Friday, August 17, 2007

Speaking of gender

A public service announcement in several parts. (You may disagree, but you'd be wrong.):

1) Gender is about more than plumbing. Chromosome patterns, brain structure & development, body chemistry, unspecified personality traits, other stuff: there’s a lot that plays a part.

2) The idea that humans come in just two flavors is firmly entrenched in our society. 99% of the personal information forms we fill out ask us to specify a sex, even when it’s completely irrelevant. This preoccupation with classifying people by gender isn’t always useful or practicable.

3) There are a lot more of us (humans) than you might think whose gender (physical or emotional) isn’t necessarily firmly settled. Read up or check out some of the TV programs of the last few years on people whose internal/external systems aren’t necessarily in synch*.
General Link1
General Link2
Ambiguos Genitalia
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia
Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome
*Note that even when I try not to, I still describe these situations in a way that could be interpreted as something less, something negative. As if unusual always = bad. I'm not saying I'm not glad I have conventional plumbing, etc -- I am -- I'm just saying in situations where no one is being hurt, and judgment serves no purpose anyway, it would be great if we could learn to accept things as they are. It is what it is...

4) Be nice, eh? It seems like some people who are otherwise kind feel it’s okay to voice strong opinions about situations they know little or nothing about, and which seem (to me) would be exceptionally challenging to navigate. My personal theory is that trans-gender or ambiguous-gender situations make some people uncomfortable, so they get cranky or critical, but I could be wrong about that...

4 Comments:

At Fri Aug 17, 03:08:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

“It seems like some people who are otherwise kind feel it’s okay to voice strong opinions about situations they know little or nothing about, and which seem (to me) would be exceptionally challenging to navigate.”

OK Professor Bryan.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist

 
At Fri Aug 17, 04:33:00 PM PDT, Blogger bryan torre said...

My quote was sure a description of me, wasn't it.
The lame thing is I didn't even recognize it when I wrote it.

 
At Fri Aug 17, 10:34:00 PM PDT, Blogger blogball said...

That’s OK.. it kind of reminded me of what your Grandfather might say. So you’re in good company in my opinion...

 
At Mon Aug 20, 08:05:00 PM PDT, Blogger unca said...

3) There are a lot more of us (humans) than you might think whose gender (physical or emotional) isn’t necessarily firmly settled. Read up or check out some of the TV programs of the last few years on people whose internal/external systems aren’t necessarily in synch*.

"Not that there's anything wrong with that."

 

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