Thursday, February 5, 2009

Why do we insist on relying on the condition of the body to understand identity?

Why is it that identity must match the body, or that the body is tied to identity at all? Who says what the body is and what identity it is attached to? Some of the biggest mainstream jokes on race plays on the White teen boy who thinks he is Black. Yes, there are ways that one is seen and treated- racism, sexism, homophobia & violence runs the show and keeps us all scared. Material effects keep us from being able to see that Blackness, womaness… that they are all inventions we can’t even properly define with certainty. By a transgendered person’s supposed transition from their correct gender to their desired gender, we give no value or truth to how they experience their identity. We are instead looking through an assumed truth of an origin, feeding evidence into the gender-body matching machine. Is it too far to question transexuality and the need to make the body be truly woman (as if it wasn’t already)? Why is manhood and womanhood tied to genitals as the truth? By correcting the body aren’t transexuals recognizing an inconsistancy of their body pre-op and their identity, giving evidence for their bodies being broken beforehand?

Loren Cameron, Photographer's self-portrait

Who is to say that they aren’t men (and are instead transmen) or that they weren’t men? Who says what manhood is? Be defaulting to only being complete with surgeries, we are feeding the assumed truth of sex, and limiting who can access a complete self. Historically, before surgeries were performed, were “transgendered” folk incomplete? I don’t think so. Are today’s transexuals incomplete in comparison to chromosome-therapy-using-transexuals of the future? By letting in, we prove that science knows identity; that science knows truth. How do we shatter that? How far do we go to keep this charade running?

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