Making Your Way Through Facebook's 58 Genders

Warren Beatty and Annette Benning’s college-age daughter is a trans man.

She’s called “Stephen Ira” and is something of an activist on the far frontiers of gender.

At long last Facebook has given her a gender category, but what exactly is a trans man?

A trans man is a girl born with girl parts but who identifies as a boy, but who still wants to be with a boy just like she was a girl. Ira goes on to say she is a binary trans man. Binary refers to those who can accept living as a man or a woman no matter what they were “assigned” at birth. They believe all genders are assigned at birth and the process of life includes determining your own gender.

A few years ago Ira got into a spat with another trans man, Chaz – formerly Chastity – Bono who told ABC News, “I think of it as hormones, you know, went in the brain but not in the body, and that’s all being transgender is. It’s just that the sex of your body and gender of your brain don’t match up. For 99 percent of people, those things are in alignment. For transgender people, they’re mismatched. That’s all it is. It’s not complicated, its not neurosis. It’s a mix-up. It’s a birth defect, like a cleft palate.”

On a transgenderism blog called Supermattachine, Ira struck back: “Chaz is erasing the experience of trans men who don’t need top surgery. He’s reinforcing this cissexist idea that having breasts that you intend to keep equals being a woman, which we know from experiences of many non-op, non-binary and intersex people is just not true.”

Exactly what is a cissexist? It is a person who believes that transgender or transsexual people are inferior to cissexual (non-trans) people. So, what is a cissexual then? It is a person whose has no problem with the gender they were assigned at birth. If you think this is a superior condition to trans people, you are a cissexist just like Chaz Bono.

If you think this is complicated, you might want to turn to a young person named Asher who has written a very helpful explanation and glossary of terms now posted at The Anarchist Library.

Here is Asher talking about his gender: “I am a man who was assigned to live as a woman, therefore I am a trans man. My father is a man who was assigned to live as a man, therefore he is a cis man. Both of us are binary identified, both men, even though he is cis and I am trans.”

It is unlikely that Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg understands any of this. But for those who may want to change their gender on Facebook, here are a few definitions.

"Pansexual" is someone who believes they are many or all genders.

"Agender" is someone who believes they are no gender at all.

"Genderqueer," according to the North American Lexicon of Transgender Terms, is a general category for identities other than man and woman, also considered non-binary and opposed to cisnormativity. Genderqueers may want to be referred to not as he or she but as one, ze, sie, hir, co, ey or they. When writing a letter to a genderqueer you will want to address they (sic) not as Mr. or Mrs. or even Ms. but as Mx.

A trans man, according to Wiki, is a female to male transgender or transsexual person. The trans man was assigned female at birth but self-identifies as male.

In the Facebook gender taxonomy, there is a listing for both "trans man" and "trans male" though I could not find a distinct definition.

"Transmasculine" is someone assigned as female at birth but identifies as more male than female, which is closely related to a "demiguy," that is someone who identifies with maleness or masculinity but only partially, according to gender.wikia.

The problem for the demiguy is he has not been given a spot on the Facebook list. Who knows how many other genders have been left off.

On his WMAL talk radio last week, Chris Plante reported on a man who has petitioned Facebook to include his gender that he calls “kielbasa” which, according to Wiki, is a Central or Eastern European sausage.


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