An attempt at nuance: gender and privilege

TL;DR: experiences of gendered privilege do not determine gender, and homogenizing trans narratives is part of the double standard trans people are subject to that cis people are not and that’s not cool.

It seems so obvious to me, as a disabled person who is often actively discriminated against while passing as ablebodied, how easy it is to experience violence and a form of privilege at the same time.  Passing means that I will not face overt discrimination, but the socially imposed boundaries limiting me still exist and affect me.  I might not be deliberately left out, as I might when I use a cane, but I still can’t keep up. I often feel the same way about gender.

Divides in the trans community often fall along what it takes to be really trans, who has more privilege, and who uses the “right” language.  Often I see statements that say things like transwomen are real women and have always been real women but never how that category is inherently oppressive.  I see animosity and harassment towards people whose gender may have changed, against nonbinary people and those who do not medically transition.  All of these things boil down to a movement that refuses to acknowledge a plurality of experiences and enforces strict hierarchies of oppression. Continue reading

Who’s trigger is it anyway?

content: Descriptions of triggers, gaslighting, and suggestions for how to label information.

Many spaces struggle with how to provide adequate information about the nature of their content in a way that is useful to people who wish to be able to enter into difficult conversations with the means to prepare.  There seems to be a great deal of confusion regarding the nature of certain words commonly used to pinpoint hurtful subjects especially within social justice spaces.
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Your labels matter: working for inclusive and accountable language

TL;DR: If you are trying to support marginalized genders, don’t use narratives suggesting gender isn’t real to seek legitimacy.

We may not chose our gender or sexual or romantic orientation, but we do chose how we talk about it.  No decision happens in a vacuum and your choices affect others.

Finding our own gender can be very complicated.  For some agender people, that means coming to terms with the fact that gender is really important!  To a lot of people!  For a lot of cisgender people it means understanding that there are more than two categories out there and that they aren’t set in stone. Continue reading

Who gets the authority?

Everyone’s a little bit racist. Unfortunately, this includes people who are subject to the effects of racism. Everyone exists in a social context that immerses them in cultural knowledge, which often contains prejudices against others and one’s own group. This isn’t limited to racism either, but applies to all marginalized people.

Yet an important concept in social justice circles is that marginalized people are the best authority on their own experiences. How do we reconcile this with the idea that many marginalized people don’t have access to social justice analysis, and can only speak to their own experience, and that sometimes prejudices become defense mechanisms. Continue reading

Ah! Acronyms! Problems with talking about endless acronyms

Content: discussion of terminology for consensual practices, identities, and orientations regarding gender and sexuality.  Specifically looking at criticisms of common terms and suggesting some solutions.

Do you ever look at variants of LGBT and think that’s not enough?  And then get really overwhelmed with how many options there are?

Some people just resort to QUILTBAG and I’ve even been part of an organization that just called itself the Endless Acronym.  When it comes to organizations, we may want to include allies too, but how do we define a group without excluding anyone who belongs, and without including people who may care about the cause, but who aren’t part of the identity group and don’t experience the related discrimination? Continue reading