I recently read Véronique’s blog where she discusses an article by the Catholic Exchange where ENDA would legal protections against discrimination based on gender identity . In a nutshell, they say that trans individuals are deceivers, particularly focusing on MTFs, because they (transsexuals) are those “who reject the sex they were born with and want to be publicly accepted as the other sex” and want protections as well as additional consideration for hate crimes against trans individuals. As I read the article and a few of the comments, I thought to my blog entry to yesterday. So I thought about the discussion and some of the premises that it was based on. It was based on the fear that it would allow men in women’s dresses to go into women’s changing rooms and restrooms. I was surprised they didn’t use the “rape and pedophile argument” that is often used in this case. The whole thing is based on the idea that it’s a deliberate attempt to deceiver others, society and themselves. And that it’s being encouraged by the mass media and medical professions.
“We are never deceived; we deceive ourselves.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (German Playwright, Poet, Novelist and Dramatist. 1749-1832)
The more I thought about it,the more I was puzzled by items in the article. So began taking it apart, starting with the word “deception”. This is an old word from the 1400-1500s and is defined, by dictionary.reference.com, as a noun, to be either ” 1.the act of deceiving; the state of being deceived.” or “2.something that deceives or is intended to deceive; fraud; artifice”. Ok. I can live with that definition. But who’s being deceived? They claim the public is being deceived by the media and activits; the individual themselves are self-deceiving both themselves and others; and that the media and medical profession is deceiving trans individuals into believing that they must do this. Hrmm.
So, my own thoughts from when I was younger — before gender mattered to me — about seeing myself as male was a self-deception? And which is worse: self deception or perceived deception of society? Honestly, if no one knows my gender, does it matter? If it doesn’t matter why are people being killed over it? (Well, they did say that it was understandable to have this reaction because of the fact that one has “deceived” the other person of their “true” DNA). By their logic, I should spend the rest of my life in a gender that never fit, that’s not comfortable and caused me more personal grief over the course of my lifetime. It is almost as if they are saying that the person attacking is the victim, not the person being attacked.
But part of the premise that they are forwarding is a belief that there is a deliberate attempt by a trans individual to “deceive”. And what they do not understand or perhaps, may not be able to comprehend is that this isn’t a choice to do an action. For me, deception involves a deliberate intention to commit fraud to someone else and that we are aware that it is a fraud. And (yes, I’m generalizing but take a leap with me, please) I suspect that many trans individuals, like myself, don’t view transition or being trans as a fraud but rather that we’re finally being authentic as was given to us. A born-again Christian once said to me that while he didn’t understand my path he did admit that he felt that God had put many challenges before me. And he’s right (whether it is God, Allah, some other deity or none my life has been filled with a variety of challenges). I had always wondered why others were happy with life and how could I get in on that. I tried all sorts of things — things that often made me feel uncomfortable and made me feel like a sham, a fraud.
You should not live one way in private, another in public. — Publilius Syrus (Latin writer of maxims, 45BC-1BC)
Apparently for those that believe the way that the Catholic Exchange do I should live my life as a sham than as my true self because society might have issue with it. I look back at the past and how Jesus or Buddha wer defined (I use Jesus as a reference since it’s a person that a Catholic could identify with; please be assured I am no way near the compassionate man he or someone like the Buddha was) during their times on the planet. Both men were viewed with fear, revulsion and misunderstanding until people took the time to learn about them and what they were talking about. Both had little desire to cater to the wealth and helped those that needed the most help. They remained true to themselves as beings rather than living up to the desire to fit into a specific view of things: one was the son of a carpenter (and probably likely to inherit that role) while the other a king and believed to inherit riches beyond imagination at the time. Society would have been happy with that but they “bucked” the trend and went with what they felt was the true nature of themselves.
If others choose to believe that someone like me deliberately attempts to deceive them, the one suggestion I have: this ain’t about you. It’s about me and what fits for me. I’ll let you know what you need to know when it’s relevant. There are a lot of things about me that others don’t need to know (although I do talk a lot here about what seems like everything) but there are some things that are on a need-to-know basis or will be on that basis.