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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Report for July 5, 2016
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ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: August 2nd, 2016 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> That's why the phrase "sexual reassignment surgery" makes me grit my teeth, and I use "realignment" instead. <<

I realize I've started using "surgical intervention", adding "in support of transition" where the context isn't clear. Similarly, "hormonal intervention" for those for whom that is a worthwhile part of their transition plan.

I like doing this because it helps decenter genital surgery being the definitive marker for marking transition. It recognizes that facial plastic surgery, electrolysis, breast reduction, top surgery, and all the other approaches people in transition might choose to employ can be every bit as important as the detail of what's between someone's legs -- and every bit as affirming of the transitioner's gender identity. Likewise for someone for whom hormone blockers, or low-dose sex hormones, suffice, and full-on hormonal protocols are not required or unsuitable.

>> The main problem is caused by society thinking that gender is assigned instead of an innate trait. They can't even be arsed to check the the chromosomes; they just look at a baby's crotch and guess. <<

Have I shared my word for this activity with you yet? Not quite a couple of hundred years ago, a fad for examining the shape of a person's skull and attempting to infer from that various aspects of their personality, and other inclinations, gained considerable popularity. This fad, known as "phrenology", was eventually discredited by scientific inquiry as the fallacy and fraud it always was, and sank into disrepute and eventual disregard as other than a generator of what are now antique curiosities.

Switching Greek-derived medical prefixes from the skull ("phren-") to what the page I consulted euphemistically referred to as loins ("episi-") yields "episiology" as the appropriate name for the modern pseudo-science, still extensively practiced today, of attempting to infer from observation of a newborn's genitals by supposedly qualified people their future personality traits, interests, and likely behavior. Perhaps in another couple of hundred years it will be regarded similarly to phrenology.

>> Gender policing harms everyone. Because when you attack the outliers, and the fringe, it makes even the core people feel anxious -- as evidenced in all the dialog about being "a real man" and "proving his manhood" etc. <<

Amen! Not very many people are comfortable being in a place where their identity is under unpredictable and constant threat of attack. This tends to empty out those places, which widens the gap between genders and increases the cost and danger of constructing the bridges by which experiences are shared.
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