are the Whole
of the morning
glare at noon
My tea is Water and Wine,
she is mine
in the morning, noon, and nite
She is my delight
I want The Done!
Yeah, yeah, bread must bake,
after yeast casts its spells magic,
after grain finds glory in the grind,
after the scintillating silver scythe slices,
after the struggling stalks stick out of tight earth,
after the silent seed settles in furrows,
after the rough plough rips,
after the vision.
True becomings rise
from granted goings,
so I sit, wait, and ask
that Grace keep flowing
In the field,
damp with dawn’s ablutions
in lakes, and mists
the wheat waves,
sways, whiles away
the time passing,
time light and lilting,
time ponderous and paunchy…
always the time…
And always the wheat,
ever returning to die
and rise again
and die and rise
undefeated and always
dancing its tango
And the moon watches,
and glows with delight
from dances of her own
in the bright and starry night.
She has been filled
and filled again
these mere minutes,
she delights in sparking
wheat to rise,
tides to turn,
and the sun
to take heart
and shine again.
Into the field,
for the first time
in this river, this grind,
a graceful clear bright chime
lush life flourishing
midst flowy flux
and flowers poke,
they peep out,
and then more boldy
they bloom and blossom.
At long last
the wheat connects and
the moon embraces and
the Promised Final End and Graces
of All Journeys wafts fragrant
on the wind.
Constance, I think the biggest obstacle between most people and acceptance of the multiple gender expressions in our world, is ignorance.
So, the most effective way to eradicate that obstacle is education. In that spirit I offer yet another reblog of a post that does a great job providing such education. As technology has advanced, the nuances of our universe are increasingly revealed…they have always been there. We have defined things by what we see, what we know…it is only natural to do this.
So…I pray that your eyes would be enlightened and your horizons expanded by the following post.
If some people are born neither male nor female, what does that say about our traditional views of sex and gender, and as these individuals will grow up to have sexual orientations, how can those orientations be defined? These are the questions asked by Michael Passaro in an essay which explores the possibility for a labeling system which validates and makes visible intersex individuals.
Lately I have been doing a lot of thinking about the gender and sexuality spectrum. I’ve discussed many things, from how we can and should define bisexuality, to whether sexual orientation should be a special class from other attractions. I will most likely do separate posts on each of these but one of the topics which interests me most is that of biological sex. What is sex? What are its defining characteristics? And how does it intersect with our many other characteristics and identities?
Lets start with the very basic. What is sex? Seems obvious to most. Sex is being male or female. Right? Well, yes. But maybe no. At least we can say that this is the widely understood use of the word. Let’s note that sex is not to be confused with gender. Gender is the social construct of categories of people and the behaviors and ways people are supposed to feel and relate to those categories/behaviors. But let’s explore a little bit into what it means to have a sex.
I suppose the simplest way to do this is to ask how do we know what sex you are? This is determined at birth by a doctor and is dependent on your developed sex organs. If you have a penis and testes you are male. If not, female. Simple right? We run into problem with this system when we encounter infants born with differences in their sex organs’ development so that they don’t really have a penis or a vagina or a clitoris. So which sex are these people? Well, doctors have decided in the past that they should be altered to fit into a binary system that cannot represent the form of the child.
As you can imagine, this worked for a time but soon came under scrutiny. People were slipping through the cracks. Because most of the children who were operated on were made into ‘girls’ these cracks were pushed open when people started to experience problems related to men’s health. This combined with the growing science around DNA moved sex’s definition to determined more by the the chromosomes contained within your cells.
This has led to even more interesting areas of what it means to be male or female. Almost everyone knows by the 7th grade that a female has two X chromosomes and a male has one X chromosome and one Y chromosome. However like all things in life, things aren’t this simple. There are many variations that can occur. There are people who only have one X chromosome. People who are XXY or XYY. There are XXX people and there are XXY people. What do we make of these? If DNA is the defining factor and there are so many different possibilities why do we only have 2 sexes?
Science has created a circular loop. We look at your physical characteristics at birth, and if needed we look at your DNA, but if your DNA isn’t fitting into the XX or XY categories we then look at your physical development again.
I, and many others, propose that there is a false sense of security in there being only two sexes. Anne Fausto-Sterling, a professor in biology and gender studies at Brown University, put forward that there could be as many as 5 different sex classifications (in a thought experiment). There is growing recognition in the scientific field that intersex is a legitimate claim against a binary understanding of sex. Germany and Australia have officially recognized that sex may not necessarily be only male and female. Australia allows for a sex “X” and Germany allows for children to be born with an indeterminate sex (to be determined at a later time).
There are many issues to deal with for intersex individuals. Issues of gender, issues of recognition, issues of bodily integrity and many more. All of these are best addressed by those who are directly affected by such things. So I would like to look at what this means for the rest of us who are (think we are) conventionally sexed. What does this mean for our understanding of sexuality?
The most glaring complication is what this means for our understanding of sexual orientation. In general sexual orientations are in relation to one’s self and the object of desire. Namely, if they are your sex, or the ‘opposite’. This is complicated when we talk about sexual orientation in terms of gender instead of sex but let’s focus on sex. Because now we do not have a binary what does it mean to be ‘heterosexual’? What is the opposite of male? What is the opposite of intersex? This is further complicated dependent on the number of sexes we allow. Can only some people be heterosexual then?
A further complexity arises when we look at what it means to be bi/pansexual. Again, operating under the assumption of sex as the object of sexual orientation, bisexual and pansexuality are the same (because traditionally there is only two sexes). However with the introduction of intersex this changes. Do we then interpret bisexual to mean two sexes? Do we adopt the view of many bisexual activists and say its attraction to one’s own sex and others? Maybe this would depend too on how many sexes we deem there to be.
Lets assume there are 3 (male, female, and intersex). Is a bisexual person still the same as a pansexual one? A person who is attracted to their own sex and others? Or is it a person attracted to two sexes? Many people might say the latter. To those I raise this question: Suppose I am a male, and I am attracted to females, and attracted to intersex individuals. BUT let us also say that I am only attracted to intersex people who resemble females. What is my sexual orientation? I seem to be bisexual. Because technically I am attracted to two sexes. However, am I really attracted to intersex people or am I actually attracted to their female-ness? It seems inaccurate to say that I am attracted to intersex people as a whole because its really only some.
This seems to justify breaking sex down further than only 3 sexes. Lets say we adopt the 5 sex system put forward by Fausto-Sterling (or even more sexes). Now how do we deal with the bi/pansexuality issue? Does/should bisexuality apply to those who are attracted to 2, 3, 4 sexes (and on and on)? Or ought we have trisexuals, quadsexuals, etc.? I’m not sure.
For clarity’s sake maybe classification ought be specific to the number of sexes you are attracted to. But is it the same for a male to be attracted to a female and a male as it is for a female to be attracted to females and female-presenting intersex? I’m not sure. Maybe we ought overhaul our entire classification system? Maybe the number is not the important bit but the specific sexes we are attracted to. Is it better to have a more complicated but also more comprehensive/accurate system?
Its clear that the system that we have doesn’t work. We can’t decide how to determine sex, let alone tell how many there are. The current binary places people into tiny boxes and clearly others many. It has been used to justify altering infants bodies unnecessarily, not only dangerous for the child then but then altering their entire life (forcing them to take hormones and still have the risk of medical complications later). As for sexual orientations – as a classification system we need to make a judgment call as to what it is that is important. Is the defining characteristic the number of sexes your attracted to? Or is the sex of the person important? If all we want is simplicity then clearly numbers is the way to go but I would question the value of a classification system that doesn’t accurately reflect the diversity that exists.
Read more about sexuality here.
This essay was originally published at Issues of Humanity. Republished with Permission. Image via Shutterstock.
It’s as simple as it can be.
I’ll leave the clothes off my words
and address you nakedly as anyone can
each one was perfect–
that is what I want to say–
the perfection found
only in Loving.
Do you understand?
It seems against everything we know and
It seems against everything we believe and
It is true.
To say “I love you” is a humiliation
It is the Absolute Narrowing of Possibilities
And everyone, down to
the last person
Dreads it…and wants it…
For only in narrowing is found
Endless Widening Freedom
Good morning Constance!
I am sitting, snuggled in my favorite blankets with my lappie, catching up on the turning of the world for another time as we walk that ancient and worn trail so well known around the sun…
…but I am somewhat puzzled, and curious about something.
I write for myself, what is on my heart and what is in my spirit at the time…this blog is the place where I put what I am thinking or feeling, and as it is written primarily for myself, I don’t concern myself too awful much with responses…but: when I get them, it feels good, because I know that I sparked something in someone else.
Usually, there is a lot of feedback on poems, and quite a bit of feedback on the lil essays I write.
But on the post Love, in a sexual world, I got nothing! Seriously…oh no, I forgot, one new follower, which was cool. I am not a follower counter, but it stood out to me because of the dearth of feedback on this post.
So…here is what I want to know:
Am I that out of step with the world, that my post was the sounding of a loud clangy cymbal? Or am I just wrong on the issue, and sex conflates with love these days interchangeably? Or did I offend with the openness of my convictions that sexuality is most edifying in a monogamous, committed relationship? Or was it just a poorly written, badly thought out post?
I think that this issue is one of the critical dynamics of our time! Clearly, how it is addressed or ignored has vast implications for each relationship, and especially the fruit of those relationships…children. How they grown up, what they are taught or not taught, what is caught by them thru osmosis, and then in turn how they handle relationships in their turn at the helm.
I think the issue has implications for the emerging issues of sexuality, personality…human identity!
It is not sufficient to believe that if we just teach “correct moral law” that it will fix everything…it won’t! That is sorta the point of the entire chronicle of human history until Precious Jesus came…there is absolutely no way to be “good”, or “good enough” to become whole and actualized as beings all on our own! Given the towering and stellar beauty of God’s law (the core of which is pretty much at the heart of any great moral/religious structure), you would think there would be large segments of successful demonstration of the fruits of these things…and yet what do we see…over and over and over?
No…the only hope, in my view anyway, is the instruction spirit to spirit in the ways of relationship! Efforts to address the inherent brokenness found in each and every person, examination of the manifold ways we desperately seek to fill the void within and the way those efforts play out in our lives and the lives of those we are connected to…these are the kinds of things we ought to be digging our fingers and teeth into!
Building lifeboats and throwing out lifelines is good, in a crisis…but in addition to the construction of safety nets why not move further down the stream and build some preventive dams to protect the small villages that slumber peacefully,unaware of the onslaught which is piled and furious at the pass?
I digress…I am sorry about that. A glimpse into the more far reaching things my spirit finds burdensome.
My desire here this morning is feedback, driven by curiosity…topic distasteful? Solution proffered laughable? Inadequate? A fantasy? Writing style pedantic and ponderous…stick with the catchy poems and pretty word pics Charissa?
Okay…indulgence of curiosity (and perhaps ego?) is now over. Your regularly scheduled programming will commence, Constance!
Love, Grace and Peace always, and may the fullness of Wholeness come to each and every one of you, and bring you to the place where all tears are wiped away, and all joy is there in fullness for all peoples.