A Quick Note on Sex & Gender

Sex and gender are not the same things. Biological sex is defined by anatomy and genetics. Gender, however, refers to the manifestation of that physiological sex. A person whose biological sex and manifested gender are congruent are termed cisgender. A person whose biological sex and manifested gender are incongruent may be (over broadly) considered transgender, but that does not necessarily mean such person intends to undergo medical sex reassignment or that such person intends to live as a different sex. More appropriately being “trans” simply means that the person transcends binary gender much in the way that D-block elements on the periodic table are called transitional elements because those elements have both metallic and nonmetallic properties. Such transmetals can appear to be metals in one context but nonmetals in another context.

Gender does influence sexuality but gender is not determinative of sexuality. In actuality, there are three components at work: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation. Continue reading “A Quick Note on Sex & Gender”

Circumcision

For many decades of the twentieth century, American physicians both recommended and presumed consent for routine infant circumcision. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics sharply revised its policy position in 1999 to hold that circumcision was strictly a cultural and/or religious consideration with no medical bias for or against. A decade later, the AAP again revised its policy position in 2012 citing two medical benefits—reduced risk of UTIs for the first year of life and reduced risk of STIs later in adulthood. (There may also be an indirect reduction in risk of penile cancer due to a reduced risk of HPV, but there is now a male HPV vaccine). However, the data only showed that the statistical benefit was greater than the statistical risk of the procedure. Therefore, infant circumcision was categorized as an acceptable medical procedure, but the data were not strong enough to medically recommend the procedure. Continue reading “Circumcision”

Corporate Retailer Gender Policies

USA Today reports that Target does not stand alone in its respect for non-cisgender persons. Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and Hudson Bay (Sacks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor) all condone customer election of the facility that matches that customer’s gender identity. Sears (as well as its Kmart subsidiary) is not as outspoken, but condemns all forms of discrimination. Read the full print article here

And there is evidence that other companies agree. CBS affiliate KTVT reports that Ross Dress-For-Less and TJX (TJ Maxx, Marshall’s) also endorse facility election based on that customer’s gender identity. The station also reports that Walmart has no specific gender policy one way or the other. Read the full story here.

A Basic Guide to Aesthetic Improvement

A man need not be “trans” or “metro” to want to present his most attractive self to the world. After all, men shave (or shape) their facial hair and style their hair in a manner that they see as enhancing their aesthetic. I do not want suggest that all men wear full-on cosmetics, but having some knowhow in a back pocket and some basic tools in a gearbag can really prove useful! After all, ho hasn’t had a important photo scheduled or a really big date planned or a really big presentation prepared only to see a giant pimple, an ingrown hair, or a boneheaded razor nick in the bathroom mirror? Continue reading “A Basic Guide to Aesthetic Improvement”

On Striving for Gender Neutrality

I once experienced a freak Saharan heatwave with highs over 40° C while studying in Madrid. It was a dry heat, though, and very different from one recent 103° F July afternoon in south Georgia. I bounced to a thrift store in search of some well-worn (breathable) medical scrubs and that’s when I saw it: the plain, charred olive A-line mini. It struck me as the ultimate heatbuster and looked so sensible and professional that it triggered a brief flashback to my days in the corporate offices of a large regional bank and I wondered, as progressive as the bank was, if I would have been permitted to elect its female dress code. On second thought, I have no desire to cross-dress, but shouldn’t gender equality give men the option to wear skirts just as it gave women the option to wear pants many decades ago? As counterintuitive as it might be, I suspect the bank would have been much more cerebral than most universities in contemplating such questions. This being a summer break, I decided to test the waters and having donned various skirts for three weeks now, I reflect upon deeply disconcerting truths. Continue reading “On Striving for Gender Neutrality”