You are either not logged in or not registered with our community. Click here to register.
 
December 09, 2016, 01:46:55 AM

Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Login with username, password and session length

Click here if you are having problems.
Default Wide Screen Beige Lilac Rainbow Black & Blue October Send us your theme!

Hark!  The Herald!
Holiday Issue 2016

Wiki Blogs Dicebot

Author Topic: Cis and Trans...  (Read 1206 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline PantheanTopic starter

Cis and Trans...
« on: September 06, 2014, 10:42:27 AM »
I'm going to start by saying that what I am stating here is how I personally view things. Some things I will say are my opinions, but others I see as facts. I am not an expert on the subject and I may be wrong about some of these things, so if you are an expert or you can point to a page where an expert says something different than what I say, I invite you to do just that.

Here's my main argument: Cis and Trans are not gender identities, but some other form of one's state of mind.

Recently, I have noticed the trend of identifying oneself or one's characters as Cis or Trans as a gender. To me, that doesn't seem right. What initially strikes me as silly is identifying as a "cisgender male" or "female." Why does that seem silly to me? Because it's entirely redundant, effectively saying male male or female female, or at its most forgiving "male who believes he ought to be male," and the equivalent statement for females. Simply saying male or female would suffice. There is a room for a character description and if it is important to who the character is, then that is where one should address whether or not they are transgender or not, and again, only if it is important to the character and/or to the roleplay.

When it comes to the main argument, it seems wrong to identify a character's gender as Cis or Trans. Here's why I don't believe that they are gender identities. Gender, or... as I prefer to call it "Gender Identity," as I am led to believe, is the sex that one believes one should be, IE: the sexual identity that they hold in their minds. Sex, or... as I do prefer to call it "Biological Gender" is what their bodies are (which 99.9% of the time will be male or female). If someone is said to have a gender identity that is different from their biological gender, then they are said to be transsexual or transgender (unless there is a difference between these two words that I am not aware of, though I assume that transsexual implies one has taken steps to change their outward appearance, and transgender does not). Otherwise, they are referred to , and bear in mind that this is a relatively recent term coined by people who are not experts in the field, (*see quote at bottom) as cisgender. But here's the thing... a transgender woman, that is, a male who identifies or undergoes surgery to become a woman, has a "female" gender identity, not "trans." "Trans" is therefore not a gender identity. "Cis," being the opposite of "trans," is therefore also not a gender identity. They are a state of mind separate from gender identity, and should not be looped together. To me, it seems that turning "Trans" or "Cis" into gender identities is to say that being transgender itself is the gender.

The underlying question I have to ask is: How important is it to identify as Trans or Cis? It seems to me that if one identifies as either of these, then they are stating that being Trans or Cis is more important to them than being male, female, or any non-binary gender. It is to let that state of being associated or dissociated with ones biological gender overshadow ones actual identity, and become who they are. It is in much the same way that identifying as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual etc. overshadows who someone is as an individual.

What I mean by an expert in the field is an expert in the field of gender studies, English, and/or psychology. The field I'm referring to has little to do with life experiences, and more to do with semantics and terminology. As a non-expert attempting to characterize certain mental states or determine what certain states of mind ought to be called, you run into the issue of their lack of knowledge in the field. They don't know what other terms may already exist, or what other similar conditions and such may already be characterized. I also don't think that it's fair to undermine research and expertise in any subject with personal experiences. Personal experiences are limited, and it is not scientifically sound to use them to determine facts and form new theories. It is projection, which is bad research.

This seems to be an argument that trans people and their allies are so completely unaware of the current state of research that they don't even know basic terminology.

Coming from someone who is about twenty years behind on the literature, it sounds just a bit condescending.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 08:24:50 AM by Panthean »

Offline Oniya

  • StoreHouse of Useless Trivia
  • Oracle
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Just bouncing through. Hi! City of Roses, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Female
  • One bad Motokifuka. Also cute and FLUFFY!
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2014, 11:03:58 AM »
You may wish to take a look at Vekseid's video and thread 'Sarah Will Run'  Sex, gender, and attraction are completely independent matters, and it is a very sensitive subject for those who don't fall into the category where all three match what society expects.  There is also a great deal of information in our GLBTQA corner (where that thread is located), and respectful questions are welcomed.

As for the use of 'cis' - it is no less 'silly' than identifying oneself as 'straight'.  It acknowledges that there is another possibility instead of disregarding it.  In chemistry, the terms 'cis' and 'trans' are used to indicate different forms of the same combination of atoms so that there is no confusion about which substance is being referenced.  With regard to gender identity, the use is similar.

Offline BitterSweet

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2014, 11:21:02 AM »
Quote
Otherwise, they are referred to, and bear in mind that this is a relatively recent term coined by people who are not experts in the field, as cisgender.

It's a good idea to be a little careful about statements like this.  People who are living these experiences daily are generally more 'expert' than any collection of letters after someone's name - particularly in very new (more accurately, newly acknowledged) fields of experience, where scholarly theories are lagging behind the quickly changing landscape of actual experiences and social changes.

As to the rest?  I have some issues with the increasingly finely divided identities people are coming up with but in this particular case part of the reasoning is that trans folks are traditionally made very invisible in our culture and this is one way to up the visibility.

Offline PantheanTopic starter

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2014, 11:46:07 AM »
It's a good idea to be a little careful about statements like this.  People who are living these experiences daily are generally more 'expert' than any collection of letters after someone's name - particularly in very new (more accurately, newly acknowledged) fields of experience, where scholarly theories are lagging behind the quickly changing landscape of actual experiences and social changes.

What I mean by an expert in the field is an expert in the field of gender studies, English, and/or psychology. The field I'm referring to has little to do with life experiences, and more to do with semantics and terminology. As a non-expert attempting to characterize certain mental states or determine what certain states of mind ought to be called, you run into the issue of their lack of knowledge in the field. They don't know what other terms may already exist, or what other similar conditions and such may already be characterized. I also don't think that it's fair to undermine research and expertise in any subject with personal experiences. Personal experiences are limited, and it is not scientifically sound to use them to determine facts and form new theories. It is projection, which is bad research.

This seems to be an argument that trans people and their allies are so completely unaware of the current state of research that they don't even know basic terminology.

Coming from someone who is about twenty years behind on the literature, it sounds just a bit condescending.



As to the rest?  I have some issues with the increasingly finely divided identities people are coming up with but in this particular case part of the reasoning is that trans folks are traditionally made very invisible in our culture and this is one way to up the visibility.

I understand that, but then why is it necessary to have a "cis" group? And... that's not my point at any rate. My point is that "trans" and "cis" ought not be thought of as gender identities, not that there shouldn't be any "trans" identity.



You may wish to take a look at Vekseid's video and thread 'Sarah Will Run'  Sex, gender, and attraction are completely independent matters, and it is a very sensitive subject for those who don't fall into the category where all three match what society expects.  There is also a great deal of information in our GLBTQA corner (where that thread is located), and respectful questions are welcomed.

As for the use of 'cis' - it is no less 'silly' than identifying oneself as 'straight'.  It acknowledges that there is another possibility instead of disregarding it.  In chemistry, the terms 'cis' and 'trans' are used to indicate different forms of the same combination of atoms so that there is no confusion about which substance is being referenced.  With regard to gender identity, the use is similar.

I will take a look at that video when I have the time, but I must be leaving soon.

And similar to what I said in response to BitterSweet, I'm referring more specifically to their use as gender identifiers. I do not believe that they are gender identities. I still think that if that kind of thing is important enough to worth mentioning, then it ought to belong in character background and/or description, not under their listed gender or sex.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 08:22:16 AM by Panthean »

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2014, 11:50:16 AM »
I'm just going to leave this here:

Quote
Transgender is an umbrella term for persons whose gender identity, gender expression or behavior does not conform to that typically associated with the sex to which they were assigned at birth. Gender identity refers to a person’s internal sense of being male, female or something else; gender expression refers to the way a person communicates gender identity to others through behavior, clothing, hairstyles, voice or body characteristics. “Trans” is sometimes used as shorthand for “transgender.” While transgender is generally a good term to use, not everyone whose appearance or behavior is gender-nonconforming will identify as a transgender person. The ways that transgender people are talked about in popular culture, academia and science are constantly changing, particularly as individuals’ awareness, knowledge and openness about transgender people and their experiences grow.

Found on http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx.

Offline Kythia

  • Noooo-one Fights like Kythia no-one bites like Kythia
  • Dame
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Oct 2012
  • Gender: Female
  • No one chain smokes Marlboro lights like Kythia
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2014, 12:04:08 PM »
If someone is said to have a gender identity that is different from their biological gender, then they are said to be transsexual or transgender (unless there is a difference between these two words that I am not aware of, though I assume that transsexual implies one has taken steps to change their outward appearance, and transgender does not). Otherwise, they are referred to, and bear in mind that this is a relatively recent term coined by people who are not experts in the field, as cisgender. But here's the thing... a transgender woman, that is, a male who identifies or undergoes surgery to become a woman, has a "female" gender identity, not "trans." "Trans" is therefore not a gender identity. "Cis," being the opposite of "trans," is therefore also not a gender identity. They are a state of mind separate from gender identity, and should not be looped together. To me, it seems that turning "Trans" or "Cis" into gender identities is to say that being transgender itself is the gender.

Look at it this way.  I was born female and identify as such.  Helen Towers the Hypothetical Transwoman was born male but identifies as female.  Fine.  Is her - Helen's - conception of "female" the same as mine?  Lets leave aside whether mine is the same as another cis female for the moment.  When I say I identify as "female", am I using the word in the same sense as Helen?  It's very hard to be sure, my gut feeling is that actually I'm not.  And if I'm not then using "trans" as a gender identity seems valid.

Offline Beguile's Mistress

  • Time flies like an arrow ~ Fruit flies like a banana ~ Elliquiy's Fair-E Godmother
  • Dame
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Jul 2009
  • Location: Faeleacanvald ~ The Steeler Nation ~ Home of Lord Stanley's Cup 2016 ~ She won't stay throwed! ~ 48\22-5\1\11-5\7
  • Gender: Female
  • Perpetual Notion Machine ~ 'What if...?'
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2014, 12:08:01 PM »
You might want to look for transgender groups or organizations in your area where you can speak with transgender people who are good at educating those seeking information.  I'm fortunate in that I have real life transgender friends who are patient and understanding and willing to answer questions when I have them.  Several are counselors who work with those in transition, looking to come out to friends and family or dealing with the uncertainty of their feelings and desires.  They are very good at helping me sort out the differences in opinion and vision of various approaches to the aspects and nuances in the trans* community.

Googling "transgender FAQ" will offer quite a few sites for you to research.  Keep an open mind as you go searching for information.  Lay aside any preconceived ideas and set out to learn from the very beginning.  It takes time to grasp a concept that is new to us no matter what the issue so be patient.  Most of all be polite rather than confrontational.  A patient student and a patient teacher both approaching the topic with an open heart and mind make the most effective combination.

I've learned a lot from reading much of what Matt Kailey wrote.  He was born in 1955 and passed away in May of this year.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 12:10:01 PM by Beguile's Mistress »

Offline Mathim

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2014, 12:15:07 PM »
When I saw the title of this topic, I thought you were talking about fast food companies claiming not to use trans fats to cook their french fries but that cis-fatty acids actually morph into trans-fatty acids when cooked. My bad.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2014, 03:30:03 PM »
It's easy to get confused over this because sex (in English and some other languages) has three different fields of meaning and these are getting rolled into each other much of the time. To put it simply, and for now, overlooking people who define themselves as intersexed in gender terms, that is, they don't even aspire to belonging within the male or female (social/mental/clothing/language) gender, but see themselves as moving between the two or shifting somewhere outside of them - just to get a decently clear outline:

* Sex = Biological or physical sex: put crudely, what's between your legs and on your chest. And also, somebody's primary sexual organ.´

* Sex = Social, sexual and mental gender. The set of gender-related patterns, behaviour, norms and language that you're likely to place yourself under (or play with/for/against) when you encounter other people, whether they're of your own gender or another, the definitions and registers people subscribe to in order to "act like a woman", "do the things a guy has to know how to do", enjoy recognition as female or male in society and so on. Whether it's stuff you have freely chosen or it's been forced or trained into you, we all style ourselves through some of those norms, we live with them in order to make life reasonably smooth and livable.

* Sex = Sexual enjoyment, live arousal and encounter.

To many people, all of those land on the same side of the fence for them, so they have no problem defining their "sex" in a clear-cut way. To some of us they don't square. There's no definite need for one of them to decide the other/s - many of us can get quite aroused without touching our genital bits, some of us can even cum hard without really focusing on them - but this is only half understood by mainstream society.
« Last Edit: September 06, 2014, 03:48:03 PM by gaggedLouise »

Offline kylie

  • Bratty Princess of Twisty, Creeping Secrets. Frilly | Fussy | Framed | Dreamy | Glam | Risky | Sporty | Rapt | Tease | Ironic | Shadowed | Struggling | Whispery | Bespelled
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: Somewhere in the future.
  • Darkly sweet femme for rich & insidious scenarios.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2014, 12:34:09 AM »
        Basically, medical sex is usually measured by what sort of genitals one has.  Though it's actually itself not airtight.  Because some people have chromosomes and genitals which do not "match" the conventional assumptions about those two "lining up" under two neat models of physical sex.  Not to mention things some people will argue about whether having surgery or hormones added later, is really "the same" as being born with something.  However in the world one seeks to evaluate "the same [what exactly??]".

         Gender is broader and harder to pin down.  It may be what one wishes to do, or how one is treated.  It can be evaluated in terms of what a person feels, or in terms of what they experience coming from other people and from various social situations (not all of whom always agree). 

         Then there are lots of people running around not being very clear which they think they are actually talking about when.  And lots of people assuming that just one of so many things must dictate all the others and determine everything about gender for everybody:  So many things to choose from.  Body or psychology, and 1: Internal meaning chromosomes OR personal identification, 2: Personal let's say meaning current genital shape OR externally visible but more self-aware, intentional personal behavior OR 3: external: reception by some local 'quorum' as it were of others OR certain customs and maybe leading institutional rules.

          Finally, there is no scientific reason for limiting things to two sexes -- nor two genders, for that matter.  Those are merely social conventions that have become comfortable and to an extent, forcibly stuck on people.  There are so many possible others.  On the physical side, intersex and various physical variations recorded in the medical literature, openly put some lie to the myth of only two medical sexes.  Many other societies recognize other genders apart from simply masculine or feminine, with or without physical changes being demanded to have that recognition. 

          Trans is just one recent, Western umbrella category that tries to deal with all this in various ways.  For example: At any moment when you might think, "Oh they're a little unusual for a ___________," someone can just as easily say, exactly because I'm not, I'm something else.  And sometimes you don't see a difference, but people harbor them just the same.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 12:50:16 AM by kylie »

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2014, 01:16:03 AM »
*nods at Kylie* Yes, I was deliberately streamlining it and focusing mostly on people who think of themselves and others in relation to a set of two sexes, two personal-gender poles, because it was my wish to get it clearly stated how sex is often getting sized up as a single word, a single unified concept but in reality it is (at least) three. With transgender people the way you put it, as a sort of umbrella term for most of those who don't find themselves with all three on the same "half" of their playing field.

Not the least claim of originality here either, something about this distinction between sex and gender and how it affects us ought to be in school textbooks everywhere (but it isn't...not everywhere)
« Last Edit: September 07, 2014, 01:17:35 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline Ephiral

  • The Firebrand Logica | Gender Ninja | Their Toy
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Feb 2013
  • Location: In between the lines, outside of the law, underneath the veil
  • Carpe diem per sol delenda.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #11 on: September 07, 2014, 02:28:39 AM »
What I mean by an expert in the field is an expert in the field of gender studies, English, and/or psychology. The field I'm referring to has little to do with life experiences, and more to do with semantics and terminology. As a non-expert attempting to characterize certain mental states or determine what certain states of mind ought to be called, you run into the issue of their lack of knowledge in the field. They don't know what other terms may already exist, or what other similar conditions and such may already be characterized.
This seems to be an argument that trans people and their allies are so completely unaware of the current state of research that they don't even know basic terminology.

Coming from someone who is about twenty years behind on the literature, it sounds just a bit condescending.

I also don't think that it's fair to undermine research and expertise in any subject with personal experiences. Personal experiences are limited, and it is not scientifically sound to use them to determine facts and form new theories. It is projection, which is bad research.
The serious research is extremely limited on this - we only have a vague, general idea, largely from inference on small data sets, about how prevalent trans* people are. Most of the expertise we have on trans* people is from trans* people, because until extremely recently, that lived experience is all there was.

On a broader note, I'm... not sure how you expect psychology to work without any taint of personal experience.


I understand that, but then why is it necessary to have a "cis" group? And... that's not my point at any rate. My point is that "trans" and "cis" ought not be thought of as gender identities, not that there shouldn't be any "trans" identity.
To be honest, "cis" really isn't a necessary label for general use - it is so overwhelmingly the majority that it can be safely assumed in most contexts. What it is, however, is a statement of trans-friendliness. By proactively identifying as cis, people let us know that they get it, without any uncomfortable or unwelcome prying into our lives. For this, it's vitally necessary. For discussion (scholarly or otherwise) of distinctions between cis and trans* people, it is necessary.

As for whether or not they should be considered "gender identities"... probably not, in colloquial terms; they're not providing the data you seek. In a more general sense, I would say yes - they are identities which shape your entire understanding of, approach to, and relationship with gender.

Offline PantheanTopic starter

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2014, 08:51:43 AM »
This seems to be an argument that trans people and their allies are so completely unaware of the current state of research that they don't even know basic terminology.

Coming from someone who is about twenty years behind on the literature, it sounds just a bit condescending.

Alright, well thank you for bringing that up. Now I know better.



To be honest, "cis" really isn't a necessary label for general use - it is so overwhelmingly the majority that it can be safely assumed in most contexts. What it is, however, is a statement of trans-friendliness. By proactively identifying as cis, people let us know that they get it, without any uncomfortable or unwelcome prying into our lives. For this, it's vitally necessary. For discussion (scholarly or otherwise) of distinctions between cis and trans* people, it is necessary.

Well, to explain a bit why I never thought of it that way was because the first time (and most of the times) I ran into the widespread use of the term was on tumblr, where "cis" was quite a bit more often used as an insult and was derogatory (by "trans" people, no less). Before you say anything with respect to that, I am aware that many of the so-called activists on tumblr have, to be quite blunt, an ass-backwards view of social justice and activism.



As for whether or not they should be considered "gender identities"... probably not, in colloquial terms; they're not providing the data you seek. In a more general sense, I would say yes - they are identities which shape your entire understanding of, approach to, and relationship with gender.

You might want to look for transgender groups or organizations in your area where you can speak with transgender people who are good at educating those seeking information.  I'm fortunate in that I have real life transgender friends who are patient and understanding and willing to answer questions when I have them.  Several are counselors who work with those in transition, looking to come out to friends and family or dealing with the uncertainty of their feelings and desires.  They are very good at helping me sort out the differences in opinion and vision of various approaches to the aspects and nuances in the trans* community.

Googling "transgender FAQ" will offer quite a few sites for you to research.  Keep an open mind as you go searching for information. Lay aside any preconceived ideas and set out to learn from the very beginning.  It takes time to grasp a concept that is new to us no matter what the issue so be patient.  Most of all be polite rather than confrontational. A patient student and a patient teacher both approaching the topic with an open heart and mind make the most effective combination.

I've learned a lot from reading much of what Matt Kailey wrote.  He was born in 1955 and passed away in May of this year.

What it appears to be to me is more of a meta-gender identity, that is, an identity about one's gender identity, instead of a gender identity itself. Thanks for your input, everyone, this is kind of a simpler topic that's just a part of much bigger discussion. I don't know that there's too much more to be said on "trans" and "cis" identities in relation to gender identity, but the thread is still in my bookmarks if anyone else posts anything.



*nods at Kylie* Yes, I was deliberately streamlining it and focusing mostly on people who think of themselves and others in relation to a set of two sexes, two personal-gender poles, because it was my wish to get it clearly stated how sex is often getting sized up as a single word, a single unified concept but in reality it is (at least) three. With transgender people the way you put it, as a sort of umbrella term for most of those who don't find themselves with all three on the same "half" of their playing field.

Not the least claim of originality here either, something about this distinction between sex and gender and how it affects us ought to be in school textbooks everywhere (but it isn't...not everywhere)

Put quite simply, I don't like umbrella terms. I don't think some things should be simplified for the convenience of the masses.

And I disagree on your last point but for an unrelated reason. We have huge problems with the way we educate our children (at least in the US), and I think we need to completely revolutionize the way we do it before we start to worry about teaching more social issues. It doesn't matter what we put into the text books if we can't motivate our children to learn it.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #13 on: September 07, 2014, 01:37:38 PM »

Put quite simply, I don't like umbrella terms. I don't think some things should be simplified for the convenience of the masses.

And I disagree on your last point but for an unrelated reason. We have huge problems with the way we educate our children (at least in the US), and I think we need to completely revolutionize the way we do it before we start to worry about teaching more social issues. It doesn't matter what we put into the text books if we can't motivate our children to learn it.

Yeah, I wasn’t making any claim that it is*only* the textbooks or school materials that need to be changed to provide better understanding, even for the kids. There needs to be both public discussion with sharing of stories and experiences and discussion and changed attitudes at home (and no, I’m not implying this should be directed centrally by any kind of gender ministry…). A big part of the problem there is the absence of trans persons of almost any kind in the public sphere, well-known writers, artists, journalists, public speakers, lawyers, politicians, academics who are transgender in any sense and open with it. There are very few such people,. nowhere near matching the amount of people who are trans openly or in the closet within the population.

I’m from Sweden which ranks as one of the most gay/lesbian-friendly countries in the world, and we also had one of the earliest legal frameworks anywhere to support sex reassignment and surgery and try to make them safe. Now, gay activists here sometimes like to wave the flag of being for better understanding of transpersons and their needs and rights, or just namechecking dragking performers and so on, but overall there is very low visibility of trans-related issues in the debate here - much lower than let's say, gay sexual and lifestyle questions.

Also, there's a near total lack of half decently well-known transpersons in the public sphere here, in entertainment, science, literature and the media: people who know about this from their own experience. And if you're an insider you don’t have to look around long to realize that even within the LGBT community, transgender persons, especially transfemales, are seen as decidedly uncool, embarrassing and difficult to talk about or join hands with, not near as hip as big-city gay men and hot twenty-year old lesbians (that’s been my experience much of the time anyway). Or simply passed off as “fake women” or some kind of fifth column (this is unfortunately a quite common stance from cis-lesbians around here, no matter what kind of transwomen it's about). So being trans has become a very hushed down field to the wider public and within the media and politics. I know there are a few more well-known names in America but I bet the lack of people with first-hand knowledge and some sort of well-established public position to speak from is tangible in the US too.


When it comes to social issues, I'm not quite sure what you were picking up on, but I admit I believe that within gender (the way people "perform" and live their belonging at this or that place in the range of gender identities, the way they express "being a man" or "fitting into being a woman" versus other people they meet) the gender you define yourself as belonging to, as showing up, can't be fully cut loose from language, social norms, what's seen as reasonably normal registers of style, talking, obligations within the country and culture one is living in. I don't see any society (except experiments in tiny social labs) that would let everyone pick and choose everything about the way they'll show their gender right from scratch, and which wouldn't lean on training some expectations into us as men and women, setting up codes of differences in clothing, talking, roles that are seen as "natural" for men and women and so on - would allow everyone to choose and mix that 100% freely without any sort of friction. You can fight some of that some of the time or profile yourself against it, over time some of it may change due to conscious actions by many people or changes in fashion etc, but simply looking away from it all and pretending it's not there r/l is not going to be useful. This does not mean me saying we'd have to rebuild all of society and language from the ground up to be able to make people understand trans issues (or gender issues) better.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 06:18:00 AM by gaggedLouise »

Offline PantheanTopic starter

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #14 on: September 07, 2014, 07:32:49 PM »
Yeah, I wasn’t making any claim that it is*only* the textbooks or school materials that need to be changed to provide better understanding, even for the kids. There needs to be both public discussion with sharing of stories and experiences and discussion and changed attitudes at home (and no, I’m not implying this should be directed centrally by any kind of gender ministry…). A big part of the problem there is the absence of trans persons of almost any kind in the public sphere, well-known writers, artists, journalists, public speakers, lawyers, politicians, academics who are transgender in any sense and open with it. There are very few such people,. nowhere near matching the amount of people who are trans openly or in the closet within the population.

I’m from Sweden which ranks as one of the most gay/lesbian-friendly countries in the world, and we also had one of the earliest legal frameworks anywhere to support sex reassignment and surgery and try to make them safe. Now, gay activists here sometimes like to wave the flag of being for better understanding of transpersons and their needs and rights, or just namechecking dragking performers and so on, but overall there is a near total lack of  half decently well-known transpersons in the public sphere, in entertainment, science and the media. here. And if you're an insider you don’t have to look around long to realize that even within the LGBT community, transgender persons, especially transfemales, are seen as decidedly uncool, embarrassing and difficult to talk about or join hands with, not near as hip as big-city gay men and hot twenty-year old lesbians (that’s been my experience much of the time anyway). Or simply passed off as “fake women” or some kind of fifth column (this is unfortunately a quite common stance from cis-lesbians around here, no matter what kind of transwomen it's about). So being trans has become a very hushed down field to the wider public and within the media and politics. I know there are a few more well-known names in America but I bet the lack of people with first-hand knowledge and some sort of well-established public position to speak from is tangible in the US too.


When it comes to social issues, I'm not quite sure what you were picking up on, but I admit I believe that within gender (the way people "perform" and live their belonging at this or that place in the range of gender identities, the way they express "being a man" or "fitting into being a woman" versus other people they meet) the gender you define yourself as belonging to, as showing up, can't be fully cut loose from language, social norms, what's seen as reasonably normal registers of style, talking, obligations within the country and culture one is living in. I don't see any society (except experiments in tiny social labs) that would let everyone pick and choose everything about the way they'll show their gender right from scratch, and which wouldn't lean on training some expectations into us as men and women, setting up codes of differences in clothing, talking, roles that are seen as "natural" for men and women and so on - would allow everyone to choose and mix that 100% freely without any sort of friction. You can fight some of that some of the time or profile yourself against it, over time some of it may change due to conscious actions by many people or changes in fashion etc, but simply looking away from it all and pretending it's not there r/l is not going to be useful. This does not mean me saying we'd have to rebuild all of society and language from the ground up to be able to make people understand trans issues (or gender issues) better.

I've noticed that... the bit about gay, lesbian and bisexual men and women discredit and shoot some hate towards transsexuals and transgender people. I would have thought that a group that had struggled for their rights so recently and continue to struggle wouldn't be so unkind to another group doing the same. Why is that? I'm sure that's a not such a simple question to answer...

As for the lack of trans icons, I can see how it makes some since, since transgender people are so few in number by comparison to even lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

Another thing I want to say that is similar in topic is that I think we should drop the umbrella "LGBTQ" term. Much for the same reason I don't think "trans" and "cis" ought to be considered gender identities. Sexuality, gender identity, and transgender issues are separate topics, and looping them together creates the false sense of a "them," at least in my mind. Different parts of our psyche and different parts of our personality govern these things, even though that they are similar topics. One misconception I have seen quite often is that transgender people are automatically gay or lesbian, and their desire to alter their bodies has to do with their sexuality and is detached from their gender.

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #15 on: September 07, 2014, 07:44:18 PM »
If you're saying that the polarity straight/gay/bi (with gay including both male and female homosexuals) isn't in itself part of the frame of gender or medical sex, then I do agree. Gender and the direction of sexual attraction don't have anything much to do with each other, not on a cause-and-effect level or as two sides of the same coins.

Offline kylie

  • Bratty Princess of Twisty, Creeping Secrets. Frilly | Fussy | Framed | Dreamy | Glam | Risky | Sporty | Rapt | Tease | Ironic | Shadowed | Struggling | Whispery | Bespelled
  • Liege
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Apr 2005
  • Location: Somewhere in the future.
  • Darkly sweet femme for rich & insidious scenarios.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 1
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #16 on: September 07, 2014, 08:17:41 PM »
Quote
Put quite simply, I don't like umbrella terms. I don't think some things should be simplified for the convenience of the masses.
          I often agree with this: I often go to quite a bit of trouble in my posts to try to express exactly what I think is going on.  Institutions are often reluctant to officially adopt more precise terms because well, there would be so many possibilities for gender.   (And for sooo many issues we struggle with constantly, but we still must formally struggle with them!)  It's hard to "manage" or "count" people this way.  Why look into gender seriously?  One might have to actually ask them lots of questions, rather than telling from a glance what they should do!  (The horror.)  There are social rather than scientific customs in place already.  Societies often do "thrive," somewhat comfortably on the whole however else we might measure "thriving," on myths and oversimplification. 

          Yet when there is a problem or discomfort at hand to deal with, people also need something to help them think about it.  And generally, sooner rather than later.  That is, if anyone is going to start dealing with it somehow.

          There are any number of fairly complex issues in history that high school textbooks only brush with.  While I also feel they should move a bit closer to college level on some of them...  Even college courses are not perfect, and many communities are still developing language to capture the whole gender situation.  Many academics are still struggling to get it right, and I might even say that quite a few of them are still not phrasing it all so neatly either.  Stuff does evolve and social acceptance IS a problem, much as it still is for racial divides not to mention class.  I have my own skepticism about certain parts of the way the trans community has evolved, and ways the LGB community has evolved for that matter...  But these still are communities with common issues.  They are not easy issues to narrow or "solve," but then neither are so many others in society.  We don't just give up on them all or stop grouping with many people we could cooperate with or learn from, over that. 

           Try to get away from thinking in terms of "male" and "female" here.  I think that's helping people confuse medical sex with gender identity.  If you assume most everyone should be labeled male or female because the majority have genitals that get read as male or female in the society at hand...  Well, that is subscribing to one gendered model of medical sex.  That model cares most of all about who can make babies, I suppose -- fine whatever.  But it isn't strictly about biochemistry (such as chromosomes).  And it certainly is not about personal identity, unless you mean the externally forced sense: "Making" people identify with what doctors and others suggest they "should" be like.

            When it comes to gender, I like to talk more in terms of feminine, masculine, queer, androgynous, and so many others.  Most people are initially told that they can or should have a shall we say, "plain" feminine or masculine gender identity...  And much of society (conventional society) usually hints and pushes (quite hard) in that direction day to day.  There are lots of rewards for adapting to that.  And probably some people just fit the mold quite well to begin with -- though it's terribly easy to overestimate that factor, when there's soooo much pressure involved. 

            Wherever one doesn't happen to fit, in large ways or small, that is not only a meta commentary.  There's nothing meta about seeing and having something simply different.  Saying trans or the others are "only meta" would be like saying Realism is not a perspective in itself, but it's only some story people have about Idealism.  And so many factions in society have played that sort of line for all its worth throughout history:  It runs, "Whenever someone wants something different, just say they're a disenchanted [insert whatever factions you already know and are more comfortable with here]."  For me:  It doesn't matter really so much what faction you claim to be in or out of.  The problem is more that such belief can itself lead to supporting rules and policies that build a society based on ideas that don't hold water.

            You might prefer to think of things as a spectrum rather than distinct differences, and with so many variables and overlapping questions that can work too.  That can actually work out if you recognize that each point on the spectrum could just as easily be split off into a group of people trying to accomplish something different and specific.  And that in reality, it's not two dimensional but so many parallel, vertical, diagonal, criss-crossing multidimensional questions.  It's not easy to fit in some neat mathematical model.  It IS social.  And it still matters a lot, in very concrete economic terms as well as slippery personal identity ones, what we allow and accept or not.

           If you take your "meta" theme to an extreme, then it's also possible to say dismissively:  Everything is interrelated and messy, everything is partly a talk about something else, everything changes slowly, people resist challenges to convention everywhere.  Nothing is new under the sun...  And why learn anything if we go to that extreme. 

           So it's a question of what one wishes to lump together and perhaps be supported by one's community in generally setting aside --- and what one thinks it's important to actually know about or change today.         
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 02:58:02 AM by kylie »

Offline Caehlim

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #17 on: September 08, 2014, 08:40:16 AM »
The underlying question I have to ask is: How important is it to identify as Trans or Cis?

As important as the person doing the self-identifying feels that it should be.

Quote
It seems to me that if one identifies as either of these, then they are stating that being Trans or Cis is more important to them than being male, female, or any non-binary gender.

Maybe it is for them. I don't know for sure, having been consistently cis-gendered my entire life but people who are in any way transgendered or intersex have probably had to go through a lot of self-examination and questioning to get where they are now. Perhaps they want to be proud of that achievement, or identify themselves to make things easier for future generations or to find companionship in like-minded or tolerant people. Either way, it's up to them how they choose to identify themselves.

Quote
It is in much the same way that identifying as straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual etc. overshadows who someone is as an individual.

Ever since I came out of the closet, I've found that I've got enough spare room in there to fit all my hats. I can be gay and identify as gay, without necessarily needing to give up on identifying as a geek, writer, science-fiction fan, geologist, student, incorrigible punster, roleplayer... etc. If the person I'm talking to doesn't have enough spare space in their mental database to cover me as a complex individual once they're aware of one small aspect of my identity, that's their issue not mine.

Offline Sheoldred

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #18 on: September 08, 2014, 09:10:29 AM »
I have a somewhat unrelated question pertaining MtF transsexuals among the ERP communities online. Well, mostly f-list, in some games like WoW, and a few other places since I haven't really had any encounters here on E.

Namely, there's quite a few people that I've met ONLINE in ERP communities who claim to be transsexuals but they've always left a rather bad impression upon me. Let me explain why...

They all share all of the following traits:

*They are heavily into futa stuff(they prefer to have a dick). They are often dominant or lean towards dominant.

*They are either 'lesbian' or highly prefer femininity over masculinity in their partners. Basically they -could- accept a 'femboy' but masculine men are a nono.

*They are heavily into gaming.

*They use lots of vulgar slang like 'get rekt, m8' and have a very vulgar sense of humour, which you'd expect from a 'bro'.

So what is my problem with them? Well, I always get this cognitive dissonance in my head... were these people really honest in their conduct of their gender? Because all of the above traits that I've listed apply to straight men. Women don't usually behave this way or have such preferences...

So I was wondering, could there possibly be people out there who are merely fooling themselves into thinking they are transgender out of some sort of self-hatred or other reason? I'm not meaning to offend anyone here but I've noticed this online 'fad' to diagnose oneself with ADHD or depression when the person is in fact quite healthy. However, their own belief in their mental illness can in fact cause them to emulate the symptoms which makes it hard -not- to diagnose them with depression or whatever.

I know this because I used to think I have mental problems too when I was younger but I was in fact making everything up as an excuse to not take responsibility for my own failures. I wasn't doing this entirely on purpose - life can be quite confusing at times and lack of experiences and feedback can lead one astray.

Offline lilhobbit37

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #19 on: September 08, 2014, 09:22:03 AM »
First off you are equating being transgender to having an illness, which it is not. Secondly, keep in mind there are many people who lie about their gender in gaming.

But most importantly, if you don't like a person's personality that is completely seperate from their gender. Stop thinking in terms of "that is how boys act not girls" and think "this is a rather crude way to act and I don't enjoy being around this, so maybe this isn't a person I would like to continue to associate with".

Also you are mixing transgender with sexuality issues as in who they are attracted to and what turns them on. This has nothing to do with their gender and everything to do with their sexuality.

Offline Sheoldred

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #20 on: September 08, 2014, 09:25:19 AM »
Quote
First off you are equating being transgender to having an illness, which it is not. Secondly, keep in mind there are many people who lie about their gender in gaming.

Sorry if I made it sound that way, what I meant is that lots of people misdiagnose themselves these days, whether its mental illness or some other condition, like transgenderism.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 09:27:46 AM by Sheoldred »

Offline gaggedLouise

  • Quim Queen | Collaborative juicy writer
  • Champion
  • Enchanter
  • *
  • Join Date: Jan 2011
  • Location: Scandinavia
  • Gender: Female
  • Bound, gagged and unarmed but still dangerous.
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 0
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #21 on: September 08, 2014, 09:25:51 AM »
Just as a one-off example of the strength of ingrained expectations on everyone to "act according to their place", the do's and don'ts that come with (physical or apparent) sex or similar demaracations such as race and age (young vs old), I remember somebody remarking about Michael Jackson during his final years: "Michael Jackson is a black man who doesn't want to frame his artistry on the stuff that black men are supposed to sing about or the kind of moves and gestures they are supposed to make. He doesn't want to focus on gangsters, gangland stories, masculine posing, raw satire or gospel  - instead he wants to sing the kind of songs normally performed by white women, and even get to look half like one. And that's where many people's ability to handle him as a person and performer runs out."

There were many more facets and questions to Michael Jackson, of course, but I still think this cuts to the core of something very many people felt about him, and it's part of what made him vaguely unsettling, or occasionally half cheesy to them. Much of the time he really didn't "act the part" of being a black U.S. male singer.

Offline Caehlim

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #22 on: September 08, 2014, 09:32:59 AM »
Sheoldred, you just described half of my biologically female friends right there. I think you may be allowing stereotypes to inform your ideas of feminine behaviour.

And of course people sometimes have to consider their gender identity or sexuality multiple times. It's a complex issue and part of someone's evolving idea of self. Online happens to be a particularly safe environment in which to experiment with your own identity. Trying out different roles is a natural part of growing up, and you'd be surprised how many people have experimented with other gender identities online at least once.

Offline Sheoldred

Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #23 on: September 08, 2014, 09:40:45 AM »
Quote
Sheoldred, you just described half of my biologically female friends right there. I think you may be allowing stereotypes to inform your ideas of feminine behaviour.

Alright, fair enough. My bad. Perhaps it is simply my dislike towards certain stereotypes. Can't be friends with everyone.

Quote
Trying out different roles is a natural part of growing up, and you'd be surprised how many people have experimented with other gender identities online at least once.

Yes, I've had a slight gender crisis too but it was a passing phase.

Offline Oniya

  • StoreHouse of Useless Trivia
  • Oracle
  • Carnite
  • *
  • Join Date: Sep 2008
  • Location: Just bouncing through. Hi! City of Roses, Pennsylvania
  • Gender: Female
  • One bad Motokifuka. Also cute and FLUFFY!
  • My Role Play Preferences
  • View My Rolls
  • Referrals: 3
Re: Cis and Trans...
« Reply #24 on: September 08, 2014, 09:58:40 AM »
But most importantly, if you don't like a person's personality that is completely seperate from their gender. Stop thinking in terms of "that is how boys act not girls" and think "this is a rather crude way to act and I don't enjoy being around this, so maybe this isn't a person I would like to continue to associate with".

This.  I've met straight females who could make Samuel L. Jackson blush with embarrassment.  And from the look of things, they were quite comfortable with being females - I wasn't about to engage further.  I've met men who were the soul of politeness and gentility - and could still kick your ass in PvP or on the field.  And again, quite comfortable with being male.  (Some of those 'bros' could take a page from that playbook - it would probably help their luck with women.)

There are cross-players - men and women who prefer playing the opposite gender, but have no dissonance regarding their physical sex or their sexuality.  Some of them write straight, some of them write gay, some are polite, some are crude - you get the picture. 

And I'm sure that there are some actual transsexuals who fit everything you described, while others don't.  I have a few friends who aren't on here, who are either transitioning or would if they had the money/access/medical clearance.  They are as varied as the other people I've described above.  One is very meek and mild, one is brash and occasionally crude (not in as extreme a manner as you described - sie is a person I like being around after all), one is supremely self-confident and refined.

Elliquiy is one of the few sites that actively tries to disentangle ones sexual preferences and gender identity.  Most others don't, and lying about one or the other may be seen as a way into otherwise unattainable areas - be it the woman who uses a male 'toon' so that other players take her seriously in WoW, or a man who uses a female 'toon' to take advantage of others; or even Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari trying to score an affordable apartment.