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Lecture 7

WGST 1F90 Lecture Notes - Lecture 7: Trans Woman, Nail Polish, Doc Zone

Women's and Gender Studies
Course Code
Leslie Nichols

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Date: October 28th, 2015
Lecture Title:
Genderism: the practice of strict adherence to a binary gender system that, by definition,
oppresses those who fall outside of it.
Gender Identity: an individual’s intrinsic sense of self and their sense of being female, male, a
combination of both, or neither regardless of their biological sex.
Gender Expression: refers to the way an individual expresses their gender identity (eg, in the
way they dress, the length and style of their hair the way they act or speak, choice of whether or
not to wear makeup)
Gender Nonconforming: do not follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they
should look or act based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth (also called
Gender Variance and/or Gender Independence).
Intersex (general term to “replace” hermaphrodite: used for a variety of conditions in which a
person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical
definitions of female or male.
Transgender: refers to individuals whose gender identity is different from their biological sex at
birth, and/or whose gender expression is different from the way males or females are
stereotypically expected to look or behave.
Transition: the process (for some people may be “gender reassignment process”) whereby
people change their appearance and bodies to match their internal identity, while living their
lives full-time in their preferred gender role.
Transsexual: a term for a person who undergoes a medical gender reassignment process to
change their birth-assigned sex.
Two-spirit: an English term coined to reflect specific cultural words used by First Nation and
other indigenous peoples for those in their cultures who are gay or lesbian, are transgendered
or transsexual, or have multiple gender identities.
Cisgender: Kristen Schilt and Laurel Westbrook defined this label as/for: “individuals who have
a match between the gender they were assigned at birth, their bodies, and their personal
identity.” The “trans” in transgender comes for a latin word meaning on the “other side of” and
the cis comes from a latin word meaning “on this side of.”
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1. The term transgender reminds us that gender is not stable, inherent or natural.
2. Transgender pushes the binary structure of gender and reminds us of the liminal.
3. Increase in the number of people identifying as transgender or gender blending, bending and
or gender queer, gender independent.
4. We need to rethink the normalcy of gender and is assumed naturalness (reduces
Living in the Liminal
1. Transgender politics opens up new ways to be or think about gender.
2. Alerts us to the notion of a third gender.
3. This third gender has been thought of as occupying the liminal space between the dualistic
masculinity and femininity.
4. An accepting approach to gender ambiguity has not been prevalent in the Western world
where binary rules.
5. Many cultures have a place for a third gender.
6. Anthropological studies reveal that transgendered people express themselves in ways that
are culturally quite distinct, with frames of reference that are not always translatable.
7. In NA and particularly within First Nations indigenous groups, we have reference to the two-
Spirit- two spirits occupying one body. They have distinct gender roles, for example two spirits
perform ceremonial rites in funerals.
8. Viewed as having two spirits occupying one body.
9. Distinct gender and social roles in their tribes.
10. In India, the hijra have a 2500 year old history.
11. Viewed as a third sex and there is a social place for them in Indian society. Hijra viewed as
more feminine.
12. Not an elevated place - they are perceived as somewhat discredited, associated with fallen
women, prostitutes, marginals.
13. Have a subversive power. Power but not traditional power.
The Origins of Transing?:
1. No known cause for transgender (no known case for cisgender).
2. Children learn at a young age male/female, her/his, sex/gender pronouns; most 2 year olds
know whether they are a girl of a boy.
3. By 2-3 years of age, children may begin to show gender non conforming behaviour.
4. Experimentation is not uncommon with respect to gender; cross dressing, playing with toys
and games associated with the ‘opposite’ sex, etc.
5. Parents, peers, siblings, teachers remind children appropriate gender behaviours and
reinforce this behaviour.
Medical Model (DSM IV)
1. Overly (unnecessary) medicalized “issue or problem”
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