Tuesday, September 13, 2011
One of the most telling points Serano makes is that when she gives speeches she will often invite her listeners to contemplate the following question: Would you transition to the other gender permanently for 10 million dollars? Clearly if you buy into the idea that just continuing to live with a mismatch between your subconscious and assigned gender isn't that bad you must think everyone would transition for 10 million. Despite this practically nobody is willing to (barring those who want to transition anyway, presumably). Non trans people want to continue to live and look like their current gender even when faced with an immense incentive to change; this alone should serve as plenty of proof that we must fully accept people's self identified gender as legitimate and equal rather than as some other category entirely. We see all the time on TV what ludicrous things people are willing to do for a moment of fame and a shot at a million dollars and that serves to give us some kind of benchmark for things that are really important to people.
I usually identify as pretty left wing politically but I do often end up in fights with left wing radicals and pundits when I criticize their means, if not their motives (I generally disagree with both the motives *and* the methods of right wing folks). I was expecting to write this post with a healthy dose of "The author is too radical and divorced from reality" until I got to the final chapter where Serano talks very harshly about a substantial portion of the trans/queer community dedicated to the destruction of the male/female binary and the glorification of non-standard gender and sexuality identifiers. She feels that she identifies as a woman and that refusing to accept people who do identify cleanly into the male/female binary is a mistake - whether you are talking about male/female or binary/radical you should not marginalize how someone else chooses to experience their gender or sexuality. Huzzah! I certainly support the idea that everyone should be given the freedom both legally and socially to have their own ideas and practices surrounding gender and sexuality. I am reminded a bit of my Barefoot project; I don't mind if people wear shoes so long as nobody tries to make me do so. Despite the extreme difference in our experiences I find that the sort of world Serano wants to create is the sort of world I want to live in.
I find myself tempted to try putting on women's clothes and wandering around just to see exactly what happens. I like challenging people's assumptions and I am extremely curious to see the differences in the world when I change nothing but a single piece of clothing - it seems like there are so many things that are hidden from me by my gender and my my usual conformity with the associated norms.
Picture taken from: http://www.juliaserano.com/whippinggirl.html