So I've been wrestling with this idea for a long time. I get that the idea behind being transgendered* is that you don't feel like you were born into a body of the correct sex. You were born male...
So I've been wrestling with this idea for a long time.
I get that the idea behind being transgendered* is that you don't feel like you were born into a body of the correct sex. You were born male but feel like a woman, or you were born female but feel like a man, and all that. That part I get. I obviously don't "get it" at the level that someone who has that issue would get it, but I know how wonky the mind can be and it doesn't strike me as too hard to believe that this is a thing that happens.
Simultaneously, I see that people of a more progressive mindset are enthusiastic about eliminating gender norms and stereotypes. Women aren't constrained to the kitchen, and men are perfectly fine being stay-at-home dads. All of this I vehemently agree with.
However, I notice a very foundational contradiction when I read or hear about how transgendered people came to realize that they identify as the opposite gender. Pretty much all of the time, I hear them say things like, "I was born a male, but I always enjoyed playing with dolls and wearing dresses," or, "I was born a female, but I always enjoyed rough-housing and trucks," or whatever. Granted, I don't frequently seek these stories out, but whenever I come across them, they follow that general format.
What I don't understand is how you can believe that gender norms are completely arbitrary while simultaneously using those norms as evidence that you were born into the wrong sex. It seems to me that believing in the superficiality of gender norms should automatically render the concept of being transgendered redundant. After all, if being a man or woman isn't determined by the things society socializes us to believe, how would you possibly have any indication that your body has the wrong sex? What would having the "wrong sex" even mean if gender norms are disregarded? If being a man or woman isn't determined by your actions or preferences in life, what left is there to define the genders except your biological sex?
Surely there must be a concept or aspect to this whole thing that I'm missing, because it's hard to believe that such a widespread and vocal social movement has been made out of such a paradox. If anyone has some clarifying information, I'd appreciate it.
*I know "transgendered" isn't the preferred term, but it's clear in meaning and the preferred term is just going to change again soon anyway. So no offense meant by using it.
EDIT: It has since been made known to me that "transgender" itself suffices as an adjective, so my terminology was off on a grammatical basis. For posterity, though, I'll leave the submission as-is.15 votes