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10-15-2010 @ 7:15PM
Some things in our society are simply not "personal". Gender is one of them. Whether you like it or not, your gender is one of the most public and obvious things about you. It's one of the first things, if not THE first thing, we think of when we identify an individual. In English, we don't even have a pronoun for an individual or unknown or intermediate gender. Everyone is constantly referred to as either "he" or "she". (People who want to get around this have to invent words, or use the plural "they" as a singular, which any English professor will tell you is grammatically incorrect.)When there is any kind of incongruity in a person's apparent, stated or presumed gender (like say, voice on vent, or a person asking to be referred to by a different pronoun than they used to use), altogether too many people will make a big deal out of this. And, because it is such a fundamental part of a person's identity, gender issues are likely to be outed in a community eventually, even if a person does not talk about them.It is easy for a person whose body matches their mental gender and who fits within other people's expectations of their gender to gloss over how powerful a force gender identity is in human relations, simply because they have never encountered any serious or recurring problems with it. However, a person who does not conform to heteronormative expectations can face constant rejection, both subtle and outright, from those who view gender as an absolute, and a person transitioning gender is especially vulnerable because it can be very difficult for a person to hide that transition, even if they want to.Personally, I don't understand why anyone bothers to mock or be affronted by someone else's gender identity or sexual orientation. As far as I'm concerned, people are just people, whether they're female, male, both, neither, gay, straight, bi, omnisexual, asexual, or an alien from the planet Gsxmemedtblat. People are people, and some people spend altogether too much of their lives hating other people for seemingly no good reason.TLDR: Gender schmender.
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