"I don't think that being a strong person is about ignoring your emotions and fighting your feelings. Putting on a brave face doesn't mean you're a brave person. That's why everybody in my life knows everything that I'm going through. I can't hide anything from them. People need to realise that being open isn't the same as being weak."

- Taylor Swift

Thursday, July 11, 2013

speak now #21: privilege, dudebros & the patriarchy

Now Playing: Tennis Court by Lorde (be the class clown, I'll be the beauty queen in tears, it's a new art form showing people how little we care)


Trinity: Genderqueer. Pansexual. Feminist. Drop dead smashingly gorgeous.  

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm a genderqueer pansexual feminist who's dating a transwoman with a history of mental illness going in deep.

How would you define genderqueer to someone who might not be familiar with the term?

Genderqueer is basically assuming the gender binary of female and male don't exist. It's more of a spectrum rather than two categories. I'm of both the male and female gender and as a consequence of that, I prefer using 'they' as my pronouns as opposed to 'she'. Genderqueer is an umbrella term for a mix of female and male.

Are you familiar with the sex positive movement's distinction between male/female/intersex (biological sex) and man/woman/genderqueer (gender identity)? What are your thoughts on this kind of ideology?

I'm not really familiar with it, but the fact they have a distinction in place between sex and gender identity is excellent. People should really be educated about this difference in my opinion because most people think that sex = gender/gender identity and that's just not the case.

How would you define pansexuality and when did you realise/come out as pansexual?

Pansexuality goes along with the idea of non gender binary, that is to say the gender spectrum. Bisexuality is more attracted to male/female whereas pansexuality is attracted to the entire spectrum. I first realised I was attracted to girls as well as boys when I was about 5 but it was seen as taboo because I live in a rural town. When I was 13 and moved to Perth for school, everyone coined on that I was attracted to girls and guys but I didn't really realise until I was 15 and had a few major crushes on a few different girls. I then started investigating into trans* and such and realised that I was attracted to trans* and other genders and now I have a beautiful trans* girlfriend.

As the partner of a transwoman can you discuss any issues in our society concerning transgender individuals?

Everyone has been really supportive of her which is great. My dad is being a douche about it, comparing her to one of our desexed lambs and I've been knocked around a bit at my job because one of my co-workers had found out I'm dating a transwoman, but besides that, the support is all there from our friends, teachers, and her family.

I've been at the receiving end of a lot of hate and mockery for being 'out' as a feminist; has you had any experience of that?

Oh definitely, which feminist hasn't? There's the dudebros and fedorable mras who claim that men's 'problems' are so much more important than women's oppression. Comments like "feminazis have gone too far" and the whole friendzoning epidemic is plain ridiculous. Like as soon as women want to be treated like people, men have to try and shout them down because God forbid we treat women and men with equal standing.

I think what people fail to see that feminists aren't fighting men; we're fighting patriarchy, which oppresses pretty much everyone of all sexes and genders.

Yeah exactly, but the bad thing is internalised misogyny because we don't realise it's further oppressing women but it does on a daily basis.

Yeah, like rape culture and slut shaming - people seem to think I make it all up, but these things really do exist - as seen in Steubenville and other cases.

Oh I've been coined as a slut so many times even though I didn't even want to become sexually active; like it wasn't my choice at all. But hey "kids are cruel" and "sticks and stones will break my bones" but words will cause permanent psychological damage.

I'm bisexual and like pretty much any non-binary sexual orientation people like to think it doesn't exist, or I'm just confused...do you get those kinds of reactions to pansexuality, which i know isn't really well known in our society's discourse on sexual orientation?

Yeah I get all these reactions like "it's just a phase" "it's just for attention" and "that doesn't even exist". People can't comprehend that I can be attracted to trans* people and find it really disgusting. It's strange because I can't comprehend that they can only be attracted to one certain set of people, like where's your choice with that? Everyone is drop dead smashingly gorgeous.

Especially you, my dear :) 

Aw, thank you.

There have been lots of cases popping up in the news about trans discrimination, like children being forced to use the 'right' bathrooms or blocked from gendered sporting teams and things like that. What do you think we can do to encourage greater awareness about trans individuals in our society?

Get more education on transgender and the gender spectrum on the media, so popular television shows and radio. Also incorporate it in the education system because we don't need to spend so much time devising anti drug campaigns and healthy eating because there's already enough coverage about those issues on TV and in society already.

You live in the country at the moment but you have spent some time in the city; are there any major differences in the treatment of sexuality between rural and urban areas?

I was honestly expecting a massive difference in treatment, but people at my school are more mature than the rest of Bunbury due to it being a senior college. So Bunbury in general isn't that accepting of people who step outside the societal 'norms' of sexuality and expression. In the city I've found you can basically do anything and you'll be accepted for it.

Is there anything else you would like to talk about? About anything really, I don't mind.

Well I was raped when I was 15 so there's that.... my English class is studying The Lovely Bones in class but I have to do The Great Gatsby instead.

Would you like to talk about that? You seriously don't have to if you don't want to.

It's fine, like some people say it wasn't rape because I didn't say no, but I was way too scared to say no, I was just lying there like "Oh God why is this happening could you stop this" and it was unprotected and yeah I was terrified I was pregnant. And now people use the term rape as a common verb (i.e. "I raped you in that game" etc) and it just upsets me because it trivialises the act of it.

It really drives me insane that people don't have the basic understanding of what consent is, or what rape is, and they don't understand how inappropriate rape jokes are.

I've asked the dudebros I come into contact with to not use rape jokes, or say any slurs that could be taken offensively (homophobic, sexist, racist, transphobic etc)

What are dudebros?

Dudebros are basically males who are straight, white and cis who don't realise that they are in the wrong when they tell sexist/homophobic/racist/rape jokes and who complain about the friendzone. Basically the demographic with the most rights who just abuse the fuck out of it

People don't like to denounce systems that put them at the top, even if they see the flaws in them.

I guess people do like to be privileged but there comes a time when they need to stop shitting on anyone who's below them.

Trinity is a former classmate of mine from high school who now lives in Bunbury and raises awareness for sexual and gender equality. Stay tuned for more guest posts and interviews that are in the pipeline, and please contact me if you would like to be interviewed, interview me or write a guest post. Stay tuned and stay beautiful!  


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