My cover of Chris Pureka’s “Driving North” (in honor of my trip north to Toronto for surgery!)
I tend to start out new projects by stating my purpose: why am I taking the time to document this journey?
First off, this documentation is for me. Sometimes I like taking snapshots of my experiences, sometimes I prefer documenting through writing, and other times, I’ve enjoyed just experiencing things with friends…and recounting stories. I’ve found it to be incredibly valuable to recall memories and experiences as a way of claiming my life, perspectives, and experiences for myself.
Another purpose of this blog is to share my perspectives/observations on the societal and community norms we’ve set and enforced on ourselves and one another. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:
In a recent discussion with a group of friends, the idea of “queer spaces” came up. When a few of us (self identified queer folks) spoke to our space not feeling queer, there was a lot of push back about the idea of queer space. For some, our space felt queer…because we established the norm to give preferred gender pronouns when we meet with new people, and we have different queer identities represented in our group. What else could make a space queer?
It’s funny, but it has been a bit of time since I’ve thought about this particular question. For me, finding queer space was an incredibly difficult process…which left me feeling isolated for much of my teens into my early 20s. I sought out spaces, first, where I could be openly queer (lots of rainbow gear) among others. Then, I pushed for finding others with similar takes on feminist identity. But that still didn’t feel right…especially as I started understanding myself as being gender-variant. As I started vocalizing my discomfort with some established norms of dyke/lesbian/women’s-only spaces, I also became increasingly aware of how deeply pervasive misogyny and sexism reach…deep into even my most-sacred of feminist spaces. With all this said, I think the best way to characterize these elements of discomfort is through the understanding that every community I exist in/pass through constantly sets and validates norms.
So as norms go, I want to make a conscious effort to identify the norms I encounter (have encountered) through my gender journeys…and all the norms that intersect on different planes with the question of gender/sexuality. My hope is that it becomes easier to ask these questions and to empower folks to make decisions that work for us without feeling forced into a single trajectory of understanding sex/gender.
For me, this meant seeking a surgeon who used informed consent, rather than forcing me to get a “letter” from someone stating I had GID. I’ll write a bit more about why this is important to me in another post, but first…make sure to check out JAC’s article from his blog Midwest Genderqueer on Ableism and Gender Identity Disorder:
Finally, I’m doing this cause I think it’ll be fun and good for my brain. I’ll be taking a few weeks off of work, and I want to keep my mind engaged.