tim: "System Status: Degraded" (degraded)
[personal profile] tim
In a post on Jezebel, a guy writing about his experiences pre- and post-transition wrote:
"I can't deny that testosterone has changed my behavior. I used to cry to let my rage out. Now, the tears rarely come, even when I'm sad. I am more assertive, but in control. I channel my anger and aggression into running and weight lifting, into creative projects that set me free from pain. I go for long drives and take more risks on the road. I'm less likely to ask for directions."
In response to that, one commenter wrote:
"So we're to assume that before transitioning, you were a hysterical crybaby? And that testosterone is the reason why men don't stop for directions? For realz? It couldn't possibly be that since your transition to, identification with, and perception of being male you've started performing gender in a way that you have internalized as acceptable male behavior? That gender binary, man, it's pretty....intact.... Also, congrats on your ability to engage in homosocial bonding, gain the respect of other men, and walk alone at night. It must be real nice to be a dude. Sorry, but I really don't like the laguage of this article and think that being so quick to give preference to "biology" or "hormones" over socialization when it comes to gendered behavior only furthers to restrict us to our roles, male and female.
To which I wrote:
"I find it a bit odd that while no one would deny the evidence that someone who begins taking testosterone from a baseline of an average-female hormonal balance will probably (after a few years) sprout some chest hair that was not previously present, and while no one would claim that it's a social construct when testosterone causes the same person to stop menstruating, some people *do* seem to have a personal investment in vociferously denying that testosterone could possibly have an effect on subjective mental states. The brain is part of the body, no? Then wouldn't it be more surprising if introducing a powerful chemical into one's body *didn't* affect one's brain than if it did?

What I think you're trying to do in this comment is deny trans people's lived experience and suggest that they are deluded when they testify that their experience is more than just a social construct. You seem to be suggesting that only cis people can possibly transcend the limitations of social constructs and critique trans people's lived experience based on objective *truth* (that only cis people can access), while when a trans person critiques a cis person's assumptions about trans lives -- assumptions that usually reflect more about that cis person's individual insecurities than what it's like to be a trans person -- that person can be automatically dismissed as a poor victim of oppressive gender roles. That's, frankly, fucked up."

(no subject)

Date: 2010-10-01 06:14 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] rho
If there's one thing that being trans has done for me, it's help me get over the ridiculous notion of mind/body dualism that seems to pervade the culture I grew up in.

(no subject)

Date: 2010-10-01 01:54 pm (UTC)
sixolet: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sixolet
Thank you for making that response. I've recently had a friend get angry at me when I mentioned a mental effect of being on hormones, and you've given me some ideas as to how to respond. (Though, since this was one of my best friends, I'd probably try to be a little less harsh)

(no subject)

Date: 2010-10-02 11:20 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] flippac
Oh look, nobody approved your comment. What a shock :-(

(no subject)

Date: 2010-10-03 03:11 am (UTC)
miang: Miang Hawwa (with Opiomorph), Xenogears: May God's love be with you (and there's nothing I can do). (franziska - lonely rolling star)
From: [personal profile] miang
This [assumption that social constructs trump hormones] feels especially stupid in light of the eight gazillion stories out there about the roles of birth control, the menstrual cycle, and/or pregnancy on (cis?)* women's emotions and behavior. I don't have enough experience with testosterone to say what exactly it would do to my emotions, but it seems pretty goddamn shortsighted to assume that it wouldn't do anything given what the estrogen/progesterone cocktail does on a regular basis.

* Is there a trans-friendly term that amounts to "women who are pregnant or may become pregnant," as they say on the tee-vee? "Women" obviously doesn't cut it, "biological women" fails for all kinds of reasons you've recently laid out, and "pre-pregnant people" makes me want to go back to 2005 and set people on fire.

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Tim Chevalier

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