Saturday, June 12, 2010

Open Forum: Will Part of the Trans Community Go Extinct?

Let me preface this open forum discussion with the fact that more transgender people are coming out than ever before and gender variation is the most accepted it has ever been (in modern societies that is). With the rise of gender bending, metrosexuality, feminism, and gender neutrality many males and females are expressing facets of both their masculinity and femininity. It is no longer uncommon in urban populaces to see cisgender heterosexual men neatly groomed displaying "feminine" attributes or stereotypically female products or to see a straight woman with short butch hair in a suit. Gender stereotypes are quickly dissipating and society is moving in a direction towards acceptance of gender expression. While we are still very far from being a truly genderless world we are growing increasingly tolerant and carefree about the irrelevance of someones gender identity or expression.

With gender (not sex) slowly becoming a thing of the past will there eventually be a contingent of the transgender community (crossdressers, drag queens/kings) who don't feel the need to opt for surgical changes but merely dress in the opposite gender from which they were born go extinct? In a world where cosmestics, mucles, facial hair, and expressions are no longer gender specific someone trying to genderbend will have no gender to play with because nothing will be distinctly male or female.


sparkindarkness said...

I think that works well for people who do see gender as fluid - but not everyone is in that box. I think "trans" covers a wide range of people - from those who wish to exapnd gender to those who widh to third gender or ungender or ambiguous gender to those who are happy to present a their gender without any need for medical transition - to those for

One of the things I think is important and troubling is the insistance by many on saying that gender difference isn't important - GENERALLY - rather than PERSONALLY. Because for some people it is vital and we risk demeaning and dismissing their desire to transition based on that

Rebekah said...

If it does happen, I doubt it will be for a great deal of time.

Even if bending the boundaries that tend to define "masculine" and "feminine" is becoming more accepted, these actions are still overwhelmingly coded as one or the other - and people embrace these different characteristics despite that, not because they're considered gender-neutral. And if you look outside of communities that are explicitly accepting of gender variance of any kind, you can still find huge numbers of people terrified of looking like someone outside of their sex/gender, and who engage in rigid gender policing, so it isn't an egalitarian free-for-all yet.

So crossdressers and drag queens/kings will still be able to do what they do, because even if people don't acknowledge that people should adhere to the behaviors/dress associated with their birth sex, they'll still be coded that way.

Nox said...

As long as there is a strong dichotomy between the extreme ends of the range of expression there will still be visible elements of that community.

mixing in the middle, may be more acceptable than in the past, (although it has a LONG way to go before it's casually unnoticeable), mixing from the far ends will take much longer to be acceptable and not considered absurd or offensive by the general population. Even at this point of increased acceptance, traits that vary from the norms are often the basis for ridicule (no matter how light-hearted)

None of that means that segment of the community will disappear. it just means that they will have more mainstream acceptance and feel less social pressure to be a separate cohesive community. I honestly don't expect a major change in my lifetime, or my son's either.

nobody said...

I think in the future, "female" things like dresses, makeup, and high heels will disappear, as women come to be allowed to present themselves in a fashion in order to be the most functional. When this happens, I doubt people will be readily identified by gender, nor will it matter; so yes, imho, this time will come, but it will be most welcome.

Diane J Standiford said...

A long way off. African Americans still must steer clear of the KKK. Every day a new hate crime. I am 53 and still dream of a sex change, would I be accepted in the assisted living facility I reside at? Who knows? Maybe the key us that WE care less what others think, instead of trying to change them. Just plow ahead to get all our freedoms and liberties.

libhom said...

There already are people who are transgender who don't want or have any use for surgery. There are a lot more genders than two, and transgender includes a lot of people who aren't transexual.

Anonymous said...

I think this situation sounds like an ideal utopian society in which people could just be people and not judged on how they present themselves to the world.

Miyamashi said...

As a bigendered person, this is something I bring up into discussion a lot. What IS gender? What defines a man and a woman?

However, if you read up a bit, and you take a really good look around, you'll notice that gender stereotypes and gender roles permeate much, much deeper than you would expect. Even with myself, someone who crosses back and forth over the gender barrier on a daily basis, I notice that I do, indeed make assumptions based on gender or perceive things that are both crossing from the "norm" AND swinging far to either side. Gender stereotyping is something ingrained into our culture, and while we do live in a more androgynous world than we have in ages, this may just be signaling a shift in what is perceived as "normal". Remember that men used to wear heels, frills, and makeup. If there is a change in the way people such a crossdressers, androgynes, bigenders, etc show themselves, it will be a shift in style, not a disappearance.

@nobody: I seriously doubt that "female" things will disappear. What you're talking about sounds like a shift toward completely efficiency- and productivity-based style, rather than aesthetic sense. Remember that a lot of people, both male and female, think that it is important to look good, and to many, dresses, makeup and the like make them feel like they are doing just that.

Interestingly, I think that it's possible that just the opposite will happen. Our world is getting increasingly to the point where we are doing less and less physical labour. This allows for less of a need for "work clothes" or "practical dress". In this sense, I think our styles may continue to shift into something based more on personal preference than what would be easier to move around in.

As for myself, I think it would be a much more boring world if certain styles disappeared completely. I'm no fashionista, but I do enjoy looking at the interesting ways that people use clothing. It can tell a lot about a person. :D

Samantha said...

Oddly, I think this concept is crazy. 90% of people who got through surgery so that their body matches their own mental and emotional "map" not because of clothing or gender stereotypes.

Wouldn't much matter what clothing I wore, or the trappings of femininity as many people think of it, I'd have still had surgery. Not for anyone else, but for me. So that my body makes sense to me. For me, and many women and men I know who have invested the time, energy and money into their bodies it has NOTHING to do with presentation and everything to do with how we feel.

Regrettably "Trans" has been conflated and muddled by the fringe to mean something it isn't. Then again Trans in the first place was "created" by a well meaning doctor who has done way more harm than good. So called "crossdressers, drag queens/kings" perform gender and should not be confused with those of us who are stuck with bodies that don't fit our sense of self. Trans is just so much socio-political foolishness. Sorry, but what is, is.

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