The naming of parts

April 29, 2011 § 11 Comments

Or, rather – what words can you use when the words typically used don’t make sense for the person you are? And how do you communicate those words to others?

To be less obtuse – for the trans person who would like to avoid the traditional labels for their genitalia – what are the options out there?

It’s not something I’d really given much thought to, being a rather vague and romantic person – hazy and/or humorous seems the way forward in general conversation. And double entendres and bad puns do, sadly, make me smile. Regardless of whether someone is cis or trans, male/female/both/other – it seems only polite to follow their lead in what words to use. Language being, after all, malleable and ever-expanding, and bodies, at the end of the day, unique and fragile and fundamentally separate from the signifiers used to refer to them – no matter how many times those signifiers have been pressed into our psyches.

I also thought that a central tenet of feminism was the deconstruction of the kyriarchal systems of demarcation within language, particularly gendered language. And, of course, bodily autonomy. So it actually left me laughing when I saw that some self-proclaimed “radical feminists” (really?) thought it worth their time to compose a list of terms trans guys use to describe their genitalia, and to pontificate on the wickedness contained therein. I won’t link to the blog GenderTrender as it really is rather nasty – but I will quote the list in full – look how imaginative people are!

Junk

Stuff

Fred

Nethers

It

Them

Those

That

Neo Phallus

Neo

Nightsaber

Box

Vag

Muff

Crotch

Downstairs

Bits

Private Parts

That Thing

Downstairs Bits

The Short and Curlies

Jewels

Gems

My Royals

Shorty

Hanging Bits

Dicklet

Cock

Front Hole

Tranny Cave

Bonus Hole

Cockpit

Plumbing

Manhole

Male Slot

Boyhole

Tranny Cock

Clit Dick

Mangina

Up Front

Down There

Guy Pie

I think “Nightsaber” is my favourite – an allusion to Star Wars with a general air of trashy romance novel? Perfection.

I know this is a bit of a silly post, but I wanted to make a more serious point – that one of the things I love most about being trans, and about other trans people, is the constant overall transition from dysphoria and suffering into beauty and celebration. From the physical substance of our bodies, to the philosophies and systems that those bodies mutate and enrich – it may begin from a place of pain, but where it ends is somewhere truly glorious. We’re a continual reminder of the diversity of Nature – the unstable element that keeps things in motion. Like the archetypal figures of The Fool or The Trickster God – a threat to the fixed order of things, and a prompt to the repetitious “why?”

Just think – all of that just from allowing ourselves to freedom to use language in our OWN service, rather than that of the powers that be. Doesn’t that make you happy?

So, in that sprit – any awesome terms that were left off that list? Trans women, genderqueer people – anything to add? And in solidarity – I’ll show you mine, if you show me yours – after the jump…

my sweet old etcetera
aunt lucy during the recent

war could and what
is more did tell you just
what everybody was fighting

for,
my sister

isabel created hundreds
(and
hundreds) of socks not to
mention shirts fleaproof earwarmers

etcetera wristers etcetera, my

mother hoped that

i would die etcetera
bravely of course my father used
to become hoarse talking about how it was
a privilege and if only he
could meanwhile my

self etcetera lay quietly
in the deep mud et

cetera
(dreaming,
et
cetera, of
Your smile
eyes knees and of your Etcetera)

e e cummings

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