Posts Tagged ‘oppression’

On Being Genderqueer and the Gender Binary

December 8, 2009

The interesting thing about explaining being outside of the gender binary is that you first have to explain what  gender binary is in order to understand what it means to be outside of it.  There is no quick and easy way to explain what it means to be genderqueer and even after several attempts at trying to explain it, people still don’t get it because they are stuck trying to put it in a box.

The gender binary is a form of hierarchy and oppression.  It divides the human race into two groups instead of uniting us as one.   Most people’s concept of self is centered around their identity and it influences the course their entire life.  It controls how most people will treat you down to which bathroom you can use.  I want no part in it.

For me, genderqueer is beyond male and female.  I don’t want people judging me based on genitals or my body.  My private parts do not define me as they do with so many of my fellow humans.  If we are to eventually have equality in the world, we need people to be treated as people not as genitals.

It is strange to me that I get treated with more respect and taken more seriously when I get mistaken for  a male verses a female.  I don’t like being called, “Honey,” “Sweetie,” or “Dear” because of the body I happen to exist in.  At the time it happens, I don’t even know where to begin because it’s socially acceptable.  Just because something is tradition doesn’t make it right.

It embarrasses me that our species didn’t have a women’s rights movement until War World II, that there was a division at all.  It wasn’t that long ago and it still isn’t over.  It won’t be over until we abolish gender all together.  As long as there is separation into groups, one group will oppress the other until people understand equality isn’t the same as sameness.

I imagine a world in which males wear skirts as often as females.  A world in which people can just be people.  No gender, no sexuality, no racial tension.  That we can be fluid and undefined.  Once you start worry about defining something, you lose it.  It’s like grasping sand, the tighter you grip it, the faster it slips through your fingers.   Be free.  As long as you know yourself, that’s all that’s important.  People like what they like and that should be it.

The problem with society is that most people don’t know themselves.  They know an illusion which they considered to be self – but all those layers are fake.  What’s real, is that we are all human and all need love.  If we learned to love and accept each other regardless of outside fluff, we can have utopia.

Being genderqueer to me gives me the freedom of having a label for those who need boxes but still be able to be outside the box.  It’s not fully definable and that’s okay because our language is flawed and can’t express all aspects of being human succinctly.

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Essay: Genderqueer

December 2, 2009

Are you a boy or a girl?” A perplexed waitress at a Dunkin’ Donut in the heart of New York City asked of me when I entered the shop.  “I just wanted a muffin; I don’t think my gender matters.”  I said but she didn’t seem to understand, she was rather too interested on what was in my pants. “Are you a boy or a girl?”  I sighed.  I don’t identify as either being genderqueer but I don’t like having to explain myself all the time to everyone.  Mostly because people can only wrap their head around the gender binary and not think outside the box.  It got me thinking though, why do perfect strangers care too much about what’s in my pants?  It doesn’t matter to anyone unless they wanted to sleep with me.  But, for some reasons, this lady’s whole identity was formed around a world of boys and girls.  I bite the bullet since I really wanted my muffin, “I’m a girl.”  She let out a relieved sigh and then got my muffin.  Again, I was forced into the oppressive gender binary to comply with the needs of an oppressive society.  It isn’t just the males that oppress; it is also other women who’ve been conditioned to think as such.

In an ideal society, I would have been able to get my muffin without being hassled about what’s in my pants.  However, this is America – home of the free if you are rich and fix into neat boxes.  Most people can’t wrap their head around genderqueer – which is outside of the gender binary.  I am something else – not just another gender but I am beyond gender.  People can at least understand transsexual, but when it comes to genderqueer, people just don’t get it.  They want to box you in.  I am sometimes envious of my transsexual allies because they have a gender identity to claim – even if they are handicapped by being born into the wrong body.  I, however, have no place to go.  No identity.  I suck it up and usually go with lesbian because I am female bodied and like women but that doesn’t describe me.  I’m queer but queer is considered to be such a dirty word by polite society.

The LGlittleBinvisibleT community has no love for anyone who’s not a Stepford Gay.  If you don’t fit the mold of what a “safe” gay is – being gay but assimilating, the community turns their back on you.  It is a threat to society, the mainstream, the social constructed order, to be an individual and think for yourself.  We live in a society based on group think with team sports, entertainment and job rhetoric paving the way for the classless individual who functions as a cog in the well oiled machine of greed and anonymity.  I – for one, am not going to be part of any machine.  I’m not going to wear the clothes they tell me to wear, I’m not going to watch their programming (it’s called programming for a reason), and not going to take part in their world of a giant rat race.

I am going to fight the system with knowledge and education, compassion and understanding.   As Crass said, “You can’t change the system by bombing number ten, the people will go into hiding but they’ll be back again.”  The only way to change the system is to change the people.  The only way to change the people is with education.

Sometimes, it’s really hard, trying to change things.  I struggle with trying to get people to understand what “genderqueer” means.  Sometimes, it’s dangerous just being who you are.  Every third day, a transperson is murdered.  I’ve been assaulted before at a punk show which was supposed to be about peace and equality for being a “homosexual. “  I just want a world where I can go to punk shows without getting punched and get a muffin without being hassled about what’s in my pants.  I can’t do it alone.  Will you help me?