Normies & Us

I’ve been writing again, this time on following the rules and being a “normie”

After the jump. . .

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So, like you think that we have some obligation to meet the normies idea of what they find attractive, and if we don’t do that we let down the race?

Sick internalized crap, that kind of thinking, and impossible too.

Go be a good brilliant beautiful you.  Some people will love you, and many people will still hate the whole idea of freaks like you.

That second group? 

The more attractive others find you, the more attractive they find you, the more they have to hate you.

Becoming whole, authentic, integrated & actualized is a good thing, spiritually blessed.  Get healthy, get clear, and grown up people will respect you, even as people who think they need to stay sick will think you mock their pain.

But working to meet others expectations of what attractive should be, well, that seems like it goes the other way from healthy.

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We get fed crap growing up, the kind of crap that says if we just act more like people expect us to be, be nicer, be sweeter, be better, if we just follow the rules more and be more attractive, that then, we will get what we need and want.

We internalize that crap, and we think that somehow, our queerness can be mitigated if we are just nicer & more attractive.   It can’t.  The only thing following the rules let you do is to maybe avoid losing, but following the rules never helps you win.  Only writing your own rules, being potent from yourself, gracious and strong can help you

___, well, she wanted to tell other trannies that if they were more attractive then trans people would have an easier road, that it’s the fact that some of us are not working to be attractive that is the problem that keep trannies oppressed.

What keeps us oppressed, in my mind, is that we have internalized that crap we got growing up and then see ourselves, and worse, see others though that fog of crap, wondering why they have to keep doing unattractive things that give trannys a bad rap.

I didn’t take one shot at __, not at all,

But I did identify a line of thinking as sick internalized crap and then went on to explain why I thought it was, explain why that line just keeps us oppressed and trying to satisfy those who can never be satisfied except by our own erasure.

I said that we have to not work to erase ourselves & “be attractive,” but rather to get heathy and whole.

Is calling internalized oppression, the idea that something is wrong with us and so we have to work to candy-coat ourselves, is calling that crap wrong?

Maybe, but as the housewife said when one of her guests was shocked her husband used the word manure at table, “You don’t know how long it took me to get him to call it manure!”

It’s shit, and shit thinking.  And I’m old enough and queer enough that I felt the need to call it, without worrying too much about people missing the poinf and thinking I am calling them crap, especially after a back-handed passive agressive slap at those who are “not attractive.”

It’s the key question in all of LGBT world.  How queer is too queer and how queer is not queer enough, or to offer the flip side, how assimilated is too assimilated and how assimilated is not assimilated enough?

Do I think calling out thoughts as ______ is “not fine?”

I think calling out people as _____ is “not fine.”

But thoughts, well, they need to be called as they are,

But trust me, I will take your tender sensibilities into account in the future.

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It occurs to me that this is exactly the problem we have in the world.

We speak from our perspective, people assume that we are talking about them and not us, they feel their defense buttons being pushed, and they stop seeing/listening/engaging so they never understand in context.

It’s exactly that kind of trap that keeps us small and oppressed, people taking things as being about them, their thoughts and their beliefs.  And that’s what trans-lists have to work against, in my humble opnion.

I will respond to questioning posts, but the fact is that while you felt my post might be agitating, it’s most likely that what you said happened, and people just turned me off when they felt uncomfortable, writing me off as a kook.

Bringing it up again unless someone else cares just seems to be stirring the shit, as it were.

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Are there times when it is legitimate to talk about the difference between “people of transgender history” and thosewho never even thought about having a transgender nature? I think that it is a legitimate subject of discussion.   I can’t see why it wouldn’t be.

If we are going to talk about differences, we need words to use in that discussion.   We need terms, so to speak. 

Personally, I see terms and labels as different things, even if they serve much the same role.  Calling someone “tall” is just a term usually, just a way to speak about their relative height.  But when that height is non-normative, terms slip into labels — someone is not just little (which seems to be preffered to small), they become tiny, shrimps, and so on.

In that context, a label is just a term applied to you that you don’t agree with.   

Are normative, and the diminutive I used, “normie,” and freak really analogous and parallel?  

I can’t imagine many people feeling oppressed and marginalized by being called a “normie,”  but I can imagine people feeling separated and diminished by being called a “freak.” 

I don’t think they have equal “bad label” weight.  I don’t think the analogy holds.

You may note that I use the word “normative” and not the word “normal.”   Personally, I don’t mind being called non-normative,but being called abnormal is just downright offensive to me.  Normative is about the expectations people hold for others — in upstate NY, that may well mean english-speaking, white, heterosexual Christian, whatever — and that is limited, but normal covers a wide range of human possibility.  It’s normal for some percentage of adult humans to be under five feet tall and over six feet tall, for example, even if that height is outside the range of normative expectations.

If we are going to talk about experiences, we need language,  We can’t communicate without some ability to symbolize what we believe, and we can’t know, understand and get clear on what we think & believe until we symbolize it.

What language is appropriate to talk about the difference between those of trans experience, and those who have never even thought they have a trans nature?

What words can we use?

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Judith Butler has said that gender is an imitation of something for which there is no original.

That’s a great way to think of any normative structure.  No family actually has 1.5 children, for example, even if that is the norm.

The fact that no one actually is normative doesn’t mean that 1) people don’t strive to be more normative, and 2) people don’t use the assumptions of normativity to inform their perception of the world.

Jake Hale, a trans philosophy professor, has found that students think that if they were better sexed their life would be easier.  The females think that if they were thinner or shorter or whatever they would have few problems, the males think the same about being closer to the social norms of maleness.

And when we meet someone, the first thing most notice is how they diverge from the norms carried in our head.  We often also project the expectation of norms onto people, being surprised, for example, if they turn out to not be heterosexual.

No one is perfectly normative, and no one will ever be.

When we choose to walk away from trying to be normative, from assuming the world meets the normative shapes in our expectations, then we start to embrace diversity and queerness.

To me, the central defining feature of “normies” is that they are still striving to be normative, still assuming that others can and should be normative, still working to imitate that for which their is no original.  They want to move to the center of the group, not the fringes, want to fit in, not stand out, want to have a world where assumptions of normal are inviolate.

The primary duality is wild and tame.  We all need to be tame enough to fit in, to get what we need from the group, appropriate and socially graceful, and we all need to be wild enough to be ourselves, to be different and unique.  No human is an island, and no human is a clone.

Normies are people who come down more on the tame side than the wild side, who care more about fitting in than standing out.

One of the most challenging things about being trans is we know just fitting into the social expectations laid on us, the norms in place for people like us, will erase and damage us.  We have to claim part of ourselves beyond those expectations, have to walk away from the normative rather than trying to get to it.

That process is challenging, with lots of pitfalls.  For example, we may dream about moving from one normative gender to another. but that isn’t really possible.  We may try to closet our queerness into small compartments, but that often leaves us unbalanced.  We may lash out at others we think aren’t trying hard enough to be normative. 

No one is normative, that’s true, even if there is only one human nature and we all share it.

But the way we assume or reject of the quest for normativity defines us, and it’s that definition I reductively shorthand when I use the term “normies.”

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