Bi Any Means Podcast #110: WTF is Genderqueer? – My Talk at #ahacon2017

Today’s the day you’ve all be waiting for. The American Humanist Association finally released the video for my “WTF is Genderqueer” talk, and today’s episode is the audio from that. I’ll include the video below for those who want to see it as well.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #110: WTF is Genderqueer? – My Talk at #ahacon2017” on Spreaker.

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ICYMI, Three Recent Splice Today Articles I Think You All Will Appreciate

As you may or may not know, I recently started writing for Baltimore-based website Splice Today which covers politics, art, and culture. Here are three recent articles I wrote for them that I think y’all might like:

Fear Builds Walls: How Pink Floyd’s The Wall Predicted Trump

Gender Dysphoria as a Still, Small Voice (It’s pretty emotionally raw, so discretion is advised)

The Failure of Classical Liberalism (Oh boy, this is gonna piss off the Free Speech Warriors!)

So yeah, hope you like them.

A Dream Come True–My Guest Spot on This Week’s Everyone’s Agnostic Podcast

One of my favorite podcasts is Everyone’s Agnostic where every week Cass Midgley and Bob Pondillo interview people about their deconversion stories. I always wanted to be on their show, and a few weeks ago I got my wish. Our discussion is now online, and you can listen to it here.

Between Fear and Bravery: Being Queer in a Small Town — My Latest Bitopia Article

Two strangers pass each other in Target. One is an old man pushing a shopping cart, and the other is wearing Revlon candy-apple lip butter, a black t-shirt that says “Proud to be Genderqueer and Bi,” baby blue nail polish, women’s capris, and women’s flip-flops. The two exchange glances. The old man keeps looking, not knowing what to say, while the other looks back and thinks two things: “That’s right, go ahead and say something” and “please don’t stare at me, sir.”

That sums up being a bisexual AMAB genderqueer person living in a small town. I walk the line between being out and proud, and secretly wishing to run back inside the closet. Some days I want to walk down the street yelling: “Ask me about my pronouns!” Other days I just want to say: “Um, I just want to use this gender-neutral bathroom and go home.”

Despite all the recent progress made towards transgender equality in my home state of Maryland — the Fairness for All Marylanders Act of 2014 and the more recent transgender birth certificate law — it’s still hard for me to be an out and open queer person. Maryland is considered a blue state, but there are some areas that are quite red. For example, I live in a small town in Maryland’s Eastern Shore region. It’s a beautiful town full of art, culture and probably the best coffee shop in the world. And yet it’s still a small town, so when it comes to LGBTQ equality, the general attitude around here is: “I’m okay with it as long as I don’t have to see it.” Hence, the LGBTQ community is almost underground around here.

Click here to read the rest.

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Genderqueer Literature Review #1: Alternating Gender Incongruity

As you know, I’ll be speaking at this year’s American Humanist Association conference about what it means to be genderqueer/nonbinary. I’m currently doing research for my talk, and since most of the scientific papers I’m using aren’t available for the general public (or at least not for free), I’ve decided to do a literature review series for my blog summarizing these articles.

The first is a 2012 paper by Laura K. Case and Vilayanur S. Ramachandran published in Medical Hypotheses called “Alternative gender incongruity: A new neuropsychiatric syndrome providing insight into the dynamic plasticity of brain-sex.” In the study, Case and Ramachandran created an online survey posted in a group for people who identify as bigender. The study had a total of 39 participants, although they had to eliminate one participant for having Multiple Personality Disorder, and three for having Dissociative Identity Disorder. This was done, I assume, in order to rule out the possibility of confusing gender fluidity with something completely different.

According to the survey, 14 participants reporting involuntarily “switching” their gender identities daily, 9 said weekly, 6 said monthly, and 4 said several times a year. The study also reveals “21/32 bigender respondents reported experiencing phantom body parts and rated them as moderate in strength (mean = 2.9 on a scale of 1 = weak and 5 = very strong)” (627). Case and Ramachandran reiterate that these cases of gender fluidity and phantom body parts happen involuntarily, so it’s not just “wishful thinking” (628).

In conclusion, Case and Ramachandran theorize that being bigender–or as they refer to it in the report, “alternating gender incongruity (AIG)”–“to be a neuropsychiatric condition; we reject false dichotomies between so-called ‘‘neurological’’ and ‘‘psychological’’ conditions” (629). They also believe that studying bigender people can help us better understand the complexities of gender.

I should point out that, according to Gary Stix of Scientific America points out, Medical Hypotheses is a “controversial journal” that “only adopted a peer-review system in 2010.” Nevertheless, the article sheds a little bit of light on the Big Question that drive skeptics bananas: Is there a scientific cause for non-binary gender identities? We know there’s plenty of evidence suggesting one for binary transgender people, but so far (that I know of) none for non-binaries, hence the reason why so many skeptics scream, “There are only two genders, you special snowflake!” While this particular article doesn’t say either way, it speculates that there might be a scientific basis for non-binary gender identities.

What do you think?

Check Out My Speaking Debut At The 2017 AHA Conference!

Need something to look forward to in 2017? Well today I’m pleased to announce I’ll be making my conference speaking debut at the 2017 American Humanist Association conference!

My talk will be called WTF is GenderQueer? Here’s the elevator pitch:

Genderqueer is a relatively new term that everyone’s talking about, but very few people know about. Despite celebrities such as Ruby Rose and Miley Cyrus openly talking about being non-binary, several people believe it’s just something Tumblr invented to be hip and cool. This presentation will go over the basics of what it means to be genderqueer/nonbinary, all the terminology used, what gender therapists have to say, and how to be better allies for genderqueer people.

I don’t known it will be, but the conference will be held from June 8th to the 11th in Charleston, SC. You can book your ticket now.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna freak out from excitement and start busting my ass off putting the talk together.

Quick Update On Discovering My Gender Identity

Oh hai blog!

As you’ve probably noticed, I haven’t blogged since late October, and there’s a good reason for that: Stringing words together in a way that they form something coherent really takes a lot out of me. You would think as a writer, the words just naturally flow out of me. Nope! I’ve got so many thoughts going on in my head that if I tried to write them all down, I would make the biggest and messiest word salad of all time. Hence the reason why I’ve been focusing on the Bi Any Means and Biskeptical podcasts; I put so much creative energy into those shows that I hardly have enough leftover energy for blogging.

But I do want to give you all some good news.

I started seeing a gender therapist via Skype in October. After our first session, I wondered if maybe I was more gender-nonconforming than transgender since I didn’t have the textbook discomfort with my genitals during puberty (I still don’t). But the reason why I started seeing her was to figure out my gender identity, so I went with the flow. During our second session, though, I told her I was in my 20s when I first thought, “If I had a different anatomy, I’d probably feel a lot better about my body.” I also told her that while I don’t feel the need to take hormones or have surgery, I really want to get electrolysis for my body hair (which is quite a lot since part of my ethnic heritage is Italian).

My gender therapist said, “You’re definitely not cis. Cis men aren’t uncomfortable with their body hair. Cis men don’t look at beautiful women and want to look like them.”

So I’m not just a cis person appropriating trans language to make myself hip and cool! Oh thank you God That I Don’t Believe In!

Having said that, though, she said right now I’m over-analyzing things, and that right now I need to just live the questions like Rilke. She said eventually the answers will come from inside. I totally respect that, so we’re on a break from seeing each other for now.

Although my gender therapist believes I’m a trans woman, right now I still identify as genderqueer/a non-binary trans person. Yes, being born with a different anatomy would’ve probably made me feel better about my body, but I’m still not sure. Right now, though, I’m taking my gender therapist’s advice and just living the questions.

In the meantime, you can still call me Trav, and my pronouns are still they/them/their. Yes, that even includes you, Slymepitters!

Bi Any Means Podcast #75: Conversations with a Gender Therapist with Dara Hoffman-Fox

As seen on a Sussex Directories Inc site

My guest for today is gender therapist Dara Hoffman-Fox. Dara is a Licensed Professional Counselor, and is the author of the book “You and Your Gender Identity: A Guide to Discovery.” Dara also has a YouTube channel where Dara answers questions and gives advice. Today we’re going to talk about what it means to be a gender therapist, what the process is for discovering one’s gender identity, and general misconceptions about transgender people.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #75: Conversations with a Gender Therapist with Dara Hoffman-Fox” on Spreaker.

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travpod2

FYI, Jaclyn Glenn Still Sucks

So it’s been a year since the Jaclyn Glenn Plagiarism Scandal where we found out everyone’s favorite YouTube Atheist literally doesn’t say anything that hasn’t been said before by millions of other atheists. She, of course, apologized, and promised she was no longer “out for blood.”  So that means if you go to Jaclyn’s YouTube page, you’ll see better videos, right?

To quote Donald Trump, “Wrong!”

A few days ago Jaclyn made a video with Arielle Scarcella basically saying that there are only two genders, and that all non-binary identified people are just making up new words. Needless to say, people hated it, including Onision, who called out Jaclyn and Arielle for being two cis women talking over trans people’s experiences. Even though Onision is an asshole himself, he made some great points. While Arielle later apologized for her ignorance, Jaclyn got defensive and did the whole “You can’t call me transphobic because I have trans friends” bullshit.

That’s not how this works, Jaclyn. That’s now how any of this works!

I already wrote a blog post criticizing Shoe0nHead’s shitty “There are only two genders” video, so I don’t want to rehash everything I said. However, I will point out that most gender therapists recognize non-binary gender identities. Nicholas M. Teich does in his 2012 book Transgender 101. So do The Transgender Institute (through which I am currently seeing a gender therapist) and British gender therapist Christina Richards. In fact, earlier this year the International Review of Psychiatry published a peer-reviewed articles co-written by Richards that gives mental health professionals a quick rundown on what it means to be genderqueer. Here’s the money quote:

The DSM-5 … includes the diagnosis of gender dysphoria which explicitly recognizes that having a different gender is not a disorder (APA, 2013b) and crucially includes the criteria:

4. A strong desire to be of the other gender (or some alternative gender from one’s assigned gender)

5. A strong desire to be treated as the other gender (or some alternative gender from one’s assigned gender)

6. A strong conviction that one has the typical feelings and reactions of the other gender (or some alternative gender from one’s assigned gender). (APA, 2013 p. 452.)

Thus non-binary genders are recognized with the APA’s diagnostic taxonomy also.

You hear that, Jaclyn? The fucking APA!

It’s been said that every skeptic has they’re own blind spot, and I guess Jaclyn’s is her insistence that if you say any social justice buzzword, you’re automatically a stupid Tumblr Feminazi SJW. The sad part is I’ve met a lot of people like that. All’s not lost, though. I have a trans friend who is highly critical of the whole non-binary thing, but I sent her the link to the International Review of Psychiatry article, and she promised to read it, so if there’s a chance she can change her mind, maybe Jaclyn can as well.

Of course she is a YouTube Atheist, so who knows?