Gender Expression & Identity

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Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Church » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:58 am

I was wondering what people on here think of gender identity and stuff, and transgender topics.

Do you think gender is intrinsically linked to or the same as sex? If someone asks you to use different pronouns for them would you respect that? Is it wrong for someone assigned male at birth to identify as a girl? Etc etc.

It's a bit of a controversial topic but I expect (or at least hope) people can discuss this civilly and respectfully on this forum. It's becoming a bigger and more well known thing in the media (example: Laverne Cox on Orange is the New Black) so it seems worth thinking about at least.

Personally I was raised in a Christian family and while they never exactly tried to force me to believe things there's still an amount of "this is the way things are" tied to that, so as I've grown up I've just stopped accepting everything I've been told since I was a kid. I'm more interested in figuring out what's true for myself now, so I can generally accept it as it doesn't really hurt anyone and I'm exploring my own gender identity stuff as well but idk where that's going yet.

Anyway yeah, the question's there: Is it wrong for people to identify as genders they weren't assigned at birth? Why or why not?
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby wibod » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:13 pm

It's no more wrong for a person identify as the opposite gender than it is for them to be a homosexual. With that being said it's good to remember that GID is classified as a mental illness and also have higher rates of depression, OCD, self harm, phobias and substance abuse. This can be partly attributed to social factors, but I firmly believe that transgender people are more likely to be mentally unstable or suffer from other mental health issues because of the biology of their disease.

If you're suffering from GID you need to find a psychiatrist and undergo therapy, this is especially important if you're a young adult, it's going to save you a lot of pain in the long run. Do not listen to SJWs and tumblrites who tell you that there's nothing wrong with you and to be yourself, mental health issues are a serious problem and ignoring them is only going to make your life shittier.

tl;dr No reasonable person cares about what you identify as, but seek help as it is a mental illness and sufferers of GID also have higher rates of depression, suicide and substance abuse.

We've already lost a community member to suicide because of GID as well, so see a psychiatrist.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Church » Sat Aug 23, 2014 2:40 pm

While I agree that GID and body dysphoria are serious issues, I'm not confident it's always the case with transgender people. There's a very bizarre group of people that call themselves "truscum" and try to police gender identities and say that you can only be trans if you have dysphoria, but I don't think this applies to every transgender person. I think that in those cases there's nothing particularly unhealthy about it.

As for me I've had a variety of problems stemming back long before any of this came up, so it's plausible that it's related. I don't think this is the place to get into any of that so I'll just say I don't think suicide is particularly likely for me, just gradually increasing anxiety and apathy. As for professional help, I saw a pyschologist once (last month) and he determined that if I have anything it's mild.

Anyway, there are a lot of happy and adjusted trans people that I've met. I'm not confident that there's dysphoria involved in every case.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Krazy » Sat Aug 23, 2014 4:56 pm

Jim_Raynor wrote:Do you think gender is intrinsically linked to or the same as sex? If someone asks you to use different pronouns for them would you respect that? Is it wrong for someone assigned male at birth to identify as a girl? Etc etc.


No. Yes. No.

Jim_Raynor wrote:It's a bit of a controversial topic


I've lived in California and Hawaii. In neither place is it a controversial topic.

Jim_Raynor wrote:Anyway yeah, the question's there: Is it wrong for people to identify as genders they weren't assigned at birth? Why or why not?


Nope. Gender is a performance repeated over time. While saying it is "a social construct" can be misconstrued as suggesting it's therefore meaningless, what it really means is what we mean when we say "male" or "female" is very heavily determined by culture and not by biology.

Pink is for girls and blue is for boys? Only for the latter half of the 20th century. http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-cult ... 97/?no-ist

In Hawaii, and in many cultures across the world, there have long been "third genders" -- although the word Mahu today means transsexual generally, in older cultures it simply indicated someone who lived outside the male/female binary.

Which is not to say that there is no biological component to sexual orientation. For example, the maternal immunization hypothesis, while still only part of the picture, has growing credence. That is, women's bodies treat a fetus, particularly the male fetus, with some amount of hostility. As a woman has more male children, her body gets better at creating antibodies that change the nature of the fetus. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=2120218

Although the development of sexual characteristics ("is the baby a boy or a girl?") is heavily genetic, sexuality ("am I a boy or a girl... or something else?") is much more susceptible to changes in the prenatal environment.

Trying to assert that there are "real" and "fake" transpeople is therefore both hopeless and pointless. The idea that there are "real" transpeople is just as absurd as the idea that there is only "male" and "female." The truth is that there is as wide a variety of differences in sexuality as there are differences in people. A "straight man" who has homosexual urges whenever Ryan Gosling is not necessarily a closeted homosexual, rather it has never really been needed or useful in biology to make sharp distinctions in sexuality. Likewise, a "gay man" who is attracted to Jennifer Lawrence is not a "fake gay". And a "trans woman" who opts not to go through with S.R.S. is not a "fake trans." There's a spectrum, and there are no "rights" and "wrongs" just what the dice of biology have happened to throw at one person or another.

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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby IskatuMesk » Sat Aug 23, 2014 5:41 pm

I don't understand how this was ever a controversial topic. No one really gives a shit. Just make fun of people who think it is and move on. I know trans and bi and gay and it doesn't really make a difference either way. The extreme vast majority of people who pretend to be trans or whatever are just attention seekers and thus the whole should be ignored. Anyone who is legitimately trans or gay won't bother to cry about it.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby DrumsofWar » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:00 pm

I think the issue and controversy isn't social, school, or workplace acceptance but personal boundaries. We can pretend to be enlightened as anyone but finding out someone you've been with is transsexual would throw you for a loop to say the least.

We may see legal barriers go down in a decade but I think those personal issues or taboos surrounding it could take 25 years; trannie jokes are still pretty acceptable in most circles, for example. I'd echo wibod's point about GID and that while the medical and psychiatric science isn't bonafide yet, they're definitely better in dealing with this than tumblr.

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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Church » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:43 pm

Krazy, it may not be controversial in places you've been, but it's definitely still a big deal where I live in Canada, and it's still argued about a lot on the internet. Aside from what DrumsofWar mentioned with trannie jokes still being a thing, there's also a lot of people who refuse to use peoples preferred pronouns, and I've heard my own parents say that if someone is trans they shouldn't be treated as a person.

I agree that personal and social barriers will take longer than the legal barriers. This has applied to other things as well such as sexism, racism, and homophobia, even after laws are passed that help oppressed people, the social side of it is still there. A currently relevant example regarding racism would be the stuff happening in Ferguson right now.

And yeah I'd also sooner listen to a psychiatric professional than tumblr.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Krazy » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:41 am

Also, Horou Musuko (Wandering Son) is a much better representation than anything you'll see on TV. http://mangafox.me/manga/hourou_musuko/

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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Hercanic » Fri Sep 05, 2014 3:46 am

Our monkey brains love categories, a clear division of things, nice and sorted, ordered... simplified. But the world is not simple. It's complex, on a scale unfathomable. From Planck Scale and quantum particles to the billions of stars in a single galaxy among billions of other galaxies that we can observe. Our bodies contain over a trillion cells. These cells are interacting and affecting one another in countless ways. We are a complex chemical reaction, from how atoms bond into organic molecules and DNA forms, to the mixture of neurotransmitters and hormones and how our organs produce and react to these signal chemicals. To suggest that there are, and can only ever be, just Men and Women is laughably simplistic.

How do you even define Man and Woman?

Short hair, long hair? Pants, skirts? These are cultural signals, which vary from society to society and time period to time period. Look no further than the Scottish kilt and the 70's.

Behavior? Social expectations and formative pressures aside, differences in adrenaline production can result in passive males and aggressive females.

Masculine/feminine features, like facial hair, breasts, and muscle mass? How about The Bearded Woman? Man boobs? Skinny, petite guys and large, muscular women?

Genitals, right? Check out Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome. In complete AIS, a genetic male can look just like a woman, with full natural breasts and mons veneris, but instead of ovaries they have testes. Because their cells do not respond to androgen, a genetic male's genitals don't descend and masculinize. There's also hermaphrodites, and a whole host of other conditions, such as female virilization.

The ability to give birth to a child? There are plenty of infertile people.

XX and XY chromosome pair? Let me introduce you to people with XXY, XYY, XXXXXX and many other combinations. And let's not forget chimeras, a blend of cells from different sources into one body, such as a subsumed twin. They can have cells and tissues that are XY and other cells and tissues that are XX in the same body. They can even be split perfectly down the middle, with an ovary on one side and a testis on the other.

Life won't fit into boxes, because life doesn't give a damn about your boxes. I always chuckle to myself when I hear someone arguing against gay marriage with, "Marriage is between one man and one woman!" and I think, "What about hermaphrodites?"

But these are all just extreme disorders, right? We're talking about normal Men and Women!

Disorder is another box. We're all genetically "disordered", strictly speaking, long mutated from our distant ancestors. We just work well enough that we can continue to propagate our genes. Lifespan, intelligence, health, it's all a matter of degrees, not black and white healthy/diseased. There are people smarter than us, dumber than us, and smarter in some ways but dumber in others. Are we all mentally impaired compared to the smartest person? Barring accident, all of us will have something in us, our weak link, break down at some point and we'll die. It's not a question of if, but when. Were we unhealthy if we lived less than the oldest person? An "ugly" person with "terrible" skin might live into their 90s, while a "fit" and "handsome" person might die from hereditary heart failure in their 30s. Who was "healthy", who was "diseased"? Stephen Hawking's got a wicked INT score, but STR and DEX rolled a critical 1.

There is no true "normal", just a statistical mean. If we imagine people as wavelengths, like a graph measuring their strengths and weaknesses as highs and lows, and put a bunch of them together, they might make beautiful music. But average out those wavelengths to find your "normal", and pressure those unique waveforms to conform to an unnatural shape that none of them have, and the music is lost.

To further elaborate on the notion of genetic "disorder": Blood type O is very resistant to certain types of parasitic worms and flukes, making it a survival advantage. But then comes along the Black Plague, which had a preference for the O sugar. This allowed the bacteria to more easily infect those with blood type O and be seen as "self" by the victim's immune system, ravaging populations of O. Jump to the future: Down Syndrome is often looked upon as a pitiable disease, but it is the result of an extra chromosome. If ever there were a virulent plague that killed people with 46 chromosomes, those with Down Syndrome might very well inherit the Earth. It would suddenly become a survival advantage. Disorder; malformed; genetic disease; these are relative terms. Life doesn't care if you're in pain, just look at women's menstruation; so long as you can pass on your genes, those genes will continue to survive while others perish. Whether you're happier, smarter, faster, stronger, it doesn't matter if those genes die out for another reason. Life spits on your good/bad false dichotomy.

The mating ritual of the scorpionfly involves the male presenting captured prey as an offering to the female. The best prey demonstrates physical fitness. A strain of weaker males, who have a harder time capturing adequate prey, evolved a unique tactic: they are able to make themselves appear female. When a male mistakenly presents an offering to it, the disguised scorpionfly takes the offering and flies off to present it as its own to a female. "Androgyny" and "female behavior" has become a positive survival trait for these guys.

There are some tribes of chimpanzees near human settlements that have recently undergone significant societal changes. Due to their proximity to humans, aggressive male chimpanzees wander out and get themselves killed, leaving behind the passive males. As a result, the tribes have taken on a different, peaceful mood, where male-on-male grooming is now commonplace rather than discouraged.

Human history is rife with roving bands of pillagers. Eliminating threats and exploiting resources is the name of the game. In this case, aggressive males are the threat and females are the limited resource. What, then, of passive males, or female-like males? Would they be killed, too, or ignored? Repeat this over hundreds of thousands of years, and what types of psychologies might develop and perpetuate?

Gender identity and expression, what is it? What is it for? Just like any other part of us, it is a composite of many factors, a web of interactions between our DNA, fetal development, hormone levels, brain chemistry, environment, diet, upbringing, society and culture. To say it's "bad" to be transgendered is shortsighted. Should we all be blood type O?

Ultimately, gender is a derivative of sex. Sex is a process of combining part of two codes to form a brand new code, which is highly resistant to pathogens compared to asexual reproduction. Larger organisms have specialized into male and female. Females produce the egg container, which costs more energy and resources. Males produce the simpler sperm container. This imbalance puts both burden and power on the female end, as a necessity. Gender then acts as a signal to others which half of the code you offer, and informs them how they should interact with you. Sometimes, it is advantageous for this information to be ambiguous or misleading.

In short, no, it's not inherently "wrong" to identify as another gender. From a biological perspective, it may be a survival trait. From an ethical outlook, as a personal choice it neither harms nor infringes upon others. From a moral standpoint, honesty with an intimate partner is necessary, as expectations can go astray. From a societal and legislative position, I am unsure how issues like public bathrooms and prisons should be handled, as these are literal boxes and I just spent all this time giving examples and describing why boxes don't mean shit to life's organic vagueness.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Church » Wed Nov 26, 2014 1:28 pm

Okay, so, this is two months late, but...

Is everyone okay then using she/her pronouns for me from now on? I also generally prefer the name "Church" now (strictly not religion related, btw) but since my username has "Jim" and all it's okay to still use that to avoid confusion.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Hercanic » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:24 am

Jamie_Raynor?
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Krazy » Thu Nov 27, 2014 1:32 pm

Can't be sarah kerrigan, that would be too confusing with SKS. Maybe Raszagal? Or Nova?

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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Church » Thu Nov 27, 2014 6:37 pm

Definitely Nova. I need that "sexy yet also could probably eat you" persona.

Jamie is actually a name I did consider for a while. I like it.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Lavarinth » Mon Dec 01, 2014 5:10 pm

Are you the second Church on my Steam friends list?

When you finalize a name, we have the ability to alter it for the forum.
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Re: Gender Expression & Identity

Postby Church » Tue Dec 02, 2014 3:52 pm

Yeah, that's probably me. I'm the Church with the Punpun avatar.

And I guess just Church would be good for a username, thank you. I don't have an internet last name to put after an underscore this time.
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