Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Boys and Girls

Recently the Trump-Pence administration has once again been taking aim at the trans community. They seem to move randomly from attacking one marginalized community or another. Each time they launch a new attack like this, it seems they are simultaneously using it to put up a smokescreen, hiding some incident of massive financial corruption or a new deregulation scheme that might otherwise make the news, if not for a new sensationalist declaration, this time in support of the gender binary, the latest good Christian effort to save those precious American family values that are apparently incapable of withstanding the possibility that there may be more than two genders, or that two parents of the same gender can raise happy children together, or that people of any gender are capable of flying a helicopter or pulling the trigger on an M16.

Smokescreen though it may be, the media is generally much more interested in stories like this than they are in financial or political corruption. That kind of thing can quickly start to implicate the transnational corporations that own what's left of the mainstream media in the digital age. Much safer to focus on issues of no significant economic consequence, such as whether or not trans people have rights.

Smokescreen though it may be, it's a deadly smokescreen. Whatever new edict may or may not be produced by the administration turning their attention to the definition of gender, the kind of attention that is being paid to this question is already terribly destructive. As with Trump's vocal support for assaulting protesters, assaulting reporters, assaulting women, imprisoning refugees, as with his insulting and dehumanizing descriptions of so many different categories of human beings, the words themselves have a tremendous impact on the actions of people lower on the food chain throughout the US and around the world. The notion that the things prominent politicians say to a massive TV audience has an impact on how people behave towards one another isn't really a matter of speculation. The evidence of the social impact of having an undisguised bigot occupying the most powerful position in US politics is mounting every day. Though it can be hard to track, since it so often takes the form of schoolyard bullying, or a hundred daily microaggressions directed at children and adults who fail to conform to things like gender stereotypes.

Is That A Girl Or A Boy?
Ever since the days when you learned to dress yourself
You would reach for certain clothing from your little shelf
You said “I want to dress like mommy” and that's exactly what you did
You always did things differently from most other kids
You'd be playing with a doll or some other toy
When someone would ask is that a girl or a boy

Someone would call your given name, with you there in your dress
Leaving some to wonder, with others left to guess
Are you an innie or an outie, a princess or a king
Do you like to play with tractors or wear angel wings
What's inside that box, is it a bullet or a pearl
As someone else must ask is that a boy or a girl

You'd pretend that you weren't bothered, but it was clear you were
Then one day someone asked you what pronoun you prefer
Learning there were options and the choice was yours to make
For you there was no question now, which path you would take
You grabbed a piece of paper, signed it with a swirl
As you announced “my name is Gwenevere, and I am a girl”

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