There have been gender variant people for hundreds of years prior to the advent of western science. Requiring trans people to take hormones or have surgery to be “real,” is a form of cultural racism which invisibilizes thousands of diverse gender systems, transition rituals, & bodily practices from across the world. Let’s be clear: a racialized aesthetic of gender (read: white masculinity & white femininity) are being made to appear as natural & universal, when they are cultural & particular. White womanhood & white manhood are being generalized as “woman” & “man,” even though there have been & continue to be millions of people expressing out of these racial norms. “Gender non-conformity” only exists because you are evaluating (surveilling) our bodies with a white gender & sex binary. We aren’t “failing” to look like men/women/trans, we are existing outside of your particular white cultural definitions of masculinity & femininity. This is part of a historical project of disciplining racialized peoples into white gender binaries. Policing of gender non-conformity has & continues to be part of the colonial project of making gender & sex binary. They say that there are only two genders & sexes, but they don’t tell you about the work they do to kill, criminalize, disappear, and discredit everyone who exists outside the binary all the while delegitimizing our knowledge systems. Sex & gender are complicated & diffuse entities which vary among bodies and collapsing them into a bifurcated model of male/female is a recent cultural/racial project, not some fixed & ahistoric “biology.” This hierarchy we create of “scientific” or “medical knowledge” as an authoritative & dominant over all other ways of knowing & being is part of a long history of discrediting and erasing Black, indigenous, & PoC cosmologies. The “scientific knowledge” that gets used against us was produced by white people (often by forced experimentation on racialized people) as a means to justify their cultural worldview. Rather than accounting for this, trans politics has largely perpetuated it: establishing hierarchies of the real that reject gender non-conformity as failure. This must stop.
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