Gender Nihilism: An Anti-Manifesto

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This text was found in a queer social event at The Field café in South London in late 2015. It is presumed to be written in 2015. The author is uncredited in the print version I found, but is credited as tumblr user “genderkills” here (this url is now owned by a different user and the original link is broken). I’m reprinting it and distributing it online because I believe it deserves a wider audience. Minor copy edits were made by myself, February 2016.

 

Introduction

We are at an impasse. The current politics of trans liberation has staked its claims on a redemptive understanding of identity. Whether through a doctor or psychologist’s diagnosis, or through a personal self affirmation in the form of a social utterance, we have come to believe that there is some internal truth to gender that we must divine.

An endless set of positive political projects have marked the road we currently travel; an infinite set of pronouns, pride flags, and labels. The current movement within trans politics has sought to try to broaden gender categories, in the hope that we can alleviate their harm. This is naive.

Judith Butler refers to gender as, “the apparatus by which the production and normalization of masculine and feminine take place along with the interstitial forms of hormonal, chromosomal, psychic, and performative that gender assumes”. If the current liberal politics of our trans comrades and siblings are rooted in trying to expand the social dimensions created by this apparatus, our work is a demand to see it burned to the ground.

We are radicals who have had enough with attempts to salvage gender. We do not believe we can make it work for us. We look at the transmisogyny we have faced in our own lives, the gendered violence that our comrades, both trans and cis have faced, and we realize that the apparatus itself makes such violence inevitable. We have had enough.

We are not looking to create a better system, for we are not interested in positive politics at all. All we demand in the present is a relentless attack on gender and the modes of social meaning and intelligibility it creates.

At the core of this Gender Nihilism lies several principles that will be explored in detail here: Antihumanism as foundation and cornerstone, gender abolition as a demand, and radical negativity as method.

Antihumanism

Antihumanism is a cornerstone which holds gender nihilist analysis together. It is the point from which we begin to understand our present situation; it is crucial. By antihumanism, we mean a rejection of essentialism. There is no essential human. There is no human nature. There is no transcendent self. To be a subject is not to share in common a metaphysical state of being (ontology) with other subjects.

The self, the subject, is a product of power. The “I” in “I am a man” or “I am a woman” is not an “I” which transcends those statements. Those statements do not reveal a truth about the “I”, rather they constitute the “I”. Man and Woman do not exist as labels for certain metaphysical or essential categories of being, they are rather discursive, social, and linguistic symbols which are historically contingent. They evolve and change over time; their implications have always been determined by power.

Who we are, the very core of our being, might not be found in the categorical realm of being at all. The self is a convergence of power and discourses. Every word you use to de ne yourself, every category of identity within which you find yourself placed, is the result of a historical development of power. Gender, race, sexuality, and every other normative category is not referencing a truth about the body of the subject or about the soul of the subject. These categories construct the subject and the self. There is no static self, no consistent “I”, no history transcending subject. We can only refer to a self with the language given to us, and that language has radically fluctuated throughout history, and continues to fluctuate in our day to day life.

We are nothing but the convergence of many different discourses and languages which are utterly beyond our control, yet we experience the sensation of agency. We navigate these discourses, occasionally subverting, always surviving. The ability to navigate does not indicate a metaphysical self which acts upon a sense of agency, it only indicates that there is symbolic and discursive looseness surrounding our constitution.

We see gender as a specific set of discourses embodied in medicine, psychiatry, the social sciences, religion, and our daily interactions with others. We do not see gender as a feature of our “true selves”, but as a whole order of meaning and intelligibility which we find ourselves operating in. We do not look at gender as a thing which a stable self can be said to possess. On the contrary we say that gender is done and participated in, and that this doing is a creative act by which the self is constructed and given social signi cance and meaning.

Our radicalism cannot stop here, we further state that historical evidence can be provided to show that gender operates in such a manner. The work of many decolonial feminists has demonstrated the ways that western gender categories were violently forced onto indigenous societies, and how this required a complete linguistic and discursive shift. Colonialism produced new gender categories, and with them new violent means of reinforcing a certain set of gendered norms. The visual and cultural aspects of masculinity and femininity have changed over the centuries. There is no static gender.

There is a practical component to all of this. The question of humanism vs antihumanism is the question upon which the debate between liberal feminism and nihilist gender abolitionism will be based.

The liberal feminist says “I am a woman” and by that means that they are spiritually, ontologically, metaphysically, genetically, or any other modes of “essentially” a woman.

The gender nihilist says “I am a woman” and means that they are located within a certain position in a matrix of power which constitutes them as such.

The liberal feminist is not aware of the ways power creates gender, and thus clings to gender as a means of legitimizing themselves in the eyes of power. They rely on trying to use various systems of knowledge (genetic sciences, metaphysical claims about the soul, kantian ontology) in order to prove to power that they can operate within it.

The gender nihilist, the gender abolitionist, looks at the system of gender itself and see’s the violence at its core. We say no to a positive embrace of gender. We want to see it gone. We know appealing to the current formulations of power is always a liberal trap. We refuse to legitimize ourselves.

Antihumanism does not deny the lived experience of many of our trans siblings who have had an experience of gender since a young age. Rather we acknowledge that such an experience of gender was always already determined through the terms of power. We look to our own childhood experiences. We see that even in the transgressive statement of “We are women” wherein we deny the category power has imposed onto our bodies, we speak the language of gender. We reference an idea of “woman” which does not exist within us as a stable truth, but references the discourses by which we are constituted.

Thus we a rm that there is no true self that can be divined prior to discourse, prior to encounters with others, prior to the mediation of the symbolic. We are products of power, what are we to do?

We end our exploration of antihumanism with a return to the words of Butler:

“My agency does not consist in denying this condition of my constitution. If I have any agency, it is opened up by the fact that I am constituted by a social world I never chose. That my agency is riven with paradox does not mean it is impossible. It means only that paradox is the condition of its possibility.”

Gender Abolition

If we accept that gender is not to be found within ourselves as a transcendent truth, but rather exists outside us in the realm of discourse, what are we to strive for? To say gender is discursive is to say that gender occurs not as a metaphysical truth within the subject, but occurs as a means of mediating social interaction. Gender is a frame, a subset of language, and set of symbols and signs, communicated between us, constructing us and being reconstructed by us constantly.

Thus the apparatus of gender operates cyclically; as we are constituted through it, so too do our daily actions, rituals, norms, and performances reconstitute it. It is this realization which allows for a movement against the cycle itself to manifest. Such a movement must understand the deeply penetrative and pervasive nature of the apparatus. Normalization has an insidious way of naturalizing, accounting for, and subsuming resistance.

At this point it becomes tempting to embrace a certain liberal politics of expansion. Countless theorists and activists have laid stake to the claim that our experience of transgender embodiment might be able to pose a threat to the process of normalization that is gender. We have heard the suggestion that non-binary identity, trans identity, and queer identity might be able to create a subversion of gender. This cannot be the case.

In staking our claim on identity labels of non-binary, we find ourselves again caught back in the realm of gender. To take on identity in a rejection of the gender binary is still to accept the binary as a point of reference. In the resistance to it, one only reconstructs the normative status of the binary. Norms have already accounted for dissent; they lay the frameworks and languages through which dissent can be expressed. It is not merely that our verbal dissent occurs in the language of gender, but that the actions we take to subvert gender in dress and affect are themselves only subversive through their reference to the norm.

If an identity politics of non-binary genders cannot liberate us, it is also true that a queer or trans identity politics o ers us no hope. Both fall into the same trap of referencing the norm by trying to “do” gender differently. The very basis of such politics is grounded in the logic of identity, which is itself a product of modern and contemporary discourses of power. As we have already determined, there is no stable identity which we can reference. Thus any appeal to a revolutionary or emancipatory identity is only an appeal to certain discourses. In this case, that discourse is gender.

This is not to say that those who identify as trans, queer, or non- binary are at fault for gender. This is the mistake of the traditional radical feminist approach. We repudiate such claims, as they merely attack those most hurt by gender. Even if deviation from the norm is always accounted for and neutralized, it sure as hell is still punished. The queer, the trans, the non-binary body is still the site of massive violence. Our siblings and comrades still are murdered all around us, still live in poverty, still live in the shadows. We do not denounce them, for that would be to denounce ourselves. Instead we call for an honest discussion about the limits of our politics and a demand for a new way forward.

With this attitude at the forefront, it is not merely certain formulations of identity politics which we seek to combat, but the need for identity altogether. Our claim is that the ever-expanding list of personal pronouns, the growing and ever more nuanced labels for various expressions of sexuality and gender, and the attempt to construct new identity categories more broadly is not worth the effort.

If we have shown that identity is not a truth but a social and discursive construction, we can then realize that the creation of these new identities is not the sudden discovery of previously unknown lived experience, but rather the creation of new terms upon which we can be constituted. All we do when we expand gender categories is to create new more nuanced channels through which power can operate. We do not liberate ourselves, we entrap ourselves in countless and even more nuanced and powerful norms, each one a new chain.

This terminology is not hyperbolic; the violence of gender cannot be overestimated. Each trans woman murdered, each intersex infant coercively operated on, each queer kid thrown onto the streets is a victim of gender. The deviance from the norm is always punished. Even though gender has accounted for deviation, it is placed within a hierarchy of unacceptability where it is punished as such. Expansions of norms is an expansion of deviance; it is an expansion of ways we can fall outside a discursive ideal. In nite gender identities create in nite new spaces of deviation which will be violently punished. Gender must punish deviance, thus gender must go.

And thus we arrive at the need for the abolition of gender. If all of our attempts at positive projects of expansion have fallen short and only ensnared us in a new set of traps, then there must be another approach. That the expansion of gender has failed, does not imply that contraction would serve our purposes. Such an impulse is purely reactionary and must be done away with.

The reactionary radical feminist sees gender abolition as such a contraction. For them, we must abolish gender so that sex (the physical characteristics of the body) can be a stable material basis upon which we can be grouped. We reject this whole-heartedly. Sex itself is grounded in discursive groupings, given an authority through medicine, and violently imposed onto the bodies of intersex individuals. We decry this violence.

No, a return to a simpler and smaller understanding of gender (even if supposedly a material conception) will not do. It is the very normative grouping of bodies in the first place which we push back against. Neither contraction nor expansion will save us. Our only path is that of destruction.

Radical Negativity

At the heart of our gender abolition is a negativity. We seek not to abolish gender so that a true self can be returned to; there is no such self. It is not as though the abolition of gender will free us to exist as true or genuine selves, freed from certain norms. Such a conclusion would be at odds with the entirety of our antihumanist claims. And thus we must take a leap into the void.

A moment of lucid clarity is required here. If what we are is a product of discourses of power, and we seek to abolish and destroy those discourses, we are taking the greatest risk possible. We are diving into an unknown. The very terms, symbols, ideas, and realities by which we have been shaped and created will burn in ames, and we cannot know or predict what we will be when we come out the other side.

This is why we must embrace an attitude of radical negativity. All the previous attempts at positive and expansionist gender politics have failed us. We must cease to presume a knowledge of what liberation or emancipation might look like, for those ideas are themselves grounded upon an idea of the self which cannot stand up to scrutiny; it is an idea which for the longest time has been used to limit our horizons. Only pure rejection, the move away from any sort of knowable or intelligible future can allow us the possibility for a future at all.

While this risk is a powerful one, it is necessary. Yet in plunging into the unknown, we enter the waters of unintelligibility. These waters are not without their dangers; and there is a real possibility for a radical loss of self. The very terms by which we recognize each other may be dissolved. But there is no other way out of this dilemma. We are daily being attacked by a process of normalization that codes us as deviant. If we do not lose ourselves in the movement of negativity, we will be destroyed by the status quo. We have only one option, risks be damned.

This powerfully captures the predicament that we are in at this moment. While the risk of embracing negativity is high, we know the alternative will destroy us. If we lose ourselves in the process, we have merely suffered the same fate we would have otherwise. Thus it is with reckless abandon that we refuse to postulate about what a future might hold, and what we might be within that future. A rejection of meaning, a rejection of known possibility, a rejection of being itself. Nihilism. That is our stance and method.

Relentless critique of positive gender politics is thus a starting point, but one which must occur cautiously. For if we are to criticize their own normative underpinnings in favor of an alternative, we only fall prey once again to the neutralizing power of normalization. Thus we answer the demand for a clearly stated alternative and for a program of actions to be taken with a resolute “no”. The days of manifestos and platforms are over. The negation of all things, ourselves included, is the only means through which we will ever be able to gain anything.

 

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“Bisexual Banter” Episode 1: Non-Monogamy

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Bisexual Banter is a web TV series by Verity Ritchie about bisexuals which aims to increase bi visibility and contribute to diverse and positive representation of people who identify as bisexual (and pansexual, and queer).

Despite public fascination and fetishization of bisexuality, bisexuals are a generally overlooked minority. Even within LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) circles, bisexuals are marginalized and mocked, while gay representation becomes more and more common and positive.

But who are the real faces of the bi community? Transgender, polyamorous (non-monogamous), activists, asexuals, intersex, people of colour, doctors, sex workers, and many others make up a diverse community, eager for their voices to be heard.

One film couldn’t possibly cover the diverse array of bisexual experiences. Only an ongoing series could hope to capture the myriad rites of passage lived by bisexuals.

The programme will aim to educate people on bisexuality, relying heavily on the voices and personal experiences of real bisexuals. We will promote the visibility of bisexuals while breaking down common misconceptions. (from Bisexual Banter)

The series uses a documentary format; each episode is about 10 minutes long. The first episode is on non-monogamy and the myth of bisexual promiscuity. My interview was late last summer in swampy August, so my lqqk is “sweaty floral butch”.

S/o to all of my very good-looking partners.

Episode 2: Identity

Episode 3: Trans/Bi

 

Polyamory as a Rejection of Capitalism

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Monogamy is a relationship contract which demands sexual and emotional exclusivity under the guise of loyalty. Your one partner is expected to fulfill all of your romantic and sexual needs, or else face with horror the idea that they are not “enough”. In platonic friendships these behaviors would be rightly labeled as controlling and manipulative—but within romantic and sexual relationships they’re “normal” because monogamy reproduces the capitalist nuclear family, as well as patriarchal mores of people as property.

Because monogamous marriages are recognized by the state, they are given added social legitimacy. Through inheritance, they also keep resources (money, property, citizenship and all its benefits, class identity) consolidated within a minority of families.

Queer “ethical non-monogamy” is about the romantic and sexual autonomy of every individual involved. The only choice I make for my partners is whether or not they get to be with me—if I don’t like other choices that they make, I can leave, but I trust them to make the best choices for themselves and to be compassionate, decent people (hello, that’s why I’m dating them). But because we live under capitalist patriarchy where privileges are constantly reproduced, anti-capitalist polyamory requires deliberate reflection on how we can actively challenge patriarchy, racism, and ableism, and redress power imbalances within our relationships. Here’s a breakdown of why I’m polyamorous and what it means:

Social, emotional, and sexual autonomy.

Within a poly relationship, you have bodily autonomy but so do your partners: you are required to articulate and understand and respect the emotional and physical boundaries within each partnership. My partners are not “mine” and they don’t need my permission to do anything with anyone else. There are no “rules” on what my partners can and cannot do. I employ safe safer sex practices and expect the same from my sexual partners, and that’s it.

Bodily autonomy doesn’t mean you get to do whatever the hell you want without consequences, or that you’re entitled to anyone’s time or body. Everyone is allowed to turn you down, and it doesn’t mean they’re “not sex-positive”—get over yourself.

Some poly people put guidelines/rules/boundaries on what their partners can do without them—”you can kiss but no sex without calling me first”; “you can have sex but don’t fall in love”; “you can fall in love but don’t leave me”—but kind of like Monogamy Plus (and I don’t get it).

Clear and honest communication.

Because it can be complicated, you need to be deliberate in your communication. Communicate jealousy, and fear, and desire. If you shame your partner/s for expressing jealousy, you’re doing it wrong. Active listening is a big component, and if I notice a date isn’t a good listener that’s a big red flag.

Being poly doesn’t mean I need to know about the details about my partners’ other relationships. I like to hear about it and I’m interested, but they’re not obliged to tell me any details they want to keep private. This isn’t license for anyone to be sneaky and refuse to communicate something important like, “I’m developing feelings for your best friend and we’re moving in together”, but they’re not “cheating” by not telling me something (nothing is “cheating”). I trust them to tell me the important things and not be deceptive.

Continuous communication means active and ongoing enthusiastic consent. Consent need not be enthusiastic to be valid (s/o to my sex worker friends), but in personal relationships I would hope your consent is enthusiastic!

Trust.

I trust my partners to know what’s best for them, and to make the best decisions for themselves, so I don’t need to police or micromanage them. I also trust them to keep me updated on how my relationship with them is, and what they need, and what they expect from me. I trust them to leave if the relationship is no longer what they want. Mostly I trust that they’ll be honest and not be jerks (like, seducing my boss to intentionally complicate my business relationships).

Nonhierarchical relationships.

This lifts burden of expectations for relationships. No one is “primary” or “secondary”. Even if I’m only seeing one person at a time, to call them my “primary partner” would be to put pressure on them to maintain that “status”, and to imply that I’m entitled to the majority of their time and emotional effort (and that they’re entitled to mine). 

Strong sense of self.

I’m not part of a “unit”; I’m an individual. I treat all of my partners as individuals (whether they’re single, in a poly couple, or in other relationships). Don’t use other people to fill a void of desperation or loneliness.

Further to that—your needs are met primarily by the self, with the support of partners. There is no pressure to be your partners’ Everything. The burden of emotional labor falls on multiple partners, if you have them. Regardless of how many people you’re seeing, you’re required to do the Emotional Work of knowing yourself, learning how to articulate your feelings, and learning to be sensitive to and respectful of the emotions of others. Your partners should support you, but they’re not responsible for your growth.

Relationship fluidity.

Embrace the no-longer terrifying fact that your romantic and sexual relationships are not likely to last indefinitely. Being poly means allowing for fluidity not only between partners but within individual relationships which will undoubtedly change over time. There is no pressure to escalate relationships through the traditional linear stages (friends > lovers > couple > cohabit > marriage > children > divorce), nor to stick to a single relationship definition over time.

Intimacy with multiple people.

This is an obvious plus: you can pursue whatever relationships are mutually desired. Just as you have multiple friendships and work relationships, you can have multiple romances, flings, co-parents, friends with benefits, platonic cuddle buddies… Only the people involved get to define the terms of the relationship.

No love/sex scarcity.

There is no shortage of love or sex to be had, or to give—only time scarcity. This means I don’t indulge bad dates or bad sex; I politely excuse myself to spend time with people who are more fun, or to be by myself. Managing the time scarcity means being honest with partners about my availability and the amount of time I can realistically commit to them—it also means scheduling in time for myself. It’s not sexy, but it’s Important.

Diminished fear of losing partners.

Confront the reality that partners could lose interest, or fall in love with someone else, or leave you for no reason at all whether you’re monogamous or not. Polyamory gives them the freedom to explore themselves and other relationships while they’re with you, and makes it easier to leave if that’s the best course because you all have less invested in the idea of having One Partner Forever. There is liberation in not being afraid of being alone.

_______

Polyamory is not just cishet couples looking for bicurious women to fulfill the man’s threesome fantasy (though OkCupid’s new linking account feature would have you think otherwise). It is not an excuse to lie to your partner/s about your intentions with other people. It is a somewhat unfortunate pairing of Greek and Latin roots, but we must choose our battles so I’m letting this one go (but not unnoticed).

There are bad practices within polyamory too, and some people use poly politics as an excuse to be abusive or misogynistic. I encourage everyone curious about it to click that link and get an idea of how to (and not to) poly.

I’m poly whether I’m with one partner, ten partners, or no partners. Here’s a comic with some examples of how polyamory manifests. You can practice polyamory while only having one partner by agreeing that neither of you is bound by rules over what you can and can’t do with other consenting adults.

Review: Shakesqueer’d A Midsummer Night’s Dream

[Image description: Black and white shot of an actor in masc clothing with a donkey’s head, and a femme actor in ethereal wispy white clothes sitting together in a forest]

Last week the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, London put on a wonderful queer take on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Nick Connaughton. This Shakesqueer’d version features both original text and added monologues which capture a wide array of modern queer experiences.

As I took my front-row seat, I was informed by a middle-aged fairy wearing nipple clamps that if I wanted to partake in drugs all I needed was to slip some money in Puck’s pocket and he’d make sure I was amply supplied. The lights dimmed; a spotlight on Puck. He opens with “Ladies and gentlemen, genders outside and in between…” (Can everyone please use this?)

The setting is split between a closing gay bar in Athens and the traditional magical forest. The main four characters (Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius) are genderfucked and queer: Demetrius is masc with some internalized homophobia, Helena is a lovesick gay boy, Hermia is a lesbian, and Lysander is a woman who loves women. All four wore variations on white dresses (tunics?). The King and Queen of the fairies are both fabulous drag performers. The actors within the play were enjoyably camp, excepting one very sexy dance scene. Theseus and Hippolyta were an adorable and hilarious old couple trying to mediate the disputes.

This version of Shakespeare touched on key queer themes: coming out; deviating from gender norms; HIV poz stigma; substance ab/use in the queer scene; moving to the big city, thirsty for a sense of community; and of course, worshipping queer idols like Cher. The foursome’s intertwined love-square is easily adapted from traditional Shakespeare to modern queer social groups, which tend to be intimate and entangled.

Hermia (Krishna Istha) gave a desperate monologue about coming out to her homophobic father (who interrupted harshly) made me cry, and Bottom (Camilla Harding)’s monologue broke the fourth wall to call out white, masc-as-default cisnormativity in queer spaces and proudly claim their non-binary identity (“I’m using labels to defy labels, get it?”). The traditional Shakespearean dialogue was punctuated by modern interjections like “oh, for fuck’s sake” for both clarity and comedic effect.

It closed with an amusing musical number: “So Long, Farewell” from The Sound Of Music, culminating in the entire cast stripping. What this has to do with AMSND exactly is lost on me, but it was cute nonetheless.

My only disappointment was that there was not enough time between scenes to properly emote: the lighting would change too quickly, and I felt the actors deserved an enthusiastic response. Shakespeare shouldn’t be taken too seriously, and audiences should feel uninhibited in making noise (clapping, booing heckling, and wolf-whistling alike) rather than quiet and grave.

There is great power in seeing yourself represented on stage, in adjusting stories to accommodate marginalized experiences (I’m a big fan of queer headcanons), and Shakespeare’s plays, populist by nature, are absolutely ripe for reimagining. I’m very much looking forward to more from the Arcola Queer Collective.

Coming Out Day

Since you already know that I’m trans and queer (and also gay), let’s talk about basic civil rights struggles the LGBTQIA community still faces:

  • Housing and employment discrimination
  • Direct violence at the hands of lovers, family, and strangers
  • “Trans panic” defense
  • Higher incarceration rates and police brutality
  • Access to healthcare (sexual, gender-affirming, and otherwise)
  • Extra barriers to child custody
  • Regular verbal abuse and sexual fetishization
  • But also regular silencing, invisibility, lack of representation, and invalidation

Obviously all of those issues intersect with misogyny, racism, classism, xenophobia, ableism, and other kinds of body shaming and identity policing.

Coming out doesn’t happen once: it’s a calculated cost/benefit analysis you take every time you walk down the street or meet someone new. It’s also a tool to police and create hierarchies among queer identities as though you are obligated to disclose personal information which totally sucks.

Also, in case you didn’t know, the “A” stands for asexual and agender, not ally; and the position of the ally is only there to allow closeted LGBTQIA people a cover when participating; so if you’re cishet you can be an ally, but remember that this isn’t about you.

“Queer Experiments: Fashion”

Here are some photos by Claudia Moroni from the queer fashion show I modeled in. Our runway show was directed by Krishna Istha, who is one of my favorite people.

Boi fashion is more than a dapper suit. Boihood confuses binaries and fucks with gender. On this night we transition from street/earth wear to outer space realness, taking in the galactic spectrum of looks in between. Our models comprise of self identified femme bois, masc bois, boys and grrls. Expect anything from bois in binders and skirts to butch grrls in lipstick to gender fluid marvels in silver and gold.

Eight of us walked down a tinfoil runway to Peaches’ “Show Stopper”: dapper masc of center boys/bois, sleek femmes, and sparkly non-binary babes. It was wonderful to be surrounded by powerful and unapologetic queerness.

2015.09.23 Queer Bois

The Trans-Queer Fear Of Appearing Heteronormative

I wrote a piece for queer London magazine The Most Cake about trans and queer assimilations into heteronormativity:

When trans people first come out, there’s a societal expectation that their gender expression will be traditionally masculine/feminine in line with their newly declared gender identity. Social norms, even in the trans community, place a heavy emphasis on “passing”. Trans gender expressions are judged by how well they “pass” for cis, and there’s pressure to prove that your gender identity is valid—if you’re *really* a girl, you’ll be more traditionally feminine than a 1950s housewife.

Click to read the remainder.

“The Space In Between”

I’m pleased to have been featured in my friend Lucy Brydon’s short film, The Space In Between. The 4 minute short shows me getting dressed in a mundane, unsensational fashion while I talk about trans/gender.

TSIB 1 copy

TSIB 2 copy

The film has been selected to show at BAFTA and the Aesthetica Short Film Festival as well as several indie film festivals in London.