Gender Line Extended

Since neither Defined Gender (referred to at D.G from now on) nor myself have gone through the trans journey we thought it fitting to watch and post on the film Gender Line Extended. For it is with the trans community that the distinction between gender and sex is most clearly exposed. As a quick background for those who have not seen the film, Gender Line Extended is a documentary sharing the perspective of 20 different trans individuals. Interview questions included how they identify, why they consider themselves as trans, the obstacles they have faced, how they blend being trans with work and daily life and finally what types of surgery they have had/planning to have and why.

Numerous times during the film, I caught myself trying to decode the language the interviewees were using to identify themselves (FTM, drag queen, butch, heterosexual trans, queer MTF…etc) in a vain attempt to determine whether they were born as a male or a female. I could not stop that feeling of satisfaction when I succeeded in decoding the language and thus could fit that individual into one of my nice, neat labelled boxes. I consider myself more open than the average person, however I have come to realize all that really means is I have more little boxes inside my head than most. Anyway, after shamefully admitting this to D.G, I discovered that D.G had the same issue.  D.G also tried to tie the trans individuals back to their “original” biological sex and assumed parallel gender.  Why do we have this need? Where does it come from? Our initial reaction is that this need is culturally constructed, if this is the case how do we move forward and rid ourselves of this?

Please feel free to post any proposed answers, any other  questions in regards to the film or any gender issues in general.

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~ by genderambiguous on April 13, 2010.

2 Responses to “Gender Line Extended”

  1. Have you seen this site? http://www.queensu.ca/humanrights/tap/3discrimination.htm It’s got some good idea on “genderism” (the idea that there are and should be only 2 genders and that one’s gender is inevitably tied to one’s biological sex) It also goes on to show some discrimination issues- but the first section is mostly about genderism.

    What do you mean by “assumed parallel gender”? Did you assume that they were the opposite of their assigned sex or did your brain say “Trans woman=born male= man”?

  2. This notion of “genderism” where there are only two biological sexes and matching genders is culturally created. This is what I am getting at when I say “assumed parallel gender” most in this society recognize the male sex and the gender masculinity as homologous but why do we make this assumption?

    “Heterosexism is a world view that recognizes only heterosexuality as natural, genderism is a world view that recognizes two distinct genders as natural and those who believe otherwise are considered abnormal. Similarly, genderism insists that everyone’s gender identity does, and should, match their apparent biological sex.”
    ( http://www.queensu.ca/humanrights/tap/3discrimination.htm) But how does one decide what gender characteristics belong to what sex? What I am getting at is that the mannerisms and clothing that Western society takes as a display of masculinity or femininity are not universal. If it was true that genders are matched to a biological sex then when looking at the world, you would expect to see all (or at least the majority) of the female bodied people to act in a certain way. You would expect to see certain universal characteristics and gender expressions belonging to a certain sex. But this is not the case.

    In Nuer (a tribe in Sudan) is it acceptable for two women to marry. In Nuer, the female husband takes on all masculine characteristics that a “normal” husband of male sex would have. In Nicaragua, men are classified into two different groups. Some men are recognized as Macho and others as Cochon. Macho men display violent and dominant characteristics (have a masculine gender expression); while Cochons are abused and passive (have a feminine gender expression). The Macho man dominates and has intercourse with a Cochon man. Both gender expressions for a man are recognized and accepted in Nicaragua. To me these examples show the flaw in genderism.

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