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pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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I feel like there should be a thread about such a topic, and now there is one.

What are your thoughts on Gender Identity?
[Note: Gender =/= sex]

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Kalaina
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Kalaina
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On the medical treatment note, it's tough to argue that sex isn't more relevant than gender. What gets tricky there for trans people who medically transition is knowing what your sex actually is. For someone on hormone replacement therapy, their sex is, for most medical purposes, the sex aligned with the hormones they're taking. There are other medical purposes for which it isn't. It's usually easy to tell a doctor you're taking hormones if they need to know, but for forms and insurance purposes it's really sketchy to try and describe your non-binary sex to a system that isn't set up for it.

But medical care isn't exactly the end all be all of life, either.

twillight2
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twillight2
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But medical care isn't exactly the end all be all of life, either.


That's why I mentioned chairs and trousers.
Kalaina
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Kalaina
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Er, not to pick nits, but what exactly differs in the design of chairs and trousers across sexes? I haven't ever seen sex-specific chairs, and gender differences in clothing aren't exactly sex-based either, save for underwear, and unless we're taking bras, underwear is a lot more differentiated by gender than it needs to be.

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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The claim is hardly outlandish, and I think the burden of proof is on you anyway.


The burden of proof invariably rests upon the claimant (in this case, you).

Surely you aren't trying to argue that, are you? Same deal for gender role


No. I am arguing this:
Because gender = sex, there are a lot of people misusing the word gender to mean things other than sex.

Whereas the idea in question is this:
Further, would you care to address why you believe "gender identity" is not a person's identity about their gender, why "gender role" is not a role related to a person's gender


Your notion of my belief is clearly in error, which is why I ask how you arrived at this bizarre conclusion.

Medical care is one context in which they likely do care about sex rather than gender. And what do they ask for? Sex, actually. At least for the forms I've filled out.


Equally valid: I have never personally seen "sex" listed on a medical form, therefore, no medical form in existence contains the word sex.
Also equally valid: I have never seen you in person, so you cannot possibly exist.
Do you see the problem with this this form of induction?

Typically, they're referring in sum to a false binary wherein all people with female bodies have female preferences and all people with male bodies have male preferences.


Your support for this extravagant claim being what?

As such, there are a lot of people (as implied, the vast majority of people) using the word gender to mean things other than sex.


Repetition is not an acceptible substitute for evidence. If you cannot produce the required evidence, I will have to conclude that your claim is a baseless assumption.

@twillight2:
I have to tell it is ridiculous people can't even write down their names for speech-filters...


Well, if some people would stop using those names as euphamisms...

That's why I mentioned chairs and trousers.


This would only apply to trousers that are made to order. Even then, the person's measurements should be sufficient by themselves. Chairs shouldn't apply to the scenario at all.
samy
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samy
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No. I am arguing this:
Because gender = sex, there are a lot of people misusing the word gender to mean things other than sex.


You understand that your proposition is based on absolutely nothing and, likewise, that your conclusion means absolutely nothing, yes? Whether or not you understand there to be a difference between the two terms has no bearing on whether or not there is a difference. More importantly, you've failed to indicate that gender, as understand as something separate from sex, is an illegitimate concept. For example, one could argue that red = blue, but in no way does this take away from the existence of the color in question. "Red" as a concept still exists even if one takes issue with the "word" read being used to describe that concept.

So, sure, gender = sex. But, say, "loren" means those roles ascribed an individual on the basis of their sex/gender. Often, one finds sex/gender and loren to be in harmony, but occasionally there is a disconnect between the two. As defined, there is absolutely no necessity for gender/sex and loren to be identical, and, therefore, the two exist as separate, if not related, categories.
twillight2
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twillight2
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Er, not to pick nits, but what exactly differs in the design of chairs and trousers across sexes?


Trousers are the most obvious. Try them up if you want in a shop for first-hand experience
Now, the difference is the size between the waist (topmost part of the trousers), and the part where the two legs meet. For women that size is always shorter, while for men they are wider to have place for the balls, which need space and cooler circumstances (it is NOT comfortable when your balls are pushed into your stomach, and even if that you could suffer it is absolutely nothealthy to keep them too warm).

Chairs I mean chairs and other things you sit on.
Most obvious example will be if I just mention seat of bicycles. The female variant is thinner (if I understand correctly), allowing comfortable? more efficient? space for the legs. But if a male tries to sit on 'em, again there'll be trouble with the balls.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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You understand that your proposition is based on absolutely nothing and, likewise, that your conclusion means absolutely nothing, yes?


No. It is based on the definition of the term.

More importantly, you've failed to indicate that gender, as understand as something separate from sex, is an illegitimate concept.


Does this invalidate any part of my argument?

(Answer: No.)

Has anyone succeeded in indicating the contrary?

(Answer: No.)

For example, one could argue that red = blue, but in no way does this take away from the existence of the color in question. "Red" as a concept still exists even if one takes issue with the "word" read being used to describe that concept.


So?

So, sure, gender = sex. But, say, "loren" means those roles ascribed an individual on the basis of their sex/gender. Often, one finds sex/gender and loren to be in harmony, but occasionally there is a disconnect between the two. As defined, there is absolutely no necessity for gender/sex and loren to be identical, and, therefore, the two exist as separate, if not related, categories.


Right, which is why it wouldn't be a good idea to use one of the other terms in place of "loren", because that would cause confusion. If loren means something else in a different context, you could further clarify it by calling it "sex loren" or "gender loren", as these can still be recognized by all as loren, but calling it "sex" or "gender" alone would be misleading.
Kalaina
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Trousers are the most obvious. Try them up if you want in a shop for first-hand experience


If it wasn't obvious, I'm trans (specifically, I am an assigned-male-at-birth, binary-identified trans woman). I have quite a lot of first-hand experience with gendered clothing, and quite honestly I've never had any issue with women's trousers and my balls. I'm inclined to believe that gender differences in outer clothing are primarily aesthetic rather than functional. I'll give you bike seats, though. And underwear to an extent.

---

The burden of proof invariably rests upon the claimant


Certainly, and who exactly is the claimant here? You could argue either of us, or both, but from my perspective it seems like I was just going my merry way using the word gender in the same way that I and countless others have been using it for years, when you took issue with my usage of the word and asserted that sex = gender. As I have made claims which are in opposition to your own, I might concede that the burden of proof goes to both of us, but it's certainly not on me alone.

A: The sky is red right now.
B: That's crazy, the sky is never red.
A: That's an outlandish claim; I need to see some proof.

A: The sky is red right now.
B: That's crazy, the sky is never red.
A: But the sky is frequently red at sunset.
B: That's an outlandish claim; I need to see some proof.

Your notion of my belief is clearly in error, which is why I ask how you arrived at this bizarre conclusion.


I'll try and spell this out for you, I guess. Gender, as defined by you, means sex. If gender identity is defined as a person's identity as related to their gender, then by your definition of gender as meaning sex, gender identity can in turn be defined as a person's identity as related to their sex.

However, it's absurd to indicate that gender identity is a person's identity as related to their sex, as gender identity in its common usage means something entirely different: a person's identity as related to how one or more gender roles should or should not be ascribed to them. As an example, a person who identifies as a man in spite of the fact that he is perfectly okay with his female body has a masculine gender identity.

If you wish to claim that gender identity also shouldn't be used in the way that it is currently used, then feel free to do so, preferably in the light of why you don't think we need any word or phrase distinct from sex to describe the social aspects of gender. If you're not making that claim, then please either address the disparity of the usage of the word "gender" on its own with the usage of the word "gender" in the phrase "gender identity," or alternately address why you don't think having such a disparity matters.

Do you see the problem with this this form of induction?


Obviously, but I wasn't making a rigorous argument. As it's an issue of what field most medical forms include, the only way either of us can actually make a rigorous argument is to take a random sampling of existing medical forms and do a statistical analysis on it. However, I'm not going to be doing that, because, quite frankly, it would be a lot of work and I'm not getting paid for the effort. I get the feeling you aren't going to be doing that, either.

extravagant claim


Please refrain from using sensational words such as "outlandish" and "extravagant" when referring to my claims, as I am not doing the same for yours.

The aforementioned false binary is so prevalent in society I'm a little bit unsure how you've missed it. Unfortunately it's an issue of how other people think, so I'm going to have a hard time providing concrete examples. You can look at most of transphobia, a large portion of sexism, and thousands of casual interactions between people of like and distinct genders for examples; however, as you appear to care more about whether or not I'm wrong than about learning anything from me, I suspect that I'd need to be more concrete.

Repetition is not an acceptible substitute for evidence.


I wasn't repeating myself in an attempt to further my argument, I was repeating myself for purposes of querying you for clarification on why you said "Precisely," which I explicitly indicated in the paragraph in question that you quoted from:

I don't follow. My assertion was that most uses of the word gender refer to things other than sex. This was in contrast to your belief that most uses of the word gender refer to sex. As such, there are a lot of people (as implied, the vast majority of people) using the word gender to mean things other than sex. Are you agreeing with my argument, or just trying to be witty?


Quite frankly, if you're going to take what I say entirely out of context and ignore the rest, then I'm going to do the same to you and this is going to get even more pointless.

As I'm no longer posting from a phone, I can post some links, I guess, although I'm not going to be doing anything that Google can't.

From The World Health Organization:
http://www.who.int/gender/whatisgender/en/

From Monash University:

http://www.med.monash.edu.au/gendermed/sexandgender.html

From the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, citing several sources:

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/feminism-gender/

From Wikipedia, citing several sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sex_and_gender_distinction

From Wikibooks on sociology's use of the term, citing several sources:

http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Introduction_to_Sociology/Gender

And etc. I can fetch more, and you could in turn fetch links showing where they are used to mean the same thing. Neither of these approaches is capable of answering the question of whether or not gender is distinct from sex in most uses of the term.

However, it has hopefully now been shown that my claims are at least within reason, and given that neither of us is actually capable and willing to do the aforementioned statistical analysis, people are free to choose between your entirely baseless assertion that sex = gender and my assertion that sex and gender are distinct, which I have provided at least some evidence for.

Ideally I'd be able to convince you as well, but given the amount of productivity with which you have taken this discussion (exclusively presenting criticism of what I say without providing any indication that you're willing to provide support for your claim, using words such as "outlandish" and "extravagant" to refer to my claims which quite frankly are not, taking things I say out of context, and generally just treating a forum discussion as if it were a scholarly debate wherein every single word is subject to intense scrutiny), I'm inclined to believe that I cannot do so within reason.
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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[...] when you took issue with my usage of the word and asserted that sex = gender. As I have made claims which are in opposition to your own, I might concede that the burden of proof goes to both of us, but it's certainly not on me alone


The sex = gender relation has already been validated, but if you want more evidence for this, you need only ask.

Gender, dictionary.com

1a archaic : KIND, SORT b : SEX (black divinities of the feminine ~ --Charles Dickens) 2 linguistics [...]
Webster's Third New International Dictionary.

I'll try and spell this out for you, I guess. Gender, as defined by you, means sex. If gender identity is defined as a person's identity as related to their gender, then by your definition of gender as meaning sex, gender identity can in turn be defined as a person's identity as related to their sex


That would be a fallacy of equivocation, similar to defining "hammer" as a tined eating implement, and then arguing that it can no longer be associated with "mallet" because you can't eat with a mallet.

If you wish to claim that gender identity also shouldn't be used in the way that it is currently used, [...]. If you're not making that claim, then please either address the disparity of the usage of the word "gender" on its own with the usage of the word "gender" in the phrase "gender identity," or alternately address why you don't think having such a disparity matters


The crux of this whole argument:
As I have stated previously, "gender identity" is explanatory. We can see that it is a distinct term with its own meaning. I would think it very unlikely for anyone to mistake gender identity for the physiological quality of sex or gender. It would also seem very unlikely for anyone to confuse "gender identity" with another type of identity that has no relation to sex or gender.

Gender and sex are still synonymous, whether you like it or not. Perhaps the grandchildren of your generation will be able to change that, but such a transition cannot be made simply because the "political correctness" compass seems to be tending toward that direction. Therefore, "gender" is not an acceptible substitute for "gender identity".

The aforementioned false binary is so prevalent in society I'm a little bit unsure how you've missed it.


It is not a matter of "missing" anything. The claim presumes knowledge of the thought processes of the general populace, which makes it both irrational and completely unsupportable. Hence, it is extravagant.

Quite frankly, if you're going to take what I say entirely out of context and ignore the rest, then I'm going to do the same to you and this is going to get even more pointless.


I did no such thing. In quoting one line, I indicate that my argument is with that particular line. It is not out of context, as I am challenging the unsupported claim that has once again appeared.
Kalaina
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Kalaina
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The sex = gender relation has already been validated, but if you want more evidence for this, you need only ask.


Validated by whom? Would care to explain why you feel that a dictionary is a more authoritative source than sources such as the WHO which indicate that the terms are distinct?

That would be a fallacy of equivocation


Care to explain how, exactly, it is a fallacy of equivocation? Also, care to explain how your hammer/fork example is a fallacy of equivocation?

Additionally, you have yet to address or even acknowledge the disparity between the usage of the word gender on its own (i.e. "gender") and the usage of the word gender within the phrase "gender identity," in the light that gender identity does not refer to a sex identity. This is the third time I have asked; are you going to do that?

It is also moderately offensive that you've dismissed the entire issue as something so trite as "political correctness," given that making the distinction is a fundamental early step for many in gaining an understanding of trans people. In fact, would you care to explain how, exactly, using gender to refer to social roles rather than biological sex is politically correct?

It is not a matter of "missing" anything. The claim presumes knowledge of the thought processes of the general populace, which makes it both irrational and completely unsupportable. Hence, it is extravagant.


Difficult to support, yes. Irrational, hardly; what exactly is irrational about believing that the general populace lacks a fundamental understanding of the concepts of masculinity and femininity, how they do and do not relate to sex, and how they are and are not opposites?
Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Does it matter? Why?

FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Would care to explain why you feel that a dictionary is a more authoritative source than sources such as the WHO which indicate that the terms are distinct?


Because the subject is the definition of a term, which is not within the jurisdiction of W.H.O. It is really quite amusing to see that you are still arguing against the validity of the actual meaning of the word.

care to explain how, exactly, it is a fallacy of equivocation? Also, care to explain how your hammer/fork example is a fallacy of equivocation?


You've chosen to define term A on the basis of term B, which is used incorrectly. You then used this definition to argue that term B should not be related to term C, because term A does not relate to term C. That is a fallacy of equivocation, because you are using term A as though the incorrect usage of term B still applies. The same goes for the hammer analogy.

This is the third time I have asked; are you going to do that?


Again? No. Your failure to aknowledge my response upon the previous two occasions cannot be any fault of mine. If you want my answer you will have to do a better job of reading pages 9 and 10.

It is also moderately offensive that you've dismissed the entire issue as something so trite as "political correctness," given that making the distinction is a fundamental early step for many in gaining an understanding of trans people.


I did not dismiss the issue. My reference to political correctness was in relation to the evolution of language. Furthermore, I challenge your claim that any such distinction is in any way relevant to any such understanding. Why do you place so much value upon redefining one term when you have three more useful terms already at your disposal?

In fact, would you care to explain how, exactly, using gender to refer to social roles rather than biological sex is politically correct?


It isn't necessarily, but the fear of political incorrectness appears to be the main support for the definition you prescribe.

what exactly is irrational about believing that the general populace lacks a fundamental understanding of the concepts of masculinity and femininity, how they do and do not relate to sex, and how they are and are not opposites?


Well, aside from the two internal contradictions, nothing is wrong with believing that. This doesn't do a thing to rescue your attribution bias based assertion of the same, however.
Kalaina
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Kalaina
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Because the subject is the definition of a term, which is not within the jurisdiction of W.H.O.


Nor is it within the jurisdiction of a dictionary, as dictionaries simply attempt catalog the common usage of terminology; they do not dictate it. Dictionaries can be incorrect, and typically change slowly. Furthermore, not even all dictionaries are in agreement on the definition of gender. The fact that there exists one such dictionary which supports your claim is hardly proof of anything.

You've chosen to define term A on the basis of term B, which is used incorrectly. You then used this definition to argue that term B should not be related to term C, because term A does not relate to term C. That is a fallacy of equivocation, because you are using term A as though the incorrect usage of term B still applies. The same goes for the hammer analogy.


Near as I can tell, neither of these is actually a fallacy of equivocation.

Your failure to aknowledge my response upon the previous two occasions cannot be any fault of mine.


The best I can do is try to interpret your rather inscrutable replies. By your above statement, it appears that you believe that I have chosen to define gender identity (term A) on the basis of gender (term B), which you believe I am using incorrectly. I then used this definition to argue that gender (term B) should not be related to sex (term C) because gender identity (term A) does not relate to sex (term C). You assert this is a fallacy of equivocation because I am using gender identity (term A) as though the incorrect usage of gender (term B) still applies.

As a result, by my best inference, you believe that my definition of gender identity (term A) should not be based on my supposedly incorrect definition of gender (term B), and instead should be based on the supposedly correct definition of gender (term B) as you define to be equal to sex (term C).

By the above, I can infer that you take issue not only with my definition of gender (term B), but also of gender identity (term A).

I will note here that you haven't actually stated that you take issue with my definition of gender identity, and as such my failure to acknowledge that you have made such a statement is, in fact, a fault of yours.

As I cannot infer your definition of gender identity, please define it rather than stating that its meaning is self-evident.

Furthermore, I challenge your claim that any such distinction is in any way relevant to any such understanding. Why do you place so much value upon redefining one term when you have three more useful terms already at your disposal?


I place value on defining gender as distinct from sex for a few primary reasons, all of which are functional.

One is due to the fact that most people can conceptualize what is meant by "gender" whereas the other three terms are unwieldy and difficult for them. And that conceptualization typically includes both the physical and social aspects of cisgender people.

The second reason follows from the first; because of either a lack of understanding or because of a lack of acceptance, people will use the term "gender" to refer to the social aspects of the above conceptualization. This comes into play when filling out forms that are more concerned with those social aspects than with our physical bodies, as well as infrequently in casual conversation - it seems feasible to me that someone might playfully say "I will never understand your gender!" or that lower schools might divide children up "by gender."

Given that a primary value of most trans people is in achieving a greater belonging with society by aligning their gender identities with the way that other people view them, I am of the belief that the assertion that gender and sex are distinct is not born from trans people, but rather has been adopted and refined in reaction to the way that other people's usage of the term invalidates our existence.

Finally, "gender" is a single word, whereas the other terms consist of multiple word phrases. And it is useful to have one term which groups the other three; while they are not identical, they are typically related to one another.

Note that the above reasons are my opinions and beliefs based on my experience with being trans, provided solely because I was asked why I place value on the distinction.

It isn't necessarily, but the fear of political incorrectness appears to be the main support for the definition you prescribe.


Frankly, I think that's ridiculous. While I'll give you that many of the labels trans people use are born from political correctness (e.g. "assigned male at birth" rather than "born male," and the basis for the space in "trans woman" rather than "transwoman"), our usage of "gender" is a different matter. Political correctness is about using the most polite and inoffensive terminology; trans people have a need for vocabulary which describes them. It's not so much that you risk offending us, but rather that you risk erasing us. We need words to refer to who we are - all the more because it's an issue of identity - and regardless of whether or not gender is one of those words, there's a lot more at stake than political correctness typically entails.

Well, aside from the two internal contradictions, nothing is wrong with believing that.


Which contradictions?

Lastly, you can find a lack of understanding of trans people everywhere. It's something that most (if not all) trans people face, to varying degrees, over the course of their lives. And that lack of understanding of trans people is almost always born from a lack of understanding of the whole deal - gender/gender identity/role/expression/whatever.

Simply put, we desperately need to be understood, and the reason we so meticulously define ourselves and our terminology is because we need to be able to communicate who we are to the many, many people who simply do not understand. When you're trans, that's just part of life, and I don't think I should be obligated to prove that.

That's where I'm coming from. As such, I see a lot of value in using the words that I use, and take issue with what I feel is a suppression of my ability to communicate my identity. To me, that's a lot more important than linguistics. I don't ask that you share my values, but I do ask that you not dismiss them.

My goal isn't to prove that sex and gender are distinct. It is, as always, to communicate who I am and what that means. I care far, far more about understanding what you think, and why, than I do about this debate.
Moegreche
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Moegreche
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I've been really enjoying reading through these last few pages of exchanges. The argumentation on offer is great, though a bit difficult to follow at times. I'm also wondering whether you two (i.e Fish and Kal) are talking past one another at times. I say this because there are some points at which you two seem to be saying the same thing but are somehow disagreeing about it.

I think I understand Kal's stance, but maybe Fish could make a few points more clear to me. So I have a few questions for Fish if you wouldn't mind clearing them up.

Is it correct to say that you think the distinction between gender and sex is unnecessary? If so, is there a consequence of making this distinction - besides the fact that it's unnecessary?

Is political correctness a bad motivation for drawing a particular distinction or bringing in new terminology?

I'm also curious about the contradictions you charged Kal with. I'm not seeing any there, so again I think it's a frame of reference issue that a bit more clarity would help resolve.

Asherlee
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I have a question related to gender identity and etiquette.

There is this person in my town that is actively involved in the organizations I participate in, as well. Her/His name is Jillian and he/she is partially transgendered. He/she seems to have been in this stage for a long time, so I'm assuming it is her/his preferred position.

My question is, is it rude to ask which gender pronoun he/she prefers? I would like to show enough respect to get it right, but don't want to be a jerk for asking.

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