What is it like to feel gender?

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7 months 1 day ago #374576 by ZealotX
I don't recall saying "mental illness". I think that idea exists and therefore I cannot fault anyone for thinking I might be coming from that same position. However, that is not the case. Reactions using that assumption can also be prejudicial because it presupposes a bias that must be confronted. 

So let me clarify further... I am a programmer by job and that desire has merged with my self-identity so I identify as a programmer. I also have the experiences of a programmer that reinforce that identity. However, that identity is forged by me as a product of my mind, rather than any outside universal dictate. I could say I "FEEL" like a programmer, but I can't claim to be that without actually having that experience. 

As a programmer, I don't think of everything concerning the mind as a mental health issue because that phrasing generally invokes ideas of "mental health" in a negative context. Why? Because we only focus on what's going on in the mind when we think something is wrong. But that negative association is a product of what? Of the mind. It's not reality therefore for its "BS". Again... not calling BS on "thinking" but rather the fallacy of NEGATIVE THINKING / judgement... as a default. It's not fair to mental health to ignore the spectrum of everything that is GOOD... in order automatically assume that if "mental" is mentioned we must be lauching some kind of insult or attack. That assumption is based on society and popular culture which makes it more difficult to have an honest discussion about it.

As a programmer, to me these are not negative things unless they are unfair or "misrepresent" the whole (which is the spectrum). As far as male and female, these are opposite polarities on a spectrum. We are all on that spectrum but we are the spectrum. It's an (viral) idea that it's binary. I grew up with tomboys and even married one. I also grew up around toxic masculinity and I was aware of the toxic nature even then. And I saw boys almost competing with each other because, in a sense, they were judging each other on a toxic scale where the least masculine would be the most respectful to women. What makes me balanced is not because I am consistently displaying the same "genderfied" mannerisms. It's because I embrace me simply doing my own thing which balances out to be ME, representing myself and the spectrum. I remember being self-conscious of how my hands were sitting on my waist playing basketball because where I came from if you had your hands one way it was feminine. That's "BS" but as an individual, I think most feel powerless to question the source. It's only when you stop thinking about it... stop being conscious of the supposed differences... stop checking yourself... stop thinking "am I this or that", that you are no longer running from yourself and simply accepting yourself for who and what you are. You. 

Everyone has a unique experience as a representative of the whole of human consciousness and human experience. We should not measure ourselves by someone else's experience or the experience we believe them to be having. Only by such measurement can you really say what you are and are not. But to guage where you are compared to another point on the spectrum, you have to imagine to know what that experience is like. When I question myself I'm attacking myself on behalf of a societal or community  standard that I have injested and absorbed like food. To me, again, this is not positive or negative. The food we injest is only as positive or negative as what our bodies need. So being exposed to viral programming and choosing from the programs/ideas to accept and incorporate into our mental Operating System, is not inherently negative and shouldn't automatically taken as an attack or discrimination. Rather, acceptance of ideas is how we all learn and grow mentally. And like a plant, if your mind gets nutrients it's going to use them and be influenced by them. 

In some cases, can it be a mental health "problem?" Sure. In any population, the larger the population the more you're going to see different cases within its membership. The more people there are the higher the probability that at least some of them are going to be ignorant, attractive, smart, funny, etc.. When I was young I met a guy in Canada who was diagnosed with schizophrenia because my aunt took care of a number of patients in their multi-family housing complex on behalf of the government. He told us this vivid elaborate story about his experience as a young prince in a love affair with another young prince. It was fascinating because of how real it was to him. This isn't meant to stigmatize him because of his diagnosis but rather to point out how powerful the human mind is. We can even load up different personalities that we're inspired by just like Neo. But when Neo does it, does it have a negative context? No. Because he's a programmer who is choosing it. It's therefore only potentially a mental health issue when that choice is hijacked like a computer being hijacked by a virus. 

In my head, there is a whole science to what I call "PSIONIX" which I personally define as "mental programming" where ideas are basically like computer code and variables and they can be viral and accepted as such. And in 2023 we don't look at everything "viral" to be a negative thing. A positive news story can "go viral". So how a person programs or reprograms themselves and how that programming is accepted, rejected or reinforced by society... the interplay/conflict between the individual and collective is fascinating to me.

(also... the questions were rather rhetorical to anyone actually answering which would be a bad idea because it would only invite public speculation about a specific person but I didn't make that abundantly clear)

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7 months 1 day ago #374582 by Cornilion Seadragon
While I disagree with the programmer analogy because that is something external, an identity gained through experience and external events as opposed to inherent qualities within a person, the operating system might make for an interesting analogy.

If you install Windows on an old Mac, is it really still a Mac? From the outside it certainly looks like a Mac and has the physical characteristics of a Mac, but if you treat it like a Mac and try to interact with it like it's a Mac, you're going to have problems because fundamentally despite physical appearances, it is not a Mac. It's a PC (I'm using PC as a stand in for a computer with Windows on it here for simplification). In the case of human biology, the operating system is installed during fetal development and can't be changed, so perhaps it is more accurate to say that one of the Macs coming out of the factory ended up with Windows on it instead of iOS. It might be labeled as a Mac by the factory and by all initial appearances seem to be a Mac, but once you boot it up and start interacting with it, it quickly becomes apparent that it is not actually a Mac. It's a PC. Now unfortunately there are some complications a PC occupying the body of a Mac. Drivers to operate some of the hardware might not be correct, and it might eventually be prudent actually change out some of the hardware so that the drivers match the operating system (yes, I'm oversimplifying how drivers work... the analogy can only be stretched so far). Either way, treating that computer like a Mac instead of a PC is an issue and recognizing that it is really a PC with some Mac hardware is going to make things run a whole lot smoother for both the PC and those interacting with the PC.
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7 months 1 day ago #374584 by ZealotX
I don't really think of the programmer analogy as external because it's an internalized identity, but let's go your way and talk about Operating Systems. I'm good with that.

First... Can you Install Windows on a Mac.

Yes. Apple makes both hardware and software. If you install Windows on that hardware (and you can actually dual boot) it doesn't change the brand/origin of the hardware. Nor does it change the physical specs of the hardware. It's still a mac. 

But don't take it from me.

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT201468

"Install Windows 10 on your Mac with Boot Camp Assistant"

They explain how to do this because, in their eyes, mac is more than just software. And in this discussion, the question is whether gender is a function of hardware (physiology) or software (the mind). And again... just because I say "mind" doesn't mean "mental problem". Intelligence itself is mental and we're always all the time working on our own programming which is how we become who we want to be. That's not an OS that is set in stone. That's an OS that can get regular updates as well as one that can be hacked or be infected by viral ideas (good or bad).

Another issue you may have raised by accident but which is very noteworthy to me goes back to what I said was BS which is the JUDGMENT of what something is. In this case, those who know me know I hate Apple because of its branding. With that said... APPLE COMPUTERS ARE PERSONAL COMPUTERS-which you know is what PC stands for. 

It was their marketing that tried to sell their BRAND as more than a "PC", thereby trying to make PC's look bad in comparison. And then people started to buy into this narrative and this hype. And they started thinking Apple products were fundamentally better. And that was a false dichotomy... a bad judgment about what a PC even is! But it became a trend and with that, you have people following for various reasons, but some who simply seek it out as an alternative to "PC".

Sorry, let me take a breath. It's not you. It's Apple...

*sigh*

Okay. Apple wasn't innocently making this distinction. They were competing against PCs. In reality, an Apple/Mac was just a PC with a very LIMITED range of ability. Because it was limited by its SOFTWARE and what it would support. Likewise, physically we all have both testosterone AND estrogen. We simply act like we only have one or the other so we ACT like it's just a binary thing to be male or female. That's bogus (I'm going to try to avoid saying BS out of fear of being misrepresented). I can pretend I have not an ounce of feminity in my body but I have 2 nipples just like everyone else. And the point is that we aren't as different as we often like to pretend. And that bogus pretending is not targeted at ANY GROUP, much less LGBT. Why? Because everyone reacts to definitions society tries to create and brand. Popular ideas (like *cough* stolen elections *cough*) can be bogus ideas. LGBT people are not the ones creating the toxic masculinity archetypes that many people are reacting to. If there's anyone to blame it's all the macho bros that made fun of every little boy they caught crying and making everyone think boys aren't allowed to do that. That's what's bogus. The more we look for and try to label differences, the more we ignore parts of ourselves and feel like we have to choose or feel like we aren't still that Mac that came from the store.

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7 months 1 day ago #374585 by ZealotX
cont'd...

Now if you install Windows... now its a Mac running Windows. Just like a Transwoman is a transwoman. Male body. But identifying as a woman. That doesn't change the body. Because the body can support OSX or Windows that means there are enough similarities that a man can choose to take on a more feminine identity with whatever THEY want to represent as feminine behavior and mannerisms. To the extent that it is possible with the same physical shell, they are able to choose and we as a society, being respectful of their choice, for whatever reasons they're choosing it, can relate to them by their chosen identity without pretending the body is no longer a PC. And many people are okay with that, physical attraction and everything. Now every version of Windows is not going to perform on every version of either mac or PC hardware. These are 2 separate things.

So likewise... one could have a Male body and a feminine SPIRIT. And you can kind of pull and tug at the S-word however you want because the definition is far more flexible while the body is more finite. But still... I want to reiterate that there is less difference between male and female than we often give ourselves credit. Part of that comes from devaluing women and therefore making fun of boys for displaying feminine traits or qualities. But especially if a boy grows up with a lot of girls, whether seeking approval or not, they're going to be interested in and more influenced by feminine qualities and maybe even traditional roles (which are also somewhat bogus). I had a stepson like this and his mom (a tomboy) wanted a strong male role model to make him into more of a "man". I told him not to let anyone influence him into not being his true self. As long as he was himself then it was okay. But a lot of parents find it hard to accept when their child doesn't fall in line with societal norms and that creates a lot of friction and pain in relationships. The more he played with dolls the more people made him believe there was something "wrong" with him. And that itself becomes a trauma.

And some people do "dual boot" as it relates to gender. There are men who dress like women... women who dress like men... and often it is simply what is the most comfortable to them. It's not like men always wore pants and women always wore dresses. And tomboys have always existed. Every girl doesn't need to be in love with getting their nails done. That seems like a huge hassle and a waste of time and money to me. But that's me. Me trying to impose what I think is a waste on someone else is silly. But that's what I mean by bogus judgments. We make judgments based on ourselves and try to apply them to other people. OF course, they're eventually going to fight back in whatever way that looks like.

 

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7 months 1 day ago #374586 by ZealotX
Now... a different issue. A Mac rolls out of the factory with Windows installed. If it were only that simple to boot up a human and have a male or female logo splash screen to make it real clear which OS you had. What I'm saying is how do you KNOW you're running Windows vs OSX? This is not something where you can look at your physical features. If a Mac has never run OSX before and Windows has no understanding of what it is like to be OSX then how would Windows know it was Windows? Humans are the ones making up these names. Humans are the ones defining what each is like. A Mac knows what a Mac knows. Therefore, a Windows install isn't self-aware and doesn't know it is Windows. If it were self-aware, the knowledge of Windows vs OSX would not exist internally. It would have to be influenced by outside forces to see a difference. If Alexa knows anything about Bixby it's from the Web. Alexa wouldn't come out of the factory already knowing Bixby or how Bixby behaves or what it is capable of. All this information is internalized from external sources. These are sources that deserve to be questioned.

Quick, what's the difference between Windows and OSX? I can't tell you much because I rarely touch OSX. The only differences I can point out would be the differences I've personally experienced. And this is complicated by the fact that they both have literally all the same parts. The OS simply has different internal programs written to "operate" those parts. 

Fortunately, operating systems can be changed. If your OS isn't getting regular updates... that's a problem. Our ability to interact with both internal and external software is because of our OS. My "OS" has been updated to recognize LGBTQ without fear or animus so we can interact better. Apple was based on Apple, as a company, dictating what hardware they were going to use and what software could be "allowed" to run on their system even though it's still a PC. Hence, I don't like it. Because it's too controlling and limiting. Windows had to be updated to work with just about every piece of hardware out there because Windows doesn't control what's in your Personal Computer even though that makes it easier to have a more stable system. Dell does a similar thing to Apple but with preselected PC components tested over and over for stability with each other. Dells are still PCs. But for Mac to say "we're not a PC" is just branding and it's bogus. 

So is all this to say "we should treat everyone the same and forget about pronouns?" No. Because I respect them I respect how they want to be treated. I feel the same about race. With that being said, I also think we have to respect PCs with Windows from the factory. Therefore, I will continue to use terms like transwoman to differentiate between what one chooses and what their physiology presents as. And I think that's important without getting into questions about bathrooms, sports, and prisons. I believe we should be balanced and see body as body and OS as OS. Male is a reference to the body. Masculine is a reference to the OS. And since the body is already balanced between genders I think we need to stop judging genders based on the degree to which they are masculine or feminine.

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7 months 3 hours ago #374594 by Cornilion Seadragon
Setting aside the monopolistic business practices of Apple, the analogy is that essentially there are two types of computers that each have their own distinct hardware and operating system that communicates with that hardware. I'm aware that apple computers are personal computers, which is why I added the qualifier that I was using the term PC as a stand in for a computer running Windows for simplicity sake. Analogies sometimes require some caveats to work as an analogy. (The analogy is also a little simplified as it does mostly indicate an absolute dichotomy instead of a spectrum, and it also assumes that the hardware is 100% one or the other which isn't true in human biology). In this analogy the operating system also can't be changed out. We can install different programs. Tolerance is a program that can be installed and continually updated. Computer programming or any other skill or career are programs that can be installed and updated. There are very few programs that can't be installed on both systems or at least don't have a version that can be installed on each system. The core operating system that these programs have to interact with, however, is set when the computer rolls out of the factory and doesn't change. While both human society and computers have come a long way toward cross compatibility (many Macs now have mice with 2 buttons, and many gender roles that used to be set as absolutes have been opened up), there are still distinctions between the two.

I don't work with Macs if I can help it (I did have one job where I had to work with Macbooks on occasion, but that was over a decade ago), so I don't know how they operate. If I suddenly didn't have a start menu, and the settings window was different, and it didn't come with the default suite of Microsoft programs, though, I'd pretty quickly realize that I'm not working with a Windows computer anymore, even if I didn't have the big logo splash on the startup screen. Sure, it's easier to tell with computers which OS you are working with. It's extraordinarily obvious. Humans have to rely on other observations, and yes a few of those are colored by cultural perceptions and gender stereotypes, but that are many beyond that which aren't.

I personally know of 6 transgender people, though 2 of them I only barely know (other students at my school who I've had one or two conversations with in passing, and couldn't even tell you their names, so I'm going to set them aside and talk about the other 4). It should be noted that this is of course just my personal anecdotal experience, but it's across a large enough sample that I think it provides an interesting insight into this conversation. One of those 4, I know very well and have known since before they transitioned. One I know very well but met after they transitioned (and didn't even realize they were trans until they ended up being my patient and it was part of their medical history). The other two I don't know super well, but one of them I knew before they transitioned and the other one I met following their transition. Of these three, I do have to acknowledge that one of them seems odd to me, while the other three it would be weird to think of them as the gender they assigned at birth, as they so completely embody the personality of what one would expect from the gender they transitioned to.

The one who stands out is a trans male but hasn't really transitioned and may never physically transition. This individual does indeed have a lot of emotional trauma from early childhood (including sexual assault) and has a lot of health issues related to the reproductive system, not to mention a large chest which carry their own issues (some men may appreciate a woman with a large chest but from a medical perspective they mostly translate to chronic back pain... also as an aside not all men are attracted to large chests, it's a stereotype, so for any women out there reading this conversation don't think you're any less attractive for that reason). This person is also bi (and in truth I think is more attracted to women than men). Honestly, the vibe this person gives off is that of a butch (a lesbian who takes on the masculine role in a lesbian relationship) more so than a trans male. For a girl, the person is pretty masculine, but as a guy it does seem weird. The person also enjoys anything purple, stuffed animals and anything cuddly or cute, and in many ways is the stereotypical image of a girl, just not a girly girl. This person hates pink, likes occasionally dressing in a traditionally mens clothing like a vest, and doesn't enjoy long hair (especially in the summer when it's hot and muggy), but otherwise to me gives off a very feminine vibe. They also picked a new name that still sounds very feminine to me. This is what I imagine you picture when you think of a trans person: someone with some interests, desires, or personality traits that are more common in or stereotypical of the other gender but who in many ways still reflects a lot of traits specific to the gender assigned at birth and who has a lot of things that they seem to be running from. In truth it wouldn't surprise me if this person never actually fully transitions and eventually decides that they are either gender fluid, non-gender, or something along those lines. I do respect this person's wish to go by male pronouns and have been as supportive as I can, but in the back of my head this is the one trans person I know who doesn't really seem trans to me.

The other three I know all very much embody the gender they transitioned to. The one I knew before they transitioned always seemed more masculine than feminine, and as soon as they told me they are now identifying as male my internal reaction was "oh, yeah, that makes sense". For that person it just fit. Looking back the idea that they were female seems almost out of place, and in hindsight always seemed out of place. The one I know well who transitioned before I met him, I would never have known he was trans if he hadn't told me. It doesn't come up much as the fact that he is trans isn't a big part of his life. He's pretty much just a regular guy. Honestly, I don't think I've ever even really talked to him about being trans outside of the medical setting when he was my patient for a couple months, and even then it wasn't a big topic. The other person you might be able to tell is trans. She is a trans woman, and has the imposing physical stature of someone who grew up male. Personality wise, though, she is female, and honestly until she actually told me she was trans I wasn't really sure if she was trans or just from a tall heritage. All of this is to say that yes, there are some trans people out there who may be running from something or may be responding to cultural stereotypes of what they think they should be based on what society is telling them, but that's a small minority of trans people.

There may not be a fancy logo that pops up when a new person is "booted up for the first time", but if a computer doesn't have a start menu, has those green yellow and red circles in the corner of each window, and errors out when you try to install programs designed to integrate with a Windows OS, you can pretty quickly add those up to realize that this is not a Windows computer. It works the same way for people. Sometimes it's harder because the idea that male and female is based entirely on physical traits that are visible from the outside is so ingrained into our culture that sometimes people try to ignore those obvious signs for a long time, and the fact that gender is a spectrum made of dozens of specific genetic traits, not a singular trait that exists in perfect dichotomy makes it more complicated as well. To expand the analogy a little farther, both the Windows and OSX installers are on the same disk (the X chromosome mostly, and a few other chromosomes... the Y chromosome just codes for genes that turn on or off genes on other chromosomes), and the disk is pretty heavily corrupted after being used billions of times so often you end up accidentally getting some pieces from each operating system, further complicating the topic.

As far as gender being based on physical characteristics and the "operating system" just being masculine or feminine traits that don't control gender, the opposite is probably more true. Children generally form a solidified gender identity around the age of 4. Most 4 year olds, at least in the US and much of Western culture, have no real concept of boys and girls having different genitals. To some extent their external genitalia do influence their gender identity indirectly because parents create an expectation (give them a gendered name, often a gender specific haircut, toys, and clothing, etc.) which can influence how a child seems themselves, so they are able to recognize that others identify them as a specific gender around the age of 2-3, which of course has some impact. Still, children typically explore gender identity on some level and eventually either associate with or disassociate with the gender that others perceive them as. At that age they are relatively unaware of physical differences among children (in part because there aren't many, external genitalia is really the only obvious one and it is kept safely stowed behind several layers of clothing when around others). We are seeing a lot of people transition at a later age now as it becomes more culturally acceptable to do so, but that is still lower than the statistically expected number and is more a result of people who always identified as the other gender but were afraid to identify as such in a culture that was very hostile to the idea. Among the youngest generation, the number of children transitioning is leveling out. Many are taking on activities and personality traits, or even just coming out as the opposite gender than they were assigned at birth around the age of 4-5, but it isn't until about age 11 where they are mostly asking to transition as that's when the disconnect between who they are and how others interact with them really starts to become apparent with puberty approaching. Often kids coming out around age 11 when asked how long they've felt like this will answer something on the lines of "always" or "since I was little" (setting aside that "little" to an 11 year old is itself a bit ironic), but that it wasn't really an issue that they felt that way until recently.

My point is this: most trans people aren't trans out of reaction to how they fit societal stereotypes, childhood trauma, or how other people treat them. Do they exist, sure, but most trans people don't fall into that category. Most trans people are trans because they embracing who they really are despite what cultural norms or expectations of others might be. In the case of a boy being taught he needs to be more manly, he's far more likely to bottle up any feminine feelings and grow up to be a stereotypical example of toxic masculinity believing that there is somehow something wrong with any man who isn't similarly toxic and over the top. The people more likely to transition are the ones who are encouraged to just be themselves and who have parents who accept them for whatever they might be, free of any judgement or expectation. It's people who are free to be themselves who are transitioning, and ones responding to childhood trauma or stereotypes who often avoid transitioning and grow up to embody those toxic ideas they had forced on them from an early age. That's of course not to say everyone who is free to be themselves is transitioning, as for most of us being ourselves means being the gender we were assigned at birth, but generally for those who don't identify as that gender they are only transitioning when they feel safe to do so. That's why I'm still coming back to this conversation: the perpetuation of the idea that people who are trans are simply responding to some cultural stereotypes or childhood trauma makes it harder for people to be themselves because now in order for them to be themselves they have to carry the baggage of other people who believe they are somehow just misguided. That makes it harder for people to come out as trans because they feel less safe and see the judgement from others and so in many cases they keep their heads down and just try to embody some stereotype forced upon them instead of embracing who they really are.
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6 months 3 weeks ago #374635 by ZealotX
I married into a family with a number of masculine females. By that I mean, the hardware is clearly female but there's a mom who is a lesbian (butch) and her 2 twin daughters who are also 'butch' lesbians. None of them are trans. We all just went to a play on Friday called "Don't Call Me Cis". 

Why do we use terms like tomboy and butch? Because we're adding gender to things like style of dress or physical activities. Imagine saying, "Oh you like to race? You must be a boy in a woman's body". That's not fair. What gender reasons would women not be able to like racing, or football? Now there are women-only versions of these sports because there have always been enough women who would play if given the opportunity. 

Stuffed animals? Girly? Anything cute? These stereotypes are what I have a problem with. Japanese culture in general is more about cuteness. I like cute cats over big dogs with big muscles. Does that make me "girly?" No one should have to sort their likes and dislikes into gender categories.

I see a lot of guys wearing pink now. There are plenty of guys who get mani-pedis and guys who paint their nails. Plenty of guys don't like vests and like to wear long hair. There are tons of women who wear short hair for a variety of reasons. None of these things is owned by one gender. There are even boys with traditionally female names and vice versa. So the question of what gives off a "feminine" vibe is subjective and centers around our gender-based biases. And if we're all playing that game then it means that someone who feels like they are more feminine because of all these gendered things, could get the impression that they are the wrong gender. 

And let's face it. You can be a girl who likes girls without feeling like you're supposed to be a man. And what about people who are bi? That seems to prove that sexuality is separate from gender. And these likes and dislikes can be affected by all sorts of different influences. Positive or negative.

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6 months 3 weeks ago #374636 by ZealotX
"seemed more masculine than feminine"

How? Based on what? How does a masculine guy seem? If a male child is socialized more to act like a girl, is his genes supposed to kick in and make him act like a boy instead? We all learn how to be human from our parents and from other people around us; hence the term "role model". It's those people who embody genders and those people who influence standards. On one hand, you might have someone like Billy Dee Williams. On the other, you might have someone like Prince. There are so many ways of expressing who we are that if someone wants to look more androgynous like Prince, perhaps they might think they'd have to be the other gender to do it. But Prince (or "the artist") didn't feel pressured into "masculine conformity" and that's one of the points I made earlier. A lot of people are simply non-conformist and that can be expressed in gender as well.

https://www.feministcurrent.com/2016/04/23/prince-was-not-trans-he-is-proof-that-men-need-not-be-masculine/
(This says what I'm trying to say but does a better job articulating it)

I could also add Little Richard into the mix, but Prince makes the point.

Ultimately, I think humans are simply way more fluid than we realize and it's more so the stereotyping and boxes that make us feel like these are binary things and if we aren't enough of one then we must be the other. But that equation involves making 2 judgments; a judgment that one isn't enough/doesn't fit/etc. into one side (instead of expanding the idea of that side to be more inclusive), and secondly a judgment about the other side, that it is something you feel more of and can choose to be instead. The belief that one feels more like the opposite gender, without being that gender in order to have that experience and therefore know how it feels... the closest one can come is being treated as that gender. But that's a social thing. Tons of women don't get treated like women. Tons of women aren't treated equally to women who are more attractive. Tons of women were considered outside the standard model of beauty for their society. So what about those women? What is it like to feel what they feel? 

What about the skinny boy who is weak and not good at sports? Is he less of a boy? Kids are often brutal when it comes to judging each other and finding victims to pick on. And if they're not good or tough they may run from those things that expose just how bad or weak they are. If a girl thinks of herself as ugly, same thing. Now she's adopted a mentality that may make her less likely to wear makeup, paint her nails, or buy clothes that show off her body. And then you have conditions where girls are so stressed trying to remain skinny enough to fit into those girly tiny clothes that they starve themselves or throw up. So what I'm saying is that there is pressure to be, not just the gender you're born as, but also pressure to meet a certain standard of "feminine" or "masculine" within that gender, and if you don't, that's when I think people question, reject, and try to escape gender norms in an effort to "be themselves". I think assuming that most trans people are trans are not reacting to society is just as bad as assuming most trans people are reacting to society. There's no way of knowing that without the entirety of the trans community going into deep dives where contributing influences for or against their original gender could be picked up on. And even if a kid has parents who accept them and encourage them to be themselves, a significant source of pressure is peer pressure and I don't know what school you went to but the schools I went to all had kids who were more than happy to bully other kids for not meeting their perceived standards.

The point is: human beings should not be made to feel like they don't belong to their gender just because their masculinity or feminity don't seem to match. Gender should not be such a limiting thing. Boys should be able to be extremely feminine without being seen as girls or being made to feel like they're not enough to be a boy. Same with girls. If a girls likes dressing very comfortably or likes to wear baggy clothes that don't show off their body, that shouldn't be seen as masculine. Many things (like high heel shoes) fall into this category of being masculine or femine because society (male dominated) saw it like that.

https://www.fastcompany.com/90775177/the-long-history-of-heels-from-a-symbol-of-mens-power-to-womens-burden#:~:text=Steele%20says%20this%20is%20likely,became%20associated%20with%20women's%20sexuality.

quote: "Steele says this is likely because people thought they made women’s feet and bodies look more feminine. The heels changed a woman’s silhouette, which some men found alluring, so they became associated with women’s sexuality. "

No one should get to decide that something "looks more feminine" therefore now every woman needs to do that or have that in order to be considered feminine. That's wrong.

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6 months 3 weeks ago #374637 by ZealotX
"That makes it harder for people to come out as trans because they feel less safe and see the judgement from others and so in many cases they keep their heads down and just try to embody some stereotype forced upon them instead of embracing who they really are."

But you just said they weren't reacting to society. You have to pick one. Either they are not reacting to society and simply being who they are or they are reacting to society and either not coming out or coming out despite the fear of not being accepted. These things are so embedded into society that even if a guy wants to wear heels to feel more pretty he is still reacting to a male-dominated society whose men decided heels look better. It's an idea of beauty coming from men. So how could such a thing possibly help determine gender if gender isn't based on patriarchal judgments?
 

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6 months 3 weeks ago #374647 by Cornilion Seadragon
I'm saying that being trans isn't reacting to society or stereotypes, but choosing to stay in the closet is a reaction to societal expectation. Coming out as trans is someone acknowledging their true self regardless of cultural norms or stereotypes. Someone who is trans but chooses not to reveal themselves or acknowledge that they are trans is some is choosing instead to embody stereotypes forced upon instead of embracing who they really are.

Most of us won't ever have to make that choice. I'm a straight cis male, so it's not a concern for me. For others, though, it's often a choice between being coming out as their true selves or hiding who they are because of cultural stereotypes.

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