Transgender

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  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    Boogie wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    Perhaps a way for cis people to think about what it means to be male or female is to imagine how you’d feel if you woke up tomorrow in a body of the opposite sex. Obviously there would be lots of social complications, but if society just accepted it smoothly and told you that’s fine, all documentation will be changed, society accepts it, and now you are a woman (or man) for the rest of your life, how would it feel? Would it feel wrong in any way, and if so, why?

    Alternatively, imagine going on some long holiday alone, with a bunch of people you’ve never met before - a nice friendly mixed-gender group that you are going to hang out with and become friends with - and they consistently refer to you as the opposite gender. Although to you it is obvious you are not that gender, to them you clearly are. Is this okay? Do you go with it? If you say ‘Actually, I’m a man/woman,’ and they look at you weird and laugh, thinking you’re having a laugh, do you keep pushing it, or just let them go with it? Does it matter? And if it does matter, why?

    Good thought experiment. It would feel all wrong. I would be certain there had been a mistake, I had been wrongly done by. I appreciate others don't feel this way. Can they appreciate that I do? If not, why not?

    I would feel odd. I like feeling attractive - I think trans women maybe do too?

    Maybe cis men do too. Becoming a man wouldn’t automatically mean becoming unattractive. Unless you find all men unattractive, I suppose.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I’d be happy with the waking up male. While a gender change is not a personality change, I imagine the way I was perceived and treated would modify how I acted, how I presented. In my present marriage, I am the practical, grounded one. I know from experience that if or when someone else is being The Coper, then I become ditzier.

    As to everyone else on the island calling me male (assuming in this scenario I am still in my female body) I think I would go for it. As above, I would be interested in their expectations, and in what they elicited from me.
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    A major feature of this post has been opposition to the notion that an individual can be assigned by a third party to a particular social or biological category. The problem is that if assignment is to be a matter for each individual subject then it makes rational discussion of phenomena impossible because there can be no common agreement as to what one is talking about. If, for example, the designation of an individual as 'transphobic' or a 'bigot' is denied by the transgressor, does that mean he/she is neither of those things? Racists may deny they are such, but I might want to insist to them and others that their actions indicate otherwise. The Ugly Duckling really was a swan.

    Social science research has long recognised the distinction between what people say they are and how academia regards them. For example, a series of questions in a survey were designed to place a respondent in a social class schema used by the researcher. Respondents, however, were also asked to assign themselves to a class of their own choosing. Consequently, findings could be discussed in terms of assigned and self-assigned class. ISTM that our discussion here could be less fraught if a distinction between assigned sex and assigned gender, and self-assigned sex and self-assigned gender could be made. Analytically, it would also be helpful to compare the cis-gendered and trans-gendered amongst 'men' and 'women' to see whether there are significant differences or not.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    I think a useful question to answer in this discussion would be, what is gender for ?
  • Interesting points, Kwesi. My thinking is that we are all assigned sex and gender status, and I think many people accept this, and perform accordingly. A number of people feel uneasy about their assignation, and exist in a more marginal position, non-conforming, in current jargon. However, this is not a homogenous group by any means, and there seem to be many sub-groups. I don't know if there is any research on this.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    I think a useful question to answer in this discussion would be, what is gender for ?

    Yes. I would like to know this. I have no idea. The only context in which my biological sex is relevant to me is medically, and knowing that people with my kind of body get periods and menopause, and would be the baby carriers if they decide to mate with someone of the other body kind.

  • There has been some research on gender; the case of David Reimer made it clear that gender was not a result of nurture as had been assumed. David was a twin boy who was reassigned as a girl aged 22 months, following a botched circumcision operation that resulted in castration. The then Brenda Reimer was never properly accepted as a girl and refused to continue being treated as a girl between the ages of 9 and 11. He retransitioned back to being a man at 15 and underwent a significant number of surgeries to reassign himself back to his original gender.

    A foetus in utero would develop as a female without the input of testerone and other hormones triggered through a part of the XY chromosome combination. The foetal brain shows different gender development patterns as the neural tissue responds to the different hormones it is exposed to. There is also a theory that prenatal exposure to hormones affects sexual orientation. If prenatal development is so affected by the in utero experience of hormones, cannot the same be true of gender?
  • RussRuss Deckhand, Styx
    fineline wrote: »
    Perhaps a way for cis people to think about what it means to be male or female is to imagine how you’d feel if you woke up tomorrow in a body of the opposite sex.

    Wasn"t there a movie about this ?

    Was it any good ? Keenly-observed male & female body language, ways of talking, etc ?
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    fineline wrote: »
    mousethief wrote: »
    Good thought experiment. It would feel all wrong. I would be certain there had been a mistake, I had been wrongly done by. I appreciate others don't feel this way. Can they appreciate that I do? If not, why not?

    I can know, academically, that you do, but I have no idea what it feels like. I can make analogies with other things that would feel wrong to me, but I don’t know specifically what it feels like to have a sense of gender. It’s something I accept on faith, from various evidence, and knowing different people do experience life very differently.

    Thank you for your original post Fineline and for those which have followed. It raises what for me has been a basic question and also for you. Why would it feel all wrong as Mousethief puts it. I totally agree with what he says but don't know why that is so. So far no-one has been able to come up with an answer to this.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    Thank you for your original post Fineline and for those which have followed. It raises what for me has been a basic question and also for you. Why would it feel all wrong as Mousethief puts it. I totally agree with what he says but don't know why that is so. So far no-one has been able to come up with an answer to this.
    To me that seems like a biological question, and the biology on this question just hasn't been researched to any kind of conclusion, however tentative or temporary.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    There has been some research on gender; the case of David Reimer made it clear that gender was not a result of nurture as had been assumed. David was a twin boy who was reassigned as a girl aged 22 months, following a botched circumcision operation that resulted in castration. The then Brenda Reimer was never properly accepted as a girl and refused to continue being treated as a girl between the ages of 9 and 11. He retransitioned back to being a man at 15 and underwent a significant number of surgeries to reassign himself back to his original gender.

    A foetus in utero would develop as a female without the input of testerone and other hormones triggered through a part of the XY chromosome combination. The foetal brain shows different gender development patterns as the neural tissue responds to the different hormones it is exposed to. There is also a theory that prenatal exposure to hormones affects sexual orientation. If prenatal development is so affected by the in utero experience of hormones, cannot the same be true of gender?

    I would dispute your interpretation of this. You can not congenitally acquire a social construct. You could acquire characteristics that change how your society engages with that construct.

    So if you are - say - more impulsive and aggressive, you might tend to engage in behaviours that others then label as appropriate or not to your assigned gender. But what is considered appropriate to your gender would vary by time place and culture. And your experience of yourself / gender would be part of how that is explained back to you. Perhaps you would feel comfortable in your assigned gender if people praise you for the behaviours that arose from those characteristics, and uncomfortable if they tell you off.

    I would argue that in the case of the individual you reference, it is highly likely that those close to the invidual responded to them in ways partly influenced by the knowledge of original attempt at gender reassignment.

    The hormone hypothesis has offered to explain homosexuality, but I've yet to hear an explanation as to why testorone exposure would sometimes a biologically female baby to be gay and sometimes to be trans. I think there is a dearth of evidence generally, but also this search for biological determinism is a mistake - just because something is not purely biologically determined doesn't mean it is not real or important, and it doesn't mean that is something that is directly subject to someone's choice or control or that of those around them.

    (I'd also note that John Money appears to have engaged the twins in what most people would understand as sexually inappropriate behaviour over an extended period of time - and I wonder about the impact of that on the individual's development and subsequent mental health problems.)
  • I wasn't saying that gender is a purely biological construct but that there is more to gender than nurture, as the David Reimer case showed; many transgender people are demonstrating an equal certainty that they are not the gender they are being told they are.

    (I'm another one who is not sure I'd have a problem being made to act as the opposite gender, but I was another tomboy as a child and am definitely not girly now. I am not that bothered by being a woman but I have never, and am not going to start now, conformed to many of the feminine stereotypes.)

    There is a whole lot of lack of clarity as to the mechanisms for homosexuality - but it is known and there has been research into brain development in the foetus and that there are differences in the way brains develop between boys and girls. Which could suggest that different levels of the hormones that make these changes could make those changes more or less pronounced.
  • My sense is that our understanding of gender moved away from biology, (so it's not sex), and then social construction became the dominant theme, but now there is another shift to personal identity, not determined by others.

    But who does 'our' refer to? People on the Ship? People with degrees in gender studies? People with degrees in anything? The world in general? Are you sure that all the world has moved as far through that sentence as you have?

    But would you rather have your identity determined by others, or yourself?

    Speaking for myself (clearly not everyone thinks this way), I'm happy to have my identity as male (as it happens) determined by biology, provided society doesn't impose any unreasonable restrictions on what I as a man am allowed to do/say/feel/think/be interested in. If being a man meant being aggressive and obsessed with sport, and ruled out being kind or mild-mannered or relating to women on an equal level as friends and colleagues, I might be less happy with it, but I would probably take the view that the stereotypes needed changing, not that I wasn't a real man. Fortunately I've never been much exposed to pressure to be like that -- and I fit some of the geeky male stereotypes rather better.

    fineline wrote: »
    Perhaps a way for cis people to think about what it means to be male or female is to imagine how you’d feel if you woke up tomorrow in a body of the opposite sex. Obviously there would be lots of social complications, but if society just accepted it smoothly and told you that’s fine, all documentation will be changed, society accepts it, and now you are a woman (or man) for the rest of your life, how would it feel? Would it feel wrong in any way, and if so, why?

    Alternatively, imagine going on some long holiday alone, with a bunch of people you’ve never met before - a nice friendly mixed-gender group that you are going to hang out with and become friends with - and they consistently refer to you as the opposite gender. Although to you it is obvious you are not that gender, to them you clearly are. Is this okay? Do you go with it? If you say ‘Actually, I’m a man/woman,’ and they look at you weird and laugh, thinking you’re having a laugh, do you keep pushing it, or just let them go with it? Does it matter? And if it does matter, why?

    Unlike some people, I think I would respond differently to the two scenarios. In the first, it would take a lot of getting used to, but provided all the complications were smoothed out, and I wasn't subjected to societal pressure to abandon my interests in railways and maps and things, or to sexism and harassment or other disadvantages that many women face, I'd like to think that I'd just get on with it -- it would be quite interesting to experience life from a female perspective. In the second, assuming that I still had my male body, I would wonder why they were doing it, but at first I'd probably keep quiet to avoid awkward discussions. If I got to know them well enough I might eventually ask them why, but perhaps by then I would have accepted it as one of their harmless eccentricities.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    fineline wrote: »
    You see, that's my problem. In either of those scenarios I don't feel any dissonance at all. I imagine I'd just get on with my (newly male) life, though it would take me a while to get used to the new toilet.

    Same here, though I don’t see it as a problem as such. Just that I have no sense of gender. That’s okay, as far as I’m aware.
    As far as either of you are aware. That might be because you actually have not strong sense of gender or it might be because you fit well within what you are.

    To anyone speculating how they would respond to a gender switch, be aware that you are doing just that; speculating. Humans do not react well to their perceptions of who they are being challenged even without such an abrupt switch that I doubt the outcome would be so gentle the majority of the time.
  • Lilbuddha, give me a break. I already told you that I do NOT fit well into the social expectations for my sex, so you can stop speculating that i "fit well" and therefore have no feeling of dissonance. What i do have is a lifelong inclination to tell critics of my nonconformity to go to hell.

    It's also a bit rich that you're have switched argumentive sides and are now telling us (particularly me and fineline) that we probably don't have the correct handle on our own interior experience.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Eutychus wrote: »
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    Dolezal can wash off her dark makeup, and go back to how she was raised. A white woman.
    I've been thinking about Rachel Dolezal for a while too now, and I would like to challenge this
    Black is a colour and a culture in America, neither of which Dolezal shares. Black as a colour isn't a feeling and is only an identity where it is forced to be. In areas where everyone is black, it does not have the same weight/feel as it does in America.
    Culture is not innate. If the infant you had been shipped to America and raised there, you would not be British in any way.
    If Dolezal had been born and raised in Iceland, it is massively unlikely that she would feel black. There would have been nothing to draw her to that feeling.
    Does she truly feel she is black? I don't claim to know. Is she truly black inside despite being born and raised white? No.
    I do have pity for her, regardless of the reasons she does what she does.
  • Do we have any explanations as to why the epidemiology, ie the absolute numbers, of adolescents and young adults had increased, why it is more biological females, and why it is "rapid onset gender dysphoria ( ROGD)"?

    Social contagion, the possibility being presented to change, and popular media presentation are all listed. My read this far is that the group of those who wish to change gender are a heterogeneous group, where summary statements about all are probably not correct. Perhaps a specific "born in wrong body group", a questioning group perhaps due to external influence, a questioning group due to developmental issues such as identity crisis, a group troubled by mental health issues which gets linked into gender issues. Probably others. Am I totally off the wall?
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    I think the numbers are going up primarily because it is more recognised and accepted. In the past, More people suffered in silence or committed suicide.
    BTW, the percentages are still very low despite numbers growing. A lot of the casting about for "answers" by the general public are from the misconception that this is a "trend."
  • We, as human beings, are also filling our environment with Endocrine disruptors - there was an equivalent NIMH document from the USA when I googled to evidence this. From the introduction to that document:
    In humans, endocrine disruptors have been suggested as being responsible for apparent changes seen in human health patterns over recent decades. These include declining sperm counts in some geographical regions, increased incidences in numbers of male children born with genital malformations, and increases in incidences of certain types of cancer that are known to be sensitive to hormones. More controversially, links have been suggested with impairment in neural development and sexual behaviour.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    edited July 2018
    [Tangent] Rachel Dozel's white parents adopted 4 black children when she was a teenager - I do wonder if she absorbed some message from the dynamics of the household that to be special enough to be loved by her parents she needed to be black. (She and one of her siblings also claim to have been physically and mentally abused by their parents.) [/tangent]
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    edited July 2018
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    You see, that's my problem. In either of those scenarios I don't feel any dissonance at all. I imagine I'd just get on with my (newly male) life, though it would take me a while to get used to the new toilet.

    Same here, though I don’t see it as a problem as such. Just that I have no sense of gender. That’s okay, as far as I’m aware.
    As far as either of you are aware. That might be because you actually have not strong sense of gender or it might be because you fit well within what you are.

    To anyone speculating how they would respond to a gender switch, be aware that you are doing just that; speculating. Humans do not react well to their perceptions of who they are being challenged even without such an abrupt switch that I doubt the outcome would be so gentle the majority of the time.

    Mmm, yes, as I mentioned earlier in this discussion, that is what people tend to say to me when I say I am agender, which is one reason I don’t mention it much. Pointless mentioning something about myself when people tell me I may be wrong, and that I can’t possibly know this about myself. And while I could give personal examples that do tend to convince people, I shouldn’t have to. Why should I feel obliged to provide evidence of who I am, to try to convince people in general, and especially people who barely know me? So go ahead and think whatever you like about self-understanding and insight, my gender identity or lack thereof.

    But yes, obviously a thought experiment is limited. However, in my experience, and as we can see here, many people who have a sense of gender can indeed identify that it would feel wrong for them. And this is very useful when we are looking to describe what gender feels like, because then people can ask themselves why it would feel wrong, and try to put it into words. Though in my experience, generally they can’t, which gives insight into how difficult it must be for trans people to explain.

    N.B. ‘as far as I am aware’ was not referring to my lack of gender identity, but the fact that it’s okay. I was saying there is nothing wrong (as far as I’m aware) with having no sense of gender identity (other than it being a pain in the arse when you mention it and people tell you you may just be so comfortably cis that you have a gender identity you’re unaware of!)
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    [Tangent] Rachel Dozel's white parents adopted 4 black children when she was a teenager - I do wonder if she absorbed some message from the dynamics of the household that to be special enough to be loved by her parents she needed to be black.

    Identity as reactive? As I've said above, you become the version of yourself that circumstances dictate. And what if the circumstances include meeting a profound emotional need? But in doing so, crash up against an unalterable physical limitation?

    I am reminded of when I was young and godly and fantasising about gaining the admiration of the church I was in. And seeing that I could never be the Local Hero because those roles were men only. (Probably the start of realising that religion and I were not a good fit). The alternative - Christian Wife and Mother - would have been even more of a personal disaster.

    I’d say the sum of my own gender identity is formed by recognising I have ‘male’ leanings - but not strong enough to want to transition - and definitely lack a common female inclination to motherhood. So a woman. Up to a point.

    A pre-natal influence here, a formative childhood experience there, a cultural mismatch - whatever - and that point could have been placed differently. So why be exercised by those for whom it is? We are all on a flickering dial.

  • Barnabas62Barnabas62 Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host, Epiphanies Host
    What is gender for? Now that is a very good question. I know what I hope it is not for. And that is boxing people into social norms by labelling - or self-labelling.

    When it comes to personal identity, respect for the unique nature of others should come a long way ahead of categorising.

    Short version; don't put others in one of the boxes you are comfortable with. There may be something wrong with your boxes.
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    Or one way of being a woman, that is not partial - just different.

    This does come back to the issue of what gender for, is it a non verbal communication of your likely reproductive status, likely secondary sexual characteristics, likely social interests - or is it primarily self expression ?

    If gender is not defined by biological sex, nor by the anatomical structure of your body (not all trans people have surgery nor, in some cases, want it), nor by how you choose to live your life and with whom - what is it and what is its function ?
  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    I'm surprised that we are discussing something so serious and life changing by reference to such trivial matters as whether a little girl likes wearing dresses or playing with cars. Is that really what it is down to?

    Firenze, does not wanting children make you 'a woman. Up to a point' or just a woman who doesn't want children?

    Is it just me or have things really become worse over the years? When I was buying presents for nieces and nephews* 30-odd years ago, I was able to buy 'toys'. Buying presents now for great nieces and nephews, this is an enormously difficult thing to do: it seems to be 'boys' toys' or 'girls' toys'.

    One of the saddest things I pass every day on the way home from work is at the Girl Guide shop on Buckingham Palace Road - a quotation on the wall going something like, 'girls are able to climb trees, jump in puddles and get muddy because it's fun' (that's not very accurate but it's along those sort of lines).

    I am certain this would never have been said when I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, because it wouldn't have been necessary. Jumping in puddles, climbing trees etc was what children did.

    So - is there a change? And are these trivialities (I don't like shopping much, I have never wanted children, I used to play with cars, I did and do like wearing nice dresses) anything to do with gender dysphoria? I used to bury my dolls in the garden but I didn't grow up to be a serial killer.

    I admit to ignorance and am trying to learn.

    MMM

    *I'm another woman who never wanted children
  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate, Purgatory Host
    Me three on the child thing. And to be entirely honest this is one of the things I find confusing about discussing trans issues.

    I constantly find the things people cite as traits of / evidence of masculinity and/or gender dysphoria echo aspects of my own experience - but I've never formed the opinion that I am not a woman.
  • Curiosity killedCuriosity killed Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    I don't think it's trivialities. The transgender man I knew was so traumatised by menstruation every month as a teenager he regularly ended up in hospital following suicide attempts and became anorexic. He was helped by puberty blockers and transitioned as soon as he was fully adult.

    That's not the sorts of trivialities that we are all talking about in our refusal to fit female stereotypes.

    Yes and as a Guide leader we do deliberately provide opportunities for young girls to do mad things like build rafts and climb trees in female only groups as many girls are put off in mixed groups.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    MMM wrote: »
    I'm surprised that we are discussing something so serious and life changing by reference to such trivial matters as whether a little girl likes wearing dresses or playing with cars. Is that really what it is down to?

    If you read my post that way, you totally missed my point.

    We are discussing how society may define gender, and the associations people may or may not have with it, in order to show how trivial they may be.

    My example is from forty years ago, and was to show how meaningless being assigned a gender label is to someone with no sense of gender. For a girl with a sense of being female, however, such comments could have been hurtful - a challenging of her gender based on trivial things.

    And we can perhaps take that a step further to look at how equally hurtful and difficult it must be to have your gender challenged based on the trivial matter of whether you happen to have dangly bits between your legs.

  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    To clarify, it’s not trivial for the person who experiences gender dysphoria to be in the wrong body, but it’s trivial - maybe trivial is the wrong word - to be assuming someone is a boy or a girl based on external things like cars or genitalia.

    But here is the difference,

    With cars (yes, I know it’s an outdated example, but let’s go with it it as a symbol for all the subtler current gender associations) the assumption would be that if a girl was playing with them, she must be doing something wrong, and need to have the car replaced by a doll.

    With genitalia, if a girl happened to have male genitalia, the assumption would traditionally be, not that she needed to remove them, but that she simply can’t be a girl.

    And these are both assumptions that need challenging.
  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    Fineline, I wasn't missing your point, just using that example. However, as you've made the point, I don't think I would have have been upset by someone telling me I should have been playing with a doll or whatever, just would have regarded it as a bit of adult pi-jaw that meant nothing.

    And your example, CK, is a very serious one, not a trivial one at all.

    That is really my point: quite a lot of the discussion generally seems to have been about matters that are trivial, like whether someone likes something that is often associated with one gender - like enjoying shopping, apparently, is often associated with women.

    That to me doesn't seem remotely enough to have such serious feelings about. Your example CK, is at a completely different level.

    That's my point.

    MMM

  • The question as to what gender is for is fascinating. There are a few explanations. One, that traditionally it reflected sex differences, and hence expedited reproduction. Another, that it had socio-economic functions, for example the division of labour meant that men had to be tough. Three, that it provided a means of self-representation, that had aesthetic potential.

    But these are traditional, and seem to be being eroded. Having said that, gender is not necessarily binary in all cultures.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    MMM, we have been discussing the seriousness of gender dysphoria, and how it can lead to mental health problems and suicide if not addressed. And there have been some people who simply don’t get it and question if it’s real, and asking how you can know, so we have been attempting to address that - many different things are being juggled. I’m not sure if you have read the entire thread, but if not, maybe you came into the thread at a time where the issues being discussed did not make so much sense out of context from the whole?

    I’m not really sure I understand your point, and am also still not sure that you understand mine, because what you are interpreting is very different from what I have been expressing. I don’t think anyone has been saying that gender is about whether you like cars or dolls - not even the infamous Makepeace! Rather, some people had been talking about how such cultural assumptions could make a cis child question their gender, and want a sex change. And so were suggesting from this that gender is purely a social construct, which clearly it isn’t - as the case of David Reimer, which both I and Curiosity have brought up, has provided evidence for. Of course some children do get upset at adults telling them in a derogatory way they’re not behaving like a girl/boy, particularly if it’s persistent - but this is a different issue from transgender, and as I’ve said, I think it very unlikely this would lead to wanting gender reassignment.

    Maybe if you read all my posts in the context of the whole thread, it will make more sense. Or maybe you have and it doesn’t, in which case I’m not sure what else to say. What you are reading into the discussion is very different from what I have seen or expressed.
  • Surely, trans kids are not just playing with different toys? One of the criteria that used to be used, and presumably, still is, is that your child is consistent, insistent and persistent, about being boy or girl. It doesn't refer to a girl playing with trucks, or a boy with dolls. It's often said that it's not a phase, you can't change it, and trying to do so, is dangerous.

    But there may be different approaches now.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I think for much of western history,a woman who didn’t want children was Unnatural. And sinful - did not Paul say they would be saved in childbearing?

    On the one hand, gender is part of the private, multifarious, ineffable self, and it would be great if we all had a Gethenish* readiness to experience and accept any and all manifestations on the social and biological level.

    I have argued one of the strongest forces working to instil and perpetuate gender division and stereotyping is economic. There is no crime which will not be countenanced if there is money to be made, from burning witches to selling people to caging children.

    *from Gethen, setting for the Left Hand of Darkness
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    @MMM - Okay. Reminding myself of the entire context. My story about the car was an example in answer to the question ‘But would you rather have your identity determined by others, or yourself?’

    This question was asked to me personally (unless it was rhetorical and I misjudged) and I was answering. I was saying that for me my gender has always been determined by others, and has seemed utterly irrelevant. It wasn’t about the car. It was about people undermining what they perceive to be my female gender. Which for me personally, doesn’t much matter, but I am not everyone, which is another point I needed to make. I needed a concrete example. I could have given many more examples, but it would have been a very long post.

    To me, personally, who doesn’t experience gender, gender is totally about trivial things. Not for people with gender identity. For me. Because I don’t experience the deeper things. That deep sense of gender that many people experience. If only little boys played with cars, as the woman said, I logically imagined I’d henceforth be labelled a little boy. Which to me made no difference. This will not the same as a person with gender dysphoria. Or surely not a cis person with a strong sense of gender identity.

    Yes, you may have interpreted an adult saying ‘little boys play with cars’ as adult pi-jaw. I don’t know what that means. I saw the woman’s insistence as indicating that the categery of ‘little girl’ had been wrongly assigned to me. I thought I might get labelled as a boy after that. To me this was the equivalent of saying I should be in the Pixies instead of the Gnomes at Brownies. If you had been playing with a car, and then the adults decided to label you as a boy after that for the rest of your life, I would suggest that would be quite a damaging thing if you are a cis-female. To have your whole gender decided by a trivial thing, like a car. Or, to take it further, if you are a trans woman, a penis.
  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    Fineline, I don't think I'm disagreeing with you.

    You say,
    'I don’t think anyone has been saying that gender is about whether you like cars or dolls'

    Whereas I felt that the discussion had been getting pretty close to that sometimes. That's what was concerning me.

    And I made a secondary suggestion, that gender differences seem to me to be far more rigid now than I recall them from 30-50 years ago, at least as regards children. I was asking whether others felt that as well. Perhaps that's a different thread, though.

    MMM
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    I have a friend who is a trans woman. When she was six she told her parents she was not a boy but a girl. They said she was a boy and to never, ever mention it again.

    She played the role of a man, growing a beard etc until her forties, then had an epiphany and began the transition. She’s happy now and her wife has supported her every step of the way. When she told her wife her wife simply said ‘ah, that explains a lot.’

  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    edited July 2018
    Surely, trans kids are not just playing with different toys?

    No. They most definitely are not. I don’t think anyone has said this.

    Though I did earlier say that because an inherent sense of gender is something people have difficulty putting into words, a child, whose ability to use words will be even more limited than an adult’s, might use cultural gender specific toys or clothes as a sort of concrete symbol.

    If you are a kid who feels female, but in a male body, how are you going to express that you identify more with the little girls than the little boys? It would make sense logically to find something associated with the little girls. If they all wear dresses you might express the desire to wear a dress, because of what it represents, rather than because a dress is intrinsically female. In a hypothetical society where boys wear dresses and girls wear trousers, the child might express the desire to wear trousers to express her female gender.

    Does this make sense?

  • MMMMMM Shipmate
    Fineline, by 'adult pi-jaw', I mean the type of telling off you get when grown ups tell you how terrible you are and how you should behave, and you take no notice, 'cos that's the sort of thing grown ups always say.

    I was using the example of girls playing with cars as an example only. It wasn't, and I apologise if I was not clear, meant to be particularly connected to your story, except in the loosest sense that you had mentioned it.

    Otherwise, I hope my last post was clearer.

    MMM

  • fineline wrote: »
    Surely, trans kids are not just playing with different toys?

    No. They most definitely are not. I don’t think anyone has said this.

    Though I did earlier say that because an inherent sense of gender is something people have difficulty putting into words, a child, whose ability to use words will be even more limited than an adult’s, might use cultural gender specific toys or clothes as a sort of concrete symbol.

    If you are a kid who feels female, but in a male body, how are you going to express that you identify more with the little girls than the little boys? It would make sense logically to find something associated with the little girls. If they all wear dresses you might express the desire to wear a dress, because of what it represents, rather than because a dress is intrinsically female. In a hypothetical society where boys wear dresses and girls wear trousers, the child might express the desire to wear trousers to express her female gender.

    Does this make sense?

    I thought that MMM was objecting to talk of toys, and, as you say, no-one has indicated that as a trans indication. Kids are always crossing boundaries, for exploration and for fun. Trans kids seem quite different. There are also gender non-conforming kids, who are different again. And 'desistance' often applies to them, (reverting back to cis gender).
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    MMM wrote: »
    Fineline, I don't think I'm disagreeing with you.

    You say,
    'I don’t think anyone has been saying that gender is about whether you like cars or dolls'

    Whereas I felt that the discussion had been getting pretty close to that sometimes. That's what was concerning me.

    And I made a secondary suggestion, that gender differences seem to me to be far more rigid now than I recall them from 30-50 years ago, at least as regards children. I was asking whether others felt that as well. Perhaps that's a different thread, though.

    MMM

    Ah, okay. I’m not sure about gender differences being more rigid. I simply don’t know what gender is. I find it confusing, though I do totally acknowledge it’s a thing, and feel strongly that people with gender dysphoria should be respected, taken seriously and allowed to transition. Which is why I’m posting a lot here.

    As for children, I recently worked in a school with kids with severe learning and developmental disabilities. I found gender associations with toys and clothes simply don’t exist for many of these kids. Boys happily dress up as a princess one minute and spiderman the next. We had no restrictions - we let them choose. I wonder if there is more allowance for kids who are ‘different’ anyway - maybe (I have no idea) mainstream schools are more rigid.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    MMM wrote: »
    Fineline, by 'adult pi-jaw', I mean the type of telling off you get when grown ups tell you how terrible you are and how you should behave, and you take no notice, 'cos that's the sort of thing grown ups always say.

    I was using the example of girls playing with cars as an example only. It wasn't, and I apologise if I was not clear, meant to be particularly connected to your story, except in the loosest sense that you had mentioned it.

    Otherwise, I hope my last post was clearer.

    MMM
    Thanks for explaining. Yes, it is clearer. Sorry, I thought you were talking about my post about my toy car, and I was feeling frustrated I’d inadvertently suggested something I wasn’t suggesting.

  • When I was running preschool groups I used not to put any restrictions on girls or boys playing with the different toys or dressing up clothes and I tried not to gender anything. When I left one group we had one little boy who wore a pink tutu and high heels from the dressing up box fairly regularly, with no adverse comment. But it took a while to persuade the other adults not to limit the children.
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    edited July 2018
    When I was running preschool groups I used not to put any restrictions on girls or boys playing with the different toys or dressing up clothes and I tried not to gender anything.

    My niece has twins, one of each.

    She was the same - very careful to have all toys available to both with no bias in any direction. They are five now and the little girl is the pinkest princess I have ever met, and I’ve met a lot!

    She’s not learned it at home. Her Mum has never worn a dress in her life!

    The little boy is far less particular and will play with anything.

  • Yes, I dread to think what reaction some trans kids, or non-conforming kids, get from parents. But some are supportive, and some eventually so. The kids with adversial parents (don't you dare walk round this house dressed like that) are in danger, psychologically.
  • Adversarial.
  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    fineline wrote: »
    N.B. ‘as far as I am aware’ was not referring to my lack of gender identity, but the fact that it’s okay. I was saying there is nothing wrong (as far as I’m aware) with having no sense of gender identity (other than it being a pain in the arse when you mention it and people tell you you may just be so comfortably cis that you have a gender identity you’re unaware of!)
    Bugger. I do not wish to say your experience is not exactly what you present. But I kinda did just that. My apologies, plain and simple.

    However, I do wish to explore this tangent more. We are not spirits in a meat container, the container is part of who we are. So, anyone switched into any other body would feel out of place, even if all the identification points were the same. (sex, gender, colour, orientation, etc.) Add into this differences, however minor importance we might attach to them, and there is going to be dysphoria.


  • lilbuddhalilbuddha Shipmate
    Lilbuddha, give me a break. I already told you that I do NOT fit well into the social expectations for my sex, so you can stop speculating that i "fit well" and therefore have no feeling of dissonance. What i do have is a lifelong inclination to tell critics of my nonconformity to go to hell.

    It's also a bit rich that you're have switched argumentive sides and are now telling us (particularly me and fineline) that we probably don't have the correct handle on our own interior experience.
    OK, so I just apologised to fineline for doing that. But I wanted to deal with this post of yours separately.
    So, first, apologies for dismissing your personal experience in my earlier post
    Now, to this post.
    Not meeting the social expectations for gender ≠ strength of gender/gender orientation, etc. Especially as those expectations are temporal, arbitrary and changeable. (Pink and Blue switched genders in living memory, dress were for boys in FDR's time, boys have played with dolls through history and still do, though now they are more acceptably called "Action Figures") Though society places emphasis on these external activities, they are NOT inherently indicators of the strength of one's gender.
    A shirt and trousers, tree-climbing, close-cropped hair, grease-junkie can be every bit a girl as a pink dress, makeup obsessed, fashion plate.
  • finelinefineline Kerygmania Host, 8th Day Host
    lilbuddha wrote: »
    fineline wrote: »
    N.B. ‘as far as I am aware’ was not referring to my lack of gender identity, but the fact that it’s okay. I was saying there is nothing wrong (as far as I’m aware) with having no sense of gender identity (other than it being a pain in the arse when you mention it and people tell you you may just be so comfortably cis that you have a gender identity you’re unaware of!)
    Bugger. I do not wish to say your experience is not exactly what you present. But I kinda did just that. My apologies, plain and simple.

    However, I do wish to explore this tangent more. We are not spirits in a meat container, the container is part of who we are. So, anyone switched into any other body would feel out of place, even if all the identification points were the same. (sex, gender, colour, orientation, etc.) Add into this differences, however minor importance we might attach to them, and there is going to be dysphoria.

    Apology accepted. And the tangent is interesting, because yes, I do think if I was put in someone else’s body it would be a big adjustment, because I know my own body very well. It would be weird getting used to another one, whether male or female.

    And if it were a male body, I’d have to learn a new way to pee, and new types of public toilets that would be smellier, from what I understand, and I find smells difficult (trivial concerns maybe, but knowing myself, I think probably I would be worrying about this sort of practical thing). But equally, supposedly men (as a generalisation) don’t have such a strong sense of smell, so that might be an advantage. But I’m on the autism spectrum and I have sensory hypersensitivity because of that. And what would happen to autism if I changed body, because yes, we are not spirits in a meat container, and autism is part of my mind and body, and if it were gone, I wouldn’t be me any more. I can say that for autism, but I can’t say it for my genitalia, which simply don’t make me me in any way.

    Though I’m sure my female concoction of hormones is part of me, so in some ways, in my state of mind, I might experience the world differently as a man - people I know who’ve had hormone therapy and a sex change talk about these differences. But it does not affect their sense of self, their sense of being. Just like anyone can have their hormones altered (taking the contraceptive pill, having hormone replacement therapy, for instance) and it may affect mood but not their core being, I don’t think.

    Though I am not sure how stable and intact this supposed core being is. Many people take certain meds and say they don’t feel like themselves on them, that they do feel like a different person, and of course various things can happen neurologically that can change a person’s sense of self entirely. Though this does seem like it’s another whole topic in itself.

    Thinking about it, I am not sure how far we can realistically take the ‘Imagine you were put into a new body’ thought experiment, because although it has its uses to get people thinking, it is simplistic and very limited. Someone with gender dysphoria who has a sex change doesn’t get put into someone else’s body. They have adaptations made to their own.
  • I'm curious how Christians view transgender. I imagine that quite a lot of evangelicals see it as sinful, since God is a binarist, well, in relation to sex/gender, (see the Nashville statement). And I guess that more liberal Christians are cautiously accepting. After that, dunno. Any views?
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