Who I am is more than a talking point

June 13, 2014 § 3 Comments

Another day, another article talking about being genderqueer, or neutrois, or bigender, as though the phenomenon was as recent as the words we currently use, and as though the people who ARE those things aren’t smart enough to know what we’re talking about when we talk about ourselves. I’m not linking to it. I’m sick of giving articles like that traffic.

But I will say, yet again, and will keep saying: my life, and how I understand it, is much, much more than a point of theory to be interpreted according to the whims of an outside commentator.

Don’t you dare claim that that’s a strike against debate, against investigation. God knows how I’d fill my time without research, analysis, constant interrogation – particularly of my own beliefs.

But it’s the way it’s done, in popular op-ed writing – the way it reduces and diminishes, rather than expanding and enlightening. Terry Pratchett is one of my favourite authors, and Granny Weatherwax’s definition of sin – that it’s “when you treat people like things” – is as good a maxim as I can think of for how to live a compassionate life. And this is what these articles do – they treat me, and people like me, as things to be dissected and picked over in the name of being ‘gender critical’ (funny how buzzwords don’t always invalidate your arguments).

These kinds of pieces may seem like small things in themselves – I believe that they are small – but it’s that drip drip drip of ‘these kinds of humans are…less than’. As with any cultural attitude, it’s not that someone will read one op-ed piece and go out and abuse someone like me in the street – it’s that it feeds into and validates the cultural norm that allows people like me to be passed over for job interviews, mocked in ‘polite’ society, be deemed undesirable as romantic partners – and on and bloody on.

It’s not about a ‘politically correct’ approach – it’s not about knowing a secret language, or not being allowed to talk openly, or about clubs or shibboleths.

But it is being tired of being talked at, and not talking with. It’s having my intelligence denied by the entry level arguments leveled against my knowledge of myself. It’s the assumption that, coming from a similar cultural background, I couldn’t possibly have done the same research – more research – than these writers – and yet have reached different conclusions. It’s the fall back to accusations – open or veiled – of self-delusion and fantasy, when my life contradicts a stranger’s 800 word opinion piece.

It’s about reducing a fellow human creature – one with full interiority, a drive towards self-knowledge and discovery, a thirst for both answers and challenges – as a prop with which to set a scene against which to monologue.

Talk about being genderqueer – ask questions – write articles, spread knowledge, stimulate debate.

But remember first and foremost that I am your equal.

 

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