Genders

There has been a great deal of discussion about gender lately, yet no information. By that I mean many people are speaking about gender, but actual pertinent facts are rare. I typically prefer to start with a dictionary.

gen·der
/jendər/
noun
noun: gender; plural noun: genders

1.
the state of being male or female (typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones).
“traditional concepts of gender”
synonyms: sex
“variables included age, income, and gender”

Okay, the first problem exists within the definition. Gender is synonymous with sex. Back to the dictionary. Synonymous means “a word having the same or nearly the same meaning as another,” and if more people could comprehend the difference in “nearly” and “the same” more issues would be resolved on this planet than I can imagine. Even the text of the definition, “(typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones)” waffles on a solid definition, and “the state pf being male or female” assumes there are only two genders to match the two sexes. So misunderstandings are understandable.

Within that problem is the key to several others, so many issues are considered synonymous with sex. In addition to being the term we use to differentiate egg and sperm carriers, it is also the term for combining sperm with eggs. How it is that Inuits have fifty words for snow while we have just one word for the most essential act of life is relatively easy to understand. People don’t talk about sex, so they don’t use many words. In the “sex-positive” community there are occasionally more words than I can keep track of.

Gender refers to the cultural differences between the sexes. So the parents of a baby girl with short hair hears “Is is a boy or a girl” because one of the few markers of sex at that age (hair length) is ambiguous. I have been called a girl many times because I have kept my hair long most of my life, sometimes it’s an honest mistake, sometimes it has been meant as an insult. Little girls who climb trees are often called Tomboy, society is demanding we conform to gender roles. My youngest son played with dolls, my youngest daughter played with trucks, and today they both display the depth resulting from being “allowed” to play outside their sex-roles.

 

Sex refers to genetic makeup, males have a Y chromosome where females have an X chromosome, resulting in what are often referred to as “secondary sex characteristics,” breasts, uteruses, and slighter builds for women; body hair, testicles, and greater upper body strength in men. If anyone believes those are the only differences between the sexes, discussions about the difference between sex and gender are pointless.

People who identify as transgender feel they are the sex opposite their biology. While that position was renamed “gender dysphoria” rather than “gender identity disorder” in 1973, thus removing the language of mental or sexual disorders; the fact we are taking about sex caused many to stop paying attention. Yes, we have all heard “Sex Sells,” but most folks would rather not talk or hear about it. A few years back when all the fuss was made about bathroom laws, the greatest fear expressed was that men would be allowed in women’s bathrooms. From a rational point of view this is ridiculous at even the basest level. If surgery has taken place the transsexual woman appears to be a woman. A “man” does not identify as a “woman,” so they would have no desire to use a women’s bathroom. In actuality this was an expression of distaste for transsexuals,  most people do not dance about the bathroom displaying their genitals, certainly not transsexuals, and a transsexual would receive no gratification from seeing the genitals which they identify with their own. The pretend issue was it would open the door to predators, that door has always been open. Fears about other people enjoying looking at something demonstrate the veil around sexuality.

As with anything involving humans, the discussion went from accepting the idea of three (male, female, intersex) genders to identifying every possible variant. This confuses people who confuse sex and gender, there are obviously only two sexes (generally, although I have known a couple of XXY people), so how can there be thirty one genders? For the same reason there are only four Cardinal points and thirty one flavors of ice cream at Baskin Robbins. The two words apply to different objects. There can be as many genders as there are people, it is the state of their social differences.

There is little that is binary in our world, with some investigation deviations can always be found. When it comes to sexuality, how could there possibly be only two choices? I doubt every straight monogamous couple approach sexuality in exactly the same way, so “normal” is only a range within the spectrum, not a specific act. When do you decide that someone’s behavior is deviant? When you want to be intimate with them and they don’t do it your way, you might call them deviant, but they might say the same of you. I manage a group of polyamorists, which we organized for mature adults, as most groups are filled with judgemental young people. Our central rule is acceptance, your poly might not be my poly, but you are free from condemnation in our space, hard to believe this is necessary in a lifestyle based on understanding. We have grown to about three hundred members in just over a year, and have only had to kick a handful of people out. There are a few strict rules in ethical non-monogamy, primary is ethical behavior.

Your gender is whatever you want it to be. If you want to be the opposite sex through surgery you spend a good deal of time in psychological counseling, the surgery is impossible to reverse, parts removed cannot be replaced, so it cannot be a whim. In reality, you can never truly change your sex, your forty sixth chromosome you received from your father is either X or Y, that cannot be changed. I have a few transgender friends, running the spectrum from simply being more comfortable in roles opposite their biological sex to undergoing surgery. In the same way I don’t stay up at night wondering if my cis friends are male or female enough, I give no thought to the sexuality of my trans friends. They are all people first.

 

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7 comments on “Genders

  1. Mari Collier says:

    People worry too much about other people. What they do gender or sex wise is none of my business.
    I was one of those that grew up knowing God had made me the wrong sex. Fortunately, my parents let me buy a boy’s bicycle, let me play with a Daisy Air Rifle, and have a fancy pearl handle cap gun. My father also bragged to my mother that I was a better worker in the fields than a man. Of course, Mama insisted I learn the feminine arts–which I hated. I could lift a hundred pounds over my head. Then at the age of almost thirteen, biology told me God had not made an error, I was definitely female. That masculine strength I had seem to run straight out of my body. I still have difficulty relating to so many things that are considered feminine. Fortunately, this caused no problem in my marriage as my husband had no use for feminine ways or wiles. That I had none made me special in his eyes. Other people never understood us. In case anyone is wondering, he was the kind of man others called “Sir.” Even in high school, the teachers called him Mr. Collier.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike R says:

    It’s a mad, mad world. And there is nothing new that is not old when it comes to people. What goes around comes around. Paganism is the new old. Out with the binary. Out with reality. Better yet, let’s create our own reality. Maybe we can call it, “Living the Selfie.” If it wasn’t so sad, it would be hilarious.

    History is filled with pagan and gnostic thought. About as non-new as the new age. Make the binary into one. Deny the material. I guess my grandmother’s old saying ‘running bout like a chicken with its head chopped off” finally makes sense to me.

    I have no problem accepting transexuals as human. My autistic nephew often enjoys pretending he is an animal and crawling around making animal sounds. And I love him. All 6’4″, 300 lbs of him. What I don’t enjoy is having gender-multiples force me to jump through hoops to avoid any possible, even unintended, insult or perception of nonacceptance.

    I remember a day when my wife’s homosexual boss could be homosexual and nobody cared, least of all, him. It was before it earned celebrity status or demanded special honors or privileges. Best boss she ever had. We enjoyed the office parties at his house with his partner, who was his “room-mate”. We knew. They knew. We didn’t need or care to talk about it. We just enjoyed each other’s company. We were not “binaries” and he was not “gay.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • kblakecash says:

      This is largely why we set up our group for “mature” (which we arbitrarily decided was “over forty”) people. The people we have had to kick out were not “mature,” they were their sexuality and nothing else, or judgemental of people different from them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Mike R says:

        I like the definition of “mature.” The older I get the more I start to shift the age group. But 40 is a nice cut off point. By that age people have generally gone through enough of life to begin to rethink things, for better or worse.

        Like

  3. […] it with “romantic,” there are always misunderstandings around intimacy, which I have discussed recently. My opinion is that many people repress their sexuality, in most cases understanding very little […]

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