Saturday, June 30, 2018

Transgender is a Pan-Cultural and Trans-Historical Phenomenon

In my writings, I will often say that gender diversity and transgender identities are a “pan-cultural and trans-historical phenomenon.” What I mean by this is that if you consider other cultures, or look back through history, you will find examples of people who we would now (in this time and place) describe as falling under the transgender umbrella. This includes (but is not limited to) people who identified and lived as members of a gender other than the one they were assigned at birth, people who belonged to “third gender” categories—an umbrella term sometimes used to describe established gender categories that fall outside of the man/woman binary, which are fairly common in non-Western cultures), plus people who are gender non-conforming in all sorts of other ways.

At the end of this post, I will provide a list of books that describe such examples of gender diversity across cultures and throughout history. Or you could check out the Wikipedia page on this topic.

This evidence strongly suggests that gender diversity occurs naturally, rather than being a product of culture or modernity. To be clear, I am not suggesting that the phenomenon occurs entirely independent of culture—after all, our self-understandings and the labels we use to describe ourselves are most certainly influenced by cultural norms and the language and concepts we have at our disposal. But what I am saying is that there has to be some natural (likely biological) component to this gender diversity. The alternative hypothesis—i.e., that within each of these cultures, there is an entirely unique socially-based “cause” that accounts for this gender diversity—seems utterly preposterous, and is in dire need of being lopped off with Occam’s razor.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Trans health professionals consider gender-reparative therapies to be unethical

This is not a post so much as it is a citation to be referenced in my (and perhaps other people's) future writings on this topic. 

Gender-reparative therapies (sometimes called gender-conversion therapies) typically involve the use of positive and negative reinforcement strategies—e.g., having parents discourage or withhold gender non-conforming expression, toys, play partners, etc., while encouraging gender-normative behaviors—in an attempt to convert transgender or gender non-conforming children into cisgender and gender-normative ones. 

While the practice used to be more common, and while a few researchers (such as Ken Zucker) still advocate for such approaches, the field of trans health as a whole now considers such practices to be both unsuccessful (as it merely coerces children to temporarily hide or repress their gender identities and expressions, which they may assert again at a later age) and unethical (as it often results in a host of negative psychological outcomes, as reviewed in Temple Newhook et al., 2018).

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

a Pride month benefit show & a summer of music!

Happy Pride month everyone! I have three *soft vowel sounds* live shows lined up for the summer, the first one being this weekend!

This Saturday, June 9th, I will be playing at a benefit for LYRIC Center for LGBTQQ Youth. The event will be held at Laughing Monk Brewing (1439 Egbert Ave, Unit A, San Francisco, CA), who will be donating a portion of the evening’s sales to the cause. It's a great slate of music acts, including Cindy Emch, Mya Byrne, and Polythene Pam! If you're on Facebook, here's the event page.

I am the opening act, starting promptly at 6pm, so seriously, be sure to show up early!

If you want a sneak-peak into my set, I will be performing Open Letter, Switch Hitter, Macbeth, Greta Garbo, Music Box, Understudy, and my usual closer I Killed Sting, amongst other songs! All of those links will bring you to YouTube videos or Bandcamp pages where you can listen along to the songs. So prepare yourself to sing along! Or not, it's totally fine to just listen...  : )

I have two other summer *svs* San Francisco shows lined up! While I'm not actively promoting them yet, you can find find out the dates by checking out my latest music email update, or you can sign up for my music email list here.