Category: gender

Sports T

Posted by – April 12, 2014

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?

The whole article is here.

Genders and Terminology

Posted by – March 10, 2014

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
  • Inbetweener
  • 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.

 

FB’s New Gender Options

Posted by – February 13, 2014

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 lowen@pflag.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.

  • Agender
  • Androgyne
  • Androgynous
  • Bigender
  • Cis
  • Cisgender
  • Cis Female
  • Cis Male
  • Cis Man
  • Cis Woman
  • Cisgender Female
  • Cisgender Male
  • Cisgender Man
  • Cisgender Woman
  • Female to Male
  • FTM
  • Gender Fluid
  • Gender Nonconforming
  • Gender Questioning
  • Gender Variant
  • Genderqueer
  • Intersex
  • Male to Female
  • MTF
  • Neither
  • Neutrois
  • Non-binary
  • Other
  • Pangender
  • Trans
  • Trans*
  • Trans Female
  • Trans* Female
  • Trans Male
  • Trans* Male
  • Trans Man
  • Trans* Man
  • Trans Person
  • Trans* Person
  • Trans Woman
  • Trans* Woman
  • Transfeminine
  • Transgender
  • Transgender Female
  • Transgender Male
  • Transgender Man
  • Transgender Person
  • Transgender Woman
  • Transmasculine
  • Transsexual
  • Transsexual Female
  • Transsexual Male
  • Transsexual Man
  • Transsexual Person
  • Transsexual Woman
  • Two-Spirit

Gender Neutral Teen

Posted by – February 12, 2014

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.)

Awesome Show on Gender

Posted by – February 4, 2014

I just listened to this awesome show on gender, sexuality, and identity on BackStory.

Highlights:

  • 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.

Virtual Gender Swap

Posted by – January 28, 2014

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.

I Prefer Not To.

Posted by – January 27, 2014

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.”

 

The Guy with Two Penises

Posted by – January 2, 2014

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.

Five Questions With: Danielle Askini, Gender Justice League

Posted by – December 30, 2013

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

Five Questions With: The GENDER Book’s Creative Team

Posted by – December 23, 2013

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

Clothing Privilege

Posted by – November 2, 2013

This piece by John Scalzi about why he can wear generic clothes (mostly) says a lot about privilege in a very tangible way:

My systematic and personal advantages mean that nearly all disadvantages posed by someone judging me on my appearance are temporary and light. This is also why I find it amusing to post deeply unflattering pictures of myself online (see the one to the right as an example); I don’t have to worry about the negative side-effects of doing so. People who actually are judged on their appearance, and for whom that judgment will have a material effect on their life, don’t have the same luxury to be unconcerned as I do. What’s interesting and amusing to me is a matter of stress and anxiety for others.

which, coupled with this piece about poor people and brand-name clothes, really does explain a great deal of why people dress the way they do:

I do not know how much my mother spent on her camel colored cape or knee-high boots but I know that whatever she paid it returned in hard-to-measure dividends. How do you put a price on the double-take of a clerk at the welfare office who decides you might not be like those other trifling women in the waiting room and provides an extra bit of information about completing a form that you would not have known to ask about? What is the retail value of a school principal who defers a bit more to your child because your mother’s presentation of self signals that she might unleash the bureaucratic savvy of middle class parents to advocate for her child? I don’t know the price of these critical engagements with organizations and gatekeepers relative to our poverty when I was growing up. But, I am living proof of its investment yield.

Makes you think about your own clothing choices, and even how they change: at work, around friends and family.

So how is all of this gendered?

Lou Reed: Sex and Gender Songs

Posted by – October 28, 2013

Lou Reed wrote a song about undergoing electroshock therapy because his parents thought he was gay. It was called “Kill Your Sons.”

He wrote “Candy Says” about Candy Darling, one of the Warhol Factory’s out trans women. (There were quite a few trans women involved in Warhol’s stuff, including – Ms. Darling, Holly Woodlawn, Jackie Curtis & Jayne County.)

He wrote “Walk on the Wild Side” which inspired a ton of trans people to say “Wait, what? That’s possible?” when it came to gender transformation.

He wrote “Coney Island Baby” – and the whole of that collection of songs – for a trans girlfriend of his named Rachel.

Then of course there’s “Venus in Furs”, too, which is a whole other thing altogether, but certainly of interest to a certain subset of y’all.

 

American Women Dying Younger Than Their Moms?

Posted by – October 9, 2013

This is upsetting but important reading: American women are dying at younger ages than their mothers.

For some Americans, the reality is far worse than the national statistics suggest. In particular, growing health disadvantages have disproportionately impacted women over the past three decades, especially those without a high-school diploma or who live in the South or West. In March, a study published by the University of Wisconsin researchers David Kindig and Erika Cheng found that in nearly half of U.S. counties, female mortality rates actually increased between 1992 and 2006, compared to just 3 percent of counties that saw male mortality increase over the same period.

“I was shocked, actually,” Kindig said. “So we went back and did the numbers again, and it came back the same. It’s overwhelming.”

Kindig’s findings were echoed in a July report from University of Washington researcher Chris Murray, which found that inequality in women’s health outcomes steadily increased between 1985 and 2010, with female life expectancy stagnating or declining in 45 percent of U.S. counties. Taken together, the two studies underscore a disturbing trend: While advancements in medicine and technology have prolonged U.S. life expectancy and decreased premature deaths overall, women in parts of the country have been left behind, and in some cases, they are dying younger than they were a generation before. The worst part is no one knows why.

No one knows why.

Worse yet is this:

Other researchers have pointed out the correlation between education rates and declining female health outcomes. The most shocking study, published in August 2012 by the journal Health Affairs, found that life expectancy for white female high-school dropouts has fallen dramatically over the past 18 years. These women are now expected to die five years earlier than the generation before them—a radical decline that is virtually unheard of in the world of modern medicine. In fact, the only parallel is the spike in Russian male mortality after the fall of the Soviet Union, which has primarily been attributed to rising alcohol consumption and accidental death rates.

“It’s unprecedented in American history to see a drop in life expectancy of such magnitude over such a short time period,” said Jay Olshansky, the lead author of the study. “I don’t know why it happened so rapidly among this subgroup. Something is different for the lives of poor people today that is worse than it was before.”

It’s horrifying that this is the case in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but yes, let’s shut down the government because poor women need pap smears.

Sissy Cowboy

Posted by – October 4, 2013

As many of you know, I particularly love this kind of story: about a person who just decides to be who they are in whatever small town they’re living in. In this case, Sissy is particularly amazing: to take the name Sissy, for starters, but Wyoming?! Damn.

Sissy Goodwin is out shopping. He’s on the hunt for an industrial-sized wrench for a home handyman project along with two special somethings: colored hair bows and a pretty new dress — preferably red, size 12.

He walks through a mall, a linebacker-sized figure in a pink skirt, lacy yellow blouse and five-o’clock shadow; a gold lamé purse slung over his shoulder and a white bow affixed to his receding gray hair. The 67-year-old college science instructor looks straight ahead, ignoring the stares and the catcalls.

That said, I have a particular soft spot and respect for sissies – they’re like the bottom of every possible hierarchy within & without the trans community, but I hope there are plenty of others like me who know that Sissy is no way “less than” any other kind of (trans) person.

Worth reading. And good for you, Sissy.

American Masculinities Conference

Posted by – October 3, 2013

This sounds great, AND my friend Tom is speaking.

The New York Metro American Studies Association (NYMASA) is delighted to announce our 2013 annual one-day conference, AMERICAN MASCULINITIES

Saturday November 2nd
9am-6pm
at Pace University, Downtown Manhattan Campus

In recent years, scholars in American Studies have turned their attention to men and masculinity. This year’s NYMASA conference will continue this exploration, interrogating the various meanings and manifestations of manhood, manliness, and masculinity in the United States from the colonial period to the present day.

Highlights include a lunchtime presentation by Michael Kimmel, and a culminating roundtable featuring David Leverenz, Robert Reid-Pharr, and Tom Léger.

For a full schedule of events and registration, please go to the NYMASA website at www.nymasa.org. Questions? Email
nymasamasculinities@gmail.com

We are thrilled to include a pre-conference event in our schedule:

Friday, November 1st from 4:00pm-6:00pm
Niobe Way (NYU) will be speaking on
“Boy’s Friendships”
Sponsored by the Center for the Study of Men and Masculinities Seminar
Stony Brook Manhattan, 387 Park South, 3rd Floor
Entrance is around the corner at 101-113 E. 27th Street, just beyond the Devon Shop

Gender Binary’s Disservice

Posted by – September 12, 2013

This just in from the “We’re not just making this stuff up” department of gender studies, where we don’t actually just talk about how the binary prescribes and proscribes our lives, but even moreso, how it influences and limits medical research:

Both men and women make estrogen out of testosterone, and men make so much that they end up with at least twice as much estrogen as postmenopausal women. As levels of both hormones decline with age, the body changes. But until now, researchers have focused almost exclusively on how estrogen affects women and how testosterone affects men.

Sadly, we have known for a very long while that men have & need estrogen and vice versa, that neither is the “male” hormone or “female” hormone, and yet we persist in separating these hormones based on their dominance in one kind of body or another.

The article goes on to point out that middle aged spread in men is likely due to a decrease in estrogen levels, which was previously believed to be caused by the decrease of T, which, coincidentally, has lead to a $2 billion dollar testosterone industry. Go figure.

Make Your Own Dress

Posted by – September 10, 2013

Okay, this is both funny and kinda gorgeous: on Reddit, a bunch of men tried their shorts on in a whole new way, creating an off-the-shoulder slinky ass dress for themselves.

There’s a bunch more. I chose this one because of the well-chosen details that wound up on his arm.

Another Example of Cool Masculinity

Posted by – September 10, 2013

A father of a ‘gender creative’ son – a boy who is feminine – defends his parenting and his wife’s.

My wife also gets a load of emails from people asking where our son’s father is, as though I couldn’t possibly be around and still allow a male son to display female behavior. To those people I say, I’m right here fathering my son. I want to love him, not change him. My son skipping and twirling in a dress isn’t a sign that a strong male figure is missing from his life, to me it’s a sign that a strong male figure is fully vested in his life and committed to protecting him and allowing him to grow into the person who he was created to be.

A parent behaving like a parent. Amazing. What isn’t so amazing is how long these pernicious ideas about the lack of a strong male role model somehow “creates” feminine boys, when in fact, the lack of a strong male role model, in my opinion, tends to create bullies, not their victims.

How To Look At Women

Posted by – September 7, 2013

I thought this was great – one dad’s planned conversation with his son the first time he sees his son look at a woman sexually.

There are two views regarding a woman’s dress code that you will be pressured to buy into.  One view will say that women need to dress to get the attention of men.  The other view will say women need to dress to protect men from themselves.  Son, you are better than both of these.  A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention.  You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being.  On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you.  You need to be in control of you.
Also, this:
Let’s be clear: a woman’s body is not dangerous to you.  Her body will not cause you harm.  It will not make you do stupid things.  If you do stupid things it is because you chose to do stupid things.
Good, no?

Gendered Book Covers

Posted by – August 10, 2013

Wow. If we take the gender flipping meme to publishing, then what of book covers?


Yesterday, author Maureen Johnson had a great idea. She tweeted “I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says, “Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it. – signed, A Guy” – and so came the idea for a challenge for her 77,000 followers. A challenge that she called Coverflip. Below, she explains more.

And the simple fact of the matter is, if you are a female author, you are much more likely to get the package that suggests the book is of a lower perceived quality. Because it’s “girly,” which is somehow inherently different and easier on the palate. A man and a woman can write books about the same subject matter, at the same level of quality, and that woman is simple more likely to get the soft-sell cover with the warm glow and the feeling of smooth jazz blowing off of it.

Go look at the slide show. It’s pretty staggering.