Assumptions About Trans* Genders and Histories

During the last #transchat (next one is tomorrow, 12/11, 2-4pm EST on Twitter) Nat (@quarridors) got me thinking about trans medical history and the kind of assumptions we make based on appearance.  Though I don’t think it’s appropriate to ask a person whether they’re trans*, or a genderqueer person what their “birth” gender was, and I don’t assume that I can tell anything about gender by looking at someone, I do tend to assume that it’d obvious from looking at me what I was raised as, or what’s in my pants.

When I think about that, of course, I realize it’s not true.  No one knows that for sure unless I tell them.  And I’m thinking about the value of not disclosing that kind of information as a way to destabilize or deemphasize gender in our interpersonal relations.  What’s in your pants is about as private as it gets, but we don’t treat it that way.  We also make assumptions about bodies and medical histories based on a person’s gender identity.  On the other hand, I think there may be value in my writing about my experiences as someone who grew up female-identified, because that background is a huge part of my trans* story.

Anyone have experience with this, or has anyone changed approach over time?

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About Avory

Avory Faucette is a queer feminist activist, writer, and public speaker. Zie graduated from the University of Iowa with a JD in 2009, focusing on international human rights and gender/sexuality issues in the law. Hir current work focuses on queer identity, policy, and marginalized identities under the queer umbrella. As a genderqueer person, zie comments frequently on non-binary identity, transgender and genderqueer issues, and media coverage of these populations. Zie also speaks at colleges, universities, and events on transgender and queer issues and conducts trainings on related topics.

Posted on December 10, 2011, in trans and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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