The False Consciousness of “Identity”

Over the last 10-15 years of talking with transsexual and transgender people I have witness a surreal clinging to a chimera called “identity”

I say chimera because way to often I am called upon to relate to and give credence to an “identity” claimed that is devoid of the action that would give that claim of identity substance.

In what seems like a lifetime ago on a stage at the Roxy Theater in West Hollywood I saw Tim Curry and cast sing “Don’t Dream It, Be It”.  a song that capture a multitude of different imagined realities in 1974.

A very existential message of of being through doing.  In those days it often meant if you were gay or lesbian live it out and proudly.

It was a show that made me a tad uncomfortable on one level yet on another level I had stopped dreaming about being and had become through doing.

Now some 35 years later, we have endured the crushing of the freedom of those days under the jack boots of Reaganism, Thatcherism and Taliban like religious thugs who would love nothing more than to shove LGBT/T folks back into the closet or worse with persecution and deny women the right to have agency and control of their own bodies when it comes to reproductive rights.

Lately because I have declared a personal end to calling people with transgenderism nasty names and have declared support for their civil rights many assume I also buy their ideology of gender and identity.

Honestly I don’t.  I won’t and trying to sell it to me will only piss me off.

I don’t give a rat’s ass about your identity.  It is your choosing to deal with your transgenderism or transsexualism that I care about and that I am willing to defend.  Not your right to claim it as an “identity” but rather your right to live it.

You see I’m not real big on thought crimes.  I’m an atheist so the idea of  “thinking about a sin is the same as committing the sin” is a concept I find entirely alien.

From my point of view if you say you are transsexual you take steps to change your sex.  Now I realize the hard fact of economics creating gaps in the bridge from one place to the other but you proceed in that direction to the best of your ability.  If you claim to be transgender you live 24/7365 and you also take the steps that would make revoking that commitment difficult.  Including most of the same steps people who get SRS take.

The idea that you are because you claim that as an identity comes off as a sort of weird post-modern idea tied in with Gender Studies and Queer Studies, an identity divorced from the concreteness of reality.  An extension perhaps of Judy Butler by someone who is overly enchanted with Judy’s fractured syntax and gibberish of coined words.

One of the main aspects of the fighting over these last few years has been regarding the primacy of “identity” over the reality of actions and real physical changes of sex under taken by people with transsexualism

Post-SRS people have an investment in the irreversibility of their actions.  It is the sort of investment one finds in people who have done acts of courage or great cost and the resentment that is felt towards others who claim to have done the same or be the same while not having paid the same price.

None of this has to do with calling names or human rights.  Indeed we would all be better off is such discussions were to retreat to the coffehouses, the bars, the pot smoke filled rooms best suited to discussions of philosophy.

After all it’s about humanity not ideology.

2 Responses to “The False Consciousness of “Identity””

  1. Susanna Boudrie Says:

    Hi Suzy

    I just have to say that I completely agree.


  2. Bridgette Says:

    Excellently stated, Suzan.

    One can have understanding and compassion, help if possible to ameliorate prejudice against people different than he or she without animosity toward them and with the very sane belief that all human beings deserve of themselves the right and fact of being who they wish to be.

    Agreement with that doesn’t imply, let alone entail, that one is the same as another human being except in our mutual humanity.

    Very well done piece.

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