Gender. Again. *sigh*

I’m getting tired of reading about ever more bizarre gender issues.

This morning I read an article about, wait for it, a woman who considers herself non binary because of her blackness and fatness being considered both masculine and feminine as a child/teenager.

You can read the article here.

Despite the fact that the whole piece smacks of white hating, men hating and even slim, pretty women hating, I can respect that her own personal trauma has led to her making the decision that she feels non binary in gender terms. 

I would personally argue, in fact, that gender doesn’t really exist anyway. 

Her message is much more complex, though, she does NOT want you to use the pronouns they/them. She absolutely DOES NOT WANT you to assume that she is a cisgender woman upon meeting her, but she does want you to use the female pronouns of she/her because that’s the pronouns she identifies with. 

So, and you’ll need to keep up here, what she is saying is, when you meet her, don’t call her ‘her’, in way that assumes she is cisgender. In order to empower herself she must tell you that she is non binary (black and fat – presumably too, in case you missed them.) and you must NOT call her she/her in a way that assumes that she is cisgender, but call her she/her in a way that recognises her difficult plight as a non binary, black, fat woman. Don’t worry if you miss this though, she will empower herself and the non binary community, by telling you ALL OF THIS, before YOU go right ahead like the steamroller you are and go and ASSUME her gender. 

What in the freshly laid turd is she on about? 

This is a non point. 

It is also a brilliant example of the increasingly worrying trend of making a fuss for no good reason at all. This is telling people things they don’t want or need to know. Firstly there is no behaviour change required, no change in your use of language. She/her to, um, she/her but in a reassuredly non cisgender* way. 

*this word in itself makes me vomit a little in the back of my throat.

I have many transgender friends and I have always stood in a place of respect for their wishes where pronouns are concerned. I don’t really care if you are transgender, or black, or fat, or if you have horns growing out of your head, or three arms. I don’t care what sexuality you are. I don’t care what genitals are in your knickers/boxer shorts. I just don’t care. Unless someone wants a romantic/sexual relationship with you, it’s irrelevant. 

I DO care if a group of people or a person is abused or suffers hate crime in any way. I care if that person is black, white, non binary, heterosexual or the biggest, raging gay man there ever was. Abuse towards human beings, ALL HUMAN BEINGS is unacceptable. 

However, I am starting to feel like the transgender community are now LOOKING for excuses to be offended. 

In fact, I am sick of hearing about how offended everyone is. How white supremacy, capitalism, and ‘those bastard men’ are to blame for it all. About being misgendered, oh the crime of crimes. 

Why do I need to know about the content of your pants? Why do you feel the need to throw (not literally, thank god) the contents of your pants at anyone who will listen? 

We seem to be, lately, creating just more horrible, separating labels, including the bloody awful ‘cisgender’, a label thrust upon people like me, by people who want the world to know that they are ‘different’ to me, but in the same breath want me to include them. By men who assume to know what being a woman is like because they ‘identify as’, which really only means that they identify with what a man thinks being a woman feels like. By people who will get mortally offended if I call them by the wrong pronoun accidentally. By people who want us all to be hypervigilant of them and their delicate feelings but they choose to completely ignore the fact that it is not only them that suffers pain in this life. By people shouting about how dare anyone make assumptions about THEM and then in the same breath making ALL white people responsible for racism. The same people who make ALL men responsible for rape. ALL slim, white women slags and ‘basic’. People shouting “respect me!” Whilst showing, with abandon, a total disregard for certain ‘types’ of people because they, somehow, deserve it. 

How exactly do you empower a community in this way? People who have been in abusive relationships don’t begin conversations with new friends by informing them first and formost that they were a victim of abuse. Sexual abuse or domestic abuse. Mental, emotional or physical. They don’t stop everyone they meet and say “hey, before you assume that I am a white, cisgender, therefore privileged woman I need you to know I have suffered, you must call me *insert pronoun here*”.

It’s absurd.

In some ways stating that your blackness or gender or fatness is in some way responsible for the abuse you have suffered is victim blaming… of yourself. Rather than holding the abusers to account you are finding excuses. In every way bleating on about what others should or shouldn’t call you, when they are in no way trying to be abusive, leaves the wrong people being made to feel shitty instead of the abusive people who did the real damage.  

Black. Fat. Non binary. Whatever the label, all it means is … different to you. And boy do you want us all to know it. Not only that but YOU are judging people in precisely the same way that you are asking… no… demanding that no one judges you! 

I have spent most of my life championing the human race, even though the human race hasn’t always been kind to me. More labels means more separation. More separation, historically, isn’t a good thing. People being forced into boxes without their consent, historically, isn’t a good thing. 

You are marginalising people and thereby marginalising yourself. 

Life stories are for close friends, not for down the pub and every time you meet another person. It makes you a bore. A self obsessed bore. 

There are more important things than pronouns, especially in passing. Good friends will hear your story and respect your choices. Expecting the world to bow to your choices and lifestyle at every opportunity is conceited, narcissistic even. 

Approaching people in such an agressive, self-entitled manner will only make people think badly of you and gender will have nothing to do with it. 

You do not help your own cause, you, in fact, damage it more than someone who innocently mistakes your pronouns could ever damage it. 

The person you are berating for using the wrong pronoun might be distracted by worries that their child is sick. They might not see what you want them to see because they have family in a war torn corner of the world and they are concerned for their safety. They might not even consider your precious gender status because they must bury their mother tomorrow.  They may not be perusing about all of the overly complex reasons that you feel non binary because they are working out how to escape an abusive marriage.

Your gender or lack of gender is YOUR business. 

It is not necessary to wander about life thrusting it upon anyone you meet. Needing such constant validation from others is not empowering, it is weakness and, quite frankly, assumes that you are not 100% content with being who you are. 

You do not have an automatic right to be offended. 

Being offended means nothing anyway. It’s the cry of the shallow, the indignance of the ignorant. Being offended doesn’t change the world, it doesn’t change opinions or behaviours or governments. It just means that you’re offended, well whoop de doo to you. Move along with all the others.

She mentions being a ‘biased, loud and messy bitch who lives for drama’. Well, she is certainly going about creating the wrong kind of drama for herself and others in exactly the right way.

Fight for those who have been victims of hate crime. Fight for those who are in pain. Do this. Do this until it stops, with passion and veracity. But, please, stop looking for controversy everywhere you go and causing people to feel like they must somehow revere you as more special than others. 

Fighting for acceptance by vilifying and marginalising others will only lead to more marginalisation of yourself and the others that you claim to be empowering within your own community.

The sooner this is realised the sooner, perhaps, we can all move on to a more accepting and tolerant world for us all. 


What the heck is ‘cisgender’?

Apparently, it’s me. I’m cisgender. 

Oh ok, um, here I was living many decades as a woman and lo and behold it turns out I’m not just a woman. I’m a cisgender woman. 

Well thanks for letting me know. 

Where does this phrase come from? The transgender community. That’s right, folks, the advent of transgender sexuality being accepted in our society means I must prescribe to a new label, chosen and thrust upon me by other people. Other people.

Y’know, I can think of quite a few imposed labels that are nothing short of horribly offensive, because people just love other people giving them labels, don’t they? Goes down a treat. 

It comes from the Latin ‘cis’ meaning the same side of, presumably in response to the Latin ‘trans’ meaning the other side of. If we have transgender then we must have cisgender… Logical right? Well, no, not in my opinion. 

I was doing just peachy with ‘woman’ from the Old English ‘wimman’ which means (literally) woman-man. Not a contraction of wombed man, as I had been led to believe many years ago. 

I have watched so many discussions about gender and it’s many permutations recently and it still leaves me baffled. 

To be clear, I have zero problem with transgender people. What anyone chooses to do with their body is up to them, I hold no judgement and I vehemently disagree with violence or abuse levelled at any human being, regardless of skin colour, religion, sexual orientation, clothing choices, or anything. Abuse is always wrong. 

However I do feel that in my acceptance and embracing of another’s differences it seems that I also need to bow down to a new label that I didn’t ask for (and had no say in choosing) and some behaviors that I find utterly incomprehensible to adhere to in all circumstances. 

Why does anyone need to know what sex I was born? They don’t. I am a woman. I was born a woman and I identify as a woman. Woman. I have a womb, I have ovaries and I have grown an entire human being inside my female body. Woman. Easy. 

If you are a man who has decided to change your genitalia, through surgery, you are a transgender woman. Not a woman. This is why we do not need the label cisgender woman. There are women and transgender women. 

Yes, you believe that you identify as a woman. That’s fine by me. But, if I am honest (and I always am), I don’t know how you know that. You have not lived as a woman from birth, you do not own a womb, or ovaries, and you do not have the same experiences that I did as a female child, as a young woman through puberty, as a pregnant woman, as a wife, or a mother. You have an idea of womanhood, as I have a idea of manhood. The harsh truth of this is that neither you or I can actually experience the the reality of being the opposite sex, not the good, the bad or the downright horrendous. 

We just can’t. No matter how much we may want to. It is actually scientifically impossible. 

I cannot accept that you are a woman. Because you are not a woman. You are a man who (in varying degrees) dresses like a woman or takes female hormones, even has had surgery to construct a vagina, but, and here is the rub, owning a vagina does not make you a woman. To assume so insults and dimishes the struggle of women all over the world and reduces us to merely the owners of a specific set of genitalia. Who the profanity are you to do that to us?  

Apart from that I am watching more and more people get utterly berated for ‘misgendering’ (whatever that is), “Ask for the correct pronouns!” You shout, “it’s only polite.”, but it isn’t. If you are walking past someone at the park on a sunny Sunday morning and you look like a man to the person who, with all the best intentions for kindness, says “morning, mate.” You have not been misgendered. That’s how you appear to the person who has clapped eyes on you for all of 3 minutes, perhaps less. I can be fairly confident that they didn’t, in that 3 minutes, see you, wonder what gender you are, discover you are transgender and the deliberately decide to use the word ‘mate’ instead of ‘madam’, they were probably just wondering what they were going to have for Sunday dinner:

…Beef or lamb. Hmm, I have some rosemary in the fridge, ooh jogger, “morning mate”, lamb I reckon, crikey that bloke in the pink joggers just gave me a right funny look, no, beef, I have a jar of wholegrain mustard in the cupboard.”

You are not that important to the rest of the world. Let’s put it like this, our son has long hair and gets called ‘she’ and ‘her’ all the time. It’s actually quite normal for us. Because he knows he’s male, he identifies with male, he was born male – which is more in formation than you need to know – he doesn’t care. He understands that having long hair means that occasionally people will mistake him for a girl. He knows they aren’t trying to be cruel. It’s a mistake. It happens.

I get that what a transgender person is doing is physical and therefore visual but you cannot expect total strangers to gender you correctly if your name is Janet but you look like Bob. Yes, if you get a chance to meet people and explain, politely that actually your name is Janet now and you’d rather be called ‘she’, then all is good. But what happens when people don’t have the time or, let’s face it, enough interest in your plight? They may call you ‘sir’. Oh well, you will live. It isn’t outrageous. It’s a mistake.

There are two sexes. Male and female. Whether you choose to believe that gender is fluid, non binary or even non existent you still cannot jump into the role of woman by the arbitrary markers of dress, choice of hairstyle or genitals.

Be who you want to be but please do not label me to legitimise your own label, do not expect the world and her mother to seek out your approval in all areas of life because we have things in our lives too that are more important to us than your pronouns and often we aren’t even thinking about your genitals. I am not cisgender, I am a woman. Do not call yourself woman if you are a transgender woman, your experience of woman is not and never will be a woman’s experience so please stop belittling us by insisting that you are the same.

You are not.

Lol Jude.

Feel free to use the comments to discuss, we are genuinely interested in hearing your opinions.