Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Violence and Gender Norms

I was listening to a Savage Love podcast and the topic of transgender violence came up. In particular, he noted the rise in anti-transgender violence. He never talked about possible reasons for this. If I had to conjecture, I'd have to say that it's the result of a combination of factors.

  1. More people are probably realizing that they are transgender (is that the proper way to phrase it? If not, let me know).
  2. Those who do realize it are probably more likely to identify as such.
  3. Homophobia is becoming less acceptable in society, so haters have to have a group to hate on.
  4. Transgender people are being more vocal about deserving equal treatment. They have gone from a very fringe group to being a more common group that is asking for the equality they deserve and insist that, while they are different, they aren't abnormal. It's the insistence of equal treatment that I think sets haters off.
  5. This leads to an increase in violence against transgenders and the last part is that the victims are probably much more likely not only to report the crime, but to report it as an anti-transgender crime.
That's not my main point with this though. What I really want to talk about is the bullshit that people give in the anti-transgender argument. One argument is the idea that transgendered individuals are attacking or trying to undo gender norms. 

Gender norms aren't a thing. Gender norms are a statistic. A gender norm is looking at a population and saying, "Most men are like this, and most women are like this." Gender norms are a function of society, society is not a function of gender norms. You can't destroy gender norms, they'll always exist. The problem with gender norms is how people view them. Supporters of discrimination view gender norms as rules and not as a description of what is typical.

So why does it matter if someone challenges your ideas of gender? It doesn't change who you are. It doesn't harm you in any way. As far as 'protecting gender norms' goes, that's as dumb as 'protecting the sanctity of marriage'. Gender norms are just a description of trends in society, and the sanctity of marriage is something that's just plain made up. 

The lengths to which people make up bullshit to justify their bigoted ideas astounds me.