|I'm going to reveal that gender is binary.
There is no, not one, not even a wisp of a scientific discovery that requires we now understand sex and gender as two different things. It is based purely in ideology stemming from a wish for how these people think reality ought to be. It is 100 percent sophistry, 0 percent science. The fact is that sex cannot exist independently of gender. Gender has existed for a long time, because they were interchangeable words that referred to our sex. Society may have had different ways to express the binary, but it expressed the binary none the less. There is a difference in the male and female brain, and that's proven. Navigation studies in both humans and rats show that females of both species tend to rely on landmarks, while males more typically rely on “dead reckoning”: calculating one’s position by estimating the direction and distance traveled rather than using landmarks. This isn't something that society impels upon us. It is a genetic quality of how our minds work. And this is just one example of a myriad that add up to a binary of male and female that informs culture.
Gender being a state of mind started from a Blur song, I think*. The lyrics were something along the lines of "girls who are boys who like girls to be boys always should be someone you really loooooooove".
Right now the current ideology seems to believe that the human brain is an interchangeable operating system that can be swapped into any old body, and the concept of being a boy or a girl is a "gender construct". Meaning there is a biological male/female sex that doesn't have to match if you believe you are opposite to that biology. And it doesn't HAVE to be male or female! Your brain can decide it's neither or both or something else altogether!
Unfortunately, there are a few problems with that. And largely it stems from the idea that culture and biology are different, or only affect each other in one way. And also from the idea that sex and gender are somehow separate. For some reason, people think that culture is just made up ways to control others and gender is just how you express yourself. Sometimes it's masculinized as the Patriarchy, a concept that says biological males act in a certain manly way that keeps other non men lower on the social hierarchy...a hierarchy that is all made up because there is no gender and there is no such thing as a ...we're spiraling here.
The thing is, how can culture exist as an outside objective force, since it requires biological sustenance (or contribution) to exist? Culture cannot exist in a vacuum, and what has been proven is that all human cultures, regardless of time or space, develop based on the biological needs and imperatives of the biological population. Fertility religions stem from populations that are in decline due to low birth rates. Rules against stealing develop from scarcity of shared resources. Sexual morality mores develop from the low STI rate monogamy gives, and the culture that views outsiders as "unclean" comes from ancient communicability of diseases as well as fear of invasion from less homogenic peoples. In Greenland, it is considered "lazy" to not build your own house. How did this culture develop? Before easier fabrication techniques and the dependency of a healthy population and it's need for independent, hard working types, it was a great strain of resources to have to take care of others. Communal self reliance became cultural norm based on a biological need to survive.
And it worked. As the rules and culture encouraged a thriving populace, it became re-enforced and touted through mannerisms, attitudes, and even religion.
The culture exists to serve the biological entity. Even a fictional patriarchy can exist because it allowed successful generations to come into existence.
And this goes in for the concept of gender being different than sex. The argument for this is that the body is one thing, and the mind is another.
Well, for that concept to be logical, it has to have merit. And for that I have a question:
Why does the body have autonomic systems?
Our bodies have a biological imperative to survive. This is the reason so many of our bodily functions are autonomous; think of how easy it would be to kill ones self if your heart was broken by a former lover, or you had a really bad day and just didn’t want to live anymore? You could just stop your heart from beating, or turn off your lungs and suffocate. That seems to be evidence enough to prove that how we think or feel is secondary to our existence on this planet.
Your body knows better than your feelings, or your perceptions of reality. From the very moment of your conception, your cells are driven to carry out genetic blueprints that come from billions of years of cumulative hereditary information. Everything is decided how best for you to survive, from the predisposition of your size in relation to your future environment, to your gender (and yes, your biological sex is part of your gender, and gender is not an expression of a social construct. Your gender is an expression of your biology, and is part of a survival niche).
Though there are “script errors”, or parts of the genetic blueprints that are misread and cause errors, such as cancer, this is not indicative of “normal”, but rather the exception that proves the rule. Cancer is proof that something has gone wrong, and it is something that we as living organisms wish we could avoid. While this aberration doesn’t make a person “less” or not valuable, it is not the prime state of a being. Your body, even when it has errors such as cancer, still has redundant systems and methods to fight those errors. Sometimes it loses, and when it does, we don’t celebrate someone having cancer. For some reason, when it comes to sex/gender, we seem to celebrate the schism of reality instead of trying to resolve it.
Mental “cancer” or script errors seem to be harder for us to deal with, and that largely stems from the ego. Ego sometimes thinks it knows better, or thinks that having a negative feeling is the same as dying due to discomfort, and that has started to cause greater problems, which I will get into later. Basically, the Ego has a goal of self preservation based on perception, and contrary evidence is a threat to Ego because being wrong can mean death.
For now, I will stick to the autonomous systems that prove how we feel (or from this point on, I’ll say “who we think we are”, as in how we view ourselves isn’t necessarily how we are. Many liars “feel” they are honest, it doesn’t make it objectively true) is secondary to who we are, and how we think we are isn’t necessary to thriving and surviving.
As I said, our bodies have largely automated the processes that ensure our survival. From breathing, eating, and our beating heart our body works to continue its existence. This is even expressed through the act of puberty, and even before that.
We tend to think that gender roles are assigned by social norms these days. Largely the argument stems from a perceived inequality, or “Just because you are X does not mean that I am unable to do what X does”. Our gender norms developed biologically first, and then expressed themselves in our rationalization called culture. From our hunter/gatherer ancestors comes the first set of gender roles assigned from our biology: males tend to be larger and stronger, faster, and even have a slightly different digestive system from women; males tend to need to defecate roughly around when they eat. This developed from our biological needs; when hunting didn’t lend to immediate food, our bodies would hang on to whatever material was already in our intestines, drawing as much nutrients as possible until we ate. And, when the hunt provided fresh food our intestines would jettison the old fecal matter to make room for fresh nutrients. My son has this every time he eats dinner; he takes two bites and then has to go to the bathroom. Chimps exhibit this behavior as well.
Females have developed social norms based on their biology as well, with physical tasks being much different from males, and the ability to store fat more easily than males, and even to the application of make up and fertility icons: fertility goddess worship statues are caricatures and clichés of the female form, with exaggerated hips and breasts, etc. This isn’t implying that the females role is only for reproduction, but looking back anthropologically and paying attention to basic differences in biology as a precursor to culture, the rites and rituals of our past seem to make more sense from a biological factor that from a psychological factor (after all, our brains rationalize biological reality, not the other way around as the new culture is trying to enforce, based on misplaced empathy and a disregard of reality).
Years ago a documentary, Pioneer Quest: A Year in the Real West, came out where modern people were asked to live as the pioneers did. They were given solar powered cameras, and expected to record their work and lives accordingly, with video journals being recorded at the end of each day. A young couple, ALana and Frank Logie, full of modern ideas and feminist theory came into the situation believing that they wouldn’t conform to gender roles and would share all of the work.
That idea fell apart quickly, as the biological female and gender identified Alana could not plow the fields and control the ox, nor had the physical and mental endurance to do so as her husband could do. Both were physically fit by modern standards, yet the traditional “female” roles almost immediately had to be adopted by the wife. The farm faltered, crops didn’t get started in time, supplies started to run out. The issue was believed to stem from a simple lack of understanding regarding “ancient” farming techniques and the modern methods.
Later, when an older conservative couple, Deanna and Tim Treadway were added to the experiment, they held onto traditional gender roles: the older husband immediately tasked the younger husband with building a working kitchen for the women to prepare food in (the younger couple hadn’t even moved out of their tent and were still cooking over a campfire), with the quip “if Momma ain't happy, no one is happy.”. Within a week, with the older couple taking charge while the younger couple watching, and then later starting to work again (they were exhausted and the older couple took over almost all duties) the women were preparing all the meals and the men were working the fields. During the experiment the younger wife recorded how she was a feminist at the beginning, and still held to the ideas of equality and voting, but now understood how a woman’s place was in the kitchen during those establishing pioneer days, and how this wasn’t bad, but a niche that needed to be fulfilled.
This “Pioneer Culture” wasn’t designed from patriarchal males forcing their way of thinking onto the world, it was a result of biological capabilities. One aspect of the show that wasn't aired was the use of feminine hygiene products. There were no modern tampons, they had to live as though it were 1870. There were days where all the women did was wash their cotton pads and hang them by the fire to dry. Sorry, no post op MtF will understand that process, and this wasn't a limitation from the patriarchy.
Our bodies follow a design, and they do it for a reason; because it works regardless if we like it or not. Puberty is an example of this; our bodies recognize that certain factors are fulfilled. Our bone density, size, organ maturity all signal the brain to start releasing hormones that express our gender, the one we are born with. Females begin to get wider hips (because they are biologically predisposed to give birth) and develop breasts (to feed said offspring), while males develop more muscle and aggressive behavior. Both of these systems begin to dictate how the genders express themselves biologically. Certain levels of peacocking happen to both sexes, and even within their own sex, groups begin to express their gender from social cues that are activated by environmental factors, but originate from biological imperatives. Essentially, the concept that gender comes from socially constructed roles, from socially constructed behaviors is illogical since social constructs are not objective entities that work from the top down. Biology came first, then society, and not the other way around.
Society does not “tell” us how to be men or women, it merely is an expression of a state that already exists and to a largely subconscious level. Men and women respond to external stimulus via biological indicators that already exist, and are not planted there externally. Magazines take advantage of impulses and urges that already exist, they do not make impulses. Even infants follow a genetic gender/sex imperative with boys gravitating toward more traditionally masculine items and girls toward more feminine ones. Even our brains have different brain chemistry. While both process the same neurochemicals, they process them differently. For example, serotonin (which is connected to happiness and depression) does not process the same in women. This could help explain why women are more susceptible to anxiety and depression. These aren’t taught behaviors, these have been observable events by the Stanford Medical University.
Or, in another biological way: we have a gag reflex, and it exists to prevent us from choking. Watching a gross horror movie that causes us to gag does not mean the horror movie is the source of our gag. The gag reflex already exists, and the movie triggers it. The movie does not implant the act of gagging, it triggers it. And the movie is able to trigger the gag reflex because the makers are aware that a gag reflex already exists. Society/Culture is the movie, and we respond to it because we already have predispositions that are part of us.
Despite those with dysmorphia claiming gender and sex being different through history, there is a binary of male and female. Those expressions may be different from what we have today, such as a True Scotsman wears a kilt (because it espouses such things as masculine stereotypes of strength and having balls), and only women wear dresses today. How masculinity and femininity were expressed may have changed over the centuries, the theory behind the expressions has not. For a non sequitur example, I can use Jewish beliefs and Hindu beliefs: the Jew and the Hindu may agree that eating your grandmother is cannibalism and wrong, they will disagree as to whether the cow is grandmother.
Today we may view men wearing skirts as being feminine, but the skirt itself is irrelevant. There are mannerisms and idioms driving a bias that has proven biologically effective, and our sex and gender are inseparable with regard to expression, because the expression is a declaration of a need regardless of how we think or feel personally. Our real complaint comes in when women behave as men and vice versa. Whether you like it or not, life has decided you to be one or the other and that is what is best for you. Your body agrees with this, and subconsciously most people recognize this as not "normal".
Social triggers that go against our biological imperatives are actually damaging to us as people, and social triggers that extoll the virtues of our biological imperatives do help us: but they don’t fully dictate who we are, they can’t. There is now strong evidence that early psychosocial adversities—beginning even during fetal development—can have important short- and long-term effects on the brain's development, the regulation of stress-responsive hormone systems, and the calibration of stress reactivity at a variety of levels from behavioral to gene expression responses. Stress triggers activation of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenocortical (HPA) axis, which results in cortisol secretion from the adrenal gland, as well as activation of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), which ignites the so-called fight or flight sequence of physiologic changes, including increases in blood pressure and heart rate, sweating, and pupil dilation. Together, these two systems exert important effects on the cardiovascular and immune systems that anticipate and prepare the individual for stress or challenge, including affecting the regulation of glucose levels and altering the activation levels for a variety of genes.
Essentially, trying to make sex and gender different things is going to affect all people in a negative way.
How can I make the claim that your body agrees with my assessment?
Well, it goes back to that old autonomous system your male/female brain lives in.
Let’s posit that you do have a Male mind living in a Female body (assuming it isn’t a socially constructed brain/mind, and assuming that you are able to feel how a woman feels, even though biological women have assured me that as a male with male genitalia, I will never understand what it is to be a woman). You can elect to have hormone injections, have your penis and testicles removed, have a hole carved into your body that would have the depth of a vagina with no uterus, graft a “cleansed” portion of colon into the hole to create “natural lubrication” (that will smell of feces because there is no way to get rid of all the bacteria in the grafting), and make a state of the art crafted piece that looks externally like a female vulva and vaginal entrance.
Your body will carry out what it has been programmed to do, and it will do so under the authority of your automatic brain. Your brain, even if you think it is a female brain, will check against the genetic blueprints it was given and begin to try to heal the mutilation. It will work to balance against the testosterone, it will send repair tissue to the hole carved in your body (which is why Male to Female vaginas require stretching implements continually), it will do what it can short of growing the original sex organ back.
Yet there are subtle attitudes females and males adopt that also have to be "grafted" onto the mind. Due to our skeletal structure men tend to have their feet pointing out, and women tend to have their feet pointing in. This may seem like an arbitrary concept but it has an effect on our mind the same way good posture has an effect on our bodies and minds. A head up and shoulders back approach to life allows more oxygen in our lungs and gives us a higher visual perspective.
Men stand with feet pointing out because it gives greater immovable posture. Women stand with their feet in because it accents their hips.
And other people perceiving you presenting yourself as one way, against subconscious social cues, creates an uncanny valley. We have a woman presenting herself to be a man, but little things subconsciously do not add up. When asked to hold out her hand she'll show the back of her hand, while men will show their palms. While taking off a shirt (if they've had top surgery and feel comfortable doing so) they'll almost always cross their arms in front and grip the hem, turning the shirt inside out as they take it off, instead of pulling off from the collar as most men do. Men will sit differently, because their sexual organs are sensitive and need temperature moderation. Men rarely mix up their left and right, and women will always pause before answering and look for a visual cue like a ring or what hand they write with.
Subconsciously faced with these inconsistencies affects people the same way the Germans reacted in Inglourious Basterds. Without giving too much away, the spy, undercover as a German officer, orders another round of whiskey, telling the bartender, "Drei Gläser" (three glasses) and holding three fingers up — his index, middle, and ring finger. A true German would have ordered "three" with the index, middle finger, and thumb extended. This tips off the Germans that they have a liar in their midst. They have witnessed an uncanny valley and mistrust has developed.
BUT WAIT! WHAT ABOUT THE CHROMOSOMES!
Yes, there are chromosomes to contend with, and the argument that Women have vaginas, ovaries, higher estrogen levels and XX chromosomes, and Men have penises, higher testosterone and XY chromosomes. Sounds simple right?
Yes. Because it is. The argument is that there are six pairs of chromosomes XX and XY, including XXY, XXXY, XXXXY, XXYY, XXXYY. Funny thing...the other pairings usually leave the person sterile or with complications and they either lean for one sex/gender or the other. So there is a spectrum, of sorts, and it is going to fall between male and female, and the other pairings are "junk" pairings.
Does all this add up to people with body dysmorphia being treated as lesser?
No. But it does not help them or anyone else by treating their disillusion as real, by feeding their dissonance by agreeing that their mind is right and their body is wrong. The suicide rate for pre op trans people is staggeringly high, and it does not go down with surgery (Swedish study PLOS ONE). Surgery doesn't cause trans people to become more suicidal, but it doesn't stop them either, even in trans friendly environments such as Sweden.
Does it mean they shouldn't serve in the military? From my perspective, yes. A chronic bleeding wound and suicidal thoughts isn't the best subject for a member who would be deployed in stressful environments with a lack of antiseptics.
Should we refer to them with the pronouns of their choice? I don't see why. I would not respond with prayer to a person claiming they were Jesus. You could call a rose "Daisy", but it won't make it a daisy.
Should we help them? Of course! Is lopping off appendages and lying to people helpful? I don't believe so.
There you go! It's either a boy or a girl.
*It started with an experiment by one Dr. Money in the 60s that ended with the suicide of a "trans gendered" subject.