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What is transgender?
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cleocatra



Joined: 30 Mar 2007
Posts: 177
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a genderqueer person who wants top surgery :V also it seems like 1/2 of my online friends are varieties of trans* and like 1/8 of my offline friends.

http://www.genderedintelligence.co.uk here's a uk organization
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Ennis



Joined: 09 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cleocatra wrote:
I'm a genderqueer person who wants top surgery :V also it seems like 1/2 of my online friends are varieties of trans* and like 1/8 of my offline friends.


K fine I'll come out, I'm trans*/genderqueer too. Someone was supposed to guess first and then I was gonna be all "SURPRISE NON-BINARY TRANS PERSON!" but the opportunity never arose.

I wish I had more trans friends IRL.

If you have a facebook I highly recommend the group Genderqueer Atheists.
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cleocatra



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eh a lot of Atheist societies just devolve into clusterfucks after a while (though it's particularly hilarious what's happened to the reddit forum with the memes banned)

If you want more IRL trans* friends then just go to trans* events, I volunteer and do stuff like protests and go to trans* evenings. It's a pretty small community tho so it seems like half of the people know each other LOL
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Ennis



Joined: 09 Jun 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

cleocatra wrote:
eh a lot of Atheist societies just devolve into clusterfucks after a while (though it's particularly hilarious what's happened to the reddit forum with the memes banned)

If you want more IRL trans* friends then just go to trans* events, I volunteer and do stuff like protests and go to trans* evenings. It's a pretty small community tho so it seems like half of the people know each other LOL


Trust me, I have been in bad atheist groups and Genderqueer Atheists is not one of them. It the best, most accepting (metaphorical) place I've ever been. The title is a little misleading, since we tend to have people of many religions (I know someone's Wiccan, for example) and also some binary trans people (maybe even some cis people?).

Yeah, I know a few from a support group I went to, I just wish there were more that I just had as general friends. I do have one really good transfeminine friend though, so I probably shouldn't complain. Not like I go outside that much or have ever had lots of friends >_>
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Yinello



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the indie game Papers Please (you can download the demo) sometimes you'll get a person who looks like a guy but in their passport it says female. If you ask them about it they'll say they're a woman. Now because you live in a dystopic shitty country you have to reject them but it makes you think.

If someone wants to be a woman/man, then who are we to say that they aren't? So what if their bodies don't look like our image of femininity/masculinity? Isn't it selfish and jerkish of us to deny what someone wants to be, deny their happiness just because it's "weird" for us?
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Katsuni



Joined: 11 May 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First off; thanks for this post, since I'd been trying to get an account for this forum and it was sitting in administrator approval limbo for like a month =P This was the tipping point that made me bother to poke them with an email rather than keep checking back every few days XD

Anyway, lessee!

There's a lot of misconceptions about trans people in general. Why? Well... what are the primary sources for information? Sexist/transphobic dirty jokes, cliche and ineffectual trite lines ("I'm a woman trapped in a man's body!"), and poorly worded attempts to describe such by people who don't know any better.

With that in mind, is it really all that surprising that most people don't know much of anything? =P

So here's the breakdown of the gist of things for realsies:



To begin with, all transgendered (or transsexual, whichever, I'll cover that later) means, is that your mind and body don't match up. This means that yes, some trans people are women who were told they were males from birth, it also means there are men who were told they were women. It also includes things like those who don't fit into a distinctive gender role, etc, etc.

Next off, biological sex is different from mental gender; two distinctively different things. Ask yourself this: if you suddenly swapped genitals magically, would you also magically gain any traits that make you a gender other than you are currently? Once you remove things like social conditioning, hormonal adjustments to personality, and so on and so forth, there's still some stuff left over that makes you male, female, or otherwise, and your genitals aren't really connected to that.

See... we know crap all about gender. Zhuinden said the following:

Quote:
The reason why I'm confused is because I think whether you have a male body or a female body is honestly quite obvious based on your type of genitalia (unless you have a medical condition in which you are both or neither of the biological sexes), and if your body is a given, then there's no question about any of this.


Here's the problem: everything you know is wrong, in perhaps a bit more literal sense than you may have imagined possible. Your chromosomes don't even determine your sexual characteristics like breasts, growing a penis, or vagina or anything else; it's purely hormonal. In fact, it's not even Estrogen that causes it either! Too much testosterone, and you get a penis, not enough testosterone and you get a vagina. All your chromosomes do is say how much of each hormone to produce, and that's about it other than testicles or ovaries.

There are some people who have a condition where their body becomes allergic to testosterone, and actively attacks it, killing it all off. They're essentially immune to it; they end up appearing female in every way, except the one thing their chromosomes tell them to make is testicles which never descend, instead of ovaries, so they just sit in the place where you'd expect to find ovaries. Bone density, facial structure, fat distribution, absolutely everything else is hormonal in terms of physical characteristics.

Now, that's just the surface of the issue... 2% of all births are intersexed in some way shape or form. This means "not obviously 100% one way or the other". This can range from the described issue above this, to genetic chimerism where you may have more than one set of genes in your cells, to having both sets of genitals, to things like XXY, or XXYY chromosomes, to over a dozen other potential issues that can occur.

2%, or 1 in 50 chances. In a class of 40 people like I had in high school, that's about an 80% chance that one of them was intersexed.

The really great part is what we do about that. The medical diagnosis for what to do about this is... a ruler. Yep, 1.5 inches or over, you get a surgically constructed penis and are given testosterone injections until you're near puberty. 1.0 inches or under, you get a surgically constructed vagina and are given estrogen.

What happens if the doctor just guessed wrong? And yes, it's a guess, nothing more. 100% pure, blind guesswork, not even medically sound. Well... if they guess wrong, you can live for decades with your parents and society enforcing certain behaviours upon you "act more like a real girl!", only to find out you were never supposed to be one in the first place.

Now this doesn't even account for how little we know about gender in general; we have done so few studies into it, and provided so little research that it's mostly just a big sign of "HERE THERE BE DRAGONS". We assume we know everything there is to know about gender, when in reality, we know virtually nothing on the matter.

We only recently discovered that male and female brains are a bit different in some key areas, that transgendered brains are a bit different from both of those, that hormones can adjust brain development, that a person can have their genes tell them to develop one brain and a different body to go with it, and so on and so forth. There are likely dozens, if not hundreds, of potential oddities and conditions which we haven't even discovered yet, because we haven't even tried to go looking for them.

The fact of the matter is, a transgendered person may have XXY chromosomes, or they may be immune to testosterone, or they might be subject to something we haven't even discovered yet.

"What's between your legs" has nothing to do with your gender; physical secondary sexual characteristics are only physical in appearance, nothing more.

Now... the real problem comes in when we have questions about how much of gender is biological, and how much is a social construct. Some parts of gender truly are social constructs in nature, and we can verify this pretty easily. Of course, other parts of gender are genetic in origin as well, which are also pretty easily verified.

The problem is, we don't know how much of each there is, or which are on each side, or which may be influenced by both. Nature VS Nurture, but without any real idea of which is which.

I'll use myself as an example here for a moment, just because it's convenient:

I never "wanted to be a girl". I don't "want" to be a woman, in fact, it's rather frustrating to be stuck being transgendered. I was assigned male at birth, yes, but it's pretty blatantly obvious to anyone who has to interact with me for any length of time that it's simply not correct =P

Do I want to be a girl? No, I just am. I don't mind it, but I don't bask in it either, it's just simply a fact of life, nothing more. By the act of transition from male to female, it's not "trying to be something I'm not", but rather, simply trying to match up the brain and body appropriately.

We don't have the capacity to change the brain (and I'm not sure I'd want to risk that if it were possible anyway), so that kinda leaves just the body to work with =P

One might ask, "is it possible you could just keep pretending to be a guy?". The question is posed in kind to them, then: "is it possible you could just go out in public as the wrong gender in all situations as well?". To be blunt, I can't do it. I've tried, so bloody hard to pretend to be a guy, I really, really have, and it's just... wrong. I don't think like a guy, I don't feel natural acting like a guy, it simply isn't who I am, no matter how hard I try to play the part and put on the mask for societal acceptance; it just is an act, and a rather badly performed one at that, nothing more.

So the next thing you might ask is why would you want to transition to "being a woman" (despite we just covered that I already was from the start =P but this is the kind of questioning I get, so we'll roll with it for now =3 ).

Well... it's sure as hell not to get "female privilege". It's not to get more rights, to make more money, or anything else... huh. Oh, the increased chance of being raped, murdered, or attacked over both men and women - combined - is there... that sure is a selling feature, maybe I just want to die. Maybe I really love the idea of blowing $40,000+ on various surgeries and medication, that isn't covered by health care nor insurance, that I have to pay out of my own pocket, and that I can't even trade in like a car or house to get a return on my investment for. Perhaps I just love the social stigma, the 60% chance of losing my job because of it, the possibility of being arrested for just using a public restroom (yay Arizona; I don't live there, but seriously, the USA's sliding backwards pretty hard on basic human rights... land of the free indeed =P ), or being harassed at every turn. Maybe I love the idea that my family disowned me on the spot, that it's near impossible to get a date that doesn't view me as a fetish based sex-toy, or perhaps I just like losing a good chunk of my friends.

Hrm... nope, none of that sounds like particularly good selling points, really. So why WOULD someone bother to transition, then, if it comes loaded with such ridiculous baggage?

Well... the answer is met with another statistic. Confirmed suicide rates of trans people are found to be a little over 30%. Considering the people greatest at risk by far, are those who have NOT transitioned, and that those who haven't "come out" are at the absolutely highest risk by an absurd amount, it's estimated that, with the shadow figures included, that transgendered people may commit suicide at a rate of nearly 50%.

Trans people who transition, however... actually have a lower suicide rate than cisgendered people.

It's a matter of life and death; live a lie, pretending to be someone you're not, never allowed to be yourself, knowing your friends and family only love a cardboard cutout you've toted around but that no one knows who you are, and being forced to live up to societal expectations which simply are completely out of character for you can, and will, drive most people to the brink of death.

If you transition, you probably live, assuming you aren't murdered for doing so (paired with the lowest conviction rate of murder period, so they probably won't even be persecuted for killing you... sigh).

It's a messed up situation, no doubt.

Anyway, here's the main stuff to understand; as the rest of this post is pretty long-winded, since it's a crash course in this kind of stuff, and there's a lot to cover, I'll try to keep this last bit to point form.


- Gender is in your brain, not your sexual organs

- Your gender is set from birth, and hormones, indoctrination, etc, doesn't really change that (though some people are genderfluid, that's more of a separate type of gender in this case =P )

- Trans people can be both MtF (male to female), FtM (female to male), and any other non-binary example in between

- Anything you think you know about gender is probably wrong

- It's not a choice to be transgendered; you either are, or you aren't. Most trans people would much rather NOT be; to be blunt, it kinda sucks

- It's not a matter of "I want to be X gender"; it's more so that you just are that gender already, but don't appear that way is all

- We've only identified a handful of the possible reasons for why some people may identify as trans; there's likely a lot more we aren't aware of yet

- Not everyone can afford, or even wants, major reconstructive surgery with exceptionally high risks

- "bottom surgery", such as surgical construction of a vagina, costs about $20,000, leaves your bones very brittle due to messing with hormone production levels, requires daily medication for the rest of your life, may completely remove all capacity to feel any sensation there at all if the nerves are severed, and can lead to death on the operating table with how major a surgery it is; it's not something you should "expect" people to want to do if they don't have to

- Being trans is not the focus of your entire life; it's not who you are. You are an individual first and foremost, a person, not a title. Please don't treat trans people as if that's the only aspect of their entire life that defines them.

- Some trans people are gay/lesbians/bisexual. Some are not. The LGBT thing suggests they're related, but they really aren't, and it's kinda misleading. Sexual orientation has nothing to do with which gender you are, and it's honestly kinda similar to calling a straight male a lesbian because he likes women. Don't mix these two things up =P

- If gender were 100% a social construct, then trans people wouldn't even exist

- FFS no, MtF people are not "trying to infiltrate and subvert the feminist movement with patriarchal conspiracies". Many feminists, however, are actively hostile, sexist, and aggressive towards transgendered people

- Oddly enough, the major LGBT political organizations are also largely actively hostile towards trans people, often going out of their way to remove trans-inclusive wording from laws. Don't assume that just because they're labeled together, that there's actually any love to be lost there.

- Being trans means you get the worst of all worlds, and never the best. Whichever situation would be least favourable to you is what you get handed; any situation where a female would benefit, you're treated as a male, regardless of presentation. Any situation where a male would benefit, you're treated as female. There are laws which specifically ensure that couples with a trans person in them are viewed as BOTH GAY AND STRAIGHT AT THE SAME TIME, for whichever one gives the least amount of rights in any given situation. Yeah, just try to wrap your head around that one.

- Trans people have higher rape rates, higher violence rates, higher murder rates, and lower conviction rates against the perpetrators of these acts, across the board, compared to both cisgendered men and women.

- Trans people have an estimated ~50% suicide rate before coming out; 31% confirmed suicide rate after coming but before transitioning genders, and below average rates after transition. 41%, who lived long enough to answer the question, have actually attempted suicide previously and failed.

- The vast majority of what most "normal" people know about trans people, comes from transphobic jokes, porn, and so on. Expect a massive amount of false information to be flying around out there.

- Most people (including trans people themselves often) enforce gender stereotypes even harder upon trans people than on anyone else. If you think women and men have it bad, just wait until they both ream you for not being "feminine enough" or "manly enough". Strangely enough, many feminists (not all of them, but a frighteningly high number of them) are some of the worst offenders of this; I still have no idea why.

- (EDIT: forgot to mention this =P ) Instead of thinking of it as "woman trapped in a man's body!" (or vice versa), think of it as renovations. It's still your body, it's still your home, it's still you, but it needs a few walls knocked down, the plumbing and electrical redone, the kitchen remodeled, that sort of thing. Some stuff just wasn't installed properly when it first went in, and needs fixed in order to work properly, that's all.


Anyway, lots of stuff to cover, and I've barely scratched the surface, but hopefully it clears up a few things for you ^.~


Yes, I'm transgendered, and no I don't make a big deal out of it. It's not a big part of who I am, it's just something I'm stuck with. You learn to live with it, as best you can anyway. I do believe, however, that the key to compassion is understanding, and that the easiest way to get rid of this pile of false information is education. Hence, you probably won't hear me mention being trans again, except in context where it may be relevant to the discussion at hand.

Also, no, I'm not the stereotypical "girly girl", I just am myself. I've just given up on playing up to other people's ridiculous expectations of me, whether those expectations are stereotypically male or female. I am myself, no one else and nothing else. If we could all think that way, we'd probably get along a lot better with one another overall =P


Last edited by Katsuni on Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:00 am; edited 2 times in total
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Rune



Joined: 08 Oct 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/with-exposure-to-babies-rodent-dads-brains-like-moms-become-wired-for-nurture/2013/06/15/8f0758ea-d3e6-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html

Some interesting fodder for challenging the "natural differences" train of thought.
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Istancow



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is one hell of a firstish post.

I applaud thee. I shall have to read that among with the multitude of articles provided.
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Katsuni



Joined: 11 May 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Istancow wrote:
That is one hell of a firstish post.

Sorry, can't help it; I'm a dedicated rant artist ^.~

I just don't know when to shut up =P
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Katsuni, can I bug you some time for info and sources about surgery, hormones, etc? My partner and I (Both FtMs) give a talk on trans stuff about three times a year, and we don't have a whole lot on MtF stuff.
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Katsuni



Joined: 11 May 2013
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stripeypants wrote:
Katsuni, can I bug you some time for info and sources about surgery, hormones, etc? My partner and I (Both FtMs) give a talk on trans stuff about three times a year, and we don't have a whole lot on MtF stuff.

Uhm sure, I'll try to give what I can =P

Admittedly I'm only just now getting to the transition part in the last few months, so lack a lot of information myself (it's kind of a learn-as-you-go dealie; seems you ask one question, get ten different answers >.< ).

Anyway, feel free to ask me anything if you have a question; I'd rather teach and help, than leave people in ignorance to try to make up their own random guesses on stuff. Some things I can answer right now, others I may need to research first, but I'll do my best ^.^

Toss me a Private Message whenever you get a chance, and marvel as I pretend I have two brain cells left that weren't eaten by zombies ages ago to rub together =P
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stripeypants



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PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2013 11:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That'll be helpful, actually, as your info will be up to date. I'll look at my notes later and thn PM you.
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Zhuinden



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Edit: Far too much rambling, I ain't taking responsibility for this xD
I hope no one started replying to it yet.


Last edited by Zhuinden on Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:58 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Zhuinden



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


Now I'm glad this comic was drawn, this sums things up.

Now after 3 hours of sleep - overall, all you need to accept is that 'gender' is a spectrum and not just 'male'/'female', and that there are people in this world who are born with a body that they are in complete dissonance with due to their sex not being the same as their gender, and as a result can't be congruent to either gender's expectations, and are fighting to become the gender they feel they were meant to me?

That isn't so hard. How on earth does this promote violence against them, and why do feminists and some larger LGBT groups prosecute them? I don't get it.
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cleocatra



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yinello wrote:
In the indie game Papers Please (you can download the demo) sometimes you'll get a person who looks like a guy but in their passport it says female. If you ask them about it they'll say they're a woman. Now because you live in a dystopic shitty country you have to reject them but it makes you think.

If someone wants to be a woman/man, then who are we to say that they aren't? So what if their bodies don't look like our image of femininity/masculinity? Isn't it selfish and jerkish of us to deny what someone wants to be, deny their happiness just because it's "weird" for us?


In another part of the game there's a feminine presenting person who has a female name and you have to challenge them on their gender (which is marked as M) , which at that point goes to a full body scanner and you can see they have male genitals which enables them to pass though. It's still in alpha really, so I think comments could be made to the dev to change that bit to maybe have gender change certificates or something? Though I understand the scanner is designed to be really intrusive because GLORIOUS ARSTOZKA is worried about terrorists from neighbouring countries.

(aside from that bit I really want to play this game, it looks super fun)
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