Gender Theory, Gender Practice

Today, a great deal of “gender theory” is abstracted from human experience. But if theory is not the crystallized resin of experience, it ceases to be a guide to action.

— Leslie Feinberg, Transgender Warriors

Who can explain us?

“Gender is biological,” they said. “You’re born a boy or girl, and that’s the end of it.”

They were wrong. Our bodies defy their rules. Our lives defy their prescriptions.

“Gender is socially constructed,” they said. “You’re made a man or woman, and that’s the end of it.”

They were wrong. We were told who we were. We were told through every possible channel. We were told by our parents, our teachers, and our televisions. We were told by our friends, our doctors and our governments.

They hadn’t figured on anyone telling back.

Therefore we are miracles. We are miracle workers. We are testament to the exact limits of the human mind.

What does the human know? Not grand Truths, nor the exact limits of every category. The human knows little truths, general trends, and meaningful exceptions.

The human, hopefully, knows him- or herself.

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3 comments

  1. Ieshia

    Hi,

    I never understood what being transgender actually means and it’s my own fault because I have not tried hard enough to learn. I don’t know any transgender person and the little research I’ve done online didn’t help. I recently saw this comment under a male v. female brain article and it seemed to help more than anything I have learned, is this true though,

    “Transgenderism as a phenomenon does not seem to correlate with societal notions of gender performance. In other words, for most transgender people experiencing body dysphoria (or, indeed, dysmorphia) the condition is a physical one: Their brain expects a certain anatomy. It does not seem to be a question of looking or acting a specific way.

    An example of this is the fact that trans-men (men born with biologically female bodies) experience a “phantom penis” in a large number of instances — they have the experience of their brain expecting a penis to be there, but not finding one, which any male-bodied man should appreciate would be cause for distress.

    So, in summary, transgenderism is orthogonal to gender performance, even if many transgender individuals find it a relief to bring their social, performed gender in line with their expected gender.”

    My question and comment might sound really ignorant but I have very ignorant on this subject. I apologize if its offensive in anyway.

  2. rimonim

    Hi, Ieshia! Thanks for your comment and for submitting your question. I appreciate that you stepped up to respectfully ask. I think there are a few different questions going on in what you wrote, and I would like to address all of them. I will write up a complete answer and post it on the blog in the next day or two.

  3. Pingback: What Does It Mean To Be Transgender? | Today I Am A Man

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