By Craig Hardegree | 

Transgender people are not the ones who are confused. They’re simply being who they are. The confusion results from our societal obsession with forcing everyone into one of two rigorously-defined boxes, so we’re always clear at all times as to who’s who and what’s what — it’s how we order society.

And control people.

We create social constructs and arbitrarily assign attributes so we know who belongs in what box. That way, we don’t have to fight millions of individual battles to keep people in their places. We just put the box where we want it.

And that all works well until people start straying outside their box. People in the black box are supposed to pray and cry and peacefully march and link arms and sing We Shall Overcome and slap their kids upside the head on national TV. Black Lives Matter strayed outside the box. People in the female box make lower wages and don’t challenge God-established male authority. Hillary’s out of the box.

Society desperately needs people to conform to the arbitrary attributes of their box in order to maintain stability and predictability. People in the female box need to wear pink and frills and ruffles and eyeliner and mascara and panty-hose and pumps even though there is nothing in law or science or religion or practicality that indicates or dictates that any of that is inherently feminine. But we all agree that it is and we treat it like law etched in stone by the finger of God himself on top of Mount Sinai.

Transgender people have left the boxes.

It’s hard to know whether they see themselves as being in the other box, and therefore adopt the attributes of the other box — just as the people born in that box do — or whether they are so intrinsically drawn to the attributes of the other box, that they begin identifying as being in the other box as an accommodation to society that has a collective freak-out over people born in one box adopting the arbitrarily-assigned attributes of the other box. Has he since birth been so strongly drawn to soft and pretty and pink and sweet and intuitive and emotional and so repulsed by rough and crass and John Deere green that he identifies as female; or, did he identify as female so strongly that he adopted the attributes arbitrarily assigned to females by society? Even he may not know. Even after years of inward reflection.

But it doesn’t matter. Either way, the result is the same.

And either way, the problem is the same — the problem lies with society thinking that people born in one box must adopt the attributes of that box or be seen as a freak and subjected to societal ridicule until they’re shamed back into their box. Or, until they fully get into the other box. Because society can’t handle the confusion and uncertainty of people permanently living in neither box.

That’s why the North Carolina law that seeks to define “true” transgender is so offensive. They’re okay with people choosing the bathroom designed for the other box, as long as they fully get into the other box by objectively-verifiable means — legal name change or surgical body modification. But transgenders don’t want to be in the other box. They want to be themselves.

If you don’t understand how deeply demeaning it is to suggest they must legally do this or surgically do that to be accepted for who they are, think how you would feel if a law were passed saying you’re not a true woman until you surgically enhance your breasts up to 38 DD.

It’s also deeply offensive to ask, “so are you going to go all the way?” All the way to what? To society’s hatched-out-of-Hell ideals as to the way a perfect woman is “supposed” to look or act or function? As a “normal” man, would you be offended if someone walked up to you and asked, “so are you going to get a ten-inch penile implant one day so you’ll be a true male?”

It’s none of anybody’s business.

This is also why the well-intended but misdirected suggestion of a third box is offensive. And it’s why you shouldn’t put an “ed” or an “ing” on the end of transgender. Transgender is not a destination or a process with an end-point. They are not “transgendering” towards a third box and “transgendered” when they get there. There is no third box.


It’s a continuum. And where they are today along that continuum, may be different from where they are tomorrow. And the movement could be in either direction. And that still doesn’t mean they are transgendering or transitioning toward an eventual end-point. They are following their hearts.

They are today, who they are today.

They are human beings.

They’re just not in a box.


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