Monday, September 6, 2010

Bathroom Bugaboo Part 2

This graphic signage blog does great honor to the Bathroom Bugaboo

When the law does bend and reform itself to eliminate the legal separation of people into males and females, what will become of sex-separate lavatories? Do not the genitals of a citizenry become a proper interest of the sate when it comes to exercising excretory functions in public buildings? Is not the public restroom, with its separate urinals for men and makeup mirrors for women, proof that the apartheid of sex is necessary?

Questions such as these were also raised when African Americans sought equal rights in the 1950s and 1960s. Ubiquitous “whites only” and “coloreds” signs hung in front of separate restroom facilities throughout much of the South. Many people were enlightened enough to share a bus seat but drew an apartheid line on sharing a toilet seat.

In fact there is no need for sex-separate restrooms, and this can easily be accomplished without violating personal privacy. All that is needed is to remove apartheidlike “male” and “female” signs from the outside and install only closed-door stalls on the inside.

Several quasi-legal objections might be raised to unisex lavatories:

• Persons with penises will be discriminated against by losing access to “quick and dirty” stand-up urinals.
• Persons with vaginas will have to face toilet seats wet with urine from “sloppy shooters” or those too inconsiderate or lazy to lift a toilet seat.
• There will be an increase in restroom rape by placing people of different genitals together in a place where their genitals are exposed.

Starting with the alleged discrimination against persons with penises, this problem can be resolved immediately by placing a certain number of stand-up urinals inside closed-door bathroom stalls. Yet a better solution, however, is to install only sit-down toilets in public lavatories. Each sit-down toilet is usable by all genitalia, whereas stand-up urinals are designed for only one type of genitalia. So, in fact, it is stand-up urinals that are per se discriminatory. As to the extra thirty seconds it takes to drop one’s pants and sit down to pee—this seems a very small price to pay to ensure equal access to all restrooms by all people.

Of course, some persons may be too lazy to sit down to pee, or even to lift a toilet seat, or to aim halfway straight, thus imposing a seat-cleaning or crouching obligation on the next stall occupant. The solution to this problem is education. From childhood we need to train all children that it is civilized to sit down to pee, as part and parcel of a sex-free education. Today we train boys to stand up and pee as a sex discriminator. As every parent knows, the natural progression is from diapers to sit-down urination. Stand-up urination for people with penises is a way to say males are different (and better) in a patriarchal society.

A second possible solution is technology. Visitors to O’Hare Airport will recall that a push-button device on all toilets automatically cleans the toilet seat and dispenses a sanitary seat cover. Simple signs in front of each toilet, reminding the occupant to please sit down, may also be effective.

Restroom rape is a serious problem today, even with sex-separate bathrooms. It is pure speculation as to whether unisex bathrooms would increase restroom rape or decrease it by converting a “women’s space” attractive to rapists into a non-sexed public place. Generally rapists prefer seclusion. The thought that persons of any sex can enter any restroom at any time should discourage sexual violence in restrooms.

Heightened security, such as better night lighting, is one of the best tools to diminish rape. For about the cost of a single modern urinal, each public restroom could also be equipped with a continuous loop camera high above the exit door. This would have the same effect on discouraging restroom crime as when such cameras are installed elsewhere. If we place as much value on a person’s life as we do on a convenience store cash box or an ATM machine, then legislators should mandate automatic video surveillance of public restrooms. Legislation such as the Violence Against women Act (VAWA) sets a valuable precedent for spending federal money on facilities such as better outdoor lighting to enhance public safety.

The “bathroom bugaboo” presents no obstacle to the legal elimination of sexual apartheid. But today the law continues to enforce a separation of the sexes down to the urinal. In 1990 legal secretary Denise Wells was arrested in Texas for using the men’s restroom at a concert instead of waiting in a huge line for the women’s restroom. She was found not guilty by a mixed male/female jury and is now an advocate of “potty parity.” A dozen states mandate this feature in new buildings, ranging up to a required ratio of four to one female-to-male toilets in some California buildings. Laws requiring unisex lavatories on the European model, with adequate security features, would be less expensive to comply with and would also provide much relief to women faced with the indignity of long waits for a basic biological function. Such a change would also offer minimal consideration to dads out on the road with infants. Today the men face the insult of being unable to comfortably change their kids’ diapers in private, while changing areas are often “assumed necessary” in women’s restrooms.

The bathroom bugaboo is a legal problem because, as with race, restroom segregation reinforces social discrimination. It took laws to eliminate “whites only” lavatories. It took laws to mandate handicapped toilets. And it is taking laws to redress inadequate bathroom facilities for women. The best way to redress this harm, and to help cleanse society of sexual apartheid, is to pass laws that mandate secure, reasonably clean, unisex restrooms for all.

The new paradigm of a natural continuum of sexual identity provides a lot of work for lawyers in dismantling the old but omnipresent apartheid of sex. The elimination of sex as a basis for marriage, a label at birth, and a recurring checkbox in life will not come about easily. But the rewards are well worth the effort. Sexual identity lies at the heart of human expression. Eliminating the sexual shackles of today will spawn a revolution of gender creativity. All human beings will be able to live happier, more enriched lives.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

From Transgender to Transhuman

Chapter EIGHT

We know what we are, but know not what we may become.

- William Shakespeare

From Transgender to Transhuman

At the end of the first decade of the 20th century after Christ’s birth, religiously-inspired apartheid of sex is strong in certain respects, but is crumbling in many aspects. Three thousand, eight hundred years after male-or-female gender roles were first legally mandated in Babylonia’s Hammurabic Code, similar laws continue to demand adherence to rigidly dualistic sex-typing. On the other hand, the Modern World’s Internet Code is awash with a rainbow of gender identities.

Under an onslaught of science, secular ethics and software transgenderism, the once impenetrable fortress of sexual duality is falling apart. A dozen years ago, when the first edition of this book predicted the demise of sexual apartheid, no country in the world permitted marriage without regard to gender. Today, gender-blind marriage is authorized in seven countries and several American states:

> Canada, Spain, Holland, Belgium, Norway, Sweden and South Africa
> The American states of Massachusetts, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Iowa, New Hampshire and Vermont

Additionally, Israel and the American states of California, Maryland and New York recognize gender-blind marriages performed elsewhere

In addition, gender-blind marriage-like alternatives (civil unions or domestic partnerships) are now permitted in 22 additional countries and 6 additional American states, with many jurisdictions making their civil unions or domestic partnerships ever-more marriage-like in subsequent years.

Important regions of Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Mexico and Australia also established legal recognition of sex-blind civil unions or domestic partnerships. Adding all of these jurisdictions together, in the brief span of 14 years since this book foretold in Chapters 3 and 4 the coming of gender-indifferent marriage, approximately 10% of the world’s countries and approximately 10% of America’s states have authorized gender-blind marriage or its secular facsimile. These jurisdictions represent approximately 20% of the world’s population. This is a breathtaking rate of change for an institution that has been locked into sexual apartheid for millennia!

In our diverse world society we may expect the apartheid of sex to continue to live side-by-side with its transgendered antithesis. This, in itself, is a tremendous victory for the sexual continuum paradigm because, for most of history, the only admitted reality was the apartheid of sex. The very fact that world culture now admits of uniquely-defined sex-types in the workplace, cyberspace and culture-space – including “same-sex” marriages in some places and “transgendered” marital life in most places – is proof that the ancient apartheid of sex regime has broken down. From a worldwide view, the apartheid of sex is now just one of many ways to live one’s sex-type (living it in denial and repression) rather than the only way to live one’s sex-type (self-defined and unstructured by biological correlates).

It is unfortunate that as of this time there are still many places in the planet that impose the apartheid of sex as the only permissible gender regime. Yet, this type of cultural fascism is not limited to gender. The world is still peppered with communities of religious, economic and political totalitarianism. These communities may be as small as a Chasidic sect or as large as a Korean state. They may be as amorphous as “no smoking” outdoor patios or as sharply defined as “no immigrant” national borders. The point is that today, despite widespread cultural fascism, there are still many places where gender and other forms of diversity blossom. Therefore, the apartheid of sex is in as much retreat as is totalitarianism, fascism and intolerance generally. None of these artificially restrictive regimes are gone, but none of them have anything more than a shadow of the global and omnipotent reach of their past.

The futurist Sir Arthur C. Clarke once wrote “no form of communication ever disappears, they just become increasingly unimportant as the technological horizon widens.” The same may be said of restrictive regimes such as the apartheid of sex. Gender dimorphic laws and practices will never disappear, but they will become ever less present as the technological horizon widens.

Marriage and Family in a Transgendered World

When the apartheid of race was vanquished in South Africa, it became possible for people of African, Asian and European descent to marry without regard to their government-determined “race.” Similarly, where the apartheid of sex has crumbled most, will it become possible for people to marry without regard to their government-determined “sex”? In general the answer is yes, however, there are exceptions and a high level of controversy on this subject.

The reason a welcoming attitude to same-sex marriage is not as evident as it is for inter-racial marriage is because the marriage rite itself is rooted in a gender dimorphic religious culture. From the religionist’s point of view, their values are being infringed upon by the forced admission of same-sex couples into “their” rite. Controversy arises because over the centuries the once wholly religious rite of marriage has become a predominantly secular building block of the family-based society. Hence, citizens of the family-based society who want to marry without regard to their sexual identity also claim ownership of the marriage rite. These gender explorers claim to have their values suppressed by being locked out of marriage.

In a diverse world we can expect a diversity of solutions to marriage and family law aspects of a crumbling apartheid of sex regime. Where religionists maintain significant political power, they will often succeed in restricting “marriage” per se to its historical gender dimorphic practice. However by doing so they will effectively re-religionize it, and render it less important to society at large. The reason for this is that the more that marriage is characterized as a religious rite, accessible to only that segment of population that fully buys into the apartheid of sex, the more that society will empower marital alternatives such as civil or domestic partnership. These alternatives will have all of the legal trappings of marriage, including family law aspects such as child adoption. Over time the alternatives will become the far more dominant basis for two-person committed relationships because over time technology will enable a growing majority of people to live beyond male or female gender identities.

For example, in the United States, political religionists were shocked that, as noted above, ten percent of the American states had authorized sex-blind marriage or civil union or domestic partnership. They marshaled their political resources and recently achieved passage of laws in most of the other states preempting same-sex marriage. However, these preemptive laws apply only to marriage and not to civil unions or domestic partnerships. When asked by journalists why they have limited the scope of these laws, the political religionists explain that going beyond “marriage” would convert the issue from one of religious sanctity – that they know they can win – to one of civil rights – that they feel they will lose.

On the other hand, in Spain, where 80% of the population describes themselves as Catholics, the church was unable to rally enough political support to defeat a 2005 law authorizing full-equality same-sex marriage. The new law simply provides that “Marriage will have the same requirements and results when the two people entering into the contract are of the same sex or of different sexes.” Consequently it can be expected that marriage will remain a popular institution in Spain because it is not being de-secularized as is occurring in some parts of the United States.

As noted earlier in this chapter, no form of cultural behavior ever disappears, and certainly not one as pervasive as the apartheid of sex. Nevertheless, to paraphrase Sir Arthur Clarke, marriage may become less and less important as our technological horizon widens. This process will be accelerated by religious opposition to same-sex marriage because it fuels family law alternatives, such as civil partnership, that provide equivalent rights and responsibilities to people regardless of the sexual identities. However, if marriage redefines itself as a transgendered institution, one that accepts contracting parties regardless of their sex or gender, then it can continue to thrive into the future. In this regard, marriage becomes like a communications technology that evolves rather than becomes obsolete. More like texting (telegram > teletype > email > cellphone text messages) than handwritten and posted letters (which are quaint but ever more rare).

At the current rate of legal acceptance (20% of the world’s population in a dozen plus years), half the people in the world will live in a place that accepts same-sex or transgendered families within a generation. An example of this momentum is China’s National People’s Congress’s unprecedented open discussion, in 2006, of a proposal (which was rejected) for a sex-blind marriage law. Such a high-level discussion would have been unthinkable even ten years ago. It is a great testament to human flexibility that an age-old edifice of sexual apartheid, such as male-female marriage, can be adapted to accept same-sex or transgendered relationships in so brief a period of time.

The Freedom of Form

Much of this book has explained how technology is the moving force behind liberating people from oppressive male or female sexual identities. We’ve explained how technology demolished the “natural” division of labor that originally gave rise to the apartheid of sex. Technology empowers people with vaginas to perform any job that people with penises normally do. This argument extends even to soldiering.

Technology is also the undoing of the “observational” justifications for sexual apartheid, reviewed in Chapters 2 and 3. Advanced technological instruments taught us that people are born with a continuum, not a duality, of sexual biomarkers such as reproductive system morphology, hormonal endocrinology and cerebral neurology. Surgical and pharmaceutical technology enables body-modification into a transgendered realm. Most recently, as described in Chapter 7, cyber-technology has enabled people to readily clothe themselves in the persona of a limitless variety of sex-types, and to live, work and play online lives in these transgendered identities.

Will technology stop at transgenderism? If a century or so of technology has demolished millennia of absolute sexual duality, what might another few decades of exponentially growing technology do? Sex lies at the heart of biology, and yet in transcending biology technology gave us an explosion of sexual identities. So, as technology continues to transcend biology, what next can we expect beyond the apartheid of sex? An explosion of human identities? The answer, in a word, is transhumanism.

In 1957 the evolutionary biologist Julius Huxley, in a book of essays on the future of humanity entitled New Wine in New Bottles, defined the term “transhumanism” (T.S. Elliott and Dante had also coined the word). Huxley envisioned a new philosophy under this name that was based on the proposition that humans had the duty, and the destiny, to “take charge” of evolution by transcending their biological limitations.

Nearly half-a-century later, Ray Kurzweil, inventor of technologies such as all-font scanners, digital music synthesizers and talking books for the blind, coined the term “singulatarianism” to express a similar sentiment. In his 2005 treatise, The Singularity is Near, Kurzweil calculated, based on many decades of intersecting trends, that humanity was at the cusp of merging with computational technology. This merger was occurring both extrinsically (such as reliance upon computers for civilized life) and intrinsically (via nano-sized super-computer neural implants vastly more advanced but roughly analogous to contact lenses or pacemakers). He observed that due to exponential growth rates in processor speed and digital memory, such computational technology would soon increase its power so rapidly as to be as beyond our current conception – analogous to the inconceivable near-infinite densities at the center of an astronomical black hole. In other words, human merging with rapidly advancing computational technology is the path of future evolution. It will produce a civilization of enormous capability with transcosmic scope via self-replication and virtually unlimited intelligence.

Kurzweil was clear, however, that the new computational “masters of the universe” (and hence of evolution as well) would literally have at their core the minds, and hence the “hearts and souls,” of billions of humans. This is because as humans merge with computers, human consciousness can move from fragile biological substrate to enduring technological materials. In addition, the costs of computational knowledge are dropping exponentially toward universal affordability. Consequently, everyone who is alive during the epoch of humanity’s full-fledged merging with computation will always be alive (if they wish) via computer substrate. Homo sapiens will become persona creatus as it rides the journey of near infinite growth in computational knowledge that is the Singularity. This means that the grace and beauty of human culture will grow right along with the scientific and technological competence of the hybrid human-computer species – as, indeed, it already has even in these early years of hybridization.

Combining both Huxley’s and Kurzweil’s thoughts, we can define “transhumans” as people who have hybridized themselves with computational technology as part of humanity’s effort to control its evolutionary destiny. One can even think of the prefix “trans” in “transhuman” as an acronym for Transbiologically Receptive, Adaptational, and Noetically Synthetic. Hence, a transhuman is a person (an entity with human legal rights) who is receptive to transcending biological limitations and is adapting in this direction by developing synthetic noetic pathways. A “noetic pathway” is similar to a neural pathway but refers more to thoughts than to the neural substrates for the thoughts. Such pathways can be extrinsic (e.g. storing a lot of our memory on laptop computers) as well as intrinsic (e.g. neural implants for humans, or artificially intelligent and conscious computers).

This new meme of transhumanism has two parents. It owes its phonetics and its concept of taking charge of evolution by transcending dumb biology (i.e., natural selection based on random environment changes promoting profligacy amidst random genetic mutations) to Julius Huxley. It owes its practical expression, the concept of hybridization with computer technology as the inevitable path of evolutionary mastery, and its ultimate endpoint the Singularity, to Ray Kurzweil.

Just as genes are comprised of thousands of nucleotide base pairs, memes are built-up of many building blocks that may be called “memetides.” Hence, Julius Huxley’s idea that humanity has a duty and destiny to take charge of its destiny was built in part upon memetides from Francis Bacon. These include his exhortation in the early 1600s to “extend the power and dominion of the human race itself over the universe,” and his optimistic bet “I stake all on the victory of art over nature in the race.” As the historian of philosophy Will Durant observes, “what is refreshingly new in Bacon is the magnificent assurance with which he predicts the conquest of nature by man.” These memetides, combined with thousands of others, comprise Julius Huxley’s contribution to the transhuman meme.

Similarly, Ray Kurzweil’s idea that hybridization with computer technology is our evolutionary future has as one of its thousands of memetides Alan Turing’s 1940s—era hypothesis (and eponymous experiment to prove) that a computer could pass as a human. The concept of an intellectual wave front, something like the aggregate exponentially growing thinking of transhumanity rushing toward the Singularity, has memetides in Pere Teilhard du Chardin’s 1955 book Le Phenomene Humain. This book conceptualized the “noosphere” as the sum total of all kinds of conscious experience, intellect and imagination, emotionally motivated beliefs, attitudes and values, skill-sets, rituals, and aesthetic expressions. Indeed, it is from Prof. Chardin’s noosphere that we have the derivative word “noetic” in our acronym for “trans” in transhuman (transbiologically receptive, adaptative and noetically synthetic human). Many other memetides, the description of which takes us too far from the theme of this book, comprise the Singulatarian contribution to the transhumanist meme.

This book’s fusing of Huxley and Kurzweil into the transhumanist meme itself owes a debt to the 1980s era memetides of a remarkable group of futurists. These include the alphanumerically self-named futurist, FM-2030, who wrote a book Are You a Transhuman? that described transhumanists as people who transcended socio-biological norms; the philosopher Max More, editor of the magazine Extropy: The Journal of Transhumanist Thought, that first defined a general transhumanist philosophy based upon unlimited human advancement, self-transformation, free social order, and critical rationalism; and the filmmaker Natasha Vita-More, a producer of transhumanist-themed arts and cultural programs, among many others. More recently, a World Transhumanist Association ( has been formed based upon the work of these 1980s pioneers.

As transhumanism takes hold, namely receptiveness to transcending biological limitations with adaptive synthetic noetics, questions will arise of human rights for transhuman beings. Are people who have augmented a small percentage of their minds with neural implants still entitled to be treated like humans, get married and raise children? Why not! How about people who have substituted implantable computer circuitry for a large percentage of their minds? Or who have “downloaded” all of their minds into such circuitry so that they are wholly “noetic synethetic”? How about children who are born as computer consciousness, pure code, but are able to experience all human sensations via sensors, simulations and exquisite machines? Can they marry? If their sexual ambiguity is too much for marriage, can they join in civil or domestic partnerships? If their transhuman ambiguity is too much for that as well, can they at least be entitled to equivalent legal rights for transhuman persons?

Just as technology redefined biology in terms of sexual identity, it will next redefine biology in terms of human identity. To avoid an apartheid of form as pernicious as the racial and sexual cognates, we must adopt a mindset of receptiveness to diversity and of openness to unifying ourselves across substrates.

Autonomous computer intelligence is biology for it is the flowering of human intellectual (software) seeds. Biology is computer intelligence for it is the extrapolation of digital (genetic) code. Cyber-biological life spans a vast continuum from a simple bacterium to the Kurzweil singularity. A swath of this continuum, human and transhuman life, benefit from acceptance in their chosen or given identities. There is great survival value for humans and transhumans to achieve unity through diversity. This attribute has been, and will continue to be, selected for in our dynamic environment. Having been able to grant such happiness to millions of people, via fundamental rights of citizenship and family life, regardless of color or gender, surely we can make the next step and transcend substrate as well.

The first step in extending the lessons of transgenderism to transhumanism is to recognize the continuity of life across substrates, just like the continuity of gender across body-types. Just as each person has a unique sexual identity, without regard to their genitals, hormones or chromosomes, each person has a unique conscious identity, without regard to their degree of flesh, machinery or software. It is no more the genitals that make the gender than it is the substrate that makes the person. We must respect the personhood of any entity that “thinks consciously, therefore I am conscious,” just as we must respect the sexual identity of any being that “feels this gender, therefore I am this gender.”

The second step is to prevent the construction of an apartheid of form. This means conscious entities, be they of flesh, synthetics or hybrid, must be treated equally and indifferently under the law. Rights and responsibilities, freedoms and obligations, privileges and duties, rewards and consequences – all of these concepts need to be adapted for applicability to a transhuman world.

Can a conscious computer enjoy citizenship? Why not if incrementally computerized humans do, especially once the humans are so computerized as to be indistinguishable from those who are fully computerized ab initio? And how about when the computers multiply so greatly that they outvote the original humans? This sounds strikingly like the argument Afrikaners made against repealing the apartheid of race. And the argument that men made against giving women the vote. It is just another kind of “bathroom bugaboo” (see Chapter Four), as to which reasonable solutions will be found. American naturalizes millions of new citizens every decade. The naturalization laws can be revised to provide that a person born from information technology may become a citizen in the same manner as a person who immigrates from another country. Death laws can be amended to provide that a person whose higher brain functions continue to be performed by information technology, such that there is a continuity of identity and consciousness to the satisfaction of psychiatrists, is not legally dead even if their heart has stopped beating. The 20th century brought us the marvels of transplanting organs and changing sexes. The 21st century will bring us the marvels of transplanting minds and changing forms.

Transgenderism is on a successful track. But it is ascendant only because previous victories against slavery, racial apartheid and the subjugation of women established the fundamental principle that reason trumps biology. We must remember that battles against slavery energized the women’s rights movement, and civil rights for those with different ancestry empowered civil rights for those with different sexual orientations. Hence, we cannot be surprised that transhumanism arises from the groins of transgenderism. As reasoning beings, we must welcome this further transcendence of arbitrary biology, and embrace in solidarity all conscious life. For it is enjoyment of life that is most important, and the achievement of that raison d’etre requires that diversity be embraced with unity, whether flesh is dark or light, masculine or feminine, present or transcended.

Satellite Beach, Florida, 2008 May 26

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In the News

These folks get a lot of credit for leadership in breaking out of linguistic enforcement of sexual dimorphism:

Also compelling is the use of "ey" for "he" or "she", "eir" for "his" or "her" and "em" for "him" or "her". This system can be easily remembered by simply dropping the "th" from the associated plural forms (they, their, them) of each sexually dimorphised pronoun.

I like both of these solutions because they add more gender diversity to language rather than erasing it. Transgender is not about being non-gendered. It is about freedom of gender -- freedom far beyond the silly and oppressive two male-female poles of sexual dimorphism.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Sex and Sex

There are four legs to stand on. The first, be romantic. The second, be passionate. The third, be imaginative. And the fourth, never be rushed.
- Charles Olson

Sex and Sex

This book has shown that sex is ultimately in the mind and that our minds are infinitely unique in sexual identity. What does this imply for that other sex, the sex of sexuality and sexual relations—the sex of love and the love of sex?

Beyond Gay or Straight

If we are all sexually unique beyond male and female categorization, then the terms heterosexual, homosexual, and bisexual lose much, if not all, of their meaning. The paradigm of sexual continuism predicts that in the new millennia society will evolve to a state of multisexual orientation. Persons will love, and fall in love with, persons based on their emotional feelings for the person, not for the person’s genitals. As this occurs, the age-old apartheid of sex will finally be fully gone.

Sexologists have long suspected that innate heterosexual and homosexual orientations are myth. Ancient civilizations like that of the Greeks had little problem with the concept that men would make love to both women and boys. Anthropologists have uncovered societies in which women make love to women and men. Since the prime motivation of people to engage in sex is that it feels good, and this good feeling is achievable with either sex (or even self), there is no logical reason to assume people are inherently hetero- or homosexual.

Hetero- and homosexuality, in fact, are artifacts of sexual dimorphism. As long as people are either male or female, it follows to many that one must either be gay or straight, seek sex with the same or with the opposite sex.

Bisexuality was, however, always a gaping hole in the dimorphic model of sexual relations. If persons seek either the same or the other sex, what explanation exists for bisexuals? The paradigm of sexual continuity points out that all persons are inherently bisexual but uses the term multisexual to reflect this potentiality. The term multisexual is used to avoid the implication that there are but two (“bi”) sexes from which to choose lovers. Multisexual emphasizes the uniqueness of our sexuality and that of our lover. It also emphasizes the diversity of sexual continuity, just as the word multicultural means comprised of diverse cultures.

One of the most recent extrapolations of the sexual dimorphism paradigm comes from Simon LeVay, a neuroanatomist and Dean Hamer, a geneticist. Both claim to have uncovered evidence that homosexuals have a different size section of their hypothalamus that (1) is due to a genetic code and (2) presupposes such persons to seek the same-sex partner as a lover. This hypothesis raises a number of interesting questions. What does it mean to seek the same “sex” partner? Does it mean a butch lesbian is attracted only to another butch lesbian, or would a femme lesbian qualify? For most persons sexual organs are just one part of a comprehensive relationship. Most gay couples, like straight couples, are composed of complementary rather than similar personality types.

LeVay and Hamer may have found evidence not of a “gay gene” per se, but of an “erotic gene” that encourages (but does not dictate) the erotic component of our unique sexual identity, as described in chapter 5. In one of their most recent writings they now observe “that the hypothetical gene acts indirectly, through personality or temperament, rather than directly on sexual-object choice.” In essence gays may be one of several groups of people who have a heightened erotic component to their personality and hence to their sexual identity. This heightened erotic element enables gays to be more willing to break social rules insisting on male-female erotic pairings. In LeVay and Hamer’s words, “People who are genetically self-reliant might be more likely to acknowledge an act on same-sex feelings than are people who are dependent on the approval of others.” Other avowedly straight persons with strong erotic components to their sexual identity might also have the same-size hypothalamus as LeVay found in his population of homosexuals. Such persons may have expressed their erotic drive in other ways, such as through bisexuality or untraditional lovemaking. Implicit in LeVay and Hamer’s research is that as sexual apartheid crumbles, sexual diversity will increase. This is because it is the absence of “social approval” that limits unique sexual expression to those with the most erotically rebellious genes.

Even the geneticists concede that barely half of our sexual orientation is due to genetics. Hence, anyone can be a sexual rebel. All sexual rebels share a common willingness to be different erotically. The difference gets expressed in a wide variety of ways depending on opportunity, chance, romance, and environment. The preference for a lovemate based on anatomy or skin tone, rather than soul, simply reflects our deep tradition of racial and sexual apartheid.


Sexual orientation in the third millennium will evolve toward a multisexual model because “male” or “female” sex types will fade away. Persons of any genitals will feel free to identify themselves as olive, magenta, coral, ebony, or white, or as femme, butch, tough, tender, or trans. With this continuum of sexual possibilities, gay, straight, and even bisexual labels will lose all meaning. People will fall in love with people; sir and ma’am will go the way of thou and lord. We will all still have our preferences. A hard-charging orange-gendered entrepreneur may still seek a stay-at-home purple-gendered mate. But whether the entrepreneur or the mate was born with a penis or vagina will have the same relevance as size, hair color, and skin tone. Apartheid of sex will go the way of apartheid of race, of class, of nationality, and or religion.

Multisexual partnerships will still face all the possibilities of gay and straight couples. There will be questions of sexual compatibility and of commitment. Concerning compatibility, age-old mount-or-be-mounted questions will still be with us. The difference is that it will no longer be assumed that the one with the penis mounts or that the one with the vagina takes the passive position. In a multisexual world it will be clear to all that preference for “active” or “passive” sexual positions is a function of each individual’s unique sexual identity, not the person’s genitals.

Also, sex roles will more easily be seen as fluid, as capable of changing from day to day or year to year. When society understands that the mind dictates sex roles, it is possible to think that one’s sex role is easily alterable. After all, we do change our minds.

It is even possible to redefine one’s genitals, temporarily for sex or for a longer term as part of a sexual identity shift. There are persons in the transgendered movement who think of their penises as enlarged clitorises, and obtain sexual satisfaction by rubbing rather than penetrating their lovemate. There are persons with vaginas who think of their clitorises as small penises and, often with the help of strap-on-dildoes, obtain sexual satisfaction by penetrating rather than rubbing their lovemate.

Is the lovemate of a person with a vagina who uses a strap-on dildo gay or straight? Does it matter if that lovemate has a vagina or penis, when the other partner feels as if she is a male? Suppose the lovemate also has vagina, which is penetrated by her partner by means of a strap-on dildo. Are they still lesbians if the partner lives, dresses, and thinks of “herself” as a man? Are they still lesbians if the partner has had a hysterectomy to eliminate “her” period? What if “she” also had a voluntary breast removal operation to give “her” a male-like chest? Are they still lesbians if the partner also takes small amounts of the “male” hormone testosterone, which within months gives a “woman” a beard and deeper voice? At what point are the couple no longer lesbians but instead just having unique sex?

There are no easy and valid answers to the above questions. It would be easy to say the couple were lesbians until one partner actually had her vagina surgically transformed into a penis. But this answer is not valid, for the action of the surgeon has not changed the sexual orientation of the pair. The action of the surgeon has changed only the details of how the pair has sex. It would be valid to say that the couple was heterosexual from the point that one partner thought of “herself” as male and the other thought of herself as female. But this answer is not easy, because neither partner probably has a fixed perception of the transgendered lover as either male or female. The transgendered lover is somewhere in between. And so is the mate.

The clearest answer to the sexual orientation of our pair of lovers is the multisexual label offered under the paradigm of sexual continuity. Their love for each other as persons is more important than the sexual identities. At least one of their sexual identities is unique, not the same and not the opposite. This makes them both multisexual lovers.

A current legal impediment to multisexuality are sodomy laws. These laws are in effect in many states and, in their most strict version, prohibit any form of sex other than frontal intercourse between partners with opposite genitals. The U.S. Supreme Court’s much criticized decision in Bowers v. Hardwick affirmed the rights of states to prohibit sodomy. However, the Supreme Court’s decision was based heavily on heterosexist, male-or-female notions. The Court’s decision would lose meaning under the paradigm of sexual continuity. If no one is definitely male or female, if we all are of unique sexual identity, then sodomy laws are arbitrary, capricious, and in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

Multisexual lovers also face the same issues of commitment that are faced by gay and straight couples. By living together and contracting, it is possible for a multisexual pair to approximate the mutual commitment that the law reads into a formal marriage. But suppose the pair actually wants to get married and to have children. What unique problems do a multisexual couple face?

When a multisexual couple goes to get married, they usually will have to declare themselves to be of opposite sexes. Whether or not this is actually the case is a relative question. On the one hand, the pair’s birth certificates would probably be the definitive statement of their sex as far as a judge is concerned. But most marriage clerks do not require birth certificates as proof of sex. Self-reported sex and personal appearance usually suffice. A multisexual couple may have the same kind of genitals (and hence same-sex birth certificates) but different sexual identities. As long as one of them checks “male” and the other checks “female,” and they act the part, they should ordinarily be able to get married.

If their mutual commitment breaks down, one spouse could insist on an annulment instead of a divorce, arguing that the marriage was not valid in the first place, since it was a marriage between two persons of the same sex. But if the other spouse wants a divorce instead of an annulment, probably for reasons of support, that spouse could argue that the marriage was between persons of opposite sex, as originally sworn to in the marriage certificate. A judge must then determine whether the sex of the couple is determined by the genitals at time of birth or their sexual identity at time of marriage.

If the multisexual couple’s commitment to each other remains strong, the question of children may soon arise. There are many options and possibilities here. If the couple lacks sperm, one of them may obtain artificial insemination. Now suppose the multisexual couple is composed of two persons society identifies as women. They lack sperm not because of sterility, but because neither has male gonads. Does the child then have two mothers or a mother and a father? If one of the women was a sterile man, we would think of that sterile man as the father even though he didn’t inseminate the mother personally. There is no difference in the status of the non-childbearing parent in each case except that one has a sperm-free penis and the other has a sperm-free vagina. Should the difference in their normally hidden genitals make one a “mother” and the other a “father”? This raises the question “What exactly is a mother or a father?

In a sexually dimorphic world, a mother is a female parent and a father is a male parent. But what happens to these definitions after the fall of sexual apartheid? There are a number of possibilities. One is that the terms mother and father will become archaic, replaced with the phrases my parent Sue or my parent Steve. Another option is that the terms mother and father will retain their ancient association with the more nurturing and more dominating parent, respectively, but will become disconnected from genital-based sex roles. In this case a kid might say, “I love my dad, and she loves me.”


Computers and telecommunication are likely to play an important role in dismantling the apartheid of sex. It is much easier to disconnect ourselves from thousands of years of rigidly fixed notions about sex and gender when we telecommunicate than when we are face to face. Interacting with other people via computer networks in called “meeting in cyberspace.” Multisexuality can grow rapidly in cyberspace.

Hundreds of millions of people are connected via computer networks that offer a wide variety of “meeting places,” where people “talk” to each other via typed-out messages. To get on one of these computer networks you must choose a name for yourself. Then, when you “chat” with others at a “meeting place,” the computer network automatically inserts your name before each of your typed-out messages. If you meet someone in person, it takes a lot more guts than most of us have to introduce yourself with a name that doesn’t fit your sexual appearance. In other words, in-person meetings reinforce sexual stereotypes. But in cyberspace, you can readily pretend to be a different sex. You can choose a name appropriate to an “opposite” sex, or you can choose a name that is transgendered. Cyberspace readily allows people to transcend their known sexual identity. Just as Hollywood computer graphics can “morph” one image into another, cyberspace lets us MorF (male or female) one sex into any other.

Today cyberspace is fairly limited in human expression as compared with the audio, visual, tactile, and proxemic (body language) possibilities available in face-to-face meetings. On the other hand, cyberspace is very expansive in human expression as compared with the sexual conformity required in face-to-face meetings. An exciting opportunity on the horizon is the merging of virtual reality into cyberspace to enable face-to-face dynamics without sexual conformity. This new frontier, called “cybersex” is an excellent proving ground for the multisexual world of the twenty-first century.

Virtual reality means using computer technology to immersively feel, see, and hear another place. Today’s computer networks don’t yet approach virtual reality, because cyberspace is not yet immersive. In essence, today cyberspace lets us non-immersively read, see and hear about another place. We can even virtually be in another place, such as via multi-player role-playing games. But the illusion requires our steadfast attention to the display screen, and lacks much if not most of what “being somewhere” is all about. There are two main reasons cyberspace is limited today:

• The peripherals needed for virtual reality (smart clothes or body jewelry and smart glasses or contact lenses embedded with wireless electronics) are not generally available at consumer prices.
• Software is not yet ready to convey the quality of digital immersion needed for “plug and play” persuasive virtual reality.

Each of these limitations is likely to change in the next ten years. Limited-capability “data gloves” and “electronic helmets” have now found their way into toy stores. With the ever-falling prices of computer chips, it won’t be long before a piece of electronic clothing will be available for every part of the body. Soon thereafter, eyewear will also be capable of transitioning not only from light to dark, but from physical space to cyberspace. The display screens of tomorrow are the little pieces of plastic we set before our eyes.

Wireless communication links, as used in mobile and remote-control devices, will provide a two-way connection between the electronic clothing and a ubiquitous wireless network. The electronic clothing will be able to give the wearer the sensation of being touched or squeezed or even of warmth and coolness. The same “electronwear” will enable one’s movements to be transmitted back into cyberspace. Through our intelligent contact lenses or glasses, we will see our presence in cyberspace. As clothes become wearware, and as eyewear becomes eyeware, virtual reality will become the way the internet is presented.

Meanwhile, the business and technology mergers of computer and communications companies will provide cyberspace with the information superhighway capacity and omnipresence it needs to convey virtual reality to all participants. To show how fast communications revolutions occur, consider that it took less than ten years from when the first one hundred miles of fiber-optic cable was laid (1980) until the entire country was crisscrossed with fiber optics (1989). Similarly, it took less than ten years from when the first cellular telephone system came on line (1983) until every city and 95 percent of the interstate highways had cellular phone service (1992). About ten years later, more Chinese had cell phones than Americans. By 2008, over half the people in the world had both a cell-phone and an internet account. The feared “digital divide” between technology haves and have-nots is a transient myth. A lasting reality is the “digital dispersion,” a relentless spread of ever more bandwidth to ever more people with ever more connectivity. In my 1980 article, International Regulation of Digital Communications Satellite Systems, I labeled this the “maximum channel dispersion principle.” Absent government interference, channels of communication between people will grow ever deeper, broader and more diverse. We are an insatiably communicating species.

When cyberspace is enhanced by virtual reality, there are innumerable opportunities to “try on” genders as part of cybersexual explorations. First there is creating your image. A digital camera puts your image on the screen, and on the web. From there you take charge as the editor. Feminize the face, masculinize the voice, “morf” the body, androgynize the clothes—all will be readily possible using virtual reality clip art and drawing tools. Many genders can be created and saved under sexual identities as “violet blue,” “burnt orange,” or “Madonna.” After one last check in the mirror, you are ready to hit the cyberclub. Log on, zap—there you are in the midst of a dozen other people, walking, talking, sitting, and dancing in a realistic clublike setting. Everyone sees a different image, since the image transmitted back to them is the view from where they are in the cyberclub.

Now you are on your own. Your behavior, attitude, and conversation are where your creativity and personality come into play. But you don’t have to play macho man or shy guy, and you can be any kind of girl you want to be. Dance by yourself, dance with another, touch a person without caring about sex. Tomorrow try another gender. There’s nothing to be embarrassed about because all you have to say is “Log Off” and you are gone.

The cybersex scenario is within technology’s ten-year reach. Intermediate steps such as computer videoconferences, with users choosing and editing their on-screen display, already come bundled with Apple computers. All of this technology will be used for sex. In short, technology will be used to try on genders and to pave the way for people being liberated from a single birth-determined sex. Like the simulators used in driver and pilot training, cyberspace prepares us for the postapartheid twenty-first century multisexual world.

Is There Transhuman Joy Without Orgasmic Sex?

There will be some killer orgasms resulting from having avatars in cyberspace linked to neurohormonal-rich homo sapien bodies in real space. But the uploaded transhuman software beings occupying cyberspace -- the ones with consciousness, autonomy, rationality, empathy, but without hormones, endocrines and tingly neurons – may not be able to experience an orgasm, at least for a few decades. We don’t yet know if setting connection strengths between various saved images, sounds, and other bit-streams can ever replicate the feelings of a flesh body, let alone the transcendental consumption of a hotly erotic one. We can only speculate as to whether stuff like speeding up, slowing down or rhythmically oscillating processing speed is orgasm-like. The cognitive consciousness of humans will be replicated in transhumans well before our erotic sensations are.

Would it be ethical to create a transhuman incapable of orgasm and probably devoid of many other sensations? Would anyone want to upload their mind into an independent transhuman form knowing that orgasms and other sensations had to wait for fundamental cyber-biological advances decades in the future? The answer to these questions is clearly yes. Humans experience a tremendous variety of joys, of which orgasmic release and other sentient wonders are but a subset. There is the joy of learning, the joy of conversation, the joy of fiction and the joy of being witness to the tremendous diversity of life. Only very rarely do even severely paralyzed people wish for death. They report finding immense pleasure in the familiarity of friendly faces and voices. A strong, intellectual happiness also comes from just holding onto hope for a brighter tomorrow. Be it placebo effect or true progress, every indication that one’s hopes are being fulfilled gives off the sportsman’s joy of gaining a point.

There is a cognitive satisfaction in the human mind when things “fit together”, or when “harmony is achieved.” For this kind of joy neuro-hormonal stimulation is unnecessary. This is the joy of a Spinoza, the zen-like satisfaction that comes with understanding, or even meditating upon, a universal order or underlying truth. Transhumans can reap bushels full of this kind of joy from reading, viewing media, role-playing and (virtual) coffee-klatching in cyberspace. An uploaded mind in cyberspace can calm itself with the discipline of a master yogi, and feel the nirvana of nothingness. Nobody doubts there are joys beyond those of the flesh.

The ultimate hope for most uploaded minds will probably be for a physical implementation. One option likely within this century is being downloaded into a nanotechnological reproduction of or improvement on the homo sapien body. Another option, available even sooner, is being downloaded into a cellular-regenerated homo sapien body grown ectogenetically (outside a womb) to adult size. Richard Morgan’s Altered Carbon describes a world in which both of these type of body forms compete in the marketplace to host the minds of uploaded souls.

Thus, there does appear to be a good case for transhuman joy without orgasm. There are the pleasures of the mind. There is the contemplation of the soul. There is the contentedness of camaraderie. And there are the joys of hope incrementally fulfilled, with each advance in mind embodiment celebrated like a solid base hit. Finally, we can’t be so sure that digital orgasms will not be available. For transhumans, just as for humans, the world’s oldest pleasure will have an incredible ability to draw money and talent to its quest.