Cis obsession with genitals

Yet again, I am struck by how obsessed the cis world is with what us trans folks keep between our legs. The springboard for that thought, this time, it the fuss over the Soho Square searches. Though it could have been any number of issues.

First off, some basic factual stuff, obtained from the Ministry of Justice when talking to them about prison searches. They were quite clear: intimate searches (in the sense of searches within body cavities) are not permitted. Squat searches ARE allowed, although in practice squat searches are only carried out on males.

Why? Because the act of squatting tends to push items hidden within the anus outward. Men will tend to attempt to conceal things in their rear. Women, for obvious reasons, prefer to conceal front-wise, where better musculature and better muscle control generally means that items do not protrude.

Thus, men get squat searched because there is a point to it: women don’t, because there is little point.

I digress, though only slightly.

One of the major red harrings to be raised in respect of Soho Square has been: yes, but what if police need to check out…someone’s gender…whether someone has something concealed between their legs.

Let’s kill off the second first. Police and security staff are generally permitted to do pat searches. These do not involve holding, cupping or otherwise getting intimate with any part of the target body. If someone is arrested and placed in cells somewhere, rules pertaining to intimate and squat searches then come into play.

But the idea that police wander round the streets armed with some sort of general power to stick the long arm of the law up anyone’s bum (apologies for the coarsery!) at any moment is just fiction. They can’t.

Ah, but…what about checking out gender? Hmmm. At first sight, it appears as though there may be a point. But… a pat search is a pat search, irrespective of who is being searched. You don’t actually need to know gender to carry one out.

I mean: in what circumstances, other than personal intimacy or marriage, does a police man need to KNOW your gender? And if a PC started getting intimate with me on a first meeting – let alone a first date – I’d definitely be asking some very serious questions about what they were up to.

What, though, if someone is being arsey about their gender as a means to avoid a search. That eventually boils down to obstruction, which is a separate offence that must be dealt with anyway. Alternatively, if they are just refusing to divulge details…well, that’s possibly obstruction and (see above) must be dealt with separately.

In what circumstances does anyone think it appropriate for conversation to go: name? gender? OK, I’m not sure about that: let me put my hand between your legs.

No. Its ludicrous and, at base, just a perpetuation of the meme that says that somehow there is something significant about what trans men and women keep in their pants. Honest: there isn’t. It is suggested we obsess about our genitals.

The more I think about it, the more I think its cis men and women who obsess about our genitals. We pretty much all have an idea of what we’d like down there: we obviously know what we’ve got and, in some cases are working hard to move from one to the other. End of.

Its only cis folk who go on about it.

Perhaps I’ve just misunderstood polite society. Next time I see a policeman in the street, perhaps what I should be doing is walk up to him, place my hand between his legs, and start in a loud voice: “ah, I see one of your balls has failed to drop”.

Or perhaps I haven’t – and it is much of cis society that has utterly forgotten how to be polite.



About janefae

On my way from here to there
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2 Responses to Cis obsession with genitals

  1. Natacha says:

    The answer is, unfortunately, the “cultural genital”. See Garfinkel, H (1967) Studies in Ethnomethodology.

  2. FourFiveOne says:

    I’ve been taking the devil’s advocate position and trying to come up with reasons that the police might need to check exactly what genitals someone had and this is what I’ve come up with:

    1) Establishing identity.
    Even the idea of this would be pretty far-fetched. If previous police records concerned the person pre-transition then they could information about them that was misgendered. A DNA test would make far more sense to match them up than combining physical appearance with genital configuration.

    2) Corroborating an accusation of an indecent exposure or sexual assault.
    There could be a bit more to this. If a third party claimed that the person being searched had committed an offence which involved having a particular genital configuration then it could be necessary to check. However, I’d assume this could be done using medical records (as most people don’t do their own surgery) and even if it couldn’t then it could be done by a doctor back at the station.
    The only reason for the police to need to check there and then would be if the person being searched was suspected of being able to perform their own SRS while in custody to avoid prosecution. This approaches Monty Python levels of silliness.

    As far as the need to check if someone has something hidden between their legs, I’m fascinated at the way this seems to come up. There are plenty of other places that a small object could be concealed that the police don’t check as standard.

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