You don’t know what you don’t know

And in some cases you don’t know why you DO know.

Last night I was passing through the living room and my attention was caught by a tv show (is that redundant?) my husband was watching. The people were using ASL, it was not being interpreted, and as I watched I started laughing, what they were saying was funny and I understood every word!

I’ve never studied ASL. I’ve never spent any appreciable amount of time amongst people speaking ASL. Yes, I’ve seen (heard?) people using ASL in movies and tv shows but did I absorb so much much that  I could easily follow a conversation? I guess I did. It is a beautiful language.

OTOH – Are there things I don’t have to know? And here is where I am displaying my ignorance and possibly offending someone.

An article in this morning’s Washington Post Health and Science section was about transgender kids. Not exactly a general interest story, a lot of facts and figures, a possible antidote to the laws currently being passed across the country to bar gender related medical care to minors. I find these laws abhorrent. I find any government involvement in how people deal with their own bodies abhorrent.

My question is – why do I have to know that someone is a transgender man or woman? If someone has transitioned to another status (is that a good word?) then they are who they transitioned to – end of. They are Susie or Mike. They are a person. I meet them as they are and all I have to know is that they are Susie or Mike. Should my interactions with them become more personal then I need to know only if they are a good person and a friendship will be built on a compatibility of personality and interests.

Were I in the dating game then knowing someone’s gender status or their sexual preferences might be of some interest but since I’m not, I don’t care.

My other question is – do people who have transitioned from one gender to another wish to be identified that way, transgender man/woman, who they are now in relation to who they were? They are now who they are, and I expect wish to be seen as who they now are. Maybe I’m wrong in thinking that.

I have to admit I have always been confused by how people identify themselves or relate to themselves. Years ago I was watching a tv show about hysterectomies – women who had them bemoaning that they no longer felt like women. I wondered then why anyone would think a body part would define them. I think the only body part that defines me is my brain. My uterus was removed when I was 40. It was the happiest day of my life – frankly I wish I could have had it done when I was 13. I don’t need, or want, my boobs either. They’ve always been on the larger size are just an inconvenience. And a pain. I grant you, were I someone who wanted to procreate then keeping a uterus and boobs would be necessary, the uterus most particularly (Well, duh!) but since I never wanted to procreate, I’ve never seen a need for those things. Nor have I ever doubted that I was female or a woman – my secondary sexual characteristics don’t define who I am.

My brain defines who I am. I am who I think I am. Whether that is visible to the naked eye doesn’t make any difference to ME but obviously does to others.

Or maybe I just never thought of myself as being any gender at all, just, you know, a human being.

11 thoughts on “You don’t know what you don’t know

  1. I agree with you that I do not need to know the gender backstory of anyone who I meet now. Just tell me your name and that’s all I need to know about you. If he or she chooses to share more with me, so be it. But to have governmental laws that snoop into what’s going on with a person’s body, well– that’s not good and rather creepy.

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    1. Anti-trans health care bills are becoming more and more of a thing and have been passed in a few states already, places like Alabama. Access to abortions is being limited by state laws that skirt around Roe vs Wade. While I can be very liberal on some issues, I can be conservative on others and when it comes to issues like this I think the government – ALL government – needs to stay the hell out of people’s lives – sometimes less government, a conservative viewpoint, is really a liberal viewpoint.

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  2. From the transgender people I’ve known, they just want to be known by the gender that they identify with. But society has ideas about what males and females should look like, and people judge based on appearances all the time. I agree that it’s what’s upstairs that matters, but a lot of people get distracted by the window dressings.

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    1. i don’t know any transgender people, at least I don’t think I do! But who knows, I might have. I am friggin’ tired of Society thinking anyone’s PERSONAL business is any of theirs! Nothing reduces me to inchohent angry blathering more than that. And yes, a casual glance, we decide someone is male or female and then we keep walking…

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  3. i agree with you about knowing the gender and or sexual orientation only if i was going to enter into a romantic/sexual relationship. why must we know and the news to report if someone is a specific gender or has a sexual preference? why do people have the need/desire to tell the world they are anything if they are not heterosexual? it should never matter what gender, sex, race, ethnic, etc. etc. etc. a person is. all of us should be accepted for who we are. i guess the old saying….if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck, then it is a duck. and if someone needs to use a public restroom, then they use the one in respective of their gender.

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    1. Or even if they are heterosexual. And I think all public restrooms should be single user only – one person at a time then there is no reason to differentiate. Personally I have used men’s restrooms when the women’s restrooms weren’t readily available – women take SO much longer in the restroom. Once I did it on a dare LOL After that I just said “What the hell, I need to go now” and used whatever restroom was available….I didn’t have a problem, don’t know if the men did…


  4. I took an ASL course when I was in high school because I find it fascinating but I don’t think I could understand it any longer. Then again, I live with a Mexican and can’t speak Spanish even after taking several years of it in high school and college but I understand most of it!

    The labeling of people and the idea that government or anyone for that matter takes decisions away from individuals is always something I don’t understand. No one but that particular person knows what is going on inside them that causes the need to switch genders. Just like no one but a pregnant woman knows what she’s facing when deciding on an abortion. Just because we don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t real to them so why does anyone feel they have a right to put restrictions on what they do? I could offend loads of people with my opinions to some things they say but I bite my tongue since what’s the use?

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    1. I think it is much easier to understand another language than to learn to speak it! There are no grammar rules or irregular verbs or even pronunciation involved in understanding. I bet that you would understand more ASL than you think you would, it would probably all come back to you quickly.

      I get that talking to a brick wall isn’t going to accomplish much but sometimes you just have to state your position. OK, I’m going to stop here because I will just rant on and on LOL And since already agree I’d be preaching to the choir.


  5. I agree with almost everything you said. The world isn’t quite as simple as we might like though. I read the story last week where Caitlyn Jenner had taken a position against trans athletes – and caused the more extremist part of the trans community to begin preparing for an almighty cancellation of her. The same thing has happened over here – several ex olympians have talked a lot of sense, and a small minority have twisted that sense into some kind of woke crusade.

    I thought Obama god it right when he spoke about this some time ago – essentially saying that fashioning social media into any sort of weapon doesn’t solve anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know next to nothing about social media or sports. I follow neither (does one follow social media?) I have a huge problem with government interference in the very personal aspects of people’s lives. Intellectually I know what drives a lot of ____phobias (fill in the blank as you wish) and that is fear of what is different but emotionally I have no patience for it – it makes no sense to me because I don’t think/feel that way. As if what I think or feel has jack-all impact on the world at large, or even my local government officials or my nextdoor neighbor.

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