additional thoughts on genderescent and genderessence
January 9, 2013
When I first was moved to try and conceive of a discursive space for Indigenous and/or people of colour to discuss/explore our genders beyond the scope of what is currently possible within whiteness…
I started a conversation by proposing ‘genderescent’ (plural: “genderessence”).
That was way back in april (holy fuck I can’t believe so much time has passed). The ensuing discussion I had with a few other people on tumblr (notably frankethor, Riley, quaker-problems, otaachimow – these are the names that stick out most) has been fantastic.
The fundamental impetus has remained the same:
Gender[essence] are those non-cis [Indigenousn and/or] PoC who want to have a community of our own. A community that fundamentally recognizes our identities as people of colour. Claim this term if this represents you (and, no, white people do not ever get to use this).
Even as some of the details have drifted or been adapted to individual needs (which is fucking awesome).
To a certain extent… i never quite expected to have even minimal adoption of the word or that more people would be interested in joining the discussion and exploring this space with me/us.
Do you know how fucking happy I am that this is actually turning out to be the case?
A little more worrisome is how a few people have somewhat (understandably) been turning to me as a kind of… ‘authority’ on the word and what it means. Or (worse yet) sort of asking me whether or not they can use the word…
Which, unless you are white, i basically do not want to be in this position (re: if you are white, you never get to use the word ever). I’ve had a stomach full (and the nausea to prove it) of white gender policing surrounding ‘trans’. I have zero desire to replicate this with genderescent and the small (but gorgeous) community that is coalescing around the term.
Even more honestly… I don’t know the exact shape and topology of this space. Not yet. I know what i hope to get out of it. and what i hoped to accomplish. and I know what gifts I’ve already received by participating in the conversation.
So. Yes. If you fit the conditions of being 1) Indigenous and/or a person of colour and 2) have gender feels that cannot be articulate in whiteness, then join the discussion. You are welcome here.
I do want to clarify:
- No one is an authority on genderessence. It belongs to the community. (this includes me)
- No one person’s narrative is more legitimate than any others.
- This space is new. So is the conversation. Leave whiteness at the door and we can explore it together.
- You are genderescent if you are Indigenous or a person of colour or otherwise not white and say you are. End of story.