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Transsexualism and Society

2009 February 9
by ppais

One of the things I found interesting about the Sandy Stone article was how much was unknown about transsexuals in the 50s and 60s and how it needed to be ‘corrected’. Lothstein’s observations on aging transsexuals, despite being blatantly negative and on subjects that were not ‘typical examples’, were recorded as characteristics of transsexualism. And the feminists’ interpretation was even worse – “All transsexuals rape women’s bodies by reducing the female form to an artifact, appropriating this body for themselves.”(p. 324) I can see their point of view but I disagree with it. I doubt that was anyone’s objective in any way.

Going along with what Hillary was saying, the root of the problem is societal definitions. It is society that defines what is masculine and feminine, what men and women should look like, what they should wear, how they should behave, who they should love. Things are unfortunately not as clear-cut, not as black and white as that. From what I understand, transsexuals want to be able to do what is most comfortable for them, what feels natural to them, but society tells them that what they’re doing doesn’t conform to their characterization of gender. Hence they need to change the way they look if they are to be allowed to do what feels right to them. What are the other reasons for wanting to be a member of the opposite sex? Even with society becoming more accustomed to it, how difficult is it to change?

Reading this article reminded me of a movie called “Ma Vie En Rose” that I had seen in a French class I took my freshman year. It deals with a 7 year old boy who thinks he’s going to grow into a woman. What I found interesting was that he couldn’t understand why everyone was telling him to stop playing with dolls, dressing up in girls’ clothes, and why it was wrong of him to think of marrying his neighbor’s son because it seemed so natural to him. According to the boy, the extra X chromosome landed in the trash when he was born and he ended up with a Y chromosome instead. The transsexualism caused the boy’s family enormous trouble within their neighborhood and at the father’s job. Their way of dealing with it – sending the boy to a psychologist to ‘cure’ him. Ultimately, they learned to accept him for who he was.

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