The Weekly Stripe – 21.08.20
This week we are going beyond the gender binary and exploring what happens in the space in between - a space of transition or being or being made invisible. What do you see and don’t see when looking beyond the gender binary?
A London Review of Books article reviewing Dennis Baron’s What’s Your Pronoun?, describing it as ‘a delightful account of the search for what Baron, a professor of English and linguistics at the University of Illinois, calls ‘the missing word’: a third person singular, gender-neutral pronoun.’
Fitting in boxes is not one (or two) sizes fits all. Edalia Day, a non-binary performer, has an amazing show (available online) about what happens when you don’t fit the box, or more correctly, don’t fit either of them. The show alternately makes you laugh and cry. Day says at one point that the wide terminology now used to self-identify is simply “finding new words for what was already there”
The combination of visiblity (causing harassment) and invisibility (of intersectional discrimination) shows up in the rates of violence and poverty that affect trans women of colour in particular. If you have ever felt safe walking in public you walk with a privilege not all people have.
The invisibility of people who do not fit the gender binary in photographic representations of daily life was very obvious when looking for photos for this week’s link. So start using the Gender Spectrum Collection which is a “stock photo library featuring images of trans and non-binary models that go beyond the clichés.”
Returning to the issue of language, if you want or need some guidance on the meaning of words and how to use them in relation to trans* people, then GLAAD’s reference might be a good place to start.