21 mai 2010

What if someone wanted to do away with gender ?

While you have answered a question about castration, you did so in a leading manner that implies desire towards femininity. What if an individual did not want to become female, but wished to do away with gender and sexual identity altogether? Would the barriers of understanding by «successful» people make this impossible? I’d rather not have to jury rig a pair of hedge clippers, but I don’t think I have any choice. I am a Montrealler, so if you can provide an individual reference, that would help greatly.

Kay Wo

Hi Dave,

Firstly, thank you so much for writing in to us at AlterHéros with your questions. Secondly, PUT DOWN THAT JURY RIGGED PAIR OF HEDGE CLIPPERS! Though it might seem like an immediate solution, let's talk about your situation a bit first.

As an individual who wishes to do away with gender and sexual identity, you definitely have some options, but what is most important is your perspective on the situation. From your post, it seems you are dissatisfied about having features that identify you as male and also, you appear frustrated by the fact that even if you were to rid yourself of these masculine features, “successful” people (as in the general society who are okay with their gender and sexual identity) would still not “get it.”

Unfortunately, no matter what you do about your physical appearance, the general population will most likely not be understanding towards a person who does not have a gender or sexual identity. This way of identifying is still very new to society and it will take time for it to be accepted into mainstream understanding. As much as it would be nice to be able to tell you that getting castrated would somehow make it clear to someone that you don't have a gender or sexual identity, most people just won't be able to wrap their heads around it. This isn't to say that this lack of understanding is out of malice; for the most part, it will be because of plain ol' ignorance.

As a person who wishes other people to accept them as someone who identifies as without gender or sexual identity, you will have to take the time to explain your story with people to help them understand where you are coming from. It is through sharing your feelings and perspective on your identities that you can garner understanding from the people in your life. Of course, you can always do things such as wear gender neutral clothing, sport a gender neutral hairstyle or even start taking hormones to tone down your masculine features if you want to personify your gender and sexual neutrality. This could help you feel more at ease with your physical exterior and also provides society with the image you wish for them to perceive of you.

When it comes to castration, there isn't really a resource available where you'll be able to get a quick okay, green light to undergo the procedure. It will take a full psychological evaluation from a trained professional who must assess you and conclude that you are indeed a candidate for castration. If however, you wish to figure out something that is less invasive like hormone therapy, Head & Hands have an excellent program to help trans identified individuals who could either help you themselves, or give you the right referral to an individual contact in Montreal. Their contact information is below.

In your post, you never specified exactly why you are tempted to castrate yourself other than trying to get “successful” people to understand your lack of gender or sexual identity. If this is the sole reason, you might want to reconsider. If anything, martyring your genitalia for the sake of understanding will not be effective on the masses. However, if you take the time to talk about it to the people that are important to you, you can start enlightening people one by one. You could also consider volunteering with organisations in Montreal that would appreciate your reality such as Head & Hands, Project 10, ASTT(e)Q or 2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy at Concordia. These groups work primarily with trans youth, so even if you might not feel like you're making an impact with the people from your generation or older, you can definitely influence the up and coming generations in working towards a more understanding and accepting society.

Hopefully you'll have found this response helpful. If not, please write us back and let us know where we went wrong and give us more details on what you would like or even tell us more about your story. Your feedback is much appreciated. Until then, good luck!


K-Wo for AlterHéros

Head & Hands


Kathleen at 514-481-0277 (Monday: 10h-18h, Tuesday: 12h-21h30, Wednesday: 11h-18h, Thursday: 12h-21h30)


Project 10


514-989-4585 (Monday to Thursday: 12h-18h)






2110 Centre for Gender Advocacy


514-848-2424 Ext. 7431 (Monday-Tuesday: 12h-17h, Wednesday-Thursday: 12h-18h)