I originally put the last post into a private category, which led me to look at the other private posts about gender and religion I had that were referred to in this post. As stated nearly 3 years ago,
Maybe someday, if I become more comfortable with these topics, they will become password protected posts, but that day is not today.
Well, surprisingly, that day is today. I’ve changed a lot in the last 3 years, and while these views aren’t really accurate to my current state of mind, the stories definitely are and I’d like them to be shared. As stated in my religion post:
Perhaps I send things to litchin@ in the vain hope that if more people know my stories, they won’t all die with me. Or at least Google will hold them in their musty-server-rack-in-the-cloud/butt
Without further ado, here are the posts and the passwords associated with them. [Passwords redacted from blog version – please contact me if you’d like the passwords]
Overall, my current views on gender / religion can be summarized by this response I gave on quality-gays@ to the question “What’s the most valuable life lesson you’ve learned through understanding and learning about your/people close to you’s queerness? Specifically non-obvious things (e.g. things outside of acceptance of self/others, unlearning homophobia/transphobia)”
Becoming more accepting of the questioning / fluid / liminal identity as a perfectly valid label — not only for sexual orientation or gender identity but also for other labelled concepts like religion and career.
I really appreciate both the struggles of past queer activists as well as conversations with my friends now for allowing me to question myself in all aspects. My feelings of gender and religion have always been really tied together, and it was a big breakthrough that I could allow myself to be “shrug idk” on both aspects and that was a totally OK thing to do, regardless of how much societal pressure I felt to “just pick some label and stick by it”.
I had a discussion last night about how dumb the idea of “purity” is – whether it’s the classic idea of virginity, or white supremacists advocating for racial purity, or the expectation that movies are supposed to moralize The Good and The Bad without allowing for nuance or if it’s proving that you’re the alpha social justice warrior by constantly looking for things to be morally outraged about (ex. ragging on Black Panther for cutting a small scene implying a queer relationship or being a TERF and feeling that your identity of feminity is being threatened by trans women). There’s a difference between fighting for an identity group to be recognized as just as valid as the mainstream identity vs. being so infatuated with a label that you ignore the complex humanity in everything else in pursuit of that idealistic label and becoming the same oppressors that you are fighting against.
I think that hearing other people’s stories about discovering themselves — and in particular, finding out that the trans narrative was a lot more complex than the typically normal one of “aligning my body to a gender identity that I always knew” — has helped me become more comfortable with myself as I continue to question my way through life. I think the idea of “queering the binary” is a bit overused in academia (a la queer drones or the queer art of failing video games), but I think that understanding that there is always a third option between a presented dichotomy is extremely important and goes beyond sexuality / gender.
I’d like to take the time now to thank a bunch of people for helping me get to this point:
- Hiccup, for talking with me for a couple hours in the middle of a busy semester about gender and religious identity, despite us not knowing each other that well beyond Zephyr. This one discussion really helped me crystallize the “shrug idk” realization, and I’m extremely grateful.
- Eurah, for being stone-headed enough to have moral principles and for calling me out when I do something against them. I’ve learned a lot about empathy, about valuing other people’s narratives even (and perhaps, especially) if you don’t have any experience of what they’re talking about — because that’s what it means to be human and not an analysis monster.
- All of y’all for self-selecting yourselves to stay on a spammy mailing list and making the void a little cozier. I really appreciate y’all taking the time out to read my blog, especially every time you reply or ask me in person about stuff.
Stay literary, my friends