So, right at this moment, disqus is refusing to load within an article I was commenting on. A question come to me over my e-mail, and I wanted to address it – but I’m getting the swirly circle of death.
Here is the comment:
The person is displaying the inexplicable confusion that some people experience when “gender assignment” is mentioned.
In the quotes, in context, Mock appears to be referring to gender assignment as well as gender roles and presentation when she says “boy”.
However, I do not want to speak for her.
[Edit: In the follow up interview, linked at the end of this post, Mock explains that she did not write the Marie Claire article and critiques the article early on in her book.]
Some transgender folks do not identify as being the same gender from birth. Saying someone was “formerly a [gendered term]” is not universally despised, however, it’s a narrative that is often imposed on all transgender folks even when it is completely inappropriate and can be incredibly hurtful.
So, if someone (for example a news broadcaster) feels the need to describe a woman’s perceived gender before transition, it’s a good idea to be specific.
“She was considered a boy at birth.”
“She was raised as a boy at a young age.”
Those are most likely more accurate that “was a boy” or “used to be a boy”.
In this case though, Mock presented as a girl well before age 18. Referring to her as a boy until age 18, implies that something happened at age 18 that magically transformed her gender from male to female.
It is saying that genitals = gender.
THAT is a toxic and damaging misconception. THAT is not a subtle semantic issue that should be shrugged off for the good of diplomacy. It’s nowhere in the vicinity of to * or not to *. The problem is fundamental.
The subtext is that surgery made her a *real* woman.
If you listen to the first part of the interview, you will notice that Piers forwards this narrative right out of the gate. She attempts to correct him with a smile on her face, using terms like “earlier than that” and “journey”, and he just keeps on keeping on.
For ever-loving fucking sake, he even pulled out some weird: You look like a cis woman therefore you must be an authentic woman.
That is just new levels of holy shit, wtf, and should be placed prominently as a pinnacle example of what benevolent cissexism looks like.
If you’re not invested in the reality of this in any way – if you’re just a casual observer – you might not even notice just how messed up this is. That’s not because you are incapable of understanding, it’s because you don’t care to understand.
Oh yeah and just for completeness:
“nebulous gender identity”
“personal origin myth”
wtf srsly GTFO
Oh and watch this.