Cate Mcgregor lashes out at LGBT community and why I’m sympathetic to gender non – binary people

Former Group Captain and Order of Australia, Catherine Mcgregor has lashed out publication Sydney Star Observer and the LGBT community, labelling them “capricious”, “discriminatory”, “narrow – minded” and “totalitarian”.She also opposes calling non – binary people “they” without a diagnosis of gender dysphoria:

I do not support bullying of trans or gay kids more than I support bullying of Muslims or Christians or fat kids or rangas. But you don’t just wear a nose ring and demand to be called “they” in the absence of a diagnosis.

Mcgregor isn’t the only trans person to criticise pronouns such as “they” when describing gender and the idea that gender is non – binary. American YouTuber, Blaire White, also a transwoman, totally rejects the idea that there are more than two genders:

Content Warning: coarse language

When I read Mcgregor’s article, I was conflicted. I still am. As a cis – gender female, I will be the first to say that I have no idea what Mcgregor or White have gone through. Mcgregor has said publicly that for her, the struggle was becoming too much. She says that she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria – an acute distress over a person’s gender identity and sex not matching up. The latest Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V), has used the term “gender dysphoria” instead of Gender Identity Disorder (GID), which has has been applauded as being a step to destigmatise trans people.

However, I’m not willing to say for certain that gender non – binary people are making their identity up as a political statement, like White suggests, or whether they (collectively), vary in political persuasions just as people in any other group.

I’m not willing to say that gender non – binary people are making it up, because, until very recently, that’s how many people viewed asexuality. In my teen years, two health professionals told me two myths about asexuality – one was that it doesn’t exist and another said it was a phase that people grow out of. The first isn’t true and the second isn’t true for most asexual people. Asexuality was classed as a part of hypo sexual desire disorder (HSDD), until the DSM V was modified. The idea that asexuality is a phase, doesn’t exist or is a mental disorder has left many asexual people feel confused, broken and isolated.

However, science is slowly proving that asexuality may be a legitimate orientation. According to Lorri Brotto and Morag Yule, research indicates that, like homosexuality, heterosexuality and bisexuality, epigenetics seem to play a part in determining whether someone becomes asexual. Now, I don’t know about anyone else, but I think this is huge! Now, in terms of gender, I understand that there has been some research on cross – sex (MtF/ FtM) transgender people’s brain structures and differences have been noticed. Genetics may also play a part. An identical twin is more likely to identify as trans if his/ her identical twin identifies as trans. This research has only been very recent. In the past, I’ve looked up research on non – binary gender identities and there’s basically none. That’s not to say that non – binary/ agender people don’t exist and anyone who identifies that way is making it up. What I’m saying is, let the science catch up. Until then, I still don’t understand why people are still getting their knickers in a knot over the pronoun “they”. What’s so hard to call someone that if “they” prefer it?

What do you think? Am I wrong? I’d like to especially like to hear from trans/ gender non – binary people about this. Feel free to comment!

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Why do we constantly confuse sex with gender?

CW: brief mention of suicide ideation. 

I was a little disappointed with former Labor Aboriginal Adviser, Warren Mundine on “The Bolt Report” last night, when he said, I thought quite flippantly, that in his day there was only two genders; male and female. I thought he may have been a bit more understanding of people who have been historically and, often, still continue to be marginalised. It did, however, make me realise something – that many people –  either accidentally or deliberately –  confuse sex with gender.

There are two SEXES, (not including intersex). There is male and female, XX and XY (again, not including intersex and other chromosomal conditions). That does not mean that everyone strictly identifies with either. I believe as cis – gender people, like myself, don’t have a right to tell non – cis gender people how they should identify or that gender identity is ‘simple”. It isn’t the case for everyone. Has anyone thought that many non – cis – gender people have tried telling themselves to be what sex they were born as, only to fall into depression and suicide ideation? Former Australian Defence Force Colonel, 2012 Order of Australia recipient and transwoman, Catherine Mcgregor has been very frank about her own personal struggles with her gender identity to the point where, before her transition, she was planning to take her own life. For some, transitioning and identifying as the opposite sex isn’t the answer either.

 

A genderqueer activist on the LGBTQ+ Christian website, Believe Out Loud, used the analogy of computer coding and explained that the digits are coded either 0 or 1 for a software to carry out certain tasks (downloading, uploading a photo on Instagram, etc). The writer went on to say that gender and sexuality in humans isn’t always so straight forward. About the whole, “in my day there were only two genders”? In 2013, creator and star of the hit musical,”The Rocky Horror Picture Show’, Richard O’Brien, told the BBC that he identifies as “70% man”.  and admitted to taking female hormone, although not surgery. The article goes on to explain briefly some findings that has come out of recent research about gender identity, what’s believed to determine it and how in some people, it, like sexuality, can be fluid.

 

Why is this important? Because transgender – identified people are still a heavily marginalised group all over the world. Transgender suicide rate in the West,is believed to be at 41% according to American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The overall American rate is 6.4%. I truly believe that one of the main ways to combat this is if we get real about what transgender people experience and stop treating them as a joke. Because the marginalisation of transgender people, like any other group, it not a laughing matter.

I Don’t Think It’s Simple As ‘Want’

Bruce Jenner, stepfather of the Kardashians, has spoken to American reporter, Dianne Sawyer and has confirmed that he’s transgender. Now, before I continue, I feel like I need to make a disclaimer here:I’m cis – gender and have a lack of genuine knowledge of transgender identities and what it’s like for transgender people. So, just to be clear, I’m not an expert by any means.

One thing that has struck me is the constant use of the word ‘want’. ‘If he wants to be a woman, then that’s fine’. The thing is, I don’t think it’s just a matter of want. I could want to be a few inches taller, but it’s really not that big of deal. I could want to have toast for breakfast. No big deal. From what I can understand, gender is a lot more complicated than that.

In the interview, Jenner opened up about how he played with his sister’s clothes and wanted to wear them as a child. I’ve heard a story of Chaz Bono (born Chastity) saying that he felt profoundly different growing up, from both gay (he did identify as gay before he realised he was transgender) and straight peers. People feel it when they realise they’re different. They don’t choose ‘hey, I’m going to be a male today’. It’s something they know deep down inside, often from an early age.

Identity, I feel is largely about what is, rather than what we can choose to be. That is, I feel, particularly true with gender and sexuality. To put it bluntly, people can choose to be true to themselves, or choose to live a lie. That seems to be what it boils down to for a lot of people.

Please send your thoughts. For those who do identify as transgender, what have your experiences been like?

10 Things You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronouns — Everyday Feminism

This is an interesting and, at least I thought, an insightful look into addressing transgender people. Good, and frankly, hard – hitting read.

Charissa's Grace Notes

10 Things You’re Actually Saying When You Ignore Someone’s Gender Pronouns — Everyday Feminism.

Constance…immediately pass this on to every stubborn person who is important to you.  It is that good, and it does give the basic and true message communicated by those who refuse to use proper pronouns.

I know in my life?  So unfortunate, but the people that I love, was willing to sacrifice for and even die a bit for, well, they did not feel the same way about me and they engaged in terrible acts of betrayal.

So, weirdly, it set me free.

Now?  Well, thanks to them, and my wonderful horrible very own haters who come as dementors, I have toughened up…and here is the truth:

When you gender-shame me with improper pronouns and hate filled speech, you identify yourself as a hater, and make the whole thing easy for me.  I can save…

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“Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality” – Part 1 Review

Sorry it’s taken a while to get to this. This post is a continuation of reviews of the book “Invisible Orientation: An Introduction to Asexuality” by Julie Sondra Decker.

Part 1 basically gives a rundown on what asexuality is and what it isn’t. There is repeated emphasis that asexuality is an orientation: not something that can (or should) be ‘fixed’, the difference between asexuality and ‘purity’, that not all asexuals are religious (actually, I’ve queried on here before why so many asexuals are actually atheists). Also, she pointed out that asexuality should not be mistaken for asexual reproduction. Basically, to cut the rundown short, Decker wanted to emphasise that asexuality is an orientation. That’s it.

Just a note on trying to be ‘fixed’. It doesn’t work. The American Psychological Association, as well most other major organisations worldwide agree that any sort of effort to change one’s sexual orientation is futile at best to downright psychologically harmful at worst. In the latest version of the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, there was a modification to deliberately separate asexuality from disorders like Hypo Sexual Desire Disorder (HSDD) and Sexual Arousal Disorder (SAD). Unfortunately, the medical industry as a whole hasn’t caught on (more on that on a later post).

She also talked about asexuality and gender identity. Most asexuals identify as cisgender. This busts the myth that people are asexual because of being intersex or transgender, thus, linking asexuality to hormone situations often linked to intersexuality and transgenderism. Yes, there are many self – identified asexuals who do identify as trans or intersex, but it’s not all of them (there’s a few trans – identified people in the Asexuality group I participate in on Facebook. While a number of them do identify as trans, or fit under a non gender – conforming identity (agender, gender – fluid, etc), most are cisgender.

Next myth that was busted in the book was the idea that asexuals are “anti – sex”. Many asexuals are sex – repulsed, but most respect the fact that other people enjoy sex and deem it an important part of their lives, even if the asexual doesn’t. Anti – sexual comments and almost a reverse – discrimination, of allosexual people is usually actually frowned upon in asexual circles. Unfortunately, I’ve read that this makes people who are sex – repulsed (which is apparently statistically speaking, the majority), feel alienated, even in asexual circles. But most asexuals do respect the right for others to have consensual, legal sexual interactions.

She talked about this and I’ll further emphasise it: asexuality is not a trend or phase (for most people; some people can and do experience fluidity – she cited Dr. Lisa Diamond when pointing this out). To call asexuality a “trend” is quite frankly, ridiculous. Like really, we’re 1% of the population! It is just the way some people are wired/ built or experienced their sexuality. That’s it. It’s also not a reflection of the person to not find a “suitable” partner/ spouse (I honestly hate it wne so much value is placed on people’s ability to find a partner and get married – more on that later). I’ll talk more about this later, but I find the sentiment about this both absurd and, frankly, quite damaging.

All asexuls can’t be placed in a pidgeon hole. Som asexuals want romance (I talked about romantic orientation here). Of course, there are other variations, which i won’t describe here because I feel that i’m in danger of summarising the whole book part, which is not my intent.

A plea to the allosexual community, both from Decker and myself. If someone discloses to you that they are asexual, please respect the person and believe them. This is so important. Coming to terms that you’re anything other than straight, including asexual, can be terrifying to admit to yourself let alone anyone else. Please take our word for it.