I Don’t Understand Gender Identity

notsmartI’ve never understood it when I’ve read or heard someone say they identify as just about anything. It’s always seemed foreign to me when a person seems to define their identity around a single aspect of their character or a lone interest.  Is it related to a need to belong to a community? If so, that may explain why I’ve never really felt as though I belonged in one. I don’t think I’ve ever really known what it feels like to “be” anything. I mean, I’ve felt hungry. And happy. And sad, hurt, grateful, worried, and the whole gamut of emotions and inputs. But, when someone says they believe they were born the wrong gender, I don’t get it. I have no idea what someone born with ladyparts means when they say that they feel like a man.

In the little world inside my skull, I know that I am male. I know this not because of anything I feel, but because of what I see when I take my clothes off and because I have a Y chromosome. And to me, that’s all gender really is; some physical characteristics. Everything else that gets assigned based on gender is a construct or side effect of such. And I don’t understand someone born with guyjunk who says they feel like a woman. What the hell does that mean? I’m not sure if my perplexity is indicative of ignorance or enlightenment(I always hope for the latter, but it’s nearly always the former). Gender is a physical characteristic. I am tall, I am right-handed, I have blue eyes, I have large feet, I am male.

Do they mean they don’t like the way their junk looks and/or feels to the touch? Because, to me, that’s the same thing as not liking your hair color. I’m down with people making whatever modifications to their body they want. Their choice.

Does it mean they want to wear clothes that are traditionally worn by women? Do it! Wear whatever the hell you want. If you don’t like tuxedos get a LBD and some pumps for the next black tie affair you’re invited to. They want to wear makeup? Go for it. The only things you should get made fun of for are how poorly those brows are penciled in and how crooked that catseye looks. These are just things people put on. Women aren’t dresses and makeup.

Is it tied to the way women are traditionally treated? The romanticized notion that women are the fairer sex, more demure and poised than men?. Is it because they’d like to be treated softly? Want to take part in activities that tradition dictates belong to women? I can wrap my head around all of those things.

I don’t understand. And I want to. I recognize that no one owes me any sort of explanation, and I’m not expecting one. You be you. You wanna’ refer to yourself as he, she, trans, modified, whatever I don’t care. That’s cool, and I’ll stick to the pronoun you introduce yourself as. Past introductions, I’ll try to remember, but honestly won’t beat myself up over it if I forget every once in a while. Nothing personal. I’ve got a family member who changed their name near 20 years ago, but still keep on using her old one. Just because that’s what’s in my brain. You change your name from Paul to Paula, odds are pretty good I’ll keep using Paul. Not because I’m dismissive or as a statement against your change, but because that’s how I’ve learned to think of you. I ascribe to Shakespeare’s thought on roses. I’ve known dudes who were Kelly and Shannon and women who were Alex. Continuing to refer to you as Carl isn’t a hate crime.

Here’s the thing, though. I don’t have to understand. It doesn’t concern me how someone else dresses or how they refer to themselves. If I’m not trying to undress someone and touch their junk, it makes absolutely no difference to me what’s in their pants or up their skirt. The outcry and the bigotry rearing its ugly head have me absolutely baffled. Why the hell does anyone give a shit?

Is it that people are trying to reason out why someone would want to dress as the opposite gender? If that’s the case, and the first/only answer they come up with is “to rape someone” that says a whole lot to me. I’m more frightened of people who think that way than any dude in a dress. It’s about as appropriate a reaction as believing someone who shaves their head must be a sexual predator. It’s so they can’t leave hair behind, you know.