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Gender Identity, Expression, and Why It Matters – Discuss

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  • Gender Identity, Expression, and Why It Matters – Discuss

    Do you feel that your gender identity, or the way you express it, falls outside of the “norm”? Maybe you have a friend or family member you're concerned about?

    Have you – or a loved one – ever felt pressured to look or act a certain way because of your gender identity? Perhaps someone close to you is transitioning?

    Gender identity and expression are more important than ever. So important we covered it in one of our full-length articles here:

    https://www.womens-health.com/gender...why-it-matters

    Whether you’ve related to a good deal of the content in this piece or you’re just trying to learn more or talk about what you’re going through, we created a safe place to share your thoughts.
    "Be what you're looking for."


  • I read a fair bit of that article. Maybe I’m just too old school, but the way it’s presented I feel like I need a degree in psychology to understand the basics of human sexuality. It can’t be this complicated.
    "Those sowing seed with tears
    Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

    Comment


    • Hey Still! Thanks for reading. You know, I've given a lot of thought to the topic myself. At first, I thought the same thing you did. Why does this FEEL so complicated?

      But then, I realized that the ONLY reason this seems so complex is that, historically, we have drastically oversimplified it. If we had always been taught the true spectrum of gender identity, it would not seem so complex to us now.

      Also, note that human sexuality is not synonymous with gender identity. A person's gender identity has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

      Again, thanks for reading and providing your thoughts!
      "Be what you're looking for."

      Comment


      • Originally posted by Ashlee T. View Post
        historically, we have drastically oversimplified it.
        Could be. Or maybe it's being over-complicated now.

        People muddy the waters when they want to avoid reality. A lot of explanations of sexuality seem like just that - the distinction between "sex" and "gender," for example. I'm not accusing you of obfuscating, because you didn't make that up, but it seems like something that someone with a goal other than clarity invented.
        "Those sowing seed with tears
        Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Stillness View Post

          Could be. Or maybe it's being over-complicated now.

          People muddy the waters when they want to avoid reality. A lot of explanations of sexuality seem like just that - the distinction between "sex" and "gender," for example. I'm not accusing you of obfuscating, because you didn't make that up, but it seems like something that someone with an goal other than clarity invented.
          Your thought isn't an uncommon one, which is the reason articles like this one with real-life experiences are so important.

          There are many people who do not fall into the cisgender category that others of us do. That is reality. Sex and gender meaning two totally different things IS real life for them. A reality they face each day, as this writer describes. And really, they don't seek anything from you or me or anyone else, except equality and acceptance.
          "Be what you're looking for."

          Comment


          • Originally posted by Ashlee T. View Post
            Sex and gender meaning two totally different things IS real life for them. A reality they face each day, as this writer describes. And really, they don't seek anything from you or me or anyone else, except equality and acceptance.
            I get that. People are going to see things differently. If “equality and acceptance” means that I accept that others are made in the image of God and worthy of love and respect just as much as me or anybody, then I’m with that.

            I will say that the process by which the mind processes identity is more complex than we thought as a society. As my own body has changed dramatically, I’ve experienced odd mental phenomena, confusion, and stress with the reality I project onto it. So, in some small way, I empathize with those that have various dysmorphias. I want to understand for them and myself.

            The clash only comes for me when love and tolerance of differences is not enough and “acceptance” means I’m required to accept someone else’s reality whether I like it or not.
            "Those sowing seed with tears
            Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

            Comment


            • Hi Stillness and Ashlee T. -- I think this article does a great job of taking something that will inevitably lead to confusion, and trying and put a real-world spin on it.

              I recall once hearing a girl's (who was gay) explanation to their father (who was straight) about how she "knew" she was gay -- the daughter asked the father: "How do you know you are attracted to mom or women?" and he says: "I just know I am..." without much thought...

              She then says: "Well, that's exactly how I feel about women -- I just "know" that I like them and am attracted to them." It then struck a chord and he finally understood in a powerful way how attraction just "is".

              I suspect it is the same with gender identity -- if you ask someone: "How do you know you are a man?" I suspect you would say something similar, no?

              But what if you knew you weren't a man, OR a woman...what if you felt you were something else? What if you were attracted to both binary genders simultaneously? How the heck would you tell people this without being ridiculed, made fun of, or dismissed?

              I think that's what the article is trying to portray -- there is no "right/wrong" -- there is only people's feelings and internalization of who they KNOW themselves to be -- they just needed a way to vocalize and express it.

              And while other cultures across the world have allowed for that (as the piece also shows), ours has not due to religious, and other reasons.

              Therefore, I don't think anyone is "forcing" anything upon anyone, they are simply asking to be accepted for the same internal feelings we all have about our self-identity, and it can never be wrong, because we all "know" who we are and how we feel.

              Comment


              • Hi JonnyR. Welcome!

                Originally posted by JonnyR View Post
                How do you know you are a man?" I suspect you would say something similar, no?
                No. I'm a man by definition - chemically, chromosomally, structurally. Whether I "feel" like a man or not doesn't change what I am.

                What if I "feel" like a space dragon? Am I one? No. It would mean I'm mentally disturbed. Feelings can be wrong.
                "Those sowing seed with tears
                Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

                Comment


                • Originally posted by amy40

                  what about people who are born with both (ambiguous genitalia)?


                  "An estimated one in 2000 babies is born with ambiguous genitalia -- It is also referred to an "intersex condition."
                  amy40 - Thank you! You hit the nail on the head.The reality is in both gender identity AND biological sex, there is a spectrum, not an either or.

                  If you are born a "man" but find out you also have ovaries....what then? Are you still a man? Are you a woman? If you are born a "woman" but find out your body produces the testosterone levels of a man, are you a woman? Are you a man? In the article there are some real like situations like that referenced.

                  What about a person born with female genitalia but has male chromosomes? Is that person a female or a male?

                  I'll go back to my original response which is that we, as a society, have oversimplified this topic for many years. It is time we start recognizing people for what and who they are, not placing them inside the box of a binary system of both gender identity and biological sex that we have created ourselves.
                  "Be what you're looking for."

                  Comment


                  • Originally posted by Ashlee T. View Post
                    Hey Still! Thanks for reading. You know, I've given a lot of thought to the topic myself. At first, I thought the same thing you did. Why does this FEEL so complicated?

                    But then, I realized that the ONLY reason this seems so complex is that, historically, we have drastically oversimplified it. If we had always been taught the true spectrum of gender identity, it would not seem so complex to us now.

                    Also, note that human sexuality is not synonymous with gender identity. A person's gender identity has nothing to do with their sexual orientation.

                    Again, thanks for reading and providing your thoughts!
                    As someone who has played sports with the opposite gender as well as serving in combat, its so easy to just see a person as a person when they are your team mate, coach or in more severe circumstances, saving your life.

                    Comment


                    • Originally posted by MrMr View Post

                      As someone who has played sports with the opposite gender as well as serving in combat, its so easy to just see a person as a person when they are your team mate, coach or in more severe circumstances, saving your life.
                      Perfect example! People are just people, no matter what boxes we try to squeeze them into based on historical practices, tradition, religion, etc.
                      "Be what you're looking for."

                      Comment


                      • I don't really consider whether a person is an image of God. It IS a valid comment and belief, but I think gender identity should be about a person's feelings about their looks, sexuality, anything else without thinking about God. [I do not mean that nastily.]

                        I think a person should be proud of themselves and their sexuality, regardless of any labels. No one can be put into a neat little box. Obviously, people are all different and are all great.

                        I do want people to accept themselves as they are and value themselves without having to explain themselves to other people. Of course, this is not an ideal world, so that won't happen, but in a dream world it would. And I think we should make our dream world reality.

                        Comment


                        • Originally posted by Popcorn&Candy View Post
                          I don't really consider whether a person is an image of God. It IS a valid comment and belief, but I think gender identity should be about a person's feelings about their looks, sexuality, anything else without thinking about God. [I do not mean that nastily.]

                          I think a person should be proud of themselves and their sexuality, regardless of any labels. No one can be put into a neat little box. Obviously, people are all different and are all great.

                          I do want people to accept themselves as they are and value themselves without having to explain themselves to other people. Of course, this is not an ideal world, so that won't happen, but in a dream world it would. And I think we should make our dream world reality.
                          Wouldn't that be amazing! If we could all see each other as MrMr described during combat, as people, as family, etc.
                          "Be what you're looking for."

                          Comment


                          • I don't see the connection between intersex conditions and transgender people. The former are developmental disorders, right? Typically they're going to have some kind of dysfunction or be more prone to disease. How would dysfunction tell you that normal biological sex lies on a spectrum?

                            All of us are here because of male-female coupling. Where is the spectrum? Can a 75% man make a baby with a 67% woman? There’s no such thing. It’s not like height, where tall, short, and everything in between is normal. It’s just male, female – at least as far as normal sexual function goes.

                            What I could see is maybe some transgender people are also suffering from a developmental disorder. I think I've heard of that being a possibility. That's believable and if so would make an even stronger case for them being deserving of understanding and compassion. They’re just not deserving of having everyone else warp reality because their mind doesn’t match their body, though. Some people may be willing to say a big, hairy dude is a woman because he feels he is. But, I’d no more do that than I’d tell an anorexic she’s fat because her mind doesn’t match her body.
                            "Those sowing seed with tears
                            Will reap with a joyful shout." - Psalm 126

                            Comment


                            • Originally posted by Stillness View Post
                              I don't see the connection between intersex conditions and transgender people. The former are developmental disorders, right? Typically they're going to have some kind of dysfunction or be more prone to disease. How would dysfunction tell you that normal biological sex lies on a spectrum?

                              All of us are here because of male-female coupling. Where is the spectrum? Can a 75% man make a baby with a 67% woman? There’s no such thing. It’s not like height, where tall, short, and everything in between is normal. It’s just male, female – at least as far as normal sexual function goes.

                              What I could see is maybe some transgender people are also suffering from a developmental disorder. I think I've heard of that being a possibility. That's believable and if so would make an even stronger case for them being deserving of understanding and compassion. They’re just not deserving of having everyone else warp reality because their mind doesn’t match their body, though. Some people may be willing to say a big, hairy dude is a woman because he feels he is. But, I’d no more do that than I’d tell an anorexic she’s fat because her mind doesn’t match her body.
                              These seem like solid arguments to me. I am interested in what the debaters with a different point of view will say.
                              I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience.
                              ...
                              Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot?

                              From a speech by Patrick Henry on March 23, 1775 at St. John's Church, Richmond, Virginia

                              Comment

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