Ginger wrote:Right on. So my read of the situation is that gender queer people are neutral in terms of gender. Neither male nor female. Or do you (general "you") choose a gender you like more that day and go with that? Sounds like the possibly related term gender fluid. I might be in the T spectrum of our little acronym however living in a small conservative town leaves me woefully underrepresented in terms of the other letters.
It's complicated. Some gender queer people feel like they aren't strongly gendered, so neutral is a good description. But other gender queer people strongly identify with both traditional genders and need to express both their masculine and feminine side, although not necessarily simultaneously. And it's not really something that you can consciously choose: it's more like due to the complex interplay of personal and social factors your gender chooses you.
Gender labels can be useful things, but they also have a negative side. They can be a useful way to indicate regions in the complex gender landscape, but they also get used like labels on boxes, with the implicit assumption that everyone needs to be put into their proper box, permanently. Many gender nonconformists do not like being shoved into boxes (especially the box labelled "Weirdo"), we like to be able to wander over the gender landscape as the mood and situation takes us.
Some people find it very liberating to be able to mix gender expression, eg wearing a beard & a skirt at the same time. And they should be able to do so without fear of reprisal. OTOH, if a person strongly identifies with the opposite binary gender to the one they were forced to grow up as it's totally understandable that they would like to express themselves as fully as possible in their self-identified gender. And they should be able to do that without people insinuating that they're perpetuating outmoded binary gender stereotypes.
Here's a post I wrote a few years ago on this topic. It's not long, so I'll quote it in its entirety.
PM 2Ring wrote:
Stereotypes in themselves aren't evil, it just depends on how seriously people take them. If males & females behaved the same, wore the same clothing & jewellery, etc, cross-dressing wouldn't be as much fun. To paraphrase RuPaul, we are all born naked, everything else is just playing dress-ups.
I don't have a problem with a society defining standards of male & female behaviour. What I object to is forcing people to choose one or the other, rather than allowing them to pick & choose the elements they identify with. This is closely related to the issue of labels. Labels are useful signposts to identify different parts of the complex "behaviour landscape". Labels become evil when they are attached to individuals and used to fence off the behaviour landscape into disconnected regions. When that happens, people are punished if they don't stay in the region that society assigns to them, and people who identify as "normal" feel entitled to punish those of us that are in the more exotic parts of the behaviour landscape.