The exploratory mindset

An interesting post from July that I didn’t see at the time – by Joel Nowak –

So I am watching this thing play out on “Free Thought” Blogs where a blogger is being harassed and bullied to the point where she may well leave the site because a pro-trans activist who was “monitoring her” saw her post this thread to a facebook gender critical group about how questions such as “Do you believe trans women are women, yes or no?” may be overly simplistic and “anti-thought”. I do not know this blogger but I feel for her predicament. For simply starting this discussion, not even on Free Thought Blogs, members there are accusing her of a “thought crime” and demanding that she be expelled from the community immediately. Those demanding her expulsion are insisting that of course all transwomen are women. Fair enough … however I do have something to say here.

I am still trying to sort things out for myself, but part of my lived experience was that I was for a long period of my life a transwoman who identified as female.

And then he changed.

It was also something that, in my case, I outgrew because I realized that how I defined myself and how I came to understand the roles of sex and gender in my life had changed as I grew older. One thing I realized for myself, and this is very important for MY identity today, is that I was NEVER female in any way. I am male. I always was and I always will be. Now I know that by my saying that a lot of people will say “Ok this was a guy who just believed he was a transwoman and was mistaken.” Ok, you can think that if you want, but I assure you I WAS a transwoman. It is actually uncomfortable for me to say this, especially since I am doing the guy thing right now, but that is part of who I am and I can’t really be in denial about it.

This is one example – just one of many – of why I decline to answer “yes or no” questions unless they are such simple questions that it’s not a problem. What he says there is complicated. How we think of ourselves is complicated, and it’s subject to change over time. It’s a mistake to be absolutist and doctrinaire about it.

And I also think that is why I get a little peeved when I see all of this identity policing going on. When I see people like this current blogger getting beaten down for asking a fair question I am watching the same forces at work that make it hard for me to try to explore my own identity. Through intimidation it becomes yet another source of shame, scaring me back into my shell … almost.

See? See? This is what I mean, it’s what I’ve meant all along and still mean. We get to explore. We all get to explore, cis as well as trans, trans as well as cis. What the fools at Purethought Blogs did to me does not foster a climate friendly to exploration.

My journey has been real. I won’t let anyone define what sex I am or have been at various stages of my life based on their notion of political correctness. I am male and always have been … no matter what surgeries, legal name changes or social changes I have been through over the years. This is how I define myself. This is my right. You can define yourself as you please.  That is absolutely your right as well (and you too should defend it!) However, people should not be punished for asking questions based on honest and respectful  intellectual curiosity. That usually ends up pretty poorly for all of us.

Exactly so.

8 Responses to “The exploratory mindset”