Thursday, February 16, 2012

Addendum: Trans-

When is a prefix a word? When no one wants to say what the root is.

On a dating profile, a person says that they are trans. What information have they conveyed? How is a potential date supposed to interpret this?

The term transsexual is specific. To be born transsexual means to have a congenital defect in which the sex of the body and the sex of the brain (to oversimplify a bit) are out of sync. The cure is to change the hormone balance, surgically alter the sexual characteristics of the body, and allow the person to live as the sex their brain tells them they are. Male to female—straightforward. Female to male—more complicated, but the general idea is the same.

If the term transgender was non-specific, the term trans seems to be even more so. That seems to be why some people like it. They can convey that they are vaguely part of the already vague LGBT while saying almost nothing about themselves. "Trans" seems to mean anyone who is not male-bodied who lives as male in a societally acceptable masculine fashion, or female-bodied who lives as female in a societally acceptable feminine fashion, or anatomically intersexed (intersex, itself an overly broad term, is always separate from trans-anything).

You can't tell the players without a scorecard. In fact, you can't tell the players with a scorecard, because there are so many different scorecards.

People born transsexual, whether pre-op or post-op, whether lesbian, gay, bisexual, or asexual, even those who eschew "normal" gender expression, should avoid the non-word "trans" like the plague. If you were born transsexual, there is no need to obfuscate. And once you have successfully dealt with your birth defect, there is no need for any "trans" word at all.

Sadly, the non-word is everywhere. People who should know better use it and perpetuate the obfuscation, often in the name of some sort of inclusiveness or political correctness. People who do know better use it intentionally to obfuscate. When your purpose is to baffle people with bullshit, to deconstruct reality, to destroy the ability of words to convey specific meaning, then the last thing you want is anyone knowing what you are actually talking about.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Addendum: Coming out... overrated. Highly overrated. At least for those born with transsexualism.

If you were born transsexual but have not yet begun sex change, you probably want to tell very few if any people. If you tell people you are "transgender" or even "transsexual" but nothing about you is different, most people will just be confused. Keep in mind that how you "identify" is entirely inside you. Save that sort of thing for an anonymous blog or someone who you are reasonably sure will care and be understanding.

Once you start your sex change in earnest, at some point you have to tell people. It's a necessary evil. I can only imagine what it must be like to watch someone go through all that awkwardness. Gender activists like making people uncomfortable. I don't. In hindsight, I think it would have been better to disappear for a while and return fully fledged. That time was difficult for everyone. The more quickly and painlessly it gets done, the better.

When we determine our course of action, it's normal to be enthusiastic. What we experience is no less than liberation! And unfortunately, along with that enthusiasm usually comes a certain amount of immaturity and a loss of discretion. It's similar to what happens to new converts to a religion. They can't stop themselves from sharing, and they ignore the eyerolls (actual or mental) they encounter from the unconverted.

We regress for a bit so we can grow up again. Later on, most likely, we will be embarrassed by how we acted earlier, and we will wish we had been a bit less eager to share. Everyone has to grow up. It's just too bad that some of us have to do it when people think we are already adults and expect us to act that way.

If you're some kind of gender-variant rather than transsexual, by all means come out and challenge the people around you. Educate them on all your gender theories and deconstruction of stuff that people take for granted. But if you're transsexual and you're changing sex, try to limit the damage. Unless you plan to move away and go deep stealth, you're going to have to continue to live with these people.