Sunday, December 7, 2008

Now With Your Choice of Gender!


I think we can all agree that we're pretty much doomed, right? OK, good. It's really just a matter of which country is going to be the trailblazer and lead the rest of humanity right down the crapper with them. And after reading an article from the good folks over at UPI, I'm nominating Australia. Good Lord, Australia. WTF?

For reasons that are still unclear to me, something that the Australian government calls the "Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission" seems to be hell bent on making a slight change to that little box on your passport where you check either 'Male' or 'Female'. Yeah, they want to add another option. Wait. What?

If you're thinking "There are no other options! There are only male and female!" well, you'd be right! But that wouldn't matter because you're not on the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission. They have distributed a paper which is titled: "Sex Files -- The legal recognition of sex:" Then there is a section which contains the "Proposed reform" which would entail "adding "intersex" to the recognized genders of male and female for use on passports and driver's licenses" of those who are transgender or transsexual. Oh, my God. WHAT THE HELL?!

Oh, hold on. It gets better! (Or worse. We're doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Doomed.) The paper reads in part: "Recognition of intersex: Persons who cannot or do not identify as either male or female would be able to choose to be identified on their birth certificate and passport as intersex." Cannot identify? Do not identify? With either male or female?! I'm sorry, when did this became a choice? I didn't get that memo. Is there more? I'd better sit down. And start drinking.

"A person who cannot or chooses not to undergo surgery would not be automatically ineligible to request a change in their legal sex." Huh? Oh, wait. The transgender one. Transgender is simply not identifying with the gender that you were born as, so there's no surgery involved with being a transgendered individual. But the transsexual, that is the one where the individual has undergone the surgical procedure to switch teams. So, just because you haven't had surgery or you don't want to have surgery (it seems like the morons who came up with this are presuming that everyone who doesn't identify with their current gender would like to get the surgery. I don't know if that's true. I haven't heard that, which doesn't make it false, but it seems to be quite an assumption without anything to back it up with.)

I cannot possibly be the only person who sees a problem with this. If you're just allowed to decide what you would like your gender to be, who is to say that it's going to be for the reasons for which this asinine program was intended for? You could just want to change your gender on all of your identifying documents (that mean anything) as a way of concealing your identity. Hey, and can you do this more than once? What if you change your mind again? They won't be able to stop you from changing it again, will they? You think identity theft issues are huge now? Just wait until there's a third freaking option for gender! Hilarity will not ensue.

Why, exactly, would someone who has had their gender surgically altered need (or want) to have a third gender category? I thought the purpose of having the surgery was to change your gender from one to the other. Thus, when you've changed it, you're not creating a brand new gender! You're simply joining the other team. Now you're one of them. So call yourself one of them, dammit! There's no need for a third category!

And guess what? I'd be right about that if you asked the spokeswoman for Sex and Gender Education Australia, a one Tracie O'Keefe. She'd agree with me that you can't have three categories. You need to have four. Wha....? Wait. Wait. Dammit, I said WAIT!!

According to those UPI guys (who should really consider keeping stories like this to themselves in the future. I'm not so sure that I need to be this well informed.) "...some transgender lobby groups said the proposed move would not go far enough (of course they did) and requested a fourth option, "other," be made available (of course they did) for those who would not fall under the "intersex" label because they believe their gender is indefinable or constantly changing. (Uh-huh.)"

Guess what? Just because you "believe" that your gender is "indefinable or constantly changing" that doesn't mean that it really is. It also doesn't mean that everyone else has to appease your belief about your self identification being controlled by the always spinning Wheel O' Gender. I can "believe" I speak French. But if you get me started in a conversation with someone who really can speak French, they will tell you that they don't care what I "believe" and that I cannot speak French (Which I can't. And I don't think I can. It was just an example. To highlight their idiocy. I like highlights. They brighten things.)

Aside from semantics, "other" is a rather broad term, don't you think? Dog? Cat? Rat? Pig? Frog? Horse? Fish? Lizard? Bunny? Yes, I realize all of those are animals, but I didn't have any more human examples once you discarded male and female! That's all there is! There isn't anything else! But some people seem to think there is, so I was just hoping maybe I'd get it if I just kept naming things.

The above mentioned Tracie O'Keefe (who, by the way, was a man, became a woman, married and divorced twice and is now happily living her life as a lesbian. So there.) said, "The AHRC proposal does not go far enough in providing legal status and social spaces by only allowing people to be male, female and intersex." And see, Tracie, this is where you and I are different because I think the AHRC proposal goes a bit too far. Do you not hear how ridiculous that sounds? "By only allowing people to be male, female and intersex." ONLY?!?! I'm a little surprised you're not pushing for a fifth option - None of the above! And why stop there? Go for a sixth option - All of the above!

But all of that aside, no one is "allowing" anyone to be anything! That's because you're not "allowed" to just choose your gender like you would choose what you're going to wear each day! Some things just are the way they are. Look, if you're a male and you surgically switch teams, I am perfectly OK with you calling yourself a woman. You know why? Because at that point, you ARE a woman! I'm not letting you "choose" to call yourself a woman. You ARE a woman! Why would you be advocating to call yourself something else?! I thought it was all about equality! By adding more genders to the mix that is already FULL with the two genders that are in there, you're not being very equal.

Seriously, what is so complicated about this with some of you folks? Why must everything be such an ordeal? Did you ever think that perhaps, just perhaps, you're spending WAY too much time worrying about what other people will call you or identify you as? Labels and names seem to have a much bigger presence in these issues than can possibly be healthy. My opinion? Y'all might want to worry less about how other people see you and instead focus more on how you see you. Once you're comfortable in your own skin (and don't feel like you have anything to prove to the rest of the world) it's a lot easier to relax about stuff.

Doomed. Doomed, I tell you. Wake up, Australia. Don't go there. Do not go there.


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Not sure why this bothers you so much, but if it does maybe you should talk to someone!

You might like to find out what the difference is between sex and gender. Intersex people have ambiguous sex organs, and it isn't at all clear, very often, what sex they are supposed to be. Very far from being a choice, we're talking about a medical disorder.

So what's the problem about the legal system of Australia, or anywhere else, recognising that there are intersex people in the world? It's not even as rare as all that, and these people have to lie where the only choices on the passport form are male and female.

In a world full of people like you, these intersex individuals have pretty agonising lives very often. So who are you to deny them some recognition? If you ever have children, one of yours could be one, and then what?

Transgender is a more difficult case to talk about because transgender folks are so diverse. Many are not at all sure what sex they should be, and just imagine the uncertainty of living in that state. Some don't fit cozily into the male and female slot, and fall somewhere else in the universe. I'm one, and am quite happy to be one, and am quite clear about it, and for me there's no question of changing my body, but not as simple as that for a transsexual. I don't see any problem about reconising them too. Who's going to die if that change in the law takes place:?

Live and let live, eh?