Exploring the Transgender Debate
Derrick shares his thoughts on the controversial topic of transgender rights. Specifically, he discusses a new law in NYC that requires employees and landlords to refer to an individual by their chosen pronouns. He talks about the consequences of using the State to protect “rights” and the history of gender throughout other cultures.
From The Conscious Resistance: Reflections on Anarchy and Spirituality
“One of the more contentious areas that Feminists have explored is the question of whether gender roles are a valid concept or simply a social construct. Western cultures tend to accept two genders, male or female, while cultures around the world, throughout history have accepted three or more genders. These include the mahu of the Kanaka Maoli indigenous. The mahu were seen as sacred educators of ancient traditions and could be either male or female with a gender somewhere in between or sharing traits both masculine and feminine. Among the Bugi people of the Sulawesi island of Indonesia, five genders are recognized. The Bugi support the idea of men, women, calabai, calalai, and bissu. Calabai are biological males who take on the role of a heterosexual female. Their dress and gender expression are feminine. Calalai are biological females who identify with a male gender. Bissu are healers or medium who “transcend” gender and encompass aspects of all five in order to form a whole. Several American Indian tribes also have similar concepts. The Lakota word Winyanktehca can be translated as “two-souls-person”, or “to be as a woman”. The term is applied to biological males who are transgender. The “winkte” are an important part of the spiritual community. The Navajo also have a similar concept in the Nádleehí, which could be translated as “one who constantly transforms”. Roles are imposed on each gender according to certain qualities that are deemed acceptable and those that are not. Queer theory proposes a deconstruction of gender-identity to get to the roots of oppression. Psychologist Cordelia Fine believes there are inherent biological differences between the minds of men and women. However, she also believes that cultural traditions are responsible for shaping these apparent differences between the sexes.
The idea that all men are supposed to be tough, brave, fearless and unemotional has caused untold harm to the human race. Just as dangerous is the idea that all women are to be emotionally open, compassionate, easily scared, delicate and passive. These concepts reinforce division among the masses and allow the authorities to pit Men and Women against each other. Rather than seeing each other as equals capable of great things, we are taught to buy into and support false versions of the Male-Female dynamic. We also support Transgendered individuals who may have been born with sex organs that do not correspond to the gender role they associate with. Culturally reinforced ideas on the types of relationships that are acceptable have also caused harm to human relationships.”
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