6:23 pm - 11/08/2005

i'm an issue unto myself

i was appalled to read an article citing christian documentation in my school paper about how homosexuality is a choice (http://www.cm-life.com/vnews/display.v/ART/2005/11/07/436ed740013a1). after reading said article i began to speak with my lutheran fiance. although he was not in favor of homosexual marriage before we spoke, he did support equal rights under terms such as insurance, visitation in hospitals, etc. however, i did provide some food for thought.

my fiance is (as far as we know) genetically xy (male) phenotypic male with a predominately masculine gender. i am intersexed as i have a.i.s, and as such i am genetically xy (male) phenotypic female with a predominately feminine gender. he is obviously male, but what am i? am i male for my genetics or female for my body? a genetically xy (male) phenotypic male could have a sex-change operation and take medication to become a genetically xy (male) phenotypic female, which would make him similar to me in terms of body-type. therefore, am i homosexual or heterosexual for being with my fiance? take note that i have dated men and women - but with whom am i actually homosexual or heterosexual? is there some dividing line? some would argue that my genetics are the tell-all know-all of my sexuality and other would say that my body serves that purpose. personally, i just refer to myself as bisexual to help clarify for myself because there is no clear cut for me.

however, if homosexual marriage is not legal and an official discovers that i and my fiance are both genetically xy (male), will we be allowed to marry? in some states, we may not if their basis is on genetics. the thought both saddens and sickens me to no end.

i know that u cannot just choose sexuality and i know that homosexuality and heterosexuality are not choices, so why is this issue still an issue? a point of interest is that “In a unnamed zoo, two male penguins, Squawk, and Milou, will call to each other, entwine their necks, kiss, and yes even have sex with one another. Reports of Homosexuality has occurred in bottlenose dolphins, prime apes, as well as 450 different species” (Psychology 18th ed. Wade and Travis). with this information, it should be clear that if it were simply a choice, why would "wild animals" whose primary goal is survival and continuation of the species have homosexuality?

after speaking with my fiance he has decided that he is for homosexual marriage. afterall, if he's with me, does that make him homosexual or heterosexual?
slytherinblack 8th-Nov-2005 11:33 pm (UTC)
I think it just goes to show that the issue of sex/gender/sexuality isn't as simple as many people would make it out to be. I've always believed that people should define their own sexuality based on what they feel it is, not on any particular rule. Do you feel like a straight woman (or a bisexual woman)? Then you're a straight woman to me, regardless of other factors.
sunshinesarah 8th-Nov-2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
I second this.
ravrhi 8th-Nov-2005 11:36 pm (UTC)
Wow. That just...boggles. *rubs temples* Mind if I pass this on, minus your user name to a few anti-gay rights relatives of mine?
ais_chiq 9th-Nov-2005 01:40 am (UTC)
no problem
tyrsalvia 8th-Nov-2005 11:38 pm (UTC)
Thanks for posting this! Transgender and intersexed people have been the invisible parties in the debate about "gay" marriage, and yet I think they prove a very important point: who defines what a "man" and a "woman" are for the purposes of legality? I guess it's too weird of an idea for much of middle America, but it seems like a big deal to me.
anwyn18 8th-Nov-2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
From what I've read, some politicans attempted to make a definition of "male" and "female" and eventually gave up because of the vast array of genetic variations that can occur.
tazthelemon 17th-Apr-2007 03:56 am (UTC)
I think at one point they were trying to base it on a woman's reproductive ability... that she could become pregnant and bear children. That fell through when all the post menopausal women, infertile women, women who'd had hystorectomies, and women on birth control were like, "WTF, mate?"
tazthelemon 17th-Apr-2007 04:27 am (UTC)
I think at one point they were trying to base it on a woman's reproductive ability... that she could become pregnant and bear children. That fell through when all the post menopausal women, infertile women, women who'd had hystorectomies, and women on birth control were like, "WTF, mate?"
anwyn18 8th-Nov-2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
Oy. That's an issue and a half. I don't think anyone has actually gone into specifics as to how gender is assigned according to homosexuality laws (because of these sorts of complications of issue actually), so if you're physically female I wouldn't fret that your impending marriage is illegal. If you fiance is okay with the issue, then the rest of it is just societal complications, and I wouldn't stress about it too much. Definitions of any kind are always flawed and generalising, and when it comes to identity are not always helpful. Rather put your energy into activism to get these awful laws changed.
newperspectives 8th-Nov-2005 11:42 pm (UTC)
So I'm currently taking a class on biological psychology, and our instructor's take is that while sex is somewhat fundamentally determined by genes, hormones always win and can overrule genetics. I assume from this that her take would be that you are female, and that your relationship would count as heterosexual...

that's one psych prof's perspective, but for what it's worth.

vivalamusica 8th-Nov-2005 11:43 pm (UTC)
In my developmental psych classes we generally refer to "male" and "female" when discussing genetic sex (x and y chromosomes) but "man" and "woman" when discussing gender (phenotype and self-projection). It was still confusing, but not as much as it might have been. And as for where that counts in marraige, to me it seems like gender/sex ambiguity is just further proof of why the gender of either party should not be a consideration in marriage
iwakurajessi Re:26th-Feb-2006 09:19 am (UTC)
"In my developmental psych classes we generally refer to "male" and "female" when discussing genetic sex (x and y chromosomes) but "man" and "woman" when discussing gender (phenotype and self-projection). It was still confusing, but not as much as it might have been. And as for where that counts in marraige, to me it seems like gender/sex ambiguity is just further proof of why the gender of either party should not be a consideration in marriage"

That makes a lot of sense: gender is the social construction, the idea of one's identity, and sex is the biological construct. I think it's fun in a way to recognize that even "sex" can't be perfectly divided all the time... Intersexuality fucks with the binary, which I think challenges people to reconsider their ideas about sex and gender in general.

I agree with you... Gender shouldn't be an issue in marriages/civil-unions; it's like we're still stuck in the 1950s or something, when interacial marriages were illegal.
impgrrl 8th-Nov-2005 11:57 pm (UTC)
I can't comment on the hetero/homo debate - I think you're *you* and he's *him*, and the rest isn't important.

On subject of whether you could legally get married - what's the "sex" on your papers (birth cert., driver's license, etc)? Generally, and to the best of my knowledge, the state uses the "m" or "f" on the official papers to determine "sex".

Which also means that generally a TS can legally marry someone of hir same sex-of-origin, after legal transition (changing official documents, etc).
ravrhi 9th-Nov-2005 12:44 am (UTC)
How do they check the gender when they change the documents though? I mean, could I, as a woman wanting to marry another woman, walk in with my breasts bound, my hair cut short and a doctor's note stating that I am now male and should be legally recognized as such?
I mean, really. How do they confirm such a thing?

I really love your statement, "...you're *you* and he's *him* and the rest is unimportant." It is hard hitting in it's simplicity.
impgrrl 9th-Nov-2005 02:01 am (UTC)
I'm not sure what the process for changing "sex" on the documents - I've never gone through it, and though I've known people who have, I've never asked the specifics. I do know it's done.

I am pretty sure it's not as easy as you pose here, though.

As for simplicity - I've done a lot of soul searching. I ID as a dyke, am primarily attracted to very butch women/trans men (Female to Male), and am currently in love/long term relationship with a bio-male. It took me a lot of angst, but I figured out finally that none of it really mattered - I loved who I loved, and that didn't change who I was, or where I identified.
aechei 9th-Nov-2005 02:07 am (UTC)
i am guessing that you have to provide documentation of a surgical and hormonal change, as well as a certain period of life as the new gender. but i dont really know.
___just_a_phase 9th-Nov-2005 01:31 pm (UTC)
There is a lot of paperwork involved, and I'm pretty sure you need proof of medical evaluation. You don't have to have a surgical change, however. My roomate/best friend is a M to F tranny. She is on hormones but has not and will not have her penis removed and will still have all documents (minus passport and birth certificate, I believe) changed to reflect her female gender.
restlesspoetry 9th-Nov-2005 03:05 am (UTC)
ok, i have to butt in. my husband (we're not legally married though) is transsexual. the "f" on his birth certificate is what follows him. he can't officially be considered male until he has a doctor's documentation that he's gone through sex reassignment surgery. it's different in different states, in some that goes for just chest surgery, in others you have to have the whole package done. you have to have it documented though.
whoa_breathe 9th-Nov-2005 06:24 am (UTC)
That is a really clever icon!
ais_chiq 9th-Nov-2005 01:43 am (UTC)
yes and yes ^_^ no adrogenous response = no penis or sexual-type hair ^_^

my id and birth certificate say female and my gender is female so it works ^_^
dollunderglass 9th-Nov-2005 01:00 am (UTC)
I think your situation is very interesting and your question is a difficult one to answer.

One thing that gets me, though, is people's adamant delcaration of homosexuality not being a choice. Now, I feel that I do not have enough information to absolutely say that homosexuality is biological. I have certainly heard of people whose homosexuality could possible be linked to social factors (women being abused by men as children, men with absent fathers). It is possible that those people subconciously chose homosexuality.

Now the real issue for me is, why does it matter? Would it be so bad for a man to choose to date other men just because he felt like it? It doesn't matter how people get to be gay, just that they are and that fact doesn't make them lesser people in any way.
ais_chiq 9th-Nov-2005 01:44 am (UTC)
all i can speak from is how i feel and i'm genuinely attracted to men and women and i didn't choose to be "like that" so for me, it's nature vs. nurture
iwakurajessi 26th-Feb-2006 09:38 am (UTC)
:nod: that's how i feel, too - like you said, "i'm genuinely attracted to men and women and i didn't choose to be 'like that' so for me, it's nature vs. nurture."

i can relate to both your and dollunderglass's arguments... i hate when people refer to sexual orientation as a "choice" to imply that homosexuality or bisexuality is a "sin," so i tend to disagree with the "choice" theory. however, at the same time i agree with what dollunderglass said, that it shouldn't "matter how people get to be gay, just that they are and that fact doesn't make them lesser people in any way." whether it's an inherited trait, a genetic proclivity, a partly-learned thing, or whatever, we bi/queer/gay/lesbian people shouldn't have to defend ourselves to heteros for being who we are. but we do, 'cuz not everybody gets it yet.

i guess that goes for trans, intersex, androgynous and gender-deviant people, too. like me. like moira, the character on the l word, too.
ahota84 9th-Nov-2005 02:02 am (UTC)
I think its important to point out the two different things here..Im struggling to try to make sure this comes out clear...or relevant to you.

You have AIS. You consider yourself intersexual. This is all biological. It can be argued that there is more than two sexes for humans, five major ones and its a continuum through out them all. Its only our society that groups us into males and females. Because of this, intersexuals are often forced into sex reassignment surgery without their consent, to supposedly prevent psychological damage that society will inadvertently instill on them.

But your question is cultural, not biological at all. It shouldnt be because you are intersexual, your biology shouldn't have a first vote in what society tries to dictate to you. If you feel heterosexual to your partner, then you should have the rights that any legal marriage should have. If you are homosexual, then hopefully one day soon you'll have equal rights. It makes perfect sense that you are attracted to both male and females, you have characteristics of both.

Legal wise, I would try for my rights as a female trying to marry a male, regardless of whats really going on. Might as well play the governments games concerning legalities and civil rights.
geminigirl 9th-Nov-2005 02:06 am (UTC)
It sounds like your biological sex doesn't match your gender. To answer the question from a "getting legally married standpoint," it will probably involve nothing more than looking at your ID-driver's license, birth certificate, etc, and because your ID says you're female, and your partner's ID says male, I suspect it won't be an issue.

Emotionally, it may be something completely different between the two of you.
willow_starr 9th-Nov-2005 02:36 am (UTC)
Thanks for this insight! Intersex and trans issues are way too over-looked when talking about queer rights, I think because they compilicate things so much and really challenge people's notions of sex and gender as fixed categories.
restlesspoetry 9th-Nov-2005 03:14 am (UTC)
my husband is transsexual, female-to-male. biologically he's female, i guess (i guess because it feels wrong for me to say it), but he feels like a male and is also going to have his sex legally change. we consider ourself being a straight couple, simply because i feel like a woman and he like a man. i'd second everyone above that say yoou are what you feel like. i don't think you'll have any problems to marry if you have "female" on your birth certificate. i'd guess that's what they go on.
disenchantedgrl 9th-Nov-2005 04:14 am (UTC)
I think it makes him gay on a genetic level, but on a more spiritual level it means nothing for he's in love with you.

I think the whole agurment for gay marriage is stupid because it prevents two (or more people) from being happy for the rest of their lives over some stupid dogma that ignore genetics. I hope for you the best and many blessings.
messiah_complex 9th-Nov-2005 05:36 am (UTC)
this post is fascinating -- thanks for writing :)
ennyleve 9th-Nov-2005 06:58 am (UTC)
i think the public wants to deny the existence of intersex people even more than they want to deny homosexuality...

sex can refer to chromosomes, but more often refers to genitalia. gender refers to socially constructed ideas about how different sexes should behave, but is much more blurry.

sort of off topic, but i am dying for a man and a woman to get married in some fairly conservative state, and then for one of them to get a sex change operation and see how the hell the state reacts... after all, gay marriage isn't allowed, but what if they were already married, perfectly legally?

Gender Outlaw by, err, something bornstein maybe? provides a really interesting view of fluid gender and sexuality by a MTF transexual.
iwakurajessi 26th-Feb-2006 09:30 am (UTC)
That happened in New Jersey!!! The first and only legally married couple of women (before civil unions were legalized here)... Carlos became Carla, who used to be on the board of directors at my college. Her wife (who married her when she was "male," by sex and physical presentation at least) was cool with it! I don't know if they encountered any later problems, but to my knowledge - and based on what my psychology professor told me, using this story to introduce the topic of transgenderism and transsexuality in our class - they still reaped all the tax/legal benefits of a heterosexual, different-sex couple.

Jersey's not a "fairly conservative state," but... it's something that happened here in the 90s which challenged people's perceptions about sex and gender, regardless.
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