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Posts tagged ‘gender’

What Fuels hatred of Transgender Women?

There’s a particular and profound type of stigma and derision in society aimed at femininity in men (or those who are perceived to be men).  This stigma (it could also be called hate, aversion, distaste, repugnance) is very deep and very old in our consciousness, particularly among men.  A man in a dress has historically been fodder for humor and entertainment in movies and in male-bonding rituals.  There’s both an uncomfortable feeling and a forbidden fascination among men with seeing men outwardly showing their feminine side.  Why is this so?

Let’s delve into the male psyche a little to find some answers.  At some point in early development (around ages 2 to 4), the young (cis-gendered) boy must make a developmental leap in order to identify with his Father or as ‘male’. KidPsychologically (and unconsciously) the thinking goes like this: “I’m like you (the father), I am not like you (the mother)”.  Hence there is a sort of rejection of the mother and specifically with her femininity in the nascent psyche of the young male. (Jessica Benjamin writes about this – see ‘The Bonds of Love’, 1998).  And because this rejection happens in so young a psyche, it is correspondingly harsh and rigid and with little grey area.  Femininity must be rejected in all its forms and additionally is seen as less than and dangerous.  This is a perplexing and scary phenomenon for one so young.  And as Yoda once said: “…fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate…”  One could extrapolate from this that in some cases – this kind of dilemma in one with a weak ego or mental illness could lead to violence such as gay bashing or violence against transgender women. This, I believe is the root of pervasive stigma against men showing femininity and it could be argued that it is the root of homophobia, transphobia, internalized homophobia and internalized transphobia.

Previously I mentioned a ‘forbidden fascination’ with the feminine.  This is so (I believe) because, in spite of the unconscious rejection, the young boy still loves and is bonded to his mother in the strongest possible way.  The mother was his first love, source of all love and nurturance.  In fact there was no consciousness that they were separate beings until a few months into his development.  The love, coupled with the aversion is a cause of great inner turmoil and confusion.

Certainly when a man with these unresolved issues sees a transgender woman, these feelings bubble up – often without the man even knowing why.  Hopefully things will improve with more knowledge about our own psyches and the nature of gender variance.

 

 

What is the Difference between Gay and Transgender?

This may be a very basic post for some and if so I invite you to skip it, but it is one of the most frequent search requests that land people on my blog, so I thought I should write a very clear answer to this query. (I wrote previously about the difference between some experiences of gay and transgender people here.)

OK, to begin with let’s define some terms.

‘Gay’, ’Lesbian’ and ‘Bisexual’ refer to sexual orientation, in other words – who you are attracted to.   A man who is attracted to other men could identify as ‘Gay’ or ‘Homosexual’.

‘Transgender’ is often used to mean ‘Transsexual’(Transgender refers to a larger group of people than that) has to do with one’s gender identity.  Gender Identity is how one identifies in terms of maleness or femaleness.  For a transgender or transsexual person one’s gender identity is different from what one might expect given ones natal or biological sex (‘Sex’ here refers to one’s biological sex – how one was born.)  Gender is not always the same as one’s sex.  ‘Gender Identity’ is how one feels inside, and Sexual Orientation is who one is attracted to vis-à-vis your current gender presentation.

To get back to the question ‘What is the Difference between Gay and Transgender?’ – we see that the difference is one has to do with sexual orientation (who you are attracted to sexually) and the other has to do with gender identity (who you feel yourself to be).

Why then all the confusion?

I think it has to do with the fact that queer folk – (i.e. gay lesbian and bisexual) might have more overlap with gender queerness than other (heteronormative or ‘straight’) folk.  In other words – among gay men – there may be a larger percentage of gender fluidity – or those who identify as somewhat more feminine than among straight men and the same with gay women.  This is their natural ‘Gender Expression’.  Indeed Freud remarked on the biological characteristics of gay men back in the early 1900’s.  Therefore it is possible to confuse or conflate sexual orientation with gender identity.  In addition, much of the stigma and discrimination suffered by gays and lesbians over the years has more to do with their visible gender non-conformity than with their invisible sexual preference.  The world has very little tolerance for gender non-conformity, although the world is changing.

Find out about Psychotherapy when dealing with Gender variance in yourself or someone close to you.

Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders | APA’s proposed changes (part 2) – DSM-5

The previous post with the first version of the proposed changes can be found here.

A few notes before the quoted text.

  • The big changes from the last revision (not from the last DSM) are that

1. they’ve dropped ‘gender incongruence’ and gone with ‘gender dysphoria’

2. they have added a ‘B’ criteria of distress and

3. they have added a ‘post-transition’ specifier.

  • Version 5 of the book is due out May 2013
  • the current commenting period will end on June 15, 2011.
  • This is the APA DSM 5 (American Psychiatric Association) site.  The APA “writes” the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual)
  • It’s important because this will be one of the key tools for how mental health professions view and define gender issues for the coming decade.

The following (in blue) is quoted from the APA site:

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Updated May 4, 2011

 Gender Dysphoria (in Adolescents or Adults)**

A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by 2* or more of the following indicators: [2, 3, 4]**

1. a marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and primary and/or secondary sex characteristics (or, in young adolescents, the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [13, 16]

2. a strong desire to be rid of one’s primary and/or secondary sex characteristics because of a marked incongruence with one’s experienced/expressed gender (or, in young adolescents, a desire to prevent the development of the anticipated secondary sex characteristics) [17]

3. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics of the other gender

4. a strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

5. a strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

6. a strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender)

B. The condition is associated with clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning,  or with a significantly increased risk of suffering, such as distress or disability** 

Subtypes

With a disorder of sex development [14]

Without a disorder of sex development

See also: [15, 16, 19]

Specifier**

Post-transition, i.e., the individual has transitioned to full-time living in the desired gender (with or without legalization of gender change) and has undergone (or is undergoing) at least one cross-sex medical procedure or treatment regimen, namely, regular cross-sex hormone treatment or gender reassignment surgery confirming the desired gender (e.g., penectomy, vaginoplasty in a natal male, mastectomy, phalloplasty in a natal female).

Note: Three changes have been made since the initial website launch in February 2010: the name of the diagnosis, the addition of the B criterion, and the addition of a specifier. Definitions and criterion under A remain unchanged.

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