stigme

Ήταν δύο ή ίσως τρεις μήνες πριν.
Ήμασταν με την μητέρα μου στο αυτοκίνητο και οδηγούσαμε σε έναν απλό μονόδρομο αλλά κεντρικό δρόμο παρ’ αυτά. Περνούσαν λοιπόν αρκετά αυτοκίνητα..Και φυσικά στο αριστερό πεζοδρόμιο βρισκόταν μια γυναίκα η οποία ήθελε να διασχίσει τον δρόμο αλλά μιας και κανείς δεν σταματούσε, φαντάζομαι πέρασε εκεί αρκετά λεπτά. Ήταν σχετικα κοντούλα, μαυρο-γκρι μαλλιά, σχεδόν αχτενιστά. Το ντύσιμο της ήταν ολοφάνερα από τα ρούχα της εκκλησίας ή από κάποιον τύπο που χαρίζει ρούχα. Παλιά ρούχα, ελαφρώς φθαρμένα όμως.. Σίγουρα δεν εφάρμοζαν πάνω της όπως θα έπρεπε. Στο αριστερό (ή ίσως στο δεξί) της χέρι κρατούσε μια πλαστική σακούλα από κάποιο σουπερ μάρκετ αλλά εύκολα καταλάβαινε κανείς ότι δεν περιείχε ψώνια. Ήταν 55-60 χρονών και έμοιαζε σίγουρα ταλαιπωρημένη και πονεμένη..Και σίγουρα ήταν φτωχή.. (Και ποιος δεν είναι βέβαια;! 300€ πήγαν οι συντάξεις)
Η αρχική μου σκέψη ήταν αυτή. Μια φτωχή γυναίκα. Και ένιωσα θλίψη και στεναχώρια.
Όταν όμως κατάφερε να περάσει τον δρόμο εφόσον εμείς σταματήσαμε, συνειδητοποίησα ακριβώς το αντίθετο..
Όση ώρα, μα όση ώρα διέσχιζε τον δρόμο μας κοιτούσε και έγνεφε ευχαριστώντας που σταματήσαμε. Και χαμογελούσε. Γλυκά και πονεμένα. Αλλά χαμογελούσε αληθινά.. Τα χείλια της φαινόταν να σχημάτιζαν λέξεις.. Ενδεχομένως επαναλαμβανόμενα ευχαριστώ..
Και απλά κατάλαβα ότι αυτή η γυναικα ήταν πλούσια. Ήταν πλούσια απο ευγένεια και καλοσύνη. Ήταν πλούσια από αγάπη και ευγνωμοσύνη. Ήταν ολοφάνερο ότι η ζωή δεν της είχε φερθεί σωστά και πιθανότατα το γνώριζε. Μα ήταν ολοφάνερο ότι ήταν και ευγνώμων έστω και για αυτήν την ζωή.
Νιώθω τυχερή που συνάντησα έστω και κατά αυτόν τον τρόπο ένα πλούσιο άτομο..
Και να θυμάστε ότι πλούσιος δεν είναι αυτός με τα ακριβά ρούχα, παπούτσια, σπίτια και αμάξια. Πλούσιος είναι αυτός που έχει γεμάτη ψυχή..
(Φυσικά το πισινό μας αμάξι πατούσε κόρνες, το…καθυστερούσαμε.)
—  Εγώ

Μόλις πέρασε ένα παιδάκι έξω από το παράθυρο μου.. ηλικίας; το πολύ 6. Γύρισε στην μητέρα του και της μίλησε.
“ σε εκείνη την τρύπα -ειπε- έσκαψε ο διάβολος με το σφυρί του. ”
Η μητέρα του γέλασε.
“ αλήθεια σου λέω. -επέμενε- Έσκαψε και δημιούργησε την κόλαση. Τον φοβάμαι. ”

…Όχι μικρέ μου. Δεν έσκαψε κανένας διάβολος καμιά τρύπα. Δεν βρίσκεται κανένας διάβολος κάτω στην γη. Ο διάβολος ζει μέσα στον καθένα μας και ξυπνάει πολύ συχνά και καταστρέφει στιγμές, καταστάσεις, συναισθηματα ..
Ο “ διάβολος ” δεν είναι ένας. Είναι όλοι αυτοί οι άνθρωποι που βλέπεις τριγύρω σου. Να τους φοβάσαι τους ανθρώπους μικρέ μου, δαγκώνουν.

Σου ξυπνάνε συναίσθημα κι ύστερα φεύγουν.
Στο παίζουν “άνθρωποι” και στην πραγματικότητα είναι τα μεγαλύτερα “τέρατα” που γνώρισες ποτε.
Σε κάθε ευκαιρία σε πατάνε και σε κάνουν ένα με το πάτωμα και αναδεικνύουν το εγώ τους.
Αυτούς να φοβάσαι μικρέ μου. Αυτοί είναι οι μόνοι “διάβολοι” που υπάρχουν.
Καλή τύχη.

—  26/04/16 - 17:33
Trans and Queer

Queer has been reclaimed, and honestly, I shouldn’t have to elaborate beyond this. The community has been using queer in it’s reclaimed form (whether that be to describe ourselves, or describe our community in a broad fashion), for decades now. 

Yes, queer is still used as a slur by some terrible people, but there are multiple other words that see much more use by the communities that have reclaimed them that are still used as slurs, quite vehemently in some cases, such as:

  • Gay
  • Cripple (I am disabled, and part of the “Cripple Punk” movement)
  • The way that black communities use the N-word
  • Even Bisexuality 

There are plenty of others that I cannot try to explain without trying to explain systems of oppression that I cannot fairly try to discuss because I do not have enough experience seeing and/or hearing either the use or reclamation of them. 

However, there’s something else that we must discuss once we get past the plethora of logical fallacy arguments that the anti-ace brigade keeps throwing at us, primarily about how the use of a reclaimed slur that is still used as a slur is bad (again, Gay is used as a slur much more often than Queer is these days, or even most time periods). The intimate relationship between the “Transgender Community” and “Queer” as an identity/orientation. There are multiple levels to this relationship, each existing due to the affects that gender identity has on orientation.

First: Binary Trans people and Monosexism.

Trans people have a particularly hard time when it comes to our orientations. Some of these problems boil down to questions/idea about the basics of how we define these orientations. Are sexual orientations like Gay and Straight dictated by “physical sex,” or by gender?

Now, most of the trans community, and our allies, all agree that the answer to that question is “gender,” instead of “physical sex.” However, this still get’s very confusing for many trans people, particularly trans youth, who are just trying to figure things out. Here’s a scenario that explains this situation.

A trans man/boy who likes women. He only recently discovered and accepted his gender identity, and before that, he had long since realized that he liked girls. However, up until recently, he had potentially identified as a girl himself, and because of that, he likely identified, or still does identify, with the gay community, and potentially uses gay as an identity. 

Does this hypothetical trans boy, who is attracted to girls, and girls only, benefit from straight privilege? Absolutely not, and here’s why. 

A combination of cissexism and heterosexism have created this odd phantom zone for binary trans people who experience monosexual attraction, because no matter if they are gay or straight, there are excessive amounts of people who will vehemently argue that that person is either one, completely ignoring the identity that the trans person chooses to use. 

Many binary trans people who experience monosexual attraction need the word queer in order to explain that they don’t experience straight privilege without having to try to educate the person that they’re talking to.

Second: Non-Binary Trans people and Monosexism.

This problem is amplified even further for non-binary folks who experience monosexual attraction. Neither “Gay” or “Straight” are able to be used with any regularity and still accurately describe the orientation of the nb folks in question.

“Straight” in particular, is impossible for nb folks. Now, this depends slightly on what definition of “straight” you use, but I’d say that the most reliable version is the one that creates “straight privilege.” This is when one person of a binary gender is attracted to another person of the “opposite” binary gender. By the nature of one’s gender being non-binary, the practical definition of the orientation “Straight” is useless by nb people.

Similarly, “Gay” doesn’t work very well either. However, it actually does work in some cases. There are many nb people who are either Demiboy or Demigirl who consider themselves as gay or lesbian, and have been accepted by those communities, however, many of the other nb identities don’t function very well with the concept of gayness. 

There are some nb people who’s gender identities are completely unique to themselves, and therefore, there would not be someone who is the “same gender” for them to be attracted to in the way that gayness would imply. 

And much like in the hypothetical scenario presented in the previous section, there are many nb people who only identify as gay or lesbian because they discovered/accepted their sexuality first, and are comfortable with that part of the community, as long as they are comfortable with you.

Most non-binary people who experience monosexual attraction need the word queer in order to explain their orientations because the way that “gay” and “straight” are constructed as identities completely relies on the gender binary.

Third: The Stigma surrounding the word “Bisexuality,” and other non-monosexual identities.

The majority of the trans community are not monosexual. We have a particularly high percentage of m-spec and a-spec identified people amongst us, each for different reasons. 

Trans people who experience attraction to more than one gender have other issues to deal with. Many trans m-spec people, particularly nb m-spec people, identify as being m-spec in part because of their gender identity. For many of us, the realization that so many more genders exist outside of just the binary, as well as our interactions with others in the trans people in the community, help other trans people recognize that they might be m-spec. 

On the flip side, The trans community also has a significantly higher percentage of a-spec identified people than that of the cis community. There is much speculation as to why this correlation occurs, with two major theories that both have reasonable support, which are:

  • Asexuality affected by dysphoria
  • The notably higher amounts of outreach education that each group does per capita

Unfortunately, m-spec identities and a-spec identities have a rather unpleasant stigm with some parts of the community, particularly “bisexuality.” The LGBT+ community has a rather unpleasant history with radical factions, primarily from within the LG portions of the community, spreading hatred and propaganda against other sections of the community, and unfortunately, the community as a large has historically, done very little to stop these factions from spreading their hatred and propaganda. 

The campaign against bisexuality in particular has caused some effects that are quite relevant to this topic. The stigma surrounding the word “bisexuality,” both within the community, and out in the “straight-controlled” world is staggering. There are extremely high numbers of Bi people who identify as poly, or even as gay, just to avoid using the word because of the negative connotations it’s gained. 

In this setting too, the word queer has been essential. Many m-spec people feel the need to use something other than the m-spec identities that they likely identify with because of how those identities are treated, and the word queer has been a very highly trafficked replacement. It is broad and inclusive, it’s simple, but it still get’s the point of “not straight” across. This is even more so true with nb m-spec people, as any attempt to explain how their attraction works could potentially become a half-hour long education session on gender theory. 

It is in the same sense that many trans (and cis) people use the word queer for a-spec identities. That is to attempt to convey the meaning of “not straight” without having to potentially be answering questions for at least half-an-hour. 


TL;DR: 

Because of how the current models of Sexual and Romantic Orientations are explicitly linked to gender, many of the terms that are widely used by cis people to describe their orientations do not provide accurate descriptions of a trans persons model of attraction. “Queer” has been reclaimed by this community multiple times in our history, and its effectiveness as an umbrella term, as well as a potentially vague descriptor that still emphasizes the important part of the orientation, “not straight,” make the word absolutely necessary for the trans community to be able to access this word that we reclaimed long ago. Queer as an identity is intimately linked to Trans History and the Trans Community.