Sunday, July 4, 2021

Trans as a gender identity

 New freedoms continue to be recognized.

It is not so long ago that sexual orientation and then same sex marriage were at the forefront of the cultural clash between individual rights and freedoms, and social repugnance.  Those battles aren't over, but the rights of individuals to love who they love have won important legal and cultural battles.

Lately, sexual identity is drawing increasing attention, with a growing recognition that some people's brains aren't wired the way their genitalia would suggest.  Two articles in the NY Times help (me at least) to understand some of the issues.

The first is written under a pseudonym by the mom of a transgender child, who notes that many people are trans starting as young children.  The second, by a trans man, argues that we should think of transgender a a gender identity of its own, not as a transition from one traditional gender to another. 

Where in the World Are All the Trans Children? Everywhere. By Marlo Mack

"I learned that while many transgender people do not transition until adolescence or adulthood, significant numbers of young children are aware of their gender identity from a very young age. Dr. Kristina Olson, a psychologist at Princeton University who studies gender development in children, says, “Research shows that there are a set of trans people who first identify with their gender by the toddler or preschool years and continue to do so throughout their lives.”


"But if transgender children are a global phenomenon, so are their struggles. Just as in the United States, parents who have spoken publicly are often harassed and threatened. (For safety reasons, I am not naming them.) Nearly all saw relationships with friends and family members disintegrate when their children came out as trans. Several families immigrated to countries that felt safer for their children. “When my daughter is older,” said one mother who left Mexico for the United States, “I’ll tell her the real reason we left.”

"These kinds of moves are likely to become more common, as courts and legislatures around the United States and in other countries chip away at transgender rights, restricting access to gender-affirming (and lifesaving) medical care for children like mine. On my social media feed, parents around the world are asking one another: Where can we go now? Where will my child be safe?

"It is not always easy to stay hopeful while raising a transgender child in a world that so rarely chooses to welcome her. I wonder what I would do if my own state passed a law making her medical care illegal. I worry about where she will be able to live and travel safely when she is older. I worry about the children who live in places where being transgender remains a crime.

"Yet I am hopeful, because I have witnessed the ferocious, protective love of parents around the world. And that is not a liberal Western fad."


What I Saw in My First 10 Years on Testosterone  By Thomas Page McBee

"I also wanted it known that despite the media fixation on a trite narrative about what it meant to be trans, I was not “a man trapped in a woman’s body or any cliché like that,” as I emailed my friends and family. I was a man and I was born trans, and I could hold both of those realities without an explanation that could be written on the back of a napkin.

“I will not become a different person,” I wrote in that email, defiantly and, as it turns out, correctly. “I am myself. I just want to feel more like me.”

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