When I was a young adult, homosexuality was illegal. That taught me the proper respect to have for the law: Absolutely none. Of course, I didn’t even consider obeying the law when an opportunity arose (so to speak) to kiss (act of indecency between males, 3 years in prison), fondle (act of gross indecency, punishable by seven years with hard labour), or fuck (carnal knowledge against the order of nature, punishable by fourteen years in prison with hard labour, with or without whipping).
I’m glad to have lived so long and at a time when history is speeding up, so that I can actually see society change from its inherited prejudices and tribal superstitions.
Feminism had shattered at least the myths of gender stereotypes in the Seventies, but these persisted in the treatment of transsexuals when I was diagnosed as such in 1985. Meeting the doctor’s expectations of ladylike behaviour, and apparently not barking mad, I sailed through the transsexual medical industrial complex, having a sex change in 1989, after four year on hormones.
A couple of years after the genital realignment, I went off hormones. Examining the whole notion of gender from a post-modern perspective, and learning of the existence of intersex conditions, I didn’t want to keep supporting the fiction that every human is either essentially male or female. If I was really female, why would I need to take pills to assert that?
I did an internet quiz last year, with a score of 57 percent feminine, and 43 percent male, and maybe this explains why I am most happy with my body being androgynous. At the time, when I went off hormones, I just wanted to be myself, whatever that was without props or makeup or policing the gender of my behaviour or clothes, without any shame about whether some aspects of my being, behaviour and body were male or female or both or neither.
I’ve lived the last eighteen years freeing myself from the preconceptions of others and the limits of the mainstream. Just because most people may think everyone should be Arthur or Martha doesn’t mean they are right. Much as I love all humans, the fact is that the majority of them often get things wrong. Take, for example, re-electing Bush, or supporting the anti-gay laws, or even just assuming that police and other authorities are always in the right.
To individual freedom! Cheers!
~norrie mAy-welby, 8 February 2009