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Category: Political

Politics, usually rants.

image says: NOW IS THE TIME that we cling together * for comfort and safety and hold each other * so that no one falls * or is lost tell me if you’re slipping * i’ve got two hands and a million words  

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the black square

About the black square… I looked at my profile pic on Facebook, on Tumblr, on my website—the best recent picture of me, smiling, and hopeful—and I didn’t feel it. I thought about the young trans people who committed suicide last night, convinced they’d never be…

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Understanding Gender: A Guide for Kids

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When a baby is born, the first thing everyone wants to know is, “Is it a boy or a girl?” Even during pregnancy, parents often have an ultrasound scan, to look at a baby’s body and find out whether their baby has “boy parts” or “girl parts” before the child is born.

But what defines “boy” or “girl” doesn’t have a lot to do with the parts people have. Different groups of people define what it means to be male or female in many different ways. And people get messages from a lot of places about what it means to be male or female. The very idea that there are only male and female to choose from is not the same everywhere. Some cultures expect there to be three, five, or even more genders.

So what happens when someone tells you “boys are like this” or “girls are like that?” and “this and that” don’t seem to match up well to who you are? There are a lot of different ways that people respond to this feeling.

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Creating a Safe and Welcoming School Environment

For All Students, Including Trans and Nonbinary Kids

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Gender is something that traditionally has been taught in very simple ways. Penis means boy. Vulva means girl. Men are taller and stronger. Women are curvier and can get pregnant. People can be either male or female.

When someone who does not fit these rules joins or reveals themself to a group that has been taught these rules from early childhood, it creates a fundamental friction for some people, which essentially boils down to a feeling that, “This isn’t right, this person isn’t following the rules.”

But the rules are wrong. Gender is not simple. Gender is a social construct. So is binary sex. Physical sexual characteristics can run such a huge gamut that there is often as much variation within a “sex” as there is between sexes. There are many individuals who simply do not have bodies that line up well with our basic assumption that XY means male with penis and scrotum and XX means female with vagina and uterus and breasts. Chromosome variations exist, ranging from Turner’s Syndrome (single X) to almost any variation of XXY, XYY and other duplications. Androgen resistance can make someone with XY chromosomes appear female by normative standards. Some babies are born with truly ambiguous genitalia, which in the past has been “treated” with surgical gender reassignment at birth, though the thinking on that is changing and many parents are deciding to let children decide later.

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Rule Number One

We need to talk. I know we’ve probably not met and we’ve never said word one to each other online because I filter the hell out of my Facebook and you probably don’t go to Tumblr because it’s incomprehensible and I usually don’t get into…

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Today’s visit

Today, the President of the United States flew into the city I call home, and then took a helicopter to the place I’m from. One of the places. I often say I spent my childhood in Michigan and grew up in Roseburg, as the line…

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I’ll go with you

A few days ago, one of our co-op members posted about http://www.illgowithyou.org/ . This is a project formed in response to the transgender protest #wejustneedtopee. See http://www.advocate.com/politics/transgender/2015/03/14/trans-folks-respond-bathroom-bills-wejustneedtopee-selfies for an excellent article about the issues faced by trans folk in bathrooms. To quote one young friend of mine,…

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On accepting help

We get a lot of messages in our culture about bootstraps and “making it on our own” and “being independent”. “I never accepted handouts from anyone!” I don’t see that as necessarily laudable. Here’s the thing. While striving to do the best you can is…

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Teaching consent

Someone recently posted for discussion an idea they’d heard (not agreed with) that “Guys are the gas and girls are the brakes”. This was an infuriating concept on pretty much every level, but got me to thinking about the messages we send kids and what…

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