As a preface, I'll define some terms for how I'll be using them in this post. As I said in my last post, a man is someone who wants to be seen as male, a woman is someone who wants to be seen as female, and a nonbinary person is someone who wants to be seen as neither. Gender, similarly, is the part of a person that relates to how they want to be seen with regard to sex. My gender, for example, is female because I want to be seen as such. Gender identity is how someone perceives their own gender. My current gender identity is female because I believe myself to be a woman but it used to be nonbinary because I believed myself to be nonbinary. Gender roles are the set of non-inherent, cultural norms for a particular gender. Sex is related to biology, ie my biological sex is male. I'll also say that I get a bit passionate during this post because I am legitimately offended by the notion of gender abolition but I hope that you don't take this as any sort of attack on your character. Sidenote: Congrats on coming out as bi!!!
Answer to the above question: I don't know. lol. Why are you bisexual? Why does that person have ADHD? Why is that person 6'4? The why simply doesn't matter; the what does and the what of this is just as you stated: I, a biological male, would like to be seen as a woman. Let's clear this up. I think where you go very wrong in saying that the gratification that I receive when referred to with female language is a result of commodification is that you conflate gender and gender roles. Gender roles are often acted upon for profit (see: r/pointlesslygendered) but gender, given that it is a wholly internal feeling, cannot be. Furthermore, the nonbinary gender exists because some people feel that they are neither men nor women, not because people want to feel special (though that can be a reason that someone might identify as nonbinary). In saying that everyone is technically nonbinary, you make the same mistake again: gender and gender roles are wholly different concepts. Everyone is technically gender nonconforming in some aspect (though using this level of techinicality destroys the usefulness of words like GNC in the first place) but few people are nonbinary. As for these labels being undefinable, refer to my preface. If you want to say that we shouldn't talk about this because there are more important concerns in the world, I suggest that we stop talking about both gender and mental health alike and focus 100% of our resources on fighting climate change. This isn't a zero sum game.It does beg the question though, why should someone who is not biologically of that sex want to seen as that sex?
Why should it matter what you identify as? Does a feeling really require explanation?
As has been said, your identity is not above critique. If you feel happiness if someone calls you "she" or "he" or "they" that is nice, but it is important to recognize that for what it is- it's a superficial gratification that is a result of a consumerist society where everything, including identity is commodified. A label like non-binary, for example, only exists because it is a superficial way for people to claim a unique label even though everyone is ultimately nonbinary because no one truly conforms to gender roles. As a society, we should avoid placing too much stake on these undefinable labels so we can focus more on deeper underlying concerns related to our mental health.
I am hugely confused by your first paragraph and wish that you did go into more depth with that train of thought. As for the negatives, while there are legitimate concerns to be had about young people transitioning, confusion regarding trans identity, and detransitioning, puberty blockers is simply not it. If you have any research you'd like to share on the harm of puberty blockers, feel free to share them. From what I found, however, according to the Mayo Clinic, "If an adolescent child stops taking GnRH analogues, puberty will resume" and furthermore, puberty blockers are given with the intent of "providing time to determine if a child's gender identity is long lasting." I'll reiterate that there are legitimate concerns regarding people whose gender objectively aligns with their biological sex but opt to transition for various other reasons but this is a pathetic excuse to invalidate the identities of trans people for whom transition is the best option for, which is to say the majority of us. I also haven't exactly seen any marketing for this trans-capitalism shit but again, feel free to prove me wrong.Furthermore, identities do not exist in a vacuum, as if an identity is determined to be valid it will influence other people to accept that identity even if it is not helpful for them. For the transgender identity this comes with both societal benefits and negative implications. The positives is that it allows for the acceptance of people who do not conform with society's assigned gender roles, and allows for a sort of self-love (even if it appears to be contradictory). I will not go more in-depth here because you can easily just read the previous pages in this thread.
As for negatives, it is a particularly tricky situation when identity is associated with a physical element- in the case of transgender identity it is hormones and/or surgeries. Children, who possess little to no critical thinking skills and are easily influenced by societal bias and trends, now come out as trans and are encouraged to go on harmful puberty blocking medication. Puberty is an especially confusing time for nearly all teenagers, especially teenage girls who now become the target of objectification and misogyny by many men and learn to hate their bodies. You do not have to be a genius to figure out that many vulnerable people, especially those with underlying mental illness look at changing their gender identity as an escape to their problems. The idea that physically healthy people should make drastic changes to their body because of a fantasy of the mind is already uncomfortable enough, and more so when you realize you cannot separate the selling of body modifications as a solution to mental problems from the motives of capitalism to make profit.
Let's lay out some more framework according to how I see things. Trans women and cis women are both women but are not the same. Someone who was "born and socialized as a male" can understand what it's like to be if they are one, ie trans women, but can't fully understand what it's like to be a cis woman. I've touched on trans women in women's sport in the past and I agree that in general, trans women shouldn't be allowed to compete in the female divisions but this is besides the point. Gender divisions in sports aren't about the female experience, they're about biological advantage. Can you outline what harm is done by allowing trans women in women's support groups? People who take offense to it because "people born as men claim to know a female experience" sound very much like people I'd rather not cater to. Where you go wrong in saying that gender identity minimizes biology and socialization is that you define woman as cis woman which to reiterate, trans women and cis women are both women but are not the same.There is also some controversy surrounding the issue of appropriation. When trans women enter women's spaces, and to a lesser extent when trans men enter men's spaces there have been outcry, and some of it is understandable. Someone born and socialized as a male can never truly no what it's like to be a woman, and vice versa. It is true that a lot of the rhetoric surrounding issues like who should enter what bathrooms consists of sexism and homophobia from conservatives. But there are legitimate complaints like about trans women in women's sports, and women's support groups, etc so women who have fought hard to dedicate places to themselves may find it offensive to that people born as men claim to know a female experience. Gender identity concepts at their worst in some sense minimize the biological reality of living and being socialized as a particular sex to caricatures.
If you think that I've made a case against gender roles, you're very wrong. I am pro-gender roles for anyone who wishes to particpate in them and am against the stigmatization of being GNC. Even as a GNC person, I plan to utilize stereotypically female presentation in a way that allows me to be read as a woman until I'm able to pass as female. In that respect, gender roles are critical for trans people who have not yet been able to or don't desire to undergo medical transition. Enforced gender roles are harmful and our culture does have a huge problem with this but this doesn't work as a case against gender roles, let alone gender identity, as a whole. Additionally, you don't need to read any gender theory to understand this stuff. All it takes is to engage with the ideas; I've never read any gender theory myself. I agree that individual trans people cannot be granted immunity on the basis of being trans but I will say that the cultural problems we have regarding gender roles stems almost completely from cis people, who compose over 99% of the population.This brings up the root problem I have with the concept: the reinforcement of traditional and sexist gender roles. Obviously, not every person who participates in it is complicit, for example Nalei's post above makes a nuanced case against sexist gender roles. But the existence alone of the idea of innate gender identity means that there will be many people who will understand that it means "if you're a boy you act like this" and "if you're a girl you act like this." How could they not? The idea of being transgender is far too complicated to make sense of otherwise for the average person who is not willing to sift through articles on gender theory. Searching through this thread alone you will find many posts implying that girls or boys must act a certain way, helping to contribute to sexist stereotypes and undoing progress that decades of feminism have worked at. When I posed a similar thought before, I was met with the answer of "it shouldn't be on marginalized people to undo the harmful social structures created by the privileged". This answer initially appealed to me, but now I disagree. Firstly, trans people often do have whatever privilege that came along before they publicly came out. Second, it is up to everyone in a society to contribute to eroding problematic mindsets, or nothing will get better. The privileged cannot fixed what they cannot see, and the unprivileged see what the privileged do not see.
Mindful; yes, and I hope that no one disagrees here. Poorly constructed and precarious; I don't think that you've proved this anywhere in your post. I think that the outline I've provided of gender and related topics is far from that and I'd like to see you engage with them if you want to make that claim. As for "those who have learned to hate their bodies," I really don't know what you mean by learned. In my experience, it's wholly innate (I've experienced discomfort with my genitals as long as memory serves). Additionally, there's a lot more than the physical reality that goes into being trans and I feel that for the majority of trans people, social perception matters much more than this. Lastly, the best way for trans people to "deal with their pain" in a large majority of cases is pretty simply transitioning.I think it is important to be mindful and think critically when self-categorizing oneself according to gender identity. Identities like this are not like sexual orientation, which can be simply defined as the reality of being attracted to a particular group. They are poorly constructed and precarious, depending on external validation from society. I hope we as a society can collectively make an effort to pay less mind to gender constructs and focus on behavior as individual. And I hope those who have learned to hate their bodies can find a healthy way to deal with their pain.