A couple of people, having read the long and Byzantine and eye-gouging thread alluded to in this post, have been, I note, expressing some confusion as to What It All Means, Dear. Thinking they might need a refresher course in...well, something...it seems, well, complicated, and possibly Deep.
If I may.
First of all, per the "gender is a social construct" business:
Well, part of the reason it doesn't make sense when people like Heart and frigging delphyne and Mary Sunshine and Louisa May Alcott and Mar Iguana and lucky and puffin and binkie and Moxie and Dipsy and Wombyn HerbalTwee and whoever the fuck else and so on talk about it, is because they are talking out of both sides of their asses.
What I've always understood it to mean is, "gender," unlike "sex" (which is the physical stuff, the naughty bits, the tits, the beard, the hormones, the internal bits, etc.) is about behavior, expression, performance, and how you're perceived.
IOW, nurture, as opposed to nature. Which, to most people, also implies it's at least somewhat under our individual control to change, more so collectively. It's also something that--according to the "social construct" theory, anyway--doesn't have any permanent, fixed meaning. What's "feminine" in one context might be "masculine" in another.
Pretty much -all- feminists, radical and otherwise, assert that they believe that much at least, that gender isn't fixed and fated, and shouldn't be automatically attached to any particular set of naughty bits. Being nurturing, changing the oil, moving gracefully, being good at sports, long hair, short hair, pink, blue, yadda yadda--shouldn't have to be tied to what "sex" you're born with. Neither, for that matter, should your sexual orientation (which naughty bits and so forth attract you).
So far so good, right?
Now, the basic and to my mind most innocuous misunderstanding wrt the trans thing is, people assuming that it's -only- ever about gender performance and/or sexual orientation. Why can't people just be comfortable in their own skin. Why cut themselves up just to conform to some preconceived notion of gender.
Actually -listening- to a transperson who explains that in fact, no, it's more complicated than that, sie simply doesn't feel -physically- comfortable, and in fact is now a rather femmey gay FtM (for example) and is perfectly fine with that--and in fact there was one person saying -exactly that- in the above referenced thread--not to mention the various possibilities being opened up by the people talking about intersex, how in fact sex itself may not be as simple and -binary- (there are men and there are women and that's that) as y'all think, that maybe that is a construct too to some extent, in some cases more than others...
ought to be enough to at least get the average feminist to at least reconsider, and eventually to accept that okay, there's stuff about this I don't know, and in any case, I'm not in your skin (this is key), I don't really understand it, I still have some doubts about the institution/medical procedures/whatever, but you do what you've got to do, sister/brother, I support you.
That would be, you know, the -feminist- thing to do. Also, coincidentally, the human thing to do.
Now, the fact that some people not only do -not- do this but practically turn themselves inside out in order to avoid doing this, requires a bit more explanation.
The simplest one would be, "these people are dogmatic assholes, and they don't listen, because they don't want to."
Maybe that's really all you need.
If you care about the actual nature of the dogma, though, as far as I can tell, it goes something like this:
Not only is "gender" a construct, but "we" want to do away with it completely. Which does -not- mean we will refuse to use female-gendered pronouns to identify ourselves, use the ladies' bathroom, in some cases wear long hair or long flowing skirts or other accoutrements of the "cultural feminist," or feel free to label all sorts of -behavioral- characteristics deemed undesirable as "male," i.e. "masculine."
What it means is, uhhhh...well, reply hazy, ask again later. Probably it means getting rid of all things "sexbot" or "sparkle pony," that's what "feminine" means today, okay. And, we're fairly certain that most MtF's want to drag us right back into those degrading pink and slutty stereotypes with them, because lalalalala can't hear you anyway. That's -one- thing.
The -other- thing is, -sex- (say some people) -cannot- be changed. Nope nope NOPE. This is -very important,- all of a sudden. Having a womb is very important, unless of course you had a hysterectomy of course we don't mean -you-, sister. But, you know. In -principle.- And a vajayajay. You have to be born with one. There is no such thing as a surgically constructed vajajay; it's like Star Bellied Sneetches, it's no good if just -anyone- can have one.
Um...not that we think (reply hazy ask again later) that it's the vajayajay ITSELF that has the magical mystical quality. No, it's because Patriarchy (you know, it's solid and walks and talks just like a person) -made- it so. That is, to be born with a vajayjay is to be oppressed, in this Patriarchal society, and don't you -ever- forget it. We certainly haven't. That can never, ever change...uh, until the Revolution. Which we -totally want.-
But to be born with the vajayjay means that you are a member of Class Woman, something no man can ever, ever be: the tribe that bleeds, the People that gives birth in suffering, is penetrated, is (insert long catalogue of gender I mean sex specific woes like mutilation and slavery and forced prostitution, because that never ever happens to penis-born people), is and has been Oppressed since time immemorial, and if you boyos think you're going to take THAT away from us, you're crazy!
So, in sum, biology IS destiny, at least in this instance; and yes, Virginia, in fact your vagina DOES contain a magical wellspring of political solidarity. Which is why we're so very, very concerned with what you do with it, when we're finished being concerned with boyos trying to steal one for themselvesss.
Questions? Comments? I'll be over here demonstrating getting-hit-on-the-head lessons if you need more help.