Friday, 12 October 2012

My Gender Dilemma - Help!

Well, I have a serious dilemma which I would love you to help me with.
 
All of my life I have believed you are born either male or female, and those that I called 'trans-gender' would dress as the opposite sex because they simply wanted to, and it was no big thing to them. You wear trousers today and a skirt tomorrow, if you know what I mean.
 
Years ago, it started to bug me when certain people would say that although they were born male, all their natural tendencies from childhood were to be a woman. They played with dolls, they loved wearing girl's clothes, high heels, loved women's jewelry etc. and this behavior continued into their adulthood, a lot of the times in secret. A similar scenario happened with my gay friend, she said from a child she had always had a natural tendency towards women and that's all she knows. She went through therapy and everything but she is convinced that's how she was made.  I then started to think, with all the abuse gays, trans-gender or similar groups get from society, why would they continue to hold fast to this, and be it in public. Were they really born this way?
 
Then I discovered there was something called 'intersex'. A person having both the genitalia of a man and woman at the same time (Pseudohermaphroditism) and that there are varying groups within it.
 
So, as an example, you could actually look like a man on the outside, with male genitals, yet have ovaries like a woman on the inside or vice-versa.

I am quite gob-smacked and shocked and my brain went into fast overdrive. Firstly because it raises the argument that there is a possibility that although you are born male, you didn't just choose to become a woman, but your brain (or whatever the medical term is) actually is that of a woman (I don't know how else to word this). So all the things that these men did from childhood up was actually the same as what little girls do, then women do etc etc. Some of these men (who are women) actually go on to have relationships with other men but don't believe they are gay. Would you call it a heterosexual relationship then?
 
Now, if all of this is true, then why aren't these people being treated the same as everyone else? Why is it so shocking to see a big burly man dressed up as a woman on a Saturday afternoon whilst shopping?
Dilemma - If all that I have said so far is true, is it fair to now say that it is perfectly natural for him to behave this way?
 
As a society we accept that people can be born with many physical and mental disabilities, so could it be that at times, and not at anyone's fault, that someone we see as a man could actually be born a woman or visa-versa?
So, we are born male, female and at times intersex!
 
So another dilemma - Who decides what we are? Is it the doctor, is it us, or is it society?
 
I would really appreciate your honest views and opinions on this (Help!)

44 comments:

  1. I am biologically a woman but I was like a boy since I was a child. I did not choose to act like that. It seems so natural to me. I played with boys like a boy. I would say, our nature decide who we are. Societies choose what's the best for them to evolve collectively, homosexuality was once not the best for a population of people to grow, so it was condemned in most cultures. that's why for long time gays/lesbians were holding social stigma.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, interesting. I had actually never heard of "intersex" before. You pose a very interesting question to which I do not have answers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a hard one for me to fully get my head around too Wittybadger. Thanks for your comment.

      Delete
  3. I applaud you putting these thoughts to the blog paper. I will say that as a person with a few gay friends that as society we must stop trying to label everything. It only makes the divide much worse than need be. Secondly I do think people naturally are born a certain way. There's no way you can see young boy exhibiting signs of feminism or vice versa and not think its not natural. That's they are going off sight and natural basic instinct. Its really funny how we like to use certain things as explanation for one thing and in the next month that same thing cannot be used to explain another. Basic Instinct is something I baby has; when they're hungry they cry, when they are hurt they cry, if they are physically a girl but want to play with action figured or play with a ball is it not still a basic instinct?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You see, my thinking is a bit confused because I'm feeling that some people are born a particular way, especially when they exhibit signs or behaviours from childhood.

      But there is also a high possibility that with society saying 'try this and try that', that people will cross the gender divide just because that's how they feel in that moment, not because they are actually born a particular way.

      Example: someone becomes bisexual as an experiment when they are really heterosexual, and within a short space of time they will move on to trying yet something else. They were not born that way. Thanks for commenting Theory Republic.

      Delete
  4. Let's use a box as an example. BOX #1: The box is beautifully wrapped in colourful paper, tied with ribbons and bows. When we open the box and look inside, we find a smelly pile of s**t. Wow! Wasn't that outside wrapping deceiving. I bet we all expected to find a beautiful expensive gift inside.

    BOX #2: This box is wrapped with nothing more than brown paper, not attractive at all. Yet, when we open the box, we find the most amazing and an unforgettable hand written poem as a gift. After reading the poem, we are left feeling good and smiling from ear to ear.

    Basically, it's not the wrapping that really counts. It's what is found inside the box/person that truly matters. We will either embrace the contents or throw it aside to be forgotten about. So true about people. I look forward to the day when we can seriously look past a person's outside wrapping and judge them from the inside out. I'm not stupid, I know this will always be a challenge, and sometimes I have even been guilty of pre-judging someone before I got to know them But seriously, I try not to care if you are a man wanting to be a woman... or a woman wanting to be a man... or perhaps both... I will always try to make an honest attempt to judge a person on how they treat me and others.

    If we were only biological creatures, then judging based on appearance or sex/gender would make more sense, but we are also social creatures living in complex social structures. In this world, what we find biologically attractive can be distorted by unrealistic societal images of beauty, or by bias and prejudice in the societies we grow up in. This can lead to superficial, inaccurate and often cruel treatment of those that don't fit the society's ideal of what is to be considered attractive or 'normal'.

    Every single individual sees the world through different eyes, and to judge someone based on their appearance, their gender, etc. is to assume the way you see the world is the right way, and that's just ignorant to both yourself and everyone around you. It also keeps you/me from learning as you/we progress through life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If appearances, or a person's gender 'make up' told the whole story about a person, then it would make sense to judge a person by their appearance or by the gender they wish to be, for whatever reason. But our appearances or even our gender, does not tell the whole story about who we are as individuals.

      The world would be a more livable place if people took the time to get to know others and refrained from making judgements solely based on appearance or sex. The world would be fairer, and in some cases even safer. It would be harder to trick people into believing that what someone is saying is right simply because they look 'normal'... they act 'normal' while they say it. It would avoid the many stereotypes that are associated with race, gender, religion and sexual identity. It would force people to be more honest with themselves and with others on how they judge others. Even the most astute observer can not judge the character qualities of a person from appearances/gender alone. We must take time to observe the inner person, not just the outer physique and adornments.

      Coming away from the spheres of the workplace or dating, I know from personal experience that there are people I have met that, when I first laid eyes on them, I felt that I would not have anything in common with them, let alone form any kind of relationship. Sometimes these people have surprised me greatly and have lead me to be angry at myself for being in any way judgemental towards them. They have become lifelong friends, I am pleased and thankful to say.

      I think I have said waaaaay too much! This is why I enjoy visiting your space. Your entries are thought provoking and you allow people to express themselves.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for your comment Daily Dose of Musings. I know we mustn't judge but at times I just can't help myself. When I saw this massive big bone-structured man in a dress with make-up in the middle of the afternoon I was taken aback (putting it mildly). I was so shocked and meant to do a quick glance but I couldn't take my eyes off him. He (or she) looked at me and smiled but I was in a fixed gaze with a plain face. My head was trying to work out if there was some sort of an event going on that day. I stopped what I was doing to watch this person until they were distant enough to break my gaze. I know it's not my business but I would like to know what's going on... I realise now that the way I acted was probably rude, but I was caught so off-guard!

      Delete
    3. n regards to your second comment (almost missed it out).
      I know your appearance doesn't tell the whole story but I do believe many of us dress in a particular way so others can know more about who we portray, or who we are. For example, the punk, the mod rocker, the new ager, the heavy metal...... so on and so forth.
      On the other hand, those that are really sinister and devious try not to dress in any particular way to draw attention to themselves, so that they fit into the more 'normal' look - whatever normal is in that area. This is a very good point that you raise.

      As for judging others. It's the hardest thing on earth to do correctly. That's why so many people are scammed and conned, because some folk are the masters of deceit and their appearances give away nothing.

      Daily Dose of Musings, I'm always happy to allow people to take the time to explain, as you can't always do this in one line, so feel free. I'm glad to hear what you have to say on any topic so thank you so much for your comments. Most welcome.

      I love the fact you raised the issue of relationships. You've given me a good idea for another post. The women who behave as if butter wouldn't melt in your mouth until the wedding ring it on then all hell breaks loose AND the men who do anything for you until after marriage, you can't even get them to pick you up from the supermarket to bring the shopping home! Oh, you've got me on a roll.

      Delete
  5. This article does a great job explaining the specifics of intersex abnormalities: how and why they occur, diagnosis, and current treatment/management. The actress, Jamie Lee Curtis, is an excellent example of an intersex chromosomal male. Although genotypically (one's genetic constitution), she is XY or male, she is phenotypically (how genetic material presents itself) XX female. In other words, her external genitalia appear female because her testosterone receptors are insenstive to that hormone's stimulation. Female is the default sex in her case. With the availability of genetic testing, it's no longer simply a matter of the doctor's call. "More recently, the opinion of many experts has shifted. Greater respect for the complexities of female sexual functioning has led them to conclude that suboptimal female genitalia may not be inherently better than suboptimal male genitalia, even if the reconstruction is "easier." In addition, other factors may be more important in gender satisfaction than functioning external genitals. Chromosomal, neural, hormonal, psychological, and behavioral factors can all influence gender identity."
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002634/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember Jamie Lee Curtis, and she always had a masculine look to her, so it makes much more sense to me now. Thanks for the information you provided and the link as it really breaks down the facts about intersex which I find very interesting. The human body is so much more complex than you can ever imagine. Thanks Helena, I always appreciate what you have to say. :)

      Delete
    2. Helena always knows how to put these things in the right perspective scientifically. I know I had a female friend, who was lesbian, who had a straight androgynous look. I've always looked for exactly what Helena just commented in order to explain this friend on a scientific level. Great to find this info, thanks!

      Delete
  6. If you were to plot Toronto's gay district on a map, my condo would be within 100 yards of the dead centre. I'm a male, both genetically and in my mind, and I'm straight and I've never had any doubt about that, but in my neighborhood there are all combinations of sex and sexuality. So what?

    I believe that most sexually "abnormal" (I use that word clinically, not as a qualitative descriptor) people are who they are because that's who they are. That's the way their bodies formed and/or their brains were wired. Some may be confused and unhappy, but I suspect that's a very small minority.

    And, even if the did read their own sexuality/bodies wrong, it is still their choice to make, not mine and not yours. My opinion is that they should be free to make those choices for themselves even if in a small minority of cases it is not the best biological choice for them. Fortunately, in most free countries they are free to make that choice, even if some people, wrongly in my opinion, fight against that freedom to be who they are or who they believe themselves to be.

    As to your question of who decides, in the end it must be the individual. Hopefully, if they have any doubts they will seek some medical/psychological help to work through that, but even if they don't it's their decision, unless their decision is to go under the knife, in which case they will have to find a surgeon willing to do it.

    The only thing that society has to work out is who gets to go into women's public washrooms and who gets to go into men's public washrooms. Maybe it would be best to move to making all public washrooms unisex, with only stalls and no urinals, and stall walls and doors designed to protect the modesty of even the most modest people.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Joel, thanks for sharing your views. Why should society have the choice in working out who gets to go into the women's public washrooms' as you stated? If they believe they are female, choose to live as a female, and have been born intersex, then shouldn't they have an automatic right to use the women's washroom in the process? just a thought.

      A couple of our local restaurants toilets/washrooms are unisex, It just doesn't have that private feel, if you know what I mean.

      Delete
  7. just a few days back i saw an episode of grey's anatomy in which a similar case of hermaphrodite was taken up....the girl had a testicle...and she never felt like a girl from inside...so when she came to know about her new body part she was not was surprised but at the same time was relieved coz now she can actually live like a guy... at the end she decides to keep her testicle and live life normally like a guy...so i guess that answers your question that its up to us to decide who we are not the docs not the society!!! its your liofe after all live it your way

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Manalee. We should be able to decide who we are but society doesn't always allow it. There are of course pros and cons to this. Joel above mentioned unisex toilets, and it got me thinking about sauna's etc. If a person looking like a female entered a male sauna, I don't think the men would make a big fuss, but if a person looking like a man entered a female sauna I think the reaction would be far worse.

      Delete
  8. Gender, and gender identity is something that many people just flat out do not understand. You think it would be easy, but its truly not. It starts somewhere in the womb, everyone, EVERYONE, starts out female, and then something happens in the womb that kicks in and the male starts developing as a male.

    Knowing that, and how there are so many genetic anomalies now a days with fetuses, and all sorts of chemical interactions, we all know that doing drugs and alcohol while pregnant can seriously screw up a fetus, its not a hard jump to think that the chemicals we consume might mess up this delicate gender issue. Hermaphrodite/Intersex has been around for ages, so it can't be a chemical thing, so its just something that happens. As is homosexuality.

    Society treats homosexuality as a choice, but I'm positive it is not, its something you are born with. Many times, I have met women, whom are lesbian, that have distinctive masculinity about them, and normally, those women are homosexuals.

    Anyways, I'm going to cut this short, because this is going to be huge if I don't. I personally think that the gender identity issue is the most screwed up part of this. Why is it that girls were dresses and men can't? I know Scottish people wear kilts, and I know many people here in the US think its funny that guys were 'skirts.' It makes no sense. You shouldn't be identified by what you wear.

    The only true issue I have when gender reassignment surgery is if they only go halfway through the process. Take the case of the Pregnant Man. I think he shouldn't have the title he does. He was a woman, wanted to be a man. So, he goes through surgery, they give him a penis, boom, he's a man, right? Wrong, he still has his vagina.... So, he decides to get pregnant, does, and boom, pregnant male. No, he has both genitalia, so he's not exclusively a male.

    In the end, there is ample scientific evidence that gender identity, sexuality, and gender is not all aligned at birth. And it is obvious that all those are all assigned at birth. It is truly a shame that stigma and social contempt has been placed upon those who's birth didn't have everything aligned, as it were.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know it is a common misconception, but no, not everyone starts off as female. We start off the same, neither male nor female. If there is a SRY gene, which is usually located on the Y chromozone. This turns the gonads to testicles, the absence of the gene turns them into ovaries. So while we do all start off the same, it is neither female nor male. We do not start off with ovaries that turn into testicles, but rather we both carry the possibilities of both. It is a mutation in this gene that give rise to most of those physical anomalies.
      However, saying that, in most cases a transgendered person have no physical evidence that they should feel like they were born with the wrong parts. It is simply that, how they feel, how they self identify. And to my way of thinking that is all that matters. Everybody should be free to live their life as they would choose, so long as they are not harming anyone else.
      About not getting the complete job done... I don't know how much you know about the procedure of gender reassignment, but it takes place over years. It's not like a nose job. And many choose to keep their original sex organs, or alter them to make them more in keeping with their gender (f-m). BUT, they still have ovaries and can still carry a child unless they get a hysterectomy.

      One last point; sexuality is not a big part in determining gender identity. I have known a couple of transgendered men who are gay, and liked men, even before they started their gender reassignment. What society may have viewed as a straight woman, was in fact a gay man. Also, undergoing gender reassignment can change a persons sexuality.

      Delete
    2. Actually the bump to become male starts before female organs start, but after nipples start, its why men have nipples. There is no bump to become female, if the bump doesn't happen, then the fetus keeps forming into a female.

      Delete
    3. Dan, very interesting, so thanks for your views. This gender thing has knocked my socks off. It took a while for me to get my head around it. With homosexuality, I'm questioning this in part because it could be that SOME people may have been born that way, not everyone. But in today's society many people use it as a pretext to experiment. Got no stats though, so it's just my wild guess for the time being.

      Dresses and trousers, I think it's mainly a culture thing that men look different to women. Gender roles are culturally conditioned, therefore the expression of what is male or female varies with time and place. But what we're talking about here is an individual gravitate towards a gender that is opposite of what we might expect it to be.

      I totally understand your point about stigma and contempt for those who were born different. If we all had more information about these things from the beginning, life would be much easier to accept and understand I think.

      Delete
    4. Thanks Jamie, for this very detailed and informative comment.

      However much we learn about the process of development there is still nevertheless and element of complexity and mystery around the subject of gender.

      What I am questioning is the element of choice. Granted, your view is that everyone should be free to choose their gender. BUT to what extent are these choices the result of biology, as opposed to experimentation, cultural influences etc., as I said in my response to Dan. For me this is important. Once again, I appreciate your comments and info, Jamie.

      Delete
  9. Very thought provoking post! I applaud you for your honesty and courage. Well done! Live and let live.

    ReplyDelete

  10. From my viewpoint, your question:

    Who decides what we are? Is it the doctor, is it us, or is it society?

    Has, at least, two sure answers:

    For those that are lucky enough to be born in an advanced society, where discrimination can exist but it can, in a way, be ignored, the choosing is personal.
    But the world is big and there are places where the individual cannot decide. Cultural traits, customs, bigotry, et al make the choosing.

    The other option: I do not know if doctors can decide just after the delivery what to do with the newborn, but it won't surprise me if there are places, over this hapless planet, where they do.

    This gender issue is only one of the many problems that we have.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You've gone straight to the heart and I do agree. I too wonder what some countries may do if presented with such an issue after delivery, not good.

      I use to think that gender issues were very straight forward but as I'm finding out, it's a lot more complicated than I thought. Thank you Untony.

      Delete
  11. Very Interesting article, Sometimes, the society can debate on the issue and we cannot get the answers why people behave? However, Let people live their own way. The important is that we must learn to respect each others. Do not judge the persons before you know them. It can apply to any other circumstances such age, race, religion, gender, and culture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wise words about judging and respect James, thanks for commenting.

      Delete
  12. All I know is we've got billions of people in the world. There are bound to be differences. I've got gay friends and have listened to people who are transgendered. All say they were born the way they are, just like I was born with the mindset of a heterosexual. I am what I am and they are who they are. That's good enough for me!

    ReplyDelete
  13. rpd, let me quote a transsexual friend of mine. When asked "Are you a man or woman?" he/she replied: "Why do we need all these labels? I don't think I belong to any category. I'm not fully a man, or fully a woman. I'm just a normal human being facing the daily struggles of life."

    I think this is true of all of us, to a lesser or greater degree. In the final analysis, we are simply ourselves.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothingprofound, I understand what your friend is saying, but we all know that society will always put a label of some sort on us.

      I recently read an interesting article by another blogger who was asking 'What's normal? It really made me think. Thanks so much for commenting.

      Delete
  14. A lot to consider here.....I guess I am on the fence, because I DO believe that some people are born with the body of one sex but the mind of another---but there are just as many who, because of circumstances in their life, have decided they relate more to same sex relationships. Honestly, my motto has always been "live and let live." I don't think it is anyone's business to judge who we can and cannot love. I also think humans have the ability to be attracted to either sex at any given time in their life. Chemistry is chemistry, and there is no clear answer as to why attracts us to certain people. Plenty have been in heterosexual marriages and happy, until years down the road the relationship fizzles out and they find themselves attracted to someone of the same sex. They remarry and live happily ever after. There's no black and white answer to this--it all falls into a gray area that people have argued for years. I still say the only way to "solve" the disagreement is to live harmoniously, no matter what our sexual preference is. We were put on this earth to love one another, not to cause strife.
    Another terrific, thought-provoking post, my friend. You did a great job with this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I always appreciate your comments Menopausal mama. This is something I'm still getting my head around. Thanks.

      Delete
  15. Everyone needs to take religion and judgment out of society. We are who we are, we don't judge a woman for dying her hair blonde if she's really a brunette, we applaud her courage to change, compliment her, so why are we afraid of any other changes people make even if they are different from our own? I don't care what you wear, what you have or what you like, if you are a goodhearted person with a good set of values, we can be friends. Simple.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I see the point you are making but depending on where you live and what culture you belong to, there is a lot of judging and condemning going on. I'm proud to belong to a country where you are more free to express your views, opinions and differences (even if people don't always agree) as many countries don't allow this. I wish life was a simple as you said Barbara. Thank you for sharing your comments with us.

      Delete
  16. I have a friend with this condition. He's brave enough to open up to other people even though a lot of them look down on him. I think we shouldn't judge other people's life. It's better to concern about our flaws too, because nobody's perfect

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nobody's perfect for sure. I'm sorry that your friend had to go through bad situations especially when he is willing for people to know about his situation. We never seem to see our flaws unless we take a good long hard look in the mirror, Thanks for commenting DebbZ.

      Delete
  17. I am a guy and i liked girls for almost my entire life, but still I somehow liked high heels but never worn them, I played dress-up like once and then never did that one ever again. But in last few years I feel like I am torn, I still like girls but I began to like guys as well, never was in a relationship 'cause let's face it i have mommy and daddy issues but I am not sure I wanna pursue being gay or bisexual for that matter but at the same time I think, is this something I decide or it's been decided long before I was born? On other related matters. I am not and never was a homophobic individual but I never spoke up to defend gays fearing that I'd be labeled as one. I didn't figure this one out and don't want others to do it for me. Until it's going to be proven that being gay is a disease or a genetic mishap no one has any right to gay-bash someone. As long as it's not proven that being gay is sick we all should breathe normally and mind our businesses. Maybe it's a really long shot but I foresee times when no one is going to give any crap about others dating guys or women, or both.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for sharing something so deeply personal, I appreciate you taking the time to comment and show us how things look from your point of view.

      Delete
  18. Rum-Punch, one of your very, very best posts. It is a dilemma because we've been taught from a young age that it's wrong, that God doesn't make mistakes. There are so many possibilities in all this. One of my endearing causes is Vanishing Twin Syndrome, not widely known, but also touches on this where the surviving twin has absorbed the other twin's remnants (happens within the 1st trimester).
    But it doesn't matter if there is a reason or not, we are who we are and each and every one of us has the right to be loved, honored, and respected. May times keep changing, and may we all learn to not judge one another. May we all live in peace and unconditional love.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, such good points because that's what made me really look and think hard at this dilemma. The fact that we readily accept disabilities etc but yet shun the fact that someone could even be born intersex, as you must be absolutely one or the other. This is clearly not the case, and not anyone's fault, so to speak.

      It would be great if we could all live with unconditional love. Thank you so much for your comments.

      Delete
  19. My wife was born in a male body, however she has identified as female her entire life - she knew she was female, since she was a small child. Because of this, yes, she is transgender. No, this is not a choice, it's who she is. She's planning on going through hormone replacement therapy, and maybe even surgery one day, to correct the body she was born in. The body she has now is not matched to what is in her brain, heart and soul. It's actually a very depressing thing for here, and when others do not understand, it's very hard.

    Luckily, we have come across many wonderful friends and family who *do* understand and that has helped her so much, along with my love and support - because to me she is my wife, my soul mate. I do not see her as male, I haven't since she told me many years ago when we were dating as teenagers.

    Trans people do not choose what they are, it's a feeling they are born with. They do not grow out of this feeling, though many try to hide what they are by transforming themselves into what society expects. Trans women, for example, will marry a woman, have children, be the manly man, play football, whatever the stereotype they grew up with. And the opposite for trans men.

    Than, later on in life, many take their lives or they will decide they can no longer live a lie and will become what they know themselves to be - man or woman.

    I'd rather live in a world where this is accepted immediately, before the thought of suicide could even reach their minds. If my wife and I ever adopt children, we will teach them that all genders, all sexual orientations, all *people* should be treated with love and respect.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As I began to learn more about this, I can clearly see how it's easy to be confused, frustrated and feel that you are living a lie. We all want to be ourselves without question. In one way I can see how suicide comes into the equation especially if everyone is against you. Thanks for your frankness and for sharing your experience in this Angie.

      Delete

Feel free to speak your mind but please keep it respectful.
Disrespect will be happily deleted.
Thanks for posting!

hostgator coupons