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Transsexuality among some musings.

2009 February 8
by Alexandra Funk

I want to preface this post by stating that I am aware that I can not fully understand someone’s need to transition from one sex to another. I also know that every person has different reasons for making a decision this life changing. I am not trying to judge anyone, I am trying to understand.

Last week I wrote a post about plastic surgery. This is how I concluded my thoughts on that topic: “I guess it all comes down to my feeling that these women shouldn’t think anything is wrong with them, rather they should learn to recognize that there is something wrong with the culture they are a part of.”

My feelings about transsexualism fall along the same lines. The act of changing one’s physical sex worries me. To me gender is a spectrum and it is acceptable to fall anywhere on that spectrum regardless of your biological sex. When someone decides to transition to the opposite sex, it feels as if they might be perpetuating the notion that gender is not a spectrum and that it is not okay for a women to be “masculine” or for a man to be “feminine,” that you must physically be the sex that is associated with your chosen gender.

Now I should also say that I do acknowledge that there are differences between the two sexes. But a lot of these physical differences, for example, being able to conceive and carry a child, are not possible for those seeking sex reassignment.

I’ve been working on this post for a few days now because I want it to effectively get across my general confusion. I just finished reading Introduction: Transsexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender. Before reading this article, I was so focused on gender being the major force behind a sex change, I never thought about the technology necessary for that change. This is problematic. In the past I have made the argument that technology should be seen as an extension of humanity. I stand by this argument. As someone who has been adverse to permanent physical change my entire life this seems very contradictory. However, one still has to consider that the permanent physical changes that were offered to me that I  chose not to participate in have always been of a cosmetic nature.

In some ways, I understand what it’s like to want to be the opposite sex. To want to be the grandson my grandfather will never have, to want to be a man so that I can be stronger, make more money, and have more opportunities available to me. But I know these feelings are more about the inequality of women than they are about feeling like my body was never meant to be my body. I would never want to have to make that choice, but I would never try to take the choice from someone else.

That’s the beauty of technology: it gives the individual the ability to realize what once was impossible. While we may not all agree about how technology should be used, we can’t ignore the fact that the ability to change one’s sex is a technological advancement. It is, in some sense, one of the first ways in which consciousness was able to win over the constrains of the physical world.

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