Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Trans-Ontologically Moi . . .
Now that we have your attention . . .
"Woman trapped in a man's body." -- This seems to be the trope. "Somewhere in my fetal development, my brain got all awash in some sort of female ontological hormone bath, and it's different than the earlier stages of my fetal development which determines the physiology of my genitalia." -- Or words to that effect.
We're not quite sure what "gender feelings" are, how they work. I mean I've always felt this way, always been "me" behind the eyeballs. (The classical Greek trope that "eyes are the gateway to the soul.") I wonder what cis-F people feel like behind their eyeballs. I wonder how much different they feel than what I feel.
This inquiry alludes to DesCartes, "Cogito ergo sum," Kant, Critiques . . . Post-Structuralists and "all readings are mis-readings" (J. Derrida), Martin Bouber "epistemological ontology, the "I/thou" and "I/it" relationship. Let's not get too formal here. I am only recreationally a philosopher, don't read German, and formal metaphysics gets me in over my head pretty fast . . .
I get "trans fatigue" -- To paraphrase Dolly Parton, "It takes a lot of work to look this trashy." The work that trashes me out, (psychically) is the physical process of "de-constructing cis-gender." Letting the "garden gone to seed, things rank and gross in nature" -- in my natural state, I end up presenting male. Facial hair is the first thing "clocked." ("Getting clocked" is slang for "not passing.") Let's never mind that bone structure, muscle mass, facial features, height, weight, voice . . . It's entirely clear that this person behind my eyes is masculine, cis-M. I have no intention of "passing" as female. That said, I work hard to remove, cover up, "deny" my cis-M "symptomology." (or "traits" depending how pathological one considers "gender crossing.")
If I work at it very, very hard, maybe I can "pass" as female, but likely not in "public." Maybe pass in the dark, out on the street where I'm not engaging others. That said, there's a day-in, day-out presentation of the ontological me that falls somewhere between "macho" and "en femme."
Let's trot out the chart here:
Cis-F 4 3 2 1 0 1 2 3 4 Cis-M
Sex role stereotypes on both ends of this line. Both ends are what Judith Butler refers to as "the hetero-normative dyad." Either end, cis-F and cis-M are essentially "gender resolved" in their sex roles, hetero-sexual, reproductively viable. And then there's a realm in between where sex/gender are less categorical, more dimensional, more nuanced, more problematic. I feel like I present, function somewhere on the right of Zero somewhere on the right, 2 to 4, depending on what day it is. I am physiologically and presentationally cis-M, but not stereotypically, not categorically role defined
We're a few parts of me male, at least some part leaning to the left end, pre-disposed, inclined. We're not "femme" not "sissy" not preoccupied with "pretty" . . . But then neither are many of my cis-F colleagues. It's not their appearance, interests, behavior that makes these women cis-F. I don't appropriate "femme" interests or behaviors in my presentation. I do work on appearance -- because it's the semantic medium available that works for me. I like to think my interests and behaviors are not rigidly gender determined. I like to think my gender presentation is authentic, integrated, centered. I like to think it's not an act, not a "performance" not a disguise, not a ruse, not a deception.
The argument arises . . . as a line of discursive inquiry, that in effect gender dysphoria is some sort of "fetish" and an objectification of gender determining semes. The semes are primarily clothing, but also stereotypical ontological identities. The "pathological" line of discourse goes something to the effect that this "gender identity objectification" is categorically fixed, static, dysfunctional, problematic, and amenable to clinical definition. Mostly this pathological line of categorization holds that sex/gender is a a rigid dyad: Female/Male.
Haploid gamete-wise sex is dyadic. How we engage that dyad with respect to reproduction, mate selection, pair bonding, species continuation is as dimensionally diverse as the human experience.
Let's concede here, or at least note that mate selection and some sort of sexual engagement is not on my personal agenda. This motivational state de-problematizes a host of "sexual orientation" issues for me personally. Most of gender presentation is about setting out sex boundaries in a social milieu as an ongoing discourse about our personal role in the continuation of the species through sexual reproduction. I'm not looking to define my personal ID with regard to an "I/thou" context. I know who I am. Not worried about what sort of "thou" I'm looking for in a pair-bonding agenda.
My keys need not fit anyone else's lock. Sexual relations are not on my list of gender agenda items. This makes my worldview different than those actively engaged in a quest for some sort of pair-bonding context in which to situate their gender identity.Anyone who has ever been in a sexual relationship knows that relationships are complicated. The hetero-normative dyad is complicated. This is why we have attorneys who specialize in "Family Law." Not all states recognize "same sex marriage."
Now let's speculate about a law practice representing: "He was born male, but is now female, and so that makes her "gay" . . . and she wants to marry a woman who is "lesbian" . . . sort of . . . "
My personal identity, epistemological and ontological, is integrated, authentic, not dysphoric. My identity is dynamic, fluid, dimensional. I awake every morning as "me" -- and then need to decide how that gets presented. When I think about gender stereotypes, I'm often prompted by my personal observations of both genders in the general population. There are a infinitude of cis-M I don't want anything to do with in terms of role-model identification. Similarly, there are cis-W in this same population who are equally terrifying with respect to appropriating their presentations for my own personal identity. That would be Buber's "I / it" paradigm.
Let's not objectify the "it" out there. There are options for resolving the "me" in all of us. We need to redefine our semes, revise our heuristic.
"This above all; to thine own self be true."