There are lots of ways to start this off. I could start with the more than forty sexes of slime molds (why stop at 4 or 5 gender types when you can have 47 sexes). Or I could start with race and culture differences and variety and how they relate to sexual differences. Or how about the differences between the terms gender and sex as the words were used in 1770, 1970, 1990 and 2010. Should I dredge up fetish behaviors and the animal companion marriage movement? And just what does it mean to be human? How much difference is possible in this world or another for someone or something to be human?
So, how do I speculate without offending too many people or getting too obscure for anyone to care? After all, if gender is an essential part of human nature, what is gender, what is essential, and what part of it is human?
Attraction is very persistent, almost like a compulsive disorder. It is also very flexible. People find each other attractive through pregnancy and through aging. I look at people the age of my wife when we got married and I just see kids now. It can be very fickle. I know a couple who divorced because one of them did not make a convincing blond.
Is attraction an essential part of ones nature? How does sex fit into gender? Would an intelligent slime mold be raised in the resurrection with its original sex intact or would it be moved into a binary gender assignment?
Are men and women different? Are the all different the same away as a fundamental difference?
When do we discuss all of the sub-issues without insulting each other? Which issues do you consider important?
I would suggest the issues might include:
· How many essential genders are there?
· Is gender limited to or controlled by what attracts you?
· What differences are there between genders?
· What of gender differences are based in culture, what is based in biology or a fallen world, what is essential?
· What is gender?
I don’t think we can really get to an intelligent discussion of gender essentialism until we begin to define or work out how many genders there are, what gender is, how much of it is spiritual vs. other factors and if it has any limit created by attraction? Does sexual orientation or attraction have anything to do with gender? Is it everything? What about people who are asexual (without any sexual attraction or drive) or seeking asexual relationships (which, by the way, applies to most of the animal companion movement as well as a building movement with couples who are seeking asexual marriage companions) – is that a gender orientation? Is gender relevant only as to humans? If not, where would an intelligent (or not) slime mold fit?
Is anyone interested in a longer set of questions or addressing the issues one at a time? Can a longer set of questions occur without it devolving into a marriage debate or insults?
Consider: from an LDS perspective, is gender something like charge on an electron or a proton? What are the characteristics of a “legitimate” gender vs something else? What affect should gender have on marriage; who holds the priesthood; other roles in society, family, etc.? Is gender any different from race?
Have we really even addressed the necessary foundation to have this conversation within the LDS perspective?
What do you think?