Thursday, 23 October 2008

Cissexism and erasure and am I trans or what?

Goodness what the world's going to - I hope all this clamoring around Bindel et al is a new beginning for the end of cissexist privilege: I have a hard time fitting my trans past with my cis-passing present. I don't feel like either. I sure am not cisgender, but I dunno if I'm trans in any meaningful way, either. My body and my brain and my mind and my soul match. Now. But I sure don't have the cis privilege of having had it always so, nor do I have the privilege of taking my sex/gender for granted. Or rather, I do: I can do it and actually do it every single day, but to my mind it sends all the wrong messages: it reinscribes the cissexist assumption that one's sex/gender is a solid, immutable whole which cis people assing on each other, no exceptions offered except for poor trannies and intersexed, who are then either normalised forcibly or put to the stocks for trying to live as themselves. Unless, of course, they "pass" (oh fuck what a word) and are nice and don't start yelling any nasty things about cissexism.

Am I trans? As in now? No, not really. Sure, my body's pretty weird biochemically speaking, but there's no mismatch anywhere, and my body is mine, and I'm pretty damn happy with it. There aren't any places in my life that I know of where I would have to pretend I'm someone I'm not. But I'm not cis. I know, for an experienced fact, that sex/gender does NOT in fact work the way it's told to. It's not that difficult to be in the wrong about someone's sex/gender, including youself's. And it's entirely possible to correct those mistakes, and admit they were mistakes, too. But no-one seems to want to admit it. Majority of people want to take sex/gender very seriously, and even if they can see they've made a mistake, they don't want to admit just how deep the mistakes go - thus the provisional nature of trans sexes/genders: the bad old "but she's really a man", of someone who was assigned male.

Where does this leave me? I know other people are wrong in assuming sex/gender is easy to assign more-or-less permanently. When I live my daily life, the way they assume my sex/gender produces correct results - but the method of producing the meanings is all wrong. It's like a broken clock: it's right on time twice a day, and my sex/gender happens to be one of those times. Yet that it happens to be right is not dependent on the mechanism of understanding sex/gender , but a mechanism of me being "normal" in the eyes of the [cis] majority. This feels highly weird.

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