Philosophy: Transgenderism

(Written a few years ago, I could do a much better piece now)

Identity is very fun, so lets discuss the topic of gender today, which relates to this. Something that will seem unrelated at first is this. What is somethings identity if it has nothing in relation to it?

Take a cube floating in the middle of space, and lets give it some properties. It is one meter by one meter, it has a smiley face drawn on it, and it is black. It is made of some metal. It will have very little identity in this environment, the things that make it it will not be recognized by much of anything.

To interact with something is to recognize it's existence. Perhaps some subatomic particles may hit / pass through it, and maybe if it even gets lucky enough it will be hit by some space debris. But for the most part it will have very little influence, and very little identity. Now if you change the environment of this cube and put it say in a rain-forest things will change a bit. Bugs may crawl on it, animals may poop on it. It might be moved, rained on, it might fall off a tree, there is a lot more possibility for it, and there is a lot more possibility for other things to recognize it's existence.

Maybe even some explorer going through the rain forest will find the random black cube and be surprised enough to take it home. Unlikely, but possible. If you change things again to putting it in the middle of a busy city, and put it on a pedestal, then many people may be fascinated about it. Is it an art piece? Whoever put it there must have been on a tight budget, you'd think they could of put better like a bust or colorful abstract geometrical figure.

But somebody might find it funny, people may take photos of it, people might sit or draw on it. It will have a lot of recognition from people, and it's traits will be recognized. "Oh! It's the black smiley cube from Fakeshire!" It can have a lot more influence (relative to a human system) as well. So onto gender, what is gender? Well, some people will think it's biological sex, male and female.

Some other people will say it's how someone perceives themself to be in regards to what is defines masculinity and femininity. To elaborate on that definition, if someone were to think of themselves to be feminine enough then they could think of themselves more of as a girl then a man. There is also other people who think gender is someone perceives themself to be in regards to more things then that. Let's speak about definitions before we continue though. So which definition is the right one? Well like a lot of definitions, many people have differing connotations on what it means. Words themselves relative to yourself only have meaning based on what you think they mean (and that comes from things like your environment).

A good example is languages. An English person will mostly say "Hello", a Japanese person will mostly say "Kon'nichiwa", a Spanish person will mostly say "Hola". Most people will understand that there is no "right language" and it's all based on personal preference. But this doesn't mean all words are meaningless, relative to the human society they do have a lot of meaning. In this case though, gender is in a relatively notable gray/grey area where there is large groups of people with differing views.

Explaining all of that isn't just about pointing out that the definition of gender is quite volatile, but it also ties into it's concepts as well. Gender roles like Man and Woman have something quite similar to them where they are also in a relatively notable gray/grey area. But I will go into more depth about those. There is biological differences between a Man (Sex) and a Woman (Sex), and this (Generally) makes them have traits that differ from each other.

If you take a population of Males (Sex) and Woman (Sex) then (Generally) you can see many statistical differences in some of there traits. When a lot of people think about a man, they probably have a picture in there mind of something with a lot of male characteristics. Most people when hearing the word man would probably not picture a being with more "female" traits then "male" traits.

Most people are taught these things of where Man generally means these "male" traits and Female means these "female" traits. The concept of male and female is very much related to this and it is shown all throughout our society mostly. Finally, into transgenderism now. When somebody believes displays a significant amount of female traits in comparison to male traits, they can see them generally as a female. To do a Ship of Thesus, if you took what is seen as an average man and replaced all of his masculine traits with feminine ones, replaced all his physical characteristics with the physical characteristics of a female, and even switched all of his XY chromosomes with XX then you have transformed an average man into the average female, and they will be observed as that.

But you wouldn't need to do this total transformation for them to be observed as a female by people. The less extreme you take this transformation, the more people will observe this person as a male, but you don't have to go that far for at least some people to observe this person as a female. In some cases, if this person says that they are a female, some people will observe this person as a female.

Alternatively if someone who is biologically a female and still has most of the traits of a female identifies as a male, some people will observe this person as a male. (And for both of this cases, some others will not.) Now what is a transgender person? Well I'm too lazy to deal with gucky gray area denotation and connotation any more, but this also applies here because this can mean a lot of different things depending on what you think of gender and what transitioning is to mean.

To keep things simple for me since it's 5:00 AM and my brain is rotting, I will use a simple system in which a transgender person is someone who identifies themself more as being the concept of the other gender, rather then what it would be if it matched there sex. One reason for this is someone believes for themself to have enough characteristics of the other gender then there own, to such a degree on where they think they are the other gender. Another reason could be that someone sees the other gender as more positive then the one that matches there sex, so they wish to become the other gender.

There is more reasons as well too, but the thing that stays the same for my definition is that the transgender person identifies with the other gender rather then what it would be if it matched there biological sex. So why is a transgender person to make themselves more like what they identify as if they already think of themselves as that gender.

Well other people generally have a lot of influence on peoples thoughts and beliefs. If someone constantly has people reject there new gender they identify as, they may begin to feel less stable in it themselves. In the reverse case if someone constantly has people accept there new gender, they will feel more stable in it. When someone does things like change there voice, take hormone replacement therapy, wear different clothes it will make more people observe them as the gender that they believe to be. In that case they will be more accepted for there belief of there gender, and acceptance is something a lot of people crave.

In the case of self as well, changing themselves can be because they may enjoy having those characteristics instead, and for further self-validation of there belief. Of course, there will also be the transgender people who will not change themselves very much more at all as they already naturally are content with how many feminine/masculine traits and characteristics they have.

If the black cube went from a smiley face to a frowny face, in the case of the cube more people would probably start perceiving it as a "sad cube" then a "happy one". In the case of a transgender person, if they went from what generally people would think a boys characteristics to be, to a female characteristics then more people would perceive it as a "female".