My beef isn’t so much with gender theory in and of itself, I agree with a good chunk of it.
My beef is with anyone who would have me believe the start and end of the reason I struggled with dysphoria was because gender is a social construction. That is, if they even acknowledge dysphoria as a phenomena some experience and engage with it beyond the unhelpful assertion that it can be used to pathologise.
Pregnancy used to be pathologised because it’s high risk. Many prefer or need to include medical care as part of managing it. Mercifully, we’ve moved on from a medical model without undermining access to those who chose or necessitate medical care as part of their pregnancy.
Most vision impairment is managed adequately via external support in the form of contact lenses or glasses. Most of us understand that those who are candidates and opt for laser surgery to physiologically modify the eye don’t take away from the merits of alternatives that don’t modify one’s eyeball(s). And some people’s vision impairment or total lack thereof can’t be addressed or not necessarily better via medical interventions. Again, context and personal preference are typically understood to matter and people directly affected by this are often trusted to know what’s best for them given the options available to them (in scenarios where they have adequate access to options.)
Take away message: acknowledging dysphoria is a thing does not necessarily lead to medical pathology and intervention. Dysphoria is not necessarily adequately managed via reflection on social constructions on its own, if at all.
My beef isn’t with people who disassociate to manage their bodies, and/or who put emphasis on how one navigate the world above their relationship to self.
My beef is with anyone who would have me believe that as long as I construct my life so others (MD prescribing T, surgeons and anyone who knew me prior to transition still in my life not included) don’t know my medical history, I can consistently forget my medical history, as though everyone else’s relationship to my body is what matters and not my own.
Certainly, other people’s relationship to my body matters a great deal in terms of constructing safety and other important things. But whether other people know about or why I have my scars, I do. I don’t think about them intentionally or constantly but they crop up in focus here and there. And thanks to untold amount of self-reflection, those moments are largely uneventful. Nothing else (than self-reflection) worked as well or often.
More power to you if:
disassociation does wonders for you
your own association/relationship to your body doesn’t matter much to you
didn’t have dysphoria to manage or could do so without resorting to medical transition
gender theory naval gazing soothes you
for some other reason, nothing about this post resonates with you
I’m relieved my issue wasn’t self-awareness or other people’s relationship to me. Because the moment I realised I’d always be self-aware of my transness, after being sold the narrative that my goal was to avoid this, was devastating until I realised it wasn’t an issue, in and of itself. And there will always be transphobic/gender essentialist people around reminding me without solicitation of their messed up notions about my life. But as long as I’m good with me, their shit is water off this duck’s back.