Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Two things on my mind. Real quick.

Quickly as I can, anyways.

The Princess Boy

I am only addressing this so certain  people offline will finally stop asking me to comment on this.  I have no comment on The Princess Boy.  That is, none on the child zirself, mind you.  I refuse. I have in fact gone out of my way not to read up on the media phenomenon because something about it all makes me VERY uncomfortable.

No, I don't object to children's gender expressions being supported and celebrated.  What I will comment on is the "media" aspect of the story.  I think it's heinous that a child ANY child, is ever made into a media figure.  Fame is a destructive thing, as we see time and time again in our fame obsessed culture.  But fame without the support network of any one specific industry to mitigate one's fame to begin with, particularly a child's fame, is a recipe for crash and burn and never ever ever being able to live it down that once long ago you were that famous person who was or did or said XYZ and whatever happened to you.. etc. 

Another reason for my discomfort  comes from a completely personal space.  Again I've gone out of my way NOT to educate myself on the particulars of this child so I don't know how zie identifies zirself to others.  but I do know that I would have been mortified to be known the world over as a Boy anything, even a Princess Boy.   If this child is ultimately trans and identifies as a girl, calling zir "Boy" is just a slap in the face.  And  YES take it from me you can be 4 years old and know what it means to be called a boy and how crushingly humiliated and powerless that makes you feel when you already know you are a girl.

The parents?:  Sure you don't mind if your "Boy" lives as a girl or at least girlishly, as long as HE remembers HE'S a BOY and you'll make damn sure the entire WORLD knows that you have a SON who may be different but he's your BOY and you accept HIM.... 

Yeah... that's why I can't bring myself to read up on him actually.  Too close to home.  My parents were never terribly concerned with my femininity... I was spared much of the mandatory "toughening up" that most gender nonconforming male-assigned children face in this society (tho by no means did I escape all forms of this particular type of hazing...).  But they were always very sure to emphasize I was their SON.... that I was a Junior to my father's Senior, that I would grow up to be a Man, even if that meant being a "different" kind of man one day, a MAN i would still be....  all of this was explained to me painstakingly, no matter how much I protested this notion, how much I complained and explained until I just finally gave up and completely shut down.

And while not forcing me to feel particularly ashamed of  being feminine definitely helped me cope in the long run... my family's insistence that I be recognized as male to any and everyone who asked and who didn't ask, to people who might one day ask.. well that definitely hurt in the long run...   baggage I still struggle with to this day.

Cis vs Non-Trans

I have been noticing that alot of people in the transosphere (gawd how i HATE these made up words that end in "--osphere"... UGH UGH UGH.. but for lack of a better phrase...)   have stuck with using Non-Trans even tho they are well aware of the term Cis.  

At first I thought it was just fuddy duddy on their part, not wanting to use the new weird sounding jargon, no matter how useful it is  But the more I think it over the more I start to see "non-trans" as the more inclusive descriptor in some instances.

This revelation came at the same time I realized that so much of my own writing about these issues actually erases the existence and  experiences of Intersex people.   Intersex experiences frequently do not  fall under the label of Cis or Trans as I talk about them, at least not neatly.  There are plenty of intersex people who were assigned a birth sex they do NOT disagree with that and yet they were still made to endure the indignities of being shoehorned medically, surgically, and socially into society's binary ideas about what gendered bodies should look like... in fact they endure a very unique style of coercion and punishment based on their bodies that people who aren't intersex simply don't experience.  

It hardly seems accurate to describe someone intersex as "technically cis" just for not disagreeing with the assignment they were born with.  And for intersex persons who do come to object to their birth assignment and take steps to correct that, they may easily identify as trans or may not identify as trans at all and it is NOT for me to say.

Anyway, I say all that just to say that from now on whenever I say or write Non-Trans, and whenever I read it on other blogs, I will take it to mean exactly that.  NON-TRANS... as in NOT TRANS.  as in  Something Other Than Trans.  Including not just Cis people as a group, but also Intersex persons and anyone else I may have missed who is definitely NOT Trans.

Not that I will stop using Cis any time soon.  We simply can't unpack Cissexism without it!

Did any of this make any sense?  I will have to come back later and check.  I would like to finish sleeping for the night!!

1 comment:

  1. My aunt always argues that capitalizing the pain of others is never a good thing.