I’ll say it again.
I am in favor of gender.
I like a system that controls reproduction & child rearing, because I think the fruits of fucking deserve to be cared for, helped to grow into healthy adults.
I like a system that lets me express who I know myself to be with a wide range of gendered symbols, from neckties to high heels. Communication is good, and hot.
I am, however, against compulsory, heterosexist gender, which assigns a binary role to you based solely on your reproductive organs and not on the contents of your heart & soul.
I like gender, the ability to know that we are like ice-cream; all fundamentally the same, made out of the same stuff, but essentially different, with our own unique flavor. This society often presses us to be the same on the outside and hide our differences, but that seems to miss two keys, the deep connection at our core, and the powerful & unique individual gifts we can bring to our community. Diversity is valuable.
Problem is that when, inside the “gender community” I suggest that gender is good, that gender differences create complimentary roles that create a tapestry of caring, I am most often shouted down. People want to tell me that gender is essentially oppressive and we need to just throw it all out in the cause of freedom.
I believe there is valuable purpose to the system of gender, and while it can be misused and abused, it offers benefits communities need and like. We need families and villages to form the circles that care for each other,
This argument doesn’t hold much weight, though, for people who are still suffering under separations, who just want to claim their own freedom without reinventing themselves. They want freedom without responsibility, which isn’t really a good way to build communities. This is often the plaint of partners, who feel shoved with more responsibility as their transpartner searches for more freedom.
I guess this is one area in which I have a bit of agreement with the “women born transsexual” people, who don’t want gender demolished, and don’t enjoy being lumped in with those who do. They want separation, which is hard.
(As a parenthetical aside, I note that Helen Boyd was asked to pass judgement on an oddball tranny, judgment on on “defending the children”, being handed the challenge all of us face when we are asked to defend or decry a bit of extreme behavior. Do we stand up for freedom even if we find the act distasteful, or do we try to draw lines about what is not right? Gwen & I used to collect stories of people who committed crimes while crossdressed; what is the position on that?)
I’m in favor of gender, with the same limit I have on all systems and behaviors; it has to be consensual and not forced.
That opinion, however, is often not well respected in the “gender community,” especially by those who can’t even give a definition of what gender is, beyond their own internal sense of self or their radical view of women’s studies. They just want freedom, whatever rationalizations are required to justify their own choices.
I think it’s sad that when someone is in a trans-space and says that they like gender, that they want to assimilate in a gender role, that they are attacked for having that desire. It’s nasty, though, when they are attacked because their desires challenge the rationalizations of those who feel the need to find a way to deny responsibility to justify their own choices.
I like and respect diversity. And a world where everything is pulled down to some kind of bland androgyny, where gender expression isn’t connected to meaning, well, that seems creepy to me.
Especially when enforced by people who just want to say no, and not yes to building community.