Gender is a a system of communication that defines a range of status, just like race and class.
I’ve been around a long time, so I ended up sitting at the old people’s table last night, with sponsors and speakers, including Ms. Jessica Pettitt.
We may each have a gender, but that gender couldn’t exist outside the matrix of communication defined by the system of gender.
There was Jonathan Lang from Pride Agenda; Tandra LaGrone from IOOV who needs to divide by race; Pat, the PFLAG grandmother and all.
Gender has value as a system of communication, of definition and enforcement, of claim and substantiation, of advertising and information, or it would never have existed in every known human culture, with people happily gendering themselves.
We watched Carmie Hope, Frieda Munchon and Whiskey Sour just keep the show going for hours. They are the Energizer Bunnies of drag; they may not be excellent, but they keep going and going and going and going and going. . .
It’s moving away from a heterosexist, binary gender system where, for purposes of maximizing reproduction, our birth genital status is defined as trumping our nature, to a gender system like the ones other human cultures that don’t need extreme breeding pressure have used, one where who we are counts more than reproductive configuration, that moves compulsory gender aside for empowering & expressive gender.
And my heart went out to Robin, who sat alone at her table, a transwoman who hopped off the grid to claim herself and now sits with the moose and walrus.
Queer is about empowering individual expression in the matrix of gender communication, moving gender roles away from just two to a network of supporting roles, villages that work together to raise children, since controlling procreation and child rearing is at the heart of any system of gender.
Tomorrow is another day with another workshop, and I will see how things go.
The systems that divide us can oppress us by separation or they can empower us by affirming the connection of all humans in shared community.
But everyone needs sleep, eh?