this has been buggin me
also -same goes for what my genitals are. its not “what i think i am” or “what i think they are” its what i fucking am and what they fucking are
Above, a father helps his son into his dress as he prepares for the fashion show.
“The accompanying photos, part of a body of work by Lindsay Morris, were taken at an annual weekend gathering for gender-variant children and their families.The camp is organized by parents, and it moves to a different location each year. Most of the boys who attend dress and act ‘male’ in their daily lives, and the gathering offers a safe haven where they can express their interpretations of femininity with like-minded boys, their parents and siblings.”
[photo: New York Times]
The term sexual dimorphism refers to differences between males and females of the same species. Some animals are highly sexually dimorphic. Male elephant seals outweigh females by more than 2,500 pounds; peacocks put on a color show that peahens couldn’t mimic in their wildest dreams; and a male anglerfish’s whole life involves finding a female, latching on, and dissolving until there’s nothing left but his testicles (yes, really).
On the spectrum of very high to very low dimorphism, humans are on the low end. We’re just not that kind of species. Remove the gendered clothing styles, make up, and hair differences and we’d look more alike than we think we do.
Because we’re invested in men and women being different, however, we tend to be pleased by exaggerated portrayals of human sexual dimorphism (for example, in Tangled). Game designer-in-training Andrea Rubenstein has shown us that we extend this ideal to non-human fantasy as well. She points to a striking dimorphism (mimicking Western ideals) in World of Warcraft creatures.
Annalee Newitz at Wired writes:
[Rubenstein] points out that these female bodies embody the “feminine ideal” of the supermodel, which seems a rather out-of-place aesthetic in a world of monsters. Supermodelly Taurens wouldn’t be so odd if gamers had the choice to make their girl creatures big and muscley, but they don’t. Even if you wanted to have a female troll with tusks, you couldn’t. Which seems especially bizarre given that this game is supposed to be all about fantasy, and turning yourself into whatever you want to be.
It appears that the supermodel-like females weren’t part of the original design of the game. Instead, the Alpha version included a lot less dimorphism, among the Taurens and the Trolls for example.
Newitz says that the female figures were changed in response to player feedback:
Apparently there were many complaints about the women of both races being “ugly” and so the developers changed them into their current incarnations.
The dimorphism in WoW is a great example of how gender difference is, in part, an ideology. It’s a desire that we impose onto the world, not reality in itself. We make even our fantasy selves conform to it. Interestingly, when people stray from affirming the ideology, they can face pressure to align themselves with its defenders. It appears that this is exactly what happened in WoW.
by Miriam Pérez, radicaldoula.com
Two weeks ago I attended the 11th annual Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference, a gathering of individuals, advocates and health providers focused on health topics for trans and gender non-conforming people. At the same conference two years ago, I was the sole doula on a panel about parenting while trans and gender non-conforming — and the only person at the conference talking specifically about pregnancy and birth. This year, we had an entire panel dedicated to the topic, with four trans and genderqueer-identified birth workers — two midwives and two doulas.
This shift in attention toward the issues facing trans and gender non-conforming pregnancy is indicative of a bigger shift overall — more and more trans and gender non-conforming people are giving birth. As Pati Garcia, a Los Angeles doula and midwife-in-training put it during our panel: “We’re on the cusp on a trans baby boom.”
Trans health as an overall field is still in its nascency. Our understanding of hormone therapies, gender reassignment surgeries, and much more is still being developed, so it’s no surprise that the field of pregnancy and parenting for trans people is also new and developing. Only in November of last year did the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) issue a statement regarding treatment of trans patients. It says:
To address the significant health care disparities of transgender individuals and to improve their access to care, ob-gyns should prepare to provide routine treatment and screening or refer them to other physicians, according to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (The College). In a Committee Opinion published today, The College also states its opposition to gender identity discrimination and supports both public and private health insurance coverage for gender identity disorder treatment.
It was heartening to see the governing body of this field of medicine acknowledge the needs of the trans community in regards to gynecological and obstetric care, but also indicates the bigger problem beneath that call to arms: very few providers are equipped to provide care to the trans community. If their association has to implore them to simply treat trans patients fairly, their members aren’t likely receiving training on the needs of trans people specifically. While there is a growing body of providers who specialize in care for the trans community, they remain a tiny minority. Those who do provide such care might specialize in hormone therapies, or gender reassignment surgeries, but not necessarily care like pap smears and pregnancy.
Within the needs of trans people in pregnancy and birth is the challenge of addressing what seems like an obvious connection: between pregnancy and femaleness. Trans people are often neglected in the arena of pregnancy and birth because of the strongly-held notion that only female-identified people experience pregnancy and birth. While not all trans people, whether they were assigned female at birth or not, can experience pregnancy (because of infertility or hysterectomy), some can and do, prompting the need for our pregnancy and birth providers to accommodate.
It’s not easy, as it’s a process that is intensely gendered. Everything from maternity clothes to the language of health care providers carries the assumption that the pregnant person identifies as female (and often that the other parent identifies as male). Language is an obvious barrier from the get-go: maternal health, pregnant women, all of the language associated with pregnancy and birth is gendered. From body parts to actors, all is coded in a way that would make a pregnant person who is not identified as a female feel uncomfortable.
Beyond the question of language, though, is the possibly more important issue of adequate care. For as little as we know about hormone therapies and gender reassignment surgeries, we know even less about their impacts on pregnancy and birth. I recently met a young trans man who had gotten pregnant accidentally while on testosterone therapy —his missing period and other indicators made him falsely believe he was safe from pregnancy. Questions of how top surgery might affect breast-feeding, how long before attempting to get pregnant should someone stop testosterone, the impacts of gender surgeries on fertility — all of these areas remain questions that few have evidence-based answers to.
These gaps are the exact reason that conferences like Philadelphia Trans Health were created, to at the very least allow members of the community to gather and share resources. Over the years, providers have joined in, and it’s heartening to see the growing knowledge about trans health needs, even if it’s mostly anecdotal. Until trans health is centered and prioritized though, providers will have to tailor their care to each individual’s needs, which for many means leaving our assumptions at the door.
ACOG puts it well: “We need to make our offices settings that treat all patients with respect. We want the transgender community to know that we, as ob-gyns, care about their health.”
Follow Miriam Pérez on Twitter, @miriamzperez
I’ve been getting lots of questions on Genderqueer Identities in regards to coming out lately. I continue to welcome questions, but I would also like to make a masterpost of resources I tend to recommend to people - this is a work in progress. Please note, you should not feel obligated to come out. Furthermore, you may want to come out to some people, but not to others - this is a very personal process.
You may find pros as well as cons in the resources below - take what you find will be useful to you and leave the rest behind. Be aware that coming out can be followed by unpredictable responses, both positive and negative, from friends, family or partners. Since there are fewer resources at present about coming out as genderqueer or non-binary, many resources will pertain to transgender people who identify as men or women - many of these suggestions can potentially be adapted to one’s own identity and situation. I have also included guides to potentially show people one has come out to to aid in understanding - as with the guides on coming out, use your own discretion, as a variety of suggestions and viewpoints are represented.
If you know of further resources concerning coming out as trans*, genderqueer, and/or non-binary or want to share your own personal coming out story, please let me know!
How-Tos on Coming Out:
Human Rights Commission: Transgender (scroll down the page to Coming Out to Family as Transgender, Coming Out in the Workplace as Transgender, and/or Marriage and Coming Out as Transgender)
MCC Transgender Ministries - Coming Out as a Transgender Person: A Workbook (religion-oriented)
Forums Where You Can Ask Questions About Coming Out:
Personal Stories and Advice on Coming Out and Other Resources:
youwillfly: Dating a Genderqueer (focused on coming out to a partner)
FAQs and Guides for People You Have Come Out To:
Feeling Wrong in Your Own Body: Understanding What it Means to Be Transgender by Jaime Seba (a good general guide - title may be problematic; this includes some discussion of genderqueer identity)
Gender Now Coloring Book: A Learning Adventure for Children and Adults by Maya Christina Gonzales
This ongoing body of work explores the power dynamics inherent in the questions asked of transgender, transsexual, genderqueer, gender-variant, and/or gender non-conforming people.
Many documentary photographic projects that deal with trans issues exploit the genders of their subjects, pointing to an “otherness” or inappropriately exoticizing their bodies.
“In spirit of all families matter, this has been identified as a
GENDER NEUTRAL RESTROOM
Why? For gender-nonconforming individuals, just walking through the door of a public restroom can be stressful. Everyone should have the rights to use a restroom without fear of discrimination. Unisex restrooms are no more dangerous than gender-segregated bathrooms nor do they exclude any one person based on their identity of appearance.
Want to learn more? Visit the LGBT Center of Raleigh or Gender Education Tents.”
Pick-up lines for feminists
by Lesley Kartali
making the move
at the bar
the pro-choice rally
or the conference
on women’s rights
in the 21st century
is no easy task
young and old.
how do you
subtly ask for digits
while still making it
that you are fine
and are certainly
not buying into the idea
that women are worthless
without a significant other?
just remember to smile.
(depending on if you
feel like it)
and try some
of these lines
on for size:
if i could rearrange
i would put u and i
and then we could
work on trying
to think outside
of this male dominated
your paradigm or mine?
you’re so sweet
you put hersheys
out of business.
you can bring down
bastard big businesses.
somebody better call
because he/she/gender neutral being
are missing an
*if atheist this line may not work
did it hurt?
when you fell
from the top
of the hierarchy
as a woman?
with consent of course.
you are so
i must be dreaming.
where have you been
all my life?
your feet must be tired.
because you have been
running through my
mind and struggling
against the repressive
that we have been
if the personal is political
then our getting together
has the potential
to subvert the patriarchy.
what’s your sign?
if these lines fail
it’s probably just
said pick-up line
with the idea
that you are a
just keep telling yourself.
if they haven’t
tells them yet.
they are not