"Gender is Between Your Ears"...or Not
Politics and Activism

"Gender is Between Your Ears"...or Not

Bringing sex back to gender

"Gender is Between Your Ears"...or Not
Torbak Hopper

Anyone who is even slightly familiar with transgender identity will tell you that the physical body and gender identification aren’t the same thing. No matter what physical body someone may have, their gender identity is formed separately. Some trans people want to change their bodies to conform to their gender identities, so they can “pass” as their correct gender, or because it makes them more comfortable. Some people don’t. Either way, this fundamental separation between gender and body has been lesson 101 for would-be trans allies.

Unfortunately, as a trans person myself, I’m not so sure about it.

While I have had surgery, taken hormones, changed my name and my birth certificate, my pear-shaped body and higher voice give me away as being female-bodied. I don’t pass at all. Increasingly, I find that I don’t really care what gender pronouns people call me, because I have given up on the constant battle required to get people to call me “he”. It’s easy enough to say, “they should respect your gender," but the evidence is so plain to them that I was born a woman, and I find I can’t summon the energy required to argue every time.

Furthermore, I am not such a big fan of what the male gender’s been up to. While I have the privilege of knowing many wonderful men, sexism, harassment, patriarchy, and just plain old lack of manners have not endeared me to most of the behaviors considered masculine. Even after transitioning, I refuse to “act like a man”, because in many cases that behavior is repulsive to me.

When it comes down to it, I want to be a man because I want to have the body of a man. I do not like my female-shaped body. I wouldn’t mind if everyone called me by feminine pronouns forever, if I could have the masculine body I feel comfortable with. When I identify my gender identity as masculine, I am indicating a package of behaviors, cultural roles, stereotypes, etc., but also a way of physically being in the world. In this way, I am unable to transition, because even I change my name, I cannot change the way my hips are shaped. It was a tremendous relief to me to have top surgery, but that is only a small step on a journey I wish I was more able to take.

My trans identity is intimately tied to the conflict between my desired body and the body I currently have. While gender does not need to be tied to sex, and sex should not be a basis for gender discrimination, physical bodies are an integral part of gender. Performing gender is like 75% physical appearance, after all. Denying this is confusing for transgender and cisgender people alike. It also erases the experience of non-trans queer communities, like butch lesbians, who perform masculinity without a desire to change the body.

There are as many different ways of being transgender as there are transgender people. But when we adhere dogmatically to rules like “sex and gender are completely separate”, we fail to include people like myself, whose identities are a bit more complicated than that.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

119 People Reveal How The Pandemic Has Affected Their Love Lives, And Honestly... Relatable

"I haven't been able to get out of the 'talking phase' with anyone."

The reality is, there's no part of life the pandemic hasn't affected. Whether it's your work life, your home life, your social life, or your love life, coronavirus (COVID-19) is wreaking havoc on just about everything — not to mention people's health.

When it comes to romance, in particular, people are all handling things differently and there's no "right way" of making it through, regardless of your relationship status (single, taken, married, divorced, you name it). So, some of Swoon's creators sought out to hear from various individuals on how exactly their love lives have been affected since quarantine began.

Keep Reading... Show less

Some people are so good at downplaying their sadness that even they don't realize how much they do it. When you ask them how they are they will always say that they are good, even when they aren't. They exhaust themselves by plastering an energetic and carefree persona in the spaces that you watch them in because at least to you they can control how they appear. They can pretend to be the happy person they want to be when everyone is telling them how funny and bubbly they are all the time.

Keep Reading... Show less

Mental health is not an easy endeavor. It's not a fad. It's not a bandwagon that you can hop on and off of whenever you want to. Your yearly dose of sadness is not depression. I'm not here to define what depression — or anxiety, or any other type of mental health issue looks like — but I will tell you what it's not.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Sonnie Hiles on Unsplash

Whether it's dealing with a global pandemic or getting fired from your job, the fear of not knowing can become consuming if it isn't controlled. Below are some easy ways to take back control and establish a peace of mind.

Keep Reading... Show less

My South Asian Roots Inspire My Future Career As Both A Scientist And Journalist — Here's How

Being born to culturally diverse parents, I feel like I have the best of both worlds!

Erikka Chowdhury

To all of those who don't know me, I'm an American girl with South Asian parents who have carved their own niche as immigrants in the USA.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Samuel Branch on Unsplash

Affirmations affirm beliefs that we are in need of strengthening. They help up to focus on goals that we are striving for or on a powerful part of ourselves that we need a little reminder is within us.

They specifically focus on positive outcomes or belief systems that we're working to solidify, rather than solely focusing action on eradicating something "bad" or "wrong" from your life.

Keep Reading... Show less

About a year ago, I began my own fitness journey. Growing up, I had played soccer and kept busy, but after an injury cut my soccer career short I suddenly became very inactive. It took years of misfires before I finally found a new active passion for weight lifting. Getting started is never easy, and setting up for success is the best plan of action to assist anyone in your life who is thinking about starting their own journey. These are a few items you can gift for the fitness rookie in your life:

Keep Reading... Show less

Nordstrom's Biggest Sale Has The Most Legendary Deals On Luxury Beauty Brands We've Ever Seen

Counting down the days to the Chanel box set gracing my front door.

I oftentimes (excessively) use the excuse of my job as a writer to justify my excessive spending habits.

I needed the new Huda Beauty palette before anyone else in the name of journalistic integrity. It was my job to test out the new Francis Kurkdjian fragrance to make sure I could tell people whether or not it was truly worth the splurge (it was).

Keep Reading... Show less

The beaches are starting to open up. At least in Cape Cod, where my family and I were able to vacation this week. Near our house, we have a bit of a private beach, which is great.

Keep Reading... Show less

I sometimes look back at the days when I had anorexia and think to myself what would have happened if I had taken another bite? Nowadays, I spend days dreading over my figure and wondering if the old sundresses and outfits even fit. I tell myself that they do, but I feel like reality holds a different truth.

Keep Reading... Show less

I remember the days where closet drinking before going to a party or bar was part of the night's itinerary. It was a requirement to have a good buzz flowing before calling the Uber to take you to that bar where you see everyone from your high school at. The pregames were the best part of the night, but it wasn't ever because of the alcohol, it was because of the atmosphere and those who were in it. The number of times I've heard "Wait, why aren't you drinking tonight? C'mon, get drunk with us" is endless, but think about it. Where were you when you were asked that? You were at the goddamn pregame and being there doesn't mean you need to be ripping shots. Being social doesn't require alcohol.

I asked 20 people how they cut back on alcohol while still being social.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments