Monday, April 28, 2014

Overheard At The Conference… Part 2

I was reading posts on Facebook and Kelly Winter’s had a link to Julia Serano's blog about subversivism (which I gather is seeking to subvert, overthrow, or destroy the legitimacy of a social group) which we are doing to each other. The part that caught my attention was,
Find me someone who thinks that drag is more conservative than transsexuality, and I'll find you someone who believes the exact opposite.

Do you know what all these positions have in common?

1) they are all hierarchies
2) they all condemn an entire group of people based upon some shared gender or sexual trait

Drag is not inherently conservative, or subversive, or assimilationist, or liberating. It is simply an expression of gender. People who do drag are different from one another, and they gravitate to drag for different reasons. Some drag performers are cis gay men, while others are eventual trans women. Some drag queens present masculinely when they are not performing, while others present femininely 24/7 and face cissexism and misogyny on a regular basis. Some people do drag to explore or experiment with their own gender, others to challenge societal binary gender norms, and still others may do it to mock other marginalized groups (e.g., women or transsexuals).
I am friends with drag queens and they get it, they understand what it is to be trans, they are not like the RuPauls of the world. I am friends with crossdressers. I am friends with gays and lesbians, and I am event friends with straight people. For me it is more important the person and not the label.

She goes on to say,
Finally, the recent rifts among trans women with regard to drag seems to have veered into separating-from-the-transgender-umbrella (or purging-drag-from-the-umbrella) territory, so I figured that I should point out my earlier piece A “Transsexual Versus Transgender” Intervention. It was written with regards to HBS-type separatism a few years ago, but some of the points I make are still relevant in this case - especially the section where I point out that transsexual is an umbrella too…
Last summer I wrote a blog “A Trans-Woman Who Lives As A Woman” that was what Lt Colonel Cate McGregor and the comments that I received illustrates what Ms. Serano said about HBS-type separatist and my post resulted in hate emails. I had to take my email address off my blog and put the “Contact Me” in its place and I had to go to a policy of approving comments. The less inflammatory comments I left on post.

One of the things that we wanted to make sure was in the non-discrimination legislation was gender expression because we feared that without it crossdressers and drag queens and genderqueers would not be covered. We were afraid that it could be argued that dressing in drag, crossdressing or being genderqueer was not part of their core identity but rather an expression. We wanted the whole transgender umbrella was covered.

I believe in inclusion, not exclusion.

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