dominicdemeyn

:Neutrois Niche:

Tag: meaning of words

another things about labels

It’s pretty obvious that I am a fan of labels, of categories and of organising things properly so they are more easily understood and remembered. My studies have reflected that bias towards labels and producing mental shapes, having contours for invisible and immeasurable things, and my reactions towards people criticising this view only reinforced it.

I get really defensive when people talk about words as if they had no meaning or no other purpose than to be annoying to them. I identify as Neutrois, and it takes up a whole lot of my life, it is a part of me and how I think, how I feel, how I express myself, how I make choices…. . And that’s just a label. 

I am/was often asked why I don’t want to be a woman, why I don’t identify as a man, since both of these options are freely available to me, I have oh so much freedom to choose who I want to be. But it can also be asked, why do you want to be a woman, why do you identify as a man, have you ever thought about that? They often reply that it’s just natural, they don’t need to question where they are coming from. Is it not a label, because they don’t realise it is just as much a label as mine? It’s just as important to their identity as mine is to my identity. If I called my female-identified colleagues Steve, and bro and treated them like they were male, I doubt that they would like that, so why on earth do people think they have the authority to decide on what my label is and how I should be treated.

It’s like forcing your favourite food on someone who is allergic to it, only because you like it, and then being insulted when they don’t. 

I have many labels; they don’t solely define me but they exist for a reason. They are a communication device, a tool to figure out my likes and dislikes and something that sets me apart from other individuals as an individual. It makes room for more indivdualised existence, for more difference, but this difference is not alienating, only how people resond to it out of ignorance is. It’s not inherently bad, but often difficult to have an unrecognized label, not because the label is faulty, but because society faults you for it. It’s like being with colourblind people who keep telling you a colour does not exist because they themselves can’t see it, and you know it exists and it is beautiful.

It’s like having extrasensory perception. 

So I’ll continue to have labels and recognise tham as such. They can evolve and be discarded over time, or be stuck with forever, it’s up to the person labelling themselves how and for how long they will stick to their label, just like in a relationship.

So, when you hear the word Neutrois, know that it is a label, used by me for myself and for reasons that are important to me. 

Advertisements

http://feminspire.com/why-labels-matter/

I haven’t even fully read this post and I am already thinking about posting it in my recently unused blog, because I think it’s really important. Even if you don’t agree with what is expressed in this blog post on feminspire.com, it’s a relevant topic and I’ve seen many people struggle with the concept of labels.

Are labels really just unnecessarily confusing and even isolating for people who use them? Wouldn’t it be better not to have a label to me more free and move more fluidly through society? 

But if we do not label ourselves, is there perhaps a possibility that someone else will do that for us and take this ‘responsibility’ for us? 

WATCH THIS, PLEASE, AND SHARE.

I wish these vids would show everywhere cis people go. While they take a piss in their cis toilets, while they walk from A to B, while they stand at a counter buying their groceries….while they grind their daily routine.

 

This should be heard throughout the streets and considered by everyone who calls or wants to call themselves an ally.

 

 

 

We deserve to be heard!

Why I keep calling my workmate by his last name

I recently realised that I make the same mistake by using wrong names sometimes, just as people mistakenly use wrong pronouns for me.

I keep, for example, referring to one of my colleagues as ‘last name’ instead of adressing him using his first name. I keep thinking his last name is his first name and suits him much better.

There are several reasons for this, as I have discovered after I thought about it and did some 101 psychology on myself:

One reason is that I have heard his last name more times than his first name and therefore it has become easier to say it and repeat it and not think about what his first name was again.
Another reason is that I think his last name makes for a cool first name and sounds like the name of an adventurer and somehow that idea got stuck in my head.

 

Another reason I can think of is that on one of the social networking sites I often use there is somone with his last name as first name and I often read what they write, so this last name is again associated with a first name in my head.

 

I haven’t started misgendering him yet (or perhaps he does not know I am misgendering when I call him a ‘he’, because gender is, in essence, just an illusion), but I can understand how easy it is to use wrong words when referring to a person. Sometimes it’s easier to be wrong because it has been ingrained into our psyche, sometimes it’s more fun to be wrong (it can be really amusing calling someone by a different name so long as it isn’t an insult…but how would you know?).

It’s easy to make mistakes when calling people by complicated names, names that don’t suit them, and it gets more difficult when approaching the topic of pronouns.

The aim is not to get words right 100 per cent, all the time, but to keep trying and make an effort. That is often more comforting to a person than someone who gets it right but cares nothing for their wellbeing.

And to fully accept a name (whether it’s a new one or just one that one does not like or is not used to) one has to accept the idea behind it and what that name means, that it is attached to a person and that that person is worthy of me getting their name right.

 

All it takes is a little bit of awareness.

My name, my name, myself?!?.

I know it’s the same boring stuff: gender, names….

Recently I’ve had another little gender bender win, and I’d like to share it. I think it’s a win for all who hate to be put into oppressive roles by others, for all who are sensitive enough about their personal space (both the physical and the mental).

I’ve called myself Dominic for a while now and I’m STILL not deluded enough to think I have reached the stage of <Android> or that the name Dominic really represents me. I don’t think a name ever will.

But I’m using the name as a defence against being labelled without thought; I would like to create some form of juxtaposition, the female-ish body, the male-ish name, the changing personifcations that sometimes emerge within me, and the often stereotypical expressions or body language that is represented by my body (my limited expression-tool of self).

I think this idea might be catching on. I think many self-confessed men and women don’t even like being called casually ‘he’ or ‘she’, not because it’s SO WRONG, but because it does not take into account what else they are/can be apart from a ‘he/she’

At work (again), my supervisor is doing such a great job holding everything together and making sure we all function as a team. Recently, she has showed me the new work schedule and,voila, it had an invigorating energy to it, evethough nothing much but a few letters had changed. Mr and Miss (Frau/Herr) had been replaced by the first letter of our respective names, followed by our last names. It looked so much better than the restrictive rubbish that was there before, it looked so much better than normality. My name (my I.D. so to speak) has now been logged into the system, so everytime a new work schedule prints, it prints a part of myself that is very real and intense and alive. And I see myself projected in this writing, this whole document. It has no legal bearing, but fulfills me with a renewed sense of belonging, of not being fully alien.

We all have our uniqueness, we all have names. We are persons, not mere genders.

 

 

No blog posts lately

Sorry for not blogging much lately.

Not much has changed, except my laptop is doing strange things again: When I type a sentence it jus leaves some letters and spaces out. I think it has finally had enough and needs to be replaced. Now that I have easier Internet access, it’s doing these things.

So, at work I am still trying to get people to adopt my name and accept my concept of non-gender. People in the higher echelons at work have certainly done their best to make me feel welcome, but for security reasons I still have to go by my legal name on legal documents. Now for finding out if a name change is possible and under what conditions.

I would like to take full ownership of my name; I have never owned my legal name. It feels like for years I never had a name at all, only now am I starting to exist like other people.

But I realize I am still attempting to sort of steal the identity of others. After my grandfather died and the house had to be emptied, I took so many old things. These things made me feel closer to family history/tradition and by extension to a stable existence with both meaning and continuity.

He/She/It-it’s all in the head

Imagine we didn’t have these wordes to relate to people….

Imagine you just arrived on Earthe from a different part of space, and gender and its terms didn’t mean anything to you. What reference model would you use when referring to people?

Would you perhaps conclude that people with the same eye colour were related and spoke the same language? Where would you imagine the coloure in the hair/face/eyes came from? How would you interact with these people, not knowing who they are?

We as humans are fairly limited in our perceptions and other cognitive abilities. We cannot know a thinge, we only ever know of a thinge, of its relation to us and its surroundings. We evaluate eachother in order to define ourselves. Distance, Time, Touch, Smell, Sound,…and Gender are all relative. They are because we say they are, because we have created mental structures around them. They are frames of reference around which we build our ‘artificial’ world, which then translates into real life/real time.

But this knowledge, this knowing of, is not Truthe: one can relate to another by saying “I understand what you mean or even I know what you mean”, communicating that what was said was at least partially understood and thereby one can make the other person feel better, more included, less alone perhaps. Shared experience is a type of emotional bonding that is important and can have many positive effects on people, but it does not go as far as true knowledge. We do not know what it is like to be a chaire or what a dog feels and perceives with its superhuman sensory perception, and eventhough we were all once babies, we can scarcely remember that time of our lives; we don’t inhabit a baby’s body or live a baby’s life anymore (at least I suspect that most of my readers don’t).

Her/Him/It, these terms are markers, verbal cues that are part of the human language and symbole matrix within which our identities are embedded.

Nobody ever asks a person whether it wants to be called he or she, unless its obvious that there is a consciously sought transgression of gender boundaries. Nobody would think it their right to ask such a thinge, as normality has already become festooned in their conscience, their vocabulary, their neurons. Words, like experiences, make connections in our brains with which we are able to maneuvre the evironmnet we live in. Language, our verbal experience, can also change behaviour, it may redirect neural pathways and associations. If we stopped using derogatory words and gendered words (which I place in the same category by the way) we would probably start looking at reality differently.

Reality is in our heads. My reality might be different from yours.

We establish what is real through verbal, physical, mental boundaries. We can beat people with sticks, and keep them away in slums or enclaves, and we can establish power structures in more subtle ways.

He/She/It are labels, but they are empty! All they signify is that ‘he’ is not ‘she’ is not ‘it’, that there is a difference between them. In Germany we say ‘Der Stuhl’ (the chaire, male). We also say ‘Der Mann’ (the man, male). Should we therefore treat these two equally or shold we rather start respecting the chaire more or perhaps we should start throwing the man around ‘like an olde chaire’? Does the chaire have a gender and if so, how does it express it? The chaire is most likely not even aware of its name or pronouns…

As I said a while ago, I started a new job. I already introduced my name (Dominic) in many ways, by signing documents using the name, by saying I like the name and would like to be called it all the time, and even by buying a name badge for 10 Euro. I wore this at work until the supervisor found out and called it all off. My plans have thus been disturbed, but I am still happy because my workmates have accepted the name. However, they still haven’t fully understood its implications and made the mental connection between the worde and the lifestyle behind it, between the name and my identity. They still use female pronouns and define me as female, but are also willing to use a male name for me. I wonder that they don’t get more confused by doing this. But it seems pronouns and names don’t pose much of a problem as long as they are gendered. Their concept of who I could and should be is not disturbed but rather reinforced by gendered pronouns.

What they can’t get their heads around is that I exist eventhough the language to define me doesn’t.

The dudes are in the House – it’s the shit! – No, really, it’s pretty shit!!

I just came across this article: Vaginagate: Michigan Lawmaker Silenced For Saying Vagina

My thoughts:

Though everyone’s body is personal, one can’t avoid having bodies become political. In order to practice legislation on our bodies, this is a relevant and necessary experience. It can be helpful when it comes to deciding if we want to become an organ donor or who decides to shut off life support if we are not able to make that decision for ourselves. Legislation is supposed to help us facilitate life and make difficult choices, and codify behaviour into law so that it can be applied to all of us.

Usually when we sign a form, we decide that we agree with what’s written on it, it’s our decision to have an operation or to take medication. Medical staff are able to talk to us about our situation in a professional way using medical terms and without being embarassed about our bodies.

But medical staff do not decide on legislation, it’s politicians. They don’t have the know-how that a doctor has, they don’t have the experience that a patient has. Yet they will decide on the patient’s fate by legislating their political ideas, by putting their theories into practice. How do they decide what’s to be done?

The problems with the debate about what can be done to our bodies is most outrageously exemplified in regard to the debate about abortion and contraception. It’s so ridiculous, because these ‘specialists’ spit out ideas about women’s bodies when they themselves do not possess one. They can’t even name parts of our anatomy that is relevant in this debate, because these are ‘ugly words’. Because it’s not pretty and they are shamed by saying these terms, though why they are so embarassed about a word is an enigma, when they are not embarassed by other ugly things.

Yet they know exactly that abortion is wrong, and believe they have the right to impregnate women and then force them to keep the baby. Impreganting a human being and possibly creating new life that will then suffer the same fate of existing in a hostile world is easy and apparently THE thing to do, while talking about sexual organs using proper medical terms is not allowed. Having sex (reproducing) is exceptionally normal but saying a word to do with reproductive organs is dirty?

Which mental asylum have these politicians escaped from? How can they make judgments about a body that is not their own and not even has the same anatomical make-up as theirs, without being able to talk about it, without recognising its existence as a proper body? By infantilising/patronising the word vagina, they have facilitated its mental colonisation, they have encouraged thinking that supports the idea that women can’t make decisions abuot these organs because they are juvenile, the organs themselves are juvenile and because the ones posessing them are just vessels, they have no right to make informed and autonomous decisions.

Every one of these law-makers have been born from a woman’s body. They have or have had mothers. What do they call their mothers? Will it be the next swearword? Do any of them have the guts to hold their mother down and force her to have unprotected sex and then watching her giving birth?

No, but they support just that. They sit in a well-lit, airated room full of the scent of righteousness and pride, while women all over the world only smell the foul stink of bodily emissions and hospital beds.

Gender as a codifier of value

What is the real problem with gender?

 

-it doesn’t exist!

 

We need to create it and that takes a lot of time, energy, and money. It has to be reinforced in every sphere of our lives, and that requires endless attention, study, and self-sacrifice.

Gender seems to exist outside of ourselves, it has taken over. We have become slaves of gender!

Nobody gets hurt if you cut yourself or committ suicide. But as soon as you contradict the gender binary, as soon as you start messing with gender roles and sexuality, you open up a Pandora’s Box of curses, stigmas, and debate.

Political groups and religions all of a sudden take an interest in you, because gender is one of the many measures of wealth, sucess, happiness, and power. Whoever wields the gender controlling stick decides how society is to function.

Whoever controls our bodies and what we are allowed to do with ourselves has immense control of society.

Minority groups are, in essence, a collection of individual bodies who have come together or are lumped together to form a collective. If people had full control of their bodies, others, the ones deciding on what constitues normality, would have less. Therefore, fertility, procreation, marriage, image, media attention, philosophical discourse and medical practice have all been colonized by one segment of the population.

The binary requires protection from trans-identified folk, and even feminists are not immune to the fear of difference. Being trans is not complicated and not a political statement in itself, but is taken advantage of in a political climate. Imagine being a writer and having written a play that is constantly being censored and ultimately re-written by the director. In the end, the play is nothing like the original. The play has been screwed up.

Why are transsexuals allowed to have surgery now, even herded into the operating rooms like cattle in a farmyard? Because they have been deemed acceptable for retraining. They might have qualities that are attractive to the binary, they can be shifted from male to female and vice versa. Even though it’s annoying to do so, at least the categories male/female are not shifted, and that’s what it’s all about in the end. Having set definitions and regulations of what constitutes being trans helps monitor and regulate this gender playing field.

A nurse I met once told me she could understand my reluctance to go to the gynaecologist. I had repeatedly told her of my gender dysphoria and that I felt uncomfortable being poked and proddded in places I felt didn’t even belong to my body and, if I had any say in it, should never see the light of day. She gave me great encouragement when I didn’t let go of my fear of bodily invasion and talked about transition. She saw that I wouldn’t stop talking about being the one who decides what happens to my body, so she encouraged me to finally decide now on being male, because it’s really not a big deal anymore to come out, she knows many trans people, and society is so open nowadays. She said it’s impossible to live in such a state of limbo where the body is not right and that I should really talk to the doctor about this, he could help me get the necessary help.

When I told her I had already had top surgery without hormones and that I have no nipples either, she was taken aback. She was confused and then annoyed. It’s amazing how charged emotions can get when it comes to gender-aligned-to-sex. She didn’t ask me how surgery was or how I felt. I had hurt her by confusing her, while I didn’t even pay much attention anymore to her attempts at erasing my identity. She said “well, I guess it’s too late now”, too late for her to be able to tell me what to do with my body. This was not the male form, the male transition she had expected. I had taken this power away from her, I had changed the recognisable form, the form to which so much about ourselves is attached. The form that decides your worth.

Who is man and who is woman? These labels are crucially important in defining what we do, how we are to act, how we live, what life choices we are able to make. In modern society hegemony still exists and it expands by using gender as a tool to reward or punish. Traditional marriage supports gender norms, as the woman and man relationship allows for greater dominance of male-centered benefit. Many marriages are built on the premise that women are domestics and child-bearers/carers. One aspect of marriage is sexual availablity of the spouse, it’s part of the contract.

The image of a man and a woman is also important, for how else would we recognise what social class a person belongs to, what gender class? Poverty affects both men and women, but if ones gender is driven to the foreground of how important, how effective one is for commercial success, these roles and norms decide not only on our economic output capacity, but also on how much we are able to earn and gain from society. It’s no weird coincidence that transgender individuals are usually left out of receiving economic benefits.

Eventhough it makes less economic sense to deprive one group of its earning potential, such is the desire of the elite.

Gender, the gender binary, favours forced dependence. Women’s bodies, for example, have been used for ages as vessels for male sexuality and breeding. The refusal to accept birth control and abortions is still rampant in many parts of the world, even the so-called free and family-friendly United States, not because people feel morally obliged to save an unborn child, but because they are obliged to keep one major segment of the population under control, to assert dominance. When U.S. governing bodies determine that your child should be an outcast due to their gender expression or the fact that they don’t conform to traditional roles, where is the family friendliness in that? They destroy many families by promoting violence against this child,the destroy many family unions in that way. It’s not really about freedom of expression (freedom of speech) and family.

But if gender is blurred, obsolete, it benefits individuals. It would discourage the fetishizing of women, children, child-like people, trans individuals and male-and-female identified people, because gender would not determine one’s value, would not be a means to objectify and abuse. People would possibly start seeing a human being rather than a gender when dealing with another person, there would be more identification with our common plight of all being trapped in physical existence rather than being trapped in a better body, a more suitable body, a more valid body.

But the economy has its own rules, and profits (note: profits in economic terms, not in human terms) might decrease when people stop consuming eachother. Free labour would not occur as often, because equal rights would be implemented, naked bodies would not be used as sales reps for useless items.

Freeing ourselves of the gender obligation would not be a positive development….not for the capitalist who would like to sell their own grandmother if they could make a profit, not for the greedy and narcissists who only think about their own lives, it would not be good for those whose instincts tell them “you must conquer to survive”, not good for those pleasure-seeking-at-any-cost-types on this, our precious Earth.

Perhaps one day people will come to their senses. I would say….fine, keep your gender if you really have to cling to this term, but stop using it to damage other people, stop manipulating this term and creating difference when there is none. Stop evoking fear and hatred when you encounter a person that does not appeal to you aesthetically or does not fit your agenda.

Get rid of gender and its implications, you get rid of a whole set of issues that affect all of us who are trapped in human bodies. Perhaps the first step is to trying to define yourself REGARDLESS of the gender/sex that has been imposed upon us.

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

 

Tell me what gender you are, and I tell you how fuckable you are

 

 

“…But you’re still female, you were born as female?”

“(???) I am female-assigned-at-birth…”

“Ahh, I see…”

 

(script colour: burnt orange)