Oh my! Thanks for a fascinating, ongoing discussion about which I can relate as I am a post op Trans woman. And thanks to those of you who embrace me and my unique status on this tiny planet full of mystery…like gender dysphoria which provided me with the best possible introduction to the concept of dependent origination.
Ironically, it was my ‘dysphoria’ that gave me very early insight into the first construct to which we are all introduced at the moment of our birth when a stranger decides which of the two paths we must follow throughout our lives based on observation of our genitalia-the derivation from which can often be fatal. As a young trans person I was forced to deal with the first question in life that most people are never compelled to ask themselves: that is not who am I, but what am I? And if you were to respond ‘a human, of course!’, I would respond by saying sadly that is not enough in this world. One is either a male human or a female human.
Even the Buddha in all of his wisdom was ‘stuck’ in a gender which he employed to elevate men over women. If he did speak about the illusion of gender I have not been made aware throughout all of my discussions and research here at Sutta Central. But he is not alone in his failure to point to the illusion of gender, a sociological control mechanism beyond our evolutionary closeness to primate behavior- evidenced by the fact that chimps don’t care how other dress nor kill other chimps because they are too effeminate.
I have written quite a bit, from a subjective perspective, about the experience of being trans in a world still so profoundly divided. Most of what I have written goes largely unnoticed. I do not take it personally, but mention it as a way of indicating our continuing acceptance of gender as a horrible way of organizing the world order. And I leave you with this caveat: any man who reads this and is ready to challenge the concept of dependent origination as it relates to the First Condition called gender can learn much about the weight of that conditioning by simply changing your gendered uniform for one day. In other words wear a sun dress to Wal-Mart. You will be enlightened.