May 30, 2011

Queer Issue: Who am I?

Okay, here is the issue I promised you earlier, the solution to the conundrum I raised here. That conundrum being, how do I define who I am, without using negative descriptions? For example, anything that begins with "I am not...".

Well, let me say it again, I do not wish to define myself as a man. Biologically, I am male, yes. Now by "biological" I am referring of course to our physical bodies, which have certain rules and restrictions placed upon them. Yes, I could have surgery to change my body but as I like I said before, I have chosen not to. However, there are restrictions placed upon what I can do. For example, I am not aware of any techniques that have been developed that allow a person to change their genetic code whole sale. We are stuck with whatever allowance or combination of X and Y chromosomes we were given at birth. Nor could I one day decide that I wanted my heart removed so I could put a giant nuclear reactor in my chest like Tony Stark did in the Ironman movies.

However, while our biological/physical bodies may have certain restrictions placed upon them, there are no rules that state that those bodies in turn force us into certain behaviors, self expression, outward appearance, or capabilities. Just because one has a penis or a vagina or is an intersex individual, does not mean that one should be restricted along gender lines in one's clothing choices, career and educational pursuits, or how one behaves in public or private.

That is to say, biology is where we begin, it does not have to restrict where we end up. Our physical bodies should not dictate how we identify ourselves or how we are treated by society.

But I am getting ahead of myself here a bit. What I wanted to talk about was how attending a wedding in Illinois led me to the solution I had wanted for some time now. It was while sitting in the audience, listening to a preacher give a heteronormative spiel along the lines of how "God made man for woman and woman for man" that it hit me. Why the hell do we focus so much on gender polarization so much anyways?

Why is gender itself, even necessary as a societal construct. As I talked about earlier, there are reasons, mostly medical, that make it reasonable to define ourselves along biological traits. However, there is almost no reason for us to make laws or impart social norms that create restrictions along gender. Think for example, of the laws in place at the time of the Stonewall Riots that said one had to have three items of clothing that matched your gender or one would be arrested. So let me repeat what I said earlier, biology is only the beginning, not the end. We are born with a particular set of body parts and genes, but these physical attributes are not a prison for our destiny. We can choose who we are.

What I am getting at is this: How come we cannot simply see ourselves as people? This finally, is my solution. I am not a man, nor am I a woman. I am human. That is all.

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