THE ORIGIN AND SUMMARY
This discussion refers back to The Ten Normal Genders and the Seven Variations (link opens in new tab), and assumes that you have read it.
If you haven’t, it’s long, but I’ve done my best to keep it clear and organized, and you’ll understand the reason for THIS post much more clearly if you’ve read that one.
If you haven’t and are short on time, here’s the short summary: I posit that there are ten normal genders in the human species, that these genders (and their seven add-ons) are a part of our being a generalist species, and that all ten of them AND the seven add-ons are absolutely critical to the long-term survival of our species.
I am now going to present the argument that it will be worth the time and effort of all the folks who are members of genders currently located on unpopular parts of the gender slider to stop fucking around “reclaiming words” and having Gay Pride marches, and get involved in funding the science to prove that all the points on the slider are normal and necessary, and that the people who inhabit these points don’t NEED to be reclaimed or fixed.
INDIVIDUAL rights belong to all individuals and trump all other rights (because if the individual has no rights, then there are no rights)—and nowhere in the word individual is there an exception that makes it okay for rights or lives to be suspended, destroyed or denied because of normal and species-necessary variations in gender that are present from birth.
Legitimacy and acceptance do not come from protests or from trying to make pejorative words like “queer” and “dyke” okay.
Legitimacy and acceptance come from doing really good science, and from proving that:
- Gender orientation is present from birth.
- Genders are not a single “correct” binary (all one kind of straight male and all one kind of straight female) with broken deviations: they are instead a fluid continuum that operates like a slider, with infinite individual variations that can be classified into a double handful of larger groups, and more and more finely into smaller subgroups.
- Gender variations, like other advantageous genetic recombinations, are necessary to the survival of our species.
- Gender is not political. Gender is scientific.
- Gender is not religious. Gender is scientific.
- Gender is not changeable, or “fixable.” Gender is correct for the individual from the instant of birth, and does not need to be fixed.
- Gender is not perversion. The perversions:
…can be proven to be different from gender because where gender variables introduce a long list of benefits to the species (discussed in Ten Normal Genders), perversions are invariably harmful and destructive, both on an individual and a species-wide level.
The world has changed, and the opportunity for individuals to pursue big science (rather than having big science co-opted by corporations pursuing vast profits, or universities pursuing the political or profit agendas of their funders) has come of age.
THE CALL TO ACTION
So here’s my idea.
Find legitimate, qualified scientists interested in finding out the truth about gender variations who understand that for the science to hold up, the politics on ALL sides of the table have to be set aside.
Funding for science is getting cut to hell everywhere: I guarantee there are some good biologists and geneticists and other researchers who are out of work now, and who would be interested in working on this project as a series of studies.
For this to stand, there can be no foregone correct conclusions—there can be the hypothesis (and I’ve offered my seven-point hypothesis above, but people with more and deeper science than I have can create a better one), but the hypothesis has to be tested and PROVEN, point by point.
And when we find these legitimate, qualified scientists, we set up some form of crowdfunding—whether on Kickstarter or elsewhere, and WE—the people who give a shit about the rights of the individual, and who want to see every human being given the opportunity to say, This is who I am, and have both the words to say it without having to dance around pejoratives, and have the proof to back it up—WE pay for the science.
WE pay for the pursuit of knowledge, we pay for the objective research that will prove the truth that human beings are individual and different—and that every single one of us on this planet is different from birth. And that this is normal, and necessary, and good.
We do this so that every one of us on every point of the slider can stand together and, with proof in hand, together say—not just for ourselves but for the people we loved who suffered persecution for who they were, who suffered the criminalization of their inborn and normal desires to love other consenting adult human beings and to be loved in return; who died never having had the chance to live in a world that saw them not as dykes or fags or freaks, but as healthy fellow human beings, “We are human, we are individual, we are different, and we are normal.”
I welcome your comments.
Holly, let me tell you a story. A foster child of mine had a little boy five years ago. However genetically he wasn’t quite connected properly. He had a penis and it presumably would have worked during sex, but the baby peed like a girl. Apparently this is not so unusual. The doctors went thru a battery of tests with this infant to make sure he was a “he”. Then they reconnected his penis to the proper tube, so he didn’t do anything different than any other little boy. And they closed up the I properly place hole. He’s fine now, but in your universe, would they have left him alone, or done what they did? Just wondering.
Missed this ages ago.
This — the real world that I live in — is my universe. I’m not positing this situation for fiction, anymore than the worldbuilding article I did for the fiction (Longview stuff, I think, but maybe Cadence Drake) I was writing at the time was all made up. That is my best extrapolation of how human biology actually works, based on the real-world evidence of how people actually are.
And while genetic testing might have revealed the kid was a kid with mosaic DNA who was both a boy and a girl, and while the kid might grow up to wish he had both a penis and a vagina, that’s simply one of those things that cannot be guessed correctly in the moment when a decision has to be made.
Parents do the best they can with what they know at the time. And sometimes no matter what they do, they’ll get it wrong.
There’s an episode on The Orville about this situation that’s well worth watching.
The problem with your hypothesis is the underlying assumption that people will listen to what science tells us. This affects all ends of the political spectra. Certain conservatives have become (in)famous for saying, “I’m not a scientist” and using that for a justification for ignoring what science tells us. An example from the other end of the spectrum is the ongoing fears about GMOs despite all the science telling us there is little to fear.
Hi, Hugh. I don’t actually think that the people who loathe science will listen. They don’t dare listen to anything, because their position (the position of holding their fingers in their ears and screaming “I can’t hear you!”) is utterly untenable and unsupportable if they do.
I do think that, if we have the language of science brought to bear on this issue rather than the languages of emotion, politics, and protest, it will become easier for the people who are undecided to see this as legitimate, and worth their consideration, their involvement, and their action.
When the only voices you hear are people shouting, if you are not swayed by shouting and unreason, you move away.
If you are a human being who seeks reason, then reason will bring you closer, and allow you to hear more.
I think mostly the evidence is already there, at least for gay and bisexual people; a long series of studies have proven that a) desires are innate and b) trying to change someone’s inborn desires, rather than succeeding, traumatizes them. And I’m open to being proven wrong, but I don’t see that many other persecuted genders.
I do love the idea of crowdsourcing science, though. Not just new inventions (which are already huge on Kickstarter) but genuine science.
For the complex genders, as opposed to the simple genders, choice exists. Choice to say, “I am attracted to all genders, but why make my life hell by admitting it?”
A pan-gendered individual can express only part of his sexuality and still live a reasonably satisfied life.
Someone whose gender orientation is uni/same, on the other hand, has the unenviable options of pretending to be who he is not, and being miserable, or admitting who he is, and risking persecution.
It is the fact that pan-gendered folks DO have options, with living partway in the closet being both relatively simple and risk-free (if not fully satisfying) that makes me suspect there are significant numbers of them.
I admit to believing the hypothesis as stated. Unfortunately, I also agree that Betty Z. has a valid point. Humans, whether Americans or others, keep their boundaries of difference out of fear and a need to feel either in control of or superior to those unlike themselves.
Fear is an irrational. It’s an emotion, after all. Science seldom affects a human as directly or deeply as fear. Without a unique driver to push the understanding home, like a nail into the brain, all the science in the world, regardless of the funding source, won’t come out on top.
Fear and greed seem to control humans in this century. If scientists can break that cycle, getting the point across about genders would be a snap. JMHO
I support the idea of a scientific study — certainly it wouldn’t hurt anyone (and it might convince a few) — but I’m feeling sort of iffy as to your reasoning.
Gender might not be inherently political, but people engage with it as if it were. While scientific studies into proving the necessary nature of gender differences wouldn’t harm anyone, I don’t think science would necessarily sway the deeply conservative. After all, there are those who still deny evolution, who still refuse to become vaccinated, despite all the science.
People discriminate to assert themselves in comparison (women are not as capable of doing these jobs), as a way to form boundaries between “them and us” (migrants stealing all the jobs) and often out of a deep seated fear or the need to find acceptable targets for their anger. These causes are inherently political.
Which is not to say “gay pride movements” are necessarily a solution either since it only serves to again form a defensive “them vs us” mentality. It’s a little ridiculous to feel proud of a sexuality; I’m straight, but I don’t see it as a point of pride.
Scientific studies would only convince those “on the fence” so to speak, rather than those who need to be convinced most, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.
On one hand I’m surprised more has not been done in the crowdfunding arena. Then again, I have two theories why it has not.
First, it’s a new idea and very different from the established grant writing process. If this is the reason, things can change.
The second is there are a significant number of people in this “industry” who don’t care what the science really says. They just want the political impact they can gain from causing a ruckus. Think Jesse Jackson and his ilk for Civil Rights. Those guys make a fortune from racism. I’m thinking there are people in the Gay Pride arena somewhere making a fortune on the hubbub they can cause politically and socially. Otherwise, they would have pressed for less emotionally charged things to obtain the equivalent legal rights.
I suspect you’re right on both counts.
What could make this fly is having a quiet majority of folks who:
1) don’t comfortably fit in the binary gender model, but who have been managing to live their lives as normally as they can in spite of this,
2) who have no desire to make themselves part of the marchers, protesters, and media seekers, but who…
3) still want to win the rights granted to other human beings,
4) and who want to do it not by joining the circus, but by proving their case as calm and reasoned adults.
I do believe crowdfunding is a superb idea. I’d be interested to see what ethical review boards think about it. I believe it’s ethical, but it’s an area not specifically covered up until now, so I’m sure they’re going to need to devise guidelines (which will need to be prominently posted or at least posted in the crowdfunding package).
Science has gone off the reservation over the last twenty years and needs to get back on track. There’s been far too much political mumbo jumbo injected.
I don’t know any biologists or geneticists, but I would ABSOLUTELY donate to a crowdfunding project for this research. And I participate in drug trials and other studies for cystic fibrosis, so I could ask the people running those projects if they know any scientists who would be interested in this kind of research. What types of scientists do we want to recruit?
Forgot to say that this somehow reminds me of Joss Whedon’s Equality Now speech that he gave when he received an award from them. I’m sure I’m misquoting, but I remember one thing he said about how equality is the natural way of things and that the world is not in balance so long as women are being denied their human rights. After we do this research on gender, it would be interesting to see if there was any way to do real scientific testing about gender equality, and whether or not we could actually prove that society benefits from people being treated equally. And maybe there are already studies out there that show this, but if there was some way to get it more mainstream maybe that would be helpful?
I don’t know, I’m rambling 🙂
If research on this turned up anything that fits my hypothesis, gender equality would stop being a binary issue.
As for equal treatment…equal rights and the application of those rights under the law are absolute necessities.
But no two people on the planet are equal in fact.
People should not be treated as equals in fact, or the ones who are dropped into jobs for which they are not smart enough will kill people out of ignorance and incomprehension, and the ones who are dropped into jobs for which they are not strong enough will end up crushed and dead.
Two examples from a potential list of infinite length.
I’ve contacted two top scientists in the field of gender research, and one PHD with significant experience in the field, and have asked all three for recommendations.
Whether I’ll hear back or not is a question: I aimed high in all three cases.
We’ll need folks who can develop unbiased surveys. Folks who can interpret the data.
And at the point where data suggests there is something worth pursuing past the points of anecdotal evidence, folks capable of doing original research:
The fields that suggest themselves as possible to me would be:
broad biology, perhaps looking into potential correlations in great apes
Beyond that, I don’t know.
I never heard back.