From "One transgender woman's long road to finding herself" at CNN.com.
I'm interested in that argument about health insurance. The writer is saying, directly or implicitly, that "facial feminization surgery" should be covered in order to allay the (unjustified) fears of others and because of the transgender person's vulnerability to attack.
But I was most interested in the quote that I put in the post title: "Hormones don't make me cry any more or less, but now my emotions feel normal — unmuted, not suppressed." Are complex emotions abnormal? I can see preferring free-flowing, stronger emotion, but is it necessary to disparage the original feeling as abnormal? I know, the phrase was "feel normal." But I'm questioning the centrality of this idea of the normal. But I suspect this is the language of drug prescription generally. You can get a psychotropic drug from a doctor to only to get you to "normal," not to get you high or as an escape from life's complexity. Is this all too medical? Why isn't there more talk of personal freedom and self-definition and creativity and invention? Because the ethics of doctors are central? Because insurance coverage is desired?
I looked up the word "normal" (in the OED). The first definition is: "Constituting or conforming to a type or standard; regular, usual, typical; ordinary, conventional." Is that what we want to be these days? It used to be what we wanted to get beyond — conformity. And, funnily enough, the third definition is: "Heterosexual." With these 3 examples:
1914 E. M. Forster Maurice (1971) xxii. 106 Against my will I have become normal. I cannot help it.Andrew Sullivan called his 1995 book "Virtually Normal." Here he is, back in 1995, explaining why he used those words: Half the people will object to the word "virtually" and half will object to the word "normal." And I observe that there are 2 completely different reasons to object to "normal."
1972 T. Keneally Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith v. 38 Of course, Jimmie knew, Farrell was not normal and had once begun to caress him.
1990 Lesbian & Gay Pride 11/4 Back west in a long standing ‘normal’ society like old Blighty, many lesbian or gay teachers go in fear of exposure.
And here's Bob Dylan, because Bob Dylan lyrics from half a century ago pop up unbidden in my possibly not too oversimplified mind:
I’m just average, common tooHey, I have a tag for "normal." Cool.
I’m just like him, the same as you
I’m everybody’s brother and son
I ain’t different from anyone
It ain’t no use a-talking to me
It’s just the same as talking to you