The Facts Behind Gender Pronoun Activism — My Latest for Splice Today

There’s a festering debate about whether cisgender people can talk about transgender issues. I believe cis people should have the same free speech rights as me, and cis people should talk about transphobia with other cis people. However, when it comes to explaining what it means to be trans and gender nonconforming, it’s best to leave that up to trans and gender nonconforming people themselves. If not, one ends up with Andrew Moody’s latest Splice Today article “The Truth Behind Gender Pronoun Activism.” Despite what the title claims, the facts reveal that the so-called “truth” is anything but.

In the first paragraph, Moody equates being a trans woman with rape and that being trans is a mental illness. While anyone can be a rapist, including trans women, statistics show that trans women are more likely to be raped than they are to rape anyone else. Also, while the DSM-V does include gender dysphoria, it doesn’t say that being trans is a mental disorder. Instead, gender dysphoria describes the anguish and distress trans people experience when there’s an “incongruence between a person’s gender identity, sex assigned at birth, and/or primary and secondary sex characteristics.” If being trans was a mental disorder, why does the American Psychological Association say trans people “are more likely to experience positive life outcomes when they receive social support or trans-affirmative care” instead of conversion therapy?

Read the rest here.

I Can Only Take You So Far — My Latest for Splice Today

As a bisexual genderqueer person in a world where sexuality and gender are still seen as strict binaries of gay/straight and man/woman, I had some explaining to do when first coming out. I love educating people most of the time. That’s why I write about sexuality and gender for various websites, talk about those issues on my Bi Any Means Podcast, and did a presentation on non-binary gender identities at last year’s American Humanist Association conference. I lost count of how many people have walked up to me at conferences and sent messages thanking me for what I do, so apparently I’m doing something right.

However, sometimes people treat me as not just a source of information, but the ultimate source of all things LGBTQ rights. For example, a few years ago a Facebook friend messaged me and asked what I meant when I said I was genderqueer. I explained it to her, and she seemed to get it, but then she started asking about asexuality and pansexuality. It probably wasn’t her intention, but I got the impression that she expected me to educate her about all the letters in LGBTQIAA. I wanted to scream, “Google is free!”

Read the rest here.

In Defense of Gender Neutral Pronouns – My Latest for Splice Today

My Splice Today colleague Chris Beck wrote about how polarizing Jordan Peterson is, and I want to highlight what first put Peterson in the public spotlight: his refusal to refer to transgender students by gender neutral pronouns. In 2016, Peterson released a series of YouTube videos in which he railed against political correctness, specifically how, according to him, Canada’s C-16 bill would throw him in prison for not referring to trans students by gender-neutral pronouns. Most legal experts disagreed with his assertion, Parliament passed the bill, and Peterson hasn’t been arrested since.

The reason why he’s so adamantly against gender-neutral pronouns is, according to a televised debate, he thinks they’re “the constructions of people who have a political ideology” and “an attempt to control language… by force.” Peterson also claims that while the singular they has been used on occasion, it has never been used as a replacement for he or she.

The truth is more complex than Peterson’s talking points. Technically all language is constructed. All words are made up. I don’t know the exact origin of human language (although this neat little pamphlet from the Linguistic Society has some speculations), but do know that as new ideas develop, words are created in order to express those ideas.

Read the rest here.

(So far no trolling from Peterson fanboys yet.)

My Silence Will Not Protect Me — My Latest for Splice Today

Puberty was not kind to my voice. Instead of growing deeper like all the other boys, I sounded like Steve Urkel, which made everything I said hilarious to my classmates. Someone would ask me for the time, and then laugh as I squeaked out “11:30.” I told them to stop, but that only made them laugh more, so I decided the best way to survive high school was to stay silent.

There was one problem: my silence wasn’t protecting me. Every day the other kids would laugh and yell “faggot” because they somehow knew I was queer and trans before I did. They saw my sashaying hips and limp wrist and appointed me the official school punching bag. I wore baggy clothes to hide the scars on my arm; bright red screams that expressed what I was too afraid to say. I didn’t have the language to express my worth and dignity as a human. The B in LGBT was just a footnote back then, and the T was only for people who wanted surgery, so I didn’t feel like I was queer or trans enough to come out.

Read the rest here.

A State of Contradictions — My Latest for Splice Today

In front of the Talbot County courthouse in Easton, MD are two monuments. The first is a statue of Frederick Douglass, the great civil rights leader born right here. The second is a memorial of the Talbot Boys, members of the community who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War. These are monuments commemorating the legacy of a man born into bondage, who was viciously beaten for learning how to read, who eventually escaped from his shackles, and who dedicated the rest of his life to liberty and human rights, and another dedicated to the memory of those who fought to keep men like Douglass in shackles. To know Maryland is to understand the symbolism of these two monuments standing side by side.

Read the rest here.

My Top Five Favorite Bowie Albums — My Latest for Splice Today

David Bowie gave all the Jean Genies of the world permission to let themselves go and be their true kooky selves. For the two-year anniversary of his passing, here are my top five favorite albums of his.

5). Earthling (1997)

Electronic dance music (EDM) was inescapable in 1997, so Bowie took the opportunity to reinvent himself once again for a new audience. The result is his most underrated album. From the drum-and-bass rhythm of “Little Wonder” to the industrial rock paranoia of “I’m Afraid of Americans,” Bowie proved he could survive pop cultural natural selection by adapting to the evolving musical landscape.

4). Station to Station (1976)

By the mid-1970s, Bowie removed the make-up and dresses for good, and introduced the world to a brand new persona: the Thin White Duke, a “very Aryan, fascist type; a would-be romantic with absolutely no emotion at all but who spouted a lot of neo-romance.” This character was less sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll, and more cocaine, Hitler, and the occult. But even out of this chaos, Bowie was able to create the dancing star known as Station to Station, a synthesis of the American soul music of Young Americans and his follow-up Berlin trilogy. Highlights on this album include the funky “Golden Years,” the soft “Word on a Wing,” and the haunting epic title track.

Read the rest here.

This will probably be my only ST article for this week because I’m working on two articles for Ravishly, two interviews for the Bi Any Means Podcast, next week’s episode of the Biskeptical Podcast, and my portion of the workshop I’m co-leading at this month’s Creating Change conference.

This Week On Splice Today: Social Dysphoria and “Western Values”

Almost forgot to share what I wrote for Splice Today last week.

On Tuesday I wrote about how being a non-binary trans person in a gender binary world totally sucks.

And then yesterday I wrote about how human rights should be universal, not just “Western Values.”

Enjoy!

(BTW, since I mostly write for venues other than FtB, I’m not sure what the future for this blog will be in the near future.)