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WGST: Gender Non-conformity

Queer Borders and (Inter)National Contexts

Albert Eisenberg

on 18 October 2011

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Transcript of WGST: Gender Non-conformity

Gender Non-conformity Queer Borders and (Inter)National Contexts Albert Eisenberg Halberstam: The Brandon Teena Archive Chase: Hermaphrodites with Attitude Butler: Undoing Gender Hale: Leatherdyke Boys Brandon Teena Case - Born Teena Renae Brandon
- Parental disaproval
- Psychiatric Evaluation, 1992
- Move to Falls City, 1993
- Lana Tisdel
- John L. Lotter and Marvin Thomas Nissen
- Arrest for check-forging
- Rape, Christmas 1993
- Murder of Teena, Lambert, DeVine Public Reaction - Criticism of Sheriff Charles Laux
- Boys Don't Cry, 2000
- Headstone: Daughter, Sister & Friend
- JoAnn Brandon angry about "he"
- Matthew Shepphard, 1998 Halberstam - Conference: FTM w/o sex reassignment or
transgender butch?
- "Metronormativity"- Hegemony of one
(urban) gay or lesbian narrative
- "What do you expect" attitude
- Rural whiteness marked by oppression and

"Because of this complex construction we must avoid either romanticizing rural lives or demonizaing them” (162)

"The Brandon Teena case represents an archive of material on urban versus rural queer life; small town versus big city hatreds and pleasures; race, class, sexuality and violence in spaces off to the side of what gets recognized in North America as queer life" (161)

- Survival linked to interdependence in rural
- Boys Don't Cry & humanism
- Erasure of Philip DeVine Halberstam

- "Successful" (convincing) show of masculinity
- Record of how we select our heroes
- Investigation of roots of murder Halberstam Significance of Teena: “The desperate desire to make hate murders the work of crazies...must be resisted in favor of political accounts of crime and punishment.” (168) Halberstam “For young white men in town, minorities were to blame for this latest downward swing in their fortunes” (160)

- Where's Lisa Lambert?
- Author acknowledges some biases (rural/urban) while leaving others un-critiqued Article problematic: Hale: Leatherdyke Boys

- Transgendered subjects & radical sexual practices
- Conncetions between body and gender: doctor's office, bathroom, bedroom
- Leatherdyke Boy: adult lesbian women who embodies certain characteristics of masculinty
- Dominance = feminine?
- Leatherfags, Daddy's daddy, Topman

"Leatherdyke boys may relate to their daddies in loving, respectful, and attentive manners, or they may be bratty, rebellious, withdrawn, or distant” (62)

- Transgendered people "major threat to the apparent purity" of boundary between men and women
- Spencer Bergstedt: “finding who I am” (64)
- Author's journey
- Play boundary allows for fluidity of identity
- "Culture of two" (65): Hale: Leatherdyke Boys “I needed to know that my gender identification could be enacted legibly to at least one other person... to transform from a self-identification fully contained wihtin my fantasy structure to a self-identification with a broader social sphere of enactment” Hale: Leatherdyke Boys

- Notion of one characteristic differentiating women from men
- Proper understanding of anatomy- we aren't all built the same How limiting is the body? “We have some, though not unconstrained, agency within...gender categories and incommensurable gender systems” (69)

- Culturally constructed characteristics of the sexed body:

- Karyotype (sex chromosomes)
- Gonadal differentiation
- Genital morphology
- Internal reproductive organs
- Pubertal sex characteristics

- Problems of 2-sex system
- 1/2000 births different enough “to render problematic the question 'Is it a boy or a girl'” (30)
- Psychosocial emergency? “Pediatric genital surgeries literalize what might otherwise be considered a theoretical operation: the attempted production of normatively sexed bodies and gendered subjects through consitutitve acts of violence”

- Sex "determination"
- Sex problems at adolescence
- Possession of "dreaded phallus" (34)
- Therapists, friends unhelpful
- "Direct my rage productively" (35)
- Gay is good (intersex, or interbest?) Chase: Hermaphrodites with Attitude Author's story:

Intersex Society of North America Chase: Hermaphrodites with Attitude - No surgery except for medical reason
- Parents given conceptual tools and emotional support
- Challenging pathologization of intersex

"We recognize that the two-sex/gender model is currently hegemonic and therefore advocate that children be raised whether as boys or girls, according to which designation seems most likely to offer the child the greatest future sense of comfort” (33)

- Problematic or pragmatic? Both? Chase: Hermaphrodites with Attitude - Written in '90s
- Nobody forgets the "T" anymore


http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/09/fashion/09TRANS.html "What might it mean to undo restrictively normative conceptions of sexual and gendered life?" (2)

- Gender as "doing" rather than "being"
- Performative, not inherent
- Social, wants recognition
- Bound up in issue of what is human, what is not
- For example: surgery on intersex infants & toddlers
- Gender dysphoria (DSM IV) and pathologization of gender Butler: Undoing Gender Butler: Undoing Gender Butler: Undoing Gender “The capacity to develop a critical relation to these norms presupposes a distance from them, an ability to suspend or defer the need for them, even as there is a desire for norms that might let one live." (3)

- Agency not in denying norms
- Constitution larger than the individual
- Question of the "I" - Ties between intersex operations, homophobic murders
- Tension between queer theory and intersex, trans movement
- Roots of gender
- Technology and modernity

“It would seem that a new psychic topography is required." (14) Gender and Society: - Intersex children forced to be heroes

“It seems crucial to realize that a livable life does require various degrees of stablitiy." (13)

Task for movement is to distinguish the norms and conventions that permit people to live from those norms and conventions that restrict. And yet...
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