That is the conclusion I reached after a convergence of several things. First was the Welcoming Congregation training we got in my church. Second was having (at least) 2 transgendered persons joining said church, one MtF and one FtM. I say at least because there may be more who don’t want to discuss the matter, and I don’t care. I knew these people when they were in their birth genders, which is why I know about their transitions, but there might be other people that were already transitioning when I met them so unless they made a “thing” about it I wouldn’t know. And to be perfectly honest I wouldn’t care.
The third thing is a webcomic I read regularly is going through an arc with a character who identifies as female, but is very proud of her fully functioning penis. This has resulted in many pages of discussion in the fora connected with this comic.
And one of the upshots of all this is not having enough pronouns in the English language. We have the masculine he, him, his; the feminine she, her, hers; the plural they, them, and theirs which are gender-neutral; but we don’t have anything for either those in-between, or for those situations when identifying the sex or gender of the person that is the object of the sentence is not appropriate.
The one thing that has happened is the use of the gender-neutral plurals to refer to single individuals, which can be confusing when you have one person interacting with a group and you don’t want to or can’t specify the gender of the individual. This results in sentences that while grammatically correct and gender non-specific, are totally incomprehensible.
I have read science-fiction stories about genetically engineered humans who had both sets of genitalia in working condition because their environment was so harsh that reproduction became nearly impossible because of the need for having members of the opposite sex both in the same location at the same time became, urmn, inefficient. For that environment it became much better to have 2 random people show up, and at random have one become masculine and the other feminine and procreate. Otherwise given the mobility required to maintain life in that environment and the scarcity of encounters a woman could live her entire reproductive life without seeing a male when she was fertile, thus losing her genes to the society, ditto with males never seeing a woman in her fertile state. There are several examples of this but the one I read first was leGuinn’s Left Hand Of Darkness . LeGuinn did not handle this one well in my opinion as all the inhabitants of that world were referred to by masculine pronouns except when mating, but this did move the idea forward. There were other, later stories that used portmanteau of the existing pronouns for inhabitants of the planet, while keeping existing pronouns for outsiders.
So, how do we refer to members who are not one thing or another but are gender * i, whose sexuality is not on a simple line between Male and Female, but who are on a completely different axis? And to be honest I’m not even sure how many axis there should be, we have the previously accepted axis of Male-Female, and heck it wasn’t even an axis until the last part of the 20th Century. Before that it was just 2 sides to a coin that got tossed when you were conceived. Now we have at least 2 axis, one of gender, one of sexuality, and maybe a third of biological sex, and none of those are binary except at their extremes.
Let’s tackle those axis for a minute. let’s start with the sex axis, the one determined by biology. On the face of it this would be one of the easier ones to deal with because for most of us it was determined by the presence or absence of a Y chromosome at conception, but after that there are the in-utero hormones and analogues and their effects. So you might have that Y chromosome, and a vagina. Or conversely 2 X chromosomes and a penis. Your gonads would be determined by your genetics but your genitalia would be set by the hormones in your mother’s womb. Or you might be someplace “inbetween” with both a vagina and a penis, but missing the parts that were built from those parts in the opposite sex, like a clitoris or a scrotum, and gonads that were just a mush. That would be near the middle of the “sex” axis.
“Sexuality” on the other hand would be “Attracted exclusively to males, not attracted to females” on one end and “Attracted exclusively to females, not attracted to males” on the other end, with two middles of “Not attracted to either males or females” and “Equally attracted to males and females” as the “other middle”. I think this covers sexuality without reference to gender as in “hetero-sexual” and “homo-sexual”.
Then there is the gender axis, which is where a lot of people get horribly screwed up, because this is where your head is. IN YOUR MIND are you primarily male, female, or something inbetween? For most of us gender is something we select because of our sex, but not always. And this is where trans-gendered persons come from. It’s not women who want to be men, they ARE men, but their bodies are “wrong”. It’s not men who want to be women, they ARE women, they just lack the parts that look like women’s parts. It isn’t a case of hating what you were born as because of stereotyping, you hate the gender you were born as because IT AIN’T RIGHT!
Which brings us back to the reason for this post. We lack the pronouns to meaningfully refer to people who are not one sex or the other, one gender or the other, or who are one sex but a different gender. Ursula LeGuinn solved that by calling everyone by masculine pronouns except when female was definitely on display, but this was in the late 1960s when these concepts were first being bandied about, and as much as I admire LeGuinn as a writer (in spite of butchering her surname repeatedly), she was not prepared to change the English language single-handedly. We lack the pronouns to refer to someone who is mostly attracted to someone of their sex, but of the opposite gender, and at the same time not attracted to someone of the opposite sex unless they are of the opposite gender. And I’m just a simple blogger, who is not qualified to do anything in this matter except say, “Webster’s, we have a problem.”
A major job filtering the Feed
Well, there were a lot of links in the Feed this morning, and I had to read every one of them to find out if they were suitable for inclusion in this blog. Most were not, some were, and all that reading took a couple of hours plus breaks for sanity recovery. I’m not sure how much sanity there was to recover, but however much I had to begin with I still have now. I think.
Up first is a right hook in Baltimore, MD. Biker hit by vehicle, critically injured The person writing this article had a very poor grasp of the facts, the headline has the victim as a biker, the first paragraph describes him as a pedestrian, then in the fourth paragraph he becomes a bicyclist. Anyway, right hook over the bike lane, failure to yield to vehicle in adjacent lane on the part of the driver, no tickets issued. Not the cyclist’s fault that an 83 YO women turned in front of him and then ran him over after he fell off the car, but LEO aren’t going to charge the driver for not watching where she was going either. Just a reminder, every driveway is an intersection, so you have to constantly be on high alert in areas with frequent driveways.
A college paper in FL recognizes that FL is the most dangerous place in the country to walk or ride a bike. Cyclists Beware: Florida Streets Remain Unsafe They read the same report I read, last year, but they failed to comprehend just how bad FL is for the non-motorized on the roads. States with much larger populations and numbers of cyclists had much lower numbers of killed cyclists and pedestrians than FL, and eight percent of the cyclists killed in the US in 2008 died in just 3 FL counties. Stop and ponder that a minute. There were 734 cyclists killed in 2008, more than 50 died in just 3 counties, that’s about one a week in just those 3 counties.
The father of a cyclist killed by a texting driver embarqs on a cross-country bike ride to bring attention to the dangers of texting and driving, after the driver that killed his son is let go without even having to do this simple thing. Cross-country ride to highlight dangers of texting and driving I mentioned this case a while back, the driver not getting anything near in sentence what the severity of her actions resulted in, she killed a person and got probation and a few hours of cleaning parks and toilets as punishment, plus 8 hours telling other teens about the dangers of driving while paying more attention to your phone than the road.
A single person died from being hit by a bicycle in 2009 in the entire city of NYC, and some people had a hissy fit that’s still going on, but the event did highlight a serious shortcoming in traffic statistics. Westfield woman whose husband died in bicycle accident joins New York Mayor Bloomberg in signing bike safety law The new law requires keeping statistics of people injured in bike wrecks that do not involve motor vehicles. Previously people trying to track bicycle/pedestrian wrecks had to use hospital records, and not too many of those wrecks require hospitalization. Now there is a requirement to record injury wrecks between pedestrians and cyclists even if only first aid is required. I think they will discover that not many wrecks between cyclists and pedestrians happen and that the cyclist is more at risk of injury than the pedestrian. I have been hit by a person riding a bicycle while I was walking, and by a motor vehicle while I was riding a bike and while I was crossing a street while walking. Let me tell you the car hurt a lot worse than the bike. I only had a sprained ankle when I was hit by a bike, the car that ran a red light and hit me in the crosswalk bruised me pretty badly and caused a lot of road rash that was very painful while it was healing, and of course most of you know about the truck that hit me from behind while I was riding my bike home from work, it’s in my bio page on this site.
Finally, a report on both sides of killing a cyclist, one from a victim’s sister, another from a driver that killed a friend accidentally while driving. Darin Strauss: Two cars, two deaths Neither wreck had anything to do with the other, they happened in different countries even. But for drivers that have consciences killing someone is a terrible thing.
And that’s all the news that gave me fits.
Billed @$0.02, Opus
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Posted in Daily Feed
Tagged anti-bike blatherings, cycling life, cyclist injured, Don't read the comments, infrastructure, Jolly Olde, Left cross/right hook, rant, stupid drivers