Put quite simply, I don't like umbrella terms. I don't think some things should be simplified for the convenience of the masses.
I often agree with this: I often go to quite a bit of trouble in my posts to try to express exactly what I think is going on. Institutions are often reluctant to officially adopt more precise terms because well, there would be so many possibilities for gender. (And for sooo
many issues we struggle with constantly, but we still must formally struggle with them!) It's hard to "manage" or "count" people this way. Why look into gender seriously? One might have to actually ask them lots of questions, rather than telling from a glance what they should do! (The horror.) There are social
rather than scientific customs in place already
. Societies often do "thrive," somewhat comfortably on the whole however else we might measure "thriving," on myths and oversimplification.
Yet when there is a problem or discomfort at hand to deal with, people also need something
to help them think about it. And generally, sooner rather than later. That is, if anyone is going to start dealing with it somehow
There are any number of fairly complex issues in history that high school textbooks only brush with. While I also feel they should
move a bit closer to college level on some of them... Even college courses are not perfect, and many communities are still developing language to capture the whole gender situation. Many academics are still struggling to get it right, and I might even say that quite a few of them are still not phrasing it all so neatly either. Stuff does
evolve and social acceptance IS a problem, much as it still
is for racial divides not to mention class. I have my own skepticism about certain parts
of the way the trans community has evolved, and ways the LGB community has evolved for that matter... But these still are communities with common issues. They are not easy issues to narrow or "solve," but then neither are so many others in society. We don't just give up on them all or stop grouping with many people we could cooperate with or learn from, over that.
Try to get away from thinking in terms of "male" and "female" here. I think that's helping people confuse medical sex with gender identity. If you assume most everyone should
be labeled male or female because the majority have genitals that get read as male or female in the society at hand... Well, that is subscribing to one gendered model
of medical sex. That model cares most of all about who can make babies, I suppose -- fine whatever. But it isn't strictly about biochemistry (such as chromosomes). And it certainly is not about personal identity, unless you mean the externally forced sense: "Making" people identify with what doctors and others suggest they "should" be like.
When it comes to gender, I like to talk more in terms of feminine, masculine, queer, androgynous, and so many others. Most people are initially told that they can or should have a shall we say, "plain" feminine or masculine gender identity... And much of society (conventional society) usually hints and pushes (quite hard) in that direction day to day. There are lots of rewards for adapting to that. And probably some
people just fit the mold quite well to begin with -- though it's terribly easy to overestimate that factor, when there's soooo
much pressure involved.
Wherever one doesn't happen to fit, in large ways or small, that is not only a meta commentary. There's nothing meta about seeing and having something simply different. Saying trans or the others are "only meta" would be like saying Realism is not a perspective in itself, but it's only some story people have about Idealism. And so many factions in society have played that
sort of line for all its worth throughout history: It runs, "Whenever someone wants something different, just say they're a disenchanted [insert whatever factions you already know and are more comfortable with here]." For me: It doesn't matter really so much what faction you claim to be in or out of. The problem is more that such belief can itself lead to supporting rules and policies that build a society based on ideas that don't hold water.
You might prefer to think of things as a spectrum rather than distinct differences, and with so many variables and overlapping questions that can work too. That can actually work out if you recognize that each point on the spectrum could just as easily be split off into a group of people trying to accomplish something different
and specific. And that in reality, it's not two dimensional but so many parallel, vertical, diagonal, criss-crossing multidimensional questions. It's not easy to fit in some neat mathematical model. It IS social. And it still matters a lot, in very concrete economic terms as well as slippery personal identity ones, what
we allow and accept or not.
If you take your "meta" theme to an extreme, then it's also possible to say dismissively: Everything
is interrelated and messy, everything is partly
a talk about something else, everything changes slowly, people resist challenges to convention everywhere. Nothing is new under the sun... And why learn anything
if we go to that extreme.
So it's a question of what one wishes to lump together and perhaps be supported by one's community in generally setting aside --- and what one thinks it's important to actually know about or change today.