Community Conversation > Non-binary talk

Conflict between my beliefs and my behavior

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RandiL:
@Asche I agree with your taking a jaundiced view toward my use of "should." I regret that, and in my defense my views on gender have evolved in the two weeks since I wrote that  ;D

I think what I meant at the time was that I was unclear what gender (however it is defined) would make me happier. And what do I mean by that? Presentation? How my identity is seen by others? How I see it myself? To some extent, all of those.

How I see my own gender identity was the the primary point of my post back then. I was uncomfortable with any of the labels offered to me (still am), including non-binary. I like your point that when you're by yourself you don't need any gender labels at all. That resonates with me, as I don't really apply any particular label to myself.

My thinking about my presentation as well as how my gender identity is seen by others is rapidly evolving lately. While I'm not going out much to be seen by others in the pandemic, I'm busily remaking my presentation into a more female one. And this makes me happier. I look forward to getting out more and being with others -- and doing it with a more feminine presentation. I hope this will reflect back to me as others see me, but it's not the be-all end-all. Regardless, I'm going to do what feels right to me.

And a thought about your preference for hanging out with "female"-labeled people, no it does not indicate anything about your own gender. I've been that way myself for a long time, since long before I realized I was transgender.

Rachel Montgomery:
Asche, I have some points of disagreement (which is fine, maybe I am wrong and you are right).

You said:

--- Quote from: Asche on February 12, 2021, 10:39:19 am ---...I see gender as mainly a set of categories that society crams us all into, the better to force us to act the way they want us to act.  That was my experience of it as I was growing up -- my childhood was full of people telling me I was bad for not acting the way boys are supposed to act.  The grown-ups would exasperatedly ask me why I wasn't doing what everyone else (specifically, the other boys) was doing, and the other children ostracized me and picked on me for being "queer" or "weird."  I remember fairly young (maybe age 10) hearing all the things that boys were supposed to like and to not like, and the things that girls were supposed to be or not be, and I thought they were outrageously stupid.
--- End quote ---

That isn’t my understanding of what “gender” is.  Rather, what you are describing is what I understand to be “gender norms” or “gender roles”.  What is expected of you isn’t your gender, it is a gender norm. 

Sex is often assigned according to anatomy.  Other people may misgender you based on your birth sex, or what the presume to be your birth sex.  As I understand the word, “gender” isn’t something other people put on you, it is a word that describes how you see yourself.


--- Quote from: “Asche” ---...people come in all varieties, with all different natures, and the only reason men mostly act one way and women another is the brainwashing and formative experiences they get from birth on. “
--- End quote ---

It is true enough that people come in all varieties, but I believe that scientific research suggests that gender is NOT a social construct but is in fact an expression of biological nature. Whether gender comes from genetics or from hormone masculinization or lack thereof of the brain during development, women have anatomical differences in their brain from men.  And transwomen have brain structure more similar to women than men.  I think it would be unwarranted to say that society’s gender norms caused the brain structure of transwomen to be like that of other women. 

Society didn’t make me this way.  In fact, society tried very hard to persuade me that I was mistaken about my gender, and that it did in fact align just fine with my sex.  I think at this point, it is fair to say gender norms and gender roles did little to make me a man.  Despite the best efforts of those around me, I am not what they expect me to be.

Now, they did force this proverbial square peg into a round hole.  That has been a painful experience.  They did intimidate me into apparent compliance with gender norms.  But, they failed at making me a “man”.  Instead what society made me is a closeted transwoman that passes as a cos-man almost all the time.  (If only I could pass a female that often.). So, based on my experience, gender is not a social construct.  Gender norms are, and gender roles are; but gender itself is resilient and internal in origin.  I think that the evidence shows that we transgender people are proof that gender is NOT a social construct.  If it were, we wouldn’t exist. 

At least, that is my present understanding of who and what I am.  I don’t know, we may all have different opinions on that question.  Maybe I am wrong.  If you think so, I welcome your counter argument.  Maybe I will change my mind.


--- Quote ---The more I can look at myself in the mirror (or down at my body) and imagine that I'm seeing a woman (this category that I'm convinced is just a bit of society's foolishness), the better I feel.
--- End quote ---

And, what does that tell you about society’s ability and effectiveness at shaping your gender into a masculinized one?  To me, it says that despite society’s best efforts, your gender persists at violating the norms.  If gender is a social construct, why aren’t you masculine?  Why doesn’t your gender match your birth sex?

Rachel Montgomery:
I would refer you to the following scientific papers on the subject.  I wish I could provide links, but I don’t yet have the ability to post links per the rules here.

The Genetics of Sex Differences in brain behavior
By: Tuck C. Ngun, Negar Ghahramani, et al.

Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation
By: Alicia Garcia-Falgueras and Dick F. Swasb

Biological Aspects of Gender disorders
By: S.M. Corsello, V Di Donna, P Senes, V. Luotto, et al.

RandiL:

--- Quote from: Rachel Montgomery on March 02, 2021, 10:26:59 am ---I would refer you to the following scientific papers on the subject.  I wish I could provide links, but I don’t yet have the ability to post links per the rules here.

The Genetics of Sex Differences in brain behavior
By: Tuck C. Ngun, Negar Ghahramani, et al.

Sexual Hormones and the Brain: An Essential Alliance for Sexual Identity and Sexual Orientation
By: Alicia Garcia-Falgueras and Dick F. Swasb

Biological Aspects of Gender disorders
By: S.M. Corsello, V Di Donna, P Senes, V. Luotto, et al.

--- End quote ---
Rachel, I agree with your distinction between gender and gender roles or gender norms. Many of us conflate these under the blanket term of gender.

But if somebody looks at me and sees a man, isn't that their assigning a gender to me? Not a role or a norm. I may subsequently act outside their expectations of my role or norm, but that doesn't change their thinking about my gender. I don't buy in to their assignment of my gender, but it affects how they act toward me.

This is all pretty much unrelated to my own internal conception of my gender (or non-gender).

Sent from my dual-floppy Victor 9000 using Tapatalk

Rachel Montgomery:

--- Quote from: RandyL on March 02, 2021, 12:55:37 pm ---.
...if somebody looks at me and sees a man, isn't that their assigning a gender to me?
--- End quote ---
I think that is their assignment of a sex to you.  This tends to result in people having certain expectations (gender norms).  How you express yourself may be in accordance with the gender role for the opposite sex from the sex they assign to you, or some mix of gender roles.  This is a violation of gender norms, and often results in friction with others.  You aren’t meeting their expectations, and it disturbs them.


--- Quote ---I may subsequently act outside their expectations of my role or norm, but that doesn't change their thinking about my gender. I don't buy in to their assignment of my gender, but it affects how they act toward me.
--- End quote ---
I understand, though I would state that they incorrectly assigned your gender because they incorrectly assessed your sex.


--- Quote ---This is all pretty much unrelated to my own internal conception of my gender (or non-gender).
--- End quote ---

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