The discussion I triggered is still going on the local list.
They still want to minimize the differences between men and women, to say there is no essential difference. (Remember, I say there is no fundamental difference, but there are essential differences.)
But one of them has pulled out a 1993 Deborah Tannen essay from the NYT that has been copied (and title changed) by a professor.
I remember doing Tannen in the early 1990’s. And she did her own research and is so much better than Brizendine, who just seemed to find research she could (mis)use to justify her on opinions.
If they are finding Tannen, and responding to her as something new and insightful, well, then I have to let them go and do the work.
One of my favourite stories from Tannen is when she reviews a tape of a conversation between boys that she had dismissed because they didn’t look like they were being intimate, and listens to the content. She realizes how powerful the conversation is, and has to rethink what she expects of intimacy.
Tannen does very well talk about essential differences, even while honoring fundamental similarities.
But this whole thing just reminds me why I am such a bad leader inside the community. People grow, change and heal in their own time, not in mine. They have to do their own work.
The answer to this comes from an old management textbook. People respect those who can talk outside. It’s not talking to transpeople that is important to me, it is talking to the world about trans. And if the world listens, well, then transpeople need to listen too. It’s the external response that gives credibility, the only power checking tool that works.
It’s the same premise as “no one is a star in their hometown.” To make it, a band has to make it somewhere bigger, then come back and get the acclaim.
May they take the walk I have taken with strength and verve.
And, I suppose, even though it is hard for me to say, may I take the further walk I need to take with strength and verve, too.