I want to write about a common phrase going around. The first is “Trans women are women”. The second, which is similar is “Trans men are men”. If you’ve been around medium or transgender forums or groups you will hear statements like this. Both of them are equally valid and equally interesting. Both of these claims bring up questions of the soul in ways that I have been thinking about.
First, it brings up the obvious questions: “What is a man?” or “What is a Woman?”. If the answer we give to these questions is simply based on what body parts we have or the sound of our voice, then it renders these statements meaningless. People can change their body parts through surgery and even change their voice with surgery and voice training. This leads to the idea that a man can become a woman or that a woman can become a man.
If, however, we believe a man or a woman has certain character qualities or roles in society. Then someone proves their manhood or womanhood in the way they behave. When a boy or man cries he is sometimes told he is acting like a girl or woman. Is that statement true? If crying makes someone a girl then any of us can be a girl!
But what about the reverse? What action does someone do to prove their manhood? In my experience, men think that the more women they have sex with the more of a man they are. This standard they have set automatically makes a virgin like me not a man at all!
The crazy rules society sets for us remind me of the many conflicting rules around who or what is a Christian. I was raised as a Christian and so I often compare things to this.
Some people say a Christian is someone who goes to church. Some say a Christian believes certain things about the death and resurrection of Jesus. Some say a Christian is someone who does good deeds and feeds the homeless or something like that. Which of them is right?
Maybe all of them are right and all of them are wrong. They are right because there are people who calls themselves Christians who do these things. They are also wrong because they think that their definition of a Christian is the only one.
All someone has to do to be a Christian is call themselves a Christian. If the Christians can do this, then so can transgender people. We can call ourselves male, female, nonbinary, genderfluid, or whatever other term people use these days. No one can say that we are objectively wrong, because nobody knows us like we can know ourself.
But what exactly is the truth? How can I know for sure that what I am telling people is the truth? I once asked Honesty the unicorn about this and I learned there is more than one truth. There is the truth of my body but also the truth of my soul. I will copy and paste that conversation from my book here so that you can fully understand the depth of it.
Chandler’s Honesty Part 4: Chapter 6: Which Truth to Tell
C: What is it that you say you can show me?
H: That telling the truth is not always as simple as you think. Sometimes there is more than one truth to tell and you might be torn over which to tell.
C: And how can you show me this?
H: With an example. When someone asks you if you are a man or a woman, which truth do you tell them? The truth of your body or the truth of your soul?
C: Is this a trick question?
H: Of course.
C: I do not know how to answer this question. There are too many assumptions, too many complications in how things are defined. What is the answer?
H: You can answer in any way you wish, but either way you are telling only half the truth, which can sometimes be very dangerous. So instead of answering either that you are a man or that you are a woman, you can answer: “It’s complicated”.
C: Yes, it is complicated. You’re right about that, but it does not do anything to answer the question.
H: Those who want to know the full story will take the time to listen to you explain the intricate details of who and what you are and how you feel. Those who don’t really care enough will hear you answer that it’s complicated and they will give up. This way those who only want to know what parts you were born with will go on to bug someone else instead but the more enlightened and curious will listen and get to know the real you.
C: Very clever! A way to sort between two types of people and save time when I don’t know which truth to tell.
H: This same technique can be used in other situations as well. If someone asks you if you believe in God, you can also answer that it’s complicated, because such questions are loaded with assumptions based on the culture, dominant religion, and the life experiences of the person asking. People think they know what a man or woman is and they think they know what God is but they don’t.
C: This is all true and sometimes it’s the best answer, but can I handle the complicated details of these things myself? Only after I understand it can I begin to explain it to those who want to understand me. I want to dive down and understand these things. Words very much confuse me because I assumed they had a meaning but now I’m not so sure. I know it’s complicated and you’re right. Sometimes there really is more than one truth to tell, but I want to know all the versions of the truth, not just part of it.