Friday, October 19, 2007

Transgendered Cultural Mythos - A few notes

Most people really aren't very intelligent when it comes to dealing with the transgendered.
Part of it I think is the fact that the animal brains of humans are usually hard wired to ask themselves "can I fuck this?" instinctively. That's why oddly enough, men often find the idea of lesbians arousing. Because in their hind brain they still think they can have sex with them.
So transgendered people, especially MTFs (because of certain differences in gender roles), creep a lot of people out on a deep level. It's a translation of homophobia to a much deeper level (which actually is precisely why our cultural struggle is tied up with the struggle of the larger Gay Rights movement).
An example of what I mean: I saw a blog post recently critical of a geriatric facility for LGBT persons. The title of the post was "geriatric pastures for trannies".
Now why choose that? Because he knew that it would seem more absurd/outrageous to a certain crowd than "geriatric pastures for fags(or dykes)" - in fact those titles might have turned away his audience. But it's still ok to dehumanize transgendered people I guess.
Part of this is also statistical. There aren't that many transgendered people out there, and because of this repression, very few of them are "out". So people haven't become desensitized to our presence and we haven't had enough of an opportunity to show people that we're basically ok, like everyone else is.
This is changing, which is why to people who are hypersensitive to it, it can seem like some explosion of transgendered folk, which might be threatening to those very people.
A little weird feedback loop, but I suppose the gay and lesbian crowd went through it and are in fact still going through it, though they're further along.
But this very statistical smallness means that we're less of a social threat as well, which adds the irony. For instance, the City of San Francisco included full insurance for transition expenses, and discovered that the expense was rather shockingly minimal. People just aren't going to make those kind of major body modifications to such a fundamental part of themselves unless they're really serious about it, at least not in noticable numbers, even if you let them do it for free.
Now, I'm a market anarchist and I don't believe in regulating free association nor in government subsidized health insurance (whether directly or through tax breaks). But the fact of the matter is, if you're going to give these perks to gays and lesbians, extending them to transfolk would be a drop in the bucket, in terms of additional social drag (no pun intended).
The idea that all of a sudden there will be icky freaky trannies everywhere if you let them in the door, just isn't true, even overlooking the fucked up foundation of that thought-formulation.
Eventually, I suspect that it will become mostly a non-issue. It certainly would in a free society.
Even if people in general didn't care for it, decentralism would ensure that it never really touched most people's lives. And in such a society, without fear of self-expression, transfolk would become very "normal" relative to the population (repression always creates reaction) so the people that did encounter them would think little of it, if they even knew.

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