frgavin on September 3rd, 2014

gentlemind

Part one introduced us to Ben (male), Len (legal avatar), Len/Ben (Cisgender) and Lynn/Ben (Transgender). In part two, Ben and Lynn/Ben help us separate the legal from the physical by separating Gender from medical language.

To avoid detection Gender cloaks itself in the language of the body, largely via medicine, but the more Gender reveals its true nature the less able it is to hide. To put clear blue water between body and mind, we need to know why it is not possible to change sex.

If we remove Ben’s hands we leave a hand-less Ben (as oppose to Ben-less hands), since Ben had hands (as oppose to hands having had Ben). Since Ben’s body is male, to remove Ben’s male-ness is to remove Ben’s body. Since this leaves no body, Ben’s maleness has been removed from nobody. Unlike hands, sex is not something Ben has. Instead, it is something Ben is (more accurately, sex is Ben). Ben cannot cease to be male and continue to be.

 

Since success and failure are relational terms, a “Sex Change Operation” can neither succeed nor fail. Instead, it is impossible to try to do, like trying to touch the sun. Nobody can be Transsexual (“crossing of sex”), though Transsexual can exist as a state of mind (Lynn/Ben thinking he has crossed sex/is crossing sex). “Sex Reassignment Surgery” cannot exist, and “Gender Reassignment Surgery” is a linguistic hybrid – half mind half body: if Ben is the shortest player in a football team, we cannot assign him tallest (since height is a physical property), whereas we can assign him captain (since captain is a role). Sex is never reassigned since never assigned, whereas Gender is always assigned/reassigned since always a role. Since Ben can change his mind without surgery, “Gender reassignment surgery” has evolved into “Gender Confirmation Surgery” (admitting that Lynn/Ben is female before surgery, since he already feels female). We can confirm only that which already exists.

 

“Some people’s sex chromosomal make-up is something other than XY or XX, therefore not everybody is male or female”. So goes Gender’s appeal to Intersex. We can explain why this is not so by recognising properties to be digital (present/not present) with a range of intensity where present. A person with sight can have healthy/poor sight whereas a person without sight cannot. We might describe a person with poor sight as “blind”, but this does not change the fact that everybody either can see or cannot. Since there are two sexes – and since it is not possible to be sexless – each body is male or female. Most males have a healthy sex, some less so, and some have a poor sex making them look female. A range of intensities does not mean an overlap of the sexes any more than a range of sights means that some people who can see cannot. To say “a male with an intersex condition is something other than male” is to say either: 1) that the male is not male (in which case the condition is not a condition); or 2) that being something other than male is a condition (in which case being female is a condition).

 

The concept of Medicine cannot exist without recognising that the body has an order which exists independent of our mind – disorder exists only in relation to order: if Ben is born with one leg, the body’s order allows us to recognise that he is missing one leg. We can recognise a sexual identity disorder (disharmony between the sex we are and the sex we feel) but not a “Gender Identity Disorder” (G.I.D) – there can be no disharmony between who we feel we are and who we feel we are. This is why G.I.D has evolved into “Gender Dysphoria” – a feeling of unease with respect to ones Gender identity (comparable to anxiety that might be experienced by, say, a person with a large facial scar – the scar is not a disorder). This is the central contradiction of the relationship between Gender and medicine: if on one hand a Gender identity can be disordered, treatment is of the mind; if on the other hand it cannot be disordered, there is nothing to treat. Gender wants it both ways and more – “treating” a healthy mind by “treating” a healthy body.

 

Gender dysphoria shifts the diagnosis from patient to society. When Ben said “I am Lynn” pre-circa 1960, society placed him under psychiatric care; circa 1960 to 2013, society “treated” him by mutilation; Ben is now normal, with any unease being an expression of society’s ignorance/hatred. Ben hasn’t changed since 1960 but Lynn has: the mind’s creation (the Transsexual) has been abandoned, and from out of its shadow has stepped the State’s creation – the Transgender.

 

Transsexual is a state of mind in relation to a state of body, whereas Transgender is a state of mind in relation to a legal concept. To explain why Lynn/Ben is “Transgender male” (rather than “Transgender female”) we have to translate each phrase into terms of body and mind:

 

·         Since Transgender means “crossing of Gender”, to say Lynn/Ben is “Transgender male” is to say he is “a male body who has legally changed state of mind”.  We are describing some body (Ben).

 

·         Since Lynn is the only female – and since Lynn is a state of mind – to say Lynn/Ben is “Transgender female” is to say he is “a female state of mind that has legally changed state of mind”. Where is Ben? We are describing no body.

 

Since it is possible to be rich (to have lots of money) it is possible to feel rich. If rich were only a state of mind, to feel rich would be to feel a feeling. If female is a state of mind, Lynn/Ben’s claim to feel female is a claim to feel a feeling. Since Ben has not defined what female is (only what it feels like to be one) the sequence can multiply infinitely – “I feel I feel a feeling”, and so on. If Lynn/Ben regards himself to be female, he must regard female to be a feeling – and therefore all females to be “female by virtue of feeling so”, rather than “female by virtue of being so”. In appealing to his feelings Lynn/Ben proves he is not female, since if he were so he would be so even if he didn’t feel so. “I feel female” is a short version of “(I am not female but) I feel female”. Suppose we give the state of feeling female a name – Female. We can then say somebody who is not female is Female. We used the exact wrong name.

 

Some people might say Lynn/Ben was “born male”. He might say he was AMAB (“assigned male at birth”). Where male denotes sex we can correctly say Ben was born male, but things become strange where male denotes Gender identity: when Lynn/Ben says “I was not born male” he is correct, since he was not born feeling male (who could have known at the time?). Lynn/Ben can correctly say “I was assigned male at birth”. But it does not follow that he should have been “assigned female at birth” – again, who could have known? Gender says Lynn/Ben should not be assigned any Gender identity at birth – not because it might turn out to be incorrect, but because it would be assigned to Ben rather than by Ben. Gender necessitates blank birth certificates, for everybody. “Assigned sex at birth” is evolving into “assigned Gender at birth”, and AMAB into CAMAB (“coercively assigned male at birth”).

 

Lastly, if Ben says he was “born in the wrong body” he cannot mean “female body in a male body” or “female mind in a male mind”, so he can only mean “female mind in a male body”. Since body exists before mind (and since wrong is dependent on right), neither of Lynn/Ben’s two possible conclusions makes sense: “my wrong body existed before my right mind” or “my right mind existed before my wrong body”. If he protests that he has always felt female, we might ask Lynn/Ben how old he was when he first became aware that he had always felt female.

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