“ I am just so disappointed at people’s adamant refusal to recognize any difference that could exist between two or several different things making things all the more worse.”
I recognize your frustration, Misogyny, but feel like it is misplaced. I don’t think trans people are saying there are not differences between them and cisgender people. I can only speak for myself, but I feel that the issue is more a matter of the significance of those differences and why they are brought up in the first place. Trans women interact in society and are generally treated as women. When we are discriminated against, it comes from the same misogynistic roots that hold all women down: discrimination and, especially, violence against trans women because they “want to be women” (as most transphobes think of it) implies that there is something wrong with being women. Beyond that, when these differences between trans women and non-trans women are pointed out purely for purposes of discrimination (or worse, villainizing) trans people (particularly trans women), it is not surprising that we are sensitive to the “othering” that occurs when whole swaths of women are excluded from the definition of being a woman.
You make an interesting point about how gender socialization begins in infancy, but the problem with that line of reasoning is that not all cultures follow the same gender roles or cultural expectations as others. For example, I just read recently that there is no word for gender in the Cherokee language. I have to believe someone raised as a girl in that culture would have different experiences than someone raised in a white, protestant home in, say, St. Louis.
You seem to contend there is a big difference in experiences between someone raised from toddler-hood as a gender different from the sex assigned at birth and someone whose gender growing up was consistent with sex assigned at birth. However, I think you would be hard-pressed to show significant differences. If a baby had a blue blanket in the bassinet, but was raised as a girl, do you really think the differences are that significant? Especially when, as I said, the experience of all children in terms of gender are different from one culture to the next, and even from one family to the next. And let’s say, somehow, that baby enjoyed some privilege for having that blue blanket for some period of time. When the child is later identified as a girl, is it your contention that the privilege remains? How would that work? The only way it could would be if a significant amount of people do not recognize her gender, but if that were the case, the child still would not be endowed with male privilege the way other male children are. In fact, they would just be stigmatized even further and thought of as a freak. Let’s not even get into the stigmatization the parents of a trans child face.
There’s another aspect of gender criticism I find problematic — the total ignorance of trans men. Is it you contention that a child assigned female at birth but raised as a boy has significant differences from boys assigned male at birth? Do they enjoy male privilege? I can’t imagine they don’t. Do they suffer the same kinds of discrimination and misogyny girls do? I somehow doubt it. And if trans boys have similar or the same experiences to the point of being called boys, why are trans girls still not girls?
Finally, I want to revisit the end of your post, which I quoted above. It seems like your entire post revolves around finding or pointing out differences between trans women and other women (or finding reasons not to call trans women women at all). As I mentioned, these differences are often used to “other” trans women and dehumanize them. Any time a trans woman is denied the right to use the women’s rest room and she has to hold it (or worse, have an accident and humiliate herself). Any time she is told to use the men’s room instead and runs the risk of being attacked or killed. Any time someone complains about the propagation of gender neutral bathrooms that would also alleviate this woman’s issue. Any time a trans person (of any gender) is called he/she or worse. These are only a few small examples of when those so-called differences are exploited to discriminate, unjustly causing others pain and discomfort.
So, I’m disappointed, too. I am disappointed that there seems to be a need to deny any group of people (trans women included) of their natural rights to life, liberty, and just basic human dignity all because some people don’t want to be thought of as being anywhere near similar to them. Are there differences between transgender women and cisgender women? Of course. I don’t know anyone who disputes that. But notice that transgender women and cisgender women have much in common as well. Namely, they are women, and ALL women deserve respect and freedom from oppression, discrimination, and misogyny.