?

Log in

No account? Create an account
entries friends calendar profile PenUltimate Productions Website Previous Previous Next Next
The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
ysabetwordsmith
ysabetwordsmith
Poetry Fishbowl Report for July 5, 2016
40 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
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.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2016 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"

>> 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.<<

Often so, but there's another cluster that bothers me: people who are open about their own identity blowing the cover for others of the same identity. It can get people killed.

>> To me it's fundamentally an act of violence, and ought to be regarded as such. <<

Often true.

The problem is a conflict between freedom of speech and privacy, both necessary for civilization. The reason open people out closeted people is that they perceive hiding as a threat to their own existence, by reason of strength in numbers. It's understandable, but I don't think it's okay. On the third hoof, I am really not a fan of censorship.

So I address that insoluble conflict by working on a different part of the problem -- trying to make the world safe for all identities.

>> But did I say anything, or give the impression that, I have been outed? <<

No, it's just a pervasive problem that this conversation reminded me of.

It's also closely linked to the issue of disclosure in trans culture. Trans people may hide their nature for survival, personal comfort, or identity congruence. But this consistently clashes with many other people's self-awareness or interpersonal dynamics: if the trans person's nature comes out, many people will feel lied to or otherwise betrayed. Significant others may become particularly upset if they feel interactions took them outside their own orientation, which is a really gross experience. There's a deep conflict between people who disagree on the "isness" of sex/gender and/or the appropriate parameters of disclosure in relationships. There are no easy answers here either. I tend to favor the transfolk because they're the ones whose lives are at risk, but that doesn't negate the very real and widespread damage caused by the mismatch, which is hard on everyone involved.

>> 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.<<

That's good.

>> 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. <<

Good for you!
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2016 06:46 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Nonbinary person waves "hi"



>> Studying might be interesting, but I sense a long and tricky path between that and actually being able to do something with it. <<

Nah. Think of these as toolboxes. You don't have to spend $$$$ on a whole kit all at once. You can buy just a ruler when you need one for $. You can figure out which wrench set you want for $$. Build up slowly and use what you have.

Mediation is a bunch of skills for solving problems and helping people get along. You can use many of the same techniques to get coworkers collaborating on a project or convince people to help you with your transition. Facilitation takes more learning and requires a group of people to guide, but again, you can start small and build up. Also, both of these can be practiced online. People are always getting into arguments. Doesn't happen often in my space because I'm careful about maintenance, but other places, sure. If someone starts a flamewar when I'm in bed, my audience has usually put it out by the time I get up. Another opportunity lies in hobby and volunteer activities, where it's often much easier to do things just by offering, compared to work where you usually need permission.

Skills Mediators Need
How to Mediate Conflict

The Role of a Facilitator
How to Facilitate a Meeting

One of my go-to resources for group management:
Panel Moderator's Guide and Tip Sheet

>> 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,<<

Just wait for them to wear themselves out. Before then, they usually aren't ready. Once they're sick and tired of their fight, they're a lot more open to outside input.

>> 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.<<

Why? Start where you are. You have a life. Presumably there are people in it. People do not always get along, which makes mediation skills handy; and they often team up for projects, which makes facilitation useful. Interact with them however they already know you. Or you could find some new people somewhere. Suppose you decide to join a genderchat or other group, that becomes another opportunity to practice new skills without prior baggage.

>> 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. <<

Which is why you need to look at what you can do here and now. Otherwise it's a lot like "I'll be happy when I'm skinny." A lot of non-cis people find that gender is a journey, not a destination. There are mountains upon mountains ... which is actually cool, because it's exciting territory to explore. Sure it's tiring sometimes. So is hiking up to see a sunrise above the clouds.
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...
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: August 2nd, 2016 07:04 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. <<

Yay! \o/

>> 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. <<

Sooth. I imagine that you are a stakeholder in many other areas too, as most people are. You have a community -- a neighborhood or town or whatever you identify with -- perhaps a religion or political party, some assortment of worthy causes. Everyone on Earth is a stakeholder in things like climate change whether they choose to act on that or not.

>> That sounds a lot more like something worth investigating to me. <<

Go for it!

>> It doesn't cover the people skills, but I understand that can be dealt with. Time to look closer... <<

Yep. People skills can be learned, or relearned if you got the wrong set. Don't try to do everything at once. Break it down into manageable portions. Frex, "I-Messages," "Three-Part Messages," and "Active Listening" are really useful techniques applicable not only to practices of mediation and facilitation but many other situations as well.
40 comments or Leave a comment