Tag: identity

Genders and Terminology

Posted by – March 10, 2014

Vis a vis yesterday’s post about language and labels and pronouns, there’s this awesome set of photos of LGBTQ* identified people with the ways they identify.

  • Queer Power Bottom Princess
  • Trans Queer Parent
  • Rural Queer
  • Queer Femme
  • Queer Butch Trans Top
  • Gay Masculine of Center
  • Daddy Femme Dyke Dom Queen
  • Inbetweener
  • Cisgenderqueer Feminist Butch Queen
  • Provocateur Lesbian Dandy

That last one is too awesome.So what’s yours? If I were to think about it, I think I’d wind up somewhere near Pansexual Queer Tomboy. Het Dyke. Depends on the Day.

 

Crossdressing Room

Posted by – August 14, 2012

What a great piece on identity, crossdressing, and the internet:


I grew up surrounded by the notion that bodies and identities come in 1:1 ratios: we get a body and an identity. But from as early as I remember, I had a body that did not line up flush with any single identity but instead slipped this way and that so that it lined up with Tori at one point, or the hard man of Cameroon at another, or any one of the many selves I’ve deployed throughout my life.

The discovery of the personal ad flipped a switch in the dark: the slippage I had experienced occurred not only on the side of body, but on the side of identity as well, so that Tori might slip from one body to another just as I slipped in and out of various presentations of identity. Once recognized, the logic struck me as obvious, a happy and symmetrical discovery.

I don’t mean to pretend that somehow, body and identity have been cleaved free from one another, or that we live in a world where body has no relevant bearing on identity and vice versa. After all, those pictures of Tori showed my arms, my face, my ears, that mole on the cheek next to my nose. Yet, somewhere in the hinterland of the internet, some other person had claimed one of my identities, an identity borne of my body, but one that transcended skin, muscle, hair, fat and bones, as she moved through online space, until she settled upon the imagined teenager, his body becoming hers, her voice speaking through his throat to the anonymous man on the other end of the phone.

Do take the time to read the whole of it. it is so nice to read something about the trans by someone who can really write.

(My thanks to Lea for the tip.)

Leave Animals Out of It

Posted by – April 12, 2011

I don’t know if many people saw this, but recently, The Washington Times published an attack on identity document changes of the type sought by transgender people:

I won’t bother to reproduce their text here, but did want to say: what a bunch of prejudiced hogwash.

There should be some version of Godwin’s Law that clarifies: once you’re using animals in your metaphor to justify your own prejudices, you’re not allowed to talk anymore.

Personas

Posted by – February 9, 2011

I’ve always joked that my using a pen name connects me to the trans community in a way I never expected: I have an “old” name and a current name, and people get irritated if they feel I haven’t told them my “real” name. Transitioned people tend to get similar questions, albeit the gendered version. But this whole idea of having a “real” name is a funny one to me: Helen is my real name, in that it’s what people call me, and also it’s my legal middle name.

But the naming issue is really the tip of the iceberg, where the issue is more about having a “real” life compared to a persona’s life, and while I’m sure many people experience and understand this idea now, what with online handles and Second Life avatars, there is something about the aspect of being a public person that’s specific:

This fictional version of you is additionally compounded by the fact that, if you’re a writer, the version of you they’re building from isn’t the experience of you (as in, you’re someone they know in real life), but from the fiction you write and/or the public persona you project, either in writing (in blogs and articles) or in public events, such as conventions or other appearances. The fiction one writes may or may not track at all to one’s real-world personality or inclinations, and while one’s public persona probably does have something to do with the private person, it’s very likely to be a distorted version, with some aspects of one’s personality amped up for public consumption and other aspects tamped down or possibly even hidden completely.

All of which is to say these fictional versions of one’s self are to one’s actual self as grape soda is to a grape — artificial and often so completely different that it’s often difficult to see the straight-line connection between the two.

I might posit grape juice instead of grape soda, but you get the idea.

This TDOR: Why Not “Tranny”?

Posted by – November 20, 2010

& To close this year’s Trasngender Day of Remembrance, a note from Mara Keisling of NCTE on what the day means, why not “tranny,” and what next:

The Day of Remembrance, which we commemorate tomorrow, is a time of mourning for transgender people, a time to honor the lives tragically cut short by another person’s hatred or fears. It is also a time to look at how we can have fewer and fewer deaths to commemorate on this day in years to come.

Each year as I look at the names and faces of those we have lost, they touch me profoundly and they also call me to a renewed commitment to the work ahead of us. We have to use every tool available to us to stem the tide; one of those tools is federal law.

A full year has passed since the passage of the first federal law to offer protections to transgender people-the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009. While the law certainly won’t end the problem of hate crimes, it does provide new avenues to address violence when it occurs. For the very first time, the Department of Justice and federal law enforcement officials have been authorized to take action to address the violence that transgender people face. And, while it’s easy to be cynical about the government, there are people in law enforcement who are truly and deeply dedicated to working with us to address the violence.

We’ve been at the table with the FBI and other departments as they’ve worked to update their training programs to include explicit information about gender identity and change the way they record information so we gain vital knowledge about the extent of the problem. I know, paperwork doesn’t seem like it will do anything. There is something very important about seeing the word “transgender” there in the manuals and forms because it means that the federal government is making a record and taking notice of the horrific violence we as a people face. It is information they can use to prosecute a crime and ensure that local law enforcement takes violence against us seriously. It will also help formulate violence prevention programs.

But there’s also something awful about knowing that those forms will record the terror of victims of hate-motivated violence. Law enforcement officers will note down the weapons used, the damage done and the derogatory words that are said to harm a transgender person-someone’s child, or partner, or parent, or loved one.

One of the reasons that we don’t use the word “tranny” at NCTE is because we’ve heard too many stories of violence. We know that when someone hears that word, it often heralds the beginning of an attack. And words matter when we look at hate crimes; the language used is, in fact, part of how we determine if something is a hate crime, because words are one of the weapons used to hurt the target of the violence. Because in a hate crime, damage is done to hearts and spirits as well as to bodies-and sadly, that’s the perpetrator’s point. We hear regularly, especially over the past few weeks, from transgender people who tell us that “tranny” is a word that feels hostile and hurtful to them. We shouldn’t use words that cause pain to others, especially when the word is one that, horrifyingly, transgender people hear as they are being bludgeoned. We have to use our words differently than that.

This week, the Department of Justice brought federal hate crimes charges under the new law for the first time, against white supremists who attacked a developmentally disabled Native American man in New Mexico. Disability was one of the other new categories added to the hate crimes laws, along with gender identity. It is a reminder that violence to any of us hurts all of us.

There are many more cases that are currently in the midst of the legal and investigative processes that have to happen before charges are filed. Each of these cases makes a statement that hate crimes are intolerable and illegal.

But we also have to keep our eye on our goal-ending violence against transgender people. We do this by educating people about the realities of our lives and by asserting our human rights to express who we are and to live in safety. To make this a reality, we have to build a climate of acceptance, free of derogatory words and angry fists, and filled with respect for the differences among us.

Nevada Forges Ahead

Posted by – May 23, 2010

Cassandra Keenan at Bilerico reprots that Nevada has just managed not to require genital reconstructive surgery for a change in gender marker on driver’s licenses.

Instead, a doctor gets to fill out a form answering “male” or “female” on what the person’s gender identity is, whether they live full-time as their identified gender and/or are undergoing treatment.

It’s a far cry from perfect – the crossdressers and genderqueer populations left out as usual – but it’s something.

New MVA Policy Detrimental to Trans Marylanders

Posted by – December 15, 2009

Equality Maryland is Maryland’s largest LGBT civil rights organization. They recently sent out this information about the proposed changes to the rules for changing gender on MD driver’s licenses.

The Maryland Vehicle Administration (MVA) is currently considering an update to their policy regarding changing the gender marker on a driver’s license. The new policy would go into effect on January 1, 2010.

The current policy allows for a change to the gender marker, so long as an applicant is able to provide a physician’s or psychologist’s report to confirm that the applicant is in active treatment. The MVA requires annual re-evaluations until the applicant meets requirements for permanent gender change. The primary criterion for a permanent change is for the person to have undergone SRS or sex reassignment surgery.

If you’re a resident of Maryland, you can bug the governor of Maryland to keep this proposal from happening.

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Jeez Louise This Whole Cisgender Thing

Posted by – September 17, 2009

Since Alex Blaze took it on, & since we’ve been discussing this whole “is it okay to call someone who isn’t trans cisgender?” question on the boards, I may as well put it down here.

First, I’m going to claim a difference between cisgender & cissexual. Cisgender, the problem seems to me, is not the easy opposite of transgender. Cisgender implies, or means, or could mean (depending on who you talk to), that someone’s sex and gender are concordant. So your average butch woman, who is not trans, or is, depending on how she feels about it (see Bear Bergman), is now somehow cisgender. So is someone like me. So is a femme-y gay man who maybe performs a more gender normative masculinity for his job. That is, those of us who have variable genders, who maybe are gender fluid or gender neutral but who don’t identify as trans, are now somehow cisgender.

& Honestly, that’s bullshit. There’s a reason I use GVETGI to describe myself = Gender Variant Enough To Get It, is what it stands for.

So there’s the first issue, that “cis” may stand for “cisgender” and it may stand for “cissexual” but no one knows for sure which it is when it’s abbreviated. Crossdressers, for instance, are cissexual but they’re not cisgender. For instance.

Then there’s that little usage/connotation/denotation problem.

Telling me, & other partners whose lives are profoundly impacted by the legal rights / cultural perceptions of trans people, that we are “not trans” implies that we are also not part of the trans community. I’ve been saying for years now that we are. When trans people are killed, harassed, not hired, fired due to discrimination, denied health care, etc. etc. etc., their loved ones suffer along with them. Their families, their lovers, their kids especially. We are not just “allies.” We are vested, dammit, & a part of the trans community, so when “cisgender” comes to mean, or is used to mean, “not part of the trans community,” we are once again left out in the dark.

(Somehow, I can’t help thinking of the muggles & mudbloods of Harry Potter, here. Partners are the equivalent of the kids born to magical families who are not themselves magical. In the books & movies, they are part of the magical community, & without question. Ahem.) More