Category: gender

And now I’m an expert…?

I was lost and confused for years and now I’m suddenly an expert. I gotta admit it feels good.

(From a Fetlife questions whose gist was: “I feel like this but am not sure how to identify. Non applicable, genderqueer, genderfuld, etc.)

Well a lot of what queer theory is in general is just postmodern philosophy applied to human sexuality. And one of the great contributions of postmodernism was its emphasis of the “translinguistic”.

That may sound complicated, but it really just means that every experience, from our gender to eating an ice cream sundae is technically ineffable. We can approximate how we feel with words and phrases. And we do all the time. Some phrases fit quite well. If you’ve ever studied a foreign language you’ve probly had the experience of learning some phrase that you were like “Oh, that’s so perfect for situation X! I wish we had that phrase in English!”

So, to answer your question, genderqueer and genderfluid are just two terms with a slightly different emphasis on the gray space ‘twixt male- and femaleness. Genderfluid tends to be used for people who feel their gender “flows” or is variable day by day or hour by hour. Whereas genderqueer emphasizes a more static state between male and female. Basically like androgynous, but you also get a queer identity and get to be part of the queer community… I guess.

Loved your question. As a trans person currently transitioning, I’m still pondering whether I identify as a dykey androgynous woman or as someone non-binary or genderqueer or genderfluid… or if there’s really much of a difference there at all, if it’s just two angles of the same thing.

My strategy’s been to “feel out” what fits best. We’ll see. Best of luck!


TERFs, feminism, privilege

I was gonna write about language, but I’ve got feminism on the mind.

So the thing is, most things that TERF (trans-exclusionary radical feminists) feminists … wait, that was redundant. Most things that TERFs say would easily be considered hate speech coming from anyone male or a part of an organized religion. If you’re new to the concept, the gist of it is that they refuse to see trans women as women, lobby to try and kick them out of women’s shelters, accuse queer trans women as metaphorically “raping women” and a lot of other things which make about as much sense as the tenets of scientology. It’s easy to google if you’re still curious.

They’re a tiny, albeit vocal, minority. The problem is that their dogma seems to trickle down into mainstream queer culture in a diluted, yet mildly to blatantly transphobic form. Many trans women have tried to criticize this phenomenon, but are often dismissed—albeit in academic, latinate language—basically because their trans. This is a whole ‘nother bag of worms. Again, easy to google if you’re curious.

Okay, so there’s a small branch of toxic feminism out there. Sad, but so what? Well, I think it illustrates a bigger problem with current feminism: bogus theory that goes unchallenged. Read the rest of this entry »

Polyglotism, men and women/Poliglotismo, los hombres y las mujeres

English (español abajo)

Okay, so if you are a language enthusiast you’ve probly come across articles about polyglots in your internet wanderings at some point or another. Most claim that the vast majority of such people are male, though no one’s completely sure why. Often phrases such as “the drive to master complex systems is endemic to the male brain” are lightly tossed around. While I don’t want to say that that stereotype is totally wrong (stereotypes are often correct, just not on an individual level) and that it’s not true that once you get passed, say, 10 or 12 languages the vast majority of such polyglots are male, I personally know (and a cursory look at a site like Tumblr will show you) that there are plenty of female polyglots out there, many speaking 5, 6, 7 languages as different as French, Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, etc.

So yeah, are men more likely to go a little crazy, overboard, master 20 or more languages? I’d say probly yeah. But like any other gender trait, it’s really best mapped out with two overlapping bell curves.

I’d suspect that women polyglots tend focus more on the social uses of language (id est, are more interested in using language for activities like activism, making deeper personal connections, et cetera, rather than focusing simply on acquiring new languages). But that’s just a hunch, a stereotype that we could never say should be true for any given individual.

This begs the question, where do trans women fit on here? And trans men? Tentative research seems to indicate that our brains often fall in the middle of the masculine-feminine spectrum: either they were not fully masculinized or were “accidentally” partially masculinized (yeah, I know “accidentally” sounds super cis-normative, but lack of a better term, mates). As far as language learning, would we match our assigned sex more or our identified sex? Or somewhere in the middle?

Seeing as there is just loads of money, waiting to be spent on researching polyglotism in transgender people, I can’t wait to see the results in the upcoming years.




Si eres entusiasta para los idiomas, probablemente has encontrado algún artículo sobre poliglotos en tus viajes por internet. Muchos dicen que la mayoría de esa gente son hombres, aunque nadie sabe exactamente por qué. Frases como “el impulso de dominar sistemas complejas es endémico al cerebro masculino” se usan bastante a menudo. Aunque no quiero decir que estos estereotipos son completamente falsos (los estereotipos normalmente son válidos, aunque no en una escala individual) y que no es cierto que una vez llegues a 10 o 12 lenguas la gran mayoría de esos poliglotos son hombres, conozco personalmente (y un rápido vistazo en webs como Tumblr te lo demostrará) que hay muchas políglotas femeninas, muchas que hablan 6, 7, 8 idiomas tan distintas como el francés, ruso, mandarín, árabe, et cetera.

Ahora bien. ¿Es más probable que los hombres se entusiasmen muchísimo con la idea de aprender 20 idiomas. Creo que sí. Sin embargo, como cualquier otro rasgo del género, se representa como dos curvas campanas en superposición.

Sospecho que las políglotas femeninas tienden a enfocarse más en los usos sociales de los idiomas (id est, que son más interesadas en usar los idiomas para actividades como el activismo, en hacer conexiones personales más profundas, et cetera, en lugar de enfocarse simplemente en la adquisición de idiomas nuevos). Pero solo es un presentimiento personal de mi parte, un estereotipo que nunca podremos decir debe ser cierto para una sola persona cualquiera.

Que plantea la pregunta, ¿dónde se quedan las mujeres y los hombres trans? Investigaciones provisionales sugieren que nuestros cerebros se encuentran en el medio del espectro de masculinidad y feminidad: o sea nuestros cerebros no fueron masculinizados completamente o fueron “accidentalmente” masculinizados parcialmente (y sí, sé que la palabra “accidentalmente” parece muy cis-normativo, pero me falta una mejor). Cuando se trata de la adquisición de idiomas, ¿debemos parece más a nuestro sexo asignado o más a nuestro sexo identificado? ¿O tal vez estamos en el medio?

Dado que existen montones de dinero para investigar el poliglotismo en personas transgénero, espero con mucho entusiasmo ver los resultados.

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