I have been meaning to right about my thoughts on the Jeffrey – or Jennifer – Laude situation but am having trouble assembling my thoughts. The entire incident involving him (or her?) with Pemberton has a life of its own and it seems to be spiralling into chaos. I mean, just as I was writing this, I saw in Twitter that a family member and his (or her) fiancee scaled the fence of Camp Aguinaldo where Pemberton is supposed to be held.
As you can see, I still have trouble figuring out what gender terminology to use. Do I use “him” or “her?” Let me stick to “him” for the meantime mainly because, well, legally-speaking, he is still a male. From what I gathered, his legal documents – his birth certificate, for example – explicitly indicates that he is male. Biologically speaking, he has a penis between his legs. That makes him a male in my book. Now whether he wants to be looked upon socially as a female is a different matter.
I guess that’s the plight that LGBTs face. Physically they are of one gender but psychologically they are of another. “My soul is male,” so said Charice, a self-declared transgender. But legally there is no “transgender” sex so what do they indicate as their sex? Besides, what is the basis of declaring yourself as female when your biology is clearly male? I don’t think it should be that simple to declare your gender is female when your biology is clearly male. There has to be some basis, some empirical indicator of your gender. And to me, if you have a penis, you are male.
I know there will be others who will disagree with me. I am sure that LGBTs will claim that my failure to acknowledge their gender identity is disrespectful. Words have power, they would say. I would counter that by saying that words have power over you only if you let it overpower you. The words “male” or “female” are neutral, unlike words like “slut” or “faggot.” I don’t do this as an act of disrespect or as an insult. My identity is female, they would say. But am I lying when I say that biologically you are male?
Now, having said that, I would still call him Jeffrey, not because Jeffrey is a male name, but because his legal documents state that his name is Jeffrey and not Jennifer. Legally, he is Jeffrey. If he had is name changed to Jennifer – and I understand that it is an easy, though tedious, process – then his name would have been Jennifer. Again I am not doing this as an act of disrespect nor as an insult. It is a matter of formal record that his name is Jeffrey, so am I lying if I refer him as such?