Honestly, I don’t buy either the nature or nurture arguments with regards to gender. I think it’s a combination of effects, and I agree with the line about gender being a “performance” — which I don’t think is the same thing as belittling the importance of gender in the lives of many people or saying that any one gender identity is more or less legitimate than the other. There are a huge range of gender identities, from feminine women and masculine men to feminine men and masculine women, transgender people, genderqueer or gender non-conformative people who alternate gender expressions. For example, I was born female, and since I adapted so easily to that identity I believe that I was also born with a feminine gender. But I think that the ways in which I enact femininity — i.e. the way I cross my legs, or the fact that I shave them, or the way that I often apologize for things that aren’t my fault — were most likely taught to me in a subconscious way and probably don’t have much to do with my vagina or estrogen production at all.
I do agree though that people who take the most strict “gender is a construction” stance are those who tend to be transphobic, or vice versa. Personally, I take the same stance with regards to trans-ness as I take towards sexual orientation: I think that it’s mostly biological, but don’t really give a shit whether it’s biological, social conditioning or a choice. People have the right to express their gender(s) and sexuality however they want, regardless of the reason, and the whole “reason” conversation, I think, distracts from that extremely important fact.
--Cara at the Curvature (read the OP while you're at it)
...actually, minor quibble, I think probably the "most strict 'gender is a construction stance'" is really just...not. I think when you see this from transphobic feminists these days, it's an expression of the contortionist attempt to fuse actual radical feminisms that do/did actually mean the whole "gender is a construction" business (which tend -not- to be at odds with queer theory or ffs the existence of transgendered people) with cultural feminism, which is essentially...essentialist. (I've posted about this before).
But you know, just: if one is THAT invested in the idea of Class Woman and woman-only spaces and so forth, one is pretty much by definition -not- trying to "do away with gender." And no, the whole "nonono, Class Woman is about SEX, that's TOTALLY DIFFERENT from 'gender'" doesn't wash. At all.
a) it's projection on the parts of the feminists in question onto (a lot of) trans people to assume that the -trans people- are the ones who are so hopelessly fixated on genitalia, as Cara notes in her OP
b) hi, speaking of "examination:" exactly how much "gendered" shit that actually has nothing to do with your genitalia or reproductive organs do you take for granted?
Start with the pronouns you use for yourself and expect others to use when talking about you. Then, move onto the amount of tsuris you -don't- get specifically about the "M" or "F" on your government-issued ID when you try to get a job, move to another country, get married, get on a motherfucking plane, get a driver's license, or, well, just a whole shitload of things. Oh, yeah, and of course you have the right to use the "correct" bathroom, don't you? Or any public bathroom at all, really.
Guess what, folks: -none- of that is about "sex." That is about "gender." Presentation, pronouns (you know, in some languages the "genderedness" of possessive pronouns, i.e. "his" or "her" in English, is related to the -object- ("sa plume"), -not- the possessor, so this is hardly a universal), and the everfucking -importance- people place on all of this shit to make sure that everyone either fits into column A, column B, or, well, the outlands. Where we can "pity" "them" (ta awfully so, mAndrea, you hoser), but certainly no more than that.
Yeah, that's radical "deconstruction of 'gender,'" all right. Clap, clap.
And, you know, of course, even if you -did- have The Most Radical Radness Of All, this idea that you're entitled to therefore make or contribute to making other peoples' already difficult lives even more difficult on account of they haven't justified their existence to your stringent ideological demands sufficiently? Or for that matter, even, when the chips are down, write them off as "we eagerly accept and even solicit your emotional and financial contributions to Our Struggle, Which Is Of Course Universal; but as for your -particular- problems, so sorry, not our table?" What part of "fuck off" did you not understand?
On the "personal is political" note, as opposed to "just" being an ally note: this goes out to, well, Certain Of The Same Women Who Should Be Safely Fringey Enough To Just Ignore, But Nonetheless:
You know, even if my less-than-clear-eyed queer pervy lusts and relationships did turn out to be more in line with patriarchal standards than your ever so pure political lesbian and/or separatist and/or wymyn fyrst whatever it is...well, I do think you're full of shit about this, don't get me wrong (this is a separate post); but also? Really not my -first- concern here, how fucking -transgressive- I am against the Evil Empire as compared to you or anyone else, mirror mirror on the wall. I don't live my life in order to conform to -or- rebel against an ideal ideology; my ideology evolves and adapts around actual needs and lives, not the other way around.
Now, you may feel differently, and you know, that's your prerogative; but kindly keep me the hell out of it. And yeah, spouting off ignorantly, and derisively, but Importantly (o rational objective observer that you are!) about things that matters to me and mine? qualifies as -not- "leaving me out of it." You talk a lot of stupid, hateful crap about people; being actual people and not -objects-, they respond, often angrily. This is how it works. Welcome to reality.
Further, I for one reserve the right to be as sweary, mean, and "irrational" as I want to be when you pull this kind of crap, same as I would with any other reactionary, smug, ignorant bigot using someone else's personal shit as a trampoline for hir own sorry, selfish (yeah, you read that right) agenda.
Finally, I keep coming back to this: if transgenderism is an "ideology," then so is homosexuality. As a cis queer person who's heard the latter argument as well as the former invoked by right wingers -way- too often, this shit hits way too close to home. And I want to know, from feminists, lesbians included: exactly how it is that you justify "being transgendered is an ideology/sickness/perversion/trend" when these are EXACTLY the arguments, but EXACTLY, used by homophobes*.
...*Who, by the way, are also inevitably Terribly Offended by being called -homophobes-, because they're not -afraid- and they're not -bad people- and they're discriminated against TOO, at least as much, even, and some of their best friends are, and they don't actually nail anyone to a fence and leave them there to die horribly over a period of days (COOKIE PLEASE) and how dare we label them something they don't believe they are, o irony irony.