Saturday, December 21, 2019

Navigating the Social Minefield

We are the summation of all our life experience, including that which results from the sex assigned at birth.

I personally reject the idea that the sex assigned at birth determines all of my identity, drawing a hard boundary around the gender role and presentation I am permitted, and forcing me to remain in one little box of gender identity.

I am aware of the potentialities of biology and biochemistry, and understand the path this body has taken from conception onward, resulting in a person who has transcended the boundaries that this culture draws around gender identity, presentation, and role.  My awareness demands that I reject the ideologies that declare assigned sex at birth to be all, or even the primary determinant as to which cultural boundaries I must remain within.

I recognize that there are those whose ideology demands that they deny the validity of my experience, and who demand that I remain within the bounds set by assigned sex at birth.

I also recognize that there are those who accept part of my path and my experience, but for whom my origin and experience are insufficiently pure, ideologically unacceptable in summation, to be worthy of their chosen labels.

These various interacting ideologies and prejudgements make social interactions a bit of a minefield. Living in a culture that insists on a gender binary, and only accepts a narrow set of paths through life can lead to someone like me being rejected or viewed as undesirable by some others.  While I personally do push hard for acceptance and recognition that people like me are human and valid, I don’t do this to deliberately others cause discomfort in others. I wouldn’t be comfortable pushing into a crowd that rejects my right to exist as myself.

I would, for example, no more demand entry to a “womyn-born-womyn” event than I would try to attend a Klu Klux Klan rally, for similar reasons.  I’d be encountering people whose ideology denies the validity of my existence, and who would not be swayed by my presence.

I do have to be mindful that not all such groups label themselves clearly, and am careful to reach out to organizers in advance to make sure my attendance won’t cause difficulties.  I’ve run into situations where a group might tolerate me, but other individuals there are uncomfortable with my presence.  I generally will drop such groups, rather than have my presence cause issues.

This is an area that lies outside the experience of the typical white upper-middle-class cisgender woman, but is a part of my life.  I am somewhat social and extroverted, and can’t really live my life closeted to avoid causing discomfort to others.