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Friday, September 16, 2016

Gender, Gender Expression and Sexuality

UNERSTANDING GENDER

Note: If you are just here to receive help with Trans related stuff and you have a good working knowledge of gender and sexuality, please feel free to scroll down to the next blog. This blog is for people who are learning or who want to further their education.

A Short Briefing On Gender Politics: I will be posting the 2015-2016 scientific studies on how doctors define gender at the bottom of this page for your own research and education. I will not be getting into how politicians define gender. Politicians are concerned with money distribution and power distribution. They are not concerned with how we live day to day or with how we define our own genders because the plain ugly truth is, it is not profitable for them to care. Awarding equal rights opens up access to money. It is expensive. Awarding equal rights means opening up the fair job market. In some cases it means marriage rights and death benefits rights. Segregation has a purpose. It isn't because of religion. Religion itself isn't even a problem, but how it is used by politicians for their own agendas to help justify and gain support for segregation in the name of luxury and profit, that is the problem. There are only so many resources to share on this planet. If there is no hierarchy and no one is at the bottom, we all have fair and equal access to money and power. That is a dangerous thing to someone who wants luxury and can't obtain that luxury unless some large group goes without. That is the REAL basis for all of the hostility and that is why we have to fight so hard for our equality, which to any person with compassion for others ASSUMES equality should be awarded without question. If you are a human being, you deserve equal rights because you are a human being. If politicians can make you appear less than human, suddenly whether or not you DESERVE equal rights comes into question. This is the power of the media. To have the power to manipulate the definition of the term "human" is a dangerous game. The worst conversations to get into are going to be over politics or religion. So I leave each person the encouragement to decide these things for themselves. That is just my take on it, but this delves into political and social or cultural sciences and I want to focus on wellbeing specifically. Whether I am wrong or not, is really not relevant to why I created this page. I believe people who disagree can still respect each other.

The Differences and the Relationship Between Gender and Sexuality:
What I DO want to talk about briefly, is what we know gender to be at this time within our communities. Gender is a spectrum. Sexuality is also a spectrum. A person who is male, female, intersex, agender or transgender - anyone from any of these genders may have any sexual orientation. This means they can be attracted to a man, woman, intersex individual, transgender individuals, or they may be attracted to any/all genders, such as a bi or pansexual individual OR (that is a lot of ors) they may not be attracted to any gender at all, such as our wonderful asexual friends.
Sexual orientation - and I say orientation not preference, because I do not believe sexual orientation is a choice unless you are bi or pansexual, or become bi or pansexual post hormone replacement - I know some of you feel this has been true for you and you are valid - does not determine gender. Holy friggin run-on sentences from hell... I will eventually edit that. For me sexual orientation is definitely not a choice. If gender determined sexual orientation, no one would be attracted to the same sex. I would refer you to the Kinsey Scale or a few other ideas, but what I am really going on about is, what people say and feel about themselves is VALID. I believe people are the world experts on themselves. They know themselves better than anyone else and if for no other reason, I respect and believe this about them. You and how you feel about yourself and also how you define yourself (and your gender/gender expression) is valid. That's to start.

Defining Genders With Individual Wellbeing As the Primary Focus:
A spectrum is exactly as it implies and though I think people are much more complex than this and though I prefer to view things on a pie chart instead of on a line, I will give you the simplest explanation for now. On each end of a spectrum you have the two "binary" genders male and female. You might fall anywhere on that line from either of those genders or anywhere in between them. So you may feel you are right smack in the middle between male and female. There are different terms for this... bi-gender (feeling that you are both genders at once or that you are one gender for a time and then feel you are the other), genderqueer (more androgenous), poly-gender (feeling like you are many genders), gender-fluid (you sort of float back and forth between male and female... I like to picture a lava lamp), or agender (without a gender). Here is where I think things would be better expressed on a pie chart.

You may feel you are mostly male, but feel somewhat female or feel female occasionally. Some use the term demi-girl or demi-boy to express this subtle difference between straying slightly from the two binary genders. You may feel you are in the middle of the binary genders, but lean slightly more towards one than the other. Of course some people feel only male or only female. This is not completely determined by the reproductive organs you were born with. I am not sure it ever is, because gender doesn't just happen down below during development. It also happens in the brain.

You are born with reproductive organs someone labeled "gender". What these people forgot to mention, is that nature does not care about the neat little boxes people like to place things in when exposure is limited, or when ideas are too complex for them to easily wrap their heads around... yes I went there. I will put it simply. The physical gender is ALSO a spectrum. People are not ONLY born male or female. Nature is nature. Some people are born physically male. Some people are born physically female and some people are born somewhere in between (intersex) or with both male and female parts and if nature allows this to happen in the body, it isn't going to then turn around and say, "But not the brain. Oh no." During the gender development stage, hormone chemicals are also released to the brain. My doctor used the phrase, "washes the brain." So gender physically develops both with the body and the brain AND it doesn't even happen at the same time. These invetro-changes are part of different stages of development (please reference the cited work below). People seem to forget, for some reason, that the brain is part of the body.

Here is what I know and what information I feel is relevant for this page. When it comes to a battle of self-identity between the brain and the body, the brain will always win. Without our brains, we have no concept of a sense of "I" to begin with. Our brains determine how we feel, how we react and who we identify with and compare ourselves to. Identity is affected by internal and external chemicals, invetro-development, and the brain or body can be gifted or limited in any area involving it. As you will read in the article below, there is zero scientific basis for the environment being a factor in gender identity. There is no normal. There is a basic blueprint... that nature loves to ignore. Nature creates variety, whether you are comfortable with that or not. All of the interviews and research I have done on hormone replacement therapy supports changes to the brain with the introduction of testosterone. When a biological woman takes testosterone, they confirm that their mind makes further changes while they are on it. Some report clarity or a change from an emotional base thinking to one that is more analytical. Some report temperament changes or changes in territorial reactions to partners. Especially in cases where testosterone was too low or too high. Energy levels are higher due to an increase in red blood cell production. This can also have an affect on how the mind works. Many attest how they think, react, and feel emotionally - changes. For some, it may begin to be harder to cry. My own testosterone levels are naturally higher than they should be for a biological female and I naturally have trouble crying. I don't respond the same way my biological female friends and family do. I can relate to my brothers and my male friends much better in this respect and that is prior to hormone replacement. Some people don't like the changes hormone repalcement therapy has on the mind and they might choose to stop it, or to put the treatment on "pause" because the changes can be intense. Especially if levels or off, or if they are changing at a rapid rate of speed. Some end up finding that they are more comfortable without. Some realize they are non-binary during their transition and choose to stay somewhere halfway through transition. I don't begrudge anyone any level of comfort they need to find for themselves. I am simply pointing out that there is physical evidence showing that hormones directly impact the gender of the brain.

Based on my own research, it is my opinion that the gender which happens in the brain, has a much greater impact on a person's quality of life and sense of wellbeing than the gender that happens on the lower half of the body. How we feel about ourselves determines a person's quality of life. Every doctor will agree that when it comes to human life, it is quality of life, not quantity of life that matters overall. Doctors also know that stress, anxiety, and depression kills. Depression can cause real physical illness. Mental health and physical health are intertwined. They determine and affect each other, so a person's sense of wellbeing about themselves IS the important thing to focus on, regardless of your politics, religions, etc... I have just come full circle.
As I move forward writing this blog, I will be concerned with YOUR sense of wellbeing with yourself. Not what someone else tells you it "should" or "shouldn't" be and not what someone else has defined as "normal". Variables in nature show absolutely no compassion or basis for our definitions of "normal" or what we think is "the norm". That is proven by the very nature of nature to break those boundaries. The only constants are that all constants are subjected to variables which can change any constant. I care about your individual sense of wellbeing within yourself. This is why telling you, no matter how "different" you think you are, YOU ARE VALID. Oh look. Full circle again.

I just found this on the public domain and it is a really great way to portray gender:



If you are interested in the science and furthering your own education and/or research or are interested in learning how I came to my own understanding:

Disclaimer: I obtained this paper via legal means through a college. You may access it and make proper payment for obtaining your own copy of it here: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/00913022 . I am sharing this now, through what is known as the Fair Use Act for research/scholar/teaching/education purposes. This a continuation of the Transgender/Gender studies I began in my Women's Studies Class, hosted by Professor Kate Dionne at the Central Maine Community College with an assigned research paper I wrote on Intersex, Transgender, and Gender Development. It is not intended to be used any other way. This is for your own research/education and also for my own, exclusively. I take absolutely ZERO credit for any of the work posted below.

Any other use is a violation of United State's copyright laws:
Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 17 U.S.C. § 106 and 17 U.S.C. § 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright. In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

1.the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
2.the nature of the copyrighted work;
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4.the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

I will not accept ANY donation, money, or any other form of payment of any kind for this particular blog or for any of the information on it. This article is included strictly as relevant research - both personal and scholarly and is intended as a reference on the topic of Gender and Sexuality with the inclusion of knowledge for the purpose of wellbeing, which is the basis for the purpose of this blog. This blog and my attitude on the topic for this blog, is based largely on this paper and others like it. I will be posting this and other research papers on the topic involved and the blog itself is in part a commentary based on my reaction to this and other scholarly articles of a similar nature. A large part of wellbeing and social acceptance in a culture is improved by research and teaching available knowledge which has been gained, most especially scientific research and other references that research is based on.
If you want to obtain a copy of this paper of your own, please write to me and I will refer you to a website where you can purchase this paper directly from its authors, or you may simply click the link above which will lead you to the same place. Please report if the link is broken in the comments below. Again, if you belong to one of the participating colleges (colleges who are sharing or researching this topic) you may obtain this paper for free in the same place, as I have. Cited works are listed on the last page of the paper and my own citation for this paper is added at the bottom.



Cited: "Frontiers In Neuroendocrinology." Sciencedirect.com. Ed. L. Galea. Copyright © 2016 Elsevier Inc. All Rights Reserved, 2016. Web. 2016. .

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