Andrea Giacobbe 1996/ The Face http://andreagiacobbe.net/still.html


This Sex Which Is Not Two

“ANNE Fausto-Sterling is professor of biology and gender studies at Brown University. In books like Myths of Gender and Sexing the Body, Fausto-Sterling pioneered the application of a feminist critique to biological studies of gender, adding to the growing literature on the social construction of scientific knowledge. We spoke about our current cultural moment and its movement away from binaries of sex and gender, and the ways in which science has shaped and sometimes lagged behind this conversation. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.”

Gender Circuits: Bodies and Identities in a Technological Age

“How technologies are shaping and affecting our body has been often discussed in terms of “representation” and identity. Eve Shapiro is a sociologist researching the dynamic relationship between identity, embodiment and community, mainly within North America. In this book she’s able to investigate various aspects of the definition of gender through a number of different technologies. From the modification of female muscles induced by the intensive use of high heels to the tremendous impact of biotechnologies, the author discusses number of politically relevant questions like: did the development of body modification technologies lead to contemporary transsexual identities? To understand the different scenarios we found in the text a few useful highlighted definitions of new words, like “somatechnics”, a term that is used to express the idea that the body is always known and shaped through the technologies of a particular society. Moreover Shapiro ranges from the analysis of how gender was historically defined to the technologies developed to foster “gender conformity” (the corset, for example). She also investigates of how gender is shown, changed and negotiated online. Here the representation of the self is dispersed and multifaceted with a number of consequences, including the so-called “Proteus effect” connected to the perception of our own avatar. With accessible language, brilliantly avoiding the typical slang abuse of gender studies, this book is pleasant and informed writing.”

The new sexual revolution

“The first thing you need to know about the new sexual revolution isn’t how to do it: it’s how to talk it. Confining yourself to terms such as straight, gay and bisexual — which once, perhaps, covered most of what you thought you needed to know about a person’s orientation — is indicative of adherence to a ‘binary’ view of sexuality. It is fast becoming the equivalent of walking around in plus-fours, peering at human desire through a monocle.

These days, people — particularly those in their teens and twenties — are declaring themselves ‘pansexual’, ‘genderfluid’ and ‘genderqueer,’ which means they won’t be confined to the old folks’ dreary, black-and-white view of attraction or gender.”

Postgenderism: Beyond the Gender Binary

Postgenderism is an extrapolation of ways that technology is eroding the biological, psychological and social role of gender, and an argument for why the erosion of binary gender will be liberatory. Postgenderists argue that gender is an arbitrary and unnecessary limitation on human potential, and foresee the elimination of involuntary biological and psychological gendering in the human species through the application of neurotechnology, biotechnology and reproductive technologies. Postgenderists contend that dyadic gender roles and sexual dimorphisms are generally to the detriment of individuals and society. Assisted reproduction will make it possible for individuals of any sex to reproduce in any combinations they choose, with or without “mothers” and “fathers,” and artificial wombs will make biological wombs unnecessary for reproduction. Greater biological fluidity and psychological androgyny will allow future persons to explore both masculine and feminine aspects of personality. Postgenderists do not call for the end of all gender traits, or universal androgyny, but rather that those traits become a matter of choice. Bodies and personalities in our postgender future will no longer be constrained and circumscribed by gendered traits, but enriched by their use in the palette of diverse self-expression.”

What’s A Skoliosexual?

“There’s a lot more out there beyond “hetero,” “homo” and “bi.”

Miley Cyrus made headlines over the summer when she came out as pansexual, thereby introducing many people to a term that they may have heard before but don’t entirely understand.

But pansexual is just one of many sexual and romantic identities that exist beyond more commonly known and discussed orientations like heterosexual, homosexual and bisexual. In fact, some people may not even know that a person can be romantically, as well as sexually, oriented.”

Meanwhile in the future: Nobady Cares About Your Gender

This is not a future without gender. It’s just a future where gender just isn’t all that important to people. To figure out what this world might be like, I talked to Ann Leckie, Meredith Talusan and Laurie Essig.

Leckie is a science fiction author, who wrote the books Ancillary Justice, Ancillary Sword and Ancillary Mercy. I called Leckie because the main character in these novels is from a society called the Raadchai, where nobody cares about gender. Raadchai find it deeply confusing to interact with people in cultures that have male and female pronouns. But because English demands such pronouns, Leckie had to figure out how to get across the Raadchai’s lack of gender assumptions — so she just calls everyone “she.” This is something science fiction writers have tackled before. In the book The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula K. Leguin, the people of a sexless society are all referred to as “he.” (LeGuin later talked about regretting this decision). Leckie went the other way.”

That’s what zhe said: mx-ing up the language of gender

“On January 8 the American Dialect Society announced “they” as its 2015 Word of the Year. Some may be surprised that the common pronoun beat out newcomers “on fleek” and “ammosexual.”

But “they” didn’t win because of the way it’s traditionally been used as a plural pronoun. Rather, it won because of the way it’s being now applied as a gender-neutral, singular form that can be applied to either sex.

It’s only the most recent example of how the English language, from titles to pronouns, is in the process of adapting to new cultural attitudes about gender.”

She? Ze? They? What’s In a Gender Pronoun

“What happens when 334 linguists, lexicographers, grammarians and etymologists gather in a stuffy lecture hall on a Friday night to debate the lexical trends of the year?

They become the unlikely heroes of the new gender revolution.

That’s what happened here earlier this month anyway, at a downtown Marriott, where members of the 127-year-old American Dialect Society anointed “they,” the singular, gender-neutral pronoun, the 2015 Word of the Year. As in: “They and I went to the store,” where they is used for a person who does not identify as male or female, or they is a filler pronoun in a situation where a person’s gender identity is unknown.”

The Gender-Neutral Bathroom Revolution Is Growing

“San Francisco has long been considered one of America’s most—if not the most–LGBT friendly cities. Yet in at least one increasingly watched area, the city has fallen behind. On Monday, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos took the first substantive steps toward changing that when he announced plans to introduce a bill that would make many city bathrooms gender-neutral.

The measure would mandate that all single-occupancy bathrooms in the city be relabeled as places for all genders, rather than solely “men” or “women,” and that new buildings constructed in the city have a gender-neutral bathroom on each floor. The bill would also go beyond similar laws in other cities by putting in place sweeping enforcement mechanisms, including a complaint process handled by the Human Rights Commission, an LGBT rights organization, and adding these facilities as a standard checklist item for building inspections.”

Intersectionality: how gender interacts with other social identities to shape bias

“Actress Patricia Arquette’s comments at the 2015 Oscars award night drew criticism for implicitly framing gender equality as an issue for straight white women. She insisted that, “It’s time for all the women in America and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.”

Among other concerns, critics argued she overlooked the unique challenges faced by queer women, women of color and other women at the intersection of multiple minority groups. This sentiment reflects a growing movement within feminist circles to understand how people simultaneously face bias along multiple identity dimensions such as gender, race, and sexual orientation – an idea called intersectionality.”

Time to Start Looking At ‘Cyborg’ As a Gender Identity

“I am a Cyborg. No, I don’t have any technological enhancements just yet, though I plan on doing so very soon with help from my friends within the DIY grinder community. Even then, my “choosing” to identify myself as a cyborg is more than a mere desire for cyborg enhancements, but is an identity that I feel deeply within myself – a longing to express myself in ways that my current biological body cannot.

Before adhering to Cyborgism, I took on the gender identity of Non-binary, because I always looked at “male” (masculine) and “female” (feminine) identities as being far too simplistic in understanding myself, due to the fact that I didn’t have static attributes of only one or the other. For me, it was both and more. So Non-binary was the closest that I could think of that properly conveyed my own identity.

Sexual orientation wise, I adhere to pansexuality. Meaning, like how pan-Africans adhere to the nationalist identity that pans the entire spectrum of African culture and history, pansexuals adhere to the identity that pans the entire spectrum of sexual orientation. Where bisexuals acquire a sexual preference for two or more gender identities (prominently both male and female), pansexuals acquire a sexual preference for all gender identities (male, female, Transgender MtF & FtM, androgynous, gender fluid, etc.) When you couple that with my Transhumanist ideology, my pansexuality is also enhanced to include cyborgs, and eventually post-humans and sentient machines.”

We trust children to know what gender they are – until they go against the norm

“The main issue that brings children to our clinic is a child in the family who says: “Hey, you’ve got it wrong, I’m not the gender you think I am” or “I do not want to conform to the rules I see around me about how boys are supposed to be boys and girls are supposed to be girls.”

Some of these children are very upset about their gender conundrums; others skip happily outside the gender boxes that were outlined and filled in for them by the culture around them. Yet they all share something in common – feelings about their gender – and depending on how these feelings are negotiated by the adults who care for them, they will either rejoice is their “gender creativity” or suffer from the ill-fit between the gender everyone expects them to be and the gender they know themselves to be.”

Posthumam Bodies and Genders

“For Judith Halberstam and Ira Livingstone posthuman bodies ‘emerge at nodes where bodies, bodies of discourse, and discourse of bodies intersect to foreclose any easy distinction between actor and stage, between sender/receiver, channel, code, message, context’ (1995:2). A posthuman body is ‘a technology, a screen, a projected image… a contaminated body, a deadly body, a techno-body… a queer body’ (Halberstam & Livingstone, 1995:3). They are ‘causes and effects of postmodern relations of power and pleasure, virtuality and reality, sex and its consequences’ (Halberstam & Livingstone, 1995:3). This suggests the posthuman body, using the metaphor of space in this context, simply occupies space(s). Similar to Pepperell’s use of uncertainty, Halberstam and Livingstone elicit the uncertain posthuman concepts of gender, race, and sexuality, through the idea of someness:

How many races, genders, sexualities are there? Some. How many are you? Some. “Some” is not an indefinite number awaiting a more accurate measurement, but a rigorous theoretical mandate whose specification… is neither numerable nor, in the common sense, innumerable (1995:9).”

Transhuman Impact on Gender and Human Potential

Gender as it functions today is a problem because dominant gender systems hierarchically classify people into limited roles. Phenotype – particularly genitals – serves as the primary basis for classification, thus dividing human beings into males and females and men and women according to hegemonic conceptions. This binary division, the associated social roles, and the privileging of men over women cause overwhelming physical and psychic harm each moment. Binary gender’s many barbs range from piercing – rape, bashing, poverty – to irritating – pronouns, bathrooms, jokes – but on the whole form an agonizing trap. This is the context, acknowledged or not, in which programs to transform and/or abolish gender emerge.”

Explainer: what is genderqueer?

“We are taught that there are boys and there are girls. Later, if we’re lucky, we are taught that sometimes “boys” become girls and “girls” become boys.

But is it always one or the other? Genderqueer people, among others, say “no”.

People who describe themselves as genderqueer often feel that the gender binary (boy OR girl, woman OR man) is too limiting to describe their experience of gender.

From infancy, we are told that everyone should fit into a box associated with either “man” or “woman”. One of the first things we do when meeting someone new, or simply passing someone on the street, is to make a choice as to which box they fit into.”

Gender Identity and Libertarianism

“People who do not identify with a gender status consistent with conventional fixed, binary gender stereotypes remain the target of a complex array of typically intertwining state policies and civil societal norms which greatly inhibit their liberties.

Transgender and other gender-diverse people are, for example, routinely subjected to discriminatory identity documentation and service access policies. In addition, they often confront episodes of abuse, ridicule, and violence by cisgender people seeking to enforce prevailing gender identity standards. The consequences of such practices are, in turn, reflected in a large amount of evidence pointing to a lack of economic and social participation on several fronts.

Several key issues affecting people within diverse gender communities are considered through a libertarian perspective, with its emphasis on the primacy of the individual and endorsement of mutually assenting and voluntary actions.”