Posts Tagged ‘gender

02
Mar
13

Fighting the good fight

The following speech was presented on the steps of the capital building in Frankfort, KY during a rally for reproductive rights and civil equality.

“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The history of mankind is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations on the part of man toward woman, having in direct object the establishment of an absolute tyranny over her.

He has usurped the prerogative of Jehovah himself, claiming it as his right to assign for her a sphere of action, when that belongs to her conscience and to her God.”

These words were spoken by Elisabeth Catie Stanton July, 19th 1848. Women and men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY where the “Declaration of Sentiments” (a document demanding equal treatment and citizenship for women) was drafted and put forth to the government of these United States. We stand here now, almost 165 year later, still fighting for many of those rights.

Kentucky Senate bill 4 requires that a physician (or a licensed designee thereof) be physically present with a patient at the time of consent. This holds ramifications for women who require distant travel for medical procedures that are already financially crushing.

Kentucky Senate bill 5 requires that all women seeking to have “any part of an abortion performed” must first be subject to an invasive, transuterine ultrasound. In simple language, a woman who is attempting to responsibly deal with an unwanted pregnancy must also be subjected to having a large, uncomfortable instrument forced into her vaginal opening, then lay quietly while a doctor explains in detail about the fetus.

The consequence for doctors refusing this unethical requirement of an unneeded medical procedure is a Class D felony. A penalty that includes, among others, violent offenses and sex crimes. How very ironic, that to avoid these charges, a doctor must force a woman to engage in penetration by an artificial phallus. Nothing less than MANDATED RAPE!

Additionally, I feel it important to note that, of the eight senators cosponsoring this bill, only ONE is a woman. Seven, SEVEN men have put their names and weight behind a bill that does not affect THEM or THEIR bodies, but could affect thousands of women.

This is the reality, so many people (mostly legislators it would appear) think that abortion is easy. That it is a decision that women come to lightly and without reflection. This is NOT TRUE! Women come to this decision because they KNOW that, for whatever reason, they CAN NOT accept the financial responsibilities that pregnancy, birth, and upbringing carry. These women KNOW that they, for whatever reason, CAN NOT provide for the health and well being of a fetus, a baby, or a child. These women KNOW that, for whatever reason, it is in the best interest of ALL parties involved, to terminate a pregnancy.

Kentucky Senate bills 4 and 5 serve to prevent a woman from exercising the right to do what SHE KNOWS is best.

We stand here today, not only to speak for the rights of women to be free from the mandates of rape, but also to speak for the rights of our brothers, our sisters, our sons and our daughters, our friends and ourselves. For too long we have been expected to fight for the equality of our LGBTI family by going city to city, begging for equal treatment one commission or council at a time.

While I salute the leadership of Louisville, Lexington, Covington, and Vicco for trying to secure the equal rights of all of their citizens, it is time to bring equality to all Kentuckians. It is time that we no longer have to wonder if we have crossed the city boundaries and are now fair game to those who would see us left homeless, jobless, and afraid.

KY Senate Bill 28 extends the hands of equality across the Commonwealth. While it does not prevent prejudice, it does prevent discrimination. It lets ALL Kentuckians see that our Commonwealth and its legislators recognize all of us as people FIRST and demands that others do the same. KY Senate Bill 28 shows our YOUTH that, even though we sometimes have to fight for is, it does, in fact GET BETTER!

We stand here today at OUR Capital in common cause. That our rights as individuals not be denied by the majority or by the privileged. We are all here today to stand up and to BE COUNTED!

20
Jun
12

intersex is NOT a disease

Claim: That is an opinion and I can accept that is where you stand and you have the choice to hold that view if you wish.

The words sex and gender have often been skewed to indicate that these are entirely determined by culture. They are not. They are however a combination of cultural and individual experience and the genetics with which a person was born. Such fallacies are implemented due to the poor research and misleading publications, not of a social psychologist, as this photo suggests, but rather by those of a psychoendocrinologist who developed these theories (Dr. John Money).

We, as animals, do not have a gender, but as social creatures we do. This statement in the picture, however is contradictory to the statement above it which states that gender is biological in nature.
Nouns do have gender, as do pronouns (for the most part), however it is very ethnocentric to make said statement about all languages, as many have gender in items such as desks, pencils, chairs, etc. Secondly, this statement is also stated quite poorly as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not in fact nouns, but adjectives.

To say that XX, XXY, XYY, and the myriad of other variations are ‘deformations’ is both condescending and purposefully inflammatory. Green eyes are a ‘deformation’, as are many other characteristics that are easily seen about any individual’s appearance. The assumption that any of these variations are believed to be newly discovered is, at best, misguided. XX and XY, while being the most commonly occurring genetic variations, however the explanation that follows is incorrect. The XXX, XXY, and XYY variations do not occur due to random mutation of a normal gene. They are, in fact, genes of their own consistency, that is to say they are heritable. Also, to equate said variations of intersex with Down’s Syndrome is incorrect. Those individual with Down’s are most often infertile, and when not, Down’s is not heritable. Additionally, there are many other types of intersex variation that do not include the genetic variations listed above. Some of those are random mutations, yes, but mutation does not equal deformity, only difference.

‘Hermaphrodite’ is a medical term that describes none of the three intersex variations listed above in the picture. The terminology here is very off, which would indicate that the individual who created it is not informed on the correct terminology. Hermaphrodism refers only to individuals who have BOTH male and female primary or secondary sex characteristics and does NOT include those of the ambiguous variations.

99% of XY women do not reach puberty? That statistic is blatently false. I’m not exactly sure how many of them do, as that would actually be a suicide or accident statistic, but the vast majority do in fact reach puberty, but because pubertal onset means an increase in both estrogen and testosterone production, the secondary sex characteristics can be either male, female, or both, depending on the individual. Secondly, the bad grammar here again diminishes the accuracy of this picture (more taller).

“Take the brain that occurs the most” doesn’t even make sense, see comment above. The male brain has no different ‘parts’ than the female brain. This entire section makes no sense whatsoever if anyone is even remotely educated in brain structures. There are relatively few sex differences between male and female brains. The ones that do exist occur after pubertal onset, when there is a major change in growth and a pruning of unused neural pathways. Some suggest that the cultural norms of what females are expected to do vs males may be responsible for these differences, other evidence suggests that it may be hormonal. The reality is that they just aren’t sure. The only significant difference between the two is size. Women’s brains tend to be somewhat smaller, but have an increased number of gyri, thus increasing the overall surface area.

There is not a legitimate scientist (endocrine, geneticist, neural, or otherwise) who would use brain structure as a determining factor of sex. That is another blatantly false claim. Again, male and female brains do NOT have different parts.

Well, for all the arguing against any rights for intersex individuals, at least it makes a good argument for transsexuals. False, but convincing, nonetheless. In reality, what the photo to the left fails to indicate (as does the text to the right) is that the hypothalamic activity (and yes, that is what the photo to the left is actually showing) is changed with high levels of chronic stress. MTF transsexuals have an incredibly high level of chronic stress and, thus, would have the levels concurrent with those of females. A good example of this contractual error is the SIDS research of the early 20th century. Hundreds of thousands of children’s brains were irradiated to reduce the size of the hypothalamus because they thought that large ones caused SIDS to occur. In reality, they were only comparing upper class SIDS deaths to those of poor (and highly stressed) infants lost to other causes (such as starvation). Bad sample, much? Point being, this is being misattributed to sex differences when it is in fact a stress difference.

Cisgendered is an act of choosing not to PERFORM gender, not to identify that one is not present. Again, false. And why, exactly does this photo repeatedly compare intersex to physical illness or life threatening differences? Intersex is not life threatening (unless someone who is ignorant or misinformed beats someone to death).

And now, we get personal. Call it logical fallacy if you wish, but as I have offered fact alone up to this point, I really don’t give a shit. The last comment on the right would indicate that A. intersex individuals are sterile (which is true in the minority, but most are fertile) and that B. fertility should be somehow controlled, or intersex individuals should be somehow contained so as not to spread their ‘disease’. There is a reason that there is no source information on this photo. It promotes genocide, is inflammatory, and uses (at best) half truths to make a point for hurting people who deserve nothing but the same humane treatment every other person receives. How dare you, or anyone else imply that intersex people are any less people than you are. It is exactly this type of ignorance and half education that cause people to die at the hands of doctors who think they know how to hack a person’s genitals to pieces, or at the hands of ignorant bastards who believe that a person’s worth lies in his/her pants.

But I ask you now, what is it exactly that gives you the knowledge to back any of the statements made in this graphic? Is it a degree? Is it hours of research on intersex variations, articles about those variations, history of those? Weeks, months, and even years of talking to experts in the field or the individuals who are affected daily by the ignorance this graphic displays? Perhaps it is the daily experience of facing the challenges often associated with the intersex? Or maybe it is grant writing to the NIH to advance study of the consequences of this type of ignorance on the individuals who suffer it’s wrath? You see, it isn’t culture, biology, or society that cause intersex individuals problems. It isn’t their health, or their fertility, or their brain activity. It is the ignorance of people who refuse to do the work necessary to actually learn something other than the regurgitated (and false) shit that gets thrown at them by a grossly falsified graphic. THAT, is what needs to be fixed.

24
May
12

Did you really just say that?

I have had a great deal running around in my little head as of late but I am just now taking the time to put it down here.

Anywho…Here goes…

Why on Earth must people be more concerned with specific details of an individual’s genitals than they are about the consequences of actions? I am sure you probably, at the very least, just raised your eyebrows and uttered a mental “I’m sorry…What!?”

Seriously. This gets VERY old. When people hear of intersex variations, they want details. What makes a person intersex? Exactly what do you mean by atypical? Why don’t they just fix it? Aren’t there counselors for that? I’m going to address this as though I am actually talking to YOU, so please do not take offense if you are a person knowledgeable enough not to say stupid shit. OK, first I’m going to actually answer the questions, then I’m going to tell you what’s wrong with it, and lastly offer some better alternative responses.

1. “What makes a person intersex?”

Definition-Intersex is when a person’s genital development is atypical. In other words, their genetic makeup, their primary sex characteristics, or their secondary sex characteristics don’t line up, or are outside of two standard deviations from the average (note that I did not say “norm”).

What’s wrong-If someone is sitting there telling you that their child’s foot (which you can’t see) is different, but it is not a medical problem, do people say…”What makes is a foot different?”

Better option-Mind your own damned business and focus on the issue at hand.

2. “What exactly do you mean by atypical?”

Definition-Not typical.

What’s wrong-You are asking for specific details that are irrelevant and none of your business.

Better option-Mind your own damned business and focus on the issue at hand.

3. “Why don’t they just fix it?”

Answer-There are actually no firm answers for this one, but I’ll give it a try. Well, surgery implies that there is in fact something wrong, when there really is no medical issue present (in most cases).

What’s wrong- How dare ANYBODY have the nerve to suggest to a parent that they allow surgery on a child when said person had not heard of the variations until 5 minutes earlier? Secondly, most ‘corrective’ surgeries end up causing more harm and need for future surgeries. Third, would you give an infant rhinoplasty because you think their nose is too big or too small? I think not.

Better option-Mind your own damned business and focus on the issue at hand.

4. “Aren’t there counselors for that?”

Answer-No. Not really. While there may be some services provided for those who have received (or been victims of) surgical intervention, there is little to nothing for those who have not been butchered.

What’s wrong-Um…You just implied that intersex equates to mentally ill or in some other way disturbed. HELLO!? Do they have counselors for really small feet?

Better option-If you honestly feel that there may be a problem, offer your help to assist in finding a counselor who may be sensitive to the issue. Do not question the sanity of the endocrinologist (as a psychoendocrinologist is not a crazy endocrinologist), do not suggest that someone ask their PCP (because SURELY that hadn’t occurred to them yet), and please, please, PLEASE do not explain that your complete and utter lack of knowledge will somehow be a good use of your unlicensed, unqualified, and uninformed skills.

So, in short, consider yourself (although sarcastically) informed either on an issue of which you were previously unaware, or on the crap that comes out of people’s mouths.

23
Apr
12

harold* and the purple crayon (*names have been changed to protect from homophobes)

Bullying is a major problem, we know this. There are anti bullying initiatives, programs, and classes. Schools tell kids to report it. They tell them to stop it. They tell them not to do it. That’s great and all, but me think we are not getting to the crux of the situation. We are pulling at weeds, picking the leaves, and not touching the roots. Yeah, yeah…Enough metaphors. My point?

Parents. We spend millions of dollars per year trying to keep kids from beating the crap out of each other and making each other feel like shit, and yet parents are ignored or enlisted to help teach. This is where so, so, SO many of the teachers need to be the students. PARENTS teach hate. PARENTS teach homophobia. PARENTS teach bigotry. These are not traits that a small child picks up at the local bar on a Friday night. Four year olds don’t judge because someone’s crayon isn’t the right color.

I don’t share a great deal of personal information here, but today it seems necessary. My daughter was upset when I picked her up today because one of the other girls yelled at a little boy for having a purple crayon. My daughter had a blue one. She informed the other girl that if she could have a blue crayon, then the boy could have the purple one, then proceeded to retrieve said purple crayon from the trash (the other girl threw it away) and hugged the little boy.

I get that children have developmental milestones they reach at different times, including indication that ‘blue is for boys’ and (in this case) ‘purple is for girls’. Yeah. I get that. They gender divide. BUT belittling the little boy for the purple crayon? Throwing it away in the trash? THAT is NOT a milestone. That is hateful, mean, and spiteful. I don’t blame the little girl. She did not know that it was hateful, mean, or spiteful, she only knows that is something an adult in her life would never tolerate.

14
Sep
11

Spawned by FFC

In response to http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-a-feminist-but

I am a feminist. I love men. I love women. I love myself. Why are ANY of these statements mutually exclusive?

Secondly, on what planet (and perhaps this is the masculinity theorist in me) do all men enjoy the security of walking alone at night? Or freedom from sexual harassment? Or the freedom from the ‘unique burden’ of keeping their bodies looking a certain way? And while the author of this piece may be considered ‘too emotional’ as a woman, she herself states that a man must defend his outward show of emotion.

She will never know what it means to be policed by every other child on the playground (both male and female) as to whether or not she is accurately portraying her feminine role appropriately. She will not know what it is like to be silenced by her peers for the sexual harassment she receives. She will not understand, despite the difficulties women as rape victims face, the consequences a man faces when raped. Google “sexy woman” and then “sexy man”. Are the images of both not stereotypical and harmful? She must be thin and busty, but he must be buff and strong (and rich, too I might add).

Something that I think she completely misses the mark on here (and maybe that is only because that is not the point of the piece) is that it is also OK to be MASCULINE women. Why must I, as a feminist proclaim my femininity in high heels and a dress? Why CAN’T I wear my jeans and t-shirts and combat boots, and that be OK too? So yeah, I’m a granola eatin’, boot wearin’, make-up burnin’, Feminist. Deal with it.
I understand that this all relates to the degradation of women and the horrors associated with femininity as a whole (that last part was sarcasm), but the source does not justify the action. Yes, we as feminists need to stand up and support Feminism as a study, as a social science, and as movement, but we CAN NOT do that without discourse. Without discourse, we become a cult of crazy people wandering around the compound agreeing with each other, never stepping out among the non believers.

06
May
11

Alphabet Center PSA

25
Feb
11

fairness for all?

I have a great many thoughts (and rants) running around inside my tiny little brain at the moment, but I will try (TRY) to focus on what I came here to write about without rambling too much.

Last night was the first of this round of public forums on the Fairness Ordinance. I was concerned that it would get a bit ugly and, despite my desire to bring some who are a bit younger, because of that potential for nastiness, I did not. I must say, I’m rather glad I didn’t. That people can be so heartless and selfish based on their own bigotry, but hide behind their faith, really busts my buttons.

Reasons offered by said bigots for not passing an ordinance:
1) It is unfair to offer “special” protections for other people.

Yes, it is. However this is not the case here. Not “special” protections, but equal ones. These folks have no problem with the protections they enjoy as women, “people of faith”, people of color, disabled, etc. However, offering those same protections to others is “unconstitutional”. I am quite honestly still unsure how that works, but that was the argument.

2) Anti-discrimination legislation is “thought policing”.

If someone wants to spout hateful speech, that is protected by the US Constitution. Uh…No it isn’t. One person’s rights end where another’s begin. One can’t spout evil, hateful things and think that it is protected. How about I stand in the street in front of someone’s home and scream vicious, hurtful things about the individuals in that home. Can they call the police? You betcha. One’s legal protections of speech DO NOT extend into their work space when attacking other individuals. They DO NOT extend to the property or homes of others that can force them from that home. They DO NOT extend to public accommodations that prevent the capabilities and services of others.

3) This is the one that ticked me off the most…The HRC (Human Rights Commission) is failing in its mission of equality for failing to represent persons of faith among its discussions.

Really? REALLY? Because what exactly does that make me? What does it make everyone else in that room that subscribes to any faith be it Christian, Jewish, Agnostic, or otherwise not specified? Do we not count as people of faith simply because the large group from Fort God disagrees? Because a “pastor” from a church chose not to bother showing up at the group discussion among the other clergy in the area, he states that his beliefs are being excluded? Uh…No. That being said, at least HE was honest and didn’t hide behind bad logic and incoherent ramblings about the Constitution.

And in relation to that same point…Why!? Why should faith be considered? Why should anyone’s faith be considered when this is an issue of civil rights? This is not a question about placing a brothel downtown. This is about EQUAL CIVIL RIGHTS. This is about crazy things like job protection, housing protection, and public services. This IS NOT about anyone’s opinions about sexual or gender identity.

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” No one is suggesting that anyone not practice their beliefs, only that they recognize the beliefs of others.