Gosh, I’m taking my time getting to the insight. However, here goes…although I suspect it is just a development of some stuff I worked through a LONG time ago.
One of the principal criticisms of us trans folk that comes from the talking therapists and rad fems alike seems to be situated around the idea that we “think” we’re women. Here’s an example of the sheer ignorance displayed by the idiosyncratic Hakeem (and others) in a letter from 2002.
This alone, seems to be grounds for realising that the guy knows next to nothing about his field of supposed expertise. Its little more than a hosue of cards built on the back of a legion of straw men (how’s THAT for mixed metaphor!).
The underpinning idea seems to be that we have a sexual fantasy about “being” women (the old essentialist “canard”). That surgery is an attempt to make that fantasy real. And that if only we’d sit down, pay charlatans like the good Doctor thousands of pounds to talk to us, we’d realise the deluded nature of our fantasies: realise that our real problem lies within the social construct known as the gender binary.
And once we’d come to terms with the realisation that the gender binary is unreal, why: we’d be cured.
Except, of course, I’ve never heard such TOSH in all my life. I don’t believe in the gender binary. I don’t believe I can ever be a “real” woman in the born bio sense of the word and…most such debates about whether I will fit some abstract category within an intellectually-generated bestiary of genders seem to me utterly, mind-numbingly pointless.
I’m me. That’s all. Me – or rather, I – just happen to regard myself as female and a trans woman. I’ve always been as much/more female than male: but for most of my life, I’ve not understood how to come to terms with that.
The process began with recognising what I was and with the start to transition which gave me permission to be me. But…sorry to disappoint all those rad feminists who think I am usurping some particular idea of womanhood…that is not my intent.
I consider myself a sort of woman…and that’s about that. I don’t NEED the surgery and the hormones to make me such. But first, they help. And second, they are part of a process of self-expression as a woman.
And that’s the real, real insight here.
Us trans women are got at by critics because they – not us – put forward the specious argument that we believe that surgery and such like makes us women. Only I know, and trans woman after trans woman that I talk to, all know that it doesn’t. The femaleness comes from within and is there irrespective of the surgery.
The surgery is not a “because”: its an “and”. I am a woman who enjoys living as a woman AND I want hormones and grs to help me live my life to the full. Not, ever: I will be a woman because I’ve had my dick cut off. Ugh!
The tragedy is that in order to access the second part of our transition, we must all, supposedly, fall into line with a world view espoused by the ultimate gender binarists – those good doctors who gate-keep the path to medical intervention. Their’s is the world view that imposes gender binary and how conformity to societal norms, both in behaviour and body morphology is what makes a woman.
In other words, JB has the wrong target in her sights. It ain’t us trannies who are claiming an essentialist view of womanhood: it’s the establishment that polices us.
And its about bloody time we stood up and made that a lot clearer.