The fraught process of classifying people into lady-people and gentleman-people and sometimes many flavours of other-people, which is a project of startling interest to many of the stakeholders.
I am not pushing a position here, and have little skin in this game, but I am curious about what is going on. It seems a terribly interesting fragment of the human experience, and one of great impact upon the social and political landscape as well as the well-being of the dwellers upon that landscape.
And, I do not have great intuitions about it. I was assigned male at birth, and I am Ok claiming to be male still. Metaphor: Maleness for me is a comfy suit; I think I might be happy to wear a different one, but this one is OK, so why bother? It needs cleaning, mending and alteration from time to time, and occasional it does not fit perfectly, but if I threw it out I would need to get a new suit, so why bother?
See gender and language.
Accomplishment of gender identities
What is going on with gender identities? Why are do some people experience gender dysphoria/incongruence and others not? Why do some people wish to assume one particular mainstream gender identity than the one they were given? Why do others wish to assume a bespoke new gender not on the traditional menu?
Question: Is some part of the profusion of gender identities we now witness in something to do with people switching from voice to exit strategies as regard their genders? If so, why would we, as a society, be doing that?
I have little insight except that I did enjoy Ozymandias’ Cis By Default wherein is posited that maybe why I personally might have little insight is explained by the following model: There are two types of people (ish)
- People who have a deeply held attachment to their gender, which had better match up to their physical sex and socially assigned role or they will be in distress.
- People who don’t mind particularly and will run with the flow.
I cannot cheaply do an experiment to verify that I am in category 2, but I suspect that if I had sudden [surgery formerly known as gender reassignment whose new name I forget], I would be distressed by the medical inconvenience and burdensome social explanations, but otherwise mostly indifferent. For practical, public, rhetorical purposes I am in group 2.1
If Ozy’s model holds, it would be an interesting explanation for some types of confusion with public discourse; an unarticulated divide lies between the actively-invested and inertia-based gender identities.
A resonant model IMO for the accomplishment of gender categories is David R. MacIver’s Gendering. Possibly related, Cailin O’Connor’s The Origins of Unfairness: Social Categories and Cultural Evolution; connection to feminism.
Hormones and other chemical pollution is that changing stuff
I see this mentioned on twitter. Seems somewhat interesting, but also quite crowded with conspiracist talking points; possibly too exhausting to engage with that.
Trans-inclusion/exclusionism in sports and Goodhart’s Law
TBD. A fascinating invasive argument. In many areas of transgender rights or representation a détente has been reached that includes the idea of different ad hoc gender roles (“this is my pronoun”, I can assert in the workplace; people on dating sites seem to often cut to the chase and mention their gender presentation and current genital configuration separately to avoid confusion, or recruit only from potential partners who truly do not care, etc).
But in sports! A chance to spark acrimony. For sport can have only two categories and physical sex, by tradition, and its variation has a long history of weaponisation. And it is highly competitive and the stakes are high. And high performance athletes and transgender people are highly salient in the public discourse.
A cursory glance at the literature (only Jones et al. (2017) TBH) reports that empirical data on effect of transgender status on sports performance is not obviously significant, but that needs investigating. Without reading further I am going to guess that the evidence is ambivalent and people are going to be using that to adopt polarised positions about it.
Gender diversity in autism spectrum identities
I am especially curious about gender perseption and misassignment and other phenomena in cross-cultural context, esp contemporary. How are the categories of gender being negotiated in modern Vietnam, in modern Nepal, in modern Thailand etc? Need links on those themes.
Thing of Things, On Autogynephilia
Miquel Missé contra medicalisation of transgenderism
Lionel Shriver compares transgenderism to anorexia
Although tales of people who starved themselves or passed for the opposite sex exist in the historical record, eating disorders and transgenderism on a mass scale are recent inventions. Collectively, we made these dire maladies up.
Interesting for weighing in on medicalisation, e.g. asking Is “gender dysphoria” a disease? Or is a gender identity unaligned with ones birth appearance a preference? Or thing of a new kind? Under which category should this state of being be permitted subsidised health care?
Not greatly convinced by this author’s pessimism about transition therapies; the success rates seem pretty good, empirically, (at least, in adults), whatever the underlying cause of the need for them. I am not so invested in origin stories as a source of policy, personally.