I’m a feminist. I abhor sex sterotyping. I abhor bullying of those that trangress the boundaries of gender. I take pains to raise my boy without the constraints of sex-based expectations. Yet I find that ‘I’m on the wrong side of history’ by believing that sex exists (always) and matters (sometimes). I see young men and women seeking medical transition as the only way out of the narrow pathways that a patriarchal society offers. I see them accepting stereotypes and doing violence to their own bodies. I don’t want this for any person.
Feminism gave me a way to understand the world and challenge what was wrong in it and a way to learn about my sex and ultimately accept it. I was lucky.
I finally had a conversation with my child’s headteacher (after seeing that a reference to ‘gender identity’ had been made in a letter to parents). I followed this up with a letter explaining my concerns plus materials from TransgenderTrend. I’ve also started talking to another concerned parent (after delicately talking around the issue for a while).
On the work front, I backed up a colleague when he was challenged for changing a reference to ‘Gender. Male/Female’ in a paper to ‘Sex. Male/Female’. Long, painful conversations with younger colleagues ensued.
(Their view being: it’s icky, offensive and potentially transphobic to mention sex.) The matter has never been resolved.
Sharing gender critical thoughts with family and friends led to allegations of siding with transphobes and being backward thinking. Ultimately a friendship was almost lost. At work, I feel I’ve effectively outed myself as someone who might not be trusted to ‘care’ about trans people. (On the contrary, I care deeply about those who don’t fit into stereotypical gender categories: I just don’t want them to harm their bodies. And I want us all to focus our energy on introducing male-bodied people to their feminine sides.)