or so said the almighty Harry Benjamin. (paraphrased)
what does that mean for post-op TS women? Is the guy who named our condition saying we'll never be female?
I've read a few nasty TG bog blogs that say exactly that. they delight in finding that statement and use it to attack post op women. Declaring that either the concept of transsexualism is wrong, or men can never become women. They seem to take perverse delight in undermining the womanhood of women born TS, as if denying it grants them some kind of transgendered superiority. I feel that they are trying to 'take down' people that they themselves have put on a pedestal. more on that in a later blog.
How valid is that claim? If it is valid, then there are a lot of very deluded men out here, myself included, because we see ourselves as female. Fully female. Are we mad? Is the Law that acknowledges us mad? (as indeed, the recent Argentinian law that allows men to legally declare themselves female without examination or surgery indicates it may be) Are our lovers and family mad?
If the claim is not true, then what about the rest of Harry's work. do we ned to throw it all out, because we don't like that last bit (as the TG bog explicitly claims we do).
I think that there is no direct connection between the infamous statement of surgery not making us female' and the rest of HB's work. There are no assumptions being breached. There are no causative links being challenged. The rest of the work and that statement exist in isolation, so we could, if we chose, reject it without invalidating the rest of his work. It is a moot point, since the days of TS are long gone, and we are now diagnosed with GID (although with much the same requirements), or, if we are not actually TS, with GID(not otherwise specified), or, if we are not diagnosed, 'TG'. (This is in the medical world, not in the crazy world of GLAAD media manipulation.)
However. I think it is true. Surgery cannot make you female. It is impossible. We are born male, or born female. In our selves, not in our bodies. Our bodies mostly fit, but occasionally. To use the medically derived TS figure:1 in 20 or 1 in 30 thousand, not the more common TG figures of one in a few hundred.
We know pretty early on in the piece: "i've got the wrong body". Not, "i've got the wrong social role", although that may also follow. Neither, "i've got the wrong clothes", although, again that may follow. The fundamental marker is "i've got the wrong body". For a woman born in a male body, that means she knows she is female, from really early on. From there grows the struggle between self-understanding and societal stereotyping. Between Nature and Nurture. Eventually that woman may access surgery to correct the issue. That surgery does not make her female, because she already was. It simply adjusts her body to match who she knows she is.
If a man, for some reason fetishizing being female (and really, who would? it is not the easiest path in life, for anyone) to the extent that they can pass the gatekeepers, accesses surgery; what then? Well, they are still a man. Surgery cannot make you female.
This is one of those things that we, as women born TS need to accept. Instead of rising to the insult intended when the TG bog proponents throw this challenge, we need instead to face it head on and re-affirm it. Surgery cannot make a man into a woman. It is true.
At the same time: Surgery cannot make a man into a woman. So anyone not born transsexual needs to be aware of this. The knife is not going to perform magic, all it can do is change your body. If you are transgendered, not transsexual, and you are considering surgery. ARE YOU SURE? you may be able to provide the correct answers to fool the gatekeepers, and you may be able to play a good enough role to pass the real life test. However, if you think that surgery is going to overcome your actual male identity, then you are in for hell.
I'm happy with this concept. I've looked at it from many angles, talked about it, taken time to let it settle and mature. Its annoying. Why? because it means that there can be women out there who truly are women, but who simply don't want surgery to correct their male anatomy.
I've met natal women who, when asked about it, said that if they'd been born with a penis, there's no way they'd have them removed. The idea of power, or penetration of others, of privilege is too tempting, too alluring.
So, it becomes harder to say to the very strange TG people who have active male sex lives yet claim to be female: "you are not female". perhaps they are. Or perhaps, my argument to allow acceptance of HB's irritating statement was too clever, and deconstructed the idea of 'female' to such an extent that i broke my understanding of it.
What do you think?