March 1, 2012

The Trouble With Gender



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When I was married the first time my mother-in-law called me "disgusting." Yeah, she was a treasure. The offense? I had wrapped my maxi pad in tissue and thrown it in the bathroom trash. Don't ask me what the hell she expected me to do with it. I thought that's why we had trash cans in bathrooms.

That insult stayed with me these many years. I can think of few words that hold more sting than "disgusting." It's almost violent in its hatred.

I saw it the other day, in the comments beneath this article. A transsexual man (born with female reproductive organs) gave birth to a child in Britain. Scrolling through the comments I saw a herd of mean, uninformed cows. And I saw the word disgusting.

Gender issues have been making headlines recently. The transgender girl scout has apparently provoked a cookie boycott. Here in Idaho the Senate refused to add the words "sexual orientation and gender identity" to the Human Rights Act. They were so proud of that one that they didn't even print the bill for fear of reprisal.

Here's the thing, folks: doctors have been covering up alternate genders forever. It's not a conspiracy. They believed, as many still do, that any deviation from male or female was something to be corrected medically. The number of people receiving surgery to "normalize" genital appearance from 1955-1998 was 1/1,000. One person in every 1,000 was either so disturbed themselves, or their parents were disturbed, by their non-standard genitalia that they had surgery to correct it. (source)

Intersex is the term used to describe persons with biologically non-specific gender. You can weep and gnash your teeth all you want, but it happens all the time and it is medical. It's not "confusion" or something to be pitied, it's how they were born. The confusion comes when they are forced to assimilate into a society that doesn't allow them to be who they physically are.

Of course there are questions of gender identity that aren't medically apparent, such as transsexualism. Research is being done to determine if there is a genetic component, but I think we can rest assured that it's not "all in their heads." Would you choose to change your gender, just for kicks? How would it feel to tell your spouse / parents / coworkers / children / best friend that you're changing your gender? That's how it feels for them, too.

Love your fellow humans. Give them the benefit of the doubt. We're all we've got.


Be informed about Intersex.

Be informed about Transsexualism.     -Kim


Bobby Montoya
"Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars. The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars. 
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.
But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches would brag: 'We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.' 
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort: 'We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!' 
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking, they’d hike right on past them without even talking.
When the Star-Belly children went out to play ball, could a Plain-Belly get in the game? Not at all. You only could play if your bellies had stars and the Plain-Belly children had none upon thars.
When the Star-Belly Sneetches had frankfurter roasts, or picnics or parties or marshmallow toasts, they never invited the Plain-Belly Sneetches. They left them out cold, in the dark of the beaches. They kept them away. Never let them come near. 
And that’s how they treated them year after year."
-Dr. Seuss, The Sneetches


3 comments:

  1. Kim, I can not tell you enough times how much I appreciate your POV. The would would be a better place with broader application of your mindset!

    LEIGH

    p.s. What the hell WERE you supposed to do with the pad? Bury it in the back yard?

    ReplyDelete
  2. * WORLD would be...

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  3. I was hoping that the recent deluge in Britain of gender news, would help bring about much needed awareness.

    I can't even imagine the suffering that some people invariably go through. From the woman who was born with both sets of genitalia but raised as male, to the 'boy', who has recently been diagnosed as the youngest person to suffer with 'Gender Identity Disorder, at the mere age of 5.

    But as always, what we humans don't understand, we openly mock.

    Very interesting post Kim.

    ReplyDelete

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