Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Doing Enough?

Something I’ve pondered more than once is how to balance my life and activism and outreach and education.

I’ve never been super politically active. Sure, I vote, and sometimes I’ll talk to friends about political things, but I’ve never done any campaigning or fundraising or donating even.

I just want to live my simple little boring life and wring as much happiness out of the world as I can. I’m actually doing a pretty good job; I’m probably one of the happier people I know.

But a weird thought occurs to me every now and then – am I doing enough? I’ve been very surprised to find that I’m a fairly gender-normative woman. I drum, sure, but no one is 100% in one direction or the other; I seem to fall well within the “typical woman” range. I know I never signed up to fight the gender binary and all that, but sometimes when I feel so comfortable with it, I wonder if I’m some sort of traitor to the cause. I remember once upon a time when I was all set to challenge society’s perception of gender and now I find that, while I still think most folks could stand a little broadening of their understanding of gender, it feels so much less pertinent to my day to day reality.

Once upon a time a I was a bisexual transsexual; I was fine with the label “queer,” now I’m a heterosxeual woman. I guess this is more stuff about human nature and issues which directly impact our lives being the ones we care about most directly.

Which is different from saying that I don’t care about those issues. I strongly believe in discrimination and hate crimes protections for people outside the gender binary, even though I feel that I fall within the gender binary nowadays (yes, I’m aware that in some people’s eyes I’m ~way~ outside the gender binary and always will be). I believe in same-sex marriage rights even though it probably won’t be an issue that directly impacts my life.

It’s becoming an interesting balancing act, being open about my history when appropriate, but also just living my life as makes the most sense.

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5 Comments»

  Anonymous-T-Girl wrote @

i am quite fond of the gender binary in many ways. Getting from the wrong side to the the right side is the only problem i have. i’m not fond of binaries that insult gender queers.

Gender queer people are cool, too. The only time they are *not* cool imo is when they actively attempt to destroy the binary system, and label me some sort of humanist failure for subscribing to it.

There are men, and women, and those in transition, and people who are both, and people who are neither. And for the same reason pink and blues shouldn’t mock purples, the reverse is also true.

‘Bisexual’ is a very tricky concept to me.

But ‘heterosexual’ is much easier to say than…

…’it’s theoretically possible, but it would take a surgically precise scenario with just the exact right type of woman, and i never even once fantasize about them’.

  Véronique wrote @

Gender is a spectrum, maybe even in more than one dimension. If I could be happy being genderqueer, I would have gone that way, just as I would have remained an androgynous male if that had made me happy. But being a woman is what makes me happy. I know it’s kind of politically incorrect among gender activists, but I’m not about to give up being happy just to be more radical.

  Chelsea wrote @

i feel that “doing enough” strain too…. me and candice talk about that frequently. but like sometimes i just get so wrapped up in our happy world, that i forget. 😦 and i think its something we all do from time to time. i think the important thing in all of it, is to not ever turn your back completely on the community… take breaks, but never abandon. ya know?

  chartreuseflamethrower wrote @

This is what bothers me about any kind of progress, or the people who take it too far. The problem with the gender binary and gender roles as they are now is that they stop people from being themselves and living life as they want- and not because they’re doing harm. Yes, appearing hetero/cisnormative isn’t actively fighting the system in the same way that becoming a total genderf**k and “correcting” peoples pronouns no matter what they use is. But if the only reason you’re doing that is to make a statement- not because it’s what you really want to do- what’s the point? It might be a fun evening- but you’ve got as much right to be comfortable as anyone else. That’s the entire point- everyone has a right ot be comfortable being who they are, no matter what that entails (so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone).

We shouldn’t be tearing down boundaries just to build up new, equally restrictive ones in their place. And that’s kind of what anyone who says “You have to reject [-normativity] by constantly doing the opposite of that even if that’s not how you’re most comfortable” is saying. No… You have to reject [-normativity] by helping to make sure that other people can do what they’re comfortable with, while making sure that you’re okay where you are as well.

  chartreuseflamethrower wrote @

“The problem with the gender binary and gender roles as they are now is that they stop people from being themselves and living life as they want- and not because they’re doing harm.”

Ugh, I just realized how vague that was- I meant “And not because *the people* are doing harm *by being themselves*”. To prevent people who hurt others unnecessarily from using that excuse.
The enforced gender binary & roles, however, are doing loads of harm.

Sorry about the confusion.


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