What It’s Like to be Four

According to Web MD, here are some of the activities and milestones of turning four:

  • Singing, rhyming, and making up words
  • Count ten or more objects
  • Correctly name at least four colors and three shapes
  • Recognize some letters and possibly write his or her name
  • Walk up and down stairs without help
  • Peddle a tricycle
  • Copy a triangle, circle, square, and other shapes
  • Stack 10 or more blocks
  • Use a fork and spoon

Here are just some of the kids who were declared transgender by the age of four and started on the path to transition by the adults in their life:

 

 

That Ineluctable, Strange, Desirable Thing of Star Quality

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Why Italians in the 16th century castrated boys to make them into opera stars:

“…historican David Starkey tells of the ‘full horror’ of the procedure, but also adds, ‘it’s horribly like the child star of today, forced into this artificiality, forced… to deliver that ineluctable, strange, desirable thing of star quality.’”

Many came from poor homes and were castrated by their parents in the hope that their child might be successful and lift them from poverty

This castrato had a fine voice, but his chief attraction was his beauty… on the stage in woman’s dress the illusion was complete; he was ravishing. He was enclosed in a carefully-made corset and looked like a nymph; and incredible though it may seem, his breast was as beautiful as any woman’s.”

This could happen anytime before the main effects of puberty, but most boys were ‘recruited’ at age twelve or younger.”

Surgeons tried to remain anonymous, and parents made up stories about how their child fell off a horse or had some hunting accident that required castration.”

Castration for singing was understood through the lens of Catholic blood sacrifice… Sacrifice in turn was inseparable from the system of patriarchy—involving teachers, patrons, colleagues, and relatives—whereby castrated males were produced not as nonmen, as often thought nowadays, but as idealized males.”

Both Farinelli’s abnormal height and his lack of fused bones are likely related to growth delays caused by his castration. Further, the researchers discovered osteoporosis and a condition called hyperostosis frontalis interna, both of which are generally much more common in older, post-menopausal women.”

The DWR Feminist Quote of the Day – Meghan Murphy – On Feminism for Females

Excellent article.

“Weiss goes on to explain that the way women talk about women’s subordination under patriarchy (also known as the reason feminism exists) can ‘unintentionally erase trans and non-binary people.’ It’s a funny way of framing things… Similar to saying, for example, that Black Lives Matter ‘unintentionally erases’ white people.”

“But for some reason, it is only the women’s movement that is expected to accommodate everyone, and to ensure no one feels bad or left out. Odd! In fact, this is not odd at all. It is sexist.”

“The purpose of the women’s movement is to liberate the class of women, who are oppressed, as females, under patriarchy… This should not be a controversial statement for anyone who claims interest in the feminist project, but nonetheless countless do-gooders have taken it upon themselves to condescendingly explain to women that they need to sit down and shut up about their own material reality, within their own movement.”

“The notion that we should degender conversations about feminism suggests we pretend not to know who is oppressing whom, and why — a mindfuck if there ever was one. (Is it just folks vs. folks? Who are the folks? Why are some folks raping other folks?! It’s a mystery…)”

Dead Wild Roses

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On the Content and Importance of Identity

I am misunderstood all the time.

People think I am a middle-aged lady — I can tell by the way the whole world suddenly started calling me “ma’am” a few years ago. But in reality, I’m a youthful hipster 😉 who likes obscure indie music, will take a road trip anywhere anytime, collects surrealist erotica, and lives for poetry slams and late-night philosophy debates.

People invariably think I’m straight, but I love women and barely like men.

People think I’m conservative, not because they’ve heard my views, but because I just have that look. A mousy little straight-girl look, no matter how punk rock I try to be.

Because of my age, people think I have kids. They think I’m interested in PTA meetings, casserole recipes, SUVs, botox, Sex and the City and eradicating dandelions from my yard. That is not me.

Growing up as a girl and a woman, people thought I’d like stuffed animals, diamonds, stiletos, babies, chasing boys, dreaming of my wedding day, having my appearance appraised, and being catcalled. I didn’t like those things. They thought I’d hate bugs, snakes, getting dirty, shop class, camping, backpacking, whisky, computer programming, and women. I did like those things.

I deal with this like most adults — especially women — do. By cultivating friends of all ages who both know the real me and who nourish my spirit with their smart, weird, wild, youthful, eccentric personalities. Communing with them. Doing what I like, whether or not it’s appropriate or expected. I just had a lovely holiday cocktail party with more of these friends than I realized I had.

My ex used to joke that he felt “like a lion” and yet no one could tell he was a lion. He said it like he knew it was silly and he knew that everyone was special and unique and misunderstood and that it was just part of the human condition. Many times, in our years together, he said: “I can’t wait to be an old man.” He claimed he was interested in growing old gracefully, doing what he wanted, shedding pretension.

Much is made of identity these days. Once the purview of sex and race and sexual orientation, identity is now of paramount importance for everyone. Are you a demisexual ex-Christian Green Party bigender heteroromantic belly dancer? Better get that tattooed on your forehead before someone fails to notice and address you with the pronouns and lingo that have been designed to validate that. Being overlooked could be triggering.

Funny, I just realized that 15 years ago my ex and I had a friend with a string of identities like this whom we roundly made fun of for it.

I stopped by an event sponsored by my school’s LGBT organization recently. The first thing that happened was that I was asked for my pronouns. The second thing that happened was that I got seated at a table full of young lesbians who did not want to be women. They were “theys” and “hes” and “zirs” and everything but young women who love women (even though, for what it’s worth, they all looked like completely unmodified regular women with short haircuts). Funny how transgender people are supposed to be a tiny minority of the population, and yet they seem to be crowding out all other identities. Were rooms full of lesbians 75% transgender twenty years ago, and just afraid to say so? Somehow I doubt it.

But I guess it’s to be expected from 15- to 20-year-olds. They’ve merely moved on from hippies and valley girls and geeks and goths — so passé — to the identities of today.

For a while I’ve been struggling with the sneaking suspicion that identity is 100% immature narcissistic bullshit. Since when is it a human right to insist that everyone, everywhere “get” the real you and to coerce them into changing their behavior and language to prove that they get you? Since when is it even important?

That said, I understand why minorities, women, gays and lesbians “identify” as such. But in these cases, it’s never been about getting people to stand up and applaud for it, or even to know it for the sake of knowing it. It’s been about finding ways to deal with a lifelong, externally-imposed, material struggle that only other members of the group can truly understand.

These identities are unavoidable because they’re externally imposed. Without structural oppression, there would be far less motivation for people with these realities to spend much time claiming them as identities.

There is content to the claim that someone is female, black or gay.

There is no content to the claim that someone is transgender. The claim is purely self-referencing.

The content of being a woman is: having a period, risking pregnancy, being raised to be helpless, and being a member of the sex class more likely to get raped.

The content of being a black person is: having your natural hair called dirty, being followed by store clerks who think you’ll rob them, seeing figurines in antique stores meant to make you look foolish, and being more likely to be beaten by the police.

The content of being gay is falling in love with someone of your sex.

The content of being transgender is saying you’re transgender. The content of being transgender is getting other people to understand that you’re transgender. Circular. A flooglebinder is a flooglebinder.

Or, to put it another way, the content of being transgender is saying you’re the other sex. And what’s the content of being the other sex? Having a period, risking pregnancy, being raised to be helpless, and being a member of the sex class more likely to get raped. And needing to gather with women because of those shared experiences.

Oh, wait. Not that stuff, I guess.

Just, you know, being a woman. “Because I said so. And no, I won’t tell you what the content of that experience is. Because I can’t do so without relying on sexist stereotypes. But trust me. Woman is something. Just not something you women would understand.”

This is why my ex would not give up activism to save our marriage. For most people, activism is an extra activity, easily parted with if something important is at stake. But there is no transgender without activism. Women still bleed even if no one notices. Gay people still fall in love with members of their sex even if no one notices. But there isn’t a way to be transgender that doesn’t consist of signaling that to other people and placing a claim upon their interest in it.

And the content of transgender is not hating sports, or liking pink, or being sensitive and nurturing, or being interested in men (because that’s not the content of being female).

Because those are sexist stereotypes.

And because if you did that stuff, you’d just be you, like everyone else who does that stuff, not transgender you.

Transgender identities are not externally imposed, like those of other groups. In fact, they can only be imposed by the transgender people themselves. We have literally no other way of knowing except being told.

Edited to add, for clarity, after a discussion in the comments:

A male with gender dysphoria is invisible and doesn’t become a transgender person (or a “woman,” if you like) except via simply making it so, by announcing their identity to the world and requesting it be recognized, which is always to some degree activism. Without a constant reinforcement of it via activism, they can’t have an identity as such.

Transgender = transgender. Like being goth.

Except that goths do have an official music genre.

 

Dear Trans Women Part 3 by Judith Bell

Reblogging because the third post in this series is as brilliant as the first two. All three parts are an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to understand these issues.

This is something that ought to give pause to trans activists and people on the fence: Radical feminist analysis of gender (“terfiness” if you like) is so often educated and well-researched, grounded in decades of research and civil rights theory, with arguments that ideological opponents simply haven’t addressed; instead they react with unsupported cries of “transphobia!” (despite the fact that feminist gender analysis was developed by and for women prior to and outside of any concern about dysphoric males).

Articles by transgender activists, by contrast, are so often nothing more than strings of assertions (“transwomen are women, full stop”) and/or random, ever-changing demands. I.e: start using these words, stop using these words, recognize gender as distinct from sex, recognize gender as identical to sex, Daniel Moscato’s a woman, Daniel Moscato’s a troll. I have literally seen one transgender activist rant about how triggering it was for a woman to borrow a tampon from another woman in front of him, and another rant about how it made him feel excluded when a woman stepped away from him before lending another woman a tampon. It’s going to take a little more intellectual rigor to defend transgender ideology’s assault on women’s rights.

Some highlights from Judith Bell’s third installation:

“If you like to eat at Szechuan hot pot restaurants, it doesn’t automatically mean that you’re Chinese. You see, gender, like the nationality of the Chinese person, is a social condition. You can’t confer it upon yourself. Only society can give you your gender.”

“It is especially troubling when trans women insist that ‘cis’ women are being ‘transphobic’ solely for critiquing female gender roles. To refresh your memory, female gender roles exist for one reason alone, and that reason is to oppress female people. If you are not female (hint: you’re not), then you have no right to tell female people to stop trying to dismantle the harmful stereotypes of femininity that they have been slaving under for millennia, just because doing so hurts your feelings.”

I Still Have that Dream

Before the demise of my marriage, I had a recurring dream. In the dream I was not married to my husband. I was either with an ex or dating new people. And I’d feel a crushing sense that something was wrong. It’s like the real relationship I was in was in my peripheral vision, reminding me of what could be, but I just couldn’t materialize the thought. I’d think, “No, this isn’t right, this person I’m with isn’t the right person for me, there is someone better for me. This is a mistake.” And then I’d either remember him, or wake up next to him and see him, and feel relieved that I was still with him, that I’d found love, that these ghosts of inferior might-have-been relationships were not real. I felt that secure. It felt that perfect.

A few weeks ago I had a similar dream, but I remembered I was divorced. My heart plead to me in my dream: “This is not right. This is not what should have been. Can you reconsider? Can you get that love back? That one, that was always the right one?”

But I can’t, and not just, as my heart presumed, because I will not try.

It was never a matter of staying or going for me. There was no course of action I could have taken that would have saved my marriage. He was intent on burning it all down. He left me not just for his “true, authentic self,” but for a lifestyle that he wanted more than he wanted me. A lifestyle he had begun pursuing months before he let me in on it. He wanted rid of his past. He wanted to be a hero among liberals. He wanted a lifestyle with cachet. He wanted to literally make the news. He wanted a different person, whom he’d had his eye on long before he told me, who represented the newness and popularity and praise and validation he craved.

He did not have the self esteem required to survive a simple life, in a simple house, with a boring wife who loved him more than anything, being just another unrecognized someone.