Post-Modern Transgenderism

You might ask yourself with what the heck little Liz cones up when talking about post-modern in an age where no one is sure whether it’s still the classical post-modern. As many post-modernists criticized modernism as a rather exclusive, totalitarian principle they tried to declare it being past with the prefix “post” – quite a clean 180┬░ turn. However, some others say that post-modern is just a slight abbreviation of modern, building on its principles and continuing the tradition with some extensions or improvements added. Another funny thing is that the term post-modern came to life in the mid-80s although its beginning is mostly dated to the 1960s. As a movement it is very heterogeneous, involving society, literature, art, architecture and the whole shebang of intellectual debates. And of course, everybody defines it differently.

Now, what has the whole thing to do with trannyism? One could say that a trans-gendered society as it is partly developing today would not have worked in the age of modernism at all. It’s not merely about being trans at the roots but rather about living trans, one could say. I once talked about transsexualism as a lifestyle already, but what I would like to talk about here rather deals with transgenderism as an attitude to life and life’s attitude towards trannies (oh yes, I love strange sentences!). Post-modern as a manifesto against the locking up of ideological and cultural values – what would that mean for us? Well, it’s not like we all are free of such values, a lot just fully transitions for the need and some do not stay “in between” for society’s values. However, there are typical post-modern trans activists; a pretty well-known example would be Kate Bornstein.

But before you misunderstand my point, it’s not about there is no gender. It’s rather about there is more gender than you can possibly think of. Well, but how could one define gender in that context of floating borders? In this viewpoint a bi-gendered society would not work at all, as we all could agree on when regarding the context. Simply adding one gender is just as useless – it widens the horizon, but just a little. And remember, we don’t speak about sex and even there are more than two or three occurrences! So, when gender is a part of identity and we regard the concept of individualism we end up with only one possible result: gender is as individual as preferences in the decoration of rooms. It’s such a complex construction that we cannot fully state how it is constructed. Some part bases on what we would call sex and which also is not just the visible part of the body (e.g. genitals). But gender then is also about how we live, what we think, feel and how we act. And as with everything that is regarded in a post-modern viewpoint it can reshape partially depending on the context but unlikely in its total manner.

Now many people would say, why doing a “sex-change”, why transition from one sex to another when we could have the whole world in between? Also the answer to that is quite simple: This is just another form of gender expression, just like any other. Yes, it’s a big world out there and we barely see a tiny part of it from our individual viewpoint┬á no matter how open-minded we are. So the whole story about a two-gender-world is tempi passati. There is no more logic left in making a some caste systems between TS, TV, IS, CD, DQ and the whole rest – it’s just about one gender expression: the individual one.
But although many intellectuals, especially in the art scene, declared the death of the avant-garde with the rise of post-modern culture, this is unfortunately remaining an unfulfilled prophecy. It still exists, because the whole wax ball of society adapts slower to new conceptions of perception and manifestation than those who think or read about them. We still think in two-gender-terms. We still have transsexuals blaming transvestites and the whole rest of it. And in this context I’m really glad to consider myself in most instances as avant-garde; the rest will eventually follow and even we have a lot of things left to learn. Life is more than the sum of its parts.

Your Couch-Anarchist Liz

~ by Liz on March 23, 2009.

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