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gender schmender

I just heard Ira Glass' show This American Life ~ a collection of stories about "what's this thing called love", a tribute to Valentine's Day throbbing around the corner. one of the stories was of a collection of transgender people -- all in various stages of turning into men. most were in women's bodies wanting to become men and were attracted to women. one was in a woman's body and was attracted to men but also felt like a man and so was going through the same surgeries to turn into ... a gay man.

he mentioned that everyone said, "Gee, you're attracted to men, why don't you just stay a woman?" and he explained that he'd tried everything -- was a lesbian and always found female partners, became a vegetarian for a while, tried man-hating, etc. but really, he just felt like a male inside. this was separate from which sex he felt attracted to. I'd understood this logically but I only "got it" after hearing him speak.

I've been reading Sexing the Brain and also Sexing the Body. Very interesting reads. I'm amazed we EVER reached this point of dividing us into any groups based on our external body appendages or our sexual attractions given the variety of possibilities and all the complex mechanisms at work.

I thought about all these mechanisms and imagined the egg and sperm going to different stores throughout gestation, picking up this hormone, that organ. these have to be done in a certain order for things to come out as we are familiar with them. what would happen if these got mixed up or were delayed or rushed?

sex pref store


so when did this come about? Did neanderthals exhibit this range of behavior? what did they do when they couldn't physically change their sex? ugh, Igor, cut here. could they even imagine the thought? what happened when Igor wanted to hunt and then also mess around with the other hunters? or maybe most hunters were bi then anyway? And what about the females who were attracted to Igor who didn't return their affections? maybe this spawned the development of arranged marriages.

if not, why do we exhibit it now? is it because it's now ok enough ('enough' being the operative word) to evolve? is it just now that the underlying biological/environmental mixes are occurring?

someday we will better understand all this. and someday after that the 100th monkey (critical mass) will understand it and we will think differently. we will. well, probably not in my lifetime but look how far we've come (ouch, I just bit my tongue in cheek).

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