Thursday, February 13, 2020

Which picture would you share with your children?

Image result for Orangutan offers hand
This should be.
Heart-wrenching image of a performing  Orangutan.
This was a wildlife photo of the year.

"Animals do not betray; they do not exploit; they do not oppress; they do not enslave; they do not sin. They have their being, and their being is honest, and who can say this of man?"

Taylor Caldwell, Great Lion of God

Wild Orangutan offers help

Monday, February 10, 2020

One's Gender is between One's Ears

Before my sister was born
I grew up a Tomboy, and was once asked by another kid, if I was a boy or a girl? Fair question. As I recall, I'd just beaten him up. "I'm a girl," I said, "but I'm going to be a boy when I grow up."

Most of us, if asked, knew what sex we were from the time we could talk. I knew I was a girl, but I wanted to be a boy. Boys had freedom from dresses and dolls, perms, and keeping clean.

Historically, the terms "sex" and "gender" have been used interchangeably, but their uses are becoming increasingly distinct, and it is important to understand the differences between the two. This article will look at the meaning of "sex" and the differences between the sexes. It will also look at the meaning of "gender," and the concepts of gender roles, gender identity, and gender expression. In general terms, "sex" refers to the biological differences between males and females, such as the genitalia and genetic differences. "Gender" is more difficult to define, but it can refer to the role of a male or female in society, known as a gender role, or an individual's concept of themselves, or gender identity. Sometimes, a person's genetically assigned sex does not line up with their gender identity. These individuals might refer to themselves as transgender, non-binary, or gender-nonconforming. 
                                                      From MedicalNewsToday

After my sister was born
Until a couple years ago, I knew zero about transgenderism. I have lots of gay friends, but didn't know anyone who was trans. Or I didn't think I did.

Before I wrote Finch, I had no dog in the fight. I'm straight, cisgender, old, widowed, childless, white, and a lapsed Episcopalian. I grew up in Central Florida during the civil rights era, but was too young and self-centered to really notice what was happening. We certainly weren't in the thick of it. My saving grace has turned out to be that I detest injustice. 

I swore that, given the opportunity to speak up for an oppressed group, I would. When an acquaintance came out as trans and had reassignment surgery at age 70, I had my chance. I peppered her with questions, and read everything she suggested starting with Becoming Nicole.

Freeing Finch was a book I'd written a decade ago about an abandoned dog and a young girl whose mother died leaving her to be raised by her recently remarried step-father. The abandonment theme of that book reminded me of many of the stories I was reading about families turning their backs on their gender-questioning children. It didn't seem like too much of a leap to add gender dysphoria to that character's issues, especially considering the recent spate of LGBTQ-bashing by this administration.

Now that Finch is available, I'm seeing how deeply ingrained and common this government-sanctioned bashing is. Just today's news: 

The tragedy is, there is strong scientific evidence that transgenderism is caused by a miss-timed secretion of male hormones during one of the two releases in utero. In other words, it has a medical cause.

For the first 5 or 6 weeks in the womb, the fetus is developing as a girl. (That's why males have vestigial nipples.) The first wave at about three months triggers the development of boy genital, and the second wave during the 3rd trimester, leads to the development of "who we are" by triggering the development of a boy brain or a male gender identity. 

At my book launch in Mendocino, a teacher approached me after the reading and told me about a second grader at her school. The child, born male, identifies as a girl. His parents refuse to let him dress as a girl and send him to school in 'boy-clothes.' Those of us old enough to remember the song from South Pacific, You've Got to be Carefully Taught, about racism, bigotry, and the hatred and fear of "others", know prejudices aren't born in us, they are taught. This child's little girl friends have been taught acceptance and they bring him 'girl clothes' to wear during the day, then he changes back into his boy-clothes before going home. 

Our gender identity is between our ears; our sex is between our legs. Transgenderism should be handled as just another challenge in life that’s no more or less significant than all the others. Psychological issues arise too often from the big deal we make of our differences.  Dr. Kate Rohr

Good news:  Ban on treatments for transgender kids fails in South Dakota

Bad news: "Conservative lawmakers in nearly a dozen other states, including South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Colorado, Illinois, Kentucky and New Hampshire, are pushing similar proposals. The measure had gained the most traction in South Dakota, where the House recently passed it."