models that erase nonbinary ppl
February 6, 2015
One sleep later, I still find myself vaguely annoyed by this response to my tweet collection on the history of the sexuality/gender distinction. Here is the comment reproduced in full:
I had no idea about the transmisogyny/transmisogynoir in the history of the concept of separation between sex and gender (and orientation for that matter). That definitely problemetizes Butler’s work. Gender/sex is very clearly different from sexual orientation though, so I wonder what a non-transmisogynist model of the gender/sex spectrum would look like since interpretations from 50 years ago didn’t make that distinction. I also wouldn’t want to go back to models that erase non-binary people… this is all very interesting though.
Beyond how irritating it was for this person to say, after I demonstrated the non-neutrality of the sex-gender distinction (and likewise the resulting sexual orientation-gender identity distinction), ‘Gender/sex is very clearly different from sexual orientation though” as if it were a simple matter of fact. But it isn”t a matter of fact.
However, because this ‘fact” is received wisdom, this person has no need to ground the claim in anything other than the assertion of its truth, which isn”t an argument by anyone”s consideration. Gender/sex is NOT ~very clearly different~ from sexual orientation. I could go into the reasons why, but that isn”t actually what I want to focus on for this post. Rather…
I”m interested and curious about this part of the comment: “I also wouldn”t want to go back to models that erase non-binary people”.
For the sake of people who didn”t click links for context, one of the things I mentioned is that prior to Stonewall and the mobilization by cis gays and cis lesbians of a sex-gender distinction to separate gender identity and sexuality (see how this works?) as a way to push twoc out of the very movement we started, models like Freud”s psychoanalasis tended to treat gender and sexuality as linked in fundamental ways.
Omg. Okay. So I was all set to quote from my copy of Homosexual Desire by Guy Hocquenghem, which is a classic book about psychoanalysis and being gay male sexuality… and in doing research am lead to this on wikipedia:
Some writers suggest that a third gender emerged around 1700 AD in England: the male sodomite…People described themselves as members of a third sex in Europe from at least the 1860s…These writers described themselves and those like them as being of an “inverted” or “intermediate” sex and experiencing homosexual desire, and their writing argued for social acceptance of such sexual intermediates. Many cited precedents from classical Greek and Sanskrit literature…Throughout much of the twentieth century, the term “third sex” was a popular descriptor for homosexuals and gender nonconformists, but after Gay Liberation of the 1970s and a growing separation of the concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity, the term fell out of favor among LGBT communities and the wider public. With the renewed exploration of gender that feminism, the modern transgender movement and queer theory has fostered, some in the contemporary West have begun to describe themselves as a third sex again.
I”ve LITERALLY BEEN MAKING THE EXACT SAME CLAIMS FOR FUCKING YEARS NOW.
I also recall, now, that one cis white german person who was all ‘white ppl using third gender isn”t appropriation” based on this history of it being used in German shit. BUT. Like. Given that this is post contact with indigenous gender systems………. and thus, the identification and interaction with real third gender ppl. Like. What.
Look. This shit is in fucking wikipedia but ppl act like i”m fucking stupid for saying this same thing over and over again.
I”m so mad rn.
Anyway. Note how, despite what this person claims about pre-Stonewall theories excluding nonbinary people, we were, in actual fact very much present and accounted for in pre-Stonewall theories.
Indeed, based on these timelines, you can probably attribute the recent erasure of nonbinary people to the very same cis gays and cis lesbians who pushed twoc out of our own movement in the first place. I know of at least one Stonewall veteran who has an indigenous gender/sexuality. We also can”t just assume that, given that the sexuality/gender identity distinction didn”t clearly exist at the very moment of the Stonewall riot, that the participants were either gay men or trans women but not both. Or not some other kind of mix. At the very least, people for whom their gender identities and expressions were not neatly separated from their sexuality.
Jesus fuck. Can ppl at least read wikipedia articles before making historical claims?
Like for fuck”s sake. I”m reading through this wiki article on third gender and I don”t even think I”ve read it all through before but I”ve been saying similar/same shit for years. Just with a more critical and theoretical perspective but, gasp, few citations becuase fuck citations.