Wednesday, September 14, 2011

This CAN'T Be Right

Megyn Kelly took Dr. Keith Ablow to task for his transphobic comments on Chaz Bono.


I'm speechless. I really am.

*blinks in stunned silence*

Okay, I found my voice.

While I don't watch Dancing with the Stars (I feel I have better ways to spend my time that are far more intellectual stimulating like - oh, I dunno, clipping my nails or something), and I don't have the faintest clue Chaz Bono is, the comments made by "Doctor" Ablow are par for the course in today's transphobic world:

It is a toxic and unnecessary byproduct of the tragic celebration of transgender surgery that millions of young people who do watch "Dancing with the Stars" will have to ponder this question: Maybe my problems really stem from the fact that I'm a girl inside a boy's body (or a boy inside a girl's body). Maybe I'm not a tomboy; I'm just a boy!
Lovely this man has zero concept how the concept of biological sex actually works, isn't it? He seems to have confused biological sex for gender. Gender and sex, for those who don't know, are two totally different things. Biological sex is the genitalia that you're wearing. Gender is the "sex identity" that you establish (or, far more often, is established for you by greater society), usually male or female. Biologically I am male. Genderwise, I consider myself agendered or bigendered; the thought of being either male or female doesn't disconcert me. I attach no particular relevance to my gender. I am who I am and gender plays no part in that.

"Doctor" Ablow is confusing gender for sex.

Gender is largely a social construct. The identity of girls (pink and frilly) verses boys (blue and messy) is gender. Gender tends to have some stereotypes surrounding; whenever Right Wingers talk about sex they're almost always talking about gender instead.

Sex is biological. It's the plumbing between your legs and in your abdomen, and the chemicals inside of your head and body. It's the secondary characteristics like facial hair or breasts. I'm sure everyone knows this already, but apparently it's not wide spread, because "Doctor" Ablow is confusing the two.

Now, the relationship between gender and sex is a lot more complicated than that. Where does one end and the other begin? This is why it can be ugly trying to divide the transsexuals from the transgendered, and the two are often put together in the same group (transsexuals are almost always transgendered, but is a transgendered person always a transsexual? My intuition tells me no, but my intuition certainly isn't a position of authority to quote from). Add to this concepts like "bigendered" and you end up with the truth almost everyone knew all along: human sexuality, and all aspects about it - from the biological to the sociological - are ridiculously complicated.

The term I've seen to describe this is genderqueer, or GQ. I myself may or may not fall under this term; I identify strongly with women, having been raised by powerful women my entire life, and I lack a concept of "masculinity" as most would recognize it, considering it to be the mark of a boarish asshole who's insecure. I often entertain the thought of being a woman, but I'll hold out and wait for the day when I can jump back and forth between the two (or even be both at once) without the decades of surgery and hormone replacement (surprisingly enough, the transhumanist current I identify strongly with is post-genderism.)

Of course, Right Wingers like "Doctor" Ablow want nothing to do with any of this. In their world, things are binary - you're male or female, and that's your biological identity and your gender identity. If you don't want to conform, too fucking bad. You will anyway. And we'll force you too. Even the concept of "intersex" is beyond their mental comprehension. I would say these people are to be pitied for their inability to see complexes, but they have power. They have privilege, therefore, they're fair game for being viciously mocked.

Which brings me to this weird intersection of mocking and privilege. Megyn Kelly, for those who don't know, is a FOX news anchor.

No, you didn't read that wrong. Kelly works for FOX "news".

Which is every bit the "news" network that Ablow is a "doctor."

Which makes this all the more astonishing.

I would not expect a FOX anchor calling out a transphobic "doctor" out for his bigoted comments.

I want to say that this is more than a stopped clock being right twice a day. I want to congratulate Kelly, and hope that this is a step for her moving in the right direction (that is, away from the Right wing talking points of her network).

But it's probably not.

But despite that, I'll be fair: Good on you, Megyn Kelly. That was a great thing you did.

Now do it more often, and for poor people, or people of color, or gays, or destitute people your network seems to trash on a daily basis.

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