I want to revisit my last post.
I stand by what I said. There’s plenty of evidence that gender is WAY more complex than tab A or slot B. And I sincerely believe it’s better to learn a bit about complicated topics before forming or voicing opinions on them. (AKA, know yo shit.)
That said, I want to say something in sincere defense of my friend.
Well, maybe not “defense,” exactly. There’s so much good information freely available, what with the interwebs and all. Maybe it’s better to say I just want to pause for a moment to consider the alternate point of view.
A lot of people freak the fuck out about gender stuff. And sexual stuff. And really anything that falls outside their comfort zone or areas of previous experience.
That’s a human trait. We all do it, at least sometimes. And with gender, I kinda get it.
For the unfamiliar, trying to understand a non-binary concept of gender is like trying to imagine a game of checkers that includes pieces from every other board game you’ve ever played. That little metal car from Monopoly. Those multi-colored party hat style pieces from Sorry. Full chess sets. Even some marbles from Hungry Hungry Hippos.
If a marble rolls to the opposite end of the board, do you king it? If so, how? It’s a fucking marble. You can’t stack them. How do dice come into play? And what if you draw the beauty contest card from Life?
Rules, labels and categories help us make sense of the world. If we start throwing them out, everything starts to feel meaningless and confusing. Non-binary noobs go cross-eyed just trying to think about it.
That doesn’t make it okay to be tactless or mean. That doesn’t even make it okay to refuse considering a new point of view. But it does explain why people get so fussy so fast.
When we ask someone to ditch their preconceived notions of gender, we’re fucking with their whole world view. It’s like suggesting gravity isn’t real or the sky is actually burnt sienna. They look at us like we’re crazy because, to them, we sound crazy.
I’m not saying to let people off the hook. But I am saying it’s good to recognize these are big, hairy, difficult new ideas. No one just goes, “Okay,” and moves on. Even trans people often spend time struggling with their own nature, and we’re the ones living it.
When you try to tell someone about who you really are or when you run into someone who says they think it’s all a bunch of made-up bullshit, stand your ground. Be yourself. Never, ever be ashamed or embarrassed just because they don’t get it.
But also try to remember you’re flipping the switch on their gravity. You’re tossing gummy bears and silly putty onto their checkers board and telling them to king (or queen) you.
It’s legitimately confusing shit.
Maybe if we can be sensitive to their adjustment, they’ll be more inclined to be sensitive to us.