i, a “Transgender Woman”, find myself in agreement with what i understand to be Gender Critical theory on several of its points.
that means that to some Transgender folks i’m a her-etic and a traitor, a “TERF-lover”…
at the same time to at least some Gender Critical Feminists, i fail to get the actual point of what i agree with in their analysis, continuing to insist and usurp and appropriate what’s not mine and in so doing reflect nothing more than a new form of Man privilege.
nonetheless, Gender Critical theory leads me down intriguing and challenging avenues of thought, paths opened up to me by my late Radical Feminist Lesbian Mother (1916-2015). i got to transgender while simultaneously walking down the path of Radical Feminism. that paradoxical viewpoint defuses the “war” of it all for me while leaving the conflict, which is a productive and interesting situation to me.
Gender Critical theory says that sex is a biological phenomenon that is fixed. the biology of a female and a male have basic and unalterable differences. males are never females nor vice versa. intersex persons exist as yet another sex, distinct from male and female. these are all discreet, immutable groups of Human.
i agree with that… but my agreement is conditioned on the idea of sex being fixed as being dependent on the context in which we currently find ourselves living. change that context, reassert a deeper reality, and sex doesn’t represent the same things as it does to us currently.
i’m attempting to see what i call “beneath” this “fixed” nature of sex. sex is no more than a morphology, an adaptation to benefit our species. sex is a splitting of a unity into a dualistic expression of the underlying unity. underneath our “divided” sexes we are integrated in ways that we in our Patriarchal night are blinded to see and yet yearn to be.
the meaning and importance of sexes being discreet, separate and static wouldn’t be so laden with dire consequences except that there is a context in which it is made to be of prime importance.
Gender Critical theory says that biological sex is interpreted and transformed in historical societies into the conceptual basis of the caste system called Patriarchy.
sex under Patriarchy is a marker used to define and divide two broad classes of persons in a hierarchical system that ranks and assigns privilege to the males – the Men.
Man’s purpose in identifying the female sex as inferior in Patriarchy is to deliver possession of the reproductive capacity of females to the males. to that end females are restricted to serving a single male in a life-long “nuclear family” that isolates her from her maternal relations as well as her sisterhood with no compensation for her labor. nor does she possess rights to her own property or even in many cases her own children throughout the vast majority of history and of course, it continues all over the globe today. the strict division of sexes is needed by the controlling males to transform Women’s energy and biology into harnesses to render that Woman’s energy as fuel for an engine of wealth creation, which the males (cloaked in their gender role as Men) control and plunder for themselves.
the Social manifestation of Patriarchal strict division of the sexes based on hierarchical rank is gender.
in Gender Critical theory, gender is a socially dictated set of behaviors that serve to emphasize the above mentioned sexual differences… it is useful as a means to make caricatures out of individual Human Beings, to alienate them inside their own bodies, dehumanizing them, depriving them of Choice and forcing them to conform to dress and mannerisms that obey Patriarchal rules. in order to ensure that all members of a sex are clearly labeled, gender roles are strictly enforced. gender is not sex, but it is conflated with sex, merged with sex to give it Authority. gender labels members of each sex for easy identification and facilitates the easy infliction of physical violence on and debilitation for the “inferior” sex… and causes psychic dysfunction for both.
so. since i agree with all of that… what’s the beef between Gender Critical Feminists and me?
i think it’s about me claiming to “leave Patriarchal roles behind” while simultaneously exhibiting behavior and dress that are said to, and actually do perpetuate Men’s idealization of Woman as a submissive sex toy, a willing servant, a passive target for the discharge of Man’s violent frustrations and gross bodily emissions. at least to those who say so, this is true.
i agree with that.
but i’m still identifying as a “Transgender Woman”, wearing makeup and earrings and skirts and all the rest. i’m not willing to give gender expression up, i’m trying to liberate it from its cage, claiming the creative right to define gender for myself. it isn’t a tool of Patriarchy to me. it is a set of behaviors, choices, affinities, loves, looks and habits that can and will be free from its tragic capture by Patriarchy.
my heart tells me that to evolve and heal, we will of necessity have to change the context and in so doing, dissipate the basis of conflict and tension between us all. what if they gave a Patriarchy and nobody came?
many of us – Gender Critical and Trans – desire to see a “genderless society” develop as the result of this change of context.
as i understand it, Gender Critical Feminists believe that when sex is no longer used to facilitate domination and exploitation, genders will be superfluous and disappear.
this is where i cause some to misunderstand me because yes, i agree that gender will disappear… but gender is a concept and its current meaning is what’s going to disappear not necessarily its forms, which i see adapting to new contexts as we all evolve. so… therefore i continue to name myself with a Woman’s name and behave in ways that are obnoxious to some Gender Critical Feminists at least…
i think those who condemn me for my her-etic point of view and practice are missing something we Trans people are expressing about gender, regardless of the contempt we receive for it. contempt for us and reasoned arguments against us behaving these ways aren’t going to change this i don’t think.
it is simply that gender expression is experienced as a source of Joy among us Trans folks… exuberance, joie de vivre… we are playing, we are… (pun not intended) gay. we are living in the manner that sings to our souls and sings our souls to the Whole.
our adoption of forms of dress and manner (gender) which are currently associated with Patriarchal domination and exploitation can and should be liberated from Patriarchy which is committing a tragic and unjust waste of Human creative energy. Patriarchal Man, get your tiny hands off my gender!
i just can’t quite stop thinking that as creative as Human Beings are and the delight that we take in the ways we express gender identities, that we really need or want to discard gender altogether… we LOVE something about gender… what we can do is define gender according to a different set of values than Patriarchy allows us.
i see the necessity and possibility for exploitation based on sex to cease, allowing gender’s context to change… the beautiful ways of style and manner we call “gender” are just intrinsically enjoyable and we mustn’t surrender that as a consequence of liberating ourselves from Patriarchy.
we must free gender from its slavery under Patriarchal distortion. i think gender and sex are innocents, kidnapped into forced labor on behalf of a vicious violent cult of greed.