Transgender: For good or for bad? (Foucault’s Identification of Self)

       This is the case for Roxy that is previously known as Bob who is a father to a nine years old kid that was born with autism. As he realize that he has trouble to communicate with his children, he has decided to go through surgery and become the second mother to his/her son. Roxy has been feeling uncomfortable with his own skin as a male for the past 44 years but only later after 20 years of marriage to his/her wife Jo, he decided to go through gender reassignment with the total support of his/her wife (Cockroft, 2015).

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Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3045594/Former-bodyguard-called-Bob-finally-bonds-nine-year-old-autistic-son-second-mother-known-Roxy.html

       This is the picture of Roxy and Jo 20 years ago before Roxy decided to change his/her gender. Now they are still together but in their lesbian relationship. And now not only both of them, even their son also is happier with the changes made by his/her second mother.

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Introduction to identity 

        Who am I? A question that not only haunt the transgender but also everyone in the world at some point of their life. But the question of “who am I” is said to be the answer for every individual identity quest which lead to the message “This is who we are” once we found the real us throughout the struggle to answer the endless quest. Michael Foucault argue that identity is a way of us becoming the real us which is a unique individual through the technologies of self. But what is actually identity? Brewer stated every human has two type of identity which are the personal identity and social identities.

Personal identities is the individuated self-those characteristic that differentiate one individual from others
whereas social identities are “categorization of the self into more inclusive social unit that
depersonalize the self-concept”.These self-concepts can include categories such as
race, gender, occupational roles, organizational membership and so forth (Brewer, 1991, p. 477).

       Speaking about technology of self, we can relate it with culture that we live in today whereby it is normal to see young boys being scold for crying in public because only girls will do so said the parents and they are also not allowed to play with doll simply because it is a girl toy. Hence, the technology of self is actually socially construct because it was the people who set the taboo that they think is against the social norm. But it is also such practice that make us understand the identity that we are assign to according to our sexuality.

        The word identification is closely relate to one’s identity and it is represent by two meaning which are first the state and second the process of it. One’s identification with the state means by a person identify his or her identity according to his or her social group while the process aspect focus more on how an individual able to connect his or her identity with that preferable social group. Need to be stated here that there are no any fix identification for any human beings as human are impetus to changes due to their work or organisational demand. Hence, one’s is either negotiate with the changes face by his or her identity through times or manage it (Kreiner, Hollensbe, & Sheep, 2006). This is supported by Anthony Gidden who claim that identity is a dynamic, ever changing and evolve process. Hence there is no static identity occupied by an individual because there are always space and availabilities for one’s to improve or modify his or her identity.

The transgender  

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       This is a very strong statement made by the Executive Director of GenderPac who was born as a male but then change its genital to female through surgery and now are being label as no gender by the state of where he/she live in. Thus, she claim that gender issues is not only one’s personal problem but it is more to civil right issue even do they needs to disown some part of their body in order to serve the social expectation and norms (Mantilla, 2001). Without public consent, there are major harassment face by the transgender where most of them are found to be jobless as employer choose not to employ them although they have the qualification needed due to their sex orientation. This inequality situation then call for the transgender attention to realize that it is not their task but their duty to seek for equal right for their own kind.

       Other than that the transgender also against the intersex genital mutilation for those who was born with atypical sex anatomy.

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        Angelo Moreno Lippert from the Intersex Society of North America make a strong arguments when she clearly pin point that there is no need for surgeries to be conduct on children’s that is born with two sexes because it will only harm them. Instead of knowing what they want be in term of gender identity, children’s might end up face battle within themselves trying to be what that they has made into as the result of the surgeries.

        It is not an easy issue, but that parents need referrals to counselor and need to be encouraged to accept their children’s difference. She also said counselling and peer support saved families and lives”. She encourage making all sex assignment of children tentative, thus preserving the child’s choice, that the choice should “rest squarely with the individual who will live with the consequences” (Mantilla, 2001, p. 7).

The Beaumont Society 

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Source: http://www.beaumontsociety.org.uk/

       The Beaumont Society is an organisation that is for and run by the transgender community itself. In spite of gender, their sexual orientation, ethnicity and skin colour, the Beaumont society welcome all those who are the latecomers to those who are already comfortable and confident in their skin and identity that they have chosen. Other than guiding the transgender through advice, the Beaumont Society also train their members to face the challenges in their everyday life.

“Transgender” is an inclusive term for anyone whose sex assigned to him or her at birth. For example, the ascribed status as “female” or “male” on their birth certificate does not conform to their lived or perceived gender. This is known as gender dysphoria.

Gender Dysphoria as explained in Beaumont Society official page refers to dissatisfaction of an individual natural biological characteristic, which is incongruent with their preferred identity. Gender Dysphoria affects the significant others and family relations of transgendered people in a variety of ways.

Beaumont Society as a UK registered charity that originally founded in 1966 where it started of as a UK Chapter of the secret American organization “Full Personality Expression (FPE)” focuses on the transgendered individual by supporting and carried out many activities. Their aim is to form an association for the transgender community to facilitate mutual support and communication in order to improve their physical, mental and self esteem of the transgender people. In addition, Beaumont promotes and assists in many studies of gender differences by providing necessary information and legal support to the researcher and also the nation by accomplishing some lawful activity.

Traditionally regarded as a secret MTF group for cross-dressers, the Beaumont Society has evolved since these humble beginnings. It’s now not only open to transgendered community, Man To Female, Female To Male, bisexual or non-gendered. Even to teenagers, who is struggling to find their true gender identity where they may seek advice and help from what they are facing now. As for the wife and life partner to these gender dysphoria community, there is a sister “partners” organization call women of the Beaumont Society (WOBS) (http://www.gender.org.uk/wobsmatters/), which has specifically been established for them.

As mention in the Beaumont society official web page, the members get many benefits of membership after register and pay member fee as much as £29.00 GBP for the first year and then £29.00 GBP for the following each year. The benefits are as below:-

  • Get exclusive access and stand a chance to chat and meet with others
  • Download back issues and contribution by the members of the Beaumont Society Magazine
  • Invitations to Exclusive Beaumont Society linked events
  • Join discussion in the private members online forum and many more…

Foucault’s Identification of Self

         Relating the transgender issue to our topic today, we do agree with the idea of Foucault’s saying that the technologies or practices which are referred to as ‘technologies of the self’ is actually the practices by which we get to understand and shape ourselves. Foucault argued that identity is the ways in which we become unique individuals and selves. In other word, identity is constructed  via some techniques and practices.

     According to Rail & Harvey (1995) who cited Foucault’s perception on Identification of self, they defined that technologies of the self as the practices which allows the individual to be influenced by their own means. In addition, it also refers to that of with the help of a certain number of operations on their own bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to transform themselves in order to attain a certain state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality (Rail & Harvey  as cited in Foucault, 1950).

“Through these technologies an individual begins to recognize her/himself as a subject and in this sense,
s/he can be understood to counter the technologies of power”.

 As a consequence, Rail and Harvey has further explained the concept of identification by Foucault that

“the technologies of the self can be conceptualized as practices that free the individual from the control of disciplinary practices and consequently, lead to self transformation”

            In this context, drawing from the idea of Foucault, we perceive that the relationship of new media is shown via the new technologies of self that through the technologies, identities are constructed.  Looking back to the issue discussed above, the transgender issue is constructed where no one is born to be a transgender. In other word, one’s identity is created in the technologies practices. As for the Beaumont Society, we can see that in the websites, there provide a widfe platform for the audience specifically the transgenders. In the website, the participators can share and speak out their thoughts where there is the place which “belong” to their identities.

          For example, one of the tweets for this website shows that the participators are free to share their ideas via the connection to otehr social media such as Tweeter.

“Bullying, sexual abuse, intimidation & racism are not acceptable under any circumstance. If you believe this, retweet!”

Retweeted by Beaumont Society

 

Our insights: The agreement as the guest on Beaumont sites

We as the guest on the Beaumont site will mention our agreements. Beaumont is a community-based organization initiated to promote positive awareness for transgender community by providing them the help and support needed. It is also an independent body of organization that is run by the transgender community themselves.

In our observation, we agree that this website provides an interactive atmosphere towards the larger society not only for the transgender community. This website is seen to be good platform for the transgender community to express their identity freely in return, they gain help and support from other transgender. As mentioned earlier that through the use of technology, a person’s identity is shaped by technology, it is due to their trust towards the implication of technology that most people became fully dependent on technology as their ‘bestfriend’ or ‘a shoulder to lean on’.

Since this website is the foci for transgender community, it became centralised where everyone can get together to share and communicate especially to convey the ‘message of acceptance’ for transgender. The advantage is that, we as a society or community should come together to say this is what is right to do, which is to assist these particular community in acknowledging their identity’s decision.

References

Brewer, M. B. (1991). The social self: On being the same and different at the same time. Personality and Social Psychology       Bulletin, 475-482.

Cockroft, S. (2015, April 19). ‘I love my second mum so much. I never wabt daddy back’: Transgender father becomes          another mother to nine years old son (and a lesbian partner to his wife). Retrieved from Mail Online:          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3045594/Former-bodyguard-called-Bob-finally-bonds-nine-year-old-autistic-son-    second-mother-known-Roxy.html

Kreiner, G. E., Hollensbe, E. C., & Sheep, M. L. (2006). Where is the “Me” among the “We”? Identity work and the search          for optimal balance. The Academy of Management Journal, 49(5), 1031-1057.
Mantilla, K. (2001). Gender rights, transgender rights, women’s rights? Off Our Backs, 31(7), 6-9.

Markula , P. (2003). The Technologies of the self: Sport, feminism, and Foucault. Sociology of Sport Journal,  20, 87-107.

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One comment

  1. TheGeeks · April 22, 2015

    In a matter of shaping a identity, technologies does constructed the personality of an individual.

    Like

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