Sunday, February 28, 2010

Non Binary Gender, Absences and Appropriations

Two discussions well worth having.

This one on the erasure or allowed absence of non-binary non-transsexual parts of Transgender in the media is very important as the largest part of the Transgender Umbrella is the least seen.

While this one brings up claims of many people appropriating a Genderqueer identity and the effects of that on the community, a tricky problem indeed to take any side on with self-identification in the mix. And one in which i appear to have raised some controvertial ideas that some consider off topic, though i feel are getting to the actual heart of the matter.

Of note with my comments in the latter is the connected issue of how much the experiences of one group may be applicable to others in similar circumstances. While some imposing their experiences on everyone elses has been a problem in the past has the reaction to that gone so great as to cause massive loss of opportunities to learn from one another? Like has been raised in Science of recent times where Inter-disciplinary science has become invaluable in solving problems that sat building for ages through exclusivity and non-comunication between different fields?

Definatly some interesting conversations well worth having.


EHR said...

What you said made sense to me. But I don't know if I get a vote.

Battybattybats said...

Well if your Genderqueer you absolutely get a vote on if these ideas pertain to the Genderqueer community.

If your human and social in the slightest then you definatly get a vote on whether or not this is a common social pattern in humans and how in general it could be handled.

If you have had similar experiences and observations in other communities that match or don't match my ideas please feel free to share them.

EHR said...

That's the thing, I don't know if I qualify as genderqueer. I also don't know if I really care, though - I am who I am and it works for me (which may be a sign of not being gq or may be a sign of just not being as obvious to the world as others but that article makes me feel like even wondering sometimes is appropriating - which, as you have said, runs the risk of excluding people based on harsh lines drawn).

I've definitely experienced this in other communities, being a musician - or maybe just an aspiring one, depending on who you talk to. I've seen street kids split into groups based on who they thought was actually punk. I have had lots of friends who were Native American who have had to deal with being told that they aren't Native American because of some arbitrary rules that the other person has made up. I have seen Christians tell other Christians that they weren't really Christian. I have been the excluder myself, too, many times, so I am not unique or innocent in the whole phenomenon. I guess I've just been more sick of it lately than ever before because I have seen what damage it can do, and have begun to look at those people not as unwelcome invaders but human beings who are simply different from me but not necessarily wrong because of it.

I even had a goth phase myself, that was no less authentic than any lifelong goths in my own life and mind and made me aware at least somewhat of what it is like to be a goth but which was simply not a lifelong thing for me. But I've always played with image, because I've always known it was just a way of telling the world who you are on the inside, which could lie just as easily as words can whether you want it to or not. Which is not to say that it always is a lie - I think most people, if not all, use their physical expression as accurately as they possibly can, since it can be awkward or even dangerous to communicate certain things in the wrong environments. But image is just as changeable as any other aspect of us human beings, and I happen to be more fickle than most. ;) And sometimes, I have to say, I get tired of defending that.

So as wishy-washy as it may be, I don't know what purpose such strict delineations serve except to divide people who shouldn't necessarily be divided - and in fact may be better off sticking together.

Sorry if I'm rambling or incoherent - I just woke up. :)

EHR said...

And I meant to say that while I may not still dress goth, the same things that made me do it in the first place are still within me and show from time to time.

gaelige said...

hi batty, i notice you got mauled on QT.that pisses me off...there is so much BS around these things and bitchy people.i'm not GQ but you are-don't know what betsy's prob is.
also Dyssonance(aka Toni)
is having a great discussion at bilerico, i was mad at them but i read it for her stuff.
we should support her there, she is doing a great job unlike most mainstream posters.
i'd love to see your thoughts on
you have interesting perspectives.
best , G

Battybattybats said...

Thanks Gaelige.
I'll check out the link.

As for QT well it's their right to dissregard my point if they want. Which risks repeating the pattern I've seen in so many other circles. Of course i might not be right on some things.

I wasn't going to derail the discussion wastefully on defences. But of course i wasn't derailing the subject from GQ concerns though if I'm GQ and those were my concerns for GQ and about GQ.

It's a common complaint though in discussions when i cut to what i perceive to be the heart of a subject. Such as raising internalised transphobia and transphobia or human rights (especially bodily autonomy) in CD/cis relationship troubles. Sure the theory may explain what people are going through and supply answers but to some thats going off topic.

For some looking at problems holisticly, at comparisons across groups, bringing human rights or ethics into discussions are all going off-topic when for me they seem to be about determining the right thing to do about things and finding effective courses of action that remain respectful and compassionate.

It always seems weird to me when what is from my perspective cutting to the very core of a matter is derailing or off topic. Of course often it involves ideas people don't like such as treating Transprisoners medical needs like those of cis people, treating Trans needs as being as valid as Cis ones in relationships, considering obligatiions towards likely descendant Trans in determining whats the right thing to do for the sake of a CDs family etc.

Battybattybats said...

Calling out those people feel may be appropriating GQ may be emotionally satisfying but that doesn't make it a good thing to do.

My fear is the harm risked to genuine GQ people and GQ as a living community is greater in doing so and that the best solution is to ensure a strong valid GQ voice so that any appropriators have to tow the line of the valid claimants simply to succeed at appropriating that identity over themselves without anyone ever having to determine who is valid and who not.

Internecine conflicts over who is a poser and who is not was old in the 90's.

cigfran said...

"Calling out those people feel may be appropriating GQ may be emotionally satisfying but that doesn't make it a good thing to do."

And yet they wonder how to be heard. Because beating your breast at every thorn in your paw is such an effective communications strategy, no?

gaelige said...

i get one thing that they(QT) meant-
the gay man who was cis, till called out on Trans characters in his performance art, then there is a woman who is bi who got
"pissed off"
when she wasen't 'read' as queer by a gay guy, and went off on gender as 'politics',
there are some significant others who appropriate GQ
without seeming to live it,
and some rock performers also did/do this, too....

gender is an identity
(to me)in others,the same way
that Trans(ftm) is for myself.

johnny weir cross dresses sometimes and is seemingly GQ.
he was obviously born that way,
to say otherwise is to discriminate!

so calling out "posers" is troubling in certain instances, but there do seem to be the "genderfuck"
people who think it's all performance and politics.

also GQ topics should be open to all GQ people w/out all the pissing on heads of the pissed off.
cis, maybe.
in our own community?
kind of horizantal violence
at times.

saw your comment at BP.
toni is really bringing some shit home, good on her.

Battybattybats said...

It's absolutely true that some people do and will appropriate any identity if they see any advantage or value in it.

On the other hand discussing this with an older Queer friend they mentioned Queer has had political aspects to the label for quite a long time not just as a distinct identity. If we delineate any of the queer-politics parts as not belonging to Genderqueer have we unjustly appropriated the Queer political label?

Definately getting a voice heard can be difficult. Often whats needed is for people to help raise someone elses voice to a level where it may be heard... often problematic as no spokesperson is perfect.

But as some people will be spokespeople whether liked or not its always a good idea to throw what you can behind those who seem best of the current candidates and try your best to speak out yourself.

The words that i think will most work with appropriation are ones that raise the broad idea of what genderqueer is (but not a narrow idea of what it's not) in a forum/media where the appropriators will be. That way they'll conform to the message in order to appropriate it. Just like someone who is poser-goth for a single video-clip *cough*Madonna*cough* *cough*Christina Aguilera*cough* (of course it's always possible this was a glimpse of their true closeted selves no matter how unlikely it may seem) will still have to look like a Goth and so propagate Goth outness even without being Goth themselves. If they don't take on the defining characteristics in their appropriation then the apropriation won't work.

So raising the profile of GQ in general and raising that of genuine GQs should help. Campains amongst GQs to buy GQ products especially by the better GQ spokespeople will make use of what economic power we have. Making a conscious effort to encourage others to join in helping raise up GQ voices etc. Especially non-academic ones as they are more likely to reach the appropriators.

And then the appropriators while unjustly profitting on GQ may also help GQ.

At least thats my hypthesis.

Battybattybats said...

Oh as for horizontal hostility, i suspect that in the Sexuality Sex and Gender Diverse population much of it is a response to internalised oppression, a partial overcoming of it if you will. Where so as to let oneself off the hook from the prejudice a 'they are Icky but people like me aren't' is formed so as to avoid the discomfort of overcoming the whole prejudice when faced with the realisation it applies to ones self.

While intrinsicly hypocritical this disconnect may fit easier in a mind used to prejudicial thinking.

Scapegoating other groups as being responsible for the prejudice all face is of course another related step.

gaelige said...

were you able to get a message from me, sent to facebook?
just wondering....

Battybattybats said...

Thanks for the heads-up as i don't check facebook regularly. Hope my reply is helpful.