Gender vs Gender presentation

Here’s a response blog to the following video of Riley J Dennis, providing “proof” that there are more than two genders. This is partly because I disagree with a lot of what’s being said in her video, but also because I like to write about things I know a lot about. And damn, do I know a lot about being trans.

So lets crack on shall we! First thing that really had me having to do a double-take comes at 3:35. Up until then, everything seems fairly okay – I haven’t fact checked the science she’s using, but it isn’t saying anything too wild anyway. However at this point she says “there’s an infinite set of sexes and an infinite set of genders” which is simply absurd. There are absolutely not an infinite set of sexes or genders.

Sex, excluding intersex people, relates pretty much entirely to the type of chromosomes you have. Two XXs and you’re a female, XY and you’re a male. Typically this will result in your body also growing as female or male – however in the case of intersex people, this doesn’t always happen. This doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a third sex as intersex people are such an insignificantly small percentage of people and intersex conditions can vary wildly. Klinefelters is an intersex condition as much as XX male syndrome is. Both present hugely different symptoms, and affect teeny tiny amount of people – they’re a corruption of the binary sexes we have, not evidence for the existence of many sexes.

As for gender, gender relates directly to sex. They may not be the same thing but the idea that they aren’t intrinsically connected is stupid. For millions of years our species has dealt with the idea that there are only two genders as relating to the two sexes. This makes sense, we needed a label for what to call people, to differentiate between different types of people. “That person there” is significantly less specific than “that woman there”. As there are only two sexes, there are only two genders.

The place that all of these new gender ideas and this “non-binary” crap comes from isn’t directly from studying the actual biological or mental states of people. It’s from people electing to be different. It’s from something called “gender presentation”, which is often confused with “gender”. As a woman, my gender is female and therefore I make my gender presentation match that – so that others might recognise me for who I am.

Presentation of identity is the shorthand of showing people who you are and this can take a huge amount of forms, with one limitation. From being a butch woman, to a femme guy, regardless of how you present your gender, the gender itself will always be the same. A femme guy is still a guy – even if his presentation of “guy” varies wildly from a super macho jock type guy.

It seems to me as though identity politics is building a house on the sand and misunderstanding the nuanced difference between gender presentation and what actual gender is. Everyone is absolutely free to present their gender however they want, that’s your freedom of expression, and nobody can ever tell you otherwise. This however, doesn’t make it the same thing as being trans gender – its a totally different ball game. And while you’re trying to argue for freedom of expression for people who elect to take a politically non-conformist standpoint on the idea of gender – actual trans people are having their medical condition not taken seriously.

We didn’t choose this because it was cool or hip to do, we did this out of dysphoria – a key component of being trans. If you do not suffer from dysphoria, you are not trans and you are in fact one of those identity politics non-conformists I mentioned above. Which you’re free to be, but co-opting the “trans” name for your goals to provide legitimacy to your claim doesn’t help you and it severely puts the lives of trans people in jeopardy. As a result of the identity politics crowd crying about stigma surrounding being trans – there’s growing support to depathologise it, ignoring that pathologisation of trans is the entire reason we’ve been taken seriously and supported with medical treatment.

Your stupidity is trying to warp the trans label into becoming essentially meaningless. Rather than being a keyword to help people get support and medical treatment for a severe condition that in extreme circumstances has lead to self mutilation and suicides. You’re being instrumental in tearing down the the house of support that hundreds of trans people have died for. While still sitting upon your high horse acting as if everyone else is being a tool. You’re wrong, please stop trying to ruin my life, thanks.






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