Positive intersections :)

Discussion of factors such as sexual and romantic orientation, sex assignment at birth, intersex, race, ethnicity, class, ability, disability, illness, neurology etc, and their interaction with nonbinary gender.

Positive intersections :)

Postby adair » Sun Apr 06, 2014 5:45 pm

Okay, intersectionality can end up being really horrible when you've got several factors that each multiply your chances of poverty or assault, and I've been there too, but sometimes you're in this sweet spot where the blogger who's doing things in the disability rights sphere that make you almost cry in relief and healing also has a couple posts talking about how they're probably claiming a gender label that you claim too.

For me, I tend to see a lot of overlap with NB and trans identities in neurominority communities (autistic, twice exceptional, mental illness), the asexual community (I'm either a sexual ally or gray-asexual depending on when you ask me), and some of my small political communities (vegan, anarchist--I'm not actually an anarchist but since I'm a neurodivergent genderqueer vegan with anarchist leanings I sometimes forget I'm not an anarchist). Oh, not to mention the larger LGBT family.

So, correlated identities are one form of "positive intersection," where walking into a group for people like you means being surrounded by people who are also like you in other ways you never see on TV. I think there's also another benefit to "positive intersections"--belonging to one group means you feel less pressure to pretend not to belong to another group. I think that probably accounts for a significant portion of the correlation between some correlated groups.

For instance, I'd describe myself as "visibly neurodivergent," meaning that people will often have some guess of how I'm different within five minutes of speaking to me. Or possibly from glancing at me on the street. They might read me as gifted, developmentally disabled, "aspie," or an artist, depending on their personal biases, but I've known for a long time that there's no way for me to be normative in how I present myself and interact with others. Sometimes I'm intensely self-conscious about that, other times I'm not, but I'm in the same boat as a gender variant individual, and I think the two aspects of my non-normativity can prop each other (and my sense of being "okay") up. For instance, when I stopped shaving my body hair and started walking around in summer clothes that showed it off? Extremely difficult on the social fear side, but I think it ended up giving me a lot of courage, since I was intentionally doing this extremely non-normative thing that I could stop at any time, but I chose not to. That helps me be okay with the neurotypical norms I can't live up to. And I routinely see my developmentally disabled behavior as a way to stand outside gender norms, especially relating to how people interact with each other. I'm lucky enough that my neurodivergence is often read as a positive trait because I'm "smart", and the career field (IT) where this is particularly valued also happens to be one without the normal gender dynamic (since it's highly multicultural due to half the work force being immigrants, and it's also highly male dominated--a bad thing, but I don't feel like there's a set female role for me to be forced into or assumed to belong to).

I know for some people what for me is a positive overlap might be very negative--I was recently reading an article complaining about how all the pansexual characters in media are extremely weird, and for me it was like, "Great! They represent me as a very weird pansexual! Go cloud cuckoolanders!" but I don't want to give the impression that, for instance, all disabled people like it when their disability means they can't meet binary gender norms, or that all genderqueer people like that their gender variannce is often read as neurodivergence. But it's nice when those things fall out in a serendipitous way.

From jackflip's intro thread: http://nonbinary.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1828

adair wrote:I was thinking about starting a thread in the intersectionality forum on what I was thinking of calling "positive intersections" or "happy intersections"--where being part of one minority group makes you less lonely because that group's correlated with another group you happen to belong to. Ace + trans (many types of trans) is one of those in my experience.


jackflip wrote:Ah, that's very cool! It's always nice to have all of your identities line up like that. (Once upon a time I had four As between my name and all my identities. But now I don't think agender fits me the way I used to think it did, so... Three As isn't bad, though!)

You absolutely should start that thread! It's very cool to see how sexual identities and gender identities can play off one another. I often wonder if there's some sort of correlation in the brain that causes this or if it's just a happy accident. (Though it's also caused a bit of gender confusion for me, but that's another story.)


adair wrote:I actually think a huge portion of the asexual/trans correlation has got to be social. Not that there are more people who are trans in the ace community (or at least not that many more), but that more are out and vice versa. If you're heterosexual in your assigned gender, you'll (a) be much less likely to be in contact with the Gender and Sexual Minorities (GSM) communities, and thus less likely to question your assigned gender, and (b) have a whole lot to lose by coming out as another gender, including both cishet privilege, the approval of the people who socialized you as cishet, and the majority of your potential romantic/sexual partners. An aromantic asexual who's active in the queer community OTOH knows about transdom, has already lost a significant portion of gender and sexuality privilege, and doesn't have to worry about being rejected by sexual partners. Similarly, once you're already out as trans, you can't force yourself to be heteronormative as socialized anymore since that ship's already sailed. I wouldn't be surprised if there's some biological correlation, but I know there are a ton of NB people pretending to be cis in the straight community.
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Re: Positive intersections :)

Postby BlackWingedBelial » Sat Jun 11, 2016 3:32 am

I know this is an incredibly old post, but this is so interesting! I'm also ethically vegan, pansexual, gray-aromantic, neurodivergent, and an anarchist (a leftist anarchist, and since a good anarchy is a pipe dream right now, I sympathize most with libertarians and democratic socialists, as different as they are). I definitely appreciate that most nonbinary characters in media seem to be eccentric. It would be cool to have it mixed up every once in awhile, but I'm most likely to relate to characters some people might see as a little (or even very) odd anyway.
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