Gender Identity is for Everyone, Part II

The trans/non-binary movements cannot simply be working for the extension of civil rights. They are not isolated attempts at life-improvement by certain minority groups. Their practical demands are grounded in specific beliefs about gender that either apply to everyone -- or fail as grounds. It is a sad sort of “commitment” that takes up the banner of the practical action while remaining too timid to fully live out the theory of gender that makes these actions intelligible and just -- to begin to … [Read more...]

Gender Identity is for Everyone

Transgenderism, postgenderism and any other non-binary systems of understanding gender tend to rely on the definition of "gender identity" as an “innermost concept of oneself as male, female, a blend of both or neither” (Human Rights Campaign) or "a person's internal, deeply held sense of their gender" (GLAAD). While not all views can be fit into this “official” schema, they represent the go-to description of the transgendered persons I speak with. Sure, some hold gender to be “nothing more than … [Read more...]

The Illiberal Bathroom Experience

There are those who would argue, with some justification, that LGBTQA movement need not concern itself with the intricacies of a philosophy of gender thanks to the urgency of its political concerns: Equality first, and we’ll work out the details later. But if we are to think before we act, we ought to think before we legislate, and if we are to fight for a cause, it is certainly to helpful to know what we want caused. The celebration over Obama administration’s recent Dear Colleague Letter, whi … [Read more...]

Who Said It About Sexuality, Slavoj Žižek or Your Catholic Mom

You might think your Catholic mother has nothing in common with the Marxist intellectual and legendary interpreter of Jacques Lacan's psychoanalysis -- Slavoj Žižek. But give the latter a microphone and the former a third glass of wine and the two start to sound fantastically similar on issues of human sexuality. So without further ado, and in the spirit of celebrating the developing illicit love-relation between postmodern philosophy and the Church, I give you the quiz: Who said it, Žižek or you … [Read more...]

Masculine and Feminine Time

I know it's hardly with-it to draw distinctions between men and women. And yes, I know humans are androgynous, non-gendered ghosts suffering the misfortune of being smooshed into bodies with gendery bits that delude everyone into thinking: "Look, there goes a dude." But bear with me, I'm feeling ambitious.Femininity is more cyclical than masculinity. If the female body is dizzying for men, it is only because it is made out of circles. It cannot be encountered in the same way each day, but re … [Read more...]

Ayn Rand, Fairy Godmother of Sexual Orientation

When I first purchased Atlas Shrugged with money I begged from a street corner, it was with no other intention than to delight in a world where every problem is the fault of poor people, Communists, and poor Communists. But Ayn Rand gave me so much more than the economic ideology one expects of motorcycle-riding men in Viagra commercials, thinly disguised as John Grisham novel from hell -- though, sweet baby Moses, did she give me that. She also gave me an explanation of human sexuality to rival … [Read more...]

Stop Moralizing Shame, It’s Ruining Everyone’s Day

As some criticism on my post on slut-shaming put it, the concept of shame as a protective feeling for the integrity of the entire person is "not even in the ballpark" of what shame really is. Shame is, in fact, "the negative judgment of the conscience directed towards ourselves...[it has] nothing to do with objectification or wholeness of person."Now while this seems to make shame something simple, useful, and necessary to the restoration of a moral world, it actually makes shame a senseless … [Read more...]

Rethinking Slut-shaming

I do not operate, move, or control my body. I am my body. It is I who see, smell, touch and move. It is my spirit which lives in and through these fingertips and toes. I don't think "let's type the next letter" and then wrangle my finger into obedience -- I just type the next letter, my finger and internal intention in a beautiful, natural harmony.But let one become ashamed, let him break a vase or stand caught in some wrongdoing, and this felt unity of self and body dissolves. We become awar … [Read more...]

5 Things We Should Think About Before We Say “Slut-Shaming”

Hyphenate the word "shaming," and boom, you've got a ready-made evil, a buzzword everyone on Facebook agrees is something Very Bad -- slut-shaming, body-shaming, single-shaming, fat-shaming, formula-shaming or, ah, sunscreen-shaming. I agree with Mark Peters, when he wrote for Slate that "shaming is probably already finished as a meaningful word," and even more so with Callie Beusman, when she wrote for Jezebel that "telling someone she's slut-shaming has mutated into a method of dismissing her a … [Read more...]

Ain’t Nothing Indissoluble About Natural Marriage

The indissolubility of marriage is not natural. I could not agree more with Dan Savage when, in the great American tradition of offering unsolicited advice, he told heterosexuals that this till-death-do-us-apart stuff is an impossible expectation. Indissolubility, by his view, cannot be a norm. Perpetuity can only be a preference. If we could "acknowledge the drawbacks of monogamy around boredom, despair, lack of variety, sexual death and being taken for granted,” instead of mindlessly pumping a … [Read more...]