Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Queering Gender, a little more than Gender Trouble

Gender emerges out of the colonial regime of white patriarchal supremacy as the critical ground of inter-sectional discourse. It necessarily becomes a bulwark of capitalism and the political framework.  It empowers the rhetoric, the dialog and the relationship between the human and systems. Out of this predicament come definitions and images of a people who move not in their own agency or authenticity but in that which has been bestowed upon them by the colonial complex and its interlocking oppressions.
                                                                                                              Monica Joy Cross

The above statement emerges as a response to reading Judith Butler's thoughtful book,  Gender Trouble.  Butler's intelligent and insightful engagement of gender has made me ever more cognizant of gender, at least in the U.S. context as a means of production and a facilitator of oppression on behalf of church, state and various elements of the American plutocracy.  Butler writes, "Although the unproblematic unity of "women" is often invoked to construct a solidarity of identity, a split is introduced in the feminist subject by the distinction between sex and gender.  Originally intended to dispute the biology is destiny formulation, the distinction between sex and gender serves the argument that whatever biological intractability sex appears to have, gender is culturally constructed: hence, gender is neither the causal result of sex nor as seemingly fixed as sex.  The unity of the subject is thus already potentially contested by the distinction that permits of gender as a multiple interpretation of sex." (Gender Trouble, pg 8) Based on Butler's writings I find that that the construct of gender as an intersectional identifier, meaning that it is where the constructs of race, economics, religion, politics, and education are grounded and intersect, is a radical, even, violent intervention upon human states of being.  This is important because in the U.S. context gender is a root cause of systemic oppression in the social and cultural life of the citizen.  Why do I make this statement?  Considering that the U.S. was founded as an exclusive means of patriarchal economic domination with race as a structure to apprehend that domination it stands to reason that gender is at the very core of this project of systemic oppression fueled as a pseudo-sacred mission of "divine" import.  From this perspective all other discourses emerge.  That said the construct of gender and its associated discourses must be transformed and/or liberated as a matter of human freedom.  I argue here for a different imagination of relationship with human states of being.  According to Webster's gender is defined as a subclass within a grammatical class (as noun, pronoun, adjective, or verb) of a language that is partly arbitrary but also partly based on distinguishable characteristics (as shape, social rank, manner of existence, or sex) and that determines agreement with and selection of other words or grammatical forms. 
         Now I, for one, long for a different linguistic narrative.  I believe that language is a critical tool towards transforming states of consciousness.  If, say, the word gender would be evacuated from the common vernacular in favor of "a state of being" or some other words that liberate the human condition from modes of production it would contribute immensely to the extinction of certain oppressions.  With this post I am seeking a restructuring of religious, sociocultural, even scientific believes and systems.   Recently I attended a conference at UC Berkeley on Cancer knowledge and trans/social medial and the communicability of presence.  One of the topics discussed was modes of self care and the absence of LGBTQ curriculum in medical schools and how to network in the midst of this lack.  Based on these discussions I must say that shifting the linguistics to a more humane orientation contributes to the health and well being of the LGBTQ and S communities.  It is a beginning! 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

About Respecting Ignorance. . . .

Now I write this post out of my own experience as a transgendered person who  lives in the "in between" that is between both genders; female or male, in the U.S. context.  More so I consider myself to be both the feminine and masculine, choosing to present signifiers as needed.  Living this way has not been the easiest, it is  just plain tiring, but not based on my presentation but on the fact of living in relationship(s) and communities that are not friendly to the transgendered person, and this not even toward the "in between".  And since I am an African American and Black I deal with certain conservative leanings of some of my Black people who either don't like me as a transgender person, only liking the masculine presence, using their understanding of the bible to witness to me or to somehow show how wrong I am out of Paul's commentary on Rome of all things, even out of their own limitations or certain Black women (not all) who are seemingly fearful that I, parading as a Transgender women of African descent, would somehow seek to usurp their positions as Black women, using my male privilege, that somehow because their oppression is so great, that I would somehow want to "take off my dress" and take their place in the unemployment line.  I consider both positions fear based and ludicrous.  Yet in this circumstance these two positions scream for respect.  Yes respect.  That I must respect these two positions as societal and intimate sensibilities.  So I ask does anyone who embraces these positions respect me and my sensibilities?  Yea, what about me?  I long for the day when who I am and who I identify as would be respected as my reality and not disrespected as not being a space of critical importance.  The same respect I give to you and your sensibilities should be returned.  If you can't do this then we don't need to talk.  So respect goes both ways.  But as I look and listen to the media I am clear that respect only goes the way of ignorance.  The statement "meet them where they are" sounds good but I consider it a linguistic signifier to respect ignorance.  Ignorance demands to be respected.  Ignorance must be allowed to exist in and of its self because somehow ignorance is that pseudo-sacred space of comfort for those who like their little world and their little god.  In the face of transformation then ignorance screams loud, articulating its displeasure or distaste through rhetorical and/or physical violence.  Ignorance demands its way.  That God's grace is imbedded in transformation calls for ignorance to change yet the evil embodied in ignorance denies a vision beyond ignorance and its comfort.

Much work to do!!

Beginnings and thoughts of a Transgender Manifesto of Liberation

The work towards the liberation of gender has many different facets that require the committed soul to engage as a matter of justice. I think that to the extent possible as I experience my own liberation moving gender to a different space of discourse can be disconcerting yet rarely is liberation not disconcerting. My thoughts here go beyond notions that merely cause gender trouble to use Judith Butler's term. I am calling for the liberation of gender from the binary construction that it has been historically grounded in. I am calling for a radical movement towards a different imagination of human existence and interaction of the body, mind and soul.

The Liberation of Gender a Call for a new discourse

This blog is another means by which to express thoughts and reflections on my life as a person who is an African American Transgendered woman arguing for, even struggling for a voice which advocates the transgender person and as such the liberation of gender from the oppressive construct of the binary.  This becomes a signifiant goal of this blog.  As such careful thought must be given to this endeavor as the mountain is tall but the spirit and intent this mountain shall fall.  After time spent living "in between" I am cognizant that gender and its associated constructs of race and economics require that the scholar move in the intersectional realities of the interlocking oppressions of the American social contract.  To examine, critique and to bring forward a new and different discourse on the human evolutionary project.