Genderbender: Sexual Identity and Gender Identity

Before Robert Baden-Powell started the scouting movement he was a Boys Brigade officer, who became vice president of the organisation in 1903. He did an experiment where some Boys Brigade companies would become Boys Brigade Scouts, later these groups split off to become the Boy Scouts.

One of the reasons for splitting off was that the scouting movement was more progressive for the time, and as far as I know It always has been.

I think the reason I ended up in the BB was because there weren’t any scouts nearby. I could walk to and from the local church on my own, but the nearest scouts was a car drive away and my mum couldn’t drive at the time (my dad was in the merchant navy and away quite a bit). I would rather have been in the guides but they wouldn’t have let a trans girl in back then even if I could have got away with transition.


I haven’t found that in the official histories - is there a source? The version I had was that in 1907 or thereabouts B-P organised an experimental Scout camp on Brownsea Island which drew on BB members, Etonians and Harrovians as part of Baden-Powell’s belief in social mixing. It was never exclusively BB. I wonder if the BB has “improved” the story?


You are right, the experimental camp wasn’t BB only.

Baden-Powell did become Honorary VP of the BB in 1903 though and he started The Boys Brigade Scouts in 1906. Even the Scouts admit that William Smith approached Baden-Powell “to work out a scheme for giving greater variety in the training of boys in good citizenship.

This page seems to back up some of what I was taught.


Typical BC, expecting Ontario to be psychic when you’ve said nothing that would indicate where or who you are.

Next you’ll be complaining that bagged milk and maple syrup are ONLY an Ontario thing! ;p


“other side of the country” “BCTF”. They are what we mystery reader/writers like to call clues. :stuck_out_tongue: (Please read this as more lighthearted than nasty… that is the intent.). Yes, ON its in the East. Eastern Conferences, Eastern Standard Time, back East. Try to go West of us and you get wet. :stuck_out_tongue:

I haven’t replied and am not going to mention for a couple of reasons.

  1. I realised we were derailing.
  2. I read the post in Fuck Today and I am not going to pile on someone who is having a bad day. I made the original crack before I read that post.

But it wasn’t that long ago that an MP declared at a public event that Canada stretched “From the Rockies to the Atlantic”.

The political erasure of BC is a bit of a sensitive / front of mind thing around here right now, because it has cost lives and those lives are now being used by Ottawa as a negotiating tool. Fetanyl has been a crisis for quite a while here, but instead of Federal funding, we saw pleas for help either ignored or dismissed with a side of victim blaming telling us to shut down Insite and pop-up clinics like it that were saving lives. Only when Ontario’s problems started hitting the news did the Federal monies emerge and they still come with conditions like a province must buy into the federal health care deal, whether it benefits them or not. A lot of people here bought the promises of changing the voting system. FPTP means the government gets chosen before our polls even close. Now we’re told that the system won’t be changing.

So, yeah, we snark about it a bit. Is that not our Grand Canadian Tradition? Laugh at what we are powerless to change?


May I invite you to the Canada thread? :slight_smile:


The inclinations of the Austrian and German officer classes are briefly discussed in Fashion and Fetishism. I think Kunzle wastes too much time on collars, though.


The other side of the country from BC is not Ontario, it is Newfoundland & Labrador. That’s over a thousand kilometres past Ontario. I know several Maritimers who would be horrified to be lumped in with Ontario.

And I recall residents of both Vancouver and Victoria pointing out the mountains to me when I’ve visited there in the past. Are those not part of the Rockies? The Okanagan Valley is as Rockies as it gets and that’s definitely BC.

BCTF is pretty obscure for anyone who is not a) in BC and b) a member or a friend or relative of a member of the BCTF. My immediate family are related to two former members of the OSSTF, but I guarantee they can’t remember what it is or what the letters stand for without being reminded.

So clues, but pretty obscure ones.


Tonight I’m hosting a videoconference with my friend Stephanie Bonvisutto. She is a women’s studies doctoral student at Stony Brook University, and she is putting together a really great discussion. It’s about safe spaces in yoga for LGBT but I think whether you are interested in yoga or not, it’s going to be just generally a good discussion about making a space a safe space, and particularly for LGBT people.

When: Jun 20, 2017 9:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting


At the risk of a post proclaiming, “It’s not like that here!” (because it is), I do want to share something that I’ve shared elsewhere because it does give me hope. I live in southern Alabama (albeit a university town), and my son has a transgendered friend who he has known since 2nd grade; they are about to enter high school.

We’ve watched and experienced the transition and the pain the family has endured. I’m not sure there’s anyplace in America, the place with which I’m most familiar, that I would recommend raising a transgendered child, but on first glance, Alabama would not pop to mind. :slight_smile: However, I’ve been so pleased by my son and his friends’ reactions to their friend – it is really “no big deal” to them. This is not to suggest that it’s been “no big deal” to all the other people in the family’s life, but I have witnessed the magnet school they attended be overly accepting of his transition.

I guess I’m sharing to explain that change is possible anywhere and it usually happens through the personal. One child, one family, affected all sorts of people and through the influence of other parents, the damage was less than it could have been and may have affected opinion in ways that the general could not.

Again, I’m not sharing to defend Alabama or its politics (such a defense is simply not possible). I’m only sharing to say that I’ve found hope in such personal interactions recently, even in Alabama. The personal, coupled with national and international movements for acceptance, can affect change that is not easily undone.

“Used to be” – when I started as a librarian at a large university in Mississippi in 2001 and subsequently got pregnant, I was told I was lucky that I didn’t get transferred from public services (aka reference librarian) to technical services (aka catalog the books) after I started showing because that was the unofficial policy until the mid 1990s. A direct quote: “It was considered too vulgar to have a pregnant woman interacting with the public.” And what individual was going to challenge that, especially pregnant staff members who needed their health insurance?


Thank you for sharing about that. I always found people in Alabama really accepting individually. it’s in the groups where people do thoughtless things. But actually being up North now, I see that the conversations are much quieter here. It’s almost the opposite where politically people are liberal but at an individual level, conversations aren’t happening.


Here’s the replay of my event tonight


Well, I feel I’m giving too much credit to people here in deep South. I’ve managed to find pockets of acceptance, and yes, that is reason for hope. But this scorched earth is blanched with such blood and suffering that I mostly fear it will never recover. That’s how I feel most of the time. :slight_smile:


Okay, I have a question. It’s always seemed to me that gender expression is socially constructed—how men and women act, dress, display emotions, and so on are based upon arbitrary cultural norms that are learned from infancy. To say you were born male but, because you identify with the female cultural repertoire, you therefore are female seems kind of essentialist to me—its reinforcing these arbitrary gender norms rather than challenging them. Wouldn’t it make more sense to say that you’re a man (by virtue of biology) but that you present in ways that our culture traditionally associates with women? Wouldn’t this make it easier for people to just be themselves without having to choose between two arbitrary social categories?

And, just to be clear, I respect people’s right to live and identify however they choose, but I feel like there’s something I’m just not getting here and maybe somebody can explain it to me.

What is it you’re not getting? Why people choose to live and identify in the ways that they do?


You might be interested in the start of the conversation I posted above.

Sex = biology
Sexuality = sexual preference
Gender = identity

So, yes, you can say that your sex is male (by virtue of biology) but that your gender is female.


But, why would you? The problem seems to be that “male” and “female” simply aren’t useful terms outside of biology. They don’t correspond to sex; they’re based upon arbitrary, fluid and ill-defined cultural norms; and it’s not clear how useful they really are. Why create (or reinforce) a dichotomy that is ill-suited to describe what is really more of a spectrum?


The concept of gender, really (see above). Why not dispense with it entirely?


I think that’s asking for people everywhere to discard the concepts of “male” and “female” and think of gender as constantly fluid, which is a rather tall order.

A good example of what you’re talking about, more or less, is Eddie Izzard. He’s a man who often presents as female, wearing full makeup, female clothes, nails, heels, etc, but doesn’t modify his speech to be less male; he’s heterosexual but has said sometimes he feels more like a woman (his “lesbian” side, as he puts it) and sometimes more like a man. His identity is fluid.

Most people don’t have the luxury or confidence to present differently day-to-day. Society is full of gender norms and at some point in many people’s lives they realize they’re much more comfortable and confident identifying one way versus the other. I think the majority of people are more comfortable fitting into one category or the other rather than thinking of themselves as “3/4 male but 1/4 female, except today, when I’m 1/2 female”. They’d rather go all-in.


If you watch the video and put comments below that, Stephanie will answer you about these questions. There is a conversation happening about how we define gender @Haystack and Stephanie has a lot of information about what the current thoughts on whether we need gender definitions at all or not.