Tuesday, March 22, 2016

No, you're not special, but no one gets to define you either

I should like this (somewhat cluttered) piece about the Tumblrization of sexuality and gender. I loathe the creep of identity politics into every aspect of public life, and do strongly believe that words mean things, and ambiguous terms like "queer" make, well, actually being queer meaningless. However, gatekeepers do more harm than good.
So enough with this “no labels” nonsense. If you identify as male and profess to sexual attraction to other males and females, you’re bisexual whether or not you say so ’cause that’s what that word means. If you identify with the gender you were assigned at birth, you are cisgender (that’s a terrific word more people should know) whether or not you say so ’cause that’s what that word means.
What about romantic, but but sexual attraction? Say a woman claims to be romantically attracted to other women, but has yet to sleep with one. She's been in a long term relationship with a man. Does she get to call herself bi? Choosing no label becomes an attractive option when faced with gatekeepers on both sides.The second part has more personal significance for me because I don't "identify" as a woman. I don't identify with gender period except that society sees me as a woman and my reactions are interpreted as such. I only really identify with womanhood in the context of sexism. What does this make me? Calling myself agender is  patently unrealistic as I'm not ensconced in a nice progressive bubble where everyone speaks the language of gender studies. I don't have any strong "gendered" feelings. Within the LGBT-feminist blog world, I'm told this means I'm so cis I can't conceive of having gender dysphoria, or I'm simply not cis. Not "identifying" with gender (ie, I don't "feel" it, it doesn't inform my life except on a social level where it's inevitable) isn't an option.