Expressing Our Full Humanness

The following is a response to the article “Mothering My Gender-Bender Daughter” in the April 2018 Present Time.

I appreciate you sharing your and M—’s story of navigating gender during M—’s childhood. M—’s story reminded me in some ways of my own childhood and teenage years (I am thirty). However, in reading your account it was clear how much more rigid U.S. society has become around gender.

Many Transgender or gender-nonconforming (GNC) people adopt Transgender or GNC identities in an attempt to escape the harsh oppression that comes with deviating from society’s expectations of womanhood or manhood.

In your story the physician and the school counselor appeared to have had good intentions in suggesting that M— was Trans. But their urgency to categorize her as something other than fully female shows U.S. society’s collapsing window of acceptable womanly behavior. You did well to slow things down and challenge the idea that M—’s behavior warranted bodily changes.

I think our ultimate goal—that a woman can be any kind of woman she wants to be and a man can be any kind of man he wants to be—is shared, at least in essence if not in choice of words, by many Trans and GNC people. We are all looking to express our full humanness, and we will all benefit from a world free of sexism and male domination. But to do and have these things, we will need to work on how we still get hooked by “feminine” and “masculine” behaviors.

For a few years as a young adult I wore my hair very short. During that time several experienced RCers gave me sessions in which they suggested that I wanted to be a man. Nothing I’d said had given any indication that I was anything but completely pleased about being female, but somehow my appearance led my counselors to assume I had a particular set of distresses. I happily discharged on memories of my early life as a tomboy [a girl who behaves in ways usually considered boyish] but noticed that people were less anxious to give me those sessions once I grew my hair out.

The oppressive society has trained us to believe that non-conforming behavior is always rigid. In fact, it can sometimes demonstrate flexibility in the face of rigid expectation and oppression. Of course the rigorous RCer will not take anything for granted [assume anything automatically] and will hold everything “under the microscope” of discharge [will discharge on everything and examine it closely].

“Han Solo”

Reprinted from the RC e-mail discussion list for leaders of women

(Present Time 193, October 2018)

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00