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):
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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.
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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.