I think for some trans people, seeking an intellectual underpinning for gender and transgenderedness feels very threatening. They want basic things, like access to treatment that provides relief from the pain caused be gender dysphoria, or for the broader public to move on from bad jokes and cruelty to acceptance and welcome as quickly as possible. Arguments about what gender is, where it comes from, and why it might work smoothly in one person and less so in another can feel like a delaying tactic or a distraction, or even an all-out attack on trans people’s right to self determination. If the “wrong” answer is arrived at, does that mean trans people can’t change their gender on their legal documents? If the “wrong” answer is arrived at, does that mean that the only treatment available will be conversion therapy? If the “wrong” answer is arrived at, does that mean trans people will continue to be seen as both delusional and willfully lying about themselves at the same time?
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
What we talk about when we talk about gender (preview)
I'm working on a longer post about this, including the controversy at Freethought Blogs, but for now I want to share this comment from VR Urquhart on Ophelia's site which elucidates many of the problems trying to find a balance between essentialism and social construction, and why we've become hesitant to talk about it:
Posted by KP at 9:00 AM