Posts Tagged ‘trans*’

In this Gender Reader: reporting sexual assault in Japan; anti-chikan pins; capturing LGBTQI lives in photography; Japanese actresses discuss white-washing in Ghost in the Shell, and more:

anti groping pin

“Matsunaga crowdsourced designs for badges intended to deter men from groping schoolgirls” [Shiori Ito/Al Jazeera]


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Via Tor.com. [Image: cover of Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire. The cover shows an open wooden door in a doorframe in the middle of a forest.]

What’s the Beyond Binaries Book Club?

While Book Club might have fallen a bit by the wayside as I (and many of the other participants in this group and in my blogging community) have spent the post-election weeks calling representatives, donating, and just reading, reading, reading everything about bills and political issues and the Electoral College and trying everything to get through to the people who are not concerned about marginalized groups because it’s easier to say “you’ll survive, don’t be a sore loser” than “you and your loved ones might be in danger and your fear is rational, what can we do to help each other? I am listening.”

Plus, Thanksgiving, that great “oh god please no one talk politics at the dinner table but also I am angry and feel like yelling” holiday is this week. Maybe you need a nice fantasy book to warm your heart as you crash in the guest room or on the couch, or to give to your cousin or sibling who just came out, or to remind yourself that you are real, you exist, and you matter.

In light of this disaster of an election, I want to highlight groups relevant to each post where you can donate, volunteer, share with others, utilize, and/or learn more. Since today’s book features ace and trans youth, here are a few ways you can support them under the VP-elect’s anti-LGBTQ Christian extremism.

The Trevor Project, which has support for LGBTQIA and questioning youth, and is ace and trans inclusive. In addition to the (telephone) hotline, there are also options to text and chat; the hotlines are staffed by trained counselors. If you’re an adult, you can receive training for youth-serving professionals.

Trans Lifeline deals specifically with trans issues and is staffed by trans people. A $25 donation pays for someone’s call. The Lifeline received 400 calls on election night–essentially a month’s worth of calls.

PFLAG: don’t let the name mislead you: “Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays” covers all our rainbow alphabet-soup letters, not just LG. If you have an LGBTQIA family member or friend and want to learn how to be a good ally* without relying on that person for your education, this is THE place to go. And not just for straight and cis allies: maybe you’re bi+ or trans and your partner isn’t–go together. Maybe you want your parents to see other people like you, or they want to network and advocate for you. Maybe you need a guided space to sort out your feelings about your orientation or gender, or had someone come out to you and want to educate yourself. There’s plenty of reasons to attend. There are chapters all over the country. *Note: including within the queer community–trans and nonbinary individuals and bi+ are marginalized within the monosexual-cis queer community.

Finally, here’s an article on supporting ace youth.

Our Sept/Oct 2016 book: Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire.


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Wandering Son, p. 112.

Wandering Son: What You Can’t See

Part 4 here. Throughout this series, we’ve mentioned the difference between positive reactions to temporary, Carnival-esque cross-dressing and the transphobic and especially transmisogynistic negative reactions experienced by people who cross-dress more permanently or who are transgender. One of the best illustrations of this is Shimura Takako’s Wandering Son (Hôrô Musuko,「 放浪息子」), a manga and anime that feature several characters who are perceived to be cross-dressing by their community, when in fact several of them are dressing toward their gender identity (not cross-dressing). The show also features instances of socially acceptable cross-dressing (theatre) as a contrast to the transmisogyny experienced by an adult trans woman and a child designated male at birth (DMAB) on the cusp of puberty.

In this section, we’ll be discussing a manga and anime in which trans characters dressing toward their gender identity are perceived as cross-dressing, and will be using the terms “girls’ clothes” and “boys’ clothes” a lot. Please keep in mind that we mean this in the sense of culturally gendered clothing and school uniforms in a narrative about minors who are not out and who have to deal with transphobia in their schools and homes. An article of clothing itself, as comedian Eddie Izzard comments, is not inherently gendered, though the intent for it to be worn by (certain) cisgendered bodies is present.

Content warning: this section contains discussions of transphobia, transmisogyny, and sexism. There are also major spoilers for the anime and manga.

To briefly introduce the characters, Nitori Shûichi1 is a preteen who was designated male at birth and identifies as a girl. Her friend Takatsuki Yoshino is DFAB and identifies as a boy during elementary and junior high school.2 The manga follows Nitori and Takatsuki as they graduate elementary school, begin junior high school, and eventually enter high school; the anime focuses only on them in junior high school.


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In this gender reader: the gendered politics of skin-whitening creams; public bathing; bad reporting on the “sex strike”; Facebook genders; and more–and I even think we can get through this without a discussion of giri-choco!

Chanel's Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.

Chanel’s Le Blanc (ルブラン) skin-whitening cream. Image via Chanel Japan.


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If you missed it last month, Miri of Brute Reason (Free Thought Blogs) has a post on how critiquing flaws in our theories can lead to a stronger, more holistic approach to discussing gender, culture, and feminism. I was initially a bit worried about the “devil’s advocate” position mentioned in the caveats because when I experience that position with critiquing (current) feminist theory, it tends to come with a tip of the fedora. However, this is the right sort of challenging and engaging and comes from a place of hoping to better the field.


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One of first things I learned in my very first gender studies class was the distinction between sex and gender. I feel like it was useful at the time, but that the narratives about biology vs culture have changed in the last 10 years. For example, if we assume that sex is purely biological, where does that leave trans and intersex people? If you feel strongly that you are male or female, it’s not just choosing pink or blue and that’s it–there are so many ways to do gender (boi, hard femme, soft butch, androgyne) that the personal performance of what society expects vs what we want to do begins to make the assignment of fashions, mannerisms and interests seem ridiculous. Enjoying contact sports might be “aggressive” or “athletic” but there’s no reason to assign those attributes to a gender, and, ultimately, to praise what society deems masculine and ridicule what society deems feminine. And if gender expression is dangerously conflated with ideas of biological sex, wouldn’t using self-identity for gender help dismantle the biological-cultural complex? It seems very simple and yet very radical, and I am really interested in seeing how this new idea develops in sociology.

Family Inequality

Or, the sex/gender distinction which is not one?


(This post includes research from my excellent graduate assistant, Lucia Lykke.)

Recently I was corrected by another sociologist: “Phil – ‘female’ and ‘male’ refer to one’s sex, not gender.”

Feminists — including feminist sociologists — have made important progress by drawing the conceptual distinction between sex and gender, with sex the biological and gender the social categories. From this, maybe, we could recognize that gendered behavior was not simply an expression of sex categories — related to the term “sex roles” — but a socially-constructed set of practices layered on top of a crude biological base.

Lucia informs me we can date this to Simone de Beauvoir in The Second Sex. In 1949 she wrote:

It would appear, then, that every female human being is not necessarily a woman; to be so considered she must share in that mysterious…

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I Want to Be a Man! My Boyfriend Used to Be a Woman (『男になりタイ!私の彼氏は元女』)
By Sachiko TAKEUCHI (竹内佐千子)
Published by Media Factory (メディアファクトリー)
Color; black and white
1100 yen

[Please note: this manga was published prior to a major shift in terms regarding trans experiences. “Born a woman” would now be “assigned female at birth,” etc.]

Hello, my name is Sachiko. I’m a woman.
Up until now, I’ve dated women. I’m a lesbian.
Recently, I’ve taken a new lover. His name is Kai, and he’s a man.
But Kai was born a girl. Kai’s body is female, but his heart is male. (p. 5)

The title of Takeuchi Sachiko’s third volume of autobiographical manga contains one of the best untranslatable puns I’ve seen in Japanese. 『男になりタイ!』 literally means “I want to be/become a man!”; however, Takeuchi has written the verb ending for “to want” (~たい, ~tai) as the katakanaタイ. In this case, the katakana refers to Thailand (Tai), the setting of most of the manga.

(This review contains spoilers for honey & honeyhoney & honey deluxe, Otoko ni Naritai, and Straying Love Game.)


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