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+2 votes
By 'transsexuality' I'm referring to individuals who are dependent upon the medical establishment to aid their transition.

This is an honest question and I have no personal stake in one 'side' or the other. I'll be upfront, however, in saying that I am currently reading a fair amount of anti-civ critique. However,  judging by the amount of anarchist literature on the subject of LBGT people, it seems a relevant question and a controversial question at that.

Also, I realize this question is plaited not only the notions of 'civilization,' 'sex' and 'gender,' but also of 'self,' and 'society.' Perhaps this will be touched upon in the dialog I desire to see.

*Edited for better reading (?)
by (7.5k points)
I am confused by the linking of "transsexuality" with medical technology. I know many people who would self-identify or would be labeled transsexual who have had no medical surgery at all in relationship to their gender identification.
Thanks for the comment. Perhaps I wasn't as clear as I could have been. I wasn't linking the term to *all* those who consider themselves 'transsexual,' only those who do link their identification with medical procedures, hormones, etc.

1 Answer

+4 votes
To answer crudely: yes, because no medicine without civ, and/or no, because herbs and stuff (I remember finding a zine about herbal transitioning, which I find more interesting in theory than in practice), or, much like my answer to the insulin question, because one could always kill an animal and consume its hormones without the use of medicine or anything I would consider part of civilization.

But I take issue with issue this herbal approach, and the gland-harvesting one, and similar fantasies, because of the fact that the discourse of transsexuality (the way we talk about it) comes from the mental health establishment, which defines it as a mental disorder with a path of therapy and medical treatment. So here, as with other supposed disorders, to accept the diagnosis and treatment of these professionals, even if it makes you feel better, runs totally counter not only to anti-civ anarchy but to anarchy generally. And to imagine people retaining such a discourse while leaving the rest of civilization behind strikes me as an absurdity only possible through a liberal framework. This does not mean post-civ people could not take such herbs, or drink hormonal-gland smoothies, but that their motivations would differ; they would act out of more playful, wilder, less serious, less belief-based, less civilized urges.

But a deeper question emerges: What relation could we trace between gender and civilization? One could make a strong argument that these are linked at an incredibly deep level, that to live against the one means to live against the other, that resisting one must mean resisting the other. If we accept this, then the question becomes very different. The definition of transsexuality, but also the definitions of transgender, genderqueer, or any not-necessarily-medical conception of gender deviance intertwine so deeply with civilization/gender that calling civilization into question means calling all these identity-forms into question, for having no real ground, for playing the same game, only in different (deviant) ways.

The question then becomes, as you suggest, one of self and society. If uncivilizing means (among other things) refusing the ways society genders us, it means a refusal at a level close to where we locate ourselves in society (our identities). If no transgender experience will exist, neither will any experience of gender as such, and I would consider gender transition a useful metaphor for this transition to the post-civ, not in the way it implies arriving at a destination, but in the sense of being fed up with the place society puts us every day and setting off from there, to who knows where, maybe to nowhere.

P.S. Hot-button topics like this remind me of daytime talk shows.

( edited as part of the eprime project, see )
by (20.5k points)
edited by
anok: Thanks for responding. Good answer.

"But there is a deeper question: What is the relation between gender and civilization? "

This gets to the heart of why I posted the question. And it seems many folks don't want to even face it.

"P.S. Hot-button topics like this remind me of daytime talk shows."

That's cool. But, unfortunately for many, how we feel, evaluate (even as 'hot buttons'), conceptually split, the real has little bearing on...the real. And it is toward depoliticizing, idealizing or fetishizing a notion of what 'should' be for what may be possible that I posted the question. In sum, (partly, anyway) I'd like to see less morality and harder, less fear-laden questions along these lines.

Edited 'cuz I wanted to.
AF: I understand and agree with the desire to see less morality, and more difficult questions. Maybe I will think of some of my own. This part of your comment I don't quite get: "And it is toward depoliticizing, idealizing or fetishizing a notion of what 'should' be for what may be possible that I posted the question." Do you mean that people tend to answer this kind of question by painting a picture of candy and roses, out of fear that a more grounded response strike a PC nerve?
anok: partly, yes. but, deeper still would be that our moral evaluations (i.e. 'should') are more often than not confused with how things are and/or may be.

an elephant should fly by holding a feather in her trunk cuz it makes us feel good to imagine it.  or in the case of a great deal of western philosophy the 'should' is implied: such and such simply cannot be true because it would be horrible if it were.