Gender Bend 

Female/male line blurred

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Oct. 28, 2011, will go down in history as one of the most significant dates in the history of our species. Since it happened to be a Friday, most people were not paying much attention to the news—not only were they thinking ahead, as usual, to the weekend, but they were also eagerly anticipating Halloween, Utah’s favorite holiday.

So most folks may not have noticed three earthshaking events on that Friday that will have profound consequences for future generations. In each case, some long-standing rule was overturned, reversed or simply chucked out the window.

Early on Friday, it was announced that the centuries-old tradition of the first-born male succeeding to the British throne was being dropped. Henceforth, the heir to the throne would be the firstborn, male or female.

A few hours later, a joint announcement was issued by the Royal & Ancient Golf Club and the United States Golf Association. Golf is a game older than the British monarchy itself, and its rules more hidebound than the laws of royal succession. Nevertheless, one of the most revered rules was summarily shoe-mashied from the rulebook. Clause 18-2b had declared that if a ball wobbles, rocks or shimmies after a golfer has addressed it, the golfer is deemed to have caused the ball to move, and is accordingly assessed a one-stroke penalty.

Now, as made clear by the R&A and the USGA, no penalty shall be assessed, unless it can be proved by an irrefutable preponderance of the evidence, that said player has caused it to move, either by touch, belch or passing of gas.

The third history-making event that occurred that Friday is even more earth-shattering than the rule changes to royal succession and golf-ball wobbling. This was the announcement by officials at the Border States Classic Bodybuilding Association that they were allowing a transgender bodybuilder to participate in the women’s competition. The bodybuilder in question, 6-foot, 3-inches, 42-year-old Chris Tina Bruce—formerly known as Chris Gary Bruce—used to compete as a male. But after a regimen of female hormones, which gave him larger breasts and a smaller penis, he decided to go up against the pumped up gals.

There are those who might say “Big deal,” given that it’s often difficult to tell the gals and guys apart in body-building contests. Nevertheless, changing the rule from “not having a penis” to “having semi-detectable breasts” has profound implications, not just in the wide world of sport, but in the whole universe of gender relations.

It may take a few years or so for the older generation to get past the artificial binary polarization of male/female. For the current generation, however, the male/female or female/male dichotomy is already a relic from a benighted sexist era. The new thinking with regard to the bogus binary of male/female is summed up in the different reactions from bodybuilder Tina’s former nuclear family. According to Tina, his ex-wife was not a happy camper with regard to his/her quest for a New Me.

“She hates it,” said Tina as she prepared to strike poses for the judges at the Border States Classic Bodybuilding competition in San Diego. As for Tina’s kids, a 12-year-old son and an 8-year-old daughter, they simply want her to be happy. Hey, go for it, Dad, er, whatever or whoever you are.

As of this writing, Tina has yet to compete in the San Diego event. A few of her competitors, all of whom as of this writing are lacking in the penis department, are plenty steamed about changing the rules to let Tina apply the body oil and flex her glistening musculature for the judges. Tina herself is not super confident and predicts that some of the judges may not like her look.

But she sees herself as breaking new ground, and not just in the arcane world of bodybuilding. She likens herself to Chaz Bono, whose pioneering venture in transgendering has spread far beyond the arcane world of celebrity dancing. Though Tina has not explicitly expressed a desire to hook up with Chaz, it’s hard not to read into her enthusiasm a yearning to trip the light fantastic with the son of Cher on future installments of Dancing With the Stars.

It may still seem to many that chucking the rules of gender is a temporary aberration. Consider, then, Halloween, where men increasingly love to dress up as women. Next year, the hottest costume for guys will be Tina the Bodybuilder.

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