Recently in 7: Queer Bodies, Natures, Ecologies (10/17, 10/19, 10/21) Category

Animal Trans and Queer Ecology

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After reading Animals Trans, Queer Ecology, and How to Queer Ecology: One Goose at a Time. I decided to talk to some of my co-workers about what they knew about animal Trans and how they viewed ecology. I found it very interesting how little they knew about what animals are transsexuals, but they like me before these articles were kept in the dark by the social norms. It made me remembered while I was in school the examples of animals that they would tell us to be like. The examples that came to mind were of course the goose that was brought up in Queer Ecology: One Goose at a Time, and the other would be wolves. I find it funny that they would teach us that wolves are single pair-bonds because that has long since been proven false, but yet as a culture we still cling to this idea that wolves committee to a single monogamous pairs. I find that fact alone to be very revealing because it shows how committed our culture is at trying to maintain the false idea that we are the norm by committing to a single mate for the rest of our lives.

Trans Gender in Sport

What is your gender? Male or Female? This is a fairly common question we encounter almost daily. We see it on our driver's license, we have to answer it for the census and most surveys, and we must answer this question every time we go to the bathroom. For most people this is a simple answer; however there are people who aren't sure how to answer the question. We discussed in class how there are many instances where there is only two distinct genders and you must choose one. An interesting clip was shown in class about the use of restrooms. It brought to light the issue of trans genders not feeling comfortable in public restrooms because they may identify themselves as one gender when they are the opposite sex. I remember watching this story one day on Sports Center, and it raised a lot of questions in my mind. The story is about a Kye Allums the first openly transgender player in division I basketball. Kye was born Keira Allums, but quickly found out during adolescence that she was different. She was able to use her basketball skills to receive a scholarship at the University of George Washington playing women's basketball. At the beginning of her junior year, Keira decided it was time to no longer live a lie and decided to become male. She changed her name to Kye and will have her breasts removed next may. The NCAA is allowing her to continue to play women's college basketball as long as she doesn't take male hormones. This story raises some very interesting issues. I personally don't believe he should be allowed to play women's basketball anymore if he wants to be treated as a man he should not be on a women's team. What do you think? Should he be allowed to play for a women's team if he was born female? Do you think him choosing to continue to play women's basketball undervalues his commitment to changing sex? Do you think it would be different if the roles were reversed so that it was a man on a men's basketball team that wanted to be a woman? How would it be different? Do you think the NCAA would let her play?

Blurring the Borders of Affirmative Action

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I found reading Anne Fausto-Sterling's article on the five sexes to be very interesting, and the ensuing discussion of its ramifications just as interesting as the former. Of note were the ideas of restrooms and sports - two topics ingrained in our global culture that have a basic distinction amongst them, male and female. Blurring borders blurs this idea; who is allowed in this bathroom, who's genetic make-up makes them fit for which section of sports, etc.? Something else that struck me was this whole notion of affirmative action. From what I can tell, a pretty unbiased explanation can be found here: The question I have is simply "How does having five genders (three being newly distinguished) impact this legal and social legislation?" Do "herms" become applicable to preferential treatment because they are "less male than males?" The video included below is a humorous take on racial affirmative action, but guiding thought is interesting. Here, the main guy is "too white" for his job. If we were to officially make five genders, would somebody lose out on their job because their genitals were "too masculine?" Questions: 1) How does the inclusion of 3 new genders impact how affirmative action is policed, if at all? 2) By blurring once distinctive borders, how are the separations between "privileged" and "under-privileged" become redefined? 3) I agree with the fundamentals of equality, but take issue with the reverse discrimination I feel affirmative action condones. What are your thoughts in general? 5 genders or otherwise, is affirmative action still useful in our world today?

The Nature of Sexuality

In our culture, there seems to be this idea that any type of non-heterosexual thoughts, feelings or expressions are a natural abnormality. That being homosexual, bi-sexual, etc. goes against nature. While reading "Animal Trans" by Myra J. Hird this week, and after watching the video below of anthropologist Volker Summers, it is very clear that this idea our culture has adopted, that heterosexuality is the only way of nature, is just not the case. Hird points out that homosexuality be traced back some 30 million years, and it exists in an extremely wide variety of species all over the world. Summers agrees, saying that not only does homosexuality exist, but it's quite common. Why does our society have the view that homosexuality is a rare and unnatural phenomenon, when science doesn't agree? As Summers points out, just because non-human animals do something does not necessarily make it acceptable or say that humans should do it. The point that I, the article, and the video are trying to make is that the argument saying any type of non-heterosexual sex is something that a small, select group of humans do and is against what happens in nature, is scientifically inaccurate. Is it possible to move past this and make people who have the view that non-heterosexuality is unnatural, see that it isn't? And if we can make them see, will this help us toward understanding and acceptance? Or will others simply find a new way of "explaining" why heterosexuality is the only way?

Transgenders in the Ballroom


Anne-Fausto Sterling discussed the idea of five separate sexes rather than the traditional two sexes in her essays, The Five Sexes, Why Male and Female are not Enough and The Five Sexes, Revisted. I think she makes a valid point, because whether people agree with it or not, there are many transgendered people living in our society today that are forced to deal with living in a world that at times, has no place for them.
Although we rarely see transgenders as public figures, I couldn't help but think of Chaz Bono, the transgendered son of Cher, who just happens to be currently appearing on the television show, Dancing with the Stars. Of course, being the first transgender to appear on the show, and quite possibly to appear on any show of this magnitude, Chaz was confronted with much controversy. Many people had issues with Chaz being on the show, mostly because they didn't understand him. Like with much of the discrimination in the world, it all came from ignorance. People didn't like the fact that he was acting as a man, dancing with a woman since he was born female. This is something that Fausto-Sterling would probably have a lot to say about because she would point out the fact that people are forced to fit into traditional male-female roles, which leaves someone like Chaz unable to find his identity. I think having someone who is a transgender on such a prominent show is a positive thing, because through all the criticism, people can learn and see that although people are different, we can all relate to each other in some way.

Surgical Abuse of Intersex Children

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Drawing from "The Five Sexes" reading by Anne Fausto-Sterling, we have learned how the societal assumption that there are only two sexes has justified the fabrication of these social constraints. Recent advances in medical technology now allow physicians to identify the majority of intersexuals at the moment of birth.

The Surgical Abuse of Intersex Child, a TLC story, illustrates firsthand the controversy between transgendered children and gender corrective surgeries. Patrick was born with a penis, testicle, ovary and fallopian tube. The doctors involved in Partrick's condition informed his adoptive mother Elena of his potentially cancerous testicle. During the biopsy, doctors removed his testicle with no form of consent and no evidence supporting a cancerous testicle. The doctors took away his natural ability to produce testosterone for the rest of his life.

This action is a manifestation of society's desire to only allow for two sexes: male and female. Some surgeries may be necessary in regards to health complications, although the majority are simply for aesthetics. Many intersexuals complete multiple surgeries throughout childhood in order to shape their bodies to be adherent with the sex binary. This practice produces adverse effects on the patient and alternatives to this practice need to be explored. Some argue waiting to perform any surgery that is not medically necessary until after the child is old enough to assist in the decision making process. But what age is one old enough to be exposed to the idea? Furthermore, how do you justify the age of reason? What do you believe should be the better practice concerning intersex children and society's pressure to perform gender "corrective" surgeries?

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the 7: Queer Bodies, Natures, Ecologies (10/17, 10/19, 10/21) category.

6: Fem Sci Studs: Practice (10/10, 10/12, 10/14) is the previous category.

8: Toward Democratic Sciences (10/24, 10/26, 10/28) is the next category.

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