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Fully define “gender” without insulting me, a woman.

Tell me how you “live as a woman” without insulting all women.

Explain “feeling like a woman” w/o falling back on cartoonish stereotypes & sexual fantasies.

We’re legally canonizing a concept no one can respectfully define.
So how do we know how this concept will be interpreted over time? The danger of this vagueness within these laws is the freedom it gives those in power to apply it according to their own gendered biases, for the pursuit of their own goal.
The ICD-11, the diagnostic code manual used by US healthcare providers for the purpose of billing and treatment, has added a code for “gender incongruence,” which isn’t described as a disorder, but is included in the newly added category “Conditions related to sexual health.”
From the ICD-11: “Gender incongruence of childhood is characterized by a marked incongruence between an individual’s experienced/expressed gender and the assigned sex in pre-pubertal children...”

(“Incongruence” means “out of place.”)
“...It includes a strong desire to be a different gender than the assigned sex; a strong dislike on the child’s part of his or her sexual anatomy or anticipated secondary sex characteristics...”

Notice the conflation of sex and gender, with the lack of a definition for either.
“...and/or a strong desire for the primary and/or anticipated secondary sex characteristics that match the experienced gender; and make-believe or fantasy play, toys, games, or activities and playmates that are typical of the experienced gender rather than the assigned sex.“
It says “experienced gender,” canonizing the idea of significant intrinsic experiential difference between male and female human beings, but it doesn’t elaborate on what those differences are.
It also doesn’t address the logic problem of how a person, who can only ever experience their own perspective, can know whether their “gender” experience (assuming, for the sake of argument, that such a thing exists) is alike or different from that typical of the opposite sex.
The manual doesn’t define or describe what specific “make-believe or fantasy play, toys, games, or activities and playmates” are “typical of” each sex, leaving this judgment to parents, teachers, medical and mental health providers - all of whom carry their own gender biases.
The manual does specify that “Gender variant behaviour and preferences alone are not a basis for assigning the diagnosis.”

It’s worrying, however, that the document affirms the idea that “gender variant” behavior exists without seeing fit to define what that behavior is.
It’s catastrophic to feminism to affirm in professional medical guidance the idea that there is such a thing as “gender congruent” behavior & preferences. It’s a hundred steps backward for a movement that has worked for centuries to break women out of such harmful cultural norms.
If we’d created such a guidance a fifty years ago, many would interpret a girl’s desire to be an architect, police officer, doctor, or politician as “gender incongruent.” A hundred years ago, the same could be said of a girl who wanted to attend college or vote.
And how might such a “gender incongruent” girl feel about her physical attributes? Her primary and secondary sex characteristics? Those characteristics that meant her dreams were arduous or impossible?

Do you think Marie Curie ever wished she’d been born male?
If that option had been promoted to the women who’d go on to become the first female doctors, senators, astronauts — how many would have been remembered simply as men working in their fields, rather than as trailblazers who proved the female sex was not a professional disability?
A little girl who loves trucks & bugs is excluded from playing with the boys in the neighborhood.

Is it so difficult to imagine that she might, after a while, wish she were a boy?

And if social judgment & exclusion is driving that desire, is transition an ethical intervention?
Multiple women who identify or have identified as men have told me that they were largely motivated by a desire not to be treated like women. That means different things to each of them, but common complaints were emphasis on appearance & dating, and expectations of motherhood.
Those pressures, the disrespect inherent in making judgments of another person’s priorities, the futility & humiliation of struggling toward modern “feminine” beauty standards —

A girl is born carrying none of these things. Rather, we press them into her hands upon her birth.
We expect girls to control their behavior more rigidly than boys. We pay women less attention when they speak; the male in the room is considered the authority.

Girls grow up knowing this. They learn to respect men and criticize women, who are always, always being evaluated.
Discussion of gender “incongruence” as well as dysphoria is never limited to the body of the trans-identified person. They describe misery within their *role.*

The men are weary of demands for invulnerability. The women want to be looked in the eye and spoken to like an adult.
They’re uncomfortable in their body, and at least some of that relates to what owning that body means, the life it offers them.

But is that the fault of their body? Their biology?

And is it really pathological to want more than what the world, as is, offers those of your sex?
A person, faced with the obstacles and demands prescribed to their sex at birth, can choose to conform or rebel.

I used to believe that transgenderism was an act of rebellion, and I approved.

But, really, correcting “gender incongruence” is about as conformist as it gets.
There’s nothing disordered about noticing how broken the world is in what it offers boys and girls, men and women, based on their biology. It’s uncomfortable because these roles are too small for anyone. All of us are born “needing” trimming if we’re to fit inside them.
I object to gender because I object to the idea that it’s possible to be congruent OR incongruent with one’s sex.

First there is you, and YOU are complete and worthy.

Your sex is a thing about you, and it is also complete and worthy.
You can only be congruent or incongruent with the world’s EXPECTATIONS of you, &, my god - I HOPE that you’re incongruent.

Male or female, I hope you’ve found the box you were birthed into uncomfortable & unfair, because that discomfort is what changes the world for all of us.
“Gender incongruence” is a massive insult because it implies that sexism doesn’t bother “normal” women.

It does. Whether or not they name it as sexism, it bothers all of us.
Diet culture shames and torments us. High heels deform our feet and damage our spines. Low professional expectations stymie our career goals. Preternatural expectations for our mothering leave us feeling defeated and alone. Sexual harassment and assault make our lives war zones.
Any impression of “congruence” people get from women should be seen for what it is — adaptations for survival.

But we can only adapt so much. We all fall short — all of us.

And some of us don’t survive at all.
So what’s “gender congruence” then, for a woman? A fast metabolism? The affluence required to perform femininity “well”? Shyness? A desire for marriage and children? Attraction to men? Modest career goals? A high tolerance for pain of all sorts?
We’re all incongruent, because humanity is too big and varied to be cut in half and defined by superstitious norms. And our incongruence is a GOOD THING, because it drives us to push back, to make room for us and others like us.
In many instances, transition damages a person’s health without resolving their pain.

In some situations, it provides comfort - to that one person.

But upending sexism frees ALL of us, including those not “incongruent” enough to want to transition, or those without the option.
Discomfort with gender (the social expectations and rules imposed upon people on the basis of their sex) is NATURAL, because gender is NOT natural.

Let’s address that discomfort by breaking the rules, tearing down the walls, and celebrating the girls who love trucks & bugs.
/thread (that took me all day because I drive more than I sleep.)

(Brought to you by a girl who loved dolls, animals, bugs, & baseball.)

(With special thanks to my sons who love camping, dogs, video games, cooking, art, music, & sports.)
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