2017, the year ahead, Gender Revolution?

Gender Revolution

Time Magazine, Transgender Tipping Point, May 2014, Laverne Cox cover
Time Magazine, ‘Transgender Tipping Point’, May 2014, Laverne Cox cover

Hosting our first GAS discussion of 2017 we look at topics for the year ahead, and how National Geographic magazine has put the “Gender Revolution” front and centre this January, much as Time Magazine‘s ‘Transgender Tipping Point‘ did in 2014.

“To a degree unimaginable a decade ago, the intensely personal subject of gender identity has entered the public square…Freed from the binary of boy and girl, gender identity is a shifting landscape…Gradually it dawned on me…how deeply bound in culture gender itself is.” – National Geographic, January 2017

National Geographic, Gender Revolution, cover
National Geographic, ‘Gender Revolution’, January 2017, cover

Is there a gender revolution or evolution, or are we just changing the labels to suit current language and expression, but the identities have always been there?

“From dinner-table conversations to children’s books, the lines of gender are being redrawn.” – Laurie Penny, New Statesman, June 2014

In February at UEA, I’ll be looking at non-binary gender identities around the world and how deeply rooted they are in different cultures.

Binary Gender Resistance

“National Geographic is trying to brainwash young people into thinking this kind of degeneracy is normal. #GenderRevolution” – Dirty Harry (@HarryCallahan_) December 15, 2016

Is ‘modern’ gender identity seen as a threat to traditional religious and/or socio-political power structures, in a similar way to that of the equality of women over the last century?

National Geographic, 'Gender Revolution', January 2017
National Geographic, ‘Gender Revolution’, January 2017

Where do the anti-reactions come from? Trivialisation, bigotry, ignorance, fear, age, faith, binary gendered people, and what can we do to counter them?

One such counter argument runs:

“Constantly in search of the “next civil rights frontier,” Time never discusses the fact that transgender surgeries do nothing to reduce rates of suicide, never considers the perspective that genital mutilation is not a solution to mental issues, and simply labels Cox a “she” despite the fact that every cell in Cox’s body contains a Y chromosome.

Cox explains that his/her story is important because we are all “insecure about our gender”:

They think, ‘Okay, if there’s this trans person over here, then what does that make me?’ We want to just coast along in a belief system that makes us feel secure, because we are a culture, as Brene Brown would say, that is intolerant to vulnerability. And if we are in a position where we have to begin to question this very basic idea of ‘A man has a penis and a woman has a vagina,’ then that’s a lot of vulnerability.

Welcome to the culture shift.” – Truth Revolt

Where is gender ‘culture’ going in 2017, and is gender just a cultural thing? And why the moral and ‘safety’ panic? Another reported wrote in 2016 about the 2015 “backlash” in America:

“Thirty-five anti-trans bills have been introduced across 12 states since 2015, according to the National Center of Transgender Equality…What the backers of these bills have done is simply pivot the target of their mid-century “think of the children” rhetoric: from gay (and lesbian, and maybe bisexual — they are not really so specific) adults they believe pose a threat by virtue of their existence, to transgender and gender non-conforming adults and youth. They cloak their panic in concern.” – Pacific Standard, February 2016

Cassie Jaye documentary film The Red Pill
Cassie Jaye documentary film ‘The Red Pill’

Does the success of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, acting as ‘great white males’, point to a traditional resistance to the gender revolution? Are men the new minority, or indeed binary women, too?

The feminist Cassie Jaye explores “Gender Politics” in her documentary exploration of MRA activism, “The Red Pill“, which comes to Norwich on January 18th & 19th.

2017 Gender Revolution

Self-Identified Gender revolution, a social or surgical trans & non-binary construct?

The Norfolk Gender & Sexuality (GAS) Discussion Group meets at the Norwich Forum Library, 6.30pm Feb 2, to debate “Self-Identified Gender revolution, a social or surgical trans & non-binary construct?”. (Facebook event)

After an extensive inquiry the UK government is considering extending full protection to gender identity as well as the existing protected characteristic of gender reassignment and bringing in an Irish styled self-declaration of gender statement. It ‘may’ also being to degender official documents including passports by adding options like ‘other’ or removing gender altogether.

International sports bodies, like the IOC, are also easing the requirements for trans athletes to compete under their identified-gender subject to low testosterone levels that may still exceed that of a natal woman.

Will this create a gender free-for-all with more backlash from the Daily Mail, Jeremy Clarkson, and Germaine Greer? Last month Clarkson accused parents of poisoning the minds of young trans kids by supporting their gender identity ‘delusions’.

Meanwhile ‘trans‘ (Collins English Dictionary) and ‘identity‘ (Dictionary.com), along with singular ‘they‘ (American Dialect Society) were all declared words of the 2015 by various social word watchers. The Washington Post updated its style guide to include ‘they‘ for people not identifying male or female. The New York Times and UK Parliament now accept Mx as an honorific title and the OED has added it to the dictionary.

The transgender tipping point has become a trans landslide with more trans in film and TV roles and portrayals. There is also an emerging non-binary gender revolution in fashion, goods, and identity. Will this increased trans visibility ease society’s acceptance or create yet more criticism from trans-exclusionary radical feminists and tabloid columnists, some of whom are are oddly united on this.

Is this the beginning of self-declared gender or the end of gender itself as having any meaning at all? Is gender a construct, or can it now be surgically and verbally constructed without any lived experience?

Government Transgender Report

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/women-and-equalities-committee/news-parliament-2015/transgender-inquiry-report-published-15-16/

Maria Miller interview on Trans inequalities

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2016/01/14/maria-miller-the-law-the-nhs-and-public-services-are-all-letting-trans-people-down/

International Olympic Committee on Trans Athletes

http://www.outsports.com/2016/1/21/10812404/transgender-ioc-policy-new-olympics
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article4676154.ece

Jeremy Clarkson criticises parents of trans kids

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/jeremy-clarksons-comments-about-transgender-people-stir-controversy-sunday-times-a6831096.html
http://www.dailystar.co.uk/news/latest-news/490259/Jeremy-Clarkson-Amazon-Prime-Transgender-kids-Zoe-Gill-Pierce

2015 year of transgender visibility

http://www.katyjon.com/2015-year-of-transgender-visibility-voice-and-vulnerability/

Word of the Year

‘Transgender’ word of the year
http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2015/11/05/transgender-named-as-2015-word-of-the-year/

‘Identity’ word of the year
http://blog.dictionary.com/identity/

Singular ‘they’ word of the year
http://www.americandialect.org/2015-word-of-the-year-is-singular-they
http://uk.businessinsider.com/the-word-they-named-2015-word-of-the-year-2016-1
http://www.poynter.org/2015/the-washington-post-will-allow-singular-they/387542/

Mx enters the mainstream

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/12/03/insider/mx-did-the-times-adopt-a-new-transgender-courtesy-title.html