Ouch! I’m here to say that your words and tone are both ignorant and injurious to those struggling to help us all go beyond limited and limiting habits around sex and gender.
On behalf of all those who are suffering in that necessary and fierce struggle, I offer the following:
- Biology suggests multiple bases for sex, and a range of possibilities far exceeding “innie” and “outie.”
There have always been more than the two sexes suggested by the naive, untutored physical eyes.
And it seems that our species’ widespread experimentation with a variety of hormone-mimicking chemicals has intensified the development of variations in this arena, in humans as well as other species.
So even with regard to sex, your conclusions are out of line with our current collective Knowledge and experience.
- Our species has long recognized—and still largely does—differentiations between “sex” and “gender.”
People who live and move outside our eldest “two party system” have been, and indeed still are, honored for their unique gifts, in many enduring human cultures.
Such “walks between” people were revered as peacekeepers, healers, and teachers all over the world for tens of thousands of years. Since “Two Spirit” people were also often cunning and powerful spiritual/political leaders and warriors, they were often particularly viciously targeted during the rise of mental supremacy. For mental supremacy tolerates nothing but either/or, good/bad, male/female, etc.
Cultures that stood by their gatekeepers experienced particularly harsh retribution from mental supremacist conquerors, so many embattled indigenous peoples lost, abandoned, or deeply concealed their venerable wisdom in this area. Still, the wisdom lives on, in the land itself, and in our blood and bones.
Humans have always engaged with body modification for a variety of reasons. What is “mutilation” to one folk may be a mark of blessing and beauty to another. Walks Between people have participated in such adventures in various ways, in various places, at various times.
That said, I largely agree with you when you speak of the modernist medical version of “sexual reassignment” as a form of mutilation.
I say this with great sadness, as many I have loved well have chosen this path, seeing it as the only way to preserve their lives. The costs of walking that way are terribly high. Are they preferable to dying before your appointed hour of heartbreak related to feeling like you belong nowhere—not even within your own skin? Who dares solve that equation for another soul?
You are certainly correct when you note that many who go the medical “sexual reassignment” route are ultimately less than happy with the results.
But from close up, it looks very much as if people choose the harrowing route of medicalized/technical “sex reassignment” because we have created, and continue to create, such artificial, extreme, and thus unsustainable polarities around sex and gender. It looks like the problem is not so much with the anguished Walks Between people, but with the cultural habits of moving, perceiving, feeling, acting and thinking that leave them—and all of us—such an apparently narrow and cruel range of options.
If we didn’t so vehemently insist that having “outie” parts meant you were this kind of person and were therefore required to draw your feelings and behaviors from a single, narrowly circumscribed box, while having “innie” parts meant being confined to an “equal and opposite” box—equally constraining, just as opposed to the experience of one’s full humanity—I doubt many would feel compelled to go to such agonizing—and often physically self-destructive—extremes to find a place where they could live, love and be loved.
If we let the children experiment and express themselves fully, with honor and support for all their creative efforts, they will show us where we as a species must develop with regard to sex and gender.
But I guarantee you that one place the kids are not going is back into those old, cruel binary boxes! That horse is out of the barn already—no point trying to slam the door shut now, regardless of how good that authoritarian option may look to some in a time of rapid and fundamental change.
Far better to celebrate, support, and participate in the Dawning of a new age of possibility and creativity for all of us. We have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.