Traditionally, boys who play with dolls were scolded, stripped of their dolls and handed some trucks, their parents terrified of their son showing signs of femininity. Now, as transgender identities become more visible, select parents respond to their sons playing with dolls in a different way, assuming that their child’s interest in traditionally feminine toys makes them transgender or qualifies them as a girl trapped in a boy’s body. So-called progressive individuals are jumping on the “transgender bandwagon,” without realizing that their tolerance (and even support) of what they perceive as “transgender” might actually be a destructive reinforcement of an arbitrary gender binary.
By Tom Chivers at the Telegraph; a piece from last year that’s still worth the read.
The only gender confusion I still have is how to navigate a socially binary world while having a non-binary gender.
Why men need feminism….
Reblogging for a particular reader of this blog, who will know who they are. Feminism - that is, the brand that most of the feminists I know actually subscribe to, not the one caricatured in the media - is about tearing down gender roles. And by nature if you level the playing field, it’ll be level for both teams. We don’t want women to rule the world. We don’t hate men (a lot of us date men! and since I don’t feel gender is a binary, that’s a false dichotomy anyway!). We don’t ignore struggles against racism or transphobia or homophobia or other forms of erasure and bigotry. Because if the goal is a level playing field, we have to make it as level as we can foreveryone.
I went to a queer group yesterday. We talked politics for two hours - beginning with the marriage equality bill currently awaiting a vote in New Zealand, but not stopping there. And it was utterly refreshing to discuss the gender binary and intersex issues and the legal ramifications of choosing to transition to genderqueer and the intersection of racial minority and being queer (minorities squared, we called them; the feminist theory - and one I suggest you read about - is called intersectionality) with people who either knew what I was talking about or were willing to listen. And somewhere along the lines one of the people there noted that as a gay cis male, he didn’t have much knowledge of gender issues, but that he felt that he had to learn to understand and be sensitive to the needs of the other groups in the community. And it’s a general mission statement: speak out not only because you are “othered” by society: speak out for those more or differently isolated than you are.
So I decided it was getting frustrating trying to explain me to people, so I annotated a genderbread man from here. I figure I’ll just link people to this next time.
My default state is just not feeling that gender is even a thing (agender), or wanting to be simultaneously male and female (androgyny, I guess) but some days I’m definitely 100% female (and once in a while I have a day or two where I get dysphoric over not having a penis and want to cut my uterus out). I figure the only way to describe that is genderfluid; my gender changes. It doesn’t change who I am at that second, and really you can just address me with any pronoun (except “it”) at any point. Just don’t call me a woman; I don’t like that word. Not sure why.
Some days, as you no doubt would know if you know me in person, I’m undeniably presenting as female. Sometimes I do drop my voice and speak from my chest, and express in a more typically male way. But mostly I go for androgyny: either in genderless dressing (flannel shirt and jeans, anyone?) or in mixing gendered cues.
I was assigned female at birth.
Welp, this might take a little explaining. I’m more romantically attracted to guys, or to masculinity in any gender really, but a little more sexually attracted to femininity. Also, trans* people (and anyone else who doesn’t present as gender-conforming) just really…hot damn, man, they tick all the boxes.
Anyway. In general I don’t get romantically attached very easily at all (to do with the fact that I just don’t do emotion a lot of the time, and don’t often choose to let myself into a relatively vulnerable situation.) Comfortable with my sexuality, but thus far I haven’t tended to have sex outside committed relationships, since the amount of sexual baggage I’m still dealing with is a bit unfair to offload on anyone else. Oh, and I’m also polyamorous, which means that I can have multiple committed relationships at one point, with everyone involved having full knowledge of course.
Okay, that’s all my explaining in one diagram! For more info on each of these scales, there’s a bit more explaining at the first genderbread diagram. Neither is quite accurate, but it’s useful. I feel that gender and all the other things are quiiite a lot more complicated than can be represented, but this is as close to making sense out of it as I can get.
I got so hopeful seeing that first “no”, after about eight or nine where people just went “lol derp yes”… Stranger 2, what the fuck?
[for screenreaders: A screenshot of an anonymous conversation on omegle.com between two strangers. The question they have been posed is “Are there only two genders?” The transcript is as follows:
Stranger 2: No
Stranger 1: I don’t really know
Stranger 2: There is male, female, trans
Stranger 1: ^ yeah
Stranger 1: and FTM
Stranger 2: We can say black people are different gender
Stranger 2 disconnects after this.]
Loving that Google now allows “other” as an option for gender! It’s much appreciated. Only just noticed it, so I’m assuming it’s part of the G+ upgrade! Thanks for being progressive, Google!
(C’mon, Facebook, we’re waiting. Plenty of Fa’afafine etc who aren’t represented by your options.)
Flickr’s done it since I signed up last year too!