The personal is about to get political

Queering 'Merica, 2008
Queering 'Merica, 2008 (by Photo by Jimmie D.)

You may have heard of the Gender Police before. Those who go around, for example, referring to Austin's dear Leslie Cochran as "he-she"… or "shim"…, or perhaps on a greater scale, the ones who question Brangelina's willingness to encourage 4-year-old Shiloh's boyish appearance.

Sure, life in a gender-normative bubble makes this type of dismissive rhetoric seem okay, but when it comes from within the queer community, that's when it stops being polite and starts getting real. The real insidiousness of this problem lies in the fact that it is often latent, and sometimes entirely subconscious. With Stonewall a good 40 years past, sometimes, it seems, the collective "we" has forgotten how important queer visibility is in a time when change needs to take place more than ever.

There's no denying the fact that many GLBTQ folks, for whatever reasons, try to fit in with the mainstream, heteronormative status quo. Sure, it's great to be living in Travis Heights with your partner and 2.5 dogs, just like everyone else in the 'hood. But, in an age where too many young people end their own lives due to torment from their peers, and where committed couples (and families) are denied the same rights as other couples in a myriad of ways, queers need to be seen and heard. You may remember Queerbomb happened this past summer, and you can trust that the reasons for its conception were largely political. (That, and who wants to be in a parade where you can't throw glitter?) Members of our own community are telling us that we need to appeal to mainstream ideals to gain acceptance, and let me tell you, I don't play that game.

If we become complacent, our political waters remain stagnant. No change ever occurred because someone tried to fit in or make do with what they had. Furthermore, social change doesn't occur when there is no catalyst to speak of, and unfortunately, transpeople and genderqueers are still treated like outcasts in numerous ways because of their physical differences from "everybody else." Being like everybody else and acquiescing to convention is the last thing that will effect change, socially or politically.

I am proud of who I am, but I know that I have faced numerous injustices and even outright discrimination because of it. At the end of the day, I hope that my visibility as a queer gender-deviant will, at the least, challenge not just the gender binary, but the very idea that most people are some variety of "normal." When you get down to it, no one is, essentially, all that normal, but a lot of people put on a good show. My wish for my generation is that we can all feel comfortable just being who we are, outwardly and on a deeper level. To get there, though, we need to be honored and respected by our society and cultures, and without GLBTQIAA rights and widespread acceptance, it's gonna be a rough road to travel.

Relatedly: If you are interested in queering gender or popular culture at all, Kings N Things are hosting an epic Dragaoke to end all Dragaokes (figuratively, at least) this Saturday. Proceeds will benefit their travel to the International Drag KingCommunity Extravaganza XII in a couple of weeks, an event guaranteed to elaborate on the ways to queer everything under the sun, and more.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More GP Recommends
Christeene Lyon Wants You to
Christeene Lyon Wants You to "Fix My Dick"
Austin Pop Star has a new video, and it's on YouTube.

Andy Campbell, Dec. 16, 2008

Champagne! Champagne for Everyone!
Champagne! Champagne for Everyone!
Hey li'l Austin, get ready for Little Britain.

Andy Campbell, Sept. 29, 2008

More by Jimmie D
List Me This Christmas
List Me This Christmas
A collection of Jimmie D's holiday hard-ons.

Dec. 17, 2010

More Treat, Less Trick
More Treat, Less Trick
Halloween is about the children, right?

Nov. 7, 2010


GP Recommends, gay, queer, trans, gender policing, queer agenda, politics, Kings N Things, Dragaoke, International Drag KingCommunity Extravaganza, discrimination

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle