Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Sod identity politics

It just sucks hard. It seems to lead into these endless discussions on definitions. It seems to lead into endless attempts at policing of borders. Where it doesn't seem to lead is practical problems being solved.

I'd really like to have an explanation of how the hell identity politics is supposed to solve anything at all: we supposedly enlightened people can all respect each others identities (or lack thereof) as much as we please, but how the heck is that going to change the ways of the big bad cissexist world? I mean, does anyone really think we can get respectful (or at least semi-decent) treatment just by claiming identities for ourselves? I'm not at all sure how an identity leads to better treatment by the majority.

Here's what I want. It's mostly just issues from the top of my head, in no particular order.
  • Decent access to hormones and surgery. It need not be completely at-will, 'cos I realise there's the taxpayer interest. It does have to be on public money, though - the poorest are already so hard up there's absolutely no need to have them pay their way.
  • Legal sex needs to be changeable at will to anything. Redoing those papers is not expensive, it's not hard and not allowing people to choose their legal sex doesn't serve any valid purpose I can understand. I realise this might be a far way off. You want to be a "yes" legally? Be my guest. I might want to, too.
  • We seriously need a gender-neutral marriage that's not limited to two spouses alone. I realise some poly people won't want this, but the option should be there, 'cos I just don't get why the civil institution of marriage should be limited for hetero couples alone. Who cares if five people of same, or different sexes marry each other? I sure don't. But I sure want them to be able to get all the benefits that hetero couples do at the moment. I want them to be able to be each others' next of kin, to be able to be legal parents to their children. This could, of course, be arranged in numerous other ways, too, but in that case I'd go for a dissolution of all marriages - I don't want a two-tier system of 1) heteros and 2) the riff-raff.
  • Respectful and clueful medical care. Access isn't the only problem, the big other problem is that doctors know precisely fuck-all about trans bodies - it's guinea-pig style -medicine all the way as far as my experiences go. They don't know since no-one's doing research on how we actually manage our bodies, hormones and stuff (of course I won't volunteer all of this information to doctors, 'cos more often than not it's used just to oppress us: a "well"-meaning doctor comes in a white jacket and tells me I'm doing it wrong- and promptly tries to make me do stuff their way by holding scripts, despite me having had this body for decades and having managed its trans aspects quite successfully for many, many years).
Do I need an identity to get those things? Nah, I think not. They're not issues of identity, and solving them doesn't require any identity-talk at all. They can be solved head on.

1 comment:

  1. I think there's an overevemphasis of this stuff in online discussion, and it's certainly not the case that "identity" takes precedence over all the concerns you list. If they do for someone, then they're not being a very good activist.

    I don't view trans as an identity, and it's kind of frustrating to deal with people who do, and who try to impose that definition nonconsensually. That does have something to do with my language kvetching, because the language reinforces the identity concept.