Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Well, I'm Not Dumb, But I Can't Understand Why She Walked Like a Woman But Talked Like a Man

HuffPo:

Against Me! singer Tom Gabel has come out as transgender to Rolling Stone. Gabel has plans to start living as a woman and will take the name Laura Jane Grace.

The punk rock singer will remain married to her wife, Heather. "For me, the most terrifying thing about this was how she would accept the news," Gabel said. "But she's been super-amazing and understanding." The couple has a 2-year-old daughter.

Gabel is 31 years old and told the magazine she has long felt disconnected from her body. The singer suffers from gender dysphoria, and plans to take hormones and undergo electrolysis treatments. The magazine reports Gabel is also considering gender reassignment surgery.

What interests me is the metaphysics of it. I've heard a few transgendered people talk about that sense of disconnect, a feeling of "being born in the wrong body." As an empiricist and materialist, though, it seems as obvious as can be that there is no soul, no "you" that exists independently of your body with a different gender. A cultural norm accepted unquestioningly is one thing, but I can't help but think that a sincere conviction that "I" am something different from "my body" is a product of a neurological disorder. What does it even mean to claim to feel like a woman within a man's biological body?