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Gert Jan Gast gjgast at nioz.nl
Thu Mar 7 12:21:31 EST 1996

ecoscoll at ux7.cso.uiuc.edu (Coscolluela Eileene) wrote:

>	I think that transgenderism,

Sorry, but again this non-english speaking person is a little at 
a loss here. Could anybody please explain what is covered by this 
term and when it's used?

 atleast on this campus, is an issue
>	that many MANY people do not know much about... and it deals with
>	breaking stereotypes and wrong preconceptions just like the 
>	lesbian and gay community.  Transgenderism isn't just a "gender"
>	issue.  It talks about breaking down the roles of what a man
>	and what a woman is.  What defines feminity?  Is this an attribute
>	only given to women or can a man be feminine as well?  

I regard all of us as humans in the first place (or apes from 
genetical and sometimes ethological points of view). There is a 
wide range of characteristics or traits in humans. Some of those 
are (genetically or culturally) more developed and prominent in 
women, others more in man. The former are generally called 
"feminine", the latter "masculine". However, this being 
generalisations, women are not restricted to feminine traits nor 
are man to masculine ones. I guess none of you will have to think 
about exeptions to this general rule. Actually, we all are. If we 
want to, we can develop the "other side" in us and become more 
complete humans. So, yes, man can be feminine as well, but to a 
different extend and in combination with their "masculinity". 
It's not a binomal thing of being the one or the other, but 
having a combination of different qualities with equal value 
developed in various degrees.

>	kind of assumptions are made when someone is overtly "feminine"?
>	Many people don't realize how biased they are in these respects.
>	Or how greatly offensive they are being.

The problem is that not all traits are regarded as equal and that 
both men and women are expected to live up to the category 
they're placed in. Instead of nuturing assumptions & biases, and 
hurting others with a different set of qualities, people did 
better listen to those others, accept the differences and see if 
there's something to be learned. If they d'not: teach them!

I guess I'm preaching to the wrong crowd here, but anyway my two 

Warm wishes, GJ


Gert Jan Gast <gjgast at NIOZ.NL>
Netherlands Institute for Sea Research
Department of Marine Ecology
P.O. Box 59, 1790 AB Den Burg, The Netherlands.
Phone: 31 (0)222 369573. Fax: 31 (0)222 319674.

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