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The Procrustean Society Part 1: A Knotty Mix Of Gender And Sexuality

English: This is a commonly known general Symb...

English: This is a commonly known general Symbol for Gender “Transident”, which means a Person, whose Gender Identity doesn’t match his/her/its anatomical Gender/Sex. Deutsch: Dies ist ein allgemein bekanntes, allgemeines Symbol für das Geschlecht “Transident”, was eine Person meint, deren Geschlechtsidentität sich nicht mit ihrem anatomischen Geschlecht deckt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ancient Greeks had a myth about an innkeeper who would welcome people into his establishment, and place them upon his only bed. If they were too short, he would stretch them out until their limbs tore off. If they were too tall, he would lop off the excess and they would bleed to death.

Recently the news came out that the American Psychiatric Association had approved the removal of Gender Identity Disorder from the DSM-V, which comes out in March, and replaced it with Gender Dysphoria.

In truth, I have always had some difficulty with the term Gender Identity Disorder, and it has to do with our Procrustean Society. Gender identity is not as simple as male and female; unfortunately, our society demands that gender be separated into just male and just female. While it is possible for a woman to be more masculine than feminine, society still frowns upon women being more masculine than feminine, and will seek to assert that disapproval through various means including demeaning names. If a man is feminine, then the names are often harsher, and the punishment even more so.

This goes beyond just gender identity and into sexuality. There are so many complexities that never actually get discussed, and they should be.

The reality is that humans are so diverse and so complex that the way that society treats any deviation often causes major problems for the psychological identity of the individual. The core question about what our society should be asking us to be. Should we, as people, be happy? Or is the drive for material gain suppose to make us happy? In truth, most people are not happy with things, but rather with being allowed to express themselves.

The problem is that no one wants to really discuss this diversity because it weakens the political positions of both sides in these supposed debates on sexuality and gender identity. For instance, what if most people who call themselves transgender or even transsexual actually aren’t, but rather the way society treats gender identity forces them into a box where they have to live up to that society approved identity? What if most people really aren’t gay or straight, but the reality is that the majority of humans are somewhere in between and society forces them to be gay, straight or bi (and then looks down on bisexuality)?

Perhaps the best thing for us to do is not so much change definitions within society, but change society to reflect human nature.



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