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  • 04 Dec 2017
    For most of the six-billion people who occupy this planet few things in our ever evolving lives are completely static, completely unchanging and rigid. Hardly ever do we give second thought to the things we believe are static and cannot change, but are we correct in assuming that anything in our life is permanent? The relation of gender (our mental constructions of being male or female [or perhaps even neither[or both bi-gender]) to sex (the anatomy of our bodies) can be such a thing. Although throughout our life the world around us, that which is immediate and that which is distant, ebbs like tides, ever-changing, we know so well that some things – such as our bodies – will always remain familiar. We may move between jobs, between cities or nations, even friends come and go, but we do not fear ever waking to find ourselves in a new body, with a new sex, or even with a new sense of gender. This though is only what we think is true. There are some people though, unmentioned, often unseen or forgotten, perceived as alien: like strangers in a strange world 'normal' people who  feel incapable of relating to the intersex, the transsexual, drag queens and drag kings, even cross dressers deconstruct that which we may feel can never be questioned: how our perception of sex and gender seem to be linked; if I feel male then I am male and if I am male then I must feel male. Yet the truth is that our physical sex, and the more personal gender, are capable of becoming disjointed with one another. It is through the individuals previously mentioned though where we may find that which we felt so sure of before, our bodies, may in fact be no more immalleable than our dress styles. For it is from these people and out of their stories that we should recognize the often unseen truth behind sex and gender: that both are neither static, but are rather dynamic identities that are not only capable of change but capable of remodeling over-and-over throughout all of our lives.   You get home at the end of a long day at work. You come inside, scoff down some food, and decide its time to hit the hay. You head to the bathroom and as you brush those pearly whites, you stare into the mirror and see somebody staring right back at you., sometimes that person is an exact replica of you; a backwards version of that good lookin’ self you remember. Other times though, you see some stranger staring right back. This person doesn’t look like you at all. This person looks too thick, too thin, you see a pudgy stomach where you once imagined washboard abs, you see blemishes, the wrong hair color, the wrong eye color, the wrong image, the wrong person. Now imagine that every single time you looked into that mirror the wrong person was staring back. You just could not find a way to relate to that reflection. For individuals who were born with an intersexed condition, this is exactly how we as transsexuals can feel every single day. Our Society is based on two binaries. First is the sex binary that inevitably leads to a gender binary. It leads us to believe that there are two sexes, male and female which relate to the body and these sexes must adhere to their assumed genders, man or woman. Men act masculine and women act feminine. Almost every aspect of our culture has been separated to fit into either category. Things are either masculine or feminine and the system usually discourages people from mixing gender roles. For the majority of the population, we except this system and believe that bodies can only come in two forms and these forms follow their norms. What that majority doesn’t realize is that there is the possibility to be neither male nor female or both male and female or somewhere in between. One of these categories of people that do not fall into the categories of the sex binary those who are born intersexed. Immediately after birth, we are categorized as either male or female. But there is a large percentage (1 in 2000) whose biological sex cannot be classified. These individuals are known as intersexed (Wilchins, 72). Chromosomal and hormonal irregularities can cause a new born to have atypical, and usually ambiguous, genitalia and gonads. For many years, surgical procedures have been performed soon after birth in order to build a less ambiguous looking genitalia allowing for easier classification. The doctors would usually assign a sex as quickly as possible. More often than not, the child was assigned to be a female because it is an easier procedure (Beck). Once the aesthetics of the genitalia have been normalized, the parents would then raise their child as a female. The problem with this is that often the child will have a hormonal imbalance and genitalia that does not function fully causing for much confusion as the child reaches puberty and onward. Intersexed individuals are one of the many groups that suffer through our social construct of a sex and gender binary because they are forced into living a life as a sex and gender other than their own. They are forced to live a life identifying as either male or female because a third or forth or even fifth option is not available.
  • 23 Mar 2018
    It was a holiday, The sun was shining, the day was hot, It was a rare bank holiday indeed. Harry the electrician rolled over in bed, looked at the clock, it was 9am, first day off from work for over 6 months. He gazed at the vacant side of the bed and was mildly suprised, It was empty!,, he pondered for a moment remembering the last day off he had had. A morning of rampant sex with his GF, followed by a sumptuous breakfast, more rampant sex, Lunch in the garden a crate of lager followed by more rampant sex. Truly a memorable occasion which carried on in the same theme for the rest of that day. Suddenly the bedroom door was thrown open, his GF stood there in the skimpiest of knickers, holding a breakfast tray, bucks fizz,eggs, bacon, sausage tomatoes, the full English. Pot of coffee toast and marmalade. Wow he thought to himself this is going to be another truly memorable day. His GF placed the tray down over his legs, leant forward and kissed him leading him to believe that this was going to be one hell of a day. She backed off, saying with a lavicous smile ''Eat your breakfast, your going to need your strength'' As he tucked in, she enquired as to his intentions for the day, Smirking he replied ''I'm at your disposal for the whole day Oh lovely one, use me as you will'' ''Oh great, brilliant'' she says, adding ''You can put the new light fittings up in the bathroom, lounge and hallway'' It was like being hit by a truck, Harry lay there stunned at this vicious onslaught. He started recovering, reaching out to pull at her knickers, ''No! don't even go there'' she says your not wasting another bank holiday, those lights have been hanging round since the last day you had off'' Pushing the tray to one side, breakfast now forgotten, Harry says, ''Jesus Christ, its a bank holiday, do you realy think I am going to spend the first day off I have had in six months, doing something I am forced to do every day, to pay for your sexy underwear and not reap the benefeits'' She says, ''AND'' Harry says, ''sod this, I'm off to the snooker hall, I'll have lunch with my mates down the pub'' It was a balmy night as Harry staggered up to the front door, spending some considerable time trying to align his key with the lock that kept moving in the gentle evening breeze. Finally falling through the front door, fumbling for the light switch, suddenly, the hallway was flooded with a new luminance that he had not seen before, gazing up, he noted the new light fittings. resplendant in their new envioroment. Suddendly the need to relieve himself of the beer he had poured down his neck during the last 10 hours, he headed for the bathroom, pulled the cord and was amazed at such brilliance he had not encountered there before. Contemplating his willy and trying to pee in the right place, he pondered this miracle. Yes you guessed the new light fittings had magically installed themselves. Finally in a better frame of mind, he had lurid thoughts now of a night of drunken debauchery, innocently thinking that everything was now allright with the world. On opening the bedroom door, the first thing he saw was his lovely GF lay stark naked on the bed, dozing, a sweet happy smile on her face, as he gazed around he noticed the skimpy knickers and other feminine items of apparel strewn round the bedroom, then he noticed his GF was actually tied to the bed. WOW he thought to himself, this is great. He gently kissed her lips, she moaned, he nuzzled her breast with his lips, he gently carressed her belly button with his tongue, then kissed her knees, at this moment she awoke, ''Saying if it had of been a pub you bastard you would'nt have gone past it'' recoiling in shock, Harry in a fuddled confused moment, to difuse the situation asked ''I see you put up the new lights'' she replied ''ME! put up the lights, what are you some bloody idiot, The woman next door, her bother came to fix her lights, so I asked him to pop round and do ours'' ''What says Harry, how much did that king cost?' She through clenched teeth and with a look that could melt concrete she said ''nothing, I gave him the choice, Rampant perverted, sex or a roast dinner'' Harry said ''ooh good I am a bit peckish, what did you cook, any left over''? She says ''COOK! BLOODY COOK! YOU DO NOT THINK I WAS GOING TO SPEND THE ONE DAY OFF I HAVE HAD IN OVER A YEAR DOING SOMETHING I DO EVERY BLOODY DAY, DO YOU''? 
  • 04 Dec 2017
    Oh lord, Please give me the serenity to accept that which I cannot change. The tenacity and courage to change the things I cannot accept Give me the guile and fortitude to conceal succesfully the bodies of the people I killed today for pissing me off. Keep me mindful wonderrous god,, not to tread on the toes attached to the arses i might have to kiss tomorow. Should I be tempted, remind me that a man is like mascara, first sign of emnotion and it runs. But fill me with cheer that life is not always an uphill struggle, sometimes we choose the slippery downwards slope and end up back  in the shit we were striving to get out of in the first place. Make me always aware that it take 42 muscles to frown add another 14 arguing, when realy all it needs is 4, to extend an arm, clench a fist and wack the bombastic biggots in the mouth for winding me up. And most important, please confirm that, a profile, saying, guy, looking for convincing tranny, they must be very discreet, can't accommodate, limited travel, your place, = lying married cheating toad AND remember we are all in the same boat,   we might be on different decks, but if the boat sinks, WE ALL get stuffed
  • 07 Dec 2017
    Many anomalies such as AIS  (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) can arise causing inconsistent development between the various elements by which we know ourselves to be either a man or a women. Among the larger group embracing all these varieties, there is a small subgroup of individuals who experience gender varience The personal experience of this state is sometimes known as gender dysphoria (dysphoria means ‘unhappiness’). The impact of genetic and/or hormonal factors on their fetal development appears to cause parts of the brain to develop in a way which is inconsistent with their genitalia, gonads and, usually, with their chromosomes. This may give rise to another, rather different, example of XY women, that is, individuals whose visible physical sex appears to be that of a man, but whose brain has some female characteristics and whose gender identification is, therefore, that of a woman. Or, conversely, gender variance may occur the other way round. An individual having XX chromosomes and the visible physical sex of a female, may have some male brain characteristics and therefore, identify as a man. So the issue of one's gender identification, whether as a man or as a woman, or even neither (or both which occurs only rarely), is rooted in the brain, and is regarded by the individuals concerned, and is demonstrated by research, to be largely determined pre-birth and more or less stable thereafter.   Transexualism   Thus the experience of extreme gender variance is increasingly understood in scientific and medical disciplines as having a biological origin. The current medical viewpoint, based on the most up-to-date scientific research, is that this condition, which in its extreme manifestation is known as transexualism is strongly associated with unusual neurodevelopment of the brain at the fetal stage. Small areas of the brain are known to be distinctly different between males and females in the population generally. In those experiencing severe gender variance, some of these areas have been shown to develop in opposition to other sex characteristics and are, therefore, incongruent with the visible sex appearance.   Gender Variant Children   Very rarely, children may express this incongruence between gender identity and the genital sex, but their discomfort is not always easy to identify. Symptoms of unease with the assigned gender role and the visible sex appearance are often only apparent to the individuals concerned and may not be understood even by them. If these children are unable to articulate their unease, their discomfort may grow through adolescence and into adulthood, as their families and society, in ignorance of their underlying gender identity, relentlessly reinforce gender roles in accordance with their physical appearance alone. However, some children are able to express a strong cross-sex identification, and sometimes insist on living in the opposite role. In particular, the increasing disgust with the development of secondary sex characteristics experienced by young people during puberty may be taken as a strong indication that the condition will persist into adulthood as transsexualism. Therefore, in carefully screened individuals, hormone blocking treatment may be given, before pubertal changes become apparent, so that these young people have more time to decide in which gender role they can achieve lasting personal comfort. There is no evidence that raising children in contradiction to their visible sex characteristics causes gender variance, nor can the condition be overridden by raising children in strict accordance with a gender role that is consistent with their visible sex. Those who are not treated in adolescence may continue to struggle to conform; they may embark on relationships, marriages and parenthood in an attempt to lead ‘normal’ lives by suppressing their core gender identity. Ultimately, however, they may be unable to continue with the charade of presenting themselves as something they know they are not. The artificiality of their situation drives individuals to seek treatment to minimise the mismatch between the brain and the bodily appearance. They experience an overwhelming need to be complete, whole people and to live in accordance with their internal reality. Until this is achieved, the personal discomfort is such that it leads to great unhappiness and sometimes to suicidal feelings.   I have been meaning to consolidate and review a rather juvenile thesis I wrote aged 16 after being told I might have a condition called Reifenstein's syndrome, a form of Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS) at the age of 15.   Apart from having a penchant for dressing up in my sister’s clothes from an early age, I started noticing I was developing excess breast tissue at the age of about 14 - not the sort of breast tissue of a pre pubescent youth. More a soft feminine plumpness. AIS is not necessarily cognizant with gender dysphoria. After being taken to see numerous gender counselors, psychiatrists and gene specialists, finally one knew of someone else that was a specialist in AIS and Reifensteins syndrome, who referred me to the Gene clinic at Addenbrooks hospital in Cambridge. This is a rare condition, that in most cases, general GP’s and even gender therapists are unfamiliar with. Androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), also referred to as androgen resistance syndrome, is a set of disorders of sex development caused by mutations of the gene encoding the androgen receptor The set of resulting disorders varies according to the structure and sensitivity of the abnormal receptor. Most forms of AIS involve a variable degree of undervirilization and/or infertility in XY persons of any gender. A person with complete androgen insensitivity syndrome (CAIS) has a female external appearance despite a 46XY karyotype and undescended testes, a condition once called "testicular feminization" a phrase now considered both derogatory and inaccurate. Since 1990, major scientific advances have greatly expanded medical understanding and management of the molecular mechanisms of the clinical features of AIS. Importantly, advocacy groups for this and other intersex conditions have increased public awareness and spurred acceptance and understanding of the variable nature of gender identity. The value of accurate and scientifically detailed information for patients is now emphasized, with physicians no longer automatically recommending traditional surgical corrections, with elective options now viewed as a possible but no longer necessary intervention for ambiguous conditions. The incidence of complete AIS is about in 1 in 20,000. The incidence of lesser degrees of androgen resistance is unknown. It's been suggested by various authorities that it could be either more common or less common than complete AIS. Evidence suggests many cases of unexplained male infertility may be due to a mild degree of androgen resistance. Because the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome gives rise to misleading between the genetic and the phenotypic gender, the convention is to designate a 46,XX individual as a genotypic female, and an 46,XY as a genotypic male. According to this convention, a person with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is a phenotypic female with a chromosomal genotype The Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome has been linked to mutations in AR, the gene for the human Androgen Receptor, located at Xq11-12 (i.e. on the X chromosome). Thus, it is an X-linked recessive trait, causing minimal or no effects in 46,XX people. Most individuals born with AIS have inherited their single X chromosome with its defective gene from their mother and may have siblings with the same disorder. Generally, inherited mutations effect siblings similarly, though different syndromes may occasionally manifest from the same mutation (carrier testing is now available for relatives at risk when a diagnosis of AIS is made in a family member). Over 100 AR mutations causing various forms of AIS have been recorded. The milder forms of AIS (4 and 5 in the list below) are caused by a simple missense mutation with a single codon/single amino acid difference, while complete and almost complete forms result from mutations that have a greater effect on the shape and structure of the protein. About one third of cases of AIS are new mutations rather than familial. A single case of CAIS attributed to an abnormality of the AF-1 coactivator (rather than AR itself) has been reported. Understanding the effects of androgen insensitivity begins with an understanding of the normal effects of testosterone in male and female development. The principal mammalian androgens are testosterone and its more potent metabolite, dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The androgen receptor (AR) is a large protein of at least 910 amino acids. Each molecule consists of a portion which binds the androgen, a zinc finger portion that binds to DNA in steroid sensitive areas of nuclear chromatin, and an area that controls transcription. Testosterone diffuses from circulating blood into the cytoplasm of a target cell. Some is metabolized to estradiol, some reduced to DHT, and some remains as testosterone (T). Both T and DHT can bind and activate the androgen receptor, though DHT does so with more potent and prolonged effect. As DHT (or T) binds to the receptor, a portion of the protein is cleaved. The AR-DHT combination dimerizes by combining with a second AR-DHT, both are phosphorylated, and the entire complex moves into the cell nucleus and binds to androgen response elements on the promoter region of androgen-sensitive target genes. The transcription effect is amplified or inhibited by coactivators or corepressors. Although testosterone can be produced directly and indirectly from ovaries and adrenals later in life, the primary source of testosterone in early fetal life is the testes, and it plays a major role in human sexual differentiation. Before birth, testosterone induces the primary sex characteristics of males. At puberty, testosterone is primarily responsible for the secondary sex characteristics of males. The most common cause of AIS are point mutations in the androgen receptor gene resulting in a defective receptor protein which is unable to bind hormone or bind to DNA. Prenatal effects of testosterone in 46,XY fetusIn a normal fetus with a 46XY Because the Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome gives rise to misleading between the genetic and the phenotypic gender, the convention is to designate a 46,XX individual as a genotypic female, and an 46,XY as a genotypic male. According to this convention, a person with Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome is a phenotypic female with a chromosomal genotype of 46,XY. karyotype, the presence of the SRY gene induces testes to form on the genital ridges in the fetal abdomen a few weeks after conception. By 6 weeks of gestation, genital anatomies of XY and XX fetuses are still indistinguishable, consisting of a tiny underdeveloped button of tissue able to become a phallus, and a urogenital midline opening flanked by folds of skin able to become either labia or a scrotum. By the 7th week, fetal testes begin to produce testosterone and release it into the blood. Directly and as DHT, testosterone acts on the skin and tissues of the genital area and by 12 weeks of gestation, has produced a recognizable male, with a growing penis with a urethral opening at the tip, and a perineum fused and thinned into a scrotum, ready for the testes. Evidence suggests that this "remodeling" of the genitalia can only occur during this period of fetal life; if not complete by about 13 weeks, no amount of testosterone later will move the urethral opening or close the opening of the vagina. For the remainder of gestation, the principal known effect of testosterone and DHT is continued growth of the penis and internal wolffian derivatives (part of prostate, epididymis, seminal vesicles, and vas deferens). Early postnatal effects of testosterone in 46,XY infant’s Testosterone levels are low at birth but rise within weeks, remaining at normal male pubertal levels for about 2 months before declining to the low, barely detectable childhood levels. The biological function of this rise is unknown. Animal research suggests a contribution to brain differentiation. Pubertal effects of testosterone in 46,XY children At puberty, many of the early physical changes in both sexes are androgenic (adult-type body odor, increased oiliness of skin and hair, acne, pubic hair, axillary hair, fine upper lip and sideburn hair). As puberty progresses, later secondary sex characteristics in males are nearly entirely due to androgens (continued growth of the penis, maturation of spermatogenic tissue and fertility, beard, deeper voice, masculine jaw and musculature, body hair, heavier bones). In males, the major pubertal changes attributable to estradiol are growth acceleration, epiphyseal closure, termination of growth, and (if it occurs) gynecomastia.Variations produced by androgen insensitivity. Although many distinct mutations have been discovered, the spectrum of clinical manifestations has been divided into six phenotypes, which roughly correspond to increasing amounts of androgen effect due to increasing tissue responsiveness. It should be emphasized that some affected persons will have features that fall between the phenotypes described. 1. Complete AIS (CAIS): completely female body except no uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries; testes in the abdomen; minimal androgenic (pubic or axillary) hair at puberty. 2. Partial or incomplete AIS (PAIS): male or female body, with slightly virilized genitalia or micropenis; testes in the abdomen; sparse to normal androgenic hair; mild to partial(MAIS) 3. Reifenstein syndrome: obviously ambiguous genitalia; small testes may be in abdomen or scrotum; sparse to normal androgenic hair; gynecomastia at puberty. 4. Infertile male syndrome: normal male genitalia internally and externally; normal male body or possible female androgyny, normal virilization and androgenic hair; reduced sperm production; reduced fertility or infertility. 5. Undervirilized fertile male syndrome: male internal and external genitalia with micropenis; testes in scrotum; normal androgenic hair; sperm count and fertility normal or reduced. 6. X-linked spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy: normal or nearly normal male body and fertility; exaggerated adolescent gynecomastia; adult onset degenerative muscle disease. SYMPTOMS OF CAIS If a 46,XY fetus cannot respond to testosterone or DHT, only the non-androgenic aspects of male development begin to take place: formation of testes, production of testosterone and anti-müllerian hormone (AMH) by the testes, and suppression of müllerian ducts. The testes usually remain in the abdomen, or occasionally move into the inguinal canals but can go no further because there is no scrotum. AMH prevents the uterus and upper vagina from forming. The testes make male amounts of testosterone and DHT but no androgenic sexual differentiation occurs. Most of the prostate and other internal male genital ducts fail to form because of lack of testosterone action. A shallow vagina forms, surrounded by a normally-formed labia. Phallic tissue remains small and becomes a clitoris. At birth, a child with CAIS appears to be a typical girl, with no reason to suspect an incongruous karyotype and testosterone level, or lack of uterus. Childhood growth is normal and the karyotypic incongruity remains unsuspected unless an inguinal lump is discovered to be a testis during surgical repair of an inguinal hernia, appendectomy, or other coincidental surgery. Puberty tends to begin slightly later than the average for girls. As the hypothalamus and pituitary signal the testes to produce testosterone, amounts more often associated with boys begin to appear in the blood. Some of the testosterone is converted into estradiol, which begins to induce normal breast development. Normal reshaping of the pelvis and redistribution of body fat occurs as in other girls. Little or no pubic hair or other androgenic hair appears, sometimes a source of worry or shame. Acne is rare. As menarche typically occurs about two years after breast development begins, no one usually worries about lack of menstrual periods until a girl reaches 14 or 15 years of age. At that point, an astute physician may suspect the diagnosis just from the breast/hair discrepancy. Diagnosis of complete AIS is confirmed by discovering an adult male testosterone level, 46,XY karotype, and a shallow vagina with no cervix or uterus. Hormone measurements in pubertal girls and women with CAIS and PAIS are similar, and are characterized by total testosterone levels in the upper male rather than female range, estradiol levels mildly elevated above the female range, mildly elevated LH levels, normal FSH levels, sex hormone binding globulin levels in the female range, and possibly mild elevation of AMH. DHT levels are in the normal male range in CAIS but reportedly in the lower male range in PAIS. Interpretation of hormone levels in infancy is more complex and cannot be as easily summarized for this article. Androgen receptor testing has become available commercially but is rarely needed for diagnosis of CAIS and PAIS but more so for MAIS when ambiguity is more likely. To all intents and purposes, visibly at birth having normal genitalia I was perceived as a male. I received my test results from the Gene Clinic at Addenbrooks hospital in Cambridge 3 days after my 16th birthday, which I mentioned in my contribution to the then running article ''coming out'' in an earlier edition of the Tribune. I have recently been invited back to Addenbrooks to take part in DNA gene testing relating to my original gender dysphoria as recent studies indicate there might be links relating to what generally is considered a mental abnormality, and might in some cases actually be related to an abnormality in the make up of one’s DNA. © Cristine J Shye
Member's Blogs 526 views Sep 29, 2019

Heteronormativity is a term used in the discussion of gender and society, mostly, but not exclusively within the field of critical theory. It is used to describe, and, frequently, to criticize how many social institutions and social policies are seen to reinforce certain beliefs. These include the belief that human beings fall into two distinct and complementary categories, male and female; that sexual and marital relations are normal only when between two people of different genders; and that each gender has certain natural roles in life. Thus, physical sex, gender identity, and gender roles, should in any given person all align to either male or female norms, and heterosexuality is considered to be the only normal sexual orientation. The norms this term describes or criticizes might be overt, covert, or implied. Those who identify and criticize heteronormativity say that it distorts discourse by stigmatizing alternative concepts of both sexuality and gender, and makes certain types of self-expression more difficult.

This concept was formulated for use in the exploration and critique of the traditional norms of sex, gender identity, gender roles and sexuality, and of the social implications of those institutions. It is descriptive of a dichotomous system of categorization that directly links social behavior and self identity with one's genitalia. That is (among other) to say that, because there are strictly defined concepts of maleness and femaleness, there are similarly expected behaviors for both males and females.

Originally conceived to describe the norms against which non-heterosexuals struggle, it quickly became incorporated into both the gender and the transgender debate. It is also often used in postmodernist and feminist debates. Those who use this concept frequently point to the difficulty posed to those who hold a dichotomous view of sexuality by the presence of clear exceptions -- from freemartins in the bovine world to intersexual human beings with the sexual characteristics of both sexes. These exceptions are taken as direct evidence that neither sex nor gender are concepts that can be reduced to an either/or proposition.

In a heteronormative society, the binary choice of male and female for one's gender identity is viewed as leading to a lack of possible choice about one's gender role and sexual identity. Also, as part of the norms established by society for both genders, is the requirement that the individuals should feel and/or express desire only for partners of the opposite sex. In other critiques, such as the work of Eve Sedgwick (an American theorist in the fields of gender studies, and queer theory), this heteronormative pairing is viewed as defining sexual orientation exclusively in terms of the sex/gender of the person one chooses to have sex with, ignoring other preferences one might have about sex.

In a heteronormative society, men and women are interpreted to be natural complements, socially as well as biologically, and especially when it comes to reproduction. Woman and men are necessary for procreation, therefore male/female coupling is assumed to be the norm.

The concept of heteronormativity seeks to make visible the underlying norms or "normal" society. It questions the common and often tightly held notion that only what is statistically typical is normal and good. It embraces the notion (in the philosophy of ethics) that "is does not imply ought."

Heteronormativity and patriarchy

Heteronormativity is often strongly associated with, and sometimes even confused with patriarchy. However, a patriarchal system does not necessarily have a binary gender system, and vice versa — it merely privileges the masculine gender over all others — regardless of the number of others.

Still, heteronormativity is often seen as one of the pillars of a patriarchal society: the traditional role of men is reinforced and perpetuated through heteronormative mores, rules, and even laws that distinguish between individuals based upon their apparent sex, or based on their refusal to conform to the gender roles that are normal to their society. Consequently, feminism can be seen as concerned with fighting "heteronormativity" and the prescriptions it is seen to have for women.

Groups that challenge traditional gender structure

Critics of heteronormativity say that the existence of intersex, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered people undermines any fundamental assumption that gender is naturally dichotomous. They believe it problematizes justifications such as the appeal to natural law, or certain Christian notions of faith in God's plan or belief in the goodness of Creation.

Many supporters of heteronormativity are aware that these groups exist, and reconcile that with their beliefs by making the "is" vs. "ought" distinction. On the other hand, if what is typical is somehow related to what is good, then the fact that these groups are all numerical minorities may be significant. The issue of choice vs. biological pre-determination is also an important consideration, and supporters and critics often disagree about those facts.

Supporters of heteronormativity may thus consider members of LGBTI people abnormal, diseased, or immoral. The range of possible social responses has and does include tolerance, pity, shunning, violence, and attempts to help members of these groups become more "normal" through compassionate or even forceful means


Intersexual people have biological characteristics which are not unambigously either male or female. If such a condition is detected, intersexual people are almost always assigned a gender at birth. Surgery (usually involving modification to the genitalia) is often performed to produce an unambiguously male or female body, without the individual's consent. The child is then usually raised and enculturated as a member of the assigned gender, which may or may not match gender identity throughout life or some remaining sex characteristics (for example, genes).

Some individuals who have been subjected to these interventions have objected that had they been consulted at an age when they were able to give informed consent then they would have declined these surgical and social interventions.

Gender theorists argue that gender assignment to intersex individuals is a clear case of heteronormativity, in which a biological reality is actually denied in order to maintain a binary set of sexes and genders.

Transgendered people

* often seek gender reassignment therapy, thereby violating the assumption that only unambiguous female or male bodies exist.
* do not develop a gender identity that corresponds to their body; in fact, several never develop a gender identity that is plainly male or female.
* often do not behave according to the gender role assigned to them, even before transitioning. This is especially true for trans men, but also many trans women.
* often identify as gay or lesbian after transitioning, and are often lumped together with homosexuals relative to their birth sex, although that is almost never correct. While some trans men did identify as lesbians for a time (although this is still a minority), trans women who identify as gay men are very rare.

Some societies consider transgendered behavior a crime worthy of capital punishment, including Saudi Arabia, and many other non-western nations. In other countries, certain forms of violence against transgendered people may be tacitly endorsed when prosecutors and juries refuse to investigate, prosecute, or convict those who perform the murders and beatings. Currently, in parts of North America and Europe.  Other societies have considered transgendered behavior as an psychiatric illness serious enough to justify institutionalization.

Certain restrictions on the ability of transgendered people to obtain gender-related medical treatment has been blamed on heteronormativity. In medical communities with these restrictions, patients have the option of either suppressing transsexual behavior and conforming to the norms of their birth sex (which may be necessary to avoid social stigma or even violence), or adhering strictly to norms for their "new" sex in order to qualify for gender reassignment surgery and hormonal treatments (if any treatment is offered at all). These norms might include: dress and mannerisms, choice of occupation, choice of hobbies, and the gender of one's mate (heterosexuality required). (For example, trans women might be expected to trade a "masculine" job for a more "feminine" one - e.g. become a secretary instead of a lawyer.) Attempts to achieve and ambiguous or "alternative" gender identity would not be supported or allowed. Some medical communities, especially since the 1990s, have adopted more accommodating practices, but many have not.

Many governments and official agencies have also been criticized as having heteronormative systems that classify people into "male" and "female" genders in problematic ways. Different jurisdictions use different definitions of gender, including by genitalia, DNA, hormone levels (including some official sports bodies), or birth sex (which means one's gender cannot ever be officially changed). Sometimes gender reassignment surgery is a requirement for an official gender change, and often "male" and "female" are the only choices available, even for intersexed or transgendered people. Because most governments only allow heterosexual marriages, official gender changes can have implications for related rights and privileges, such as child custody, inheritance, and medical decision-making.



Most people have a clearly defined sex:For most, but not all people, their sex may be defined in terms of any one of the following three factors:

Their genetic or biological sex: Every cell in a person's body contains sex chromosomes that determine a person's genetic sex. In almost all cases, these are XX chromosomes for females, and XY for males.

Their gender identity: This involves their "internal sense of being either male or female."

Their physiological gender: The genitalia of the vast majority of newborns are clearly either male or female, and remain so throughout life. Their appearance determines the sex that they are assigned at birth.
The vast majority of people are cisgendered: they will mature with their biological sex, gender identity and physiological gender in harmony. For example, for a typical woman:

Each cell in a her body will contain 46 chromosomes including a pair of XX sex chromosomes -- commonly written 46,XX.
She will identify as a female. By the age of one, she might show a preference for more feminine-typical toys. By age three she will probably have a definite sense of being a boy or girl. By age five, she will "... come to believe that sex is unchanging with time. This is the point at which many people think that a child's gender identity becomes fully established and fixed. Then all the child's energy seems to focus on adopting behaviors consistent with that sex."
Her genitals and internal reproductive organs will be female.

Some people do not have a clearly defined sex:
Not every person fits neatly into the binary female/male system. There are many exceptions.

Consider what genetic or biological sex can involve:
Rarely, a newborn will have 45 chromosomes including only one X sex chromosome referred to as 45,X. Other forms of DNA are 47/XXX, 48/XXXX, 49/XXXXX, 47/XYY, 47/XXY, 48/XXXY, 49.XXXXY, or 49/XXXYY.

Some newborns have different numbers of chromosomes in different cells within their bodies. This can be caused by complications in early cell division at the pre-embryo stage. When multiple sex chromosomes appear in the same body, they are called sex-chromosome mosaics. They may have combinations of normal male and female chromosomes, typically 46,XY; 45,X; or 46,XX, within their body.

Sometimes, an ova with two nuclei will be formed in an ovary, be fertilized by two sperm, and grow into a chimera -- a person with two DNAs. One possibility is that they might have some 46,XX and some 46,XY (a normal female and normal male) chromosome configuration.

Sometimes two separate zygotes (fertilized ova) can fuse shortly after conception and develop into a single embryo with two different DNAs.

Consider gender identity:

A minority of individuals develop a sense of being of the opposite sex from their biological and physiological gender." 1 They may describe themselves as a man trapped in a woman's body, or having a man's body with a woman's brain. They experience Gender Identity Disorder, a.k.a. Gender Dysphoria.

1  Some people identify as both male and female.
2  Others identify as being of a third gender, as being "two spirited" or of having no gender at all.
3  Some will be intersexual. They will have an "anatomy or physiology which differ from cultural ideals of male and female." Some will have genitalia which are ambiguous, others with both male and female components, and still others will be missing external genitalia entirely.

Our cultures' tendency to divide people neatly into male and female suddenly looks inadequate and over simplistic.

Beliefs about sex, gender identity and gender dysphoria by transgendered persons, transsexuals, social and religious liberals, secularists, etc:
They are much more likely to accept the findings of genetics and human sexuality research and acknowledge that the binary male/female system is inadequate. They view transgendered persons who are identified as male when they are born but make the transition to female later in life -- often referred to as MTF transsexuals -- as female. Similarly they consider female to male transsexuals (FTM) who have made the transition to be male.

"The transsexual appears to be a perfectly normal male or female with normal primary and secondary sexual characteristics. ... transsexualism cannot be detected visually or by any other means. Since other people can't see anything amiss, they conclude that transsexualism is not a physical defect, but more an emotional/psychological problem. It is a common but erroneous belief that with a little self-discipline, or with counseling, a transsexual person can act normally and accept their lot in life. ..."

After decades of trying, psychiatrists have had to admit defeat in conquering this dilemma. In all the years that psychiatry has tried to 'cure' transsexualism, not one case has responded positively and permanently."

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