In defence of gender

A list popped up on Twitter this week of all 112 genders “at last count”. A full version can be found here (which gives Tumblr as the source, but links to the homepage, rather than the original), but here is a sample.

Obviously it’s easy to mock such navel-gazing, especially when, reading the list, you realise it’s not 112 distinct anythings, but rather a set of construction tools for building yourself a fascinating trait.

Take Demigender (a gender that is partially one gender and partially another); this is clearly meant to be used in conjunction with at least two other genders. One could therefore be demigender between mascgender (a non-binary gender which is masculine in nature) and proxvir (a masculine gender similar to a boy, but on a separate plane and off to itself), and if that identity reflects who you’re with then your gender would be mirrorgender demigender mascgender/proxvir which, I think, means you’re masculine, but more laddish when you’re watching the football down at the pub than you would be, say, when out for a fancy meal.

How unique and interesting.

That would also make you transgender (the feeling of being any gender that does not match your assigned gender) because, presumably, your parents didn’t welcome you into the world and immediately spot your transgender mirrorgender demigender mascgender/proxvir nature. Those boring old squares probably just thought you were a boy, or some shit like that.

“I’m so happy ze is Surgender colorgender-pink with femgender supplementing it” “Hah, can’t believe the stupid midwife thought ze was just a girl. Do they even train those bitches?”

This is before we add in the 71 listed prefixes and suffixes that you can use to even more finely tune this precise description of yourself, which is incomprehensible to anybody without access to a glossary. I particularly like the prefix Thym-, which relates to those who feel attraction which varies depending on emotional state, and would love to chat with someone who, piling on another prefix, is athym- and, presumably feels an unwavering level of attraction, unconnected to their emotional state / surroundings / whether they’re on fire, etc.

Interestingly, more than a 10th of the listed genders are for people who don’t have a gender (agender), don’t care if they have a gender (apagender) or who think they should have a gender, only to find it vanishes when they try to work out what it is (vapogender), those who think their gender is just them (egogender), applies only to them (autogender), have a gender that only manifests if they think about it (existigender), know they aren’t cis (non-trans) in some unspecified way but have decided to act like they are (commogender), refuse to accept gender (exogender) or even feel that gender is nonsensical (quoigender)…many of which are thoughts that might well get you called transphobe or TERF, if you didn’t dress them up in gender nonsense first.

And nonsense it is, of course. All we’re really missing is someone whose entire gender is explaining their gender, in the hope it gets them a shag (genderendergender?) Shagging itself is a bit of a problem, especially if you’re gay, as the prefixes section tells us that the homo- prefix refers to the feeling of being attracted to your own gender. With 112 genders and 71 prefixes (plus -fluid and -flux prefixes) and countless combinations thereof, the chances of you ever meeting someone with the same gender as yourself are effectively nil. Are there really two homotransgender mirrorgender demigender mascgender/proxvir people out there, and even if there were, the chances are even smaller that they won’t find each other to be absolutely insufferable narcissists?

However, one shouldn’t object to nonsense just because it is nonsense. Teens and early-20s people have, forever, been doomed to live in a world that doesn’t understand how unique and special they are, in their brief window of opportunity to bloom, before life grinds them into the rights shape to fit into the entry-level-job-long-term-relationship-place-of-their-own-having-kids-buying-a-Mondeo machine that is adult life. If the worst they do to underline their individuality is declare they’re some weird gender, with its own set of pronouns, then, seriously, let them get on with it.

My own search for my individuality – thankfully before the days of social media – took in wearing a trench-coat (too much Highlander), growing a ponytail (too much IT), platting my pony-tail (too much cannabis), sporting a goatee (even I don’t know what this was about) and being obsessed with Ford Capris.

The author, circa 1993, with one of his Capris. Trench-coat, ponytail and goatee (thankfully) not shown

No matter what your gender is, it’s unlikely to demolish a traffic-island by going through it sideways at 25mph after a slightly damp bend (tailhappigender). At least in that respect, it’s harmless.

I can’t even find it in myself to get annoyed by Stonewall, an organisation which once had a purpose, championing Aromantic Spectrum Awareness Week, to help out those who are, according to Stonewall’s definition, a person of any gender or sexual orientation who does not experience romantic attraction

I’m going to be honest, I don’t know what discrimination they face. Are they being disenfranchised? Not being allowed to not marry? Being refused jobs? I mean, I interview people quite often and if the interview ends up taking in their personal view of romantic relationships then it has gone badly off the rails. But, whatever, they need people to be vocal, so if you can work out what the hell you’re meant to be being vocal about then you go for it.

Ultimately, it looks a lot like those 112 genders are nothing more than a way of ushering people into tiny minorities, that can then lay claim to some sort of oppression, which gives organisations like Stonewall, erstwhile solutions, desperate to find new problems, something to campaign about. Where, really, is the harm in that?

However, from that list, a full 50% of the genders described are either impermanent to some degree, or are defined by literally being impossible to define (my favourite is anongender – a gender that is unknown to both yourself and others) and that shit doesn’t belong on a census any more than my stupid choice of facial hair did.

2 thoughts on “In defence of gender

  1. $200 says the people most committed to believing in Critical Race Theory or the Nikole Hannah-Jones / Ibram X Kendi view of discrimination are the same ppl who believe Stonewall was right wife the idiocy above (& would criticise ur simple, CRT inspired point about what discrimination they face) without for a second recognising the contradictions

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