I wonder if, not only gender, but the entire sense of body/mind congruence isn't more likely to be an issue when you have a group of people who interact primarily through online avenues. The whole psychological concept of "detachment" is what I'm thinking of.
Yeah, I think this is a fair point. I know that one aspect of the online environment a lot of people appreciate is being able to leave their bodies behind, and it's certainly easier to perform one's natural gender without various interferences.
It's hard to explain why I like being male, or how I learned to like it. At some point I looked in the mirror and realized that I like what I see. Every time I've imagined myself as a female I've come to the same conclusion, that I just can't see me referring to myself as "she". The thought of it gives me a strange feeling that must be what the internet calls "do not want".
It's not that I find the idea of being female revolting on some objective basis. I just do not think I would be a good one. Had I been born one, it's likely that I would be okay with it, because it would be what's familiar. Or maybe not. It happens. But assuming I were born female and learned to like it as I've learned to like being male, I believe that the experience necessary to make that work would result in a different person. It would require a perspective that I don't have, and I can't stand the thought of losing the perspective I do have. I really like who I am. I would not trade my life experience for another.
I've thought about it from that perspective before, yeah. It would be impossible to experience the world as a ______ and retain the perspective you developed as a not-______, so it resolves to a meaningless question.
And Murry, it's okay, we can derail the topic to argue with Thylacine if you want. = P
In fact, without further ado:
Is it really a "thing" for people to claim a completely new gender classification for themselves, ie agender, bigender?
I've never encountered such a person, but I was aware that it was a thing, given the existence of gender-neutral pronouns. Like Murry is hinting, it's such a political mess where everyone is expected to present his or her own take as universal fact as well as identity defense that I've never really felt any need to explore it. The butchering of language alone is enough to turn me off it.
It seems to me that if you like or don't mind your physical biological sex, then your emotional / psychiatric gender matches it; if you feel it doesn't match, then you're the other one (hence the very concept of transgender). I don't get how a person could feel like "none of the above," especially if they have no biological or emotional experience with one of them. If someone has two X chromosomes and female anatomy, I could understand them not feeling like a woman and the truth of them being trans. But how could they say they didn't feel like a man either, if they don't know what being a man feels like?
I'm increasingly convinced that even if I felt it, I couldn't take much comfort in the kind of "comfortable" you're talking about (but I guess I said that the first time.)
See, I totally disagree with your reasoning here. This ties in a bit with what Fnu said. [Warning: the following statement may be politically awkward.] A person with two X chromosomes and female anatomy almost certainly has a phenotypically female brain. That person can deeply, fundamentally feel that he is a man, and socially, he's right about that, but it's not because his basic wiring started out as that of a man who was born with a penis, because that's flatly absurd based on any basic scientific understanding of the situation. His maleness is a social construct and a performance exactly as fundamentally real as any other man's, but not fundamentally the same thing and the same experience. (Likewise, the experience of a transgendered person is beyond reach of a cis person of either sex.)
Gender isn't a pair of binary states that can just be flipped between. Both of the "basic model" genders are complex modes of social interaction that are defined mostly, but not entirely, through opposition to one another. Individual traits that we normally define in opposition to one another (sportsball vs. knitting?) aren't poles of a binary in any sense. They're just things, arbitrarily associated with genders.
So, how does someone determine that he or she is - well, not? If you don't yourself know what being nearer the center of the binary, or off the axis entirely, feels like, how could you know that you aren't that? Well, you just do, same as them; and I know you've heard that old saw before, but intending no offense, it's entirely applicable here. Subjective experience is inherently impossible to quantify and share - that's what the phrase means - but it's not difficult at all to see something outside yourself and say, "that's not me." Which of these do you think you resemble? What triggers the mirror nerves the strongest? I think that's the simplest part of the whole gender question.
It actually surprises me that so many people find themselves a fit for the genders as they're defined. (I'm including myself in that, too, to be clear.) Every other ancient binary with as much resonance as this one gets played with much more freely than this one has.