Ariablue “Everyone’s gender is “acquired”.

Gender has been turned into the huge Swiss Army Knife Champ xlt of terms with a dictionary’s worth of alternative meanings.  This pretty much makes it meaningless unless the person using it provides a textual and subtextual reading defining their usage of the term.

In a feminist psych class at Berkeley in 1971 I used the term “core gender identity” in a term paper.  My usage was meant to describe the inner sense of self that says I am male/I am female.  This was in accord with the concept of gender as being that sense of self that was made popular in Money & Ehrhardt’s  “Man, Woman/Boy,Girl”.  Yeah, yeah but Money was still in people’s good graces at that point.

At that point we didn’t discuss gender roles but rather sex roles.

With the reactionary right wing neo-Victorianism that resurfaced in the 1980s sex became a sort of dirty word more or less reserved for doing the nasty.

Now granted calling sex roles gender roles wasn’t all that big a leap since a lot of sex or gender role behavior is the product of socialization or teaching.  But what is taught, what kids are socialized into is a time and culturally defined role deemed proper for a person with a given set of genitals.

Liberal societies have less rigid sex/gender roles than conservative ones do.  Secular humanist societies have less rigid than fundamentalist religious societies.

Now where we get in trouble is when we conflate sex and gender as being virtual synonyms and thus interchangable.  They aren’t.  Sex is about male and female or male=man=boy/female=woman=girl.  Whereas with gender we are talking in terms of masculine/feminine.

Then we get gender identity.  This takes us back nearly 40 years to when I was writing about core gender identity. Here we bump smack dab into a serious philosophical difference.  On the one hand you have the Cartesian, “I think therefore I am” vs the Existential “I act and through my actions I become.” the latter having a role in de Beauvoir’s “One is not born a woman, one becomes one.”

It has become popular in post-modernism to postulate that everything is a social construct.  There is also a mindset that says identity trumps physical reality.

I don’t know beyond saying that over the many years I’ve come to use feminine pronouns with almost anyone who requests that I use feminine pronouns as long as their appearence isn’t such a total contradiction of those feminine pronouns as to force me to explain.  Hell even then I sometimes resort to explaining why I called some one “she” with “It’s a camp gay thing and you just don’t get it.”  The same is true of F to Ms except a lot of butches are touchier about being called he than sissy gay guys are of being called she.

So on one level I do believe gender is acquired.  But why people acquire  a gender that totally contradicts everything they are programed to acquire is a question I can’t answer.


Often times the general gist of mailing lists, Blogs and web sites that bring people together based on a relationship with a trans prefixed word seem so focused on subjects related to that word that they seem to preclude almost all other topics.

Many of us have far more interesting lives than that narrow focus creates the impression of our having.

For example interest in music, literature, the arts.  Some of us run 5ks on up to marathons. Others do yoga and are into natural foods and living green.

Many of us enjoy certain movies and performers.

I just spent my tax return on a lens for my camera and bought an Epson 1400 printer.  I’ve been doing photography seriously for some 35 years.

Between work and suddenly getting the rain we didn’t get all winter we put off going to see The Watchmen at an IMax theater but see it we will.  A sister turned us onto the graphic novel as well as the seriees The Invisibles after we loved V for Vendetta.

Common interests are the things of long term friendships that bind after the transitory glue of friendships formed because sharing the process.

Shared interests are a reason to call and gossip, to keep contact and avoid becoming isolated.

Interests give our lives meanings beyond work and dealing with problems.

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Manx gender recognition bill moves forward

From Pink News UK

By Jessica Geen • March 11, 2009 – 14:42

A bill to bring the Isle of Man in line with the rest of the UK on gender recognition has unanimously passed its first reading in the Legisative Council.

The Gender Recognition bill, steered by member Eddie Lowey, is being enacted to conform to the latest European Court of Human Rights rulings and updates the law to the new identities of post-op trans people.

It has passed three readings in the House of Keys and will now have to pass two more readings and clauses before becoming law.

It means a transsexual person who has been issued with a full gender recognition certificate will be legally regarded as being of their acquired gender, and that a transsexual will be able to marry a person of the opposite gender to their acquired gender.

The bill also states that the General Registry will establish a strictly confidential Gender Recognition Register to record the details of all gender recognition certificates that have been offered to the Chief Registrar.

It is based on similar legislation introduced in the UK, the Gender Recognition Act.

Mr Lowey told “The purpose is to provide transsexual people with legal recognition in their acquired gender. It is being done to comply with an obligation under the European Convention on Human Rights.

“It is virtually certain that the Manx law would be ruled incompatible with the European Convention and it is worth emphasising that this is completely separate from the EU.”

Last month, a member of the Isle of Man’s parliament was accused of using language more akin to the Nazis during a debate about the rights of transsexuals.

John Houghton, a House of Keys member for Douglas North, said the gender recognition bill “defies common decency” and “takes human rights too far”.

Fellow MHK Peter Karran (Onchan) denounced his comments, saying: “It’s what the Nazis used to say about the Jews.

“I thought we had got away from this island being seen as a fascist, reactionary backwater.”

Delaware mulls gay anti-discrimination bill

03.11.2009 11:23am EDT

(Dover, Delaware) Legislation was introduced in the Delaware legislature Wednesday that would ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment and housing.

Delaware already bars discrimination based on age, religion, gender, race, marital status and physical handicap.  LGBT rights groups have tried for a decade to have the law updated to include sexual orientation.

“This legislation is long overdue. This is the fifth time it has been introduced in the past nine years and we have passed it in the House three times,” said Senate Majority Leader Peter Schwartzkopf (D) in a statement.

“This is 2009. If the past several months have taught us anything, it’s that Americans are much more tolerant and accepting of others now than ever before.”

The bill however, does not include transgender protections.  It also exempts religious groups – even if they receive state funding. It also states that employers would not bed required to offer health insurance, pension or other benefits to same-sex couples.

A spokesperson for Gov. Jack Markell said the governor had not seen the bill but that he has long supported “eliminating discrimination in all its forms.”

In the past Senate rules have allowed bills to die without coming to a vote in what was called a desk-drawer veto.  The rules were changed this year and Schwartzkopf said he is hopeful the measure will be passed.

Under the new rules, bills must be considered in committees within 12 legislative days of their filing. Still, Republicans and a number of Democrats have voiced their opposition.

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The Euro DSD Project

With Sophia’s permission.  Sophia is an internet friend of many years and may lists.  She is brilliant and a great ally.

By Sophia Siedlberg.

16 January 2009

It is my belief that it is time to step out of the gutter and to try to discuss our concerns (and objections) with real academics instead of sexologist hacks. Dr. Olaf Hiort is the head of “Euro DSD” which to date has been raising some concerns in Europe. I am I admit very concerned myself and hope that Dr. Hiort will take the time to discuss with those patient groups he is dealing with and in particular those who do not agree with the underlying ethos of Euro DSD.

The main concern with Euro DSD and Dr. Hiort himself appears to be that while Euro DSD seems to gain funding and increasing prominence, the fact that this organization has close ties to the ethical framework of the Clarke Northwestern, has caused many patient groups to fear that Euro DSD will be motivated more by social cleansing than actually providing a framework for healthcare that covers inetersex people and their concerns.

In Europe, there is a far deeper fear of the sort of ideas the Clarke Northwestern represent. Eugenics being the main cause for concern, do Euro DSD advocate de-centralized, market driven eugenics of the sort the Clark Northwestern ascribes to? Or “Parantal choice” to use Alice Dreger’s euphemism? Are the motives of Euro DSD about normalization at all costs?

Well, I am going to avoid expressing my instinctive reaction until Dr. Hiort responds (or fails to respond) because I do feel that it is only fair to let Dr. Hiort outline which direction he intends to go with the Euro DSD and what the underlying agenda actually is. I would also like to remind Dr. Hiort that he will also not be able to blind me with science, and statistics. I will take the time to study, in close detail what he has published to date and what scientific framework he is using.

The primary reason why these unpleasant questions land on his doorstep lies in the fact that his organization has taken its name from the Clarke Northwestern clinical model of intersex healthcare. “Disorders of Sex Development”. A lot of European patient groups associate that with the Clarke Northwestern agenda, and all the gutter “debate” that has been going on through controversy after controversy over a group of sexologists and one geneticist who seem to regard intersex people as disordered or less than human.

There are also many concerns about some of the European specialists, in particular Dr. Claire Nihoul-Fékété, a surgeon based in Paris who has a rather bad reputation for conducting surgery on children, who when they grow up objecting to it, are as good as silenced. I am led to understand that Dr. Claire Nihoul-Fékété is somewhat feared by some in the community because of her status.

Again I am hoping that she takes the time to engage in dialogue and explain what her ideas are and what her working philosophy actually is. If her reputation is as bad as I have heard it to be, I will say now that I will not put up with any of the sort of nonsense I had to endure from the Clarke Northwestern, and I am very serious about this. I want to make this clear that this is not some witch hunt, (as the Clarke Northwestern have portrayed it to be) but a pressing need for constructive dialogue. As it stands at present, a lot of intersex people genuinely feel a deep sense of threat. I can see why this is so and hope that Dr. Hiort can start to allay a lot of fears by talking to those who are feeling deep concern about these developments. I am sorry that this may appear a bit harsh or confrontational, but given the recent experiences of the Clarke Northwestern, and how some (Alice Dreger) have pulled the debate into the gutter, I am hoping that the European experience will not be the same, given that Dr. Hiort is a more serious clinician and academic who I feel is capable of engaging in a more reasonable debate.

As of today I am planning to start a European discussion group that is specifically about Euro DSD. I will invite all those intersex activists who have concerns about Euro DSD to join and hope that representatives of Euro DSD will accept my invitation to them as well. We need to discuss this situation as it is developing and to come to some sort of mutual understanding.

I would strongly advise Dr. Hiort to engage his present critics in discussion or at least appoint a representative for this role, so that discussion can begin. The group “Euro IS” will be started, regardless of whether or not Dr. Hiort decides to engage with us. I just hope that he does accept our invitation when it is made and takes the time to talk.

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Chrysalis asked, “What is the objection to GID being in the DSM?”

First  it might be helpful for you to realize that people like me never had GID because it hadn’t been invented when we went through the process.

GID came in to being about the same time as the rise of Ronald Reagan and the right wing/Christian Coalition and it has as dark and dirty a history as the rise of the ultra right.

Before the socal construction of GID we were simply transsexual then in the late 1970s we were subjected to several dubious studies that were written in such a way as to give us positive points if we mirrored the feminine mystique role of women in the 1950s and to treat us as deviant if we were more attuned to the questioning of those stereotypes the way women were in the 1970s.

The other aspect that wasn’t taken into account was that many of us had been raised by wolves, having been thrown out of our homes and had serious histories of abuse, physical, emotional and often sexual.

SRS was deemed a failure when it didn’t turn us into straight house wives and left us the same raised by wovles people only female.

People like Zucker, Money, McHugh, Raymond, Meyers and others who had written books calling transsexualism psychological had a major stake in the game.

But it is also important to remember the reactionarism of the era.  Feminism was being beaten back and you had the styart of the push back against the lesbian and gay movements in the person of Anita Bryant and in California John Briggs.

Surgeons needed something to justify continuing SRS and so they form the HB Standards of Care (Dr. B. was actually still alive) and used GID and psychiatric therapy as the price to continue SRS.

But it was always sort of a fraud since GID isn’t real and instead of treating people for something that doesn’t exist it was better to assess them to make sure they were sane and capable of making the decision to get SRS.

At this point GID is an anachronism that has out lived its value and shelf life.