A Performance We Choose to Make

Hold up here I just have to share with you all.

I was just clearing out my Google Drive and came upon this document titled “Who I am” from late 2013, when I first started seriously considering the trans thing.  It’s a little disturbing to read because I was so very desperate to find some kind of comfort and resolution. I’d just come back from my first trip to England two months before and had been terribly destabilized by it – probably a topic for another day, if I ever figure out just what happened with it all. Anyway, I was glomming on to Agender as the Answer and delving into queer theory.  One of the quotes that rang all the bells in my head was this:

But gender is not a condition we can figure out about ourselves. Gender is a performance we choose to make. And being trans is to determine and assert a gender, an identity, a self-expression, a potential life, CHOSEN in contrast to what we were assigned or the expectations people had for us.”

I don’t know where it came from, who said it where. But I look at that now and see the utter transparency of it – like, yeah, of course a person can create a self-expression, a potential life CHOSEN in contrast to societal expectations. Of COURSE you can do that.  Every human being on the planet should have the right to do that. How could I have ever thought I needed to negate or change the “F” on my birth certificate just to do that?

But that’s the thing. That’s how incredibly hateful and oppressive towards alternate gender expression our society is. I never thought of having come from a terribly harmful or constrictive background – everything around here, everything about how I grew up, seems so incredibly “normal” – and yet I did not feel I had the right and ability to choose a self-expression for myself unless I washed the femaleness out of my life.

That is terrifying. The hidden face of misogyny lurking in the most everyday places is absolutely terrifying. And the fact that most of the well-meaning people in the world are embracing the trans narrative instead of hunting down that hidden cause of it shows just how insidious it is. The fact that intelligent people are putting out quotes like that instead of saying “Women can live however they want to live as women.” is just disturbing.

It all sounds so good – choose your own adventure! – until you realize the allure is masking the poison.

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