If one views “gender” as a social construct that has varied a great deal across time and in various cultures rather than as some form of unvarying absolute truth, a binary of one or zero, black or white then the very idea of “gender variant” is patently absurd.
It has become a force of faith based reactionary thinking to assert that there is such a thing as an essentialist based gender binary that one can be a variant of.
I’m an atheist and a secular humanist, and a whole hearted skeptic when it comes to ideas that seem to have as a core the reificattion of women as members of the second sex, inferior and less human than men.
It seems as though the bulk of bullshit about gender does just that and is in fact an end run around much of second wave feminist theory that attacked the validity of sex roles in the early 1970s.
I read a recent post on on Transgender News, one of the mailing lists I am on that feeds me articles and ideas that I use to develop posts for this blog. Meryl Sizemore posted the following, “[Style] [USA] Long Hair on Little Boys: Right or Wrong?” To read article go to: http://www.stylelist.com/2010/04/19/long-haired-boys/.
Naturally this article started me sputtering like an impression of Lewis Black, “What the Fuck? What the Fuck?” What ever happened to the feminist idea behind, “Free to be You, Free to be Me”?
It is as though the George Rekers with their perverted religiosity and homophobia have started dictating a program of indoctrination of absolutes of masculinity and absolutes of femininity as a homophobic and transphobic method to prevent the development of LGBT/T folks.
The abject failure of this indoctrination should be obvious. Leading reaparative therapist Charles Socarides and one of the founding fathers of groups like NARTH had a gay son that he was unable to cure. Phyllis Schlafly, ultra right wing traitor to women and embracer of the idea that women should love the roles she so obviousl did not embrace for herself raised a gay son who is alleged to be a leather queen. Tim and Beverly LaHaye, right wing religious con artists and peddlers of schlocky apocalyptic rapture bunny fiction have a gay son.
Schlafly’s gay boy and LaHaye’s gay boy are leaders of Concerned Women of America. A supposed institute of women that doesn’t trust women enough to run it, part of the vast right wing corporations that peddle their neo-Nazi crap along with their Ayn Rand bullshit.
All these organization believe that gender defines who is a “real man” and who is a “real woman”.
But the reality is that the “gender binary” exists mainly as a tool of sexist indoctrination in the ideal of male superiority and female as object.
Hence the childhood indoctrination into strict sex roles and the panic regarding same sex marriage.
Yes same sex marriage is a threat to the idea of marriage that consists of a male head of the household and his wife as same sex marriage makes a case for marriage of equals.
In truth gender is not an absolute set of traits that one can be a variant of. We abuse the very idea of what transsexualism is when we speak in terms of gender identity. What we actually mean is core sex identity. That which tells us what sex we are. It is not a new concepts although Julia Serano named it that.
To me gender identity seems more about the various shades of masculinity and femininity than about being male or female. When one starts analyzing oneself and one’s traits we find most people are shades of masculinity and femininity, which is to say that no one actually fits into any sort of gender binary. If the very idea of there being a 100% masculine or 100% femenine is a fiction then how can there be a gender binary?
And if there is no gender binary how can one be a variant? Doesn’t that make everyone a variant?