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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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Review: BBC Radio 1 – The Surgery with Aled and Dr Radha (14-Jan-2015)

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, last night the weekly Surgery with Aled and Dr. Radha on BBC Radio 1 was on the subject of Gender Identity.

The entire hour of the programme was given over to the subject, and Aled and Dr. Raha were joined by Stephanie Hirst, a M2F transwoman and ex-DJ who I have mentioned in previous posts.

The programme started with an introduction, and then Stephanie was brought in and Aled interviewed her for a while about her background, her transition, and various issues surrounding Gender Identity. The programme then moved into a phone-in format with various people interviewed. Two parents of transgender children were interviewed along with several transgender individuals.

On the whole, the programme was extremely positive and it’s great to see that a mainstream National radio station is discussing issues like this and I think it is an indicator that society is becoming more tolerant and receptive to the idea of transgender people and Gender Identity issues.

However, I have two minor criticisms about the programme.

The first is that F2M (Female-to-Male, ie. born female and then transitioning to male) people appeared to be over-represented and M2F seemed to get far less emphasis. I think this is a pity, because society has always tended to tolerate masculine behaviour in a seemingly female person more than it does feminine behaviour in a seemingly male person (even the name ‘tomboy’ is less pejorative than ‘sissy’) and the cliché society view of a transgender person is of the archetypical “tranny”, so it would have been nice for this to have been explored a little more.
Having said that, Stephanie did have the opportunity to explore her own experiences so perhaps the balance was there that way.

My second criticism is more fundamental though. The majority of the programme was preoccupied with gender binaries (ie. there is only male and female) and that if you found yourself in the wrong binary then you are expected to transition to the correct one. In fact it felt like every other word was “transition” for a lot of the show. I completely disagree with this concept. Gender is a spectrum with “totally male” at one end and “totally female” at the other end, and there is an entire world in between those two extremes. In the same way that Sexuality is a spectrum with “straight” at one end and “gay” at the other, and a huge range of bisexuality in between (including “bi-curious”), there is a whole range of genders in the Gender Spectrum. It can incorporate people who consider themselves to be a mix of both genders, or indeed neither gender. There are even bi-gender people who like to move between genders as the mood takes them.
Granted, the last caller on the line in the closing minutes of the show identified as both genders, but this was the first time the concept had even been mentioned in the programme and I felt that the topic wasn’t really explored and could have left listeners unfamiliar with the concept of Gender Identity with a rather skewed and incomplete picture.

I have to say that I’m not entirely surprised. Society (certainly Western Society) as a whole does have an extremely polarised and rigid concept of a gender binary, where men are men and women are women, and there are shopping aisles for boys toys and girls toys, so it’s not a great leap for people to accept an idea of someone being in the wrong body and wanting to change into the right one. Perhaps it was too great a leap to dive straight into the Gender Spectrum.
However, it’s worth mentioning that in some cultures, the concept of the Third Gender is well accepted and even has legal status.

Hopefully this programme will pave the way for more on this subject. After all, I’m sure it isn’t the only episode of the Surgery that has dealt with sexuality so perhaps there will be a future ones on the Gender Identity issues.

As I said earlier, though, I do consider this programme to have been overwhelmingly positive and I think it shows major progress in the mainstream media’s handling of this issue. However, I think that by being so preoccupied with transition it may have painted an overly simplistic picture.

Still, in this day and age of the World Wide Web, there is loads of information readily available for further research. So if nothing else, by raising the concept of Gender Identity it could get people wanting to learn more. And that’s always a good thing.


This episode of The Surgery is available on BBC iPlayer until Friday 13-Feb-2015 at 10pm UK time.
The direct link to it is http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xnh5v
It may not be available to you if you are outside of the UK.

 
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Posted by on January 15, 2015 in In the News, Opinion, Transgender

 

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It’s a man’s world

As many of you will know, I’m the kind of transgendered person who is equally happy (or unhappy) in either gender binary, being fortunate not to suffer from gender dysphoria, so I tend to present in whichever gender will make my life the easiest whilst still making me feel personally comfortable, although my preference is female; if I absolutely had to “make my mind up” and choose just one then I would choose to be female. However, I’m not blind to the fact that this would bring its own collection of downsides – I’m under no illusions whatsoever about the greenness, or otherwise, of the grass on the other side of the fence.

Some might say that this is sitting on the fence, and indeed the same people might also say that a bisexual person should “make their mind up” about whether they are gay or straight too. Quite how they feel about people who own both a car and a motorbike, I do not know; presumably they should “make their mind up” whether they want to drive a car or ride a motorbike since clearly they must make an exclusive choice.

In general, how the duality of my gender works out on a day-to-day basis is that I present as male professionally, and mostly present as female socially with the exception of situations where doing so would be very inconvenient. A good example is when I attend Track Days, where wearing a wig and a crash helmet would not only damage my expensive wig but be a real problem in taking the helmet off whilst leaving the wig on. It’s easier just to attend in guy mode (often with painted nails just to mix it up a bit). But I digress.

Why do I present as male professionally? Well, one reason is that all my professional qualifications, client references, professional reputation, and the like, are all in my birth name. Yes, I could change them all but I would have to undergo full transition in order to do this and live full time as a woman and, as I mentioned above, I’d probably be no happier than I am.

But there is another reason why I wouldn’t want to and that’s because I work in a male-dominated industry: Information Technology.

How it works

How it works

I should note that although it has a reputation for sexism, misogyny and ageism, I’ve been lucky enough never to have personally experienced or observed it; I have cis-female colleagues who are treated completely equally by my peers. In fact my current place of work has far more than I have experienced before, so perhaps this company are particularly enlightened. Also, I think my area of IT is perhaps atypical – developers / programmers tend to get judged by what we produce, and we are always producing. So although I have been quite lucky not to have experienced it, that does by no means disprove it exists – there is abundant circumstantial evidence to say that it’s very real in this industry.

This was brought home rather starkly by an article in The Register today, and which links to an amusing blog post by Pamela Ribon, about the Barbie book by Mattel called “I Can Be A Computer Engineer“.
In this embarrassingly sexist book, Barbie has an idea for a computer game but plans to get two male friends to actually write it for her. But whilst working on her design, her computer contracts a virus so she uses her sister’s laptop instead, which also contracts the virus. So she then gets the aforementioned male friends to fix it all for her, and then takes credit for everything.

That’s the executive summary anyway – I’d encourage you to read Pamela’s article for the full blow-by-blow deconstruct of it. It’s really worth reading and is quite funny too (although if you are the kind of person who is offended by profanity, or whose web filter may be, then be advised it uses the ‘F-word’ a few times, not least in the title).

Suffice to say, it does rather perpetuate the myth that only men can do science, maths and technology. A myth that we all know to be false, but persists nonetheless. It also promotes the rather reprehensible practise of glory-grabbing and claiming credit for the work of others.

Earlier I mentioned that I present as female socially unless it is more convenient not to. Well, I have a confession to make. Sometimes, when I know that a situation will place me in high probability of sexism or misogyny, or would prove to be particularly awkward, I take the easy option and present as male. None more so than when cars are concerned. Lately I have realised that this is rather cowardly of me and that if I am serious about expressing the female facet of myself then really I should do it when the going may be a little tougher as a result, rather than being a fair-weather woman. Otherwise it begs the uncomfortable question as to whether I am just playing at this.

Time will tell how far I will decide to push this – there are certain areas in my life where this would prove to be particularly uncomfortable. It’s probably not appropriate to go into further details on that on a public blog though.


Update:

The Register have posted a follow-up article about sexism in IT, which makes for interesting reading and further illustrates why I take the coward’s way out and present as male professionally.
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2014/11/27/the_gender_imbalance…


Update 2:

The geek girl backlash to the Barbie book has been swift and strong. Here’s a great article that links to various remixes and rewrites. Some of them are brilliant!
http://www.dailydot.com/geek/sexist-barbie-book-stem-remix-engineer-gaming/

This one is particularly worth reading – https://cfiesler.files.wordpress.com/2014/11/barbieremixed.pdf

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in Diary, Opinion, Transgender

 

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Video

Humour: Pinocchio

This is just so wrong. So, so, so wrong.

But I laughed my tits off. Then had to glue them back on again.  🙂

WARNING: Probably NSFW

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2013 in Humour

 

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What do our labels mean?

Now, before I go any further on this post, let me make it absolutely clear that I did not write this. I found it via a google search and it was on a site which required registration in order to view it. However, it was viewable via google’s cache.

I’m reproducing it because I think it is a good article that clearly explains some of the concepts of the gender spectrum and I think it’s a real shame that it won’t get a wider audience. Not that me reproducing it here will give a much wider audience, of course.

So, here it is:

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on September 9, 2013 in Transgender

 

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