Wednesday, September 18, 2019

How About We Treat Transpeople Like People?

Important Note: Since I am not a transman and I do not wish to speak on a subject of which I know little, I cannot speak to their difficulties within society. My silence does not mean I think they have no problems.

OK gentlefolks, let's gather 'round and talk about this "Transwomen are Women/Transwomen are Men" argument that's been going on for ages.

On the one hand, we have the inclusionary position of "Transwomen are Women". While I cannot speak for everyone who says this, I believe that this is not meant as a literal statement of fact -- as in, they do not literally believe that transwomen are truly women in every sense of the word, including genetics and biology -- but rather as a statement of support. They are saying, "You are female in the ways that matter, and therefore I will support you by affirming your identity."

In other words, it's not denial of biology but rather affirmation of psychology and an assertion of acceptance, which is something that is really freaking important when you've spent decades hating yourself because your body doesn't match who your brain says you are, and so you take a big, scary step in an attempt to find some peace between body and mind... only to have people yelling in your face that you're sick and disgusting and deviant.

Let me share something with you: all but the most self-assured transwomen will, in their heart of hearts, sadly agree with the people shouting "Transwomen are men!" because that's how we still feel. We know that insecurity, and we crave acceptance from others because we hate what we see when we look in the mirror; and deep down, we think we're doing a terrible job of looking like women and because we'll never fit in no matter how hard we try, maybe we ought to just do what the screaming voices want and kill ourselves.

Because that's what the "Transwomen are Men" crowd wants: for our identities to die. They probably don't mean it as "kill your physical form"; however, most of the time it's not in the hurtful-but-well-meaning manner of "You have a delusion, let me help you stop being deluded and happy" but rather in the far more visceral "You are disgusting and vile and perverse, remove yourself from my world".

Let me tell you this: when someone who has been unhappy inside their skin all their lives finds happiness in transition, only to be told that they must destroy that part of themselves before they can be accepted by society, a lot of them feel that they're being told to destroy what makes them them. A suicide of soul, if not of body.

It's because of this that I get very, very upset with the "transwomen are men!" shouters, because in their shouts I hear them calling for my death, for the death of the person who is Erin. It's beyond rude; it's cruel and disgusting and not at all what any loving God would want from believers.

Here's what I suggest: Let's be courteous and treat transgender people like people instead of broken things. Yes, that means using their preferred pronouns and speaking/acting/reacting to them in the ways that make them feel comfortable. The first rule of getting along in society is "Be Polite"; or, put another way, "Don't Be Rude." Why is it so hard for so many people to understand this concept?

"But they were born -" I'm going to have to stop you there. If you want to claim that you are somehow serving an absolute truth that is immutable based upon birth, I have some questions that you need to answer first:
  1. Do you still call married women by their maiden names? After all, that's how they were born. 
  2. Do you still call degreed professionals Mr. or Ms. instead of "doctor" or "professor"? After all, they weren't born with those titles. 
  3. If you're in the military, do you still call your superiors "sir/ma'am" or whatever their rank is? 
  4. How about the police? When you're stopped for a ticket, do you call the cop by the name on their uniform, or do you call them "officer"?
  5. How about calling judges "Your Honor?" How about any number of other situations like these?
If you can call a stranger by a noun which they weren't born with, then you can grant a transgender person a pronoun. If you can call a married woman a name she wasn't born with, then you can call a transgender person the name they've chosen for themselves. If you can do all the things listed above without violating your "sense of truth", then you can be kind to someone who just wants to feel normal.

And if you won't, then don't claim some moral high ground. Just admit that you're afraid of the severe social consequences for being disrespectful those you see as your equals or superiors, but that transgender people are below you and therefore you can get away with being rude to them. After all, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, what injury does it do you to say that a transwoman is a woman? How does it pick your pocket or break your leg?

Please, be kind. Don't be rude or callous or cruel, especially in the name of "the truth" or your religion. Understand that we're all trying to find our way through this world in the manner that hurts us the least. Do unto others as you'd have them do unto you.

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