This summer, my family and I spent several days on a goat farms. Kids loved it and I got to learn about goats, just fascinating creatures. I bring them up as I have noticed many conservatives, even well-educated, cosmopolitan, never-Trump types, harp endlessly on the whole “there are only two genders/ trans folks have mental issues” etc. Goats beg to differ.
How does learning about goats teach us about trans people? Well, the breeder who ran the farm has been raising goats for 30 years. She’s had thousands and thousands of goats come through her farm. According to her, about 1 in 100 goats that she’s seen will have genitals that don’t match their behaviors. For example, a young goat will have all the equipment of a lady goat, but fight with the other males like a male would, try to mount and impregnate the other females, etc. And the reverse happens as well – a goat with twig and berries will “nest,” groom females like another female would, etc. So, nature occasionally gives a goat one set of genitals yet matched with the flip behavioral instinct.
OK, so in those situations, what does the breeder do? Well, she can’t have a female-by-sex-yet-male-by-behavior with the other males, as that criss-crossed female will essentially go to war with the males as they try to mount her and she fights back ferociously. And she can’t have the criss-crossed males in with the females who match ‘his’ behavior, as apparently sensing the continued presence of a ‘male’ impacts the females breeding and lactating cycles. So what does the breeder do?
SHE TREATS THE TRANS GOATS AS SPECIAL CASES. They get their own pens, they socialize with the other animals on the farm (dogs, chickens, sheep, horses) and live out happy trans, criss-crossed lives. They never have sex with another goat, but apparently sexless goat lives are easier to live than sexless human lives.
Interestingly, I never even asked her about trans goats. All I did was inquire about what unique problems a goat-breeder faces and she mentioned this along with other issues (poor milk supply, coyotes, goat diseases, etc). She never mentioned how this might apply to people; it was just a simple fact of her life as a breeder of goats.
Given how infinitely more complex the human mind is than the goat mind, isn’t it then possible that some mentally healthy, wonderful people wind up with mismatched plumbing to what their instinct guides them to? Isn’t it possible that once that person is an adult, we should respect what decisions they make and not question their sanity? And if they insist that having, for example, male parts with female inclinations means they don’t feel comfortable identifying with either, we take them at their word and respect whatever description they do feel comfortable with?
If trans goats can live happy, pretty much normal lives…shouldn’t trans people be allowed the same grace?