Yesterday I had the pleasure of being asked to meet with the Human Rights Office along with my friend and colleague. The purpose was to discuss the wording within the Policy Regarding Collecting information on Gender and Sex. Although it has already been approved by the appropriate Senate sub committee and passed by Senate, a few questions have been brought forward. We were there to provide counsel and insight. No pressure!
So of course, the discussion did eventually turn to the topic of sex versus gender. (Which is really ironic, given that I was just severely rebuked regarding this on this very blog – see a recent entry “Rock, Me, Hard Place and subsequent comments). Anyway, it was, of course, a very interesting discussion. Thankfully, we were all on the same page. Sex does not equal gender. That has been proven so not surprising that we agreed on that. It was interesting as to how we viewed ourselves though. Given this was a pretty high level meeting, there were only four people in attendance. The two authors of the policy, both CIS women, myself, and a transwoman (her self description, not mine). Where I am pre-op (hoping for a date this fall to change that), she is post op.
For me, and let me be clear here, ONLY ME, I see myself currently as sex = male, gender = woman. That is because I still have some male primary sexual characteristics. My colleague identifies as sex = female, gender = woman. The two Cis women also identify as sex = female, gender = woman. Regardless, it was a rich discussion and in the end, we came up with suitable wording which we hope will address the concern which essentially was that the policy did not do enough to differentiate sex and gender. So another draft is being created for our review prior to it being reviewed by the group bringing the question forward.
The good news is that we all at least we were on the same page. We didn’t have to take the time to educate anyone on how and why sex and gender differ. While I do find these discussions interesting, and trust me, I have had that conversation more times than I care to remember, it is nice to be in a room with both CIS and trans people who are already there. This allowed us to get right to the heart of the matter, which was to address the concern initially brought to the HRO by a CIS group. Thanks to them for that. Any need for further clarification is a good thing. It means that people are reading, listening, and engaged. And that, as Martha Stewart would say, “is a good thing”.
For me, my journey has been a long one. And I am constantly learning. So yes, sometimes my views may change. That is called evolution. But that doesn’t mean my convictions change. No one, NO ONE, will change how I view myself. You may disagree. Your prerogative. While I would do anything to be able to say my sex=female, I can’t, and I won’t. I won’t try to force fit into that designation (okay, maybe not the best noun, but you get the idea). Just as I don’t appreciate it when others do the same within other designations. I get that. But that is there prerogative. Though I find it a struggle to actively support it. Just as others quite obviously cannot support me when I say my gender = woman.
Let’s just agree to disagree. I’m moving on.