The Divide of Physical Gender and Gender Identity

via What Makes a Woman? – The New York Times

There is a HUGE divide between the experience of a woman as a physical gender, and the experience of a woman has a gendered identity.  And the writer of this opinion piece in the New York Times puts her finger on it.

Trust me, I’m supportive of my trans sisters (and trans brothers for that matter) out there.  I empathize with your feelings of having been born in the wrong body.  While I am cis-gendered, I do feel I was born in the wrong body – and it has taken me decades to come to terms with, accept and even love the body I was given.  It’s not that I was born in the wrong physical gender, but that my body – no matter what I have done to it up until a few years ago – refused to allow me to lose weight.  My own body was fighting my attempts at being healthy.

But, there’s a HUGE experience that is different for someone who is a trans female, but was physically born male.  They were raised with the physically gendered male programming (even with parents who attempt to raise their child as gender neutral, there will still be unconscious, societal programming involved – based solely on the shape of one’s genitals and seen in every form of media).

Here’s a good example of this.  I live, currently in a small town.  To my knowledge, there are exactly 2 transgender males in this town (and a few other LGBTQ individuals running around).  There may be more, but I don’t have any personal knowledge of them.  One of those transgender males was beeped at, experiencing street harassment – not once, but three different times.  I support these young men fully.  But, simply due to the fact that they were raised as women, there is still the unconscious, societal programming that they are dealing with.  Just as transgendered females have the unconscious societal programming of men.

Yes, the surgery can give transgendered females a working vagina, and they are experimenting with uterine transplants to allow transgendered females to bear children.

But NOTHING can give these transgendered individuals the childhood programming of the other physical gender.

Male and female brains start out exactly the same, and even into adulthood, there is still little difference between the two types of brain.  But, there are neural pathways, developmental habits and expectations that make a huge difference.

So yes, I support equal rights for ALL human beings regardless of race, creed, or gender identity.  But, please…..please….stop trying to say that YOU embody the female experience.  There is no one, single female experience.  There are many facets.

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Categories: Gender Inequities | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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