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Posts Tagged ‘queer’

I haven’t connected to any other class’s readings as I have connected with Eli Clare’s Exile & Pride. I’m trying to figure out why, and I still don’t rightly know, but I needed to share.

It seems obvious to say, “Well, I like the subject matter,” but really. I do. And it is all very different but so intrinsically connected, that I feel bad that I ever doubted the meshing of these worlds into one book. The environment, queerness, and disability (to narrow it down to a main triad) are all sides of the same coin. The environment–the one he have created and the one that has always been–often dictates disability. Disability provokes a queer understanding of identity. Being queer in different environments–rural and urban–is like being a polar bear or a house cat,  a bird or a lost lizard in a sewer. The criticism that Clare invokes when talking about these topics is also critical of race and ethnicity and of privilege and gender. Who was the first to claim land as an inexhaustible resource? Who dictates the gender and sexual norms? Who creates the urban space that perpetuates disability? Clare touches on all of these linked together identities and sites, and it feels so right. I learned so much from Clare’s writing, but I also picked up his sense of criticism; that calm, assertive, compassionate voice that questions why and kicks out with fervor. Clare’s criticism is beatifically formed and so god damn smart, but it’s not the only thing that keeps me in the book.

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As I scroll through the endless stream of photos on the internet – mainly my tumblr – I can’t help but be overwhelmed by how many adorable queer folks there are.  With amazing haircuts, clothing, artwork, music, everything.  Babes all on the internet with super cute selfies, what more could one want?

Only as I as I spend more time seeing these images, I become aware of a question that always seems to be lingering in the back of my mind when it comes to my sexuality.

Am I queer enough?

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Transitioning is often seen through a medical lens, marked by physical changes to the body including hormone replacement therapy and sex reassignment surgery. While transitioning clearly demonstrates the fluidity of gender, the body, and how gender and the body interact and are perceived, the locations of sex on the body are often viewed as static. For someone to have fully transitioned, their gender and biological sex would seemingly “match.” I am in support of people doing whatever it is they need to do to feel good about their gender and I am in no way against this type of transitioning. However, what I believe is problematic is how this is typically seen as the default for trans* people. Not all trans* people transition or transition in this particular way.

The Phallic Titty Manifesto, a zine by a friend Jackie Wang

discusses the ambiguity of flesh, tits as dicks and dicks as clits, erotic lactation, Judith Butler, pregnant bodies, Louise Bourgeois, the lesbian phallus, unmaking and remaking bodies, expanding erogenous zones, and queer sex.

Through a queer lens, sex is no longer isolated to biological parts associated with our sex at birth or if they are their weight no longer holds. In this sense, there is a radical capability to transition or transgresses gender norms while still seemingly embodying the sex you were assigned at birth.

This makes me think of the usage of terms “female-bodied” and “male-bodied.” I have typically heard them used in the context of referring to trans*, genderqueer, and non-gender conforming folks. While someone will refer to someone with “they/their” pronouns in one breath, they will use “female-bodied” or “male-bodied” to refer to them in another. While I think this is subjective, dependent on the specific person and how they like to be referred to, I think this is extremely interesting. From this example, it is clear how deeply embedded sex and gender are in physical bodies. I think at times terms like these can (unintentionally) reinscribe the gender binary, in which some folks clearly do not identify with. If someone is trans*, why wouldn’t they be trans*-bodied (or however they would like to be referred)? Do you think it is inherently impossible to view the body, specifically sex on the body as fluid?

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