Tag Archives: gender

Asking gender on surveys

Frequently, when people set up surveys, they ask for gender. This question is often included out of habit, but it still is often a relevant question, even if the only contribution of the question is to show that gender doesn’t have a significant influence on other responses. In modern efforts to be more friendly to gender minorities, the gender question is often updated. And it’s often updated in silly ways.

Here’s the two most common “inclusive” ways I have seen the gender question presented over the last few years:

a) What is your gender?
* Male
* Female
* Transgender
* Prefer not to say

b) What is your gender?
* Male
* Female
* Other

There are minor language variations, such as sometimes using “transgendered” instead of “transgender”, but this is the gist. So, what’s wrong with these? Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Paragraphs

On being an ally to friends, enemies, and strangers who make choices we don’t understand

Being an ally is not the same thing as being a friend. This may seem obvious, or it may seem baffling, and hopefully this can be relevant reading either way.

You can be someone’s friend while also marginalizing them, either through microaggressions (such as being a cis person telling a trans person that they don’t look trans) or outright aggressions (such as being a white person calling a person of color a racist slur). They may or may not perceive what you’ve done as marginalizing. They may have gotten really good at finding internal ways to manage that marginalization (such as apologizing for your behavior for you, or agreeing with your behavior and its implications about them) in the interest of maintaining the friendship, or maintaining jobs, family, housing, whatever. They’ve likely lost any or all of those things before when advocating for themself about that thing. Yes, your friendship with someone can matter enough that they would rather put up with being repeatedly hurt by than risk losing yet another damn thing in their life.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Paragraphs

Resource list for challenging exclusion of trans women from women’s sports

This is a brief list of resources addressing the question of if trans women have a physical advantage over cis women in sports. (Spoiler: no.) Exclusion of trans women from women’s sports due to supposed physical advantage is often considered scientifically valid and therefore not transphobic. These links demonstrate the lack of scientific evidence that trans women have a physical advantage over cis women, and explore the history of developing policies of both trans exclusion and inclusion in sports. These are intended to meet the needs of people who are potentially open to this type of proof for trans inclusion, or at least who claim to be interested in science, but lack the interest, resources, time, and/or energy to seek out and interpret information which challenges familiar ciscentric standards. Allies, take this stuff to your cis friends!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Paragraphs

On the Family Guy bit about Caitlyn Jenner

Family Guy didn’t predict shit.

Homophobia is directed at straight people too, to remind them to not be like us, and sometimes it hits a straight person who is actually not straight and just closeted. Transphobia is directed at cis people too, to remind them not to be like us. And so many trans people have early experiences while living as the gender they don’t identify, managing every little behavioral tick so that no one would guess that they were trans. Sometimes that’s for fear that everyone would actually believe it, and then the transphobia would never stop. Sometimes it’s just because even worse than transphobia is the transphobia you face before even getting to transition, the transphobia that teaches some of us to never transition. I know too many people who have chosen to never transition because of this.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Paragraphs

On Pronoun Etiquette

Third person pronouns are words we use to refer to someone who isn’t you or me (such as “he” or “hers” or “them”). In English, third person pronouns are a remnant of the grammatical gender of Old English. Many modern languages use grammatical gender in ways that impact pronouns, and many other modern languages don’t use gendered pronouns at all. This post is about English pronoun usage only and may or may not apply to other languages.

Generally, third person pronouns are now used to indicate someone’s gender, and it’s common to think that we can tell someone’s gender — and therefore their pronoun — just by looking at them. This is based on assumptions that there are “correct” ways to look like a man or like a woman or even like a non-binary-gendered person. However, many people who use “he” or “she” as pronouns may not fit other people’s expectations of what a man or a woman looks like, many nonbinary people may look binary, and there are almost definitely many pronouns you haven’t heard of. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Paragraphs

Gender Pokey: a companion to the Gender Gumby

A friend remembered that I had issues with the Gender Gumby (PDF link), a teaching tool that SMYRC‘s Bridge 13 community education program has been using for some 10 years, since well before the Q Center even existed. The Gumby is good for people who have never questioned these things before, but for the rest of us it can be alienating, boring, etc (this video is a great demonstration). This friend asked if I knew anything better, and I realized I still haven’t seen an improvement I liked, so I made this Gender Pokey (PDF link).
Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Paragraphs