I recently read a blog post by a genderqueer individual. I went into the essay with a large amount of skepticism (I mean, come on, the title was “Forced Femininity Saved My Life: One Genderqueer on Male Privilege“), but it ended up being pretty awesome. It was about the individual (born a girl) identifying heavily with men and taking on the male roles in society (both good and bad), but having an abusive, insecure, mentally ill, cheating father as their primary role model. They took on all the father’s traits, and believed that they had to overpower the women in the family, and be a huge douche bag like daddy. Once the person’s father left the family for another woman, and once the author hit puberty (thus being “forced into femininity,”) they came to realized the shitty, shitty human being they would have been (and how they would have probably been arrested and/or institutionalized for their behavior) if they had been born male, after all, and if their father had stuck around. The article becomes an important message about how disadvantaged men are in society, from how emotionless they are supposed to be to how they are charged/prosecuted for domestic abuse in comparison to women.
However, my skepticism was rewarded in the beginning. Title aside, the introduction nearly completely turned me off the post:
“One hot July day in New York City, 1990, I was born a child. I was pulled from my mother’s womb and I was examined. I was determined to have a vagina. It was declared on my certificate that my mother, woman, and my father, man, had given birth to a baby girl. That was the first experience of the life-determining effects of American society’s gender binary, swaddled in pink, not blue, certainly not purple or some other, more ambiguous color. Pink. Moments out of the womb and before even receiving my name, I was being wrapped in gender.”
Everything about it made me shudder. “Determined to have a vagina,” specifically, really got me going. It’s a completely unnecessary, self-absorbed way to say that the person was born with a whispering eye. While a technically correct statement, it doesn’t take a whole lot of research or observation to see if a babbs has a dick, a cunt, or both.
While I’m nitpicking, being born with a vagina wasn’t the “first experience of the life-determining effects of American society’s gender binary.” The person doesn’t remember being born; nobody does. The first experience sounds like it should have been hitting puberty, because their entire life up until that point, the person had been raised like a man by the father, and didn’t give a single care about gender.
As a whole, one of my largest gripes is that babies don’t give a shit about blankey color or what’s tucked between their legs. That isn’t what they’re screaming their heads off about. What upsets them is the fact that they were just evicted from their cozy cave, the lights are way too bright, and they don’t have the words to express how startled they are.
The color is for the parents to have something to go off of. Now, of course, “It’s the parents’ problem for forcing the child to conform to the sex they were born with!” But what in the hell are parents supposed to do? Read the child’s mind? Know instinctively from the get-go that their child, while born a female, identifies more with men? Purposefully give them an androgynous name so the child may determine in several YEARS which gender they are?
I don’t harbor a disgust for folks who don’t feel comfortable in their own bodies. I sympathize; that has to fucking suck. Living your life feeling like a stranger to your downstairs must be confusing, itchy, humiliating, and more. It takes a lot of self-reflection to figure out who you really are, and being genderqueer doesn’t help with that. But there is a point where the self-reflection becomes self-inflating, and the author of the article crosses that line, even if just by a hair in comparison to the folks on, say, Tumblr.
After the intro, the author suddenly gets it together. The article becomes a worthy read. They even go on to say, “I was born a normal, healthy girl.” Was that so bad?