Posts Tagged ‘male’

Sex, Gender, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation

December 28, 2009

This is something I know very well and live. It’s like breathing – second nature that when it comes time to explain it, it’s hard to do because it’s something I don’t even think about anymore. What brought it to the forefront was that I was talking to a friend of mine and he mentioned it took him sometime to realize that they were in fact separate entities. Society tries to condition us to believe they are one. It isn’t true. There are only a handful of sexes but there are as many genders as there are people.

Sex refers to biological differences; chromosomes, hormonal profiles, internal and external sex organs. Such differences can be distinguished by the fact that male and female bodies behave differently. Females have periods while males do not. Females have breasts that produce milk while males do not. Male and females have different sex organs. There is also intersexed that has characteristics of both.

Not even sex is set in stone but is harder to change than gender. People who feel their sex doesn’t match their body can get surgeries and take hormones to get the mind and the body to match. This is called being transgendered. Some people who identify as transgendered chose not to transition at all, others only to a point to where they can “pass” as their chosen sex, and others transition top to bottom. It’s different for different people and is a personal choice. Transgendered is regardless of operation status. Transsexual applies to those who are transitioning, have transitioned, or intend to transition.

Gender describe the characteristics that society determines to be masculine or feminine. Gender is constructed by society. Unlike sex, people are not born with gender. Gender is something learned. “Gender roles” are what society denotes should be the characteristics of each sex. However, gender and sex don’t always match. For example, my sex is female but my gender presentation is masculine. My hair is cut short and I wear men’s clothing. In my head, I don’t feel like either gender or sex is what I am so I identify as female-bodied genderqueer. Likewise, there can be people who are of the male sex who present a feminine gender by dressing in dresses and skirts and maybe have long hair but in their head they are male sex and female gendered. Sex and gender have nothing to do with each other. They are two separate things.

Plus, gender and gender expression are two different things. You might have someone who is female sex masculine identified gender dressing in dresses to avoid raising eyebrows on the street. You can’t judge someone’s gender by their gender expression because it varies. Gender isn’t set in stone. Some people change gender with the seasons, other daily, some minutely. Your presentation doesn’t define your gender. Just like being punk, it is all about what’s in the mind and inside.

Now, to make things more complicated – we can toss sexual orientation into the mix. Unlike people like to believe, sexual orientation seems to be more fluid than concrete. Sexual orientation is what people find erotically attractive. Most people aren’t a hundred percent gay or straight – some people are but most people on the Kinsley Scale seem to fall in the middle. Also, keep in mind most people aren’t attracted to “just women” and “just men”. Most people have a preference for a sex but also certain gender characteristics they find attractive. For example, I tend to find butch women attractive which confused me for the longest time to think I was straight because I only got feminine women hitting on me and only saw feminine women in my daily life and I am not attracted to them. However, there is no defining rule for attraction. Everyone has different likes and dislikes. I know with me, I have my personal preferences, but if I met an awesome person – their sex and gender wouldn’t matter to me. However, some people have personal boundaries on what they will and won’t do. For example, someone who has a strict heterosexual identity is automatically limiting themselves to half the people due to mindset. Homophobia comes into play because nothing is an absolute – labels are useful guidelines but people are really fluid. That’s when people get afraid is when they realize things aren’t black and white and are shades of gray. Instead of accepting and embracing the unknown to grow and become better, some people respond with hate.

I think if we all learned to love instead of hate and accepted the fact we are humans and everyone is different and that’s okay the world would be a much happier, safer, loving place.

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Cease Fire, Caring, and Giving + On Language

December 25, 2009

This year for Christmas, there is no cease fire.  There has been in the past.  I was wondering if they can call cease fire for one day, why can’t it be all the time?  Also, during this time of year there is so much caring and giving to help those in need.  Instead of it being a yearly event, why can’t it be this way every day?  Something to think about.

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Language is the tool which enables us to communicate with our fellow beings. It is a limiting tool. It controls how we think and process things according to the rules of the languages we speak. Also, it does not accurately define the human experience even if you have words to describe it because your listener’s definition and experience with the words you use may be different from yours.

There are also things that there are not words for that you may experience. It’s hard to process these things because without the words to describe it – it’s a thought without a definition. It’s something felt but not understand or mastered as when you have words for it. For example, there is no word that exist or can exist that accurately describes my gender. It’s not male or female – it is something else entirely but the best our language can offer for such a state is “genderqueer.” Using the word “genderqueer” to describe myself is like describing the shadows on the wall of an unseen figure. It’s a mere abstraction of what is really there but there is no place in our binary world for my existence but against all odds, I exist.

We create new words to define new experiences but there are some things words do an injustice to. For example, the word “Love” is so overused in society. The definition has been so water down by so many uses that people can no longer distinguish “love” from “like”. “Love” has become a synonym for “like” when both words are two different feelings, they now blend into one.

I think a problem with our society is that we quickly establish things into binaries. When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad. Being and non-being create each other. Difficult and easy support each other. Long and short define each other. High and low depend on each other. Before and after follow each other. We should stop fragmenting our existence by breaking it down into binaries. We should recognize when we are being a slave of our language and having a ground of common experiences is assumed.

Language when used correctly can be a great tool. But as with any tools, it’s a means to the ends and not the ends itself. Don’t be afraid to ask for definitions if you don’t understand how a person is defining a word to avoid miscommunication.

Transgender: An Ally’s Perspective

December 23, 2009

I was talking to someone today and somehow it came up that I knew a lot of transboys.  “They must be confused.” They said.  I furrowed my brows and shook my head, “No, they aren’t confused.  They just have the wrong body.”

I know that people understand male and female.  Everyone is aware of their gender from the moment they can understand anything.  But not everyone understands transgendered.  Transgendered is not confusion or anything like that – in fact it is quite the opposite.  It’s a deep knowing that the gender assigned to their body doesn’t match the gender in their mind.

Some people who are transgendered know from the very beginning that their body doesn’t match what’s inside.  Others, go on quite a journey to figure it out.  It’s probably really hard for most cis-gendered people to imagine what it is like to feel like an alien to your own body.  The closest metaphor I can use to explain the discomfort is it’s like the dream that you’re naked/in your underwear and everyone else is clothed and staring.  It makes you really self aware and very uncomfortable.  It’s like everyone else blends in and fit but you’re the missing a piece to the puzzle.

I feel for my transgendered brothers and sisters.  It’s not easy by any means standing up and saying, “Hey, this body isn’t right for me.”  Nor is it easy to go through the steps to set the body to match the mind.

I don’t know much about the transition process.  It’s a series of surgeries and injections.  It takes it’s toll.  Some transgendered people chose not to transition due to all the risks.  If they can’t “pass” they will be plagued in life being boxed into a box that doesn’t fit.

Every three days in developed countries a transgendered person is murdered.  Also, transgendered people are often left in the dust by gays and lesbians organizations who are trying to assimilate, most notably the HRC.

Not only are they abandoned by their supposed allies, things that people take for granted as being status-quo can be a threat to transgendered individuals safety.  For example, going to the bathroom.  No big deal for your average man or woman – but if you are a man in a woman’s body or a woman in a man’s body, it can be a very dangerous situation.

The point of all this is that transgender people are usually really awesome and don’t deserve such bad treatment by society, gays, and lesbians.  Being transgendered is no more someone’s fault than being left handed.  It’s just how they are made.

On Being Genderqueer and the Gender Binary

December 8, 2009

The interesting thing about explaining being outside of the gender binary is that you first have to explain what  gender binary is in order to understand what it means to be outside of it.  There is no quick and easy way to explain what it means to be genderqueer and even after several attempts at trying to explain it, people still don’t get it because they are stuck trying to put it in a box.

The gender binary is a form of hierarchy and oppression.  It divides the human race into two groups instead of uniting us as one.   Most people’s concept of self is centered around their identity and it influences the course their entire life.  It controls how most people will treat you down to which bathroom you can use.  I want no part in it.

For me, genderqueer is beyond male and female.  I don’t want people judging me based on genitals or my body.  My private parts do not define me as they do with so many of my fellow humans.  If we are to eventually have equality in the world, we need people to be treated as people not as genitals.

It is strange to me that I get treated with more respect and taken more seriously when I get mistaken for  a male verses a female.  I don’t like being called, “Honey,” “Sweetie,” or “Dear” because of the body I happen to exist in.  At the time it happens, I don’t even know where to begin because it’s socially acceptable.  Just because something is tradition doesn’t make it right.

It embarrasses me that our species didn’t have a women’s rights movement until War World II, that there was a division at all.  It wasn’t that long ago and it still isn’t over.  It won’t be over until we abolish gender all together.  As long as there is separation into groups, one group will oppress the other until people understand equality isn’t the same as sameness.

I imagine a world in which males wear skirts as often as females.  A world in which people can just be people.  No gender, no sexuality, no racial tension.  That we can be fluid and undefined.  Once you start worry about defining something, you lose it.  It’s like grasping sand, the tighter you grip it, the faster it slips through your fingers.   Be free.  As long as you know yourself, that’s all that’s important.  People like what they like and that should be it.

The problem with society is that most people don’t know themselves.  They know an illusion which they considered to be self – but all those layers are fake.  What’s real, is that we are all human and all need love.  If we learned to love and accept each other regardless of outside fluff, we can have utopia.

Being genderqueer to me gives me the freedom of having a label for those who need boxes but still be able to be outside the box.  It’s not fully definable and that’s okay because our language is flawed and can’t express all aspects of being human succinctly.

We are all in it together.

December 5, 2009

We live in a society that thrives on the “us” verses “them” mentality. Country against country. Worker against worker. Subculture against subculture. It is everywhere. Imagine what the world would be like if we stopped dividing ourselves into groups and just accepted each other as being human and help each other out?

For example, most middle class white gay males are so caught up in their own “oppression” that they aren’t an ally to other causes. They are holding a couple of positions of privilege in the hierarchy that exists in our society by being male, middle class, and white. They feel marginalize because they can’t marry but they won’t join in the fight for other oppressed groups. However, what they don’t see is that their oppression is linked to the oppression of others. It’s like a drop of water in a lake – it ripples. If they would be willing to help out other minorities they would be helping themselves. No one is free while others in society are oppressed.

Some oppressed groups have taken a separatist approach to constructing their movements which I believe is an error. For example, some people of color groups don’t want white allies involved or feminist groups don’t want males involvement. I think that is very silly. It isn’t someone’s fault what color their skin is or what they have in their pants. To discriminate against potential allies simply because they don’t fit the mold and discounting their attempt to help the struggle due to factors beyond control is mad. We need all the allies in all shapes, sizes, and colors they come in if they want to help fight for freedom and equality from all oppressive forces.

I’ve met a handful of separatists who are always in denial of being a separatists – it’s really odd. See, if the world is going to be non-oppressive place – all forces will be working together in reality. By dividing and fragmenting – you are not mimicing the conditions of the real world and the real world will never change if you keep on keeping to yourself.

It’s like the idea of the monk who goes up to the mountain and is enlightened by never shares his insight with the world. It’s just a waste. Part of the project is sharing the knowledge with the world – with everyone. Not just “us” or “them.”

Let me point out too: just because you disagree with someone’s lifestyle choice doesn’t give you a right to dictate the rights or govern how someone else lives. I disagree and think my dad is a murderer because he eats meat. But, we co-inhabit the planet peacefully because it isn’t for me to make those chooses for him. The same can be applied to other aspects of life – that others shouldn’t censor their peers because of not approving.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life so far is that you can’t please everyone. Someone is always going to find something to be unhappy about and it’s not about being PC for everyone. It’s about having freedom and not being oppressed. That should be the goal of society and we have a long way to go.

Gender Binary, Sexism, and Sexuality.

December 4, 2009

The gender binary is a form of oppression and hierarchy. Male and female stereotypes and roles put so much stress on our kind. Things like “Boys don’t cry” or if a girl sleeps around she’s a slut and if it was a man, he’s a stud. Girls are supposed to wear dresses and boys are supposed to wear pants. What madman came up with the idea of dividing humanity along the lines of what’s in one’s pants? What I want is equality which isn’t the same thing as sameness. Men and women will always be different but we can also be equal. I am in the middle of reading a book Sexism in America: Alive, Well, and Ruining Our Future and there is so much overlooked. Just even classic television shows like “Father Knows Best” encourages the model that he male knows best and the woman is inferior. Even recently with the scandalous performance of Adam Lambert with the double standard that it’s okay for some girl on girl action on prime time Television and not guy on guy. Girls can be bicurious but men have to be straight and narrow. We need this to stop this sort of thinking.

I was talking with a friend last night how the label “bisexual” enforces the idea that there are only two sexes. Then again, if the person is only attracted to cis-males and cis-females this works but that is often not the case. It doesn’t really cover all aspects of human sexuality. Then again, why do we need to worry about labels? You can like what you like and just be yourself.

However, in this imperfect world labels are helpful for sorting things and giving meaning. They have their use. I usually identify as “queer” since it is all encompassing. I am against gay and lesbian assimilation like the Steford Gays who want to be the cookie cutter American family with 2.5 kids. I know some people are afraid of the word “queer” due to it’s past and it isn’t PC. That’s the thing though, being gay doesn’t have to be PC – we aren’t going for heteronormalitivity. I am more worried about the issues of homeless youth LGBT (gays make up 10% of the population but 40% of the homeless) than having gay marriage. Gay marriage would be nice for those who want it but it’s mostly a concern of the white middle class. People aren’t worrying about gay marriage if they can’t get their medicine. Universal health care should be more of a queer issue than gay marriage because we wouldn’t need partners benefits if everyone had health care.

Again, equality isn’t the same as sameness. I am proud to be queer and different then 90% of the people. I used to joke with my friends that if 90% of the population was queer and only 10% straight – we wouldn’t have the overpopulation problem. But we do because those breeders want to keep on breeding when there are so many children in need of a good home already.