I find myself compelled to share this.
A few week’s ago we had talked about Megyn Kelly’s abrupt change on the issue of parental leave in the United States and joked about how she should have children more often because of their magical liberalizing effect they have on here. I give credit to Kelly for that stance and the one she takes above.
All humor, it becomes very disheartening for me to hear that the arguments forwarded by Keith Ablow are the ones that define the debate surrounding transgeder issues. It blows my mind that we are having this type of debate over someone’s gender. I think first it speaks to a rigidity of gender expectations (binary between male and female) but also places an implicit natural preference toward that binary. It’s saying to kids “There is A and there is B. That is all,” in terms of gender. There’s actually a lot going on in Ablow’s poor comments, but it angers me that at its base, his comments reflect his thoughts that transgenderism is an insipid attack on traditional gender schemes. He refuses to see people who identify as transgender as deserving of respect in their choice (certainly not a libertarian position but distinctly social conservative).
Everyday, transgendered people live in a society that doesn’t accept them, simply because they do not fit in to the binary. They are denied a chance of expressing themselves as they see themselves, their humanity unrecognized. I try to recognize it when I can – every time I see a “Gender” category on a form. But sometimes I don’t want to be judged merely by my gender, even if I fit the biological understanding and accept the cultural aspects of being a male. Gender o blandly constructed fails to describe my humanity or recognize me as an individual, instead it creates a box to throw me in and perhaps quantify my experiences.
As I read the pieces on transgender, for some reason Ockham’s razor came to mind. Ockham’s razor posits that for the most, the simplest explanation to a given problem or subject should be the one most preferred. But Ockham doesn’t work in gender I believe. Instead, we should focus our efforts on creating a pluralistic dimension to gender issue. The issues only get murkier when we include intersexuality, and we can go there with all of these issues – show how sex is socially constructed along the lines of gender. Perhaps my writing this comes off more like a rant that a consideration of the articles we are reading this week, but I think it’s important to the larger movement of trans acceptance that media portrayals of Chaz Bono and other trans-people be represented in society as a member of humanity equally deserving of respect and mutual consideration.