Posts tagged "cissexism"

Inclusive data structures

velartrill:

One of the most aggravating things about much of the infosphere is that a majority of software is designed with a heteronormative, cisnormative, gender-binary, and usually ethnocentric worldview built into its basic operating assumptions. This is especially a problem with social media. The upshot is usually this:

  1. The gender field is a drop-down menu or pair of radio buttons with two choices.
  2. There’s a separate field for first names, last names, and sometimes middle names.
  3. There’s no way of encoding relationships with multiple people.

The naïve solution to these problems is to add choice. Instead of “male” and “female” radio-buttons, a well-meaning programmer might put in a drop-down list including male, female, questioning, queer, and agender. Great. What about bigender people? Genderfluid people? People from specific non-white cultural traditions, like two-spirits or hijra? Okay, maybe we can expand the list to include them. If you account for every discrete gender identification, you’ll eventually wind up with a very long list that’ll cover maybe 90% of people.

What about the remaining 10%?

What about people who have their own way of describing their gender? What about people who more or less fall into an established category but for whatever reason feel uncomfortable with the label the developer offers?

And for some extra fun, what in god’s name happens when you try to localize the list of genders for, say, Arabic?

The point is that this is approaching the problem in exactly the wrong way. Gender is a continuum (in more than one dimension, incidentally) and the standard approach is to refine it down into something discrete. The correct solution? Don’t fuckin’ make people tell you what their gender is.

Seriously, you really don’t need to know. The only real practical application of this data is marketing, and gender-based marketing is poisonous, corrosive muck anyway.

If it’s a social network, of course, there are some problems with that model. The service provider has no reason to know the user’s gender, but the user might want hir friends to know. There’s a fairly obvious solution to this: Add a text field in the “About Me” section. Label it “Gender.” Accept an arbitrarily long string. Allow people to leave it empty and hide it. This is actually easier than radio buttons or a drop-down menu, for chrissakes.

The other potential problem is pronouns. The simple solution is to let the user supply their own, maybe with some examples so they don’t need a linguistics degree to figure out which forms of “xe” are the nominative, accusative, genitive, and oblique. Unfortunately, while this is something that can be resolved in English, other languages aren’t so fortunate. Arabic enforces a gender binary marked on nouns, adjectives, and verbs, and it permeates the language, as do a lot of other languages. Ultimately, there’s no easy answer here. The best one is to avoid constructions that require indicating a user’s gender: instead of “داليا تحب مجلتك” , write something like “يحب شخص مجلتك: داليا.” Use icons instead of text as much as possible without damaging the UX.

(Of course, there are languages where this is a non-issue. Swahili doesn’t mark gender at all except in some lexical items, and uses “yeye” for everybody.)

What about the ethnocentrism? It’s a very European assumption that everybody is going to have a given name and a family name, or a given name and a patronymic that can be cleanly separated into a “first name” and “last name.” It also conflates given names with “first names”, so in particularly stupid designs, a Chinese person might have to put their name in backwards so the program will be able to deal with their given name.

"But," the developer will exclaim, hands wringing anxiously, "we don’t want to call somebody Jonathan Q. Tastyzots everywhere in the UI; he should show up as “Jon” or “Jonathan” to his friends, and “Mr. Tastyzots” to his business contacts! Without a distinction between first and last name, how are we supposed to know which form of the name to use in which contacts?”

Great question, imaginary developer! WHY DON’T YOU ASK THE USER?

Instead of “First Name” & “Last Name” ask the user for all the forms of their name you need. “Full form,” “Personal form,” and “Official/business form” will be enough to handle all the needs above. So Mr. Tastyzots could reply “Johnathan Q. Tastyzots”, “John,” and “Dark Lord Thunderpants the Despoiler” (because also why are you assuming even Europeans have predictable name forms?) and Muhammed Husayn Abū ‘Umār Ibn ‘Abd ir-Rahman can answer “محمد حسين أبو عمار ابن عبد الرحمان”, Abu ‘Umār “ابو عمار، and Sayyid Husayn “سيد حسين” or whatever reflects how he uses his name. And it means the developers have less work to do! (Also, you fucking better have Unicode support, or I will wreak a terrible vengeance upon you and your next twenty descendants.)

There’s a pattern that’s beginning to become evident, isn’t there? The old way of doing things asks users for a specific set of information, and then the software assembles a model in the background which it uses to provide surface forms. What we’re doing is eliminating the middle-man, and letting users supply the backend model directly.

Can we apply this model to relationships, though? Yes. This article sums it up better than I ever could, but the basic principle to keep in mind: do not arbitrarily collect data. When you need information, instead of trying to assemble a model from pieces of user-supplied information, just ask them directly. Do you want to know who their spouse is so you know who to contact in an emergency? How about instead you just add a field labeled “Emergency Contact?”

Software should be generic. This applies every bit as much at the cultural level as it does at the engineering level.

(via lisaquestions)

Source: velartrill

itsvondell:

you use singular they all the time

someone’s knocking on the door, i wonder what they want

there’s a person waving their hands at me from over there but i can’t hear them

does mysterycop follow you? i love their username

can you tell whichever person was in the bathroom last to please close the door behind them on their way out?

they IS properly, officially used to refer to a single individual person, quite a lot, in a plethora of different scenarios

all the opposition comes when it’s suggested that you can still use they once you’ve seen the person or heard their name, because you know someone’s gender once you’ve seen them or heard their name, of course

the opposition is not grammatical

(via youarenotyou)

Source: itsvondell

jackaldope:

obviously sex and gender are not the same thing. my sex is a big blurry changeable hodgepodge of hormones and organs and secondary sex characteristics and genetics and my gender is pretty evidently not “testosterone, xx sex chromosomes, breasts, etc etc”

but when people talk about Keeping Gender And Sex Separate all i hear is “i want to be able to gender trans people’s bodies differently from their actual genders”

if someone is female then so is their body. Wow

(via lisaquestions)

Source: necropticon

sad-monster-children:

Someone was talking gender interpretation with me and gave me the ok to post this:

When it comes to characters in fiction being interpreted as trans or cis, I think people need to recalibrate how they look at the issue as a whole.

While this is probably simplifying things, I feel it may be best to look at this stuff in five categories.

First is canon trans characters. Examples would be Grell, Ruka, Birdette, Poison, and so on. Characters who are stated by the author to be trans and the story doesn’t contradict this or characters who are made explicitly 100% clear to be trans.

Second is ambiguously trans characters. Examples here would be Naoto or Chihiro. These are characters where the evidence is not solid, but in the balance leans towards the characters being trans (and before anyone says anything, don’t even try to argue against this if you’re cis. I and many other trans people I know agree there’s a lot of subtle evidence here, stuff cis people would be prone to missing due to not having life experience with it. Again, don’t even try) Characters stated by the author to be cis but where the story contradicts this would fit in here, too.

Third is totally ambiguous characters. Examples here would be Mario, Kirby, characters like that. Where there’s little evidence of a demonstrated gender identity to base anything off or little evidence to see that a character’s gender identity might match OR contradict assigned gender. People are probably going to jump about how Mario’s here, but if it were to be revealed Mario is a trans man tomorrow, I can’t think of any evidence from the games that would be contradicted at all (if there is, well, maybe he’s not on this spot but it’s still here and fairly populated)

Fourth is ambiguously cis characters. This is where most characters in fiction actually lie. It’s very common for characters in fiction to have and express a gender identity and also common for this to match up, circumstantially, with what one would presume to be their assigned birth gender. If a character here would be revealed to be trans, this might contradict a lot of implications or circumstantial evidence, but it would not require an explicit retcon. And no, just because most people are cis or cis is often (harmfully) presumed to be the default does not make this level of evidence a solid 100% clear answer. Remember also that many trans people come into their identity late in life and this would hold for fictional characters.

Fifth is canon cis characters. I can’t think of examples off the top of my head but they definitely exist. Here we have characters outright confirmed to be cis. Where the author actually bothered to confirm it and the story matches. Where you see a character as a newborn and already gendered and this matches, or things happen in the story that would be impossible if the character were trans such as a woman reproducing sexually with someone who has a penis in a setting without magic or fancy supertech.

Currently it seems like the usual debate has people putting 3s and 4s in category 5, 2s in category 4 or even 5, and 1s often get put in category 2 but really can end up anywhere on the list. This sort of setup probably seems absurd to people who are used to that kind of analysis, but if you remove the bias of assuming cis until proven otherwise, this is really what you are left with.

Bolded for emphasis. Cis until proven otherwise isn’t just a fandom thing, it affects trans ppl in our day to day lives and it needs to stop being a thing.

I think it’s a better way of looking at things, rather than a binary of definitely cis or definitely trans. The only thing I can think of to add is that it wouldn’t be a go-ahead to be an ass to a trans person for headcanoning, say, a category 4/5 character as trans. This is fandom, we have every pairing under the sun and AUs and alt timelines and crossovers and a million other ways of making canon our own. Besides, it’s not like we have that many 1s or 2s to play with to begin with, yeah?

EDIT: reminder that a character who displays traits commonly associated with being trans stating that they are “really [designated sex at birth]” or deciding to be who they “truly” are is not definitive proof of cisness, as demonstrated by myself and a ton of other trans folk who’ve said that stuff because we needed to be closeted, because we were under pressure to say it or just because being trans and being perceived as trans can be really scary and dangerous. Again, please remember that this stuff does not go down in a vacuum and “well you said you were happy being a boy/girl before so you can’t be trans” is a real problem we have to contend with when dealing with family and medical stuff and a hundred other things.

…actually lets just add a rule of “if it would be a shitty invalidating thing to say about a real trans person then it probably shouldn’t be in your I’m Not Transphobic But Character X Is Not Trans!!! argument”

(via lisaquestions)

Source: monsterclawed
  • Trans* person: That was so transphobic, please never say that again.
  • Cis person: OH MY GOD NO IT ISN'T I'M NOT HOMOPHOBIC I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST YOUR SEXUALITY YOUR SEXUALITY OF BEING TRANSGENDER DOESNT BOTHER ME STOP CISPHOBIA!!!!!!!111!!
Source: transresource

creppyqueercommunist:

femmepunxxx:

cis ppl:  ”well i guess i go by she & her but really, i’m okay with whatever.  it’s not a big deal.”

LOL CIS PPL.

like thanks 4 rubbing your privilege all over my face

(via towriteloveonherdick)

By comparing the relative lengths of certain fingers, [Penn State archaeologist Dean] Snow determined that three-quarters of the handprints were female. “There has been a male bias in the literature for a long time,” said Snow… . “People have made a lot of unwarranted assumptions about who made these things, and why.”

Archeologists find that humanity’s first artists were female. Complement with 100 ideas that changed art and an illustrated celebration of women artists who changed culture.  (via explore-blog)

A reminder that the sciences are far from objective, logical entities divorced from social constructs, biases, and favoritism.

(via lookatthisfuckingoppressor)

and here we also see scientists who are themselves critiquing other scientists’ misogyny and its impacts on their studies, going on to immediately project their unwarranted cissexist and binarist assumptions into their studies!

~*~white cis ppl~*~

~*~wow so conscious so progress~*~

(via lisaquestions)

Source: explore-blog

How to Be a Friend to Trans Folks Without Putting Your Foot in Your Mouth: A Short Guide for Cis People

kiriamaya:

kiriamaya:

This goes out to all the cis people who, it’s quite obvious, want to help and befriend trans people, but who keep alienating and angering us instead. I’ve seen the befuddled looks on your faces when this happens, and I thought I’d try to clear a few things up for you. Let’s look at some common scenarios in which well-meaning cis people screw up with the whole pro-trans thing, and look at how some of these could go differently:

Scenario: You see someone whose gender you can’t determine just by looking at them. You want to make sure that you’re respectful of their identity.

Wrong Way to Ask: "Are you a man or a woman?"
Phrasing it this way will put the trans person on the defensive, and make them feel like you’re questioning and possibly even attacking their gender. It can also make them feel highly insecure about their gender presentation.

Right Way to Ask: "What pronouns do you prefer?"
This phrasing makes it clear that you intend to respect the person’s gender identity, regardless of what they look like. It shows an acknowledgment that the onus of respect is on you, and not their presentation or “passability”.

Scenario: You have just made an insensitive joke about trans people in the presence of your trans friend. You didn’t mean to hurt them, and you weren’t even thinking about them when you made the joke, but now the relationship is strained and you want to try to repair it.

Wrong Thing to Say: "Come on; it was just a joke! Lighten up!"
This tells your friend that you don’t take their pain seriously, and that you don’t think they should take it seriously either. It sends a message that trans lives and trans experiences matter less than your feelings of guilt and unease at being called out.

Right Thing to Say: "That was really thoughtless of me. I’ll try not to do it again."
Nine times out of ten, your friend will know you didn’t mean to hurt them. Most people don’t. But they need you to understand that you have hurt them. They need you to know this, not so you can stew in guilt, but so all involved can heal and move on.

Scenario: Your trans friend doesn’t “pass”. You think you can see what they’re doing wrong, and you want to help.

Wrong Thing to Do: List off all the things they’re doing “wrong”, and tell them how to fix them.
Trans people’s self-esteem is rocky enough as it is. By focusing on all the ways in which they look different from cis people, you are not only causing anxiety and dysphoria for the trans person, but also reinforcing the idea that trans people are “lesser” or “fake”. Besides, your friend may not even see “passing” as a desirable goal, in which case you are getting up in their face for no reason at all.

Right Thing to Do: Mind your own damn business.
If your friend wants you to help with their image, they will ask you. Regardless, respect their gender identity unconditionally.

Scenario: You’ve messed up a trans person’s name/pronouns. You didn’t mean to, but you can see the anguish on their face, and you want to make things right.

Wrong Thing to Say: "I’m sorry; it’s just that you’re still [previous name] to me!"
Of all the things you could possibly say to a trans person, this is among the most hurtful. It’s one thing to struggle to accept someone’s identity; it’s quite another to impose the wrong identity on that person in order to excuse your difficulty.

Right Thing to Say: "I’m sorry. I’ll keep trying."
Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone has difficulty adapting to a major change in another person. What’s important is that you try, and that you correct yourself when you mess up. That’s all anyone can reasonably ask; at the same time, it’s  the least you can do.

Scenario: You’re framing a health issue in terms of a specific gender (e.g., framing menstruation in terms of women), and a trans person points out that it isn’t necessarily unique to that gender and/or that they’re being left out of the discussion by your framing.

Wrong Response: "Well, BIOLOGICALLY speaking, it really does only affect [gender]."
Framing gender solely in terms of biology is always hurtful to trans people, no matter what the context. It’s even more hurtful when people who are strongly affected by an issue are deliberately erased in discussions of it.

Right Response: "Good point. I’ll try to remember it."
We’re all soaking in narratives that mash all the complexities of gender into two discrete categories, so it’s understandable that you’d initially think in those terms as well. But expanding your mind is never a bad thing, especially when it means including people who need/deserve to be included.

Scenario: You’ve known your trans friend/relative by one gender all your life, and now, all of a sudden, they’re asking you to call them by a different name and pronouns. This comes as a shock, and you feel like you don’t know them anymore; you feel like they’ve died and some new person has taken their place. Yet you want to stay in relationship with them, somehow.

Wrong Thing to Do: Categorically refuse to respect their request, insisting that it’s too difficult and hurtful for you.
Your trans friend/relative has taken a great risk by revealing their identity to you, and they’ve done so because they want and need to stay in relationship with you. For you to refuse to accept them, for you to prioritize your (relatively smaller) pain over theirs, is terribly cruel. Your pain is absolutely valid, but this is not the way to handle it.

Right Thing to Do: Work out your grief issues with a counselor and/or with cis friends, away from your friend/relative.
This may be tough for you to deal with, and you absolutely do need to deal with it. But the person who does exist, the person you’ve loved, will need your continuing love and support — and that person is not responsible for your healing. Do whatever you need to do to get to a place where you can relate to them respectfully and lovingly, and do it without placing additional burdens on them.

In short: respect us; care about us; treat us as equals; be willing to learn; be willing to grow. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really not as hard as it seems.

Got a bunch of new followers, so I figured I’d rebagel one of my most important posts to date.

(via lisaquestions)

Source: kiriamaya

cooladult:

I’m not saying you have to be attracted to penises, I’m not saying you have to be attracted to vaginas, I’m not saying you have to be attracted to any specific person.

I’m saying dismissing the ENTIRE POSSIBILITY that you could EVER be attracted to trans people is absolutely transphobic because you are assuming you know what every single trans person on this earth looks like and what their genitals look like and I’m not going to condone you dismissing it as “just your preference” if you are COMPLETELY unopen to the idea of EVER dating a person who might happen to be trans, because preferences aren’t formed in a vaccuum, have a great day.

(via psychetimelapse)

Source: ghouladult-deactivated0234761

lookatthisfuckingcisgender:

a really cool fact is that generally when cis people say “i hate the trans community on tumblr” what they actually mean is “i hate being around trans people in an environment where they can safely speak up about my shitty behavior”

(via lisaquestions)

Source: lookatthisfuckingcisgender
Call me Imp.

She/her/hers or they/them/theirs.

I am, in no particular order: 23, white, anglo, USian citizen, middle-class, able-bodied, poly, intersex, somewhat debilitated w/ depression but largely neurotypical, allistic, fat, singlet, sighted, hearing, unemployed, college student, queer, trans, genderfluid (between woman and genderqueer).

I tend to follow VERY few people and often have to unfollow people briefly or permanently when I just can't handle my dash.

If you aren't comfortable with me being on your blog / contacting you / etc, you can tell me and I'll back off. If it's hard to actually say it, you can send an ask just saying "red".

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