There are currently three things on my mind that are compelling me to vomit my thoughts onto this textual canvas. The first is, I used to have a bisexual Polynesian male friend from New Zealand that I met in a nerd space many years ago. As the years passed, the more we seemed to argue. And I mean large walls of text sent through email. If you can imagine a manner of diction that is lengthy, patronizing, sometimes toxically positive, and very neoliberal, then you can imagine my former friend's way of speaking. A particular discussion we had sticks out in memory: he was telling me he's often mistaken as female purely on the basis that he types lengthy responses, that he's inquisitive, and isn't directly aggressive. I found that somewhat odd, but perhaps true of formative factors in the nerd space we once perused. At that point I think I was still fairly neutral on the trans topic, and had only just recently experimented with the concept of "agender" only two years prior. Worth noting is the fact that TIMs on le preddit were the ones that started peaking me about the idea. I think my logic was about androgyny of the physical and abstract--that in addition to looking androgynous if you embodied as many stereotypes between either sex that you were in between or absent altogether as far what was designated as "gender". My New Zealander friend seemed to have a similar mindset, and that is in part why we got along.
Another contributing factor to my political beliefs were that I had three TIM friends at the time as well, one I had met through a mutual, and then two I had met on the same forum as the New Zealander. Here's how all of this crumbled: The first TIM friend weirded me out by his natural behavior. It was all suggestive and he was quite secretive for some reason. It felt like talking to him was difficult because he was too busy putting on a "cutesy" front where only slivers of a real person shone through. The second TIM was mentally unstable--he offered a unique view I did not understand; TIMs should not go through with ANY surgeries because the physical body should not be altered in any way. I really don't recall his views on estrogen though. He told me looked and acted exactly "like a girl", and that's how he knew he was trans. I found this hard to believe, especially considering he did not send any photos. He hit on me frequently, but the moment I found out he was trans I felt a revulsion inside me. It may have been the first time I really thought of TIMs in respect to my own sexuality, which would become a motivation of my own exclusionary nature. What's also odd, but expected I suppose, is that he initially sought me out because I quoted a misogynistic rap song, which I believe is because he associated submission with womanhood. In essence, it turned him on. We had a boisterous group chat at the time, and I had invited him to it. I think he only lasted a month or less before he left and blocked me because I acted too masculine apparently. Now the third TIM--I think he was a big precursor in peaking me. He was a very, very effeminate gay male. For some reason, he relished his boyhood and didn't seem to want to grow up. Peter Pan syndrome for sure. I found it odd that, despite claiming to be a woman, he would often post on gay male subreddits, and refer to himself as a boy. He said the reason was because he was so used to being a boy that he hadn't completely adjusted to being a woman yet, but it was also something he very much so wanted. Meanwhile, the subs he was posting on were pornographic in nature, and when we found his reddit account, well... it was filled with his nudes and talking about men dominating him. My friend and I were pretty big trolls, and so we Photoshopped him to look like a woman in every which way. He told us he felt disgust with the way his body looked, and he seemed to express resentment at the idea of transitioning, but also stated that he did actually want a female body. But also his face was almost unmistakably female apparently, so my edit was pointless and ugly. Eventually, he felt we were scary evil transphobic trolls and blocked us; although I did run into him last year: he was dressing in women's clothing finally and had a boyfriend he planned on marrying in another country or something. He was another one that thought I was very aggressive in my argumentation and perceived it as masculine.
Anyway, back to my former fruit shop owning friend. He would frequently talk about his two American lesbian friends in the Carolinas. At first he really wanted to introduce us and said we would get along candidly. Then, as time went on and we argued more and more about petty insignificant things, he said it probably wasn't a good idea, but he longed for us to meet and get along. Some years go by and we're talking just a little bit, and we got into this huge argument. He insinuated I was the same as right-wing Christian evangelists. Cue the first of many Ben Shapiro comparisons I would begin to receive. He questioned if perhaps I was trans, which is something my stupid former friend Rachel did when she misinterpreted me mocking her TIM date's pronouns; she's now had a double mastectomy and identifies as non-binary. Then he asked me if I could imagine life as someone autistic. I think because I made a sarcastic joke about it at the time. I really thought hard for a moment, and here's what I came up with: I don't know. My neurological processes would be different. Everything in this world is causative, and so even little disturbances would create different outcomes around us. If my entire perception of reality would be different growing up, it beckons whether or not I would even be me. I cannot know that reality. He got angry with me and referred to me as so bigoted I could not even place myself in a neurodivergent person's shoes. Then he asked how I knew I wasn't actually autistic. I explained that I exhibit none of the symptoms and surely my parents, some doctors, or myself would have caught it. I acknowledged there are always gaps however and played into his rhetoric. I said, okay, if I'm autistic, then what's really changed? The knowledge of the unknown versus the known? Science begets nescience. My perception of reality would be more or less the same--it would just be knowing the existence of something that was always there. His response was that it would make my life harder, and that I needed to acknowledge that. I questioned his logic: Would it? Why should it? That's when he defaulted back to his former position of what it would be like growing up autistic. We went in circles until it became abundantly clear he was drawing parallels with transgenderism. Mainly about me. I began to ignore what he was saying, and told him lesbians don't like dick and I was done with the conversation. He was quite agitated and brought up something about his lesbian friends still being lesbians despite their support for TIMs. I said they can support whatever, hypocritically or not, but if they fuck males they're not homosexuals. I don't think we spoke again until Biden's reelection, which was very awkward needless to say.
That entire chat really got me thinking about the essence of feeling, especially given that I had been described on more than one occasion as a bioessentialist. I do not feel neurotypical, I simply am. I cannot describe what being normal feels like because it is an averaged stasis of emotions. It's possible to imagine what the thought process and related factors may bring about for someone neurodivergent on a minute scale, but to extrapolate that into a model of understanding about how that would affect life in general throughout a prolonged period is pure fantasy. The same applies to when I think about if I were a guy. It's a difficult thing to imagine. We've all said it a thousand times, that we don't feel female, but some posts recently have prompted my number two reason for writing this. The very essence of being male is biologically determined. The diametric opposition to this is the social construction. I think most, if not all of us, are familiar with the old thought experiment, "If a tree falls, and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound?" The very nature of this question provokes a dichotomy of answers. Either you are a materialist or immaterialist a la George Berkeley. If the tree does not make a sound, then sound is predicated on human consciousness to interpret the vibration. If it does make a sound, then the vibration exists as a sound independent of conscious interpretation. The former concept of immaterialism is often applied to anthropology concerning cultural relativism particularly on the nature of being anachronistically ethnocentric. I have legit had it argued that in response to my saying a rock was still a rock 20,000 years ago (ignoring potential volcanic and chemical phenomena) that we cannot refer to a rock in that age if there was no word for a rock. I pointed out that it's a separate issue to be part of a far less developed population with a particular ignorance for something and the fact that our hypothetical rock was always a rock regardless. This brought forth the idea that we socially construct the idea of what a rock is through science. It's a very odd immaterial deconstruction of science to construct something new. Postmodern irony? I digress. This is the same logic these woke bros and sisters use for transhistorical revisionism. I find it annoying at best.
And so back on track--if we are to be accurate, we are to be materialist in our reflections and observations of reality. The idea of wanting to be a man is odd, and differently rooted between physical and social desires; although there is a definite crossover. I see often the sentiment that a woman wants to be a man purely on basis of being treated better, but I would hazard that wanting to be perceived as a man is separate from wanting to be essentialized as a man. The latter implies the former, but the former does not necessitate the latter. When someone wants to essentialize the male form, I can only divide it between two categories: that of autoandrophilia and that of bodily dysmorphia. The pseudo-essentialism involved with mere perception to escape misogyny is rooted in fear, weakness, and modest depression. That is to say, the purely physical nature of female-bodied male essentialism is a split path of pathologies: to either paraphilia or mental illness. That of course beckons the question of whether or not the former is a description of the latter, but I think that depends on the level of compulsion. These physical inclinations may also not necessarily be biologically rooted, but instead socially manipulated to create particular neurological disadvancements. Whether or not there is a genetic predisposition to cause sexual dysmorphia in natal females seems not only counterintuitive, but largely socially stimulated. If there is a mono--if there are polygenic mutations to cause specific distress with reproductive organs it is yet undocumented and does not appear consistently enough between generations; although the confounding variable to address may be an issue of reporting in itself. One must question the very nature of how gene mutation would cause such a phenomena, and when one addresses the nature of existing and well documented hereditary diseases, such as those pertaining to the cardiovascular system, it becomes increasingly evident that sexual dysmorphia is tantamount to the nature of bulimia and anorexia (i.e., socially stimulated). Still, I posit the possibility of some form of reproductive polygenic mismatch regarding the hypothalamus for an alternative pathogenesis. It would seem the only positive probability for this hypothesis, and also incredibly rare by default. The evidence of heritability for non-sexual bodily dysmorphia is lacking as well. Most of which seem to propose a correlation and little else. One however attempts to isolate genetic contributions, and claims frontostriatal and limbic system dysfunction may contribute to the very nature of visual discomfort of the body. There seems consistent decreased serotonin transporter binding, but the results of SSRIs improving this creates indirect evidence of a purely neurochemical problem. The most often cited evidence for a heritable condition is the following: "8% of individuals with BDD have a family member also diagnosed with BDD," however I have yet to find a proper analysis of the data that adjusts for social variabilities. This is why I cannot help but see this as purely correlative rather than causative evidence to a genetic pathogenesis. Even so, if a minor genetic link could be found to cause an elevated risk of somatoform disorders, it would be a priori rather than a posteriori reasoning. As such, the pathogenesis of these disorders would be up in the air and still not readily attributable as a whole. If we pathologize sexual dysmorphia--excuse me, "dysphoria"--as a subcategory then our understanding would still remain the same. In fact, it would only serve to elucidate the constructive nature of these psychological concepts, and how malleable they are. The emphasis in these studies is generally about the overlap with OCD and BDD, and the potential genetic influence on visual perceptions, which is also stimulated by neurochemical components such as serotonin. In essence, it might be prudent to say that the polygenic factors potentially influencing this problem are contributing to indirect components that add up and synthesize into a culturally bound system of self-hate. After all, this does not seem the epidemic it is in the natally blind. Autoandrophilia would likely have to be socially construed through environmental factors if the link for a more generalized dysmorphia is so tenuous. But that also depends--does autoandrophilia have to be linked directly to bodily dysmorphia? I don't think so--I think the proliferation of the impossible can in itself be a motivating factor for neurological deviations of sexual development. The operative phrase here is "have to be", which means it is not necessarily predicated, but also does not divorce it entirely from the idea.
The third thing that's got me thinking about this is a conversation I heard on one of my flights last week. My car broke down. My poor, beautiful car. And so after I went through some rude TSA jackasses that went through my things with impunity (rip my conditioner), I was sat next to a woman that spent about an hour on the phone talking to someone about her TIF relative. This girl sounded like a monster: a very hateful teenager that frequently verbally abuses the woman in question. She remarked how the TIF used to be happy, but now she, who she referred to as he, is always miserable and treats everyone around her like they're dirt. And yet, this woman was trying her hardest to appease "Aiden", because of course her chosen name is Aiden. Aiden chose to disown this family member, whatever her relation may be, despite being supportive, because she, from what I could tell, was enacting out what she believes the role of man to be. A true parody of dramaturgy to be sure. And yet, this is idea often forced on me be TRAs and even conservative men. When concerning TRAs--especially TIMs for some reason--it is my determination and willingness to argue--perhaps in what is perceived as an aggressive manner--my complete lack of empathy for stupid ideas (i.e., I believe respecting people is a separate construct from respecting ideas in an intellectual marketplace, as the latter deserves none inherently), my sense of dress, and my ability to comfortably fit into social situations with men if I desire that marks me as a potential TIF. With conservative men it's similar, those predilections mark me as a woman out of line--that I need a good dicking and I'll abandon such beliefs, behaviors--my sense of self--in order to submit to the will of a degenerate pornbrained man. And so that gets me thinking too back to an earlier focal point: the essence of feeling. I could only wonder what my life as a man would be. If I were to become a TIF, could I abandon so much that makes me me--so much that ties into my biologically-based social identity? I don't think so; it would be bizarre at best. So I did a little thought experiment in lieu of that New Zealand friend asking me about what I'd be like as an autistic person. To start, I cannot divorce myself from my sexuality. Perhaps that lines up with the probability I would then be a straight male. Would I develop as more physically masculine or feminine? Imaging life as the former and how that would shape my life experiences feels incredibly difficult, as though I'm not imagining myself at all. So then improbably a feminine male? Would I still wear women's clothes by the very nature of how I currently mix and match clothing? How might that color my perception of the world? The more I think about it, the more I feel like I'd be some straight woman's yaoi invention. That's a weird feeling and reminds me how much I revile the male form, and so would prompt a complicated layer of self-hatred. I suppose the only positive inclination to this would be the ability to have biological children in an accepted form of a relationship. But also: I love feminist and lesbian literature, and so if I retained such affinities, it would seem that I would be a prime target for the gender cult above all else--even more so than now. I can only imagine if I sought out a radfem girlfriend how her suspicious mind would be on repeat like the Elvis song of the same name--alarm bells sounding for sure. As such, I know that this conception of manhood projected onto myself is purely gynocentric, and not at all indicative of how such a possibility would have been enacted. That really says a lot, doesn't it? Perhaps in reality I'd be a misogynist like any other man; something worse, something better. I cannot know. Just as I cannot know how I would be if I am not me. What a farce.