Gender?

I recently listened to two very different memoirs about transgender transition.  The first, She’s Not There:  A Life in Two Genders by Jennifer Finney Boylan, was told from the transgendered perspective.  The second, Sex Changes: A Memoir of Marriage, Gender, and Moving On by Christine Benvenuto, was told from the wife’s perspective. In both cases, the husbands were transsexuals converting from male to female.  I highly recommend them both to see the spectrum of experience.  They are particularly good as audiobooks.

Full disclosure:  I have no personal or work relationships with anyone that I know fits either category.  I once attended a workshop with a man (beard stubble, deep voice) dressed as a woman (skirt, earrings) who said that he was transitioning.  He made me uncomfortable.  I have and will continue to defend gender issues, but that is an ethical and intellectual decision … not visceral.

I once thought all the restrictions and lengthy process required of transitioning individuals unfair.  I now think that they might not be enough.  Individuals with mental and emotional issues (such as narcissism) sometimes expect the transition (and reassignment surgery) to solve all their issues.  It won’t.  They also often demand that the entire focus be on their issues rather than the effects for their families and friends.  Society is swinging to support that at the expense of those families and friends.  Being transgender does not make your problems more important that the problems of others.  (That may be politically incorrect.) We all need to be kind and support one another.

 

What do you think?

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