Thursday, September 30, 2010

Request: Womens’ prespectives on Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

I like The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert which, for people who don't know, is a movie about 2 drag queens and a woman who works as a drag queen making their way across Australia. For the woman, of course, it upholds the longstanding "tradition" of cis actors playing trans people (in this case, a feminized man rather than a masculinized* woman) In my non-female opinion, it's not a bad job. But, of course, I also know that some women have problems with drag queens and might also have a problem with a woman who's a drag queen. (and some drag queens have given them reason to have problems with them, although certainly not all)

I'm curious about what women actually think about this film and how it portrays them.

So, essentially, that's the point of this post- if anyone knows a woman who has seen Priscilla (or is one!) and can ask her to let me know how she feels about it- that would be awesome! (I also sincerely hope it's obvious that I'm not asking about how cis women feel about this- although their comments are welcome, I'd really rather hear from the women that are actually being portrayed here, thanks.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Who is it?

Before we get this post started, I'm going to say this on the pronoun "it" used for people: Yes, it is way too charged to be a pronoun to use when you don't know what the gender/pronoun of a person is- but it's still a pronoun that some people do prefer being called by. That should be respected.
Now, on with the show.

"Inspector, do you know if the killer was a man or woman?" -Journalist
"Well of course I know that! What else is there? A kitten?" -Clouseau (from 'the Pink Panther 2')

Because apparently the objections to 'it' actually run deeper than I realized, as a person has expressed that even "Is it a boy or a girl?" is dehumanizing. Now, unfortunately, the commenter has no public information on their blogger profile so I cannot send them a message to make sure that I'm not misunderstanding this (I also cannot send them a message asking their preferred pronouns, hence the 'they'- I'll happily fix it if someone who knows this person lets me know the right ones). I did ask in the comments why the person feels that asking "is it a boy or a girl?" about an infant is dehumanizing- but it's a personal blog and a post on an extremely sensitive issue so I can appreciate Helen not wanting to publish any comments she doesn't want on there. So all I've really got to work with is what the comment says, which is this:
I know that “it” starts bloody early (“is it a girl or a boy?” – whatever sex a child was assigned, they’re not a fucking ‘it’) and I hate “it”, it’s a cheap and nasty way to de-humanise someone.

This person is making it clear that if this child's preferred pronouns are 'it', which does happen, then that is unacceptable. The kid isn't even crawling yet- and already this person is setting limits to what its gender can and cannot be, what is and is not acceptable (along with the rest of society, so I'm hardly shocked). But, this person is also doing it while accusing other people of dehumanizing the child by using pronouns that express a lack of knowledge as to the child's gender or preferred pronouns (although the question does lead to the kid's gender and identity being heavily policed). So, basically, this person is complaining about other people being dehumanizing while possibly dehumanizing the child by saying its gender and pronouns are inherently insulting. (in this hypothetical the kiddo grows up to prefer 'it'- why not, I know enough people who have) And that's actually why I have an objection to people who get so angry whenever anyone calls anyone else 'it' and claim it's "dehumanizing" no matter what (even when a person calls itself 'it'- which was just busted).

Friday, September 24, 2010

No one gives a shit if you don't believe in gender

From shemale on livejournal.Some other points of her post:

  • Trans people are not cutting-edge theories at the frontier of feminism/gender studies/whatever.

  • Trans people are not under any more of an obligation to alter their bodies, gender identifications, or gender expressions for some higher goal than cis people are.

  • If a trans person does not present/experience/identify/etc. their gender the way you want them to, it is none of your fucking business, nor does it mean you can generalize about all trans people (or subgroup of trans people) from your experiences with and observations of said trans person.

All of them are worth a read, but this one I like the most:
Nobody gives a shit that you don't believe in gender.

You don't have to believe in something for it to exist, and perhaps the fact that you don't ever think about gender speaks more to your privilege than to the way that trans people are "perpetuating norms and stereotypes" or "supporting the gender binary" or whatever.
Gender in-and-of itself isn't a bad thing, it is just a thing.

It is the forced assignment of gender to people against their identification and the inequality between members of different genders that is problematic.

(and am I the only one a bit saddened/enraged that this was posted 2 years ago and I still feel it's incredibly relevant to how people treat trans people today?)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Binary-gender Privilege

I've been adding things to this list and it may not be up to date, to see the full list, please check HERE

You can reasonably expect that...
  • words to describe your gender not only exist in every natural language, but are commonplace
  • characters with your gender commonly appear in fiction as more than just a joke, and are often mentioned in serious non-fiction
  • everyone is aware that people of your gender exist and have met people with your gender
  • words exist to describe your sexuality and to describe people attracted to those of your gender, and most people have heard those words
  • there is a way to pass as your gender, and roles/clothing/actions associated with that gender that you can use if you wish to be read correctly
  • people will not have to "get used" to using your pronouns, as they use them for people on a daily basis, and will not tell you that your pronouns are "too hard" or treat them as some sort of novelty
  • no one will say that humans can not have your gender, or treat the words and pronouns you use to describe your gender as an insult
  • you can expect to find safe spaces for people of your gender
  • in gender-based safe spaces, it is obvious if people of your gender are welcomed/allowed or not (from the One With No Name)
  • it will be obvious which bathrooms, locker rooms, and facilities to try on clothes people of your gender are allowed to use (from the One With No Name)
  • you will not have a hard time finding a partner who has heard of your gender, much less one who understands and accepts your gender and pronouns
  • you will not have to educate people about what your gender is to have any hope of having that gender respected, because they have grown up around people who have that gender
  • when you see a gender therapist, zie has dealt with people of your gender and will treat you with respect
  • if your body is not "normal" for your gender, surgeries exist to help fix it and you won't be denied them due to your gender
  • you do not have to create an entirely new legal sex to be legally acknowledged as your gender
  • if parents raise a child as your gender, people will not consider this abuse
  • people do not think it's okay to tell people of your gender that asking your child to respect your gender and pronouns is wrong because no one has heard of your gender
  • from a young age, you are aware that people with your gender actually exist and will not have to go looking for or invent definitions that fit you. -(from AlextheSane)

I thought we needed one. I'm sure I'm missing some, critique is welcome & encouraged. Although some are somewhat binary trans specific, the fact that much of cis society doesn't accept trans genders can limit the amount of binary privilege they actually enjoy, but it's still there.

For example, with pronouns- a woman who doesn't look like a cis woman will not always have her pronouns respected, but she can still expect that people are accustomed to referring to people as 'she' and 'woman' and other words associated with her gender, and she won't have to deal with people struggling to add new language to their vocabulary to describe her gender. Also, in terms of safe space, women who happen to be trans are often excluded from so-called "women only" spaces (and let in trans men)- which erases their gender, but it's still blatant that, by all rights women should be able to join women-only spaces; however it can be difficult for non-binaries to tell if they'd be welcomed or accepted even in trans-only spaces.

Monday, September 20, 2010

This is What a Male-Bodied Person Looks Like

via This is What a Man Sounds Like. (highly related to this site, which I linked earlier, and suggest everyone also read.)
Male is a modifier, a word used to describe things that pertain to men. I am a man. Therefore, I, a man, have a male body, and I am a male-bodied person. My uterus, my clit, my soft chest, and my rounded hips are all part of my male body. Of course, other people have different body experiences, and I speak only for my own experience.
Often, people call me female-bodied when they’re addressing my experience of misogyny. Since I was raised as a girl, and I am a non-passing transman, I experience a lot of misogyny. I definitely got sexist street harassment when I lived in Boston. Similarly, people are likely to assume that I don’t know what I want when I go into a bike shop, or when I go dancing, that I’m a follow. Misogyny isn’t fun, but I don’t aspire to take on male privilege. That doesn’t make me a female-bodied person, although it does indicate that people perceive me that way. A more appropriate way to address my experience of sexism is to talk specifically about the experience and what’s going on, rather than to tell me what my body is like. For example, people could express their views of street harassment along with my expressed experience and analysis of being street harassed.

Another reason people try to call me a female-bodied person is in dealing with shared body experiences, like menstruation. In that case, instead of saying “women” or “female-bodied” folks could say “people who menstruate.” That avoids defining people by one biological process. It would also be important to never tell anyone about their own bodies. I experience menstruation, but I can only speak for my own experience, so I would not assume that other people experience the same thing. So, for example, I would not say, “The Diva Cup is great for women,” nor “The Diva Cup is great for female-bodied people.” I would say “The Diva Cup is great for me when I’m on my period, and it might be good for other folks.”

The third reason people assign me as female-bodied is to put me in a category of people who were socialized as girls, based on the way I act or relate to others. It’s true: I do tend to take care of friends and devalue my experiences and needs in comparison with others, at least in part because I was raised as a girl. Although the perception of my body by others led to me being raised as a girl, it is very important that no one tries to teach me about my own experiences. If I locate my learned behavior of devaluing my own thoughts and feelings, I will say those tendencies came out of the systematic devaluation I experienced from being socialized as a girl, not being “female-bodied.” So, if we’re talking about socialization, let’s talk about socialization, but let’s not blame it on bodies, and thus, injure by assigning.
Read More

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Strawbreaking (via the Letter Z)

Anyone who wants to sign, comment here:
Whereas those factions of cisgender people by sanction of state or sanction of religion, either by explicit or implicit means, or by inaction:

  • have trivialized and ridiculed transgender people for the satisfaction of cisgender people,

  • have majority and systematic control over our transgender narratives,

  • have committed crimes of casual abuse against transgender people,

  • have committed crimes of psychological warfare against transgender people,

  • have sought to censure transgender people for expressing the desire to be treated with the same respect afforded cisgender people

  • have sought to inspire and incite violence and maltreatment against transgender people

  • have committed crimes of deprivation of liberty and crimes against humanity against transgender people

  • have committed crimes of murder against transgender people, and

  • have the desire of eradicating transgender people as a whole

Whereas those factions of cisgender people, nation states, organized religions, and religiously motivated groups have refused to address the above and take action to rememdy the above in a serious and timely fashion

Therefore, be it resolved that signatories or adherents to this document do solemnly declare war against those factions above and those States and organizations sanctioning and/or harboring them, and that signatories or adherents take any means necessary or desired (that would not be in themselves criminal acts) against those factions, States, and organizations with an end to the cessation of the crimes listed.

via the letter z. And, as Z went on to add:
I had to deliberately make it vague: for one reason, I don’t want the feds on me for incitement to violence, or whatever, hence the “without committing crimes” clause. The broad goal is to make those cis people who would see us exterminated know that they’re going to have a fight on their hands, and we’re not going to take it any more. I know that this is pretty much the attitude and goal of everyone who’s already in the fight, so this can be construed really as a message for cis people — we’re already engaged in the war, and cis people to know that they are the agressors in this war, and we’re fighting back and why. And it is something for me, at least, that makes it easier to deal with the news of the continued warfare against us, I suppose.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Dear Every[wer]man

From here:
When we complain about men raping, abusing, harassing, and refusing us our human rights, and you come back angrily with “But some men aren’t like that! How dare you imply that I might be like that.” Do you not think that the problem might come from the very fact that you are angry at us for complaining, rather than angry at your fellow boys and men for this enduring misogyny? Instead of being furious that we point out that many men do act this way - including men these women trust completely - be angry that there are men that will treat your mother, sister, daughter, friend, girlfriend badly purely because they are female. Not only that but they are giving you a bad name, not us.

This applies to everything of the "But not all of us are like that!", as I mentioned on Genderbitch's post. If you ever feel the need to pull out that defense, maybe you should re-evaluate: rather than being offended that people in your community are doing this, you get defensive and accusatory towards the people being harmed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Transgender and Crossdressing

Disclaimer: I'm not a crossdresser, crossdreamer, nor a drag ace†. Clue by four.

"I would never want to be a woman. That would spoil all the fun of dressing like one." - Carly*

I don't know if anyone noticed, but I put up the definitions of the words I use (and feel free to mention if I need to add any more or you have problems with the ones I put up). I wanted to elaborate a bit more on why I define transgender as I do. Which is:
An adjective describing a person whose gender (part or all of it) does not match the sex they were assigned at birth. Transgender makes no assumptions about the person’s genitalia, sex, gender role, presentation in daily life, or anything else- only the disconnect between what the doctors assumed the person would be and what the person actually is.

Now, I know that's not how everyone uses it- particularly as an umbrella term. One thing that there tends to be some disagreement on is whether or not people who don't uphold gender norms (crossdressers, drag royalty†, etc) are included in this. And here's my take on it.

Sexuality, Sexism and Why I Care

As I'm extremely loud about- I am asexual. I don't experience sexual attraction and, beyond that- I don't want sex, I don't have sex, I don't particularly want to hear if anyone else has sex but I accept that they do. So it might be a bit strange that I support the pro-sex movement, seeing as, by all rights, you'd think I'd be happy if everyone were ashamed of their sexuality and never talked about it, right? Wrong.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Write-ins included "Ze/zem/zeir/zemself" and the nebulous "Baked goods pronouns!"

Saturday, September 4, 2010

It is hot. Really, really hot. And I've been doing more exercise than I have in years. It's not hard to believe that I've been sweating a lot (and drinking a ton of fluids). I've also been hanging out in my room shirtless. I even went to the bathroom (co-ed) shirtless, but no one really saw that so whatever. I want to go outside like this as well, but the scars make me self-conscious. The nipples probably look a bit weird, but from afar I doubt that's as big a deal as the giant red slashes across my chest. But it's really nice to do this anyways.

I still have to moisturize the scars. A lot. Like, 3/4 times a day. I don't know if the heat is exacerbating it or what, but I do. So, yeah, top surgery tip: stock up on moisturizer.

I also got weighed for the first time since surgery. 122 lbs. Prior to surgery my weight has been consistently between 126-132 lbs for about 5 years. So there you have it, a good 4-10 lbs. [insert pun about "weight off your chest"]