dominicdemeyn

:Neutrois Niche:

Tag: gender

I am Neutrois now

In the past couple of months many things have changed for me. I changed country, city, and, to some degree, lifestyle, and these were all choices I made willingly. I was driven in part by economic circumstance and dreams about re-establishing family ties, in part by the need to transition and feel better about myself (in my own skin).

The operation was a good idea, though many people will doubt that. I don’t think about it much, to me it is an established fact that I am Neutrois and I am justified to alter my body in certain ways.

But I do have doubts. I doubt people can understand what it’s like to feel Neutrois, I doubt I will ever be free of prejudice and misunderstanding, I doubt I will eventually find my place in society, because I am a fringe person, I seem to always live on the edge of what is normal. Though I would like to own my own place one day and stay at a job and work, and have a circle of friends, and cultivate good relations with my family, I seem to intrinsically live a different lifestyle, because I consider myself Neutrois, and am therefore an Other.

I never wanted to be trans*, but i seem to be trans* now, because my being Neutrois requires from me (from my personal view and seeking of happiness for myself) a transition. I do not transition in order to become Neutrois, because that is already in me, I am ‘it’, but I still feel the strong need to transition, to align my body with myself, for unless it changes, my body and soul will always suffer.

But society does not accept this. I go out, and people talk. I get questioned about being a girl or boy, until they settle on one or the other, I get told: “Ah, you’re just like the other one we met the other day”, and it feels like they actually stamp me with an oversized stamping tool that says: “We have just the right box for you”. Their interest lies not in knowing the truth about me or where I come from or where I am going, they want to re-establish their truth about themselves and the world they are accustomed to. I understand that quite well, as I myself often hide from unsettling things until I am ready to tackle them. But my response is not physical or verbal attack. I don’t try and injure the people I don’t like, eventhough there are many.

I feel that people go out of their way to belittle others. That is what I cannot understand, unless I look into the recesses of my most evil parts, and there I find some sort of comradeship. But seeing that I am often out and about alone and an easy target, people fall prey to their base instincts, their lack of reason and sense, their base thoughts, and attack me through well-thought-out words and phrases, that they know will pierce me just as much as a knife into flesh would. These are not all morons who use verbal slurs, but use the intellect and creativity they have to demean other people, because they cannot seem to think of other ways to use this talent.

“I am Neutrois” should be written on every T-shirt and other item of clothing I own and I am tempted to tarnish the basic and true colours with writing in order to be more fully understood. I only want people to ‘look at me’ in order to see positive difference and the possibility for change. They can distort a painting or burn a book, but they cannot distort me when I walk past. That must be very frustrating, that I am so important to them in this way but yet not important at all, and they can’t avoid noticing me, and yet just want me to vanish or be assimilated like a BORG from Star Trek.

“I am Neutrois” is a fact, whenever I walk past you, I am Neutrois, whenever you think of me, I am Neutrois, whenever I am silent, I am still Neutrois. I am beginning to be tired of always thinking of ways I need to change and adapt. I can only adapt so much without losing myself, I can only change so much in physical ways as to become more fully aligned with my (gender) identity. I am always going to be caught in the middle, like a half-human only, who is neither this and neither that and does not belong.

Perfection is clearly out of reach, humanity is a concept that is not wholly in my grasp. But Neutrois is still what I am, even if it sounds like a new sci-fi induced race.

The funny thing is that even if I wanted to fit in, I cannnot do so anymore, because I am compelled from an inner source to stick to this identity. I do make some small sacrifices along the way, but not enough to lose myself. I am still trapped in a female body (I am not denying that), but I am still Neutrois. Those who cannot grasp that concept cannot grasp the concept that a box may have different content than what is written on it, that writing on a box may be washed away or changed, even if it is done with permanent marker.

They cannot grasp the concept that they are not the only ones to decide who a human being is, and that they are not immune to re-definition and change, either.

Existence is dialogue, and that is why they talk TO me. They talk like throwing stones, their talking is more of a hissing, and yet it is part of the dialogue that establishes who we are.

I ignore them.

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An article by the THE OXFORD STUDENT newspaper: ‘Sub fusc gender restrictions thrown out’

Here’s a link to an article by James Restall of The Oxford Student newspaper that was sent to me by my Mum this morning.

Initially I wanted to talk about the film I saw yesterday, but I don’t have the mental energy right now and don’t really want to start my mornings bitching about a third rate movie. Plus, I still have to go shop for a postcard and do other things, while constantly worrying about things I cannot get done and have no control over, so it’s going to be a busy day 🙂

Here’s the link to the article:

http://oxfordstudent.com/2012/07/28/sub-fusc-gender-restrictions-thrown-out/

A bit more about ‘sub fusc clothing’:

http://www.stx.ox.ac.uk/members/official/new_members/sub_fusc_clothing/

The brave new world of going beyond Part I: A short introduction to Transhumanism

I have often wondered what is wrong with me, why I keep feeling like the eternal outsider. Perhaps I have now found what I was looking for all along, a synthesis of ideas that match my feelings more closely than any other: Transhumanism.

Transhumanism is not new. Transhumanism is happening right now, in the minds and actions of people all over the world. Transhumanism also happened in the past. Transhumanism is past, present, and future, because it is us.

A bit about me and why I find transhumanism interesting

I grew up travelling the world, because my Mum worked overseas for about 2-3 years at a time, and then the whole family had to move around with her, wherever she went. Me and my brothers repeatedly changed countries, schools, friends, and were constantly bombarded with new sensations, different social settings, and human cultures. every school system presented its own challenges, new peer groups formed constantly around us and dissolved again, we were accustomed to airports and other forms of transport, as we left our home town to move abroad.

This has given us an immense opportunity to get to know different settings, landscapes, foods, scents, cultural impressions, political systems, and ways of life, but also imprinted in me a sense of strangeness, of not belonging anywhere, really. Maybe it is because I was not prepared for the great impressions I received from constantly travelling and never really coming to rest, maybe it was due to my character (which tends to be a bit cynical) that I didn’t fully appreciated being moved around a lot and never having my own, never-changing place to stay. I don’t know this for sure, but I can say that it affected my worldview, and maybe has made me more prone to bouts of anger about the human condition and lack of closeness with others, a strong dissociation. For I often saw and still see my surroundings through a detached lens, I am often the observer of others, but rarely the one who actively interacts. I am often the disinterested third wheel in a relationship and never the one initiating close contact. I am often more intested in old buildings and historical figures than real humans and the lived experience.

I think that is why I am also more into science-fiction-related-material than I was before. I often considered sci-fi to be close to lunacy and not very practical. But this view has changed, and I am increasingly more interested in (a) what it is/means to be human, and (b) how technology and ideas can be applied to ameliorate the human condition.

H+

I started googling transhumanism and came to wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transhumanism) to get an understanding about what it is (really) about, as it had only ever really existed as a vague idea in my head.

According to wikipedia, transhumanism is seen as “a continuation of humanism and Enlightenment thinking”. Transhumanist concepts tackle “the applications of advanced sciences to human biology” and a major focus of the movement is “the application of science to better the (individual) human condition, the improvement of human bodies…”. Transhumanists generally seek a control of human evolution and the use of new technologies to achieve that.

Another aspect of the movement is the critical stance towards biological determinism, and biology in general, as transhumanists tend to “see the very concept of the specifically ‘natural’ as problematically nebulous at best, and an obstacle to progess at worst”.

Transhumanism is a movement encompassing various thinkers and topics affecting the way humans live and the potential for human life in the future. It is geared towards a goal that is a sort of utopia, a reference point for the future: posthumanism.

Posthumanism is something to strive towards, as this quote exemplifies: ” They [transhumanist thinkers] predict that human beings may eventually be able to transform themselves into beings with such greatly expanded abilities as to merit the label ‘posthuman’.

the Vitruvian genderqueer

Cognitive liberty, morphological freedom, procreative liberty

I personally cannot conceive of a time where transhumanist ideas were not in vogue or under scrutiny from various political parties and segments of society, and I used to be an Archaeology student. I think in humans there is a great motivation to strive to better things, to affect one’s environment, to change and adapt, to create and experiment, and to initiate ‘progress’.

A lot of humans want to gain knowledge about their environemnt (nature), their selves (human body and mind), and their abilities (boundaries and powers to transform). We wouldn’t have cars and tall buildings and complex social interactions if it weren’t for this desire to strive for progress.

Also, I think there’s still a great need for humans to “become more than human”, to exceed our limited potential and be the creatures that we envisage to be, but whose abilities we do not yet own. We look towards something greater than us to strive for, just like a child watches a sibling and tries to be as good at sports as them. There’s a competitive element there, perhaps a need to show off, to leave one’s mark, to create something new and exciting.

Transhumanism has to do with redefining humans and what life in the future could be like. It involves a lot of theorizing, but also has very practical applications. Eventhough this type of philosphy is called transhuman and even confronts us with menacing words such as ‘posthumanism’, it is not removed from humanity, humanism, and the human, because it is produced by humans, shaped and criticised by humans, and its efforts are to increase the quality of human life. It is no anti-human philosophy. Humans are at its centre, its focus is on making life better for individuals around the world.

I think individual choice is a major concern for transhumanist thinkers, and that’s another reason why this movement has become attractive for me. I don’t agree with every aspect of it, nor do I fully understand what it entails. I’m not really scientifically-minded, and have trouble understanding scientific concepts and mechanisms, but I like creative thinking and the expansion of thought. I wonder where it can lead and what it means for us common folk.

the universal brain

In the next post i would like to highlight some of the concepts of transhumanist thinkers, some more practical applications, and include some more personal commentary.

The GenderQueer Atheist on YouTube

http://www.youtube.com/user/GenderQueerAtheists?feature=watch

 

1 week of work over and I think I need a holiday

It’s been a week since I started my new job in a factory-like environment, where everyday one does the same repetitive task for hours. I thought this would give me an opportunity to be alone with my thoughts (and earn money at the same time) and not have to comunicate with people (too much), but it appears to be the case that people will communicate with me, even if I don’t communicate with them.

I just want to do my job and then go home to some more me-time (as arrogant as that might sound). I can’t wait to step out of  that infested cage that my co-workers inhabit. They are nice enough (meaning they call me Dominic and don’t beat me up for existing, at least not physically). But they just can’t help ‘being funny’. The only thing I find is funny is that they are talking to a wall, to someone who is so utterly removed from them as to not even live in the same universe (at least not the same head-space universe).

Their grand conduct is starting to piss me off, and it’s been only a week at work; how will I be able to shut myself off from them for a whole month? How can one be so immature as to laugh and make a ‘joke’ (something about genitalia) everytime someone asks for a ‘Gummi’ (a german word for elastic band that is also often used as a word for condom)….after the 100th time, it sort of gets a bit un-funny.

Here are some more comments I had to listen to:

Context: I had been talking about me trying to remove myself from gender, as I didn’t think it existed and that it was damaging to myself and others, so I told them about the double mastectomy and other life choices and being a Neutrois

“Well, that’s not very womanly and grown up to be running away from yourself, you seem to be more of a girl than a woman”

(Response (real or imagined): Well, that’s exactly my point: I am NOT a woman, deal with it!)

“Hey Dominic, don’t dream at work!” “She’s a bit of a dreamer”…

(First you call me Dominic, then you use the female pronoun; seems you haven’t learnt yor lesson…are you trying to turn me into a transwoman now, or what?)

Context: The supervisor came walking by (back and forth) smelling strongly of some (I am guessing ‘male’ perfume, though perfume has no gender) and then ended up talking to his intimates (the people who work for him but who he also relates to on a deeper level because they all have dicks) and goes and says:

“She MUST be a lesbian”

(I said before that I am anti-sexual, I am celibate. That does NOT make me a lesbian, because a lesbian would have a sexual orientation, whereas I have none. I like neither men nor women, nor indeed am I attracted to Neutrois or other people. I am NOT sexually attracted to anyone, I am repulsed by them! Just because I don’t drop down to the floor and start undressing and behaving all submissive to you and your colleagues, eventhough you are wearing perfume and smell so ‘manly’, that does not make me a lesbian. Get over it, man!)

“Well, I don’t understand you, it’s a lot to stomach”, one of his colleagues: “I don’t get it, either!”

(Yes, of course you had to say that to pledge allegiance to your superiour and make sure that everyone knows that you, too, are not into my ideas and can never understand how a woman (since I told them, after they just wouldn’t let go of the question, that I was born female) cannot want children and a man (someone apparently with ugly stinking parts hanging between their legs). UNFATHOMABLE)

Context: The men (people with dicks, in case anyone forgot how important they are) talked about female health issues after a female colleague mentioned why she wasn’t confident in getting her motorbike license. She said she often had pain in her pelvic area due to some issue with her bone health and structure. This prompted the men (de menz) to discuss in length female propensity to suffer from these issues and how it would affect their child-bearing capacities. Undoubtedly they will also have thought that, in fact, this might be the reason why I have not yet pressed a screaming little shit-head human out of my precious body.

(In fact, I don’t like pain and having to care for some ugly fucking human for the rest of my life; I am not into children (screaming little dirty fucking shits) and am rather fond of the no-child, no-copulation (ever) policy.

Context: I talked more in detail about why I wanted and eventually got a mastectomy. My fresh scars are still hurting, even while I am typing this now, and it’s a particularly sensitive and important issue for me. And what does one of those old-fashioned men say to me:

“Oh well, I know that some women get that done, because there’s cancer running in the family, and they are scared of getting cancer”

(So, mastectomy is allowed for any other reason than not liking your God-given breasts?)

________________________________

These men at work are an interesting study of how the human brain can work to deny any and all evidence to an argument one does not agree with. The brain (and yes, even men are endowed with it, though they tend to focus on the fat down there) is an amazing organ and protects us as best it can from mental shock and things we don’t want to see. It seems even men are not immune to this.

So while they will continue (for how long, I wonder?) to study me and look or signs or lesbianism, mental illness, sexual deviance, or impotence (even a blink of an eye while talking about these things will be enough evidence for them to deem me such and such, because a blink of an eye will be considered a response and if I respond that means ‘YES” to whatever it is that men currently think about, eventhough a might’ve just blinked because that’s what humans tend to do when they sit for hours in front of a computer screen), I will continue to study them and all their short-comings as human beings and as beings who define themselves and almost everything around them/everything that affects them through the gender lens.

Funnily enough, I did not get any thoughts from the women co-workers on my ideals, other than something along the lines of “Well, each to their own” and “if you are happy with your choices”…..Apparently these women had no need to defend themselves from me and my ideas…

Gender follows me everywhere!

Yesterday I attended a lecture of the (in)famous artist Jeff Koons. I only went because my cousin gave me the ticket as she herself could not attend, and I thought it was a good idea to spend an evening not watching crap TV for once.

I didn’t dress up or even think about my attire, because it wasn’t an official sort of thing and I really didn’t care whether I loked pretty or not, acceptable yes, but definitely not pretty.

We had to wait for ages, standing in the white-washed hall in front of tiny video screens that were supposed to communicate Koon’s words to the audience (who hadn’t paid as much as the others). Luckily it wasn’t too crowded, and the crowd seemed quite diverse and well-behaved.

I found my little space at a table near one of the screens. Unfortunately I didn’t have my flag with me to tag it as completely mine, so in the end, people ended up sharing the space with me. Normally I would have been extremely annoyed at having to come into less than 1 metre contact with a stranger, but these days my shyness is slowly dissipating more and more.

What really annoyed me, though, and I still don’t know whether I should be angry at myself or the person who said the words, was the fact that, this person who started to talk to me realised that I was ‘female’ (that I had female anatomy)…He just so nonchalantly said those words that made me realise, I’m not stealth in my gender yet. Eventhuogh I recently had my breasts removed, he apparently knew I had other female anatomy, for he used female titles with me…WHY?????

Then, on the way home, there was a couple of people in the tram (a coupl?). The guy let the woman go in first, and I was standing right behind them, waiting for them to get going so I could find a seat. The guy turned and looked at me and said: ladies first and urged me to go ahead. I was startled, because, on the one hand, I found it nice that wanted to let me go first, but on the other, I was annoyed that he assumed that I was a ‘lady’ (and thus female). Once again, I couldn’t fathom how these people could tell, since even my own family and I myself sometimes don’t know for sure what I am…

I actually responded to that guy that I wasn’t a lady and urged him to go in front, instead. He did, and I don’t know what he thought of me. I hope he realises that his behaviour was not necessarily patronising and wrong as such, but with the wrong kind of person, his behaviour did not have the result he probably intended his action to have. I was a bit torn at how to respond because I wasn’t prepared for this and did not want to give the wrong impression, In the end, I decided to try to communicate my feelings by denying this man the right to be ‘a gentleman’, as I believe I have the right to do so. For he explicitly said “ladies first”, thus his niceness and gentlemanly behaviour was only directed towars a female gender (lady), thus conditional. It gave me the option either to accept and thus accept the gender he was adressing, as well, or decline, and thereby not receive special (nice) treatment.

I think this might be a dilamme that I will continue to encounter in future. I hope my responses will help communicate to people that my gender is not normative or at least make them think before they use those gendered words so carelessly and thus put the person who is adressed in a gendered and restricted box full of unspoken gender norms. I am using all my limited social skills and temper control to avoid that box, and if I am put there by mistake, I will find a way to crawl out, again!

The above stories also make me wonder, if gender is really so much about organs and biology, and not other things: body language (how one carries oneself), and energy (what types of ‘vibe’ one sends out). I think there’s a lot more work to be done to live ‘stealth’ (fully and constantly) in my own gender role. Considering that my gender is non- it is especially hard to escape being polarised into the one or the other gender, but I’ll try to continue, because it’s a need of mine. I want to increase my quality of life, and just like others, I want to be validated and accepted as my gender.

I am only afraid that if I try to communicate my gender, I will start acting again according to what I believe a non-gender would act like (according to other people). I would probably do things that I think other people whould associate with being non-gender, instead of just being me (even if that sometimes means I will be mis-gendered).

What are your thoughts on this?

The name I was not given

Dominic: A male name of Latin origin, meaning ‘lord’. According to http://www.thinkbabynames.com it is “appropriate for a child born on Sunday, the lord’s day”. A popular name.

Demeyn: old word for demesne, meaning estate, region, territory, domain: legal possession of land as one’s own.

 

So, combining these two words, I got the meaning Lord of the Manor. It’s a pretty arrogant title, until you apply it to your own body and soul. I wanted desperately to express the fact that my body and mind (the demesne/domain) belonged to me. It’s literally a ‘no man’s land’.

Noone gave me this name, it’s male after all, and I already have my family’s last name, which I must carry around with me for all time. My real name is very common and I have never liked it. I don’t want to hear it, I want to forget it like a lot of other things. I want to toss it into the confines of history.

Wouldn’t it be nice if people could choose for themselves what names they would be called? Names are so important: they are merely a string of letters attached to each other and sounds coming forth from the vocal chords when one speaks, and YET they are so much more than that. A name adds to a person’s charachter and defines who that person IS. When one speaks their name, one inevitably attaches it to the characteristics that a person possesses or is thought to possess.

Names are gendered, and there seems no way around it. That is why it’s so difficult to say one’s real name when one doesn’t identify with it. One either says  <I’m Mary>, or Susan, or Hilda or whatnot, <and I am ‘Other’> (for example, neither male or female) and they say <No, your name is betraying you, it’s female, so you must be, too!>

If one says, for example, <Hello, I’m Dominic>, or whatnot, they say <No, your physical appearance betrays you, I can see clearly that you are female, and since your body is such, then you must be, too>.

 

I bet that if one was to call onself a number to eliminate a gender-specific name, one would still be gendered. Hmmm, what gender do you think this number is? What gender is this colour? What gender is this dish?

People cannot seem to stop themselves, it is their primary obsession in life! With their skewed vision of gender they not only affect their own lives but the quality of life of countless others, …. those who are trying to resist being cornered by gender specifics made up mostly of arbitrary aspects created from the maelstrom, the primeval ever-lastingly boiling, stinking soup, of the gender binary (domination and hegemonic behaviour).

So now, when people ask my name, it’s very important to me to answer truthfully; I understand that just by saying this word, I will have made a first impression and will have given them information about myself that they will use to try and squeeze me into a tiny little cardboard box (that has my name on it).

When people ask that I introduce myself and want to know :Who are YOU?: I avoid saying my name, and instead would like to tell them who I am.