Wednesday, September 28, 2016

And yet another letter the St. Louis Post-Dispatch won't publish

Dear Editor,

I read your paper's Q & A about gender identity with a desperate interest. I was hoping it would help my solve my identity crisis. I do not know if I am a straight man or a non-op Lesbian transwoman. Alas, your article only deepened my confusion. You write that gender identity is a feeling. Okay, well, I feel a very strong attraction to women. Does that mean I should identify as a man? But if I think I’m a man because I like women, wouldn’t that make me a vile, homophobic bigot? Lesbians like women, too, you know. Should I identify as a man because I feel comfortable wearing pants? But Hillary Clinton feels comfortable wearing pants, too, and she’s a woman (I think).

The article says gender is a social construct that varies from culture to culture. So, does that mean that gender identity varies as well? I like to cook. So, if I’m in a culture that deems cooking to be women’s work, should I identify as a woman? And if I am in a culture that deems cooking to be macho, should I identify as a man?

You do mention the possibility that the brain might determine gender identity but caution that the studies that suggest this are preliminary and provisional. Nevertheless, you do write that those who identify as men have brains somewhat differently structured from those who identify as women. But that offers me no help whatsoever. If different structures in the rest of the body do not determine manhood or womanhood, then why should different structures in the brain? If a transwoman can say that her penis is a woman’s penis because it belongs to a self-identified woman, then why can’t I say that my brain, whatever its physical structure, belongs to whatever gender I finally feel it’s best to identify with?

Your article, I regret to say, was no help at all. I still do not know whether I’m a straight man or a non-op Lesbian transwoman, and until I get this sorted out, I won’t know which public restroom I should use. Darn!

Sincerely,

Someone who might as well be an amoeba

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