Paula's Place

Paula's Place

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Identities ~ Take Pride

This post should have a health warning, it deals largely with transgender matters, so if you are only interested in my Gardening, or musical sides then have a laugh at the cartoon and move on.

I have recently been asked, "After your transition do you consider yourself to be a Trans Woman or just a Woman" This is a tricky one, not least because I am not sure that Transition has an end, so maybe there is no such time as "after".   Certainly transition is like coming out in as much as it is a process, not an action.   Most of the time I do not define myself by my gender, or even my gender identity at all, indeed I suspect that most of the time I do not think of my identity, at all, I am simply me.   I am more likely to identify myself as a musician, a tuba player, a gardener, or a Christian than I am as a woman or a trans woman.   This has changed, when I started my transition, and for quite a while before, my gender identity was constantly on my mind, at that point I had decisions to make, "who am I?" "what am I going to do about it" "how far am I going it go" now I am more settled in who and what I am it is only the last of these questions that I still have to find an answer for, and I will only find that answer when I absolutely need to.

Todays Skinhorse cartoon, part of my daily dose

The truth is that none of us has a single, or a consistent identity, OK mine may be a bit more complicated than many, but everybody has multiple identities, spouse, parent, child will probably cover a lot of us, and that is before we start thinking about gender, race, class, tribe, profession and all that other stuff that society imposes upon us.   Since I started this journey I have found that the whole trans thing is easier for some than others, I happen to be white, middle aged and speak with an acceptable accent, so I still fall within several areas of privilege.

It is only now that I have begun to really begun to understand privilege. As a white heterosexual middle class male I was not aware of the privilege I enjoyed, I had it all my life and it only increased with age, now I have given up a large part of that privilege I begin to understand how other parts of society feel.   I have become aware of the whole issue of intersectionality, how much more difficult it is for those who fall within two or more of the groups that are denied societal privilege, to be black and trans, to be a black gay Muslim woman in Africa may be the ultimate.   I am very aware that most of the meetings I go to, even though they may be about campaigning for equality are dominated by the white middle classes, look at the people attending Pride ~ pretty much any Pride ~ and they will be predominantly white.

I have heard a lot this year about the exclusion from Pride events of non-binary people, yet I suspect that there are also much larger groups who are not complaining but are still excluded.   Somehow I want to take my very privileged position as chair of Croydon Pride to make sure that we at least do not exclude anyone, I'm not sure how, and am happy to take advise.  I got involved in all this to start with to promote inclusion, I certainly don't want to stop just because I am now included.

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