Constance, I likely will not post an awful lot about the Jenner Transition Announcement until she gets further underway.
I totally, utterly get where she is at right now. She is thinking things about how she is not that worried about pronouns, and how she is willing to overlook the othering and policing that is going on right now, yadda yadda yadda…she feels a responsibility to other transgender people to effect a graceful transition with dignity.
But deep down inside…all those things are hurting her, affecting her, wounding her. She doesn’t need me adding to the cacophony of noise surrounding her (and all of that exacerbated because of the family dynamics she married into). Eventually, she will begin to find her bearings and her voice, or if she already has, she will begin to express it in her own unique ways.
But I will be commenting on things that orbit her transition, things that are revealed and illuminated as a result of her decision, and here is one of them:
On my Facebook page, a friend linked to an article about her transition. That article is here:
What was telling was in the comments on the Facebook post, all generally very supportive, but one stood out to me. It simply said “Who are we to judge…”
“Who are we to judge…”
Constance, do you see why that comment jumped out at me? Yes? Jot down your thoughts about it…or No? No you do not see anything odd about that comment in relation to gender identity?
Well, Cis-Constance, imagine yourself being introduced to someone, and them very kindly and sagely assessing you and then saying to you and everyone “Who are we to judge…” and then shrugging as if to say “to each their own”…
as if your gender identity is something that is up for judgement in the first place!
as if your gender identity is an article of clothing that you simply decided to wear that day.
as if your gender identity was a moral choice you made or make.
Gender orientation is put into the same classification as sexual orientation and then judged as a moral choice, and this is simply incorrect and unfair.
There is orientation that is a given…and then there are behaviors that descend from choices that we make as creatures who are moral creatures and subject to moral constraints as determined by God and current cultural climate (and those are rarely congruent, btw)…the behaviors themselves are what I choose to do…but the orientation is who I was born to be.
Orientation is not moral behavior. It is simply the given baseline.
You as a cis-gender person are never subjected to the statement “Oh…you say you are a (fill in your biological chromosomal state). I see. Well, who am I to judge?”
And that, Constance, is the very epitome of cis-gender privilege!
Don’t get me wrong…I love the compassion that is at root behind the commenter’s post…but gender orientation is not a matter subject to judgement any more than race is, or that there is a brain in a skull, or that there are arms and legs on a human.
The deep underlying ignorance that is being exposed in the light of gender-education right now is the notion that gender-variance is a moral issue! The deep presupposition fostered in our binary is that any person who is cross-gendered is by definition subject to moral assessment should they decide to authentically live out who they are in spite of the external casing they are housed in!!
Do you see this?
The commenter is correct: we are not the judge of one another and should not judge one another. But the issue that she applied this moral principle speaks volumes of how far we have to go yet as a culture, and why we transgender people are subject to such tremendous othering.
Even the way we are supported is often times OTHERING!
I have the same internal response when people say to me “Hey, whatever makes you happy makes me happy”…and they are sincerely “for” me in terms of their willingness to accept me.
But they have no idea just how deeply they sentenced me to more time in the gender penitentiary.