Monday, September 22, 2014

Subea*sive Thought Project

Lately I’ve started wearing bras and makeup with more consistency in order to curb the instances of street harassment I often encounter. It has worked with limited success (not even in a harassing manner, or meaning for me to hear, a teenage boy quietly asked his two friends yesterday as I passed, “Is that a boy or a girl?”).

“Neither,” I should have said. “Both.”

What are the conditions in which I can safely walk down the street, at night, alone, in a dress, with neither makeup nor bra (my assigned sex thus evident), and sing, or be joyful, or not clutch the pepper spray in my pocket, or not fear for my life still ticking?

What if I have a day in which I only want to wear shorts and a T-shirt?

What if I don’t feel like going to the trouble of putting on makeup?

What if it’s too hot for a bra?

What if (in the daytime, when it’s safe enough) I allow my transfemininity to ring true in the eyes of others simply because it exists, and not because I paint them signs along the trail to the correct usage of pronouns with an eyeliner brush?

What if people start to see that two rounded hills in the center of one’s chest do not a woman make?

What if people start to realize that the hard plain of mine does not a man make me?

What if people start to treat gender with the nonchalance of shoe size, or hair color, or height?

What if anatomical differences didn’t separate us from access to jobs, or education, or safety?

What if people thought in terms of “What is my place in the world and how am I using it justly?” and not in terms of “Fucking slut,” or, “I wouldn't have gotten raped if I had”?

What is my place in the world and how am I using it justly?

How can I do better?

Who have I forgot today?

Who have I neglected?

Who can I remember tomorrow (to say hello to, to smile at, to hold)?

Who is different than me and thus provides a different and equally valid life experience?

What can I learn?

What if we were all accountable for our own actions?

What if all human lives were valued?

What if I make it to 100?

For now I will keep wearing bras and keep wearing makeup (mostly).  For now I will bend sometimes to the rules of the world around me, because breaking every one will quite possibly result one day in someone breaking me.  For now I will clutch the pepper spray in my pocket, for now I will try not so much to fear for my life still ticking, for now I will try to enjoy it, to sing and be joyful, to learn and to love, to exist as genuinely and as safely as I can, to change people's minds about what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man.

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