Sunday, December 22, 2013

Links and Other Recommended Reading

This one's probably going to be posted in incomplete state multiple times before I finally have time to finish it up (assuming that it doesn't continue to evolve forever)... for starters, I'm focusing on getting a lot of info IN the blog, and will attempt to organize and properly introduce each segment later.

General Internet:

Gender Tree is a website maintained by a member of one of the email lists I'm on, which pays special attention to debunking of "the bible says" gender and sex binary myths. I remember thinking it was darn cool back when I first was given the link, although that was so many years ago that I don't remember any details worth highlighting.

Two-Spirits Map is a global inventory of human cultures which recognize genders outside the male-female binary. There's a number of other lists of this type out there, but this is the most comprehensive one I've encountered by far!

Genderbread Person versions 1.0 and 2.0 are cute illustrations explaining the difference between gender identity, sexual orientation, physical sex, and gender expression. The first version is simpler but less accurate, the second version is more accurate but also more complicated; tackle whichever level of complexity you feel ready for.

The Huffington Post provides this brief list of the scientific studies which have documented evidence that gender identity has a biological (rather than psychiatric) basis... and if that list isn't convincing enough for you, scroll down to the bottom of it for a link to more.

Leading LDS produced a podcast with tips for local LDS leaders on how to welcome and respect transgender people in their wards and branches.

Other Blogs:

Trans-Fusion and Intersex Roadshow are blogs by Cary Gabriel Costello, focusing on trans issues and intersex issues respectively. Costello's writings put a "real" face on both the trans and intersex experiences, and do an excellent job of covering the technical information and philosophical questions involved in a concise and easy-to-read manner. I haven't read the full history of either blog, but would specifically like to call attention to a few of the entries that I have read:
On Teaching (Trans) Gender delves into the realm of institutionalized and accepted sexism by contrasting how students interact with an instructor who is perceived to be male vs an instructor who is perceived to be female (which Costello has the unusual experience of being able to directly contrast due to having experienced both).
How Common is Intersex Status? spells out the math behind 1 in 150 being a conservative estimate for how many modern humans are intersex... and that's just based on the number of individuals with one of two specific conditions who are assigned male at birth. Add in the individuals who are assigned female and other conditions for which numbers aren't readily available and the real frequency can reasonably be inferred to be significantly higher.
The Phalloclitoris: Anatomy and Ideology critiques modern Western medicine's technical illustrations of "normal" genitals as deliberately inaccurate and "we must fix it!" attitude towards intersex genitals as recklessly destructive.
Does It Get Better? includes heart-wrenching details of the ongoing harassment that Costello's wife (an individual who is also both trans and intersex) is subjected to on an ordinary, every-day basis thanks to the after-effects of childhood medical treatments that were inflicted in an attempt to override her expressed identity.

LDS Gender is a blog maintained by someone that I'm acquainted with through two different email lists that are specifically for people who are both LDS and trans/intersex. The blog is specifically aimed at an LDS audience, presenting information on trans and intersex issues within the context of LDS beliefs.

Countering the general understanding that all Mormons are idiotically conservative (or at least forced to keep quiet on their liberal views), Feminist Mormon Housewives covers more material than even I would ever attempt to keep up with. Unfortunately the site also attracts a lot of REALLY nasty trolls, so I don't recommend reading the comments that get posted; just read the blog entries themselves, and skip the garbage below. One FMH entry in particular that I did find expressing my own thoughts & feelings quite well was When you ask for bread and receive a stone. Forgiving Our Leaders and Finding Ourselves.

I haven't read any of A Purple Picket Fence, although that's on my to-do list... if I ever get around to it, I'll come back and provide commentary on that one too.


Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano - Written by a transwoman about her experiences with both the transition process and the prejudices that she encountered at all stages along the way. Although written from the perspective of a transwoman, I found it to contain a lot of great insights into American society's expectations of female-appearing persons in general (which is applicable to the lives of ciswomen, post-transition transwomen, pre-transition transmen, and persons like myself with a female body and non-binary identity).

Evolution's Rainbow, by Joan Roughgarden - Roughgarden, a biologist, was invited by Oregon State University's zoology department to give a presentation on campus back when I was attending the school, which was how I encountered her and her first book. Evolution's Rainbow thoroughly explores the full  spectrum of sexual reproduction modes within the animal kingdoms (including a number of species that have more than two sexes or that can change sex as needed), and human cultures from across the globe that recognize more than two genders, thoroughly debunking the myth of a universal male-female binary.
Roughgarden has since published a second book addressing how she reconciles the realities of biological diversity with her Christian faith, which I want to but have not yet had occasion to purchase and read.

[I own copies of both Whipping Girl and the 2004 edition of Evolution's Rainbow, which are available for local borrowing.]

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