The last few days I’ve had a hard time finding TS/TG related material that I really feel like publishing. Maybe I’m just in a funk or something but a few recent posts sort of bother me.
In the case of Drew’s post it just seems as though the pushing of gender neutral pronouns runs counter to the battle many TS/TG people are fighting to avoid being pushed into some sort of third gender or non gender ghetto. Gender neutral pronouns seem to run counter to the efforts to rid our selves of slurs like “shemale” and “trannie”.
Maybe it come with being a feminist post-transsexual of a certain age, but I have a hard time understanding a post by Drew Cordes on Bilerico: Dehumanization & the Hegemony of Gendered Language.
The ways in which language reinforces the gender binary are familiar to many of us. The most immediate example being the lack of a gender-neutral singular pronoun in many of the world’s tongues. There have been many attempts to sidestep this limitation historically and in the contemporary queer/trans community, from the invention of new pronouns such as “zie, zir, yo,” repurposing the gender-neutral yet plural “they” for singular purposes, or not having a pronoun preference at all (the latter being my favorite because it forces other people to make a choice they’ve never thought about making before). At this point, none of these options has been able to do much more than carve out a niche of recognition within the small communities in which they were innovated.
I never got the rationale of third gender pronouns.
I have been using their as an inclusive singular as well as plural possessive pronoun for some forty years. Transgender/transsexual folks had nothing to do with my working towards that usage. They didn’t even enter my mind when I started adopting it. First it was seen a an idiosyncratic use, something pushed by feminists to corrupt the male primacy of the English language.
You see when I was growing up male egos were so fragile that women and girls were taught they had to accept male singular and plural pronouns as the universal and inclusive pronouns because it would insult men to refer to them using feminine pronouns.
I realize the last 30 years of right wing backlash against the 1960s as well as the feminism and gay liberation of the 1970s has left us with some really perverted intellectual garbage when it comes to thinking about men/women and gender.
Fortunately we have started waking up. Men are not from Mars and women not from Venus. We are both from earth and more alike than different.
Gender Studies is really pretty detached from reality and a Ph.D. in gender studies will prepare you for a career that includes knowing the difference between a grande and a vente as well as how much caramel syrup goes into a Caramel Macchiato
It’s all so retro, so 1990s, this post-modern gender studies crap that was always an exercise in intellectual wankery.
The obsession with gender transgression and intersex people. It turned out the main proponent behind the intersex movement, Kiira Tirea (and many other aliases) was a total fraud, an attention seeking TS/TG person.
As we move past the academics who celebrated third genders in the form of Hijra and Katoey and all the other colonized and formerly colonized cultures we discover that those people too are basically TS/TG people who have many of the same aspirations as those sisters and brothers in the west.
Like the majority of sisters and brothers here they want to be accepted as members of the sex they feel themselves to be part of. Like most sisters and brothers here they want to be able to live ordinary lives with dignity and respect, not lives filled with abuse, fear and degradation.
When actually sex reassignment surgery becomes available in cultures that have these niche categories, all of a sudden a large percentage of people living in these cultures become pretty much indistinguishable from transsexual folks in the west. The western concept of transgender has been appropriated by a large percentage of the folks in these niche cultures who didn’t migrate to the transsexual self diagnosis.
And why not? It’s like gay liberation. TS/TG people in the west formed movements, demanded rights and respect. These are pretty much universally desired things.
It appears to me that most people, TS/TG people included are fairly comfortable with there being a sex/gender binary. The matters being fought over are about equality and respect. At times there seems to be a lot less difference between TS folks who get SRS and TG folks who socially transition, live full time and do everything but get SRS, than there is between those of us who want to fit in with others of the sex/gender we transitioned to and those who see themselves as “gender queer”.
It always seemed to me that people transitioned to be more comfortable in their own skins, more comfortable with their internal gender.
In some ways that requires us to follow the rules of gender on at least a minimal level. Gender is somewhat social and there are some who resist the notion of giving others the clues by which we commonly gender other people.
It’s a statement, what situationists called détournement a way of unsettling commonly held thinking. In the right situation it is a cool thing to do. But in the wrong environment it can lead to people winding up on that damned list we are forced to read each November.
And therein lies the problem. People should be free to express these things. Yet I am concerned with the risks people take when they live gender queer lives outside the LGBT ghetto or the academic world.
That most of the gender neutral pronoun stuff is in the protective arms of academe is a good thing.
Outside the walls of academe TS/TG people are having to fight really hard to have their post-transition sex/gender respected and to have people use appropriate nouns, pronouns and adjectives.
Leslie Feinberg, Kate Bornstein and Riki Wilchins have said and done some very good things but I really have a hard time supporting them on the idea that TS/TG people are some other gender; not male/not female.
A significant portion of TS/TG people, myself included prefer virtual cis status to that of the gender queer population.
Perhaps it is because we have jobs, lives and interests beyond the TS/TG world and while supporting the TS/TG communities is still a part of our lives it isn’t the only thing that is important to us.