Male or Female: What if I don't know? What if I'm not sure if I want to be identified as male or female... Maybe I don't want to be identified as either. What if I like being inbetween?
So what do you do when you don't define yourself as male or female and you have to fill out a form asking you to check a box? What do you do when you have to choose between bunking with the guys or bunking with the girls at camp? Do you check the box that defines your sexual organs or the gender that you'd like to be identified as?
There's also the contraversy of when someone doesn't have distinct gender sexual organs. Well, I guess one would just have to decide what they'd like to be identified as...
Or you can just check inbetween the "male" and "female" boxes, eh?
When I say that I'm not a man *or* a woman, I always have to ask myself: Do I mean I'm neither? Both? Or something else entirely? It always throws me off... I suppose it depends on my mood
mm. kate bornstein talks a lot about having no gender is really the same thing as having lots and lots of genders. occasionally I can fit myself into a box, and because of legal matters and the fact that I look much more like a lesbian than a boy, it ends up being the girl box. The boy box, while it has its problems, is the one that I prefer, if I have to be in a box at all.
as for filling out forms and stuff, it all depends on whether the form asks me for my sex or my gender. If it's sex, I'll put female, because, well, if you want to get technical about it, yeah. If I'm told to pick a gender, if it's not an official document where they'd get confused and worried, I'll usually check male. If I get really lucky and there's a write-in box, I make up something interesting.
Actually, I found a site once that was giving out free unix shell accounts, and on the signup form they had the following choices for sex: Male, Female, Geek, and Not Sure.
------------------ riot boy! smgeek.diaryland.com (read all of my sordid secrets. well, not really.)
[This message has been edited by rdavid (edited 06-14-2001).]
Oh yes, the joy of filling out forms. A routine procedure that causes unusual stress for some of us. I remember having to write a woman's name in the "father" space on school forms. :P
My dad chose to take hormones, but not have an operation. So on her driver's lisence, it has a feminine name, a feminine photo, and a little "M" under sex... this drives her crazy when she has to show ID. Why do they have to be so picky, eh? A post-op friend of mine gets to have an "F" on hers... they really ought to ask for gender, in order to save embarrassment/constant explaining.
Ok, I hardly ever voice my oppinion at any boards, but after reading some of the topics in this board, this one in particular, I'm very confused here, and feel the need to say a bit. How can a person not know what gender they are?!? You are what you are and that's just the way it is. If you have male parts you're a legal male, and if you have female parts you're a legal female.If you have inbetween parts decide based on the way you feel and keep it that way for your life (if it's that difficult for you, there IS surgery) If it's such an issue for you (having your body parts not match up to your inner self) that you can't even fill out forms consistantly under the same sex, then you have a real problem and instead of complaining about it, go do something about it (whether you do it mentally, physically, or whatever floats your boat). Regardless, you have to decide one way or another which sex you're going to go by, because in the legal world, if you have records where you are constantly showing up under different sexes or have written some other (what you think is funny/cutesy) smart *** remark in a blank on a form, then you could get into some predicaments. With all that legal stuff aside, I personally just think this whole idea of not being able to decide what sex you are stuff is LOONEY! Also,
I realize I'm speaking from a heterosexual-female point of view which will probably make me sound like some horrible person to have ideas like this, but it's the only way I know, and maybe one of you (who is one of these inbetweeners or unsure folks) will be able to help me understand how you see it from your point of view. Don't get me wrong, I am totally open minded about people being gay and lesbian but when I run into this idea of people being bi or transexual or any sort of mix of the sexes I get completly confused and aggravated because it doesn't make sense to me how a person can't just decide! I'd like to hear explanations from people who understand it better than I, so I can be more open-minded and understanding of these types of people.
[This message has been edited by grannylamp7 (edited 06-25-2001).]
It isn't that someone "can't decide". Figuring out one's gender for some people means not fitting into one of two categories: male or female. It means something else to them. Usually some form of androgyny.
Gender identity is a very complex issue and Western cultture subscribes to the idea that there are only two but if you look a little deeper, not only in other cultures but in subcultures and at individuals among all groups of people, you'll find that lots of people do not identify with on or the other but something of their own.
Sure, people do fill out forms and put male or female on their drivers liscence but that is SEX not gender. And even with sex there are people who do not fit under the most common varieties of XY chromosomal male and XX chromosomal female.
For the msot part I think all it takes to understand this is to respect people's individuality and accept them as they present themselves to be. I also don't see a problem with people "changing their minds" or their sense of self evolving as they experience life. Masculinity and feminintiy are not cut in stone and neither are people.
------------------ Louise Lalonde -Scarleteen Sexpert & Volunteer du Jour
"Glad to have a friend like you, And glad to just be me" -Carol Hall
Granny, if you want some good background on the scientific explanation and information for their being far more than two sexes, get your hands on "Sexing the Body," by Dr. Anne Fausto-Sterling.
Truth is, telling someone they have to "decide" to be one thing or another when they are neither, or feel they can ascribe to neither is like telling someone who is mixed-race they have to pick one, neither of which is accurate. What is accurate is, in fact, that they are mixed-race. When it comes to intergendered folks (you can read up on that right here: http://www.scarleteen.com/politics/gender.html) or transgender, it is a very similar situation.
Some sensitivity would really be appreciated. No one is "looney" for feeling they don't fit well into little boxes that aren't very accurate to begin with, and which aren't inclusive (and I'm not sure it's fair for anyone who isn't very well-versed in gender science or psychology to make a psychological assessment, anyhow, especially as a generality, which stands counter to how psych assessments are made). And anthropologically-speaking, median-gender people have been recognized in most indigenous cultures for all of history. It's nothing at all new. What is relatively new is having such a large population run by such large beaurocracies that it becomes problematic when people cannot be types, numbered, and put into categories easily.
As far as bisexuality goes, being bisexual is not an issue of being unable to "decide" any more than being a heterosexual who is attracted to more than one person in any way is a person unable to decide. Those of us who are bisexual are those who can be -- not are to everyone and anyone at all times, can be -- attracted to people of both genders. It is not an issue of indecision.
I REALLY deeply apologize for being so insensitive. It was wrong of me to make assumption about things I knew nothing about, and after reading over what I wrote from before, I can't believe how mean I was. I'm sooo sorry, I don't know what got into me, and I know that I need to go and find out a little more information on this topic before I go and accuse people of being something they're not, or making them feel bad about themselves.
Posts: 25 | From: Spain | Registered: Apr 2001
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