I generally enjoy John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight.
His story on transgendered people, however, was similar to the the Mike Huckabee clip they showed in lack of nuance.
At no time was the difference between gender (culturally based) and sex (biologically based) noted.
I was born with XX chromosomes. And a vagina. And female hormones. Hence, I am female. Cis, natal, whatever you want to call it, I am female. I had no choice in this matter and if any “assigning” was done, blame god. Those are just facts.
And I grew up being treated as a female, with all of the cultural conditioning that comes with it. Part of that cultural conditioning is being highly aware that sexual assault is fairly “normal”, since 91% of the victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and anywhere from one in five to one in seven women in the United States have been the victims of rape or attempted rape.
Partly because of the cultural conditioning and partly in rebellion of said conditioning, I became a feminist in my teens. Rigid sex roles, unequal standing in courts, discrimination based on things we can’t control….these are not good for anyone. So, to say I’m a liberal is to state the obvious.
Here is what I struggle with, and I’m not trying to hurt anyone or demean anyone…I’m being honest and open. If I say I’m a man, am I delusional? If I say, I’m a man but I have a vagina…does that make any sense to you? If you’ve been tracking this issue at all, you’ll know that there are plenty of transgender people out there who say things like, “I’m a woman and I have a cock, deal with it.” Ummm, no, sorry, saying it doesn’t make it so. Just like saying climate change isn’t real doesn’t make it so. Or any other delusion being foisted upon people.
I have empathy for people who hate themselves and don’t feel like they fit in anywhere. Believe me, I’ve been there! But there was a pretty decent op-ed in the WSJ by Paul McHugh of Johns Hopkins University, that talked about mental illness and sexual reassignment surgery that I’d recommend.
John Oliver, as a man of privilege, doesn’t seem to understand that the penis has been weaponized. He hasn’t lived with the possibility of rape his entire life. And apparently, he doesn’t have any writers who might get this. So to completely blow off the safety threat to women everywhere by allowing “females” with penises into women only spaces is to say a gigantic “fuck you” to women. I’m no longer allowed to be concerned about my safety? Because, Mr. Oliver, I assure you that women have indeed been assaulted in women only spaces by “females” with penises. Do your fucking research.
This issue isn’t quite as “easy” as gay marriage, for instance. So to treat it as though it is so clear cut is to do a disservice to people who think. As a straight, married woman, I understand that gay marriage is no threat whatsoever to me. I fully support people being able to marry their loved one.
But please, can we think about this a minute?
As a white woman, would it not be delusional to say that I’m a black male and to demand to be treated as if I’m a black male? If I say I’ve felt my entire life as if I were a black male, would not the correct response be something like “how on earth would you know what it feels like to be a black male”?
As a white woman, would it not be delusional to say that I’m a native American man and demand to be recognized as a native American man? Would that not be the basic form of cultural appropriation?
Yet, when it comes to sexual “identity”, we are all who we say we are?
Sorry. I can’t go there. And it might have something to do with the failure to commit. If you say you’re a woman and have your penis removed and take hormones, and live as a woman, with all that implies (lower wages, sexual harassment, etc etc), then I’m much more willing to accept you into the sisterhood. But no, if you say you’re a woman but keep the penis and all that that implies…then you are not a woman; at best, you are extremely confused.
I saw another article that I’ll recommend from ThinkProgress called The Quiet Clash Between Transgender Women and Drag Queens that might get you thinking about cultural norms and sex roles and gender roles. Sure, we live in a patriarchy….no surprise there. Sure, we are all gender conditioned. And yes, our society could do a shitload more to just allow people to be who they are.
But I don’t see how it does anyone any good at all to accept delusion as reality.