Your gender and sexuality

Casual conversation between friends. Anything goes (almost).

Your gender and sexuality?

Female-Gay
2
5%
Female-Bi
3
7%
Female-Straight
1
2%
Male-Gay
10
23%
Male-Bi
2
5%
Male-Straight
23
52%
Interesex-Gay
0
No votes
Interesex-Bi
0
No votes
Interesex-Straight
0
No votes
Female, Male or Interesex; Asexual
3
7%
 
Total votes: 44

Adi
Posts: 328
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Adi »

Zhen Li wrote:Sorry, but I don't think you're being sincere or kind here....
No need to apologize though unfortunately you think wrongly. It's perilous to think a person can divine another's motive from a few of these little boxes, since it takes years of meditation to even figure out one's own. :) I have only been sincere and regard you with kindness as I appreciate your thoughts on this matter. It's been many years since I thought about some of these matters and more than a few since I last edited papers on such subjects into proper APA format. You've freely given me a most valuable reminder about the importance of many things, including remembering to take the time to respond properly and with consideration. I'm on so much sinus medication today (lovely allergy season!) that my thoughts are probably cloudy and my replies may seem curt or appear rude and I am very sorry about either. Kindly consider what there is of my mind today temporarily handicapped by drugs and please don't put too much thought into my apparent brevity. I will hush now unless I can get a more coherent reply out.

Adi
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Zhen Li
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Location: Kamakura

Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Zhen Li »

It's fine Adi. I often worry that I might come across more assertive than I intended also - after all, most everyone believes themselves to be best intentioned as they can be, otherwise they wouldn't act. So I am sorry if I came across that way.

Essentially, my point fundamentally was nothing to do with this, it was more to do with the history of the acceptance of the issue - where it was unaccepted on both the left and right. I found of particular interest those East German lobotomies. But someone found a side comment I made a bit more interesting than my main point, and so here we are. Too bad, I hope I haven't diffused the topic of activity for everyone.

As regards trying to find an answer to any issue, let alone a scientific issue, with anything near 1.0 certainty on an internet forum, forget about it. I'm not going to write a journal article here, nor is anyone. As Indrajala said before, discussions here are more or less on the level of discussions over coffee at Starbucks or McDonalds.
Adi
Posts: 328
Joined: Sun Nov 08, 2009 10:45 pm

Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Adi »

Zhen Li wrote:It's fine Adi. I often worry that I might come across more assertive than I intended also - after all, most everyone believes themselves to be best intentioned as they can be, otherwise they wouldn't act. So I am sorry if I came across that way.

Essentially, my point fundamentally was nothing to do with this, it was more to do with the history of the acceptance of the issue - where it was unaccepted on both the left and right. I found of particular interest those East German lobotomies. But someone found a side comment I made a bit more interesting than my main point, and so here we are. Too bad, I hope I haven't diffused the topic of activity for everyone.
No worries then. :-) These little boxes are tricksy, if I can borrow a word from Gollum. It's so hard to get the context of remarks here sometimes and harder still to develop a sound idea of the person writing them. I think great allowance should be made for possible misinterpretation and say that as I certainly need such consideration myself! I pledge to myself to do a better job of asking questions about what someone says to get better understanding rather than simply writing back having made assumptions about what I think they might have said as if I got any of it right in the first place. :tongue:

Like you I've also found it very interesting about the essential invention of the concept of homosexuality in the 19th century and how that was put to use in politics. Certainly there were cultures worldwide that looked on people as two-spirits or the like, but it really wasn't until that time that the act wasn't the central identifier but rather it was a different kind of person. The late Gore Vidal often famously said that there were no such things as homosexual persons, only homosexual acts. This seems to jive with the overall psychological and medical picture of sexuality, in that it's a kind of spectrum with boundaries very elusive. So is it a good thing to celebrate the fact we have different kinds of people or rather that we're all pretty much alike yet like to do different things, for reasons compounded, including genetics, neural structures, societal conditioning, etc.? I don't know the answer to that because both seem to make a lot of sense. Like you I think it's often wise, Occam's Razor style, to look for the most probable and simple explanation of events. That no such explanation seems overwhelmingly forthcoming is either instructive or simply means a lot more research into the subject is needed. And when all this gets brought into politics -- eeeep!

As someone once said, there is no controversy small or large that a politician will not use to divide his enemies and unite his friends.

So Zhen Li, if you are a drinking person I shall stand you a round and if not I'm told I do a pretty good tea service. In fact I'm going to go enjoy some Longjing from Ten Ren Tea and will toast to you with the first cup.

Cordially,
Adi
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Zhen Li
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Zhen Li »

Thank you Adi, I wish you cheers as well. :cheers:
untxi
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by untxi »

Breaking my fast on this topic. Something I'll probably regret.

There are a variety of reasons to examine sex/gender. All of them are probably legitimate in some way, and range from academic and even scientific studies of the subject to generating political ideologies for social change. In the current context it seems important to understand motivations for examining sex/gender. For me, there seem to be two approaches that overlap with Buddhist practice.

[b]Generating Compassion[/b]. For me it is useful to examine sex/gender in order to better understand the experiences of others around me, and through that, to generate some compassion for their situation. A similar project could be applied to race, class, and so on, as long as the goal is to gain insight into the experience of others, and through that develop love and compassion for them. Parking politics at the door, all of these richer and richer taxonomies of sex and gender are useful in breaking down preconceived notions about what sexuality is about. In the end, if done properly, at least in my mind, is the realization that there are as many sexes and genders as they are human beings. Whether that's really true scientifically in terms of proofs and doing the math is less interesting than actually trying to develop that openness. It's an antidote towards "oh, she's a lesbian so therefore her experience is {fill in the assumption}". Permute with race and class.

As a white cis-heterosexual male this isn't as applicable, but in the case of any person who is a sex/gender minority, [i]this is also a project for oneself[/i], to understand one's own experience, and to develop compassion and love for oneself. That self-reflexive project can also be applied to race, class, and so on. One really needs to have love and compassion for oneself before one can have love and compassion for others, and self doubt and self hatred because one internalizes messages from the larger culture is a sure way of developing self contempt. Again, parking politics at the door, (this is where I'll probably come to regret breaking my silence because of all the crap it will stir) there is inevitably some aspect of building separate minority identities involved in this process. Having some basic healthy pride and self-respect for who one is-- is part of being an integrated human. That includes developing and owning a narrative of one's experience, for better or for worse. We can debate the intellectual and political theory and praxis that comes out of this, it's a free society, but nobody has a right to question how others create an identity. For those who are minorities developing an integrated identity and personal narrative is the most compassionate thing they can do for themselves, and as such, something that should be supported by everyone. (Hopefully that's been said without chumming the waters with "identity politics". There's no call here for anyone to accept any particular gender politics.)

[b]The Practice of Dharma[/b]. Since Buddhism can be seen, more or less depending upon one's inclination, as a religion, and since religions all have some social context, it's important to understand the role of sex and gender in Buddhist practice. Like all religious traditions, Buddhism makes statements about the conventional world and what is appropriate and inappropriate in that context. Buddhism also teaches a multitude of skillful means for transcending all the categories that we impose on our reality. As such, even those statements about the conventional world are to be understood provisionally. The Generating Compassion portion above, could rightfully be included in The Practice of Dharma, as it is the core or Mahayana and Vajrayana practice, and not something unknown in Theravadan practice as well. Here I see the challenge of examining sex and gender as primarily understanding the traditional core teachings of the Buddhist traditions to see how we might be inadvertently poisoning this very compassion-- both for self and others.

It's sort of like the snake in a tube metaphor. We're either moving forward to create more understanding and more compassion for self and others, or we're moving backwards and making things harder for everyone.
Simon E.
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Simon E. »

Snakes in tubes would not have been my own choice of metaphor under the circumstances. 8-)

Freudian much ? :smile:
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
zsc
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:03 am

Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by zsc »

Along with untxi's points, I'd offer:

i.e. counting on Occam's Razor to make it simpler for us to understand:

This is actually controversial when it is applied outside the realm of material reductionist science. When it comes to philosophy and social phenomena, it loses its relelvance, for the obvious reason that human beings are dynamic and complicated.

In this list of Anti-Razors, we should pay attention to:

Kant's: "The variety of beings should not rashly be diminished."

and Menger's: "It is vain to do with fewer what requires more."
yolo (but not really).
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Simon E.
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Simon E. »

There is a London based satirical magazine called 'Private Eye ' it has a section of quotes sent in by readers, called " Pseuds Corner ".
“You don’t know it. You just know about it. That is not the same thing.”

Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche to me.
untxi
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by untxi »

Zsc...

Thanks for bringing up the anti-razors.

Speaking as someone scientifically trained, Occam's razor is significantly misunderstood and misapplied. It's intention is to triage theories that have already been validated, not to eliminate the existence of entities: the experimental verification of theories does that task, eliminate the existence of entities, not Occam's razor. It's also a subtle issue as to what "simplicity" means. One critique of Einstein's theory of general relativity was that it mucked up the simplicity of Newton's very simple theory of gravity. There is always a tension between a theory becoming more complex and making things simpler on a deeper level.

I think that's very pertinent to the discussion of sex and gender. What can put two theories of sex/gender that have been experimentally verified next to each other and make some arguments about simplicity. We can't use Occam's razor to suggest people's experience is invalid because their narratives are a complication of what appears to be a simple model of XX-chromosomed animals and XY-chromosomed animals. That really just amounts to a form of aggression.

What Occam's razor can do is simply shift the burden of proof. In discussions of race, gender, class, etc., that amounts to shifting the burden of proof to those of the minority group.

In some sense this whole dialog is a reflection of this shifting of the burden of proof. The law of parsimony says that all is fine with the dharma. The sutras are clear that women are inferior vessels for the dharma, and that gender minorities are abominations as well as inferior vessels. Strike any abuses up to karma, dust yourself off, and move on. Pray to be straight and male next life-- and get over that queer nonsense. The burden of proof is now up to women and gender minorities to come up with an argument that warrants mucking things up.
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Zhen Li
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Zhen Li »

The sutras are clear that women are inferior vessels for the dharma, and that gender minorities are abominations as well as inferior vessels.
I am certain that is not true, the Sutras have no concept of gender "minorities" (unless you consider masculine males a gender minority, since they're about 49%). As a side note, I really don't understand how gender got from a grammatical concept (masculine, feminine, and neuter) to something someone identifies with (isn't that just more unhelpful reification?).

Moreover, I don't recall where it is said that women are inferior "vessals for the dharma." Are you sure that's just not your own invention? As I understand it, the position of the Sutras on women is one that should elicit sympathy and compassion on the part of men: since women undergo five sufferings that men don't have to undergo.
S.N. 37.3. Āveṇikadukkhasuttaṃ wrote:Monks, there are these five sufferings particular to a woman that a woman undergoes, exclusive of men.
What are these five?
Here, monks, a woman while young in years goes to her husband’s family, and is without relatives. This, monks, is the first suffering particular to a woman that a woman undergoes, exclusive of men.
Then again, monks, a woman menstruates. This, monks, is the second suffering particular to a woman that a woman undergoes, exclusive of men.
Then again, monks, a woman becomes pregnant. This, monks, is the third suffering particular to a woman that a woman undergoes, exclusive of men.
Then again, monks, a woman gives birth. This, monks, is the fourth suffering particular to a woman that a woman undergoes, exclusive of men.
Then again, monks, a woman attains to the serving of a man. This, monks, is the fifth suffering particular to a woman that a woman undergoes, exclusive of men.
Indeed these, monks, are the five sufferings particular to a woman that a woman undergoes, exclusive of men.
untxi
Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:15 pm

Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by untxi »

Zhen Li...

Female friends have reported traditionally trained Buddhist teachers stating that women are inferior vessels for dharma practice. Not too long ago, there was a thread on this forum that referenced the inherent negative qualities of women. Not something I've made up. I'm a big fat white guy. I have no particular skin the game with this issue.

-U
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Zhen Li
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by Zhen Li »

Yes, I'm certainly sure those views are out there.
zsc
Posts: 79
Joined: Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:03 am

Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by zsc »

untxi wrote:In discussions of race, gender, class, etc., that amounts to shifting the burden of proof to those of the minority group.
This proof has been provided by a lot of us in spades. I do not think anyone who has studied these issues with any amount of depth (beyond internet forums) would say otherwise. Whether this mountain of evidence and theory is accepted is another matter. Usually the objections to the evidence are the same ones in this, and other threads on these subjects: "I don't understand it, so it's wrong."
yolo (but not really).
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garudha
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Re: Your gender and sexuality

Post by garudha »

Thank you everyone who responded to the Poll, and especially, all who participated in the thread.

I for one certainty learnt more about "us" as a collective.

:namaste:
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