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Let’s start with some definitions just to make sure our stance makes sense. If you are familiar with the terminology, feel free to skip it.
Sex, gender, and sexuality are three terms that are often conflated. Sex is usually defined as male or female, which is inaccurate as it ignores the existence of people who are intersex. It is our chromosomes, hormones, external genitalia, and internal organs. And guess what? Sometimes they do not all match up, hence, intersexuality. Most of the time, sex is identified exclusively from the appearance of the external genitalia, often from an ultrasound but sometimes an infant is born. Sex typing is associated with the corresponding gender. People whose sex and gender match up are cisgender.
Gender is an amalgamation of our identity, presentation, performance or behavior, and expectations (for example, what is expected within a given society for people of a certain gender). Western societies typically divide gender into man/woman or masculine/feminine, again, inaccurately. That divide erases people who are non-binary, agender, genderqueer, trans, etc.
Sexuality is our identity, preference, behavior, activities, and orientation. These do not have to match up either. For example, some people who have hetero sex may identify as homosexual and prefer same sex matches. The normative hetero/homo binary erases bisexual, asexual, pansexual, and other sexual orientations. Sexuality is also assumed to correspond with gender such that feminine women are presumed heterosexual and more masculine women are presumed lesbians. Vice versa for men.
We at SPEEC believe that all genders are equal and valid. People who are transgender, cisgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, or any other gender identity deserve equality and representation no matter what pronouns used, presentation, or identity. We recognize that pronouns, presentation, and identity do not always match and that transwomen are women (we stand against Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist (TERF) beliefs that oppose that knowledge). We advocate for equal legal protections and rights for people who are not cis-identified and for education about the issues faced by these marginalized groups. We also believe that sex and relationship education need to be made inclusive to all genders, sexualities, and family structures.
We recognize the privileges that cispeople hold. Some of these include not having to worry that one will be assumed to be a sex worker, less risk of being the victim of a hate crime, assaulted, and/or murdered (this risk is highest for transwomen who are also POC), and not having to worry about whether or not medical professionals will be willing and able to give quality treatment. Cisnormativity entails the assumption that people are cis and that to not be cis is somehow deviant. Cisnormativity is built into our social structures with things like paperwork that is binary and bathrooms that are divided between “men” and “women.”We recognize the privileges that hetero people hold such as not having to worry about being fired or denied housing, about being denied access to parenthood, about doctors giving inaccurate information such as “lesbians don’t need STI testing” (these are also faced by people who are not cis). People who are hetero and who are homosexual are privileged by visibility in comparison to people with other sexual identities. People who are bisexual and pansexual face stigma for “not being able to make up their minds” and for being “promiscuous.” Bi men are assumed to be gay and stigmatized for that while bi women are presumed to be performing for the male gaze and fetishized. Aces (people who identify as asexual) are assumed to have something physically or mentally wrong). We also need to recognize the privileges associated with the culturally dominant gender, men. Norms of masculinity require men to be aggressive, controlling, breadwinning, and dominant. Norms of femininity puts women in the (sexual) gatekeeper role, as domestically inclined caretakers, passive (at least if they are white). Cultural norms of manhood define masculinity as the antithesis of femininity. Given stereotypes that gay men are feminine (inaccurate but common belief), heterosexual masculinity often entails pushing as far away from anything that could be considered feminine. At an extreme, some research shows that groups of men may bond with each other via the use of women’s bodies. (For more information on that phenomenon see Peggy Sanday Reeves’ and Michael Kimmel’s research on gangbangs and gang rapes perpetrated in fraternities and athletics where men use women’s bodies to enact heteromasculine dominance and develop homosocial bonds with other men without having to be concerned that the bonding experience could be misconstrued as “gay.”)