I want to articulate my position for you as best as possible. I do not want to argue about semantics, nor do I want to make such a long post, but some discussion of such is necessary to clear up misconceptions.
I claim that there are two different types of people who are identified as transgender today.
The first type are those who are born as one sex, but strongly recognize themselves as another.
The second type are those who are comfortable with their sex, but find that the social expectations put upon them based on their sex do not accurately reflect their identity.
For the first type of transgender person, the use of the word "gender" is synonymous with sex. For such people, there is evidence that sex reassignment surgery and related treatments are effective when done properly.
For the second type of transgender person, the use of the word "gender" is completely detached from sex, and is ultimately a performance that justifies their identity. For such people, sex reassignment surgery and related treatments are pointless and dangerous.
From the perspective of the first type of transgender person, the second type are clowns who maliciously destroy the legitimacy of the trans struggle, since they do not experience dysphoria with regard to their sex yet lay claim to being transgender by constructing and hopping between a near infinite multitude of identities.
From the perspective of the second type of transgender person, the first type are essentialists who reify cisnormative categories of gender identity and are unfairly policing their freedom to express their own identities.
We also see a similar divide on the use of the word gender outside of how it is used by transgender people.
In most scientific papers and for the average laymen, gender is more or less synonymous with sex. "Conservatives" take up this position to attack the liberal-transgender ideology, but simultaneously make no attempt to distinguish between the first and second types of transgender people and attack them both with the same line.
For many intellectuals and social scientists, gender is distinct from sex (but there isn't a consensus on this distinction is). Liberals assert the idealist position that gender is a pure performance, and thus side with the second type of transgender person at the expense of the first, while also conflating the two like the conservatives do. I suspect that liberals are responsible for creating the second type of transgender person.
I claim that the materialist definition of gender is, as I mentioned before, a pattern of behaviour emerging from the division of labour informed by sex roles in primitive societies. It's obvious that males are physiologically better suited for hunting and combat, and females likewise for gathering and homemaking. However, there were times when one sex was scarce, or some other situation occurs where the need for the physiological advantages of one sex drastically shifted. In such cases, one sex would (often temporarily) adopt the roles of another. In short, a man could be feminine and a woman could be masculine if material conditions demanded it, but both are ultimately defined by the physiology of the sex that performs best in that role.
Under modern conditions of production, the division of labour is continually becoming less dependent on physiological difference. To use an obvious example, a female cannot fight with a sword and shield or endure the stresses of combat like a man can, but she can still aim a gun just as well in most cases (if not better). Furthermore, the natural strength advantage of a male doesn't mean much in an office environment, though neither does a female's flexibility. It goes without saying that we have not transcended the need for physiological differences in all forms of labour, but supposing that it does one day happen (say with artificial wombs and significant automation), gender as it is presently understood would simply cease to exist - it would wither away.
From this materialist perspective, both types of transgender people are not transgender. The first type is actually "transsexual" and not "transgender", and thus experience "sex dysphoria". The second type are post-genderists who assert their position as actual when gender has yet to be overcome.
Liberals create their ideology by cherry-picking various academic positions that are most convenient to them and promoting misconceptions in order to construct a marginalized identity group to rally around. Their strategy is to create a false unity of a negation of the dominant identity groups and use hyper-moralization to bully and blackmail others into submission. When they are no longer able to compete by using the same marginalized identity groups, they attempt to expand said groups by creating new identities or by attempting to assimilate what others they can find (LGBTQIA2S+, slavs are people of color, et cetera). This is what is happening to transgender people and, anecdotally based on current trends, what I suspect will happen in the future for anyone with a mental disorder
. "Conservatives" are, as expected, not merely a reaction but a reflection of this absurd state of affairs, who mirror the same strategy but for the dominant identity groups instead.
The unfortunate result of all of this is that the struggles of the first type of transgender person - the ones who experience "sex dysphoria" - are either erased or utterly mangled in any discussion on gender. Obviously I do not place their struggle above the class struggle, but I strongly sympathize with them as yet another victim of the liberal's rotten and cynical ideological manoeuvring. Enter into a discussion with these people and you'll find that they resent practically every mainstream position on gender, and I don't blame them.