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[I started writing the following thoughts as a comment in RServen’s recent diary but as my thoughts wandered a little further than usual, I decided to post this as a diary.]

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I preface my thoughts with the note that I don’t know any transgender people, or at least I don’t know if anyone I know is transgendered, so I’ve never had the opportunity to ask this question in a face-to-face conversation.

Would transgender folk prefer to simply be recognized as being the gender they identify as, or to have recognition of their transgender status?

My guess is that this is something that will vary from person to person.

A relative of mine is a pediatrician. Years ago she told me that legal documents should have five (5) genders instead of two, being male, trans-male, female, trans-female and hermaphrodite.  

Her view was that if we legally recognized that gender has (at least) five flavors, the general public would start to become more accepting of differences from the standard M or F.

I suspect that the strategy of demanding official recognition of genuine, identifiable, objective differences (like the five genders above) will be more likely to achieve political success than arguments over who is or isn't considered male/female.

Such an approach would also go some way to reduce people's fixation with what has or hasn't been done to someone's genitals. If you're a transgender woman, you're a transgender woman, regardless of whether you've had surgery affirming that or not.  

The recent controversy with Katie Couric had me thinking that for a transgender person to be asked as a matter of course about the state of their genitals is akin to a man being introduced on a talk show and asked, “Well, you are obviously dressed like a man and live as a man, so how big is your dick? Are you circumcised? Does it bend to the left or right?” Now, I can imagine these questions being asked as part of a comic sketch, but can we imagine similar questions to a woman being broadcast, even in jest? Probably not. It’s just too offensive to be so particular and personal about someone’s genitals in a public conversation.

It’s talking about genitals instead of gender. They are connected, but not the same. And that’s probably the most important point for people to comprehend.

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Given the "Orange Is The New Black" context for Couric’s interview of Laverne Cox and Carmen Carrera, a tangential thought about prisons popped into my head.

A serious issue for transgender prisoners is whether they are assigned to a men’s or women’s prison. I don’t think any state will ever build a separate prison for transgender inmates, even if there were recognition of five genders, so where does that leave gender and prisons?

Writing this, I decided to search transgender+prison and found this spot of progress in Harris County, Texas, reported at in mid-November 2013.  

A Texas county has just adopted a sweeping new policy to protect the rights and safety of transgender people who are incarcerated, including allowing transgender people to be housed according to their gender identity and ensuring they are addressed by their chosen name in spoken identification and on official documentation while incarcerated, the Associated Press reports.

TPM has a more recent piece (January 2014) that discusses some context to changes in housing inmates and gender showing that change is more difficult than just announcing new and better policies.

The Harris County Jail in Houston, the third-largest in the country which processes some 125,000 inmates annually, is one of many nationwide implementing changes to the way it treats its gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender population. The changes stem from a law passed by Congress under former President George W. Bush that requires federal, state and local lockups to eliminate rape in part by adjusting regulations about how the population lives behind bars.

It's not easy. As jails sort out how to put the law into place, conflicts are arising between existing state laws and the federal rules, making the implementation process slow and difficult.

Housing is one of the most difficult questions. Until now, gays, lesbians and transgender inmates were often housed separately, but based on their biological gender.  .... The new rules say it is discriminatory, as well as potentially unsafe, to house people based on sexual orientation and gender, and so now they hope to house inmates based on where they will be safest, and consider gender identity when making that decision.

The basic functions that a prison is supposed to perform (incarceration and rehabilitation) have nothing inherently to do with the gender of the inmates. Certainly nothing that is helped by being locked in an all-male or all-female environment.

So, why are prisons sex-segregated?

The answer is because, historically, the state that put someone in jail took no responsibility for their physical safety in that jail, and while men raping men could usually be shamed into silence or laughed about by others, men raping women just wasn’t funny that way.

Bashings and sexual assaults in jails, and the constant fear of same, have been used as material for comedy for ages and are often referenced in crime dramas as a pressure point for the hero cop to turn an accomplice into an informant. How does that environment make for a better person on release? Are they supposed to be broken and fearful?  

It’s hard to develop a person’s thinking and decision making to a point where they can be a good citizen who contributes to their community when their daily environment is a brutal, atavistic struggle for existence. And if reform isn't your idea of what prisons should be about, your community will not be safer when someone is released from a prison if they have spent their time inside in fear of the violence that surrounds them. Safer prisons make for saner, less violent inmates, who in turn make better people to have living down the road from you when they get released.

Only when jails are run so that they could be unisex will conditions for inmates be humane.

If we are interested in humanity, "M or F?" is rarely the right question.

Originally posted to HiKa on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 11:17 PM PST.

Also republished by TransAction and Community Spotlight.


How should transgender people be officially classified?

22%16 votes
45%33 votes
11%8 votes
20%15 votes

| 72 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (19+ / 0-)

    To hold to the Olympic "ideal" of excluding politics is to be indifferent to the suffering of other humans - which is itself a political act.

    by HiKa on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 11:17:24 PM PST

  •  I am not expecting much traffic here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gay CA Democrat, howabout

    so will be away to some chores - back in a few hours to check in.

    To hold to the Olympic "ideal" of excluding politics is to be indifferent to the suffering of other humans - which is itself a political act.

    by HiKa on Wed Feb 05, 2014 at 11:33:34 PM PST

  •  I am not sure about that. (20+ / 0-)

    It may be that some people are totally cool identifying as transgender, but many are not - they simply want to live their lives as their appropriate gender, and being permanently labeled as transgender would be an issue.  It still leaves them to be objectified in the has she/has he had surgery questions and puts them as a person in the back seat in relation to that focus on genitals, which I think is both invasive and unfair.

    With cis people - you assume you know what they have and don't generally dwell on it unless you're a creeper.  With someone labeled as transgender, it's socially acceptable to focus entirely on their genitals and what status they are in - no matter how creepy and disrespectful it is to the actual person.  

    We had an instance at one of my jobs where it got out (from HR) that one of the people in my department was transgender - and it became THE topic of conversation trying to guess who it was for months.  They finally fixated on a cis woman who was not conventionally attractive - a struggling single parent - and harassed her until she quit.  This was at a Fortune 500 company based out of California with supposedly full protection for people based on sexual orientation and gender identity.  It didn't help her though, she wasn't transgender or lesbian.  Just bullied.

    Not only did they assume that it must be her because she wasn't conventionally pretty - but because she was female.  It never occurred to any of them that the transgender person in the department was an FtM because the entire witch hunt was based on media fueled assumptions about transgender people - so it HAD to be the "ugly" woman who was struggling with poverty and had issues about her appearance.   I was never the target because they assumed they knew what was in my pants.

    I'm so fat! Oh, they're going to love me, I'm so marbled! - Jack LeMans, Bounty Killer

    by Mortifyd on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 12:09:49 AM PST

    •  Aspects (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HiKa, Alexandra Lynch, VeggiElaine

      There are a number of aspects to this, I hate labels they shape and limit thinking. How one identifies is entirely subjective and all too often subject to labels.
      If people do not realize we are transgender they are absolved from dealing with it and lack of familiarity breeds contempt.
      If you identify as male or female the opposite of birth sex you are buying into the binary, either or.
      I identify as gender fluid and transgender and it is my identification!

      •  Thank you. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VeggiElaine, jessical, Ahianne, oceanview

        I think your point about familiarity is important.
        I suppose there is some parallel in the journey to acceptance for gays and lesbians, in that increasing acceptance has been a long and difficult struggle, but that struggle now has real momentum and is being won when you look at the attitudes of the young. In the early days, it was incredibly difficult for people to come out and simply be who they are, and even today some prefer not to face the prejudice that can come from being open about how you are different from the majority.
        Over time, the more people get to see transgender people getting on and living their lives, the more accepting the population will become.
        I guess that means there is hope and change will come, but it will still be a great struggle, requiring courage and determination, and many will be hurt in all kinds of ways as process unfolds.

        To hold to the Olympic "ideal" of excluding politics is to be indifferent to the suffering of other humans - which is itself a political act.

        by HiKa on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 04:21:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I don't think that there should be any requirement (10+ / 0-)

          to "come out" for any one else.  My private life is private.  It's not up for communal review or peer pressuring.  To even imply that people should expose themselves to make knuckle draggers more comfortable with concepts of gender and that it can be fluid in some people is nothing but peer pressuring and I think it's wrong.

          I completely support people who want to be out and proud about their transitions - but I don't have to be one of them.  I am not defined by the tiny portion of my life 20 something years ago that might have been "transitional" - I am defined by my life as a man.  

          Announcing to the world the current state of my genitals doesn't further that, it detracts from it.

          I think there is too often a belief that one must tell everything about themselves in order to be "genuine" or "authentic" - and it's a lie. All lives lived are genuine.  Privacy is a virtue - and something that is stripped away from transgender people in so many ways both publicly and privately.  

          The state I come from doesn't provide new birth certificates.  They amend them to make sure everyone knows that the person holding it is a Jesus hating dirty transgender person - intentionally stripping them of privacy for life.  So I have enough of that from the government, I don't need it from the "community" as well.

          I'm so fat! Oh, they're going to love me, I'm so marbled! - Jack LeMans, Bounty Killer

          by Mortifyd on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 10:05:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  some people really are binary. (5+ / 0-)

        Just not in the gender of the bodies they got at birth.  To presume to tell other people how they identify is "buying into" anything is some bullshit.  The first thing I said was that some people may be cool with identifying as transgender.

        I am not.

        I'm so fat! Oh, they're going to love me, I'm so marbled! - Jack LeMans, Bounty Killer

        by Mortifyd on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:36:41 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I can see the issues either way. (4+ / 0-)

      I think in an ideal world of tolerance, understanding and acceptance, the idea of having 5 recognized genders would perhaps be best - simply accepting people as they are in their entirety.
      But, in the world we have, being open about being transgendered seems to be very difficult in the best of circumstances, and in many situations is just flat out impossible.
      It can be infuriating beyond measure that our lives are so impacted by the perceptions other people make of us, especially when those people are so often working with so little information and zero understanding.

      Thank you for taking the time to read my diary and for adding your thoughts and experiences.

      To hold to the Olympic "ideal" of excluding politics is to be indifferent to the suffering of other humans - which is itself a political act.

      by HiKa on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 04:00:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some people are ok with being transgender (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kyril, VeggiElaine, HiKa

        as a label.  I am not.  And I don't want to be labeled as such.  It doesn't have to do with being accepted, or coming out - it has to do with my personal concept of gender and privacy - and I'm not interested in being seen as a permanently transitional figure because I'm not.

        I appreciate the concept, but it doesn't work for me personally and seems very dangerous when transgender people are targets - voluntarily wearing one will not make anyone safer or more accepted.

        I'm so fat! Oh, they're going to love me, I'm so marbled! - Jack LeMans, Bounty Killer

        by Mortifyd on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:41:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  While I would like to be accepted as transgender, (7+ / 0-)

        in the same sense that I'd like any other part of my history and physiology to be accepted, it's not an identity for me. It's just a medical condition like any other medical condition I might have. I would like it to not be stigmatized, but I would prefer to be free to keep it private anyway.

        I don't have to put "depressed man" on my ID; why should I have to put "transgender man" on there?

        "Let’s just move on, treat everybody with firmness, fairness, dignity, compassion and respect. Let’s be Marines." - Sgt. Maj Michael Barrett on DADT repeal

        by kyril on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 11:08:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do you think that (12+ / 0-)

    ...the adoption of new categories of people would help civil rights?  I think that is, quite arguably, a very poor reading of history.  

    Trans lives are lived.  There is a difference between the fact that anyone who clocks me is going to go home and chuckle to their friends, and the civil rights which are historically accorded as a function of recognized gender.  Acceptance, in the personal sphere, and tolerance, in the public, are cousins at best I think.  Theoretically entertaining new categorical constructs may or may not serve acceptance by the common folk, or whatever, but it does nothing good for tolerance.

    This is why I was disturbed by your poll.  Your survey and high concept is my birth certificate and my passport.  People who are categorically excluded are unlikely to welcome new official categories.  

    To me your proposal is not unlike saying that you will never be recognized as a person like others with your race or religion, but society will be OK with it if we just make a special category for you.  This is an experiment that has been tried before many times.   A moment of serious contemplation of the idea leads me to nausea and terror.

    ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

    by jessical on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:06:48 AM PST

    •  It makes sense (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HiKa, jessical

      from a genetic point of view and it makes sense in getting the idea across to people that humans aren't always 'this/the opposite of this' in sexuality.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 05:27:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        HiKa, Mortifyd, atana, lotlizard

        ...that you're trying to defend the diarist's good-heartedness in this, and for that, kudos.  At least I hope so.  

        There are some very cool explorations of the five gender idea, most specifically in Melissa Scott's "Shadow Man".  But here's the thing: the survey question was "how should transgender people be officially classified?"  I don't know.  How should cisgendered people be officially classified?  For better or worse I already knew that about a third of my fellow kossacks consider trans folks like myself as deluded monsters, and hey!  now I can see it in a poll.  This was not educational or useful, except perhaps insofar as it is good to know what the world thinks, as you consider it in relation to yourself, and it is good to base your opinions and feelings on the truth.  And hey, there it is.

        I'm not sure what the genetics part has to do with things.  If you want an essentialist argument to put people down with, I'd suggest going with early formative experiences, along the lines of "once you are initially socialized as a boy/girl, whatever your feelings in the matter, the die is cast for society and for you".  That's pretty much indestructible, if you want to tell trans folks they aren't real.  Genetics doesn't work so well, because taking hormones is an out and out hack of the phenotypic expression of the genome, and enough trans people take hormones during critical periods that you can't draw an absolute.  

        ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

        by jessical on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 05:47:34 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're way over my head (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HiKa, jessical

          with essentialist whatever.

          Genetics has demonstrated that we are not nearly this/that as people think people are.  We are much more fluid than previously believed, not only in the sex area, but also in the brain area.

          That is all I was talking about...the fluidity, for lack of a better word - maybe 'plasticity' is a better word.  I was thinking that using more categories would be educative; however, I can see the objection to being 'classified.'

          I'm sorry that some people believe you are a deluded monster.  Just know you are loved and blessed.

          The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

          by dfarrah on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:38:56 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •   sorry m'dear (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            HiKa, atana

            I really didn't like the poll, can you tell :)?

            I agree (personally) with you about fluidity. Fluidity and embodiment are long and complex ponders.  Categorization can also be useful, albeit fraught.  It's where that meets the word "official" that I become quite freaky, as it is a very theoretical approach to people who are alive now with civil rights that rest upon already granted forms of recognition.  I kind of felt this was so obvious that defense of it was indicative of a bunch of other things.  My bad :)  You seem like a nice person (way nicer than me!!!)  

            ...j'ai découvert que tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne savoir pas demeurer en repos dans une chambre.

            by jessical on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:13:05 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Use of labels (8+ / 0-)

    I have lately been thinking that we as a society overuse gender labels as a convenience.  Why does the Social Security Administration require your gender?  That makes no sense to me.  Like the Dr offices that require your SSN, it's done because it's rote; it's been that way as long as anyone can remember.  I (sort of ) understand the actuarial purposes for say, life insurance, but in general this reliance on a gender binary is much more far reaching than necessary; I think it's because it's easy to categorize people in that way, and then assume a bunch of characteristics about them based on their gender.  

    That said, some people I know embrace their androgyny or hermaphrodicity  at least to some extent;  to be a complete person anyway you can't just forget everything about your past so some conciliation has to take place.  That said, in general that's just the person's view of themselves.  Why should it be a question at all for say an employer?  People socialize at work with other who share some aspect of life, emotional states, intellectual paths; for me it turns out thats almost exclusively natal women; what difference does it make to my employer whether I'm trans of not, & where on the gender spectrum I was born?  Because it is a spectrum; the same physical substance forms in different forms based on hormones in the womb and those forms are generalized into the two genders typically recognized in western culture but the physical reality is that gender is more a continuum.  

    So rather than attempting to categorize people using a finer granularity, I think we ought to consider where it's not even a relevant question, and eliminate it altogether.

    With prisons I think you have to look on a case by case basis as no overarching idea will be a panacea.  A bigger deal for me is the unvirtuous cycle in our culture that leads so many trans to incarceration or suicide when the causes are so obvious.  If we make it more difficult for trans people to hold jobs, how do we expect them to take care of themselves?  If people have the attitude toward even perceived transsexuality as described above by Mort, how can we possibly hope that trans people will succeed even in progressive workplaces?

    I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

    by VeggiElaine on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 06:17:54 AM PST

    •  There is one and only one reason why SSA needs (12+ / 0-)

      to know your gender. The original law was passed when, generally speaking, men were wage-earners and women were not (at least officially, though of course the reality was never that simple). So it was assumed that a man would be supporting his wife and kids and that the wife--and the kids if they were still minors at such time as he passed away--would be the recipients of any survivor benefits. A man's claim to a woman's benefits would likely trigger an added level of review (with accompanying delays). It may well be that, since Windsor overturned DOMA, the Social Security Administration knows enough not to question a claim for benefits filed by a same-sex surviving spouse, but I wouldn't take that for granted. It will depend entirely on who reviews the claim.

      The fact that gender roles have become equalized over the past 70 years has yet to work its way down to all aspects of legislation and statute, and the implementing regulations. And given the current makeup of Congress, that's not likely to be corrected anytime soon.

      •  well... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I cannot officially speak for Social Security but I am in a position to know about the way their computers are coded.

        The SSA currently keeps track of your gender and will change it if it changes, but we, uh, they don't actually use the gender field to make many decisions in the code.  We were rather proud about that - it helped enormously when it came time to implement marriage equality.

        Now we do still have to do a few gender checks because of the backwards states that don't allow marriage equality, but those are mostly taken care of on the policy end and not in the code.

        The actual policy states (I think, not at work so I can't check) that we'll pay spousal benefits to same sex spouses if you currently live in a state that has marriage equality.

        And implementing that quickly was only possible because of our transgender friends.  Years ago we had checks in the system so that M-M and F-F marriages (and benefit payments) were kicked out as an exception, but there eventually were enough transgender people entitled to benefits that we just threw up our hands and ripped all those checks out of the system, somewhere in the early 90s.  I still run across the commented-out code from time to time.  

  •  i only know a few trans men (11+ / 0-)

    but all of them want to be classified as male.

    even by people who knew them before they transitioned.

    I don't have any trans women in my immediate circle of friends but i met one when I was working on a political campaign and she wanted to be classified as female.

    bottom line: I don't know if there is any way (or any need) for us to come up with new classifications.  When I am not sure, I ask people what pronouns they want me to use.

    And hermaphrodite is not a "gender".  Intersex is the more common term for a physical condition, but one of the key points of gender identity discussion is that gender identity and physical body do not always match.

    Others who know more about this than I will certainly weigh in on this diary later.  I'll let them speak for themselves, but I just want to prepare you for the fact that parts of this diary are worded in an insensitive manner.

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 08:32:08 AM PST

  •  Your diary ignores those who identify as asexual (5+ / 0-)

    Just sayin'

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:00:36 AM PST

  •  Tipped & rec'd (5+ / 0-)

    for opening a discussion for those not closely involved in the issue. And cheers for doing it in a reasonable, non-pie, non-inflammatory way--at least I thought so.

    The better I know people, the more I like my dog.

    by Thinking Fella on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:17:57 AM PST

  •  " men raping men... (6+ / 0-)

    could usually be shamed into silence or laughed about by others."

    Sorry to single this out, but it was the part of your diary that made my jaw drop, then grimace and roll my eyes.

    It is unbelievable and unacceptable that men raping men is STILL a dirty secret Americans sweep under the rug and/or treat as a hilarious joke.

    Sometimes it makes me want to just scream at the people who treat it as a joke or something to blame the victim for.

    Rape is rape. Period. The gender of who is raping who should never, ever matter.

    (Now excuse me while I step off of my soapbox...) :P

    And thank you for a great diary. Tipped and recc'd.

  •  Sexuality in prison is a sticky subject (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeggiElaine, HiKa

    Social scientist Mark Fleisher conducted interviews of 564 men in high security and women in medium and high security prisons as part of the first cultural study ever conducted on prison rape in U.S. prisons. It is also one of the largest research projects ever undertaken in American correctional research by a university researcher.  His study  was conducted for the National Institute of Justice, with funds by the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA).  With that in mind,

    "Stories about sex in the shower, that all the pretty boys get raped and that everyone needs a 'daddy' have no basis in the social reality of prison life," reports Mark Fleisher, The Dr. Semi J. and Ruth W. Begun Professor and director of the Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Research and Education at Case's Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences.  
    On the other hand
    Once an individual enters prison inmates redefine their sense of sexuality: "Men and women who have never before engaged in same-sex relations will likely engage in them at some point in their imprisonment. Inmates around the country said that a majority of same-sex relations are voluntary, that they don't have to do anything they don't want to do."

    All same-sex relations are not necessarily classified by inmates as homosexual relationships. "There's a wide range of same-sex behavior but inmate culture sees some acts as homosexual and other similar acts as 'straight.'
    Fleisher admits
    The issue of 'consent' is difficult on so many levels but in the end, consensual sex as we know it doesn't have an equivalent meaning in prison inmate culture.
    1. This study reads like one of those Climate Change studies funded by the Koch brothers.
    2.  While most individuals are never put in situations where they must question their sexuality, under duress, our sexuality can be quite fluid.

    Even Democrats can be asses. Look at Rahm Emanuel.

    by Helpless on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 09:41:34 AM PST

  •  Unisex prisons ? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeggiElaine, jessical, HiKa

    On the one hand:  in practice, "separate but equal" turns out to be anything but equal . So ... having already achieved token integration of Correction Officer workforces in many facilities -- integrating the populations (and the budgets) of prison facilities isn't all that outrageous -- assuming there was any  political will  to advocate for "making prisons better" for residents, guards, or the society as a whole.

    But I think it's pretty clear that, in this country, no one is intrested in improving prisons in any way for anybody ... -- unless generating better profit margins  for private owners is considered "improvement."

    As for the idea that we ought to have 5 genders  possible on official documents  -- ( like the Soviets used to do with Nationality on their Internal Passports) -- haven't we perpetuated enough discrimination and injustice using only two ?  

    It seems to me that in the worlds of work and public service , there are precious few situations in which knowing someone's gender is useful ... except that customarily "male and female" is one of the dualities  (like "white and black", or "us and them") that  REALLY REALLY MATTER --  

    Well, at least gender specific newspaper Help Wanted advertisements are a thing of the past.

  •  I just wrote a lon informed essay on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    subject, that took two hours to write, and it just disappeared, poof, and now I don't have time to rewrite it.

    I am hoping there was some cosmic reason for this occurrence.


    She told me I could choose anyone I wanted to help me save the planet, so naturally, I chose you.

    by Lavender Menace on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 10:48:05 AM PST

  •  Being labeled "transgender" (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeggiElaine, Mortifyd, jessical, HiKa

    I transitioned later in life, and I had so much of a record built up I decided there was no point in trying to go stealth -- I would just be openly trans (I thought) and push the envelope for those who come after me.

    Bad decision. It turns out you can't be "openly trans" unless you have tenure at a university or are economically independent. For anybody else, it is economic suicide. The cis world is implacably hostile to anyone who is not a perfect fit to their gender binary, not just in presentation but even in knowledge of past status.

    I think this will not be true for T's who transition young and are very passable, but I suspect most of them will effectively go stealth -- if only because most of their record will be in their preferred gender.

    It's my impression that cis people are somewhat more accepting of FTMs than they are of MTFs, but that may be a observer bias, because I am MTF.

  •  The Mayor of Houston, in Harris County, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeggiElaine, HiKa

    Happens to be a Lesbian.

    Pope Francis: the Thumb of Christ in the eyes of the Pharisees.

    by commonmass on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 12:31:20 PM PST

  •  from an outsiders view (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    VeggiElaine, jessical, HiKa

    this seems to parallel the concept and debate of "passing" as used by communities of color. Being the geek that I am, I did a search and actually found an old diary from 2012 by Dave in Northridge titled Passing, Covering and the preservation of white male privilege that talks a bit about a book that covers this concept from a civil rights perspective.

    [as a disclaimer - i am a cis-gendered female, but I have a very close family member who is not. She faces the issue of being unable to "pass" socially as the natal-biological sex that matches her expressed gender. (I am using the pronoun 'she' in this case as it is what she prefers.)]

    it is such a personal issue (what could be more personal than one's body and mind and personal expression of how one's self is expressed?) that creating categories will inevitably work for some but not for others.

    Some people may not be comfortable being an icon for their specific situation. At the same time, I am grateful to those who are willing to share their experiences, as it helps me to develop greater understanding. And I can definitely say that knowing ad loving a person who is not cis-gendered really takes the concept out of the air of abstraction and makes it personal. Sometimes I just want to cry, because it seems like we can't even enjoy watching a simple sit-com without being exposed to the "trans people as a punchline" trope. :(

    I think I am rambling a bit in this comment. I apologize.

    So, I'm not an authority on who should be labeled what, and why. But I don't think anybody is, other than an individual deciding for themselves what identity they choose to express, and how and where and when.

    That said, I perceived your post as an honest and good-willed attempt to discuss an issue that affects actual living, feeling people. :)

    "Health is the greatest gift, contentment is the greatest wealth." Dh. v. 204

    by kilesa on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 12:39:04 PM PST

  •  Even a system of five classifications.... (4+ / 0-) still going to leave some people out.

    My partner is gay male identified-trans. It took us ages to sort that category out, but A. is the same person as before.

    There's love, and the rest is plumbing. Neither one of us is really obsessed with the plumbing side of it.

    "They bash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn, Gulag Archipelago volume 3)

    by sagesource on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 01:04:44 PM PST

  •  When you think about it gender is pretty arbitrary (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HiKa, Thinking Fella, saluda

    I have never introduced myself by saying, "Hi, I was born male and continue to live as male" that would be weird.  

    Legally it matters what your gender is and there are only two choices  but why does it matter at all?  When we are so concerned about gender it is almost like we are asking "Which particular way may I oppress you?  Shall I think of you as a sexual object or shall I train you to kill?  Shall I pay you less or make you mine coal?"  

    People are a particular gender because a hormone was released in utero.  My body hair isn't what makes me a unique person, what I have learned and who I have loved, what I have done and chosen not to do, that is what defines me.

    If someone wants to be known as male, female or trans is up to them but the rest of us should stop giving a shit.

    To Dare is to Do!...Tottenham Hotspur slogan

    by randyhauser on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 04:13:54 PM PST

  •  The idea of a 5 gender categories was from a doc. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    A doctor's visit is a unique situation where anatomy is relevant and personal information is routinely discussed openly.

    It's interesting to suggest that this become the standard in general conversation, but I can see that it would often not be particularly relevant or appropriate.

    "You don't have to be smart to laugh at fart jokes, but you have to be stupid not to." - Louis CK

    by New Jersey Boy on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 05:08:36 PM PST

    •  anatomy and gender do not always match (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that is the whole point of establishing transgender rights

      Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
      Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

      by TrueBlueMajority on Thu Feb 06, 2014 at 07:36:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't understand your response to me. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TrueBlueMajority, saluda, alx9090

        The OP is asking if the transgendered would like to be publicly identified or just treated as the gender they identify as.

        The example that started the thought experiment was from a physician who would prefer to have 5 answers to the question of gender/sex.

        In a doctor's office the anatomy is paramount and may not match the gender, so this would need to be clear.

        My point in the post you're responding to is that it might not be appropriate to suppose that the personal and anatomic information your doctor needs is also shared publicly.

        So, I hope I've clarified my point. I'm not sure why you would respond that "anatomy and gender do not always match."

        That's assumed in my post.

        "You don't have to be smart to laugh at fart jokes, but you have to be stupid not to." - Louis CK

        by New Jersey Boy on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 04:39:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh, i see (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          New Jersey Boy, saluda

          i misinterpreted you

          i thought you were agreeing with the doctor that five designations would be helpful because of anatomy

          now i see the end of your comment acknowledges it would not be relevant in general conversation

          i'm still concerned though that the doctor would suggest naming "genders" based on anatomy when that is exactly not the point

          Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
          Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights to talk about grief.

          by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 06:40:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I think doctors just want information to help care (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            TrueBlueMajority, alx9090

            for transgendered patients without making mistakes.

            The difference between gender and chromosomal sex and anatomy can make this hard to communicate in shorthand.

            However, this seems like a good place to brainstorm!

            "You don't have to be smart to laugh at fart jokes, but you have to be stupid not to." - Louis CK

            by New Jersey Boy on Fri Feb 07, 2014 at 09:00:22 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

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