history, erasure, and
April 6, 2014
i came a little late to the hashtag (mostly ‘cause i”m not an active presence on twitter these days) but it caught my attention when there were a few ppl on my timeline talking about how important or whatever the conversation was.
when i finally took a peek… i was little surprised to find most of the ppl (during my slice of time) in the tag were white. and were doing the most to prove the truth of my post on nonbinary ‘invisibility”. i tweeted the link to this post and a few of the other ones i”ve written about nonbinary stuff the past.
i think my fav response was the person who simply tweeted ‘no” at me, when i mentioned that nb white ppl benefit from the binary.
in any case, one of the pervasive tones in the hashtag was one of ‘see! we exist!” as if this was somehow unknown to power. since i”ve already talked about the deep problems of framing this as an issue of ‘in/visibility”, i”m not going to repeat myself.
but we can (and probably should) talk about history and erasure from it.
the sheer amount of ignorance and arrogance needed for white nb ppl to make the ontological fact of their existence be a primary part of their ‘good feels” love fest in the hashtag is pretty galling. it is especially galling for all the ways that this (and other things) is what makes nb spaces dangerous and unsafe for nb iaopoc.1
and that they can pull out this ‘look! we exist!” crap while at the very same time exploiting iaopoc cultures as a way to legitimize their existence is cognitive dissonance at its finest. many of them are def. aware of things like Two-Spirit and/or hijra and/or something similar. you can see it in their calls for participation, in their gender glossaries, in how they organize their communities, and so on.
they can mention some of the ~exotic~ words they know. maybe even reproduce a white definition/understanding/translation for what the words mean. quite frequently appropriate a term or two. but like many things indigenous, these things only kinda/sorta exist in the distant past. that the referrents of these words no longer exist (or they primarily exist over there or elsewhere in the white imagination).
we are erased from the present to exploit our history.
our history is erased to make ahistorical claims about the present
but never are we allowed to exist in the present as ppl with history.
a history of resisting and surviving against colonial attempts to suppress and overwrite our own gender systems with the white one. which not only includes binarism but patriarchy2.
what does it mean to advocate for nb visibility when we”ve been dying and suffering because of our visibiliy to whiteness and colonialism and transmisogyny?
what does it mean that we”ve successfully resisted eradication for centuries only to be erased and/or exploited by a group of our oppressors claiming to be our ~community~?
what does it mean to seek legitimacy from the very same power that has sought, for centuries now, to completely annihilate us?
what does it mean to do this, for us settlers, on stolen land?
what does it mean for white nb ppl to co-opt our struggles and resistance to the binary and white enforced gender-based oppression?
what does it mean for a white person to say #iamnonbinary and i exist?
what does it mean for a large group of white ppl to celebrate #iamnonbinary as a fuzzy warm feels fest centered around individual expressions of identity?
but, yes, #iamnonbinary. i am a third gender ladyboy.
note how all of those words are words white ppl came up with to diminish and denigrate me. note how actually visible i am to whiteness and power.