mandag den 7. december 2015

A more specific gender

I'm getting tired of describing my gender as just "neither male nor female, but a third thing" when people ask me. I've been doing it like that up until now because it's really the simplest way of slicing a very complicated knot. Most people I meet have no prior knowledge of nonbinary genders, and I don't pretend to know exactly what gender is myself, so a clear cut "introductory" explanation like that one has been what has served me best so far. Trying to go into more detail usually caused more confusion. But "nonbinary" is, when it comes down to it, way too vague a term, and I think I'm at a point in the discourse I have with people where it's worth trying to elaborate more. I don't want all nonbinary people - everyone who is not exclusively female or exclusively male - thrown into one category. So I'll try and define what I, at least, am in a bit more detail.

So. My gender is:

  • Neither male nor female, but a third gender entirely separate from the two. It is as different from male as it is from female, and as male and female are from each other.
  • Gendered - it's not absent, I'm not agender (da: intetkøn). Though how strongly I feel gendered depends on the context, as I think it does for everyone. I don't feel my gender when I'm writing an essay on grammar, cooking lunch, or playing a board game with friends. But I do feel it when I'm discussing gender in general with people, or (often) when I'm buying clothes, I think it's an expression of how gender is created by and exists in interactions between people.
  • Orange. I'm not sure how to elaborate on this. But it's orange.
  • I don't connect it to my hobbies, my interests, my personality, and it's only partly connected to my appearance and how I dress. As said, it exists mainly if not solely in social interaction.
  • I'm not sure how connected it is to my sexual and romantic orientations. I think I'd be asexual regardless of my gender. Relationships in general I'm less sure of; I know that in my first relationship I'd occassionally feel "more masculine" around my girlfriend, but that was less present the second time we dated. I'll return to that when I have some more experience in that field (:V)
  • Trans. It's different from my assigned-by-society gender, so I define myself as transgender.
The above list is a work in progress. I might add to it later.

søndag den 22. november 2015

I feel too closely connected to these animals

Isn't it said that people and their pets end up looking alike? There are definitely parallels between my family and our two cats ...

Some time after my brother's diagnosis, we became convinced that our oldest (now passed) cat was autistic.
The last few years, one of the age-related oddities our youngest has acquired is weirdly disordered eating - her behavior seems closer to bulimia than my anorexia, but still ...
I could also probably relate both of their clingyness to how both my brother and I have needed longer time than most to become comfortable being away from our parents, but on second thought, cats being clingy is pretty standard, isn't it ...

Either way. Maybe the medical professionals in my life don't need to bother with journals and can just look at my cats.

søndag den 15. november 2015

Hindsight

I just reread this entry and felt the need to tell you this: yesterday was horrible and I spent most of the time from 4 pm to 9 pm crying (not weeping silently, howling). Then around 7:45 until 8:40 I sat down and wrote on a short story, and I got down more words in one go than I have in ages. And I quite like what I wrote, too. The language feels alive in a way I've been having trouble capturing for a long while.

I don't think it was because I was miserable, really. I've been reading good books with beautiful language lately, and that tends to give my own writing a boost. But I still feel it's remarkable that I could produce something while being so exhausted. My head was an utter mess, everything crashing and too much and there was no room for anything. Except my story, apparently.

I've been rethinking what I wrote then about not channeling my pain and feelings into my writing. I read some stories I wrote aloud for my therapy group recently, and I'm discovering that my fiction, too, has more of me in them than I thought. Apparently I do use them to process what I'm feeling; I just don't realize until later.

I'm in much better touch with my emotions now than I was at the time I wrote that entry (though I still have a long way to go); I'm hoping to make the gap between writing the stories and understanding what they deal with smaller. Maybe not close it entirely - it's nice to have something to discover. I've been sick for a while and felt like I've lost an important connection I had to my art before. I think I'm slowly regaining it, and on top of that, I'm starting to feel connected to it in a whole new way, too. Mental illness is horrible, but there's something to be gained from hardship. That would be wonderful.

fredag den 6. november 2015



OEHL #2

Et nyt indlæg har jeg ikke lige endnu (ikke et færdigt et i hvert fald), men til gengæld kan jeg med glæde meddele at har et bidrag i antologien OEHL #2, der udkommer på forlaget Ekbátana til november. Der er desuden releaseparty i København d. 27. november, hvis man er interesseret (jeg har ladet mig fortælle at der er både bobler, snacks og oplæsninger).

Mere info findes her: http://www.ekbatana.dk/release-for-oehl-2-i-dome-of-visions-d-27-11/

mandag den 17. august 2015

"Transgendered" as a legitimate term

Communities often have very strict rules for which words to use and how to use them, especially words surrounding identity. In the circles I frequent, the proper term for a person whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth is ‘a transgender person’, with ‘transgender’ being an adjective. Most of us have probably seen the word ‘transgendered’ (a deverbal adjective) being used both by cis people out of ignorance, but also by trans people in other communities who identify with that term. I’ve seen many good arguments for why ‘transgendered’ is a “bad” word to use (try googling “why is transgendered a bad term” if you’re unsure) - with all these in mind and accepting the premise that ‘transgender’ is the proper term, I do however have an idea/suggestion for another, legitimate usage of the word ‘transgendered’.
‘Transgendered’, having a -ed verbal suffix, suggests that the person it describes is the object of some sort of process or action. The person “has been transgendered” by something. This is also a key argument for why the word is a bad term to use about transgender people - it takes away their agency and implies that their being trans is something that has happened to them, rather than just something they are.
But in a sense, being transgender IS something that has happened to us. Here I am making an important distinction between gender identity and the state of being transgender. I have a gender identity: Specifically I am nonbinary/third gender. This identity is my own, I consider it an integrated core part of who I am, I feel that it’s something internal in me rather than external (forgive the somewhat abstract and vague description - gender is weird and I don’t think any of us are quite sure what it is exactly. I’m not going to go into that here.). It did not “happen to me”, it was there all along. 
My gender identity does not match the gender I was assigned by doctors, the government, and society when I was born and growing up. This latter fact - the fact that I have a specific assigned gender and that it was assigned to me by someone else - is external. My assigned gender very much did “happen to me”. Someone else put that onto me.
If I didn’t have an assigned gender, it wouldn’t make sense to say that my gender identity and assigned gender didn’t match - and it wouldn’t make sense to say I’m transgender. Really, I am only transgender because society look/looked at me and saw one gender when in reality I am another. In this way it society that is the cause of my being transgender - so in a sense I have been transgendered by society.
So why not just use ‘transgendered’ and forget about ‘transgender’? I think the two words emphasize different things. Like I’ve outlined above, ‘transgendered’ implies that something has happened to us - which may be true, but it’s not all being trans is, and it in turn can imply that being trans is bad. Which it is not. The fact that we need a word for it is bad - it’s bad that society forcibly assigns genders to newborn children when we have no idea how it will match their identity as they grow up. But the person themself is not doing something wrong or “being wrong” by having a different gender identity than their assigned gender. Using the word ‘transgender’ instead is more neutral and better allows for a discourse that emphasizes the positive aspects of gender diversity.
To sum up:
I am a transgender person - this means I have a different gender identity than the gender I was assigned at birth. This is not a problem I need fixed, it is simply a fact about me as a person, just like the fact that I have brownish-blonde hair and that I’m 174.5 cm tall.
I have been transgendered by society - this means that the label of my assigned gender has been forced onto me despite the fact that it’s not an accurate description of who I am. This IS a problem, and I would like to change society so future generations do not need to go through the same.

mandag den 20. juli 2015

An alliance between d/Deaf and autistic people?

There are amazing parallels to be drawn between the autistic community and the d/Deaf community:
  • Both groups have been pathologicalized and are viewed by mainstream society to have a negative/debilitating medical condition that should at least be compensated for somehow or even “cured”
  • Many members of both group disagree with the above view and rather consider themselves as just having a different experience of the world/functioning in a different way (i.e. respectively visual rather than aural, and processing information differently) which can in many ways be a positive thing - leading to the terms ‘Deaf Gain’ and ‘Neurodiversity’ arising
  • Both groups have been and are being systematically oppressed in an attempt to “normalize” their members, such as through oralism (forcing deaf people to communicate in speech and prohibiting sign language, can be implemented by making deaf children communicate while holding their hands behind their backs) and ABA training (which involves “training”/”conditioning” autistic children to not stim - see “quiet hands” for instance) - this “normalization” has been argued to be in the subjects own best interest.
  • Mainstream society have huge misconceptions about both groups. Yes, d/Deaf people can drive cars. Yes, autistic people can experience empathy just as well as neurotypicals. No, “Sign Language” isn’t one, universal language, and they are as varied and as natural as oral languages. No, autistic people aren’t all mathematical geniuses.
  • Both groups are frankly in danger of being victims of genocide as technological advances in prenatal screening will potentially make it possible to predict whether a child will be born d/Deaf/autistic, and seeing how doctors are already pressuring pregnant people whose fetuses might be born with Down syndrome into getting abortions ........
Both groups have a lot of fighting to do to gain recognition and equality, and they could probably learn a lot from each other. I don’t know much about d/Deaf culture beyond taking a course in Deaf Studies last week, and I’m not as involved in the autistic community as I could/want to be, but I want to learn more. If anyone reading this have thoughts, let me know?

mandag den 25. maj 2015

En gammel ting

Jeg fandt netop denne tekst jeg skrev under en årsprøve eller eksamen i 3.g. Den sætter tanker i gang, nu hvor jeg to år senere har et lidt andet perspektiv. Måske skriver jeg de tanker ned senere - indtil videre er teksten her.

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Jeg stirrer på det beskrevne ark papir og føler mig ubehageligt ambivalent. På den ene side er det det mest latterligt elendige bras jeg har skrevet. Tror jeg. Jeg stoler ikke rigtig på min egen evne til at bedømme det mere. Men det føles værre end normalt; jeg er i hvert fald ikke stolt af de her fire sider med meningsløs tekst.
Men på den anden side, hvad betyder det overhovedet? Måske får jeg syv, og så tæller det formentlig ned i min karakter. Måske ikke så meget, men selv hvis det er, who cares. Jeg ved at jeg bliver vred og ulykkelig hvis jeg ikke får 12 i årskarakter, men efter vreden og gråden har lagt sig, hvad så? I tingenes større sammenhæng tæller det ikke. Det meste af hvad jeg gør tæller ikke i tingenes større sammenhæng. Intet, faktisk, alt efter hvor bredt man definerer den sammenhæng. Gad vide hvilken effekt, hvis nogen, det ville have hvis jeg rejste mig op og gik og aldrig kom i skole igen. Eller rejste mig op og sprang ud af vinduet. Hoppede i havnen. Fandt en voldsmand og slog ham i ansigtet. Døde, kort sagt. Døde. Hvis jeg døde.
”Døde” er et underligt ord, i kraft af hvor normalt det er. Det er lidt uvant kigge på, grundet hyppigheden med hvilken jeg skriver det (den er lav), men ellers er det et ret intetsigende ord. Det ligner alle de andre. Fire bogstaver er en ret normal længde for et ord, om end lidt i den korte ende. Men det står ikke ud i teksten, det påkalder sig ikke min opmærksomhed mere end alle de andre, og alligevel burde det føles så anderledes. Døden skulle efter sigende være det mest skræmmende i verden. Jeg ved ikke. På det seneste er jeg begyndt at frygte døden mere end før, tror jeg. Mest fordi det er gået op for mig hvor lidt jeg har udrettet og hvor meget jeg kan udrette i fremtiden. Det jeg frygter mest er tabt potentiale.
Der var en der spurgte mig om min IQ. Gad vide hvem det var. Måske den samme som spurgte om min personlighedstype – nok ikke, spørgsmålene var formuleret meget forskelligt.
Jeg kom til at gemme dette under ”Fiktion”, det var ikke meningen.
Jeg kom vist lidt ud på et sidespor. Pointen er. Jeg er mere færdig med gymnasiet end jeg troede. Men på en god måde, tror jeg. Jeg tror jeg er ved at blive mere klar over hvor arbitrært det meste af verden er.
Jeg kan ikke lide hvordan de her vagter kigger på mig. Eller, jeg kan ikke lide at de kigger på mig overhovedet. Men de har vel ikke andet at lave end at kigge på eleverne.
Tænk hvis jeg havde skrevet med den her fart konstant under hele prøven (og stadigvæk havde skrevet noget af kvalitet, naturligvis). Det ville være blevet en lang stil. Måske en god stil. Jeg ved ikke om den jeg har skrevet er god. På et eller andet niveau er jeg ligeglad. Jeg vil bare gerne overstå skolen. Fuck.
Fuck.
Fem minutter tilbage. Hold op med at kigge på mig. Har du aldrig set en elev før? Har du aldrig set en androgyn 18-årig med mørkeblond hår og sort trøje med blå lomme og beige bukser og brune sko og briller? Og selv hvis du ikke har, er det virkelig så interessant?
Tre minutter. Jeg ved ikke engang om han kigger på mig, eller om jeg bare tilfældigvis sidder i den generelle retning af hans fraværende blik. Jeg tør ikke rigtig se på hans øjne for at finde ud af det.

Okay, afleverede min opgave. Kan lige så godt slukke ting nu.