T is for Trans Dr Meg-John Barker

T is for Transgender Dr. Meg-John Barker 020

Hi everyone! Welcome to the A to Z of Sex. I’m Dr Lori Beth and I am your host.  We are working our way through the erotic alphabet one letter at a time.  Just a reminder this podcast deals with adult content, so if you don’t have total privacy, you might want to put on your headphones. Today the letter is T and T is for Transgender and Non-Binary Gender Identification. The Oxford English Dictionary defines transgender as someone who’s self-identity does not conform unambiguously to conventions of male or female gender. Non-binary gender identity (sometimes called genderqueer) is defined Wikipedia as a ‘catch all category for gender identities that are not exclusively masculine or feminine – identities which are thus outside of the gender binary and cisnormativity. Cis gendered refers to people whose gender identity conforms to their biological sex so cisnormativity highlights that these are the usual norms applied (those that apply to people who identify as the same gender as their biological sex).

Joining me today is Dr. Meg-John Barker is a writer, therapist, and activist-academic specialising in sex, gender and relationships. Meg-John is a senior lecturer in psychology at the Open University and a UKCP accredited psychotherapist, and has over a decade of experience researching and publishing on these topics including the popular books Rewriting the Rules, The Secrets of Enduring Love and Queer: A Graphic History.

Welcome to the show. Please define the terms transgender, non-binary and cisgendered better than I did above! Meg-John defined transgender as the larger umbrella term that covered anyone who identified differently from the gender assigned at birth. They made the point that actually very few people see themselves as completely male or completely female. They highlighted that non-binary refers to those who see themselves as outside the binary male/female, heterosexual/homosexual, dominant/submissive, active/passive, asexual/highly sexual. I then asked about queer and they said that this has many definitions. Queer theory is an academic discipline that looks at all things non-binary (bisexuality for example, or polyamory as well as non-binary gender).  They have just written a graphic novel all about Queer history. You can get it here. They spoke about how much fun it was to research this and to see the imagery come to life when working with the artist.

We went on to talk about some of the concerns there are for the transgender and non-binary community (which is actually quite large as up to 1/3 of people can identify as not 100% the gender assigned at birth). We spoke about the importance of identifying non-binary people with the pronouns they prefer and how often they are not seen and that being invisible takes a large toll on people. They reported the rates of mental health issues as higher for trans and non-binary folk than for those who identify as male or female and that this is similar to the research on bisexual people. We spoke about how you can practice using the pronoun your friends and colleagues desire and that this will make it easier to remember. We spoke about how many ways non-binary and transgendered people are made invisible each day – on forms, passports, when addressed by strangers and how important it is for resources directed at them.  We spoke about the need for gender neutral spaces and that they encourage all people to think about the ways and places they might be non-binary. And there was so much more. Dr Meg-John Barker’s main website is http://www.rewriting-the-rules.com/.

Thanks for joining me this week for the A to Z of Sex. Write in with your questions to drloribeth@atozofsex.com and visit both websites https://www.atozofsex.com and http://www.the-intimacy-coach.com to learn about alternative sexual choices, types of sexual relationships and to learn to sizzle and create that ideal lasting intimate relationship. For a free 30 minute session with me, head over to https://www.atozofsex.com and click on the button that says ‘book now’.  Please join me next week when the letter will be U…

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