Copied and pasted from RadFemsRespond
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve decided to renege on your contract to allow this meeting to take place at Multnomah Quaker Meeting House. As a person who has been questioning my own need to transition I found the idea of Gender Critical thinking quite empowering. It’s frustrating to me that it had to come from a group that is so hated in the trans community. I feel like a lot of people who are in a similar position to me would benefit greatly from it. Despite what most of the Trans* community would say about it, there is almost certainly some truth to the idea. People can and do detransition, it is not some unbeatable ailment that can only be solved by either changing your body or committing suicide. This is a false choice that almost led to my own ruin. There are others like me, and I am confident in time we will see this more and more given the incredibly complex and nebulous nature of this… I don’t even know what to call it that would not offend someone.
And that’s really the problem, there is just too much going on here for any one person or group to really get a handle on it. Right now the screening process is almost 100% self-determined. I live in an informed consent state so that is the literal truth. I know the names of 4 psychologists In my area that I could go to and get a prescription for hormones. While I believe people should be able determine what they want to do with their own bodies this just reveals how little we know about the Trans* experience.
I’m not saying there is some magical cure for the opaque condition of ‘gender dysphoria’; I am still tempted to go get on those hormones. I have been battling with myself about this for a long time. I wish someone could tell me whether I really have a Trans identity or not, but I am the only one who can really decide that. This is the struggle of every trans person. There is no ‘brain-sex’ that has been discovered. Differences in male and female brains have been shown to be small with huge variances in actual behavior for individuals. While there have been a few brain scan studies they show that even cis-identified people often don’t match with their hypothetical ‘brain-sex’. With no possible biological test all we are left with is cues from behavior that are influenced by social condition more than anything else. I have found from my own personal experience that my own sense of dysphoria comes primarily from these social pressures.
This is not to say that every trans person feels this way but I know there must be more like me. Just the fact that there are more MtF transitioners to FtM transitioners seems to bare this out. It is more socially acceptable for a female to act male than for a male to act female. To do so is an attack on the gender hierarchy, this is simply not how things are supposed to work. Many MtF people like to claim that ‘butch’ women are really closeted FtM trans people. While I can’t speak for anyone but myself I can’t imagine those butch females like being ‘misgendered’ any more than a trans person would.
My experience is of someone who is searching for the cause of my feelings. For people like me gender critical thinking can open up a whole new world. There are many people now who claim to have ‘nonbinary’ gender which is a way to say they are between genders. Gender critical thinking dispells the illusion of gender and shows that we are all nonbinary in the basic sense. This is an empowering statement for anyone who is sick of our current gender hierarchy no matter what birth sex they are. Furthermore it is the only logical conclusion when all the current conflicting and confused research about gender is taken into account.
Why do the studies fail to produce a coherent picture of what determines one’s ‘gender identity’? It could simply be that gender is a false construct we have all bought into due to generations of social conditioning. In my personal experience this seems to be the case. I simply don’t like being limited by my gender role although as a born male I understand I have it on the good side of the gender hierarchy.
Before I continue I want to point out that I don’t feel like every single trans person needs to be blocked from transitioning. There are some who do have various biological conditions that are well known about and studied. The best example of this would be intersexed children, who are the most obvious exceptions. It does also seem possible that there may be some epigenetic causes that may produce a more physically feminine boy or more masculine girl. In fact, it is my pet theory that these small epigenetic differences snowball when gender socialization takes place. Usually upon entering public school, these people with perfectly fine, slightly more masculine or feminine biology are picked on and made to conform. This is not because they are ‘really’ a man in a woman’s body or vice versa. They simply don’t entirely conform to a man-made social construction. When these people decide to transition they are giving into the myth of gender being an innate quality and not a learned one.
Notice the link between Trans people and digit ratios. This has nothing to due with ones’ brain being in the wrong body. It has to do with a body being in the wrong society.
From the article:
“There’s more difference between a Pole and a Finn, than a man and a woman.”
I know this is all controversal. It has to be because no one knows for sure about any of this. There are also many mental disorders that can cause one to develop a trans identity that have little to do with any of the social/biological issues I’ve brought up above. This is all off the top of my head honestly. These are the thoughts that keep me up at night. I take this criticism seriously, as should any trans person who really wants to honor what their movement is fighting for. I would like to be able to know more about this but people who question their transitions or decide to detransition are often marginalized in the Trans community. Many are considered fake or ‘TERF sock puppets’ (that’s me apparently). It is sad that only the most ardent and extreme critics of the trans movement have enough clout to actually be heard through the chaos and self-aggrandizing of the current forms of internet-based ‘discussion’.
I have no hate for trans people. In fact I love them and sympathize with them. I have shared many of their struggles and done the same type of soul searching. I know how comforting the thought of simply being a woman trapped in a man’s body can be. A part of me still hopes this is the case. It would make my life so much simpler. All I would have to do is change myself, like I have been my whole life in order to fit other people’s expectations of me; namely as a male who dominates women and does other manly things to commoditize all of existence.
So, like most other trans people I began that process of trying to pass, ironically I went by the mantra “I’m being the real me!” At first this was true, by simply rejecting my hetero-normity I did feel like I was becoming ‘more me’. So I kept it up, going slowly. I felt better about myself, lost a lot of weight, shaved my beard. I set a date to go ‘full-time’ and starting training my voice. This is where the wheels started to fall off. I found a lot of speech pathology is learning to mimic the cadence and inflection of a female voice. Many training programs suggested finding a specific female who’s voice you wanted to sound like and copy their voice. In many voice pathology classes one is also taught to learn female gestures and facial expressions. Suddenly “I’m being more me” didn’t quite hold up. I was just changing one form of socialization for another. I began to really question everything.
During a night of listless google searching I found myself reading stuff I was agreeing. Turns out it was written by these people called ‘Radical Feminists’ who I knew were known as TERFs and obviously hated me and wanted me to kill myself. I didn’t look away and soon found Rachel Ivy’s presentation: “The End of Gender”. It set my world on fire. I saw everything differently, I realized how blind I had been. I wasn’t the one who needed to change my body, it was society that needed to change it’s judgment of me and everyone else. This was the root cause of my suffering and is the beating heart of the radical feminist movement.
I would love to be able to say I’m just an oppressed transwoman and all these radfems are just hating on me because I was born a man. But I know that isn’t true, even if that were the case there is enough substance here that it cannot be ignored. Many radfems are angry and have said hateful things about trans people, but the same can be said of trans people against radical feminists. TERF is very much a slur, it has all the effects of a slur. It is entirely a put-down meant to silence a thought that cannot be debated away rationally. I know I had read more about TERFs being nazi-like borderline gay-conversion Christians than I had ever read about their true thoughts, reasoning, or even their stated views.
Not all radfems are made the same and neither are all trans people. In the past this discussion has been very polarizing and personal but it is a needed one. For this reason having an open discussion can only help us. This goes beyond ‘bickering’ this is a fundamental question of our time. I think there is much room on both sides for more understanding. This issue will shape the future of both the feminist and the trans movement. It is up to us to make that future one we can all share and want to be a part of.
PS Here’s my own story as I posted it on reddit:
The no-platforming of gender-critical writing in the mainstream media (and debate in the world at large) points up an issue we have yet to come to terms with. That a radical feminist organ published this – admittedly-waffly and rife-with-contradiction – letter proves a point: the point of RFR. They are open to dialogue. The antithesis of ‘hate-speech’, which seeks only to use words as a weapon….