Tuesday, June 9, 2015

My Body, My Definitions

When I was a reference librarian there was a man who suddenly began calling himself Krystal and demanded, from that point on, everyone refer to him as a she because now she was a woman. Nothing about him had changed except this pronoun. I found that odd but fine with me. Then, to my confusion Krystal stated,” I’m a woman just like you.”

How dare anyone make assumptions or claim to know anything of who I am without talking to me! I have not now nor ever possessed a “woman’s brain” whatever that’s supposed to mean. To me “womanhood” is a nebulous and ridiculous concept. Yes, I have female sex organs but I’ve never experienced any emotional attachment to them. I have been disparaged, discriminated against, discouraged, threatened, molested and undermined for this female body all my life. I have never been called “courageous” for undergoing this abuse. It is just considered normal.

And as a woman who is attracted to other women, I’ve been ridiculed, fired from jobs and beaten by strangers. If I had a dollar for every time someone said “are you a boy or a girl or called me sir, I’d be a millionaire. I have come to answer, “It’s none of your business since I have no desire to sleep with you.”

The New York Times front page article by Elinor Burkett posits an interesting take on the MTF transition. She asks what if someone who always considered himself a black man in a white man’s body chemically increased the melanin in his skin and braided his hair? Would he be lauded as courageous and embraced by the black community?

I am a human being who has been relegated to life in a woman’s body. I don’t feel like a woman or wish to be a man. My brain is full of all kinds of things based on my experience. I’d prefer to have been treated as neutral and allowed to develop my full human potential. What I am capable of accomplishing has nothing to do with the shape of my body. I respect everyone and deserve to be accorded that same respect. Others are not allowed to re-define and rewrite my life experience due to their perceptions of my age, race, identity, appearance or anatomical arrangement.

I have no intention of interfering in personal decisions people make for themselves. Changing gender falls into this category. Choice, personal selection, privacy, freedom of self-definition, these are all rights and protections I will not violate. But everyone has the right to define themselves. So do what you like to yourself, but keep your assumptions and pre-judgments off my body!