Nov 072010
 

I want to talk about this. Why? Because some people don’t know, and others who I assume would know either are unaware or have forgotten.

Sex and gender are NOT the same thing.

Sex is usually defined as female, male and occasionally intersex. It is assigned to you at birth by your doctor, usually based on your genitalia, sometimes chromosomes if testing has been done. It’s is often said that “sex is between your legs.”

Gender can often be defined as woman, man, transgender, genderqueer. However, the number of genders out there is unmeasurable. Femme is a gender. Butch is a gender. Femme queen. AG/Aggressive. Boi. Genderfucker. Andro. All of these are gender identities and/or gender presentations. Gender identity is how you identify to yourself (and sometimes others) and gender presentation is how you present said gender identity to the rest of the world. It is often said that “gender is what is between your ears” in that gender is not a physical identifier, but rather, your identity, feelings, presentation, etc.

Cisgender is someone whose assigned sex at birth matches their gender identity. A person assigned male who identifies as a man, a person assigned female who identifies as a woman.

Transgender, while a huge umbrella term for gender discussions and identities as a whole, can be said to be someone whose gender identity does NOT match their assigned sex; a person assigned male at birth who identifies as female, a person assigned female at birth who identifies as genderqueer, etc.

Recently, at a professional conference in the field of sexuality, I was saddened to see many sexual professionals talk about “the two genders” or do studies that said “Gender? Male or Female.” I think as we continue to grow this field and be more inclusive of all people, it is incredibly important to be aware of whether we’re talking about sex or gender, and do our research and presentations accordingly. I’m not even going to start with the way “homosexual” was used to identify people, or the fact that I (as a queer kinky disabled femme) was often offended at the use of language throughout the conference….but really, I’d liketo make sure EVERYONE, regardless of whether you’re a sex educator/therapist, a middle school teacher, a personal trainer or a homemaker, knows the basic difference between sex and gender, as it is SO incredibly important to being inclusive in our society.

Shanna

Aug 232010
 

A lot of people have been posting and re-posting and discussing this Newsweek article, which talks about a person in Australia, who was the first person in that country, if not in the world, to be issues a certificate without either an F or M for their sex (sometimes referred to as gender, which is usually an incorrect statement, as sex often does not line up with gender). Of course, as in many things surrounding queer issues in government, this huge milestone was then taken back a few days later, as the government decided that this was just not ok.

Why does the M or F on our birth certificates, IDs, etc matter so much? Presentation of gender is a huge spectrum, an explosion of gender even, and when we require that M or F, not only are we stifling people who do not identify in such a binary, but what are we achieving?

For example, I know many people with an F on the ID who present in a gender queer, or even stereotypical masculine way. Now not only does this F hurt them as they have to get their ID checked every damn time they use a credit card, and get heckled at the airport or when they get pulled over, but what purpose does the F serve? I mean, let’s say we’re looking for a criminal, and all we have to go on is that they have an F on their ID. What does that even mean? Given the diversity of gender presentation, how does that help us to find someone?

Now, I don’t think we should get rid of gender as a society. Many people have done much exploration of their gender identity; find someone who identifies as a faggy boi, or a stone butch, or a high femme, and get in a conversation with them about their gender. Talk about how they discovered it, why it is important to them, how it fits in with their other identities. Gender can be an important part of who we are.

However, the M or F on our IDs and certificates is not our gender. It has only to do with the genitals we had at birth, and the SEX (not gender) that the doctor assigned us given what we had. It doesn’t take into account our identities, our presentations, etc.

So I don’t propose life without gender. I LOVE my gender and its complexities. I love my partner’s gender. I love reading about gender, and talking about gender. I love gender. But I do suggest the removal of sex from IDs, as I see no reason for it to exist, and so many reasons for it not to.

-Shanna

May 082010
 

I’ve seen this posting/call for workshops/etc around on a few blogs, and I thought I’d pass it on to anyone who might be interested. Enjoy!

-Shanna

Next year we’ll have the second full sized Butch Voices conference to participate in, this year we have four regional conferences.

Subject: Butch Voices 2010 Regional Conferences: Call for Submissions

BUTCH Voices is a national organization composed of social justice activists who share a commitment to building inclusive community for self-identified Butches, Studs, Tombois, Machas, Aggressives, our partners and allies.

This year we will be holding BUTCH Voices Regional Conferences in Dallas, New York, Los Angeles & Portland. We invite you to join us for workshops, panels, and performances intended to celebrate our diverse identities.

BUTCH Voices Dallas – June 5, 2010 – contact – bvdallas2010@gmail.com

BUTCH Voices NYC – September 25, 2010 – contact – bvnyc2010@gmail.com

BUTCH Voices Portland – October 2, 2010 – contact – bvportland2010@gmail.com

BUTCH Voices LA – October 9, 2010 – contact – bvla2010@gmail.com

These regional conferences will be an amazing opportunity to create local and regional community awareness, to share butch voices, and critical thinking about who we are. BUTCH Voices Regional Conferences are a place to: talk about why we identify in the ways we do, learn how to tell our stories, address femininity, masculinity, discuss areas of overlap and intersection that are none of the above. We will talk about sex, embodiment, community building, our physical and mental health, and issues that stand in the way of Butch-identified solidarity and justice. Most importantly, BUTCH Voices is the place where we can be ourselves with one another.

This is our Call for Submissions. We welcome workshop ideas of all kinds, films, performances, skill shares, especially on topics which speak to the cultural, sexual, emotional, physical, and psychological relationships that arise in the lives of Butches, Studs, Tombois, Aggressives, Machas, etc. We are open to all perspectives–queer, feminist, womanist, neither or beyond! We particularly encourage proposals by and for people-over sixty, under twenty-one, working-class, and people of color or persons with disabilities.

Deadline for Submissions for BUTCH Voices Dallas is May 15, 2010 and for the other three Regional Conferences is August 1, 2010. Please submit your proposal or abstract to the corresponding Regional Conference (email addresses listed above) in which you wish to present along with a short bio of yourself and any other presenter.

Please forward this widely to all who may be interested in participating.
Thank you,
BUTCH Voices

Please forward this widely to all who may be interested in participating.Thank you,BUTCH Voices