A while ago, when rock’n’roll behemoths like Bruce Springsteen canceled their respective North Carolina shows in a sign of protest against that state’s anti-anti-discrimination bill HB2, Against Me! and particularly frontwoman Laura Jane Grace announced that they would play their show in Durham, but would turn it into a form of protest. And they weren’t kidding: Laura Jane Grace, who is a trans woman, burned her birth certificate on stage, smiling, saying goodbye to gender.
In an earlier interview she also pointed out that, in contrast to Springsteen’s mega stadium shows, her cancelling the gig wouldn’t hurt the city or state financially, and only affect the fans (and, let’s be real, the members of Against Me. The band is fairly successful, but losing touring income must still hurt them.)
As stereogum reports, she also made clear that HB2 is about more than just bathroom access:
“You know, there’s been a lot of focus on just the bathroom part of HB2, but one of the other huge parts is that it takes away a transgender person’s right to sue for discrimination on the state level and that is huge. I mean, if someone else has the right to sue for discrimination and I don’t, how that is constitutional?”
Today, Guernica Magazine published a great, insightful and inciting interview with South Asian trans performance duo DarkMatter. For instance, this is how they expand upon the above statement that Alok never met a man:
Janani Balasubramanian: I think what Alok was saying with the idea of how we’ve never met a man in our lives, is that manhood is not just an ideal of gender; it also becomes a set of ideals around race, class, respectability, purchasing power, whatever. I’ve never met a single person in their lives who’s rich, has no feelings, goes to the gym every hour, drinks protein shakes all day. This person doesn’t exist.
Alok Vaid-Menon: They’re a fairy tale. What’s difficult is that gender has become only the domain of trans people and women. But we all have gender, and we all have a stake in ending gender.
In a conversation led by Guernica’s Kevin St. James, they discuss gender, performance, colonialism, capitalism, disappointing your parents and the importance of cracking jokes. It really is a must-read, whether you agree with their stances or not.
This is a really good (and actually understandable) interview with Judith Butler in which she clarifies her positions on trans people undergoing transformation and surgery (”brave” and “there is nothing more important than for transgender people to ) the use of social construction theory against trans people (”a false, misleading, and oppressive use of the theory”) and TERFS (she rejects them, even calling their actions against trans lives a “kind of feminist tyranny.”) The interview ends with this perspective on her own work:
Gender Trouble was written about 24 years ago, and at that time I did not think well enough about trans issues. Some trans people thought that in claiming that gender is performative that I was saying that it is all a fiction, and that a person’s felt sense of gender was therefore “unreal.” That was never my intention. I sought to expand our sense of what gender realities could be. But I think I needed to pay more attention to what people feel, how the primary experience of the body is registered, and the quite urgent and legitimate demand to have those aspects of sex recognized and supported. I did not mean to argue that gender is fluid and changeable (mine certainly is not). I only meant to say that we should all have greater freedoms to define and pursue our lives without pathologization, de-realization, harassment, threats of violence, violence, and criminalization. I join in the struggle to realize such a world.
I can recommend reading the interview in full. (via @hagalope)
Judith Butler addresses TERFs and the use of theory against transgender people
On binarythis.com Judith Butler’s Gender Trouble is explained – in a dialog with confused kittehs.
(hat tip to G. on fb)