Transgender Suicide

12 Feb

Here’s Horace’s latest piece about transgender people, regarding a report from the Williams Institute:

Quote from the report:

“The study suggests that several minority stressors – negative experiences related to anti-transgender bias – may contribute to elevated prevalence of suicide attempts among transgender people, such as experiences of harassment, family rejection, housing instability, and discrimination in health care. Over half of those who experienced harassment or bullying in schools reported lifetime suicide attempts, as did 57 percent of those who reported that their family chose not to speak/spend time with them.  High prevalence of suicide attempts was also found among those who had ever experienced homelessness (69%) and those who reported a doctor or healthcare provider refused to treat them (60%).”

These are going to be stressors for anyone and clearly all constitute circumstances no one should have to tolerate. But self-reports of attempted suicide are problematic without external confirmation. If your agenda is to get people to believe something that they are disinclined otherwise to believe, threatening to kill yourself if they don’t go along with it might well be an attractive stance to take. But since some transgenders also periodically threaten to kill feminists, that throws such proclivities for violence in a somewhat different light. Perhaps it seems healthier to direct one’s violence outwards than inwards, but it’s no solution to anything.

Overall, those who claim radical feminism do help stir this pot when they mock transgenders (and please note not all radical feminists engage in this), but a conflict arises when suggesting they not do so, because women are so weary of being told to shut up thusly, when we are subjected endlessly to being mocked by men. So we’re angry at oppressive men, transgenders are angry at everyone who doesn’t believe in transgender philosophy, and thus we can fall into framing each other as the enemy.

Transgenders can be explosive about being “misgendered,” as if this is tantamount to being murdered or called subhuman, as opposed to simply a different understanding of what gender is.  Transactivists frame this as their not being accepted as their “real” gender, radical feminists frame this as the culture at large being unaccepting of and feeling threatened by those who do not conform to prescribed gender roles. This is about the difference between actual sex, and expected gender performance.

What we don’t see, from inside this culture, is what things would be like for people in a culture that does not engage in gender role conditioning. Would there be male violence in such a culture, including suicidal ideation and actions? Would there be people with intense identifications with one biological sex or the other? Would there be all this anxiety and searching for belonging via specific gendered roles?

We can’t answer this without changing the culture, and we can’t change the culture as long as people cling to gender roles and identities. Thus we are at something of an impasse. It is unfortunate, as gender roles are really just another kind of prison.

“A cage went in search of a bird.” – Franz Kafka

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