Guest post: So used to living in boxes

Guest post by Tigger the Wing.

I would be very upset if people as intelligent, thoughtful and educated as Josh and Ophelia were to stop discussing this extremely important topic because a tiny minority of people are loudly bullying anyone who dares to broach it.

This is happening i
n meatspace, too, and it is the older people who are being silenced yet again. Just one person can ruin an entire organisation by making it just too uncomfortable for anyone else to say anything.

And they are ruining things for trans people.

Just as we had been making headway, getting laws changes so that we didn’t have to conform to the gender stereotypes of a particular psych gatekeeper in order to be allowed to transition, because wider society is slowly coming around to the idea that gender expressions and restrictions are largely societal constructs (whereas being drawn to a particular gender performance, or repelled by it, seems to be a matter of personality) they decide that we can’t be allowed to discuss the very gender norms that we are trying to subvert.

Honestly, if I look at a crowded street, the most common clothing is a variation of T-shirt-and-jeans. Make up is more likely to be seen on apparently female people than male, but over here it’s not particularly prevalent. Hair length doesn’t map very well to gender, nor does jewelry. Perhaps that is at least partly why Ireland passed the gender recognition bill shortly after the marriage equality referendum.

We don’t want to go back to the mindset of the late 1940s, when governments realised that telling women to leave the workforce and become housewives was likely to create less of a violence problem than not having jobs for millions of returning soldiers. That, to my mind, is how recent the gender barriers were erected. Up until then, women worked.

In the 1950s, my mother had to fight to stay in work when she married, but did indeed give up when she had me and didn’t do paid work again until we had all grown and left home. She’s probably the only one of my maternal ancestors who didn’t work while raising children. Fragile femininity seems to have been if not exactly invented then certainly raised to a ridiculous level during the 1950s and 60s.

Why can’t we discuss this? Is it because the people raised in an era when many of the equality battles seem to have been won can’t see how vulnerable those gains are? Are they so blinded by the recent pinkification of everything that they cannot see what is lying behind it?

Don’t they see that questioning the premise of gendering of presentation and performance is NOT rejecting the rights of people to perform and present however they like, rather the opposite?

People have apparently become so used to living in boxes that they cannot see that what is important is the place that the box occupies; remove the boxes, the walls, and we don’t remove the places; we make it so that people can freely wander into any place they desire.

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