Thinking Transgender

From both readings my understanding of third gender is the option to be identified outside of gay and lesbian. Gender roles and the way you present yourself to the world are identified by individual cultures.  In Western society, there are freedoms to identify however you feel is right, hence third gender is a perfect subdivision to feel comfortable in your own body. Transvestites and hermaphrodites are recognized outside of gay and lesbian; therefore, third gender has a right to be acknowledged in the queer community as well. Third gender is an approach to classify an individual without the dominant political and social grades influencing what is appropriate. Western culture accepts the change in dynamics amongst the queer umbrella, and gives room for individuals to explore their individuality. Because the Western system originated by men and women gender roles, the new meaning of third gender allows the class to become its own category in the queer community. If we understand the primitive idea of Western culture, there becomes room for innovation. Third gender is an all-inclusive term for queer apart from gay and lesbian. This term restraints individual identity because there are many terms which qualify as third gender but not everybody can identify with more than one classification. Third gender skews the principle and methods of the particular category, which then gives off the wrong perception of what the specific category is. Third gender also gives off the idea of separate categories not having their own practices, then leaving an empty space for making their own customs. If third gender does not grant separate knowledge of categories, what is stopping a society from mistaking what the categories are capable of in contributing to the community? Furthermore, Western society is progressing quickly which now is becoming an endorsement to separate ourselves from other cultures even more. On the other hand, Valentine describes the diverse beliefs of the Meatpacking prostitutes in New York. Valentine does not specifically talk about third gender; however, through his interviews with the works he describes the option of third gender by questioning why they choose to identify as gay or lesbian.  Some of the workers do not take hormones but still identify as a gay and lesbian because that is how they feel, and even some of the workers do not know what transgender means. One worker corrects her audience by calling her she, although she does not take hormones. Moreover, some workers educate themselves through the organization they go to for support. Valentine leaves the idea of transgender up the individual he is interviewing by discussing what transgender means and if there is room for than just gay or lesbian in the community. Third gender is significant for trans studies because it entails a variety of categories that are acceptable and recognized inside and outside the queer community.





Organizations: positive health project


One thought on “Thinking Transgender

  1. I’m afraid I’m going to have to disagree with you a bit here, Danny. Firstly, I’d like to correct you on one minor thing; we don’t use the word ‘hermaphrodite’ to refer to people anymore. The correct term would be intersex, and is much more respectful to people who fall on that spectrum, as a ‘true hermaphrodite’ is not a thing that exists among humans, and is often used in a reductive, dehumanizing way to make people out to be freaks of nature.
    Moving on, the term ‘third gender’ has a great number of problems with it, first and foremost from an anthropological standpoint of dumping everything in the ‘junk drawer’ as Towle and Morgan call it. By conflating countless cultures’ non-binary genders under a single label, we reduce them all into a meaningless jumble with no history, culture, or respect.
    Additionally, the concept of a ‘third gender’ implicitly maintains the male-female gender/sex binary, reinforcing it by leaving those two alone and named, while this massive, over-arching category gets a vague name meant to cover hundreds — if not thousands — of identities. I am not a ‘third gender’. My gender — Agender — is separate entirely from any and all others, and has nothing at all to do with genders like genderfluid, androfemme, boi, neutrois, two-spirit, hijra, or countless other identities. There is nothing about them besides the fact that they all lie outside of the Western-imposed binary that they have in common.
    Finally, it is also reductive and harmful to equate trans-ness (to any extent, whether or not someone identifies as such — at least in terms of pronoun choices) with hormones or surgeries. The myth of trans people “being born in the wrong bodies” is just that — a myth. While of course there are many trans people who do want surgeries and hormones to confirm their identities for themselves (and sometimes for other reasons which are no one’s business but their own), respect for their chosen pronouns or their declared identity should not be based upon that.

    [[I hope this didn’t come off as angry or anything, by the way. I can be a little scold-y in my tone sometimes, but I’m not trying to accuse you of anything in this comment; merely point out some issues that I found with your post.]]

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