How many genders exist?
As you can tell from the title of this blog, I am going to throw my hat into the ring of transgender. Before I start, I’d like to say that this has always been a one star issue for me. I’ve never really felt compelled to tackle the issue and for me there are much bigger fish to fry than this particular one. Secondly, I’d be surprised if transgender people hadn’t lived among us (privately) for thousands of years and it is now only just a topical issue. Just as sometimes the rich envy the poor, accountants envy construction workers and bored housewives envy call girls, I’d be surprised if individuals didn’t always envy members of the other gender. As Hannibal Lecter said in Silence of the Lambs “we covet what we see”. Perhaps there is now a well trodden path to follow into transgenderism.
I believe that there are two concepts that philosophy has barely started to address. One is ‘intention’, the other is ‘natural’. I understand a lot of people believe that what is natural is good. I know of no meta-ethical reasoning that supports this notion but perhaps someone can make one for me. If we abandon the idea that natural = good, and just deal with “what is natural” it seems to me that taking a male child, providing the minimum resources required to keep it alive, and then waiting and watching as it grows is the closest thing to ‘natural’ that we can come to. As soon as we allow society to mold, manipulate and bend the child, I don’t see how natural can exists anymore. I’d imagine that there is a ‘natural’ male and a ‘natural’ female, each shaped only by their biological states, but they wouldn’t do a lot of things that men and women in society do. They wouldn’t wipe their feet or chew with their mouth closed and recognize private property laws etc. Thus I think we are all unnatural.
With this in mind, all/both genders are constructs and this is good. The reality is that Mowgli from Jungle Book would have grown up to be a murdering rapist. Society is right to mold children into civilized adults. Without being an anthropologist, it would seem that all cultures across all of history have chosen to make it the norm to have two genders, males and females. And this really seems to be 99% of the issue for me. I’ve read the articles stating that all cultures have traces of transgender people if you look hard enough, but clearly the ancient wisdoms have unanimously agreed on the point of having all human conglomerated around two constructed genders and as far as sociological topics go…
But really, we war over Gods and religions. We kill over money and greed. We argue about the age of consent, political philosophy, economic policy and capital punishment and many other things. Each side supports their claim by stating “we’ll it works for us!”. It would appear that having
has worked for 99% of people forever and in a world that still has children with leukemia, serial killers and chemical weapons, this makes the transgender issue:
This leaves just a few arguments left and I’ll cover them now.
What if a consenting adult chooses to buck the trend and ignore convention?
Fine, don’t care. I would expect that this individual would live a very lonely life and have considerable social issues to face up to. I wish them all the best and hope they are as happy as their choices allow them to be. But this is real life and living is suffering. We all construct our own version of hell. For a traditional female this may be the bored housewife. For a traditional man this may be working in a job you hate. For someone who chooses a 3rd gender, I suppose they will be very lonely. I know some people see this as a chicken little “the sky is falling” moment but I don’t. All systems self correct and the human system always corrects toward dignity. If being a third gender works out well, more people will become so. If it doesn’t, the opposite will happen. I’m not too worried.
What about someone who is born a women/man in a man/women’s body?
I have no idea. I don’t even know how to prove this is what actually happens. I’m aware that 2nd wave feminists argued that women and men’s brains were the same, the differences are purely conditioning. But I’m now aware that 3rd wave feminists seem to believe that some people have men’s/women’s brains from birth. It does seem odd to me that a person is born with a civilized man’s/ civilized woman’s brain. Surely the only brain that they can be born with is the ‘natural’ brain that doesn’t wipe its feet or respect private property. A transwomen that doesn’t feel right until she’s shaved her legs and worn a wig doesn’t seem to fit with the idea that she was born that way. Those things seem choices. Perhaps transwomen are born in a man’s body but with a women’s brain, but the idea that that women’s brain wants to wear Prada and pad her bra is absurd. Those things are surely desires, not things that she’s had since birth. I just don’t know and I don’t think many people do. Time may tell.
When do we intervene in how a child is raised by it’s parents?
We don’t unless it is really dire circumstances. I will choose to place my faith in the notion that all parents will do what’s best for their children. If a mother and father truly believe that raising their biological son as a daughter is the right thing to do, we need to be really certain that they are wrong before we intervene. I’m sure there are some really lousy parents out there but I’m against creating a system that sticks its nose into every single family’s business to ensure parenting is working well.
Should the government take a role in the issue of transgender?
No, never. One way or another the government should not promote lifestyles or values. Governments can be bought and the media can choose to report on, or not report on government announcements and polices. But if they say nothing, it is left to families to determine how to live their lives. This is best.