“A Gender Not Listed Here”Posted: July 30, 2014
I attended the Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference back in mid-June and wrote a summary of the workshops I made it to, but I left out the details of one workshop because I felt it warranted a post all to itself. I stumbled into “A Gender Not Listed here” late Saturday afternoon, feeling a little bit drained, but excited about the topic, which was going to be a summary and discussion of an article that was published in April, 2012. The information was based on findings of a study completed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2008. It surveyed 6,450 T-GNC-GQ (transgender, gender non-conforming, genderqueer) individuals from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. It is by far the largest sample size of this population to date.
(The presenters commented that they got a lot of flak from peers ahead of time – their colleagues thought it was foolish to put forth a 70 question survey, claiming people would not fill it out in its entirety. To then see the number of completed surveys that came back is really a testament to how much this community craves to be heard, to share their thoughts, opinions, and identities.)
So, to reiterate, the survey was for anyone who identifies as transgender / gender non-conforming. Question #3 of the survey asked, “What is your primary gender identity today? 1.Male/man, 2.Female/woman, 3.Part time as one gender, part time as another, 4.A gender not listed here, please specify _________” This workshop honed in on the 13.3% of people who answered question #3 of the survey with option #4. Most of the data was about how this statistically relates to other factors such as age, ethnicity, education, region, household income, and discriminatory factors (employment, health and health care, violence, etc.)
It was totally eye opening! I had no idea this data has been out there, for a couple of years now. Even just the knowledge that about 13% of people who identify as transgender also identify as neither male nor female (or living part time as such) is mind-blowing. Not mind-blowing as in it’s surprisingly lower or surprisingly higher than I might have imagined (it’s not). But mind-blowing as in there actually is a statistical estimate out there, at least for the US. And why is this study not more widely known?!!
I’m not going to pick apart all the details of the statistical analyses, but I hope you might want to take a glance. Here is a summary of the report, broken down really nicely: Check out this modified version!
If you’re feeling ambitious and want to read the full 12 page report, it is here: Genderqueers, Gender Rebels, and OtherWise!
A general overview might go something like this: Those people who wrote in their own gender tend to be younger, more educated, less financially stable, and less likely to live in the midwest or south, and less likely to be white than their transgender counterparts. Also, it has been determined that:
“Despite their resilience and ability to define themselves in broader terms and to hold [different] ideas of identity in mind than conventional notions, overall Q3GNL participants face greater discrimination, risk, and violence than their transgender counterparts in most of the survey categories.”
Of course factors of privilege come into play, and it’s so convoluted to suss out what factors may lead to or predict other factors. It’s simply a large data set from which future research can build from. That’s part of the beauty of it – this information is public. So, for example, if you’re a grad student who needs a thesis topic, or you’re just really good at stats and have lots of free time on your hands, there is plenty of work still to be done and conclusions to draw from the raw data. Hopefully many will work with it in the future.
One other interesting point to highlight is word choice: Since the question made room to fill in the blank, the range of terms for self-expression ended up being huge. 39% of Q3GNL participants wrote in “genderqueer,” 9.5% wrote in “both/neither, in-between, or non-binary,” 2.2% wrote “fluid.” …
16.8% chose another term all together, and that generated a list of over 100 unique words / phrases, including “jest-me,”twidget,” “best of both,” “gender blur,” “cyborg,” and “genderqueer wombat fantastica” hahaha. I know I wrote down a list of a lot more, at the conference. The presenters did a powerpoint presentation and the slide with all these identity ideas generated a lot of discussion. As soon as I find that list, I will post whatever else it was that I wrote down.
Feels like I wanna get more creative with how I might describe myself!