Sep 14, 2022Liked by Jasper Joyner

I feel like it's important to note that terms like man, woman, or nonbinary, as well as cis and trans, aren't meant to be perfect descriptors of our internal landscapes around gender. Like you get at here, if we wanted words to describe those things then each person would have to either write an essay or come up with a new word. Labels exist to provide a category that people can identify with, and helps build community amongst people who share experiences and the like. It's why the word "queer" is so great, in my opinion.

I'm black as well, but I still like the nonbinary label (even if most people expect the "default" there to be a white person, that's true of most things in my opinion (the first google images results for "gay man", "lesbian", and "band" are all white people, for example) and so I don't see any reason to move away from a label I like because of that.

To address your second note, I feel like it's a bit sticky to try and abolish the two genders that make up the gender binary, as there are many people cis and trans alike for whom "man" and "woman" are complete enough descriptors of their gender that they're satisfied with that. There are other words that don't have the antithetical nature you dislike, like genderqueer, but I think it's a flawed hope in general to hope for an endless series of labels because they stop serving any purpose at that point. If everyone has their own label, there's no community of people identifying with that shared experience anymore.

Anyway, those are just my thoughts. Respect and love to you for writing this and I hope to see more interesting takes in the future.

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Sep 14, 2022·edited Sep 14, 2022Author

Hi lex

I really appreciate your comment. I don’t think we disagree. And I absolutely agree with you about the term queer, for sure.

I don’t care to abolish man and woman as gender markers. In an earlier edit I even mentioned that because I want to be clear, when I say gender expansiveness I don’t mean erasure to people who do in fact ID with the gender they were assigned at birth. Maybe I should have kept it there. But I simply mean expanding how we discuss gender. A man can look many ways, a woman can look many ways etc.

And I mentioned in the essay that we aren’t there yet, in this dream world of mine where we all have the freedom to exist however we please regardless of the genders we’re assigned. I believe when we are there, there won’t be any need to explain ourselves in the way you described.

I agree with you that right now we can’t honestly move through the world in the way I described.

But my push back on non-binary is more in that mainstream culture seems to be putting our every hope for gender freedom into the term in a way I think isn’t as productive or expansive as implied. I don’t think it’s wrong for anyone, especially Black folks, to ID with it. Personally I don’t but that’s me. My issue is with this new push towards touting it as the third gender.

Again I genuinely appreciate your words. I hear you. I definitely feel like this is an ongoing societal discussion and I think talks like this are so important <3

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