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!