dominicdemeyn

:Neutrois Niche:

Tag: Neutrois

Update on work and eating at restaurants

I got a new number name badge at work. Instead of mentioning my biological sex (what some people would refer to as gender), it just states the first letter of my name followed by my last name.

I had told my supervisor about my gender and problems with pronouns and names and everything to do with the accursed female/male thing, and she keeps introducing me as Dominic, though sometimes it sounds more like Dominique. And though people still use gendered pronouns (specifically female ones), they at least refer to me by ‘my’ name, which helps me feel more comfortable in the workplace.

 

I once appeared in front of the manager with the name badge I had made in a shop, proudly displaying my non-legal name, which I have really become accustomed to and feel attached to, but she wasn’t happy, because it wasn’t conform.

 

But now I have another name badge that isn’t like the others, either. I wonder if people will notice the slight difference in content, the fact that a biological sex signifier and gender trigger is missing.

 

I still get wrongly labelled, last time was yesterday at a restaurant. I felt like throwing the menu back at the waiter for saying the words I didn’t want to hear, but luckily controlled myself enough to just get annoyed and a bit unfriendly. I’m not sure if he really noticed my ennui, but he did change his way of adressing us slightly to something more neutral. Or perhaps I just imagine he did to make th event more agreeable.

 

I am still wondering how I can be more exposed as a Neutrois, get more publicity so that people can become more aware of my presence and the possibility of living a bit differently.

Maybe I can stock up on trans-friendly shirtage. I am leaving walking around topless for a fitting occasion, preferably in summer.

 

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.

home economics: I am becoming a desperate houseneutrois

I decided it was time, time to walk in there, eventhough I knew I would lose my direction and probably forget what I was going to do there. But I just had to go in and find something, SOMETHING, that would relieve my suffering.

I couldn’t hesitate any longer, so I returned my tray and headed for the entrance to the store.

So many colours, textures, and sparkly things, they all dazzled my mind and lots of artistic things came into my mind. I knew this would happen, I knew I would begin to lose it, but I had to recollect myself.

So I stepped out of my reverie and headed for the specials section of the material I was looking for. I couldn’t choose a material, though, and I couldn’t choose a colour. I just stood there, picturing the outcome of my hard work and endless hours of frustration.

I went back and forth, looking for another item and even had to consult the staff. They were very helpful, but after telling me that a metre cost about 3 Euro, I lost interest and slowly moved away, embarrassed.

So finally I came to the conclusion that I had to do something. I grabbed three types (gren, pink, and metallic blue) and the base material (black) and paid. The cashier put a magazine with store specials into my shopping bag. That was it. I did it. I was done for today.

At home I eagerly unpacked and scrutinised my purchases. The colours matched my idea of how I wanted to present myself: new, vibrant.

(I mostly don’t actually feel like that, but that’s another matter)

I pictured all the clothes I would change, how they would fit me better in future, how the label created an extra layer.

Then I sadly realised: I don’t have the proper instruments to use the woolen strings of cloth. My attempt had failed.

But I will go back to that shop in the main shopping street and get the things I need…and start again. The frustrating work hasn’t even begun yet.

So I only managed to create this little label-sign on my carry-bag. The one I had before disintegrated. This is my resistance.

Signs. Soon they’ll be springing up everywhere I go, because these signs will be attached to me. I will be the sign.

(Let’s hope it’ll be understood)

having ‘neutrois-lized’ the bag, Dominic is now planning new sewing projects

 

 

 

 

new product advertised on radical feminist’s blog, has the word ‘Neutrois’ in it

Oh, look what I found! A bit of advertisement for the Neutrois.

As a Neutrois I am thankful that someone as knowleadgable of ourselves as Against all Evidence has come up with this idea of a ‘Narcissistic Hipster Acne Wash’.

Not only have I become upgraded to a hipster (I will attempt to find out what that is asap), but also to ‘the nr. 1 queer theorist recommended’. It’s good to know what queer theorists recommend. Let me know of any queer theorist if you ever meet any, I would like to meet one, too!

Against All Evidence  is a wonderful blog and I especially like the posts on feminism and the movement for women’s liberation, because I fully support that and posts like the ones found on this site often make me really angry, almost make me weep, get me enraged, make me very emotional and wanting to know more.

To a redfem from THIS NEUTROIS: I do not support the patriarchy but neither am I in support of the matriarchy. I agree that men have ‘gone bad’ all over the world like an overripe fruit, but that does not make we want to be a woman and especially not a lesbian, because I am celibate, and lesbian sort of means having sex or at least feeling attracted to women, and I don’t like being called that or being expected to become that just because I don’t want to fuck with men, either. So, no thank you, radical feminists. I often read your blogs and marvel at your eloquence and insight into the power/gender politics, but for all your insight and revolutionary energy (which I also admire), you still fail to see other marginalised groups, people like me, ‘queer’ people, asexual people, people who don’t want to fit your agenda as much as they don’t want to fit other groups’ agendas.

It doesn’t mean I’m your enemy, but I am excluded from your own little circle of friends, just as I am looked at strangely by lots of trans women, by trans men, by gays and lesbians, by any binary-supportive system, by anyone who has sex, by anyone who doesn’t wear hats….

That is why I am NEUTROIS, I am a particular Neutrois, you can make fun of it all you want, but I’d prefer you focus on the real threat: the gender binary….oh wait, you’re part of it, I almost forgot.

But thanks for recommending this new product, it really appeals to me, it is orange-y (my favourite colour…oh no, have I reealed too much of myself?), and I do have a bit of skin impurity on my forehead, I tell myself it’s because I think too much, but it could also be just biological. I am sure other queer theorists with acne-related issues will also be happy to be able to purify themselves of skin impurities and I hope this product will take the market by storm and everyone can use it if they so desire. Have you tried it yourself since you are keen on sharing it with us?

Narcissistic Hipster Acne Wash

 

 

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.

The brave new world Part II: Transhumanist Research

The previous part of my article about Transhumanism was a short introduction of the movement that hopefully garnered a bit of interest for it.

The following is an elaboration on the introduction and another introduction for a third part that deals with one specific topic, that of the human form and related ideas about ethics.

However, let me begin by reiterating some basic tenets of transhumanism:

Transhumanists show a great interest in sceintif discovery and exploration, both of the external world around them and of themselves. Science fiction films and novels come to mind when one hears the word transhumanism, as it is implied that a lot of the concepts associated with this movement are revolutionary in a sense that they aim to go beyond the known, beyond what is even possible, beyond the human.

For this reason the movement has gained a lot of critics and skeptics. Since the movement focuses on such terms as future/enhancement/technology and on science, it is not very well understood and even often misunderstood and feared.

But little do critics take into account that without a spirit of endeavour and without transhumanist thought, the present as we know it would not have come into being, and perhaps not have come into existence so fast. For transhumanists often build upon the history of mankind and trace the roots of the movement back to the Age of Enlightenment and the Industrial Revolution.

Today various scientific fields are full of transhumanist thinkers that aim at using their skills to enhance the human (quality of life and sustainability, cognition and other skills). The follwoing fields are areas of interest for scientific exploration (in no particular order): Cybernetics, Neuroscience, Molecular Biology, Nanotechnology, Information Technology.

Japan cyborg research enters the skull

mind_controlled_robot

From cloning cells to creating robotic body parts, transhumanism is our constant companion in the quest for human enhancement and scientific discovery.

As is exemplified in the article ‘Japan’s cyborg research enters the skull’ (dated 17th April, 2008), researchers aim to use “real-time mind-controlled robotic limbs” to enhance motor skills for disabled patients. The way to do this is quite intrusive, but might yield a better quality life for the patient.

Enhancing the human is designing the human, re-shaping the human form and thus allowing for new concepts about what is human and how a human should/can perform. Scientific research and engineering (the practical and visible) spills over onto other fields as well, the Arts and Humanities, for example, where the concept of ‘Human’ is being re-adressed as part of the transhuman discourse. This might also have effects on other, not so obvious fields, such as Transgender Theory (eg. reassignment surgery) and Queer Theory (non-traditional ways of assigning gender).

TO DO LIST

To Do List 2012

Casual encounters

I’m not getting anywhere with job or apartment hunting.

Yesterday I was supposed to have a look at one, but the realty person did not turn up. Our group of people waited for more than an hour, then I left, so I don’t know if this person eventually did turn up. I had time, but it’s still frustrating. I did not have the number, otherwise I would’ve called and perhaps found out about why we were all standing in front of a house, us strangers thrown together by the need to move from our current places into a new one. It was interesting to see so many different characters thrown together, a really interesting mix of people were there, including me 🙂 Some interesting dress styles presented themselves, but in the end our boredom and frustration and the need for comfortable housing united us. I wonder what happened in the end and where all these people went, in the end.

Then I forced myself to do some socialising, because it was in my area. We all met (strangers again) in a restaurant almost across from where I live because of this desire to be socially more active whilst also doing sports or learning new things or being cultural. There’s an organisation that organises events where complete strangers can meet (for whatever reason, mostly to socialise and do stuff together and not alone). For a modest fee and a 6 month contract basically one can avail of the many choices of events and strangers. 40 Euro per month is a little much for me, especially with this job thing not materialising and the search for a new place to stay. It also feels very forced and fake, and desperate. I’m not saying I’m 100% happy with being not only single but not knowing anyone in this town and having my closest family member living at least a 2 hour plane trip away, and having him not really care about me anyway, and that is almost the nicest of my siblings. Even with all this in mind, I still couldn’t force myself to tick the boxes of what events I would prefer and leave my bank details. I’m curious though if this sort of thing works (if one’s expectations are met) at such events and what sort of people turn up.

waiting for the fog to lift

One of the people at the restaurant gave me a good opportunity to out myself, he was a guy. He mentioned that there were all girls (women) at the meeting and his face was overcome with a glow, a shining that I only ever thught pregnant women and drug addicts to have (sorry, I am trying to be funny, but have a feeling I’m not so funny today). Anyway, I casually outed myself as a Neutrois, which was quite amusing. The look on the man’s face changed abruptly and he did not seem to be amused, as his exquisite comment was hijacked by a pint-sized gender gangster.

But the reception I got was something to remember. The women sitting opposite me started to ask, in the most friendly way I have ever encountered, but with a wry smile, if I didn’t event want to be male and wether I ‘liked’ men or women. The woman who started the conversation after I had mentioned Trans somewhere (she couldn’t see the star that usually accompanies this label) also casually mentioned that she had given herself a nickname, too, that was more gender neutral. The woman who managed the event, who was hostile to me for a while as I did not become a member, even warmed up to me and we chatted for a bit. This warm and casual reception at an event with strangers was really uplifting and gave me courage to actually take part in group activities: badminton, concerts, etc…

I still have the feeling that I will only see these people again if I sign up with the group and pay good money for my inclusion. But that is kind of to be expected. I’m also very tempted by it, but right now, I don’t want to spend money again when I can afford it the least (which I always seem to end up doing).

postscript 1: The mentioning of my queerness was not planned, it just happened to escape me. I guess the atmosphere was such that I let the words out, the need to express myself overcoming the fear of retaliation or ridicule (I can’tstand ridicule).

postscript 2: I wonder if the writing analyser I heard about would recognise that all these posts are from one and the same me. I wonder what gender I would be if I was baing analysed by a machine.

postscript 3: I still don’t know what people see me as, nowadays. I’m afraid it might still be female (I have some extremely hard-to-overcome female mannerisms that I’m also attached to). If I’m wearing a really open-cut shirt do people still assume I have breasts even if there’s nothing to see?

 

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.