Talking with my metamour recently made me think of and reread my Gendered History series. I feel like it implies that now, I’m completely happy in my body, that I don’t ever question my gender or my pronouns or my presentation, that I never wish I were something different, that I don’t ever have any negative thoughts related to my gender.
I expect most people will see that title and scroll on past, possibly unfollowing me in the process. That’s okay. For those of you that do read this, I hope you consider my thought processes and point of view and then engage in some respectful discussion if you disagree. (I would love to understand your point of view, if you can explain it with respect. Love.) Content note for this post: discussion of hate crimes, so expect violence (including lethal and sexual) and discussion of various identities.
Earlier this year, I conducted a short program for my local PFLAG group titled “An Introduction to Gender Variance”. In 20-30 minutes, I tried to expose this group of almost-entirely cisgender people to all the lovely varieties of gender out in the world, and it went surprisingly well.
There’s been some discussion lately in a group I’m a part of about the term “cishet” – short for “cisgender and heterosexual” – and whether it’s an insult or just a word to describe a group of people. I’ve actually seen three sides emerge in this debate:
1. It’s an insult. Queer people (and, as it’s often grouped together as “white cishet men”, female people and people of color) use it to attack an entire group of people, disregarding the fact Not All White Cishet Men are against the values of the queer, female people of color. It alienates the allies among cisgender heterosexual people by reducing them to the same level as the attackers, and it should not be used.
2. It’s used as an insult to give the insulting group some sort of power over the majority, seeing as how A Lot Of White Cishet Men participate (knowingly or not) in the oppression of a variety of minorities. Depending on context, it might not be an insult, but it needs to be available to give back some of the power when necessary. Allies should recognize their privilege and be willing to admit to it, part of which is owning their part in the cishet-centric society, but they shouldn’t be attacked with it the way non-allies can be.
3. It’s just a word that describes a person or group of people. If you automatically take it as an insult, that says much more about you than it does about the person who used it. Even it were part of a phrase “white male cishet assholes”, it’s still not an insult – assholes is the insult, and the rest is just to be a bit more specific about exactly which kind of assholes we’re dealing with. Allies can be cishet, but so can assholes; cishet is not the most important word in that phrase.
Has anyone else encountered this debate? What’s your take on it?
A blog carnival is an event in which many people write blog posts around a single theme. These posts are then collected at the end of the carnival and linked together by the carnival’s host. The Carnival of Aces is an effort to encourage a variety of different voices to speak about asexuality from their own perspectives. Anyone can participate, but the responses should deal with asexuality or the asexual spectrum (grey-As, demisexuals) in some way as well as relating to the month’s theme.
Theme: Invisible Intersections
Need some ideas to get you started thinking about what to write? Try one of these, or come up with your own:
+ Is there any aspect of yourself you feel like you have to play down when talking about your asexuality? What do you find important, but others feel that you shouldn’t care about, as an asexual?
+ Are there other aspects of your life where your asexuality is swept under the carpet? Do you feel like you have to hide your asexuality to be taken seriously when talking about disability, for example?
+ What are parts of your asexual identity that people don’t seem to think are related?
+ What kinds of things aren’t a part of your asexual identity that people seem to believe should be? (Do you consider your romantic orientation related to asexuality?)
How do I submit?
Share a link to your post in the comments here by April 1. If you don’t have a blog but would like to submit a post, Sciatrix is willing to host you – please email sciatrix [at] gmail.com! If for some reason you encounter a problem leaving a comment, feel free to email me: pipisafoat [at] gmail.com.