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The Wordsmith's Forge
The Writing & Other Projects of Elizabeth Barrette
Poetry Fishbowl Report for July 5, 2016
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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!
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