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MOTM Feb 2016
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What are things you wish people knew and understood about gender? This includes gender identity, gender expression, and so forth.

There's still a great many things that people are unaware of when it comes to this topic, so, what's something you wish people were aware of?
 

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That gender isn't binary.
That sex, gender, and expression are different things.
That for a group of people to label something as "private", they sure do a lot of asking when it comes to trans people.
That double standards are sexist, illogical, and ultimately harmful.
That interests, personalities, and values don't have a gender.

I'm sure more will come later...
 

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Society is watching people transition into different genders, and I noticed people's first questions has "so does she, formerly he, like men now?" Gender is not parallel to sexual orientation, people.
 

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That having any given expression of your gender characterized as socialization feels dismissive.
Why? Most are just a result of you doing what you were taught to or observing other people doing. Are you trying to argue some things are biological? I don't understand how saying something is biological to an action is any less dismissive than saying someone was taught to do that and decided to act in that fashion consistently throughout their life.
 

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Why? Most are just a result of you doing what you were taught to or observing other people doing. Are you trying to argue some things are biological? I don't understand how saying something is biological to an action is any less dismissive than saying someone was taught to do that and decided to act in that fashion consistently throughout their life.
This is one example of something that feels like a blanket and dismissive statement about my gender. Statements like that raise my hackles. In the interest of genuine discussion though...

I personally find it dismissive because it presumes I didn't go through a process of discovery like intersexed, trans, or genderfluid people do. I'm not saying my process was directly parallel (of course not), but that doesn't mean I didn't have a lot of surprises, learning, and discovery along the way. Learning what kind of man it feels right for me to be has been a lifelong process of discovery - and, yes, social learning really just doesn't seem to explain all that. There do seem to be - "realities"? - about my gender that, to realize a healthy life, I have to accept rather than change.

Also, and this may just be me, but my personal experience with hearing the phrase "your gender was just social learning" has almost always been as a preface to a larger attempt to influence me. The argument basically goes, "since you learned to do gender this way, you could learn to do it this way instead... And you should learn to do it this way instead." I've listened to those arguments and acted on them plenty of times, and I was glad I did, but I also definitely learned how dangerous it is to trust that these people always have your best interests at heart in the process. I also learned that some "learnings" were MUCH harder to change than others, some were harmful to try changing, and some weren't possbile to change in the way I was being invited to. Didn't even matter if I wanted to become this new expression - some things about me are too fixed, and I'm totally cool with that these days.

I'm not saying you're trying to influence toward your own ends Proxy, but I've seen it enough times, experienced enough pain, that my emotions (wisely) put me on alert to the possibility that someone is about to try and use me when they say most of who I am was "learned".

*softer voice* I'm really not saying that's what you're doing.

*resolved* Anyhoo, the basic idea is that a lot of what I do in my expression as "male" wasn't learned, it was discovered. That's not to say it wasn't open to social learning influences as well, but it does kind of preclude that it was all just stuff I picked up from somewhere else. I don't like having the work I did in that regard "dismissed" because people don't appreciate the vulnerable place that leaves a person, and too many people take advantage of that vulnerability for there own purposes. And it's not just seeing it happen to me that makes me angry (an excellent emotion for standing firm in your own truth), it's seeing it happen to anyone along the gender spectrum.
 

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This is one example of something that feels like a blanket and dismissive statement about my gender. Statements like that raise my hackles. In the interest of genuine discussion though...

I personally find it dismissive because it presumes I didn't go through a process of discovery like intersexed, trans, or genderfluid people do. I'm not saying my process was directly parallel (of course not), but that doesn't mean I didn't have a lot of surprises, learning, and discovery along the way. Learning what kind of man it feels right for me to be has been a lifelong process of discovery - and, yes, social learning really just doesn't seem to explain all that. There do seem to be - "realities"? - about my gender that, to realize a healthy life, I have to accept rather than change.

Also, and this may just be me, but my personal experience with hearing the phrase "your gender was just social learning" has almost always been as a preface to a larger attempt to influence me. The argument basically goes, "since you learned to do gender this way, you could learn to do it this way instead... And you should learn to do it this way instead." I've listened to those arguments and acted on them plenty of times, and I was glad I did, but I also definitely learned how dangerous it is to trust that these people always have your best interests at heart in the process. I also learned that some "learnings" were MUCH harder to change than others, some were harmful to try changing, and some weren't possbile to change in the way I was being invited to. Didn't even matter if I wanted to become this new expression - some things about me are too fixed, and I'm totally cool with that these days.

I'm not saying you're trying to influence toward your own ends Proxy, but I've seen it enough times, experienced enough pain, that my emotions (wisely) put me on alert to the possibility that someone is about to try and use me when they say most of who I am was "learned".

*softer voice* I'm really not saying that's what you're doing.

*resolved* Anyhoo, the basic idea is that a lot of what I do in my expression as "male" wasn't learned, it was discovered. That's not to say it wasn't open to social learning influences as well, but it does kind of preclude that it was all just stuff I picked up from somewhere else. I don't like having the work I did in that regard "dismissed" because people don't appreciate the vulnerable place that leaves a person, and too many people take advantage of that vulnerability for there own purposes. And it's not just seeing it happen to me that makes me angry (an excellent emotion for standing firm in your own truth), it's seeing it happen to anyone along the gender spectrum.
I think we're agreeing, you just may not be defining words the same way I do. When I say socialization, I'm referring to the collaboration of tasks you discovered (or learned, you saw someone else do it somewhere or read it was a thing that could be done, and you liked it, so you started doing it). I'm not saying you should or should not be a certain way, that's entirely up for you to decide. But what I am saying is that we call male socialization the process of taking someone who is at least perceived as a boy, exposing them almost exclusively to stereotypically male things, different things, letting him choose from those options, exposing him to other boys who also are exposed to this, he meets them, plays with them, talks with them, learns from them and they, him, etc. He grows up with these boys and is eventually put into a public school sector where he has shifted in his interests and knowledges to a state where he more easily relates to other people of a similar socialization, so even though others of different variations are now present, it's natural to want to befriend similar-minded people or at least 'compatible' people.

So his actions get reinforced, he continues to learn from them, and on top of that, there ARE expectations of the society on how they think he's meant to act based on his gender (not saying I agree, just that it exists and DOES go into forming someone). So when he's grown up, he has chosen his wants, he HAS chosen his friends, he has chosen his habits and actions. But the choices he was exposed to until he had been so heavily immersed that he would gravitate towards that area naturally, were limited to actions that were 'acceptable'. So when you have male and female growing up in different conditions, different people, learning different things, talking different languages, when you bring them back together when they're older? They're vastly different (well, unless you grow them up similarly..). That is what I mean by socialization. How one walks, how one talks, how one writes, how one sits, what one wears, where they like to go, who they hang out with, what they talk about when they hang out. The diction they use. All of that is socialization.
 

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@Playful Proxy, we're not agreeing - though I appreciate you are trying. It's clear you have a fairly sophisticated understanding of socialization, so that's not where the misunderstanding is coming from. I fully recognize that some of my expressions are socialized. If I had grown up in a different era, in a different class, I'd be wearing high heels and a wig while "manfully" boasting about my skill at duelling.

No, the problem is that socialization leaves no room for an essential me and as a person responsible for making those choices. What I feel I need to protect is the same process I feel is important to protect about how intersex, trans, and genderfluid people determine their gender expression - their responsibility and power to choose the expression that makes sense to them. That their choice is more difficult for the lack of role models certainly hampers them, and certainly privileges me, but it doesn't absolve either of us from the responsibility to engage in that process mindfully and with self-awareness. And socialization as an outside perspective on that process deeply disempowers me - as the subject - in claiming any sort of essential or personal basis for making that choice.

Honestly, I think it disempowers non-binary people as well if it's applied without caution.

*firm voice* Socialization can be an excellent approach for highlighting some of the challenges that people face, or bringing new awareness to factors we haven't thought about before in our own upbringing, but we need to be careful about labelling other people's experiences like that. The situation you described in your example didn't match my experience at all with - say - learning to box as a part of my gender expression. So calling it socialized expression, just because it seems a typical expression of masculinity, feels like someone denying my experience.

And I'm trying to speak only for my own experience here, but I've heard similar complaints from other men, women, and non-binary people as well.
 

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@Playful Proxy, we're not agreeing - though I appreciate you are trying. It's clear you have a fairly sophisticated understanding of socialization, so that's not where the misunderstanding is coming from. I fully recognize that some of my expressions are socialized. If I had grown up in a different era, in a different class, I'd be wearing high heels and a wig while "manfully" boasting about my skill at duelling.

No, the problem is that socialization leaves no room for an essential me and as a person responsible for making those choices. What I feel I need to protect is the same process I feel is important to protect about how intersex, trans, and genderfluid people determine their gender expression - their responsibility and power to choose the expression that makes sense to them. That their choice is more difficult for the lack of role models certainly hampers them, and certainly privileges me, but it doesn't absolve either of us from the responsibility to engage in that process mindfully and with self-awareness. And socialization as an outside perspective on that process deeply disempowers me - as the subject - in claiming any sort of essential or personal basis for making that choice.

Honestly, I think it disempowers non-binary people as well if it's applied without caution.

*firm voice* Socialization can be an excellent approach for highlighting some of the challenges that people face, or bringing new awareness to factors we haven't thought about before in our own upbringing, but we need to be careful about labelling other people's experiences like that. The situation you described in your example didn't match my experience at all with - say - learning to box as a part of my gender expression. So calling it socialized expression, just because it seems a typical expression of masculinity, feels like someone denying my experience.

And I'm trying to speak only for my own experience here, but I've heard similar complaints from other men, women, and non-binary people as well.
If we're talking about expression, that's a concept I have to admit I"m not going to hold a similar opinion of others as. I personally view my expression as something I do to get people to see me the way I want them to. I don't care what I wear or how I look, but I do care how I am perceived by others.

Now, if I understand you correctly, you are saying you feel that people arguing a specific skill you have made is socialization makes you feel as if you did not choose to acquire that skill and thus, they are taking away from what you chose? Allow me to clarify, boxing is not a form of socialization, but since gender norms allow or even promote men to go into boxing, you would not face pressure not to box, and if you ran into the opportunity or expressed an interest, society would react in a way that would make you more likely to want to get started in boxing if you so chose. That's less socialization and more gender norm, though gender norms and socialization often tie together. Norms are the rules/preferred actions, socialization is the influence your family/friends have on you. You do still have choice to be you, I'm not arguing that.


What I am saying is that due to norms and socializations, society will make certain things you may want to choose more or less appealing based on if it fits your gender. You CAN choose to override this if your desire is strong enough. People do have a free will, but socialization just gives some things an edge to look more appealing if that makes sense (and depending on what it is, will try to ostracize you if it deviates too incredibly far).
 

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That using correct pronouns is extremely fucking easy, and there's really no reason to willingly misgender anyone that doesn't come off as whiny, childish, and obnoxious, even if they go by a gender-neutral pronoun.
 

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That we aren't a bunch of people going into washrooms to scare others or spy or commit crimes. We just want to use the bathroom like everyone else in a safe manner.

That just being who we are can result in us being the targets of murder, assault, and harassment for no other reason than we're different.

Don't clock us in public or bring that up in front of us. We know who we are; being called out it's one of our biggest fears. You don't need repeatedly tell us what we already know.

We are not novelty items for your amusement nor a source of humor.

Just treat us like human beings. Please.
 

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If we're talking about expression, that's a concept I have to admit I"m not going to hold a similar opinion of others as. I personally view my expression as something I do to get people to see me the way I want them to. I don't care what I wear or how I look, but I do care how I am perceived by others.

Now, if I understand you correctly, you are saying you feel that people arguing a specific skill you have made is socialization makes you feel as if you did not choose to acquire that skill and thus, they are taking away from what you chose? Allow me to clarify, boxing is not a form of socialization, but since gender norms allow or even promote men to go into boxing, you would not face pressure not to box, and if you ran into the opportunity or expressed an interest, society would react in a way that would make you more likely to want to get started in boxing if you so chose. That's less socialization and more gender norm, though gender norms and socialization often tie together. Norms are the rules/preferred actions, socialization is the influence your family/friends have on you. You do still have choice to be you, I'm not arguing that.


What I am saying is that due to norms and socializations, society will make certain things you may want to choose more or less appealing based on if it fits your gender. You CAN choose to override this if your desire is strong enough. People do have a free will, but socialization just gives some things an edge to look more appealing if that makes sense (and depending on what it is, will try to ostracize you if it deviates too incredibly far).
Your personal expression of gender might fit into your desire to address how others perceive you Proxy, but mine does not. In my case expression is also an act of relating to myself, so it's totally possible for me to take up a new hobby, discover a new aspect of myself in the process, and then relate it to my sense of self as who I am as a "man". Such relationships are critical to me as navigate questions like, "what kind of person am I, and who do I choose to be?" Those challenges are deeply parts of my authenticity and integrity, and the resolution of gender identity is a part of that. Maybe that's not true for everyone, but it seems true enough for a number of people (cis and non-binary alike) that I'm glad I have company when I struggle with those issues.

And these are existential questions. They aren't simple for anyone. When I make a choice that conforms with someone else's preconceived notions of norms, it doesn't help me one bit to understand that. In fact, as with all existential challenges, the less personal the journey, the less meaningful the destination.

So, when I explain how boxing became a part of my identity of what it means for me to be a man, and the other person decides to focus on how much easier it was for me to make that choice then someone else, it most definitely feels dismissive.

Thankfully *snaps his candy-colored unitard straps* I've been doing this long enough not to let that stop me.
 

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as with most of my opinions, my views on this subject are not black and white

on one hand
1) gender is objective. there are striking differences between the brain scans of trans people and cis people
2) the development of gender is a complex process involving hundreds of steps
3) there is an outrageous amount of violence against trans people which flies under the radar

on the other hand
4) people who say "your gender is whatever you want it to be" are full of shit. gender is present from birth and every bit as inherent as sexual orientation or typology.
5) you are either male, female, somewhere in between, or neither. there is no "third gender", and people using that word sound dumb as hell
6) just because you don't relate to traditional gender roles (guess what? almost no one on this entire bloody site does either!) or dumb gender stereotypes does not mean you aren't cisgender. granted, it also doesn't mean that you necessarily are, but insisting that you are trans solely on this basis sounds about as ridiculous to me as when I hear a guy say "I care a lot about my friends and like giving them hugs. does that mean I'm gay..." :laughing:
 

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gender defines you as much as what your favourite colour is, or what your zodiac sign is.
 
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