A Meerkat Rants: sexuality, gender, and getting out from under the bullshit

(the following Rant has been modified for Adult Language from the original, but it hasn’t been defanged entirely, and contains blunt talk about impolite things.  Proceed at your own risk)


Happy Pride Month!

I’ve only recently encountered the subgroup commonly known as TERFs (trans-exclusionary radical feminist), and my first, second, and third reaction was, bluntly, “get the f*ck out of my face with that bullshit.”

I mean..what the f*ck?

*ahem*

Look.

Gender isn’t a clear-cut binary, as anyone who has ever actually observed humans is well-aware, and most of what we consider a gender attribute is actually culturally-imposed stereotypes.  And dog knows sexuality is, in a word, complicated.

Very f*cking complicated, if you’ll forgive the pun.

I mean, even if you’ve only ever been physically attracted to a very specific type of a single gender, you’re going to have things you like and don’t like, and things that are dealbreakers that to other people are deal-makers.  That’s just how we’re wired.

And nobody, not even the most vanilla cupcake, is simple.

But the idea that we’re all this wonderful bunch of contradictions and complications scares the piss out of some people.  I mean, I guess I get it.  Social interaction is difficult, and if you can’t rely on obvious and unchanging cues, how the hell are we supposed to navigate?

*pause here to ungrit my teeth*

Well – carefully and with compassion and polite curiosity about each other would be a good start, but I get that not everyone’s down for that. Because, yanno, that would require us to consider other people, no matter how different, as being equal to ourselves, with the same right-to-be.

So here’s an idea I’m taking on board, and suggest that you do, too.

Drop the heternormative-mindset bullshit.  Make the presumption of bisexuality your start point, why the hell not? Rather than shying away from something with “this is not for me,” ask “is this for me?”  Explore your sexuality!  Be open to possibilities! Check out everyone, see what floats your hormonal boat (and be aware that tides change!).

And hey, when you’re meeting someone new?  Wait for them to indicate a gender-ID preference rather than assigning them one.  Because the façade does not always indicate the furnishing, and human containers are malleable.

But how will I know, then? we can hear some folk howling.

You won’t.  So? What’s the big deal if you don’t?  There are gender-neutral forms of address, even if formality precludes using their first name, and why would you need to know more than that?

Oh, because you want to know if they’re fuckable?

If you’re even thinking about fucking them, my dudes of all genders, then you actually don’t GAF about their gender id, you just think you should.  So maybe you need to work on that.

And here’s a helpful hint:  If they’re not sharing that particular info with you during your interaction, then they’re probably not currently interested in getting down and delish with you.  So their sexuality AND their gender id is irrelevant.

And if that’s a dealbreaker for you to be friends with someone, that’s your fucking issue, not theirs, and you should probably remove yourself from polite society anyway.

/rant.

But auntie meerkat, some of you are crying, what if I want people to know, but I never know how to say it?  Or what if I don’t know yet?

Fair and valid issue, my dudes.  That’s a damned difficult thing to bring up in casual conversation for many of us, especially if our self-identification falls outside the currently normalized (trying to explain the difference between sex-repulsed asexuality and sex-positive asexuality, for’ex, can be Advanced Level shit).  And if you’re in among folk you’re not sure of… yeah.  Use good judgement, listen to your own comfort level, and remember that if you’re not certain about telling someone something that important about yourself, you need to ask what it that’s making you uncomfortable.  If it’s them, back away.  If it’s you?  Then you’re not ready to share that info yet, and that’s fine.

And if you want to shout it to the world but just don’t know how to say the words?  There’s merch for that.  Lots and lots of merch for that, from the subtle, work-appropriate pin to the billboard t-shirt.

(and there probably needs to be a “Drab Introvert for Pride” t-shirt out there somewhere, in nicely subdued but elegant script…)

 

this Rant was originally published to Laura Anne’s Patreon.

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About Laura Anne Gilman

Laura Anne is a recovering editor-turned-novelist, with an Endeavor Award, a Nebula nomination, another Endeavor award nomination and a Washington State Book Award nomination under her belt. Her most recent series is the award-winning "Devil's West" trilogy, starting with SILVER ON THE ROAD, and her same-universe story collection, WEST WINDS' FOOL, AND OTHER STORIES OF THE DEVIL'S WEST. The novella GABRIEL'S ROAD was published by Book View Cafe on April 30th, 2019. Her Patreon, featuring original fiction, writing advice, and original Rants, is at https://www.patreon.com/LAGilman Learn more at www.lauraannegilman.net, where you can sign up for her quarterly newsletter.

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