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If gender is a construct, why are people transgender?

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Questa volta abbiamo cercato: If gender is a construct, why are people transgender?

First off this isn’t a hate post, I respect transgender people and think that they should be treated equally. What confuses me is the exact definition of being transgender. If gender is a construct, like the traits we assign to genders is a social construct, then wouldn’t you just be the gender that you are that does things the other gender does? Apparently transgender people feel like it’s not really their own body, but isn’t that more of a sex rather than gender thing? Again, no hate towards transgender people, just a curious cisgender person looking to learn more.

Ed ecco le risposte:

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Honest curiosity is always welcome!

It’s only possible to be transgender because gender, as opposed to sex, is a construct. If it were immutable and unchangeable, then everyone would have to fit into the same boxes. Transgender just means you’re not comfortable with your birth sex, and so you don’t have to accept the same roles or the same labels that typically go along with it.

“wouldn’t you just be the gender that you are that does things the other gender does?”

Not necessarily. I mean, if I’m allowed to do things the other gender does, why couldn’t I also call myself by the same name?

“Apparently transgender people feel like it’s not really their own body, but isn’t that more of a sex rather than gender thing?”

Yeah, but that’s not the only problem. Dysphoria, the hard-to-describe feeling of discomfort that comes from merely existing in the wrong body, isn’t just disliking your physical body. It can also mean discomfort with the roles and identity you’re assigned by your birth sex.

I was uncomfortable with looking like a guy, acting like a guy, and calling myself a guy, so I changed all three.

Someone once described what it was like to be transgender to me and I think I have a better understanding now as I used to be of the same opinion as you – just live life as though you were that gender in your own mind.. but it’s much more complex and personal than that.

I was told..

Imagine when you were very young, you would dance and sing and you loved music. This was allowed because you were young but then one day an adult said you were not allowed to like music anymore because only another type of person should like it. You couldn’t sing, dance, play or learn music because that was (and by extension, you were) ‘wrong’. Then if you tried later but we’re caught, you were told off again and again and your music player or whatever was destroyed or taken away.

Then as you got older, you noticed a sign around your neck on full display to everyone saying you are non musical. You have to wear that now forever.

But you knew that you loved music and didn’t understand why it would hurt anyone for you to just be allowed to have music.

Then as you got older, everywhere you went, all non-musical people you spoke to, ‘knew’ you weren’t musical because of this sign and talked to you in that way because not only were you not allowed to like music, you also HAD to like the non musical things too and share opinions with non musical people, like enjoying having a tooth extracted or the sound of drilling and if you didn’t, you were laughed at and ostracised.

Then when musical people came along they didn’t interact with you like a musical person because of this sign and if you got too eager in front of them, they might take it to mean something else, or just think you were strange.

Of course, you could have music in private but you can never sing or dance or play an instrument or listen to music in front of people for fear of your closest friends and family thinking badly of you or worse.

Now think about it on a wider scale – no music at a bar, at the cinema, no clubbing, not while at the gym, while shopping, while dating, everywhere and everything is affected.

And all the time, you have this sign around your neck as a reminder to you and others about what you are ‘supposed to be’.

I probably haven’t done it justice, but basically, it’s more than just the way you’re seen, it’s about the experiences, the expectations of people, like not being able to go to a ballet class and be with and like ‘the other girls’.. Or to be able to go and play rugby with and like ‘the other boys’. Even if you were allowed to do those things, you would still be treated as the boy in the ballet class or the girl in the rugby team, not as one of the dancers or one of the players.. And you know in your heart that you are exactly like the others. But nobody else sees it.

I hope I’ve got across what I was told because it really opened my eyes. This is a hard thing to go through. To all trans people out there, find people who you can be yourself with and stay strong. You are amazing, inspirational people.

Lots of things are a social construct but still real and important because we are humans in a society!

Having a name is a social construct, there’s nothing biological about my name. But it’s still rude and weird if someone refuses to call me by my name and calls me a name I don’t like. Because lots of things are important to us that don’t have to do with biology.

Gender identity is a legit thing. Society’s view of gender and gender roles is not.

It’s the “girls all love pink and shopping and princesses, boys all love blue and sports and never cry” stuff that’s a social construct, aka the harmful stereotypes and “rules” that society likes to force on us.

Gender by itself is a spectrum, and anyone can be anywhere on it. You can be masculine, you can be feminine, you can be both or neither, and none of it needs to be related to your sex. Even if we got rid of all gender labels and stereotypes, there will still be people with long hair who will prefer it short, people with deep voices who prefer it higher, people with boobs who would rather them be removed, etc. That’s just human nature and we all have ways of self expression that are more comfortable to us than others.

I am trans myself and I have to say I’ve always identified more with the term transsexual. My gender dysphoria stems from my body and the fact that I was not born with the “right parts”.

What makes me a man, despite being trans and not being born as a natal male, is the fact that all the physical aspects of my birth sex caused me so much emotional pain and discomfort and I felt like my body was completely foreign to me. So I strive to get as close to being pyhsically male as I can because it relieves my dysphoria and greatly improves my quality of life. Biological sex is not a construct, I know who I am and what kind of body I was meant to inhabit. This has nothing to do with the constructs of gender roles. I am changing my body, and the way I dress and act comes second to that in terms of being a man.

What makes a man a man besides his sex organs? Nobody knows. It’s all speculation. A man is whoever he says he is, regardless of being trans or cis. If a man wears makeup, cries, has a high pitched voice, he is still a man if he identifies as a man. The way a man dresses and acts does not DEFINE him, but is part of his entire identity. Every man has a different idea of what being a man means to him when the outside influence of society’s constructs are removed.

Do I know I belong in a male body? Yes. This is the SEX I identify with.
Do I feel euphoric/feel like myself while wearing men’s clothes, being addressed by male pronouns, and being called a male name? Yes. Do I sometimes enjoy stereotypical masculine activities? Yes. These are all forms of gender expression, which are associated with being a man, but not necessary to be a man. These things are constructs.
Sex and gender go hand in hand. I am a man because I know I belong in a male body. But I also get euphoria from some gender “constructs” because they just so happen to make me feel comfortable and more like myself.