🏳️‍🌈 Paulakreuzer 2.0 is out now

Herzlichen Glückwunsch, liebe Paula! Ich glaube, eine Herbst-Jacke von Dir hängt noch an meiner Garderobe? Willst Du sie zurück haben? Oder jetzt nicht mehr? Gebe ich sie einer Hilfsorganisation? Dann lese ich gerade ein (fiktives) Buch über einen Manager, der als Frau aufwacht und beschreibt, was sich dadurch alles ändert (also über Nacht). Das Buch sagt, die Wahrnehmung durch die Gesellschaft von ihr als Frau sei ganz anders. Eine Frau, die ein IT-Unternehmen gegründet hat, hat das auch gesagt. Mich interessiert sehr, wie es Dir ergeht und ergehen wird, ob es wirklich so anders ist.
Herzliche Grüße
Marie

4 Likes

Seems like I’m late to the party but hey, welcome Paula!!

2 Likes

Thanks again everybody for the kind words. It really warms my heart. :slight_smile:

@Marie1: Aja, die Jacke! An der Heimreise vom #efct16 hab ich noch daran gedacht und wollte mich bei dir melden, aber dann hab ich vergessen und seit 2 Jahren über einem Jahr (wie @Stefan unten richtig hingewiesen hat) nicht mehr an die Jacke gedacht. Also offenbar ist sie mir nicht sehr wichtig, sie zu spenden ist wohl am besten. :slight_smile:

6 Likes

I think it’s great you had the guts just coming out like that, on the big bad internet no less. I can’t imagine what it’s like but I guess it takes a lot of courage and confidence to be able to do that. It’s also great to see the positive reception on these forums. The attitude here has been very positive in general though so I wouldn’t have expected otherwise. These days there’s just so much intolerance in the world towards people who in generally are assumed to be “different”.

Having said that, your or anyone’s gender, sexual preference, religious background or whatever doesn’t affect me in any way so I’m not really giving a hoot about it. If you’re straight, gay, lesbian, transgender or whatever it is you are or want to be, it doesn’t make a difference to me. Doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be openly said or discussed (on the contrary), I’m just saying that to me, you are still the same person before and after this thread, deserving of the same amount of respect either way.

6 Likes

That means that #efct18 is just around the corner!!! :smiley:

4 Likes

Why not? It is not so difficult right? If you do it for the @username references that might break I think we can fix that via a simple command via shell on the server.

15 Likes

Technical reasons got resolved thanks to @anon83519835!
So it is @paulakreuzer all over the forum from now on :smiley:

20 Likes

Yes it looks like it worked…let me know if you encounter problems :slight_smile:

16 Likes

Awesome! Thanks, @anon83519835. :slight_smile:

11 Likes

Fully agree.
Sounds and looks more in line!
This community and the support one gets here rocks.

7 Likes

It’s almost been a year now since I came out here to this awesome community and it’s time for a little update for anyone who might be interested.

I have never felt as myself as I am feeling now that I’m on hormone-replacement therapy for a year. I’m sure most of you know the feeling of being hormone-driven in some situations. I still experience that too, but now I’m driven by the right hormones. I no longer have that part in me that doesn’t belong and I have learned so much about who I really am in these past months. It’s hard to learn about yourself if you have two parts in you that are very different and you don’t know which feeling, thought or desire comes from which part.

Recently the supreme court ruled for the introduction of a third gender in Austria and lately I have thought a lot about genders. I believe there has to be a better concept than forcing everybody into one of a limited number of predefined genders. I have started a heated discussion about this subject on the musicbrainz forum.
Just a few months ago my plan was to wait until people on the streets recognized me as female and then legally change my name to Paula and the gender in my passport to female - now my plan is to not give a f*%k how other people see me and fight for the right to have any gender I want in my passport - or none at all, because why should it be the government’s business how I identify myself?

13 Likes

My kind of attitude! :smiley:

Now here’s where you have me curious. Forgive me if you feel I failed to pad my words accordingly as I know this is a very sensitive topic in some circles, but I’m quite curious what the weight is of the issue of gender classification. So without challenging whether the status quo is right or wrong (which would be unfair as I never had to experience challenging my own gender-identity as documented in legal documents or otherwise), could you tell me a bit more about what makes you so passionate about this topic that makes you want to fight for it?
To sound a bit like the devil’s advocate: people tend to get all sorts of labels throughout their lives, based on various levels of ridiculous. Most labels I don’t really care about. For example: I studied computers, which probably gets me classified as a nerd. I like to believe there is more nuance to me than that, but I’m not too bothered by it, it doesn’t harm me. Another label I have is that I’m Dutch. It’s not that I identify with a (yet undefined) notion of Dutchness, nor do I somehow feel more related to all the Dutch and none of the others. I just happened to be born in a region separated by semi-arbitrary lines in the sand, and thus I feel like this fact says rather little about my nature. Equally I don’t mind when people mislabel me as say English or Mediterranean. I don’t have anything against the Netherlands, I think it’s quite a wonderful country (and it’s secular political structure has done a lot for the freedom of the individual, which I feel is something incredibly valuable and contributed to/reflected the tolerance of society as a whole, esp. as perceived in the 90s). But I’ve found quite a few other great countries in the world.
So I guess my main question is: why do you personally feel particularly interested in challenging this label? And bonus points for the more contentious underlying political question (feel free to challenge the assumptions in there as well!): what do you think about the contradiction I perceive in society where those who fight for linking identity with gender, appear to condemn those who fight to link identity to nationality (with terms like “nationalist”) - and vice versa? Shouldn’t we instead stop caring about these labels altogether and focus more on the individual instead?

4 Likes

Thanks for your answer, you raise some good questions.
Disclaimer: I’m probably going to get quite passionate with my answers. Please don’t mistake my passion for aggression, dislike or anything like that. :slight_smile:

I think the main difference between nationality and gender is that there are other labels than Dutch available to you and you could have your nationality changed in your passport if you wanted to. It’s not easy and the other country has to accept you, but it’s possible. If you’d rather not like to have any specific country there but e.g. officially be a EU citizen instead I think that is a wonderful idea and you should fight for that. Ideally there should be an option not to have any nationality too, but unfortunately that won’t be an option for a long time I fear and will/would be a much harder (global political) fight.
For gender there are only two options available out of an infinite spectrum.
One reason why I think it’s worth to fight for individual labels for gender is that if the law acknowledges that something exists, the citizens will learn about it, at some point realize that it’s not something out of the norm, start to accept it and stop discriminating.
Also your examples - nerd and Dutch - are labels that are based on something about you, but were given to you by someone else. Labels you give yourself are different. If e.g. there was a label for eating habits in my passport with only the options carnivore and vegetarian available in my passport and I’d have to show it in every restaurant to get food based on it I’d fight for the option to have a vegan label too. That’s actually quite similar to what’s going on in some US states with the bathroom bills.

Well that’s easy: Because it concerns me directly. I’m happy to fight for things that don’t concern me directly. For example here in Austria we will probably be one of the last countries flooded when the sea levels rise, we are not (yet) directly affected by war and even our ultra-nationalist government doesn’t affect me personally, but still I do my part to fight climate change, war and nationalism. But of course fighting for something that concerns you is different. You automatically have some kind of expertise in the field (I have concrete ideas on how to fight gender-based discrimination, but I don’t have any specific ideas on how to end the Gaza-conflict. I only have a general simplistic idea on how to stop all conflicts: illegalize weapon manufacturing!).

I’m not sure I understand you here, but I’ll try to give an answer anyway. I don’t think linking identity to any label is ever bad. Someone who identifies hard with their nationality is not a nationalist. A nationalist is someone who discriminates others based on their nationality.
I recently thought about the word pride. I didn’t like it for a long time, but now I get it. There are two forms of pride: One based on thinking that you are better than others (e.g. nationalist, sexist,…) one based on simply being sick of being ashamed of who you are.
While I feel external shame (we call it fremdschämen) for austrian nationalists I feel proud e.g. of intersex people many of who have been through the worst (doctor ordered genital mutilation) and fight for other people’s rights not to have to go through the same in the future.

4 Likes

Hey Paula, while i am a bit late i hope one day no one needs to have a “coming-out” anymore. Either because it is totally accepted to transition or the hegemonic binary gender system has been abolished. :heart:

2 Likes

And thank you for yours. If you don’t mind, I would like to raise some follow-up questions. Not necessarily to challenge your beliefs, but to try and gain a better understanding. Some of them might sound as if I come from a conservative stance, but I can ensure you I’m not. My personal belief essentially boils down to “do as you like, as long as you don’t harm others”, and I believe that your investment in making a change on the gender issue indeed does not harm anyone. On the contrary, harm is done to groups of people by intolerant/discriminatory forces in society, and you aim to right those wrongs! I sincerely admire your determination, but want to better understand the means you choose to achieve that. I fear though that the best way to discuss this is to explain my views in a bit more detail, and see if we can converge on common understanding of each other. Forgive me if my curiosity doesn’t come through straight away!

I understand that you see this label as different from gender and I acknowledge that the comparison is ultimately skewed. However, I also believe that in some respects they are more alike than it appears on the surface. Particularly the fact that both the value for the label “nationality” and “gender” appears to come to many people with a large set of presumptions.
In the case of nationality, the label “Dutch” comes with the expectation of white, secular-but-christian-inspired values, forwardness (sometimes rude), humbleness etc. The label “man” seems to come with expectations of dominance, rationality, emotionlessness, chunky etc.
There’s an obvious flaw with these stereotypes. The Netherlands has about 1 million citizens who have ancestors in former colonies or countries whose people we invited to work for us after WW2. These people don’t necessarily fit the description of Dutch as depicted by the stereotypes listed. Does that somehow make them non-Dutch? Of course it doesn’t. Even those with a longer ancestral history in this country don’t quite fit with the stereotype; there’s plenty of more reserved Dutch. Likewise, I observe that there are similar problems with the label “man”/“woman”.

The problems don’t end simply with classification though. It is blindingly obvious that throughout society there exists discrimination based upon these labels. There does exist a gender pay-gap. White and non-white Dutch don’t mix well enough to relieve tensions between groups. People applying for jobs will be judged by their perceived nationality, not to mention the judgement made of people of genders that don’t fit the binary. While you can shrug off an arbitrary label, you can’t simply shrug off the results of such discrimination. This has a tangible negative influence on people of minorities.

In my eyes, what would make a difference in solving the problems around such discrimination is not necessarily diversifying the label of nationality or gender further (on the contrary, I think documenting things like “Moroccan-Dutch” might just exacerbate the problem), but rather start reading less into the labels. For me, nationality is nothing more than a declaration that somebody was born on a particular part of land that happens to be declared Kingdom of the Netherlands. This has implications on nurture, as some countries have better opportunities for education and a professional life than others, but at the end of the day that’s not what you judge people by. Depending on the goal you judge people by their core values, beliefs and/or competences. And I believe that the development of such values and beliefs is much more complex than just a result of living within a certain country’s borders.
For me, the same applies to gender. The distinction between “man” and “woman” in a passport to me is nothing more than a distinction between “born with a phallic reproduction organ” and “born with a yonic reproduction organ”, which covers all but the very few cases in which neither (or both) develops during birth. This for me is distinct from the stereotypical image of “masculinity” and “femininity” which I believe are ultimately social constructs that put often unrealistic expectations on individuals. Individuals are many times more complex than can be covered by any label, and in fact can have different expressions of their personality in different social situations, which leads to different perceptions and “labels” others choose to describe the same person. I personally believe trying to accurately label anyway through greater diversification is a futile attempt at ordering chaos.

As I said, I believe and see with my very own eyes that discrimination is still very much alive. However, from the sound of it you and I seem to disagree on the approach to tackle such issues. I think we should (continue to) raise awareness to collectively stop reading so much into these classifications and encourage everyone to be more curious towards the subtleties of complex individuals. We should try and give people greater freedom throughout their period of being nurtured, free from (unconscious) bias. You believe that acceptance and more unbiased judgement comes from making classifications, that are unacknowledged by some, official. Am I right in this observation, or do I oversimplify?

So one thing I think I find difficult to understand is how matching the classification in your passport with your perception of gender would make a difference to you? Is this a means to deal with the expectations that come with the label, that you feel don’t apply to you? Is this about your personal feeling about yourself, or would this be a sign of acceptance by others in society? How do you see this?
Can you agree with me that there is a distinction between “male” and “masculine”? Between “female” and “feminine”? If not, why would my view be problematic? If so, do we agree that the classifications of “masculine” and “feminine” (“alpha-male”, “metro-man”, “tomboy”, etc.) are too restrictive for what really is a many-dimensional spectrum of personality-traits, and can put significant burden upon those that don’t fit any of these generalisations? Before I continue with further questions, perhaps I should let you answer first to see how far our contexts might lie apart. :slight_smile:

I think here you hit the nail on the head when trying to explain the difference between the “nationalist” and those fighting for gender inclusivity. I have found many people who identify themselves strongly with a nationality seek to find reasons for (perceived) superiority.[1] On the contrary, those who fight for gender inclusivity battle instead for equality. Despite highlighting some similarities in my previous paragraphs, I think this point perfectly highlights why I have considerably more respect for people that bring gender forward for discussion!

And I’m really sorry to hear you had to go through this. I cannot even imagine what this must feel like. For what it’s worth:

I think the fact that you care about the bigger problems in the world enough to try and make a difference is something to be incredibly proud of. Such values make you a hugely constructive and contributing person, and I sincerely hope that this will continue to be recognised and appreciated.

[1] Nationality here is (ab)used as a proxy for values and beliefs, overly generalising the difference between people by the acts of their political leaders. I can support people coming together and fighting for their values, but make sure you know which values are worth fighting for rather than making yourself vulnerable to mass-manipulation by political leaders who successfully cultivate beliefs of false generalised differences.

4 Likes

One day sure, but how would you get ignorant people to do so?
I think if we now simply abolished gender as a legal term that wouldn’t teach the population about gender but simply confirm some of them in their believes that there are people who “can’t decide which on of the only two existing genders they belong to”.
If we first allow the option to specify any gender you want in your passport some day most people will acknowledge that there is an infinite number of gender identities and maybe then we will all be at a point when we’d rather get rid of gender labels altogether.

But labels can be a helpful tool too. Have you ever put your Fairphone face down on a table and someone read the logo and asked you what the Fairphone is? The same can happen if you casually mention your gender identity in a conversation. If the other person is just a little curious they’ll learn something new that will broaden perception of the world.
Every time I learn about a new label it enriches my way of thinking.
E.g. I recently learned about polyamory (has nothing to do with gender) and the concept(?) of compersion. If you have someone who has experienced it explain it to you I’m sure it will be impossible for you not to overthink some values you might have held high before.

Another thing to consider: Abolishing gender-labels won’t ever be very practical as long as there are different sexualities. Just imagine you were skoliosexual (only into non-binary people). It would be much harder to find possible partners if they didn’t label themselves.

I had to dig out my passport to look this up: Yes you are right, my Austrian passport doesn’t mention gender at all, but sex. This is really backwards to me. Why should it be the government’s or anybody’s business what private parts I have?
What about trans people who decide not to have a gender affirming surgery?
So next time I have to renew my passport I’ll insist that under “sex” it will read “none of your fucking business”…

One thing we seem to see differently: You say that since many people have prejudice or unsubstantiated expectations based on labels we should get rid of labels. I say we should get rid of prejudice, but let everybody who feels comfortable with a label keep it.

There are never two words that mean exactly the same in every situation and to everybody.

Of course, but those words are usually not used as gender labels to describe yourself, but as stereotypes to negatively describe someone else.
Though there is always the phenomenon of a person or group adapting a derogatory term for themselves and using it with a new positive meaning - most notably the N-word.

3 Likes

Hi!
I don’t participate much, but it’s interesting to read this thread!
For those reading (or understanding some) French, I just read an article called “Beyond Binarity: The Trouble Between Genders” (https://www.revue-glad.org/961).
Not exactly the same subject (more about binarity in language), but should be of interest for people reading this thread.

1 Like

@paulakreuzer, your first post in this topic is from before i joined the forums here, so i just noticed this topic when you wrote your update.

Thank you very much for opening up, it can be a big step to write something like this on a public forum. I wish you all the best and courage you need to throughout the emotional roller-coaster which is your transition. I’ve spoken several transpersons during different stages of their transitions, and it’s amazing to see all the changes it makes, physically and mentally.

As for the sex registration in official documents, i never understood why it would be so important to have it there. In my country there is the possibility to have an X, meaning not male or female, and there is a discussion to make it easier accessible for people to need it (for example people intersex conditions, non-binaries, i think some transpeople might like it too). As far as i know the only way you can have it right now is if 3 months after your birth a doctor can’t work out what your sex is.

2 Likes

I suspect the reason is largely historic. I can think of one or two reasons why a registration of sex could be useful, whether the passport is the right place is a second question.
Doctors (abroad) might need to know the sex make an informed decision about rare cases where treatment efficiency is affected by hormones. I suspect the EHIC would be a better place for this information, but that’s a relatively new card.
Sex is also relevant for sports events where e.g. strength is a factor. I recall the story from a physiotherapist claiming that research suggests that hormonal differences causes - on average - a greater muscle growth for men than for women when exposed to the same training. If this is true, a competition where no distinction is made between sexes would give men an advantage that has nothing to do with the level of commitment or investment. As hormone therapy is banned from sports, having different competitions for different sexes is the most effective way of levelling the playing ground.
If I’m honest, these are the only two examples that spring to mind, although derivatives might exist. But enough walking on thin ice, I don’t want to sound like I believe in implicit superiority. In the vast majority of times, differences between sexes are wrongly attributed to biological variations. Nurture has a much greater influence than many wish to believe. On the other hand I don’t believe that we should assume no biological differences exist at all. While I’m on this tangent, equal treatment for me then doesn’t necessarily come down to “pretending everyone is the same” but rather “giving everybody the same opportunities in life, finding satisfactory solutions to coexist respectfully as equals despite these differences”. And as a society we have a long way to go before we reach that state.

As for registering sex in a passport: I wouldn’t oppose scrapping it. But for medical reasons it might still need to be registered elsewhere. But does that not simply shift the implicit problem from one document to the other?

@paulakreuzer Thank you for your reply. I was planning to reply at some point, but with a focus not so much on the practical aspect (as this reply did), but rather trying to focus more on emotional aspect of the matter for you. It’s easy to have a discussion about the technicalities, but that would completely ignore the difference between our emotional attachment to the broader issue. I’ll need to take a bit more time for that, as I don’t want to give the impression that you’re not heard :slight_smile: .

3 Likes

Not for transgender persons. At least not in some countries.

Your two examples (medical concerns & sports) are interesting, but since they are about hormone levels and not genetics or reproductive organs I’d gather them under “endocrinological gender” and not “sex”.
I don’t think there is a single reason for the state to know your sex instead of your gender.

I could see that it’s your gynecologist’s or urologist’s business for their non-public medical records of you. In Austria - with ELGA - every patient gets to choose which of their medical records from one doctor can be made available to another doctor. If you choose to make your sex publicly available to the medical community so be it, but you shouldn’t have to make it available to everybody.

1 Like