Friday, September 4, 2009

I Know You Are, But What Am I?

A lovely lady said on her blog the following: “It seems to me that our society places too much emphasis on both gender identity and sexual orientation.” I don’t want to explain the context, you can see it at Labels ... etc. Aug 30, 09

I usually don’t make excuses for the powers that be, for I am just as much a victim of my ineptitude as any other. Still, I want to point out some sober things. Our western society relies on stability. That is why laws have been made and enforced since Hammurabi (non-western, 1750 BC or so), so that we have a basis from which to decide.

Much of today’s basic laws are based on ascension. The decision way back then may have been arbitrary, but it was a way to ensure property and rights. It was sort of like, “the first born male shall inherit … and everyone else shall pick up what’s left, if any”. Ok, so it was based on the male having all that, and I am not debating its veracity. However, it provided stability throughout the centuries of civilization.

Today it is different, at least in the USA. There is no law that makes a first borne male automatically the inheritor and in charge. In spite of that, it is still customary for a woman to take on the man’s surname upon marriage. But the gender specification does not stop there. Say, I married my wife as a man, and she a woman. Later on I decide that I want to become a woman. She and I work out the details, and if she still has any use for me, she may stay with me and see the process to completion. But that’s just between her and me. I would have to deal with the at least some of the following:

  • Health and life insurance companies with whom I deal
  • Banks and investment firms with which I deal
  • Social Security Administration (in the USA)
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation (in the USA)
  • Local, county, and state police
  • Relatives and acquaintances who expect a male but not someone on the fringe
  • Etc.

I don’t think that I would have to justify my gender change to all of those agencies, just that changing from George to Georgina would, at the least, confuse people to my economic decrement at the least. For example, if I were to be arrested for criminal speeding in an automobile, would I be booked as a male or as a female? Would I care at the time? Would I care afterward? Would I sue the police for incarcerating me with the wrong gender?

Then there is the matter of gender identification. For example, in a commercial health club, they have the men’s and the women’s dressing rooms and manner of expected apparel. Which would I choose? Personally, I have no problem sharing dressing room with the opposite gender. I try not to ogle, and keep my eyes to my space. Actually, I don’t walk around naked even in the men’s dressing room, since there is no requirement to do so. Some guys do, and I assume that some girls do also. But still, the time comes when in my gender change I begin to appear more feminine than masculine, so someone must decide. One side or the other is going to complain, and then the friggin' lawyers get into the act.

This, I think, is why there is “ … emphasis on both gender identity and sexual orientation,” as such. Things, even people, need to be sorted so that we can deal with them. There will always be the oddballs who get grief from all sides. Life is not fair, so we do the best we can under the circumstances.

If I were to open a business such as a health club, I would prefer to minize my expense and provide one dressing room for all. Even if 98 percent of the customers were to agree with that (not that they would), some 2 percent would sue me for not having a place to hide their genitalia from the opposite sex. So, I would have to provide equal access to privacy based on male versus female assessment. It’s not necessarily my preference, it’s not necessarily the law, but it is dictated by edict from the law that assures that even minorities get their say. Then there are the friggin’ lawyers who want to make a living from fomenting discontent among the malcontent and the avaricious. We can never fully satisfy the greedy.

Most of what I said above is irrelevant when one’s gender identification, or sexual preference is between consenting adults. That is where one can let it all hang out. I have seen photographs of transgendered males, transsexual males, and transvestites. Just as in real life, some can be considered beautiful, some passing, and some ugly as sin. Whatever they do with it is their own affair. This is where I would not try to cite a law that says, “a man is not allowed to dress like a woman” or such. Who gives a damn if some poor old sexually starved schmuck decides to put on a short skirt and a tank top? Or who gives a damn if I were to have sex with my neighbor’s husband as long as all agreed to it? A threesome or a foursome may even be better. Whether all are females, males, or a mix, who cares?

The bottom line is, for my purposes, gender identity is for first-line approach and identification. After that, we really don’t care unless we want to get into bed with them. Then we try to sort it out on a personal basis regardless of lawful description or distinction.

1 comment:

Milliscent said...


I am pleased that my post inspired you to put down your own practical thoughts on the matter.