Monthly Archives: January 2012

sorry for talking/writing like a cissexist, ableist, sexist asshole

[this post has been edited for awesomeness.]

ok, so the title is extreme hyperbole, but hear me out!  i ‘ve been fucking up, peoples.  i’ve been using ableist, sexist, cissexist language.  sure, i didn’t mean anything by it, but i still fucked up.

i’ve been using words like “ret*rded” (ableist as fuck).  i only recently stopped saying that i “identify” as non-binary (cissexist).  i went through my blog a few weeks ago changing “transpeople” to “trans people” (again, cissexist), but i still haven’t apologized for writing it in the first place.  i throw the words “man”, “guys”, and “dude” around like they’re glitter and the world is dan savage’s face (blatantly sexist).

and that’s not fucking neon, peoples.  “ret*rd” is a hate-word and “transpeople” is accidentally cissexist.  referring to a mixed-gender group as “guys” is sexist, though embedded in the language, and is starting to annoy me.  i mean, what’d go down if you referred to a mixed-gender group as “ladies” or “gals”?  at the very least, it’d be laughable.

i don’t dig censorship.  i don’t think governments should get to censor the internet.  but i think this is different because this isn’t about me deciding what’s good for other people– it’s about me not wanting to contribute to the rampant sexism, cissexism, and ableism in this society.

so i’m gonna try not to write/say shit like, “hey, guys!” unless i am literally writing/talking to a bunch of GUYS.  the word “mankind” has always pissed me off (cuz what am i?  a fucking orange?), so this just makes sense.  masculinity is not the default.  and point it out if i write/say “ret*rded”.  that’s no less hurtful than writing/saying “tr*nny”– which i haven’t done in years.

if you (i was going to type “guys”) PEOPLES have any wicked and inclusive substitutes for these shitty words that have been staples of my vocabulary for years, lemme know.  new words = fun times!

cuz these words are embedded in my brain and even as i write this, my brain leaps to ableist, sexist language.  that doesn’t excuse me, though.  peoples, i sincerely apologize.  i fucked up and i have some work to do; i need to retrain myself.  feel free to point it out if i slip up– this isn’t going to be easy.

*   *   *

lemme know what you think about all this, cats.  am i censoring myself?  am i dumbing anything down?  i don’t feel like i am, but i’m interested in your marvelous brains.  (does that make me sound like a zombie?  braiiiins…)

*   *   *

just thought i’d point out that i’m not going to censor your comments unless they contain hate speech/slurs.  you’re still allowed to write, “hey, guys!”  without sticking an asterisk in there.

reader question: how do you know your gender is non-binary?

a reader messaged me with questions– and i’m flattered.  thank you for asking!  i’m also very anxious to be helpful– and i hope other people will add their own advice in the comment section.  cuz i’m prone to talking about, say, finger paints and space ninjas instead of the topic at hand (look! a t-rex reclining in a tutu!).  so here it is:

“I’ve been struggling with my gender alot lately and I don’t know who I am anymore.  Can gender change?  If somebody thinks they’re a guy can they change their mind and realize they’re non-binary?  How do you KNOW? How did YOU know?  Thanx.”

first of all, gender can and does change.  many people experience their gender as fluid, fluctuating (ir)regularly throughout their lives.  other people experience a slow shift from one gender to another and don’t realize they’re trans* until later in life.  in other cases, someone’s understanding of their gender is dynamic even while their gender itself is relatively static.  people experience gender in many ways– and some people don’t experience gender at all.  there is no wrong way of “doing” your gender.

still think it’s silly to change your mind about your gender? refer to #3 of the gender bill of rights.  you have rights, my friend.  neat, yeah?

“How do you KNOW?  How did YOU know?”

i can only speak for myself, so i’ll tell you a bit of my own history.  i knew my gender as a toddler in the same way that most toddlers know their gender.  at first, i didn’t get that everyone around me was male or female.  i didn’t know words like “transgender” and “cisgender”.  i didn’t know about the gender binary.  but i knew i wasn’t a girl or a boy.

i slowly realized that the other kids were all girls or boys, but i was still completely open about my non-binary gender.  i still thought i wasn’t allowed in gendered bathrooms.  i still thought i wasn’t allowed to wear/do/play with “girl things” or “boy things”.  i didn’t even realize that the world considered my gender invalid until i was 8-ish years old.

my mom, my teachers, my grandparents told me to stop being silly– everyone had to be a girl or a boy.  my dad took it upon himself to teach me that women can be/do ANYTHING they want.  my elementary school teachers started making sure that i didn’t sneak off to piss outside and they escorted me into the girls’ bathroom on many occasions.

i shut up about my gender for a few years.  i tried to be a girl– not by wearing dresses and behaving in a stereotypically feminine way, but by allowing people to call me a girl, a daughter, a sister.  then i tried to be a boy.  then a girl. then a boy.

honestly, i think i sorta buried what i knew.  i spent years believing i was a girl before i started wondering if i might be a boy.  when you think about it, it’s pretty fucked up that i forgot myself so completely.  it’s no wonder i was confused, though; it’s not like society admits that trans* people exist and that nonbinary gender is a thing.

finally, i said, “fuck it!  i told all these assholes the truth when i was in preschool– why am i still trying to change for them?!”  i began to gravitate towards openness– a slow process.  i still have to come out on a regular basis.  i get misgendered every day and sometimes i have to roll with it.  but mostly, i am open about my gender and that’s fucking splendid.

my story is just one story of many; there are tons of ways to experience/understand/become open about your gender.  having known my gender as a kid DOES NOT make my gender more/less valid than anyone else’s gender.  likewise, having forgotten/buried my gender doesn’t make my gender less valid than anyone else’s gender.  i hope other readers will share their own experiences and their thoughts.  i think the most valuable answer to your question (“[h]ow do you KNOW?”) will contain numerous answers from numerous people.

so keep an eye on the comment section.  and seriously, be yourself, whoever that might be.  be open-minded/hearted and feel free to check out my blogroll; there’s good stuff there and reading is always a good thing.  i hope that helps!  and thanks again for asking stuff!

my gender has always been non-binary (i think)

so i commented on does identifying as outside the gender binary help eliminate gender? at feminism: the liberation movement of womyn.  all quotes are from that post.  here’s my comment (with some revision and much addition):

*   *   *

my gender is non-binary.  i have always known my gender to be non-binary.  when i started kindergarten, i didn’t use the bathroom for the first few months because i knew i didn’t belong in the girls’ bathroom or in the boys’ bathroom.

i did not take stock of my attributes, hobbies, feelings etc., classify each of them as “female” or “male”, and tally them up.  i am incapable of such tallying because i don’t believe that such traits etc. belong to specific genders.  i didn’t say to myself, “well, i have these “unwomanly” traits– so i must not be a woman!”  that would be ludicrous because women can be anything and there are no such things as “unwomanly” traits (the same is true for all genders).  i know that i’m neither female nor male– and it feels very simple, very natural to me.

“…when [they are] raped, [they] will still be raped as a woman.”  yes, their rapist will no doubt consider them a woman.  i’m not going to argue with that.  however, i don’t think misperception changes reality.  real life story: one time, while raping me, the guy told me i wasn’t human.  that i was “garbage”.  so, really, he raped me “as inhuman garbage.”  allow me to assure you that i am, in fact, a valuable human being; my rapist’s opinion of me has no bearing whatsoever on who/what i actually am.  perception can be very powerful, but the truth is still valuable.  [edit: i now understand the author’s point better than i did when i wrote this post.  she was writing about gender being composed entirely of power relations, so i kinda missed the point.]

“does identifying as outside the gender binary help eliminate gender?”  i don’t really think so.  to begin with, i don’t “identify” as non-binary any more than a cis man “identifies” as a man.  i no longer use the word “identify” to describe gender because it undermines the validity of said gender.

furthermore, nobody is their gender in order to accomplish something.  gender is not a means to an end, but a simple (ok, a complex) fact.  being open about non-binary gender is not going to change the world by itself.  i think it’s important to actually fight gender-based oppression; this leaves room for non-binary gender, relieves people of all genders from gender stereotypes and expectations, and combats gender-based power relations.

this is not a fad and this is not speshul snowflake syndrome; this is my life.  being open about my non-binary gender doesn’t get me “out of the position of fuck-object”; it certainly doesn’t protect me from rape.  that’s ok because i’m open about my gender in order to be honest– not in order to “get out of the position of fuck-object”.  being open about my gender doesn’t make me “feel empowered”; it makes me feel like i’m not lying.  it makes me feel like i can form real, truth-based connections with other people.

*   *   *

i didn’t know what to call this post.  at first, i called it “come one people, be people now!”  you know.  in reference to south park.  now i’m renaming it several days later because i don’t like the original title– not because i have a better idea.  is that weird of me?

lemme know if you can one-up this new title, please.  cuz i’m funny about titles.

my silly bathroom dilemma