The world keeps changing constantly, so new issues are brought into light every day. As our society is becoming more and more acceptable to transgender people, the case of changing identity arises in a different perspective. The start of discussions on transracialism – a transition from one race to another – was marked by the public outing of Rachel Dolezal, who, while claiming to be Black, was, in fact, not born Black. Since then, the public discourse has divided into two major sides: those who support transracialism, and those who do not. Transracialism supporters argue that, if the society agrees with the reasons trans persons use to justify their transition, it must also agree with the change of racial identity. In their opinion, these concepts lie in the same plane, thus, transgender experience, in its essence, should support transracial one. However, it is quite more complicated than that – the rules that apply to gender and its identification are not the same as those, which regulate racial identity.
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While gender and sex are based not only on social concepts, but also on the biological determination variables such as chromosomes, hormones, prenatal development and many others, race and ethnicity majorly belong to the social part. Dembroff and Payton (2021) claim that “the malleability of gender and race classifications suggests to us that the typical conversations about transgender identities and Black transracial identities are the wrong conversations” (p. 14). Humanistic ethic proposes the individual – the human – as a creator of norms and rules, and only his mind and his judgments determine his actions and only on their correctness rests his spiritual health and happiness. Consequently, these rules are not set in stone – they flow with the changes in the identity and the social setting. What determines a racial identity is highly dependent on the context of time, social conditions and historical development. Gender, essentially, a combination of biological and social; race, on the other hand, is a quintessence of social and historical. To compare transracial identity with transgender identity is to reduce both to a set of immutable rules, be it rules of biology or society – and this is, obviously, a very wrong approach.
Robin Dembroff, D. P. (2021). Why we shouldn’t compare transracial to transgender identity. Boston Review. Web.