As ever, the TS /TG groups have descended into another swamp of:
"My self-expression is the single most important thing - comparisons to an external reality are invalid"
That's paraphrasing, by the way. What they actually said was endless variants on the idea that: "I'm a woman. i like my penis and will keep it.")
Obviously, i feel that i am a woman. I've had surgery to get my body to fit, after all. I believed i was a woman, prior to surgery, so i must have some belief that being a woman is not solely dependent on having a female body. Its true. i believe you can feel female, even if your body isn't. That is a very large step from actually being female, though, as far as i am concerned. I like to keep things grounded and grounded says "physical form is paramount". Therefore, to truly BE female, i believe that surgery is necessary.
Is it sufficient?
Is simply having surgery enough to BE female? There are enough examples of people who had SRS and who then regretted it and 'reverted' to being men. Therefore, the answer must be: No, surgery is not enough to actually BE female.
There's this other thing, an internal self-image, perhaps, a soul? A personal state of being that is in some way female? As opposed to a delusion, that crumbles in the face of reality (as in the case of the regretters)?
What is it, that leads so many people to say "I am Female" when we demonstrably are NOT?
How can we KNOW what is is like?
Most women are born that way. It's not a choice, it is a physical reality. They grow up with their female bodies and become women. There is no doubt "am i a woman?", rather an accepted reality. However, if you start to look at what makes up a cis-female, what do you find? You find variance and an awful lot of it. Nearly every supposed difference between males and females is a distribution, with large overlaps. here's a good look at some physical measures (its long!) sugar and slugs - sex differences
another study claims that there are massive differences. We've got lost in comparative stuff, though. Suffice it to say, that merely comparing our personalities to another's is not enough to make an unambiguous call.
How is it that we can, then, as a 20 year old male-bodied person, say "I am a woman"? Where does this come from? For the TS it comes from a belief that our bodies are wrong. I'm sure many of us question that belief - wonder if we are right - try and be male for a while, until the pressure of the wrong physical form (and its concomitant responses, feelings and implications) gets too much to bear. Maybe that's just me! I know several post-op TS women who were so completely certain that they never harboured doubt.
The acid test, so to speak, is surgery. Afterwards, you get to see if you were right or not. Thousands upon thousands of us discovered that we were, after all. Our re-designed bodies fitted us properly at last. The sheer level of good outcomes is indicative that we were, in some way, correct in our beliefs. Our bodies cease to be major, life-threatening issues and we become part of bi-gendered society.
What of the non-TS? I come across many young people who say that they know they are women, but who have no issues with their bodies and have no desire to have SRS. They are happy with their male genitalia. So how can this belief be?
There are some second-wave radical feminists that say ALL male bodied imaginings of being female are based on misogynist projection. A boy is brought up to view women in a certain light, to project their requirements for correct female behaviours and roles onto all women. Men are incapable of truly seeing or understanding women as all they see is their own desires and prejudices projected outwards. In this picture, a male-bodied individual can only ever pretend to be an abstraction of a female. At best, the male born individual will only ever be a caricature, a mockery. In other words, the TG person looks at the gender roles and gender expression of women and says 'that is me". In doing so they fail to see what really makes a woman a woman and instead become lost in a misogynist gender role play.
I'm not saying i agree with that view! I cannot deny it's potential reality, though. It applies, potentially, to me as well. However, most post-op TS did not have the social sophistication to be aware of these gender role differences at the time that they realised they had the wrong body. It is a realisation based on anatomy, not on society.
So where else can a belief of being female, whilst male-bodied, come from if not from anatomy?
I'm stumped. I honestly don't know. I've tried asking, but each time, the people who claim womanhood but decry surgery refuse to answer and instead revert to accusations of *phobia and *ism. I'd really like to understand.
So please. If you are one of these people, or you have some insight into my question, comment. Let me know. I do not like having gaps in my understanding, i then fall into the error of being heartless or cruel, without meaning to.