[image description: a diagonally-oriented rendition of the blue, pink, and white transgender flag. Layered on top in the center is the rainbow infinity symbol of neurodiversity]
“To a predetermined fate are we condemned?
Or maybe we’re a book without an end?
We’re not stories, we’re not actors
We’re awake and in control
And this is not a dream
So can we break this mold
And set in motion something new
Forgetting what we know
An evolution overdue
Fight the current
Pull the ripcord
The Violence, Rise Against
(Like usual, there is an article I’m partway through, this time on discourse being dangerous which I have mentioned to people, but just like I came out as ace in Why I Write: National Coming Out Day-later on my old blog I’m coming out as nonbinary in an article too, potentially gendervague, I dunno gender is confusing as all hell)
So, ages ago I wrote You Know Your Mind: A Diagnosed Autistic’s View On Self-Diagnosis. Since then the right to one’s identity has become a cornerstone of my activism, leading me to create the Self-diagnosis validation club (SDVC), and since today coming out/realizing I’m nonbinary, making me broken out of any mold regarding gender, neurology, or orientation, I felt like this article has become even more relevant.
People know who they are. When you’ve lived your life for multiple years, become an adult, you know your experience of your world.
And the fact that there are people who deny this reality fucking pisses me off.
When someone goes by a different gender identity than what they were assigned, has an orientation far from your perception of what is possible, or realizes that their neurotype isn’t the norm, it’s a discovery of what represents our identities, a name to our experiences. Simultaneously I’m finding something new about myself and my identity and having something click for the experiences I’ve had in my life.
From the stories I’ve heard from self-diagnosed autistics it’s the same, and realizing I was panromantic last year was similar. Reveling in confusion and revelation as things that never had a reason finally make sense, things which we might have thought made us wrong or broken given a reason and a name.
These pronouns and labels and new words (I love how some people use the argument that these are “made up” words and thus not valid…what words aren’t? New language is created to provide words to explain and fit our reality. I’m writing a blog on a laptop, which you might be reading on your smartphone and if you are confused by some words in this article you might Google them. Every single word I italicized are words that have only existed for a few decades that have now saturated our language, “made up” to give an identifier to important aspects of our reality. If you’re going to stand against new made-up words at least be consistent. If you have issues with our identities but not those, you aren’t anti-new words you’re transphobic) aren’t just words but experiences that our language has expanded to be able to give names to. Infinite words to cover infinite identities, human experiences finally given names…and when you consistently and deliberately refuse to use these words or labels, you are denying all the experiences that they represent based on some sense of false superiority that you think allows you to do so, some belief that you have the right to define reality for others when these things don’t affect you whatsoever.
It is true that more people are coming out as these things, but it’s not “transtrending” being made cool by Tumblr. What’s happening is that, thanks to the internet’s power to allow people to spread knowledge worldwide and a more conscious acceptance of this potential, and yes, social networks like Tumblr encouraging worldwide interaction and the ability to express and present yourself how you actually are rather than how you appear physically (useful I’m sure for trans people who have dysphoria with their appearance, also Tumblr does give the most customization to match what you are), people are able to connect with others who have these experiences who know the term for it or read the stories of people who have gone through the same experiences and thus realize they aren’t alone and there is an actual word for this part of their identity. This is something totally awesome that people roll their eyes at. No matter how far how they identify from how you identify, what makes your identity true and right and theirs a lie and wrong? If yours is more common than theirs, does that necessarily make yours more valid than theirs? Being common and usual doesn’t make something more right than something that is incredibly uncommon and unusual, divergence should be celebrated not condemned just because it’s different from your arbitrary standards (and yes, the gender binary, heteronormativity, and requiring costly tests based on heavily flawed diagnostic criteria not at all based on the actual experiences of the people they are being used to diagnose but on outside views of how people appear to others before you believe someone knows who they actually are are all arbitrary, no matter how you’ve been taught to accept them by society [they are social constructs, a term which doesn’t mean that they should be treated as nonexistent but acknowledges they are concepts that have come to be part of the fabric of our culture. It’s also arbitrary that we put high value on green pieces of paper with numbers and dead people on them, but just because money is a social construct doesn’t mean it’s fake. These are concepts that we have given meaning, they exist but just because we have accepted them as things that exist and treat them as common doesn’t mean that they are truly right or make them any less irrational]).
The song quote is how I’m feeling about all of this right now.
Breaking out of any sort of mold and claiming a new path…and I would argue that as a society we should. For so long we’ve accepted these standards and now more and more people are realizing how unimportant they are to cleave to personally and how much they don’t fit but even for those who aren’t divergent from these standards accepting these molds is limiting to your way of presenting yourself. These concepts aren’t going away and I wouldn’t really argue that they should, as people still connect their identities to them and that’s not bad, arguing we should completely do away with the gender binary for instance invalidates trans people who do identify with one.
But acknowledging their existence doesn’t mean we need to consider them the right way and everything outside of them wrong.
We aren’t condemned to accepting them, we’re in control of our perceptions of what is right and should choose to stop accepting standards that invalidate so many of our fellow humans as moral.
We can find an evolution overdue and fight the current of what society has taught us to accept and in the face of a system that is aiming to be even more oppressive we should be pushing back even harder against the norms it’s trying to enforce and allow legal discrimination against people who break them.
At the very least embrace us and recognize our humanity and our right to say what that means. We actually do know better than you do, and how that is up for debate is something that everyone should realize is wrong.