When we see trans people in life, we’re seeing different things that look similar with our clothes on. One of those ways made it possible for me to survive, where the other would have killed me. My issues are around physical sex, not gender. They’re being left out of the transgender paradigm, so I need to clarify to exist.
Sex and gender are two different things. Transsexual and transgender are two different things, each with its own spectrum. Transsexual is not transgender with an extra surgery; they’re opposite in mind and body on sex identity, physical sex need, and sexual response as a male or female.
SEX VS. GENDER
In cases where one may be of the other gender yet choose to retain same sex, issues usually seen together may become clear as separate.
SEX: Primary sex characteristics; chromosomes, reproductive organs, genitalia; going to reproduction for the species; male or female. A person can have an identity of a sex and so can society in prevailing beliefs. Not gender; not man or woman. Secondary sex characteristics, such as stature, breasts, body hair, voice…are common to the sexes but do not themselves denote the sexes; modifying them does not indicate a need to change physical sex as in most cases it is not even desired. As of yet, biologic sex cannot be changed, but it can be legally, socially, and genitally in form and function.
GENDER: Social construct, varies with culture; masculinity or femininity; manly or womanly; sometimes man or woman. A person can have an identity of a gender and so can society in prevailing beliefs. Not sex; not male or female. Gender is often used as a euphemism for physical sex, but the differences are made clear with transgenderism where, for example, a male may womanize yet keep male genitalia, sexually respond as male. Gender can be changed as it’s a social role, or masculinity or femininity, and can be affected by attire, hormones and surgeries.
TRANSSEXUALISM VS. TRANSGENDERISM
“Transgender” is meant to refer to any gender or gender-role shift in society, but that conflates very different things, hides what people are really doing. Transgenderism, the phenomenon, is about changing gender, not physical sex, and is different in both mind and body from transsexualism. See Virginia Prince, Ph.D.:
“…[people] who have breasts and live full time as a woman, but who have no intention of having genital surgery…” (Gender Blending, 1997, p. 469).
- gender role identity of “woman,” very often conflated with
- gender identity as “woman,” sense of self, conflated with
- sex identity of “male” in that identity is with male genitalia
- sex expression of “male” in retaining those male genitalia
- sexual response of “male” as in how she responds while aroused and when having sex.
“Transsexual,” the phenomenon I’m trying to share so that I may exist with my own issues, is the opposite on the sex issues:
- gender role identity of “woman” per my place in society
- gender identity as “woman” per myself
- sex identity of “female” in that identity is with being female
- sex expression of “female” in needing to be anatomically female and needing SRS
- sexual response of “female” as in how she responds while aroused and when having sex.
If numbers in common element defined transsexual as transgender, then we’d all be transvestites, and that so misses the point. You couldn’t even discuss us without tripping because the differences are so great.
Sex identity, genitalia, sexual response—and also the being of the state of the opposite sex, even if nobody else ever knew—are a primary reason for and require SRS. Needing to be the opposite sex is the defining state difference between transgenderism and transsexualism, and is worthy of recognition. It should not be referred to by the same name as people who do not want to change sex. That hurts us, removes us, feels deeply neurological, says the thing that could kill us is not worthy of recognition—and the reason for it is to aid transgenders in not owning their own issues.
The transgender paradigm needs to evolve, to begin to embrace what it’s really doing, much as Kenji Yoshino shared in his marvelous book Covering: The Hidden Assault on Our Civil Rights (2006). In order for people to accept us as we truly are, we need to BE who we truly are. Transgenders need to embrace the concept with society of being the other gender and keeping the same sex and sexuality. “Yes, I’m a woman and I have a penis. I am a woman with male sexuality…” Transgender leaders write books to please a buying base and marginalize the truth of this, which leaves main-stream transgenders alone when facing family, friends, co-workers.
However it goes, with “transsexual” marginalized in discourse or re-characterized as transgender, I’m left with the painful reality that I am something people feel they should not even mention any more—a feeling I also had after watching the 2016 Academy Awards, Oscars when they referred to “The Danish Girl” movie about Lili Elbe as “transgender” who had “gender confirming surgery.” Lili died having SRS, sex reassignment surgery, and we can’t even say it. I’m ashamed of people who can’t recognize something that kills so many, and I feel so low when people refuse to acknowledge the core of my life, as if I’m not really here, as if I’m in denial of the presumed fact that I’m really about gender, as if I don’t exist but to serve the tenets of another political movement.