On matters of passing
I've never been to Wiscon, because it never, ever fits into my schedule. But I go to cons, and, because of the HP fandom, I go to cons that are almost exclusively women. Women who are, among other things, sometimes fat and queer and living with a disability.
Here's the thing, and it's not a thing I've ever been comfortable with: I pass. I have a profound amount of privilege for what I am. I'm thin, my disability is invisible, my appearance is white, and it is very very easy for me not to appear queer or genderqueer, whether I mean this to be the case or not.
It is strange to be both lucky and ashamed of that luck. It is strange to be a chameleon who never got a choice in the matter of all her choice. Looking at me there's so little about me that you would necessarily know. Even my age. I'll probably be able to pass for a socially acceptable 25 for a long time yet.
The thing is, I've never meant to keep these secrets or dodge bullets like the great Something Awful debacle
of this year's Wiscon. But what happens to me in person and what happens to me online are often two different things.
Because here I talk about what you can't see, and that makes it not just true for you as well as me, but it also paints a bullseye. For those of you newer to the friendlist, one of the reason so many people are banned from this journal is related to an Internet drama from a couple of years ago, which brought all sorts of creeps to this journal "accusing" me of transexuality.
I have a lot of trans and intersexed friends and even if I didn't, for me to answer judgmental questions about my own biological gender implies that the act of judgment is somehow acceptable and that other people have a right to demand to know what's in my or anyone else's pants. Wrong. I refused to answer, and things that were already unpleasant in the threads got worse. And I took out my big bad ban stick.
Yeah, you can throw rocks in my virtual living room, but I can also throw you out the door. Deal with it.
I am sick to fucking death of dyke or lesbian or man being a way to call women ugly. I am sick to death of bitch and girl and pussy to call down the spectre of cowardice on men. And I am sick unto fucking death of transfolk being treated as if they are somehow unreal, temporary of spirit or the last of the circus sideshow.
Our world is filled with the tyrranies of the flesh. And the discussion of that extends well into the online sphere. Because of what I do and who I am, I deal with this day in and day out. In France, an agent told me, I would actually be beautiful. Lose five pounds
. Get stronger
. Practice more
. A man would be taller
. Laughter and a remark on the size of my shoulders. Sir
at the bank because I refuse to lower my eyes when I make a request.
My flesh was made for our little binary world more than most people's. But I wasn't. And I try not to hide behind what I have. But sometimes it is so unavoidable that all I can do is be a supporter in what is actually, also my own battle. Because it doesn't show. Because I could have more secrets than I do.This
is one of the more moving responses to what happened at Wiscon. I practically stood up and cheered at the office.
Call me a man. Call me a woman. I don't care. But you damn well better make it a compliment or at least mere observation. Because otherwise, you're wasting your breath. I'm not going to be anything other than what I am no matter what you say. And I'm not going to be quiet. And no matter who you target or why, I am not going to relax into this life of passing.
It needs to be said. And it needs to be said not just because of Wiscon or my fannish life or the vitriol of the LJ Advisory Board election, but because you have more freedom than you think you do. Every single one of you.
Don't let anyone EVER tell you otherwise.