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Author Topic: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.  (Read 1713 times)

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Offline TriesteTopic starter

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The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« on: May 23, 2010, 09:51:07 AM »
I found this opinion piece very interesting:

Once again the 'T' in LGBT is silenced
The case of the jailed Malawian 'gay' couple is all the worse as one partner has had her transgender identity airbrushed out


It was bad enough to have the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia called "Idaho". But leaving aside concerns as to why the organisers of the event would want it to sound like a D-day landing beach, the idea that the "T" should be silent is hugely symbolic. A much better acronym would have been Idath, but that would have meant putting transphobia in front of homophobia. The organisers must have decided that trans people were not important enough.

Following this trend, the tragedy of the Malawian couple sentenced to 14 years imprisonment with hard labour simply for loving each other, is now framed as a "gay rights" issue. However, the appalling case of Steven Monjeza and Tiwonge Chimbalanga has demonstrated just how silent the T has been rendered - and indeed the possibility that there might also be an I (for intersex) not even considered.

There has rightly been an international outcry in response to the couple's barbaric treatment, but the protest has been against the perceived homophobia of Malawi's law courts. The problem is, however, that one half of this couple does not primarily identify as gay. Tiwonge is most probably transgender but possibly intersex (in many parts of Africa people do not actually have clear vocabulary to express this), and considers herself a woman. Indeed she has lived "as a woman" all her life.

This situation brings to mind Milton Diamond's important insight: "Nature loves diversity, society hates it." As a society we have started to learn that there is nothing wrong with homosexuality, but too many people still have problems with transgender people including, unbelievably, some gay people. A gay male film director has recently made a transphobic film in the US, much to the dismay of the American trans community.

Being gay, lesbian or bisexual is in the west increasingly considered an acceptable and natural part of human diversity, in a way that being trans is not. The international outcry has been against the conviction of two gay men, and I suspect the international community would be less motivated to intervene in the case of a transgender woman.

Paradoxically, the apparent media consensus that these two people are gay may help secure their release if international pressure can be maintained. But I, for one, will not be forgetting how this story's transgender angle appears to have been systematically suppressed some might even say censored. This probably stems from the fact society still does not consider trans people to be human beings.

It has been calculated that a transgender woman is murdered somewhere in the world every 53 hours. Given the relative size of the population of transgender women who are "out", and the fact that not all murders of trans women are known or reported, that is equivalent to at least 1.3 million cisgender women being murdered every year. I suspect that if women were being slaughtered on that scale just for their gender it would be huge news, but when it is trans women (and sometimes trans men) being murdered, it is different.

In 1980, a misguided and ignorant woman called Janice Raymond called for trans people to be "mandated out of existence". Despite the best efforts of murderers and transphobic journalists at erasing us, we are still here 30 years later. Our numbers are growing rapidly and, what's more, we are no longer willing to be silenced, misrepresented or ignored. Please support Chimbalanga and Monjeza and ask the UK government to apply pressure on Malawi to end this farce while they are both still on this planet.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2010, 12:26:04 PM »
I understand that this is a very emotionally charged issue, so I'd like to start out with a disclaimer.  I do not look down on anyone for being transgendered.  I don't think you've done anything immoral, reprehensible, or undesirable.  You are who you are and I have no problem with that.  Transgendered people are deserving of the same rights and considerations are other people; they're just people.

Quote
Paradoxically, the apparent media consensus that these two people are gay may help secure their release if international pressure can be maintained. But I, for one, will not be forgetting how this story's transgender angle appears to have been systematically suppressed some might even say censored.  This probably stems from the fact society still does not consider trans people to be human beings.
This kind of hyperbole and exaggeration is unproductive; just because someone doesn't approve of your behavior or lacks sympathy at consequences you suffered for that behavior does not mean that they do not believe you are human.  The conclusion they're drawing from media coverage and international pressure supposedly speaks of all of society--how is that even remotely fair?  What society are we even talking about?  There is no global society, yet they're talking about international politics.  The article is also splattered with words like transphobia and homophobia, as if the only way you can disapprove of those lifestyles and mindsets is if you're afraid of them.
Quote
It has been calculated that a transgender woman is murdered somewhere in the world every 53 hours. Given the relative size of the population of transgender women who are "out", and the fact that not all murders of trans women are known or reported, that is equivalent to at least 1.3 million cisgender women being murdered every year.
Not only is the source of these statistics incredibly biased and questionable but this amounts to (according to the actual report):
Quote from: The Actual Report
Trans Murder Monitoring Project reveals more than 200 reported murders of trans persons in the last 1 1/2 years
There are 7 billion people in this world.  If only 200 of them are being killed in the past 1 1/2 years for being transgendered, I'd say... that's not really a big deal at all.  The way they spun the article was pretty horrendous.  By the way, more women get raped in Africa as a result of the ongoing Civil Wars in a year than the figure they "estimated."

Want to know why the average person is largely indifferent to the struggles of transgendered peoples?  They can't relate at all.  To the average person their gender is equatable with their sex; the two concepts are immutably equal and when they see other people acting like they're not it does not make sense to them.  It's something that they cannot grasp.  So instead, they see people acting in what they deem a bizarre fashion.

Now, I think people should have the right to act in a bizarre fashion, and as long as they're not hurting other people, I don't believe they should suffer unduly for doing so.  I think people have the right to be weird.  What gets me is when transgendered associations complain about their unique struggles, attempt to raise awareness, and shove their predicament down other people's throats (or otherwise demand societal change that makes their position more acceptable and not viewed as weird).

The condescending attitude on "educating" people in their situation is especially enraging;  I don't need to know about your situation--your tastes, interests, and inclinations are your own.  Imagine if a furry came up to you and wanted to "educate" you about their position, give you details and information about it, then made up their own little scale regarding their situation.  It's pretty much the same thing.

Weird does not mean bad, and there are a lot of people out there in this world who suffer for being different from others.  Why not campaign on that point instead of trying to isolate themselves into a subsection that deserves special attention?  I don't want to hear about their unique struggles.  Everyone has problems; I don't want to hear about other people's, I can still respect them on it while giving them their space, privacy, and understanding.

I am not comfortable with the race I was born with.  I don't identify with people of my race.  When I have conversations with them, they often say things or assume things about me based on my race that are inaccurate.  I kind of wish I was another race; if the option was available to me, I might take it.  But it would be a little ridiculous of me to demand that other people call me the race that I feel like, to start referring to everyone else as cisracial, and to begin to "educate you guys" on transracialism and demand your respect for my unique struggles.

If you don't fit the stereotype of your sex, that's a good indication that you are being yourself (which I think is a good thing personally).  If you don't feel like that gender identity, you have every right to consider yourself and think of yourself as something else.  But the way that transgendered organizations want to make demands on the rest of society, how they seem to want the greater majority to conform to their new gender labeling paradigm, and the general self-righteousness and victimization--well, I find it very hard to sympathize with their cause because of it.

That isn't to say I haven't sympathized with individual transgendered people.  In college, I did, and I was friends with several of them.  On a personal level, I can see their struggles and feel for them.  It's the agenda that irritates me, the polarized language, and air of entitlement.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2010, 12:31:38 PM by Jude »

Offline Noelle

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2010, 12:41:38 PM »
Sorry, but the fact that they spent the first portion of the article talking about the "symbolism" of the arrangement of letters in an acronym really made me roll my eyes and stop caring about what the rest was about. I'm all for the fair treatment of people of all kinds, but that was just ridiculous. There are far more important things within the LGBT community to harp on than that.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2010, 05:16:55 PM »
Why not just call it 'IDAG (International Day Against Genderphobia)'?  It's already been determined that the variants from the bi-gender standard fall more on a continuum than into discrete categories.  It also doesn't wind up causing confusion with a certain potato producing state.

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #4 on: May 23, 2010, 05:18:34 PM »
Why not just call it 'IDAG (International Day Against Genderphobia)'?  It's already been determined that the variants from the bi-gender standard fall more on a continuum than into discrete categories.  It also doesn't wind up causing confusion with a certain potato producing state.

Would probably be much more desirable. Given that gender identity and sexuality are still thought of by most people as static "either-or" type things, a better approach at education might be to attack this preconception.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2010, 05:22:02 PM »
Tired, so keeping this brief:

1. The article is overblown and sensationalistic. I found it kind of distasteful, especially the nitpicking over acronyms when there is a something serious to be talked about. However, I am well aware of the phenomenon she references, and she is entirely right. The world likes to ignore the transgendered. In many ways the larger LBG community would love to drop the T. But there are better ways to present that point than the author does.

2. Jude: It is clear that you don't know about our situation and don't want to know about our situation. So stop talking about it. Seriously. Educate yourself or leave the conversation.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2010, 05:26:24 PM »
It would be remarkable if you could've found a way to be more condescending and dismissive of someone else's opinion in such short order than that.  What don't I know that you'd like to educate me on?

Offline Transgirlenstein

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2010, 05:28:25 PM »
I agree with DarklingAlice.  Being transgendered is NOT the same as being a furry at all.  It is not down to tastes or interests.  It is not a choice.  Comments like that Jude are why we want people to be educated about what transgendered actually is.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2010, 05:30:26 PM »
How exactly do you know it's not a choice?  How do you know anyone's sexual tastes are a choice, including a furry's?

Remember, there are furrys that don't do it for sexual purposes and really do feel close to animals.

EDIT:  Apparently they prefer to be called Therians, I think.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2010, 05:32:41 PM by Jude »

Offline Transgirlenstein

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2010, 05:32:10 PM »
Because it has nothing to do about sexual tastes.  That's why. 

Offline Ket

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Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2010, 05:32:51 PM »
Let's keep it civil and on topic please. If you'd like to debate whether sexuality/gender are a choice or not, start a new thread.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2010, 05:33:07 PM »
And... the decisions of non-sexual furries has something to do with sex?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #12 on: May 23, 2010, 05:35:01 PM »
I think it 's hard to see how some people have a hard time defining themselves as the opposite sex. Most folks just don't know how to think on it. I've read a few articles (and chatted with a few folks here) and it seems a pretty hard thing to deal with, and it irks me to see some folks act like it's a 'well I'll go in for a plumbing change because the other side gets it easier'.

No, everything I've read or heard on the TV seems to show this is a MAJOR issue and something that no one who peruses it goes into without great forethought and quite a bit of effort.

(Anyone in transition feel free to correct me, as the only person I have known in PERSON was turned down by his therapist and killed said therapist and himself)

I think a bit more thought and consideration needs to be given to these folks.  I agree when you consider the number of rapes/murders/AIDS deaths is higher, but consider this. Every 53 hours resulting in a TG Murder is kind of scary when you consider the small size of the group in question.

Offline Transgirlenstein

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #13 on: May 23, 2010, 05:36:20 PM »
Let me explain what it feels like and what it's like to go through this.  Waking up everyday, knowing something isn't right.  Looking at someone and wishing you knew why there was a gigantic hole in you and how to fill it.  One day, you work it out!  Hurray!  People should be happy for you? Right? 

Right?

You loose friends, you loose family.  You spend thousands of dollars to fix this, to make it right.  And guess what?  Most transgender people go through it anyways.  Because if they don't?  Well, most feel they will go mad.  Some do commit suicide or commit self-harm. 

Not much of a choice.

Offline Oniya

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Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #14 on: May 23, 2010, 05:40:51 PM »
It's all about comfortable in your own skin.  I actually know many people who aren't, and it's not always about their bodies' gender.  Being uncomfortable with being what the world perceives you as isn't a choice.  No one would choose to put themselves through that.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #15 on: May 23, 2010, 05:43:17 PM »
I know what you went through is terrible, and I don't believe that it is a choice.  I get the feeling that it's an internally motivated condition and rather torturous to be looked upon with scorn for simply correcting what you fundamentally feel is an imbalance in the natural state of your body.  Don't know if it's a biological cause or something social, and of course I can't relate to it because I've never experienced it.  I cannot empathize with you, but the best I can do is say that my sympathy goes out to you, truly, I think it's horrific that you would suffer for this.

But, all that aside, it doesn't really change the negativity I feel when I read overblown articles displaying just as much closemindedness as the people they're criticizing.  I see a lot of the initiatives that transgendered groups are putting out there as very offensive in their own right and nearly as ignorant of the point of view of other people as those who persecute them.

Take this conversation for example.  I cleanly stated that I support the rights of transgendered people, then tossed a bit of criticism of the attitude and the movement in the wake of that statement.  I am, for all intents and purposes, a supporter of transgendered people in my actions, in my voting record, and in my personal life.  Yet I've been attacked, and I know I will continue to be, by people who feel very strongly that even my praise-tempered criticism is unacceptable.

I think that kind of displays the problem in the attitude of the movement.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2010, 05:46:10 PM by Jude »

Offline TriesteTopic starter

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Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #16 on: May 23, 2010, 05:56:08 PM »
My intent was to discuss the overarching tensions and issues regarding the T in LGBT. If you would like to suggest a better article, please do so. If you can't find a better one, well...

And, seriously, the discussion of whether it's a 'choice' or not needs to go elsewhere. I'm pretty much in agreement with Ket there.

I think it 's hard to see how some people have a hard time defining themselves as the opposite sex. Most folks just don't know how to think on it. I've read a few articles (and chatted with a few folks here) and it seems a pretty hard thing to deal with, and it irks me to see some folks act like it's a 'well I'll go in for a plumbing change because the other side gets it easier'.

No, everything I've read or heard on the TV seems to show this is a MAJOR issue and something that no one who peruses it goes into without great forethought and quite a bit of effort.

(Anyone in transition feel free to correct me, as the only person I have known in PERSON was turned down by his therapist and killed said therapist and himself)

I think a bit more thought and consideration needs to be given to these folks.  I agree when you consider the number of rapes/murders/AIDS deaths is higher, but consider this. Every 53 hours resulting in a TG Murder is kind of scary when you consider the small size of the group in question.

Everyone I know that's out about being TG has had to struggle with it. One friend from school who was (I'm using a fake name here) Lori has now become Lucas, and he pretty much had to confront his mother with, "Either you accept me as I am or you will not talk to me, and you'll end up going to your grave knowing you drove your SON away from you"... I've seen the same things happen to people who come out as bi or gay to their parents. It's all valid ways of life, but you should never have to say something like that to your mother - and having to say something like that to a parent is pretty life-altering. Getting to the point where you have to confront your parents, who are supposed to love you no matter what, is scary.

I would not personally want to do it.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #17 on: May 23, 2010, 09:57:40 PM »
@ Jude: You have stated you have no experience with this, a situation not in itself rare. You have also stated you have no ability to empathize (a quality not contingent on personal experience, but this might just be a matter of semantics). The problem comes when you simultaneously decree that you have no need to be told about our situation and scoff at the idea of education. This seems like saying "I don't have any experience with something and don't want to learn about it." Which is fine. But then you went on to opine on a subject that you, by your own admission, have no standing to opine on. Without experience or education on a subject, what are you basing any of this on and from whence does its validity derive? Further, in that opinion you created several false equivalences, indicative of your lack of understanding. This was the basis of my comment, and yes, I should have put it more politely. I apologize for my tone. Also note that I did not offer to educate you, I invited you to research the matter yourself.

On Topic
In some ways, transgenders are not a legitimate part of the LGB group. Homosexuality and bisexuality are questions of sexual desire and, as Transgirlenstein pointed out, transgenderism is not. Sexuality is wholly separate  from gender identity and I think that most people within the LGBT community realize that. So I can understand that some members of said community will look at transgenders and go: "What are they doing here?" The problem comes from the fact that the cisgender, heteronormative folk genuinely have a difficult time understanding this. If a female-to-male transsexual likes girls, he is labeled homosexual, which is not true. He has a female body, but the desires are actually heterosexual desires. Since the LGBT community movement has generally been a response to an external oppressive force, the content of its ranks has been decided (for good or ill) by the concepts and definitions of that external force. This can cause some dissension though since not all transgenders are on board with certain principles of the movement. For instance, not all transsexuals support the push for homosexual marriage. At the same time there is allot of common ground as well (shared feelings, shared suffering, the similarity of the 'coming out experience', etc.). It is very difficult to provide an opinion as to whether this alliance helps both sides, helps one side over the other, or hurts everyone involved.

Offline Jude

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #18 on: May 23, 2010, 10:30:08 PM »
When did I say I didn't research the topic?  I mean I can see where you distilled that from what I said...
Quote
Weird does not mean bad, and there are a lot of people out there in this world who suffer for being different from others.  Why not campaign on that point instead of trying to isolate themselves into a subsection that deserves special attention?  I don't want to hear about their unique struggles.  Everyone has problems; I don't want to hear about other people's, I can still respect them on it while giving them their space, privacy, and understanding.
Pretty poorly worded on my behalf; certainly didn't carry the meaning I wanted it to.  To be more verbose...

I have no desire to hear the challenges other people face recounted to me at length in a lecturing fashion unless I need to hear that.  Generally speaking, I think the solution to social intolerance of situations which should (in my opinion) be tolerated (homosexuality, transexuality) is to humanize the victimized minority by use of an anecdote (because of the ability a narrative has to cause sympathy for the characters involved) or personal interaction.  Obviously, recounting of experiences is going to be the most effective way to do this and foster understanding between different groups.

However, storytelling is different from education.  Education implies that there are ironclad facts to be learned and automatically paints the "learner" as deficient and ignorant; like there's some vital piece of knowledge that they're missing, and lets face it, information about the gender spectrum is not vital knowledge to the majority of the populace.  I take offense with the attitude, the air of superiority, and the tone more than anything.  I found this post in particular to be an especially egregious example of that.

The desire of a transgendered person to be treated as a sex opposite from which they were born is not wrong in my view.  But I believe the need to cause the rest of the world to conform to that opinion, to try and make them accept that uncritically without meeting them halfway, and to impress upon them the model of gender that they have developed which accounts for their behavior is wrong (unless that model is scientifically based, and thus not a matter of opinion).

I find the science around the entire area fascinating.  Gender differences in the brain are an area of interest for me, and I do my best to keep up with the literature on the subject out of personal interest.  Biological explanations of homosexual, transexuality, and bisexuality are, extremely interesting, legitimately deserve to be called educational, and are factual.

I get the feeling that people who are associated with LGBT issues often forget that while their opinions are reasonable and based on solid personal experience, that's not enough to form an authoritative fact and justify the dictation of their viewpoint to others.  Generally, while I tend to trend liberal on social and economic issues, I notice this fault running through a lot of liberal positions, and I find it troubling.

Offline Paradox

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #19 on: May 24, 2010, 08:25:43 AM »
This is an article in my local paper. It reminded me of this topic because there are quite a few openly gay members of the VFW, yet a transgendered member is facing difficulty in maintaining her membership:

He's now a she and wants to serve the VFW as a woman

Offline Farmboy

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2010, 05:13:25 PM »
Sorry, I deleted my reply because on second thought it seemed off topic. Basically, I pointed out that bi people like me tend to think we see all angles, but we don't. Just because one person can choose doesn't mean all can choose. So, you see, it was quite a bit off topic.

On topic:

I imagine it would be harder to be accepted as a T, especially an M to F trans, because there is an instinctual shudder that occurs in males at the thought of lopping off the old wedding tackle. So, naturally, because most people think that their own way of thinking is sane and all others are some degree of crazy, they will just reject the idea out of hand.

The answer is to accept one another, but that is easier said than done.

I was born male, but if I could do like Heinlein's character in "I Will Fear No Evil", that is, get my brain transplanted into the body of a young sexy woman, I would! In a heartbeat! But the idea of physically altering my own body makes me cringe! Pretty ironic, huh?

So that, I believe, is at the heart of males' rejection of trans people. Our own imaginations of the sensation of cutting in the most private of places is just very overpowering.

Offline Will

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2010, 05:23:25 PM »
The desire of a transgendered person to be treated as a sex opposite from which they were born is not wrong in my view.  But I believe the need to cause the rest of the world to conform to that opinion, to try and make them accept that uncritically without meeting them halfway, and to impress upon them the model of gender that they have developed which accounts for their behavior is wrong (unless that model is scientifically based, and thus not a matter of opinion).

Why is it wrong?  Why should proponents of a more accurate model meet you halfway?

And what opinion is it that you refer to?  Is it the "opinion" that TG people should be socially accepted, and not ostracized or assaulted?  If they are a little overzealous in their effort to impress that "opinion" on you, then I can't say I blame them.  And why isn't education a reasonable method of doing that?  It's the unfamiliarity that makes people uncomfortable.  People revile what they don't understand.  So, education seems like a lovely solution to me.

Offline Myrleena

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #22 on: May 25, 2010, 05:57:11 PM »
As a Male to Female transsexual myself, I find the concept that some people think that we shouldn't be in the GLBT grouping somewhat baffling.  Mind, this is probably in part due to the fact that I am a lesbian. (If you think growing up was weird, try growing up without ever having heard of transsexuals and being attracted to girls, and wondering why in the world it isn't working how you thought it would...))

Anyway, I tend to be part of the 'live and let live' group.  But if someone refuses to acknowledge that what I feel and believe has any validity, I see no reason to give them the same respect.  I'll talk, explain and so forth, but it is their problem, not mine.

Offline Farmboy

Re: The 'T' in LGBT is silent.
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2010, 03:14:21 PM »
Why is it wrong?  Why should proponents of a more accurate model meet you halfway?

And what opinion is it that you refer to?  Is it the "opinion" that TG people should be socially accepted, and not ostracized or assaulted?  If they are a little overzealous in their effort to impress that "opinion" on you, then I can't say I blame them.  And why isn't education a reasonable method of doing that?  It's the unfamiliarity that makes people uncomfortable.  People revile what they don't understand.  So, education seems like a lovely solution to me.

The main thing I would say about Jude's quote there is that it IS scientifically proven, "it" being the "model of gender". This gender model was not developed by people who are "T" or "I". It is scientifically derived based on behaviour studies, and then some. But of course, people cherry-pick what they want to believe of science, so if they insist on using genitalia exclusively to determine gender, they will create a foregone conclusion, which is fallacious. That would be to confuse gender with sex.

Shall we ignore the homosexuality of two male dogs on the suburban front lawn? Shall we say it is because they are pets and not part of nature, then fall back on the old "contra natura" argument? Well, apes do it, too... and in the wild.

I would ask Jude, and others who think like him: How much more science do you need?

There was a study done, and I can't find it (sorry) of the children who were in utero during the bombing of London. Guess what? There is a higher incident of males who gender identify as female. Another study has shown that even a slight increase of testosterone in a pregnant woman who is carrying a female will greatly increase the odds of a female who gender identifies as a male. I wish I could find these studies, but I do know we had this in college (years ago), so it must be around still, somewhere.

Need more? Try Wikipedia. Look up Robert Stoller. This model has existed for 40+ years. The concept of bisexuality has been around for almost 100 years. Even before Stoller, I saw the concept of more than two genders in Heinlein's novel, Stanger in a Strange Land, which predated Stoller by 7 years.