Naturally those who benefit the most from the current social order will see the status quo as "harmonious", whereas as those on the other end will see it as anything but.
This is exactly the myopia I'm trying to express to you, Indrajala.
Indrajala: any case, you can throw antagonistic liberal pejorative terms at me, but that might as well be an ad hominem attack. You might think there is a lot of "subtle and pervasive bigotry, heterosexism, and racism" and that I'm somehow propagating this, but you'll have to logically demonstrate this, otherwise you're basically unfairly branding me as some kind of monster responsible in part for today's social ills because I disagree with you.
Please ignore the heat of my language if it seems pejorative; I'm not attacking you, I'm trying to assert that your opinions have arisen out of your relative privilege and, when applied to those who don't share that privilege, they illustrate the whole dynamic of power and exclusion that exists in (all patriarchal) cultures. In spite of how I may have come across, I'm in no way trying to say you are a monster, that you're perpetuating evil or something. I'm trying to point to the fact that your specific subjectivity is a product of a lot of privilege and that your statements tend to buttress and support a worldview that I think you have benefited from. Many others have suffered immensely from the ideologies and social structures that you believe in, and it makes sense that you would be less sensitive to that.
It's easy for us never to notice which entrances and exits, which floors, which rooms have wheelchair access until we break a leg. For that reason, when somebody in a wheelchairs tells somebody who walks that there should be more ramps, it makes a lot of sense for the person who walks to recognize their relative ignorance and think about why the person in the wheelchair would have more sensitivity and perspective on the issue.
((This is one of the hardest things about confronting bigotry, racism, heterosexism, etc. Nobody wants to examine themselves if they get called out. The first reaction is almost always defensive rather than curious. Even though I have no animosity in intention, "you're privilege taints that opinion." or "that sounds bigoted." triggers immense aversion and anger. People are averse to the possibility that they may actually have a racist or sexist worldview and they often lash out and try to put the person(s) who called them out on the defensive. I don't want that to happen here so let's keep talking openly and please don't take anything I say personally. I'm talking about vast trends of oppression in Western culture. We play small roles in that, I'm pretty sure.))
Personally, I think you should follow your birth gender as it will save you a lot of problems and suffering in life.
Personally, I think your opinion is what I'd have myself, if I were born with similar causes and conditions as my trans friends. However, I'm not omniscient and I can't know what their reality is like. I give them the benefit of the doubt that they think the suffering incurred is better than the alternative. When people are willing to inject hormones, go through a tremendously painful and agonizing process of transition, sacrifice tremendous amounts of money, endanger their lives, etc... I trust that they have exhausted the simpler ways of dealing with their situation. That they really feel they have no other choice. And knowing them afterward...they are somehow so much more "themselves" than before, that I can't doubt they have done the right thing.
Nilasarasvati: How are we as practitioners to include and affirm their identity and merit when so much of traditional Buddhism operates on a strong gender binary?
Buddhism isn't about making you feel nice and accepted. Buddhism isn't about being happy. It is about identifying the causes of suffering and eliminating them. That's why getting involved in gender politics is a waste of time.
I agree--Buddhism isn't about being happy--nor is it about making people feel nice and accepted. True, true.
But I'm talking about social justice, which is about far more than making people feel nice and accepted. Your words trivialize the effort to affirm, protect, include, liberate people who don't fit the mould of your experiences and worldview. It hardly seems an attitude of lovingkindness and compassion.
I'm not advocating transwomen or men getting pratimoksa vows. Don't get me wrong, there's no need nor scriptural precedent nor justification for that. I don't think any transmen and women I've ever heard of want that, either.
What do you mean by gender politics?