And in some cases you don’t know why you DO know.
Last night I was passing through the living room and my attention was caught by a tv show (is that redundant?) my husband was watching. The people were using ASL, it was not being interpreted, and as I watched I started laughing, what they were saying was funny and I understood every word!
I’ve never studied ASL. I’ve never spent any appreciable amount of time amongst people speaking ASL. Yes, I’ve seen (heard?) people using ASL in movies and tv shows but did I absorb so much much that I could easily follow a conversation? I guess I did. It is a beautiful language.
OTOH – Are there things I don’t have to know? And here is where I am displaying my ignorance and possibly offending someone.
An article in this morning’s Washington Post Health and Science section was about transgender kids. Not exactly a general interest story, a lot of facts and figures, a possible antidote to the laws currently being passed across the country to bar gender related medical care to minors. I find these laws abhorrent. I find any government involvement in how people deal with their own bodies abhorrent.
My question is – why do I have to know that someone is a transgender man or woman? If someone has transitioned to another status (is that a good word?) then they are who they transitioned to – end of. They are Susie or Mike. They are a person. I meet them as they are and all I have to know is that they are Susie or Mike. Should my interactions with them become more personal then I need to know only if they are a good person and a friendship will be built on a compatibility of personality and interests.
Were I in the dating game then knowing someone’s gender status or their sexual preferences might be of some interest but since I’m not, I don’t care.
My other question is – do people who have transitioned from one gender to another wish to be identified that way, transgender man/woman, who they are now in relation to who they were? They are now who they are, and I expect wish to be seen as who they now are. Maybe I’m wrong in thinking that.
I have to admit I have always been confused by how people identify themselves or relate to themselves. Years ago I was watching a tv show about hysterectomies – women who had them bemoaning that they no longer felt like women. I wondered then why anyone would think a body part would define them. I think the only body part that defines me is my brain. My uterus was removed when I was 40. It was the happiest day of my life – frankly I wish I could have had it done when I was 13. I don’t need, or want, my boobs either. They’ve always been on the larger size are just an inconvenience. And a pain. I grant you, were I someone who wanted to procreate then keeping a uterus and boobs would be necessary, the uterus most particularly (Well, duh!) but since I never wanted to procreate, I’ve never seen a need for those things. Nor have I ever doubted that I was female or a woman – my secondary sexual characteristics don’t define who I am.
My brain defines who I am. I am who I think I am. Whether that is visible to the naked eye doesn’t make any difference to ME but obviously does to others.
Or maybe I just never thought of myself as being any gender at all, just, you know, a human being.