Archive for the ‘Bodies’ Category

It’s TDoR today. Transgender Day of Remembrance. A day specifically devoted to the memories of our siblings who aren’t still here today because of the hate and bigotry of the societies they live in.

This year, we have 221 reported murders. 221 people killed. There’s been an increase. And that’s just those of us who were directly murdered. It doesn’t include those who have died in other ways from society’s hatred.

It’s frightening. It’s rage-enducing. It’s wrong.

And I know that a lot of people think that these figures represent freak incidents. People claim that there isn’t an underlying culture that fosters this degree of hatred and violence directed towards trans folks – primarily, it has to be said, people marginalised in several ways. The intersections are always the most dangerous places to walk – and continue with their casual cissexism, their casual binarism, misgendering, delegitimising, essentialism… and never stop to think that this is how a culture of hate and violence grows.

It’s a slight cliche to argue that history is written by the winners, but unfortunately it’s true. Admittedly the phrase does imply somewhat more of a martial perspective, so let’s adjust it; history is written by the dominant.

As marginalised people, we only have to look at our own histories to see the truth in that. We are absent from the historical narrative to a very large extent; sometimes there are obscure glimmers of proof of our previous existence, but most often even those of us who achieved a place in the historical hall of fame have been bleached with the ideals of the dominant groups that did the writing.

I am a historian – still studying, and not yet studying exclusively history, but a historian nevertheless – and it frustrates me. Written primary sources were often written by privileged people whose perspective neglects the marginalised. Secondary sources also tend to reflect academia’s skewing towards the kyriarchal ideal. There are ways of finding out about the marginalised, but we rarely find their uncensored voices ringing down the ages.

What effect does that have? A huge effect. Some groups find themselves cut off from their roots, with much about their past lost irretrievably. Others find themselves entering the record only on the terms of their oppressors, with their personhood denigrated and their voices erased. Others find no reflection of their existence.

The neglect of the history of some groups combined with the elevation of that of others has a profoundly harmful effect. People have always looked to the past, for lessons and for inspiration and guidance, and if they find only certain groups reflected there it is very easy to have the idea, already implanted by the kyriarchy, that only those groups are worthy and important validated. It’s also used to denigrate people in the present, implying that they’re making things up because they only came into existence recently when the only evidence we have for that is a void in the general historical narrative with clues generally so small most people wouldn’t pick them up.

It’s important to factor this in as we write our own histories. How will the English Riots of this summer be remembered? Will the memory of the alienation and disillusionment suffered by those who rioted survive, or will they be painted merely as thugs? And the Occupy movement – when protestors say one thing and police say another, who will be believed by posterity? As for the Arab Spring – how will history perceive that?

The privileged classes have always tried to write their history on a higher level than the rest of the populace. Sometimes, just access to the tools of recording ensures their voices are the only ones heard. Other times, restricting access to academia or to certain media spaces is their preferred method. And quite often, they merely rely on their privilege to amplify their voices, as it so reliably does.

I’m all right. I’ve been trying to give myself some time out for self-care, but that hasn’t gone too well due to stresses and strains from other areas of my life. I’m going to try to write a decent post now though.

The kyriarchy enforces standards that are very, very rigid, and has produced a culture with Expectations. We are expected to conform to our social roles in the kyriarchy that are dictated by our ascribed statuses, and often that means that the marginalised are expected to be a lot less than they are and treated accordingly. Meanwhile oppressive behaviour is expected of the privileged. This culture also has expectations of people’s life courses and aspirations, and shows a high degree of contempt for those who cannot meet the expectations whether the reasons relate to a lack of privilege, a lack of opportunity or a lack of ability.

All of this creates a high-stress, low-compassion environment that negatively affects all of our lives. The marginalised, due to the fact that they are further away from the Standards because of the oppression they experience, are most affected and end up locked in a cycle of being prevented from reaching those standards and being blamed for that ‘failure.’ Meanwhile, the privileged absolve themselves of responsibility and feel justified in oppressive behaviour by the ‘failure’ of the marginalised and the ‘success’ of themselves as measured against the standards.

It’s one of the many ways that the kyriarchy is enabled. We absorb these standards (standards which have almost become separate entities looming in our culture) and ruthlessly impose them on ourselves and others. They are institutionally enforced, inflexibly and unforgivingly with no regard for the toll taken on the bodies and minds of people, especially marginalised people. And the very inflexibility propagates them, since when one is expending all one’s energy on meeting them one doesn’t question the system in which a privileged person can meet them with very little sweat and a marginalised person can work themselves to a standstill and still not meet them.

(This relates vaguely to the causes of my recent stress, which is almost certainly only going to get worse…)

Newsbag.

Posted: September 21, 2011 in Bodies, Capitalism, Education, Finance, Health, Science, Sexuality
Tags: ,

Okay, I’m going to attempt to be back now even though I’m still having trouble using a computer comfortably.

Really, Government, really? Possible proposals to cut the benefits of terminally ill folks? This is obscene. We always knew that this government was incredibly ableist, but here’s another rock-solid indication. It honestly scares me that the people in charge of the country are so very contemptuous of anyone who doesn’t fit the conventional notion of ‘ability’, and that they are actually enacting this stuff (as with other benefit changes that have gone through).

If the data bears it out, which I think is likely, this is exactly as expected. EMA has proved important for many people, and scrapping it is always going to have an effect.

Aaand from a sciencey point of view, the information that deep-sea squid mate with no regards to sex is fairly interesting.

I’m sorry this is a shite post. I’m still trying to think of a way to make a post out of my recent health issue and how that has been complicated by my lack of gender, which is definitely interesting. I realise, however, that I’m probably saying nothing that other people haven’t said before so… Still need to think some more about that one.

Posted: September 13, 2011 in Bodies, Health, Personal

Hello folks, I know there hasn’t been a post in ages. I’m afraid that may not change for a bit; I’ve had a bit of a health emergency and while I am able to use a computer typing is uncomfortable and difficult.

At least I live in a country with public healthcare…

Trigger warning; cissexist/binarist erasure, sexist rhetoric, discussion of reproductive coercion

Oh now this is encouraging. Not. The Government caving in to plans to reduce abortion rates by adding another layer of counselling. A lot hinges on the word ‘offer’ – is it being used to mean a service that is there if wanted, a compulsory ‘service’ or one that may as well be due to the level of throat-shoving people receive? However, I’m going to post independently of that – my personal opinion is the latter option, but I don’t know. And anyway, it doesn’t sound like the extra counselling would be from anyone good. I’m not the biggest expert on abortion issues (I’m staunchly pro-choice but don’t follow the discussion as much as I should because there’s often an unfortunate degree of erasure of uterus-having non-women), so I will probably miss a facet or two. EDIT – such as the demonisation of abortion providers implicit in the idea of trying to stop them doing the counselling.

So basically, boil this down to the bones and we get the claim that abortion-seekers (of any gender/s/non-gender/s, although no doubt the introducers of this are thinking purely in terms of ‘women’, sigh) need extra counselling, need to have the process slowed down, because they can’t be trusted to know what they want for their own body. Great. That really shows dedication to people’s welfare, doesn’t it? Ha ha. As if most of these abortion restrictions are even about welfare. They’re about control. They’re about asserting the power of the kyriarchally-privileged over the marginalised, about restricting the marginalised’s agency, about controlling them.

There’s this delightful quote from Dorries on the issue; “The abortion process is so fast – seven to 14 days. Women who do have doubts or niggles are on the other side before they have a chance to think it through. The majority may feel it’s fine but there are a growing number thinking it wasn’t what I wanted to do. As it gets faster and faster more women are falling off the edge. This is a women’s rights issue.”

Translation; Women don’t know what they want and are too emotional and weak to deal with things happening at this pace, they need everything slowed down for their tiny little ladybrains. Abortion is wrong and I’ve pulled some vague stats out of nowhere, and now I’m going to use emotive language and completely ignore the fact that there is a kyriarchal component to who is most likely to be pressured into aborting. And besides this, I’m incredibly cis privileged and will continue to erase the selves of anyone who might need an abortion who isn’t a woman.

We’ve seen so much of this stuff from the USA, and these ‘additional counselling’ things so often end up being barely disguised attempts to discourage abortion. There are people who get pressured into abortion, but that sort of thing is not the way to help. As for the people who choose it – their choices are valid. It’s their body, their choice.

Trigger warning – discussion of common silencing/denial-of-oppression techniques.

My apologies for the unofficial hiatus; I’m trying to recharge my batteries but sometimes it feels like the charger just isn’t working. EDIT – changed post title to reflect the fact that defences of bigotry seem to be a Thing of mine at the moment.

Anyway. I’m going back to an old hobby-horse of mine – tone policing. Along with the accusation of oversensitivity, which oddly enough are often found coexisting. Not only are both infuriating, wrong and kyriarchy-enforcing on their own, but in tandem they become increasingly illogical.

The reason for this is simple. Tone policing, simply put, is the dismissal of a person’s argument (generally a less-privileged person in social justice discourse) because of their tone, which may be perceived by the bigoted more-privileged person as ‘too personal,’ ‘too emotional’ or ‘too angry.’ Meanwhile, the oversensitivity argument basically amounts to the bigoted more-privileged person telling the less-privileged person to suck it up and deal with the abuse the kyriarchy deals out. Put together, these things add up to a massive display of double standards. ‘I shouldn’t have to deal with your [justified] anger/pain, but you should just sit back and take my [unjustified] bigotry.’

Which, conveniently, is just the way the kyriarchy works. Hence, it’s perfect for enforcement of it.

The attitude is wholly reprehensible. Not only are the less-privileged (along whatever axis of privilege being discussed) subjected to kyriarchal abuse which is seen as normal and acceptable, but they are also condemned for responding. And there’s really no limit to the tone argument. It can be invoked even when a person is deadly calm; when a bigoted more-privileged person decides to silence a less-privileged person, there is no tone that is exempt. Often even the act of quietly making a point is an attack upon the more-privileged person, personally, and they see it as unprovoked because they are privileged enough to be able to ignore the shrapnel-sleet of micro- and macroaggressions the less-privileged experience every day.

It is a function of privilege to be able to see oneself as an objective speaker, and to expect detachment in the discourse. Many of us can’t detach ourselves from the oppression we scream under; it’s burned into our bones and our bodies, into our selves and our souls, while the privileged (on whichever axis) can ignore it and pretend it doesn’t happen.

And it’s a function of double-thinking to be able to simultaneously tone-police, and demand that less-privileged people become less ‘oversensitive’. Not only is ‘oversensitivity’ a pretty ableist concept (especially in the way I’ve often seen it applied, with regards to trigger warnings), it’s also a direct result of the fact that the privileged are able to ignore oppression and so interpret people’s entirely natural responses to it as oversensitivity.

If anyone is being oversensitive in a conversation such as this one, it’s the [bigoted] more-privileged person demanding that the less-privileged person suppress their justified pain and anger for the more-privileged person’s comfort. (They’re also being entitled, which is another basic function of privilege.)

I get so fed up of this pair of problems that so often occur together. We have a right to our feelings about our oppression, and as long as we are being non-oppressive and not actively harming others we have a right to express them. We have a right to talk about our oppression and to try to end it. That means that in situations like this, more-privileged persons (I include myself in this group as well as the other, since I have privilege along many axes) need to listen and allow less-privileged groups to lead the discourse.

The margins are dangerous places to be. When the paper needs to be made smaller, it is always the margins that are cut off first.

We’re seeing this at the moment as regards older folks and those who are not conventionally able, especially so where the two coincide (which they do, a lot). The care system is showing itself to be more the ‘lack of care’ system, as money becomes the prize and the limit, the people the burdens with which some kind of profit must be made.

People are more important than profit, and the idea that anyone should be regarded as less important than money is utterly despicable and wrong. And it’s always going to hit the less privileged groups the hardest, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged by society’s refusal to accommodate them.

Kyriarchy and our capitalist system seems to have it in for those lacking age and ability privileges. The kyriarchy has built society in a way that disadvantages them, and capitalism sees that and defines them as unproductive, unprofitable. The two conspire to prevent people from getting what they need in order to maintain a level of wellbeing that is comfortable for them, and what they need to function in a society that has long grown up to ignore their needs.

As a person with the privilege of youth and the probable privilege of conventional ability, this is not my struggle to narrate. But I am outraged by the reports of ill-treatment, of the love of money supplanting care and compassion and dignity. I am outraged by this, and I am also frightened for the people who are in the system and for the people who will be.

As our population ages, it is possible that the greater numbers of people in the system will become a catalyst to reform, to a better model of care and treatment. That pressure, placed by a population that wields ever more economic and social power as it becomes bigger, might force things to change. That’s the hopeful outlook. There is also the possibility that our system will become more broken as it struggles to cope with the weight of numbers, with the money being reduced and running repairs being cobbled on. If we are called upon too much more to bail out capitalist excesses, this may become even more of a possibility.

My apologies if I have made an overprivileged fail in this post, since this is a sphere in which I have privilege. Please don’t be afraid to nuke me.

I don’t know that I like living in the outside spaces. But the fact is, they’re the only place I can.

‘The outside spaces’ doesn’t refer to outdoors. The term refers to being outside people’s knowledge, outside of gendered spaces – not outside of perceptions, because there is no outside to that, but outside of the boxes that confirm or deny the gender others think one is. Personally, I hate leaving the outside spaces. It may be uncomfortable to not know what gender a person thinks I am, but it’s more uncomfortable knowing that what they think is wrong. It may be uncomfortable going without the toilet for – well, my record is 15 hours – but it’s worse for me to leave the outside spaces.

But what happens when the outside spaces close down – when the bed I sleep in is gendered, and there’s no friendly home with a neutral toilet? That’s horrible. I’m lucky in that I can, just about, swallow and get on with it – but I shouldn’t have to.

Binarism, implicit and explicit, is heavily tied in with other kyriarchal notions. To take the example of gendered housing, there’s a lot tied up in that. Heterosexism, cissexism, sexism, rape culture.

So again we find this individual thread supported by a web of others, all so hard to cut and fight.

What we can do, in the absence of a flamethrower with which to burn away the entire web, is to try to expand the outside spaces as far as is within our power. The spaces where gendering oneself is not compulsory, where a person can be themselves without being required to lie. I’m appealing here to anyone in a position of authority, to anyone who is a creator or a moderator or a poller or whatever – don’t force people to make the lie-or-leave choice by placing your sphere inside the gendered spaces.

Lying is what I have been doing. I spent a week doing things that I love with great people, but I had to lie on the form to go there, I had to lie every time I went to my room. I may not have chosen to do so, and it is a perfectly valid choice for safety’s sake (and in fact I did remain closeted for the first couple of days until I felt a bit more settled and safe), but it was still a lie. I still lied by staying in gendered accommodation, by using documentation with the old gendered name on. I don’t mind lying in a good cause – like safety – if I have to, but I resent being forced to it.

To live in the outside spaces is to be vulnerable. Because at any point, someone might come along and start shrinking them, demanding people leave the outside spaces. Or you could be forced through a door into a place that you couldn’t see, and find yourself somewhere where there’s no way into the outside spaces. And because the outside spaces are deemed unnecessary, there’s nothing to stop peple closing them off, shutting them away.

After all, they think, it’s not like the inside spaces are too small. We don’t need that extra outside space. And of course everyone will be fine in the inside spaces! Just look at the little letter on the passport, check the associations of the name, and send them in. Ignore the people pounding at the walls, pounding to get out –

– the walls must be broken down.

Forcing people out of the outside spaces who need them to survive is an act of erasure, bigotry and violence. And it hurts people like me. Like us.

I’m being really bad with this blog at the moment. Not that that’s anything new. Hopefully I will reinvigorate myself sometime soon, but till then all I can give is my apologies and what posting I can do.

As a non-binary person in a binarist society, I find myself thinking about my (non)gender a lot. How people are reading me, how to come out, how people think of me once I have. Whether I can go to the toilet, talk to someone, take an action without negative consequences. All sorts of things. Little worries, huge worries. Was that weird look I got the end of the issue, or are they going to spew hatred at me? Is this person I’m talking to now going to go all weird on me when I tell them who I actually am? How much longer can my bladder last? (The answer to this last is generally ‘as long as it needs to’ – I’m lucky). Will dressing in a way I’m comfortable with mean that authority figures will think less of me?

It’s a huge part of my life. I sincerely wish it wasn’t – I would love my lack of gender to be a non-issue – but it is. Sometimes it seems like I’m overthinking things – but when I hear about people who are similar to me getting hurt because other people are bigoted shitspits, it doesn’t feel excessive at all. The worst part is, I know that it’s futile. The actions of bigots are not the fault of the oppressed. Privileged, bigoted people are responsible for their acts of bigotry.

We should not have to hide to protect ourselves. Mostly I try not to because mostly I figure that I can deal with the consequences of living openly. That said, I still lie by omission. I still allow authority figures to make incorrect assumptions about me, because I am afraid of their power. I shouldn’t feel that fear. Nobody should be afraid to stand up and say, ‘This is me’ – but the kyriarchy makes so many of us afraid to do so, with extremely good reason. It hides us. We cannot be blamed for refusing to walk into the firing line, but that doesn’t change the fact that there should be no fire. We should not have to second-guess everything to try to keep ourselves safe. Our safety, our rights should be guaranteed by the fact of our existence.

I hate not being able to forget. I hate being reminded that I am different, that I am Other, by the slightest things in society. And I hate that it makes me second-guess myself. Thinking about gender so much makes me wonder all too often whether I am who I think I am. So I look inside – and there’s still no crash-crash-crash there, and it still feels wrong when I try to think of myself with gender. And I think, yeah, I’m right. This is who I am.

Ten minutes later, someone will say ‘Ladies and gentlemen’ or I’ll need the toilet or whatever – and I’ll be back to thinking about it.

Because the reminders are always there. There is no space away from them. There’s no space to just exist, as a person – I have to exist as an armoured fortress to protect that which makes me abnormal.

Has it really been nearly ten days since I posted here? I am so sorry. Just… stress, and a couple of days out of town, and… yeah, I’ve got no excuse really.

Also I have no inspiration. I’ve written barely anything for a week or more. Again, I’m sorry. I promise I will put up a proper post, with substantial content and social commentary, up on Thursday. Hopefully if I say it I’ll do it and hopefully I’ll buckle down to it then because I have a day off.

I hate microaggressions. I really hate them. It seems like absolutely everything in my life is out to get me or other marginalised people. I’ve had dyadist and binarist statements from authority figures, rape jokes from people others have invited into my ‘safe circle’ of people. I’ve sat through sexist lectures about clothing, had to interact with people who’ve been really shitty towards me, listened to ableist remarks go unchallenged, had my non-gender misrepresented persistently.

Doesn’t help that the abnormally hot weather is making my body dissonance ten times worse since the heat means I can’t wear the normal layers to disguise the shape of my body. I dislike heat at the best of times, but with body dissonance around sweaty bits that rub on each other it’s utterly intolerable. And it makes me feel really bad about my anosmia – I literally will never know if I’m stinking the room out. Which means that everything is awkward because I’m always thinking, ‘do I smell, do I smell?’

I don’t really hate being anosmic. I hate that people assume I can smell, and the idea of smell scares me… but I’m generally all right with not being able to. I’m just more all right with it in winter when I know it’s unlikely I’ve been sweating enough to smell. Or at times when I’m not actually going to be around people. The body odour negativity thing, I dislike it, I don’t see why we try to eradicate something that just happens naturally, but I realise that I’m not someone who has to be smelling it.

Trigger warning. Transhatred, misohomy, dyadism, slurs, transmisogyny, discussion of abuse, victim blaming, ableism, biological determinism, ageism, discussion of violence.

In my travels through the Internet, I sometimes find things that are really, really fucking terrible. Such is a file being distributed by reactionary Catholic groups at the UN. I strongly advise nobody to click on the link, although I’ll put it here (http://www.couragerc.net/Transsexual_Issues/Sex_Reassignment.pdf). The trigger warning lists most of what they manage, but I’m pretty sure I’ve missed out some awfulness. Put it this way, they quote and support Janice Raymond… Yeah. This post is mainly referring to binary trans people – I am actually glad to be erased, and that’s something I never thought I’d say. However, I am grouping myself in with the trans label for the purposes of this post, even though I prefer non-cis.

I am not going to let this go past my radar unargued. It is really terrible. Frankly, we could play transhatred bingo with this. Only I think we’d have to have more squares than normal.

They accuse us of living in a fantasy world – and yet, they believe that sex is a binary. Their world is rather more fantasy than ours is – and their fantasy has been supported by blood and by murder, by hatred and by mutilation (such as they condemn). They also believe that the genotype can be told from the phenotype, which is again a fiction, a fiction you’d think they wouldn’t believe since I’m pretty sure you need to have some kind of biology qualification to be a psychiatrist.

They also have no idea of cause and effect, or the mechanisms of oppression. Their privilege is showing, and it is incredibly disgusting. Trans people experience high levels of abuse, bullying etc because of society’s non-acceptance of being trans. Not because experiencing those things makes one trans. Transhatred (and misohomy) is a real problem – and it’s a problem which their arguments have illustrated perfectly.

Besides this, they appear to believe that the so-called ‘trans panic defence,’ the defence often given by partners of trans people who have responded to the fact of their transness with violence, is evidence against our validity rather than evidence for the unacceptable level of transhatred and misohomy on the part of those reacting like that. Transhatred and misohomy that they are helping to support. The real ones supporting others in their fantasies are them; they, who support the oppressive delusions of the bigoted privileged rather than the people who are at risk and vulnerable. The non-acceptance of trans people means nothing about the validity of our gender/s/non-gender/s, but everything about the existence of hatred. Victim blaming is never okay.

As is par for the course for these people, they also believe that they can determine cisness from looks. Thus, they hold trans people up to an impossible standard of performing their gender that many cis people do not reach, and justify that solely on the basis of birth assignation. Everything will be interpreted by them as evidence of the trans person’s assigned gender being their true one, every. little. thing. Everything that cis people are never scrutinised about. Everything. And then they blame us for failing to live up to their unethical level of scrutiny. We are not actors, to be caught out in a mistake. We are people. We cannot fail to be ourselves, even when we are forced to lie by the pressures of a cruel world, of which they are a part. We seek the surgeries we seek – if we seek them – because we know what we need, because we are ourselves, we are more ourselves than our bodies are, and we are hurt by our body’s fundamental wrongness.

We cannot be spoken for by the cis gatekeepers of the medical process. While they continue to make us jump through hoops for the surgeries we need, they can never know our experience. And their voices can never replace ours, especially when they speak to discredit us.

And we are not mentally disordered. We are not unfit to make decisions. We know who we are, and we have made a commitment to telling the truth about that – and can any of those who hate us say the same? No, since they insist on upholding the lie that we are inferior – and supporting the lie that people who do not fit their narrow standard of ability are inferior.

Our youth are not incapable of knowing who we are. I would like to know at what age those who hate us knew that they were cis – and then I would like them to imagine that the world turned against them for it. We are the only people who can know who we are, what we are, and no other person, especially people who have never experienced what we do, can speak for us in that. The only person who knows us well enough to know our gender/s/non-gender/s is ourselves and those we have explicitly told.

Dissonance cannot be trivialised in this way, by calling it an ‘autogynephilic desire’ or the like. This is not a paraphilia. You will never know dissonance until you feel it, and when you feel it you will know why those of us who do seek the surgeries we do. Dissonance is pain. Dissonance is pain, and all society and hateful ‘medicine’ like this can offer is hatred and more pain. We are not making this up.

Neither are we motivated by a desire to deceive. We are motivated by the precise opposite.

We desire to tell the truth.

That’s more than one can say for those who hate us, who spread their lies to discredit us. Who accuse us of victimising ourselves, rather than looking within to see the true source of that which oppresses, hurts and kills us.

Who is causing harm? I think they should remember that ‘first, do no harm’ applies to us as well – and it harms us to hate us and to deny us the accomodations we need. It actively benefits us to align our bodies with our selves. The true breach in ethics lies with those who would knowingly deprive a large group of people medical attention they drastically need on the grounds of irrational hatred. As does the true inappropriacy.

They call our selves disordered. No human being can be ‘disordered’ in this way. Different, yes – needing accomodations that our cissexist, ableist society does not readily provide, yes – but disordered? No.

Our selves are valid, legitimate, good and true. And only we can know them.

I get really angry with hetero/cis/binary/sexual folks complaining about Pride. I’ve never been to one – and will be missing my local one this year because of an out-of-town trip – but that’s besides the point.

A common complaint is that we’re ‘shoving it in their faces’. If I may put it crudely – bullshit. My heart bleeds. Not.

For one, it’s pure hypocrisy.

Apparently they believe that the hetero, cis, binary, sexual norm is not shoved into everyone’s faces daily. I suppose that the fact that every compulsory primary school reading book features only normative characters is just coincidence, is it? What about the abundance of normative PDA? That’s just an exception I suppose. Oh – and the media emphasis on normative relationships? I guess that’s just representation. And surely the stigmatisation of non-normative identities has nothing to do with it? /endsarcasm.

Most of us had normativity shoved down our throats from an early age. We sung songs about normative relationships, watched programes, read books, saw films about normative relationships. We saw only the normative represented positively. Often we never even saw the non-normative at all.

That is having an identity shoved into your face. Not a group of people coming together one day of the year to celebrate who they are and try to cast a bright flare through the dark clouds that hover over their path.

For two, they’re complaining about something that has grown up as a reaction to oppression – oppression perpetuated by them. Really not their business objecting. Objections from within the community are fine, but from without?

Oh hey there kyriarchy, I saw you a mile off.

People within the gender and sexuality norm do not get to interfere. Simple as. How hard can it be? If your privilege has made you think that people being themselves are shoving stuff in your face, you need to examine your privilege rather than their motives. It stinks the whine of the privileged person who just can’t accept that the oppressed people have needs too. We need to be recognised as the equals of anyone else. We need to resist our erasure at the hands of the privileged. And one way we’re doing that is through Pride. Is through throwing up a light to our youth so that they can find themselves. Is through taking the aspects of us that the kyriarchy hates and celebrating them defiantly. Is through sticking a finger up at the dominant norms and saying ‘We exist too!’

So if the privileged people think we’re shoving it in their faces, they need to examine why they think that and why we need to do what we do in the first place.

Something of the same applies for any situation in which the marginalised – on any axis – are accused of shoving their selves into the privileged’s faces. In a lot of those situations, though, there’s the additional point – if the privileged are allowed to do it, the marginalised should be. If you don’t object to hetero-perceived PDA – don’t claim that gay-perceived PDA is bad. Because that’s just perpetuating oppression.

Sex positivity does not mean encouraging people to have sex. It doesn’t mean elevating sex, or putting it on a pedestal.

Sex positivity means removing the cloak of shame. It means teaching and practicing good comprehending, enthusiastic consent. It means letting people make free choices with regards to their sexual activity. It means not shaming people for these choices. It means sex education. It means trying to empower people to be sexual or non-sexual of their own free will, with their own choices and with consent.

Catch that bit? Sexual or non-sexual. Because yeah, there’s a lot of people who aren’t really bothered. Or who are repulsed. Or who are only bothered when it comes to people they know and like. Or who kinda like it but don’t think it’s very important to them. Or or or.

Shaming people for their lack of desire is not sex positivity. It’s not progressive. It’s not helping remove the cloak of shame around sexuality. It’s just encouraging more people not to open up about the subject, thus reinforcing the shame. Oppressing people about their sexual choices is not on, and it’s no good if the people meant to be fighting that shaming perpetrate it upon different groups. Face it, while there’s a lot of sex-negativity at large in our culture, there’s also a hell of a lot of no-sex negativity.

Sex is everywhere in this Western culture. It’s portrayed in negative ways, definitely – objectification, bad consent, slut-shaming, heteronormativity, exploitation, rape culture, I think I could go on with these problems for hours… but it’s there. What we have is not a sex-negative culture. It’s a culture suffused in negative sexuality, sexuality that is not good, not healthy, for anyone concerned – but it’s not sex-negative. Not sex positive either, because the sex portrayed is not positive, is often not portrayed in a positive light… but it’s pervasively portrayed.

It’s a strange relationship that we have with sex. It’s about contradictions, about dichotomies, about guilt and sin and fear and lust and repression of the true desires for the false. Sex lurks in the background of this culture. We tell ourselves we have ‘dirty minds’ when we think of it. We say that it’s icky. We resort to euphemisms, body language, dancing around the issue when we wish to talk about it. But we still want it. We still think it’s part of a normal lifespan. We still think the lack of desire is abnormal – so abnormal we diagnose it as an illness!

So no, sex positivity is going nowhere if it cannot accept that some people aren’t bothered. If it can accept all other sexual feelings and desires, it can accept the desire to not have sex. I am coming at this from both ends – from the end of wanting to destigmatise sexual desires that are not considered ‘normal’ (eg, in my case, polyamory) and from the end of wanting to destigmatise not having sex (I’m demisexual, which is on the asexual spectrum). Both things are necessary, both things are good. Both things are infinitely compatible.

Fire cannot fight fire, and shame cannot fight shame. I’ve seen these problems in some sex positivity, although I’m only just getting round to writing it down. If you promote sex as a universal desire, your movement is exclusionary. Full stop. If, however, you promote a lack of shame around the subject so that people feel able to express desire or the lack of it without fear, in a healthy way – that’s sex positive. It’s about destigmatisation. It’s about ending the contradictions deeply ingrained in our psyches. It’s about getting rid of the demonisation of certain desires. It’s about making sure that people are safe, empowered, and free to make choices. It’s about ending the shame, the fear and the guilt, and allowing the free, healthy expression of wants and needs. Or the lack of them.

If a person is polyamorous/married to someone of the same legal sex, records it on the census and the ONS ‘corrects’ it, are the ONS’ results accurate?

NO.

The ONS’ results are blatantly inaccurate and the ONS is guilty of researcher bias. Yes, bias. Erasing the entirety of who people are is bias. I have also found that non-binary people’s responses will be ‘corrected’ too. Bias. Bias and the most obvious sort of erasure.

Do I have to tell statisticians, I, who did a half-arsed GCSE in statistics and gained only a B, do I have to tell statisticians why bias and adjusting results is wrong? Do I really? It appears I do.

So here’s the lowdown. Investigator bias is a real problem because it means that an inaccurate picture emerges. If the research is important and likely to be used for important purposes – which this is – this produces huge problems. Research that builds upon it is wrong. Conclusions drawn from it are wrong. Policies based on it are wrong. Trends identified by it are wrong. EVERYTHING ABOUT IT IS WRONG. You may think that people in these situations are such a minority that it doesn’t matter, but really and truly EVERY INACCURACY MATTERS.

In this case, it matters to people’s LIVES. We are who we are, and we are human, we are here, we matter. Taking a rubber to the records when you present them to the world denies us our existence. Your altered data will mean that the world will continue to revolve in a way that excludes us, and since officially we don’t exist we are virtually prevented from seeking redress with any kind of official backing about our existence. Your altered data will give people the backing they wanted to continue to try to push us out of the existence that is our birthright as humans.

We have been written out of the past, and we are being written out of the present. Our youth are dying, hurting, despairing because they are cut off from any acknowledgement of their existence. We are constantly hit with censure, with official backing, for trying to exist as our selves. We are erased every time we open our eyes by every second that ticks through the clock.

We exist.