What Does Trans Even Mean?

Liz - TransphobiaYour sex is what you are defined as in terms of your genetics and your biological makeup, for example if you have two X chromosomes, you are of the female sex. Gender, however, is how you identify. For example, you can have an XY chomosome pair (which is the marker for the male sex) but identify as a woman. This is an example of being transgender, trans- simply meaning different. If you are transgender, you identify as a gender different to the sex you were born as. If you identify as the same gender as the sex you were born as, you’re technically cisgender (cis- meaning the same).

Someone who is transgender identifies as a different gender to their birth sex, this is often found in ‘drag’ culture. Whereas someone who is a transexual has had a ‘gender reassignment’ so that they outwardly appear to be of the opposite sex in a biological way. For example, someone who is a transexual* may have had surgery and hormone therapy so that they feel they can live as the opposite sex, the sex they felt they should’ve been born as. The term ‘transvestite’ is pretty much transgender and is fairly outdated by ever-changing, modern-day standards.

Transgender is to do with gender identity, transexual is to do with biological sex: trans 101.

 

LGBT (or LGBTQ) standards for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (Q = community). Although being transgender or transexual is not sexuality, it is to do with gender identity. Many people received prejudice and discrimination over the expression of their gender and sexual preferences; the first step to fighting this is through awareness. Being transgender is the feeling that your mind is of the opposite sex to your body (in gender-binary terms**), simple as.

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*’Transexual’ is the word often used but the technical term using rules of the English language is transsexual with two Ss, but this is actually quite trivial.

**’Gender binary’ refers to the idea of the existence of only two unique genders; female (XX sex chromosome pair) and male (XY sex chromosome pair). Some people prefer an identity that does not neatly fall into one category or the other, even if they may have the reproductive organs of only one biological sex. Some people are born with abnormalities on the chromosome pair that determines sex, resulting in combinations such as X (Turner’s Syndrome), XXX (Triple-X Syndrome)and XXY (Klinefelter Syndrome); these genetic conditions are largely irrelevant to transsexualism.   tdor1

The C-Word (SFW)

In the same way we might accept an insisted offer of cup of tea when we don’t really fancy one, many people have sex even when they don’t want to. Whatever the reasons why, it needs to stop. For this to happen, we need to get down and dirty with the C-word: Consent.
Dr Doe makes handfuls of excellent points in this short video about consent in sex.

Feminism 101: Y Chromosomes Permitted

obama-feministWho truly knows what feminism is? Is feminism the extremist behaviour of women seeking superiority over men? Is feminism the act of drawing attention to the inequality that women face? Is feminism simply a myth? So many questions, so few answers!

But, wait, there is an answer. Feminism is women seeking equality. So does this mean feminism is just the concept of being against sexism? If so, why is it called feminism? Why is it fem- if it’s equality for all?

Women have their own movement for equality because that’s how bad we’ve had it. Before you call me a ball-breaker, or a feminazi, or some other pointless and actually quite irrelevant name, just think about it.

Have you heard of anti-Semitism? Anti Semitism is prejudice and discrimination again people of the Jewish faith; racism against Jews. How come Jewish people get their own special word? Let me answer that for you; have you heard of the holocaust? Where one of the oldest religions in the world was penalised because… well, because they were different.

Feminism is kind of like that; it has it’s own name because the female people have been discriminated against for so long, with little relevant reasoning as to why. Each wave of feminism has brought about action for something different. In the early 20th century in Britain, it was the fight for suffrage – the right to vote – and we won! Looking back now, there was no true reason as to why women were any less able to vote in a well-informed manner like their male counterpart. I’m not saying all women are highly intelligent, some are pretty idiotic, but so are some men. So surely we can conclude that some of all sexes (and some of those who don’t adhere to gender-binary standards) are foolish. Everyone is stupid, regardless of what’s in your pants.

Yet, the female comedian, Jenny Collier, was recently pushed out of a line up because there were already “too many women on the bill”. Now, I have the sneaking suspicion that her email didn’t come from a concerned individual worried about men’s rights, but rather from an unfortunate soul who clearly didn’t think through what he was doing when he sent an email likely to cause uproar from all right-minded people. How can someone get away with something so obviously sexist? Some people say that female comedians just “aren’t as funny as men”; but that isn’t even what’s being questioned here. It’s agreed that Jenny Collier is funny, so why is she being brushed off? If she wasn’t funny enough, not a good enough comedian, then that might be fair reasoning; cancelled an act because they aren’t what you want in terms or their skills – fair enough. However, cancelling an act because their 23rd chromosomal pair is ‘all wrong’.

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It’s true that in some professions, men suffer discrimination. In jobs like teaching or nursing, any man who enters the career “isn’t a real man”. It’s a problem, but that is a whole separate issue that would require and whole separate post. Men can suffer discrimination due to their sex, but how often does it happen? More often than not, women are judged purely based on the fact that they are women. Even women who were born women and underwent gender reassignment will suffer the same oppressive behaviour towards them.

It is time that people realised that women are subjects, not objects; active, not passive. Even women can be sexist towards women without realising. A woman and a man are just people. Once we learn to view people as people, we can progress. Men may love women, but so can women, and men can love men! More than ever, gender and sexuality has become fluid and broad, so how come something as archaic as sexism is still lingering like a bad smell?feminist

Feminism means equality for women. I personally think that we should use a different word, a word for equality for all genders, an inclusive word that is neither feminine nor masculine. I can only hope that if there were a non-specific word, then people would stop judging this book by its cover and start understanding the cause of the friction. Feminists are not crazed women, controlled by their wombs. Feminists are fighters for equality, womb or not.

Sexuality vs Gender: Why it’s okay to be gay… if you’re a man.

Equality for all sexualities!
Correction: Equality for most sexualities!
Further correction: Equality for few sexualities.

The market has been expanding. Let me give you an example: dating apps commonly bought from iTunes include those such as Plenty Of Fish and Match.com’s mobile dating apps. These apps are largely use by heterosexual individuals but, correct me if I’m wrong (I haven’t used these sites myself), homosexual individuals can also search for matches. Apps like Tinder or the new copycat app ‘Hot or Not’ allow anonymous swiping to indicate if you like the look of someone, be they male or female. Then, of course, the famous Grindr, a gay dating app. I even recently found another one called Scruff that’s also a gay dating app. Yay for gays, we say. However, wait just a minute… these apps aren’t universal gay dating apps, no. Grindr Gay Dating AppThese are dating apps for gay men. I am yet to hear of any dating platform for gay women. Sure, some platforms don’t discriminate between gay, lesbian OR bisexual (for example, on Tinder you can choose to be matched with men, women or both). I am yet to see, in this day and age, the opportunity that is available to gay men, open and accessible for gay women. Pretty much all of us have a male gay friend, we even say male gay couples around, nothing special there… but how many female gay friends do we have? How often have you seen a lesbian couple out and about their business like any other ordinary couple? I’ve seen barely a handful of lesbian couples in the past months, which is ridiculous given that there clearly are lesbian women out there.LGBT
In fact, although the concept of a lesbian is alien in our day to day life, this is nothing compared to when I heard a 16 year old boy ask “what’s bisexual?” when learning about equal rights for all. What is bisexual? “Well,” the teacher began to explain, “it’s when someone chooses to like both sexes”. WRONG. This is wrong. The key incorrect word being ‘choose’. Sexuality is not a choice, the same as race and our born sex is not a choice. Even in 2014 (be it early days of the year or not), even teenagers in our modern society don’t understand sexuality. Even in 2014, our teachers in our modern society cannot explain sexuality. True as it may be, that some people may have phases or levels of preference, many of us have heard of the term ‘bicurious’ (although, how often it ends up anything other than bisexual, I don’t know). Even in our new and accepting world, where gay marriages will begin in March this year… There is still stigma towards to gay woman, and towards the bisexual individual. Bisexuality is not greed, is not something to be made fun of, same as homosexuality is not something to be made fun of. Bisexuality is not even the loving of a personality, regardless of sex. Think of how you feel about the sex you are attracted to; their minds, their bodies… the lot. Being bisexual is the same, except for both sexes. A person who is bisexual does not fancy everyone they look at, same as a straight woman, or gay man, do not fancy each and every man they see. No. Bisexuality is feared and mocked, or even called ‘hot’. Even if a bisexual girl does excite a young man, if you don’t know her then don’t tell her that. Who are we to decide to what extent we accept members of the LGBT* community?

Sincerely,
A progressive thinker.

*LGBT stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender. I haven’t addressed people who are trans as I didn’t want to overload you.