after some discussion by skysquids, i wrote:
there’s another thing going on here as well: the near-complete capture of the term “genderqueer” by female-assigned folks (largely white and expensively educated) to mean a specific, extremely limited range of their gender and style expressions.
when “genderqueer” was first being used (as far as i know) in the mid-1990s, it was a very broad umbrella term covering the whole space that we’d now refer to as “nonbinary”, as well as to some extent non-trans genderdeviant folks and trans folks who don’t have conventional gender expressions (butch trans women, fem trans men, etc – a zone we still don’t have good language for, except maybe by taking serano’s distinction between cissexual and cisgender more seriously).
“genderqueer” was very consciously created as a political project like “transgender” or “queer”, aiming at bringing together a very mixed group of people, not on the basis of ‘shared identity’ but on the basis of an analysis of structural power. in this case, an analysis of the enforcement of binary gender, as something that specifically targets women and other folks who are seen as imperfect men, and that affects in specific ways folks who aren’t easily read into a conventional masculine man/feminine woman box.
and it’s worth saying: a lot of the folks doing that creating were trans women. just like with “transgender” and with “queer”.
Continue reading oh my, more to say about ‘genderqueer’ and terminology history because i am agèd
so i’ve been wanting to write something about the damn asterisk – the one in trans* – for a while now, and now i’m finally getting around to it despite a touch of flu. i suspect no one wants to read as much as i’ve got to say, so here’s a slightly passive-aggressive summary to encourage (?) that…
the asterisk in trans* was invented by (folks who now get called) trans women. specifically, by geeky trans women, as a tool in fights against assimilationist/One True Path trans women. you can like the * or hate the *, but it’s trans women’s term, and trans women’s history. trans women who hate it need to deal with that. folks who aren’t trans women and want to use it need to take that into account.
Continue reading about that asterisk / some trans women’s history
building on a critique of the ‘think of the children’ strategy that liberal trans organizing has adopted (another layer of toxic on top of the ‘born that way’ rhetoric imported from the liberal gay/lesbian world):
beyond the strategic problems, another thing that the focus on ‘trans kids’ does is pushes kids towards an extremely restricted set of gender options.
we know from the world around us that some male-assigned kids will end up being binary-identified, conventionally feminine trans women; some binary-identified, butch trans women; some genderqueer trans folks of a variety of gender presentations; some fem gay men (cissexual, but not cisgendered); some butch gay men. and we know that folks may move among those positions many times in their lives. we also know – from our own lives and those of our friends – that kids who wind up in all of those places at, say, 28 years old, often express ‘cross-gender’ desires.
when what we do with all those kids’ cross-gender expressions is either track them as ‘trans kids’ towards binary-identified, conventionally feminine trans womanhood, or dismiss them as ‘not really trans’, we’re not supporting their self-determination, we’re obstructing it.