It occurs to me that the key tenet of those who believe they were medically diagnosed and properly treated for Harry Benjamin Syndrome (HBS) is that since the medical community believed in their assertions about themselves and acted on those assertions with interventions, the rest of society has an obligation to believe those assertions too.
They often take this tenet to believe that anyone who challenges their assertions, even just by expressing that person’s own beliefs about their own transsexual experience, is attacking the identity of HBS sufferers and deserves to be silenced.
It’s my sense that the entire game here is a rejection of vulnerability.
Every human has a messy and ragged story about who they are. When we fear that story will cause us to be rejected, we try to control our presentation to put out a controlled and constructed story about how we would like to be seen, policing that story with defenses, with a good offense most often being the first choice. We try to knock down the credibility of those who challenge us to thwart the challenge.
To be vulnerable is to be exposed in that messy and ragged truth and letting others take us for who we are. Sure, we don’t expose everything, and we try to look nice, but vulnerability requires being open and honest about ourselves.
That’s a frightening thing, no doubt. And it’s especially frightening to someone who has been cast beyond the pale with stigma and abuse, someone who has suffered the pounding of the nail that stands up.
The transpeople I respect are the ones who want to get naked, want to be exposed, want to be vulnerable. They want to find a way to live in truth & honesty about their lives. And that truth & honesty always requires that they acknowledge that their history & biology aren’t exactly typical for their gender expression.
Vulnerability is hard, but, in my experience, it’s the only way to get the satisfaction we crave of being really embraced for who we really are.
It seems to me that people who need to repeatedly claim their own assertions to womanhood, demanding deference to their beliefs, and especially those who need to repeatedly try to silence those who they believe challenge those assertions, well, they aren’t really comfortable in themselves, aren’t comfortable in the idea that if they are seen for who they really are, twists and all, they can be lovable and valued.
Is fighting to demand your HBS diagnosis be valued over any challenge really just a rejection of human vulnerability, that openness which can connect us?