Stop Playing Dress-Up With My Oppression

Uncategorized

CONTENT NOTE: fabulousphobia, non-binary erasure, femmephobia, transphobia, appropriation, assault, suicide, unemployment

Source: http://www.cityonahillpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/QFS3.jpg?w=582

[Image description: A stage covered in glittery confetti (which is also falling through the air) has humans dressed in colorful clothes and balloons behind the confetti in the foreground.]

Well, now I understand why people talk about drag shows as violent.

I am not a costume.

I am not your exotic fabulosity.

I am not a joke.

My gender isn’t something to be played with by people who have better genders to put on when the sun rises. My life is not your dress-up.

But my oppression has become a mannequin for your fashion show.

You might get high off the crowd’s love, but no one cheers me on when I show up at the office in an orange trenchcoat.

When I get dressed, it’s not a moment to broaden my horizons.

No, when I get dressed, it’s a fucking panic attack.

My clothes are not a performance. My gender is not a farce. This isn’t a show that will be over at the end of the night.

This is me.

I am real.

This is not cis voyeurism into trans experience. This is my daily life.

My outfits are not fabulous for your commodification or appropriation. Fabulous has become so over- and wrongly- used (do you say I am fabulous when I show up in court as myself?) that I say it isn’t my word at all. It’s yours.

I am rad, but because I am me. For me, my outfits are quotidian, and every one I wear, whether it’s Carhartts and plaid or feather boas and striped socks, is me. All of them are fabulous.

I am not only fabulous sometimes. There is no “fabulous” uniform. I am not fabulous today and drab tomorrow. I am both fabulous and boring every day.

I may panic more when getting dressed, but I don’t need your objectification of my gender expression making that harder.

It is me,

it is mine,

I am whole.

Don’t make that struggle yours by wearing my clothes as a costume and laughing at how open-minded you are. Laughing at how silly you look in all

that

glitter,

all those bright colors.

Why is it that you get more support for looking like me for one night than I do in my entire lifetime?

If you really want to take up the mantle with us, try working to end our suicide or unemployment or assault rates.

Not wearing our clothes.

If you cared about that half as much as you did about us looking fabulous, we’d be in a fucking different place by now.

Think about that before your next drag show, your next fashion show, your next roundup of performed gender.

Who is this for?

Why are you doing this?

What reasons are helpful?

Which ones hurt?

And let me just be. I shouldn’t have to see myself paraded every which way, every sashay, myself snatched in every laugh and cheer.

This is for you.

You do this for fun. To joke at ridiculous and strangeness, what you see as an exaggeration.

I do this to live.

Lovely/Very Inspiring Blog Award

Uncategorized

Wow, I am so flattered and fluttery! Last week, two of my favorite blogs, janitorqueer and Valprehension, included me in a chain-style blogging award under the descriptor “Lovely/Inspiring.” I feel so cool! *puts on orange sunglasses with black stars on them*

I’ve been waiting on this post because there are so many excellent blogs to recommend to you all and give an award like this, and I needed to participate in the agonizing task of choosing. In no particular order, here are the blogs I would like to include for this Lovely/Very Inspiring Blog Award:

Jensgender

Dances with Fat

Because I’m Fabulous

Create Parity

Feminist Teacher

Something Queer to Read

Queering Healthcare

Leaving Evidence

Shakesville

Brownstargirl.org

Some of these are blogs you may be familiar with, some not–I tried to include a good mix of new and long-standing, and of a variety of topics that I write about here on my blog. Also, there is a blog that seems to be defunct since last year, but which is a lovely read about non-binary things: http://rainbowgenderpunk.wordpress.com/.

And now for a few facts about me…

  • I have a pair of gold Keds-style shoes, about which a student has actually written a haiku.
  • I spent a good portion of my teenage years and early twenties farming, but I have recently discovered that I am allergic to grass (whyyy so many allergies?), so that’s out for me, unless, I suppose, I wear some kind of environmentally impermeable suit. Despite this and the fact that I am a FAAB queer person, I am not, contrary to popular assumption, a vegetarian. I just like vegetables a lot.
  • I love to sing! I sing for myself and my friends all the time. In this vein, I have a past of participating in over 40 productions, mostly musicals, from the ages of 8-16.

My Brain is Broken

ableism, accessibility, disability, privilege, Uncategorized

TRIGGER WARNING: discussion of people being tools about access needs

 

Or rather, it’s doing a lot of hard work right now to heal. And that’s pretty amazing, but it means a lot of sleeping and not a lot of time for thinking.

My concussion has me beat. I want to post more. I’ve had a lot of thoughts come through my brain, when it can think. But it’s not going to happen at the moment… my energy is focused on coming out to my immediate and extended family and my job, and just getting life done at the moment.

My PSA for the day, though, is about accessibility and access intimacy.

  • Lights and noise are hard for me. They give me headaches. I sometimes have to leave the room. If you know this, TURN OFF THE LIGHTS. Thank you. And don’t stare or laugh about my sunglasses. Seriously.
  • Also, for those of us with PTSD, some things are triggering. I know that for me and many (but not all, for sure) others with a trauma history, movie/media choices can be really hard. Your fun and silly action movie will give me nightmares. Your creepy TV show will make me shrink inside of myself. Be open about what content is in these things. Don’t assume I’m a bore or a drag because G rated movies are sometimes the safest bet… and even then not so much. (Not to mention that media representation/lack of representation can itself be super unenjoyable. But that’s, often, another topic.)
  • In general, if you know that somebody has any condition that could make an environment that’s designed for able-bodied and sane people difficult to navigate, leave space for their needs. Ask for what accommodations they might need. Be clear that it’s totally OK. Make it safe for them to need those things. Don’t roll your eyes, sigh, or imply that you or others are doing them a favor.

Accessibility is not a majority vote. Some access needs conflict, but thinking about these things and creating space to hold and voice them IS caring for our community. It’s also basic politeness and respect. OK. Over and out. I’m gonna go lie down for some more hours.

The problem with “spectrum…”

cissexism, dysphoria, misgendering, transgender, Uncategorized

…is that it’s pretty much a straight line. It’s an inadequate term for non-binary people. It’s not only that we fall BETWEEN male/female and masculine/feminine–as some of us do. It’s also that some of us fall completely outside of these categories, or find them nonsensical constructs when discussing our own genders. This, of course, doesn’t mean that they’re nonsensical for everyone. (Binary people need to stop getting the heebie-jeebies about that one.) But they can be nonsensical for us. What happens when you are given a line upon which to mark your gender… and you end up marking an “x” somewhere off in space? Or your gender is fluid, and marking one single spot doesn’t make any sense? Or you simply have no gender at all, and this entire conversation is completely inaccessible for you to be able to describe yourself?

Yes, gender is a spectrum. But it’s also so much more than that. Let’s make room, and make gender a 4-dimensional chart! Oh, wait, even better–let’s stop trying to chart or label gender at all, at least not for everyone. There are so many wonderful ways to describe gender, and, for many of us, those words don’t even begin to work for us. Let’s set about making a new, rich, textured language, where gender can be shades of color and amounts of glitter, sure, and also other abstractions or metaphors: houseplants, mythical creatures, styles of art, you name it, it could be a part of your gender!

Because I’m finding it hard to breathe between those four words: female/male, feminine/masculine. Those four words don’t work for me. It makes me squirm to try to put myself in them. I’m not gonna do it! This is why I am, first and foremost, orange with sparkles.