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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:44 am UTC
by Wodashin
podbaydoor wrote:
bobjoesmith wrote:Tl;Dr of this paragraph: man and women are built differently biologically. Attempts to alter these concrete barriers in the name of progressivism or freedom of choice is silly.

The way society treats men and women is not the same as biological function in nature.

Men used to wear dresses and skirts all the time - tunics and so on. Male and female children were dressed in the same costume (see the picture of FDR above) because it was easier to plop them on the chamberpot without pants in the way. And yet, now in the 21st century, men are mocked and punished socially if they don't wear pants. In other words, the whole prohibition against certain items of clothing is - and always was - arbitrary, and have nothing to do with biological function. Now examine other societal prescriptions for accepted behavior, and examine how they have changed in particulars over the years - some of the manliest men in 1700s France would have been regarded as flamingly poufy today - and come back and tell us how biological differences have anything whatsoever to do with outdated arbitrary customs.


I don't think he was talking about clothing and whatnot. Just that boys and girls are fundamentally different, and they are. Genitals wise and hormonally. This whole field of gender identity is relatively new scientifically. Maybe it's due to hormonal differences, or maybe those are coincidences, or maybe tey aren't even coincidences and aren't being calculated correctly. We don't know.

This whole thing is venturing off into the unknown. We don't know how this will affect children in general, even if we find out how this effects this specific child.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:47 am UTC
by podbaydoor
Just that boys and girls are fundamentally different, and they are.

Even if you accept that (which is an eternal issue of debate)...that is still not the same thing as society treating men and women differently. Society has shown that its treatment is rather arbitrary, and divorced from actual biology. These parents are trying to mitigate that treatment, not the biology.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:48 am UTC
by fr00t
People keep talking about "choice" like it is derived from some magical source, separate from the process of socialization. It isn't.

DaBigCheez wrote:I'm confused here. Are you saying that if they're trans (gender identity != genitalia), that they were wrong and should change their "choice" of gender? Or are you saying that they might not accurately choose their gender identity the first time/that it may change over time? Because if the former, then I'm fairly sure every trans person ever and a fair number of cis people (myself included) would take offense at that. And if the latter, then growing up in an environment where it's clear that they're not locked in to a gender identity/are free to choose rather than going with whatever was pre-determined by an outside party means that there'd be a lot less trauma associated with that realization/re-choosing, no?


I'm saying that their initial "choice" of gender in this case (ignoring biological cues which may or may not exist) is for all intents and purposes a coin flip. Then when they are old enough to actually understand what gender truly is - and the ramifications of their choice, assuming they (by random chance) are trans-gendered, they are disadvantaged, unless changing your identity (your personal identity) is as easy as some of you suggest.

Is my statement that "it would be criminally negligent to raise a biological-male as female-gendered" wrong?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:50 am UTC
by podbaydoor
I'm saying that their initial "choice" of gender in this case (ignoring biological cues which may or may not exist) is for all intents and purposes a coin flip.

How do you know that? Storm was marinated in any number of hormones in the womb, and any number of chemicals/influences in zer current food and environment. That will all affect zer self-perception regardless of reasoning power.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:51 am UTC
by netcrusher88
bobjoesmith wrote:Tl;Dr of this paragraph: man and women are built differently biologically. Attempts to alter these concrete barriers in the name of progressivism or freedom of choice is silly.

I know some people who would blow your mind with how wrong you are.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:57 am UTC
by Soralin
fr00t wrote:I'm saying that their initial "choice" of gender in this case (ignoring biological cues which may or may not exist) is for all intents and purposes a coin flip. Then when they are old enough to actually understand what gender truly is - and the ramifications of their choice, assuming they (by random chance) are trans-gendered, they are disadvantaged, unless changing your identity (your personal identity) is as easy as some of you suggest.

Or maybe they'll just do the things they want to do, and act the way they want to act, independent of what genders are. I mean, when you're figuring out what you want to do, or how you want to act, do you pull out a list of what specific genders are stereotyped to do, and pick something off of the list? Or do you instead think for yourself?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 1:59 am UTC
by Wodashin
podbaydoor wrote:
Just that boys and girls are fundamentally different, and they are.

Even if you accept that (which is an eternal issue of debate)...that is still not the same thing as society treating men and women differently. Society has shown that its treatment is rather arbitrary, and divorced from actual biology. These parents are trying to mitigate that treatment, not the biology.


I know, and I agree with society being a bit arbitrary, but if that were what everything was about at its heart than there'd be no fault in telling Storm what it was gender wise as long as you don't tell others and keep them from 'boxing' Storm in. 'Boy' and 'girl' wouldn't have any meaning, but it doesn't seem like that's what they're going for. This is more social experimentation rather than societal freedom. He/she wouldn't feel trapped psychologically in a body that was different from the mind if the body didn't matter.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:02 am UTC
by podbaydoor
Societal freedom *is* an experiment.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:03 am UTC
by Enuja
I completely don't understand why you're saying here. Most puzzling:
fr00t wrote:That gender roles are socialized, acquired traits does not mean that they aren't consistent and predictable.

For the sake of argument I'm fine assuming that gender identity is completely independent of biology, since gender is an amalgamation of behavioral characteristics that are primarily learned. The extent to which this isn't true (e.g. males being more aggressive due to higher testosterone) isn't really important here. You could raise a biological-male as female-gendered, but to do so would be criminally negligent.
If gender identity is completely independent of biology, why is it criminally negligent to raise a biological male as female gendered?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:06 am UTC
by fr00t
Soralin wrote:Or maybe they'll just do the things they want to do, and act the way they want to act, independent of what genders are. I mean, when you're figuring out what you want to do, or how you want to act, do you pull out a list of what specific genders are stereotyped to do, and pick something off of the list? Or do you instead think for yourself?


fr00t wrote:That gender roles are socialized, acquired traits does not mean that they aren't consistent and predictable.
+
fr00t wrote:People keep talking about "choice" like it is derived from some magical source, separate from the process of socialization. It isn't.



podbaydoor wrote:
I'm saying that their initial "choice" of gender in this case (ignoring biological cues which may or may not exist) is for all intents and purposes a coin flip.

How do you know that? Storm was marinated in any number of hormones in the womb, and any number of chemicals/influences in zer current food and environment. That will all affect zer self-perception regardless of reasoning power.


I was going with "assuming gender identity is completely independent of biology" for a hypothetical debate. I believe it's more likely for Storm to default to cis-gender, but with less certainty than had zhe been provided with a reasonable level of cues during formative years.

Enuja wrote: If gender identity is completely independent of biology, why is it criminally negligent to raise a biological male as female gendered?


An assumption I'm making, that perhaps others would disagree with: that being trans-gendered is often (but not always) a problem/issue/dilemma/source of distress, and as such, statistically speaking, disadvantages those who are classified as such?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:07 am UTC
by podbaydoor
Declaring to my Asian parents that I was going into journalism and not engineering was a problem/issue/dilemma/source of distress.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:10 am UTC
by Aaeriele
RockoTDF wrote:
Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:"You won't really understand" is not a retort in an intellectual discussion that I'll buy, I'm afraid.

I really don't care whether you "buy it" or not.


Then why are you trying to have an intelligent conversation about this? I care about whether people buy my arguments because I'm trying to persuade them in some way, or because I don't buy theirs. Instead of being snarky about this, why don't you instead try to fit my third gender example into your understanding so that everyone can better understand the issue? This issues in this thread are *not* something near and dear to my heart that really affect my life in the same way that it does yours. So what I mean to say is that my mind is open, and that you can change it (as well as that of lurkers or others participating in this thread). Saying you don't care kind of defeats the point, doesn't it?


Why don't you read the damn post that I linked instead of asking me to re-explain myself.

fr00t wrote:An assumption I'm making, that perhaps others would disagree with: that being trans-gendered is often (but not always) a problem/issue/dilemma/source of distress, and as such, statistically speaking, disadvantages those who are classified as such?

Look.

No one all of a sudden goes "OH, I NEVER KNEW MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO CONSIDERED THEMSELVES FEMALE HAD VAGINAS, WOE IS ME" or "OH, I NEVER KNEW MOST OF THE PEOPLE WHO CONSIDERED THEMSELVES MALE HAD PENISES, WOE IS ME".

By the time a child is able to definitively and certainly say they that they feel that they are <foo> gender, they are going to be aware of the "typical" attributes of that gender. The parents aren't hiding any facts from the children, just from others outside of their family.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:13 am UTC
by setzer777
So how far should we take the notion that helping your child avoid ostracization mandates that you raise them according to gender norms? Are you neglecting a daughter if you don't raise her to be sufficiently deferential and submissive? Are you neglecting a son if you don't teach him to be sufficiently ambitious and macho?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:17 am UTC
by Virtual_Aardvark
It's likely (but not guaranteed) that Storm will pick/discover a permanent gender eventually. Probably around puberty. Most of the switching and confusion will happen before then.

My question: So what? I spent a good solid six months in kindergarten as a boy. Everyone indulged me. My parents bought me boy things (though I still wore my pink pants sometimes), my teachers used "him" and "he", and all the other kids went with it. Come my 5th birthday I decided I was a girl after all and wore a pretty dress at my party and beat up a class mate for using the wrong pronouns*. Since then I've gone out in drag a few times but am pretty happy as a chick.

Kids are amazingly flexible and resilient. If Storm experiences some confusion at puberty as far as genitals vs perceived gender it seems like they may have an easier time of it than a lot of other kids. If they never settle they have the advantage of gender fluidity being normal to them. If they turn out cis they can embark into society with a minimum of fuss. No matter what, they get a supportive, nonjudgmental family. That's a way better deal than most of us get.

*He actually teased me for dressing like a girl. Go figure.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:18 am UTC
by Wodashin
podbaydoor wrote:Declaring to my Asian parents that I was going into journalism and not engineering was a problem/issue/dilemma/source of distress.


How is this relevant? It's anecdotal and only, sort of, connected.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:22 am UTC
by DaBigCheez
Virtual_Aardvark has expressed my point much more clearly and succinctly than I was managing to. Thanks :)

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:22 am UTC
by podbaydoor
My point is that any number of things that a child decides to be can cause distress. Children coming out as gay to their parents can be hugely conflicted, distressed, and questioning themselves. Does that mean they should repress it and be secretly miserable in the interests of not having trouble with society? Something as trivial as deciding to learn karate instead of the ballet your parents wanted you to take can cause distress. It's all completely relative to what kinds of pressure the people around you are putting on you, and doesn't say much about what you're trying to be. Just about what people around you want you to be.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:36 am UTC
by fr00t
Aaeriele wrote:By the time a child is able to definitively and certainly say they that they feel that they are <foo> gender, they are going to be aware of the "typical" attributes of that gender. The parents aren't hiding any facts from the children, just from others outside of their family.


You're probably right; I am getting wrapped up in hypotheticals.

podbaydoor wrote:My point is that any number of things that a child decides to be can cause distress. Children coming out as gay to their parents can be hugely conflicted, distressed, and questioning themselves. Does that mean they should repress it and be secretly miserable in the interests of not having trouble with society?


No one should ever have to repress anything. I was merely suggesting that parents raise their children in a way that minimizes the chance for such potentially large issues.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:40 am UTC
by Enuja
setzer777 wrote:So how far should we take the notion that helping your child avoid ostracization mandates that you raise them according to gender norms? Are you neglecting a daughter if you don't raise her to be sufficiently deferential and submissive? Are you neglecting a son if you don't teach him to be sufficiently ambitious and macho?
I think this is a really important point. At least for pre-pubsecent kids, I suspect that the social ostracizing from not conforming to gender stereotypes is just as big as the social ostracizing that a kid with no gender would get. Once puberty comes along, things would change, but by puberty I think we can agree that kids know enough to make their own decisions.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:42 am UTC
by Aaeriele
fr00t wrote:No one should ever have to repress anything. I was merely suggesting that parents raise their children in a way that minimizes the chance for such potentially large issues.


Which is exactly what these parents are doing.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:55 am UTC
by TheAmazingRando
bobjoesmith wrote:The child has the freedom to decide- but there are so many decisions that should not be given to preschoolers. Perhaps my greatest concern is that this couple tried too hard to reach for an utopia, and will instead destroy a child. The child will not understand the significance of their choice, nor will it be as a result of rational thinking. Instead of being a choice, it will be a coinflip for this child.
If gendered behavior is innate, why do we need to worry about parents "destroying" their child by refusing to teach it to them? You can't have it both ways.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 3:05 am UTC
by RockoTDF
Aaeriele wrote:
Why don't you read the damn post that I linked instead of asking me to re-explain myself.


I did, and I still think you are confounding sex and gender.

You cite an incongruency between how you feel and how society thinks you should feel. What I'm saying is that if there is no gender expression, there can't be much of a social pressure that is incongruent with your feelings (I don't see what else is left to be incogruent). You can still feel like you should have different genitalia, which is fine, but at that point we are talking about sex and not gender. Therefore, I think if gender expression disappears, so does gender. Sex does not disappear, and individuals may still feel the need for SRS.

(Note: had a longer post, fora ate it. This may have sounded condensed or simplified.)

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:17 am UTC
by Aaeriele
RockoTDF wrote:What I'm saying is that if there is no gender expression, there can't be much of a social pressure that is incongruent with your feelings (I don't see what else is left to be incogruent).


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.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:03 am UTC
by RockoTDF
Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:What I'm saying is that if there is no gender expression, there can't be much of a social pressure that is incongruent with your feelings (I don't see what else is left to be incogruent).


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 don't need to be able to experience something to understand what it is. Your claim does not follow from your premises, plain and simple.

On another note, I have been a supporter of LGBT folks for as long as I knew what they were. An obstacle I see to getting the LGBT community accepted by society is the kind of arrogance and condescension expressed when one questions a tenet of gender theory, causes of sexual orientation, or even the opinions of someone else on this issues, whatever. You won't win any hearts and minds by refusing to explain things and saying "you can't understand" - saying that BUILDS walls, it doesn't tear them down. I'm here trying to understand, and my conclusion was that your argument didn't follow from your claims. I think there should be a degree of rigor to any argument or claim. So why don't you check your privilege and stop expecting people to buy arguments that you think they can never understand, just they are different from you!**

Hell, after reading this thread I'm *more* supportive of the parents than I was previously, but that was because the arguments offered by others make sense and don't try to make me feel like some outsider who doesn't can't get it.

**EDIT: Added the end of this sentence for clarity.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:20 am UTC
by Virtual_Aardvark
But you can't get it. There are a million little exercises to put you in a trans' person's head. "Imagine if..." But on a gut level, no. I can't understand what it's like to be black, or a war veteran, or a holocaust survivor, or born male, or asexual or trans. I can imagine, and I can probably come pretty close for some of them but on a fundamental level I don't know.

As far as building walls etc. You'll notice around here that when you start questioning things that trans people, LGB folks, feminists, rape survivors etc. consider in the 101 level you'll be met with a little bit of exasperation. The more you push the more you get. Is that fair? No. But maybe we're a little sick of saying the same shit over and over. It's not the responsibility of the minority to educate you. If you're nice they'll probably answer your questions but it's not their job. Thinking that it's our job to tell you everything is a handy little piece of privilege that few people will ever challenge. Sometimes all you can do is take people's word when they speak to something you have no experience of.

EDIT: And, uh, lack of privilege is not in fact privilege. A cis person has privilege, a trans person does not. It's pretty fucking rude to imply otherwise.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 5:26 am UTC
by Aaeriele
RockoTDF wrote:So why don't you check your privilege and stop expecting people to buy arguments that you think they can never understand, just they are different from you!**

WHAT FUCKING PRIVILEGE?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 6:20 am UTC
by RockoTDF
Virtual_Aardvark wrote:But you can't get it. There are a million little exercises to put you in a trans' person's head. "Imagine if..." But on a gut level, no. I can't understand what it's like to be black, or a war veteran, or a holocaust survivor, or born male, or asexual or trans. I can imagine, and I can probably come pretty close for some of them but on a fundamental level I don't know.

As far as building walls etc. You'll notice around here that when you start questioning things that trans people, LGB folks, feminists, rape survivors etc. consider in the 101 level you'll be met with a little bit of exasperation. The more you push the more you get. Is that fair? No. But maybe we're a little sick of saying the same shit over and over. It's not the responsibility of the minority to educate you. If you're nice they'll probably answer your questions but it's not their job. Thinking that it's our job to tell you everything is a handy little piece of privilege that few people will ever challenge. Sometimes all you can do is take people's word when they speak to something you have no experience of.


I never meant to imply that I could understand what it is like to be a trans person. I know I can't. What I am saying that I should be able to get an argument about gender expression that should really not be tied up in the fact that I am not transgendered. I never made being trans or not my point, I was talking about the construct of gender, which I can understand because I have a gender. The idea that I'm making this about the fact that I'm cis or Aaeriele is trans is a straw man, and irrelevant to the questions I'm asking.

Of course I'd be a massive dickhead if I thought I could understand someone else's experience that is radically different from my own. But I wasn't asking for that.

And if said minority wants progress they have to educate people. As a member of the atheist/agnostic community I feel like it is my damn job to educate people that I am not an immoral, unloving <insert negative statement here> person. I don't deal with discrimination on a daily basis because of this, you can't tell my looking at me what my beliefs are, so I'm NOT claiming to have lost nearly as much privilege by my rejection of faith as those that feel as if they not the right gender or sex. This point is purely a pragmatic one. It would be great if everyone just accepted other people for who they were and what they believed automatically, but they don't, and so they need to be educated, plain and simple. One word answers like some of those given earlier in this thread do not accomplish that. If someone said "But don't you think Jesus is the son of our Lord?" and I just replied "No" or "You are ignorant" would either side learn anything? That is why people prod and push. It is a part of any intellectual discourse to start at "101" and sometimes to question 101, because it underlies "490"**

**My apologies to those not familiar with American/sometimes Canadian university course numbering.

EDIT: And, uh, lack of privilege is not in fact privilege. A cis person has privilege, a trans person does not. It's pretty fucking rude to imply otherwise.


Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:So why don't you check your privilege and stop expecting people to buy arguments that you think they can never understand, just they are different from you!**

WHAT FUCKING PRIVILEGE?


The "privilege" I refer to is that you seem to think that your lack of privilege entitles you to arguments that do not follow from logic (provided that you understood my original question, otherwise we were probably misunderstanding each other). I'm not arguing with anyone about what it is like to be transgendered. I'm saying that your argument that there is more to gender than gender expression doesn't add up because it takes sex into account; sex is a different construct altogether. My questions have nothing to do with what you feel, or the fact that you are transgendered, or the steps you take to improve your life. The post you pointed me to was certainly informative, but it didn't patch any holes as far as I'm concerned. To say that I can't understand gender or gender expression because I am cisgendered is silly.

If there are no gender roles in a hypothetical society, how can one in that society feel that they are the wrong gender? Without gender roles, how can there be gender? I don't think that these questions requires one to be of a certain gender or gender type to understand or answer because they are academic. I accept that people may also feel like they should have the body of the opposite sex, and that this probably always comes with wanting to be that gender as well, in this society but not in one where there are no gender roles.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 6:31 am UTC
by Aaeriele
RockoTDF wrote:I never meant to imply that I could understand what it is like to be a trans person. I know I can't. What I am saying that I should be able to get an argument about gender expression that should really not be tied up in the fact that I am not transgendered. I never made being trans or not my point, I was talking about the construct of gender, which I can understand because I have a gender.

The problem here is that you think I'm making an argument about gender expression, and you think that gender is completely a construct, both of which are incorrect.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 6:46 am UTC
by RockoTDF
Aaeriele wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:I never meant to imply that I could understand what it is like to be a trans person. I know I can't. What I am saying that I should be able to get an argument about gender expression that should really not be tied up in the fact that I am not transgendered. I never made being trans or not my point, I was talking about the construct of gender, which I can understand because I have a gender.

The problem here is that you think I'm making an argument about gender expression, and you think that gender is completely a construct, both of which are incorrect.


Ok, fair enough. Not sure I understand the second part of the sentence. Completely what kind of construct?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 2:53 pm UTC
by Elvish Pillager
RockoTDF wrote:And if said minority wants progress they have to educate people. As a member of the atheist/agnostic community I feel like it is my damn job to educate people that I am not an immoral, unloving <insert negative statement here> person.

It's okay for you to take on that job if you want, but it's also okay for a person not to take on that job. When you say, "And if said minority wants progress they have to educate people," I hear, "You only deserve human rights if you do extra work for them."

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 3:21 pm UTC
by RockoTDF
Elvish Pillager wrote:
RockoTDF wrote:And if said minority wants progress they have to educate people. As a member of the atheist/agnostic community I feel like it is my damn job to educate people that I am not an immoral, unloving <insert negative statement here> person.

It's okay for you to take on that job if you want, but it's also okay for a person not to take on that job. When you say, "And if said minority wants progress they have to educate people," I hear, "You only deserve human rights if you do extra work for them."


No one should *have* to educate anyone. But it is necessary for progress.

There is a difference between saying what people "deserve" (which is all the rights that others get) and what must unfortunately be done to make those rights a reality. It is how the world works, not how I think it should work or how I want it to work. If another person doesn't want to take on that role, they don't have to. However, they would be doing themselves a disservice not to do so (so long as there are no immediate threats to their safety, etc).

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 3:43 pm UTC
by RockoTDF
Apologies for the double post.

I have been PMing another user, and it has been made clear to me now that I made a critical mistake in explaining myself that perhaps led to a lot of offense.

I do think that people feel a gender identity. I feel male, others feel female, etc. However, 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. Therefore could there be gender in a society with no gender roles to be learned? I submit that there wouldn't, but there could still be some differences between the sexes caused by biological factors. In that situation it is perfectly reasonable for someone to feel that they are the wrong sex, but I don't think that said situation would be quite the same thing as what has been described to me here. In other words, I think the cause of the formation of gender identity is largely social, and without that cause, I'm not sure how a strong gender identity can form.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 3:44 pm UTC
by podbaydoor
Doing themselves a disservice by not educating is *your* view. I'll admit to walking away or being snappish when religious folks start in on the 20 Questions Ask-An-Atheist game, because I wasn't feeling up to it that day, or in a bad mood, or sick to death of the same questions.

I know perfectly well that walking away or being sarcastic wasn't the best way to utilize an educational opportunity. But it's either that or something deleterious to mental health or stress levels. And I'd imagine that something as intensely personal as transgender or sexual orientation would be twice as stressful.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 3:58 pm UTC
by Wyvern
For fuck's sake, really?

"I don't know what it's like to feel gender so obviously it wouldn't exist if we took apart gender roles, and also stop being angry!

Because everyone who transitions obviously does it for the gender roles. I for one definitely decided to be female so that I could start being treated as a sex object, start getting yelled at to make pies for men, and to clean the house every day. I also absolutely love being too female to ever be considered competent enough to know anything about mathematics or computers. Getting to have long hair and wear dresses is totally worth being treated as less than a person.

.............

Can you see what bullshit this is? Though I shouldn't be surprised really, to see such a blatant show of male privilege to not even realize how shitty gender roles are for the female population. The reason eliminating gender roles is important us is not so that people can be more free to wear or act however they like, but because they are giant piles of sexist shite. People don't transition because of gender roles. They do it in spite of them.

If you've ever been around women complaining about all the sexist crap they have to put up with without dismissing it as "girl talk I don't care about" or "the bitches are whining again" Then maybe you'd have realized that plenty of women hate their place in the world. So much so that a whole movement was started to try and make it a better place for them. (Probably some kind of 'ism' that's centered around feminine things...) Since it sucks so much for them, why the hell do they still do it? Why don't they just all decide to be men instead?

But right. gender doesn't exist. Gender roles do though, and the gender expression that is the ability to dress up in frilly pink outfits and nail polish and high heels is totally worth the reduced wages, ludicrous sexual assault and rape rates, and the constant silencing and belittling. I guess those crazy wimmins are just SO vain that being pretty is worth putting up with all that.


Oh look, ninjas. which somehow fail to sate me. Because luckily, gender roles are taught enforced enough for kids to learn them really well. So well that since I was taught to cut my hair and act masculine and pick on girls that I turned out to be much as manly and macho in my adult life. oh wait a minute. that didn't happen. SO THANKS FOR TRYING TO CONVINCE ME THAT I DON'T FUCKING EXIST.

I mean really? acting girly when you're little makes you gay? gee, I wonder where all the queer people are coming from then, because according to this they should all be dying out just about now.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:00 pm UTC
by Monika
I think some confusions regarding innateness of gender here are due to the (two or) three different meanings of gender and a mix-up between "biological" and "genetic".

Let's start with these four words:
(physical) sex: female ------- intersex --------- male
(psychological) gender (identity): female -------- androygnous, agender, multigender and other genderqueer identities ---------- male
gender presentation/expression: feminine ---------- androgynous, genderneutral ------------ masculine
(social) gender (roles): stereotypically female --------------- both or neither-nor ---------------- stereotypically male

(Line 3 gender expression could be considered to be part of line 4 gender role.)

(Completely independent: sexual orientation: hetero-, homo-, bi-/pan-, asexual.)

[Note: Some insist on putting "girl/woman -------- boy/man" in the second line. I do not see female and male as the terms for physical sex and man/woman as the terms for gender identity ... this just leads to terminology like "female man" "male woman" ... if this works for some trans people, fine, but most don't seem to like this.]

So, let's start with the physical sex. We have a lot of sexual attributes and for 99.5% of the population these are aligned in one of the categories male and female (at least Wikipedia mentions that 1 in 200 babies has some sexual ambiguity ... other places mention 1 in 5000, maybe those only mean children with amgibuous genitalia).
female: clitoris, labia, vagina, uterus, two ovaries producing estrogen and progestogen and eggs, breasts, no beard, less body hair, a higher voice, female facial features, narrow shoulders, wide hips, period, average lower height, typically XX chromosomes
male: penis, prostata, two testes producing testosterone and sperm, beard, more body hair, lower voice, wide shoulders, narrow hip, average higher height, typically XY chromosomes
(You already see that not all of these apply to all non-intersexual people ... some men have close to no facial|body hair while some women do, little girls and old women and some women in between don't get a period and so on.)
intersex: ambiguous genitals (what's the difference between an enlarged clitoris and partially grown-together labia and a micropenis that is partially open at the lower side? None.) and/or a vagina that ends in a "dead end" with no uterus and/or gonads that may contain both ovary cells and testis cells and/or some body cells may contain XX, others XY, others only one X chromosome and/or all the body cells may be resistant to testosterone (I think the XY women who can get pregnant have this, but not sure) and/or some genes that belong on the Y chromosome have translocated to an X chromosome and/or a number of other possibilities to be intersexual.

So is sex genetic? Most of the time. But sometimes not. Most ways to be intersexual are not genetic. Some ways to be intersexual are genetic, but still a person with a Y chromosome may end up with a - sometimes even fully functioning - uterus and other female sexual organs.
Is sex biological? Definitely. The embryo is exposed to sex hormones from the mother and to sex hormones produced by its own developing gonads. If this happens at the standard times, all is well. If there are too much or too little hormons from the mother or the embryo's gonad's develop to early or too late or produce too little or too much of their sex hormons, this can lead to certain types of intersexuality like ambiguous genitals.

Next thing up: (psychological) gender (identity) - what is meant by "gender" in most discussions of transgender/cisgender/transsexuality/cissexuality/genderqueerness. How we think of ourselves, what we feel what we are.
(Mainly) Two possible definitions of transgender:
The (psychological) gender (identity) is not the same as the (physical, anatomical, genital) sex.
The (psychological) gender (identity) is not the same as the (legal, social) gender (coercively) assigned at birth.
(For some transgender people (it seems mostly for trans men) only the second definition is acceptable, for others both are equally okay.)
As the vast majority of children are assigned a (legal, social) gender that matches their (physical, anatomical, genital) sex, this ends up referring to exactly the same people most of the time.
For some intersex people it means they could be cis by one definition and trans by the other: If a child has a Y chromosome, a micropenis, testes at birth, the micropenis is declared an enlarged clitoris and surgically made smaller (loss of sensation and sexual pleasure in later life!), a neovagina is created (which needs to be dilated - pain, experiences similar to sexual abuse) and the child is raised as a girl, but later in life identifies as male and starts taking testosterone, gets SRS (as far as still possible after these mutilations), wants to be called he, takes a male name - is this person cis or trans? It's not a particularly important question, as these people generally identify as "intersex(ual)" and don't care for being grouped as cis or trans.

So, is (psychological) gender (identity) genetical? Similar to sex: Often, yes. Sometimes, no.
Is it biological? Probably. Most likely also caused by the hormone exposures before birth, but at a different time during pregnancy, when that part of the brain is developing.

Sexual orientation is also - most likely - caused by exposure to the same hormones, at another time, with homo-, bi-/pan- and asexuality being the atypical cases because of atypical hormone exposure.

So now: gender presentation or gender expression. What clothes we wear, how we have our hair cut, how we paint our faces and nails - or not -, what style of handbag we wear - or not -, whether we pierce our ears and what we dangle from them and other jewelry and so on.
Is this genetic, biological or in some other way innate? Doesn't look like it, considering e.g. pink was a boy color and blue a girl color in the US in the 19th and early 20th century.
It's certainly influenced by a lot of things: our (true, inner) gender identity and how aware we are of it, the social gender we were assigned, our fashion preferences and how important it is to us to wear something that is comfortable, how important it is to us to fit in - and what group exactly it is we want to fit in with, how important it is to us to fulfill requests to wear something / have a certain haircut etc. from parents and other people around us and so on.

Last: social gender, gender role - in a society that has different gender roles, but is free enough that we could at least theoretically ignore some or even all aspects of them.
I would count on a similar combination of factors as for the gender expression: our gender identity is certainly relevant - our genitals probably aren't. Which gender we were raised in certainly has some influence even for trans people. Then again: How important do we feel it is to fit in, who do we want to fit in with, how important is it to match the expectations of people of authority like parents or teachers, how open are we to peer pressure - and how strongly do we feel about a particular aspect of a role. A man might feel so strongly he wants to become one of the very few primary school, kindergarten or preschool teachers that even though he has a strong desire to fit in and adhere to the male gender role that he might do it anyway. Or not.
Are gender roles genetic, biological, innate? I think, as mentioned above, the gender identity is and the wish to fit in (conformity) / openness to peer pressure as well as the wish to do what authorities (parents, teachers) ask may partially be. But the actual societal roles and expectations by gender are largely not. Testosterone does not even make people aggressive.

I think differently strong desires to fit in might also be part of the reason why some trans people figure out early or easily they are trans and others have to think about it for a long time (with those with a stronger desire to fit in with their own gender maybe noticing more easily that they were forced into the wrong one). Another might be that those who find out later or find it harder to find out what gender they are might be further away from the extreme ends of the spectrum and closer to an androgynous, agender, multigender or fluid gender identity.

Gender in the sense of 3 and 4 might go away: Maybe people of both/all genders might present in the same way at some point in the future. (A first step would be to finally let men and boys wear skirts and dresses if they wish so.) Maybe there will be no different societal expectations to men and women and people of other gender identities.
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.

So back to Storm.
Gender identity:
If ze is cisgender, ze will figure this out. There is no coinflip. There is no accidentally identifying as the gender opposite to one's sex because parents didn't force you to wear pink or blue or dresses or pants or play with dolls or toy guns and society didn't subtly or not-so-subtly pressure you into this. No harm done.
If ze happens to be transgender, ze will be the happiest trans kid in the world.
Gender presentation:
Like zir brothers, ze may choose clothes not typical for zir gender. Maybe only as a kid. Maybe as an adult, too. If ze suffers from it, ze will stop doing it. Problem solved.
Gender role:
The child is free to pick and choose activities at hir liking. No parental, grandparental, unclish/auntish, teacherish intentional or accidental (subconcious) offering of only one set of activities, or intentionally or accidentally (subconsciously) discouraging certain activities. Did you know little boys under the age of 5 smile as often as girls at the same age, but boys over the age of 5 smile more rarely?

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:18 pm UTC
by DaBigCheez
Monika, that was an amazing post.

TL;DR of Monika's post: Don't TL;DR it, go back and read every word of it, because it is absolutely worth doing.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:20 pm UTC
by RockoTDF
Wyvern wrote:For fuck's sake, really?

"I don't know what it's like to feel gender so obviously it wouldn't exist if we took apart gender roles, and also stop being angry!


I'm going to assume that this post is targeted at me based on this statement, which sounds like you mocking one of my points. (disclaimer: a few of the things below were kind of irrelevant to what I was saying, so if they weren't targeted at me please ignore them)

Because everyone who transitions obviously does it for the gender roles. I for one definitely decided to be female so that I could start being treated as a sex object, start getting yelled at to make pies for men, and to clean the house every day. I also absolutely love being too female to ever be considered competent enough to know anything about mathematics or computers. Getting to have long hair and wear dresses is totally worth being treated as less than a person.

.............

Can you see what bullshit this is? Though I shouldn't be surprised really, to see such a blatant show of male privilege to not even realize how shitty gender roles are for the female population. The reason eliminating gender roles is important us is not so that people can be more free to wear or act however they like, but because they are giant piles of sexist shite. People don't transition because of gender roles. They do it in spite of them.


I never made any claim about why people transition, or about the plight of women. Nor am I saying that people don't have a gender identity - they do. I've explained why several times in different ways. I'm talking about a hypothetical society, not the current one.

If you've ever been around women complaining about all the sexist crap they have to put up with without dismissing it as "girl talk I don't care about" or "the bitches are whining again" Then maybe you'd have realized that plenty of women hate their place in the world. So much so that a whole movement was started to try and make it a better place for them. (Probably some kind of 'ism' that's centered around feminine things...) Since it sucks so much for them, why the hell do they still do it? Why don't they just all decide to be men instead?


I'm not fucking stupid, thanks. Again, this is irrelevant to the hypothetical I brought up.

But right. gender doesn't exist. Gender roles do though, and the gender expression that is the ability to dress up in frilly pink outfits and nail polish and high heels is totally worth the reduced wages, ludicrous sexual assault and rape rates, and the constant silencing and belittling. I guess those crazy wimmins are just SO vain that being pretty is worth putting up with all that.


Not what I said. I was talking about a place where gender roles don't exist.

Oh look, ninjas. which somehow fail to sate me. Because luckily, gender roles are taught enforced enough for kids to learn them really well. So well that since I was taught to cut my hair and act masculine and pick on girls that I turned out to be much as manly and macho in my adult life. oh wait a minute. that didn't happen. SO THANKS FOR TRYING TO CONVINCE ME THAT I DON'T FUCKING EXIST.


Errr.....not what I said? Did anyone say that you don't exist?

I mean really? acting girly when you're little makes you gay? gee, I wonder where all the queer people are coming from then, because according to this they should all be dying out just about now.


Totally irrelevant to anything I said, hence my disclaimer at the top.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:21 pm UTC
by Telchar
Monika wrote:So is sex genetic? Most of the time. But sometimes not. Most ways to be intersexual are not genetic. Some ways to be intersexual are genetic, but still a person with a Y chromosome may end up with a - sometimes even fully functioning - uterus and other female sexual organs.
Is sex biological? Definitely. The embryo is exposed to sex hormones from the mother and to sex hormones produced by its own developing gonads. If this happens at the standard times, all is well. If there are too much or too little hormons from the mother or the embryo's gonad's develop to early or too late or produce too little or too much of their sex hormons, this can lead to certain types of intersexuality like ambiguous genitals.


Nitpick: Is there a sex chromosomal disorder where a male genotype and a functioning uterus? Chapelle Syndrome is the only one I could think of but I'm not aware of that presenting with functioning female reproductive organs.

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:28 pm UTC
by Monika
It's rare.
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2190741/ Quotes:
"A 46,XY mother who developed as a normal woman underwent spontaneous puberty, reached menarche, menstruated regularly, experienced two unassisted pregnancies, and gave birth to a 46,XY daughter with complete gonadal dysgenesis. ...
Molecular analysis of the genes SOX9, SF1, DMRT1, DMRT3, TSPYL, BPESC1, DHH, WNT4, SRY, and DAX1 revealed normal male coding sequences in both the mother and daughter. ... The range of phenotypes observed in this unique family suggests that there may be transmission of a mutation in a novel sex-determining gene or in a gene that predisposes to chromosomal mosaicism."

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

Posted: Thu May 26, 2011 4:37 pm UTC
by Wyvern
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.