2019-03-04 – Gender is located in three places: between your legs, between your ears, and between you and me. There’s a fourth place where people like to situate gender: in society. It doesn’t belong there.
I am not an alphabet liberal. I do believe that LGBT… people deserve respect and kindness, not because of their label, but because they are human. I don’t really think it is my business to even inquire. But if someone wants to tell me their sexual preference or their gender identity, fine. I will respect that. You’re still a person, to me.
I don’t follow current theories that there are more than two sexes. There are two. One male and one female are required to make a baby at some point in the process. But it’s like the North and South pole. The poles are not negated by the fact that 100% of the Earth is located between the two poles.
Gender is a different story. And I’ll get to why in a minute. But I want to take a minute to talk about the three sites where gender is found.
Gender is located between your legs. In some ways this is the least important location. For most of us, we are what we are between our legs and there is no dissonance. But think about this: neither harmony nor dissonance can exist between one note, one location. Harmony or dissonance is about two or more things. It’s not just what’s between your legs.
The second location for gender is between your ears. By this, I mean your brain, which is the organ that controls your behavior. Most people exhibit one gender between their legs (yes, I know that some people have gender ambiguity between their legs, too, but there’s still a north pole and a south pole). All or almost all people exhibit behaviors that are not typical of their gender. For some, it’s few behaviors. For some, it’s a lot.
I for example, am male between my legs. This is determined in two ways. First, by appearance. I have a penis. Second, by the fact that I fathered two children with my wife. Between my ears, I exhibit a range of behaviors. Many are typically male. For example, I like math. Others are typically female. For example, I do the sewing for the family.
The third location for gender is between you and me. If I want to fuck you, it is important that you have the type of equipment I want to fuck PLUS the interest and willingness to fuck me back. If you are not in this category, I don’t have any legitimate interest in your gender or sexual orientation. At the moment, only one person in my life falls into this category. The other seven billion can do whatever the fuck they want.
Before I leave the between-you-and-me topic, I want to talk about two other possibilities. One is porn. With porn the question is not do we want to fuck one another, but rather whether one wants to exhibit sexual behavior while another wants to watch. Okay. You can have this one, too. Gender is relevant to this exchange. As long as both sides are willing participants. There are still seven billion people who are not involved.
The second possibility involves your kids. What interest can a parent legitimately have in the sexuality of their children? I can think of two. I don’t want my kids hurt. And I’d like to have grandchildren.
Let me take the second one first. It is perfectly possibly and even likely for a straight child to never have children. There are lots of people like that in my family. The same is probably true in your family. On the other hand, gay children can have children. My interest in having grandchildren doesn’t really correlate with any legitimate interest in their gender identity. I know plenty of gay people with children.
My first legitimate interest—in the safety of my children brings me to the fourth location of gender, which I dismissed at the beginning of this post: society. If my child is harmed because of their gender identity or sexual orientation—the harm is coming from society. If I blame my child, I am blaming the victim. I choose to blame society.
It is society that targets nonconforming individuals for discrimination and for abuse. And it is society that creates standards of gender conformity that infect what we think about ourselves.
When I was talking about gender between my ears I mentioned two of my own behaviors—one that exhibits gender conformity (interest in math) and one that exhibits gender dissonance (sewing). It is very likely that, when I first mentioned these, you thought: c’mon, Steve, there’s nothing gendered about math or sewing. But that is exactly my point.
There is nothing gendered about math or sewing, but you are not unaware of the gender association that society has arbitrarily assigned to these activities. If I do sewing, I am a nonconformist.
Now, society can sort of tolerate me sewing. But what if I was also interested in musical theater? And caring for children? (I have both of these interests.) Are these gendered activities? Does society think of them as gendered activities? The more gender-nonconforming activities I do, the more society begins to think I am queer. And these are not even related to sexual orientation!
So who’s the problem, the nonconformist? The persons with gender dissonance? Or society? I think the problem is in a society that piles on all sorts of expectations and calls them gender—when they are not.
Before I end this, I want to say that “society” is a rhetorical term here. Society is made up of individuals. Many (hopefully most) are tolerant and kind. I’m not talking about those people when I say that I blame “society.”
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