Thursday 20 February 2020

Binning the gays

Last week was R&G week at The Institute [prev] and widely across the country. It used to be called Rag Week when [medical] students would take a week off learning the names of bone nodules and spill out on the streets for a bit of a jape joust [R]. Because they were students, some of them would get hammered and forget that they were meant to be raising money for cancer research. Over time the student body seemed to forget the charitable heart of the events and concentrate on the get hammered. I suppose rebranding it as Raise & Give week hopes to redress the imbalance. Good luck with that! But the consequence was that there were very few regular classes and several extra-curricular happenings. Truth to tell, everyone probably learns more, as well as having a better time, when the Syllabus and the Learning Outcomes are off-stage.

Fr'instance, I got to attend a two hour session on the ABCs of LGBTQ+ run by a registered charity called ShoutOut - it's tiny: two salaries and a handful of volunteers with a board of directors in the background.  It's kind of woeful that, with a student body the size of  Nenagh or Gorey, and two Equality salaries, and Athena Swan certification, The Institute needs to buy in expertise from outside. Then again, ShoutOut does this all the time and have their patter sorted and are therefore more experienced. To be fair I did attend a useful and interesting Internal workshop on Pronouns 18 months ago. That was also kind of woeful in that only six [6!] people turned up including both the Equality Officers. As I said then, LGBTQ+ ain't going to make like Levis and fade away; so it is worth investing in getting the facts and attitudes correct.

So what did I learn?
  • That you really should go to one of these workshops (I gave already) 
  • Then you'd know the difference between LGB [preference] and T [identity]
  • That I hadn't heard of most of the celebrities who were somewhere on the BLT spectrum
    • Q.Francis Brennan, who he? A.sexual
  • That Malta has by far the most progressive BLT legislation in the EU - while also being super-Catholic and paradoxically patriarchal wrt the status of women
  • Queer is now the widely accepted inclusive umbrella term for BLT
    • Gay is used for /by women (as is 'lads')
  • Bisexuals are, evidence-based and objectively, more troubled mentally but are proportionately under-serviced by the state. The Man has got as a far as accepting and resourcing G & L but is blanking other sections of the BLT community as, currently, a bridge too far. The sands are shifting, Gramps, and bisexuals will get more fair dues as you drop judgemental and try compassionate.
  • We were invited to list our senses of identity; as a prelude to talking about Gender Identity
    • I R European, evolutionary biologist, anglophone
    • BLTs tend to identify as BLT . . . rather than Irish, Liverpool, dancer, driver or dog-lover
    • Many people identify as '[grand]parent'. No adults identify as 'child' even if they are primary carer of elders
  • Gender Identity is about your internal clock
  • Gender Expression is about external appearance / how you are judged / viewed
  • Sex at birth defines the pronouns and is the first question asked about a new-born
    • AMAB - assigned male at birth is currently the best option especially if you identify as Male and look the part
    • Significant discordance among {assigned, identity and expression} spells a world of trouble ahead
  • Trans[gender] = 1% are those who experience this discord. Cisgender is the 99% rest of us.
    • BLT - sexual preference is a different, independent, axis to how you are/feel about yourself
  • People start to identify as their [assigned?] gender more or less when they get out of nappies - aged 3-4. No pants gives a chance to compare notes and start the process of appropriate social assimilation to whatever are the local norms.
  • It is vanishingly unlikely that Trans kids don't start the same journey at the same time. It is therefore invidious to treat the coming out of Trans folk (as teens or twentisomethings, say)  as an event that just happened in a rush. Let alone that it is a [fashion] choice and so flippable backable.
  • In the maternity hospitals of Ireland there are just two boxes M [__] and F [__]
    • 98.3% of neonates fit obviously and easily into one or other box - it just takes a peek down there. Or a karyotype can be quickly done to count the XX XY chromosomes
    • But 17 per 1,000 live births are intersex: there is some discrepancy in the arrangement of the external genitalia or other sex-defining characteristics - clitoromegaly, cryptorchidism, Kleinfelters XXY [list with N = 35 variations]
  • How come you/I don't know anyone who is intersex?
  • Because it is routine to carry out routine cosmetic genital surgery before the child leaves the maternity hospital. Usually The Man does trim and tuck to make a hole, because a pole is more work.
  • Because it is routine to carry out routine cosmetic genital surgery before the child leaves the maternity hospital WTF! We're not talking circumcision here. Ditto to polydactyly.
. . . I am too shocked to continue. But last night I dreamt about CGS, so I clearly need to further process what I heard Tuesday

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