Being Weaponized

"It's surprising to me that you aren't sure the trans community will accept gender queer people who don't transition", my friend writes in response to something I had posted. "Many such people do identify as trans and are active in the community, particularly in specifically non-binary spaces".


Yeah, let me explain and unpack that a bit.

Early this week, in another, very different space, someone else had posted something dismissive about trans people -- there was a photo of a bathroom door with all kinds of alternatives to the conventional male and female bathroom silhouettes along with the notice "We don't care, just don't pee on the seat" or something to that effect; the person posting it had then written a screed about how fragile and self-immersed and pathetic these kids these days are, etc.

So I wrote some descriptions of the shit I'd had to put up with from my classmates, the sissyphobia and homophobia and misogyny bundle, you know? What it had been like being harassed for being sissy and femme. And how since they had made an issue of it and acted like it was my secret shame, I damn well had the right to make an issue of it myself to say I was proud of my identity.

I got some likes and some supportive comments but I also got people saying that this shouldn't make it necessary to transition because I'm just as entitled to walk around in the body I was born in as those bullies were. So I explained that I am not a transitioner, that I don't present as female, that I identify as femme but also as physically male.

"Oh", they said. "Well, that makes more sense. But these pathetic people we're talking about, they don't do that. They have to change their name and their pronouns and put on a dress and tell us we have to accept their identity".

So these transphobes are seizing on nonbinary people like me who don't transition and using us as a weapon to attack our trans sisters and brothers.

That happens. It isn't rare. It's a thing.

Now, let's consider the kind of things I myself say. I'm not merely a genderqueer person who does not transition. I'm a loud and pushy genderqueer person who is tired of feeling erased so I make a lot of noise about having an identity that is different from the type of trans identities that comprise the main cultural narrative about being trans. I'm constantly mouthing off about not being a transitioner. I'm often challenging language used and generalizations made in transgender / genderqueer groups when it doesn't leave room for people who consider themselves women or femme but don't present as female.

My behavior reminds a lot of trans people of those transphobes. Because identities like mine have been weaponized against them. Used to attack the legitimacy of their identities.

We should not let them divide us that way. Those nasty creepazoids don't legitimately accept my identity. They use the word "just". As in "See, you can just be nonmasculine and still be male". They trivialize my experience and my identity. They will go on to say I don't have a separate gender identity, I'm just a man who likes to eat quiche and watch chick flicks or something. They plug their ears about how polarizing it is to be perceived as male but to be (and to be perceived as being) a person with the priorities and tastes, behaviors and attitudes that are expected of girls and women and not the ones associated with boys and men. They pretend they are fine with that as long as I don't transition and ask them to accept me as female. They pretend they aren't participating in the problem, that it wasn't them calling me names and exhibiting attitude and dropping insinuendos about what's wrong with me.

My trans sisters and brothers who transition are my kin. What works for me does not work for them. They have the right to be, to exist socially without being misgendered or condescended to. Nobody has any justification for questioning the route they have taken, which validates their identity and lets them stand proud. They need a supportive medical community and insurance coverage, they need to be allowed to pee without people questioning or challenging their gender identity, they need to be able to walk down the sidewalk in peace and in safety. And they need to not have identities like mine thrown in their faces like gender was some kind of One Size Fits All boutique and cisgender bigots are suddenly the fashion aribrators.

You do not have my consent to use me as a goddam weapon.


———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts




———————


Do you counsel young people trying to sort out their gender identity? You should read my book! It's going to add a new entry to your map of possibilities when you interact with your clients!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


My second book, That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class, is also being published by Sunstone Press. It's a sequel to GenderQueer Stay tuned for further details.



Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/77268.html#comments

Representation

"You must be so happy to see how far things have come since your own teenage years", people often say. "Back then, nobody was talking about being gender variant, it was all either you're gay or else you're straight. Now the kids are free to just be however they are and gender isn't an issue!"

Well, there's definitely been progress, but we haven't exactly Arrived yet.

Have you watched any movies lately or read any good novels that feature femmy males who fall in love with the female heroes of the storyline, and don't masculinize themselves to become heterosexually viable?

Who are the role models to whom a girlish, definitely non-masculine male would turn if they want to see an example, perhaps somebody to emulate?

I think there are more boxes now, but people still want to put you in one of the boxes, and I don't see a box that would fit me. Or would fit the person I was at fifteen, at nineteen, at thirteen.

• Portrayals of male people who are asexual or aren't sexually attracted and don't crave a romantic and sexual relationship would not be good models. I was, and at that age it was intense and complicating my life.

• Portrayals of male people who aren't uncomfortable with the assumptions and projections that people make about male people -- people expecting masculinity, expecting a set of priorities and behaviors that are associated with boys and men, especially sexual prorities and behaviors -- would not be good models. I had related to the girls, not the boys, all through elementary school. The whole 'boy thing' was foreign to me, something I wanted nothing to do with.

• Portrayals of male people whose sexual and romantic fascinations were for and towards other male people would not be good models. I had been taunted and harassed and threatened around the assumption that males who were feminine or acted in any way like one of the girls were gay and wanted male sexual attention. I didn't have those feelings, and existing cultural icons who were male, femmy, and gay didn't represent to me someone who was like me, because sexual orientation had been made an issue for me as a sissy femme person.

• Portrayals of trans gals who transitioned from being someone perceived as male to someone who presented as female were a mixed prospect as role models, because although it was a way of saying "see, being male doesn't keep this person from finding a valid identity as a feminine person", it also tended to underline the notion that the maleness was wrong. I didn't have dysphoria about my body and didn't want to be accepted and regarded as a girl or woman just like the others, as a cisgender woman in other words. I wanted the sexual attractions and romantic hungers I felt to be mutual, and since mine involved attraction for female people, to be mutual I would need to be with someone female who had a reciprocal appetite for someone who was male. If I presented as female and got involved with someone whose attraction was towards female folks, I was going to be a disappointment. Even if they were willing to settle for me because they were attracted to me as a person, I didn't want to be settled for; and I wasn't ashamed of my body and thought someone could find it cute and sexually appealing. I wasn't going to find someone who did if I was going around presenting as female.


The correct box isn't out there yet. Some kid who resembles the person I was as a teenager, coming along now, is going to be miscategorized as transgender, or as femme gay, or as generically nonbinary and asexual, for lack of a better box.

(And yeah, I can hear those of you who are just itching to say "People shouldn't be put in boxes, just be yourself, all this stereotyping is bad, think outside the box dude" and so forth. You are right but you are wrong. People wish to be understood. First-tier understanding tends to begin with generalizing, with categorizing folks and treating them as a typical member of that category. That is NOT a bad thing -- it's only bad when people don't move past that and learn the unique things about the specific person. It's only bad when they continue to treat the person as the box, as the stereotype. You get stereotyped by strangers, whether you realize it or not. It serves you well. You package yourself to be taken at first glance as something reasonable close to who you actually are. You don't know what it's like to not have that available to you unless you have had to live with no appropriate role or notion to wear as a default identity, no stereotype to play to as a starting point. You'd have a less dismissive take on these boxes if you had to walk around without one for a few years. In other words, you might want to check your privilege).



———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts




———————


Do you counsel young people trying to sort out their gender identity? You should read my book! It's going to add a new entry to your map of possibilities when you interact with your clients!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


My second book, That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class, is also being published by Sunstone Press. It's a sequel to GenderQueer Stay tuned for further details.



Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/76925.html#comments

Signalling and Signification

Let me describe a couple people from one of the support groups.

Kim wears dresses and skirts and puts on cosmetics just because he likes doing so. "Nothing should be regarded as gender atypical, really. That's my attitude".

Sky wears a skirt and puts on makeup precisely because it is gender atypical. Sky is nonbinary and wants to convey being more femme. So they're using this to send a visual signal. "Well, also, I feel more feminine when I'm dressed that way, so it's for me, too".

So last week someone posted a meme about how young male children should be supported if they want to wear a ballet tutu and carry a doll. Sky put a like on it and a reply saying we need to cheer when we see that. Kim said something similar and I gave it a thumbs up myself.

But inside my head I was thinking about saying to Sky: "But you do realize that if a ballet tutu is no longer off-limits or risque for males to wear, it loses some of its strength as a gender signal, right?"


Let's be blunt: the provocative nature of anything you own, its power as something that you wear that previously only some other gender ever wore, that impact all goes to hell once it is established that boys and girls alike can wear these things.

Putting on a pair of blue jeans when you're a female person doesn't establish you as a drag king and won't signal that you're butch. It could have a century ago, but now wearing pants doesn't carry a gender message.

If you need to be offset from the cisgender world, your ability to do so on the basis of what you wear is limited to the rigidities of the mainstream world. Think about it.



I am not quite like Sky but I'm not exactly like Kim either. I did start wearing skirts to send a social signal. Since early childhood, other people had outed me to myself and to their friends, pointing out that I was like a girl, that I wasn't normal for a boy, that I wasn't a real man. And it had been held out to me that I would never have a girlfriend or be sexually active with women because of this. They acted like they'd found my hidden secret, my great shame. So putting on the skirt was a way of saying "I'm not in hiding, I know who I am and I'm proud of it".

I do also wear them because they're more comfortable in the hot sticky summer weather and I like the way I look in them because I have great legs.



My friend and colleague Naki Ray, an intersex activist, is constantly reminding people "Please, stop conflating sex with gender or sex traits with gender identity!" It's an important distinction for me, too. There's definitely a difference, for me, between being perceived as femme and being perceived as female. Whereas Sky wants to go forth into the world being neither regarded as male nor as female, I am definitely male. It was my personality characteristics and my behaviors and my whole way of being in the world that caused the other kids to regard me as being like a girl. But they would not have had reason to single me out and harass me for being like a girl if I had not been male. That is who I am and that is who I get to be proud of being, a male person who is like this, who is in the world this way and not the masculine boyish way expected of me.

Kim would be happy to wake up in a world where there is absolutely nothing remaining that signals gender to anyone. Where gender is dead. Where there isn't a single notion about what male people do or wear or act like, as opposed to how female people do those things, or intersex folks for that matter. It would be a world where there are no nonbinary people. No butch people. No femme people. No boys, no girls, no men, no women. There might still be classifications by sex -- people might notice whether you have a conventional male body structure or a classic female body structure or something else. This might seem regressive to trans people who have fought hard to split identity away from what you've got inside your underpants, but remember, people would not associate it with anything else, either. This would be a society that would not regard you any differently no matter what your sexual morphology. Kim would regard this as the ideal world.

Would I? It's complicated. My identity is embedded in my history. I didn't grow up in that kind of world. Our internal identities take the form "I am the person who...", don't they? Well, I am the person who was seen as a male who acted and behaved and apparently thought like one of the girls. I like to think I am doing things that move us towards Kim's ideal world, but if you plucked me up and dropped me into it tomorrow morning? No one in such a world would understand easily what I had been up against during my lifetime. Not that many people grasp that in today's world, to be fair -- you seen any movies lately or read any good novels featuring femmy males who fall in love with the female heroes of the storyline and don't masculinize themselves to become heterosexually viable?


———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts




———————


Do you counsel young people trying to sort out their gender identity? You should read my book! It's going to add a new entry to your map of possibilities when you interact with your clients!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


My second book, That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class, is also being published by Sunstone Press. It's a sequel to GenderQueer Stay tuned for further details.



Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/76570.html#comments

Advertising the Book: Positioning

I have a book that should have an impact on other gender inverts like me.

Problem is, they don't think of themselves as gender inverts. I chose that term because there wasn't an existing term to express my gender identity. Same with more colloquial equivalents like male girl and male femme. It's not like there are others who are already using those terms. So I can't advertise the existence of my book directly to the people most likely to be affected by it.

Counselors. Supportive people, listeners. Folks at LGBTQIA centers whose job it is to sit down with young people, curious people, worried people, concerned about their identity, exploring these questions perhaps for the first time, perhaps without much personal experience of anything besides a conventional community that doesn't seem to make room for people like them.

I would think the counselors would see the value of my book. It enters a possibility onto the map. It describes how it was for me, in case that matches how it is for the person who comes in to your center seeking answers. It offers an explanation, an identity that worked for someone and might resonate for other people whose experience is similar.


Is that you? Is that the kind of work that you do? Do you do that? Do you counsel folks who are seeking an answer to who they are, what their gender or sexual identity is?

How do I reach you, and people like you? What do you read? What do you watch? If you were me, where would you place an ad to reach people like you? Where do you hear about books that would be of potential use to the people who come in your door? Where do you hear about books that would expand your own knowledge base and help you counsel the people who come to you for help?


———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts




———————


Do you counsel young people trying to sort out their gender identity? You should read my book! It's going to add a new entry to your map of possibilities when you interact with your clients!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


My second book, That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class, is also being published by Sunstone Press. It's a sequel to GenderQueer Stay tuned for further details.



Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/76505.html#comments

The Expression of Interest

When you're a sissy femme male, you learn that indicating sexual interest in anyone is risky and can conjure hostility and contempt. If it happens to be male-bodied people that you like that way, you learn that not only the straight ones but the gay ones as well may regard you as creepy and pathetic and perverted and disgusting. If, on the other hand, your sexual inclination is to find female-bodied humans to be the enticing ones, you soon realize that you're expected to be boylike and to have boylike sexual priorities and attitudes, and to the extent that you don't, you're considered inferior, pathetic, creepy, and loathsomely disgusting.

You may notice a theme here.

So. I wrote a coming-out tale that details what it was like to be me, from age 13 to 21. It included a lot of pining and hoping and wishing and lusting for the possibility of a girlfriend in my life. Because, yeah, that happens to be how I was wired, I was a femme male who found female folk attractive. My narrative included a lot of confusion and frustration, because that's what it's like to be a pubescent sissy male with that attraction.

Among the reactions and feedback that I successfully solicited from people willing to review my book were comments that my sexuality was creepy.

a) "I was creeped out by how the author saw every female character as a possible sexual partner"

My last girlfriend had been back when I was in 3rd grade. It had been wonderful. We had loved each other, shared, talked, held hands, defied hostile classmates and even an occasional hostile teacher to be together. In the intervening years I'd developed a much stronger and emphatic interest in girls' bodies. Not that I hadn't felt some of that in 3rd grade but I was ignorant and thought I was a pervert back then.

You want to call me a pervert at 13, or 17? Fine. Maybe I was. I wanted a girlfriend. I was seriously into girls. It wasn't happening but I wanted it to. When I had girls who were friends or associates or colleagues, I fantasized that maybe what I wanted could develop with them.

Since it wasn't happening, hadn't happened, and I was feeling left out, I read advice columns and stuff of that nature, and several writers said I should not restrict my potential availability to the ultrahot sexiest girls but should realize that the average ordinary girl in the next row might be a good prospect if I didn't restrict myself to considering only the sexiest hottest ones that I saw. Well, nearly every female person I saw looked hot to me anyhow, but yeah I took that advice into serious consideration. It could be her. Or it could be her. Or her. I was totally girl-crazy.

Maybe that's creepy. If so, I don't think it's massively different from how a lot of adolescent girls at that age were about the boys.

b) "The author creeped me out with how much he thought he deserved sex, he sounds like an incel or something"

I never thought or wrote that I thought that I deserved sexual attention from this girl or that girl. I did admittedly think that sooner or later, someone would look upon me and think "Ooh, nice! Cute and not at all like the other boys" and would want to do me. Around me, I heard and saw that other males were being pushy about sex. I thought that was creepy.

I was a person who'd grown up thinking of myself as a boy who was like the girls. I valued their opinion and wanted their understanding now that sexual feelings were involved. I wanted to know how it was for them. I wanted it to be mutual. I wanted honesty. And yeah I expected to be a valued commodity, sooner or later, and yes I got a bit indignant when that did not seem to be happening. The pushy, sexually aggressive boys were not only experiencing sex but also having girlfriends.

I saw how the game was played. If I acted like I only wanted to have sex and had no reservations about it, the girl towards whom I acted that out could protest that she wasn't that kind of girl and we could banter. But that wasn't honest, that wasn't me, that role did not fit me, it was written for someone else.

Incels...I am not an incel. They harbor offensively sexist ideologies towards women, attitudes that are chock-full of hostility. But incels are people and some human experiences gave rise to that viewpoint, however twisted it may be. Yes, I was on that path. Feeling unfairly isolated, deprived.

When African natives were forcibly extracted from their homes in the 1600s and beyond and shoved into slavery, they felt the urge to turn to each other and sexuality inflected that, where applicable, and there was mating despite the fact that their children would have this institution of slavery inflicted upon them. That is powerful. That puts the desire to mate on a very high plane of priorities in life. So it is unfair to denigrate the desire to have that in one's life as if it were some dismissable trivial concern. It is a human thing to want, with relative degree of desperation, a connection, a love, a sexual joining.

To find one's self in a category where you don't get to have that? Yeah, there's going to be anger, resentment. The incels don't get it. They are wrong. They theorize as if female people have complete autonomy and that they, the males in this position, are controlled by that. That's ignorant and oblivious. Feminists have been writing and speaking for years and years about the coervice social pressures that control young women's sexual choices.

I grew up with feminism. I expected my female classmates to be liberated, feminist, nonsexist. I expected them to deal with me as a person who was fundamentally like they were, other than physically male. They didn't. They had expectations. They bought into beliefs. They also of course became necessarily wary and guarded and suspicious. All of that put a wall between them and me.

My sense that I was a person who was desirable? That I should logically have been a catch? Call it creepy if you must, but I found it liberating to shove aside the value judgments and the notions of what constitutes heterosexual viability.


———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts




———————


Do you counsel young people trying to sort out their gender identity? You should read my book! It's going to add a new entry to your map of possibilities when you interact with your clients!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


My second book, That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class, is also being published by Sunstone Press. It's a sequel to GenderQueer Stay tuned for further details.



Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/76155.html#comments

Mansplaining Gender; or Sissifying Feminism

I post in a lot of Facebook groups -- transgender groups, genderqueer groups, feminists groups, generic LGBT groups.

In one of the feminist groups, a participant took exception to me using transgender terms and transgender rhetoric. I replied that I'm just trying to communicate and I can lay things out using other words. I proceeded to explain a lot of the same things deriving my points from radical feminist theory, concepts and notions well-established as part of feminism.

"Ooooh", this person answered back. "So now you're going to mansplain feminism to us".




There's a reason I am mostly positioning what I have to say as part of the LGBTQIA dialog about gender these days. It's not that I am more fervently in agreement with what transgender activists have to say about gender. I have a lot of dissents with them, too, in fact. Been kicked out of a few when having a dissenting opinion was upsetting to people: the Trans, Enby & Genderqueer Network booted me to the curb, as did Transgender Support 30+, Non-Binary Gender Pride, Nonbinary Femmes, and GenderQueers+ ... so it is not as if feminists have a monopoly on "if you aren't saying exactly what we already agree with, you must be one of THOSE people, the wrong people, and we don't want you here".

But I'm less easily stripped of the authority to have an opinion in the first place. I identify as a genderqueer femme who is male. It isn't orthodox for transgender and it isn't exactly typical of what nonbinary and genderqueer people tend to say when they identify, but in general the rainbow has enough diversity and rhetoric about inclusiveness that it's hard for people to say I don't qualify or get to identify as I do. Individual lesbian, gay, trans, bi, genderqueer, or nonbinary people may take issue with what I say, but they've got less of a structured mission statement to point to that says I don't belong there.

But within feminism, as a person calling myself male, I am not regarded as a person for whom the platform exists.


My second book, *That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class*, comes out later this year. It explores the limitations of participation for a male person with political gender issues. Feminism was a beacon of light at the time I came out.

Some people ask why I bother to post in the feminist areas, especially the ones that don't condemn TERFs. It's feminist theory. The LGBTQIA world still has nothing to compare to it. It's the single most important political perspective to emerge from the 20th century. It has brilliant insights and develops a world-view that's coherent from top to bottom, individual behavioral nuance to ensconced political structure. And I'm a student and a participant, even if some of the world's feminists are not inclined to acknowledge me as a feminist.

But I can't effectively use it as my platform.



———————

You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/75867.html#comments

Feminists as Transgender Activists

I was in fifth grade in 1970 and so I came of age alongside of feminism. Feminism said it was sexist to have a different yardstick for measuring the behavior of people depending on their sex. That was a good message for me, since from about 2nd grade onwards, people brought to my attention that I acted like a girl instead of like a boy. I don't know what that conjures up for you, but it seemed to have something to do with being goody two shoes and prim about language and being crude and dirty for its own sake. Feminism backed me up when my reaction was "Yeah, so? The girls are doing it right, what's wrong with you and the other boys?"


The message of feminism was that if a way of being, the roles and behaviors and so on, was who or how you were, that was more important than what sex you were. If you were brave, you were a brave person and it meant the same thing whether you were a girl who was brave or a boy who was brave.

I have had people listen while I recounted my expriences and then tell me "well, fine, but that did not mean you were a girl".

We have phrases in the English language. "For all practical purposes". "For all intents and purposes". I understood "girl" to be a role, a way of being thought of, a set of expectations, a pattern. I didn't specifically think I "was a girl". It was more that I realized that for all intents and purposes I was one of them because how I was, my patterns, made me fit in among them and not among the people I shared a physical sex with. I knew I was male and had no problem with that, it just didn't seem terribly important for defining who I was.


The feminist message was a unisex message, a gender-neutral message. You could even say it was a gender-neutralizing message. A lot of feminists say that should be enough. I once thought so too.

But male has been the default sex. We had the word "man" meaning human and yet also meaning male human. It was more than nomenclatural and linguistic, there was and still is a deep-seated tendency to see the generic condition of the species as male. Female is the special condition, the exception. It means that male traits are projected as human traits, but traits marked as female are not. They don't apply to males and they don't apply to generic humans, only to female humans. So when feminists demanded that female humans be seen as people first, not as special exceptional cases, they were accused right and left of wanting to be men.

Feminists were actually doing a transgender thing. They weren't calling themselves men in the sense of male, but the generic human was marked male and feminists were now claiming that generic human for themselves.

It just doesn't work the same way when a male person does it. Claiming unisex or asking for unisex human expectations instead of gendered ones does not invoke any of the associations and notions that are attached to female people. Because those traits aren't unisex. They're tagged as special, exceptional, belonging to women only.



———————

You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/75550.html#comments

My book, *GenderQueer* — One Year in Print!

My book's been in print for a year! Have you read it yet? Here are some reasons why you should —


• Today there is the widespread notion that when people question their gender identity, they end up JOINING a crowd of people who identify a certain way. Having the social support of other people who are like you are is a good and healthy thing, but this also bolsters the notion that people are doing this in order to fit in. Which is the opposite of explaining one's identity as someone who does not.

GenderQueer is the first-person account of growing up as a gender misfit in an era long before "genderqueer" was trending. It's the story of arriving at an understanding and it sheds some light on how variant gender identities arise when they did not exist before.


• The "Q" by itself — the majority of genderqueer accounts have been written by people who first identified as same-sex attracted (gay, lesbian, or bisexual/pansexual) or else as transgender. This particular tale is from the vantage point of someone who never had dissonance about the male body in which he was born, and was not attracted to other male people sexually. Just femme.

A lot of people can check off multiple checkboxes when they identify as part of the LGBTQIA spectrum, but explaining the differences can be complicated when the examples involve more than one such identity. This is genderqueer by itself.


• I don't know about you, but I have a growing library of first-hand accounts of what it's like to be a transgender woman, what it's like to be a gay man, what it's like to be a lesbian, what it's like to be a butch lesbian, what it's like to be a transgender man, and so on.

If you think it is important for us to be visible, if you think public education that explains our identities is necessary and relevant, you should support writers who tell these tales and provide these examples.

Reviews and purchase info here: https://www.genderkitten.com


---

My second book, That Guy in Our Women's Studies Class, will be coming out late this year and continues the story. This time, the tale will be about joining: in the early 1980s, when there was no LGBT community in today's sense, I set out to join the people who were most visible in dealing with gender — the feminists. Specifically, I decided to enroll in women's studies where our classes would involve discussing these issues and raising these questions.

This was before the arrival of gender studies, and as a male-presenting individual I was perceived as a guy, and hence an outsider coming to the table. To be seen as male was to be perceived as benefitting from patriarchy, and not seen as someone with my own legitimate issues with the workings of gender.

It's a nuanced exploration of privilege and marginalization and intersectionality.





———————

You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/75456.html#comments

The Whole "Being Sexy" Thing...

I occasionally hear some cisgender woman express her dismay about AMAB girls and women fervently embracing the status of being an object of desire. She might say, "Maybe it's because you haven't been exposed to it all your life like we have, but you sometimes act like none of you never heard of women's liberation and the importance of not just being treated as a sex object". Or with more exasperation, perhaps, as "Yeah, trans women are women, but I'm so tired of seeing the intro posts with the posed photos... it's like they're saying that's what a woman's existence boils down to -- being somebody's fucktoy".

Male and female people, cis and otherwise, can make lists of things that are less available to them in social life because of gender. For the folks perceived as male, these may include things like the opportunity to nurture relationships and the ability to be with children without being viewed as likely child molesters; and for the folks perceived as female, things such as being regarded as likely leaders, being taken seriously and followed when they speak with authority. The sense of being excluded from these things unfairly is considered legitimate, and to rejoice in having gained access to them anyway, whether by transitioning or by other means, can be high-fived as a well-deserved trumphant celebration.

But when people who were not originally designated as female celebrate being perceived as sexy? That often gets seen as trivial fluff.

In discussions with cis women who spend a lot of their time analyzing what the rigidity of sex roles deprives people of, I encounter some of that. "Oh, seriously, that's something you think you'd enjoy? Honestly, it's very tiresome and annoying, and most women wish it would just go away".

It's one of the most interesting "grass looks greener on the other side of the fence" perceptions. Talk to a bunch of cis hetero males and they'll often emphasize the power that comes from being the wanted component in a partnership. "Whether you've got a company that everyone wants to work for, or you're a really skilled expert that all the companies want to hire, if you're the one that everyone else wants, you get to call the shots, you know? Or let's say you're a famous movie producer, and all the actors want to be cast in your movies. But you also get that if you're the actor that everyone wants to get to play starring roles in their movie, right? So how can women not be experiencing that as power? I think it would be wonderful".

The envied women say it feels like always being a gazelle or an impala on the veldt with tigers constantly trying to take you down and prey on you. The never-ending harassment, the pushiness of the sexual pickup attempts, the constant reminder of the possibility of sexual coercion, none of that makes them feel like they're the ones in control of the situation. "And when you add in the way you're so often just seen as sex on feet, that you get reduced to this and the rest of who you are and what you're doing doesn't count, hell no, we don't feel like we have the power, not the way you make it sound".

So when it comes to transgender women (or other feminine-spectrum identifying folks originally designated male), when we indicate that we want more of that kind of experience in our lives, or we post our "hey check me out, how do I look?" selfies as part of our introductory posts on Facebook, we are sometimes made to feel like we're airheads. TransBarbies whose most important social-political concern is the chance to be whistled at.



I sometimes feel like responding, "Look, you can't have it both ways. Entire theories of women's oppression have been formulated that revolve around the notion that males fear their own craving for the female body and for that reason set out to control women. Well, if sex objectification is a central issue for female people's experience of gender, you shouldn't trivialize a similar centralization of the same topic when people in the male situation examine the workings of gender".

Trans women may not regard themselves as ever having been male, but they started off barred from a range of women's experience and women's existence, so they still have the experience of staring at this phenomenon from the outside. Being deprived of it.


I personally am one of the odd gender-variant folks whose identity is subsumed in the "Q" rather than the "T" of LGBTQIA. I am not a transitioner and I don't present as female; I neither pass nor seek to pass. That puts me on a somewhat different trajectory in approaching this issue. I'm perhaps more inclined to emphasize the priorities in life that make me one of the girls and not one of the boys, and the tastes in movies and books, porn and erotica, and nuances of behavior, as ways in which who I am is femme, the self that I am is a person who is one of the gals and not one of the guys. I can't strike a pose and display my feminine appearance and say "See?" Not because I don't have a feminine appearance, but because to see it requires a mental translation that most people aren't equipped to make; it's discernable to people who can abstract the feminine as a way of being in the world and then apply it as a style to the physically male body without finding any conflict or discrepancy in that.

My own sexual orientation is not towards male folks, and that probably worked against me developing any particular interest in having the appearance of a female person (the existence of lesbians not being sufficient to offset that). Instead I found myself pining for a visit to a world where the dynamics were inverted. To be sought after, to live in a world where the people to whom I'm attracted might seek me.

More analytically, I already knew how to want. But since I'd always considered myself to be one of the girls, therefore an equal to them, for me to want meant also wanting to be wanted in return, mutually, and reciprocally. And to not want sexual access doled out as a reward or favor or earned on merit. That's unappealing. A gal needs to be craved a bit, prized and cherished.



———————

You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/75159.html#comments

Trappings. Presentation.

You've seen the gender unicorn and the similar posters that break down elements of sex and gender and sexual orientation and so on?

Today I want to write about one of the ones that often falls through the cracks: PRESENTATION.

It isn't gender identity. It isn't physical morphology. It isn't sexual orientation. It's how you market yourself, appearance-wise, to the rest of the human community, to be seen as a certain gender. It's also your success or failure in doing so: how you are perceived by others, largely as a consequence of your presentation.


I happen to be wearing a skirt tonight. No particular reason. I own skirts, I like them. This one is a Talbots, denim, in my size (15), and I am fond of it because it has back pockets and belt loops. For a person who wears jeans a lot, having skirts that accommodate the same pocket and belt paraphernalia is a plus.

And I do wear jeans a lot. I am femme, I am gal, and I look good in jeans. I patch my jeans when they age and make an art project of them. I don't cease to be femme or cease to be gal when I'm in jeans. Cisgender gals are still gals when they're in jeans, so why shouldn't I?

I have facial hair. I didn't grow any until I was 15, but then my body's hormones made them. They were soft and natural and I liked them. I have no issue with my body. It's the one I was born in. It makes hairs in places where most girl-people don't get hairs. Yeah, look: I'm not required to try to pass as a cisgender woman in order to qualify for my gender identity. If the majority of women grew hairs here and it was the boys who didn't, they'd cultive them, they'd adorn them, they'd make sure you saw that the had them. My body grown hairs here.

I'm femme, or girl, or gal. I don't owe you or anyone else physical femaleness. Any more than I owe you XX chromosomes.


There are two parts of the presentation phenomenon:

a) My efforts, and how I think of them, to elicit from you and the rest of the world a gender assignment that comes close to the truth; and

b) How it goes over, how it is perceived.

Both of these belong on the gender unicorn. They are a part of what makes us us. They're different from our gender identity itself, although they're usually affected by it. They're not necessarily the same value as what we were assigned by birth, although they could be, for those of us who are cisgender.

Presentation is social. It's like marketing. How one brands one's self. Look, see, I have physical male characteristics that I could choose to get rid of, but I also choose garments and adornments that most people who identify as "men" would not wear. My selections are made with an awareness of other folks' possible perceptions.

We're all limited by the possibilities that are in other people's heads, although we can riff on themes that people are familiar with. None of us is 100% free from the matrix of gendered expectations and the array of gender identities that people think you and I might have.


———————

You're secluded in quarantine, and all the performances and events have been cancelled, so it's a good time to read a book!

My book, GenderQueer: A Story From a Different Closet, has been published by Sunstone Press. It is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble in paperback and ebook, and as ebook only from Apple, Kobo, and directly from Sunstone Press themselves.


Links to published reviews and comments are listed on my Home Page

———————

This DreamWidth blog is echoed on LiveJournal and WordPress. Please friend/link me from any of those environments on which you have an account.

————————


Index of all Blog Posts
comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth -- https://ahunter3.dreamwidth.org/75000.html#comments