Hi Martita,

Thank you for chiming in. You ask about my thoughts in terms of gender labeling… ugh. So many thoughts.

I have always identified really strongly with the female gender, and have not identified with the male gender. However, I grew up in a binary society, and no other option was ever offered.

My partner is non-binary. They scoff at the very idea of gender, seeing it entirely as a societal construct and finding it without much useful value.

As science tell us now, gender — and even biological sex — is widely more complex than we’ve been taught by Ken & Barbie.

I’ve spoken to scientists who have shown me differences in gender-variant parts of the brains men and women — and seen brain scans of trans women which emulate the women brains, not the men brains.

I believe transgenderism can be best explained by neuroscience, not by biology.

However, as I often tell folks, having astigmatism doesn’t make you an optician, and having cancer doesn’t make you an oncologist. I have the condition. I don’t have the scientific acumen to discuss the condition at an academic level.

But I can tell you about humans. And I can tell you about ideologies. I can tell you how Darwin’s valid theory of evolution was appropriated to become Social Darwinism — leading to much injustice, much suffering.

We’ve tried “separate but equal,” and it didn’t work. (read about the integration efforts of Pauli Murray — one of my personal heroes).

If you make trans women “separate but equal” from women, inevitably we’ll end up in a ghetto.

A great solution is to just care less about gender. I was just at the LinkedIn headquarters in San Francisco — they have gender-agnostic bathrooms. As I walked in to the restroom, a man held the door for me. I walked past three urinals to my right to find several women applying makeup by the sinks and mirrors. The stalls were opposite the mirrors, and women, queer folk and men came in and out. Everyone was polite and courteous, and there was no problem. It allowed me to envision a different version of the world.

Another challenge with your five genders is that once again we’d be creating constructs for people to conform to. I count among my friends people who are cisgender and hetero, femme lesbians, butch lesbians, post-op trans women, pre-op and non-op trans folk, a transfeminine (identifying female but with no hormonal or surgical interventions), several non-binaries, a genderfluid, etc. etc.

So my thoughts are still… thinking. What I do know is:

a) Rigid gender roles and their enforcement have not led to fully-realized humans

b) Allowing freedom of self-identification and self-expression yields more happiness and does not lead to harm;

c) Creating fixed brackets can lead to apartheids and exclusion, especially when you have vast unbalances of number, agency, wealth, etc.

I hope this is, at least, food for thought. :-)

PS: As part of my Empowered Trans Woman Summit, I interviewed Prof. Robert Sapolsky, of the Dept. of Neurobiology at Stanford. You might enjoy his insights.

Activist. Public speaker. Writer. Community Organizer. Mom. Creator & Host, Empowered Trans Woman Summit. Managing Editor, EmpoweredTransWoman.com

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