For Stephen and Mark and Doris and Me.
Tomorrow is London Pride. The queers, the dykes, the trans women, the fags, the homos, the leather men, the queens and the fairy bois will be on the march, blowing their whistles and dancing the samba in the streets. I am glad they are out there, celebrating the diversity of our sexualities in the 21st century. I won’t be joining my GLBTQ brothers and sisters, however. My Fauxmos ambivalence prevails, in all matters of sex, gender, identity and nipple tassles.
And anyway I am a bit preoccupied at the moment. I am still reeling from the news about research being carried out at Florida International University. Basically it is looking at hormones in pregnant women, and finding that certain deficiencies can lead to their as yet to be born daughters, not displaying adequately ‘normal’ feminine characteristics, including genitalia.
This is the medicalisation of sexuality discourse that Foucault told us about a long time ago. Alas it seems to be back with a vengeance, and now, nature is being given some assistance to ‘correct’ the ‘abnormality’ of children who don’t conform to gender and sexuality stereotypes. Of the two articles above, the Stranger focusses on the sexuality aspect of the intervention, whilst the Feministing piece states the intervention is more to do with gender identity, and an attempt to eradicate the obvious outward appearances of intersex children. Whatever the motive for this medical engineering of pregnant women and their unborn children, Mark Simpson’s comment is apt: ”the problem with nature is it’s just not natural enough’.
You might have thought that feminists would be up in arms about this news. Only yesterday I was involved in heated and passionate debate with feminists from across the UK, over feminists’ opposition to strip clubs gaining licenses in British cities. They were up in arms then, about how the sex industry ‘objectifies’ women, and normalises harassment and violence against women, encouraging a culture of fear for women who live in urban areas. Today, the feminists have gone eerily quiet. If doctors and scientists intervening in women’s pregnancy to ensure their children fit the heteronormative stereotype of what little girls and little boys should be, is not encouraging a culture of fear for women who are not perfect little housewives, and does not serve to justify transphobia, homophobia and violence, I don’t know what does.
While the feminists are putting on their pyjamas to patrol the aisles of Tescos, and protest against the nasty lads mags and their depictions of women’s bodies, and the gays are putting on their glitter and getting their maraccas out of the toy box. Whilst young women about town are vajazzling and Brazilianing themselves, whilst young men are shaving their bollocks, and building their smooth muscled torsos. Whilst everyone is looking in the mirror instead of out the window, our sexuality and gender identity is being policed within an inch of its life. The Backlash Redux is here and part of its success is due to the fact that it has allowed us to create a society where we are all too busy preening and grooming ourselves, or arguing about the evils of preening and grooming to see the real atrocities that are being committed under the name of gender, sex, medicine and ‘normality’.
I am screaming as loud as I can. I have gathered my tiny band of tired and ragged troops. We are crawling over the battlefield, ready to storm the castle. We are making as much noise as is possible, with such limited resources. But the world won’t listen. I suppose the world never did.