You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘gender’ tag.

For me – and, I imagine, a lot of other trans women out there – the recent flurry of media attention around the appearance of Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair has given rise to a whole complicated array of feelings, not the least of which may be longing for a time when everybody will finally stop talking about Caitlyn Jenner.

Partially, this is due to the way in which the discussion of Jenner’s transition in the media serves as a constant reminder of the painful dilemma which every trans woman with the audacity to want to live and be recognized as the gender she feels herself to be faces every day of her life: If she doesn’t “pass” – which is to say, essentially, if she doesn’t manage to live up to this society’s incredibly narrow and unforgiving standards of female attractiveness and feminine behavior enough to fly under the radar of those who would evaluate and pass judgment upon her femininity – then she is in constant danger of rejection, public scorn and even physical violence every time she walks out her front door. On the other hand, if she dresses or behaves in a way that comes across as too “stereotypically feminine,” or if she appears to take pleasure in any aspect of looking, acting or dressing in a feminine manner, then she opens herself to rejection and ridicule of another kind, this often coming from self-described feminists who, frankly, ought to know better.

If this dilemma sounds awfully familiar to cisgender women who at some point in their lives have had to deal with similar issues around body image and the toxic double standards of a society in which it is often just as unacceptable for women to be “too feminine” as it is for them to be “not feminine enough,” then it ought to give one pause, given that one of the many accusations which trans women find ourselves saddled with on a regular basis is precisely that we will never “count” as “real women” because we lack the “experiences” and “socialization” which constitute authentic female identity. Leaving aside the sheer blindness to cultural, racial, medical, economic and class differences inherent in the claim that that there is one unifying set of experiences which unambiguously establish one’s status as a woman, it is a source of constant amazement to me how comfortable certain people feel in making claims about the lived experience of others – especially when these claims are leveled for the purpose of invalidating the identities of an already marginalized group of people.

Frankly, I am tired of the debate about how to define womanhood – the standards in this debate are simply too prone to shift at a moment’s notice in any way necessary to support the preconceived notions of those for whom the invalidity of my identity is a foregone conclusion. Is it any wonder that trans people, faced with the constant, overwhelming pressure to justify themselves to a world which isn’t willing to accept them on any account, sometimes have recourse to simplistic explanations involving the brain or the notion of having been “born in the wrong body?”

The simple truth of the matter is that gender identity is an incredibly complicated phenomenon whose origins and nature have never been satisfactorily explained. Is gender physical? Neuro-chemical? Psychological? Cultural? Legal? Does it have its origins in our anatomy or our life experiences or in some mysterious realm of the spirit? If we are being truly honest with ourselves, the answer to all of these questions is an unqualified “maybe.” We simply don’t have the language to deal with something as complicated as identity with any degree of comprehensiveness. About the only concept that truly does it justice to gender identity is one which has sadly fallen out of favor in our hyper-materialist, over-medicalized society: the soul. It used to be that “a soul” was synonymous with “a person,” and the nature of a person’s soul was a deep, inner mystery shared between that person and the divine source from which it flowed. To presume to know another person’s soul required an incredible amount of time, patience and intimate closeness. In our efforts to reduce everything in the world to that which it is possible to analyze and critique in the space of an online journal article, I can’t help but feel that we’ve lost something along the way, something that would be tremendously useful in understanding gender.

In the absence of a clear understanding of everything that goes into making us who we are, all that I and people like me can do in the face of an unsympathetic world is to assert our experience – not some abstract, essentialist version of a unifying “male” or “female” experience, but the messy, concrete, lived experience of real people who know who we are, even if we can’t always show you the math of that equation in a way that would make sense to anyone but ourselves. And really, isn’t this inability to fully articulate the mystery of ourselves just another example of an experience with which all of us, no matter what our identity, can identify?

When the soul intuits that something is beneficial and healthful to the body, its thoughts are drawn to it, and it longs for it so as to remain free of bodily ills and afflictions.

Quote from Rabbi Bachya ibn Paquda’s “Duties of the Heart” (חובות הלבבות), a medieval work of musar we’ve been reading excerpts of in Contemplative Readings. When talking about the love of God, Rabbi Bachya makes an interesting point: The body, as he sees it, is given to the soul as a kind of test, and it is the soul’s responsibility to care for the body and see to its welfare. While the soul has its own natural desires and inclinations, it must also see to the needs of the body that has been delivered into its care.

What this got me thinking of was a certain narrative about trans people I’m sure we’re all familiar with by now–the one that goes, “So-and-so is a woman trapped in a man’s body,” or vice-versa. The inherent dualism of this way of thinking is pretty obvious, as it seems to assume that a person (a soul?) is ontologically separate from the body they inhabit.  Furthermore, it treats the body as basically inert, a shell or a tool which we are judging to be more or less compliant with the soul’s wishes and sense of self, with little inherent value of its own.

But what if we, like Rabbi Bachya, thought of the body as a living, suffering thing in its own right, with its own needs and troubles which the soul is obligated to redress? From this point of view, it becomes possible to look at transition (hormones, surgery, or what have you) not as the soul bullying the body into complying despite its resistance, but as the soul doing its best to care for the needs of a body that is crying out desperately to be other than what it is.

The way I experience it, being trans is not fundamentally a sickness of the soul. Insofar as I believe myself to have a soul, I understand that inner essence to be essentially sexless and probably genderless as well. If we didn’t have bodies, we wouldn’t ever have to worry about gender. The body, however, has a sex and serves as a locus for gender, and it is the body as well that suffers from the unpleasant feeling of being off-kilter, unbalanced and ill-fitting. Unlike a number of people in my life who appear to understand my transition as something unnatural I am doing to my body, I understand myself to be responding to my body’s need to feel more natural, more comfortable “in its skin.” This is what is at stake over the attempts in some quarters to redefine being transgender from a mental condition to a medical condition, and I support this move because it seems to make more sense from the standpoint of many of us who have to live with this on a daily basis.

Introduction:

יהושע בן פרחיה אומר עשה לך רב וקנה לך חבר והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות.

–Joshua ben Prachya said: “Make a teacher for yourself, get yourself a companion, and judge every human being on the side of merit.” (Mishna Avot, 1:6)

כל המלמד בן חברו תורה מעלה עליו הכתוב כאילו ילדו.

–One who teaches another’s child Torah is regarded by the tradition as one who gave birth to the child. (bSanhedrin 198b)

It has been taught: R. Akiba said: Once I went in after R. Joshua to a privy, and I learnt from him three things. I learnt that one does not sit east and west but north and south; I learnt that one evacuates not standing but sitting; and I learnt that it is proper to wipe with the left hand and not with the right. Said Ben Azzai to him: Did you dare to take such liberties with your master? He replied: It was a matter of Torah, and I required to learn. It has been taught: Ben ‘Azzai said: Once I went in after R. Akiba to a privy, and I learnt from him three things. I learnt that one does not evacuate east and west but north and south. I also learnt that one evacuates sitting and not standing. I also learnt it is proper to wipe with the left hand and not with the right. Said R. Judah to him: Did you dare to take such liberties with your master? — He replied: It was a matter of Torah, and I required to learn. R. Kahana once went in and hid under Rab’s bed. He heard him chatting [with his wife] and joking and doing what he required. He said to him: One would think that Abba’s mouth had never sipped the dish before! He said to him: Kahana, are you here? Go out, because it is rude. He replied: It is a matter of Torah, and I require to learn. (bBer 62a)

The ritual of עשיית רב acknowledges that it is not solely in the study of Judaism’s sacred literature that a person might be in need of a Rav. Especially when we are undergoing radical changes in our lives we often find ourselves with questions about matters both simple and profound that we would ordinarily be too embarrassed or self-conscious to ask. Most people implicitly understand this fact about adolescents, and there are many people who naturally find themselves stepping forward to occupy the place of mentor in a young person’s life, but it is easy to forget that adults too go through such formative periods of change, and are sometimes in need of someone to whom they can say, “It is a matter of Torah, and I require to learn.”

This is a ritual for individuals going through an intensely emotional transitional experience in their lives, one that will profoundly transform their sense of identity and the way they relate to others. Its inspiration comes from careful consideration of my own experiences going through gender transition. It seems that a lot of our life cycle rituals are too focused on marking a transition as a point in time and not focused enough on ensuring that the individual undergoing transition has access to the kind of support structure they need to grow into the new roles they are undertaking in life. This ritual therefore serves as a way for a person going through such a process to designate a mentor or mentors to help guide them through their transition, watch out for them, and help them learn some of what they need to know to comfortably grow into their new identity.

Preparation:

Before the ritual the person for whom the ritual is being performed (henceforward “the subject’ or “talmid”) should work with their rabbi  or spiritual advisor to find a suitable mentor or mentors willing to help them through their time of transition. Mentors should a.) have life experience appropriate to advising their talmid on matters relevant to their transition, b.) be generally mature and emotionally stable c.) have a personal connection with the talmid and a willingness to be available as a support and a mentor.

Setting:

The first part of the ritual should take place someplace relatively private. A rabbi’s study or a synagogue meeting room is ideal. The rabbi should welcome the talmid and the mentor and invite them to sit down. Everyone should take some time to talk about the nature of the changes in the talmid’s life, what she is excited about and what she is anxious about, and what she hopes to learn from the mentor. When everyone is comfortable, the rabbi opens as follows:

Rabbi:
In Pirkei Avot, it is written: עשה לך רב וקנה לך חבר והוי דן את כל האדם לכף זכות. “Make a teacher for yourself, get yourself a companion, and judge every human being on the side of merit.” (Talmid), as you enter into a new period in your life, with new challenges to be met and roles to be filled, you have chosen to heed the advice of Joshua ben Prachya by seeking out (Mentor) as a mentor, to learn from her Torah and benefit from her experience. In the traditions of our people, the relationship between teacher and student is very deep and significant. In the Talmud is recorded a saying that one who teaches another’s child Torah is regarded by the tradition as one who gave birth to the child. (Mentor), by entering into this relationship you are agreeing to help (Talmid) know what she needs to know in order to fulfil her new role in life, to bring her into the community of her peers, to support her as she steps forward to meet the challenges of her developing identity and to respect the boundaries between you. Do you understand? [Space for affirmation] (Talmid), by entering into this relationship you are agreeing to receive instruction from (Mentor), to show kavod for her Torah, to benefit from her experience and to respect the boundaries between you. Do you understand? [Space for affirmation]

If either of you feel the need to define any further aspects of this relationship in order to ensure the mutual trust and security required for learning, now is the time to discuss them.

[Space for discussion]

As for myself, I stand in witness of this relationship of teacher and student, and promise to support you both in your new roles to the best of my ability. I now invite you each to affirm your new relationship to one another in language drawn from our tradition:

Mentor:

כי לקח טוב נתתי לכם, תורתי אל-תעזבו

“For I give you good instruction–do not forsake my teaching.” (Prov. 4:2)

Talmid:

תורה היא וללמוד אני צריך / צריכה

“This is Torah, and I must learn.” (bBer 62a)

The second (optional) part of the ritual would involve the talmid receiving an aliyah in order to publicly affirm the new role she is stepping into, ideally with the mentor present to introduce the talmid to the congregation. This part of the ritual should of course be omitted in the event that the transition in question is of a personal nature or would cause undue embarrassment.

Finally, some thought ought to be given to marking an end to the mentor/talmid relationship. At some point in every transition the most intense period has passed and the individual has more or less adjusted to their new place in life and their community. The talmid and mentor should seriously consider marking this occasion with a siyyum of some kind, for example by jointly sponsoring a kiddush to honor the distance the talmid has come in their personal development.

Website taiphimsexy.com cung cấp các phim sex y nhiều thể loại, các phim mới cập nhật dành cho điện thoại. Các bạn có thể tai phim sex y về điện thoại một cách dễ dàng nhất để xem và chia sẽ cho bạn bè. Chúng tôi cung cấp mọi định dạng phim sex y cho điện thoại yếu như 3gp đến mp4, wmv cho những điện thoại có hỗ trợ để nhằm phục vụ tốt cho nhu cầu xem phim sex y của bạn. Phim sex y nhiều thể loại, bạn còn có thể xem phim sex y online trên điện thoại mà không cần tải về. Chúc các bạn tìm được những gì mình cần tại taiphimsexy.com và tai phim sex y về điện thoại thành công nhé các bạn. Lưu ý: để xem phim sex y online hoặc tai phim sex y một cách tốt nhất, bạn nên sữ dụng máy điện thoại để truy cập trực tiếp vào website để được hỗ trợ đầy đủ dịch vụ của chúng tôi. Khi có vấn đề như tải phim thất bại, xem phim không thành công, chúng tôi sẽ tự động tải một file về điện thoại các bạn để xem tại điện thoại không cần truy cập vào website. tai phim sex

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 774 other followers