My response to a question on gender.
I received this ask:
“what’s with the hang up over gender identity? i mean anatomically speaking we are all either male/female with very few anomalies in there. like i understand that some people don’t feel comfortable in their bodies but would they even if they were born being called a “hooflah”? or something else? it just seems like the cheap, easy route to say “things would have been better if i had been born this”. i’ve never got to have a genuine conversation with someone about these things and there is no tone in written words so i really hope i don’t come across as offensive. i’m truly going to keep an open mind in reading your response”
OKIE-DOKE, FIRST OFF, I AM NOT AN EXPERT- NOR AM I TRANS OR GENDERQUEER. THIS IS SIMPLY A RESPONSE AND NOT AN ACADEMIC JOURNAL. THIS IS NOT MEANT TO OFFEND OR OSTRACIZE ANYONE.
Let’s break this puppy down together, shall we?
Sex: anatomy/genitalia (male, female, intersex)
Gender: behavior, mannerisms (masculine, feminine)
Transgender: an individual that explores the gender spectrum and all that is in between
Genderqueer: Similar to trans but also includes the rejection of the gender spectrum all together.
Cisgender: when someone’s gender aligns with their birth sex (most common)
Gender AND sex are socially constructed. The concept of gender and sex are totally manmade—and I mean MANmade. Literally, the criteria for determining a penis from a vagina is based on a measurement system created by doctors (commonly known as the phallometer)- complete with an “ambiguous / emergency” section.
Although newborns with genitalia that falls in the “SURGERY!” section can urinate completely fine and are not at any risk at all for health complications, the baby is swept away and immediately undergoes a lengthy surgery to man-make a vagina that falls within the “female” section of the phallometer.
This emergency sex reassignment surgery is the product of gender-based fear. More specifically, if you are not exclusively male of female according to this measurement system, the baby’s condition is deemed dire and in need of urgent attention. However, all of this is social, not medical. Medically speaking, the baby is perfectly fine. Socially speaking, the baby does not align with the social construction of sex and therefore needs to be “fixed.”
((The very existence of a phallometer signifies the social construction of sex. It is clear from your ask that you believe only two sexes exist: female and male. You are wrong. Intersex, or having ambiguous genitalia, is the third and forgotten sex.))
Gender is more easily graspable as a social construction. What I normally ask people is: “why is pink a girl’s color? Who the fuck decided pink is feminine and blue in masculine?” More than likely people just drown in their own narrow thinking and say something stupid like “well, broseph, that’s just the way it is man” (which is not an adequate explanation).
Gender is completely made up. Gender has been used as yet another vehicle to segregate, stereotype and ostracize various people. More importantly, this social construction also allows for power to be placed in the hands of a particular group: cisgender males.
A short example of this would be simple clothing: men are supposed to wear pants and shirts, women are supposed to wear dresses. This manmade myth that women must wear dresses to be considered feminine and therefore desirable to men not only promotes promiscous slut shaming, but also limits her physical movements. To remain “ladylike” women must sit properly and restrict her posture and positions to avoid exposing a breast or their vagina.
To directly answer your question, my so-called “hang-up” over gender identity is not a hang up at. A hang-up implies “an issue with” or “a disagreement with”- I do not have a problem with gender itself, but more so the social implications and the systematic oppression that accompanies it.
Also- to say that wanting to move along the gender spectrum is “like the cheap, easy route to say ‘things would have been better if i had been born this way’” is completely ludicrous. First off, transitioning (mentally or physically) is anything but easy- it is a grueling process that is shamelessly criticized by mainstream outlets and an be quite exhausting. Secondly, how one decides to identify themselves is completely private and sacred. If a person goes by certain pronouns, even ones that are counterintuitive to you, it does not make a shit bit of difference. You respect that person’s pronouns and address them as they wish to be addressed just like everybody else.