[DWJ] Sex/gender

Minnow minnow at belfry.org.uk
Sat Apr 21 16:29:10 EDT 2007

>On Apr 21, 2007, at 10:47 AM, Minnow wrote:
>> None of these institutions is interested in gender differentiation of
>> any
>> meaningful sort, they merely want for whatever reason good or bad to
>> know
>> whether the person filling in the form is male or female by the
>> generally
>> accepted criteria -- ie whether they have male or female genitalia.
>> They
>> want the answer to an either/or question.

Otter recounted

>My sister took a course on Oracle, a database system.  The instructor
>was pointing out the danger of assuming that a variable is either/or
>and informed them of this wonderful fact:
>The New York State Department of Corrections has 26 possible
>values for gender.

I slightly assume that The New York State Department of Corrections is some
sort of penal organisation, in which case they probably want to know which
slammer they need to find a place in for the person filling in the form, so
I bet that when they ask about it, what they really want to be told
initially is whether the person they are asking is a pointer or a setter.
Or does NY have mixed prisons?

That "either/or" busines leads to damn' fool ideas to the effect that
anyone who isn't one hundred per cent on one "side" must be one hundred
percent on the other, as "you either have a green skin or you have a blue
one", without "well actually it's a sort of pinkish brown/brownish pink"
being available as an option.  When it is put like that one sees what an
idiotic way that is to carry on, but "if you aren't on our side you must be
on theirs" often doesn't get questioned as it ought to be.  It's
increasingly unlikely that you'll be allowed to say "A plague o' both your
houses!" and get away with it.

Oh, it is *far* too long since I read *Memoirs of a Spacewoman*.  After
*Words and Music*.


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