af773atmsp
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Questions About Genderqueer

Mon Sep 10, 2018 7:49 pm

I've heard the terms genderqueer, gender fluid, agender, and non-binary numerous times. One of my friends identifies as non-binary (or non-binary woman, I'm not sure). I have several questions about the topic, but I don't think I should ask them to a person who is genderqueer as I'm afraid they would be offended or they would feel like I'm interrogating them.

I sort of understand homosexuality and transgender in that they aren't a choice (I say sort of understand because I'm 99% sure I'm straight and have never thought I should be a woman, so I'll never fully understand what people who are gay or transgender feel). You're male but don't feel a sexual attraction to women, or you were born male but feel you are female. But then these other terms come up, and I'm wondering if people choose to not identify with a gender and why? Is it a choice to be genderqueer? I know even if I try to understand I'll never fully understand because just like homosexuality and transgender I've never been in that position.

Should we have all of these labels? Or should we just identify as a human and our name? Are we on a slippery slope where people will start identifying as non-human, or identifying with a different race? Or are these genderqueer terms as far as we'll go?

To be clear, I'm not saying I'm against people identifying as genderqueer. I just don't understand it, and don't want to offend people for not understanding it or misidentifying them because I'm used to he/she. I'll be honest when my friends who are into LGBTQ+ issues say all of these terms a lot of the information just goes right over my head.

Any a.netters who identify with these terms and comfortable talking about it? Or you know someone who identifies with one of these terms?
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johns624
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:11 pm

Maybe just treat people as people and not worry about their sexual or gender identification.
 
flipdewaf
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Mon Sep 10, 2018 8:47 pm

johns624 wrote:
Maybe just treat people as people and not worry about their sexual or gender identification.

This right here, if you are a nice person I’ll treat you as such and if not then I won’t. Lgbtimkpouywzer whatever you are, I don’t care.

Fred


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vikkyvik
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Mon Sep 10, 2018 9:44 pm

flipdewaf wrote:
johns624 wrote:Maybe just treat people as people and not worry about their sexual or gender identification.This right here, if you are a nice person I’ll treat you as such and if not then I won’t. Lgbtimkpouywzer whatever you are, I don’t care.


One can do all that and still be curious about what the terms mean, and how people experience it.

af773atmsp wrote:
I say sort of understand because I'm 99% sure I'm straight and have never thought I should be a woman, so I'll never fully understand what people who are gay or transgender feel


I think it's important to note that you don't necessarily need to feel exactly what they feel to have empathy and understanding. I think about how I feel about women; that's probably how a gay person feels about the same sex.

My own view about it is that the human brain is a marvelously complex, and it's silly to think that all people will fall into two distinct categories.

So while, like you, I don't know exactly how a genderfluid person feels about his/her/their gender, I try my best to empathize and understand that this is the way they are. I can't imagine how difficult it is to not feel like a part of one particular gender, but still live in a society that is heavily gendered.
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:24 am

af773atmsp wrote:
Should we have all of these labels? Or should we just identify as a human and our name? Are we on a slippery slope where people will start identifying as non-human, or identifying with a different race? Or are these genderqueer terms as far as we'll go?


People already identify on a number of bases: some are immediately obvious like skin colour or a person appears to be male or female. Others, less immediately obvious, include nationality, language, and religious views. People are often treated differently on the basis of their having a disability or impairment. So, I think the slippery slope argument is unsupportable.

Labelling can be important in gaining recognition of specific differences and needs (including removing obstacles to equal treatment and access to resources) but we should always remember that whoever a person is, they are more than that label. I identify as an androphilic male but there is far more to me than my sexuality.

To gain a greater understanding of how people feel about who they are and/or who they want to be with, why not contact a local support or advocacy group in your area, if there is one. Alternatively, go online where there are numerous bodies offering information. Depending how close your friend is, you could ask as long as you don't sound as if you are asking them to justify who they are.
 
seb146
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 6:21 am

You can respectfully ask questions and understand. I agree with other posters "who cares" but there are some good conversations that can happen and better understanding.
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Braybuddy
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:04 am

af773atmsp wrote:
Should we have all of these labels? Or should we just identify as a human and our name? Are we on a slippery slope where people will start identifying as non-human, or identifying with a different race? Or are these genderqueer terms as far as we'll go?

Don't worrry about it, and continue to use the terms you are comforable with, not force yourself to use terms you don't understand (neither do I!) and don't want to. Sadly, the LGBTQXYZ+ commmunity has become one where political correctness reigns supreme and people are only a hair-trigger away from being offended.
 
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:40 am

Braybuddy wrote:
Don't worrry about it, and continue to use the terms you are comforable with, not force yourself to use terms you don't understand (neither do I!) and don't want to. Sadly, the LGBTQXYZ+ commmunity has become one where political correctness reigns supreme and people are only a hair-trigger away from being offended.


So, do you think it acceptable to continue to use terms when an individual has told you that they wish to be address or referred to in a different way? A transgender person my have adopted a new name, for example. Do you think it is merely PC to address the person by that name and not simply rudeness to refuse to use their current name?

Some people are comfortable calling others "retard", "fag", the "N-word". Should they continue to do so, rather than being "uncomfortable" using more respectful terms?

It doesn't matter so much if people occasionally slip up. We're all human. But we can learn and consider whether what we say is likely to cause offence. If in doubt, simply ask the person concerned how they wish to be known, addressed or referred to. It really isn't too hard. Not so much PC as being courteous and respectful.
 
af773atmsp
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 8:50 am

I wouldn't say I'm uncomfortable using other terms, but referring to an individual as they/them goes against what I've been taught in English class for the past 20 years. I'll definitely make an effort to know what they want to be referred to as, but I can't guarantee I'll have it down right away. Considering how easily I forget people's names I probably don't have much of a chance quickly remembering how people want to referenced outside him/her and he/she.
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:04 am

af773atmsp wrote:
they/them goes against what I've been taught in English class for the past 20 years.

I can see what you mean as that's what I was taught back in the 1960s. However, the use of "they" and "their" as singular pronouns has become established in business over the past few years. Indeed, in these threads we often see "they" used in that fashion.

Depending on the circumstances, it can be possible to avoid pronouns altogether. For example, when introducing somebody. Consider the following: "This is Jill. She is an accomplished pianist" can be rendered as "this is Jill, who is an accomplished pianist." Just play it by ear and, if in doubt, ask. If the person is someone who you are likely to see frequently, you'll soon get the hang of it.
 
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Braybuddy
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:26 am

FlightMode wrote:
So, do you think it acceptable to continue to use terms when an individual has told you that they wish to be address or referred to in a different way? A transgender person my have adopted a new name, for example. Do you think it is merely PC to address the person by that name and not simply rudeness to refuse to use their current name?

It depends on the relationship you have to that person. If it's someone you like and respect, then you will gladly use the terms they ask you to use. If it's someone you don't like, and don't respect - or someone you believe is seeking out offence or looking for a reaction -- different rules apply.

FlightMode wrote:
Some people are comfortable calling others "retard", "fag", the "N-word". Should they continue to do so, rather than being "uncomfortable" using more respectful terms?

It's quite clear from af773atmsp's post that he is quite respectful to other people and not a person to intentionally cause offence, so I had no doubt he would not use derogotary terms. If you are comfortable using derogotary terms, that's up to you, but it does say more about yourself than the person the words describe. That is your choice.
 
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:49 am

Braybuddy wrote:
If you are comfortable using derogotary terms, that's up to you, but it does say more about yourself than the person the words describe. That is your choice.

Absolutely agree that treating people with disrespect reflects badly on oneself. But that's just the way I was brought up. As my parents were conservative, it has nothing to do with being PC (a term that often means nothing more than "I don't like that.")
 
SCQ83
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:53 am

Gender is just a cultural and social construction with no inherent biological factors. That is the first thing to understand.
 
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trpmb6
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 12:56 pm

What I sometimes have trouble with is, for instance, using a term I've used for years to address a group of people, like "guys". "hey how are you guys?" "Do you guys need help finding anything?"

It's just so entrenched in my language that I don't even consciously think about it. So please don't berate me and attack me for not being understanding.

Some people struggle for years on their gender identity. Contemplating it within their mind. When someone we've known for years as he/she comes out and expects a different pronoun it will take us time to adjust our brain to that thought process as well. It's not out of malice, or disapproval. It's just that for years, maybe decades, we've known you as someone else.

(Sorry this was obviously related to something we've dealt with personally - feels good to float it out)
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:10 pm

af773atmsp wrote:
I wouldn't say I'm uncomfortable using other terms, but referring to an individual as they/them goes against what I've been taught in English class for the past 20 years.


That poses a problem for me too. Also makes understanding more difficult. I've read posts on FB where I assumed someone was referring to a group of people.

FlightMode wrote:
However, the use of "they" and "their" as singular pronouns has become established in business over the past few years.


It has? I've only see "they" and "their" used singularly in error. Like, instead of "his/her". That's been happening as long as I've been alive, but it's still incorrect.
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trpmb6
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Tue Sep 11, 2018 2:35 pm

vikkyvik wrote:

FlightMode wrote:
However, the use of "they" and "their" as singular pronouns has become established in business over the past few years.


It has? I've only see "they" and "their" used singularly in error. Like, instead of "his/her". That's been happening as long as I've been alive, but it's still incorrect.


Yeah I haven't experienced this either. The use of "they" or "their" in contract language implies multiple parties. And generally not recommended anyways due to ambiguity associated with referring to a party as "they" or "their" anyways. Throwing in a potential use as a singular pronoun makes it even more ambiguous.
 
rlwynn
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:21 am

SCQ83 wrote:
Gender is just a cultural and social construction with no inherent biological factors. That is the first thing to understand.


Wrong on so many levels.

Look at almost any species on the planet and there is a distinct difference in the behavior of the gender. Which is a biological factor.

Social construction is what caused your thinking.
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seb146
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 6:39 am

trpmb6 wrote:
What I sometimes have trouble with is, for instance, using a term I've used for years to address a group of people, like "guys". "hey how are you guys?" "Do you guys need help finding anything?"

It's just so entrenched in my language that I don't even consciously think about it. So please don't berate me and attack me for not being understanding.

Some people struggle for years on their gender identity. Contemplating it within their mind. When someone we've known for years as he/she comes out and expects a different pronoun it will take us time to adjust our brain to that thought process as well. It's not out of malice, or disapproval. It's just that for years, maybe decades, we've known you as someone else.

(Sorry this was obviously related to something we've dealt with personally - feels good to float it out)


I find it difficult to use "you" in a general sense, especially in the written word. I find myself writing "you (plural)" or something similar.

As far as addressing a group of mixed gender, I simply drop any pronouns. And, maybe it is a West Coast thing, but the word "dude" has no gender. I work with women and men and we all call each other dude. Even when we come into a frustrating situation, it is typical to hear "duuuuuuude....."
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 8:00 am

trpmb6 wrote:
vikkyvik wrote:

FlightMode wrote:
However, the use of "they" and "their" as singular pronouns has become established in business over the past few years.


It has? I've only see "they" and "their" used singularly in error. Like, instead of "his/her". That's been happening as long as I've been alive, but it's still incorrect.


Yeah I haven't experienced this either. The use of "they" or "their" in contract language implies multiple parties. And generally not recommended anyways due to ambiguity associated with referring to a party as "they" or "their" anyways. Throwing in a potential use as a singular pronoun makes it even more ambiguous.


An example of using "they" as a singular pronoun can be seen online where Emirates deals with unaccompanied minors. The use of the singular "they" occurs because the gender of the child is unspecified : "We make sure your unaccompanied minor has a memorable experience throughout their trip - from helping at check in to transferring between flights or meeting their guardians at their final destination." and "A specialist member of our team will meet your child at the dedicated check in desk and be with them all the way through the airport until we hand your child to our crew on board."

Source: https://www.emirates.com/au/english/bef ... inors.aspx (Emphasis added.)

Perhaps such usage is less common in the US but the use of the singular they has been common enough in England since the 14th century, although in the 19th century was largely replaced in official use by the prescriptive "he" to include both he and she. In my country, The Australian Federation Press Style Guide recommends the use of gender-neutral terms and goes on to say '“they”, “their” used as singular pronouns is acceptable.'

Source: http://www.federationpress.com.au/Style ... nPress.pdf
 
SkiyaninVannin
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:45 am

I try not to worry too much about it. You should always try to be respectful to people, but it's so easy to cause unintentional offence. I think sometimes offence is too easily taken (and sometimes too quickly given).

And using expressions like 'you guys'is still wisely used despite what the ultra progressive social media types think.
 
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trpmb6
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 12:47 pm

FlightMode wrote:
trpmb6 wrote:
vikkyvik wrote:



It has? I've only see "they" and "their" used singularly in error. Like, instead of "his/her". That's been happening as long as I've been alive, but it's still incorrect.


Yeah I haven't experienced this either. The use of "they" or "their" in contract language implies multiple parties. And generally not recommended anyways due to ambiguity associated with referring to a party as "they" or "their" anyways. Throwing in a potential use as a singular pronoun makes it even more ambiguous.


An example of using "they" as a singular pronoun can be seen online where Emirates deals with unaccompanied minors. The use of the singular "they" occurs because the gender of the child is unspecified : "We make sure your unaccompanied minor has a memorable experience throughout their trip - from helping at check in to transferring between flights or meeting their guardians at their final destination." and "A specialist member of our team will meet your child at the dedicated check in desk and be with them all the way through the airport until we hand your child to our crew on board."

Source: https://www.emirates.com/au/english/bef ... inors.aspx (Emphasis added.)

Perhaps such usage is less common in the US but the use of the singular they has been common enough in England since the 14th century, although in the 19th century was largely replaced in official use by the prescriptive "he" to include both he and she. In my country, The Australian Federation Press Style Guide recommends the use of gender-neutral terms and goes on to say '“they”, “their” used as singular pronouns is acceptable.'

Source: http://www.federationpress.com.au/Style ... nPress.pdf


Great catch! I hadn't thought of that usage actually.
 
vikkyvik
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 2:16 pm

FlightMode wrote:
An example of using "they" as a singular pronoun can be seen online where Emirates deals with unaccompanied minors. The use of the singular "they" occurs because the gender of the child is unspecified : "We make sure your unaccompanied minor has a memorable experience throughout their trip - from helping at check in to transferring between flights or meeting their guardians at their final destination." and "A specialist member of our team will meet your child at the dedicated check in desk and be with them all the way through the airport until we hand your child to our crew on board."


I would have said that is all wrong, and Emirates should have used "he or she" and "his or her". That's just the way I was taught here in the US; maybe it is different elsewhere. I've always understood "they/them/their" to be strictly plural.

Language changes, and I understand that, I just think there could be a better way than to use the same term for singular and plural. I'm all for coming up with a new gender-neutral pronoun.
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falstaff
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 3:38 pm

flipdewaf wrote:
This right here, if you are a nice person I’ll treat you as such and if not then I won’t. Lgbtimkpouywzer whatever you are, I don’t care.


johns624 wrote:
Maybe just treat people as people and not worry about their sexual or gender identification.


That is a nice way too look at things but realistic in all circumstances. I am a high school teacher and I have had many students literally wear their sexuality on their sleeve. A few years ago I had a student who had a t-shirt on that read "I'm Gay, get over it". I would hope that everyone knows what that means. I could care less if that student was gay, but he sure wanted everyone to know he was gay. Last year a students had a shirt on with a slogan on it about LBGTQ+ and so forth on it. Whether that student was any of those things doesn't make any difference but I had no idea what the + was for. If I didn't know what the + was for I bet a lot of others didn't either. What is wrong with asking about something when you don't know about it.

I come from a generation when queer was a derogatory term for somebody who was gay. Today the meaning seems to have changed. At one time the LGBT was just LGBT and now more things are being added to it. Not Those of us that have been around for a while don't all know the knew lingo.

vikkyvik wrote:
I don't know exactly how a genderfluid person feels about his/her/their gender, I try my best to empathize and understand that this is the way they are.


I'm always confused when people say they feel like their a man or a woman. I have asked a few people who claim to be trans and they don't really have an answer. I have asked many straight people the same question. They can't answer it either. Usually the conversation goes to how it is experiencing life as a man or woman. That isn't the question. If something inside a person tells them they are man trapped in a woman wouldn't a man in a man also know he should be a man? I think these are good discussions to have so putting your head in the sand and not asking isn't getting anyone anywhere.

Humans want to find answers to questions; our entire progression through history has shown that.
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:21 pm

vikkyvik wrote:
Language changes, and I understand that, I just think there could be a better way than to use the same term for singular and plural. I'm all for coming up with a new gender-neutral pronoun.


There already is one but that pronoun tends not to be used when referring to a person. The gender-neutral pronoun "it" is seen as dehumanising and therefore avoided.

Other languages have less of a problem using "it" in relation to a person. For example, traditionally in Germany the definite article for a child or a girl is "das" and the nominative pronoun is "es", which translates as "it".

The use of "he or she", "him or her" is widely seen as clumsy. In the nineteenth century grammarians favoured the use of "he" as a gender-neutral pronoun. This preference became established in the UK (and adopted in British colonies and dominions) through the passage of legislation. Today, we regard it as unacceptable to see women as being of lesser status and the use of "he" as a gender-neutral pronoun has fallen into disfavour. Unless people are willing to accept "it", "they" might be the best alternative simply because it is already known and is preferred by many individuals.
 
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Wed Sep 12, 2018 11:54 pm

Good thread - started with an interesting question and has led to a variety of quality responses. Seems like these are getting rarer and rarer in A.net Non-Av.

------------------------------------------------

I had been uncomfortable using "their" or "they" to refer to a singular non-binary person, and thought it was proper to say "him or her" or choose the correct pronoun as appropriate. Thanks to this thread, I will now be more comfortable using they and their in the proper context.
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vikkyvik
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Thu Sep 13, 2018 2:09 pm

falstaff wrote:
I think these are good discussions to have so putting your head in the sand and not asking isn't getting anyone anywhere.


Just to be clear (since you responded to me), I'm certainly not doing that. I was trying to say that asking these questions is a good thing. I just may not fully understand the answers, but that's OK.

FlightMode wrote:
There already is one but that pronoun tends not to be used when referring to a person. The gender-neutral pronoun "it" is seen as dehumanising and therefore avoided.


I know that "it" exists, but as you noted, it's not really considered polite, at least here in the US.

FlightMode wrote:
Unless people are willing to accept "it", "they" might be the best alternative simply because it is already known and is preferred by many individuals.


You're right, it might be the best alternative, based on its already-existing usage. I just think we (as a collective society) should have gone down a different road than using "they". It does make context more confusing, and annoys me strictly from a grammar point of view, but I can get over that.

After all, we use the pronoun "you" for both singular and plural. Difference is, when using "you", the context is usually obvious since you're usually talking directly to the person or group.
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falstaff
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Thu Sep 13, 2018 3:21 pm

SCQ83 wrote:
Gender is just a cultural and social construction with no inherent biological factors. That is the first thing to understand.


If you believe that you have never taken a biology or human anatomy class.

af773atmsp wrote:
I'll definitely make an effort to know what they want to be referred to as, but I can't guarantee I'll have it down right away. Considering how easily I forget people's names I probably don't have much of a chance quickly remembering how people want to referenced outside him/her and he/she.


Especially since that can change. Since you can change your gender these days on however you feel you have people that go back and forth. There have been students at my school that have gone back and forth a couple of times during their years in high school. Last year we had a senior who went from being an actual female (I know this because one day she was bitching about needing tampons and the vending machine in the restroom was out) to a male to being female again in a two year period. She would get really defensive to anyone who called her by her legal name, which was a female name, while she was a male. Her outward appearance changed in no way whatsoever so I can see how it would be difficult for people to know what she wanted to be called.

The entire transgender thing is difficult for me to understand. Straight, Gay, Lesbian, and Bi-Sexual I understand. Those make perfect sense to me. I'll give you and example. Last year I took a group of students to New York City. One of the students was showing me a gift he bought for his boyfriend. He went on and on about how his boyfriend likes this and that. I didn't think much about it until we got back to work and I saw him making out with a girl in the hallway at school. His "boyfriend" is female, so is he really even gay? She believed she was a male, although nobody would have confused this girl for a boy. A couple years ago we had a "gay" couple in the school, who were also a boy and girl. The girl who wanted to be a boy dated a boy. She made big fuss about the school putting her legal name on her diploma (she wanted her male name). From what I have heard now that she's a couple years out of high school she is back to being female. I don't want to sound like a bigot but if your sexual relationship with your partner can involve one person getting the other person pregnant you aren't in a homosexual relationship.
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Braybuddy
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Re: Questions About Genderqueer

Thu Sep 13, 2018 9:59 pm

falstaff wrote:
Especially since that can change. Since you can change your gender these days on however you feel you have people that go back and forth. There have been students at my school that have gone back and forth a couple of times during their years in high school. Last year we had a senior who went from being an actual female (I know this because one day she was bitching about needing tampons and the vending machine in the restroom was out) to a male to being female again in a two year period. She would get really defensive to anyone who called her by her legal name, which was a female name, while she was a male. Her outward appearance changed in no way whatsoever so I can see how it would be difficult for people to know what she wanted to be called.

That sounds like attention-seeking or someone wanting to be offended, hoping to be outraged.

falstaff wrote:
The entire transgender thing is difficult for me to understand. Straight, Gay, Lesbian, and Bi-Sexual I understand. Those make perfect sense to me. I'll give you and example. Last year I took a group of students to New York City. One of the students was showing me a gift he bought for his boyfriend. He went on and on about how his boyfriend likes this and that. I didn't think much about it until we got back to work and I saw him making out with a girl in the hallway at school. His "boyfriend" is female, so is he really even gay? She believed she was a male, although nobody would have confused this girl for a boy. A couple years ago we had a "gay" couple in the school, who were also a boy and girl. The girl who wanted to be a boy dated a boy. She made big fuss about the school putting her legal name on her diploma (she wanted her male name). From what I have heard now that she's a couple years out of high school she is back to being female. I don't want to sound like a bigot but if your sexual relationship with your partner can involve one person getting the other person pregnant you aren't in a homosexual relationship.

Makes absolutely no sense at all. :roll:

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