Thursday, August 04, 2011

Poles Apart

Did you know all the time but it never bothered you anyway
Leading the blind while I stared out the steel in your eyes

-David Gilmore

I've not been around a lot lately.  I have regrets about that.  Basically my life is so full that I do not have as much time to write as I once did.  I'm also far enough into transition that most of my day to day life doesn't revolve around gender anymore, and it leaves me with little relevant to say here on a regular basis.  It's just work and love and family an all the mundane things that mark a typical life now.  There are steps I still need to take in transition, but in the interim, I have very little to contribute.  

Lately I've been thinking about some of the blogs I once followed closely, and friends I haven't spoken to in a while.  I just wanted to catch up, so I returned to read.  But the very first entry I read reminded me of the divides in the trans blogging world. 

On one side, you have a faction of crossdressers who lash out at transexual women.  They assume that transexual women have the same motivations they do, that they are delusional, and that transition is not healthy for anyone.  

On the opposite side, you have a few elitist transexuals who think that anyone who does not share their motivations (or in some cases, just have not completed the transition process) have no right to express their gender.

Between these two extremes you have so many people who are just innocently trying to document their transition or their transgender experience, who get bombarded with comments that pull them into this completely pointless debate.

What I really want to ask, is why can we not all get along?  Can we not accept that people have different motivations, different goals, and that there is no reason to judge each other?

We are each the primary stakeholder with regards to our own gender identity.  Why can't we just accept each other at face value, give each other the proper respect and move on?  Does it matter if someone else is on a different path, has different motivations, or has a different understanding of gender?  Some of it deserves intelligent debate perhaps.  But does misgendering, bullying and childish name calling really contribute to an understanding of gender?  I don't think it does.

I'll probably be quiet again for a while after this.  The whole debate just makes me sad and I don't like getting pulled into it. This little corner of the internet used to be so pleasant and informative.  Now it feels like two polar opposite factions vying for control and everyone else just in the middle trying to dodge the bullets.  

The irony is that both sides of this want mainstream society to embrace them, take them at face value and give them respect.  If you can't respect another view, and respect another's right to gender expression, how is it fair to expect the mainstream to embrace you?  Don't ask for more than you are willing to give.