Thursday, October 24, 2013
Undoing the hold
I’m thinking about why it’s a little disturbing that, since my short piece in the New York Times, I’m now seeing myself described in shorthand as “trans activist Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore.” While I do identify as trans, if there’s one word used to describe me I prefer queer. As in rejecting hierarchies, subverting status quo normalcy, creating more possibilities for deviance and defiance. Trans can (and sometimes does) mean all of this, but unfortunately it has become assimilated as the T in the LGBT, a fixed identity melded to the marketing of sameness as diversity. I don’t want any part of the LGBT, an acronym enabling the same old power structure, dressing it up in rainbow flags and equality signs – tokenizing, marginalizing, policing the borders. Instead, I want to undo the hold of the LGBT on the queer imagination.