Maxine's Journal

Adventures of the Polka-Dotted One

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How to Be Trans-friendly and Subvert Crummy Gender Roles at the Same Time, in Five Easy Steps!
Highlighted as found hidden at the bottom of this article: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/genderpalooza_a_sex_gender_primer

It's very cool that there are resources like this available to kids now. Makes me that little bit more hopeful for a future where everyone is reasonable, happy and well-adjusted.

How to Be Trans-friendly and Subvert Crummy Gender Roles at the Same Time, in Five Easy Steps!

1) Try not to assume someone’s gender identity only based on appearance or behavior. Call others what they want to be called, identify them as they want to be identified, and find that out by either asking or listening attentively for their own cues. Many women don’t like being called “Miss, Ladies, Honey or Ma’am.” Some people don’t dig gender identifiers at all, and just like to be called their names. When in doubt as to someone’s gender or how someone prefers to ID, just ask.

2) Turn the switch in your brain that makes you say things like “All men are jerks,” or “Women just want money,” or “She looks/acts/sounds like a boy.” There are NO sex or gender absolutes, and the less we fall for or support them, the less power they have to keep everybody down.

3) Nix staring and whispering. When someone looks or acts in a way which you think is incongruent to their sex or gender, check yourself out. Think about WHY you think that way, where those ideas come from, and if it’s reasonable or positive. Take a few minutes to wonder how much the criteria you’re thinking about even matters. It’s okay to be curious or confused and to ask respectful questions. What’s not cool is making someone else feel unsafe, insulted or demeaned because you’re uncomfortable with your own lack of knowledge or understanding (or insecure about your own gender identity).

4) Be a gender outlaw. If there’s something in your school that is unfairly closed to a given sex, gender or gender identity, that is based on gender appearance, that excludes others on the basis of sex or gender when it just isn’t reasonable or fair, question it. If in your relationships, you have a partner who is clearly holding you to a gender role or status that isn’t okay with you, or which you aren’t interested in meeting, speak up. Challenge sex and gender issues directly when need be, and gather your forces to do so. Write letters. Engage discussion and awareness. Be visible. Don’t accept gender norms, roles or status at face value (even if they are just fine for you): question.

5) Work on tolerance and compassion. You don’t have to agree with someone or understand where they’re at to be kind, humane, accepting and fair. Imagine yourself walking a mile in another person’s shoes, including the blisters you’d wind up with in their heels.

Read the entire article

Thanks to blazingrowan for posting the link on facebook.

Update on my easter weekend coming soon.

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Grin! It's a fabulous website, full of excellent articles (and her homepage is rather good too - some great photography and writings.) It's heartening to see that loads of adult websites nowadays link to it on their front page ('under 18? Go here'). Mainstream sexuality educators in the UK could learn loads from the ideas there :)

All good stuff, most people never even consider their gender identity so nudging at self-contemplation would help many to not behave in a bigoted fashion.

I keep thinking of a conversation with an ex when it comes to stuff like this:
Him - Is that a man or a woman
Me - does it matter?
Him - yes
Me - Why?
Him (irritated) - it just does, ok?

Re point 3, my standard response to sniggering and pointing when people can only see me as a boy in a dress is "Your behaviour says more about you than it does about me."

Excellent post, thank you :-)

Edited at 2010-04-08 08:59 am (UTC)

Great article! I keep these points in mind until they become my natural way of thinking.

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