Friday, October 16, 2020

Transgender Socialized

 There is a collection of LGBTQ posts called "Medium" which I have recently been exposed to. Since after a few visits, it becomes a paid site, I was too strapped financially to explore it further. However, through another person's blog I follow, I was able to explore another post concerning being socialized as transgender from Theresa Jean Tanenbaum.

Following my decades long attempt to fit into a male world (and failing), I have given too much thought to the fitting in process, or the lack of. I never really considered the process as being socialized as such. Until I read Theresa's post.

Here is part of it:

"I’ve been a girl my whole life, but I didn’t always know it. As a result, many of my childhood experiences were defined by cognitive dissonance. Growing up as a trans girl is like being gaslit by the whole world and still finding the strength and confidence to say “No! THIS is who I am!” After all, no other girls are subjected to the same degree of toxic masculinity as trans girls. No other girls are forced into boys locker rooms, or men’s restrooms, or all-male prep schools. No other girls are told to “man up!” or “don’t be a sissy”. No other girls are asked to prove they are girls again and again, by people who can’t themselves clearly explain what standard of proof they require, short of direct inspection of their genitals.

Trans girls are sent into male spaces, like canaries in coal mines, often not knowing why we don’t fit it. Not knowing why we are uncomfortable. When we express discomfort with the bullying we frequently experience at the hands of boys, we’re told that “that’s just how boys are” so we’d better get used to it. My failure to properly participate in male tribal behaviors made me a target for male aggression throughout my childhood. Boys who had been taught to “never hit a girl” had no problem starting a fight with someone they perceived as a boy, who acted, talked, and responded like a girl.

For my entire childhood I thought that it was normal to feel sick and nervous around other kids. 

To feel like the other kids were following some script that I couldn’t read. Fearing that if I got a line wrong they’d turn on me. Interacting with boys always made me feel like a rabbit sneaking through a den of lions….one misstep and I’d be devoured. Boys radiated danger to me. "

There is more and you can read it here.

1 comment:

  1. It's true, at least in my case, that living a gender-dichotomous life has required a different sort of socialization. My experiences have been three decades ahead of Ms Tanenbaum's, and, as such, included even more of a self-induced socialization - especially during my formative years. Society was largely black and white on gender in the 50s and 60s. In those days, if one displayed behaviors that did not strictly adhere to society's expectations, they would probably be labeled homosexual. As much as I wished I were a girl, I was more afraid of being seen as a gay boy. From what little I knew (or thought I knew) of gay people at the time, I was absolutely certain that I didn't fit that mold - certain most of the time, that is. I often contemplated the possibility that I was, but would dismiss it because I was attracted to girls. But, then, I would wonder whether I were only attracted to girls because I wanted to be like them, or that I wanted to be "with" them. Perhaps, the bigger question would be: If I were like them, would they still want to be "with" me?

    In real life, I was socialized male by default. In my own secret fairy tale life, I was astute enough to the socialization of the girls that I could appropriate femininity any time my male-self was not in demand. There were so many times that I would come home dead-tired from football practice, but become completely regenerated by the chance to express my feminine-self when I knew nobody else would be home for an hour or two. Looking back on it, football was my release, while abandoning all male expectation in favor of my female-self was my relief. Eventually, long after my football days, it was becoming dead-tired of just meeting male socialized expectations, at all, that led me to a more-feminine socialized existence.

    Inasmuch as "trans socialization" is being used as an argument against certain feminists' accusations that male socialization invalidates a trans woman's actual womanhood, I'm not sure it's enough to change their minds. Personally, I'm not really concerned, anyway. For those who would judge me more by how I got here than by who I am now, I have no time for wasting. I had already wasted enough valuable time judging myself the same way.