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PostPosted: Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:29 pm 
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Normal caveats for a political thread apply, these are opinions of the author, etc.

If you don't know, from Dominaria onward, Magic cards will say "they" when they previously said "he or she". Apart from issues about clarity, saving card text, and the Chicago Manual of Style, this has also been an issue of inclusiveness towards people who don't identify as he or she (sometimes called non binary).

This is not the same as people who are transgender. A transgender person may identify as "he" even though biologically a woman, or vice versa. But thinking about how this comes to be can give us some clues about sex and gender.

When a child is growing up (say age 5-7), they intuitively understand gender. They know that some people are referred to as he and some are referred to as she, that there are usually different ways that these kinds of people act and dress, etc. If you gave them a bunch of pictures and asked which are men and which are women, they might not get it right every time, but they would be confident about their answers and could explain why they think so in most cases.

But they don't intuitively understand sex, or understand the difference between sex and gender. They don't know about chromosomes. They don't know why it matters that men and women have different reproductive organs. They don't know that men speaking in a deeper voice than women is because of their biology rather than a choice they make as part of their gender.

A child knows that they are a person and therefore must have a gender. Usually a child will get their gender right because of the way other people talk to or about them, as well as being able to see themselves in a mirror, but it's not as easy to see yourself or things happening to you as it is to see other people. So it could be possible that there is a boy who doesn't pick up on these clues that other people give him; he knows that there are men and women, but thinks of himself as one of the women.

Now what happens when this boy gets a little older and learns about biology / sex? If someone tells him "men have penises and women don't", he would tell them "but I'm a woman and I have a penis". Since he knows about gender before sex, if the two contradict, he would assume his sex is wrong rather than his gender being wrong. But his sex can't be wrong, because that's the body he was born with. A sex change is not a nice procedure to have to go through; it's better to treat this sort of condition with counselling to help him accept that he is a boy.

Gender can be wrong. Gender may be partially determined by the way that men and women 'naturally' want to act although many people don't think this is a big factor, and it's more determined by the way that society decides men and women should act. But what is the purpose of gender - why do we give each other these clues about what gender we are? Its purpose is to match our sex, because we need to know what sex people are if we want to reproduce. That's why it can be wrong. Not to say that people can't just choose to live with it though, particularly if they don't care about reproducing. A biological boy might choose to live his life identifying as a woman without having a sex change, just accepting that people might misgender him on sight.

This all makes sense. But what doesn't make sense is people who think they are neither a man nor a woman.

Imagine you told a child "draw a picture of a person. Not a real person you know, just imagine a person and then draw them". At the end, you could ask the child "did you draw a man or a woman?" Now, in asking the question in this way, you are reinforcing the gender binary, but my point is that I don't think the child would have to make up an answer on the spot, nor would they say "I don't know" or "I haven't decided yet". They would have had an idea of what gender of person they were drawing the whole time they were drawing them.

Now I did say above that it's harder to know about yourself than to know about other people because you can't "see" yourself as easily. Is it possible that a child thinks of all people they can see as having a gender but doesn't extend this logic to themselves? But even if they did, then when they learned about sex, they would have no problem accepting that their gender is the one that matches their sex.

Nonbinary doesn't come from a mistake a child makes in interpreting themselves and the world around them. Nor does it come as a deliberate invention of the mainstream society in needing to describe certain people. We could make an exception for people who are born with sex-related issues (like having both sets of genitals, which is rare). If we take the rule very strictly that people must identify as the gender that matches their sex, then these people would have to identify as non binary! But in reality, we don't take that rule really strictly, and doctors usually operate on these people at birth anyway, and we could use their chromosomes or other biological ways of working out what their sex really is if we wanted to.

It's possible that someone growing up in a very isolated environment (where their parents are deliberately trying to teach them something different about gender than the mainstream society's beliefs) could end up not believing in the gender binary. But more often it's just something that people choose to identify as when they already know about sex and gender. Why do we need to respect this choice? I could go into more detail about the sort of differences and/or choices that we do respect, but I've gone on long enough for now.

In sum, there are two reasons why there are only two genders. 1. Because gender is designed to match sex, and there are only two sexes. 2. Because mainstream society only has two genders, and as we grow up we learn to conform to this pattern, and there is no reason to choose something different. And that means that "he or she" is inclusive of all people except for the people who choose for it not to include them.


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 11, 2018 4:34 am 
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I am struggling with understanding these issues for myself, and I am not willing to take a strong stand in either direction at this point, but I do love to play devil's advocate, so...

Sex is not 100% binary. There are plenty of sexism indicators other than genitals, such as chromosomes, hormone levels, and various external secondary sex characteristics. In your example above, what if the "boy" had more female hormones than usual?

Also, I feel your argument is far too simplistic. It basically boils down to "transexuals were all clueless as kids and no one bothered to tell them what gender society expects them to be". That is clearly not true, based on even the small sample size of transexuals I know personally. It might be true in some cases, but it is not universal.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 10:51 am 
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This post reads like it was written by a 1600s proto-anthropologist who had heard about a distant culture and decided to write an essay about it despite never having met anyone from that culture.


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 5:45 pm 
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Flopfoot wrote:
When a child is growing up (say age 5-7), they intuitively understand gender. They know that some people are referred to as he and some are referred to as she, that there are usually different ways that these kinds of people act and dress, etc. If you gave them a bunch of pictures and asked which are men and which are women, they might not get it right every time, but they would be confident about their answers and could explain why they think so in most cases.

I'm not gonna go through all of this, but to address this point, by the time a child is 5-7 years old, they're pretty deeply enculturated into whatever society they've grown up in so far, so using their intuition as a measurement of objective, contextless "fact" just serves to reinforce that society's biases, and from a philosophical standpoint it's pretty irresponsible.

:duel:

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:35 pm 
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razorborne wrote:
Flopfoot wrote:
When a child is growing up (say age 5-7), they intuitively understand gender. They know that some people are referred to as he and some are referred to as she, that there are usually different ways that these kinds of people act and dress, etc. If you gave them a bunch of pictures and asked which are men and which are women, they might not get it right every time, but they would be confident about their answers and could explain why they think so in most cases.

I'm not gonna go through all of this, but to address this point, by the time a child is 5-7 years old, they're pretty deeply enculturated into whatever society they've grown up in so far, so using their intuition as a measurement of objective, contextless "fact" just serves to reinforce that society's biases, and from a philosophical standpoint it's pretty irresponsible.

:duel:
That's not a point I'm trying to make, though


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:25 am 
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Aaarrrgh wrote:
Sex is not 100% binary. There are plenty of sexism indicators other than genitals, such as chromosomes, hormone levels, and various external secondary sex characteristics. In your example above, what if the "boy" had more female hormones than usual?
Sex is binary, because the purpose of sex is to allow for reproduction, and any other indicators are just in service of that fact or incidental


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 1:21 pm 
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the choice to be non-binary ("people who think they are neither a man nor a woman") can come from any number of places. but i worry that you're assuming very little agency for those people who choose to be non-binary. as :duel: implies (i think -- feel free to smack me if i'm out of my lane), cultural forces apply incredible pressure upon the expectations and social regulations of gender. for the nb folks i know, being non-binary isn't something you stumble into, mx. magoo style. it's an active rejection of the silo-ing of things and thoughts and experiences and feelings into "male" and "female". it's an understanding that the forces of Society and Culture are not always aligned with the forces of Unequivocal, Compassionate Good. and that the marginalized people who live on the fault-lines of gender don't need us to police them
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Why do we need to respect this choice?
idk dude, because it's hard out there

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 14, 2018 4:58 pm 
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Flopfoot wrote:
Aaarrrgh wrote:
Sex is not 100% binary. There are plenty of sexism indicators other than genitals, such as chromosomes, hormone levels, and various external secondary sex characteristics. In your example above, what if the "boy" had more female hormones than usual?
Sex is binary, because the purpose of sex is to allow for reproduction, and any other indicators are just in service of that fact or incidental


By this definition, it's at least trinary: Male, Female, Infertile !!!
Try defining something to be clear and black-and-white - and your definition will have a LOT of problems.
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My stance:
Sex can be binary, or not be a single thing, or whatever. It's a useful medical/biological/sociological generalization and should be defined by doctors, biologists, and sociologists. Good generalizations work often, (M+F=BABIES), but not always (M+F*=NO BABIES, where F* = M with testosterone resilience.)

Gender is irrelevant. Should be, at least. The more irrelevant, the better. In the best case, it's irrelevant to the person itself - less irrational behavior templates in their head, no self-loathing over wanting a wrong person, less involvement into dramas.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 06, 2018 11:21 pm 
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Anyways, the question of how many genders there are is ultimately a semantic one. I think a better question would be how people are most comfortable living their lives. And a large number of people are more comfortable living their lives as trans or nonbinary, and I don't want to take that away from them.

And before you say "But they're making me use the wrong pronouns, that's a horrible imposition, literally 1984!", here's a brief list of posts in ymtc where you've used "they" instead of "he or she" for your cards. You literally didn't care until you found out that it made trans people more comfortable.

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=20751&p=603940&hilit=they#p603940

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=20262&p=596228&hilit=they#p596228

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9747&p=307786&hilit=they#p307786

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=9335&p=293645&hilit=they#p293645

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=4363&p=163941&hilit=they#p163941

viewtopic.php?f=17&t=3219&p=128614&hilit=they#p128614

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:30 am 
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Cato wrote:
Anyways, the question of how many genders there are is ultimately a semantic one. I think a better question would be how people are most comfortable living their lives. And a large number of people are more comfortable living their lives as trans or nonbinary, and I don't want to take that away from them.

And before you say "But they're making me use the wrong pronouns, that's a horrible imposition, literally 1984!", here's a brief list of posts in ymtc where you've used "they" instead of "he or she" for your cards. You literally didn't care until you found out that it made trans people more comfortable.

http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewt ... ey#p603940

http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewt ... ey#p596228

http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewt ... ey#p307786

http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewt ... ey#p293645

http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewt ... ey#p163941

http://forum.nogoblinsallowed.com/viewt ... ey#p128614


I'm not sure flopfoot actually cares? He mentioned it at the start but didn't say how he felt about the change in wording.

edit: rather, it seems like if anything he supports it?

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Last edited by Ragnarokio on Sat Apr 07, 2018 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 1:59 am 
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I think that it makes sense for there to be a biological model which divides humans (and some other things) into two reproductive groups, because reproduction essentially works by having two types of people which interact with each other. In practice, there are still going to be people which don't fit squarely into the two idealized classes though, such as intersexual people, homosexuals, asexuals, and etc. In this sense, I don't think its unreasonable to say that there are two sexes (male and female), but that some individuals fail to fall into either category (arguably because of a mutation, but the reason doesn't matter here).

Gender is also a very cultural thing. Animals possess some instinctual understanding of their own sex, I think, but the idea of sex is probably exclusively a human construct. A wild monkey might have thoughts or feelings resembling "i have x body part", or they might be able to look at a certain monkey and think "i want to do x with that monkey", and the sum of those thoughts/feeling might constitute most of that monkey's understanding of its sex. (although those simple thoughts/feelings could result in some relatively sophisticated emergent behaviours)

Humans have two poles when it comes to sexual specialization (male/female) but in practice sometimes regard sex on a social level as being more than two-pronged. Eunuchs are probably the most prevalent example, where in large parts of asia and europe historically if a child asked their parents "is that a man or a woman" they might get the answer "that's a eunuch" and if a child drew a picture and their parents asked if it was a man or a woman, the child might answer with "neither, its a eunuch." Biologists (or the equivalent) at the time might not even consider eunuchs biologically male, since they lack what they consider a mandatory part of being considered male, in the same sense that they wouldn't consider a baby who was born without certain parts as being male. There are some other historical and obviously modern instances where it is ingrained even among young children that there are people who are neither male nor female.

Quote:
Now what happens when this boy gets a little older and learns about biology / sex? If someone tells him "men have penises and women don't", he would tell them "but I'm a woman and I have a penis". Since he knows about gender before sex, if the two contradict, he would assume his sex is wrong rather than his gender being wrong. But his sex can't be wrong, because that's the body he was born with. A sex change is not a nice procedure to have to go through; it's better to treat this sort of condition with counselling to help him accept that he is a boy.


This is something that I feel i should specifically respond to. Counselling is not necessarily a nice thing to go through either, especially for a child, and there are a lot more options than just counselling or a sex change. I think the average parent would (and probably has in the past) just ignore it and wait for them to grow out of it. The reason we're starting to respond to it more now is because we're beginning to identify transgendered people as a real class of people and we've discovered that they have an extraordinarily high suicide rate, along with a host of other problems.

Because this problem is a real and very severe issue, I would strongly advocate that academic research be done on the best way to deal with the issue, and that anyone facing the issue of how to deal with a child showing these kinds of warning signs defer to the results of such academic research rather than making a decision on their own.

And as a closing note, I think that calling others how they like to be called, whether its a matter of name/gender/species/whatever, is an easy low-effort way to make someone happy and show that you care about them on a basic level.

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