National Geographic magazine

Clippings from news sources involving fashion freedom and other gender equality issues.

Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby Sinned » Tue Jan 10, 2017 7:27 am

Darryl, if true then there's an awful lot of untapped potential out there. Mental images of a dam and lots of escaping water. I wonder what sort of event has to occur for that potential to become a reality. Thanks for that.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby pelmut » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:46 am

moonshadow wrote: "what is the proper way to raise a child who is questioning gender roles?"

Throw away our prejudices and learn from them. If a cis-gendered child said they were sure they were masculine or feminine, they would be believed without question; why should a trangendered child, who says they are sure they are feminine or masculine, be told that that they are confused and we know their feelings better than they do?

If you would like an interesting insight into the world of a transgender child, have a look at Sophie Labelle's cartoons: http://assignedmale.tumblr.com
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby Ralph » Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:56 pm

Pelmut, I'm not sure I can 100% go along with what you (and the cartoonist) are saying. It's not like we (as a society) ask cisgendered children what they consider themselves and just blindly accept that answer; nor do doctors and psychologists just arbitrarily decide "You know what, I'm going to say your new baby is a boy because we don't have enough boys in neonatal right now." That pesky Y chromosome and all the plumbing changes and hormones make that decision for us [leaving aside for a moment the murky world of intersex births].

If my child declares that he can fly, I'm not going to let him put on a cape and jump off the roof; if she says that the best nutrition comes from ice cream and M&Ms I'm not going to start serving that at mealtimes because a child knows more about his or her reality than adults do. Children -- especially preschool children -- don't have a firm grasp on distinguishing between fantasy and reality, and their focus rapidly hops from one interest to another. My role as a parent is to help my child understand the world he or she lives in, and learn to change the environment he or she has control over or cope with situations he or she cannot control.

That's not to say if my 4-year-old son were to announce he's a girl I would just laugh it off or say "no you're not, you're a boy so just deal with it." I would want to find out why he feels that way. Look at the underlying symptoms, and see what needs to be changed to help him feel comfortable in his own skin. Further down the road that may indeed involve transgender therapy or SRS, but those are solutions that can create as many problems as they solve.

I'll use my own developmental history as an example. Like many crossdressers I discovered the peaceful satisfaction of wearing my mother's undergarments or my (deceased) sister's old clothes well before puberty, and that interest grew stronger over the years until somewhere in my early 20s I started wondering if I had really been destined to be female. I started seriously toying with the idea... until I was in a relationship with a lovely lady who accepted me as I was, and dormant parts of me awakened that really liked being a man.

So what was it that made me briefly think I was meant to be a woman? Not just the clothing. It was my emotional sensitivity, my preference for being nurturing rather than combative, my tendency to enjoy imaginative fantasy-based activities and complete aversion to sports, etc. That's when it hit me -- just because a person has *some characteristics* typical of the opposite sex doesn't mean that person *is* the opposite sex. It's OK to be a boy who plays with dolls, a boy who cries easily, a boy who plays Snakes And Ladders instead of football, even a boy who likes wearing dresses. For all that, I'm still a boy and I don't need hormone replacement or SRS to enjoy that other side of me.

Bear in mind, this is a realization that took me nearly 25 years to achieve. How can we expect a 4-year-old to manage similar introspection and make an informed choice?
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby pelmut » Tue Jan 10, 2017 5:59 pm

Ralph wrote:... That pesky Y chromosome and all the plumbing changes and hormones make that decision for us ...

No, that is absolutely incorrect. Chromosomes determine our sex but do not directly determine our gender.

Until recently, the way gender was formed during the development of the foetus was a complete mystery, now new research is slowly beginning to explain what happens. In grossly over-simplified terms, the chromosomes control the way the baby's gonads and 'plumbing' develop at about the fourth month of pregnancy, the gonads then start to produce some hormones. Later in the pregnancy the brain begins to develop and the prevailing balance of hormones determines whether it develops into a 'masculine' brain or a 'feminine' one (there are only subtle differences in structure between the two, but the most recent brain activity research suggests that they function in distinctly different ways).

If the hormone balance during brain development is still the same as it was during gonad development, the child will turn out to be cis-gendered (99.5%), but if something has caused it to change, the child will be trans-gendered (0.5%). This change could be caused by changes in the mother's hormone balance due to stress or illness or it could be genetic factors affecting the way the gonads produce hormones or the brain development responds to them.

Once the brain has passed that critical phase of development, the cis/trans state is "hard wired" and any further hormonal changes have no effect - neither can it be changed by parental pressure, social pressure, religious pressure, medical intervention or torture, all of which have been tried in the past.

Bear in mind, this is a realization that took me nearly 25 years to achieve. How can we expect a 4-year-old to manage similar introspection and make an informed choice?

My realisation that I am intergender took over 60 years, but I can't help feeling I would have been able to decide correctly by the age of five if I hadn't been brainwashed into believing that I had no choice because of the shape of parts of my body.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby Ralph » Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:27 pm

pelmut wrote:No, that is absolutely incorrect. Chromosomes determine our sex but do not directly determine our gender.

Fair enough. And I'm aware of the distinction; I was just thrown off by the author's insistence that it's "a girl's penis."

Before continuing this discussion, let me stress that I don't mean to sound confrontational; I'm enjoying it immensely and getting a better understanding of my own experiences with gender dysphoria as well as those of others.

Now having said that, let me throw another confrontational log on the fire :-) . Let's accept that there is a biological basis for gender dysphoria (I've spent the past hour reading a summary of the works of John Money). So a person who is biologically male in the womb and at birth gets a nonstandard mix of hormones -- insufficient quantities of testosterone. When the body fails to produce the hormone insulin, we call that a defect and take steps to correct the problem by repairing the damage to the pancreas, if possible, or providing external supplies of insulin. Why would we treat the body's failure to produce enough testosterone in a biological male any differently than failure to produce insulin? Again, I don't know if there is a right answer to that question; I'm just thinking out loud.

In the course of my reading up on the mishmash of biological and social gender assignments and expectations, I took an online version of the Bem Sex Role Inventory and came up with results that surprised me a bit. Despite my preference for overtly feminine dresses, I thought my personality had more of a masculine edge to it. But of course these online self-assessments, even those developed by PhDs, should be taken with a grain of salt.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby crfriend » Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:46 pm

I think the majority of such "surveys" miss one very important aspect: Healthy individuals all have a mix of these sorts of characteristics -- or at least did at one time before radical feminism started to do despicable things to the populace. All humans need a balance of these traits if we are not to become monsters. So, picking and choosing trait perspectives -- and then "scoring" folks on how far they are to one extreme or the other -- does everyone a massive disservice and entirely likely causes vastly more damage than would have been done in the absence of such "tests".

Contemplate, for a moment, the harm that could be done to a vulnerable or confused individual by a test that's deliberately skewed to "achieve an end". What's the potential fallout from that?

Now, if you're playing these games for fun or out of simple curiosity (or trying to unravel how the thing works), that's one thing. Do not rely on "pop sci" for matters of great personal import. If it's important, find someone who actually has a clue, and who you can get solid recommendations on and pursue it that way.

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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby dillon » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:15 am

To tell me to "think" is an insult totally undeserved. I understand gender issues from my relationship with my own kids, who, I can assure you, are not following some "trend". Believe me, you do not want to experience the fear of knowing you have a child in depression. I can only implore you, who has no such experience, to "FEEL"...on a HUMAN level, not on the level of some assortment of temporary electronic circuits, and not on the level of one who has been dealt an unfair hand in past treatment, to look beyond your hardened shell at what is happening around the nation...and the world. It is as much a liberation as any racial, religious, or political equality that lives have been given to establish. I understand your disillusionment with feminism...I too feel it has become outdated...because it stopped evolving and understanding what true liberation is, and because it does not appreciate that the struggle is not between male and female, but between what a person IS and what society demands they BE. In that regard, feminists are little better than chauvinists. But we, of all men of our age, should be able to empathize with the the struggle to be who we are, as we are.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby crfriend » Wed Jan 11, 2017 2:28 am

dillon wrote:To tell me to "think" is an insult totally undeserved.

If that was perceived as an insult, you have my apology.

However, I do not waver from the assertion that intellect is a vital part of who and what we are -- and it needs to be tempered with empathy (which, if one believes the modern framework, men are not allowed). Both are vital and critical to proper functioning.

Contemplate the source of the comment. To "think", to me, is to apply the full force of my mental capabilities -- and that includes empathy. Yours should too. It's called "balance".
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby Jim » Wed Jan 11, 2017 3:23 am

Ralph wrote:In the course of my reading up on the mishmash of biological and social gender assignments and expectations, I took an online version of the Bem Sex Role Inventory and came up with results that surprised me a bit.

Thanks for pointing that inventory out. I was a bit surprised also. It scored me
57.5 out of 100 masculine points, 63.2 out 100 feminine points, and 48.25 out of 100 adrogynous (neutral) points

I would think I would have scored higher on the masculine side, although I've long held sex role stereotypes in scorn.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby Ralph » Wed Jan 11, 2017 5:14 am

dillon wrote:To tell me to "think" is an insult totally undeserved.

For what it's worth, I think that was directed more at my comments about the online gender identity evaluation... and crfriend is absolutely right, those "tests" can be misunderstood and misapplied every possible way if you treat them as gospel. This one is at least slightly more based in actual science than the nonsensical COGIATI, but they're still about as reliable as as a fortune cookie or horoscope. The questionnaire author can skew the questions to lead you to a desired result, or you (the test-taker) can deliberately choose answers that lead to the result you want. "Oh, if I have to choose between pink and blue I should obviously choose pink so it will make me sound more girly!"

I'd be very interested in reading more detailed research that shows (or fails to show) a correlation between hormone levels and self-identity as masculine or feminine, but I'm too lazy to do all that googling.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby Darryl » Wed Jan 11, 2017 6:13 am

Societally defined gender characteristics (on a continuum and available to both men and
women) – more correctly, in my opinion, human characteristics:
a. Masculine
i. Positive…………………….. Negative
1. Intelligent Insecure
2. Courageous Gruff
3. Industrious Brutal
4. Compassionate Tough
5. Caring Coarse

b. Feminine
i. Positive……………..…….…Negative
1. Kind Insecure
2. Sensitive Bossy
3. Tender Rude
4. Warm Self-centered
5. Loving Whiny

I see nothing wrong with having the positive characteristics of both genders, as listed above. Not that you can capture all such characteristics.

On the BEM Sexual Role Inventory: 74/140 masculinity, 90/140 femininity = "Undifferentiated"
On the Masculinity/Femininity test: 27 masculinity = "Logical Female" (the description of this one rang some bells: nerd, introverted, ...)
On the Masculine or Feminine test: 50% = in between, half-and-half.
On the Open Sex Role Inventory: masculinity 102, femininity 65 (average score of everyone is 100, sd = 15).

Just some thoughts. IIRC, I took all the tests one after the other.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby pelmut » Wed Jan 11, 2017 7:35 am

Ralph wrote:Let's accept that there is a biological basis for gender dysphoria (I've spent the past hour reading a summary of the works of John Money). So a person who is biologically male in the womb and at birth gets a nonstandard mix of hormones -- insufficient quantities of testosterone. When the body fails to produce the hormone insulin, we call that a defect and take steps to correct the problem by repairing the damage to the pancreas, if possible, or providing external supplies of insulin. Why would we treat the body's failure to produce enough testosterone in a biological male any differently than failure to produce insulin? ...

Should we consider transgenderism as a defect to be 'corrected' or as a natural variation like left-handedness or ginger hair? Untreated, diabetes is a naturally fatal condition, but the high death rate among transgender people is because of the way some societies treat them. My personal view is that diabetes should be treated as a biological defect but the murder, torture and driving to suicide of transgender children should be treated only as a defect of society.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby Pdxfashionpioneer » Wed Jan 11, 2017 11:45 am

You make a great distinction there Pelmut. Well done.

The idea of a serious researcher skewing a test to get a desired result makes no sense whatsoever. Researchers create their tests to collect data to find out what is.

Now when we take these tests can we consciously or unconsciously skew them? Absolutely. And that is the hazard of the online versions; they're usually abbreviated versions of the originals so skewing or random variances can have more effect on the final result. If you think back to the personality tests you've taken, you probably remember having the feeling, "Why are they asking me this again?!" They're looking for consistency and trying to break you of any of the skewing or anything else that might throw off an accurate result.

Interestingly, I recently took a personality test that consisted of three questions asking you to pick which of two or three alternative paragraphs was closer to who you are. The differences between any one set of alternatives seemed awfully slight. And yet the results for myself and the other 10 people taking it were dead on.

So don't underestimate the power of these things. On the other hand, don't make life-changing decisions on the basis of the online version. If you get an unexpected result that makes you think you need help with an issue, the counselor or therapist will probably suggest you take the full-length version just to eliminate the noise factors, but in most cases the results will be the same. So even the online versions of scientifically designed and verified tests are much more useful and meaningful than horoscopes and whatever else was cited.

To the bigger issues, I'd say our consensus is coming around to what I've felt for quite awhile, with all of this interest in gender identity and expression, etc. and this runaway creation of new labels and initials, at some point we're going to get to the exhaustion point of realizing the labeling is pretty silly that we're all unique, just like everyone else. But in the meantime, if those of you who are in corporate settings whose companies are wrestling with these LGBTQ(ueer)I(nquiring) issues, would get involved and advocate for all forms of gender expression being accepted we'd all of a sudden take a quantum leap.

Think about it, if 10% of all men like dressing in womenswear, there's got to be another 10% that are into other variations of the norm, such as wearing makeup, etc. So once this is allowed all of a sudden 20% of the workforce (presumably there are female equivalences that would be equally noticeable) shows up to work looking quite different. How long is it going to take for everyone else to display their authentic selves as well? About the time that happens, the men and women who revel in the current norm will be in a distinct minority so we'll all be able to breath easier.

Given that big business now sets societal norms and has figured out that being LGBT-friendly is just good business, if we can get them to see, and embrace, the whole spectrum, we'll have their might on our side in the culture war. And we'll win!

It's been asked in this forum, aren't all these labels, which by the way have gotten so out of hand that some of the initials are repeating themselves, going to fragment us? Not if we band together with the other labelled minorities. Not if we accept our label as a membership badge rather than a scar.

You know like the way the Danes treated the yellow stars of David the Nazis required all Jews to wear. The Danish king stood the whole exercise on its head. He said that on the designated day he was going to wear a star and asked all other Danes to do likewise because he saw no real distinction. Nearly the whole population wore the stars that day. And drove the Nazis crazy!
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby moonshadow » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:01 pm

If gender is a matter of the brain (and according to studies, including the NatGeo article, it is), then we must conclude that is more than simply the clothes we wear. Then by definition, a man can wear a skirt or dress and still be a man. Since his brain says that he is a man, and he has a penis, then his gender matches his sex, thus he is not transgender, despite whatever he is wearing. The same applies to a woman who is wearing trousers, even men's trousers. If in her mind she is a woman, and she has a vagina, she is not transgender.

If it is nothing more than the clothes we wear, then does one stop being transgender the moment they don a garment that matches their biological sex? What about when we're not wearing clothes at all? Does a transgender person stop being a transgender person when they're in the shower? Of course not, because gender is a matter of the mind.

This road must run both ways, if clothes do not define our gender, and our brains (mind, soul, what have you) do, then we must conclude if Carl has a penis (and I assume he does), and his brain asserts that he is a man, then he's not transgender.

I understand what you're saying Dave, and there is power in numbers, however forcing people into boxes they don't want to go into is dogmatic, and I can understand it being just as offensive as insisting that someone is not transgender when that person believes them self to be. I don't think the pro-trans movement will win a lot of sympathy by putting a collar on everyone.

Lets just let people be who they are. Lets face it, the glossary of transgender is evolving almost daily. All it takes is someone new with a PhD in this or that to come out and say that this is the way it is, and we'll all set our standard to that.

On this site, I've physically met two member's, Dillon and Fred, and forgive me if I'm in error, however in both of those meetings I had a chance to get to know both of them a little (Fred a little more than Dillon obviously), and I didn't take either of them to be transgender, despite the fact both were wearing skirts. Now if either of them comes back and says they are transgender then I'll be happy to respect that, however it never really came up either way.

I look forward to the day when I can simply walk up to someone and shake a person's hand... not a man, or a woman. I'll look forward to the day when we don't need a lobby for freedom, but that everyone, no matter the size of the class, is entitled to the same rights and privileges as everyone else. When someone like myself, won't need to hold a minority label so I can remain employed and housed, when we judge people based on their actions towards others, how they conduct themselves with others, not simply by the clothes on their back or how masculine or feminine they are.
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Re: National Geographic magazine

Postby moonshadow » Fri Jan 13, 2017 3:07 pm

pelmut wrote:... but the high death rate among transgender people is because of the way some societies treat them.


Exactly.

To say that suicide is simply the result of being transgender is like saying that being raped is simply the result of being a woman.

Lets go after the criminals and bullies... not the victims and those who are simply trying to live their life in peace.
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