Stupid Girls

Thursday, May 31, 2012

GenderQueer identity

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AndytheNerd posted the following on Tumblr.

Here's a VERY incomplete response to the post. This needs decades of research, not a first-draft blog post on only 2 cups of coffee, first thing in the morning. But I think it's better I post something, rather than nothing at all. Maybe we can start looking at this stuff?

The problem with all these conversations -- feminist, GenderQueer, Trans*, Queer, Intersex, etc. -- is the emphasis on SOCIAL science theories, rather than BIOLOGICAL science theories.

Anybody can define anything, as long as they are in the academy, have alphabet soup after their name, publish, teach and live in the hermetically sealed chambers of the hallowed halls. Many of these social theories are based on faulty input. Someone has a pet political ideology and that completely colors their statements of "fact" about a social issue. We see this in the influence of Marxism in some schools of feminism, for example. Marx is very limited and limiting. My argument is: ok, under Marx, the WORKERS own the factories. Fine and dandy. But, if the factories are still destroying the planet, what good is THAT doing anybody?

Social theory is a great STARTING point for conversations about social issues/isms. But it's JUST a starting point; it's speculation, at best and ideological dogma, at worst.

The influence of so-called "radical" "feminism" on the Trans* community is having a negative, reactionary impact, as an example. Trans* people have been so verbally abused, vilified, disrespected by shrill, self-righteous women who accuse them of monstrous things, put words in their mouths without listening to them, attribute motives that have little to do with Trans* folks' real experiences.

Therefore, it's not safe to even ASK biological science questions among some Trans* folk, not trained in scientific method. That's seen as a potential threat, a judgment, a condemnation and is met with a great deal of hurt, suspicion, resentment and hostility. How can we assess reality, if asking questions is taboo.

Here's a set of questions some Trans* folk sometimes react defensively toward.

Why can't children just be children? Why is it even considered appropriate to assign specific, material objects (such as toys, wardrobe, etc.) to one of two genders, and then assign an individual child to one of those genders, based on interest in those material items? How is it appropriate to assign a pre-pubescent child into this "either/or" category, merely based on the child's interest in objects?

Do human beings create material objects, or do material objects create human beings?

If the child lived in a culture in which cis-gendered males wear elaborate make up and wardrobe and exhibit very stylized postures and facial expressions, would we assign that child as male or female? How much of our social science definitions about gender are completely prejudiced and influenced by Western cultural values, rather than innate gender differences?

presumably Heterosexual, cis-gendered male Wodaabe, seeking mate
When a person who identifies as GenderQueer asks these questions, they're met with suspicion and hostility. They're also met with assumptions: "well, YOU are GENDERQUEER! YOU probably don't believe there ARE genders. Let me assure you THERE ARE! So STOP being so judgmental." said the pot to the kettle.

GenderQueer doesn't mean there are no genders. Part of the discussion, in fact, is that there are a LOT of genders, most of them unexamined, suppressed, vilified, stigmatized and controlled via SOCIAL sciences, such as religion, politics, psychology, etc.

We're not even allowed to have a conversation about their existence, let alone their expression, their usefulness and significance to human evolution or their civil rights!

Language informs how people think and learn. We have no language for other genders, not even the broad varieties of Intersex, let alone GenderQueer. We struggle over pronouns, trying to invent and adapt our way into language that simply acknowledges that we exist! Again, here's a scientific question: is our lack of language and thinking about gender diversity specific to Western cultures? Are there cultures where this binary language doesn't think us out of existence?

An example is the Native American phrase, "Two-Spirit," which is becoming increasingly popular in academic circles. What does it really mean? Some say it means "Gay" or "Lesbian." Some imply it means "Trans*" or even cis-gendered "bisexual." From which cultural tradition does this term come? What is the cultural context of the use of this term? Does this culture have other such language for other kinds of genders or sexual orientations? How far out from this culture, into surrounding cultures, does this spread? Or have the evangelical missionaries so shamed these cultures, they now have either forgotten about, or been shamed into silence regarding, these other genders and orientations? And here's a thought: What if "Two-Spirit" was simply language for "Intersex," and never MEANT to be interpreted as anything else?

Who's doing any real research on all the varieties, expressions and realities of gender, all the shades and hues, beyond black/white, male/female? I mean, real, solid, scientific research: anthropology, biology, neuroscience, endocrinology, etc? Is anybody doing this?

or are we just wildly speculating and forming crack-pot theories to soothe and comfort us, to wave as flags and slogans in the faces of the bigots who want us ALL dead, and simply see us all as "Queers?"

Trans* oppression is REAL. Forty percent of all LGBTQI murder victims are Trans*, usually women, usually of Color. Yet Trans* people comprise about one percent of the total LGBTQI population. That's REAL!

However, GenderQueers do not oppress, negate, vilify, disrespect nor erase Trans* issues, simply for asking about our OWN issues! We are perfectly justified in asking about gender, our experiences, our histories.

Setting a place for ourselves at the table does not mean we're starving anybody else. It simply means more for everybody, and a wider menu from which to choose.