Marja Erwin (marjaerwin) wrote,
Marja Erwin

Trans Politics and Colonialism: A Few Questions?

So first off, there seems to be some controversy over western binary gender models and various other societies’ multiple gender models.

Are societies which accept three or more genders more trans-inclusive than societies which only accept two genders? Since people have more than two genders, society needs to have more than two genders, but at the same time, I think society needs to acknowledge that being trans, or being lesbian, or both, doesn’t necessarily make someone less female. A system which third-genders all trans people and all non-cishet people isn’t exactly inclusive, is it?

Cultural relativism comes out of the realities of nineteenth and twentieth century anthropology, it’s a western cultural construct, but at the same time it’s a bulwark against western cultural imperialism. One can’t ought not just condemn kinship systems, or gender systems, or property systems because they differ from western kinship systems, and western gender systems, and western property systems. (One can if one is the British Empire, of course, and wishes to create western property systems by dispossessing the peasants and granting the land to the aristocracy, or course, and wishes to impose western gender systems by criminalizing the hijras and seizing their temples.) One ought to understand these in their social context. One ought to listen to criticisms from within each culture.

So while being third-gendered doesn’t suit me, and suggestions of being both female and male or mixed female and male feel wrong for me, I can’t speak for everyone else. It’s up to trans people from each culture to say whether they find their gender systems empowering or disempowering, and at the same time what’s empowering for one may be disempowering for another.

In western society, if we can’t pass for binary and cis, we face violence. It’s complicated. It’s not something that privileges every binary person over every non-binary person, is it?

Is it appropriate to say someone is cis when they don’t identify as cis? for example, tepfs who think cis sounds too much like cyst? at what point does it become inappropriate?

Is it appropriate to say someone benefits from cis privilege when they are trans? for example ‘passing privilege’ usually centers around passing for cis, but some people can’t do that before transition, just as some people can’t do that after.
Tags: feminist theory, stumbling towards anti-racism, trans politics, trans theory

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