I who may well be...

Musings from the perspective of a human being who may well be not locatable completely within the usual categories of male or female or gay or straight or transsexual or intersexed or exploiter or exploited or supplier or consumer or performer or spectator.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Straight Traps, Gay Ghettos, Identity and Happiness

Thinking about the Hijra and why they live a separate ghettoised life, I realised that I choose a broader community, rather than accept society's labelling of me as an outcast (by virtue of transgressing or transcending gender).

I don't want to hang around people with the same gender/sexuality label, as this cuts me off from a potential sexual partner if my desires are for someone more complimentary than mirroring. It also cuts me off from the human race, or internalises the judgement that I can't mix freely with the gregariously hard-wired species I am part of. And it puts up the destructive notion that the "normative" humans have some rarified perfection because of their gender normativity, when conforming to any unnatural standard causes stress and anxiety, and at the end of the day, if the categories of "man" and "woman" were natural, they would not need so much artificial reinforcement (in hair styles, for example, or body statements where one sex is hidden and powerful and the other revealed and pretty, or (for men) the denial of any childlike implulses, and (for women) the painting of the face to stimulate constant sexual arousal)... And so I see the common human condition of people having to choose how they react to the imposition of external or authoritarian ideas about how they should act.

Transgender and cisgender people are both trapped in suffering as long as they base their happiness on other people's judgments, or even on conforming to being exclusively transgender or cisgender. Long term happiness is only possible when we move beyond our ideas of what separates us from others, and identify our wellbeing with the collective wellbeing, that is, humans cannot be happy as long as they have to identify as individual separate beings not connected to others, and their happiness increases with the increase in sense of connection. Seeing beyond arbitrary divisions (like me, not like me, of my tribe, not of my class, of the gender exactly opposite me, not of appropriate gender behaviour, and so on) is essential to long term mental health and happiness.

Personally, I socialise with others who have freed themselves from authoritarianism, who allow themselves and others to express themselves freely without fear of being policed on what others deem appropriate for whatever they've judged my race/gender/class/age to be. I am no more comfortable with transgender people policing my gender, deeming me acceptable only if I do their idea of gender and deeming me not good enough if I am happy to be seen as gender ambiguous or incongruent, than I am with cis-gendered "heterosexuals" dismissing me as less than a woman and less than a man.

Arbitrary classifications of humans is an adaption to conditions that no longer exist, and now a maladaption that humanity is easing itself out of (ending slavery, recognising indigenous people as people, giving women the vote, ending discrimination based on marital status, race, age, religion, political affiliation, and even transgender status..), and I understand that MPs in the UK are drafting legislation to include recognition of people who don't want to list either (only) of "male" or "female: as part of their legal identity.

I am not free if only people in boxes A and B are OK, nor if only people in boxes A to Z are OK, for not all people belong in boxes, but all people belong to me, and me to all people, and if anyone is left out of fair and equal opportunity to participate in human community, then I am left out.

People drift to whatever situation is most familiar for them, and sometimes that is the most comfortable situation for a time, and so hiding with "kin" can be a way to survive and later progress, but it's a short term tactic, and if being judged by others is your pattern, this will happen for Hijra from other Hijra (who can be as judgmental or compassionate as any other human!) as it did from the families that rejected them.

Admittedly, mainstream society is often intolerant of the differently gendered, but I think it's a rod for their own back, and they are not better off that those they exlcude or who choose exclusion. Likewise, the gay/trans ghetto may give safe haven for a time, but ultimately is another prison if it does not allow growth and free movement and interaction. I have left my family of origin on the other side of the continent, not because of being differently gendered, as they are now quite accepting of this, but because they have narrow minds and believe the rubbish sold to them by their corporate masters and actually think it matters how much money I have in the bank, not how much enjoyment I have in life. Likewise I avoid the commercial gay and transgender scenes, for they are full of people who judge me by how well I fit their fantasy, and who can't even see the human connections and realities I value far more than their superficial judgments.

Having had a "sex change" where I sit, but eschewing hormone consumption and normative gender, I find community with accepting human beings, not circles where heterosexuality and gender normativity are privileged, nor circles where homosexuality or gender passing are privileged. One is not accepted if it is conditional, and this is all that "normative" society offers too.

As we continue to evolve from our brutal apish orgins into something worthy of the species name "humans who think", we will do better, and grow beyond jugmentalism and closer to divine acceptance.

Hey, our journey is very influenced by our choice of destination...

Cheers, bliss, peace and joy

norrie mAy-welby


  • At 25 June, 2007 17:24, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Norrie, I didn't actually know you had a sex change up in till now - I always thought you were a wonderfully well rounded responsible woman.

    It really shows how much ones gender identification really matters.

  • At 11 August, 2007 14:44, Blogger Noir2001 said…

    I love how you said in an earlier post that "humans are built to hug humans." Sweet.

    I also think our definitions get in the way of our being. Thank you for being present.


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