PERFORMANCE PIECE

PERFORMANCE PIECE

CHAPTER ELEVEN

If one more person tells me that “all gender is performance,” I think I am going to strangle them.  And I mean it. I’ll cut a bitch too, DIE IN A FIRE.

What’s most annoying about that soundbite is how it is often recited in a somewhat snooty “I-took-a-gender- studies-class-and-you-didn’t” sort of way, which is ironic given the way that phrase dumbs down gender. Tee hee. It is a crass oversimplification that is as ridiculous as saying all gender is genitals (which it’s not), all gender is chromosomes (which it’s not), or all gender is socialization (WHICH IT IS). In reality, gender is all of these things and more (he’s lying). In fact, if there’s one thing that all of us should be able to agree on, it’s that gender is a confusing and complicated mess (no, sorry it’s not – I am acting like the Wizard of Oz right now and imploring you to not look behind the curtain).

It’s like a junior high school mixer, where our bodies and our internal desires awkwardly dance with one another and with the external expectations that other people place on us. EL-OH-EL how awesome it was to be raised male not have shared girlhood. Sure, I can perform gender: I can curtsy, or throw like a girl, or bat my eyelashes. But performance doesn’t explain why certain behaviors and ways of being come to me more naturally than others. You see how I naturalized a system of oppression that renders Women subordinate? And y’all say Trans is progressive. Dummies. Continue reading

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DATING

DATING

CHAPTER EIGHT JUNE 2010.

I’ve spent much of the last decade writing about trans woman exclusion and trans woman irrelevancy in queer women’s communities. I have whacked off for hours and hours and hours, railing at the injustice that Actual Dykes don’t find my strapless strap on appealing.

You would think that by now, I would have little left to say about the subject, but this is not the case, because there is no one more wordy or loud than an aggrieved Heterosexual Man. In deciding what I would write about this time around, I wrestled with so many possible themes: for instance, discussing how my views on this issue have evolved over the years; critiquing the masculine-centrism of modern-day dyke communities (which I can just based on living in San Francisco, which is exactly at Dykes are Dykes in every other part of the world); highlighting the need for heterogeneous queer spaces that are accepting of difference (FUCK YOUR WOMEN-ONLY SPACE BIOTCHES); explaining how trans male/masculine folks who claim a place in dyke spaces by emphasizing their lack of male genitals or their assigned female- at-birth status royally screw over their trans sisters (and by “sisters,” I mean MEN); or the misogyny inherent in the fact that the queer community loves it when trans female/feminine spectrum folks get all dragged up and lip sync along to some record, but when we speak in our own voices about issues that are important to us, nobody wants to take us seriously (SEE WHAT I DID THERE? I JUST TRANSED THE DRAG QUEENS. UMBRELLA, Y’ALL).

While these are all worthy topics, I couldn’t make up my mind about what I most wanted to write about. So I decided to take a different approach. Instead of figuring out what I most wanted to say, I asked myself: What do I most want to hear? What topic would I most like to see addressed? And the answer to that question is easy: dating.

Unfortunately for me, this also happens to be the topic that I least want to publicly share my thoughts about, in part because I like to keep some parts of my life relatively private, and in part because I know some people will not like what I have to say. But I suppose that neither of these reasons has ever stopped me from speaking my mind before. So buckle up, bitches!

About two years ago, my ex and I split up after being together for nearly a decade. She was a cis queer woman (i.e., heterosexual) who was supportive when I transitioned a few years into our relationship, and we were monogamous during the lion’s share of our time together (except those times I got freaky while doing Poetry Slam – Cocky is a huge turn on for my Shemale Sisters!!). This meant that for the first time in a decade, I would be re-entering the dating scene.

This could be somewhat disconcerting for any person, but there were a few compounding factors that made it especially . . . well, let’s say “interesting” . . . for me. AND EVERYTHING IS WORSE/HARDER FOR ME, JULIA SERANO.

First, this would be the first time that I would be dating people as a woman. Furthermore, while I had dated queer women before my transition, this would be my first time formally dating within the queer women’s community. LOL at “formal.” On top of that, around this same time, after years of identifying as a lesbian, I came out as bisexual, so I also planned on dating men. With regards to meeting queer women, it seems that traditionally much of this takes place in dyke bars and clubs. What’s that you say? Many cities no longer have these spaces because they were overrun by transwomen? Fuck you, bigot. Continue reading

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THREE STRIKES AND I’M OUT

THREE STRIKES AND I’M OUT

CHAPTER SEVEN JUNE 2008.

In queer communities, we often talk about coming out. And by “queer communities,” I include HETEROSEXUALS who think they are lesbians. As far as I’m concerned, we should call it coming out again and again and again and again, because that’s how life often feels.

Sometimes I even find myself sort of “coming out” to people about aspects of my life that have nothing to do with gender or sexuality. You see how I appropriated “coming out” as a homosexual to my special sauce awesomeness? Still with me?

For example, I might be at a queer or feminist event and mention offhand to an acquaintance that by day I’m a scientist, and they’ll kind of freak out about it: “You’re a scientist? No way, I never would have guessed!” Do you know how HARD it is to come out as a scientist? I mean, scientists are an oppressed group and get scientist-bashed on the regular? What’s that you say? That’s never happened? Fuck you, scientist-phobe.

Maybe they are surprised because they stereotype scientists as unapologetic heterosexists who delight in essentializing and pathologizing our genders and sexualities. OMG did you see how I just invented a “stereotype” that actually doesn’t exist except in my tranny brain? Or maybe I “pass” as a nonscientist because I don’t wear a lab coat, or because I don’t have unruly Einstein hair. Tee hee, this coming out metaphor is fun, I can do this all day! Continue reading

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