Discussing an annual women’s party that is no longer going to welcome trans-men next year with Lee over email, I expressed that the exclusion made me sad. Although he explained that the decision was to make trans-women feel at ease (which I can understand and respect), it still irks me that some people need to be EXCLUDED in order to make others feel welcome or comfortable (especially those that similarly face discrimination and issues of acceptance.) While I recognize the party is a “Women’s Party”, I feel like anyone who has a connection to the women’s community should be permitted to attend.
Frankly, I have an issue with spaces that aren’t all-inclusive. While I do my best to understand and respect groups/spaces that call for restrictions, I personally find them limiting… and offensive. I know it shouldn’t bother me because the restrictions don’t pertain to me, yet I can’t help but object because it defines who/what I should be… and I have enough issues with feeling accepted as it is. I don’t want to transition, yet don’t feel like I can (or want to) classify myself as always/only female. It’s confusing, and yet I don’t really question it… I just don’t think others understand. Being told what I have to be, or more specifically what I cannot be, makes my skin crawl. Under Kate Bornstein’s definition of trans being transgressively gendered, I’d apply. I’m not transitioning. I don’t want to, but I surely like the permission to fuck with gender… and I’d feel much less inclined to do so in a space that said “women only.”
I don’t know what the answer is, but it’s definitely an issue I have been chewing on. Lately, I find myself shying away from heteronormative spaces and seeking out more queer spaces and events. (Mind you, queer is different than gay in that it permits more flexibility in expression of gender, orientation, and sexuality in general.) While some parties, like Switch in NYC, are seemingly women and trans, the main exclusion are those identifying as ‘straight.’ After finally attending my first Switch party this past Friday, I can honestly say that it had a VERY different feel than any other party I’ve attended. Laid-back, no pretense, I felt at ease and free to be myself. While I struggle to feel “queer enough”, I felt the space and people permitted and welcomed all different kinds of expressions of gender. As I stood there in my plaid skirt, thigh-high fishnets, vintage-style garterbelt, knee-high NewRock stomping boots, and packing cock, I didn’t feel like I had to fit a definition. It was a welcome change from the staunch and restrictive spaces that permeate the scene.
I recognize common ground helps to solidify a community, yet I urge us all to consider other avenues for uniting us rather than basing them on who we fuck, what parts we have, or what expression of gender we choose. I guess that’s why I created Alphabet Soup…. because I don’t see what we do (or don’t do), who we fuck, and/or how we self-identify as being reasons why we can’t all mingle and play together.
If only more people shared my queer enthusiasm for sexuality when I propositioned him at camp last year by saying, “Whatever you’ve got, I’ll suck it.”