Because We Are Diverse – A Presentation

Because We Are Diverse TitleSo in December last year I did a presentation on the Because We Are Diverse project. It lasted for about 30 mins and briefly covered everything I had learned over the past year. From the very amazing talents of Bunny Bennett, Joseph Harwood and Robyn Archer to Marriage Equality, homophobia, transgenderism and the many identities there are. The presentation required me to be quite personal and honest about my experiences, something I was incredibly nervous to do in front of family, friends, peers and teachers. I hadn’t revealed much of what was said to them before. In the end it turns out that I shouldn’t have worried. The audience were so open minded and recipient to all the issues and ideas I presented. You can probably see me lose my head at the end when I realised the audience were giving me a standing ovation. The support for this project was overwhelming (as I’ve already said a dozen times) and I could not have asked for a better response. Truly can’t believe it. Thank you to all who follow this blog and the project. You. Are. Amazing. Xx

 
There is a thesis documenting all the events and research activities as well as the results available for reading so contact me at becausewearediverse@gmail.com if you want a look. Be warned, it’s long!

Check out the full Joseph Harwood interview here: https://becausewearediverse.wordpress.com/2013/10/07/a-chat-with-joseph-harwood-3/

Bunny Bennett interview: https://becausewearediverse.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/lgbtq-interview-with-bunny-from-steam-powered-giraffe/

If you support this project I’d really appreciate it if you would like its page on Facebook. Like it here: https://www.facebook.com/becausewearediverse

Full list of thank you’s here: https://becausewearediverse.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/the-end-of-the-year-thank-yous/

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“As Nature Made Him” – Boy Raised as a Girl

man_into_woman_1953_470It’s been maybe three or four months since I first heard of the famous David-Brenda case. A boy who was raised as a girl. I was talking through Skype to a lady who had significant experience with LGBTQ Youth and she mentioned that I would find this particular case fascinating.

Canadian David Reimer was born “Bruce” a healthy male on August 22nd 1965. At the age of 7 months, he underwent a circumcision. However, the surgery didn’t go as planned and instead he left the operating room with a penis burnt beyond repair. His mother, desperate for her son to live a normal life, sought the advice of psychologist John Money who suggested David undergo sexual reassignment surgery and have his gender changed. The theory was that gender is learnt and since David was so young, with careful upbringing he can be taught to live as a girl.

David Reimer as "Brenda"

David Reimer as “Brenda”

So Brenda was created. She received lesson on how to be feminine, how to like the kind of things girls liked, even how to have sex as a girl. And all the while she refused. I think it’s fascinating that Brenda, having never known that she was in fact born male until much later in life, refused to be a female in every sense of the word. Every lesson they taught her was met with resistance and she kept telling them, “I want to be a boy.”

When she grew up, Brenda made the decision to become David, a man again. But needless to say the damage was done. David committed suicide on May 4th 2004, just 38 years old.

David as a boy

David as a boy

If you read the wikipedia page on David Reimer (I’ll link it below) it’s really horrific what kind of educational “lessons” were taught to her. Quite traumatic I would say. And while it one of saddest stories I’ve come across I think it’s an incredible example of how a person’s gender can’t be nesesarility be conditioned. That nurture over nature may not be possible. That you are born the gender you feel, regardless of upbringing and genitalia.

What’s also a little weird is that I found a book on David’s life titled “As Nature Made Him” in a second hand book shop while I was visiting Sydney. Coincidence? I think not. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but I’ll give it a try soon and let you know what I think. There’s a documentary on David which I’ll also link below.

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Here’s the link to the amazon page for the book if you’d like to give it a read: http://www.amazon.com/As-Nature-Made-Him-Raised/dp/0061120561

“As Nature Made Him” Interview with author: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJuHjQ5IlUY

David Reimer Documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MUTcwqR4Q4Y

David Reimer’s Wikipedia Page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Reimer

Hank Green Explains It All

I found this video a little while ago. It has become my go-to video when some explanations about human identity are needed. It really expresses the spectrum of human relationships and identity showing that there really are no definitive boxes – an issue that was strongly expressed at the LGBTQ World Cafe event (more on this to come). This is where the ignorance breeds from – failing to understand that sex, gender, sexuality and behaviour are all entirely separate things and do not have to be connected in any way. In any way. A word of advice: even if you think that you have a solid grasp of the differences between identity, gender and behavior, give this one a watch. It may bring up a few points you’ve never considered. Certainly brought up a few for me.

Can I just say, I love Hank Green for this. Good old vlogbrothers.