Trans in the head
Earlier I argued that trans* is not a disorder and that the problem is more likely with transphobia than with gender variation. I showed how much we are stuck in binary thinking that needs to get rid of its expectations of universality. A way out may lie in the concept of “fuzzy sets”. In the future, trans is in the head.
Who enters into combat against the idea that trans people would have a mental disorder, would best give perspectives for another way/outcome/solution. That is why we look amongst others to Ecuador.
In the end the battle for trans rights is not about identities, One should be able to freely live the gender identity one feels comfortable with. Since we have a basic right to identity, this should not lead to so many issues, we should be able to continue building a lovely en just world. Alas the struggle for identity (instead living and celebrating identity) is being used in a power struggle to privilege a particular conservative morality. The fight for identity is only a small and bloated (inflated) part of a broader struggle for justice. Though not everyone makes that step from acknowledgment to further action.
Only a small group of the trans* population enters (medical) transition. Some 12,5% in the Netherlands. Many do not because they do not want to, do not dare or just cannot. Some love comfortably in two genders or fluctuate between two genders, others again just don’t take gender as a reference point anyway. Gender queers who throw the system over board in that sense don’t have much with identity struggle either. Except that you must be able to be or to become whoever you feel to be. Afterwards: shall we now continue to change/improve the world?
Some good developments in the direction of autonomy and respect come from the Spanish speaking world. More and more you encounter the term “trans en la cabeza” there, “trans in the head”. That idea leads to a totally different, not by default male or female, gender expression. oftentimes no medical intervention either which in turn has to do with archaic and arrogant treatment y psychiatrists, that mostly check if you are “trans enough”. Partially this (trans in the head) is rather sub-cultural, partially it is mainstream.
In Ecuador mostly trans people so seek medical assistance, be it official or not. Apart from the ID card that needs to be adapted to the gender one lives in. For that a campaign is waged these days, titled “Si es mi cédulo, tien que ser mi género”, “My ID must read my gender”by the organization “Cuerpos distintos, derechos iguales” (Different bodies, same rights). They warn for colonial concepts when the psychiatrist presses forward western ideas of how masculinity and femininity. In this sense the struggle for trans rights fits well in current anti colonial struggle.
This leads to a multitude of bodies and identities and thus to an explosion of what we understand by “men” and “women”. A revolutionary development: less than ever identity will relate to being born in a certain body and more to a certain conviction. Also it is a revolutionary appeal to the human right of autonomy of the body. So revolutionary alas that frequent and fierce resistance of the gender powers that be is to be expected. Nevertheless this is the way forward and we are on our way.