Look, gender identity is a spectrum, so is sexual identity.
We may seem to live our lives on the Internet, but that doesn’t excuse binary thinking in human beings. Binary thinking limits us into an either/or situation, where every experience and every choice is either one thing or its polar opposite.
And not every disagreement means we’re “showing our privilege.”I’m a straight woman. However, I exhibit many personality traits that are “normative” to men in our society. These traits include self-reliance (sometimes too much self-reliance), assertiveness, authoritativeness, blunt honesty, dominance, and a certain level of hiding emotional responses.
But that doesn’t make me any less ‘feminine’ except in the eyes of those who are stuck in binary thinking.
And stating that I too refuse the “cis-” description of MY gender identity, and my sexual identity, is NOT denying your experience. In fact, in many ways it is SUPPORTIVE of your own individual experience. Trans people (male or female) aren’t all cookie-cutter people anymore than the rest of us are.
Limiting everyone in the world to only ONE end of the spectrum sets up that whole “us versus them” consciousness. It allows us each to feel self-righteous because the “other side” is so mean and evil and oppressive. It’s no different from propaganda used in wars to demonize (yes, I still use the word, even on a blog that is named it) the ‘enemy.’
As a woman, I could sit here and whine that men are keeping me down, making me fail. I could flounder around helplessly until some man makes my life “easier.” I could choose to embody all of the negative traits of womanhood, in an attempt to manipulate some man to support my own delusions.
But that’s not going to actually DO anything for me. It’s never going to satisfy me. Because self-reliance is one of my defining characteristics. My mom just sent me a note responding to my blog post from July 1 (Defining My Life) and telling me that my other stock answer to being shown how to do something like tying my shoes or learning to dress myself was not only “Me DO” but also “DO, DO, DO MYSELF!”
In fact, sometimes the lesson I have to learn is to occasionally LET someone else do for me. In fact, it’s a defining characteristic for my sister as well. It’s part of why it took us almost a full year to actually take the plunge and start a GoFundMe donation campaign.
But back to identities, sexual or gender. The reality is that the only real “labeling” that is true is the one we give ourselves. No one outside of ourselves gets to define who we are. And we don’t get to define others.