• Susu
    22
    I get a lot of criticism for this, mainly due to the fact that some people aren't patient enough to understand my point, so before anyone shares their opinion, please read carefully.

    This thread is related to gender identity.

    People now are free to identify themselves as the gender they please, man/woman/non-binary. I don't mind that, I favor this and I'm in fact non-binary.

    However, what does it mean to be a man or a woman?

    We know that biological sex is separate from gender identity. There is no correlation between reproductive organs/chromosomes/hormones and gender identity. Gender identity is a personal/psychological construct.

    So, when someone says they are a man/woman, what exactly are they pointing to? Behaviours? Mentality? Likes/dislikes? Because even then, it's still vague.

    You say you're a woman because you like to act demure? You like to wear make up? You like pink? You like feminine features? But... are these qualities exclusive to women? Can't a man be those things too?

    Can a man be demure and feminine, wear make-up, wear a skirt and like pink?

    Let's turn that around, if you say you're a man, do you mean you like being muscular, wear jeans and boots, cut your hair short?

    But wait, can't a woman do those things too?

    I used to identify as a woman (I'm physically male) mainly because I love being feminine, I wear make up, and feminine clothes... but I like working out too... and I like cars... I also like sports... wait, those are qualities that are masculine...

    There's really no hard line between a man and a woman, which is why I decided non binary is the best pick for me.

    But I honestly think in a way that everyone is non binary. Almost every person, be it male or female, possesses both feminine and masculine qualities to some degree.

    There's really no quality out there that is exclusive to men or women. Qualities are just what they are...

    Being demure is not feminine... its just.. being demure.. you know what I mean?
    Skirts are just skirts... make up is just make up... they can apply to both men and women...

    So really what is a man and what is a woman? Everyone seems to just have their own subjective definition of these terms, and there's really no definite answer.
  • T Clark
    9.8k
    So really what is a man and what is a woman?Susu

    I am not unsympathetic to people who have gender dysphoria and I have no trouble with them identifying themselves differently. For the rest of us - males have penises and testicles and females have vaginas and ovaries, among other things. Healthy adult females can bear children.

    Most importantly - children should not be encouraged to modify their bodies by surgery or hormonal treatments. Only in extraordinary circumstances should they be allowed.
  • Susu
    22
    this is a prime example of someone who isn't patient enough to read carefully.

    As I mentioned above "gender identity is separate from biological sex"

    And this thread has nothing to do with transitioning. Stay on topic please.
  • T Clark
    9.8k
    this is a prime example of someone who isn't patient enough to read carefully.Susu

    I did read carefully, but I don't agree with you. I think making a big deal out of gender identity as something different from biological sex is potentially dangerous for impressionable and vulnerable young people. Once you are grown up, you can do whatever you want, call yourself whatever you want, but I don't think society necessarily has any obligation to go along with your self-designation if it is disruptive.

    One of my sister's children started identifying as non-binary when they were in high school. I only see them once or twice a year. I hug them with all the rest of the family. I use their new name. I try to be careful about pronouns. They're my family. I love them. On the other hand, it's been a hard few years for my sister and her husband.
  • Tom Storm
    5k
    The 'indicators' of gender (clothes, accoutrements, tastes ) are available to all regardless of biological sex and often seem to me to be performance based. I generally avoid people who (to my taste) put too much time into their appearances, whether they present as male or female, mainly because in my experience it seems to be a harbinger of narcissistic tenancies (but not always). I guess this is a personal prejudice of mine.

    So really what is a man and what is a woman? Everyone seems to just have their own subjective definition of these terms, and there's really no definite answer.Susu

    I think many or most subjects end up being like this - elusive. What does it mean to be strong? What is reality? What is the purpose of living? I can't think of many subjects that don't end up in the zone of contradictions and confusions, so why should gender be any different?
  • ThinkOfOne
    124


    Like race, way too much importance has been and continues to be given to superficial attributes such as these. Human beings are human beings.

    From what I can tell, biases such as these are inculcated into very young children as a simplistic way to help them categorize the world around them. Unfortunately many seem to lack the maturity to be to able to gain a more highly developed understanding of the world even as adults.
    "This is the way I've viewed the world. Can't people see how wrong it is to view the world otherwise?"
    It's as if they perceive it as an attack on themselves. Of course, it couldn't possibly be that their worldview has been overly simplistic from very early in their childhood...
  • Nils Loc
    1.1k
    There is no correlation between reproductive organs/chromosomes/hormones and gender identity.Susu

    This sounds like the politically correct take perhaps but how do you justify/support it outside of that.

    If hormones change facial characteristics and facial characteristics might determine whether others see you as a man or woman, don't hormones then influence gender identity. Why is personal gender identification sacrosanct when so many other aspects of myself are mediated externally by what other people believe. Why do people take hormones to transition (to gain the features associated with biological sex) if gender has nothing to do with hormones?

    I'm confused.
  • Moliere
    2.3k
    However, what does it mean to be a man or a woman?Susu

    I think that this is intentionally left up to whomever is identifying themself -- there is no one way to be a man or a woman, up to and including the body one is born with, and up to and including identifying as neither a man nor a woman. Our identities are ours, not based on conventional nomenclature or essential properties or duties.
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    Most of what we learn about the world begins with simplistic categorisation as heuristic devices - it’s how our understanding develops with language. But as this understanding matures, the true complexity of the world becomes apparent, and our minds, hearts and behaviour have the capacity to adjust - even if our language does not.

    I have watched young people quickly and easily develop a non-binary approach to gender identity, discarding the binary in much the same way as they would shed their belief in Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy. And I’ve noticed how parents and teachers respond with oppressive tendencies when their heuristic devices are exposed as insufficient, and how they justify their attempts to maintain control over these complex ideas such as gender identity using language, definitions and laws.
  • Hanover
    8.8k
    There is no correlation between reproductive organs/chromosomes/hormones and gender identity. Gender identity is a personal/psychological construct.Susu

    There absolutely is a correlation between behaviors and identity, so much so that if you listed a person's behaviors I could predict their gender identity with a very high statistical probability. What you mean perhaps is that biology is not causative of gender identity, which is probably partially true, but such is a scientific, not philosophical question. That is, to what extent do hormones cause typically feminine behavior? I don't know, but probably to some degree. It is undeniable that hormone changes affect behavior and personality.
    There's really no hard line between a man and a woman, which is why I decided non binary is the best pick for me.Susu

    This is a linguistic issue. The defining line between any two categories is always vague due to definitions varying upon context and usage. The line between cups and bowls is equally vague, for example.

    And none of this suggests I have any objection to your personal situation or that I think you ought conform to a standard you're uncomfortable with. I'm not in favor of interfering in another's well being, but it is the case that most do behave in stereotypical ways, and it's likely true that some of that behavior is genetically informed.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    221


    It is, indeed, very difficult to convey a general sense for gender or sex. When I speak of women, In the context of gender, I’m referring to a human being encompassing a range of behaviors and attitudes in proximity with the archetypal female. This is, of course, a mental state, and would only be privately accessible to the individual. It’s not infallible, however, it doesn’t work as Ben Shapiro puts it “You can't magically change your gender”, as if to flip on and off. It is simply a part of the general process of learning yourself and figuring out who you are. Gender can refer to “gender roles” which coincide with public conceptions of femininity or masculinity.

    The general sense of biological sex is likewise vague and difficult to understand. I can only convey my sense of biological female or male, which would be “A human being with physiological proximity with the archetypal female or male, respectively”. The most technically accurate way to convey, say, what a woman is (in the biological sense), would be “A woman is a human being with a natural genetic predisposition to produce large gametes”. This biological sense aims for objectivity whereas the gender sense is only objective within the mind of the individual, thus subjective — and, intersubjective since the concepts of femininity and masculinity are shared between individuals of a society. Again, it is hard to capture a general sense because meanings vary individually within a group, with only relative societal and cultural congruence between groups. For example, the congruence between Hispanic American groups may vary from Black American groups, or Middle Eastern groups from European groups, seniors from youth, etc.

    I’m not sure if this responds properly with your concerns or not!
  • javi2541997
    2.2k
    For example, the congruence between Hispanic American groups may vary from Black American groups, or Middle Eastern groups from European groups, seniors from youth, etc.Cartesian trigger-puppets

    I do not understand your example. Are you referring to the fact that the basic sense of gender differs from one ethnic group to another?
  • Agent Smith
    7.6k
    Gender is meaningless i.e. there's no such thing as a male/female mind. :chin:

    Eureka! I propose The Mohini Test (named after the only female avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu) à la The Turing Test.

    You are to converse (mental task) with a person X via a computer. If you can't tell whether X is a man/woman from that alone, gender is (as the OP claims) meaningless.

    I routinely use señor/señorita, monsieur/mademoiselle, sir/madam (as the case may be) to address forum members. This suggests that people, minds to be more precise, pass The Mohini Test with flying colors. Of course this could be due to poor deductive skills, I'm not much of a thinker.
  • Cartesian trigger-puppets
    221


    Between all social groups including but not limited to ethnicity.
  • javi2541997
    2.2k


    Yes, I see your point. But why do you think there are differences between those groups towards the sense of gender?
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    Are you saying that identity is entirely free choice? Don't we portray ourselves to others in very specific ways precisely because there are standards for different kinds of identities? I can theoretically decide that my identity is all kinds of things but if it doesn't correlate with the expectations of others then I'm just going to be the only person who thinks that way. If I identify as incredibly attractive but I'm not, or as a particular ethnicity that I'm not, or I view myself as a badass but I don't train or exercise whatsoever, isn't that just me being delusional? If identity was simply whatever people thought of themselves, then there shouldn't be any problem, as nobody can force someone to stop describing themselves in a certain way.

    The issue is whether others accept the identity you choose, and the question here is the legitimacy of a choice to determine one's own gender or what the prerequisites for being able to make that choice are. We definitely have at least some, gender isn't meaningless because it's recognizable, otherwise nobody would care about being a particular gender in the first place.


    As you surely know, one of the problems with the "non-binary" idea is the role of gender in English. It's not just pronouns, many words have male/female variations that we commonly use. To speak everyday English requires us to identify people as male/female, and use the appropriate pronouns and language. Often, people who are non-binary don't want to be either gender, they want to be referred to using gender-neutral terms and pronouns, which requires careful word selection that is fairly unnatural to people, considering it is very rare to interact with someone who considers themselves non-binary.

    Besides that, many concepts in society are gendered, such as how areas, activities or services are designated for the exclusive use of a singular gender. Cultural and social expectations are different based on gender, as are many different types of ideas. The vast majority of people do fit into one of the two gender categories, which partly explains why so many things are organised by gender. I'm not saying it has to be that way, just that it is.

    Our language and organisation could be less gendered than it is, but so long as it is so gendered, it is impossible to argue that gender is "meaningless". If one is indifferent to their gender classification or agrees with it, then it's not too much of an issue. The difficulty is for non-binary people who resent being categorised by gender, preferring gender-neutral language and gender-neutral treatment. Who resent gender-specific norms or cultural or social expectations, and so on, because now this entire system has become problematic.

    I agree that gender characteristics normally ascribed to one gender can be exhibited by someone of the opposite gender and that this shouldn't be a problem. However, it is wrong to say that there is no correlation between one's gender and one's sex. We know that there are many psychological and behavioural differences between the sexes and this has been proven in many different fields. Most people are comfortable with their gender being defined by their sex. Most people take no issue with their gender correlating with their sex precisely because of this correlation, it is a minority who don't. This difference is not just socially manufactured, it is the naturally occurring difference between men and women. I think it is wrong to try to force people who don't fit into these categories perfectly to do so, and that people should be allowed to express themselves without feeling hindered by gender norms. That's what we've been moving towards, and I think it's great.

    Gender is a significant part of our language, culture and the way in which we organise our society. It's part of how we understand people and part of how we think. There is a small percentage of people who are non-binary, who did not easily fit into either category as most do. Based on all these things, leaving aside the issue of what should be or could be, and despite being imprecise, gender is definitely not meaningless.
  • Moliere
    2.3k
    Are you saying that identity is entirely free choice?Judaka

    No.

    I'm saying that no one owns a person's identity other than the person whose identity it is. You nor I get to say who Susan or Ryan are. They get to say who they are. And they are the ones who get to say whether they were right, wrong, or somewhere in-between when it comes to their own identity.

    The issue is whether others accept the identity you choose, and the question here is the legitimacy of a choice to determine one's own gendeJudaka

    "Choice" isn't the right language, as I say in the above. Identity, including gender-identity, is not about epistemic access or moral choices. You simply are not the one I'll consult when it comes to someone else's identity, and I wouldn't consult myself to understand your identity -- I'd ask and listen to you.

    And that is as it should be, whatever the point is.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    I agree that you're not going to be consulting me when it comes to someone else's identity, but you're not going to be consulting anyone at all. The negotiation for these definitions is much bigger than any one person. Identity is not synonymous with self-perception and you can't simply dictate to others what your identity is, you need to possess the qualities people agree the thing you're wanting to be identified has. If I identify as disabled but I'm not disabled in any way, you'll just accept that as part of my identity? If I tell you I identify as upper-class but I'm completely broke, you'll go forward thinking I'm part of the upper-class? It's one thing to say that gender should be an exception, however, you're arguing that identity as a concept functions on the basis of self-perception and that's just entirely false.
  • Moliere
    2.3k
    If I identify as disabled but I'm not disabled in any way, you'll just accept that as part of my identity? If I tell you I identify as upper-class but I'm completely broke, you'll go forward thinking I'm part of the upper-class?Judaka

    A thing about hypotheticals -- they aren't real. And when discussing the reality of personal identity I think that hypotheticals of the form which compares facts with judgments are wholly inappropriate. We don't go down to the identity-clinic where the trained psychologist runs a brain scan and hands us a paper which tells us who we are. Identity is not an object of scientific knowledge.


    A thing about identity -- even if I don't accept your identity, you can continue to identify in that manner. What I think is irrelevant to your personal identity because I don't "negotiate" your identity. Personal identity isn't some object of knowledge which a community of knowers debate which propositions are appropriate. Personal identity morphs and changes over time, and we frequently are saddled with parts of ourselves which other parts of ourselves would rather not were there.

    I may have a hard time believing such and such about a person (for whatever reason), but that doesn't mean that my beliefs are determinant of their identity.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    Do you accept that disabled status, class, appearance, ethnicity, language, hobbies, skills, occupations, culture, place of living, and way of living, are all valid identities that people have? My hypotheticals illustrate the absurdity of claiming that people can dictate to others what their identity is, without actually having the qualities of the thing you identify as, and having the view that others should go along with that. I'm not claiming that anyone can stop someone else from self-describing as possessing identities of course, anyone can claim anything. But it'd be absurd for you to completely hand over the reins to me to allow me to dictate to you how you should view me. You won't do that, you are going to think of me based on my actual characteristics as you perceive them. That doesn't make you objectively correct, it doesn't mean that I am as you see me. My identity includes things a range of things, some are objectively verifiable, like where I live or my occupation. Some things are more subjective, like whether I'm a good athlete or a kind person, but you are entitled to your opinions on those identities as well.

    If identity was just about what someone thought of themselves, gender identity wouldn't have anything to do with the pronouns other people use, what gender-exclusive areas someone can access, or whether someone could participate in a gender-exclusive activity. It's absolutely clear that gender identity includes how someone's gender is perceived by others. That applies to many different identities, because it's not just some form of self-perception, it has real-world, social, cultural, and economic implications. For gender identity, it's not about someone getting to decide what your "true" gender is, it's about the practical implications of being recognised and acknowledged as belonging to a particular gender. I have an expectation that others are going to treat me as a male because I identify as a male and look like a male, I've never encountered any situation where it's been an issue for me. I've never in my life had to tell anyone that I'm a male. For someone who does not appear to be male but identifies as male, they want the "male" identity that I have, they want others to treat them as a male. You telling them that they can call themselves a male and nobody can stop them doesn't help them at all. That's why ssu's question of "what does it mean to be a man or a woman" isn't resolved by explaining that people can just call themselves whatever they want. There needs to be a general discussion to understand this so that we can decide how someone who isn't biologically male could assume a "male" identity, what the rules are for that and how it might work etc.
  • Moliere
    2.3k
    But it'd be absurd for you to completely hand over the reins to me to allow me to dictate to you how you should view me.Judaka

    Why's that?

    For gender identity, it's not about whether someone getting to decide what your "true" gender is, it's about the practical implications of being recognised and acknowledged as belonging to a particular gender.Judaka

    For practical purposes, I'd say that for almost every part of one's personal identity we don't have to go about proving it to others. Notice your list:

    disabled status, class, appearance, ethnicity, language, hobbies, skills, occupations, culture, place of living, and way of living,Judaka

    These are aspects of one's social identity. I'd say that "identity" is not singular. When it comes to one's social designation, of course it matters what others say. When it comes to one's personal identity, no one owns that but the person whose identity it is. Necessarily, by the usage of language, our social nature is already imprinted upon our identifying ourself. But these social identities come from our personal identities. After all, disabled status wasn't a thing in the United States until the Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. It's not like everyone who was disabled suddenly became disabled after having the social recognition. It's just that people in the world "caught up" to the real facts of disability (itself a social designation only necessary due to our economic model being privitized, and some people not counting as "good enough" for the machine of capital to use, but they certainly would still like to live).

    There needs to be a general discussion to understand this so that we can decide how someone who isn't a male could assume a "male" identity, what the rules are for that and how it might work.Judaka

    Eh, I'd just say that you're the one whose mistaken on how these things work. After all, you say:

    I have an expectation that others are going to treat me as a male because I identify as a male and look like a male, I've never encountered any situation where it's been an issue for me.Judaka

    Might it be the case that people who have had to deal with being accepted might know a little more than someone whose always been accepted for exactly who they are and who never has to worry about proving who they are to others?
  • T Clark
    9.8k
    That's why ssu's question of "what does it mean to be a man or a woman" isn't resolved by explaining that people can just call themselves whatever they want. There needs to be a general discussion to understand this so that we can decide how someone who isn't biologically male could assume a "male" identity, what the rules are for that and how it might work etc.Judaka

    Good response.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    Why's that?Moliere

    Because it'd mean having no thoughts or opinions of your own in favour of just accepting and believing about me whatever I told you? And with that how you interacted with me and treated me? Isn't it clear why would be a problem?

    For practical purposes, I'd say that for almost every part of one's personal identity we don't have to go about proving it to others. Notice your list:Moliere

    That's a list of subjects that I purposefully picked because they have pretty clear-cut answers, I can easily provide a list of identities that do not have clear-cut answers, such as identities defined by having characteristics such as fashionable, cool, intelligent or belonging to group identities based on interests like being a "gamer" or being a "punk" or a "jock". You're really vastly underestimating how many different kinds of identities there are, not all of them are clear cut and some are quite contentious or hotly debated. And your choices in how you dress or act or what you do can impact whether others accept or reject how you self-identify.

    And yes, the "punk" identity did not exist before it was recognised, and someone who acted and dressed and did all the necessary things to be "punk" was not considered one before the identification existed which hapened when people agreed it did. That is how it works.

    How we treat people based on their identity also changes over time, partly because we discuss it. As an example, what it meant to be transgender or non-binary has changed dramatically in the last 10-20 years. And people are still discussing it and I expect there will be dramatic changes in the next 10 years also.

    Might it be the case that people who have had to deal with being accepted might know a little more than someone whose always been accepted for exactly who they are and who never has to worry about proving who they are to others?Moliere

    Lol, everyone has experienced people not seeing them the way they see themselves. Everyone is relevant to the question of gender identity even if their gender identity has never been an issue to them. Because everyone is involved in recognising and acknowledging and treating people differently based on their gender identity. The rules for how gender identity should be determined, how we need to treat people based on their gender identity, what people are allowed to do based on their gender identity and all these and other related questions impact everyone.
  • Joshs
    3.9k
    Might it be the case that people who have had to deal with being accepted might know a little more than someone whose always been accepted for exactly who they are and who never has to worry about proving who they are to others?
    — Moliere

    Lol, everyone has experienced people not seeing them the way they see themselves. Everyone is relevant to the question of gender identity even if their gender identity has never been an issue to them. Because everyone is involved in recognising and acknowledging and treating people differently based on their gender identity. The rules for how gender identity should be determined, how we need to treat people based on their gender identity, what people are allowed to do based on their gender identity and all these and other related questions impact everyone
    Judaka

    Molieire hit the nail on the head. There are participants in this forum who reflect a widespread cluelessness in the wider culture that we can be born with a gender identity that we didnt choose , but makes us feel like an outcast with respect to our peers. As a gay man , I experienced that sense of being different from most of my male peers growing up, and being treated by some as though I were different (‘gay’ acting). It wasnt until I met others in the gay community that I learned there were distinct gender categories beyond the male-female binary , as diverse as these may be within themselves, and in many cases one’s gender is inborn, and only the particulars of its expression are socially constructed. Those who never had reason to consider themselves different from their peers in terms of gender behavior in ways they could not control often deny that there is such a thing as inborn gender identity outside of the male-female binary, because they never experienced what it is like.
  • Joshs
    3.9k


    ↪Susu The 'indicators' of gender (clothes, accoutrements, tastes ) are available to all regardless of biological sex and often seem to me to be performance based. I generally avoid people who (to my taste) put too much time into their appearances, whether they present as male or female, mainly because in my experience it seems to be a harbinger of narcissistic tenancies (but not always). I guess this is a personal prejudice of mineTom Storm

    Yes, but performance in the sense of a purely socially constructed set of choices, or performance in the way that schizophrenia or Downs syndrone or adhd or Asperger’s is expressed as a set of behaviors with both inborn and cultural components? Would you agree that the assumption of inborn features of such psychiatric categories is useful, and if so , that perhaps also the acknowledgement of inborn features of both binary and non-binary gender, features that form categorizable patterns, is useful?
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    What does anything you just said have to do with my conversation with Molieire or anything I said? It just sounds like you're sulking about people disagreeing with you.
  • Joshs
    3.9k
    ↪Joshs
    What does anything you just said have to do with my conversation with Molieire or anything I said? It just sounds like you're sulking about people disagreeing with you.
    Judaka

    Do you agree with my post? I took you to be denying Moliere’s point that “ people who have had to deal with being accepted might know a little more than someone whose always been accepted for exactly who they are and who never has to worry about proving who they are to others.”
  • Moliere
    2.3k
    Isn't it clear why would be a problem?Judaka

    I don't think so. But, then, I don't think of personal identity like you do. I'm not looking to define these things in order to pass judgment on who counts as who. That's exactly what I'm advising against. So where you say

    You're really vastly underestimating how many different kinds of identities there are, not all of them are clear cut and some are quite contentious or hotly debated.Judaka

    I'm saying we ought not debate personal identity. It's not up for debate because to debate someone's identity is dehumanizing. It puts someone in the position of proving their own existence. How could someone possibly do that?

    So where you say:

    There needs to be a general discussion to understand this so that we can decide how someone who isn't biologically male could assume a "male" identity,Judaka

    I'm saying that's exactly what doesn't need to happen. For the most part, we treat others with enough respect that they know things about themselves a little better than I know about them -- this is especially the case with sensitive things, like religion, political affiliation, or sexual orientation. That's respectful of the person as a person. And that's what is important.

    what the rules are for that and how it might work etcJudaka

    The rules for determining someone's personal identity, usually, is to just ask them, and believe that they're in a better position than myself to ascertain such things. Further, even if I happen to believe otherwise, it's not my place to go about proving it -- After all, they're in a better position than myself to ascertain such things about themself, given they've always been around and I've only been around for however long but much less than always.

    The rules, I suggest, is to treat others with enough respect that they need not prove themselves. Asking for proof of someone else's personal identity is belittling -- it says to someone they are so ignorant that you know them better than they know themselves.

    Note that this doesn't mean that someone cannot be wrong about themself. It means that the rules we should concern ourselves with is how we actually treat people, and the best way to treat others, when it comes to them speaking on their personal identity, is to respect them. For a discussion to take place, respect first has to be in place. And if we're asking people to prove who they are, then respect isn't really in play. Then we're trying to prove things, or show how I was right or wrong when this is wholly other to how we actually build relationships.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    People with nothing but a stereotypical experience of gender make up the norm, we have a right to be part of the conversation about gender identity as it impacts us and involves us. We have the right to think and evaluate the evidence and form our own opinions despite never having and never being able to experience being non-binary. People are capable of having a non-binary view of gender without experiencing it for themselves. If someone has a binary view, it's not just because they have never experienced it, all the reasons that generally apply to why people think what they think applies to this particular belief as they would any. Also, I don't think you're reiterating any point Molieire made.

    I'm sure you deny the existence of all manner of things you've never experienced before. Obviously, you don't deny the existence of things you've experienced because you've experienced them. So I'm struggling to see the sense in telling people about how the things they don't believe in, they didn't experience. I agree with your post but I don't agree with posting it.
  • Joshs
    3.9k
    We have the right to think and evaluate the evidence and form our own opinions despite never having and never being able to experience being non-binary. People are capable of having a non-binary view of gender without experiencing it for themselves.Judaka

    Ah, but you’re not strictly ‘binary’. That is, I subscribe to the view that we all occupy unique positions on a gender spectrum. What we call the gender binary is an abstraction or idealization resulting from an averaging that flattens all the individual differences. What it shows is that there are large groups that fit into categories like male and female gendered (or effeminate gay or butch lesbian) even though such categories are not an exact fit for any actual person.

    More importantly, I view individual gender as a mixture of inborn and cultural features. The inborn features to me are the most fascinating, because they consist of a neural organization that I call a perceptual-affective style
    This style globally , but often subtly, affects behavior including bodily comportment , speech pronunciation , sexual attraction, posture, emotions and many other aspects of our engagement with the world.
    What being born with a sharply different gender than one’s same-sex peers can teach one (but it isn’t guaranteed to do so) is that all of us ( not just the ‘non-binary) are behaviorally shaped in this global fashion, all of us have a perceptual-affective gender style unique to us but usually close enough to those of our same-sex peers that it is invisible to us. When it is no longer invisible to us , due to a sharp enough difference in our gendered behavior with respect to our same-sex peers, we are given an opportunity to notice the way that gender sweepingly affects human behavior in general. Of course, one does t need to be different in this way in order to come up with such insights, but it certainly helps.

    Also, I don't think you're reiterating any point Molieire madeJudaka

    I think my point about the uniqueness of individual gender agrees with Moliere’s ( perhaps for slightly different reasons) about the advisability of letting each individual publicly define their own gender. And it agrees with his assertion( again for slightly different reasons, and specifically with regard to gender) that the person who has had to deal with challenges to having their gender behavior accepted might come to know a little more about the nature of gender than someone who never was accused of behaving in a gender-nonconforming way.
  • Judaka
    1.3k

    I don't think so. But, then, I don't think of personal identity like you do. I'm not looking to define these things in order to pass judgment on who counts as who. That's exactly what I'm advising against. So where you sayMoliere

    Do you agree that characteristics are part of someone's identity? Even things like being good-looking or intelligent can be part of one's identity. Do you make your own decisions about how good-looking people are or do you ask them to tell you what to think? Not only would that be strange and silly but it'd also be totally impractical. We have to actively demonstrate to others our identity by our actions, dress, words and the information we give them. How many people have you even had conversations with where they dictate to you all their various identities? Does it take hours?

    I'm saying we ought not debate personal identity. It's not up for debate because to debate someone's identity is dehumanizing. It puts someone in the position of proving their own existence. How could someone possibly do that?Moliere

    Because if anyone can be any identity then no identity even means anything anymore. If anyone can belong to a group because they say they do, without meeting any qualifications whatsoever, then being part of that group no longer means anything. I don't think you understand what you're saying, there's no way someone can go about life with the expectation that others are going to believe everything they believe about themselves. My talents and skills make up a big part of who I am, of my identity, but I don't expect people to believe I have those skills or talents without having given any proof that I have them. I don't feel dehumanized by people forming their own opinions about me, that's necessary for them to think. I might feel dehumanized by people saying I can't have my own opinions and that I need to believe whatever they tell me.

    The rules, I suggest, is to treat others with enough respect that they need not prove themselves. Asking for proof of someone else's personal identity belittling -- it says to someone they are so ignorant that you know them better than they know themselves.Moliere

    If you want to be viewed to have or be of a particular characteristic then in most circumstances, you need to demonstrate that you have it. Sometimes people will give you the benefit of the doubt, it depends on the context. People put great effort to display their gender identity, would your advice be that they shouldn't need to do that? They shouldn't need to dress, act or speak in a way that communicates their gender. Instead, they should just explain to every single person they meet what their gender is. That's so impractical! That's why people demonstrate it through other means, and why explaining it to others will never be an alternative to that.

    I really want to emphasise this, your proposal is completely impractical. When I say prove, I don't mean by providing a logical argument and laying out the evidence. We do it without words, we demonstrate it. Gender identity is communicated in less than a second, and only in exceptional or rare circumstances will there ever be a conversation about it. How can you make this process redundant by just asking people to believe what others say about themselves? Even if everyone agreed that it was the right thing to do, it couldn't be done.
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