The Pope is right.
Transpeople are part of a bigger war against sexism.
On his flight back from Azerbaijan, the Pope called teaching about trans possibilities part of a war against marriage, but it’s the same thing. His marriage model is the heterosexist model of a human race divided by reproductive biology, who can each become whole only by coming together and making families. That’s my sexist model.
Everybody knows this, even the gay and lesbian people who have learned to depend on a very clear separation of humans by sex. Bisexuals narratives are regularly purged from their political movements as undercutting the “really one or the other” story line. If desire isn’t fixed — a world of just Kinsey 1 or 6s — then it is a choice, and can be challenged.
Identity must be binary, and whatever we did before was just some kind of falsehood, some kind of cover or defence. That’s the story and they stick to it.
The Roman Catholic church power structure is highly patriarchal. Only those who are male can go beyond a certain point, can be ordained as priests. It’s been that way forever and the men at the top want it to stay that way, no matter how much women are challenging the edges.
They do this, they tell us, because they know what is best for women and children. By following the dictates of their belief, they take a paternal view towards women, protecting the angels who God has made for a special purpose which is not standing with real power in the church.
This argument has always been made by those assert they who keep people down out of kindness because they just aren’t capable of more, due to their skin colour, their heathen beliefs, their reproductive biology or their queer leanings.
When it is pointed out that this position allows them to consolidate power and economic benefits, well, they just coo and say that it’s too complicated for us to understand and we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about things like that. There is a reason men vote for the family and women are protected from such tawdry and difficult things, they said.
The women’s movement, the gay and lesbian liberation movement, well, it’s all been part of what many call a “war on marriage.” God made us in a certain way, so when those in power impose structures that respect that way, they are just doing it out of respect, kindness, godliness and protection.
Those other movements, though, accepted that humans were easy to categorize into two boxes based on reproductive biology.
Transpeople and bisexuals , though, well, we say that reproductive biology doesn’t define and limit us, that who we really are is beyond that.
What happens when human reproductive biology becomes even more aided by medical technology? Can males gestate babies, are there possibilities for ex-vitro development, or will we really be able to change the sex, the reproductive biology of a body?
It’s easy to imagine all of this coming. And it’s easy to understand how that will rip apart power structures based on sexual binaries lead by people who claim to “protect marriage.”
"This is against nature," he said. "It is one thing when someone has this tendency ... and it is another matter to teach this in school." "To change the mentality -- I call this ideological colonization," the Pope said. The Pope said he still spends time with transgender people, leading them closer to God.
Are we against nature, or are we against the social structures, the power structures, that are based on some kind of reading of nature?
Transpeople claim that we express our nature in a society where that expression is very challenging because rather than understanding nature as a linked system, full of continuums, we want to impose constructed binaries on nature. With such ideas deeply embedded in language, how to we find a way to express where we are beyond?
Nature made some weaker, less capable, more needing of being cared for by the strong and smart. As much as our hearts may flutter at the thought of being cared for and protected, we know that to give our destiny to someone else is just abandoning our own agency, our power to speak and advocate for people like us.
Is it possible to be trans in the world, claiming that our nature lies in our knowledge, our heart rather than in our reproductive biology, and not be part of a war against sexism, against heterosexism? Is claiming that war is a a war against “marriage” an essential difference, or is it just a political messaging ploy to marginalize and impeach our actions?
The road to equality is a road to equality. Separate but equal never is, at least according to the US Supreme Court. Trying to defend the things we like about separation is trying to resist equality, trying to keep the walls up to keep out any challenge to our traditional choices.
Does “closer to God” or “closer to nature” mean that we need to accept not only the way we are are born but also the social conventions traditionally written onto that biology, the meaning others assign to the externals?
Or does “closer to God” or “closer to nature” mean we need to go inside and explore beyond traditions, believing that spirit is the essence, not the body?
Personally, I have always been in favour of gender but against compulsory gendering. I find defining the boundaries of social roles by dint of reproductive biology to be sexist, in the same way that I find defining the boundaries of social roles by dint of skin colour & appearance to be racist.
There was a time when we wanted to assert that trans was sickness, a birth defect to be cured, that once we were fixed we could just take our place in the binary. That assertion, though, was not inclusive or empowering, instead leaving us abject and denied a voice that encompassed all of who we are.
Transpeople tell the world that who we are and who we need to be in the world is defined by something other than our reproductive biology. We say that the compulsory gender roles placed on us are crippling, destructive and deny us the ability to connect with our creation in a profound way.
That is a position against sexism, against separating humans by reproductive biology, even if some choose, for their own reasons, to call it a position against marriage, against family.
I don’t want to be at war with anyone, but if they choose to see me as an enemy of all that is right, holy and virtuous, well, that’s a battle they chose to pick.
Humans moving beyond the constructed social oppression around reproductive biology just seems to be a quest against sexism.
At least it does to me.