Author Topic: Is gender identity really a big issue.  (Read 3197 times)

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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Is gender identity really a big issue.
« on: August 30, 2011, 11:10:19 am »
I was thinking about making a post in THIS THREAD regarding this subject after some replies made to my post there, but I think it would derail the thread too much and would be more fitting to make this its own topic.

The short question I guess would be: Are gender identity issues something common (i.e. Having the parts of one sex, but feeling like another. Not having a gender identity, "I'm just me". etc.), or something over blown.

Here's my views on it. From my perspective, I don't think these are that huge of an issue in terms of the number of people that suffer. Don't get me wrong, I know some issues DO exist and have scientific evidence to back them up. I remember watching a story back before I got in the fandom that they did tests on people that felt they were the opposite gender than their body parts indicated. When the brains were examined after death, they found the brain itself to be built more like the person felt their gender to be. If you compare a male to female brain, there are physical differences attributed to each sex. So if a guy really felt he should be a woman, chances are his brain is built like a woman.

What got me when I joined the fandom is that I started noticing people being open about a lot of different gender orientations they claimed to have. A lot of it being stuff I hadn't heard of before, like I mentioned in that above thread. At first I was fine, doesn't mean we can't get along. Over time, it started to seem like everyone was claiming to have some sort of unique gender "quirk", for lack of a better term. That they felt they were something other than their body parts indicated and being simply a male or female was becoming more the rarity. More than just relatively simple male/female identity issues (not to be confused with playing as a character with a differing gender). I remember the first in thing to be was androgenous. Which to me, that just seems like you're cheating the other people that are looking for a male or female specifically and can't tell which you are. But now I've seen issues all over the map. Moreso than I believe to be honest issues.

Some of you probably already know that I can be cynical about some things, and over time, I have become so with this issue as well. Right now, I'm leaning towards this either being a bunch of misguided people that falsely self diagnosed (remember the Aspergers syndrom that everyone claimed to have recently?) or they were just trying to find a way to stand out as being more eclectic when they are just everyday ordinary males and females. I'm open minded for the most part, but I've seen the gender thing come up more often than I think reasonable. For those that honestly do have gender issues they are struggling with, this is not directed towards them and they have my sympathy. It's just that I'm starting to think the amount of people claiming to have said gender quirks is going to devalue the importance of those issues to those that are seeking real help. It would make a doctor more likely to think it's just another person crying wolf, IMHO. Heck for all I know, given the average age of the fandom, it could be nothing but what us old grey muzzles call "growing up."

I dunno, am I way off base here? In that other thread, I mentioned I never heard of a lot of the various gender issues until I joined the fandom but Arc said most people like that he knows are outside the fandom. I guess it's all in who you hang out with. On the other hand, usually when there is a real issue affecting a relatively large number of people, you start to see a lot of news reports on it from the mainstream press. I've seen and heard pretty much nothing on these kinds of issues from the mass media outlets I watch/listen to.
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Offline Fenny the Fox

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 08:16:21 pm »
I'm not sure I am the best to even field gender questions, since I essentially ignore it. At least when it comes to me personally. But I will try to give my opinion regardless:

I think, for the most part, it is more to do with roles and behaviors expected by society not matching up with the person in question than it does simply that person feeling they "are the wrong way for the body they were given". While that is clearly a part of it, I think the general lack of care and closed-mindedness of society on the issue is more of an issue than the personal aspect.

One can be both a male (sex) and not feel that one is male gender-wise (or whatever combination that applies to the person in question), and this is where "gender-identity" becomes a big deal.


That said, I do indeed fail to see why it is such a big deal to people. They should simply be who they are and not have to/not worry about society or other people knowing it. But that may just be me [and my personal aspect of the issue], I don't really know.

I for one don't feel I fit into any established (traditional or contemporary) 'gender'. I simply don't even feel like I have one, whatever it is. I don't claim to be neutral or ambiguous or opposite gendered [from my sex], I simply don't claim to have a gender at all.



I do feel it is likely more common than most people would assume, or will let on. Of course, within the fandom is a little bit of a skewed statistic, I am sure. Furries tend to be more open about such things (alternate sexualities/genders/lifestyles/anything, really). so it is likely that you would see it more than in a general population statistic.
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Offline Shim

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #2 on: August 30, 2011, 08:18:45 pm »
That said, I do indeed fail to see why it is such a big deal to people. They should simply be who they are and not have to/not worry about society or other people knowing it. But that may just be me [and my personal aspect of the issue], I don't really know.

I don't know if I could possibly agree with this statement more.

Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 09:16:56 pm »
That said, I do indeed fail to see why it is such a big deal to people. They should simply be who they are and not have to/not worry about society or other people knowing it. But that may just be me [and my personal aspect of the issue], I don't really know.

I don't know if I could possibly agree with this statement more.
I would agree with this as well, that it never has been a big deal for me. I know there are variants out there, but I'm simply male and do mostly male things. (My Little Pony exluded of course. :D ) The ironic thing is when people make a big deal out gender not being a big deal to them. As if they go out of their way to announce they don't care.

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Offline Mylo

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 09:33:21 pm »
Here's a thread I started a few months ago if you want to check it out or review...I was wondering the same thing, except I worded it a bit differently. 

Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 09:42:30 pm »
I remember seeing that thread, but never actually opened it up. I thought it was going to go in a different direction, which didn't really interest me. After glancing through it, I think that thread is more about sexuality than gender identity. So it's not really the same topic.
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Offline Mylo

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 09:45:54 pm »
I remember seeing that thread, but never actually opened it up. I thought it was going to go in a different direction, which didn't really interest me. After glancing through it, I think that thread is more about sexuality than gender identity. So it's not really the same topic.

True.
But it's somewhat the same concept...your personal preferences.

Offline Avan

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2011, 01:51:12 am »
For the record, there are a number of people (including me) who were in fact officially diagnosed with aspergers.
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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 03:13:04 am »
Continuing what I was saying in that other thread: I am me. What I'm getting at with that is not that I don't feel like I'm male or anything like that, but that I don't see why it should matter as much as society generally makes it. Unless someone is taking a sexual or romantic interest in someone else, then there are very few cases where it should matter at all. I also don't believe that males and females are really all that different. Other than physical differences of their bodies, there is almost nothing that separates the two; the range for pretty much any category you could choose to judge them on will overlap by a significant amount. The vast majority of so called differences between the sexes are completely a product of society.

For the record, there are a number of people (including me) who were in fact officially diagnosed with aspergers.
I was as well.

Offline Arc

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 03:14:57 am »
Quote from: Narei Mooncatt
but Arc said most people like that he knows are outside the fandom

I am a lady ;p

That said, I do indeed fail to see why it is such a big deal to people. They should simply be who they are and not have to/not worry about society or other people knowing it. But that may just be me [and my personal aspect of the issue], I don't really know.


That's a lovely idea in theory, but the sheer amount of discrimination trans* people tend to face is astronomical. A male-bodied person might identify as female, but if people can tell that they're male-bodied, life is going to be very very difficult for them.

To explain terminology now, sex is your physical body, what your chromosomes say, whereas gender is your mental state of being. To the average non-trans* male or female, their sex and gender match, but to a trans*-identified person, they do not.

To explain it from a transsexual's perspective, yes, it is a big deal. The best analogy I've heard is - the first fish says, "Gee, the water sure is cold today," while the second fish says, "What the hell is water?" The best way to explain it is that it's something that people don't tend to notice too much unless they have a problem with it. Many transsexuals have a lot of serious emotional and psychological stress related to their gender identity, since their body doesn't match who they really are. They know they're an X inside, but appear as a Y outside, and thus many don't feel like they belong in the bodies they have.

Many others just don't identify with either binary gender, simple as that. Yes, some people do it just to be "unique," in the same sense some people claim they're bisexual to seem "unique," etcetc. But many people just flat out don't like the idea of being considered male or female 100% of the time, simple as that. It's not a grab for attention, it's just distaste of the idea; they don't feel as though they fit into the male or female molds, so they remain in-between, or just something else entirely.

It's a topic that's extremely hard to explain to someone who doesn't go through it themselves, but if anyone has more specific questions feel free to ask them.

A large reason you might have noticed it more lately could be attributed to the fact that resources for transgendered individuals have just become more widely spread in the past decade or two. Previously, if someone had gender dysphoric thoughts, there was little they could do to find support and guidance without a very large network of people that knew about it. Now, information and advice is much more readily accessible, which leads to two outcomes - people who are actually trans* learning ways to cope with their dysphoria and assist in "transition," and also increasing the number of people who do it just for attention since more people know of the existence of all of these different labels.

In the fandom, this is expanded on even more - non-binary genders, specifically "herms," "shemales," (as a note: both of which are considered offensive terms in actual usage outside of the adult furry community,) etcetc. - are highly fetishized. I have personally met a LOT of [non-furry, mostly, but in furry as well] folk that claim to be trans because they have a sexual interest in transsexual bodies, and nothing more. I imagine this is highly common in the more adult oriented furry areas.

Seeing as this is a very sensitive topic for a handful of our members, myself included, I ask everyone to at least be respectful of others' gender identities even if you do not personally agree with them. Thanks!
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 03:33:39 am by Arc »

Offline Emerald Blade

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #10 on: August 31, 2011, 03:32:20 am »
I'm a guy but I don't feel like I have to do "MAN THINGS." I don't like football, my fingernails are green from time to time, got my ears pierced 2 days ago in a clair's. I still feel those pressures by society but I don't care if I conform to them or not.

In this respect I don't feel like I'm a girl on the inside, just not a MAN.

I have a feeling that if we strip back the stuff people do for society, every one would be a shade of grey... or purple as the case may be. Even those who are trans* are probably going to have a few things of their original sex that they enjoy.

As for gender identity as a social issue: It's one of those things that shouldn't be a problem. If a man wants to do his nails, wear dresses and call himself a girl he should be able to do it with zero judgment as far as a non romantic relationship with the person goes.

That said it is a problem, and one that needs to be taken care of. Issues like these crowd out more important stuff like science and business news. And it wouldn't be difficult to solve in theory, simply becoming not just tolerant but ignore it, if no one cares it's not a problem. But between old ideas and some major religions being less than excepting of the idea of trans* people it will take a very very long time before this is the case.

BTW if any of the above ideas/termanoligy seem offensive it's accidental.
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Offline Narei Mooncatt

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 03:43:25 am »
Quote from: Narei Mooncatt
but Arc said most people like that he knows are outside the fandom
I am a lady ;p
Sorry, I rarely pay attention to those gender icons below the avatars and the name "Arc" is a bit more on the male side of names to me. And even then, it sometimes gets confusing when trying to figure out if that is the gender of the person or the fursona. My appologies.
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Offline Yip

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 04:11:47 am »
Quote from: Narei Mooncatt
but Arc said most people like that he knows are outside the fandom
I am a lady ;p
Sorry, I rarely pay attention to those gender icons below the avatars and the name "Arc" is a bit more on the male side of names to me. And even then, it sometimes gets confusing when trying to figure out if that is the gender of the person or the fursona. My appologies.
See, if we had gender neutral pronouns this wouldn't be an issue. ;)

Offline Fenny the Fox

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #13 on: August 31, 2011, 10:14:59 am »
That said, I do indeed fail to see why it is such a big deal to people. They should simply be who they are and not have to/not worry about society or other people knowing it. But that may just be me [and my personal aspect of the issue], I don't really know.


That's a lovely idea in theory, but the sheer amount of discrimination trans* people tend to face is astronomical. A male-bodied person might identify as female, but if people can tell that they're male-bodied, life is going to be very very difficult for them.
I know it only works that way in theory. Sad, but true, that things rarely work that nicely in reality.

But that is also why I pointed that it is likely given more from my perspective than others'.
I am simply ambivalent to the concept of gender. And I am "weird" enough as it is, so that being added on top makes little difference to me - when it comes to other peoples' ideas of me, that is.

Then again...some people really really have a hard time grasping it when they ask me about it, and end up claiming "you need help" or "you just want attention" (hey, by the way, you asked me, it isn't like i just came up and said 'hey guess what...'), or some other none sense. So, yes, I do know what you mean about it being difficult.

But I imagine it to me much more difficult for someone who is trans or bi-gendered, of course.

Quote
To explain terminology now, sex is your physical body, what your chromosomes say, whereas gender is your mental state of being. To the average non-trans* male or female, their sex and gender match, but to a trans*-identified person, they do not.

Indeed. A distinction that seems to be lost on a lot of people.

Quote
To explain it from a transsexual's perspective, yes, it is a big deal. The best analogy I've heard is - the first fish says, "Gee, the water sure is cold today," while the second fish says, "What the hell is water?" The best way to explain it is that it's something that people don't tend to notice too much unless they have a problem with it. Many transsexuals have a lot of serious emotional and psychological stress related to their gender identity, since their body doesn't match who they really are. They know they're an X inside, but appear as a Y outside, and thus many don't feel like they belong in the bodies they have.

Many others just don't identify with either binary gender, simple as that. Yes, some people do it just to be "unique," in the same sense some people claim they're bisexual to seem "unique," etcetc. But many people just flat out don't like the idea of being considered male or female 100% of the time, simple as that. It's not a grab for attention, it's just distaste of the idea; they don't feel as though they fit into the male or female molds, so they remain in-between, or just something else entirely.

It's a topic that's extremely hard to explain to someone who doesn't go through it themselves, but if anyone has more specific questions feel free to ask them.

A large reason you might have noticed it more lately could be attributed to the fact that resources for transgendered individuals have just become more widely spread in the past decade or two. Previously, if someone had gender dysphoric thoughts, there was little they could do to find support and guidance without a very large network of people that knew about it. Now, information and advice is much more readily accessible, which leads to two outcomes - people who are actually trans* learning ways to cope with their dysphoria and assist in "transition," and also increasing the number of people who do it just for attention since more people know of the existence of all of these different labels.

In the fandom, this is expanded on even more - non-binary genders, specifically "herms," "shemales," (as a note: both of which are considered offensive terms in actual usage outside of the adult furry community,) etcetc. - are highly fetishized. I have personally met a LOT of [non-furry, mostly, but in furry as well] folk that claim to be trans because they have a sexual interest in transsexual bodies, and nothing more. I imagine this is highly common in the more adult oriented furry areas.

Seeing as this is a very sensitive topic for a handful of our members, myself included, I ask everyone to at least be respectful of others' gender identities even if you do not personally agree with them. Thanks!

And I whole-heartedly second that last statement!
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Offline Ickyrus

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 06:08:57 am »
It's society that decided I don't fit my anatomical gender, everyone that knows me IRL in any way at all refer to me as male, regardless of my obviously female anatomy. I don't fit at all with the way people perceive females to be, they and I are generally more comfortable refering to me as mostly he, avoiding it completely or calling me an "it" if they have to (Not in a nasty way, in a I'm not about to admit that you might really be female way). Even when I wear my ultra frilly pink and white bo peep dress or full burlesque outfit, I'm still regarded as male. It's not because I'm a masculine, tomboyish sporty type, instead I'm more of an ultra flamboyant psychopathic drag queen trapped in a woman's body and generally more dominant than just about everyone else. Even in plays I generally play/get cast as male roles, because the female ones just don't fit with me. So it's not my fault I'm a bit gender whacky. Personally though, my opinion on gender is that it shouldn't even exist. No dang gender roles, rules about what you have to look like (Outside of what biologically happens, but if you want to surgically change it so be it), who you have to like, what you have to wear or how you have to act because of the contents of your trousers. And that's how I behave, I do what I want to do, wear male clothes (Not jeans/tshirt, decent male clothes for males), wear female clothes, have tea parties, flounce about, be a male chauvinistic cad, whatever. I'll throw out jokes about women and their kitchens or my dad and his pink cupcakes, because I really think it's rediculous that people should be limited like that.

As for the male online thing, Saloonka is a male character I write about and draw, I like Saloonka as a character and online I can be said character at least in name. He is a male character, therefore I'd rather have me as him referred to as male, also because being called female is rather alien to me.

EDIT: Just thought I'd throw it out that I don't stick to people's birth gender when refering to them, I'll refer to groups of whatever genders as Ladies, I call my father in law to be my mother, I call my own dad my mum on occasion, and generally mix around genders all over the place.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 06:35:32 am by Saloonka »

Offline Old Rabbit

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #15 on: September 01, 2011, 03:32:43 pm »
Gender shouldn't be a big issue.

But when I was growing up kids were taught how to be men or women based on
their physiology.. Girls taught to be soft and helpless and boys taught to be tough
and protective..

Personally even then I felt this was wrong. After all a person should be treated
more on who they are inside, and not how they look.

Over the last 50 years things have improved, but since we are likely genetically
wired and hormonally biased it will always be a problem for some people to treat
females and males equally..  

It's interesting to note that in the animal world females tend to be dominant.. Also
females don't really need us.  That's something for us guys to ponder too.  (:

My thoughts.

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« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 04:02:43 pm by Old Rabbit »
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Offline Alexandre

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Re: Is gender identity really a big issue.
« Reply #16 on: September 01, 2011, 05:29:09 pm »
Some people in this thread have taken the route of arguing for or against transsexuals.  This is highly disrespectful and holds no place in Furtopia.

The question should never be whether or not gender identity is a big issue.  Each individual has a different experience, and it's almost impossible for outsiders to know what's going on in the heads of those individuals struggling with their own gender identity.  While we may say "It doesn't seem that important," others going through it could be on the verge of extreme depression and experience suicidal tendencies.

Why do so many people in the fandom experience this?  Well, simply put, we as a fandom are more accepting of people who do not fall into normal society's expectations.  We allow people the freedom to explore different genders and sexualities, helping them find where they most belong.  After having the freedom to explore, many males discover that they do identify best as males; however, this freedom allows for open discussion while sorting out feelings.  For those who identify as a gender that doesn't match with their biological sex, we can help them feel welcome and loved.

Because of Furtopia's first rule, I've locked this thread.  I do not feel like a debate with this question could ever happen without violating this rule.  If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 05:31:57 pm by Alexandre »
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