Theorising enables

Clare Flourish

I am happy expressing myself female, whatever that means, and I do not particularly care why. There is a vast amount of theory around trans people, because we evoke strong reactions: if I describe my operation half the population say, “That’s interesting” and half cross their legs and Wince.Only a tiny minority go, “Ohhhh”, and relax completely. So, the muggles try to make sense of us. We are less threatening if they imagine they can make sense of us. Some of them make sense of us by explaining precisely why we are deluded or wicked, and these theories can be extremely detailed.

And yet, when Lili Elbe transitioned, the theorising served her. Magnus Hirschfeld agreed, and had to “explain” what was going on, to justify their acts: and the result was to enable, not to prevent, her transition. It does not matter that others came afterwards and said, only people exactly like her

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