i have some stuff to say about the term “genderblind.” i’m gonna try to be careful about not stepping on other people’s toes, but please lemme know if i fail, k?
k. so “genderblind” makes me uncomfortable cuz it makes me think you actually don’t see gender (or you like to behave as though you don’t see gender). actually, “genderblind” sorta reminds me of “color blind,” a truly problematic and racist phenomenon.
if you don’t see gender, how can you respect gender? if you don’t see gender and if you have difficulty respecting gender– are you going to get my pronouns right? are you going to get, say, reneta’s pronouns right? are you going to acknowledge the concrete differences between being a cis person and being a trans* person? are you going to acknowledge cis privilege and trans* oppression?
if you don’t see gender, how can you acknowledge that people of different genders may have different needs and are treated differently by society at large? like, if i’m at your dinner party and you say you “don’t see dietary restrictions,”– what if i’m a diabetic? a vegetarian? allergic to peanuts? how can you be prepared to feed people if you don’t see or respect their dietary restrictions? (i don’t really know if this is a good parallel; sorry if it sucks.)
i fight every single day to be seen as my gender. i come out to strangers on the fly CONSTANTLY (cuz it’s in my self-respect policy). i end up holding in my piss for hours cuz i can’t find a non-gendered bathroom. i have to avoid restaurants without non-gendered bathrooms. i have to avoid clothing stores without non-gendered change rooms. strangers feel entitled to tell me i’m gross when i come out as trans*. i have to lie to the government on official forms, and my partner and i are estranged from his side of the family– so i reallyreally hope you aren’t telling me you think my gender is unimportant.
i put a lot of work into fighting for the right to take up space in this world as a person of my gender– and that matters to me. the widespread notion that people of my gender don’t even exist affects me in a million ways every day; i WANT you to see my gender. i want you to see ME and all my little bits– and that includes my non-binary gender.
and what about (usually dmab) trans* people who face violence for their genders? i mean, cissexism isn’t genderblind. i also hope you aren’t blind to the realities of rape culture; rape culture isn’t genderblind, either.
this probably isn’t what you mean when you tell me you’re genderblind. i know. but this is what you leave me with when you just tell me you’re genderblind and act like the conversation’s done.
thoughts, anyone? am i the only one who doesn’t think “genderblind” is just a harmless little word?
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if you’re genderblind, i’m not challenging you; you’re entitled to id however you like without having to explain yourself to people in internet-land.
however, i do think there are ways of id-ing as genderblind that aren’t problematic. like, if you tell me you’re genderblind and then you talk about what that means to you– yay. cuz i know lotsa people just mean they don’t discriminate based on gender, they believe all people deserve the same basic rights, and/or they experience attraction to people regardless of gender. which is lovely.
this post is really just about the things that go through my head when people drop the word “genderblind” and leave it at that.