Playing Nice Here With Radical Feminists
January 9, 2007
Radical Feminists and Transgenders UNITED!
January 11, 2007

More Thoughts On The Gender Binary and Feminism

For the past week or so, I’ve really had my mind rapped around the “gender binary” and feminism. (maybe it’s because I’m reading Jen Burke’s “Breaking The Binary).” I’m no expert on either, so I’m looking for some direction on direction on the issue. I understand what the gender binary is “the idea that there are only two groups that a person, action, or behavior can belong in: male or female.” All the reading I’ve done lately seems to indicate that feminists desire to destroy the binary (as I’ve said before, I believe the binary is fiction). I’m serious about this… what would the world like like to you, with a broken binary? I’ll be honest with you, visions of Ellen G. White’s “reform dress” come to mind.

prepost.jpgAs far as my own gender presentation it’s about what I like to wear and what parts of my body I choose to showcase. I always thought my gender presentation, how others saw me, was not a true reflection of who I feel myself to be. I never really understood it, but pretransition I got hit on by gay men, and I’ve been called a “fag” on more than one occasion. I’ve always thought of gender presentation as a “window into the soul.” The human animal makes judgements and assessments based on visual inspection. I’ve always felt like others viewed my presentation as a feminine man, which has never felt genuine to me.

Thoughts?

  • “the problem with your 1994 presentation is that you were in a penguin suit, implying you were probably at some boring function (aren’t most penguin suit/ long gown functions boring unless you are the star?).”

    lol… That was my wedding day. I’d have rather been wearing a long gown 😉

  • “the problem with your 1994 presentation is that you were in a penguin suit, implying you were probably at some boring function (aren’t most penguin suit/ long gown functions boring unless you are the star?).”

    lol… That was my wedding day. I’d have rather been wearing a long gown 😉

  • NancyP

    the problem with your 1994 presentation is that you were in a penguin suit, implying you were probably at some boring function (aren’t most penguin suit/ long gown functions boring unless you are the star?).

  • NancyP

    the problem with your 1994 presentation is that you were in a penguin suit, implying you were probably at some boring function (aren’t most penguin suit/ long gown functions boring unless you are the star?).

  • as i said, “the gender binary has a very small overlap”, and perhaps when people see you, they can’t peg you into “man” or “woman”. that’s not the same as fitting *perfectly* into the gender binary. it’s probably true that no one fits perfectly, but it is also true that virtually all of us, with very few exceptions, are easily recognizable as either “man” or “woman”. in that sense, the binary is very visible, and therefore, very real to virtually all people.

    trans people, for whatever their personal motivations, reject the set of rules imposed on them from the binary. many of us end up as easily recognizable as a member of the “opposite” end of the binary from which we came. but we still, in large part, fit into the binary, or strive to. just like everyone else.

    the number of people who do not fit into a “man/woman” binary perception are small enough that they are invisible to the world at large. and when we are seen, we are seen as demons, because we upset their idea that the gender binary is absolute. but those of us who transcend the binary are erased or overlooked, so in the minds of the vast majority of people, everyone is either a man or a woman.

    it’s not about how well one fits, just so long as one fits to some degree – and that degree hinges on whether or not the typical observer can peg someone as either a man or a woman.

  • as i said, “the gender binary has a very small overlap”, and perhaps when people see you, they can’t peg you into “man” or “woman”. that’s not the same as fitting *perfectly* into the gender binary. it’s probably true that no one fits perfectly, but it is also true that virtually all of us, with very few exceptions, are easily recognizable as either “man” or “woman”. in that sense, the binary is very visible, and therefore, very real to virtually all people.

    trans people, for whatever their personal motivations, reject the set of rules imposed on them from the binary. many of us end up as easily recognizable as a member of the “opposite” end of the binary from which we came. but we still, in large part, fit into the binary, or strive to. just like everyone else.

    the number of people who do not fit into a “man/woman” binary perception are small enough that they are invisible to the world at large. and when we are seen, we are seen as demons, because we upset their idea that the gender binary is absolute. but those of us who transcend the binary are erased or overlooked, so in the minds of the vast majority of people, everyone is either a man or a woman.

    it’s not about how well one fits, just so long as one fits to some degree – and that degree hinges on whether or not the typical observer can peg someone as either a man or a woman.

  • Danni Green

    Granted, I avoid the mall like the plague and I never watch TV, but
    honestly, I hardly know anybody who perfectly fits into the gender
    binary. Some people have gotten very good at dressing like they do
    and even acting like they do, but I think if most of us were to take
    a gender binary quiz, hardly anybody would get 100% male or 100%
    female. Most people would fall somewhere in between. That’s what I
    mean when I talk about gender being on a spectrum…the illusion of
    polarity is simply that; an illusion.

    Of course the gender binary appears real if you don’t look at trans
    people, which is what I hear you saying when you say “don’t do this
    at your local trans support group; that’s cheating”. Of course the
    bathroom issue appears unreal if only boys or girls are using the
    bathroom, but what if you aren’t a boy or a girl? I’m not. Lots of
    us aren’t. Some people are, sure…even MOST people are…but some
    people aren’t, and whether the gender binary is an illusion or not,
    I’M NOT AN ILLUSION. We’re not an illusion. Trans people are real
    people who really exist (and really have to pee sometimes!)

  • Danni Green

    Granted, I avoid the mall like the plague and I never watch TV, but
    honestly, I hardly know anybody who perfectly fits into the gender
    binary. Some people have gotten very good at dressing like they do
    and even acting like they do, but I think if most of us were to take
    a gender binary quiz, hardly anybody would get 100% male or 100%
    female. Most people would fall somewhere in between. That’s what I
    mean when I talk about gender being on a spectrum…the illusion of
    polarity is simply that; an illusion.

    Of course the gender binary appears real if you don’t look at trans
    people, which is what I hear you saying when you say “don’t do this
    at your local trans support group; that’s cheating”. Of course the
    bathroom issue appears unreal if only boys or girls are using the
    bathroom, but what if you aren’t a boy or a girl? I’m not. Lots of
    us aren’t. Some people are, sure…even MOST people are…but some
    people aren’t, and whether the gender binary is an illusion or not,
    I’M NOT AN ILLUSION. We’re not an illusion. Trans people are real
    people who really exist (and really have to pee sometimes!)

  • you say that the gender binary is fiction, that instead, gender is a spectrum. i disagree. take a look around and see if there is *anyone* who is not clearly identifiable as either a woman or a man. just don’t do this at your local trans support group. that’s cheating.

    the gender binary has a very small overlap, and for the most part, is clearly delineated, at least as far as i can tell. the dress code at work, for example, is separated into two distinct sets of rules – one for men, one for women. and with very few exceptions, each dresses accordingly. out of maybe 1000 people, i saw one woman who wore the traditional male dockers and polo shirt. none of the men wore skirts or makeup.

    the whole bathroom issue is all about the binary. there is no bathroom spectrum. you either use the boys room or girls room.

    the binary *is* the matrix. we are so entrenched in it, it so permeates our lives and thoughts, that i fear we will always have it, even if we don’t realize it.

  • you say that the gender binary is fiction, that instead, gender is a spectrum. i disagree. take a look around and see if there is *anyone* who is not clearly identifiable as either a woman or a man. just don’t do this at your local trans support group. that’s cheating.

    the gender binary has a very small overlap, and for the most part, is clearly delineated, at least as far as i can tell. the dress code at work, for example, is separated into two distinct sets of rules – one for men, one for women. and with very few exceptions, each dresses accordingly. out of maybe 1000 people, i saw one woman who wore the traditional male dockers and polo shirt. none of the men wore skirts or makeup.

    the whole bathroom issue is all about the binary. there is no bathroom spectrum. you either use the boys room or girls room.

    the binary *is* the matrix. we are so entrenched in it, it so permeates our lives and thoughts, that i fear we will always have it, even if we don’t realize it.

  • DonnaLee

    I think you looked like a feminine male, so you looking more feminine works quite well! I think your glasses’ choice has gotten better.

  • DonnaLee

    I think you looked like a feminine male, so you looking more feminine works quite well! I think your glasses’ choice has gotten better.

  • Danni Green

    Here’s my thought: I think your gender presentation is awesome

    🙂

  • Danni Green

    Here’s my thought: I think your gender presentation is awesome

    🙂