“There’s no specific recipe to know if you’re trans,” says Jammidodger, a YouTuber and ‘trans man.’
More than a simple nothing, this statement encompasses the biggest problem with transgenderism: there is no diagnostic test for it, and no objective measure of anybody’s trans-ness. Indeed, “you don’t need to fit some exacting criteria in order to be trans” because no exacting criteria exist.
“You are what you feel,” Jammidodger says. Trans-ness is determined entirely by self-reference. “The only person who will know for sure is you.”
Oh, well then, why make this video at all? If someone else can’t help me know whether I am trans, then why should I pay attention to anything anyone else says about it? Never mind that, though, because this is a YouTube listicle with more than 133,000 views so far.
Number one: “Don’t compare yourself too much to others,” we are told, because again, this is all about self-reference. When you are reading trans Tumblr posts, “it’s okay if your feelings don’t match up with other people” identifying as trans.
After all, if there’s no single way to be trans, then everybody can be trans in their own way. Right?
Which brings us to the second point. “Experiment!” Jammidodger advises. What are the tools of this experiment? Clothes and haircuts, of course. Even makeup. These “expressions” of gender — these gendered stereotypes — are interchangeable.
You are not a mammal, but a potato, a blank root vegetable, so you can use whatever parts of Mister and Misses Potato Head please you.
Want to try out a new name and pronouns on that anonymous internet forum? Go ahead, because the “experiment” will help you further fixate on this new ‘identity’ for yourself. Social media has enabled personal reinvention in ways that were impossible before.
For as we learn in point number three, this is all about doing “what makes you comfortable.” While you are reinventing yourself, no one else’s feelings matter. Your wife’s feelings do not matter. Your child’s feelings do not matter. Your parent’s feelings do not matter. Only your feelings matter, and you can find all the validation you want with a new Reddit login. See how that works?
Point the fourth, “Be yourself.” In constructing this new self, “the way you express yourself might be different from the stereotype” of the sex you are imitating, just as the way a human being might express themselves while imitating a chicken will differ from the stereotype of ‘chicken.’
It’s not easy to un-learn a lifetime of learning to ‘be a man’ or ‘be a woman,’ much less cast off the secondary sex characteristics of male and female. If it was easy, you wouldn’t need endocrinologists and surgeons and vocal coaches and fashion consultants to help you, now, would you?
So if you are a male identifying as trans, go ahead and be male sometimes. Stare at a woman’s breasts, spread on the subway seat, wear a beard with your lipstick. “Doing those things doesn’t make you any less trans,” Jammidodger says.
Which is true, but also true in the inverse: not doing those things, or doing them differently, doesn’t make someone ‘more trans.’ After all, there’s no way to measure trans-ness, right?
Point the fifth, repeating previous points: “Take your time,” Jammidodger says. We shouldn’t rush to label ourselves (except for labeling ourselves ‘trans,’ of course, which we can do whenever we feel the urge). “It’s okay to explore” and experiment with the stereotypes you perform.
Once upon a time, it was considered brave to be a male who wore a dress or a female who didn’t. This is no longer the progressive idea.
Today, it is considered ‘brave’ to be male, put on makeup and a dress, and proclaim that doing so has literally, materially transformed you into a female, or to be female with an unconvincing beard and proclaim yourself magically transformed into a male. It is the transubstantiation of the 21st Century.
Back then, a woman could win accolades playing Peter Pan; these days, the way for women to win our attention is by telling us to call them Peter, and denouncing us for bigotry if we fail to clap hard enough for a man who calls himself Tinkerbell.
“Trust yourself,” Jammidodger adds as the sixth, and final, point. Not science, or reason, or your family, or anyone who will not reinforce your self-referential belief in this new constructed identity. Just you, constructing the new identity a la carte. Only trust you.
After all, you know what you want. That’s all that matters to you. Isn’t it?