Do you know how many people in your life are left-handed?
I don’t. I know there are a few, but it’s not something that they mention much — certainly isn’t a topic that gets worked into every conversation, not by me trying to find out or them making a point of discussing their handed-ness.
Would you get upset if you noticed somebody’s letters leaning a different direction than yours? Would you confront them about what they’ve been “hiding from you,” or cut them out of your life because they’re some kind of “freak?” Maybe you’d be sure to tell them that it’s really cool that they were brave enough to live that way… because you’re just such a good friend, you might say, you’re glad to hang around!
Some folks, from what I understand, go around looking for left-handed people to date — apparently they find “South-Paws” a big turn-on. Here I would have figured that there’s a whole lot more to a person than which hand they feel more comfortable using to write or pick up objects, but that doesn’t seem to matter to these self-described “enthusiasts” and “fans.”
As I said, I do know a few left-handed people, but to the best of my awareness, they don’t exclusively associate with and date other lefties, and don’t spend all their time talking about how they’d never dream of trying to associate with those more mainstream righties… then again, the fact that I am right-handed myself means I might not see much of that talk after all…
By this point, some of you will have picked up on the analogy. For the rest of you:
Do you know how many people in your life are transgender?
I have some idea; I know there are several — myself included — but it isn’t something that I really pay lots of attention to. I do know a few trans* folks who make a point of mentioning that fact nearly every chance they get… and if that’s what works for them, great! I know others who never bring it up publicly at all. I mention it sometimes, and it comes up with others on occasion, but it isn’t nearly the basis of my identity any more than most folks who are left-handed frame their entire existence around being “sinister.”
Unfortunately, there are many folks who go around looking exclusively for trans* people to date — they’re really turned on by one small physical aspect of trans* people, at the expense of acknowledging the rest of the individual they’re fixated on. It’s creepy and unwelcome.
I also see some trans* men and women who surround themselves with other trans* people, who make their entire social circles trans*-only and rarely associate with anyone else. To me, it seems a bit self-defeating, but then I’ve never much seen the benefit of separatism; standing in an echo chamber seems nice enough at first, hearing voices exactly like your own.. until someone in your little group has a slightly different take on a topic, and it doesn’t take long before the same oppressive structures replicate themselves in your little “like-minded” group.
Anyway, the long and short of it is, some women have penises, and some men have vaginas. Get over it!