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The Spectra of Identity

I would like to build up a picture of the thoughts of everyone here on the way the Pirate Party should engage with the internet generation's understanding of the various spectra of identity. These include but are never limited to:
* Gender Identity spectrum
* Sexuality or lack thereof
* Species identity (you may think this is a strange concept, but I know many furries, otherkin and therians who disagree)
* Cultures & Subcultures (including everything from Jamaican culture to furry geeks and bronies - see the German Pirate Party for an example of this in action)
* Political spectrum
* Maturity spectrum (can be decoupled from physical/biological age)
And many more. We need to consider the importance of the positive recognition of these many-faceted spectra and their effects without using them as stereotypes, particularly if we are to start picking up more votes.

Comments

  • Focusing on just gender identity from the parent thread:

    Gender identity is complicated. But I like things simple. So I struggle when things are more complicated than I like.

    People have a genotype (the genetic make-up of an organism or group of organisms with reference to a single trait, set of traits, or an entire complex of traits).

    People have a phenotype (the appearance of an organism resulting from the interaction of the genotype and the environment).

    People have a gender (i. either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior, ii. a similar category of human beings that is outside the male/female binary classification and is based on the individual's personal awareness or identity).

    Some people's sexual genotype is not the simple XX, XY classification.

    Someone's phenotype isn't always representative of their genotype (even if their genotype is the simple XX or XY).

    Someone's gender isn't always representative of their phenotype or genotype (even if their genotype is simple XX, XY and their phenotype is consistent).

    I'm very comfortable defining someone by their genotype - it is, given enough analysis, perfectly calculable and describable.

    I'm comfortable defining someone by their phenotype - it is, given privacy-invading analysis, relatively calculable and describable.

    As someone who wants to perfectly measure things in order to label them I know I need to surrender my absoluteness up when it comes to gender. I'm not uncomfortable referring to people how they wish - I just don't always understand.

    I struggle to understand why someone wants to label themselves when it is something that cannot be measured. But I am also perfectly cognisant that how someone labels themselves is nothing to do with me and they are entitled to label themselves how they want. More than that they need my support (and support of everyone else who doesn't quite get it) to be free to label themselves how they are comfortable.

    I'll expand and speculate on why someone labels themselves with a gender non-conformant with their genotype or phenotype. Without intending to be offensive it may read as very insensitive - I don't seek to be!!

    I probably blame society for making the genotypic and phenotypic labels take on more meaning than they should have. To the point where people who cannot identify with how society states such a genotype/phenotype should behave need to find a different gender identity that explains how they feel.

    I welcome the day when gender identity is so irrelevant that we no longer need labels to distinguish ourselves from boring measurable statistics like genotype and phenotype.
  • edited January 2016
    Thank you both for those constructive inputs. If we get a few more contributions like that, we might be able to form a sort of general party policy view of how our future as people should look with regard to how people identify; I see that this is a very hot topic online and also offline right now. It also links heavily to privacy and security, ID cards and Big Brother and the like, and even Care.data.
  • Azrael's comments match my views on this subject.

    I respect people's choices to label themselves what they like, but it's not something I'm readily capable of understanding. I also agree that society has a large part to blame in the role gender identity plays. If its role was negligible, then I feel gender issues would be far less prevalent than they are today.

    I'm not sure how I feel about expanding this to the other examples given in the OP. There was the news story about Nano the cat girl, and I'm not sure how I feel about people claiming they are different species (because they clearly are not)
  • @topperfalkon Hmm... And people who identify as female but have XY chromosomes and a penis and regularly need to shave their facial hair 'clearly are not' too, by that thinking. We have to be careful, I believe, not to attempt to dictate where any lines are drawn, if any are drawn at all, due to the way in which this subject is so strongly felt by so many out there (in both pro- and anti- directions).
  • I was saying that we shouldn't be drawing lines where there need not be. I don't believe that gender identities are wholly necessary, and would sooner be rid of it. It would do the gender equality fight a world of good too (though women will still be prejudiced against because of their unique capability to require time to create/nurture more human beings every once in a while).

    But there's a difference, I think, between having a confused identity, and being convinced that your body is, or should be, something it isn't.
  • edited February 2016
    I realise now that I poorly worded the original and second posts I made here somewhat.

    That difference may indeed be there. But I think as a party we need to both acknowledge the struggles of people going through these sorts of existential crises and situations of body to self-image mismatch and so forth.

    We need to not behave as if any of these things are clearly this or definitely that when we are not in positions to arbitrate on mental health and wellbeing.

    Rather, I was asking not for us to define a party opinion of what is right or wrong for a person to do in terms of self-modification or conformity to their position (whether rightly or wrongly perceived) on the identity spectra as mentioned, but for us to engage proactively with this (indeed, every) demographic, to be able to create (and crowdsource) a policy as to what we think the country should do for people in such situations and what we think the government can do for them when there are Pirates in parliament.
  • edited February 2016
    On the one hand I'm quite in favour of the live and let live attitude you are putting forth, Drowz0r. It's healthy in many ways for the populace at large (if only they all thought about it that way). But not only do some (though thankfully not many as it doesn't tend to come up) of the public need reminding it isn't really their concern if I am bisexual, let alone anything more exotic, but so too do some people who go through these feelings in an extremely emotionally strong way (dysphoria is so much more to those who suffer it than a mere belief, of course) need reminding that the world is not all out to get them. The latter is a much harder message to word well, but I believe that if any party can, it should be the Pirates.

    On the other, people who are LGBTQ+ etc (or QUILTBAG for a fuller set) often want to express a pride in their identity as such, rather than keep what can be a very valuable cultural aspect and asset hush-hush. There is the argument that your live and let live point of view can also be interpreted as a US Army style 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' and this could risk exacerbating feelings of alienation. Growing acceptance of any niche identity, sexuality or whatever is often heralded by strong expression of the culture related to that identity, at first in cringeworthy and bizarre, uncomfortable ways, before the mainstream finds a way to accommodate it. Could the Pirates lead the way towards a stress-free mainstream adaptation, by working with these cultural aspects? Talking to communities and forums, finding out what needs to improve in the NHS for transgender people and so on...
    I think there is a lot of ground here we can cover that other parties don't tread, and is closer to our remit anyway.
  • edited July 2016
    I think one solution might be to promote tolerance, via the simple mechanism of a liberal free speech policy. This article may be of interest here:

    https://philosophynow.org/issues/114/The_Last_Supper

    "The key to tolerance is reciprocity, which is guaranteed by structural equality in freedom of speech, not by policing the content of speech. Structural equality puts a legal brake on the hypocrisy exercised by intolerant individuals. If we draw the line at the expression of what we think of as repellent ideas, then we have refused to extend to others the same privilege we want for ourselves. All of us, even the most authoritarian zealots, want to be sovereign over our own thoughts and minds, and the freedom to pursue our own values. This is why classic liberal philosophers have had a much higher threshold for offensive speech, and would limit only those actions that interfere with the reciprocal liberty of others to live according to their beliefs."

    George
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