The bathroom argument, though not covered as much in the media, is still going strong. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, the question is whether or not transgender individuals should be allowed to use whichever (public) bathroom they identify with. There are meany arguments for and against, but some don’t make any sense.
As many people know, there is a refugee crisis right now. Lots of refugees that no one wants to help. You may also know that the Red Cross has asked for blood donations, as their blood supply is critically low. Though you may not think so, these two crises have something in common.
I was recently directed to a tumblr page, and only warned that the person directing me to the page found it offensive. I didn’t know what to expect, but I figured I’d give it a look. I’m not going to direct you to the page mostly because I don’t want to supply any more traffic to the site. But also, the creator of the page has been getting a lot of rude and violent messages and I don’t want to risk any more mean message being sent.
This week, with all the terrible things happening around the world, it’s refreshing to take some time to think about our victories. Victories can be personal, or the can affect a large group of people. I wasn’t sure what personal victories i had photo of, so I decided to go with a larger-scale victory.
Let me introduce you to Vishal. He’s a 10-year-old white tiger at a zoo in India and the zookeepers there are trying to rape him.
Okay. That’s a little misleading. The zookeepers themselves are not trying to rape him, but they are trying to get the other tigers to. It’s not rape in the traditional sense, but still rape.
Sorry to bring it up. I’m sure you’re tired of hearing about it by now.
Caitlyn won that courage award she was nominated for. To her: congratulations; it was well deserved. To everyone else: get over it.
Whether or not you think that being trans is a legitimate thing or whatever, there is no need to insult her. By calling her sick, or a freak, or a fag, or whatever childish insult you’ve come up with, you’re only showing us what kind of person you are. You’re only making yourself look bad. You aren’t hurting Caitlyn’s image at all. As she said in her speech, she can take it.
I often hear people say that those who dislike labels, just don’t want to address the issue. I both agree and disagree. Label are both good and bad.
If you’re confused, let me explain. By labels, I mean the words that people use to describe their identity. For example, male and female, gay and straight, etc. (I recognize that there are more identities than these, but lets keep it simple).
So how can they be good and bad? That’s confusing.
Well, lets start with the bad, and end with the good; its always best to finish on a positive note. Labels can be bad because people don’t tend to fit perfectly into boxes. We have this image in our heads of what it means to be male; strong, brave, powerful, smart, etc. But not every man is all of those things. In fact, most men probably aren’t all of those things. They don’t fit into the box of masculinity. It works the same for women. We are taught that women are small, delicate, soft, nurturing, etc. But I bet you can’t think of a woman who is all of those things. Even if you did come up with a man or woman who fit those descriptions, I bet you can think of one who can’t. The truth is, not every man is the same as every other man, and not every woman is the same as every other woman. There are plenty of nurturing men, and powerful women. We don’t fit into boxes.
So labels work perfectly for men who fit into the masculine box, but they don’t work so well for the men who don’t. The same goes for women. So are using these labels harmful? Maybe. But one thing I’ve learned as a student of social science is that if it exists, it has a function. So what’s the function of labels?
They’re descriptors. They help us explain who we are and what we like. If you’ve spent much time looking at things in the LGBT community, you’ve probably found someone explaining their identity, and it looks something like this: “Hi, I’m a straight, demisexual, biromantic, cis¹ male, and I like unicorns.” (I just made that up. This is not how I identify, nor is it how anyone I know identifies). So what are all of those words? What do they mean? Why does this person feel the need to say all of that? My head hurts.
I’m not going to spend time explaining all of those (read about them here), but they are just using labels to quickly and easily explain who they are and what they like. If you know what all of those words mean, you’ll quickly understand that they are a male, who was born male, they are interesting in having both male and female romantic partners (though not necessarily at the same time), they are interested in having sex only with females, and they only feel sexually attracted to a woman after they have formed an emotional bond with that woman. Do you see how long it took to say all of that? It was much easier when we used labels.
Conclusively, labels can be limiting, but they do help us explain ourselves in a much simpler manner. Isn’t it much easier to say that you’re an accountant than to describe all of the responsibilities of the job? That’s why we have labels. While it’s true that some people may not know what a particular label means, it’s never a bad time to learn!
Whatever your stance on labels, be respectful of others with differing opinions; they have their reasons!
¹ The term “cis” is an abbreviated form of the word “cisgender”, which means the person identifies with their biological sex, or the gender they were born as.
Part of the Daily Blogging Challenge July 2015
In honor of marriage equality, I’m going to explain a few more terms, common and uncommon, in the LGBT community.
You can find part one, which discusses the terms heterosexuality, homosexuality, bisexuality, transgender, pansexuality, intersex, asexuality, and questioning, here.
I bet you’re surprised that there are more than eight orientations. I bet you though that LGBTQIAP was the extended initialism. Actually, that’s the shortened extended inititalism. The common extended initialism is LGBTQQIAAP.
That’s enough of that. So what’s that extra Q, and A?
The other Q stands for queer. It’s commonly used as an insult, but the gays are taking it back! It’s okay to say queer now, as long as you know the rule. As an adjective, it’s okay, as a noun, it’s not. I know that’s confusing, here is an example.
“He is queer.”
“He is a queer.”
The first one is okay, the second is an insult; don’t say it.
And the other A? That stands for Ally, a straight person who is supportive of the LGBT community, and LGBT rights. In any movement, it’s always important to have allies. The LGBT community cares a lot about their allies.
Now, that’s not all of the identities either. There are tons more.
The biggest umbrella I want to talk about in this post is the asexual umbrella. So let’s start there.
We know that asexuality is the lack of sexual attraction to any gender. So we have people who experience sexual attraction, and people who don’t. But what about the people in between? Here are some identities that fall under the asexuality umbrella.
- Gray Asexual, or Gray A – This is used to describe someone who falls somewhere in the middle. People who use this term include people who:
- some times, but not always, or rarely experience sexual attraction
- experience sexual attraction, but have a low sex drive
- experience sexual attraction and drive, but not enough to act on it
- enjoy and desire sex, but only in limited circumstances
- Demisexual – This is used to describe someone who experiences sexual attraction only after they have formed a strong emotional connection with someone.
The next few terms are most commonly used in the asexual community, but can be applied to everyone.
- Romantic Attraction – An emotional response. This is the desire for romantic closeness with another person. Often romantic and sexual orientations line up, so if a person says they are heterosexual, they are probably also heteroromantic. Sometimes, they don’t line up. Here are some common romantic orientations¹.
- Heteroromantic – Romantic attraction to the opposite gender
- Homoromantic – Romantic attraction to the same gender
- Biromantic – Romantic attraction to both genders
- Panromantic – Romantic attraction to all genders
- Aromantic – Romantic attraction to no gender
- Demiromantic – Romantic attraction is only experienced after a close emotional bond
Let’s move on to some more orientations. I’m just going to list them.
- Androsexual/Androromantic – Attraction to masculinity
- Gynesexual/Gyneromantic – Attraction to femininity
- Skoliosexual/Skolioromantic – Attraction to genderqueer²/trans* people
- Novosexual/Novoromantic – Used by genderfluid³ people; attraction changes based on the gender currently being experienced. Ex: when the person identifies as male, they are attracted to women, when the person identifies as female, they are attracted to men.
- Polysexual/Polyromantic – attraction to more than two different genders, but not all genders.
- Sapiosexual/Sapioromantic – Attraction to intelligence
- Fraysexual/Frayromantic – Attraction is experienced, but fades after a bond is formed
There are, of course, many more. I can’t get into all of them now, maybe there will be more of these in the future! I hope this post helped you understand a little bit more about the LGBT community!
¹ Romantic and sexual orientations have reciprocals of each other. Anything that is a sexual orientation, can also be a romantic orientation.
² Genderqueer refers to anyone who does not identify on the gender binary (male and female), or whose gender changes. Maybe I will have a future post about gender identities.
³More specific gender identity referring to someone whose gender changes randomly or based on where they are or who they are with.
Part of the Daily Blogging Challenge July 2015
Noun Challenge: July 16, 2014
Today’s noun: Attraction
I thought this was an interesting topic. I thought, briefly about using pictures of attractive celebrities, But decided to go the educational route. Although posting pictures of celebrities would probably get me a good amount of traffic, I know that one of my most popularly viewed posts is an educational piece on sexual and gender identities (shameless self-promotion? Why not? That post can be found here). So, let’s get on with the types of attraction.
This is the type of attraction that causes one person to desire sexual interaction with another. When you want to perform sexual acts with another person, you are experiencing sexual attraction.
This is the type of attraction that causes one person to desire sensual interaction with another. When you just want to cuddle or hold hands with someone, but have no desire to perform sexual acts with them, you are experiencing sensual attraction.
This is the type of attraction that causes one person to desire romantic interaction with another. When you desire to be with a person as more than just a friend, but do not want to have any physical (sexual or sensual) interaction with them, you are experiencing romantic attraction.
This is the type of attraction that causes one person to desire friendly interaction with another. When you want to become friends with someone (also called a ‘squish’), or are currently and want to continue to be friends with someone, you are experiencing platonic attraction.
This is the type of attraction that causes one person to find another visually pleasing. When you find someone to be handsome, or beautiful, you are experiencing aesthetic attraction.
This is the type of attraction that causes a person to “like” another. It is thought to be temporary (lasting less than four months). When you feel any type of attraction toward another person, but do not act on those feelings, and eventually ‘get over it’, you are experiencing a crush.
So there are the six most widely accepted types of attraction. Many of these are experienced simultaneously. Most often, sexual, sensual, romantic, platonic, and aesthetic attraction are experienced together when a couple enters an exclusive relationship. Though, many couples may not experience all five.
Attraction is a different experience for everyone. Some people experience certain types of attraction more than others. Some people do not experience certain types of attraction at all.
I hope that you learned something from this post. It is important to remember that different people experience different things, and that it is completely normal, and okay.
Have a wonderful day and I’ll see you tomorrow!
Noun Challenge: July 7, 2014
Today’s noun: Sex
Sex and gender are (too) often used synonymously. They are different. Seriously.
For most people, their sex matches their gender. This will make more sense in a minute. But for some people, the two don’t match at all.
Okay, let me explain the difference. Sex is something that get assigned to you at birth. When you are born, the doctor looks at what you have between your legs, and makes the decision. This is what you are stuck with for the rest of your life (unless you go through the process of changing it, which, I have heard, is not easy). Your gender is what you feel like. For most people, if they are assigned the label of female based on their body, they tend to feel like a girl. I don’t mean that they all like shoes and make-up, but they are comfortable with the body parts that they have, and prefer to be referred to as ‘she’ and ‘her’.
The short version of that is sex is what’s in your pants, gender is what’s in your heart.
So why am I telling you this?
That would be because I want you to understand the difference. Just because you see someone who has two lumps of fat on their chest, doesn’t mean you should assume that that person is a girl. Yes, their sex is probably female, but they might prefer to be called ‘he’ or ‘him’. Some people choose to have surgery or undergo hormone replacement therapy in order to make their body match the way they feel.
Please remember that there is a difference between these two words, and that some people’s sex and gender do not match.
As always, sorry for the typos and grammatical errors. Have a great day and I’ll see you tomorrow!