I believe that a large part of the reason that transsexuals are becoming more accepted today is because they are more visually convincing living as the opposite sex then they used to be in the past. Obviously crossdressers and those with gender dysphoria have existed throughout history, before the medical advances of this last century. In the past, a man trying to live as a woman could not blend in so easily. Because of this, in the past it seems like most cultures either embraced people like us as some kind of third gender, or they punished/killed them for their behavior.
Today, the situation is very different. With our medical advances, transsexuals can actually really look like the opposite sex, not only in public, but even while naked alone with a lover. What our doctors can do now is simply incredible and hard to believe. And that convincing look breeds acceptance. I see articles all the time that show pictures of transsexuals, men who truly look like women, with statements and captions like, “do I really look like a man using the woman’s bathroom?” “Shouldn’t I be treated equally to women since you can clearly see I am a woman?”
This kind of reasoning would not work if our medical procedures were not so advanced. If the men were not so amazingly well disguised as women, were their bodies not altered, this reasoning would not work. Even in our modern tolerant culture today, if there were no hormones or medical treatments, and men were simply just men wearing female clothing, they would not be so easily treated as “real women” by the majority of the population.
Many arguments that transsexuals are actually women and actually female (rather than men dressed as women) are emotional arguments. It is hard, even for me, to look at some transsexuals and state, “that person is still a male” when I see what looks like an incredibly beautiful woman. But such thinking is based on the beauty we see, based on our emotional response to the beauty that we see, and it is not based on reality. The person, while looking like a beautiful woman, is still an XY man, with a male brain, male DNA, and an altered male body. It’s not much different than being duped by special effects in a movie or a cleverly edited photo that gets shared as fake news. It’s an important lesson of our modern time: Don’t believe something is real just because it looks real.
The poster children and the poster adults for the transgender movement are the ones who are able to be really convincing and attractive as the opposite sex. They are the ones that make everyone else in the culture feel comfortable. People are more uncomfortable when they see someone that isn’t fitting all of their gender boxes, and who looks like some strange hybrid of masculinity and femininity.
The unfortunate thing for the transsexual community is that some of them do not appear so convincing as the opposite sex. And some cannot financially afford the myriad of surgeries and hormones and other treatments. I don’t think this kind of emotional argument based on beauty is really going to help transsexuals in the long run. They are arguing for acceptance, not based on who they are, or based on their condition, but because of their appearance. This is a sure fire way to isolate those who don’t pass very well. As if the standards of beauty in our culture weren’t terrible enough. They already make women go through eating disorders to live up to them, but now transsexuals are using arguments and lines of reasoning that may end up coming back to hurt them, by forcing them to live up to strict standards of beauty. They seem to be using arguments that will make their acceptance contingent on looking exactly like a real woman (or man).
But my bigger concern is this. I think people in the wider culture are being duped. If people would not accept someone who looks like a man in a dress to use a women’s bathroom, than they shouldn’t accept a man to use a women’s bathroom just because he looks like a female supermodel. It’s not consistent. The genetics are the same in each case. It’s just that one has a better disguise than the other.
Perhaps I should discuss the word acceptance. I think all people should be treated fairly and with respect. I want all people, including transsexuals, to feel safe, comfortable, and protected. But what I mean by acceptance is the wider culture embracing transsexualism, celebrating it, and going beyond treating transsexuals with respect, to actually believing that they have truly changed their sex.
And this I think is just foolish. If you wouldn’t view a man in a dress as a real woman, then why believe a transsexual is truly a woman, just because he has gone through surgeries and actually looks like a woman? Let’s not allow ourselves to be fooled by good disguises, or to make policy decisions based on how feminine or masculine people appear to be.