The short version is I don’t know what I want or how to find out.
Hi there. I’m starting (yet another) blog. I’ve had several over the years, some very active, others not so. This one sort of about gender and sexuality. It’s sort of a personal journal about navigating my life. It’s also sort of an attempt to reach out, into the dark, hoping there is another hand nearby doing the same thing.
I have often found myself in the position, for thirty-odd years, of not “fitting in”. In fact I rarely seem to “fit in” with the groups that I am supposedly supposed to be a part of. Gender, sexuality, and “queerness” are some of these groups. The trouble is whenever I talk about any of these things other people need to insist that their definitions of me are Infallible and Absolute, while my own self-definition is lacking. For some reason it’s offensive to force restrictions, identities, and boxes on everyone else, except me. (If I sound bitter, it’s because I am.)
I can’t describe who I am with the nice tidy labels that are so popular and essential to online communication right now. I don’t understand this desire to be put in a box, the desire to be reduced to something oversimplified. But I’ll try to give some vague impression of where my position is in life.
I’m something of a Feminist, despite the interesting fact that everyone seems to have a different definition of that word. I would describe myself as female, though some would use “assigned female at birth”. You might call me transsexual or transgender, depending on how you define those words. Some of you will see me as “straight”, others as “lesbian”, others as “bisexual” – though I’ve been told by others I’m “not allowed” to be any of those particular words, so that’s notable. It is probably safe to say I’m “gender non-conforming”, no matter whether you see me as a woman or as a man, because I hardly ascribe well to either socially-enforced category. You might describe my presentation as Butch, or perhaps as Butch Queen, though I’ve also been told I’m not allowed to identify as either of those for various reasons. There sure does seem to be a lot of people telling me I’m not allowed to be things.
I want to reiterate this: transpeople are human beings and deserve human rights, and those in the US are US citizens and have civil rights. They deserve the same basic social respect as everyone else. Especially, whether a person is straight/gay, man/woman, transgender or queer or whatever else, they have the right to wear what they want, look how they want, and do what they want with their own bodies. This includes modifying their bodies, whether or not you think it’s weird or gross.
However, this doesn’t mean denying physical reality, or the reality of class based oppression. There are major flaws in Queer Theory and Transgender Activism, including ideology, methodology, and general behavior. These flaws are impeding on the human and civil rights of others, including those they claim to be helping. Transmen are female. Transwomen are male. We need to be able to name these things in order to stop oppression. We need to be able to talk about our lived experiences without being shut down because we used the “wrong words”.
There is nothing wrong with being a female transman.
At the same time, political ideologies are not magical cures for mental health issues. There’s still this weird insistence in Feminism that all life problems are caused by “wrong views”. We need to be able to talk about our lived experiences without being shut down because we used the “wrong words”. Too often I see feminists fail to separate “class analysis” from their individual experiences, and I think this mistake is killing discussion.
As I said, I’m not going to be presenting this blog from the point-of-view of class analysis. I am trying to record my experiences related to this giant “gender mess” we have happening currently, because between non-objective “analysis” and postmodern “theory” I believe the actual data, the facts, the reality of what is going on, is being lost.
So before I get too political, here’s my experience: I have almost nobody to talk to about my gender problems because I am constantly shut down for not toeing party lines. This most frequently comes from the mainstream Left, but has also come from the “extreme Left”. I have connections to Communist-Anarchist groups, Queer Radicals, AntiFa movements. Problematically, it’s also come from the gender-critical and Radical Feminist groups I’ve tried to participate in – they are subject to the same echo-chamber zealotry. All of these groups turn out to be more about an ideology than helping individuals. Once in a group meant to be a discussion between radfems and transpeople, a woman told me I was a sexist bigot because I suggested we should try mediating an argument between her and another trans member of the group. I said that I thought there was a misunderstanding due to vocabulary choices, and that because it was a sensitive topic emotions were running high, and that maybe the two could recognize this without necessarily capitulating their argument. She told me I was “talking over women”, “silencing” her, was “siding with males”, and was basically an oppressor and a traitor.
Funny how I’m going around silencing everyone else, when I’m never allowed to talk without being kicked out or shut down.
So yeah. I sound pretty angry. I have a lot of anger. A lot of what I’m going to be writing about is my experience of anger. Perhaps they’ll be less rambly than this one (probably not).
Well that’s a terrible note to end a post on! I’ll be back in a while as I go deeper into specific parts .