Wednesday, August 31, 2011


First, I finally got my Invisalign "braces." And already, after only one day my teeth are killing me! But, check out the name on the packages I got from the dentist:

Now, I can add "Marchi" to they ever expanding list of names I've been mistakenly given. Recall old favorites such as Markleby, Barfi, Meat, and Bert.

Pickings are getting a little slim for interesting blog posts. I am at home, reading, writing, and mindlessly formatting, entering and analyzing data 5 days a week. And, I go to the dentist. Woohoo! Then on the weekends I eat drink and am busy being generally merry. Its not like the old Madagascar days, when I was getting around by cow and wielding off crooked machine gun baring cops.

So, I'm going back a couple of years here and am going to post about my experience of living with someone who was transitioning genders. Don't get all crazy- its not, nor was it ever Ron. Rather, it was my Colorado 'husband' Morgan, who has given his royal blessing for this tell-all.

When I went back to Boulder for the 2008 school year, I moved in with Morgan, such that I didn't have to pay rent all by myself. Morgan, is a school friend, who happened to be a very unfeminine lesbian (not that it really matters). About as unfeminine as they come. The apartment we lived in was technically a one bedroom, with a large-ish closet, and Morgan kindly moved into the closet such that I could have the bedroom. I still chuckle a little thinking of poor Morgan moving back into the closet. teehee.

That semester I ended up doing some solo lab teaching with an undergraduate student who was transitioning from female to male. Its more difficult for f to m's to "pass" as their chosen gender (facial hair and the deep voice are tricky), and this student was afraid of being in close proximity to other students in an lab, who might get wise to what was going on and not be understanding. Remember Brandon Teena? Sex and gender are topics people get pretty riled up about, and not something you want to be messing around with in the wrong company.

Teaching labs to one person really doesn't work, as you need the class in order to run experiments and stuff. So, that term, we explored the very slim literature on the Anthropology of transgender. Morgan graciously joined this student and I as its just too weird to sit around and talk about such intimate issues with one person.

I probably learned more than either of them that term. First, gender and sex are not the same thing. Furthermore, gender can be broken into gender identity and gender expression. Your sex is biological, while your gender is cultural and tied to the society you live in. Imagine lining up a million zillion people according to their sex. On on end you would have females, and on the other, of course males. But in between the two? Every permutation possible. That's just how nature works. Biological sex is occurs much more like a spectrum than a binary state. Now, if you lined up those same people according to gender identity, everyone would still have a place, but there would be a big shuffle in the continuum. And why won't there be? If biological sex is a spectrum, we should also expect gender to be equally variable.

Can you see how one could be biologically male, with a gender identity of female and a gender expression of male?

Before moving on, I'd like to also clear up a few misconceptions. First, gender identity has nothing to do with sexual orientation. Second, transvestites like to dress up as the other end of the spectrum as their biological gender, while transgender people feel they are actually a gender other than their biological sex at birth. Third, not all transgender people want gender reassignment surgery and/or hormone therapy.

Well, shizzle. Now I blabbed on for ages and I didn't even get to any of the juicy Morgan details. Tomorrow will have to suffice. You'll have to wait until then to find out about the cornstarch too.

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