I. DEFINIZIONI BASE
Iniziamo con un po' di contesto.
Transgender: un termine ombrello che raccoglie tutte le espressioni o identità di genere che trasgrediscono o trascendono le regole della società riguardo il concetto di genere.
Essere trans significa identificarsi in un genere diverso da quello assegnato alla nascita.
La categoria di transgender include persone che possiedono l'identità di genere binaria femminile (donne trans) e maschile (uomini trans).
Il termine ombrello transgender include anche persone con identità di genere non binarie.
Tuttavia, le persone non binarie possono decidere di non chiamare sé stesse transgender.
Non binaria: ogni identità di genere che non può essere inserita all'interno della dicotomia binaria di maschio e femmina.
Il genere di una persona non binaria può essere legato a, o includere porzioni di, genere maschile o femminile, ma una persona conta come non binaria fintanto che non è al 100% soltanto uno di essi.
II. COS'È IL XENOGENDER
Nelle figure: tre diverse bandiere per rappresentare i xenogeneri. La prima è la più comunemente utilizzata.
Xenogender: un'identità di genere non binaria che non può essere contenuta e spiegata attraverso la comprensione umana del genere; ci si occupa più frequentemente di cercare e costruire metodi alternativi per categorizzare il genere e dividerlo in gerarchie, ad esempio possono essere xenogenders i generi collegati ad animali, piante, o altre creature ed oggetti.
l termine xenogender venne coniato nel 2014 dal profilo di Tumblr "Baaphomett", in una domanda inoltrata al MOGAI-Archive blog, e ha origine dal termine xeno (dal greco ksénos, "straniero", "estraneo" (usato anche per "alieno", "non originario di questo pianeta", "extraterrestre")).
È un termine ombrello per tutti i generi "insoliti", generi che possono essere descritti attraverso il loro collegamento ad animali, piante, o praticamente qualunque altra cosa.
Alcuni esempi di xenogenders sono: autigender (un genere influenzato dalla propria neurodivergenza e autismo, ndt); catgender (un genere collegato ai gatti, ndt); jouine (un genere collegato a felicità e euforia, ed emozioni forti, dall'unione dei termini "joy" (gioia) e "sanguine" (sanguigno, ottimista) ndt); pupgender (un genere collegato ai cuccioli di cane, ndt).
Nonostante i xenogenders non siano esclusivi per le persone neurodivergenti, vengono spesso utilizzati da chi fra di noi sente che la propria neurodivergenza influenza come percepiamo noi stessi e il nostro genere.
III. questions you might have
"Are xenogenders serious?"
➜ Usually, yes. But at the same time... What if they aren't? What does that do? To be fair, being trans/nonbinary doesn't always have to be this imagined experience of constant suffering. We're allowed to describe our lived experience of gender in flowery ways. How many times have you heard male/female defined in silly, non-serious ways?
"Is this doing damage to real trans people?"
➜ If you're asking this question, I want to ask one in return - What are you defining as a "real" trans person?
In your opinion, is someone only really trans/nonbinary if they have gender dysphoria and/or transition to a male/female goal? Xenogenders, for the record, say nothing about one's dysphoria, but The World Medical Association, The World Health Organization, The American Psychological Association, and many other sources agree that not all transgender people suffer from dysphoria, therefore it, and transitioning, are not a requirement for being trans.
Is someone only really trans/nonbinary if they can pass? What about trans/nonbinary people who physically can never pass because of how their body is, or because they physically cannot bind/tuck, undergo hormone therapy, or have surgeries because of health conditions?
In your opinion, is someone only really trans/nonbinary if how they describe their gender can "make sense"? To some cis people, just being binary trans (trans female/trans male) doesn't make any sense at all. To some cis people, being nonbinary at all doesn't make any sense.
It is important to understand that what one might think of when they think "real trans person" might be rooted in excluding a majority of the trans population.
In addition, I would like to add that I, the author of this Carrd, am an "official" "real" trans person. I'm officially diagnosed with gender dysphoria and recognized as transgender. I don't feel threatened whatsoever by ""weird"" genders, because I understand that this is just someone else's lived experience.
"Why identify this way?"
➜ The following list of examples is used with permission:
Many people feel that they can describe their gender with nouns or other descriptors other than typical gender terms (male/female, masculine/feminine, neutral/nonbinary, etc). In the way that a nonbinary person may feel male-aligned or feminine-aligned, a nonbinary person could feel that the way they experience gender is more aligned with, say, an animal or a planet. They’re more easily able to explain the way their gender feels through an object, creature, archetype, etc. than through typical gender descriptors.
Someone may find it euphoric or easy to evoke something visual, aural, etc. as an explanation for their gender rather than trying to explain their more complex gendered feelings or fit into typical gender categories.
Neurodivergency can affect how one perceives gender in a variety of ways. maybe a synesthete has some sort of sensory experience related to their gender, or an autistic person can’t fit into typical gender categories because those categories make no sense to them, etc.
Those who are otherkin, therian, otherhearted, or otherwise alterhuman may relate far more to their alterhuman identities in terms of gender - For example, a cat therian may identify more with a catlike gender, or an alienkin person may feel that their gender would be better understood on another planet.
Xenogender labels are also used by many genderfuck/genderpunk/etc people who want to eschew typical notions of gender.
Gender is a human concept, and many of us just interpret gender in very different ways!
iv. Common anti-xenogender stances
"MOGAI genders/xenogenders/neolabels are why people don't take us seriously!"
➜This is victim-blaming, plain and simple. Trying to blame other people who're trying to find terms to describe their gender/orientation/etc is a slippery slope, and trying to guilt people back into the closet to appease cishet people is never going to work. We do not exist to be palatable to them. This line of thinking is extremely dangerous, and it's been applied to every other identity.
"Autigender? You're making us all look stupid!"
"Agender? You can't not have a gender, you're making us all look stupid!"
"Transgender? No, you were assigned male/female at birth! You're making us all look stupid!"
Etc... Gatekeeping is the act of attacking the perceived "weakest link," and very quickly, that could be your identity. As a community, we need to stand together against transphobia and it's actual cause: Transphobes.
Transphobia is not the fault of trans people, and it never will be.
If someone goes online, and sees people who identify 'weirdly,' and then goes on to say they no longer respect trans/nonbinary people? Guess what - They didn't respect us at all, and were looking for an excuse to say so. They're a transphobe, through-and-through.
"No matter what you call yourself, you're still biologically male or female."
➜ Here's the thing: The presumed physical gender binary is actually less of a set in stone rule, and more something that's become a part of human society over thousands of years of development, and the concept of a binary gender as we understand it today is heavily influenced by racism and dyadism.
Sound like a lot? It absolutely is. This is a huge topic, which should be researched on one's own if you're interested. You can also check out this tag on my blog.
Sex is a collection of traits that, while generally dimorphic, can vary greatly in the population, and some can change over time. While the terms “male” and “female” have some utility, we should not view them as strictly dichotomous or mutually exclusive. Rather, “female” and “male” are best thought of as umbrella terms that describe groupings of people (or animals) who generally share many of the same traits, albeit with considerable variability and some exceptions.
Transgender People & Biological Sex Myths, Julia Serano, 2017. [Includes more sources]
Nearly everyone in middle school biology learned that if you’ve got XX chromosomes, you’re a female; if you’ve got XY, you’re a male. This tired simplification is great for teaching the importance of chromosomes but betrays the true nature of biological sex. The popular belief that your sex arises only from your chromosomal makeup is wrong. The truth is, your biological sex isn’t carved in stone, but a living system with the potential for change.
Why? Because biological sex is far more complicated than XX or XY (or XXY, or just X). XX individuals could present with male gonads. XY individuals can have ovaries.
How? Through a set of complex genetic signals that, in the course of a human’s development, begins with a small group of cells called the bipotential primordium and a gene called SRY.
...A half century of empirical research has repeatedly challenged the idea that brain biology is simply XY = male brain or XX = female brain. In other words, there is no such thing as “the male brain” or “the female brain".
Stop Using Phony Science to Justify Transphobia, 2019
A statement validating the existence of transgender people
signed by 2617 scientists, a majority of them from natural sciences like biology, neuroscience, biological anthropology, biochemistry, genetics and psychiatry. "There are no genetic tests that can unambiguously determine gender, or even sex..."
In Mesopotamian mythology, among the earliest written records of humanity, there are references to types of people who are not men and not women. In a Sumerian creation myth found on a stone tablet from the second millennium BC, the goddess Ninmah fashions a being “with no male organ and no female organ”, for whom Enki finds a position in society: “to stand before the king”.
In Babylonia, Sumer and Assyria, certain types of individuals who performed religious duties in the service of Inanna/Ishtar have been described as a third gender.
Inscribed pottery shards from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt (2000–1800 BCE), found near ancient Thebes (now Luxor, Egypt), list three human genders: tai (male), sḫt (“sekhet”) and hmt (female).
The Vedas (c. 1500 BC–500 BC) describe individuals as belonging to one of three categories, according to one’s nature or prakrti. These are also spelled out in the Kama Sutra (c. 4th century AD) and elsewhere as pums-prakrti (male-nature), stri-prakrti (female-nature), and tritiya-prakrti (third-nature).
Many have interpreted the “eunuchs” of the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean world as a third gender that inhabited a liminal space between women and men, understood in their societies as somehow neither or both. In the Historia Augusta, the eunuch body is described as a tertium genus hominum (a third human gender),
The ancient Maya civilization may have recognised a third gender, according to historian Matthew Looper. Looper notes the androgynous Maize Deity and masculine Moon goddess of Maya mythology, and iconography and inscriptions where rulers embody or impersonate these deities. He suggests that the third gender could also include two-spirit individuals with special roles such as healers or diviners.
Anthropologist Rosemary Joyce agrees, writing that “gender was a fluid potential, not a fixed category, before the Spaniards came to Mesoamerica. Childhood training and ritual shaped, but did not set, adult gender, which could encompass third genders and alternative sexualities as well as “male” and “female.” At the height of the Classic period, Maya rulers presented themselves as embodying the entire range of gender possibilities, from male through female, by wearing blended costumes and playing male and female roles in state ceremonies.“
Andean Studies scholar Michael Horswell writes that third-gendered ritual attendants to chuqui chinchay, a jaguar deity in Incan mythology, were “vital actors in Andean ceremonies” prior to Spanish colonisation.
In Pakistan, the hijras are officially recognized as third gender by the government.
Source for the above list (includes further sources)
Sorry for the amount of text, but the point I want to make is - The response that "You're not biologically catgender!! You're just male/female!! Therefore your identity is dumb!!" that I hear all too often... Isn't actually based in real science. The biology of trans people does not matter or invalidate their genders, because biology doesn't have true relation to gender. Not even for cis people. Gender as we understand it is rooted in the erasure of nonbinary history.
If you're trying to use biology as a "gotcha" against nonbinary genders, the joke is on you.
While xenogenders can be hard to understand at first, it's important to understand that (the majority of) these terms are coined because someone out there was genuinely struggling to find a label that felt fitting, and found that their actual life experience couldn't be described accurately by more common descriptors like "male," "female," "neutral," and that describing their experience by relating it to something else truly helped them. Sometimes this will be things that seem "silly," like media, aesthetics, and other unique things.
You may not understand how [insert something here] can be a gender, and that's okay. Sometimes we as human beings will not be able to completely understand an experience because it's one we will never have, and that doesn't mean that the experience is invalid.
Still confused about something? I'm happy to answer questions that are asked in good faith.