We do things with language, produce effects with language, and we do things to language, but language is also the thing that we do. Language is a name for our doing: both “what” we do (the name for the action that we characteristically perform) and that which we effect, the act and its consequences.
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)
You don’t have to get normal to become legitimate.