Saturday, April 2, 2016

Would some enlightened gay man or Lesbian help me out, please? (or Gender Identity is Hamlet)

How the deuce is transgender theory compatible with justice for gays and Lesbians? I am still trying to figure this one out. Perhaps, an enlightened person as you profess to be can help me out. On one theory, transgender people inhabit gender rĂ´les different from the gender assigned at birth. But this makes their identity depend upon the very thing that is the source of oppression for gays and Lesbians, namely heteronormativity. So, that won’t do at all.

Another theory, that seems to be vogue right now, states that gender identity has absolutely nothing to do with gender stereotypes, such as manner of dress or behaviour, and can have nothing do with any parts of the body because gender identity obviously often conflicts with the gendered interpretations that society has imposed upon the penis, vagina, XX and XY chromosomes, and so on. But this means that gender identity can correspond to nothing other than a wholly private feeling.

This theory does successfully divorce gender identity from that monstrous archenemy of the gay and Lesbian cause, heteronormativity, but in doing so makes one’s gender identity wholly opaque to all others for gender identity can have no reliable markers. Any possible marker you name will conflict with other claims that transgender or gay and Lesbian activists want to make. If you say that the penis identifies the male, then that contradicts that claim of the transwoman that she was always a woman, even when she had a penis or even if she still has one. And if you say that dress and behaviour constitute gender identity, you are once again bringing back the greatest oppressor of gays and Lesbians, that vile villain heteronormativity.

Therefore, gender identity must be nothing but a wholly private feeling.

But if it is that, then how the deuce can a wholly private feeling be the source of attraction? Attraction must be communicable in a way that a wholly private feeling is not. If gender is completely subjective, then how does it make sense for a straight man to say that he is attracted to women or a Lesbian to say that she is attracted to women? It makes more sense to say that you are attracted to sadness or anger because at least those feelings have, what gender identity apparently lacks, an objective correlative (See, T.S. Eliot is useful for something) that can be communicated.

You can still say, I suppose, that a straight man is attracted to vagina and a gay man is attracted to penis, and that erotic relationships have nothing whatsoever to do with gender identity at all. But would this not reduce all romantic relationships to the fetishizing of body parts? And wouldn’t that just fly in the face of the insistence that gay and Lesbian relationships are not fetishes or perversions but instead loving relationships of mutual respect? True, gender theory, on my account, would reduce ALL romantic relationships, homo- AND heterosexual, to the status of mere fetishes, and that’s a genuine equality, I suppose, but it comes at the price of making everyone, except the sexually abstinent, a fetishizing pervert, and I thought you guys wanted an equality of dignity and respect and not this kind of equality of fetishes and perversions.

What am I missing here?

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