Thursday, October 19, 2017

CA Recognizes Third "Gender"

Male and female are sexes, not genders.
"Non-binary" is neither a sex nor a gender..
To say that you have three options, (a) male, (b) female, and (c) "non-binary" is rather like saying that you have three options: (a) under 6' tall, (b) over 6' tall, and (c) height not divided into two categories.


Blogger Pete Mack said...

I have to disagree with you on this. Many cultures over the years have recognized third genders of any number of types. And intersex birth (let alone things like XXY chromosomes) give it some scientific force--though ethnology alone is enough evidence for me. You're really barking up the wrong tree when you complain about "recognition of a third gender."
When it impinges on the rights of others, or when others feel they can force their views on me, then I care. But for 'recognition' of something with plenty of ethnological backing, I suspect Cali is threading the needle right this time. (The previous time, when they violated any reasonable notion of free speech, they did not. And Governor Moonbeam rightly vetoed it.)

11:34 PM  
Blogger Aa said...

There are actually three sexes. Male, female and intersex (Neither male nor female). You posted a link at one point to a court case for an intersex individual.

8:16 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

*Intersexed* probably isn't best thought of as a third sex, but as a borderline case of male and female--but anyway, nothing I wrote is incompatible with saying that it's a third sex. In fact, it's why I made (a) *under* 6' tall and (b) *over* 6' tall,to leave a borderline case. But the third category isn't *height not divided into two categories*--it's *6' tall*. Intersexed is not "non-binary"--it's a borderline case or a neither-a-nor-b case...which is different than *height not divided into two categories*.

10:17 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...

Gender--in the actual sense of *femininity* and *masculinity* is very much a matter of degree. There can be three genders if you count *androgynous*...and gender might not be so bimodal as to make that silly. But I'd have to see the distributions. Most of the ones made up on Tumblr aren't genders, or don't make any sense, but, at any rate, "non-binary" isn't one. Nothing I wrote entailed that there are two and only two (though that's most likely). My points are really (i) no alternative to M and F is a gender, and (ii) "non-binary" is neither a sex nor a gender.

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Old Gringo said...

I've been puzzled by your views on these issues for some time, but I think this makes sense. Giving people an option to identify along a range of (to some degree) culturally manufactured gender identifications seems fine, and most of us fall somewhere along a fluid range at different points throughout life. But that is not sex. Important distinction that seems hopelessly muddled in the trans debates.

11:37 AM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


Yeah, absolutely. It's the misuse of 'gender' that's basically at the root of much of this.

Nobody cares about your damn *gender* for the purposes of public documents. They care about your sex. The options are *male*, *female* and *intersex(ed)*. There will be almost none of the third category...but it should be an option because some people simply don't fit into the two ordinary categories. (Even then we should expect a very few cases that don't exactly fit...e.g. not quite male and not quite not-male...that's how nature works...

All the ridiculous "gender" stuff is completely irrelevant to anything that anyone outside of the depths of Tumblr should give a rat's ass about. Nobody cares, on important documents, whether you are more masculine or more feminine or androgynous....or not exactly any of those things....or any of the pseudo "genders" that are being frantically made up by the left right now.

Ten years ago, feminists--rightly, IMO--insisted on getting the sex-gender distinction right. Now they basically demand that we muddle it up. Some of this is because these issues do not tend to attract clear thinkers...but some of it's tactical / political / rhetorical: it's a way to advance "trans" ideology, but, for example, pretending that you become a woman by being more feminine. It's absolutely crucial to confuse people about sex and gender if you're going to try to pull *that* nonsense off.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Lorenzo said...

If you think the bodies are sexed (clearly true) and psyches are sexed (a bit murkier, but broadly true) then it is easy to get more than two genders.

Male (male in body and psyche)
Female (female in body and psyche)
Third (body and psyche don't match).

Plenty of societies have worked on that basis.

You can even work on a simple matrix and get four genders (male-male, female-female, male-female, female-male). But the third gender (really "other") is more common.

And some societies, without going all the way to third gender, have operated on sub-genders (e.g. males held to belong to a separate category because, hey, not sexually interested in girls). Western notions of sexuality are a way of modifying gender identity, after all.

Back in the C19th, there was an argument in Western circles about whether queer folk should be treated as third gender. The notion of "homosexual" won out, since it seemed more scientific and less of a shift of basic presumptions.

6:03 PM  
Blogger Lorenzo said...

Have extended my comment into a blog post.

7:46 PM  
Blogger Winston Smith said...


I'm totally opposed to your kind of view, but you've got interesting ideas in there...some of your points really made me wonder whether I might not have to rethink some stuff...I still think you're wrong, because I don't think that *male* is a gender (*masculine*'s the relevant gender...) but still...stuff I've got to think more about...

8:56 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home