I actually found a Buzzfeed Quiz about gender that strikes me as pretty accurate.
The always elegant Janet Mock talks to Bill Maher. They cover a few things – Tambour & Transparent, Jenner’s possible transness, etc. – but the very last bit is his question about why Facebook now has 56 genders. She points out that Tumblr has 1000. He is, as are many people, baffled by the possibilities.
“Those options don’t effect your options. How I identify, whatever box I check, doesn’t effect your boxes. You still have your boxes.”
I’ve read in a few pieces about poly that people often think of love the way they think of money, as a limited resource, when love is nothing like that – you have as much as you want or need. Same as with gender, no?
A good friend of mine has an awesome son. This is him:
And this year, he’s just old enough to start worrying about bullies and what other kids will think and say and do. He told his mom he didn’t want to go to his school’s Halloween party for that reason. His mom blogged about it, too.
But his mom had volunteered to set up for that party, and once he saw the decorations, he wanted to go.
And he did. And he had a great time. And some people were jerks.
So I thought you, my lovely readers, would show Max some love, here, or when this shows up on my FB page, or via Twitter. He’d love to know that he is awesome the way he is, and that his mom rocks, and that there is a whole world of people who would get in the way of any bully for him.
Please do not assume or try to predict anything about how he may or may not identify in the future. Right now he’s just Max.
Happy Halloween, my gendery clan. Go out and get your joy on.
I have been accused, in the past, of being a ‘handmaiden’ to trans politics (really) or of being biased.
What I am a handmaiden to is representing both sides of an argument with respect; discovering where and when someone is theorizing a person’s sexuality as if their humanity were not important, and in underlining any attempt to fetishize, pathologize, or other the complaints made by people when they are being presented in belittling, dehumanizing ways.
That’s what I didn’t like about that New Yorker article. It took a lot of ideas – ideas that aren’t wholly without merit, I might add – and presented them as if the people who object to them are just a bunch of angry nutjobs.
Julia Serano wrote an open letter about the article, in which she said:
But what really bothers me is that your mainstream readers (most of whom have little-to-no prior knowledge about radical feminism or transgender activism) will most likely not see through the article’s journalistic-ish veneer, and will assume that it represents an “objective” and “unbiased” presentation of the situation. And they will assume that transgender activists are mean people and completely out of control, because they have not been offered any evidence to suggest otherwise. And the insinuations that Goldberg makes throughout her article — that trans people act irrationally, are sexually deviant, and potentially dangerous — will seem to have “truthiness” to your readers, because the media has been propagating these very stereotypes of us for almost half a century. And when your readers do eventually meet a real-life trans person, perhaps they will misgender them, or dismiss them as a “pervert,” and justify those acts by referencing a New Yorker article they once read.
As I’ve said before and as I will say many times again, people do not even realize the depth of their own transphobic views. They don’t realize that these definitional framings of gender are both false and so, so, so not objective. I have had arguments with myself and other deeply felt and thought feminists over the years and examined all of these ideas, such as Blanchard’s, to the point of pain.
What I have realized, ultimately, is that I dislike the radfem take on women not because it’s radical, or because it dehumanizes trans women (although those help). It’s that it fails to take it’s own standpoint into the analysis, fails to realize that the definition of gender as a class of oppression – one I don’t disagree with – is highly, highly subjective.
That is, I don’t like their stuff because it’s cracking bad theory. Anyway.
As ever, more to come.
via HuffPo, where the words Ruby Rose – the model/DJ in the video – posted on her Facebook also appear:
You know what needs to stop just as much as homophobia, bullying within the LGBT Community… A ‘bisexual’ isn’t just greedy.. ‘Pansexual’ exists and isn’t a cop out.. ‘Straight’ people can be gay huge advocates and blessings to the community… you can identify as trans without surgery, you can be gender fluid… in fact guess what… you can be whoever you are and like whoever you like and WE should spread the love and acceptance we constantly say we don’t receive.
Oh, Oprah. She did one of her “Where Are They Now?” editions and it turns out Christine, a woman who had been in a marriage in which both husband and wife would come out as a gay, later met a woman named Jacki.
Jacki and Christine fell in love. Awesome.
Jacki transitioned to male. Also awesome.
But while being interviewed on the show they said that Jacki transitioned in order to marry Christine, and so they “looked into transgender” and found out that “just like that” their marriage would guarantee that Christine would receive Jacki’s pension and social security.
Just like that.
M guess is that the story is being wildly misrepresented: that in fact Jacki already had some gender stuff going on, a latent or not so latent need to transition, and in these days of defeated DOMAs and lifted bans and stays on ceremonies and the murky, uneven status of same sex marriages, they thought transiton + marriage would guarantee them certain rights they could not be as sure of as a same sex couple.
The first red flag for me: Did anyone notice that Christine says Jacki is “the most authentic person I know”? I mean, is that not in the “things cis people say about trans people” list?
Which maybe it will, for them. I hope it provides them the stability and recognition of their relationship everyone deserves.
What bothers me, of course, is the way it’s been framed as the “shocking steps” one couple took. Not shocking. When people try to gain the legal rights afforded others, it’s not shocking at all. It’s entirely normal and should be totally expected. And if transition itself is still shocking to anyone — holy crap, come out from under your rock.
The problem is that many, many trans people have found their marriages declared legally null over the years – and it is far more likely for a marriage like theirs, in which both people’s sex declared at birth is the same. The status of my own marriage — which is the type that is legally upheld by the courts because we had different sexes listed on our birth certificates and got married long before my wife took the legal or medical or even social steps to transition — still makes me nervous precisely because of all of the legal details of the status of some marriages in this country.
What I suspect – and what I don’t know for sure – is that Jacki is one of very many people whose gender was already masculine of center, before meeting Christine, and whose life as a masculine woman often brought a ton of bullshit – barred entry to the ladies’ room, issues with clothes shopping, misgendering, etc. Dealing with that, plus his love for Christine maybe encouraged him to legally change his gender precisely because living with a non normative gender can be such a pain in the ass legally and otherwise. That is, there are plenty of people for whom a legal transition to male is not a huge undertaking because they are already men in so many ways. My wife’s legal transition was definitely influenced by the fact that it was getting more and more difficult for her to deal with TSA and other boneheads who had the right to judge whether or not her gender on her ID sufficiently matched her gender in person. So despite leaving for years as a woman with a male ID, we went through the legal hullabaloo to get hers changed.
The way they are presenting their story reminds me of the woman who claimed being stung by a bee caused her to transition (and who, in all fairness, said the anaphylactic shock set off a hormonal reaction, etc. etc.).
You don’t need a reason, folks. You’re trans and transition because you are.
You’re in love and want to be married because you are and you do.
Let’s please stop making excuses for gaining recognition for our lives, identities, relationships and families.
(For more about this Captain America, check io9’s post about the artist and the drawings.)
Portraits of younger people who don’t identify as any gender, who use terms like “neutrois” to describe themselves. Most seem to use “they” pronouns.
Pretty awesome, and pretty much where I’d be if i were 19 now.
Here’s an astonishing little piece about death, queerness, and re-reading Butler‘s Gender Trouble:
“Tell her you forgive her,” she says, “I promise you she will die.”
I hang up and go back into the bedroom. Back to the borscht-feeding. My mother, all 89 pounds of her, is swathed in diapers and is sickly white, her eyes following each spoonful of borscht as it approaches her mouth.
“Mom, I forgive you.” Her eyes track up to my face. “I forgive you, Mom, I forgive you. ” Either I am saying this repeatedly to make sure she hears me and thus dies swiftly or because it feels good to say. I touch her skeletal leg through the pilly blanket.
She kind of whisper-struggle-intonates, “This must be very hard for you,” and I lose it, raining tears into the borscht. “You are a better person than I am,” she says, then falls back into unconsciousness for another week, and dies.
Maybe I am rereading Gender Trouble as an escape from this, from the memory of this. I could be thinking about Gender Trouble so I don’t have to think about how thin her arms were at the end, how our arms have always resembled each other’s. And about how much I want to stick a needle full of testosterone in my ass and balloon into fleshliness to escape any lingering resemblance to this wraith.
But this is not why I reread Gender Trouble.
Really, really beautiful. Do read the whole of it, if not today, then eventually.
All the boldface is my own.
The first evidence of this new policy in action was published last year in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. Four female athletes, ages 18 to 21, all from developing countries, were investigated for high testosterone. Three were identified as having atypically high testosterone after undergoing universal doping tests. (They were not suspected of doping: Tests clearly distinguish between doping and naturally occurring testosterone.)
Sports officials (the report does not identify their governing-body affiliation) sent the young women to a medical center in France, where they were put through examinations that included blood tests, genital inspections, magnetic resonance imaging, X-rays and psychosexual history — many of the same invasive procedures Ms. Semenya endured. Since the athletes were all born as girls but also had internal testes that produce unusually high levels of testosterone for a woman, doctors proposed removing the women’s gonads and partially removing their clitorises. All four agreed to undergo both procedures; a year later, they were allowed to return to competition.
The doctors who performed the surgeries and wrote the report acknowledged that there was no medical reason for the procedures. Quite simply, these young female athletes were required to have drastic, unnecessary and irreversible medical interventions if they wished to continue in their sports.
I’m angry, frustrated, and even a little surprised. At this level of things, they couldn’t find anyone who knew anything about the relationship between T and clitorises? How does a large clitoris have anything to do with competitiveness?
As a friend just asked, are they seriously saying that having a larger clitoris makes women run faster? People use it to steer or catch the wind? What?
Vis a vis yesterday’s post about language and labels and pronouns, there’s this awesome set of photos of LGBTQ* identified people with the ways they identify.
- Queer Power Bottom Princess
- Trans Queer Parent
- Rural Queer
- Queer Femme
- Queer Butch Trans Top
- Gay Masculine of Center
- Daddy Femme Dyke Dom Queen
- Cisgenderqueer Feminist Butch Queen
- Provocateur Lesbian Dandy
That last one is too awesome.So what’s yours? If I were to think about it, I think I’d wind up somewhere near Pansexual Queer Tomboy. Het Dyke. Depends on the Day.
As you probably know by now, Facebook introduced new gender options that have taken us way, way past the binary. It’s really great. There is now Male/Female/Custom in a drop down menu, and once you choose Custom, you have an amazing selection to choose from. Being me, I wanted something like “all” or “none” or “other”, and the only one of those available is “other”. “Gender neutral” is missing, too, but still, it’s a pretty remarkable list even if you can’t actually just come up with your own. List courtesy of Slate.
Apparently they are also open to suggestions: PFLAG says: “if you have suggestions of others to add to the list, please email them to our Director of Communications, Liz Owen, at firstname.lastname@example.org.” My friend Dylan actually got a response to an email, so it really seems like they are.
Also: doesn’t it just feel so goddamn liberating to get to self-define? You can choose more than one, too. I assume for some folks this is terrifying or weird or freaky or whatever, but seeing these changes start to happen, is for me, like taking a deep breath at long last.
- Cis Female
- Cis Male
- Cis Man
- Cis Woman
- Cisgender Female
- Cisgender Male
- Cisgender Man
- Cisgender Woman
- Female to Male
- Gender Fluid
- Gender Nonconforming
- Gender Questioning
- Gender Variant
- Male to Female
- Trans Female
- Trans* Female
- Trans Male
- Trans* Male
- Trans Man
- Trans* Man
- Trans Person
- Trans* Person
- Trans Woman
- Trans* Woman
- Transgender Female
- Transgender Male
- Transgender Man
- Transgender Person
- Transgender Woman
- Transsexual Female
- Transsexual Male
- Transsexual Man
- Transsexual Person
- Transsexual Woman
Safe Space Radio has a new series on LGBTQ teenagers in Maine which began with this first installment aired originally this past Monday, Feb 10th at 1pm. It’s with a teenager who identifies as gender neutral.
From SSR: The series, which is supported by the Equity Fund, is taking a look at how the culture in high schools is, or is not, changing one year after the passage of marriage equality in Maine. With the recent Maine Supreme Court ruling protecting the right of trans youth in Maine to use the bathroom of their gender, there is much cause for hope. But it remains true that LGBTQ teens are at high risk for bullying, rejection by their families and suicidality. Over the span of 6-8 weeks, they are interviewing teenagers about what life is really like for them, what it has been like to come out at home and at school, and whether they experience less of a sense of isolation, or stigma now than in years previously. The interviews are poignant, courageous, touching and even inspiring.
Very cool stuff. Give it a listen, especially if you’re not a teenager and/or don’t really understand “this whole genderqueer thing”.
I also love that there’s a mention of how there’s always been people who identified this way, but there hasn’t quite been a movement until now: yes, we’ve been here, and it’s a relief to see a movement start to happen. Some days I wish I could go back to being 19 so I could have a name for my experience of my gender that people understood, but better late than never, I suppose. (Genderqueer would have been my choice back then, I’m pretty sure. Now, gender fluid or gender variant or gender neutral is more accurate.)
I just listened to this awesome show on gender, sexuality, and identity on BackStory.
- great discussion of “two spirit” and the way it maps and doesn’t onto non-indigenous gender & sexuality categories
- Joe McCarthy wasn’t just all about the Red Scare, but the Lavender Scare as well
- WI “passing woman” marries woman
- & the story of T. Hall who was required by law to wear clothing of both genders – and more importantly, how that would have been viewed by others at the time
- why you can (or shouldn’t) think of Walt Whitman as a “gay poet”
Really, really great stuff, thoughtful discussion, and basically, pretty much what I teach.
I want to do this. Very, very much.
The Machine To Be Another’s projects work something like this: Two people put on headsets, and then see each other’s perspectives. That would be an extraordinarily bemusing experience were it not for the synchronising of the two users, each mimicking the other’s movement. It’s like that party game where you have to mirror the person opposite you, except this time you see what they should see, and vice versa. The results are interesting enough for many projects to be built around the concept, and none has been more attention grabbing so far than Gender Swap.
A man and a woman each don the Rifts, and then wearing minimal clothing, begin the experiment.
Susan Stryker tells some variation of this joke in Transgender History: When crossdressers are asked if they are a boy or a girl, they say “yes. ” When genderqueer identified people are, they say “no.”
I know this isn’t exactly news, but I found it fascinating, and with the sheer number of comments on the Reddit thread, a lot of other people have too.
When asked how men and women respond, sexually, to him having two penises, he wrote:
“but for the most part, girls were nervous and some changed their mind at the last minute. dudes NEVER change their mind, they always want it even if they’re freaked out a little. lol”
& Yes, there are photos, both flaccid and erect.
& Lots of answers to interesting questions. He is bi, and poly, & has a committed relationship with one man & one woman. He’s never done porn. Yes, they both work.
Mostly what I found great about it was reading his process of not just accepting himself as he is but valuing it – knowing he’s one in a million. The only real bullying came in high school, when some guys assumed he was gay. Because, you know, two penises. Because, you know, small brains.
If this is any indication, it’s going to be an interesting year.
I met activist and Gender Justice League founder Danielle Askini a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. She was then, and remains to this day, one of my favorite trans activists and educators.
1. Tell me something about how you started Gender Justice League, and why, what you do as an organization.
The idea behind Gender Justice League was really to build on what I had come to learn from other organizations I had participated in the past such as GSA Network (where I was National Program Director) and Outright, Maine – Where I was a youth activist. Really the idea is to bring the community together through community building, social and community education events, and then to recruit and train Trans and gender non-conforming folks as leaders to engage in community wide education and training and then advocacy work both on a one-to-one level and a policy level – such as removing Trans health insurance exclusions. The idea is really to start by building a community that is connected, informed, and educated and then develop our skills to organize, educate, and influence cultural change. As an organization what we have done has greatly varied, we have done things like hold Trans Pride Seattle – which brought together about 2,200 people in June – by far the largest single event by and for Trans folks in Seattle, we got King County Public Health and all HIV Prevention Providers to agree to both serve Trans women but also include images, messaging, and information about Trans women in HIV prevention materials, we also held a community gathering to discuss Fighting Trans Misogyny that was incredibly well attended. This is all outside of our internal training on grant writing, meeting facilitation, web/social media networking and advocacy training. I’m so excited for all we have yet to do in the next year or two as we launch our speaker’s bureau and education plan, partner with University of Washington for a Transgender Medicine class for medical students, social workers, and nurses, and many many more things!
2.. We were talking recently about the intersection of community and politics, specifically when it comes to trans people. Do you think one has to come before the other?
I think this is a really interesting question! As someone who transitioned in Maine — Portland specifically, a “city” of only 65,000 people — there was not a huge Trans community that was active when I fist came out. Over time, more and more trans folks and gender queer folks came out — but most identified as trans men/trans masculine which left me feeling a bit isolated. My activism in Portland was really focused on “LGBT” activism and youth in foster care activism (I spent my Junior year homeless, and my senior year in foster care) — but it was extremely isolating to be the ONLY trans woman around in many instances. There was a sense of ‘community’ to some degree — but often I didn’t really feel “seen”. Portland is a tricky example, as everyone watched me transition quite publicly (it’s a small town) and to many, I would forever be that “Gay boi / drag queen!” that they had seen in high profile shows; this often invisible my identity as a woman. That is not to say that I wasn’t deeply effective or influential, I think even though I was young, in college, and often busy — I was of a vanguard that pushed the largely L & G leaders to include Gender Identity and Expression in Maine’s 2005 non-discrimination law. I think community is vital — but I found my community online at that time! Now, I walk out my door and have dozens of friends which is amazing. I certainly think having a solid online community through livejournal was vital to my early activism — a place to vent, get resources/connect, and feel ‘seen’. For folks who are not in major cities — the internet has really revolutionized that process. So that is to say — find a community online, do online activism, find strength where you can no matter what — but doing activism everywhere is vital! I think that was the key for me, finding community online, doing activism even when I felt isolated and alone as a very young trans woman.
3. I think of you as a radical activist, and I mean that as a compliment. Tell me something about how you think of trans rights in the light of other social justice issues. More
Three years ago, Mel, Robin, and Jay noticed a ton of discrimination and just a general lack of education around gender. They asked themselves “why isn’t there just a book you can hand your therapist and say here, read page 29 and you will understand, see you next week.” They thought there should be a resource you can read in one sitting. It should be illustrated and as fun as a kid’s book while going into some real depth and true stories. The book should help people come out and educate their friends and family. Surely a book like that exists, right? Except it didn’t, so they made one: it’s called The GENDER Book, and it has a Kickstarter.
1) You explain a little about why the book came into existence – as that thing you could hand to a therapist & say, “see page 42”. Do you feel like it turned out to be that book?
Mel- Absolutely! It’s more a tool you carry around in your back pocket than a read-it-once-and-forget-it kind of book. We’ve found so many creative ways to use it for education, but my favorite is just like you mentioned- using it as a shortcut to a mutual understanding. Once we agree on the basic terms, we can talk about all the fun, juicy, personal stuff. That’s the real beauty and value in a book like this to me. It takes the burden off the trans* community to do the 101 educating work over and over again. Instead, they can use this as a fun, easy to understand primer to elevate the discussion and get past those initial hiccups to understanding so that real connection can happen.
Robin- Yes that and MORE! Plenty of people who know a lot about gender have read the book and learned something they didn’t know. Since we have leaders using the book’s images for their presentations on gender or allyship, they have come back to us and said that many people commented on they hadn’t seen the common thread through the spectrum of gender.. they are used to their boxes.. but really gender can be fluid not just in presentation but how community works together and that is a living educational experience many people haven’t had but we have here in Houston
Jay – the GENDER book has proven to be a definite starting point for those kinds of clinical conversations, which is what our intention always was: to generate an accessible primer that could leave folks with the basics to do their own personal work of data gathering to then connect through conversations that once may have been difficult to have.
2) Can you give me a partial list of identities that you cover? Were there any you hadn’t heard of before you started working on it? More