Free Conflict Between Transgender And Transsexual Communities Article Review Example
“Now, having given a brief overview of what I see as some of the underlying assumptions of the question, let me return to the division I made earlier between “transsexual” and “transgendered.” I said that more and more, a lot of transsexuals take a critical distance from the term transgendered. And this question allows us an opportunity to think through why. The question assumes that “transgendered” people will see their bodies, identities, and lives as part of a broader process of social change, of disrupting the sex/gender binary.” (Namaste, 2005, p. 6)
This passage is interesting because it portrays a disconnection within the transsexual/transgender community. It brings up the idea that even within a semi-cohesive movement there is dissention and disagreement. In addition, it assumes that there is, indeed, a gender/sex binary. This fact is not questioned. Instead, what is questioned is the idea that individuals might or might not want their lives and their bodies to be considered a challenge to that binary. Transsexual individuals, it is implied, divorce themselves from “transgender” terminology, because they do not see themselves as in the same movement with transgender individuals. This quite illustrates the difference between the two, and more importantly that there is such a difference between the two. It is interested to examine the fact that two peoples that have much in common would be so disparate from one another.
I was quite surprised to read this passage. It felt rather disturbing that individuals who, as previously stated, had so much in common would not find a way to work together toward similar ends. In some ways, I felt slightly frustrated. That is, if individuals who fall close together on the gender/sex spectrum in terms of violating assumptions cannot ally themselves, it must be very difficult for individuals that do not violate such assumptions to relate. I believe I reacted this way because I have the belief that humans can navigate complicated situations regarding sex and gender without difficulty, if they learn to work together to do so. I find it frustrating that individuals with much in common cannot put aside relatively small differences and provide a united front.
In my experience this passage is highly relevant. Even individuals in the same social group often do not get along, nor are they able to work together effectively, even when they have a common opponent. I have frequently observed two groups with much in common spend more time fighting one another than the individuals with whom there is actual conflict. For example, individuals who like similar types of music, but different bands, tend to spend more time arguing over the bands they mutually disagree on rather than those that they have in common. I am, as such, relatively unsurprised that even something as vital as identity becomes a battle ground rather than a place to meet individuals on their terms.
I would like to read more about what the transgender and transsexual communities are doing to bring their perspectives into alignment. I would like to learn more about the individuals who have crossed between communities, or who are in the process of uniting them. In addition, I would like to read more about activism related to both communities, that ties them together. In essence, I would like to be exposed to the ways in which this disconnect is being overcome. I believe that in exploring where activists are working to make a difference, I will better be able to understand both the difference between the movements, and how they can be brought together.
Namaste, V. (2005). Making the Lives of Transsexual People Visible: Addressing the Politics of Social Erasure. In Sex Change, Social Change: Reflections on Identity, Institutions, and Imperialism, (1-11). Toronto: Women’s Press.
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