peterozumurray | Indy Week

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Re: “Transgenderism and transsexualism are expressions of life-loving invention

Thanks for this, Eva. My wife is an old department mate of yours from Santa Cruz, and we spent last night over dinner discussing your piece. I'm glad you and your lover found each other, and I'm sure you're right that your relationship and love are in many ways no more simple or complex than exists between any other couple (or triple, etc.). The statistical prevalence of a given intersection point along the various continua of sex, gender, sexuality, presentation, multiplicity, etc. is not going by itself to decide anything about that.

I don't know much trans theory, so I had a question about pronoun use and the apparent paucity of available linguistic categories here. I understand the offense of using "he" to refer to someone who identifies as a woman (or should that be "as a female"?), and vice versa with someone who identifies as a man (male?), and I don't want to minimize that disrespect and even injury. However, I'm also sure you're aware that there is no general consensus on whether "he" and "she" (or whatever other pronouns we coin to serve our needs here) should or do track sex, or gender, etc. Is there any sort of consensus in the trans community about how to handle these matters, particularly with people whom we can't ask about which pronoun they would prefer to be used to refer to them? In general, it seems that two pronouns are always going to be inadequate to a context whose possible permutations on sex, gender, etc. can extend deep into the double digits.

Along the same lines, you identify your relationship with your lover as heterosexual, and I think I understand what you mean, but the "heterosexual-homosexual" binary (or continuum, if you like) seems similarly fraught and inadequate, given its semantic connection with the categories of sex and/or sexuality. Or at least, I can imagine a couple, both of whom are in the same place along the sex continuum, but who are in different places along the gender continuum, describing their relationship as homosexual, but heterogendered. Do you think there is there room or need for such categories as a heterogendered but homosexual relationship, and a great many more besides?

In any case, and whatever you think about that—and I realize that these questions are not really in the wonderful spirit of your article--thanks again for sharing your life with us. And good luck!

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by peterozumurray on 06/04/2011 at 9:02 PM

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