A couple of weeks ago (this has been sitting waiting to be published), a relative posted the following meme which I found pretty offensive, I am sharing it here only so you can understand this blog, and my motivation behind writing it.
I immediately pointed out that this statement is erroneous, that advice often is to give the child the lead in decisions of gender, that enforcing gender stereotypes isn’t helpful, I finished by pointing out that little in life is truly skin deep. I figured… naively that it would be left at that. The OP is not someone that garners much in the way of debate. I am not sure exactly what prompted me to say anything, I do try and keep discussions and debates in forums I feel relatively safe.
Well, that was bloody silly of me. I was told by a stranger that ‘legitimately half the transgenders are not born into the wrong body’. I mean how are you supposed to respond to that? What is that even supposed to mean, where do these figures come from? And this is the reply ‘Look ‘guy’ there is a difference between being born of both sets of genitalia and wanting to dress up as another gender because your emotions and outlook on life make you feel that way’.
Now, the thread got deleted shortly after this exchange, by reply was to point out that I am in fact, a girl and the reply to this statement was… well it wasn’t polite and there was an implication that I am trans. Not the first time this has happened, probably won’t be the last. Now, a couple of paragraphs ago, I had stated that little in life is skin deep. The person replying to me would have done well to remember this. I use a different first name on Fb, one that could be considered masculine. Coupled with a female profile picture, I guess it is easy to become confused. If you are super lazy and don’t do a quick sweep of a person’s profile.
I have no issue with being called trans, it bemuses me more than anything else. What upsets me is that it is used to hurt, upset, to insult. There are wider issues here. The fact that laws being passed or being attempted to, at least, in America have called into question what gender means in wider society. When you are walking down the street, how often do you really look at a person walking toward you. How often do you really notice the person serving you in the corner shop. Why are people suddenly concerned about how is using the rest room with them.
It is one of those strange situations, where I don’t entirely know where I should fall. Should I be happy that these topics are being discussed and therefore making them less of a taboo subject. But on the other hand why are these things still needed to be debated. Why does it matter if one dressed like Saul during the week and Sally at the weekend. If Harry became Claudia by their 21st birthday. Does it matter who your co-worker shares their life with? I don’t think you can legitimately say that it does, it is genuinely not harming you. But MEME’s like the one I opened with are adding nothing to the debate. It is small minded attitudes, regurgitated in a way that makes it look legitimate, it validates a train of thought. That it isn’t okay, it isn’t normal and people that we are bought up to trust are in agreement.