Queer Identity and Why Its Oppression Results in the Maitenance of Heteronormative Power Structures
Ancient beliefs about human sexuality and hetero-normative power structure have transgressed ages and some of them are unfortunately still negatively influencing modern societies.
Lucretius was describing in 60 BC the proper sexual position for women who were wives and not whores as that of a beast who is supposed to engage in sexual relationships with the sole purpose of procreation. Lucretius was thus suddenly bringing humanity back to the animal kingdom. Considering that it was happening over two millennia ago, it is not surprising since the knowledge about human sexuality had its limitations imposed by the level of general knowledge in that age. Sexual liberation and evolution for that matter started with the first wife who admitted having sex for the sake of pleasure and not only to procreate.
Societies changed tremendously since then and the advances of science and technology, visionary artists and scientists contributed to changes in the way people envisioned their own sexuality as well as that of those around them. There are nevertheless modern societies that are still intolerable of any form of sexual orientation that deviates from the hetero-sexual norm, but the North American Culture in particular come a long way and overcame many obstacles on the way of fighting oppression based on gender or sexual orientation. There are yet many battles to be fought and only the future generations will be able to tell when oppression of such kind will have ended for good in the North American society.
The sexual liberation movement is closely related to the women's rights movement and it is easy to understand why when reading words like Lucretius' are merely an example of the way the Western society envisioned sexuality. That was the norm and not the exception. Today's North American teenager may be surprised to find out that such millennia old norms did not become obsolete but only until a few decades ago in our modern society. From the point-of-view of mentality, human sexuality appears to be one of the most difficult domains to change.
Gays and lesbians have succeeded in overcoming their fears and are able today to walk in public hand in hand without being afraid of being arrested or worse. On the other hand, the civil society is far from having accepted and included gays and lesbians as nothing else but normal members of society. The advancements of science have led to an expansion of horizons for all those who are "trans or gender-nonconforming people" (Spade D., Undermining Gender regulation, p.1). Thus, a new issue up for hot debates arose in the field of sexual norms and their adoption by the civil society and political apparatus. Dean Spade, one of those who are working to support the aforementioned category emphasizes the difficulties in making progress in this particular cause since the problems are beginning among the very people who are confronted with these issues. Human societies have always needed norms in order to be able to function and the community of gay and lesbians is no exception. The author is starting by making a point of the fact that the very people he is working to gain equal rights for are considering a threat for their very cause because of stereotypes they cannot escape themselves.
Although an activist who was gaining popularity, public appearances increased his conviction that those very people he was willing to fight for in order to get them to be recognized according to the gender they felt they belonged to, were those who were first prone to misjudge him: "People were pissed that I was representing myself in public as trans and not passing as non-trans man. Folks were concerned that the legitimacy of trans identity in the eyes of a transphobic culture is frequently tied to how normal and traditionally masculine or feminine trans people appear. I was ruining it for everyone"(Spade D., Undermining Gender regulation, p.1 ). It all comes back to the norm. The norm is a society based on a cell formed by a man and a woman in the institution of marriage, the presidential couple is in the United States the couple that sets the example for the rest of the society. The issue is not toleration, but acceptance and the ability to include anything that is not the norm.
The North American society is proud of its achievement in the filed of civil rights, women's rights and sexual liberation, yet there are several symbols the sacred institution of marriage that are constantly promoted in everyday life of, keeping women, same sex partners and any other non-conforming people under the oppression of societal norms. The North American film industry is relevant in this sense.
The author is one of the gender non-conforming people who does not care how he looks as long as people acknowledge him as the person he is. he fought legal battles in order to get equal rights for the above mentioned people in the all fields: juvenile justice, foster care, health care etc. His argument is that things are working slowly in this direction and they are sometimes impossible to come to a positive end because political groups are careful not to embrace an unpopular cause with their political partners and then loose votes for taking the side of a hot topic.
The idea is not to change the direction and start militating for the institution of same-sex partnership destined to replace the traditional heterosexual institution of marriage, but to admit and include the diversity in the field of sexuality as something normal. The structures of power are not ready to accept the idea that sex as established by birth offers no additional right compared to the rest.
Another argument for politics against gender non-conforming people's rights is that the policies concerning them are made by people who are not having the proper training, experience or expertise to deal with this particular category of people. Their indecisiveness in the matter is easy to detect from the way different states or counties regulate the change of identification documents following a sex-change operation. While some consider a simpler procedure of penectomy, hysterectomy or mastectomy enough for a person to be declared as belonging to the opposite sex, other officials are asking for a complete sex change operation like vaginoplasty or phalloplasty in order to agree with changing all identification documents according to the new acquired gender. But, the author cannot persuade the reader that while acting like a "gerutal-obsessed binary-gender loving transphobia" is wrong, the only way of establishing a person's gender at first sight is by acknowledging the particular body parts that are relevant in this matter: their genitalia. The matter is far from simple and should not be treated this way precisely because it involves far more elements than just the physical aspects.
All things considered, Spade points out that there should be specialized people in the administration to deal with this kind of very specific legal and social problems "trans, intersex and gender-nonconforming people" are meeting on a regular basis. On the other hand, the argument that bureaucracy and ill intention based on the perpetuation of a binary-gender-based society is working especially against those who are poorer and thus not affording any of the procedures, medical treatment or legal advice that could help them in their specific problems is actually resulting from older and more aggravating deficiencies in the health and legal care system in the U.S. that is not necessarily strictly related with this category of persons, but with all those who are poor and cannot afford the proper health care or legal advice.
Spade's most convincing argument is that of trans people who are persecuted from all directions for their nonconformity, while there are no laws for their protection based on the sources of their very unique problems. Spade is claiming that presently there is no solution to the matter in the U.S. And these categories of people are left with no support from the authorities or other types of organizations simply because these people cannot be categorized as "black" or "white" in terms of gender or sexual orientation and thus, practically left with no aid at all (the easiest way out).
Finally, Spade's point is that there is an anti-discrimination law that is absolutely necessary to be adopted so that "trans, intersex and gender-nonconforming people" are finally correctly dealt with by society and its legal and administrative instruments that are in place for the very purpose of serving its citizens.
Covering a larger specter of discrimination related aspects in the North American culture, Amit Taneja a gay, Canadian citizen, originally from India, who currently lives and works in the U.S. writes about his own experiences and the faults in the political and administrative system that allow all kinds of discrimination to dwell. He ties in different kinds of discrimination and makes a finally makes a point showing that discrimination of any kind is the…
Sources Used in Document:
Lucretius, The Proper Position for Women, 60 BC, Anonymous Ed., The Sex Box: Man, Chronicle Books, 1996
Spade, Dean. Undermining Gender Regulation.
Taneja, Amit. From Oppressor to Activist: Reflections on A Feminist Journey
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"Queer Identity And Why Its Oppression Results In The Maintenance Of Heteronormative Power Structures", 29 January 2010, Accessed.17 October. 2018, https://www.paperdue.com/essay/queer-identity-and-why-its-oppression-results-15490