Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gender

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Monika » Thu May 26, 2011 5:21 pm UTC

One more case of a fertile (fertile as in "able to become pregnant" not as in "able to impregnate") woman with XY chromosomes: PDF.



Some thought experiments for RockoTDF or others who think gender identity is learned or find it hard to grasp why even suggesting this possibility is pretty much denying trans identity:

What's the difference between a butch short-haired Lesbian who would never be caught dead in a dress and a trans man?
Why are there butch short-haired Lesbian (or not-Lesbian) trans women who would never be caught dead in a dress? They could just have stayed men.
I hate skirts, dresses, make-up, nail-polish, jewelry, handbags, clothes shopping, shoe shopping and low-cut shirts that reveal the top of my breasts. I love math and programming. Am I male?

When you were little, did you ever see naked people? If you grew up in the US (or various other countries with similar social prohibitions regarding nudity) and had no siblings you probably didn't, as it is suggested to parents in the US that this would be harmful, so many don't expose themselves to their children (or so I read). How did you know which sex you are if you had no reference point what the other sex looked like? Did your parents tell you? Do you remember? I certainly don't remember my parents telling me I am a girl. Maybe yours did, maybe they didn't. How did you know, then? If your parents had raised you in the opposite gender and you had never seen anyone naked, not even pictures, would you not know? Ever? Let's take this further, they talk you into taking some medicine and you don't know what it's for and they are hormones of the other gender, so you will have a "normal" puberty. Do you think you would never ever feel something is wrong?
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby setzer777 » Thu May 26, 2011 5:25 pm UTC

Monika wrote:Gender in the sense of 2 would still be there. "My parents tell me I am a boy|girl because I have boy|girl parts. They do not tell me to dress in a certain way and neither does society. They do not tell me to behave in a certain way and neither does society. But it's still wrong."
Maybe only transsexual people (= transgender people who also wish changes to their physical sex, by hormones or surgery or both) will notice that they are transgender at that point of time in the far-distant future, maybe not, it's hard to say and we are not going to get there in our lifetimes.


I may be misreading RockoTDF, but my impression was that the society he was hypothesizing was one in which the utterances "boy" and "girl" have no attached meaning whatsoever except "has x parts". So that in such a society the sentence above would translate to: "My parents tell me I have x parts because I have x parts".

In such a society I see two broad possibilities:

1. Many people feel like they have what you are now calling "(psychological) gender (identity)", even though in this imaginary society there are no words that correspond to this concept. Probably they would develop words to try to express this concept (though perhaps it would look very different than it does now, without the ingrained two-gender system that is strongly associated with physical sex in our real society).

2. "(Psychological) gender (identity)" would not exist* in this society, because it turns out its existence depends on the conceptual and semantic framework that exists in our real language but not this imaginary language.

As far as I can see, this is a currently unanswerable empirical question, since I don't think we currently have the ability to know which aspects of our selves are created by the language framework we are raised in (and it seems impossible to determine the psychological gender identity of someone who knows no language at all).

Of course, even if gender identity isn't biological at all, it seems like being such a fundamental part of our language and framework would make it virtually impossible to eliminate.

*Edit: I should say that even in this case the someone could feel that they have the wrong parts.

Another edit: I should add that I think it's a common misconception to say that something has to be biological to be a fundamental part of someone's identity. At the extremely basic level, my perception of myself as a physical being occupying three dimensions in space might be dependent on the language and conceptual framework I learned, but it's also at the very root level of "who I am".
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Enuja » Thu May 26, 2011 5:39 pm UTC

I was planning on writing a post about how wanting to get rid of gender can be functionally and practically pro-trans (as in this news article, because if this kid is trans, they will be a lucky trans kid indeed), even though most trans folks see this argument as a something that ignores their existence. So I went back and looked at where I'd made this argument before, and I don't think I can explain it any more coherently here than I did there. So go read my post on the "How do we destroy gender" thread. I really think that that thread is a much better place to discuss the socially constructed or not nature of gender identity than this thread. And, hey, maybe this point deserves its own thread, that isn't about getting rid of gender at all but about what gender is.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Vash » Thu May 26, 2011 5:53 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:Interesting blog ...


Probably a safe position to take for now, because we do not understand the transgendered that well scientifically, and can't tell. Humanity may also be able to transcend gender roles blah blah etc.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Thu May 26, 2011 6:42 pm UTC

Wyvern wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:I am saying that if gender identity is learned (which it mostly is, from what I gather) it probably comes from gender expression and social learning at a young age.

Yeah, cause this totally doesn't reek of "if we make the childrens act all heteronormative and stuff then they won't turn into one of those dirty queers."

Not at all.

And since I was taught about male gender stuff and was dressed up all boyish when I was young, I definitely learned a male gender identity and obviously shouldn't be female now.

You have counterexamples staring yelling in your face and you somehow seem not to notice.


Ugh.

I'm not talking about sexual orientation in the slightest, that is a separate issue (and one that I think is probably more rooted in biology than gender, but that is a different discussion). I'm not saying that *you* should have automatically learned an identity, I'm saying that you learned what it meant to be male of female as a child, and that those definitions probably had some influence on your gender identity....is that such a ridiculous claim? You may have identified with one more than the other, perhaps the one that does not "match" your genitals, but I won't put words in your mouth. But I don't know how you could have identified with either group and constructed the corresponding gender identity if you lived in a place where neither existed, just like I can't identify with some of the third genders from cultures that I don't live in. Again, I'm not making any claims about your experiences in this world and completely respect how you feel about your gender or sex.

setzer777 wrote:
Monika wrote:Gender in the sense of 2 would still be there. "My parents tell me I am a boy|girl because I have boy|girl parts. They do not tell me to dress in a certain way and neither does society. They do not tell me to behave in a certain way and neither does society. But it's still wrong."
Maybe only transsexual people (= transgender people who also wish changes to their physical sex, by hormones or surgery or both) will notice that they are transgender at that point of time in the far-distant future, maybe not, it's hard to say and we are not going to get there in our lifetimes.


I may be misreading RockoTDF, but my impression was that the society he was hypothesizing was one in which the utterances "boy" and "girl" have no attached meaning whatsoever except "has x parts". So that in such a society the sentence above would translate to: "My parents tell me I have x parts because I have x parts".

In such a society I see two broad possibilities:

1. Many people feel like they have what you are now calling "(psychological) gender (identity)", even though in this imaginary society there are no words that correspond to this concept. Probably they would develop words to try to express this concept (though perhaps it would look very different than it does now, without the ingrained two-gender system that is strongly associated with physical sex in our real society).

2. "(Psychological) gender (identity)" would not exist* in this society, because it turns out its existence depends on the conceptual and semantic framework that exists in our real language but not this imaginary language.

As far as I can see, this is a currently unanswerable empirical question, since I don't think we currently have the ability to know which aspects of our selves are created by the language framework we are raised in (and it seems impossible to determine the psychological gender identity of someone who knows no language at all).


I think you are reading me right. Yes, it is an unanswerable question. Like you said, if there is no gender you can still feel like you have the wrong parts. My initial argument was more like #2, although I imagine if there is any biology associated with gender that #1 is the more realistic outcome.

Monika wrote:Some thought experiments for RockoTDF or others who think gender identity is learned or find it hard to grasp why even suggesting this possibility is pretty much denying trans identity:

What's the difference between a butch short-haired Lesbian who would never be caught dead in a dress and a trans man?
Why are there butch short-haired Lesbian (or not-Lesbian) trans women who would never be caught dead in a dress? They could just have stayed men.
I hate skirts, dresses, make-up, nail-polish, jewelry, handbags, clothes shopping, shoe shopping and low-cut shirts that reveal the top of my breasts. I love math and programming. Am I male?


I don't think these examples are relevant. We do live in a society that has gender identity and gender roles, so none of these things seem nonsensical to me at all. I'm just asking where gender identity comes from. I never argue that people can't feel one way or the other, or that one must take on ALL gender roles/stereotypes, etc. If these people you suggest lived in this hypothetical society, they would just be doing what they want and being who they want to be, I suppose.

I think it is a bit ridiculous that people think that asking "what would happen in a hypothetical society if gender didn't exist?" is equal to saying that transgendered people in *this* society don't exist.

When you were little, did you ever see naked people? If you grew up in the US (or various other countries with similar social prohibitions regarding nudity) and had no siblings you probably didn't, as it is suggested to parents in the US that this would be harmful, so many don't expose themselves to their children (or so I read). How did you know which sex you are if you had no reference point what the other sex looked like? Did your parents tell you? Do you remember? I certainly don't remember my parents telling me I am a girl. Maybe yours did, maybe they didn't. How did you know, then? If your parents had raised you in the opposite gender and you had never seen anyone naked, not even pictures, would you not know? Ever? Let's take this further, they talk you into taking some medicine and you don't know what it's for and they are hormones of the other gender, so you will have a "normal" puberty. Do you think you would never ever feel something is wrong?


I saw naked people growing up, I do remember having penises and vaginas explained to be around the age of 4 (and I have a male and female sibling). By "normal" puberty what exactly do you mean? I want to answer this question but need to be sure I understand it first.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Monika » Thu May 26, 2011 7:05 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:I was planning on writing a post about how wanting to get rid of gender can be functionally and practically pro-trans ... even though most trans folks see this argument as a something that ignores their existence.

I don't think that most trans people are against destroying gender (= societal gender roles and expectations). All trans women's and trans men's blogs I have read indicate in some way (not necessarily explicitly) that they are feminists and often that societal gender roles and expectations can go to hell rather sooner than later.

RockoTDF wrote: By "normal" puberty what exactly do you mean? I want to answer this question but need to be sure I understand it first.

Normal (typical) for the (wrong) gender you would have been coercively assigned in this scenario. Not particular important, just so that you don't have an obvious way of telling that your parents lied to you.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Thu May 26, 2011 7:14 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:And that is my point. There is no way for you "see it" without experiencing it. It's like trying to explain what a rose smells like to someone who has never smelled flowers. So please, check your privilege and stop asking me to explain something that it is impossible for you to understand.


I really hate it when people say "you can never understand." The problem with it is, when taken to its logical conclusion, nobody can ever understand what someone is going through, ever. You can never see through another person's eyes or feel through their skin, so you will never be able to properly put yourself in another person's place. As the ironic proverb goes, you are unique, just like everybody else. Really, though, that is true, but it is not beyond the scope of the human mind (most anyways) to co-feel/sympathize*** with other people. You would be forever unable to sympathize with anyone, including men or other women, be they cis- or trans-, or all the in-betweens, family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, strangers...anyone. As I expect you are perfectly capable of that, I see no reason why I'd not be too (how else could I suspect you are capable of sympathy?)

I am personally familiar with alienation, excessive worrying (to a degree some might consider paranoia), image consciousness, terror, nervousness, suicidal/self harm impulses, self-loathing, horror, the prospect of death or worse, sometimes being happy, and even more rarely getting what I want, and much, much more. Sympathy is strong with me. When, before, and since I was a philosophy major, it is what I have been most interested in, though there's not much of use to work with.

I once walked into a conversation about me between my brother and one of our co-workers, and said co-worker was explaining to my brother that I just feel things stronger than most people (of course, then my brother suggested I was emo, and I made a joke along those lines, as it usually goes). So, give me reasons, turn the feelings up or down (and add what I missed), and I absolutely can understand what you are going through.

I suspect more people are like that than you think (which seems to be zero).

I'm done now. This is the longest post I've written in months or years.

***This is what Adam Smith means when he wrote about sympathy, though when he uses that word (and the phrase fellow-feeling, which doesn't seem appropriate as fellow is a vaguely gendered word), he strips the "suffering with" that it implies, to make it something bigger, since there is no such larger concept in the English language. Co-feeling is Milan Kundera's word, but to me it lacks the richness of "sympathy," so I'll generally skip on "co-feeling."

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 26, 2011 7:24 pm UTC

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:I really hate it when people say "you can never understand."


Aaeriele wrote:without experiencing it.


Our mutual understanding is based on shared experiences. The feeling that comes from being trans is so incredibly orthogonal to any other feeling that there is no way to really express it in terms of something else.

Again, how do you explain what a rose smells like to someone who has only ever experienced a single smell? How do you explain what the color blue looks like to someone who has been blind their entire life?

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:The problem with it is, when taken to its logical conclusion, nobody can ever understand what someone is going through, ever.

Not true. We understand through shared experience; thus in any case where we can experience things along the same vein (perhaps not precisely the same, but similar), we can understand one another. There are a great many feelings that we can share and can describe to one another; the innate feeling of being trans isn't one of them. The stress, the depression, the sadness that can come from being trans? Those are things we can describe, and thus can be understood/sympathized/empathized with by cis individuals; but there's more on top of that for which the language simply doesn't exist.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Monika » Thu May 26, 2011 7:30 pm UTC

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:This is what Adam Smith means when he wrote about sympathy, though when he uses that word (and the phrase fellow-feeling, which doesn't seem appropriate as fellow is a vaguely gendered word), he strips the "suffering with" that it implies, to make it something bigger, since there is no such larger concept in the English language. Co-feeling is Milan Kundera's word, but to me it lacks the richness of "sympathy," so I'll generally skip on "co-feeling."

But this is not about sympathy. Nobody thinks you can't have sympathy with trans people.

I am cis. I would say I can understand the pain and suffering and some of the challenges trans people go through. I certainly feel sympathy.
But can I really really understand what it feels like to identify with the opposite gender of what everyone around them tells them they are and have to be? I.e. understand how they *know* they are that other gender? I think not. I will just have to take their word for it.

Preview-edit: Ninja'd.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Wyvern » Thu May 26, 2011 7:39 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:I'm not talking about sexual orientation in the slightest, that is a separate issue (and one that I think is probably more rooted in biology than gender, but that is a different discussion). I'm not saying that *you* should have automatically learned an identity, I'm saying that you learned what it meant to be male of female as a child, and that those definitions probably had some influence on your gender identity....is that such a ridiculous claim?

Do I really need to spell everything out for you? "They learned it in childhood" is problematic because it is a common excuse for right-wing conservative types to use to promote heteronormative stereotypes and gay/queer bashing. Saying that we learn these things at a young age is giving people who hate us reasons to make our younger lives absolutely shitty. horrifically shitty.

And since you seem to be too blinded by snark to notice nuance: 'Learning' something implies that it can be taught. I, and nearly every other trans person in existence is an example of society failing to 'teach' us to have a gender identity that matches our genitals.

If you're trying to claim that learning about gender roles and stereotypes, hell, just noticing the similarities of people's minds that are similarly gendered has somehow affected our gender identities, then what the fuck are you smoking? Gender is one of the things that children like so soak up as much information as they can find about it. THEY ALL LEARN ABOUT IT. Children may, no, probably don't know that transgender people exist or any of the related fancy terminology, but they sure as hell know which of the other kids they share traits with. This also applies if you're talking about gender identity/queer/feminism terminology stuff. (LEARNING ABOUT GENDER AND SEXUAL DIVERSITY DOES NOT MAKE YOU GAY OR TRANS. IT IS NOT FUCKING CONTAGIOUS.)


Also, I don't care about your hypothetical world. I don't live there, and neither does anyone else.


RockoTDF wrote: I'm just asking where gender identity comes from.

MOTHERFUCKING NEUROLOGY.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Thu May 26, 2011 7:50 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:This is what Adam Smith means when he wrote about sympathy, though when he uses that word (and the phrase fellow-feeling, which doesn't seem appropriate as fellow is a vaguely gendered word), he strips the "suffering with" that it implies, to make it something bigger, since there is no such larger concept in the English language. Co-feeling is Milan Kundera's word, but to me it lacks the richness of "sympathy," so I'll generally skip on "co-feeling."

But this is not about sympathy. Nobody thinks you can't have sympathy with trans people.

I am cis. I would say I can understand the pain and suffering and some of the challenges trans people go through. I certainly feel sympathy.
But can I really really understand what it feels like to identify with the opposite gender of what everyone around them tells them they are and have to be? I.e. understand how they *know* they are that other gender? I think not. I will just have to take their word for it.

Preview-edit: Ninja'd.

I will answer you first, and then Aeriele, because I still need more time to come up with a response to her. I don't think your response is entirely the same as hers.

I don't think you understood what I meant when I said sympathy. I did not mean compassion, and suffering with someone. I meant seeing the world from inside another person's skin. I'd call the first step in achieving that is to stop saying it is impossible to ever properly feel as someone, to stop thinking everybody is so different. Really, we aren't. We breathe the same air, have to eat, sleep, and shit; are born, live, and die. The vast majority of xkcd posters come from the same western intellectual traditions. There is a lot of detail in between, of course, but the common ground is too much to ignore.

I still hold that either everybody can grok each other or nobody can. Sorry if I sound like an unwashed hippie, that is not my intention.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Thu May 26, 2011 8:06 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:Our mutual understanding is based on shared experiences. The feeling that comes from being trans is so incredibly orthogonal to any other feeling that there is no way to really express it in terms of something else.

Again, how do you explain what a rose smells like to someone who has only ever experienced a single smell? How do you explain what the color blue looks like to someone who has been blind their entire life?

I liked your original analogy, explaining a rose to someone who has never smelled a flower.

Not true. We understand through shared experience; thus in any case where we can experience things along the same vein (perhaps not precisely the same, but similar), we can understand one another. There are a great many feelings that we can share and can describe to one another; the innate feeling of being trans isn't one of them. The stress, the depression, the sadness that can come from being trans? Those are things we can describe, and thus can be understood/sympathized/empathized with by cis individuals; but there's more on top of that for which the language simply doesn't exist.

I know it is not QUITE the same, but as approximations go, I'd like to think it is .999, by which I mean .0000032 short of 1, as analogies go.

I am very much not where I want to be with my life. It is like this itch under my skin, in my lungs, down the unscratchable part of my back, under my hair and forehead, I hate it so much. A discomfort I can't lose. I desperately want to move out of my parents' home, and I know I'm better than this. (I no longer have any financial means to do anything about this.) However, by enrolling in school as a computer science major, I have taken a large step towards fixing this problem, and setting myself up with the opportunity to be financially secure in the future. It isn't moving fast enough, but impatience will only ruin everything. Obviously I don't NEED to move out, I can live here forever, but were I to do that, I would have descended into madness some time in the next decade.

I know I left out all the flack you go through, but in regards to what I suspect is a nearly unbearable itch to get where you want to be, I like to think I at least hit the dart board.
Last edited by Sheikh al-Majaneen on Thu May 26, 2011 8:09 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 26, 2011 8:08 pm UTC

Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:I know I left out all the flack you go through, but in regards to what I suspect is a nearly unbearable itch to get where you want to be, I like to think I at least hit the dart board.


I'm sorry to disappoint you, but no, you didn't. The feelings I'm referring to are not even dealing with "how we view the world".
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Sheikh al-Majaneen » Thu May 26, 2011 8:11 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:
Sheikh al-Majaneen wrote:I know I left out all the flack you go through, but in regards to what I suspect is a nearly unbearable itch to get where you want to be, I like to think I at least hit the dart board.


I'm sorry to disappoint you, but no, you didn't. The feelings I'm referring to are not even dealing with "how we view the world".

I'm not talking about how you view the world, I'm talking about the feeling of wrongness. Fuck, whatever, I tried.

EDIT: I should have mentioned before that when someone says I will never understand, it feels like a gauntlet has been thrown down. I MUST pick it up! I'm sorry if it has been upsetting in any way.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Thu May 26, 2011 9:01 pm UTC

Wyvern wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:I'm not talking about sexual orientation in the slightest, that is a separate issue (and one that I think is probably more rooted in biology than gender, but that is a different discussion). I'm not saying that *you* should have automatically learned an identity, I'm saying that you learned what it meant to be male of female as a child, and that those definitions probably had some influence on your gender identity....is that such a ridiculous claim?

Do I really need to spell everything out for you? "They learned it in childhood" is problematic because it is a common excuse for right-wing conservative types to use to promote heteronormative stereotypes and gay/queer bashing. Saying that we learn these things at a young age is giving people who hate us reasons to make our younger lives absolutely shitty. horrifically shitty.


It is also problematic to claim that it is all biology. Because then you can start looking for "cures" and other bad things. Could you imagine if solid gay/trans genes were found? The right wing assholes out there would start screening their babies, and might even abort them because of it (because it's not murder if the baby is gay, right?). Or if they found out that a certain diet during pregnancy is more likely to make your kid straight, etc?

What I am saying has nothing to do with giving people reasons to hate you. In fact, striking a balance between nature and nurture is probably the best way to protect trans and gay people from the far right. If it is all biology, we can "cure" it, and if it is all "social" we can treat those people differently (the right would say that if it isn't biology they must be making a "choice") or send them to "pray the gay away" camps and shit like that.

And since you seem to be too blinded by snark to notice nuance: 'Learning' something implies that it can be taught. I, and nearly every other trans person in existence is an example of society failing to 'teach' us to have a gender identity that matches our genitals.


NOT AT ALL. Learning does NOT imply that something must be taught by another person, nor does it imply that someone has "failed" because your genitals don't match how you feel. Your argument seems to imply that sex, gender, and sexual orientation are all purely biological. It is never correct to assume that any aspect of human behavior is completely nature or nurture. Even my argument, largely based in nurture, gives nature some room.

If you're trying to claim that learning about gender roles and stereotypes, hell, just noticing the similarities of people's minds that are similarly gendered has somehow affected our gender identities, then what the fuck are you smoking? Gender is one of the things that children like so soak up as much information as they can find about it. THEY ALL LEARN ABOUT IT. Children may, no, probably don't know that transgender people exist or any of the related fancy terminology, but they sure as hell know which of the other kids they share traits with. This also applies if you're talking about gender identity/queer/feminism terminology stuff. (LEARNING ABOUT GENDER AND SEXUAL DIVERSITY DOES NOT MAKE YOU GAY OR TRANS. IT IS NOT FUCKING CONTAGIOUS.)


This paragraph doesn't make sense. You said that learning doesn't affect gender identity, yet that kids learn all about gender. And how is learning about something not going to affect your perception of that thing, whether it is in your self or others?

I never said that learning about anything makes you something else, but rather NOT learning about something could limit what you become in a purely hypothetical situation.

I know being gay or trans is not contagious. Quit putting words in my mouth and straw manning me.

Also, I don't care about your hypothetical world. I don't live there, and neither does anyone else.


Then why are you arguing with me about it? I'm not really saying a great deal about what happens in the real world.

RockoTDF wrote: I'm just asking where gender identity comes from.

MOTHERFUCKING NEUROLOGY.


Showing that there is a difference in brains is great but doesn't definitively prove anything about nature or nurture, I'm afraid. Still a step in the right direction and good evidence to support trans people in their goals.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Monika » Thu May 26, 2011 9:52 pm UTC

RockoTDF wrote:Your argument seems to imply that sex, gender, and sexual orientation are all purely biological.

If by gender you mean gender identity (I wish after my educational post you would stop using gender without making clear which of the potential meanings you refer to in a debate that very strongly relies on these differences) then: Yes, yes and yes.

(For most people anyway. Some people's gender identity and some people's sexual orientation seem to be fluid (changing), so it's not possible to say for certain if the gender identity or sexual orientation at a given point in time is biological or due to some outer influence or both.)

It is never correct to assume that any aspect of human behavior is completely nature or nurture.

It is never correct to say that something is never correct. Please explain how *sex* could be "nurture". You know, apart from actually eating/injecting sex hormons or having surgery.

This paragraph doesn't make sense. You said that learning doesn't affect gender identity, yet that kids learn all about gender. And how is learning about something not going to affect your perception of that thing, whether it is in your self or others?

Did you read that long post I wrote up there? Where I explain that gender identity and gender roles are, like, light-years apart? No? Take your time, we will all still be here when you have finished reading.

Showing that there is a difference in brains is great but doesn't definitively prove anything about nature or nurture, I'm afraid. Still a step in the right direction and good evidence to support trans people in their goals.

The studies also show that castrated men's brains do not show these female features. So how could it possibly still be nurture, even if we go as far as declaring hormons to be on the nurture instead of the nature side.
Also, to get back to the basic idea: Who - actively or accidentally - taught trans kids to be trans? Who - actively or accidentally - "nurtured" the kids so that trans persons' brains magically shift shape to the shape typical for members of the identity gender? (Shape in a metaphorical sense, I mean the neuron counts etc.)
If you insist it's learning / nurture, even if you say you "give some room" to biology ... how are trans children "learning" the opposite gender identity?!?!

In fact, striking a balance between nature and nurture is probably the best way to protect trans and gay people from the far right. If it is all biology, we can "cure" it, and if it is all "social" we can treat those people differently (the right would say that if it isn't biology they must be making a "choice") or send them to "pray the gay away" camps and shit like that.

This is faulty logic. Crazy ultra-right-wingers are sending their gay children to gay-pray-away camps right now, even though it's firmly established that sexual orientation is not a choice. If you combine both, they will just do both things - treat it as an illness and treat it as a bad choice.

Also, it doesn't matter. Even if sexual orientation and gender identity were choices - so what? E.g. for bi people there is a degree of choice: when they fall in love with a person of the same sex/gender they could ignore that and wait for one of the opposite sex/gender to come along. Not doing such nonsense does not make them bad people. But it does in the eyes of ultra-religious right-wing crazy people. So?
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Telchar » Thu May 26, 2011 10:02 pm UTC

Monika wrote:If you insist it's learning / nurture, even if you say you "give some room" to biology ... how are trans children "learning" the opposite gender identity?!?!


The mechanism could be something completely unrelated to gender identity as we understand it as adults. Because you find the mechanism incredulous doesn't invalidate it.

For the record: I think there are very good reasons to beleive gender identity is biological and determined in utero. That doesn't mean that I couldn't be convinced given evidence of both correlation and a mechanism by which this correlative action/experience works.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Joeldi » Thu May 26, 2011 10:48 pm UTC

I LOVE the not assigning gender thing, and I can relate to Jazz (relating to a five year old. hmmm)

I hate that they've named their kids Storm, Jazz and Kio *vomit*, and I'm not too keen on the freaky deaky schooling thing.

Yeah, they'll get picked on a bit at school, but that's part of growing up. And since he's only 5, well, kids aren't going to be that cruel at 5. Introduce them to a cross dresser at 5 and by 10 they'll be highly accustomed to it and hopefully more open-minded in general.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Enuja » Thu May 26, 2011 11:05 pm UTC

Monika wrote:
Enuja wrote:I was planning on writing a post about how wanting to get rid of gender can be functionally and practically pro-trans ... even though most trans folks see this argument as a something that ignores their existence.

I don't think that most trans people are against destroying gender (= societal gender roles and expectations). All trans women's and trans men's blogs I have read indicate in some way (not necessarily explicitly) that they are feminists and often that societal gender roles and expectations can go to hell rather sooner than later.
I want to get rid of gender in its entirety, including gender identity. My methodology for getting rid of gender identity is to get rid of societal gender roles and expectations, and then seeing if anything is left to gender. If there is still some gender around, then I'm wrong, but, no harm done.

Why is everyone piling on RockoTDF, but treating me kindly? RockoTDF and I seem to have extremely simliar positions, although we are presenting our positions very differently.

I happen to think that people are transgender because their personalities (which are an emergent combination of nature and nurture) accord better with a gender they were not assigned at birth, and because they have a sexual identity, a body image, that is not congruent with the gender they were assigned at birth. Brain characteristics of transgender folks don't tell us anything about what being transgender comes from: people who have become trained musicians have different brains from people who have never done so. The current scientific culture explains a huge amount of human behavior on biology, in ways that I think are often ignoring alternate explanations. Personally, I think that trying to point to a specific cause to any characteristic of a specific person is hugely misleading. The variables are so many, and interact in such complex ways, that figuring them out exactly is extremely unlikely, and not at all useful for the person in question.

Yes, a cis person telling a trans person that gender identity is socially constructed can be a painful experience. But so can an atheist telling a religious person that God does not exist. Yes, it's obnoxious that this thread, which wasn't originally about trans issues at all, is now in large part about whether there really is such a thing as gender identity, independent of gender roles and expectations. Just like a thread about the basis of morality usually gets sidetracked into whether morals coming from God, this sidetrack is both predictable and annoying. But the predictable and annoying nature of the sidetrack doesn't make the actual positions inherently problematic.

I happen to think that we won't be able to figure out what gender identity is in our lifetimes, and I strongly suspect that what gender identity is varies between cultures.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Thu May 26, 2011 11:15 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:I want to get rid of gender in its entirety, including gender identity. My methodology for getting rid of gender identity is to get rid of societal gender roles and expectations, and then seeing if anything is left to gender. If there is still some gender around, then I'm wrong, but, no harm done.

Wouldn't it be simpler to say you want to get rid of societal gender roles and expectations? If there is something left around, no harm done, and if there isn't, no harm done?

Enuja wrote:Why is everyone piling on RockoTDF, but treating me kindly? RockoTDF and I seem to have extremely simliar positions, although we are presenting our positions very differently.

You answered your own question.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Joeldi » Thu May 26, 2011 11:20 pm UTC

@Enuja I like you. Where's this place's like button?

And since I've gone and made a new post, I'll amend what I just said before instead of editing.

I realised that chances are, the kids at school will question what Jazz is doing (not neccesarily maliciously), and assuming he doesn't not identify as male, before too long he'd give up the cross-dressing, because it's easier that way, than having top keep defending his and his parents ideals.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Fri May 27, 2011 12:41 am UTC

Monika wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:Your argument seems to imply that sex, gender, and sexual orientation are all purely biological.

If by gender you mean gender identity (I wish after my educational post you would stop using gender without making clear which of the potential meanings you refer to in a debate that very strongly relies on these differences) then: Yes, yes and yes.

(For most people anyway. Some people's gender identity and some people's sexual orientation seem to be fluid (changing), so it's not possible to say for certain if the gender identity or sexual orientation at a given point in time is biological or due to some outer influence or both.)

It is never correct to assume that any aspect of human behavior is completely nature or nurture.

It is never correct to say that something is never correct. Please explain how *sex* could be "nurture". You know, apart from actually eating/injecting sex hormons or having surgery.


Sex being nurture was a typo on my part, although I suppose that SRS is something that happens in the environment.

The claim that anything that is cognitive or emotional is all nature or nurture is totally indefensible. You can't do an experiment that can truly rule out one or the other. This is a basic tenet of any social or behavioral science question.

This paragraph doesn't make sense. You said that learning doesn't affect gender identity, yet that kids learn all about gender. And how is learning about something not going to affect your perception of that thing, whether it is in your self or others?

Did you read that long post I wrote up there? Where I explain that gender identity and gender roles are, like, light-years apart? No? Take your time, we will all still be here when you have finished reading.


Yes I did. I thought it was an informative post, and an interesting one, but I don't think it stands up to some of the problems that I've pointed out.

Showing that there is a difference in brains is great but doesn't definitively prove anything about nature or nurture, I'm afraid. Still a step in the right direction and good evidence to support trans people in their goals.

The studies also show that castrated men's brains do not show these female features. So how could it possibly still be nurture, even if we go as far as declaring hormons to be on the nurture instead of the nature side.
Also, to get back to the basic idea: Who - actively or accidentally - taught trans kids to be trans? Who - actively or accidentally - "nurtured" the kids so that trans persons' brains magically shift shape to the shape typical for members of the identity gender? (Shape in a metaphorical sense, I mean the neuron counts etc.)
If you insist it's learning / nurture, even if you say you "give some room" to biology ... how are trans children "learning" the opposite gender identity?!?!


They aren't learning to feel different, they are learning that other identities exist. I'm not saying they consciously choose what they want by any stretch. Put differently, I can't feel like I should be of a third sex when said third sex doesn't exist in my society (such as certain groups in India). I have to at least know what that gender is before I can identify with it. You'd then have to imply that people in India (or wherever) have something different about them biologically that leads to a third gender.

This is all I am saying. I'm not claiming that anyone has to learn to be transgendered, just the existence of other genders. You are confounding social learning and experience with actively teaching children about being transgendered.

And brains can show dramatic shifts. Look up hippocampal changes in taxi drivers, for example. And musicians, and artists, and so on (and these were changes tracked over time).

In fact, striking a balance between nature and nurture is probably the best way to protect trans and gay people from the far right. If it is all biology, we can "cure" it, and if it is all "social" we can treat those people differently (the right would say that if it isn't biology they must be making a "choice") or send them to "pray the gay away" camps and shit like that.

This is faulty logic. Crazy ultra-right-wingers are sending their gay children to gay-pray-away camps right now, even though it's firmly established that sexual orientation is not a choice. If you combine both, they will just do both things - treat it as an illness and treat it as a bad choice.


What you are saying is that no matter what the cause is, or how much of each contributes to the cause, that people will be mistreated, which is probably true to a degree. I'm saying that a purely biological based understanding could result in a genocide against people that are different because they are not allowed to be born in the first place, or are changed so that they are "normal."

Also, it doesn't matter. Even if sexual orientation and gender identity were choices - so what? E.g. for bi people there is a degree of choice: when they fall in love with a person of the same sex/gender they could ignore that and wait for one of the opposite sex/gender to come along. Not doing such nonsense does not make them bad people. But it does in the eyes of ultra-religious right-wing crazy people. So?


Keep in mind that not everyone who has issues with people of different genders or sexual orientations is a right wing nut job. Some people are ignorant, and learning that an issue is all nature or nurture cannot have a positive impact because it simplifies a situation and makes it easier to "cure." A mix of the two suggests an issue that is complex and cannot be easily "cured" like flipping a gene would be.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby netcrusher88 » Fri May 27, 2011 12:59 am UTC

RockoTDF wrote:I'm saying that a purely biological based understanding could result in a genocide against people that are different because they are not allowed to be born in the first place, or are changed so that they are "normal."

I think this is a problem for a legal solution, and I don't think it can or should be an impediment to a better understanding. Also, it's much more likely a purely biological based understanding would put some teeth in a legal claim to being a suspect class. So I'll take it.

Oh, and genocide against people that are different doesn't require a biological understanding. You can't go a week without seeing some fuckhead saying gays (and most homophobes are too fucking stupid to make a distinction between orientation and gender identity) should be put to death. Or "cured".

Shit, look at Uganda. Texas. Uh... Tennessee, which I think just passed an unprecedented law stripping localities of the ability to pass anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBT folk.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Fri May 27, 2011 1:06 am UTC

netcrusher88 wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:I'm saying that a purely biological based understanding could result in a genocide against people that are different because they are not allowed to be born in the first place, or are changed so that they are "normal."


Oh, and, genocide against people that are different doesn't require a biological understanding. You can't go a week without seeing some fuckhead saying gays (and most homophobes are too fucking stupid to make a distinction between orientation and gender identity) should be put to death. Or "cured".


Absolutely true. But I think that by making anything black and white, you just make the mechanism of genocide itself more black and white. It was easier for Hitler to kill Jews rather than nonspecific "enemies of the state", or Pol Pot to kill people with glasses rather than testing who was smart and shooting accordingly. So in this case it is easier to say "Just change gene <x>" or "abort babies with gene <x>" than to construct a concentration camp to kill people with gene <x> (or that are a part of culture/subculture/group <x>, to take the opposite all nurture approach).
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Enuja » Fri May 27, 2011 2:01 am UTC

RockoTDF, what might be more convenient is not, in any way, a convincing argument about what is actually true. It'd be really nice if you could stop trying to argue that something is true because it would be better that way.


Enuja wrote:I want to get rid of gender in its entirety, including gender identity. My methodology for getting rid of gender identity is to get rid of societal gender roles and expectations, and then seeing if anything is left to gender. If there is still some gender around, then I'm wrong, but, no harm done.
Aaeriele wrote:Wouldn't it be simpler to say you want to get rid of societal gender roles and expectations? If there is something left around, no harm done, and if there isn't, no harm done?
It would certainly be easier to get allies, but it doesn't happen to be what I believe. I have a personal, emotional aversion to grouping people by a variable that is related to sex but is not sex.* I feel that binary gender obscures important individual variation, and that even non-binary gender would do the same. To me, even if I'm allowed to behave however I want to, if I'm seen as part of a category related to sex, that categorization is damaging to how I interact with other people. I live in a world with gender, I act differently around men and women, even when I expect them to act the same to me, and that bothers me. I want to get rid of that. It would be simpler if I said that I just wanted to get rid of gender roles and expression, but, in myself and in my ideal society, I also want to get rid of gender identity.

I couldn't do what Storm's parents are doing, because I couldn't forget Storm's genital arrangement and expected gender. I could try really hard, but I know I'd still treat Storm differently. And that drives me crazy. I think that if we have a mental category, it will become or remain important, and I don't want gender identity to be important to how people act, so I don't want it to exist.

*I also have an emotional aversion of grouping people by sex, but that's another subject.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Fri May 27, 2011 2:19 am UTC

Enuja wrote:RockoTDF, what might be more convenient is not, in any way, a convincing argument about what is actually true. It'd be really nice if you could stop trying to argue that something is true because it would be better that way.



Not what I am doing. I am saying that parts of the "it must be nature!" argument presented above are grounded in convenience, and that said convenience is non existant because it is easier to kill or "cure" people if it was all biology. What is convenient and true aren't the same, in any case and in my argument. It was meant to rebuke a premise of that argument, not to be a premise of my argument if you see what I mean
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Роберт » Fri May 27, 2011 3:11 pm UTC

Joeldi wrote:I'm not too keen on the freaky deaky schooling thing.

Yeah, they'll get picked on a bit at school, but that's part of growing up. And since he's only 5, well, kids aren't going to be that cruel at 5. Introduce them to a cross dresser at 5 and by 10 they'll be highly accustomed to it and hopefully more open-minded in general.

Joeldi wrote:I realised that chances are, the kids at school will question what Jazz is doing (not neccesarily maliciously), and assuming he doesn't not identify as male, before too long he'd give up the cross-dressing, because it's easier that way, than having top keep defending his and his parents ideals.

I'm confused. Who is going to be picking on them at school/questioning them at school?

You clearly saw that they are "unschoolers" and yet you don't seem to understand.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Torchship » Fri May 27, 2011 4:14 pm UTC

Enuja wrote:RockoTDF, what might be more convenient is not, in any way, a convincing argument about what is actually true. It'd be really nice if you could stop trying to argue that something is true because it would be better that way.

Not to defend Rocko (since he's still quite guilty of perpetuating the fallacy), but Wyvern did start all this "Appeal to Results" crap in their first post of this page.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby jules.LT » Fri May 27, 2011 5:36 pm UTC

It seems to me that, by insisting on not revealing the sex of this baby, these parents are putting a disproportionate focus on it. They'll get less gender-specific behaviour towards the kid, but much more awkwardness, I don't see how that's an improvement.

There's a lot to pass on to a kid, and the idea that one shouldn't be constrained by gender roles is but one of them. I don't think it's reasonable to go to such lengths for that: there are other things to worry about. Smart, open-minded parents should be enough to help him/her deal with whatever specificities he/she has.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby RockoTDF » Fri May 27, 2011 6:47 pm UTC

Torchship wrote:
Enuja wrote:RockoTDF, what might be more convenient is not, in any way, a convincing argument about what is actually true. It'd be really nice if you could stop trying to argue that something is true because it would be better that way.

Not to defend Rocko (since he's still quite guilty of perpetuating the fallacy), but Wyvern did start all this "Appeal to Results" crap in their first post of this page.


I am not appealing to results as I stated a few post above.. I am explaining why the results of a purely biological or purely social explanation of gender/sexual orientation would be a bad thing. I was refuting another argument based in results by saying those results weren't necessarily good, not setting up a premise of my own argument.

Monika wrote:
RockoTDF wrote: By "normal" puberty what exactly do you mean? I want to answer this question but need to be sure I understand it first.

Normal (typical) for the (wrong) gender you would have been coercively assigned in this scenario. Not particular important, just so that you don't have an obvious way of telling that your parents lied to you.


First of all, I think that there is much more than just changing hormones - that alone might not be enough to make me feel like a female. I do think that our sex does predispose us to perhaps identify with a particular gender. I'm not claiming that doing something at a young age to me will cause me to grow up blissfully female unaware of my Y chromosome or that I was born with a penis. What I am claiming is that if I was brought up in such a world, and never met any males, or heard of males, it would be impossible for me to develop a male gender identity just as I cannot feel that I have a gender identity of a third sex like in India. Those who argue that gender identity must be innate (completely) must also be arguing that there is something different about the biology (whether it is genetics or not) of people in India and other cultures with a third gender.

EDIT: I'm not trying to tell anyone how they feel or should feel. I'm saying that the gender identity theories laid out in this thread are inconsistent with other cultures, and are constructed from a Western standpoint.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Fri May 27, 2011 6:59 pm UTC

I don't know what gender identity theory you're referring to, but mine is definitely not binary...
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Роберт » Fri May 27, 2011 7:04 pm UTC

jules.lt wrote:It seems to me that, by insisting on not revealing the sex of this baby, these parents are putting a disproportionate focus on it.
I don't think the parents are.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Joeldi » Fri May 27, 2011 11:02 pm UTC

Роберт wrote:
Joeldi wrote:I'm not too keen on the freaky deaky schooling thing.

Yeah, they'll get picked on a bit at school, but that's part of growing up. And since he's only 5, well, kids aren't going to be that cruel at 5. Introduce them to a cross dresser at 5 and by 10 they'll be highly accustomed to it and hopefully more open-minded in general.

Joeldi wrote:I realised that chances are, the kids at school will question what Jazz is doing (not neccesarily maliciously), and assuming he doesn't not identify as male, before too long he'd give up the cross-dressing, because it's easier that way, than having top keep defending his and his parents ideals.

I'm confused. Who is going to be picking on them at school/questioning them at school?

You clearly saw that they are "unschoolers" and yet you don't seem to understand.


First, I said I thought they were wrong not to send the kids to school.

Then, I reconsidered, and saw how sending them to school would more than likely reverse the gender-role free values they were instilling in their children.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Vash » Sat May 28, 2011 5:24 am UTC

Joeldi wrote:First, I said I thought they were wrong not to send the kids to school.

Then, I reconsidered, and saw how sending them to school would more than likely reverse the gender-role free values they were instilling in their children.


Keep in mind that these children will basically have been raised in a culture of their own, and may feel or be isolated.

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Sat May 28, 2011 6:19 pm UTC

This is not directed at anyone in this thread in particular, it was just relevant:

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Vash » Sat May 28, 2011 7:25 pm UTC

Aaeriele wrote:This is not directed at anyone in this thread in particular, it was just relevant:

Image


lol

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby jules.LT » Sun May 29, 2011 7:02 pm UTC

I got this from another thread, and I thought it would be appropriate.
It's a nice little poem called Storm.
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Richard Feynman & many others wrote:Keep an open mind – but not so open that your brain falls out

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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Aaeriele » Sun May 29, 2011 7:56 pm UTC

jules.lt wrote:I got this from another thread, and I thought it would be appropriate.
It's a nice little poem called Storm.


...how is that at all appropriate?
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby netcrusher88 » Sun May 29, 2011 8:13 pm UTC

It isn't.

Well, unless you want to mock these parents by conflating them with homeopaths and such, which doesn't make any sense.
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Re: Parents choose not to assign/disclose their baby's gende

Postby Monika » Sun May 29, 2011 8:35 pm UTC

jules.lt wrote:I got this from another thread, and I thought it would be appropriate.
It's a nice little poem called Storm.

It was already mentioned on page 1.
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