I hate gender. I really do. I’d like to see it gone. For that reason, I am a gender abolitionist. I think the problem is that most people associate gender abolitionism with Trans Exclusionary Radical Feminist [TERF] politics. I couldn’t be more opposed to TERF-ism and see it as hateful and not feminist at all. TERFs do not own gender abolitionism. I am unabashedly pro-trans and a gender abolitionist. I see no conflict between holding these two positions simultaneously. I think there needs to be more of an effort to articulate a pro-trans gender abolitionist stance. I’m sure I am not the only transgender person who is interested in dismantling the whole project of gender. I once heard a speaker say that gender is here to stay and that basically gender is a good thing for society to have. I disagree wholeheartedly.
I have some basic questions. Nobody can ever seem to answer these questions satisfactorily. They are:
Why does gender exist?
What is productive about gender? What good comes of it?
Why do people “do” gender?
Why can we seemingly not envision a world without gender?
What would it mean to not have (a) gender?
Why does gender have a strangle-hold over our culture?
How does sexual orientation function to strengthen gender?
Every day I get asked the same question: are you a man or a woman? Every day I have the same answer: I am neither. I am a human being who shuns gender and wants nothing to do with it. I used to take the more standard “gender diversity” approach i.e. we need to accept multiple genders. By expanding gender, we create more acceptance for our diversity. But this approach just doesn’t cut it and it doesn’t go far enough. Decades of genderqueer and non-binary activism has done little to put a dent into the tyranny of the binary gender system. Everything in society is till geared for cis men and women who are heterosexual. The rest of us are constantly made to feel like our existence is a mistake. The whole project of gender is incredibly oppressive. Gender is a battleground, not a playground. There is nothing “playful” about gender. It is tired and it needs to go.
I have been studying gender for 25 years and living as a gender minority for 44 years [i.e. my whole life]. I can sum up my study and experience of gender in one sentence: gender is total bullshit. It is a made-up cultural construction that exists for one reason and one reason alone: oppression. It exists to oppress women and those who don’t fit into their assigned sex at birth in some way. Women and gender minorities do not profit from gender in any way unless they collude with the hegemonic system. Cis men do! Unfortunately not all women and queers are feminist and thus do not have a critical mindset when it comes to gender. Even if one does not support the abolition of gender, one must acknowledge the existence of patriarchy. Patriarchy created gender. And it created gender as a justification for male supremacy, male entitlement and male violence. To get rid of patriarchy we need to not only get rid of sexism, heterosexism and cissexism. We need to get rid of gender, the very building blocks of patriarchy.
Someone once said the world would be a boring place without gender, that gender adds a ”spice of life” to our existence. I would submit that gender is very boring and that it deadens everything around it. I am made so unhappy that people continuously try to non-consensually put gender upon me. It feels like a kind of assault. It is high time we got rid of gender and this starts with dismantling the binary gender system and generating so many genders that gender would cease to have any meaningful existence.
Can you imagine a world without gender? I can and it is beautiful and dazzling and free.