Binary Thoughts On The “Third Gender” Robbie Oyama August 17, 2009
Background Society rarely considers a “third gender” There are only males and females according to some The purpose of this study is to examine some of the reasons for discrimination against transgendered/transsexuals
Background “Do Workplace Gender Transitions Make Gender Trouble?” Study by Kristen Schilt and Catherine Connell Examined what happens when employees are introduced back into the work force after a gender transition Interviewed 28 transgendered/transsexual people in Los Angeles, California and Austin, Texas between 2003 and 2005 Found that many co-workers were uncomfortable sharing gender specific areas with the study participants such as bathrooms Participants were excluded from activities and topics that are gender specific as well after the operation such as menstruation with women
Background “What Motivates Hate Crimes Based on Sexual Orientation? Mediating Effects of Anger on Antigay Aggression” Study by Dominic Parrott and John Peterson 135 heterosexual male participants completed an interview to assess sexual prejudice, anger in response to a vignette depicting a nonerotic male, and past perpetration of antigay aggression Study found that peer dynamics was a leading cause in anger towards homosexuals Peers establish norms for masculinity or femininity in society for adolescents and those that stray from these ideals become victims of violence
Background Kimmel’s concept of “doing gender” must be considered because men and women are constantly trying to act a certain way that they believe exemplifies a man or woman It is when individuals are unable to completely imitate these roles of masculinity or femininity when violence occurs
Hypothesis Discrimination towards the "third gender" is a result of the combination of the masses only recognizing two genders and the transgendered individuals having to fit into one or the other.
Methods/Procedure Survey consisting of ten questions to understand certain opinions in society There were 82 participants Ages: 19-44 47 female, 35 male The questions were designed for participants to answer which gender they feel best fits the category
Methods/Procedure Gender Survey Please answer these questions as honest as possible with any gender that you feel best fits the category. There are no wrong answers and please do not change them once you have answered a question. It may seem strange to attach something specific to gender, but I guarantee this experiment is not to create stereotypes, but to gain a better understanding of societal phenomenon.
1. What is your age?
2. What is your sex/gender?
3. Which gender is more athletic?
4. Which gender is better suited to take care of the children?
5. Which gender would be the best at being a single parent that has to work as a firefighter and also make sure the kids are taken care of?
6. Which gender would be the best drag queen?
7. Which gender would be the best at teaching elementary kids?
8. Which gender would be the best role model for gay, lesbian, and/or transgendered teenagers?
9. Assuming that this would even happen, which gender would parents give less attention to?
10. Which gender would be the best college professor?
Results The purpose of this survey was to not determine if men are better at sports or women are better at taking care of children I wanted to show that society only considers two genders and the results show this because all of the answers were either male, female, or both For the answers that were both, I interpreted this as both men and women can fit the category I even included questions where putting transgendered would be a perfect option such as question 8
Conclusion The previous research and my own study support my hypothesis My results demonstrate that society only considers two genders Because of this, it is expected that even transgendered individuals fit either a masculine or feminine role Since it is too difficult for transgendered/transsexuals to completely conform to these roles, society is able to spot them easier The fact that they are not adopting a complete male or female role makes some individuals feel threatened similar to the Parrot and Peterson study Feeling as if one’s ideas about being a man or woman are threatened is a major reason violence towards the “third gender”
References Kimmel, Michael. 2008. The Gendered Society, Third Edition. New York, New York. Oxford. Parrott, D., & Peterson, J. 2008. “What motivates hate crimes based on sexual orientation? Mediating effects of anger on antigay aggression.” Aggressive Behavior
Schilt, K., & Connell, C. 2007. “Do Workplace Gender Transitions Make Gender Trouble?.” Gender, Work & Organization