How do you reconcile being transgender with the fact that a lot of our sexual roles are culture-specific? For instance, imagine a MTF who wants to wear a dress. You can't tell this person "stop wearing dresses"; their desire to do so cannot be changed by society telling them no. Yet if they lived in another culture that didn't have dresses at all even for women, we know that when society told them not to wear a dress they would have eagerly gone along with it.

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An obvious hypothesis is that trans women follow culture-specific roles (such as wearing dresses) for the same reason cis women follow culture-specific roles.

This would mean that whatever makes us follow culture-specific roles isn't extremely stupid, so it interprets 'women should wear dresses' correctly, rather than 'you shouldn't wear dresses'.

6Ishaan5yThat's a common trans-exclusionary-radical-feminist argument. Wrong because: 1) Would you feel uncomfortable wearing a swastika? Would that send the right message about you? In India swastika is a holy symbol, not a Nazi symbol, the meaning is arbitrary. "Dress" means "I'm feminine" in our culture. It's part of our language. Suppose in Atlantis, the mouth-sound "love" happens to mean hate and the mouth sound "hate" happens to mean love. It's still acceptable for an English speaking person to want to mouth-sound "I love you" and not "I hate you" even though the meanings of the mouth-sounds are cultural. 2) Things need not be biological to be okay. Culture-induced preferences are valid. (Though, in this case, I think gender expression is probably biological).
1bbleeker5yFrom what I've read, being transgender isn't about clothes and stuff at all, or not mainly anyway. It seems that people are born with a 'body map' in their brains that sometimes doesn't correspond with their actual body, so that they feel there are parts missing that should be there, and other parts that feel like they've been sewn on by Dr. Frankenstein. Of course people who feel like that would want to dress the way that in their culture corresponds with the sex they feel they really are.

Stupid Questions July 2015

by Gondolinian 1 min read1st Jul 2015123 comments


This thread is for asking any questions that might seem obvious, tangential, silly or what-have-you. Don't be shy, everyone has holes in their knowledge, though the fewer and the smaller we can make them, the better.

Please be respectful of other people's admitting ignorance and don't mock them for it, as they're doing a noble thing.

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