Trans – A Social Construct: Will Van Stone Jr

I have a theory and it’d not about bunnies. Haha, a Buffy the Vampire Slayer joke that has jack-squat to do with this post but I just couldn’t stop myself; Buffy forever! But, seriously, there are some thoughts – perhaps of an unpopular variety – that I want to put out there for public consumption, digestion and regurgitation. Here’s to (maybe) an energized conversation that doesn’t include too many mean names (but if you feel to use those mean names, please try some originality; really go for the gold).

Okay, first thing: I not trans. Now that shouldn’t matter but some people might wonder as they read through this so I figured I’d answer that question before it’s asked, though knowing that might make my ideas not worth the ink used on the first draft but for transparency’s sake, there it is. Also, I am a member of the LGBTQIA+ community (you’ll find my peoples under the third letter there) which I only say ‘cause that question might also pop up in some brains and that’s cool ‘cause I don’t mind saying it. So, yeah.

Alright, let’s begin, eh?

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Just as “race” isn’t a real thing science documents, and rightfully so, I don’t think a person being trans is a biological fact; I believe it’s a social construct designed to create a space (or spaces) for people who don’t fit into the rigid gender roles society has, over many generations, instilled in us as normal. Well, those ideals aren’t as natural as our ancestors would want us to believe as cis is also a social construct and has no basis in biology.

Still there? I know, this might all seem rather close to mean or offensive or bigoted but it’s not, I promise. This is in no way a slap against those within the trans community; I’m not denying a person’s feelings about who and what they are and would never tell someone they’re wrong in how they identify. This is about questions I have surrounding the use of labels to identify things that shouldn’t need to be divvied up into their own little sections of humanity.

Humans have two genders (in this piece, I’m simply referring to biology and not personal identification; I’d never tell someone they weren’t the gender they felt) for one reason: that’s how we reproduce. The differences between boys and girls aren’t enough to bother dividing us yet that’s what societies do and have done for so long it can feel like science might back it. And this separation has helped gender roles develop to the point that they, too, felt natural and right but as the twenty-first century is showing us, it’s anything but. The only time when any kind of division is necessary is when it’s medical; as I am the proud owner of a penis, I’ll never be on a gynecologist’s table with my feet in stirrups because, duh. Basically, gender is a biological fact but any effect gender has on someone’s thoughts and actions and everything that makes an individual who they are is purely based on gender roles, a social construct.

Sexuality falls into the same trap as gender; whether a person is straight, gay, bi or any of the other ones which I can’t think of at the moment, is a creation of society. It’s been my long held belief that we are all bisexual (for lack of a better word) and fall along the wide spectrum because of religious dogma. Think about it; how many religions have a commandment similar to “go make lots of babies” somewhere in their histories? It was (and for some, is) super important to make more people like them and, because of science, only sex between boys and girls result in future generations (for now). Male-female pairings became the norm, in some places the law. In order for population growth that didn’t involve conquering, mating needed to be an imperative. Due to this, it’s no surprise that when someone came out and said “um, I’m totes into playing with the same sex” that they were seen as wrong and, thus, persecuted (a reaction not always seen in the ancient world, by the way). As we’ve come along, we’ve learned that there’s no danger in same sex relationships and poof sexualities became a thing and were given classifications.

So why are there so few non-straight people if it’s the way we’re meant to be? You try fighting against an entire, worldwide way of thinking. If we could get past this, I’ve no doubt that we’d see more and more people coming out as bisexual (as I also believe that gay is the opposite extreme to straight; rebel without a clue sort of thing).

The separation is what’s unnatural. Want proof? Check out any high school or college campus. The lines between sexualities are very blurred. The freedom of younger generations allow us all to see glimpses of the way we’re meant to be as it’s when we’re young we are more apt to experiment.

Okay, so now let’s get back to the point of this piece; I’ve put it off long enough and I’m sure you all have things to do.

Gender identity is a social construct created in response to some individuals who seem to defy the norm. They’re not, by the way, defying normal; they’re simply breaking away from what we’re taught about what it means to be a boy and what it means to be a girl and defining themselves in their own way. The truth is it means nothing once you accept the lack of differences between the genders. There’s no real way to feel like a boy; it’s simply what we’ve been taught how a boy should feel and act and react and say and all the other lessons that have been passed down in the names of masculine and feminine and the such. Forget those terms; they’re meaningless. Forget boys’ and girls’ departments. Forget men’s and women’s rooms. Forget that half the population has differing genitals. Forget all that you’ve been taught about how male and female are two halves of the human race.

Can you do that? I know, it’s a lot to let go of but I truly believe that we’re on our way there and that one day the social constructs that tell us how we should be will be cast off and sexuality and identity will become what it’s meant to be: personal and fluid and no one will need to label themselves as one way or another in order to find a way to fit in somewhere because we’ll all be part of one massive group of just people. After all, we’re all one race. Science says so.


unnamed-9Will Van Stone Jr. is a writer and an artist, born in Bridgeport, CT. He has always looked to the future and dreamed of what could be. After writing a short story in seventh grade, he discovered a love of writing that rivaled his love of reading. He currently lives in Ansonia, CT surrounded by character sketches and outlines. See more of his writing (and some artwork) at his site and find him on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, PinterestDeviantArt and Google+.

 

 

 

 

 


Hi y’all, Courtney here! I wanted to take a moment to comment on this article by my friend Will. I personally thought it was really awesome to read something like this from a cisgender person. He admits he isn’t one of us and that he may not “get it” per say, but he also talks about how gender is a social construct and I love the idea that if that construct didn’t exist, maybe we wouldn’t find the need to label ourselves in these ways.

I would also like to note that I respect his views on things, but would like to take a chance to talk more about race. “Race refers to a person’s physical characteristics, such as bone structure and skin, hair, or eye color.” However, Will makes a good point that scientifically, differences in race is extremely weak being really only skin color. But I want to make sure everyone is aware that he is referring to race (in a scientific way) and not ethnicity.

But I would love to know your thoughts on his theory!  

One thought on “Trans – A Social Construct: Will Van Stone Jr

  1. OK, First, thank you, Will for putting some serious thought into this, and for beginning by making your (what is the right word?) position(?) on the spectra under discussion clear. Maybe I should follow suit – cis male with no significant erotic interest in other males, and not in the least bothered that others are different in various ways (I know, for many in this society, that un-botheredness almost counts as a form of queer in an of itself, but so it goes.) All that being said, I agree that the categories and definitions we use in talking about sex, gender, identity in regard to them, and roles are social constructs. And, how we talk about things, the words we use, largely determines what we think is real and important. I don’t think we know well yet the genetic and biological underpinnings of our mental processes (Human sexuality lives far more between the ears than between the legs.) in general to say what may lead on that level to someone being cis or some variety or combination of LGBTQIA+. Whatever the details of that may be or not, people get to self-define and choose whatever label (and pronouns) seems to fit. And, to swing back toward the main thrust of the piece, recognizing that those labels and such are social constructs rather than concrete realities is important and potentially liberating.

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