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How many genders will be registrable?

(20 Posts)
MsBeaujangles Sun 12-Nov-17 21:35:28

I am a researcher and when conducting research with transgender young people we are now asked to make sure we do not focus on transwoman or transmen but are more inclusive and study gender variant young people.
In light of this, the Scottish consultation seems very regressive in focussing on transwomen and transmen and then simply sticking in a question about what should be done with non binary people. It follows that people should be able to register whatever gender they identify with.
If a GRC is important for the mental health and well being of those people who are transgender (despite their gender variance not being in any way symptomatic of mental health issues) surely gender variant people should be able to certify whatever their gender identity is (or isn't). Why are the proposals only catering for MtT or FtT transgender people?
Is it because if they do otherwise they will be forced to acknowledge that sex and gender identity are different things?

hipsterfun Mon 13-Nov-17 00:41:02

despite their gender variance not being in any way symptomatic of mental health issues

Discuss.

Wtfdoipick Mon 13-Nov-17 00:47:42

Interesting thought. Not convinced women wishing to be known as gender neutral or gender critical would work though since it's perfectly normally to ignore women's wishes.

MsBeaujangles Mon 13-Nov-17 08:22:29

Hipster. I was referring to the premise that the act is built on, saying gender identity in itself isn't a medical issue, and being gender non conforming isn't a mental health issue in itself.
Gender dysphoria now refers to only those who are disturbed by their bodies not matching their gender identity. Those whose identities are non conforming but who are happy with their bodies are those who the bill is trying to accommodate as they, in theory, should not need to jump through hoops to get their gender identity recognised. The problem is we only currently recognise 2 genders, which lines up with the 2 sex categories and, I think, supports the 2 becoming conflated. If more genders were recognised, this would go some way to separating the two.
The way I see it is that the main value of a GRC certificate is the entitlement it brings to accessing single sex spaces/services. It will not afford societal acceptance or respect for a chosen gender. Paperwork/a certificate won't do this.
I am a psychologist and work with personality and identity. Most of us, at times, do things that we think are selfish or disgusting. When recognise our behaviour was wrong a healthy reaction is recognising this was a bad choice of behaviour. When people locate such behaviours at an identity they are filled with self hatred and I often end up working with them (self harm, eating disorders etc). I think, when 'transgender' people (that's the label we use) locate behaviours that they (or society) don't associate with their natal sex at an identity level, they consider themselves to be a specific type of person. Those of us who locate our behaviours and preferences at a behavioural level and do not link them to a sex category, do not give much thought to our gender identity or care about it very much. Those of us who explore things from a sociological perspective are often critical of gender constructs as we think they are limiting.
I am coming to the view that people should be able to hold whatever gender identity they want, and get a certificate for it if they want. What we are left with though is needing to determine which sex they are. This is objectively identifiable and not determined by preference. Most of us like to have choice and an element of control and so some people will kick against having no say in which sex they are. Most won't because most people aren't dysphoric and most people don't worry about their gender identity and whether or not it matches their sex.
I work with GID specialists and every therapist I work with wants to help people have a healthy relationship with their body and to reconcile any internal conflict. Where this fails, physical treatment is given. I don't know anyone in the GIDS world who think non dysphoric individuals should be entitled to the same rights as dysphoric individuals. They do want to see, as far as possible, gender neutrality (uniforms etc).
The dysphoric people I have worked with are so dysphoric that doing anything that places them in the category of being their natal sex is deeply disturbing. For me the nearest I can liken it to is being expected to tell my children they are not my children and I wish I had never had them. Using public facilities for their natal sex is akin to me making a public announcement along these lines about my children. This is a mental health issue. Using certain changing rooms etc does not address it. It may alleviate symptoms though, and I can see why people with dysphoric friends and relatives would want this. I can also see why people don't want this.

MsBeaujangles Mon 13-Nov-17 08:24:47

Sorry that was bit incoherent. Was typing standing on a train. I hope you got the just!

MsBeaujangles Mon 13-Nov-17 08:25:59

Gist ffs!

Datun Mon 13-Nov-17 08:59:33

Can you tell me, in plain English how to recognise the gender identity of someone who doesn’t identify with male or female? And why it needs recognition? If they have nothing wrong with their body and they're not upset by the mismatch, what’s the point?

I don't know anyone in the GIDS world who think non dysphoric individuals should be entitled to the same rights as dysphoric individuals.

Yeah tell that to the women who don’t want autogynephiles in their bathrooms.

I’m not exactly clear what you’re asking (you seem to have two user names).

Are you saying that gender dysphoria needs a certificate, but transgender doesn’t?

Plus what to do with all those people who disagree that they have any kind of biological sex in the first place?

ItsAllGoingToBeFine Mon 13-Nov-17 09:18:36

Just to answer the title, this was my immediate thought when I started to read the consultation.

If they are actually talking about gender then it needs to be an answer you fill in rather than an M or F box you tick. Gender (unlike sex) is absolutely not binary.

The people behind the consultation seems to be very unaware of what trans includes and that it is not just transsexuals.

jellyfrizz Mon 13-Nov-17 09:22:03

Most of us like to have choice and an element of control and so some people will kick against having no say in which sex they are.

But surely that's like any other physical 'failing' that people may be upset about; e.g. age, or height. You can wear make-up, have botox, wear heels etc. But you know that you have no say in how old you are or how tall you are. It's just your biological reality.

hipsterfun Mon 13-Nov-17 09:56:22

There is biological sex.

There are gender dysphorics.

Then there are personalities.

It sounds as if you’re saying, in effect, that personality requires a certificate. That will be quite a drop-down menu.

MsBeaujangles Mon 13-Nov-17 10:01:15

Sorry, had a name change fail!

I am gender critical; I don't think that gender as a construct adds anything positive to society. I am asking what people's views are about (i) GRCs being designed to support transgender people yet only catering for some transgender people (ii) whether opening certification for all might help a shift towards stopping gender being conflated with sex - whether it would force a clearer definition of sex to be given.

I don't think there is a point in issuing GRCs to those with identities other than male and female, but then again, I don't see the point in giving a certificate to verify identity. The only relevance of the certificate that I can see is in relation to accessing sex segregated facilities/services. However, this is not what it is billed as. It is billed as being far more than this and, I think, this clouds the key issue of sex segregation entitlement. I would happily have a system whereby people could have their gender identities recognised, whatever they may be, if it clarified that sex segregation is for reasons of sex based differences not identity differences.

So, my answers to your questions Datun that I haven't addressed above:
1) I think the only way to recognise gender identity is to ask the person what their identity is. People's identities may or may not include references to gender. Gender doesn't feature in my identity.
2) I think the arguments being touted as to why gender needs formal/legal recognition are disingenuous in that they mask the only compelling reason, which is accessing sex segregated spaces. It is packaged as being a move to inclusiveness but if it was inclusive, they wouldn't recommend the system limits recognition to 2 genders only.
3) I don't think gender dysphoria needs a certificate, it needs treatment. I think treatment should focus on reconciling identity with body and physical treatment should be a last resort. I don't think gender non conformity needs treatment, unless it creates problems in living for the identity holder or for others in society.
4) Biological sex is a reality and I don't think wider society will ever buy in to any suggestion otherwise, despite what some people believe. My view is that we need to separate sex and gender identity. Whilst I don't believe that agendas to eradicate sex being recognised as binary and biological fact will succeed, I also, with regret, don't believe that agendas to create gender neutrality will succeed (although I think male and female stereotypes are slowly becoming broader over time). I think that acknowledging diverse gender identities (including that of not having one), might help people recognise that gender identity is separate to being biologically male or female.

I don't have a solution about what to do about dysphoric people and sex segregated spaces. My ideal solution is firstly for intervention to help them learn to accept their body and for it to not be a source of distress. Failing that, I would like them to have separate facilities akin to facilities for disabled people. I think anybody who is male bodied should not be able to access spaces designed to protect natal females.

I think we should be gender neutral where gender is the issue at hand (clothing, toys, jobs etc.) and we should only segregated by sex where sex creates inequality/vulnerability.

Datun Mon 13-Nov-17 10:39:35

I completely agree a GRC has no practical application other than to access sex segregated facilities of the opposite sex.

And also that a non-binary gender undermines the entire ideology. (Which is one of the reasons why I couldn’t understand why TRAs insisted on including enbies. However, it makes sense if you have an AGP who likes to switch presentation, depending on how horny they feel that day).

In terms of accommodating the genuinely gender dysphoric. Do they have a specific problem with a third option? Gender neutral, unisex, whatever. Because although they would like validation, from what I can gather, it’s not the deal breaker that is with AGPs/MRAs/TRAs.

MsBeaujangles Mon 13-Nov-17 10:53:23

Hipster - I don't think anyone needs a certificate for GI or personality and I don't think many people would be interested in one. Some people, who are getting a lot of attention are saying they want/need one to validate their GI. I don't see why they shouldn't get one (other than unnecessary cost and time). The certificate only has currency if it brings with entitlement to access sex segregated facilities/spaces. This would require more thinking if 100 gender identities exist.

Jellyfrizz - exactly. I can think of a number of hands I have been dealt by my genes that I would prefer not to have had. Some of them I shrug off, some of them take a bit more effort to reconcile. Much of my work as a psychologist is helping people to reconcile aspects of themselves that cause distress - this could be a belief that their nose is so big they dont want to leave the house as they disgust people or it could be that a person struggles to cope knowing a cancer is growing inside of them. We decide if the issue should be classed as a mental health problem or not according to whether the issues get in the way of day to day living (relationships, jobs, school etc.). Intervention focuses on helping them deal with unhelpful/disrupting thoughts and feelings - not their height or their cancer. Some people are better at coping with their biological reality than others and capacity to cope is influenced by a host of other factors

MsBeaujangles Mon 13-Nov-17 11:07:37

Datsun - when I talk about dysphoric people I mean those that cannot bare the parts of their body that remind them of their natal sex. Some are so disturbed that the issue of which facilities they use is inconsiquential and is not an issue that preoccupies them so long as they can access gender neutral facilities. Others are simply happy to use gender neutral facilities; others are acceptingly resigned to using them but fervently wish they could use female facilities. Others find using any facilities that are for anyone other than females only unbearable (not unlike many females). This is part of their dysphoria and they know this but like many mental health issues, the thinking is not rational.

Datun Mon 13-Nov-17 12:41:08

The certificate only has currency if it brings with entitlement to access sex segregated facilities/spaces

It does have extra currency though. It tags the holder as special. Thereby legitimising their specific personality traits. I agree it’s meaningless. But in real life situations, it means they can dominate the narrative surrounding their ‘condition’. They can force pronouns. They can stop you talking in a binary way.

This is part of their dysphoria and they know this but like many mental health issues, the thinking is not rational.

I agree. You’re sort of preaching to the choir here.

I’m sure it’s very distressing. I see no need to give it extra civil rights and privileges over women.

jellyfrizz Mon 13-Nov-17 14:44:39

I don't see the point in giving a certificate to verify identity.

I agree MsBeaujangles. And I hope you are right re. multiple gender identities highlighting the disparity between biological sex and gender identity.

Would you say that you are typical in your thinking in your line of work and are you able to discuss it openly with colleagues?

LineysRum Mon 13-Nov-17 14:54:51

I was reading a Twitter argument last night and thought that the belief held by one group of tweeters, that everyone has 'an innate core gender identity' probably best belongs in the religious belief section tbh.

Datun Mon 13-Nov-17 15:04:18

LineysRum

I was reading a Twitter argument last night and thought that the belief held by one group of tweeters, that everyone has 'an innate core gender identity' probably best belongs in the religious belief section tbh.

This is a massive part of the problem. People do assume that they have an inner identity.

It’s only when you ask questions, that they realise it unravels.

How does that feel? What does that make you do? What sort of behaviour is dictated by that?

Keep asking the questions. Demand answers.

Because eventually the whole thing distils down to biology. For every woman who displays X characteristics I can give you 50 who display the opposite.

Therefore it can’t be the result of pink brain/blue brain.

MsBeaujangles Mon 13-Nov-17 15:44:42

Some of my thinking is typical, certainly that which is clinically related.
A clear distinction between natal sex and gender identity is unquestionably accepted and it is not difficult to talk about this. Psychologists are expected to not letting other people's issues 'get in to them', and so if colleagues did start suggesting that typically developed people were not natal males or natal females, this would be questioned. Also, none of my colleagues think that a person who has undergone reassignment surgery is no longer the same natal sex but rather has acquired so far as possible features typical of the natal sex they wish they were.
There is a pretty widespread rejection of a gender binary and a widely accepted move to the broad classification of gender non conforming.
Which gender someone wants to become is not a focus.
Our trust has media spokespeople and employees are not permitted to speak publicly about clinical issues without running this through the media team so you wouldn't hear this discussed publicly.
Where differences do arise they are in relation to personal views about social/political issues such as safe spaces and who should be included in them and who should be called 'a woman'. Fortunately, discussion is not shut down by claims of biggot or transphobia but there is disagreement.

jellyfrizz Mon 13-Nov-17 16:00:44

*There is a pretty widespread rejection of a gender binary and a widely accepted move to the broad classification of gender non conforming.
Which gender someone wants to become is not a focus.*

I think this has got to be the way forward.

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