Thursday, April 03, 2008

Transgender

I just don't get the transgender people who go through surgeries to become the other gender. I can't comprehend it. I have a friend from high school days who when I last knew was not in the process anymore to become a guy, but had been thinking about it for a while and had doen the 'live as a dude' for a year requirement. Living as a guy meant that she pouted in pictures, wore baseball caps and sweater vests often, and looked 13. I'll never forget the day that she came to my folks' house and my mom thought someone's little brother had come over.

For a bit of background, this person was my first friend to declare themself gay. It was quite a shock to me as she had dated two of my friends the previous year, and had been pretty darn straight. One of my best guy friends who had dated her had told me, "how can i tell my parents that the first girl i loved is a lesbian now... i'm gonna kill myself". What was odd to was that she still made out with boys from time to time despite declaring herself really gay. What was odd was that for 3 years no one ever asked her about how or why. Shows what kinds of friends they were. One afternoon I sent her a long email and asked her when she first felt gay and why she seemed to stray from gayness. We had lots of back and forth and she thanked me for finally wanting to hear her story. I learned she had been dying to tell it rather than just have people say "cool, i have a gay friend now". In our email conversations, it seemed that she was caught in declaring herself gay but really would just love 'people' for what they were. She had felt attracted to women and men for years, and didn't know what to make of it as it was different. I respectd that. I think she also wanted to enjoy the shock value of coming out when she did at age 19. Tough to crawl back to being straight after you give your mom and dad a near death shock.

One argument that popped up our senior year in college was the issue of her lesbian friends who dressed up as guys and were calling themselves "tim" and "john" when they were tina and jen just a few weeks back when I first met them. These girls were ugly men, too. I joked with my friend that I was her sole male friend no matter what. She didn't like that. We then got into a huge discussion of gender, and she took refuge in the gender arguments that professors, who would do book tours and put thoughts in confused college kids' heads rather than try to get the thoughts out of the students themselves, provided in nice books. My argument rested on a basic idea that works both ways. I, as a man, will never ever know what it felt like to grow up as a girl, never ever know the feelings of puberty as a woman, the changes in women, the pains of women nor childbirth. I never will. A woman would never ever know the peculiar things of a boy growing up like morning thunder or wood and really good dreams, never know the need to scratch one's balls for a bit, nor the embarassment of getting an erection in Spanish class every 5 mins. (How exactly do you hide it? Carefully placed Trapper Keepers.) I argued that the need for surgeries was stupid, as all one is doing is putting on a costume to play a part. A person can never go through those other experiences that are peculiar to the opposite gender. A person might feel they are the other gender, and maybe, just maybe, they can "be" that other gender without getting the equipment. If they truly feel it, they don't need a surgery to show the world.

1 comment:

"AG" said...

"We then got into a huge discussion of gender, and she took refuge in the gender arguments that professors, who would do book tours and put thoughts in confused college kids' heads rather than try to get the thoughts out of the students themselves, provided in nice books."

Brilliant and true.