Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

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rory
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Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by rory » Sat Mar 11, 2017 9:41 pm

I opened this thread as there is a big ongoing issue of gender, trans rights and lesbian issues. We can have a thoughtful open discussion.

I Intended to reply to previous thread as the BBC just did a big series on transgender children which resulted in a great deal of controversy.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b088kxbw

and I can tell you the lesbian community is having big issues with female erasure by trans activists and my lesbian friends also have real issues with codified ideas about 'gender' as many lesbians regard it as a societal construct...We just discussed how many of us due to our 'boyish' interests and desires as children would have been transitioned today, but for us in those days it was a matter that boys had more freedom to pursue their interests whether it was climbing trees or playing with racing cars, not that we literally wanted male bodies.
gassho
Rory
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Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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justsit
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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by justsit » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:05 am

Accurate statistics are difficult to pin down, I can only say that my experience as a transgender man in my local support group is that there are way more trans women than trans men, roughly 10:1. Not sure how that compares to national figures. The last time I attended the trans health conference in Philly, the MtF/FtM ratio looked to be about 3:1.

Re: "female erasure:" I guess it depends who you read or talk with - I've read blogs/seen vids of people who swear gender transitioning is a conspiracy to "terminate men" and "define them out of existence." Gender transitioning seems to be very threatening to some people.

Everyone seems to have an opinion - often based mainly on emotion - and usually an agenda.

Personally, I avoid gender politics like plague.

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by dreambow » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:28 am

'Personally, I avoid gender politics like plague' Totally agree...who wants to be embroiled in all the emotional over the top rhetoric!

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:04 am

As someone on the outside looking in - have a couple trans friends but frankly never been comfortable enough to them talk about it, talk about a minefield-, I sometimes have a hard time seeing where people's personal dramas end and where "legitimate gender identity" (if there is such a thing) begin. So while I certainly don't feel threatened, and I wish to support people, I'm also not entirely convinced that everyone calling themselves 'trans' deserves uncritical applause, or uncritical support for their transition plans, etc. Of course I know their decisions require no validation at all from people like me. Two sides to that though, they don't - it's not my business, but the other side is that it's up to me whether or not I accept their narratives about gender etc., should they choose to share them.

I realize there are plenty of trans people who are doing what they need to do to not live a tortured existence, but quite frankly i've also seen some (especially younger ones) who I think have no idea what they really want, and for that reason I really -do- have some serious issues with things like gender reassignment surgery or hormones for teenagers.

The bottom line of course is that it's not my business, and I want trans people to have the right to be whoever they want without being threatened, discriminated against, told what bathroom to use etc. The flipside is, I reserve the right to be skeptical when some 12 year old girl has all the sudden "discovered" she is trans.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

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rory
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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by rory » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:35 am

Interesting about the numbers, as a Transman are FTM as activist as MTF ?

I'd say for me and my friends we had sympathy for trans people but it really was their thing, their issues; it didn't affect us or bother us. No worries. But I was just in a women's history group which has straight men and women and lesbians and trans, but the discussion devolved over the BBC series and turned very unpleasant and this statement by a Transwoman: "Lesbian is a subset of queer. Women is a sub-set of non-men. Inclusive language isn't erasure, it's inclusive."

For women it just seemed like we are being shoved out of existance. As a lesbian we're a tiny group and proud of our name and history. I don't want to be dissolved of my identity to be in the Queer community, I like being in a group where women are number 1.

The "women is a sub-set of non-men" had the women, straight and gay, inentity under 'non-men' to the women it seemed like Women can never be the main subject., why cannot the Transwomen be happy to be called women? well there was a true feeling of ill will and the trans members left.

I asked if Transmen demanded that 'men' be replaced by 'non-women' but crickets....And we were called TERFS for our troubles.

So my lesbian friends are now saying privately that Transwomen have no clue what it's like to be a woman; that their male upbringing results in them behaving in such a pushy and obnoxious way and pushing an agenda that is trying to erase women; that it's all about them. I never heard that talk previously...

And yes this is an issued I cannot avoid as now Planned Parenthood is tweeting about 'menstruators' instead of 'women' and the Green Party in Britain is using non-men for women.
Women are usually good-natured and accepting (I'm the odd woman out;-) but I can tell you there is a real Tsunami-type wave of anger and resentment over this,
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by Rakz » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:12 am

I understand this is a sensitive issue for many so I won't add any of my own opinions but here are a couple wise quotes by the Buddha:

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

“One to whom it might occur, ‘I’m a woman’ or ‘I’m a man’. Or ‘I’m anything at all’— Is fit for Mara to address.” (SN 5.2)

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 6:51 am

Hi, rory,
Like JD, I'm on the outside looking in and hoping that everyone can find freedom and happiness.
Just by way of a reality-check, though, I would like to say that your 'tsunami' hasn't registered at all in Australian politics or in my daily life talking to a pretty broad (and tolerant) range of people.
There's a big difference between "women's rights", which directly affect all women and most men, and "gay rights", which directly affect most gay people and a minority of others - perhaps 10 - 15% of the population, although 99% seem to have an opinion. :rolleye:
Gender politics within the LGBTI community directly affects a smaller group again - although again 99% seem to have an opinion. :rolleye:
By the time you get down to sub-sets of that group, it's really down to the individual's negotiation of the community they happen to find themselves in - more of a storm in a teacup than a tsunami, if I can return to your original metaphor, however tough it is to survive when you're in the teacup.

:namaste:
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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by justsit » Sun Mar 12, 2017 1:25 pm

rory wrote:Interesting about the numbers, as a Transman are FTM as activist as MTF ?
None of transgender people - FtM or MtF - I know are radical activists. They will write letters, occasionally attend a Pride parade or the health conference, but as far as engaging in demonstrations or debate, etc., not so much. For the most part, transwomen are such targets already that they tend to lay low rather than act up; they just want to live their lives in peace and don't feel they have anything to prove. Then again, most of the trans people I know are white; race is yet another variable in the mix that is often neglected.

Same goes for my gay and lesbian friends. Many are veterans of the cultural wars; perhaps now that we're older we don't feel the need to wear our hearts on our sleeves as much anymore.

As far as discussions go, I've found that the conflation of sex, gender, and sexual orientation often derails any productive exchange. People sometimes are ready to jump into a conversation without accurate information, just like with any other hot-button topic. For example, is it really possible to have meaningful discussion on the subject of gender transitioning if one cannot distinguish transgender from transsexual, transvestite, drag queen, or cross-dresser? Many seem ready to condemn or denigrate one group based not on facts but solely on ignorance or some alt-facts they read about on the internet.

And blanket statements such as "Women think this," or "Men act like this" are nothing but generalizations and rarely productive in terms of wider understanding. There is no monolithic thing called "women" or "men."

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rory
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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by rory » Sun Mar 12, 2017 8:30 pm

Hi Kim; in the US it's a real issue over the Gavin Grimm case, ( a Transman student wants to use the men's bathroom and dressingrooms) which seems really like no big deal. Watch below as Kara Dansky a feminist (not a lesbian) talks about why she joined a lawsuit with a conseravative about this. ( The Supreme Court sent it back to a lower court, but it's a live issue)
phpBB [video]


the underlying issue is Title 9 in which the US gov't made special provisions for women.
ara Dansky, who leads the WoLF Board of Directors, said in a statement:

" It's important to understand that this goes far beyond bathrooms. Gender identity ideology presents a threat to women as a legal category worthy of civil rights protections."
This wasn't on my radar at all until the big discussion erupted in my Women's history group. I really had no idea what was going on in terms of redefining women by the Trans community. So it's not a lesbian or 'gay rights' issue.

And here is a good article presenting many points of view in the Sydney Sunday Herald ( a liberal paper)
But there are concerns that in the clamour to be inclusive women are once again being silenced and their bodies policed...
She told The Sunday Age that many younger feminists like her were reluctant to speak out because the backlash is "terrifying".

"The fact that women have vaginas means something for our safety, for our health and hygiene, it means something for our sexuality. The experiences of the majority of women are being sidelined, which is really problematic because that's real misogyny when women can't speak of their own experiences any more."
http://www.smh.com.au/national/what-mak ... kyk6u.html

Also here is the brouhaha in the UK with the women's branch of the Green Party Where they used the term "non-men" to mean women. Again this has nothing to do with being gay.
Green Party Women, as a whole, are happy with terms such as 'non-men' to be used to describe women, including transgender women and non-binary people as a collective term...
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/fe ... 87061.html

So when Justsit says this:
There is no monolithic thing called "women" or "men."
Yes it has a really big meaning. So you can see why I fear there is a coming storm about this, once women realize what is happening.

My wish for Trans people is that they be safe, happy, lead their lives, not be fired from their jobs for being Trans etc But I don't want to be redefined. Can't we have separate categories and be happy? Male, Female, Queer/Trans/GenderNonconforming?
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by Kim O'Hara » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:57 pm

Hi, rory,
I think you're more concerned than you need to be, in that the numbers are so firmly on the side of (roughly) the status quo - and doubly so because, as Justsit says ...
None of transgender people - FtM or MtF - I know are radical activists. They will write letters, occasionally attend a Pride parade or the health conference, but as far as engaging in demonstrations or debate, etc., not so much. For the most part, transwomen are such targets already that they tend to lay low rather than act up; they just want to live their lives in peace and don't feel they have anything to prove. Then again, most of the trans people I know are white; race is yet another variable in the mix that is often neglected.
Same goes for my gay and lesbian friends.
Occasional attention-seeking activists may get more publicity than they deserve but they are not going to change anything very much, even if they get some traction within a political group like the UK Greens. Once again, the numbers are against them: 1% of the group may be passionate about the issue and another 10% may go along with it, but the other 90% are focused on core issues like the environment and electability ... and the whole group has only about 10% support out in the wider community. :thinking:

The bathroom issue is something else - a trivial issue which has been wildly inflated for political reasons. Strictly a US thing :rolleye: and I wish you good luck with it.

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by justsit » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:44 pm

rory wrote: So when Justsit says this:
There is no monolithic thing called "women" or "men."
Yes it has a really big meaning. So you can see why I fear there is a coming storm about this, once women realize what is happening.
What I meant was: Political statements about "women," (i.e., what "women" want, what "women" fear, etc.), are such generalizations that they cannot possibly cover every woman. For example, are Melania Trump's hopes and fears as a woman the same as those of a young mother in an African country? A nun in a monastery? a 70 year old with breast cancer? or whatever. When I hear statement such as, "Women think...." or "Women want....," my first question is "What women specifically?" Just using "women" covers so much ground as to be useless in communicating in a meaningful way, IMO. YMMV, of course.

I also wasn't referring to the anatomy currently used to define "woman," which seems to be the focus of your concern. To me, a woman is way more that a body that houses a vagina. A man is way more than a body that carries a penis. There are women with no vaginas, and men with no penises - some have surgical or traumatic removal - so are they no longer "real" women and men?

Personally, I think it is healthy to have the discussion of terminology, particularly with regard to recent scientific discoveries on intrauterine hormonal influences on gender. Right now there is a whole lot of new information, uncertainty, and debate. Give it a few years, it will settle out.

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by Kim O'Hara » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:27 am

justsit wrote:... Right now there is a whole lot of new information, uncertainty, and debate.
Indeed. Partly a matter of the openness of discussion (unthinkable 50 years ago, brave 25 years ago), partly a matter of new science and new awareness of other cultures.
Give it a few years, it will settle out.
Let's hope so. And let's hope that when it does, it will be somewhat more realistic that the currently dominant binary paradigm, which basically says you're a straight man, a straight woman, or weird and probably dangerous. :rolleye:
Most cultures, afaik, don't think that way. I'm blaming the Puritans - yes, Cromwell's mob - for attitudes in the US and the Old Testament for the Puritans. Isn't it about time we abandoned that?

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by justsit » Mon Mar 13, 2017 12:22 pm

Kim O'Hara wrote:Let's hope so. And let's hope that when it does, it will be somewhat more realistic that the currently dominant binary paradigm, which basically says you're a straight man, a straight woman, or weird and probably dangerous. :rolleye:
Most cultures, afaik, don't think that way. I'm blaming the Puritans - yes, Cromwell's mob - for attitudes in the US and the Old Testament for the Puritans. Isn't it about time we abandoned that?
:good:

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by Nicholas Weeks » Mon Mar 13, 2017 3:21 pm

One of the most popular drugs for use on trans children and teens is Lupron. It is supposed to postpone puberty, but no surprise, there are devastating side-effects:

https://www.hormonesmatter.com/lupron-p ... nts-speak/
May all seek, find or follow the Path of Buddhas.

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by dreambow » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:17 pm

Hijras have a recorded history in the Indian subcontinent from antiquity onwards as suggested by the Kama Sutra period. They are a fairly common sight in India. Their history features a number of well-known roles part gender, part spiritual and very much in survival mode. They sing at weddings and birth of sons. They are a very interesting
group wedged between the different castes and the colour and the kaleidoscope that is part of Indian culture.

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by justsit » Tue Mar 14, 2017 12:07 am

dreambow wrote:Hijras have a recorded history in the Indian subcontinent from antiquity onwards as suggested by the Kama Sutra period. They are a fairly common sight in India. Their history features a number of well-known roles part gender, part spiritual and very much in survival mode. They sing at weddings and birth of sons. They are a very interesting
group wedged between the different castes and the colour and the kaleidoscope that is part of Indian culture.
Very interesting, I have never heard the term Hijras. Thanks for posting this, Dreambow.

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by rory » Tue Mar 14, 2017 4:57 am

Kim: thank you that fresh sensible perspective outside my uni and lesbian social bubble is just what I needed.It's why I wrote openly and sincerely in this forum for feedback

justsit wrote:
What I meant was: Political statements about "women," (i.e., what "women" want, what "women" fear, etc.), are such generalizations that they cannot possibly cover every woman. For example, are Melania Trump's hopes and fears as a woman the same as those of a young mother in an African country? A nun in a monastery? a 70 year old with breast cancer? or whatever. When I hear statement such as, "Women think...." or "Women want....," my first question is "What women specifically?" Just using "women" covers so much ground as to be useless in communicating in a meaningful way, IMO. YMMV, of course.

I also wasn't referring to the anatomy currently used to define "woman," which seems to be the focus of your concern. To me, a woman is way more that a body that houses a vagina. A man is way more than a body that carries a penis. There are women with no vaginas, and men with no penises - some have surgical or traumatic removal - so are they no longer "real" women and men?

I've dated women from China, Singapore, Hungary, black, white, asian, hispanic; and yes my sisters and I we have similar desires: to be treated equally under the law, to be free from sexual harassment and rape from men, to have access to education and a well-paying job, paid at the same rate that men are, to have control over are fertility. We every one of us came out of our mother's uterus and share what it is to be treated as less than a man, we talk and share experiences; our first period, childbirth, remedies for PMS, discuss menopause. Our womanhood is grounded in our bodies.

Here is true expression of our sexuality from a Lesbian blog:
Lesbian sexuality is freshly disputed by queer discourse because it is a direct and positive acknowledgement of biological womanhood. Arielle Scarcella, a prominent vlogger, came under fire for asserting that as lesbian woman she “like[s] boobs and vaginas and not penises.” Scarcella’s attraction to the female body was denounced as transphobic. That lesbian desire stems from attraction to the female body is criticised as essentialism because it is only every sparked by the presence of female primary and secondary sex characteristics. As lesbian desire does not extend to transwomen, it is “problematic” to a queer understanding of the relationship between sex, gender, and sexuality.
https://sisteroutrider.wordpress.com/20 ... ian-women/

My experience is not your experience, but the world is diverse and big enough for us to inhabit it harmoniously. As Chimamanda Ngosi Adichie just said:
I think the impulse to say that trans women are women just like women born female are women comes from a need to make trans issues mainstream. Because by making them mainstream, we might reduce the many oppressions they experience.
But it feels disingenuous to me. The intent is a good one but the strategy feels untrue. Diversity does not have to mean division.
[/quote][/quote]

Finally I have heard of Hijras, but a closer historical example of Trans people in the West are the Galli, the transwomen priests of Magna Mater in Ancient Rome. Their living quarters were right where the Vatican now sits, and ironically Vaticanare means to tell fortunes as that is what the Galli did when celebrating the great festival of the Great Goddess. Atagartis, Dea Syria also had trans priests. Trans people have always been with us and are part of the world and society.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galli
gassho
Rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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justsit
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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by justsit » Wed Mar 15, 2017 3:55 am

rory wrote:My experience is not your experience, but the world is diverse and big enough for us to inhabit it harmoniously.
Agreed. Before I transitioned, I was usually recognized as a woman, but I surely never had the sharing-period-stories type relationships with other women. Friends, yes, close ones, even, but I have no maternal gene, and the whole "I'm a fertile earth mother and my uterus is glorious" thing was entirely lost on me. In fact, I spent my entire life fighting my reproductive system; it was certainly no source of joy or sisterhood, quite the opposite in fact. That is not to say I can't appreciate and respect others' experiences and views. Yes, we all can get along, if we leave each other space. I hope the lesbian community can find it in their hearts to accept, or at least tolerate, the trans women, who suffer enough at the hands of just about everyone.

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Wed Mar 15, 2017 4:05 am

justsit wrote:
rory wrote:My experience is not your experience, but the world is diverse and big enough for us to inhabit it harmoniously.
Agreed. Before I transitioned, I was usually recognized as a woman, but I surely never had the sharing-period-stories type relationships with other women. Friends, yes, close ones, even, but I have no maternal gene, and the whole "I'm a fertile earth mother and my uterus is glorious" thing was entirely lost on me. In fact, I spent my entire life fighting my reproductive system; it was certainly no source of joy or sisterhood, quite the opposite in fact. That is not to say I can't appreciate and respect others' experiences and views. Yes, we all can get along, if we leave each other space. I hope the lesbian community can find it in their hearts to accept, or at least tolerate, the trans women, who suffer enough at the hands of just about everyone.

Thanks for sharing your experiences Justsit. I really appreciate being able to hear about someone's experiences who has transitioned, there don't seem to be many de-politicized spaces out in the world where people share these kinds of things, and I appreciate your doing so, even though this may not be the most comfortable place to do so.
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low

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Re: Transgender, Gender and Gay issues

Post by justsit » Wed Mar 15, 2017 8:59 pm

Johnny Dangerous wrote:Thanks for sharing your experiences Justsit. I really appreciate being able to hear about someone's experiences who has transitioned, there don't seem to be many de-politicized spaces out in the world where people share these kinds of things, and I appreciate your doing so, even though this may not be the most comfortable place to do so.
Thanks for your comment, JD. My purpose in sharing is to maybe help someone understand that being transgender doesn't mean a person is crazy or some kind of pervert . The trans people I know are just normal people with normal feelings, hopes, and fears, but whose history and experiences may differ quite a lot from other folks.

The recent advances in science that have permitted so many trans people to physically transition have occurred so quickly that it is hard for many who have not been exposed to trans issues to keep up. I think it is only by being frank and open that ignorance will be overcome. I willingly offer whatever I can to help others who are trying to parse something that for many is a mystery exceedingly difficult to unravel and even more difficult to explain clearly.

I must say, it is very interesting to see life from both sides, as it were. Testosterone is one crazy drug; there are a few things I could never understand about men before that make a whole lotta sense now. :smile:

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