Life on the front line

Posted: October 26, 2010 in Bodies, Damned binaries, Gender, Personal, Sexuality
Tags: , ,

Trigger warning for transphobia (homophobia? heterosexism, certainly) and erasure of gender identities outside the binary.

Well, we have news from the front line of life today (yes, I do occasionally simulate having a life). Me and a friend tried to go to an event in a local club. (We think it got cancelled in the end – we were waiting for ages until we gave up.)

There were a bunch of girls also waiting – I’m not sure if they were drunk or not – and they first approached us asking where I was from. I was born in the city I now live in, although my mother is from another UK country and I’ve picked up some of her accent. Throughout my childhood people mocked me for my accent – it was possibly the first thing they mocked me for – and I’m still distrustful of that as a conversation starter. However, they couldn’t know that, so I was civil.

I have a tendency to set people’s queerdars off (like gaydar but more inclusive), and get read as virtually anything. The next question was asking us if we were gay. I said no, I think you have to have a gender for that and I don’t. Cue the ‘you have to be one or another!’ ‘Are you a boy or a girl?’ ‘Do you have a dick or a cunt?’

I also have a tendency to go very English-stereotype when under attack – the publish-and-be-damned English stereotype, with dollops of advanced vocabulary and acerbic comments. It’s probably not the best approach. Although I really think that answers such as ‘It’s really none of your business,’ to the ‘dick or cunt’ question, and ‘Google is your friend,’ to a ‘what’s pansexual?’ question were entirely appropriate.

They started yelling TRANSSEXUAL! and I started talking loudly and acidly about transphobia to my friend, who appeared confused. Then they said, ‘could you use words that I might understand?’ and I told them that it was really not a difficult concept to grasp and that I wasn’t prepared to simplify my identity for them. We also had, ‘your voice gives you away!’ and my reply to that was, ‘no it doesn’t, it lies to you. Hear what I say not the pitch at which I say it.’

We didn’t get rid of them until we left, and we didn’t leave before they could trigger my body dysphoria. Wonderful.

It’s just sickening. Transphobia seems to be a form of discrimation that is regarded as utterly acceptable in our society. And that wasn’t even an extreme occurance – it could have been a lot worse. I’m used to awkward-turtle moments when I come out – that happens most times – but since I tend not to interact much outside my social circle (and my social circle tend to be decent, intelligent folks) I’m not used to downright ignorant responses.

Welcome to life on the front line of agender identity, JKBC. You won’t be moving away from your computer screen again in a hurry, will you?


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