Within the queer spaces I’m involved with and often online, female bodied (to refer to someone who the doctor decided was female) and male bodied are often deployed as way to ‘get to the heart of the matter’. They are an attempt at destabilizing gender’s primacy and focusing on ‘biological facts’. Unfortunately this mostly ends up merely rein scribing the male/female binary and presuming the experiences and identities of others. For instance, instead of merely saying we need one man and one woman in this position, we now say one male bodied person and female bodied person. We are still presuming truths of others identities and using euphemisms to refer to man/woman, using them in the same way. Continue reading
In the queer group I’m involved with we recently revised our safer space guidelines and community agreements.
One of the guidelines originally was provide a name/pseudonym and preferred pronouns, and the new guideline is a name and preferred pronoun set.
We wanted to encourage naming of the actual pronoun(s) instead of masculine/feminine/gender-neutral as adjectives ascribed to specific sets (i.e. feminine is she, masculine is he etc). This was not without some conflict and confusion.
For some folks, their him is very firmly masculine to the point of being unable to deccouple the pronoun from the gender expression. Continue reading
I presented a conference, last weekend. I was very nervous: I was talking about a lot of my complex feelings and tensions about the english language to describe and articulate genders that are not men/women or expressions that are not or are complexly masculine/feminine.
The presentation went well. Although I am sure I ultimately did not prevail, I wanted to make my language accessible to those there. I wasn’t think of making my academic language accesible and understandable though, but of making my queer vocabulary* understandable to the student and community audience present at this academic conference. To that end, I had a slide up with long explanations of some of my key terms: genderqueer, non-binary, cisgender, colonialism (the last one was there to highlight the fact that colonialism is super relevant to all discussions of gender and trans* experiences of gender). Continue reading
When I was deciding what more ‘neutral’ name I wanted to take on, I wanted a post to help me figure out and explore whether a name was appropriate for me to take on. This is my first attempt at that post.
Before proceeding it’s helpful to have a a few names that are diverse to select from. If you discover knowledge about the name that might point it out as appropriative or at least uncomfortable for you to pick we can find it easier to have another name if we have a few we like. If you haven’t already fallen in love with a specific name it might hurt less to move on from it or to think critically about your choice. Continue reading