A cool article about Men and Androgyny

This article has some extracts from an interview with male model Andrej Pejic (the one that FHM charmingly referred to as “that thing”)

Anyway he talks a lot about his gender identity — he seems really comfortable with who he is:

“When I started experimenting, it was to make myself feel happy, to look in the mirror and be satisfied. I never did drag or anything like that. It was always that I wanted to be pretty, to look beautiful, as a girl would want to.”

 “It’s not like, ‘Okay, today I want to look like a man, or today I want to look like a woman. I want to look like me. It just so happens that some of the things I like are feminine.”

“I don’t really have that sort of strong gender identity—I identify as what I am. The fact that people are using it for creative or marketing purposes, it’s just kind of like having a skill and using it to earn money.”

It really would be cool to see more attention given to men willing to subvert gender identity like this.

This entry was posted in noseriouslywhatabouttehmenz, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to A cool article about Men and Androgyny

  1. f. says:

    “I want to look like me”.

    What an inspiring, stone cold badass this man is! It’s been amazing to see him navigate the femmephobia (and misaimed transmisogyny and misogyny) that have been raining down on him. Great stuff.

  2. “That thing”? Forgive me for being crude, but I would do so many illegal things with him. Dayum.

    *cough* Anyway, men who are comfortable with messing around with gender roles (to put it bluntly) always get more love from me.

  3. Rachel says:

    i knew he was pretty, i didn’t know that he was also TOTALLY AWESOME 😀

  4. Cheradenine says:

    Oh yes, this is good. I read the original interview here at NY Mag. It’s an interesting read and it’s really nice to see more genderfluid people getting widespread positive attention. I mean, I’m happy that I get positive attention from my friends, colleagues, lovers and so on, but it’d be nice if I got less abuse shouted out of car windows by idiots. Although, I suspect idiots will always be idiots.

    Now if Andrej and Tilda Swinton ever got together… oh my… *fans self*

  5. Jim says:

    “Now if Andrej and Tilda Swinton ever got together… oh my… *fans self*”

    Or Jon Hamm…….

  6. Kenshiroit says:

    Well Andrej Pejic, good for you, hope others who share your feelings may get inspired to come to the surface 🙂

  7. OrangeYouGlad says:

    “subvert gender identity”

    What does this even mean?

  8. tu quoque says:

    “It was always that I wanted to be pretty, to look beautiful, as a girl would want to.”

    This is not the statement of a gender subversive.

  9. typhonblue says:

    “Although, I suspect idiots will always be idiots.”

    Yep. And making non-idiots of any group responsible for the idiots of that group is idiotic.

  10. Kenshiroit says:

    Typhonblue, again I agree with you 🙂

  11. Jim says:

    “This is not the statement of a gender subversive.”

    Heh heh. No, it’s not. Do you ever watch RuPaul’s DragU? The premise is he takes three women as contestants and has three darg queens teach them to do drag – performative feminity in the most literal sense. Sometimes it’s three housewives who just want to be a little out there for their husbands, sometimes it’s three nerdish girls who feel (but are not) unfeminine and once it wa three butch lesbians. It’s not just fun; for some of these women it real heals a wound. That happend with one of the lesbians, who was quite butch – big arms, hard stance, the wholenine- and she had a tearful momet when she admitted how much she wanted to be able to do this too. Not give up her butch persona, she preferred that, but just to have this as an optional mask. Soaybe that part was subversive.

    Mybe the one truly subversive thing is that they come out and call this kind of hyper-sexualized femininity “fierce”. And it is. It is feminine sexuality as an aggressive and dominant force. The again, maybe all that’s subversive is coming out and admitting that it is.

  12. OrangeYouGlad says:

    I think the way he phrased it wasn’t gender subversive but I think what he is doing (being free to allow himself cross-gender expression as an assigned male person) subverts society’s expectations of gender presentation for assigned male person.

    I’m still perplexed on what it means to “subvert gender identity” though.

  13. unreal man says:

    Andrej Pejic looks awesome.
    Most men have no idea what they’re missing – the attention that feminine beauty can get you is truly amazing. There is so much that “normal” men miss out on they have no idea. It’s like having half a life. And I’m saying all that as a straight guy myself.

    When most people talk about new gender roles for men they only mean more responsibilities but very few people mention how much more fulfilled men could live their lives if they weren’t so damn restricted. It’s like men are today where women were in the 50s. Perhaps Pejic is will help bring some attention to all the things that men could have but don’t (yet).

  14. Jim says:

    UM, Marc Simpson explores this expansion of mlae gender roels as metrosexuality, and Quiet Riot Girl does too.

    “It’s like men are today where women were in the 50s.”

    This is what’s ironic – back in the 40’s and 50’s male beauty was much more celebrated than these days. Look at movies and TV programs from that time – shirts off, with chest hair and sweat, dialog that involved mostly low, rich voices where the content was pretty secondary. William Holden, Clint Walker … as the saying goes, WOOF! Alan Ladd was to JO fantasy of a whole generation of us.

    Then we we subjected to mumbling little weasels like Dustin Hoffman or apologetic little weasels like Alan Alda as the image of manhood. The it was hairless weasels like Don Johnson in the 80s. Ryan Gosling and Clive Owen may be the first green shoots of a comeback. And then there is that incomparable (if hairless) Daniel Craig.

  15. I have to say, “I don’t really have a strong gender identity.” is the kind of phrase that would fit perfectly on a blog that doesn’t currently exist: Stuff Cis People Like.

  16. f. says:

    @ Valerie, I’ve been thinking about that lately in regards to some of the stuff Holly Pervocracy has been posting about her exploration of her gender identity. My response to my discomfort with my cisfemininity was start just thinking about the aesthetics, instead of taking what I like and sorting it into “masculine” and “feminine”.

    For me it was a useful process. But I do think that kind of gender play is cis-privileged…

  17. @Jim Eh, people have different types of attractive. I like a mix of feminine and masculine (like Brad Pitt in Se7en for example, beautiful eyes and lips but still gets scarred), others might like a total bishie boy, a few of my friends like wrestlers and all the ladies in my theater squee-d when Daniel Craig had his “bond girl” moment.

  18. OrangeYouGlad says:

    “”I have to say, “I don’t really have a strong gender identity.” is the kind of phrase that would fit perfectly on a blog that doesn’t currently exist: Stuff Cis People Like.””

    OMG, yes. The internet needs this.

  19. Danny says:

    unreal man:
    Most men have no idea what they’re missing – the attention that feminine beauty can get you is truly amazing. There is so much that “normal” men miss out on they have no idea. It’s like having half a life. And I’m saying all that as a straight guy myself.
    Personally while I am by no means a “normal man” its just not my style. I literally don’t have the body for it. However I very much support the freedom of a man to decide that for himself rather than being told by a rather oppressive society that he is not allowed to do such things.

    When most people talk about new gender roles for men they only mean more responsibilities but very few people mention how much more fulfilled men could live their lives if they weren’t so damn restricted. It’s like men are today where women were in the 50s. Perhaps Pejic is will help bring some attention to all the things that men could have but don’t (yet).
    Too true. I think its because 1) They still hold some deep seated essentialist ideal of what a man is supposed to be. 2) They conflate their idea of a new male gender role (“he needs to do more stuff”) with what those who choose the male gender role actually need.

    Cheradenine:
    Now if Andrej and Tilda Swinton ever got together… oh my… *fans self*
    Or Amy Acker…yeah…(Amy Acker from season two of Dollhouse when her body was taken over by a male imprint and she wore suits)….yes that will do nicely…..

  20. Tamen says:

    Emmeline: I live in a country where no forms of consenting sex between adults are illegal by law. That makes your assertion that you would like to do illegal things with Andrej sound way more sinister than I assume you intended. I do know that the US, at least at state level have laws making certain sex illegal regardless of consent and age so I by presuming you’re a USian can make the assumption that you were not being sinister. Anyone without that knowledge might make another assumption.

  21. Tamen says:

    I forgot the one exception where I live: although it’s legal to sell sex it is illegal to buy sex.

  22. tu quoque says:

    “Mybe the one truly subversive thing is that they come out and call this kind of hyper-sexualized femininity ‘fierce’. And it is. It is feminine sexuality as an aggressive and dominant force.”

    Only feminine sexuality can be fierce. Masculine power has always been judged by objective measures, how much a man can lift, how far he can throw, can he win this fight, etc. That’s why men, despite what their bravado might suggest, have to be very careful and sober about their gauging their own strength lest they humiliated or worse in some type of challenge. The type of fierceness advocated by drag queens and Tyra Banks is a mode of presenting oneself as a powerful being in a cultural competition where strength is never given an objective test and so has to proven through an almost sociopathic confidence in ones sexual value. That’s why the less conventionally attractive women who are able to achieve this confidence are though of as being more “fierce”.

    As for Pejic, I think the whole “I just wanna be MEEEE!” routine is a safer one because it relies on the Sesame Street messages that we’ve been fed as children. He’s not androgynous at all, except in the most technical sense of presenting as female while having an x and y chromosome. In order to be androgynous, he’d have to have masculine traits in nearly equal proportion. He looks like a dewy, ivory-skinned maiden. Just the type of girl he indicated he wanted to become.

    People mistakingly exalt that giant asexual parsnip Tilda Swinton as the exemplar of androgyny, when really it’s people like Marlon Brando and Marlene Dietrich.

  23. Zyzle says:

    Am I the only one who wants to give him a shake and shout: “For the love of god, EAT SOMETHING!” ?

  24. Cheradenine says:

    People keep asking what it means to “subvert gender identity”. I would say it means to behave in a manner which forces people to confront the falsity of their beliefs about gender.

    @Zyzle: He doesn’t look an unhealthy weight to me (and I’m relatively sensitive to eating disorder issues). He has about the same build I had, at that age. And the NY Mag article mentions him eating a lot. I think he just has (like I do) a high metabolic rate.

    @tu quoque: “This is not the statement of a gender subversive.”

    He didn’t say all girls would, or should, want to look like that. I’ve seen statements from some girls confirming that they, personally, would want to look like he does. So it’s not unreasonable and is, anyway, a reflection of what society believes, not What Should Be.

    @Jim: “Do you ever watch RuPaul’s DragU? […] teach them to do drag – performative feminity in the most literal sense”

    See, right here I have to disagree with you. Or maybe it’s one of these things where language & definitions are tripping us up. But, I’m tired of people waving drag queens around as an example of males performing femininity. Drag queen culture is cool, but it’s a thing in its own right, that certainly draws inspiration from femininity, but it’s not the same. I would say that for drag queen culture, the “performative” is the key word, not “feminine”, and in a very theatrical sense. Andrej is a feminine male. He’s very different from a drag queen.

    @Valerie/tu quoque again: Careful now. I’m getting a vibe off of your comments that is perilously close to the same vibe I get from people when they’re being biphobic, or people from an ethnic minority being prejudiced against a mixed-race person for not being ethnic-minority-enough. For starters, Andrej can be all kinds of androgynous if he wants to be.

    Just because the directors of some fashion shoots emphasise the feminine, doesn’t mean he doesn’t blend, and I think if you read the full article, there’s an extent to which, at home in Australia, he presented more female simply because it was easier for him to pass, and thus avoid negative attention: “people just didn’t notice […] that was kind of my little escape.”

    I have lots of compassion and understanding for people who suffer under gender oppression, but I have to say, a lot of that compassion and understanding gets thrown out of the window when you start labelling someone a “giant asexual parsnip”. Be the change you want to see, instead of tearing other people down.

  25. @Tamen Oh my God, I’m so sorry! I live in the UK and I was using it in “do filthy things with me” kinda way. I apologize again, sometimes I don’t turn on my SJ brain and let my tactlessness run riot. :/

  26. Kenshiroit says:

    @Tamen actually about Emmeline statements I was thinking more in the direction of something similar to Bonnye and Clyde, or Bonnye and Bonnye 😉

    I avoided asking becuase I though it was something to do with my poor skill in english, that didnt allow me to read between the lines.

  27. f. says:

    @ tu quoque, I look a lot like Ms. Swinton and I am seriously not appreciating your snark. People look like what we look like, and you do not have the right to condemn us for failing to perform gender properly – let alone of failing to perform gender NONCONFORMITY properly. I may be a “giant asexual parsnip” for failing to meet your standards, but how about keeping that shit to yourself.

  28. @Cheradenine I’m saying that if he were forced to present in a way discordant to what feels most natural for him, he’d find out pretty damn quick how much of a gender identity he has… that’s all.

    I’m all for people who want to engage in a bit of genderfuck, I’m not saying that genderfluidity doesn’t exist… I’m just saying there’s a difference between being a cis guy who has a space where he can perform femininity and androgyny to his heart’s content and being trans and identifying off the binary, and being triggered by what your body does without medical intervention, not feeling safe using a sex-segregated washroom…

    Seriously, there are people who subvert the binary, which is totally kewl. I tend to think, in retrospect, the year of wearing almost exclusively a two-piece blue suit was my way of performing the shit out of my coercively-assigned-gender… but denying that there’s a sense of yourself that can be violated? Sorry, we belie that notion. Cis people who’ve tried living out another gender role and had nervous breakdowns belie that notion. I don’t presume to know with any degree of accuracy what his gender identity composes, but I can guarantee you he’d feel like shit if it were violated.

  29. Jim says:

    “See, right here I have to disagree with you. Or maybe it’s one of these things where language & definitions are tripping us up. But, I’m tired of people waving drag queens around as an example of males performing femininity. Drag queen culture is cool, but it’s a thing in its own right, that certainly draws inspiration from femininity, but it’s not the same. I would say that for drag queen culture, the “performative” is the key word, not “feminine”, and in a very theatrical sense. Andrej is a feminine male. He’s very different from a drag queen.”

    Oh, I agree with all that – we agree; we just hadn’t gotten that far.

    Drag certainly is about performance first with the femininity coming second perhaps. Or it looks that way to us on the outside.

    But I still wonder if that is not a distinction without a difference. Obviously gender identity exists separate form and prior to performance, as Valerie reminds us. And that’s my experience too. But I have a hard time understanding what you even mean by “Andrej is a feminine male”. I fail to see how he is more feminine than some fierce drag queen. mae west was fierc; is Andrej more feminien than her?

    What he is is a very yin male. That may or may not be “feminine”. Yin and yang are discrete and coherent concepts where male and female are not. And traditional masculinityy has a lot of yin in it – “strong and silent” is about as yin as it gets, while tradtional feminity has a fair bit of yang in it, especuially the talkativeness and emotionality.

    “Sorry, we belie that notion.”

    Yes, Valerie, and that right there is why the gender essentialists, radfem or theocon, hate the shit out of you. For the rad fems it’s an incohernet psoition since the theocons would be the first to claim that their lesbianism is a choice and not an in-born trait.

  30. Jim says:

    “He looks like a dewy, ivory-skinned maiden. Just the type of girl he indicated he wanted to become.”

    Good point, tu quoque. He’s not virile enough to be androgynous. Maybe just the ineradicable sin of masculinity is enough to make the balance.

    “I do know that the US, at least at state level have laws making certain sex illegal regardless of consent and age …”

    Tamen, in Lawrence v. Texas the Supreme Court struck down all those laws at one swoop several years ago.

  31. Cheradenine says:

    @Valerie:

    if he were forced to present in a way discordant to what feels most natural for him, he’d find out pretty damn quick how much of a gender identity he has… that’s all

    That’s a fair enough point in its own right; although, then again, he’s young, perhaps he’s right in that his gender identity isn’t strongly-defined yet…? I know mine was pretty fuzzy, took time to develop… it’s evolved an awful lot since I was a teen, he might very easily still be feeling out where he wants to be.

    Or, looked at another way… I actually read his comment as implying that he was “off the binary”; that although he might have a strongly-defined identity, it’s not strongly-associated with either gender. (You might disagree, based on his visual femininity, but that’s very much judging based on looks alone. Gender is a lot more than just “looking pretty” or not, obviously. It’s just that, that’s all we have to go on, from here.)

    But regardless of that, certainly, he doesn’t strike me as being “cis” as I understand the term; it seems strange to lay cisprivilege at his feet because he can pass as female. If he’s protected by “privilege”, it’s that of being a celebrity.

    None of which is to erase the difficulties of living in our society as a trans person. I have not, and would not, deny those difficulties.

    I just happen to think it’s also important not to erase the difficulties of living in our society as someone who’s comfortable with the biology they were assigned at birth, has no desire to transition, but is uncomfortable with the gender performance that’s expected of them as a result and/or suffers from discrimination or abuse as a result of not conforming to that gender performance, despite not being trans in a strict definition of the term.

    @Jim:

    But I have a hard time understanding what you even mean by “Andrej is a feminine male”

    I mean that he is born male, hasn’t (to my knowledge) any desire to transition, but has many attributes that are perceived by society as female. This doesn’t mean it’s “how someone who is female looks/behaves/whatever”, I’m divorcing “feminine” from female (and “masculine” from male), and using them to describe the traditional gender roles as our society sees them, regardless of who performs them.

    One of the reasons I value Andrej’s celebrity is that it provides an example of genderfluidity without conforming to certain stereotypical notions. For example, the word “effeminate” should mean the same thing, but in practice, has a bunch of completely different connotations associated with it. Similarly to how there are words to refer to “masculine” women, but, while they might refer to someone like Grace Jones, they often tend to trigger in people’s minds an image of a “butch lesbian biker”. Someone can be either of those stereotypes, and it’s all good. Noone should be belittled for their gender identity. But there’s more variety to life than just those stereotypes — and a lack of nuanced terminology.

  32. @Cheradenine: perhaps he’s right in that his gender identity isn’t strongly-defined yet

    Current evidence indicates it happens near the end of the first trimester, so -7 months. He’s not that young… I will say that it took me a long time to unlearn the lie that told me I was male, but that’s not the same thing as not having a gender identity.

    No, passing as female with makeup and lighting does not mean you’re not cis… first of all there’s the loadedness of ‘passing’ but in this case, taking his word for it, he would be trying to be perceived as something he doesn’t identify as… but again, just because a butch cis woman gets sirred sometimes, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have cis privilege to assert. With documentation, dealing with authority figures, access to appropriate medicine, you name it… looking like a girl when you want to does not invalidate ones’ cis privilege.

    And yeah, as you mention class trumps a lot of things. Lana Wachowski is sort of removed from these smaller struggles, and only needs to worry about people saying mean things to her or studios wanting to play down her existence so that she can make more seven-figure paycheques… class beats all these other intersections. Every. Time.

  33. Schala says:

    “despite not being trans in a strict definition of the term.”

    He could definitely be considered transgender by a strict definition of the term. Even if not transsexual.

    Also, I looked similar to his looks a decade ago, when I was around 19-20. Baby-faced feminine-looking. Never thought of getting famous or doing modeling pre-transition (I abandoned the idea post-transition out of lazyness). I’m not one to want fame at all though – I’d have wanted the cash of modeling, period.

  34. Schala says:

    As I told trans men before: It’s ironic how easy it is to pass as male if you are flat-chested (or near it) and wear loose clothing (clearly too big for you). People will think you’re just young, and male. Especially if you do like I did – look at no one, always on the ground (light blinds me easily, so I always did that when walking).

    Right now, the difference between me pre-transition and me now is my clothes (used to wear Medium and Large men’s t-shirts, now X-small or small women’s t-shirts, pants used to be too big as well), but I still wear the same kind of shoes (mainly sneakers), rarely ever use make-up, don’t brush or tie my hair (it’s always down, like pre-transition), it’s also the same length (ie very long). I very often go without a bra (because it’s too hot mainly, but I don’t need the support as much as it makes me look like I have a bit more than I do – I have 34 A cups). I also have pretty small hips (33-34 inches).

    Somehow, I have no trouble at all being seen as female, unquestionably. I did develop a feeling of entitlement over the years about my identification which makes me pretty hard to question – and probably reflects to others as simple self-confidence.

    Not sure it qualifies as androgyny, though it’s not my objective really. Like Andrej: I just want to be me. And be recognized as female for all things that matter.

  35. superglucose says:

    In response to the articles (and a related article on a transgendered model): Eh, not my type. I’m not sure what I prefer but I do know that’s… not quite it. Kudos to him for being outspoken about it though 😀 I really hope he does, for those of us who want to own VS product for ourselves, some day model for them.

  36. Cheradenine says:

    @Valerie:

    Current evidence indicates it happens near the end of the first trimester, so -7 months

    You seem to be using a different definition of the term ‘gender identity’ to me. I’m using it to refer to a subset of their wider identity, which is something most people acknowledge takes time to develop. People often refer to teens “finding themselves”, “discovering who they are”.

    just because a butch cis woman gets sirred sometimes, it doesn’t mean she doesn’t have cis privilege to assert. With documentation, dealing with authority figures, access to appropriate medicine, you name it… looking like a girl when you want to does not invalidate ones’ cis privilege.

    Not only am I uninterested in the Oppression Olympics, I’m particularly uninterested in the sort that says that because you consider yourself to have won the gold medal, you’re going to dismiss, patronise or disdain the silver and bronze medallists. As I already stated, I don’t seek to erase the difficulties of trans existence in our society, but I find the attitude belittling and inappropriate, and loaded with dismissive implications.

    For example: “looking like a girl when you want to” — does Andrej look like a girl when he wants to? Or does he look like a girl because it’s the only safe path, because if he was more easily identified from a distance as being “male but with strongly feminine attributes” (and wasn’t famous) he’d get the living shit kicked out of him? Which bathroom would he feel safe using? It’s about a lot more than being sirred/ma’am’d sometimes.

    Or when you say “a cis guy who has a space where he can perform femininity and androgyny to his heart’s content” you’re really rather making a lot of assumptions when you think that someone has a safe space like that, and about the reasons why.

    In general, I’m getting the impression you somehow think they’re “weekend warriors”, like they’re playing at being trans in a safe space on a saturday night and then returning to their normal day-to-day, perfectly safe happy cis lives the rest of the time. And that just isn’t true.

  37. Schala says:

    “You seem to be using a different definition of the term ‘gender identity’ to me. I’m using it to refer to a subset of their wider identity, which is something most people acknowledge takes time to develop. People often refer to teens “finding themselves”, “discovering who they are”.”

    She’s using the DSM definition, which mostly means which sex you identify as, brain-wise, out of your control, not something you can decide or mull over.

  38. Schala says:

    Btw I identified as female right off the bat, but found the distinction wanting (ie it didn’t mean much to me – people placed an awful lot of importance on it for other things, but it in itself doesn’t change my life that much).

  39. Schala says:

    What I mean is that identifying as female means nothing of what I think about masculinity, feminity, dresses, skirts, long hair etc.

    I love long hair on men (and my boyfriend has longer than shoulder hair length, at over 40). I always have. I also love long hair on women, but it’s so common it’s meh at some point. I also have a strong preference for keeping it down (for me and others).

  40. Cheradenine says:

    @Schala:

    She’s using the DSM definition, which mostly means which sex you identify as, brain-wise, out of your control, not something you can decide or mull over.

    Two things I’d address here:

    1. I’m not saying it’s something you consciously decide; I’m saying it’s something you discover. Any “mulling” is strictly in terms of introspection and self-discovery, not deciding. It’s an important distinction.
    2. The DSM definition seems to assume you identify with one sex or another. This, I disagree with. Some people certainly do. Perhaps most. And it may not be the one they were assigned at birth. But some people don’t identify strongly with either, or identify strongly with both, piecemeal or jigsaw-fashion.

    @Valerie: On review, I should make clear not all of my previous comment should’ve been aimed at you 😉 Some is directed at tu quoque (and anyone else with similar views)…

  41. Schala says:

    Your introspection and mulling will mostly be about what kind of ‘that sex’ person you will be, unless you’re not strongly gendered, whereas it might be about what kind of ‘human’ you are instead.

    You can change your expression, and even how you feel about it, rarely what sex you identify (or don’t) with. I bet you there are some people who strongly dis-identify with one sex, but don’t identify strongly with another. I personally strongly dis-identify from male, yet I identify as female mostly because I don’t see myself as neither or in the middle, or outside the binary. I’m not a two-spirit, or a fa’afafine or a hijra, and this might be Canadian privilege, but I want to identify as female, not a third sex that gets punished for not being normative without any of the perks (if being allowed to beg people is a perk, sheesh).

    In a society who made no judgment on my person for being outside the binary, I might consider it, I seriously won’t until pragmatic reasons menace my very life.

  42. Schala says:

    Also, hijras, fa’afafine and two-spirits? Those concept as talked about by west people seem to ignore the possibility of female-assigned people who identify as male or in the middle. I don’t know if they do the same mistake locally, I recall reading that there USED to exist the equivalent for Indonesian people, but it’s not talked about by us.

  43. The DSM definition includes people identifying with “a gender different from that to which they were assigned.”

    There’s most assuredly room for genderqueer identities and non-binary identities.

  44. BlackHumor says:

    @Valerie: You seem to be assuming that your mind is typical. Just because you have a strong gender identity doesn’t mean that everyone else does. In fact just because you have a gender identity doesn’t mean that everyone else does.

    You expect people to believe you when you say you’re really a woman; please believe this guy when he says he doesn’t feel like anything.

    (I realize plenty of cis people mistake not having a problem with their gender identity with not having a gender identity at all, but I doubt that can last long for a guy who makes his living dressing like a woman.)

  45. Jim says:

    “@Jim:
    But I have a hard time understanding what you even mean by “Andrej is a feminine male”
    I mean that he is born male, hasn’t (to my knowledge) any desire to transition, but has many attributes that are perceived by society as female. ”

    Got it. Here yuo are distinguishing between his gender expression and what sociaty designates it. That’s a good distinction.

    BTW what in tu quoque’s reamrks did you find problematic?

    “One of the reasons I value Andrej’s celebrity is that it provides an example of genderfluidity without conforming to certain stereotypical notions. For example, the word “effeminate” should mean the same thing, but in practice, has a bunch of completely different connotations associated with it. ”

    Hmmmm. To me it means “feminine to an extreme extent” or literally “femmed out”. It’s the female equivalent of “macho”. It is not equivalent to “feminine” at all, and I don’t get “gender fluidity” out of it at all.

  46. Jim says:

    “Also, hijras, fa’afafine and two-spirits? Those concept as talked about by west people seem to ignore the possibility of female-assigned people who identify as male or in the middle. ”

    Schala, I don’t know what Westerners mean with any of those terms, and I can’t see how it matters, but “fa’fafine” means in Samoan ‘fa’a’ = way,custom, manner and ‘fafine’ = woman, female – so I don’t see how it is going to say much of anything about female-asigned people identifying as male. From what I have heard the term ‘assignment” is a little ironic, since what often happens is the family decides a physical boy is going to be raised fa’afafine – so as far as any assigning of anyone goes, he’s getting assigned as female! – and probably quite properly based on thier observation of the kid.

    Hijras are specifically a type of male-assigned prostitutes presenting as female, so again that term in its specific sense it not going to addrss the reverse. And two spirits – just looking at the Wikipedia mess of an article and the discussion behind tells me just to walk away form how that term is being used.

    But Western or not, I agree with you that none of this pays much attention to FtM (corect me if I misuse terminology).

  47. Schala says:

    @Jim

    There is another term to mean that. But the term itself is the only thing wikipedia would tell me, while it would at least describe fa’afafine people a lot more.

  48. Jim says:

    Yeah, I would expect some other term. But then again I am not going to trust my quite minimal understanding of a Samoan term as a basis for me saying anything about a larger I also have a quite minimal understanding of. Not only does it not matter necessarily what a term literally means, but even if I had it explained to me I wouldn’t know enough to say much about it.

  49. Schala says:

    “According to some scholars, the West is trying to reinterpret and redefine the ancient third gender identities to fit into the Western concept of “sexual orientation”. In her research paper titled “Redefining Fa’afafine: Western Discourses and the Construction of Transgenderism in Samoa,” Johanna Schmidt has argued that the Western attempts to reinterpret the Samoan third gender identity of Fa ‘afafine in terms of homosexuality is influencing the fa’afafine identity itself which is being reorganised in western ways, i.e. from being a feminine gender space to being a homosexual space. She also argues that this is actually changing the nature of Fa’afafines itself, and making it more ‘homosexual.'”

    Ain’t this great how stupid we are with other cultures? I mean, a way to understand theirs is nice, imposing ours on theirs isn’t (to the point we change theirs into ours).

  50. @BlackHumour No, I’m going by typical reportage, including those with a cis gender identity who intentionally or accidentally transition… including being accidentally prescribed female hormones and experiencing the classical symptoms of gender dysphoria despite not having their appearance change.

    There are people with a wider tolerance, and most people occupy an area, not a fixed point, on the multi-axis gender spectrum, but that BSTc still sits there, the elephant in the room, and it still causes discomfort to be consistently denied expression of one’s gender… so yeah, much like a fish that doesn’t know what water is, I’m pretty confident that this person has a gender identity, even though he hasn’t suffocated for the lack of expressing it.

  51. ozymandias42 says:

    Second what BlackHumor says. Some cis people, as far as I can tell, are “cis by default”– they’re happy as the gender they’re assigned, but they’d be equally happy as a different gender. Other people have some form of third gender. And some people (like me!) are just confused. 🙂

  52. Skidd says:

    Yeah, I’m one of those kinds of people who would be “comfortable any which way” in regards to gender. I have no problems with my body as female, and I would be equally at home in a male one. Personally, I get a kick out of being mistaken for a guy in internet conversations and the like. I don’t feel the need to correct, because to me, it honestly doesn’t matter all that much — I respect that there ARE lots of people with strong gender identity, and what may not mesh with the body they might have. I present as female because it’s female clothes that fit my body and it doesn’t require great lengths for me to be accepted by society at large. Sometimes I think about wanting to have a penis. Sometimes I really enjoy my female bits.

    I think of it as a bit like (aromantic) asexuality. Off the spectrum. For me as a person who doesn’t have a strong gender identity, and previously considered themselves an asexual (though that was mostly caused by very sex-negative environments and feeling squicky), I feel like saying “Well you HAVE to have a gender identity, it’s only natural!” to be similar to “Well, you HAVE to want to have sex, it’s only natural!” — and that’s not cool with me. It’s not a sort of “in the middle” like genderqueer or bisexual might be. “If I HAVE to be a gender, I GUESS I’m female.” …I would be happier just being ME. I identify more readily with being a bassoonist or a biologist than I do with a gender.

    Mostly I think the idea that his gender comes into play just because he enjoys things that are labeled “feminine” is silly. If a person says they are male, they are male – assuming someone is trans because they subvert gender roles is still gender policing; assuming that because a man likes girly things, he is psychologically female. Activities are only gendered by society — Enjoying wearing tutus doesn’t say anything at all about that person’s gender or sexuality.

    If a person says they don’t have a strong gender identity and they just act as they want and appear as they want to appear, then don’t presume otherwise. Agender folks or “gender apathetic” (“couldn’t care either way”) shouldn’t be considered enemies of trans people. Because what I’m hearing is “How dare they not care about their gender when it matters to me so much and is such an important part of my life! It’s a position of incredible privilege to feel so little about it!” …Doesn’t mean being agender isn’t a thing. It’s just usually it’s invisible because those that are agender don’t really care so much, I suppose. The idea of Andrej passing as female sometimes in public because it causes less fuss fits with agender thoughts, IMO.

    TL;DR, agender is an identity too, it’s not some cis-splaining thing to invalidate trans people.


    “It really would be cool to see more attention given to men willing to subvert gender identity like this.”
    I think “willing to subvert gender identity” is awkward phrasing that implies he appears how he does as a big “screw you” to gender roles. Rather, I think it would be really cool to see more attention given to men who are unafraid to express themselves, whether that be “feminine” or “masculine”.

    “People mistakingly exalt that giant asexual parsnip Tilda Swinton as the exemplar of androgyny, when really it’s people like Marlon Brando and Marlene Dietrich.”
    I know this is much later, but I feel the need to call it out just because it got under my skin and nobody said anything: Considering that Swinton has twins, I think “asexual” is probably not the word. Let’s pretty pretty please not use it as an insult? Ace people are not vegetables nor necessarily unattractive. I mean, there’s asexy folks like Tim Gunn or Tesla, amirite? http://harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=61

  53. Skidd says:

    Apologies for double-posting, but I remembered this article:

    Basically bacha posh are girls are transitioned (never bodily, but socially) at a young age and detransitioned later, around the time they start menstruating. It seems that most of the dysphoria comes from not being able to have the same freedoms they did as male. I note that this is decided for them at a young age, but not so young that they didn’t already have some sort of gender enculturation, and the girls-turned-boys don’t seem to experience much dysphoria. I haven’t read too much more on the subject, but it’s a curious cultural thing that I think has some insight into how we perceive gender.

  54. OrangeYouGlad says:

    “”People keep asking what it means to “subvert gender identity”. I would say it means to behave in a manner which forces people to confront the falsity of their beliefs about gender.””

    What does “gender” mean here? (Or anywhere for that matter? “Gender role”, “gender expression”, “gender identity” are terms that mean something… I cannot think of what “gender” alone could possibly mean.)

  55. @Skidd I didn’t suffer a lot of dysphoria before puberty either… I was pretty free to be the tomboy I more or less was at that age, running around, digging tunnels, and playing dress-up… though my parents sort of circumscribed the dress-up. And my sister, when we weren’t fighting, was playing the same games if she wasn’t with her friends.

    Being a 6-year-oldboy isn’t that much different from being a 6-year-old girl, but you sure as hell feel the difference keenly at 26.

  56. @Skiss Apologies for double posting, but regarding the NYT article:

    But for some, the change can be disorienting as well as liberating, stranding the women in a limbo between the sexes. Shukria Siddiqui, raised as a boy but then abruptly plunged into an arranged marriage, struggled to adapt, tripping over the confining burqa and straining to talk to other women.

    I have a few learned mannerisms that don’t go away if I don’t focus on doing so… I still refuse heels, and I’m learning to hate the tangles in long flowing hair that always drove me to cut my hair short… their point?

    When Zahra, 15, opens the door to the family’s second-floor apartment in an upscale neighborhood of Kabul, she is dressed in a black suit with boxy shoulders and wide-legged pants. Her face has soft features, but she does not smile, or look down, as most Afghan girls do.

    She said she had been dressing and acting like a boy for as long as she could remember. If it were up to her, she would never go back. “Nothing in me feels like a girl,” she said with a shrug.

    Her mother, Laila, said she had tried to suggest a change toward a more feminine look several times, but Zahra has refused. “For always, I want to be a boy and a boy and a boy,” she said with emphasis.

    Seems pretty classically trans to me… oh, and you can see how there’s a difference between a parent-led transition for privileges, and a parental concern at the thought that their child might actually be trans here:

    Most of the neighbors know of her change, but otherwise, she is taken for a young man wherever she goes, her mother said. Her father, a pilot in the Afghan military, was supportive. “It’s a privilege for me, that she is in boys’ clothing,” he said. “It’s a help for me, with the shopping. And she can go in and out of the house without a problem.”

    Both parents insisted it was Zahra’s own choice to look like a boy. “I liked it, since we didn’t have a boy,” her mother said, but added, “Now, we don’t really know.”

    I prefer the social prerogatives of my gender greatly over that of men, so when I hear this:

    “People use bad words for girls,” she said. “They scream at them on the streets. When I see that, I don’t want to be a girl. When I am a boy, they don’t speak to me like that.”

    I’m not surprised… and yes, it’s a misogynistic culture that allows transmasculine transitions and encourages them, but bars transfeminine transitions… there’s also the clear hurt in this person’s voice:

    Still, not a day goes by when she does not think back to “my best time,” as she called it. Asked if she wished she had been born a man, she silently nods.

    And how people often have to construct their gender for socio-economic reasons…

    But she also wishes her upbringing had been different. “For me, it would have been better to grow up as a girl,” she said, “since I had to become a woman in the end.”

    Emphasis on the had.

  57. @Skidd… gah, I can’t type, or proofread apparently.

  58. Schala says:

    “I still refuse heels, and I’m learning to hate the tangles in long flowing hair that always drove me to cut my hair short… their point?”

    Fun, my hair tangles only on two points in my hair. The hair that could hang between my ears and back of the head, on both sides. I’m serious, I get huge knots in there. Specifically those two places, always, and the only way to avoid it is to brush all the time. Rest of my hair? No problem ever I tell you, it’s extremely manageable.

  59. Schala says:

    As for heels, the only reason I wear heels is for my boyfriend, as a special request. I don’t mind heels much, but I won’t do walks in them – I still value my soles you know. I also won’t pay for 25 styles of heels. 2 is more than enough (2 inch and 3 inch).

  60. I love/am fine w/ heels xD I dunno… they never hurt my feet and maybe it’s just my balance from sports and everything, but I can run rly fast in them too 😀 Plus I get to be even taller! 😀

  61. Schala says:

    I can run in heels, but I can’t deny the damage it does to the back of my feet if walking for more than a minute per 15 minutes.

  62. Seconded Ozy’s second :3

  63. Skidd says:

    @Valerie: I didn’t make this clear in my original linking of the article, so I guess part of what I’m trying to say is that gender in these instances seems to be more about growing up in the right social context. I doubt that the parents all made lucky guesses when they turned their daughters into sons that they would pick out young trans people. (I feel like I’m wording this wrong, so feel free to slap me on the wrist) — Do bacha posh who after detransitioning desire to be male develop their gender identity from being treated as a boy? I may have misread your earlier post, but what I got was that gender identity is something you’re born with, and it seems to me that it’s cultural in this instance. The biologist (my field of interest is animal behavior in specific) in me bemoans the fact ethics get in the way of seeing what this would be like in a location like San Fransisco instead of Afghanistan. At least somewhere where men and women have equivalent enough rights that it doesn’t become a reason to be male, if that makes sense.

    But of course I’m getting off topic speaking of gender fluidity and all (Quick aside: I also despise heels with a fervent passion. Flats erry day. I only need four or five pairs of shoes. And short hair is the bessst. My boyfriend’s locks are longer than mine.)

    …But I think men should be able to wear heels all they like, have dozens of shoes, and have a long flowing mane without having their gender identity called into play — even if their identity is “I don’t have a strong gender identity, going by the bits I was born with works”.

    In the end, I did a lot of mulling over, and I came to the conclusion that I am, as Ozy says: “cis by default”. I would be equally at home in a male-sexed body as I am in this one, and I present as tomboyish (others have used the word “boi” about me and I don’t oppose it, either, though I don’t want to be stepping on LGBT toes by appropriating, same for the word “butch”), but of course I grew up in a family with little regard for gender “norms”. Mom brings home the paycheck, dad cooks, brother had a baby doll he slept with every night as a young child, blahblahblah. I’m not sure where I’m going with this other than defending “I don’t care about gender, I just want to be ME”.

  64. It’s not surprising that the author of the article didn’t seek out and find bacha posh who hated the experience… it’s what we like to call selection bias. First of all the author wants to show how stark male privilege is in Afghanistan, (it’s pretty stark), so there’s a minor selection bias, as they’re likely will be when reporting a handful of anecdotal cases. Then there’s the much more major selection bias: Women tend to want to be women, but it’s a question of degree of course, how strong the resulting discomfort might be… but let’s just say that those bacha posh who identify as male are likely to present as male for longer periods of time (the last person I mentioned, the one who expressed a great deal of regret, was presenting as male into their twenties and only detransitioned after being forced to through an arranged marriage, still wearing trousers around the home despite the complete lack of any additional privilege or recognition.)

    And again, I always define trans thusly: There’s a little pill on the table in front of you. If you take it you will wake up tomorrow presenting as your identified gender, be perceived by everyone, including yourself, as the gender that you identify as, of equal socio-economic status, no relationships negatively affected, no discrimination, etc… basically, consequence free, perfect, instant, completely irreversible transition.

    Trans people take the pill… cis people don’t, and those who don’t transition today but would happily take that pill are only, as Churchill said, negotiating over price.

  65. Cheradenine says:

    @Jim:

    BTW what in tu quoque’s reamrks did you find problematic?

    The part Skidd quoted, and the “Sesame Street” paragraph with its implication that wanting to be yourself is a safe cosy Bill Rogers option. It really depends on what “yourself” is — if it’s “wholly cis to the gender you were assigned at birth”, then yes, that’s the safest option. If it’s “apparently cis but to the opposite gender”, then regardless of whether you self-define as trans, that can be dangerous, on the streets or in public bathroom or elsewhere. similarly if it’s “some hazy non-binary blend that doesn’t fit into any of society’s predefined categories”.

    On the word “effeminate”:

    Hmmmm. To me it means “feminine to an extreme extent” or literally “femmed out”. It’s the female equivalent of “macho”. It is not equivalent to “feminine” at all, and I don’t get “gender fluidity” out of it at all.

    Exactly my point — the literal dictionary definition (at least, in the one I have handy) is “(of a man) having or showing characteristics regarded as typical of a woman”, but that’s not what people actually think of when they hear the word. I’m surprised that to you, it means the female equivalent of macho though — I’ve never heard the word ‘effeminate’ applied to a woman. Regional difference?

    @Skidd: Thankyou, if WordPress would let me put a gold star on your post, I would. 🙂

    @OrangeYouGlad:

    What does “gender” mean here? (Or anywhere for that matter? “Gender role”, “gender expression”, “gender identity” are terms that mean something… I cannot think of what “gender” alone could possibly mean.)

    I know that. You know that. Society as a whole tends to lump all those things together in one big monolithic block which it terms “gender”. That, itself, would be the first belief to falsify. Being very visibly a mixture of elements, thus breaking up the monolith, thus being Popper’s black swan, is one way to falsify that belief.

    @Valerie: Going back to “Current evidence indicates it happens near the end of the first trimester, so -7 months” and BSTc — it sounds to me like what you’re describing is a different thing from gender identity (as I understand the term. This could all just be a “different terminology for same concepts/accidentally using same terminology for different concepts” thing). The definitions Ozy supplies here, while not canonical as BlackHumour points out, are close to how I personally have seen the terms used most often, but again that could be cultural. The point being that, within Ozy’s categorisations, the BSTc measurements are one measure of sex — a person’s “bits” — rather than identity, presentation or orientation.

  66. Cheradenine says:

    I always define trans thusly: There’s a little pill on the table in front of you […]

    If you’d offered that pill to me when I was 19, I’d have taken it.

    Today — more than a decade later — I wouldn’t.

    However, if you removed just these two words from your description:

    completely irreversible

    …I would get through, like, a tall cocktail-glass full of those little marvels in a month.

  67. Tamen says:

    An interesting dying Albanian tradition where a woman can be sworn to virginity and take on the rights, responsibilities and in some cases even the prejudices of a man: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/25/world/europe/25virgins.html

  68. Skidd says:

    I remember seeing that article in the past, Tamen, and I simply couldn’t remember what culture it was. Nat Geo reports there are only around 100 or so of these sworn virgins in the world — probably a relic of a more modern culture now where it isn’t seen as necessary for the family and it’s honor to have a male head.

    Apparently the full version of this episode of Taboo covered sworn virgins, but I somehow stumbled upon the clip with the Fa’Afafine mentioned earlier: http://natgeotv.com/hk/taboo/videos/sexual-identity …On the Hong Kong nat geo site. Google, how did you manage that?

    “However, if you removed just these two words from your description:

    completely irreversible

    …I would get through, like, a tall cocktail-glass full of those little marvels in a month.”
    You’re not the only one. Heh.

  69. OrangeYouGlad says:

    “”Do bacha posh who after detransitioning desire to be male develop their gender identity from being treated as a boy?””

    Do they even have male gender identities? They seem to mostly miss their male privilege making them far more akin to “passing women” in the West than to any trans boy/man. The exception being the girl who transitioned herself, she might actually be trans, but it is up to her to assert that if she has the freedom to (which may be unlikely). All the other women seem to mostly miss their privileges and at least one of the girls, despite the privileges she has a boy, is seen reasserting her female gender identity.

    On the “sworn virgins” again:

    “”She says she would not do it today, now that sexual equality and modernity have come even to Albania, with Internet dating and MTV invading after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Girls here do not want to be boys anymore””

    These are women wanting male privilege. Now, _some_ of them might be or might have been “trans” but the ones they seem to be interviewing specifically are more culturally akin to “passing women” except, unlike the West, they are in a culture with a pre-existing model for that.

    Haven’t had time to watch the video on Fa’Afafine but considering one of their other videos which seems to be about Loren Cameron is titled “Hear how one woman lives as a macho male now” I’m not sure I’d trust them to handle it with any nuance or honesty. But I’ll give it a chance when I get back later.

    Now, I’m sure all those things say interesting things about gender roles and gender expression but the people writing these articles are clearly _not_ exploring gender identity so we don’t really have any firm idea about the gender identity of any of these people (except the ones reasserting their femaleness or saying they did it only for the freedoms men in their society have… they pretty clearly have female gender identities as we define it).

    That’s all guesswork based on articles on a completely unrelated matters to gender identity. I can say well, “they sound more like passing women than trans men except this one who transitioned herself” but since the article isn’t about or related to gender identity it’s all just a guess.

  70. OrangeYouGlad says:

    The article on sowrn vigins even says that it should not be confused with homosexuality or sex changes:

    “”Taking an oath to become a sworn virgin should not, sociologists say, be equated with homosexuality, long taboo in rural Albania. Nor do the women have sex-change operations.””

  71. Schala says:

    Btw, to me effeminate is simply feminine, with a pejorative added on top. Johnny Weir would be called effeminate. But also any guy who does figure skating, ballet, ballet jazz etc. Regardless of how ‘flaming’ they appear.

  72. Schala says:

    It’s funny how it works, people seem to think any man with feminine mannerism, or a female-coded occupation (stay-at-home, nurse, secretary, hairdresser) is necessarily gay, and that a gay man is necessarily feminine.

    And if they are gay and masculine, or feminine and straight, well they think they’re lying or hiding something. People will fit the square peg in the round hole no matter what.

  73. Schala says:

    I can say that as an observer who reports what others say they see, because I don’t see it that way. I find it weird that other people do see it that way, and I can conceive of it having consequences (it had some on me pre-transition), but I still don’t get that it should have any importance.

    That is, in my aspie thinking, nothing that can be observed makes me gay or not gay and the same goes for others (in my perception). So I can easily reconcile that I love lolita fashion and am a hardcore videogamer who loves min-maxing and statistics. Not opposite to me.

  74. OrangeYouGlad says:

    “”Btw, to me effeminate is simply feminine, with a pejorative added on top””

    I generally don’t view it as pejorative, though it mostly refers to gay men, I don’t think any of us have a problem using it to refer to ourselves? Though, maybe it is something that’s been reclaimed or such…

    “And if they are gay and masculine, or feminine and straight, well they think they’re lying or hiding something. People will fit the square peg in the round hole no matter what.””

    I’ve seen the “feminine and straight”= “total secret-gay” thing before but the “gay and masculine” usually don’t have people thinking “total secret-straight guy”; once you’ve admitted to teh gay you pretty much have it permanantly (or so society says).

  75. Tamen says:

    OrangeYouGlad: I thought that “sworn” virgin article was interesting precisely because of the missing connection to transsexuality, homosexuality or sex change, but rather about pure performance. And not only to obtain the male priveleges, but also obtaining the male duties. Like ordering your 15 year old nephew to go and shoot your father’s murderer – which led to the 15 year old being killed – even obtaining the prejudices against women :

    Diana Rakipi, 54, a security guard in the seaside city of Durres, in west Albania, who became a sworn virgin to take care of her nine sisters, said she looked back with nostalgia on the Hoxha era. During Communist times, she was a senior army officer, training women as combat soldiers. Now, she lamented, women do not know their place.

    “Today women go out half naked to the disco,” said Ms. Rakipi, who wears a military beret. “I was always treated my whole life as a man, always with respect. I can’t clean, I can’t iron, I can’t cook. That is a woman’s work.”

  76. OrangeYouGlad says:

    Women are conservative here and have nostalgia about the 50s… not the same degree of opression but I’ve found people with a taste for the past when men were men and women were women are common enough in both sexes. By grandmother still wear a hat to church because “women shouldn’t show their heads in the presence of God” and misses the days when that was so.

    Passing women in the West would have been subject to the daily male duties of any man as no one would have known their biological sex. Though they would not have been subject to more extreme duties such as a draft (though some went to war anyhow).

    I’m not saying the article is uninteresting but that Skidd’s questions about gender identity are out of place because the articles simply _do not address that_.

  77. Schala says:

    “I generally don’t view it as pejorative, though it mostly refers to gay men, I don’t think any of us have a problem using it to refer to ourselves? Though, maybe it is something that’s been reclaimed or such…”

    Given it’s used 90% of the time in a sneering tone not shown towards feminine women or feminity in general. I stand my ground on the pejorative bit.

  78. Schala says:

    @OrangeYouGlad

    The layman term sex change quite literally is used to mean surgery for tabloids. If trans men don’t get bottom surgery, they’re not counted as men, because “they didn’t get a sex change”, I kid you not.

  79. OrangeYouGlad says:

    “”“I generally don’t view it as pejorative, though it mostly refers to gay men, I don’t think any of us have a problem using it to refer to ourselves? Though, maybe it is something that’s been reclaimed or such…”

    Given it’s used 90% of the time in a sneering tone not shown towards feminine women or feminity in general. I stand my ground on the pejorative bit.””

    Yes, but that’s because it’s feminine behaviour in men. We can switch to the word “feminine” but they’ll just be sneering that too, along with the way they sneer “gay” (and “queer” and any other word to describe anything but a masculine cis man (or a feminine cis woman)).

    I know that “sex change” means surgery but I also think that these articles aren’t exploring the gender identities of these people but instead their gender roles and performances in a certain specific cultural context. Now, some might be trans men, some might not be, but because the articles never delved into that question we cannot know.

  80. Schala says:

    “I know that “sex change” means surgery but I also think that these articles aren’t exploring the gender identities of these people but instead their gender roles and performances in a certain specific cultural context. ”

    Virtually all documentaries not done by trans people or particularly enlightened put 99% of the focus on gender roles and gender performance.

    It’s no wonder we see trans women putting on lipstick, or wearing heels as the stereotype.

    Any documentary that would focus on the gender identity of the people involved, rather than their expression, would be extremely enlightened in comparison.

  81. Schala says:

    I doubt they’d sneer as much to the word feminine. Because it has other connotations in their mind, while effeminate is ONLY ever applied negatively. It’s like murderer, never a good thing.

  82. OrangeYouGlad says:

    Schala: “”Any documentary that would focus on the gender identity of the people involved, rather than their expression, would be extremely enlightened in comparison.””

    That’s true. But I am not going to say that these people who are being transitioned and de-transitioned by outside forces per a cultural tradition are without a doubt “trans” without some sort of exploration of their _identity_. Without it all we can do is guess. I am not going to guess at the gender identity of Afghani girls raised as boys then transitioned back. And I am certainly not going to guess about what this all “means” for gender identity when gender identity wasn’t even explored in the articles. There’s no point in hypothesizing from bad data (in fact, more than pointless that seems like a bad idea).

    As for feminine vs. effiminate, I’ve never been a fan of changing words to solve problems and pretty much every gay guy I know is just fine with “effeminate”, it’s kind of the standard term, I’ve never heard anyone attempt to apply anything else except maybe some guys with a large lesbian social circle, mixing up “butch and femme”. I don’t feel any strong need to change it, don’t think I know anyone who does… Not gonna say no one can call themselves “feminine” (or even “femme”) if they prefer but I don’t feel like effeminate has to be abandoned.

  83. Skidd says:

    Re: effeminate, I don’t think it’s necessarily a perjorative… I could see how “flaming” might be, when used in the same context, but in my interaction with my groups of gay friends, it seems to be similar to using the terms “butch” and “femme”. Of course, the vast, vast majority of gay men I know are “straight” gay — neither leaning towards exemplifying masculinity or the limp-wristed, mincing, clothes designing, lisping stereotype. Just, y’know, average.

    To my ears, effeminate has a much better tone than the word “sissy”, which is usually used as the inverse of “tomboy”. I wish there was a good term to use as an inverse to tomboy. Metrosexual is “eeeh” as a phrase, and still implies it’s a “gay thing” for a man to participate in something that is deemed feminine. As a term it implies links between what you’re attracted to and what activities you like to participate in.

  84. Schala says:

    Sissy has no currency in French (meaning here), and there is no equivalent to that or pansy or fairy or pussy.

    Really here, someone who is male-assigned or male-appearing and feminine, will get labeled effeminate, or gay as a pejorative (or a multitude of names meaning gay in slang).

    Stand-up comics go to great lengths to say that saying something “is gay” is not homophobic, it only means that it’s weak, bad, unmanly.

    In the non-LGBT community (I’ve not been IN the community really), it is pejorative, and used to assign weakness or insult someone’s reputation. It is never positive or neutral. And always with a sneer.

  85. Schala says:

    Btw, besides going to trans pride (not a parade, more of an information thingy) once, I don’t have any contact with the physical LGBT community. At best some of my blogs have contacts with some (but given they’re anglophone, rarely ever in French Canada), but I don’t know anyone.

  86. Also, I want to mention that this thread has busted out a major radicalfeminist misandristic trope:

    Trans men do it for the male privilege and to deal with internalized misogyny.

  87. Schala says:

    and the equivalent trans misogynist radfem trope is that trans women do it to slum, invade and destroy women (which would make any tinfoil-hat-wearing paranoid go WTF about how implausible it is)

  88. OrangeYouGlad says:

    “”In the non-LGBT community (I’ve not been IN the community really), it is pejorative, and used to assign weakness or insult someone’s reputation. It is never positive or neutral. And always with a sneer.””

    It’s my experience outside the community that *everything* gay is a pejorative. We’re usually a little kinder to ourselves.

  89. Schala says:

    You know how trans men are assumed to have been part of the lesbian community in almost 100% case (at least according to the radfem and the Blanchard hypothesis that most trans women are gynophilic while ALL trans men are gynophilic).

    Yet it’s used to pain trans women in a daker, “more perverted” light, than trans men. By psychiatrist men for the record.

  90. OrangeYouGlad says:

    I believe the updated version of the DSM is adding “autoandrophilia” to give trans men that “pervert” angle, too. But I could be totaly off base on that… but then, I heard it from a trans guy who I think would know his stuff on it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s