|Sex, Identity and Gender, Oh My!|
|Opinion - Thompson & Gaughan|
|Lisa Thompson & Sharon Gaughan|
|Sunday, 10 July 2011 08:00|
Fairfax, VA, USA. Gender Identity? We may as well shine some sunshine in that direction. It isn’t that we will be gratefully welcomed into the discussion. Our interests lie in science and living a full life, not dime-a-dozen social studies or gender theory.
But we are women and females, neither of us a male campaigning for acceptance as a woman because he wishes to present as one today. His world is not a woman's world. His world is not ours.
Despite whatever empathy we can muster, the ultimate motivations of Transgender acticists remain unfathomable to us. But we can work toward a common, scientific definition of Gender Identity, one that applies equally to men and women (heterosexual, gay, bisexual, or born transsexual), intersex, the persistently transgendered, and cross-dressing males or females presenting as women or men.
Gender identity is the persistent personal perception of oneself as male or female (or rarely, both or neither). [N1] Gender role is the outward manifestations of personality that reflect the persistent gender identity that is self-identified. Gender role, however, exists within society through observable factors such as behavior and appearance. Gender role is often an outward expression of gender identity but not necessarily.
In common English, sex and gender are often used as synonyms for each other. In the medical fields and the hard sciences (e.g., not sociology or gender theory), sex and gender are not synonymous and the following definitions apply:
The scientific terms are specific and not interchangeable despite attempts by the academic gender theorists and their faux-science cultural acolytes to blur their meanings. The definitions are distinct and remain so.
There is great concern among moderate political types, religious organizations and those of us with a transsexual history that the gender theorists and the transgender activists have moved way beyond the actual science.
There have been numerous misbegotten attempts to incorporate the term transgender into law.
The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) defined gender identity as the gender-related identity, appearance, or mannerisms or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, with or without regard to the individual's designated sex at birth. This attempt at redefinition appears to describe the entire human species in one form or another without actually defining anything. Courts of Law frown on vague definition and most often find such laws overbroad and therefore unconstitutional.
ENDA failed to receive enough votes to become law. But at least the ENDA definition made some sense, even if it was logically non-definitional. A local, liberal state attempted to define Gender Identity as
effectively making Gender Identity a queer human attribute not possessed by the heterosexual population. This is scientific illiteracy at its political worst. Gender Identity is a human state, not one reserved for queer politics. Most people identify with one sex or the other — most often the one assigned at birth.
Did you notice that the state definition of Gender Identity does not require a person to have the overriding need to be the opposite sex (by definition, Transsexual) but only that they identify with opposite sex (Transgender perhaps). The word bona fide has null content and most likely added to assure the general public that the law would not cover fakers, pretenders, and run of the mill weekend crossdressers.
The state got it right when it said that the identification must be persistent and documented, a requirement that raised a firestorm in the transgender community there (many, if not most of whom, are in the closet).
Men and women with a transsexual history lead a well-documented, persistent life. The path to surgery requires nothing less. Men and women who are transgender often slip in and out of their transgendered gender roles. Is it persistent to only display as transgender on weekends? Or must the persistency be twenty-four hours, seven days a week, 365¼ days a year for the rest of your life like those of us with a transsexual history?
The honest state attempt at definition falls short and remains overly vague. The courts would have questioned it strenuously if it had passed. Can’t anyone here play this game? [N4] Perhaps if the various attempts at law were more straightforward they would gain enough support to pass. [No pun intended.]
We have no objections to a law that allows men and women to crossdress where and when they please — as long as the intent is not to deceive anyone, for any fraudulent purpose, or infringe upon the rights of others. Same rules as for a name change. [We advise anyone to consult a qualified attorney, just to be sure.]
Such a law would protect the transgenders and allow them to come and go as they please. Workplace rules could be negotiated. This is what transgendered political activists often have said they want. Such a law, however, would require that transgenders be persistently out and open about who they are: something the transgender political activists claim they want — the right to live their lives openly without discrimination. Like men and women with a transsexual history.
We suspect that proposing such a law would raise a great uproar among those transgender persons who are not out to their families, their spouses, their bosses, or their pastors. Liberty and freedom of movement has a price that many transgender people might not be willing to pay.
Liberty comes with a price tag. Always. And with personal freedom comes personal responsibility, not the least facing up to the consequences of one’s actions.
If the transgender community is willing to step forward into the open, we expect the American public and their elected officials would become more accepting of the transgender lifestyle choice.
We all would support an honest effort for liberty combined with acceptance of personal responsibility.
Notes[N1] Persistent: persisting, especially in spite of opposition, obstacles, discouragement, etc.; persevering. Lasting or enduring tenaciously. Constant. Indefatigable, pertinacious, tenacious. Antonyms: sporadic, intermittent, occasional.
[N2] Perineum. 1. The portion of the body in the pelvis occupied by urogenital passages and the rectum, bounded in front by the pubic arch, in the back by the coccyx, and laterally by part of the hipbone. Cerebrum. 2. The region between the scrotum and the anus in males, and between the posterior vulva junction and the anus in females. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary.
[N3] The brain. Merriam-Webster’s Medical Dictionary.
[N4] Casey Stengel, manager of the New York Mets baseball team.
|Last Updated on Monday, 11 July 2011 05:44|