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Doctor Who is now a woman

Doctor Who is now a woman

Just after Wimbledon Men’s Final, fans everywhere learned what they had been waiting till the end of the match for. Not who won, but who would be the new Doctor Who.

To the shock of few, the new Doctor is to be a woman.

This could raise some really interesting gender pronoun questions and bring them into mainstream discussion. How will people refer to the Doctor’s previous incarnations? And will it inadvertently, even by implication, address some of the issues that a transperson faces being mis-gendered when people refer to their old gender?

Of course, it does nothing to change the perception of gender binary as The Doctor has merely transitioned from one gender binary to the other, but it could rather ironically be a positive step as the issue becomes part of pop culture.

It will be interesting to see how things go. Will they will just whitewash it by having everything refer to the Doctor as “she”, and nobody ever getting it wrong, even if they are a recurring character who doesn’t know about the transition? Or will they will play on it by making her suffer the same awkward situations that many transpeople face of people using the wrong pronoun for them?

Pop culture has a habit of altering language and perception, so it will also be interesting to see what, if any, wider ramifications there are to this in society in general.

One thing is for sure, the internet will be awash with misogyny and transphobia right now.

 
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Posted by on July 16, 2017 in In the News, Opinion

 

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Two people, or two facets?

As a genderfluid / two-spirit / 3rd gender person, I sometimes present as female and sometimes present as male. I’ve covered this several times in the past.

Often I see fellow t-girls referring to their girl side in the third person, even going as far as to say things like “Susan wants to come out today, and I can’t stop her”. Frankly talk like this scares me – it is surely inviting split personality. Or perhaps they feel guilt or shame about their transgenderism and it is a way for them to externalise it and compartmentalise it? I don’t know, but I’m certainly not comfortable with the idea.

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Posted by on May 10, 2017 in Opinion, Transgender

 

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Review: Binky nail varnish

I was in my local Co-Op the other day and they had Binky nail varnish on special offer at £2 a go.

Having really enjoyed wearing my best friend’s “Countess” by Barry M that we both wore during a weekend away with her recently, I was drawn to the glittery purple “Purple Shimmer” in the Binky range, and also to “Pink Crystal”. I figured that for a fraction of the price of an OPI nail varnish, they were cheap enough to give it a go.

binky1

binky2

As an aside, I have to say that “Purple Shimmer” and “Pink Crystal” sound like characters in ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic‘ which made them even more appealing to me. 🙂

I haven’t tried Pink Crystal yet, but I have worn the Purple Shimmer.

It went on very thick and gel-like. One coat was almost enough, but I did two coats to get a deep even coverage. It dried very quickly between coats.

However, it took three coats of clear top coat before it stopped feeling like sand paper, and I fear it’s going to be as hard to take off as the Barry M was.

Purple Shimmer by Binky

Purple Shimmer by Binky

Durability is good so far, and I haven’t had any chips yet after 5 days. I’ll update this post in a few days with further information, including how easy it was to remove.

Update:

Well, as expected it was an absolute nightmare to remove! But before that, it lasted a good 10 days before it had to come off, and that was mainly because it was growing out. So I call that rather good value for money.

 
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Posted by on October 16, 2016 in Nails, Opinion

 

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Transgender – Richard O’Brien and Germaine Greer

The Rocky Horror Show Opens In Sydney - Arrivals

(Photo by Gaye Gerard/Getty Images)

 

Well… wow. What do you make of this? Richard O’Brien responding to Germaine Greer’s comments on transgenderism.

I agree with Germaine Greer and Barry Humphries. You can’t be a woman. You can be an idea of a woman. You’re in the middle and there’s nothing wrong with that. I certainly wouldn’t have the wedding tackle taken off. That is a huge jump and I have all the sympathy in the world for anyone who does it but you aren’t a woman.”

~~ Richard O’Brien

My opinion on this is that I think Germaine Greer is a fairly abhorrent person with regards to her views on transgenderism, but I think Richard O’Brien is kind of making a fair point, although it comes across rather badly.

As a “third gender” person myself I can see what he is saying – if I had surgery then it wouldn’t alter the person I am inside, it would only affect my outward appearance.

Your gender identiy is a state of being – an internal state of mind – and physical genitalia have little bearing on that. The difference between him and Greer is that he appears to suggest that he thinks it is possible to be a woman even if you weren’t born one genetically, and she emphatically does not.

I don’t understand how she can campaign for equality, acceptance and inclusion, and then say that transwomen are not women but are men trying to usurp and subvert feminism. What an abhorrent thing to say!

By contrast, Richard seems to be saying that you can be a woman inside and no matter what you do (or don’t) to your genitals, who you are remains. As in, still a woman. And I can totally accept that.

If that’s not what he meant, and instead he really is in agreement with Germaine Greer’s bigotry, then obviously I don’t endorse that. However, what *I* am saying is that who you are inside is what is important and your physical attributes less so.

That isn’t to say that gender reassignment surgery is wrong, or unnecessary; it’s perfectly natural to want your physical appearance to match your gender identity should you genuinely need to transition. But by the same token, no matter how much surgery you have you will never reach the nirvana of being exactly the same as if you had been born differently. And, further, there is immense pressure on transgender people to transition from one society-endorsed gender binary to the other, and as I’ve observed many times in this blog, there are more options and states of being than that.

So, in conclusion, my interpretation of what Richard O’Brien is saying is that he is advocating finding contentment in being yourself rather than feeling pressured into transitioning. And that is a world away from agreeing with Germaine Greer.

 

 
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Posted by on May 17, 2016 in In the News, Opinion, Transgender

 

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Ted Cruz, Toilets and Transgenders

A month ago, I posted a reaction on my public Facebook page to Ted Cruz’s comments on North Carolina’s decision to pass a law which makes transpeople use the public toilets (restrooms) of their birth gender rather than their identified gender, particularly his rather horrific comment that ‘Men should not be going to the bathroom with little girls’

A friend recently told me that my posted reaction was very good, but that since she isn’t on Facebook she would have never have seen it if I hadn’t mentioned it to her and linked her, and suggested that I repost it here.

So, here it is:

America’s intolerance really saddens me. But this is a country that only relatively recently moved away from institutionalised state-sanctioned racial segregation, and where interracial sex is still seen as a “kink”, and where racism and homophobia are still a real issue. As is gun crime, of course. So it’s hardly surprising that transphobia is also a real issue in the USA.

For me, as a transperson, the biggest insult is the insinuation that I would be a danger to women when in girl mode. I mean, seriously WTF? I would be at far more danger from looking like an attractive woman and being forced to go into the men’s loos and having some bloke assault me.

Also, is Ted Cruz really saying that if they let him into a female toilet he would be unable to stop himself from assaulting women and young girls? Or is he saying that it’s just all transpeople that are rapists?

I’m genuinely terrified for America’s future.

Since I posted that, the U.S. Department of Justice and North Carolina are now involved in a lawsuit over this (not my Facebook post! I mean the law that NC passed), with the DOJ taking a very robust and heartening stance, and not only condemning it utterly but making reference to the Civil Rights Movement.

An article by Mark Joseph Stern on Slate calls this the “‘I Have a Dream’ moment of the Trans movement”, and goes into it in far more detail than I will here.

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch is quoted as saying:

This is not the first time that we have seen discriminatory responses to historic moments of progress for our nation. We saw it in the Jim Crow laws that followed the Emancipation Proclamation. We saw it in fierce and widespread resistance to Brown v. Board of Education. And we saw it in the proliferation of state bans on same-sex unions intended to stifle any hope that gay and lesbian Americans might one day be afforded the right to marry. That right, of course, is now recognized as a guarantee embedded in our Constitution, and in the wake of that historic triumph, we have seen bill after bill in state after state taking aim at the LGBT community. Some of these responses reflect a recognizably human fear of the unknown, and a discomfort with the uncertainty of change.

And, further, she says:

But this is not a time to act out of fear. This is a time to summon our national virtues of inclusivity, diversity, compassion, and open-mindedness. What we must not do—what we must never do—is turn on our neighbors, our family members, our fellow Americans, for something they cannot control, and deny what makes them human. This is why none of us can stand by when a state enters the business of legislating identity and insists that a person pretend to be something they are not, or invents a problem that doesn’t exist as a pretext for discrimination and harassment.

This restores my hope in America somewhat. I’m gladdened that people in power and authority are prepared to stand up for what is decent and fair.

I fervently hope that this will continue, and that decent open-minded people will continue to remain in power and authority. Right now, this is by no means certain with the current Presidential Election circus but as an outsider looking in, all I can do is hope that decency and common sense will prevail.

 

 
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Posted by on May 16, 2016 in In the News, Opinion, Transgender

 

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Specifying your gender on Facebook

Just over two years ago, I wrote a blog post entitled “Does a rose by 58 other names smell as sweet?” where I talked about Facebook’s attempt to allow users to specify more than just a gender binary of male or female. I also mentioned how I wouldn’t be using it as I had already subverted the system to force Facebook to use the singular “they”, “them” and “their” for me by recording a null value for my gender.

At that time, Facebook were proposing an enormous drop-list of every conceivable variation, seemingly having taken on board every suggestion from every focus group they had done. It sounded like an unwieldy mess to me.

Today I decided to revisit my unspecified gender on Facebook, and made rather a pleasant discovery – what is now on offer is actually pretty good!

At the simplest level, your choices for gender are initially presented as a drop-list of “Female”, “Male” and “Custom”. This doesn’t alienate all the cis-gender people who just want to choose from a simple list. This is good User Interface design.

Selecting Custom is where it gets interesting, as the options then expand to let you choose your gender and also the gender pronoun you wish to use.

Facebook's custom gender options

Facebook’s custom gender options

Choosing your gender is via a free text field that also accepts tags. In other words you can type what you want, but if what you are typing matches something that already exists then you can select it and it becomes a tagged value instead . If not, it stays as free text. Very flexible. This is very similar to when you tag someone in a post.

You can also specify who can see your gender on your profile. You can leave it as public, or limit its visibility. This uses the standard privacy menu that is used throughout Facebook, so you can choose from the standard options or go full custom. I chose to limit it so that only Friends can see it.

You can then specify your preferred pronoun. Currently this drop-list only has the options of Female, Male or Neutral, the latter being the singular “they”, “them” and “their” that I mentioned earlier. Facebook does not allow the use of the various gender-neutral pronouns that have been proposed and adopted, with varying degrees of success, by some. See the links below for more details on this, if you are interested.
This will be a huge shortcoming for some people but it’s a balancing act between complexity and usability and, although it is fairly limiting, I think it will be sufficient for many people. It is for me. Although, having said that, the singular “they” is rather clumsy for personal pronouns and for that I would have a preference for the Germanic hir for her/his, and zie for he/she.

So, in summary, Facebook seem to have found a good balance between User Interface simplicity, and the flexibility to let people express their gender identity. From a Design perspective, going down the route of “Female”, “Male” or “Custom” was absolutely the right thing to do.

I hate to say it, but it looks like Facebook got something right for once.

 


Further reading on gender pronouns

www.theguardian.com/media/mind-your-language/…

uwm.edu/lgbtrc/support/gender-pronouns

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_neutrality_in_English

www.citylab.com/navigator/2015/09/ze-or-they…

apps.carleton.edu/student/orgs/saga/pronouns

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2016 in Opinion, Transgender

 

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Marriage, and garden implements

I wrote this a few years ago to illustrate a point in a debate about marriage equality, before it was legalised in the UK, and the person I was debating with said that they couldn’t see the issue as homosexuals already had Civil Partnerships which were the same as marriage, so why wasn’t that enough? What was the difference and what did they have their glittery panties all in a twist about?

I thought I would share it here for posterity.

 


 

A man goes into a shop and says “Hello, I’d like to buy a spade please”

“Certainly, sir”, the shopkeeper replies. “But I need to know what you sexual orientation is”

“My… eh, WHAT?”

“What your sexual orientation is, sir. Terribly sorry, but I can only sell you a spade if you are heterosexual”

“What on earth does that have to do with anything?”

“Those are the rules, sir”

“So, what if I was gay and wanted to buy a spade?”

“Couldn’t sell you one, sir. I’d have to sell you one of these instead” (holds up a spade)

“Um, that’s a spade isn’t it?”

“No, no, sir. It’s an ‘earth-inverting horticultural implement’. It’s just like a spade only it’s called something different”

“So why not call it a spade then?”

“Ahhh…. long history of only heterosexual men being allowed to use a spade, sir. Can’t have the traditionalists getting upset over letting gays use spades, sir. Best thing is to give them the same thing with a different name and hope everyone is happy.”

“But, look, it really is a spade, isn’t it”

(looks around, winks conspiratorially) “Of course it is, sir. But we have to pretend, don’t we? Can’t just let anyone use the word ‘spade’ now can we, sir? It would degrade the ownership experience of all existing heterosexual spade-owners if they suddenly learned gays could own spades too.”

 
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Posted by on March 12, 2016 in Humour, Opinion

 

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Walking between two worlds

I was talking to one of my closest friends recently, chatting about something and she exclaimed “I’d never thought about it. I guess most people don’t really” so I thought maybe I would write about it.

As I’ve mentioned a few times over the course of this blog, I’m a genderfluid / two-spirit person and I can, and do, present as either gender. For mundane stuff like work, popping down to the shops etc., it is simply easier to present as my birth gender (‘guy mode’). For most social occasions I prefer to present as female (‘girl mode’).

This gives me an interesting opportunity to directly experience how people tend to react to each gender.

I wouldn’t flatter myself as to think I was totally passable as a cis-woman when in girl mode, but I seem to be passable enough that people have no problems with treating me, and interacting with me, as female. And something that I have noticed is that people tend to interact with me completely differently when I am in girl mode to when I am in guy mode.

I mean, people are pleasant enough to me when I’m in guy mode, but I find that when I’m in girl mode people are far more likely to smile at me, or to smile back if I smile first, or to initiate conversation. Overall, people are just generally far more open, friendly and chatty to me when I’m in girl mode.

In a similar way, I have found that women, on the whole, don’t like a guy they don’t know to speak to them. Telling a women who you don’t know that you like her top, skirt, outfit, or whatever is generally treated with suspicion and, in some cases, borderline hostility. However, in girl mode the response is overwhelmingly positive.

I think part of this is social conditioning; there are less social barriers when talking to a woman than to a man. But, also, a woman feels more vulnerable and distrustful when talking to a stranger who is a man than to one who is female so perhaps there is an element of this too. And, of course, there is the small matter that the majority of people are heterosexual – the suspicion being that a guy talking to a woman could have the ulterior motive of trying to chat her up, whilst a woman talking to a woman is taken more at face value.
Of course, this is all very contextual. Under some circumstances it is far more acceptable than others. And, as an aside, writing this blog post has made me far more aware of this and I will be much more mindful whether or not to start a conversation with a woman when in guy mode in future.

None of these observations are by any means a scientific experiment and, obviously, I don’t have a ‘scientific control‘ for each situation that I find myself in. Also, maybe I just appear nicer and more approachable when in girl mode than guy mode, which would of course skew the results. Certainly I feel more open, confident, and chatty in girl mode, so perhaps it really is as much down to me as to other people.

All of this post has been to do with interacting with people I don’t know. Obviously with friends and acquaintances it is far different and more complex, and probably not something you could make an observation on.

Anyway, I just thought this was worth sharing.

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2016 in Opinion, Transgender

 

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What earrings and clothes say about you.

Do you know which ear a guy who wears an earring wears it in says about his sexuality?

  • If he wears an earring in his left ear, then it means he has an earring in his left ear.
  • If he wears an earring in his right ear, then it means he has an earring in his right ear.

Likewise, do you know what the clothes a transgender / gender-fluid person with XX chromosomes wears says about their gender?

  • When they wear guy clothes then it means they are a transgender person wearing guy clothes. 
  • When they wear female clothes then it means they are a transgender person wearing female clothes (and not ‘a transvestite’ or ‘a freak pretending to be a woman’).

I hope this clears up any confusion.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2015 in Opinion, Transgender

 

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National Cleavage Day

“National Cleavage Day”. What, really? Guys need a special day where it’s ok to perve a girl’s cleavage and this is somehow meant to empower them them in some way?

Ok, knock yourself out. Here’s my cleavage. Hope you like it.

Cleavage

Cleavage

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2015 in Opinion

 

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