Guest Blogger

Non-conformity and Bias

Filed By Guest Blogger | December 28, 2009 2:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics, The Movement
Tags: gender roles, non-conformity, Rachel Dunn, solidarity

Editors' Note: Guest blogger Rachel Dunn is an out and proud trans-lesbian filmmaker living in Los Angeles. Although very supportive of community events, her primary activism comes in the form of fostering and contributing to queer and minority film projects as a cinematographer, producer, writer and consultant. Some of her work can be seen at www.racheldunn.com

DSC_7913a.jpgA week ago I posted an article which went down in flames because it lacked clarity. However, like the fabled bird, out of it's ashes arose a more refined version of my original theory.

I hope that this time I can put aside my own baggage, and state my thoughts more clearly and concisely so as to avoid any more divisiveness among our loose federation of related human conditions. My quest was to find ways in which our life experiences are related, and common biases we may face.

What I have come to realize as a result of that discussion, is that our common struggle is the age-old one one of 'conformity' vs. 'non-conformity.'

Before I begin, here are some relevant definitions from the merriam-webster.com online dictionary for your convenience and the sake of clarity:

bi·as
3b : an inclination of temperament or outlook; especially : a personal and sometimes unreasoned judgment : prejudice
3c : an instance of such prejudice

con·for·mi·ty
3 : action in accordance with some specified standard or authority

gen·der
2a : sex
2b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

sanc·tion
3 : the detriment, loss of reward, or coercive intervention annexed to a violation of a law as a means of enforcing the law
4b : a mechanism of social control for enforcing a society's standards

The struggle to force 'conformity' is older than time. It is why Socrates drank the hemlock, Galileo recanted, and why Jesus and countless others have lost their lives. In this case specifically, I'm talking about Gender/Sex Non-Conformity, in a context where the terms gender and sex are interchangeable terms.

The entire LGBTQI community are gender 'non-conformists' in one way or another - by the nature of our relationships, by the nature of our biology, by the nature of our identity, by the nature of our personal presentation, or by the nature of our history.

Conformity has nothing to do with individual identity. In fact, individual identity is the enemy of conformity, because conformity inherently seeks to homogenize a population. And that is the root cause of this particular bias we face - or any bias for that matter.

Sanctions from any bias seek to capitalize on an internal struggle in which the desire to conform is at odds with any inherent non-conformity, in order to force an individual's behaviour to override and re-shape their innate desire. Through a near constant bombardment of social messages, we are repeatedly sanctioned in many subtle and overt ways in countless attempts to enforce our conformity to idealized gender customs.

Self-loathing, low self esteem, depression and suicide can result from our repeated failure to suppress of our innate being, in a bid to conform to society's demands . The only way out of this trap is through self acceptance, and recognition that non-conformity is a valid and natural part of the human condition, in spite of what we have been led to believe.

Many of us resent being thrown into a barrel with other groups that we see as completely different from ourselves... and we are radically different from each other. But there must be a reason why external forces threw us all into the same barrel.

I contend that we were thrown into this space together because of our common non-conformity to idealized gender customs. It is the result of an attempt by those who want to appear to completely conform to heteronormative gender customs, to separate themselves from those who do not conform in one way or another. (This may not be the only reason, but I think it could possibly be the main one.)

Because of our internal struggle between conformity and non-conformity, many people end up constantly evaluating degrees of conformity in futile attempts to align themselves more closely with the conformists, while simultaneously trying to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the stigma of being a "Non-Conformist."

This conformity split continues throughout our own community like a christmas tree's branches are split from it's trunk. But as much as we would like to, we can not completely separate ourselves from that common trunk - the stigma of gender non-conformity - because it's all the same thorny tree, and it does not tolerate any non-conformity with regard to idealized gender customs.

From my personal experience as a member, it does seem that the M2F TG sub-subgroup seems to have received the stigma of 'biggest gender non-conformists," and as a result, nearly every other group on the planet vigorously seeks to avoid the slightest association with them. (Maybe I'm mistaken, but it certainly feels that way sometimes.)

By focusing on a series of perpetual border disputes inside our small barrel, instead of the larger context in which the barrel resides, the whole community is like the proverbial crabs trapped within it; our individual bids for freedom negating any progress at all, because we constantly pull each other from the sides while attempting to climb over one another.

So will you stand by me, a true non-conformist, in a loose federation of related non-conformists, to insist on equality and fairness from the conformists who seek to punish us for our individuality?

Will you stand with me to resist the conformist's tool of gender bias, and the violence and discrimination that goes along with it, whether it be misogyny, misandry, homophobia, transphobia, gay-bashing, hate crimes, DSD, surgery without consent, murder, or a host of other sanctions?

Will you work with me to help create a safe space for non-conformists within our society - especially within our own communities?

Will you work with me in an effort to frame our individual struggles in a common context that can easily be understood by the conformists so that we can increase understanding?

I really hope so, because until we can see the individual struggles of the LGBTQIETC community in a larger context, and clearly identify common issues where our communities intersect, we will only make incremental progress in securing our freedom from oppression.


Recent Entries Filed under Politics:

Leave a comment

We want to know your opinion on this issue! While arguing about an opinion or idea is encouraged, personal attacks will not be tolerated. Please be respectful of others.

The editorial team will delete a comment that is off-topic, abusive, exceptionally incoherent, includes a slur or is soliciting and/or advertising. Repeated violations of the policy will result in revocation of your user account. Please keep in mind that this is our online home; ill-mannered house guests will be shown the door.


Cool, I can get behind this one.

while I don't agree with your general point (it does seem kind of a stretch to tie same-sex attraction together with being born with atypical sex characteristics, no matter how much political advantage might result)... I do agree that LGBTI is here to stay as a community. even if I don't see a common thread tying us together, I still feel we should all be treating one another with compassion and respect, getting to know one another better.

speaking of which... you never answered my question in my last post. what is "heteronormative" about a gay transitioned man dating a gay non-trans man?

also... in your list here, one seems very out of place:
"misogyny, misandry, homophobia, transphobia, gay-bashing, hate crimes, DSD, surgery without consent, murder, or a host of other sanctions?"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disorders_of_sex_development

the others are types of hate or discrimination or violence. DSD is just a collection of medical conditions, not a type of hatred...right?

DSD was foisted on the intersex community against the wishes of the bulk of it, and is considered by many within the wider IS community as a form of prejudice.

in that case, I hope I can learn to be a bit more sensitive about this issue in the future! I apologize for thinking it was out of place in that list.

Dear a Gay Male,

"speaking of which... you never answered my question in my last post. what is "heteronormative" about a gay transitioned man dating a gay non-trans man?"

This is exactly one of the flawed examples of my last piece that I was talking about.

It was based on the tendency of many people in our community focus mainly on genitalia as a determiner of gender and identity, and therefore many would consider the the Penis-Vagina sex that such a couple would have, as heteronormative.

It's not what I personally think, but there are many who would - like I said, it is a very flawed example of my point, but I do hope it illustrates the problem ignoring the wider identity, and focusing too much on genitalia.

Here again though, despite my flawed terminology, we are also talking about degrees of conformity to idealized gender customs, but at the time I wrote my last piece, I lacked the language and clarity of thought to express this concisely.

Please note that in this piece, I tried to avoid such examples, except the one example within my own community, since they proved to problematic and divisive.

--

As for the evolution of DSD, perhaps a bit of history will clarify. This came from of a group of doctors at the Clarke Institute in toronto - especially the work of Ray Blanchard, and J. Michael Bailey - who heavily advocate reparative therapy to force the trans community, especially children, to conform to traditional idealized gender customs.

Much of their theories are based on the flawed work, "The Man Who Would Be Queen" which hypothesized homosexuality is an evolutionary mistake, and that anyone who would seek a sex change was either 1.) a gay male in denial 2.) has a fetish (autogynephilia) about being female bodied, were also in denial and lying about it or 3.) just lying (bisexuals and many others in the rainbow).

No biological causation is even considered in this theory.

Obviously this is an oversimplification, but if you would like to read a much more detailed explanation of the history and dangers of DSD, here is a link to the relevant part of Andrea James' site: http://www.tsroadmap.com/info/bailey-blanchard-lawrence.html

(Andrea is a dedicated trans-advocate which has fought this tooth and nail from the beginning.)

I hope you can see that despite the great title, the underlying thesis for the DSD model is extremely flawed, based largely on outdated stereotypes, homophobia and conformity to idealized gender customs. And since it seeks to cure transsexuality through aversion and reparative therapy to enforce conformity to gender customs, it is therefore bound to cause immeasurable harm to children incapable of conforming.

If you remember the history of the gay community, reparative therapy is tragic for everyone involved, with doctors going to extremes to enforce traditional idealized gender customs.

This is why DSD is dangerous, since it seems to be a very early step in a neo-eugenics movement that Bailey and his colleagues are heavily invested in, and could be a slippery slope to the resurgence of reparative therapy for gay and lesbian people.

As was pointed out to me in our last discussion, to be pathologized in such a manner is to lose all control of your medical decision making ability. You can be even subject to surgery without your consent because your doctor feels that he has the right to forcibly conform you to his standards. (I believe this happened to RB who went in for an appendectomy, and was given a hysterectomy without her consent.)

As I said - DSD is a great title, but I'm not so sure of it's value as a treatment model, and the quickness with which the media has seized the term is worrisome, because it adds validity to this flawed treatment model.

Furthermore, this same group of doctors are close to succeeding in the inclusion of DSD in the DSM-V and it has caused such a controversy, along with a few other issues that re-define current diagnosis, that publication of the manual has been delayed for several years while they sort it out.

If they are successful then there could be a treatment model to justify the elimination homosexuality and gender variance from humanity. At the very least, it will reduce accessibility for the treatment of transsexuality up to, and including SRS.

Googling DSD and DSM V will give you far more information than I could possibly post here.

And this again is another example of the battle between conformity, and non-conformity to idealized gender customs.

It is hard for me to speak to this from the perspective of an IS person, so I must frame it within my own trans experience.

I would appreciate it if any IS people would clarify how the new DSD model impacts them and their more closely related communities.


I'm in a hurry and must fully read later (and I appreciate the education about DSD, I really had no idea about the term, so thanks for that)

but to the first part...

in your example you assumed all transitioned men have vaginas. not true. so I don't see how dating transitioned gay men would make relationship with non-trans gay men inherently "heteronormative", even in theory, even as an example. I've never even heard someone express that before.

the typical line is exactly what you seem to perpetuate- that dating a transitioned man would make someone "less gay". not the same as heteronormative... it's denying him his orientation, not suggesting he gets new privilege (though both would be f'ed up assumptions)

(promise promise I will check out the rest later... I really do appreciate you engaging me on all of it)

"the typical line is exactly what you seem to perpetuate- that dating a transitioned man would make someone "less gay".

That's not what I said - I said:

"perhaps the glimmer of heteronormativity offered by such a relationship might serve to further sublimate a gay man's distress at his own gender transgression"

Which basically means that it MIGHT make a self loathing gay man FEEL less gay.

...and that the reason this man is 'self loathing' is from an inherent non-conformity to traditional heteronormative gender customs.

Also, please note that I used the word "perhaps'" as well - It means 'not sure.'

Not trying to deny any identities here at all - But I am acknowledging that not all gay men are comfortable with their sexuality and identity.

I am also acknowledging that many cis-people deny the gender identity of the transperson, and look only at their genitalia.

In the last comment thread, David's very negative reaction to the idea having a relationship with a transman, illustrated how genitalia can be the sole determinator of sex/gender for some.

Of course, he has every right to like who he likes. ( I don't fancy boys.)

As I said, my example was a very flawed illustration of partial heteronormative conformity.

I admit it is flawed, and I really should have tried to state it in a better way - which I hope I did in this follow up piece.


hey, some of this was actually a really good refresher. though I am not a trans woman I'm familiar with Bailey, Blanchard, Lawrence, Zucker, etc (and why their theories have been so toxic) specifically because of Andrea James at tsroadmap (and Lynn Conway's site, I think...). so, uh, you're speaking to some open ears!

I had previously only a passing awareness of DSD as a term at all, which is why it had seemed so innocent to me. I appreciate you really spelling it out as to its oppressive roots.

since I don't want to overwhelm this page with my comments or in any way derail, I'll add this here too.. you said,
"I would hate to see society try to breed the gay away, and if we are not careful, the whole rainbow will be removed from the human genome.

I would hate to see a pre-natal injection stamp out all the wonderful diversity that our communities embody"

on this we can absolutely agree! it's clear that some straight, non-trans folks would prefer we all cease to exist (at least in the gene pool)... good reason to find ways to connect and not hate one another. and on that note- the best and a (early) happy new year to you! :)

"on this we can absolutely agree! it's clear that some straight, non-trans folks would prefer we all cease to exist (at least in the gene pool)... good reason to find ways to connect and not hate one another. and on that note- the best and a (early) happy new year to you! :)"

It's the crux of our common problem.

History is an interesting thing.

The old Clarke Institute of Psychiatry in Toronto has, for a number of years now, been amalgamated with the old Addictions Research Foundation to make the new Centre for Addictions and Mental Health (CAMH). The old Clarke was known, primarily, as a place for working with criminals. A room mate of mine so many years ago did research for a course he was taking there--morphine addiction in rats.

This seems a particularly appropriate place to locate a gender clinic.

The work of Ray Blanchard and Ken Zucker has long been associated with the term gender identity and the term gender identity disorder added to the DSM some time ago to replace the earlier term transsexuality and now encompasses a great variety of, well, in the section of the DSM its in is the place for psychiatric disorders.

It is curious how this has lead a unification, on the part of many, of what were quite disparate disorders.

Blanchard is also the author of the terms homosexual transsexual and autogynaphilic transsexual. This typology is quite interesting in that it bases the entire lives of transsexual women--it is difficult to find transsexual men in his work--on sexual orientation. You're gay men who want to have sex with straight men--and being a woman facilitates this; or you're a paraphilic fetishist who gets off on the idea of having a female body; or, you get off on having a body part amputated.

J. Michael Bailey was, I'm not sure if he still is, attached to Northwestern University, which has long been ideological bedfellows of the old Clarke, now CAMH.

It is the work of Ken Zucker that has caused the greatest concern at CAMH--and he is, I believe, chair of the APA committee rewriting the section of the DSM on what we now call gender identity disorders; they may well be something else in DSV V. Blanchard is chair of the subcommittee on paraphilic fetishisms; we may soon all just be paraphilic fetishists.

Zucker works with children, apparently mostly male-bodied, who present with gender identity disorders, because parents are most concerned with atypical gender presentations of boys. It has been theorized this state of affairs is a function of the patriarchal nature of society: it is of greater concern to parents if their son is a sissy than if their daughter is a tomboy. This is the area, Rachel, you placed out of bounds for comments to your last post.

However, as even Zucker admits--I once saw him on TVO (Television Ontario)--almost none of his clients grow up to be transsexual women.

In fact, there is virtually no carry over between his clinical population and those of us who have the medical condition called transsexuality.

OII--the international intersex organization--has argued quite persuasively that Zucker has perpetrated a fraud on the Ontario Government in that he purports to dissuade male bodied children from being transsexual women, when what he is doing is reparative therapy on those who will never become transsexual women, because they aren't; they're gay or bisexual men.

There has long been an international outcry against the work of Zucker in particular, but also the theoretical framework of Blanchard by transsexual people, though, curiously, despite Zucker's reparative therapy on those who can only be described as gay youth, I'm not aware of a similar outcry on the part of gay men or their organizations.

Egale Canada, the LGB(almost)T organization, the organization that lead the successful struggle for equal marriage, gay marriage in Canada, vacated the national capital of Ottawa when it collapsed after this struggle for Toronto. Yet, curiously, even being in such physical proximity to CAMH, it has never spoken out against Zucker's reparative therapy.

It is difficult to see a more clear common cause for both those concerned with issues of sexual orientation and those concerned with issues of gender identity.

I would argue this is, not a matter of, forgive the usage, homogenizing LGBT people according to some uber identity, but of positively asserting what is unique about each of us, in a true coalition, against those who seek to marginalize and oppress all of us.

It has been theorized this state of affairs is a function of the patriarchal nature of society: it is of greater concern to parents if their son is a sissy than if their daughter is a tomboy. This is the area, Rachel, you placed out of bounds for comments to your last post.

Not at all - it was central to my thesis - Why the cultural difference in attitude between sissy sons, and tomboy daughters.

I wanted to discuss this in the wider context of the GLBTQIETC community, and not focus myopically on the difference between TS and TG, since that distinction is usually lost on the wider audience.

I do still feel that any binary system of conformity is problematic as THAT is what seeks to homogenize a population.

Allowing a space for non-conformity within society actually celebrates diversity.

" It has been theorized this state of affairs is a function of the patriarchal nature of society: it is of greater concern to parents if their son is a sissy than if their daughter is a tomboy. This is the area, Rachel, you placed out of bounds for comments to your last post."

Not at all - it was central to my thesis - Why the cultural difference in attitude between sissy sons, and tomboy daughters?

I wanted to discuss this in the wider context of the GLBTQIETC community, and not focus myopically on the difference between TS and TG, since that distinction is usually lost on the wider audience.

I do still feel that any binary system of conformity is problematic as THAT is what seeks to homogenize a population.

Allowing a space for non-conformity within society actually celebrates diversity.

By the way, Jessica, thank you for further clarifying the history DSD and it's basis in reparative therapy.

I'm not sure where you draw DSD out of the history I recount. Maybe you have an in to the discussions of the Zucker and Blanchard committees.

My purpose in recounting history is point out a possible basis for common cause for those concerned with sexual orientation and those concerned with gender identity. I propose a positive alternative to the negative, identity-laden, border policed movements that always leave transsexual people out.

Yes, equal marriage does have positive implications for transsexual people who are gay or lesbian--but it leaves out the very thing that makes transsexual people transsexual. They must submerge their identities, lives and struggles in that of others with little hope of return.

My purpose is to point out an alternative to subjecting all of us to the negative attributions of others.

BTW, you specifically excluded the discussion of why transsexual women lose privilege when they transition--this is the very point on which it is of more concern to society that men maintain their masculinity and why society is less concerned about women losing their femininity.

This is also why the vast majority of people on the Remembering Our Dead list are transsexual and transgender women.

It seems a very limited discussion of gender, if that is truly what you intend, Rachel, if you exclude this--and you most clearly did in your last article.

"BTW, you specifically excluded the discussion of why transsexual women lose privilege when they transition--this is the very point on which it is of more concern to society that men maintain their masculinity and why society is less concerned about women losing their femininity."

I was trying not to confuse the issue I was trying to discuss, by getting into much disputed territory of privilege - but I did acknowledge it was there with the M2F's being 'downwardly mobile' comment.

My last piece was flawed, and I have already admitted that, but to clarify my feelings on the subject, here goes:

I will try to find the reference, but I remember reading about a recent study which compared the pre- and post transition incomes of both F2M's and M2F's.

What it found is that F2M's ended up receiving an increase of 30% over their original incomes, while M2F's ended up with a decrease of less than 50% of their initial incomes.

The F2M's salaries ended up roughly comparable with their cis-male counterparts, while M2F's were often pushed to the poverty level.

I could not find the original study, so I did not feel comfortable commenting on it in my 'Solidarity,' post.

This does however illustrate the economic sanctions imposed on women in the form of misogyny, which makes them vulnerable to sexual/reproductive exploitation.

I believe the far harsher sanctions that M2F's experience illustrates an intersection between misogyny and homophobia, so on one aspect they share the same socioeconomic sanctions as their cis counterparts, but they are also subject to further sanctions for violating idealized gender norms.

In fact, this imposes such harsh socioeconomic sanctions on M2F's that often they are forced into sex work as their only option to survive. Leading to further stigma, isolation, and risk of death.

Also, I recently read somewhere - it may have even been brought up by someone here - that M2F transwomen had a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered, where as in the general population, that chance was 1 in 18,000.

If that's not an example of harsh sanctions based on non-conformity to gender customs, I don't know what is.

--

"This is certainly a starting point for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and those transsexual people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual, at least that part of them and their lives that is captured by the category of sexual orientation."

That's what I was hoping for, a starting point.

Actually I was trying to speak to all sexual minorities who happen to be lumped together within this community, regardless of their orientation.

We are lumped here because of how others perceive us, not because of how we perceive ourselves.

Once we open a constructive dialog with in our communities, only then will we be able to open a dialog with the people who constitute the 'Sexual Majority.'

Maybe you don't consider TS a sexual minority because you may identify as straight, and have had SRS?

If this is so, then what I described above applies, in that you are seeking to partially conform, while trying to distance yourself from the non-conformists.

I say partially conform, because in the eyes of our oppressors, your history makes you into a sexual minority, no matter how well you physically or mentally conform to their standards.

I remember the same study--and remember the same difficulty trying to access it; it was in something called something like the "The Berkley Online Journal of Economics and Policy" and it is not part of the electronic databases accessible to me through the Carleton University Library.

I remember the stats being a bit different: MTF transitioners lose about 1/3 of their income, and often their jobs; FTM transitioners, on average, get a small bump in their income; the vast majority of those who take legal action are MTF transsexual women.

I lost my work of 15 years, and I am still about 30% short of my previous income--six years later.

The conclusion, though, remains the same: the value in our patriarchal society of being male and masculine.

A book was promised in the future--of course.

I believe the far harsher sanctions that M2F's experience illustrates an intersection between misogyny and homophobia, so on one aspect they share the same socioeconomic sanctions as their cis counterparts, but they are also subject to further sanctions for violating idealized gender norms.

I don't have the stats, but doesn't the very notion of pink dollars demonstrate that, far from being impoverished, gay people are doing quite well, as compared to transsexual and transgender people. The stats for under- and unemployment among transsexual and transgender people, certainly transsexual women, approaches 50%.

I'm not sure what you're saying in this paragraph. Maybe you're saying gay men experience the same oppression as cis women and transsexual women because society views gay men as women?

Outside of North America and Western Europe this seems to be the view society has regarding, not of those gay men who take the top position, but those who take the bottom; in the attitude of society there, bottoms are just like women because they take the sexual position of women.

Tops do not endure the stigma of being gay, bottoms do.

I, possibly among others, brought up the fact that the majority of those on the Remembering Our Dead list are transgender and transsexual women; these women are also non-Caucasian, suggesting that the intersection is not with homophobia, but with racialization.

Actually I was trying to speak to all sexual minorities who happen to be lumped together within this community, regardless of their orientation.

We are lumped here because of how others perceive us, not because of how we perceive ourselves.

This is the Blanchard error, viewing sexual orientation as the only characteristic of importance.

After more than 20 years of being subject not only to Blanchard, but also queer theory, feminist theory, and of course, transgender theory we come to the point that this is our only understanding; for those with an ahistorical sense, most people in this age of instantaneous communication, among other things, there is only now.

This causes problems not only in the area we're discussing, but also, and especially, in politics: I hear few people arguing as strongly as you that we must "look forward, not backward"; let's call this the Obama perspective.

There are two sense of the word sex: 1) who you want to fuck and want to be fucked by, and how you want to fuck and how you want to be fucked (the non-European sense of sex above) and 2) being male or female.

Sex in meaning 1) has basically pre-empted meaning 2), not only because it is the definition of sexual orientation, at least the "who you want to fuck and who you want to be fucked by" part.

Meaning 2) refers to anatomical, hormonal and other aspects of physiological sex, the neurological hardwiring and the knowledge one has of this hardwiring, being male or female. This has to do not with the way anyone does anything, but the way we are.

Cissexual people, including cissexual gay and lesbian people, do not know this second meaning from their own experience, any more than straight, cissexual people know about sexual orientation from their own experience.

This is the definition of privilege: cissexual privilege in the first case; heterosexual privilege in the second.

This is why so many, including many gay and lesbian people cannot see/understand the difference between crossdressers and transsexual people: the difference between a performance and a life; the difference between exploring, usually femininity, and being a woman.

So we get to the point where the former editor/publisher of Capital Xtra, Ottawa's gay and lesbian only paper (not even bisexual) can declare that the only freedom he wants is to "fuck who he wants; fuck when he wants; and fuck how he wants." This is the liberationist perspective--and since the equal marriage victory in Canada, those holding this belief are the only gay and lesbian people remaining active.

By conflating sex and gender all that is discussed is not cissexualism, but cisgenderism; how to fuck, not medical and existential condition.

By basing your argument on the idea there is no sex in the second sense above, you have erased transsexual people from existence.

It is quite like the articles one reads where the specific examples cited are those of transsexual people, usually transsexual women, but the attempt is made to generalize the argument to fulfil the ideological requirement of transgenderism.

Losing transsexual people in the process--as you do with your insistence on "sexually oppresses minorities." Fucking, the Blanchard error, is not the governing imperative of all our lives, though it may be yours.

I agree with you in identifying what you termed "the Blanchard error"

the way children who are not both straight and cissexual are treated seems a good point to unite (at least as a "one among many")

but tying all identities and experiences under "LGBTQ" together as if they are the same, just because the oppressor told us they're the same, doesn't seem as good an idea...

Doesn't seem a very promising future, doing what the oppressor requires.

If I were a social worker--not yet--I would suggest this is precisely the sort of thing that requires a true coalition to join to overthrow the oppressor.

Such a thing has yet to be tried.

It hardly even seems something we can even talk about--seems too many have internalized the oppressor.

"The conclusion, though, remains the same: the value in our patriarchal society of being male and masculine."

The original split - to be 'female' is to not-conform to being 'male.'

More importantly, it you put power/privilege in the mix, misogyny could be seen as also originating from females not conforming to the male's will - not necessarily from a difference in physiology alone.

One of the most extreme examples of retaliation against this perceived lack of obedience, or 'non-conforming to the male will,' is rape.

--

"I'm not sure what you're saying in this paragraph. Maybe you're saying gay men experience the same oppression as cis women and transsexual women because society views gay men as women?"

Yes, that is what I'm essentially saying. In a society where one constantly has to prove that they are a 'real man,' a gay man as often seen as 'not a man.'

I could say he is seen as a 'girly-man,' if I were to quote the governator, but the implication is the same - that they are feminine, and therefore not real men.

In a binary gender system, someone who is not a man is a what? The only other option is 'woman.'

This takes the example to extremes, but the core meaning neatly centers on gender/sexual non-conformity to idealized gender customs.

--
"Actually I was trying to speak to all sexual minorities who happen to be lumped together within this community, regardless of their orientation."

"This is the Blanchard error, viewing sexual orientation as the only characteristic of importance."

???

By calling the rainbow a group of sexual minorities is in no way focusing on orientation. - in fact I my exact quote stated: 'regardless of orientation.'

This seems like you misread what was stated.

The rest of your argument seeps to be an attempt to put a whole bunch of words in my mouth because of this misunderstanding.

I don't subscribe to the Blanchard model any more than you do, because I think it is flawed by looking at things from a solely heteronormative (specifically straight-male) perspective.

--

"We are lumped here because of how others perceive us, not because of how we perceive ourselves."

The common denominator seems to be related to some type of perceived sexual non-conformity.

Gender has to do with sex, and sex has to do with gender. They are two different components of the same mechanism, although many people only recognize the overall mechanism, and not the individual components.

Here again, the dictionary to the rescue:

sex -\?seks\- noun
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin sexus

1 : either of the two major forms of individuals that occur in many species and that are distinguished respectively as female or male especially on the basis of their reproductive organs and structures
2 : the sum of the structural, functional, and behavioral characteristics of organisms that are involved in reproduction marked by the union of gametes and that distinguish males and females
3 a : sexually motivated phenomena or behavior b : sexual intercourse
4 : genitalia

--

gen·der \?jen-d?r\ noun
2 a : sex b : the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex

--

priv·i·lege \?priv-lij, ?pri-v?-\ noun
: a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor ; especially : such a right or immunity attached specifically to a position or an office

These are the actual definitions - to be fair, there is some overlap in the various definitions of sex and gender.

Considering that many people don't think that they even have a gender, is it surprising that there is confusion on the issue?

--

"By basing your argument on the idea there is no sex in the second sense above, you have erased transsexual people from existence."

Wait a minute - How did I do this exactly? Is this also due to your misinterpretation of my statement?

By focusing on the social aspects of sex and gender, I am hardly asserting that biological function plays no part.

In fact, I would think my following statement directly acknowledges the social/biological link:

"sanctions imposed on women in the form of misogyny, which makes them vulnerable to sexual/reproductive exploitation."

As does this:

"Misogyny can easily be seen in this context - disenfranchisement with the intent of sexual/reproductive exploitation."


The Blanchard error

In his typology there are only homosexual transsexuals and autogynephillic transsexuals; the former are defined by their desire to have sex with straight men, the latter, apparently, by their desire to have themselves as women--"Love of self as a woman".

No transsexual men, of course, need apply.

The error is to base everything on sex, i.e., who do you want to fuck. Sexually based oppressions are, by definition, based on taboos concerning who one wants to fuck, or be fucked by. Meaning 1) above.

This simply does not take into either transgender people--other than gay or other people who might dress to attract those they want to fuck or be fucked by--and transsexual people, who purpose is not to be fucked to to fuck, but to be who they are.

The Blanchard error is to erase the self-identification, of transgender people, and self-recognition, of transsexual people, in favour of a model that only encompasses gay, lesbian and bisexual people. It really is this simple, if one isn't blinded by homonormative privilege.

By focusing on the social aspects of sex and gender, I am hardly asserting that biological function plays no part.

Gender is the social aspect of sex.

Gender is the social aspect of sex, in sense 2) above.


"Gender is the social aspect of sex."

in the dictionary, it can also be used interchangeably for sex.

"
The Blanchard error is to erase the self-identification, of transgender people, and self-recognition, of transsexual people, in favour of a model that only encompasses gay, lesbian and bisexual people. It really is this simple, if one isn't blinded by homonormative privilege.
"

Focusing solely on TS/TG relations is to disregard any wider common problems that we may share with other members of the rainbow.

"The F2M's salaries ended up roughly comparable with their cis-male counterparts, while M2F's were often pushed to the poverty level."

what? I'm really interested to know what the sample population was for this study, and why it was framed this way.

the difference between transitioned men and non-trans men is that transitioned men have transitioned. I can think of many, many cases where transitioned men have been fired either for transitioning in the first place, or for having their employer learn their medical history and fire them. add to this the added costs of health care (at least in the U.S.) when many insurance providers refuse to insure trans people at all (if their status is known), or to deny coverage for medically necessary transition care, and you might realize that even those transitioned men who are still working at all likely face greater financial burden than non-trans men who have the same exact salary! don't even get me started on general unemployment or underemployment in this population!

that statistic (of "M2F" vs. "F2M") seems so useless and divisive. why try to compare who "has it worse" and instead start focusing on rights for all trans people?

not that I don't recognize that women face specific issues worth examining. it's just plain frustrating to see a sort of assumption that transitioning would bring a transitioned guy some sort of non-trans/"cis" privilege, when no, medical and employment discrimination (among others) will still impact them because of their transition!

also.. I think it's wrong to non-consensually label others "non-conformist" if they do not identify their own experiences this way.

"what? I'm really interested to know what the sample population was for this study, and why it was framed this way"

I'll try to find the study, so I can answer these questions.

"that statistic (of "M2F" vs. "F2M") seems so useless and divisive. why try to compare who "has it worse" and instead start focusing on rights for all trans people?"

You are absolutely right - both are impacted by bias - if they are out. If they are stealth, that is another matter, and this could account for any economic differences.

"also.. I think it's wrong to non-consensually label others "non-conformist" if they do not identify their own experiences this way."

I agree. It's wrong to label anyone against their will.

However, I am also trying to expose the mechanism for internal bias within our various communities - in which case, each community has a a common identity and/or a set of customs which are 'conformed' to.

Usually those who do not conform to one group belong to another group.

But what happens when a person feels most comfortable in a group that has determined that this person does not conform, and belongs elsewhere?

What if there is nowhere else to go?

(As for myself, I feel far more comfortable in lesbian space that I do in any other space. I see TG/TS space as largely a 'straight' space, since the large majority of the people are of heterosexual orientation.)

Transition itself is a 'non-conforming' act to most of the world. When I was going through my social transition, this was made abundantly clear to me.

There are many groups within the rainbow community that seek to distance themselves from those perceived as non-conformists, usually because some negative stigma is attached to them.

It's not the conformity that is problematic, it is the distancing of ones self from non-conformity that causes the damage.

Someone once said to me that 'a basic fear of mankind is the fear of criticism.'

Why? Criticism seeks to devalue someone - often to the point that they willingly relinquish anything of value because they have been made to feel that they don't deserve it.

I suffer from this same fear myself - we all do.

When one is forcibly ejected from a community with which they closely identify, I can think of no harsher criticism.

So yes, forcibly labeling someone a 'non-conformist' is just as wrong as labeling their identify, since it is a first step in their punishment and exile.

"She can't be a lesbian, because she has a dick." Criticism, and forced into 'sexual non-conformist,' category, as a precursor to ejection from the community.

This is damaging to everyone concerned.

It does explain why this crew was invited to participate in the DSM V, although it seems that their theory's have evolved a bit.

As you can tell, I was a bit fuzzy on the history. Thanks for filling in the gaps, and extending the history back even further.

"....even if I don't see a common thread tying us together, I still feel we should all be treating one another with compassion and respect, getting to know one another better."

It is my hope that by doing so, we will get to know each other better, and through this common threads will emerge.

I believe there are probably a few other common threads which we are all incapable of seeing at the moment, but until we open a constructive dialog, they will remain forever hidden.

Bias has social, economic, and biological ramifications beyond the political.

I would hate to see society try to breed the gay away, and if we are not careful, the whole rainbow will be removed from the human genome.

I would hate to see a pre-natal injection stamp out all the wonderful diversity that our communities embody.

Just wanted to say that I'm glad you came back to clarify. And yes, yes, yes to nonconformity in general. Although I do cringe sometimes when people are purposefully non-conformist in order to piss off the parents or to be cool. I prefer honest non-conformity to pretentious non-conformity.

Also, I was hoping you would talk more about transmisogyny and its similarity to homophobia and address "a gay male"'s question (above).

Kian,

I hope I answered 'a gay male's' question clearly enough. If I need to clarify it further, please let me know.

I was trying to illustrate that Homophobia and transmisogyny are both forms of gender bias, and therefore tools of the conformist (straight) community to try enforce conformity to what they see as traditional gender customs.

I admit it was a flawed example.

As for willful non-conformity, yes it can be annoying - from the conformists point of view - but this act of rebellion by the non-conformist is aimed squarely at loosening the restriction placed upon them by the conformist.

Kind of like saying - "If you think that's bad, how about this! Maybe next time you won't be so harsh about the lesser transgression."

Obviously, honesty trumps pretension every time.

The real problem comes when one is unable to conform - as in racism - where one can not change a physical trait to fit in with the conformist view. This disenfranchises a large segment of the population, usually with the intention of some form of exploitation.

Misogyny can easily be seen in this context - disenfranchisement with the intent of sexual/reproductive exploitation.

I suspect the form of bias could be linked to the type of exploitation, but there are intersections of bias as well. Economic exploitation is a common factor in many forms of bias, including racism and misogyny.

I feel that many of the problems and divisions within our own community stem from individual bids to partially conform to a system that requires total conformity.

At some point, if you are unable to totally conform, you have no other option but to willfully non-comform, and declare yourself 'out and proud.' A positive thing in my estimation.

Non-conformity is a good thing. Freedom of expression is fundamental to human rights, and non-conformity widens the boundaries of such expression.


Thisning about this, I could further clarify:

Misogyny can easily be seen in this context - disenfranchisement which causes social and economic hardship with the intent of sexual/reproductive exploitation.

With trans-misogyny - disenfranchisement which causes social and economic hardship with the intent to force conformity to traditional gender customs. (You were born male - so stay male.)

As for willful non-conformity, yes it can be annoying - from the conformists point of view - but this act of rebellion by the non-conformist is aimed squarely at loosening the restriction placed upon them by the conformist.

It can also be annoying to the non-conformists point of view in that some transgressions against the norm are out of necessity, not privilege. For example, when I can out as trans (FTM) in a very large lesbian community, I was glorified by some because I was breaking the binary. To me, I was "breaking the binary" because I knew I could no longer survive mentally as a straight woman. I didn't have a choice. I didn't understand why they glorified me and emulated me until I understood that they all went to elite colleges and universities that taught them queer theory.

A lot of them spent much of their time identifying as trans, but not at all in the transsexual way. Some of them are still gender-variant and only a few transitioned (after years of convincing me that transitioning was reinforcing the gender binary...hahaha). However, most them when back to "normal" as soon as they left college; the hair grew back, the nail polish came out and pants were replaced by skirts. Now that they no longer had the privileged option to "break the binary" without any economic repercussions, they quickly went back to conformity.

I run into some of them now and again and the fact that they seemed to think we were so similar ten years ago is upended by the reality that I am now a gay transman and she is a lipstick lesbian. Sometimes I think I see glimmers of guilt but that might just be my own wishful projection. This "breaking the binary" for college students and hipsters game is beyond annoying to me. Its selfish, entitled, and indulgent.

As a cis gay male, I think I really started to connect gender with the queer (and feminist) fight after reading Riki Wilchins book Queer Theory, Gender Theory, and I think you present a very similar argument. And I would love for queers to come together and realize how we all have a "gender problem" and its not just certain subgroups, we're all marginalized by a heteronormative gender binary. So I'm grateful for your posts : )

Exactly!!

I was trying to get this point across in my original post.

I realize that 'gender' has become a dirty word for some, but framing bias in that context can actually help to understand the pickle that we all find ourselves in.

Can Rachel pull off a repeat and garner hundreds of comments on just about every topic under the sun? :)

I'm glad you clarified and expanded on your topic, Rachel.

What is appropriate or not, Bil, tends to be in the eye of the beholder.

More than this, why would you, or Rachel, argue for conformity?

I was not arguing for conformity - I was arguing for the principal of allowing space for non-conformity.

By the way, I feel that I must point out that by arguing to allow non-conformity does not automatically mean that conformity is bad.

The desire to conform is intrinsic to our nature - it is why we form communities, so we don't have to feel that we are 'all alone.'

It is when conformity is taken to extremes that problems occur.

These tend to become totalitarian regimes where intellectualism, free speech and even a particular religion can be seen as a dangerous enemy and snuffed out.

In these types of regimes, the rainbow population tend to not fare so well.

The reason we are able to have this debate at all is because the social system in this country allows for non-conformity.

Although non-conformity taken to extremes might land you in jail.

Trying to focus on a common ground such as "sexually oppressed people" can serve as a starting point to build a stronger community.

By focusing only on our differences, we do much of our oppressor's work for them.


Trying to focus on a common ground such as "sexually oppressed people" can serve as a starting point to build a stronger community.

This is certainly a starting point for gay, lesbian and bisexual people, and those transsexual people who are gay, lesbian and bisexual, at least that part of them and their lives that is captured by the category of sexual orientation.

But this is precisely the same error that Blanchard, Zucker and all their adherents fall into: that the governing part of the lives of transsexual people is their sexual orientation.

Why would it be so difficult to focus on the very reparative therapy Zucker utilizes and his reason for doing so as a positive not negative foundation?

Why would it be so difficult to actually organize a true coalition rather that an identity-based (gay/lesbian/bi), policed border movement which we have seen all too often before?

If it has always failed before--I'm not sure why else you would be writing if such had worked before--why would anyone propose doing the same thing again?

Isn't doing the same failed thing over and over again the very definition of madness and delusion?

God, I hope not Bil. :)

If so, I then I didn't communicate clearly enough, and will have to work harder at it..

Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

You are communicating just fine, what's going on is your refusal to accept some of us disagree with your foundational pov completely.

Since it was apparently on of my comments on your other entry that led you to the conformity/noncomfortity explanation, I'm thrilled that although you branded me a conformist based on having a female norm neurology "that isn't a bad thing". It is, however highly ironic. You based this on a single point about me in absence of any knowledge whatsoever of the whole me, my life, how I live it. I assure you that almost no one on the planet would label me a "conformist" with that knowledge.

I was called a freak of nature by someone else on that entry to bolster the argument I should join their gender revolution. Calling me a freak, abomination, mutant etc is equally offensive from a religious nutcase and a transgenderian nutcase just for the record.

My unusual (not freak) birth and life gave me a unique perspective on life growing up a woman granted much of the liberation from mysogyny of society yet at the same time denied in large part my birthright as a woman. I may write to this now that it's been brought up, just not here as I view this as "enemy territory".

As I've reported many times, denial of my womanhood seems to only come from one quarter, the TG one. In the real world it never has been much of a problem since I transitioned.

I understand that many will disagree with my POV, completely. But that doesn't necessarily invalidate my POV, any more than mine invalidates yours.

Actually, I think that we are all conformists in some ways, and non-conformists in others.

And I refined my hypothesis in part on the lengthy debate I had with both you and Jessica, within the context of analyzing why my solidarity article was flawed, and how can I state it more clearly to reach a wider audience.

The terminology above relates to a specific response to one of your comments, but the theory is the same one I tried to put forth in my last piece regarding the rainbow's "common gender problem."

Please note that I have never once invalidated your assertion of womanhood, even though I'm a member of the TG community you vilify. Nor have I ever referred to you as a freak.

On the contrary, both you and Jessica have repeatedly tried to invalidate my own assertion of my female identity, because of my lack of conformity to your specific model, and assertion that it is the only 'true' one.

Well, I don't need your validation for that.

Especially since I don't subscribe to the same view of gender systems that you do.

Which I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on.

You don't have to see things my way if you don't want to.

After all, there's nothing I can say that will force you to, just as the reverse is true.

You are the one who stated you are not a man or a woman........I hardly denied you anything only pointed out where that leads, not a woman? cannot be a lesbian. It's all pretty simple.

Frankly my being in the barrel has to do with my bisexual orientation and nothing at all, from my point of view, gender. I didn't have a "gender" issue, I had a physical problem made worse at birth that I corrected. Frankly, I've spent a great deal of time discussing transness, gender and feminism with some pretty world class minds. What you see as gender issues, I see in terms of gynophobia....and that usage is precise. Some of the most clear cut examples of gynophobia I've ever encountered came from the transgender community often expressed in the guise of TS v TG, so much so I coined a specific word for it, neogynophobia.

Ron Gold got a hellva reception here but I did not comment on his blog entry at all because I was no more offended by what he said (it was offensive btw) than I have been by the exact same things I'd encountered right here by TGs expressed in almost the exact same language. No one wants to address this at all.

Actually think I said at various points that my identity encompasses both genders, which I guess would make me both a lesbian, and a straight male.

I might have said at one point "neither male or female,' I can't really remember.

I guess it depends on whether I take an inclusionary of exclusionary view... and since I've been arguing on the side of inclusion....

FWIW, when someone asks me in person, I usually say, 'I'm both,' if that means anything.

But I look talk and behave like a woman, and I am attracted to women who are attracted to women, and I have largely been accepted into the lesbian community (even sexually) so that's what I consider myself to be.

--

"gynophobia,"

I've never heard this term before, and I'll have to think about how it relates to me and how it fits into my reluctance to have SRS.

It would be helpful to me if you could clarify this term.

Certainly 'fear of losing the ability to orgasm,' is the lion's share of it, but 'fear of the unknown' might be a component as well.

Good stuff. Although there is quite a bit of gender nonconformity that's OK in the US - straight women doing manual labor, men who wear perfume, etc. It might get a sideways glance, but no one's looking to pass a constitutional amendment banning men from wearing bright colors.

I was going to add that nonconformity in identity is where the disagreement occurs, although that's not really accurate either. Larry Craig doesn't identify as gay, and yet he got treated like a gay man by the rest of his party and his constituents and was forced to retirement.

And there are those of us in the barrel who bite at folks outside the barrel for not conforming enough. There was a fashion critic last year, a really gay and feminine man, who made fun of Hillary Clinton's clothes saying she didn't know her gender. Or there are the gays who try to out pols who have sex with members of the same sex. Or the LGBT folks who make fun of fundies by decorating pics of them with wigs and make-up.

Oh, well. I think the situation is more complicated than conformist/non-conformist, but that divide's a good place to start. It also applies to the gay movement now, with the old fracture that separates assimilationists and liberationists.

Speaking of liberationists and assimilationists, this was brought up in a recent issue of This Magazine by a self-identified liberationist.

He lamented the departure of all the assimilationists in the wake of the equal marriage victory.

He owned up to not being all that interested in the idea of marriage, but seems to have thought, as I did--from another direction--that such a win would not only make people much more equal, it would change the climate in which we all live, and would provide the foundation not only for the exclusively gay issues this gay man supported--he did, however, support SRS--but also the things not supported by this gay man or most other gay liberationists, I thought formal equality for transgender and transsexual people.

The addition of gender identity and gender expression to human rights law in Canada, and the Criminal Code of Canada, is no longer, if ever, really in the mainstream of gay activism--even when explicitly promised: we helped them; they promised to help us.

There is a morality tale here, not only for transgender and transsexual activists, but also gay liberationists.

i missed your initial post, but after reading some of the comments i'm glad i did, as i was able to approach this one with a fresh outlook.

i think the main thrust of your argument - that sex/gender non-conformity is one of the main commonalities around which we can relate and organize - is extremely well put. i also think it expresses the underlying hope and rationale behind the queer banner - a non-identitarian umbrella under which we can congregate without resorting to the often divisive disputes that seem endemic to mainstream lgbt politics. sadly, i don't think the promise of the queer politics has been realized, and we do seem to police one another nearly as much as we are policed by those outside the barrel (though alex makes an excellent point about this working both ways).

on a personal note, as a queer woman attracted to people of all genders, i struggle routinely with feelings of visibility and authenticity and exclusion, which cut deeper when they stem from reactions within the queer community.

Thank you for your support, and the compliment.

"on a personal note, as a queer woman attracted to people of all genders, i struggle routinely with feelings of visibility and authenticity and exclusion, which cut deeper when they stem from reactions within the queer community."

I think we all experience this to some degree or another - and yes, it hurts deepest when coming from your allies.

Being in the TG segment, we are plenty visible ( many wish we weren't so visible,) but authenticity and exclusion are always issues - sometimes from the oddest of places.

"Which basically means that it MIGHT make a self loathing gay man FEEL less gay." +
"I am acknowledging that not all gay men are comfortable with their sexuality and identity."

I'm confused. are you referring to the gay transitioned man in your example, or the non-trans gay man, or both...? and are there Bilerico readers who actually believe all gay men are comfortable with who they are...?

"In the last comment thread, David's very negative reaction to the idea having a relationship with a [transitioned man*], illustrated how genitalia can be the sole determinator of sex/gender for some."
*-my edit.
actually, like yourself, David seemed to irrationally ignore the reality that while some transitioned men have vaginas, others have penises. since he seemed opposed to dating all transitioned men (penis or no-penis), that wasn't an illustration of "how genitalia can be the sole determinor of sex/gender". this was actually about david's obvious transphobia (though well disguised as a sexual orientation only towards thick 10-inch cocks on muscular, hairy hunks who must be assigned male at birth...I'm sure such guys populate david's entire dating history ;) ).

"Of course, he has every right to like who he likes. (I don't fancy boys.)"
of course. did anyone suggest otherwise? (I don't fancy women.) those comment strings seemed more geared towards talking him down from his transphobic language, irrational fear, and sense of being threatened by trans people (trans panic case in the making...?).

it is sort of sad that he'd probably deny himself the (hypothetical) man of his dreams based on medical history alone if he was a transitioned man, though. david's loss.

Rachel D, can you point out to me where I said the words you are attributing to me, words that have prompted "a gay male" to accuse me of potential murder and assualt. How manipulative and despicable are people who twist an entirely different argument strand to create a monster you can use to scare people into believing what you say (do you work for George Bush?).

My discourse was about SEXUAL DESIRE and had NOTHING to do with "dating" or fears or self-loathing.

I am almost 60 years old and have been an open homosexual for 40 years (I no longer use the word "gay" as my identity marker).

BTW to a gay male who seems to know a lot more about me than I do. FYI, the "man of my dreams" -- who you try to ridicule me with a reference to -- already happened, Smart Ass. He died in my arms of AIDS 10 years ago after 24 beloved years of bliss! Put that in your AIDSphobic pipe and smoke it.

Perhaps the bigotry of a gay male was prompted by Rachel's total reworking of my words. Rachel, why not QUOTE VERBATIM my actual posts rather than paraphrase and TWIST MY MEANING ENTIRELY! As Sophia, radical bitch, Jessica, and others can perhaps attest, I thought I was involved in a discursive engagement on SEXUAL DESIRE and not "dating trans men". Interesting how quickly meanings and manipulation merge for those who need them to.

I returned here to see if any possible developments happened since the last thread, which I found very interesting and learned more about transexual women's and intersexed people's issues from Jessica, radical bitch, Sophia and others, and I found solidarity in the words of Dieks, an old school lesbian who told her story about sexual desire. Instead I found misquoting, twisting words, character assination and a rather smug little dance on an old gay male dinosaur's grave.

Are these the tactics of "non-conformists"?

Personally, I find iconoclasm far more politically effective -- conformism or its opposite (similar differences or different sameness) are merely opposite sides of the same coin: a status quo.

But I'm a potential murderer of transpeople, so what do I know. Witchfinder General, light that match.


"prompted "a gay male" to accuse me of potential murder and assualt."

He did? Where? One of the biggest problems with our society is that all men are whitewashed with the term 'predator.' It is bandied about whenever a M2F has the audacity to use the bathroom that best suits them. (not so much with F2M's in the men's room)

"My discourse was about SEXUAL DESIRE and had NOTHING to do with "dating" or fears or self-loathing."

Your experience and desire may well be like this, but there are many who's experience of desire might be subject to influence of "fears or self-loathing."

My contention is that DESIRE does not exist in a vacuum - it is loaded with all kinds of social baggage. Otherwise 'rubenesque' women would grace the covers of fashion magazines more often - and they're overtly selling sex and desire.

That does not automatically mean that your desire is based on fear or self loathing. But when confronted with an attraction to someone with an unusual anatomy, part of the underlying cause of any sudden lack of desire could be social in nature.

Someone asked:
"Would you still be attracted to a man that met all your other criteria with clothes on for a man but without clothes, had a vagina? "

You said:
"NO. Absolutely not. I have no sexual response to vaginas. I do not "hate" them. I simply do not respond sexually to them. Period."

Sometimes our love for a person can override an aversion to one aspect of a person's physical nature - it happened to me with my first pre-op M2F lover. You might argue that I loved dick all along, but I disagree with that assessment - pussy turns me on far more than penis do, and women turn me on, and men turn me off.

Actually I am probably more defined by the social aspects of my desire than you are, because it is the identity of the person that 'does it' for me, and I need an emotional attachment with them.

I guess that makes me like most women who need emotional attachment to trigger their desire. (that does not mean that all women are this way, but a good portion of them.)

I'm really just trying to understand where you are coming from, and not trying to be accusatory, or 'twist your words,' in an attempt to vilify you.

My words have been twisted as well, which is why I am really striving to use language that is no so steeped in the baggage of gender politics.

You said "As a gay man who loves men and penises, I love the gender binary."

"all nude, all male, all cis, all penised -- it was HEAVEN ON EARTH for those of us who live/love like this. How dare you mock my desire. "

I guess I would have to ask you, if you fell for a transman with a penis, would you desire them? Or would their history, or a constructed penis, cause you to lose your desire for them?

Personally I see the object of these posts is to focus on common biases that we may be subjected to, and that we may have.

"You are driving us away with statements that mock us with their unbelievable naivete or tunnel vision or ideological rigidity or worse totalitarian dictates of what desire should and should not be."

Well, I am glad you are still participating in this discussion.

I admit to naivete with regard to your experience. This is why I am working to try to understand it.

By trying to look at the interactions between the social and physical nature of our desire, something which you seem to hold strong opinions on, I hope to eradicate my misunderstanding, and continue a dialog with the wider LGB community.

As can be seen by these comments - it's easy to alienate people, much harder to find a common ground and build consensus.

it's interesting that you make assumptions about both my age and whether I've ever lost a loved one to AIDS.

OK... I honestly don't mean to challenge so much of what is said. two things I absolutely agree on is that 1) both those who don't conform and those who DO conform deserve support, solidarity, and love- not stigma and hatred, and 2) all individuals within the LGBTQ(I) community should do more to listen and understand others' experiences and perspectives within the community.

I don't believe it's primarily an issue of conformity vs. non-conformity. imo it's not good to repeat the oppressor's practice of categorizing against our will. anyhow, sometimes this type of thinking leads to a belief that it's better to non-conform than to conform...just another hierarchy :(

I believe what unites us all is, unfortunately, that we remain oppressed, legally, economically, socially. homelessness, unemployment, violence, oppression in schools & other institutions, rejection by families or religious communities, and on and on. but perhaps what unites us all is also that we are strong, that we often inspire others just by daring to exist. I feel at some level this is within the spirit of your post, and anyway it got me thinking about what does unite us, so I thank you for that.

sorry for being such a troublemaker though!

(p.s.: thanks to your other post, I read both I Have A Problem With Faggots and This Is What Transmisogyny Looks Like for the first time... other readers should do the same, they are both important reads...)

Well, since I started this all, I would argue that I am a far bigger trouble maker! (so there!) ;)

"I don't believe it's primarily an issue of conformity vs. non-conformity. imo it's not good to repeat the oppressor's practice of categorizing against our will. anyhow, sometimes this type of thinking leads to a belief that it's better to non-conform than to conform...just another hierarchy"

Not trying to label anyone - labeling one as a 'conformist,' or 'non-conformist' as a power play is to use these labels as another tool of maintaining heirarchy.

I'm really trying to expose some of the mechanics of hierarchy itself.