Something I've been thinking about a lot: the tension between considering gender a spectrum, and (for want of a better word) 'binary' transitioning from assigned gender (fem to masc or vice versa).— @firstname.lastname@example.org (@heydonworks) August 1, 2019
I don't think there's a contradiction.
The commonly seen tensions in this area come from society only looking at the macro scale and grouping everything into binaries at that level. As soon as you consider everything at a more granular scale and as being a bit more analog, a lot of contradictions go away.
So, for example, "male" and "female" as definitions. If you only look at them as two immutable and non-overlapping groupings I can see why some think you can't "change sex".
If you look at them as a collection of traits that can be individually altered to varying degrees (and those that can't are impossible to see without imaging and sequencing technology) then the tension disappears.
None of those individual aspects define one as male or female, otherwise Bobby Hewitt would cease to be a man. And everything can be altered in non-boolean sense.
"Male" and "Female" are handy heuristics. XX, ovaries, wide hips, smaller stature typically correlate with female. Penis, XY, tall stature typically correlate with male. But as soon as a heuristic is used a definition, things start breaking and tensions arise.
Same with gender presentation. If one only sees "feminine" and "masculine" (which to most people is still synonymous with "man" and "woman") as immutable states at a macro scale then it becomes hard to see anything else.
As soon you break it down to small chunks, with multiple aspects of the mind and body as being possible to alter, then it becomes more chill. Wear a skirt - it doesn't define man or woman. Walk with a swagger - it's does not (well, should not) define one's gender.
Binary gender is a handy heuristic, a tool wired at a deep societal level. It's probably the first heuristic we apply when meeting someone, and is the cause of confusion when people cannot resolve the heuristic at first glance.
So, yeah. takes drag on imaginary rollup
Like with everything else in the world, most tensions and wrongs arise as soon as broad labels are applied by an external agency. "Men act like this", "black people do this", "Jewish people do this". Treating people as individuals rather than groups, and aspects of the body and psyche as granular traits, that's the way a happier future looks.
Broad strokes are for the right-wing. And for the left-wing at this point as well. Nuance is for the woke. (haha I said woke without being ironic)