Here’s the thing. It is a very serious problem when women, feminists, radfems, the media, etc., or a combination of any of the above use the phrase, “the gender they were assigned at birth.” Why? because it is incorrect wording that, when used repeatedly gains notability and with more use, it gains credibility as people see it as a true statement when, honestly, it is not. Gender is not something that is “assigned” to infants at birth. It’s not a seat assignment that someone gives you when they look between your legs and either see a vulva or a penis. That would be sex. Once again, people are confusing sex with gender.
Nothing is “assigned” to anyone at birth. Sex is determined at birth when the person delivering the baby sees its genitals and declares, “It’s a girl/boy!”; and before some joker wants to come in screaming about intersex people, that is a red herring and we all know it. Intersex people are not trans are not intersex people. Stop trying to muddy the waters. The above determination of sex is not gender being assigned to that child like it is a homework assignment or something. Determination of a child’s sex at birth is basic biology 101 and it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with gender.
The sooner people can stop confusing sex with gender the better; and the sooner people can stop using the phrase, “gender assigned at birth,” the better because then we can all start discussing what gender really is and how harmful it is to women.
Gender is a social construct; and it arrives through socialization. True, this socialization may start just after birth when the child’s parents or the nurses at the hospital or who ever decides to dress little boys in blue and little girls in pink so that people know what sex the child is; because in our society, sex is a class and there is a clear hierarchy, with women being on the bottom and men on the top. The sooner the little boys and little girls are discovered and differentiated, the clearer their future will be to the people around them. But that is not the same thing as being “assigned a gender” and having that child (or adult) suddenly and magically “know” what it is like to be a girl or a boy (or a woman or man).
Gender through socialization happens over a period of time; and this is what women mean when they speak about having shared experiences that are different from men who are born and raised boys then decide later that they wish to declare themselves to be women. When we say this, we are not saying that we all share the same upbringing. Obviously, women of color have different experiences than white women, women brought up in a poor household have different experiences than women brought up in wealthy households, etc.; but the fact that we were all born as little girls and then raised in this patriarchal society is our shared experience.
This next part is hard to describe. I honestly thought it was obvious until I started seeing so many male transgenders (aka “MtFs,” which is a misnomer, since males cannot become females) talk about how they know what it was like to be raised as girls, since they “felt” like girls. This was mind boggling to me and reeked of their own male privilege. How arrogant of men to sit there, as the oppressive class, and dictate to women, the oppressed class, what it is like to be women! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and reading.
As women, we all know what it is like to be born and raised as little girls in this society. It is something that, unless you are a woman, is difficult to describe or understand; and sometimes, the socialization of women is so complete, some women don’t even see it. This is why so many women in today’s “feminism” are so pro-male, why they are ok with so many men taking over feminism, why they are ok with men in the government restricting women’s access to healthcare, and why they are ok with men who role play as women co-opt our experiences, our words, even our very private spaces. We women are socialized or conditioned to put men first, always. Men have no idea what it is like to be conditioned to apologize before asking a question, or apologize for asserting yourself and creating boundaries, or to take up as little space as possible. These are just some of the things women are taught since birth; and I don’t mean taught like consciously in school, I mean a deep subconscious conditioning beginning from infancy and continuing into adulthood.
Side note: before a male transgender tries to speak up about how he does know about those things because he is trans or about how women don’t know about this, that, or the other because they are “cis,” try stopping for a moment and actually listening to a woman instead of making this about you. That is what men do.
Now see, any of the transgenders who actually kept reading my post instead of just stopping after the first paragraph when I said that sex is not gender, just stopped reading. It is impossible for men to magically know what it is like to be a woman, just as it is impossible for women to let go of all of their lifetime of socialization and know what it is like to be a man. Sure, I get treated differently sometimes when someone thinks I am a man vs. when they realize I am a woman, but this isn’t the same as being born a boy and raised as male with all the privilege that goes along with it in a society dominated by the male class.
But male transgenders actually believe that putting on a dress and/or taking some hormones negates everything they have been taught while living as boys and men and they suddenly “know” what it is like to be women. Forget all of the male privilege that has been shoved down their throats for years, they don’t see that that is what makes them think they are allowed to have access to everything and that if they say something is true, then god damnit, it’s true.
And there is where we come to it: how gender harms women. Let me relate a story really quickly. I was reading a blog post of a male trans on Tumblr. This guy was, as he put it, “presenting in women’s clothes” while out with some friends bar hopping. They decided to go to a mostly straight bar in a mostly gay neighborhood and while he was there, he took off his top (he was wearing something leather underneath) and security told him to put it back on.
The interesting thing at this point of the blog is that the man honestly thought he was passing as a woman. He mentioned in his blog how he wasn’t sure if or how security could make any determination that he was trans, so he didn’t think it was about him being trans at that point. He posted a picture of himself at the bar that night and there is no question in anyone’s mind but his own that he is a man dressed in what society has deemed “women’s” clothing.
Can you imagine? Can you imagine a delusion so powerful that what you see in the mirror is the complete opposite of what the rest of the world sees, but you are so determined in your delusion that you dare anyone to contradict you? It’s like people with an eating disorder who look in the mirror and see a very fat person staring back at them but the rest of the world sees the reality: an unbelievably, unhealthy skinny person who is killing themselves. This is how some of these male trans are. In their delusion, they look in the mirror and see a beautiful feminine woman, while the rest of the world sees the reality of what is actually there: a man in what society deems as “women’s” clothing.
Anyway, I digress. Nearing the end of the evening, he decides to use the bathroom before heading home. Now, this bar did everything right: they had a women’s bathroom, a men’s bathroom, and a unisex bathroom. This is the best compromise for male and female transgenders who feel they should not have to use the bathrooms of their own sex out of fear, while also allowing the women in the establishment the privacy and respect they should be given, as well as keeping female transgenders safe from being attacked in the men’s bathroom.
But instead of using the unisex bathroom, this person who was, clearly, a man, decided it was his right to use the women’s bathroom; and when he did so, he was confronted (rightfully) by security. He held his ground and he sat down on the floor of the women’s bathroom and called the police, claiming that he feared for his life. The police were confused as to (a) why he called them and (b) why he was in the women’s restroom. He asked to be escorted out of the bar safely and they did just that. He is currently in the process of making complaints to any lawyer or legal entity he can in an effort to “change” things at this bar, because the compromise of a unisex bathroom wasn’t enough for this guy. He “said” he was a woman so that should be good enough for the rest of the world and damn any woman who wants any kind of privacy or safety of their own.
When you make laws based on something as ambiguous as gender and the law makes it clear that if someone states they are such&such, then they must be recognized as such&such, regardless of the reality of the situation, you open the door to all sorts of privacy and safety issues for women. A male transgender who is, by definition, pre-op and most likely not living as a woman full time should never be allowed into women’s private spaces; but because sex has been overlooked for the sake of gender, women are, yet again, getting thrown under the bus for the sake of men.
If this man had actually be raised as a girl and socialized to live as a woman, he would never have inserted himself into another person’s space like that and then demanded that he be allowed to stay or else he would sue. If he had actually been a woman or even if he had been someone who respected women, he would have known how nervous and uncomfortable women would be in an enclosed private space like that with a male-bodied person and he would have used the unisex bathroom.
For men like this, it is all or nothing. he either gets his way every single time or else people are being transphobic and must be sued or arrested or, if they are radfems, they should be beaten, raped, or killed for their horrible offense of knowing, seeing, the truth.
Sex is not gender, ladies and gentlemen. Sex is a class and women are at the bottom of that class, dominated by men in a patriarchal society that will always put men first. Gender is a social construct that is taught to all of us through socialization and it re-enforces sex stereotypes in an effort to keep the female class on the bottom of the heap.
My hope is that more women stop choking on the kool-aid these men are shoving down their throats and wake up to see that we are the equivalent of the human batteries in the Matrix. We are sold a bill of goods from the moment we hit this world and waking up out of that coma is not only hard, for some women it is almost impossible. But more and more of us are waking up everyday and realizing that sex matters. Our sex matters; and giving up our rights for the sake of men is not something we should be blindly accepting, it is something we should be fighting against tooth and fucking nail.