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 Transgendered, Two genders, three?
Vagrant Dreamer
post Jul 16 2008, 07:22 PM
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Practicus
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So, recently my friend Allison was watching this documentary which was the Vagina Monologues, performed by transgendered women. While it was apparently an amazing performance, she was a little offended. When we discussed the performance, I started to understand why, and I wondered what the people here think about the transgender point of view, and the idea of a third gender. I'm starting this discussion here because first of all, I imagine my own viewpoint is maybe a little offensive, although I don't have a problem with trangendered individuals, but second of all, it doesn't really fit anywhere else.

In addition to the subject i'm about to raise, and keeping with the obvious theme of the forums, I'm curious about what people think about the third gender - if we can or should term it this way - in terms of spiritual and mystical significance. I have thoughts on this, and you all know you'll hear them.

So, for those of you not familiar, the Vagina Monologues are about women accepting themselves - as a gender, and sexually; coming to terms with the female condition, their anatomy, themselves as the counterpart to the male gender, etc. Part of the reason my friend was a little offended seeing these transgendered women was for that very reason - while a transgendered woman (specifically) may have to learn to come to terms with themselves as a third gender, or understand why they feel the need to change gender (viewpoints vary), they don't realistically understand the experience of accepting themselves as women. They never experience the first period, the fear and anxiety that almost always comes with that in our society (western society particularly, it's not like this in all cultures), accepting or rising above their social status due to their gender, and all of the other mysterious things that go with being a woman (mysterious to me, because I'm a man.)

Now, I can sympathize with this a little bit. I've only known a couple of transgendered individuals and while I'm happy to give them whatever pronoun they want, the fact remains that they are in between genders, and this is where I found the greatest contradiction in the performance: the Vagina Monologues are about women accepting their gender and it's attendant advantages and difficulties. This play is performed here by a group of people who didn't accept their gender.

Now, in some cultures a third gender is recognized, and in other cultures this condition is simply overlooked - Thai culture, for instance, never bats an eyelash at a transgendered woman; if a man wants to live as a woman, it's just accepted, although I'm not entirely sure it goes the other way for transgendered men. In parts of india, a third gender is recognized - if I have my information correct - which is neither male nor female, because they aren't either one. In the west, though, the concept of a third gender is pretty new, and most transgendered individuals seem to prefer considering themselves part of their new gender. Personally, I don't think this is right. Like my friend, I feel this cheapens the experience of being one gender or the other. For a third-gender individual to say that they understand, experientially, or to celebrate themselves as their new gender, feels somewhat wrong, even offensive, to me as well. Not only that, but I believe it cheapens the experience of being third-gender as well.

On the spiritual side, I have wondered what the significance of a third gender is. The obvious significance is in the hermaphrodite, the union of male and female into one new being. However, I'm not sure that this divine union can be applied here, and I'll tell you why.

The classical concept of uniting the feminine with the masculine has always been, to me, about balance, integration, and acceptance of both the masculine and feminine parts, reconciled into one. Obvious parallels here are the joining of light to dark, magnetic to electric, yin to yang, etc. - the list literally includes everything in existence on one side or the other of the spectrum. However, what I see in a transgendered individual - from my obviously limited external viewpoint - is someone who has given up or rejected one part of themselves to take on another form. Now, this is quite general, and I'm sure there are exceptions in the form of individuals who live as women/men while maintaining their natural anatomy. But even then, it still seems like substitution.

While I realize it's not the same, having accepted myself as a gay man in a society which was a lot less accepting just ten years ago than it sometimes is today - much less fifty years ago - I understand the need to express the person one feels they truly are, and the need to be accepted as that 'new' person without conditions. However, I also understand having to learn to accept oneself in the face of a world that doesn't accept you as you are, and having learned since childhood only to accept oneself on a conditional basis. It's probably somewhat hypocritical I realize, but I wonder sometimes if the inability to accept one's gender - especially when so many women go through that very thing the world over - and the need to change it is in a way, karmically speaking, a failure. Were you born a man to learn to accept the masculine part of your being, or were you born a man to learn how to create perhaps the greatest change in yourself that you can? It seems to me that, like it or not, you will have to face the challenges of your gender regardless whether you accept yourself as your initial gender or not, and that as there is a reason for everything in existence, it was no accident that you were born the gender you are. While this might seem like a conservative viewpoint, and maybe it is, the question is, does that reason include the journey into the third gender?

If there's anyone on the forum who is transgendered, I'd be most interested to hear from you regarding all of these points and questions. I think the greatest mistake you can make, perhaps, is to assume you can know the experience of another person, so while I have opinions, ultimately I know there is a gap in my experience that I cannot ever really cross, and that leaves a lot of questions. Failing that, what does everyone else here think of the subject?

peace
V

This post has been edited by Vagrant Dreamer: Jul 16 2008, 07:22 PM


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Krell
post Jul 17 2008, 07:58 AM
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Wow there is a lot here where to start.

First I guess I should explain where I am coming from:

I haven't given this subject much thought. I have limited experience with transgendered people. I have met people going through sex changes, there was a kid next door, getting hormone shots. It was too strange for me. So I never gave it much thought.

Some random thoughts:

The Karmic implications:
I would think that your first inclination would be correct. You are born one gender or both physically. It would seem you would need to live your life as what ever you were born. However, thinking about it whatever we do sends us off on a stream of karma, that is how we learn. Part of you knows what you are doing. So this brings up another question can you actually screw up karma? The universe, absolute, what ever, doesn't care, you are an information gathering tool. I do believe you can make it harder on yourself. Either way there is learning going on.

In some cultures when the population started to out grow the availability of food the people of child bearing age had sex with the same sex so no more would be borne for a while. Maybe that is an example of a balanced culture.

Another point in my experience although we see spirits as male and female, it is the way our minds convey them to us. It is a key to the energy they represent. I think they are neither. At least there seem to be a lot that are sexless.

It think ones karma would depend one where you wound up. In a country like Thai Land or Nazi Germany. Being born in the US is not the best for people with gender issues, there are a lot of people here that would care if all were rounded up and done away with. The Karma with being born gay in the US would depend where you lived. It would be very different in the Panhandle of FL then NYC.

I also believe that one is in the right place at the right time, it is up to us to make the choices.

That is my thoughts so far. Not much there, I guess. I have NO Idea what I would do in that situation. I don't believe in changing the physical body, not even piercing and tattoos. I have no Idea what I would do.

Krell

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Acid09
post Jul 23 2008, 10:16 PM
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Actually just in the news from not but a week ago a man was murdered locally to me. He was brutally beaten to death and today there was a news article about how he was really a transexual.

Transgenderedism in the US is something that is classed as a mental disorder. Technically the name under the DSM-IV is Gender Identity Disorder. Personally while I have wondered if in a past life I was female or that in this life I should have been female, thats about as much as I can relate to transgenderedism. I just do not get it beyond that. I can understand it, but I can't relate to it. People with this disorder (if you choose to see it as such) are obsessed with being the opposite sex. They cannot live their lives and be happy the way they are without being the opposite sex. They then resort to creating the illusion they are the opposite sex and live a life of deception. Partially society is to blame. If society wasn't hung up about transexuals, they wouldn't need to hide the fact that they aren't who they say they are. Even then most true transgendered individuals want to be seen as the opposite sex. So even if society was not hung up about this, many would still choose to not reveal their true gender.

Personally, while I can think there are some serious health and psychological issues in many transgenders, I don't think its morally wrong. Nor do I feel it fair for society to brand them outcasts for their life style. The real controversy that comes to mind is single sex bathrooms, prisons, private schools and dorms (that are all girls or all boys). Is it fair for a person who is under the legal deffinition a male or female to be allowed to go places reserved for the other sex? Some individuals have deeply routed issues with sexuality and arousal. By allowing transgenders to go places reserved for one sex, there is the potential that someone could be harmed or placed in a difficult situation. Then the opposite is also true - if one is transgendered is fair to place them in a prison where they will be victimized? Protective custody may seem like an option, but its no garuntee. Thus by choosing to live that life style, many put themselves in danger. I believe many do it for the attention. They may truely believe they are the opposite sex, but they also get to the play the role of the victim and feed off the attention they get. You might think negative attention would not be desirable when in fact many people with even mild-mental problems thrive off negative attention.

I don't know I could probably rant for another five paragraphs but I'll stop for now. I will end my post with that I know there are nations that accept transgenderism. I don't know if the island is Sumatra or somewhere there about but I watched this episode of taboo on NGC and apperantly there transgenders are revered and highly regarded - albeit they seem more like circus clowns, ihmo, but they get better treatment none the less.


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Krell
post Jul 24 2008, 08:12 AM
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I suppose I pretty much feel the same way about the subject as you do. In my mind all that Acid09 is talking about is Karmic. I was discussing this with 2 friends who are both Gay. We have also studied together and one studied for a short time under one of my teachers. They were under the same impression as I am... it is Karmic and one should work with what you are given, no alterations.

If one is born in a country that is not tolerant such as the US, I can not see that you would be unaware of the fact. If you go out an flaunt the very thing that is not tolerated and wind up with a brick up side your head, I believe this could be classified as instant karma. I you went walking down Colfax (sp) making eyes at the nice young cow boys and a month later one of them recognizes you in an ally then it seem it is accrued Karma. I believe You pick you parents and your country and your life, to learn, getting a brick up side you head is a great lesson survived or not.

Here's the problem:
It IS now possible to be surgical altered, what does one do. My friends are under the impression that you do not alter what you were born with. We are the way we are to learn certain things. The part that causes some confusion in my mind is that the tools are available to make changes, we may utilize all the tools available to us in our life. So I think I just talked myself into a circle here.

I am inclined to go with my friends. No alterations to what you are given, learn to deal with it within the society you were born. You could also move it you life went in that direction. On the other hand, suppose you were a Nazi SS Coronal that tortured and gassed gays, would it not be fitting to be born in the US or worse Mexico, a woman in a mans body?

V this is a tough one, something I have not put too much thought into, it is making my brain itch. I guess I am going to have to go back and look over what I was taught about Karma. I was hoping there would be more people commenting, the varied prespectives might help.

Krell

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Goibniu
post Jul 25 2008, 05:50 PM
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My son is pretty obviously gay, although he hasn't come out to me about it. But it is possible that he has some form of sexual identity issues on top of that. He sometimes talks about intersexual or transgender issues. He's very into being politically active and does volunteer work with various social groups. I'm supportive of whatever he is going through, but he isn't ready to open up to me. He knows that I'm gay friendly and such, but likely he isn't open about it because of the negative behaviour of other family members. His mom's side of the family are Chinese and Chinese are generally not very accepting about alternative sexuality.

As far as surgical alterations, I'm probably biased against it in his case. I'm fairly accepting about the whole thing, but still have to work through my own issues at times.


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Vagrant Dreamer
post Jul 25 2008, 09:14 PM
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I have to agree that there is no messing up your karma; from the higher perspective even our thoughts and emotions are governed by Karma, at least according to my experience with a handful of particular issues I have had to deal with over time. It may not be all experiences are governed this way, of course, perhaps only the particular ones that need some kind of balancing in our spiritual consciousness.

One thought I had today, while, as it happens, watching a documentary about people who want to be amputees - in my opinion, a very similar 'disorder' - is that perhaps the issue hinges specifically on some past life issue. Karma, but specifically a matter of gender, or in other cases apparently limbs. I wonder if there was a more widespread understanding of past life experiences, if this would be a more 'treatable' condition. I have had the opportunity to ask just one male-female transgendered individual who would not change herself if she knew that she could. I can relate to that to some degree - I could become straight if I really wanted to, but the fact is that I prefer to be gay; while I don't believe it was a choice for me, just how I am, at least originally, as an adult and perhaps due to the control I have consciously developed over my psyche, I have the flexibility and freedom now to acknowledge myself beyond the image I present to the world and myself, and make whatever changes I want to. I have wondered if Transgendered people come to the same point in their lives, where they simply make the choice to either accept themselves as they are or follow their need through.

It's an intense curiosity I have on that point, because it's so foreign. Just how deep does the need go? Is it purely psychological or is there more to it than that? Is it akin to any other experience more common to the general populace? My own curiosity may arise largely from just how foreign it is.

One thing I heard recently was a comment on the difference between Gender and Sex, that Sex is a physical configuration while gender was a psychological, social matter. Again, I can sympathize to some degree, based on the way at least our western society treats gender. It makes me wonder, though, how much of it is physical, the desire to be a different sex, and how much is more psycho-social, the desire to be treated as the opposite gender. Apparently it's a kind of sliding scale, as many transexual individuals do not opt, or want, to become the opposite sex, but simply to live as the opposite gender; vs. individuals who want to actually physically be the opposite sex.

IN any case, regarding the karmic aspects of the issue, while there is no single cause for each of the issues that are universal to human experience - the pendulum of karma does not swing on a 2-d line - what might be some particular causes?

I have not spent as much time meditating on this as I feel is necessary. However, through contemplation, intuitive or not, it seems that it might have something to do with the contrast between how one is treated as, for instance, a female in a past life, vs. a male in the current life. That the unconscious well of raw experiential substrate from our past lives gives some of these people an instinct regarding how they were treated as the opposite sex in a temporal-previous incarnation (distinguishing from a more non-linear universal perspective on reincarnation) such that their experiences perhaps at an early age, from the expectations and social pressures regarding their original gender in this life, create an anxiety that manifests as the desire to return to that former gender. While it seems somewhat convoluted when i say it like that, the thoughtforms themselves fit together in a way that seemed to be leading to something deeper.

Hm.

peace


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Krell
post Jul 26 2008, 07:16 AM
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First a bit about Karma, a subject I feel I know a bit more about, more comfortable with also.
I do believe that you can fail to learn, starting a down ward slid, once the individual gets too far the wrong direction is gets increasingly difficult to turn around, eventually resulting in the unit being dispersed. What there is of the individual is dissolved, there is nothing left, the energy is recycled. I also have come to believe that the universe does some spring cleaning, and we are witnessing the beginning of that cleaning at this time. It starts on the astral plane, once that is cleaned up our turn. Well enough of that.

Past live influence I would guess is major in these cases. I believe I do know part of my last life, I have had even clothing, and a ring, from that life, or I believe in coincidences... NOT!

It still remains what we do with that carry over that counts. Do we accept our situation or try to change it? BTW I did not know their were people that wanted to cut limbs off. I can't get my head around that one but I have a difficult time with piercing and tattoos.

I personally don't care much which gender I have sex with. V this was also not a choice. I have also never put that in writing. I treat the whole thing as recreation, and nothing more, a bit more fun then say yoga. Not an attitude most women seem to enjoy. I also go after it with about as much enthusiasm as I do the morning exercises I've been doing for 35 yrs.

Goibniu if it helps any I also have never discussed this with my parents. I believe they both knew. Dad who is long gone I often wonder if he go nothingness when he died, it is what he believed), Mom is certainly aware, that I don't seem to care and not a word has ever been said. Sex was never discussed with our parents and rarely between us 4 kids. So if he is Ok with himself then I see nothing unusual.

V this comes to mind when I read:
It's an intense curiosity I have on that point, because it's so foreign. Just how deep does the need go? Is it purely psychological or is there more to it than that? Is it akin to any other experience more common to the general populace? My own curiosity may arise largely from just how foreign it is.

May I suggest that for you it is deeper than that. Instead of foreign it may be something deeper, your higher self wants you to look at. Normally I probably would not have even looked at this topic, but here I am. 3 of the 4 have issues interestingly none seem too disturbed by the subject. To add to the whole thing for me, I am reading Initiation into Hermetrics by FB, I just read the part Magic Psychic Training (1). These beginning exercises are very similar to what we did in the 4th was studies.

I think you hit at least part of the answer here. There is a difference between Need and Want. Not all wants are needs and not all needs are wanted. This is something that can be extremely difficult to discern for ourselves. It is an issue that I have been working on and still am. It is also at least a big Issue in this country and for Humans in general.

Although every human should work on this issue it is, in my opinion more important for us as people supposedly more aware and working on ourselves. By the very act of taking up this work (no matter the tradition) we weigh in a bit more in the mind of the whole.

I totally lost my original train of thought before I started typing. It was something about the psyco/physical stuff. Oh well probably was not important.

Krell

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Laguz
post Feb 18 2015, 12:18 AM
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Queer man and psychology/anthropology double major who focuses on gender and sexuality here. First of all, its just transgender. Not transgenderED, its not past tense. Transgenderedism is also not an appropriate or applicable term.

The concepts that have been stated here about trans women in particular are stifling. Transgender is not a third gender, by its very definition it occurs between the binary genders. Third gender suggests that there are completely separate options for gender, transgender suggests a transition from one binary to the other. (neither are mutually exclusive)

You state that you feel offended that transgender people claim "your" gender, and it "cheapens" the experience of existing on the binary. You also state that it "cheapens" the experience of being third gender. Honestly I have no polite way of telling you that you do not get to own gender. It seems you've not only had little interaction with transpeople but have a very poor understanding of what gender is beyond biological sex.

You also claim that you think trans people have "given up" on themselves because they are trans. This is painful to even read. You are conceptualizing gender as the same as sex and I think that may be the root of this ignorance. Biological sex and gender constructs are completely separate. It also seems that you are assuming that all trans people may seek surgical means of achieving the body that reflects who they are, but not all trans people pursue or even want that. At some points you even use the word spectrum, but for some reason continue to attest that people must live on the extreme ends of the spectrum rather than anywhere across it.
*rereading your later comments you mention that someone has brought it to you and you're "sympathetic" towards the idea. You say you think that its about wanting to be treated as the opposite sex, again, I think your ethnocentrism is your downfall. The basic claim you make here is that ones gender identity is consistently based off perceptions that other people project onto them. This is typically called "gender performativity" or gender as performance, and is a sociological theory about gender as a whole. The problem with this theory and your line of thinking on the matter, is that you remove individual autonomy from the equation entirely.

Your ideas of "karmic failure" and gender sound to me nothing more than a religious and spiritual high horse and an inability to get out of your own ethnocentric world view to see who actual trans people view themselves and their life experience. Its not about "accepting their gender" they have accepted their gender, and it just so happens that their assigned gender at birth is not their actual gender identity.

I don't have the patience or time to go into detail about the other ridiculous and transphobic remarks stated by other commenters but maybe its safe to say you should pick up some books written by trans people about being transgender. If you want to talk about a particular group of people LISTEN TO THEM. Then, pick up texts on gender theory and human sexuality. I did not read a SINGLE educated comment on this thread, so before posting here go educate yourselves, as magical practitioners you should be able to do that just well enough to start off. Oh, and stop trying to use karma and past lives as your framework for analyzing another human beings existence.

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