With the Trump Administration’s effort to narrow the category “sex” to invalidate trans rights we need to be careful to not frame this as simply a “conservative” agenda. The selective depiction of “gender” as constructed & “sex” as biological is WRONG & is perpetuated across party lines.
Feminist movements still mobilize around the category of woman to the exclusion of many non-binary & intersex people who experience patriarchy. Trans people who do not take hormones are still dismissed as “less real” even within trans movements themselves because of the hierarchy of sex as real/embodied & gender as constructed/aesthetic.
But both sex & gender are recent historical & cultural constructions.
In the past I have called this “liberal transmisogyny:” a situation where cis womanhood is maintained as the norm & trans feminine people are seen as less legitimate & parodies in comparison. Our genders are regarded as aesthetic (outfits, makeup, etc.), & not a fundamental dimension of our selves. We can self-narrate our pronouns but not our body parts because those are seen as fixed.
This dismisses trans people like me as “men in dresses” or “biologically male with feminine gender presentations.” Actually my body is not a “male” body, my sex is not “male,” I have the right to narrate my body on my own terms. The contemporary scientific notion of “male” and “female” is ALSO a historical construction with roots in colonialism & racist eugenics that has been universalized without teaching people their historical origins. For example: for hundreds of years white people believed that only they could be males & females, which they saw as the peak of civilization that Black & brown people had not achieved.
Trump defining these terms is not an aberration, but rather the continuation of what the majority of the world still thinks: cisness is natural & trans & intersex people are aberrations. Implicit transphobia enables moments like this. Consider how you, too, perpetuate transmisogyny & intersex erasure by permitting gender to be fluid while stabilizing sex. These ideas have & will continue to exist across society to dispose of trans & intersex lives.
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