Identity Politics

Why Identity Politics?

identitypoliticsIdentity politics is here with a BANG. There’s no disputing that. It is considered part of the progressive movement, in other words, the Left. But why do so many leftists badmouth identity politics with so much vehemence? A lot of the explanation can be stated in one word: Marx.

classpoliticsKarl Marx, the originator of Communism, was all about Class Politics. He saw the main and ultimate struggle between good and evil as class conflict, basically, the rich against the poor although it’s a lot more complicated than that. We have had much class struggle all over the world. In Russia, the working class, or Proletariat, actually overthrew the government and got in power for a while.

In the United States of America, we have always had class conflict. Sadly, the working class has lost a lot of momentum since the New Deal. Unions, for example, are in sad shape and many working class folk seem to prefer right-wing politics and Trump. But Identity Politics is still going strong. Traditional Marxists think that’s a bad thing but it exists for good reasons.

IdentityPolitics1In a nutshell, Identity Politics is groups of people with similar problems and circumstances becoming aware of how they are oppressed by society and fighting that oppression as it affects their group. The reason Identity Politics came into being was the simple fact that society treats different groups of people differently.

Working class folks outnumber the capitalist class by an enormous margin. The ruling class cleverly found ways to divide the working class so they would be so busy fighting each other they wouldn’t try to overthrow the government. The biggest divisions are gender and race.

Identity Politics2Enter Imperialism: Marx’s analysis had to do with Capitalism. According to Marx, the contradictions in class struggle would lead to revolution. But Capitalism transmogrified into Imperialism. In a nutshell, the capitalists began oppressing and exploiting people in Third World countries. These countries were not industrialized and they couldn’t match the power of an industrialized country like the United States. Because they were able to exploit the workers in these countries, the capitalists were able to allow a fairly comfortable lifestyle to the workers in the USA. Because of the benefits available to them in our country, the workers were not discontented enough to develop much of a movement. During the Great Depression, Communism had been growing in popularity. Franklyn Delano Roosevelt enacted the New Deal to fix the economy that had been imploding and causing so much misery. The Right hated everything about the New Deal but it was popular with the people. Because the New Deal took off the edges of naked, laissez-faire capitalism, the interest in Communism waned. Society was then able to spread cold war propaganda. Communism became a demonized concept.

identity3White supremacy and male supremacy, i.e. oppression by race and gender, are really part of imperialism. Third World countries are almost exclusively composed of brown, yellow or black skinned people. Blacks in the United States got  here as slaves. White and male supremacy are considered the “twin pillars of imperialism.”

The first Identity Politics were developed by women and blacks. Even here, the ruling class managed to turn these two groups against each other. There was a lot of nastiness about who would get the vote first. Each group wanted the other to be patient and wait until they got the vote. Eventually, as we know, both groups got the vote.

Racial “minorities” and women are still oppressed in many ways despite their power of the vote. But both are a hella-of-a-lot better off than they would have been without their Identity Politics.

Identities Proliferate

homophobiaThe next large group to get political about it’s unique circumstances was that of Gays. Being an old geezer, I actually remember the early days of the gay rights movement. Gays (or “homosexuals” as they were commonly called) were highly stigmatized. It was actually illegal to have sex with a person of one’s same gender. (Hard to imagine today.) The American Psychiatric Association, who created the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, called “homosexuality” a psychiatric disorder. It was right there in black and white in the DSM, the bible of these shrinks. These “experts” on the human psyche has changed their position, not because of scientific study. No. Their expert opinions altered as a result of activism. While I agree with their new position, I certainly can’t respect them as scientists when I consider what led to their change. So much for science.

1960-mattachine-society-nyplThe first organizations dedicated to gay and lesbian rights took on obscure names. No Gay Liberation Front. Rather, the men called their organization The Mattachine Society. Lesbians started the Daughters of Bilitis. It’s a sign of how oppressed gays and lesbians were that they used such obscure titles for their first organizations. Many people were in the closet on pain of losing their jobs and even their homes. People forget that the Gay Pride Parade was once the Gay Freedom Day Parade. As in the Virginia Slims ad, we’ve come a long way, Baby.

leather23While I had a huge crush on one very cute butch dyke, my sexual experiences in those days were exclusively with men. I discovered I was a masochist and, inspired by the gay freedom movement, in concert with a like-minded masochist, I decided to start one for masochists. Following the tradition of an obscure name for our group, I suggested The Eulenspiegel Society. Originally just for masochists, TES, as it’s more popularly called now, included sadists as well.

The gay movement, like the feminist movement, never fully accepted BDSM. As they became more acceptable they also became rather rigid and conventional. They didn’t want sadists and masochists spoiling their conventional image. If they held themselves aloof from us, their attitude towards pedophiles was that of total rejection. This was partly because homophobes had a tendency to stereotype gays as child molesters. It was nonsense but the mainstream movement didn’t want boy lovers (as many called themselves) giving ammunition to their enemies. It is also because pedophilia is hated by society with much more emotional vehemence.

queensGays have always included a group who dressed and usually role played as the opposite gender. That was commonest among men. They were called Queens. Among lesbians, there were butches and femmes. The butches dressed like men and the femmes just stayed feminine. There were actually laws against cross-dressing. In New York, people were allowed to dress like the opposite gender as long as they wore three items of their own gender. I wonder how many people even remember those days. The gay movement began officially when there was a clash between cops and gays at a bar called Stonewall. The most active and militant of the gays who resisted the police were Queens.

Transgenderism is probably the newest and fastest growing voice in Identity Politics. What was the gay movement is now the GBLTQ movement. Bisexuals were never really accepted by gays who thought us opportunists who played both sides tranniesof the street without commitment. But once transsexualism or transgenderism were added, I guess they threw us Bi’s in for good measure. The Q is kind of optional and just stands for Queer. It’s basically a way of adopting a word originally used as a term of defamation but making it positive. From transgenderism, has evolved the concept of gender neutrality. That means the whole idea of two genders being rejected. People can be whatever “gender” they identify with. The existence of  genuinely intersex people gives some credibility to that trend. However, I consider it a trend rather than a movement because it is mainly people who are not oppressed as a group. In fact, the very fluidity of “gender” makes it hard for these folk to really be a group. That doesn’t include the intersex who are a group and who are oppressed. A great difference between the gender neutral and transsexuals is that the latter feels very strongly that they are the opposite gender and the former isn’t really attached to any gender identity. But they do insist on their right to invent new pronouns and demand you call them by that pronoun. What they have in common is the insistence that one’s subjective feeling defines one’s gender, not one’s biology. They say gender is a social construct. I say that gender-bound stereotypes are a social construct. Whether one is male or female depends on the body one is born with. But that’s just my opinion. I do think the idea that one must change one’s gender to conform with traits that are generally considered girly or manly reinforces gender stereotyping rather than erasing it.

In Conclusion…

politicsThe reason for identity politics is the different way each of these groups is treated by society. Capitalism grew into imperialism and systemically divided people into groups designated for special treatment. Women and Blacks/Third World Folk are the primary identity groups whose oppression is undeniable. Gays and others gender non-conforming folk are a large and very active group that is systemically oppressed and is organized by identity for damned good reasons. I am basically onboard with most identity groups. I have some problems with transgendered folk which is explored in the links below.



Doll Parts

courtneylovebarrette1In  Hole, Courtney Love sang, I am doll parts. Is Transgenderism solely an ideology or does it have a more solid physical aspect? This is an issue that can have scientific experts debating endlessly.

“I was born with a woman’s brain in a man’s body.”

trannydollSuch is the refrain “explaining” transgenderism. Are there really male and female brains? An article in Science by Kate Wheeling suggests that differences exist in distribution of traits. That is, more females than males have greater degrees of white matter while more males than females have more grey matter. One can go down the list of all sorts of differences in distribution. But we cannot identify the gender by an MRI brain scan.

Jazz Jennings, who has had her life documented for years is now a teenager and has a doll modeled after her. I wondered if this doll were “anatomically correct” with a penis. (Jazz has only recently had her “bottom surgery.”) Nope. It’s one of those regular genderless dolls.

dealwithitThe difference between a woman’s brain and a man’s brain is cited as evidence supporting the ideology of transgenderism. But Rachel Seigel has written an article on 45 Scientific Facts About Differences Between Men and Women. There are differences in every part of the body, including the brain, the liver and the DNA. Assuming the transgender person has a brain that occurs more commonly in the other gender, how do we know the rest of the gender-related traits match a particular gender. Can one say true sex change has taken place as long as all these differences exist? Jazz Jennings says, “I’m not my chromosomes.” But is “she her” appearance? Shouldn’t people seeking to transition to the other gender have all those things tested? I wonder how many doctors actually tested the claim about the brain in every candidate for transitioning. Do those differences found in MRIs show up in those who present themselves as transgender people who need a body change? If the brains really are different, isn’t that just further evidence that the two genders have more to distinguish them than the more obvious sex differences such as genitals?

Designer Vagina

What can’t medical science accomplish? Below is a picture of a surgically created vagina, made from a penis. This vagina is functional. It is capable of sexual intercourse and can have orgasms. There is a video of the owner of this vagina masturbating. Soon transsexuals will be able get perfect lady parts they can flaunt in the faces of cis women (otherwise known as real women). Of course, this must cost a pretty penny. Many transgender folk and even cis folk are unable to afford the wonders of surgery. Those who can afford it are a new elite. They can have perfect breasts, perfect designer vaginas while retaining the muscular superiority of men. They can compete on the athletic field against real women who never had the chance to enhance themselves.


The transgender movement would be a lot more liberating if is were less authoritarian. Everyone mandated to act as if they believed men could really be transformed into women may be paradise to them but it ain’t for many others.



Inequality Requires Faith

bernadetteThe classic movie, Song of Bernadette tells the historical story of a girl who claimed to see “a beautiful lady,” later identified as the Virgin Mary in a grotto when nobody else could see anything. There is a striking similarity with kids suffering from gender dysphoria who “know” they are the wrong gender in the wrong body. Objective knowledge, that which people are able to share through observation, is challenged by subjective knowledge, experiences known only by a select few which is claimed to be a higher truth which should properly supersede truth known through observation. This conundrum creates a situation of inequality. Those who possess subjective “knowledge” are claimed to be channels of knowledge that is truer than regular knowledge.

imperial_prosecutorOf course, such subjectivism is resisted fiercely. Bernadette’s most steadfast opponent was the Imperial Prosecutor who was an atheist. He opposed Bernadette’s vision on the ground that all claims of supernaturalism were a lie. At the same time, the Church was initially hostile to Bernadette’s claims on the ground that accepting a claim that turned out to be false could make religion look foolish. The nun who was personally mean to Bernadette was motivated by jealousy. She projected her own personality flaws onto Bernadette, accusing her of falsifying her experiences in order to look more important in other people’s eyes. It was the nun who longed for this kind of celebrity, not Bernadette. The opposition of the Imperial Prosecutor was resistance of the noblest kind since it was based on an earnest quest for Truth. It was also the hardest form of resistance to eradicate.

30yearwarThe United States of America was formed to be religiously neutral because religious “truth” is intrinsically problematic. People can rationally debate facts that are observable by everyone and the logical consequences of those facts. Revealed truth isn’t subject to this kind of rational disagreement. Our agreement to let everyone who embraces a belief that can’t be settled rationally have hir belief and leave those who don’t alone.

bernadette-11The Song of Bernadette is an inspiring film about a real historical event which shows something people know about ourselves. Everyone longs for a miracle. The wise among us are skeptical until the real presence of a miracle is affirmed. Without the miraculous, life is mundane, often harsh and frequently boring. We Americans don’t have an official position on Catholic dogma and shouldn’t take an official position on the truth that people can be other than the gender they were born at. That ideology is just as subjective as any other religion. I hope Americans realize that.

Religious Critique of Transgenderism

While it is clear where I stand on the issue of Transgender ideology, there is a group of people with whom I agree about transgenderism, and yet disagree in part. This is the people who disagree on religious grounds.

reality-check1I reject transgenderism because it violates the principle that sees objective reality as the main, central arbiter of reality. To effectively defend objectivism as a core philosophical belief, one must discard everything that isn’t objective. Reality is known by observation of the world and reasoning about the logical consequences of what we observe. The Bible is a book (or set of books) of revealed knowledge. Revealed knowledge isn’t based on observation. It is a set of conclusions made by somebody else. It involves faith in the truth of that body of knowledge developed by somebody else besides oneself. This “knowledge” may be true or false. But it is not objective because it is not based on our own observation.

binarygenderPeople who critique transgenderism on religious grounds seem to be working both sides of the street. On the one hand, they appeal to objective reality. The binary quality of gender or sexual identity is something we can’t help but observe. The permanence of that identity is also observable if only by examining the futile attempts made by medical science to change people’s gender. They give hormones and surgically change the structure of people’s bodies. They are highly skilled and resourceful. They have done wonders in shaping designervaginawhat looks like a vagina even using the penis as the material out of which they do that shaping. The designer vagina is a work of genius. It can even function sexually in some ways. The newly designed “woman” can have sexual intercourse with a man. “She” can even have orgasms during intercourse. That’s quite an accomplishment. Hats off to medical science. However, the newly designed “woman” cannot procreate. I have heard the argument that some women can’t procreate. A woman may be barren or have had a hysterectomy. That argument is fallacious. There are hundreds of differences between a man and a woman. If a woman is missing some of the functionality of her sex, she still has the rest of those characteristics. Even the DNA of a person is distinctly male or female. All this is known through observation.

bible1Appeals to the Bible or any other form of revealed knowledge bypasses observation. It is true because the Bible (et al) says it’s true. For this appeal to have any validity, the person you are debating the issue with has to accept the authority of that source of knowledge (e.g. the Bible). This is where I part company with those arguments based on religion.


To Jazz

jazzjenningsJazz Jennings is a transsexual in hir late teens who has had a reality show on the TCL television network, documenting her transition from boy to girl, for the past few years. S/he declared hirself a girl at the age of two and has never wavered. Hir parents, being progressive, enabled hir to transition. First, they let hir dress like a girl at home. In time, s/he was allowed to go to school in girls’ clothing. People around hir were encouraged to support hir desire by treating hir like a girl. At the age of 11, doctors gave hir puberty blockers which prevented hir from entering male puberty. A few years later, s/he was given female hormones which helped hir resemble an adolescent girl except for hir penis which remained as a reproach to that delightful fantasy. That last impediment was finally removed surgically around the age of 18. The next season of Jazz’s show will begin January 1, 2019.

tlc-hr-sitelogo-105x95-2Jazz has the personality and camera presence that captivates the viewers. (I wish I had that ability.) Whatever one believes about transgenderism, Jazz has put a human face on it. She is likeable. Hir youth and sincerity are refreshing. Hir consistency, staying true to hir vision over all those years is compelling.

Although she will probably never see this blog post, I wish to address hir as I almost feel as if I know hir.

equal+or+divideJazz, I am addressing you from the other side of the ideological divide on the subject of transgenderism. I have watched your videos and followed you on TCL. In the course of my viewing, I have come to see you as a basically good person who is very sincere in trying to promote the cause of transgenderism in order to help others like yourself and to make the world a better place. I have studied both sides of the issue and come out on the side you won’t like, Jazz.

transgender_bathroom-e1481748679339-520x403To begin with, I consider transgenderism an ideology rather than a scientific or medical concept. You probably won’t agree with me but knowing this from the start should make my opinions more understandable. You have said, in the course of your media exposure that those who don’t agree with you about transgenderism are simply ignorant. Of course, it is natural to believe people who think differently than oneself must be ignorant. If only they knew better, we believe, they would surely agree with us. We always hope to change other people’s points of view but that usually doesn’t happen. I don’t think it will happen here. I’m not trying to change your mind. Unless things turn out badly for you, I doubt you will ever falter in your convictions. Please believe I do hope your life works out well for you. I hope you will have a good life in your chosen path as a transgender female. I know it hasn’t worked well for all transgender people but I hope it does for you.

hatersbackoffYou have also referred to those who disagree with transgenderism as haters. Now I know that some of them really are haters. Some of the comments you have received come from haters. I don’t even understand what makes people that hostile. You have done nothing to them. I guess it’s about the challenge to their sense of reality that makes people hate. I hope I never become so close-minded as to need to hate those who challenge my view of reality.

realityThe ideology of transgenderism does challenge my view of reality. Of course, a challenge is, by it’s very nature, difficult. But I choose to take that challenge as an opportunity to explore the issues and come to a deeper understanding. I have written a number of blog posts on the subject of transgenderism already. These posts explain the roots of my disagreement as well as the things about it that puzzle me.

milkI have been around so long, I remember the gay freedom movement. That’s right. I’m an old geezer (75-years-old). When I was your age, transgenderism wasn’t even an option. Had the option existed before I hit puberty, I might have taken your route. I had wanted to be a boy. I begged my mother for boys’ clothing. I remember a certain kind of jacket I had wanted very much. My mother promised to get me one but the jacket she got me wasn’t at all gay-freedom-1980-RJW-006-1024x884what I had meant. I had been so serious about wanting to be a boy, I mused about just passing as a boy, dressing as one among people who didn’t know me. I hoped to pass off my breasts (which I hadn’t grown yet) as the kind of breast-like flab some middle-age men have. Well, I went through puberty because I didn’t have a choice. But then something wonderful happened. I had a complete change of heart. I suddenly appreciated my developing womanhood. I am glad now that I never had the option of “transitioning.” I understand that many kids wish to change their gender but most of them grow out of those desires. I’m not saying you would have.

queensI got to know many gay people, some of whom were cross-dressers. I was taught that the polite thing, in talking to a “queen” (as we called them), was to use the feminine pronoun. I never had a problem with that. Maybe that’s because I knew I wasn’t expected to actually believe a queen was really a woman. Gays were unquestionably outcastes from society. A “homosexual act” was even illegal. Cross-dressing was illegal too. In New York, where I grew up, the “crime” of cross-dressing was called impersonation. The law said that as long as someone wore three (or more) items of clothing pertaining to hir own gender, s/he was not guilty of impersonation. So people would wear very small items to be incompliance with the law. We thought the law stupid and we enjoyed how easy it was to circumvent that stupid law.

gayoutlawsGays were outlaws. I had always identified with outlaws so I identified with gays even though my principle sexual orientation was heterosexual. I marched in the parades. They were called Gay Freedom Day Parades, later changed to Gay Pride. It was a true act of rebellion or protest to march in those days. Now, every corporation and political leader under the sun has to get into the act and march with us. I guess that’s a sign of success but I feel we have lost something, being accepted or preempted by society.

transideologyAs I said above, I consider transgenderism an ideology. I am astounded at the suddenness with which this ideology has become, not only accepted, but dominant, even mandatory. There seems to be an authoritarianism to the transgender ideology. I was happy to be polite by using the right pronouns. I’m not happy to know that today the use of these pronouns are now enforced on pain of penalty. For example, a kid can be suspended by using the “wrong” pronoun in school. People can even lose their jobs.

pseudoscienceWhat bothers me most about it is the way reality, itself, is being redefined. I used to respect science for it’s fearless ability to accept what conclusions observation and reason led one to. The concept of scientific consensus strikes me as an oxymoron. The individual inviolate mind should be the final arbiter of truth, not the number of people who believe something. But I see conformity trumping reason and even observation. I see conflict between the ideology of transgenderism and scientific truth. It’s become an accepted truism that people can be born in a body that is differently gendered than the person inhabiting that body. The explanation is that it is the brain that carries the true TG_SFandF3gender of a baby, not the reproductive system. I understand there are hundreds of characteristics of each gender. Most of these characteristics are not paid attention to by advocates of transgenderism. The person said to be “transgender” is so defined by an inner certainty on the part of the individual that s/he is a girl or boy, as the case may be. I have questioned many people, asking them if they ever felt a strong sense of being either as toddlers. I never felt especially like a “girl” as a toddler. I knew I was one because I was told that’s what I was. My peepee was what girls have. I had a peepee (vagina) so I was a girl. That’s all there was too it. Most people had the same passive acceptance of gender identity, david_reimerone that came from without instead of from within. There are exceptions, of course.  You are one of those exceptions. Another one, not a transgender boy, was David Reimer, was the boy whose penis was mangled by a botched circumcision. He was certain he was a boy even though his mother put him in dresses (which he tore off). The feeling of “being” a certain gender should certainly not be discounted. But the physical body of a normal baby is very real and I don’t see how any subjective feeling one has about gender or anything else can override that physical reality. However, this seems to be what is demanded by the ideology of transgenderism.

jargonThere are certain things people are saying in obedience to that ideology. It’s like a new language has come to replace the one we used to have. Saying a baby was “assigned” a certain gender at birth discounts the overwhelming reality of what happens at birth, i.e. a physical gender of either male or female. A baby is born a boy or a girl. Nobody “assigns” their gender. If it had just been a matter of somebody making the wrong assignment, you  wouldn’t have needed puberty blockers, hormones and surgery to correct that wrong assignment. You had your body changed to TransgenderSummerCampfit your feeling that you were a girl. If your feeling that you were a girl were “truer” than your physical body, why did you even need to change your body? The fact that you had all those medical procedures to change your body is an acknowledgement that the body was and is damned important. Surely, it is important to you. Otherwise, why would you care whether you had a penis or a vagina? Likewise, differencecalling the surgery in which your penis is changed into a “vagina” confirmation surgery strikes me as a lot of high-pressure propaganda. What do you think they are confirming? They changed your body pretty drastically. It was a normal boy’s body. Change isn’t confirmation. Or is it? If that made you feel more comfortable, good for you. But why call it confirmation?

You talk about being your authentic self. How can anyone not be hir authentic self. I don’t think we can be anything but our authentic self no matter what they feel or what their body looks like. We are what we are.

There’s no reason, of course, why you should care about my opinions. But I hope you will find them interesting enough to think about it, perhaps give me feedback. If nothing else, I hope this post will make you aware of the fact that difference of opinion is not always hate or phobia. I am looking forward to seeing  your next season on TLC starting January 1, 2019.

Whose Feelings?

trannycopI saw a talk show in which someone mentioned a male cop who got to intimately frisk a woman because he “felt” like a woman. A law suit legitimized his (or should I say “her) right to do so. There was an actual woman (real or “cis” if you insist) was denying that one can really change genders. A transsexual “woman” was asking what scared the real woman about hir as if the only thing trannies ever wanted was to live as “themselves.” But they have managed to win enough court cases and get enough laws passed so that people are trannyathletesrequired to use the pronoun the trannies want applied to themselves, but we are no longer allowed to refer to a pregnant woman. We are supposed to say “pregnant person). Trannies can play on a woman’s sports teams although they have the same physical male advantages that caused women to form separate teams and athletic leagues in the first place. A man who was convicted of sexual offenses was actually put into a woman’s prison because he “felt” like a woman. He then proceeded to rape several of the female convicts. So what, indeed, can we real women have against them? How about gaslighting?

genderunknownWith all this talk about the feelings of transsexuals. Feelings trump reality, it seems. Never mind what someone is born as. No. We aren’t even allowed to say we are born male or female. Now, the politically correct word is assigned. The final verdict on gender is pronounced by the individual who feels like a man or a woman. With feelings being so all-important, how about the feelings of people who don’t want to drink the cool-aid? Do we get to have feelings? Are our feelings acknowledged as important?  Or does one have to be transgender to be so acknowledged? What if the woman being frisked doesn’t feel like she’s being frisked by a woman? (She’s not.) What if the female inmate being raped by a transsexual “woman” feels like she’s being raped. (She is.) What about this double standard?

trannylockerTranssexual “rights” are supposed to be about equality. Is this ideology really promoting equality? When a pregnant woman isn’t allowed to be called a woman? But a barren transsexual “woman” is allowed to be called a women, nay, is required to be called a woman, where is the equality? Woman fought for equality in a male dominated world. Now we are losing the rights we painfully won to male “woman.” Men can intimately frisk us and even rape us in prison because of what they claim to feel. But do feelings ever count when people feel like the person they were born as have them?



Strange Origin of the Word

gender_binaryThe word “gender” originally applied to language. In English, every noun is neutral. But many other languages assign gender to nouns. The Romance Languages, those derived from Latin, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian make every noun male or female and have different articles and declensions that adhere to the gender of the noun. German has three genders: male, female and neutral. Recently, the meaning of the word “gender” has been expanded to refer to people (and animals). Personally, and I go against the grain when I say so, I think “gender” is a convenient word to apply to people. Right now, the word is “sex.” But sex had two basic meanings. It can be an activity people engage in. But it also means whether someone is male or female. I feel more comfortable using gender as in “What is his gender? Well, male, of course, hence the pronoun “his.” But many, especially those who support transgenderism, insist gender is a “social construct.”

gender_rolesCertainly gender roles are heavily dictated by social traditions. Men are supposed to be strong, dominant, brave, protective. Women are supposed to be nurturing, gentle, soft, submissive, etc. The women’s movement has effectively attacked these roles and pointed out that the qualities assigned to men and women are really on a spectrum. There are gentle, soft, submissive men who are not gay nor transgender. They are just men on one end of the spectrum. Women’s femininity is also a spectrum. We have strong, intelligent and intellectually dominant women. Look at Hillary Clinton. Look at Madam Curie. I believe the need some people feel to transition would be reduced of obliterated if men and women felt free to be truly themselves in their original bodies. But that’s just my opinion and it’s a minority opinion.

Why do many men long to be women?

Deborrah Cooper has some interesting things to say about this odd phenomenon.

Despite male supremacy, there is a very long history of men emulating women. In Japan, we have the Kabuki Theater. Originally, women played roles (which were supposed to be female) in this theater. But many of them were prostitutes and this caused problems, mainly on the part of the male audience.

Strangely enough however, this art form was created by Okuni, a female shrine attendant, in the 17th century. Although greatly influenced by the aristocratic noh, kabuki was largely popular entertainment for the masses. A large part of the popularity of the early, all-female performances was due to their sensual nature. The performers were also prostitutes and male audiences often got out of control. As a result, women were banned from performing by the Tokugawa Shogunate.

 Kabuki Theater

In the movie, Geisha, a Kabuki dancer explained that when a woman is feminine that’s just nature. When a man is feminine, it’s art. Kabuki dancers are equated to rock stars which is not so far-fetched when we look at how much gender-bending there is in Western rock.

pidgeonTraditionalists accuse the transgender movement of trying to obliterate the binary divide of male and female. However, transgenderism has traditionally existed all over the world, not as something new but something that always existed. South Asia recognizes Hijra, a term applied to intersex, eunuchs and transgender folk. It makes sense, at least for intersex people. They now speak for themselves and have voiced the preference for being allowed to grow up as nature made them instead of allowing doctors to decide what sex to make them and proceed to surgically make them the sex the doctor thinks best. As more and more intersex babies are left alone, their ambiguous gender can make someone genuinely puzzled as to what pronoun to use in reference to them. I think we have to acknowledge that there are three genders at least: male, female and intersex. Other cultures make it even more complicated.

kumu-hina-mahu-1090x720To Native Hawaiians and Tahitians, Māhū is an intermediate state between man and woman, or a “person of indeterminate gender”.[9] The traditional Diné of the Southwestern US acknowledge four genders: feminine woman, masculine woman, feminine man, masculine man.[10] The term “third gender” has also been used to describe hijras of India[11] who have gained legal identity, fa’afafine of Polynesia, and sworn virgins of Albania.[12]

Third Gender. Wikipedia

Perhaps the reason Western man is so attached to the binary model of everything either male or female is that the gender roles are so sharply defined. Most men in the Western culture(s) consider the male superior to the female. One of the most scathing insults a man can give another man is to call him a “girl” or a “bitch.” They, themselves, shun any hint of the effeminate in their own persona. So why do some men really want to be freed from this superior status?

dragqueenBefore medical transitioning had been accomplished, men were already cross-dressing. Male cross-dressing took/takes various forms. To some of them, transvestism is a sexual fetish. Typically, these men like to cross-dress in the presence of a woman. Sometimes their games are part of masochism but not always. Then there are the drag queens who love to dress up in flamboyantly feminine attire. They seem to prefer to impersonate glam show girls.  Some of them perform on stage as just what they are. Some queens just function in the gay culture much as femmes functioned in the lesbian culture, playing the “girl’s role” with the butch playing the “boy’s role.”

Once successful surgery managed to give a man what passes as the body of a woman, jazzjenningstransgenderism came into it’s own, complete with an ideology of it’s own, claiming that some girls are born in a boy’s body (and vice versa). These “trannies” more often seek to impersonate regular, everyday women rather than show-biz prima donas. An example of the more low-key MTF transsexual is Jazz Jennings, a teenager who has her(?) own reality show on PCL. The show has followed Jazz throughout her childhood and adolescent. Since puberty blockers prevented male characteristics such as deep voice and facial hair, Jazz looks a lot like a real girl. She dresses modestly but still gets a kick out of  the more outrageous drag queens. Doctors who have worked with MTF transsexuals have said that boys who described the way they saw themselves usually went for the that kind of glamorous stereotype.

What Has Changed?

Gender ambiguity is as old as humanity. It has taken various forms in various cultures. Cultures that worship a monotheistic god seem to be more invested in the binary model of male and female. But gender non-conformity happens in all cultures. Two big changes that have taken place recently are

  1. The medical profession is now involved in enabling people to change their bodies to make them seem to conform to the desires of the individual.
  2. Transgenderism has become a movement with a great deal of power.

Transgenderism is much larger and older than most Americans realize. It is pretty universal to humanity.