Hello, dear reader,
Long time no blog! I’ve been kicking around these ideas for a while and not blogging about them because there’s absolutely no way I’d do them justice. Suffice to say that I will try.
It’s Transgender Awareness Week, which feels especially important considering both the strides trans and non-binary rights have come and the current threats to them. I was going to make a list of the Trump administration’s individual offenses, but the way I can most accurately put it is that they are attempting to erase about 1.4 million people in the US.
These people, however, are, and have been, standing up for themselves. There is greater trans and non-binary visibility now, and a greater public understanding of what it means to be trans or non-binary. It’s not perfect, and there’s a long way to go, but I do believe we are moving in the right direction.
So what do trans and non-binary rights have to do with me, a ciswoman? Quite a lot. I have personally felt the benefits of trans and non-binary (T&N) people chipping away at the gender binary. Granted, what I feel as merely pervasive discomfort is life-threatening to T&N folk. But I know I’m not alone.
I remember talking with some ciswomen about passing lessons some transwomen would take. A complicated issue considering what it takes to pass and what that means if a transwoman is butch, lesbian, and/or decides not to do hormone replacement therapy. The lessons in passing made us think of how passing would not be a given for us except for being cis: how to speak “like a woman,” how to dress “like a woman,” how to move, how eat, how to groom, and on and on and on.
For years we’d been given the benefit of the doubt that we were women, but that didn’t make us good enough, not real women, not in a way that society cared about: too dark, too fat, too disabled, too old, too loud, etc. Femininity was supposedly our birthright, and it simply didn’t fit very well, like putting on shoes a size too small. Technically, we do fit society’s idea of what women are because we won’t be murdered for being trans, and yet we don’t fit society’s idea of what women are because there’s money to be made and subservience to be had for chasing a feminine ideal in a patriarchal, capitalist society.
Now, T&N folk are just trying to survive and ideally flourish; there’s not a lot of room in that self-advocacy to worry about privileged folk who don’t have laws being made about what bathrooms they can use. But I’ve benefitted from their self-advocacy anyway because the gender binary fucking sucks. It’s awful. And telling the society that polices your self-representation to go kick rocks, and that femininity happens on your terms is amazing. The sense of restriction lifting is similar to taking your bra off after work but a million times better.
The thing about fitting the mold is that while it is safe, sometimes pieces of yourself are removed to do it, even it should supposedly be no problem because you’re cis, straight, able bodied, etc. People being able to be completely themselves is important for a healthy, happy, functioning society, and enabling more people to be completely themselves and keeping them safe is a benefit to us all.
But enough of my word-flapping, go check out these awesome trans and non-binary peeps:
(Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons)