Book: Pros and Cons

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We are strong in the ability to identify with other people and creatures, to relate to and empathize with them. This develops our compassion, and may help us bring on points of view across to someone holding another point of view. . . . I'm just like everyone else, only more so.
  Hermaphrodeities, p64

    A simple method that helps us know if something is sin or not is to measure the positive and negative effects it has.

I should say that few if any of these advantages are exactly particular to trans people necessarily. (Pre-modern cultures associated immense, mystical or even supernatural power with trans people that gave us these properties, among others. The modern trans community, however, has rejected this notion that we are magic.) Anyone can have these qualities as well, but it requires unusual knowledge, experience, and hard work that trans people receive automatically, part through our identity alone and part through our experience. I can think of a few groups who poses some of these elements already. And as all trans people are different.  Some won't relate to some things I write but most people will relate to most ideas.

Cons


Advantages

Acknowledging Diverse People

    I am more apt to reach out to those who are different. Much more. I've always possessed this quality to an extent because, I believe, I've always been a little different. But since coming out to myself and others, my uniqueness in relation to others has become undeniable. So when I see other people so visibly different, where before I silently related, now I am much quicker to actively draw near. Everyone tends to move towards others like themselves, but my attraction is uniquely virtuous because the people I'm drawn to are the people who need others - the shy, the outcast, the lonely, the ugly, the great sinners, the short tempered, those too old or too young, the talentless, those appearing crazy, who cannot make friends, lesbians and gays, and all those ignored because they make others just feel uncomfortable. I am utterly comfortable with them. As Jesus congregated with those whom the world had rejected - sinners, the sick, women - because the world had rejected Jesus as well; trans people do just the same.
    A friend of mine said in no ambiguous terms that as an Orthodox Jew, he would normally be absolutely unwilling and unable to associate with trans people, gays, and lesbians; because he was also trans, however, he spends quite a bit of time with us.

Acknowledging Diversity of Thought

    There are some people who assume everyone's mind works like theirs. For instance, someone makes an unusual decision and someone else just cannot comprehend they would choose differently than themselves. I see this a lot when someone looks at another religion and thinks, "they must be idiots for believing that" not able to comprehend there could possibly another explanation. I never encounter this with trans people. We constantly see both sides of the argument. We're quite attune to the acknowledging the diversity of thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Seeing Both Sides

    We see the world as infinitely nuanced and complex. We specialize in seeing the validity of different points of view and as such we are enabled to reconcile those ideas and the people holding them. We have long lived viewing the whole world through feminine eyes and then transfer to seeing the same world through masculine eyes (or vice versa, or moving partial or multiple times). We are also not primitively inept to change our minds. We have already had to accept that we and everyone around us were wrong about something so simple as our bodies; that will humble anyone. Changing our politics, theology, or philosophy comes much easier.   

Powers of Observation

    Our gender makes trans people more observant. Honestly, I am not observant. At all. I'll never notice you change your hair. But what little observational power I do have, I owe all to living outside the gender binary. I know this because as soon as I came out I recognized this part of me changing immediately. Understandably, my observation is mostly limited to gender observation: I closely follow hand and eye movement now, clothing choices, conversation styles, and how closely every person is following their gender norm. If you hair is gendered, then I probably will notice if you change it. I've always had a particular lack of skill with flirting, to be kind, but average flirters who are trans tell me that their skill in flirting is significantly enhanced by their power of observation.

Gender Perfectionists

    We are our own gender critics. Trans people spend from dozens to hundreds of hours analyzing our gender emotionally and in practice. What's my gender identity? What's my gender expression? What's my gender role? What is society's gender norms? Do I like my gender expressions/roles/norms? Are they healthy? Sincere? Authentic? Positive? Responsible? Realistic? Helpful? And on and on for our every action, mannerism, feeling, movement, and on and on. By the time we're finished, if we ever finish, our gender is positively as mature as anything you can imagine. If our gender was an object, it would be a neutron star - an entire star contracted into a tiny size making it powerful and perfectly symetrical. Cisgender people, however, at least those little affected by feminist thinking, sadly live their whole life not knowing what their gender is, let alone how to mature it.

Gender Super Powers

    We have not only transported through gender in the past, we can transcend it on command. Humans tend to be locked into, well, ourselves. We have trouble doing things we've never done before and especially things our world tells us is impossible. Gender is but one example. Our gender expression and gender roles, society tells us, is a Law of Nature. While anyone can change their gender, few people know they can and this makes all the difference. Being transgender is a key out of this structure. A psych professor told me that a geat power of understanding psychology and sociology was that after you comprehend the rules that govern humanity, you can begin to rise above them and even manipulate them. Being trans is the same in specific regard to the gender aspects of psychology and sociology.  On one level, this ability is inherent to any trans person - we know with our every fiber that the gender norms only influence realty as far as we allow it. On another level, this ability comes from our years of experience of living in one gender through childhood and beyond and then years living in another.

Strength through Suffering

    We utilize our suffering. Thank goodness, because we have suffering in droves. Emotionally, we're often depressed and moved to suicide, most are rejected by significant family, friends, and our church, we're called sinners, perverts, and abominations to our face. We've also had to face head-on that our conceptions about our very body are wrong; most of us don't scream of being in the wrong body the moment we learn to speak so we have evolved and have to admit our original ideas were wrong. Our expectations are lower: our friendships are limited to those who will embrace our differentness or whose disgust we can tolerate; while many more people will date trans people than is publicly acknowledged, it's very hard for us to know who those people are. Paperwork prevents us from marrying or having children in some states and international traveling is dangerous. Some Christian organizations have entire sub-organizations keeping us from getting a job there. We can't assume we'll receive the dignity deserved by all creations of God. The amount of bitterness I see from trans people is extraordinary low - so much that I honestly don't understand it. To succeed as transgender, namely, to get out of the closet and avoid suicide, is to transform suffering into something useful: especially, motivation, perserverance, and the ability to be humble. We're not humble in that we don't let others control us, but we don't feel entitled and are keenly aware of our own weaknesses.

Peaceful

    We don't murder people with different genders. Trans people are killed all the time by people who hate them simply because their gender is different. I challenge anyone to find a trans person who murdered or wounded a person just because of their gender identity.
    Despite far reaching political and religious propaganda depicting us as pedophiles and horror movies (Psycho and The Silence of the Lambs as the most famous) depicting us as serial killers or raving lunatics,

Gateways to Ministry

    We have the keys to an exclusive society of outcasts. Most trans people have been burned by the Church and have lost any interest. The Church still maintains a Holier Than Thou attitude regarding entering queers spaces and letting queers enter theirs. Even if a Christian overcomes that prejudice, it's too late. Your reputation that calls us as perverts precedes you. Trans Christians are uniquely able to bridge that divide. Are gender identity rescues us from a hateful reputation. We are flesh and blood proof that not all Christians are transphobic and that Jesus can include us.

Harbors of Safe Space

    For many non-trans people, it's refreshing to spend time outside the gender binary. Spending time around someone of your own gender brings outs that gender more strongly but also limits the feeling of acceptance for breaking that gender norm. Spending time with the opposite gender may be a space for expressing their rarely seen masculine or feminine side, but there's also that constant reminder of difference - that one person is a woman and one is a man. Trans communities take this freedom to its completion. A trans person has already loudly decried the pressures of gender norms so we are clearly open for others to do the same. These little pockets of cross-genderness tend to be interests or a way of moving their body. Another trans friend expressed her joy when seeing "someone's eyes light up" when there were able to express something they had to hide from the gendered outside world.

Withholding First Impressions

    A trans friend of mine put it this way: "Being trans, I recognize that I don't know anyone's gender identity unless they tell me. This has taught me how to patiently not assume anything about other people, not only in regard to gender, but everything about them." (Paraphrased.) Sometimes our first impressions are correct but sometimes not. Incorrect first impressions spoil our ability to accurately know someone. It takes an excess of information to balance a false belief and sometimes others don't make it that far. I would personally love for people not to assume I'm a raging liberal just by my appearance or one thing I say.

Physically Healthy

    I remarked to a trans friend that there seem to be an unusually high number of

See Also

Balancing Finances - A discussion of whether transitioning saves more money than it costs