This is something I noticed for some time, and, it’s really started to annoy me and I want to call it out. But, I’m not trans*, so, if this is not my place in some way, or I get something wrong, please, let me know!
I am just very tired of people arguing against otherkin with the argument, “Being transgender is different, because brain scans have proved that trans* people have different brains.” As well as the problem to otherkin, people think this is supporting trans* people, but it’s not. It’s actually the opposite.
When you say this, you say that you don’t support trans* people because of their identities. Their identities mean nothing to you. You support trans* people because of their bodies. Because, in some way, the body says that they are that gender. The brain is part of the body, so, saying that “I accept this person as a woman because they have a ‘woman’s brain’”, is not very different from saying “I accept this person as a woman because they have a vagina”… it’s just moving it to a different part of the body, that needs to exist to “prove” that the person is biologically female in some way.
This is anti-trans*, because you are saying that how the person thinks of their self doesn’t matter. How the person experiences their self doesn’t matter. The only thing that matters is whether there is scientific evidence, or, another way of saying it, their body “matches their gender” in some way. That is cissexism, because it is the belief that gender has to match the physical body in some way to be “valid” and “real”.
This is anti-trans*, because, what if future evidence shows that the studies have flaws? What if we discover a group of trans* people who don’t have a “different brain type” that shows on a scan? (The studies I can see all talk about binary identifying people. Do non-binary trans* people have different brains? If they don’t, do the people who say this think non-binary trans* people are “valid” and “real”?) What if some trans* people show on brain scans and some don’t? The second people, are they “not real”?
To avoid these problems, and to respect trans* people, I believe the only way to do it is to accept people for their identities. Not because “their brains are different”. Not because medical science shows a proof (they were not trans* people before people scanned their brains?) But because they experience being trans*. Because, anything else has a risk of erasing some people who do identify as trans*, because they don’t match the science, and also, because it is not respectful to ignore the experiences that a person is telling you, and say, “I will only believe it when I see medical evidence”.
You think you are “just” doing this to otherkin, but, in a way, when you use this argument you are doing it to trans* people, too. You are saying, “I only believe you because someone who is not you gives you an official right to exist”.
To everyone who uses this argument, I want to ask: if new evidence appears tomorrow that proves all those brain studies are wrong, do you still support trans* people?
If you say “no”, then you don’t really support trans* people, not matter what you say.
If you say “yes”, then, your argument that you support trans* people “because their brains are different” is hypocrisy, and you’re just using it because you don’t have a better way to say, “I think trans* people are valid because that sounds like it makes sense to my brain, but otherkin are not valid because that doesn’t sound like it makes sense”. And you know that’s a bad argument, so you’re covering it up with “but trans* people have SCIENCE on their sides!” But, that doesn’t help trans* people at all, because, it’s not the right reason to support them.
So please, stop using that argument. The reason to support people’s identities is not “because science says there’s a difference”. The reason to support people’s identities is “because they identify that way”. And the time to support their identities is before science says anything… because, a long time before people ever think “we should do a study about this!”, people are struggling to have their identities accepted. And if you really believe that argument, you are just proving, you’re the kind of person who would not have supported trans* people then, when they were most vulnerable. You only were ready to support when the rest of society gives you a way to do it, without looking so “strange”.
And, that is not really support at all.
Though this wasn’t written by a trans* person, I do think that it’s incredibly accurate, and I think it’s something everyone needs to look at.
And for the record, for all of you people who think you’re being trans* allies by making posts like the ones addressed, about how you can “prove” we’re trans—you’re terrible allies. This post is how you be an ally; you respect people and their identities because it’s their identity and because it’s decent, not because research says you have to. (And if you’re trans* and making that argument, well. It’s not impossible for trans* people to be cissexist, y’know.)