What can I add to this conversation. Not sure really.
A large proportion of these issues seem to relate to behaviour and what is acceptable or unacceptable behaviour within a society.
As a reasonably affluent, white, heterosexual male with liberal views but conservative behaviours I'm aware there is a huge gulf in my experiences and understandings.
You've got to tread carefully in these types of issues, and there is no doubt in this intersectional time, where emotion and status signalling are to the fore, these can be a lot of heat and noise generated if you say the wrong thing!
At its most fundamental I don't really believe in essences and categories - they are all the experientially formed outputs of evolved neural networks with no absolute (or supernatural) underpinning.
Most people with an XY chromosomes have penises, but some don't. Most people with XX chromosomes have vaginas, but some don't.
Most people with XY chromosomes are happy to behave within the cultural norms of masculine behaviour, some don't, and the cultural norms of masculine behaviour change depending on place and time.
Ditto for XX chromosomes and behaviours.
But not everyone has XY or XX chromosomes, some have more, some have less, and there are ways that the influence these chromosomes can have can be reduced - see Lyonisation, or look at a Calico Cat. Biology is complex and defies simple categories.
There is no essential characteristic or behaviour that can be used to classify all people as either men or women, and when people claim there are essential characteristics behaviours all men or all women should (or should not) exhibit we are into the realm, not of reality, but of ideology.
There’s nowt as queer as folk.
All the world’s queer save thee and me,
And even thee’s a little queer.
There’s nowt as queer as folk.
Thars only thee and me that’s sane
And I’m not too sure of thee.
It is useful to categorise people by biological sex as either men or women; and to presume certain characteristics and behaviours of people so categorised, but your presumptions will not be universal.
It is simple reality that there are exceptions to the binary of men and women, male and female, both in external characteristics and in behaviours; and when it comes to the internal characteristics of organs as nuanced as the brain our understanding of how its form and resulting function subtly change under the influence of genes and environment is woefully lacking.
I recently came across this post on the China Channel:
Perverse Pasts and Queer Futures in Taiwan
I am fascinated by Taiwan - in political; colonial; racial; and sexual and gender terms its society defies simple categorisation.
Queer studies provides an interesting lens to think about society and how it categorises some things as acceptable and somethings not.
A part of me is also interested in the concept of acting out a role, or a behaviour - straight acting, acting white etc.
We are "meant" to act out certain gender roles, and when we don't suffer social opprobrium.
I'm fascinated by the meaning of honesty in such interpretations of behaviour. Shakespeare has Polonius say:
This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.
The Daoist in me wonders about how this is ever possible; and how putting on a dress or a pair of trousers and behaving a certain way relates to truth!