Tom Johnson Starts off Seminar Series With a Bang!

Director of CREGS presenting Tom Johnson with our Certificate of Appreciation

Colleen Hoff, Director of CREGS presenting Tom Johnson with our Certificate of Appreciation

CREGS kicked off the Fall 2012 Seminar Series on Gender and Sexuality on September 10th, 2012 with cultural anthropologist, Tom Johnson giving a talk entitled “Gender Identities Beyond the Binary”. After his retirement from teaching Japanese Studies at Cal State Chico, Dr. Johnson stumbled upon this topic that was poorly understood and decided to pursue it. For the past several years, his work has focused on gender dysphoria beyond the well-studied male-to-female and female-to-male binary. With a medical school colleague he has published and lectured widely on male-to-eunich gender dysphoria. His goal is to expand knowledge and acceptance of gender diversity.

The Seminar brought about 20 people, who consisted of students, members of the queer community, CREGS staff, and individuals who have a general interest in Johnson’s research.  Johnson’s presentation focused on the definition of a Eunich and why people desire to become one. A Eunich is a male with no or nonfunctioning testes and is the oldest identity recognized outside the binary dating back to 2100 BCE. Johnson’s presentation elaborated on four major risk factors that contributed to voluntary castration. Among them were, witnessing animal castration as a youth (i.e. growing up on farms), childhood sexual abuse and being threatened with castration as a form of punishment, Sexual Orientation pre-castration (identifying outside “normal” identity frames), and influence of religion while growing up (devout households that shunned sexuality). Shockingly, 23% of males self-castrate and 45% seek castration from “underground cutters” through the Black Market, which leaves only 32% performed by legally qualified surgeons. Out of the 20 audience members, many were interested in how males perform self-castration. One common way is to inject Ethyl Alcohol into the testes, which reduce all function and exterminates their biological purpose. When these males seek Emergency Care, surgeons are forced to remove them. In other instances, males will surgically remove their testicles in private and suture their scrotums themselves.

CREGS’ Gender and Sexuality Seminar Series allows researchers, students, and the public to learn about current research and community programs focusing on gender and sexuality. For those who are familiar with these topics, CREGS’ seminars are a great way to stay connected with other members of the research community and refine already acquired skill and information.  Be sure to join us for our next seminar on October 8th!