May. 26th, 2009

evilkate: (Default)
I've been prompted to think a lot lately - how unusual  - about perception and the endurance of a self's identity. How anyone who isn't cisgendered has a perspective so much sharper in many ways. My thinking was partly prompted by a blog post from a good friend and kicked into focus when I did a favour for another friend.

In the first case, the friend was noting how, as non-cisgendered people, we often see things behaviourly re male/female that most others miss. It's true. Some would call these stereotypes and there is often a knee-jerk reaction to that word - but these differences do exist. Gender embeds people into social frameworks in differing ways. Now, of course, not all stereotypes apply to all people. That is what makes them stereotypes - the fact that they are broad summaries of complex behaviour. Nor do I see gender as anything close to binary - rather it seems to be a continuum and we all sit upon it somewhere. Furthermore, one cannot confuses sex and gender as many do instinctively: even many who are trans do this at times. After all, for those who cannot reconcile themselves (myself included) without transition - isn't that process partly about bringing physicality and emotional details into sync? Then there are those who manage to reconcile without transition and that makes them no less trans. That whole topic of 'authentic' is a discussion for another day though. For now - let's focus.

So it is not a simple thing but it has a simple resolution. If people can simply respect each other and offer whatever pronoun is preferred, regardless of transitional status, well that's easy ... isn't it?

But apparently it is not. This is where we come to the second friend, the one I did a favour for. He was in a forum where a transwoman was bemoaning how many lesbians would refuse to accept her. My friend wanted to know what her point was. He didn't quite 'get it' but, he had the decency to ask someone and to realise his issue.

Reading through that thread, I grew steadily angrier. Not only because so many responses were callous; selfish and basically vicious, but because of the general reality that they 'did not get it' - and these were people who SHOULD have.

I find it incredibly ironic - and somewhat tragic - how any gay girl could say "Sorry, I can't be with you because you are not a 'real' woman" - and that was the basic argument. They will say the same to post-ops, including those who past extremely well. Now don't mistake me here. People are allowed their preferences and we all have them. If someone isn't attracted to someone else, then they aren't - and if that is because they are not into some physical or emotional detail, that also is their right.

However, what ever happened to compassion and being polite? Why would anyone need to rabidly assert some kind of viciousness, by actually naming their preference as "only real women."

So what makes a woman real even? Having a womb? - hey there are woman born without those, a medical condition. Having a cycle? - so are we really defining gender based of binary ideals of physical characteristics? Being 'born' female? - well that might cause conflicts if we drop the whole binary gender model. Hrmm?

There was once a large movement within feminism - much of it centred among the gay population - that worked toward deconstructing gender. Where did that movement go? Did I miss something? :) People who have fought to own their identity, to not be defined by the views of others - some seem to have little issue with defining "not a real woman/man" and then imposing that on someone who is trans. How can these people not see what they do?

Most of all, I find it incredulous - that women who have had to fight for their place; to assert themselves as gay and proud; to push constantly against the weight of bigotry and institutional discrimination ... how tragic that some of those people who then inflict the same kinds of ignorance on others?

So there you have it. I always knew and had commented and discussed it with friends before this - but seeing the attitudes in that room. It was all so jarring ... that we have not moved as far as some keep telling us we have. Ignorance still abounds. People are still embedded in selfish realities and the world is still a harsh place to many.

Kate Out

PS: Oh - and don't go into the "Harden Up" argument people. I think that itself is a bogus argument, used by many to disavow any personal need to care. What? - so the world can be a harsh reality ... I don't agree that we need to surrender our compassion; fold inwards and become overtly self-interested beings. The world becomes less harsh only when we bother to care for the plight of others. Compassion is not a weakness ... it is the best thing we have going for us :)
evilkate: (Default)

in all mystery
she finds herself unknown

like any other beneath
the fold,
unable to pry enough distance
to settle complete

this timid cage of rib

stutters around her childish
until she is understood, revealed
by her falling

yet unable to comprehend
this rush, how it fears
to harm another skin, more
than its own

and the circles spin
until nothing remains to hold
but quiet air

nothing beyond the subtlety
of faith without chains

or a reason to fly
without wings

and still she knows
the burn


evilkate: (Default)

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