When I was in my last year of high school back in 2014-2015, I started to become convinced of certain forms of biological determinism and essentialism as I was reading more about biology. This also happened to be around the time that the Gamer Gate controversy was becoming a major part of popular online discussion and, as a consequence, seemed to usher in a revival of far-right ideology. I myself became swept into the movement and slipped straight into the far-right.
I believed that it was a scientific fact that women on average are cognitively and psychologically inferior to men. That there was such a thing as a "female brain" and "male brain." The misogyny of my own beliefs made me hate being female to the point of having mental breakdowns over it, but I eventually learned to preserve my self-esteem by telling myself that I had more of a "male" brain. That I quite literally was not like "the other girls."
I woke up one morning-- feeling quite depressed and pensive, looking up out the window and to the grey skies of the late winter-- and thought to myself, "I wasn't meant to be female." From then on I began to identify as a man.
I stood up straighter, held my head up higher; I was a man, after all. I fantasized about how I would look after transition-- how much muscle I might be able to gain, how much facial hair I might be able to grow. I'd compare my height with that of "other" men, convincing myself that my 5'4'' build wasn't too bad, that there were men my height and even shorter. But, for me, the important thing was that my brain is male. The body will just have to catch up somehow.
Eventually, my brother seemed to have discovered a post I made on a trans forum and asked me on our walk back from school one day "if it was true"-- without specifying exactly what "it" was. I understood what he must have been referring to and, being afraid of word getting out to my parents before I was ready to "come out", said that "it" was just a phase.
I didn't mean that at the time-- I genuinely thought that I was a man, and would eventually begin the transition into my "true self". But eventually, as I delved deeper into the trans community and learned more about the process of transition, I realized that this really was just a phase. What turned me off? In short, it was the fact that my romanticized version of medical transition was anything but reflective of reality. The reality is that a 5'4'' "man" with no natural penis, wide hips, narrow shoulders, mastectomy scars, a balding head, raging acne, and even possible heart problems was not a man worth being at all. My views on women remained the same; I then tried to simply "accept" my place in the world as a "female".
Thankfully, my foray into the far-right was short-lived. Towards the fall of 2015, I became deeply interested in philosophy. It was hard to maintain my far-right, bigoted views when I was occupied with philosophical ideas regarding the human condition-- something which, by definition, all humans share and experience. It also helped that many great contemporary philosophers were themselves women. It was similarly hard to care about the supposed "intellectual inferiority" of women (which I later understood was based on bad science anyway), when women were still out there meaningfully contributing to humanity's philosophical and intellectual advancement.
And I long thought that philosophy cured me of my bigotry, but it was only until a year ago-- when I discovered radical feminism-- that I realized that my views on transgenderism were still a vestige of my old far-right, essentialist ideology. Contrary to what I used to believe, there are no "female brains" and "male brains". Femininity is not, in any way, what defines or makes a woman. With that, my acceptance of the notion that someone born male can be a "woman" disappeared-- and I still have yet to find a single good justification for said notion.
The fact that my brutally and uncompromisingly far-right, misogynistic worldview was so completely consistent with gender ideology and transgenderism seems to show that-- far from being a "revolutionary" or "feminist" breakaway from old gender stereotypes and oppressive gender norms-- the transgender movement seems to be little more than a repackaging of old, patriarchal thinking. I don't believe the argument that trans people are helping us move away from regressive gender norms-- on the contrary, I'm convinced that transgenderism does nothing but affirm them.