What is the orthodox understanding/explanation of someone who is born one gender and years later feels they are the opposite? Is there remedy?
As the only obviously frum Jew (I was wearing long skirts and long-sleeved shirts) in the college, her demeanor embarrassed me; I looked around, hoping that no one would associate her strutting and her nose stuck up in the air (literally!) as anything to do with me.
I felt even more anxious after I entered the classroom and I saw her stride in too, constantly swishing her fur coat and swiveling her head around in a very show-offy way.
But after we were all settled in, our professors introduced this guest as a “former” man who was one of the pioneers of transgender surgery.
Boy, was I relieved!
Not only wasn’t this person frum, but he wasn’t even really a lady!
I was also happy for the opportunity to ask questions that I’d always had about these people—and here it was!
The Biggest Pig of a Man You've Ever Seen...Identifying as a Woman!
Not terribly feminine, I'm sure you'll agree.
We asked him to what gender he was attracted before the operation, and also how feeling like he was actually female in the body of a male was different than same-gender-attraction. I can’t remember exactly what he said because he refused to answer the question and spouted off a bunch of mumbo-jumbo, which left me feeling confused and as I looked around, I saw the same confusion on the faces of my classmates.
Basically, he refused to say whether he had been attracted to men or women before the operation, which is weird.
However, it would have been rude and politically incorrect to push the point too much, so we didn’t.
But his basic conclusion was that we “regular people” couldn’t understand people like him.
(Of course! Because the answer to "Were you attracted to men or women?" is waaay too complicated. Oh, sure.)
Then he told us his story. Mostly, it was about the pre-op and operation itself, rather than his family background, experiences, and self-discovery (which if he'd really been female, would've been considered the most important).
As he related his experiences prior to surgery, he suddenly said, “And I needed to prepare myself psychologically to be a woman!”
I frowned at that. After all, he apparently already was a woman! I mean, that’s why he was so big on the operation, right?
He simply needed to change his body to fit his mind and inner self.
So why and what exactly did he need to “prepare”?
He declared, “I knew that the minute I would get up off that operating table, I would need to compete! I needed to be ready at all times! Every time I’d leave the house, I’d need to be ready for that competition every moment!”
Hmm…constant vigilance and competition? Sounds like stereotypical male qualities to me!
After looking around to see whether my fellow female classmates were as mystified by this idea as I was (yes they were), I raised my hand and said nicely, “Excuse me—I’m sorry—but I’m just trying to understand what you mean by ‘compete’?”
He laughed at me. (It was a full-belly, chuckley masculine laugh—the same kind of condescending male laugh that sparked the feminist movement.)
I waited for an answer, but there was none. Just that incredibly annoying laugh. So I continued, “It’s just that…well, I’m a woman and…I don’t feel like I’m competing with other women. I mean, certainly, I don’t think about competition every time I leave the house.”
The other young women present (which was most of the class) nodded in agreement and murmured things like, “Yeah, I also don’t feel that way. I don’t feel like I’m competing, I don’t think about competition every time I walk out the door.”
He laughed again. “Oh, yes, you are! You’re definitely in a competition! You’re just not aware of it. Women compete ALL the time. You may not think you’re competing, but you are!”
Well, I was a bit rattled by him telling me what I secretly think and I feel. Very condescending. And yet again, it was one of those stereotypical masculine behaviors that drove a generation of women into feminism.
Also, I found his tone and manner of speaking rather aggressive.
“I don’t deny there times that women do get competitive with each other,” I explained, “but I really don’t feel competitive every minute of the day. And I’ve never heard any other women express that. I’m sorry, but I really don’t understand what you mean.”
And I was also thinking that feeling competitive like that all day long sounded very unpleasant. Why would he have an operation that would put him in that kind of situation?
Unless, of course, he liked competition—just like those Alpha male types!
But he smirked and just repeated that I wasn’t aware of my real feelings. Still smirking, he added, “You compete for men.”
Now I was really offended. (Yes—offended! And with no campus “safe space” available for me to cower in!) To my mind, only icky girls competed with each other for men. How dare he imply that I was an icky girl!
“No, I don’t compete for men,” I said, aghast. “I would never play those kinds of games. And I’ve never had a friend who does. You’re right that some women do, but they’re usually not so emotionally healthy.”
He responded by tossing his auburn-clad head, flapped his hand at me dismissively, and went on with his saga.
Well, in addition to getting all ready for all that imaginary competition, the other thing he did after getting up from the operating table was to physically engage with as many male partners as possible - if you get my drift. Like hundreds of partners over the few months following the operation.
Needless to say, this is not normal female behavior. Even very licentious women don’t go to that degree.
Once again, such trampy behavior is much more typical of men (even though this is definitely not typical of your average man). But it is most common in men attracted to other men.
Suddenly, he made an outrageous statement (paraphrased to avoid censorship by my filter): There is no difference between forcibly violating a woman and engaging a woman in a casual consensual encounter!
He continued to proclaim that they were exactly the same and that there was no difference between them.
I think all we females did a double-take as one. Even the female professors did a double-take and looked around uncomfortably.
The guys in the room looked shocked and uncomfortable.
Of course, this was too much and we females protested this highly offensive statement.
(The guys looked relieved. Phew! So we're not criminals after all!)
He loudly disagreed and changed the subject by continuing with his story.
(Just like a man!)
It occurred to me that only a man could equate the two situations. And even so, most men wouldn’t.
At one point, I asked him why trans males needed to be female.
Why couldn’t they do stereotypically female things while being a man? And why did they dress so differently from normal women? If you’ve ever seen them, they dress like the male objectification of women. Real women dress casually most of the time.
(And yes, I realize that this trans guy didn't dress as provocatively as many trans do, but maybe that was because he was obese.)
After all, we’ve all known women who refuse to wear skirts and women who seem naturally attracted to stereotypically male roles. How was this different?
He was thrown off by the questions and just blustered about.
And that's all I can remember at this point.
These men are obviously very messed up and rather than actually identify with femininity, they seem to have a very stupid and stereotypically male (not ALL males, but the shallow beastly kind) idea of the female personality. Rather than showing themselves to be women, they encapsulate the kind of shallow unrealistic image of women held by only the most piggish kind of men.
Yet there is a powerful movement to impose validation of this onto society.
And that is pretty scary.
Continue on to Part II.