From my The Philosophy of Childing, with some additions:
According to the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor, a leading authority in identity politics, due recognition of our fellow humans is, as he puts it in Philosophical Arguments, “not just a courtesy we owe people. It is a vital human need.” Taylor holds that we must recognize and celebrate the fact that “each of us has an original way of being human: each person has his or her own ‘measure.’ There is a certain way of being human that is my way.”
Yet those — including too many young transgender people with whom I’ve had the privilege of engaging in Socrates Cafe discourse — whose natures deviate too much from the preconceived norm are told that their way of being human is the wrong way.
Taylor notes that there is a great deal of willful misrecognition, that some are deliberately seen through distorted lenses, and that this leads them to create a “confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.” How do those on the receiving end of misrecognition combat it?
In Taylor’s estimation, through dialogue: “We define our identity always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the things our significant others want to see in us” and we have to make it clear “who we are [and] ‘where we’re coming from.’ It is the background against which our tastes and desires and opinions and aspirations makes sense.”
But this can only be accomplished if the significant others in one’s life don’t slam the door shut on dialogue — and this happens tragically too often with young transgender people. And so it is little wonder, then, that according to a UK survey, nearly half of them have attempted suicide.
If their nearest and dearest refuse to open themselves to the earnest and heartfelt attempts of those they should love the most and who want to express where they’re coming from, this can cripple their capacity to form tastes, desires, opinions, and aspirations in ways that construct a healthy identity.