Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Light Reading

Because I'm feeling burnt out after working over Easter. Still, I made the deadline.

The Prevalence of Transgenderism.
To summarize
  • There are some estimates based on indirect methods and counting those seeking treatment specifically some form of surgery & we know that this is a small percentage of overall people with gender variance.
  • no direct studies on prevalence of GID have been done
  • doing an accurate count is complicated by the fact that those counted are those who are “out” as being transgendered and seeking some form of treatment, and also those who have transitioned may not wish to be counted.
Hate 101: Gay and Lesbian Transphobia – The Causes
It wouldn’t be until the 1980’s and 1990’s that it would be understood that being gay or lesbian was quite different from being transgender, and that the two were unrelated. Prior to this, however, the medical profession would harm both the gender variant and homosexuals, which would trigger a serious backlash from lesbian feminist groups and their leaders.

What most do not understand about the requirements for GRS during that period is that transwomen were expected to be the epitome of feminine virtue, as defined by men who themselves enforced a patriarchal hierarchy within their own profession. Transmen, inversely, were expected to be the epitome of masculinity. For a transowman to be lesbian, or a transman to be gay, was not allowed, ever. To not conform to stereotypical heterosexist patriarchy meant disaster for transgender patients, on levels one cannot comprehend unless one is themselves transgender.

Rather than take on the medical profession that enforced these gender stereotypes, however, feminists would instead go after the transgender persons themselves. MTF’s were seen as perpetuating and enforcing the patriarchy, while FTM’s were seen as victims of it. When it was later learned that some transwomen were also lesbian, they were seen as potential sexual predators. Transmen who turned out to be gay were once again seen as being dominated and motivated by the patriarchy.

Gay men had a different, and more simplistic, take on transgender persons. All were seen as self-loathing homosexuals seeking societal approval by undergoing a procedure that mutilated them. This view is still quite popular today, as older gay men seek to reassert these false perceptions (see my earlier open letter to Ron Gold).

These false assumptions, promoted and perpetuated by a heterosexist patriarchy, would dominate gay and lesbian views about those who are transgender to this day. Even certain gay and lesbian community leaders would promote and perpetuate these myths, likely in and of themselves to gain acceptance amongst cisgender heterosexists, believing that in oppressing one group, they can somehow gain acceptance from their oppressors and put an end to their own oppression.
2X Chromosomes Informative Transgendered Thread
First, some terminology; Transgendered: Someone varying from from gender norms, or non-conforming to their legal sex. Used as an umbrella term for everything from drag queens (conditionally) to transsexuals.

Drag Queen: Someone who entertains by displaying exaggerated female characteristics. Does not HAVE to be transgendered or transsexual. Although there is sometimes overlap, there are plenty of drag queens who identify completely as men, and simply wear drag for money or for fun.

Cisgendered: Someone who doesn't deviate from social gender norms, and/or feels that their birth sex is correct inside and out. This term is preferred by most trans people over terms like "real/normal men" or "real/normal women" which are very invalidating. Try to imagine someone saying to you, regardless of your gender, "Sometimes I forget you aren't a 'real' wo/man." Doesn't feel nice does it? Prefacing sexes with the word "genetic" or "natal" is also unoffensive.

Transsexual: Although some definitions vary, from what I have experienced working in the trans community, a transsexual typically is the most "extreme" end of the transgendered spectrum. It usually is someone that feels a strong compulsion against their birth sex, and usually takes corrective measures to become recognized in their proper sex. This could be as little as dressing as their preferred gender and getting a legal name change, and as far as taking hormones and getting sexual reassignment surgery. Pretty much anyone who takes measures like hormones/surgery can fit under this term, but this is not the rule for all transsexuals.

Gender queer: Someone who doesn't conform to socially constructed gender norms, but doesn't necessarily feel compelled to alter their physical sex. This is usually more about expression and less about identity. Lots of groups can fall into this category, cross-dressers, transvestites, androgens, ect. It probably wouldn't even need to be a category if society was less rigid with gender expectations.

FtM: Female to male transsexual

MtF: Male to female transsexual

Post/pre/non-op: Operative status of transsexuals. Post-op has had SRS, pre-op hasn't but is planning to, and non-op is a transsexual who has elected not to undergo full SRS. It is usually very rude to ask a transsexuals operative status, unless they have made it clear that they are OK with answering personal questions. SRS: Sexual Reassignment surgery, the surgical process of altering someone's sexual organs to acquire the characteristics of the desired sex.

Now some misconceptions;

"All transwomen are just homosexual men who get surgery to get straight guys./Transgendered is a sexuality "

This is the one of the most egregious presumptions someone can make. Sexual orientation and gender identity are completely different spectrums, the reason this is probably believed is because for a MtF to exist, they must have been, by social definition, "gay male" at some point if they like men. Creating a catch 22, the problem lies in the fact that there are plenty (in my experience 30%) of MtF trannsexuals that are primarily attracted to women, and some that don't discover that they are attracted to men until after their transition.
Well, yes, now that you mention it....

Then there's this from Indian Today.
Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, a transgender, had no problem receiving an invitation to work for human rights issues at the United Nations. However, she wasn't as lucky when it came to the snooty Bombay Gymkhana that boasts memberships of Mumbai's rich and famous.

Late on Friday, when Laxmi arrived at the Bombay Gymkhana, she was rudely told that she was "unwelcome" and hence could not walk the famed lawns of the 135-year-old institution.

"I was invited as a speaker at a function hosted by the Mumbai branch of an international network that deals with science and technology. I went there at 9 pm and was stopped at the gates. Later, the hosts stepped out and took me inside. I was talking to a few people and my speech was yet to start," Laxmi said.

"An hour later, the gymkhana CEO Brigadier (retd) R.K. Bose walked in and told the hosts that I was not welcome at the Bombay Gymkhana..."
No-one does supercilious snark like the English. And I was born in the UK. I know exactly how to deal with snobbery - with condescending arrogant superiority. My comment is the equivalent of a most unladylike kick between the big toes, hitting them right in the inferiority complex that distinguishes the snob from the aristrocrat.

I rarely try to inflict hurt on people, even if deserved. This time is an exception, as it may just lead to better behaviour in future. One can but hope. Here it is -
All civilised clubs treat invitees - especially invitees who have been invited to speak on technical issues beyond the ken of the members - as honoured guests, be they prince or pauper. Even if they are not speakers, a Lady is still a Lady. I can see that while the Gymkhana may ape the trappings of civilisation, it most obviously has missed the essentials. They have treated a lady in a churlish fashion, unworthy of the chivalry that is part and parcel of being an officer and a gentleman. I do not deny that the brigadier is an officer, Neither do I deny that the Gymkhana's members are those of great wealth. The same can be said of any parvenu. I can see though why they wouldn't like their behaviour publicised around the world. For it is only clubs of the more common sort that do not require members to be gentlemen, only wealthy.The rest would blackball them for an incident such as this.

And after that... I suggest you visit Professor Bainbridge for his post on The Greatness that is Top Gear. Beacuse everyone deserves a break sometime.

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