Tag Archives: gender politics

How I deal with pronouns in my classes

This post is in response to a recent New York Times article by Elizabeth Reis. The article, “pronoun privilege,” argues against having people say their name and pronouns when they introduce themselves in class. Reis writes:

I find the exercise discomfiting, but not because I don’t want to know the students’ pronouns. It’s because this ice-breaking ritual, in my experience, is easy only for those for whom the answer is obvious. It can “out” or isolate others, particularly

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How to make like an ally: The “standing up against transphobic bathroom bills” edition

I want you to understand how terrible public restrooms are for me.

For almost my entire life, I exclusively used women’s restrooms. Within the last few years, as my appearance has become more masculine, I’ve had multiple uncomfortable encounters. I’ve experienced this a few dozen times: A woman walking in while I was at the sink, stopping in her tracks and staring at me, and backing slowly out of the bathroom to look at the sign and make sure she … Read more

AERA screws up (again) on gender inclusivity

“In addition to using gender demographics for membership and research purposes, the expanded and enhanced gender categories send a message of inclusion to individuals of all gender identities within the Association,” said AERA Executive Director Felice J. Levine.

Let’s look at what AERA, the American Educational Research Association, thinks will send a message of inclusion to individuals of all gender identities within the Association. Now when you become a member of AERA or renew your membership, you’ll be met with … Read more

Today a physician asked me which name I prefer…

…because on the intake form I had crossed off my legal name, Jenna, and written “Jacob” instead. And when the doctor checked in to confirm which name I preferred, I was moved almost to tears. That’s how low the bar is for us trans* folk–we can’t even expect our doctors to honor our names.

I was there because of shoulder pain, and the doctor looked at my shoulder and never asked me to explain my gender identity and I was … Read more

brb gender fatigue

Gender fatigue (n): A condition of exhaustion, occasioned by generally excessive or overwhelming experiences in which one’s gender is present as either an overt or an implicit focus of human activity. 

“I’m sorry I backed away from you when you reached out your hand for a high five and said, ‘what’s up, bro?’ I was suffering from gender fatigue.”

Today I filled out a form so I could get my Denver Public Library card. The form asked for the … Read more

letter of concern regarding Jack Halberstam’s position on trans identity politics, trauma, and trigger warnings

On Thursday, April 2, 2015, I attended a talk by Jack Halberstam at the University of Colorado Boulder. I was deeply concerned about the content of Dr. Halberstam’s talk, which I considered to be reflective of transphobic, transmisogynistic, and ableist discourses around identity, language use, and the impact of trauma on learning.

I know I’m not the only one who feels frustrated and disappointed by the rhetoric of Halberstam’s position on these issues (see guerilla feminism, feministing, colored Read more

Jenna McWilliams: still not a seminal thinker

Almost three years ago I explained why I hate the words ‘seminal’ and ‘disseminate.’ Here’s the explanation, in brief:

Both words come from the latin root seminalis, or seed, from which we also get the word semen.

Now: seminal, disseminate, semen. All linked to the notion of the seed, the germination of all things that can grow: the sowing of ideas, of genes, of the next generation of people, texts, and theories. The terms, though we may not

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Greek politician slaps female rival on TV, carries his party to victory regardless

file under: don’t you dare think it doesn’t happen in the United States too.

The symbol of Greece's Golden Dawn party. Many have compared this symbol to the Nazi swastika.

You may have missed this, if you live in the United States. A Greek (male) politician named Ilias Kasidiaris  attacked two female rivals on television: He slapped one woman, three times, and threw water in the face of another. Kasidiaris is a spokesperson for the far right Golden Dawn PartyRead more

gay wedding planning for straight people

Some queers have chosen to boycott opposite-sex marriages in protest of discriminatory laws on who can legally marry in the United States. I agree with writer Charles Purdy that boycotting loved ones’ ceremonies is both selfish and ineffectual. Purdy writes that

using another person’s wedding as a soapbox for your political viewpoints is indeed tacky. It reeks of self-important grandstanding….[B]eing cruel is no way to bring anyone around to you point of view. (After all, that’s what the other side

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on straight dudes posing as lesbians

As my pal Wessel says, on the Internet nobody knows you’re a dude.

You may have heard of these two recent stories:

1. Gay Girl in Damascus is really a Straight Guy in Scotland:

The life of Amina Arraf was a good story. On a website called “Gay Girl in Damascus,” this purportedly Syrian-American lesbian blogger wrestled with issues surrounding her national identity, her sexuality, her faith, and the future of her country at a time

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