Monday, June 09, 2008

How many genders are there? I'd say five, maybe more.

Gender doesn't necessarily have anything to do with sex organs. It seems to be more of a frame of mind on how you view yourself in relation to other folks, but that's sort of an inadequate definition. Gender is more than that, it's a state of being that defines you. I get five genders at least like this: homosexuality and bisexuality I take as referring to a third gender, something that was previously referred to as a third sex, then trans-sexual states where the person identifies as both male and female to some degree. The idea of a third sex or third gender for gays and presumably for lesbians is something that's come to me through extended experience as a bisexual man. Although I care for and have relationships with women I don't consider myself to belong to the society of straight men. There's enough difference in outlook, self image, psychology, between them and myself that I think I'm something else. That something else is whatever pure gay society is. I feel that this would be the case even if homosexuality was less hated in our society and straight male society was more tolerant of gays. At the same time I don't identify myself as being female, although in certain respects I guess that I'm perceived as being more effeminate than other men. It's more complicated than that, though, because despite this feature at my core I'm not a woman and I fundamentally think differently than women do.

So I'm sort of a third person.

I'm guessing that the same applies to lesbians, although I don't know this directly know this.

Adding male third sex/gender to female third sex/gender, and putting that together with the conventional genders we end up with four genders

I count trans-sexual people as being whatever it is they identify as, which can be either men, women, gay men, or gay women.

But this leaves out people who either identify with both sexes to some degree. People who participate in both conventional sexes by definition can't be classed with either one or the other. I have no idea how homosexuality could possibly effect this. This classification also goes for people who are born intersexed and who embrace that identity, as difficult as it might be in our society, instead of identifying with one or the other. The amount of violence directed against a person tends to increase with how radically they question conventional sex identity, so I imagine the danger of intersexed people, well, this theoretical business is kind of pointless speculation. People who are born men and who are women inside and who choose to express that in our society get hostility beyond that which is conventionally considered possible.

But all of this adds up to at least five genders, possibly more. What would you call a person who embraces both sexes and who pursues relationships with all of the genders, straight, male and female? At some point I think that this all probably breaks down, leaving gender as sort of an outdated concept.

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