one has to deaden oneself and become an empty shell and maybe come to the realization that being alive is worse than being dead. Most trans people learn to act out their assigned gender role and to believe that that’s what life is like. Many go to extraordinary lengths to silence that inner voice and squeeze themselves into being what everyone tells them they are. But at some point, it just doesn’t work any more. At some point, there is nothing that society and life can reward or threaten you with that makes it worth going on that way.
How much of it is biology? How much is social gender BS? How much of it is one’s nature? Would I feel less alienated from myself if I lived in some sort of feminist gender-free utopia? Who knows? And who cares? We are what we are, however we got that way, and we have to live (or not) in the world as it is, not as we wish it would be. If transition (medical and/or social) makes us feel less alienated from ourselves, if living as genderqueer or asking to be referred to as “It” makes us feel less revulsion at ourselves, then I don’t care what the theorists and scientists and feminist pontiffs and Dr. Knowitalls have to say, we’ll take it.