[Air-l] Making gender complicated on Friendster

Paula pmg at gmx.co.uk
Mon Dec 12 16:58:36 PST 2005

Hmm - other=negation to my (admittedly ancient) mental processes, so
that wouldn't work for me.

I always thought the great thing about text-based communication was not
having to reveal your gender unless you felt like it. However, dating is
a special case, and I daresay people want to specify which biological
characteristics and sexual preferences they have a yen for. Perhaps
people should be asked, instead, to state the morphology of their
genitals in one box with separate dropdowns for preferred gender-role
and pet perversities as well? Thus: Has: x-genitals/x-role/enjoys-x,
Seeks: x-genitals/x-role/enjoys-x? Then one could do a structured search
with reasonable precision and yet plenty of flexibility and a more
democratic structure since heterosexuals and and us more "complicated"
folk would be asked to supply the same information using the same
criteria? ;-)

OK OK, seriously (well, sort of), if it's just going to be the one
dropdown with male/female and a fuzzy slot, "it's complicated" seems to
cover the bases. It seems to be a sufficient statement of gender all
round, really - in fact why bother with the "male" and "female"
selections at all - are heterosexuals *really* so predictable that their
genital morphology says everything there is to say about their sexuality
and social role? Surely the wonders of technology could produce better
tagging?  :-p


Ingbert Floyd wrote:

>I get these emails digested, so forgive me if I'm repeating something
>someone has already posted.
>However, the gender being talked about here is self-identified gender,
>not gender of the person one might be interested in, correct?  Though,
>I guess if you change one, the other will have to change as well.
>I like the "it's complicated", because it provides a space not only
>for hemaphrodites (sic?), but for transgenders, and androgynous people
>as well, and it doesn't force them to define themselves, when in fact,
>many people in such a situation are constantly struggling with what
>they are and how to self-define.
>The reason I make the distinction above, is that a person who
>self-identifies or is looking for someone in the "it's complicated"
>category is one thing, a person who is bisexual is another.  A
>bisexual often self-identifies as clearly male or female, but is
>simply interested in partners of either sex, while a person who is
>interested in the "it's complicated", is not interested in bisexuals,
>but interested in someone whose self-identified gender boundaries are
>not so clearly defined.
>Though, this brings up a usage problem with the "it's complicated"
>category.  When self-identifying gender as "it's compolicated", it is
>pretty clear what the person is saying.  When looking for "it's
>complicated", it is not so clear--it could represent an indecision
>about being bisexual as well as a clear decision about wanting
>transsexual (say).  Thus, for the "seeking" usage, it might be better
>to label the category, "other", though that particular word could have
>a negative overtone.
>Ingbert Floyd
>PhD. Student
>Graduate School of Library and Information Science
>University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
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