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Poetry Fishbowl Report for July 5, 2016 - The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poetry Fishbowl Report for July 5, 2016
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ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: July 30th, 2016 05:25 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> And another: Would you agree "nonbinary" actually covers a "spectrum"? (Using "spectrum" for example the same way we do the autism spectrum--covering from low to high.) <<

That's another thing you'll get a lot of different viewpoints on. My personal view is that "spectrum" is a misleading oversimplification of an incredibly complex issue -- much like the difference between looking at a picture of a landscape and actually being on the land, relishing the variations in color, feeling the ground under your feet and the wind in your hair, noticing the varied scents. And maybe you've got a photograph, and maybe it's a painting -- but by Rembrandt, van Gogh, Picasso, or Jackson Pollock? And you don't really know, and won't unless someone who's been there tells you.

So, spectrum? It's like that for some nonbinary people, who can say something like, "Today I feel like 30% man and 70% woman. Yesterday, it was 80/20 the other way. Tomorrow it might be 10% man, 30% woman, and the other 60% something else our culture doesn't have a name for." Others think of a different kind of spectrum, and will ask something like "If it's a spectrum, I'm yellow. How much pink and how much blue do you have to mix to get yellow?" For me, I'm seeing what you're calling a spectrum as a railroad track between the cities of "man" and "woman" -- and I'm over in another part of the landscape it's difficult to get to because it's way off the track and far enough outside the regions of influence the cities assert to not be overrun. If some of my expression is categorized as "masculine" or "feminine", I just chuckle at the coincidence, shrug it off, and go about my business.

>> The reason why I ask is that I've been around "gay" people before but you--even in the few interactions we've had so far--come across as much different from them too. And THAT I haven't been around before. <<

People like me are very different. Most notably because gender identity and sexuality are different aspects of a person, and not well correlated. Some sexualities incorporate a gender model in their definition, so are inextricably linked with that model. But my sexuality is defined by emotional rapport and mutual interest, neither of which assume anything about a gender model. So I don't need one, and don't see how any model applies to me. Nevertheless, far too much of our world seems determined to force me into existing within their model, and "punish" me for refusing to do so. This is constant, wearing work to contend against. And that shapes who I am and how I choose to express it.

And you actually may have been around nonbinary people without realizing it. You don't experience the differences because they're very careful about when and how they express them, due to this relentless pressure, so you don't see it. This is something that I'm working toward taking a stand on, by finding ways to participate in the dominant culture while walking around expressing a gender identity that does not fit the dominant gender map.

>> Thank you for being willing to put up with my questions (more will be coming).
:^) <<

First off, let's drop "put up". That suggests that you regard your questions as an imposition on me, which they are not. Instead, they are your way of engaging with me, and shows that you are sincerely interested in exploring and celebrating the differences between yourself and others. Thank you for continuing to engage. (To me, that's a positive and affirming way of acknowledging my effort.)

I'd like to hold as much of this discussion out in the open as possible. If you ask me something I view as sensitive, I may answer privately. Please feel free to do likewise if there's anything you'd like to ask or say that you don't want out in public.

Edited at 2016-07-30 05:29 pm (UTC)
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 30th, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> That's another thing you'll get a lot of different viewpoints on. My personal view is that "spectrum" is a misleading oversimplification of an incredibly complex issue -- much like the difference between looking at a picture of a landscape and actually being on the land, relishing the variations in color, feeling the ground under your feet and the wind in your hair, noticing the varied scents. And maybe you've got a photograph, and maybe it's a painting -- but by Rembrandt, van Gogh, Picasso, or Jackson Pollock? And you don't really know, and won't unless someone who's been there tells you. <<

I like spectrum, and range, because they break down the binary illusion. (Male/female is biologically as well as socially incomplete.) It goes from two points to a line. Add another spectrum and you have the XY grid, for instance, gender and sexual orientation. Add a third and you have a cube such as sex, gender, and sexual orientation. But there are plenty more things, and this is why I say my sexuality is a tesseract. Some of us are things that can't be plotted into conventional dimensions. To go back to one line, masculine to feminine, someone who has a completely different gender (such as neutrois) is in a different place "above" the line compared to someone androgynous who is toward the middle. A line is much more expressive than a pair of pigeonholes, but still not sufficient. I do often use "spectrum" or "range" to mean "wide variety" instead of specifically "line" because saying "chart" or "tesseract" confuses people if I don't have time for a long explanation.

>> So, spectrum? It's like that for some nonbinary people, who can say something like, "Today I feel like 30% man and 70% woman. Yesterday, it was 80/20 the other way. Tomorrow it might be 10% man, 30% woman, and the other 60% something else our culture doesn't have a name for." <<

Some genderfluid people shift back and forth between masculine and feminine; some have one or more additional points. Some people's gender is mixed but stable. And some really treat it like two points where they are either masculine or feminine. It's interesting to compare the versions.

If I look at my characters, Salvo is genderfluid and uses the crossdressing to support his feminine side. He's shy about it because he's been picked on, so I don't think he does it as much as he naturally would. He's not trans, and doesn't even present as a woman like most crossdressers try; he just feels like being pretty sometimes. Cal is trans but uses the gendershifting in binary mode: either Calvin or Calliope, not a mix of both. I think keeping the Calvin identity as a cover is creative but hazardous, because pretending to be a man can wreck women, but it's her life so none of my business. I just make an authorial note that as a gender scholar, I know that's risky based on observations of Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome in trans lives. She probably has one of the best-protected secret identities in cape politics, though.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: July 31st, 2016 05:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

Tried (and crashed up against the comment size limit) to weave my responses back into a single thread. So, three individual comments.

>> I like spectrum, and range, because they break down the binary illusion. (Male/female is biologically as well as socially incomplete.) It goes from two points to a line. Add another spectrum and you have the XY grid, for instance, gender and sexual orientation. Add a third and you have a cube such as sex, gender, and sexual orientation. But there are plenty more things, and this is why I say my sexuality is a tesseract. Some of us are things that can't be plotted into conventional dimensions. <<

Indeed. It's the "map vs. territory" distinction again. We each are using maps that suit us while we cringe at the crumpled, outdated maps that have been handed out to people trying to navigate the territory defining these things and wondering why there's not even a line around the different identities where the map shows a wall. To anyone who's following this thread, we're sharing our maps with you, inviting you to draw your own, and providing some information you can put on it to help you navigate the unfamiliar parts of the territory.

My map, so to speak and as much as possible, is the most recent online version of "A Field Guide to Gender Identities." I find it valuable because the content is generated by the folks who assert the various identities, and compiled by folks who realize why that's important, and care about it.

>> To go back to one line, masculine to feminine, someone who has a completely different gender (such as neutrois) is in a different place "above" the line <<

I like "off" the line a little better, because there's less of an implicit value judgement in that term.

>> compared to someone androgynous who is toward the middle. A line is much more expressive than a pair of pigeonholes, but still not sufficient. I do often use "spectrum" or "range" to mean "wide variety" instead of specifically "line" because saying "chart" or "tesseract" confuses people if I don't have time for a long explanation. <<

Fair enough. I relate to "range" a little differently in my field guide metaphor, as representing how far from their core identity folks asserting various gender identities might venture.

>> Some genderfluid people shift back and forth between masculine and feminine; some have one or more additional points. Some people's gender is mixed but stable. And some really treat it like two points where they are either masculine or feminine. It's interesting to compare the versions. <<

Indeed. These are also representative patterns. There are lots more, too, but I was aiming to not swamp the message with a necessarily incomplete catalog in a response that was already getting substantial.

>> I think keeping the Calvin identity as a cover is creative but hazardous, because pretending to be a man can wreck women, but it's her life so none of my business. I just make an authorial note that as a gender scholar, I know that's risky based on observations of Prolonged Adaptation Stress Syndrome in trans lives. She probably has one of the best-protected secret identities in cape politics, though. <<

"Pretending to be" something is Doing; actually *being* someone is Being. Having to Do instead of being able to Be can wreck anyone. It's the times I get to Be that get me through the times when all I'm able to do is Do. The times of Being are vital self-care for me.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 31st, 2016 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> Indeed. It's the "map vs. territory" distinction again. We each are using maps that suit us while we cringe at the crumpled, outdated maps that have been handed out to people trying to navigate the territory defining these things and wondering why there's not even a line around the different identities where the map shows a wall. <<

Yyyyeah. That's frustrating for everyone. Using the wrong pronouns to someone's face is grating. Telling other people that someone is a boy when she's a girl (or whatever) can be life-wrecking.

>> To anyone who's following this thread, we're sharing our maps with you, inviting you to draw your own, and providing some information you can put on it to help you navigate the unfamiliar parts of the territory. <<

Sooth. It helps to have a map. Not everyone is capable of advanced cartography.

>> My map, so to speak and as much as possible, is the most recent online version of "A Field Guide to Gender Identities." I find it valuable because the content is generated by the folks who assert the various identities, and compiled by folks who realize why that's important, and care about it. <<

:D I think mine would be "So You Want to Hang Out with Aliens."

>>I like "off" the line a little better, because there's less of an implicit value judgement in that term."

I was looking for something like that and didn't think of it at the time. Yes, there will be clusters above and below the line usually.

>>Indeed. These are also representative patterns. There are lots more, too, but I was aiming to not swamp the message with a necessarily incomplete catalog in a response that was already getting substantial.<<

Do the basics first, then iterate from there. I just came in at the iterate phase, after you filled in the baseline.

>>"Pretending to be" something is Doing; actually *being* someone is Being. Having to Do instead of being able to Be can wreck anyone. It's the times I get to Be that get me through the times when all I'm able to do is Do. The times of Being are vital self-care for me.<<

Well said.

Why I worry about Cal is that she takes time away from Being a woman to Do a man. It's hard enough to learn a whole new gender role without shortchanging your study time, a fact that has been lamented by many transfolk who for various reasons could not transition all at once and had to split time en femme and en homme. For some that's comfortable, for others not. Though I do think one of Vagary's few benefits is his blithe acceptance of Calliope as a woman. Transfolk need people who see them for who they really are.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: August 1st, 2016 05:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> It helps to have a map. Not everyone is capable of advanced cartography. <<

One nice thing is that many of those who are are busy putting theirs out where people who'd like a better map than they can draw themselves can pick one up. It's not yet where I'd like it to be, where someone who realizes they need a map can find one that suits them best, but it's moving in that direction. And when I see someone who's struggling to find their way, map or no map, I like to offer to help.

>> Yes, there will be clusters above and below the line usually. <<

And sometimes the line isn't horizontal, or even much of a line. Sort of like the islands in many large rivers forming governmental boundaries, where which "side" they are on can be constantly open to interpretation.

>> Do the basics first, then iterate from there. I just came in at the iterate phase, after you filled in the baseline. <<

That worked fine in context, and is a good point.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 30th, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> Others think of a different kind of spectrum, and will ask something like "If it's a spectrum, I'm yellow. How much pink and how much blue do you have to mix to get yellow?" <<

I love this cartoon about same-sex marriage:
https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/b8/f6/a3/b8f6a3f02bf3be311b044de70e3988cd.jpg

But if you think about it, that's really depicting a genderqueer couple. It's Rei and Haru all the way. :D Because if it were gay or lesbian, it would be two forks or two knives.

>> For me, I'm seeing what you're calling a spectrum as a railroad track between the cities of "man" and "woman" -- and I'm over in another part of the landscape it's difficult to get to because it's way off the track and far enough outside the regions of influence the cities assert to not be overrun. If some of my expression is categorized as "masculine" or "feminine", I just chuckle at the coincidence, shrug it off, and go about my business. <<

Liking to cook doesn't make me feminine any more than having boobs makes me a woman. It's not outside the range of what I can do, but neither is it my core identity. But metasexual is ... I might as well try to explain quantum mechanics, most people can't think that far out. People can think what they want, and be wrong, but then they get mad when the data doesn't match their predictions. *shrug* They can't figure out the traits of some deities either, and it's because some are better at emulating masculine or feminine expectations while others just go, "Dear humans, I am a Trickster. Leave your assumptions at the door or you're just going to hurt yourself dropping them on your foot later."

>> People like me are very different. Most notably because gender identity and sexuality are different aspects of a person, and not well correlated. Some sexualities incorporate a gender model in their definition, so are inextricably linked with that model. <<

Sooth. I think it's a range in that some nonbinary people don't seem all that different from the expected options, while others are so conspicuous that passing is impossible. Much the same is true of gay, trans, and other QUILTBAG folks. Especially, if most of your traits are common and only one is rare and/or if a trait is present but does not dominate your identity, you may feel "I'm just like everyone else except for this one quirk." But a person who has many differences and/or one that is paramount to their personality, is more likely to feel and express as far out of the ordinary.

>> But my sexuality is defined by emotional rapport and mutual interest, neither of which assume anything about a gender model. So I don't need one, and don't see how any model applies to me. Nevertheless, far too much of our world seems determined to force me into existing within their model, and "punish" me for refusing to do so. This is constant, wearing work to contend against. And that shapes who I am and how I choose to express it. <<

*hugs offered* Society is an ass. It is a lot of work.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: July 31st, 2016 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> Liking to cook doesn't make me feminine any more than having boobs makes me a woman. It's not outside the range of what I can do, but neither is it my core identity. <<

Precisely. And it's a big step for folks who haven't had much of an encounter with gender-variant people.

What makes it such a big step is that so far, the narrative they've been overwhelmingly exposed to is that gender is what other people say someone is, instead of what the person asserting the gender identity says it is. And that other people control the narrative of what forms of expression affirm someone's gender identity, instead of the forms of expression the person says affirms their own gender identity. And they're often conveniently ignoring the broad range of behaviors that are considered to affirm mainstream gender identities. They are in many cases as broad as mine, but are less visible because they all lie within the bounds of a recognized gender identity containing a large number of people.

Heck, it's a big step for me -- one I appear to have understood I was always going to need to take, but one I didn't actually take until the facade shielding my sexuality and gender identity from unwelcome scrutiny got dropped on the floor and broke. It wasn't until then that I realized it actually was a facade, and hurting me in at least as many ways as it had helped me. I'm still struggling out from under the wreckage. Being able to share my feelings with understanding people helps with that -- a lot.

>> But metasexual is ... I might as well try to explain quantum mechanics, most people can't think that far out. <<

Yeah. Thinking that far out is intrinsically challenging, and those who haven't, or aren't willing to, face that sort of strenuous intellectual activity are in the same state as the person who goes to the gym for the first time and looks at the stacks of weights the regulars are casually working out with. They pretty quickly come to understand that it's going to be hard work, and it's gonna hurt -- and a lot of them walk right out the door because of that, and never come back.

>> People can think what they want, and be wrong, but then they get mad when the data doesn't match their predictions. *shrug* They can't figure out the traits of some deities either, and it's because some are better at emulating masculine or feminine expectations while others just go, "Dear humans, I am a Trickster. Leave your assumptions at the door or you're just going to hurt yourself dropping them on your foot later." <<

And so much of the pain variant folks face stems from so many people believing this all Matters, rather than just being a trait providing an occasionally useful guide for forecasting behavior.

>> Sooth. I think it's a range in that some nonbinary people don't seem all that different from the expected options, while others are so conspicuous that passing is impossible. Much the same is true of gay, trans, and other QUILTBAG folks. Especially, if most of your traits are common and only one is rare and/or if a trait is present but does not dominate your identity, you may feel "I'm just like everyone else except for this one quirk." But a person who has many differences and/or one that is paramount to their personality, is more likely to feel and express as far out of the ordinary. <<

Good point. And everybody's "just like everyone else, except" point is different, so the way two people of similar gender identities choose to express their identities may be wildly different -- which complicates things further.

I got an interesting example of this recently. Approaching a city I occasionally pass through (and used to live near and pass through more frequently), I was struck by how I had switched from perceiving its skyline as the one I was familiar with, with a few new exceptions, to an unfamiliar skyline with some recognizable landmarks.

>> *hugs offered* Society is an ass. It is a lot of work. <<

*gratefully accepted and returned* Thanks for noticing, and caring.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 1st, 2016 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> Precisely. And it's a big step for folks who haven't had much of an encounter with gender-variant people. <<

That's another reason we need outfolks, so that everyone can see this is part of humanity, a species' natural and necessary variation.

>> What makes it such a big step is that so far, the narrative they've been overwhelmingly exposed to is that gender is what other people say someone is, instead of what the person asserting the gender identity says it is. <<

That's why the phrase "sexual reassignment surgery" makes me grit my teeth, and I use "realignment" instead. The main problem is caused by society thinking that gender is assigned instead of an innate trait. They can't even be arsed to check the the chromosomes; they just look at a baby's crotch and guess. And then blame the child if the adults guessed wrong! *epic facepalm* The only stupider method I can imagine would be assigning genders randomly by lot.

>> And that other people control the narrative of what forms of expression affirm someone's gender identity, instead of the forms of expression the person says affirms their own gender identity. <<

That is a problem with all manner of mismatches, not just gender.

>> And they're often conveniently ignoring the broad range of behaviors that are considered to affirm mainstream gender identities. They are in many cases as broad as mine, but are less visible because they all lie within the bounds of a recognized gender identity containing a large number of people.<<

Yyyyeah. That's especially damaging to cisgender people whose flavor of identity and expression don't fit expectations. Like Chiara's motive: "To be beautiful. Muscles are beautiful. If you say they are unfeminine I will hurt you." :D Conversely, there are gentle and nurturing men, like Heron, who often gets mistaking for gay. There has to be room for people's gender identity however it is. Gender policing harms everyone. Because when you attack the outliers, and the fringe, it makes even the core people feel anxious -- as evidenced in all the dialog about being "a real man" and "proving his manhood" etc.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: August 2nd, 2016 06:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> That's why the phrase "sexual reassignment surgery" makes me grit my teeth, and I use "realignment" instead. <<

I realize I've started using "surgical intervention", adding "in support of transition" where the context isn't clear. Similarly, "hormonal intervention" for those for whom that is a worthwhile part of their transition plan.

I like doing this because it helps decenter genital surgery being the definitive marker for marking transition. It recognizes that facial plastic surgery, electrolysis, breast reduction, top surgery, and all the other approaches people in transition might choose to employ can be every bit as important as the detail of what's between someone's legs -- and every bit as affirming of the transitioner's gender identity. Likewise for someone for whom hormone blockers, or low-dose sex hormones, suffice, and full-on hormonal protocols are not required or unsuitable.

>> The main problem is caused by society thinking that gender is assigned instead of an innate trait. They can't even be arsed to check the the chromosomes; they just look at a baby's crotch and guess. <<

Have I shared my word for this activity with you yet? Not quite a couple of hundred years ago, a fad for examining the shape of a person's skull and attempting to infer from that various aspects of their personality, and other inclinations, gained considerable popularity. This fad, known as "phrenology", was eventually discredited by scientific inquiry as the fallacy and fraud it always was, and sank into disrepute and eventual disregard as other than a generator of what are now antique curiosities.

Switching Greek-derived medical prefixes from the skull ("phren-") to what the page I consulted euphemistically referred to as loins ("episi-") yields "episiology" as the appropriate name for the modern pseudo-science, still extensively practiced today, of attempting to infer from observation of a newborn's genitals by supposedly qualified people their future personality traits, interests, and likely behavior. Perhaps in another couple of hundred years it will be regarded similarly to phrenology.

>> Gender policing harms everyone. Because when you attack the outliers, and the fringe, it makes even the core people feel anxious -- as evidenced in all the dialog about being "a real man" and "proving his manhood" etc. <<

Amen! Not very many people are comfortable being in a place where their identity is under unpredictable and constant threat of attack. This tends to empty out those places, which widens the gap between genders and increases the cost and danger of constructing the bridges by which experiences are shared.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 1st, 2016 03:15 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"



>>Heck, it's a big step for me -- one I appear to have understood I was always going to need to take, but one I didn't actually take until the facade shielding my sexuality and gender identity from unwelcome scrutiny got dropped on the floor and broke. It wasn't until then that I realized it actually was a facade, and hurting me in at least as many ways as it had helped me. I'm still struggling out from under the wreckage. Being able to share my feelings with understanding people helps with that -- a lot.<<

I'm glad I could help. \o/

For me, I've always known that I'm weird along many lines. It's interesting to compare that to people who discover it along the way. Halley has always known; so has Victor. But Hyperspaceman and Cal only figured it out much later in life. That matches what I've observed in other queerfolk; identity awareness can come at any time.

>>Yeah. Thinking that far out is intrinsically challenging, and those who haven't, or aren't willing to, face that sort of strenuous intellectual activity are in the same state as the person who goes to the gym for the first time and looks at the stacks of weights the regulars are casually working out with. They pretty quickly come to understand that it's going to be hard work, and it's gonna hurt -- and a lot of them walk right out the door because of that, and never come back.<<

Some of it depends on people's body/mind, and some on where they start. Some bodies are predisposed to athletics, and it feels good to them, even if it's hard. For me it's linguistics; even the lengthy parts don't feel like work. Sometimes I try to explain people's fumbling over gender by imagining, "It's like trying to do hours and hours of math." But I've always had a knack for gender studies, and I think only part of that is being genderqueer myself. Some people are more flexible in general, and can do all manner of mental yoga. I've had people just shrug and go with the flow. Others, not so much. There have been a few people I cared enough about to just try not to spill my weirdness on them, and other cases where a mismatch mangled relationships I treasured.

>> And so much of the pain variant folks face stems from so many people believing this all Matters, rather than just being a trait providing an occasionally useful guide for forecasting behavior. <<

Absolutely. Gender has a lot to do with sexuality, as most people only want a partner of a certain sex/gender, and it influences child bearing and raising in some regards. Beyond that, there are some broad trends that cross most cultures, but no absolutes. Most of the problems are thus human-caused.

>>I got an interesting example of this recently. Approaching a city I occasionally pass through (and used to live near and pass through more frequently), I was struck by how I had switched from perceiving its skyline as the one I was familiar with, with a few new exceptions, to an unfamiliar skyline with some recognizable landmarks.<<

Fascinating. It's familiarity in action, I guess.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 30th, 2016 07:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>>And you actually may have been around nonbinary people without realizing it. You don't experience the differences because they're very careful about when and how they express them, due to this relentless pressure, so you don't see it.<<

It's that hidden aspect which impedes progress because people don't realize that there are nonbinary people. Some cultures are more open; the closed ones have problems like we see here.

The only time I've seen this addressed directly in mainstream entertainment was an episode of FarScape. "An androgyn? I've never seen one before." "That you know of." They were hiding because the culture tended to kill or mutilate them. And of course, that character was promptly killed. *bang head on keyboard* No no no, when you see a culture doing something evil and stupid you do not point out that it is evil and stupid and then do the same damn thing.

>> This is something that I'm working toward taking a stand on, by finding ways to participate in the dominant culture while walking around expressing a gender identity that does not fit the dominant gender map.<<

It helps to have some people who find ways to express their true nature, so that others realize it is possible.

>>First off, let's drop "put up". That suggests that you regard your questions as an imposition on me, which they are not. Instead, they are your way of engaging with me, and shows that you are sincerely interested in exploring and celebrating the differences between yourself and others. Thank you for continuing to engage. (To me, that's a positive and affirming way of acknowledging my effort.) <<

I'm glad that you find this discussion supporting and engaging. I think it helps to raise awareness and improve interactions.

However, some people in any minority get very tired of having to explain things, or even being asked the same questions a million times. Some of them put up with it, and others take a stance of "I'm not your teacher, do your own work." Those are valid experiences; people do get tired. But it's not possible to bootstrap some types of understanding from the outside. In order for different types of people to relate, somebody has to do the interface work. That makes the people doing this work very important.

>> I'd like to hold as much of this discussion out in the open as possible. If you ask me something I view as sensitive, I may answer privately. Please feel free to do likewise if there's anything you'd like to ask or say that you don't want out in public. <<

Yay! Thanks for taking the time to do this.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: July 31st, 2016 05:18 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> It's that hidden aspect which impedes progress because people don't realize that there are nonbinary people. Some cultures are more open; the closed ones have problems like we see here. [...] It helps to have some people who find ways to express their true nature, so that others realize it is possible. <<

That's what's driving me to be "out in public". Things aren't likely to get much better until people who are comfortable with the culturally available gender options see that there are people who aren't, and that they somehow manage to successfully navigate their cultural environment anyway.

>> I'm glad that you find this discussion supporting and engaging. I think it helps to raise awareness and improve interactions.

However, some people in any minority get very tired of having to explain things, or even being asked the same questions a million times. Some of them put up with it, and others take a stance of "I'm not your teacher, do your own work." Those are valid experiences; people do get tired. <<

Sooth. But one reason I see doing this as important is that an all-too-common outcome of directing people to do their own work is ceding control of the narrative to those who are outside the minority. I'm on the path I'm on because I came to recognize the harm having other people constrain my narrative was causing me, and that I needed to escape those constraints. Helping others see things from my perspective is an essential element of doing so.

>> But it's not possible to bootstrap some types of understanding from the outside. In order for different types of people to relate, somebody has to do the interface work. That makes the people doing this work very important. <<

Thank you for recognizing and applauding this. The level of work, and the challenges involved, so often escape notice or are met with hostility by those who are busy trying to carve out their domains of power on either side.

Interface work must be something that appeals to me. In the course of my career, I worked in, and was adversely affected by, organizations that failed to handle their interfaces successfully -- or even capably. I found I enjoyed, and was often able to, get each side to understand the other side's concerns, and take those concerns into account in their own environment. I got rewarded for my effort by the improvement in my own work environment. I'm hoping I can contribute to the same outcome, and effect, in my cultural environment.

>> Yay! Thanks for taking the time to do this. <<

You're very welcome. And thanks to you for adding your own different perspective.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: July 31st, 2016 09:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> That's what's driving me to be "out in public". Things aren't likely to get much better until people who are comfortable with the culturally available gender options see that there are people who aren't, and that they somehow manage to successfully navigate their cultural environment anyway.<<

Agreed. I do not approve of outing, but I do feel that we need visible representatives.

>> Sooth. But one reason I see doing this as important is that an all-too-common outcome of directing people to do their own work is ceding control of the narrative to those who are outside the minority. <<

Excellent point. "Nothing about us without us" applies to all minorities or other disadvantaged groups. But it means someone has to do the work.

>>I'm on the path I'm on because I came to recognize the harm having other people constrain my narrative was causing me, and that I needed to escape those constraints. Helping others see things from my perspective is an essential element of doing so.<<

Good for you!

>>Thank you for recognizing and applauding this. The level of work, and the challenges involved, so often escape notice or are met with hostility by those who are busy trying to carve out their domains of power on either side.<<

Emotional labor is often overlooked and undervalued, but without it, society would come apart at the seams.

>> Interface work must be something that appeals to me. In the course of my career, I worked in, and was adversely affected by, organizations that failed to handle their interfaces successfully -- or even capably. I found I enjoyed, and was often able to, get each side to understand the other side's concerns, and take those concerns into account in their own environment. I got rewarded for my effort by the improvement in my own work environment. I'm hoping I can contribute to the same outcome, and effect, in my cultural environment. <<

Okay, great. Those are valuable skills. You might consider studying mediation or facilitation.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: August 1st, 2016 05:26 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> I do not approve of outing <<

Nor do I. It's another manifestation of people, most often the ones with culturally accepted gender identities, seeking to wrest control of the narrative from the ones who are trying to tell their story the way they want it told. To me it's fundamentally an act of violence, and ought to be regarded as such.

But did I say anything, or give the impression that, I have been outed? So far, at least, I have managed to retain the illusion of control over my coming out. Many people who have noticed aspects of my gender variance have indicated that they noticed these aspects, but the ensuing conversations have mostly been favorable ("nice top.", "love the shoes!"), with occasional forays into generally sincere inquiries as to motivation ("why the [particular item of presumed gender-variant clothing]?"). At least for now, my stock answer to questions of that last sort is that I am disputing how the item is gendered. Which has the advantage of being accurate, even though it conceals the fact that the gender identity I am seeking to incorporate is not my presumed gender identity.

Occasionally, gender-variant, or gender variance-aware, people have correctly interpreted my expression as itself being a signal of gender variance, and have inquired courteously as to its nature. I always strive to be completely honest and open with them, and let them know where I am in my gender transition.

>> You might consider studying mediation or facilitation. <<

Studying might be interesting, but I sense a long and tricky path between that and actually being able to do something with it. Along with the usual hazards of getting all sides involved to accept the recommendations of a non-stakeholder rather than continuing the moat-building and infighting, I would need to be completely out in order to successfully employ the people skills required (my acquisition of which has been stunted; gender conflict is definitely part of the reason), and be accepted in my gender identity as a knowledgeable and valid voice. I'm a long way from there, and in no way certain about how to get there -- or even how soon it will be possible to even complete the journey.
ng_moonmoth From: ng_moonmoth Date: August 2nd, 2016 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

And, of course, not too long after writing the preceding, I realized that the right environment would turn things I listed as obstacles into advantages. I am a stakeholder in the struggle for greater cultural acceptance of variant genders; having an expression that matches my gender identity would help confirm that; and public expression would support all sides acknowledging that I was aware of the issues separating them, and that a solution would also benefit me.

That sounds a lot more like something worth investigating to me. It doesn't cover the people skills, but I understand that can be dealt with. Time to look closer...
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