Thursday, December 20, 2007

Proving One's Gender

We are a country made up of both science and religion, of which the two sides are often in contradiction. And while the powers-that-be contend that spiritual and faith-based beliefs are kept out of policy, many would argue that it has indeed permeated into the fabric of institutions, legislation and moral codes. And while religious folks essentially believe a story that has no real PROOF, although it may indeed bring faith and hope to people, they demand that anyone not conforming to their life code must PROVE themselves.

We are a society with a need for absolutism: the idea that we can prove something beyond a shadow of a doubt. For transgender folks, this proof lies within themselves – they feel it, they know it, and they want to live out the gender of their choosing. Yet, despite the fact that a higher power has not been PROVEN; many say that gender identification must be proven.

This article talks about a young man who is going through hormonal treatment, and will not be placed on his college dorm’s male floor because he has not “transitioned completely.” What does this really mean? If a person does not have surgery (coupled with hormones) to physically alter their body, does that discredit the fact that they have felt and known that they have identifiable (PROVABLE) needs including the desire to fully express themselves?

It is unfair, and incredible to me that our society is still stuck in this world where on the one hand people accept moral reasoning that stems from religious texts, while on the other hand requiring proof of one’s own identification. And of course, the worst part about this story is that even if this young man goes through with surgery, gender roles, and “biological presentation” sit at the forefront of many people’s minds, making it impossible to fully transition because so many just simply cannot accept it.

Advocates cited in the article explain this best:

“No surgery is going to remove the discomfort other people have,” said Will Carlson, Equality Utah's policy director. “It's important for people to face these stigma.”