philosofunk

what if the worlds/were a series of steps/what if the steps/joined back at the margin


Leave a comment

Caitlyn Jenner’s Freak Show

Into episode four of “I Am Cait”, Caitlyn’s transgender identity is becoming more developed, but she is still hyper aware of what she calls the “freak factor” in her new life. In a conversation with Kate Borenstein, one of the most influential transwomen in America and author of Gender Outlaw, Cait asks “How do you get over the freak factor?” to which Borenstien answers “Owning the freak factor with heart”. Cait and Borenstein mindfully discuss how there will always be some segment of the population who views transpeople as “freaks” and as such feels that they are lesser humans than cis gendered people. For Caitlyn, this is intensified since her journey as a transwoman is being actively exploited by the paparazzi. To cis gendered people who feel transfolks are “freaks”, there is little understanding of how sex and gender are different and sometimes unrelated, and there is active fear about the transidentity and what it means for the person’s worldview. To understand that the gender binary is false is to unlearn something that was presented as true for much of one’s life. Cait asks Borenstein “How do you get over the freak factor” to which she replies “Owning the freak show with heart”. Essentially, Borenstein tells Cait, there is nothing a transperson can do about the people who feel they are a freak, their minds are closed and their perspective is too harsh to listen. However, one can relish in their freakishness and make it part of their identity, to understand it, to own it. This is a monumental task for transpeople, and requires the support of allies.

Borenstein clarifies what she thinks an ally is versus what is generally thought of as an ally. To most people, they assume that they are trans allied if they are accepting of the trans identity. For Borenstein, this does not meet the burden of an ally by simply being supportive. Active support is helpful, but action yields more results. An ally must be a person who responds to the needs of transpeople, as she says ally means “you ask me what I need, I tell you, and you tell me how much you can actually supply”. She then goes on to give the example that she may need an ally to act as a body guard in a crowd that she needs to get through. Why would Borenstein need an ally in a crowd of people? This is because transbodies are viewed as public property due to the freak factor. The twentieth century was awash with “freak shows” which treated people with abnormalities as exploitable commodities that the public had a right to access. All the humanity for these exploited people in the freak shows was lost, they were simply an exhibit to ponder. A transperson may not feel comfortable in a crowd because of how their bodies have been treated by cis people, as if they are an exotic specimen to be inspected by touching or being asked inappropriate questions. Cis people who feel transpeople are “freaks” are also curious about transbodies and trans lives. They will often become preoccupied with the transperson’s genitalia and their private sexual lives and sexual orientation. To be made into a freak is to have one’s personal space invaded and colonized. Allies must work in congruence with transpeople as to how best assess their most active needs and lessen the amount that the freak show factor has on them.

As Caitlyn’s family found out in episode one, Caitlyn is the same person as she was when she was Bruce, she just has a new identity to work into. Transpeople are still humans, their change of gender is akin to changing one’s clothes in terms of affecting the essence of a person. Clothing relects a peson’s thoughts about their identity, and chosing the proper gender is the way for transpeople to express to their satisfaction their identities. Obviously, the person will change with a transition, but the core of them remains intact. The freak factor takes this away and asserts that a person is the summation of their ability to be “normal” and any deviancy from normalization is paramount to betraying what is natural and what is right. Borenstein reminds Cait that the beginning of a transition is like a second adolescence, a time when people are very vulnerable to bullying and the outside opinion of the world. Acting as a true ally requires cis people to fight the notion that a person is a freak simply for transitioning genders and actively challenge real cis gendered people when they make transphobic comments.

While this episode positively and successfully gave cis people information about how to be an ally, as is a goal of Cait with this show, it also revealed the extent of the privilege Cait has as a rich trans person living in Los Angeles. There are several support groups and resources mentioned in the show for transpeople in Los Angeles, which makes sense as it is a large city in California and the center of the entertainment industry. However, these resources and support groups often do not exist for transpeople living in areas like the South or the Midwest whose populations may not be as comfortable with the idea of transpeople. Cait has professionals come to the house who specialize in trans issues to help support her through her transition, another thing many transpeople do not have access to due to location and the culture of where they live. This is an issue the show has yet to address or acknowledge in a significant way. There was a nod in the first episode by Cait to her privileged nature, however, the show overall has failed to note how privileged Cait is actively over other transpeople. It is sometimes a frustrating feature of the show because few things about Cait’s life are humble, and it would be constructive to see Cait humble herself and acknowledge with active mindfulness that the support she receives is a privilege that few are able to get.


Leave a comment

Caitlyn Jenner’s Ignorance Problem

People who are transgender have lived very diverse lives because they have either lived as both genders, a combination of genders, or an ambiguity of gender. If a person had spent most of their life classified as male or masculine and then goes on to transform into a very feminine version of womanhood, then they are going to carry the experiences they had as male over to their experience after their transition. In other words, changing a person’s gender does not entirely change who a person is despite undergoing a massive identity change.

On the second episode of “I Am Cait”, Caitlyn gets introduced to a bunch of important trans women. This is presented like the new girl getting invited to the sleepover for the first time. By this point, the enormity of Cait’s privilege is astounding. She has a lot of cash, a lot of employees and advisers, and a lot of PR persons working on her image. She is more powerful than the average person by many levels of magnitude, and has the power to represent the trans community to the greater world because of her notoriety. This is a heavy burden. She must do it right because people’s lives are depending on it, a point she made in the first episode. But by the second, it is revealed that this might pose more of a problem because of who Bruce Jenner was versus who Caitlyn is capable of becoming.

Trans identities are both inherent and forged, natural and created, just like all other personalities. Experiences that shape us to peruse a perspective on the world are defining and important to a persons disposition. While Caitlyn was still Bruce, she achieved incredible feats in the athletic and celebrity world, fame and fortune were brought, and public scrutiny was applied. When she was married to Kris Kardashian, she raised her children in front of a camera and exposed a failing marriage to the world. Her political views are right wing, supporting isolation and boot-strap mentalities just like how her experiences could have shaped her to have these views. The old “if-I-can-do-it-anyone-can” is a very seductive mentality. To Caitlyn, all anyone has to do is work hard and they’ll get what they deserve. But most of us know, the world does not work like that. Not even a little sometimes, at points when a person is working so hard but so down on their luck that literally the worst thing in the world is happening to them. And this happens often to trans youth, the cost of being one’s own self, pursuing one’s own identity, has come at such a massive cost that they have lost everything, have no food, no where to live, no money, and are living on the streets. There are no bootstraps in this situation. There is only help to be taken.

This situation comes up in an awkward scene with the trans girls. These women are advocates and old timers, they have been transgender for a long time and have worked to make the world a better place for their brethren. They are gathered around, sharing cheese and wine, and the topic of the hardships on transpeople comes up. Caitlyn voices her right wing perspective that “handouts” will only harm people in need, to which all the women are visibly repulsed by. They are seeing Caitlyn for who she really is, the summation of experiences that makes up this person, the person who is beyond the gender or identity.

Fame is a process of isolation. There needs to be the presence of enigma with fame, of superficial royalty; fame is a cage. Caitlyn Jenner has been isolated from the trans community. Jennifer Finney Boylan says, “she wants to be our savior…but sometimes I’m not sure what gets through to her”. Boylan is the author of She’s Not There: Life in Two Genders and is a major trans rights advocate. On top of being away from an already isolated community, Caitlyn has been away from what could be called “normal people”. These trans women were part of some of the first hormone distribution underground scenes, or being part of drag scenes, or having to do sex work in order to pay for surgery. This is the most poignant moment of the episode because Caitlyn’s disconnect from a real person sharing their story about sex work was so telling of her overall suffering from general isolation. The best she could do was relay a book the person should read, Redefining Realness by Janet Mock. Its almost like for Caitlyn, these stories are abstractions, they aren’t real. Many things aren’t real to the rich and famous because of how insulated their worlds are; poverty, war, other economic hardships.

Its important to remember that Caitlyn Jenner is an executive producer and has control over the content. She is a major reality star, a person with star power who is not going to be portrayed audaciously by networkers but instead is going to be a part of crafting her appearance and image on her reality series. Jenner is making a very strategic decision to reveal her ignorance problem and expose the negativity associated with it. If she is going to take on the massive task of representing the trans community as the first major celebrity to transition in their lifetime, someone whose gender is actually tied to their success, then she needs to be real and honest about what her limitations are and how to improve on those limitations.

This is a big undertaking for any televisions series, but especially a reality television show. “I Am Cait” dropped fifty percent in audience size for the second episode, which unfortunately makes sense. It is a little difficult to peg who the program is for. On one hand, transwomen yes. But Caitlyn’s immense amount of privilege might get in the way of making “I Am Cait” a desirable program for struggling transwomen. Celebrity culture people, sure, but is this a topic they are interested enough in to tune in for one hour per week? Because of the marginalization of transpeople, “I Am Cait” is struggling with an audience problem as well, which again unfortunately makes sense. Instead of striving for ratings and audience numbers, perhaps “I Am Cait” should accept what it is: a one season documuseries about a rich and famous transwoman working to help the trans community.

If the producers of “I Am Cait” can continue the thread of exposing Caitlyn’s ignorance problem, then this television series could actually amount to something positive for the trans community. Obviously, the flashy money and hot shots that are nearly pornographic of Malibu take away from the positive feeling about a show where the protagonist is a part of a traditionally broke community. The California landscape porn shots are for the celebrity people, not the queer people. However, it is reasonable to expect limitations on what “I Am Cait” can accomplish for the trans community on the account of who Caitlyn Jenner is and what she is willing to accept about the world.


Leave a comment

White-washed “Stonewall”: Hollywood’s Version of the Truth

Hollywood is infamous for distorting historical truths in the name of better entertainment. Hollywood is also infamous for limiting staring roles for minority actors and as a result stunting the careers of many promising black actors. This time in the telling of the infamous queer riot in New York City, Hollywood has set aside key people of color for the queer movement and replaced them with cis male white actors. Key moments of history are being portrayed in favor of a more heteronormal sexualized version of the queer movement. See, Stonewall was sexy, and thats why you should come see our movie, says Hollywood.

danny

He is a sexy man-boy, someone anyone who is attracted to men would find enticing. He throws the first brick, which is symbolic of the entire rebellion, which happened in response to police harassment and raids. When members of the LGBTQ community violently reacted to the barrage of physical harassment and provocation, it wasn’t sexy or pretty. It was a group of people fighting dearly for their lives. In all fairness, Hollywood does have to operate on a sexiness factor, and sexing up the story a little is fair game for mass production. However, taking the power away from the marginalized people who were responsible for the entire ordeal is disrespectful.

Marsha P. Johnson is widely credited with throwing the first brick. This is her:

marsha p johnson

She is poor, she is marginalized, she is black, and she is trans. Her life was one of vulnerability and genuine originality. She worked to lift an entire community out of the broken mess that was created by the hatred of the greater world, and was beautiful in her own character and being. She and friend Slyvia Riveria created the group “Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR)” which was an advocacy street organization for transgender and gender queer people. She even had associations to Andy Warhol, who asked her what the “P” stood for in her name to which she replied “Pay it no mind”. To sass Andy in his day was a bold move, one that gained her notoriety among the New York queer and arts scene. She was also an AIDS activist in ACT UP, a now international organization that started in the streets of New York by gay and queer people seeking better care and research on the AIDS virus.

Her sexuality and sexual orientation are one of an obscure nature, not a lot of people share that sexuality or sexual attraction, so her story isn’t going to be considered by Hollywood producers to be a money maker. She could be a quirky side character, a mention in the film, a noted footnote, but not the focus of the film. The director of the film responded to criticism about ignoring Marsha in this message:

rolad

Very slick, very Hollywood, very “hey folks, remember its fictionalized, so its okay if we distort the reality a little bit”. Its classic solipsism, something that is taken for the perspective that is the more entertaining, relatable, normalized version of events. This means making the focus of a queer story, something that is already a marginalized perspective, into a cis-male white protagonist because in utility, he is the character the most number of people are going to be able to relate to. The truth is the casualty.

Many within the queer community are calling for a boycott of the film. I view it as the next Rent: a sterilized version of a very serious story where people where beaten, had their rights denied, and died. While I can appreciate that the story was told, the way in which it is conducted is very important to the dignity of the people who lived it. Ignoring Marsha P. Johnson is like ignoring George Washington, or saying that he was not that important in the American Revolution. Marsha is credited with throwing the first brick that sparked the riots. This is significant and not something that should be ignored.

If this had been an independent film, odds are that the story-line would have been more congruent with the truth. However, independent films are not as widely distributed so then not as many people would see the story of Stonewall. But, it is the fictionalized version of Stonewall, one where black trans people are ignored, the very people who held such an integral role within the movement. Hollywood needs to be questioned on this because it is ignorant to not have the main character have any connection to Marsha P. Johnson. If she is too strange to be a main character, than a supporting role would be a fair compromise. Besides, making the main character into a person of importance within the movement makes sense, and therefore it would be historically accurate to have him work with Marsha.

It is unfortunate when Hollywood gets shortsighted in the name of conformity and aesthetics.


2 Comments

Why Transgenderism Should Not Be Classified As A Mental Illness

A mental illness “is conceptualized as a clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome or pattern that occurs in an individual and that is associated with present distress (e.g., a painful symptom) or disability (i.e., impairment in one or more important areas of functioning) or with a significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain, disability, or an important loss of freedom”. Currently, transgenderism is classified as a mental illness, it is called “gender dysphoria” by the DSM-5. However, it should be noted that what constitutes a mental illness has changed over time, for example, homosexuality was a mental illness until the 1970s. Essentially, “DSM-IV notes that “… although this manual provides a classification of mental disorders, it must be admitted that no definition adequately specifies precise boundaries for the concept of ‘mental disorder.’ The concept of mental disorder, like many other concepts in medicine and science, lacks a consistent operational definition that covers all situations. All medical conditions are defined on various levels of abstraction”.

With this in mind, there are clear mental illness. Afflictions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia are real illnesses that impair, cause distress, and severely cause suffering for the person with the illness. However, manipulation of science for the benefit of overarching social norms is also a human phenomenon which has historically had tragic endings, such as classifying homosexuality as a mental disorder. There is evidence to support the claim that there are biological components to transgenderism, as there are obviously biological components to schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. However, to argue this is the entirety of a reasonable assertion that biological components equate a disorder is incorrect.

For some, being transgender is a disruptive experience. Most likely everyone has adjustments to make and changes to adhere to as a result of being transgender. For most, having mental illness is disruptive, and most everyone has to make adjustments and changes as a result of having a mental illness. However, similarities are not exactitude. For transgender children, most happily embrace their identity because they have not been conditioned to fear gender blending and transgenderism. For mentally ill children, most suffer and are in a level of pain because they are experiencing symptoms of serious illnesses.

Gender is a socialized institution. Sex is a biological component of an animal. One prescribed set of criteria exists for one sex and another for the other, however, that paradigm is incorrect and misleading itself. There are actually naturally many biological sexes, including intersexed persons, and there are many gender combinations that play off the diversity in natural biological sex. This has not yet been a legitimized concept within the heteronormative societal structure because it threatens the idea of the gender binary and that heterosexualism is the normative and default sexuality.

If variation in biological sex is natural, and gender is a social  construction, then how can it be logical that transgenderism is a mental illness? It makes much more sense to accept that transgenderism is a natural outgrowth of the diversity nature has to offer within the animal kingdom than to label it a mental illness. The upset and instability that transgender people may experience due to their identity has less to do with the chemicals in their brain and more to do with the nonacceptance transgender people experience in daily life.

Gender dysphoria supports itself as a mental illness by claiming sufferers are experiencing distress due to not being the opposite gender. While this may be true, it should theoretically be easy to transition into the other gender; the person dresses as that gender, adapts the mannerisms of that gender, and goes by a name identified with that gender. The experience many have, such as Caitlyn Jenner, is one of fear that they will not be accepted and rejected by others around them because of their gender identity, one which has been labelled as both abnormal and a mental illness. This then causes them distress and harm which then gets labelled as a mental illness.

The next goal of the trans movement must be to get “gender dysphoria” of the DSM-V because it is degrading to those who identify as transgender and disrespectful to those with legitimate mental illnesses; people should not be labelled as mentally ill just because they are different.


1 Comment

“I Am Cait”‘s Version of Reality

Caitlyn Jenner is a transgender superstar who is now famous for at least three distinct reason. First, as her birth gender, Caitlyn became an Olympic champion in the 1976 men’s decathlon and notably set a world record. Secondly, she was married to Kardashian matriarch Kris Kardashian and was part of E!‘s Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Now, thirdly, she has become a transgender superstar and has become the transgender “it girl” of the moment. Her Vanity Fair cover was massively important for transgender recognition and legitimization, and now she is the star of her own E! reality show, I Am Cait.

I am always skeptical about reality television because it is staged and a very odd part of our culture. The spectrum of reality television is nearly as diverse as that of sexuality, and some manifestations are more appealing to me than others. I’m not sure what I was afraid I Am Cait could turn out to be, so I put my skepticism aside and watched the first episode. I hoped for the best, after all it seemed that E! producers and PR persons knew that this was a major historical moment to be on the winning side of. Eventually rights and liberties win out over oppression and restriction.

I Am Cait is aware that it is privileged. Caitlyn Jenner mentions this at least once, her awareness that her experience is not typical of most trans experiences when coming out. She exclaims  that people die over this, transitioning, and that she has a safe and supportive environment to transition within, a privilege many trans people live without. Instead, many trans people live in fear of the public’s reaction to their identity, or even their family’s own reaction which could be violent itself. Caitlyn informs us that trans people have a higher rate of being victims to suicide and murder, and presents the problem as if there could be a solution. The underlying theme of I Am Cait is one of acceptance and understanding but not ignorance. It is glossy and fashionable but not without understanding and empathy.

Two major celebrities appear on the show, Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner. Kim’s bit in the show is light hearted and fashion oriented, something that lightens the mood and shows the audience that a person’s transition can be fun. Kylie’s appearance is a little more unclear since she has not seen her father since her transition. It does seem like a staged appearance for Kylie, a little bit of a reference to Caitlyn’s beginning monologue of many trans people not experiencing acceptance form their own families. We later learn that for the most part the Kardashian clan has largely been absent during Caitlyn’s transition. They offer kind words from the telephone but don’t see her in person. As a PR pro, Kylie also lightens the mood and brings her father blue hair extensions to put in her hair. Though funny, it doesn’t take away from the fact that Caitlyn clearly feels a little bit abandoned from her family from their lack of presence.

Caitlyn’s non-famous family also makes an appearance, and these people are seriously confused about pronoun usage. They constantly refer to Caitlyn as “Bruce” or “him” or other male pronouns. Caitlyn’s mother frets that her now daughter is violating a passage in the bible that forbids men from wearing female clothing. E! predictably overlay dramatic music during this scene, and a LGBTQ counselor awkwardly answers that since Caitlyn has always been a woman, even when she was Bruce, she is not violating anything biblical. This seems like an odd answer, but it gives at least enough relief to Caitlyn’s mother. The audience also learns that Caitlyn had been thinking about transitioning for at least thirty-five years from conversations with her sister. This surprised me, to have the full extent of how deep the secret went revealed on television. It proves the point that these things are never just out of the blue, they are identity issues that are confusing and should be sensitively handled by everyone around the trans person.

I Am Cait gives transgenderism dignity and legitimacy within a Hollywood frame. Prestige and privilege are mandatory, and a sad tale of epic proportions must be included in the entertainment in order to keep the viewer gripped. We learn about a trans teen who committed suicide after experiencing time and time again improper recognition from the adults around him. Quite simply, adults wanted to refer to him as a female, his birth sex, instead of as a male, his gender. To a frail teen ego and underdeveloped mind, this was devastating. It must have felt like that was what they world was going to be like for the rest of his like, confusion about his identity and lack of acceptance. It is easy to see why transgender people suffer from suicide at a rate that is nine times higher than the rest of the population. Including this teen’s story was a good thing to do for the show because it humanized the issue beyond celebrity Caitlyn and took the focus off of fashion, frivolity, and family and on to one of life and death, which was the point Caitlyn originally wanted to make at the beginning of the episode.

I plan on watching I Am Cait for the rest of the series mostly out of curiosity because I’d like to see how Hollywood will combine transgender advocacy with entertainment. After a first promising episode I believe it will successfully achieve its goals of coming off as entertaining and empathetic.


Leave a comment

What Transgenderism Is Part 2

In my last post, “What Transgenderism Is” I mistakenly stated that it is not viewed as a mental illness. It is called “Gender Identity Disorder” because it is viewed as a disruption of functional life, thus it is a disorder and classified in the DSM-5. I am unsure if I object to this classification. On one hand, if transgender individuals are classified as a mental ill, then they are afforded certain unique protections under the law. This could be positive for the transgender community. At the same time, it is questionable as to whether being transgender is actually a disorder, or if the greater nonacceptance society has bestowed on transgender individuals is the reason for the disruption and possible dysfunction in their lives.


2 Comments

What Transgenderism Is

Today I was surfing Reddit.com when I found an excellent thread called “ELI5 [explain like I’m 5]: How are transgendered individuals different from other dissociative disorders?”. Oh boy, I thought, there is so much ignorance in that one small statement. I am a person who has a hard time remembering that ignorance  does not always equate meanness or small mindedness, it just means a person doesn’t understand certain concepts or lacks all the facts or hasn’t done the research to properly articulate a point on a certain subject. I am ignorant to certain topics, such as car mechanics, but that does not mean I am not intelligent. So, I had to take a minute to remember that just because this person severely lacked an understanding of mental illness and gender identity does not mean that they are being intentionally malicious. They started the question like this:

red1

So this person is familiar with certain mental health terms but has a poor understanding of what they mean or how they are applicable in the real world. This was important for me to note, because “the more I think about it. The more it makes zero logical sense” was an indicator to me that this person doesn’t really think about things outside their own perspective, and is hopefully operating on a smartphone because their grammar is horrific. From point one, it is important to remember that a solipsistic perspective is one that has incredible difficulty imagining the other side.

It is important to note that transgenderism is not a mental illness. Body dysmorphic disorder has nothing to do with transgenderism, dissociative identity disorder does not either. Body dysmorphic disorder is when a person obsesses over perceived flaws with their body. This is different from being transgender because having the social and physical identity of the wrong gender is not a perceived flaw, it is an identity expression that exists on a larger scale than is widely accepted by heternormative society. For transgendered individuals, something isn’t incorrectly perceived, there really is something wrong with the discrepancy between the identity they had accumulated versus the identity they feel comfortable with. People with body dysmorphic disorder often have the perception that they have fat where there is none, for example, something which has little to nothing to do with identity. Dissociative identity disorder is when a person has more than one personality states, which means they can become confused, withdrawn, or apathetic to their surroundings when they are in an altered state, that being the other personality. It is not like what Hollywood has typically portrayed the illness as, a person with a bunch of wild personalities going crazy. It is more likely that a person experiencing an episode of disassociation would become markedly different in attitude, rather than a sudden bout of ranting and raving. Certainly, a transgendered individual can have both these illnesses but neither is the cause of being transgendered.

A redditor (user or Reddit.com) more or less explained this point:

red2

Unfortunately, this did not fully clarify the point for the inquisitor:

red3

It is important to look at the number of “points” this received because it is indicative of how cis-gendered people view this issue. On reddit.com a member can up-vote something if it adds to the discussion, or down-vote something if it does not add value to the discussion. Sometimes dumber things can get up-voted depending on the relevancy to the reddit.com culture. This post got up-voted 52 times, meaning at least fifty-two people shared similar sentiments. This is a medium up-vote, its not hundreds and certainly not thousands like some posts get, but its enough to indicate that this is a shared feeling among cis-gendered people enough to not get down-voted like it would in queer circles or academic circles.

It is also important to read the last paragraph thoroughly. The poster says “it really bothers me that people are taking their own lives when they are such great people”, so this person is admitting that they feel no malice against transgendered folk, and that they just really do not understand what transgendered people are going through. Since there is no way to listen to tone on internet posts, so the last sentence can either seem condescending or genuinely confused depending on the reader’s internal reading voice.

Panda-pup has a fantastic explanation for sparkreason:

red4

It is a calm, comprehensive rebuttal. Transgendered individuals do not enter into altered states nor do they imagine things about their body to be true that are not. They soberly have understood something about the discrepancy between biological sex and socialized gender, and that they are not personally part of the heternormative gender binary that has been traditionally presented as normal. In fact, there are many genders and gender expressions like there are sexualities and sexual expression. For example, a person can be hetero-romantic and bisexual, or homo-romantic and pansexual. A person can have a penis and be a woman, this is a difficult thing for some people to understand because we have been taught to believe that biological sex and gender are the exact same thing. To live as a woman or to live as a man is definitely a lifestyle choice, they are not the same type of life. Obviously being human we have things in common, but there are clear differences in the identity of a woman versus the identity of a man, including masculine women and feminine men. To be genderqueer, or a clear combination of masculine and feminine qualities, or androgynous, or a clear ambiguity of masculine and feminine qualities, is also a clear lifestyle and identity choice. To be cis-gendered is for your biological sex to match your prescribed gender, which is what the majority of people are. However, there is logical and reasonable explanations to having a transgender or gender fluid identity.