Antonia D'orsay

Birthright

Filed By Antonia D'orsay | February 10, 2010 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Gay Icons and History, Living, Marriage Equality, Media, The Movement
Tags: birthright, civil rights, human rights abuses, kinship, LGBT families, Liberty and Justice for All, marriage equality, marriage vows, Prop 8 trial

This is the one I should have written before.

Birthright.

As a word, it has lost much of its luster, its common power, its fundamental importance in our lives.

A birthright is more than just inheritance -- indeed, it speaks directly to the concept of rights, of those things which are inalienable to those born unto it.

But a birthright is still part of one's inheritance, and one inherits based on one's kinship in our American culture.

I have spoken in the past, many times, about kinship. About its potency, its power, it purpose, its effect. I have walked through the history of kinship's denial, of the casting out and the caste setting of LGBT people.

Let's pause for a moment and look at one thing, though.  One thing that reaches outside that, so that people know why it is that I note, casually and consistently, the importance of our recognizing the kinship we have with each other within the LGBT.

It starts when we are kids.

The single most likely predictor of homosexuality and bisexuality in adults is also the single most likely predictor of transsexuals, cross dressers, gender queers, transvestites, travesti, agenders, bigenders and all the rest.

The predictor is the same.

22% of the time, this predictor will result in a trans adult of some sort -- most commonly a cross dresser.  To lesser extents, in declining order, transvestites, genderqueers, travesti, bigenders, agenders, and transsexuals.

This is a known thing.  Mutliplicity of studies, peer review on multiple levels and in many different fields. It is an inheritable trait to some extent as well, given that it tends to cluster in families (meaning don't be surprised if one day someone starts to compare genealogy among LGBT folks and finds many common ancestors).

This is not made up.  Darryl Bem did a serious amount of work in this field. I've cited it before in other articles -- most recently in one here at Bilerico.

15% (or so) of the time it will result in someone who is cissexual and heterosexual.

63% of the time is will result in someone who is homosexual or bisexual (or pansexual, or polysexual or...).

It is estimated to be found in as much as 20% of the population. If that holds true, then roughly 5% of the population is some form of trans, and nearly 13% is gay, lesbian, or bisexual.

This simple thing -- easily spotted, readily noted, and familiar to every transsexual -- is that good a predictor.

Now, not all gay, lesbian, and bisexual people have this particular predictor in their lives. It is not part of their narrative, not a thing that enters their lives any more than it does the rest of the 80% of the population they are part of.

It is, after all, merely a predictor.

Just something you can look at and say with about an 85% chance of accuracy that *that person* will grow up to be LGBT. It applies only to those children before puberty -- after puberty, everything changes. So we're talking roughly the ages of 5 to 12 for boys (5 to 10 for girls).

For girls, it is marked by their insisting they are a boy or a girl or saying they want to be a boy or a girl, saying she doesn't want to grow up to have breasts or menstruate or he does, or maybe she won't sit to urinate and he only will, or perhaps she says she's going to grow a penis eventually and he spends his time pulling at his or hiding it or silently hoping that it will go away. She may be a tomboy, as well, and he may prefer tea parties and dress up to tonka trucks and football while she hmmphs at being told the most she can hope for is Field Hockey.

When you see kids do that sort of thing for about 6 months solid, without much change, this predictor kicks in.

It is the same predictor across all the groups. For gay or lesbian or bisexual or transsexual or cross dresser or fetish driven wannabe, the same source thing and its been shown in study after study after study for 75 years in the US and nearly 115 outside of it.

In other words, for pretty much the entire time that the ideas we understand today as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual, transgender, etc, have existed.

As the number of labels and identities grow, this predictor stays the same.  It stands out, and to date there has been no study to show anything different in all those years.

And not for a lack of trying, either. And it gets overlooked a lot in the TBLG community.

It is one of the strongest data sets for the argument that being trans or gay or bi is inherent, is phsyical, is part of the way you are born, and therefore some aspect of being innate, of being a part of us, of being, well... a birthright... an inheritance.  Something we gain by the act of being born.

It is one of the major reasons why I don't buy the argument that there's some sort of utter chasm between all of them.  This isn't merely opinion, this is fact -- one thing unites all of these people as children.

Long before they identify as gay or trans or bi or whatever.  Long before they even know how to express it in words, at a time when they are far more likely to be interested in things that adults forget the wonder and misery of.

This is before the angst of puberty, before the terror of high school, before the grinding cynicism of a world can reach you, when magic still seems real and the world is enormous and a playground is the perfect place.

It has a name, this predictor. This concept, this idea, this known truth that no one ever really wants to hear and that sits solidly behind much of how I see things in this world.

There is so much focus in the physiology and the causative nature and the adulthood issues and the sexual intercourse and the relationships and the what is wrong with me that people forget those years, forget this information, and its inconvenient, its unpleasant, and yet, there it is, always and constantly.

A birthright that no argument about who is and who isn't can get around.  An inheritance that no justification for exclusion can handle or bear the weight of.

And yet, because of *that* birthright, we are denied other ones, and those who seek to say that they don't suffer from it are always in a position to be able to ignore it by being insulted from society or blind to things they do not wish to see or, most often, simply unaware of such a thing and fooled into believing other stuff.

And that other birthright is the fullness of our inalienable rights. The rights no one ever seems to want to tell me they disagree with, even though I have them laid out -- and then only partially, as I still haven't gone back to touch them up and finish the list.

One thing that creates our kinship, that establishes the LGBT as a kith, a collective clan of tribes, an extended family bound by commonality, and we follow the same path far too often that is used against us.

We forget that we have this bond, in part because this bond reflects another kinship, a kinship that people fight hard and bitterly and cruelly and vengefully and vociferously and vehemently to deny.

Kinship is family.  Marriage creates a bond of kinship, forms a family. Adoption creates a bond of kinship, it forms a family. Birth creates a bond of kinship, and forms a family.

Our kin are our immediate and close family, our siblings and cousins and aunts and uncles and parents and grandparents.  Our kith is those with whom we share a bond in name or place or lands or tribe or culture.

The ties that bind were looped with one's kith and kin around them, witnesses that this is a family and it is part of our family and we will honor and recognize it within our clan and tribe and village and state.

We are denied those ties that bind. We are told we are not fit to or for adoption. We are denied our ability to marry or  -- worse -- its subject to us having to accept an untruth about ourselves to do so. We are required to be sterile and told that we can't have children because it's just not possible.

Sometimes we gladly accept that. Sometimes we do not. They don't want it spreading, you see, that not so mythical they that oppose the mere idea of being related to us.

They use language that renders us less than human, the seeks to call what we are a choice or a mistake.  They tell us we cannot have a family, and they dress this atrocious horror up in the name of the very thing they are trying to destroy.

They say that they are about saving families, and yet they spend their time and their days and their efforts denying family.  Literally a billion dollars a year is spent to scream at us that we are not allowed those basic rights, those birthrights, those simple and inalienable desries that we are told as children are ours to have, as part of our birthright as citizens.

No wonder so many of them oppose civics in school.  They want to erase that idea, too, so that it becomes easier to erase us, to deny us, to forget that as many as twenty percent of the population are different as kids because they don't want to have that kind of kid in their family, they do not want that kind of thing to inherit their homes and monies and life's work and God Forbid they have the name.

They have done this to us for years. Decades. Centuries.  It happened to us before there was a United States, when it was a Dutch or French or Spanish or English colony under the sway of some distant empire. It happens to us still. We are driven from family, sometimes from the very town, by scorn and anger and mistrust and we are cast out, thrown out, tossed and swept away, left to drift, and for decades we've done just that, finding each other in derelict parts of the larger towns and then the larger cities.

They have taken from us our very family in throwing us out of theirs, and though today that's not as common as it was just 40 years ago, within the memory of so many, that pain is still here, those words and that fear are still there, that anguish is still found daily in story after story, tale after tale, recounting and reflecting.

And we found each other, even in days before we really had a name for each other, before we even had a name for ourselves, and we took those derelict spots, unwanted and abandoned, and we used the creativity our hardship inspired to make them desirable and wonderful and then we were forced out of those spaces into new ones because we aren't allowed to have freedom and liberty and we are not allowed to have kinship and if you put people together in a space they will form kinship, they will form bonds, they will make families.

And we did that.  We defied them, and we created our own families and we built our own spaces and our own customs and now, this day and this age, we want our birthrights.

We want our liberty and justice for all.

We want our ties that bind to be looped, and we want the whole of the clan, of the State, to look on it and know that we are family, and they cannot take that.

They have spent too long denying it to us, telling us we are bad, we are dangerous, we are less, we are not worthy, not family, not kin, and we may not have kinship.

Well, I am saying that we do, and I am saying that we always will, and I am saying that I, for one, will not deny my kith and kin that simple thing, that liberty, that inalienable right.

I will not deny the children now grown, or the children now growing, or the children who will grow that bond, that kinship, that family, that love.

I will give it to them, instead.

Will you?


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Angela Brightfeather | February 10, 2010 11:31 AM

Heartwrenching, heartwarming, inspiring and depressing all at the same time.

We must meet some time in the future and sit down and talk about the music in our hearts that plays to our spirits, because I believe that is the one thing that makes us kin and at the same time never changes in any of us.

The song may be different, but for each person it is something they are born with and they will pass on with, that gives them comfort and helps them to know what truly gives them happiness in their lives.

Thank you for reminiding me that our music is still inspiring and allows us to time travel and relish our years of innocence, while still valueing the things that happen on a daily basis.

To me the LGBT connection was intuitive from the start - this is pretty much the reason put into words.

Gender roles are at the heart of this whole thing for almost everyone, but lots of folks don't want to recognize it. It's particularly annoying when the LGBT people sometimes invest more in enforcing them than people outside the community do - it's like we're handing them rope to hang us with.

We're pretty good at that one, come to think of it.

Thank you SO much for this post.

saccharine overdose | February 11, 2010 9:35 AM

I, for one, need an insulin injection after that. Do you write Hallmark cards for a living?

I'm still a little confused about how you're using the word "predictor." What exactly IS the predictor? Are we talking genetics?

I don't think saccharine causes high blood sugar, so if you needed insulin after reading that I'd suggest seeing a doctor.

Incidentally, using saccharine metaphorically like that is meant to suggest a degree of insincerity in the writing, as contrasted with great sincerity even if it is a bit sweet (and, therefore sentimental).

I'm *quite* sincere in it. Sugary or not.

That you are offput by it, well, speaks for itself.

And thanks, btw -- it's nice to know I'm able to occupy space in the skull of someone who obviously dislikes me.