Good Omens

Living a genderqueer life

Month: November, 2012

Everybody is nobody, as far as taking the blame is concerned

There are some things like that one would feel better off without. Anger is one of them, especially when you’re angry because of something that anger really can’t help at all. I’m currently experiencing a vicious circle of fruitless, non-directable anger, which is really tough to cope with. This is how it goes.

I’m angry with…

… having to be nice to people who say it’s hard for them that I’m trans*. There’s always somebody who I must understand, understand and understand, because this is such a hard time for them. Why doesn’t anybody ask me if I’m having a hard time? I’m having one all right, thank you very much.

… having to act nice and normal like it’s my fault to be what I am and you don’t have to change anything about the way you look at the world. I WANT you to have to realize that the way you’ve been looking at the world doesn’t work anymore, it’s not a good way of looking at anything. Not at me, anyway.

… having to be the exception. I find myself saying time after time that I’m okay this way, everybody can keep identifying as what they have been identifying all along, I can be the quota trans* person. But what I really want to say is, ditch the bloody gender binary! Stop living as if  there were only men, women and exceptions! Even, and especially if you’re happy as a man or a woman, proclaim yourself as having stepped outside the system – non-binary, genderqueer, trans*, whatever, just do it, even for one day! I want to be political about this, I want a revolution to join, I just don’t know how to start.

… the world and the fact that when something is everybody’s fault, it’s really nobody’s, and so I’ve really got nobody to be angry with. I know nobody’s to blame for me feeling this way (except maybe myself, but that’s not an option I want to explore any further), and that everybody’s doing their best to deal with me being what I am. And so, I’ve got to understand people again, because I already do, and so we come back to the beginning…

How long until Christmas?

When I was a child, I loved the Christmas season and waited for it eagerly every year. After turning maybe 15, the thrill kind of went out. But now it’s come back with interest. And it feels quite nice!

At the beginning of October, I started to think about Christmas foods, and when it would be “proper” to think about them. Two weeks after that, I made glögi and bought some ready-to-bake gingerbread dough. Didn’t even bake the cookies, but ate the dough straight from the wrappings. Today, after a music theory lesson concentrating on Swedish polskas, I transcribed a traditional Swedish tune, just accidentally called Julpolska (Christmas polska), and after that, found the group’s whole CD at Spotify. Now here I am, with Christmas music playing, I’m chatting online with a friend in Denmark who’s baking gingerbread, and neither of us feels guilty about this at all. Guess we’re getting old. I love the feeling.

Mirror mirror on the wall

This morning I looked in the mirror and saw a person I’ve been longing to see. For quite a while, I’ve been seeing somebody else in the mirror, somebody trying their best to look like me but not quite managing it.

I can’t explain it very well, but this morning, my first thought when looking at the mirror, was, “now this is how I should look like.” For example, I’ve been feeling ill-at-ease with the fact that I’m taller than many people I like to be with, and generally felt I look too much like a stereotypical person of my (biological) sex. But today, there was a change in how I see myself. There was not a “person of sex A” in the mirror, but myself, looking calm and relaxed (albeit a bit bleary-eyed because I had to get up early).

A trans* person, ready to face the new day.

Words & music

I’ve been reading a lot the last two weeks: I’ve got a big examination coming up, a Gender Studies one about its classics, Virginia Woolf, Kate Millet etc. Here’s a recommendation for you: when you’ve time, do read “A room of one’s own” (translated to Finnish as “Oma huone”) by Virginia Woolf. It’s a very important little book. So much has changed in a hundred years, and yet so much remains to be done. Am I turning into an activist? I hope so!

Another thing I’ve been doing is listening to music a lot: I went to see Wayne Shorter Quartet play at the Helsinki Music Center (actually it was a work night for me, and I listened to the concert backstage), and the music totally blew my mind. I’ve been listening to jazz, classic and contemporary, with a new appreciation, after hearing an old master like Mr. Shorter play.

Getting involved in jazz and feminism at the same time – I wonder what this will turn into…

Systems

I happened to read a piece of web “conversation” about “gender-neutral first names”. It wasn’t much of a conversation, really – mostly bashing other people with your words as hard as you can and then running for shelter. Something one nick wrote got me thinking: the person’s idea was that there are always exceptions to any system, but that it’s not the majority’s job to do anything about it. So basically, being genderqueer, I’m an exception to the rule that the only gender options available are Man and Woman, and that’s my problem.

When I studied philosophy for a while, I learned that the best system is the one where the most “exceptions” fit in. So, a good system is complex enough to allow for as many diverse situations as possible. The old “sex equals gender equals sexuality” system is clearly outdated, as it doesn’t allow for any other options than the Hollywood-esque Boy meets Girl; that is, if you’re a Woman, you love a Man, and the other way round. Looking from the viewpoint of this system, I truly am an exception. Which is fine by me, c’mon, this finally proves I am exceptional. But I also believe there could be a better option for this system. Let’s look at the rule again.

Why the second part of the mantra doesn’t work, seems to be something anybody (even my grandmother) could understand. Gender doesn’t equal sexuality, because boys can love boys, girls can love girls etc. We don’t necessarily understand why anybody would feel differently from us, but it’s clear that some people do, and it’s OK to more people every day.

But the other equation – sex equals gender – is quite a bit trickier to disassemble than the first. It’s like a Zen Buddhist koan, or locked box with the key inside – you have to get it to get it. And even if you do, that still doesn’t mean you have to allow for people being outside the binary. I mean, yes, many people know that there are transgendered people, in the sense of being X trapped in Y’s body. But you can fix that without breaking the binary gender system, can’t you? It’s just a matter of the right medical treatment. Biological man becomes biological woman, happy ever after, end of story.

How then to deal with the fact that many people believe that the two-gendered system is not enough? Maybe we just have to build a new, better system to show around. It would have to be one that allows people to be men and women if they want to, but also clearly states that that’s not all there is. We live in a world with seven billion people in it. Why force them all into just two little boxes, when there could be a free-flowing, dynamic space open for everybody? If the dualistic gender system wasn’t invented yet, would we need it?

PS. Two great resources here and here.