Is Human Centred Identity Politics a start point or an end point for the conversation on gender?
Both really, it depends on where you are in relationship to the IDP debate. It can be an end point for some, the realisation that we are all human, we are all individuals, we are all unique, just like everyone else. It can also be a good to have a common ground on which we all stand as a place to start when exploring the differences between us.
Previously you have spoken out about ‘Victim Mentality’ can you describe what you mean?
‘Victim Mentality’ is the part identified by Roy Baumiester in his book ‘The Myth of Pure Evil’. It is a part that exists in all of us tp greater or lesser extents, and it firmly places the blame for our condition outside of ourselves. We do this both collectively and individually, collectively it manifests in conspiracies and other controlling forces. Individually it is played out in the Victim/Perpetrator/Rescuer triangle of Transactional Analysis. Individuals play out differing amounts of Victim Mentality in there interactions with the world, I see it some times in the trans world where some people feel victimised by simple questions about the nature of there claims.
There is no doubt in my mind that ‘Victim Mentality’ plays an inflammatory PART!! in the row over gender. Of course I don’t want to brush over the very real cases of abuse and oppression but it is not true that you are being oppressed by my refusal to acknowledge you as a woman if you have XY chromosomes. Or a societies refusal to allow someone to use their bathroom of choice.
¿Can you say more about XY and XX chromosomes and why you think this is important?
It’s really about looking at life as a whole and seeing the different states of being at play. Biology is a different state of being to Psychology, as different as roads are to cars. A small section of the IDP debate calls for and promotes an understanding where biology is not important and that just by claiming it you can be a woman. A woman is a woman and I don’t need to re-agree what the word means but if you want to talk about gender then lets discuss. Its true that biological sex and psychological gender do not always align and our culture has sanctioned an aligned, binary approach to sex and gender for 1000’s of years. I don’t believe we did this to ‘oppress’ any one but it gave us the best chance of survival. It’s also true that our culture has promoted ways for non gender conforming people to adjust there bodies, through hormones and surgery, in order to fit the ‘Binary Narrative’.
The XX/XY binary is the basis for our reproductive ability, no other combinations work without a huge amount of scientific intervention and I doubt we could or should try to “improve” it. There is a 1% variation of chromosomal variances such as XO/XXY/XXYY whereby biological sex is less easily determined but this 1% variance is no basis for a complete rewrite of our biological history. I think the ‘Biology Deniers’ are harming the real trans movement.
Thats strong stuff. Why do you feel so strongly about it? Are you trans yourself?
I don’t identify myself as trans anything but society labelled me a trans-vestite and as the trans movement is an open and inclusive movement I guess I just got sucked in. I’m passionate about this because when I was 14 I had nowhere to go with the questions that I had about my sexuality and gender, I just thought I was wrong to be wearing women’s clothes and finding it sexually stimulating. I was as confused as most teenagers are at some stage in there lives. I’m passionate about it because were I 14 today I can see the attraction of people saying ‘We know what it is!’ ‘You’re transgendered and you need hormones and surgery!’ There are 800 children on puberty blocking hormones in the UK alone and were are still arguing over what the word woman means! These are children who cant legally get a tattoo, yet we offer them a biological solution to a psychological problem. It’s for them that I’m passionate. We need a different understanding of what it means to human not an expensive rebranding of the biological realities of your body. You might feel like a woman or want to be a woman but if you’ve got XY chromosomes you’ve got XY chromosomes. Lets get to reinventing what having XY chromosomes means and understanding the differences between us not airbrushing over them.
¿Is that what Integral Fashion/Integral Gender is about?
Yes! I realised that what I wanted, aged 13 years, dressing up in my mums clothes and make up, was simply to be beautiful. It was this realisation that brought about this change in my life, I started to realise I was just a man in a skirt, not a trans anything. Being a man in our culture I limited my self to my experiences of beauty in order to fit in. I projected my need for beauty onto the women in my life. Society has unwritten rules about what is expected of men and women and beauty has been firmly and squarely in the realm of women for 2-300 years now. Times change and so does beauty and thankfully the rules being re-written. We are moving away from traditional and modern and postmodern ideals of beauty and beauty is becoming integral. Models now have sticky out ears and differences about them individualism in fashion is on the rise and the fashion industry is struggling to keep up. Real ‘Beauty’ is real. First and foremost beauty is the real thing, not a fake, not dishonest or flaky, it’s genuine and honest and true. I see real beauty in the work I do with men through groups like A Band of Brothers and The Mankind Project. I see men battling years of conditioning to break down and feel generations of sadness. I see beauty in the young man who has had ‘The Care System” on his back since the age of 5 and he still wants to be a good dad despite the barriers that it puts in his way.
Integral Fashion isn’t just about looks, its about heart and soul first and then a fine robe to wrap it all in.
¿Where to from here?
I’ve done a small amount of work in schools that I’m looking to expand on. I’m pulling together a website/shop to sell skirts, for people not just men, I mean thats the point of all this isn’t it? Fashion and style equality. I’ve come to realise a truth about myself and that is that I’m a politician. In a world that thinks that politics is a dirty word that can be a tough place to be, but real politics is about finding some truth around the pole around which we all dance. Human Centered Identity Politics is my offering to the debate, we shall see if it’s popular or not and where it goes, or not.
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A Man in a Skirt