As a sexual educator, I feel that it’s important to be overtly sex positive and inclusive. This is especially true when dealing with smaller or less socially acceptable groups or sexual activities. In my personal life, I still struggle to truly embody those feelings of connection, appreciation, and wholehearted acceptance that I try to put into the world.
For example, I often have a hard time seeing certain subtle aspects of beauty in women that I readily acknowledge in men. I also get a bit anxious when I see people engaged in anything harsher than light BDSM.
Although I try really hard, it’s impossible for me to be the go to sexpert for everyone. However, that doesn’t mean that I can’t try to be the best that I can. This is why I actively seek to understand and learn more about the topics or behaviors that make me uncomfortable. Right now, I’m focusing on expanding my understanding transgendered people and issues, aka the T in LGBT.
Transgendered people have a really hard time in life. They occupy a space in our culture that is somewhere in between sideshow freak and lepers. They are disrespected, physically abused, unabashedly treated as third class citizens, and forced to live within the confines of a culture that’s only equipped and willing to handle the needs of nearly anatomically perfect males and females. They deal with so much, yet still they have people like me and you that react to them like they’re freaks.
All of the issues that transgendered people face are not the fault of any one person or group. Instead, they are facing opposition from centuries of neglect and marginalization. As a society, we need to begin the cultural healing and integration of transgendered people into mainstream society. Before we can do that we must express and soothe our fears, make an honest attempt to understand their lives and experiences, and, finally, examine and adjust how we react and relate to them.
This week we will be starting a healing of our very own. It’s often really difficult to unabashedly express one’s feelings, especially when they concern controversial topics. So, I’m going to start by opening up to express my fears, uncertainty, and doubt. I’m pretty sure that my F.U.D. is not so different from yours. It is my hope that when you understand the concerns that I have, you’ll be able to more confidently express and examine yours.
Please keep in mind that I’m giving you an unfiltered look into my mind. If I say something that is offensive or seems crass, please don’t jump all over me. Without pure honesty we can never fully resolve the issues that plague us.
I think my central issue with the whole transgendered thing is that I simply don’t get how it works. From my understanding gender and sex are two different things. To say that you’re transgendered implies that you identify with one set specified behaviors over another. However, when people use the term transgendered they normally refer to a desire to change their sex, which is completely different.
I have been told by several transgendered people that they are simply never comfortable within the bodies to which they were born. By that logic, I could describe myself as a black to white transraced person. I’ve never felt like I should have been born black, so I should be able force society to accept and treat my black ass as a white person. Right?
Even if I took drastic measures to change my appearance, I would still be the same person. No amount of surgery and skin bleaching could change the person I am inside. Sure people may see and interact with me in the way that I believe they should see me but it’s not authentic to my life experiences. Therefore, every interaction I have would be fraudulent.
It deeply disturbs me that a woman thinks that by simply cutting off her breasts, lowering her voice pitch, taking hormones and sewing up her vagina she can call herself a man. It also disturbs me that a man thinks that by simply getting breast implants, raising his voice pitch, taking hormones, and inverting his penis that he has the right to call himself a woman. I’m not trying to be elitist, but I find it to be disingenuous.
If I put the guts from a Zune inside an iPod, does that make it an iPod? There is more to being a man or woman than simply looking the part. Sure you can try to mimic the behaviors of other people but even that doesn’t make you a man or woman. I may be putting too much importance on it but socialization is a big freaking deal. There is no way to replicate or synthesize the experiences of a man or woman, you have to live it.
Why are transgendered people so ready to throw away their own experiences in favor of another? Why wouldn’t they fight to have a third gender recognized by our government and society instead of taking drastic and life threatening measures so they can fit into the existing categories?
In my view, transgendered people are simply dissatisfied with their bodies or other cosmetic presentations. I don’t see a problem with that, most people on earth have something about themselves they wish to make better. It just bothers me that they then take that dissatisfaction and develop a community around it.
Imagine if all big nosed, flat assed, chinless, and little breasted people decided to build a community based on their mutual desire for radical body change. Then imagine that these people sought to be legitimized by their society. I would call those people crazy and be bothered by them, which is almost exactly how I feel about transgendered people.
Although I have these feelings, which I openly admit need a change, it should be made clear that I am in no way passing judgment on transgendered people. I believe that they, just like all people, deserve to live a happy healthy and fulfilling life. They also deserve to be treated with respect by their society and respective communities. This is simply a step on the way to having my logical mind and illogical emotions become one in the same.
I have to say that it felt really good to write those feelings out. Even though I would qualify my statements as being hateful, I’m glad that I made them.
Now that you have read all of my F.U.D. surrounding transgendered people, what’s yours? Write them in the comments below, send me an email, or just write them out for yourself. Tomorrow, we will have a chance to explore them with a transgendered person. If you find yourself needing the answer to a question you can ask it below or in an email. Although the interview was completed a few weeks ago, the interviewee is still willing to answer any questions you may have.Tran
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