"gender is a spectrum!" is the "so what are you, like, a 40/60 bisexual? or like what's your breakdown" of gender models

I'm not even saying there's anything wrong with either statement as, like, a rough breakdown of experience ("if gender is a spectrum between male and female, I'm like..."/"if someone who's equally attracted to men and women is a 50/50 bisexual, I'm like...") but both of them are much simpler than the territories they respectively map.

like, how would I answer the "Are you, like, a 40/60 bisexual or what" question? that's just not enough flexibility. like you'd probably rate me as, like, a Kinsey 1 or 2, unless you've heard me talk about butch girls, in which case you'd be hard-pressed to rate me below Kinsey 5. Kinsey's scale did not have "bisexual as in, attracted to gay+ people" in mind

similarly, if "gender is a spectrum" you'd have trouble capturing what I (a woman) have in common with effeminate gay+ men (cis or trans)

I just don't think the answer is either

more (numeric) axes" (e.g., the 'gender unicorn' or 'genderbread person', if anyone here remembers such things) or

novel conceptual schema (e.g., I saw on Tumblr awhile back the suggestion to use 'solar/lunar' as substitutes for 'masc-aligned/femme aligned', & the development from nonbinary people using celestial/inanimate reference points for THEIR gender to people using celestial/inanimate reference points to UNDERSTAND nonbinary gender is what I mean)

and I wanna be REAL careful here: I don't care how you explain your own gender to yourself or to other people. that's not what I'm disagreeing with here. if you're stargender, that's fucking excellent. go off, quing!

but if we zoom out, look at gender as a social system we want to understand, two common approaches to expanding beyond the binary are "we just need a bigger number/more numeric variables," or "we just need conceptual frames which are unconnected to the binary"

I don't like either.

like, if we want to see gender-in-society as connected, as having central principles which help us understand the whole, it is not necessary that those principles be binary... but the gender binary IS central to the process.

the truths we come to understand about nonbinary genders SHOULD relate them with binary genders as part of a social system in connection, connections including suppression/oppression by binary gender frameworks.

heavy, gender-theoretic use of the F-slur Show more

heavy, gender-theoretic use of the F-slur Show more

heavy, gender-theoretic use of the F-slur Show more

heavy, gender-theoretic use of the F-slur Show more

so, what makes a category that many people understand as "a stereotype about gay *men*" nonbinary?

first of all, heterosexuality explains MOST nonbinary embodiments & ways of being back to itself in binary terms. this is how the gender binary cleans house: by sweeping the enormous space outside of the binary back under the rug whenever it strays out. it creates ways to think about 'true' non-binariness that are impossible, or close: never-gendered androids, mythological intersexed persons with

fully-functional genitalia for both insemination & gestation. those people who, in real life, heterosexual society marks as out-of-line, ideology STILL makes facile attempts to render in binary terms, only so that they can shore up the fiction of only-men-&-women.

we cannot treat the use of 'man' or 'woman' for a person as self-evidence. that would lead to disastrously-incorrect understandings of trans men & women, frequently labeled women & men; sometimes, those labels are self/deceptions.

back to using the F-slur for gender theory Show more

back to using the F-slur for gender theory Show more

back to using the F-slur for gender theory Show more

back to using the F-slur for gender theory Show more

What's the point here? Give me just a moment for a costume change.

[returns in a purple suit, green cravat, & green carnation with white-&-black clown makeup, red lips & green hair, grinning in an unhinged, one might even say 'twisted' way] We Live In A Society.

nonbinariness exists in connection, overlap, & ambiguity with maleness & femaleness. it has to, or how else could men & women fail? & it is very important that men & women fail; if they didn't, they'd never be punished back into line!

there are always blurry lines at the edge of the binary, conceptually & in real embodiment; that's part of what we mean when we call the gender binary a fiction! it must be imagined, creatively, into existence, its messy gradients forced into tidy dividing lines with confusing, tortured logic & with regulatory gender violence.

I've mentioned one of the border-zones for maleness; but at every edge there is a punishment for transgression, a reason to get back in line & to punish other failures.

Let's drag this back to where it started: how do I explain my gender, & how do I explain my sexuality?

I'd say about myself that I am a woman, & a trans woman, & that nasty slur I said so much earlier, & I would probably explain something about the path my gender trajectory took from being a 'nancy' marked from childhood for effeminacy, through drag & my relationship with lesbian modes of gender, to who I am today.

& I'd say that I am attracted, among other things, to gayness & gay ways of...

being; I might list such groups of people as 'men, butch women, [that nasty slur I said so much earlier], & non-binary/gender-variant/gender-nonconforming people' as people I am typically attracted to.

In other words: many points of reference, MANY more than two, referring to embodiments & people which have histories & social ties in which I am entangled, & which are best understood in connection & overlap & continuity & progression. complexity, & reference to the concrete, the flesh-&-blood.

again: as far as I explain my own gender history, personally, this is just what I prefer, what's important to me, what works for me.

but when it comes to explaining gender, broadly, the whole system, the heterosexual shebang & all of us living outside it, because we are looking for justice... I think you might benefit from looking at who you gender-in-relation-to, whose experiences of gender violence look like yours & whose don't, & drawing connections/explanations from there.

@byttyrs But isn't the result you are approaching here that there likely just *isn't* a model that accurately describes the experienced reality of even just 99% of people (excluding edge cases)?
Like, we have no model to classify all book protagonists. Maybe this topic is just SO made up by humans that it escapes anything beyond a vaguelly accepted model.

@ScienceBird well, what are we attempting to describe? much of what we mean when we say 'experience' is so deeply individual and rooted in hyperspecific mental/cultural factors as to be the death of all classification, yes, but I don't think everything about gender is that explosively hypersubjective.

And I don't think 'classification' is necessarily the goal here. I think, for instance, that to understand what happens to people under gender, we need to be able to say that they are sorted as...

@ScienceBird one gender category at one moment, and another literally seconds later, not to mention hours, days, years... We might even say that a person can be understood as mutually contradictory gendered categories at a single moment, either by different observers or by the same observer who is capturing some more complex truth.

so what I would say is, I would like to describe the patterns of gendered interaction that happen over and over again. when we've done that, experiences outside...

@ScienceBird *any* of those patterns, when you get strict about it, STILL make more sense: we have more points of reference, we can say "this is similar to X in this way at this time, and similar to Y in that way at that time"

@byttyrs It feels like your thoughts on this are so wide and (in a non-joke way) galaxy-brain that it's hard to even follow along for me. You're looking at this from two levels further up than I am currently on.

@ScienceBird lol, sorry!!! ^w^; I do get that way... but, in my defense, I especially get that way when I am asked exceptionally broad-scope and galaxy-brain questions like "doesn't this tend towards it being futile to attempt to describe gender?" 😎👌

@byttyrs @ScienceBird my reading here is: Yes, like all human behaviour, gender and sexuality cannot be perfectly classified and will remain nebulous to some degree. However, if by stronger definitions we can validate some people's identities and reduce the violence done against them, we need to do our best.

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@byttyrs I had to go to work but am reading up on this with interest in the moments in between where I am afforded a screen

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now nonbinaryness *licks lips* is like gravity!
*twirls knife* all it takes is a little.... push!

(this thread is a real awesome eye opener just also i couldn't resist the joker bit) 🃏

@byttyrs for me being non-binary is really just a refusal to be categorized. which puts me very much in relation to the existing binary, but in a way where i step out and reclaim the traits i have

@byttyrs hi byttyrs it's seven forty five in the morning and I feel like I just got out of a three hour sociology discussion group

this is excellent and I think helps understand the background and fragile identity of straight men who have sex with (a very specific category of) gay men

one day you have to do a thing on the g0ys internet subculture

@io oh my goodness, I hope you don't feel like you've been cramming!! that would be exhausting!!!

I assume you mean 'gays' and not 'goys'? I probably will at some point, lol, even if in little bitchy snippets and vignettes- I have all these opinions, lmao....

@byttyrs nono like in the best way possible. you've distilled a lot down into a digestible thread and it's really good!

I'm actually taking about an internet community of straight men who have (a very particular type of) sex with (a very particular type of) men. they're a good example of what you're describing wrt straight men on grindr, and might be interesting to you because they enforce their own baroque criteria on what sex and intimacy is "gay" and avoid it

@io ... oh my god. 'g0y' is a wholly new term to me, but this is basically the Heroic Homosex dudes, huh?? fuck, thank you for this enlightening search term, this is a TREASURE trove

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@byttyrs haha happy to open this can of worms for you

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back to using the F-slur for gender theory Show more

heavy, gender-theoretic use of the F-slur Show more

@byttyrs this is a REALLY interesting thread, I think I better start reading about gender theory. any books or articles you'd recommend?

@wierdopi I have embarrassingly few recommendations.

My Words to Victor Frankenstein Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage (1994), by Susan Stryker, is really good:

it's a cliche to recommend Monique Wittig in conversations about materialist gender theory; she's, like, the J.K. Rowling of that subject, which is to say, "read another book!" but I have read very little, period. I've read the "lesbians are not women" part in The Straight Mind.

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