Friday, November 02, 2007

Quote of the day: 11/2/07

Personally...I support queer rights not because I am a dyke but because it is the right thing to do. (Yes, my lesbian identity is certainly a part of that. But my support for "homosexual rights" began long before I came out to myself). If i was to base my political activism only upon who i am, i would be limited to fighting for the rights of short, upper-middle class, temporarily abled, white, well-educated, non-transgendered, dyke identified, politically radical, US American, English or French speaking, Generation X women. Like many transpeople, however, i struggle to move beyond the confines of identity politics. I support the rights of people of color not because i am a person of color (i'm not) but because i am against racism. Likewise, i support the rights of transpeople not because i identify as trans (i don't), but because i want all of us to live in a world where we can adopt whatever gender we desire--a gender that comes from our hearts and minds, not what's between our legs. ...gender is a lot more fluid and has many more aspects than our society would have us believe. The feminist and queer movements would become much stronger, much more revolutionary, and much more liberatory by embracing this fact.

--Shannon Wyss

1 comment:

Alon Levy said...

Well, yeah.

For me it's not even an identity issue; the mere fact of systemic discrimination is enough. I don't need to read Kate Bornstein to know that if employers fire people they find to be trans, or if the government won't change people's genders on ID forms even when their genders change, then maybe we should do something to change it.

A long while ago, in one of the many stupid blogospheric feminist fights, I said I understood feminism to mean acceptance of the following three principles:
1. Men and women are equal.
2. In current society there exists serious discrimination against women.
3. We should rectify #2 using some combination of social, political, and legal activism.
Generalizing #1 is pretty straightforward. Once you know about #2 it's pretty easy to generalize it, too. #3 is more difficult, but fortunately, civil rights liberalism has provided us with the tool of looking at systemic discrimination. That concept is really hairy and easy to disagree on, but it allows you to explain why almost everyone agrees there should be laws against racial discrimination but not against hair color discrimination.