I hate the gender binary. Compulsory gendering based only on reproductive biology is heterosexist and limiting. It only supports the economic goals of pushing increased breeding.
I love gender binaries. The rich language of gender as expressed by opposing symbols that create both intensity and balance are delightful, powerful and liberating.
I have no desire to see a world where everyone is assigned a Mao suit, where the rituals and signs of gender expression are denied or suppressed in the name of some kind of politically correct synthesized neutrality.
When I hear queer kids rail against gender binaries I wonder what they are thinking about. The difference between either/or binaries and tensioned dualities that create rhythm and harmony across human relationships are easy to miss if you take too simplistic a view.
No individual human can be every point in the circle. As social animals, our roles interlock and intertwine, building community through diversity and difference. When we separate people too simply we fail to get the maximum that their heart and mind have to offer, fail to empower their best.
Demanding that they follow rules, even rules that demand they not find their own edgy power, instead being more neutral, is not a way to celebrate the power of the individual’s role in the larger balance.
I know the stopping power of trying to be everything, balanced, neutral inside of one mind, one body. It’s not good. It’s not fair. Trying to erase binaries ends up erasing potential, erasing power, rather than liberating.
Reductive, simplistic binaries that seek to create false walls of comfort are bad. Even the binary that says those who use opposing symbols to celebrate difference are either oppressed or oppressors is bad.
Ambiguity and neutrality are not the ways of freedom. Freedom is in the power to go to the edges, to be intense and challenging, to be bold and beautiful.
The symbols of gender are not the same as the meaning of the gender system, so working to limit or erase the symbols will not change the underlying function. It is just voodoo to imagine that, the belief that suppressing the visibility of something will erase it or wall it off. What remains in darkness can never be faced, which is why we go to the dark places in the first place.
By celebrating difference, even extreme and stylized difference, we are able to see commonality and connection. We begin to understand ourselves not as the centre of the world, surrounded by noise, but as part of the circle of life, surrounded by love. We see our part in the dance not as the only choice but rather as one of a range of choices that together make up the blessing of humanity.
The truth doesn’t come from one monologue, it emerges from interaction, from the harmony and the dissonance of many voices raised together. We each hold only a piece of the sun, the full radiance coming from the push and pull, the attraction and tension between us.
I hate the gender binary, because it seeks to erase the space between.
I love gender binaries because they seek relationships that illuminate and reveal the space between.
And between is where life is.