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Exploring Gender: 2012 in Review




2012 has been a year of great news for the community. Four states voted for marriage equality in November. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled gender identity is covered under Title VII protections. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced their new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will list gender dysphoria instead of gender identity disorder and also put out a release in support of the trans* community. But what were your favorite Exploring Gender articles of this year?


According to our stats, your favorite articles had to do with entertainment, my personal experiences, and new gender resources, so here are some excerpts from those articles.

5.   Pronouns and Work Interactions

How do you have a conversation with coworkers who misgender you?

1.Keep it simple. You don’t need to go into specifics. It is a work situation, and a basic statement about how you identify and the pronouns you prefer is adequate.

2.The person with whom you are talking may have questions, so make a decision about what you are willing to answer and what you deem appropriate discussing with a coworker.

3.Talk to your boss or supervisor about how you want to handle the situation, and perhaps they can help you.

4.   Name Change

Every person has a different experience transitioning. Some people want to talk to a gender therapist first, others change their name, still others simply change their appearance and the way they present themselves to their friends. It all depends on what you as an individual want to do, how you feel comfortable. There is no prescribed way to go about your transition. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. There are certain things about which you need to make sure to converse with a doctor or therapist, but other than that, you decide how you feel comfortable. You decide who you are and what that means. No one else can influence that or tell you you are not trans* enough for not having surgery or not taking hormones. Only you can develop yourself and know what you need.

3.   The GENDER Book

The website for the GENDER book explains the basis for the project and the need it seeks to fill while offering the rough draft version of the book up to educators, families trying to understand their gender-variant children, and therapist and doctors who will encounter gender-variant patients. A basic Gender Booklet offers a short overview of the book and provides an excellent starting point for any discussion on gender, while the full book delves deeper into subject matter often hard to explain. The use of innovative metaphors and beautiful illustrations help to set this book apart from the somewhat drab websites from which I obtained my original information on gender in trying to understand how I was feeling about myself. The book itself is written very conversationally, asking the reader often to reflect upon their own identity such as the toys they may have played with when little and their gender connotations.

2.   Trans* Character on Glee

I like the character. She is interesting, and I would like to see more of her. I do not like that she lacked any kind of support, but that is really how life is, making the situation more realistic. Kurt and Mercedes do not know anything about being trans*, and really, there are not many outlets there which would allow them to absorb that information. Kurt’s lack of knowledge about the trans* community was a nice touch because he is a gay character. Being within the LGBTQ* community does not give you automatic knowledge of all those within the community, despite that being the common assumption, and it was nice for this to be recognized.

The language used was pretty spot-on. I liked the line, “You identify as a man,” which was the only point within the episode where it got closest to identifying the character directly as trans*. The situation displayed well the fear many people have at the unknown. And that is the general reaction: play it safe and be normal even if you don’t feel that is who you are. But the great thing about the storyline was Unique got to be herself in a really powerful and amazing way. She nailed it. She put it all out there on stage and was amazing despite the criticisms.

1.   Trans/Love

I did find one book which helped me to think about relationships from different perspectives: Trans/Love: Radical Sex, Love & Relationships Beyond the Gender Binary, edited by Morty Diamond. Compiled of multiple stories written by trans* people about their true experiences with relationships, sex, or simply traveling through the world and coming to know social boundaries which before never existed to them. Each narrative reflects how an individual has come to interact with other people and the world in relation to their identity, and it is refreshing to see so many different approaches. Realistically, we must all find the way to interact which is best for us.

I hope you enjoy the look back, and here is the look forward. Upcoming, there will be more articles on Unique (how has she been handled this season?), continued news updates, and more, so keep a look out. Wishing you a fabulous new year.

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