"The unexamined life is not worth living" Socrates

- - scatterings of ideas sent to my younger self, a sensitive girl who was fooled into believing she was a boy because of anatomy - -

Friday, 27 May 2011

Sex, or Gender, or What?

While filling out a form in my high school days, I came to the line which looked like this:

SEX: _________

and I wrote in "yes, whenever possible". You might have done something similar at some time I expect.

They really wanted me to write in my gender, of course. Even then, I was a bit of a disturber of the smelly stuff, if you know what I mean.

Obviously, sex and gender are not the same. I write here about gender confusion. I am not (at this point anyway) confused at all about sex. To be really honest, there is little confusion anymore about gender here either, except when people look at me and then think about how I act, or when I look at my body and then think about how I feel.

As far as sex is concerned, for me, it has always been a matter of loving this person who completes me and for the last thirty seven years that person has been my sweetie.

Am I heterosexual? Everyone in my real world would say, of course. Those who really know me (like my friends here) might disagree. Personally, I say, who cares? To paraphrase a former prime minister of my country, you have no business wondering or caring what happens in my bedroom, nor I in yours. How and with whom I have sex is really none of your business, and furthermore, it has nothing to do with what I blog about.

So fine, we have that out of the way. Why does this matter?

Many in T land are transsexual. You seek to be consistent within your gender by keeping what you cannot change, and changing what you can. Others in T land are not seeking that consistency, but seek to have the freedom to express both sides of the gender spectrum. The two are not the same, but there are issues shared by the two. We all need to understand ourselves better, and come to a place of peace within ourselves. I believe we all wish we could live in a more tolerant, less judgmental world. Maybe we need to stand together.

Some reading this may be involved in the LGBT community, and that is fine, no matter what your motivation. Let me be really clear before I continue; there are really good reasons to try to change society, and the LGBT community is at least partly about that.

What, I might ask, do I have in common with the gay community, even though my cause has nothing to do with sexual orientation? Well, we share a common bond as outcasts by many in society. Intolerance of our basic rights to live as ourselves violates us, and puts us in mortal danger. For that reason alone, some might say, maybe we need to stand together.

It occurs to me, however, that there are all kinds of people in the world who are shunned by other groups for various reasons. Bigotry is hardly limited to sexual or gender orientation.

For my money (and yes, this is a financial issue) I would rather be part of an international drive for an end to bigotry and mindless hatred. Full Stop.

In my way of thinking, we don't get to fix homophobia, and continue to marginalize people who don't look like ourselves. We don't get to say how wrong it is to persecute our particular religious (or in my case, non-religious) group and at the same time shun those who seek to find gender congruence through medical intervention.

We don't get to hate all the members of some country, or ethnic group, or religious affiliation and at the same time claim to be loving and caring of others.

Personally, it is not enough for me to want my own particular pain to be dealt with, without noting that prejudging others based on any physical characteristic, or personal conviction they are rumored to hold is wrong.

This is like honesty, which is not a policy, by the way, but a lifestyle. You need to live this. You need to live tolerance. You need to remind yourself daily to be forgiving. We need to take responsibility for ourselves and clean up that yard, then go out and ask if we can help others to clean up theirs.

So, for me, this is not just about gender. It is certainly not about sex. It is about learning how to be a human being who cares about humanity. I really think that is what most of us who are reading and writing here are about too if we think about it. Thank you all for living that each day in the way you reach out to others.

Maybe we need to stand together, hmm?


  1. Actually, on that form, they really wanted you to write your sex -- anatomical sex, meaning male or female. They really didn't want to know anything about your behaviour.

    The forms I used to have fun with were the ones that asked for gender. In that case, "female" or "male" would be incorrect answers, and you could really go to town with things like "rather feminine but still someone masculine."

    As I know you know, those born transsexual seek to match changeable (to an extent) body with unchangeable sex of brain. Once that is done, they might feel freer to express their gender, but that gender could be anywhere on the spectrum, as indeed it might always have been.

    Now that I got all that out of the way :) ... I like the way you finished up.

  2. Yes, we do. It will never happen, of course. Too many fractured egos in t-land. Easier to heard cats than to get transsexuals/transgenders to work together.

    Great post.

  3. I feel that we are already standing together, less an umbrella.
    I am here because I wanted to know more about and understand better what it means to be a 'trans' person. I have increased my knowledge and have come to the conclusion that knowledge does not lead to understanding and that neither one or the other is an important basis for acceptance or tolerance of others,in my case.

  4. Ellena, perhaps you have also experienced the reality that acceptance and tolerance begins at home, with self-acceptance.

    For me, knowledge and understanding of myself had to come first, then self-acceptance, then the love could start to flow more freely.

    @Anon. I'd love to get to know you; send me an email maybe?

    @Ariel; sex and gender on forms to be filled out.. why did it matter I wonder? Just an opportunity to be a smart alec in either case. :)

  5. What a wonderful post, Halle! It's and old message taught by some guy standing on a mount half a world away, but it still holds true today. Thanks for reminding us.

    Melissa XX

  6. "It is about learning how to be a human being who cares about humanity". ~Halle


  7. Wonderful post. I believe that you are spot on. One doesn't get to pick and choose on what they are compassionate about. Anyone who does so looses credibility IMNSHO.

    "Maybe we need to stand together." I believe you're on to something. As important as that is, I also believe that each of us is capable of progressing society by the example we present. One person at a time.


  8. Yes we do (referring to your last line).