My friend Samantha Rogers, pictured above, a transgender woman from Detroit, Michigan, calls those who would deny the existence of transgender people “control freaks.” I think she’s nailed it. What sort of person but a control freak thinks he or she has a right to tell other people who they are ?
Look : neither you nor you nor you, you, and you has any right to tell anyone else who they are. Each of us is the master, or mistress, of our own lives. Only we live our lives. You, and you, and you you and you live YOUR life, not anyone else’s.
This should be the end of the discussion. Yet it isn’t, because for some people, the urge to control the lives of others is an obsession. Why so ? I’l tell you why :” the people who want to erase transgender people do so because they are afraid that their kids will come out as transgender if thy find out transgender exists.
They are afraid of that because they are sure they know who their children are. After all, our children are us, are they not? Our sperm and egg partner to bring our kids into existence. Somehow we feel that we own our sperm, own our eggs; and if we own them, we must, perforce, own what they create jointly.
Yet this assumption is false. We do NOT “own” our kids. Our kids are NOT just the junction of sperm and egg. Kids are far, far more than their biology, just as we are. Life has numerous platforms other than the physical. It has values, ideals, missions, tasks, obligations, joys, and yes, it has the question “who am I ?” To which no society ever has given a purely physical answer.
Thus gender, which is NOT the same thing as sex — sex being the tools by which through process a child is formed. Sex is endocrine. Gender is much less mechanized. It’s actually very difficult, maybe impossible, to know what gender is. It certainly isn’t the same as sexual attraction. To whom you are sexually attracted has almost nothing to do with the mechanical. Women are attracted to women as easily as to men, and vice versa. It is no different with transgender people. So what, then, IS gender ? A perception, perhaps. Being male, being female. Being both, or partly each but not equally, and not the same every day. The young call this “gender-fluid.”
Dive deeply into gender and you quickly realize that you’re in a sea with no shore. There is no safe harbor. We are, most of us, however, profoundly influenced by examples of gender norm. The feminine in its unmistakable form and look is all around us; so is the masculine. many of us crave to be one or the other, or to wake up and find out that we ARE one or the other, and can dress as such, and present this US to the world, regardless of what anatomy we possess or which chromosomes. Some of us discover that we are, in fact, entirely female, or entirely male, despite how we were brought up. This discovery is not optional. When it comes, it commands. Because it is us who we are discovering; the discovery arises from within. It is not taught, or drunk like a potion, or injected like a vaccine.
When the discovery comes, it comes from the real self, and when you sense it, you know that that is true. All at once the tangible you that you feel at your fingertips and kneecaps seems a covering only, a kind of packaging, the real stuff being inside, unwrapping that packaging because it now owns you and IS you.
This is not a becoming. You realize now that you had always been who you now see that you are. Gender is not a becoming. Gender is an IS.
More than that, I cannot say. Gender is the heart of a mystery, just as life is a mystery, immune to explanation even though its package can always be explained.
The control freaks who deny the existence of transgender because they are afraid their kids will come out as transgender cannot accept mystery. Their kids are THEIR kids. Mystery is an enemy of that possession. Thus it cannot be allowed. Transgender — gender fluidity in general — can NOT be allowed to ANYONE because to allow that it is real is to permit it to their kids in the event.
And so we get to the heart of the matter with respect to the control freaks of family matters. It’s all about ownership. possession. The power to control their kids. And from control of their kids, control of YOU — and you, and you you and you — as well.
This will not stand.
A kid has a right to live her own life; to be his own true self; to embrace the sliding scales of gender; to “live an authentic life,” as many gender fluids call it. Damn. If one is not free to be who one is, what freedom can anyone ever have ?
—- Mike Freedberg / here and Sphere