Sunday, June 11, 2023

Conflation

I continue to see the well-intentioned conflation of all forms of gender variance with being transgender. Let's not forget that being gender variant can include enjoying wearing clothes traditionally associated with the opposite gender. The point here being that the core identity of the person is not seriously ever questioned and they are perfectly fine living as their birth gender role most of the time. In such a scenario they are better described as being gender variant or gender non-conforming. Consider the case of a male who simply enjoys wearing women's underwear and you can see how we need to be careful with the term.

Transgender people have a partial or full disconnect with their birth sex (ie. dysphoria) to the point where they have issues identifying with it. If this is you that's great (or not so much) but it may not be.

Note that there is no good or bad answer here and we are not trying to establish hierarchies. The aim is to be clear and concise so we can help people respond appropriately and not undershoot or overshoot their situation. It also helps trans people who might need gender therapy and medical intervention be more readily identified.

Women have had more latitude in expressing gender variance for many decades but they don't necessarily identify as transgender because of it. They simply utilize their greater sartorial freedom to express themselves more fully. As men continue to increase their own gender variance, it can be tempting to lump it under the term transgender when in most cases there is no fundamental questioning of core gender identity. Consider that when we talk about natal females in the context of being transgender it is because of identity (they are often on the cusp of or have already transitioned; think Eliott Page here) rather than in terms of how they like to dress.

Being aroused by wearing women's clothing can still form part of the life of a gender non-conforming person which is perfectly fine as long as they are happy. If they are not then some internal work moving towards self-acceptance might be in order. Keep in mind that someome who is and enjoys being gender variant is an identity in itself.

There is a lot of available literature online and there are even clinicians on YouTube who clearly explain our current understanding of basic gender theory.

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