Whenever I read about trans issues, and many other issues, there is inevitably a big argument. Neither side wanting to listen to the other, just wanting to prove their point. In the end my gender, my sexuality, and my life have no effect on any of these people. Why should any of it matter to them? It's as if they think that I, as an American, don't deserve to have the same rights over my body because my choices are different from theirs. In the end it got me thinking. How do we, society as a whole, determine what someone is when they don't tell us? The bigger issue is why some people think that they deserve rights but I don't. I probably won't have anything insightful to say on that though.
When meeting someone for the first time we take what the person is presenting to us as cues and guess at the right gender from there. This becomes difficult when you can't see the person, for example a phone call. There are some things that are more obvious than others, breasts, softer features, higher voice, hair style, facial hair, and clothing. None of that is specific to men or women though. So while we might guess right 99% of the time there will be other times that we just don't know. What then? Maybe we notice someone else refers to them or they refer to themselves with a specific pronoun or maybe they go into a gender specific restroom. Maybe we guess wrong and they correct us. That happens over the phone more I would say but it could happen in person too.
At that point isn't it a sign of respect to use the correct pronoun(s)? I am lucky enough that I just want to be a woman. She, her, herself. Very simple. Other people might like something else. In my experience if you aren't using those (usually when I've corrected you) you are saying that you don't respect me. It's dehumanizing in my opinion. I am trying to give the signals so that you won't have to ask but I am at a disadvantage to many other women.
Not everyone will respect that though. There will be someone who thinks it's their business what I call myself or how I live my life. I will choose to remove those people from my life or not associate with them. I have to assume that these people also think that it's alright for them to tell other people what they do with their bodies. How can they oppose anything I do with my body just because I want to be a different gender? Do they also oppose tattoos, piercings, plastic surgery, abortion, religion, and anything that isn't heterosexual? I have to assume they do, since all those things have no effect on them but are other peoples' choices or lifestyles that have no effect on their life. They must also be huge fans of having a dictatorship since then we can all just obey the leader instead of have individuals that think for themselves. You might think that these people are just trolls on the internet but there are people who will express these opinions to your face. They are rare but exist.
It's about power I think. By not respecting me and telling me that I am wrong they think they have power over me. Those people are not good people though. The world needs more respectful people, not more people on power hungry crusades. The issue isn't even gender or sexuality most of the time. These people exist for so many issues. It might be skin color, gender, sexuality, education, religion, political party. In the end they want to assert that they are superior without any logical reason why. Many think they are using logic to debate these issues but there is nothing to debate. My life is not a debate. My choices are mine and you will have no say in them. Just as I will not try to tell you how to live your life. If they were truly looking for intelligent conversation they will be respectful already. You won't have to convince them that you are a human and deserve it.
This has nothing to do with genes, dna, or what sexual organs someone has. If I tell you that I am a woman, why is that under scrutiny? This goes for anything. If I tell you I am married or that I have a food allergy do you assume I am lying? Maybe, but you'll probably believe me because I know me better than you do. Just as I won't question you when you tell me something about yourself.
This was all rattling around my head because of this article: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/u-of-t-professor-attacks-political-correctness-in-video-refuses-to-use-genderless-pronouns. In some ways I agree with some of what he says. In others I understand the feeling of being disrespected. I haven't encountered anybody who wanted anything special so I really don't know how it would go. I am sure there are way more articulate and pointed articles about the thoughts I've expressed here.