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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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Zophia
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Zophia
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@Asherlee
Asking is actually the most polite thing to do! Assuming you ask politely, of course, but I'm sure you can manage that.

Asherlee
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Asherlee
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Well, that's good to know. I'll do that the next time I come across her/him.

Normally, I would just assume, but with him/her being somewhere in between (and Native American, at that), I'd like to be sure before I just start tossing gender terms around.

pangtongshu
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pangtongshu
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Her/His name is Jillian and he/she is partially transgendered.


Pray tell, what do you mean by -partially- transgendered? I assume this is a person who is more on the gender fluid side of things?
FishPreferred
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FishPreferred
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Near as I can tell, neither of these is actually a fallacy of equivocation.


When you first define a term (gender as sex, in the premise of your example), and then argue based on a different definition of the term you have just defined (gender as related to gender identity) without actually changing the topic to the different definition (as you use both in the same argument), you commit a fallacy of equivocation.

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


No. Apr 4, '14 at 1:47pm and Apr 7, '14 at 10:42am were my responses upon the previous two occasions, which you failed to aknowledge. On both of these occasions, I addressed that disparity. I did not yet define gender identity, as I was not aware that that is what you were after, but I did indicate that they are different terms with different meanings.

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


At no point did I make such a statement, but whatever.
In my understanding, gender identity is the psychological representation of gender (id est, sex) with which an individual can most readily identify itself. In other words, the sex/gender that a person identifies as being, regardless of the sex/gender of the body.

[...] 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.


Now we're getting somewhere. Why exactly is it more difficult, aside from what is mentioned in your fourth point?

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.


[...] 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.


These, as well as your closing statement, seem more like reasons not to use it in place of the other terms. If people so frequently confuse and misinterpret the intended meaning, it seems an odd choice of word for your purposes. If you were to coin a new term, rather than redefine an existing one, you would not run this risk (although, I admit, you may have a hard time having it generally recognized).

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.


I would think that their specificity would make them more useful than one term. If you just say "gender", it may be difficult to figure out whether you mean the role, the identity, or the expression, as we can see as early as page 1.

Which contradictions?


These two:
how they do and do not relate to sex, and how they are and are not opposites?


Unless you mean "the ways in which they do relate to sex and the ways in which they don't" for the first, in which case it is only one contradiction.

@Moegreche:
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?


Yes. I consider it to be both unnecessary and unwise; unwise due to the fact that gender is still being used in both senses and still carries the original biological meaning. It is at times difficult to discern which of the four meanings (sex, gender identity, gender role, and gender expression)someone is applying to it, as is evident throughout most of this thread.

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


In my opinion, yes, but that is more related to euphamism treadmilling than it is to this topic. My reason for bringing up political correctness was merely to address the fact that, although it influences the evolution of language and it appears to favour such a distinction in some contexts, it has not actually changed the meaning of the term at this point.
Asherlee
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Asherlee
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Pray tell, what do you mean by -partially- transgendered? I assume this is a person who is more on the gender fluid side of things?


Jillian has taken hormones, as far as I can tell. He/she has grown breasts and has some feminine features, but also keeps some facial hair and dresses sometimes as a woman and sometimes as a man (if that even matters?).

I'm assuming he/she is pre-op, as well.

I see her/him more as a third sex (like the Native Americans) than I do either male or female.
Zophia
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Zophia
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You might find this term interesting and possibly even relevant to your acquaintance's example. There's a lot of non-binary identity labels out there.

Salvidian
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Salvidian
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I ask again: Why does it matter?

Zophia
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Zophia
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You're really vague with that question, though. Why does what matter?

Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Why does your gender identity matter in a social setting?

Zophia
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Zophia
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It mostly matters if people are treating you different from how you would like to be treated due to the gender they perceive you to be.

Social environments don't all have gender roles enforced to the same degree and the enforced parts are largely arbitrary (like knitting being a girl activity and soccer being a boy activity), but being told you can't do X because you're female/male is aggravating for everyone.

If you're trans it's even more aggravating since you feel like you should be said gender and would possibly even fit quite neatly in the box of assumptions made about people of that gender ... but society generally has trouble accepting individuals whose gender expression doesn't match their body.

chrystalfox
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chrystalfox
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Why does your gender identity matter in a social setting?


Because people care. Myself included, being a mtf (but also possibly genderfluid) Gender (and no, I wan't use gender identity. mostly because it sounds repetitive after a while) is a lot like sexuality. It needs exploring, experimenting, to find for sure. You personally might not care, but like others care about some one's sexual orientation, they care about a whether some one is trans or not. (and saying trans is perfectly acceptable and not offensive).
Asherlee
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Asherlee
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You might find this term interesting and possibly even relevant to your acquaintance's example. There's a lot of non-binary identity labels out there.


That's pretty much what I was referencing. Jillian may or may not be active in the Native American community, but he/she seems very two-spirited to me.
Salvidian
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Salvidian
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Thank you for answering. I was pretty curious. I don't know anyone well who isn't straight, so it's a gray area for me.

Zophia
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Zophia
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May be worth quickly noting that sexual orientation and gender identity aren't linked directly. For instance, a female bodied person with a masculine gender expression (whether a trans man or a masculine cis woman) is not guaranteed to be attracted to women (feminine or not).

Personal experience attached to that example. Kind of sucked to have friends (not close ones, mind) introduce me to new people as a lesbian. Also not totally sure why they thought that was relevant for the new people to know immediately...? But oh well.

Kalaina
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Kalaina
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@Asherlee

Just ask. Everyone is different, of course, so I can't speak for all trans people, but in my case I absolutely love it when people care enough to ask for my name/pronouns - there is a sense of validation that people are willing to acknowledge my identity - and that's not uncommon. I'd imagine that at worst, you'd just get a straightforward answer to your question.

I'd recommend not approaching it from a "how should I interact with you?" perspective but rather a "who are you?" perspective. I'm on the receiving end of this, but I've noticed people have more success communicating with me when they ask what my name is/will be, rather than asking what they should call me. If they even ask at all.

It's not supposed to be a tricky, delicate situation that you need to figure out how to handle, it's just a fundamental part of who someone is. It can be as casual as anything else, like asking if they drink coffee, or whether or not they have any pets. It's just another part of getting to know a person. This may not be useful advice for you, but I figure I'd share the idea anyway.

As a side note, "transgender" is an umbrella term inclusive of anyone with a gender identity distinct from what is considered "normal" for their sex, so there isn't really a partial state of it. If you're trans, you're trans.

@Salvidian

I like to make the analogy that gender is the frame by which people interact with the world. Inside the frame is who you are, and you can put whatever frame you want around it without changing the insides too much, but some frames are more suitable than others.

If you're like most people, there are some differences in the way that you talk to and conceptualize people based on what their gender is, and if they're also like most people, they will in turn have certain ways that they talk to and conceptualize others based on what their own gender is. That's the frame. Everyone reserves the right to choose the frame that works best for what's inside.

It's not a perfect analogy, but hey.

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